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March 27, 2015

Red Cedar Gardens | Spring Exploring with Emma

When Emma and I have a free day we usually head out to the country for some exploring.  At the beginning of most seasons, we find ourselves at Red Cedar Gardens (for locals, it is in Stillwell, about 20 minutes south).  It is an enchanting nursery nestled in the forest amongst giant Red Cedar trees.  There is something about being there that feels good to my soul.  Everything is beautiful in a very natural, non-contrived way.  We were gathering inspiration for our landscaping plan for the new house.

Here are some photos from our trip last week during Emma's spring break.  Hope you are getting out and doing some spring exploring.  It is one of my favorite times of year - with the trees still bare everything feels fresh and clean... withe little pokes of daffodils peaking through.

How cute is this bunny planted amongst lettuce!

Emma loves the fairy gardens - I always tell her that's where we are going, to see the fairy gardens.

Of course we brought home a little fairy garden to plant.

With some morel mushrooms, of course!  Have a great weekend  : )

March 24, 2015

Lemon Roasted Salmon & Vegetables | Sheet Pan Suppers

Yes, this is a recipe post.  Nope, not a house post, and not a store post - a recipe post!  Feels good to be back in the saddle again.  Enjoy!  ; )

There is nothing like a new season to inspire new recipes... and a fantastic new cookbook that's right up my alley.  Just so you know, this is not a sponsored post.  I came across this book at a little book store in my hometown.  I do a lot of sheet pan cooking myself and thought it had some really great ideas for keeping dinner simple with great flavor.  With Emma becoming more involved in the kitchen and dinner prep, putting everything on a sheet pan (available here) and putting it in the oven is something she can 100% help with.  Stirring and sautéing on the stove?  Not so much.  For entertaining (remember all of the entertaining we used to do... when we had a house?!), putting everything on a sheet pan, early in the day ready to go in the oven when guests arrive, is a dream.

The cover recipe was what reeled me in, so it was the first I tried - Salmon & Roasted Vegetables.  Of course, I modified the recipe a bit, simplifying even more.  She instructs to make a gremolata (parsley, lemon zest and garlic) to sprinkle on after.  I'm sure it is great, but I just threw lemon slices, garlic and olive oil all over everything (and some butter on the salmon) before baking and it tasted delicious.  As the tomatoes roasted, they let out a little juice that blended with the olive oil, garlic and lemon juice and it made an amazing sauce in the pan that I poured over the platter after baking.  Simple!

Large & Small Essential Sheet Pans are available, here, in my store.

Sheet Pan cooking goes right with my favorite way of serving - everything on one platter.  So, everything bakes on one sheet pan, then goes onto one platter.  Mike's dishwashing duties just got very easy.

Lemon Roasted
Salmon & Vegetables
serves 4

1 1/2 pounds of Salmon, into 4 pieces
1 pound of Green Beans, trimmed
Large Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 Red Onion, into large chuncks
2 Cloves of Garlic, sliced
1 Lemon
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Butter
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

On a sheet pan, scatter green beans, tomatoes, onion, lemons and sliced garlic.  Drizzle on olive oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and toss.  Top with Salmon filets.  Put a lemon slice and bit of butter on each salmon piece, then sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake in oven at 425 for 20-25 minutes until salmon is cooked thru.  Serve on a platter with sauce from pan drizzled over or on the side.

The next recipe that caught my eye was this Roasted Mushroom and Burrata Crostini.  I need a carb (and usually melty cheese...) with every meal, so this seemed to be the perfect addition to our uber healthy roasted salmon and vegetables.

I started with prepping the vegetables.  The book called for asparagus, but Mike isn't a huge fan, so I used green beans.  I loved the crunch they added overall.  It made the entire meal seem very fresh.

Love the tiny tomatoes on a vine.  They stayed mostly intact during cooking and looked great on the platter and plate - again, perfect for entertaining.

Everything ready to go in!  Not pictured, I added a tablespoon of butter on top of each lemon piece on each salmon.  It oozed over during baking and made gave the salmon a very flavorful crust and added to the 'sauce' that accumulated in the pan.

Don't forget lots of sea salt.

Everything went in the oven and I got out the platters for serving... and waited.

After about 25 minutes everything was perfect.  Veggies and all.

Onto the platter and drizzled the sauce over.

Here is a peak at the burrata with thyme mushrooms on top.  Mike and Emma aren't mushroom people (as much as I try to convince them!), so we did half and half.  Recipe coming tomorrow (or thursday).

March 23, 2015

Easter Sale! | Free Shipping & Bunny Tag Giveaway | Emma's Egg Decorating Party

Easter Sale & Free Shipping!

This is the last week for Easter orders - it snuck up on me! Emma and I had her Spring Break last week, which really limits my computer time : )  But, we did lots of spring activities, made fresh dinners every night (from my new favorite cookbook and recipe - gasp - I'll share tomorrow!) and enjoyed the weather.

For all of you that still need Easter goodies, I'm offering Free Shipping on all orders over $50 today.  You'll also receive a free set of Blue Bunny Tags in your package.  Stock up on Natural Easter Grass (smells so good!), Wooden Eggs, Eggcups and Candles for your table.
Shop Easter Collection, here.

I love to work, but a week of forced 'no work allowed' is good for my mommy soul.  Like most working (and stay-at-home Moms, ok all Moms), it seems like I always have an ongoing work (and currently, new house) to-do list in half of my brain while the other half is doing my best to stay focused and present during my quality time with Emma.  An ongoing struggle for all of us.  Last week I really tried to drop everything (thank God for my packing crew that keeps things moving even when I'm not around!) and pretend like I was that "perfect Mom" we all want to be.  Picnics in the park, walks, movies, lunch dates with friends, play dates with friends, homemade dinners each night and Emma fun.  It was great!  I don't feel one bit guilty for getting up at 5:45 this morning to get a jump on an entire working day all by myself : )

On one particular rainy day when she woke up from her nap, I surprised her with a little egg painting party with her favorite dollies and me.

How cute would this be for an activity at Easter brunch?!  Or, a little pre-Easter neighborhood party... I'll add this to my list of parties to host for next year when we have a house.

I used the Wooden Eggs from the store that come on stands... very on sale right now.
Wooden Eggs : $5 for Set of 4 Hen Eggs and stands, and $7 for 2 Goose Eggs and Stands
Did I mention this is the last week for Easter Sales!?!

Emma and I made this keepsake egg together - she also made one all by herself that she signed.

Wooden Eggs

Just as I did for Thanksgiving with my "Thankful For..." cards, today all orders will get a free set of 10 Blue Bunny Tags.  So cute on an Easter Basket.

The Blue Bunny Folded Cards are on sale right now, too, $3 for set of 10.  They work great as gift cards tied on baskets or bags, too.

Shop the entire Easter Collection (on sale!) and enjoy Free Shipping on all orders over $50 now : )

March 12, 2015

House Update | Week 25 | Cabinets & Marble for my Birthday

Last week was a big week - maybe the most fun yet.  It was my birthday, which seems less exciting every year, but this year it was especially great.  I took the day off and treated myself to looking through slabs of marble for the kitchen, then I got to see the cabinetry come together.  (Insert huge Yay!!!!)  Mike fixed dinner (Shrimp Scampi, my favorite) and Emma decorated a very pink cake with candy decorations.  We spent the night at home, "bre-laxing," listening to music and playing games with Emma.  It was the best day - so full of warm love and blessings.  There are a couple of photos at the end of the post, mostly for me, so I remember the combination of wonderful, supertastic (Emma's word) on this special day :)

I requested no presents this year.  I feel like we are spending so much on so much right now... I'm starting to feel the pinch.   I've been having major anxiety about a very expensive (still pending...) faucet decision, so I "donated" all birthday allocated money (dinner out, gifts, etc.) to the faucet fund.  I still haven't made a decision, but I like that if I do splurge I know it will have been a sacrifice of something else... right?  Anyway, with cabinet photos to be discussed, I know you aren't interested in hearing about my faucet anxiety... On to the cabinets!

Here they are!  I have lots of photos (shocking...), but I wanted to walk you around the space so you could get a feel for it.  To the right is the back yard with the french doors leading out.  

The island will have a wood top and the surrounding (on the walls) cabinets will have marble tops. The cabinets will be painted a creamy white by our painter... in about a month.  You can see the mudroom through the doorway.

I'm thinking a wood beadboard backsplash, just like we had in our old kitchen, also painted creamy white.

This is the hutch where we will keep linens, flatware (in the drawers) and the dishes and glasses in the top... basically anything for setting the table.  It is very close to the dishwasher, so hopefully it will make it easy to load/unload.

The island is 9 feet long and 40 inches deep.  I wanted it tot have the feel of a old table (hence the wood top) so I made it a little more shallow than deep.  It needed to be very long because it houses the dishwasher, trash, microwave and 30" farmhouse sink + some drawers.  I was worried it would be too long, but I think it worked out great.

This side of cabinetry is what I'm calling my "Baking Counter" but it is where I will sit and work during the day.  There is a nook for a stool and a charging drawer for my laptop.  We'll keep the coffee maker and mixer in the open part of the hutch on the counter and my cake stands on display above.   Dangerous for me to be working so close to the coffee machine all day!   I'll have my flour and sugar canisters lined up under the window.  Can you believe that I'll be photographing sugar cookie decorating here in just a couple of months?!  I cannot.

Here's the view from behind the island.

And the view looking back to the front of the house into the old living room.  That is all of the trim materials that will be installed this week and next.

Looking into the area where the dining table will be and Mike's library/office through those doors.

This is the view from Mike's library/office doors.  One big open space.  Yay!

Here is the bundle of marble we'll be selecting from.  It is a creamy white with grey and brown veining - it great with our creamy paint color.  We'll work around that dark patch on the bottom.  It was hard remembering that we'll only see 24" deep pieces of it - a good thing to remember when looking.

I almost went crazy on the marble... there was another option, one that was twice as much.  I loved it before I knew.  After a couple of days of debate, I decided that they were soooo close.  Too close to spend twice as much.  I just couldn't do it.  Now that the decision is made, I am so glad that this is the one I picked.  I think (I hope!) it was the right decision.

Here is an upclose shot of the grey and brown together - I love how the specs of brown warm it up, which will look perfect with our brass hardware and almost ivory paint.

Can't wait to see this installed!  We are also using it on our master bathroom vanity.  It is an almost perfect match to the tile we're using around the tub and in the shower.

This is how I prepped everything for the tile setter... in Emma's room.  You might remember from the Tile post, that we saved a bundle by getting the tile from Home Depot.

I picked out the creamier more warm pieces of marble for the tub area and will use the more grey for Emma's bathroom floor.  It was harder than I thought to pick out a slab of marble that would coordinate with the tile - being natural, there are so many variations of the same thing out there... especially in the slab vs. tile world.  The tiles were all a little different, so I ordered extra and separated them into like piles so we wouldn't end up with too much color variation in the same space.

Back to the tour!  Here is a look into the mud room, and here is the dutch door that will go into it!  I LOVE this.  I am thinking of painting it a soft black... what do you think?  I also plan on giving it a porcelain knob. Make that two, now that I'm looking at it - two knobs!   There goes part of my faucet fund...

These are the mudroom cabinets - the pantry on the left, then my office homebase on the right.  I'll do all of my photos here because of the perfect light in this room.  That window is recycled from the old back wall of the house in the old kitchen.  It gives so much light!

It will be so nice to have all of my work stuff in a different spot so it doesn't have to live in the kitchen, as it normally does.  I'm looking for a cozy chair to go here - my big computer will go here, where the long hours of working on the website/uploading new products will happen.

Ok, heading upstairs....

Obsessed with this hall linen cupboard.  It was a last minute add-on the cabinetry and I'm so glad we did.  It will take our upstairs landing from very plain and standard to charming.  You can see into the 4th bedroom on the left and Emma's bathroom on the right.

Walking into our bedroom.  Bathroom on the right, closets to the left.

Bed will go against this wall.  I think we'll have a writing desk under the window to the right of the bed.  That will have to be a hunt post move-in.

French door closets... those wires are jam switches, so the light will turn on with the door opens and be off when closed.  Apparently I have a problem with turning lights off, so Mike is excited about this.

Into the bathroom from our room/bed.

Bathroom vanity - also marble top in here.  I really do love that it is floating between two windows.  It helps it feel airy and spacious in here.  You can remember all of the planning and designing that went into achieving it... here, in case you forgot or are new.

Tile in here is happening today so I can't wait to go and see it right after I'm finished writing.

Our old bedroom.  Such pretty new windows and light.

And, just for my memories...

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