Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pinterest Project: Mini Garden in a Crate

About a month ago, Josh brought clementines home from Food Lion in this crate. I was more excited about the crate than clementines. I LOVE crates, but just never could justify the prices I was seeing in stores.

Now that I had a couple of these beauties, I set out for some ideas on how to repurpose them. Here's the one I settled on....

The blogger from the pin decided to plant paper whites, but I was dreaming of my garden and decided that this is where I would start my seeds and maybe start a little indoor herb garden.

I still can't believe how easy this was. Here's what I did:

I lined the bottom with a plastic bag...

Put some rocks in the bottom for drainage...

I trimmed the excess plastic and tucked the sides of the bag down where you can't see it as well....then filled the crate with Miracle Gro organic garden soil. I love that stuff!

The only thing left to do was decide which seeds I wanted to start with....

I decided on parsley, basil, romaine, spinach and swiss chard. I let the seeds soak for about 48 hours in water. I only meant to let them soak overnight, but you know how it is sometimes, you forget everything. :)

So, when I finally planted the seeds, the romaine seeds had already sprouted and it only took about a day for the little green baby leaves to pop up out of the soil. Love that!

I couldn't find my popsicle sticks I would normally use to label the seeds so I just settled on pieces of paper taped to the back of the crate.... not going for perfection here.

The crate lives on a floating shelf in our kitchen right by a sliding glass door that gets tons of light. I think the seedlings are very happy there.

I've seen where people have painted their crates and stenciled "Herbs" across the front (here's a really cute one). You could also do a coat of chalkboard paint and write on it....tons of options here. I just happened to like the crate the way it is. Maybe I'll do something like that later, but right now I am absolutely craving bright color. :)

Aren't they cute? Now, if I could just tell them all apart, we'd be in good shape! ;)

A Little Progress....

I'm pretty sure I'm moving into the more, um.....stationary....part of my pregnancy. At 32 weeks, it now requires noticeable effort to get up and down and do a lot of standing and walking, etc. Don't I sound sad?

So there's a reason things are moving so slowly on getting ready for this little girl....or anything else for that matter. However, I did make a little progress on her closet. As I've said before, a big to-do item was to move all of Manny's clothes and shoes out of that closet and into the other closet that he will now share with Isaiah.

Here's what the nursery closet looked like before (please excuse all the blur):

{Top hanging rack/shelf....what little baby girl doesn't need
a very old and poorly made trumpet?}

{what you see when you look to the left. My wedding dress,
luggage, a changing pad, little pants and onesie for Zoe}

{Lots of storage drawers for pants, socks, underwear,
pajamas, misc shoes that don't fit...}

{To the right: more shelves filled with more shoes in
an upcoming size, sheets and bedding, randomness}

And what surprises does one find when rummaging in the back of a closet that never gets cleaned?

One's husband's childhood Teddy Ruxpin, Grubby the Worm and all the various tapes and books that go with them. Did anyone else have those? His parents were cool parents. :)

Anyway, so I went through Manny's clothes and shoes (he had SO much thanks to hand-me-downs) and packed up anything that I didn't absolutely love. I filled up a huge bin. That was a beautiful feeling. I also went through Isaiah's and edited it down too.

Then, the most amazing thing happened. I was putting Manny's clothes into the closet and dresser that formally only housed Isaiah's things and realized all fit! And there was room left over! That was one of the things I was most worried about, but having a revelation that children just don't need 20+ shirts was such a gift and I feel so much better about how we're going to make all this work.

We're just going to live with less and it's SO freeing!!!

Moving's Zoe's closet now....
{Sigh. All those little hangers just waiting for
baby girl clothes. Makes me kinda giddy. I'm not sure what
I'm going to do with those fabric covered
canvases I've had forever. I just thought they looked
cute there for the moment. That shelf will actually hold
her laundry basket.}

{To the right: bedding, blankets and things waiting
to dress her crib. I didn't take a pic of what's to the left, but
I cleaned it out and now it just has my wedding dress, Josh's Teddy Ruxpin and Grubby
and our suitcase. There's room now to store more stuff if we need to.}

{Cute little plush hangers.}

{All the empty drawers that will be so useful
since the room is too small for a dresser. Still not sure what to do
with that shoe organizer.}

Anyway, so there's our little bit of progress. I'm so ready to tackle the rest of her room now!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

We're Getting Ready!

I have all these topics running around in my head to write about eventually, but right now I find myself only able to focus on one thing....getting ready for this baby girl.

My absolute favorite OB in the whole wide world told me Tuesday that he is going to have to travel unexpectedly on the day we were scheduled for my c section. So now Zoe's eviction deadline is one day closer...April 19th. Aaaaaaaah!!!

I am in the process of moving the boys clothes into the playroom (their new bedroom) so we can start setting up the nursery. You can read about some of my house goals here, but I thought today I would just post a little more inspiration I have for her room (not that it will actually look like these pictures). :) For some reason, this helps me clear my head a little.

I will start by saying that I am not frou-frou. A pepto-bismol room is not what I'm going for. I'm finding myself drawn to a neutral background with lots of brightly colored accents. And, of course, I always love a touch of handmade and vintage thrown in.

{Prepare for sensory overload...}

I love yellow! I'm planning to paint her changing table a beautiful, buttery shade of happiness. :)

Our nursery is tiny and this one is not, but I love all the little accents.

This picture is one of my favs because it shows what we're working with...a dark wood crib and yellow changing table.

Oh how I love a little vintage!

Look at that turquoise chandelier!

Rick-rack in the dresser/changing still my heart.

And inspiration for some of the smaller details....

Fabric poms. So full and lush. I'm hoping I have the energy to make a couple.

This is a definite for her room. Thankfully, I have tons of fabrics and have already bought the embroidery hoops. :)

I read the instructions for this mobile and am pretty sure I can do it with some shortcuts (like hot glue and no sewing). So happy and cute.

The next 3 are from a NC artist and I am completely smitten with her work. She's super affordable, a fellow etsy-ian and her pieces are just so darn whimsical and happy. I plan to frame one of these for Zoe's room and I hope to get another one for our kitchen. These are my 3 favs for the nursery.

Ladies and Gentlemen....Katie Daisy.

I'll be sure to post updates on her room as we make more progress, but if you have any ideas for me, do share!

{Linked with New Nostalgia}

Friday, February 17, 2012

How It Went....

Monday, I posted our Valentine's day tradition of spending the evening at home and making fondue. I was happy to hear that others share our same tradition and a few couples started a new one this year! AND....after reading that post, a sweet friend called and said I could use her fondue pot and see how I liked it. Yay for fondue and thanks so much, Amy!

This year I tried this recipe that uses beer as the base along with the usual players like dry mustard, worchestire sauce, garlic, pepper and CHEESE.

As soon as the beer hit the pot, I knew it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I was immediately taken back to lovely evenings at The Melting Pot...the smells were the exact same.

Aaaahhh.....garlic and beer.... simmering together....making sweet, sweet....

Ok, I'll stop.

Then I added the cheese, handfuls at a time, and just stirred while staring off dreamily in the distance. Josh who?

I kid, I kid. :)

A few shakes of dry mustard, worchestire and pepper and that was it! It's so easy, it's a shame we don't do it more.

A quick side note: the recipe said to add a small portion of cheese. That's a freaking joke, and surely a typo. We used an entire bag of cheese and most of the bottle of beer.

{I may have gone overboard.}

Our dippers...

Beautiful baguettes (a take and bake loaf from Aldi of all places!), broccoli, carrots and apples.

After that little trip to paradise, I went to remove a few articles of clothing that had become uncomfortable (after eating, you know, a bag of cheese) and put on pajamas.

{This, friends, is one of the greatest advantages of staying at home.}

Josh and I both looked at each other at this point and decided that neither of us could fit our pre-planned skillet meal in our tummies and still have room for the chocolate. Well, THAT was not going to happen. Not on my watch.


We went straight for the chocolate.

I splurged a little this year and bought the best Walmart had to offer. Ghirardelli.

Oh sweet merciful heavens....

I just added chocolate and cream....then more chocolate and a little more cream, stirring as I went.

Then I made the 2nd best decision of my entire life. I plopped a big, ol' spoonful of creamy peanut butter into the gloriousness.

I can't even talk about it.

For dippers, we had bananas, coconut covered marshmallows (those 2 tie for our favs), regular marshmallows, oreos, frosted oatmeal cookies and clementine wedges.

I am proud to say that we actually did leave leftovers this time.

We like to count the small victories, folks.

I feel like I need a cigarette now.

Then we skipped the movie and pretty much collapsed into our sugar comas.

It was beautiful.

{Psst....if you tried it this year, how did it go for you? I just love talking about cheese and chocolate. :) }

{Linked to Tatertots and Jello}

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Night In

If you're like us, you spend most of your nights in. Valentine's day is usually no exception. We have small kids, it often falls on a weekday, we want to save money, etc... And honestly, though sometimes we make up for it later on a weekend night, we don't really mind staying home.

Over the last few years we've figured out how to make it special and feel like a fancy date that we get to wear our pajamas to. THAT.... trumps almost any restaurant in my book.

Here's why I say "almost."

Which means this...

Be still my very hungry heart.

The Melting Pot has been a birthday or anniversary tradition of ours since we were dating. In fact, there is a framed picture of us on our first date there in our bedroom. Fondue is near and dear to our hearts.

In fact, during one very financially hard season for us, several of my dearest friends pitched in and sent us there so we wouldn't miss our tradition. I know! They're wonderful.

Back to our Valentine's day one year I decided to try to recreate this experience at home. It was a huge success! We loved it! I cut the boys' naps short in the afternoon so we could feed them an easy dinner and send them to bed early. Party time for us!

Now, I didn't do the meats...that would have been too much for me to try in one night, so I sent Josh to the store for a quick, frozen skillet meal and I got to work on the cheese and chocolate fondue. This has become a new tradition for us on Valentine's Day.

I think this picture is of our cheese fondue from last year....

We get our favorite bubbly....Chimay for Josh and Martini & Rossi Asti for me. :)

Then we have cheese fondue with all the dippers. Mmmmm. My mouth is watering. This is the recipe I normally use although I'm pretty sure I've used one that called for beer (just like The Melting Pot) and it was amazing! Either way, it's a me. Here's a recipe that claims to be from The Melting Pot. It looks great and I love how the url says "low cholesterol."

For the dippers, we use cut up apples, baby carrots, broccoli, pretzels and cubed french or italian bread (our fav). We don't have an electric fondue pot (which I hear are great!) so I heat it on the stove until we're ready, bring the pot to the table and we chow down.

We eat our lovely skillet meal (it's usually Bertolli and I think they're really good) and then it's time for dessert! Woo hoo!!!

{Seriously, get excited people. It's REAL good.}

Now, I'm a simple girl so I'm probably not going to track down the highest quality unsweetened, semi-sweet and milk chocolate. Just keepin' it real. :)

Here's a really basic recipe that is everything you need and you don't have to go to Madagascar for the ingredients.

For dippers we use bananas, strawberries, apples, pineapple, marshmallows (we LOVE the coconut covered ones), brownie bites, cheesecake, angel food cake, rice crispy treats, oreos, our fingers....whatever we can find!

If we can keep ourselves out of a sugar coma, we usually rent a movie from Blockbuster Express and cuddle up on the couch. The perfect end to a sweet evening.

This year I've been wanting to see this:

I really love political thrillers and anything with a conspiracy theory. Don't judge. Has anyone seen it? Is it worth the $2 it costs to rent it? :)

Although this post is for Valentine's Day, I'm pretty sure fondue is DE-lightful for anyone, anywhere....married or not. I think it sounds like the perfect girl's night. In fact, I think it sounds great as an afternoon snack all by myself. Hmm....I may have to rethink my plan. :)

Let me know if you've tried this...I'd love to hear how you do it!