Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Family fun in the sun.

I had a fabulous few days off for Memorial Day. Although I had to work a wedding rehearsal Friday, and the ceremony & reception on Saturday, I still managed to squeeze in a ton of family time, most of which was outside in the glorious sun.

Saturday, my sister-in-law, Rita, had her graduation open house. There was a great turnout of friends & family to show their support of this beautiful graduate…


No rain this weekend – we almost didn’t know what to do with ourselves! Well, not really. We spent every second we could outside!


We gave the graduate a coffee maker – thought it might come in handy for the college all nighters that she’ll undoubtedly experience in the dorms.


Sunday was spent at church & working on the house. {More on that later this week.} But Monday was the wondrous thing of my month: an entire day with Eugene. No baseball games, no work, no meetings, just quality time together. We slept in a little & then spent most of the day outside in our backyard working on putting up a chain link fence together. We cleaned up & headed to my parents’ place for a small Memorial Day cookout.


It felt like Summer. Amazingness. Pushing 90 degrees, sunshine, flowers in bloom, iced tea, and fresh fruit. Mmm.


The pup is a happy camper whenever we bring him to my parents’ house.


It’s his doggy heaven, especially the water!


You can tell how much rain we’ve had lately in the picture above. See the grass growing in the middle of the pond, out in front of Espn? That’s where we stood during our wedding ceremony. Crazy amount of rain! Good thing our wedding isn’t this year; our guests would be sitting under water!

We let the pup play in the water before we headed home. He was beyond thrilled to swim…


I give that dive a 10 out of 10 –perfect form. ;)

What a fabulous summery weekend!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Chocolate pudding cake recipe and making blankets.

Last night, our church small group got together to make three blankets for three students who are a part of our church’s Kid’s Hope program. The three children have been mentored by individuals in our church, and as their graduation present, they will receive fun fleece blankets. Our group volunteered to make the blankets.

We had lots of food & laughs while making the blankets…


There’s the random chocolate cake creation I made. It was a weird mixture of 3 recipes, but it was pretty tasty…more so this morning with my hot green tea!


Recipe’s below, in case I decide to try it again sometime.

We were given the no-sew fleece throw kits, so our job was pretty darn easy. Lay out, cut, tie, eat too much junk food. {Check.}


Here’s some riveting action shots…


Eugene wasn’t feeling crafty enough to participate in the blanket making apparently, so he was the designated baby sitter for a while…


Weird weather as usual; it was raining in the front yard of the house we were working at, but the back yard had zero rain. So strange. However, thanks to the odd rain pattern & a gracious God, we were blessed with a huge rainbow as a backdrop while we worked. {Wondrous thing.}



I had to borrow Griff from Eugene to get my baby fix for the evening…plus, he wanted to help with the blankets too!


It was a fun evening with friends. Our small group has been such a blessing to me – what a wondrous thing to have friends our age who have great faith.

Okay, here’s the recipe. I’d recommend adding more oil next time, or maybe I baked mine too long. It seemed a bit dry to me.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

1 yellow cake mix
1/2 cup sour cream {I made this part up, but hey, it worked.}
1/2 cup vegetable oil {I’ll try 3/4 next time}
4 eggs
1 large packet of instant Chocolate Pudding mix
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup or more chocolate chips


Combine all the wet ingredients & whisk together…



Add in the pudding mix & cake mix & whisk together really well. You could use an electric mixer if ya want…



Pour batter into your greased Bundt pan & bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Allow it to cool on a wire rack.


For the topping, I simply melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips & a little water over the stove to create a drizzle-able {I love making up words} chocolate topping.


Pour it over the top & enjoy…


I’ll also melt more chocolate chips next time cause this topping was my favorite part.


Hope ya’ll have a fabulous time off for Memorial Day weekend. I’ll be working a wedding ceremony and reception tonight & tomorrow. But I’m looking forward to a good Sunday & Monday away from the office!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Patriotic pup.

Nothing new to update ya on the house today, sorry. However, I did mow the front yard last night, baked a new recipe for a cake, …


…bought a bandana &  bottle cutter for a project idea I’ve had floating around in my head for a while, and took the dog on a run around the neighborhood before the storm hit {again.} The weather’s been so crazy this year. Floods, earthquakes, tornados – all reminding me of how huge our God is, and how blessed & protected I am. I can’t imagine how it would feel to have to pick up the pieces of my house, my life, as all of Joplin is having to do this week. It’s sickening to see the pictures of their flattened city & my prayers go out to them. Please pray for God to comfort & strengthen them as they try to rebuild all that was destroyed.

{image source}

I appreciate my family, my house, my neighborhood, my safety, my dog, my life. {Thank you, God, for protecting me & my family from all these storms.}

On a much lighter note – I saw a red bandana on sale at Hobby Lobby & thought the pup might like to get in the Memorial Day mood. He wasn’t too fond of the idea when I first put on his new accessory last night…


I love the look in the last square; it’s like he’s saying, “You’re serious with this thing?” But by the morning, he was feeling handsome and patriotic…


Or, at least accepting it…



Getting lots of early sunshine through the big window this morning. {Handsome pup.}


I also snapped some pics of a beautiful bouquet my friend, Libby, gave me just cause she’s sweet like that. :) You may have noticed the pretty blooms in the pics from yesterday’s pillow cover post.





I’ve changed the water & re-trimmed the ends every other day & it’s really helped them last. They’re a week old, and still looking gorg! It’s a fact – fresh flowers make any room look {so much} better…even if there’s faux brick vinyl flooring and bowling alley countertops!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Accessorizing the living room.

We got our couch free from a friend’s boss who was buying a new one. It’s apparently an expensive couch, over a thousand dollars, but I really don’t like it. Its cushions are lumpy, it isn’t comfortable other than for one person laying flat on it, not to mention it only has two seat cushions instead of three {Eugene’s pet peeve.} I’ve tried really hard to like it – I mean it was free, that usually translates to love for me. But I just can’t pretend. I don’t like my couch.

I really really want to buy a sectional like this…

{image source}

or this suave guy…

{image source}

But, we have a lot still to do on the house {i.e. flooring, countertops}, and we don’t think it would be wise for us to drop around a thou. on a new sofa {that we don’t really need} until we know where our budget stands after the remaining big-ticket fixes. So out of my desperation to make myself like our couch a little bit, I decided to make some throw pillows to distract my eye from the lumpy cushions.

I picked up one yard of each of these two fabrics at Joann’s. The kaki and white polka dot fabric was on red-tag clearance for $3/yard & I thought it’d tie in the curtains nicely. Tthe blue floral print is a thicker home decor fabric that was 40% for $6.99 a yard and would pull in some blue to coordinate with the adjoining kitchen/dining room {see this page for pics of the rooms.}

Without a single scrap of fabric left, two yards made 4 covers for Ikea’s 20”x20” throw pillow inner cushions that I picked up a while back for $2.99 a piece.


By far, these pillow covers turned out to be the best I’ve ever made. {Woohoo!} Since I didn’t have any extra fabric to play with, I used pinking shears to cut my fabric to avoid having to do a folded under seam.


I simply cut my yard in half and then used the pillow to guide my layout. I first hemmed the two shorter sides. Then I folded the fabric wrong-side-out over the pillow, bringing up the one end about 3/4 of the way to the top of the pillow & pinned the sides, like so…


Then, I folded the top flap of fabric over & pinned the sides. This gave me about 18” from top to bottom. See how I had overlapping fabric to sort-of make a pocket?


Then I carefully slipped out my pillow insert & sewed both open sides, about 1/4” seam…


Then it was testing time – flipped the fabric right side out & slid my pillow in one side…


Pulled the other side over top…


And I had a perfectly closed, yet easily removed pillow cover. I love it when things actually work like I planned! :)


I still dream of a new couch some day, but these pillows certainly help prettify the lumpy guy…




I also went into our backyard and gathered some dead sticks. {We have plenty extra left over from when we lost a huge branch in the ice storm.} My mom gave me a battery operated branch with little lights on the ends of the twigs. The lights are a light blue, and I never really had a place to display, but now that I’m working blue into the kitchen and living room, I figured I’d give it a try. So I added some branches, the battery operated branch, a green beaded sprig thing I bought on clearance after Christmas at Walmart, and stuffed ‘em all into a pretty green pottery vase I was given from work….



Obviously, the pink fireplace “stone” mosaic is a bit distracting, but what about the branch accessory? Too much?


Eh, we’ll leave it for a few days to give it a chance. It’s crazy how adding a few accessories can really make a room feel so much more comfortable!



Oh, and the pillows & covers ended up costing $22.47 total all four {or $5.62 each.} And the branch thingy was free…all given by my momma, mother nature, and work. Mmm, I love the sound of free! :)


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