50 days to go!

About 50 days ago I blogged my master to-do list for the baby’s room.

Well, time has flown by and over the weekend we hit the 50 days until D-day mark. We also spent a lot of time wrapping up some of the nursery projects.

Here’s a update of where we are, and what we still have left to do before the little guy comes in just about seven weeks. (Or sooner?!)

UPDATED master to do list: 

  • Remove the mattress and bed frame. Wrap for transport to the cabin. Transported to the cabin over the Fourth, where I won an award for my quinoa salad!
  • Apologize to Maddie for stealing her favorite napping spot. She still sleeps in there, and has made do with the bassinet. She’s in for a rude awakening when that bassinet is full with an infant!
  • Wash sheets, take comforter to dry cleaners.
  • Remove ball lights.
  • Clean out and remove the bookshelf side table.
  • Vacuum and dust thoroughly!
  • Buy paint and paint the room. We’re debating between Behr’s Sparrow and Anonymous. Which one is your favorite? We went with Sparrow. It’s very pretty and so serene!
  • Secure baseboards. Touch up with paint if necessary.
  • Hang curtain rods and curtains.
  • Place the art on the shelves and think about where wall art will be placed We still have some art to frame, but it’s we’re running out of space!
  • Empty Brandon’s clothes from the dresser. He’s all moved into the master bedroom! It only took 5 years…
  • Replant and move Brandon’s terrarium. It looks so good! I realized that I never posted about it. I’ll add that to the list of blogs to work on!
  • Assemble new rocking chair. Assembled! And we’ve used it several times. We have this pouf on order to complete the look!
  • Grab crib from home-home and set it up. It’s grabbed, but it turns out my sister busted one of the rungs when she was a kid. It’s in Dad’s shop now, getting repaired. We’ve got the mattress and lots of sheets for it!
  • Finish whale mobile. It’s almost ready. I just need to find the embroidery floss in my rather cluttered craft room. Maybe this weekend I’ll finish it!
  • Finish painting ceramic fish and lampshade. Painted. Now I just have to find a spot for the fish and put the lampshade on the lamp.
  • Measure dresser, cut whitewood (or other kind of cheap wood) to create a top. (We’re making something like this, but only the top.) We a went a different direction; one that I’m really pleased with the direction we went! See the photo of Michael’s new ombre dresser below!
  • Sand and paint dresser, replace drawer pulls. Painted. Pulls replaced! See photo and let me know what you think!
  • Sand and stain dresser top, elephant rocker, side table, trophy bases and book boxes. Rocker and side table sanding/staining are still on the to do list, but the trophy bases and book boxes are done and look great.
  • Spray paint the ceramic animal heads, adhere them to the wood trophy bases. They’re painted and now they need to be adhered. I’m debating between using super glue and hot glue. Anyone have any recommendations?
  • Make rope basket “zoo” for stuffed animals. It’s a great idea and project, but I could not find the rope anywhere. Then I went to Homegoods and found an adorable bin for far less than it would’ve been to make the rope basket.

Some new to do’s, in addition to the ones not crossed out above:

  • Get sun from home-home, hang in the corner of the room. Michael and I will grow up with the sun in our rooms, made by my Aunt Peggy!
  • Buy laundry hamper.
  • Clean out ‘candle drawer’ in the kitchen, so we have a place for all of his bottles and supplies. (Yes, we have a candle drawer.)
  • Clean out the bathroom a bit, making room for all of Michael’s new stuff.

And what you really came here for… updated photos!

Here's our super-sized rocker and the photo area. I imagine I'll be spending some quality time here soon!

Here’s our super-sized rocker and the photo area. I’ll be spending some quality time here soon!

Here's the ombre dresser and changing table area.

Here’s the ombre dresser and changing table area.

A close up of the "zoo" bin for Michael's stuffed animals.

A close up of the “zoo” bin for Michael’s stuffed animals.

Here is one of our rolling apple crates for books. Brandon did such a great job sanding and staining them! We both did a good job on the wheels.

Here is one of our rolling apple crates for books. Brandon did such a great job sanding and staining them! We both did a good job on the wheels.

Here's the latest on the whale mobile. It's looking great and will be finished soon!

Here’s the latest on the whale mobile. It’s looking great and will be finished soon!

I hope you enjoyed our nursery update. There will be more photos as we keep finishing projects in the next (less than!!) 50 days!

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Hot weather eats

It’s been too damn hot. I’ve been trying to not complain, but as I started to draft this post, it was 87 degrees in our house. At 11 p.m. The cool down these past few days has been a blessing! If you’re native to the Northwest, you’re likely in the same AC-free boat.

If your preference is to leave the oven off for awhile and enjoy something more-or-less straight from the fridge, I’ve got some great recommendations for you!

Our star-spangled quinoa salad. Several people tried this and it received rave reviews! I think you should give it a try too…

Star-spangled deliciousness!

Star-spangled deliciousness!

Farro Greek Salad. It’s a favorite of ours and is in our semi-regular rotation. It should be in yours too.

Tempeh farro Greek salad

Tempeh farro Greek salad

My new favorite salad dressing. It’s so good on just about everything. We often have it on spinach salad (with fresh blueberries, candied pecans and goat cheese!) and just last week we had it on a green bean, quinoa, chicken salad. It was delicious on both! (This recipe was derived from FitSugar.)

My favorite summer meal: homemade pizza oven pizza and my favorite salad dressing!

My favorite summer meal: homemade pizza oven pizza and my favorite salad dressing!

Ingredients

  • A couple of tablespoons of honey
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice (from the lemon or from the bottle. Both work!)
  •  1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Whisk together all ingredients.
  2. Pour into jar with lid and refrigerate. Makes about 1 cup of dressing. It for sure keeps over night, but it doesn’t last much longer in our household.

Finally, my go-to party/potluck salad is one I discovered more than five years ago, at my friend Kelsey’s bachelorette party. This salad is so good and all of the ingredients can be picked up with a quick trip to Trader Joe’s.

Here is Aunt Nancy’s quinoa salad with smoked gouda:

Ingredients

  • 1 box red quinoa from Trader Joe’s (~ 2 cups of uncooked normal quinoa works too)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ pound smoked gouda cut into tiny cubes (Sometimes more makes it even better…)
  • ½ cup toasted chopped pecans (toast pecans in oven)
  • Dried cranberries

Directions

  1. Fix quinoa according to directions on the box.
  2. Once the quinoa is done, mix in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and let quinoa cool in refrigerator.
  3. While quinoa is cooling, prepare red onion, garlic paste, green onion and celery.
  4. When quinoa is cool, mix in everything including the gouda and pecans.
  5. Salad is best made one day ahead so that the smoked gouda can infuse the salad with flavor. Cover and
  6. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.
  7. Enjoy!

I hope these recipes help make the hot weather more bearable. At least we’re breaking sustained heat records, right? We’re a part of something bigger than just lots and lots of sweat.

Star-spangled quinoa salad

Happy belated independence day to you, dear blog reader! I took a brief hiatus from blogging, my real job, and my outside jobs to enjoy the fourth — and the heat — east of the mountains, at my family’s cabin near Vantage.

On the shores of the Columbia

On the shores of the Columbia

We played in the pool, we wine tasted, we did some work around the cabin, and we participated in the community celebrations. Brandon ran the community 5K — he got 24th overall! — and I decided at the last minute to enter the cooking contest.

Spoiler alert: I won!

Sunland Estates Best Salad winner 2015: ME!

Sunland Estates Best Salad 2015 winner: ME!

The cooking contest consisted of several categories:

  • Best burger
  • Best salad
  • Best ribs
  • Best chili
  • Best dessert
  • Best cocktail and costume

I made a quinoa salad with mint, watermelon, feta, and blueberries, in a lime vinaigrette. (Recipe below!) The initial recipe came from our cookbook of the week, Simply Ancient Grains, but I made many changes, including swapping the couscous for quinoa, making it gluten-free. I also added the blueberries for the red, white, and blue-ness of the salad, for ‘Merica. Brandon helped me re-name it, dubbing it “Star-spangled quinoa salad.”

Patriotic watermelons

Patriotic watermelons

There were seven judges, so I plated seven samples of the salad. Dishes were judged on presentation, so I added some fourth of July flair, including watermelon stars and decorative elements on this plate itself.

Star Spangled Quinoa Salad

Star Spangled Quinoa Salad

Star-spangled deliciousness!

Star-spangled deliciousness!

The salad turned out deliciously and there was plenty leftover for us to enjoy it with our burgers and corn-on-the-cob from the grill.

Decked out and ready to go!

Decked out and ready to go!

Our fourth of July feast

Our fourth of July feast

Star Spangled Quinoa Salad (adapted from Simply Ancient Grains) Serves 6-10, depending on serving size

  • 1 c quinoa (this can be altered as you see fit), appropriate amount of water to cook it with
  • 2-3 limes, to be zested and juiced (a couple of tablespoons of bottled lime juice works as well)
  • 2 T olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 T honey
  • 1.5 c seedless watermelon, I used about 1/3 of a small watermelon
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/2 c crumbled feta
  • 1/2 c mint
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Cook the quinoa per the instructions, typically 1/2 c of quinoa with 1 c of water (I like to add a swirl of olive oil and some salt and pepper to the pot as it’s boiling)
  2. Make dressing: Combine oil, honey, lime juice and zest with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare additional ingredients:
  4. Cut watermelon into little chunks (or stars, if applicable)
  5. Chiffonade (cut into small strips) the mint leaves
  6. Wash blueberries
  7. Crumble feta
  8. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve!
  9. Add additional salt and pepper as needed. Be careful: feta is salty and too much additional salt may overpower your salad!
  10. Salad can be served warm or cold.
  11. Enjoy!