Friday, August 31, 2012

Roasted Veggies

Do you ever roast vegetables? 
It brings out so much flavor and almost any vegetable can be roasted. Jeff is not a HUGE fan of cooked veggies unless they are steamed very crisp but something about a roasted veggie, the texture doesn't bother him. 
Reed’s absolute favorite vegetable is sweet potatoes! They are always the first thing he eats first on the plate. I get very excited when he LOVES healthy foods so much! He even requested them for his birthday dinner! When he was a baby, I roasted them plain and then pureed them and he has loved them ever since he started baby food. As he got a little older, I made them a little more sophisticated by roasting them with olive oil and seasoning. Although sweet potatoes are traditionally thought of as a fall/winter vegetable, I make these year round since they are readily available and Reed & Jeff gobble them up!

Jeff ran to the grocery store on Sunday morning to pick up a few things for me and discovered Japanese Sweet Potatoes. Have you ever heard of these? I had never heard or seen them before. Their skin is a dark red and the flesh is white! He was at Whole Foods where they have an “Ande’s”  rating on produce and the Japanese versions were even higher in nutrition than our regular American sweet potato so he got one in addition to the regular sweet potato for Reed to try. On a side note, it was really cute how excited he was when he got home talking about that rating scale and how into healthy foods he has become. He told me how much he loves that store (we didn’t have one closer than 45 min when we lived in IL so it was a thrill to find one just down the road from us now that we do our weekly shopping at). When the whole family is on board with eating well, it just make it more enjoyable, doesn’t it?

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

(this method works well with most other vegetable too-just have to vary cooking time depending on the hardness of the vegetable)
Roasted Sweet Potatoes 1
peel, cut and chop into 1 inch pieces
drizzle with olive oil and your favorite seasoning and toss to coat
(yes, there is my favorite scampi blend I ALWAYS use)
Roast at 375 for 25-35 min until starting to brown and are tender
Roasted Sweet Potatoes 2

Well, the Japanese Sweet Potatoes were a hit and frankly I think I like them better than the American version. 

If you see these in the grocery store, I hope you will give them a try!

Home should be the safest place on earth…
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Investing in quality is green living

I have been relishing in the fact that the outdoor flameless candles I thought  were a bit of a splurge from Restoration Hardware last holiday season have turned out to be a great investment since they are still going strong on the same batteries.
I put these out last November and loved the welcoming glow at night of the lanterns on the porch so much, I removed the ornaments and kept just the flameless candles in after the holiday season.
Exterior Lanterns
They have been on a timer the whole time so they come on and go off every night. Here we are at the end of August and they are STILL going strong…
Exterior Flameless 
It goes without saying that reusing or repurposing goods is a nod for sustainable living, but have you ever thought about when you do purchase an item, investing in quality is living green as well? If you buy cheap products that will not last you will end up creating more garbage from replacing and it will cost you more money in the long run than if you just spent a little more up front?

I love my flameless candles from QVC, but they do cost me a fortune in batteries…They last a month or two at the most for the same “run time” as these from Restoration Hardware. So guess where I will be purchasing my future flameless from???

Investing in quality is living green and saves you some “green” too!!! :)

And come to think of it…whenever I have spent the extra and gotten what I really want, rarely do I regret the purchase and am pleased for many, many years so I have no desire to replace it.

Home should be the safest place on earth…
Do you want your home to be non-toxic, yet clean?  Shaklee’s products do just that. They are the BEST I have ever used. Try the Shaklee Difference for yourself!!!
To find out more, please email me:

Monday, August 27, 2012

How I organize my makeup

How was your weekend? Ours was only about the kids…

Jeff brought up the space-bag stored baby clothes from the basement so I could sort and start washing everything. It was fun to see again all the sweet clothes we had from when Reed was a baby and how tiny they seem. It’s amazing how fast they grow! :)

The crib is all put together and Jeff installed shelving into a tv armoire we were turning into a clothing armoire for the nursery only to realize that the nursery felt just too cramped for all this furniture we intended for it. :( We had to rethink what we are going to put in the room. Stay tuned…

At least I feel like we have the bare necessities covered if baby comes sooner than expected.
I started on the crib skirt yesterday and have it almost done so I will show you that soon.

And, we also had to get real serious about the potty training…Reed showed interest at 2 so we have been doing it for over a year now…he was a little young so we didn’t hard-core push him and he would go whenever we put him on the potty-but was not too interested in going on his own. With all the changes we had this year…I have kinda dragged my feet about getting to it but the time has come. It’s painful, let me tell you.
Any tips you have for success, please share…

So, how about a quick little project that I did that makes such a difference getting ready and keeping my bathroom drawer tidy, organizing my makeup!

Remember my new little chest of drawers in the bathroom I shared {here}?

Here is how I use the top drawer

Before we moved, I did heavily purge my makeup-I had so much that I never wore or was past it’s prime.
I found some great storage pieces at The Container Store, but the drawer is just a smidge to shallow for anything they had to “maximize” the drawer space.  I actually found this one at Target and it’s expandable. I think I am going to pick up some skinny containers now to fill in the back for some of my extra brushes.
Organize Makeup

This is how I “categorized” my makeup:

Eyeliner, lash primer, mascara and curler together
All face makeup-foundation, powder, shimmer, blush
Blog Pics-Master 024

All lip liners, glosses
Sharpeners and concealers
All primers for face and eyes
Large area for my eye shadow palettes (btw, have you tried the “Naked” eye shadow palettes from Urban Decay? LOVE, LOVE, LOVE)
Blog Pics-Master 025

So, what does your makeup drawer look like? How do you organize?

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Lamps = My Sanity

TGIF! It has been the longest, yet fastest week, is that possible??? Been busy unpacking and doing laundry from our trip. Everything takes me way longer to get done these days…not to mention the middle of the night insomnia that has been plaguing me this week so I have been spending most of my “free time” {aka when Reed is sleeping} trying to catch up on some sleep, myself. This is not helping the nursery project whatsoever! We are down to 5 weeks and have pretty much gotten nothing done. I am tempted at this point to just buy everything retail…I am just asking to “go early” not having anything done aren’t I? This weekend we need to buckle down.

Anyway, enough of my pregnancy pity party…I wanted to share with you some new lamps I got when we moved into this home.
Blog Pics-Master 006
I have been really liking the wall-mounted lamps for quite some time, but in our previous home, it was just one of those things to put on the someday list. When we moved into this home, we have very limited wall space which causes 2 different height night tables since we don’t have enough wall space for our furniture. My side is the traditional height and Jeff’s uses his bachelor’s chest dresser. The lamps being drastic heights made me insane every time I walked into the room, so I knew it was time to get the wall-mount lamps, it was for my sanity, afterall, LOL!
Blog Pics-Master 018 You can see here the height difference of the tables. This way, now at least the lamps are the same height and we love that they can swing to just the right spot for reading.
the box for these lamps was soooooo big, Reed got a good ‘ole fashioned fort out of it that we decorated with markers (this was just the first day…the art on the fort has covered the whole box)!
Blog Pics 001 
 Blog Pics 002
See, everyone benefited from these new lamps!

Monday, August 20, 2012

How to create a family tree

Hi there-hope you had a great weekend!  We flew back to IL for a few days to celebrate Jeff’s Grandpa’s 90th birthday! How incredible…

I mentioned last week…what do you get someone who is 90? I had seen family tree ideas in Martha Stewart’s Living a couple years ago and always thought what a nice idea to make for someone. I knew this is what I wanted to make for him to celebrate his birthday as his family is everything to him and he is so proud of the family he & his late wife created. That’s the focus I used on this particular family tree…the “family” started with their marriage rather than his ancestors, but you can design it any way you want with this layout.
Family Tree 003 I started with this family tree template from {here} and brought the saved pdf to a copy shop to enlarge to 16x20. I typed out all the names on the computer because I wanted to use a pretty script rather than my handwriting. Then, instead of using the labels that were included with the tree template, I used a decorative punch for each name. And the last touch was to outline each label in gold.
Family Tree 007
Family Tree 008
I even like the slight imperfection of the gold outline to show it's handmade quality. :)
I put it in a really nice frame and bubble-wrapped the heck out of it to transport it on the plane and thankfully, it arrived undamaged!

I made a gift tag out of green faux bois paper with ‘happy birthday’ in a pretty script stamped in gold.
Family Tree 019
Family Tree 017
He seemed really touched with the gift and that I was the one that made it for him. He is such a wonderful and inspiring man so it was my pleasure to make him something to show our love!

I am pretty happy with how it turned out. The only thing I would of liked to change is the quality of the paper. The copy place’s printer wouldn’t read the file for a printer that would use my paper…whatever that was about…

Friday, August 17, 2012

His very own backpack

I was browsing the latest issue of PB Kids a couple weeks ago and they had all the back to school supplies featured. When I saw they had a "preschool” size backpack, I thought what a great idea to get one for Reed to carry his toys on for our upcoming air travel for Jeff’s Grandpa’s 90th birthday party, not to mention he could use it when he goes to Preschool.
The next morning while we ate breakfast, I tried to explain what a backpack was and his first question was, “can I put toys in it?”. Yes, this is going to work out good. I told him he could put all the toys that he could carry in there for the trip. I pulled up the website and showed him his different style choices. The shark was the 3rd choice and as soon as he saw it, he said he wanted it, but I made him look at the other few just to be sure…he was. We had it embroidered with his name and I can’t tell you how excited & proud this kid is about it! He looks so “grown up” wearing it when he was modeling it for his dad. It brought a tear to my eyes how fast he has grown and made me realize what a hot mess I am going to be when he goes to school. When we run errands, he even likes to toss a few things in it to bring in the car.  This is working out better than I imagined. Usually the toys end up in my handbag…

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Need some new dinner ideas?

I am kinda a recipe junkie,  probably why I had to do this {project}. I am always on the lookout for a delicious new dish to try. Recently, I made these three new recipes that I found to be quite delicious and worth adding to the dinner rotation.

These first two I found on Pinterest:

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Zuchinni sausage boats
Mine were not as “skinny” as the recipe calls for since I decided to use Italian sausage instead of the chicken sausage the recipe calls for. Great way to use up all that crazy abundance zucchini from the garden!

Greek Tortilla Sandwich
Greek tortilla
I just don’t buy pre-made dressings so I made my own “greek vinagrette” with red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, pinch of dried oregano, salt & pepper.
I was skeptical on how this would turn out since when I was making it I noticed the feta doesn’t melt like other cheeses, but the flavors were fantastic so if you don’t expect it to be all “melty” like a quesadilla, I think you will sure enjoy!

And this third one I saw watching a recent Barefoot Contessa episode, “Buon Appetito”.

Barefoot Contessa’s Weeknight Bolognese
BC Bolognese
For our meal, I used my great cooking dairy substitute (unsweetened coconut milk b/c it doesn’t impart the “coconut” flavor but still gives a richness to food) instead of the heavy cream, added the parmesan cheese after I took out a few portions for Reed and left out the last addition of wine at the end since I am still pregnant & for Reed’s sake since that last bit of alcohol wouldn’t “cook off”. It still has a cup of wine in it so I didn’t think it lost any flavor. I used a Tempranillo which is an earthy, dry red wine(I only use wine I would drink for cooking-if you wouldn’t drink it, why would you want your food to taste like it? Don’t confuse this with my using an expensive bottle of wine, it doesn’t have to be expensive to taste good). Pefect for a bolognese dish. Jeff has been enjoying the rest of the bottle…sniff sniff

Soon, Heather, soon. Really, I am not even a huge drinker, but I really miss the booze this pregnancy.  Jeff justs laughs how much I crave it this time. It’s not really funny! LOL!

***also I would cut back the crushed red pepper to 1/8 tsp if you are serving to kids who don’t like spicy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Healthy Start

Hi there. This week is flying by already…finishing up a 90th birthday party present that I hope to share with you next week. Like seriously, what do you get someone who is 90? I thought something that celebrated his life and was handmade with love would be appropriate.
Just thought I would share how we’ve been starting our mornings.
Healthy Start
I just thought this produce looked so beautiful sitting in my cute ceramic colander after being rinsed. I eat mine with coconut milk yogurt and granola and Reed just eats his straight with Joe’s O’s cereal or pancakes/waffles. We are trying to get our fill of fresh organic berries before they are out of season.
So, what do you eat for breakfast? Do you get in at least a serving of fruit?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A little Christmas decorating…

Yes, you read that right…in August.  I am one of those people…thinking about Christmas decor in the summer. These just arrived on my doorstop. I saw these from Restoration Hardware last Christmas and always liked them and then recently saw they were on clearance…I was very tempted…
RH Metal Stars
But, it’s when I saw this Pin last week, that’s when I decided to order them. They are sold in sets of 2, so I got 3 sets to give me flexibility in how to use them year after year.
Star garland
I love the idea of them dangling from the garland!
I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those type of little village houses. Anyone know where I can find some? Etsy?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Finding a chair and nursery progress

How was your weekend? 
We ventured to Ikea Saturday morning which was not as successful of a trip as I had hoped. The fabric I talked about {here} has been discontinued but then I saw another smaller check in the new catalog. It was sold out and they don’t do fabric online sales, plus I would like to see it before I would buy cut yardage. Grrrr. I did find a buffalo check twin duvet cover there that I was told is the same fabric I originally went there for so I picked at least that up because I am not opposed to taking that apart to sew a crib skirt. The bright side is it was even less expensive for more yardage than if I had bought it by the yard. Just not 100% sure it’s right, so I am still looking and getting a a wee bit frazzled that time is ticking (8 weeks left) away. The other main reason we went there was to get Reed a new chair for his room since we will be moving the glider into the nursery very soon.
Here’s the Ektorp Jennylund chair I was hoping to get, but it’s quite a bit smaller than our current one and Jeff was like “no way him & Reed could both fit in there to read stories comfortably” and that was the whole point of us getting another chair. The other ones that were bigger were too big or in my opinion, just ugly. So, we struck out on the chair.
I have had my mind set on a slipcover because I really think they are the best! I like the casual, “cottage-y” look of them and they are so practical with the ease of washability. We have them on the family room sofa, chair and ottoman and I can’t tell you how many times just recently that the furniture was saved because I could toss them in the wash with my fabulous non-toxic Shaklee laundry detergent and Nature Bright laundry booster/stain remover. It even got out a red jelly bean stain!
Frustrated,  I sat down Saturday evening after Reed went to bed and scoured every source online I could think of to find another chair with a slipcover that would be about the same size as the one we had, but to stay within the target amount I had in mind. I don’t want to spend a small fortune on a chair for a kids room. Well, nothing fit the original parameters…Since I do try to live a more "green" lifestyle I absolutely did consider scouring all the antique/thrift stores near here and Craigslist to find a chair that fit the dimensions and then just get a slipcover made…but that can be a long process because it’s such a hit or miss and I do not have the energy or the time to use that as a valid option right now. So back to the drawing board.
Yesterday after cleaning out the room that will be the nursery, I sat down at the computer with a clear head to just look at everything since it was apparent I wasn’t going to get what I originally planned. I think I found a cute chair from Target that was just about the same dimensions and a great price! I think this will grow with him and isn’t too juvenile. I might just even be more excited about it than the slipcovered one…
Of course I had to order it online so you never know what it will be like in person, it has to look good and be fairly comfortable to snuggle up in. It’s faux leather (because no three year old should be trusted with a leather chair), so I hope it isn’t too cheap looking. I feel like faux leather has come a long way so I am keeping my fingers crossed! :)
I think it paired with the pouf I showed you {here} will be a nice textural compliment.

On a bright note (pun wasn’t intended ha ha), Ikea did surprise me with an orange throw for the nursery to cuddle up with on those middle of the night feedings. ritva-throw__0131583_PE277168_S4 
And, I picked up this rug last week for the nursery
Jeff and I spent about an hour and a half yesterday during Reed's nap going through all the extraneous stuff dumped into the nursery when the movers were here. Everything that is in there now, should be. We just need to get started on the projects for the room. We are using extra furniture we had that we weren’t otherwise needing and just re-imagining it for better use in the nursery. I am pretty excited about repurposing. I gave a makeover to Reed’s dresser {here}. It was Jeff’s childhood dresser, and so not pretty, but it was a study piece with dovetail drawers…it’s amazing what just paint & new handles can do (and down the roade the color can be changed with paint). Jeff’s Mom couldn’t believe that was the same dresser. I find that if I challenge myself to be creative and see how much I can re-imagine, I am so much happier with the results! I can’t wait to show you everything we have planned!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Food Gifts

I so love giving gifts of food that I have made from my own kitchen. Someday, I hope to do more from my own home grown garden bounty, once I get a garden again! Certainly the holidays are a common time to give gifts of food, but what about the garden plenty that is coming available right now at your farmer’s markets or in your own garden? Make some in your kitchen to give as a hostess gift for end of summer parties, a thank you gift for your neighbor who got your mail while you were away on vacation, someone who just had a baby or for just no reason at all. I think they are truly one of the most thoughtful gifts and appreciated more than you know. When we had Reed, our neighbor baked us a delicious loaf of bread and harvested veggies & herbs from her garden. I had never received anything like that before, and I was so touched. It truly showed how much she cared.

Some gifts I gave last year.
Food Gift5
The last of our tomato garden bounty. I talked about that here.

Food Gift6
Cookies & white chocolate lollipops that my friend Kelly & I made together as “Teacher” gifts where we used to work out together, sniff sniff (It was our 2nd annual bake-a-thon). I talked about them here.

Cocktail nuts
Spiced Cocktails Nuts, recipe here. (Make more than you want to give away, they are so good and Jeff was so sad there wasn’t many left over)

Homebaked bread 
Is there really much better than fresh-baked bread?

And just look at these delightful packaging ideas I have been pinning.

food gift 
food gift1
food gift2
food gift4

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vegetarian lunch

I forgot that I have made this salad two weeks in a row about a month ago (it’s that good and I think I will make it again next week) and hadn’t posted about it…
Mediterranean Salad
I am always looking for vegetarian options for our meals and to give some variety to Jeff’s lunches. I first made this for his lunch and couldn’t really assess how good it was because I made it on a Sunday night before bed and just put it in the fridge for him to take the next morning. You know how some things need to “season” awhile before you can tell if they are good or not? So I asked him when he got home Monday how it was and he said it was fantastic…so I tried it and he was right. I ate some of it that week myself and then made it again ALL for myself the following week. ha ha
I added mine into a warmed whole wheat pita because, well, I’m kind of obsessed with pitas these days (you can see my Margherita Pita Pizza recipe HERE)and it’s fun to eat it as more of a sandwich.
I got the recipe off Pinterest, of course! You can find the recipe HERE.

Linking up to:
33 Shades of Green-Tasty Tuesdays