Thursday, November 29, 2012

Only From Scratch Christmas

Unlike most bloggers out there, my Christmas tree is not decorated.  The pumpkins are still on my front porch, and the only thing I've done so far to get ready for Christmas is to take the boxes out of the attic.

It's not even December yet!  So, I don't really feel behind.  Yesterday I helped some ladies decorate the church and that got me excited to start decorating our home for the holidays.  The girls are eager to have a Christmas tree and lights, which I hope is going to happen tonight.

Next week, I'll start posting some Christmas things that are happening around our home.  I've got some craft ideas, cookie recipes, gifts, and some decorating tidbits that will hopefully make an appearance on this little blog.

Be sure to come back next week and join with us in:

I'd really love to see what things you've done to decorate for Christmas.  If you'd like to have your ideas shared here over the next few weeks, just send me a quick email at, and I'll see what I can do.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beadboard in the Bathroom

We purchased our home almost two years ago, and knew it wouldn't need any updates, as it was a new construction.  However, as many neighborhoods are these days, most homes on our little corner are pretty similar.  So, when we started thinking about re-sale, we knew we wanted to do a little bit to the interior to make it stand out from the others.

An easy, and fairly inexpensive, way to add character is with beadboard.  We decided to add this to our downstairs bathroom and I love how it turned out!

We purchased two 4'x8' sheets of primed MDF beadboard at Lowe's, and had them cut each one in half for easier cutting and measuring at home.

Bradley prepped the bathroom by scraping off the original grout from the lower molding, and getting everything really clean.

Then, I painted the upper portion of the walls {it's the same color as our Master Bathroom--hooray for using leftover paint!}, so it would be easier to finish off when the men were done with the beadboard installation.

They used liquid adhesive, made specifically for these kinds of projects, then a nail gun to finish it off.

They leveled, measured, cut, sanded, and pieced the beadboard together throughout the bathroom.

Then, it was time to apply the chair rail molding.  This was applied as close to the beadboard as possible, knowing that a little caulk would fill in the gaps.

We used high gloss white paint to paint the beadboard and molding and it actually looks like real wood.

I finished it off with another paint of coat, since there was some caulk to cover up, and we were done!

I've had this shower curtain since my single days, living on my own, and was glad that it worked in this room.  I've bought a hand towel, but so far that's the only accessorizing I've done.  I'm not sure what else will happen in here on the walls, but right now I'm keeping it as is.  There's too much Christmas decorating to do right now, anyway!

We're thrilled with how this turned out!  There is a little bit of beadboard left, so after the holidays we're going to tackle the kids' bathroom as well.

Thanks to Bradley and his dad for finishing this project!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Easy Roasted Veggie and Sausage Casserole

This casserole is one of the easiest meals to make and it smells and tastes so yummy!  I had pinned it over a year ago, and even mentioned it in this blog post, but didn't actually make it until a few weeks ago.  My sister and her husband were in town and I wanted a hearty meal that would make enough for us to eat the next day, too.  This worked!

So, go grab some vegetables, a cutting board, and a roasting pan and get cookin'!

Easy Roasted Veggie and Sausage Casserole

8 sausages {I used some sweet and some mild Italian}
2 pounds potatoes
1 pound carrots
1 bell pepper, red or green
2 large onions
4 garlic cloves
4 T oil
3 teaspoons Italian herbs {any combo of oregano, sage, rosemary, or a pre-mixed Italian seasoning blend}
1 cup chicken broth
8 T balsamic vinegar

Peel the potatoes and cut each into 4 big chunks.  Peel carrots and chop into medium-sized chunks.  Chop pepper into strips.  Slice onions into large chunks.  Place veggies in a large roasting pan.  {If you want to make this REALLY easy, use a disposable roasting pan!}

In a small bowl, combine garlic, oil, Italian seasonings, and chicken broth.  Pour over vegetables and toss.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cover the pan with foil and bake at 450F for 45 minutes.

While the veggies are roasting, brown the sausages in a large frying pan.  They don't need to be cooked all the way through.  After the veggies have roasted for 45 minutes, check to see if they are fork tender.  If not, place them back in the oven for a few more minutes.  When they are tender, add the sausages to the pan, pour balsamic vinegar over it all, and put back into the oven, uncovered for 15 minutes.  Pull it out, flip over the sausage, and place it back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve it hot, with some corn casserole, like I did, or just on its own.  Perfect dish for a Sunday dinner, or an easy weeknight meal.

source:  slightly adapted from KayoticKitchen

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Week

We had a lovely Thanksgiving week!  Bradley's parents arrived the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and we enjoyed having them here all week.  We relaxed some, worked on some projects around the house, played, ate, and just enjoyed being together.

Our Thanksgiving feast:

Gingerbread House Project with Nana:

Project Downstairs Bathroom:
{finished product to be revealed soon}

Tea Party with Gocky:

Beginning of the Re-upholstery Project:
{hope to finish this one later this week--thanks, Mom, for getting it going!}

Grandparents with the Kids:

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving is for Worship

We give thanks for the things we've been given.

We give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy in our nation.

We give thanks for our comforts, friends, family, and food.

But, what if we didn't have things?

What if our freedoms were taken away?

What if the comforts and relationships we enjoy were gone?

Would our hearts well up with thanksgiving?

If our measure of thanks is based upon what we have, we have lost sight of the true reason for being thankful.

Thankfulness should not be based upon our plenty, or our want.  It should not be based upon our circumstances, easy or hard.  It is not dependent upon how smooth relationships are going.

Thankfulness comes from a heart that knows a great God who is always great, always good, always sovereign, and always worthy of our praise.

Thanksgiving is for worship.

We worship God when we have much or when we have nothing.

We worship God when we have freedom or when we are in bondage.

We worship God when we are comfortable and uncomfortable.

We worship God when we live at peace with those around us and when we have enemies on all sides.

Our worship of God should never change, and therefore our thankfulness to Him should never change.  

Our worship of God should always be great; our thankfulness to God should always be great.

This is what the psalmist says:

"Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens!  Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness!  Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp!  Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe!  Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals!  Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!"
Psalm 150

On this Thanksgiving let us choose to worship God because He is mighty to be praised, at all times.  Let us use our breath to give Him thanks, in all things.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Last Minute Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

Thanksgiving Day is just two days away, and I can't help but wonder that someone out there might still be trying to find the perfect dish to finish off their Thanksgiving menu.  So, I decided to have a little round-up here of some fabulous looking dishes I spotted over the past few days.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Apple-Pear Crispler

Earlier in the fall, I decided to do some research on fruit desserts.  There are crisps, cobblers, pies, buckles, crumbles, and probably more.  I was curious as to what defined the difference between these, especially a cobbler and a crisp.  The basic difference is that a crisp has a topping that consists of flour, sugar, butter, and an egg.  A cobbler's topping is basically like a biscuit that becomes a little puffy while baking, and there is no egg.

I wanted to try to combine a cobbler and a crisp {which is why this is called a 'Crispler'}, and I liked what I came up with.

This is easy to make for last minute company, or just for a weeknight family dessert.  It's best served warm with some vanilla ice cream.  Or, if you're like my dad, you can serve it warm, with ice cream, for breakfast, and try to convince your children that you're eating oatmeal {yes, he really did that when we were little}.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Apple-Pear Crispler

2 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
2 pears, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoons sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Mix fruit with cinnamon and sugar and place sliced fruit into a buttered 8x8-inch baking dish.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and sugar.  Stir in melted butter to combine.  Using fingers, place clumps of topping mixture on top of fruit to cover.  Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes.

Friday, November 16, 2012

DIY Chevron Tray

Over a year ago during a trip to Goodwill, I picked up an old, tired, wooden frame.  It was only $2, and because of the wood and the depth of the frame, I knew it would make a great tray.

I've looked at it and have never been sure how I wanted to fix it.  After I finished my end table last week, I had a little bit of paint left, so I decided to use it for this tray.

The old wire and hooks needed to be removed, the nails in the back got pounded in a bit {so as not to scratch any surfaces}, and the entire thing got a fresh  coat of ASCP in Paris Grey.  I distressed a tad with fine grit sandpaper, and then applied clear wax.

Then, I cut a piece of chevron fabric to size and used mod podge to apply it.  I had to hot glue around the frame, to secure it a bit.  I then sprayed some Scotch Guard on the fabric, just in case someone actually puts a coffee cup in there and we have a spill.

The bottom of the frame is wood, as is the top of our current coffee table, so I put felt pieces cut to size along the edges of the frame bottom.  This will keep it from scratching the coffee table.

I like that it's large enough to hold magazines, if I want, the remote, some coasters, a candy dish, or an occasional seasonal decoration.  Although, we will probably wait a few years for it to hold decorations.

There are some things that just don't fly in a house full of toddlers, so I choose my battles!  One day we'll have pretty things on our coffee table, but for now, legos will do.

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rigatoni with Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

A few weeks ago our church held a cook-off for a ladies' event.  Everyone who participated had to choose a recipe from the church cookbook, but it couldn't be their own recipe, make the dish, and then we all gathered at the church to eat and vote.  It was a really fun idea that helped to raise some money by selling cookbooks, and I came away knowing which recipes I liked from the cookbook.

I made this pasta dish and it was really good!  It's best served straight from the stove, though, so probably not the greatest thing to take to a potluck.

Rigatoni with Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage links
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced {I used green, since I had some from the garden}
2 yellow onions, sliced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 T. tomato paste
1 cup Marsala wine {I used the cooking variety}
1 - 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. rigatoni pasta
Garnish: freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add the sausages and cook until brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes.  Remove the sausage from the pan.

 Keeping the pan over medium heat, add the bell peppers, onions, salt and pepper; cook until golden, 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and stir until incorporated, then add the Marsala, tomatoes with their juice and red pepper flakes.  Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan to release all the brown bits.  Bring to a simmer.

 Cut the sausages into 4 to 6 pieces each.  Return the sausages to the pan.  Simmer uncovered until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.

While the sauce simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook al dente, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain pasta and add to the thickened sauce; toss to combine.  Spoon into individual bowls and sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.  Serves 4 to 6.

source: A Taste of Redeemer, page 179

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to Move Big Pieces of Furniture

Today is just a quick little tip for you!  If you're like me, moving furniture is not always something that you plan.  Sometimes you just get in the mood and need to rearrange.  I've been known to move dressers while very pregnant {probably not the best idea}, and oh, how I wish I had these little helpful things back then!

Bradley's parents gave us a little gift for helping out in their basement redo this summer, and we put it to use right after we got home.  Our Master Bedroom was the main project this past summer, and the last little thing we did was to rearrange some pieces in our room.

Our furniture is VERY heavy.  Instead of pulling muscles, we simply slid these handy little things under the legs of the dressers and the pieces just slid around the room easily.  I couldn't believe how well they worked!

These would be great to use as a stocking stuffer.

Instantly, we felt like moving the furniture around gave our room more the feel we wanted, with a separate sitting area off to one side.

There is still some work to do in here to get it 'finished' {will it ever be truly finished??}, but I'm enjoying what's been accomplished so far.

What are your best tricks for moving furniture?

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