Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter...Part 1!

Happy Easter to those who celebrate today! We are in a unique situation at my house...I grew up Catholic but converted to Greek Orthodox when I married my husband. Easter is the only holiday that falls on a different day between the two, so even though it will be another month before we celebrate Orthodox Easter, we had the pleasure of hosting my side of the family today to celebrate their Easter. We had 15 people for dinner, and although it was pretty crowded, I think everyone had a good time. Here is a peak at our setup for the day...

Saturday night we dyed Easter eggs, I dyed pink eggs and green eggs to use as place cards for Easter dinner. I placed a sticker on each egg that represented each guest's first initial and placed them on the table. I also tried out paper placemats for the first time, and I have to say, I LOVED them. Super cute and you don't have to worry about ruining them like you do with cloth napkins and placemats. You can buy them here, or if you are in the Pittsburgh area, you can find them at House 15143.

The delicious cake is from Oakmont of our favorites!

I picked up the cute little chalkboard from House 15143...I love that I can change it for the different holidays.

And a couple dining room the way, my Dad and I are hoping to sell the wooden ruler growth charts that you can see hanging in this next picture at a local craft show this summer. More info to come once it is confirmed! :)

I hope you all had a great day with your family and friends, whether you celebrated Easter today or not. As always, thanks for reading!

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

HSB Biba!

Let me start by telling you that Stonf was the first one of us to stumble upon Biba. After her first visit, she convinced me and Hooch (not that it took much convincing) that we had to try this place out!
Biba is a lovely little restaurant located on the main street of Beaver, PA.  With a short list of menu items that changes weekly, the chefs send out plates that are nothing less than perfection.  From the atmosphere to the polite wait staff to the amazing food, it made our "Mom's night out" seem like we were whisked away to another side of the world.  We would like to take you on our extraordinary food journey we so thoroughly enjoyed!

Our first course was Guac and Chips made with smoked blue cheese and apples.  Now, I can't say that I would choose this just by reading it on the menu, but Stonf had been dreaming about it since her first visit, and she promised we would love it, so we tried it!  Wow, what a combination of flavors!  Delicious! 
*As you can see in the right side of the picture, although she is not a huge fan of guac to begin with, Hooch did give it a try! As for us "guac lovers", we were in heaven!

We were then treated to a chef's special, a single Sweet Potato Fritter topped with mascarpone cheese...Oh my, melt in your mouth goodness...the only problem is that we only got one each!

Next came my Skuna Bay BLT Tacos made with salmon, bacon, tomato, greens, and chipotle aioli.  These tacos were as amazing as they look.  So delicious!
For our main course, Hooch and I both ordered the Chicken Enchilada with sofrito, queso, black bean sauce and rice.  Stonf ordered the Seared Scallops with black bean cakes and Yucatan fruit salsa.  The only problem now is that my eyes were bigger than my stomach while ordering, and I was already getting full when our main course arrived.  Needless to say, I still ate my meal and it was worth it!  Hooch loved her enchilada and Stonf said her scallops were some of the best she's ever had...especially paired with the fruit salsa.

Last, but certainly not least, we had to have dessert.  If dessert was on par with the rest of the menu, we knew we couldn't pass it up!  Hooch ordered the Vanilla Bread Pudding with peanut butter sauce and chocolate ice cream.  Stonf and I shared an order of Churros served with house made chocolate habanero ganache.  It was the perfect ending to our meal!

From the outstanding food to elegant atmosphere, we loved every bit of Biba!  We highly recommend you give it a try, you won't be disappointed!  Just make sure to call for reservations!  Maybe we'll see you there sometime!

For more information and menu selections, visit or check them out on facebook.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Angry Birds Party

For my son's 6th birthday, he decided on an Angry Birds party!  How fun!  I was excited to plan this party because I knew I would be able to find a lot of Angry Birds stuff at the stores, but I was also excited to come up with some new ideas! 
One of the first things that popped into my head was to use Stonf's idea for treat bags from Bug's 2nd Sesame Street party.  Using bags the same colors (or close enough) as the birds, I used construction paper to cut out eyes, beaks, and most importantly, eyebrows, to paste on the bags.  And then filled the bags up with some Angry Bird goodies! 

Next, I used those same cut out faces and pasted them onto balloons.  I thought they turned out really cute...but I noticed once the party got started, some of the faces started to fall off the balloons. 
Note to self: use craft glue next time instead of a glue stick. : )

I wrote Jacob's "Happy Birthday" sign using the same lettering they use on Angry Birds, and added some wall stickers to complete the sign. 

One of my favorite things from the party were the cupcakes!  Now, between Jacob's Mario Bros. party and Julia's ladybug party from last year, I really didn't want to "try" to make red frosting again.  My plan was to purchase one of those red gel icings to draw on the cupcakes.  And, of course, they were sold out when I went to purchase, so I grabbed this Cookie Icing instead...not realizing what I was getting.  Turns out to be the best mistake I made.  After frosting the cupcakes with regular store bought frosting, I used the red cookie icing to draw the birds. Since the icing starts drying pretty fast, I made sure to add my sugar eyes right away so they would stick.  Then, I just dyed some of the frosting orange for the beaks, and used a store bought black icing for the eyebrows.  The cookie icing worked perfectly since it dried and hardened fast. I also dyed some of the frosting to make yellow birds, and used leftover eyes to make a few white birds.  And by request of the birthday boy, one black bird, just for him!

Lastly, for his school party, I wanted to make Angry Bird jello cups using red jello in a clear plastic cup with faces added.  But, I ran out of time.  So the kids got to choose between Angry Bird graham crackers or Angry Bird cheese crackers.  They were happy about that!

I really did have a lot of fun planning this party and making it happen! Can't wait for the next one!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

DIY Closet Curtains

My daughter is lucky to have two full closets in her room, one we use to store her clothes and the other we use to store her toys. Since we moved into this house seven years ago, we have struggled with the closet doors in this room. They have never seemed to fit quite right, and on top of that, they are extremely heavy. Since we have entered the 4 year old independent stage, we have had many episodes of closet doors falling off of the track as well as many little fingers smashed in the doors. I quickly realized that the doors had to go, at least for the time being.

On one of my many IKEA visits, I picked up two sets of the Vivan curtain panels in white for...$9.99!! I walked away with four curtain panels for twenty bucks...can't beat that! The only thing I had to do with the curtains was hem them, since they are pretty long at 98 inches. I also decided to add pink ric rac to the edges of the curtains just to make them a little more exciting. I can never leave good enough alone :) After almost 8 yards or ric rac and about two hours at the sewing machine, we were ready to remove the doors and put up curtains in their place.

This solution has worked out well so far...Felicity has easy access to her clothes and toys, and since everything is open, it is forcing me to keep everything housed in the closet more organized. We did save the doors in case we would ever need to hang them back up, but for now, the curtains are here to stay!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Easter Wreath

Anyone else feel like Easter just snuck up on them this year?  I certainly feel like it did! Its only a few weeks away now, and honestly didn't I just take down my Christmas decorations?! Oh wait I did just take them down in February!  Anyway, I wanted to try to make a cute wreath for my front door made out of plastic Easter eggs this year.  My first attempt ended in a crafting injury. I thought I could string the eggs with wire (the plastic eggs I had had little holes in the bottoms) and wrap them around a Styrofoam wreath.  Well it started out fine, until I accidentally stuck the wire through my finger!  I had to pull the wire out of my finger which left 2 bloody holes and then my finger swelled up. Hmmm, when was my last tetanus shot?!? So I decided to just use my trusty glue gun instead and it resulted in no injuries this time!

For this project you'll need:
- Styrofoam wreath
- about 24 plastic eggs (depending on the size of your wreath)
- ribbon
- glue gun

Tie your ribbon to hang the wreath on first, otherwise it will be hard to get the ribbon around the eggs.  Then just start gluing your eggs on.
Now you could probably glue the eggs in rows all going the same way, but I think it looks cute with the eggs going in different directions.  It all just depends on what you like.  When I was done, there was a lot of the white wreath showing through some of the spaces between the eggs.  So my solution was to take ribbon and glue it down in the spaces. I used a toothpick to get it into the tight spaces and it worked out pretty easily.
The finished product:

Overall, I'd say this is a pretty easy project to do.  You need only a few materials and the only skill required is to know how to work a glue gun.  Gluing everything can get tedious, but it didn't take me longer than an hour and a half to finish. So get gluing!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cloth Napkin Pillows

When we bought the new sleeper sofa for the man cave, it came with two pillows that were just not in line with the style we wanted for the room. On one of my many trips to Target, I was walking past the kitchen textiles area when a set of 4 napkins caught my eye. Well, ok, let me be honest, the big red clearance tag caught my eye first! The pattern and colors of the napkins were more masculine and would pick up the accent colors we would be using in the man cave, so in the cart they went.

This was one of the easiest projects I've ever done...all the cutting was done already so all I had to do was pin two napkins together (with the inside of the napkin on the outside)and sew along the existing seams of the napkins leaving a small section open for stuffing. Once I finished sewing, I pulled the cover through the small opening so that the nicer side of the napkins were on the outside of the pillow cover and proceeded to stuff the covers with poly fill. Once I stuffed the pillows, I sewed the small opening closed.

There you have it...2 pillows for $4.98 and about an hour of my time!

While I was busy working on the pillows, my husband was painting the room and changing the light fixture. We are making progress...but still have a lot of work to do. Stay tuned!

Have you ever made pillow covers out of napkins? This may be my new go to option for pillows from now on! Happy weekend!