July 30, 2012

Pineapple Plant Fail...Help!

Posted by Laura

I have made numerous attempts to grow a pineapple plant this summer. Each time has failed because someone keeps treating my plant like a snack.

For starters, growing a pineapple plant is simple, in theory. You basically chop off the top of a pineapple and plop it in soil. Here's is my first attempt at this:



Within 1 day it was already chewed on and kicked to the side of the pot. I figured it was the birds or something. Hmph.



So I tried it again, this time burying the pineapple a little deeper in the soil.



Again, within a couple days it looked like this! THE ENTIRE PINEAPPLE WAS MISSING!!! What the heck is causing this?!



And then, a few days later I was leaving for work, stepped outside and saw the culprit. This is a horrible picture, but you should be able to make out it's "cute", little body munching away on MY pineapple plant.



Yea, you better run...



What do I do? How do I grow this plant while keeping the animals away? PEC followers, I need your expertise!

July 27, 2012

Easy Peasy Pinterest Projects

Posted by Kristin

How many of you pin, pin, pin on Pinterest but never actually make anything? I'm guilty of that just as much as the next lass, so I've decided to call out a handful of super easy projects that I'd like to accomplish in the next few months.

Criteria:
1. They have to have a spot in my house in which I already want to put them.
2. They have to be cheap frugal projects. Like $10 or under.
3. They can't be super time consuming.


"EAT" Letters

I've been wanting big, blocky letters to spell out "eat" for about a year now. I know I want to hang them in my kitchen and I'd most likely paint them green, red or turquoise.

Need: The letters themselves.
Have: Paint

DIY Anthropologie letters...for a lot less!
via

Mr. and Mrs. Stenciled Fabric

I'd like to do a Mr. and Mrs. stencil on fabric for our bedroom. Instead of making pillows (I don't think my husband could handle anymore pillows on the bed!), I may stencil swatches of fabric and frame them in white, modern frames that would hang above each side of our bed.

Need: To make the stencil. See how here.
Have: Fabric, fabric paint, stencil materials, and frames.

Mr. & Mrs. stencilled pillows from Ballard...want these for the master bedroom!
via

For a while, I used a fabric-covered pin board for all my jewelry. But now I'm wanting a bit more color. I really like using salvage materials in new ways and especially like the pop of color this frame gives to the space. 

Need: Time!
Have: A salvage wooden frame with a metal insert like this already in it. It used to be an old cabinet door from my sister's house and I snagged it when she was moving out. I just need to clean it, paint it (or leave it white) and hang it up. 

JEWELRY ORGANIZER
via.

Now it would be just like me to add many more projects to the list. But since I'm looking to actually accomplish some projects instead of just daydream about them, I'd better stop at three. Have you done any Pinterest-inspired projects lately?

July 25, 2012

A Healthy, Filling Snack

Posted by Laura

Growing a baby is a lot of work! One of the perks is that I get to eat...a lot. My hunger hits every 2 hours on. the. dot. Not only am I trying to eat a diet full of nutrients for the baby, but also for myself to help avoid some of the "lovely" side effects of pregnancy. Here is one of my quick and easy go-to snacks that fills me up and is packed with nutrients. I was so happy to see my friend Joyce eating a similar snack at lunch the other day. Great minds think alike, Joyce!

Here is a list of the ingredients, along with their corresponding benefits:

Whole Grain Cereal: Fiber, Protein, Whole Grains
Banana: B6, Fiber
Blueberries: Vitamin C, Fiber, Manganese, Antioxidants
Cinnamon: Calcium, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Manganese
Almond Milk: Calcium (way more than milk), Vitamin E, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Selenium, Iron, Fiber, Zinc

This snack turned into breakfast for me the other morning when I was awakened by a bag of blueberries that Caleb picked for me on his way home from an early morning job. He found a u-pick place in Granby (Massachusetts) and skimmed the field for the perfect ones. I wish I was there with him. Doesn't it look lovely?



He washed and prepared the blueberries for us to snack on (literally, we ate the whole bag that morning).




Then I made my breakfast/snack. Here's a run down...

Cereal

Cereal + Blueberries 

Cereal + Blueberries + Banana

Cereal + Blueberries + Banana + Cinnamon

Cereal + Blueberries + Banana + Cinnamon + Almond Milk

Here are the rations I used:
-1/2 cup whole grain cereal (I used Kashi's Autumn Wheat)
-Handful of Blueberries
-1/2 Banana
-Sprinkled Cinnamon
-Enough Almond Milk to reach the top

This is such a quick and easy snack! It's filling and healthy, especially for hungry baby bellies :)

PS: I just noticed something. This is our 200th post! Ow ooow!

July 23, 2012

DIY Sunburst Mirror

Posted by Kristin

While recently scouring one of my favorite blogs, Nesting Place, I had some serious drool happening when I saw this.


While I could easily desire everything in the picture, I honed in on the sunburst mirror and then frantically read the Nester's fairly simple DIY instructions. Wooh- sigh of relief- I could do this without getting gray hair!

My favorite part was that all you needed was poster board, a hot glue gun, and a small mirror. Anything I can make that is under 5 bones is good with me. So after gathering my supplies, and substituting masking tape for a glue gun (more on that later), I got to work.

For full, detailed instructions, visit the Nester's Sunburst Mirror DIY post. I followed them by the letter and it worked. Except for the whole glue gun thing. You'll see in just a minute. 

Supplies: trace paper,a small vanity mirror, scissors, a glue stick and 3 sheets of white poster board.



Trace paper worked well to make a template in 3 different sizes.


My template.


Poster board cut outs in 3 different sizes.

 
Starting to assemble...with tape mind you.
I didn't have a glue gun and the glue stick wasn't sticking all that well.


More tape holding it all together. Eventually I did go back with a
 hot glue gun (thanks Laura!) and reinforced the tape with hot glue.


Here's a "keepin' it real" shot. Creativity = mess.


Finito!

I wanted to put the mirror right above the black nesting tables.



But the black tables were too....black.



So I painted them. Alot. Like 5 coats. Note to self- use primer over a stained piece of furniture.







Some beach side finds add natural texture and fun memories.


Then I added the sunburst mirror and did a happy dance.












Although it sorta feels like I've jumped on the sunburst mirror bandwagon about 12 months late, its nice to finally be on it. Especially if it only cost me 5 Mr. Washingtons. Anybody else made a sunburst mirror out of an unusual material?

July 20, 2012

Spotlight: Art & Lemons - Strawberry Yogurt Pops

Posted by Laura

This past week has been less than fun in Western Massachusetts with the heatwave we've been experiencing. Since we're not used to 100 degree weather, air conditioning is not a common luxury in these parts. We have the keep-one-air-conditionar-in-the-bedroom-and-pull-it-through-the-house-with-multiple-fans system going on here which is not. very. comfortable.

Ok, enough of my griping. Onto the good stuff...like frozen yogurt pops! Since it's so hot these days, I've been keeping my eyes peeled for cold foods that require no oven-use preparation. I can always rely on Nikki from Art & Lemons to come through with a wholesome, delicious recipe (remember Nikki from our Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls Extravaganza?). She recently posted about these Strawberry Yogurt pops that looks so refreshing.

Photo via Art & Lemons

Click on the following link for the full recipe: Strawberry Yogurt Pops.
Stay cool! <----cheesy, sorry!




July 18, 2012

Organize Me, Clean Me, Love Me


Posted by Kristin

Enter a 5 1/2 month pregnant gal who loves a good cleaning or organization tip even when she's not carrying around a growing baby. Now enter the traditional 'nesting' spirit that seems to strike most pregnant women around the begining of their third trimester.

Just hanging out by the bay in Portsmouth, 24 weeks and counting.


My nesting-ness must have hit now instead waiting another month because I've been in a purging, cleaning, and organization craze lately. And what better way to feed that craze than Pinterest? So here's a roll of the new cleaning and organization tips I've been using lately.

DIY Swiffer Cloths

How to Make Reusable Swiffer Cloths\

With wood floors throughout our apartment, the swiffer is my right hand man. Cut out some fleece rectangles, or use microfiber cleaning cloths, and you've got your own swiffer cloths on the cheap.



Cleaning a Glass-top Stove


Worth a try


While I love how fast our glass-top stove heats up, it gets messy fast. This method really works to get it back to its mirror-like quality.

Cleaning Guide

good schedule to manage cleaning

Yea...maybe I'll do this when I'm not working full time. Its nice to dream!



Professional Cleaning Tips

This is one of the best overall cleaning articles I've ever read. Its more focused on methods than specific cleaners and it makes a whole lot of sense. My favorite tip is to clean the toilet, sink and other surfaces with a dry cloth instead of a wet one. One of my pet peeves is cleaning the toilet and still seeing lint, fuzzies, or general dust on the white throne. Enter a dry cloth. I spray only the surface with my cleaning spray (a lavender-white vinegar spray) and then wipe it with a dry microfiber cloth or cotton rag. And let me tell you, that dry cloth collects so much more dust and grime than a wet one.

And now to leave you with some totally unrelated but still fun funnies...

This pic is totally candid and genuine.



I was laughing my butt off because the first picture we took turned out like this.

I like big butts and I cannot lie....


I think my butt was trying to match the size of my belly. Or the breeze just blew up my dress and made it poof out. Yea, I'm going with that one.

July 16, 2012

I'm Gonna Make This Place Your Home

Posted by Laura

Caleb and I recently heard this song on the radio and have loved it since. These words have become the words we've been singing to my belly, and they perfectly describe our hearts as we develop our love for our little babe.

Home - Phillip Phillips
Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home
...



Along the lines of making this place a home for the babe, we've been thinking through the decor of our spare bedroom/soon-to-be nursery. Decorating a nursery isn't about picking out colors, it's about creating a theme for one's childhood. Caleb and I want to give our babe a green light to be adventurous and explore...and what better way to do that than to start with the sea? This is where the nautical theme comes in. With that in mind, I've been pinning a little here and there, and keeping my eye out for things in our color scheme - woods, whites (linens, muslin cottons, etc), and sea green. Here's a little color palette I put together. 



And Pinterest....ahhhh Pinterest. The place to completely visualize things you want. Here's my pinterest board I've been working on for the nursery.

click on photo to be redirected to Pinterest

We're going to have to rearrange and purge the apartment as we start setting up our new life. Many more posts to come...

July 14, 2012

Whole Foods Cherries: Part Deux

Posted by Kristin

Laura mentioned last week that we were recently offered a few pounds of delicious cherries from Whole Foods. We immediately jumped on the opportunity and I trekked over to our local Whole Foods in Hadley to snap them up.

Yay for free cherries!

After scouting out some different recipes, I decided to make some Cherry Hand Pies for dessert while we were visiting my sister and her fiance in Portsmouth, NH last week.  Mike and I tackled the recipe while my sister's dog Bella tried to lick up any drop of cherry goodness we managed to drip on the floor.

Our Portsmouth hosts, Kevin, Catie, and Bella: One happy family.


I adapted the recipe from the July/August issue of Country Living, which originally called for strawberries.

Country Living's Strawberry Hand Pies.



First, we started by pitting the cherries and cutting them into quarters.




Then we mixed them up with some sugar, vanilla, jam, flour and salt.




Next we whipped together the basic pie dough. Mike learned the joy of cutting butter into flour and how easy it is to do with two butter knives (ahem, sarcasm)...not a task he wants to do again any time soon.




After chilling the dough for a bit, I divided it into 6 balls and rolled each one out into a circle.



Each round of dough received a heaping spoonful of the cherry mixture.



I folded over half the dough, brushed the edges with an egg wash, and crimped them like 80's prom hair.



Each pie was placed on a greased cookie sheet (we didn't have parchment paper).




Some of the pies started to leak out a little juice but we didn't sweat it. Each pie was sprinkled with some more sugar and baked for 30 minutes.




And here's the finished product, just waiting to get into my tummy.





Be warned- these hand pies have the ability to bring out your inner dork. But they tasted darn good, so I care not. You can read the full recipe from Country Living here.




Thanks to Whole Foods for hooking PEC up with some delicious cherries. And thanks to Bella for being so cute.

Yea...Bella's totally got her looks going for her. She's as sweet as they come.