a tour of our home… and nursery!

We’ve been in our house for about six months now, and I realized I’m more than overdue to give y’all a little tour! This also includes a tour of our nursery, which is coming together slowly but surely. T-minus three months till Baby Mac’s due date!

I really love our little house. I love all the windows and natural light we get throughout the day. We don’t have air conditioning, but this summer was pleasant even in the hot weather because we were able to open up various windows and sliding doors and get lots of nice cross-breezes flowing. {This is night and day from our stuffy second-floor apartment last summer!} Our neighborhood is safe, quiet and filled with families. We live on a cul-de-sac and I love seeing the little kids riding around on their tricycles and training wheels.

When you first come in our front door, off to the left is our living room {or, as I’ve affectionately dubbed it, the “couch room.”} This is my favorite place to curl up and read or write in my journal. Every night, Allyn and I relax in here after dinner and read a bedtime story to Baby Mac in my belly, which is one of my very favorite parts of the day. I love when she kicks hello!

You might be able to spy some baby gifts in the corner which we haven’t put away yet from our baby shower. You can also see our Christmas stockings {Mommy, Daddy & Baby Mac} which we used for our pregnancy announcement photo. The superstitious part of me wanted to keep them up for good luck, rather than putting them away until the holiday season.

Leaving the couch room, you’ll walk down a long hallway to the kitchen and dining area. I absolutely adore having a large, open, bright and airy kitchen. I spend lots of time here throughout the day, prepping meals and eating or reading at the kitchen table. Our kitchen island has been a game-changer when it comes to cooking and baking. Back in our small apartment kitchen, I never felt like I had enough space; Allyn and I were constantly dancing around each other. I would move dishes and mixing bowls on top of the fridge or microwave to try to make space when prepping meals! Now, it is such a gift to have lots of room. I find that I enjoy cooking much more, now that I have more room to spread out.

You’ll see our apartment is graced with lots of beautiful flowers, left over from our baby shower!

Below is the view of our backyard from the kitchen window… I love all of our windowsill succulents, and I love looking out at the greenery outside while washing dishes. Allyn and I refer to our backyard as “the nature preserve”… we are fine with a bit of a wild look, and the animals seem to enjoy it! We get lots of squirrels and birds, including hummingbirds. Eventually one of my goals is to start a vegetable garden… I’m a bit intimidated about it, but maybe this spring I’ll give it a shot. Right now I have a couple potted herbs that I am hoping to keep alive over the winter. Baby steps!

As I’m writing this right now, I can hear the chickens squawking and realize I forgot to tell you about the chickens next door! Our neighbors have a chicken coop and we always laugh throughout the day at the noisy chickens saying hello. Fortunately, they have only woken us up early in the morning a couple times. They seem to get most excited in the afternoons — maybe that’s when they are fed? I already love to imagine telling Baby Mac, “Listen to the chickens!”

From the kitchen, we’ll walk down the hall to the back of the house. We have a guest bedroom, but I didn’t snap any photos of it because my brother is currently staying with us and it is filled with his belongings and other odds & ends. Instead, let’s go through this door to the right and enter… my office! Slash, the nursery!

We decided to combine the nursery with my office instead of turning the guest bedroom into a nursery. We want to keep a separate guest bedroom for visitors {lookin’ at you, Mom and Dad!} and also, I love the idea of having Baby Mac close by napping while I’m working. At least, that’s how it works in my imagination… we’ll have to see if it works out that way in real life!

We still have a few pictures to hang and things to organize in here, but the basics are in place and I’m so excited about how it is coming together. I can’t believe we will have a little baby in here soon!

From the nursery, it’s just a few steps further down the hall to our master bedroom and bathroom. Our bedroom is huge and filled with natural light — we actually had to get black-out curtains because we were being woken up so early on weekends! We are planning to have Baby Mac sleep in here with us in a bassinet. Another thing I appreciate about our bedroom is separate his-and-hers closets. Woot! Allyn and I dream about having separate his-and-hers sinks in our bathroom one day. Sometimes it’s the small things, right?

If our bedcovers look lopsided and the pillows are off-center, it’s because there is a huge pregnancy pillow {the one-and-only Snoogle} hiding under the covers on my side. That thing is a lifesaver each night when I am trying to get comfortable and fall asleep!

Lastly, I snapped a photo of our bathroom because it is so clean and pretty after the baby shower. We are trying to keep it that way and put away our various bottles and products rather than leave them out on the counter… we’ll see how long that lasts. Also, it wasn’t until my mother-in-law put vases of flowers in our bathrooms for the party that I realized how much I love fresh flowers in the bathroom! I never would have thought to put flowers here. Now I want to make it a fairly regular occurrence. So simple, yet feels so fancy!

And that’s the tour, my friends! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today and I hope you enjoyed getting a peak into our home. I should probably check back in six months from now for some #realtalk and show you our messy life-with-a-newborn house! I’m sure it is going to get a lot less tidy around here. And that’s okay!

However, I *have* noticed that when my environment is clean and organized, I just feel so much less stressed, more productive, and happier as a whole. Like Gretchen Rubin says: “Outer order, inner calm.” So I’m going to do my best to at least keep things a little bit together around here once Baby Mac comes! I’m all ears if you have any tips, advice or stories to share about life with a newborn!

 

Your turn {if you want}:

Grab your journal or open a new document on your computer and free-write on the following questions:

  • What do you love about your living space?
  • Describe your favorite room in your home. What adjectives come to mind when you think about this space? What are your favorite activities to do here?
  • Do you have any important qualities you look for in a home? What are they and why are they important to you?

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: making the most of oven time

Hi everyone! Today I’m excited to be participating in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!

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I have a simple tip to share: something I’ve just started doing recently that relates to meal-planning, saving time and saving money/energy!

I eat a lot of chicken — for most meat recipes I use chicken, whether it’s baked with veggies, diced up in soups and chili, shredded in the crock pot, or tossed with a bit of mayo to make chicken salad sandwiches.

I used to just bake the chicken when I needed it. But one night I had an idea: why not bake some extra chicken to use later in the week? It seems simple, but it had never crossed my mind. Now, whenever I am baking a chicken dish, I put a couple extra chicken breasts in the oven. I usually cook them in a glass pan with a little bit of water or chicken broth in the bottom of the pan to keep them moist.

That way, I have cooked chicken to use the rest of the week! Now it’s so easy to add cooked chicken to salads, rice, sandwiches, or pasta. Making dinner is so much quicker!

This tip can also work with roasting veggies, baking cookies, or making bread. Now pretty much whenever I need to turn on my oven for one dish, I think, “Is there another dish I can also cook right now? This maximizes my use of the oven and saves energy, time, and meal preparation later!

What are your kitchen tips? I’d love to hear in the comments section below!

low-fat garlic cheese biscuits

I am not the biggest seafood fan {I like some fish, but not really shrimp, crab, lobster, etc} … but I have always loved going to Red Lobster, even when I was a kid and ordered the chicken tenders, because of the amazing garlic cheese biscuits they give to every table. YUM! I always want to gobble down two or three biscuits before the food even arrives.

So I was thrilled when I found this recipe for garlic cheese biscuits on the terrific food website gina’s skinny recipes. I love the recipes Gina creates because they’re delicious AND low-fat. I decided to try this recipe as a side to the cilantro-honey marinated salmon I made for dinner the other night {my new favorite way to cook salmon; I’ll post it here next week!} It was my first time making any sort of biscuits, and they turned out great!

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced {I used 2 tsp of pre-minced garlic in olive oil that I found at the store}
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 cups Heart Smart Bisquick
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese {I got the reduced fat kind}
  • 2/3 cup fat free milk

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Melt butter in a small frying pan, add half the garlic and saute on low heat about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add parsley.

3. In a large bowl, combine biscuit mix, cheddar cheese, and remaining garlic. Stir in milk and mix (do not over mix). Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 10 minutes. Brush or drizzle biscuits with melted parsley/garlic butter. Bake for 5 more minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom.

These biscuits are delicious warm from the oven, and I actually thought they were even more flavorful warmed up the next day. Just store any leftovers in a plastic bag or wrapped tightly in aluminum foil. You can also freeze the batter if you’d like — then all you have to do is pop it in the oven and you’re good to go!

YUM! Please make these and share them with those you love! ❤

Always,
Dallas

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Time: 15 minutes
Cost: $3.00

my love for tea

I am a major tea addict.

Major.

See what I mean? I must have twenty boxes of tea cluttering up an entire shelf in my kitchen cupboard. Black tea, green tea, herbal tea. Half-empty boxes, plastic bags, canisters. I’d practically start an avalanche of boxes anytime I opened my cupboard to brew myself a cup. Tea is something that makes me feel happy and centered, but it was beginning to be stressful — the opposite of what I want!

So, today I went to Target and bought two small stackable containers with snap-on lids. They were less than $3 each. I am using one for black tea, and the other for green & herbal tea. I emptied out my various half-empty boxes and placed the individual tea bags into two neat rows in each container.

Now not only do I have a LOT more room in my cupboard, I also have a better idea of what kind of teas I have! Never again will I reach into a box for my favorite ginger green tea and find nothing but emptiness! YAY!

In fact, think I’m going to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book right now. Organization task of the day: complete!

Until next time,
Dallas ❤

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Cost: $6.00

Time: 20 minutes