Tag Archives: simple

The Dining Room

I am starting to add pictures of our home to the blog. Eventually we will have a “House Tour“! dr 11Right off our kitchen is our dining room. It is actually officially our 3rd bedroom. When we bought the house 4 years ago, we didn’t need a 3rd bedroom, especially one right off the kitchen. So we made our great room into an extra large living room, and made this room our dining room. The room used to have wallpaper and 80′s shag carpeting. We peeled walls, pulled carpet, painted, and added trim to this room.

In our previous rental house we did not have a dining room. I was also spending more time in the kitchen preparing meals for my man. So I was really excited to have a place to sit and eat and enjoy meals together.
dr 4The table was a hand-me-down from Doug’s aunt and uncle. It used to be a blond wood but Doug spent a lot of time sanding and staining this bad boy. He chose the stain color to match the bench. We only had four chairs passed onto this, but the bench was another “hey do you want this?” from Doug’s grandma. The highchair was handmade by Doug’s dad for Isaac. Isn’t it awesome? It is super sturdy! Doug stained that to match as well.
dr 1On the wall behind the table are a few Pottery Barn shelves. Maybe the only thing I have purchased from the actual store, not on sale! They were my birthday present our first year married. I still adore them. The black base cabinet was a $10 purchase from goodwill about 12 years ago. It once was a TV stand in my apartment; I painted it black way back then, but it is due for another coat.
dr 5I used to store service ware, glass dishes and vases, etc. until Isaac became mobile. Then the glass went bye-bye. I would love to get doors on this friend so I could use it for safe storage again. In fact we even bought the hinges and have spare wood for the doors in the basement. Gotta make my way onto Doug’s project list! dr 7

The dining room has two entries, the other connects to the hall that leads to the other bedrooms and bathroom. From this view you can see the dining closet (also known as my office) and the built-in bookshelves! I love them. They are so fun to decorate, but I admit that they have not seen much love recently. Again, once Isaac could reach, things migrated closer to the ceiling. dr 2 The shelves are pretty cluttered with household items that needed to take another step on the stairway to heaven. On my project list is to de-clutter and prettify these shelves…again. You can see that the lower shelves hold some of Isaac’s books and a toy. When he was smaller he used to sit and play in that corner as Doug and I would finish dinner. So I kept a stash of toys and would rotate items in there to keep it interesting for him. That was a mom trick so Doug and I could eat and catch up. Isaac now eats with us and then is “all done”. He rarely sits and plays there anymore. dr 3 Our fourth chair sits in the corner near the kitchen. Since we have a small kitchen, no mudroom  and congested entry from the garage/basement I have created a little nook here. This is a place where Isaac knows he can find his shoes and jacket. We will also put anything he needs for the next day – lunch bag, backpack, snack for class, etc. We can send him to grab his stuff, which sometimes is really helpful! dr 10So there you have it. Our plain jane dining room! It is very functional for us right now. As time and budget allows, I would love to do some updates in this room:

  • Paint the room a new color, maybe a medium grey
  • Purchase a rug to break up the wood in this room. Must be easy to clean
  • Construct doors for the cabinet, and repaint
  • Artwork for the blank wall
  • Update curtains
  • Paint or add decorative paper the back of the built-in
  • Hang a really fun light/chandlier over the dining table
  • Update/move around decorative items

Way Too Easy Fall Punch

So, have I mentioned that I part-own, manage, teach, and DJ a local Swing Venue, called The SwinGallery? Yep. It is my Thursday hat. I have been dancing almost my whole life and found swing about 14 years ago. I have been in this role for about 12 of those. It is a blast! Anyway, my co-owners call on me at party time to make punch. I try to think up something different depending on the event or season. I take cues from other recipes, but usually make large quantities for our 80+ crowd it is easier just to guestimate amounts and then taste. Nothing says a party for all ages like a non-alcoholic punch, right?

So, now I share with you my way too easy, anyone can do it, I can’t believe it’s that simple..Fall Punch! If you can pour juice, you too can make this punch! (Sorry about the mood lighting, we are just that cool on the mezzanine, pre-party….)

punch 1

  • About a 1/3 of other juices amount ORANGE JUICE
  • 7UP to taste 
  • ICE until chilled
  • Sliced ORANGES to garnish (CRANBERRIES would be fun too!) 

punch 3So that is it! Don’t take it too serious. Dump and sample. Keep it simple, keep it cold. Enjoy!

Punch Lady, out!

punch logo

Isaac’s Train-themed Party

Isaac is 2 and loving life. Loving life with trains, I should say…

A few months back I started thinking about his party. I thought maybe we’d do Curious George since he loves”Ooh-Ooh-Ah-Ah” as he calls him. Then he met the train table in the toddler room at daycare and he was all about trains. Thomas, you know “The Train”, slowly rolled into this Schraer station. So, I moved from the monkey ideas to a thought of a vintage train party. Cute, right? I began pinning all these sweet ideas. I could easily do trains and leave the whole Thomas theme out. I made an Evite and sent it out.

evite- isaac's partyBut as the party got closer, Isaac’s love for Thomas (and his friends) got very passionate. So much, that we took him to meet said train as part of his birthday present. So, I embraced Thomas and invited him to the party (sigh)… for Isaac. Sadly, I ditched all the vintage ideas, except the cute train T-shirt that I already ordered from Etsy. 2 party isacI approached this birthday party much differently from the last. Year one, I felt like most of the party was about how to host the large quantity of people invited to our house. Preparation was mostly in taking care them, fitting them, feeding them, etc. We had a great time but it was a lot of work! This year, I wanted to focus on the simple things that Isaac loved with the people that love him. So we hosted a casual party on a Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. = Isaac’s prime time. We had it outdoors at a shelter within one of his favorite parks, complete with train to climb. decor 7We had his favorite foods… strawberries, grapes, apples, pretzels, cookies and juice boxes. I picked them up from Sam’s the day before. Easy. decor 5Also from Sam’s, a train-themed cookie cake! We did a cookie cake simply because we knew Isaac would like it better; he is not a big cake, cupcake, or ice cream fan. Sam’s did not have a train theme decor cake, so I asked them to tweak the Cars-themed cake. They made the road into a track and left the Cars figures off. I added my own little train; I had already bought Percy as a gift. He is the green engine below, if you aren’t as immersed in the Island of Sodor and it’s inhabitants. He was brand new and clean, so he made the cake. Sorry, Thomas. decor 4Thomas did leave his mark as the high-maintenance balloon I chased through the park a few times. He is supposed to hover the ground and I thought Isaac would love that. I finally had to tie him up since he would not behave. Isaac loves balloons right now and relates them to a birthday party, because of his Curious George book. One page has a party with balloons and he always skips to it and sings “Happy to you… happy to you.” I knew I had to have balloons for him this year. decor 9I like the thought of the kids leaving with a simple goody bag, so I put together a small sample of some of Isaac’s favorite things. decor 8Look familiar? I stole the idea from my work party snack bag. Inside a sucker, M&Ms, stickers, Curious George fruit snacks, a Thomas temporary tattoo, and a mix CD of Isaac’s Greatest hits. See the label? I copied that logo from the Evite using the an application called Grab. I basically took a screenshot of just the train picture with little man riding inside. So cute and easy!

decor 2The CD had songs that were memorable from Isaac’s first two years. Some songs Doug and I sing/sang to him. Some songs he danced to as a baby, while others he heard on the radio and picked up some words. We love music in our family, and there were memories attached to each of these songs. It is a fun gift idea for kids and their parents, especially since they are not all kiddy songs. You can buy burnable CDs, sleeves, and printable labels at any office supply store. But, I already had these at home because I bought in bulk when they were on sale a few years back. decor 3 I made a few extra CDs for the grandparents and adults without kids who may want one. We played the CD in the background at the party. I set out the goody bags on the gift table along with some leftover party hats from last year.decor 6Overall, I think this party was casual, fun, and still themed without too much work. It was a party for Isaac and the little details were all about him. The weather was great! It was nice to keep it simple and hang out with the people Isaac loves and those that love him!

train theme 2I’ll be back later in the week with some pictures from his party and the rest of his birthday week. Yep, he got a whole week!