Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Living Room Tour

Have I said before that I absolutely love decorating for Christmas!  I am so happy to decorate our living room this year now that the remodel is complete. It's so much fun having all of this extra space to decorate.  I purchased a few new items this year for this space. I have been collecting Christmas decorations for the last 18 years so there is a lot spread out all over the house.

I didn't get my Christmas pillows this year that I wanted but hopefully they will make a nice addition next year.  I did finally get my Pottery Barn stockings that I have been eyeballing for a couple of years now.  I didn't want to spend $30.00 each so when they went to 50% off I jumped all over them.

Just like my kitchen tree this tree is full of so many wonderful memories.  Now that my son is getting older I love looking back on all of the ornaments from when he was little.  There are even some from when I was little.

I have had this one for probably 35 years.  I can't believe it's held up so well.

This one was from when the hubs and I got married.  It was part of our wedding package.  We were married at the cutest little bed and breakfast in Michigan and spent out honeymoon traveling all of our Michigan.  My niece makes the joke that the only reason we got married there was because they gave me an ornament.  It was definitely an added bonus.

Look at that sweet little face it just melts my heart :)

This one I bought for my husband for his mother who passed away many years ago.  It's the only ornament that he actually puts on the tree.
This little girl doesn't like the noise from bringing everything in and out so she is staying as far away from the living room as she can.

Thanks for stopping by.  I have been working on our hot chocolate / coffee bar and will post an update on that soon.
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Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Kitchen Christmas Tree

There is nothing I love more than decorating my home for Christmas.  I truly am a Christmas freak.  Everyone in my family has figured out that my OCD is at it's greatest when it comes time to decorate the house and especially the Christmas Trees.  And Yes I said trees!  We have 3 up currently. If I didn't think my husband would have me committed I would put up even more.  The worst part is everything starts going up the day after Halloween.  The hubs though has forbidden me from putting up any outside decorations that early.  He said the neighbors don't need to know what a nut job I am.  Thanks Honey!  My favorite one of all of them, is the one that sits in my kitchen. It's my favorite little corner and I love that it's right next to me as I do all of my baking.

 I started doing this tree about 3 years ago.  I found a 5.5 ft. tall tree on clearance just before Christmas at Target for $25.00.  I couldn't resist and had to have it.  I originally wanted a flocked tree but those were quite a bit more and couldn't bring myself to spend the money.  Instead I opted for a few cheap cans of the flocking and did it myself.  It doesn't have quite the same look but I didn't really care it was close enough and a quarter of the cost.  I was just happy that it wasn't a stark green tree anymore. This tree sits by our patio door which I love because as I bake in the kitchen I can stare at it.  When I first started this tree I bought a bunch of ornaments from Sur La Table as it was close to Christmas so they were having a really good sale.  I then opted to make a few of the ornaments myself. 
This one was the easiest one of all to make.  I found these faux cupcakes at Hobby Lobby.  I believe they were $10.00 and came in a pack of 2.  I purchased some very small eye hooks placed them into the top and attached a hanger. They also have some cute faux strawberries that I plan to use to make some faux chocolate covered strawberry ornaments.
I stumbled upon a tutorial for cupcake ornaments.  These are just Styrofoam balls covered in modge podge, sprinkled with fake snow and then glued into a foil cupcake liner.  Make sure you don't use a paper liner or the glue will seep through and it won't hold up the same as the foil ones.  I then snipped off a berry stem from inserted it into the top with some bakers twine.  I made large and smaller ones.  These are great to give as gifts and are super cute. 

This is the most recent addition.  We picked him up at Pikes Market in Seattle while we there over Thanksgiving.  I make a point to pick up an ornament every where we go.  I love this because as we put the trees up every year we can look back on all of the great trips we have taken over the years.  I also make a point to pick up an ornament that signifies something new we have done that year.  This year I picked up Santa and his elves in a raft for our white water rafting trip we took over the summer. 
Here are a few that we picked up last year on a trip to Michigan.  We visited this little town that we love called Frankenmuth.  It just happens to be the home of Bronners which is the largest Christmas store I have ever seen.  The hubs says it's the mother ship to my people.  I can't lie I feel like a 5 year old in a candy store when I get in there.  My husband is originally from Michigan so I beg like crazy every time we go to visit Bronners.  Hopefully we will be making another trip there next summer.


Thanks for stopping by I will be sharing a lot of more of my Christmas decorations and baking real soon. 
Christine :)

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Lemon Cake with a Lemon Glaze


My husband loves all things lemon and for years bugged me to find a lemon cake recipe.  Not being a huge fan of lemon I didn't really care to find one.  One year he was working out of town in Colorado for a month and was coming home right after Father's Day.  I decided to try and find a lemon cake to make for him.  I stumbled across a few recipes but they were just so elaborate I just didn't have the time.  I headed to the store and found a boxed lemon cake mix.  Then I spotted the supreme lemon frosting but I decided I want something with more of a glaze texture so I decided to experiment a little..

First I started off baking the cake per the box directions and poured it into a fluted pan.

Once the cake is done let cool for about 5 minutes and transfer to a plate or cake stand lined with parchment paper.

I then placed the jar of frosting in the microwave and heated it up for about 20 seconds.  The frosting should be nice and runny.  I then slowly drizzled the frosting over the cake with a spoon.  I like to slowly do this a little at a time so the frosting has a chance to absorb into the cake a little.  What's nice about this recipe is you don't have let the cake cool very long and if you are impatient like me that is an amazing thing. I like to use the entire can of frosting so that it's completely covered and then carefully remove the wax paper.


I hope you try these super easy recipe and enjoy it as much as my family does.  It is so moist and delicious and just the right amount of lemon flavor.

Thanks for stopping by Christine:)

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Smores Pie

My boys love desserts.  Before my husband came along my son only had dessert on special occasions.  Well a Tuesday night is reason enough for my husband so we now have dessert quite often.  Sometimes there just isn't enough time so there is nothing I love more than a quick dessert that only has a few ingredients.  I was looking on line for some ideas and came across one for a Smores pie.  It had a lot of ingredients so I started trying to find a way to simplify it.  I came up with the recipe below.

1 premade graham cracker pie shell
1 2.1 oz jello chocolate pudding mix (I like the sugar free kind)
3 cups of cold milk
1 carton of cool whip
1 package of mini marshmellows

First prepare the chocolate pudding mix as directed.  Let pudding sit in the refrigerator until set.  Approx. 10-20 minutes. This step is hard for me as I am very impatient. Once the pudding is set gently fold in 2 cups of cool whip until completely combined. 

Fill the pie shell with all of the pudding mixture and sprinkle mini marshmellows on top.

  I took the torch that came from my Crème Brulee set and burnt the top of the marshmellows.  Be careful not to touch the pudding,  Once done place back in the refrigerator until time to serve. 
The boys loved this pie so much I caught my husband sitting on the couch with the half the piece in the pie plate and a fork.  Then he said if you want to make this again soon go right ahead.  Gavin asked me when I was opening my own bakery because he wants a job as a taste tester.

Thanks for stopping by Christine

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

An Unexpected Bathroom Remodel

Originally we had planned to hold off on remodeling the bathrooms until after the holidays as we have tackled several projects this year.  Then we discovered a leak in the wall behind the vanity which forced us into a bathroom remodel.  At first we were just going to remodel the vanity area but after seeing it finished we are so in love with it that within the next couple of weeks we are going to replace the shower tile and refinish the bathtub.

Below is a before and after from when I painted the walls in a blue / grey color and the cabinets in espresso.  This was a temporary fix until we could afford to fully remodel the space.

We decided to keep the espresso color when we ordered the new cabinetry.  The hubs designed the cabinet with a trash can pull out and more drawer space.  The medicine cabinet I saw on Pinterest and asked him to copy it. 
The countertop is a granite called Café Crème and the backsplash tile along with sink, faucet and light fixture all came from Lowes.  I love the way it looks far and am so excited to get the shower done.  The backsplash tile will extend through the shower along with some beautiful tumbled travertine tile.

Stay tuned for pictures on the completed bathroom.
Christine :)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Living Room Update

I can't believe our living room is finally finished.  This project seems like it took forever and was definitely the longest most stressful of all so far.  Here is a before shot from before we moved in.

Like every other room in this house the first project we tackled was to paint the entire room.  We even painted the fireplace since we hated the red brick.

This bought us some time until we could afford to tackle this project. We knew it would be expensive and time consuming. To save money my husband built the mantle himself and did most of the prep work himself.  He wanted the TV mounted above the fireplace so he ran all of the wiring and installed the TV mount.  The installer also suggested that we cover the existing brick with the new stone.

I was planning on going with a cultured stone but once the hubs took one look at the display of the natural limestone he was hooked.  We had multiple delays due to problems with the quarry.  But once it was finally complete we replaced the carpet in the room. Once that was finished the hubs moved onto designing and order the built ins to go on either side of the fireplace.  Those took quite a while as the cabinet supplier was extremely back up but in the end it's absolutely beautiful and I love it.

The mantle since my husband made it with left over material and stain from the kitchen cabinets only cost us about $4.00.  You can't beat that price and it's exactly what I wanted. 

It's such a drastic change from the before picture.  I have so much more storage and more space display things I can't wait to decorate the area for Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by
Christine :)

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Minion Cupcakes

For my Nephew Jaycers 6th birthday party he requested Minion Cupcakes.  I made these for my son's birthday last year after a trip to Universal Studios.  He became completely obsessed with all of the Minion desserts that were all over the place.  So I already knew what I was going to need. 

I first baked the cupcakes and while they were cooling I prepped the minions.  I started with unwrapping the smarties candies and remove all of the white ones and placed them in a separate bowl.  I then took 12 of the twinkies and cut them in half.  This required buying two boxes of the twinkies.  I placed them on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

I then took the black gel and put a small dab on the back side of the white smarties and arranged the eyes using the black gel as a glue to keep the eyes in place.
I used the same gel to outline the candies making them look like their googles and straps down the sides.  I piped small dots in the center and sides of the candies to make the eye or eyes and piped the mouths.
I then took the white icing and tinted it blue.  I fitted a zip loc bag with a large star tip and filled it with the icing.  I piped a small spot in the center of each cupcake as a glue to hold the Minions in place.  I piped the outer edge of the cupcakes and set the Minions in the center. I forgot to pick up chocolate sprinkles but if you wanted to you could insert a few into the tops to look like hair. 
Happy Birthday Jaycers I hope you love your cupcakes from Auntie Tine.
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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Guest Bathroom Update

We knew when we bought this home both of the bathrooms would need to be completed gutted.  We also knew it would be one of the last projects we would do as there are other rooms that need to be addressed first.  This was driving me nuts so I decided to at least give our guest bathroom a minor makeover.  When we bought the house all of the rooms were painted very odd colors the bathroom was no different.  It had sort of  pink shade of paint and matching tile.

 My husband had his heart set on the tile that looks like wood flooring.  I often refer to my husband as Mr. Tightwad but not in this case.  Even though I work in the construction industry and was able to take advantage of a lot of discounts it was still pretty expensive.  We decided to extend the tile into the bathroom since it's right off the main living area.  I knew eventually we would replace the cabinetry with espresso cabinets so I decided to try and paint the existing cabinets.  This way at least when guests come to visit they aren't looking at the old worn out walnut cabinets when they use that bathroom.  The hubs took all of the doors, hinges and drawers off.  We used a sanding sponge and lightly sanded everything down.  These cabinets are over 30 years old so the finish was pretty worn off already.  Thank goodness because I hate sanding.  While everything was drying I decided to paint the room as well.  It's primarily my son's bathroom who is currently in the teenage everything needs to be black or grey phase.  We found a compromise and went with a blue grey color.  I feel like just in changing the few things that we did it drastically changed the look of the bathroom and bought us some time until we are ready to completely gut it.

I love the way it all looks for now but I can't wait until we can completely update it.  We have a lot of great ideas for granite countertops and a really nice tile backsplash.  So stay tuned for more updates!