Top 11 in 2011

I thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane and look back at the 11 most popular posts in 2011.   It’s fun to see which posts are most popular…some of the ones that get the most hits are random posts I never dreamed anyone would care about…(for instance, the #1 most popular post kind of shocked me!) Here are the top 11 in order:

#11: Ruffled Sweater Tutorial

#10: Waterproof Pocket Bib

#9: DIY Roman Shades

#8: Felt Flowers

#7: DIY List Maker Notepad

#6: Painted Fireplace Makeover

#5: Homemade Whole Grain Baby Cereal

#4: Homemade Natural Cleaning Wipes

#3: T-Shirt Flower Ring

#2: Anthropologie Inspired Blooms (this was #1 for a long time)

#1: Homemade Sugar Scrub

So, there you have it! I never dreamed that my sugar scrub would be the #1 post in 2011.  It gets viewed on Pinterest hundreds of times a day. Go figure! I can’t wait to see what my top posts for 2012 will be. I have some fun things in store for the next year. I will talk about some of my goals for the next year soon!

You can check out my top 10 favorite posts of 2010 here!

Fresh Dining Room Paint

Remember when I showed you the paint swatches that I was deciding on for our dining room?

We ended up with the bottom one, which is called “Secluded Garden” by Valspar

When we moved in, we painted our dining room a light neutral color.  Our entire house was so dark with paneling and wall paper that we decided to play it safe to lighten things up.

After thinking about it for many months and going back and forth, I decided to take the plunge and paint the room a dark teal.  My main fear was that it would make the space feel small and dark. I did not want to go back to how the house was when we first moved in!  But, I’m absolutely in love with the results! It’s the perfect shade of teal, not too dark, not too light.  It makes the space feel fresh and modern, yet still goes well with our mid-century dining room table.  However, I do plan to recover the chair cushions in something simple and neutral.  Here it it:

It’s really a beautiful color.  I’m so glad that I got so many swatches and spent the extra $ to buy the 2 small jars to test out my favorite colors in the space.  I have re-painted a few too many rooms because of making hasty paint color choices. I will never go back to that method!

I’m also ok with the same curtains in the room.  Originally, I had planned to make new white curtains, but I think these will do for awhile.

And I threw together a little functional centerpiece with my “new” vintage salt and pepper shakers and a cute vintage teal planter that my friend Erin gave me. It’s perfect for holding napkins.  And I put it all on a white tray that I can easily move when needed.

Oh, and I have big plans for the big empty wall. I’ve already started working on it and I hope it will be as great as the vision I have in my head!

I love paint.

Christmas Favorites

I wanted to share some favorite gifts that we received this year…they are pretty fun.

Reid and I just do stockings for each other and I was surprised to pull out these little vintage salt and pepper shakers that he found for $1 at the thrift store.  They are so perfect. Good work, Reid!

He also bought me The Civil Wars album Barton Hollow.  I know they’ve been around for a little while, but I have been loving them for the past few months.

My favorite songs are Poison & Wine and To Whom it May Concern.  If you haven’t heard of them before, you have to check them out.  Seriously beautiful.

I also got a fun scarf in my stocking from my mom.  It’s from an organization called JOYN based out of India.  The fabric is handmade and stamped. Love it.

My mom outdid herself and gave myself and my brothers and their wives each a quilt.  This one is a quilt she designed and made for a challenge for the modern quilt guild here in KC. You can read more about it on her blog.

Here are some other pictures of the quilt that I stole from her blog:

The girls also got a few adorable gifts that I’m excited about!

They each received backpacks from their Gramie that I found on Amazon.

They are made by Skip Hop and come in all different animals. They are pretty small, but it’s the perfect size for my girls since they aren’t in school yet. So adorable.

And my mom found this vintage metal tea set for Lula…

It’s about the cutest thing I’ve seen.  We’ve been having so much fun playing with it

I love that it’s not breakable.  Perfect for pouring water over and over and over again…

And to make it even better, it came in a vintage metal doll box.

We were definitely blessed this Christmas!

Real Food Day 27: Menu Plan for Week of 12/26

This is my last real food menu plan! I hope to keep up the real food even when December is over, but we’ll probably be making a few exceptions here and there.  We celebrated Christmas yesterday with my family,  so that is why you don’t see Monday on the menu (and why I’m getting this out late!)

Here it will be seeing lots of leftover ham!

Tuesday 12/27
Breakfast: Oatmeal & fruit
Lunch: Leftover Ham on whole wheat, fruit and raw veggies
Dinner: Christmas party

Wednesday 12/28
Breakfast: whole wheat pancakes
Lunch: Hummus on Pita, raw veggies & fruit
Dinner: Ham and bean soup, cornbread

Thursday 12/29
Breakfast: oatmeal &fruit
Lunch: leftover soup
Dinner: Ham & Spinach quiche, fruit

Friday 12/30
Breakfast: Whole grain muffins
Lunch: Pb & J, fruit and raw veggies/hummus
Dinner: Homemade whole wheat pizza

Saturday 12/31
Breakfast: oatmeal &fruit
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: chicken & black bean quesadillas on homemade tortillas

I think I’ve decided on my challenge for January.  It’s going to be a good one!!

Merry Christmas!

Through the hectic blur of presents, cooking, traveling, family….let us not lose sight of the true miracle of Christmas – that the Almighty God made himself human in the form of a tiny and helpless baby to take away the sins of the world and give us new life.

The gifts and traditions are fun and great, but what it’s really all about is {Jesus}

“Mild He lays His glory by. Born that men no more may die. Born to raise the sons of earth. Born to give them second birth.”

Merry Christmas!

Brown Paper Packages

Are your gifts still not wrapped?  If you need some inspiration, I decided to mix things up a bit this year and use brown grocery bags and some paper I had on hand.

I cut my paper into little triangles and sewed them together to make tiny flag buntings.  I made sure they boy presents had no pink or purple flags.

For the labels, I just cut circles out of the extra bags and tied them on.  Simple.

I found some super cute and cheap ribbon and debated on the traditional red or green, but decided on bright colors that I can use for another day.   This present was rather wrinkly…I considered ironing the paper, but was a bit hesitant that might not be fire-safe. (Sorry your present is wrinkly, Haven!)

I think they look pretty cute all together.  Yay for cheap and recycled wrapping paper! I’m glad I saved all of those Trader Joes bags! (Since I always forget to bring my own!)

Happy wrapping!

Real Food Day 23: Recipe Favorites

I’ve tried out quite a few recipes for this month’s real food challenge and I just wanted to share some of my favorites!

My all-time favorite recipe that I’ve discovered are these whole wheat pita pockets.  I’m so amazed and impressed at how easy they are…and they are so soft and delicious. Much better than the store-bought kind.  I will definitely be making these often.  I’m going to try to  make a large batch and freeze them.  Since the bread turns out so light and soft, I’ve been using these for sandwiches instead of regular whole wheat bread. Yum!

I discovered these chocolate chip cookies on pinterest.  I was drawn to the recipe because they have no sugar or sugar substitutes in them at all.  They are naturally sweet because the recipe calls for bananas and coconut.  I did use regular chocolate chips, but you could use raisins or a dark chocolate bar cut into chunks. The chocolate chips I used probably violate the rules because of the sugar in them. But, I can feel good about making a healthy cookie that actually tastes good!

Finally, I’ve been making whole wheat bread pizzas for the girls for lunch.  We had some pizza toppings leftover from our Christmas party and I just throw them on a piece of whole wheat bread and stick it into the oven for a few minutes.  They are yummy and if you add veggies (UNlike my picture above) it makes them extra healthy for lunch!

Party and Paint

We held our second annual Christmas girl cousin night last weekend.  I knew food would be a bit tricky with my real food challenge, but I we came through and it was enjoyed by all!

We did DIY personal pizzas with homemade whole wheat crust. They were yummy!

We also did a little ornament craft.  I had seen this one on Pinterest and decided it would be quick and easy as well as cute!

They turned out pretty cute! You just need a little paint and some sharpies.

Here are Lula and Jane’s finished ornaments:

You may have noticed some weird teal splotches on the walls in the pictures.  Yes, we’ve been deciding what color to paint our dining room.

We just finished painting it! I love it! We ended up with the bottom color which is “secluded garden” by Valspar.  ( it looks much darker in the picture above than it is in real life)

I was a bit worried that it would be too dark, but it’s actually perfect.  And it only needed one coat which was shocking.  I can’t wait to show you the after pictures!

Real Food Day 20: Homemade Microwave Popcorn

I love this real food healthy and quick snack.  I discovered that you can make homemade microwave popcorn a few months ago and I’ve been hooked! It’s so much cheaper and much healthier because you can control all of your ingredients!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/4 cup of popcorn
1 brown paper bag
A few Tbs of butter (optional)
2 Tbs of oil
And salt to taste

Dump the oil and popcorn in the bag

Fold down the top, but leave enough room for the popcorn to pop and expand or else it will burn!

Place it upright in your microwave

Set the time for a few minutes, but stay close! It might take less time or more than your normal store bought popcorn

When the pops get slower and farther apart, take it out!  Dump some melted butter if you like and a tsp or so of salt and shake it up!


I love giving this to Lula for a healthy snack.  She will eat it even without salt or butter! (I, on the other hand prefer it seasoned).

Real Food Day 19: Week of 12/19 Menu

Here’s my menu for this week! It’s going to look a bit different because of all the Christmas craziness!! 

Monday 12/19
Breakfast: oatmeal & fruit
Lunch: lunch out for work
Dinner: dinner with friends

Tuesday 12/20
Breakfast: oatmeal & fruit
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: tortilla soup & raw veggies w/homemade ranch

Wednesday 12/21
Breakfast: whole wheat french toast
Lunch: hummus with homemade pita & raw veggies
Dinner: chicken enchiladas (yes, this is the 3rd time it’s been on the menu because I still haven’t made it!)

Thursday: 12/22
Breakfast: whole wheat cinnamon rolls
Lunch: leftover soup
Dinner: chicken Caesar pockets

Friday: 12/23
Breakfast: oatmeal & fruit
Lunch: pb & j on whole wheat bread, raw veggies, fruit
Dinner: beef taco soup

Saturday 12/24
Breakfast: eggs & toast 
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: (dinner with family) honey ham, potato casserole, etc…

Sunday: 12/25
Brunch: quiche, monkey bread, fruit
Dinner: Christmas dinner with family