Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I was sitting here last week reading a post about how it is National Strawberry Month and realized that not only do I have a great recipe that involves strawberries, but it just happens to be the "mother of all summer salads".  I should probably not be keeping this to myself any longer.  Seriously...check it out!  It looks (and tastes) like a dessert!  It's the only salad I know of that is really good, even without the dressing! can make this a day ahead of time too!
When my sister Amber gave me this recipe she said, "Guys and kids LOVE this salad, Danni!"  Then she told me the best salad tip I've ever received. I'm going to share that with you too in just a minute and you will not want to miss it because it's one of those tips that makes you say, "Duh!  Makes perfect sense!"  
But first, let's look at that amazingly easy coconut dressing, shall we?
It's only three ingredients and so very tasty!
 Pretty simple right?  Keeps forever in the fridge too, but you'll need to bring it to room temp before you use it because that cream of coconut gets thick when it's cold.  You can microwave it for 15 seconds at 50% power to thin it out if you're in a hurry.

Now....let's break down that salad and look at all the goodness that is involved.
What's not to love, right?  I didn't put quantities because it really doesn't matter.  Put as much or as little of any of these ingredients as you like!  (I've also added blueberries, when I have them.)
And now, I'm going to share my sister's awesome salad tip with you.....are you ready??
SERVE YOUR SALADS IN A 13X9 DISH!  Seriously, it looks gorgeous, because you can see all of the ingredients better, AND, everyone gets a little bit of everything, because the good stuff doesn't fall to the bottom of a bowl.  It's also easier to travel with if you are taking it somewhere.  If you have a lid for your 13X9, then it fits perfectly in the bottom of a cooler and you can stack stuff on top of it.  Is that brilliant or what?  Take a look at this salad when it's all stretched out in an oblong dish....
When you put your lettuce in the bottom and everything else is sprinkled on top, you don't need to toss it.  You can dress this right before you serve it.  I have been known to sprinkle toasted coconut on right after I dress it.
This is my summer "go-to" salad for picnics and barbeques.  Like I looks and tastes like dessert!  Don't you just want a bite right now?

Linking to:

Monday, May 27, 2013


We're enjoying our "It's a Steal" series at the Inspiration Cafe.  This week it's my turn to post and I've broken into Mellywood's Mansion and swiped one of her project ideas for a knock-off.  Want to know what I stole?  Just click on the button below and you can see for yourself!
Do you have a knock-off post that you've done?   Maybe something from another blogger or a store or catalog?  If you do, be sure to come link it up at our "It's a Steal" link party on June 10th at the Inspiration Cafe!  If you don't have a knock-off post.....get out there, stalk a few blogs and find something you like, put your own spin on it and write a post about it.  Please don't forget to get permission and use proper link other words, be a good thief!

Sunday, May 26, 2013


(I've updated this post a little since last year, but I think it's worth repeating.)
This Memorial Day, I'm thinking about a few of the heroes in my life.  I have many uncles who served in various branches of the military.  My own father was a Corpsman in the Navy, and completed two tours in the Pacific Theater in WWII. (If you don't know what a corpsman it....these guys are beyond heroes...they are every soldiers hero on the battlefield.)  My father-in-law served in the war in Korea.  He was a Lineman....I can't imagine climbing up on a telephone pole in a war zone.  I wonder how many snipers had him in their gun sights.  That kind of bravery deserves some serious respect.  I have a treasured nephew in the army who has a lovely wife and 3 beautiful small children he leaves behind every time he goes overseas.  I don't know how he does it, but I'm proud and grateful for his service.  
This is my nephew Josh saying goodbye to his 3 children.....again.  These three kids are some of the bravest little heroes I know. 
Thank you Maddi, Rylee and Josh Jr. for giving up so much time with your daddy!
This is his gorgeous wife Shannon, who somehow manages to keep it altogether while her husband is overseas keeping us safe!  She's a hero in my book!
Josh and Shannon
Thank you Joshua for your service to our country and for the time with your family that you give up.  I love you and am indebted to you for it.  We all are.
I have another nephew Jacob, who is a Marine.

Check out this's one of my favorites:
The young Marine on the left is my nephew Jacob.  He is my hero in so many ways, for so many reasons.  The young man on the  right, is his brother, my other nephew Ben.  He's a different kind of hero, who fought a different kind of battle.  He is very sadly no longer with us, but he was an organ donor and so, a hero to many who will never know the wonderful young man that he was.  Ben was so proud of his brother's service.
Here is another picture from that day:
What a fine pair of heroes.

This is my sister Jennifer, mother to both:
I know you can't see her very well in this picture, but I love it anyway.  I know that on this day her range of emotion was off the charts.  I can't imagine.  Jennifer is a hero too.  All military mothers are.

This is Jacobs wife Kelsey:
I can't even begin to imagine how proud she is and how she must have worried when Jacob was in Afghanistan.  She is an amazing woman in her own right.  All military wives are courageous heroes.
Here is a picture of them together at the Marine Ball:

This is my brother-in-law Mike, father to both:
He is at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC.  It was his dream to go there.  I don't think that I know of anyone who has greater respect for ALL of the men who have served our country and fought and died for our freedom.  His knowledge and enthusiasm of military history is vast and his respect for those who serve and have served is limitless.  I know that he is proud of his Marine son.  I also know that he is aware of the danger that his only surviving son faces.  Mike is a hero too.  All military fathers are.
I am proud of this family and the bravery of each and every one of them.  They have all fought battles of different kinds.  Not all of the battles were won.  Some are over, some will never be.  They are heroes to me each and every day.  I love them and I'm grateful for them....each and every day.
Thank you for your service Jacob. I love you. You are my hero for so many reasons!  You were training for it at an early age:
(As an update to this post, Jacob has completed his military service with honors.  Thank you Jacob!)

Thank you Mike and Jen.  (Parents of both Ben and Jacob) Your sacrifices and patriotism are beyond words. I love you both. You are my heroes.
Thank you Ben...your organ donations were honorable sacrifices, your bravery was amazing in the face of a battle so unfathomable.  I am so sorry that you lost.  You are a hero in my book any day.  You are loved and missed by so many on this Memorial Day.
I still miss you Ben.  Every.Single.Day.
Please remember on this Memorial Day, heroes come in all sorts...past, present and future! 


Tuesday, May 21, 2013


So back in March, I put my laundry area shame out there for the whole blog world to see when I shared my Junk in Our Trunks post for Tongue-in-Cheek Tuesday.  I figured this would force me to actually deal with that area.  (It's really an area off of the side of my kitchen as opposed to a room by itself.)
I've finally cleaned it all up and I'm here to tell's better.  
 Now I know that doesn't look like much...but there's much more.  The problem with my laundry area was I had these awesome shelves...that I couldn't get to because the little deep freeze was in the way.  So...stuff just got shoved up there by Sam and never seen again by me.
Yep...there are two shelves is directly behind the deep freeze.  The first thing I did was move the deep freeze out of that spot and pull it closer to the kitchen.
Ahhhh, much better already.   I suppose I should mention that I had to clean out the area out from under it too because if you'll remember, it was a disaster.  I still had a pumpkin under there from October....
Better now and the pumpkin went to the trash.  With the deep freeze out of the way, I could clean up the shelves and do a little organizing.  The first thing I did was move a small, shallow cabinet into that space.  It holds some odds and ends kitchen stuff that I don't use very often.  I spent a total of $5 at the Dollar Tree and grabbed some containers in green, because I LOVE green.  Check it...seriously...scroll back up and look at those shelves and then this...
More on those shelves in just a minute, but lets move on.  Here was the top of my hot water heater, before and after....

 If you'll remember, I joked about how convenient it was that my Swiffer dusters fit right under that hose.  Well, if you'll look at the picture above, you'll see that it now has a better home in one of those hanging baskets that I also cleaned out.  I put a plastic basket up there to throw any oddball stuff in.  Way better, right?
Then there was the business of that cute, chippy shelf that my friend gave me.  If you'll recall my original post, when I was editing the pics, I discovered 2 cans of beer on them that I didn't even know were there.  Again, before and after....
I still want to paint it bright white, but I love that it's on wheels and I can roll it away next to the washer now....
And last, but certainly not least....if there is are hooks available anywhere in my home....they get used....and overused...
Really, we're like children, we can't stop ourselves.  The only answer for us is to take them away, or use them in a better way.  In this case, I hung my antique glass washboard up there instead.
Now,  I ask you, is it really fair to call this a makeover instead of a clean-up?  I mean, I didn't paint or anything.  Well, I did add a few decorative touches, so I'm going to justify calling it a makeover because I used a lot of this.....
Oh yeah!  Washi tape is the quickest, cheapest way to cute up anything...from shelves, to containers...

I got the idea to cute up my trash can from my friend Marci at Stone Cottage Adventures.  You can see hers HERE.  I did mine like this....
I even put washi tape on my washer and dryer!  The adhesive is not very agressive and will peel right off when I'm tired of it.  For now, I love it!
 Major that I have more room in there, I can use the pull-out shelf between my washer and dryer for folding!
I even added a strip of it above my antique wash board....
And finally...I had a sign back there that you could never see.  It was a metal sign and I just used some magnets to hang it on the fuse box cover......
Prompty done...right!
Now I do have some finishing up in there to paint that rolling shelf/cabinet, cute up the fuse box cover (hate the grey), and hide that hot water heater.  But for now....I'm calling it done and glad for it!  It's bright, airy and has a punch of polka-dot fun.
I think I'd better thank the TIC girls for making me bare my soul and my shame and then get after it!  If you are wondering if we are doing a Tongue-in-Cheek post for May, we are not.  We are all terribly busy this month and will announce a theme for June soon!

Monday, May 20, 2013


Our new series, "It's a Steal" is in full swing right now.

It's a fun series where we "steal" or "knock off" a 
fellow blogger's idea and show you what we come up with! 

At the Inspiration Cafe, we are stealing ideas from each other...
so much fun!!!

It's Heather's turn this week and she has stolen an idea from Natalie over at NorthShore Days.

Click on the Cafe door to check it out!

Inspiration Cafe is looking for guest posters. If you would like to guest post, please let us know, we would love to have you.  If you would prefer a feature instead, feel free to drop us a line. New or old posts welcome.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Last week I showed you this black and white frame that I made as a knock-off project from Mary at Sweet Little Bluebird for our Inspiration Cafe "It's a Steal" series.  
 It was a fun project to make and it started with the medallion that I made from clay. 
I was actually inspired to make this medallion by my friend Amy from While Wearing Heels, when she made this....
Fragile Hearts Made of Clay
Aren't they lovely?!  If you click on that link, she'll even give you a recipe to make your own clay!
I really like playing with clay.  I usually use Sculpey or Fimo clay because I find that I have less fails with those store brands.  I also have some cool clay tools that I got from Hobby Lobby.

You don't need to have these tools.  If you read what they do, you can improvise with things already have.
I made a ball out of some white clay and then flattened it out to a circle using a can of vegetables from my pantry.  I have a beautiful glass plate that has a raised graphic design on the back side and I made an impression of it on the medallion.
I put it the medallion on a foil covered cookie sheet and baked it according the directions on the package of clay.
I got out a few supplies from my craft room....
A black frame that I've used for several projects, some stick on gems, and my some textured paper from my favorite free paper source....wall paper sample books.
I made a circle slightly larger than my medallion out of some black paper and used the textured white paper sample for my main background.  After playing around with the gems for a bit, I decided that just one faux black pearl one was enough. 
I had fun doing this knock off project.  If you have a project that you would like to enter in our Inspiration Cafe "It's a Steal" link party, get started on it because our party will open on June 10th.  That should be plenty of time for you to find some inspiration from another blogger and do a post.  Please don't forget to ask permission and give proper credit links!  
Thank you Amy and Mary!  Y'all are awesome!      

Monday, May 13, 2013

INSPIRATION CAFE - IT'S A STEAL - Sweet Little Bluebird

We started our new series last week,

 "It's a Steal"

A fun series where we "steal" or "knock off" a 
fellow blogger's idea and show you what we come up with! 

At the Inspiration Cafe, we are stealing ideas from each other...
so much fun!!!

It's Mary's turn this week, she's  
"knocking off" Danni of Silo Hill Farm!

Click on the Cafe door to see what Mary stole from Danni...

Inspiration Cafe is looking for guest posters. If you would like to guest post, please let us know, we would love to have you.  If you would prefer a feature instead, feel free to drop us a line. New or old posts welcome.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


This is not a post about my's not even really a post about Mother's Day.  But it is a post about a great mom who is also an awesome blogger!  My good friend Mel from Mellywood's Mansion has entered a craft contest at One Artsy Mama.  Please click HERE and vote for her's #8 in the line up and it's a great one!
 P.S.  Really...Mel is an awesome (and sometimes tired) mom to 5 very lucky kids!  Give her a boost today and vote for her project!  
Love you Mel and Good Luck!

Friday, May 10, 2013


I love helping out my neighbors and friends.  I like to think I'm a pretty good neighbor and a pretty good friend to have.  But I also have a lot of blog friends and helping them out is a little different.  Whether it's by sending them a guest post when they are taking a break, promoting something special they are doing on their blog, voting for them in some kind of contest they have entered or just sending them some words of encouragement, I like to be there for my blog friends.  
Today, I'm helping a great blogger whom most of you already know, and if you don't, you should!
Anne from Design Dreams by Anne
Anne is so very cool and she has a dream of her own.  Please help her fulfill this dream by going HERE and giving her a hand if you can!  If you can't....just wish her luck and follow along with her because she is one of the most awesome bloggers I know.  She has some wicked power tools skills as well as some awesome paintbrush abilities...and I don't just mean painting furniture or walls!

Good luck Anne and I'm pulling for you!!!