Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Insta-love

summer campfires
date nights
family visits
farmer's markets
trips to indy
living room remodeling 
"when plans fail, blaze new trails"
spending time together
bringing home kitties
home improvements.
fresh produce from our very own garden

Monday, July 30, 2012

"best birthday ever!!"

{Dan's response to our fabulous day together yesterday!}

Though we had a hard time remembering ALL of his previous birthdays, it felt pretty good to know that I'd planned the perfect day for his 27th birthday!

After a visit to Tom's Donuts for breakfast, we headed out on bikes to explore our city.  We have been meaning to hit the trails and explore the many bike paths throughout Fort Wayne for some time now.  The city has invested a lot in the past few years to build a pretty elaborate trail system throughout the city, with more trails to be added in the near future.  Yesterday proved to be the perfect day for a long bike ride.  The weather was amazing, not too hot and just a slight breeze to keep us cool.  The trail itself turned out to be mostly shaded which made it even better.

We started at Johnny Appleseed park, where we were able to leave our car safely, then headed into the city on St. Joseph Pathway.  We turned onto Maumee Pathway and followed the river to Kreager Park where we took a break to walk around and get our feet wet in the splash pad!  Then we headed back downtown for lunch.

We had lunch at Toscani's Pizzeria, highly recommend this little restaurant if you're in the mood for Italian!  After lunch we headed to the Wells Street Corridor for some more exploring and shopping.  Unfortunately, we didn't consider that it was Sunday and most places would be closed.  We did however, stumble upon this incredible book store.  We'll definitely be visiting Hyde Brothers Booksellers again soon!

Back at home we spent the afternoon napping and just relaxing around the house.  And since the burn ban has been lifted, invited a few friends over for a bonfire in the evening.  So much fun to finally be able to enjoy this favorite summertime activity!

It was a wonderful day - a much needed break from working on the house - and a fantastic time spent together.  So happy he enjoyed it as much as I did!

Happy Birthday Dan!!!

Dan's 26th birthday
Dan's 25th birthday
Dan's 24th birthday

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Can you believe that it's already the end of July?!  I mean really, where did the summer go?  I came into this summer with high hopes and expectations of all the amazing things that I would do and get done.  While I didn't cross as many things off of my to-do-list as I had hoped, it has been a wonderfully summer and needed break from school.

I found it very difficult in the beginning of the summer to find a balance between productivity and relaxation.  Not having to wake up and head to work, I found myself sleeping in later and later each day...then feeling sluggish as I tried to get myself moving when I finally rolled out of bed.  This led to a negative attitude and frustration at "wasting" my morning with Dan - which has been one of the best parts about my summer.  Getting to be together for a significant chunk of our day has been wonderful.  {definitely not looking forward to that part of the school year}.

Once I finally got my routine sorted out, I found lots of things to fill my days and weeks with - church committees, farmers market visits, visiting friends, trips to IKEA, oh and remodeling of course!

Unfortunately I feel I've neglected the blog a bit this summer and feel like I have a lot of catching up to do!  So much has changed in the house and I can't wait to share.  We had an ok year in the garden and I'm working on sharing some of the ups & downs with you.

I'm looking forward to the fall and the start of another new school year - I'm not eager for summer to be over just yet, but I'm excited to start another adventure!

Check back over the coming weeks as I hope to share a lot of summer updates and hopefully a fresh new look to the blog!

Until next time.

Friday, July 20, 2012

hello! goodbye.

After 21 years in the family, we said goodbye to the Tercel.  
{It was very hard for Dan to say goodbye!}

We've since introduced this lovely Corolla into the family!  Here's hoping it serves us well for many many years to come!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

we're calling the bathroom DONE

For now that is.  In a fixer-upper like ours, and with the schedules we keep, it seems nothing is ever really done!

At this point the bathroom is done...it's not finished - there are a few touch-ups and fine touches that will happen eventually.

Because we were having house guests, I took the opportunity to take some photographs of the freshly cleaned bathroom to share!

I can't get over how great that sink is
the curtain is great for privacy, still thinking I might frost the window to allow more light during the day
hoping my orchid likes it's new home
that photograph is my favorite part of the bathroom - we took it while in Bali, Indonesia 
like I said - a few final touches still need to happen - like that beautiful green door!
having a closet door really makes this bathroom seem finished

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

40 breads // perfecting the belgian waffle

Around here, Sunday morning breakfast has always been a treat.  During the week breakfast is a quick bowl of granola or yogurt on the run {and we rarely eat together due to crazy schedules} but Sunday mornings are different.  Sundays are our day together.

Over the past few years our Sunday morning routine has included a lovely stack of pancakes.  Add some local butter, honey, or syrup and we're set.  While we both love pancakes, we love waffles way more!  So when a friend asked what I wanted for my birthday, a belgian waffle maker was at the top of my list.

I was so surprised when she arrived at our house early the morning of my birthday {like 7am early} with a lovely new Belgian waffle iron!!!  In that moment, I knew our summer would be filled with delicious waffles!!

We've spent the better part of the summer trying a variety of recipes {not just Sunday mornings!} to find the one that's just right for us.  We realized early on that store bought mixes were not for us...the texture, consistency, and flavor are sub-par, and the ingredients often include more preservatives than we'd like to be eating.  Most of the recipes we have tried have been through some of my favorite food blogs and recipe books.

This past weekend, while Dan's sister was visiting we decided to whip up some waffles for breakfast.  After realizing that we didn't have enough of the store-bought mix {though it's not the best, it's always a good backup plan} to feed all of us, Dan jumped online and found this recipe to try {isn't technology wonderful!?}.  It was decided after each of us tried both kinds of waffle that we had indeed found THE recipe!  

the bread no.7 Belgian waffles

our changes : we made a few adaptations...here's our new go-to recipe:

  • 2 eggs {we use farm fresh eggs from my parents}
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour {we use white whole wheat for everything}
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil {any oil will do - might try melted butter next time}
  • 1 T. white sugar
  • 4 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. homemade vanilla extract

Beat eggs in bowl until fluffy.  Add all other ingredients.  Follow the directions on your waffle iron for cooking.  Serve with fresh berries/fruit, honey, syrup, or just butter!

our thoughts These waffles turned out just how we like them - crispy, yet fluffy, just a little sweet and very flavorful!

the verdict :  We'll definitely be using this recipe again and again.  I'm eager to try a few variations - possibly cutting out the sugar all together.  I have some oat flour that I'd like to experiment with as well.  Looking forward to many delicious Sunday morning breakfasts!!!

The right recipe is key to delicious waffles, but there is also a bit of a learning curve to using any belgian waffle maker - they're not all the same.  It took us many tries to find the right amount of batter to make each waffle - too much and it's a mess, too little and your waffle is too crispy.  We also found that a good quality cooking spray {we use 100% extra virgin olive oil in a spray can} helps to keep the waffles from sticking or burning and makes removal much, much easier!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

a place for living {part 3}

And we have a living room.

It's still far from done, but it feels so good to have a space to just be!  Dan's sister and her fiance are visiting this weekend and I love that we have a real space to hang out and enjoy our time together!

Couch, love-seat, and ottoman from Sofa Mart, Ikea expedite bookcase, Ikea poang chair, Target curtains

more on a place for living {part 1}  {part 2}

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

a place for living {part 2}

Once we completed the bookcase {here} we painted the walls and trim then moved on to the floor.

This project was a little unexpected.  We had planned on hosting Dan's parents for the weekend, but due to illness and extreme temperatures in the forecast they had to postpone their trip.  Having the time off work already, we decided to tackle this feat!

We started by removing the linoleum around the front door entry.  Our initial plan was to use the same tile from the kitchen to replace this, but when we found that the floor underneath looked pretty good, we decided to just treat it as the rest of the room.

We rented a large sander from Home Depot for the weekend and Dan went to town sanding the entire floor.

Though process seemed to take forever in 100 degree weather {we kept having to take breaks just to cool off} it exposed some really neat patterns in the wood!  

The end result was beautiful!

We really wanted to just seal it at this point, but decided against it because we had already opted to go with a dark wood look for the bookcase and fan and figured most of the floor was going to be covered with furniture or rugs anyways!

The stain took a little work to get to look just right.  Due to the extreme heat it would dry faster than we could wipe it clean, resulting in darker and lighter spots.  But with a little patience {on Dan's part!} we were able to get a nice finish.

The final step was to add the seal, which went on quickly and easily.

Now to let it set completely and we can move our new furniture {which was delivered a few days ago} back in and out of the kitchen!

more on a place for living {part 1}  {part 3}

Saturday, July 7, 2012

a place for living {part 1}

Up first, bookcase transformation.

Way back in February I shared our beautiful built in bookcase...

From day one we have loved this feature of our little blue house, but knew that it needed a little TLC.
After unloading all the books and such, I started by sanding down the entire unit, removing doors and draws.

The shelves are mostly stationary, with the exception of the two on either side of the computer, and these two shelves {along with another two that we removed right away because we thought they were overkill} are actually made of a different kind of wood than the stationary ones!  The base counter and cabinets are actually a plywood veneer in yet another wood tone.  These two factors meant that strictly staining the unit was out of the question.  Oh and the backing of the shelves is actually a thin piece of paneling...again, not good for staining!

Wanting to go for a dark wood-look, I headed to Lowe's to see what my options were.  I found a stain/poly mix in just the right color and decided to give it a try.
This stuff was AWESOME!  It went on like paint and because it's a stain/poly mix there is no wiping like your typical stain.  I ended up applying two coats to the entire unit in order to get the deep rich mahogany color I wanted.  

I splurged on some great cup drawer pulls that I LOVE and think they add to the richness of the dark wood-look. 

From the beginning I knew I wanted a contrasting back to the shelves, but decided that I didn't want to use paint.  I tossed around the idea of adhering fabric to the paneling, but couldn't find just the right style to match the room.  My next thought was wallpaper.  Now, I'm generally not a fan of wallpaper, not only because of it's look, but it's so difficult to install and a pain to get rid of.  However, when I learned about grasscloth wallpaper like this I fell in love.  Unfortunately, I the price of true grasscloth made it a less ideal option for this space, but when I found a printed version on the cheap on Lowe's I snatched it up and went for it.  It was a piece of cake to put up and from a distance, you won't know the difference.   I love, love, love it!  

I love how the wallpaper appears to have a texture, and I think adds a great feel to the bookcase as a whole.

I was also happy to find that even with all our books and "stuff" on the shelves, you can see the lovely wallpaper!

{The light above the computer is one that used to live above our bed back in E-town!  I love how it completes the space, and is actually quite useful...when you're sitting at the computer you create a shadow from the main light in the room!}

more on a place for living {part 2}  {part 3}