February 28, 2013

decorating with houseplants

 
I love the life a plant brings to a room.  Especially big, green leafy plants like the fiddle leaf fig. 


I had a large fiddle leaf fig in our previous home, that lived with us for years. But when we moved it got damaged and so I've been without for almost 2 years.  I know the fiddle leaf fig decorating trend was all the rave last year, even making them hard to find and quite pricey at one point. Last week, I popped into Home Depot and picked up this little one for $7.  I know it's not as big and as tree-like as the one in the above picture, but for the price, I was okay starting out with a smaller one that I can grow.  I re-potted it and added this basket from Target.

 
This corner of my dining room gets lots of light and and is really bare, so this is where it landed.  I'm not sure why, but I usually do pretty well with houseplants.  It might be because the minute the sun comes up, I turn off every light and open all the shutters and shades to let the natural light flood in.  I thrive on sunlight!
 
How are you with houseplants?  Do you incorporate them in your home decor?

February 26, 2013

white chicken chili with blue corn tortilla chips

 
Last week I finally gave this a try...white chicken chili.  I have seen it in the stores and heard people rave about how easy and good it is.  So when our weather got a little cooler, I gave it a try.  I used the box mix, but also added to it.  I threw it all in my crockpot and I have to say it was really yummy.
 

So here's what I did...

Ingredients

white chicken chili kit
3 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can white beans
handful of diced onions and diced bell peppers
1 cup of water (use more or less to get the consistency you desire)
toppings:  sour cream, monterey jack cheese

Method

I put it all in the crockpot and cooked on low for ~ 8 hours, then shredded my chicken.  It will thicken after you shred the chicken and let it sit.  I put a small layer of blue tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl, then the chili, followed by a heaping of monterey jack cheese, and finished it off with a dollop of sour cream.

It was the perfect amount of spicy and yummy!

Have you tried this kit?  If so, what did you think?



Enjoy

February 25, 2013

watercolor Easter eggs

 

Good Morning!  I hope you had a nice weekend!  We worked a little more on our home office/study project and made some good progress this weekend.  Preston was supposed to play in his last regular season basketball game on Saturday, but he was still not ready to do that much intense running after being sick last week, so in between our office project, the kids and I had fun painting these watercolor Easter eggs.  I saw this idea floating around Pinterest and on Courtney's site with the Valentine's Day conversation hearts.  Since I missed the boat on that holiday, I thought we would changed it up from conversation hearts to Easter eggs.


All you need are watercolor paints, a white crayon, and cardstock.  Write or draw your design on your paper with the white crayon, paint over it, and watch it magically appear.

 
Here are the Easter ones we made displaying some of my favorite patterns...polka dots, stripes and chevron :)  We also had fun painting names, monograms, and drawing pictures on regular cardstock.  We did several that I wrote a word or drew a picture and then the kids painted over it.   They couldn't wait to paint over what I wrote and reveal the mystery!  It was a fun little craft that required minimal supplies and was fun for the everyone.  I was kinda like dying Easter Eggs, but a lot less messy.
 


February 22, 2013

friday favorite


this fun song...




my current favorite song
my kids love to yell out the “ho” & “hey”
happy weekend

February 21, 2013

simple goodness



Ingredients

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Method
  • Preheat over to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and baking powder.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. 
  • Roll into balls and roll in sugar.  Place onto ungreased cookie sheets
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated oven, or until golden.  Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool.  (I baked mine for about 7 minutes, then used the bottom of a small cup to gently press to flatten a bit and then finished baking)
recipe from allrecipes
images by becky @ this is happiness


Preston was still in recovery mode on Tuesday.  He is in first grade and he missed school on Tuesday for the first time since he started Kindergarten.  So we spent a lot of time resting and taking it easy.  Since he started feeling bad on Saturday, we have played Monopoly, Trouble, Spot It, and Mr. Mouth.  We did lots of reading and watched a movie.  And he was allowed extra time on the Wii and conquered many levels of Super Mario Galaxy 2. 

Later on Tuesday afternoon he seemed to be feeling better, so we also made cookies.  I had all the ingredients for these sugar cookies, so we whipped up a batch.  I love how simple these are.  They are just the right amount of goodness - not too sweet and not to plain.  Sometimes I think a sick little one is a gentle reminder to us to slow down and remember to enjoy our loved ones and the important things in life.  Just the right about of goodness ~ both my kiddos and these cookies.  Both are simple, sweet and a perfect treat that makes me happy :)



You can check out my FOOD CATEGORY for more simple, delicious recipes.



February 20, 2013

our patio


Unfortunately, this first picture with this gorgeous waterview is not our patio :)

When we moved almost two years ago, we got rid of our old 4-seater set and kept a small 2-seater table and chair set.  And this set works out fine when it's just our family, but when we have friends over we have to pull out other folding chairs to have enough seating.  Below you can read more of our current patio situation.

{you can go here to see the full post}

We started looking for a conversation patio set last summer, but WOW there are some expensive sets out there and because we couldn't find a set that we liked and that was in our budget, our patio got put on the back burner.  But with Spring soon approaching, I started the search again and we finally came across this collection on Amazon.  It has great reviews and it comes assembled.  I'm always a little skeptical about furniture that comes in several pieces that have to be put together.

So, because our patio is smaller (we hope to expand it one day) I finally pulled the trigger and purchased four of these chairs below from the collection.  Ideally, we wanted a loveseat and two chairs, but this collection only had a 3-seater sofa, which we felt was too large for our outdoor space.  Our plan is to put two of the chairs side-by-side creating sort of a loveseat.  And then the other two chairs on opposite sides of the "loveseat"  facing one another (if that makes sense?)


It's supposed to be delivered this week and I can't wait for it to arrive!  I'm picturing it with some potted plants and flowers creating a comfy outdoor space!  Once we get it all situated, I'll be back to share some pictures.

Here was my inspiration collection from Restoration Hardware that I really loved, but at $1100 per chair and $340 for a cushion it was not working with our budget.

 
 
 
 
So I'm really happy with my $200 Amazon chair and cushion. I think it's a pretty close match with a much nicer price tag!
 

One other set we also considered getting was this set below which is also reasonably priced.

{Threshold Belvedere Wicker Conversation Collection}


I am so ready for Spring!  And I'm even more excited to enjoy it on our back patio with this beautiful new patio furniture!  What about you...are you ready for Spring?


 


February 19, 2013

homemade chicken bacon alfredo pizza


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 (16 ounce) tube refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chicken, cubed (i used boneless, skinless chicken breast seasoned with salt, pepper and italian dressing, baked at 375 for 35 minutes, then cubed)
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions

Method

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter and mix in garlic powder and onion powder.  Whisk in flour and stir constantly for one minute.  Slowly whisk in cream and milk.  Bring mixture to a gentle bubble and allow to gently boil for 20 seconds, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, add Parmesan, season with salt and pepper then return to warm heat, stirring occasionally until ready to use.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out pizza dough into a 13-14 inch round crust.  Place dough on a greased (using nonstick cooking spray) pizza pan or baking dish.  Spread Alfredo sauce over dough coming within about 1 inch of the edge.  Sprinkle on Mozzarella and top with chicken, bacon and green onion.  Bake for 12-14 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Cut into slices and serve.
original recipe from six sisters stuff
images by becky @ this is happiness



This is a good one!  I made this homemade pizza over the weekend and loved, loved, loved it!!  The homemade Alfredo sauce is amazing and it is topped with some of my favorite ingredients.  It’s a nice changed from pizza with marinara sauce.   Give it a try...you won't be disappointed :) 


Have an amazing day!

February 18, 2013

spring-like weekend







 
Good Morning!  I hope your weekend was a good one!  Preston was a little under the weather, so we hung around and had a pretty low key weekend.  The weather however was absolutely perfect, so we tried to soak up as much of the outdoors as we could!  We took a walk around our neighborhood and snapped a few pictures with my phone.  I have to give Lyla credit for the adorable mama duck and ducklings picture, she took that perfect picture :)  There were signs of my favorite time of the year popping up everywhere as we walked ~ the grass is starting to turn green and all the trees and bushes are starting to bloom ~ love it! 

We also took the plunge and started a pretty big project that involves our study, furniture and paint.  It's a tedious project going a snail's pace, but once it's done it will be a huge transformation and I can't wait!

I'll be back tomorrow to share a new recipe I tried over the weekend that was so scrumptious!



Happy President's Day

February 14, 2013

happy valentine's day



We are big peanut butter and chocolate lovers in our home, so it's no surprise that our favorite cookie recipe is peanut butter blossoms.  To celebrate Valentine's Day, I thought I would make a batch of our favorite cookies using a Dove milk chocolate heart candy instead of a Hershey kiss.
 

We are also fortunate to have two families that we carpool with for both preschool and practices.  Lyla goes to school 3 days a week and her school is about a 20 -25 minute drive.  So only having to drive one day a week is wonderful.  Preston and two of his buddies play on the same basketball and baseball teams, so with his group I drive every third practice.  It is such a big help!  So I made an extra batch of these treats to share with them as well.
 
 
You can go here for the recipe.
 
Do you have a favorite cookie recipe?  Share it in the comments if you wish!  I love trying new recipes!
 
 

 
 

February 13, 2013

treat bags

 
I was kinda last minute with getting the kids' teacher goodies together this year.  Luckily, I had these red and white polka dot bags left over from another occasion so all I needed to do was dress them up a little.
 


 
 
To put these together, I traced small hearts on white cardstock, cut them out, and then used them as little name tags for the bags.  As for goodies this year, I went with a $5 Starbucks card and Dove heart shaped yumminess.
 

 A nice little something for the kiddos awesome teachers!

February 12, 2013

free valentine printables



 
 
1//2//3
 
If you're still looking for the perfect Valentine cards, you can spread the love with these sweet little Valentine cards.  Click the links below and print you some for free!!
 
Have a sweet day!
 


February 11, 2013

valentine goodies

 




1//2//3//4//5

Good morning!  I hope you had a great weekend!  Since Thursday is Valentine's Day, I thought it would be fun to start off the week with some pretty little Valentine goodies.  Seems like I can't get enough of monograms lately.  Love this heart charm necklace from Mark and Graham and how adorable is this burlap monogrammed tote!  I'd be happy to wear this stunning diamond 'XO' ring while I sip my coffee from this playful handmade heart mug.  And finally, this Made By Girl gold LOVE print would be perfect for several rooms in my home. 
 
Do you have your eye on any Valentine pretties?