Monday, September 16, 2013

Recipe Review

It's that time again!
Wondering what to make for dinner this week? Check out some of these easy and SUPER yummy recipes I've tried and loved. None of them are difficult (otherwise I would NOT have attempted them) so if I can make them you can too! 

All of these have the link that will take you to the original site.  I've also included the WW Points+ that I've come up with in the recipe builder. 
Remember that the points will vary depending on what brand/type of ingredients you use. My calculations can mainly be used a an estimate. 

 -------- Skinny White Chicken Chili -------

servings: 6  WWpts+: 7
Image from
This chili is good but it is SPICY! I think If I make it again I may leave out either the jalapenos or the diced green peppers. Otherwise it was a great recipe and it made quite a lot. 

Click HERE for the recipe! 

 -------- Salsa Chicken Casserole -------

servings: 6  WWpts+: 11
Image from
I made this yesterday for lunch while we had a friend over. After he had left, he texted me wanting the recipe! This is SO easy, and although it takes an hour to cook, it was excellent. You pretty much open a handful of cans, pour them into the dish, add the chicken, and bake! 

To make this a little healthier I used brown rice, and skimped a bit on the cheese. 

Click HERE for the recipe! 

 -------- Apple Pie Egg Rolls -------

servings: 10  WWpts+: 2
Image from
These little guys are so cute! Think Asian apple pie. I had never used egg roll wrappers before, and had a little trouble finding them. Ours were located in the refrigerated "healthy/organic" section. 

Click HERE for the recipe! 

 -------- Southwestern Black Bean Salad -------

servings: 13  WWpts+: 2
Image from
This Salad is perfect in the Summertime (which is just why I'm sharing it the Fall. Woops!) Anyhow, its easy, it's refreshing, and also really good on top of chicken or fish! 

Click HERE for the recipe! 

 -------- Blackened Tilapia Tacos -------

servings: 4  WWpts+: 10
Image from
I am obsessed with fish tacos. I use all sorts of fish, not just tilapia and they're always good. Spread some avocado on the tortilla, and I usually add lettuce and maybe some onions or peppers too. 

Click HERE for the recipe! 

-------- Ramen Stir-Fry -------

servings: 4  WWpts+: 7
Image from
Easy peasy lemon squeezy! That is what this recipe is. Cook your meat, make the ramen, add the veggies, and BOOM done!
 We used chicken instead of the beef and, 2 packages of frozen stir-fry veggies. The recipe also says it makes 4 servings, but Eric and I easily eat almost all of it. 

Click HERE for the recipe! 

-------- Amazing Tomato Basil Pasta  -------

servings: 4  WWpts+: 10
Image from
This dish is basically like magic. You just throw everything into the pot, let it simmer and cook, and that's it! You then have this amazing pasta dish! 
(Do check on it and give it a stir every once in a while, to make sure the pasta doesn't stick to the pot or burn on the bottom). 

Click HERE to get the recipe! 

Are you super stoked to make dinner now!???  Channel your inner Julia Child and...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Wellman Weekend Warriors!

Happy Monday everyone. 
I think this song runs through my head at least once this day every week. It's just so dang catchy, and especially true sometimes: "Monday Monday, can't trust that day...."
Nope, can't trust it.
I think one of the reasons I'm especially sluggish this Monday, is because of all the work we did over the weekend. We got a TON of stuff done! I give credit of our progress solely to the fact that Eric's parents and sister came down Saturday and helped us ALL DAY LONG! They were seriously warriors. Eric's dad brought down a trailer full of tools and big boy toys that made everything so much easier. 

One of the biggest things we Eric and his Dad did was tear up our backyard. It was looking a bit sad when we moved in. 
Note all of the brown/patchy/dead spots. Eric's original plan was to just spray and kill a portion of it, mow really low, then reseed. But by around 4pm Saturday it looked like this!
It is now seeded and covered in hay. Luckily we found a sprinkler in the shed so we can easily water it. 

Another project we got rocking on was repainting the cabinets. This will be a long process, but we were able to take down all of the doors, remove the hardware, and sand everything. This was messy beyond all reason, and I cringe when I think about having to do it inside the kitchen, but the hand sanders made it go a LOT faster. 
Sanding the drawers and remaining cabinets will be done another day. As well as priming and painting. 
We now are sporting the "open cabinet" look. Sometimes I think about keeping it this way, especially when I see pictures of kitchens like THIS, but then I think OMG all of the DUST! And change my mind. 

Another "cross this OFF the list!" moment was replacing our foyer light.
You may recall this post about me walking away from a sweet antique chandelier and then having a "Dang it why didn't I snatch that up!??!??" moment. 
Well a couple months ago I went to the Valley Thrift Store (which now is JUST down the road from us!) and found a cute little chandelier for $4.00. SCORE! I bought that bad boy, and it sat in our apartment dinning room for...well...a long time. But I just KNEW that someday I would have a purpose for it and it would be magnificent. And you know what? That day was yesterday! I grabbed that $4 lamp, some spray paint, and went to town. 
First I lightly (and evenly) sprayed it with 2 coats of Rust-Oleum primer. 
Yes I am quite proud of my rigged up painting system. 
After the primer dried, I sprayed it with 2 coats of Rust-Oleum yellow spray paint. 
Eric helped me hang it up in the tree so I could make sure the bottom was completely covered. I thought this was important since that's the part of the light that people will see most often. 
After a few hours of letting it dry, Eric took down the original light fixture, and rigged up our new chandelier! I bought 5 globe bulbs from Menards  since I love the look of exposed light bulbs, and thought it would be a nice touch. 
Needless to say I'm OBSESSED with how it turned out. *insert HUGE smiley face*
We do have a ceiling cover to hide the wiring, but I guess Eric was just too excited and decided to hook the lamp up without putting the cover on first. Oh well, I'm still super pleased with the how much brighter our entry way is! 
While on the high of a new light, we finished decorating our dining room. The china cabinet is filled with dishes, the table is all set up, and we even hung some pictures on the wall! 
This is the table from my grandma I was talking about in a previous post. It's made from a tree from Valley Forge, which I think is pretty amazing. And yes we only have three chairs. One broke in the move to our apartment last year, but it's perfect for that awkward 3rd wheel date! 
Some close-ups of my little accessory arrangements. Putting these together are another thing that keeps me calm. Eric is pretty much convinced he married a crazy person at this point. 

Whenever I am overwhelmed by how unorganized the rest of the house is, I come in here to sit, and take in the happiness of a complete room. :) 

Sorry that was so long, it's just so much fun sharing our progress! 

Were any of you able to cross off a few things from your "To-Do" list this weekend? 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Labor Day Painting Party

It's practically already Friday! 
This week was short and sweet thanks to Labor Day, and on our day off labor we did! Having that long weekend was EXACTLY what Eric and I needed to get started on painting. We visited Menards at least once a day...but it was so worth it. For one, the new Menards by us is INSANE! It's absolutely huge, has two stories, and a moving sidewalk to help you get from floor to floor. It's the only Menards in Ohio that has this magical pathway, and the first day we were there we totally got stuck on it. It was pretty funny actually, we had to pick up our whole cart and carry it the rest of the way. 
Good thing we work out! 

The whole process of painting started on Sunday. We first sanded down any bumps and uneven spots on the wall with sandpaper. We also filled in any holes left from the previous owners. After sanding we primed all those spots with 1-2-3 primer so our new paint wouldn't have "dry" spots. We found the primer in the basement, so that was free! 
Look at that brush technique :) 
Once the primer was dry, we wiped down the walls, went full steam ahead, and painted away!!! I did the bottom trim and half of the walls, while Eric did the edging around the ceiling and the top half of the walls. So after about 3 hours we had a brand new living room! 
I love how this room turned out! I think the Gadget Grey seriously brightens up the space. It's so soft, lovely, and I think we will be able to add all sorts of great color with accessories. We took the curtains down as well and that also really helped bring in more light. 

Monday was focused on the dining room. It was the same sort of prep process with priming, sanding, and cleaning. Eric did the entire top half, while I did most of the bottom since I could actually reach all of it.  Gadget Grey on top and Palladian Blue on the bottom equals one pretty eating space if you ask me! 
Isn't the contrast between the dark floors and the soft blue of the walls gorgeous?! I can just imagine our table in here with bright red and yellow flowers all over it. 
Sorry there is still a bunch of stuff sitting in the middle of the room in all of these pictures, but I was just so excited!!! 

So that is our progress thus far! We plan to start working on the kitchen this weekend, though it may not be as easy since the walls are textured. Any advice on how to tackle that? I just doubt a regular paint roller will do the job. We also want to kick start painting the cabinets, which will be a whole new adventure. 

 Here's another set of before and after pictures since I just LOVE to see side-by-side progress! 
uuuggg blurry pictures :( sorry! 

So proud of our first painting experience! 
Now on to the next!!! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Walk Right In, Sit Right tour!

Welcome to our home! 
Eric and I have been in our new house for over two weeks now, and we could not be happier! Having our own space is such a blessing. We have more room than we know what to do with, although that still doesn't mean all of our boxes are unpacked. We are slowly but surely getting everything put away and where it belongs, but as my Mom keeps telling me; "You have YEARS to unpack, don't worry about it." We've already rearranged our kitchen twice, and I feel like every time I turn around there is another box that I hadn't noticed before. 
Although it's still a little hectic, it truly feels like home. 
Our home! 

I wanted to put up a little tour to show what it looks like now since we have moved in. We were able to keep the swing (score!) so our front porch is a cozy little spot to hang out in the shade after a walk, or sit out in the morning while eating oatmeal. Right now we're contemplating a color to paint the front door. I'm leaning towards a bright and cheery yellow...but there is also a red competing for attention. That is why there are paint swatches there to greet you as you walk in. 

Once you get inside the house, you're standing in the foyer. I love having this little entry way, I have visions of a table with a place for our keys and other random knick-knacks. Right now it's about 4 different shades of brown, but we hope to paint it Hampshire Taupe by Ben Moore. The trim and stairs will end up in Simply White also by Ben Moore. I think the lighter colors will really brighten up the space and give the natural light a place to reflect and help it not seem so dark. 

Immediately to your left is our living room. I love the giant windows and the beautiful little stained glass. Thanks to my aunt and uncle we have a set of couches that are perfect for us right now. We're still very eclectic with our furniture, but hey, that's all part of the process! The color we have picked out for this room is Gadget Grey by Dutch Boy. It's a lighter shade of grey that looks similar to this, and is painted on the wall in the second photo. 

We're also planning on painting the trim so everything is white and unified. 

Through the living room you enter the dining room. At the moment this room is a kinda of "catch-all" space for decorations, dishes, extra china, pretty much anything I know doesn't belong upstairs. We think the wood floors are original, and with a little sanding a rejuvenation could be outstanding. Palladian Blue by Ben Moore is what we are going to paint this room, with more of the Gadget Grey on the top section. 

Palladian Blue is a very light blue, but I know the dark wood from my grandmother's table (below) will give the room a beautiful contrast. This table was made out of a tree from Valley Forge, and has been in our family for a very long time. We don't have it set up for dining quite yet, but I was able to make this funky little arrangement on top of it the other day. 

Right off of the dining room is the kitchen. I have high hopes for this space since it is where we spend a lot of our time. We both love to cook, and actually having cabinet space for everything is just WAY too much fun! I want the walls to be Kensington Green by Ben Moore and the cabinets to be Simply White. I just absolutely adore the look of white cabinets. They just shout "clean", "sleek", and "classy" to me. Our 5 year plan also includes new counter tops and a back splash, but one step at a time. I do want to cover those bar stools with some fun fabric, and maybe give them a fresh coat of paint. 

If you look back towards the font of the house, after walking through the kitchen, you can head upstairs. The carpet on the stairs will go eventually, but we don't know if we want to replace it, or try to bring the wood beneath back to life. 

Once upstairs you are greeted by the "hallway of brown". There are three different shades of brown up here on the walls, trim and ceiling. Why the previous owners couldn't just stick to one trim color...who knows. All I know is that eventually all the trim will be white, along with the ceiling and doors, and the walls will be Hampshire Taupe like the foyer. Three cheers for coordination! 

There are three bedrooms upstairs; the master, our office space, and a guest bedroom. Our bedroom is pretty much put together; I made that a priority when unpacking. Something about having a sanctuary of sorts when the rest of the place looks like a bomb exploded helped keep me sane. We really haven't talked about what colors we want the upstairs to be. I'm leaning towards a grey in here as well. A headboard and curtains are also up on the higher list of "to gets" for this room. 

Another view of our room. That door there is my closet, which I am bonkers about :) 
Fact: I can stand inside of it and do a little dance. It's fantastic. 

At the end of the hallway is the full size bathroom. The fact that you can actually move around in this bathroom, and Eric doesn't hit his knees on the sink while using the toilet is a HUGE improvement from what we had in our apartment. I also have a drawer for all my makeup, and another drawer for all my hair stuff! I  am a happy lady I tell you what :) 

The other two rooms upstairs have been dubbed "Insanity 1" and "Insanity 2". Eric has gotten his office put together somewhat, but there is still a long way to go.

And the guest room? Well, let's just say we aren't quite prepared for visitors yet. 

OK, enough looking at our mess. 
Out the backdoor of the kitchen is our sweet backyard. We are so lucky to have such beautiful landscaping already, I just hope I can keep it all alive. There is space for a fire ring, as well as some patio furniture, and Eric even has a vision of an outdoor bar of some sort. 

Here is another view of the backyard...and what is that I see??? Is that what I think it is??

Why YES! Yes it is! That IS a party house in the backyard!!! 
This seriously was the selling factor when we first saw this house. There is so much space in this party house, or "rec room" as we're calling it, that no excuse will be had for not throwing a celebration. There is plenty of room for couches, a TV, Eric's record player, and of course my pole ;) 
The amount of Cincinnati Reds stuff Eric has flagged on Craig's List is insane. He is totally ready to deck this place out and use it to the max. 

So that's pretty much it! We have already put so much love into our new home in just these few weeks, but we have so much more to go. There is a big vision in my head of what it will all look like someday, and I can't wait for the journey to start. We've already started some of the transformation process and I can't wait to share some before and after pictures!! 

So hopefully everyone is enjoying their long Labor Day weekend. Cherish these last few weeks of summer! 

-  Peace! -