Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Fall Mantel

I've been anticipating decorating my house for Fall. Unfortunately if I waited until the weather cooled off and the leaves changed colors I'd be waiting until December to do that. Oh this Texas weather! It was in the 60s this morning though. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!

Anyway, here is my lovely Fall mantel. Do you like? I'm still not sure on the placement of some things. I'll probably play around with it a little more until I get it exactly right.

The mirror is something I have to live with right now. We are going to take it down... it's just a matter of WHEN we're going to take it down!

The pumpkin is from Garden Ridge. I bought about 6 of them in different sizes and colors a few years ago. I think they're pretty cute. The little jack-o-lantern guy is from Michaels a few years back. The vase was given to us and the plants in it are from the backyard.

White vase is courtesy of a Home Goods clearance. I bought a matching set for like $6. The picture was also a Home Goods clearance steal for $2! The black kitty cat was given to me a long time ago and I found the pine cone cluster while I was taking Aidan for a walk one day. I thought it was really cool and stuck it in the stroller. I knew I'd use it for something.

The wreath I made myself. You can find that tutorial here.

Here is another I made recently. I used primarily flowers, a few leaves and some berry sprigs. It turned out pretty nice! Right now it's waiting to be hung on my back door.

Back to the mantel... The candles and their little garlands were found at Target two years ago while they were clearancing out their Fall decor.
I'm hoping that soon I'll be able to take a walk with a sweater and jeans on. But for now, I'll make do with my flip flops and shorts! Happy Fall!

I'm linking up with The Nester's Mantel Party today. Head on over and check out all of the gorgeous decorating ideas!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Swim Days

Earlier this month one of my friends from our Mom's group hosted a swim playdate for the Mommas and Kiddos. It was so great to be able to take the little babies in the pool so that they could splash around together! There was also plenty of time to play before and after we took a dip in the pool.




Aidan is really starting to love the water. I have started to dog sit again, and the couple I sit for also has a pool. I try to take Aidan swimming while we are over there, or atleast sit on the side of the pool with our feet in.

He has gone from crying when his feet touch the water, to immediately SPLASHING and KICKING when his feet touch the water! The little man is definitely a water baby!

His friend Alonso brought along a crab float that he graciously let Aidan try out. Aidan had so much fun in the float and actually kicked himself around the pool! Perhaps he was a fish in a previous life?


Aidan was dubbed the "cool kid" since he was wearing his sunglasses and sun hat!

We probably spent an hour out in the pool and Aidan fell asleep on me at one point! The little man was definitely worn out after our fun day!

We plan on having another swim playdate in October. We're both excited to play with our friends in the water again soon!



Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall thrifty finds

Dear Target Dollar Spot,

I love you.

Because where else would I find this CUTE twine pumpkin? ($2.50)


Or this autumn-y orange tin star? ($1.50)


And how about this green leaf candy bowl? ($1.50)


And of course I cannot leave out the Dollar Tree and Michaels. Because without them I would not have been able to craft this fall decoration:


Scrapbook paper (Michaels): $0.41
Frame (Dollar Tree): $1.00
Flower: Free! (I all ready had it)


It is certainly starting to feel like Fall around here!
Thank you my lovely thrifty friends for helping me decorate!

Love,




{Linking up with Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality}

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Run, Walk, Swing

About two weeks ago I started a new class at my gym. You might remember that I started going to a Step class towards the middle of August that initially kicked my butt. But, as I've been going, things have been getting easier. I actually was looking forward to it. Mostly because I knew that I would be able to get through it and enjoy my workout in the process.

I've also tried out some other classes that the gym offers including Yoga (love!), Body Combat (Holy mother of God, I thought I was going to die right then and there on that sweaty gym floor) and Power Abs (worth the pain!). But, I still felt like I needed something more.

Enter RAW Pavement (the name of my class). It's fantastic! My teacher is an inspiration and gives us all of the encouragement we need to push through the pain and do our best every time. He, at one point, weighed over 300 pounds. He then proceeded to lose 150 pounds on his own and is now a Personal Trainer and marathon runner. He is a great motivator and really works with all of us in the class to ensure that we feel all right and don't injure ourselves. My class is 2 days a week, although I'm only able to go once a week due to working on Saturday mornings. So, whatever is done on the Saturday classes, I do on my own over the weekend. And I actually do it. And I like it! What the heck has happened to me?!

Instead of making excuses that I can't come because I have no one to watch Aidan while Jason is away on business, my teacher lets me bring Aidan to class. He's our little mascot! There really are no excuses. If I can make the time to do it, so can anybody! My goal for the end of our 12 week class is to be able to run a 5k. I really feel that I can do it. There is a race at the beginning of December that I am determined to finish.

I can honestly tell you that I don't know when I've felt better. I've never been big on running. I was never that kid in gym class who could run a 5-minute mile. I was always somewhere in the 8 or 9 minute mark. And that was fine with me. But, I'm all ready on pace for a 10-minute mile. And I couldn't be happier. Especially considering the last time I ran a mile was 12 years ago and I weighed 65 pounds less than I do now. Oh those were the days....

To help me keep up and be able to run better in class I've also been taking other classes during the week. I try to fit in Yoga, Spinning, and Body Pump (a weight lighting class) in addition to my daily walks I've been taking with Aidan.

I love walking with Aidan. We've been confined to walking the Mall since May and it's finally been nice enough out to walk with him outside in the mornings and evenings. Today we went for a walk at 8 am and then again at 6:30 pm.

Our evening walk found us going towards the nearby park. It was empty and I thought it was high time that Aidan tried out the swings. He loved it! My little man was all giggles and couldn't get enough of it!





This is something we will have to start making more of a habit to do. On top of our walks and swinging we also went to the Little Gym again today. Aidan had a great time playing with his friends and is on the verge of crawling. Any day now... any day!


I'm hoping by the time my little man is walking I'll have no trouble keeping up with him! Here's to the healthy Mama I want to be! :)

Oooh, before I forget I also want to add something. I belong to Gold's Gym. Our gym is open 24 hours a day. My membership is only $10/month. Yes, that's it. And all of the classes they offer are free. FREE! So, if there is a Gold's near you, I definitely recommend joining one. You won't regret it!

I just like Gold's Gym. I'm not getting paid to endorse them. They rock. Period.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Beer Bread

So, I've realized recently that I have quite a few wonderful recipes that have beer as a main ingredient. A bottle, a can, a case... (kidding on that last one, I think we'd all be blitzed if we ate something with a case of beer in its contents!)
This morning I popped a loaf of beer bread in the oven for a good friend of mine. She was nice enough to give me her old running stroller, so I thought I'd give her something yummy as a thank you. Of course, after I brought it over and watched her eat 1/4 of it in 15 minutes, I just HAD to come home and make a loaf for myself.

Oh beer bread, how I love thee. You are so good. But, I was tired of paying $5 for a loaf from Pampered Chef. I scoped out some recipes on allrecipes.com and then came up with my own variation.

Here it is for your palatable pleasure.

Start by mixing self-rising flour and sugar in a bowl.


Then add your choice of beer. All we had in the fridge was poor man's beer, also known as Miller Lite. I cannot stress enough the importance of using a good beer for this bread. The better the beer, the better the bread. I usually use something along the lines of Sam Adam's Summer Ale. I would recommend a light beer over a dark.


Stir it up until everything is mixed together and the bread dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.


Pour it into a greased bread pan and bake in your oven for about 55 minutes.


Your house will begin to smell wonderful. People will think that you are a world-class baker judging by the smells wafting our your front door. Don't be alarmed if they start to ask if they've seen you on the Food Network.

When your timer goes off, pull out the bread and take in hand a stick of butter. Proceed to slather the top of your golden loaf with butter, making sure you don't miss any nooks and crannies.


Then as much as it may pain you, put the bread back in the oven for another 5 minutes. When it's done pick up your trusty butter stick and slather your loaf again.

Now comes the most excruciating part. Dump it out of the pan and let it cool on a wire rack for 15- 20 minutes. (Or if you're poor like me, use some paper towels.)



Let it sit for about 20 minutes.


How delicious does it look? Is your mouth watering yet? Is it? Huh? Huh?

Then you may devour every last little crumb. Be sure to spread some butter on top of your thick cut slices, you won't regret it!


Delish. :)

Beer Bread
Servings: 12  Prep Time: 5 minutes  Cook Time: 55 minutes Recipe From: Texas Life Blog  Original Source: allrecipes.com
Ingredients
3 cups self-rising flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 bottle of beer

To make self rising flour: add 1 tsp baking power and 1/2 tsp salt for every one cup of flour

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together flour (baking powder and salt if needed) and sugar. Pour in beer.
3. Stir until mixture is no longer sticking to sides of bowl. Pour into 9 x 5 greased bread pan.
4. Bake 55 minutes. Take out and cover top with butter. Bake 5 more minutes and cover top one more time with butter.
5. Flip out of pan onto wire rack (or paper towels) and let cool for 15- 20 minutes.
6. Slice in large pieces and serve.

You can find a printable for this recipe here

For some variation feel free to add some cheese, jalapenos or whatever else tantalizes your taste buds!

Linking up with Serenity Now and Fingerprints on the Fridge.


Weekend Bloggy Reading

P.S. I apologize for my poor picture quality. My kitchen is not blessed with gorgeous floor to ceiling windows that let in massive amounts of Fall sunshine. I just can't have it all! * le sigh*

Monday, September 13, 2010

IKEA finds

Last week I decided to go and "browse" IKEA. It's been a long overdue date and I really missed one of my mainest of squeezes. I had received their newest catalog in the mail last month and had been dying to go and check out all of their new stuff! (and perhaps make a purchase or two or three...)
After packing up Aidan in the car we headed off on the 30 minute drive to our Houston area store.

Since it was lunchtime we headed straight for their little restaurant so I could taste some of their Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and periwinkle jam. Yum!

We then headed to the "showcase" area, to check out all their new deals. Seriously, I love their 430 square foot apartments that they display. How cool! I mean, I could live in one of those!
I also oohed and aahed over some of their great new textiles, lamps and rugs before heading down to the marketplace.


Dun dun DUNNNNHHHH!

This is what I purchased. Whaddaya think?

The lantern was only $6.99. I filled it with some leftovers from the wreath that I made (for a little more than 8 bucks!) for my front door. The Fall picture next to it is one I snagged up at Home Goods on clearance for $2.00!

I like it, what do you think?

These decorative balls were $7.99 for a package of 8. Exactly what I was looking for to place in this iron fruit dish (Pier One) that I've had on the table in my entryway. I'll think I'll add some gourds to make it feel a little more festive for the season!

A comfy place for my buns while I'm tapping away at the blog. Only $4.99, cute and a perfect fit!

My most expensive purchase of the trip, a woven magazine rack for $19.99. I hated that all of my Coastal Living's were hanging around on the coffee table. Now they have a place of honor in the new rack!

Well, not a bad trip if I do say so myself. Now I'm off to decide what to do with all of my Fall decorations!



Linking up with Rhoda's Thrifty Treasures. :)

Fall wreath tutorial

For awhile I've had this crafty itch. I love reading blogs that have ideas for home decorating and crafts, but I'm always intimidated by them. So, today I challenged myself. I saw this SUPER cute wreath at House of Hepworths. She made it herself, with stuff from the Dollar Tree! I thought, hey I can do THAT!

It incorporates two things I love, buying things on the cheap and Fall decor! (Although, I have given myself orders that I am NOT under any circumstances allowed to take out my Fall decorating bins until my house is in tip top shape, cleaned top to bottom... But this doesn't count, right? Since I made it and nothing came out of the bin... He he..)

So, off Aidan and I went to our local Dollar Tree.

I purchased these items for a mere $8.66. Cha-ching!

You'll need: 3 big leaf picks, 3 small pumpkin picks, 3 small gourd picks, 1 wreath, one small pot with "Fall" flowers.

Oh, and this:

(FYI, I bought this today. I'm a glue gun virgin. Okay, maybe I used one for some Girl Scout craft about 500 years ago, but I've never owned one. I love it!)

And two special helpers.



Start by plugging in your glue gun. While it's warming up begin cutting the leaves off the big picks. I cut them off at the stems, and it seemed to work out just dandy!


You'll have a nice looking pile when you're finished.


Then start gluing the leaves around the wreath base. I tried to space them out as best as I could at the beginning.


It'll start to fill in pretty quickly.

Next I cut the gourds off their stems and glued them to the wreath.


Then I cut those pretty little flowers out of their pot and glued them to various spots.



And here is my finished wreath! Isn't it so purty?


And one more look.


It's giving me some inspiration and confidence to make some more things... I'm thinking I may try out some window mistreatments that the Nester is always writing about....

For some more of my fall decor ideas check out my Fall thrifty finds and my Fall mantel!

Linking up to Jen at Tatertots and Jello! :)

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