Mini Dining Room Update

Since I updated the dining room a few months back, I have felt that the one wall was missing something. I had hung some large pictures, but the wall felt blah. This weekend, I found the perfect additions to the wall – two teal sconces!


Adding these to either side of the pictures brought just the right amount of color and detail to the wall making it feel complete. I do love when an impulse buy at Hobby Lobby works out just perfect!

Happy Decorating!

Weekly Meal Plan

I am pretty sure food costs more today than it did just a few months ago. Recently, I have really struggled to keep our grocery bill under budget. In fact, most weeks we are quite a bit over budget. I usually blame the paper goods (paper towels, toilet paper, and all that), but I am pretty sure everything has gone up in price. I am trying to use more coupons, but those only go so far. While, I haven’t found a good way to cut costs yet, I am hoping that getting back to the basics of meal planning will help reduce my spending by limiting the impulse buys.

With all that said, here is my meal plan for this week.

Breakfast: Cereal for me and granola bars for Tim. Nothing special this week, just the basics.

Lunches: Roast beef wraps with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and some nose-clearing horseradish sauce. Paired with Pringles® and orange slices, we should have a nice filling lunch.

Dinner: I like to do a mix of quick dinners and slow cooker dinners to give us plenty of weeknight options.

  • Lasagna – the recipe from the back of the noodle box! Paired with Caesar salad and garlic bread for a delicious and comforting meal.
  • Sausage and mushroom ragú over zoodles.
  • Slow Cooker Hamburger Stroganoff. This recipe came with my free download for pre-ordering Skinnytaste Fast and Slow.


Let’s Eat – Meal Plan this Week

Hot weather necessitates that the meals this week be as simple and fast as possible.

  • Breakfast
    • Iced Coffee
    • Greek Yogurt (Strawberry or Mixed Berry) with Granola
  • Lunch
    • Kielbasa with peppers, onions, and potatoes (I followed this recipe, but used some cajun seasoning on the potatoes and replaced the sausage with turkey kielbasa)
    • Pretzels
  • Dinner
    • Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas with blue cheese broccoli slaw
    • Ruben Quesadillas
    • Meat lovers pizza topped with arugula salad

That is my plan for the week. Good luck with yours!

Meals this Week

It has been too long since I posted a meal plan. While you might think that this means that I am not making them, I am actually still doing them, I am just failing to write about them… sorry about that.

With that said, here is my plan for this week.

  • Breakfast
    • Iced Coffee – to save money we are buying bottled iced coffee at the grocery store (this one or this one)
    • Whole Wheat English Muffins topped with Peanut Butter and Banana Slices (Yum!)
  • Lunch
    • Spicy Cajun Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, and Quinoa. I started with this recipe and then added a small scoop of prepared quinoa to make this a filling and complete meal.
    • Sargento String Cheese – these are my favorite afternoon snack
    • Hershey Nugget (Lunch is not complete without a little chocolate dessert!)
  • Dinner Options
  • Dessert Options
    • 100 Calorie Klondike Bars – Vanilla
    • Breyers Vanilla Snack Cups (100 calories)
    • Snack Size Salted Caramel Ice Cream Bars by Weight Watchers (80 calories)

That is my plan for the week. Good luck with yours!

It started with the chairs…

A few months back, a good sale got me the pair of parsons chairs I have been looking for. Once I got the chairs in the house, though, everything changed. The chairs started out in the living room flanking the round game table as I had originally intended in this post.


After living with this arrangement for a few days, I was not convinced that this was the right look for the room.  It was functional but didn’t feel as well balanced as I would have liked. Here are some daytime shots with a smaller game table…

I called my mom up and asked her opinion about the room; we agreed that the look was just ok. We then set about rearranging to find something better. First we swapped the chairs side for side.

This was a little better, so we turned our sights to the fireplace and made some adjustments to get the right color balance.

We settled on the last option, option 4. I lived with this layout for a few days. After those days, however, I was still not impressed with the room. It was still just “ok” and not “wow” or “amazing”.

Back to the drawing board. This time we did something bold and moved the big arm chair beside the fireplace and flanked the window seat with the parsons chairs.

This was an interesting look, but needed more weight by the window seat to make this look more like the “sofa” in the room. Enter makeshift coffee table…IMG_0024

I created the coffee table by putting my two filing cabinet side tables back to back. It was the perfect height for the window seat.

Some additional finessing of pillow, blankets, and the fireplace decor gave me this design:


The rug is a bit small and a little boring, but overall I was pretty pleased with the room… at least for now.

And few days later there was this great deal on a teal and white zig zag rug from Target, and I thought it would be perfect to jazz up the room. And this is where things got really out of hand!

A week went by and the rug arrived.

I liked the idea of the rug, but the color was not as bright as the other teal in the room and seemed to muddy the bright tones. It just didn’t work, sigh.

At this point, many people would simply return the rug, but I had other ideas – could the rug go in the dining room??? With nothing but my own brute strength, I set to figuring that out…


And the answer is yes! So I moved the teal rug to the dining room and the white rug that was in the dining room to the living room. Balance was restored to both rooms.

Things stayed like this for about a week and then it was time to remove the orange from the dining room and add a different color… like yellow! I found this great fabric online that had all the colors I had been thinking about.


I ordered one yard to see if it worked in the room. Upon arrival, I was not disappointed.


The colors in the fabric went great with the rug and brought out the yellow and teal in my dishes. Overall, a big win that sparked some rearranging in the room to allow the fabric to take center stage.

First, I turned the table 90º to go the across the room rather than lengthwise down the middle. This meant I also needed to move the buffet table to the window side of the room to allow adequate walk space around the table.


The topiaries were not feeling right at the end of the room, so I swapped those for the new chairs.

Much better! The chairs really anchored the room and brought a nice balance to the window. Of course by moving the chairs in here, I upset the living room layout. More on that in a minute. Let’s focus on the dining room first. Since the buffet table was moved, I was left with a big empty wall to fill and I needed something to balance the weight of the built-in hutch. After some wandering around the house looking for something to steal, I remembered picking up two huge framed pictures at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.


These pictures filled the wall beautifully! Maybe I will add some decorative plates to the wall too, but for now, this works quite well. And as you can see, the new fabric also looks awesome as a table runner! Check out this shot looking in from the living room. Notice how nice the pop of yellow looks on the chair.


Since that little yellow pillow was actually stolen from my guest room, I went online to hunt down some yellow fabric to use for pillows and also for the inside of the hutch. Here is what I decided on:

Now that all of the fabric choices were made, I ordered the fabric and patiently waited. Ok, so I wasn’t that patient, but I did have to wait.

While I waited, I set about trying to sort out the mess in the living room. Not sure where to start, I called up my mom and asked for some help. Her first suggestion was to try the new fabric in the living room. Her thought was that it might add a nice “spring time” update to the colors in the room.


I also stole a pillow from the porch to add some green to the mix. And surprise, surprise, mom was right and the colors look awesome in the living room. It gave the space a fresh and happy vibe. Using this as my jumping off point, I went through my house stealing other green and yellow accents.


The first green I found was an accent chair. This chair was living comfortably in my office prior to my rearranging. Once I had the chair in the room, I set about adding some side tables and balancing out the room.


I have been on the hunt for a place in the house to put this teal bench since it was moved out of my den last year. I am so glad it has a place again. I also love that I have a foot rest from all of the seats in the room now!

The final touch to the living room was the addition of the bar cart. This cart was in the dining room but with all the changes, it was in need of a new home. I hope it will be happy in the living room – I know I am happy to have it there!


So after weeks of rearranging, more rearranging, and then a little more rearranging, and then a little sewing, I am finally happy with my rooms.





Meals this Week

I am a little behind in my meal planning post this week, so I will dive right into my plan.

Breakfast: Granola bars for me (store bought, not homemade) and breakfast sandwiches for Tim (also store bought).

Lunches: BBQ Chicken wraps. I sautéed some chicken tenderloins and then chopped them up and tossed them with BBQ sauce. Then I put some of the chicken, some chopped salad, a little shredded cheese and a drizzle of ranch inside a white wrap for a delicious lunch. Serve with a bag of chips and a clementine, we have a filling and healthy lunch.

Dinners: I didn’t have time to make anything on Sunday, so this week is all easy weeknight dinners that are ready in under 30 minutes.

  1. Cheeseburger Quesadillas. I saw this on Pinterest and was intrigued.  I will serve with a side of mini tater tots.
  2. Chicken Cheesesteaks and Tater Tots. This is a recipe from The Skinnytaste Cookbook. It is a favorite at our house because we love steak and cheese sandwiches and these give us all of the flavor without all of the calories.
  3. Chicken Parmesan over pasta with garlic bread. Need I say more? Okay…maybe one more word…Yum!

That is my plan for the week. Good luck with yours!


Meals for the Week

April is finally here and with it came SNOW!!! I don’t know about all of you, but I am not in the mood for snow. It was 70ºF last week and today is is 20ºF and snowing! I know I live in New England and I should be used to these big weather changes, but frankly, I am not this flexible and I am tired of wearing my heavy winter clothes and I just want to wear flip flops. Sigh… Ok, end of rant. Now, how about a meal plan?

Breakfasts: We are continuing to keep things simple with just yogurt for me and frozen breakfast sandwiches for Tim. And for all of you worrying about Tim’s health, I get him Jimmy Dean Delights with egg whites and turkey sausage and he is both happy and healthy!

Lunches: This week we will be doing one of my grandfather’s recipes – Chile Relleno Casserole. This casserole brings together all of the flavors of the traditional chile relleno, but without the challenge of needing to batter and fry anything. To round out the lunches, we will have chips and salsa alongside the casserole.

Dinners: Tim and I have a busy week with several late nights so I am keeping the dinners simple this week.

  1. Baked Tacos. I made these last week and they were so delicious and so easy to make that we are doing them again.
  2. Three Cheese Zucchini and Mushroom Lasagna. I am using this recipe for Lasagna rolls and adding mushrooms to my sauce. I made four 2-serving pans of this lasagna this weekend so we only need to bake it during the week.
  3. Skillet Pizza with Prosciutto and Arugula. This is from The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook and is one of my favorite pizzas. If you have not tried putting arugula salad on top of a pizza after it bakes, I highly recommend trying it. It adds a wonderful freshness to the pizza.

That is my plan for the week. Good luck with your plan and with the weather!

Food for the Week

After a busy Easter weekend of food and fun with my family, it is time to get back to real life and real life means meal planning. And here is that plan…

Breakfasts: Yogurt for me and breakfast sandwiches for Tim. Keeping this early morning meal quick and simple.

Lunches: We are doing meatball wraps. I am doing Teriyaki Ginger with sweet pineapple chicken meatballs (al fresco brand) with broccoli slaw and a drizzle of teriyaki sauce. Tim is doing Tomato & Basil with asiago & mozzarella cheese meatballs (also al fresco brand) with provolone.

Dinners: Since we were away for Easter, there was not time to do any meal prep on Sunday and that means we are doing only meals that are ready in 30 minutes or less.

  1. Oven Baked Beef Tacos.
  2. Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets and Tater Tots.
  3. Chicken Parmesan Casserole over pasta with a side of delicious garlic bread.

That’s my plan, good luck with yours!


Food this Week

The long awaited meal plan is finally here! Ok, so this is not really that exciting, but here it is anyway.

Breakfast: Nothing too special this week. I am doing Cheerios and Tim is doing some breakfast sandwiches.

Lunches: Spicy Thai Noodles with Chicken. I love this one pot meal. It is fast to put together and has some great spicy flavor.

Dinner: I went with a typical meal structure for us – one big meal and several quick dinners.

  1. Hungarian goulash. I use an old family recipe for this one – stew beef and mushrooms simmered all day in a thick sauce of ketchup, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, red wine, port, sherry, and beef broth. I serve over egg noodles with a side of bread to sop up all of the delicious sauce.
  2. Brie, Apple, and Arugula Quesadillas. These are so fast to make and not to mention full of gooey cheesy goodness.
  3. Skillet Pizza with Prosciutto and Arugula from The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. This pizza tastes so fresh with the arugula added on top after it bakes.

That is my plan for the week, good luck with yours!