Tuesday, July 31, 2012

5 Easy Steps to a Beautiful Bathroom Makeover

It's the middle of summer and we tend to throw a party or two throughout the summer.  Whether it's a cookout, wine tasting, or bonfire party we like to enjoy our family and friends several times through out the summer.  With all of that hosting & cooking comes even more cleaning.  I can admit my house is so out of control unorganized and not in party shape right now.  The one room you can easily make an impact in is the bathroom.  So here are some quick and easy steps to a beautiful bathroom makeover:

We love the Kleenex Hand Towels for guests versus a typical hand towel.
1. Clean.  Seriously it's that easy sometimes.  A little cleaning in areas you don't even want to get close to in the bathroom can help spruce up a bathroom in no time.  Scrub your toilets, shower, sinks and clean your mirrors.  There is nothing more embarrassing then when a guest comes over for a surprise visit and you have to worry if you cleaned up your husbands nose hairs or the kids toothpaste splatter from the mirror.

2.  Paint.  Most bathrooms are rather small so you probably don't even need a full gallon of paint to paint your bathroom in the color of your choice.  That's a nice change in less than $30.

3.  New Hardware.  One of those fancy curved shower bars you find in a hotel or new knobs on your cabinets and drawers.  Even a new bathroom light can cost you less than $50.

4.  New Linens.  Towels don't ever feel as soft as they do when you first buy them and we made the mistake of buying colored towels when we moved in to our house.  My biggest suggestion when buying towels is buy white.  You can bleach to your hearts content to keep your white towels super bright and you can kill any germs.

5.  Accessorize.  What girls doesn't love to accessorize.  Her home is no exception.  Though our bathrooms are both lacking in this area which is why it's high on my to do list.  A cute photo, a fancy hand soap dispenser, a shower curtain with a bold statement; any of these could be done in a bathroom of any size and would make a great update and change to any bathroom.

Join the 14 million people who have already joined the Clean Hands campaign by using Kleenex Hand Towels, and click here for savings and more!


I was selected for participation in this campaign as a member of Clever Girls Collective.

Adalyn's First Best Friend

Addie's not around a lot of kids her age, in fact she hasn't really spent a lot of time with any kids.  She's  usually around adults.  She's the only child in either of our immediate families and we have a family member who watches her during the day.  The chances of her having any interaction with kids so I'm always a little concerned how she'll do when she meets a kid.  You may think this post is how Addie met the first kid her age and they've become great play date friends...

Not so much, we're talking best friend of the K9 variety.  

Chloe is our 9 year old chocolate Labrador retriever and she is the sweetest dog ever.  I was a bit concerned how Chloe would react because she's never been around children either.  She doesn't like loud noises and tends to remove herself from the room if she's not feeling comfortable.

We got lucky, Addie and Chloe became best friends early on.  Chloe is really patient with Addie as she pulls on her hair and ears on a daily basis.  Addie chases her around the house screaming after Chloe.

Chloe just likes herself a little rub down and Addie is always willing to give her one.

She also likes when Addie shares her pool as Chloe is a lab and labs love water. 

Wherever Chloe is, you're sure to find Addie not far behind.  

On any given day you can find this going on.  Addie loves Chloe so much and it's so cute to watch them interact though I think she oftentimes drives Chloe crazy!


Don't forget to sign up for our giveaway going on now for Bye Bye Bacteria's antimicrobial crib sheet!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Bye Bye Bacteria

Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to try out a few of Bye Bye Bacteria's products and I'm in love!  The material is so incredibly soft.  When I first opened the box and felt the material I thought, how can I find sheets that feel like this for me?

All products are intelligently engineered from Argent 47antimicrobial silver yarn, that eliminates odor-causing bacteria and prevents mildew, mold and fungi. Their Jersey Knit Plush fabrics are super soft and gentle on baby’s skin, plus silver’s natural thermal properties will cool baby when hot and keep warm when cold. The Bye Bye Bacteria Baby line is designed to help mothers and fathers with their newborns and young children, while offering a convenient alternative to conventional products. Bye Bye Bacteria Baby products contain no chemicals or dyes and requires fewer washing's as the silver keeps bacterial odors away. All Bye Bye Baby products are proudly made in the U.S.A.

Addie and I were lucky enough to try out the crib sheet as well as a washcloth.  I can tell you the crib sheet is amazing. So soft and really went well with the decor of the nursery.  Addie loved it.  Of course she's not talking yet but the first week after I put the sheet on she slept completely through the night from 8-7ish.  It's been amazing!  My child sweats so this is a great product for us, keeping her cool on hot nights and during middle of the day naps.

Now the washcloths I wasn't sure of because we use a poof during bath times.  What I have used it for is cleaning up drool running down my incredibly drooly child’s neck.  The softness of the material is gentle on her skin. It’s been really handy to keep in a side pocket as well as being a great go-to item in the diaper bag when I've needed a quick clean up.

Here's where you get excited . . .

SPECIAL OFFER for a limited time! Bye Bye Bacteria is offering my readers a special 25% discount off the price of the crib sheet to use between August 1st and August 31st.  Use code CRIBSHEET25 at time of checkout.

Here's where you get really, really excited . . .

GIVEAWAY   Bye Bye Bacteria is really generous!  They are hosting the BYE BYE BACTERIA SUMMER SLUMBER GIVE-A-WAY by offering one of my readers the opportunity to win an antimicrobial crib sheet.     

HOW TO ENTER  Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below.  **NOTE:  Your first option is mandatory and must be completed in order for any additional entries to count.  This contest is open to US & Canadian residents and ends August 13th at 12:00am EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 27, 2012

Our Home: Displaying Photos

The past several weeks I've taken you on a tour of our home.  Up this week is how we display our photos.  Here's the thing, I fail at displaying photos however it is on the top of my list of things to do to make your space look more like a home and fill it out with pieces that make you feel happy, inspired, and reflect you.  So let's jump right in to some photos you can find in our house.

This is one of my favorite finds which can be found in Adalyn's nursery.  I love the color combination and what the words mean.  Things hangs close to her crib.

This series is also found in Adalyn's nursery and when I found these on Etsy while pregnant they made me really happy.  The colors, what the pictures reflect, everything.  These hang above her changing table.


The artwork here is found in our kitchen and I found it at Homegoods and has the best mix of colors.

These pictures are found in our bedroom and were picked up on a recent trip to IKEA.  I love IKEA photos and frames.

This photo is a photo of a blank wall.  Why am I including this one?  Because this is my next project.  To fill this wall with photos, artwork, etc.  This is what I'm going for.

Via Young House Love
I've been pining sayings, photos, etc that I think would do well in frame.  Now I just need to determine if I want to do black frames or mirror YHL's white frames.  Either way I think it'll look amazing once it's finished!

Thanks for stopping in our home tour.  You can find our other great tour posts here, here, here, here, here, and here.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tasty Thursday: Double Time

Today's Tasty Thursday is a double time recipe offer.  Earlier this week I made two new recipes and both were awesome so I had to share with you.  I made Laughing Cow Chicken as well as Smashed Potatoes.

Clockwise from top:  Broccoli, Smashed Potatoes, Laughing Cow Chicken
Laughing Cow Chicken
3 chicken breasts
3 Laughing Cow wedges
Garlic salt - 1/4 tsp
Italian seasoning
Breadcrumbs - 3/4 cup
Parmesan cheese (dry)
Salt & Pepper

Mix the cheese wedges with garlic salt and a couple pinches of Italian seasoning.  Set aside.  On a plate combine breadcrumbs, couple shakes of Parmesan cheese, couple pinches of Italian seasoning, salt & pepper.   Set aside.  Slice your chicken breast in half, beat to thin the breasts.    Spread the cheese mix onto the chicken breasts and roll the chicken up tight.  Cover chicken with breadcrumb mixture then spear with toothpicks and place on baking sheet.  Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.  I've found you need to check the chicken periodically as the baking times may fluctuate.  Broil for a minute or so until the chicken starts to get some color on top.

Smashed Potatoes
Red potatoes - 1 for each person
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
3/4 cup water

Set oven to 500 degrees.  Scrub potatoes clean, place on a deep baking type sheet/dish.  Fill with water then cover with foil.  Bake 30 minutes then remove from oven and drain any excess water.  Let potatoes cool sightly (5-10 minutes), drizzle with olive oil completely.  Take a cup/glass and press potatoes down more than half their original size then drizzle with more olive oil and salt and pepper.  Cook for another 30 minutes on the lowest rack to crispen (not a word, just made it up) the bottom of potatoes.

Clearly I don't need to tell you how to make broccoli but in case you're wondering,  I boil up the broccoli for  10-15 minutes, drain, toss with butter and salt & pepper to taste.

This was a fabulous meal and I was able to prep and cook all at the same time.  I even cooked the chicken while cooking the potatoes even though you should cook them at two separate temperatures.  Just watch the chicken closely and drop the oven temp down from the potatoes.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Adalyn Month Eighteen

Finally a month where I'm not a week or two late.  Only a handful of days and I intentionally put this one off since you had a check up on Tuesday.  Much like last month, you've changed a bit which has been so much fun to watch.

Stats:  As of yesterday, you're now 24 lbs 3 oz which puts you on the 25-50% and you're 31 inches tall, which also puts you on the 25-50%.  Your head is still rather large at 49cm but the good news is that you're finally back on the charts at 97%.  Your still in a size 4 shoe and wearing your 12-18 month outfits.  Pants in the 18 month range are still rather long on you.

Sleep Schedule:  Your sleep is definitely not set.  You're still sleeping completely through the night but you tend to wake up earlier and earlier every day.  Your sleep can range from 8pm to 6am or 8:30pm to 7am.  I'm really hoping you stick with the 7am wake up time as this 6am wake up call is really getting old.  Naps are still 1 a day from 1-3ish.

Foods:  Your still picky.  Some days you eat more than others.  We can occasionally slip in some meat if we're really sneaky.  You drink about 16-20 ounces of milk on any given day.  You love your milk.  We actually have to hide the milk until we're absolutely ready to give it to you otherwise you have a meltdown.

Firsts:  You really haven't had any firsts this month.  You do say a couple different words, though they don't always sound like the word you're trying to say.  You say mama, dada, ball (ba), shoes, more (mo), again (gen), bird (bir), and please (peas).

Favorite Toys:  You love your books, love, love, love those books.  I purchased you a baby doll stroller that you love.  Mostly because you can torment poor Chloe.  You chase her around the house and ram her with the stroller, all the while you're giggling like crazy.  You love your Chloe, but you mostly love to bug her.  You also really love play doh.  You can play with it for hours.

We're looking forward to another exiting month of growth and new words and new experiences for you.  It's so exciting to see you change and grow into a little girl but I also miss my little baby.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I've been blogging for over a year now and I don't think I've ever disclosed what I do for a living.  I work in Human Resources in the Talent Acquisition function.  There's more to HR than hiring and firing which is what most people think its all about.  Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Compensation, Benefits, Advice & Counsel, etc.  The list goes on and on.  Is it my dream job?  No, not by a long shot but I'm happy where I am and it pays the bills.

As I grew up I first wanted to be a dentist.  How crazy some of you may be thinking but I've always enjoyed going to the dentist.  I decided to pass on dental school as it's just as long as any medical doctor program.  I didn't mind school but I also didn't want to be in school forever.

I then changed my career path to elementary education.  I've always enjoyed kids and school.  When we were younger we had a school style chalkboard the spanned the wall of a room in our finished basement.  I used to make my brother and sister sit in school style chairs and pretend they were my students.  This was my first major in college but I changed pretty early when I thought about the money teachers make.  I just couldn't do it.

Next I changed my major to accounting.  And then I quickly changed to business focusing in HR.  What was I thinking?  I thought because I really enjoy math that I would enjoy accounting.  Nope, not at all.  Hated it.

Which lead me to study business in one of the top business schools in the country at The Ohio State University where I later earned my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resources.

None of these were ever really my dream job.  Would I enjoy being a dentist without the schooling or being a teach with unlimited pay, of course.  My dream job would be to open a pastry bakery, or plan events, or be a millionaire and travel the world.  Yeah, the millionaire thing sounds really good.  The pastry bakery may be a retirement job.

What is your dream job?  Tell us about it over at Toddle Along Tuesday hosted by Mama G.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Blackberry Picking

Saturday Addie and I had a mommy and me date.  Just the two of us, hopped in the car and drove about 30 minutes east of us.  It was a beautiful Saturday morning in Columbus, about 70 degrees and clear out.  The beautiful Ohio countryside just minutes from Columbus.  How gorgeous!

We were headed to Blue Frog Farms.  You may remember from this post or this post we enjoy picking from a farm.  It's that entire experience that makes you feel so good inside.  You keep these memories forever.  Blue Frog Farms is part of Lynd's Fruit Farm located just about 15 minutes from Lynd's.  It was our first time at this farm so I wasn't sure what to expect.  It was gorgeous.  We drove in and found rows upon rows of blackberry plants heavy with blackberries in various stages.  You can see the red in the pictures below, those are all of the blackberries not yet ready for picking.

I made sure to dress Addie in something I wasn't too concerned about being covered in blackberry juice. 

It didn't take her long to figure out how to pull the berries off the plants...

...or how to eat those delicious berries.

I love here face covered in berry juice.  You could tell she had eaten her fair share.

Our take, a quart of fresh, sweet blackberries for $5. 

We were definitely in the minority only filling one quart up.  Most people had 4 or more quarts so I imagine they were baking or canning.  It was also a bit challenging to fill that quart myself as well as watch Addie and make sure she wasn't destroying those plants.  She really enjoyed picking the berries and shoving her face with them.  Have you been picking lately?  We can't wait for apple picking in a couple months!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Home Tour: Our Foyer

Today's home tour post includes a peek at our foyer...err, well lack thereof is more like it.  We live in a small ranch.  Under 1400 square feet so a foyer was the last thing in the builders mind for space issues.  This is one area that I can't even figure out where to begin to make some updates so I'm looking to you, my readers to give me some options on what you think would work in the foyer.  So, take a look at my pics and please post your pinterest pins, blog posts where you have a similar foyer, or any other links that you think might make our foyer work.  I'm looking for cheap purchases that make a great impact to the small space.

Here's a view from the front door looking into our house.  You're looking at a closet door straight ahead.  Design flaw I think.

The terrible light that hangs in the foyer.  That's an easy quick fix, we just need to find a light we like that will modernize the foyer a bit.

If you step just inside the door, to the left, behind the front door is the door to the garage. See that ugly maroon door?  My plan is to paint the front door a fun blue color.

This is the view as you step inside the door from the garage.  I hate how messy it looks in that corner.

Finally the view from the living room to the front door.

So, here's where you come in.  We need serious design help and I need your thoughts on making this small area more useful on the cheap.


PS.  You can check out other areas of our home tour including; our mantle, our bathrooms, our bedroom, Adalyn's nursery, and our kitchen.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tasty Thursday: Smoothie Style

Smoothies have become a staple in our house, especially with this summer heat we have been experiencing.  We all know smoothies can hide a lot of calories, sugar, and carbohydrates but your smoothies can also be very healthy if you make them healthy.

This is a smoothie we often have in our house.  Notice all that green?  That's about 2 cups of spinach.  Are you curling your lip at me or are you still interested?  Trust me, the first time I heard of spinach in a smoothie I had the same reaction, but trust me, it's delicious.  

This all started with the blender.  Each year, Rick and I go to the fair and eat terribly tasty food but we also check out some of the indoor vendors where we found the Vitamix stand.  Year after year, we would spend 30-45 minutes at this stand staring in awe as the blender grinds peanuts into peanut butter, cooks ingredients into soup, and freezes milk & ice into ice cream.  The blender is ridic!  

After leaving the fair in 2010 we began saving for this blender, because trust me, it's not cheap but we knew we'd get our money out of it by using it often (and it has an amazing warranty) and making lots of foods, drinks, spreads, etc.  So last year, we were excited to go to the fair for more than just stuffing ourselves full of corn dogs and elephant ears.

One of our most common things to make is the smoothie.  The started out only fruit smoothies and the more often Addie was denying veggies the more I thought I have got to find a way to hide the veggies.  And then it hit me, the smoothie!  This kid can't get enough of the smoothies so I began hiding spinach, carrots, squash.  You name it, that bad blender can blend it into nothing so you're never drinking a gritty smoothie.

Tropical Fruit & Spinach Smoothie
Serves 4
1/2 cup water
1/4 frozen blueberries
1 1/2 cups mixed fruit (strawberry, pineapple, mango, peach)
2 cups spinach

Place ingredients into your blender in this order.  Start blender on low and turn to high immediately, using a damper to push the ingredients down to the blades.  Blend until smooth, approximately 1 minute.

Disclaimer:  This smoothie was made in the Vitamix, which is a professional blender that restaurants and gourmet chefs use.  Some blenders may not process the ingredients as well as this one so be prepared to make adjustments so as not to ruin your blender.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Frugal Find: Bubble Necklace

I'm having a mild anxiety attack over this deal.  I've been looking for these necklaces for months.  It all started when I found this necklace at J.Crew.  At $150 I had to pass, even if I could take that 18k gold and turn it into one of those cash for gold places.  So when I stumbled over this steal, I couldn't pass it up.  I've already purchased the turquoise and I'm really trying to hold myself back from purchasing another 2 or 3.

I'm dying over the yellow and light pink one...who am I kidding, I could rock all of those!  Check out GroopDealz, which is where you can get this great steal!


Wordless Wednesday: Saturday Night

Saturday I went out with some of my girlfriends for a bachelorette party.  I started the night off right with this Raspberry Bellini Martini.  It couldn't have gotten much better because we had a great night though we ended early because said bachelorette had a little too much fun.  Nights out after having a child are much needed!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blowouts, Leaks & Rashes...Oh My!

As an expecting mother I had friends, family, and every stranger with a voice coming up to me giving unsolicited advice about how to raise my child.  Everything from swaddling to breastfeeding, sleep schedules to shot schedules, but the one that seemed to be very polarizing was diapering.  Cloth diapering vs. disposables.  I have to be honest I really wanted to cloth diaper but my husband wasn't on board with it.  It is something that is time consuming at the beginning and seems very expensive, and can be if you start having a CD obsession, but is generally much cheaper especially if you plan to have multiple children.

No matter which way you go, you're sure to expect a rash, leak and blowout at some point.  Those first few months you bring your little bug home you'll be finding out which diapers you like and which diapers your baby can tolerate against their skin.  We've had more blowouts and leaks than I have fingers to count on and they always come at the worst possible time in your favorite out, guaranteed.  The one thing I was lucky not to experience often was rashes.  I tend to think that breastfeeding for so long combined with Addie's tolerance to all foods, products, etc has made that happen.  Her first bad diaper rash happened just last week at nearly 18 months old.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is be open to all options.  I really regret not even trying to CD and the number of diapers we've purchased is astronomical.  Be prepared for leaks, blowouts and rashes by having extra diapers, spare clothes and creams ready at home and on the go.  Whatever you choose, be confident that it's your decision for what is best for you and your family and don't let any opinionated family member sway you!

Do any of you have any experience cloth diapering?  I'm thinking about it for number two, when that comes along but I need to start my frugal shopping now and could use your guidance.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Shutterfly's Long Live Summer Photo Contest

Shutterfly launched their Facebook contest last week where you can enter for a chance to win a trip for 4 to the Bahamas for 4 nights and a professional photo shoot.  Just for entering they'll give you a prize and each week their giving prizes for their weekly photo winners.  Each week there is a different photo theme and you can enter at any point in the contest.  

 Read more about the themes, prizes and official rules on the Facebook page.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Home Tour: Our Mantle

I've showed you a lot of parts of our home over the past several weeks including our kitchen, master bedroom, Adalyn's nursery, and our bathrooms.  Next up is our mantle.  This is actually one area of my house that is in need of some sprucing up.  I've been pinning mantle ideas for months now and I just can't find anything I love.

There really isn't much special to it.  What I am proud of and can't wait to get back is my mantle at Christmas.  It was one of the prettiest parts of our home during the holidays.  Especially with all of those candles actually lit up.  Here's a snapshot of the mantle in it's prime.

You can see more shots of the mantle looking especially fancy here.

Don't forget to enter in our Dermagist Complete Rejuvenation System giveaway which ends Sunday at midnight.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Frugal Find: FREE Starbucks Refreshers

In my last frugal find post I told you how you can get nail polish for $0.01, well this week I can get you a drink at Starbucks for FREE!  You can get a free tall (12oz) Starbucks Refreshers beverage at participating Starbucks locations between 12-3pm.  Read more here.

Starbucks Refreshers Verry Berry Hibiscus Handcrafted Beverage

I can't wait to stop in Friday afternoon for this refreshing treat.  Enjoy!

Don't forget to enter in our Dermagist Complete Rejuvenation System giveaway.



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