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Thursday, June 26, 2014

This Week In My Kitchen ~ 6.26.14 {Beach House Kitchen}

:: Capturing my love of food, combined with the activity of a bustling kitchen.
A weekly collection of photos from the heart of our home. ::

Joining Heather for:
[click photo to join blog hop or see rules at bottom of page]


Banana bread at home.

 The refrigerator before vacation.  We really clean out!

The rest of these pictures are from the beach house we rented for our vacation.  I thought it would be fun to snap pictures in a different kitchen, so this is the one post that I didn't have ready ahead of time for you.  I've been working on it since we got here - all ELEVEN of us.  I love a change of scenery, and enjoy all of the things that are different from our home: space, light, colors, and texture.

We love "eating in" on vacation.  While everyone makes their own breakfast and lunch, dinners are eaten together around the table -- and this house has a table that's big enough for all of us!  We make family favorites for dinner, and we treat ourselves to dessert each night.  {Scandalous, no?}  Typically Mom, Jill and I take turns making dinner, but usually whoever's not cooking still steps in to help.  The guys and kids are great about helping, too.

Afterall, many hands make light work!

Room for 11 around this table. {Loving these red chairs!!}

Paper goods make clean-up easier!

With a house of 11, we write our names on our cups!


 By morning light...

My daughter preparing Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert
 -- a vacation tradition.


The table set for dinner.

My dad doing dishes.

My niece preparing meat for Taco Salads.


It's simple to join in:
On your blog, post photos taken in your kitchen throughout the week.
Words aren't necessary, your photos will tell the the story. Some of us enjoy adding a few thoughts to accompany the images... the choice is yours.
Feel free to grab the brief description at the top of this post, or add a few words of your own to explain the project.)
Link back to this post so your readers can visit This Week In My Kitchen and join in.
Come back here and link up your current post (not your main blog) so we can all visit your kitchen!
Join me every Thursday or the occasional Thursday if that works better for you.
Please be sure to only link up if you are participating in this series. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sprucing Up a Casserole

Here's a little tip that will spruce up any casserole: toasted breadcrumb topping.  It's about the easiest thing you can do to jazz up a casserole, and give it a little flavor boost.

Melt about a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan, and pour in a good amount of breadcrumbs [I used Italian style].  I usually work on a medium-heat setting, stirring the breadcrumbs around to let them absorb the butter.  Then, I try to let them sit for a few minutes, and you'll notice them getting browner.  Stir a few times until the color is appealing.


This particular night, we had had a busy day -- and we were short on groceries.  As it turned out, though, there were several boxes of macaroni & cheese.  I used two, preparing them per the package directions.  When the mac & cheese was prepared, I poured it in a casserole dish, covered with the browned breadcrumbs, and baked at 350F for about 30 minutes.


There were a few upturned noses when the kids realized I had taken a perfectly perfect food (their opinion) and tried to make it better.  But, much to their surprise, they LIKED their "old favorite" with the new breadcrumb topping.

Score another point for Mom.

Follow Sally's board RECIPES~CASSEROLES/QUICHE on Pinterest.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Things to Recycle (Paper)

I imagine that in this day and age, most of you recycle on some level.  I have for a long time.  I wrote a little about it HERE.  I'm sure that there are people who take it far more seriously than I do...  but maybe some of you are like me...  Honestly, sometimes I throw something away and think... hmmmm, wonder why I've never thought to recycle THAT?


So, here's my random list of things that I've learned to recycle.
  • prescription bags and info sheets
  • labels from canned food -- I remove them before opening the can, so they don't get messy
  • paper towel and toilet paper tubes -- I slice them open to flatten
  • paper (not foam) egg cartons
  • tissue boxes
  • toothpaste boxes
  • phone books -- we got one in our mailbox the other day, and it went straight to the recycle pile.  I can't remember the last time I used a phone book!
How about you?  What "random" things have you learned to recycle?


Monday, June 23, 2014

Take a Look... It's ON a Book!

Does this ever happen to you?


You're sitting in a room in your house... let's say the living room or family room.  Something catches your eye.  It's not...quite...right.  Something about the balance is off and you can't...quite...put your finger on it.


Well, it happened to me.  I stared at these silhouettes of our kids and finally realized what it was.  The silhouette of our daughter is a little bigger, and more centered on the page in comparison to my son's silhouette. And, because you already KNOW that I'm crazy... I don't mind telling you that it made me a little more nuts.  I wanted to display the silhouettes together as a set, and yet... when they were right next to one another, I didn't like how it looked.


There had to be a solution, right?


The paper that the silhouettes were on had long-since been cut, so, short of destroying the beautiful work -- that was a done deal.  But then, I got the bright idea... What if I could do something to raise the smaller, lower-positioned silhouette up?  And so, because we have eighty-kazillion books around here, I found some that were about the same size and looked interesting together, and TaaDaa!


I still can't stop looking at this arrangement -- but now, it's because I love it so much.


Have you ever solved a design dilemma (big or small) with books?


Follow Sally's board HOME DECOR on Pinterest.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

This Week In My Kitchen ~ 6.19.14

:: Capturing my love of food, combined with the activity of a bustling kitchen.
A weekly collection of photos from the heart of our home. ::

Joining Heather for:
[click photo to join blog hop or see rules at bottom of page]



Before we get started, let me just say this:  THANK YOU to those of you who left comments in the last week or so.  I read every one - as I always do.  Life has just been so busy lately, and though I have responded to a few comments, I just won't have the time to keep up with them the rest of this week or next. My daughter and I have been working at VBS at our church this week, and we are soon off on a little trip -- which I'll fill you in on later on. My posts have been planned out ahead of time so that I have a little window of time with my family -- and I know you all can appreciate that.  Thank you for your understanding.

And now... back to our originally scheduled blog hop...

A view FROM the kitchen window: my sweet girl grilling burgers for me!

Lining up glasses to take out to the patio at dinnertime.

Sweet potatoes.


Shredding cooked chicken from the crock pot.

Mint Chocolate Chip cookies for Father's Day.

 Veggies for roasting in foil on the grill.

Chopping celery for Skillet Beef Chop Suey.

And lest you think that only cooking and eating go on in our kitchen...  nope.  Painting too!  This is my daughter's most recent creation, as it dries.

It's simple to join in:
  • On your blog, post photos taken in your kitchen throughout the week.
  • Words aren't necessary, your photos will tell the the story. Some of us enjoy adding a few thoughts to accompany the images... the choice is yours. 
  • Feel free to grab the brief description at the top of this post, or add a few words of your own to explain the project.)
  • Link back to this post so your readers can visit This Week In My Kitchen and join in. 
  • Come back here and link up your current post (not your main blog) so we can all visit your kitchen!
  • Join me every Thursday or the occasional Thursday if that works better for you.
  • Please be sure to only link up if you are participating in this series. Thank you!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Allow Yourself

The day AFTER the sump pump mishap, everyone went off to their work and school assignments, and it was just me.  And it was my birthday.  I was working hard to get things organized in the basement, while doing laundry, and sorting things in the garage as well.


It was a gorgeous day, and I decided to allow myself a birthday treat -- right there in the middle of the madness.  I grabbed a favorite new book that I've been getting lost in, and set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes.

I sat on the patio, and DID NOT MOVE for 30 minutes.  No watering flowers, no picking up this or that in the yard.  Just sitting and soaking in the sun with a good read.  Thirty minutes of bliss.

Then it was back to work.

Allow yourself!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Living With Less ~ Post Script with a Thankful Heart

If you recently read "Living With Less ~ A Work In Progress," you know that I am on a mission to have a garage sale and PURGE.  I'm ready to be done with that feeling of my house OWNING ME.


Recently, on a very rainy Sunday morning, our basement started filling with water due to a mishap with our sump pump.  Though we didn't have any major loss [just a few things from the garage sale pile, and the edges of some large carpet remnants] and were able to get a handle on it quickly, we DID have a lot of stuff to move out of the way in a very short amount of time.

Nothing like lighting a fire under me!  All of the garage sale stuff is now in the garage -- TaaDaa.  I thought that was going to be such a chore, but it's done.  I never imagined it would get done under borderline emergency circumstances though!


Regardless, we are one step closer!

downside: our painted basement floor is a wreck
upside: we can SEE our basement floor

downside: some things got wet, so we had to do a lot of sorting as we removed things from the basement.
upside: the PILES were no-brainers... AMVETS or GOODWILL, garage sale, or trash.


Silver lining?  If this had to happen, we are SO GRATEFUL that it happened while we were at home, so that the clean-up could be taken care of in a timely manner.  If it had happened while were were on vacation, it could've sat for a week, with a lot more damage, and a much BIGGER STENCH -- as long-standing moisture and summer heat would not have been a good combo.

Thankful doesn't even begin to cover it.



Monday, June 16, 2014

Living With Less ~ A Work in Progress

There's much to be said for living with less.  And yet, the mentality these days is that we CANNOT DO WITHOUT.  Society, (along with a lot of questionable marketing) has led us to believe that we HAVE TO HAVE IT ALL.

There is a huge incongruency between what we don't have (because we cannot afford it), and what we have (but cannot truly afford).  The price that our society is willing to pay for things that we think we must have is, at times, sickening.

Lest you think that I am just here to pass judgement...  [As our pastor used to say, "If I am pointing at you, there are three fingers pointing back at ME!"]  ... our basement is filled with things that, honestly, we no longer want or need.  It's a racket, I tell ya.  Want.  Want.  Want.  Buy.  Buy.  Buy.  And in the end, be buried under it all.  Can you tell I feel like my house is OWNING ME lately?


Now, let's not pretend that I won't ever buy another pretty thing -- or even that things will never start to accumulate in my basement again.  I mean, I do understand the concept of things accumulating over time -- regardless of good intentions.

But, I'm going to confess something here:  I have long accumulated things -- all in the name of that FUTURE YARD SALE that will make me lots of money.  What was that sound?  YOU?  Laughing out loud?  I know, I know.  Call me crazy.  Other than out-grown, out-styled clothes that are a pain (IMHO) to keep around or sell at a yard sale, I tend to hold onto things thinking "someday when I have a yard sale, I maybe could get some money for this!"  And you know, my intentions really ARE good... thinking I'll pay off a bill, or do something nice for the family, or make a purchase that we've been putting off.

But... enough is enough.  My yard sale days are drawing closer -- for real this time.  I've just been waiting for Vacation Bible School, and then Vacation...  Soon, there will be nothing standing in my way.

Can't. Hold. On. Much. Longer.

In the meantime, AMVETS called, and will have a truck in my area soon... so I am loading up a few bags of things I don't want to be bothered with at the garage sale.  They used to call me, and I'd say - "I don't have anything this time, but feel free to keep me on your list and call again!"  Now, I just tell them, "See you soon!" -- and I know I will find something to put out on the front porch for them to pick up.  The beauty in this plan is that the only toting around I do is to the front porch.  AMVETS takes care of loading it on the truck, and getting it to their facility.

We also have a few GOODWILL drop-off locations locally.  When I'm "antsy" enough to want something out of the way, I have been known to load it in the van and deliver it to the drop-off!

It's very freeing to get rid of stuff that has just been sitting in your way-- especially if it can ultimately go to someone who needs, or could use it!


Those are just a few suggestions for you, in case you are in the same boat as I am!  *wink*  Do you have a garage sale planned for this summer?  It's a lot of work, isn't it?  Pricing is my least favorite part.  I want to price things to SELL (remember: purging is the goal), but I don't want to devalue my stuff either.  It's a fine line, people!

What's your best garage/yard sale TIP?  (Not buying!!!  Selling!!)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

This Week In My Kitchen ~ 6.12.14

:: Capturing my love of food, combined with the activity of a bustling kitchen.
A weekly collection of photos from the heart of our home. ::

Joining Heather for:
[click photo to join blog hop or see rules at bottom of page]


Putting flowers from my hubby in a vase.

Colorful ingredients...

My daughter made sweet treats to put in goodie bags
for her graduating friends.

Strawberries and Red Globe Grapes from the Farmers Market.


Freezing the strawberries...

Toasting breadcrumbs...

Birthday cupcakes ~ "Orangesicle!"

It's simple to join in:
  • On your blog, post photos taken in your kitchen throughout the week.
  • Words aren't necessary, your photos will tell the the story. Some of us enjoy adding a few thoughts to accompany the images... the choice is yours. 
  • Feel free to grab the brief description at the top of this post, or add a few words of your own to explain the project.)
  • Link back to this post so your readers can visit This Week In My Kitchen and join in. 
  • Come back here and link up your current post (not your main blog) so we can all visit your kitchen!
  • Join me every Thursday or the occasional Thursday if that works better for you.
  • Please be sure to only link up if you are participating in this series. Thank you!


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