Making a Tufted Bench

I scored this awesome bench for free!  A neighbor (Hi Heather!) gave me the heads up that a bunch of stuff was getting dumped and I could see the potential the minute I laid eyes on it.  I had originally thought of a non-storage bench with curvy legs, but I couldn't beat the price and actually really like the way it all came together.  

And wa-lah, the vision has come to life!  This was a fast project and I did it right in my bedroom (for the most part).  The fabric for the bench was a leftover Ikea Ritva curtain panel - the other one I used for my Tufted Headboard.  You really can't beat $25 for fabric that covers two significant projects!

Bean Salad with Lemon Dressing

This past week seemed unusually whirwindish.  It might have been because I decided to put in a new shelf in the laundry room, rip the entire contents of our office closet out and back in, going through the kitchen cupboards and weeding out the unwanted, reorganizing my cookbooks, and putting in a new microwave.

The garage is a disaster.  I kinda use it as a dumping grounds when I'm in house organizing mode.  I'll know I'm done with organizing for a while once I clean the garage.  For some people, that's left to the men, not around here.  Sure, Tyler will help out, but I think I use the garage more than he does (minus the pull up bar).

So I think it's safe to say I'm feeling spring cleaning, only about a month early.  Really though, I just want to minimize.


I've had quite a few visitors from pinterest to see my bedroom. We're closer now that I've shown you where I sleep, right? :) It makes me happy that you're here and I hope you are inspired to make your home just the way you want it. 

I'd love to have you visit me at my food blog Carrot Bowl, where I eat mostly veggies with a few indulgences (yes to Cherry Chocolate Chip Bars!), and showcase regular people who are inspiring (think 74-year-old woman who runs 4 miles everyday at the track). 

The day has officially arrived to reveal our master bedroom!  I'm really excited and love what we've been able to do.  It's definitely been a process, but I kinda love that part of decorating.  

I'm sure it will continue to change in small ways, but I feel like the bulk of things is done for now.  Just as a before and after, here's what our room looked like before we moved in.  Nice and blank.  Well, nice except for the wall color.  In case you're wondering, that is Camelback by Sherwin Williams.

39.3 Miles for Emma - will you help?

As you might recall, on Christmas day my brother Nathan and his wife Sharlynn had a sweet baby girl, Emma Rae.  She was born 5 weeks early.  That morning came with contractions and all Christmas gift opening was postponed as everyone gathered in the hospital bright and early.

Mango-Coconut Chia Pudding

I enjoy hosting things at my house.  I like being with friends and gleaning knowledge from other people.  I'm a true extrovert.  For me, even thinking that someone might be coming over helps me keep the dishes at bay and bathroom wiped down.  Well, that and my own peace of mind.

However, I recently had a conversation with a good friend about her stress of inviting people over.  She doesn't feel confident in her hosting or her house for hosting.  She sees all the projects that need to get done before she would feel content, unable to see the good in her place, her hosting skills, or the way she can carry a conversation making you feel #1.   

My advice came in parts.  What would yours be?

White Bean Hominy Chili

Today marks 5th day my little buddy has had a fever.  As a first grader, he's pretty cute to have around the house and easy since he just wants to hang on the couch and play the kindle.  We've gotten some good reading and drawing time in, too.  Seriously, winter sicknesses have knocked us out hard this year!

So I'm going to warm up with another soup.  I'm hungry right now and wish I had some leftovers to heat up.  

White Bean Hominy Chili

1 onion, diced
1 jalepeño, seeded, deveined, and diced
2 poblanos, diced OR 1 can green chilies
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp cumin
1/4 cup lime juice OR 2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
3 cups broth
1 (29 oz) can hominy, drained and rinsed
3 (15 oz) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

Add onion, jalepeño, and (if using) poblanos to chili pot and sauté.  Once onions are translucent, add garlic and sauté for another minute.  Add green chilies (if not using poblanos), cumin, lime juice, cilantro, broth, hominy, and beans.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Get out blender and pureé half the chili and then add back to the pot.  Heat and eat!

As a random side note, I recently found "100 Days of Real Food" and I love it!  She lists the definition of "healthy food" and I think it's spot on.

Southwestern Veggie Pasta Salad

So what do I feed my ravenous children?  I have been asked this several times, so here's some of our ideas.  I'd love to hear what healthy snacks you have for your little'uns.  

apples and peanut butter
carrots and hummus (sometimes I'll throw in the multi-grain chips from costco, the ones with flax seeds in them, hexagon shape)
fresh fruit of all kinds
fruit leather
dried fruit
cans of beans (I'll rinse them and they'll eat them with no additional ingredients or heating)
peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (preferably Adams natural peanut butter, homemade jelly, and homemade bread - but we work with what we can do)
occasional yogurt


Kids are always hungry, at least mine are.  

Sometimes I think it's boredom hunger and sometimes the real deal.  Either way, when we changed how we eat, my main reason for doing so was for my kids.  I want to have healthy food be the comfort food that they know and remember.  I don't know if there's a better gift I can give for their physical health than a love of healthy food and exercise.  

Sautéed Veggie Wrap + Weekly Menu

I think I enjoy lunches the best.  They are easy, I can pack them full of veggies, and try combos on myself before I try them on the rest of my family.  This is one of my favorites.

If hummus and fresh crunchy veggies taste good, then why not soft veggies?  Amazing.  I water saute whatever vegetables I have lying around and cook up a fresh tortilla (thanks to the uncooked tortilla packs we buy from costco - one of the things I don't worry about making on my own).  Spread your hummus in the tortilla and top with your veggies.  It's so good.  I wish I'd had that instead of homemade noodle soup.

It's a sick day today.  My 6-year-old is getting over a 104 degree fever.  Today is much better and he hasn't been knocked out like he was all weekend.  I'm just hoping it doesn't plow us all down.  Since he's just barely getting his appetite back, I whipped up some noodle soup and ate it with the kids.  It was perfectly warm for today.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad

Does anyone who owns pets have days that they really wish they didn't have pets?  Even though you might really love your pets?  Seriously, I would like to know.  

The dog, Angus the black lab, that we are babysitting (see more here) is still at our house.  He could be here for up to a month more.  So right now we're trying to decide what we really want; do the good things about having a dog outweigh the bad things?  If we want to, we can keep him.  Or he could go home or find a new home.

When you have kids, you know it will be hard, but they're your kids and you love them.  Don't mind the vomit in your hands, the poop on your clothes, the screaming, sleepless nights, dirty windows, back-talking, and messes everywhere.  On the flip side you have cuddles galore, lots of entertainment, someone(s) who want to hold your hand (obviously I have small children), phrases like "Mom, you're my friend forever," endless lego imagination, wonder at every small thing, a viewpoint from somewhere your unaccustomed to seeing from, and an opportunity to serve small human beings who happen to be your family.

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