Scott & I have been engaged for almost a year now and the wedding plans are coming along...LIE!  Actually there are not many plans other than we have our location, a family barn located in Michigan.  I did a little dress shopping and was "wedding inspired" a feeling I'm sure will quickly pass.  It's very odd how into other weddings I can get but when it comes to my own I want little to do with it.  The thought of everyone staring at me as I walk down the aisle makes me want to break out in hives.  Needless to say I found a cute craft on pinterest that I thought would look gorgeous in the barn and had all the needed materials already on hand.  Let the crafting begin!

Thank you to A Place For Us for providing the idea and instructions.  I followed her steps to the letter and it was a very simple process!  For an array of flowers I played around with the number of petals and the shape of each flower.  Instead of leaving them a natural brown I wanted to go for a more polished, antique look so I used a little gold spray paint.  The end result was beautiful.  I was amazed at how the gold spray paint looked on the brown paper bags, not too gold just a enough to give it a golden shimmer.  Since I've already started decorating for the holiday season I added these to my mirror.  The brown paper next to my lighted rustic JOY sign matched perfectly!
 
After a long day I pulled into the driveway and there on my porch was a very large box.  I wasn't expecting anything and didn't recognize who it was from.  My initial thought what "oh s*#$ what NOW".  Growing up the ginger haired baby of the family, automatically assuming I'm guilty of something is second nature to me because typically I was indeed guilty!  Quickly I whipped out my pink swiss army knife key chain, wasting no time of course, and cut into the box.  After a quick trip for a bandaid as a result of my skill-less knife skills I was into the box.  As soon as I saw the color I instantly knew what it was, vintage mason jars.  Of course I also knew who they were from, my mom.  I have wanted these for so long and just never ran across them.

The very next day I headed out to buy some flowers to fill them with and set out on my table.  They were stunning.  The bright flowers in the simply beautiful mason jar was a perfect addition to my rustic dining room table.  Please tell me it's normal to have over 20 photos of flowers in mason jars on your phone.  Please also tell me it's normal to look at them at least once a day and smile?  It's official I'm turning into my mother, only a much more tech savy version of her.  

Happy SPRING, Enjoy!
One day last week as I
 
With Easter just around the corner I of course spent this past weekend getting a box of goodies ready to send my favorite little lady in Texas. The one and only Madelyn James. Madelyn's love for Minnie is now a full blown obsession, she refuses to wear anything without Minnie or Minnie bows on it. Her mother as you can imagine isn't to thrilled about this. To indulge this obsession I sent her a box filled with Minnie Mouse goodies. Minnie bubbles, Minnie earrings, a light up Minnie necklace, a Minnie cup, Minnie stickers, homemade Minnie hair bows and my favorite Minnie Easter eggs. I saw a post on pinterest and had to make them for her. They were really simple, find easy DIY steps below. I also ran across some really cute printed burlap ribbon at hobby lobby and topped the basket with it. I'm excited to find something else to do with it since I now have three rows.


DIY Minnie Mouse Easter Eggs

Supplies:
-pink plastic Easter eggs
-blue tape
-black spray paint
-white paint
-paint brush
-black buttons
-hot glue

Step 1.
Completely cover the bottom half of your pink eggs in blue tape.

Step 2.
Using the black spray paint, paint the top half of your egg black and let dry.

Step 3.
Remove the blue tape from the bottom half of your egg. Using the bottom of your paint brush and white paint make polka dots on the pink part of your egg and let dry.

Step 4.
Using a small amount of hot glue, but enough to secure the buttons, glue on the black buttons to the black part of your egg to make Minnie's ears.

I wish I had time to add bows but it wasn't going to happen and make it to Texas in time. My Minnie eggs are now on their way to Texas for my favorite little lady!

Happy Easter Maddie James!!!



 
In honor of yesterdays post "Is it a Lime or is it a Lemon?” Scott and I had lemon & lime popsicles last night.  I of course had Lemon, Happy Tuesday!

 
Is it a lemon or is it a lime? That is the question! This is the question that has haunted me all week, stupid as it may seem. I have never claimed to be a green thumb. In fact I openly admit my disgust for all things gardening. When I think of gardening I think of dirt under my nails, sweating outside, dirt all over my clothes and quite frankly how long it takes to weed and plant drives me insane. Whenever we start planting I imagine it taking an hour which in turn ends up being hours of prep work. In short, I'm just not that into it!

When Scott and I moved into our new house I was happy to see that the only gardens we had to worry about we're the three in front. Of course I already had plans of all the low maintenance bushes and shrubs I could fill them with. The backyard was all grass, a large oak tree and one small tree in the corner. We thought it might be some sort of fruit but didn't quite know what kind. Sure enough, a few months later around the holidays a small green fruit started to grow. I was convinced it was a lime tree. what perfect timing for me to add some limes and cranberries to my water for our Christmas party. There I was, giddy as a schoolgirl, taking pictures as I cut the limes from our backyard in our first house. A fruit tree in OUR backyard.

Fast forward 4 months...I'm in the backyard and when I glance over at the "lime" tree my mouth fell to the floor. There on my lime tree hung what looked to be almost ripe lemons. I had to laugh at myself as I thought what an ass hole I was cutting up those limes at Christmas. Here I was thinking I had lime and cranberry water when in actuality I was serving unripe lemons!

I really started wondering how do you tell a lemon from a lime? Cut it open! It was a sour and tinted green...but is that because its an over ripe lime or an unripe lemon? Ask the neighbors! "Hey LADY! When you reach over our fence to steal fruit are you stealing lemons or limes?" Haha, I am so tempted!  Thank god for google!  I found some great information from Garden Guides and I also found this funny blog post by Amateur Gourmet: That's not a lime tree. Obviously I'm not the only one to ever be confused! 

Here is what I learned from Garden Guides:

To the untrained eye, lemon trees and lime trees look nearly identical, unless they have ripe fruit on them. They both grow in the same regions and have the same general shape, bark texture and color. However, there are some telltale signs that differentiate lime trees from lemon trees. No matter what part of the growth cycle the tree is in, you can tell whether it is lime or lemon in as little as a minute.

Step 1
Look at the size of the tree. A fully grown lemon tree can grow up to 20 feet tall with widespread branches. Lime trees are generally more narrow and shorter, usually no taller than 13 feet at full height.
Step 2
Examine the leaves. Lemon leaves are long and narrow, usually around 5 inches long. Lime leaves are more rounded and shorter, usually between 3 and 4 inches long.

Step 3
Tear a leaf open and smell it.  Lemon leaves have a very mild citrus aroma and lime leaves have a bold lime smell. 
Step 4
Examine the flowers if they are present. Lemon flowers grow in pairs or singles and are tinted purple. Lime leaves grow in small clusters and are completely white.

Step 5
Examine the fruit if it is present. Lemons are pointed on both ends, much like a football, and have thick skin. Limes are more rounded, like a basketball, and have thin skin.
 
In my desperate search for some Easter decorations that don't involve plastic bunnies and chicks covered in tinsel I ran across these beautiful egg shells filled with flowers.  I love how simple and modern they look especially in terms of Easter decor. I was excited to find some white egg cups at Cost Plus World Market to put my freshly glittered and planted shells.  A great DIY Easter decoration that is keeping it classy!

If your interested in making your own eggs planters there is a great video below which will show you how to blow your eggs out.  Check out some of my egg shell planter inspirations below!

Instructions:
Wash & dry eggs.  Following instructions from the youtube video below, blow out your eggs.  Rinse and let dry.  Crack and remove the top portion of your egg shell, leaving and opening big enough to plant your flowers.  Using small flowers or plants carefully plant your flowers in the egg shells.  

Another options is to us some white glue to close the pin hole in the bottom of your egg shell and use this shell as a vase.  Fill with water and add your favorite flowers!

Note: I used Modge Podge and glitter to add a little sparkle to my shells!
 
Where do I even begin? It's been so long. These past few weeks have been filled with traveling, dancing, more dancing, a quick trip to Santa Barbara and visits from family. Needless to say its left very little time for crafting. Finally yesterday I was able to steal a few minutes of quality Pinterest time.

I've always struggle with Easter decorations, there is a very fine line between trashy and classy. The house down the street with gillter bunnies lining their driveway, pastel tinsel garland around the porch and light up bunny lights...trashy! I always have a hard time with Easter decor, we don't have kids so we don't need plastic bunnies all over, we're not very religious and frankly my favorite thing about Easter would have to be pastel colors, flowers, and the candy. In case you haven't noticed Easter offers the best candy over every other holiday. Cadbury Mini Eggs, Robin's Eggs, Satrburst Jelly Beans, Sweet Tart Chicks, Reese's Eggs, Butterfinger Eggs...do I need to continue? Anyway after an hour of pinning I decided to kick off the Easter season by putting together an Easter centerpiece for our dining room table.

I got a great new vase from my cousin for Christmas. It has a vase inside a vase so you can fill it with anything you'd like a still put flowers in the middle. Aka I no longer have to cut a plastic cup in half to insert into a filled vase.. I usually fill a vase with conversation hearts then pink roses in the middle for Valentine's Day. For Easter I added blue & teal speckled eggs with a little raffia in the bottom. Then I added white daises and pink spray roses to the center. I'm in love.

Let spring begin!
 
Love is in the air and in our house so is the smell of Lobster Macoroni & Cheese. Scott is one lucky man this year! Lately I've been indulging my love of snacking and my other love of NOT cooking! Poor Scott has been living on frozen pizza for awhile. I try and keep some sort of food in the house or at the very least have breakfast for him on the days he is working. Fortunately, he was blessed with those "SKINNY" genes. Scott could eat all day long and not gain a pound. Oh how I envy him. I just think about any type of carb and my pants suddenly feel tighter.

I thought I would spoil him this year. I had seen a recipe earlier this week for lobster macoroni and cheese. Out of everything I cook Scott's favorite meal is hands down my Mac & Cheese with Gruyere cheese & nutmeg. He spent all year begging me to make it for him to take to work this Thanksgiving. Needless to say Thanksgiving came and off to work Scott went with a tray of mac and cheese. On a more serious note the thought of cooking lobster completely terrified me...shells...poop tracks...oh my, oh my, let me count the ways I could mess this up. On my way home from teaching last night I swung by the grocery store for a much needed pep talk from the women behind the meat counter. She looked me in the eyes and assured me if I could boil water I could boil a lobster tail. Between her help and a helpful YouTube video I finally decided to give lobster a whirl. What's the worse that could happen? Scott could have a slight heart attack when he learned I spent $30 on lobster tails that ended up exploding all over the kitchen...hehe!

I'm proud to report I came out on top and with ALL my fingers!!! It was so much fun cooking something new. It actually was beyond easy, even getting the lobster meat out was easy. The butteryness of the lobster and the smokey Gruyere cheese made a perfect pair, just like Scott and I. I'm crazy and he is calm, cool, and collected. My current problem is deciding how I will ever eat Macoroni & Cheese again without lobster?!?! Thank you Ina Garten for your delicious lobster macaroni & cheese recipe...I am forever changed.

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! Enjoy the ones you love!


Lobster Mac & Cheese
Ina Garten - Food Network


Ingredients

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and lobster and stir well. Place the mixture in 6 to 8 individual gratin dishes.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
 
Right off the bat let me warn you, if you read the title of this post and got excited now would be the time to calm yourself down. Being a red velvet fanatic I'm sorry to report this recipe was a flop. I thought combining a childhood favorite like puppy chow with a new dessert love from my adult life would be a hands down winner. Sadly it was not. Although I'm not completely ready to throw the idea out, the recipe however is a goner.

I found a recipe online that used chex cereal, red velvet cake mix, powdered sugar, white chocolate chips, chocolate chips, milk, and cream cheese. I have to admit what I love most about regular puppy chow is the peanut butter and chocolate combo, so when I realized this recipe did not include the classic peanut butter ingredient I was already a little skeptical. I followed the recipe exactly and when I found myself at the last step, shaking the coated cereal in powdered sugar and the red velvet cake mix I was completely annoyed. The only thought that popped into my head was "I can't believe I'm coating these puppies with plain old cake mix...this is going to taste like cake mix." Like I'm constantly telling Scott, I was of course RIGHT. Everytime I took a bite all I could taste was powdery cake mix.

As I sat there in the kitchen staring at a pile of it feeling like a failure, Scott tried to comfort me by telling me if I didn't tell anyone it was cake mix they probably would never guess. Needless to say ever since I made this I've been craving regular old puppy chow, it's now on the to do list for this week. I'm sad to say but this is one recipe that will not make the cut..it has been chopped!
 
You may remember seeing some of our earlier posts from our grand opening where the ladies made twine wreaths. Well twine is back but in Valentine's Day fashion. My sister Jamie made this wreath for the Valentine's Day and I had to share!

This wreath is wrapped with twine the same way as our other twine wreaths then adorned with felt hearts and finished with another layer of twine in an argyle pattern. I love the simplicity of the twine and think the hearts add a pop of color, giving it the perfect Valentine's Day touch without looking like a holiday pile of barfed hearts and glitter! Great DIY Valentine's Day decoration just in time for the holiday!