Italian Chicken Pasta


I had found a recipe on pinterest (surprise, surprise) the other day and finally made it. It was REALLY easy and a pretty big hit, so I thought I’d pass along. As always, I made some changes from the original recipe.

I used whole wheat pasta and since I don’t have a lot of mouth’s to feed, I only used about 2.5 chicken breasts. I put them in the crock pot on high (they were frozen) for maybe 2 hours or so I think. I used 1 packet of Italian dressing seasoning, 4 oz. of cream cheese (half of the pack), 2 cans of  cream of chicken soup and threw in some broccolli. Because I love cheese, I sprinkled some shredded cheese on top too. When that was all done, I shredded the chicken and I mixed it in with the whole wheat pasta and it was ready to go. 

Buen Provecho!


Extreme Family Room makeover!

We moved in about a year ago and have lots of plans for this place. The bad thing about this house was that NOTHING was updated. The good thing about this house was that nothing was updated. Don’t worry, you’re not seeing things, I meant to type it like that! Having a house with nothing updated meant that we could do things EXACTLY the way we want to! So with a recent fireplace make over (click here and here) and laying down pergo floors earlier this week and buying a few new items, we’re left with a brand new room and we seriously can not get enough of this room! Here is a refresher of what it was like before we moved in:


The first thing we did is paint when we moved in. I painted it a mustard tuscan color and after a year, I hated it. So, I repainted it colormatched by Glidden: Diverse Beige by Shermin Williams. Then we painted the baseboards “Swiss Coffee” and are slowly working on painting the doors.  We redid our fireplace which really now is the focal point we can be proud of! Now, we can’t wait to have people over!



The wood flooring we chose is pergo’s highland hickory. I’m so in love with it that I rolled around it when it was put down. Literally. I wanted something that had grooves and resembled real wood but easier to take care of and this was the perfect choice for us. It looks and feels like real wood.


I got this rug for a steal thanks to Groupon. And with a toddler boy and two german shepherd mixes, I needed something durable. It came from Rug USA and they had a ton of fun and contemporary indoor/outdoor rug options and it’s pretty soft, considering it’s outdoor.

We’re so pleased with out this room came out. We have minimal changes to be done to this room and soon, I’d like to put in builtins next to the fireplace:


Anybody else have extreme makeovers of their own?

How to build a fireplace mantle/surround (Phase 2 – Fireplace Reveal!)

We have finally finished our fireplace makeover! Hurrah!!! A few weeks ago I posted how we tiled the fireplace (click here). So, let’s start and go over how we built the surround.  We ripped out the wood below the mantle, luckily our mantle was built into the drywall. This may not always be the case so if you are going to do something similar, make sure the mantle was built into the drywall or be prepared to build a support beam. Since the sides have nothing to screw into, take a small block and screw it up into the mantle. Then that will give you something to screw the sides in. Do this to all sides and in the front of the mantle. Of course all sizes and measurements depend on how big your mantle is and how far you want to go out. the width of mine is 4 1/4 inches.


We used primed wood but the bigger piece wasn’t primed in the size we needed but I had primer on hand, so that wasn’t a big deal. Once the frame of the surround is all on you want to work on your “boxes”. Again, this all depends on what sizes you want.


We used a brad nail gun to put them in place:


And Ta-Da! The rest is all cosmetic work! I lightly sanded the pinewood and gave it about two or three coats of primer. Then I used wood filler and put it over all the holes from the brad nail gun. You just take a little and lightly spread it over the hole. Use the spackle knife to get it as flat as you can. It takes about 15 minutes to dry and then when it’s dry, you can sand over it to get it nice and smooth. Then I gave it all a coat of paint (I used swiss coffee).


And drum roll pplleeeaasseee……………..



This project was a lot of firsts for us; first make over, my first time tiling…And it doesn’t stop here! We just finished laying pergo floors in the family room and gave this room a huge make over! Stay tuned folks!

Small updates can make a big difference!

The past few weeks have been busy with updates, big and small, around here. I’m working on one project which I HATE, so it’s taking me forever to do that! It’s stenciling curtains so what could really take me a day has taken me about 2.5 weeks or longer. I’ve finish the fireplace make over last night (click here to check out phase one!) I’ll be posting phase two this week. In a few days we’ll be laying down the pergo floor in the family room. But in the meantime, there are really quick and easy ways to spruce up exsiting pieces in your home that could change the look of the room!

I had bought a curtain rod at Ikea. The finials were pretty boring. I had found a pair on clearance from West Elm that I couldn’t pass up! When I got them in the mail, I realized that the finials from West Elm were screw in and I didn’t have anything to screw them into. So, my dad pulled a pretty clever MacGyver move!


So, what he did was just snap off the original finial and drilled a small hole to screw in the new finial…


Another small change we made was reusing the gift that keeps on giving around here. My teal paint by Benjamin Moore that we first used for the front door makeover (click here) and then used for my coffee bar cabinet (click here). I had this big mirror that my mom had given me that was a goldish color and not really my style:


Since I gave the paint to my mom so she can paint her front door, she used it to repaint the mirror frame for me. All you would need to do is tape around the edge of the frame so it doesn’t get on the mirror.


Here she is!

How about you? Any small updates you’ve done lately? Any big ones your tackling? Any that you’re half way done and putting off like me? 😉

How to tile (Fireplace Makeover – Phase One)

I’m almost too embarrassed to show this picture but there is NO way you can really and truly appreciate the progress so far without seeing the ugliness that was my fireplace. So, here is a before picture when we first saw the house:


EEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWW. Yeah, you can say it. I’m saying it. This is literally the focal point. Looking like that, it’s more like the focus-on-anything-but-the-focal-point-point. In the meantime, the mantle looked like a very waxy brown. So, I painted it the same color as the trim which we’ve repainted (Swiss Coffee by Behr). The pink marble still looked really gaudy but it was already better.

So, let the tutorial begin. Let me begin this with a little disclaimer. I’ve never tiled before. Ok, so that’s a huge disclaimer. But it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s labor intensive and it’s messy but I think I was probably too excited to really care. Also, really really make sure you have everything if you don’t live nearby your local hardware store. Luckily, we’re about 5 minutes from home depot. Which is good because we went four times. We started by taking off the tile and by “we” I mean hubby:

Image Afterwards, my dad and hubby took off the marble. Most of the drywall came off with it:


Peel off all the drywall so you can start fresh.


When replacing the drywall make sure it is firegrade drywall. This means it’s 5/8″ thick. It was screwed in with drywall nails.

Image Looks better already, eh? I’m not too sure on how to cut. My dad gave my husband a quick tutorial to using the wet saw and my hubby did all the cutting. We laid all the tiles down first before setting to see how it would fit. My husand laid all the tiles on the front part. You’ll need ceramic tile adhesive and a notched trowl. Spread the adhesive on the location it will be placed and used the jagged edges in that area to create line effects. Repeat the same steps but place the adhesive on the back of the tile. Make sure when you keep placing that you clean out the adhesive in between the tiles because you don’t want it obstructing where the grout will go. Place two spacers on each row (two on the sides and two on the top/bottom). When I tiled the top, it was a bit of a pain because the base was unlevel. So, I used a level for each tile and if it wasn’t level, I would just glob on more adhesive. The adhesive must set for 24 hours before you can grout. Hardest part.


To lay the grout, you’ll need a grout float. When you wipe it off, go against the direction of the grout line. When wiping off the grout on the smaller tiles, it obviously was easier said than done. So, I just wiped in circles. You’ll have to keep cleaning the water you use to clean the grout too because you’ll just end up using dirty water to clean, which doesn’t really work! The next day the tile was all white and cloudy. It’s normal, just give it a quick wipe down.

Remember the eyesore gold-brass trim? GOODBYE, thanks to spray paint. But you can’t use any spray paint. You need high heat spray paint by RustOleum. Here’s a quick screen shot of some of the materials:


Click Here for the tile that we used.

Here is our fireplace now:


We can’t stop looking at it! The best part? We’re not done yet! This weekend, we’ll be building a box surround and next month I want to make some built-ins on the awkward left side of the fireplace. See that little peak of my rug? I just got it today! Got a groupon and was a bit hesitant to get such a bold pattern but my mom, who is always pushing me to be more bold, and thankfully so. It was love at first sight. I think I may even sleep on it tonight. I kid, I kid…or do I??? At the end of the month we’ll be laying some pergo flooring down so make sure you stop by again soon for that and how we came along with building the box surround!

Cafe Cintron

Not that long ago I gave my front door a stellar make over (If you haven’t checked it out yet, click here).  Well, what I forgot to tell you is that I didn’t think a quart of paint would be enough so I got a gallon. Um, wrong. Even for two-three coats for two big doors, I barely made a dent. That can of paint was not cheap so I plan on getting my money’s worth!

A few different coffee stations have been floating around pinterest. Two thoughts immediatly come to my brain: 1) Hey, I love coffee. 2) I want one.

So, coffee bar planning begins. First thing I needed was a cabinet of some sort. Do I build one? Do I buy one? Do I repurpose? Well, thanks for Craigslist I picked up this perfect cabinet for 20 buckaroos. Oh yeahh! It’s adorable. It’s promising. And it’s way too country. The only before picture I have is this crappy cell phone picture.


Cue 50 gallons of left over teal paint. Hubby gave this a good sanding and painted it with a small foam roller. We haven’t sealed it or anything and so far it seems to be holding up fine! The knobs on it were rusty and just not my style, even if I spay painted them. I found a pack of four mercury knobs at homegoods and thought that would be perfect! The handles for the drawers I found at Lowes. I think they have such cute and girly lines which go well with the curvy and girly lines on the bottom of the cabinet.

On top is our keurig, a DELICIOUS candle that smells of baked cookies (but without the calories!), and two storage containers that we keep our sugar and ground coffee.

Above the cabinet, I wanted this shelf but couldn’t bring myself to spend 120.00. Luckily, Homegoods pulled through for me again! I got this one for $90 less!! Oh, it feels SO good to get a deal like that!! In there, I keep my k-cups and hide my “vintage” thermomater.

Here is a complete view:

What do you think? I love it! The only thing I have to do is get the right size hinges for the cabinet doors and she’ll be all done! Will you be creating a coffee bar soon?

First Impression {Front Door Make Over!}

I’m pretty sure I had one of the ugliest front doors out there. In a lot of ways, that door was like me on the weekends after cleaning house and running after a two year old. Make up smeared on my face, hair frizzed and coming out of my pony tail, bags under my eyes and nail polish chipping. Pretty picture, right? But come the week, hair is smoothed out, make up is in place and my nail polish is nice and fresh. That’s what my front door needed. It’s such a cute little patio with nice blue-gray slate and two big columns flanking the solid wood double doors. However, it is not easy on the eyes!

After a million paint swatches, I finally settled on a nice deep and saturated teal, appropriately named “Teal” by Benjamin Moore.  There are a lot of tutorials on how to paint a front door. The majority of these involved taking off the door. Let’s be honest, I live in Florida. It’s August. I’m doing this by myself. I have a toddler. Not happening. So to do this the most efficient (not lazy!) way, I did a quick cleaning on the door and sanded everywhere. I taped the edges and around the door handle because I couldn’t be bothered to take that off either.  My favorite tape to use when painting is Frog Tape.  I used a small foam roller and then a brush for the edges.

World, Meet my new front door:

I created some vingettes on either side of my front door to help created a more warm and lived in feel. On the left side I have mona lavender in a white ikea pot. After eyeing this cute little bunny rabbit for a long while, I finally snagged him from Pier1 last year.

On the right side, I have mint, cuban oregano, ivy, and my beloved hosta.

Much better! I can’t help smile now when I walk to my front door! I’m on the look out for a new doorbell since mine is old and gross. Anybody have any suggestions?

Well, off I go! I have some a fireplace to make over!