The Decorating Dork

1st Day of Fall 2014


Happy Fall                                   Happy Autumn   



Whatever you call it, it's one of my favorite seasons.  

This year I didn't spend the day decorating my house for fall.  Instead, I took my grandson Tyler to a local farm for some traditional fall fun.
First we found our way through a mini corn maze, played on playground, saw some goats, picked out 3 of biggest pumpkins we could find and of course topped it all off with some fresh apple cider and donuts.    Is there any better way to spend a beautiful fall day?  I don't think so.



2nd day of Fall.... Decorating!    


  

Jumping Back On The Weight Watchers Wagon



Two weeks ago I joined Weight Watchers...... AGAIN.

It's probably my 6th or 7th attempt at trying the program.  But believe me when I say it's NOT Weight Watchers' fault that I've joined, dropped out, joined, dropped out, etc..etc.   I know it's 100% me and my issues with food that have prevented success in the past.  I tend to get to a point of losing 20-25lbs and then think, "I'm good, I've got this."  Yeah, no, I don't.  

Weight Watchers is one of the only diet plans I would spend money to follow.  It's more then a diet, it really does teach you to make better choices and if sometimes you don't, that's ok too. I like it because you eat normal, everyday foods.  I don't do good with strict diets where you only eat certain foods at certain times.   For me it's also about accountability, not that there's any judgement when you get weighed in at a meeting but deep down inside I want the ladies at the scale to be like "wow, good job you're down this week."   (I know I sound like a commercial or something but I swear I'm not getting paid to write this.) 

I'm one of those people that eats when I'm happy, sad, angry, stressed, bored or in social situations. So you get my drift, I eat all the time, whether I'm hungry or not.  Honestly, as I sit here writing this post all I can think about it the box of cake mix and chocolate frosting in my pantry.  "Do I make a batch of cupcakes?"   It's a real convo that goes on in my head every single day.  
So, I decided to share all about it here. I'd also love to connect with anyone who too struggles with weight loss as well.  Support and knowing you're not the only one with crazy food thoughts is just as important in this whole journey.

Since I started Sept. 3rd I've lost a total of 5.2 lbs.   I wish it was more, I know it could be more.   This week I'm going to focus on tracking my food more consistently.  It's always been something I don't do well with, which might have a lot to do with why I haven't been as successful as I could be.  

 



Sunday Style - Loving The "Beachy, Shabby Chic, Rustic Cottage" Style


I can't believe summer is coming to an end.  I didn't get nearly as much done as I had hoped.  While we did get two vacations in, it went by way too fast.  As far as I'm concerned there's never enough time for hanging out by the pool, sitting on the beach or just doing fun stuff with family and friends.  

While on our beach vacation at the Connecticut Shore my mother, sister and I stopped into a cute little shop called Grace in Niantic.  Ahh, it was so gorgeous in there. I spent over an hour just walking around looking at everything. I can't explain why, but it's just very soothing to me.  I'm bummed my phone battery had died or I would have taken a bunch of pictures to share with you. They have everything from clothing, accessories, gifts, home decor...you name it, you could find in there.   I could have done some real damage if I had a bottomless wallet.  (No, this is a sponsored post of any kind.  I just really loved the store) It wasn't just the items themselves, it was the whole "feeling" you got from just being in there.  It was that mix of new pretty things with weathered wood furniture and random antique objects.   It really got me thinking about that beachy, shabby chic, rustic cottage kinda style of decorating.  I absolutely love it when I see it in magazines, online, on tv and in person like at Grace but I'm not confident enough that I could pull it off in my own home.  Maybe one when I live by the water and there's no dirty boys or men around.  A girl can dream, right?    

Until then I thought I share some of my favorite rooms inspired by that "beachy, shabby chic, rustic cottage" kinda style. If there is such a thing?  


This living room is done by Joanna and Chip Gaines from the HGTV show Fixer Upper.  
Photo HGTV.com





Wordless Wednesday - Back to School 2014 - The Year of Milestones


It's a good thing it's "Wordless Wednesday" because I can not express into words my emotions this week.    

Saturday I moved  Nicholas into his new dorm to start his senior year of college.  So proud of this kid!


Then today was Thomas' 1st day of high school.  He had a great day, but can't believe my little man is turning into a young man.   


And as if those weren't big enough milestones for me to handle, my grandson Tyler started kindergarten today as well. Tyler started his little life as a 4lbs 5oz premie and has come a long way.  Although he still has some struggles to overcome, he's a happy little dude!  





Back To School Breakfast Bar Recipe #PriceChopperB2S #CollectiveBias

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc.and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.




It's the most wonderful time of the year!  No, not Christmas time.... Back To School time!  Most moms, especially ones with younger kids are rejoicing.  It's time to get them back to school and out of the house because they drove you crazy all summer long.  Even though my son's are 21 and 13 I feel the same way! (I love them and all, just being honest here)  Nicholas left for college this weekend so now I'm concentrating on Thomas and his first day as a high school freshman on Wednesday.  *gulp*  
To me it feels a bit like New Years, wouldn't you agree?  I mean, everyone's getting a fresh start with new clothes, new schedules, new routines, maybe even a new school.
I have to tell you I'm craving the routine for myself as well.  I need to get back on track with everything... meal planning, cleaning schedules, diet/exercise, couponing and of course a better blogging schedule.

I figured a good place to start was to head over to Price Chopper Supermarket  and get some supplies for a quick, on-the-go breakfast for those early weekday mornings.  This will also get me get in the routine of sitting down, going through the flyer, making a list and matching up my coupons to get the most savings as possible.
Price Chopper is one of my go-to supermarkets for their products, prices and rewards.  If you don't know they offer Fuel Rewards, there's a Tools For Schools Program, iSave Coupons, Sweepstakes, and of course everyday saving using the Price Chopper AdvantEdge Card.  Right now you could win one of 10 iPad Minis when you share a "First Day of School" photo between Aug.17th - Sept. 20th.   Then beginning Sept.21, Price Chopper will pick 5 photos at random and the 5 photos with the most votes will also win.  Head over to the Facebook page or PriceChopper.com to enter. 

I found a recipe on Pinterest  for a breakfast bar using Honey Nut Cheerios, peanut butter and marshmallows.  That's 3 of Thomas' favorite things!  I figured it was easy, tasty and packed with plenty of sugar and protein to get him ready to catch that 6:30am bus.  He's not necessarily a morning person AT ALL!  Thomas probably wakes up 30 mins before he has to leave the house.  Just enough time to wash his face, brush his teeth and get dressed. So this is perfect for him to grab quickly and even eat on the bus if he runs out of time.

I have to get a few groceries to get us through the weekend, so I figured I'd grab all the ingredients I need and give the recipe a try before Wednesday.  I'll test it out on my grandson Tyler who is starting kindergarten on Wednesday as well.
I've got my list, flyer and coupons all set.  I'm off to Price Chopper and the "Back to School Solutions Center."
 Lots of great deals on other quick and easy breakfast ideas.   Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches were Nick's go-to breakfast this summer while he was doing an internship in Massachusetts.
I decided since the Yoplait Greek Yogurts were such a great price that maybe I could incorporate it with the Honey Nut Cheerios cereal bars somehow.  I grabbed strawberry banana, fearing nobody would like the plain vanilla.  Can I tell you I've tried greek yogurt in the past and wasn't really a fan but this Yoplait brand is yummy.   Doesn't taste any different to me then regular yogurt.

This recipe for  Honey Nut Cheerios Back to School Breakfast Bars (that's a mouthful, huh?) is..simple, simple, simple.
You don't have to add the mini chocolate chips.  You can add almonds or any other kind of nut.   I think a dried fruit would go good in these too.

Ingredients
  • 7 cups Honey Nut Cheerios
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
  • 40 Full Size Marshmallows (I bought a 10oz bag and I counted out 41 marshmallows in the bag) 
  • 3 (heaping) Tablespoons Peanut Butter 
  • 2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Steps

  1. Butter a 9 x 13 pan
  2. In a large stock pot, melt the butter
  3. Add the marshmallows and stir continuously until melted.
  4. Add the peanut butter.
  5. Add the vanilla and stir until combined.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the cheerios to the marshmallows.
  7. Stir until the cheerios are completely coated.
  8. Transfer the Cheerios to the buttered pan and press down, so that the mixture fills the entire pan.
  9. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips on top and gently press down.
  10. Let set and then cut into bars size rectangle and serve (or you can do what I did and drizzle some Yoplait Greek yogurt over the top or on the side as a dip)  
There are a couple of things I have to tell you about using the yogurt. 

1- Strawberry Banana doesn't really go good peanut butter and chocolate chips, But it's fine to eat separately. 
2- If you are going to drizzle or dip the cereal bars in yogurt make sure you store them in the fridge if they aren't eaten right away.  

Ok, so my grandson Tyler doesn't look too thrilled in this picture but that's more because it's just plain annoying to a 5 year old to have your grandmother (or "Amma" as he calls me) force you to stop playing your video game, sit at the table, eat and get your photo taken all at the same time.    I swear he ate the whole cereal bar and dipped his banana sticks in the greek yogurt.    Fun times....   




For more on Price Chopper's "Back to School" solutions check them out on
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Do you have a "Back to School" breakfast idea that's quick and easy.  I'd love for you to share with me, I'm always looking for something new and different to try.    

Also, if you try this recipe let me know what, if anything, you added to your cereal bars.

Happy Back to School Everyone!!




Inspiring and Inexpensive Interiors....Picking the Perfect Sofa






As I started to write this post, it made me go back into my archives and check the date of the last time I posted in this series.
June 7th.
Not June 7th of 2014....but 2013!
Holy crap, it's been a year since I wrote about redoing my living room? I'm embarrassed to admit that, and even more embarrassed to admit that a year later, NOTHING has gotten done in that room.
It honestly doesn't even seem like it's been that long.   It's been such a crazy, stressful year that in a weird way it's flown by.

So here I am AGAIN searching for inspiration to finally get this room done once and for all.

I am going to start off kinda where I left off.  Finding new sofas.  It really is the first step in putting together a whole living room redo.   You've got to find the perfect set and then build the room around the style and color you choose.    

I've always known I wanted grey couches.   I have been looking this past year at furniture stores and online but couldn't find exactly what I wanted.  I would like the look of something but then go sit on it and it just was not comfortable at all.  I really didn't think it would be so difficult to find a sofa set I liked in grey. I mean, sure I could custom order a couch with the fabrics of my choice but I can't justify spending that kind of money.  Even if I did have it. Well.... maybe if I did have it. But I don't.  So, moving on........

First, there's the age old question "sectional or sofa/loveseat combo?"   I have a sofa, loveseat and giant recliner right now and thought, it could be a nice change to get a sectional.   I'm pretty sure I have enough space.  Of course I would have to measure.   Sectionals don't look as big in a furniture showroom, but could totally over power a room if you don't measure correctly.

Then there's the question of  "a recliner or a couch with a chaise?"   For me, these are not decisions that come easy...what-so-ever!   I knew didn't want a recliner that was big and poofy like the one I have now but they really don't make comfortable, affordable, clean looking recliners that also happen to come in grey.
I tried a few sofas with a chaise, but they can be a bit awkward to get in and out of, if the chaise part is too long.
I told you, this is not an easy decision.    And if you are like me, who lives and works in your living room you know that it really is a big deal to make a choice that you won't regret in 6 months to a year.

Now let's talk fabric.   Again, something you wouldn't think would be such a hard decision but there are so many choices out there.    Options include leather, cottons, wool, blends, micro fiber, etc...
I'll just say I knew I didn't want leather or micro fiber.  The set I have now is a beige micro fiber and I'm sick of it.  I want a different look and style with this new set.    

So which one did I pick?  drum roll...................


I chose the Kasey sofa and loveseat from Bob's Discount Furniture.    It has everything I was looking for style, color, comfort and price wise.  For the two pieces it's $799.  That's a great deal! The chair and ottoman would be another $500.  I haven't decided if I'm going to get the matching chair and ottoman just yet but this is a BIG step for me. It's not about the money, I'm just not sure if I want all that furniture in my space.  I really don't need that much seating anymore.  
I don't know if you can see by the photo but the throw pillows that come with the set have some purple in them. Can I tell ya, I love them.  It's not something I would normally be drawn to.  I thought I wanted yellow with the grey but in person they give the set a bit of a feminine, modern feel.

Wheww... thank goodness that decision is made.    Now I just have to build the rest of the room around these.   Next up, paint for the walls and trim.  










Summer Grilling with Price Chopper....Red, White and Blue Style


I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification with #CollectiveBias for #PriceChopperBBQ  All opinions are my own. 


This Saturday was the 1st official day of summer and that means the BBQ and grilling season is here! This year I'm throwing a 4th of July party and I can't wait.  I haven't had one at my house in a couple of years, so of course I want to go all out.
But "going all out" doesn't mean having to spend a ton of money.  Price Chopper is a great place to get everything you could possibly need for a fun summer of grilling without breaking the bank.  I'm thinking some Certified Angus Beef hamburgers and hot dogs are on the top of the list.

I'm big into "themed" parties, you can ask anyone who knows me.  So naturally I plan to do everything in my power to  Red, White and Blue  my whole BBQ. This will be my practice for the actual party, decide what will work, what won't and what I can add.

First, I've gotta head out to Price Chopper with my list and coupons in hand.   When walking into the store I always stop at the iSave kiosk, scan my AdvantEdge card and print out even more savings.

Another way to save at Price Chopper besides their low prices, specials and coupons is on gas.  Just by shopping and using your AdvantEdge card you earn points towards discount off every gallon  (up to 20) at a participating gas stations.   Also, each week there are usually bonus items that earn you even more Fuel AdvantEdge points.  So, keep your eyes peeled for those bargains as well.  (every little bit helps)

Ok, now that we've got that all squared away, it's time to get shopping!
Walking through the produce section I'm grabbing some must have grilling veggies.   Corn on the cob, onions and ripe tomatoes are always a "given" at my BBQ's.


Next, it's on to the meat department.. by far my husband's favorite stop in any grocery store.    He insists on only buying Certified Angus Beef hamburgers and steaks.  I'm picking out hamburgers for our BBQ but getting a couple steaks to have for ourselves as well.   Can't pass up a great looking steak.


For the hot dog lovers in the group (me included) we are going to try these new Hillshire-Ball Park Park's Finest hot dogs.  They are all natural 100% beef and come in several different varieties.  I'm going to try the Cracked Dijon Mustard and Slow Smoked Hickory.  They sound like they'd have a great flavor.    





While at the store I picked one of these FREE Grilling Guides.   It's full of tips, tricks, do's, don'ts, recipes and more.  I suggest you grab one for yourself, it's helpful to have handy at any time of the year.

I also suggest you check out some of Price Choppers' social media sites they're a great place to get ideas and see what Price Choppers is up to.

* Price Chopper on Facebook 
* Price Chopper House of BBQ on Pinterest
* Price Chopper on Twitter
* Price Chopper on Instagram
* Price Chopper on YouTube 





Now that I have the meat all picked out it's time for the fun stuff, side dishes, drinks and can't forget about the desserts!


Now the fun part....... EATING.
I sent my husband Chris to man the grill with the burgers and dogs while I got working on setting up the table, drinks, side dish and brownies.
I'm in love with the mason jars. (Of course it's an idea I got off Pinterest) It's so easy to just grab and go at a picnic, everything you need all together. Glass, utensils, napkin and even a red, white and blue straw.
The Betty Crocker Suddenly Pasta Salad is an easy dish to add to any BBQ table.   Just boil the pasta add the seasoning packet, mayo and you've got a great pasta salad everyone will love.  Doesn't hurt it's flavored with bacon, I mean who doesn't love bacon?

On to the fun stuff where I can really make the Red White and Blue  shine the drinks and the dessert.   
First of all I'd have you know the drink is more of an experiment.   I got the idea I wanted red, white and blue ice cubes and what better way then using Gatorade.  (on sale for 77cents each this week at Price Chopper)  I thought adding them to some plain seltzer water would give some flavor and fizz while being all patriotic at the same time.   This has to be tweaked a little.   The Gatorade ice cubes needed to stay in the freezer longer, the seltzer water needed to be colder.   I'll give myself an "A" for effort. It did taste good.   But you get the idea I was going for, right?  

Now that the burgers and dogs are ready, they need to get the red white and blue treatment as well.   This took some thought.  The red and white part were easy, but the blue was a challenge.   I thought of bleu cheese, as a play on words but I don't really like bleu cheese (only bleu cheese dressing with my buffalo wings)  So I wracked my brain and came up with dying the mayo blue.   I know, it's a bit over the top but it's fun and I know everyone will get a kick out of it.




This is my plate, burger was delish, hot dog was AMAZING.   I didn't eat it on a bun (trying to be good and not go total carb overload) but it was so flavorful you don't need a bun, ketchup, mustard or anything else.


Thomas wanted to try both the hot dog on a bun and a hamburger, but he prefers chips to any kind of pasta salad.  I love the cute hot dog baskets I found, can use them for anything.

Last but not least.... it's DESSERT time!   I made the Betty Crocker brownies, but to give them the
red, white and blue treatment.   I bought some Betty Crocker vanilla frosting and the very nice lady at Price Chopper's bakery department sold me some of their patriotic sprinkles they use on their baked goods.


After the brownies were baked and cooled, I put a couple spoon fulls of the frosting into a pastry bag, microwaved it for just a few seconds so it would be easy to drizzle over the brownies.  Topped them with the sprinkles while the icing was still soft and there ya have it..... Brownies fitting any 4th of July party.



There ya have it... my test run 4th of July picnic.    Hope I gave you some inspiration for your summer grilling or BBQ.  Whether it be for the a patriotic party or just a Sunday Funday with your family and friends it's all about spending time together.  




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