Category Archives: Feathered Nest

Kid Swap

My friend, Hollie, had a brilliant idea…

Take turns swapping the kids and celebrate Valentine’s Day sans midgets!

GREAT idea.

Jay and I celebrated last night and the Sullivan kiddos will come spend a few hours with us tonight.

We went to Saturday evening Mass and then came home to prepare a Pioneer Woman Valentine’s dinner:

Filet with onion and blue cheese sauce
Twice Baked Potatoes
Bread Pudding with Bailey’s Irish Cream sauce

Talk about a meat and potatoes meal. Veggies were NOWHERE to be found on this table tonight.

Personally I don’t like to prepare steaks at home…I always screw them up. I think cooking steaks is a science and it makes me WAY nervous. But we were trying to save some dough and decided to stay in. I substituted PW’s ribeye recipe with some filets. I told the butcher to say a prayer for me that I wouldn’t massacre them. They turned out OK, but the onion blue cheese sauce was simply out of this world and oh SO easy to make.

I’m telling you, the sauce was divine!

I’ve also not been able to successfully graduate from the school of bread pudding…not too sure why…it’s NOT that difficult.

I attempted PW’s sourdough bread pudding and substituted some almond extract for a portion of the vanilla and added sliced almonds on the top rather than the pecans she calls for. I also used Bailey’s Irish Creme Coffee liquor in place of the Jack Daniel’s for the sauce. Both substitutions worked out nicely and the pudding had a very distinct, but not overpowering, almond flavor.

We were so stuffed from our hearty, stick-to-your-ribs dinner that we just sampled the dessert, but are looking forward to enjoying it again this evening.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Friday Five

1. Superbowl menu is set….making it easy:

Cranberry Meatballs (as seen here)
Sonoma Salad (find it here)
Artichoke Dip (check it out here)

Superbowl sipping will be vodka crans with a twist of lime.

There…..done! That was easy!

2. Elliott made all her playdate friends some paper chains – one for each child. She was busy, cutting, taping and creating this morning…this was all HER idea! Love that girl…

3. I’ve been bitten by a creativity bug….all these cute blogs that I’ve discovered…the only thing is is that I’m not a sewer or a scrapbooker or a gardener, but I am feeling inspired and am going to look around the house and see what I can CREATE or REARRANGE or ORGANIZE and give the place a little kick in the pants for Valentine’s Day! So glad it’s on a weekend so we can celebrate as a family and I can try some new recipes! Stay tuned…

4. I am feeling a little selfish lately and am looking forward to reserving a teeny bit of this year’s tax return for MYSELF. (Don’t worry Jay….I only need a few bucks (relatively speaking, of course!) There are some goodies that I have my eye on….nothing expensive, just a couple things on Etsy, The Pioneer Woman Cookbook and a couple apothecary jars….that’s about it.

5. Countdown to Holden’s 3rd birthday party…I am having fun planning the menu, getting the favor bags all figured out, picturing the decorations all hung and working out the FUN cake that I have planned…

I am also excited to see how low I can keep the budget on this party ~ so far, so good:

*Invites were under 10 cents a piece
*FREE bounce house thanks to MEG!
*Decorations from Dollar Tree and 90% off Christmas stuff @ Target
*Making my own cake

Should be a “blast”!

Happy Friday!

Priceless Art

Elliott comes home from school with lots of artwork. LOTS. I can’t save it all. I won’t save it ALL. Remember, I am simplifying.

I decided to intersperse some of her cute little marble paintings and tissue paper art in with my new picture gallery project:

I thought it added a little je ne sais quois. A little pizzaz. I’ve never been afraid of color.


(I know, I still need to find two more pics…)

I also had these two red frames that I got from Pottery Barn Kids for cheap before Elliott was born. They were home to 2 of her sonogram pictures over her changing table. I love these frames and wanted to do something special with them. Last Summer the kids painted some water colors in the backyard and I decided these were the perfect pieces for my red frames!

Holden’s masterpiece on the left and Elliott’s on the right.

I am loving having their art displayed throughout the house. I can’t wait for Holden to start preschool this Fall so I can have some great new pieces of priceless art for FREE.

It’s so easy to change them out from time to time.

Next crafty project: having the kiddos paint a couple pieces for our room.

Stay tuned!

Hammer Time!

I’ve been wanting to do some sort of photo gallery in our stairwell. Something to “cover up” the white walls…..they’re killin’ me! I don’t like white walls, but since we’re renting, there really isn’t much I can do….I guess I could get the OK to paint from the property management peeps, but since I also don’t love to paint, I will just live with the white walls while we’re here and try to spice them up a little. I haven’t wanted to hang too much, but since I don’t know how long we’ll be here, I wanted to make the place as homey as possible.

So, I was at my second home last week (hint: red bulls eye) and came across a set of 10 black frames in differing sizes for $6.24! (marked down from $24.99!!) They even included some layout suggestions on the box. The frames are lightweight which is great so I was able to use tiny nails and didn’t have to drive big nails into the wall. Yesterday I grabbed a hammer, some nails and a measuring tape and went to town.

But the frames themselves were a little TOO simple ~ I needed something else to liven them up a bit…

At Michael’s I found some black letters with little hooks on the back for $1.00 each. I had a coupon for 20% off so they came to 80 cents each! So, for an add’l $3.20, I was able to complete my gallery and be pretty pleased. For a total of $9.44 (not including tax or the cost of the photos) I created this:

I’m pretty impressed.

Now, I am SUPER DUPER anal about picture hanging. Must. Use. Level. It was hard for me to kind of “eyeball” this project. What I did was get a large piece of paper from Elliott’s easel, layout the frames in the order I wanted them, traced the frames, hung the paper on the wall with tape, hammered the nails into the wall through the paper and then removed the paper before hanging the pics. This worked pretty well.

I am constantly going to be on the lookout for crooked frames here since that is another one of my pet peeves! But all in all, I think it turned out OK for a temporary fix! Now I just need to find four more of my favorite pics to complete the gallery…shouldn’t be too hard.

First “crafty” project of the year….cheap & successful. Can’t beat that!

Simply 2010

As the years fly by, I am noticing that I am happier when things are simple.

Simplicity means different things to different people, but to me it means happiness.

When we took the tree down this year and packed up all the Christmas decor, the house looked naked. But then after a day or two I thought, “I kinda like this”. Easy to straighten up. Easy to dust. Easy to vacuum. Just easier. Easy is good these days!

I am liking the “less is more” look lately. I guess you could say that I am trying to go for a warm, but minimalistic look at home now. This is a challenge with 2 kids, but I am going to strive for this in two thousand ten.

I used to think that a good party had to have 37 different appetizers on the table. 5 different things to drink. 2 different forms of cake. And ice cream. With hot fudge. And sprinkles. And whipped cream. I am learning that it is OK to have one or two REALLY GOOD appetizers or dishes and one good signature drink. And one form of sugar is PLENTY.

I used to think that a fully stocked pantry, fridge and freezer was the way to go, but now I LOVE my bare bones cupboards and Kenmore. I like knowing exactly what I have in the kitchen at all times and shopping each week for fresh produce and other staples. I feel like I don’t waste as much food that way, too.

Simplifying the laundry has helped my stress level, too. I just stay on top of it and do a load each day instead of letting it pile up. I am trying to immediately fold and put it away soon after the dryer buzzes!

I have also been trying not to overbook…I’d rather schedule and complete activities rather than over schedule and have to cancel or skip certain things.

All these little things at home will help get more accomplished elsewhere this coming year.

I’ve learned that I can enjoy myself more and have more fun with the kids when things are organized at home. I am more relaxed and at ease. So, I guess you could also say that simplicity + organization = HAPPINESS in my world.

Simplifying NOW will also make it easier down the road when I go back to work.

So, with that said, I am on a mission to simplify, simplify, simplify!