Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mom's Christmas Breakfast Casserole

Does your family have a traditional Christmas morning breakfast? My mom has made her mouth-watering breakfast casserole on Christmas morning for as long as I can remember, and I'm excited to continue her tradition and make it for our whole family next week when we host Christmas in our home.

Not only is this dish tasty, but it only takes about 15 minutes to put together the night before, and on Christmas morning it's ready to be put right in the oven.

Enjoy. :)

  • one 16 oz. tube of Jimmy Dean sausage
  • 12 slices of bread, cubed
  • 1.5 cups of cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 12 eggs
  • 4 cups of milk
1. Cook sausage and set aside
2. In large bowl combine bread, sausage, cheese, salt, and dry mustard
4. In separate large bowl mix eggs and milk
5. Grease 9" x 13" pan and cover bottom of the pan with the sausage mixture
6. Pour egg mixture over dry mixture
7. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at minimum two hours
8. Uncover and bake for 60-65 minutes on 350 degrees

Makes 8-10 servings

Monday, December 15, 2014

That Time My Toddler Hid My iPhone in the Christmas Tree

If you follow me on Instagram or we're friends on Facebook then you may already know that last week my iPhone took a two foot walk with my 12 month old. This story may be one of those "had to be there" kind of funny stories, but this is one that I absolutely need to have documented!

So my phone was lost for a grand total of eight hours, but during those hours I was actually convinced that I'd 110% lost my mind.

Lost. It.

I kid you not, the phone was gone, poof, vanished within minutes of waking up. Minutes, as in four.

Right at 7 a.m. I heard Hadley wake up. I walked into her room using the light on my cell phone, set the cell phone down on her crib to pick her up, picked my phone back up, and then walked across the house to the sunroom to let Teddy outside while Hadley was on my hip. I didn't even change her diaper immediately because I'd changed her when she woke up at 4:30 (she'll be 10 and still not sleeping through the night at this rate) because I knew that she'd do her business within minutes (she's pretty much like clockwork).

After I let Teddy out, I made Hadley a bottle and then set her down with her toys in the living room while I plopped down on the couch to pop my most recent blog post to social media. At this point the phone is still with me; I know it. Our laptop was acting up and not letting me get on the internet (by the way, hellooooo from my new Macbook!), so I reached down next to me to grab my phone to post it from there, and it was gone. I immediately checked between the two cushions beside me, and it wasn't there.

Commence the next eight hours of searching and losing my absolute freaking mind.

Here's the thing. Obviously losing my phone was annoying because I'm now out of touch with everyone, can't make a childcare reservation at the gym, and can't go get my new phone that day like I'd planned. First world problems and I was over that. 

What absolutely flipped me out though was that I was only awake a grand total of five minutes before the phone completely vanished into thin air. I never saw Hadley with the phone, so how could she have hidden it? I'd only done a number of tasks before it was gone. Where in the world is my phone?!

I got kind of dramatic, Facebook-messaged my sister once our computer started working, but she informed me that my phone died after her second attempt calling it (of course it was on silent the first time she called making the situation that much more frustrating). She and Josh were planning on officially moving in that day, so they arrived a few hours later and helped me literally tear apart the house. They're awesome for real.

We flipped our living room furniture three times, searched under the Christmas tree skirt eight times, emptied all trash cans, searched her pack-n-play full of toys three times, flipped the mattresses off of her crib and my master bed, searched in all toilets, my car, and the list goes on and on. It was insane. 

Finally around 11, we took a break and Jennifer and I sat down to wrap some Christmas presents for an hour while we did more brainstorming of potential hiding spots. 

I also did some hoping waiting wishing praying that this would be the day that my toddler would magically start saying sentences and just tell me where she put it for crying out loud.

Around noon, we ended up giving Hadley Jennifer's phone to see if she'd hide it in the same place as mine. She didn't. Smart one.

Around 2, I resorted to Facebook, and potential hiding place suggestions started pouring in. I spent the next hour checking every single suggested hiding place that I hadn't already searched two or three times, but I still couldn't dang find the phone!

Between 2 and 3 is when I really started to lose it and hilarity ensued. I used Jennifer's phone to call my pregnant bestie Jessica to hear about her first ultrasound (because I couldn't wait any longer!), and we giggled over her bouncing peanut for thirty minutes while I had my hand covered with a bag digging through the trash for the zillionth time. Talking about her baby was the only reason I could laugh while digging through the nasty trash can, and I should have made her promise that she will call me the first time she's searching through the trash can for her things in a year and a half. Jess, deal?

Around 3, Jennifer was sitting on the couch (the same couch that I supposedly lost the phone in) while I was pacing the room venting to my mom as she suggested more places to look. Either Jenn or Mom said something about the tree skirt, which I confirmed I'd already checked a bunch of times, and then out of no where Jennifer said "What about in the Christmas tree?" I immediately dashed to Hadley's favorite ornament, and right below the ornament resting right there on a branch was my face-down phone.

See that little pink letter "A" bath toy on the branch? That's where my phone was. 

I took this picture later that night because I thought it was a sweet picture of Jamie sleeping by the light of the tree. Cheeeeesy, I know. For the purpose of this post, that's where I was sitting when I realized I'd lost my phone, so obviously you can see how close the tree was. :)

Here she is the next day playing with her fave ornament again.

Back to finding the phone. I screamed (loud), Jennifer screamed, Mom screamed, and Josh came running up the stairs screaming "Where was it?!"

And then we laughed for five hours. Actually five days because we are still laughing about it!

So thanks to my genius sister (and eventually my friend Alli who also suggested the tree but didn't see her suggestion until after it was found!) my phone was back in business.

You better believe this weekend I put the "Find My Phone" app on my phone pronto!

And that, my friends, is the story of how my little stinker hid my cell phone for eight hours in the Christmas tree approximately two feet from where I first realized I'd lost it. 

'Tis the season for new toddler hiding places!

The Life Of Faith

Friday, December 12, 2014

I want to hear from you!

Well hey there! Happy Friday!

What're you up to this weekend? I'm waiting on Jamie to get home and then we're planning to go on a little family dinner date and drive through downtown's Christmas light display. Our roommates are all moved in (hooray x 1,000!!), so after dinner we'll come back and hang with them for the night (Jenn's working so she won't be home until around 7:30 anyway).

The boys have plans to watch the Army Navy game tomorrow at a friend's house (I do not miss being at the game and freezing my tail off!), so we three girls are planning to run around and check a few things off of Jenn's "must do before leaving Manhattan in six weeks" bucket list. Should be a fun weekend before our family holiday festivities kick off with the DeSpain clan next weekend. :)

So question for ya!

I'm continually thankful that so many of you come back to this site day after day to read about what silly shenanigans we have going on around here, but I'd love to hear about what you'd like to see more of in the upcoming year! Maybe you even have a post idea or a question you'd like me to answer? I consider very few topics off limits, so feel free to email me or leave me a comment with a post idea or just what you'd like to see more of in general. Thank you so much in advance!

Have a fab weekend!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Favorite Holiday Home Tours

Holiday home tours are a staple event for many during December, and the "blogosphere" has made going on holiday home tours easier than ever! These kinds of tours are virtual and plentiful, and during the last week I've been picking out my favorites to share with you today! Get ready to gawk over these homes. They're festive and beautiful and definitely worth the click!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Seat for Good Eats

Pop a squat in our kitchen! We finally have all of our seating needs complete.

A couple months ago, I wrote a post about our dining chair dilemma. We sold our eight-top marble kitchen table and were trying really hard to stay within our budget for a new farmhouse table and seating for six. After building the table and semi-splurging on a World Market clearance settee (similar style here), we were left with around $240 to spend on four chairs. Yikes!

After writing that post I received some great suggestions for chairs, including one reader's idea to buy unfinished chairs from Amazon and finish them in the same stain that I used for the table top. I was pretty set on that idea until my very internet-savvy aunt found this cross-back pair on Wayfair on clearance (here's the set in black).

They were the exact style that I wanted, but buying four chairs at full-price was a bit over our budget. Since one of the sets was on the clearance I was able to buy the other set at full price and come in about $20 under budget. I found out that the only reason the one set was on clearance to begin with was because someone returned it, but I figured that Wayfair wouldn't sell me an item that was anything less than perfect condition.

One concern I had about these chairs was the color. They're noticeably lighter than my table top, but when I ordered them I was banking on the idea that the table and chairs would look more mismatch-y (in a good way) instead of like they clash. I figured if they clashed than I would just paint them white like my table legs.

We fell in love with these chairs as soon as we got them. They're super wide, extremely comfortable, and very sturdy. They look and feel way more expensive than they actually are! And with that, our farmhouse table and chair set was complete! I had a little fun with my Christmas tablescape this year, so here's a look!

Gold Chargers: Pier One (similar (here) / Napkin Rings: Pier One (similar here) / Napkins: Ralph Lauren from Marshalls (here) / Gold Table Runner: Marshalls / Poinsetta Table Runner: Home Goods / Ornament Wreath: Pier One

Now onto counter stools! I knew we didn't need these immediately, so I've just been casually researching and window shopping hoping that I'd find some that I couldn't pass up.

I stumbled upon a few types of twist swivel stool models on Pinterest, and I kept going back to them. My MIL suggested that she'd seen some similar ones at World Market (found here), and I loved that they matched the style of my table, were height-adjustable (in case our next house has a bar instead of a counter), and were backless. I decided early on that I wanted backless so that little Hadley can't get up there in a year or so and rock back and forth like I know a lot of kids like to do.

After doing a head count and realizing that we'll have eight people plus a really cute one year old around our table for Christmas this year (I'm so excited to host my family for the first time!), I knew I needed to get these stools by the holidays so that we'd have a seat for everybody. I finally bit the bullet on Cyber Monday and snagged two for 20% off and with free shipping. They arrived yesterday, and they are awesome. We are really, really pleased! I can't get over how heavy they are! World Market for the win.

Shifting over to the living room, we finally got our tree up a couple days ago. All of our ornaments are half way up this year, and the bottom half of our tree is bare! Cracks me up. Poor Hadley definitely got on her tip toes to try and outsmart us by grabbing an ornament or two or three, so the ones she did get a hold of just went up even higher. Poor kid. She loves the tree though! Makes my little mama heart so happy.

And can we talk about the dog bowl? WHY are we SO OBSESSED with the dog's bowl right now?

Two weeks until Christmas Eve! I hope your shopping is winding down and that you're taking the time to squeeze in a few aspects of the season that you and your fam enjoy the most.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

We're Getting Roommates!

So this week is the BEST week because we are getting roommates! These two crazies (my sister Jennifer and BIL Josh) are moving into our basement on Thursday, and we are seriously counting down the days! No kidding! We. Are. Pumped!

For those who are new around here, my younger sister is married to my husband's best friend who's also in the Army (I set them up in 2005 and they set us up in 2008). Being stationed together has been a dream of ours for a long time (a dream that we never thought would happen), and living in the same city just four miles apart the last few months has been a blast for everybody. Unfortunately they're moving to Fort Rucker, Alabama at the end of January (I don't even want to talk about it) for Josh's aviation Captains Career Course (we just came from Jamie's career course in Arizona), so our time together is coming to an end way too fast.

They own a home here in Kansas, but they weren't looking forward to trying to sell it right smack in the middle of winter. Because they had no idea how quickly (or slowly) their house would sell, they came up with a master plan that they ran by us months ago. Basically they wanted to put their house up for sale the first week of October, and if it sold quickly they wanted to know if they could move into our basement after they had to close on the house until it was time for them to move.

It took Jamie and I all of THREE SECONDS to decide. Too soon to call you roomies?

So fast forward to October. They put their house on the market on a Wednesday, had seven showings in 24 hours, and had almost a full-price offer by Thursday; The deal was sealed by Sunday! They'd worked diligently on their home making it beautiful since they day they moved in in January 2013, and their hard work definitely paid off.

We view it as a win/win all around. We'll have a little extra income coming in since they're offering to help with a portion of our mortgage and bills, and they'll have the peace of mind that they can move to Alabama without their home still sitting on the market in Kansas.

 The biggest plus of all of it is the tons and tons of family time (and "bro-mance time" for the boys) that we all know good and well may never happen again like this.

Here's a little look into their new living quarters. Our guestroom needs so much work (I don't even want to talk about the blue carpet y'all), but at least those doorframes are painted and the new white doors and hardware are up!

Basement living area... a work in progress! 

 Remember in this post when I talked about needing to get all of the doorframes painted? Worked my booty off and got it done! The trim will happen one day. :) To get an idea of the flow of the house, those stairs lead up to our laundry area and the garage, and the doorway you're looking into is the office I talked about last week.

Guest bedroom/Jenn and Josh's temporary bedroom :)

Isn't that bed stunning? It used to be my in-laws, but they generously gifted it to us so that Hadley can use it one day when she's big enough for a bed that high!

They've already brought over a ton of stuff since the rest of their household goods are going into storage for two months.  

Here's a peek into their attached full bath. It needs some updating, but we're so thankful to have the place that'll allow them to spread out. These Kansas finished basements totally rock!

Here's a funny little side note: I'm going to be playing the part of the household chef the next six weeks! Figuring out whose groceries were whose was going to be needlessly complicated, so I'm just going to be buying groceries for the whole fam and cooking dinner every night since the three of them work full time and I'm fortunate enough to get to stay home with my girl all day (not that I get to sit on my butt by any means, but ya know).

Josh keeps bugging me about how often he's going to get breakfast in bed (this is a surprise to no one that knows Josh!), so I just keep telling him that if he wants breakfast in bed that he better start sleeping in the kitchen! I started loving to cook a few years ago, and Jenn and Josh are admittedly really excited for some good eats every night. I'm just excited to have lots of people to cook for!

Just typing all of this makes me smile big time! Loads of fun to be had under this roof.

I hope you have a great week!

Friday, December 5, 2014

My Method to the Madness of Creating our Dream Home + An Office Update

I don't know how or when I discovered my growing interest in attractive interior spaces, but I'm full-blown interested. I'm definitely not great or good or even fair at interior design, but I'm having a field day with this new-found hobby of studying beautiful spaces and finding inexpensive ways to create them in our new little abode!

I've mentioned before that I have two mottos for decorating this home. The first is to be patient in letting each room evolve over time. The second is to only buy things after careful and slow research and if I'm 110% sure that that's exactly what I want with a price that I'm 110% happy with. If I'm second guessing an item because of its style or price, I don't get it. I've officially washed my hands of habitually buying things just to fill a space or because it's a great price. Too many years of wasted money doing that. Boo.

I actually have a method to the madness that helps me tackle each room, so here's a little peek!

I bought this notebook from the Scarlet & Gold shop this summer around the time we committed to buying our home, and it quickly became my go-to book for jotting down all of my design dreams.

Once we moved in, I devoted one page to each room in the house and update it with new ideas almost daily! I find so much satisfaction with crossing off items that I buy or tasks I complete! Even if it's just filling picture frames with new pictures or buying a trash can, that's progress in my book. :)

With some rooms I've done a lot of dreaming....


and others I'm just sticking to general cosmetic updates.

I absolutely adore this little book because she's filled with ideas of making this place our dream home. :) Cheeeeeesy.

Speaking of fixing things up a bit, let me show ya what I've been working on in our home office!

The room is one of our two non-conforming rooms, meaning that it's not officially a legal bedroom because it doesn't have any easily-accessible windows. Common thing in Kansas to have these basement non-conforming rooms.

Anyway! Here's what the space looked like when we moved in in September.

After finding this desk at a thrift store about a month ago, I was motivated to get things going on our office.
I was going to do a whole post on refinishing the desk, but it was so easy that it hardly needs a whole post! As promised, here are the steps we took to get that baby from drab to fab:

1.) Cleaned her up from top to bottom (10 minutes)
2.) Used a level 60 grit sandpaper to sand off the shiny top coat (45 minutes with two people sanding - I was also talking on the phone while doing this, so obviously I was giving the sanding thing half effort!)
3.) Used a small roller to roll on two coats of Benjamin Moore's Hale Navy latex paint (20 minutes per coat)
4.) Rubbed on a coat of Minwax Finishing Paste (watch a YouTube video on how to use this wax first!) (20 minutes to rub on and five minutes to rub off)
5.) Taped off and spray painted some little gold feet (cue Jamie saying Oh nooooo Now it's USNA colors!) (10 minutes)
6.) Put on new gold hardware from Home Depot (two hours since I had to measure and drill new holes)
7.) Lined each drawer with some liner I had on hand (15 minutes)


This week I finally got around to painting the room. I took a couple afternoons to paint the trim and doorways, and my handyman installed the new white-panel doors. After the trim completely dried,  I painted the room the same color as I painted my kitchen - Sherwin William's Accessible Beige in a cashmere satin finish. I'm trying to shoot for paint colors that are fresh and more on the neutral side side since I know that in three to five years we'll be selling this place.

I have no idea where to put that rug and desk! Advice?

I made a little gallery wall with our degrees and others things that we wanted up!

My color scheme for this room is greige walls with pops of navy, red, white, and teal mixed up with gold and silver accents.

Here's a look at my office inspiration page from my notebook -

Please excuse the chicken scratch and abbreviated words. :)

Because I love before and after pics so much, here's some for this office transformation.


Clearly this room is no where near where I'd like it to be, but for now I'm just so happy and content that it's a usable, comfortable space and that Jamie loves it! A few others rooms (like our living room, kitchen, and Hadley's room) are definitely top priority as far as our finances and time go, so future office updates will be touch and go as I'm inspired!

Where are your plans this weekend? Besides getting our Christmas tree and decorations up, we've planned for things to be pretty quiet around here.

Also, don't forget that this is the last day to enter the Medal of Honor giveaway! I'll be mailing the book to the winner in the morning, so click on over to Tuesday's post and enter!

Have a great weekend!