Monday, October 31, 2011


Central Station

We all share the same problem of trying to keep our life, our kids, husbands, dogs, neighbors, fish, school, work, etc. organized and scheduled out to some degree.  Ok, that is a bit excessive, but you all know what I mean!  And if you don’t struggle with this, please come to my house and show me how to overcome this!  I need you like yesterday!  As a mom and wife we are always expected to be the Mom Extraordinaire…aka SUPER MOM!  We are expected to know when, where and how everything is projected to happen.  I can pretty much tell you exactly how everyone else’s life is planned to the second but I have no clue what I am doing from one moment to the next.  LOL!  My day changes based on everyone else’s needs/wants!  With that in mind, I have come up with my own “Central Station”. 

This is the keeper of all things related to our daily life’s…calendars, kids’ progress reports, school projects, dr. appointments, reminders, etc.  If it can have a push pin or a laundry clip attached to it…it can go on the Central Station board!

Each person has their own square to post in.  How cool is that!  Now I don’t have to worry about losing someone’s papers.  Woohoo!  Easy breezy stuff! 

So how did I do it you ask?  Well, it started with this.

The people that owned our house prior to us put these little frames into the kitchen window to hide the cross beams.  They looked really cool in there; however, I like to open my windows and I could not with these in place, so out they came.  Then that sat in my attic for 3 years just waiting to be used again.  I knew at some point I would find a use for them…and now I have!  While I LOVED the turquoise color, it did not go well in my kitchen so I decided to change it up a bit.

In came Annie Sloan’s Old White.  At first it was a bit to “white” for my liking so I sanded it to bring out some of the turquoise color and the wood grain.  Still to bright for me…so I rubbed on some of my favorite stain – Minwax Dark Walnut. 

Squeal!  LOVE IT!   I love that I still get to enjoy some of the turquoise color peeking through don't you?!

Then came adding the cork board to the back...but WAIT!  That just wasn't going to do it enough justice.  It needed MORE!  I had some chicken wire leftover from my jewelry display that I made.  You can find that here if you haven't already read about it :)  So I had Mr. AKM staple that to the back for me like so...

I'm swooning here!  Then came the cork board...I only added one sheet but I wish I would've double layered it for extra thickness. (Note to time double layer cork board). Got that?  CHECK!
Once the chicken wire and cork board were added, it was time to put some sort of backing on it to support it all.  I was thinking of a 1/4" sheet of plywood but all we had was 3/4".  Since I was trying to avoid spending any extra money on this...the 3/4" went on! 
It ain't pretty and it's thicker that I wanted it to be but hey, its going up against the wall and NO ONE will ever see it!  So there!  Dont' judge me it on its looks...but on its functionality instead.  On a score of 1 - 10...I give it a 9.5 :)  Not bad if you ask me!

So after all our is the end result
 I love it!  It is exactly what I was going for.  And to make sure that each of us knows whose block is whose...I painted letters to correspond to the 1st letter of our names. 

This area isn't quite finished yet, but it's off to a good start! 
So what do you think?  Think you could do this?  Is this something you would want for your "Central Station"? 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Goodness

Ultimate Halloween Peanut Butter Oreo Brownie Bar

Um, yea, these are just SO WRONG!  I was over at Kevin & Amanda’s blog the other day reading up on some tips they offer on taking pictures when I stumbled upon this recipe.  I immediately started to drool and knew that I MUST make these LIKE NOW!

They are the perfect blend of yummy and SUPER YUMMY!  As Amanda describes it, “It’s a warm, gooey peanut butter cookie topped with a soft, fudgy brownie, with a sweet double stuffed Oreo nestled right in the middle. It’s the ultimate chocolate peanut butter treat”!  I couldn’t have said it better myself!  Thanks Amanda!

I had bought a package of these highly sought after Candy Corn M&M’s.  I say highly sought after because they are next to impossible to find…and can only be found at Walmart…and then only by your 11 year old son who has some sort of candy radar that adults lack.  I still don’t know where in the store he found them as he only offered up a shrug of the shoulders and pointed to the clothing section saying “over there somewhere”.  Nice!  Candy in the clothing section…who’d have thunk it? 

Aren't they cute?  I started to just eat these straight out of the bag but knew they had a higher purpose…in comes the Ultimate Halloween Peanut Butter Oreo Brownie recipe! 

The bottom layer is this insanely delicious peanut butter cookie.  I ate this dough by the spoonfuls…as did Mr. AKM until we realized it was in the morning and probably not the best way to start the day. 

Then comes the Oreos…oh how I love me some Oreos!  Just layer these bad boys right on top of the cookie layer and push them into the dough just a smidge for good measure.

Then let your hubby have an Oreo to dunk in his coffee cuz he’s been so patiently waiting for you to finish baking already and he LUHS YEW!

Mix up your favorite brownie recipe or boxed brownies.  I used Ghirardelli’s double chocolate brownie mix.  This is my favorite “go to” boxed brownie mix when I’m in the mood for brownies but not in the mood to go homemade.  Pour your brownie mix right on top of your Oreo layer and put into the oven.  I somehow missed photographing this step.  Not sure what happened there.  I think I got a bit over zealous.  So sue me!  When they are done baking and cooling you have this glorious gooey, peanut buttery, fudgy little slice of heaven!   OOH EEMM GEE!

And because your so exhuasted from baking these totally auspicious treats...let your man handle the clean up!  Because he Luhs yew and wants to kiiiissss yew. 

After you've cleaned up your mess and stuffed yourself silly with as many brownies as you possibly can, package them up in these cute little bags, put a sweet little tag on them and give them all away! 

You like that tag?  Me too!  My sis made that sweet little number for me.  Isn't she awesome?!  If you wanna score yourself some...or some other ones.  Go check out her Etsy site at Fairydreams.  She has all kinds of fun cards and tags and can pretty much make anything you dream up!

Ultimate Halloween Peanut Butter Oreo Brownie Bar
(adapted from Kevin & Amanda)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 (9.9 oz) pkg white chocolate candy corn M&Ms or 1 cup Reese’s Pieces
1 pkg Halloween or Double Stuffed Oreos
1 Family Size (9×13) Brownie mix
1/4 cup hot fudge topping - optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and beat until dough is light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, then slowly add to the mixer until the flour is just combined. Stir in M&Ms. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray, line with wax paper, and spray with cooking spray again. Spread the cookie dough in the bottom of the dish. Top with a layer of Oreos. Mix together brownie mix, adding an optional 1/4 cup of hot fudge topping to the mix. Pour the brownie batter over the cookie dough and Oreos. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted 2″ from the edge comes out with moist pieces clinging to it.  Eat with a large glass of cold milk!  Enjoy!

This is partying at the following places...go join the fun!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Follow the leader...

The Holder of the Jewels

I have a confession to make.  I AM A FOLLOWER. Yes, it is true.  And I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I love playing follow the leader…ring-a-round-the-rosey…Simon says and countless other kids games.  It reminds me what its like to be young without a care in the world.  And more than I like playing kids games, I like to follow trends.  Not always mind you…I do like to be a trendsetter too but sometimes there is a trend that is so AWESOME that I can’t help myself and I NEED to jump on the bandwagon and try it for myself.  Chalk Paint is one of those trends.  I have followed other people’s blogs for months researching this amazing paint.  I have stockpiled countless pieces of furniture that are just dying to be the 1st piece to get to try on this new paint.  To see what if feels like to be covered in this rich, buttery paint.  To know what it is like to have its true self revealed WITHOUT having to be sanded to death.  Doesn’t that sound divine?  Today, my chalk paint arrived!  (Cue the sounds of harps strumming and angels singing please).

Isn’t she beautiful?  I couldn’t bring her here all alone so it was necessary to buy more than one at a time.  You understand.  And who would I be if I did not get the Clear Wax to help protect her beautiful finish?  Just plain irresponsible if you ask me!  And who is to be the lucky recipient of this paint?  It was a tough decision actually.  I wanted to go all out and tackle every piece at once but in the end my rational side took over.  Start small it said.  See what this paint can do then move on.  So without further ado, I give you my first Annie Sloan Chalk Paint makeover!

I LOVE IT!  This paint is everything it said it would be!  It went on smooth and easy.  I did not sand this frame at all before I painted it and this frame was slick…as in high gloss kind-of slick.  Normal paint would’ve scratched right off this frame without some sanding and priming.  So let me show you her humble beginnings. 

Not much to look at.  I think I bought this frame in the 90’s sometime.  It’s kind of a reddish color.  But she has potential.

After one coat of Duck Egg Blue…she looked a little white to me.  I was worried so I put on a second coat and then distressed her a bit.

Whistle.  Looking pretty good if a do say so myself.  All she needs is a little bit of “aging”.  I didn’t want it looking all fresh and new so I ran and grabbed my all time favorite stain – Dark Walnut by Minwax.  My intention was to put a small amount on a cloth and just put it kind of here and there.  Well, that did not happen.  I set it down on my table and proceeded to spill it all over the frame.  I did not get a picture of this absolutely horrifying fun step as I was too busy running in circles trying to figure out how to fix it.  I ran inside and grabbed my kitchen sponge, covered it in soap, dunked it in water and frantically carefully rubbed it all over the frame trying to get the stain off it.  This took about 80% of the stain off.  I then applied the clear wax over it hoping to soften the look.  IT WORKED and it made the blue “pop” even more!  SCORE!  After I finished the frame my intention was to add chicken wire to the opening and use it as a small message board.  I put the chicken wire behind it and it looked BLAH!  No character AT ALL!  Then I decided to add some fabric behind it to liven it up a bit.  THEN it went from being a message board to a jewelry holder.  I'm glad that it worked out this way.  I’ve always wanted a place to display all my jewels!  And I am not one to not “finish” a project so I had to fancy up the back a bit too.  I added a little ribbon to hide the edges after I hot glued the fabric on to the photo mat.    

Here is a before and after just as a reminder of where she came from...and how far shes come!

And some photo love just for the fun of it!
Its so feminine and fun!  I love the way my jewels are displayed now!  Hope you like it as much as I do!  And if you've been afraid to try this Chalk Paint trend.  Fear no more!  Go out and tackle it head on!  You'll be glad you did!  I am! 

So tell me your thoughts?  Do you like it?  Would you do this?  What would you do differently?

This project is partying in the following places.  Go join in!

Friday, October 21, 2011

BirchBox.  Have you heard of this?  I hadn’t either until I saw it on one of my all time FAVORITE hair style blogs that I read.  If you don’t follow Kate at It’s the Small Things then you may be experiencing a few to many bad hair days!  She gives some awesome tips AND tutorials on how to style hair.  And lets face it girls, we can all use a little help when it comes to what mousse, gel, spray gel, shine pomade (what the freak is a pomade anyway) and shellac hairspray we should use.  Or at least I can J 

Ok so, back to BirchBox…Birchbox is a monthly subscription of sample size beauty products delivered right to your mailbox. At just $10.00 a month, you get access to the latest and greatest beauty products for hair, skin, and nails.

Check it out.  This awesome little box of happiness showed up in my mailbox.

Isn’t it cute?
I opened in up and found (insert happy dance here) PINK tissue paper AND a little note just for me!

 After reading my little "love note" I opened the tissue paper to see what type of treasures await.  It was like Christmas had come early!
There are some full sized products in there my peeps!  That lipgloss on the right is my new personal fav.  LOVE IT! 

I'm so excited to see what other products I'll get in the future months. And I'll make sure to share with you all what I get so you too will be tempted to subscribe to Birchbox!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Start "wine"ing!


The holder of the wine

It started like this.  Several months ago I got a wild hair across my butt (for those of you that know me, you know how unusual this is…NOT) and on a whim decided to tear apart my wine bar and redesign it.  This involved some ripping out walls holes in our walls.  Nothing major, mind you. It only created a gapping small hole in the middle of our home…not leading to the outside or anything.  No big deal.  We can live with it.  But while the renovation was going on I stumbled across some pretty awesome hooks at Pottery Barn (squeeeal).  You can find them here for only $10.00 a piece.  10 Bucks at Pottery Barn is unheard of!

Well, as you can imagine, I feel in LUV!  This was a serious kind of love…it was an instant attraction, love at first side kind of love.  The kind that is so overwhelming that you MUST act upon it immediately.  So I did what any rational person would do, I BOUGHT ME SOME!  Not just one, but TWO!  So bold I am!  That sounded a little like Yoda…go ahead, you can say it in his voice!  Its ok, we won’t laugh.

I was filled with glee the day they arrived. My heart literally fluttered in excitement!  Yippee it screamed out!  I grabbed them and ran to the wine bar and held them up to the wall that they were to be hung upon.  My hands were shaking I was so excited! (not really but it adds to the anticipation doncha think?)  Only to be disappointed.  They added NOTHING to the room.  They looked so tiny albeit a bit puny all alone on the pale grey wall.  Sadness ensued.  What shall I do?  I love these hooks.  I can not part with them.  They need me..I NEED them!  And then it hits me!  I have a few of these lovely pallets leftover from the bar counter we Mr. AKM built.

I cut them down to roughly 12” each and after a bit of sanding, then some more sand, and a touch more sanding.  By now I am wondering WHY I couldn’t just be a normal person and go buy myself a piece of wood! But I press on!  Cuz I’m determined like that...I’m no quitter!  I wipe all the wood down to remove the saw dust and apply two coats of my all time FAVORITE stain – Minwax Dark Walnut!  It is the only color I ever use.  It’s the best EVER!  Who’s with me here?  Lets just take a minute to look over this awesome can of Dark Walnut lusciousness shall we?

Then I attached them together with a couple of metal brackets that Mr. AKM had lying around in the garage. Screwed on my top wine hook then attached the second hook and WAH-LAH!  Here is what the end result was.  (Insert oooohhhs and aaahhhhs here).

Aren’t they just awesome!  Seriously…I heart them BIG TIME!  I love the contrast of the dark wood against the pale walls and all the white trim.  SWOON !  (I know the color is off but that is becuase it is more of a wine closet then bar...not easy to photogragh).  Now here is some picture love for you.  Go ahead and  oooohhh and aaahhhh to your hearts content.

This tray, that I coincidentally also purchased from Pottery Barn, was my inspiration for the entire bar.  I loved the dark wood and the metal handles. 

I bought this bottle of wine for the cute red shoe and it’s ended up being one of my all time favs!  Not that I drink much wine.  Don’t be looking at all the corks and judging.  I see that look of doubt in your eyes!  It took me 10 years to save all those…and my name is really Angelina Jolie!  You believe me right?

So tell me what you think.  Do you like them?  Yea ya do!  Now go get yourself some wine hooks and go to town!  And heres one last shot for the road....

You'll find this partying at the following blogs.  Go check them out!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Time to get your baking skills on...

{Bake-me-Happy Friday}

Pumpkin Pecan Scones

I just can't help myself. With the pumpkins, I mean. I'm totally addicted!  So addicted in fact that I decided to whip up a bit of fall deliciousness for you. And, you know what? I'm not gonna feel guilty about it. Nope! In fact, I’ll probably do it again next week. I just get all happy and giddy when it comes to pumpkins and decorating and the excitement of Halloween. It's just a fun time. It flat out makes me happy! October is the greatest month of the year (don't even try to argue with me on this point), and I feel obliged to celebrate it as I please. So, bring on the pumpkin, and let's commemorate the season!

Everyone in my household (to include neighbors, friends, coworkers, etc.) knows how much I love pumpkins!  Not only do I love to decorate with them, I love to cook with them!  Pretty much everything tastes better (in my opinion) with a little pumpkin added to it J  And, they are filled with antioxidants so they are even good for you – BONUS!   

I had just enough of a can of pumpkin puree leftover from all my yummy morning Pumpkin Pie Protein Shakes (I’ll share that recipe with you later) to make these mouthwatering, oh so scrumptious, can I have another PLEASE, Pumpkin Pecan Scones. 

Behold your eyes on these beauties…drum roll please….

Now that’s what I’m talkin about!  Oh yea bay-bee!  That’s a plate full of Fall right there for you!

So how'd I do it you ask?  Well lemme just tell you.  I started this out by toasting up some pecans.  You don’t have to toast them if you don’t want…I feel that toasting brings out the richness of the pecan and adds depth to the flavor.
Then I added all the dry ingredients into a bowl and cut the butter in.  Once you have finished this, your mixture should look something like dry crumbs like so...
After I combined all the "wet" ingredients, I poured them into the crumb mixture.

Sorry for the shadow...I was losing my sunshine quickly.  After pouring the "wet" goop into the dry crumbs combine until just moistened...then add the toasted (or not toasted) pecans.  Once that is done turn the dough out onto a floured surface.  It should look something like this.
Then I patted it all into an 8 –inchish circle. 
And brushed on a little egg whites to help the tops get nice and golden brown like so…

Popped 'em in the oven for 12 minutes and…TA DA!  Right out of the oven and OH SO YUMMY! 
Now go grab your apron and get your baking on!

Pumpkin Pecan Scones
Adapted from Taste of Home

Servings – 8 wonderful scones


2 -1/4 cups white wheat flour
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 -1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
½ cold butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup milk
3 T chopped TOASTED pecans

Preheat the oven to 400 deg. F.   

In a large bowl coming the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda.  Cut butter in with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  In a small bowl whisk the egg, pumpkin, vanilla and milk.  Add this to the crumb mixture until just moistened.  Stir in your toasted pecans.

Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead 10 times.  Pat into an 8-in circle.  Cut into eight wedges; separate wedges and place on a greased baking sheet.

Bake at 400 deg. F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm with your favorite cup of tea or coffee.

The Shabby Nest
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

xoxo Angi


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