615x461 Crop photo 693d36c2-32e0-4179-be2a-c08f86adc658_zpsb86ec6ee.jpg

Interior Motives

Decorating and DIYing our house to make it a home.

Christmas Cookies photo f87f9f16-17bb-454f-b720-160f13e5595a_zps653d47f0.jpg

Good Enough To Eat

Tried and true recipes my family loves.

 photo b690c11c-a313-4b56-a909-9c176f6b4d5e_zps309b74df.jpg

Life Lessons

Navigating motherhood through life's little lessons.

 photo 723a903e-dde3-4e26-b60f-5cc206f25e02_zps80313ce1.jpg

I Heart Pinterest

When all else fails, go to Pinterest!

 photo 6627c113-7688-4db4-83b5-9d4ce3aff0f1_zps0833650e.jpg

Pretty As A Picture

Photography tips and tricks for the average person.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Wedding & A Weekend Getaway

In our family we're notorious for cramming in as many events into a short period of time. We're crazy that way. So among those happy, albeit whirlwind-like four days, we celebrated our oldest daughter's 14th birthday; jumped from store to store for a birthday shopping trip in the big city; had a birthday lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings; bought an SLR camera (I'm still giddy with excitement!) threw in a romantic weekend getaway (after dropping off our three kids with my parents;) attended an outdoor wedding and went 'trick or treating' in the rain.

The wedding was one of the most beautiful weddings Husband and I have ever attended, with a gorgeous backdrop of changing Fall colors.

The bride's dress was beautiful and the entire ceremony was so touching. Even the bride was wiping away the tears.

Husband and I used this opportunity to spend a relaxing weekend away from it all. 'It' being kids, work, stress, laundry, the dog and all the other demands we parents have these days.

Our hotel was a luxury boutique hotel which upon arrival we were immediately upgraded to the 'Platinum Suite.' (Our key cards didn't work, so they changed our rooms!) Included was a kitchen, a fireplace, two flat screen TVs, a king sized bed and a double whirlpool tub. I know!

Our trip consisted of wine tasting, a pub visit, a stroll on the water, breakfast out for the 'Best Breakfast In Town' (unfortunately it was also the 'Worst Coffee in Town,') a stint at Starbucks, a walk on Main street and lunch at a Mexican restaurant. (Look how clear the water is, and yes! That's my shoe!)


Husband: Are you really taking a picture of your shoe? Me: Yes, bloggers love to see shoes! (Plus they're sling backs that look like ballerina toe shoes and I got them from Goodwill for $5.99...) 

That's my Salted Caramel Mocha. A treat while Husband read online news and perused ESPN, of course. We were all dressed for the wedding, just chi-laxin' at Starbucks.

And while we were sitting there...

...what should go by but a horse and carriage. (They must have known this was our romantic getaway weekend!)

All in all, it was a wonderful time. I can't wait to post next about my camera. All of these photos are unedited due to a busy work week ahead, but I couldn't resist posting about our trip. That's how awesome my SLR is!

Hope your weekend was a good one! :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mommy Mantras And Other Randomness

This time of year is especially hectic. Usually one of our three children picks up a bug from school-check; I usually make a big deal for our seven-year-old's birthday festivities-check, we move into our eldest daughter's birthday (in two days) and then into Halloween. Throw in a wedding we're attending this Saturday (just Husband and I, woohoo!) and my mind is reeling with details. Still not sure when we'll be carving pumpkins and baking those delicious pumpkin seeds...

But I'm not too worried, in fact I'm calmer than usual, having given into my two new mantras, a) "something's gotta give" and b) "there's a fine line between_______" Maybe these are just cliches, or just movie titles, who knows but lately I've been saying things like:

"There's a fine line between loving your children and smothering your children."
"I just can't do it all, that (messy room/dog slobber on the wall/phone call/school form/appointment/hobby) is just going to have to wait." 

You know, really profound things like that.

Mostly, I'm just trying to match up the mental calendar in my head to the one on our kitchen wall. A mom I talked to last week basically said "motherhood will suck the life out of you." I'm feeling it sista.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Girls' Night In

There was a lot of football in the house this weekend, we were flying our flag and watching the neighbors up the street don themselves in the appropriate team colors. But our girls (meaning me as well) can only take so much sports in one weekend. So while the boys decided to do football, I rented the "Ramona And Beezus" DVD and hung out with my girls.
The movie based off the children's book series by Beverly Cleary was well done. I remember reading the books as a kid and loving the antics of the adorable, yet tenacious Ramona. (Does anyone remember her "pixie" haircut?)

What I appreciated even more about this adaptation was the "G" rating and the relationship between the two sisters. It's hard to find a nice kids movie that isn't laden with innuendos and mature scenarios, even at a PG - PG13 rating!

Our youngest cried at two parts and I admit there were some very tenderhearted moments in the movie.

But all in all, if you're looking for a nice movie for young girls, and an opportunity to bond with your daughters, I highly recommend this movie! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

40 Days Of 'The Love Dare'

Rarely do I have a planned post. The nature of a "jane-of-all-trades," I suppose. But I've been fooling around with my work camera, a Sony DSC-H7, trying to figure out aperture settings and so forth.

This is good practice for me, because like many other mommy bloggers, I'm on the "I really want a 'Canon Rebel SLR' " rage. That's called coveting, by the way.

So I meant to write about photography and link to some cool photo sites. But after looking at this photo, I'm going on a completely different tangent. Surprise!

That's my engagement ring, from Husband, I love it. It's an estate piece (which is fancy for "used.") Fitting for a Goodwill/garage sale gal like me.

The book is The Love Dare. While many of my bloggy friends have committed to doing 31 days of something, I'm doing 40 days of 'The Love Dare.'

On a side note, the story about how I acquired this book is sad. I won it from a mommy blogger 3 years ago. Months later, that same mommy blogger disappeared from the blogosphere. If I remember correctly, her marriage dissolved...but don't quote me.

For whatever reason, I never used it. But since my schedule is so busy, I've been unable to join a Bible study, so this is my 5:30 am ritual/devotional.

Whether you've heard of this book or not, it's a great tool to help you reflect on your marriage, but also about other "self"  issues like; selfishness, pride, greed, and let's add coveting since I'm all over that topic.

Because I'm doing this freelance thing, it makes me dream about Macbook Airs, Canon SLRs and iPhones. All of which I don't have. I'm thankful that I have access to some of it because if I had to buy all of it at once, forget about it, I can't even imagine. (Hey look, there are my old curtains sitting on our rocking chair in the background. Would be nice if I took them to Goodwill at some point...)

Funny, material things aren't the only things to desire. Even bloggers desire more exposure, sponsors or followers, etc. (That's Kelle Hampton's blog I'm looking at, the one that I posted about without really posting about it.)

Anyway, if you really delve in deep enough, these chapters can help remind you that a solid, loving marriage is okay to desire! So, I've taken the dare, maybe you have in the past too.

What are your thoughts on marriage and "the wanting of things?"

Friday, October 14, 2011

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

This is our son's favorite soup. He's eleven, I'd say he has good taste. Our littlest says, "but I don't like the soup with the lettuce (kale) in it!" Oh well, can't please everyone I suppose. So here is the recipe, since you asked! Keep the emails and comments coming!

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

1 pound Italian sausage 
2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4-inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 can Oscar Meyer Real Bacon Bits (these are less fatty than real bacon)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups kale or Swiss chard, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Cook sausage in a 300 degree F oven. Bake approximately 1/2 hour; cut or break up into bite-sized pieces.

Place onions, potatoes, chicken broth, water and garlic in pot, and cook over medium heat until potatoes are done. Add sausage, bacon, salt, and pepper to taste, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn to low heat, add kale and cream. Heat through and serve.

Recipe originally from Recipe Goldmine

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Cheap Change Of Curtains

When people ask what I blog about, I usually hem and haw because of my "niche-less" status. I mean, I actually do like to decorate my house รก la cheap, but with our recent move, the busyness of my freelance work, family obligations, and so on, there's been little time to decorate the house (and blog and socialize...) until Sunday, when I found these:

Ooh la la, as my 7-year-old "Fancy Nancy" reading daughter would say. Aren't these curtains gorgeous? I lovvvve them. Where did I find them? Why, at Goodwill of course. Whaaa? Yes, two panels for $6.99.

I don't sew, but I can spot a good deal. You see, we needed a change, the original curtains matched these ones:

Ack! No offense to the previous owners (those are actually very high quality lined curtains and heavy to boot) but I have this thing about letting light in, without giving up privacy. Remember what I did in the kitchen?

So, I put those curtains on either side of our picture window and added two sheer panels (two for $4.99, also from Goodwill) for privacy without sacrificing light. It is good.

I did have to put them on the original rod, which is a curtain pulley system. Or to get technical and say I learned something:

"A rod that opens with a cord is called a traverse rod. This means that the drape traverses across the rod when you open or close it."

Okay, so I put these new curtains on the existing "traverse rod."

Why would I do this? Because; a) I was being extremely cheap and b) I like a challenge. (No told me that figuring out how to do this would involve some serious creativity and screwdrivers and such!) but I may end up putting them on a regular curtain rod, if of course, I find a good deal!

Remember, using what you have is a good thing. Being creative is also good. And let's face it, reusing and recycling is all the rage.

Where have you aspired to be creative and also save money?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The ABC's Of Me

So I stole this from Amanda, because well, I still have a sick child at home and this is fast and fun.

Age.....no don't make me tell. okaaaaay...42
Bedsize.....queen-perfect size
Chore you most dislike.....cleaning toilets, but Husband usually does it for me. Aww...
Dogs.....English Mastiff (a huge slobbery mess of a dog, but so lovable)
Essential start to my day..... Starbucks coffee brewed at home and made by Husband. Can I get another aww...
Favorite color.....used to be purple but now it's pink (with brown and gray coming in at a tie)
Gold or Silver.....silver (used to be gold!)
Height.....5'5" 1/2 (and shrinking, age will do that to you)
Instrument I've played.....piano, flute and clarinet
Job Title.....Which one? Freelance Retail Consultant; Piano Teacher; Mommy; Head Chef
Kids.....3, ages 7, 11 and 13
Live in.....Midwest
Mother's name.....Carole
Nicknames.....Suzers, Suz, Suzie
Overnight hospital stays.....3 times to give birth. Best days of my life!
Pet Peeves.....blogs with misspelled word and typos
Quote from a movie..... Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. 
Right or left handed.....right
Siblings.....one brother (13 years younger than me)
Time you wake up..... 5am on weekdays.
Underwear.....Huh? Of course!
Vegetables I hate.....brussel sprouts
What makes you late.....trying to get my 7-year-old fashionista ready
X-rays.....too many to count.
Yummy food I make.....Homemade Pizza, New York Style Cheesecake, Bacon Ham Chowder, Zuppa Toscana (like Olive Garden's) and the list goes on and on and on...
Zoo animal favorite.....my kids, sorry, I have no idea!!

Join in on the fun!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Semi-Homemade PB Truffle Brownies

If you already know me, you know that I am a jane-of-all-trades. In our house, my time is pretty valuable what with all my (outside) jobs and all my children! So as I was home with a sick child yesterday, (who was intermittently napping) I needed to use my time wisely.<--Is this considered multi-tasking? Hmm...

I decided to bake the Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies I found on Pinterest. If you read the recipe, there are three steps:

  1. The brownie part
  2. The peanut butter filling
  3. The chocolate ganache
If I can be totally candid here, why on earth would I make brownies from scratch, when I know of a perfectly good box mix! (Plus, it was on sale! Score!)

I won't say I've coined the phrase "semi-homemade," those kudos would go to Sandra Lee of Food Network. But I have to agree with her mentality, some of us are just busy bees (you know, blogging, photo editing and all!)

So, according to Husband, he found these brownies "delightful!" He is my biggest critic, so if he says it's good (and takes a HUGE piece with him to work) then it's good!

Hopefully this semi-homemade (shortcut) version will work for you too!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin