Archive | Natalie

My Favorites…

I wanted to share some of my favorite things lately…
I’ve really enjoyed trying new healthy foods lately.   This is my new favorite healthy blog:  I am trying SOOOO hard to eat “clean”..  This blog has helped a TON.  I’ve tried several recipes on here and YUM!  I love that I don’t have to feel like I am on a diet.  I’ve tried the BBQ chkn quinoa salad
And the yummy “Skinny” chicken enchiladas.  Here are some of her pics….
Favorite movie lately:
Have you seen it?  Make it a girls night if you haven’t.  And bring some tissues…
Favorite Book:  

Am I the last person in the world to read this book?  I found it a quick read and a very inspiring book.  Read it if you haven’t.  You’ll be glad you did.

Favorite Treat:  Do you like coconut?  Even if you don’t–I’m certain you’ll love these… They are sooo Yummy! And healthy!  It’s the perfect salty/sweet treat.  Hide them from your kids too. 🙂

Favorite song lately:  CD really.  I have a secret music crush on Michael Buble.  Did you know he has a new CD out?  It’s really cute.  It’s got songs on it from Toy Story that my kids just love too.  Check it out.
What are some of you favorite things lately?


6 Step Banister Redo

Her is how we did our Banister Redo, in just 6 easy steps!

Guess what ladies!?  We have a special guest writing for us today!  He is my cute hubby.  
I love him.  He is sweet, handsome, the best daddy, a great provider and I just recently learned how majorly skilled he is!  He practically re-did this entire remodel we just bought.  I’m really excited for you to see all the fun things we’ve done in our old  new house!

This is Mark- Natalie’s other half and the rest of the girls’ other fifth. 

We bought a house last summer and spent nearly every evening and weekend there for 6 months. We redid nearly every item in the home! Over the coming weeks Natalie will share many of our updates we did and try to give you an idea how we kept the budget tight! More pictures to follow! Today I’ll steal the keyboard and give you the first glimpse.

One of the projects where we saved a bunch of bucks was re-building the banister over the stairs. The old one was dated and really worn! The contractor who came over to help give estimates before we started the demo thought a new banister would cost somewhere in the $1200-1500 range. So we got to work.

Step 1: Cut the old balusters in half with a saw and pull them out of the railing. When you pull out the old balusters, you also must remove the fillet spacers between each old baluster.

Step 2: Because we wanted to put wrought iron balusters in the new railing, we had to replace the fillet in the gap left behind by the old pieces. 

Step 3: Re-stained the hand rail. We decided to keep the railing and the end posts to the banister because it was still sturdy- and to cut on cost. We had help from N-Hance to change the color and put new finish on the rail. 

Step 4: The trickiest part of the job was the math. We calculated how many balusters we’d need to span the distance of the railing, and made sure to end with an odd number in order to maintain our pattern (every third baluster was a “basket” design). 
*Note: make sure you space the balusters according to code in your area.

Step 5: The new balusters come in a standard length- longer than most handrails call for. We took ours to a local machine shop and told them how long to cut each one. 

Step 6: We drilled all the new holes on the top and bottom of the railing. We went only 3/4″ inch deep in the bottom and further into the top rail so we could slide each new baluster into the top and set them in the bottom to hold them all secure and level. We chose to install a ‘foot’ on the top and bottom for a finished look. Each baluster was glued in place and then the new feet clamps were tightened. 

The banister update has really updated our living room! We are thrilled with the results and it makes it even more enjoyable that we did it!

Here’s the rough cost breakdown:
Fillet:               $90
Balusters:          $195
Chop fee:         $50 (from the machine shop cutting to length)
Feet (clamps):   $96
Glue:                $10
Wood Finish:     (turns out I work for this company :))
TOTAL:             $450

We’ve only scratched the surface- watch for more of our projects in Natalie’s upcoming posts!

Other Posts to check out:
DIY Home Projects
Nursery Redo
Bathroom Side Table
Mudroom Lockers

Linking up here:
I Gotta Try That
Fine Craft Guild 
If It’s Not Baroque 
Him & Her
Housewife How To’s
Gingersnap Crafts


Spinach Recipes

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day this month, I thought I’d share some of my favorite “green” recipes that have spinach in them. I’ve been trying to get my family to eat healthier and have been sneaking spinach into our weekly meals. Here are the recipes: Check out the Spinach Smoothie from last years post from Cali. This is a family favorite. 

Instead of eating cereal in the morning, I try to eat something more substantial that will keep me fuller longer, this egg omelet recipe is SO good and SO yummy and Soooo healthy!

Spinach Eggs:
1/4 c. chopped onions
1/4 c. fresh mushrooms
1/2 c. fresh spinach
1 egg w/yolk
2 egg whites

Saute onions and mushrooms in skillet with 1 tsp. olive oil over medium heat. After they are soft, add spinach. (The spinach will cook way down) Then add the eggs and scramble together. Add salt and pepper to your liking and enjoy! You can also eat some whole wheat tortillas with these to make a total meal.

Spinach Southwestern Eggrolls:
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can (15 OUNCES) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dried
1 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend – I use the Low fat mexican blend
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne red pepper
1 package (21) egg roll wrappers
**1 egg beaten for sealing egg roll (can substitute water)

In a large bowl, combine everything but the egg roll wrappers. Place ~1/4 cup mixture in the center of one egg roll wrapper. Fold bottom corner over filling. Fold sides toward center over filling and continue to roll tightly to seal (see directions on egg roll wrapper). Using your finger, moisten remaining corner with egg. Repeat.
Place seam-side down on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush tops of egg rolls lightly with olive oil. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until lightly brown. Turn them halfway through baking.  Serve warm with salsa, guacamole and/or sour cream.

Recipe adapted from

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