Nesting begins

This weekend nesting really kicked in. The hubs actually jump started it, as he and his dad have spent the majority of their free weekends renovating our 4th bedroom – turning it into a finished bedroom/office. I can’t start decorating the nursery until this room is done. So until then, I’m attacking other projects around the house.

What really kicked nesting into high gear this weekend was the fact that we ripped out the carpet in the dining/living room and had the hardwood floors underneath refinished.

Before:

After:

So.Much.Prettier.

The dust from the floors was all over the walls, so I googled homemade wall cleaner, ran to Wal-Mart for supplies, and spent 3 hours washing walls with a simple solution of 1 TBS baking soda, 1/8th cup baking soda, 1/8th cup lemon scented clear ammonia, and water in a 32 oz spray bottle.

Then I hit up Pinterest, looking to tackle my kitchen.

First up – clean the fridge.

Once it was emptied, I was struck by how disgusting the shelves were.

gross

I washed the inside and out with 4 cups water mixed with 1/4 cup baking soda and some essential oil (lemon juice would work if you don’t have any essential oil).

Tada!

And now it is organized, hallelujah, I can find my food.

(later that night I fixed that empty fruit drawer problem)

After dinner I tackled the stove top with help from this pin. I filled 4 gallon size freezer bags with 3 TBS lemon scented clear ammonia and put one stove top grate in each.

Look at that grime. Gross.

I let them sit 12 hours and rinsed them the following morning with water and scrubbed a bit with an SOS pad. Well, the hubs did that part. The ammonia smell was pretty overwhelming, and I decided it wasn’t good for me or Baby Spinach to be inhaling the fumes.

And BAM! We have GREY stove grates, not black grates like I originally thought!

I’ve tried everything under the sun to clean these bad boys, but this cheap and easy solution worked better than any of them. I was shocked with the result.

I rounded off my weekend with some pictureless pins by cleaning the tub with a 1:1 ratio of warmed up white vinegar and blue dawn dish soap (yes, it really worked – better than CLR, Scrubbing Bubbles, or any other tub cleaner I’ve tried), and washing my towels with one cycle of 1 cup vinegar, followed by a second cycle of 1 cup baking soda (pin called for 1/2 cup baking soda, but I forgot to double check the pin). The dingy towel smell is gone!

I still have a TON that needs to be done, but I’m very pleased with all the work the hubs and I accomplished this weekend. 🙂

What is your favorite homemade cleaning solution?

Bring me warmth

I hate winter. I have really poor circulation, so when I get cold it takes forever to warm up. My toes are still freezing….after 2 hours of sitting under a blanket while grading papers and drinking hot tea. So I’ve been combating the weather with lots of warm foods.

Thanks to Jenn for hosting another What I ate Wednesday!

I’m bringing you Sunday’s meals, because decorating the Christmas tree is involved. Coming home to a lit tree is the only thing that makes winter enjoyable…too bad Christmas is only 4 days in to winter and I have to suffer through another 3 months of  bleakness.

Brunch

consumed around 11…yeah, pumpkin steel cut oats just don’t get old

Snack

Trader Joe’s Mediterranean Flat Bread (x2), roasted garlic hummus, apple, as well as some unphotographed almonds and raisins

Christmas tree decorating fuel

hot chocolate with a chocolate peppermint stick stirrer

Dinner

Key Lime spiked seltzer, salad and coconut lime chickpeas over brown rice – this earned the (vegan!) stamp of approval from the hubs!

This was supposed to be something pinteresting. I pinned this coconut lime chicken and chile recipe

via pinned HERE

 a while back and was excited to try it. However, after defrosting my chicken I discovered it had gone bad! Chickpeas to the rescue! As well as a host of other changes, of course. I just can’t help myself.

Coconut Lime Chickpeas

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp oregano

1 14 oz can light  coconut milk

1 4 oz. can diced green chiles

2 TBS lime juice

1/2 cup sweet (or yellow) onion, chopped

3 tsp frozen cilantro cubes (can sub 3 TBS fresh cilantro)

Directions

Heat oil over medium in a large skillet. Add garlic and chickpeas. Stir to prevent burning of the garlic, and cook 5 minutes. Add curry, turmeric, cumin and oregano, stirring to combine. Cook 1 minute. Add coconut milk, green chiles, lime juice, onion and cilantro. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over brown rice.

This was so delicious. I was a very happy camper to be eating leftovers for Monday’s lunch. Link up your pinteresting recreations over at All Things Lovely!

Have you had an epic chicken (or other meat) failure? How did you fix the situation?

How pinteresting – zucchini cornbread

Remember when your garden was overflowing with zucchini and you were throwing it into every dish imaginable? Maybe you shredded a bunch to make zucchini bread throughout the winter. Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about, and you purchase your zucchini at the grocery store. And maybe you don’t even like zucchini.*

*what is wrong with you?

I was the former, and I’m sad zucchini season is over. When pinterest made its entrance into my life this summer, I pinned zucchini recipes like a mad woman and just as quickly forgot about them.

Then I decided to whip up a batch of lazy girls chili, a recipe I promised you and never delivered, and remembered this pin for zucchini cornbread. Cornbread is already the perfect complement to chili, so the addition of zucchini was very intriguing. Not just intriguing, it was *pinteresting.*

It was an amazing addition! I didn’t change anything in this recipe, which is very difficult for me. I think in the future I’ll swap the sugar for honey, but the recipe is delicious as is. Paula said she’d cut the sugar in half next time, but I didn’t find the muffins to be too sweet. I think they were the perfect combination of sweet and savory. They were also the perfect texture, not too dry as cornbread can tend to be.

So, if you’re a freak like me well prepared for winter, and stalked up on shredded zucchini, click over to Half Baked and whip up a batch of zucchini cornbread muffins.

I’m linking up with Camille over at All Things Lovely for her pinterest recreation party. Join the fun here!

What is your favorite cornbread recipe?

How pinteresting: volume recreation

I always see cute outfits pinned by others, but I never recreate them. I blame my rather boring closet, which I’m sure is no excuse in the eyes of a creative outfiteer.* That’s why I only have two outfits for this week’s Fashion Friday.

*outfiteer: a fashion blogger who creates cute outfits out of whatever they find in their closet, boutiques, department stores and thrift shops. Coined by me. Think: Disney Imagineers.

Cardi: Cable and Gage, Ruffle polka dot top: The Loft, Jeans: 7 For all Mankind (Dojo fit), shoes: Me Too, necklace: NY&Co.

Sweater: DKNY, belt: Steve Madden, Skirt: Express (from when I worked there in 2002!), tights: HUE & bow tied mary jane’s: Nyla

The shoes were my favorite part, and unfortunately the flash obscured their beauty. Here’s a few shots from my iPhone,

Dainty, aren’t they? My feet looked adorable, and my kidlets kept commenting that I was wearing Mrs. Granger’s shoes. Mrs. Granger is the teacher in our first read-aloud book, Frindle. Yay for text to self connections! Although, Mrs. Granger is an elderly spinster with a bun and stockings, which concerns me a little about how old they think I am…

However, I attempt to assemble cute outfits from my back-to-basics wardrobe, and I know other teachers do too. Which is why I signed up to be in this months Teachers Have Class and Style outfit party!

I’m also making more of an effort to do something about my hair in the mornings. I usually reserve hair and makeup fun for the weekends, when I have time to experiment. But after slamming a large chai tea Sunday afternoon, and subsequently not falling asleep until 1 a.m. Monday morning, I watched tons of hair tutorial videos I found via this pin.

(click on photo for pin, original image found here)

I originally pinned this hair cut/style a while back, longing for more volume, but thinking it was unattainable for me. My hair is very fine, but I have a lot of it. It is a really weird combination, and it drives me insane. I didn’t even realize there was a video linked to the pin (darn those people who don’t add appropriate descriptions to their pins!), but was pleasantly surprised to discover that Kate has a full on video tutorial on how to do this style.

(source)

Even more, her cut is just a grown out version of my cut, and she has the same hair type as me. **swoon** I’m not ashamed to admit I watched every hair tutorial, ran to Ulta for supplies the following day, and have been trying her directions every morning this week.

And the results? Well, they are quite pinteresting. Thanks again to Camille for hosting another Pinterest Recreation Party!

Here is what my hair normally looks like:

No volume in the back…

and none on top

And after using Kate’s bouncy curled under tutorial,

Poof! It might not look like much to you, but this is more volume than I’ve had in my entire life. I also didn’t have Aquage, which Kate swears by. I used GUTS by Redkin, but I plan to buy a bottle of Aquage soon.

I also tried her flat iron bangs trick, and they laid perfectly flat!

What have you recently pinned and recreated?

I’ve pinned and recreated curly hair, an owl pumpkin and sweet and salty pumpkin seeds. Join in the fun at All Things Lovely!

How Pinteresting: Pumpkin Recreation x2

As per usual, my weekend flew by and Monday smacked me in the face this morning with unrelenting fury. I cursed myself for Sunday afternoon’s chai tea and got on with my day. Luckily I had a delicious meal lined up, and many others to warm me up as the temps drop (to 28 degrees!) this week.

Meal Plan Monday

Meatless Monday

“Cheesy” quinoa with garbanzo beans (similar to this recipe) with zucchini, cumin, salsa and avocado.

Tuesday

Slow cooker black beans and cilantro lime rice (recipe coming soon)

Wednesday

Lazy girl’s chili (recipe coming soon)

Thursday

Ground Turkey tacos

Friday

Homemade pizza

Saturday & Sunday

Pinteresting finds: Enchilada Pasta and Light Lasagna Soup

Other pinteresting finds this week include this pumpkin seed recipe,

(source)
*Edited to add, I think the recipe only needs 1 TBS butter, as my seeds were still soggy after the additional 10 minutes, but also burnt. Odd?

and this owl pumpkin.

I’ve got my pumpkin seeds in the oven*, and my pinteresting recreation on my porch. Thanks Camille for hosting another pinterest recreation linky party!

Cute, eh?

Did you carve pumpkins this year?

I carved a pumpkin this weekend for the first time in years! Usually the hubs carves our pumpkin. But this year we invited some friends over for chili, Elysian Night Owl, Scream 4 and pumpkin carving. The hubs carved two pumpkins, and I carved one.

The hubs purchased a Dremel specifically made for pumpkin carving.