Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Willow Wednesday

Just me and my toy, hanging out in a sunbeam.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

To Dos This Weekend - 2/25-26

D is out of town this weekend.  He is having a mini-reunion with some his Army buddies.  I decided to stay home so they can tell their war stories and stay up all night drinking while they reminisce about the good times and raise their glasses to their friends who didn't make it back.

This means I have the house to myself and I can do whatever I want!  OK, It really means I can get some projects done without anyone bothering me. :-) I think that is even better.
  1. Prime and paint trim in powder room
  2. Work on stripping the paint from the fireplace mantle
  3. Visit Lowes to check on tile
  4. Write blog post for next gallery wall item
  5. Write blog post for next construction project
  6. Take blog post photos
  7. See if I can build a special something for D
  8. Nap with Willow since D is out of town this weekend
  9. Shovel
Of course having the house to myself may end up meaning that I hang out on the couch with Willow watching movies and eating popcorn.  Will keep you posted.

Anything interesting on your weekend To Do lists?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Menu Plan - 2/23-29

This week's menu plan is a bit different since Hubs is going to be out of town for several days, I am going to be on my own.  That means I am going to be foraging a bit since cooking for one = lots of leftovers. So I only need to figure out what to cook twice in the next week.  It will be a nice break

Thursday:  Chipotle Burritos
Friday:  FITF
Saturday:  FITF
Sunday:  Crockpot Chicken
Monday:  Easy Crockpot Pulled Pork
Tuesday:  FITF
Wednesday:  FITF

Hope your menu plans come together as easily.

Do you have any recipes you want to recommend?  I am always on the lookout for new recipes to try.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Willow Wednesday

Don't I look lovely in my red jacket?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

From Freecycle to Fabulous Lamp

As I was scrolling through my Google Reader this post from Copy Cat Chic caught my eye. (I love that site! Reichel Broussard does the comparison shopping for you on home decor items. You should go check it out for yourself.)

The post in question white versions of these lamps.

The one on the left, the Robert Abbey Rico Espinet Fuzo Koffi Table Lamp, is a bit over $200. The copy cat, on the right, the Ashanti Table Lamp, is almost $100.

This is where it gets interesting…

Take a look at these ridges.

Don’t they look similar to the ridges on the lamps above? I thought so too.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

To Dos This Weekend: 2/18-19

For the first time in quite a while, we have no major plans this weekend.  No places to be. No people coming over.  No need to run around.  This means we, hopefully,will have plenty of time to make some progress on the myriad projects we have lingering around the house.

Getting projects done and taking a nap with the dog.  Willow loves naps.  She loves especially loves sleeping under a blanket with her nose under her paw.

So here is our list:
  1. Finish installing trim in the powder room (I am sure our guests love seeing the raggedy drywall at the top of the door when they need to use our loo.)
  2. Paint trim (Because nothing says "far from fabulous" like door trim and baseboards that only have a partial coat of primer on them.)
  3. Trim out "shelves" in powder room (Watch for a post on how I repurposed some drawers for some display/storage.)
  4. Write blog post for next project craft (It involves glass, hot and cold water and basically trying not to cut your finger off.)
  5. Write blog post for next construction project (Willow is a big fan of this one. She loves hanging out in the basement with me and all the cool smells down there.)
  6. Take blog post photos
  7. Nap with the dog :-) (She is such a good snuggler.)
  8. Read through the posts in my Google Reader  (When it no longer gives you a number but just has the 1000+, you know you haven't been keeping up.)
  9. Clean off my dresser and organize my jewelry  (I tend to just put all my jewelry in a bowl on my dresser and it just gets so disorganized. I need to put things away in their boxes, bags and drawers so that things are neat and tidy again.)
  10. Fire up the grill (Hubs and I have had a hankering from some good steak.)
  11. See if I can build a special something for Hubs (Sorry to be cryptic, but he may read this and I don't want to give away the surprise).
I am sure we will have a few more things to throw on the list before the weekend is over, but this is a good start.

What big, or little plans, do you have going on this weekend?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Menu Plan: 2/16-22

This week we are going to try to continue to make a dent in our 1/2 pig and 1/4 steer we ordered from a local farmer last summer.

We had become concerned about news reports related to our food supply (e coli in meats, salmonella in veggies, etc.) so we decided to get much more deliberate in choosing where we got our foods.  So we joined a CSA, buy many of our fruits and veggies from the farmers market and found a local farmer to supply us with our beef and pork.

If you are in West Michigan, I can recommend a couple of sources.  Interested in beef and pork that is mouth-wateringly good and priced very reasonably? I highly recommend contacting The Adela Rose Farm.  They also have chicken, though we haven't gotten any from them yet.  Their meats are processed at Byron Center Meats, a locally owned company with a great reputation.

Looking for a CSA?  Melody Bee Farms is again offering farm shares in 2012. They also have honey, beef, pork and chickens, though we haven't purchased any of these products from them yet.

Thursday:  Pork Milanese with side salad
Friday:  Out for dinner then going to this. I am so excited!
Saturday:  Grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon
Sunday:  Steaks with Hubs' famous "secret" marinade
Monday:  Orzo with sausage and peppers
Tuesday:  FITF (forage in the frige)
Wednesday:  FITF

What's on your menu plan this week? Any favorites that you want to share?

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Love a Gallery Wall & the 1st Pieces for Our Own Wall

I love gallery walls. Love them.Love them.Love them. Did I mention that I love gallery walls? I especially love ones that incorporate other pieces besides photographs, turning it from a picture wall into a view into the people who live there.

Photo Sources: 1. Domino Mag 2, 3 and 4: Pottery Barn

As part of the ongoing (never-ending) overhaul of the living room, I want a gallery wall.  We have the perfect space for it - a 12 foot expanse with nothing on it - and once I am done, it will look fabulous.  Or so I hope.

Over the next few weeks and months, I will be highlighting some of the art projects that will be hanging on our wall.  Starting with the framed coins.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

To Dos This Weekend: 2/11-12

This weekend is part fun and part work.

First the fun parts. 

It was Hubs' birthday on Wednesday.  He turned the Big Four-Oh! To celebrate such an auspicious occasion, I got him a home brewing kit from Mr. Beer as well as the makings for several batches of different beers.  He plans on whipping up his first batch on Saturday.  Will keep you posted on how it all turns out.

We are having a family dinner on Sunday to celebrate his birthday and my mom's birthday.  Her birthday was back in January but was out of town so we decided to combine the fun this weekend.  I am going to try my hand at making some bread on Saturday so we can have garlic bread on Sunday. Wish me luck. I have never had much luck with making my own bread.

Then there are the work parts.

Massive cleaning to prep for the party. Willow has decided that the unseasonable warm weather means she doesn't need her winter coat anymore. I swear I swiffer up the equivalent of a small Yorkie almost every day.

How does this one dog have so much fur? 

She must position herself so she has maximum sun exposure!

I think that question is one of the mysteries of the universe.

We also are going to try to hook up the new-to-us stereo system that my dad gave us in time for the party. It will be nice to have some music upstairs, finally. Though we have a few obstacles to overcome...including a fireplace between the receiver and one of the speakers.

Hope you all have a good weekend and make progress on your To Do lists.

Our Big List:
1.  (Attempt to) Make bread
2.  Make birthday cake
3. Pre-brown meatballs for birthday dinner
4. Make beer
5.  Remove dog hairs from house
6.  Birthday Dinner
7.  Take photos for blog post
8.  Menu plan
9. Write up blog post
10.  Grocery - going on Monday
11.  Laundry
12.  Try out my new bottle cutter
13.  Shoveling

14.  Hook up new to us stereo system my dad gave us.  We now have music upstairs! Wahoo!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Menu Plan for February 9 to 15

I plan our weekly menu differently than most folks in that our menu week actually begins mid-week.  Hubs has class on Tuesday and Wednesday nights so I use Thursday as the "beginning" of my week when it comes to my menu planning. 

Thursday:  Crockpot Bacon and Cheese Chicken
Friday:  Chipotle Burritos
Saturday:  Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef
Make the Strawberry Cake and Frosting
Sunday: Homemade meatballs with canned homemade marinara sauce served over rigatoni, side salad and garlic bread. Strawberry cake for dessert (we are celebrating Hubs' and my mom's birthday)
Monday:  Crockpot BBQ Pork
Tuesday: FITF (Forage in the Fridge)
Wednesday: FITF

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Asking for Your Feedback on Merging Blogs...

Source: Microsoft Clipart
I also have another blog, mainly a cooking blog, called About a Bit of Everything.  But once we moved to Michigan and we started working on the house, I just wasn't able to keep it up.  Trying to post to two blogs with limited time just wasn't happening. 

However, since Hubs and I still love to cook and bake and putter about the kitchen and fire up the grill, I am thinking of importing all the posts from that blog into this one, and then adding some recipes to the post mix. I am thinking that this could be a good thing. Since it would add some more dimension to the blog and maybe give some more insight into our personalities.  Plus, it would be a reason to use more chocolate! That is never a bad thing, right?

What do my, few, readers think?  Would a few recipes thrown into the mix be a good thing or bad thing?  Or would it not really matter at all?

I would love to know what you think.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Valentine Pillow

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.  While I am not a full-on “decorate the whole house for every holiday” person, I do like to put a few items out and about.

I ran into a few problems with Valentine's Day though.  I am not a huge fan of hearts, I am not a big fan of pale pink and red isn't a color we use much of in our house.  So I knew that I would have to get creative.  And go bright with some hot and deep pinks.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

To Dos This Weekend: 2/4-5

It is going to be a busy weekend at Casa Claiming.

We are hosting a dinner party next Sunday for Hubs and my mom. So massive cleaning is in order, along with all the usual blogging/doggy/hanging out stuff.

Plus we NEED to get rid of our "upstairs neighbor" Rocky! A postive of delaying from last week?  I found  another spot that he is getting in. Now we can block off both entry points and not just the one we already knew about.

  1. Eviction - Take 2. We are armed with moth balls & ammonia (apparently the smell bothers squirrel/rodent noses), steel wool, metal mesh and metal flashing (to block off the entrances. According to the internet, they don't like to chew on metal).
  2. Take photos for this weekend's post
  3. Come up with an idea for this week's "randoms" post
  4. Write up dog stand post tutorial and take photos
  5. Laundry
  6. General deep cleaning - dusting, vacuuming, window washing, etc. - of common areas of the house
  7. Pack up the crafty stuff in the dining room - there is fabric, felt, buttons, glue bottles and threads everywhere in there
  8. Pick up speakers and stereo from my parents. We are going to be able to play music exciting!
  9. Laundry
  10. Menu Plan
  11. Willow check up. She had a "bug" and we need to see if the medication worked so she can go back to the dog park.
  12. If Willow gets a clean bill of health, dog park No dog park yet. :-(
  13. Errands
              Grocery stores          Costo
              World Market
  14. Try out my new bottle cutter for possible post
  15. Not watching the Super Bowl. I am SO not a football fan and I can watch the commercials on Monday.
What is on your To Do list this weekend? 

Are you like me, putting everything you want to get done on the list even though you know it all won't happen?  Or are you like Hubs who only puts the stuff he knows he can get done on his list?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Have Moved...

OK, not physically. Apparently I have moved Hardiness Zones. 

For those that are not gardeners, a hardiness zone give guidance on what may or may not grow and/or thrive in your area.  Most tags, packet or descriptive provided by growers for a plant or seed indicate the zone range that the plant can survive in. 

According to the new USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map chart, our location is no longer Zone 5b, it is now Zone 6a. I used to be light blue but now am green. Wahoo!
I am hoping this means that some of my flowers and herbs may make it through the winter better than they usually do. I am especially hoping that my two rosemary plants left outside survive.  How I love rosemary!  I brought one plant inside to overwinter but haven't had much success with that in the past. 

I am also hoping it means I can start my direct sow veggies earlier, too.  Spring is right around the corner

Have you "changed" zones?  Click on this link and enter your ZIP to check out which zone you are in.