Reenergized For Dinner (Easy Swap Outs For Kitchen Happiness)

Yesterday I was battling a slight cough and a runny nose (and sneezing -- the worst) and dinner prep was just about the last thing on my mind. I was really dreading it. I had three chicken breasts thawed out in an 8x8 Pyrex and I just thought to myself that I'd end up throwing a bunch of random fridge/spice cabinet ingredients on top and calling it a day. You know, some random vinaigrette, a few splashes of balsamic, oregano, salt, pepper, some garlic ... nothing earth-shattering and nothing exciting, either.

Then Ian came home from hosting a luncheon at a medical office and he had leftover containers of sauces from Viva Chicken. If you know Viva Chicken, then you know that their sauces are basically liquid gold. It was my first time trying them even though I'd heard so many great things!

And BAM -- I was completely reenergized for dinner!

I ended up doing a simple oven-baked chicken entree, coating the chicken in an egg wash first and then dipping them in a mixture of bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. They were simple but so delicious topped with the sauces.

So, this morning between 2 and 4 when I was wiiiiiiide awake from this cold again, and I was thinking of blog post ideas, I thought -- why not pass along some ideas that may reenergize you in the kitchen, too. We all need a little boost sometime!


+ Put them in the crockpot for 6-8 hours on low or until they shred apart with a fork. Stir in cream cheese. Use this creamy chicken to make soft tacos, or pair with an enchilada kit for a delicious dinner. Serve with refried black beans.

+ Bread them, bake or pan-fry then, and make this copycat Chick-fil-A sauce. Serve with a fruit salad and slaw.

+ Marinate in a vinaigrette dressing of your choice, grill them, slice them and buy an Asian chopped salad kit. Toss all together. Add in some broken up raw ramen noodles (yep, the $.19/pack kind) to toss in for crunch.


+ Put it in the crockpot for 6-8 hours on low or until it shreds apart with a fork. Stir in your favorite barbecue sauce. Serve with Southern sides like coleslaw, baked beans, mac and cheese, or cornbread. Delicious pulled pork.

+ Bake it in the oven, slice it, lay it on a platter, and drizzle with easy homemade tomato jam.

+ Grill it and then make these delicious looking Cuban sliders.


+ Brown in a saucepan and make baked tacos. Serve with cilantro lime rice. Extra lime wedges for me!

+ Make this meatloaf and sub out the preserves for orange marmelade (trust me). Mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower as a side.

+ Make homemade pizzas and top them with browned ground beef, pepperjack or mozzarella cheese, yellow pepper slices, and caramelized onions.

/ / / 

I hope this post helps spur some new ideas for you in the kitchen! 
Please let me know if you like this type of post. :) 


This Weekend I...

... had Chinese food with Ian on Friday night and we started watching The Big Short (but didn't finish it). 

... snuck out during Saturday naptime to enjoy a gel manicure at Polished. The color is Let's Be Friends by OPI (Hello Kitty collection). I have had gel nails since mid-December and love the shiny look with very little upkeep! I try to make my manicures last 3 weeks if possible and they run me $25-35 depending on where I go. 

... got dressed up and had a great night out with my husband trying out a new sushi restaurant! We shared three rolls and I had a great glass of sauvignon blanc (and a few sips of Ian's hot sake). 

... picked up a bow that I had monogrammed for Camille (love!!!) and listed a few more bows in our Etsy shop

... snuck out again during Sunday's naptime and had 6" cut off of my hair! Dion at the Great Clips in Colony Place gave me an adorable haircut for $14. I haven't had it this short since college but I am loving it!


Saturday Steal: $3 Fox Socks

Trying something a little different this Saturday and sharing a total steal that I purchased recently! These fox socks ship from China and they took a little under two weeks to reach me. But the quality is great and even better than I was expecting! 

For a gift under $3, totally worth ordering. You could order a few pairs to have on hand for birthday gifts for toddlers -- how cute would they be tied up in a raffia bow on top of a present?

(click image to shop)


Five On Friday: HOME TOUR!

It's time for another edition of Five on Friday and I do hope you'll join along!

Remember, all you have to do is post about five things on your mind, add our logo (found at the bottom of this post), and join the party using the linky tools below. Easy, and a great way to find new blogs and be found. :)

So, here we go, some photos of our new home! I am no professional photog and there are some rooms that are really, really still works in progress. But, after living in this home now for five months, here is our current house. Five on Friday style, natch!

(I recognize that by grouping these together under five major headings, it's not as easy to understand the layout of the house. This is by design, for safety! Hope you understand!) :) 

Kitchen And Dining Areas
As I mentioned earlier this week, we did lots of updates in the kitchen. Painted walls, painted cabinets, new Roman shades custom sewn. New faucet, new cabinet and drawer pulls, new lever handle on pantry (under framed art).

I love the double oven, I love the walk-in pantry, and I love that I can look outside while washing dishes!

walls: agreeable gray by sherwin williams
cabinets: dove white by sherwin williams
island: chelsea gray by sherwin williams

moroccan light: Overstock
pub table: 5 years old, bought new at a consignment store

island color: chelsea gray by benjamin moore
barstools: world market, 5 years old (similar here or here)

stand mixer (here)

chandelier: home depot
table and chairs: passed down from my parents

cabinet purchased at a consignment store

We have four bedrooms -- master, the girls' rooms, and a guest room. I've painted the vanity in the guest room but we are gearing up for a master bathroom renovation in the next year or two. The girls' bathroom is not shown but they still have dark wood vanities that I also plan to paint myself. I used chalk paint from Walmart on the guest bathroom and knobs from Hobby Lobby. We replaced the ceiling fan in our room with one from Home Depot.

wall color: sea salt by sherwin williams
bed purchased in hickory, nc
raw silk look drapes from allen + roth at lowes - a great match for sea salt walls!
bench from a local home store
silver and white rug from safavieh via amazon 
paired rug with this thick rug pad for extra comfort

wall color: lite lavender from sherwin williams
drapes and bedskirt: passed down from a friend who redecorated
rocking horse: painted by my aunt
rocking chair: family heirloom
bookshelf: from ikea (strapped to wall with these for safety - do it! five bucks!)
rug: safavieh and from amazon! super plush and high quality
crib: bought on craigslist

wall color: unsure (leftover paint can from last house)
crib: bought from a friend
changing table: ikea
drapes, crib skirt and changing table skirt: made by my aunt
orange armchair: passed down from my parents
rug and toy box: at home
colorful garland on changing table: michaels
wall sconce: hobby lobby, spray painted white
shadow box for coming home dress: hobby lobby

side table: home goods
basket: michaels

 four poster bed: bought secondhand for $150
matlasse coverlet: belk
throw pillows: made by me
corner floor lamp: target
rug and drapes: ikea (drapes bought secondhand, rug bought new)
bookshelf: ikea
oil painting: from local home consignment store

knobs and pulls: hobby lobby

Playroom and Office
We still need a lot of wall decor for this room, and that area you see in the back corner is where I make bows. I hope to have a more substantial desk there at some point! Camille and Char have lots of toys out and I rotate the toys out with MORE toys that are in a closet to the left of the toy area.

sectional: havertys (piedmont style)
wicker ottoman: amazon (i love, love, love this piece! total steal.)
natural rug: ralph lauren, found at homegoods
round tray: homegoods

rug: tuesday morning

Living Rooms
We have a formal living room which is still lacking a coffee table and a comfy den where we hang out and watch television in front of the fireplace. Having our wood-burning fireplace switched to gas is a decision we definitely do not regret!

couch: west elm
rug: tj maxx
rattan chairs: ikea
coral art: etsy
lamps: safavieh via zulily
drapes: pottery barn, bought secondhand on facebook
strongly considering this coffee table from amazon for this room

couch, chairs: west elm
ottoman: ikea
pillows: wheaton whaley
tassel end table: midnight velvet (looks like they've slightly tweaked
the style since i bought it 5 years ago but you still can't beat the price)
sconces: bought secondhand on facebook
art: made by me
staffordshire dogs: bought on ebay
ivory pedestal table and lamp: homegoods

fireplace screen: home depot

Laundry and Common Areas
This laundry room used to have a vinyl floor and a wallpaper border. No more! I also keep my sewing machine here for a secondary little craft area.

oriental rug: given to my parents when i was the 1st baby born in our county in 1982
quatrefoil rug: walmart
bench: bought secondhand

balloon valance: target

tobacco basket: bought secondhand on facebook
i get so many questions about it! you can likely 
find them at antique stores. call around!

french chandelier: blacklion
round rug: overstock

chest: part of an old set of ian's.
i spray painted it years ago and switched out the knobs/pulls

teal runner: overstock

vintage chairs art: purchased in rome
aren't we fancy!?

We definitely still have a ways to go, but we are enjoying the process.

And, proofreading back over this post, I realize how CHEAP I am, ha! Seriously, most everything has been bought at a bargain price. That's what I like though, spending wisely and putting our money toward experiences ... and fun home updates, like plantation shutters for the dining room!

To read all of the Home Week posts, click here

TGIF y'all, and hope you will join in on Five on Friday this week! Cheers to the weekend!

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Home Week - Cleaning And Organization Tips, Tricks

Hold on a sec and let me reminisce about the days when we had housekeepers.

... long, deep sigh ...

New house, new (higher) mortgage, and we vowed to make some financial cuts where we could. Ian gave up the weekly lawn care service and I gave up my twice-a-month housekeepers. Those were perks that we enjoyed in our last home where we had a little more monthly disposable income! We really try to live frugally and make cuts where we can with me being a stay at home mom, having bigger rooms here to fill with furniture, and juggling costly home updates.

(speaking of home updates -- I pulled the trigger on the plantation shutters for the dining room!)

So for this Thursday installment of Home Week, let's chat cleaning and organization tips and tricks I use around the home! These are things that keep our home in order and allow us to feel proud of our little casita.

First of all, I spent hours cleaning the grime off of the wire racks in the pantry. They still leave a little to be desired but they do the job. Maybe one day I will get more substantial shelves. One thing I use to corral small items like Camille's sippy cup assortment and Charlotte's bottles are some copper wire baskets I got for $5.99 from Homegoods.

I also love this plastic bag dispenser I got HERE on Amazon. So much tidier than having plastic bags floating around under the sink, and great for the environment. We reuse these bags frequently whether it's to stick in bathroom wastebaskets or to cover my hairdo in the rain. Okay, okay, kidding about that last part, but the mental image did make me giggle. 

For what it's worth, I say don't bother with the Command strips that come with it. Ours fell down in the middle of the night, waking us up. We used the screws to secure ours in the pantry!

Next is all about the floors. I always get asked about how I keep our hardwoods clean. And let me tell you, nothing will get you caring about your hardwoods like being the one to stroke the check for them! After having them refinished, and knowing how tedious that was, I want to keep these floors as healthy as possible. I use a combination of the Rubbermaid Reveal mop and Bona hardwood floor cleaner and, dare I say that mopping is a pleasure?!
Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Refill, 128 oz, Clear
Until this afternoon, our drawers in our kitchen were so disorganized. It's amazing what some good clear drawer organizers (like THESE) can accomplish. Not only do they help us stay organized with our kitchen and office drawers, but they keep you motivated to keep cleaner drawers and periodically declutter. I mean, we have like sixteen bottle openers. Necessary? NO. Ian has a mission tonight when he gets home from work ... pick out his favorite two and donate the rest!

top left - before
bottom photos - after!

Cleaning-wise, we do have a Roomba (praise hands) and between that and my dustbuster, which I use on the DAILY, we stay relatively crumb-free. Our garbage gets picked up on Tuesdays so every Monday I am in the habit of running around and emptying trashcans in the house. Mopping is usually done on Tuesdays or Wednesdays during the 2:00 hour when both girls are napping. I also use that day to wipe down bathroom cabinets and windex the mirrors. Laundry gets done, let's face it, every single day. I really try to stay on top of keeping the house clean so that I don't get overwhelmed! And frankly, it's great exercise and it's saving us money, so I guess you could say I get paid to work out?

10 Questions to Help You Declutter:

Someone asked me recently to share my master closet on Snapchat. I chickened out. It's really messy and embarrassing. I mean, not completely hoarder status, but not "broadcast it to the internets" status either. I'm working on a pretty big closet purge (sayonara, sequined shirts) and requested one of the free bags from ThredUp so I can send my items to them and see if any are worthy of being resold on their site! Anything they don't take will get donated, so it's a win/win for everyone. I clean my closet, I may get paid, and I at least get a ton given to charity without even leaving my house.

Tomorrow I'll be back here for Five on Friday and I'll be sharing a house tour as my five! Hope you've enjoyed this series!


Home Week - 4 Small Expenses With Big Impact, and Your Advice

Today for Home Week I wanted to share four smaller expenses that make a big impact! 

1 // The first one is SO cheap and a no-brainer. Hopefully your door stoppers are in a lot better shape than ours were upon moving in. Our home was built in the '90s so these old door stoppers were yellowed, dusty, and crumbling apart. I bought a pack of 50 on Amazon HERE and went around the house replacing them all. Look at the before and after below. So gross!

From ew to better!

2 // Secondly, we had such an assortment of outdated and cheap register covers around the house. Some were rusting brown or white metal, some were cheap clunky plastic. I had eleven to replace. I bought these wicker design register covers on Amazon HERE and wow, what a difference it makes to have consistency through the house. And I love the geometric design! 

3 // Light fixtures make for a drastic improvement. Here's the light that was in the breakfast area (in fact, a better version of what was there - it had these stick-on grapes all around it). I took the grapes off and then snapped this photo. We had our wonderful handyman replace it with this amazing Moroccan light (from Overstock HERE) which is less than $150.


We also had a huge brass foyer light that needed to go. 


The French-inspired chandelier that hangs there now was not cheap ($450) BUT what a difference it makes! I found it locally at a store called Blacklion. Yes, I'm lumping it into this "small expenses" blog topic because while it was a lot of money, I felt like the price was pretty competitive for a fixture this size. 

4 // Our master bathroom shower head was pitiful. It unevenly spit water out and had such low flow that it was nearly impossible to wash shampoo bubbles out of my hair. Not a great way to start off the day! 

A plumber was at our home for some leakage issues and I asked him about how to increase the water flow. He told me just to get a new shower head with lots of small nodules! Our fixtures are brass currently so I found this awesome larger head with lots of high ratings HERE on Amazon. Y'all, what a difference! We now have the best pressure and a spa-like shower. Ian was really skeptical that our shower issues could be reversed just by changing out the shower head, but he was thrilled to be w-r-o-n-g! This one looks prettier and I actually really like the brass. 
Okay, now on to your advice. We have this bay window in our dining room. It's the last room in the house that has small metal blinds. We are itching to replace them. The window grids are broken so I took them out of the windows. What would you do here, plantation shutters (knowing that it's going to be super expensive, like $900, wahhhhhh) or would you buy new window grids, buy a bay window curtain rod, and have drapes made? It is hard to really see with this quick iPhone snap, but once I get prettier window treatments, I'll shoot prettier pictures. :) I'd love to hear your advice!

Check out the rest of the Home Week posts HERE

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