Friday, March 30, 2012

Gimme a Little Bit of Bling Bling

Today was "Bling Bling" day at school, meaning the K-6 kids got to wear as much Bling and shiny stuff as they wanted: tiaras, necklaces, rings, you name it...the flashier the better!
I went to the school during lunch and waited for the dance to begin, and wow what a dance. Disco balls and bright disco lights filled the gym, and it was pitch black in there to boot. I was actually a bit afraid for Charlie as the kids were barreling around, crack-the-whip style. There was alot of Bling going on, and happy times were made for every kid there.
Jacey and Brandon all blinged out

Hip Hip, poor boy style

I was surprised the pictures turned out at all; like I said it was pitch black in there. But as you can see the dance was a hit. Love it!

Monday, March 26, 2012

MMMMMMMMonday Night MMMMMMunchies

Ok I know I just posted a totally awesome recipe last night, but I had to put off running on the treadmill to get in yet one more yummy treat for you to try this week.
Nothing in my mind goes together better than chocolate and peanuts. Mmm, I love chocolate and peanuts together more than anything; they are my weakness, and probably the reason why I am maintaining my weight after all these weeks rather than getting under 150 lbs. Seriously I can't seem to get below that damn number no matter how hard I sweat on that machine of mine. And yes, I get that I've probably added muscle to my frame which equals weight gain on the scale, but I'm so tired of the 153.2 that stares at me each Sunday. On the other hand,  I've managed to knock my size down to a size 6, and that's fabulous!
Anyways, I digress...
My love for sweets gets me into trouble more often than not, and what do I see on Pinterest last night on Facebook but a cute and family friendly recipe for Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites. And I said to myself, "Self, what's better than chocolate and peanuts but chocolate, peanuts, and pretzels!"
So the kids and I made them up tonight, and what a bunch of little gems they turned out to be!
If you all like chocolate, peanuts, and pretzels, I say make up a bunch...they keep in the fridge for a week, you can dip them in anything you like, and they are about 63 calories per piece.
The recipe called for dipping in just semi sweet chocolate, but I tried that, chopped salted cashews, and butterscotch chips. I also would have used white chocolate, but didn't have any on hand.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites
1 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp soft butter
3/4 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi sweet chocolate

Mix first four ingredients together, roll into walnut sized balls and sandwich a ball between two pretzels. Place in freezer for 1/2 hour to firm up.
Melt chocolate 1 minute in microwave. Stir.
Dip ends of pretzel sandwiches in chocolate and chill. Place in container in fridge up to one week.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ever.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line pans with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough a huge heaping tablespoon at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 2 or 3 inches apart.
4. Bake for 15 to 19 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Nutritional Information
Amount Per Serving Calories: 285

Oh. Oh wow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Decorating in my Dreams

Due to crappy roads yesterday we weren't able to get to the city for dance, so that left alot of time for putzing around, doing small menial tasks that left me with nothing to do this morning. So I have been searching my new fave site for some visual inspiration to help make my daydreams of the new house become a reality. We all know if you tell me I can't do it or that it can't be done (due to expense, lack of experience, or knowledge for example), I will try three times as hard to do it, if not for myself then to just prove you wrong. So with that said, I have big decorating dreams and I will make them happen...because if Debbie Travis could do it then so can I (she's my reno idol, if you haven't figured that out ;) ).
You have already seen the inspiration for Jacelyn's room on my previous blog, and I found an 8 piece bed in a bag the other day for a sale price of 39.48! Couldn't believe my luck. The thread count isn't as high as I would like in my own bedroom, but she's a kid...she won't care. For a full ensemble I thought that was a hell of a deal. It's black and white damask, and is perfect for what she wants. I was happy about that. She already has alot of the other room elements that I picked up here and there at Winners and a few other places, so I'm shelving that project until we get into the new house.
Brandon has been over the moon for this skateboarding room for a while now.

The bedspread and accents come from Pottery Barn Teen, which, in my opinion, while really cute and co-ordinated, are expensive. I like to look at an idea, put my own spin on it, pick out key features, and then build on the concept with homemade inexpensive alternatives. I found a striped duvet cover in blues, browns and oranges just like this one for half the cost, with shams, at an online store on E shipping. Looking around and comparing prices always pays off in the end...even if it means sitting in front of the computer for a few hours, right Mike? I'd much rather 'shop' around on the computer than go from store to store...unless I'm alone and on a good bargain hunt. I am not a good shopper otherwise.
I put an ad on Kijiji ( our absolute favorite bargain hunting site ) looking for old unused skateboards to make a great display on a feature wall in B's bedroom. I'm thinking of using some for shelves as well...he can use the wheels for hanging medals and the like from them also. The mural behind the bed in this photo is over $150 bucks, which is way out of my price range for something in a kid's room, so will be looking around for ideas on that. I will probably end up painting a silhouette of a skater instead.
Charlie loves butterflies and flowers, and I just picked up a nice bedspread for her from Costco about 6 months ago that looks nice on her bed. That's not going to stop me from dreaming though!
I found a gorgeous comforter and room ensemble that I just love and thing would suit my little girl perfectly.
I will keep her in her twin bed for a while, and have upgraded Brandon and Jacelyn to a full bed...also to give company big beds when they come to visit as well as for growing kids. So Charlie could make do with the hand me downs from Jacelyn's bed. Again, what fun is that? With that in mind, here's the elements for her room that I'm gaga over:

Lots of ruffles, 3 D elements, and girly touches. It will be alot of fun to decorate the kid's rooms, and I'm really looking forward to it.
Our room will be quite simple, with quiet colors and espresso colored furniture. I'm really into grey this past year, and I thought I'd be bored of it by now, with our duvet that color as well as the basement. But I've grown fonder of it, and also with the color combinations that work well with grey. I'm loving how the lavender hues look with grey, but I think, after convincing Mike to do wallpaper, he's put his foot down on the lavender in the master bath. Ah well, I guess even I can go too far. We'll see.

We stopped by a house in town owned by people we know and who Mike sold the house to with the exact house plan we have chosen. We took them a few bottles of wine and had the luxury of them giving us a tour of the house, showing us what works and what doesn't with the design. I'm so in love with the size of the pantry, the L-shaped stairway, and the general lay of the house...with small lots in Lloyd you don't see too many bungalows as people build up in order to get the square footage they want. We are fond of bungalows rather than bi-levels however, and so have to stick with smaller square footage. This house is 1280 square feet, which isn't small, but after coming from 1600 I have to keep an open mind. The living room space is small, as is the master bedroom, but with a full sized finished basement I think the size will grow on me. The key I think is to keep the design simple, clutter free by adding hidden storage elements, and intimate. All in all the house is designed well, and I walked away from the tour feeling lighter of heart and excited for the building to begin. 
The entry way is so large that I can have my deacon's bench in there without cluttering it up, and giving the kids a place for mitts, hats, and bike helmets. 

These two I found at Home Depot, and they will suit the space beautifully. I like having a place for visitors to put on their shoes as well.
We have picked out a patterned cut and loop design for the carpet, which will be everywhere except the living and dining rooms and main floor hallway.  The color is debatable, with light sand colored walls and the trim painted darker I think I'd want the carpet to be like the trim or even darker yet...any ideas on that? Too light and I'd be concerned about staining...three kids and two cats added in to that equation!

Now that I have bored the men who read the blog to tears, I am open to comments or ideas about the key elements in my design ideas...a room only comes together with the start of one simple plan, be it the wall color or floor choice. Lay them on me, ladies!
Have a great week!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Day of Dance

Besides Jacelyn's odd show of fever, and Charlie's usual mid-afternoon crankiness, the afternoon of watching Fame Dance Studio's Festival Showcase was wonderful. Jacelyn really wanted to watch her teacher Miss Darby dance her 17 dances, but we could only stay for acts one and part of two, so missed a lot of her solos. I personally would have loved to stay for the entire thing, as I have always loved watching dance since my aunt used to take me to her niece and daughter's recitals when I was a little girl. I have always wanted to be a dancer, and so can appreciate the time, money, and effort that goes into a year of dance. Now that we are approaching the end of the year, Jacey is chomping at the bit to be finished while at the same time already planning the next year's dance classes she wants to take. It should be interesting.
This video was taken with my Blackberry, so the quality isn't the greatest, but it's one of my favorites. It has her teacher Miss Darby in it, and is the Advanced 3 Lyrical group. Darby is the one that comes from center stage and goes to the left first, and has two-toned blonde/black hair. I was impressed with all the dancers; they were so great. I had tears in my eyes numerous times. Great job girls!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The House is Officially "For Sale"

Last night the last of the pictures were taken, making our house officially for sale without it being on the market yet. It's nerve-wracking for me to put it on the market in April as I don't want to wait too long so that it sells at the end of June like we want. However I understand that if the house is up for sale too early then it could also sell too fast, and we aren't ready to move until July. I will sit back and let Mike deal with that stuff...he knows what he's doing after all. Both times we have sold our own houses they went so fast...a week I do believe...and the one time it was so quick that we had to really hunt for another house to buy as there wasn't much on the market and the one we did like sold fast also to someone else. Some people thrive on the real estate bandwagon...I guess my nerves aren't as steady as those who do.
And here I am getting ready to move to a condo to live short term while we build a new house...from a real estate perspective I don't see how it can get much more nerve wracking than that! I think that my binder full of ideas and plans for each and every room will help me stay focused on what I need and what I want, which should also help me stay grounded and sane. I am a family can attest to that by the way I like to plan events months in advance so that I know what's going on. If I don't I seem to feel a loss of control over the situation or that aspect of my life. Hmm, sounds like that anal retentive half of me rears it's ugly head more often than I like! Ah well, better to be organized and aware of my situation than to be turning in circles, half sick with trepidation over what may come to be...I am a self-proclaimed worry wart, I know! :)
So that being said, we sent off the first of a few emails to some buyers Mike has been working with for a while who are looking for our type of house in this area. Already we got a reply back, interested and maybe even wanting a look on the weekend. Waiting for purchasers to sell their own houses first before buying another is also nerve-wracking, but I'm not going to dwell on it...we have an amazing house and I'm certain it won't sit for long.

bedroom 2

bedroom 3

bedroom 3

basement bedroom

dining room

front pond



lilies in the lily garden out front...a splendor in August.

living room

main floor bathroom

main floor laundry

master bath

master bedroom

master closet

room off the kitchen...den, office or playroom

Of course you all know what the backyard looks like, and added to the whole package I think the property is a gem. What do you think?

Now that I'm done renovating I hope I'll have time to scrapbook some, and start sewing a project for the girls' rooms...ruffled throws for the last third of the bed. They will look like this:
Actually, this bedroom is quintessentially Jacelyn's bedroom...I have been stockpiling items for her "Girl Glitz Glamour" boudoir as she calls it. Picture lavender walls, damask curtains, this ruffled throw I'm sewing, a pretty chandelier, and black and white polka dots and black accents to top it all off. So excited to do this for her...the room is very girly but will last her into her teens.

The other two have picked out themes for their new rooms in the new house, but that's another blog for another day. Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Almost Ready...

Tonight Mike finished up:
1. The trim downstairs.

2. The stairs.

3. The trim upstairs.

Which means a whole lot of touching up for me in the very near future. Good thing I don't have much else to do with just Charlie and I the only ones home during the weekday. At this rate we can show the house sooner than April, although Mike would like to be able to show the backyard without any snow. I said that's what pictures are for.

On another note, to give ourselves a break from over-working on the house and at the office, Mike sprung a mini getaway on us and we went to stay at a hotel in North Battleford so that the kids could waterslide until they couldn't waterslide any more. After a filling breakfast we made our way to Table Mountain for some snowboarding. The kids had a great time, so great that there was no fighting at all. It was a good way to unwind.