Home Bar

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Why is it that when the time comes around for family photos (or any type of photos for that matter) I immediately feel like I have no style sense, whatsoever? Anyone else? Ah, well…that’s what style bloggers and Pinterest are for, right?

I posted a few days ago about the paint transformation on this little piece of furniture and now I’m showing you how I dressed it up. (In case you missed it, click here for the transformation and product info) I wanted to downsize our bar area and put it in a less focal area of the dining room. This piece worked out great for that because it is about half the size of the buffet I was using for the bar area.

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I wanted to keep the décor really simple since it is such a small area. On the bar top, I stuck to a tray for alcohol and a simple arrangement. This wooden tray has moved throughout my entire house! I’ve used it to hold a candle surrounded by potpourri on the table in the breakfast nook, a small flower arrangement, candle and a framed photo on the coffee table and now alcohol on the bar. You can really get a lot of use out of a little tray like this. Those eucalyptus stems are one of my favorite fall finds this year, from Ikea. I should have grabbed so many more! The little watering can is also from Ikea and contains 3 stems.

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If you remember the post of my home bar from a few years ago, you’ll recognize those shelves. Originally, I had stained the shelf with dark walnut stain but wanted a lighter look this time so I just painted over it with 2 coats of white chalk paint. Click here to see the last home bar I set up. I loved it at the time, but definitely a bit darker and heavier than what I’m going for these days. In the post that I linked above, I talked about how I made the shelves, I put these together with some items from Lowe’s. Really basic. However, if you aren’t into that and want something that’s ready to go, I’ll link a few shelves below that I like. The rope handle jar is a few years old from Pottery Barn but I linked something similar below. I love using something like this to fill a space because you can put anything in it to match your décor and easily switch it out for the next season or holiday if need be. Plus, it’s a good way to add some height and color to a shelf or table.

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I’d love to hear what you guys think of the new look! And I’ve linked sources below, or similar items if it’s no longer available, so you can create a similar look in your home.

Click the items below to shop the look!

Enjoy!!

 

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DIY Toy Box

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I think I officially have a toddler. I mean, when I spend the entire day either chasing the little munchkin or saying “No, Landon…no, no, no….Landon, that’s not to play with” that equals toddler, right?!?! When he first learned what the word “no” meant, he would usually stop whatever behavior I was saying no to. Now, he is testing the limits and repeating the behavior, over and over and over. The latest, picking food up off his high chair tray, holding his food-filled fist for me to see and dropping it while I tell him not to drop the food. Big heavy sigh.

Once Landon turned 4 months, we started accumulating toys at rapid pace so I needed a place to store them. I started searching for toy boxes and toy storage. There were some cute options out there but not a lot that really went with his nursery or my décor style. Baskets would have been the best option if I had a big shelving unit to store them on, but, space in the nursery was becoming limited.

I came across this unfinished wood toy box on Wayfair and decided to customize it to fit the style of the room.

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I painted the toy box white with Heirloom Traditions A La Mode chalk paint, 3 coats total, and then used DIY Big Top Aftershow top coat. I followed it up with a light sanding on the edges with 180 grit sandpaper.

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Next, I decided to add a padded seat to the top of the toy box. I added the hinges to the lid so that I could cut and attach the padding and fabric around them. Lay out your fabric on the ground (design side down), making sure that if you are using fabric with a pattern, you pay attention to the placement and angle of the pattern. Next, lay out a piece of 1″ foam on top of the fabric followed by the lid placed upside down on top of the foam. At this point, you can cut the foam and the fabric to the appropriate dimensions. Leave a 1″ border of foam around the toy box lid. Leave a 2″ border between the fabric and foam to allow for folding the edges over and attaching with staples.

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To attach the padding and fabric, I folded the edge of the fabric over on itself, the folded the remaining edge of the fabric over the foam and toy box lid, securing it with staples and my electric staple gun. When you are securing the fabric, work on one side at a time and secure only to within 2″ of each corner so that the fabric at the corners is loose. You are going to make some cuts and folds in order to tuck the corner fabric in. Also, when securing the fabric on the hinge side, staple everywhere except at the hinges, leaving the fabric loose there as well.

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To secure corners, you want to cut away the extra layers of fabric that were folded under, leaving only 1 layer of fabric. Take the tip of fabric at the corner, fold it over the lid and secure with a staple. You should now have loose fabric on either side of the corner. On each side, you will fold and roll the fabric under itself at an angle so that when you bring the two sides together they will meet at the corner. Secure with staples.

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To secure fabric around hinges, again, cut away some of the layers so you have just 1 layer of fabric, refold the fabric so that it fits around the hinge and secure with staples.

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Once I attached the lid to the toy box, I wanted to add a little more detail so I picked up some metal T strap and L strap angles , spray painted them black and attached them at each corner for a little industrial touch.

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That’s it! Totally customizable to your color and design! Just change paint color, fabric, spray paint and done 🙂

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Apple Chips

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It finally feels like fall! Like everyday fall, not just a day here and there. I’m going to revel in this for a while because I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m cursing all the rain. Not happy in, not happy out, ya know?

We spent the morning at a cute little pumpkin patch farm, complete with hay rides, pony rides, tractors, slides and fresh made pumpkin spice doughnuts! I mean, sign me up! Especially the donut part 🙂

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Landon is so intrigued by everything these days, this fall and holiday season is going to be so fun exploring with him.

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He seemed to like the cows the most and it was pretty cute to hear him say “mmmm” when I asked what sound does a cow make 🙂

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Ok, apple chips. So easy! They take a little time but the hands-on time is nothing and they make such a great fall snack. I literally can not stop eating them.

Apple Chips
1 apple
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Slice apple very thin, approximately 1/8″ thick. I used a mandoline slicer and put it on the middle setting, not paper thin but 1 setting past that.
2. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper, lay apple slices on parchment paper in a single layer. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon on both sides.
3. Bake apples for 2 1/2 hours, turning once halfway through baking time.

See?!?! So easy! The more baking sheets have, the more you can bake at a time. I was able to fit 1 apple on each XL baking sheet.

Enjoy!

Small Buffet Upcycle

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Hi everyone!!! Wow, it feels like I’ve been gone for SO LONG! I mean, 2 months isn’t forever but still, I missed posting for you and I’m glad to be back at it. Thank you for hanging in there while I took a little break. I was able to accomplish quite a few things around the house, get myself organized and reprioritize what I want and need to do with this blog going forward. I’m so excited to get back to sharing things with you and have so many fun projects in store, so I hope you love them as much as I do!

How about a little life update first 🙂 Not a ton has changed, just the usual day-in and day-out of stay-at-home motherhood. We have been taking more weekend trips as a family and I’ve been getting Landon out into some play groups each week, which he loves! So, we’ve been more social in the last couple of months I guess. The little one is seriously on the move! He is crawling and cruising SO fast! Walking is just around the corner…(heavy sigh). And no, mom, I still don’t have the baby gate up. :/ Landon is also adding to his vocabulary. He now says mama, dada, nana, & Ella (except Ella sounds more like Elwa, but so cute!) Speaking of Ella, I think she may have kennel cough. Ugh! Have any of you dealt with kennel cough in your dog? She is current on vaccinations, we did board both dogs about 2 1/2 weeks ago and she started this awful cough/choking sound just over a day ago. I’m hoping it’s not something more serious but we’re going to the vet today, so I’ll keep you posted.

So, this mini buffet. What do you think?!?! I’ve had this piece of furniture for years, 7 years to be exact, as it was a wedding gift from my little sisters. I honestly never had a true home for this piece but recently, have not been liking our bar area. It was a bit too big and in a very focal point of our home so I want to make it smaller and de-emphasize it a bit. This mini buffet seemed like the perfect size. Of course I forgot to take a picture of it before painting…this is why I needed to get organized about my projects, I start projects on a whim, only get them halfway done, never feel like I’m getting anywhere with this house! Before, it was a cream/yellow tone with bronze hardware and chalkboard doors. It was super cute but the yellow tone just didn’t go with the rest of the house anymore.

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I did want some of the black to show through when I distressed this piece, so to start, I painted 1 coat of Heirloom Traditions Black Bean on any area that wasn’t already black. Once that was dry, I added 2 coats of A La Mode (White). Most of the time, when I distress furniture, I just go over the edges with sandpaper. This time, however, I used a technique called Wet Distressing. You distress right away after the paint dries, don’t give it any time to cure because you want the paint to come off easily. Using a sponge or rag, and a bowl of water, you get the sponge wet, ring out the excess water, and lightly rub the area you want to distress. This will essentially peel off the paint giving you more of a “chippy paint” effect.  I actually found this method of distressing much easier than sanding and WAY less messy.

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For the knobs, I went with this simple matte black round ceramic knob from Home Depot.

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 And that’s it! Just a simple upcycle that made a world of difference to our bar area. If you have followed for a while, you’ll remember when I originally put the bar area together. It turned out like this…

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I did like it but have since taken our décor in a different direction so I thought this area needed an update. I also moved it to the opposite side of the room so that it is tucked away in the corner instead of front and center when you walk into our kitchen/dining room.

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I’d love to hear what you think of the new version! I also have a fall décor post coming later this week where you will be able to find sources for all the décor pieces you see here.

Happy Wednesday everyone! And it feels great to be back, I missed you friends!! 🙂

Frosé (Frozen Rosé)

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Happy Friday friends! What better way to celebrate the weekend than with summer’s hottest (or coolest ;)) drink trend, Frosé! Let me be clear from the start though, this Frosé recipe is a tad different than the rest. Let’s call it skinny Frosé 🙂 As I was checking out multiple recipes for this post, I noticed every single one had simple syrup or sugar in it. Sorry…not for this girl. I can barely handle alcohol these days, let alone sugary alcohol, so there was no way I was adding sugar to my Rosé. Besides, isn’t Rosé plenty sweet as it is? And, personally, I don’t want to mask the taste of my Rosé with a bunch of sugar. To sweeten this drink I used agave nectar and if it’s not sweet enough for you, you can easily add a bit more agave to it.

Keep in mind that the ingredients listed below will make 6 glasses, however, if you just want 1 or 2 glasses, you can easily use 1 tray of cubes, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup ice and 2 Tbsp agave and save the rest of the cubes for later.

Frosé
Makes 6 servings
1 bottle (250 mL) Rosé
3 ice cube trays
3 cups sliced strawberries, divided, plus more for garnish if desired
3 cups ice, divided
6 Tbsp agave nectar, divided

1. Pour all of Rosé into the ice cube trays, distributing evenly. Should fill 3 to 3 1/2 trays. Freeze for at least 6 hours to overnight. Because of the alcohol, the cubes won’t freeze completely but should be solid enough to crack the trays and remove the cubes when ready as you would with regular ice cubes.
2. In a blender, place 12 cubes frozen Rosé (1 tray worth), 1 cup sliced strawberries, 1 cup ice & 2 Tbsp agave and blend until you have a slushy consistency. Mine was pretty thick but I also have a pretty old blender. Honey, if you are reading this…a Vitamix would be a phenomenal gift at some point 😉 If you want to thin it out, you can add 1 Tbsp of water at a time until you reach the desired consistency. However, I spooned mine out of the blender and it melted to a great consistency within a couple minutes.
3. Divide between 2 wine glasses, garnish with a whole strawberry and serve. Repeat twice with remaining ingredients if desired.

Enjoy!

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Poblano Corn Quesadillas

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We officially have a crawling baby! Which means, my life is about to get a little more hectic. As of yesterday, Landon is on the move and ever since then he does not want to be confined in any way, not in the bouncer, not in the playpen. Just wants to be able to move freely. No more setting him down on the play mat to run to the restroom, or turning my back to do dishes while he sits in one spot playing. Nope.
How do moms of toddlers get anything done? Serious question. Already today I feel like I haven’t been able to accomplish a single thing until he went down for a nap. I think this is just a phase as he gets used to his new skills but hopefully he will go back to liking the playpen and bouncer, at least for small amounts of time.

Here is a little update to your plain old cheese quesadilla, with sweet corn, onion and Poblano peppers, these take a basic dish and turn things up a notch. I made these for dinner and they were plenty filling, but if you wanted a bit more substance, you can easily add some cooked chicken as well.

Poblano Corn Quesadillas
1 tsp vegetable oil, plus more as needed
2 fresh Poblano peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 corn on the cob, kernels removed
1 lime, halved
salt and black pepper
3 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
4 6-in tortillas

To garnish (your choice):
Salsa, Guacamole, Cilantro, Sour Cream

1. Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Poblano and onion to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper and add the corn. Stir to combine, remove from heat and squeeze half a lime over the mixture.
2. Transfer to a plate and wipe the skillet clean.
3. Heat 1/2 tsp of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add one tortilla and scatter over it a quarter of the cheese, and a quarter of the Poblano mixture. When the tortilla turns just golden brown in spots, in about 2 minutes, fold it in half, pressing it with a spatula to flatten. Transfer to a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make three more quesadillas. Serve with garnish of your choice.

* Original recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking

DIY Chalkboard Sign

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Confession…I love chalkboards. Or, I love creating cute little works of art on chalkboards. Weird, I know. I have created some fun chalkboard signs for my mom’s business and thought it was time I have one in my home. I created a new photo gallery wall in our living room and took down the old gallery wall which was hanging in this space. It’s kind of an awkward spot. You enter our home into a foyer with a vaulted ceiling with the living room, dining room and kitchen to the left but you don’t really see those rooms until you round the corner. As you turn the corner, you step up 4 stairs into the living area and this wall is right in front of you.

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Not only is it an awkward spot, but the wall itself is a bit awkward as well. It is essentially a square in the center of our upstairs area. On the left of it is our living room and on the right is our dining room and kitchen. And because of the light switches and thermostat, the placement of anything you put on the wall either has to be really high or really low. Which is the reason I wanted to move the gallery wall, because the photos were up so high, you never really saw them very well. Once I completed this sign, I loved it in this space but still felt like the wall needed something on the lower half too. I think a thin sofa table up against the wall could possibly look good. However, very shortly there will be a DIY baby gate at the top of those stairs…hint hint at a future post…that will visually cover that space as you walk up toward the wall so I will most likely leave it as is until after the gate is up.

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The great thing about this sign is that the size is completely customizable for your space if you use the same project boards that I used from Lowe’s. They come in multiple sizes, thicknesses and made from different types of wood. For my space, I used a stain grade pine panel that is 3/4″ thick x 24″ tall x 36″ wide. Unfortunately, I can’t find these pine panels on their website anymore but they are usually kept in the lumber area, near the wood trim section.

Supplies
stain grade pine panel 3/4″ x 24″ x 36″
1″ x 2″ x 4′ pine board (for trim)
table saw or miter box (for cutting trim)
wood glue
1 1/2″ brad nails and nail gun
wood filler
220-grit sandpaper
chalkboard paint
stain or chalk paint for trim (I used Minwax stain in Dark Walnut)
chalk

Step 1: Cut your trim

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Lay your project board down and cut a piece of trim for each side. Now, you can just do straight edge cuts on your trim instead of angled miter cuts. If you have a table saw and can do miter cuts easily, then I say go for it. If you are trying to do it with a miter box and hand saw, probably not worth all the effort. At least not with the wood that I used for the trim, because it is not soft and would not be easy to cut through with a hand saw. So, if you are doing a straight edge, 90° cut with a jigsaw, simply cut the top and bottom pieces first, attach them with the wood glue and nails, as shown in step 3, and then measure and cut the side pieces. If you are doing a mitered angle cut, I measured one side at a time and as I measured the next side, I held the previous side in place to make sure I had a proper measurement and snug fit at each corner.

Step 2: Paint

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I know it might seem a little backwards to paint first and then assemble, and you don’t have to do it this way, especially because if you use wood filer to seal the corners on the trim, you’ll have to touch that up anyway. However, I didn’t want to deal with having to be super careful to not get the chalkboard paint on the trim once it was assembled so it just seemed easy and must faster to paint the pieces beforehand. Like I mentioned above, I used this chalkboard paint for the main board (2 coats) and Minwax stain in Dark Walnut for the trim (1 coat wiped on with a cloth).

Step 3: Attach trim to chalkboard

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Lay a piece of trim down on it’s thicker edge, add a thin line of wood glue to the edge that will attach to the chalkboard. Make sure the edges of your trim are flush with the chalkboard or the corner on each end and attach the trim using 1 1/2″ brad nails and a nail gun

Step 4: Finish corners with wood filler

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Use a little wood filler at each corner to fill in any gap between the trim boards. Once it is dry, use 220-grit sandpaper to buff the wood filler smooth and touch up with whichever stain or paint you used.

Step 5: Chalk art fun!

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Now you get to change up your wall décor as often as you want, and the great thing about chalk…if you don’t like it, you can wipe it off and do it again! I get a lot of my chalkboard inspo from Pinterest. Just type in chalkboard art and there you go. Some are way more intricate than others so just start with something simple and each time you can get a little more brave 🙂 I also added this little faux fern garland to the top for a little something extra because I felt like the wall was still a little naked.

Tips for creating chalkboard art
1. Use your chalk to divide you board into 4 equal sections, lightly draw a faint line down the middle of the board both vertically and horizontally. Whatever picture you are using as your inspiration, visualize it in 4 sections just like your board. This will help you with placement of each word or picture in relation to everything else.
2. Start from the center and work your way out. I started this board with “hello” and the sun, and then followed with each line and did the arrows last. It was easy to figure out the placement for the most central word and then look at how each word or object is placed in relation to that central word.
3. Sketch it out first. I do a very rough, very light-handed sketch of each word to make sure I like the placement and the size before coloring it in darker or finalizing it. Keep a wet rag on hand to wipe away sketch marks that don’t blend in or are outside the lines of your final word. This works especially well for cursive words because, for reals….my cursive ain’t pretty! Unless I go VERY slowly and sketch it first.
Have fun!!

Red, White & Blue Pretzels

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For those of you who procrastinate…like me…a super quick treat for your 4th of July festivities! These are so adorable, no? And the hands on time is maybe 15 minutes, tops!!

Red, White & Blue Pretzels
12 pretzel rods
20 ozs white chocolate for melting
blue food coloring
red food coloring
white candy sprinkles

1. Prepare a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper and topped with a cooling rack as a place for the pretzels to dry in between each coating of chocolate.
2. Place 10 ounces of white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl (I used a small mason jar for this part because you want to be able to dip the majority of the pretzel in the chocolate) and warm on defrost or low setting, for 15 seconds at a time, stirring the chocolate during each interval, until chocolate is completely melted. Once melted, dip each pretzel in the chocolate until about 2/3 is covered. Remove and place on the cooling rack until chocolate is dry to the touch.
3. Place 5 ounces of white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and warm the same way as the last. Once melted, add blue food coloring until you reach the shade of blue you want, I added about 20 drops. I also added a few drops of red to get the blue a little darker. When ready, dip the pretzels into the blue chocolate to cover about half of the white chocolate. Before setting the pretzel back on the cooling rack, shake some white sprinkles on the end while the chocolate is still wet.
4. Once the blue chocolate has dried, melt the remaining 5 ounces of chocolate and add red food coloring, I used 25 drops. When ready, spoon the red chocolate into the bottom corner of a plastic sandwich bag, cut a TINY piece of the corner off and slowly drizzle the red chocolate across the white chocolate portion of the pretzels in a back and forth motion to form stripes. Allow the chocolate to dry.

Enjoy!

Ratatouille Stuffed Shells

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Well, today the baby got himself from lying on his tummy up into sitting position for the first time. I love each new skill he develops but this one has mama in a panic! Crawling is just around the corner which means I’ll be spending this week baby proofing!! And…it also means there will be a DIY baby gate post coming your way in the near future. So, if you’re into that sort of thing, stay tuned!

This recipe is tasty! Lately, I’ve been trying to incorporate vegetarian dishes into our diet here and there. I grew up on a VERY hearty diet, meat, potatoes and a glass of milk at every dinner and I always want flavor, flavor, flavor so sometimes the veggie dishes fall a bit short for me. This one does not! There are tons of veggies, chickpeas for protein and the sauce is full of flavor. In total, it took 40 minutes, which is totally doable for a weeknight meal. If you wanted to make it even quicker, you could easily prep the veggies and sauce ahead of time and then just cook the pasta, fill the shells and pop it in the oven at dinnertime.

Ratatouille Stuffed Shells
16 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 cups diced eggplant
1 cup diced red bell pepper
3/4 cup diced zucchini
3/4 cup chopped plum tomato
1/2 cup canned unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 3/4 cups low sodium marinara sauce
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp torn fresh basil, divided
3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
cooking spray
4 oz shredded Italian blend cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté 2 minutes. Add eggplant and bell pepper, cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini, tomato and chickpeas; cover and cook 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in 1 cup marinara, 1/2 cup basil, black pepper and salt.
4. Coat a 2 quart glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Spread remaining 3/4 cup marinara over bottom of dish. Spoon about 2 Tbsp vegetable mixture into each pasta shell. Arrange filled shells in dish; sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 12 minutes. Top with remaining 2 Tbsp basil.

*Original recipe from Cooking Light

Gallery Wall

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You know the best way to wake up early on a Tuesday morning? To the sound of your dog getting sick. I mean, nothing gets you to jump out of bed and on your feet faster. And then try going back to sleep after that. Two things that I thought would be an issue having dogs with a baby or small child. 1) That the dogs would take or chew on the baby’s toys and 2) the dogs are going to get a little “thicker” when the baby starts eating solid food and can therefore feed the dogs 🙂
Until now, neither have been an issue. The other day, Landon was sitting on one of his little chairs that has toys attached to it, eating a teething biscuit. By the way, teething biscuits have to be one of THE messiest foods I’ve ever seen! Anyway, my mother-in-law was cleaning him up after he finished and Ella, sneakily and one by one, grabbed the toys which were now covered in biscuit crumbs. The toys were (<– notice how I said “were” not “are”) those round plastic rings, bright colored that stack on a cylinder and form a pyramid. Super flimsy and took no time at all for Ella to demolish while trying to eat every crumb she could find. I found the leftover plastic under our bed with some of the consumed plastic making it’s appearance this morning.
Welcome to our little slice of crazy town!

We have been so lucky to have some amazing photos taken over the last year and a half since finding out a little babe was on the way. Something I’ve been so bad about, in recent years, is displaying personal photos at home. This, to me, is such a down side to all the technology we use on a daily basis. Our photos are all contained on phones and computers and rarely make their way onto paper and into our homes. Why? One of my favorite things in other people’s homes is seeing all their personal photos, their family & friends, big events, love. I am resolving to have more photos printed and finish my home spaces with this personal décor detail.

I had this large wall space in our living room and went back and forth about what to put there. We did have a gallery wall in the house before, but it was all wedding photos and the location wasn’t a noticeable spot where people would stop to look at it. I asked Jeff if I should replace the current gallery wall or move it to the large wall in our living room. His response, “put it in the living room so we will actually see it everyday and enjoy it”. Yes! Too often, gallery walls are hidden on stairwells and in hallways where people don’t see them as often. Bring those photos to a prominent location!

I went with a grid style gallery wall, very uniform and pretty easy to put together. I have seen some gallery walls that are asymmetrical and I do love them, but I am just too “straight line, symmetrical, matchy-matchy” for that style. Maybe someday I’ll step outside my comfort zone, but until then, here are a few tips to help you create your own grid-style gallery wall…

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1. Determine the space and size of your gallery wall
Figure out where you are going to put your new gallery wall. Chances are, you already have a blank wall in your home that you struggle with filling or decorating. Next, think about how big you want the gallery to be. This will give you a measurement from top to bottom and side to side and help you know what size and how many frames you can fit in your space. For instance, my space was about 42″ x 51″. I had a pretty particular look I wanted, so I had already picked out the frames and therefore knew the exact measurements. I used an 11×14 frame that was matted for an 8×10 photo, plus the width of the actual frame, it left about 2″ between each photo if I did 3 across and 3 down. This part may take a little configuring, just be sure to measure the actual frame because depending on the thickness of the frame, it can add an additional 1-2″ to each photo.
2. Choose your frames
Here’s a tip if you want a uniform look, use a frame with matting. This will help separate the photos from each other as well as “tone down” the photo so that each picture isn’t competing with the one next to it. I was going for a black & white theme and found these frames for an amazing price at Michael’s. This frame is normally $23, but Michael’s regularly has sales on their frames and they usually do it by brand. These were 60% off last week!!! While they are no longer on sale, they do have a few other brands on sale right now. If you find one you like that is full price, it’s worth it to just keep checking back for sales.

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3. Choose your pictures & print
For the uniform grid look, you need to choose all vertical or all horizontal pics. I know I know, duh! But, I started picking out photos and then realized I was choosing both and had to go back and do it again! Another thing I did for uniformity was adjust the color of the photos before printing. The main reason I did this is because I used photos from all different photo shoots and 2 different photographers who have very different editing styles. Some of the photos were bright, vivid color and some were more muted. Plus, with different outfits and backdrops in each shoot, it just made for a lot of different looks going on. By adjusting the color, it helped make all the photos look more like they went together. I don’t have any fancy photo editing program, just the one that came loaded on my computer. All I did was edit the saturation of the photo to pull some of the color out. When I found a color level that I liked (I used -65 but it will probably be different on all computers/programs) I adjusted all the photos to the same level. Note: When you do this, make sure you “save a copy” of the photo, don’t save over the original, just in case you don’t like it, plus, you don’t want to loose the integrity of the original photo. Obviously this step isn’t necessary. I also did this because of the black & white look I was going for. I wanted to use my favorite photos but I didn’t want them completely black & white so this allowed me to get the look I was going for while still keeping a little color. As far as printing, if you are using professional photographs, chances are, your photographer will have a suggestion as to where to print them for the best quality. Our photographer uses Smugmug, but also suggests Shutterfly as a good place to print.
4. Hang your photos
I’ll be honest, I was not super technical with this part. I hung the center photo where I wanted the center of the gallery to be. For the photos directly above, below and beside the center photo, I just measured out the height or width of the frame, plus an additional 2″ for the space between each photo. Because I was just sort of winging it, I did have to make some adjustments. Just step back and check after you hang each photo because it may look even up close but once you step away you’ll be able to tell for sure. If you want to be more technical about it, you can pick up a laser lever at the hardware store. This one from Lowe’s is $20, attaches to the wall and will easily get the job done. If you are using a laser lever, your laser line is going to be where you hammer the nails into the wall so be sure to adjust down a bit from where you want the top of the frame to be.

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Now go get those photos printed and start enjoying them! 🙂