Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Flower Bed (Phase 1)

David and I bought our trailer last April and have learned a lot over the course of this last year being first time "home owners". Last spring we focused on the guts, or plumbing, and the inside of the trailer. Figured running water is pretty essential for day to day life. We painted most of the walls and made it our own. Naturally with all of our time being focused on the inside, the outside of our home was pushed aside and forgotten about. We did the essentials of mowing the lawn and watering it on occasion, but didn't touch the flower bed. One of the previous owners of our trailers had planted tulips but they were super random and clumped together. David and I decided to redeem ourselves from last year and have a nice flower bed this year. We didn't want to spend a lot of money on them so we decided to be creative and work with what we had, the randomly planted tulips and some hostas my parents so kindly gave to us when they thinned theirs down this spring. We bought some top soil to mix into our dirt and away we went.

 As this picture shows there was no rhyme or reason to the tulips.

 Starting to organize the plants. We tried to move as few flowers as possible.

Finished product with hostas between the tulips. The tulips were a little worse for the wear but still survived the transplanting.We realize that tulips are spring time flowers only and we will need to cut them down and plant something else to keep the hostas company. We are planning phase 2 of the flower bed. Stay tuned until next week.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Soup (Sort Of)

I have been a slacker lately and haven't posted in a while. I apologize and here is a new recipe for you. As I have said before I love to create. One of my favorite places to create is in the kitchen. I love to combine different flavors together to create something good. My most recent food concoction was inspired by my mom's recipe for Broccoli Cheese Soup.

I wanted to experiment with the noodles and decided to use wheat flour. They didn't look as pretty (hence the brown in the soup) but tasted great.

  • 2 cans of cream of potato soup
  • 3 1/3 c chopped broccoli
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 3 1/3 c chicken broth (I use water from pot I boil my chicken in)
  • 1lb chicken 
  • 1 c cheddar cheese
  • 1 chicken bullion cube 
  • milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 beaten egg
  • a little salt
  • 1/2 eggshell twice full of milk or water (3Tbs)
  • pinch of baking powder
  • enough flour to make a soft dough (about 1 3/4c)
Cut chicken into cubes and boil. In a separate pot add broccoli, onion, cream of potato soup, bullion cube, and two cans worth of milk. Turn burner on to medium (I start this pot warming while the chicken is cooking). After chicken is cooked drain broth into another bowl and add chicken to the broccoli mixture. Measure out 3 1/3 c of chicken broth and add the broccoli mixture. Bring soup to a rolling boil then reduce heat to a simmer (stir soup often to prevent burning on the bottom). Allow to cook until broccoli and onions are tender. Add cheese and keep on heat until melted. When cheese is melted remove from heat. Make noodles and cook separately. Add to soup.

*For further instruction on the noodles check out this post for Grandma Ruby Hall's Famous Noodles*

David enjoying his soup.

Linking to:

Freedom Fridays

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jackie's Bundt Cake

I really should have titled this "No Fail Bundt Cake" because I have made it many times with many combinations, and it has turned out great every time. I don't know where the original recipe came from, but my husband's family got it from a family friend in Pocatello named Jackie. My sister-in-law Lorie put together an awesome recipe binder for all of her siblings years ago that has their family's recipes all compiled together. This recipe comes from that book.

I was in charge of dessert for our family Mother's Day dinner, and ended up making three different cakes to take following that recipe.

It is fun to try and think of new combinations of cake flavors to mix with pudding flavors.

This was the chocolate banana cake. I used a chocolate cake mix with one package of banana pudding and one whole banana.

This was the cookies and cream cake. I used a white cake mix with Oreo pudding. The chocolate chips didn't make it in this one, so they ended up on top instead. I usually don't even worry about frosting these cakes, but my husband requested frosting on this one so I did.

And this cake, well this cake didn't even make it to dinner. Let's just say that a warm Funfetti cake was a little more than anyone could take. It was demolished in record time.

Let me know if anyone decides to try it out and what creative combinations you come up with.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Five on Friday

As I mentioned last week, I have really been feeling the need to simplify my life lately. I read another great book over the weekend, The Power of Less, by Leo Babauta. A couple of things that really stuck with me and that I tried to implement right away were: focusing on completion, and to choose tasks that you know you can accomplish. Too often, I get caught up in the main portion of a project which consumes my time and energy. When the project gets to a point where it is mostly finished, or it is good enough, I many times leave out some of the little finishing tasks that would complete the project all of the way. Using the Power of Less as my inspiration, I am once again going to use this blog to help with the motivation part.

So here is how it is going to work: every week, I am going to choose one room in my house or one project to focus on and pick five small 10-15 minute tasks that I can work on to help actually complete some of the major projects that we have been working on. Then on Fridays I can post them, knowing that I have accomplished some of the little things that have been on my to-do list forever. Some rooms will take a few weeks worth of tasks, but I am going to limit myself to just 5 little tasks per week so that I will be more likely to complete them.

For this week, I choose to focus on our Master Bathroom because there were a few finishing touches that I have been wanting and needing to do for awhile. It was actually crazy that I have put them off for so long because they really were easy to complete.

1. Hang the light fixture above the vanity.

We had that ugly hole with wires poking out of it sitting for way too long, but after a trip to Lowe's to get the anchor piece that we needed, Jared had it hung in no time.

Total Time: 30 minutes

2. Touch up paint.

I don't have pictures for this one, but it was one of the reasons that some of the other tasks sat for awhile. I needed to touch up around the light switch, around the toilet paper holder, and also around the heat vent.

Total Time: 10 minutes

3. Put the light switch cover on.

Another ugly hole that sat for way too long. It did need some touch-up paint, but once that was done it was really quick. 

Total Time: 3 minutes

4. Hang the toilet paper holder.

Simple right? Yes and no, this was one of those tasks that ended up taking longer than it should have because the old screws were stripped and it took forever to get them out. It was still relatively simple though, and so nice to not have the toilet paper just sitting on the counter.

Total Time: 20 minutes

5. Put up the window screen.

Back when we were doing demo on this bathroom, we took the screen off so that we could throw the garbage out the window and into the trash can. It has been off ever since because it couldn't be put on from the inside and required a ladder.

Total Time: 3 minutes (including setting up the ladder and putting it away)

There you have it, five simple under 30 minute projects that were crossed off of the to do list this week. It feels great to finally have them done! So, now the challenge is to keep this up, and to encourage others to choose some simple tasks to work on that will help them get a few steps closer to finishing a project.

Have a great weekend!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Guest Posting

Hey everyone. Today Joanne is guest posting at Stardust-Decor and Style Blog about the pallet couch that she built. You should stop by and check it out along with all of the other cool projects that Olga has posted there. She lives in Athens, Greece and has a great collection of posts about beautiful homes, rooms, and furniture.

S t a r d u s t  -  Decor & Style

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Favorite iPhone Apps for Photography

I am in the middle of a project and I need a self portrait. I've honestly never tried to take a real self portrait before. Oh sure, I've done plenty of stretch your arm out with a point & shoot or iPhone pics, but never gotten out the tripod and the remote to have a photo shoot with myself. 

So last Monday I sat down to take the picture. All I needed was one good pic. I thought it'd be easy and fast. Boy was I wrong! The conditions were not ideal- my remote didn't work, it was really low-light conditions, and limited space. But the hardest part- my subject, she did not cooperate.

An hour and 48 goofy pics later (see below) I finally got one that I could use for my project (not pictured below).
Little side note for you, I just discovered, it's an awesome website
full of free resources for designers and photographers. That's were I got the film frames.
The time and effort it took to get one good shot made me even more grateful for how easy it is to take snapshots of yourself with a smartphone. And then you have all the photo apps that make every pic more fun. 

I decided to share a few of my favorite apps and the best part is most are free!

Why I love Hipstamatic: 
-Free (basic app, can buy upgrade)
-Variety of lens, film, & flash combinations 
-Variety of camera bodies (this feature might be a part of the upgrade you pay for)
-Great vintage effects with blurs, light leaks, and all the charming imperfections of old film cameras
-Order prints right from your phone (the prints we've ordered have been stellar)

 Awesome Pixlr-o-Matic Features:
-24 different filters
-30 lighting effects
-30 photo frame effects
-Basically your Baskin Robbins for photography, there are enough more options and photo combinations to keep you satisfied for a very long time.

Instagram (you knew this would make the list)
Why I (and the whole iPhone world) love Instagram:
-Fun filters and blur options
-Grandaddy reason: Social networking! You can upload your photos to an online account directly from you phone so all you friends and followers on Instagram can view, like, and comment on all your photos. It's a fun, easy way to keep up on your closest friends lives and also brag about all the cool stuff you're doing. Win-win.

Cross Process & Shake It Photo
I think these two are free, but I'm not 100% sure. I don't use them as much as the other apps, but I love them for certain pics. The cross process is a digital simulation of cross processing on film and Shake It turns your photos into polaroids (you knew I'd have a polaroid app somewhere).
Cross Process Pic
Shake It!
This is the only app that I know for sure isn't free. It's pretty inexpensive though at $1.99.
Diptic allows you to cut, slice, and collage your pics together. 
There are several layouts to choose from and you have total control over the width of your borders.
It's a fun way to switch up and display your pics.

I'm not claiming to be an expert (if you've got any great apps, please share!!! I'm always on the lookout for more great tools) but it should give anyone a good starting point. 

Oh and the first thing you should do with your fancy new apps? Take a self portrait.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I have been thinking a lot lately about life and what direction I want my life to go. I guess staying at home with my girls all day gives me too much time to think. I have been really feeling the need to pare down and simply my life. I feel like I have too much stuff, too many things going on, too much to take care of, and never enough time to do the things that I want to do. I feel like if I had a couple of weeks to sit down and just dedicate myself to simplifying without having to worry about anything else, I could actually get to where I want to be. But, real life is that I have two little ones to take care of, laundry to try and stay caught up on, plus all of the other normal everyday life stuff. Rather than get overwhelmed as I often do, I have decided to just keep trying to take it a few small steps at a time.

So, here are 3 places that I have recently found life inspiration:

1. The book Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider. I have read this book twice now, and really enjoy how simple and straightforward it is. It provides some great ideas and activities for trying to figure out what simple living looks like for you individually. It definitely has definitely inspired me to try and live more simply. 

2. I saw this calendar from My Simpler Life for de-cluttering and organizing on Pinterest awhile back. I didn't find it in January, but have started trying to do one or two of these activities each day to get caught up. 

3. Becky's Blog. Becky Higgins is the founder of Project Life, a really cool product that simplifies the process of recording life. The tagline of her blog is, "Cultivate a good life and record it" which is something that she has inspired me to do. I have been able to use her ideas along with the ideas of others to try and journal and scrapbook in a way that works for me. 

Somedays I feel like I am making progress, and other days I feel like I am not. I do want to simplify my life though, so that I can have more time for the people in my life and more time to do the things that I want to do. I do well with reminders, so I just made a little sign that says Simplicity and paired it with the saying at the top of this post. I put them in a frame and have them out where I can see them everyday, again to act as a reminder of this life goal that I am working on right now. 


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