Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gratitude Is My Attitude

Hi friends! I've been kind of on hiatus for a few days. There have been a lot of things going on in my family that needed time and attention and I'm happy that I took the time off to attend to them.
One wonderful thing that came out of this little time off is the fact that I really hadn't realized how much I needed a break til I took one.
I caught up on my sleep, played with my boys, and spent amazing time really reconnecting with my husband. I didn't do any household projects!! Just did routine cleaning , laundry and cooking and it felt great!!
Sometimes I get so flustered by what isn't completed at my house that I fail to focus on important things. Yes it's nice to notice what has been done but I'm talking about the real "stuff of life". Time with family, holding hands with my husband, a good cup of coffee while we chat and just the simple task of folding laundry are all things I am so grateful for. I've been really thinking about the fact that I am so blessed to even have children and a husband to do laundry for!! I have a home that we can afford, in a free country, in a nice neighborhood and it keeps us safe, warm and dry. That's enough for a house to do~that's enough reason to be grateful for it. It really doesn't much matter that my kitchen still isn't "finished".  My kitchen held a room full of hungry, happy teenage boys, my 2 middle sons and their two friends, my baby, hubby and me. It is always full of food and laughter. Kids gathered around the island asking "Mama Owczarzak" for advice. It was a gift to watch my son Nick, his girlfriend Emily and Nick's best friend Brian run races in our backyard in the nice weather. We are blessed to be "the house" where everyone wants to congregate.
I'm not worrying about projects right now. Right now I'm happy to run the vacuum, light some candles, cook a good meal and just enjoy the home and family I have.
I hope you're feeling blessed this week ~ melissa

Below~pics of a typical weekend :)


Sharing at Tweak It Tuesday #31

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Berry Spinach Salad

I do not consider myself much of a cook although when I do cook no one dies and everyone seems to love it.  Haha. I'm starting to embrace cooking more as it really makes my hubby happy!! I posted an easy Swiss cheese tuna casserole recipe yesterday that I concocted all by my little self and it turned out fantastic.

I will be trying to post some original recipes as I come up with them and some from my friends, many of who are amazing cooks!!

Note: My recipes will be EASY!!!! I am not a rack of lamb kinda gal so I hope you like them and if you are looking for complicated gourmet stuff you may want to look elsewhere ;)

Today I'm sharing a recipe for Berry Spinach Salad. So good, everyone requests it when we have a "potluck" dinner.

I use bagged spinach but always wash it even though it is prewashed.
2 bags of spinach, add one box of dried cranberries or "Craisins".
Add 2 cups  of slivered almonds (as much as you feel you want~this is a recipe that can be tweaked as you like).
Crumbled feta cheese
A large bottle of balsamic dressing ( I prefer Newman's)
Mix it all together and let it sit in the dressing for about an hour.
If I feel like it I add fresh strawberries and blueberries and sometimes instead of almonds I use candied walnuts. Not as healthy but ridiculously good!!!

I hope you like it!! It's so good in the Summer on the patio with some fresh bread. I also always make it as a side dish for Thanksgiving (I feel it fulfills the cranberry requirement lol).

See you soon!!! Melissa

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Yummy Tuna Casserole~Easy!!

Ok I've been brushing up on my "culinary" skills lately and messing around with recipes. I wanted to make a tuna casserole but not "my mom's tuna casserole"~ya know what I'm sayin'?

This is so easy and my kiddos loved it.
Preheat oven to 425
Cook one large package of egg noodles according to package.
Grease a large casserole dish. Mix together two cans of cream of celery soup  (condensed), 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese and a cup of milk.
Stir and add in noodles and one large can of tuna
Crush ritz crackers on top and bake for 15 minutes
Yep that easy and it was so good! No peas but you could add them (hubby hates them).

Hope you like it!! ~melissa

Friday, March 1, 2013

Our Farmhouse Historical Photos Found!!

Yes!!! It has finally happened! After living here for eleven years and having no luck, even from the previous owners, we have found pictures of our home in it's "more original" state!!

I met the new President of the Ross Township Historical Society and with his help I have a piece of my history forever. I feel so much more connected to this house, it is something strange and wonderful.

These photos were all taken in 1931, exactly 100 years after our home was built.

Below~ the view from our home of the farm that was once over 300 acres and is now only one.

A side view. I'm getting chills looking at this. You can see my kitchen door (it's black) and my kitchen window to it's right. My oldest sons' bathroom is the top right window. Gosh this feels so surreal!!!

This is the back  yard and cart path that is now a pretty major road. Rochester Road for Pittsburgh locals.

The back entrance to our home which now has a home on the left and a chiropractor on the right and a bunch of homes  in between :( Oh to have lived here then!!!

 I hope you enjoy these I am blown away and feel like God smiled on us today with these.


Sharing at http://nominimalisthere.blogspot.com/2013/03/open-house-party.html

Brave Enough For Color?

Oh guys I am stressing over the livingroom redo. I went from a medium taupe to an almost straight white. I think it may give me the look I want. I have been pinning like crazy, gathering fabric and paint samples for my inspiration board and mostly just kind of panicking.

My former color palette ~strictly neutrals, taupe, ivory and chocolate. Very pretty and soothing but so dark and in this Pittsburgh weather and with a young, active family I just want cheerfulness and energy in our main living spaces.

With that in mind here are a few pics of my new pinning delights. Here's hoping that I will soon narrow it down and make some buying decisions.

This is the sofa I chose from Overstock. I love it. Gray, being a neutral, is the perfect backdrop I need to showcase bright, fun colors.

I'm envisioning bright pink pillows as accents.  Like this chic "London" pillow I found from Etsy. I apologize to my 4 sons now...

Backing my bookcases with a fabric like this~

  Adding black and white accents like this gorgeous table and mercury glass lamp. I love how the photo wall is white on white, this would be a great personal touch that I will keep in mind.

And adding some black and white accessories~especially on the bookcases against the pink and white fabric!

And maybe a pop of turquoise.

Now the question is...Will I be brave enough to carry this out? I am not convinced yet. But I sure do hope so!!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Garden Plans

On the recommendation of one of my wonderful readers I am sharing some photos of our yard and what we plan on adding/improving. 

Here is a pic of the beginings of my perennial garden. I finally realized that I didn't want to plant annuals every year as there are other ways I'd like to spend my time! So I decided on the border around one of our flagstone patios. I picked my favorite flowers and spread the seeds at the end of the Summer in the hopes that they will spread and fill out the next Summer. So far so good. This pic was at the beginning of the Summer and by the end there was beautiful Russian Sage taking up most of the garden. The flowers and shrubs I chose are Russian Sage, French lavender, lillies and coneflowers. I planted a border on the patio side of boxwood.

Here is the sage and coneflower

I also have an obsession with roses. I'm not sure how old this bush is but it was here when we moved in eleven years ago and it has really flourished which I'm so proud of!
I hae no idea why that lounge chair is thrown in the bushes but I blame it on my boys!

This is not a pic of the actual arbor in my yard as I don't have one yet. Hubby made me one similar to this pic. It is covered in grapes and raspberries!

A favorite pic of mine of some flowers hubby planted near the backporch (the name escapes me).

According to my father in law we must have great soil because our Clematis really flourishes and blooms well into the late Autumn. We have made some trellises and are growing the vines up the side of the house in the hopes that they will frame the patio.

A greenhouse is on my wish list and hubby says he will build one so hopefully in the near future!

We plan on tearing down the backporch and expanding it. The pillars are small and square and I don't think they fit the scale of the house. The new ones we add will be larger and round, like the ones we have on the front porch as pictured below. As you can see they are in need of a paint job!

We love our front porch as it overlooks a large rolling hill and a terraced lawn. I plan on adding a porch swing this Spring.

Here's a view of the side yard where we have another small flagstone patio and a birdbath that is built into the ground. I'm not sure of its' age but I think it's from about the 1940's.
We also have a large firepit that hubby built and a play area with a little playhouse, again built by my husband.

Here's a view of my perennial garden before I relandscaped last Summer. It was a mess from the Winter before. This area faces our neighbors' house.

A view of the front yard and the terraced garden leading to the front porch. I love how the ivy grows up  
the trees. Hubby wants to add a Japanese garden in the terraced area.

Here is a view of our opposite side yard and our huge, old oak tree with the tire swing. A favorite place of the boys.

The front of the house where I plan on planting rhododendrens in the hopes that they will grow as tall as the windows.

The oak tree with the kiddos favorite place to play in the leaves.

We are very grateful to have such a large yard (one acre) which is unheard of in our suburban area.

Hubby laid a huge brick driveway a few Summers ago but I'm having trouble accessing those pics. I will take some when the weather improves.

I hope you enjoyed our little tour. I will keep you updated as we make more improvements.


Sharing at Be Inspired Friday #128 It's in the Details
Feathered Nest Friday
The Inspiration Gallery...week 25 
More the Merrier Monday
Frugal Friday~

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

bel monili Feature

Happy Tuesday all! I just wanted to write a quick entry today letting everyone know to check out the beautiful blog "bel monili". I am honored to be featured there today as one of her favorite blogs in a series of 14 days of favorites.

Here's the link so you can check it out.bel monili by l.marlane: Fantastic 14: Day 10: Tinselbelmonili.blogspot.comAnd if you click on the "bel monili" logo on my blogpage ads it will take you to her jewelry boutique where you will find her gorgeous, handcrafted pieces.

Wishing you a beautiful day!! ~melissa

Sunday, February 24, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different!

So... Pinterest is addicting, and I am unashamed in my guilty little pleasure!! I spent quite some time this week perusing the delights it had to offer in the way of "bright living and dining rooms", which was my search.
Well I got what I came for and then some. I started an inspiration board and realized that while neutrals are beautiful, I am ready to go light and bright. Quite honestly, for those of you who don't know yet, I suffer from depression. Living in a city that gets 3 good days of sunlight a year~yeah saw that on the Weather Channel or somewhere, I need a mood booster!! According to whatever place I gleaned that weather tidbit, we have gloomier weather in Pittsburgh than in Seattle...WHAT?!?!
Yikes! So I am all about self help and was so cheered by just perusing on Pinterest that I resolved to change my ways and the interior of the big old farmhouse. I think I saw it shudder at the prospect of being primed and sanded and painted and tweaked yet AGAIN. But in the end I am sure it will "sing" as my fave designer Alexandra Stoddard says, and bring us much joy and positive energy!

So this is how it all started, with the pins...

These are just a few of the pins that had me craving color.

Today started out like a normal Sunday~chillin' around the homestead.

But then hubby got the urge to paint the dining room red (long story and a few tears shed on my part so we won't go into that). 

That took us to Home Depot and the paint aisle. And remember the scratches in my livingroom paint that I was trying to cover? Big fail. So, I thought, "Hey if we are gonna repaint the whole room this is my chance to go light and bright!". And so it began.

You've seen the before pics of our livingroom if you've been a reader for a bit. Lots of neutrals and not a lot of natural light.

This is where we are right now. One coat on about half the room. The paint is "Allen and Roth's The Bubbly". Nice and bright, pretty white. I can't wait til it's finished in a few days. But I am definately going to enjoy this process and take it a bit slower than usual. I will let the room talk to me and tell me what works in the space. I am so excited to add color!!!

These are some of my color inspirations...

<3 love
 I'm so ready for this big change!!!!

Stay tuned!

Sharing at {Moonshine Monday}

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Little History of Our Farmhouse

I'm super under the weather today so I thought I would write about something that cheers me. A little background of our home. The original house was built in 1831, on land purchased in the 1790's by Barnabus (cool name right?) Highlands. Poor Barnabus was killed by Native Americans while he was on a trip to get supplies. His sons Alexander and Robert built the home for their mother Martha. The farm was originally over 360 acres and is now our lone little  acre of the world.
We are only the 5th family to have lived here and we feel that is such an honor and responsibility. Not many people would take on this type of house but we were up for the challenge and it has been so much fun. It's incredibly frustrating at times but the feeling we get from living in such an old house is unlike any other.
We are blessed to have people just pop by to see the house. We have been named a local landmark and had a beautiful plaque dedication ceremony 5 years ago. We were interviewed by our newspaper which was fun and we have been throwing around the idea of a Christmas historic house tour with our local historic society.
Life is definitely different for us since we moved here. We have uncovered treasures like the original marble fireplace in our bedroom and a newspaper from 1848 that we found in the attic. We have peeled layers and layers of wallpaper . The entire  two story foyer was pink! We removed the grossest "Oscar the Grouch" green shag carpeting. We gutted our kitchen, tore down a wall between two smaller rooms to make one large family room. We have laid a flagstone patio and brick drive (all hubby). But there is still so much to do. The evolution of a house is never complete. But as they say when you stop growing you die. So we plug away bit by bit as best we can with four young boys and hubby running two large practices. Some days you will find me on Realtor.com for hours ready to abandon this endeavor, but it seems we always come back to the place we started 11 years ago. I'm thrilled to be able to share this journey with you but as I face the truth myself, I must admit that this may be slow going.
Rome wasn't built in a day and most good things take time to unfold, I must remind myself constantly. I hope you enjoy sharing in the process with me. I hope I can bring you some inspiration and some laughs. Most of all I hope to convey the message that sometimes it's better to stick with something through really challenging times because the rewards are that much greater.  Although you may catch me surfing the net just in case I decide to give up!!

I love this view of our side yard. This was Alex trekking out for Trick or Treat.

Sharing at  Feathered Nest Friday
Be Inspired Friday # 127 Creative Inspiration

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pinspiration For Our Boys' Room

So I am really seeing that having one project on my mind/to do list just isn't me. I'm constantly planning and jumping from project to project based on my moods. One big one that's on my mind is the bedroom that two of my boys share.

I have an idea of what I want. New matching white beds, black dressers, white walls and white bedding with gray wool blankets across the bottom and gray and white wool accent pillows. I also want to put cute little leather storage ottomans at the foot of each bed to store toys.

I can add color with accessories, I'm thinking pops of red. Noah is insisting on white walls which is fine with me as we need more light in this house!

I have grabbed some pics via Pinterest that I was using to get ideas. I thought you might like to see them.

Layers, layers, layers. I love a full bed with lots of cozy textures and fabrics. Breathable cotton sheets for warmer weather, flannels for cold. Always a knitted or wooly blanket at the bottom and lots of pillows! I love the red of this blanket and that's the red I want to use as an accent in Noah and Alex's room.

I'm obsessed with maps so I'm hoping to find something along this line or black and white (even better) to display on their wall.

Matching beds are a must for me!! I love symmetry.

 ButI'm thinking of using red for the shades, not sure as I usually end up using neutrals.

I love these upholstered beds and the loft play area above!

Love big black and white prints.

This patterned ceiling is super cool and adds a lot of visual interest.

Cute Army look.

Again with maps <3

And globes, another obsession.
Hope these give you some inspiration if you're in the mode to redo a boys' room.

Til next time <3 melissa

Sharing at Feathered Nest Friday