Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cornbread Salad (It's Better Than It Sounds)

There's a great lunch place near my office called Moose Market, and they make a dish called Cornbread Salad which, frankly, I didn't want to eat because it looked and sounded disgusting to me. Then I tried it following strong recommendations by my buddy {Erica}, and I was HOOKED. Erica mentioned that she had tried to recreate it at home and gave me a list of what she had put into her version. I made it for Easter, and here's the recipe I ended up landing on. Pretty much, I just stole Erica's ingredients and added a can of corn. It was quite well-received at Easter dinner with the fam!

Cornbread Salad a la Moose Market

  • One package of sweet yellow corn bread, prepared
  • Half a small jar of sweet gherkins, chopped up in food processor
  • 1 can of sweet whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped up in food processor
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped up in food processor
  • 3/8 cup Miracle Whip

1. Bake the cornbread according to the instructions on the package (or make your own cornbread like Erica does!).

2. After the cornbread is baked, let it cool, then crumble it all up really well and place in a mixing bowl.

3. Dump in the can of corn.

4. Chop up the onions, peppers, and pickles in a food processor (you could just dice them up if you're gross and like big chunks of onions and stuff). 

5. Dump your veggies into the cornbread/corn mixture.

6. Now it's time to add the Miracle Whip. Do this in small increments because a little goes a long way. I ended up putting in a full 1/4 cup, then another half of the 1/4 cup. It was good, but I really think I could have gotten away with less. It's all about whether you like things mayonnaise-y. I don't.

7. Definitely let it chill in the fridge for a couple hours, then serve chilled-ish. Maybe take it out of the fridge a few minutes before eating so it can acclimate a little. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


It has been almost a year since I began my journey to update the laundry room and kitchen. Whoa. And I'm still not done! But I'm thisclose when it comes to the laundry room. Check out these progress pics to see how far it's come (you can see the Before {here}):

So much that I love here in this pic. The pedestal that {we built} for our washer and dryer.
The updated hardware on the cabinet doors. A peek at {the curtains I made}

View of mainly the same stuff, different angle. I love those bright, colorful curtains. I also love having our brooms/mops hung and having the vacuum cleaner live right there. It didn't really have a very good permanent home prior to updating this room. The doggie door is not new (Chris and his friend Jim installed it back in 2011), but I can't rave enough about the awesomeness of having a doggie door. 

The pocket door to the left goes into our kitchen. The door directly in front (with the chalkboard) goes into our garage. It's our main coming and going door. We hung hooks for bags, purses, brief cases. Some of them I bought new at Lowe's; some of them (like the big ones the brief cases are hanging on) were old planter hangers I found in our garage from the previous owners. They have been really helpful in keeping the room organized. 

A better view of the broom hanging station/cleaning supply shelf. You can also see just a few of the many hats that Chris has. We really needed that coat and hat hanger! Chris's friend from work, Hammer, made us the cowboy boot key holder. The green bar on the wall was an old towel bar that I found under the cabinets above the washer. It had been there from the previous owners. I removed it, cleaned it up, and spray painted it that green that I'm loving right now ({Valspar Apple Gloss}). Little baskets hang from it on S-hooks and keep extra sunglasses, cell phone arm bands, and gloves in the winter. 

I guess I maybe should have staged this better and taken most of this stuff off so that it was only sparsely filled, but I really wanted this reveal to be realistic. This is what we're using this stuff for! 

Oh, the command center. I love it. I talk more about creating it {here}, so I'll just point out that the fabric background matches the curtains, then reiterate how much I love it. And how cool dry erase crayons are.

The drying bar! How did we live without it before??? That alien-looking blue thing is the {Pressa drying rack} from Ikea. It's kind of awkward, but it's really nice for indoor drying of socks, tee shirts, etc. The space below the hanging bar is still waiting to be properly finished. I want to put some kind of clothes-folding table there. 

I really, really like this chalkboard. We had a ceiling light in our kitchen when we moved in; the leafy metal thing (at the time, it was finished in oil-rubbed bronze) was the decorative frame around the light fixture. Well, the fixture flat out died, no bringing it back from the dead. So we removed it and replaced it with a ceiling fan (I don't care what blog people say, when you live in the South, ceiling fans are the best!). But I knew this beautiful frame could be re-purposed  so I kept for a couple of years. Lo and behold, I decided I wanted a chalkboard on the door and this was the perfect frame. I spray painted it with Valspar Apple Gloss. The chalk board it just a circle of {Valspar chalkboard paint} applied directly to the door (three coats). 

I got these little mesh baskets at Tuesday Morning and the wooden letters at Hobby Lobby
(spray painted with {Rustoleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover in Satin Lagoon}). 

This is an {extra-large open-top L.L. Bean Boat and Tote bag} that I got years ago (the color is Marigold, but they don't appear to offer it anymore). We keep all of our clothes that need to be dry-cleaned in here. And they pretty much never leave because we rarely take things to be dry-cleaned. But the bag is pretty!

So.....here is a run-down of what we did to the laundry room:

  • Added planking to top half of wall
  • Trimmed out planking (with some family help)
  • Added chair rail (with some family help)
  • Painted planking, cabinets, and ceiling
  • Painted drywall
  • Painted trim
  • Added new hardware
  • Lined shelves
  • Built washer dryer pedestal
  • Built cleaning supply shelf/broom rack
  • Added hat rack
  • Added purse/bag hooks
  • Created chalkboard on door
  • Created command station
  • Added baskets to hold everyday stuff
  • Added drying/hanging rod
  • Made and hung curtains
And here's what we still have to do:
  • Fix cabinet clasps in a couple of cabinets
  • Touch up some cabinet paint
  • Clean up white paint lines around window mullions
  • Build clothes folding shelf
  • Prettify dog food container
  • Spackle and paint mistake holes
  • Get pretty rug
  • Get pretty light fixture
  • Bring light switch panels out so they're flush with walls (now that paneling has made walls thicker)
  • Organize medicine et al in cabinets
And maybe eventually we'll:
  • Build better/prettier cleaning supply shelf (something more like {this})
  • Maybe re-paint walls a crisp white (??)
  • Update doors on cabinets to something more architecturally interesting and newer/cleaner
So that's where we're at right now. Progress. Major progress. And our first real DIY project. It pretty much taught me that Chris is good at building stuff, but doesn't really enjoy it. And this is supposed to be fun, not a chore for him. So I'm trying to do projects that I can mainly complete on my own so he can use his very limited free time to do stuff that is fun and relaxing for him. But I'm so glad that we've learned that pretty early on and didn't rip out our kitchen or something. Learning on a relatively tiny project like the laundry room has been just fine!

Big Daddy List of Organization Projects

Semi-Unrelated Note: I've got some good thisclose-to-being-done laundry room pics, I just need to get them up here. Hoping to get that done today or tomorrow. 

I was reading {Ducks In A Row} last week and {the post} (excellent by the way; all about keeping reality in mind while organizing) referenced Laurel's 52 Weeks of Organizing project. That project struck me as brilliant. She shared her list and the items on it were really manageable (clean shower heads, hang pin board in closet, organize medicine cabinet, etc.), and she allotted one week during the year to get each organizing project done.

Since I've been feeling really overwhelmed and under-confident about DIY lately, this whole thing seemed like something I really need right now; tasks that I can actually tackle and complete by myself (for the most part) that don't involve a table saw. 

I didn't come up with 52 since we're already a third of the way through the year. I think I came up with close to 30 though. I may add some as I think of them. 

Here ya go:

Clean out and organize coat closet. Something like this. Sigh.
Clean out and organize Chris's closet

Maximize space and organization in blue bathroom closet

Completely organize under kitchen sink. Just like Jen.
Totally organize all table linens

Organize and functionalize Man Cave closet

Organize Man Cave desk

Create jewelry organizer
Organize jewelry and get rid of unworn stuff

Get bedroom tv cords organized

Organize and functionalize guest room closet

Organize and functionalize guest room dresser and night stand

Organize all spices in spice drawer
Organize screws

Organize drill bits
Organize screw drivers
Better organize sandpaper binder
Organize auto care stuff 

Go through camping and fishing stuff, organize, and throw away unused stuff.

Organize travel items (suitcases, etc) 

Make completely organized and grab-and-go travel toiletries kits for me and Chris
  Itemize and take pictures of everything for insurance

Organize all 2012 photos and move onto cd

Organize and backup computer harddrive

Make hanging organizational items in master closets for belts, robes, etc.

Create easy and functional storage for all hand power tools

Organize dremel accessories

Friday, March 8, 2013

2013 Third Simple Goal: Explanation

This one's pretty simple. So simple that I haven't bothered to write about it, but then I realized that's dumb. Basically, I have a tough time carving out time to contribute to the blog. It's not that I don't have time; it's just that I always find other stuff to do with it. Or worse, I spend it reading other people's blogs. When I do get on and post, it always takes me a really long time because I try to make things perfect and also because I still am slow at all the ins and outs. Anyway, these are just all excuses why I don't post enough.  So, this year, I'm trying to post at least once a week. I have missed a week (between {here} and {here}), but I got back on the wagon and picked up again. 

In order to meet this goal, I moved away from trying to make this just a DIY blog. I don't DIY enough and, when I do, I'm terrible at taking pictures of every step of the process. So if I want to post weekly, I realized I was going to have to accept that many of my posts would just be photos of my life with Chris and the pups. As it turns out, those posts (like {this}, {this}, and {this}) have become some of my favorites.

Sometimes change is good :-)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why We Rescue

I just signed up for a chance to be a part of this really cool photo project called {Why We Rescue}. It's being done by Theron Humphrey of {This Wild Idea} fame. I'm pretty wild about him and his pup, Maddie, so I jumped at the chance to try to get involved with this project. Fingers crossed we'll get picked as the Texas story! (ok, Texas is a huge and very populated state, so I know it's a long shot). I wrote a little essay to send in to Theron, and thought I'd share it here since it's all about my puppy-loves and how much they light up my life. 

*My husband, Chris, and I are together because of two rescue dogs, who happened to change our lives.

I was just going to watch Custer for two weeks while my friend Ben went to Italy. Custer was a stray chow mix that Ben found on the streets of Dallas and had brought home, though he lived on the ninth floor of an apartment building (not the ideal situation for an active, 1-year old, 50-lb dog). He wanted to find a good home for Custer, but was fostering until he did so. Custer and I fell in love with each other pretty much immediately. I decided I wanted to adopt him; my roommates were not thrilled with the idea. Ben ended up taking him up to Kansas. His girlfriend's parents lived there and they wanted to take Custer in. I cried.

But fate wanted us to be together, because the folks in Kansas took one look at Custer and said he was too big, they couldn't keep him. So he headed back home to Dallas with Ben. I embarked on the process of finding my own place. In the meantime, Ben and his lovely girlfriend kept Custer for three extra months. I had visitation on the weekends.

Over Memorial Day weekend of 2005, Custer and I moved into our first place together, a brick duplex in East Dallas with a tiny fenced-in yard. The yard was so small that we spent most evenings at the {White Rock Dog Park}, where Custer could run and play. In August 2005, we met our future family there: Chris and Clyde the Coonhound. Chris and I got married on May 24, 2008, and adopted a little stray terrier puppy the very next weekend. We named her Bonnie.

Custer is 9 years old now; Clyde is 8; and Bonnie is 5. Three separate times, they have traveled the country with us as we drove from Texas to New England to visit family. They have seen us through moving, job-changing, even brain surgery. They snuggle with us at night. They cruise the neighborhood with us on brisk morning walks. They make us feel like celebrities every day when we come home from work. I know that we're not supposed to admit that we can love animals in the same way we can love other humans, but I'm gonna do it anyway. These pups are my family and my heart. My life has never been the same since the day Custer sauntered into it. I'll be forever grateful to him.*

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

My birthday was last week, but I'm just dropping a few photos 
of some of the highlights.

Delicious Swiss Chocolate cake with pretty pink frosting made just for me by {my sweetie}.

My mom indulged my new obsession with the history of {The Homeland} by sending me this beautiful old book about {Forest Park} by a Springfield author. 

Lovely birthday roses from Chris

And some lovely earrings as well!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My On-Going, Ever-Growing Thrifting Search List

I've been bitten by the thrifting bug. I was previously kind of meh about it because thrift stores always feel seedy and dirty to me, but I'm on the fence no more. I just scrub my hands real hard when I get home. 

How could I turn up my nose at all this goodness??
Anyway, since there's always just an absolute ton of crap to sort through at these places, I end up deciding that I desperately need another plastic animal to {spray paint and "ceramicize"} so my house/life crush on John and Sherry of Young House Love can move ever closer to creepy. Or, you know, I need that broken down plastic child-sized tool bench even though I don't even have kids but-when-kids-come-to-visit-it'll-be-totally-awesome...

So I'm putting paper to pen (metaphorically) and beginning a list of stuff that I want to keep an eye out for when I'm shopping. That way, if I find something that's not on this list, I'll know that I better think long and hard about whether it needs to come home with me.  
  • Rolling cart for in between washer and dryer
  • Really big drum lamp shade
  • Actually, any size drum lamp shades
  • Great lamps
  • A not-deep shelf or table for entryway
  • Great blankets (particularly plaid and wool)
  • Mini lacrosse stick
  • Good small, storable toys to have for visiting kiddos
  • Vanity set
  • Old, round-rung wooden ladder
  • First edition hard cover Harry Potters (stop laughing)
  • Prettily-covered Readers Digest books that I don't have
  • Brown leather messenger/tote bag/briefcase
  • Two three-drawer filing cabinets

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A couple weeks all mashed together

Impromptu  tasting of fah-ncy beers with some friends
The Rick

That face.

And this one. I ruv them. 

Friday was glorious because I received these spoils from {Long Winter Farm}. This lip balm cannot be beat. 

Played this for the first time, and now I'm a fan. 

Our azaleas are blooming in February and I'm so sad because what's April gonna be like??
Weird winter weather. 

Lovely Saturday at the park. 

I'm not overly crazy about barbecue, but this place is kind of awesome.
I've never had potato salad that my mom didn't make that I actually liked, until I came here. 

Doing what hound-doggie do. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Welcome February!!

Stunning weather this weekend means extra-long Saturday walk with the puppies.
We walked down to the trail and then all the way down and back. 
That resulted in lots of steps! Big accomplishment!
The spoils of my trip to the Goodwill. I got that woven chevron blanket for $1.99! And Hilary's autobiography for $1.29, which turned out to be a very apropos purchase because apparently she retired as Secretary of State?!? What rock have I been living under that I just found out about that this evening!

Got some good lovey-snuggles in with the puppies, very important stuff. 

Oh, and I finally finished the "command center" in our laundry room. My board was inspired by {this design}, but I used foam board covered in fabric
and mounted into a $1.99 frame from Goodwill instead of plywood. 

{McKenzie} provided a couple of printables with her tutorial,
which I gratefully used on my board. 

Did you know that you can write on glass with dry erase markers (and {dry erase crayons}) and it wipes right off when you need it to? These frames were a dollar each from Dollar Tree. 

One of the snacks I made for the Super Bowl were these {PB&J Thumbprint cookies} from Emma at A Beautiful Mess.
She used blackberry jam in hers; these ones are made with strawberry. 
Got some good Parcheesi playing in before the Super Bowl.
These crazy Texans call it something else, but it's the same game ;-)
And this particular version is home-made and vintage-y, and I love it. 

Clydus needs a mani-pedi.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

It's true: I made curtains.

I sure do love this boy.

Soon to be pecan pie.

The elusive hound dog in his natural habitat.

I made these!! Check out {this tutorial} from Young House Love. 

No one does '80s bangs like The Nug. No one.

Chalkboard on our laundry room door.
Made from a little chalkboard paint and the decorative frame from an old ceiling light. 

What do you do when you have a million wine corks? Call them decorations.


Rainy Saturdays call for Bean Boots. 

Mmmmmm...venison French Dip. Check out the recipe {here}.