Friday, August 24, 2012

Cool Idea-- Syrup Dispenser As Dish Soap Pourer!

Isn't this awesome? 

I have always used those olive oil dispensers for dish soap-- here's a picture if you need a visual. Ours was clear and it was always such a pain! Nathan always had issues getting the soap out, one time a fly got in there (how in the world does that happen?), and yesterday the soap stopped coming out.

So off to Target we went in hopes of finding something to dispense dish soap. For $6.99 this little gem popped up and I fell in love. Nathan loved it because "it's unique and we are unique".

I just dumped the soap from the oil dispenser straight into the new one. I had to wash the blender earlier and the dispenser worked perfectly-- opened, closed, and didn't spill. I'm sure with time that will change but for how cute it is? I'll gladly wipe it up everyday. :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Home Filing System *Update*

So a while back I posted about my Extremely Thorough Home Filing System (You can read Part I here and Part II here).

I mentioned that the Martha Stewart Folder I had was getting stuffed to the max, and well, it was time to upgrade.

I moved my files to a regular filing cabinet about a week ago and I'm loving it. It's nice to have them right beside my desk and not in the closet-- I don't have to get up every 36 seconds. :-)

Now I have one of these fancy cabinets on my left, and one on the right. I am loving it so far!

Nothing has changed filing-wise, so I literally grabbed everything out of the folder and moved it to the cabinet. It was an easy switch. I ended up donating the folder because I knew we wouldn't use it again. And Nathan wouldn't dare be seen with a bright blue folder.. 

You can find the filing cabinet at Staples. It was about $100 even, so a little pricey for one filing system. The cabinet has a glass top (which I'm not a fan of come cleaning Saturday), but I am getting used to it. It was super easy to set up for Nathan-- probably took 15 minutes. 

You can read more about my filing system and what works for me here. Enjoy! xO

Our Office "Remodel"

Last weekend we decided to finally get a few things for our office. You can see a few pictures of our office here. We just had so many things that needed a place to go-- picture frames, books, plants, and random office supplies. Even after we did our closet makeover, we still had stuff that needed a place.

I am so OCD (Okay, not OCD, just have OCD tendencies) that it had to be fixed soon or I would start throwing things away or build a shelf myself.

So here's how it's ended up so far..

Excuse the terrible lighting. It was pouring outside so no good natural light.

We found that funky book shelf at Target. I wanted something open and not closed in, and this was super frugal-- $90. 

Can you see my chalkboard? Yup, Nathan hung that using those Command Picture Hangers. Works like a gem. :) 

Work got me a fancy new printer/scanner/fax/copier so I have been in Heaven the past few weeks. I purchased another small filing cabinet to match my desk-- now I have one on each side. 1 for my personal files and 1 for work files. It's working OK right now, I'll post about it soon. 

You can also see my memory frames. What do you think?!

Here's a close up of our shelf. It's leans up against the wall at the top and we secured it. You can view it on Target's website here

I'm thinking a big nice-smelling candle on the 4th shelf, what do you think?

When we were at Home Depot Nathan insisted on this money tree. I have no idea how to care for it so if anyone has any idea, feel free to share them. 

This isn't my favorite part of the office but it will do. We usually keep the futon down so the dogs can look out, but it looks so junky sometimes! I'll get over it. It's quite cozy for them and they love to spy on people (attempting) parallel parking. 

Enjoy! xO

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Anniversary Journal-- A Wedding Gift We Love {How To}!

About a week before our wedding someone we've never met dropped off a gift at Nathan's parents' house. I couldn't believe how kind that was, and assumed it was your average wedding gift (which would have been more than appreciated)-- money, gift card, picture frame.

No, it was our second favorite wedding gift (Remember our favorite wedding gift?)!

An Anniversary Journal

What a creative gift! I'm not sure if this person came up with this herself or not, but I have to share. 

This journal was wrapped with a beautifully written letter. Because I don't have her permission I won't write the whole thing, but it basically says:

:: Celebrate your marriage on the ___ of each month for the first year. This may simply be a kiss and the recognition that it's the that it's the ___ of the month. 

:: Whatever is done on this day, record it in the journal.

:: Keep a record of how you celebrate your anniversary each year. 

:: List significant events from the previous years (if you wish) and any dreams or hopes for the future. 

It wasn't super fancy, just typed. 

Do you know someone getting married? This is the perfect wedding/shower gift! I'm telling you, it's definitely frugal but very meaningful. 

Enjoy! xO

PS-- Here's a peek of what was going on while I was trying to take photos!

Broccoli In A Smoothie? Delicious!

I am loving smoothies lately! Well, I've always loved them but lately they are just perfect after my 11AM run and I end up having one for lunch. So tasty, nutritious, and cold!

So today when I got back from my run and got everything out for my smoothie, I noticed the most important part was missing-- spinach! What the heck how did I not write that down?

A bag of broccoli pops into my head so I dragged it out of the freezer and gave it a whirly-bird.

It was super tasty!

I used about 1 handful-- I was too nervous to put anymore in. I used my other nifty smoothie trick (more on that here) instead of our "regular" smoothie recipe

You can see a tiny peek at the roses Nathan got me!

I was a teeny bit worried about it being "gritty", but it really wasn't. I blended it for about 30 seconds longer than I normally do, so that could be why. We also have a pretty "fancy" blender, LOL. It's the Ninja Pro Blender. My dream blender is the Vitamix but until then, this blender will suffice. :)

Enjoy! xO

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chalkboard Tutorial Using Door Mirror

This is a tutorial for a chalkboard made from an over the door mirror. I have another tutorial for a chalkboard made from a picture frame. Click here to jump to that. 

I am in LOVE with my brand new chalkboard! Earlier today I was beginning to think it may not turn out (more on that later), but it's absolutely perfect.

So, here's how it worked! Before I tell you how it works-- it wasn't super easy, but it definitely wasn't difficult.

Friday after work we headed to Home Depot
:: Chalkboard paint (The kind you actually paint, not spray paint)
:: Primer (Any kind will work)

This is the kind I got. Valspar. 

:: Brushes (I got cheap ones, probably $1.25 each)
:: Paint for the frame of my mirror (You can read more about that here because I used it for my other project). I got the $2.49 sample ones for the wall in a color I'm not fond of learning to like.
:: Painter's tape

Next up we headed to Target
:: Cheap over the door mirror (I'm not kidding, it was $3)
:: Tiny paint brushes (These are in the kids school section-- I think Rose Art was the brand we got)

*Make sure your frame has a way to hang it up. 
*If you get a mirror that can be taken out of the frame, you've got it easy! Otherwise, painter's tape will come in handy.

Here's what you do
:: First things first, cover your work space with lots of newspaper or crummy towels.
:: Get your primer and cover the whole thing-- mirror and frame. It doesn't have to be super think, and 1 coat will be just perfect. Try not to glob it. :)

:: After you've primed it, let it dry overnight or for about 6-8 hours.

:: After it's completely dry get your painter's tape and go to town. I was a little overly-obsessive, which is not necessary. Just cover the frame so you don't get any chalkboard paint on it. If you do that's OK, because you'll be painting it a different color anyway. 

:: Next up get your chalkboard paint and get going! 

Aren't you glad I used painter's tape?

:: Step back and let it dry about 2 hours. (I know, this waiting is insane!) After 2 hours, paint another coat of chalkboard paint and wait about 6-8 hours. 

:: After it's dry, peel off the the painter's tape and (using your tiny paint brush) paint the frame of your mirror using the color of your choosing. This part wasn't hard, but it was time consuming. If you have someone willing to help (no kids!), have them sit at one end and paint while you do the other. 

:: Let the frame part dry for a couple hours (2) and then do another coat. Trust me it will be worth it! Let the frame part dry for another 4-6 hours.

:: Sit back and enjoy! Have your handsome husband hang it up.

See my other project to the left? Click here for that one.

Enjoy! I hope this tutorial has helped! xO

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Repainting a Picture Frame/Memory Box

I knew I wanted to put up these two beautiful memory boxes my stepmom made me-- one when my mom died and one when my grandmother died. They are just beautiful, but because they were made so many years ago, the frames needed some lovin'.

I knew I wanted a shade of blue but wasn't too particular with what shade. (I wish I was a bit pickier because the color I picked is a bit too grey for my taste). 

So off to Home Depot we went:

:: 2 containers of sample wall paint. They are $2.50 a piece but I definitely did not need 2-- 1 would have been just enough.
:: 2 paint brushes. (I'm working on another project that will be posted later). I went with cheap ones because this is a one time project and I'm NOT a painter. 
:: Painters tape
:: Junky towels or newspaper

I came home about $14 poorer. The most expensive item was the painters tape. Luckily we got a big roll and we'll use it for other stuff around the apartment.

I was really obsessive about taping the frame because I could not get the glass out for the life of me. You won't need painters tape if you can get the glass out of your frame. It took me about 20 minutes of sitting on the floor. I didn't do the inside of the glass, I was just extra careful.

Paint, paint, paint! I wish I had tips on how to paint. I guess just be sure you line your floor/table with lots of towels or newspaper.

Make good clean lines and don't let it glob in the corners. Nathan kept commenting on how I was "globbing"!

Note the globbing.

Let it dry overnight or for about 8 hours, then peel off the tape gently.

Voila! Put your frame together and admire you work.

Friday, August 10, 2012

New Smoothie Trick!

A few weeks ago I posted my Chocolate Banana Spinach Smoothie recipe. It's absolutely delicious and Nathan enjoys it almost it everyday! 

But, I'm not a chocolate person. I needed a fun way to add some flavor to my smoothies without being hugely caloric (Cough cough peanut butter) or expensive. 

Enter strawberry fruit bars. They are perfect!

I prepared my smoothie as I normally do-- milk, spinach, frozen strawberries, frozen bananas-- then I added in the fruit bars. Yes, I took them off the stick.

It was so delicious. The bars added just enough flavor and at 80 calories, I feel OK about adding that to my smoothie! 

Oh-- I used our Organic Skim Milk (Click here to read more on our organic journey) and couldn't taste a difference. :) Looks like we'll be buying that from now on

Enjoy! xO

Five Question Friday

I've never done "Five Question Friday" but it seemed kind of fun today! Plus, lot of my blogging friends do it so I must join along.

1. What's your favorite childhood snack that you still eat as an adult?

Cinnamon Poptarts? I don't eat them often, it's probably been a year or so but I like them.

2. What food will you not eat the low fat version of?

I eat the low fat version of just about everything, but probably White Cheddar Cheese-Its. Nathan got them for me at a pit stop on our way to DC and they were horrible!

3. What are you doing to stay cool in this awful heat?

We don't take the dogs out for too long during the day. It's simply too hot. I have a smoothie for lunch most days and that cools things off a lot!

4. What's your favorite summer read?

I will read anything but I love old classics..Mark Twain, Catcher in the Rye, Scarlet Letter, and 1984.

5. What's your biggest pet peeve?

Oh I have so many. I can't stand it when someone calls me and doesn't leave a voicemail. I most likely won't call you back because if you really needed me, you would have left a voicemail. I also can't stand when people yell and get annoyed with traffic or another driver! There is clearly nothing you can do, so what is yelling about it going to do?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chalkboard Frame Tutorial

If you've seen the tour of our apartment, you've seen my chalkboard. It's certainly nothing fancy, but it works for us.

I made it for our wedding and was never sure if I would actually use it in our home, but I'm glad I decided to keep it.

Cute right? I bought an easel from JoAnn's (there are some cheap ones on Amazon), but it's not necessary to have an easel for your chalkboard. You can always hang it up!

Gather your materials
:: Large frame or large picture with frame*. (Target sells cheap frames and cheap art, that's where I got mine). 
:: Chalkboard paint (Don't get the spray paint kind)
:: Brush(s)
:: Chalk
:: Newspaper

*When I say a large frame, I mean literally buy a picture frame and you'll be painting the glass. OR you can buy a piece of cheap art (Thrift Store, Good Will, Target, etc and paint over the canvas.

Let's get started
:: Cover your work area with lots of newspaper. You don't want a mess!
:: Clean or wipe off your frame. Let dry completely.
:: If you can, take the outside frame off. You don't want chalkboard paint on your beautiful frame!
:: Start painting. Use clean lines vertically or horizontally. Don't make crazy designs, just get it done.
:: Let dry and do another coat. And another, if you wish.
:: Let dry overnight or for about 8 hours.
:: Before you draw on your chalkboard, be sure to color over it completely in one solid color. This way, your first drawing won't be etched in forever. Wipe away (use water if you want) and you're good to draw!

Some tips
:: You can paint a fresh coat on your chalkboard every few months if you wish. Mine got scratched and I'd like to give it a fresh coat pretty soon.
:: I wipe my chalkboard clean using a damp paper towel, then a dry paper towel. Sometimes the paper towel turns dark (like I'm talking the paint off), but I don't really panic. It could just use a fresh coat soon!
:: Colored chalk is at Staples for $1.27. :)

I hope this tutorial helps you out! Be sure to comment below if you have any questions!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


That, my friends, is Oreo's beloved toy Smurf. We're not 100% where Smurf came from, but we think I bought him when we first got Oreo (from PetsMart).

Oreo carries Smurf with him everywhere we go. He wants to take him when we go for walks but is finally catching on that toys do not come on walks with us.

When people come over, he gets so excited that he has to show them his Smurf. When hubby & I get home from a date night, he has to show us Smurf. Oreo loves that little guy a lot.

And it shows.

Poor Smurf has been sewed up more times than I can count. Back home I had a neighbor sew up Smurf at least 4 times and when Nathan's sister visited, she sewed him up too!

He smells horrible, but I'm afraid to wash him. I'm afraid he'll just disintegrate in the wash and poor Oreo will not have his favorite toy anymore.

I'm not even sure what Smurf is. At one time, he had a large nose, legs, and a tail, but I'm not sure what's what anymore.

So here's the problem:
We cannot (for the life of us) find a replacement Smurf. I've check PetSmart, PetCo, Pet Supermarket, Target, and even grocery stores. I've even tried googling "Blue animal dog toy" with no luck. My next idea is to search Amazon and eBay. Any other suggestions for me?

Have you ever had a similar issue? Feel free to share your story in the comments section below.

Peace Lily Care & My Experience

Clearly I'm no plant expert, but I've kept this Peace Lily alive and that counts for something!

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would blog about how I care for my peace lily. Unlike my 4 orchids, my peace lily survived for almost 3 years! Unfortunately when we moved we couldn't take her, so we replaced her. 

I love Peace Lilies because they are so easy. It's one type of plant that requires no thought. (Unlike my Violet, but I'll post about Sharon later). 

Oh, and NASA says Peace Lilies are good house plants because they clean your air and rid it of toxins. Sounds good to me. :)

Peace Lilies should get indirect sunlight. Don't keep your Peace Lily in a window (unless you live in Washington state). If the tips of the leaves turn yellow, that means your Peace Lily is getting too much light (and not enough water).

Water your plant when it "tells" you-- when it droops, or about once a week. You should water it when the soil is dry or crunchy until the soil is nice and moist. Peace Lilies prefer to drink a lot less often than little sips each day. You can spritz the leaves of your Peace Lily during the hot summer months if you'd like, but it's not completely necessary.

Because the soil is too high in my pot, I have to water my plant differently. It's definitely not as messy, but it's not the ideal way to water. I water the tray and the plant sucks it up. 

If your leaves are turning yellow, that means your Peace Lily needs more water (or that it's getting too much sun). If your leaves are brown, that means you're overwatering. 

Keep your Peace Lily inside. The perfect temperature is between 65-78 degrees. Peace Lilies are very sensitive to cold. In the winter, you might not even need to water yours as much! 

Nope! It's not necessary. 

Have any questions specifically about your Peace Lily? Be sure to comment below!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Best Day Ever-- Our Table Pad Arrived!

Today is a great day. Our custom table pad finally arrived! I've complained about our lack of one here-- it's quite embarrassing having a beach towel on your dining room table for 7 weeks! 

It weighed 19 pounds. Cocoa is not a fan of large boxes! 

Like how we have a giant quilt sprawled out in our living room? That was from movie night last night. I spot cleaned it and it's "drying". Yeah, sorry.

Oreo was so excited he brought his favorite toy out, Smurf!

We used Custom Table Pads and I definitely recommend them. It took just as long as I expected (and they warned me)-- 6-7 weeks. I was shocked with the price of almost $300. But, it was a necessary item and it does its job.

When Nathan opened it I had a slight fear it wouldn't fit our table. Luckily it fit quite nicely (it still slides around if I push hard enough) so I'm a happy camper. 

Ta da! 

Did I mention Cocoa hates large scary boxes?

Monday, August 6, 2012

I've Become "That" Lady

Yup, never thought I'd see the day. That's organic 100% whole grain Quinoa, organic skim milk, and organic, farm fresh, free range eggs. Those dumb eggs costs $2.75. For six.

I'm not going all crazy, I just thought we'd give it a shot. Try everything out. See if it's worth the money. No, we haven't tried anything yet but I'll be sure to report how everything tastes.

Let's go through these items one by one:

The eggs. The eggs themselves have a story. I see the Amish people selling these eggs every Tuesday at the farmer's market. At almost $3 for a half dozen (Three times what I usually spend on a dozen), they weren't on the top of my "to-buy" list. Then one of my Facebook friends mentioned how much she loved farm fresh, free range, organic eggs.

So the following Tuesday I mentioned to Nathan that I was going to try the eggs (6, In case we didn't like them) and we'd have them for dinner that night. We got our bags and headed to the market. We're literally in front of the Amish egg-selling woman and Nathan says "$5.75 for a dozen? You aren't going to get those, right?". Are you kidding? I had talked the boy's ear off for a week about these eggs. So I got defensive and said "No, let's go". We left. Without my eggs.

We walked home in silence and I was annoyed because we had nothing for dinner. Awesome. When we got home (Eggless. Did I mention that?), Nathan said he was going for a run. He came back 30 minutes later with my eggs and Chick Fil A! Did I mention I love that boy?

I don't know what to expect from this but if it tastes anything like the Silk Vanilla Soy Milk, we're doomed. 

Quinoa is delicious! Luckily I've tried quinoa, but haven't cooked with it recently. I know it's not as starchy (obviously) as rice or couscous, but it's still pretty tasty. I've never tried organic quinoa, but I can't imagine it tasting that different. We'll see, I guess. 

Wish me luck in our new adventure! xO

PS-- If you have any recipes that use these foods, feel free to share them! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Closet Makeover

I wish I had a before picture for this! I know I sent one to my MIL but I cannot find it for the life of me. Oh well. The point is, this closet has improved 100%.

Before I show you the pictures, I guess you should know what this closet is used for. It's in our office, so it holds all things work related (besides my filing cabinet, planner, and home binder), my comforter bags (more info. on those here), sports stuff, and random holiday stuff. It's basically an organized mess with a bunch of randomly organized things in it.. but it works (for now).

I guess I forgot to mention I am a slight hoarder when it comes to cards. That's what the 2 black shoe boxes are holding. The pink one holds loose photos that are not framed or in albums/scrapbooks. My scrapbooking stuff is shoved in the corner, and a few games are up there, too. 

The two boxes on the right are filled with holiday stuff. This is not all my Christmas stuff, just random favorite holiday decorations. The clear box holds games/toys and other misc. items that we'll either donate at the end of the year or use as gifts for little kids/cousins.

This is probably my least favorite area because it's the least organized, and it's the most important stuff. (Do you see my Health Binder in there?)

I can't stand that these are sitting on the floor-- one basket for dry cleaning and one for ironing. It's all the works and it works for now!

We bought this gigantic storage shelving unit when Nathan's parents were here. Above is my sewing machine and all the gift wrap decor I use.

I have no idea why this picture is crooked! Here's the "mini" version of the shelving unit above. We got it from Target (about $20). The bottom shelf is random office supplies but the top two are my extra household supplies. 

Notice the 2 rolls of paper towels? Those are the last paper towels we'll be using for a while! We're going to try and live without them for 1 month. What are your thoughts on this?

Hope you're having a great night! What do you think of my closet organizational skills? Comment below! xO