Friday, January 31, 2014

The Friday Five...

{ First snow of the year here in Charlotte- a couple of inches is a big deal here.  
The bunny tracks were a big hit at our house. }

{ Looking forward to making some cute thank you cards using these die-cut paper
"thank yous" I found at the craft store. } 

{ Received my peacock print in the mail from Society 6.  
It's one of the last additions to my office and I can't wait to get it framed }

{ Opened the fridge today and found this...
I know one 5 year old who is not happy that the snow is melting away : )  }

{ Date night with my favorite guy.  A couple super-sized pretzels, an amazing chocolate porter
and some conversation with one of my all-time favorite people is just what I needed : ) }

What are Your Five ?

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Photography: Sweet baby Anson

I LOVE taking pictures of newborns, but there is something about capturing the moment they can start to really see you, that is one of my favorite times in a baby's life. Little Anson seemed to be just as curious about me as I was about him.  

So contemplative...  

...and active... the point that he completely wore himself out...

...and had to find some much needed rest in momma's arms : )

And then, he was ready to go again : )  But, it did not take long for him to realize that concentrating so hard on life... very tiring.

So once again, to his most happy of places : )

Little Anson is sooooo sweet and quite a character!   

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Design Dilemma: A room with no light... WHY?????

Just in case you are wondering...that is a empty ceiling, which brings me to this week's design dilemma.

When we moved into our house, I decided to turn the room downstairs into a spare bedroom, even though I think it was always meant to be an office. I soon realized as I was painting...and the room was getting darker...that I needed some light.  I went to the wall, flipped the switch and nothing happened.  I then looked at the ceiling.  There was nothing there.  I was a bit confused.  I have found out since then, that this is normal. There are rooms out there that have no light.  My question is "why?".  Why build a house, provide electrical wiring in every room...except for one?  I think this was a terribly irritating and bad joke.  I combated the issue before by having sconce lighting, but now that I have converted this room into it's original office...I NEED light.  

As inconvenient as this is, I thought it would be a pretty simple thing to rectify.  Just cut a hole in the ceiling, splice wiring from one of the outlets and "voila".  I actually suggested exactly that to my electrical engineer husband, to which he promptly burst into irritating...and somewhat condescending laughter.  Ok.  So, I don't know a thing about wiring.  I just know that I married someone who is very handy...and who can do anything when he puts his mind to it.  I actually said that exact same thing to him...and he continued to laugh.  We go through this dance a lot when it comes to house projects.  I decide on a vision...and Jason is stuck trying to make it happen   Poor guy : )  

It's best to let him mull these things over for a while, but he actually shot himself in the foot on this one.  He told me that I could only work on one room at a time.  He actually made me promise.  I have a tendency to be a bit erratic in my home improvements : )  So, the missing light is the last thing to do in my least for now...and he is responsible for stopping my progress.  

I have bought the light...

...and I can't wait to see it up, but Jason has pointed out approximately a dozen possible problems we could encounter.  I don't remember even one.  I just nod and act as if I understand what he is saying.  All I hear is white noise that can be translated into "this is going to be difficult".

So after giving him what I consider to be an appropriate amount of time to figure this problem out, I asked him what his plan is.  And what came out of his mouth actually makes me SOOOO excited.  He is proposing using an industrial solution of metal conduit that will pick up on some of my storage solutions...

 ...and the modern vintage feel I am going for.  As soon as he said it...I was completely on board!  And I could see him let his breath out as if he was proposing something he was going to have to fight for.  Let me just say that I am not that difficult...but, sometimes it is hard for the realistic side of this partnership to reconcile with the completely unrealistic side.  No reason to say which is which : )  

The conduit will run from the light switch, up the wall and across the ceiling to the center of the room. No need for any hole cutting and the potential for the dozen problems that I have no knowledge of, is greatly reduced.  When looking for pictures for inspiration, I could not find anything that matches what I have in my head. No surprise there, but I do know some pieces that are a must.

Jason wants to have a vintage button light switch, which I think will be AWESOME...


...and the conduit we use will look something like this...


The pieces are coming together!  This project is still a couple of weeks away from being completed, so maybe Jason will be ok if I jumped to another room.  Wish me luck with that one : )

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Artist Spotlight: Rémi Nöel

Have you ever wondered what Batman does during his downtime?  Or what his life would look like once all crime has been stopped and the world is no longer in imminent danger?  Well, French artist Rémi Nöel, gives us a glimpse at Batman's life post crisis.  In this black & white photograph series, we see Batman going about his day, doing a lot of the same things we normal people do. I love seeing this side of him, but  I have to say that I hope there is a last hoorah...for his sake : )

(via My Modern Met)

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Monday, January 27, 2014

My Pinterest Menu: Week of January 27th

Here we go...week #3 is under way : )  I have to say, I got pretty hungry just looking at the menu for this week. I can't wait to try the Artichoke, Chicken & Spinach Lasagna...and I have been searching for a great chicken picatta recipe, and this one may be a winner.  

Some highlights from last week- the balsamic glazed pork was soooo good and the Chicken & Spaghetti in White Wine Parmesan Sauce was so simple, and very good.

Here is this week's menu...Enjoy : )

via The Clever Carrot

via Kayotic Kitchen

via Espresso & Cream

via Cinnamon Spice a& Everything Nice

via Relish

Grocery List:

Chicken Piccata-
  • 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thinly sliced chicken cutlets
  • ½ c. flour + 1 heaped teaspoon, divided
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter, divided
  • ¼ c. shallots, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or crushed with a garlic press
  • ¼ c. white wine
  • 1½ c. chicken stock or broth
  • 2 lemons
  • ¼ c. brined capers, drained
  • salt + pepper
  • lemon slices
  • ¼ c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- See more at:
1 and 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thinly sliced chicken cutlets
  • ½ c. flour + 1 heaped teaspoon, divided
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter, divided
  • ¼ c. shallots, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or crushed with a garlic press
  • ¼ c. white wine
  • 1½ c. chicken stock or broth
  • 2 lemons
  • ¼ c. brined capers, drained
  • salt + pepper
  • - See more at:
    • 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thinly sliced chicken cutlets
    • ½ c. flour + 1 heaped teaspoon, divided
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • 2 tbsp. butter, divided
    • ¼ c. shallots, diced
    • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or crushed with a garlic press
    • ¼ c. white wine
    • 1½ c. chicken stock or broth
    • 2 lemons
    • ¼ c. brined capers, drained
    • salt + pepper
    • lemon slices
    • ¼ c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
    - See more at: boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1/2 c.  and 1 tbsp. flour
    1 tbsp. olive oil
    2 tbsp. butter
    1/4 c. shallots
    1 garlic clove
    1/4 c. white wine
    1 1/2 c. chicken stock
    2 lemons
    1/4 c. brined capers
    salt & pepper

    Lazy Day Casserole-
    4 sausages (beef or pork)
    1 pound potatoes
    1/2 lb. carrots
    1/2 bell pepper
    1 large onion
    1 fennel bulb
    2 garlic cloves
    2 tbsp. oil
    freshly cracked black pepper
    1 1/2 tsp. Italian herbs
    1/2 c. chicken broth
    4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

    Autumn Chopped Salad-
    6 to 8 c. chopped romaine lettuce
    2 medium pears, chopped
    1 c. dried cranberries
    1 c. chopped pecans
    8 slices thick-cut bacon
    4 to 6 oz. feta cheese
    Poppy seed Salad Dressing
    Balsamic Vinaigrette

    Artichoke, Chicken & Spinach Lasagna-
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    1/4 c. diced onion
    4 cloves garlic
    1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
    1 tsp. Italian seasoning
    coarse salt and fresh black pepper
    2 (14 ounce) cans (or frozen) artichoke hearts, well-drained
    2 c. ricotta Cheese
    2 c. fresh shredded mozzarella cheese
    1 beaten egg
    1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
    3 c. fresh baby spinach leaves
    1 lb. lasagna noodles
    4 tablespoons butter
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    2 cups whole milk
    dash of nutmeg
    1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
    coarse salt and fresh black pepper

    Shrimp Po' Boy- 
    4 tbsp. butter 
    1 tsp. minced garlic 
    4 French rolls
    Vegetable oil
    1/4 c. flour 
    2 tbsp. Creole seasoning 
    2 lbs. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined 
    3 eggs, beaten 
    2 c. Panko Bread Crumbs
    2 c. shredded lettuce
    1/2 c. mayonnaise
    2 tbsp. Ponzu Sauce
    1 tbsp. prepared horseradish
    1 tbsp. pickle relish
    1 tsp. minced garlic
    1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper.

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    Saturday, January 25, 2014

    A Saturday Song...

    Today, I am photographing my oldest friend and her beautiful family.  I am very excited to be able to visit with her and see her sweet kiddos : )  Now, I just have to think of some creative ways to combat the cold that seems to be determined to stick around this weekend.  

    North Carolinians have lamented not having a true Winter for years. I think we may be paid back this year...big time : )

    Here is a song for your Saturday...

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend : )

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    The Friday Five...

    All of this week's five came from a spur of the moment day trip to the mountains to find snow.  Jason and I looked at the forecast on Monday...saw that there was a 90% chance of snow in the mountains on Tuesday...and we were on our way earlier Tuesday morning.  I LOVE taking the kids on mini adventures when they least expect it.  It keeps us young : )

    { a little light reading for our road trip to the mountains }

    { When your children steal your shoelaces to play cat's cradle...
    you may be forced to steal the strings from their Melissa & Doug stitching cards : )  }

    { Isabella found it a little difficult to move her head naturally once she had all of her cold
    weather gear on. I couldn't look at her without thinking of "Randy" from A Christmas Story } 

    { Snow...we found it...and it was COLD! 
    The girls were troopers though and fun was had by all!  }

    { One of my favorite photos of our trip...
    perfect representation of how pretty and how sad COLD can be at the same time }

    What are Your Five?

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    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

    Have you seen this?...A bird's eye view

    I have often wondered what it feels like to be a bird flying through the sky...and now I know : )  I came across this the other day and had to share.

    I love how he seems so completely unconcerned about the people he is flying over.  I am definitely suffering from bird envy now : )  Of course, it helps that this bird lives where there are amazing views. 

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    Monday, January 20, 2014

    My Pinterest Menu: Week of January 20th

    So...I have one week under my belt and I am feeling pretty good. All the meals from last week were a hit, but I have to say that my family liked the Creamy Cajun Chicken & Pasta and White Beans with Sausage & Spinach the most.

    Chicken is usually the meat of choice in this family, but with this new recipe plan, I am going for a more balanced approach with a few self-imposed rules.

    1. We will eat salad/soup at least one time per week. 
    2. We will eat pasta only once during the week.  You have to put limitations on the things you LOVE : ) 
    3. Seafood will be served at least once during the week.  

    My girls are going to eat a loss less of what they used to eat, eat a lot more of what they didn't and learn to love all kinds of food during this process...I hope.

    Here is this week's menu...Enjoy : )

    via The Pioneer Woman

    via A Family Feast

    via Mediterrasian

    via Family Feedbag

    via The Recipe Critic

    Let me know which recipes are your favorites, or if you felt like tweaking them a bit...share your expertise : )

    Grocery List:

    Beef with Snow Peas-
    1-1/2 pound Flank Steak
    1/2 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
    3 Tablespoons Sherry Or Cooking Sherry
    2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
    2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
    1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger
    8 ounces, weight Fresh Snow Peas
    5 whole Scallions
    Salt As Needed
    3 Tablespoons Peanut Or Olive Oil
    Crushed Red Pepper
    Jasmine Or Long Grain Rice

    Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing-
    6 eggs
    1 tablespoon white vinegar
    1 pound maple-flavored bacon
    10 ounces fresh baby spinach
    8 ounce package of button mushrooms
    1 small red onion 
    ½ cup white balsamic vinegar
    ½ cup white sugar
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    ¼ cup water

    Sizzling Shrimp with Garlic and Feta-
    12 large raw shrimp
    2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
    2 cloves garlic
    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    2½ oz (75g) feta cheese
    Freshly ground black pepper to season

    Spaghetti & Chicken in White Wine Parmesan Sauce-
    3/4 lb dry spaghetti (4 servings)
    1 1/2 cups snow peas
    2 tbsp butter
    1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
    1 cup dry white wine
    1 cup grated parmesan cheese
    1 cooked chicken breast, sliced

    Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork-
    2-3 pounds Pork tenderloin
    1 teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon coarse pepper
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    ½ cup Water
    1 cup Brown sugar
    1-2 tablespoon Cornstarch
    ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
    ½ cup Water
    4 tablespoons Soy sauce

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