Wednesday, December 7, 2016

DIY Farmhouse Bathroom on a Budget

I wish there were more pictures of the "before", but our guest bathroom has made a transformation on a small budget. As always, I did not want to put  a lot of money into a bathroom when we have plans to remodel. However, the remodel is at the bottom of our remodel list. This has led to some DIY projects and attempts to take the bathroom out of the 70's and into modern farmhouse era.  

When we purchased the house the bathroom was fashioned with redish-orange blinds, dark wood cabinets and the original 1973 mirror.  Simply removing the mirror, painting the cabinets and changing the blinds made a world of difference.

Before pictures

Three layers of linoleum ......

After -  DIY shelf was made from old wood in our garage and galvanized pipe.

Simple word art is a perfect way to keep the farmhouse theme.  I live by and remind myself each day to be thankful for all we have.

The Home Depot special added some much needed light in the bathroom.

The old cabinet door is gone  and replaced with a  basket, towels and soap under the sink.

TJ Maxx is an inexpensive way to accessorize 

A big challenge was how to hang the bathroom towels since the bathroom was so small. Galvanized pipe was the perfect solution.

Small touches of Christmas completed my little project.

Total cost was less than $75 to change the outdated '70's look until we check this project off our list of to do's.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Old Stomping Grounds

While attending college at Fresno State, I was looking for the perfect job with flexible hours that accomadated my school schedule and had a steady income. After speaking with my parents, they recommended I look into a restaurant job. With no experience, the Elephant Bar took a chance with this newbee and hired me on as a hostess; shortly thereafter becoming a waitress.  I spent the next three years of my college life at the Elephant Bar meeting lifelong friends and developing lifelong skills. Although I've moved on after graduating from Fresno State, there are many fond memories of the past and it's exciting to share the current Elephant Bar’s latest and greatest items on their menu. Not only did I get to visit my old stomping grounds at the Elephant Bar, but my BFF and I enjoyed a great night of drinks and dinner.

Elephant Bar is located in the Villagio Shopping Center in River Park. Recently, they launched their new menu. They have kept some of the favorites but have added some new craft cocktails, wine and brunch cocktails. In addition, they now have a scratch kitchen… Which I love! 

To start off the meal, they have a light and tasty Quick seared Ahi-tuna appetizer. The appetizer is semi glazed, served rare over fresh mixed greens. 

For dinner, we ordered one of their signature dishes, Teriyaki Chicken. The dish is served with wok chared vegetables and a choice of white or brown rice. (I always had it with brown rice).


Next, we split their Chicken Marsala served with with hearty mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach and a Marsala Wine Sauce. 

 Annie and I never miss an opportunity to try a new cocktail, tonight it was the Jungle Colada which will leave you swinging in the trees!
We ended our evening of beverages with the Tito's Mule in a copper mug with a lime wedge dressing. 

Growing up in our house no meal was complete without dessert.  As you know, tradition runs deep in my veins and we weren't going to leave without a something sweet on our lips. 
   The Gooey Butter Cake was decadent!

The Cookie Ele Mode OMG!

Thank you Ann for a great night.

Check out Elephant Bar on Facebook, IG and on their website.

Our Elephant Bar experience was a provided to me in exchange for this review. As always, all opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

We just finished Halloween and here we are with the holiday season upon us.  Christmas is just around the corner and I have barely begun to think about outfits for the kids, pictures, presents or decorating the house. We recently visited HGTVs Santa HG at the Fashion Fair Mall which allowed me to check one of the items of my to do list for the Christmas season. 

  Santa and his workshop came alive as we toured HGTV Santa HQ 

Christmas 2016 at the Fashion Fair Mall welcomes HGTVs Santa HQ for the first time and they are excited for the 21st century winter wonderland. 

The children are welcomed by a Naughty or Nice O'Meter where the children put their names in the computer and wait to see where their names pop up on the naught or nice list. 

Giada showed up on the Nice List.

An elf selfie is another feature of the Winter Wonderland. Snap a selfie and watch yourself in an elf video which can be emailed to you for a keepsake.

While the kiddos are watching their elf selfie video, parents can take a peek at the DIY experts and learn some tips and tricks of festive DIY crafts and gifts inside Santa’s Workshop. 

Elf Ray Vision, who would of thought?! Get the inside scoop with an IPad and state-of-the-art technology and app that allows you to see Santa’s helpers.

I was able to capture a photo WITH smiles!

Once we finished our Elf Selfie and DIY cheer, Jocko was ready for his own photo inside the workshop. 


He had all of Santa's helpers smiling as he put on his charm.

As if all of this isn’t enough, every 20 minutes there is a light show with all the favorite holiday tunes. To wrap up the experience, a family photo opportunity is available just before the kids meet Santa. 


In the end, Santa is waiting for the main moment of HGTVs Santa HQ. Photo Time!

The HGTV Santa HQ experience was a provided to me in exchange for this review. As always, all opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Struggle WAS Real

Anyone that is a parent knows shopping or just going in public with kids is unpredictable. Everything is going along just fine then all of a sudden that successful outing can turn into whining kiddos or a total meltdown.  Thank you to  Binxy Baby for keeping my kids entertained and happy with one another in the cart. The Binxy Baby works perfect as it fits in the basket and is raised enough to where Giada can play with Jacko but he is still safely fastened.

At other times, it's just Jocko and me out shopping and his car seat takes up the entire basket.  With Binxy Baby, it allows me to put things underneath him and not struggle  with the car seat.

Binxy Baby was created by a busy mom with the same issues we all experience each time we enter a store with a cart.  One of the best things I read about Binxy Baby was said by the creator herself Lisa Binnell "I tried putting the entire infant car seat down in the grocery cart but had to cut her trip short when I couldn't find the baby under the piles of bread and coffee!

In addition, Binxy Baby is safe and has all the features to ease any moms worries. 
Safety features 

Rest assured,  Binxy Baby is always attached to our cart with my unpredicatable children smiling and playing together. 

In addition to the Binxy Baby website, you can also find them on Instagram and Facebook.

Thank you Binxy Baby for changing my shopping experiences!

The Binxy Baby was a provided to me in exchange for this review. As always, all opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Italian Minestrone Soup

As Giada just began to feel better, Jocko and Anthony are now fighting the cold. Growing up, that meant soup for dinner. Since I didn't have all the fixings for homemade chicken soup, the next best option was minestrone soup. 

I began rummaging through the refrigerator, freezer and pantry for ingredients. Even though I was throwing together the soup at 2:00 and substituting for the missing carrots and celery, the soup turned out delicious. 

Let's be real, anything with wine has to taste good!


1 med. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. frozen green beans
Olive oil
1 (28 oz.) can tomatoes with liquid
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 c. chicken stock
1 c. red wine
1 (14-16 oz.) can pinto beans
1 c. pasta of your choice
1 c. Water
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt & Pepper

 Here is the best part... Throw all the ingredients into the crock pot (except the pasta) and cook for 3-4 hours on high. Add cooked pasta at the end. Once finished, serve with sprinkled Parmesan on the soup and warm bread. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Jocko's Half Birthday

Where did the last six months go! Last time I checked, Jocko was a newborn and barely weighing 5 pounds. Now, he is a solid 16 pounds and growing like a weed. Jocko and Giada are in the same size diaper… Yes, my 23 month old and 6 month old wear the same size diaper and only differ by 4 pounds in weight. 

He sits up, rolls over, babbles all day long and wants to do everything his big sister does! Jocko now wears size 6-9 month clothes and we are working on introducing food.

Last week I tried transitioning him to a 4 hour schedule, but he was not ready. Therefore, he still eats every 3 ½ hours and naps three times a day. Bedtime is still 8:00 and we get him up at 7am.

Easy going is an understatement for Jocko, as he smiles and gives loves all day long. Jocko loves his sister, is obsessed with the dog’s ears and my sidekick.
As I look back on the last six months, I feel blessed to be his mother and look forward to the adventures to come!

We love you Jocko James!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Docking and Toting Around

For anyone who knows me, my kids do not sleep in our bed or spend much time in the bassinet when they come home from the hospital.  Giada and Jocko were in their crib two days after we came home.  It not only allowed me to get some sleep but I think they also slept better as they couldn't smell or sense me in the same room  (Anthony was fine either way). Also, their rooms are so close to our room, I can hear every little move without the monitor on. So.... the co-sleeper concept was and is not necessary in our house. However, an area for Jocko to play and be protected from the hardwood floors, dogs and two year old sister is a MUST! Enter the DockATot!

The DockATot Grand is the perfect place for him to play and be comfortable while in the living room, bedroom or my office. Jocko is at the age where he is rolling and wanting to play on a consistent basis. This causes a problem when he continually hits he head on the hardwood floors. Now, with the DockATot, he plays with his toys and enjoys being propped up or laying down while in the DokATot.

DockATots are a multi-functional lounger, co-sleeper and playtime lounger. They come in two sizes: Deluxe for 0-8 Months and Grand 9-36 months. I use the Grand because Jocko is growing so fast, I was afraid he would be out of the Deluxe in no time! It is all natural, 100% cotton and the perfect comfort for you little one.  

Not only is the DockATot comfortable for my 6 month old, Giada has also found it to be entertaining while Jocko watches her play. 

 Jocko is all smiles when laying in his DockATot.

Now that he likes to sit up, this is how he spends the majority of his time in the DockATot.

Or, just being silly...

Either way, the DockATot is the new favorite location for this growing boy!

The DokATot was a sample in exchange for this review. As always, all opinions expressed are honest and my own.

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