October 29, 2015

The Henry Danger Inspired Halloween Costume

My boys just love the Nickolodeon show, Henry Danger  This year, when my younger son decided he wanted to dress as Henry Danger aka Kid Danger for Halloween, we were disappointed that we couldn't find any costumes in the stores.

So, I whipped out my sewing machine...ha ha ha...yeah, like that would happen.  I can't sew to save my life.

Let me start again...So, last night I hopped in my car and drove to the store to see what I could find.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a red superhero-type mask in Walmart.  After rummaging through the store a bit more, I found a long sleeve blue shirt in the exact blue I was looking for and a pair of red gloves.  I still needed a vest to complete the look...

Please note this post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking my links.
DIY - Henry Danger Inspired Costume (aka Kid Danger)

The silver vest above, started out red.  I found it this morning at the Oshkosh outlet for $7.00!

Shopping for DIY Halloween Costume

You can't get much cheaper than that!  Now how did I turn the red vest into that silver masterpiece in the first picture?...

Duck Tape for Costume - It's always better to make your own Halloween costume!

Duct Tape!  

I thought I had some silver tape left over from one of our cardboard boat races but I picked up a roll anyway.  All I did was cover the puffer vest with the tape while leaving some of the red showing.  I drew some black lines with a Sharpie, taped on a Henry Danger logo from the internet and I was done with the vest.  I added a pair of red pants and some boots and we were set for Halloween!

Here is what Henry Danger (aka Kid Danger) looks like if you don't know the show...

Kid Danger


And here is our version...

DIY Henry Danger Halloween Costume - Easy instructions to make your own!
Watch out Henry Danger, there's a new "kid" in town!

The costume was easy, cheap and did not involve any sewing!

Here is a list of sources:

  • Mask - Walmart $1.98 (similar)
  • Blue Shirt - Walmart $6.96 (similar) 
  • Red Gloves - Walmart $2.00 (similar)
  • Red Puffer Vest - Oshkosh B'gosh Outlet $7.00 (HERE -If you can't find one in the outlet)
  • Red pants - Oshkosh B'gosh Outlet $10.00
  • Black rubber boots - Walmart (had already purchased for a class science/river trip) $15.00
  • Black belt - very old from my closet (free)
  • Duct Tape - Walmart $3.37
  • Kid Danger Logo - printed from internet (free)


No Sew Henry Danger (aka Kid Danger) Inspired Costume - DIY Halloween Costume when you can't find the right one in the store.


October 28, 2015

Philadelphia Girls Weekend

Back in September, our dear friend from North Carolina had to fly in to Philadelphia for business.  She was able to extend her stay so we planned a girls weekend around it.  It had been awhile since we had a girls getaway...almost 3 years.  Last time, we escaped the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and headed south to Charleston, South Carolina - (How I Have Dealt with Sandy).  Ahh, what a trip that was!  Anyway, back to Philadelphia...


Basically, the Philadelphia trip was a quick getaway.  Four of us girls drove down from New Jersey, met up with our Philly friend and our North Carolina self proclaimed "Southern Belle".  We always laugh at the "Southern Belle" thing because she lived most of her life in New Jersey while commuting to New York City every day for work.  She is SO not southern which makes it hilarious when we receive our email updates from her that the "Southern Belle will be in town!"  Obviously, she has a great sense of humor and you can guarantee there will be the usual shenanigans when we get together.


Now basically, it didn't rain in New Jersey the entire summer.  Of course on the morning we drove down, it poured...Oh well, what can you do?

Luckily, the weather cleared enough so we didn't get wet on our one night out.  We had dinner reservations at Sampan - an Asian fusion restaurant.


The food was very good.  Lots of small plates so we just ordered a bunch of everything and shared it all.  The drinks were even better than the food - all kinds creative concoctions with unique ingredients.  I think we all had something different.


Afterwards, we headed to Lucky Strike for an evening of bowling and more cocktails.


We were all about the same skill level for bowling (bad) but we had lots of laughs and enjoyed our time catching up.


Then we headed back to the Marriot and indulged in chocolate covered fruit and other snacks while we chatted some more...lots of talking and eating with these girls.

The next morning after a huge breakfast buffet at the hotel, we headed over to the Barnes Foundation to tour the beautiful collection of Post Impressionist and early modern paintings.  Luckily, our Philly friend ordered us tickets in advance.  This is one of the most popular attractions in Philadelphia.  I had toured the collection before in its original location of Marion, PA but I enjoyed seeing it again in the new building just as much.


After a quick snack, we walked around the city a bit and headed back to the hotel for our drive home.


Another wonderful weekend with special friends!

Yeah, they had to take my picture because I over-packed...again!

Till the next time, girls!


I've been to Philadelphia many times in my life so we didn't do the usual tourist things like the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia Art Museum where you have to run up the "Rocky" stairs.  Ironically, while I was away, my kids watched a Rocky marathon on TV!  Now I have to bring them back to run up the stairs!

Last time our girls trip was much longer and more action packed.  You can read all about our trip to gorgeous Charleston by clicking on the links below.

Have you had a girls/friends trip lately?

Philadelphia Girls Weekend

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October 25, 2015

An Amazing Book and Happy Things That Helped Me Feel Better

I caught a cold from my husband and spent most of the past week resting to get better.  For some reason, my version of the cold ended up much worse than his and I was pretty much useless.  I even went to the doctor on Wednesday to get a strep test just in case.  It came back negative but the sore throat turned into a cough.  On Friday, I got the kids ready for school, then climbed back into bed until about noon!  I never do that!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

When I woke up, I finished this incredible book...
Secrets of a Charmed Life - One of my favorite books!
(affiliate)

I just love historical fiction when it is done well.  Secrets of a Charmed Life was so engaging and beautifully written that I didn't want it to end.  As I mentioned on Instagram the other day, this is one of those books that left me feeling like I couldn't start reading another novel right away.  I need to just think about this story for awhile.  I never want to forget those characters or what they went through on their journeys in life.  Honestly, this is now one of my favorite books of all time.

Here is a synopsis via Amazon.com.

Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades...beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden--one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, hundreds of thousands of children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed…                            

I also spent a substantial amount of time on the computer this past week.  I didn't have the creativity to post anything myself but I enjoyed taking the time to browse my favorite blogs and look at all the beautiful things people are doing.

Oh, and get this...I FINALLY learned how to sell items on Ebay!  Yeah, where have I been?  I started an account years ago and then never made the effort to sell anything.  Well, while I was sitting around coughing, I decided to read up and figure out how it works.  Right now I have one pair of little boys snow pants for sale with a total of 10 people watching - woo hoo!  I can't wait to dig around my house to try to sell more now.  It's actually kind of fun!

I also caught up with friends on Facebook and read through all the fun posts and links that came across my feed.  Here are a few of my favorites:

50 of the Most Beautiful Sentences in Literature - which has now caused me to add a few books to my reading list.

15 Hilarious Parenting Comics that are Almost Too Real - which makes me really laugh at myself!

Mother Playing with Her 15 Golden Reriever Pups - well, you know I love golden retrievers!

And needless to say, I made my old-standby chicken soup to help with my cold...


No, I wasn't ambitious enough to take a nice photo with the way I felt.  (The above photo is from a post I wrote  - Sniffles and Giggles - when I was sick last year.)  Apparently, it's my time of the year to get sick.  This year when I made the soup, I sprinkled in some cayenne pepper to help with my cough.  

And what else is there to do when you are sick?  Watch movies!  Since this week we celebrated Back to the Future day, the kids and I watched the original.  How on earth did THIRTY years pass that quickly?!!  I loved it just as much as the first day I saw it - actually even more now.  There were a few inappropriate scenes and words for kids but  I tried my best not to make a big deal about it.  My boys are 9 and almost 12 so hopefully they won't be too traumatized... I remember when they were little and watched 101 Dalmatians for the first time.  I was so worried about them hearing the word "idiot".  How times have changed...

Speaking of time, you might recognize this courthouse and clock tower from the movie...
I took this photo on the Universal Studio tour in Hollywood way back in 1993.  It was so exciting to see this building up close!

But the famous clock tower was not the only fun piece of movie memorabilia displayed on the studio lot...
Yup, the DeLorean was there too!  Well, it least it was back in 1993.  Who knows what they have on the tour these days.  I feel so old...Anyway, we were riding by in a tour trolley so I couldn't get close enough to look inside to see the 'flux capacitor' ...

Speaking of Back to the Future, here is an interesting little fact.  When John Delorean (the maker of the DeLorean) went bankrupt and was forced to sell his private estate, Donald Trump bought it and transformed it to what is now known as Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ!

Read all about John DeLorean's life and career here - Wikipedia - John DeLorean

So that's about all my excitement for the week!  I am slowly getting better and am hoping my kids don't come down with this nasty cold.  I would hate for them to miss Halloween!  After all, we were forced to miss a couple Halloweens in the past due to hurricane's here in New Jersey!  At least Hurricane Patricia isn't coming this way!  Prayers for everyone who was in her devastating path.

What have you been up to this week?
Actually, if you write a blog, I probably already know!

October 20, 2015

Our Favorite Chicken Burritos

Like many of you, I get into a rut making the same recipes over and over again.  For awhile, when I told the kids I was making Mexican for dinner, that would mean basic ground chicken tacos made with the usual premixed pouch of spices and the standard toppings...Good, but kind of boring.

Not anymore.  With help from my boys, I have perfected our favorite chicken burritos.  I have made them twice so far and they get devoured.  Even when we make enough to have leftovers, the leftovers are gone the next day!


Here is our recipe:

Main Ingredients

10 Medium (8 inch)  flour tortillas
1 - 1 1/2 pounds of boneless chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
3 cups of cooked rice
1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup frozen or canned corn
1/2 red bell pepper (chopped)
1/2 medium yellow onion (chopped)
1/2 clove garlic (chopped)
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 jar of salsa
1 bar Monterey Jack cheese (shredded)
Olive oil

Optional Topping Ingredients
Tomatoes
Monterey Jack cheese
Cilantro
Lime Wedges
Avocado
Sour Cream
Salsa (in addition to the jar above)
Jalapeno peppers

Instructions

1.  Cook rice according to box instructions so you end up with about 3 cups cooked.
2.  In a large pan, heat olive oil on medium/medium high heat.  Add chicken, onion, garlic, red bell pepper, chili powder and cumin.  Cook for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is done.  I usually end up putting the cover over the pan while cooking to keep the moisture in (since I always end up overcooking chicken).
3.  In a separate pot, heat up the corn and beans for a few minutes.
4.  In a large bowl, combine the rice, chicken mixture, corn, beans, 1 cup cheese and about half the jar of salsa.  Mix well.
5.  Divide up the mixture by filling up each of the ten tortillas evenly.  Roll them up and place into two greased glass baking dishes.  You will need two baking dishes because these burritos end up pretty stuffed!  Sprinkle with more Monterey Jack cheese and the rest of the salsa.

 * Tip - I tend to roll the burritos with the seam side up so they don't fall apart so easily when you scoop them out after cooking.  To keep them from opening up while I am placing them in the dish, I usually lay a knife across the top until I sprinkle the cheese on top.  Then once I add the extra cheese and salsa, they usually stay in place.

6.  Bake the burritos in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until cheese on top is melted.  If you like them crispier, do not cover, but if you prefer softer burritos, cover with foil.


I always add extra cilantro on top of mine but we all have different extras we like to add, so I like to put out extra toppings for everyone.


No longer is Mexican night boring in our house!


Do you have a favorite way to make burritos?

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October 17, 2015

Choosing a Stair Runner

Now that my foyer is freshly painted, 
the next step is to order a runner for the stairs.  


Normally, I don't move to the next project so quickly but now that we've hit "sock weather", we have all become very aware of how slippery those stairs can be.  My son slid down several of them the other night and my poor doggie is very nervous every time she climbs up and down them.  She walks cautiously like she's a little girl trying on high heels for the first time.  I just can't put her through that every day.  Goldens are prone to hip problems too so I don't need to add to that potential issue!


Yeah, that's my attempt at posing her paw on the rug sample.  She refused to stand on it so the best I could do was put the sample next to her and move her paw over...


Afterward, I got this sad look from her as she moved her paw away.  I don't think she was in the mood for blog posing that day.

Anyway, I quickly narrowed down my options and brought a few samples home.  I knew the look I was going for because I have saved the same style of pictures for years.  I either wanted wanted a sisal-look or a tone on tone trellis or diamond pattern.  As much as I would love a real sisal or seagrass, I wanted something softer on our feet.  I walk barefoot often and I know I would be annoyed with a natural fiber after the novelty of its beauty wore off.


I gave myself one day to decide.  The next morning, I called the rug guy to measure and ordered the rug.  It should be here in 3 to 4 weeks and I will post some new pictures as soon as it gets installed!

Which one did I choose, you ask?

I chose the top right one in the exact color of the sample shown.  (Each sample displayed a bunch of colors on the back of the board, but that one was my favorite.)  The diamond one at the bottom was the softest but was a little too "carpet-y".  I wanted more of a textured look and feel.

So, as much as I love the fresh look of the wood stairs, I decided to be "practical mom" in this situation.

I still have a few weeks to enjoy the look of the bare wood stairs.  In the meantime, we will all have to be extra careful with those socks...and paws...

Do you have a runner on your stairs?

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October 14, 2015

Foyer with White Sand Paint

After my recent obsessing over colors for my foyer, I decided to play it safe and go with a similar look...

I present to you
the new color....
Ta da...
White Sand by Benjamin Moore

Ok, so the White Sand may look exactly like the Bone White previously on the walls, but trust me I can tell the difference!  

See...
You can see a slight difference even on the paint chips.

The Bone White had a slight bit of a yellow tint to it.  I don't see that as much with the White Sand.  The White trim and moldings show up a little more with the White Sand as well.  That of course could be because the Bone White was so dingy thanks to 10 years of wear and tear which included a renovation, but still...

Here is a picture of the White Sand in the morning lighting:


And at night with the lights on...


Another night shot...

Night shots really are not that flattering, are they?

And here is the big recap:


I know, not that exciting and dramatic - but I am happy with the results!

Now I need to work on getting a new stair runner.  Although I love the look of the bare stairs, my poor Rosie is slipping whenever she comes down them.  Since Golden Retrievers are prone to hip problems, I don't want to take any chances.  As soon as I get a new runner installed I will be able to show you another mind-blowing reveal!

Have you painted any rooms lately?

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October 3, 2015

Subtle Autumn Accents

With the winds howling outside on this dreary day, I am enjoying the simple autumn decor I added to the kitchen.


I showed you the fireplace mantel in my last post.  Today, I will take you around the new kitchen to see a few subtle pieces I added for the season.

The gorgeous golden orchid was a recent gift from a friend.  I love the height it gives to the center of the island and the color is perfect for fall.  I sure hope I can keep it alive...


I am just getting used to having a newly renovated kitchen and have become very selective about what I bring in.  I am still working on the overall look I want for the room.  My black and white checked tablecloth 'made the cut' and has always managed to find its way into the kitchen each fall.  I love it even more with my white cabinets and black accents.

 A simple bowl of fruit adds a nice splash of color. 

I didn't want to clutter up the mantel over the stove but I thought a few mini pumpkins and some faux vines were just enough.

Turning on the cabinet lights added some coziness on this blustery day.

You can always count on Homegoods for festive towels.

Would you like to join me in a cup of tea?

Or perhaps something stronger from the bar area...

It's definitely a day to stay inside.

What autumn touches have you added to your home?


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October 1, 2015

October 1st Mantel

Happy October everyone!  


Today is a day of firsts around here...


The first day of October...


The first October that I could decorate my new stone fireplace...


and my first attempt at a mantel for the month.  


Most likely my kids will beg me to Halloween-it-up later this month so you might see some changes as we go along.  I am already thinking of switching out the beach picture for something more seasonally appropriate....


But for now, this is how my mantel looks...sleeping dog included.

Definitely not the first time Rosie has stolen the scene!
Such a ham...

Happy 1st Day of October!

Just in case you were wondering
what my mantel used to look like for fall, click HERE and HERE.


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