Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This bread is bananas...

I had some very ripe bananas on my hands...

You know what that means?

Banana Bread! A fall staple (at least in our house)

Add in some chocolate chips and my very secret ingredient...

Banana bread will never be the same.
(you can thank me later)

The best Chocolate Chip Banana Bread you will ever have


  • 1 tbsp of white sugar and ground cinnamon, mixed
  • 4tbs butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1egg
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 small container of greek vanilla yogurt (I use Chobani)
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 full cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease loaf pan.  Dust pan lightly with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, yogurt, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in salt, baking soda, chocolate chips and flour.
  3. Bake about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  
  4. Refrigerate after baking for some more yumminess!

 I highly recommend this banana bread- it is amazing and tastes even better cold! Let me know if you make it and tell me what you think. Feel free to share the link on your page to spread the yummy fall cheer!

Monday, October 25, 2010

I've been framed!

Phew....what a crazy last hour I've just had! Me, 15+ picture frames, and decisions to be made makes for one exhausted, yet satisfied DIYer.

I'm stirring up some wall art for our soon to be new living room paint color (stay tuned for that) and I have an itch to make a picture frame grouping over the couch. It's classic, simple, stylish, personal and, cheap! Just like me....mmmm, ok, not really.

Check our some of my inspiration groupings:

Inspiring, no?

For a grouping to be successful like my three favorites, it is important for the frames to share a common trait. Having qualities like the same style or color frame, same color mat, or classic black and white photos sets a classy grouping apart from a mish mosh (technical term) of frames thrown on the wall. My goal? Cheap, class, of course!

The first step to creating a successful a grouping? Grouping the frames!

I started by gathering all of the extra frames I had in the house, including some great deals I got treasure hunting at local thrift shops:

I spent the next hour or so arranging, and rearranging until I achieved my final product:


Getting warmer......

Baby, you're on fire...

Obviously, there is still a lot of white spray painting work to do on these bad boys to get a cohesive group of frames, but at least I have the ground work laid. Now, all I have to do is change the mats, spray paint the darker frames white, and find the perfect images. Can't wait for it to be all done and show you all!

Have you had success with groupings? Any tips to share? Or, do you prefer to forgo the abundance of frames? Think my grouping's balanced or do you see some place for improvement? Come on, groupies (hehe) spill!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Girl's best friend(s)

When you're a military wife, likes yours truly, you learn to adjust to having a "part time" husband. This may not be the kindest way to put it, but it's true. Paul leaves frequently for many different lengths of time. When he leaves, it's up to me to maintain a home, take on his duties, work full-time, and take care of the pups. I don't complain too often about it because I took on the challenge with no reservations. Truthfully, I think I am the perfect type of girl for the "job." I am independent, not afraid to ask for help, and strong-willed. While these personality traits have their downfalls, I find them essential for being a military wife or more importantly, being a happy military wife.

The one complaint I have about being alone so often, is being alone in the house. It can be lonely. I try my best to fill up my social calendar, and have a great group of amazing girlfriends, many with their own "part time" husbands, but each night, it's inevitable that I will return to an empty house.

Well, this is not completely true, and it's the point of my post.

Tonight, as I sit on the couch, working on an arts and crafts project (will reveal soon) with banana bread in the oven, I am not alone. I am flanked on either side by my two furry best friends, Mattingly and Macie. I am always astounded at how they instinctively step up and provide me with love and companionship, second only to my dear hubs.


Aren't they the cutest? I don't know what I'd do without these two. They are hyper, naughty, and lots of work, but they never fail to make me smile. It's amazing how these little (and not so little) guys worked their way into my heart.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

You may not know this, but I'm obsessed with Thanksgiving. If I had to forgo every other holiday, birthday, and anniversary celebration just to celebrate this one glorious day of thanks, I would. I wouldn't even bat an eye. I love Thanksgiving so much that I plan for it all year round. I scout out new recipes and perfect my existing "classics." When I start getting antsy around mid-August to make our Thanksgiving plans, the hubs has to remind me on a weekly basis that it's not time yet.

Well...tie me up, get out your basters, and stick a pop up thermometer in me because it's finally time for Thanksgiving!

The problem with Thanksgiving this year is that Paul and his squadron won't be home to celebrate. So I've taken matters into my own hands and declared a Sunday in early November our Thanksgiving. Afterall, it's about the people, food, and time spent together, not the actual day right? Technically, it could be Thanksgiving everyday if I really wanted to try, but too much a good thing is....errr, too much.

I haven't even started shopping for the perfect centerpiece and table settings to dress up our new table but the menu has been set for quite some time. Usually, I make everything myself and don't ask for contributions, but since we're a little crunched for time, I have asked friends to bring a couple of side dishes and desserts. Here's what I'm whipping up this year:

Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Pesto and Bruschetta on a Baguette
One more TBD-suggestions?

Soup (tentatively):
Poor Man's Garlic Soup 

 Main Course:
Brined Turkey
Ham with Apple Glaze
Home-made Gravy
Home made biscuits (recipe in the works)
Cranberry Sauce with Orange Zest
Orange Infused Asparagus
Crock Pot Stuffing
Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I haven't been this excited about something since....well, last Thanksgiving. What makes it even more special is that it will the first time the hubs and I will host Thanksgiving in our very own home, which makes it all the more special.

What are you favorite Thanksgiving dishes? Any past successes (or failures) hosting this oh-so-special holiday. Do you share in my enthusiasm or think Thanksgiving is just a day to eat and watch football? I'd love to hear your recipes, experiences, and opinions on my very favorite day of the year!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Searching for Glinda

One of my favorite Broadway shoes is Wicked. Haven't seen it? Check out this link to one of my favorite scenes so you can get up to speed with the point of this post. Not in the musical mood? Here's the gist. Glinda (the Good Witch of East) teaches Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) how to be popular. Where am I going with this?

I'm like Elphaba and I want to be popular!

All I need is my Glinda(s) (hopefully some of you!) to teach me how to achieve blog popularity. How have you gotten your blogs to grow? Some of you lucky ladies have 100+ readers and I want to join you in the triple digit club! I'm just not quite sure how to put myself out there to get more readers!

Wave your magic wands and teach me your wise ways of blog popularity. Please?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tour de Scent

I received the ultimate compliment this weekend. I had a friend and his daughter over and as he was leaving our home, he said to me, "I wish my house smelled like yours."

This may not sound like much, but one aspect of house keeping that I'm over the top about is making sure you can never tell that our house is occupied by these two:

Let me rephrase this, I want to make sure your nose cannot tell that our two furry babies reside in our love nest. I work endlessly and spend obscene amounts of money on air fresheners to make sure this does not happen.

Follow me around our house as I give you the tour de scent:

I'm still finishing up the last of our summer scents so our home has a light, citrusy smell to it. The first scent you will smell as you walk into our house is Hawaiian breeze, a passion fruit based scent by Febreze. As you enter our dining room, you are greeted by Coconut Lime Verbena. It's subtle and not very coconuty actually. Which is good because I'm not a coconut fan.

 As you enter the living room, more Coconut lime welcomes you.

And, since plugin's are not very manly, I have a reed diffuser in the manroom. It's the hubs favorite scent; Vanilla. And yes, diffusers are way more masculine. Wooden rods? Come on now!

Upstairs, more Hawaiian Breeze greets you in our bathroom.

Even our unoccupied guest room has a plug in! Just simple Bath and Body Work's Clean Cotton.

And, since the hubs can't get enough wooden rods (hehe) we have another rod diffuser on his night stand in the bedroom. It's Lemon Grass and Citrus by Glade (said with an accent of course).

Besides the massive amounts of plugins, we also have countless scented candles in our home. And, I know you're gagging from all of this thinking our house smells like a Citrus Puerto Rican shower, but, I assure you, it's not overwhelming at all. It's light, fresh, airy, and subtle....just like me! Best of all, there is no trace of dog in our home- success!

While I'm loving the scent of our home these days, truthfully, I cannot wait for these plug-in's to run their course. I'm ready for some fall scents. How delish do these sound from Bath and Body Works' new line; Autumn Apple, Chocolate Mint, Frosted Cranberry? I'm drooling!

So, how do you scent your home? Candles, plug-in's, reed diffusers? Any DIY remedies? My mom loves to boil cinnamon in the winter for a festive scent. I want to hear all about your yummy house smells! Give a girl some tips.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

House O' Mirrors

We're getting reflective over here these days, literally. Call me vain, but I am loving mirrors. Not for me- for my house! They make a room look bigger, brighter, and, most importantly, save me from having to decide on wall art- my decorating weakness. Check out the updates that I've made over the weekend.

Our first stop is the living room. The unfortunate thing about owning a home that needs lots of love is that you tend to get used to living with imperfection. The small details get over-looked while you're taking on the big projects. Take our mantle for example:

This photo does not do it justice, but our mantle is beautiful and flanked by built-ins on either side. I have dreams of tiling the black slate with shimmering glass tiles but I'll save that for a rainy day (as in, money raining from the sky). The decor on the mantle is a different story- it should have been changed long ago. That black frame has no place in our light and bright living room. It was supposed to be temporary and, a year later, it remains the same. Until today. Check out the gorgeous mirror I found at my favorite store; HomeGoods.

It was a splurge at $80, but I'm loving how light and airy it feels. It's the neutral start of what I intend to make a fabulous mantle display. What I'm not loving is how the mirror works with the wall color. I just may have to change that. Do you think it's a coincidence I've been dying to repaint the living room? Hear that, Paul? I'm such a schemer.

The next new mirror is in our entryway. I'd been looking for something special to greet guests and I struck gold errr, plastic, at a local thrift store:

I love the octagonal shape and delicate texture of this mirror (and the adorable puppy in the reflection). The color, however, makes it look like it belongs in an old age home and I just could not stand for that. I may be approaching my late twenties, but I'm no old lady! Oh, did I mention the price tag of this geometric beauty?

Your eyes do not decieve you- $2.49! Can you believe it? I couldn't either.

Check out the final result after three quick coats of white spray paint:

Hellloooo, gorgeous.

The final place in our house that you'll find new mirrors is in the dining room. This is an ongoing project but I'll give you a sneak peak. I'm turning eight of these $3 ikea mirrors into sparkling works of art:

It's a very time consuming project, but I can't wait to share it with you when it's all done!

And there you have it, our reflective home. Do you like to decorate with mirrors? Tell me about your most creative use of a mirror (keep it PG please, hehe).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sumner, Sumner, Sumner, Time...

I can't stop singing Will Smith's summer classic today.

After months of saving, our dream dining room table is finally where she belongs; our house! Thanks friend's and family sale at Pottery Barn and your 20% off for making it all possible.

Not sure which table I'm talking about? Look, here, or here.


Isn't she stunning? I haven't seen an addition this grand since Jon and Kate Plus Eight, circa 2008. For the record, my addition is going to last a heck of lot longer and be a lot less annoying than that drama.

Stay tuned for how I will decorate this piece de resistance of our home. For now, feel free to sit and gaze at the table in all of it's natural glory. That's what I'll be doing the next few years hours.

PS- a special thanks to my amazing friends who lent some girl power while the hubs is out of town. There was no way I could have moved the 213lbs monster of a table by my lonesome!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kickin' it old school...

With the purchase of a new dining room table in the very near future (bowchicabowwow), I'd like to take a minute to talk money. I know it's a personal subject, but we're all friends here. I've been pining (hehe) over my Pottery Barn beauty for nearly a year and, and now that I've sold our old table (thanks Craigslist), we're ready to welcome our new addition. What's more, I'm thrilled to share that we're handling this purchase a little bit differently than how we usually operate when it comes to big ticket items. Here's a hint:

No, we didn't steal much money from kids. We've saved our pennies.

Growing up, if I wanted something, my parents would always tell me to "save up for it."  I would do just that and save my allowance until I had enough money to buy whatever it was that I wanted (let's not even go there). I'm going to take a gander and say that most of you were told the same thing. 

As we got older, the tides changed. Instead of "saving up," for something we've switched to "paying off."  Why wait for something I want right now, when I can just put it on a credit card and pay it off in smaller increments when I'm ready? Admittedly, this is something Paul and I did often.

Not anymore! Now, we're kickin' it old school and doing it the old fashioned way; by saving. 

We're forgoing credit cards for patience and budgeting. So far, we've done this for our California Trip and now our new table. I gotta tell ya- it's satisfying. Not much compares to making a huge purchase and knowing it's ours, in full, with no interest or impending payments hanging over our heads. I'm loving this new (old) way of thinking.

So, how 'bout you? Do you like kick it old school and "save up," or play it new age "pay off?" What works best for you family? Any good budgeting tips to share?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cream (cheese) of the crop

Tonight I attended my monthly Officer's Spouse Club (OSC) meeting. During these meetings, we discuss  upcoming deployments, balls, meetings and other events. But, like most social gatherings, the most important aspect of our meetings is the food. Social glue if you will.

When I know I have to bring a dish, I always put a lot of thought into what to make. I try to compensate for what I lack in social grace with my developing culinary skills. In other words, I cook to impress. Unfortunately, during the week, I don't have a lot of time to devote to cooking so I end up keeping it simple. Sometimes simple works, just like tonight! I want to share my super yummy, and simple appetizer that is sure to impress every time!

Trish's Super Simple Wraps

Here's what you need (note: I usually use shrimp but I was being a cheapo and used imitation crab)

Mix cream cheese and 1/3ish cup of ranch (more or less to your liking )

Dice up veggies and break up crab into small bits

Follow the 5 "S's"

Splat the cream cheese spread
Spread the cream cheese spread
Sprinkle the toppings and roll up wrap

(refridgerate until firm, then )



Yummy, colorful delishness in every bite! What's your go to quick and easy appetizer?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's all about soul

A wise man once said, "the eyes are the windows to the soul."

A wise woman (me) took this a step further and said, "the windows are the soul to a home"

If this is true, the soul over at Casa de Reyes, had crossed over to the dark side. Take a look:

Scary, right? Our windows were not just rotting and filthy, but only one window out of the 19 we owned opened and closed. One. Out of 19. Insanity. These soul suckers were the original single paned windows that were installed when our house was built in 1959. They did not open or close, nor did they block heat or cold from entering our home. To be frank, these windows were sucking the life and money out of us and our house. I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of anything sucking the life out of me...except Edward Cullen, of course. My neck awaits you dear Edward.

Since we bought our home 15 months ago, one change we wanted to make was new windows. I'm happy to announce that, as of last week, we finally did it and the soul of our home has crossed over to the light. We have brand spanking new windows. They open, they close, they block heat and cold, and are eco-friendly. They are, unbelievably, and undeniably glorious. Take a peek:

These windows are the best thing we've ever done to our home. The best part, we did not have to do any of the work! A huge, but welcomed, change for us DIYers.

So, for all you homeowners, what major changes, if any, do you want to make to your home? Have you done it yet? Was the result as fantabulous as you expected?


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