Monday, August 31, 2015

I'm Dreaming Of A....

....new home office!  Bet you thought I was going to say white Christmas! :-)

As you know, we are moving.  One of the good things about this move is that our company's office will be moving into it's own official office space. YAY!!  Some people think that having your business office at home is an awesome thing....most days it is.  But there are days when you want interaction with other people...beyond Walmart shoppers.

Before we moved from Alabama, I worked at a large law firm...corporate all the way every day.  Sometimes I really miss that.  So when we started looking for our permanent home and some office space, I stumbled across a company called WeWork.   They offer what is known as a Coworking Community....offices that house all different types of businesses!  Any company can rent office space in an office building for as long as they want....and it doesn't matter what type of business they have.  This would be so awesome for us!  We would have our own space but be able to interact with others as if they were co-workers in our business.  See, a two-fer!  And you all know how I love two-fers! 

This is such a great concept!  WeWork offers office space across the US and in several countries.  Their office spaces are gorgeous and offer so much inspiration while you work!  They offer many different styles of office space so there is literally something for everyone!

While I was disappointed to learn that they currently do not have space available in our area, looking at the design of the office spaces they offer started me thinking about what I would want in our new home office (since the official office will now be in an office building).  I want our space to be casual, classy, relaxing, stylish.  Since it will be used primarily for my blog writing, I also want it to be a space that keeps me on a "creative keel"!

With that in mind, I came up with this inspiration board for MY DREAM OFFICE SPACE.



I would want the style to be different so that I wouldn't have to build a wall or use a room divider to set it apart from the rest of the bonus room, which is where it will be located in our home.  I want comfortable yet stylish chairs, a nice desk, neutral colors (to blend with the rest of my home), cute pillows and, of course, a cool rug!  Oh, and don't forget the chandelier...no office would be complete without some bling!  I really want to keep "office" style accessories out of this space.  I've looked at printers, file cabinets, staplers, pen holders, etc. for long enough in our home and I'm ready for a brand new look!

So, what do you think of MY DREAM OFFICE SPACE??!!  Now that I have something in mind for our home, I get to decide how our business office will look! :-)   And don't forget.....if you happen to need some office space, consider looking at one of the coworking communities at WeWork....I think you will like what they have to offer!!


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Friday, August 28, 2015

Gettin' In The Fall Groove....

I've made no bones about it...I LOVE FALL!!

Next to winter, it is my most favorite season....well, actually, fall and winter probably tie for first place! With fall, the air is crisp - not heavy, the weather is cooler, my hair doesn't kink up when I go outside, I can wear sweaters and cover up with a blanket while I'm sitting on the porch.  When the temperature drops to 70, I get to have a nice fire in the fireplace....but most importantly, I get to pull out all the fall decor!  I also get to purchase a few new pieces to blend in with the old.


The other day, I had to run to Pier 1 to pick up something that had been on hold for me.  No, I'm not going to tell you what it is, you will just have to wait to see when I show you my fall decorations....which will be on September 18th!  I'm so excited because I've been asked to participate in my very first Blog Hop!!  YAY!!!  If you look to the right on my side bar, you will see the list and schedule of the bloggers participating!  I am thrilled and so very honored to be included with these bloggers.  Their homes are gorgeous and while WE might still be sitting on boxes, those boxes will be wearing the finest colors of fall! :-)

So anyway, I was at Pier 1.  They have so many wonderful fall items.....I just had to come back and share of few of them with you!

I love these chalkboards!


While most of you can make these, those who are as craft-challenged as I am have to purchase them...you've seen my projects...let's not go there.

I also found these adorable pillows...

...I just love the colors!  And yes, those raffia bows are just as cute in person!

This wreath and wreath hanger are pretty awesome!


I don't know what it is about fall that makes we want to go "all rustic" up in the house!

These lanterns, pumpkins and antler candleholders are perfect for the fireplace mantel....


....or an entry table (to cover up an ugly air return).

I fell in love with all of these things and wanted to take them home with me, but I restrained myself and only came home with what I went for.  Well, okay, I did pick up a tiny air freshener for the closet! :-)

BUT, don't be surprised if you see one or two of these items during the Fall Home Tour next month.  Oh, before I forget, I did find some of the cutest sticks...the hubster was thrilled! ;-)






**all of these images are from Pier 1

sharing on Karen's Up on the Hill, Amaze Me Monday, Cherishing A Sweet Life  
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dying To Eat....

...At The Women's Room!

Occasionally, I will write a post for the blog, At The Women's Room, hosted by my sweet friend Brenda at Cozy Little House.  I am honored to be a part of the 7 women who write for this blog.  If you haven't seen it, please check it out.  It is a blend of personalities and posts, so I'm sure you will find something there that interests you!

The other day I ran across an article that I thought would be great to share on that blog...well, it's actually great to share on my blog also, that's why I'm sharing it in both places. :-)  However, you only get the teaser here...you have to actually go to At The Women's Room to see the entire post!

Here's a little snippet....Bond, James Bond.  Yep, that's all you get...oh, and this really cool photo taken by Harry Hargreaves!

You won't be disappointed!

Bon App├ętit!

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

How An Inspiration Board.....

....can help you decorate your home!

If you read the "about me" section of my blog, you will see that I pretty much like it all, but I need to find an underlying cohesiveness that will pull the new house together.

I've always said that a house will tell you how it wants to be decorated and I fully believe that.  Our previous homes have been decorated in shabby chic, clean line contemporary and somewhat minimalist.  Since I plan on living in this house for more than 2 years, I want it to be more of a comfy, cozy home, rather than just a place we are going to temporarily live in and decorate.

As you all know, an Idea or Inspiration Board is a collection of images that will help you visually organize your ideas for decorating a space.  It also provides inspiration (guess that's why it's called an Inspiration Board, huh?) and guides you so that your project is more cohesive.  With that being said, I decided to pull together an Inspiration Board to help me make a few decisions about how I want to decorate each room of the new house.  In hindsight, I should have used an Inspiration Board long ago.  You would think that I would have since I'm severely OCD and try to be uber organized and I hate clutter and disorganization, and, and, and. 

I shared with you a few weeks ago what one of the first projects will be in our new home....tackling this boring half bath.


I also shared with you a bathroom Inspiration Board I found that I really liked.


After discussions with the hubster, and some lengthy window shopping, I've finally pulled together my personal board for decorating this bathroom.

The hubster nixed any tile work for the half bath.  While I love the tile, it isn't necessary for the half bath.  So I will save my "changing his mind" efforts for the master bath and go with the board and batten style that I love so much.


It is a small space and this will give the walls some visual interest.   The only decision left to make about the wall is what the color will be above the board and batten.  I liked the peppercorn, but the hubster said it is much too dark for a space with no windows.  I also really like the other two lighter colors and will have to make a decision between the two, but odds are currently with the sea salt.  It is a nice calming color that will compliment the wall color in the hallway.

This board shows some of the other items I'm considering for this bath...


I'm not sure yet on whether to go with the gray vanity or a white vanity (the brown was out, but I didn't want to go back and redo this board).  I believe the white will be too much white, since the board and batten will be white.  The gray will be a nice shift in color and blend with the color above the board and batten.

I really want a chandelier in this bathroom, however, the current light fixture is mounted on the wall above the mirror.  I explained to the hubster that all we had to do was use one of those swing chain thingies and find a pretty ceiling whatchamahickie to cover the place on the wall.  Don't you love my technical speak?  The hubster's eyes glaze over and he totally checks out of the conversation when I don't have proper terms for stuff.  That requires me leading him by his nose hand down the aisle at Lowes so that I can show him what I'm talking about.

I am also looking for a larger mirror for this bathroom, preferably a nice vintage mirror.  Someone that I know found this gorgeous mirror.....


.....while on one of her shopping sprees.  Unfortunately, she lives too far away for me to buy it from her.  But it really would go perfectly in this space.

I want to add crown molding in this bathroom, but I'm unsure since the room is so small and we will be adding the board and batten.  I don't want it to be too much wood.

The rest of my decisions will include whether or not to add shelving above the commode or just use some pretty art.  I really liked this gallery idea in The House That Broke My Heart...


....and this one I found at Apartment Therapy...


....so I will wait to see how it all looks once we have finished adding the new fixtures paint and board/batten.

So there you have it...what I want to do in the guest half bath at our new house....if we get there! :-)






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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Smoky Mountain Cawnbread....

....no, that is not a typo...that is how "cornbread" is pronounced in parts of the south and up in the hills...so to speak.

While we were visiting Pigeon Forge, TN a few weeks ago, we visited Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountain National Park, where I purchased some stone-ground cornmeal.


They grind the "cawn" right in this little mill.


I love that places like this still exist, don't you?!  I'm also quite sure that up in the mountains, they still make their own "moonshine" and dare the "revenooers" to shut them down! :-)

Well, this post isn't about moonshine, but it is about the cornbread we made with that wonderful cornmeal we purchased.  Rather than making Grandmother Ruby's cornbread recipe, we decided to follow the recipe they gave us when we purchased the cornmeal.
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GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN CORNBREAD
 1 1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

Beat the first five ingredients together.  Stir in cornmeal and flour.  Add melted butter.  Mix.  Pour batter into greased 8" square pan.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
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We used the iron skillet, because that is what the hubster likes to use for cornbread.  I have an aversion to iron skillets, so I let him prepare this recipe.


Look at how beautiful the color is on this cornbread!  It is wonderfully light, fluffy and crumbly....just the right amount of crumbly.


And it tastes wonderful!  It has a subtle sweet flavor, but not too sweet.  And it "weren't yeller", said the hubster.  Obviously, we have bizarre conversations with bizarre accents around our home.

I do have one other recipe to share, but I will not make it....you will just have to give it a go yourself.
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SMOKY MOUNTAIN CORNMEAL MUSH
1 1/2 cups white cornmeal
1 quart water
1 tablespoon butter
Speck of salt
Sugar or molasses

Bring 1 quart water to boil.  Slowly stir in the cornmeal.  Cook until thickened.  Add butter and salt.  Stir.  Add sugar or molasses to taste.
_________________________________

Hope you enjoyed this little bit of Smoky Mountain flavor!


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Monday, August 24, 2015

Butter My Biscuits....

Homemade is definitely better than store-bought...sometimes.  I like my homemade pickles better than those I purchase in the store because I do have some control over the flavor...and size....and shape.

If you have been following my blog, then you know we are in the throws of packing to prepare for our upcoming move....if we close.  We have given the lender and realtor our "if it doesn't close by" date.  If it doesn't close, then we walk away from this house and stay in our rental for another year.  "But you've gone to all that trouble of packing."  Yes, I know.  And it's okay.  Even if we don't move, it has given me a chance to clear out some things that I really needed to get rid of, be a little bit better organized and, most importantly, I get the opportunity to redecorate a little....you know, a fresh perspective on what I've got going on in the house.

Now, with all of that being said, I took a break from packing.  We wanted breakfast and didn't feel like going to yet another drive-thru for our meal.  Sooooo, I decided to make some homemade biscuits.


I know you are all wondering....how could she go to all of that trouble in the middle of packing for a move?  It was no trouble and took less than 20 minutes....well, a little longer counting photo-taking time.  Besides, I desperately needed this time away from packing.  My boxes are becoming less organized...I put picture frames in with the cookware...not acceptable.

I have the hubster's grandmother's recipe for homemade biscuits.  It is a great recipe.  But there wasn't time for all of that.  Besides, I didn't have any lard (that's shortening for you modern folks) and wasn't going to the store to buy something I rarely use.   I did the pantry search and saw that I had a box of Bisquick.  Done!


For those of you who have never used Bisquick for homemade biscuits, you should definitely give it a try.  It is super easy and these biscuits taste much better than opening a can of Pillsbury Grands.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Mix 2 1/4 cups Bisquick with 2/3 cup milk and stir.  After you have a soft dough, turn it out on a Bisquick-covered surface (same as a floured surface).


Knead it around a bit and form into a round shape.  Roll it out and cut with your biscuit cutters.  If you don't have biscuit cutters, use cookie cutters or a glass or cut them with a knife to look like scones...you can do whatever you want.  There are no rules....rules are for Scrabble.

After you get the biscuits cut, place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.  You should have about 8 or 9 biscuits, depending on the size.


Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.


These biscuits are wonderful!  They are light, flaky, fluffy....and you will be proud that they didn't come from a can!  The hubster likes his with syrup or honey...


....while I'm pretty boring and eat mine with jelly!






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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Silent Sunday...8.23.2015

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Best Laid Plans.....

I had planned to share the cornbread we made with the stone ground corn meal we purchased in Gatlinburg, TN.  But you know how it goes, sometimes plans change and you just can't do what you planned to do.  Have I mentioned how ready I am for this closing and move to be over??!!

We found out yesterday that our closing may be delayed, once again, because of some issues with the appraisal! UGH!  It just never ends.  We spent most of our day in back and forth conversations with our realtor, the lender, our realtor, the builder's realtor, buh blah, buh, blah, buh blah.  AND, I found out that my hormone medication is no longer being manufactured and production will not begin again until....wait for it.....NOVEMBER!  The hubster was thrilled with this information!  What that means is that I get to go through closing, moving, blogging, my birthday, Columbus Day, Halloween, Veteran's Day and possibly Thanksgiving with no hormone medication!  Gonna be some fun times in Nashville.  You've been warned!

Now, on to today's post.

I've shared some of these videos before, but I wanted to share one more with you today.  I loved this woman!  She reminded me so much of my grandmother and I thought she was so adventurous to wait until her 90's to start her online cooking show and to write her cookbook! 


I hope you all enjoy Clara's recipes and her stories!


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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What Is This Gelatinous Muck?!

While we were in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg a few weeks ago, we dropped into a cute little spice shop.  At the counter I saw this package of beautiful purple rice.  I asked the sales girl what type of flavor it had and if it had a pleasant taste.  She said she couldn't really describe the flavor but it had a great taste.  After asking a second time, I still couldn't get an answer about the taste, but I decided to buy it anyway....after all, it was purple...and pretty.


I learned a valuable lesson on Sunday when I prepared this rice....never buy food because you think it's pretty and might make a good blog post!



Let me start by saying....I followed the directions!  But this stuff was a mess!  The instructions said to bring water and rice to a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 40 minutes.  Then remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.  Sounds simple enough.


Well, after 10 minutes of simmering, I had to add water.....it had turned into a Gelatinous Muck!  After that, every time I checked it, I had to add more water.  I called the hubster over to take a look and we both stood there gawking at the mess, and then we both said the dumbest words anyone has ever spoken...."why is it all sticky?"  See that package in the photo up there?  What does it say?  Purple Sticky Rice!

Gone were the hopes of seeing nice, fluffy, pretty, purple rice on my plate.  Instead, we were going to be eating something that strangely resembled fish eggs...clumpy, lumpy fish eggs!


This rice had no flavor and had a little bit of crunch in every bite.  I wanted to do like this little kid and spit it all out, but decided to mind my manners while at the table.  Let me tell you, it took a lot of water to wash that bite down!



I'm not sure if we bought a bad batch or if our taste buds expected something quite a bit more spectacular, but this package did not deliver.  Blech!!

Now, I am stuck with a container full of Gelatinous Muck!  I wonder if I can have an elaborate dinner party in the new neighborhood and tell everyone it is caviar??!!  Everyone expects it to be tasteless and....blech!


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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Meatloaf, Smeatloaf, Double Beatloaf...

.....I hate meatloaf.  I don't actually hate meatloaf (I did as a child), but this is a quote from one of my most favorite Christmas movies.
 

Now, I know you are asking yourself, "why is she talking about Christmas...we haven't even had Halloween?!" And "Isn't she supposed to be packing?!"  I took a break.


Sunday, I fixed what will probably be our last decent meal over the next few weeks.  That meal consisted of meatloaf, purple rice, French-style green beans and cornbread.

Today, I'm sharing with you my Mouth-Watering Meatloaf recipe.  I do realize that there are 47 billion meatloaf recipes in the world.  Just add mine to the pile.  Unfortunately, there are not really any exact measurements in this recipe, with the exception of the meat and the egg.  I'm just going to have to give you some starting points and let you experiment with it yourself.  That's what I did.

I started with this meatloaf recipe that I found at the Kraft Foods website years ago.  But I didn't like the tomato sauce on the meatloaf.  So, I started making some changes and, because I always share on the playground, I'm sharing those changes with you.  :-)

MOUTH-WATERING MEATLOAF

1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 egg
1/3 cup A-1 Original Sauce (not generic)
1/3 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 cup Heinz 57 Sauce
1/4 cup (approximately) Bread Crumbs
Approximately 5-6 shakes of liquid smoke (secret ingredient)
Approximately 5-6 hearty shakes of Cinnamon Sugar (secret ingredient)
A little bit of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  I then mix all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.  I do not touch raw meat unless I have on disposable gloves...I'm a weirdo.  If you want to know all of the secrets I have, threaten to stick my hands in raw meat, I will sing like a canary!


After mixing, I pour it into a small glass baking dish...it's just the two of us...and pat it down.  Before I put it into the oven, I pour Cinnamon Sugar over the top.....you can add as much or as little as you want.


Bake the meatloaf for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and drain any standing grease.  Return to oven and bake for 5-10 additional minutes...depending on how brown you want it to be.

For those of you with larger families, you know you will need to increase this recipe for more pounds of meat.  Also, you can adjust any of the seasonings to your taste.  If you want onion flavor, add some chopped onion.  If you don't like A-1, remove it and add something else.  If you want it more flavorful, increase the amount of these seasonings.  I had to keep playing with the amount of bread crumbs in this recipe.  The first time I made it, it was dry...like paste.  I kept decreasing it until it wasn't dry but still held together.  We like the smoky flavor, so I always add a few more shakes of liquid smoke...but BE CAREFUL with this stuff...it's a dangerous tool!


Health disclaimer: it is not safe to snort your mashed potatoes!  No, we do not eat our meatloaf like Randy and don't be sharing my two secret ingredients! ;-)






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Monday, August 17, 2015

He Says...She Says...The Moving Merry-go-Round

Soooo, the hubster has insisted that I share with you HIS moving tips.  He foolishly believes that women do not know how to pack for a move.


This is his list of do not, shall not, have not, etc.  We have agreed to disagree on this list.

He says: DO NOT pack every book in the house into a single box.  We are men, not forklifts.  This same concept applies to cast iron, cookware, fine china, silver, cinder blocks, etc.  She says: pack as much as you can in the boxes....few to pack, few to empty!


He says:  DO NOT label every single box "extremely fragile" or "do not stack".  The square footage of a moving van is much more limited than the volume...if you stack everything in one layer on the bottom, what are you going to place in the rest of the space?  Moving vans are made for things to be stacked!  She says: if you break my breakables, it will cost more than the price of the moving van to replace them all.  He says: every single box does not include a "fragile item".  She says: yes it does!



He says:  DO NOT begin unpacking while everyone is still unloading the moving van.  Movers get frustrated having to step over grandmother's china when bringing in the chiffarobe.  She says: I do not own grandmother's china OR a chiffarobe!

See what fun we have??!!!

Here are a few more of the hubster's moving tips:

He says:  Label boxes...not with the room they came from but the room they are going into.  This way, the movers know where to place them.  She says: I may want to use the items in a different room and I don't want to have to roam all over the house looking for my decorations.  If I know where it came from, then I can decide where it's going.
 

He says: If a box you are loading clearly has tape intact from the previous move, throw the box away or give it to your children as an heirloom...depending upon the label.  You don't want to give them perfectly good tools.  She says: I don't mind them having your perfectly good tools.

He says: Back a pickup truck next to the moving van.  Items that can go to charity or the dump (please make sure to differentiate) can go into the pickup.  She says:  I can't argue with that idea.
 

He says: Take a lot of photos of your current home, inside and out, before you begin packing.  That way, you have more than a corner shot of the sofa at Jimmy's 12th birthday party.  She says: I can't argue with that idea.

So there you have it....a day on the moving merry-go-round!






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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Silent Sunday....Mannequin









sharing on One Dad 3 Girls
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