Living Room Part 2!

Does anyone else feel like they can never just finish one room?  Well I am determined to complete our living room come hell or high water.  This is a little bit of my inspiration but I think I need some more color!  I would also like to add three floating shelves and create a gallery wall.  Other DIY on the list is paint our dining room and our small third bedroom this winter!  Look out Home Depot and Ikea here I come!
living room part 2



$10 DIY Tomato Cage Holiday Tree !

You have to love the internet!  How would life be with out pinterest and a facebook full of minifeeds with crafty friends and mothers!? I have to thank a DIY champion and sorority sister for this idea.  She really hit hers out of the park.  My quick rendition was simply that- QUICK!

I had been on the hunt for a reasonably priced 3′ – 5′ tree for the front porch.  I made mention before that this is only our second holiday season decorating together.  That means that we slowly making a holiday decoration collection.

Last year I promised post season I would pick up mark downs.   And of course I forget.  Desperate to add a tiny bit of cheer to the front of our home- I scoured the internet (aka-  I did not have the urge to spend $65.00 on the tree I thought would be the best fit.  So I promised myself once again- I would buy one post season.

Then I saw this great suggestion- and there are several ways to make it your own.   Although mine is a bit simple- you can surely dress it up here’s what you need :

  1.  a tomato cage (We had ours from the summer stacked in the back yard)
  2. tree trimmings OR faux garland (I got 6 15′ strands at the Dollar Tree for $1.00 each)
  3. your favorite decorations (this year, I got that at the dollar tree as well!)

Thats it!  My garland was on a wired string- so I didn’t even need glue or ties to adhere it to the tomato cage frame.  Now I can choose to reuse the tomato cage or garland for other projects if I choose.

image image imageimage

Xmas Kraft DIY

Last Saturday Rachel my fellow 5andwhiner and DIY master, got the great idea to make a craft for the holidays.  I choose something that neither of us had in our homes and would come in handy.  A holiday card holder, I mean lets face it there’s only so much room and so many magnets for the fridge.  This craft also only cost us about $15 each since we split alot of the supplies.   So after a somewhat exhausting trip multiple stores we had all the supplies to get us started.  Below is a list of items you will need to get started.


-Chicken wire (we chose the hexagon wire)

-Staple Gun

-Inexpensive frame any size (we picked ours up at Goodwill)

-Tiny flag banner (optional)

-Black acrylic paint

-Pack of varying mini clips

-Artificial wreath


DIY Beef Jerky and other protein-packed snacks!

Since I have been breastfeeding, I am always looking for protein-packed snacks to help me stay fuller, longer, while also providing vital nutrients to Miles. I loooooovveee beef jerky and always have, except it’s pretty expensive to buy ready-made.

My husband is the king of appliances, and last year we bought a dehydrator.  We found the perfect blend of savory and spice marinade with the Alton Brown recipe.  We just use a dehydrator for 4 1/2 to 6 hour (or until the beef is completely dried out). HIs recipe uses a box fan, so that would work, instead, if you have that.  The beef only cost us $13 to make 3 lbs, and we had other ingredients around the house like soy sauce.   We used beef round as the cut.  Last time, we used flank and found it to be fattier which made it hard to prepare.

jerkybowljerky in tupperware

Other snacks I enjoy with high amounts of protein are:

Edamame – also known as soy beans in pods.  There are 8 grams of protein per serving and only 8 carbs and 2.5 grams of fat.

Plain Greek Yogurt with Honey – 23 grams of protein and only 9 carbs!

Cottage Cheese – I like it with tomato, but a lot of people like it with fruit like peaches, apples or grapes!  There are 13 grams of protein and 8 carbs.

Granola or Oatmeal – great for milk production.  There’s 5 – 6 grams of protein.  This is higher in carbs so you might want to eat this for breakfast.

Hoping this little guy grows to be big and strong!


DIY Office Decor

On a recent trip to IKEA I decided to pick up a few items to spruce up my new office.  I came across a few things and managed to spend less than $10 bucks on all the items.  I moved last Monday and previously my office did not have much space to decorate.  I picked up these very inexpensive boxes and figured I could store things in them or at the very least they could just look cute on my book shelves but they needed a little something!


Small and Large Smarassel boxes

DIY decor large washi tape in gold dots

Credit Card to smooth out wrinkles

Also patience that is key

Below are my step by step photos of how to assemble which took me a total of 20mins:)



Note: This washi tape is super sticky!! But you can peel it off and keep redoing it until there are so many wrinkles you have to throw that piece away!

What have you done to spruce up your office??


My little lady has a nickname, Jellybean.  I’m not sure how it happened or where it came from, but she’s the sweetest treat I ever did meet. 

With Halloween right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to challenge myself with a new craft project; creating Ainsley’s costume. I collected my supplies this weekend, but it’s been a slow process with all of the “extra” things going on at our house at the moment. I’ll be back next week to share an update…or hopefully the finished product. 🙂 In the meantime, here are some clues about the materials I’ve been working with. (Remember- I love my little jellybean!)




Any guesses? 🙂

Master Bedroom Inspo – Part 1

Months ago I painted our master bedroom a dark navy.  It turned out really well and I even put stripes on the back wall using a the same color but in high gloss.  I will admit I did not document this well so I didn’t blog about it previously.  I’m sure like a lot of women in America I moved on to other projects through out the house and well sort of forgot about attempting to finish the bedroom.  Well I got back on track after a labor day furniture sale perked my interest and motivated me to finally get an “adult bed“.  It’s a sueded material with a nail head design on the headboard.  I really love it and it is extremely sturdy!  My next project is to create curtains behind the bed which surround an unsightly chimney.  Here is a little mood board that will hopefully keep me on track!


Color that I chose for the walls – painting tip (use aluminum foil on the tray so you don’t ruin it and can reuse it just throw away the foil when your done! )

Bedroom Inspo


Home Made Dog Food

I love my pup A LOT.  She’s just the cutest … when she’s sleeping.



She is also a handful for so many reasons.  Beyond the behavioral battles, she  has a very sensitive belly.  We learned by trial and error with many types of foods.   No matter what the combination- grain free, single protein only, high end, low end, even prescription- we would come home from work to a VERY sick puppy.  She was crated at that age – so she would be stuck for hours surrounded by what she couldn’t keep down.  There really was no choice in our decision to switch to homemade food.  It was out of desperation that we started doing our research.

I read as many blogs as I could until I found what I felt sounded like the right mix.   We confirmed with our vet and our trainer at the time jotted down the mix and took it to the animal nutritionist at our local animal Nonprofit.  Thankfully they both agreed this seems to cover all of the right basis.

It’s not the cheapest, nor the easiest – but for us right now, we haven’t been able to find anything else.  For you it might be a choice- because one things for sure- this is INCREDIBLY healthy.  If you or I were to eat this- heck, we’d live past 100!

We shop at markets that allow us to buy in bulk, or produces that’s a few days past its prime- and this really helps us save.  I also might decide to alter the recipe just slightly from month to month depending on what I find and its price point at the time.  For the most part it goes like this:

 Ella’s Home Cooked Everyday Meal:

I dump all the ingredients into a gallon size freezer bag, uncooked.  We freeze the uncooked food until two days before we need it.  One day to thaw, and about 8 hours in the crock pot on low (while we work) and that’s all it takes.  This recipe is per bag, although we generally  make 4-8 depending on the freezer space.  Thanking my baby everyday for buying us a deep freeze!  This means less meal prep in a month!

4 gallon bags will last us about 15-18 days (that’s two meals a day)- I would say.  We don’t actually measure anything but the rice- sometimes it last us longer, sometimes not as long depending on the size of the batch.

  • 2-3 cups of White Rice  (Costco @ around .43/pound)
  • 1.5 #s Ground Beef (We buy a 10# portion at 27% fat because shes not getting a lot of fat elsewhere in her diet- 3.80/pound)
  • 1/4 pound chicken livers (about 1.89/pound)
  • 1/4 pound chicken gizzards (about 1.89/pound)
  • 1/4 pound beef liver (about 1.89/pound)
  • 1/4 chicken thighs (only if we get a good price under 4/pound)
  • 1 extra large sweet potato/cubed (.89/pound)
  • 4 large carrots (.50/pound)
  • 1/4 of the largest bunch of kale you can find/chopped (.89/pound)
  • 4+ large eggs (we buy a carton of 18 for about $3 and split it between each bag)
  • Salmon Oil (this will depend on your dogs weight)
    • Helps for bones, joints, and coat- dogs LOVE the taste!
  • Bone Meal
    • for strong bones and teeth!
  • Daily Multi Vitamin ( we just add one to every bowl of food)
    • for anything else we may have missed

bone mealsalmon oilvitamin

We used to spend hours chopping/grating/and blending all of this together in the blender, and then stirring it to make an equal and properly mixed batch.  Over time we decided it wasn’t necessary-just like us, sometimes we get a well rounded meal, some days- not so much.  But by the end of the week we (and she) will get all that we need). Now we leave it all as whole as we can so that it will fit/cook in the crock pot.    Just add a few cups of water to the crock pot to aid the process and avoiding burning where you can.



I hope this helps the other puppy mommies out there!


Gallery – Wall to be!

I lust all pins about gallery walls and it has been my dream to create one in our home for over a year now.  We painted our living room colors that we love- and well, that was it.  We never completed the room by adding art to the walls that represent who we are.  I have slowing been collecting pieces.  Pictures, posters, and custom to help us remember all of the states, cities, and countries we have lived between the two of us.  Hometowns, college towns, Maryland, Chicago, Germany, Slovakia, Mexico- between us the list is long!

My fear was less about the project itself and more about the results, or my vision.  I was afraid there would be no sense, no flow, that the pieces wouldn’t fit together.  At the same time- I wish to be a bit eclectic.  Looming over my head is the thought that there is a difference between being eclectic and just completely random.   With my honey by my side– I am pretty happy with the outcome 🙂

We need just a few more pieces to complete the collection:  Art that represents Michael’s home Bedford, PA.  Art that represents my home Lancaster, PA.   We need to print a few of Michael’s photo’s from his stay in Mexico.  Lastly I need a real diploma frame.  Once I  collect these few items, a new coffee table is all I need to FINALLY have one room in our home complete – from thought to finish.


Practice your layout on the floor


This is wall 2 in the making. I plan to paint “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” in black script on the piece of reclaimed wood.


Use templates that are the exact same shape and size to help with the spacing on the wall itself.


My man in action!


Trying as hard as possible to straighten these things out!


Chicago, Germany, Slovakia, Ny, Pittsburgh, Baltimore 🙂


All done for now!

Faux Succulent Wreath 

I’ve been dying to make a succulent wreath for some time now, but then I came back to reality and remembered I don’t have a green thumb. Plants beware, I’m a killer.  

Fast forward to this past week, when I was walking around the Dollar Tree and spotted the cuttest little selection of fake succulents. Jackpot.  I filled my box with 14 succulents and headed for the register. 

My next stop was Michaels where I picked up the remaining supplies and a few other items for a little project I’m working on in the nursery ( stay tuned for that baby…see what i did there !?) I bought a 12″ wreath form and one bunch of Spanish moss. 


After laying out all of my materials, my first step was to remove the succulents from the pots. They were simply hot glued into the styrofoam base so with one twist, the succulent was free.  I didn’t take the time to clean off the small pieces of styrofoam because I knew it would be hidden once the wreath was formed.  But, if you feel more comfortable cleaning each succulent, go for it!

With the succulents ready, I started to organize them on the wreath. I didn’t have any particular layout in mind…just went with what I thought looked the best.  I then attached them to the wreath with my hot glue gun and before nap time was over, my wreath was completed.  Woot!!! #mommywin 

 Wreath: $2.99 (originally $4.99 but I used a 40% off coupon)

Succulents: $14.00 (14 succulents at $1.00 each)

Spanish moss: $2.99 

Hot glue: free 🙂 

Total: $19.98 

Time: 20 minutes 

I’m so happy with the finished project! I love the simple design and succulents can rest assure that these will be well cared for!