Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Our "Middles" Room

It has been a long time since I posted a room renovation, and well, that's because it's been a long time since I've had time to work on any of our "house projects".

If you are new to our little piece of blog heaven, then you can read about our renovation of this new home here. You can also search by clicking on the label "House Renovation" on the right side of the blog. 

We focused most of our efforts early on, to that which needed replaced and then to the cosmetic changes needed in the main downstairs living areas. 

Bedrooms were down on the list of priorities.  We completed the "littles" bedroom first, but it took many months before we got around to the next one. 

Here is a "before" photo of the "Middles" room. This would be the room that Connor and Cameron share. 

One consistent truth amongst our adopted boys is that they all LOVE the color BLUE. 

Connor, though, is especially fond of teal, turquoise, and other bright and deep hues. 

So, when I took the two of them to Lowes to choose colors for their room, they went bold and bright. A deep teal!

Let the painting begin...

After renting for so many years, to say I was "over" cream walls would be a serious understatement!

Note the bunk beds. Until now, they slept in bunks,
but with the renovation at hand, they asked if they
could detach the bunks and sleep on one level, so that is what we did. 

This was definitely a bold attempt on my part to do a chevron with no real knowledge on how to do it!  It isn't perfect, but then again, it was only one, so not too too noticeable. 

My next step (which took awhile to finish) was to paint the wooden cubbies a matching yellow. 
It looks so nice in there! 

With a coupon from the paper, I was able to get some plain wooden, open backed frames to place around the scripture canvases that our dear friend Olivia painted as a gift for each of our boys!

I painted the frames to match the accent yellow.

Oh look, I caught a giggling teenager!

And here is the view from the closet to the hall door.

A respectable teenage room now!

Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin- Oh YUM!

This is a side dish that I'd been waiting to make for a couple of weeks now.

We finally got a night that Tom and I were home together and we tag teamed dinner!

After working all day (with 5 boys at my office!) and Tom working most of the afternoon, I wasn't sure we'd get it pulled together, but we did!

Tom took care of the meat on the grill and I tackled this amazing side dish!

First, you start with a pound of Brussels sprouts.
Trim the ends and place in microwave safe bowl.

 Add 1 c. water to bowl and cover.
Cook for 5 minutes, then drain.
(Note: If you aren't a fan of microwaving food, or if you don't have one, just plan on baking them for about 20 minutes in water, then proceed)

Meanwhile, get a handsome assistant. In our case, we used Cameron, age 12, to grate our fresh Parmesan cheese. 

Measure out cheese, salt, pepper, and almond flour and mix.
Then, cut in 2 TBSP butter (not melted) into this flour/cheese mixture till it is crumbly.

Once the sprouts are cooked and drained well, toss in 1 TBSP of butter till covered.
Next, pour from bowl into shallow baking dish.
Cover with 1/2 c. heavy cream.

Add on the flour/cheese mixture and crumble it over the mixture.
Then, add the last little bit of freshly grated Parm.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes till golden brown and bubbly.

We clearly didn't make a large enough batch, though we all did get a small portion. Next time I will surely double this recipe for our large, hungry crowd.

It got thumbs up all around and there was a request to "do this one again!"

Brussels Sprouts Gratin
(per Wheat Belly Cookbook)

1 pound fresh Brussels Sprouts
1 C. water
3 TBSP. butter, divided
1/4 c. almond meal/flour
1/4 c. plus 3 TBSP grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. heavy cream

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bedroom Makeover #1: Tommy & Cooper

One of the blessings of this new home is going from 3 small bedrooms to 5!

Even though we didn't gain a ton of square footage over our previous home, what we did gain was much needed bedrooms and a rec room for the boys.

In our old house, Cameron, Tommy and Cooper all shared a bedroom. A very small bedroom.

In this house, Cameron now shares with Connor, so the youngest two boys have a room to themselves. 

I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do in their rooms and so theirs was the first bedroom that I tackled.

When we moved in, it was lavender.

 Well, that needed to change, so we went with a bright, light blue.

Then, we went ahead and painted the bunk beds that we were given to us a bright kelly green.

Then came the hard part.

Two widths of painter's tape and several hours later… I begin to paint in our stripes.

The tape is finally peeled off and ta-da!

This took a lot of patience and a good level!

Add in two matching comforters, some art and a large map of the USA and we are almost done.

My mom found this cute valance at a local goodwill and so that was the finishing touch.

Lastly, our dear friend Olivia painted these canvases to match the dark blue on the walls and stenciled some of our favorite scriptures for above the boys' beds.

Thanks O!

Roasted Zucchini, Squash, and Tomato Medley

This was a super yummy and SIMPLE side dish that involves some of summer's tastiest veggies.

As many know, we are super blessed that my Mom lives on a farm and has a great garden. We are grateful to benefit from the organic veggies that come forth each year!

This recipe, from the Wheat Belly 30 minute (or less) cookbook, was a great side dish and a little tastier than "just cooking the veggies".


First, mix oil, spices, red wine vinegar, and sea salt in a large bowl and mix together well. 

Then slice each zucchini and squash lengthwise then slice off 1/4 inch half moons. 
Slice the grape tomatoes in half as well.

Drop all cut veggies into the coating and toss till all are well coated. 

Lay in single layer on a cookie sheet and roast on 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, turning once. 

Once cooked, sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese over the veggies and serve immediately. 

My handy dandy Pampered Chef cheese grater. Love this tool!

Fast, easy, tasty and healthy.

A perfect combination.

1 1/2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning Mix (mine is homemade)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 yellow summer squash
1 zucchini
1 pint grape tomatoes
1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Avacado, Bacon, And Egg Sandwiches

This yummy, wholesome sandwich is gluten free and so very tasty! 
(Note: this is NOT a low calorie sandwich. Not the best recipe for someone working on weight loss, but healthy ingredients)

I made two really quick before running out the door to take Tommy and Cooper to their karate class.

I didn't have any fresh bread tonight either, so I had to whip up a loaf.

This recipe is quick and easy. It doesn't get very high though, so this time I cut off a good portion of the loaf and sliced it crossways to get a bigger slice. 

In a large skillet, cook the bacon nice and crisp.
(Nitrate free is best)

Then slice a ripe avocado 

Cook the eggs till firm.
If you have an egg mold, that make a nice round shape, great, but I was in a hurry and just cooked mine the old fashioned way.

Then stack each item on the bread.

The final touch?
The Spicy Cajun Mayo!

Even my youngest, who doesn't like spicy, or mayo, or avocado gave this combination a big thumbs up!

(Maybe it was the fact that he inhaled it in 5 minutes so we weren't late for karate??)

Avocado, Bacon, and Egg Sandwiches

4 slices of bacon
2 eggs
4 slices of Sandwich Bread (recipe below)
1/4 c. Spicy Cajun Mayo*
1 avocado, halved, pitted and sliced

Spicy Cajun Mayo

1/2 c. Mayo
1 tsp. tomato paste (I skipped this since we didn't have any)
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 tsp. Cajun Seasoning (see below)

Cajun Seasoning Mix
(a good substitute would be the Java Rub from Wild Tree)

2 TBSP. paprika
1 TBSP. garlic powder
1 IBSP. onion powder
2 tsps. ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsps. ground red pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ice Cream!! with Spinach???? Yes!

So, I am truly not one of those hippy, weed eating sorts of people. I swear. 

But, when we got the Ninja
 (which I LOVE, by the way)
the boys immediately asked me to make an ice cream that they had sampled at Costco once. 
(It was a Vitamix demonstration).

Anyway, they remembered that ice cream and begged me to make it.

It was a bunch of fresh spinach, 1 large ripe banana, and a ton of ice. 
How hard could it be?

Fresh organic spinach?
Fresh, ripe bananas?

Cram a lot of ice into the Ninja and....


There is something missing... 

Yep!  Pure undenatured Whey protein!

Before the magic of the Ninja...


Yes, it looks like a green frosty.
Yes, ice cream isn't usually GREEN.
But, no lie!
This stuff is Good!

The boys sucked it down in a flash!

I think their favorite part was smacking their ice cold lips all over their Mom!