Amazing Organization

Do you ever walk into the Container Store and just want to go nuts?  I mean, there are so many organizational options and I dream of an organized and efficient home.  Well, there are some amazing ideas out there that don’t cost as much as the Container Store (even though I still love it).  I thought I’d give a few a try, but first I’ll share them with you.

Kids Keepsakes ABFOL 1

I can’t seem to find a good way to store all of my kids school art projects and keepsakes….. until now.  A Bowl Full Of Lemons has this great idea for Keepsake Boxes.  I am definitely going to do this!!

I really think this linen closet is fabulous!  Storing sheets in baskets is a great idea, especially since I am still working on my fitted sheet folding!  This is from Turnstyle Vogue.

Clip Artistry

I love this clipboard organization.  It’s great for design projects and keeping track of all the paint chips and fabric swatches.  LOVE!


Then there’s the family command center.  I’m working on mine right now so it’s ready before school starts again!

This is an awesome homework station.  I really have to think about doing this.  What a fantastic way to use our current playroom.  My kiddos are growing up too fast!!

Walk in closet

And, of course, the “piece de resistance” – the master bedroom closet.  I’m hoping that I can get rid of the wire racks that are in there right now.  Luckily, my closet is huge, but the storage solutions are non existent.

I’ll keep you posted on how my quest to become organized and efficient is going.  I’m sure it’s going to take a while!

Weekly Menu 7/29–8/2

I am still being sneaky with my kiddos this week.  Yummy foods but healthier and good for the whole family, not just the children.  We are broadening our horizons and trying new things!  Good bye, chicken nuggets!  Good bye, hotdogs for dinner!  I’m one happy momma!

Monday – Chicken Caesar Sandwiches – Ciabbata bread spread with Caesar dressing and topped with roasted chicken and lettuce. 

Tuesday – Herbed Honey Chicken with garlicky green beans – a twist on this recipe. 

Wednesday – Grilled Cheese with Spinach – I watched Giada make this one and thought that it was brilliant!!  I will serve it with gazpacho.

Thursday – Slow Cooker Beef and Mashed Potatoes – while in Williams-Sonoma yesterday I saw their new braising sauces and had to pick one up.  I grabbed the caramelized onion and balsamic sauce.  Yum!!

Williams-Sonoma Braising Sauce, Artichoke & Roasted Garlic

Friday – Grilled Tuna with mango salsa – I’ll make it into a taco for the kiddos.

Nutella Swirls


The little princess loves to bake.  I am a terrible baker.  Therefore, most things I make come out awful and the little princess gets quite upset and only learns what not to do.  I am always on the hunt for super easy and tasty treats that even a child could make (and by child I mean me).  This one is pretty fool proof.  It has 2 ingredients:


Let the puff pastry sheets thaw for just a little bit until they can be unrolled without falling apart.  Then spread them with yummy nutella!


Roll them back up and slice about 1/2 inch thick.


Place in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.


We decided to top ours with whipped cream.  So yummy!


I am betting you could make this with almost any filling – strawberry jam, peach preserves, pesto sauce (as an appetizer), the possibilities are endless!

Weekly Menu 7/22–7/26

It is the last full week of July.  Time flies while you are having fun!  And the kiddos and I are on a quest to broaden their palate, so to speak.  Well, its really my quest, but they are the target.  So, these are all pretty kid friendly.  I’m hoping they actually eat this week and don’t starve themselves!  I have some pretty picky eaters.

Monday – Tuna Noodle Casserole – based on the Campbell’s version, but healthier and made creamy with Greek yogurt and “healthified” with cauliflower puree instead of so much condensed soup.

Campbell's(R) Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe

Tuesday – Chicken Fajitas – since we love tacos so much I thought I’d try this!

Wednesday – Pasta Bolognese – This one is a favorite so I know they’ll eat at least once!

Picture of Weeknight Bolognese Recipe

Thursday – Chicken Parmesan Meatballs in Creamy Tomato Sauce

Friday – Black and Bleu Steak Salad – Steak atop a bed of arugula sprinkled with blue cheese, chopped tomato, and crispy shallots. 

Breakfast Area–Before & After


I redid my breakfast area at the same time as the kitchen and keeping room.  I have been waiting on some finishing touches – curtains, accessories and the like.  Now I am ready to share.

This is the before:


Just look at all that brown and the light fixture.  I think NASA is missing a satellite!  The space felt very dark and heavy even though there are windows along 2 walls.

And the during:


I had the built in buffet area spray lacquered in black.  The cabinets are glass front so I left those.  The inside of the cabinets were left alone as well.  The kitchen table I had bought was the same tone and I thought they would look great together.  I had also purchased a light fixture so I could get rid of that behemoth!  It was soooo overpowering for that small space.

Now my breakfast area looks like this:



I just love it!!!  The mixed chairs make it feel casual and comfortable.  The curtains are a great pop of color and tie in nicely with the keeping room.  The table is from Bramble Co.  The wicker chairs are from IKEA, although I haven’t seen them in a while.  The x-back chairs are from a local store called the Brass Exchange.


This beauty is the new chandelier.  It is the Lourdes chandelier from Ballard Designs.  It matches well with the Lucas pendant over the kitchen island.


I am thrilled with the way it turned out.  The space is so bright and cheerful.  It suits my family so well.  And the Food and Friends sign, from Pottery Barn years ago, is exactly what my kitchen is all about.  Family, too!


Sharing At:  One Project Closer

Summer Veggie Pasta Bake

This is one of my favorite meals for the summer.  It incorporates lots of fresh from the garden veggies and gooey cheese.  It is definitely a crowd pleaser in my house.  This was made last week.  You can see the menu here.


Start with all of these fantastic fresh vegetables – 1 ear of corn, 1 red bell pepper, 1 zucchini, 2 medium (or 1 large) tomato, 1 yellow squash.

photo (6)

Cook the corn and cut it off the cobb.  Dice up the tomato, red bell pepper and one small onion.  Shred or julienne the zucchini and squash.  Sautée all the veggies in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil until just soft.  Cook a box of your favorite pasta (penne, rigatoni or rotini work best) and reserve some of the pasta water.

photo (4)

Mix the pasta and veggies together.  Add 1/4 C. heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste and mix until the cream coats the veggies and pasta.  Add some pasta water if it needs to be thickened.  Put in an oven safe dish and top with sliced or shredded mozzarella.

photo (3)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the cheese begins to bubble.  You can sprinkle each serving with parmesan cheese.

photo (2)

Veggie Pasta Bake


1 box rigatoni, penne or rotini pasta, cooked (reserve some pasta water)

1 ear of corn, cooked and cut off cobb

1 large tomato, diced

1 small sweet onion, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 zucchini, shredded

1 yellow squash, shredded

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 C. heavy cream

sliced or shredded mozzarella

salt and pepper

parmesan cheese (for sprinkling)

Cook pasta according to box instructions and reserve some pasta water.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add all veggies and garlic and sautée until just soft.  In an oven safe dish, mix together the pasta and veggies.  Add the cream, salt and pepper to taste, and mix until all veggies and pasta are thoroughly coated.  Add some pasta water to coat if needed.  Top with the mozzarella and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly.  Sprinkle some parmesan on top when served.

Sharing at:

 House of Hepworths

Savvy Southern Style

Barns and Noodles

Weekly Menu 7/15–7/19

July is in full swing.  I just wish we would get less rain so there could be more grilling!  All of this weeks meals are grill free, except for Thursday.  Stay dry and enjoy!

Monday – Pan Roasted Tilapia with Sage Butter and Green Beans

Tuesday – Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary and Cauliflower Mash

Wednesday – Summer Pasta with Pea Pesto

Thursday – Chimichurri Flank Steak and Roasted Potatoes

Friday – Spaghetti and Meatballs

Bookcase Styling

I am working on the finishing touches to Prince Charming’s office.  I am so excited, but I have discovered the Achilles Heel of this project – bookcase styling.  It is stressing me out.  My hubby has a ton of books and magazines, none of which he wants to part with.  And he is king of paper stacks – just piles of papers here and there and he swears he knows what is in all of them.  Soooo, I am trying to devise a styling plan that will make both he and I happy.  I have found some ideas.

I like this idea – books going this way and that is a kind of sloppy yet curated display.

ciao! newport beach: bookcase styling

Or this one which carries on the ocean theme!  I need to have more books and less ocean life to make it work.  But I like the vintage cloches and crates to hide stuff.

(photos found here)

I like the look of this with the books turned backwards, but it isn’t really practical.  How do you know which book is what?!

Beautiful Chic Living Room & Bookcases & the accessorizing!!  Prado bookcase by Suzanne Kasler, Hickory Chair

This one by Suzanne Kasler is awesome!  Great mix of baskets and books, but we still have waaaaaay more books than this!

Bookcase Styling Ideas We Stole From the Pros : Books do double duty in this circular hall by adding color and pattern to an otherwise traditional space.  Source: Elle Decor

Rainbow books by Elle Décor.  I really like this idea!  It’s very cheerful!  This is probably about the right volume of books for us.  Oh my!

Styling a leaning bookcase

This is a great mix of baskets and books.  I think this is what I’m going to aim for!

Photos of the office are coming soon.  We need to hang the curtains, get the desk situated, find a rug and, of course, style the bookcases. 

One of My Favorite Places… Maine


I have been going to Maine for summer vacations for as long as I can remember.  Some of my best childhood memories are from there.  Fishing off the dock, tubing behind the boat, reading in the hammock, riding the four-wheeler… there are so many.  Having just returned from a visit and knowing that my parents are trying to sell their place made me realize that the summers of visits to Maine may slow and become few and far between.  So I decided to share my visit.


This is my parents house.  It looks pretty simple and all, but just behind it is this…..

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They live on a very quiet and peaceful lake in rural Maine.  My dad goes fishing almost every day and my mom gets to admire this view.  It is sooooo relaxing. 


This is what we do while we visit.  Fish, blow bubbles, read, swim, explore…. we slow down.


We also tell tales about how big the fish was! Smile


My other favorite place in Maine is this:


This is “camp”, a Maine term for summer cottage.  This is where I have spent summers for as long as I can remember.  My great uncle built it and now my mom’s cousin (whom I call my Aunt Martha) owns it.  Aunt Martha and her husband, Uncle Larry, are the crafty sort.  I’m pretty sure the two of them can do anything.  Camp has evolved over time.  A couple of years ago it got a new kitchen – all cabinets made by Uncle Larry and painted by Aunt Martha.  Then last year it got an expansion – again, all done by them.  It is such a wonderful place.  I hope to have a camp of my own some day.


It is on Green Lake, a fairly well known lake in Maine.  It is beautiful and clear, and cold, but wonderful!



Weekly Menu 7/8–7/12

I hope everyone had a wonderful fourth of July.  We did!  It was fantastic celebrating in Maine with my family, especially cousins I haven’t seen in almost a decade.  Now it’s back to the summer in North Carolina – swimming, boating and relaxing with the kiddos.

Monday – Cheese Tortellini in Cream Sauce with Kale Salad

Tuesday – Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Green Beans

Wednesday – Taco Salad

Thursday – Pasta with Summer Vegetables (corn, onion, yellow squash, tomato and zucchini)

Friday – Salmon Cakes with Blue Cheese Celery Salad

(all images via