Avocado & Black Bean Salad

One of my favorite parts of summer is grilling and BBQ's. One of my least favorite parts is being asked to bring something to a cookout. It's not that I don't like to participate and help out, it's just that I never have any idea on what to bring. So I usually stick to the old standby of paper goods and cups...
...and wine...always wine...

That all changed when my family of three went to visit my grandmother in West Palm last winter. It was a nice hot afternoon and she prepared for us a delicious meal. For one of the sides, she had prepared a bean-type salad. Let's be honest, I did not think I was going to like it. I do not like beans, at all. But being the wonderful granddaughter that I am, I took a big heaping spoon full. Oh my, oh my! It was fantastic! I immediately asked her for the recipe and made it within days of getting back home. 

Since that trip, I have opted to bring this dish to each and every cookout I have attended. Not only is it a crowd pleaser, easy to make, and something you can prepare the day before, it also gives me something to offer that isn't in the form of paper!

And I know it's not summer yet, but it's in the mid-40's and we have already started grilling! 

Avocado & Black Bean Salad


Ingredients:
For 4-6 people use this recipe but double if you're bringing to a large gathering

1 Can Black Beans
1/2 Bag Frozen Corn
1 Avocado
1 Green Pepper
1/2 Sweet Onion
1 Cup Salsa 
(I used Peach Mango but any will do)
1/2 Lime Juiced
Salt/Pepper to taste


Let's Do This:

1. Wash and strain the black beans
2. If you aren't serving for a few hours then you do not need to thaw the corn - but if serving immediately - thaw corn (do not cook)
3. Dice onion and add
4. Cut Avocado into small pieces and add
5. Add salsa
6. Add lime juice and salt and pepper

Let sit for at least an hour for the flavors to merry together.

ENJOY!


21 Day Fix
Serving: 1 Cup
1 Y
1/2 B
1/4 P
1/2 G

Standing Tall Tulip Trick

I don't know about you, but nothing says Spring Has Sprung like beautiful tulips. Now, I do not have a garden of my own to grow them since, well, we don't even have a lawn yet at the new house. Suffice it to say, I have to stock my house with store bought flowers. Not even those from a garden supply store, but those from the grocery store. But don't knock shopping there! I got the most beautifully colored and healthy bunch yesterday.

But don't you hate it when you bring the tulips home, they look so perky, and in a matter of minutes they are dropping like you hurt their feelings? They flop all over the place, looking down at your table. Those spring emblems have now become saddened by their destiny of slow death in a vase. 



If it breaks your heart to see them so sad like it does mine, here is an awesome trick for you! This trick will perk them up to attention in a matter of hours! All you need are 5 pennies. Yup, $0.05. That's all, just five cents! No need for special powders, flower dances, or voodoo. Take five pennies and plop them in the vase, put the flowers in, fill with water. In about five hours (one hour per penny perhaps?) your tulips will be standing tall! Perhaps this is an old wives tail, but it worked for me!


Now, remember, they will eventually start to droop again. But if you are having a dinner party and you want these puppies at attention, just drop some pennies in a few hours before! Also remember to cut the stems approx 1/4" before putting them in  the vase to help preserve their life!






Simple Saturday Thoughts

It is 5am on Saturday morning and I am curled up on my couch with a hot cup o' joe, beat up Chevy sleep shirt, my baby boy fast asleep, cats lounging around me, and thoughts from this past week. 


While the rest of the world sleeps in on this Saturday morning, my husband was up and out of the house at 4:20am to go lobstering. Coincidently, my son rose as well, crying for Momma. I figured that was going to be the early start to our day, but he only needed a gentle hug and a few rocks in the glider until he laid back down. In that time, my husband had driven off into the cold morning to spend the day hard at work on the ocean. I laid myself back in bed prepared for a few more hours of sleep, but sleep did not ensue.

I lay there, wide-eyed for forty-five minutes until I decided, while the world was asleep, I would enjoy the stillness. We have been so busy these past few weeks between moving, Bub's turning two, and the hustle and bustle of every day life, that I haven't really had a chance to just sit. I am fortunate that I have this blog to turn to on these sleepless Saturday mornings. I am able to share, or not share, anything I want. It gives me a place to virtually unwind and a place to organize my thoughts. 

But as I write this, I don't feel the need to truly recap everything, or anything at all. My urge to write has suddenly dissipated as I see the sky turning pink as the sun rises and my coffee getting cold. Sometimes the action of sitting down to write is the cure for the urge to write. It isn't about writing at all but about the preparation. It's about going through the motions, not the end result. So this morning, I went through the motions and now I will sit here with the stillness of this beautiful Saturday morning, surely something I can not do if I am about to write. And I will enjoy this quiet moment as it doesn't come often.












Up-Cycle and Restyle Using Spray Paint

I have recently fallen in love with spray paint. Since December, when we knew we were building a house, I had been on the hunt for certain pieces to decorate with. I wanted to get away from all the silver I used to decorate our old apartment and go with the warmer color of oil rubbed bronze.

When we picked out our sink and lighting fixtures we got them in that beautiful rich oil rubbed bronze, but realized that if we wanted everything to match we would have to spend buckets of money. New mirrors, new curtain rods, new basically everything since all of ours were shiny silver. 

Since we couldn't afford a new $400 mirror of $300 in new curtain rods, I turned to Pinterest. I had stumbled upon a few ways to "up-cycle" furniture. A few included spray painted old chairs and such. I pondered that for a while and went on the hunt for oil rubbed bronze spray paint. It took a matter of minutes to find that Rust-Oleum sold it! I was a little hesitate to spend the money on this paint thinking it would't work. but I did anyways!


While I waited for it to arrive, I went around my house and picked a few off color pieces that I wanted to spray and hang up in the new house. My mother had bought me a beautifully textured silver mirror for our entry that would be perfect  for our new downstairs bathroom. I called and asked if she minded that I sprayed it, and she was super enthusiastic about it. I decided to stick to one piece to see how it worked. Plus, the contractors needed the mirror pronto so they could hang it. 

When it arrived, my husband took the liberty of spraying it in the basement. I highly suggest you do it outside if you can. We still had 4 feet of snow on the ground so we couldn't, and our basement smelled like toxic paint for two days. 

All he did was take painters tape and newspaper and covered the mirror. He used a few layers of newspaper so if there happened to be any bleeding, it wouldn't get on the mirror. Next, he sprayed, 6-10 inches away from the frame, in long even passes. This paint covers so well. When you spray it, you only need to do a light coating then wait for 45 minutes for it to dry and check it over. After the time was up I went back in the basement and saw it only needed one coat!







We took the tape and paper off and it looked like a brand new, expensive mirror! It was incredible. After seeing what that paint could do, I had my husband spray all of our silver curtain rods so they would match our house. Let me tell you, it looks like we spent gobs of money on these pieces! When in reality, we just bought a can of spray paint!




I didn't have a chance to take "before" photos of the curtain rods before they got painted. But they were your standard brushed nickel. You can see more photos of the entire rod here on my tutorial for No-Sew Curtains!


Our next project is to spray all of our brass door knobs this color!

BABY BOY IS 3!!

No, actually he turned two today but every time I ask, he just gives me a wide smile and says "fffwwwweeeeee" which is three to those of you who don't speak toddler. Then I ask again, he sighs, and says "TWOOO". Sorry kiddo, not so fast!



I can't believe that two years ago on this day my husband and I went through 17.5 hours of labor to bring our amazing boy into this world. He had to be punctual and come on his due date, naturally. It really speaks for who he is now though. He loves schedules and to know what's coming next. But on the other hand he is so even keeled and goes with the flow. All he needs is either his Momma or Dadda, Bah-Bah (his well loved dog), something to eat and drink and his naps. Yup, I said, napS, plural. He is two and sleeps 12 hours a night and still takes two 2-hour naps a day! No I do not drug him to sleep, it's because he is zooming everywhere he goes when he is awake. 

This child is so active. I am so happy that we moved into a bigger house because he needs a lot of room. He jumps from one activity to another. His mind is constantly going, and I know this because he is very verbal. Whether he is talking directly to someone or to himself, he is formulating sentences that actually make sense to the situation!

I will not drag on about how smart he is, even though I could, all I want to say is how much he has changed in the last two years. He's super independent, but yet loves to still snuggle and when he's not feeling well, sleeps on my chest in the rocking chair. He is only shy for a few minutes then makes everyone his best friend. I have never met such a polite child for his age. Please, thank you, sorry, and excuse me are regulars in his ever growing vocabulary. 

He holds the deepest and most loved spot in our hearts. Sometimes my husband and I sit after putting him to bed and try to visualize our lives without him. But we just can't. We wouldn't be anywhere meaningful. We would be yearning for moments like these. 

So today is really a day, not for spoiling or throwing lavish parties (I mean he's only two, he really doesn't know what's going on), it's about reminiscing the 10 months I held him in the womb and the moments leading up to his birth. The evening we brought him home and seemed so clueless on what to do next. It's truly a day for us, the parents, to celebrate what we created and who he has become. 

Don't think we didn't get him anything though, we found it fitting that he had his own Bubba chair since he is older now! 


Oh, and just like my mother did with me, I will be telling him his birth story, in detail (thanks mom I'm forever scarred), every single year on April 20th. 



No-Sew Curtains

Over the weekend we moved into our newly built home. Everything is perfect in this house. The only thing that was needed was curtains. I hated the curtains I had in our old apartment because they were more like side panels that didn't have any practical use at all. They were ugly and they didn't even cover the entire window when you needed them too!

I have been on the search for white flowy curtains for a while. Sure, I have found a bunch that I loved but that my wallet didn't. I didn't want to have to take out a second mortgage on my new house just to have these beautiful curtains. During my search, I found a few tutorials on Pinterest for making my own curtains, but most involved a sewing machine; something else I did not have and was not going to spend money on. But I also saw a few tutorials for No-Sew curtains. Unfortunately, the tutorials were either incomplete or not exactly what I was looking for.

Being the smart lady that I like to believe I am, I took a few ideas from different sites, melded them together, gathered a few tid-bits from my mom and I went to work on my own no-sew curtains! 


Let me tell you, these are so incredibly simple! I busted out four complete sets in about 2 hours. That's with washing the materials, too! So if you are sewing machine inept or simply lack said machine, follow my simple steps and you can have beautiful curtains for a fraction of the price and in less time then you would spend crying over how much you shelled out for your pre-made curtains!

They truly turned my house into a home in a few simple steps!
Before
 After
Before
After

Oh, and when I say a fraction of the price, all 4 sets plus all materials (including curtain rods that I had in silver but spray painted oil rubbed bronze) cost $84.00. And to think....I saw just ONE set of the same thing for more than that! Cray cray if you ask me. 

No-Sew Curtains

Materials:

You're going to need a few things - I got it all (besides the scissors and iron on Amazon)

1. One bolt (approx 25 yards will do 4 sets of curtains) Muslin fabric - $75 on Amazon.com
2. One roll of Stitch Whitchery - $3.99 on Amazon.com
3. 1" (or 1.5" depending on the thickness of your curtain rods) curtain clips which is 5 clips per panel (10 per set) $6.99 per set of 10 on Amazon.com
4. Iron
5. Scissors
6. Something to iron on that can withstand the iron for more than 10 seconds at a time (I used a folded over packing box on top of my counter)

Let's Do This:

1. Measure the length from the floor to your ceiling. When I measured it was exactly 8 feet (96") and I needed another 4" (100" in total) because I was going to be hemming the top and bottom and I also had to allow room for shrinkage in the dryer. So give yourself at least 4-6" extra.

*** Hanging your curtains from the top of the wall will give the illusion of taller ceilings! 

2. Unroll the bolt and cut to your measured length. Cut two 100" (or whatever your measurement was) lengths for one window.

3. Once all panels are cut, unfold them (they're folded in half on the bolt) and put all of them in the washer. I did a "quick wash" since it wasn't dirty, I just wanted them to soften a little. Then place them in the dryer.

*** Now, if you had old kitchen scissors to cut the fabric, you may have a lot of ragged ends. DON'T PANIC! Don't spend time trimming them since you will be folding them over! 

4. Plug in the iron and unwrap your Stitch Witchery. Grab the end of your fabric (cut end) and lay it flat on your ironing surface. Unroll a few inches of the Stitch Whitchery 1/2-1" below the edge. 

 
5. Fold the edge over to cover the Stitch Witchery and place the hot iron on it. Do not slide it back and forth, keep it still for approx. 10 seconds. And repeat this step all the way down the edge until you have hemmed the entire side. Then move on to the other end. 
*** Repeat on all the cut edged of all the panels

*** I found that placing scissors on the fabric to hold the fabric down while you iron really helps keep it in place

6. They are ready to hang as soon as you iron them. Grab the clips and use 5 ring clips per panel (10 per set) and hang them up! 


What's so great about this is they can be washed! Once you have ironed the hem with the Stitch Witchery, you can treat them as you would any sewed item. Also, you can use this on any fabric! So you can switch them out as often as you want. And they are super cheap to make, you could literally have a few sets for any mood or season!

We've Moved!

Well it's official. We have moved. Two full days of packing and moving and we are now 15 minutes down the road in our new house. And I'll tell you what, I will burn down our new house down, collect the insurance money, and buy all new stuff before I ever pack my entire house and move again.

Now that it's all over with, I suppose it was worth it. Even though we had a nice townhouse (for the location we were living in) we were ready to have our own space and a place for Bub's to grow up. And a place where I could paint my own walls and not have to worry about the landlord peeking in wondering what we were doing or why there are lobster crates on the front porch. 

The move was actually pretty painless since I hadn't even unpacked all my stuff from when we moved into the townhouse 3 years prior. So most of my stuff was still in boxes in the basement. It did how ever give me a chance to purge some junk. And since we had the use of the dumpster at our complex we we not beholden to the town on what and how much we could throw out! Talk about the ultimate spring cleaning. 

The night before the big move we quickly ran to Target to pick up a rug and a few odds and ends that we needed. Then we packed up said lobster crates and we moved all of our food from the pantry and fridge and we moved all of our dishes. You know, the important stuff....in the rain....and the dark of night...

The start of a very long night!

Thankfully my father-in-law had a covered car trailer that we used to haul all of our possessions so we didn't have to rent a U-Haul or moving truck. We were able to fit everything in the trailer and a few pickup trucks and off we went to the new house. The weather was perfect for moving. Sunny and 55ยบ. 

You may be wondering, where was Bub's while you were moving? He spent two full days and nights with my mother. It was the hardest thing for me. I had never been away from him for that long before. Granted he was only a few minutes down the road, it was still super hard. I made numerous phone calls and she sent me many photos of what they were doing. I thought he was going to miss me, but let's be realistic now. He was kept so busy around Gaga's house that he didn't have time to miss me. 




 Keeping him busy with a little shoveling

He was planting momma flowers for the new yard!

I did cheat though, on the second day I went back to our old house to grab something and I had half a bottle of wine still in the fridge. I decided I didn't want to trek it down to the new house so I brought it to my moms to have a nice refreshing sip while I checked on Bub's. 

When he saw me he was wide-eyed, gave me a hug and kiss then went about playing with the laundry they were folding. It was like he didn't care that I had been gone! So mom and I sat there drinking the remaining white wine I brought over and talked about the on going move and how Bub's had been doing. He was fine, the move was going seamlessly, and all was well. 

So I packed myself up, went and got the final piece of the moving puzzle, my terrified cats, then had my husband pick up Chinese, and we headed to the new house. The move was complete and now comes the unpacking. But not without some Champagne and Chinese to celebrate! We pushed aside all the boxes in the kitchen, broke out some paper plates and finally sat down. 



Over the past week we have been slowly unpacking. The first morning when I woke up I made sure that I had my coffee all ready to go! I had the living room, kitchen, and Bub's room all set up the next day so when I brought Bub's home he had some sense of familiarity. I actually set up his room to be identical as his last. It didn't fool him but I think he helped to ease his anxiety at night. Bub's absolutely LOVES the new house. He has so much space inside and out!


The only thing we were missing was all facets of communication. Our new house is in a dead zone on the coast of Maine. I have absolutely ZERO cell phone service and the cable company wasn't going to arrive for a WEEK to hook up our cable, internet, and landline. It was actually really nice for the fact that I got a lot of unpacking and setting up done since I wasn't on the phone, internet, or watching tv. BUT I felt so isolated. People were wondering if we were ignoring them via text or Facebook, I couldn't text or blog. I even had to go to town so my husband could file his taxes online and we could set up delivery for propane. I was very happy when they finally came today to hook it all up. 

I am super excited to be in the new house. I am more excited about a few upcoming posts that I have planned for you all! So stay tuned!