Thursday, June 28, 2012


July 4 is less than one week away! For those that may have missed my Memorial Day blog, I am re-posting that one because it was so popular.

click here: {red, white and blue}

Have a safe July 4 and let's always remember to thank our military men, women, and their families for our freedom!
I Pledge Allegiance Colonial Primitive Sign American Flag

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

{honey lime chicken}

Here's another Stephanoff original recipe that you definitely want to try, I promise! My husband came home from the farmer's market with fresh vegetables, so here's what we made for dinner:

1 lb chicken, boneless, skinless, and cut into strips
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons butter
1 fresh sweet yellow pepper, diced (optional)
1/4 cup honey
2 fresh limes
1/4 cup feta cheese

1. Heat olive oil & butter in skillet.
2. Coat chicken strips in flour & black pepper, then fry.
3. Add more EVOO as needed to prevent sticking.
4. Once cooked, reduce heat, add honey to skillet, stirring & coating the chicken.
5. Add diced sweet pepper, stir.
6. Squeeze limes onto chicken, stir and simmer 3-5 minutes.
7. Remove from heat and transfer prepared chicken to your serving plate.
8. Top with crumbled feta cheese.

Serve with fresh vegetables. We ate it with sweet potatoes, broccoli, and fresh tomatoes. Ohhhh so yummy! Look at the colorful presentation and nutritional value!

Don't be afraid to experiment and create your own recipes! And then share the good news!

Other favorite creations:
Pesto Pizza
Bruschetta Pizza
Mocha Chocolate Chip Muffins

Saturday, June 23, 2012

{things we all do}

Just for fun, check out this site for things you probably do...this guy has me pegged in a lot of ways!
Disclaimer: this post strays from home and decorating but not from bringing sunshine & smiles!

submitted by


Monday, June 18, 2012

{confession: flower addiction}

Last fall I purchased a red ladder back chair from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Instantly I envisioned repurposing the chair as a flower planter for my screen porch. One snag: I did not allow myself to buy flowers this spring. I know I know, why not? Because I have this crazy tendency to get carried away (could be qualified as an addiction). So I used restraint and did not step into the garden center at all this year (alcoholics can’t go into bars either ya know). But Saturday morning came and with it, this thought: “Okay okay so maybe just a quit walk thru this ONE time to just pick up enough flowers to do the chair I purchased from Habitat LAST year.”

Yes, I succumbed. Oh my! I was in the right place at the right time following the right person in the red vest. She had her clearance gun in hand and was slashing the flowers and plants to 50cents. Jackpot! Definitely the right place at the right time. Thank you, kind red vest Lowe’s lady!

Here is the repurposed chair...

Potting philosophy: Thrill, Fill, Spill. Add thrill with different textures & varying heights/color. Fill it up (don’t wait for your arrangement to grow into the space, pack it day one). Be sure to include plants that will vine and cascade over the planter.

What can you repurpose from your attic, garage, or the Habitat ReStore to make as a creative accent to your yard or porch? Here’s a complete listing of the Habitat for Humanity ReStores in South Carolina.

Truth be told…confession time…my flower addiction couldn’t make it. I ended up grabbing more than my original intent. But I’m done now. Right?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

{everything in its place}

I don’t know about you, but my keys have never had a home. That is until last week! Up until then, I’d toss them in my purse, sometimes on the kitchen counter, or maybe my husband’s junk basket. It was anyone’s guess. So during my recent trip to Hobby Lobby, I picked up a few things to create a “home” for our keys, including our address so our keys would never get lost again!

Want to borrow this idea for your home? Asking where can I find?
Empty vintage frame:  It’s the second of the two vintage-looking wooden frames I picked up at a yard sale for $1, originally from Hobby Lobby (sticker price still on it for $24.99).
Iron address numbers, padlock, and key hook: all from Hobby Lobby… on sale of course!

Friday, June 15, 2012

{FRIENDS iconic door}

I’ve always loved Friends and that iconic empty frame on their door. So cool! And because I strive to be that cool, here’s my personal version of that idea.

Instead of using a wreath hanger or nail in the door, I secured the frame to the door with a little bit of Velcro along with the sticky dots used in scrapbooking. I hung the “S” to the frame with a single strand of twine and also a little bit of Velcro on the back so it wouldn’t wobble every time we open the door.

I took the plain “S” and simply started tightly wrapping jute twine around it, every now and then applying hot glue to secure the twine around the curves and corners. No particular method, just wrap it.

Like anything you see? Asking where can I find?
Empty wooden vintage frame: originally from Hobby Lobby but I snagged it at a yard sale for $1. Gotta love a good yard sale!
Monogram: Michaels, of course!
Inspiration credit: TV Sitcom Friends...
Inexpensive , fun thrill. What do you think…did I achieve the “cool” look? 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

{mocha chocolate chip muffins}

I heart chocolate! Add coffee flavoring, and I double heart chocolate. Here’s a new recipe I’ve made twice this week. I took a plain muffin recipe from an oldie but goody cookbook The Good Housekeeping Cookbook. I’ve turned to page 421 so many times that the page fell out of the cookbook. Take a look…
You know it’s a favored recipe when the corners are curled and there are food prints on it! I’ve tweaked this recipe here & there and, well, here’s my latest version to the original. I’ll call it what it is: 
{mocha chocolate chip muffins}

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon double acting baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 egg
1 cup milk
¼ cup coconut oil
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

·         Preheat oven to 350. Grease twelve 2 ½ inch muffin pan cups.
·         In large bowl, with spoon, mix flour and next 4 ingredients.
·         In small bowl, with fork beat egg slightly, stir in milk and coconut oil.
·         Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture.
·         With spoon, stir just until moistened.
·         Gently stir in 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
·         Batter will be lumpy. Spoon batter into muffin pan cups (half full).
·         Bake 20 minutes.

·          Serve warm with a glass of cold milk! (Yes, those are ice cubes in my milk.)
Quartered so you can anticipate the ooey gooey chocolate melting in your mouth with the divine burst of coffee flavor (PLUS caffeine)! 

And if you need an extra perk to try this recipe: Coconut oil is the latest rave in health and skin benefits so this is a terrific first recipe to experiment with coconut oil. The hint of coconut was just enough, not overpowering at all. 


Monday, June 11, 2012


Want to bring sunshine to your day (and your backyard)?
Plant a lily garden!
Oh my!
I've been eyeing this lily in my backyard every day this past week. Look at the span on that single flower! This morning I had to stop, smell it, walk back into the house, and grab my camera for a pic.
I have a whole patch of lily flowers in my backyard (great impact). Story: when my daughter Sarah was younger she discovered a lily garden in a resident's front/side yard within our neighborhood. With much enthusiasm, we would ride our bikes to go admire his garden. It took a few trips until I said to myself, "Self, you can do this...go ahead and grow your own lily garden...for Sarah." And I did. A co-worker gave me starter plants from his massive bed, and wa-la! Lilies are faithful, inexpensive, gorgeous annuals and multiply & grow with ease! They get prettier and richer in color every season. Tomorrow I will clip some for inside!

Here's hoping this beautiful lily makes you smile like it did for me...

{bringing sunshine},

Friday, June 8, 2012

{pesto pizza}

I love pizza! And I love making my own and whipping up something on the fly. I’m not the traditional pepperoni or meat lover pizza type (though I do love a true Italian pepperoni pizza from Ohio!)
Nor am I the Little Caesar’s or Pizza Hut type unless I’m feeding a party. I prefer homemade, northern style, or specialty pizzas.

So here’s another pizza recipe created with what I had in the fridge and pantry.

Pizza crust (brand: Boboli)
Pesto sauce (brand: Artisan Fresh)
Fresh mozzarella (brand: Bel Gioioso)
Fresh cherry tomatoes

1.       Rub a little bit of EVOO on your brown stone or pizza pan.
2.       Place pizza crust on the pan.
3.       Spoon on the pesto sauce.
4.       Cover with sliced tomatoes.
5.       Cover with fresh mozzarella slices.
6.       Bake 425 for 20 minutes.

If you like this recipe, you may also want to try {bruschetta pizza} blog May 18, 2012.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

{bathroom reveal #2}

I’m calling 2012 the year of the bathroom. We renovated the "kids" bathroom in April, see April 28 blog {guest bathroom reveal} which was a planned DIY project. Love that bathroom, do take a peak!      

However, last week I had a spontaneous moment, and well, let's just say this blog is all about that whim!

We'll call it Bathroom Reveal #2. Like I said we didn’t intend on doing anything to the downstairs half bath but it kinda had that domino effect once I started. See May 20 blog {good, better, best} when I mentioned that it all simply started with spray painting the mirror and door knob! Ha!

Old look…nothing wrong with it…red toile which is classic, timeless.


And though I liked the toile, I am so happy that I followed the "whim" because it spiraled into such a great new look.

Since this renovation wasn’t planned and therefore not in the “budge” it was important to keep the cost to a minimum. I scanned my Pinterest boards, proceeded to Michael’s, and landed on my inspiration piece: scrapbook paper! Yep, that’s right! $.59 inspiration. I chose 3 complimentary designs, grabbed canvas frames, and headed to Lowe’s for grey paint.

Drum roll please for the after pics...

There’s something to be said for FRESH and  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the grey and orange!

Like anything you see? Asking where can I find?

Paint: Lowe'sValspar Waverly color "Storm"
Canvas Frames & Scrapbook Paper: Michael’s (simple process: brush Modge Podge onto the canvas, cover with the paper, let dry, then brush Modge Podge over the paper.)
Art inspiration from: (She glued paper to styrofoam squares, but I chose canvas.)
Ampersand sign: Target clearance
Etc sign: Target clearance
Lamp: Target
Towel Hook: Kirklands clearance
Flower: Pier I

DIY Project Re-do: under $100

Hint: Be sure to use the weekly Michael’s coupons. Download the free Michael’s app on your smart phone so you always have a coupon handy!

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for the Master Bathroom Reveal, my next super big renovation. Yep, it’s the year of the bathroom!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

{love a mason jar}

I love a mason jar. So simple in style but so big in stirring emotions. Crazy, right? But a mason jar offers this hard-to-put-in-words easy breezy cozy feeling of home. I seem to always sigh (sometimes silently and sometimes aloud) when I see one. It's almost magical and takes me to a sweet spot. What IS that?

Anyways, my over-sized mason jar is one of my favorite things in my kitchen. I was yard sale-ing with a friend and she spotted this aged jar with great delight. I then proceeded to also squeal in celebration but threatened, "If you put it down, I'm grabbing it!" She snagged it for $2...and I had mason jar envy the rest of the morning. Imagine that...over a mason jar! But here comes the happy ending: for my birthday 3 weeks later my girlfriend gave me a beautiful bouquet of spring flowers IN this prized possession. Now that's a good girlfriend to gift that find (she actually had the gift idea in the back of her head the whole time!)
Thank you, Susan!

Favorite thing #5
I don't like a lot of things on the counter so I suspended my mason jar off the kitchen windowsill.
Here's a pic holding hydrangeas from my yard...

My jar came with wire around the lip but if yours doesn't, just wrap picture hanging wire around it. 
I used a drapery rod hook for the anchor.

Here's a collection of other favorite images and ideas for your next mason jar thrill...

Mason jar lemon flowers
Love lemons in any kind of glass bowl or vase. This, however, is glorious!

Burlap flowers and mason jar.
This is simply elegant for a wedding, party, or really part of your home decor any day.

mason jar, and flowers centerpiece.
Love love love this idea for any party occasion.

I love the flowers displayed in the above photo - especially seeing the hyacinths freshly cut and out of a pot, and don't the rannuculas look perfect in that mason jar? (Photo credit: Virginia MacDonald for Style at Home - Jun/11).
What a clean & fresh display for a coffee/sofa/entry table, nightstand, or bathroom.

Peeps in the mason jar and jelly beans on top to hold the flowers in place! Very cute on my table!
You could stuff the jar with anything: colorful candy (like M&Ms, jelly beans or mini candy bars), paper confetti, marbles, coffee beans, anything! Obviously, this jar calls for artificial flowers!

Want to hang your mason jar? Here are two other great ideas:
Built this with some aged wood a mason jar and a hose clamp, simple but looks vintage and is good for candles or flowers.

Mason Jar Planters

Consider these other fun ideas for your mason jar:
  • pens/crayons/chalk
  • that loose change in your pocket
  • random keys you're not sure what they belong to anymore but afraid to throw away
Do you love a mason jar as much as I do?

Friday, June 1, 2012

{father's day}

It's June! Which means Father's Day is around the corner (Sunday, June 17). When my kids were little we drew pictures, made cards, and created simple crafts for these special celebrations. So much fun - loved those days! As the kids got older, they will tell you that I "made" them write notes. It was sometimes tortuous, here's why: the note had to be specific and personal, not generalized and "easy" writing. If the note wasn't specific enough, they had to write more. I wasn't looking for length, but substance. You see, my husband's "love language" is words of affirmation and it's important that he receives positive, life giving words from his wife and kids. Plus I wanted to teach my kids to think deeper and express those feelings. Why is daddy so special and why do you love him so much? What is one of your favorite memories this year? This to me was gift giving wrapped in a teachable moment. I think communication is an art and life skill that we all probably should keep working on! Oh yea, you can pack a powerful punch in a simple acrostic, too!

So this year consider your loved one's love language. Is it words of affirmation? quality time? touch? gifts? or acts of service? Whatever speaks to him and fills his personal tank, that's what I encourage you to give him on Father's Day and every day.

Here are 15 ideas to help you get started thinking about your gift...
Remember with any gift, make it your own, giving it your personal flair and touch!
hand painting
Hand and foot prints change quickly so it's worth capturing every year.

popsicle stick craft

Father's day? gifts
or a simpler approach than the above poster:
Sweets That Say I Love You



Pairing a selection of treats with some sweet sayings can make Dad's day extra special. Tape your candy to card stock or poster board and write a clever message next to each piece, such as:
"Because you make us roll with laughter"
"Because you're the jolliest, sweetest Dad"
"Because you're an all-American classic"
"Because you work so hard for all of us"
"Because we love you More & More each day"

Father's Day Gifts

all crafts 32 Best Homemade Fathers Day Gifts

Father's Day? gifts

Father's Day gifts

all crafts 32 Best Homemade Fathers Day Gifts

Father's Day Car-Wash Kit

Father's Day Gifts
Father's Day Crafts Gift Box
Brilliant and practical. Dad always has stuff in his car so make him a place to put that stuff!

Take Note, Dad
And of course, don't forget to make dad that special breakfast treat!

King of the Grill
You could easily change the apron decor and make any creation on it with fabric paint or markers or consider screen printing a favorite image.

Detail of photo display

Remember dad and grandpa this Father's Day with a unique gift especially with him in mind. 
Have fun thinking of all the possibilities!!