simple is beautiful

Snacking on the Go With Newton's Cookies

Monday, February 25, 2013

Like many of you, my days are full and leave little time for doing things for myself. Mothers, you know what I am talking about and if you are a working mother you may find that you have even less time. One thing that keeps me focused and on schedule is planning my days the night before.

I make detailed lists of where my family and I need to go and be. Not all days go as planned, but as long as I do what I can to prepare, which includes healthy snacks, then I make it through most days armed and ready. Without healthy snacks, I am prone to making bad food choices. Driving by (fill in the blank with your favorite fast food) might become a temptation which I would rather avoid!  When it comes to snacks, I like the convenience of pre-packaged grab and go options. However, I don't limit myself to only pre-packaged snacks. If there is a certain healthy snack I like, take Fig Newtons for example, I toss a few in a snack bag along with a bottle or two of water and out the door I go.  Now that Fig Newtons come pre-packed, they are my go-to snack of choice. I'm not one to count every single calorie, but I do like to be aware of what goes in my body and I can feel good about eating Newtons. I like that they are high in fiber, low in fat, and are made with real fruit. Take the Cherry Vanilla Fruit Thins - they contain 8 whole grains per serving. A serving size is 3 cookies which contains 140 calories. Not bad right?

One of my favorite on the go snack is a few Newtons, an apple or orange, and a bottle of water. This has gotten me through many a day until I can have a real meal. It's no secret that I have always been the Fig Newtons lover in our family, but now that new flavors such as baked apple cinnamon are being offered, I have to hide my own stash so that the food bandits don't get them!

Visit for a chance to win a grand prize weekend getaway or one of many other great weekly prizes!  On this site, you can enter to win one of three grand prize weekend gateways as well as many other great weekly prizes including gifts cards for athletic gear to help you look great when you are working out or Harry & David baskets to share with guests at your next party.

And be sure to visit the Newtons brand page on to read other bloggers' posts!

A Pretty Home Tour

Friday, February 22, 2013

I apologize for my absence this week!  I had a few moments to spend at the computer this morning and wanted to share the lovely home of Jayme Armour.  This is an oldie, but a goodie.  You know, good style is timeless, period. Loving the "mix" in every single image!

Thank you for the great feedback on the ORC project!  I was leaning toward leaving the bed as is and painting the chest of drawers.  But then my girl Melissa from Stuff Vintage offered to help me with painting the bed.  Now I'm psyched!  I have a vision, but no time to execute it.  Does anyone have advice on being two places at once?  If you do, please send it my way ;).

Have a wonderful weekend!

A Pretty Home Office in Progress

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hi there!  Have I ever told you that I love what I do?  I do!  I am currently working on several different projects ranging from new house planning to complete house makeovers and a few things in between.  My clients are a dream to work with and I truly feel blessed!  I thought you might enjoy seeing a little peek at a work in progress picture of a home office makeover.

In order for you to fully appreciate where we are coming from, here is the before picture.  This room was an unused sitting room and my client wanted to move her office into this room.  Her office was previously upstairs in the bonus room which is the soon-to-be playroom.  You will see more on that another time.  This room is located to the left as you enter the front door and to the right is the formal dining room.

Here is the plan I created for the room.  This process often takes time and so each time I would visit my client a little more progress had been made.  For several weeks that big sofa in the before picture was sitting in the foyer, books everywhere.  You know how that goes.  Before improvement comes chaos - or something like that.

Friday when I stopped by, the office was really taking shape!  The secretary, used as a mailing station, was previously located in the foyer.  Even though the foyer is rather large, the secretary felt heavy there.  So I recommended moving it into the office.  I really like the mix in this room...modern cottage meets chinoiserie chic.   The room is still work in progress.  It needs a rug, and a few odds and ends, but I love how this is coming together.  It doesn't look like the same room!

So what are you up to today?  I will be spending my day behind a sewing machine making place mats and table runners.  Suddenly my store is hopping!  As they say, when it rains it pours!

See more updates here.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

May you feel the love today & every day!

Brown Sugar Blondies: A Special Valentine Treat

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I was planning to make these yummy treats for my family on Valentine's Day.  The M&M's had been in my pantry for an entire week (ya'll, this is a new chocolate record).  Over the weekend, I broke down and made them. In case you are looking for something sweet to make on Valentine's Day, you might want to give these brown sugar blondies a try.  And of course, we think everything is better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

DIY Wine Storage & a New Faucet

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hey everybody!  It's kind of late in the day for me to be posting, but I had a chance and thought why not?!  If you follow me on instagram, you may have already seen this little project come to life over the weekend.  I promised details, so here goes...

When we added on to our kitchen many years ago, we knew that these were not our forever cabinets, but were thrilled to have the extra space for now.  We have plans to one day replace the cabinet fronts with better doors, but until then we are making the most of what we have.  Does everyone see the space over in the corner in between the sink and corner cabinet?  Well, it happens to be the perfect size for wine bottles!

I cannot take any credit this project because Mr. did it all.  Actually, he was all over the place with home improvements last weekend!  Virtual high fives to everyone!  He pulled off the boards that were covering this spot to see what we were in for.

As luck would have it, they perfectly fit on the bottom.  And now we're off to Home Depot in search of shelving boards.

We found these which were the perfect size when cut in half - Home Depot did that part for us.  We only needed two boards so the total project only cost around $11!

I rely on graph paper before making any major decisions.  So I sketched out a plan for distancing the boards and Mr. cut a piece of wood to use to mark his pilot holes.  He drilled from inside the adjacent cabinets to attach the shelves.

Here you see it with the caulk - we just need to paint the little strip underneath the bottom shelf.  Actually, I might replace these pictures with better ones on a sunnier day.

Did anyone happen to notice the faucet?

Thanks so much for all of your recommendations!  We decided to go the industrial route and chose this one. So far so good!

P.S. I should probably take down the Christmas wreath ;).

Stay connected:

Fun Times & Yummy Food!

Monday, February 4, 2013

How was your weekend?  Did your team win?  We had itty bitty ties to the Ravens, so we were happy to see them win.  A) Micheal Phelps likes the Ravens and our boys like Micheal Phelps.  B) The boys attended a Ravens practice a couple of summers ago, so there you have it.  Ravens fans.  Sort of.

The real celebration over the weekend though, was this guy.  Our oldest turned 17 yesterday.  And no his fingers aren't injured.  I keep a pair of baby socks from when each our boys were babies in a drawer.  Yesterday I pulled them out to show him just how little his now size 13 feet used to be.  Hard to believe!  His father and I are so proud of him and feel blessed to have such a wonderful son!  Happy birthday Tyler!  We love you to the moon and back!

Mr. and I spent most of the day yesterday cooking - getting ready for the birthday & the Super Bowl.  We live in the best neighborhood and enjoy the tradition of getting together with neighbors to watch the game.

First things first....

I found a recipe for salted caramel icing yesterday on pinterest.  Yowzers!  I've made caramel toppings before and the most important part is being patient by letting the sugar and water turn that rich amber color.  Sometimes it takes longer than the recipe calls for so just hang in there.

I topped a double batch of Ghirardelli brownies with this dreamy stuff and called it a birthday cake.  No one seemed to mind ;).

Next up - apps inspired by The Reluctant Entertainer.  These turkey, pesto, & swiss cheese sliders were super easy to make and quite yummy!  We used regular rolls instead of Hawaiian and a little less brown sugar than the recipe called for.  Also, we ran out of aluminum foil and used parchment paper instead.

Another hit and a "do-again".

Great times with great friends - that is what weekends are made of!  I hope you had a great one!

P.S.  I might be in over my head, but this is happening...and I am part of it.  Details coming soon.

How To Change the Labels Widget to Drop-Down Menu in Blogger

Friday, February 1, 2013

Happy Friday friends!  I'll bet you have some fun plans in the works for the weekend.  In case you are planning a weekend at home by the computer and feel like tinkering around on your blog - you might be interested in this tutorial.  When I shared my new blog design someone asked how I made the drop down menu for the labels/categories widget.  It was super easy and I believe it helped the sidebar look a little less cluttered which was my goal.  You can actually google just about anything that you want to do to your blog and get the answer - some tutorials are easier to understand than others.

To change the labels widget on blogger, here is what you do:

Disclaimer - always back up your template before making changes to html or you might end up with a huge mess on your hands.  Been there :(

  1. Log into your blog.
  2. Click design tab.
  3. Then click edit html.
  4. press the ctrl key and f simultaneously which will give you a search option.  Type in label to quickly locate this code: <b:widget id='Label1' locked='false' title='' type='Label'/>
  5. Replace this code <b:widget id='Label1' locked='false' title='' type='Label'/> with the following:
<b:widget id='Label1' locked='false' title='Labels' type='Label'> 
<b:includable id='main'> 
<b:if cond='data:title'> 
<div class='widget-content'>
<select style='width:100%' onchange='location=this.options[this.selectedIndex].value;'>
<option>Click to choose</option> 
<b:loop values='data:labels' var='label'> 
<option expr:value='data:label.url'><> 
<b:include name='quickedit'/> 

If you would like to change the width of the menu, change the percentage higher or lower (coded in purple) to fit your sidebar.  As always, preview before saving.  Viola!  You now have more space on your sidebar!  I hope this helps!

If you like this sort of thing and would like to learn more, let me know.  I'm no expert, but have certainly wasted spent a lot of time educating myself and have more to share if you are interested.

***My wish for you this weekend is that you have time to reflect, to laugh, to love, and to be loved.  Enjoy my dears!  

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