Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Many Resolutions, So Little Resolve

Year after year I (and so many others) make resolutions on the New Year to change our ways, to improve ourselves, and to just be better.  Resolutions are often things like weight loss (yup), exercising (yup yup), save more, waste less, implement home organization, tackle home improvements, stuff like that.  Sometimes resolutions are about our personal flaws - one 2011 resolution I made was to try to procrastinate less, but I just couldn't get started on that one.

This year, instead of resolving to lose 20 pounds or run a 5k (both of which are on my list for 2012), I'm resolving to have more resolve.  To do a better job of doing things other than wishing and hoping.  I think we could all be better versions of ourselves if we made more of an effort to live the life we deserve.  Whether it's cooking healthier more interesting food, reuniting with old friends, making the bed every day, or just cleaning out a closet that's been bugging you, resolve to do something to make your life happier, more interesting, and livelier.

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


For my birthday last year I got a new camera.  It's just a point & shoot, but I like it.  It takes good photos and fits easily into my purse so I can take pics anytime, anywhere.  When we got the new camera, we gave the old one to Sarah.  She LOVES taking pictures, so hanging out at our house is kinda like hanging with the Kardashians and being hounded by paparazzi.

Other than covert shots of me doing what I do (making lunch, sitting at the computer, folding laundry, etc), she also takes TONS of photos of her favorite TV shows.  Going through the camera often reveals hundreds of stills of Dora the Explorer, Miss Spider's Sunny Patch, or Little Bill.  She takes pictures of her toys in different poses - doll asleep, stuffed animals at tea party, princesses in doll house... She also likes taking photos of her brother.  These are usually ultra-close-ups, out of focus, with a flash, and eyes closed.  I think by far her favorite subject is herself.  She takes TONS of self-portraits.  I'll share a few of my favorites here.

How awesome is she?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Cookies: Oreo Balls

Even the name is awesome.  Oreo balls.  Yep balls of chocolatey-Oreo-deliciousness.  And it seems bizarre to even call this a "recipe", but whatever.  I didn't invent it and I don't have any idea who did, but the "recipe" is the same everywhere so I'll just say this is something everyone already knows.  The only people who don't know the recipe are people who have yet to come across this confection at a party somewhere.

Oreo Balls

  • 1 package of regular Oreos (or flavored but NOT Double Stuf!!)
  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese
  • Chocolate chips (or other melting candy - some people like white chocolate)
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Prep a cookie sheet with some wax paper.  I like one with edges so the balls don't roll off.

Put all the Oreos from the package into your food processor and whir up until crumbs.

Put in the cream cheese.

Whir it up until it's like a creamy dough.

Roll the "dough" into 1" balls (size doesn't matter (ha!), but 1" makes them big enough without being too big to get a good bite of) and put them on the sheet.

Put the sheet in the fridge (freezer is better) until you're ready to dip

This is great because you can roll these in advance and then just dip them before you want to eat them.

For dipping, melt some chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  Add a bit of shortening to thin it up a smidge.

I like to use a "Little Dipper" CrockPot to keep the chocolate nice and warm, but if you don't have one, just keep reheating periodically.  My little dipper came free with my big CrockPot.  I think I have a spare if you want to borrow one.

Using toothpicks (or a fondue fork a la moi), dip each ball, swishing it around so there's good  coverage. Put it down on the wax paper again and use a little spoon to cover over where the toothpick went in.

Here's where you can get creative - add sprinkles, colored sugar, a drizzle of white chocolate, etc.

When all the balls are dipped, put the sheet back in the fridge/freezer to set the chocolate.

Store the dipped balls in a container in your fridge/freezer until you're ready to serve them.

These balls are fantastic.  Pete Schweddy would be proud.  Make sure you have napkins on hand as these can result in chocolaty fingers!

Christmas Eve Traditions?

Christmas Eve growing up was a great day.  Such anticipation, such excitement.  As an adult there's still anticipation and excitement, combined with that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach because you know that it's not all done.  You know that you'll probably be up until 3 AM working on cooking, cleaning, decorating, wrapping, or what have you (knitting??).  And you know that at about 7 AM a short person will wake you from your sound slumber with a poke in the nose and an excited "Hey Mommy, are you awake yet?!?!?"

It's worth it when the kids see the wrapped gifts, music already playing in the background, cookies for breakfast ready to go.  Sitting down to a breakfast you look forward to all year.  Opening presents you carefully wrapped just a few hours before and making a wretched mess of everything but the squeals of delight are just fantastic.

When I was a kid, every Christmas Eve was capped off with going to a big old Christmas party.  Over the years, the party stopped and my family started attending a Christmas Eve church service and going out to dinner.  It was such a great way to spend the evening - our family eating and laughing and having good times.

Now that I have my own family, we are working on our own traditions.  I think this year we will have home-made pizza dinner and a family Christmas movie.   A Christmas Story?  The Grinch?  Then once the kids are in bed, we'll watch It's a Wonderful Life, I'll make cloud cookies, and then Santa will do his thing.

I can't wait for tomorrow!  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree - part two

I've been thinking about part two of the Christmas tree saga for a few days now and wondering when it would be the right time to write it.  I was hoping that we'd have a lovely decorated tree to show, but alas, that was not to be...I really don't know how others do it, but the tree here is a mess.  It's not beautiful, but it's ours.

We got the lights put on last Sunday afternoon. It's not quite as bright and glowy as I'd like, but it'll do.  Maybe we'll pick up a few strings of lights post-Dec 25th on sale.  We put on decorations Sunday night.  It was perfect.  What's the theme?  Christmas.  All colors, all shapes and sizes.  Ornaments collected over the years from vacations, trips to Target and Waterloo Gardens.  We made sure to put only non-breakable ornaments on the bottom 2 feet of the tree to keep things safe for Chris and Rosie.  We sat back and admired.

The next morning Chris came down and all hell broke loose.  He pulled every ornament off the tree he could reach, he yanked branches, dragged the tree skirt off, tried to undo the lights, you name it.  I can't for the life of me understand how some kids show no interest in the bright shiny tree that appears in their house overnight, but Chris is just obsessed and no amount of sweetly saying no or shrieking NO!!! seems to have any effect on him.

So here's how the tree is now.  I thought about re-decorating and tidying up to make a nice pic for the blog, but I guess I'll just tell it how it is:

I am CERTAIN that things will look more pulled together before Santa comes on Saturday night, but this will not be a picture perfect Martha Stewart Christmas.  It'll be our Christmas with a toddler, a preschooler and a puppy.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know there are people out there that claim that the chocolate chip cookie is too common to be considered a Christmas cookie.  Christmas cookies should be *special* and spectacular.  While this is ok, I tend to hang onto the belief that Christmas cookies are whatever you enjoy, and because the CCC is one of my favorites, I always include some in my yearly holiday baking.

Over the years I've used a few different recipes including the one on the package of butter flavored Crisco but recently I've switched to butter and I've been using the traditional Nestle Toll House cookie recipe.  Unfortunately somewhere along the lines things have changed and the past 5-6 times I've made the recipe the cookies have come out quite flat.  I made them again last week with dark chocolate M&Ms and they were absolutely pancake-esque.  Displeased with the results I ventured onto the web to find out what might cause the problem and what my options were for fixing it.  I consulted various sources including forums of bakers and the advice varied from "add more flour" to "that's how they're supposed to be".

Then I stumbled across this fantastic pic on Pinterest.

The site it links to gives you information on how to diagnose your CCC issues.  It's great - check it out here.  Based on the picture, my cookie problem was definitely not enough flour so I decided to give them a go again.  Here's the recipe I went with - adapted from the Nestle Toll House recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

In electric mixer with paddle attachment cream sugars and butter.  Add vanilla, milk, and eggs and blend well.  In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture slowly until well combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Use cookie/ice cream scoop to place cookies 2" apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Or you can just roll 1" balls, but the scoop will be easier.

Bake at 375* for 9-11 minutes - or until they appear done.  Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Check out the difference in the cookies!

Original Toll House cookie on the left, adapted recipe on the right.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pinning Away

Something exciting happened in the last month or so - I got an invite to Pinterest!  I had heard about the site and read various explanations of what it was and how it worked but I remained a skeptic.  Then one day a friend said she was in and would invite me if I wanted so I said alright.  And then my life changed.

Not to sound overly dramatic, but Pinterest is just the greatest thing since the internet was invented.  Seriously.  For those who aren't in the know, it's like an online place to pin images from websites/blogs and post them.  Like back before Pinterest you probably tore pages from magazines to help plan your wedding or to collect recipes.  No more. You can pin photos of recipes, clothes, houses, crafts and organize them by category.  And by sharing them with other pinners, you can get exposure to MORE ideas.  Cool, but so what?

You can pin a wishlist for Christmas.  You can pin craft projects you want to try.  You can pin weird stuff  you found on Etsy. You can pin quotes that inspire or make you laugh.  You can pin shirtless pictures of Ryan Gosling or whatever.

I've already gotten ideas for DIY projects for around the house, big and small.  I've found inspiring holiday decor pics, craft ideas, cookies to bake.

So if you've heard of Pinterest and are thinking whether it's just a time suck, it definitely is, but you'll totally like it.  And if you get inspired or even find some great stuff to share with your fellow Pinners, then is it a waste??  I think not!

FYI - If you want to find ME on Pinterest...just click HERE

Oh Christmas Tree - part one

For many people, putting up the Christmas tree is one of the first things you do to get ready for the big day.  Maybe you haul it out of the attic or basement and set it up when you get back from shopping on Black Friday.  Or maybe you get the gang in the car and head out to one of those cut-your-own Christmas tree farms for a Griswold-style adventure on the first weekend in December.

With our Thanksgiving travels, a December work trip for Jason, and a desire to minimize the time with a toddler and Christmas tree occupying the same space, we postponed our tree acquisition until the weekend before Christmas.  Saturday was the day!

The prep began Friday night when the kids were in bed.  It was a cascading clean-up effort.  We needed to move the bookshelf from the living room into the playroom, but the playroom was a mess so we had to clean that.  And so after about two hours of cleaning the playroom and shifting around some furniture we were done for the night.

Saturday morning, Jason tackled what has been one of those whenever-we-get-to-it projects.  Baseboard on the wall where the tree goes.  We pulled all the baseboard out of the house when we had the floors done before we moved in and getting them back in has been a slow piece-by-piece process.  Looks good!

After nap time we headed out to the tree lot to pick our tree.  We go to a local church where a Boy Scout troop sells trees as a fundraiser for their troop activities.  This is our third or so year going there.

Sarah and Chris ran around the rows of trees leaned against wooden racks.  The way Chris is running around lately, it's hard to get the 2 kids in the same frame, let alone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time!

It only took really looking at two before we had chosen.  I'm not sure if we just got lucky or if they had an exceptionally good selection of trees.

Chris seemed  to be interested in the netting they used to wrap the trees.

After settling up, the scout tied it to the roof of the van and we headed home.

As we drove home, we could see flurries in the headlights.  It was perfect.

Tonight, the tree is up without much drama.  The dog kinda wants to eat it, but that's ok.

I love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree.  I can't wait for lights and decorations!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Cookies: Sugar Cookies

It may surprise you that with all the cookies I love to make at Christmas, I don't think I've EVER made a straight up sugar cookie!  How odd, right?  This year I signed on for cookie duty for Sarah's preschool Christmas party, so I figured a cut-out sugar cookie decorated with frosting and sprinkles would be the way to go.

I used Alton Brown's sugar cookie recipe (highly recommended by tons of people).  It was super simple to put together and the cookies came out perfect.  Every single one.

For the class party we went with Christmas trees.  I figured that giving each kid the same cookie would avoid any controversy over which shape might be a larger or smaller cookie.  With the extra dough, we split between trees and snowmen.

The two most popular frostings I've seen are either Royal Icing or a butter cream, and because I was sure Sarah would do better with a knife than a pastry bag, we went with butter cream.  I used the recipe found here.

She quickly wanted to switch to sprinkle duty so I schmeared the cookies and she sprinkled away.

Soon we had enough for the class, plus a few extras!

This time of year can be so crazy and busy and full of pressure and anxiety.  It was such a nice, quiet, relaxing way to have a little mom and Sarah time.

We topped the night off with a reading of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".  A favorite!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

This is the second to last weekend before Christmas.  It's supposed to be a BIG weekend.  We have TONS to do.  Shopping, cleaning, prepping, wrapping and baking.  None of it's happening.  Why?


Tomorrow is another day, and hopefully it'll be full of productivity or at least much less time in bed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's on!!

I seem to be one of those people who does their best (school work, work work, house cleaning, you name it!) during crunch time, so it's no surprise to me that it's already a week into December and few gifts have been bought, few halls have been decked.  It's beginning to look like Christmas, but my calendar is still on October (oops).

In addition to my SAHM job, I'm also a student.  A very part-time student, but somehow I always end up stressed out about school work, but tonight it's DONE!  Until next semester, anyway.   With no more classes, papers, or presentations to work on I can really switch gears and get it done!

Cleaning, decorations, cookies, treats, planning.  There's a lot to do, but it will get done.  It always does!

Tree 2010

Oh and did I mention I still have one or two home improvement things I want to bang out before the BIG DAY?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mirror, mirror....tales of a bathroom

When we bought our house, the first floor powder room looked like this.  Yikes!

Before we moved in, the bathroom was taken down to studs and that's how it remained for years.  Last year, Jason finally had some time to wrap it up and made it beautiful, like this:

Wall color: Finneran Haley "Lemon Meringue"
Trim color: Behr "Linen White"
Tile:  Not sure, but it's pool tile.  I just LOVED the cobalt blue.

Sink & toilet are Kohler, light fixture is PB, but we'll be switching that out when I find the right thing.  We want it to match the polished look of the faucet.

Notice anything missing?  That's right, we had no mirror.  I had no place to check for food in my teeth or to make sure my hair wasn't sticking up in the back.  So sad.

With all the straight lines of the bead board I thought I'd try to find a round mirror.  I'm not a huge fan of frameless and with the white trim, I definitely want a simple frame.  But I was having a little trouble finding the right thing.

So last week the kids and I ventured over to Ikea in search of some odds and ends and I found IT!  The perfect sized round mirror at a reasonable price point:


Things I like about the mirror:  it's the perfect size and shape, it's SILVER!!  and it's fairly lightweight considering the size.

So today I grabbed my hammer and a picture hanger (may switch this out for a drywall anchor later if Jason thinks it's not strong enough) and I got it hung!

We still need a curtain in there, some art, and maybe a small cabinet to store extra TP, but I love how it's turned out.

Oh and the mirror gives me a spot to do silly self portrait photos :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Count UP!

Being the procrastinator that I am (after all, why do something now when you can always do it later, right?) here we are on the fourth of December and I have no advent calendar.  Historically I've been picky about advent calendars, choosing them for my daughter based on an old timey picture with glitter and without chocolate or toys, but in my outings I really hadn't come across any that fit the bill, or I did and just didn't think of buying one.

For a small child, an advent calendar is a little bit of Christmas fun each day.  Opening up the little window on the calendar to see what surprise is hiding behind the door...seeing the numbers count up as Christmas day approaches.  I used to take a peek at what was behind door # 24...usually Jesus (duh).   I was honestly feeling a little guilty about not having one for Sarah, although she hadn't mentioned it at all.

Then it dawned on me that we could DIY something, so here's what we're doing.  I can't show you a final product because this will build upon itself each day until Christmas.

You'll need:

  • 3 sheets of paper (we went with one red, one white, one green), cut into 8 strips
  • Silver sharpie (did I mention before how much I LOVE these things??)
  • Tape or stapler

Using your handy-dandy sharpie, write the number for the day, then something you did that day that was Christmas-y.  Using the tape, make a preschool style paper chain.  Watch the chain grow as you add your daily Christmas fun!

It's so simple, but it's great because it reminds you to spread the fun out to every day (rather than a one weekend Christmas-a-thon), to appreciate the wonderful parts of the holiday season leading up to the big day, and it reminds our kids that Christmas is more than presents!  So write down what movie you watched (check out the list of Christmas Movies here), what cookies you baked, what decorations you put up, what craft you did.  Did you see Santa?  Did you buy a gift for an Angel Tree or Toys for Tots?  Or was it just sipping hot chocolate with a candy-cane stirrer?  

I'm not sure where we'll hang ours, probably in the playroom where Sarah can enjoy it!

Happy Christmas-ing!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pizza Pizza!!

A few years back when Sarah was developing interest in what happened in the kitchen (rather than accepting that food magically appeared three times each day) I decided to show her how pizza was made.  I scoured cookbooks (How to Cook Everything is a Bible for me) and websites for reviewed crust recipes and eventually formulated one of my own (based on Mark Bittman's recipe).  We've gone on to having Pizza Friday as a  nearly-weekly tradition with home made or pizzeria pizza.

Making pizza dough is easy.  Really easy and not very time consuming.  I usually do it with a messy kitchen, starting around 4:30 on Friday afternoon.

Pizza Dough

  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (or other large grained salt)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • About 1 Cup of water 

Put the flours, yeast, salt, EVOO into your mixer (or I suppose you could do this by hand) and fire that baby up using the dough hook.  

Slowly add in the water.  You may need more if a ball isn't forming, or if it seems sticky, add in some flour.  You don't have to mix too much.

I like to turn it out on to the counter and knead it a little by hand (making me feel all homey and domestic) if it sticks to your hand, add a  little flour.  The more you mix and knead, the more the gluten in the dough is developed and the more you'll have stretchy dough to deal with.  Now, if you want a stretchy type crust, then go for it, but it's harder to roll out the crust if it's super stretchy.

Take an oven-safe bowl and spray with some cooking spray, plop the ball of dough in there and give it a quick mist with the spray.  Then cover with plastic wrap and stick it in the oven.

Did I mention that while the stuff is mixing together, i turn the oven on, let it heat up to about 100* F then I turn it off?  The oven is a great place to let your dough rise.  It's warm and not drafty.  Perfect.  If you don't know how hot your oven is, I suggest a handy-dandy oven thermometer.  They're cheap and better than guessing.

While the dough is rising, I clean the kitchen.  If you're like me then your kitchen almost ALWAYS has dishes in the sink and stuff in the dishwasher nobody wants to put away.  So do it now.   You'll feel better about yourself if you do.

At about 6:30 PM (roughly 2 hours later - but you can do it sooner if you're starving), take the dough out of the oven.  It should look like this:

Pull out your pizza sheet.  What?  You don't have a baking sheet devoted to pizza?  *Faint*.  My darling husband and I have been married 7 years and eaten TONS of pizza (probably why my pants don't fit, but I digress).  I use a plain old nonstick baking sheet.  I had a pizza stone once but it broke....this thing works great anyway.

See all the pizza lines? 

Use kitchen scissors to portion out the dough into 2 pieces (I make one a little  bigger than the other).    And form out your pie crust.  Thick or thin, round or free-form, make it however YOU like it.  I like thin :)

Top it (this one is for the kids so sauce, cheese and half pepperoni) and bake it at 500-550* for about 6-10 minutes.

The more toppings, the longer the bake time.  If your oven is uneven, you'll need to give it a spin half way through baking.

The other one is BBQ chicken (my fave :)


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Movies!!

I love movies and one of my favorite categories is CHRISTMAS MOVIES!  A longstanding family tradition has me baking and watching classic Christmas movies pretty regularly from Thanksgiving through New Year's.  Here's a list (with commentary, not synopses) on my faves:

Classics (should be seen in black & white if available)

Pure Comedy
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - This one has been around long enough that it might belong in the "classsics" category.  If you haven't seen this, and you're over the age of 13 (lots of swearing), then you MUST watch it.
  • Elf - I love this one.  So funny and silly.  Buddy the Elf's excitement when Santa's coming to town is awesome.  Best snack while watching:  Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corn & Syrup
  • Scrooged - A modern take on the classic Christmas story.  

Family Fun

Tugging at the Heartstrings
  • One Magic Christmas - I fell in love with this one when I was a kid and it's still so touching
  • Family Man - I love this one for the scene with Nick Cage singing in his undies.  Oh and it's pretty touching since I've got a family too :)
  • The Family Stone - I saw this one for the first time last year and it's so touching
  • Love Actually - This is one of those amazing movies.  Romance, comedy, a little death and sadness at the beginning and a fantastic musical number at the end.  

Christmas Action! Love a good shoot-'em-up movie with Christmas trees in the background!
  • Lethal Weapon (one) - Mel Gibson rocking a classic 80s mullet.  
  • Die Hard (one) - Yippie Ki Yay, Monkey Fighter **  Plus Alan Rickman.  LOVE IT.

Wow, what a list!  I knew I had a lot, but it wasn't until i actually listed them out that I realize what a task it is to get through them all.

**Edited for the internet's younger readers

Monday, November 28, 2011

Giving Thanks (a.k.a. Thanksgiving recap)

Approximately every other year we pack up the old minivan and trek northward for a get-together for Thanksgiving with the Massachusetts peeps.  This was just such a year.  And for those who think driving 300+ miles (each way) on a holiday weekend is the worst idea ever, YOU ARE RIGHT!

We left our house around 11am on Wednesday morning and after dropping the pooch off with my parents, we were on our way.  Sadly we were less than an hour into the drive when we encountered our first bout with bumper to bumper traffic.  I won't bore you with the unpleasant details of a 9 hour drive with two small children, but needless to say it was miserable.  We did eventually arrive.  Kids were so stir crazy from the car that they literally ran around the house until midnight.

Thursday was a typical turkey day.  Plenty of relaxing and football watching, plus turkey and pie eating.  It was nice to have our two kids playing with Jason's brother's kids.  Cousins have such fun.  We took them to the playground for a late-afternoon run-around.  They needed the fresh air.

Friday was another day of relaxing with a tidbit of Black Friday excitement.  Nothing big or gifty was purchased.  Jason & I both snagged new fleeces at the LLBean outlet (I'm an LLBean enthusiast, which is odd because I'm not that outdoorsy).  We visited with some friends who have this adorable little ginger baby a few months younger than Chris.

Saturday's plan was to do a smidge more shopping, but that didn't pan out.  We did visit some more friends and then we headed back "home" for the big event:  The Polar Express train ride!  Just around the corner from Jason's parents is the train station where they run a Christmas themed train ride each year.  We dressed the kids in their PJs and piled in.  The Polar Express was read aloud, "Elves" took requests for Santa, and we all sang Christmas songs.  It was a blast!  Kids also received their own sleigh bell to jingle and keep!

The train stopped close to where it started and we all got off for hot chocolate and a visit with Santa himself!  Sarah decided the line was too long (and I think she was tired) and Chris was having fun screaming and running in circles so we decided to head out to dinner at a small local restaurant.

And there was the highlight of the trip for me.  The best New England clam chowder evah!  Now I can't say that it was truly better than all others, but it totally hit the spot.

Sunday morning we packed up and headed home.  Pretty much a miserable repeat of the trip up...oh well :) That's what we do to see family, I guess.  We're so glad to be home safe and sound and to have had a nice visit with family and friends.

On to the next adventure!!!

Home again, home again...

Jiggity Jig!!

After a long weekend road trip to visit Jason's family in Massachusetts, we are finally home and settling back in.  A long-standing family tradition has our house 10x messier than we left and I am lacking the motivation to tackle even the smallest of tasks (unloading the dishwasher is #1).

I'm mentally prepping my list of Christmas to-dos and at this point the list  is tremendous, but it will get done.  It always does!

I think I'll start with window candles this afternoon, then maybe move on to addressing a few Christmas cards.  I'm not even thinking about shopping yet!

What's on your list?  Inside or outside?  Decorate or bake?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Blue Chandelier

A few months back I was at Ikea with my mom and as we were walking through the lighting section and saw a chandelier that I liked for my dining room.  I told my mom that I just wasn't feeling the old fashioned brass fixture we had in there now and a black one would be more the look i was going for.  And my mom said, "Why don't you just paint the one you have?"  Thanks for the brilliant idea!

Fast forward a few months to now and since we're in that period leading up to the big holiday and because this weekend's weather called for a day above 60 degrees I decided that THIS would be the weekend.

Interestingly enough, the folks over at Young House Love did a chandelier not too long ago and I was inspired by the blue color they used.   I followed their recommendations on primer and went with the paint available at our local hardware store.

Saturday morning, Sarah and I headed out for paint.  We ended up hitting Home Depot and Ace to find the right color.  That was fine because we kinda wanted to check out all the Christmas decorations anyway.

Then on Sunday morning I had Jason set up a Dexter-style area on the back porch.

He rigged up the chandelier with some twine and had it low enough so that I'd be able to reach it all around.

I cleaned it up (it was super dusty) and left it to dry for a bit.  I just used some Clorox wipes.

I removed the bulbs, wrapped the candles in plastic and tape (and the wire at the top).  I covered anything with threads - no need to gunk stuff up with paint.  Then I donned the rubber gloves and a mask and primed it up.  The directions on the can said to wait an hour to put on a second coat, so that's what I did.

I then did a coat of blue, but I noticed there were a few patches that the primer missed (it showed up more when I put the blue paint on), so after I let the first blue coat dry for 15 minutes, I spritzed a bit of primer on the bare spots, let that sit for a bit, then did the second blue coat.  And here's how it looked:

The instructions on the can also said it would be fully dry in 24 hours, so we let it sit overnight before moving it back in.  Since it was terribly dark in the dining room with no lights, Chris ate dinner in the kitchen (which he found to be incredibly distracting) and Sarah was glad to eat in her playroom watching TV.  Knowing that the chandelier was still on the back porch didn't stop me from trying to turn the light on at least 4 times.

Monday evening, Jason put the chandelier back up, turned the breaker back on and TADA!!!

I love it!  It's just what I was hoping for.  I'm considering getting some shades.  Any thoughts?


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