Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Slept on it.....

One evening, Nov 12th to be exact, I was sitting on the couch watching television. Nothing harmful with watching a little TV before bed, right? That was until I started looking at the red walls in the Den and thinking they needed repainted a different color.  The red was reminding me of McDonald's, which isn't a bad color, just not the color I am looking for in the den. Tony's advice was to sleep on it which I did. I am sure he was hoping I would forget about it by morning! If only my brain turned off that easily. As I laid in bed thinking through all my options, do you do this? I remembered the tutorial Shanty2Chic did on "easy accent paneling." Yes, at 2am I am searching for the post with the tutorial!  Now, I couldn't wait for morning to arrive to start this project! Poor Tony had no idea what was coming!

This is a picture of what the room looked like when we toured the home with our Realtor back in June.

Here we are moving day, Sept 9, 2010.
I sewed these curtains at the being of Nov. and after hanging them I started to think it was too much red.

We followed the tutorial on Shanty2Chic for hanging the board and batten.
Shanty2Chic's directions are awesome.
All material came to a total cost of $93.00!
I did all the measuring and Tony did all the cutting.
We used 1x6 for the horizontal boards
and 1x4 for the vertical boards
and a 1x2 on top of the 1x6 to create a ledge.
We spaced the 1x4's 15 inches apart.
To hang the board and batten Tony used liquid nails and finish nails.
Easy as pie!

Here we are with the boards in place and one coat of paint.
It took 3 coats to cover the red!

And here we are today!
Aww...you don't need sunglasses any more to look at my photo's!

I made these shelves a few years ago following the tutorial on Beneath My Heart.
The shelves use to be white in our old house, but I thought black worked nice,
since on the other side of the room we have a black desk.

This room functions as our office, but also as Sarah's toy room.
Her barbie house doesn't fit in her room since her and Maddie share a room.
That's okay, I enjoy hearing her play barbies and will be sad when the day
comes that doll house is no longer played with.
I hoping for a few more years of it living in the den.
Do you see the suitcases?

They hold Sarah's Barbies and American Doll clothe.
This is the perfect solution for my Sarah!
She is on the move and now she just grabs her suitcase
and off to her friends house with everything nice and neat!
Of course I sometimes do wonder what some of the neighbors think
when she is running to her friends house with her suitcase in hand!

Here she is moving in! It looks so much prettier than the white plastic bin we use to use!

Remember our desk that was delivered in 800 pieces?
Finally together and we are loving it!

Here is a view looking into the family room.

And another view into the family room.

So happy I slept on it!
Sometimes the best ideas come when we lay down and
have no distractions! Do you agree?
Sweet Dreams or Sweet Planning!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you join me at

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hosting a cookie exchange....

I am excited tonight to participate in The NewlyWoodward's Dare to Eat Cookie's party and to share with you How we Host a Cookie Exchange! Every December for the last 9yrs some friends and neighbors come together for a Cookie Exchange party.  This is one of my favorite Holiday time savers. We bake one kind of cookie, but go home with possibly 15 different kinds!

(sorry it is blurry, you can see a better photo's here)

Here a few of our tips....

1. Choose the date and time of your party. We meet in the morning, after dropping the kids off at school.  My sister-in-law hosts her part on a Saturday afternoon. The key is to plan early...you know how our holiday's schedules fill quickly.

2. Plan your guest list and send out invitations about 3 weeks prior to your party. This year I used Evite and finding it works well to RSVP for the party and the type of cookie each guest will bring.

3. Have your guest RSVP the type of cookie they are bringing. This makes sure you don't end up with 10 people bringing Chocolate Chip Cookies. We don't limit it to only cookies. We enjoy having cookie bars, small loaf of bread and homemade candies!

4. Have your guest bring a copies of the recipe for each guest. (This can be a photo copy of the recipe)

5. We have each guest bring 6 dozen cookies. If I had to bake 15 dozen cookies, I don't think I would want to attend! We then wait to see how many guests arrive and that determines how many of each type of cookie you will get. For example if there is 15 guests, each guest chooses 4 of each cookies. 72 cookies divided by 15 guest equal 4.8 cookies.

6. What happens to the 0.8 cookie's left? We packaged them and donated them to a family in need. Usually someone knows someone who could benefit from a little Holiday Cheer. Last year they went to a family who lost their home in a fire.

7. Have your guest bring a tin, box, bag, or basket to take their cookies home in.

8. Plan a light menu. Since we meet in the morning I usually have fruit, coffee cake, and some cookies. I have wonderful friends and they usually bring a side dish for us to enjoy. It doesn't hurt that we love to eat! We always have coffee, hot tea and cold drinks.

9. Sit back and enjoy a fun filled morning not focusing on the Holiday stress, but celebrating great friendships!

10. Last year we hosted a baby shower with the cookie exchange. Each guest brought one baby item and all the items were donated to a shelter for pregnant mothers.

In August we start trying new recipes to see which cookie we will make for the party. What a great excuse to bake and eat cookies! So far the kids are loving Sugar Cookie Pops (from Christmas with Southern Living 2007).....

1/2 Cup butter softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Large Eggs
3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar
Colored sugars, sparkling sugars,
and multicolored jimmies
4" white craft sticks

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; add sugars, beating well. Add eggs, oil and vanilla, beating until blended.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, blending well; cover and chill dough 2 hours or overnight.
Shape dough into 1 1/2" balls. Roll each ball in colored sugar or jimmies in individual bowls, pressing gently, if necessary, to coat balls. Place 2" apart on an ungreased baking sheets. Insert craft sticks about 1" into each cookie to resemble a lollipop.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-11 minutes or until set. Let cool 2 minutes on baking sheets; remove cookie pops to wire racks to cool completely.

Do you host a Cookie Exchange? We would love to know how you might do things different! If you host one for the first time,  have fun and let us know how it goes! And if you need a new cookie recipe, hop over to the NewlyWoodward's for their Dare to Eat Cookie party to find that perfect cookie recipe!

Cookie Challenge...

Did you hear Kim at The NewlyWoodwards are having a Cookie Challenge tonight? Well, you know how we love cookie parties!! And if you are looking for some good recipes you could look here, herehere,  and here ! The kids saw me looking for a recipe this morning and they jumped right in and found a recipe.

I sat back and let them take over.....

I was invited back in for the clean up! The dough has to chill for two hours and then we are adding a little surprise to our cookies this year! See you tonight at the Newlywoodard's!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The little things....

On Monday I sat in the SICU at the hospital holding my Grandmothers hand. As much as I believe and trust in God, he always finds ways to surprise me and let me see his hand at work. Arriving at the hospital the nurse was giving Granny a bath and I was more than happy to not be a nurse at that moment, but a granddaughter there to help. The nurse, myself, and Granny laughed about the kids, her kids and mine. A mother will always be a mother...even at 83 and your children are in their 60's. The sparkle in her eye and the smile on her face as I named each of her 6 children said it all. Thank you, God for allowing this special moment.

The family is praying and difficult decisions are being made.

My Grandmother slipped into a peaceful sleep and as I sat looking at her sleep, I couldn't but help think of my life, choices, and paths taken.  I almost missed coming to the hospital, because I was too busy...too busy...when does life get that busy...and the things that really matter get lost?

When the little things get lost?

As I sat beside her I mentally listed those little things....

The 5-10 minutes every morning I spend with God....listening for his voice.
The warm cup of coffee Tony greets me with every morning.
The morning smile from my teen...even when she is tired and grumpy!
Miss Sarah singing at the top of her lungs...a song she is making up as she goes along.
Hearing (Big) Tony downstairs singing a song, one he is making up as he goes along.
Lil Tony still giving me a bear hug and kiss before I leave for work.
Watching the kids giggle and laugh with each other.
Having a husband that smiles when he pulls into the driveway.
Enjoying nature and the wildlife that visits our yard every night.
Family dinner...mess and all!
Reading with the kids in bed every evening.
Listening to the kids say their prayers.
Watching my children peacefully sleep.
Spending time with Tony recounting our day.
Knowing my mom is only a phone call away.
Being able to start this all over tomorrow.

These little things make up the important big picture.

There was a time when I didn't pay attention to the little things, when I let the hustle and bustle of my day get in the way. The price is high when the little things are lost.

What are the little things you are thankful for? 

And thank you God for letting them not get lost....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Love me some insulators....

The other day at the Olde Factory I stumbled upon these insulators...

I love insulators...

Love how they are heavy duty and beautiful all in one...

Love giving them a new life....

Isn't it fun finding something old and making it feel new....

Treasure hunting in the 21st Century is so much fun....
would you agree?

P.S.(We finished the Den...waiting to share next week at Kim's Boring to Better Party)

DaySpring Winner

Before I announce the winner of the DaySpring $20.00 gift certificate, I want to say Thank You to DaySpring for giving me the opportunity to hold a Giveaway here at Relatively Unique!

Using Random.org the lucky winner is number #10....Kathy from A Delightsome Life

Kathy commented....
Hello Wendy, just completed my blog post - and featured you on my weekly feature post - thanks for providing this giveaway,

Congratulations to Kathy and thank you to everyone who entered!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Roasted Pears with Almonds, Cranberries and White Chocolate Drizzle....

These are easy and awesome!! This recipe is perfect for fall entertaining when fresh pears are available.
For roasting, choose pears which are ripe yet firm.

Here's what you need:
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
4 firm ripe pears, such as Bosc or Anjou, halved and cored
1/4 cup butter, melted. (1/2 stick)
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 oz. white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries. coarsely chopped

1)Pre-heat oven to 400f. Mix sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in small bowl. Place pears halves, cut side up in a 13x9-inch baking dish. Drizzle with melted butter.

Sprinkle generously with the brown sugar mixture.
Bake 30 minutes until tender, spoon brown sugar mixture over pears half way through baking. Cool slightly.

 Bring cream just to a boil in small saucepan on medium heat. Remove from heat Ad white chocolate, stir until chocolate is melted and sauce is smooth. Add a little butter if sauce is too thick, it helps it get to the right consistency. Just stir it in.

 To serve, place pear half on each dessert plate, or all on a platter for larger parties.
Spoon melted sugar over pears, and then top with cranberries and almonds.

 Drizzle generously with white chocolate sauce. Serve right away.
You can hear how good it is by all the yummms you hear with each bite.

I put them on a platter to display, then plate a each one up and serve.

See you next week!

Next week Stilton-Stuffed Baked Pears!!!

Happy to join this fun parties...
Recipe Lion

And don't forget to enter our DaySpring giveaway here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

DaySpring Giveaway

While at Relevant Conference I had the privilege of meeting the staff at DaySpring. They provided us with a coffee shop and had their product on display for us to enjoy.  Everyday I would walk through admiring all the beautiful items!  Also made my shopping Christmas list for family and friends. Can't share though, just in case mom is reading!!

At the conference we could sign up to have DaySpring  send us one  Ever Grateful product if we were willing to review it on our blog! Aren't they awesome!

The other day I arrived home to see a box at my door step from DaySpring.  Over joyed with excitement, I quickly opened to see which product they sent for me to review.  You can only imagine how happy I was to see they sent the Ever Grateful Pitcher.  It is the most beautiful color green and will be perfect for holding ice tea for lunch with the girls or O.J. for the kids. What I love the most are the words written on both sides of the pitcher.....
"thankful for simple graces"

It has graced many spots in our home, until finding the perfect spot!

DaySpring has offered a $20 gift certificate to one of my readers...

4 fun ways to enter to win...

1. Hope over to DaySpring and take a look around. Come back and share in a comment what you would  spend your $20.00 on or toward.

2. Post about the giveaway on your blog. Come back and share in a separate comment.

3. Tweet about the giveaway. Come back and share in a separate comment.

4. Share on Facebook. Come back and share in a separate comment.

The giveaway will end on Sunday, Nov 21st at Midnight. I will announce the winner on Monday, Nov. 22.   Good Luck!

** Shipping Costs are not included in this giveaway.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kitchen Table Makeover

Do you remember it all started with a picture? One little inspirational picture led me on the search for a way to recreate the kitchen seating area.  Our kitchen seems to be the place where everyone congregates and visits. We try to use the family room, but some how we slowly migrate back to the kitchen. Does this happen in your home? 

Our before picture was taken in September after moving in. The kitchen table would stay. It is sturdy and I like the finish. The chairs are large and made the space feel small. Replacing the chairs became my challenge.

One of the inspirational photo's I loved was from Pottery Barn and the picture included a bench, but Pottery Barn no longer sold the bench. Sigh.. Luckily Ballard's does still carry a bench! It was a little splurge, but I was keeping the table...it all balanced out in my mind!

It also contains hidden storage!
Even better!!

Okay, since I spent my budget on the bench my dilemma grew, because I still needed (wanted) chairs.

Did I tell you an auction house is at the end of our road? Tony doesn't think this is the best thing for us, I on the other hand think it is awesome! The girls and I walked up to just take a look!

There was a set of 6 chairs for auction and they looked brand new! Let the bidding begin!

Guess what girls....
I got all 6 chairs for $135! During the bidding my hands were sweating, my heart was racing and I felt like I was going to faint. Someone was bidding against me....I was so nervous I couldn't even look to see who it was!

Woo Hoo...phone call to Tony to tell him he needed to pick us up and 6 chairs!

The seat cover is actually a light green color. It is pretty, but doesn't match the other colors going on in the kitchen.  Back to Ballards and ordered fabric by the yard to cover the chairs....

It has become one of our favorite places to sit and hang out.
Here is a close up of the table. I finished it a few years ago. Painted it white and used stain to give it an aged look. Sanded in places to add to the distressing feeling.  It is the perfect table for kids....I never worry about dents and scratches!

Here is the Boring Before.....

and the After....

Thanks for stopping by!

Will you join me at the following parties...

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