cooking

Slow Cooked Chops w/ Apples & Fennel

I’ve really been embracing the ease of a crock pot lately.  Just throw everything into the crock in the early afternoon, let it be, and by dinnertime it’s delicious.

The other day I made this delicious pork dish – so tender and full of flavor and I barely had to do anything.  I sliced up some onion, apples [peeled], celery, and fennel and put it into the crock pot with three thick cut boneless chops [seasoned w/ salt & pepper].  Then I poured a little spiced cider into mix.  I saved some of the fennel tops and placed them on top before putting on the lid and letting it do its thing.

I cranked it up to high and left it alone for the next three hours or so.  I checked on it, added a little more cider, and turned it down to low until we were ready to eat.  There are no pictures of the final dish because we gobbled it up before I remembered to take a photo.  That’s when you know it’s good!  I’ll be making this dish again for sure.

baby / tots life local

This is What Lunch Looks Like

We try to dine out at least once a week.  If you have children, you know it is not as relaxing as it used to be when you and your significant other got to go out solo.  This is what eating with Ava can look like:

This was our lunch stop at Honky Tonk BBQ in Pilsen  We thought she’d behave in the booth.  Oh, were we wrong.  And yes, one of those pictures is her UNDER the table.  I guess she wasn’t in the mood for barbecue.  She did however like the live music [the musician even played an old-timey country version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for her] and the old horse they had in the back, that still worked when you put a quarter in!

I was big fan of one of their pieces of art on the wall … made out of old yardsticks.

Despite Ava’s antics, we left with full stomachs and smiles.  Next time we’ll remember to bring along the ipad. [wink]

decor life

Blog for Digs – My Childhood Bedroom

Today’s post is part of Blog for Digs, a charity blogging event for Dwell with Dignity [“a non-profit group of interior designers and volunteers dedicated to creating soothing, inspiring homes for families struggling with homelessness and poverty”].  To learn more about how you can help make a difference, click HERE.

My childhood bedroom was …. a complete mess.  My brother and I had a playroom downstairs for all of our toys, but that didn’t seem to help keep my room from becoming a disaster zone.  As much as I am a neat freak now, back then I was NOT.  Underneath all the books, papers, and [mostly] clothes was a little wooden desk that sat facing a window with a view of the cornfield.  I used to sit and read Sweet Valley High or Trixie Belden books, write in my diary, and write horrible horrible poetry.  The walls were covered in some old purple textured wallpaper and I seem to remember that I made some weird “sculpture” on the wall next to my bed with a bunch of belts.  I had a huge white bookshelf in my room filled with books, cassette tapes, magazines, etc.  There was a Michael Jackson poster hanging on the back of my door [the one where he’s wearing all white and I think he had a yellow sweater tied around his neck] and I’m sure there must have been some Corey Haim and Mark Paul Gosselear [who is still hot btw] posters up somewhere too.  I also had a secret door in the back of my closet that opened into a room in our old farmhouse that we never used.  It had never been remodeled and was very creepy.  The one thing I always wished I had was a canopy bed.

Like this “Coraline Canopy Bed” from PB Teen.  I might have even draped some sheer fabric over some of the posts … oh who am I kidding? – Pre-teen me would have used it as one more place to toss my clothes.  Still, I always wanted one.  A canopy bed just seemed so fairytale-esque.  But I survived without it and eventually I picked up all my clothes and papers and tucked them neatly into files and drawers [this only happened within the last few years].  No more belts or teen idol posters on the walls – just some antlers, actual artwork with frames, and a large white pendant lamp adorn the bedroom now.  If I could go back, I think I’d keep that bedroom clean … maybe then I would have gotten a canopy bed.

Be sure to check out the next Blog For Digs post on Get It Girl Style tomorrow.  And visit Dwell with Dignity today!

decor life

DIY Project: Nightstand Rehab

Sometime in September we found this beat up old nightstand in the alley.  I was immediately drawn to it’s shape and could see right past all the dirt and dings. 

It started a mini obsession rehabbing old wooden furniture and spray painting anything I could get my hands on [bedroom dresser DIY coming soon].  The ONLY thing I miss about our old apartment uptown was that it had a small yard and big basement I could use for this kind of stuff.

Anyway, all I used was some medium and fine grit sandpaper, gloves, black spray paint [mine was a high gloss], and a new knob.  Easily less than $20 in supplies.  And no more than 1-2 hours of labor.

First I scrubbed it clean, sanded out the imperfections with the medium grit paper, wiped it down, went over some spots with the fine grit, wiped it down again, and then I busted out the spray paint.  Omigosh I love spray painting … even if I did have to drive 10 extra miles to a Home Depot outside the Chicago city limits to get it.  You can buy one of those spray paint holster things to save you some finger cramps, but this was a pretty small job, so it wasn’t really necessary.  I find using a slow and steady back and forth motion with the can works best.  Don’t get carried away.  Light even layers.  Make sure each layer is dry before you do the next to prevent drips and bubbles.  After the paint dried, I screwed in the new knob and one month later we moved our “new” little nightstand into our new loft.

Saved from the trash, and now a bedroom treasure.

creativity decor

Christmas Table Inspiration

Ah, Christmastime.  My favorite holiday.  Even more awesome now that I’m a mom.  Christmas is a time for people to go ‘all out’ … and not just in regards to buying presents.  Christmas dinner [or breakfast for some] is a big deal too and the table has to be just perfect.  Here is a collection of beautiful Christmas tables to help inspire your own amazing feast.

via Ben Newton

[These cute table decorations were made using foam balls and then inserting lollipops and curly ribbon with wire.]

via penguincakes

[Festive Red & Gold]

via Pierre Andrews

[Candlelight Dinner]

via Hannah Webster

[Neat & Pretty Presents]

via Theresa N.

[Natural Beauty w/ Wood and Apples]

via wondoroo

[Gingerbread – Green, Brown, & Gold.  Fancy & Playful]

via Robert

[Classic Christmas Feast]

via Ed Seymour

[You don’t always have to go Red & Green to make things festive – Loving the Blue!]

via Maggie

[Simple Stars & Votives for some Holiday Cheer]

via Postscript Love

[This is my favorite.  Simple, Pretty, Inviting.  Merry Christmas]

fashion

Save 10% at LAMIXX

The folks at Lamixx are giving Furious Shirley readers 10% off your purchases for the next month!  Just use code LOVE10 when you checkout!

Lamixx is based in California and offers “clothing that is timeless, luxurious, and truly wearable”.  I previously featured their Boyfriend Cardigan and love the simple look of their designs – very chic and wallet friendly!  Love them! XO

cooking life

MMMM … Macaroons

I have just recently fallen in love with macaroons.  I don’t know where they’ve been all my life, but I’m sure glad they are here now.  They make you feel a little fancy when you eat them – part of their charm I suppose.  Dainty, yet somehow exotic, and very very satisfying.  YUM.

Some lucky person on our Christmas list will be getting a box of these gorgeous French Macaroons from Sparkles Kitchen.  Suck up now.  [lol]

baby / tots

Cardboard Castle

I am so excited for Christmas this year.  I cannot wait for Ava to see what Santa brings – she is finally at the age where she knows what presents are and it is going to be AWESOME!  Our latest Santa purchase was this Cardboard Castle from Box Creations.

I can already see Ava scribbling all over it and hiding inside with our cat, Pixie.  They also make a space shuttle, cottage, and princess carriage with more designs coming soon.  Love it … and a bonus – I picked ours up via Zulily for 50% off [while supplies last].  Now, don’t think this takes the place of a plain old cardboard box – we still have fun with those too, but this takes it to the next level, as I am not crafty enough to fashion a castle out of those. :-)

creativity decor

DIY Wreath Roundup

My family loves wreaths.  They are usually stuffed full of fake flowers or wrapped with red, white, and blue ribbon.  Ick.  I finally found some wreaths that are too pretty to hang on the porch … I’d put any of these beauties on my wall anytime of the year.  All of these picks are fairly easy to make, just click on their tutorials for more info!

Left to Right.

Black and White Stripes:  Made from an old sweater[!] by Mandi.  Tutorial on Smile and Weave [towards the bottom].

Moss:  I love almost anything green.  This moss wreath is so simple and pretty.  Made by Christina of Our Little Box.

Felt:  White like snow felt wreath by Laura of Oh Hi.  No full tutorial posted, but she notes that if enough people inquire, she will probably put up a DIY post. [Oh, please do!]

Cupcake Wreath [amazing, right?!]: Made by Jen from Tatertots and Jello.  Cupcake liners, ribbon, and hot glue – I think even I could pull this one off!  She made it for Valentine’s Day, but depending on what cupcake liners you get the possibilities are endless.

Balloons:  What a cute idea – perfect for a birthday!  Made by Erin of Two More Seconds.

Paper Circles:  A fun project to do with kids … very Christmas-y!  Made by Beckie of Movies of Myself.

Patchwork:  I love patchwork quilts and this wreath looks just as homey and cozy.  By Jennifer Casa, of JCasa *handmade.

Yarn:  Those little felt flowers really make this wreath.  So pretty.  Made by Danielle of Take Heart.

Bicycle:  Very inventive.  No tutorial, but pretty simple – wrap ribbon and lights around an old bike tire.  Love it.  Made by Megan.

Clothespins:  I am beginning to realize that you can make a wreath of out almost anything.  This cool clothespin wreath was made by Denise of d. Sharp Journal.

Nature:  This one would be really fun to do with the kids – have them run around collecting pine cones and pods, then they can make their very own designs.  You could even bring out the spray paint for some pops of color.  Made by Maya of Maya*Made.

fashion

Deal Find – Bass Two Tone Saddle Boots

A few weeks ago, I included these Bass Two Tone Saddle Boots from Urban Outfitters in a fall fashion finds post.

Yesterday, I was doing a little shopping online and came across the same boots at Silberman’s for $52 LESSthat’s almost HALF price!  They even have a wider range of colors and sizes …  SCORE!!!!

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