Archive for the ‘Home Life’ Category

DIY weekend

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Hello, I’m Hazel and I’m addicted to Pinterest. As you can see from my previous post, I found some DIY projects and worked on them over break. I also find home remodeling/decorating ideas that I can never follow through with either because A) we don’t have the money to do what I REALLY want to do and B) if I think of one project, it always leads to another, bigger, more expensive project…(see A.)

Well, with the encouragement of my home decorating/design girlfriend…her house looks like Pottery Barn all the time. We once went to look at model homes and there was a cutting board with cheese, some vegetables, etc….and I said, “who’s kitchen looks like this?” and then looked at her and said, “oh yea, yours”. Another more recent example of how perfect her house looks and her decorating drive…she came over and I wanted to decorate my mantle. She asked, “where’s your greenery, your garland?” and I said, “Um, I don’t have any. You need to tell me what to buy.” She asked, “Do you have any trees?” and proceeded to go out back and trim up some greenery from a pine tree in our backyard. She picked up the twigs that I asked the kids to throw over the fence and brought them in and did up my mantle. Fabulous.

So, enough rambling, I was pumped to get this house looking cozy and finally feeling like home…I know, I know, what do you want…I was busy having 5 kids. Now I’m ready to give time to our home.

I’ll just post some before and after pics. I really love it. The pictures don’t do it justice. But I love it….I actually love my home. And for once, I’m not staring at walls and wanting to take a sledge hammer to them…I’m content. Happy.

Project #1: The Mantle

Before: Boring, blah, …

After: A little detail goes a long way…we trimmed out above the mantle to add height and character…I’m gonna shop for more decor for the mantle but it’s gonna be fabulous. I can’t just buy nonsense knick knacks so I’m anxiously waiting for the Kane County Flea Market to open the first weekend of March. I’ll keep you posted…

Project #2: The dreaded L-shaped island/breakfast counter/ugh….

Before: again, just drab…no fun, hate it, wanted to bust it out and get new counter tops and paint the cabinets…(so sad, this is a pic that I took when we bought the house…apparently, I hated it so much I never photographed the kitchen).

this pic is an “Oh wait! I forgot to take a “before” pic”…so one side of the wainscoting is already up…I wish I had a shot of the ugly corbels (learned that word from decorating friend Jen)…they were metal, just ugly…

After: brighter, cleaner, more character…makes me want to actually USE the breakfast counter…

Oh, and BTW…we had mismatched appliances and getting a new fridge and stove to match and make it all stainless made a HUGE difference. I no longer feel the need to paint our cabinets and for the first time can say I actually like our kitchen.

Project #3: bare windows

Before: we have a sliding doors and a wall of floor to ceiling windows that were trimmed in white. I love trim. I love woodwork. I feel like it adds character. I thought it was fine on it’s own. (sorry for the dark pictures).

After: Made drapes for both the sliding door and the wall of windows and it feels much more finished, cozy and homey. I love it! (The laundry has always been there and has no affect on the design what-so-ever…except, that maybe, I should put it away…)

I still have some bare walls but these 3 little projects really changed the feel of the home and I’m happy with the hard work the hubby and I put in this long weekend.

You can follow me on Pinterest and also follow my friend, Jen’s design blog…

Gettin’ crafty over holiday break…

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

I’ve loved crafts all my life. I’ve cross-stitched, crocheted, knit, painted, made jewelry, designed stationery, scrapbooked, etc, etc….oh..yea, and I sew. Well, when I found Pinterest (sigh) I kept pinning all these things that “I’d love to do if I had more time” so…here ya go…a car ride to the Dells and a late night on the couch catching up on General Hospital…and Voila!– this is what you get…

Some colorfully crocheted coasters…

and a rag rug that I crocheted out of scrap fabrics…(that my son seems to think is better used as a play mat for his action figures)

Oh…and here’s a pic of the popcorn blanket that I crocheted…

to go with the newly covered sofa cushions….

Hope you like!

Another beautiful day…another trip to the ER…

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Sounds like the same tune we sang last spring…Sophie went to the ER twice…once in April for hitting her forehead on the Power Wheels Jeep windshield, and another in June for running in her room and jumping on her bed and knocking the corner of her forehead into the corner of the sidetable. Ouch! Makes me cringe just thinking about it…big, huge, open gash…Matt has taken them everytime. And so today was Niko’s turn…his second time, as well. When he was 3 years old, the old window in his bedroom came crashing down on his hand and we thought he had broken some fingers (which he didn’t)…but Matt took him to the ER. And today, Niko decided to jump off the swing, y’know…like we all used to do back in the day, except he landed face down on his forearm/elbow.

Oh, man…he came running to the back door crying, saying he fell on his arm. I didn’t understand why he was crying because there was no blood, no bruise, no swelling, no sign of anything! So we iced it, I asked him to wave to me and life his elbow, which he did, so i thought he’d be fine once the initial shock wore off. He took a short nap and I asked him how his arm was and he said it was better. Although, I didn’t ask him to show me to move it again. So when Matt showed up from work this evening, he tried to move his arm and Niko screamed!!! Oh, man, I felt so bad for the little guy : (

It was off to the ER for Niko and daddy…and I got frequent text updates from the ER…we’re in the room and the doctor will see us in a few minutes…okay, we’re waiting to have x-rays taken because the doc thinks he broke a bone…then I got a call…”Yup, he broke the ulna and there’s still a little swelling so they can’t cast him today. He’ll get a splint and sling and then have to go back on Monday to get a cast”. My heart hurt for him…poor guy. And even hurt worse when Matt sent me these pics from the ER…

What a trooper! I couldn’t wait for him to get home. Daddy made a special trip to get Slurpees!! Every little boy who breaks his arm needs a Slurpee to make everything better. He also had me and the girls waiting for him when he arrived. Sophie was near tears just thinking about his broken arm. She said, “I don’t want Niko to have a broken arm!!” and Olivia said, “I feel bad for Niko”. They’re definitely sweet when they wanna be! When it matters, anyway, right?? : )

Well, daddy has already given him the talk on how if he plays this right, he’ll have 4 girls waiting on him for the next 6 to 8 weeks…I already had to put the kabosh on the 3rd Airheads candy of the night (AFTER bedtime!)….

Now he’s settled in bed watching Batman…oh boy…I have a feeling this kid isn’t gonna mind his cast so much after a few more days of this special treatment ; )

Hungry Hungry…

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Hippo!! Remember this game?? One of my favorites…and now my kids are enjoying it, too!

Love it!

Day at the park…

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I know, I know…I need to post a few things on HBD and I SWEAR…I’m working on stuff. Just have to take pics and post them…but for now, taking pics of my kiddos at the park is much more fun…

and yes, it was about 80 degrees out today and Madi INSIST she keep the ba da man (Spiderman) hat on…

This is Livi telling us she’s hot…yep…so soon after, we left and grabbed some yummy frosties from Wendys!

oh, and the marks on her arms and legs are just markers…Madi’s way of accessorizing!

Okay…back to work…REALLY!!

Brown girls love pink…

Monday, April 5th, 2010

I’m taking a stab at redecorating the kids’ rooms. It’s a fun “side” project for me. I watch a lot of HGTV so my inner home designer is trying to break through. What I really wanted to do was create a design board, like Candice Olsen…but really…with 5 kids, who has the time for “that” kind of non-sense??

I started off by repainting the room Coastal Beige by Behr. The girls wanted pink but I reassured them there would be plenty of pink…enough to gag a poodle…throughout the room. My thought going into this was, I hate painting and it’s easier for me to sew curtains and pillows and swap out fabrics than to repaint a room. So, they lose, mom wins.

Anyway, those HGTV designers are always doing away with the ceiling fans. Have you noticed that? They are pretty ugly…so I thought I’d jump on board and have my husband take down the fan to replace it with this cute pink chandelier. I think they’d call it the “inspiration” piece. We bought it from Lowes (Portfolio 5-Light Black Bronze Crystal Chandelier) and spray painted it a ballet pink…but not before I removed all 30 crystals!! The girls LOVE it!!

You can catch a little glimpse of the fabrics that will be throughout the room on the window valance…I thought a pretty palette of robin’s egg blue, raspberry and yellow would be perfect for my little big girls and it would last much longer than a pink Hello Kitty room.

Anyway, still lots more to be done! I’ll keep you posted!

OH! and btw…a night or so after my husband took down the ceiling fan it was a crazy 80 degrees out that day and Sophie says, “Man…it’s hot in our room. Can we get a fan!?” So my husband gave them a temporary fan and I’m now searching for a little clip on fan for their bunks! ahhhh!!


Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

See…I told you that you’d meet the little ones soon…this is Madi…after enjoying a Maggie-Moo cupcake!! Yum! And oh, another thing…she LOVES Spiderman. We have her big brother to thank for that, I’m sure. She’s a hat lover. She used to pick up my husband’s baseball hats and put it on and run around with it…but she’s always let him take it back and put it away. For some reason, one day, a month or two ago, she put on Niko’s Spiderman hat and will NOT part with it! She sleeps with it, wakes up and finds it in her crib if it fell off and immediately puts it on. She takes it off to get dressed but keeps it close and puts it right back on. She’ll take it off for baths and let you comb her hair and then she’ll run to where she left it and…yup, you guessed it…PUTS IT RIGHT BACK ON!! She’s funny, we laugh about it all the time. The other day, Niko left his ND beanie on the stairs…I saw her take a seat, take off her Spiderman hat, try on his ND beanie, said “no” and removed it to put her Spiderman hat back on.

Here she is riding Nikolas’ old Spiderman scooter…

Here she is trying to scale the fridge….???

Here she is eating an ice cream sundae…

Oh! and here she is in an owl peasant dress that I made…I knew I could tie it in to HBD somehow!! ; )

A Lesson for the Dogs…

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

It was a busy morning today…sent Niko off to school and the insurance guy came by. The big girls slowly rolled out of bed…Livi snatched a popsicle out of the freezer. After the insurance guy left, Madi woke up and I fed Fiona. Got the girls ready for ballet and we were off to their classes. Meanwhile, my neighbor had met Niko at the bus stop and kept him until after classes. We swung by and picked him up…he says, “That was fun! Can we do it again tomorrow?!??” So funny…I told my neighbor to let me know when she was up for another playdate with Nikolas. I had to run by and drop off an order and then pick up some pics from my sister’s work. Whew! Here’s a few pics…

These are my girls…my big girls (as opposed to my little girls…you may meet them sometime soon!) Olivia sure is a little stinker, isn’t she?? That face says it all!! : )

And here are my boys…Niko and my nephew, Caleb. Need I say more? Well…maybe a teeny bit more…here’s a little story from his short stay at the neighbor’s after school…they have a big boy dog (Oden) and a little girl dog (Angel) and Niko was giving Angel a treat and she snatched it from his hand. Mrs. M explained that she always snatches the treat because she thinks Oden will take it and Nikolas tells her “that’s okay, my dad taught me to be nice to girls so maybe Oden should be too”.

**Oh and thank you to Uncle Shaun for the pics!!**


Friday, March 19th, 2010

What a week it’s been…just full of the usual craziness, my husband has been flu-ish for the past 3 days, Fiona has been fussy (can she be getting a tooth at 4 months?) and it’s been a great week to start suffering from insomnia. So this morning I was greeted by 5 over-ripe bananas and looked up a recipe for banana bread. Simple enough:

  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar (used 1/2 white, 1/2 brown)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed banana
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • **I also added 1 tsp vanilla and 4 small handfuls of chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×5 inch pan.
  2. Cream margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, then bananas. Add flour and soda, stirring just until combined.
  3. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 1 hour (or till toothpick comes out clean). Remove from pan and let cool, store in refrigerator or freeze.
I got Nikolas off to school and it was all done by the time my girls woke up. For those of you that know me, you know that I don’t get much done before the kids get up. I’m usually waking up WITH the kids or they’re waking me up. So this was quite an accomplishment…especially for a Friday.
So while I was on a roll…I took out my Nora Fleming rectangular platter (love nora) and popped in my Bunny mini and my chocolate chip banana bread was looking fabulous…until Madi climbed up and attacked it with both her fists. I’ll save you the mess…but doesn’t the platter look fabulous anyway??
Here are the next mini’s I’ll be purchasing from Nora…check her stuff out at
At only $12.50 each…you, too, can have a dish for every occassion!! Even just crazy Friday mornings!!