life is always about the journey...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Room Makeovers!

First Floor Overhaul

After 7 years in this house I'm feeling the need for some change.  I've been so busy the past few years with my work and travel and just life in general that I got lackadaisical with what I did when we first moved in.  But now I'm ready for CHANGE (cue hubby groaning lol)!

First rooms to be hit are the Dining Room and Laundry Room!
Then next are the Study and Powder Room and maybe Living Room.


Red is my favorite color and I've almost always had a red dining room, it appeals to me and its elegant.  But now I feel at this phase of my life I need to lighten things up a bit, I already got rid of the dark rug in this room.  This is one of the first rooms you see when you come in my house and it gets great light so it was ok to be darker but now I need even more light.  My table and buffet were an anniversary present from Ethan Allen over 14 years ago from my hubby and its in great shape as we seriously don't eat in this room much.  Its a shame I know but it at least needs to be a pretty room.

Coastal elegance and lighter neutrals are appealing to me right now.

So I'm thinking about this kind of look for my dining room:

So I've already picked the paint color from Benjamin Moore and bought a few new accessories and will be hitting up Habitat Restore for some shutters that I want to add to the room.  A longer buffet may be coming in that is a painted piece and current buffet will be getting some shelves over it and moved to the shorter wall.  Lots of ideas slowly coming together.  Can't wait to share the final view with you all soon!

 scored from Kirklands for $20 each

Pottery Barn Jug

Lamp from Stein Mart for $20 along with some Annie Sloan chalk paint



ACK!!! RIGHT? Please don't judge me by this mess heehee it is NOT representative of most rooms in my house.  This room has never really been "done" like the other rooms.  Its totally utilitarian and not pretty in the least and its a dumping ground for EVERYTHING.  It sits directly behind my kitchen and in front of garage entrance.  I spend a lot of time in here and I'm SICK OF IT LOL!  Time for it to be pretty now :)

Step 1 was to clear it out and clean it up and organize it!
I have a ton of cabinets in here that weren't being used to the best of their ability so I focused on that first.  Then a good scrub down was in order so that it now looks like this:

That long wall on the left will be getting a batten-board treatment and hooks about 3/4s of the way up.  I have bought all the boards and my nail gun so as soon as I paint the upper halves of the wall and the other walls I can get that started.  I have no issue handling tools much to hubby's chagrin and I'm a total DIY girl, I like getting my hands dirty :) 

 Behind the sink the walls will be getting a fun treatment as well
and hubby is installing a deeper sink for me...I groom the doggies in this sink
and its just not deep enough for baths right now.  I'm also getting a new faucet with a higher bend and spray nozzle.  Those lower cabinets are getting painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint as well to lighten it up more.

I can't really have a countertop on top of my washer/dryers but I have 
bought a few cute baskets that will be used.
Inspiration Pics:

My batten board will resemble this...3/4s of the way up with a slim ledge and hooks

Similar color on the walls...I wanted the color of a pale sky.

Completely pretty & organized.

So that's what I will be working on over the next couple of weeks!  Still searching for a few things and trying not to rush it...I want to enjoy the process and find the perfect accessories that agree with the image in my head :)  

So stay tuned!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing!

We here at the Dean house we love Ranch Dressing for dips and salads.  I like to make my own Ranch Dressing myself as I know EXACTLY what's in it and I try to use the freshest ingredients that I can if possible.
This is a recipe that started out from BH&G years ago and slowly got tweaked over the years to my taste...its all about taste so tweak and add as you like to make it your own. That to me is the most fun part of cooking to tweak things and make them become your own.  
Never be afraid to STRAY from the recipe I say!

So the recipe is below along with a link for a printable version of the recipe if you'd like!

Here are the ingredients...I forgot the Dijon mustard when I took the picture so forgive me ;)
And I didn't have fresh Parsley on hand so I used dried but rest of herbs were fresh!

It looks like a lot of ingredients (it is) but it seriously comes together in less than 15 mins...can't beat that even if you are in a rush!

Try to make it a day ahead if not at least a few hours to chill in the fridge!

Chives are hard to dice...just saying..get them as small as you can and then give up and toss 'em in and its all good!

Look at that yummy goodness coming together!  I press my garlic cloves through a garlic press (I like my Pampered Chef one) and then smashed it again on side of bowl with my fork.  You don't want huge chunks of garlic in your dressing trust me, even if you love garlic.

And there you have it...yummy homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing!

Let me know if you make this and try it! I love getting feedback!
Glad to hear those of you that made my Cherry Cola BBQ sauce gave it THREE thumbs up too!


Friday, July 26, 2013

Mess BeGone!!!


I KNOW RIGHT?? UGH this is called pantry OUT OF CONTROL LOL!  We've done lil' clean ups over the year but it needed some major help!  I'm lucky to be blessed with a large pantry and more cabinets than I know what to do with in my kitchen (and this coming from someone who collects dishes and kitchen contraptions like they are goin' out of style lol)!  It was almost painful to have to look for anything and we had sooooo much stuff that was just BAD, STALE and ready to be pitched ick!

TO THIS...soooo much BETTER!  I know it may NOT look as changed to you as it does to me but lemme tell ya its a BIG difference!  It makes me soooo happy to just open the doors and see the organization and cleanliness!  I would like to cut foam board to fit each shelf because those wire shelves can cause havoc at times but will do that another time.  

We drink a lot of hot cocoa in this family in the fall and winter...A LOT LOL!  So I used one of these bins (from IKEA) to create a hot cocoa bin for us.  We have a few selections of hot cocoa, chocolate stirring sticks and mini marshmallows.  The round chalkboard tags I created myself on Photoshop and printed out (die cut with a scalloped die) and attached with two sided tape (Scor-Tape).  The other shaped chalkboard tags are from Martha Stewart for Staples.

I'm slightly anal...have I mentioned that...and the garbage bag box was bugging me.  I didn't want to get rid of it because we get the same bags from Costco all the time and they fit perfectly inside.  Solution:  Cover that baby to match the tags :)  So out came my black cardstock and my chalkboard marker in white.  Problem Solved!  Another white bin on the floor keeps my potatoes neat.  And then I have a few storage containers with cereal and chocolate chips (bought in bulk) and a basket of chips.  I have teens that have teen friends that are here ALL the time so we go thru bags of chips like crazy, so I try to get extras at all time.

This little container is from the $1 bin at Target...I got a few because they are great for organizing small things and economical which I like :)  This one holds our matches, easily seen and reachable with a chalkboard tag to match (Martha Stewart tag)

Another $1 bin bargain from Target are the little pails I've used to sort sweetners and drink mixes. Once football starts for my son the pail of drink mixes for water will decrease the pail is a nice place to keep them and easy to grab.

Another schooltime bin for breakfast fixin's...I've loaded it up with oatmeal and PopTarts.  I'm not a PopTart eater myself but some mornings if I can get ANYTHING into my teens before school its a good thing trust me.  So they both like PopTarts and they usually grab one and eat it on the walk to the bus stop.  This is better looking than a bunch of boxes and I labeled them by tearing off the "flavor label" from the box and placing it in the bin.

We eat a lot of crackers and cheese...its a fave snack for the Deans.  The top shelf was a DISASTER of half empty boxes, boxes that were past expiration date and just junk.  So I corraled some more bins to hold the boxes and a few cracker containers for crackers that are currently open.  The spray cheese is NOT mine..icky...Riley likes it for some reason so I buy one every few months...nasty LOL.

On the far left top shelf I have boxed up the numerous paper/cutlery items we have.  We used to throw a lot of parties but now that the kids are older we don't have as many home parties.   We do use these when the teens have friends over though so paper napkins and cheap cutlery are the way to go.  This is NOT all my supplies...I have two shelves in my laundry room with more ;)  But these bins contained them nicely and easy to grab when needed.

 What I Used Bins For In My Pantry:
I buy a lot of the $1 shoe bins from Walmart...clear, cheap and great to corral things
Dollar Store & Target $1 Bin are great resources for inexpensive organizational things too

-rice packs
-soup & dip packs
-Asian cooking products
-Salad Fixins
-Hot Cocoa Supplies
-Paper Supplies
-Honeys & Jams

Now after I've done this I seriously want to clear the shelves and paint the back wall a bright happy color...hmmmmm!  Might do that this fall and put the foam board on shelves too!  Also have a long pantry rack that hubby is putting on the left inside door for smaller items as well ;)  For the most part I'm pleased...still a few tweaks to go but all-in-all a job well done for me!!

I'm entering this into the foloowing Linky Parties at a few of my Fave Blogs:


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bloom Love!

I love flowers...tulips and hydrangeas are the TOPS with this gal though.  
Unfortunately I have NO tulips planted because our lovely squirrels have dug them all up TWICE now ugh.  I plan on planting some in my pots this fall we shall see how that goes.  But I have hydrangea bushes all around my house and in all different colors.  This one in my front flower bed happens to be my favorite.  It has tripled in size since last year and was just full of beautiful blooms.  The one right next to it is soft purple-blue so they look so pretty together.  I have white snowball hydrangeas on the side of the house that are gorgeous too.  I have clipped a bunch and have them in my garage to use dried blooms on wreaths and in arrangements.

Gorgeous Yes?

Such a beautiful periwinkle color!

And a few for the kitchen table of course :)

What's your favorite flower??


Monday, July 22, 2013

That's Froggy!

Here's the story of a semi-rural dog named Baylee!
She's a 5 year old Cairn Terrier also known as Bezzi, Bay-Bay or Baby.
She has a cairn sister who is 11 (Casey) that she is attached to although her sister can no longer keep up with her.  She leaves her in the dust...but always comes back to check on her and perhaps get a partner in crime for whatever she may be cooking up.  Casey is good at resisting ;)

Baylee is border patrol at home...she runs the length of our fence line making sure the borders are protected.
Protected from wild turkeys, fox, deer, groundhogs, cats, bunnies, name it, its not getting through with her on watch.
It is her main hobby and she likes to bark at stuff, things, people...she even barks at the wind as a talent.

She's also the resident cat herder...we have 6 cats...that's a lot of herding.  If cats are being naughty then Baylee is there in 2.2 secs...the cats scatter...and her job is done.

So when you take our semi-rural cairn to the country...the real country...this is what happens:
She's picture perfect dirty here I think...whaddya say?

These are the ponds on my Gram's property.  Prime FROGGY country!

Here is Baylee...master Frog Hunter aka "mud hopper"!
If there is a frog on the banks of a pond she's on it...those frogs jump for their lives.  If you call to Baylee for backup she will tromp through the pond and swim to your side...there is NO going around for this dog...NO WAY...that's too easy (clean) for this girl!

 I did get a pic of ONE frog before Frog Hunter got to it LOL!  He quickly hopped back into pond for safety from Dog-zilla!

This is Frog Hunter...also close to an Oreo...middle is white and bottom is black like the mud (and the tips of her cute ears).
I can see her saying to me with her eyes "I got 'em Mama...they are all back in the pond! 
What's next?"

A nice long walk back thru the grapes (NY grapes) to Gram's house for a spray down bath in the yard.
See how far ahead Baylee is....yeah she hopes to outrun me because baths aren't her thing...
she prefers her water DIRTY!

Ever eat Welch's Grape jelly or drink their juice?  Well most of it comes from New York grapes...yes'm!
And the grapes look amazing this year...gonna be some good juice...mmmmmm!

Been a long day for this ole dog...sun is setting over the grapes...frog hunter has been cleaned up and allowed back into the house.  Job well done today Baylee!

Carry On!

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