Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sarah's Birthday Room Re-do!



For Sarah's 11th birthday, she decided she wanted to update her room. "It looks like a little girl's room not an 11-year-old's room." 

So, even though we had just redone her room for her 9th birthday, I told her we could.  Because honestly, I hated the colors she chose for that room re-do.  (Three bright Pepto pink walls and one bright purple wall!  Those colors could definitely keep you up at night!)

I told her that I would get the paint and help her paint the walls but she would have to take care of all the new accessories. 

Peter and Dan headed to Boy Scout Camp and she and I got to work. 

First, let's do a few BEFORE shots.  

We had already removed a white book case from the center of this wall before I remembered that I have a blog and needed to take before shots!


These letters used to hang over her crib so I would say we definitely got our money's worth.  But she decided they were too babyish for her new room so she took the "S" and we covered it in scrapbook paper and it is hanging on her door now.  (See first photo in post.)

Inside the stripped mesh is a cool purple butterfly chair.  This also did not make the cut for the new updated tween room.  Her room is pretty small and she wanted it to feel more open which is why the bookshelf is out and so is the chair.

Sarah wanted a soft neutral color so we headed to Lowes and picked out a ton of samples.  We ended up with Ballet Slipper.  It's almost white but it has a definite pink tone but, thankfully, not Pepto pink!



It already looks so much better!
She and I made several trips to Hobby Lobby looking for just the right accessories and trips to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Target, and Kohls to find the right neutral bedspread.  She chose a white bedspread because she wanted all of her accessories to "pop"

She wanted a gallery wall over her desk and spent a lot of time and money on it.  It took two trips to Hobby Lobby to get just the right frames for the wall and then we spent a lot of time arranging the frames, and then a lot of time getting them on the wall.  (I used the old trick of copying the frames on paper and hanging the paper up so we would  know where to put the nail holes.)


We waited for Daddy's return from Boy Scout camp before we hung everything.  
And here is the final product! 

She made the pillow cases using a no-sew tutorial she found on You Tube.  (Way cheaper than buying new pillows!)


Doesn't the gallery wall look great?
Cute clock from Aunt Cathy!

Taaa daaaaah!
She is thrilled with her new room.  It's very calming and she spends a lot of time in here.  The color looks a little washed out in these pictures but there's some definite pink tones so it's still girly but without being "little girl".  I think she acheived the look she was going for and I'm very proud of her.  She had a vision and she made sure we stuck with it until the project was completed!

And without so much stuff in it, the room looks and feels bigger and it's definitely easier for her to keep clean.  I think it needs some curtains but she didn't want any.  I might get her some anyway because the window looks so naked.

So this was Sarah's big room redo and I can't believe it's been done for over a month and I'm just now posting it.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cupcake liner flower - so much cuter than a bow!

Sarah is going to a birthday party tomorrow.  It was time to wrap the present and I suggested we make a cupcake liner flower for the top of the box instead of a bow.

Deborah, from a Delightful Glow, just posted one that she made and it seemed simple enough that even I could do it!

You basically take two cupcake holders, twist them, staple them, and glue buttons on them and voila:


Isn't it the cutest thing?

And here it is on the birthday present:


So much cuter than a bow and so simple to make!

Head over to see Deborah if you want the easy instructions and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

St. Rebecca Irene, pray for us!

When I was pregnant with Rebecca, Dan's brother and wife sent us a gift for her.  It was a tiny little gold chain with a guardian angel charm.  It was just the sweetest little thing.  Rebecca never got to wear it while she was in the hospital and I breifly thought about burying her with it.  But then I realized that she no longer needed a guardian angel so I kept it.

Occasionally I would wear it but the chain was very short and very dainty. I was always afraid I was going to break it with my adult sized neck. The charm was gold and I didn't have any gold chains to put it on and had never gotten around to buying one.

One day I wore it and put it back with the rest of my jewelery but when I went to wear it again about a month ago, it was gone!  I was heartbroken.

I remembered putting it back but it wasnt there.  I searched and searched and couldn't find it.  I assumed that it must have ended up on my closet floor and gone out with the Goodwill pile.  (My jewelry hangers are in my closet hanging right over the pile of clothes that are headed for Goodwill. I've always got a pile of clothes that are headed to Goodwill.)

So I did what all Catholics do. I asked St. Anthony (patron saint of lost things) to pray that I would find it.  I continued asking for his intercession and I continued searching but to no avail.

Then Dan went to Dubai again and came home with a beautiful 18k gold chain for me that he purchased in the duty free shop.  He said he wanted to get me something from one of his trips.  He occasionally brings something home for the kids but he's never brought anything home for me.

The gold chain was simple and beautiful.  He asked me what I was going to put on it and I just sighed and told him that I would find something. I knew in my heart what I wanted to put on it but I just didn't know where it was. 

Sarah even started asking me what I was going to put on it.  I ramped up my requests to St. Anthony for intercession and then one morning decided that I was going to ask Rebecca to pray about it as well.  And what do you know?  As soon as I asked her to pray for me, I decided to go look where I had looked multiple times before and THERE IT WAS! It was hanging exactly where it was supposed to be hanging!  Why had I not seen it before??

I was elated!  I put the charm on my chain and have been wearing it frequently ever since.

But that's not the end of the story! 

As I was searching for my charm, my blog friend, Madeline lost something as well.  She posted on Instagram that she had lost something very special so I told her that I would pray that she find it.  She later mentioned on her blog that she was still looking for this item.  And then, the same morning that I found the charm, she posted again on Instagram that she was still missing her very special item.

I told her in a comment what had happened with my charm and that I asked my little saint to pray that I would find it and that I did! 

Well, imagine my surprise when a few days later, Madeline posted a picture of the blueberry pie that she had made based on my recommendation and the following words:

I made the blueberry pie that Beth recommended.  The entire time I asked for St. Rebecca Irene's intercession to help me find my wedding band.  (HER WEDDING BAND!!) Not one hour later we found it in the middle of Christopher's room!

Oh how happy this made me!  Y'all - she lost her wedding band, asked for Rebecca to pray that she would find it and then it turned up one hour later right in the middle of her son's room which had been searched multiple times!  Read all about it here.

I know all my non-Catholic friends are probably a little skeptical.  But if you can ask all your friends on earth to pray for you, why can't you ask your friends in heaven?  And since I know without a shadow of a doubt that my little Rebecca is in heaven (she was sinless after all!) she is the perfect person to ask for prayers. She is up there for all eternity worshiping God so (unlike our friends on earth) she's got plenty of time to pray and she is literally right there with Him!

Finding the charm and Madeline finding her ring, made Rebecca feel so close. 

I miss that sweet little baby and honestly not a day goes by that I don't think about her. Knowing she's in heaven is a comfort, but sometimes I  need something concrete to confirm what I believe.  And finding that charm was concrete for me. 

And then on the same day that I found the charm, Dan and I were out watering Rebecca's Dahlia's and a beautiful butterfly was flying around.  I felt like God was confirming yet again that Rebecca's life had unfolded exactly how He had ordained and that His plan for her was continuing to unfold even in her death. And I felt peace. 

Sometimes God sends butterflies to remind us that it's all good!



Friday, July 17, 2015

Lemon Feta Dip!

I found a great recipe on Pinterest on Wednesday and have already made it twice!  Well, to be fair, I only made half a batch on Wednesday but went to the store and got more feta and made a full batch yesterday.

It's so yum and so simple that I feel the need to share it with you!

If you're like me and love you some feta - then you're gonna love this dip.

The recipe is from Sweet Paul and was originally in his cookbook, Sweet Paul Make and Eat.  



 
Sweet Paul's Lemon and Feta Dip

7 ounces feta cheese (about 1 cup crumbled)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus more for garnish
1–2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Crudités, chips, toasts, or pita crisps, for serving
  1. Place the feta, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil in a blender and whir until combined but still slightly chunky. It’s dense, so you may need to stir it with a fork once or twice. Taste, and if it’s too salty add more lemon juice.
  2. Spoon into a serving bowl, drizzle with a little oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of pepper flakes and some lemon zest.
  3. Serve with crudités, chips, toasts or pita crisps.
I have to admit that I did not have fresh lemons and forgot to pick them up when I went to the store for the second batch.  But it was delish with lemon juice from the plastic squeeze lemon so I can only imagine how much better it would be with fresh lemons.

We have a ton of cucumbers from the garden and I have been using those in this dip.  A great way to use up my cucumbers and its a very low carb snack!

I hope you enjoy!



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fun summer weekend!

Yikes! How can it be Wednesday already and I haven't even posted about our weekend? I better remedy that! Dan spent last week in Dubai but he arrived home Friday. We had tickets to the Dash game so off we went!

 They lost the ballgame but we enjoyed an awesome fireworks show after the game.  The Dash always have the best fireworks following most of their Friday night games!  And boy do I love me some fireworks!

On Saturday morning we decided to drive to Boone, NC.  We stopped for lunch at McKethan Brothers Barbecue  before heading to Foggy Mountain Gem Mine.

At the gem mine, we purchased a bucket of dirt and sluiced our way through the much to find some gems.




After we were done, we took our treasures to the experts who sorted through everything for us and told us what we found.  Our best find was an emerald!  Sarah wanted to pay to have it cut our of the stone and set but I said no.  There was no telling how big (or most likely small) it was.  Knowing our luck it would have been too tiny to set.  And the price to cut an emerald was far more expensive than most of the other stones. 

After we left the gem mine, we hopped on the Blueridge Parkway and took in the beautiful scenery on our way home!







We came home and grilled burgers and ate corn on the cob that was fresh from the garden.  Sunday was Mass, delicious lunch at my parent's house and then just hanging out. 

It was a great weekend!  me! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

When life gives you blueberries, make blueberry pie!

We have a few blueberry bushes and they have lots of blueberries on them.  I picked quite a few last week and Sarah asked if she could make a pie.  My recipe is super easy and super tasty so I let her go for it!

I've shared the recipe before (but it was back in 2009 and please look at my babies!) so here it is again.  It's so good, it bears repeating!




Delicious Creamy Blueberry Pie

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 (9 inch) deep dish pie crust
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and salt. Add eggs, sour cream, vanilla and lemon juice, stirring until blended.
  2. Place blueberries in pastry shell, and spoon sour cream mixture over berries.
  3. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup flour. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course meal. Sprinkle this mixture over sour cream mixture and berries in the pie shell.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 60 minutes, or until lightly browned and not shaking in the center.



If you've got blueberries and are craving a pie, make this one!  You won't regret it!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Weekend Update

Our 4th of July fun started on the 3rd of July.

It seems that when Dan has a long weekend, he is usually on his way to or on his way home from a trip and never gets to enjoy the extra day off.  But not this weekend so we decided to go on a family hike.

We headed to Crowders Mountain which is about an hour and a half from here.  We stopped for lunch in Charlotte at a place called Pinkie's Westside Grill to fuel up before our hike.

We stopped at the ranger's office to get some information on the trails.  After a quick chat with a helpful ranger, we decided to hike the Pinnacle Trail.  She said it was 2.2 miles up and 2.2 miles back and that people of varying degrees of athleticism could handle the trail. She did mention that the last .2 was strenuous.

The trail was rocky and rooty in a lot of places and we were definitely going up but it was definitely doable.  When we reached the top Dan and I were both drenched in sweat but it was worth it because in addition to the beautiful view there was a fantastic breeze!




Saturday was filled with chores and errands and ended with a big cookout at my parent's house.  They fired up both their smokers and put together quite the feast! 

They had 5 racks of ribs, 100 chicken wings, and 30 jalapeno poppers smoking when we arrived.  And my mom also had baked beans, corn on the cob, potato salad, watermelon and canteloupe.  And you can't forget her famous chocolate cake and a big old banana pudding!

The whole gang minus me because I'm taking the picture and my Uncle David because he hadn't arrived yet.

RIBS!

Me and my Bestie!

Sarah and her Bestie!

Ribs and wings!

The sides!

The kids table!
The grown ups table!
Jennifer and her family brought sparklers and some fireworks so when it got dark we headed outside so some fun.





On Sunday, we went to church and spent the rest of the day relaxing.  And that's what I call a perfect long weekend! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sunday afternoon in Charlotte.

On Sunday afternoon, I headed to Charlotte to meet my girlfriends. 

We took a tour of Kristi's house.  She lives in Fourth Ward which is an old downtown neighborhood.  She and her husband, Matt, have spent a lot of time fixing it up and it is so very pretty and absolutely perfect for them.

I have always loved the idea of living downtown in a major city and of course, this visit left me a little wistful.  My suburban (oh, who am I kidding, we live in the suburbs of the suburbs!) life is a lot different from her downtown life.  That's not to say that I don't love my life, sometimes I just wonder how it would be to live downtown. 

However, trying to parallel park in front of her house, quickly brought me back to reality.  Although she assured me that she got used to it and doesn't think a thing about it any more.

After seeing her home, we strolled through a park on our way to dinner.  Kristi purchased a memorial stone for Rebecca and we got to see it. 


Isn't it just the sweetest thing?  (Please ignore the shadow of my hand!) There's a brick pathway that leads through this park and the memorial stones are placed all through it.  Rebecca's stone is placed right in front of the swing sets, which I think is absolutely perfect. 

After our stroll through the park we walked a few more blocks, we arrived at our dinner destination, 5 Church.  The food was really great.  I had the hanger steak with Bearnaise sauce while my friends had tofu, halibut, and salmon.  And yet, I'm still wondering why they are so thin and I am so....not thin!  (I love me some Bearnaise sauce!)

And here is our picture:

We may be middle aged, but I think we still look pretty good!  (And I think I've found my new favorite way to be photographed with a bunch of skinny minnies...sitting down, leaning forward, wearing black!)

I always have such a great time with these old friends and I can't wait to get together with them again!