Monday, November 18, 2013

Family Room Inspiration

I love the calming effect of neutrals, but I don't like beige or tan. They make me feel like I am in a dungeon for some reason. For the family room, I have decided that the color scheme will be cream, white, brown and blue. Currently in our family room we have brown leather hand me down couches, coffee table and end table via my parents. We also have a cheapo TV stand, 3 cream picture frames and a blue mirror I painted. We certainly are on a budget, but I have had a fun time on Pintrest coming up with inspiration for the room!

The Space I am Working With

Room Inspiration

Shutters on the windows, but in white.

The color of the walls: Sherwin Williams- Rain.

Love these window treatments

For the TV

I am debating between curtains and shutters. I want white curtains because I love the clean, but carefree feeling white curtains give a room. I am not sure if they would be a disaster with little kid hands. Maybe white shutters would do the trick, however they are more expensive. I love this lady's home. She seems to make white work. What do you think?

Read more about our Home Owner Adventures:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Twitterature: Books for the Newborn Stage

I went on a quest to find good books to read while I was nursing my sweet baby for countless hours day and night. The books needed to fit certain criteria. I wanted them to be easy reads. The books couldn't be too sad for my emotional post baby days. I needed to be able to put them down easily in the middle of the night. But I wanted to look forward to reading them. My kindle made these books even more accessible because I didn't need to worry about having two hands free (one the hold the book and one to flip the page).

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain
Discussed the differences between introverts and extroverts and how our world is created for extroverts. A fun read for me, especially since I fall right in the middle of the spectrum. #LivedUpToExpectations

Left Neglected, Lisa Genova
Story of a stressed out, workaholic mother who learns to appreciate the simple things in life after she suffers tramatic brain injury post car accident. Perfect for the OT in me. #ALittleTooEmotionalPostBaby #awesomeread

Why is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, Mindy Kaling
Filled with hilarious stories from the writer of The Office's childhood. Perfect light hearted read for after having a baby.

God I Have Issues: 50 Ways to Pray No Matter How You Feel, Mark Thibodeaux S. J.
This book gives you concrete ways to pray based on your emotions. Perfect for the emotional postpartum days. #GreatReference

How Do You Tuck in a Superhero?, Rachel Balducci
Filled with the humor that comes from raising 5 boys. It reads like a blog and is very easy to put down and pick right back up in spurts.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Alexader McCall Smith
The tale of a lady detective who lives in Africa. The book is broken up into snippets of cases, which make it easy to read when you have just small chunks of time.

Click back over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more Twitterature!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Peach and Mango Green Smoothie

My sweet little son was born on October 1st and is now 6 weeks old. It is no surprise that I have found myself low on energy these days. Right after my baby was born my mom brought over "Green Machine" Naked Juice. I loved it! It is filled with greens and veggies. Best of all I couldn't taste them because of all the fruits and fruit juices.

I have been so lethargic that I found myself trying to find something to naturally give me more energy, especially since my body doesn't do well with caffeine. After doing a little "research" I stumbled on the idea of green smoothies. Essentially they are the homemade version of "Green Machine" Naked Juice. They are filled with greens, fruit and juice. I have made a few of them and even my 4 year old doesn't notice the handful of spinach she is eating! Only time will tell if they help my energy levels. Maybe my baby will start sleeping by then!

Here is a recipe that I came up with that is pretty tasty:

It makes about 34 oz.
  • 1/4 cup of grape juice
  • 2 peaches with natural juices (I used 4 halves that were canned)
  • 2 bananas
  • a large handful of spinach leaves chopped
  • 1 mango cut into small pieces 
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 2 large spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt 
First blend the spinach with the juice. Then add the other ingredients in a little at a time. It turns out to be a brownish color and kind of gross looking (reason I didn't take a picture!). But it tastes yummy! 

I hope you give it a try! Let me know what you think. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Home Owner Adventures Part 2: A Contract on a House

We finally have a contract on a house and it is exactly what we were looking for! The process was so much more tedious than I anticipated. WE. SAW. A. LOT. OF. HOUSES. I mean, a lot! We visited houses that had floors peeling up, mold in the utility room, 3 bedrooms when the house was advertised at 4 and houses that had backyards that were non existent. Homes around here also were flying off the market! We toured a home that had been on the market for 2 days. As we were leaving the house the listing agent arrived declared that the house had just been sold!

We made an offer on 2 houses.

House #1:
  • It was about $8,000 over budget
  • 2400 square feet
  • 2 story, 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths with a large playroom (basements don't exist around here)
  • Large backyard
  • Real wood floors along with some stained carpet
  • It also had an air conditioned bonus room attached to the garage 
  • It was located right off of a busy road
  • Zoned to good schools
House # 2:
  • The listed price was the top of our budget (but still within budget)
  • 2100 square feet
  • 1 story, 4 bedrooms and 2 baths with a decent sized room to use as a playroom
  • Nice laminate wood, tile and carpet floors throughout the house
  • Acceptable sized backyard, but large grassy space in front of the house and park nearby
  • Good neighborhood with kids playing everywhere on the day we went to tour it
  • Zoned to good schools
  • The seller is an older lady who kept the house in perfect condition (it seriously looks like a model home)
The offer on the first house didn't go through. They wanted more money, which would have made it close to $10,000 over budget. We just couldn't do it, so we didn't. The appraisal on the 2nd house came in $10,000 lower then we offered. I was afraid we were going to lose the house, but the seller agreed to lower the price by $10,000. So now we are $10,000 under our budget! Much nicer payments. If all goes well, it seems we will be closing on house #2 on December 9th! 

Without further ado: 

The Family Room

The Kitchen and Breakfast Area

Formal Living Area (we will turn it into a playroom)

Formal Dining Area (we will turn it into a study)

Master Bedroom

The Backyard Patio

I love the layout, the size and the crown molding. I don't mind the cream colored walls. Cannot stand the counter tops! I am so excited to put our furniture in this house and make it our own. Stay tuned for my decorating inspiration.

Read More Home Owner Adventures: 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blessings While Playing the Waiting Game

A time for change has officially arrived! I graduated, the baby is only 2 months away from making his debut, I found a job and our lease ends soon so we are officially on the house hunt!

I am patiently waiting for the testing company to process my graduation information so I can take my national board exam. In the meantime.. I am studying. ALOT. TOO MUCH.

Right about the time we started looking for a home to purchase, all the houses we were interested in magically went off the market. So we are waiting. Waiting for a house to come up, that we like, in our price range and in the area we want.

Did I mention I am also waiting for this baby!?!?! Not to say that I don't truly adore getting winded when reading bedtime stories. Or when my biggest accomplishment of the day seems to be staying awake for more than 2 hours at a time.

So I don't make myself crazy... I will share the SO MANY good things that have been happening lately!

A few days ago it was our anniversary! We celebrated with a little sparkling grape juice (and wine for him!).

My husband also got me this cute card to keep me motivated.

Did I mention that someone is really pumped up about being a big sister?

Speaking of the baby, we have been so blessed with all that we have been given. A lovely fellow blogger sent us hand-me-down baby boy clothes (That are in awesome shape!). My sister-in-law put together some more hand-me-downs and everyone at my husband's work chipped in to put together some money to give us a mini baby shower. We now are so set for this baby!

My parents let us use their timeshare for a weekend. We were able to spend some much time in the pool and exploring nearby trails.

So many good changes to come (because every sane person graduates, starts a new job, buys a house and has a baby all within the span of 3 months right?!). I thought so!

Keep me from going a little crazy and feel free to share the good things happening in your life!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Home Owner Adventures Part 1: Deciding What We Want

We have started the process of buying our first house! We decided to go with a smaller mortgage firm; as we were advised that larger banks can take up to 90 days to complete the process. There are a million things to consider like credit scores, job history, income level and the amount of money saved up for a down payment and closing costs when getting pre-approved for a loan. It is enough to give anyone a major headache!

However the much more fun part has been deciding what we want in a house based on our budget! Everywhere I have read suggests that wants and needs should be separated. So that is exactly what we did. Needs should be based on structural elements and location. Wants are things that can eventually be changed. Here is our list:


  • 4 bedrooms (or an area that can easily be changed into a 4th bedroom such as a study)- We love the idea of having a bigger family and don't want to have to move out of our house, just because there is not enough room for everyone to sleep. While we are definitely not opposed to kids sharing bedrooms, we would rather not be in a situation where we have a 12 year old daughter sharing a bedroom with her 1 year old sister. The 4th bedroom would give us much more flexibility in that area!
  • Between 1800 and 2400 square feet- This seems to be the right size for us and our growing family, given the right layout. I don't want a huge house because I cannot stand cleaning, but I want there to be adequate space. I am imagining we will have at least 4 children. Although that can never really be planned...
  • Largish yard- As a child I spent hours everyday in the yard. I want my children to have that too. I also want room for a small backyard garden, a hammock and some fruit trees. I am in heaven just thinking about all of this!
  • The right location- This is probably our top priority! Being zoned to good schools is extremely important to us, as our children will most likely be attending the public schools. We also want to live in an area where the neighbors appear friendly. 
  • 1-story house- One story houses seem to encourage more family time and they make adjustments to new babies easier! (Although this is a structural element, it made it to our want list because we would be open to buying a 2-story home)
  • Brick outside- This one is important to my husband...I cannot tell you the exact reason why. I will say that I don't mind either way. So since it is important to him it can go on our wants list!
  • Wood floors- Wood is easier to clean and looks so much nicer. I hate carpet and all the ground up playdoh that gets into it. I also hate how laminate flooring peels up on the edges after it gets a little old. YUCK!
  • Kitchen/living room entertaining space- I would love to be able to cook and talk to guests at the same time!
  • Gas range stove- It cooks food more evenly. Need I say more?
I am sure I forgot something on our list, but that is the gist of it. I am extremely excited to begin the process of going to look at homes!

For those of you who own homes, what were your make or break items? What do you wish you would have considered? For those of you who are dreaming of home ownership, what do you want in a home?

Linking up with Works for Me Wednesdays!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

I love these lemon poppy seed cookies! My cousin gave me this recipe in a recipe scrap book for my wedding. I am not sure where she got the original recipe from. They are perfect for a brunch or shower... or just to munch on! This recipe makes 1-2 dozen depending on cookie size.

Cookie Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. lemon peel 
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
Glaze Ingredients:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • Cookies: Beat sugar & butter in a large bowl until creamy. Beat in egg & lemon peel. Combine flour, baking soda & salt; add to butter mixture. Beat in poppy seeds. Plot desired size of dough onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 11-12 minutes. Cool for about 20 minutes.
  • Glaze: Combine powdered sugar, lemon juice & melted butter. pour over cooled cookies and let set. 
  • Enjoy!

What is your go-to cookie recipe when planning a brunch? I'd love to gather up more ideas!