Monday, February 28, 2011

Hoot, Hoot

My fun find for the day is this darling owl from Rod Works for $19.99.  I used my 25% off coupon so he was $15.  He is my favorite addition to my spring porch decor.  I love that he is unique.  I added a yard of ribbon to his neck also from Rod Works.  I chose the ribbon to match the colors in my other decor.  When looking for decor items, look for unusual or unique items.  When you find one you love, buy it.  I'm so glad I found him.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dinner for a busy night

I love this chicken casserole recipe because you can make it early in the day and put it in the oven 30 minutes before dinner...and it's yummy and pretty simple so most people will eat it!  And it's not one of those casseroles where you have to guess what's in it :)

Chicken Casserole
1 pound cooked chicken, cubed
3/4 package cooked noodles of choice (I use wide egg noodles or rotini)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup mayo
1-2 cups cheddar cheese 

Cook and cube chicken.  Cook noodles and drain.
Make sauce with soup, milk, mayo and cheese in a large pan. Stir together until cheese is melted.
Add chicken to pan.  Depending on the size of your pan, add noodles to mixture or put noodles in a 9x13 baking dish and pour chicken and sauce over the noodles.  Mix noodles and sauce well.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. 

Delicious and easy dinner! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Beautiful baby room...designed by Melissa

Lisa and I know many people who also love interior design and have done beautiful things in their homes...and we want to share some of their inspiration with you!  My sister in law Melissa has fabulous taste and did an impecable job decorating little Lucy's room...

Melissa had a hard time finding bedding she between her, her mom and our mother in law they made this beautiful bedding.  She used fabric by Joel Dewberry (  Her crib was from Bratt Decor (, but she found a boutique in Kaysville that sold it for a few hundred dollars less than the website.  Isn't it an amazing crib!   

My personal favorite is the tulle bed skirt...such a fun touch!

The mobile was from USA Baby and looked quite different originally.  She put her own touch on it to match the fabrics and colors in the room.

Love the bows sewn onto the curtains!

She found this dresser for $50 at a consignment store!  They painted it grey and added mismatched knobs from Anthropologie.  Great idea to use a regular dresser instead of a changing table to use long after the baby stage is over!  Also love the beadboard accent wall behind the dresser.  It's a cream color with a light stain over the top.

Lucy's letters were from Roberts which she painted and added glitter.  They sell glitter spray which would make this project super easy and adds a great finish.

I also love this piece of artwork that Melissa did herself.  She had seen this in a few etsy shops and figured she could do it much cheaper herself and make it a perfect match with the fabrics from the bedding.  I love how it turned out.  Just a piece of canvas and fun fabrics create a perfect little addition!

And here's the princess who dwells in this room...she's such a doll Melissa!  Thanks for sharing your pictures and beautiful ideas.  You've got quite a talent.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Basement job 6...drywall and texture

The completion of drywall and texture helps us to see the light at the end of the tunnel in finishing the basement!

Please excuse the finished materials everywhere...we had them delivered before I had the chance to take pictures...although I'm so happy they are there and its all being put up this week!  This is going to be our family room area with an opening into the playroom (the space I'm most excited about!)

View of the playroom!   It's amazing how in one day you can go from wood 2x4's to white walls! 

One thing you have to decide on is the type of texture you want on your walls.  We went with the "old world" style...fairly smooth with a few textured spots here and there.  We chose a different texture called "knockdown" for the ceiling to give a little variety. 

We appreciate Trent at RCI Drywall (801.420.7905) for doing such a great job and recommend him!

Now only finish work, paint and carpet and we'll have a liveable space downstairs!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Basement job 5...Insulation

Insulation is the one basement project that can easily be done on your own.  I can't claim that I helped much, but my handy husband finished in a few evenings (about 6-7 hours total work). 

Our basement already had insulation lining the top half of the walls which we were able to reuse for part of the space.  We spent about $80 to finish, along with the cost of plastic sheeting (which they call the "vapor barrier").  All the project requires is fitting insulation snuggly between each stud and using a staple gun to secure the plastic cover.  Not too bad!

We wanted to create more of a sound barrier for the basement so we chose to insulate a big part of the ceiling as well.  It ended up costing about $250, but we hope it will be well worth it! 

Tomorrow I'll talk about our drywall and texturing!  Talk about instantly creating bedrooms!  It's a fun transformation and helps to visualize what the final space will look like!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fun find...bird cages

Need something cheap and cute for your front porch decor?  Why not add a bird cage...

Tai Pan has a big selection of them right now starting around $12 in different sizes and styles.  A collection of a few set on a small table would be a perfect spring addition to the front of any home!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Snappy Turtles

Snappy Turtles are one of my favorite cookies.  Thanks Grandma Aiken for this wonderful recipe.

1c shortening
1c brn sugar

3 eggs
1t vanilla
1t maple flavoring

1/2t baking soda
1/2t salt
3c flour

Mix well, form balls and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 mins.  Let cool, then frost with chocolate frosting

Thanks to my mom for the best chocolate frosting recipe.
1/2 c butter
1/2 c cocoa
2 3/4 c pwdr sugar
1 egg
1t vanilla
3-4 T hot water

Melt butter, add cocoa and blend.  Add pwdr sugar, egg, and vanilla; beat until smooth.  Add hot water 1T at a time until creamy and easy spreading consistency.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Perfect Room for Boys and Girls

Let me just start by saying I love IKEA.  If you haven't been to their Draper location, you are missing out on great deals and inspiration.  A couple of months back, I helped my Mother-in-law decorate this room at her house for my niece and nephew.  We headed to IKEA for all of the items.  When decorating a room that both boys and girls will use, look for fabrics that are gender neutral but can be enhanced for either gender.  For example, we chose the plaid for the boys' bed, but used the plaid pillow as an accent on the girls' bed.  To make the girls's bed more feminine, we added an embroidered flower pillow with the colors of the room.  As a nightstand, we used the fabulous $39.99 Expedit book shelf from IKEA mentioned in Tuesday's post.  We used to wicker baskets ($16 each) for toy storage and left two shelves open for books.  A simple silver lamp with red shade which costs roughly $10 total is paired with a white tulip arrangement to finish the nightstand.  Everything came from IKEA.  The entire room, bedding, accessories, rugs, frames, lamp, nightstand, basket, and pillows cost less than $300.  Quite the bargain!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Brand New Bedroom

 Before I had Khloe, I took Davy's childhood bed and refurbished it for Porter's big boy bed.  It was a natural oak finish that I had previously painted white.  So I sanded it, and painted it using black furniture paint from Four Chairs.
 To enhance the bed, I added beadboard to the insert on the headboard and footboard.  Measure your insert and cut your beadboard to size.  Using Liquid Nail, glue the beadboard in place and hold with clamps for 24 hours.  Next, caulk the perimeter.  Simply, run a thin bead of caulk and then wipe with your pointer finger.  Wipe your finger on a wet rag.  Let the caulk dry to make sure there are no gaps between the beadboard and the bed.  Then paint.  Refer to Lindsay's post about the Armoire for detailed painting, sanding, and top coat instructions.

 I also did the same to my old oak dresser.  I sanded the entire thing, cut beadboard fronts for all the drawers, glued in place using the same method mentioned above, caulked, and then painted.  I replaced the outdated knobs with new ones and got a brand new dresser for around $50.

I did the same with my old oak nightstand.  Adding the beadboard to both the drawers and doors, really updated the look.  The hinges were a bronze color, so I spray painted them silver to match the knobs.  I share this to show you that those outdated pieces in your house can easily be transformed into something new, modern, and beautiful.  I am happy to help any of you with this DIY project! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Best Toy Bin

 IKEA sells the best toy storage bin for the amazing price of $39.99.  It is the Expedit book shelf, and it comes in white, natural, and brn-black.  It is so well made and easy to assemble.  I've put together three, so that tells you it's easy and worth the price.  The top is a great space to display decor to tie in with any room.  They also sell a variety of bins.  These black fabric bins are $5 and also come in light blue and pink. 

They hold a ton of toys.  My OCD nature calls for organized bins.  I keep all of the Little People, superhero toys, cars, ponies, etc in their own bins.  It makes for easy clean-up and easy to find the toys later.  Also, Porter and Khloe know which bins are which so they can find their toys and help clean-up.  I have three of these toy bins in my house and recommend them to anyone to help control the toy clutter in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Repurposed Valentine Decor

My fun find for the day is cheap Valentine decorations.  Both TaiPan and Rod Works have all of their decorations on clearance right now.  Last year, I bought all my Valentine Decor CHEAP!!  How you may ask?  Well, to start. . .

 I bought the heart ornaments and heart pillow at IKEA after Christmas.  They were meant as Christmas ornaments but totally fit for Valentines Day.

 The pillow was $4.99.  I already had the candles.  I bought the stick bundle at Rod Works on clearance for $6.99.  It was part of their Christmas clearance but totally works for Valentines.
 The ornaments were $.75 for a pack of 4.  CRAZY price!  I wasn't even looking for Valentine decorations, but when I saw these at that price, I had to have them.

I used grapevine garland that had been sitting in my closet for years (purchased from Roberts for $6 but never knew what to do with it) to make a heart.  I wrapped it with red christmas ribbon, put it in my red bucket that I use on the porch during the summer months, attached a valentine ornament with duct tape, and voila, instant, cheap, repurposed decorations.  Look around your house.  Your decorations don't have to be expensive or brand new.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Delicious Valentine

Want to go gourmet with your Valentine treats this year?  Here's a fun combination of goodies that's great to give to your Valentine, teachers, neighbors or whoever else needs some special love! 

Xpedx in Orem (1786 South State Street) is a great place to buy specialty gift boxes...and they are usually pretty cheap!  They sell the foldable brown boxes which make great Valentine holders for your kids...and you can decorate them however you want! 

Here are my three favorite bite-sized desserts that would make a great combination or can be given seperately! 

My Mom is the queen of chocolate covered strawberries...they are so delicious and so easy!

 Chocolate Covered Strawberries
1-2 pound package strawberries (they are about $5 for 2 pounds at Costco right now)
Gourmet chocolate (Dove, Lindt or the Bliss chocolates taste the best!)
1-2 tbs cream (optional)
1 tsp almond extract (optional)

Melt the chocolate on low.  As soon as it's melted, stir in the cream and almond extract until mixed in.  Hold the strawberry from the top and dip the strawberry halfway to three fourths up.  Lift directly out of chocolate and let excess drip off.  Set on wax paper to cool. 

These mini cheesecakes are delicious and again very easy!
 Mini Cheesecakes

Two 8 ounce pkgs cream cheese
2 eggs
2 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Vanilla wafers
1 can fruit filling (any flavor, 20 ounce)
Cupcake foils

Combine cream cheese, eggs, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Place one vanilla wafer into each cupcake foil in a cupcake baking tin.  Spoon filling into cupcake foil until halfway full.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Let cool completely before topping with filling.

Remember these from Christmas?  They work great for a Valentine treat too!

Oreo Truffles

1 package Oreo cookies
One 8 ounce cream cheese
2 packages Bakers semi-sweet chocolate

Set aside nine finely blended cookies (a food processor is best for this!)  Blend remaining cookies.  Mix cookies with softened cream cheese.  Roll mixture into small balls.  Microwave one package chocolate in a bowl for two minutes.  Dip Oreo balls into chocolate and place on wax paper to cool.  Sprinkle crumbs on truffles.  Refrigerate for two hours.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Lisa is a very talented seamstress...something that I do not possess!  So if I want something sewn, I turn to her, my friend Jessica or my friend Raelene.  Raelene started a little business selling a few items including car seat canopys, kids aprons and a darling bird mobile for a nursery.  I thought I'd share her info in case you are in the market...she uses great fabrics and is reasonably priced.  So for the sewing illiterate like myself, it's great to buy sometimes!

 Car Seat Canopy $30 (like I said, way cute fabrics to choose from!)

Child's apron $12 (boy) and $15 (girl)

The bird mobile is my favorite!  I think pricing varies a little...

You can visit her blog for more

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Basement Job 4...Plumbing

So I know these aren't the most glamorous posts, but you have to get through the dirty work for the beautiful results right!  And hopefully this information will be helpful for people who want to be their own general contractor!  Here pretty soon the basement posts will be a little more exciting to look at (not that plumbing and electric aren't fascinating though right!) 

The plumber can come around the same time as the electrician for any work that needs to be done.  We have a small bathroom we are finishing with the standard tub, toilet and sink.  We hired Austin Headrick (801-209-4879) and recommend him!

The first phase in finishing a bathroom is called a "rough in".  I can't list all the specifics, but they get everything ready to be hooked up.  The tub is also installed at this point. 

It only took Austin a couple of hours to get everything done.  Once we've finished the rest of the bathroom he'll come back and install the toilet and vanity.

We also had him run hoses for a soft water unit.  If you ever have plans to install one, it's best to have it done while you are finishing the basement.  Even if you don't plan to buy one immediately, it's ready to go when you do!

McKay and I are working on the insulation right now!  Info about that to come!  (PS...we passed our first inspection with only a few quick things to fix!)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Basement job 3...Electric work

Boxing and wiring the basement for electricity is the next step after framing.  Making sure you have plenty of light in a basement is important...nothing is worse than a dark, drab space!  We decided to go with canned lighting for most of our basement.  Two of the bedrooms will have light fixtures but otherwise it's canned lights!  This is what they look like before the drywall gets put up!

There are a certain number of outlets you have to install for each room to meet code.  Each room also has to have a smoke detector and each floor has to have a carbon monoxide detector.  The electrician will install boxes that look like this...

...wherever light switches, outlets and smoke detectors go.  With the way televisions are today, its also smart to plan out where you will hang flat screen TV's and have outlets installed wherever they'll be.  It prevents lots of wires hanging down your walls! 

We were fortunate to have a friend help us with our electric work.  It's nice to have connections with people who live closeby and are willing to come help!  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fun Find...Scrapbook Substitute

I used to be a scrapbooker...until I found other things I liked to spend my free time doing (which is much less these days!)  I am impressed with the talent some ladies have for it, but I just decided its not for me anymore.  However, I love to have our pictures around to look at instead of hidden on my hard drive.  So I bought the Costco photo albums and love them!

They fit about 400 photos so you can get six months to a year's worth of pictures in one depending on how great of a photographer you are!  They also come with a coupon for 50-100 free 4x6 prints so at $20 for two albums it's a great deal!

I also like that I can write a few things about the pictures. 

I've given these as gifts to grandparents and organized their stacks of grandkid pictures lying around which has been a big hit!

If you're overwhelmed with a large pile of pictures to scrapbook, make your life easier and put them in a nice album for family and friends to look at and enjoy!  The book with the most recent pictures makes a great coffee table piece! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Perfect Valentine Treat

 Thanks to Family Fun magazine for this great Valentine treat recipe.
  • 12 mini candy canes
  • 6 (6-inch) paper lollipop sticks
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • 1½ teaspoons vegetable oil
  • Red, white, and pink nonpareils or sugar sprinkles
  1. Heat the oven to 235°. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, arrange the candy canes as hearts and bake them for 10 minutes.
  2. Slide the hearts, still on the parchment paper, onto a work surface. Quickly pinch each heart onto a lollipop stick as shown below (an adult's job).
  3. In the microwave, melt together the chocolate chips and the oil in 10-second intervals, stirring between heatings.
  4. Spoon the chocolate mixture into the center of each heart, then top with nonpareils or sugar sprinkles. Cool the pops before serving or wrapping them.
We packaged our Sweet Heart Pops in lollipop bags purchased at a craft store.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Artwork on a Budget is a great place for inexpensive artwork for your home.  I got this set of 3 prints for under $20.  The frames came from The Village Quilt Shop at Gardner's Village.  Although they were more expensive at $50 a piece, I loved the look and they are worth the investment.  They make such a statement on that wall in her room and can be used later as she grows.

Quite the bargain!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Top of a Dresser

 The top of Khloe's dresser is another place in her room I love. The mix of objects, textures, and shapes came together.  The green balls on silver cake stands came from TaiPan.  Again, the glass jar with ribbon is the perfect touch.  I wrote my own version of "You Are My Sunshine" for her and framed it.

Thanks to Kallee for finding the lamp at Finders Keepers.  It is Davy's favorite piece in the room, and that's saying a lot.  It has a pale white polka dot on the base.  The lamp shade would be so easy to replicate on your own.  It would also look darling with a pink boa glued around the bottom.  Hope this gives you some ideas of how to mix and match a variety of objects to create a unique yet cohesive look.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Upon a Shelf

 This is the shelf that adorns Khloe's beadboard wall in her room.  Davy built it for about $30 with supplies from Lowe's.  We bought an 8"x12' piece of wood and glued a 1" x12' piece of trim to the front.  Then we used decorative wooden corbels to hold the shelf in place.  Between each corbel, we placed a chunky chair rail to finish off the top of the beadboard.   We placed the shelf about 18" from the ceiling and did the beadboard up to plate rail height.  It is a great statement piece for that side of the room.

 To decorate the shelf, I created miniature vignettes with my favorite pictures of Khloe.  I got the silver frames from Ikea for around $6 each.  The pink ceramic vase came from Tai Pan.  The glass vases also came from Tai Pan and the darling ribbon from the Emporium at Thanksgiving Point.

 When I was on bedrest in the hospital, my sweet friends decorated Khloe's nursery and added some great touches.  Lindsay found the big letter K at The Emporium and simply Hodgepodged scrapbook paper to the front.  She also made the big wooden frame by buying an unfinished frame from Roberts antiquing it and adding the flower.  The little pink glass jar also came from Ikea for $5.  I love to display photography of my kids in their bedrooms and this shelf provides the perfect spot to show my favorites.

Lastly, our dear friend Kallee found the darling pink vase from Finders Keepers.  If you haven't been there, you must go.  It is on Main Street in AF and has some great items.  The pink ballet slippers donated by one of my favorite YW of all time adds the perfect touch. 

We completed this shelf and beadboard wall in a weekend.  With a little work, and the help of a mitre saw, you can create a similar look in one of your bedrooms.