Thursday, March 31, 2011


Good evening folks, my name is Michelle and I'm hopeless in the decorating department.  I have so many "wants" for my home and everywhere I look nothing fits the bill around here.  Of course I don't hate every aspect of the design and decorating here, but for the most part, it's pretty sad.  I am asking you my dear, dear readers for some help.  I am scouring the web for ideas and inspiration but I thought of asking you, my wonderful readers for some ideas as well! 

I'm starting with my living room.  Right now it consists of a wall of windows with some pretty drab Ikea drapes, a leather reclining chair that is on its last leg, a large couch I'm not willing to give up (so comfy and fairly new, plus I like it), a flat screen t.v. above the mantel and 2 ugly ass bookshelves that were cheap and a quick fill in for now type of thing.   

Here are some pictures (quality sucks, oh well): 

This is the view from my kitchen.  We used to have a nice chocolate color in there but repainted to sell.  Boo.  As you can see, on the left is a full wall (with a door in the corner to our laundry/mudroom).  On the left is a full wall of windows. 

 Couch area, the wall is gigantic and so is the couch.  I don't care for the couch there, but I don't know where else to put it!  The frame will be staying.

 One corner, ugh.
 Other corner.  Ideally I want built-ins, and someday we will get them, just not sure when.  In my mind I want a nice little bench with some storage underneath it then some shelves up top for pictures/books/etc.  Now it just houses some ugly ass black shelves. 
 Fireplace.  The cords need to be hidden, hate them!  I kind of want to paint the mantel white, or ditch it altogether.  Then put up some fun stone or tile on that wall.  We'll see what the hubs agrees to!
 Wall of windows.  I am soooo not attached to those curtains.  Ewww.  It's just really hard to find curtains to fit that window.  I would really like some plantation shutters to keep the super duper hot sun out in the afternoon!
 And the chair.  The chair I rocked the babies in, the chair that the said babies have busted.  It isn't the prettiest chair, but it's super comfy and holds some good memories.

So, ideas?  I'll share mine once you do!  I'm completely open to color, furniture and placement, etc.  I have ideas in my head and I hope to bring them to reality very soon!  YAY!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies {Yum}

Can I just say that these are some of the best cookies I've ever had? I should preface this by saying that I have a slight obsession with sea salt. I just find it to be the most divine thing ever created in the cooking universe (that may be exaggerating a bit but so true). Not only is it a healthier alternative to table salt, it has such a better flavor and adds so much more to food than iodized table salt. Just my opinion of course!

So this recipe had me at sea salt for sure. Of course the fact that it involved oatmeal and chocolate chips helped a bit too. I love that this recipe is a somewhat healthier version of a chocolate chip cookie.  Even my picky, picky 5 year old enjoyed these and she's not a fan of oatmeal cookies!  

I got this recipe from Weelicious and might I say I love her?!?!  Instead of using just plain old semi-sweet chocolate chips, I had to go for the Ghiradelli 60% Cocao, and I really think it makes all the difference.  The combination of bitter chocolate and sea salt is divine.  I just know you will love them! 

I will be bringing this to my food and booze club meeting tomorrow night with some frozen yogurt to accompany it.  It will be a hit!

I'm baaaack!

I know, I know, it's been a while.  Life has gotten in the way of blogging, what can I say?  I have so many things I want to blog about too, I just can't find the time to sit down and write a well thought out post. 

We recently returned from a family vacation in Arizona.  It was a wonderful time spent with my beautiful family and we made some great memories.  We also spent a lot of time eating terribly.  I know most people do that on vacation, but it really got me thinking about my families eating habits.  I don't know what crawled up my butt this week, but I have been really focused and very aware of every little thing that goes in our mouths.  For some time I have been eating healthy on my own, but my family can not say the same. 

Yesterday, I made a grocery list, cleaned out or fridge and cupboards and went on a mission to a healthier "us".  I really made a solid effort at the store to buy more natural items for us to eat.  The kids eat a lot of processed snacks on a daily basis and while it is the easy alternative, I am no longer ok with it.  So I ditched the snack aisle almost completely (save for a few healthier options) and went fresh.  My new rule is this: only 2 snacks a day, the morning snack can be from the cupboard (I only have it stocked with less processed and baked snacks now) and the afternoon snack must be something fresh (cheese, yogurt, fruit, veggies).  I tried to make wiser decisions in the bread department looking for breads with low sodium and no added high fructose corn syrup.  I bought a "healthier" juice, but am really looking into making my own juice since your average apple juice out there has so much sugar and literally no nutritional value.  On that note, they only get 1 water bottle of juice a day (and that is only 1/2 juice too).  The rest is either milk or water. 

Man, I sound like a mean mom.  It's not that I want bully my kids into eating healthier, I want them to start thinking about how the food they eat effects their bodies.  I want them to grow up knowing the right way to eat.  I read a statistic yesterday that was incredibly disturbing.  1 in 3 children born after the year 2000 will develop type II diabetes by the time they are 50.  Based on that statistic alone, at least one of my kids will develop the disease.  I don't know about you, but that is enough to scare me into ditching all refined sugars and processed snacks.  As the mother, I am responsible for changing that statistic.  My kids are not old enough nor do they know enough to take action, so it is my job to do it for them and raise them to be healthy people. 

Here are a few sites I have stumbled upon that have been incredibly inspiring and helpful:

Weelicious : Tons and tons of awesome recipes.  This lady is superwoman!

This Lunch Rox: Can I just say amazing?!?!  Wow, talk about talent and dedication.

Maria's Food and Nutrition Journal: Great recipes that are easy and very family friendly. 

I can't wait to get menu planning.  Last night I got the kids involved in making fresh guacamole.  The kids had a blast smashing the avocados, adding the fresh ingredients and 2/3 of the clan taste tested it too.  I'm hoping the other 1/3 will come around soon!  We enjoyed our guac with our awesome chicken and veggie fajitas (on low carb tortillas of course) with baked tortilla chips.  Eating healthy and natural really can be tasty, it just involves a little more planning but in the end it's totally worth it.

Would you consider your family healthy?  If so, do you have any ideas or tips for me and the other readers?  I would love to hear from you!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wine in a box, that's how I roll!

2 weeks ago I was forced to drink wine out of a box.  Sacrilege I know!  What would have been worse would have been to drink this out of a keg glass too!  No such offense was made, thank goodness but I have to say, I didn't hate the boxed wine.  I'm not sure what brand it was, nor what type but it wasn't bad.  So when I was hosting a rather large party last weekend I ran to the liquor store and not wanting to spend an arm and a leg on wine I asked the wine guy at our local store what his best boxed wine was and he pointed me in the direction of Big House Red.   At only $16.99 for the equivalent of 4 bottles of wine, I was hesitantly sold.  

I really wasn't expecting much more than alcoholic grape juice, but after the day I had I was ready and willing to drink whatever you were going to pour for me.  So, I gave it a go.  I was pleasantly surprised!  And by pleasantly surprised, I mean really, really surprised.  It wasn't bad, in fact dare I say it was pretty good?  It is very fruity and light so I think most people could drink it and appreciate wine.  No wine snobbiness here, so if that's your thing, back away from the box, NOW!  

I wouldn't pair this wine with your fabulous filet mignon but this would definitely be right for a nice burger on a warm evening, or a hearty spaghetti or even your darn Hamburger Helper.  Doesn't matter to me.  I actually think it's a great wine to just enjoy for a light happy hour in the evening.  And the best part?  This box of wine can last up to 6 weeks!  Amazing.  Especially at the rate SOME people enjoy their wine :)  

Needless to say, I broke out of my snobbiness for a moment and tasted something different and I actually didn't mind it :)  I dare ya, go buy a box of wine tonight!