Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bertrand Finds a Home

So, it was Valentine's Day.  We ate a lovely meal at one of our favorite restaurants, Zea.  Then we wandered next door (as we are want to do after eating at Zea), to Z Gallerie.  The intention, as always, was to drool over things (wiping them off as we went), and to check out the clearance section.  Still a couple of cheapskates around here.  I literally can't remember the last thing we bought at full price.  Unless you count groceries.  Actually, as a side note, we somehow finagled a free appetizer out of Zea that night...

Anyway, we walked in and there were all of their magnificent white animal heads, just a-staring at me. Ugh.  I love them all.  The giraffe head was a little smaller than some and I just adored it, so I thought maybe somehow it would be kind of affordable.  It was not.  A hundred thirty big ones.  That ain't happenin' around the Johnson household.  Anthony saw me peeking at the price and immediately marched up to the cashier and asked if we could have a discount.  I scurried away.  It still sort of embarrasses me at times.  By the time I had finished my tour of the store and was ready to go, I returned to find that they were looking for a damaged giraffe they had in the back.  The lady handed over a lovely giraffe with a couple tiny chips in it and proudly proclaimed she could knock 15% off!  Wop wop.  We thanked her for her abundant kindness but said, we simply couldn't do it.  After quite a bit of hemming and hawing (and meeting our adorable, smiling baby) she finally said that "just this once!" she could go down to 40% off.  As I was figuring out what that was and grimacing at the still-way-too-high price, she said, "That's really the absolute very best I can do.  I's not even damaged very much...." We kinda just kept our mouths shut and looked at her.  Then she dropped this gem: "I mean, the lowest we EVER go is 70% off, and I just don't think..." This is where I whipped out my phone again and said, "Let's just see what it would be if it were 70% off.  Not that we expect you to give it to use for that ridiculous price.  Oh!  $39!  Now THAT we could do!"  And then we paid $39 for Bertrand.  The end.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

34 Weeks

Silas went on his first boat ride and stuck his toes in a lake for the first time, this week. I hope I can manage to keep from adding his first sunburn to that list.

Look at that dirt under his fingernails!  A sure sign of a good vacation.  Or a need for a bath.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Quinoa Bites

Quinoa is the new...rice?  Pasta?  Awesome?  Yes.  The new awesome.  If you haven't tried it, you're missing out.  I based this recipe on this post from Iowa Girl Eats.

First up, cook your quinoa.  It's super fast...about fifteen minutes.  While that's cooking and cooling a little bit, start mixing up the rest of your ingredients in a large bowl.  You'll want to use the basic base of the quinoa, shredded zucchini, eggs and cheese, but after that, you can throw whatever vegetables or meats you want in there!  It's super versatile.

I used broccoli,


 ...and green onion.

 Just mix everything together

 Then add your cooked quinoa

 Spray a mini muffin pan with olive oil spray,

 then cook for about twenty minutes.

These crazy things are addictive!

Quinoa Bites

  • 2 Cups cooked Quinoa (about 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 Cup shredded Zucchini
  • 1 Cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup chopped Broccoli
  • 1/2 Cup chopped Mushrooms
  • 2 Green Onions, sliced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook quinoa according to package directions, then let cool slightly.  Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl, then add cooked quinoa.  Mix well.  Liberally spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray (I use olive oil) and spoon the mixture into the cups, filling them to the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from the pan.  Eat!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

33 Weeks

Let's see...this past week has been a bit of a blur.  He's started eating bananas, soooo that's pretty swell. He's way better at sitting up these days (finally!), and his dexterity is pretty incredible (in my humble opinion).  He can pick up tiny crumbs off the floor and turn the pages of a board book (though that may be on accident).  His top two teeth have got to be poking through soon...his gums are so puffy!  An all-around prize-winning kid.

See what I mean about the gum puffiness?  Looks painful...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Entry Extraordinaire

I love Young House Love and Bower Power.  I really do.  They're a couple of the very few blogs I follow regularly.  Other than their general awesomeness, you know what I really like?  The fact that they give everyone a kick in the rear every few months to actually do a project we've pinned from Pinterest!  What a novel idea!  So without further ado, here's...


YHL and Katie teamed up with Emily from Sparkle Meets Pop, and Renee from Red Bird Blue for this challenge, so be sure to go see what fantastic things they've all dreamed up.

Me?  Finally got around to a project that's been waiting in the wings for months years?  It's been a long time.  I pinned this picture ages ago.  It was one of the first things I pinned when Pinterest was a new and exciting, "I finally got my invitation, did you get yours?" kind of thing.

Unfortunately, the link no longer works, so I'm not sure who to give credit to.  But isn't it kind of darling?  Well, I like it.  Convincing Anthony was a slightly different matter, but a man's mind isn't cut out to accept empty frames hanging on the wall.  I suppose the same could be said for a lot of women.  Maybe I only love it because I'm scared of makes me feel incompetent.  We have strayed.

So, I collected garage sale and thrift store frames and mirrors for quite a while, then spread them out on my garage floor and gave them the ol' flat white spray paint treatment.  And then left them there for so long that I had collected more frames and had to re-do the ones I'd already done.  I'm really on top of things.  This was a project that made Anthony sigh a lot.

I believe I can pinpoint the problem, though.   Fear of hanging all these frames.  Ugh.  Only a crazy person would enjoy it.  

So here's where we started.  This is the lovely sight that would have met you when we first moved in.  It's very...yellow.

 Apparently, after this day, I never took another picture of our entry again.  I searched through three years worth of pictures this morning trying to find one.  Elusive little entry.  Here's the best one I came across.  With a bewildered Darcy in the foreground.  Basically, the only upgrade for almost three years was a new light fixture and an IKEA table (that you can't see).

There's no mind-blowing tutorial for this process.  I envisioned laying everything out and measuring and coming up with a fantastic way to space everything...instead I started slapping things up on the wall.  I started with the bigger mirrors, then filled everything else in.

Here is the one in-progress shot I took.  Anthony (though not totally excited about the whole thing) very kindly hung most everything while I stood back and said, "A little to the left, dear!"  He's a keeper.

So here's the final result!  Finally...something on my wall.  And I think Anthony has come around a bit.  He said "I love it", although I'm not sure that love quite reached his eyes...

Aaaand one more.  Can't stop the picture taking.

 I'm super happy with it.  How have YOU filled up a giant wall?  With actual art?  I'm impressed.  And intimidated.

P.S.  If you're interested in Bertrand the Giraffe, I shared his story here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chalkboard Cabinets

You ain't nuthin' if you don't have a chalkboard.  At least that's certainly how it seems according to the world wide net web.  So, I started pondering how I could go about getting one.  Two problems: My kitchen (where I wanted the chalkboard) has almost zero wall space, and buying all the materials to make it was turning out to be kind of expensive!  I'm going to assume you already read the title, so it's not like you're racking your brain like I was, so I'll skip to the part where it hit me...of course!  My cabinet doors.  In a tiny kitchen, things need to double duty...pull your weight, cabinets!

So here's where we started.  Pretty standard set up.

 I grabbed a quart of Valspar chalkboard paint from Lowe's (which I'll admit was a bit more expensive than I thought necessary - $15!) but had everything else on hand.  Don't ask why I have teal painters tape.  It's nothing special...just the first roll I happened upon.  It may be for delicate surfaces?  Whatever.  It did the job.

I despise taping edges.  Which is why most of the edges of my house aren't perfect.  But I thought I could handle two cabinet backs.  So here one is in all of its taped glory.

Then I used my brush for the edges, and rolled the middle.  The first coat wasn't anything to write home about.

I waited an hour, then tried again.  Coat number two did the trick.

While the second coat was still wet, I took off the tape.  I then waited about twenty-four hours to let it cure.  Next up was conditioning it.  I just used the side of a piece of chalk and went over the surface really well.

And that's it!  I like to use chalk pens to write on them since it's so much easier...the only drawback is the chalk pen doesn't always come off with just a wet paper may have to scrub just a little bit with a magic eraser.  Worth it in my book.

Super easy and super should try it!  What other purpose are the backs of your cabinets serving?  You're going to love it, and in turn, love me.  Win-win.