Thursday, March 28, 2013

Kale Chips

We FINALLY tried kale chips the other night with dinner.  They were surprisingly delicious!  Good texture and flavor, and dare I say our kids tried them and liked them (or at least didn’t spit them out)!

I prepped these just how I like to prep other veggies that go in the oven, by drizzling extra virgin olive oil and sprinkling a generous amount of McCormick’s steak seasoning.  I found several online recipes stating to bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, so that’s what I did.

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They came out crispy, but not burnt, which is what you are going for, hence the “chip” part of the whole thing.  We sprinkled a little parmesan after they came out of the oven too.


I purchased a huge bag of kale at Walmart for less than $3.  Worth trying!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easy Puzzle Storage

I recently pinned an image on Pinterest that showed putting puzzle pieces inside pencil pouches to alleviate bulky storage boxes.  I immediately started wondering why I had never organized our puzzles in a better way.  They were sitting on a shelf in a toy closet stacked high, with broken box corners and missing pieces scattered about.  My kids actually love puzzles and play with them often, so Kate and I got to work organizing.

I chose to use quart size freezer ziploc bags instead of pencil pouches.  I had these on hand and ziploc bags are see-through, so you know what you are getting.  I purchased a plastic tub at Dollar Tree to store the puzzles.


Place pieces inside ziploc bag, cut the part of the box that has the puzzle template, and admire your newly organized puzzles!






Am I the last person on Earth to organize their puzzles this way?  Seems so simple.  I’m getting ready to do another toy/stuffed animal/game purge.  I like to do this about every 6 months or so, and organizing the puzzles was a good start!

Monday, March 25, 2013

DIY: Fabric Flower Bouquet

I made these no-sew fabric flowers for Kate’s room about a year ago and I’m finally getting around to blogging about them.  Not sure how some of these projects slip through the cracks, but better late than never, right?!  fabric flower 3I found an image and tutorial on Pinterest and thought these looked pretty straight forward to make.  You will need scrap fabric, wooden dowel rods, small pieces of felt, craft paint (if you wish to paint your dowel rods) and hot glue.  I had all of these items on hand except the dowel rods, and you can purchase packs of these at Hobby Lobby or any craft store for cheap (don’t forget your 40% off coupon)!IMG_6974If you are choosing to paint your dowel rods, you will first need to paint these and wait for them to dry.  I painted four and left one natural.  You will need to cut your fabric into long narrow strips.  I don’t know where my mind was when I was making these, but I failed to take pictures of the steps.  Please click here for detailed picture instructions.

The basic concept is to scrunch up the fabric around the base of the dowel rod and hot glue.  Continue wrapping and scrunching all the way around the dowel rod until it starts to look like a flower.fabric flower 5Once you have the fabric adhered to the rod, you will want to cut a small piece of felt to cover up any mess underneath the “flower”.fabric flower 2

fabric flower 1These are so simple and inexpensive to make.  I think they are so fun in a little girl’s room.  I threw the flowers in a mason jar and they sit on top of Kate’s nightstand.fabric flower 6

fabric flower 7Who needs fresh flowers when you can have a fabric bouquet all year long!  Happy crafting!

Other DIY’s from Kate’s Room: Gallery Wall Details, Painted Pink Headboard, Pom Cluster, Ombre K, Thrift Chair Makeover, Silhouette Plates, Scrap Fabric Bunting

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Chalkboard Sign + Spray Painted Mason Jars

I quickly wanted to share a two DIY details from the baby shower.  I have been seeing people (in the blogosphere) pull chalkboards outdoors, and thought it would be cute to make an entrance sign out of the chalkboard door I no longer use.  It was just sitting in my basement (still teal in color), so I quickly painted it white, tied some balloons to it, and made it festive for the party.  I think I will now be pulling this out for every get-together and I’m even thinking of hanging it outside permanently under our covered patio.  You know I LOVE a chalkboard!

chalkboard baby 1

You can see details on this DIY cabinet door chalkboard here.  You can also see why I don’t need it inside anymore here.

Because I was using gold and pink for the d├ęcor, I knew I wanted to spray paint mason jars in gold (to hold the flowers for the tables).  I pick mason jars up at thrift stores for cheap, but you can find them at Walmart, Hobby Lobby, or really anywhere these days.  A little spray paint, and one minute of time, and your flowers become way cuter!  Momma-to-be took these home with her to enjoy after the shower!


Gold candle holders are from thrift stores and gold/white striped candles are from Homegoods.  We had a “make a page for new baby girl’s scrapbook” baby shower, so I chose to set the flowers on polka dot scrapbook paper.

We are expected to get 5-10 inches of snow tomorrow and I am in bed icing a swollen and bruised ankle as I write this.  I fell in a hole in our neighbor’s yard last night.  My nickname growing up was “Accident Andi”, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me!

I really hope it is starting to look like spring wherever you live because winter is still bearing down on us!  Happy weekend, friends!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bamboo Shades + Curtain Dreams

The kids are on spring break this week (and the weather is non cooperating), and because Steve and I are taking a big anniversary trip this summer, spring break is consisting of normal stuff…library, rec center, swimming, gym, trips to Lowe’s, shopping for pillows, dog sitting for neighbors, and I am working on redoing our master bedroom.  It’s not even really “redoing” as much as it is just “doing” or “starting”, as we have never had a master bedroom to be proud of!!

Here is a real life picture of what is going on in our bedroom right now…aren’t you jealous of this serene and cozy environment?? :)  Our bedroom is very large.  I don’t love a large master bedroom.  I know I’m weird like that.  I would much rather distribute that square footage to rooms that get used more than our master.  We don’t need a sitting area and our TV is so far away from our headboard (yes, we have a TV in our bedroom)!  I’m not sure why builders build HUGE master bedrooms, but I guess most people love them.  I’m not one of them.

Anyway, large rooms are hard to decorate.  The wall color isn’t changing.  We have 10 year old bedroom furniture that I’m trying to make “work”.  This is going to be a project!


Let’s talk windows.  When we first moved in, we just needed to cover the windows for immediate privacy.  This is the suburbs and the distance between houses is what I like to call “cozy”.  I already knew I didn’t want to go with wood blinds in every room.  Nothing against wood blinds, but the real deal is super expensive and everyone and their brother has them.  We wanted to be able to customize the window treatments for each room based on our needs.

When we moved in, we opted for $25 fabric roman shades from JCP.   We have been happy with them, and for the price, I would definitely recommend if you are looking for fabric shades.  This product gets excellent reviews, they are easy to install, they provide privacy, and they add a softness to the window.  My kids also have these fabric shades up to their windows, along with panels on either side.  These poor windows are screaming for some panels!!  Please excuse these dark, sad pictures, but you get the idea!


Once we really started thinking about changing things up in the master bedroom, we decided to change out the fabric shades and replace with natural bamboo shades.  Two of the four of these fabric shades will be reused in the toy room, so not all is lost here. 

I hit up Home Depot and Lowe’s to see what they had to offer.  I’m a very visual person and I like to see things in my home.  I also like instant gratification, which is why I don’t do a lot of online shopping/purchasing.  I purchased a pecan-colored bamboo shade at Home Depot.  It was 1 inch longer than the inside of the window, so I had Steve hang it just above.  I’ve seen others do this above-mount and it actually adds height to the room.  This is a great tip.  If you want to purchase from a store that doesn’t have your exact window size, simply mount the shade above the window!IMG_3526

You can see here that the wall color is the same as in our dining room, a smokey blue/grey, and the trim is a creamy white.  We were hoping the bamboo shades would add some nice contrast and texture, which happened instantly.  After living with the pecan colored shade for a few days, I decided it wasn’t right.  It was just too dark.  The shade itself was great.  Again, easy to install, provided good privacy, and it was a great price.  Only $37 for the size we needed!

I did some more research and scoured online images and I found myself being drawn to a more natural colored shades.  So, the pecan shade came down (my husband is a trooper and has lived with me long enough to know this kind of stuff happens in my world) and off we went to Lowe’s to see what they had to offer.

We found these Levolor brand bamboo shades in “natural”.  They come in various lengths and widths and you can have them custom cut the shade right at the store to fit the dimensions you need.  In our case, we bought 36 inch width, but the inside of our windows are 34 inches.  According to manufacturer recommendations, you should cut the shade 1/2 inch shorter than the window to account for the window frames being off a little and not wanting the shade to fit too snuggly, so we left with 33.5 inch shades.


This size ran us $62 per shade.  These would have been so much more expensive to order custom, so we will take it!  These shades also have a privacy liner which is a huge bonus!  Sorry about the bad picture but you can see how the lighter shade changes the whole look (still in the phase of “deciding” so excuse the orange warning tags and strings that haven’t been cut!


I will be reusing four long, white IKEA curtains in this space (there are two more windows to the right of these).  These are the same curtains that I used to make the no-sew striped curtains in my dining room.  I had six of these panels that we used in our San Antonio home and they are all being put to good use in this home. 

I have visions in my head of doing something to the curtains to make them more interesting.  I really want to just work with what I have.  At this point in time, I think I want to add a ribbon or fabric trim to the edges.  Here are some inspiration photos…


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There is still a lot to get done in this space.  Because I love lists, here goes…

New window coverings
Trim and hang curtains
New curtain rods
New bed skirt
New sheets
New bedding (a white down alternative comforter has been purchased)
Blanket/throw for end of bed
Pillows for bed
Long bench or two x-benches for foot of bed
New hardware for existing furniture
Art for above bed
Large mirror to lean against large wall
New wall sconces for bed sides
Accessorize bedside tables
Accessorize dresser and wall above it
New chair/ottoman/floor lamp for seating area
Recover existing upholstered headboard (this was a DIY project and fabric is getting changed)
New overhead light fixture for seating area

WOW!  I’m tired now.  I’ll keep you posted as it all happens! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

DIY: Paper Straw + Felt Bow Cupcake Topper

I wanted to make some DIY cupcake toppers for the baby shower I co-hosted.  I was brainstorming what I should make and asked my hubby what was girly and sweet, without being to “themey”.  He immediately said “a bow”.  I searched online and found tons of tutorials on how to make bows out of felt, which I already had on hand.  After making the bows, I simply hot glued them to the back of a decorative paper straw (cut in half).  Instant, homemade cupcake topper!

cupcake topper 2

You will first need to cut your felt into three different sized strips.  I can’t remember the exact measurements I used (it was late and I eyeballing), but you get the idea that there is a large, medium, and smaller size. The smallest strip will be the color you want in the center of the bow.

cupcake topper 11

The long strip gets folded into two loops towards the center.  Place a dab of hot glue to secure.

cupcake topper 6

Next, pinch the middle together and add another dab of hot glue.

cupcake topper 7

For the medium sized strip, cut the ends like this…

cupcake topper 5

Place another dab of hot glue and combine these two pieces.

cupcake topper 8

Next, take the smallest strip and wrap around the center (again, securing with hot glue).  Cut your paper straw in half and attach bow with more hot glue.

cupcak topper 9

Once all the strips were cut, they really didn’t take long to assemble (I made 12).  I already had the straws and felt on hand, so these didn’t cost me anything to make.  In keeping with the gold and pink theme, I baked the cupcakes in gold cupcake liners I found at Hobby Lobby.  

cupcake topper 3

In addition to the cupcakes, I made white chocolate dipped strawberries for the shower (and tinted the chocolate pink).

cucake topper 12

Other DIY projects from this shower:
Tissue Paper Tassel Garland
Stamped Kraft Paper Table Runner

Linking up with:

Friday, March 15, 2013


Happy Friday, friends!  It is supposed to be a high of near 80 today, so we will most definitely be outside enjoying it’s short-lived presence (supposed to be back down into the 40’s tomorrow-welcome to Kansas)!

It seems we have been busy lately, and I’m trying to get a lot done on the inside of the house before spring/summer hits.  I have visions in my head of expanding the backyard landscaping, working/playing out in the yard, grilling out, pool time, and happy hours on the patio!  Can you tell I think winter weather is for the birds??!!

Steve and I were talking in bed last night and it brought tears to my eyes.  He made mention of how our kids seem to be looking and acting older by the day.  I know this to be true, but hearing it from my husband’s mouth makes me know that this is really happening!  I am so proud of the little people they are becoming, but I am recently finding myself mourning their existence as babies and toddlers.  I am quickly realizing how soon they will both be in school full time and how wonderful our days together have been.  When you have your kids close in age, they come quickly and they leave quickly.  Feeling so much love in my heart for these little people and really trying to live in the moment with them.



So…our chalkboard for the past several weeks has been really fitting for my emotional state…


I really have not done any spring decorating besides changing out my front door wreath, hanging the textured eggs, and adding some moss sticks and faux moss balls to the mantle.  Our house is generally pretty bright and colorful, so I’m not doing anything else this year!


Don’t forget to check out Homegoods if you are in the market for a rug.  How cute is the navy/white stripe?  It’s always hit our miss, but they usually have a jute option and cream shag which would work in any room.


Putting this little gal to work sorting laundry…she’s willing and I’m going with it!


Meet my new bust.  Isn’t she lovely?  Found her for $18 and felt as though I was robbing the person who sold it to me!  She adds quirkiness and personality to the space and I love the flecks of gold on her.  She might need a name too!


Daddy had the kids for a few hours last weekend, and I was sent these pictures-lunch at QT!  Of course, the kids were loving every minute (don’t forget your sparkly wand too-oh boy)!



A huge thank you to some great blogs for a feature/mention this past week!

It’s Overflowing No-Sew Black & White Curtains
Keeping it Simple No-Sew Black & White Curtains
Kojo DesignsDIY Spring Wreath
Design, Dining, and Diapers How to Clean a Chalkboard

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

via pinterest

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cleaning a Top-Loading Washer

I posted about cleaning the surface of my washing machine a while back, but this time I also cleaned the inside using bleach and water.  I was totally amazed (and totally grossed out) after cleaning it!  You are going to want to go clean yours immediately!

We have had our washer and dryer for years and have not had any issues.  It’s just your standard, middle of the road Whirlpool washer/dryer and we will be keeping it for as long as it is getting the job done.  Let’s break it down…

1.  Fill washer with HOT water.  Add 1 quart of bleach (I just eyeballed as usual :).  Let agitate for a minute and lift the lid again.  Let stand for 1 hour.  Be sure to set a timer on your phone so you don’t get sidetracked (easy to do in my world :).

washer 6

washer 7

2.  After an hour, run the cycle through.  Immediately fill up the washing machine with HOT water again.  Add one quart of vinegar and agitate for 1 minute.  Lift lid and allow to sit for one hour.

While the vinegar and water is standing, use that mix to thoroughly clean the inside and outside of the washer.  This is where you will find things that gross you out!  Get out a handy dandy toothbrush and soft cloth and get into every nook and cranny of the machine.  There are a lot of them!

washer 4

I also removed the fabric softener lid and cleaned inside.  I filled up our laundry sink with some hot water and vinegar and dropped the entire piece inside.  Fabric softener gets built up and your water will look like this! 

washer 5

This is what the water looked like in the washing machine after letting the vinegar and water sit for an hour and cleaning the entire inside and outside of the washer.  Gross, right?

washer 3

3.  Let the cycle finish out and admire your sparkly clean washing machine!  Much cleaner clothes are on the horizon at the Larson’s!

washer 1

The original post I found and used to follow these steps can be found here.  Also, I know some people don’t like to use bleach in their homes.  I am sure you could probably do two cycles of the vinegar and water and your washer will still be cleaner than when you started!

In case you missed them, here are the links to a few other cleaning posts…
Cleaning a Stainless Steel Sink
How to Clean an Iron

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