niches: a cry for help

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

i'm going to start on Lucas's nursery this weekend. 
guys, i have to remove a popcorn ceiling.
it's going to be awful.

collective groan

that's the thing about 90's houses. they thought popcorn was the jam. 
they were wrong.

fortunately my girl Kelly has this awesome tutorial so i'm feeling prepared.
i.can.do.this.

anyway, this post isn't about that.
it's about niches.
great lead-in.


take this one for example.
it sits just outside our kitchen.
you can't really tell but the wall behind it is curved into a semi-circle.
what the heck do you do with that?
no, seriously. i'm asking.
i thought about making it a spot for keys with cute hooks and maybe chalkboard paint.
but i can't stand the way chalk feels.
plus my handwriting sucks so they'll be no cute lettering here.



next we have these two giant ones.

look carefully, the second one is hidden behind the light.
my expert photographic hand at work here.
you're welcome.


ok, so taking down those faux floral arrangements would be the first step to improving the space. 
i should do that.
but really. what next?
how do you make these spaces work?

i'm anti-clutter so i don't want to replace one dust-collector for another.
the niche on the right might be ok with nothing in/on it.
but the one on the left. it's hard to overlook.

i'm totally stumped guys. 
help a girl out.
what would you do with these weird spaces?


peanut butter dark chocolate chunk cookie bars

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

i've been on an unofficial baking challenge lately.
and by unofficial i mean i just made it up.
the goal: bake my way through my 'dessert' pinterest board.


problem is, i keep adding to it.


sunday i decided to tackle another recipe.
david wanted a fruit-filled dessert. 
i didn't.
i guess it's a texture thing but please don't make me eat slimy chunks of berries.
but david is happy to keep all the fruit bearing desserts in this house to himself. 
so i made him a pie. 
on one condition. 
i made another treat just.for.me.
he wasn't allowed to get handsy with it.
the pie is his.
the other is mine.



this glorious bar is (obviously) NOT blueberry pie.
it's chewy, peanut buttery and dark chocolately. 
in other words, health food. (i bought the 74% cacao)
just how mama likes it.



i know the weather is warming which means i can't live under a parka anymore.
i should be eating fibrous veggies (gag) and kale.
 (all the cool kids like kale..i'm not cool).



can i tell you a secret?
apart from my slanderous affection for peanut butter, i chose this recipe simply for the ease.
after making a pie for david i wasn't about to dirty up my kitchen any more than necessary.

this recipe is one bowl.
it requires no mixing apart from your little biceps and a spoon.
there's no special ingredients or techniques.
you dump stuff in a bowl and go.
awesome.


peanut butter dark chocolate chunk cookie bars
recipe slightly adapted from Averie Cooks

1 stick unsalted butter
1 large egg
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
heaping 1/2 cup of peanut butter (do not use homemade or naturally separating types)
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
7 oz dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped (I used ghiradelli's 72% cacao)

preheat oven to 350. line an 8x8 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
melt butter in microwave, about 1 minute. in a large bowl combine egg, sugars, vanilla and peanut butter. add slightly cooled butter and stir to combine. add the flour, baking soda, and salt until just incorporated. stir in chopped chocolate. 
transfer batter to baking dish. smooth evenly in pan. bake for 18-22 minutes or until lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean (this can be tricky due to all the chocolate chunks...just keep poking around).
allow bars to cool in pan at least 30 minutes before cutting.
after completely cool, cut into 9 pieces and serve.
(dude, stick them in the fridge for about an hour. omg. amazing)
did i just say dude?



in other news, i'm gonna need help with some home design stuff, friends. 
get your thinking caps on. i've got a few doozies. 
a hint: niches. what to do with useless spaces.



linked up at Home Stories A to Z

Update

Friday, April 11, 2014

Look at me, getting things done. 
I'm taking the weekend to corral this place and get it looking spiffy. You're welcome.
PS - Etsy shops with pre-made blogger templates rock my socks. 

Easy Lemon Cream-Cheese Kolaches

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

First things first, this blog is a design mess.
There, I said it.
I have no patience for learning how to make it pretty and normal looking. I've tried.
It's just not my jam. It's confusing and takes forever. I don't understand the language.
 Plus, I have a kid to keep alive soooo figure-out-how-to-do-blog-code-stuff OR play with your cute kid? Hmm...yea, gonna wave rattles with my boy.

I bring this to our attention so you know I know it's a hot mess. I want to fix it. I've even tried but I just get frustrated. I thought about hiring someone to help but I have major qualms about paying someone to do anything with it...particularly because this little slice of the interwebz is just for me. I don't make money at it. I don't do anything but ramble. Plus, I'm cheap so if I feel like there's something I could do myself (even when I've tried and failed) I just can't seem to shell out cash to someone else.

But I know I can't keep it like this forever. It's driving ME insane. Stick with me guys. I'm (slowly) working on a solution. I just have to figure out what it is.

----------------------------------------------

When I was a kid my grandparents introduced me to something called a cheese danish.
We were at McDonald's and it was my first experience with cream cheese.
A fast-food breakfast elevated my culinary knowledge? Yes, miracles do happen.
Or I led a sheltered life.
Either way, a love affair was born.




fast forward ten years. 
I'm at a little gas station somewhere between Dallas and Austin.
I eat something called a kolache
My mind is blown. 
Forgotten are the days when a fast food pastry satisfied my morning sugar needs. 
Now a gas station fits the bill.
I'm so high-brow.




That gas station was called The Czech Stop and it's glorious. 
I dunno if I'm having post-baby cravings or what but I've been thinking about cream cheese pastries for weeks now.
 Particularly, The Czech Stop's lemon cream cheese kolaches.
They are legen-wait for it-dary.



  Sunday was a rainy day.
I love rainy days. We get enough sunshine and warmth in Texas. Let it rain.
Who wants to slap me?



anyway, rainy days are for baking.
they are not, however, for taking pictures. or using proper punctuation. 
{I go back and forth between wanting to capitalize sentences or not. also, I have a thing for ellipses. you know (...).}
I also have a major thing for cream cheese and lemon. 
Let's get back on track here.



I didn't want to dirty my kitchen...or drive a few hours to get my cream cheese on...so I grabbed a few ingredients and got to work. 
This was an experiment. I wasn't sure it would turn out.
It did.
My kolache craving was satisfied by these almost-as-good-as-the-real-deal treats.
In a pinch, this recipe works wonders.




These are so simple and so good.
David and I almost ate them all that night.
I said almost. We do have some level of self-control.
Sort of.


Who wants to fix my blog for free? I'll throw in baked goods and snuggles with a 4 month old. ;)

linked up at Home Stories A-to-Z

Unpacking: The gruesome truth

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

3 weeks in the new house and I'm fairly certain we're not going to do any more unpacking. evah. Instead, we've learned how to skillfully maneuver each room avoiding the cardboard obstacles.
I'm totally over the whole new-home-unpacking excitement. Logic tells me I would benefit from the continued effort despite how accustomed I now am to littered floors and flustered searches for "x" item(s) but my inner child (the one who cleans her room by shoving everything in the closet and shutting the door) is a bit more bratty. And right now, she's getting her lazy way. 


I trudge on.
suitcases in the living room? yes, we live this way. we are also letting our child roll around on the floor half-naked with the pets too. please feel free to submit your lifestyle/parenting questions to me. 
I'm totally kidding. Please don't call the authorities. 



We're making some progress.
Those suitcases are now gone. and by "gone" I mean they're at home in our closets...still not unpacked but not in the middle of our living room anymore either. 
I try not to stress too much about it. We're functioning. I gotta chill, right? this is what I keep telling myself. over and over and over again. it's working well.



  If you follow my Instagram feed you know that our sweet black lab, Sampson, had to have major surgery last week. He tore a ligament in his knee. there were x-rays and multiple vet visits. a trip to the doggy orthopedic surgeon. yes there are such things and yes they are just as pricey as they may seem. my mother thinks we're nuts.



so yea, our house is full of toe-stubbing landmarks right now: boxes, baby/baby items and lame animals. 
it's a jungle out there so Lucas and I put on our game face.

I just noticed he looks more pale than me here. That must be a trick of the camera because my little half-hispanic babe is already more tan than his mama in real life.
 also, buns foreva! 

In the coming weeks I hope to have a bit more to show you on the home front (I'm researching removable wallpaper) as well as a few Easter recipe(s). I'm itching to bake y'all. Like poison ivy itching.
Yay for spring!


New House Tour

Friday, March 14, 2014

So it's official - We've moved. 


We also haven't showered or slept. 
Well...now we have.
Barely.

Those first few days were rough. We couldn't find our toiletries AND our sweet little angel-baby who was previously sleeping through the night suddenly decided night time = party time. 

With only a few clean clothes and boxes threatening to unhinge my balance at every corner, it was like The Walking Dead here but with a bit more panache. Something more like "zombie superheroes". is that a show? it should be. Zombie Mom - able to leap small piles of who-knows-what in a single (or double) bound. Able to hold her hair back with only tangles and grease. Able to soothe baby after only 3.5 hours of non-stop crying. Able to survive on only Doritos and guacamole. (zombie moms don't eat flesh) 

We're super excited though. You wouldn't know that by all this zombie talk, but we really are. I'm especially anxious to get things out of boxes. I don't care where. I just want to be able to walk without stubbing my toe again.  


let me show you how the new house looked Saturday morning before we unloaded all our stuff. 

entry

I took all these prize-winning shots on my phone. The commentary is also my own. 
Copyright pending.



I was a bit iffy about having the giant TV (David's idea) on the built-in. I wanted it over the fireplace. I thought it would help with balance, symmetry and all that focal-point stuff but I'm coming around to "where-it's-supposed-to-go" land (quotes are The Man's). But maybe I'm just lazy.





I was adamantly opposed to having a 2-storied home. And now we have one. 



The sellers left us those two lovely funeral arrangements. 
I don't have a clue what to do with them or the weird ledges they occupy. but our neighborhood is having a garage sale in a few weeks. I'm thinking these two might be making a grand appearance there. 



Hello, 90's kitchen. 
You have a wonderful layout and I love your natural light. 
But the honey-oak cabinets, argyle backsplash and fluorescent box of horrors I could do without.
And I will. 







Master Bedroom - pretty standard stuff.
But it's a good size, is dark in the morning (big deal), and is already my favorite place to relax.



Lucas and I invite you to the dungeon, aka the master bath. 
This room is actually pretty bright but it was rainy and cold the day we moved in, that's my excuse.
(ps - I still look pregnant here. I'm not.)




This is what things looks like today. 
I'm hoping to be unpacked by the baby's first birthday. maybe. 



Any unpacking tips? 
Who wants to come babysit while I put things away (or nap)? 
Any guesses how long it will actually take? 

Pausing

Monday, March 3, 2014

Looks like systems are a'go for this week's closing/move. I'll obviously be busy with all of those shenanigans for the next week or two but check in on Instagram where I'll try to post updates and first looks at the new house.

Speaking of Instagram, did anyone else check this out? I tried to explain to David the awesome-sauce of Clinton Kelly liking AND pining my pin. He didn't get it. "So, does he know who you are?" Pretty sure no, but it's still rockin, dude. Don't hate.

Also, I'm getting kinda sad about leaving our little rental. I get attached to places. Even not-so-cute places. I guess this place is particularly special though because it's where we first became a family of three. David says I'm just always a bit weepy after a move. He may be right.

So grateful for this new home though. Grateful for this crazy new adventure as a family of three. A family of three that almost never was. So grateful. Second (and 43rd) chances are wonderful.

Home is where they are.

Love,
Your sappy blogger friend

February Recap

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's 6pm Tuesday. The phone rings. It's David.
so I have some news about closing.... It's been pushed back to next Wednesday.
ssssiiiiiiiigggghhhhh.

Although we still had a significant amount of packing to do (except I totally knocked it out of the park yesterday and got all but two rooms completely boxed up) I was ready to get in the new place. But now we have to reschedule movers, change utility set-ups, and my parents are delaying their visit. Boo


What do you mean Lolli and Pop aren't coming to see me this weekend?













On a positive note, we now have a few more days to pack. Lolli and Pop are just postponing their visit one week. And despite my naturally impatient tendencies, I'm rolling with the flow. Ok, I'm still really impatient but that's primarily because I boxed up 90% of our clothes and toiletries yesterday. That's fun. Sorry Dave, you only have one pair of shorts available for the next 5 days. Good thing I thought better than to pack up socks and underpants though, right?


In other news, one of my best friends from high school got married on Valentine's weekend and I was a bridesmaid. She's Pakistani and her wedding was amazing. Seriously, like incredibly elaborate and beautiful.
Guys...I wore a sari.





































I admit I was more than a little nervous to wear anything besides sweatpants after having a baby (this momma is still struggling with a little post-baby weight) but I was so surprised how comfortable it was. And my midriff was not exposed, thank you Lord.





































If we look a little shocked to be out of the house sans baby...we were. It was awesome.





The other bridesmaids were SO sweet and stunningly beautiful. We had such a great time. 




Here all the bridesmaids with the beautiful couple. Look at Sophie's dress!!!
White is not a traditional wedding color for Pakistani brides and she was stunning. like something out of a movie.


Oh and I gave a speech. I cried. but I survived.
Public speaking isn't my thing.



I love that I'm kinda making a funny face here. Proof that I actually looked up from my shaking hands.




Here we are with the bride, her sister, and 2 sister-in-laws.
Gorgeous ladies. Like whoa.






That dressssssss!! gorgeous. the detail. the color. I can't handle it.

Side note here... Sophie said they were so exhausted at this point (and her head so tired from that gorgeous veil) that she had to force smiles. Poor girl. I remember that totally-sick-of-pictures feeling.


Speaking of smiles...this guy turned 3 months old a few days ago.
A friend of mine got him a onesie with velcro bow ties. so cute.
But the chubba outgrew it before he could wear it so I popped the bow tie onto this chambray shirt and tried to take a sweet smiley shot.


With obvious success.
He's not into this picture business. I'm obviously not into actually attaching a bow tie.

Tough cookie that one. tough but cute.

.






How not to prep for a move

Monday, February 24, 2014


We close on the new house Friday. Today is Monday. Yikes.
We have 6 boxes packed. If you've come here looking for organization and moving tips...well, you know.

No worries, though. I've decided to be a little worker-bee during the boy's naps this week. And since he usually sleeps for about 30 minutes twice a day, I'm sure to have things ready for the move Saturday. Easy peasy.






















right, mom.

I hit a minor delay today when I attempted to kill a rogue spider on the ceiling of Lucas's room. I stood on a step stool and gave two half-committed, half-scared swaps at the killer arachnid. It dropped...somewhere....and I have been wearing close-toed shoes ever since. I'm not taking any chances. 

So in recap, packing is going great. I'm really getting a lot done.

We bought a new couch yesterday. Scratch-that. Sectional. This is a big deal. I used to think sectionals were the minivans of the sofa world. Although I'm still ferociously opposed to minivans, mom jeans/hair, and wearing yoga pants all day (ok, that one is fine) I've changed my mind about sectionals.

Tell you one thing though. I hate how they make you wait. Our new purchase won't be available for two months. two. months. (cue tantrum) I have a hard time understanding how furniture stores work. You buy something that's for sale (as in "available," as in "ready to go home") but then you have to wait weeks upon weeks for it to be in stock. Seems dumb. If you have it in the store you should have it ready to be sent home. Whatevs. So I'll be looking forward to seeing my new furniture purchase May 1st. That's not long at all.



Any last minute packing tips? Volunteers? I'll make sweet tea!!!




Lucas is 2 Months {and} Did We Just Buy a House??

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

You know what's weird? Besides that creepy toaster strudel commercial . Time.
Time is weird. It's all like "wait, wait, wait, w....a.....i.......t" and then boom. it's over.
weird.

Lucas just thinks I'm weird.



This little man is 2 months old now. And sleepy. Very sleepy.


He's my favorite little creature in all the land.
How can he be two months already - says every parent ever - but really. how?

The boy met his great-grandparents (my grandparents) recently who are arguably the sweetest people on the planet. Nay, the universe.



My grandma was a total pro. She has some kind of mystical baby ju-ju. He was sound asleep within seconds of being transferred to her arms. every stinkin' time.
teach me your ways Grands. teach me your ways.



My grandpa sang him old songs and hymns which of course made me cry. I mean what kind of ridiculous preciousness is that?!  Lucas loved his great-grandpa's voice. They just stared at each other while I melted into a puddle on the floor.





I mean get outta here with all that generational cuteness. 






The dogs had a good weekend too.


We also just put a contract on a house!!!
Yea we did. 
I still can't believe how quickly it all happened. We went and looked at 6 houses one weekend. Took a week off. Looked at 5 more the following weekend and BAM! 

Here's a sneak peak: 

I'll have to save more pics until after we close...which should be the end of this month. Ahhh!!!

I have no idea how a move is gonna go with a baby. I hate moving anyway. There's always so much stress and disorganization despite how hard I try to stay organized. I'm usually pretty grumpy. And I like to spend most of the first night in the new place waxing nostalgic about the old place. David is one lucky guy.  
But this move, well, there's only room for one baby and he's got kankles. So I've really gotta stiffen the sinews and get ready cuz I have a feeling that moving with a baby brings on a whole new level of stress. Which reminds me...I need to call grandparents for reinforcements. We're gonna need backup.  

We had the inspection yesterday and it went well. The only major concern we have should be taken care of soon...Lord willing the seller's are nice people. please be nice people

Despite all the pains of moving, I can't wait to get settled. I've already started a secret board with ideas but we've decided to hold off on any projects until we've lived in the house a few months. I have zero patience so this will be excruciating. Fortunately, I'm sure that the 4 testosterone-filled creatures I live with will keep me busy. 

Speaking of which, I hear one of them crying right now. 


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