Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Garage Entry Revamp

Hi Dee Ho there Peeps!!!

It's late, I'm exhausted but I wanted you to see what I've been doing in the way of home decorating.  I think this makes it "officially" 3 rooms complete around here.   Woo hoo only 4, 789 more to go!!  Not really but some days it feels that daunting!!!

Other than the fact that it is a much more welcoming area to walk into from the garage I was able to do it all for less than $300! It seems like a lot for an entry area but we changed the look and feel of this area so much and considering what we did, even my frugal husband thought we did great on the budget.

First the Before photos:

Well sort of before, as you can see I started painting out that little audio cabinet door and then remembered that I didn't take any before photos.

Yeah, that's not a very welcoming site to enter from the garage now is it?
(the gate is to keep Sir Winston from sneaking into Abogg's room and feasting in the cat box-blek!)

This is looking from the den into the entry area.   That's a paint sample on the right that's been in the doorway for months.  I seriously mean months...I'm having a really hard time narrowing down paint colors.  

Like I said before, not very inviting.  Kind of vanilla and not the good kind of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla vanilla, more like a generic brand fake vanilla vanilla.  

Ready for the After???

Yep, same house!!  How much better is this?  Ideally we would have gone with breadboard on both sides of the built in but we have to be able to open and close that audio cabinet and there were some constraints on the other side of the built in too.   I think it's still 1000 times better!!! 

What did we do? The cabinet and seat base (yes, it lifts for storage and it's where we keep the TP) are painted out in Vintage Market & Design Paint in Lace.  Hubster had to install the breadboard and let me tell you that what should have been a super quick and easy task turned out to give us headaches a plenty.  There were nasty exchanges about the vision and what I wanted in the middle of the Home Depot lumber aisle, cuss words o'plenty and finally relief when it was done.  Why is it the easy stuff causes the most problems?

(yes we are all aware the hooks are not evenly spaced- the shelf braces had to go into the studs so we had to place the hooks around the shelf braces) Safety first peeps!

Once again I used  Sherwin Williams Koi Pond Super Paint on the walls.  1) I love this color and 2) I thought I had enough leftover from the formal Living Room.  I still love this color and no, I didn't have enough paint.  *sigh*    (The formal dining room is about to be the 3rd and final room painted in this color) 

This little curved area is in between the doors of Abogg's bedroom and the MereBear's bedroom.
I had to buy the table and the lamp.  I had nothing in the house that would work.  The rest of the items were retrieved from various spots around the house.

Across the top of the shelf we have an old gas can that was originally purchased as table decor for Hubsters 50th birthday party.  The next item is a Longaberger basket I've had for years and years as is the fake greenery inside the basket.  Next up is my Daddy's old Stanley thermos and it still has his coffee stains inside.  Just past that is my very first 35mm camera.  My daddy bought it for me one year for Christmas, I think I was in college.    Then there is a wood duck decoy that belonged to Hubsters mom.   Hanging on the wall is my Prince tennis racket also from college when I took tennis as my PE credit and for some reason I've held onto that racket.  Next to that is a set of books of Hubsters parents:  Audel's Carpenters and Builders Guide, copyright 1923.  On top of them sits an old blue Mason jar filled with river rock.  Finally on the far right is an old globe I found at a flea market resting atop a Romeo & Juliet cigar box the Abogg picked up for me.  

A closer look at the little table.  The lamp came from Dollar General and the rest came from various places around the house.  (does anyone really know a useful purpose for those little wall niche's??)  

This is the side that you see when you come out of Abogg's room.  
The plate bowl thing has been hanging around for awhile with never having found a permanent home.
The double bin wire basket has migrated all around the house and now it holds the mail for my brother in law and store circular and coupons that I need to keep track of. 

I'm keeping my eyes out for an old fishing creel to hang from the hooks, at a decent price of course.  I am also thinking that at Christmas I'll hang the kiddo's stockings from the hooks or maybe it'll just have hats and gloves and coats hanging from those hooks and that's ok too you know!

The bench is enjoying a comfy new cushion compliments of an old quilt I had hanging around and the remnants of an old egg crate mattress pad.  The turquoise pillow used to be in Court's room at our old house and the yellow pillow was found in the clearance aisle while browsing through Target. 

Last detail in this part of the area- a new hanging caged light fixture.
This was a recessed can light and I knew I wanted something a bit different in here but wasn't sure just what I was looking for but Hubster and I were in Home Depot this past weekend and we happened upon this nifty little kit that turns a recessed can light into this lovely pendant light!   PERFECTO!!!   I splurged on the Edison bulb.  
It literally took Hubster all of 15 minutes to hang the light fixture and that includes getting his stuff out and putting it away. 

This is the door you were looking at in the second before picture.  It's the door that goes out into the garage.  The clock was already there but the EXIT sign over the door is new.   ( The clock is really not hanging over the edge of a corner, it's a shadow on the picture) 

As you come in from the garage this is on the right (across from the clock).  Gertrude (the cow) was hanging in the kitchen she just migrated to a new pasture so to speak.   The big key and cross were already hanging on this wall and so was the overloaded key holder.  The S hook holds Sir Winstons harness and leash so he's ready to walk at a moments notice.  I'd still like to find some kind of really narrow cabinet to install here by the door but I'm in no rush.  I'll wait until I find just what I'm looking for even though I don't know exactly what it is I'm looking for.  

The big rusty metal arrow was a find at Hobby Lobby and a favorite of the Hubster.  It was just kind of fun and I love how it fits perfectly around the thermostat and points the way to the garage.  The old butter churn belonged to Hubsters mom and found a new spot to reside in this area.

So what do you think?   Hard to believe this used to be so bland and that I managed to live with it that way for so long!!    The bad thing is that between this area and the formal living room, I'm about to run out of knick knack paddy wacks to repurpose so once I'm done with the Dining room (which is next on the reno list) I'll have to start buying decor items.  If you know any great vintage stores in the DFW area please let me know so I can go on the hunt for some fun stuff!  

 Here's the cost breakdown:
Wall Paint: $42  (Sherwin Williams-I had a coupon)
Beadboard, Shelving, Trim, Hooks: $100  (Home Depot)
Chalk paint: $15  (local hardware store)
Grey Table & Wall Decor: $82 (Hobby Lobby)
Lamp: $10 (Dollar General)
Yellow pillow: $12  (Target)
Caged Light Fixture & Bulb:  $35 (Home Depot)

There you have it, one more room finished and I'm hoping to have the dining room done next week.  I'm taking a break from painting and decorating this week since it is a holiday week and I've got to get the house and the lawn mower all decorated for the neighborhood parade and festivities.  

What are you guys spending your hot summer days doing?

Peace, Love & Paint

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Firecracker Dip

I can certainly identify with the artist Freak Nasty when they say:

When I dip you dip we dip
Although I'm pretty sure they aren't speaking of the kind of dip we're talking about today!   Anywho....let's do in fact talk about dip.  I mean I seriously love me some dips and I'm pretty sure dips were designed to be entire meals.   Can  you say FONDUE people?   See what I mean, a dip or two or three can be a meal.   I love dips anytime of the year but especially in the summer when I'm hot and I want to eat but I don't want to eat but I'm starving all at the same time. What's a girl to do?  Do da Dip!!!    I love dips even more now that I can't have anything with flour as an ingredient so those tomato sandwiches are a thing of the past for me.  (insert really really sad face here and broken heart)
We've already covered the topic of how I hate to waste food from the garden or anywhere else for that matter right over here and I didn't have quite enough things to "put up" or preserve so I started looking around and found this dip recipe.   I tweaked it and added and took away some stuff but I LOVE it now.   I posted the photo on Instagram and got a few requests for the recipe so I'm giving it to ya!!!  I didn't take a ton of photos (ok fine, I took 2) but I'm here to please the masses.   Masses= 2 people, geez you guys are holding my feet to the fire today aren't ya!
This is called Firecracker Dip and not only is it yummy but I think you should take it to your 4th of July festivities.  You know the festivus for the rest of us.  (Name that show!)
(forgive me I didn't get a chance to put together a printable for you) 
1 ¾ cup of corn, removed from the cob or canned/frozen   ( I actually used canned-desperate times)
1-2 jalapeƱo peppers, finely chopped (you must be willing to gage your acceptable level of hotness, I used 2)
½ medium purple onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 heaping tsp. cumin
3 TBSP lemon or lime juice  (whichever you have on hand)
⅓ cup olive oil
1 or 2 tomatoes, diced  (pick your level of tomato happiness-2 for me)
small handful of cilantro, minced
salt and pepper, per your taste
I also added one diced wax pepper (because I had one that was going to go bad and I needed to use it)
Combine all those ingredients in a big ole' bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.  You know because they all mingle and mix around in the fridge at night and get all lovey dove and yummy.
Serve with tortilla chips and share (or not- I'm not here to judge)

It's a happy kind of explosion in your mouth!

Now you may also note that if you follow me on Instagram (@SammaSpot) I posted this lovely picture today, it was lunch. I'll probably have the same thing for dinner because the salsa was freshly made when I snapped this photo and it's been hanging out in the refrigerator so it'll be even gooder yummy tonight!

The Firecracker Dip is bottom left and then the Guacamole and the Salsa.
The Guacamole has no real recipe but this is what I use:
Chopped tomatoes (or salsa in a pinch)
Chopped onions
 Tiny bit of cilantro
Chopped fresh jalapenos
Lime juice
Splash of orange juice (seriously this makes all the difference in the world!!!)

If you want some yummy fresh salsa then just head right over here and you can make some yourself too!  I'm telling you nothing like FRESH salsa from the garden.  

Now I feel obliged to show you Sir Winston Churchill, it's been awhile.

Sir Winston took a ride with me to the bank today and he was rewarded with a treat at the drive thru. Then we went to Starbucks and while they were making my Frappuccino he was once again rewarded with another treat.  This one in the form of a Puppoccino.  It was his first trip to Starbies....dare I say not his last.  He was quite fond of his Puppoccino and will now be begging me for his own phone with the Starbucks app loaded and a prepaid balance to use at his discretion.  Spoiled much?

That's all I got for ya today my peeps.  I'm coming back soon with a Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Loaf and the pics of the last room I just finished decorating!!  I've been a busy busy girl!!
What are you peeps up to this summer?

Peace, Love & Dip

Monday, June 15, 2015

Having fun at Hawaiian Falls Water & Adventure Park

It's Monday Monday peeps!

A few weeks ago the wonderful folks at Hawaiian Falls Water & Adventure Park in White Settlement hosted a DFW Blogger event and I was quite thrilled to be included in the festivities!    One other bit of "official business" before we get to the fun.  ***We bloggers were treated to lunch, a preview of the Adventure Park before it's official opening and the great fun of playing on the ropes course and trying out the zip line along with passes to come back after the park officially opened on Memorial Day.  All I had to do was have fun and write a little blog post with my honest opinions.***

Now let's get down to the fun and pictures....lots and lots of pictures!

Our day began in the Aloha Event Center, where all the bloggers had a chance to chat with each other and meet Leigh Ann Hatchett, Director of Marketing who was also serving as our tour guide.  Cara Blevins, Business Development Manager, also spoke to us about all the parks have to offer. 

While we bloggers enjoyed a delicious lunch we learned about all the events that can be held at the Aloha Event Center.  Here's just a few:
  • Lock-Ins
  • Movie Nights (w/ Full Moon Zip Lining!!!)
  • After Prom Parties
  • Church & Neighborhood Functions
  • Family Reunions
  • Wedding Receptions
  • Birthday Parties (for the young and not so young)
  • Trade Shows
  • Team Building & Corporate Picnics
  • etc, etc, etc!!!!
I could go on and on but you get the idea, if you can imagine it and need a facility to host it then then drop Leigh Ann or Cara an email and see what kind of fun you can plan.

**A quick note about the entry to the Aloha Center, you do NOT have to go thru the Arcarde or Water Park area to get to the event center so if you are planning something business or more formal, no worries you won't be hopping around wet bathing suit clad fun loving children to get there.  They also have separate restrooms so you don't have to go out into the park area.  

We had a short visit with the President & CEO himself of Hawaiian Falls. WOW---what a servants heart does this man have!  I think the employees of this park are lucky to have a leader with such a grateful and humble philosophy on doing business.  It doesn't take long to see why the parks are so successful with David at the helm.    

Next up we gather up our phones and cameras and start our tour of the park.  Our first stop was the Arcade.  This Arcade was fun and bright and full of all things peeps of all ages love about Arcades.  

This is a picture of just one of the party rooms located inside the Arcade available to book.

Bible verses on banners like this one were around the park and another one of the reasons I have such high opinions for these parks!

 Lockers are available for rent
                                                                There is also a first aid
                                                                center for those minor

Lots of outdoor seating to enjoy a lunch or snack break.

Red & Yellow slides are the Flying Hawaiian- I'd love to try those out.
Blue Slide is the Pipeline.

Purple slide is the Diamond Head Drop and you can see the Mat Slide hiding in the background.

Such pretty landscaping too!

Niko's Landing is a special spot for the little keiki's (children).

Feeling indulgent? Want a little privacy?  These sweet cabana's are available for rent.

Yummy snack stands located throughout the park too!

The Reef Racer mat slide.  Challenge your family & friends to a timed race!

This is where you'd find me on a nice scorching Texas summer day....Kona Kooler.  A nice lazy river.

Even nice grassy lounge areas if you aren't into "baking" on the concrete.   I think if I wasn't in the Kona Kooler you'd find me in this area under an umbrella with a book!! 

More cabanas available for rental.

How fun is this sandy beach area near Breaker Beach? 

And we round the corner to our first close up look at the Adventure course awaiting us. 
hmmmmm, it might be a little more intimidating than I originally thought.  3 stories tall you say?

If you need to fuel up before, after or during your adventures then Sharkey's has plenty of choices.

The Luau Cove looks like a great place for Corporate picnics, don't you think?

That concluded our tour so we hop back inside to the Aloha center for a restroom break and to make sure everyone was wearing closed toe/heel shoes.  Also required are shorts, pants and shirts (we had this covered-haha).  So if you are heading out make sure you and the littles are dressed properly if you want to play in the Adventure Park.  

Directly from the Hawaiian Falls site is this information about the Adventure Park:
HAWAIIAN FALLS ADVENTURE PARK - a 50 foot high, THREE LEVEL ROPES COURSE with 45 activities; a 62 foot high, 400 foot long ZIP LINE; a two-level family ADVENTURE TRAIL with nine bridges and five towers; a 30-foot CLIMBING WALL; a 30 foot CARGO NET CLIMB and the 60 foot high FREE FALL!
70 foot high ZIP LINE CANOPY TOUR* has two towers with a total length of 1,000 feet of breathtaking views of the entire Hawaiian Falls park

These lovely torture  safety devices were ready and waiting for us.
After we were geared up and safety precautions were covered we were ready to go!

I had a blast with these ladies and we got quite a bit more of a workout than we anticipated.  We were warned that our core muscles would be sore but man, my arms were throbbing that night and the next day!   If your "littles" aren't so little anymore I think this would be a great spot for a fun workout for young 20 something couples.  A little fun, a lotta sweat and muscles you didn't know you had get a workout for sure.   

For you nervous parents be aware that SAFETY is a top priority at the park.  There are height & weight restrictions so check with the park prior to your arrival to avoid the inevitable tears that may come from not being quite "big" enough to enjoy all the fun!

Safety guidelines out of the way we were turned loose to start with the challenges.
I thought my first path would be easy until I had to work my way across this rope challenge.  Geez, it was gonna be a long day!!!  

We had fun with our blogger friends and even the staff at the park.  You gotta laugh in the face of danger!!!  

Oh dear, I got up here now how do I get down??

My legs weren't quite long enough for an easy jaunt across these swings.

Once we worked our way all the way up three levels of fun on the ropes course it was time to zip line.

The worst part of zip lining?  You gotta walk up spiral stairs ALL THE WAY to the top.  
Nothing like being slap worn out from that ropes course then trying to climb a bazillion steps to zip line.   We laughed and joked and took photos of each other while waiting our turn. We even calmed a few uneasy nerves and convinced them to give it a try.  

I've zip lined before so I knew what to expect and it was lots of fun.

We also dodged the rainy weather and enjoyed some slightly cooler cloudy skies that day.

A non ziplining blogger happily snapped our photos from a safe spot on the ground. 

And now I'm coming in for my first landing. 

What's waiting for me at this end?  MORE stairs!!! haha

Here we go again!   The most intimidating part of the zip line?  You have to actually "walk the plank"  to get going.  So yeah, you don't get pushed you have to step off the side of the platform. 

Weeeeeeeeeee, here we go for round 2.

And it's almost over.
After landing safely and a quick crawl through Family Adventure Trail it's time to meet up with the others and head home.  We left our new friends at Hawaiian Falls and headed home tired and sweaty but in the best possible way. I was more than a little sore the next day!!! 

 A few other quick things to note about Hawaiian Falls Water & Adventure parks.
  • Parking, Life Jackets, Tubes are always free
  • There are 7 Hawaiian Falls Water Parks and 2 Adventure Parks & Event Centers in North, Central & South Texas
  • You can bring your own cooler but there is a small fee 
  • Check the website before you visit for coupons, special events, times and admission prices
  • Go with an open mind and prepare to have fun in a safe family friendly environment

We didn't get to do the Free Fall or the Rock Climbing wall but you can bet on my next trip I'll make sure I take someone encouraging and do those too!  What about you?  What looks like the most fun to you?  

Peace, Love & Sore Muscles

p.s.  I have a couple of coupons to share with you too!!!!

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