Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Mishmash

Blogger finally has made it so that I can reply individually to comments - woohoo!  Previously, I've emailed commenters with replies, but that doesn't always work since some of you don't link your email to your comment...but that won't be an issue now.  So if you've asked a question in your comment, check back later for my response.  Thanks for getting on board with this, Blogger!

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Granola-making central - I finally bought some pretty jars instead of leaving the bags of oatmeal, etc., on my counter.

In the "My Mind, I Miss It" news, I want to tell you about my complete failure at making granola lately.  I've been making this stuff for just about a year now on a regular basis...I don't even need to look at the recipe anymore, I make it that often.  So imagine my surprise last week when I burned the batch I was making.  What happened?  I normally bake it for a total of 30 minutes, stirring after every 10 minutes.  At the 20 minute mark, it was dark brown.  Thought I would be able to live with it, but no...it was just too burned for my taste.  I went to the store and replenished my ingredients, and made another batch.  This time?  Incinerated it.  What was happening?!?  Not only was I frustrated at wrecking two batches of granola, I was getting mad at the waste of money - it's not super expensive, but it IS if you make it inedible!  After I calmed down, I got out the recipe to double-check it and try again.  First thing I read:  preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Which I was doing...oh wait.  I had it at 400.  Well.  That would explain it.

In related news, roasted carrots, which are amazing, go in a 400 degree oven.

And if this is what I'm like now, I pity my future caretakers.

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This summer, we will have Jeff's car paid off - the plan was to then replace my 10-year-old Explorer, which is definitely showing its age, with a new car...preferably a Mini Cooper.  I can't help it - I think they are just so cute, and after years of driving a big vehicle (this Explorer is our third one, so you can see that I've been in a big car for a long time), I'm ready for a sporty car.  However, the Minis are a tad more expensive than the Fords that we've been driving.  So we decided to hold off for another year and put what we have been spending on the monthly car payment toward a down payment on the Mini.  Fiscally responsible, right?

Well.  We started chatting about all the things we could do with that money - new carpet, a couple of small trips (canoe for Jeff, back east for me), getting to Maui in January '13 so Jeff can run the Maui half marathon...long story short (and really, the story of our lives) - we manage to spend extra money 10 times over!  But we came up with a solution:
A lottery ticket, once a week, for the next year.  SURELY we'll win enough for everything and the car, right?!?  (btw, this one?  not a winner.)

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These aren't the greatest pictures because I was trying to hurry before Paco realized what I was doing (and then scare the squirrel away, which he did about three seconds later), but this squirrel was rapidly shoving leaves into his mouth, and then ran up the tree with them.  Building a nest up high?  I never realized that they did this!
 
Squirrels - endless source of entertainment for both me and Paco!

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I mentioned last week that we inadvertently redecorated our family room.  The story behind that is that for Christmas, our kids gave us money toward buying a new flat-screen TV - we still had an old boxy one, and they thought we should join the 21st century.  We found one that wasn't too expensive (since we still had to make up the balance) and bought it.  Put it on our old TV stand (which actually was Sam's from when he was in high school) and saw that it was too wide.  So after our visit with Debby last month, we went Ikea to look for a bigger TV stand...and got inspired to redo the room, especially when we realized that the stuff we were looking at wasn't that expensive (it's Ikea, after all), and with all the hours I'd worked at my seasonal job, we had the money for it.  We sketched out a couple of floorplan ideas, bought two chairs and brought them home, measured the room to be sure the wall system we were looking at would fit, drove to a different Ikea (Round Rock) to get the couch and a small table, painted the room, then went to the Frisco Ikea last weekend to get the wall system.  (As an FYI, there are three Ikea's in the state of Texas and we've now been to all of them.)

This room has been a hard one to place furniture in - it has a big fireplace, a really high wall, a wall of windows, and is open to the kitchen.  We looked at doing a wall system when we first moved in, but they ran around $2000 - and we still would have needed more furniture to finish the room.  So we sort of piecemealed it over the years - it was never anything that we were particularly thrilled with, but that room just wasn't a priority.  Heck, we didn't even have window coverings!  It's kind of embarrassing, but over time, it was easy to ignore.  But now, we are really pleased with how the room looks - about time, as we've lived in this house for over 11 years!

Here's what we did:
The chairs and loveseat are new; the round table between the chairs was my nightstand, and we've had the other round table for a while, too.  All from Ikea.
The windows are wider than standard, which is why I never spent the money to cover them - even a simple curtain rod was super-expensive.  But Ikea has this nifty wire system for around $13, and these curtains were only $15 for the pair.  I like how it finishes the window.  BTW, my mom (and probably Debby) would be horrified to know that these curtains come really long so you can hem them to your desired length...with iron-on hem tape.  Worked perfectly for me, but I imagine others might cringe at this method.
 
Love seat by Ikea, pillow by Target.  Hey, we spread the love!  I like this shot because you can see the kitchen table (which we bought when Max moved out in 2008) - this entire area feels much lighter and more airy now.
The TV that started it all, and the wall system - actually, it's the Billy bookcases, with doors.  There is room for all of our DVDs in the TV stand (only filled up one drawer - granted, we don't have a ton, but still, it held more than I thought), and lots of space for books in the lower halves of the bookcases.
The reading corner (because that's the only place with a lamp, lol) - the top lifts off the square table and I have our extra throws inside.  
Love how the large painting looks with the more neutral wall color - it used to be purple.  Jeff thinks we need something hanging in the space above the TV...I've thought about doing some photos on canvas with the pets.  Still not sure what I'm going to do there.  And maybe we should get a large planter/plant to go in front of the outlet on the wall next to the fireplace?  Plus, of course, I need more stuff in the display case.  While I have a lot, it turns out that most of my things are on a smaller scale and "disappeared" when I put them on the shelves.  No rush - finding things will be part of the fun!

Hard to believe that we had no intention of doing anything like this a month ago, but this is pretty much how we roll...random and a bit impulsive.  Oh, in case you've forgotten, here's an outtake from a pretty recent Fashion Friday shot to refresh your memory of the room:
Normally we don't have folding lawn chairs in the family room, but Jeff likes to bring them in when the kids come home...hopefully NOW he won't feel the need to do that.

Have a great weekend!

52 comments:

  1. I will admit to sitting here and refreshing until your post came up.
    YOU, my friend, have masted the blogging where I think Im a biga** part of your world and life and Im somehow muddled and think Ive actually been to your domicile as a houseguest.

    **skips off to buy a lotto ticket too**

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    1. Shoot, you wouldn't even need a lottery ticket to get here! And of course you're welcome anytime. :)

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  2. Lol at Carla's comment. It's around lunchtime here and I wanted to shut down too but refreshed to see if your post was up since it always shows up arond noon here :)

    I love what you guys have done with the living room. It looks great.

    R. said he was going to buy a lottory ticket every month too this year (it's a monthly drawing) but he missed January. I would be surprised if he will buy one every month :) If he wins big he's quitting his job and will move to Italy. To be honest: I don't hope that's going to happen because as much as I love Italy, I love my own country more.

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    1. Fran, I wonder if any of us would really do what we say we would, when we buy a lottery ticket...but it's great fun to dream, right?

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  3. I love, love, love it. That square table is adorable. One question, does blogger automatically do this reply thingy or is it a setting I have to select?

    Happy decorating!

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    1. It just appeared for Helen, but I had to adjust my settings - here's how: http://buzz.blogger.com/2012/01/engage-with-your-readers-through.html

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  4. I love the new room. It all looks fresh, new, and uncluttered.

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  5. Blogger and Word Press seem to go round and round like Target vs WalMart!
    And WE are the ones that come out ahead because of it!
    Love all your cool pad stuff!

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  6. I LOVE that painting...and I LOVE that square table! And I'm not going to lie, I really liked the purple wall but I do think it looks better with a neutral color. What a great room! Enjoy it!

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  7. We were at the Round Rock Ikea right after Christmas. Fun stores. I love the reply button too. And, love your blog. :)

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    1. I was shocked at how much smaller that one was than the one in Frisco - still seemed to have everything, though. And it's in such a nice area, too!

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  8. I love love LOVE the new living room!!! Wow! Now you have me wanting to go to Ikea!

    Funny about the granola. I can totally relate.

    Have a great weekend!

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  9. OK, that whole room is SO ME. I was just looking at our stuff last night (while waiting for the tow truck) dreaming of updating. Of course I don't have the gorgeous open floor plan that you do. Have I ever mentioned you might live in my dream house?

    My financial planning is just like yours and includes a lottery ticket - GMTA!

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  10. WOW, you really did redo the living room! I just imagined a fresh coat of paint & some rearranging! I am SO impressed. And I am totally going the Ikea route when I sell our current sofas .....

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  11. Your home looks so uncluttered and neat. Can I borrow you?

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  12. I've watched squirrels stuff their cheeks with leaves...would have it on video, but couldn't get my camera out on one hike in Yosemite quickly enough. I love squirrels!

    Your LR looks awesome! Love the decor.

    While I'm pleased that Blogger added the reply feature, I can never remember to return the blogs I commented on! I need the e-mail notifications to remind me...perhaps another change they can make to get notified when your post is replied to instead of on all comments for a blog.

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    1. Kyle, I do the same thing, forgetting to go back and check the comments. Really, I don't know why I'm writing this as you'll probably never come back to check (LOL)!

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  13. It looks wonderful! Can I just say I envy your open concept? Our house is small, but the living room is in the front that has windows facing the channel of the river, but the kitchen is all the way in the back of the house - I have to bribe Tony to watch t.v. in the back family room so I am not so lonely while I am cooking!

    We have a similar Ikea t.v. wall system - we've had it for 10 years and absolutely love it - we have a 52 inch flat screen and it was nice that we could build the system around the t.v. - and for not a lot of $$!

    Happy Friday - thanks again for your continued support this week - it means the world!

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  14. Wow! You could be on one of those tv shows with that room re-do! And yes, I'm with Lori, in awe of your UNcluttered-ness.

    I've never seen squirrels do that. I love watching the squirrels.

    I never knew there was no way for you to reply and that's why you didn't do it. I always felt honored to get an email from you though.

    Oh, and the burning granola? I can't believe it! I was going to tell you what I did last week, but never got around to it. So, I finally make a batch--I've been avoiding it on purpose because I love it too much. I make half a recipe. I set my oven at 250, because I think my oven is hotter than normal. I'm checking it every 10 minutes and stirring. then someone called me. DARN IT! Too dark, but I think I can live with it. Put the baking sheet on top of the stove to cool, and run to get dressed cause now I'm late, and I smell something burning, like paper or something. And I think its the wood stove. NO. I had left the front burner on earlier that morning, and now it was burning a large circle in the parchment paper and granola. I salvaged about 1/4 of the recipe. And I thought the same thing--what are they going to do with me?

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    1. I've left the burner on, too - what is UP with us? Although I come by it genetically - my grandmother turned on the burner, put a pan on it, and never added any food - melted it down to a "Hershey's Kiss" as she put it. And she did that twice! We are doomed.

      Oh, and sorry about the granola tragedy!

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  15. Thanks so much for the link on how to turn on the reply feature! And I love the new look of the family room! :)

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  16. Oh wowwwww.. I love your home! It looks so open and light! Beautiful!

    Love the jars! I have the exact same ones for my cereal etc :)

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  17. Hi, I'm a new reader of your blog. I've enjoyed it so much. I've noticed quite a few references to the granola and was wondering if you have ever posted the recipe. I'd love to try and make some. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks for finding me! Here's a link to my recipe: http://www.myjourneytofit.com/2011/03/friday-mishmash-in-which-i-become.html - although now I use a full cup of coconut flakes and don't add any dried fruit. It also only seems to take about 30 minutes baking time (in a 300 degree oven, lol!), but I think everyone's oven might vary so keep an eye on it.

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    2. Mmmm....looks good. Thanks! I knew it was in there somewhere. I just hadn't found it yet.

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  18. Look how much brighter it is! Wow!

    I have an affinity for squirrels too!

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  19. Great makeover! Wish our new flat screen fit in so well. You hiring out?
    Jan

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  20. Your place looks lovely! Interesting to see from the other side of the world!

    Deb

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  21. Your room is fabulous! Thanks for the head's up on the window treatments. I still have the old yellow curtain rods (painted white but continually chipping) in my living room because a new custom rod was way too expensive. Gotta check out that nifty wire system ~

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  22. Hi there! I am your newest follower = I live in England and have a lot to lose before my 50th! I love your pretty pink bike!

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  23. I love the way your house looks! You've inspired me to re-think my bookcases.

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  24. Ikea is one of my favorite places to shop, especially as a broke college student :)

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  25. I used to have a Mini-Cooper and I LOVED (lovelovelove) it. I want another one, but like you, the payment issue is at stake now.

    SO JEALOUS. :)

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    1. Haha, don't be jealous until you see one in my driveway...until then, I'm just the person who stares longingly at the Minis as other people drive them!

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  26. Definitely love the new living room Shelley! It looks so much bigger.

    Great job!

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  27. Your newly decorated room looks great, so bright and cheery! I love Ikea but I always get lost in there and end up buying the kids treats on the way out lol.

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  28. Your room looks so beautiful...and yeah, I love Ikea. I wish they had it here in New Zealand. Every time I go to Australia, I go shopping at Ikea, and wish I could bring a household of stuff back with me. Love those BIlly bookcases too :)

    I gave up on blogger. I used to blog there, but moved to Wordpress, because of the problems blogger was giving me. Wordpress isn't perfect, but I find it better.

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  29. You room looks great!! We really need to do some decorating in our house. Love the colors and the new furniture.

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  30. Love the squirrel pix, I didn't know they did that either. And yes, they are vastly entertaining. My daughter noted how her little ones loved to watch them out the window and came up with the expression "squirrel TV" which is what we always call it now.

    Love your new look for the LR. Especially the chairs . . . I may just need those chairs.

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  31. Wow, Shelley, it looks great! I love how open & airy it is, & I did think about it in the love seat photo. (that the kitchen is so sunny & bright & open...Love.)

    The new paint is awesome! So cheery & fresh. Just like all the design blogs, now you have to post what brand & color paint it is. I love it, & the choice of birch (?) furniture...just so delightful!

    I don't think anyone will notice your curtains trick, and maybe Mom will change it for you [hem] when she comes. (if it bothers her too much. haha) Is your house similar to your parents? We haven't seen too much of their home, but seemed it was nice & open as well.

    Loved the shot of the squirrel with the leaves in his mouth.

    So cool that you could transform the room like that and still stay within reason cost wise. Wow. Impressive!

    Happy week, Chrissy

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    1. Thank, Chrissy - the paint is Sherwin Williams - the accent wall is Favorite Tan and the other walls are Rice Grain. Over the years I've come up with some pretty poor paint color choices, so I'm really pleased that this worked out as well as it did. :)

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    2. Is the rice grain a new paint job too? Big room to have painted if it is.

      We like Sherwin Williams; I know the price isn't so swell, but you can actually tell it's better quality. Not as many paint drips while painting! Yay!

      I am always sooo skeered of new paint colors! Do you have a tip? Look at other ppls rooms online or something?

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    3. The entire room was repainted and yes, it WAS a big job thanks to the high ceiling (which was painted as well)...the best tip I have for choosing a paint color is to spend the few bucks and get a sample can of color so you can see what it really looks like on the wall.

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  32. Here's a yummy way of doing root veggies for dinner. Your mention of roasted carrots reminded me. I would take equal parts carrots (chopped), sweet potato (peeled & cut up into small pieces and regular white potato (or red) Peeled & cut up as well. (Usually, 1 sweet potato, 1 baking potato or 3-4 red potatoes, and 2-4 carrots) I put all the chopped up into a mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon oil (olive oil, vegetable, whatever you have) then I sprinkle a little parmesan cheese, onion powder & garlic powder. Stir it all up, so all the pieces get coated. Bake at 350 until golden brown. This is so good! And not too bad for you either!

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  33. Actually the iron-on tape is the perfect solution, if you tried to sew it, you run a risk of pulling such sheer fabric. and if it holds, who cares?

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  34. You and me, Jill - horrifying our ancestors (GM probably wouldn't have done it that way, either, lol). Cousins unite! :)

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  35. Hey Shelley, I've been having fun reading all your blog posts from day one. It's inspirational to read! I love how you found other ways to exercise when your ankle was injured. I could see myself using that as an excuse to not exercise anymore.
    Anyway, I saw this article online today and thought of you and your colorful fiestaware. :-) http://www.delish.com/food/recalls-reviews/dishware-color-determines-serving-sizes

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  36. The room looks great. We have one of those Ikea chairs, have had it for years, it is great.
    How fun. I'm like that too: impulsive, not in a crazy way, but in a not planning it out kind, last minute kind of way.
    And, I ironed hemmed for the first time recently w/ my daughter's pants. Worked like a charm.

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  37. Ooooh, I love the redecoration! I hope mine turns out as well.

    I have to take a hiatus from granola attempts, but eventually I will try again. I did find another recipe that suggested turning the oven off after putting the granola in. That might help my burning issue!

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