Life Love Larson: October 2012


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pretzel+Chocolate+Candy Corn

I tried another Pinterest recipe to take to our neighborhood Halloween party this past weekend.  Again, I don’t think you can go wrong here…sweet + salt, easy, delicious and festive!

Monday, October 29, 2012

DIY: Chalkboard Wall

If you have been reading for awhile, you know I love a chalkboard.  I love the black accent and the classic look of it.  I was inspired to create a little floor to ceiling chalkboard wall in my mudroom recently, and I love it!  A small amount a work for a large impact…


This little wall is also visible from our open kitchen, which I love.  I like how the black breaks up the light paint and the creamy white trim.

Here is a little rundown of the progression.  This is what the wall originally looked like.  I did have the large ruler chalkboard on this wall, but it has since been moved next to the built-in coat rack.


Doesn’t the chalk paint make such a difference in this space?!?!?!  I used Rustoleum chalk paint that I already had on hand.  I used a small sponge roller and applied 3 coats, letting each coat dry completely before starting the next coat.  I Instagrammed a picture of the first coat as it was going up (you can follow me @amlarson3).


There are instructions on the paint can, but you are supposed to leave the paint alone for several days in order for the paint to cure. After a few days, you are to cover the entire wall with chalk.  I have found the best way to clean chalk off the wall is to use a wet cloth and move it in a circular motion. 


The chalk wall is never going to be completely stark black once you have applied chalk. I think that adds to the character.  You must know that this does get messy.  You will need to clean up chalk debris after you write on the board.


I did not paint the chalk wall for my kids and they don’t’ play on it.  Boo, mean mom!  This is purely decorative!

Here is the wall from a few different angles.  I don’t think I will ever get a good picture in this space because there is not a lot of natural light!  The first is a view from the kitchen looking into the mudroom.  The chalk wall is right across from the kid’s artwork display wall.

This door color will also be changing soon (if I can convince hubby).


And here is an angle from the mudroom into the kitchen…


Have you experimented with chalk paint?  Are you in love or over the hype?  I’m in love and want to extend the paint behind the artwork wall.  My husband’s response?  “Can’t we ever just leave well enough alone?”  No, no we can’t!!!

Linking up with:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pinterest Tip: Mark your Medicine

Thankfully my kids have not had to be on any antibiotics lately, but our dog was currently prescribed some human antibiotics. You should have seen the guy’s face at Walgreens when I was picking up a prescription for my canine son.  And no, they don’t qualify for human prescription benefits :).
The big guy has to take a high dosage since he is so big, so I am the lucky person who gets to shove my hand down his gigantic mouth and administer giving him 6 pills a day.  I wanted to be able to keep track and remembered a tip I saw on Pinterest.  Mark the medicine bottle.  Seems like a simple concept, so why have I always kept track on a sticky note that seems to get lost in the shuffle?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Easy (and pretty) French Toast

I usually make one breakfast on the weekends, and we eat breakfast for dinner a lot.  It’s cheap, easy, I always the have stuff on hand, and it is Steve and the kid’s favorite.
I prefer to use Texas toast when making French toast.  Texas toast is easy to freeze and thaw.  Mix a few eggs, milk, a capful of vanilla, and lots of cinnamon.  I think French toast tastes better if you put a little oil in the pan rather than non-stick spray (of course)!

To change it up a bit, I recently added my favorite new spread of vanilla yogurt and Nutella on top of the French toast along with some fresh strawberries and a little dusting of powdered sugar.  It’s fun to change up the syrup routine!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dining Room Progress: An Update

I know it has been forever since I have talked about my dining room or posted any pictures.  The reason being is that we have been looking forever for a piece of furniture to fit in the large niche, with no luck.  Without anything in the niche, the room looks incomplete.  I have, however, added black and white striped curtains since I last showed pictures of the room.

I will be posting about those curtains soon…they were a DIY…I made them…well, sort off…I no-sewed the black panels onto existing curtains…back to that B & W striped obsession…LOVE them…

Anyway, back to some full shots of the dining room and to see where the room has come since we moved in.  Our house is open concept, so the dining is the first room on the right when you walk in the front door, and it is open to the rest of the house.  Here is where we are today…

dining room

If you remember, the room started with the dining table.  A steal from West Elm ($125).  You can read more about this here.


Next, came the chairs that were ordered from Restoration Hardware (on sale for $199 each).  You can read more about these here.


Next, came the vintage chandelier we purchased at a vintage store in KC (worth every penny).  You can read more about this here.


We hung the curtains a few months ago, and we are still waiting to find the right piece for the niche.  Let me know if you have any good ideas! Oh, and do you think I need a large rug to center the space, or should I just keep the hardwoods exposed?



Dining Room To-Do List:


rug or no rug?
furniture piece for the niche
artwork for above the piece of furniture (need some color)!
accessorize the piece of furniture
have a dinner party (still hasn’t happened!)

  Once the room is complete, I will update more photos, but for now, still a work in progress!

Linking up with:


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Recent Happenings

I need to send a huge thank you to two blogs for featuring a project of mine recently!

1.  Tatertots & Jello- DIY Spooky Hanging Bats

2.  It’s Overflowing- Blue Front Door

We moved to KC last year at Thanksgiving, so fall was the only season we had yet to experience.  I forgot how much I truly love a Midwest fall!  One thing I could do without is it getting dark so early.  It makes me want to go to bed at 8pm!  Here is a little snippet of what we have been up to recently…

We went apple picking for the first time a few weeks ago.  The first time for the kids, and the first time for me!  It was so fun eating the apples right as we were picking them.  I think all the kids consumed 6 apples each that day.  We brought home a bushel full for $7!  It was a gorgeous day for a picnic and making memories.  If you are local, be sure to check out Cider Hill Orchard!



































Kate has been cheering on our beloved Hawkeyes (even though we are not very good this year)!


She is also proud that she can now write her name all by herself…


I repaired and hung an old DIY project that I will be sharing with you soon!


And something in my house may or not have been spray painted with this color…stay tuned…


Pumpkin patch field trip with my smallest pumpkin…


This guy has been putting his skills to work again this season.  I think Steve has had just as much fun being one of the coaches!


My crazy gymnast…


I am on a mission to get our unfinished basement cleaned and organized so the kids have another space to play in once it gets too cold to be outside.  Hope your weekend is relaxing, enjoyable, lazy, productive, fun, or whatever you wish it to be!  Off to enjoy a few more cups of coffee!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Toffee Chocolate Saltines

I can’t believe I had never heard of, or tried this recipe before.  I wanted to make something quick and chocolaty for the birthday party last weekend.  I scanned my Pinterest board and decided to give these chocolate saltine bars a try.  Four ingredients, and the blogger I pinned it from had nothing but excellent things to say.  I got this recipe here.
Several people at the party had tried this dessert before (some coining it “Christmas Crack”), and others who had never tried it wanted the recipe.  Here goes…
Toffee Chocolate Saltines (or crack, whichever you prefer)  :)
1 cup unsalted butter (no margarine)
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
40 saltine crackers

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a large cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Lay a flat layer of crackers out on the foil. Melt the sugar and butter until a boil is reached. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is thickened and sugar is completely dissolved. Pour this mixture over the crackers and spread to coat evenly. Bake for 8-10 minutes, toffee should be bubbling. After removing the pan from the oven, let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, let them soften and melt, and then spread them into an even layer.  Let cool and refrigerate until hardened. Peel back the bark and break into pieces.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ten on Ten: October 2012

Take 10 pictures on the 10th of the month to capture life’s beauty in the day to day. Linking up at A Bit of Sunshine, the original inspiration!

ten on ten button

As usual, the 10th caught us on a pretty normal, uneventful day (the best kind)!

Never too old for a little pre-breakfast Play Doh!


I decided to get a little crazy and paint my nails a nice fall color.  I usually have paint, stain, or my hands in a sink full of dishes, so this gesture is usually a big waste of time!  Update: already have a chip on my left pointer…it was fun while it lasted…ha!


We got “Boo-ed” last night, so the kids were so excited to hang our “We’ve been Boo-ed” sign by the front door…


Kate (and I) went to a friend’s house this morning while Drew was at school.  The girls decorated a plastic gingerbread house in October-love it!  I got to feed, change, and hold the three month old sister, so we both had a great time!


In keeping up with getting “Boo-ed”, the kids and I went shopping for our own “Boo-ing” items. 


Don’t judge my time-I was weak from donating blood yesterday (that’s what they all say)!


Something I just have to do at least once per day (I have a love/hate relationship with crumbs and dark hardwood floors)…


Always Mommy’s helper…pruning and weeding and putting flowers in our hair.  What a gorgeous day it was!


A little catch with Daddy while the sun was still shining…


Finally!  It’s dark and we get to go “Boo” some of our neighbors…highlight of their day!


Thanks for checking out a normal day in the life with us!

A Few More Budget Friendly Halloween Decorations

Last year, my friend Jill in San Antonio, hung a large amount of bats in her foyer to make it look like they were flying in a pack.  It was so simple and so striking and I knew I wanted to do it this year!  Thanks for the idea, Jill!

I started out by putting the bats outside on my front door.  They lasted about a week and kept falling off.  I had “dead” bats laying on my porch every morning and that was getting old!  Even though we have a covered porch, the paper bats were getting damp and crinkling up.  So, I brought them inside…



I bought a pack of pre-cut bats at Dollar Tree a while back, and when I finally decided to hang them, I needed a lot more, and of course, they were all gone.  So, I hand cut about 20 bats out of cardstock (oh, the things I do for this place)! :)  They are hung with doubled sided tape.  Total for this project was $1 because I already had a bunch of black cardstock in my stash.

If you are not a local friend or neighbor, you are probably noticing the black and white curtains hanging in my dining room!  I haven’t blogged about those yet, but they are coming.  I have a little obsession going on with black and white right now (oh, and stripes)!


My sister told me about this little metal spider web.  I decided to hang it on the inside of my front door.  This web was $3.99, but I also had a 20% coupon, making it super inexpensive!!  The spider ribbon is from Dollar Tree.


The stuff above is called “creepy cloth” (also from the Dollar Tree).  Such a fun little addition when draped over a mantle or thrown on any piece of décor to make it “creepy” looking!

Lastly, I found these black crows at Dollar Tree and knew I had to find a home for them.  Wanting to use what I already had, I cut some tree branches from a tree out back, spray painted them matte black (with .97 cans from Walmart I keep on hand), attached the birds, and threw them in a vase.



So, between the spider wreath, the spooky hanging ghosts, and the few other items I added, I think I spent less than $20! 

A quick side note about the ghosts…my sister just sent me this picture of the ghosts she made and she decided to keep them indoors (hanging from the chandelier in her foyer).

photo (2)

Hope you are having fun decorating for Halloween!  Happy October!

Linking up with:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Twelve Months of Giving Back: September

Okay, September got away from me!  So, here I am posting about the blood donation I gave this morning!  I had it on my to-do list for several weeks, and I just got around to doing it.  Those MY to-do lists are never ending, so it always feels good to scratch something off!  So, I donated blood in October, but it is counting for my giving back for September!

I always wear my sticker the day of, so it gets people thinking about blood donation.  I had two moms at preschool comment on how they need to go do it.  Hopefully they will and it will be a nice “pass it on” moment.


It is so nice that I actually have a few hours to myself this school year, so I can donate during the week when they are not busy.  Start to finish, I was there for 25 minutes.  Total time of needle in the arm was 5 minutes, 17 seconds.  I have good veins and am a fast bleeder (that sounds weird, but you get the idea!), but it does not take a long time!  It hurts no worse than a finger prick, and you never even need to see the needle.


Just think of the lives you will be saving with your donation and you will forget you were ever afraid of needles (or the sight of blood)! 

I have mentioned before that I had to have three blood transfusions after Kate was born.  Someone else saved my life by taking the time to donate blood, so this is personal for me.  Passing it on!  Hope you are having a great week!