Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Table 2014

Are you all recovering from a food-induced coma from yesterday?! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love, and thanks, and family, and meaning, and rest. And, of course, delicious food! I made a traditional meal with traditional desserts, and everyone seemed full and happy when it was all said and done!

This is the third year in a row we have hosted Steve's parents and brothers and it's always fun for me to set a more formal table. We are a super casual family, but it's fun to dress up the dining room when we have guests. I thought I would try something "fall-like", but a little less traditional. Cue the leopard print!!

I think there are certainly ways to make a statement on a table without breaking the bank and without going over the top. For me, it's about flowers and pattern and color.

I busted out the china from our wedding again this year. Do people still even register for this anymore? We got married when we were babies, a long time ago, and I'm sure the trend has changed. We, however, still like the china we picked out, and for that we are grateful!

I used paper napkins (told you we are casual) with pinks and golds, and simply wrote everyone's name in gold paint pen on a green apple. I tied a gold ribbon around the silverware for a little added touch. I like the pop of the green against the leopard and pink.

I had the fabric pieces cut at Hobby Lobby and I no-sew hemmed them to make a little table runner. The fabric cost me about $8 in total (the leopard was in a clearance rack and the pink is the cheapest fabric you can buy, but I knew I would be throwing it out afterwards!).

The flower arrangement consists of $3 eucalyptus and $5 roses from Trader Joes. I also purchased some feathers at Hobby Lobby to add a little more "fall" to the centerpiece. This might be my favorite arrangement to date, and yet so, so simple.

The gold candlesticks are from various thrift stores I have collected over the years and the apples are just faux apples from Homegoods that I have had forever.

Even if you are hosting mostly guys, like I do, I think everyone still appreciates a decorated table to sit down together for a nice meal. It's the thought and the time and the love that goes into it that really counts. I'm sure Steve's single brothers could have done without the leopard print, but they are always very gracious! :)

Our guest are out shopping, and I stayed back to clean things up and put away the china and tidy up the house. I'm not a huge Black Friday shopper, probably because I rarely full pay price for anything throughout the year anyway. I am, however, anxious to start sifting through the Christmas bins. We are warming up for a few days in Kansas City, which means Clark Griswold will be getting on his ladder to add some Christmas bling to the outside of our house. I love this time of year!

I will be participating in a Holiday Traditions Tour as well as a Holiday Home Tour in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned for that! I also wanted to extend a huge thank you for stopping by this little blog when you can, and for all the comments, likes, and pins. I'm happy and blessed to have this little space in the blogging world and so thankful for all of your support!

You can see last year's DIY place cards here.
You can see last year's table setting here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chewy M&M Cookies

It's been a while since I posted a recipe! I wanted to share this super simple and delicious cookie recipe. Every year at church we grab a cookie tin, fill it with cookies and return it, so that those cookies can then be delivered to people who are homebound during the holidays.

Kate and I got to work trying out this new recipe and made extras to have at home. I love teaching my kids about giving and Kate loves to be in the kitchen with me, so it's a definite win/win. These taste like chewy store bought cookies, and they did not last long at our house! It's also a good way to use up all those M&M packets from Halloween!

The thing that drew me to this recipe was the simple ingredients I always have on hand (besides the M&Ms). Thank you Lil' Luna blog for sharing!

Chewy M&M Cookies
2 heaping cups flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks butter (melted and cooled)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped M&Ms

1. Preheat oven to 350*.
2. Mix flour, baking soda, salt in a bowl.
3. In a separate larger bowl, combine sugars and butter. Then add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
4. Slowly add flour mixture to wet mixture.
5. Form dough balls and place on greased baking sheet (I spray mine with coconut oil spray).
6. Bake cookies until edges are done, around 10-13 minutes (check often!).
7. Set aside to cool and enjoy!

This recipe made about 2.5 dozen cookies. Tip: I always use a melon baller to get my cookies equal size.

I can't wait to make these again. Steve thought these were the best cookies we have had in a while! xo

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Simple Match Storage

It's cold in Kansas City! It's that time of year again when I want to light candles everyday. I don't really do this in the warmer months, but there is something about the scents of fall/winter and the glow of a candle to make you feel cozy and warm.

I picked up this cute little blue and white decorative item while thrifting this week and thought it would be perfect to store matches in the living room. I was drawn to that cobalt blue, and it was only $1.99!

I added some matches to the inside. I then cut a strip of the part where you strike the match. I used double sided tape to adhere it to the bottom of the container.

It's so nice to have storage that is not only functional, but pretty! 

P.S. My orchid is on it's last dying days. I don't think the plant itself is dead, but all the pretty blooms are wilting and falling off. I typically have a super green thumb, but these orchids are giving me a run for my money! Tips please!

Hope you are having a wonderful week so far! xo

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

World Market Swivel Stools

Thank you for all your kind comments on the kitchen photos I posted last week! Of course, the kitchen hasn't looked like that since, so at least I have documentation that it actually can look clean and uncluttered! :)

I wanted to share a little about our Twist Swivel Stools we have pushed up to the island. They are from World Market and are on sale right now. We originally bought three of these stools when we first moved in. We have a large island, but the lip isn't huge. After living in the space for almost 3 years, we realized we needed a fourth stool, well, because there are four of us, and someone was always standing to eat a quick snack or even eating dinner if we were doing something casual. We also found that it was annoying to not all be able to sit around the island if we had friends over. We have 14 other chairs in the house between the dining and kitchen tables, but for some reason, the island is always the gathering place!

This past weekend, I purchased another stool and got it for $89! These are originally $119, but all furniture is 25% off right now. I have been extremely happy with these stools. It gets great reviews online and they have been selling it for several years, which is a good sign!

The main things I like about the stools are that they twist up and down and can adjust to the height of the person sitting in it. Steve is 6'3", I'm 5'6, and we have two little people that are growing like weeds. These stools adjust with us, and I love that.

I also love that they are backless and can be pushed under the lip of the island. Four of these stools will still fit underneath the lip, allowing walking room around the perimeter of the island. That is a huge plus in my book. I also love the industrial feel of these stools. We do keep felt furniture pads on the bottom of the feet so they don't scratch our hardwood floors. Breakfast and lunch get eaten at the island, and sometimes dinner, so these get a lot of wear and tear. They have held up great and would highly recommend! Now is the time to purchase them if you are in the market for some stools!

Here is another great, affordable option…my dad is retiring next month, and my parents are moving and building a town home. My mom was on the hunt for some counter height barstools and found these Linen Barrel Stools, also from World Market. She is doing a dark kitchen, and wanted something light pushed up to the island. These couldn't be a better deal! Each stool is on sale for $80, and when you take an additional 25% off, these are a steal. They are fabric, but she doesn't have kids! :) I love the light wood legs!

While I'm on the subject, I'm thinking I need this white lacquered desk too! I would use it as a bedside table in the master…the possibilities are endless for this piece at just $150.

Hope you are staying warm if winter is settling in by you! Christmas music is playing in all the stores, and I'm starting to get in the spirit! xo

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fiddle Leaf Fig Update + Propagating a New One

I have had some inquires about our fiddle leaf fig tree recently, so I thought I would do a follow up to this post, which I shared when we first got her (her being Jewel, which is what my kids named her ;). Because Jewel was way more expensive than most plants I buy and because I love a challenge, I have taken great care in trying to keep her alive and doing well. I knew this was not going to be easy since I had heard they can be hard to grow! I hoard love house plants and think they add so much to a space. If you can swing it, I believe every room should have at least one live plant in it!

She is not nearly as full as she once was, but I am happy that she is still alive and still sprouting new leaves! After having her for almost two years, I know what kind of watering system to use and I now know what spot in the house she likes (we have tried 3 different spots and finally found the sweet spot). I'm hoping to get her back to her full glory at some point, but as with most good things, patience is the key!

A few months ago I was worried I was killing her. She was dropping brown leaves and no new leaves where sprouting. I have done so much research on these plants, watched several You Tube videos, and have troubleshooted many things. I decided to move her from the space in the dining room to a different corner in near our kitchen table. I also decided to take a look at the roots to see if that was part of the problem. If your plants have bad roots, they will never grow or thrive no matter what you try. A few months ago I posted a picture on Instagram of when I carefully took Jewel out of the pot she came in, threw out all the old soil, trimmed up the root ball, and repotted her in the same container she came in (with new soil and freshly cropped roots).

A few weeks after trimming back the root ball, new leaves started sprouting from existing branches and a new branch is also forming! Woo hoo! I think the roots where overgrown and suffocating and weren't getting the right amount of water. Getting new growth in November is a good sign since it will most likely go dormant in the winter. Fingers crossed!

I recently added some moss to the base of the tree for some added color. I love the added pop of lime green next to the woven basket (basket is from Homegoods). You can also see that I have a vent cover blowing any drafts away from the plant.

Here are some things that I do to help keep this finicky thing alive…

1. Only water her when very dry. And even when I think it's time to water, I wait a few more days just to be sure. I was told by the professionals at the nursery where I purchased it to soak the plant when it needed watering (up to 1 gallon at a time) and then wait several weeks to water again. You will know when you have added enough when the water starts coming through the bottom of the pot. Never let your FLF sit in the standing water. Take your drip pan and empty it if too much water has seeped out. Also, if you are watering a large pot and the water starts coming out of the bottom immediately, there is something wrong with the soil. Your roots will not be able to take up the water if it is leaving the pot too quickly.

2. Wipe the leaves every few weeks with a plant cleaner and a soft cloth. These leaves are large and will collect dust. If the dust doesn't get wiped away, the plant can't take in all that indirect sunlight it needs to thrive!

3. Find the right, sunny spot. Our fiddle leaf sits in a north facing corner that gets lots of bright, indirect light. You don't want direct light or it will burn the ends of the leaves. After trying three different spots, she seems to like this one, and I just leave it alone. Once you find the right spot and a good watering system, you can basically leave them alone and forget about them.

4. I fertilize every couple of times I water with a basic plant food.

I have also recently tried to propagate one of the leaves of my fiddle leaf fig. This means I trimmed a healthy leaf (that was hard to do!) and stuck it in some water and put it in a sunny spot. After several weeks, it started growing roots! I couldn't believe it was working! Once the roots were long enough, I planted in soil in a small pot and now have the start of a new FLF!

I hope this helps if you have your own fiddle leaf or are thinking of getting one. I know several people have scored these at Home Depot and IKEA, but I have yet to encounter any at my local stores. For all of you locals, this one was purchased at Family Tree Nursery in Overland Park. Happy Monday!

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