DIY Train Invitation

I have been a little overwhelmed lately by trying to plan and get ready for the upcoming birthday party we are having the same weekend that we are moving out of our house. That's right- we are having a party here and then two days later a moving truck will be in the driveway. I'm using the party as an escape from the reality of moving and it's working!

I made these invites using PowerPoint. I started by downloading a free striped background and added it to a blank slide. I then used shape presets to draw the train and smoke billowing. It made things easier to use the 'group' feature to join each shape making up the train together. That way I was able to move it around without moving each individual piece. I added a frame border, some highlighting to the text and formatted the document as a 5x7. I printed them at home on photo paper and was happy with the color quality.

Wish me luck managing the rest of the party decorating while packing our entire house..

Sharing this post with some of my favorite sites. Check them out here:
Cozy Little House
By Stephanie Lynn
Savvy Southern Style
It's Overflowing
House of Hepworths
Somewhat Simple
DIY Showoff
The Winthrop Chronicles

Chicken 'Dip' Summer Salad

It isn't actually a dip but when was the last time you made a salad so tasty that people thought it was and wanted to dip chips in it?

This is one of my favorite summer salads because it's perfect for a night that's too hot to cook, when you're looking for a light and fresh dinner, or to bring to a party. I make this salad with a store bought rotisserie chicken and bagged shredded lettuce because it's quick and easy.
It's nice to bring this to a party and offer guests the option to eat something healthier than most cookout food. I've seen guests skip fattening dips and sides in favor of this with and without knowing it's healthy and for that reason like to call it chicken 'dip' salad.

You'll Need:
Rotisserie Chicken- shredded and sprinkled lightly with taco seasoning
Shredded Lettuce- You can buy bagged shredded lettuce
Black beans
Canned Corn
Tomatoes (or fresh salsa)
Cilantro (I use most of the bunch)
2 Avocados
Juice of fresh limes
Sour cream

Shred the chicken with forks or you can use a mixer to save time and sprinkle with taco seasoning to taste.

Slice the avocado, chop the tomatoes and cilantro, and drain the beans and corn.
Cover the shredded lettuce with corn, beans, tomatoes, and cilantro.

I like to add the avocado and chicken last so that it's clear there is meat in the dish. Garnish with cilantro and squeeze fresh lime juice over the top. 

If you're bringing this to a party add the sour cream and a bit more lime juice right before serving or just serve with the sour cream on the side. The tomatoes, corn and beans add a lot of moisture to the salad and it will get soggy if the sour cream sits on it for too long before eating.

Next time you're asked to bring something to a party, offer to bring this 'dip' with the chips and margaritas!

DIY Printed Masterpiece on Canvas

When we lived in Switzerland we took a trip to Paris to celebrate our anniversary. Looking back through photos from the trip is always a treat because the whole city is just a photo waiting to be taken.
Everywhere you turn there is beauty and quite often, too many other people trying to capture it on film. I always think the following photo is hilarious because the man photographing the ceiling is standing smack in the middle of a crowd viewing the painting behind him.
One of the highlights of any trip to Paris is visiting the museums and being able to see breathtaking works of art up close. I took many photos of the beautiful paintings in the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay.
Here is a photo I took in the Louvre of Monet's oil painting, The Bridge at Argenteuil (1874)
And another photo I snapped of Monet's Regate a Argenteuil, (1872) from the Musee d'Orsay
I love both of these paintings and wanted to frame and hang my photographs of them to curate a little fine art collection of my own at home. Rather than print them on regular photo paper, I used canvas photo paper and created mini Monet paintings from my photographs of the originals. I printed these at home on canvas photo paper sheets. (A printing service may hesitate but there is no copyright issue. Because of the age of the Monet paintings, they are considered public domain and no longer protected by any copyright that may have protected them at one time.)
The photos hang on the wall in our blue powder room and bring a nice warmth to it, reminding me of a wonderful trip.
The texture of the canvas photo paper is perfect for capturing more of the sense of seeing the painting up close and through my camera's lens than a store bought or poster print could.

I'll close with one of my favorite photos of  Le Penseur from the Musee Rodin.

Mother's Day Flowers

Flowers for my mother and flowers for my son for making me understand the love she has for me.
Thank you Mom, for giving me the love that I try to give back every day to our boy.
There is no one sweeter, no one kinder. If my own child someday thinks the same of me, it will be because of you.  Happy Mother's Day!

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

In honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day, local parenting resource, SaratogaMama, allowed me to share some of my thoughts about the not so normal lifestyle of a military family. I'm so excited to be featured on SaratogaMama after learning of so many area opportunities for families during our time here through their site. Check out my feature on SaratogaMama here!

To all of my fellow military spouses, I hope that someone did something to make you feel special, loved, and appreciated today!

I'm grateful for how often our life as a military family has included traveling to and experiencing beautiful places and look forward to filling our lives and photo albums with many more great memories.

A-door-able ReStore DIY Headboard From an Old Door

The idea of repurposing something with the history a door could have intrigues me. Who walked through it and what was once behind it? 

Our queen bedroom set was only a few years old when we decided we wanted a king size bed. We went without a headboard for the new bed until I found this beautiful old door at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $50.00.
There are so many adoorable headboard transformations out there burning up the Pinteresphere and I searched for the right door for a while intent on painting and adding a crown rail to the top. I couldn't believe my luck when I found one that matched our set so nicely, I didn't need to touch it. No sanding, no staining, no painting. 

This door needed nothing other than someone strong to turn it on its side!

Well o.k., so it needed some two by fours, bolts, and brackets too.

My husband bolted the door to 2x4 legs and secured with brackets at the top on each side and we had a brand 'new' headboard and look for our bedroom for $50.00!  This door measures 32 X 78.5 and works great as a king sized headboard.

Here is a closer look without all of the pillows.

We would have spent much more for something with this look from a furniture store. The fact that we found this instead, saved it from a landfill, and helped a charity that provides people homes makes it that much more beautiful in ours.

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