Fun Friday: Future Home

Right now the husband and I are renting.  We are not sure that we are going to stay in this town, and it has a terrible housing market.  In fact, the house we’re renting is owned by a woman who simply couldn’t sell it and now rents it to medical professionals that come to work at the clinic.

But, we used to own a house, and owning a house taught me a lot about what I do and do not want when we eventually find a place where we’d like to stay more permanently. Until then, though, we keep our belongings few (so they’re easier to move), and we own few pieces of furniture.  So, I occasionally scour Pinterest for items or features I’d like to include when we finally do own a home.  For example, I’m loving this:

Love the pull out!

I love the idea of under bead storage and the pull out nightstand.  (The styling here is very rustic home as well, which I like.)

What about you?  What do you want in your future home?  I love seeing people’s varied styles and home interests!

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DIY Rug

My house has no carpet, which is a good thing because I would never get the fine, red dust out of it.  Instead we have tile and linoleum.  In the winter, that means things can get a little bit cold on your feet. Luckily, I came across a DIY to make a rug.  It’s super simple, and you can one-stop-shop this at Home Depot.  You will need:

  • One canvas drop cloth (6×9)
  • 1.5 inch painter’s tape
  • 4-7 paint testers
  • Brushes

Unfortunately I can’t seem to locate the original tutorial, but I found it on this site (which is fabulous and you should follow!).

DIY Rug

Process

  1. Wash your drop cloth.  This will help take care of all the little strings on it as well as make sure you have a clean surface to work on.  I hang dry all my clothes, so I did not put this in the dryer.  I’m not really sure if that would make any sort of difference.
  2. Tape around the edges of your canvas.  Just line up the tape with the edge and go around all 4 sides.
  3. Now it’s time to tape off the grid. Because the drop cloth is a nominal 6×9 (just like a 2×4), it’s not actually 6×9, so keep in mind that it’s okay to be a little bit rough with your measurements.  Your squares should be about 18 inches x 20 inches.  When you tape the grid lines, be sure to keep the lines straight.  Also, you want 3 inches between each square, so you want to double your tape.  (Also, your tape is most likely not 1.5 inches, but rather something like 1.41.  So, again, it’s okay to be a little rough with your measurements.)
  4. Once everything is taped, determine your paint order.  I used 4 colors, but the original tutorial used 7.  Make sure to place the colors next to each other and make sure you like how they look.  Even with just 4 colors, I didn’t like every possible order.
  5. Lay down a tarp to paint on top of, or paint somewhere that you don’t mind if the paint bleeds through (and it will).  Paint each of the squares.
  6. Once everything is dry, remove the tape.  You can also choose to spray an outdoor coating over the rug so it can be used on a patio instead of inside.  I did not do this step.
  7. Smile to yourself whenever someone compliments your new rug and wonders how you found one with colors that match your décor so well.

Tips and Tricks

  • It’s okay to pull up your grid and re-lay the tape if you decide you need to change your measurements a little.  I pulled up my tape multiple times because I wanted it to look just a little bit better.
  • I used a ruler similar to this one (I can’t find my actual one) when laying out the tape.  It really helped that it was see-through because nothing about this project is perfectly square, and being able to create my own version of square based off my tape lines was very useful.
  • I used 4 colors to keep my cost down.  The little sample paints run about $3.50 each, and I was trying to keep this project around $30.  Paint was my biggest expense.  I was able to complete the entire project with just those 4 testers, but the last square of each color made me a little nervous.  If I had laid it on thicker earlier, I would not have made it.
  • I used foam brushes when painting, and this was not my best idea.  The rough canvas really tore up the brushes and I ended up tossing all of them at the end.  Use a regular brush and save yourself some headache.
  • Don’t get paint that is too similar in color.  I originally did not have that purple color.  Well, I thought I had picked a purple color, but, in reality, it was so similar to my blue that it might as well have been the same. (They looked different in the paint chips!)  I ended up buying some regular acrylic paint to put on top of the tester paint to make the more purple color.  I don’t know if this project is possible in all craft paint, but it will take you several 2oz bottles of a color if you’re going to try.  (Looking back, I should have added the purple craft paint to my tester instead of layering them.  That probably would have worked.)
  • My rug is not weatherproofed and I can throw it in the washing machine without a problem.  I have washed it several times now (the dogs keep tracking in mud on it), and it has held up to my (so far 3) washings.  I would assume the same is true if you decide to weather proof your rug, but I don’t know.  (Again, I don’t use a dryer, so my rug has been in a washing machine and then hung dry.)

Review

This project ended up costing $30 plus tax.  I spent $14 on paint, $10 on the drop cloth, and $5 on the tape.  I already had a tarp and brushes.  Overall, I don’t think that’s too much for a rug.  I did find online a 2 pack of the drop cloths for $10, so that would help bring your overall cost down.  You and a friend could spend an afternoon making your own rugs and chatting.  Also, one roll of tape is probably enough for two rugs.  (Though it might be a little short?  I don’t know.  I am still using the roll I bought in small pieces for other projects, and it feels like enough was left for another rug.)  Since I was using wall paint, you could probably use left over paint from your own house and save some more.  I used matte testers, but I’m sure you could use another finish with fine results.

I liked this project.  But I also like to paint.  Since we are renting, this was a great way for me to add my own pops of color without doing anything permanent.  Also, if the rug gets ruined, I won’t feel bad about it because I didn’t spend a lot of money on it and I had fun making it.  When it comes time to move, I can use it to wrap up some of our picture frames, and use it or not in the new place.  It would also make a cool wall hanging if that was more my style.  So many options for such a simple project!

White Cheese Dip

A few weeks ago, the husband was gone for the weekend, so I decided to make food that I wanted, but knew he would normally not want to eat.  High on my list was a white cheese dip. I love when restaurants have chips, salsa, and cheese dip.  I always eat a ton of than before my meal and I never have regrets.  So, when I found this slow cooker recipe, I thought it was perfect for my husband free food weekend!  You will need:

  • White American cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Green chilies

Check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Yum board.

CheeseDip

Review

Well, things started off poorly when I found out that my grocery store doesn’t carry white American cheese.  I did my best to substitute, and found some Velveeta white queso cheese that I thought would work.  So, I have to say that my final result could very well be “off” because of this major substitution.

And “off” is the right word.  This dip was so close to tasting perfect, but it just didn’t. Something was off.  I would assume it was the lack of proper cheese.  If my store every decides to start carrying the appropriate cheese, I will definitely make this again, because it was so close to right.  I owe it to this recipe to try again.

If it does turn out, this would be great for a party.  You toss it all in the slow cooker and let it melt.  It takes very little time to prep, so it can cook while you focus on more difficult party recipes.  My parents have a three small crock pot cooker that they bust out for parties, and I can envision each being full of a delicious hot dip.  If the proper cheese makes the difference I think it will, this should totally end up in one of those pots at our next party.

Cinnamon Sugar Prezel Bites

I’ve had this pin sitting on my board for quite a while now, but I simply hadn’t made it.  So the other day when I was craving something sweet, I looked at what recipes I hadn’t tried and which recipes I had the ingredients for.  It was finally time for these pretzel bites to shine!  You will need:

  • Flour
  • Yeast
  • Baking Soda
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter

Check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Just Desserts board.

C S Pretzel Bites

Review

My bites did not turn out as pretty as the picture did, but that’s okay.  I’ve made these twice now, so obviously I was a fan of the recipe.  My husband really liked them, thus the second batch later that same week.  However, while the results were tasty, I had a few problems with the recipe.

One problem was that both times I felt like there was too much of a baking soda taste on some of the bites.  I am fairly certain this has something to do with how long the bite was in the boiling water, but it was still a shock whenever I popped one in my mouth and it felt like I was licking a baking soda covered spoon.  I guess this is more my fault than the recipe’s, but I did have less baking soda bite when I reduced the amount in the water with my second batch.

I also had difficulty rolling the dough into ropes to cut apart.  The dough just wasn’t very elastic for me.  I do think I might have been trying to make my ropes thinner than necessary, but even at the start my dough was uninterested in acting like a play-doh snake.

These drawbacks aside, this is still a great recipe.  It is time consuming, and not what I would label “easy,” but still worthwhile.  Obviously I’ve already made them twice, and I do anticipate making them again.  This is probably a once a quarter sort of recipe for me.

Balsamic Dijon Salmon

Adding fish to my diet has been easy in that I have a million salmon recipes I want to try, and hard in that I have some difficulty finding decent fish here.  However, I think I’ve found some frozen fish that is decent quality, and one package usually has about three meals worth of fish in it.  Today’s recipe is all about a flavor glaze.  You will need:

  • Salmon
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Dijon Mustard
  • White wine
  • Garlic

As always, check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Yum board.

balsalmic salmon

Review

So, my glaze did not turn out looking ANYTHING like the picture, so I was positive I had done something wrong.  And, maybe I did.  However, the flavor seemed right, so, while we might eat with our eyes first, my mouth wasn’t complaining.  This recipe was fairly straight forward.  You make the glaze, you coat the salmon, you pop it in the oven.  The husband loved this recipe, while I thought it was just okay.  However I am totally willing to give it another try (of for no other reason than to see if I can get my glaze to look like the picture!).

Pumpkin Cookies

When I opened up my blog today, ready for a new week and a new post, I realized I forgot to post on Friday!  I was so excited about my birthday (which was Saturday), that I forgot to do several of my normal Friday activities!  Sorry everyone!

The weather here continues to be perfect fall weather.  On Saturday we did some geocaching.  (Have you ever done that?  It’s so much fun!). The weather was just right for a sweater but no jacket.  So, I thought that a perfect fall recipe was in order today!  For these pumpkin cookies you will need:

  • Pumpkin puree
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Sugar

Get the full recipe on my pin on my Just Desserts board.  This recipe is from Thirty-One, the home-party bag and organizer company.  Clicking on the pin takes you to their website (but sadly not the recipe).

pumpkin cookies

Review

These cookies were super fluffy.  I was shocked at how soft they were.  I added a touch too much baking soda, and you could really tell, so don’t make that mistake!  I wish I had been able to make the frosting, but I didn’t have the ingredients on hand.  The cookies are fine without the icing, but I can tell that the frosting would really add to the overall flavor.

Cooking these cookies was a snap.  Everything came together easily and quickly.  My only problem was storing the cookies.  Even though I only made a half batch, there were still a lot of cookies.   My cookies stuck together in my normal cookie box.  I think some wax paper in between layers would have really helped.  That said, the cookies didn’t last long, and I wasn’t disappointed when I pulled out two cookies instead of one.  There cookies are a perfect fall recipe, and they go great with some hot tea or cider.  (My favorite?  Eating them with a hot chai tea latte!)

Tomato Soup

I don’t know about where you live, but the weather here in northern Arizona has finally gotten fall-like.  The mornings are crisp, and the high today is 65.  Fall is always my favorite time of year for warm beverages and soups!  I’m a huge fan of tomato soup, but my husband is not.  So, while he was away this weekend, I made some for myself!  You will need:

  • Canned (or fresh) tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Broth
  • Milk
  • Flour

Check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Yum board.

Tomato Soup

Review

I followed the stovetop instructions because I was excited to eat my soup right away, but next time I make this I plan to think ahead and follow the slow cooker recipe.  And there totally will be a next time because this soup was delicious.  I used canned tomatoes, and picked a can that promised the “fire roasted” flavor.  I think that additional seasoning from the can helped make this recipe really flavorful.

The directions were easy to follow, and everything came together faster than I anticipated.  I halved the recipe since it was just me, but next time I will make a full batch because it was so delicious!  By the end of the weekend, it was gone!  I’d love to have this on hand to warm up any time I was craving a delicious autumn soup.  Of course, I’m a sucker for all soups, so next time I review a soup, I’ll probably say the same thing!

Smoothies

A little over a month ago, I had finally saved up enough to purchase a Vitamix blender.  Our old blender had been a wedding gift, and it had died around the same time that my husband got his job here in Arizona, and I was stuck trying to sell our house.  Since then, I knew I wanted a new blender, but I wanted something with some power behind it that I could use every day to make smoothies.All of my research led me to my new Vitamix.

You guys, I love it.

So, today, I want to share with you three of the smoothies that I have tried out.  You can find these recipes and more on the Vitamix website.

Smoothie #1:  Autumn Sweet Potato

Now, before you try to tell me how odd a sweet potato smoothie sounds, let me tell you a little story.  Back when my brother lived in San Diego, my husband and I drove cross country to take some of his things to him.  While we were there, my brother took us to a sushi place and ordered a roll that had orange and sweet potato in it.  We all agreed it sounded weird and had to try it.  And wouldn’t you know, it was the best thing we ate that day.  We talked about it for days later.  So, when I saw a sweet potato smoothie, I knew I had to try it.  You will need:

  • Red grapes
  • Cooked sweet potato
  • Cranberries
  • An orange

There are several other ingredients, so check out the full recipe here.
Sweet Potato Smoothie

Review

I really liked this recipe.  My husband wasn’t as in love with it as I was, but he didn’t dislike it either.  I left out the dates because I simply forgot to pick them up at the store.  If you decide to use fresh ginger (like I did), I would suggest going even lighter than the recipe and adding more to taste.  We both thought the ginger was a little overpowering.

Smoothie #2:  Basic Smoothie

I started out adventurous, but then decided that maybe I should scale it back and try something simple.  Nothing says simple like the name “Basic Smoothie,” so off I went to try it.  For this smoothie you will need:

  • Milk
  • Banana
  • Pineapple

That’s it!  Check out all the proportions with the full recipe here.

basic smoothie

Review

My husband was not a fan of this one, as in, I will not be making it again.  He thought it smelled and tasted like sunscreen.  I will admit that it did smell like sunscreen, but I, personally, found the flavor to be nice and tropical.  This is something I would enjoy drinking on a beach in the summer.

Smoothie #3:  Vanilla Frappe

After the lack of success with the Basic Smoothie, I decided that I should try something I was confident he would like; something made with coffee.  After taking stock of what I had on hand and comparing that to the recipes I had, I only had one choice: the vanilla frappe.  This recipe calls for:

  • Coffee (brewed double strength or espresso)
  • Milk
  • Vanilla syrup
  • Ice

Unfortunately, the recipe doesn’t appear to be online, but it’s in the cookbook that came with my blender.  You’ll want 3/4 cup coffee, 1 cup milk, 3 Tablespoons of the vanilla syrup, and 1 cup of ice.

vanilla frappe

Review

I really liked this recipe, and have even made it more than once.  It’s definitely sweet, so it’s not really a morning smoothie or a smoothie I would drink often (there’s a lot of sugar in that syrup).  It also separated into a foamy top and a milky coffee bottom.  I think, though, that might be due to using soy milk?  I’m not really sure.  In any case, all I did was give it a quick stir, if I felt like it, and all was well.  This is something I might make a big batch of when I have friends over, especially in warmer weather.

 

Since I got my Vitamx, I have been making a new smoothie every day.  I love it!  You can be sure that I will be reviewing more smoothies in the near future!