Sunday, January 3, 2016


When I saw this sign on Pinterest, I immediately wanted it for my home.  With all of the awful things that we see on the news or read in our Facebook feeds, I wanted this simple, yet powerful, message to remind my family each day that there is still good in the world and it starts with them.

In our circle, we are blessed to have friends and family members with all different backgrounds and stories.  They have various religious beliefs, races, ethnic heritages, relationship statuses and sexual orientations.  Right now my daughters are just 3 years old and 9 months old so they are too young to recognize that these differences even exist.  Right now all my girls know is that these people care about us and we care about them.

I am not sure when it will happen but one day my girls will learn that differences do exist.  When that day comes, I want them to already know that different can still be good.  I want them to remember that one person's actions doesn't reflect the way all others think or act.  I want them to remember all the awesome people they have met and continue to BELIEVE THERE IS GOOD IN THE WORLD.  I want this to be instilled in their mind so when the day comes when they hear people saying ugly things about others, that my girls remember to BE THE GOOD. 

This message is such an important one to teach our kids as they grow up in a very different world.  I don't want all of the negativity in the world to drown out the positive.  Luckily for me, the pilot also got excited about having this message on display in our home.  He even did most of the work!

We followed most of the instructions from the Blooming Homestead blog which is where I first saw this quote.  The pilot cut and slightly sanded wood from a pallet.  Then he stained it with leftover stain that he had from another project.  While I didn't download the file that you can access from the blog, I did use her dimensions for the stencils found here.  Instead of using cardstock, I used vinyl rolls in my Silhouette Portrait.  I realize that this was more expensive than cardstock but I wanted to make sure I did it well.
Since I used the more expensive vinyl, I wanted to save some money and not use the roll of transfer paper that I typically use with my Silhouette vinyls.  Instead I used Glad Press'n Seal plastic wrap.
 Together we carefully pulled off the Press'n Seal and laid down the vinyl on the wood.
I then used a vinyl scrapper to smooth out any air pockets.  You can also use a credit card to do the job.
Originally we thought to spray paint it but after discussing it, we wanted the sign to have more character.  One coat of hand painting would provide that look.  I used a flat paint brush and outlined each letter first to provide a nicer edge and then filled it in.
Before the paint could dry completely, I slowly removed the vinyl.  There were some paint that bled past the edges but I just used one of my Silhouette hooks to scratch away the paint.  Overall it turned out great!

Here it is at the top of our stairway, just outside all of our bedrooms. A perfect place for this important reminder.  Along with the cute little reminder of why I want to believe there is good in the world :)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Map Hearts

Home is where the heart is...

This month the unthinkable happened.  My adventurous friends settled down... in a house... in the suburbs... of Chicago!  While the pilot and I had settled down in our home right after we got engaged, these friends have lived in 10 different cities (6 states) in the last eight years.  That's not including their several-week-long European adventure.   Super cool life, right?!

When I started to think about what to get them for a housewarming gift I initially thought of the usual gift baskets with kitchen utensils, cleaning supplies and wine.  I even placed an order on Etsy for a cool return address stamp BUT cancelled it when I received their Christmas card the next day and saw they already had one.  Don't worry, I got a refund.

Then I had an epiphany and remembered all of the cool map art that I have seen on Pintrest.  I didn't follow any one design, just did it as I went.  Here it is:

I've always loved the look of them but truthfully had no use for because I met my husband in high school in the same town we bought our first home and don't really have any other place of significance.

What other project should I use the book of maps for?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mounted Photos

Go to and upload your photos.  From there you can select what size and what finish you want.  Since the photos would be displayed near my dining room chandelier I wanted to minimize the glare as much as possible so I went with the "lustre" finish.  The prices are amazing.  One 12" x 18" photo only costs $2.99!

While they were printing I went to Lowes and after searching the lumbar section with a Lowes employee I finally selected a packaged piece of presanded solid pine edge-glued panel for $16.97. This wood had a very smooth edge that would look nicer than if we chose an refined piece.  Here is what the label on the package looked like:

They employees there are super helpful and will cut the wood for you, of course for an extra charge.  I was able to get the three sizes I needed (12 x 12, 12 x 18, 8 x 16) and still had wood left over for other projects.

Luckily I had some extra paint from when we did our bedroom so I used that to paint the edges and just around the corner in case the photo didn't line up exactly.

Once it was dried I had Adam hammer a wall hook onto the back to make it easy to hang.  I'm a huge klutz so I leave all hammering for him to do.

Then with my heavy duty spray adhesive, I simply sprayed the back of the photo and the wood.  After 30 seconds I carefully lined up the photo with the wood and slowly pressed it down, going left to right.  Take your time with this step!

Voila!  It is finished.  Here is the final cost of this project:

$8.97 - Three photos at $2.99 each
$16.97 - Wood
$5.95 - Spray Adhesive
Free - Paint
= $31.89 / 3 photos = $10.63 each

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Breakfast Braid

I love breakfast.  During the weekdays I usually drink a shake or eat a granola bar on my drive to work but on the weekends, I love breakfast.  If you want to win my love over just cook me something with bacon (the real kind only!) or spicy pork sausage smothered in gooey cheese.

In my family, we like to celebrate our favorite holidays with a big breakfast and bloody marys.  That is just how the Dixons roll.  I also love to get together with friends for a nice breakfast and typically I make some sort of egg casserole.  A recipe is never involved, it usually is just whatever I have in my freezer but it always includes bacon or spicy pork sausage and cheese.

I found this recipe on Cooking Light but I was feeling indulgent so there was nothing "light" about my version.  As I usually do when making breakfast I pulled out the ingredients that I had on hand and wanted to use: spicy pork sausage, green peppers, jalapeno pepper, onion, garlic, pepper jack cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, pizza dough and of course eggs.  The possibilities are really endless so just select the foods you would want in your dream omelet.

First I cooked the pork sausage with peppers, onions and garlic in a nonstick skillet on medium.  Once the sausage was cooked I added a couple eggs and continue to mix it up until it was all cooked through.

On a cookie sheet I laid out the pizza dough where it formed a rectangle.  I placed the filling in the middle of the dough so that there was about a 3" border of dough and topped it with the cheese.  Using my kitchen scissors I cut 2-inch-long diagonal cuts about 1 inch apart on the long sides of the dough.

Starting with the top and bottom of the rectangle dough folded in, I then "braided" the dough by alternating strips over the filling.  Make sure you have sealed it all up so it cannot leak out.  Brush the top with an egg white. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes.

Didn't it turn out pretty?  This will now replace my egg casserole as my go-to breakfast dish for celebrations.

Monday, September 23, 2013

White Chicken Chili

There are a few things going at my house that make it difficult to find recipes. One, we are starting a serious new budget.  Two, we have come to accept our "happy pounds" but we don't want to gain more so we are trying eat leaner.  Three, most recipes I find for lean meals are spicy (which I love!) but the pilot's esophagus does not.  Four, with a baby around we do not have much down time to plan, shop, prep, cook or clean so I want easy to make meals.  With all of those requirements, I am on a quest to find cheap, lean meals that are not spicy and are easy to make.  Got all that?

Luckily, after much debate over how spicy I can make the meal we found the perfect solution: White Chicken Chili.  The key to the flavoring is the Salsa Verde which is actually a mild flavor. 

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cans of Northern Beans ($0.
  • 1 can of corn ($0.49, Aldi)
  • 1 jar of Salsa Verde ($1.49, Aldi)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped (in house)
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped (in house)
  • 1 tsp of cumin (in house)

First you take one of the cans of beans and blend it in either a food processor or blender.  This will add a thicker texture to your chili.

Then I place all of the ingredients into the crockpot EXCEPT the chicken and mix it all up with a spoon.  After that I drop in the chicken and set on LOW for 6 hours.

After 6 hours I remove the chicken and shred it with two forks.  The chicken should be super tender and moist, making it super easy to shred.  Here is where I pulled out some chicken to feed the baby.

Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot and cook on LOW for another hour.  After that, remove the lid and let it sit there for about 10 minutes to help thicken up the liquid. 

Pour into a bowl and top with your favorite chili toppings such as sour cream, cheese, avocados, Fritos, etc.  Okay, so it starts off lean but it can also become lethal.  Either way it is delicious.  Oh and more importantly it is cheap, lean, not too spicy and easy to make.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sorry - Lost Photos

I want to apologize for the messed up (lack thereof!) photos on my blog.  Apparently when I deleted the photos that were public on my Google+ account, the internet trolls deleted the photos from the blog.  Did you know this could happen?  I didn't.  Even my dog Milo is surprised, look at him.

I will do my best to go through all of my posts and reload the photos over the next week.  It really stinks that this is the first post I write in months.  There are so many projects and recipes I was planning on posting soon.  I swear.  Once this is fixed I will post something pleasant for you to read.  Oh, and you will get to meet my daughter who is hiding in the background of this photo.  For now just know that she is awesome.

Sorry for the inconvenience!!!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Custom Quote Wall Art

I really adore wall art in nurseries but it has been difficult for me to find pieces I love.  Unfortunately most of the airplane items I found for the nursery were way boyish so I decided to incorporate a plane in a gender-neutral way and I love it!

I was inspired by Brandy from the Heart and Habitat blog.  Here is her version of wall art that she painted with her kids, so cute!
Heart and Habitat Blog

First I bought a blank canvas at JoAnn Fabrics that was 50% off.

Since I don't have a Cricut, I had to use store bought vinyl letters which worked out perfectly with the sizes I needed.  It was tricky to find them at JoAnn Fabrics and I grabbed the only pack in stock but some other crafting stores may have more options.

After finding the quote I wanted, I cut out each letter (not precisely but enough to know the size of the letter) and arranged the quote the way I wanted it to read.

Because I wanted things to be symmetrical, I measured out lines with a ruler and pencil so that they were evenly spaced out.  Once that was finished I peeled off the vinyl backing and placed the stickers onto the canvas.  DO NOT DO THIS.  Unfortunately the paint was not dark enough to cover up the pencil lines so I highly suggest that you use painter's tape to map out the lines and remove as you do each line.
For the airplane, I just printed off an image online and traced it onto a sheet of contact paper I bought at Goodwill for $0.49!  For some reason they always have tons of contact paper so I was excited to finally have a reason to buy it.

Then I painted over it.  The orange is one of my favorite accent colors in the nursery!  As mentioned before, the pencil was showing through so I had to do 4 coats of paint to make sure to cover it up.  Without the pencil, I think I could have gotten away with only 2 coats.

Once it was dried, I peeled off each letter.  The paint bled through a little around the edges so I just touched up each letter by hand using white paint.

That's it.  The quote is in honor of the pilot. He's been through a challenging, stressful, long journey being a pilot that has even forced several of his friends to completely change careers.  Pursuing his dreams has taken a lot of patience, discipline and risk but it hasn't stopped him.  It's awesome to have a quote that we not only believe, but actually live by.

By the way, I started this project on one of my craft nights with one of my best friends Lauren.  She started her own blog The Lovely O.T. with some really great projects so be sure to check it out!
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