The other day I served my kids their snack using this muffin pan. They loved the novelty of it and I think it is a great way to encourage them to eat a variety of healthy options! By the way, I discovered a cheese that my kids just adore--it's an Irish cheddar called Dubliner. I bought a huge block of it at Costco and divided it with my neighbor. We devoured it in a week no problem. It's a sharp cheese with little calcified bits in it and tastes great with apple slices!
In the past I have not been a big coupon cutter, but during the past two years I have realized how crazy it is not to be. It's just money in your pocket. One problem for me with coupons was figuring out how to organize them and keep them. Once while in the grocery store aisle, I ran into a real coupon queen who gave me this idea--to store them in a binder using baseball card collector pages. This works well for me because I can organize them by category and the plastic pages make it easy to see what's there. Now, if I can just remember to take the folder with me! One thing I've found is that before I go to the grocery store I will sit down and make a list and pick out the coupons that I will be able to use. An easy quick way to to this is to make a list on a legal sized envelope and then put the coupons in it. This has worked for me, but everyone needs to come up with a method that works. And, by the way, Harris Teeter is having triple coupons this week!! Happy shopping.
I don't know why I had never thought about cutting pansies and putting them in a vase. I guess I always thought that these flowers would do better in their container. Last week I cut a few--they are really blooming like crazy now and they lasted in their little bud vase for over a week. This is such an easy cheap way to have fresh cut flowers around the house.
I found this image via Apartment Therapy and they found it in Real Simple. What a great uses of things you have around the house! I love open and accessible storage. I am going to work on something like this over the weekend. The pretty glass that I used to keep my make-up brushes in broke.
While browsing at a local antiques market yesterday I found these great treasures. I am a big fan of vintage paintings and think they can be mixed with more modern pieces or arranged in a collection like in the photo above which shows Drew Barrymore's office. You can find some really interesting work at great prices. I recommend that if you find something that draws you in, just get it and decide what you want to do with it later. You would hate for it to be gone next time you go looking. I've had my eye on the small painting of the Native American on horseback. It is only $39, so I don't know why I haven't gotten it! I think it draws me in because of the blue in the sky and the emotion of the characters. I think it would look good in my oldest son's room. Of course I love nautical paintings and my eye has been drawn to the painting of the mountain scene. The last one of the boy in the yellow raincoat with the ducks would be a great inspiration piece for a child's room!
One of the many highlights of living in the Lowcountry is our easy access to great seafood. I am so happy that my kids love to eat it, and they don't really have a choice anyway. They really like their shrimp just plain boiled or fried (I don't attempt this at home--too many places around here do it much better), but sometimes I love to make shrimp creole. The following is my favorite recipe and it comes from the Perennials cookbook (from the Gainesville, GA Junior League). I forgot to mention that half the fun of our shrimp meals is going to get the shrimp down at the docks. One of my son's former preschool teachers is of the Magwood shrimping dynasty, so we like to support her.
Baba's Shrimp Creole: (serves 8)
1.5 cups chopped celery
1 large green pepper, chopped
4 T bacon drippings
1 bay leaf
2 (16 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
3 T tomato paste
1 T sugar
salt and peppa' to taste
1/8 t curry powder
Creole seasoned salt (optional)
2 1/2-3 lbs shrimp, boiled and peeled
Slowly cook celery, onion, and pepper in bacon drippings (use olive oil if you don't have this) til light brown (about 15 min). Add bay leaf, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and mix well. Add other seasonings and simmer for about 30 min. Add shrimp and heat through--but do not overcook. Serve over rice.
Yesterday I was at a friend's house and saw that she had just painted one of the outside faces of her cabinets with chalkboard paint. I love it and think it's a great idea. In a house with three kids, why not have extra space to write notes and an outlet for their creativity? She said she worried that if she ever sold the house someone might not like it. I said, big deal. It's your house now. Enjoy it, make it useful to you, and take a daring step now and then.
I found this picture on the Martha Stewart website and think it is a great idea for organizing some cooking staples in the kitchen. Using a cake stand makes it possible to store things like spice jars underneath it.
A friend of mine from college, Jane Mount, is an entrepreneur and artist now living in NYC. Her penchant for creativity has led her in many directions. Once, when watching Oprah, I was surprised (and not) to see her NYC apartment featured for its one of a kind use of a small space. If you check out her websitejanemount.com, you will be struck with admiration for the depth and variety of her work. Yesterday she posted something on Facebook about wanting friends to send her a list of their favorite books. She does these amazing illustrations of their spines of these books arranged together on a shelf. I was thinking that this would be such a great piece of art to preserve memories for your child or for you. In her own words, "When I am struck by some new topic, usually the first thing I do is buy several books about it. My shelves are filled with these starts, and that’s part of the reason I love cataloging them in paintings, mine and others. We all show off our books on shelves like merit badges, because we’re proud of the ideas we’ve ingested to make us who we are. We are proud to display what has inspired us, as we should be, and we hope to connect to other people by doing so. When I paint someone else’s bookshelf and they have some of the same books I do, I feel amazingly joyful about it, and about them." Jane takes commissions for paintings and illustrations and also sells prints on Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/janemount
I have always loved Anna Spiro's of Absolutely Beautiful Things blog Friday Flowers posts (the two photos above are from her blog). She makes the most amazing tablescapes. So this weekend I decided to bring a little of the outside in. These camelias I got from a friend's yard (with her permission). So, no money spent to make a beautiful arrangement. Spring is in the air! Did they say 70 degrees on Sunday?!!
I love the idea of front facing bookcases in a child's room because they add great color and also make it easier for a little one to select a book. These two I found on the oohdeedoh website and were done at low cost with either picture ledges (above) or lumber and red paint from Home Depot (below). I think it is a great way to take up wall space and these kind of shelves have a more uncluttered look than traditional ones.
I am now a stay at home mom but in my former life I was a French teacher--I have my B.A., M.A., and A.B.D. (next step to Ph.D. in French literature). I love teaching and miss it but in the meantime I am enjoying operating a part-time home organizing and design business. Contact me for more info if you are interested!