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February 27, 2011

An Adventure to get Ektorp

Oh the adventure we went on yesterday, all for the love of Ektorp! Friday night was crazy enough, hubby had a gathering planned for the worship team at our church, just a fun night to hang out, eat and play music. He was the planner of this event so we had to get the food, get out to the barn and also pick up the U-Haul trailer before the place closed. We needed a U-haul trailer because we were planning on heading to IKEA to pick up Ektorp and company. The nearest IKEA is 2.5 to 3 hours away depending on traffic, speeds at which we drive and how many potty or food stops we need to make with 4 children. Plus we never can leave on time, ever. Seriously.
Friday night at the lovely party we receive a phone call from the sitter, daughter E is puking. NO!!! The trip to IKEA was called off. Too make a long story short, she threw up twice on Friday night and was fine by Saturday morning. We decided at 8:30 to head to IKEA after all. Frantic we run around, loading a puke bucket, paper towel and various other items.
To make this longish story even shorter, suffice it to say, we left town at 10:20 after the trailer lights not working, low tires on our vehicle, buying a plug for the trailer lights, etc. Cue the snowfall....and we arrive at IKEA at 2pm.
We made it in and out of IKEA in an hour after trying out a few sofas, chairs, deciding on a sofa and two chairs and purchasing black toilet brushes for the neighbor. All with 7 kids, 4 adults and 350 other people at IKEA that were in our way.
The trip back was even more treacherous with icy roads, people off in ditches, fog and driving in traffic with a U-Haul trailer bouncing along behind us! The kids all slept on the way home and we pulled into our driveway safe and sound at 11pm. We then unloaded the trailer and put our furniture together because we couldn't wait until the morning! It took us maybe half an hour to assemble a sofa and two chairs, slipcovers and all.  I also would like to warn you now that I did not iron or steam the slipcovers, they went from the package to the furniture.  I'm not really an ironing kind of girl, I'm hoping that over time and with some body natural heat they will iron themselves out.

So this is how the room looks for now. I'm still debating a few things but I'm really liking it! I also took a picture of the buffet we purchased off Craigslist last week.  I want to paint it white possibly, not sure if it will stay in the living room but that's where it is for now. 

  I'm loving the brighter feel of the room!  We'll see if the curtains stay or get moved to the dining room and the coffee table might need to go too.  What do you think?  Are we crazy to have white slipcovered furniture with 4 kids and a dog?


Ektorp in the House!

Stop on over to my facebook page and check out what's in my house! More to come on the blog soon! I need to go figure out what rug to put in the living room.


February 25, 2011

The Best Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Here is my favorite, easy as pie or in this case cake, banana cake recipe!  Also, this cake is not a light cake, it has cream cheese, butter and sour cream in it!  Although it does have fruit in it.  That counts, right? 

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
2 to 3 medium ripe or overly ripe bananas
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 c to 1 c sour cream

Make the cake according to the box directions. Smash, mush and pretty much annihilate the bananas, then add them to the cake mix. Add 1 tsp. baking soda and sour cream, mix into batter. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until cake is done in the middle.
I usually end up putting my cake in the freezer for a while to cool down and it helps when you put the frosting on so you don't get crumbs in the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz Package of Cream Cheese softened
1/2 c Butter softened
2 c Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Mix all ingredients in a bowl on medium speed. You can add more or less powdered sugar depending on how sweet you want the frosting to taste.
Frost your cake and then refrigerate for a while before serving.

Keep cake refrigerated. Enjoy!

I'm linking up here:


February 24, 2011

Painting the Fireplace

When we first moved into this house I was very excited to have a fireplace, my first ever home with a fireplace! I had visions of her in white and not a flesh colored piece of beigeness in my living room.  (What a scary dark dungeon of a room this was!) 

So I set out to paint her white. Well soon the kitchen project was taking up all my time and I never really got back to the fireplace. This is what she looked like just recently:

And finally a few weeks ago, I got around to painting the brown brick with primer:

Next up I want to paint the sassy brassy right off this little lady. I plan to use Rustoleum High Heat Paint in black. Here are a few blogs that have some pictures and or tutorials on how to paint the brass on a fireplace.




I also found a few great before and after pictures on BHG. Check out these before and after beauties out!!!

(Honey if you are reading, stop now. )

Some ideas for my fireplace in the future if we tear down the wall with the bookcases some day, I thought maybe we would build bookcases alongside the fireplace instead.
I had to promise Mr.A no more projects for a while, so maybe this will be down the road.  A girl can dream, right? 

Do you have a fireplace?  Have you painted yours or left it as natural stone or brick?  I would love to see them!


February 23, 2011

Is Your Master Bedroom a Sanctuary or Storage Room?

I am doing a little series on the Master Bedroom over the next few weeks.  You can find the first post here.
Does your master bedroom look like the picture below?  If your bedroom has become the laundry, papers and junk catchall for your house, maybe it's time to shovel it all out and make your bedroom somewhere that you can't wait to head to at the end of the day to hang out with your husband and not just to go to sleep!

There are a few things we've done to make it feel more like a room at a bed and breakfast than a catchall room that you sleep in, that is if you can find the bed! First off, we gave the television in our room the boot! We haven't had a TV in our bedroom since 2005 and frankly, we haven't missed it at all. If we ever want to watch some Boston Legal or Netflix, we just bring the laptop into our room and voila, TV without a permanent TV!   We are able to spend time reading, snuggling and catching up on our day instead of zoning out in front of the boob tube. 

I try to keep our room personal with photographs of the two of us and not our children. I love my children but I don't know if I want them staring down at me from the wall in my bedroom, if you know what I mean! Plus, who's going to really see their cute smiling faces in our bedroom? I like to display them in the main parts of our house where everyone can see them! I display some of our wedding pictures and various other photos of just the two of us. We try to get our mug shots together every few years at the same time when we have our family picture done. I love having professional photos of us and who doesn't like having to get dolled up and pose with their man?

I try to keep the girly knick-knack stuff to a minimum in our room and instead use candles, pictures and books for decor. I love having candles around the room because they're great mood lighting and also make your room smell great too!

Mr.A keeps the clock on his nightstand and when we bought a new one, we made sure it could play cds and i-pods. Music is always nice to have around for relaxing, dancing and other bedroom activities, if you get the idea.  

Mr.A doesn't really care about the style of furniture too much. A few years ago I came across a dresser, a nightstand and I think it's some type of sewing table at a garage sale, all for $10 total! They were painted an ugly red/black combo mixed together but I knew with a little paint they'd be perfect for our bedroom. I painted, distressed and sanded them, found some fun knobs off e-bay and five years later we are still using them. For as much as I like to change things up, I still love my bedroom furniture!  So if you aren't loving your bedroom furniture, maybe you could give it a fresh coat of paint and maybe some new drawer pulls or knobs and get a whole new look for less than $100. 

We are on our third Shabby Chic bed set from Target and we use them all. Mr.A doesn't mind them and he knows that it makes me super duper happy, so that makes him happy!  If your bed needs some freshening up, maybe you could go comforter/quilt/duvet shopping together, pick something out that you both like.  After all, he has to sleep in your bed too!
I've also found that making the bed everyday makes the bed look great but also shows that you think the bedroom is just as important to keep looking good as your kitchen.

One of my favorite rooms in our home is our master bedroom. It's not something you'd find in a Pottery Barn catalog but I've definitely tried to create a sanctuary, a place where we are not tripping over toys, laundry baskets or piles of crap. A place that feels relaxing, calm, cozy and well, intimate and romantic.  After all, it's the only room in the house that is for just my husband and me. So put the laundry away, find another place for all the stuff you're storing on top the dresser, get out the vacuum or broom and give your room a good cleaning.

I'd love to hear from you, is your bedroom a sanctuary or storage room?  What do you do to make a sanctuary for the two of you?   

Stay tuned for the next post in the Master Bedroom Series, Why it's not just for sleeping!


February 22, 2011

Getting Your Bed Dressed

I have a confession, I don't like making my bed. In fact, I didn't make our bed everyday for a long time. Well times are changing and so am I, I've been making the bed and it's been so refreshing to walk into our bedroom!   Granted I also have been changing things up a bit in there. I have a Simply Shabby Chic quilt, duvet cover and now a comforter all from Target. I bought the quilt five years ago and I still love it. Then two years ago for my birthday I asked for the duvet cover. We were sticking the quilt inside the duvet cover and that wasn't working so well. I didn't want a feather insert because of allergies so we went looking for a non-feathery insert and instead found a Shabby Chic comforter on clearance for $19! Have I ever mentioned how much I love Target clearance? For a while we were using the comforter inside the duvet but I love the comforter by itself. So here was my bed earlier today, a cute white comforter but not a lot else going on.


So I dug out the quilt, shoved it inside the duvet cover, threw it across the end of the bed and put pillows into the shams.  It already looked much better but then I went out to my stash of old windows in the garage and brought one inside, cleaned it off, hung it over the bed, found my coffee filter wreath and a command hook and voila! Instant beautification!!!!

For a total of zero dollars, I  transformed our bed from blah into wow!  If your bed is got a case of the winter blues, maybe it's time to look around your house and see if you can dress your bed for a wow factor! 


February 21, 2011

Organizing the Hall Closets

I've been on an organizing kick since the beginning of January and I'm still on a role! After working on the Pantry , Playroom Closets, Cloffice and Mudroom, it was time to tackle the hall closets!
This is a confusing hallway because it has pretty much all the closets on the main floor in one area.  The front hall closet isn't in this picture but it's right by the laundry chute, you just can't see it.  Here is a picture of the closet hallway before we ripped out the carpeting but you get the idea, I hope!

We have one closet that is located right by the Cloffice and it looked like this earlier today, it is pretty much the vacuum, pet stuff, receipt, swimming, dining room table parts, paper products and guitar holding area. (I think my dear husband left his guitar in the truck from Sunday so it's MIA in this photo but just picture a big black plastic type guitar case shoved in here.)

Careful kid, you might not come back out of there alive!!!  Yowza, that's a lot of stuff all jumbled up in there!

So I hauled everything out of the closet, including two garbage bags full of receipts that we were supposed to burn this past summer.  Oops.  Well I guess we'll just have even more to burn this summer!

I then asked Mr.A if he would put the shelves we ripped out of the closet we turned into the cloffice in this closet for my cleaning supplies. Of course he couldn't say no to little ol' me.

Across the hall from this closet there is a little shallow closet that looked like this inside:

It doesn't shut all the way and it's very shallow so I decided to move all the cleaning stuff out of this one and onto the new shelving, along with the paper products, batteries, light bulbs and pet supplies.   That darn Bounty papertowel would not cooperate for the pictures.  I will have to beat it into submission later.

I then needed to find the vacuums a new home so I moved on to the front hall closet.  Sorry this picture is a bit blurry, I was so into organizing I'm surprised I remembered to take the picture!

How many  bags and backpacks do we really need?   I weeded some out and moved the shoes out of the bottom of the closet.  We hardly ever use this closet, it mostly stores our extra coats and shoes that we never really wear.  I hid the vacuums in the back of the closest and Mr.A's guitar will go in here as well.  It looks so much better!

Next up is our Master Bedroom closets, we have three in our room and they need some help!