Friday, April 29, 2011

Side Table Transformation

As mentioned in the previous post,  I want to share how the side table in my hubby's office went from hideous to fabulous.  Just a little paint and some new hardware, that's all it takes sometimes.  I'll let the pictures do all the talking.

This project only took me a few hours, with waiting for paint to dry between coats.  The total cost was $30 for lamp, plant pot, plant, and hardware. I already owned the table and I used paint/primer left over from another project.  Great results on a limited budget. Gotta love it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Soap Suds, Cookies, and Bicycles

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” -Robert Brault

 Mommy's little helper

Why don't those cookies finish baking already?!
 Ah, finally!

mmm - mmm, tasty

I can ride my bike without training wheels!

Daddy, if I give you a really big kiss, will you please get off my bike?

Savor every precious moment.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Confessions Of A Bookworm

Bibliophilia or bibliophilism is the love of books. Accordingly, a bibliophile is an individual who loves books.  I am a bibliophile.  In layman's terms, I am a bookworm. Since my childhood, I've been an avid reader.  Yes, I was that girl, the one that got in trouble for reading in class when she should be paying attention to the teacher.  My fourth grade math teacher actually sent a letter home to my parents about it.  I spent summer vacations with my nose buried in a book and at night read under the blanket with a flashlight till the wee hours of the morning.  I still get a knot of excitement in my stomach when I enter a library and I'm particularly fond of the distinctive "library book" smell. :o) I still remember books that were read to me when I was in preschool and cherish the memory of listening to my teachers read chapter books aloud after lunch. When our school librarian set piles of old or damaged books aside to discard, I would "rescue" them and take them home.

 Here they are now, a few of the aforementioned books, in all their dilapidated glory.

So you see, it's fair to say that I've had a passionate, lifelong love affair with books. As a direct result of that,  I own a great number of books.  I have books that I've carried with me since I was a child, moving with me from one home to another. (9 homes to be exact) Many of them are worn and tattered, others have my name sprawled all over the first page, written in beautiful, third grade beginners cursive handwriting. Their pages are yellow, stained and torn.  It may seem silly to some to keep these books that are in such poor condition and which I have already read numerous times, but to me they are too precious to discard.  I cannot express what a thrill it has been for me to read my cherished childhood books aloud to my own children.  As many of you know, I also home school my three children and have always sought to instill in them a love for reading that I hope they too will carry into adulthood.  This means books, books, and more books! Books from garage sales, Half Price Books, thrift stores, library sales, birthday and Christmas gifts, online stores,  and even a few from (although not many) purchased new from Barnes and Noble. (Reduce, Reuse Recycle!)

For those of you who wonder what little girls do while mommy is busy on a big project.

As I mentioned in this post a few days back, we have been busy tackling a new bedroom project, our bookcase.  I've thought long and hard, and searched for inspiration pictures high and low, to find  an aesthetically pleasing way to display my dear yet (hurts to say this) ugly collection of books.  The bookcase in my bedroom contains many of my books, my hub's reference and study books, some homeschooling text books, and the kid's chapter books.  Here is a picture I shared last week of what the bookcase looked like the week after we moved into our new home in New Jersey. Books, homeschooling supplies, binders, puzzles and board games all placed haphazardly on the shelves.  Chaotic, to say the least.

I then moved the bookcases to another corner of the room where they fit perfectly in a niche created by the chimney column.  I removed many of the homeschooling supplies and transferred them to other bookcases I have upstairs in the attic.  (Supplies that are needed on a daily basis are downstairs because we now do our lessons in the dining room)  Here are a couple of pictures of the bookcases as they looked just last week...

Yes, the bookcase on the left is currently being held up by a small pile of books.  Don't worry, these are just trashy romance novels that were given to me and I never read past the first page. No, not all books are worth reading, but can be useful nonetheless.  My husband is known near (New Jersey) and far (Texas) for using very unorthodox methods to achieve desired results (pretty why of sayin' he's....Ghetto!)  It was his idea to use the books.  They were needed because our bedroom floor is very uneven and slopes drastically in that corner.  We raised the bookcase on the left, leveled it to match the bookcase on the right, and then screwed the two together.  They are both also attached to the wall with safety straps.

With the arrangement and overall look of the bookcases, there were a few things that were not really working for me and that I knew I wanted to change.  Simply stated, too busy.   We are going for what I call a cool and crisp look in this room. We want simple, clean, and bright.  You know what they say, less is more.  I'll leave you for now with some of the great inspiration pictures I found. 

Southern Living

 Apartment Therapy

 Photo Credit Susan Moses - 3D Blur Design seen on Bungalow 8

Unknown Source - Seen on Abode Love

 Sarah Richardson

 Seen at Tillys Cottage

Southern Living

 Tobi Fairely seen on Developing Designs

So, what do you think? You notice what they all have in common?  Just a hint as to what we're doing with our own bookcase. Check back soon for our big reveal. --chuckle, giggle, snort--  858 words, 14 pictures, and loads of drama for a seemingly insignificant bookcase.  As the title of this blog points out, it's the precious little things in life that often bring the greatest pleasure.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Healthy Birthday Cake Alternative

Hubs and I made this delicious fruit pizza for I.D. on his birthday.  It was finger-lickin' good.  I got the recipe here.  I've included it below for your convenience.  We replaced the peach and pineapple with cantaloupe.  This recipe was fast, easy, and healthy.  Who could ask for more?

Ingredients, Cookie Crust:
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Ingredients, Cheese Spread:
8 ounces cream cheese (nonfat or light)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 drop of red food color - optional)

Fruit topping:
Can be a variety of slices or small pieces of such fruits as strawberries, kiwis, bananas, pineapple, mandarin oranges, pears, peaches, blueberries or grapes.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. For the crust, in a bowl, cream margarine, sugar, vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Add flour and baking powder, mixing well.
3. Spread mixture about 1/8-inch thick on pizza pan, baking sheet or 9 X 13 inch pan. (Or, for individual fruit pizzas, divide the dough into 12 balls and pat out into circles.)
4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.
5. Mix together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Spread on cooled cookie crust.
6. Arrange fruit on top of pizza. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Safety tip:
Young children may need help in using an electric mixer. They also should learn to turn the mixer off before using a rubber scraper to clean the sides of the bowl. If children are not tall enough to reach the countertop, they'll need adult supervision as they stand on a stable stool. (No teetering on a chair or bar stool!)

Teaching point:
This cookie dough crust is a simple sugar cookie recipe, and making it is much less expensive than buying tubes of cookie dough in the dairy section at the grocery store!
Per serving: 260 calories, 9 grams of fat (1.5 gram saturated), 20 mg cholesterol, 6 grams protein, 40 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber, 280 milligrams sodium. family-ender.gif

About this article: Kids a Cookin' is an educational program produced by Kansas State University Research and Extension's Family Nutrition Program. For more information, more recipes and cooking tips, and a link to a Spanish version, check the Kids a Cookin' Web site at This article appeared on, a web site offering recipes, menu planning ideas, food tips and more for the family chef! ChefMom is part of the SheKnows network of websites. Some popular recipe categories: Slow cooker and Quick dishes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy Birthday My Sweet Boy

On this day, 8 years ago, I became a mother.   On this day, 8 years ago, I felt for the first time in my life unconditional, self-sacrificial love.  When I looked into those big, trusting eyes, I knew my life would never be the same again.

I love you my sweet boy.  What a joy you have brought into our life.  Even from an early age, we could see in you so many wonderful qualities:  friendly, easy going, happy, sweet and thoughtful.

We are so proud of the beautiful young man you've become.  Your kindness melts the heart of everyone you meet and your thoughtfulness still amazes me.  You are so special, uniquely different, and precious to me.  You have a zeal for life that's unmatched, you embrace each day as a new opportunity to learn, explore, and enjoy your loved ones to the fullest.  My son, above all, it fills me with such joy to see how much you love God and how you praise Him with a sincere heart.  Happy Birthday sweetheart!  We love you!

The Window Without a View

It is quite common here in New Jersey to look out of a window and see....a brick wall. :o)  This is the case with my bedroom window but I've gotta say I don't mind it one bit.   Lucky for us the brick wall (which is actually the side wall of the fire station) is not very close to our house. It's actually about 10 ft. away and thus does not block the sunlight.  As promised yesterday, I'd like to share pictures of our window and how we've dressed her up.  She went from sad to rad. Lol! Sorry, it's late. :o)

Here she is before the makeover began:

As you can tell, she is not centered on the wall, so we used this idea of hanging the blinds and curtains over to the right some to make her appear centered.

The Mirada bamboo blinds we bought at The Home Depot and the black curtain rod at Target. We chose Ikea's versatile and affordable Ritva curtain panels, paying $19.99 for the pair. They are sold long (98") to be hemmed at desired length.  We hung them, pinned the bottom up, removed them, hemmed and ironed them and hung them again. The curtains come with an iron-on hemming strip, but I decided to sew the hem up instead so that it will be easier to adjust the length if we need it for a different window in the future.

So, there you have it, a play by play of how our window went from this...

to this...

Isn't she pur-tee?

The next design dilemma in our bedroom? The bookcase. Stay tuned for I'll soon be posting some of my inspiration pictures for this project and what we've done so far.  Buh-Bye!