Halloween Spirit

As anyone who knows me will tell you, Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. I love  devising elaborate family-themed costumes, participating in all the fun holiday festivities like haunted houses and pumpkin patches, and, of course, decorating up the house in true Halloween fashion. This year, however, I have been a big, fat dud in the decorating department. Not a single black cat or dangly spider has found its way out of our over-stuffed orange decoration box. Not one.

My 7-year-old finally had enough and insisted we create a fall centerpiece right now.

And then Friday’s mail brought this to my door, courtesy of a most unlikely source, my normally Halloween-indifferent friend Sonya.

Apparently, the holiday spirit has taken up residence at her house this year, and she has shared it with me. Thanks Sonya!

Stay tuned for the you’re-going-to-make-what-out-of-paper-mache costume attempts coming soon…


Oh Yes I Did

Sometimes you find something that the rationale part of you recognizes as hideously ugly while the do-it-yourself part of you salivates over the “potential.” Last weekend, I convinced my husband to stop by our Goodwill store. And there she was, in all her wacky 1970s glory:

As I looked at her, my husband snorted “Really?” I tried to walk away. I really did. But I loved that weird little ottoman (I’ve settled on ottoman although an equally compelling argument could be made for pet throne). However, after a few minutes of flipping cushions in search of the tag, we discovered it was missing. No problem, I thought. We’ll just lug it up to the cash register and ask them. Except without a tag, the policy is that they can’t sell it until it has been repriced that night. Sigh.

“But,” I sputtered to my husband on the way out, “what if someone else gets it first?” He reassured me that no one, NO ONE, but me would even consider buying something that ugly. Nonetheless, we were there when the store opened the next day to cart her home.

The price, you ask? $7.99 That’s right, a steal.

Some distressed black paint and new cushions, and she’ll be a beauty. Of course, when I searched for cushions that size, I quickly realized they were <cough> $50 each. Oh well. I’m sure I can make them. I mean, I did make potholders once. How hard could it really be?

Creamy Chicken Tacquitos

For the past week, I’ve been making an effort to try some new recipes. Rather than searching through cookbooks though, I’ve been surfing for mouth-watering pictures on Pinterest and following the links back to the recipes.

First up, the inspiration:

Source: the-girl-who-ate-everything.com via Lisa on Pinterest 

These Creamy Chicken Tacquitos are as good as they look too! I altered this recipe a bit.

Baked Creamy Chicken Tacquitos

* Shredded Chicken:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/3 cup (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 cup green salsa
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons sliced green onions
2 cups shredded cooked chicken*
1 cup grated pepperjack cheese
about 10 small flour tortillas
vegetable oil

1. In the morning, put chicken breasts, chicken broth, and 1/4 tsp. garlic powder in crockpot. Cook on low 6-8 hours. (I doubled the shredded chicken so that I had enough for two other meals as well.)

2. Drain chicken and shred with a fork.

3. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a shallow baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.

4. Heat the cream cheese in the microwave until softened, about 20 seconds. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. Mix well. Stir in cilantro, green onions, shredded chicken, and pepperjack cheese.

5. Heat tortillas, one at a time, in the microwave for about 15 seconds.

6. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of chicken mixture onto tortilla. (It works better if you add a line of chicken about 1/3 up from the bottom of the tortilla.) Roll the tortilla up.

7. Place rolled tortilla seam-side down on the lined baking sheet. Brush with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt.

8. Bake 15-20 minutes until the ends start to look golden.

These were so tasty, I’m already putting them in next week’s rotation again! What’s on your menu this week?

Shared with:

Transformation Thursday

Lighting Switcheroo

Now that I have a pretty new dining room table, I’ve decided the rest of the space needs some sprucing up as well. First up was the light fixture:

I didn’t really hate it, but after 4+ years of looking at it, I was ready for something different. I looked half-heartedly at Home Depot but didn’t see anything I liked better. So I decided to experiment with the one I already had. Since I was tired of the glaring lights on the table, I thought I would try flipping the lights the other direction.

  What do you know? It was super easy: they twisted right around. Since the metal rings weren’t attached to the glass, they had to be removed and relegated to storage. Then it was time for a little bling, namely these clearance beads I found at the craft store:


The beads are a lovely mixture of teal, which matches our walls, and little bronze beads, which match the fixture. After twisting the necklace around the light chain, I used jewelry wire that matched the bronze color of the light to secure the necklace. For less than ten bucks, I had a new and improved light fixture:

I actually love that the light is off the table now, although it does illuminate our dreaded popcorn ceiling.

We considered removing the popcorn at one point but after looking up how to remove it, I decided what the heck, I don’t look at the ceiling that much anyway. Who knows, that spotlight might be enough to convince me to scrape it down. Or maybe I will decide to be the one person in this world who loves popcorn ceilings. It could happen.

Shared with:

Blue Cricket Design  &

The DIY Show Off


While I have a few goodies to share with you all, most of last week was spent in crazy shuttle-the-kiddos around mode. All week, I looked forward to Sunday when I could upload some pictures and write some posts. I even woke up early, rolled over to get out of bed, and found myself on a tilt-a-whirl. And I loathe tilt-a-whirls.

After day two of the world spinning, I finally caved and went into the doctor. Most likely, I have a viral infection of the inner ear. The doctor wrote a prescription for Meclizine (which seems to just make me feel loopy) and told me that the vertigo should be gone in a week. His helpful advice? Try not to move your head too much.

I’m hoping by tomorrow I’ll feel up to posting some pictures. In the meantime, enjoy your nice stable world.

Lawn Be-Gone

When we first moved into our house, there was a weird little strip of white rock out front. We quickly decided to remove the rock and return that little patch to grass. How hard could it be, after all?

The first year we waited, hoping it would fill in on it’s own. Nope.

The second year, we threw out some leftover grass seed the previous owners had left in the garage. And what do you know, beautiful fine green grass popped up almost immediately. The mail woman commented on how much better it looked. Then it died just as quickly as it had sprouted up. It turns out it was “temporary” grass meant to come up quickly to provide ground cover for the real grass seed that was supposed to be planted at the same time. The mail woman and I had a good laugh.

For the next couple summers, we ignored the dirt patch completely.

This year, we broke down and bought some sod. Rolled it out on the lawn and basked in its easy beauty. Chatted about it with the neighbors. (Why, oh why, do I never learn?) Then weeks of 100+ heat hit, despite watering and watering and watering, officially making us the neighborhood eyesore:

There’s always next year, right? Right???

My Perfect Pinterest Fall Day

Today, I’m sharing drool-worthy fall love courtesy of my latest obsession: Pinterest. If you haven’t already checked it out, you should. Although be warned: just one more picture quickly morphs into “Did I really just spend two hours pinning pictures???” Why yes, yes I did.

My idea of a perfect fall day starts late in the morning. First, I’d spend a little time snuggling under this before venturing out of bed:


I’d look out the window and see this:


I’d spend the afternoon at Memorial Stadium, watching this:


I’d come home to a festive table like this:


At the end of the day, I’d unwind in style here:

Want to see some more beautiful fall pics? Go here:

Labor Day Progress

In honor of the three-day labor day weekend, we labored. Actually, mostly my husband and son labored, and I “assisted.” Like tearing off the paper from the sheetrock while they carried almost 30 sheets downstairs kind of assisting.
But we are finally seeing the progress as the basement went from looking like this:

Basement after demo.to looking like this:

The basement is now wired, lights are in, insulation is in, and most of the sheetrock is up. Some of you may notice the green sheetrock, which is designed to be mold/mildew resistant. We decided to put that in around the bottom of the room, just to be safe. By the time we put the first sheet on the bottom, however, we were so tired that we put regular up by mistake – hence the lonely sheet of white on the bottom left. Oh well. That better be a dry spot.

Pretty soon, we’ll get to the fun stuff like painting, tiling the fireplace, and putting in the floor, and I can graduate from assistant to ring leader. Watch out.

Downsides to Beautifying Your Furniture

  • Almost immediately after lugging our new dining room table in the house, I decided the rest of the kitchen/dining area was now uglier. The floors, hideous. How can I stand them? The cabinets, although white, aren’t creamy. Time to repaint. Don’t even get me started on that ridiculous make-shift pantry, which is clearly unworthy of the table’s beauty and presence.
  • I don’t want my children or my husband or even my friends and neighbors to touch it. Ever. Since it is a table on which we will need to eat three meals a day, it makes things a bit awkward. Just this morning, I tried to coax my 7-year-old to eat her cereal on the couch. (After four years of harping about not eating in the living room, she shook her head mutely and looked around wild-eyed for dad.)
  • No one else wants to talk about it anymore. Ever. Or gaze lovingly at it – in daylight and then again in candlelight.

The good news is that the whole table cost around $100, including paint and stain, leaving me wiggle room in the budget to pay for therapy should the need arise.

Refinished Dining Room Table

About a week ago, I told you about my dining room table crush here. When I spotted this table for $69.99 at our local Salvation Army, I snapped it right up.

I spent about a week stripping, sanding, staining, painting, and applying polyurethane. Here she is in all her refinished glory:

I’ll have to get busy prettifying our existing chairs since the ones I really want are over $100 each and give me a coronary every time I think about purchasing them.

Shared with:

HookingupwithHoH  Thrifty Decor Chick  &   Blue Cricket Design