You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2012.

I was just browsing around on Pinterest, and saw this recipe for homemade microwaved potato chips.  It really sounded kind of unbelievable to me… I feel like a lot of times I don’t trust these *amazing* Pinterest recipes to be as awesome and simple as people claim.

I had a couple of potatoes sitting around, so I tried it out!

Here’s the recipe.  Her description says that she used a mandolin to make hers extra paper-thin, which I would like to do in the future because mine ended up being thicker than I’d prefer.  But I don’t own a mandolin, and don’t even know what one is.

I basically followed her recipe.

First I rinsed off the potato and then sliced it up as thin as I could with my knife.  Then I put the slices in a ziploc bag and drizzled in some olive oil and sprinkled in some salt.

I didn’t measure out the amounts of olive oil or salt, I just kind of guessed.  I massaged the potato slices around until it seemed like they were all pretty evenly coated with the olive oil and salt.

Then I placed a single layer of slices on a plate.  I started out with a small/medium sized potato, and it took 2 plates to fit all my slices.  If I’d been able to slice them thinner, it would have taken even more plates.

The recipe said to microwave for 2-3 minutes on each side.  I ended up microwaving for 5 minutes on the first side, then flipping them all over and microwaving for about 1 more minute on the second side, so I guess it worked out to about the same time.

The recipe said they’d crisp up even more once they came out of the microwave, and they did.  They are very crunchy for sure!

I honestly don’t even like potato chips that much, but I was just curious to try this recipe since it sounded so simple, and because I know other people in my house love potato chips, so I thought this would be a nice way to make some that are healthier.

This is basically the same way that we make our french fries already – same ingredients I mean, just cut to look like fries and baked in the oven.  My chips didn’t turn out nearly as picture-perfect as the ones in the original recipe.  Maybe that’s because she was able to slice hers paper thin and that made them brown up differently into that nice even golden color?

Who knows.  I’d say overall these are a success though.  If you’re a fan of the crunchy natural type potato chips, you’re pretty much guaranteed to like these.  They are a bit labor/time intensive considering you have to microwave each plate for around 6 minutes, and the amount of chips per plate is not very much.  So if you were trying to make enough chips for 4 people to have with lunch… this could turn into a 30-40 minute project depending on how many potatoes you used and how thinly you sliced the pieces.  But at least most of the time is just spent in the microwave so you can do other things while that’s happening.

So anyway, check out that original recipe if you want her details on how to make these.  One thing that I just noticed was that she said to spray the plate with cooking spray first.  Oops, I forgot that step.  Mine did stick to the plate a bit, and I had to peel them off to flip them over, but none stuck to the point of being un-pealable, so it is possible to do this without the cooking spray as well.

And I’ll conclude with a picture of me, very pregnant, officially 38 weeks along (9 months plus 2 weeks), which means I am now well into the phase of “she can come any day now.”  And I am very much hoping that she WILL come any day now!  Because hauling this bowling ball around all the time is getting uncomfortable!

We have been SO BUSY these last 3 months, moving in and getting our house settled.  I really want to share some of the things we’ve done, even though some of these things were done a long time ago.

One of the very first things we did when we moved in was cover up the side light windows on either side of our front door.

I don’t know how the previous owners lived like this for years!  It freaked me out that people could just walk up to our front door and see straight into our house and into our living room.  I prefer more privacy than that!

Of course I guess it was nice to be able to see out, so now I’d like to have a peephole installed so I can see out the door and be able to tell who’s out there.

You couldn’t necessarily see straight into our house during the day from a distance.

But up close, you could peer in and see a lot!  And at night I’m sure it was really easy to see right into our house when we had lights on.

So we got this faux-glass stick on stuff from Lowes, and I am really happy with the results!

It doesn’t look all that different from a distance.

But it makes a big difference in privacy, and I think it looks pretty, too.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think anyone would look at it and think it looks cheap or fake or anything.


From the outside, during the day, and from a distance, it doesn’t look much different at all.

But up close it makes a big difference!  Now even if you put your nose right up to the windows, you can’t see any details inside our house.

And at night it’s a big improvement as well.  You can still see through the window above the door, so I guess if we were upstairs on the landing, someone could see us, but that’s not that big of a deal to me.

I’m just glad that when we’re sitting on the couch watching a movie or something at night, people can’t just stare right in at us!

Moving on.  Bryan always says that he feels like a house doesn’t feel like a home until you have pictures hanging on the walls, so, we hung pictures!

We have this little gallery in the hallway between the dining room, living room, and kitchen.

I think it’s kind of nice the way the frames help the thermostat to kind of blend into the wall more.

And I really like our wedding themed gallery that we hung up in the corner of our kitchen.

I should have taken a shot from the distance, but I didn’t.  This is the corner to the left of our fireplace.

It adds a nice interesting element to that corner of the room!

Bryan also added some frames to the bonus room upstairs.  He got prints of some pictures that he took back in college, which he still had the negatives for, and we blew them up and framed them.

The images are nice because they’re not family pictures, but they’re still personal since Bryan took them.

While we’re up in the bonus room, I’ll show you the 3 sets of shelves we put in there.  We got these from Target for about $30 each.


We tried looking on craigslist for bookcases, but ultimately it was cheaper to get these and put them together ourselves!  Plus this way they all match.

They store a lot of stuff, which was what we needed them to do!

It’s great how everything is really coming together up there.

We also got this couch off of craigslist, which was a GREAT deal.

We got it for $100, and it’s a queen size sleeper sofa, virtually brand new.  The people we bought it from said they’d only used it once.  It’s much more comfortable than a regular sleeper sofa because it has an inflatable air mattress that you inflate once you fold the mattress out, so you don’t feel all the springs and bars like you usually do in sleeper sofa beds.

Plus, when we were at their house picking it up they told us they were trying to get rid of other things as well, so they gave us a bunch of other stuff for free!  They gave us a mirror, which we have hanging in the foyer, a garden hose, a beach umbrella, a snow shovel, a rake, and some other things as well that I can’t think of.  Pretty great!

And finally, our sun room, which I use as my office!

We got the short shelves in the back left corner from Target ($20), and the sofa is originally from World Market for $400, but we got it off craigslist for $150.  Good deal!  And the ends fold down so it makes into a flat surface that someone could sleep on – a bit narrower than a twin size bed, but still useful if necessary.

I really wanted a rug to go in the sun room to make it more comfortable and feel more like a room, but had a hard time finding one.  I’d looked at Ikea, Target, WalMart, Kohls, and HomeGoods as well as online at every store I could think of, but for a rug this size (we needed around 8×10), they were all just way too expensive.

Finally this weekend Bryan and I went to Home Depot (where we didn’t find anything under $200, and didn’t really love anything), and then we went to Lowes.  We both saw this rug, and both of us immediately liked it.  It was the right size, and had a good neutral color scheme.  And it was on clearance, marked down from $200 to $89!  We were sold!

We found a store employee and told her we wanted it, so she went to find the guy who could pack it up for us.  The rug was not wrapped in plastic, like all the rest were, and so there was no tag on it.  I wanted to be sure it was the clearance price, so I said, “Since there’s no plastic on the rug” – and before I could finish my statement, which was going to be, “I just want to make sure that it is the $89 that the price below it says.”  The guy cut me off, and said, “Oh, yeah, sure, I’ll mark it down.  I just want to get rid of it.”  !!!!!!  So, he said, “How about $60?”  I was like, “Oh!  Yes!  That is fine!”  Haha, so we got the rug for $60!  That was super exciting!

Alright, that’s all my updates for now.

So I spent a lot of time this summer with my mom painting furniture.  We finished it all up a week or two (or three?) ago (time is such a blur, hard to remember when things happen).

I had this barrister bookcase that my mom bought for me when I was younger.  Each shelf comes apart, and they nest together.  It’s pretty neat, and it’s an antique.  But I had a vision of making it white.  Unfortunately I didn’t think about taking a bunch of good “Before” pictures.  I do happen to have this one picture that I snapped of our dining room shortly after we moved in.

So I guess you can see, they were dark wood, which is pretty, but I wanted them to be white because I thought it would help to really showcase what was inside of them better.

Also a few weeks after we moved in we bought a set of a kitchen table and china cabinet off of craigslist.  I had wanted a china cabinet for years, but never had room for one in the townhouse.  Once we got our beautiful formal china for our wedding last year, I really couldn’t wait to some day have a china cabinet in which to display it all.

So when I saw this set on craigslist I really wanted it.  The lady was asking $350 for everything, which is maybe not the cheapest craigslist find ever… but it’s a great deal compared to buying furniture new from a store.

The set came with an oval table and a large leaf that can be added in to make it longer, six matching chairs, and of course, a china cabinet.

It is all solid wood, so it’s sturdy and should last a long time.  I like that the table and chairs are not too fragile or “precious” so that I don’t worry about the wood getting scratched up or the finish getting stained or anything.  I feel like it will be a nice family-friendly table.

And as soon as I got the china cabinet, I couldn’t wait to paint it white!

So we ended up putting the white painted china cabinet in the dining room, and the white painted barrister bookcase in the kitchen since they made more sense in those locations.

And here the china cabinet after weeks of priming and painting!

I think it’s so pretty!  I really love how it turned out.

The white, in my opinion, makes it so much more modern and lovely looking, and I think our china just looks fabulous in it.

I also painted the hardware all with an oil rubbed bronze instead of the light brassy look that it was before, which I think is a big improvement and looks great against the bright white.  I like how the light from our chandelier is reflected in the mirror at the top of the cabinet.

It came with a light in the top, which is great for showing off the contents.

I’m very happy with how it turned out.  It was a TON of work, but I love it!  I think the white china cabinet looks perfect with the white molding all around the room.

And now here is the bookcase, in the kitchen!

You can actually see both pieces of furniture when you are in the kitchen – you can see the bookcase, and through the doorway/hall you can see the china cabinet as well, so I think it’s perfect that they match each other now.

I used the bookcase to store/display all of the glassware that we don’t use on a daily basis.  I’m sure at some point in the near future I’ll have to relocate the things that are on the bottom shelves and put some less break-able items in there since we’ll have someone crawling around.  But in the meantime I’m enjoying it!

It’s also a nice place to display the vase filled with our sand from our wedding ceremony.  Oh, and I had mirrors cut and put into the backs of these shelves, which also helps to reflect light and make the shelves much brighter.

Well, I think we are finally ready for Madison to arrive!  I feel ready in every way.  The nursery is decorated, we have clothes, diapers, and a car seat.  We’ve taken classes and picked out a pediatrician.  And I’m physically ready, too.  I don’t think my stomach can handle much more expansion!  At our appointment last week they said she’s measuring 3 weeks ahead of schedule, and based on an ultrasound on Friday they estimated she weighs around 8 pounds 4 ounces already!  So, I’m at a point where if she came right now, I would not feel stressed about it in any way!

Let’s go back.  Here’s the nursery as it looked when we first moved into this house almost 3 months ago.  (This coming Sunday, September 2 will be exactly 3 months since we moved in back on June 2!)

We had a few boxes of baby things that some friends gave us, along with the crib, also given to us by friends, which needed to be assembled.

Soon after moving in, we acquired this chair, which I requested from my mom.  This is a chair that has been in our family for a long time, and I sat it in a lot growing up.  It’s super comfortable, and it rocks, which makes it perfect for a nursery.  Unfortunately it is brown corduroy, but I had a vision!!  It had been living in my mom’s basement, and she brought it down for us.

My mom also gave me some artwork that she had stitched for my nursery back in 1980.  My nursery theme was red and white, so the artwork had a red frame around it.  Since red didn’t match Madison’s nursery, I painted the frame white.

So now here’s the chair, looking much better with its white slipcovers and cute pillows, and artwork hanging above it.

I also made those tissue paper puffs hanging from the ceiling, which I think turned out pretty cute.  I can’t remember if I talked about those in a previous post or not.

But I think having the artwork on the wall above the chair really helps to fill in the space between the chair and the puffs.

I am very happy with how it’s all looking!  So here’s some close-ups of the artwork.

I also framed a couple of cards that I got at my baby shower because I wanted some additional artwork, and they were free, and they’re cute, and it’s kind of neat that they have some sentimental value.

And here’s some close-ups of each of the framed cards so you can see them better.

I think they look great!  I got the frames from Ikea, and I think they were either $1.99 or $2.99 each.  Super great deal for white frames with matting!

I also have the laundry hamper now as well, which was a shower gift from my friend Melissa.

So cute!  And functional!  The flap on top just lifts back, but I imagine having it covering up the dirty laundry inside probably helps to conceal odors somewhat if sheets or whatever smell bad, and also just looks cute.  And inside there’s a mesh laundry bag that easily lifts out, separate from the outer decorative fabric, for transporting to the laundry room.

Very cute!  I love it.

And now the crib has the new bedding set in it!  The set included the crib skirt, fitted sheet, crib bumper, and quilt.  Here’s a detail shot of the quilt.

And the sheet and bumper.  We took the advice of our friend Christine – at my baby shower she said she recommended layering a waterproof mattress pad in the crib with a sheet on top of it, and then another waterproof mattress pad on top of that, with another sheet on top of it!  Sounds like a great idea, making it much easier to just rip off the top set of sheet/pad at night without having to remake the bed in the middle of the night.  So underneath this sheet are 3 additional layers 🙂

I also re-decorated the corner shelves a little.  I finally took apart the diaper cake gift from my shower, and I used the pretty flowers from it to add some decoration to the shelves.

Bryan and I also put both of our childhood stuffed animals on top of the shelves.  His is the horse, and mine is the teddy bear, who is named Cowboy.  So I guess they fit together nicely – cowboy and horse.

I’m sure the decorations on these shelves will change a lot as we accumulate things, but I think they’re pretty good for now.  The Peter Rabbit tea set on the middle shelf was mine when I was little.

I also added some closet label organizers into the closet, which I love because I am kind of obsessed with organization.

The stickers on them are removable so as she grows I can re-label them according to larger sizes or even types of clothes.  Pretty great.

We also got a bassinet/co-sleeper from my Mother-in-law, which I am pretty excited about.  It’s small, and it can be attached onto the side of our bed, which I think will make middle of the night feedings much more pleasant in the beginning.  I actually did a similar thing with the sheets on this as well – I put the waterproof mattress pad on first, topped with a sheet, and then topped with a waterproof bassinet pad.

And finally, we went this past weekend and picked up our jogging stroller travel system that we got as a gift from my Dad and Ivy.

We had to assemble it all, of course, like everything else.

But I think it’s pretty great.  Bryan referred to it as the Ferrari of strollers.

It includes a jogging stroller, an infant car-seat that locks into the car as well as onto the stroller, and the top area by the handle bars has 2 cup holders and a docking station with speakers where you can plug in your mp3 player or iPhone and listen to music!  Bryan will really enjoy that when he goes running because he loves listening to music all the time.

Oh, and it has an adjustable handle bar, which means you can put it up higher, which is essential for tall people!  With some other strollers, Bryan has to stoop down to push it – which is very uncomfortable.  So this is great, and I’m sure we’ll use it for years since we can continue to use the jogging stroller long after Madison grows out of the infant car seat/carrier.

Bryan also likes the purple because it’s the Ravens color.  So we all win.  I’m just glad we have a car seat now since they won’t let you take your baby home without one of those installed in your car! 🙂

Well, the past few days I’ve been working on a few projects… and getting re-acquainted with my sewing machine!  Possibly this is that “nesting” that’s supposed to happen?

Anyway, I’m excited to share some of the recent updates to the nursery as well as my recent sewing projects.

First, I made Madison’s name frames a while ago – I chose and downloaded the photos of letters from a site I found through Pinterest.  Here’s the site – it’s a Flickr collection of nothing but pictures of letters, and it’s all free for anyone to download and use as they like!  So I downloaded the images that I liked, and Bryan and I went through them and picked our favorites.  Then I edited them all to make them all black and white, and uploaded and ordered prints from Shutterfly.

Once the prints arrived, I got the square white frames from Jerry’s Artarama.  They were the ONLY store I could find, both in person and online, that carried square frames in the size I needed.

I bought green and pink ribbon from a craft store, super-glued it onto the backs of the frames, and tied bows at the top of each.  We attached each frame to the wall using 3M removable poster strips, and then used small finishing nails to nail each bow to the wall.  So these should not be falling down!

We intentionally made them irregularly vertically spaced because 1. That way we didn’t have to measure the exact height of each, and 2. We felt it looked more child-like and playful, kind of like baby ABC blocks.

After I took those pictures this morning, a package arrived from Target with our crib mobile and changing pad covers in it!  So here’s an updated picture of the crib, now with cute little mobile attached.

It’s very sweet.  The little figures are knitted teddy bears and flowers, all pink, green, and white.  Perfect.

Plus it rotates around and plays a lullaby!  So sweet.

Ok, moving on.  Next to the crib in the corner we have the corner shelves unit.  In the lower cabinet section, there are 2 shelves.  I felt that they would be more functional if we had some sort of bins or baskets to put on those shelves to keep things in, but I couldn’t find any triangular shaped baskets when I did a quick search online, so instead I decided to make some!

I used cardboard that we had left from a big box that we had in the garage and hadn’t recycled yet, and I covered it with white canvas fabric that I had leftover from making the ottoman slipcover.

First I measured the space in the cabinet, and cut the cardboard to the right size.  Then I duct-taped the pieces together.  Very fancy.

I also added some little pink ribbon bows to the front to make them cuter, and possibly to use as handles.  So this project was entirely free except I did have to buy the fabric glue from the craft store to glue the fabric onto the cardboard.

The ribbon was from a present that we received for Madison.  I can’t remember who it was from, but I saved all the pretty ribbons because I figured I might be able to use them for something!

I also used some of the green ribbon that was left over from the name frames project, and attached little bows to each corner of the slipcover on the ottoman.  And I also finally finished sewing the sides of the ottoman slipcover together, so I think that project is done now!

In addition to finishing the ottoman slipcover, I also bought the little green waste-basket from Target (on sale for $9!), so we have somewhere to put trash, which is always useful.  And I sewed pillow cases for the two little pillows on the chair!

The pink fabric is actually fabric that my friend Amanda used as part of the decorations at my baby shower, and she gave me the pieces of fabric afterwards, so I thought it would be neat to use it to make something!  The green pillowcase is made with fabric that I got from fabric.com at the same time that I got the fabric to make the ottoman slipcover.  I think they look very cute there together!

I took the following picture this morning before the changing pad cover arrived.  You can also see our new diaper genie that my Aunt got for us!  Exciting!

So here’s a shot that shows the new changing pad cover on the changing table that Bryan and I finally assembled some time last week I think.  I got the baskets from amazon.com, and they came with other sizes that I used in the closet as well.

I love how the closet is coming together!  We got these shelves from Target for $19.99, and I think they work great in the closet for organizing all the little accessories and things.

I also got the hanging rod extender from Bed Bath and Beyond which works really well for adding another layer of clothes on the left side of the closet.

Such adorable little clothes!  I love standing there and looking at them 🙂  And those plastic bins under the hanging clothes are organized by size for larger clothes that it will be a while before she grows into them.

The little tiny shoes and socks are just so sweet!

So that’s it for nursery updates for now.  Here’s the other sewing project I did yesterday and finished up today.

We re-decorated our bedroom a little bit after moving in.  Got a new white duvet cover because the red/gold one we had was just too heavy and I couldn’t handle the weight of it on me any more, so I got a super lightweight white cover instead, and I love it.  Bryan requested that we change our color scheme to be blue instead because he loves blue, so we got some blue sheets and lamps for our side tables, and I painted the formerly gold mirrors above our bed with some silver paint.  Now I feel like I’m sleeping in the soft blue sky underneath a fluffy marshmallow white cloud!  It’s great!

I took the gold and red pillow cases off of the pillows on our bed, and got some fabric yesterday from Jo Anne’s to make new pillow cases.  The fabric was on sale 40% off, so I got a yard of it for $11.

As it turned out, a yard was actually not enough to fully cover the pillows, so I had to use some other fabric that I had on the backs, but I don’t think that’s a big deal since most people won’t ever have to see the back!

I really like how they look.

So that’s all the updates for now!