Yesterday I took a little field trip to the Houston Ikea store to pick up a couple of things I’ll be sharing with you next week. I love wandering through that store! There are just so many awesome solutions for small spaces and since we’ve downsized our square footage, trust me, space is at a premium!
As we get nearer to getting our hands REALLY dirty in the next phase of our kitchen remodel, I’ve been really trying to figure out what kind of open shelving I want. I was really struck by these:
I have also been wrestling with how to incorporate some kind of pot rack in our kitchen. I hate bending down to get a pot or pan out of a cabinet that’s overly stacked with loud metal items. It frustrates me! Being that we now have more of a galley style kitchen with no kitchen island, it presents a problem. This set off a bell, though:
Will I have the wall space for this? Not sure yet but I’m considering it.
Cayman’s room is another issue all together. I haven’t shared his room simply for the fact that I hate it. It’s considerably smaller than his last room and even though we’ve cleared out everything he doesn’t need or play with anymore, it still feels crowded and packed with stuff. On the plus side though, it has REALLY high ceilings so I think we’re going to build UP…
I love this loft bed and thought it would be fun to do a little sofa on the bottom so when he has sleep overs or just friends hanging out they have a little place to chill. I also like that the bed is a full size bed so as he continues to grow, this could take him into his teen years. He of course, wants it BADLY!
Then, after dinner, got snug on the sofa with Cayman to watch this
That is, until the Texans game came on 30 minutes later and my husband made it very clear that he wasn’t going to watch Carrie Underwood in the live performance of The Sound of Music when there was football on so Cayman and I curled up in my bed and watched it there. To my surprise, he LOVED it! I’m going to dig out the original this weekend so he can see it and judge for himself which one he likes better.
Did you watch? What did you think? I thought it was a very brave performance and I commend the entire cast and crew for going for it.
And in completely unrelated news, this happened this morning
The first paper white blossom. Can’t wait until they all start bursting!
Happy December, Everyone! I’m sitting here on my computer looking out the window at a flutter of leaves falling in my back yard and I find myself remembering to take a moment to appreciate the simple details that are happening all around me. Life is moving so fast lately and it would be easy to get caught up in the tangle of all the things I HAVE to do rather than enjoying all of the things I GET to do. I feel so blessed by my family, my little home, wonderful friends and all of the imperfections that make life interesting and well worth living. While other bloggers are showing off all of their gorgeous Christmas decor, I’m just happy to have 3 of my 4 living room walls painted and I am refusing to be rushed this year. My apologies to those who may be disappointed but there’s no point if it isn’t enjoyable, right? It’ll happen when it happens (Hopefully before Christmas day lol).
On the note of progress, I did happen to stumble across the perfect little table for my kitchen nook this weekend. I had set a strict budget of $125 and not a penny more back when I started looking. I’ve found several tables I loved but not in my price range. For example:
Provence Table from Home Decorators
I love the shape of this but it was 1) too big and 2) a little too country for my taste and 3) way over my budget.
If I could only find something like that shape in this finish:
Aldridge Round Dining Table at Home Decorators
And then, I saw it…
The Great Table Makeover
And before I knew it, this baby was sitting in my little kitchen nook/dining room and the ideas are coming together faster than you can say, “Get the canvas ready Betsy. This is going to get messy!”
It had been listed for $225 and apparently wasn’t moving. The lady I bought it from lowered the price to $100 which is why it showed up on my radar. It’s mahogany and dates (she thinks) back to the 1930′s.
I know a lot of you are cringing at the idea of me painting this but I will tell you, it has some pretty deep gashes here and there and unless I want to spend a fortune restoring it (which I do not), she’s getting a paint job. Before you judge me too harshly, keep these ideas in mind:
Painted Buffet via Coto De Texas
Painted Table via Carolyne Roehm’s book, A Passion for Interiors.
Gray painted table via Primitive and Proper
Gray and gold painted buffet via 6th Street Design School | Kirsten Krason Interiors
Gray painted side table via Pink Postcard
So this is my project for this week. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’re well aware of my affection for gray and gold together. I see this happening. Christmas decor will just have to wait unless I manage to do both (no pressure). I can’t wait to show you how it turns out. I can’t wait to see for MYSELF how it turns out!
By the way, if you’re looking for ideas, I’ve been pinning paint ideas for quite some time. If you’d like some inspiring ideas for your next paint makeover, be sure to check them out and follow along!
Have a super day and remember to take a moment to appreciate the falling leaves outside your window. Magical!
This was the very first Thanksgiving in YEARS that I didn’t host Thanksgiving at my house and while part of me is eternally grateful for that, part of me missed it. Of course, no one does a holiday dinner like my mom and one of the many wonderful perks of living in Houston near my family is getting to eat my mom’s amazing, delicious cooking.
Thankfully, there was enough turkey to split up between my parents, my sister’s family and my own so we were able to indulge in the second and third day turkey goodness. By the fourth day, however, as you are well aware, turkey can get rather tiresome.
This year, I thought ahead and wanted to share with you one of my new favorite cook books:
Best post holiday cookbook EVER!
Now, I’m pretty sure you have to be living on the moon if you haven’t heard of The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond and I’m going to go a step further and suggest that you may be a little bit crazy if you haven’t tried her recipes. She makes it all so easy and she uses REAL FOOD ingredients, which I totally adore about her. This cookbook not only gives you holiday cooking ideas but it also walks you through the after meals in order to avoid the dreaded “Turkey Burnout”, or whatever your holiday dinner of choice may be.
Last night, I officially used up the last of my Thanksgiving Day turkey by preparing this:
Turkey Pot Pie
Don’t you love the way the cat in the cookbook is looking in sheer AWE of my beautiful Turkey Pot Pie? I don’t blame him really. It was delicious and ridiculously easy. I will admit however, that I did cheat a bit. Instead of the home made pie crust that Ree so beautifully demonstrates in the book, I topped mine with some puffed pastry I had in my freezer and I highly recommend that if you’re in a pinch for time (or patience, as was my situation).
If you still have some turkey left over and just can’t fathom one more turkey sandwich, give this a try and let me know how it went!
Leftover Turkey Pot Pie
1 pie crust (or in my case, Puff Pastry)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup finely diced celery
2 cups leftover turkey, light and dark, diced or shredded (or both!)
1/4 cup flour
2 to 3 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth (more if needed!)
splash of white wine (optional)
3/4 cup heavy cream (I omitted this simply because I didn’t read the directions carefully and it was still amazing)
Frozen peas (optional)
Fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt butter in a skillet or dutch oven. Add onion, carrots, and celery, and cook until translucent (a couple of minutes.)
Add turkey and stir. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.
Pour in chicken or turkey broth, stirring constantly. Splash in wine (you can leave this out if you’d like.) Pour in cream. (May add frozen peas at this point if you’d like.)
Bring to a slow boil and allow mixture to cook and thicken for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste (do not underseason), and fresh or dried thyme to taste.
Pour mixture into a casserole dish or deep pie pan.
Roll out crust so that it’s about 1 inch larger than the pan you’re using.
Place the crust on top of the pot pie mixture, and press crust into the sides of the dish. Cut vents in the top of the crust.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until very golden and bubbly and the crust is done.
Allow to cool for a little bit before serving.
I DARE you not to love your turkey for one more day after eating this! And with any luck, like me, you’ll have your leftovers cleaned out and be on to the next tasty delight.
To see the recipe on The Pioneer Woman site, click here.
If you’d like to order the cook book, click here (it’s well worth it, and no, this is not a sponsored post. It’s simply my opinion and suggestion because I care)
Oh my gosh, I feel like time is moving WAY too fast. It seems like just yesterday, we were hopping a flight with good 30 or so of our good friends to Cozumel and before I knew it, we were back, we were prepping for Thanksgiving, I was picking up my son from the airport, we ATE Thanksgiving dinner, we went to a Rockets game and then I was putting my son back on a plane to Dallas (was that just this morning?!).
I spent Saturday editing our photos from Cozumel and I had so much fun reliving the 5 days we were there. I can’t even begin to explain the fun we had or the incredible beauty we had the good fortune witness. It was not only a great bonding experience for all of us but it made me, once again, realize that there are so many gracious cultures in the world and I love being blessed enough to be able to partake in their way of life, if only for a few days.
After NEARLY missing our flight due to my name being spelled incorrectly on my ticket and therefore, not matching my passport, we finally settled into our seats and enjoyed some spectacular cloud shows.
When we arrived at the Occidental Grand Resort, this gorgeous courtyard is what greeted us. The colors all around us were so stunning. It was like walking through a painting.
These gorgeous Talavera urns were all over the place and looking at them makes me want to redecorate everything in my home in bright vibrant colors.
Stone and pebble tile
I loved the flooring as well (even though I almost twisted my ankle twice…it was worth it).
This mirror had me mesmerized. My friends are really pretty too!
These beautiful fountains were all over the place. There has to be a way to incorporate this into my backyard somehow.
The lush grounds were amazing. There was wild life all around us. Iguanas, beautiful birds, and even a baby boar stumbled out of the bushes one night as we were walking along the path. That was a surprise!
This was the view from our balcony. Who needs ocean view when you get to look at this?!
We spent time on the beach every morning and chartered a boat one afternoon and did some snorkeling. I was blown away by how much beauty there is to see first hand under the sea (insert The Little Mermaid’s, Under the Sea music here).
This never got old. Not for a second. At night, my husband and I made it a point to come out here to see the stars. To say they were magical is an understatement. Being that far removed from city lights made the universe feel so close you could almost touch it.
We shopped in town and had lunch at Margaritaville. Our waiter, Mark Anthony was one of the best servers I’ve ever had. Be sure to ask for him if you find yourself there. By the way, I totally wanted to bring this chair home with us!
watching these guys try to cross the spinning tube that connected the two trampoline rafts on either side was beyond a doubt, the best free entertainment one could ask for over lunch.
Catch of the day
On the last night, a few of us headed down the beach a bit to Albertos Beach Bar to partake in their “catch of the day”. Let me tell you, this was hands down the freshest and most delicious lobster tail I have EVER tasted. When they say “its the best tail you’ve ever had”, they mean it!!! Be sure if you go to ask for Juan (amazing service!!).
of course, this kind of entertainment is priceless and I’m so glad I had my camera to capture the incredible sunsets every night. It’s also worth noting that the entire staff at the Occidental Grand were so wonderful. I wish I could name them all personally but there were just so many who made our trip absolutely perfect. If you’re reading, I just want to say THANK YOU! (p.s. we were with the Phillips group)
Needless to say, we had a spectacular time and it was a bit of a shock to come home that Monday to 34 degree weather in Dallas. Reliving our trip through these pictures makes me feel a bit warmer so I suppose I’ll be revisiting Cozumel in this way for a few months until we can find our way back.
And now, back to reality. Christmas beckons and while it’s a bit of a shift in gears, I’m excited for the holiday season!
It’s Thanksgiving week! I’m so excited…I LOVE this time of year and this holiday in particular. I have so many awesome memories of spending time with our extended family in Redding California back when we were still living in southern Cal.
Since moving to Texas, we obviously don’t have as many opportunities to make that trip anymore but it still warms my heart to remember those times. Lucky for me, this year my parents, my sister and her family and we will all be together. The only one we’ll be missing is my daughter, Sam who wasn’t able to make the trip but I’ll have both boys here and that’s something to look forward to.
I’m getting on a plane to head back home and can’t wait to start cooking the sides I’m bringing to my mom’s on Thursday. Break out the stretchy pants, people. It’s going to be a wonderful ride.
You know how it is….You have something in your home that you’ve just somehow managed to lug around from house to house FOREVER. You don’t particularly LOVE it, in fact, it’s kind of ugly but you’ve just become so accustom to it that you don’t really notice it anymore. That is, until you start taking photos of the room it’s in and then…then it starts GLARING at you.
I’ve just described my living room lamp. I’ve had it since I was in my 20′s and I wont even get into exactly how long ago that was!
Well, you’ll be happy to know that I found a solution to my ugly lamp problem! I found these babies on Overstsock.com and when they arrived and I pulled them out of the box last night, I was SO filled with happiness. They’re EXACTLY what I have been wanting. What do you think?
I feel like the shade could use some extra attention. Possibly some sexy trim just to bring it to life but over all, I think they’re really pretty and bring some MUCH needed light to my living room, which gets pretty dark in the afternoon.
It’s beginning to feel like home. There’s still a lot to do but I’m fine with doing one thing at a time. Eventually, the carpet will come out and be replaced with some gorgeous tile we found. With that will come a rug (I have something Zebra in mind). Until then, we’re just focusing on the basics. In this photo, what you don’t see is the fireplace that’s to the right of this photo that has wires hanging all over the place as we try to figure out how to manage the surround sound for the TV. Wish us luck!! It’s REALLY starting bother me.
By the way, what do you think of the new blog design? I thought it was time for a little nip/tuck. All in all, I’m really pleased with it.
This week is flying by and I’ve been gearing up for an extremely busy November here at Casa Stephens. We have so much planned, including, but not limited to, one blog conference (Bloggy Boot Camp in Dallas), one MUCH needed vacation to Cozumel, some exciting progress on my sweet client, Linda’s new house and of course, Thanks Giving which will then usher in the real insanity (and fun) of the holiday season. But, one thing at a time!
Next week I’m heading up to Dallas to see Ms. Linda. I can hardly wait to see the continuing progress of her house coming together. One of the things we’ve spent a bit of time discussing is the use of a sofa banquette at her breakfast table, which is where most of her meals and entertaining take place. Right now, she’s got some gorgeous antiques, including a dining table with matching chairs but I think it needs to be softened with some upholstery in order to 1) give it some individuality by breaking up the set and 2) become more inviting, like you just want to linger there with your cup of coffee (or wine, depending on the time of day) and some good company.
To help with this visual, I’ve pulled some dining rooms that are great examples of what I’m envisioning.
I think this last photo really captures what I’m seeing in my mind. New chairs and the banquette are scheduled to arrive next week, new upholstery and rugs will be delivered and with any luck, the shutters will be done and schedule to be installed! Is it too much to hope for a completely smooth ride from here on out? I think not but I’ve learned the hard way never to hold my breath for too long so let’s just roll with the tide.