Life Love Larson: June 2012


Friday, June 29, 2012

Twelve Months of Giving: June

Drew had VBS this month and they were requesting donations for their mission project.  We purchased some more baby stuff and donated it on the last day of VBS.  Drew was very proud to participate!


This month we also gave the gift of food and housewarming gifts to some of our neighbors! 

We have new neighbors across the street who just moved in.  They are unpacking and having their basement finished, so we thought they could use some homemade cookies!  The kids and I delivered cookies on a fun melamine plate (Target) and told them to keep it…IMG_8028IMG_8029

We also delivered cookies and homemade chicken tortilla soup to our next door neighbors who just had a baby.  I ended up just taking the whole crockpot over to them.  I also brought cheese, tortilla chips, cilantro, and an avocado to garnish.  My sister gave me this recipe and it is easy, fresh, and delicious.  I doubled the recipe to make a large portion.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
1/2 chopped onion
1 1/2 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
1 garlic clove (diced)
1/4 t. chili powder
1/4 t. cumin
2 cans chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can green chilis, undrained
4 t. fresh cilantro

Assemble in crockpot and let simmer all day.  Garnish ideas: tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, cilantro, sour cream, green onion, etc. 


We also gave a few gifts to our other new neighbors which I blogged about earlier this month.


I love seeing my kids participate in our giving.  The more and more we give, the more I see it come naturally for them.  Rather than them asking why we are doing these things, they now ask me what they can do to help me with the process.  I always try to remind them that giving doesn’t have to be grand, it just needs to be something that is done with love.  Here’s looking forward to July!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dining Room Progress: Chandelier

I knew I wanted a chandelier in the dining room.  A drippy, vintage chandelier.  I am pretty casual in my decorating style, but for some reason, I wanted the dining room to be a little more dressed up…it needed some jewelry.

Steve was on board and we looked and looked and looked for the right one.  Instead of settling, we decided to just keep looking.  FINALLY, we were shopping at the West Bottoms in KC, MO (one weekend a month of great shopping) and one particular chandelier seemed to be smiling at us when we walked in!  The right scale, in good shape, brass, 8 lights, drippy.  The shop had been opened for 5 minutes and we were walking out with our new dining room light fixture.  And I’m in love.IMG_8017It is from the 1940’s.  It was a little pricey, but not terrible.  I am thrifty in most everything I do for the house, so I am allowed to splurge every now and then, right?  IMG_8021We took it to a local chandelier shop where we were able to purchase some extra chain (in order to hang it as low as we wanted).  The guys at the store matched the chain almost perfectly and let us know the electrical was in good shape.

Steve and I hung the chandelier ourselves (to save money).  Steve has hung and changed so many light fixtures over the course of 4 houses, but never one this heavy or delicate!  IMG_8022As with most “old” items that I buy, I often wonder what the history is behind this piece.  Who else has enjoyed its lighting?  How many owners have their been?  How did the timing work out that we ended up with it?  We will be enjoying this forever, no matter how many more homes we move to, and I love that.

The final step in the process is to put the fixture on a dimmer.  Eight exposed lights with all the crystals makes for one very bright light!  With an open concept first floor, I can see the chandelier from all rooms, including my kitchen (where I spend most of my time).  I love having one major piece that really draws your eye in.IMG_8023I am purposefully not showing pictures of the chandelier with the table and chairs in the room…I hung some curtains that I don’t’ want you to see yet!  In case you missed it, you can see the posts about our table and chairs here and here.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Glow Stick Bath

We have been knocking some things off of our “Summer Fun 2012” list…we recently tried a glow stick bath and the kids loved it!

This is about as easy and cheap as it comes.  Purchase some glow sticks/necklaces/bracelets, throw them in the bath, and turn out the lights.  We used the interior bath in our home that does not have any windows {for the extra darkness factor}. 

Dollar Tree sells glow sticks all year, so they are cheap and easy to find!



The kids were so bummed when I made them get out! We will definitely be doing this again!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Tale of Two Chairs: Paint

I removed a million staples and pulled all the fabric back and I was left with two bare chairs to paint.  I wanted to stick with a rich white paint and keep the base of the chair fresh and neutral.  I decided to forego buying any new paint (I am thrifty, remember)!  I have a lot of leftover Sherwin Williams trim/cabinet paint in my basement from our new house.  I absolutely love the color of our trim and cabinets.  Not too white, not too cream.  It is enamel paint so the finish would be hard, glossy, durable, and easy to clean.















I started by sanding down any rough spots and filling any chipped edges with wood filler. I painted only two coats, sanding in between. The original paint color is very similar to what I applied on top of it, so it already had a good base coat.

Here is another before.  The paint wasn’t horrible, but it definitely needed a little pick me up.  As you can see the old and new paint color is very similar.



I realize these before and after shots are not that dramatic, but at least the painting is done!  The tale continues as I am currently on the hunt for fabric to finish these guys off.  Hopefully this will happen in the next few weeks-stay tuned!

In case you missed it, see the origin of these chairs here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Homemade French Onion Soup

I know it’s summer, and I know it’s hot, but we still love a good soup recipe in this house.  I recently was craving French onion soup and came across the most delicious recipe.  I have made it twice since…so good and so easy!


You can find the original post and recipe at  Here is the recipe with a few modifications…

French Onion Soup
1/4 cup butter
3 pounds onions (sliced)
1/4 cup flour
1 cup beef broth + 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (this is in place of 1 cup red wine)
3 cups beef broth 
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper to taste
1 baguette
1/2 cup gruyere (grated)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook slowly at low with the lid on until golden brown and caramelized, about 1-2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions, stir to combine and let cook until it starts to caramelize. Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Add the broth, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil at medium heat.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. Preheat oven broiler. Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls and place the bowls on a baking sheet. Place a toasted slice of bread over each bowl and top with the cheese. Place bowls under broiler until cheese melts, only 2-3 minutes.





This is a great Sunday night dinner recipe because you do need a little extra time to caramelize the onions…that is the key to the goodness of it all!  It is equally good the next day too!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Housewarming Gift

As mentioned before, I have had several new neighbors moving in on my street.  Two couples (on either side of us), moved in the same weekend, and I wanted to pick them up a little something.

On a recent trip to Homegoods, I was drawn to two different items, both of which I purchased and put together for a little gift.


Dipped bamboo utensils and a colorful cork trivet.  The gals are my age, so I thought it was appropriate to pick out something that I would like to be given!  And kitchen stuff is usually always a winner.


Tie a cute ribbon and make a little card, and you have a sweet little gift!


Both gals just happen to be pregnant as well, so I thought taking a bottle of wine would have been a bad idea!  :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

“Dipped” Terra Cotta

I needed a little shot of color on my front porch.  I didn’t really go all out on my porch this year with flowers and pots as I have been concentrating my efforts on getting perennials in the ground and working on the interior of our new house.  I did, however, want to quickly spruce up my one lonely terra cotta pot, so I decided to go with a bright pink “dip”.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Trellis Love

In the yard of our first house (in Charlotte), we had a trellis.  I planted a clematis and it grew fast and wild.  I loved it.  Fast forward to our fourth house, and I finally purchased another trellis.  This time I planted a mandevilla vine in the ground in front of it.  I actually got it for $4.98 on the distressed rack at Lowe’s.  It looked alive and well to me, and it has proven to be anything but distressed.


The trellis is also from Lowe’s.  It was around $40, but it is sturdy (has stayed put in our KS winds) and I liked the pattern. 


In just a few short weeks, the mandevilla vine is winding up the trellis and lovely pink flowers are blooming!  I am loving the dimension and height it brings to the walkway.



Do you have a trellis or a vine plant growing somewhere in your yard? 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kid’s Artwork Display System

Probably like most of you, my home is constantly being inundated with artwork, certificates, drawings, and projects that my kids are hard at work making (and are so proud of).  I just love ages 3 and 4 and all that comes with it, including the adorable “art”.  I am not a huge saver, only saving one or two things from each year of preschool, but I do love to enjoy their work for a little while.  I love my kids, but I don’t love clutter :)

I decided to come up with a way I could enjoy the artwork for a little while and quickly change it out as I please.  I knew I wanted this place to be in the mudroom.  We use this room so often and it seemed suited for “kid stuff” since we already have little shoes and little backpacks and little sweatshirts hanging from all of the hooks. 

The display system includes only two items:  tension rods and curtain clips.  Super easy, inexpensive, and takes about 2 minutes to set up.  For reference, the large door on the right is off the garage, and the door on the left is to the bathroom.

kids artwork display 3

I purchased the black tension rods at Hobby Lobby.  They are less than $4 each, and I bought them all when they were half off.  I already had the curtains clips from my shower curtain curtains in our old house (also from Hobby Lobby).  Total for this art display cost me less than $10. 

kids artwork display 1

kids arwork display 2

The reality is that I have small kids, and I love the whimsy the artwork brings to the space.  And the kids absolutely love having a place to display their masterpieces!!

Linking up with:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ten on Ten: June 2012

I didn’t have a chance to upload pictures last night, so here are 10 random pictures from yesterday, June 10th.  I will be linking up here.

ten on ten button

I woke up to find a huge moving truck across the street.  This is the third set of neighbors to move on our street in three weeks!


Every morning has to start with a few cups of Joe.


Every morning also involves watering flowers on the patio.


I purchased some much needed new kicks and jazzed them up with some pink laces!


A little lunch at Jersey Mike’s…I recommend the mini Italian on white, Mike’s Way!


The light was hitting Kate’s hair just right, making me jealous of those natural highlights…


Two of my favorite guys…


I spent a little time on a DIY project I have been trying finish up…more to come on that!


Delivered a house warming gift to our next door neighbors…


Finished up the day with a little popcorn (the more butter, the better) and Hangover II.


Hope your 10th was great!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer Fun List 2012

It’s that time again.  A time to sit down with the kids and talk about all the fun things we want to do this summer.  We made a looooooooong list. 


The kids are well aware we might not get to everything on the list, but it will be a good reference on the days we feel like doing something other than go to the pool!


Here is our list so far:  the (K) & (D) are kid specific!
1.  Water balloon fight
2.  Backyard camping
3.  Make an apple pie (K)
4.  Look through old photo albums together
5.  Practice riding bike with no training wheels (D)
6.  Go to the Overland Park farmer’s market
7.  KC zoo
8.  Make sponge water balls
9.  Fly at kite at Heritage Park
10.  Go on picnics
11.  Visit the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
12.  Go to the new Aquarium
13.  Go to the new Lego Land
14.  Summer photo shoot
15.  Make homemade popsicles
16.  Learn to write name (K) (she has the T & E down)
17.  Improve swimming skills
18.  Deanna Rose Farmstead
19.  Go to The Berry Patch and pick strawberries
20.  Make and play with sidewalk paint
21.  Put glow sticks in the bathtub
22.  Marble art project
23.  Have a “silly dressed” dinner
24.  Science experiment-density column
25.  READ, READ, READ (including more chapter books)
26.  Get through “K” on sight words list (D)
27.  Wonderscope Children’s Museum
28.  Cheap summer movie series
29.  Midland Railway Vintage Train Ride
30.  “Balloon” tennis
31.  Begin practicing "how to tie shoes” (D)
32.  Watch the Summer Olympics

Hope you are having a wonderful start to your summer!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Toasted Ravioli

I made Steve one of his favorite things for his birthday dinner a few weeks back…toasted ravioli (with a tomato, basil, mozzarella salad on the side). 

Served with a side of marinara for dipping, these toasted ravioli are easy and delicious. This recipe makes a ton, so you will have leftovers!


Toasted Ravioli
2 eggs
splash of half & half or milk
salt & pepper
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
flat leaf parsley (I just use parsley flakes for some green)
1 bag ravioli of choice
extra virgin olive oil

Beat eggs and milk together and season with S & P in a low dish.  Combine bread crumbs with cheese and parsley in a separate low dish.  Coat pasta in egg mix and then in bread crumb mix.  Heat oil over medium heat and toast ravioli on both sides (3-4 each side).  After toasting, place on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil.


The salad is simply fresh basil, grape tomatoes (sliced in half), fresh mozzarella balls, balsamic vinegar, EVOO, and fresh garlic. 

These ravioli would make great little appetizers and they definitely make for a quick, easy, and tasty dinner!