26 November 2013

Reuse: chair cover

My daughter has High School Musical fold up chair that we decided to reuse when we redid her room.  I completed the slip cover today and am really happy with how it turned out.  I didn't even use a pattern.

This is before.

Back:  I used an loop and eye hook to secure the corner under the bow.
 Sewed the back and front of the back of the chair together so it will slip over the back and then just finished the seams.  It was a very easy project.

 Footstool is an extra pillow case over an IKEA stool with a ribbon to secure it. Reading area is complete!

13 November 2013

Reflection in eye

new favorite photo taken on our vacation.  My daughters eye with my reflection in it.

Reflection of sky in water droplet on kohlrabi

Purple, Mustaches, and Paris

That is the theme for my daughter's room.  We are almost done so I wanted to post some updated photos.

I wanted to use a lot of the furniture we already had but she had a junior loft bed that she had outgrown.  We found this one used on Craiglist for $50.

I got the metal Eiffel Tower, metal letters (came with black ribbons which I switch out for purple), and fabric from Hobby Lobby on sale and the other wall hanging at Meijer on sale.  We had this bench in our Great Room and decided to move it in her room because it matched so well.  We also had the baskets which are from Ikea.  (I have to make the curtains yet with this fabric.  They will have purple ribbon tabs.) 

 Trunk and rugs I got on sale at Meijer.  White shelf for $1 at Goodwill.  The cubbies and shelving unit where from her old room, I painted them to update.

Blackboard paint is still curing but we are going to prep it this afternoon.  I also need to paint her door, which will be blackboard paint.  I used Valspar and am very happy with it.  I did the first coat with a roller but it splattered really bad (maybe wrong size nap?) so I brushed on the second coat.
 These were cubbies from her old room that I painted and are now nightstands.
I covered her switch plate with sheet ducktape, super easy and cute!

I will post more photos when we are done with the door and the built in shelving.  So excited with how this has turned out.

12 October 2013

Renee's bedroom redo

We started redoing my daughter's room recently.  Well, we actually gutted our whole upstairs, so it is a huge project.  I decided rather than buy her a lot of new items to reuse as many as I could.  This involved a lot of painting.

She went with a black, eggshell, and deep purple Paris/mustache theme.  I got the comforter  and pillow sham at Costco for $19.99.  The Eiffel Tower painting and fur rugs at Meijer on 40% clearance, the fabric, ribbon, metal Eiffel and letters of her name at Hobby Lobby also on sale.
 This chair is a Hannah Montanna folding chair.  I am going to just finish the edges of this fabric and make a slip cover
  This footstool is pink plastic from IKEA.  I just threw a pillow case  over it and secured with the ribbons.  I did put some batting on the top so it is cushy. got black sheets and extra pillow cases on 50% clearance at Meijer.
These are two of the four cubby shelves she has.  

 I took two of them and spray painted them mostly black, except for the top shelf I painted purple.  I spray painted two of the bins eggshell.  For the cases with numbers.  These are her DVDs and Cds.  I stuck black construction paper in the fronts and applied mustache duck tape on the handles because they are blue.  The lamp I had purchased at Meijer for her old room on clearance for $2.00.  The bases was a bright blue and the shade was white with peace signs and flower.  I spray painted the shade with primer and then brushed on eggshell.  The base I painted Purple.

 These wood bins are from her old room and they were $10 each when I bought them years ago so I wanted to be able to reuse them.  They were light pink and lavender.  It took 3 coats of paint but I am really happy with them.
Still the process of painting this, needs one more coat.  It was white.  

I can't wait until the drywall is up and we can start painted.  Her walls are going to be this same eggshell except one wall with be blackboard. I think we are going to go with a faux bamboo laminate flooring.  We also have to do a bed for her.  I was thinking of making this one:  http://ana-white.com/2010/05/twin-storage-captains-bed but without the headboard and painted black.  Or we might make one out of LACK tables from IKEA.  

Stay tuned for updates!

30 April 2013

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

I have been trying to make a smoothie a day.  Mostly I have been doing dairy-free but I was craving yogurt today.  This is fabulous!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1 hand-full of baby carrots
1/2 cup + more to thin almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze)
1/2 cup Libby 100% Pumpkin
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup plain fat free Greek Yogurt
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
stevia to taste
optional: 2 tbsp chia seeds

blend carrots and almond milk in blender until smooth
add all other ingredients and blend until smooth
if it is too thick, add a little bit of almond milk at a time until it is the consistency you like


Another yummy one I have been doing is green apple and spinach with fresh ginger, lemon, and vanilla and ice.  I will post the recipe next time I make that one.

12 April 2013

Book Review: Moms Who Drink And Swear

I have been following the Facebook page Moms Who Drink And Swear for awhile now and when Nicole Knepper released her book by the same title, I bought the Kindle version.

Let me start right off by saying that if you don't drink or swear or have children, then this book is not for you.  If you do, BUY IT!, poor yourself a drink, lock yourself in your room so your rugrats can't bother you and prepare to laugh your arse off.  I loved this book for it brashness, honesty, and the fact that it made me feel not so alone.  There are times when you say things in your head that you would never say out loud for fear of being judge.  Nicole says them.  She is also a child of the 70s so I can totally relate to a lot of her slang and references.  I also learned a whole bunch of super special fun-time words like "crotchfruit"  (fruit of your loins).

The book is filled with chapters such as; "Sex, Lies, and Fundip",  "F*ck you, Dinner, Make Yourself", and "The Lice Letter".  Throw in some conversations with her children and let the hilarity ensue.

The book is witty, funny, and full of cuss words, poop talk, and drinking references.  By the way, Nicole has masters degree in professional counseling so there is wisdom in it also.  The book was so good I didn't want it to end.  Thankfully, she also rights a blog for chicagonow.com.

Poor yourself a glass of vino and  f*cking BUY IT!

01 April 2013

Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

I made this for Easter yesterday.


1 32 oz tub of fat free, plain, Greek style yogurt (strained-see below)
1 package (8 oz)  of  Laughing Cow cream cheese wedges (or low fat or fat free cream cheese)
NuStevia extract
1/3 cut of unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, or you can use cow milk
1 envelope of unflavored Jello
1 to 2 tbsp of vanilla extract


1 and 1/2 packages of graham crackers
2 tbsp of cocoa powder
NuStevia Extract
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup of coconut oil

Note about Stevia:  I did not put the measurements because the kind of stevia( NuStevia)  I use is very concentrated.  I have it in a shaker and very carefully shake a little bit on a time, mix and then taste.  If you use other stevia it may have malt mixed in it or you may use liquid stevia so the measurements would be different.  I use this brand because it has not bitter aftertaste.  I have tried many different kinds and like this one best.  You can also use powder sugar if you don't want to use stevia but you will have to experiment with the amounts.  I would just do what I did and add a little and then taste until it is to your liking.

Straining your yogurt:
I like to strain my yogurt but with the use of Jello in this recipe it probably isn't necessary.  I use jelly bags but you could use and old dish towel.  I put a whole tub of yogurt into a jelly bag and put a rubber-band around the top to make sure none leaks out.  Then place in a colander that is place over a bowl or in the sink to catch the whey.  Put something heavy on top to put pressure on the bag to speed up the process.  If it isn't hot out you can leave it out of the fridge but if temps are over 70 I would let it strain in the fridge.  I let mine sit for about two hours. There are other methods to straining yogurt-just Google it!  I like to say the whey to add to smoothies.

While yogurt is straining, let your cream cheese soften on the counter.

For the crust:
Melt butter and coconut oil together.  In a food processor or blender, process graham crackers and cocoa powder until  they are about the consistency  of course sand. slowly add oil/butter mixture into the food processor to mix until all crumbs are wet.  Then slowly add you sweetener a little at a time, tasting before you add more until it is as sweets as you like it.  I used a tart dish but you don't have one, you can use a spring form pan or pie dish. ( if you pie dish, this recipe might be enough for two).  Pour mixture into your dish and press into the bottom of the pan until fully covered and smooth.  Place in the refrigerator to firm it up.


Place strainer yogurt, softened cream cheese in a bowl.  Heat almond milk to a simmer remove from heat and stir in Jello until it is dissolved.  With a hand or stand mixer, mix yogurt and cream cheese on med to high and slowly had Jello/milk mixture and vanilla.  Then slowly add your sweetener, mixing well, tasting before adding more until it is sweet enough for you.

Poor mixture over crust, refrigerate until set.  I dusted mine with cocoa powder and server with blueberries.

Enjoy!!Euro Cuisine Greek Yogurt Maker (Google Affiliate Ad)

29 March 2013

14.5 pounds so far!

To date this year, I have lost 14.5 pounds.  I made it through 3 cycles of the 17 Day Diet.  This time when I started over on Cycle 1 I stalled.  So I modified my diet a little and added healthy carbs back and nuts, and more fruit and lost 3 more pounds.  So I am now trying to work out 4 days a week and eat healthy balanced meals.  I have even slipped a couple of times and eaten unhealthy and still lost.  I found the key with me is to just keep trying and remembering every day is a new day.

These are the workouts I have been doing.

Day 1: 20 minutes on the treadmill 3.5 speed with interval hills, The Method Target Specifics Stability Ball video

Day 2.: 20 minutes on the treadmill 3.5 speed with interval hills, 1 hour work out on Wii fit (mix of aerobics, strength, and yoga

Day 3:20 minutes on the treadmill 3.5 speed with interval hills,  Denise Austin: Shrink Your Fat Zones Pilates

Day 4: John Friend Anusara Yoga 101

Then one to two days off and start over.

I try to make a smoothie every day.  My new favorite is one pear, one tbsp of lemon juice, one tbsp of vanilla, handful of spanich, one 1/2 cup of fat free plain Greek yogurt or one serving of silken tofu, one cup of unsweetened coconut or almond milk, and a hand full of ice.  Toss in the blender until blended to the consistency you like  I also toss in 2 tbsp of chia seeds which help keep you full and are packed with protein.  If you have ever had bubble tea (tapioca), the chia is like that but smaller bubbles.

My new favorite snack is Sesame Roasted Seaweed.  If you have ever made kale chips, they are similar and very yummy. They are also very low in calories, fat, and carbs and packed with vitamins and minerals.  I found 10 packs at Costco for $7.99 which is cheap.  I originally found them at Trader Joe's for twice that price.

Three blogs I have been reading that have great ideas are:



Hungry Girl

Here in Michigan it is still winter and I am longing to get may hands dirty and start garden prep.  I can't wait for my own and local produce!

28 January 2013

Upcycling for the holidays: Candy Cane Hearts

I had bought a bunch of candy canes right before Christmas and they did not get eaten.  Since I have started the 17 Day Diet again,  I cannot have them.  I did a search and found that you can melt them into hearts.  I cannot find the original post but it is so easy.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Lay candy canes on paper in the shape of a heart.  They melt fast so you will have to watch.  These took about 4 minutes to flatten.

Some of the canes were broken so we placed them on the baking sheet, placed a dish towel over them, and whacked them with a hammer.  I then shaped them into this heart.  

After about 6 minutes it was fully melted.  Very quickly, using a chop stick,  I gently traced the heart patterns and shaped the side a little.  It starts to cool and set up very fast.  

 This is the finished product.  Fun, easy, and candy is out of my house!!!

23 January 2013

On my way

This year, I not only decided to return to The 17 Day Diet (I would rather call it a lifestyle plan) but also to start exercising more, spend less time on the internet, spend more time with my family, and watch less TV.  

I realized over the later part of last year that Facebook has become all consuming for me.  I was checking it at least hourly, most of the time more, and my train of thought often included, "I should post this."  I realized that I was addicted.  I decided that I needed to take a break from Facebook when I noticed how much data it was consuming on my phone.  I uninstalled my Facebook app and made a promise to myself to stay off for one month.  I am about 2 weeks into this and feeling great about it.  I was getting so upset daily about crap people post on there.  I really am quite happy to not know peoples opinions on politics and religion, etc.  My hope is that after a month I won't feel the need to be on there all the time.  I think, like most things, it is okay in moderation.

I  starting reading to my daughter again at bedtime. I used to read to her every night up to a couple of years ago.  She is almost 11 and I thought too old yo be read to,(she reads at a 10th grade level), but she asked me to start again.  I didn't realize how much I missed it.  I was thinking about why it stopped and not only because I thought she was too old but because it seems there was a TV program on every night that we wanted to watch.  So now, I am making her choose, either read or TV, not both.  She tried to talk me into reading at 9:00pm (her bedtime) but I set the time at 8:00pm. This tackled both less TV and more family time.

I am on day 17 of cycle 1 and have lost 7 lbs!!  I can't wait to add carbs back in.  I think this time around I am going to exercise on the carb days.  I have been doing 20-30 minutes of walking on the treadmill and then 30 minutes of yoga and exercise ball.  I have been trying to do this every other day.  I can't believe how great I feel.  My skin has cleared up, my back and shoulder are hurting less, I have more energy, and I have been sleeping better.  I hope to be at my goal weight by spring break in the end of March.  13lbs to go.  I am on my way to a better version of me.


08 January 2013

Back on The 17 Day Diet

Well, my husband and I were bad all summer on through the holidays are paying for it, big time.  We both put back on all of the weight we lost when we did The 17 Day Diet over a year ago.  We started back up a couple of days ago and I am down one pound already.  I forgot how good the food really can be.  I made a yummy chicken soup the first day and chicken salad yesterday.  I also made a big batch of the cauliflower bread for pizzas and sandwiches.  I am really craving Eggplant Parmesan from the book but couldn't find any good ones at the grocery store.   I also made veggie dip out of Kraft Fat Free Mayo and Meijer Fat Free Sour Cream and a packet of dry Ranch dip mix.

 My neighbor, Phoebe, called me this morning and told me that her and her husband are trying it out too.  Good luck, it is easier than it sounds!

I just bought all this:

Brussels Spouts
Kale (for kale chips...so yummy)
romaine lettuce
cauliflower (for mock rice and bread)
Green Onions
White Onions
93% lean ground turkey
skinless chickenbreast

I am going to make Thai  Lettuce Wraps with ground turkey for tonight!