I had an incredibly productive afternoon despite Mike being away!

I like to get my cooking/baking done when Mike is away, so that I have ready-made meals to pull out of the fridge when I’d rather spend time with him than cook (which is pretty much always…).  Up today was banana bread.  I used a recipe I’d found online, but modified it a scooch, since I used frozen bananas I’d thrown in the freezer sometime last month, Smart Balance Light instead of butter, Splenda instead of sugar, and 2.5 teaspoons baking powder since I was out of baking soda.  It came out absolutely delicious, and I had an extremely difficult time putting it away to share with Mike!

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While the bread was baking, I started a few projects around the house.  And I worked hard to get all of the items from my old apartment and everything from Mike’s childhood home incorporated into our home together.  We were so lucky to get such amazing home goods from his parents!  Some of them include: a laundry hamper, a medley of frames, a workbench with circular saw, and new storage containers for my yarn.

But my favorites include a set of wicker lawn furniture,

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two wicker baskets for under-the-bed blanket storage,

image (10)and a beautiful cluster of succulents!

image (7)Phoebe was very opinionated about certain items.  She obviously prefers the lawn gnome

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Look at her running to her gnome love!

And is pretty upset that I switched out “her” body pillow at the foot of the bed

image (8)for two vintage vanity stools.

image (9)The stools are in rough shape at the moment, with scuffed wood based, wobbly gold feet, and worn/stained velvet cushion.  They need to be painted and reupholstered… but in the meantime, they look pretty darling with a $5 Ikea faux sheepskin throw on them.

What are some of your favorite family hand-me-downs?


I’m a Succa for Succulents (& GIVEAWAY!)

Wake up and enjoy the plant puns!  (Also, scroll to the bottom for our first giveaway!)

I’ve always been a fan of succulents.  I love the fact that they are so easy to take care of, and I especially love the succulents that multiply themselves, like hen and chicks.  If you don’t believe me, just look back at my post from last month, where I reveal that I had just bought a few cacti relatives at a plant sale while still living at the old apartment.

But what you probably don’t know is that the front yard of our new house is just teeming with hen and chick families:

photo (5)That black pole is our lamp post, which is probably 6 inches in diameter.  So it really illustrates how many of these things we have growing in our yard… hundreds.

I’ve already got plans to spread these out to fill in some of the grass-less areas in the backyard.  And I’d love to make a living wreath like the one I saw on the blog Pretty Prudent.  But in the meantime, I did something super simple that I thought I would share with you guys.  I re-potted some as gifts.

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Yesterday was a rough day for me, since my car was still at the dealership getting a new tire and a rim (there was apparently some impact damage, most likely from a pot-hole),  and I therefore had no way of getting to and from work.  So imagine how grateful I was when two of my co-workers offered to help me out and give me a lift to and from the office!  I wanted to do something nice for them to say thanks, but money is a bit tight lately (especially with my money-guzzling car).  So I looked around my house to see what I could give them.  Each gift was super simple to make:

  1. I had some tiny terracotta planters laying around, but I wanted something a little bit more office-friendly.  I was worried about the pots being in high-traffic areas at work and potentially breaking, so I figured plastic would be the best route.  I didn’t have anything like that at home, so I headed to the garden section in Target.  Unfortunately, the planters (like this one) had been totally picked over, so I started wandering the store in a disappointed trance.  I happened to stumble upon the dining section, where I found 2 tiny dark blue plastic condiment bowls.  The best part was the price… 99 cents for two.
  2. Arriving back at the house, I stepped out of my car and immediately plucked two decently sized succulents out of the ground.  I didn’t really give too much thought to which ones I picked since by nature, hen and chick succulents look very symmetrical.  I just picked two that were big enough to fill up the bowl, but small enough that they still had room to grow.
  3. I would have used dirt from our backyard except that I had some leftover potting soil already waiting in the sun room.
  4. In order to pot each succulent, all I did was throw some dirt in each of the new bowls, add one plant to each, and finally pack more dirt down around the edges.  Then I watered it slightly and cleaned up the edges of the bowl with a damp paper towel.  I had read online that succulents thrive on a mixture of sand and coffee grounds, but my yard’s abundance of mini cacti are actually growing in straight-up dirt, so I thought the two  little guys would feel most at home in plain old soil.  I didn’t want to shock them by changing their environment too much.
  5. Lastly, I ripped two pretty pages of card stock out of a sample book I already had from a few years ago.  I folded them in half and penned personalized thank you notes inside to make a card, and viola: the gift was complete.

Here’s the finished project once again (so you don’t have to scroll back up):

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And since the only things I actually purchased were the bowls, each gift only cost me $0.50!  Forking over less dough doesn’t mean I am any less grateful for my co-workers help yesterday; it just means I am super broke right now so had to put more creativity into a thoughtful gift.

Continuing the graditude: because I am so thankful that you’ve visited my website and read this post, I’d like to offer one of you readers a freebie!  Namely, your very own DIY succulent kit!  Comment on this post with the word “SUCCULENT” for your chance to win 2 hen and chicks, along with 2 plastic bowls and enough bagged potting soil for planting (water not included, obvi).  Since I will be sending live plants through the USPS, this giveaway is limited to entrants living within the United States.  The contest closes at 11:59 pm on Sunday, June 9, and I will randomly pick the lucky recipient at that time.  So get commenting for your chance to win!