Author Archives: Whitney

nursery1

Benjamin’s Nursery Reveal

Nothing like waiting til the last minute, huh? We are about 4 days out from my scheduled c-section and we finally got the nursery done! It has been in the works for a while, but still unorganized and not completely “finished”–until now. A huge weight has been lifted now that it’s done…even though I know it really doesn’t matter since it’s not like the baby cares or will even be sleeping in there anytime soon, but it’s one of those irrational, hormonal, pregnant things. Don’t judge.

Anyway, onto the nursery reveal pictures–I know that’s what you are here for.

nursery1 You might remember the framed artwork, wooden B, table, and lamp from our fall Pinterest Party. And that awesome chair? A gift from a very close family friend, my dad, and my Nana. It is SO much more comfortable than the wooden one I had with Logan (which I still have, we just moved it to the living room). And we re-used the garland from the baby shower to dress up the plain navy curtains.

Oh, and that quilt rack? Started out like this:

quilt rack before

And now:

quilt rack after

A little ASCP Napoleonic Blue, thin wooden board cut into ovals, and a wooden star to cover the old hearts and it is much cuter and more appropriate for a boy’s nursery.

 

nursery2The other side of the room with more Pinterest Party crafts (sorry for the blurry camera picture).

 

nursery3The infamous orange dresser turned changing table, colorful lanterns (I’m thinking I need to add some more), and more storage above.

I love it. It is pretty close to what I was envisioning–modern, colorful, not too theme-y (just a few whales thrown in there). I can’t wait to bring Benjamin home and rock him. I say that now, but I know those late nights will catch up to me. At least I will have a comfy chair to sleep in.

 

whitneysig

 

Seriously, could he be any more handsome?

Only Child to Big Brother Anxieties

So, fair warning, this is not a craft post. But I figure we are all (or mostly) women here and the majority of us are moms so I thought maybe I could share my anxieties here and get some advice and support.

With the arrival of Benjamin happening in 22 DAYS I am having some new anxieties I wasn’t really anticipating. Typically they hit me in the middle of the night after my 3 am bathroom run, after which I am usually awake for a good 2 hours. Last night’s episode was especially bad.

It all hit me. I am losing my “only” child. I feel like I am grieving the loss of that–it sounds ridiculous, I know. I am not losing a child, I am gaining another one whom I have wanted for a very long time. But Logan has been my whole world for over 6 years. He has been the only child/grandchild (at least on my side) for 6 years. He has been everyone’s “world.”

I have tried very hard to not overdo the Benjamin talk around him. I try to not buy a lot for Benjamin when he is with me. I have really tried not to use my pregnancy as an excuse for much when it comes to doing stuff with Logan. I have tried to include him in as much as possible (such as helping pick out baby things for the registry). I don’t want Logan to resent the baby before he is even here. Now, he has never shown signs of that–it’s just my own paranoia. I ask questions to him occasionally–”Are you excited?” or “What do you think he will look like?” And he answers in a very matter-of-fact way and moves on. But that is his personality. He is literal and pretty straight-forward about things. Only once has he told me to stop asking about the baby and that was months ago–after which, I shut down the baby talk for a good while unless he brought it up.

I worry about how Logan is going to handle it all. It is so hard to know. I am so incredibly lucky to have a very supportive extended family who will be helping take care of Logan while I am in the hospital and even after we are home. I have made fun plans for him so that his routine will remain pretty similar and he won’t be stuck at home the whole summer. Logan will not be left out, but even so, his world will be rocked. I think it is worse because he is 6 years old. Being the only child is all he has ever known.

I am not worried about having enough love to share, I guess I am just worried about losing the close bond with Logan that I have had for the past 6 years. I know him like the back of my hand. I am getting teary-eyed just typing this…and I know a lot of this is hormonal. I don’t want him to feel left out or like I won’t have time for him. I don’t want to overly focus on the baby and inadvertently forget about Logan or make him feel that way.

Luckily, he hasn’t expressed concern about any of this. He talks about the baby occasionally and how he wants to kiss him and hold him when he sees him and how he wants to play with him (or trap him in his laundry hamper when he is 1 year old–as he told me yesterday). I hope he keeps those feelings. I hope I can balance both of their needs and have the same bond with Benjamin and maintain my bond with Logan.

I am sure all of these are normal feelings but I had to get it off my chest. It has been weighing on me and I would love to hear any of your stories or advice about this subject.

But first, I will leave you with some pictures of me and my favorite little man.

Logan and me

Taken at his 6th birthday party

One of our many date nights

One of our many date nights

Mother's Day 2013--33 1/2 weeks

Mother’s Day 2013–33 1/2 weeks

Seriously, could he be any more handsome?

Seriously, could he be any more handsome?

So, tell me. What can I do to make the transition (for both of us) easier? What helped you if you had a similar situation?

whitneysig

 

DIY Nursery Decor

This last Pinterest Party was really more of an ‘Operation Get Benjamin’s Nursery Decor Done’ party for me. And I got it all done! I love all of it and I think his room is going to be modern, bright, and cheery–just what I was going for. And it really didn’t cost me anything, other than the cost of a few sheets of scrapbook paper, some spray paint, and some DIY knowledge. Remember this post and the sneak peeks I gave? Well, here you go!

This sign was in my son’s old nursery at our previous house, but it just didn’t go with this nursery. I tried to sell it but I guess it was just meant for bigger and better things. So, it got re-purposed.
Upcycled Sign Before - RCHOTX

A couple coats of ASCP Napoleonic Blue and it was good to go for it’s new plan!
2013-04-19 16.46.21And ta-da! All done. Scrapbook paper, the trusty Silhouette, some mod podge, and a clear coat of spray paint and it was a brand new piece.
2013-04-20 20.20.40

I found this huge B at the Hob Lob and immediately knew what I wanted to do with it. I love the name Benjamin, but it is a *little* long to put up on a wall. The space on this B would allow me to put his name on there without taking up an entire wall. Problem solved. (I was so proud of myself and my craftiness this weekend…you guys don’t even know.)

Big B Before - RCHOTX

Again, more Napoleonic Blue, Silhouette letters, and a frame found in Aunt Toni’s attic (which I spray painted orange), and we have decor for above the crib.2013-04-21 12.22.53

Now, this little beauty (ha) started out as a plant stand when my sister was going through a Mary Engelbreit-ish stage. I needed a small table for beside the glider and this was just sitting in her garage collecting dust.
Upcycled Plant Stand - Before - RCHOTX

You guessed it–Napoleonic Blue, some scrapbook paper and mod podge and it’s a cute table to hold my phone/water/bottle/etc. I LOVE it!
2013-04-19 22.56.54

Now, this next project took the most time. More time than it probably should have but it was SO worth it in the end.

I had these old framed picture of herbs hanging in my old house, but was over them by the time we moved. Again, tried to sell them but couldn’t.
2013-03-08 18.13.33

We took them apart (which took quite a bit of effort–thanks Aunt Toni) and got to work. A little spray paint, some cute pictures and sayings from the Silhouette, scrapbook paper, and posterboard for matting and they have a whole new life.
Nursery Art - RCHOTX

Orange Whales Nursery Art - RCHOTX

Little Brother Chevron Nursery Art - RCHOTX

Blue Diamond Whales Nursery Art - RCHOTX

Where the Wild Things Are Nursery Art - RCHOTX

Can you even believe it? So much better, right? These will look adorable above his dresser/changing table.

I got the idea for the ABC canvas off Pinterest (I know, imagine that).

 

My version (thanks to Heather for helping me out with this):
2013-04-20 22.51.59It took a lot of effort to line them up and make the patterns “random” enough and then I *still* ended up spacing them wrong, which is why you see the 2 stars placed in odd spots. Oh, well. Still works.

My final two projects weren’t even in the original plans, but they sure did turn out cute! When scouring my aunt’s attic for other goodies, we came across this lamp. Old and brass, but would work great in the nursery.

2013-04-19 17.01.312013-04-21 12.29.42

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That other cute sign? Totally last minute. I had this rustic sign from my old house and it wasn’t getting used, so I figured–why not paint it?

2013-04-21 12.29.532013-03-08 18.14.10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I figure I can hang it on his door or on the front door during naptime or something. Better than letting a good piece of wood go to waste! Oh, wow, how I have changed. A year ago, I swear I wouldn’t have looked at any of this stuff twice.

I can’t wait to get it all hung up this weekend and of course, I will share the pictures once it is all completed!

So what have you re-purposed? Or are you more of a ‘start fresh’ kind of person?

The Humble Brag Link Party

whitneysig

Barcelona Orange Nursery Dresser

Only a little over 9 weeks to go and I FINALLY got the nursery dresser painted!

Remember this:

nurserydresserMy $30 Canton steal? It sat in our bedroom for WAY too long and I was finally motivated/energetic enough to get started on it. I knew it would be a longer process–I have learned this with Barcelona Orange. But if you can’t put a bright orange dresser in a young boys’ room (or craft room), where can you put one?

From our previous experience with this color of paint, I knew it was going to take several coats. For some reason, it just doesn’t cover as well. Now, I think I know the reason, thanks to the ladies at Maison Blanche! Apparently, some colors (usually darker ones, but not always) have a deep base (when you look at the paint cans in the big box stores, they will say deep/medium base, etc.) and that means it isn’t going to cover as well. The way to overcome that is NOT to use white primer, but rather a gray color as a base coat. Wish I had known that BEFORE I started painting this beast (5 coats later!). Oh well, lesson learned.

dresser 1st coatDo you see that? Not great coverage like I have come to know and love from my ASCP. But I persevered.

dresser side 1st coat

And 4 (or 5–I lost track) coats later, it was finally done to my liking. Well, pretty much. I like my furniture pieces more modern-looking and smooth, rather than chippy and distressed (at least for boys’ bedrooms), so other people may achieve that look quicker if that’s what they’re going for. I also did 2 coats of poly (no wax) since it was going to be in a high-use area and I didn’t want to have to worry about it or re-wax in anytime soon. Plus, I am 7 months pregnant and waxing is pretty labor intensive.

dresser final coat

I reused the same hardware (don’t love it, but hardware is expensive!) and just spray painted it chrome.

dresser completeI still can’t believe I have an orange dresser. I can’t wait to see it with the rest of the room all put together, which we are getting to soon! I will be working on some nursery crafts this weekend at our Pinterest Party, so I will post pics when they are done. But I will leave you with some sneak peeks/hints:

glider beforeIf I can find some fabric I love (Heather might kill me by then), the plan is to recover this. Or attempt it, anyway.

quilt rack beforeSay bye-bye to the hearts and wood tone.

2013-04-15 13.39.12Old decor will become new again!

whaleAnd look at the cute whale my aunt found at HomeGoods! Love!!

There is more where this came from–can’t wait to get it all done and put together! And of course, show it off to all of you!

What do you think? Would you paint a dresser orange? What’s the boldest color you have painted a piece of furniture (or anything)?

Have a great week!!

whitneysig

 

ANOTHER Faux Zinc Coffee Table

After testing out the process (using this tutorial) on my $20 Craigslist coffee table (that I later sold for $90), I knew that was what I wanted to do with my $65 Craigslist coffee table. I just knew that it was going to take A LOT longer due to the 8 drawers and extra details that the other did not have. I put it off and put it off until finally I got some motivation (in the form of my sister who was coming over to work on her coffee table).

This is my coffee table BEFORE:

before 008Quite the beauty, no? Well, maybe not in this form. She was scratched up and a little worse for wear, but SOLID (aka heavy beast) and had nice details on the corners. And lots of storage (which my son promptly took advantage of with his coloring books and games).

Using my trusty Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite, I got started and had the first coat done relatively quickly. Heather was painting her coffee table at the same time with homemade chalk paint (post to come later about that) and her first coat took way longer than mine and her coffee table was nowhere near as detailed/large as mine. The ASCP just covers so well and goes so far–it is worth the money in my opinion (especially now that I have seen the comparison firsthand). I didn’t even sand or repair any of the scratches, I figured that would add character and a more “metal” look to it once it was done (plus I was lazy).

After 2 coats:

1st coat zinc coffee tableOnce dried, I sanded down the entire table using a 200 grit sanding block. I tried sandpaper, thinking it would be better for the crevices and details, but I liked the sanding block so much better–much quicker and more comfortable to work with. It has a totally different look after sanding.

coffee table sandedsanded drawersAfter sanding it was time for the wax. Heather and I decided we wanted to try Briwax, as we had heard it was a good substitute for the ASCP clear wax. I had been using Minwax Finishing Paste and it was easy enough but definitely took more elbow grease than the soft-as-butter ASCP wax. I have to say, the Briwax was a *bit* softer but had quite a strong odor. I had to open doors to allow for plenty of ventilation, which I usually never have to do. And I may have started waxing too soon, but the Briwax also seemed to take off some of the paint as I rubbed it on. Again, that could have been my fault for being in a hurry, but it was something I noticed. I still used the ASCP round brush for the wax (LOVE) and an old t-shirt to wipe off excess.

After the first coat of wax was dry, it was time to start on the faux-zinc part by adding silver metallic craft paint (any will do–Heather happened to have some in her stash so I just used what she had; I think it was 2 different silvers too) to the wax. It seemed to take more craft paint to achieve the look than it did with the last table, but it could have been because I couldn’t get it to blend with the wax very well. I may be splurging on ASCP Clear Wax for my next project–I have been spoiled by her Dark Wax already.

Drawers and top of table AFTER:

Top drawer has just been waxed, bottom drawer has been waxed with the silver craft paint added. You can see the depth the craft paint gives it in this picture.

drawers after silver paint2013-02-11 15.22.01After doing a final coat of wax (this is a much-used coffee table, after all) and letting that dry, I buffed the entire thing (using a good amount of muscle/force) to get a nice smooth finish and shine. I love the buffing pad I got from the ASCP stockist. It is just a microfiber pad (for only $1.50) but it is wonderful.

It took me a while to find knobs to replace the original worn-out wooden ones because I didn’t want to spend more on knobs than I did on the entire table. I saw some beautiful ones at Hobby Lobby, but even $3.00 a piece was more than I wanted to pay. I decided to go with some cheap, black $0.97 ones from Lowe’s. It ties it back into my black entertainment center and work just fine. They even had a little detail to them.

zinc table knobs closeAnd I was done! Since it is a table that we use (and couldn’t NOT have in our living room), I kept it covered with a sheet for a couple weeks to make sure it could properly seal without getting scratched up by my son with a race car or something.

Zinc coffee table1 Zinc coffee table2 Zinc coffee table4So, just for fun, let’s see a before and after. I always love those!

before

Zinc coffee table after

I love it! Now, if I can get rid of my couches and rug and get that charcoal grey sectional I so desire, then it would look even better, but that will have to wait.

This was definitely labor-intensive but still didn’t take very long in the overall scheme of things. I could have knocked it out in a couple days if I tried really hard. Definitely worth it when you see the results though–my cell phone pics don’t quite do it justice.

Next up, a Barcelona Orange dresser for the nursery! Yikes!

Have you tried this technique? What do you think of it? What has been your favorite piece you have painted (any technique)?

TDC Before and After

Today's Creative Blog

The 36th AVENUE
DIY Show Off
I’ve linked up to Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Feature Friday!

whitneysig

 

Pin There. Done That. Kids’ Artwork Storage {Whitney Edition}

I have been meaning to organize Logan’s artwork/paperwork for some time now. Especially now that he is in Kindergarten, the cute crafts and writing samples just keep pouring in. Everything has been scattered throughout my house–in the guest room, in the cabinets, in drawers, some of it on the walls as display. But still very scattered. And driving me crazy.

I saw this pin a long time ago and thought I re-pinned it. Apparently I did not, so I had to go back and find it again today.

 

logan folder

I was in need of a file storage box but I had a few hanging folders to at least get me started. After a quick (are they ever quick?) trip to Target, I was able to get started. I will say I am glad I started now–I can’t imagine going through everything after more than 5 years. Logan has already built up quite the stash. I will be starting one of these with the new baby ASAP.

2013-03-02 15.17.02I had a lot of artwork from before Logan started preschool–either done at home or with his sitter (from when I taught full-time), so I added a file for those years. (BTW, how much do you love this picture? Cracks me up everytime I see it!)

logan preschool

He went to 2 different preschools (one at age 3 and one at 4) but I combined them in one.

logan blurred

Ah, Kindergarten. This file has art, writing samples, report cards and other miscellaneous items I (or Logan) couldn’t part with.

2013-03-02 15.19.27And now it is ALL in one place. Nice and neat. It will go in his closet, easy to get to but out of the way.

All the printables I used for the front of the files are available here. There are also printable file folder labels, but I didn’t use those. I may go back and get some later and use them, but for now I will call it good.

I also made a file for all of Logan’s Santa letters. I have saved them since 2008 (the first year he could actually scribble). I will add hanging folders for every year and hopefully be able to keep it contained to one box–maybe that will be my goal so I can weed things out appropriately as we go along.

It feels really good to have it all organized and safe. My nesting phase has seemingly kicked in early and this satisfied that urge today.

Do you have your kids’ artwork organized? How have you done yours?

Also, see how Brittaney organizes her kids’ artwork here!

whitneysig

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Tenderloin

One night last week I actually got the desire to make something new (but also had a pork tenderloin that desperately needed to be cooked). I looked on my beloved Pinterest and almost went with my old standby (but excellent), Grilled Balsamic-Garlic Crusted Pork Tenderloin but then realized I was out of Balsamic Vinaigrette. Back to the drawing board (or laptop). I came across this recipe and all the rave reviews at Just Another Day in Paradise (found via Pinterest)  I had all the ingredients, it looked easy enough, and I would accomplish my goal of making something new. Sold. I even took a picture~not that it’s  great, but hey, I remembered.

2013-02-05 18.40.06

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

    Rub Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pork tenderloin (approx 2 1/2 to 3 pounds) cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Glaze ingredients:
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar I only had light
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce ( I used franks) I did not have this, but I had buffalo wing sauce--it worked in a pinch

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, then coat the pork with the spice rub. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Brown the pork, turning, about 4 minutes total. If you have a skillet that can go straight into the oven you can leave the pork in the skillet; however, if you are like me and don’t have an ovenproof skillet, transfer it to a foil-lined baking pan (like a 9X13-inch).
  2. Stir together the brown sugar, garlic, and hot sauce and pat on top of each tenderloin. Roast in the middle of the oven until a thermometer inserted diagonally in center of each tenderloin registers 140, about 25 minutes. Let pork stand in the skillet at room temperature for 10 minutes. The temperature will rise to about 155 while standing. Slice on the diagonal and serve, spooning the sauce from the skillet on top of the pork.
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I will say that a meat thermometer is necessary. I did not have one and I am a horrible judge on doneness (especially with pork), so it cooked a little too long. Next time I will follow the time exactly (and hopefully have a meat thermometer).

This recipe was good but a little sweet for my taste. My son (5) ate it but claimed it was too spicy for him (he thinks everything is too spicy, though). My husband liked it but wanted a little more kick. So, it will probably make an appearance on our menu again, but with some adjustments to the amount of brown sugar (way less) and hot sauce (more).

I hope you try it and let me know what you think!

whitneysig

Nursery Design Plan…Maybe??

I think last time I posted, I was 16 weeks along…well, now I am 21 weeks. Sorry about that. But my energy seems to have returned (meaning no more daytime naps) at least until around 7:30, then I am headed for bed as soon as Logan is tucked in. So, with that new-found energy I have completed some a project (you saw my coffee table if you follow us on Facebook) and will blog about that when I find the right knobs and can call it officially “done.” We have also found out some big news that has gotten my planning/DIY/nesting instinct going.

19weeksIT’S A BOY!

So, while my plans for a ruffled bedskirt and all things pink and turquoise are out the window, I am excited about all the new, cute stuff that is out there for boys…it has been 6 years since my last one, after all.

Onto the point of the post. Heather and I have been scouring the internet and fabric stores for a bedding set that I like. I didn’t want theme-y or babyish or character, but more of a modern look. Not easy to find unless you want to spend big money on a custom set on Etsy. I had an idea in my head and Heather said she could easily sew a crib skirt and maybe even a small quilt/blanket once we found the fabrics. So we found a couple fabric options:

nurseryfabric1

nurseryfabric2Bright, modern colors and patterns. But I still wasn’t sold. I am not one of those people that can just “visualize” things. So we bought small swatches of the fabric so Heather could sew a sample piece together so I could see it with the crib. But that night, I found this on the Target website:

Source: m.target.com via Whitney on Pinterest

 

It’s brand new because it wasn’t on their website or in their stores last week. They just clearanced out all of their old baby stuff to make room for new stuff and this is the closest thing to my “vision” that I have seen (at least pre-made). And only $70! Can’t beat that with a stick. I think we are still going to add a little trim in orange or green (or both) to the bottom of the crib skirt just to add a little something. I haven’t bought it yet–waiting for it to be in the budget next month.

With all the colors, it will be easy to accessorize. I have a dresser I bought in Canton back in November that will be used for a changing table and it desperately needs a makeover. It was a steal for $30 but it is crying for some ASCP and fun knobs.

nurserydresserAm I crazy for thinking ASCP Barcelona Orange?? The walls will be gray, the crib will stay white, so the room will need another pop of color. When else do you get a chance to paint furniture orange (unless you are Heather and have a craft room all to yourself)?

Other ideas for the nursery that we will probably DIY are from my Pinterest board (and will, of course, be done in coordinating colors):

Source: etsy.com via Whitney on Pinterest

But with the name and birthday instead. And, NO, we don’t have a name yet…it is killing me but I just don’t love one yet.

Source: etsy.com via Whitney on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Whitney on Pinterest

This could not be more true for my situation and needs to have a place in this baby’s nursery for sure.

 

I want some sort of shelf/storage above the dresser and I like the way this looks, just not sure if that’s what we will go with.

I also want to recover and add some padding to my glider in a bad way. I pinned a tutorial, but I am not sure how easy it will actually be.

So, can you visualize it? I am getting closer but until we clean out the room (which has been my storage/painting room) and start putting things in place, it will be hard for me.

Any other ideas I should add? Seen anything out there that I must have in my nursery? Please share…I have been out of the loop for far too long!

Be on the lookout for lots of DIY baby/nursery crafts coming up! Nesting is hitting full force!

whitneysig

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Hey guys! Long time, no blog. I have to give Heather and Tarah props for picking up the slack around here when the rest of us (or at least me) drop off the face of the earth. This whole pregnancy thing has really taken me down a notch. I am 16 weeks along now and *starting* to feel better, so I am hoping I can pitch in on a more regular basis once again.

Speaking of feeling better, yesterday was the first day in a long time I actually felt good. I worked at the preschool, picked up my son from school, and STILL had energy to burn (and hadn’t gotten sick!). That’s a good day right there. It was cold and rainy around here and I was craving beef stew. Logan and I headed to the store to pick up the ingredients I needed (for a recipe I found on my phone last minute while waiting in the car line when the craving hit–yep, that’s how I work now). There were several recipes that popped up when I googled “best beef stew recipe” but I was looking for one that didn’t have anything fancy and didn’t require a bunch of ingredients. I just wanted a traditional, old-fashioned, thick (but not too thick) beef stew. I think I found it. I was certainly impressed on my first attempt at making stew. I know, I am sure many of you are thinking “it’s not that hard, just throw some stuff in a pot with some broth and you got stew.” I don’t work that way, people. I need a recipe. Once I have success with it, then I can play around. Until then, I need exact instructions.

So all I had to buy were veggies, stew meat, and beef broth (but let’s be honest, I am pregnant, hungry, and cravings hit, so much more was actually bought). I started cooking it as soon as we got home because it had to cook for a while but it was worth the effort. It wasn’t hard, but there was quite a bit of chopping involved.

*My husband also added some cayenne pepper to his bowl for an extra kick and I do have to say that did help with the flavor, although I was happy with it the way it was. I will probably add some to the whole pot next time.
And, although it is hard to make stew look appetizing, I took a picture.

Overall, I was very impressed and the husband had 2 bowls, so that is always a good sign. It was just what I was wanting with no weird ingredients. I will definitely make it again and play around with the spices some more. It was still good the next day, which is always a bonus, but maybe a little thicker than I would have liked…reheating on the stove rather than microwave probably would have helped.

So, try it if you have had trouble finding a good stew…or share your favorite stew recipe with me! I am definitely open to trying more!

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 -1 1/2 lb cubed beef stew meat *I used closer to 2 lbs
  • 1/2 cup flour *3/4 cup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 carrot, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery, with a few minced leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 pinch thyme
  • 3 1/2 cups beef broth *4 cups
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 onions, diced *1 onion
  • *I also added some more celery at this point as well and added salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Put flour, salt and pepper in a large ziploc bag. I used a bowl with a lid--we didn't have big ziploc bags
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven.
  3. Place meat in bag with the flour and shake until well coated.
  4. Shake off meat pieces and add them to the oil and stir until slightly browned, add remaining flour from the bag and the finely chopped onion.
  5. Stir until well browned.
  6. Add finely chopped carrot and next 4 ingredients.
  7. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 1/2 hours (stirring every 15 minutes).
  8. Add diced potatoes, carrots, and onions, cook for another 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. It only took about 20 minutes until the potatoes were tender but I cut them pretty small
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whitneysig

My Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes

Oh, how I love to bake. Usually. I just can’t get into it this year. Between the ridiculous exhaustion and the nausea (and the recent start of morning sickness–at 12 weeks!), I just don’t have the energy or stomach to handle baking. Which kills me because that is one of my favorite holiday traditions.

But at least I can share my favorites with y’all and maybe that will get me motivated to attempt it as well.

This first one was discovered on Once A Month Mom and was an instant hit. I just found it last year but it is definitely a keeper since I got several requests for the recipe and/or more cookies.

 

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies
makes 3 dozen

3/4 cups butter or margarine, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses (original, not blackstrap)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

additional granulated sugar for rolling cookies

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Add egg and beat well.  Add molasses, mix well.  Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices; add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Chill dough overnight {I have found that even just chilling for an hour or so seems to work fine}.  Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar.  Place two inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown.  Allow cookies to cool for two minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Allow to cool completely, then transfer cookies to gallon freezer bags or freezer safe containers.

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The next recipe is one that I found in the newspaper a few years ago and have kept the clipping ever since and made them every year. I really like them but you have to like shortbread. They are crumbly but addicting.

PS…this Pinterest link isn’t the exact recipe but I wanted to give you a picture and this is very close…just doesn’t make the same amount basically.

Source: delishhh.com via Lacey on Pinterest

 

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

(serves 90–AKA makes a BUTTLOAD of cookies)

2 cups margarine, soft

2 cups powdered sugar

2 t. vanilla

4 1/2 cups flour

12 oz. mini chocolate chips

Cream margarine, sugar, and vanilla. Gradually add flour and then chips. Roll into logs and chill (I have left the extra logs in the freezer and pulled them out to bake as needed throughout the season). Cut and put on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 11 minutes. Cool on racks.

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My last recipe (I have several favorites, but I am limiting myself) is one that I have made for many years. Nestle used to have mint chocolate chips that were just chocolate flavored with mint instead of the green and chocolate mix. I preferred the original, but they are no longer around. They are still excellent cookies that get gobbled up quickly…so double or triple the recipe.

 

Deep Chocolate Mint Cookies

makes 1 1/2 dozen

1 1/2 cups (10 oz) mint chocolate chips, divided

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 t. vanilla

Melt 3/4 cup of chocolate chips in small saucepan over lowest possible heat (I have also just used the microwave). When morsels begin to melt, remove from heat, stir. Return to heat for a few seconds at a time, stirring until smooth. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar in small mixer bowl. Beat in egg, vanilla, and chocolate. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in remaining morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are puffed (don’t overbake). Cool 5 minutes.

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I hope y’all enjoy my favorite holiday cookie recipes and make some for your family. Come back and let me know what you think!

What are your favorite holiday cookie recipes? Share with us!

whitneysig

12 weeks on 12.12.12

So you haven’t heard much from me lately. Sorry ’bout that. I have been in the midst of 1st trimester pregnancy EXHAUSTION. I am talking multiple naps a day and then still being too tired to do anything around the house. My poor, neglected house. If it weren’t for my husband, our sink would be overflowing with dishes and we would have NO clean clothes. Also, dinner just wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for him. I am not joking.

But anyway, since it’s 12.12.12, I thought I would post my 12 week update. I have been keeping my personal blog updated with all things pregnancy-related (when I have the energy), but thought it would be nice to share over here occasionally as well.

How far along?  12 weeks!
How big is baby? Just over 2 inches, about 1/2 ounce. About the size of a lime…pretty amazing since 3 weeks ago it was the size of a kidney bean!!

 

Total weight gain/loss? Not sure, my scale isn’t working right now. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t feel like I’ve gained much, though. Will find out Monday.
Maternity clothes?  Still prefer stretchy pants but can wear regular shirts, although I have bought a couple maternity shirts that are still a little big.
Stretch marks? Still none (unless you count the ones I still have from Logan)
Sleep? All the time. Like, it’s ridiculous. I am hoping that starts to go away once I hit the 2nd trimester.
Best moment last week? Seeing a slight bump
Movement? Not yet.
Food cravings?  Burritos, clementines, malt-o-meal, cereal, water with lemon, coke
Food Aversions? Varies day to day. Lots of food just doesn’t sound good depending on the day. 
Gender? No clue yet. :( Impatiently waiting!
Labor signs? None
Pregnancy symptoms? Nauseous off and on, tired, lots of burping, irritable, emotional
Belly button in/out? In 
What I miss: Having at least a little energy. And food tasting good.
What I am looking forward to: My ultrasound on Monday for the NT scan (to check for chromosomal abnormalities)
Milestones: Hitting 12 weeks I guess.
Bump picture: Slight bump…depending on the day it is bigger or smaller. We took this pic last Sunday, it will have to do. And excuse the ghetto chalkboard writing…we were in a rush and it was still wet from being wiped off.

whitneysig

PT5~11.17.12 {Baby Edition}

So, if you aren’t friends with me on Facebook or know me in real life, then you don’t know my EXCITING news!! I recently found out I am pregnant, only about 8 weeks, but I have wanted this for so long that I can’t keep it a secret. My husband and I have tried for several years–everything from OPK tests, to Clomid, injections, even IUI (3 times). We stopped treatments back in May just to give ourselves a break. Well, I got a surprise 3 weeks ago. We are over the moon excited, as are both of our families. My son is 5 1/2 years old and long overdue for a sibling. I am hoping for a girl but would certainly be great with a boy as well (of course). So, now that the cat is out of the bag, I can share my Pinterest favorites for the new baby!! It has been 6 years since I have been pregnant, so there is a ton of new stuff/new ideas out there for this time around. I can’t wait!!

Source: momtog.com via Whitney on Pinterest

I love this idea for weekly/monthly maternity pictures. With Logan, I think we only have 2 pictures of me pregnant, 1 of which was at my baby shower. I am determined to take more progression pics this time and I definitely want Logan to be a part of it!

 

Source: natcaronphotography.com via Whitney on Pinterest

I love this picture of the older sibling with their new brother/sister. So many families have kids so close together that our situation is kind of unique in that our kids will be 6 years apart. I want Logan to have a special bond with the new baby and I think this picture illustrates that perfectly!

 

Source: etsy.com via Whitney on Pinterest

This could not be more true for our situation. I am not an outwardly religious person, I tend to keep that part of my life pretty private but I had so many friends praying for us and I spent many a night crying and begging for another child. It truly was not in our timing and I am so very appreciative of this blessing.

 

Source: blog.hannamac.com via Whitney on Pinterest

I love the idea of keeping a weekly/monthly journal of what is going on during the pregnancy. Again, I didn’t keep track of a whole lot with Logan. I was still working full-time and just didn’t think about it much. He has a baby book, of course, and it is filled out completely but lots of the cute little details/cravings/feelings get forgotten about.

 

 

Along the same lines, I love this little book of the monthly happenings for the first year of life. I did take monthly pictures with Logan but just having the extra details would be so great when looking back.

So, any tips for me? Anything I MUST do or MUST have? Or got any other cute ideas for me?? I am a little out of the loop these days so I would love any suggestions!

White Chicken Chili (and some new keeper recipes!)

I made soup for the first time this season tonight. I like to wait until it is actually cold enough to enjoy a hot bowl of soup, and that night was tonight. It is super easy to make and SO, SO good.

White Chicken Chili
1 bag Pictsweet Seasoning Blend (in frozen veggie section)
1 rotisserie chicken, pulled off bone and chopped (I used grilled chicken we already had (probably 3 breasts)
1 lb. andouille sausage (or smoked sausage), diced
1 can Hatch green enchilada sauce (found this at Wal-Mart and Target)
1 can chopped green chiles (hot or mild)
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can corn
2 cans cannellini beans
1 1/2 qts. chicken broth

Saute seasoning blend in some olive oil. Put everything else in the soup pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for about an hour.

Target didn’t have the Pictsweet Seasoning Blend, so I just chopped up some onion and peppers I already had. I also didn’t realize I didn’t have any canned corn, so frozen corn went in with the onions and peppers.

It makes a full stockpot, but leftovers are great!

Two other recipes I tried this weekend were also big hits. My husband’s family had their Thanksgiving this weekend and I got these from where else but Pinterest.

 Corn Casserole

 

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

 

Both went over VERY well and will definitely be made again. Bonus that they were ridiculously easy to put together.

Now, share your favorite soup recipes! Or your favorite, easy, family get-together recipes! It’s that time of year–we all need new ideas!

My Pinterest Party Crafts!

I am just now recovering from our Pinterest Party this past weekend. A full day of shopping at Canton + late nights up laughing + crafting and eating non-stop = a very tired Whitney. BUT– I am so proud of myself. I am getting so much craftier since we started having these Pinterest Parties. I no longer require the help (or at least not as much) to get my crafts done. I no longer just copy what someone else is doing. I actually inspired the other girls to do one of the crafts I did because they all liked it so much!! I am telling you, if you think you aren’t crafty (like I did), then organize a Pinterest Party for you and your friends. It doesn’t have to be a whole weekend, maybe start with just a few hours, but you will learn so much from each other and get inspired. It doesn’t hurt that between all of us (well, between Heather, Tarah, Paige, and Aunt Toni), we basically have a craft store with any and all the supplies we might need. That makes it REALLY easy! Check out all the stuff we made!

I actually did 4 out of the 5 crafts on my PT5 from a couple of weeks ago and then added another item on a whim.

Pinterest Inspiration:

 

My Interpretation:

This was easy, you guys. I bought these wooden letters in Canton, but you could easily use chipboard letters from Hobby Lobby or Joann. Slap some Mod Podge on and cover with glitter and you’re done. I sealed them with spray sealer just to keep the glitter from constantly flaking off…we’ll see if that works. Helpful tip: Spray adhesive + glitter = glitter clumps that can’t be reused/funneled back into the glitter container. Mod Podge is the way to go.

Pinterest Inspiration:

 

My Interpretation:

Again, easy. I used 12×12 cardstock to make the cones, but they aren’t super sturdy. If the foam cones had been on sale (or I had seen the chipboard ones Tarah told me about later) then I would definitely have used those instead. But these will work on my mantle for at least this year. I added the jingle bell and bow on top at the last minute and it definitely made it more festive. :)

Pinterest Inspiration:

Source: etsy.com via Heather on Pinterest

 

My Interpretation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this little sign. I did not use vinyl letters like I originally thought I might since my sister had her Silhouette handy. I painted one of our many canvases then Mod Podged the letters on. Sure, there are a few wrinkles here and there, but nothing that is super noticeable from a distance. I made one for me, one for my sister, and one for my aunt. How I got roped into doing all 3 I will never know.

Pinterest Inspiration:

 

My Interpretation:

I actually ended up using this tutorial for the ornament wreath and it was super easy and quick. All the girls ended up wanting to make one so there was an impromptu trip made to the town Dollar Tree to stock up on more ornaments and bows (there were balls for days). :) Yes, we are all immature children than like to make jokes about balls.

And take pictures:

Brittaney and Sars sent us this picture from the Dollar Tree with the caption “Oh balls.” The rest of the weekend, there were many, MANY ball jokes. And we laughed every time. Don’t judge.

Pinterest Inspiration:

Source: houzz.com via Heather on Pinterest

 

My Interpretation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I need to wipe off some the excess glitter, but it is a cute sign. The Pinterest picture used battery-operated lights but I am far too lazy/cheap for that. So glitter dots it was. And it will still be cute on my entertainment center. :)

So, it was a busy weekend. And SO much fun. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt and stayed up way later than I have in at least a year (btw, EVERYTHING is funnier at 1:00 am).

Here’s a goofy pic of all of us girls with our crafts. By Sunday, I think we were all delirious and someone thought it would be a good idea to use our wreaths as frames…

I love my girls and our Pinterest weekends and can’t wait for the next party. I realize how lucky I am to have such a good group of friends that enjoy being together and crafting. And that we have husbands that understand our need to get away! I also love that my house is filled with crafts that I made for a fraction of the price you would pay for it in the store.

Linking up at Things I’ve Done Thursday at Bear Rabbit Bear Crafts

Whipperberry

PT5 10.27.12~{Christmas Pinterest Party Edition}

I CANNOT wait until next weekend. All of us {Cheap} Housewives plus a few extra girls are getting together at my aunt’s house for our Christmas Pinterest Weekend. We are starting the weekend off on Friday by going to First Monday Trade Days in Canton. The rest of the weekend will be spent eating, drinking, and crafting. Specifically, Christmas crafts (see last year’s here). So I am going to show you what I love/dream/aspire to make next weekend. Oh, it won’t all get done and I will probably change my mind later this week or when I see what the other girls are making, but this is my starting point.

 

 

Love these letters. And my mantle definitely could use some help. Most of the other girls are craftier than me, so I will let them lead the way on this one. :)

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How much easier could these be? And instead of expensive foam cones, roll up a piece of scrapbook paper or cardstock into the shape of a cone. I think this one is a *for sure*. Or this one.

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I have loved this wreath forever but, man, bells are expensive. Especially when you need a TON. We had this pinned for last year’s Christmas Pinterest Party, too, but it didn’t make the cut.

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Source: etsy.com via Heather on Pinterest

 

I may attempt something like this (ala canvas word art) since I have some extra canvases and there will be an abundance of paint available.

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I also love this wreath and have had my eye on it for a couple years. I have a thing with wreaths. I think my husband might hurt me if I come home with another wreath, but I have always loved the way these looked!

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What crafts do you have planned for Christmas? Anything we should try??

Here are the links to our Christmas Pinterest Party Boards if you want to follow us!

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2012