Thursday, September 30, 2010

the STUFF dreams are MADE of

Halloween is just around the corner!  I love Halloween and all the fall decor that comes with it.  One of the best parts of Halloween is getting to dress up!   Of course this is right up the dream daughter's ally!  She loves to dress up and would wear a tutu every day if I allowed it.  And let's just be honest about that...I would let her if she had enough!
This year we spent the dream daughter's birthday in Disney World.  I knew we would be dining with the princesses, so I went on the search for the perfect outfit!  I didn't have to go far, one of the lovely mom's from play date sews and makes all kinds of magical things.  I told her what I was looking for which included 'something princess but outside the box'!  In no time she had whipped up the dream daughter the PERFECT dinner attire that can also double as a wonderful trick or treat costume!

Little Princess, Big Princess


Perfect match

Could the back be any cuter!?!?!?

This was the perfect outfit for our little princess!  If you are looking for dress up, Halloween costume, or any other custom pieces for your princess...check her out on her website and on facebook (make sure to 'like' her page)!  and tell her O+P sent you!

babycakes has no idea that I am writing this review, did not discount my costume for a good review..I really LOVED her product and think you should check her out!

Bibbidi Bobbidi BOO!

I am officially back from vacation!  The dream daughter brought us right back to reality with her very first slumber party!! That's right...a slumber party, with SEVEN four year olds!  I guess Disney is the happiest place on earth, it sent me back home with an excellent attitude to think I could handle those girls!  The girls did great considering they are all of FOUR and FIVE years old!  I have lots to post about everything that went on including the dream daughters fourth birthday party (because the week long celebration in Disney wasn't enough), some pictures from vacation, an awesome Halloween costume and a really cool custom illustration! Here are a few pics to hold you over!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Slow Cooker Chicken with Black Beans and Sweet Potato

Yesterday, I tried out my recipe of the week and had the neighbors over to....share the experience.  I told them to be there at 7:30pm and be dressed to go out to eat...just in case.  The recipe is as follows:

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tsp ground cumin
dash of salt and pepper
1 tsp ground paprika
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup salsa
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can (15-19 oz) of black beans (rinsed and drained)
4 medium sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks)

Mix all ingredients with the exception of chicken, beans and sweet potatoes in a bowl. In the slow cooker, combine the beans and sweet potatoes.  Place the chicken on top of the mixture, then pour broth mixture over the chicken.  Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Number of Servings: 6

Fat: .5g, Carbs 35g, Calories 307.2, Protein 6.6g

The Low Down:
First, I couldn't find "skinless boneless chicken thighs", so I bought ones with skin and bones and just ripped the skin off myself.  The end result looked and smelled amazing.  The overall opinion was that is was good, everyone would eat it again, but it was a little bland.  I used mild salsa and I think if I make it again, I would use hot/spicy.  Also, one can of black beans didn't seem to be enough, I would recommend two or three cans or maybe on of those honkin cans.  Now, for those of you with skills equal to mine, here's a tip: Cumin is a spice.  It look me 20 mins in Publix to figure that out.  And a "garlic clove" is the little chunks inside of the main garlic head, so don't use three garlic heads.  I might add even more garlic, since it was so "bland".    Also, I just noticed the cutting directions of the sweet potatoes.  I cut mine in half...and that works too.  The meal was very light, but filling.  It definitely tasted healthy.

I am getting more and more comfortable having people over and hosting.  I actually really enjoy it.  I can't wait for next week; steak tacos!

oh, ps.  I still didn't take a picture, but the dish was really pretty


Saturday, September 18, 2010



Adam Kovacs literally just left my house from finishing up the pergola and I could not wait to share pics.  It looks so good!  I have not had time to mess with my patio decor at all, but the plan is to add some indoor/outdoor curtains, possible pavers and a candle chandelier over the picnic table.  We have to wait about a month to paint or stain it and I was thinking about painting it white like the trim, but the more I think about it...I might let it get worn to where it turns that grayish wood color like old fences.  Who knows.

Maybe I'll plant some bushes along the side of the slab.....and act as a backdrop to my indoor/outdoor curtains???

Ahhhhh.......shade, how I love thee.

I'm going to grow vines up the side trellis to hide the beautiful view of the AC unit :)

Top view

View from dining room {through the screen door}

Thank you Adam!  I can't wait to finish the patio up.  Maybe someday I'll even get a fence...nah....

Happy Saturday! 

Sunday, September 12, 2010


We had out housewarming party today.  I'm exhausted and didn't even cook!  We had Sonny's catered in and had a small quant party with 13 people.  The weather was overcast so it was absolutely perfect to sit outside and enjoy our back yard for the first time.  I thought we would have the pergola done, but a last minute design change made that impossible. 

Of course, the house was spotless and I tried to finish as many projects as humanly possible.  Lots of late nights and three full days of cleaning.  I had to show Drew how to use the vacuum today...yea...that's how good he's got it!

Our next get together will be on December 5th for a Holiday Party where I plan on going ALL OUT. 

Here are some shots of how the house shaped up for the party...

Master Bedroom- I thought I would have time to print out some beautiful touching wedding photos of Drew and I, but just ended up sporting the Ikea generic inserts :)  Scored those frames for $7.99 a piece!

My side of the bed.  I want to paint that desk and chair black, but I didn't get to it this time.  I picked that basket up for $1 and it was just laying around.  I got mirrors cut to frame for next to the bed, but we haven't gotten to that project yet.

Drew's side of the bed.  I got that lamp for $14 and it was yellow and cracked.  Nothing a little silver leaf, new shade and gorilla glue couldn't take care of ;)

I bought fabric for a headboard and it is definitly high on the project list, so hopefully we can knock that out soon cause it is BARE.  I can't wait to get a plush down comforter and cute euro shams to complete this room.

I finally painted our ginormous coffee table black and Drew finished the tray for me, so I slapped a coat of white on there.  Getting ready for this party was all about working with what I had and in this case, it was a can of black paint and a can of white paint.  My big wing back chair was supposed to be ready on Saturday, but it wasn't, so I stole two chairs out of the dining room as a substitute. 

Living Room looking into the Kitchen

Make shift fill in for the large wing back that wasn't ready in time.  Those two slipcovered chairs are from the dining room.  My mom gave me those throw pillows and that foyer table was one I had from a while back and was just hanging out in the garage. 

Coffee Table Setting

Still rocking the boob fixture and the TV is still not hung up, but I did finish painting the media least the parts you can see.

Kitchen.  I don't really see anything ever changing in this room, but I'll keep adding in there just in case.

Master Bedroom entry looking towards Breakfast Room.  I have a round table that I think will work better for the breakfast area.  I picked it up at a garage sale for $25 and like everything else I get, it requires some work that I haven't quite put in.

Archway galore in the Downs' Abode

I hung that starburst mirror that was in my Master Bedroom on the blank wall, painted a $3 lamp from salvation army with my trusty black and white paint and leaned a few pics on the wall for the Dining Room.  I actually used that buffet as a buffet and served the food from there.   I'm dying to paint the buffet bright yellow!

Centerpiece.  I couldn't find anything to go in those tins.  All that stuff is left over wedding decor :)

Entry.  There will eventually be a table underneath that mirror and you know, as I was driving to pick up the Sonny's this morning I passed a perfect table out by the side of the road and I thought "I'll stop on the way back" and I forgot.  I hate when that happens!

Remember that sea foam colored book case I picked up a while back?  Well, I thought I would strip it down to natural wood now that the walls are gray.  I stayed out in the garage for 2 hours with a scrapper and paint stripper sweating my A off and this is as far as I got.  I'm telling myself that I'll finish it in the winter, but let's get serious--I'm sure it will stay juuuuust like that for the rest of it's little life.

top two shelves

bottom two shelves

Sad little guest room.  Thought I'd post it cause it actually has furniture unlike our other guest room :)

Ozzie was pooped from following us around for three days of cleaning, but she pepped right on back up once the guests got here. 

As I started this post, I think she went down for the count.  I'll have to peel her off the sofa and take her into the bedroom later :)

I hope you all had a great weekend.  It was so good to finally host something at our house.  Each time we have people over, we learn a little {get more outdoor seating, buy an ashtray, buy less food, make sure football is on} and I can't wait until hosting becomes a skill that I have down pat.  Martha Stewartness, here I come!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Domestically Disabled

For those of you that don't know us, we are both seriously Domestically Disabled here at O+P and at the top of the list is cooking.  We can clean, but as Fallon says "a clean house is a sign of a wasted life".  We love to have a clean house fully organized with cute labels and storage systems, but who really has time for all that??? 

On the quest to become better woman, we thought 'what if we tried to find easy new recipes and test them out- once a week'.  Well, two weeks after having that thought, I tested out my first recipe!  First, let me describe my typical diet and menu offering to my husband so you know how much I really DO NOT cook. 

Breakfast: choice of cereal, some sort of protein bar like CLIFF bar, a smoothie, an apple, or if it's Sunday and you're really nice to me- Eggo multi grain frozen waffles.

Lunch: choice of cereal, frozen lean cuisine or other assortment of low fat/low calorie frozen meal, or a sandwich

Dinner: choice of cereal, frozen lean cuisine or other assortment of low fat/low calorie frozen meal, or sandwich. 

As you can tell, I eat 6 times a week, give or take.  While our grocery bill is extremely low, I really do have the urge to learn at least a few things for when people come over or when I want to treat my man with a good home cooked meal.  I can picture my life in 5 years having kick ass house parties and being the hostess with the mostess, but I can't really do that serving cereal.  We are having our first get together this Sunday and I am having to default to Sonny's  : /

My problem is, I am health conscious.  I need low fat, low calorie, high protein, low carb, fresh tasting, preferably organic meal(s) with minimal ingredients while being quick and convienant to fix.   Easy, right?  Oh, before I forget, I would LOVE for you all to share any recipes that fit the above criteria!!!!!!!!!

So, I started out slow.  So slow that I'm guessing most people would not even consider this 'cooking', but scroll up a couple of paragraphs and relive my pain.  I have no idea how to boil an egg.  I cannot cook bag rice to save my life. 

I'm slightly embarrassed, but here we go.  Gotta start somewhere...

Kate's Tuna Patty Melt

1 can of tuna (drained)
1 egg white (I used organic egg whites in a carton)
1/3 cup of low fat cheddar cheese
1/2 small onion (finely chopped)
1 tsp ground garlic
1/2 tsp pepper

1. Mix all ingredients

2. Split in half to form two patties

3. In a medium saucepan, fry patties until both sides are golden brown

(2 servings)

Now, I must say, my patties were great!  And by great I mean I did it and they didn't fall apart.  I put a little olive oil in the bottom of the pan and fried them on low.  They tasted pretty good, but I think next time, I will use less garlic powder, if any--they were a little salty.  Also, I don't know who can get by on one little patty, but I would say that this recipe is one serving.  I had them plain, no bun or sauce with green beans and dinner rolls.

1 patty is 1.9g of fat, 2.1g of carbs, 98 calories, and 18.3g of protein!!!  The whole meal cost less than $7 for a meal for two!

Feeling like I could join hell's kitchen, today I made ribs!  This is quick and painless.  Before I left for work, I put a thing (carton from Publix?) of ribs and BBQ sauce in the crock pot and put it on low.  It cooked for about 10 hours (while I was at work).  When I came home, the meat was literally falling off the bone!  Again, it was a little salty, so next time I'm going to check the sodium content in the sauce, but overall, they're a hit!  Drew is working late, so I just scarfed down 3 ribs plain, but if I were to serve this for dinner on his early night, they would be good with mac and cheese, green beans, corn on the cob, texas toast, and/or fried okra!

As I was writing this blog post, it dawned on me that I really like to see pics of the recipes I'm looking up, so in the future I'll try to snap pics for y'all of my latest and greatest.  Hopefully the recipes will get a little more involved as time goes by.

Let us know if you have any good recipes to add to our learning process and feel free to comment if you try anything we post.  How can we make it better.  What worked for you, what didn't?


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Purty Pergola

Here is my backyard oasis.  I know you can't see what I can, but it will be finished someday {that is my new mantra}.

Since these pics were taken, the trim has been painted white.  Here it is a light gray color and for some reason, the purple undertone was driving me bazerk. 

So, the first step to my dream backyard is a pergola over the slab we had the builder.  Here are my inspiration pics:

ahhhhhhh, do the angels sing when you look at this pic?  SO PRETTY!  I gave this to Adam as my basis of design.  Now given my budget, I doubt the finished product will look like this, but.....

probably more like this...which I'm fine with.  I want to grow vines up the side and have a full screen of lattice to help screen the view to the AC unit.

This one is cute too, pretty basic.

Do ya'll watch 'Brothers & Sisters', the TV show?  Well, Nora has my DREAM backyard.

For those of you that watch the show, I want to be like Nora in the fact that she has a big family that gets together all the time and she's always surrounded by people she loves.  Her house is to die for.  If you don't watch the show, try it out.  It's a goodie.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

gray is grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat

Last weekend was very productive and a good way!  One of my best girlfriend's husband, Adam Kovacs, the Renaissance Man that made my shutters and picnic table, helped me paint the rest of the main portion of the house. 

T H A N K   Y O U

I like the color so much, he came back last week to do our master bedroom! 

Now, that this room is getting more settled, I'm set of a yellow color for that buffet.  I know.  I want to get some burlap to run over the center of the table and a few cute plates and deck the table setting out.  Of course I am on constant lookout for a new chandelier, but for now...builder standard stays.  If I find two matching lamps, I'll sling them on the buffet and not have an overhead light at all...whichever one I find first.  I still haven't found a rug to suite my fancy, so bare floors it is.  Not sure what to do on that rear wall either...any ideas?  I've thought about a faux fireplace mantel, floor to ceiling family photos, but who knows???

Some temporary accessories look okay until I find just the perfect junk!

Any ideas on what to do with the other walls???

New chandelier!  I need some little shades, but I like it so much better!

The babies are tired after all their helping.  riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.  Mom gave me that floor lamp and you know if it's free, it's for me :)

Still a mess

Already on to my next project....have to finish the TV console...I'm going for a 'Restoration Hardware' look.  Final pics to come soon.


Here's a sneak peak of the bedroom which is painted, but a total wreck.  I did want to show you this little gem {the red chair} I picked up on the side of the road today.  Yep, FREE. 

So, I have been super busy trying to finish a few of the zillion projects I've started round here. I got a little overwhelmed this week trying to get everything done yesterday, but I have no decided that I could continue to work on our house for a what's the rush?

Happy Labor Day Weekend!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's HOT in here!

It has been super hot this summer, so one of the first things we purchased for our new kitchen was a fan.  Of course we couldn't go with just anything! 
So we found this beauty!
I love old fans!  And the best part is so does my hubby, which means an old fan is always in the budget.  Isn't it funny how everything they like is always affordable?!?!?!?

It's in wonderful condition and it works!!  It cools down our kitchen in a heart beat!  Of course I have only witnessed this one time, because that's how many times I have actually used the kitchen.

Now we just have to make sure no one sticks their fingers in there...that bad boy is WIDE open!  We have always had a great love for old things that have been refurbished, recycled, upcycled, reclaimed whatever word you prefer, but our previous home just didn't work with that style so well.  Our new home on B Street is just the right place for anything reclaimed.  We are hoping to purchase mainly refurbished pieces for our new house.  So far we have done just that! 
Several more pieces to share soon!