Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas-This and That

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I'm still recovering. I have to say that this was probably the best Christmas I've had in a VERY long time. Even though we didn't get to see our immediate families (we saw them at Thanksgiving and early December), it was so nice to not travel and stay home.

Christmas morning was fun, but "scattered". Bookworm, my early bird was up at 5 am! Yes, 5 am! I had to encourage her to hop in the bed with me for just a little while because it was so early. She tossed and turned until around 7. I sluggishly got the camcorder, woke hubby up, tried without success to wake Sassy up, then the three of us headed downstairs. We let Bookworm open just a few presents because we wanted both girls to open everything together. Sass finally woke up and the party got started!

So here's before:
And here's after:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bookworm's Bedroom

Today Bookworm's balloon shade was installed in her room. I LOVE it! I've had this fabric for some time, and have debated as what type of window treatment to do. It's a rather wide window (around 74" wide), and I came up with the idea to have bookcases built on either side with a bench under the window. That'll be a project for this spring;-)

I may not have told y'all, but I've designed a few pieces of custom furniture. Here's one of them. It's a 3 piece bookcase. All 3 pieces fit into a base, then they're screwed together. Doc Lancelot and his dad made this for me. They did a great job, didn't they?

(close up of doors)

I'll probably paint both the bookcase and the chest of drawers in a lighter color. Both pieces were done when we lived in our Georgian house, also shown here. They seem a little dated with the faux finish.

(side of chest of drawers)

(close up of chest of drawers)

I added Target's Liberty of London pieces to the blue comforter we already had.

There's still lots of finishing touches to do. There's absolutely nothing on the walls and she also needs a rug. I'm inspired to finish things up now that the adorable shade is up.

Have a great Monday!

This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef

I have been cooking like crazy, and I made a roast with potatoes, carrots, and onions this weekend. Nothing says "comfort food" like a roast. If the sight of raw meat grosses you out....just scroll down.

Here are a few rules I follow for a roast that isn't dried out, and full of flavor:

  1. You have to sear the meat first. It seals in the moisture, and provides depth to your sauce or gravy.
  2. LOW and LONG. --Cook on low heat for a long time. This can be in a crock pot or in a clay pot in the oven. 
  3. Use a clay pot or Dutch oven. I love my Pampered Chef covered dish. 

Dishy Decorator's Roast and Vegetables


  • 3-5 lb. beef rump roast
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • 2-3 teaspoon olive or vegetable oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced into thick slices. Leave slices intact.
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4-5 large carrots, peeled and diced into 2 inch pieces
  • About 2 lbs of potatoes (use whatever kind you prefer. I usually peel and dice Yukon Gold, but decided to do some "2 bite" potatoes this time.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  • Trim roast of all excess fat. 
  • Peel and slice fresh garlic into slivers. Using a sharp knife, poke holes all over roast and insert garlic slivers all the way into meat.

  • While you're heating the oil in a large cast iron skillet, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper on one side of meat. Thoroughly sprinkle garlic and onion powder on that same side.

  • Once oil is heated, add roast (seasoned side down) into skillet. 
  • Repeat the same seasoning on the side that's facing up.

  • Brown both sides of the roast until a deep brown.

  • In a clay pot or covered Dutch oven sprayed with cooking spray, place thick onion slices as a "bed" for the roast.

  • Add white wine. Put cover on pot, and put into preheated oven.
  • Bake at least 4 hours, checking once an hour to make sure you don't need to add water or flip the roast over.
  • You can check the temperature with an internal meat thermometer. It needs to be at least 165 degrees. This isn't a roast that you want to be rare. It gets more tender the longer you cook it. 

  • If you have a large crock pot, you can also cook the roast in there, then add the vegetables when the roast is almost done.

  • Make sure when you check the roast to rotate it or spoon some of the sauce over the top.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Add vegetables and cook another hour or so. This isn't an exact science, so stick a fork in your potatoes to see if they're done. 

It's done! Enjoy! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree....

I have been quite the slacker when it comes to Christmas decor. I usually put up a few trees, decorate the mantle, and put some garland outside. However, we've had a lot of unexpected home repairs this year and have had family visiting from out-of-town. I barely managed to get one tree up and put some Christmas ornaments in a bowl. So here is my hot pink and orange tree. 

Close up

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lyndsey’s Addicting Buffalo Chicken Dip

Yesterday on Twitter, we had a discussion about what our favorite “go-to” dip was. You know the kind that makes people stand over the table, and almost growl at anyone that comes close.  Lyndsey shared her Buffalo Chicken Dip with me.  A big thank you is in order because it is DELISH.

Lyndsey’s Addicting Buffalo Chicken Dip


  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup ranch salad dressing
  • 1 cup buffalo wing sauce (Lyndsey uses Moore’s brand. We don’t have it here, so I used Syberg’s. LOVE that brand.)
  • 2 cups of boiled & shredded chicken
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (I only used 1 cup)



  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Mix the 1st 3 ingredients, then add the chicken.
  • Put in a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Sprinkle as much cheese as you like on top.


  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until cheese on top is bubbly.
  • Serve with Fritos, tortilla chips, or whatever strikes your fancy.

Thanks Lyndsey for letting me share your wonderful recipe!

Yummy, yum, yum!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chess Bars

Here’s the recipe for the Chess Bars I made at Thanksgiving. These have coconut in them, but don’t let that scare you. You can’t really taste the coconut, and it adds a nice sweetness and texture to the chess bars.

Chess Bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened

Mix and press in bottom of greased pan.


Top Ingredients:

  • 1 box of powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • (1) 8 oz. box cream cheese
  • 1 cup coconut flakes

Mix together in a blender or by hand until thoroughly combined.


Spread on top of bottom layer. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown. image

Be careful to not overcook, or they will become tough to chew. Let cool and cut into squares.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Move Over Oprah-Here’s My Favorite Things

I’d like to share with you some new products I’ve found and a few of my “tried and true” items that I use daily.

My list isn’t as fabulous as Oprah’s “Favorite Things” list. You won’t pee your pants while jumping up and down. You may faint and spontaneously combust though.

First up…..HOLY Rice Krispie Treats! I spotted this treasure in Walgreens last night. 


This is a 2 pound sheet of Rice Krispie Treat. You can decorate it like a cake or cut it into squares for those last minute school parties you forgot (not that…..*ahem* I’ve ever done that or anything).  I think the measurement is about 15” x 11.5”. 

Think of all the fun things you could do with this and not have to get your hands all buttery and sticky.  Here’s the kicker----they don’t have quite the same taste as the homemade ones.

Next up….L'Oreal Infallible Never Fail Lipliner in Nude.

image This is my favorite lip liner. I don’t use lip liner everyday, but this is always in my makeup bag.

L’Oreal Infallible 6 Hour Never Fail Lipgloss in “Sunset”

Okay ladies, I’ve never gotten 6 hours out of this lipgloss, but it is near perfect in color. I also love the color “Coral Sands”. I have this in every purse, every makeup drawer, and even in some coat pockets. It’s a lovely, muted peach, and I love, love, love how natural and warm this color is.


If your poof needs a little sumpin’ sumpin’ , try Big Sexy Hair Brand “What a Tease- Backcomb in a Bottle”.

This is a fun product to get extra volume. It’s kind of a weird texture, so you don’t want to go all “Jersey Shore” when you start spraying, or you’ll end up with a rats’ nest. image

I buff Makeup For Ever HD High Definition Powder over my mineral foundation.  I like how light this powder is. Don’t let the fact that it’s white skur you. You won’t look like Michael Jackson.


I’ve used this liner for YEARS. If you put this on, and then go over it with an eye shadow powder in the same color, it’ll last all day & night.

Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Black Brown


 This is the cheapy face wash I use in the shower. I like the fact that it has benzoyl peroxide, but doesn’t bleach the doo-hicky out of your clothes and bedding like Pro-Active does.

I use this with my Clarisonic brush.

AcneFree Oil Free Purifying Cleanser


Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes is another product that you’ll find all over my house. I have them on my nightstand, in my bathroom, and in my car. I love that I can use these anywhere.


Lastly, I’d like to share another favorite…..Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush in “Rose Petal”.

I follow a tip that Bobbi Brown published in her latest book. She suggests layering cream blush over powder blush. I tried it and really liked the “depth” that her technique gives.

I layer this OVER Nars “Orgasm” Blush or Bare Minerals “Warmth”. 



Just take two fingers and dab/pat a little on the apples of your cheeks. It’s a very fresh look.

So there you have it…… a few of my favorites.

Unleash your inner Oprah.

What products are you liking right now?

Monday, December 6, 2010

I’m Making a List and Checking It Twice

Anyone that knows me, knows I love me some lists! I make “To Do” lists every day. I have lists on my phone, on post-its, and I also make lists for my kiddos.

The first year of kindergarten was challenging for us. We had just moved to a new state.  On top of that, the transition of going to school 5 full days a week was overwhelming for us all.  I found every morning that I repeated OVER and OVER things like “Did you brush your teeth?” “Next you need to get dressed.” , find your shoes, etc.

Finally I realized that I needed some sort of check list to help my kiddos take responsibility for getting ready and also to help them establish a routine.  So I came up with these.

This is the girls’ morning tasks. They already know to do the basics like brushing their teeth and hair, but this list ensures a tidy room before school.

This list in on their adjoining bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker.


This list is their “After School Checklist”.


Right below this checklist, I have clipboards with each girls’ weekly reports/calendar that they receive from their homeroom teachers.  Here’s what that area looks like.  It’s on the side of the refrigerator by the back door.


And……here is their “Chore Chart”.  I bought the blue card holder at a teacher supply store, but I saw something similar at Wal-Mart in the school supply section.  I made very “do-able” tasks for the girls and came up with cute titles like “Dishwashing Diva”, “Shoe Patrol”, and “Toy Manager”.  Add some pictures from clip art, print, and laminate.

Each girl has one column of tasks for the week. Some jobs need to be done daily, while others like “gardener” (water plants) need only be done once or twice during the week. I try to divvy up the jobs and make them equal in time and difficulty.

I got this idea from looking at how teachers assign responsibilities to each student in their class.


I think it’s a great idea for children to share in household responsibilities.  We don’t pay for doing what is necessary to be a part of our household. It’s a personal choice for us. It’s totally up to each family what works for them.

We give a weekly allowance and do pay extra if a child is wanting to complete extra tasks to save for special something.

Here’s what this area looks like. It’s behind the back door where the family calendar is.


Here’s the area next to our breakfast table. We always do homework there and it’s much easier to have all our supplies nearby. 


I bought this little stand at Target and it holds each girl’s “working basket”. Each basket has crayons, pencils, markers, and glue. They can take the basket to the table and then replace it when finished.

The middle shelf has flash cards and other learning tools. The bottom shelves hold each girl’s library books. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had late library books because we couldn’t find them. Perfect solution—put it back on the shelf when you’re finished reading.

I promise I’m not a militant mom. haha This is just a system that I have adapted from other ideas and it works well for us. It helps getting ready for school easier and keeps everyone organized and less stressed.

You might also enjoy this blog post about Dressing the Bear- a great way to be prepared for those “what to wear” fights in the morning.

Do you moms have ideas or a system that works for you? I’m always looking for ways to make our lives simpler!