Monday, August 29, 2011

Robot Baby Shower Invitations

My sister is having a baby and I am so so excited! The new parents have decided to decorate the baby's room with old school vintage robots. So naturally the baby shower is going to be robot themed.

Now... there isn't a ton of robot supplies out there, so it became the ultimate scavenger hunt. I went around to all of the local scrapbook and craft stores, which was fun since I'm new to the area. No luck. Then I came across these invitations using My Mind's Eye pre-punched robot chipboards. I took the idea and ran with it.

I played with the fonts for awhile and I love the final look using different fonts and colors. Poor Ryan cut out over 100 beeps and bops. What would I do without him?

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Welcome Planter Box

I wanted something colorful and welcoming for our front porch. I went on down to Lowe's and bought this cedar planting box. 

 And they had these flowers, Lantanas, on sale 4 for $10. I love how each bloom has multiple colors. I found out they are also referred to as Ham 'n Eggs, because of their yellow and pink clusters.

 I love how the box looks! I also took out my big-girl power tools and screwed on a small iron sign that I bought in France years ago.
Bienvenue = Welcome

Patsy loves to smell the Ham 'n Eggs. ;)

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chicken Stir-fry with Peanut Sauce

I had planned on making this dish last night, but Ryan's friend Ryann invited us over for dinner. She owns a pony ranch nearby. Normally, she's working the fair circuit this time of year, but she happened to be in town last night. The tri-tip she served was delicious! I love me some tri-tip. I also love me some baby ponies. So cute!

Back to the stir-fry, I've been making this recipe for years (since I was in college). I'm sorry I don't remember where I got the recipe from originally, but I have made a lot of adjustments to it since. I almost always double the batch when I make it, and triple the sauce. I like it saucy! This is one of the recipes that I think tastes even better reheated = great left-overs.

Chicken Stir-fry with Peanut Sauce

  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it, you can add even less)
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • a few dashes of hot sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1/2 cup onion, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1/2 cup carrot, julienne
  • 1 cup button mushrooms
Start by whisking together the marinade. Slice or cube the chicken breast as you like it. Marinate the chicken for 30 min. room-temp or 1-2 hours in the fridge.

While the chicken is marinating, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. Then chop the vegetables. You can increase the amount of vegetables if you'd like, I usually do.

Go ahead and laugh. Most people do. Last year, I asked Santa Claus for onion goggles. No matter what I did (believe me I tried all of the tricks), my eyes would water like crazy when I chopped onions. So now I use them and I gotta say...they work pretty well. Nothing is 100%, but they are much better than going bare-eyed. 

Heat some olive oil in a wok (or large pan if you don't have a wok) at med.-high heat. Drain chicken from marinade and cook for about 10 minutes or until done. Remove cooked chicken from wok and set aside, covered.

Reduce temperature to medium heat and add some more olive oil to the pan. Add the vegetables and cook until tender but still crisp. Return chicken to pan and toss with vegetables. 

Make a well in the center of the wok and pour sauce into it. You can add as much sauce as you want. As I said before, I make extra sauce and then keep some for leftovers (in case they get too dry). Toss sauce, veggies and chicken until sauce is incorporated. 

Serve over rice. If you don't have a rice cooker yet, GET ONE! They are amazing. Usually I use brown rice with this dish, but we were all out. 

And TA-DA...

Although it is fun to make it look nice and pretty, this is what it actually looks like when I eat it :) Either way it's delicious!

I put the extra sauce in this squeeze bottle I had laying around. It was left from a school fundraiser, when my students made crepes. This will make it easy to add extra sauce to leftovers or to add some cold peanut dressing to a salad, YUM!

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Makeover: Lavender Dresser and Hutch

Ryan and I went down to an antique center in Chico called Eighth and Main (it's huge, you should check it out if you're local). I came across this piece and fell in love with it. A few other people were eyeballing it, so I knew I had to jump on it ! I was not so keen on the lavender color, but I was willing to take on the challenge.

We talked the seller down to a pretty good price, since the mirror was broken.

Ryan took out the mirror and I painted two coats of "white dove." Unfortunately, the paint shop in our small town gave me the wrong sheen; the paint was too shiny. So I had to paint a third coat with an eggshell finish from Lowe's. The eggshell finish looks a lot more vintage. 

The day I decided to paint, it was 95° outside. It took about five hours for the first two coats! All of the little nooks and crannies were tricky to paint. Not sure I've ever sweated so much in my life. I looked like a hot mess, with paint in my hair and my "shake what your mama gave you" t-shirt on. 

This is what Patsy looked like while I was painting:

Don't worry, she had ice water.

To see the finished product, click here.

Meet Patsy

This is Ms. Patsy Cline, my new side-kick.

She is a miniature Dachshund with a dapple honey color.

She enjoys napping, chasing her ball, and sneaking out of my room, like a ninja, with mismatched socks.

We're working on potty-training and it isn't easy. You would think, having taught high school students for a couple of years, that I would have plenty of patience. On the contrary, she has taught is teaching me to be more patient. 

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