Thursday, July 30, 2009


Sorry about the lack of posting the last day or two. I've been super busy!

Cleaned and rearranged the boys room this evening. I'm hoping the new arrangement will be more manageable but I'm not sold on it yet. There's just such a lack of space. But anyway...more on that later. I plan to take their closet doors off and create a homemade organizer (on pretty much a ZERO budget) in the closet, so expect pictures of that in the future!

I just wanted to share some photos tonight...

The SO CUTE candle holder I got while yard sale-ing last weekend

Mikey, doing his very favorite (indoor) thing..."playing pretend kitchen"

And my new "toy" side-by-side fridge!!! (And no, my magnets will NOT be organized for that long, HOWEVER, I am working on a fridge photo frame project I can't WAIT to share!!)

Talk soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Easy Shepherd's Pie - Half Homemade

My friend (and step-mother to my oldest son Will), Brittany, blogged about her Shepherd's Pie recipe the other day. It sounded SO delicious, I had to create a recipe of my own.

As I've mentioned before, I like to keep things EASY-PEASY when I'm making weeknight dinners...the kids are so busy with riding and other sports, that I need to save time where I can...while still making my family a delicious, homecooked meal.

Shepherd's Pie is a great meal, because it can utilize leftovers, and a lot of ingredients most people generally have on it's customizable for pickier eaters who only like certain veggies. It's definitely a "comfort food" for me, so not the healthiest thing ever, but it is OH so delicious!

Shepherd's Pie
1.5 lbs ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
Approx. 3 cups Mashed Potatoes
2 c. shredded cheddar

***Notes: the ground beef could easily be substituted with leftover chicken, turkey or steak. The veggies are totally up to you. Last night I used corn, peas and green beans because that's what I had on hand, but try other veggies...onions, celery, carrots, cauliflower...the possibilities are really limitless here. And for the mashed potatoes, I used my leftover garlic mashed, but you could make them the day of or used instant mashed if you don't have any leftovers.

1. (Assuming you're using ground beef and not leftover meat) Brown the ground beef...seasoning to taste. If you are using onion or celery, add it to the meat and cook until semi-translucent.
2. If you are using fresh veggies. cook with the meat until they begin to soften. If you are using canned or frozen veggies, skip this step.
3. Mix meat, veggies and canned soups well and pour into a 9x13 pan.
4. Heat mashed potatoes slightly (they're easier to spread if they're warm) and layer on top of meat/veggie mixture. (As I said, I used my garlic mashed that I make with red potatoes, garlic and parmesan cheese...SO delicious!)
5. Top with shredded cheese.
6. Bake at 350° approximately 45 minutes, or until heated through. Cheese should be melted and bubbly. (I put my 9x13 pan on a cookie sheet in case it bubbles over a little bit)
7. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before digging in!


Even my boys LOVE this. I know I've hit the jackpot when I get a "Momma, this is YUMMY!" LOL! :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Photo Shoots

TWO photo shoots this afternoon. Everyone keep your fingers crossed it doesn't rain on us!!! ***crosses fingers***

Then home to make dinner (sheperds pie by request from my fam.) and maybe help Adam get some stuff hung in the laundry room?? We'll see... to share tomorrow!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Yard Sale Success!

Had a fun morning yard sale-ing...lots of sales today and lots of people out and about!

At one sale alone I got the boys 6 pairs of jeans, a couple pairs of shorts and some sweaters and shirts for like, $7...being that clothes for them were my #1 priority, that's a serious score! YAY! :)

I also got them a couple of board games and a puzzle and got Will some books since he loves reading so much!

Didn't find much for furniture deals, but I did get a plant rack (with three fairly useless cracked terra cotta pots) for $2. I can always smash the pots and make a mosaic or something I suppose. The rack is REALLY cute. I can't decide if I want to leave it outside (it fits PERFECTLY next to my garage door) and get some plants for it, OR if I want to paint and and bring it inside and put some baskets in it for storage. Decisions, decisions!! :)

I also got a REALLY cute candle holder for $1 (candle included!) I'll have to take a picture of that to share later. Now I just need to figure out where it will look the cutest! :)

So...didn't find anything on my list, except the clothes. But that's really what we NEEDED anyway, so I consider today a yard sale success!

Friday, July 24, 2009


I love yard sale-ing and am super pumped to get up early tomorrow!! It seriously makes my week to find a good bargain at a yard sale!!

On the "look out list" for tomorrow's sales:

  • Most importantly, I'm looking for clothes for my is coming up and they are ever I'm always on the lookout for inexpensive, good quality clothes. (Especially considering my youngest, Mikey, won't wear MOST of his old clothes nowadays because he decided on his fourth birthday that from that day forward he was only going to wear khaki's and striped shirts. No jeans and no "picture shirts" as he calls them. Some people tell me I should make him but, you know, I'm gonna choose my battles and just let him do his thing with that one. That's just how I feel. :) )
  • A bistro size table (with or without chairs) (for a game table project I've been wanting to do for YEARS...yes...YEARS!)
  • As always, any furniture STEALS I just can't pass up.\
  • TV trays for painting...yes...PAINTING!
  • Some colored glass jars for a candle project I want to do...
  • Solid, chunky, colorful dishes and glassware
  • Some sort of container to set on my counter top to hold my utensils, and some sort of flatware holder for the counter top...not that i have a lot of counter space but I want to get rid of some drawers/cabinets so I can put my DISHWASHER in!! Woot!
I will post tomorrow with any deals I got! Can't wait!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sneak Peak - Headboard

I've got a total of THREE bed projects to work on and I spent some time tonight on the first of those three...Will's bed. This is the under $3 head/foot board I got from Goodwill. I'm not going to show you TOO much...just a little sneak peak for now, but it's going to be so perfect. (And Will loves it!)

There was SO much polyurethane on this thing...took much longer to sand than I anticipated. Thank GOODNESS for the Mouse sander I'm borrowing! I definitely need to get one of those puppies! I have just a bit more sanding to do, then will be painting it (although I admit to liking the bare wood look now that the ugly stain and poly are gone).

Photos were taken by my sweet first boy, Will...he's very excited about his new bed! (And if you look close you will find a sneak peak of the coffee table makeover in progress too!!!)

And to introduce our photographer...this is William (and me). To quote cheesy Savage Garden..."I knew I loved him before I met him". My first boy. Smart and sweet and adorable. I love him.

Good night,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Busy Bee

Ok, I seriously have a problem. I keep coming across more and more projects to START and I need to make the time to FINISH some.

We’ve got a huge pile of stuff in the laundry room that Adam is going to hang for me, but I need to paint the frame of the $2 yard sale mirror, the $1.99 Home Interiors Shelf I scored from Goodwill, and the GIANT clothespin I found at the flea market! They are going to look SO cute with my antique washboards (also flea market finds)! Lucky for me, I found the exact paint color I want (sort of a bright sky blue) in the “mistakes” aisle at Walmart…someone’s “mistake paint” is another girl’s treasure, right?!? J I also have a small poster to frame. And I just saw the COOLEST idea on the Nester, and hope to cover my UGLY laundry room window with CHALKBOARD VINYL! How great would that be?!?! After all that goes up though, that room is going to be DELIGHTFUL!

Then, there’s the coffee table makeover. I’m having trouble with the sanding…I’ll explain one of these days, so that’s on hold for a minute. BUT, I did prime my hideous canvas painting the other day so that makeover is in full swing! So far, so good…I might even have the man on board at this point. He sure didn’t see things my way when I brought the painting home, but he’s coming around! J

And then there were the beds…I scored two headboards and footboards (with frames) at a yard sale and my PLAN is to turn the two headboards into a daybed for McKenzie. Meanwhile, last weekend at Goodwill I saw this AWESOME headboard and footboard for (are you ready for this???) $2.99!!!!! REAL WOOD PEOPLE!!! I couldn’t believe it, but Adam talked me out of buying them. (I don’t know what I was thinking!!!) After thinking about my loss the remainder of the weekend, my cousin and I took a quick trip during lunch yesterday and THERE IT WAS…still waiting for me! SCORE! So now, the $2.99 bed is MINE! It will be absolutely PERFECT for Will! I can’t wait to get sanding…I can picture it in my mind and it’s going to be SO nice! (Have I mentioned how badly I need to find a SANDER? This block sanding is getting OLD!!)

And of course, there are all the projects that aren’t even started yet…the kitchen cabinets (which I am SO excited about), the shutters (cannot WAIT!), and the front door!!!

So much to do, so little time!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pizzas - Half Homemade!

We are pizza loving people, for sure! The kiddos love helping me make pizzas at home and we do it fairly often. We used to stick with the always safe "Pepperoni, Sausage and Mushroom" (Little tip...fry the mushrooms in butter can thank me later *wink*).

We have been branching out though...ham & pineapple, taco pizza...or our most recent fave, JENN'S FAMOUS BUFFALO CHICKEN PIZZA!! YUMMY!

I wanted to share my Taco Pizza recipe (which is a FANTASTIC use for leftover taco meat) and my Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe today...and as with most of my recipes, they're what I call "Half Homemade"...not quite whipped up from scratch, but so much better than something that would go straight from the freezer to the microwave. Good, homecooked food for my family in half the time! Love it!

Taco Pizza
1 lb. Ground Beef - browned and drained
Taco Seasoning
1-2 cups Salsa
1 premade pizza crust
1 can Refried Beans (I used fat free!)
2 cups Shredded Cheddar (I use sharp cheddar, but use whatever you prefer)
2 cups Shredded Lettuce
Taco Sauce (optional)
Sour Cream (optional)

***Couple of things: You can substitute the first two ingredients for leftover taco meat. If not, 1 lb. of meat should easily make enough for two pizzas (if not more). Regarding the salsa, I am usually pretty picky about salsa, but for this recipe I use whatever is on sale. For the pizza crust, I use pre-made "Mama Maria" crusts...kind of like a Boboli but I like them better. I'm sure you could use the Pilsbury dough type crusts, BUT, in the spirit of "Half Homemade" I don't want to have to bake my crust first (plus I don't love how those taste!)


1. Preheat your oven to 400°.
2. Prepare taco meat using seasoning and ground beef, according to pkg. directions. Set aside. If you're using leftovers, omit this step.
3. Spread refried beans in a thin layer over your crust.
4. Spread about 1 cup of salsa over the refried beans...if you like more "sauce" use more salsa. I usually just eyeball this step.
5. Sprinkle 1 and 1/2 cups of cheese over the sauce.
6. Sprinkle taco meat over cheese, and top with remaining half cup of cheese. You may also splash with taco sauce at this point, but I do not.
7. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly...about 12 minutes.
8. Remove from oven, cool for a few minutes, and cut into triangles.
9. Sprinkle shredded lettuce on top of cooling pizza after it's been cut. Serve with sour cream as a garnish. We also have chips and salsa on ths side!


And now...Jenn's FAMOUS Buffalo Chicken Pizza!

1 premade pizza crust
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil (extra-virgin)
1-2 cups pizza sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar (I use Sharp)
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
Garlic powder to taste
1 (large or 2 small) chicken breasts
Hot Sauce (Frank's Red Hot or equivalent)
Ranch Dressing

1. Season your chicken breast to taste. Grill or pan fry until cooked through. Dice or shred into small pieces and toss in hot sauce and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400° and brush crust with EVOO (Olive Oil).
3. Spread desired amount of pizza sauce on crust. I like to spread the sauce and let it sit and soak in a bit for a couple of minutes, and then spread a little more on top.
4. Sprinkle garlic powder over sauce.
5. Spread mozzarella, parmesan and half of cheddar cheese over sauce.
6. Add chicken to pizza. Splash pizza with more hot sauce if desired. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.
7. Bake until cheese is bubbly...about 12 minutes.
8. We serve with ranch dressing for dipping. DELICIOUS!

Now that my mouth is watering, I'm off to make dinner for the and salad for everyone! YUMMY!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Weekend Fun!

I had a great weekend! Started off with a Friday night in De Pere for a good friend's birthday party, attended a fun bridal shower Saturday morning, and spent Saturday afternoon and night with the man and his adorable daughter!

Sunday, the boys came home early and we all had a water balloon fight! SO much fun!
Daddy and his Girl
Me and "the Brookester" (taken by Adam)
Getting balloons ready for the kiddos...I love how much THEY love him!

Ahhh...he makes my heart happy!

I also got a lot done this weekend...some design work, half way done with one of my projects, and some decorating! Photos coming soon!
Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Monday, July 13, 2009


Not gonna lie...I'm a planner. Not to say I can't be spontaneous and go with the flow, but...I can't. LOL! Ok...yes I can, but I am more COMFORTABLE with plans. Yes. Comfortable.

I have plans.

Scored the most hideously ugly canvas painting I've ever seen at a yard sale on Saturday for $4 and it's going to be FANTASTIC when I'm done with that puppy! Still have to finish the makeover on my $1 coffee table. We have an AWESOME plan for two twin beds we scored at a yard sale. AND, I have finally made a decision on what color I want my kitchen cabinets to be! Woot!

It's hard these days with money being tight, but just having the plans ready and waiting to be set into motion excites me!

Do you have any plans waiting in the wings?? Fill me in...I love to hear other's ideas!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Iced Coffee

I am a self-professed "iced coffee-aholic"...YUM! Gourmet coffee is SO overpriced though! I decided to make my own and tried several recipes before finding this one...EASILY my favorite of those I've tried.

It's easily customizable and I think that's why I love it so much!

Try it and let me know what you think! :)

FYI...when I am saying "teaspoon" and "Tablespoon" I'm talking about a flatware spoon. Not an actual measuring spoon.

1 heaping teaspoon instant coffee granules (I just use Folgers)
1 teaspoon sugar
3 Tablespoons hot water

Mix together in a small cup or bowl until coffee granules dissolve. If you want iced MOCHA, add a squirt of Hershey's chocolate syrup to this mixture.

Poor yourself a glass of milk on ice. Add the coffee "syrup" to the milk and stir or shake to blend. ENJOY! (You can easily customize the strength of the coffee flavor by either using less milk or adding more coffee.)

Hope you LOVE it as much as I do!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Yummy Tomatoes!

Our good friend Lisa gifted us with some tomato plants. We are definitely a tomato loving family...yummy! I'll be the first to admit, I'm not great with plants, but so far so good with these babies!

Don't they look SO cute in my copper tub (turned planter) I scored at the flea market awhile back?? You can't fake patina like that!! Woot! Drilled some drain holes in the bottom, filled it with organic soil and she was ready to rock!


Coming soon...a coffee table makeover. I have big plans for the table we got for A DOLLAR at a yard sale! BIG PLANS!

Until next time,


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bring on the FALL!

I know it's July, but I am so in love with this fall weather...I'm CRAVING football and buffalo chicken dip...seriously cannot wait!

I took full advantage of the cool weather this week and made some good ol' comfort foods for the are a couple quick and delish recipes! ENJOY!

CHICKEN & BISCUITS...LOVE's pot pie minus my least favorite part...the crust! :)

1 package boneless/skinless chicken breasts
2 packages frozen "vegetables for soup" (I use the peas, celery, potatoes, lima beans, green
beans and corn mixture)
4 Tbsp. Butter
1 can mushroom slices
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken or cream of celery soup
1 canister (of 8) refrigerated biscuit dough (I use Pilsbury GRANDS southern style biscuits)

1. Wash chicken and cut into bite sized pieces. Cook in a large saucepan until cooked through.
2. Add frozen veggies and mushrooms and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until veggies are cooked through.
3. Add cream soups and season to taste.
4. Pour mixture into 9x13 baking dish. Lay biscuits on top.
5. Bake according to biscuit directions, until biscuits are lightly browned.

Simple Sugar Cookies...delicious and light...the perfect balance of crispy and chewy!

1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners' (powedered) sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar
2. Beat in egg and vanilla.
3. Combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
4. Shape into two balls and wrap in plastic wrap.
5. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
6. Unwrap and roll into 1 inch balls. Flatten onto cookie sheet with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. These WILL expand so don't put them too close together!
7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. You'll just BARELY be able to see it starting to brown on the edges. Cool on wire racks.

Does anyone have a favorite comfort food recipe to share? I'm ALWAYS on the lookout for new recipes to try out on my fam...hit me up with some recipes!

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