Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Birthday in the House!

Today is a very special day in our house, Miss E is turning 13!! Yep, we officially have a teenager in the house. I can't believe how fast the years have flown by. When I first moved in with Mr. CC she was a mere 20 months old. I'm fortunate to have had a hand in helping raise her and I couldn't be prouder! Miss E is the best big sister and such a sweet, creative, funny and loving girl. 13 today, and before we know it she'll be 18 and going off to University. We love you soo much Miss E!! Happy Birthday sweetie!!  : )

At her 3rd birthday party. What a cutie. 

Miss E & her mom, Miss J, last month at the Butchart Gardens 
in Victoria, BC. A couple of beauties, aren't they?   

Hope you all have a lovely day!! Thanks for stopping by.  : ) 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A This & That Weekend and Banana Bread

Happy weekend to you! Today I had aspirations of getting some good shots of the living room to share with you. Yeah, that didn't happen. Maybe tomorrow. Today I ended up doing a bunch of little things I've been wanting and needing to do. One of those things would be laundry. Guess which category that falls under, want or need? Hmm, I'm thinking need. Who ever WANTS to do laundry? Definitely not me!

Thanks to my cat waking me up at 7:15 meowing outside my bedroom window this morning , I got quite a bit done today. In between loads of laundry I've managed to wash the dishes, make a pillow cover for my bed (still have to make some rosettes for it), walk to Safeway to pick up a few groceries AND bake some tasty banana bread. And that was all before 2:30!

Now I know all of you have your own banana bread recipe. And I'm sure some of you claim that it's the best. Well , I don't know if that is true or not, because I have the best recipe for banana bread.  : ) Time and time again people have commented how it's the best they've ever had. They also comment on how moist it is. That's were my secret ingredient comes in. Any idea's as to what it is? Shhh..... it's sour cream. Yep, sour cream makes my banana bread crazy good! So I thought I'd share it with you so you can get the compliments too. I'm nice like that.  : )  This recipe was adapted from one I found on All Recipes years and years ago. I use less sugar and oil than it called for. It also had some sort of "crust" that you put in the bottom of the pan before the batter, I never tried that.

Catie's Crazy Good Sour Cream Banana Bread
(makes 1 loaf) 

1 cup and 2 tbs flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed 
2 tbs. oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream 
  •  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease loaf pan. 
  •  Mix first four ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and set aside. 
  •  Mix the remaining ingredients in a medium sized bowl. *Tip - I use my potato masher on the bananas. 
  • Pour banana mixture in with the flour. Gently mix. The batter should be a little lumpy. 
  • Pour mixed batter into loaf pan and bake for 45 - 55 minutes. 
  • Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to cooling rack.

That's it. Now, I do suggest baking this the night before. Once it cools completely, wrap it in tin foil and leave overnight. Banana bread is always better the next day. It needs time for all the flavors to meld together and it gets moister too. FYI, if you cut into it fresh out the oven it won't be as moist. Give this recipe a try and let me know how you liked it. What have you been up to this weekend? 

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Centsational Girl

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lucky Day

Hi There. Hope your week is going well. The weekend is almost here and I can hardly wait! And heehee, today is my Friday. LOVE that!  : )

For over a year and a half now I have hated our tv stand. It was that dark brown/black color. You know the one, a day after you dust it looks like you haven't dusted it in two weeks. It drove. me. nuts! We'd had it for four years or so and as soon as we got a new flat screen tv it was even worse. What is it with the new tv's being dust magnets? They put off the heat and suck up all the dust in the room. Annoying!

Anyhoo, I've been going on about wanting a new tv stand ever since we got that new dust magnet. Mr. CC kept on about how the old one was just fine and looked nice. I did not agree. First of all it was huge. It used to have doors on the sides so you could close it up. But we never closed them and it made the thing even wider. About six months ago I took them off and for a while it looked better. Still, I was on the hunt for a new, cheap priced tv stand! I would look on Kijiji all the time. And because I didn't want to spend more than $60, when ever I responded to an ad it was usually already sold.

Well my lucky day finally came Monday. May I just say, it pays to be patient. I really think it is a virtue. So, I'm looking on Kijiji and see a tv stand listed for FREE. It's Ikea, it's pine, it's the right size and the people live crazy close. Immediately I email about it and leave my phone number. A couple hours later I get the call, and yep, it's still available! I couldn't believe it. The ad had been up for days. When does a nice piece of free furniture stay listed for more than a day? It was just meant to be mine.  : )  We picked it up Tuesday night and I couldn't be happier. It looks a zillion times better. Even Mr. CC has commented several times how much nicer the living room looks. He even said, and I quote, "I should have just listened to you all along. You were soo right." Love when I'm right. Which is always, right ladies?  ; )

Here's the old tv stand. 

This was the best picture I could get. The thing is a black hole.
It sucks up all the light in the room! This picture was taken
after I'd started clearing all of our stuff out. I did have
pictures and stuff on the top.
And the new and improved tv stand!!  : ) 

Much better, huh? Can you believe the woman
didn't want any money for it? 

I am sooo happy with it. It totally opened up the room. It looks soo much bigger without that monster of a stand. And it's brighter in here too. Love that. I also love that I could paint or stain this baby any color I want. We're liking it now, but you never know. The first thing on my to do list, buy or make something to hang on the wall above the tv. Oh, the options.  : ) 

This is the second post this week with a peek into our living room. I recently posted about our antique crates. Now that I have my pretty tv stand, I'll be giving you a tour of the room sometime this weekend. Be sure to check back for that. You'll be amazed at all the nice, FREE furniture I've scored over the years. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Look What the Mr . Got Me

Hey All. Hope your week is going well. Mine has been pretty good. I'm looking forward to seeing "The Help" tonight!! Read the book, loved it! If you haven't read it, you should. Enough said.  : )

Have a peek at what Mr. CC brought home for me today. He had to drop Miss E off at her friend's house and passed a yard sale on his way home. He spotted these two lovelies and thought I'd like them for a little project. What a Sweetie! He snagged the pair for $20. They're antiques and definitely need some TLC.

 I love the gorgeous detail on the backs. 

And check out the legs on them. Ohh la laa! 

I need to get a couple clamps and some wood glue to get them back into shape. We'll also need to cut a couple pieces of wood for the seats, both are broken. I'll probably paint them white and redo the seat cushions with some cute vintage looking fabric. We'll see. There's soo many options running through my head already. Fun, fun! 
Any suggestions?   : ) 

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

My "Mantel"

Greetings All. Since I started blogging I've noticed A LOT of posts on mantels. It made me a little sad because I don't have one to dress-up and showoff here in blogland. Then one morning I was in my kitchen looking at the top of my hutch, which is decorated. DUH - That's my "mantel". I got my hutch off Kijiji  for $50 nearly two years ago. I was sooo excited to finally get one. Since I was 17 or so my mom has been collecting pieces for me and I've received different things as gifts or picked them up at thrifts stores. But I never had anywhere to display them.

After months of searching for a cheap hutch, cheap in price not quality, I finally came across mine. In the photo it looked much smaller and we thought it would fit in the trunk of our car. It has a huge trunk!! Five or six bodies, if ya know what I mean. ; )  heehee So we went to pick it up. Yeah, it was twice as big as we anticipated. Uh oh! How would we get it home?? Well, the lady that was selling it was soo nice and actually offered to help us move it in her SUV. What a nice woman she was!

We got it home and I've be restyling the top of it ever since. Hence, my "mantel". The top could be secured to the wall to hang, but that would require us to find the studs and probably a lot of holes with anchors in the wall. I just have it sitting on top of the buffet. So here's my hutch! BTW, now that I'm into the blogging scene I've discovered the wonder of paint. I'm totally thinking she needs a good coat of creamy white and a bright color in the back of the cupboards!

This is what the top looked like a week ago, kind of summery. I'm loving aqua and orange these days, so they're kind of the accent colors I've been using. It looked this was for a couple months, with a few minor changes in that time. The addition of the two milk glass vases on the left and the pitcher on the right. Total cost for all three things, $5. Love thrifting!! 

Then I switched it up to this. It was OK, but I felt like the right side needed something with a pop of color to balance out the orange plant pot on the left. 

I threw a vintage plate up there. Well, I didn't really throw it. I gently placed it. : )  I also removed a couple bowls and switched around the vases. I'm liking it much better. 

What do you think? Does the picture on the left look better or the picture on the right? 

With plate or without? 

My tiny fern. It was part of a terrarium I'd made a while back. All the plants in it had grown to large for me to put the top on so my fern started dying because of the lack of humidity. I cut off a bunch of prawns with hopes of saving it. We'll see if it survivors or not. There's pretty much no humidity here in Calgary, so I'm not to optimistic it'll make it. 

This old pitcher and glasses set was my Grandma's. My mom used to drink Kool-Aid out of it when she was a kid. I just love it and am happy it's finally being displayed. It's sitting on top of a vintage glass tray I found on Kijiji. I got it, another circular divided tray and 6 etched glass champagne glasses for $15.
I just love vintage finds for my kitchen.  : ) 

That's it, my version of a mantel. I guess I could have taken a shot of the whole thing for you, but my table is kind of in the way to get a good shot. The bottom has four small drawers and two big cupboards doors that look just like the top except instead of glass for the middle it's just wood. They house the girls' drawing paper, markers, ect. And one of the big cupboards holds things like my crock pot and espresso maker. 

So, how do you like it? Think I should paint it? I'm thinkin' yeah.  : )

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

Yep, you read that right. A cookie that's like a little piece of strawberry shortcake. Moist and delicious! : ) I came across this recipe on Pinterest (shocker, I know) yesterday before dinner. As soon as I saw these I knew I HAD to make them! In this house strawberry shortcake is one of our favorite desserts. Once dinner was done I took , what was supposed to be, a quick trip to Safeway. Yeah, a little tip for ya, it helps if you have your bank card with you when you go to pay. Oops! I had to drive home, get the card, back to the store, pay, and get back home. At least I live really close to the store, but geez, all that for a cookie. These had better be good. They did not disappoint. We loved them!!

These "cookies" are a lot like a biscuit, but much 
moister with the addition of the strawberries.   

The recipe calls for heavy cream. I whipped up what I had left to make whipped cream. 
Soo scrumptious! 

Now I won't act like they were a breeze to throw together. They're definitely a little more labor intensive than your ordinary chocolate chip cookies. First you have to chop up 2 cups of strawberries. You also have to zest and juice a lemon. Then there's cutting in the butter. I also found I needed about 2 tbs. more cream than it called for. On top of all that, I somehow managed to put wax paper on my baking sheet instead of parchment paper. Good thing Mr. CC noticed just before I put them in the oven. I think I would have cried if I actually baked them that way. So then I had to transfer all the dough balls from one sheet to the other. It was just one of those days! Really though, they were worth it. I wouldn't make these every week, but I will make them again. They're THAT good!!

So what's the recipe you're probably asking by now. Well, you'll have to visit Kathie at Kathie Cooks for that. I know, I'm lazy, but I really didn't want to type it all out.  : )  Tell her hi and that I sent you! And if you try these let me know how you liked them. Oh, and one last thing - don't forget the whipped cream on top!
** Did you like my stamp frames on the pictures? I thought I'd play around with Picnik. I think they look pretty darn cute.  : )

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Monday, August 8, 2011

I did it!!

Hey All! Hope you had a great weekend. Mine was really good. Well , other than the insane storm that blew through Friday night. I accomplished a first Saturday - I painted my very first piece of furniture EVER!! Of course I've spray painted lots of things, but this was my first time using "real" paint. I will admit, I was a little intimidated by the thought of it. Thanks to all of you out in blogland who paint furniture and share it on your blog , I found the courage to try.  : )

Fortunately for me the piece I wanted to paint required pretty much no sanding. I was painting the dresser in Miss E's room. It's from Ikea and it used to be mine years back. The dresser is 11 years old and still in great shape. LOVE Ikea! The wood was plain Jane and just screaming to be prettied up.

See what I mean? Plain Jane! Oh yeah, I forgot to take a pic with the knobs still on. I started with a light sanding to the top only. After that I wiped the whole thing down and started on my first coat. I used a 4" foam roller brush for the large parts and a 1" foam brush for the thin parts. I did two coats Saturday and the final coat Sunday morning. I thought it'd be best with a third coat, since I didn't use any primer. I've got my fingers crossed I don't regret that.  : )  The results are fabulous! I'm loving it and so is Miss E. She was out of town when I did it, so it was a surprise when she came home yesterday. Soo glad she liked the color. Phew! All right, no more stalling. Here's the beautiful after!

So what do you think? Can you tell it's the same color as the shelf and chairs in the sunroom? The color is so soothing. We're still undecided what to do with the knobs. I could paint them to match, leave them as is or spray paint them with an oiled bronze color. Her desk has bronze knobs and she really likes them. Decisions, decisions. Oh, and there's still a lot of paint left which has got me thinking about painting my desk now. Hmm...

Since we all love 'em, here's another look of the B & F for ya! 

So nice!! 

What were you up to this weekend? Get any projects done around the house? I think I might have caught the painting bug!!

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2 Years Ago Today...

Mr. CC and I have been together for over 11 years.  : )  But it was only two years ago that we finally made our love legal , in a sense. We'd lived together all those years. Even had Miss A in that time, and things were just fine that way, but my being American living in Canada, it was in our best interest to make it legal.  For me marriage isn't a piece of paper, it's the mutual respect, understanding, and love you have for another person. Sure we've had a few bad days. Who hasn't?

From day to day our love continues to grow - strengthen. I am more in love today than I was back in those "new love" days. You know what I'm talking about. Those days when you hardly eat and never feel hungry. When just hearing his voice makes you all bubbly inside. Now it's a deeper love. And we continue to grow together. He is my best friend and I can talk to him about anything. We laugh everyday, which to me is a very important thing in a relationship.

The best gift he has ever given me was two beautiful daughters. I love them more than anything. They are soo precious and bring soo much joy to our lives! I look forward to seeing them grow and become strong , self-assured women.

So with that I say, Happy Anniversary Baby!! I love you with all my heart! Here's to many, many more years together.  : )

Friday, August 5, 2011

Whoa Nellie!!

How's your Friday night going? Mine was pretty spectacular! The power of mother nature is absolutely astonishing sometimes. You're probably starting to wonder what I'm talking about. Well, I'll fill ya in.  : )

Summer in Calgary is a bit predictably unpredictable. If we have a few days of nice, warm temperatures we know we'll pay for it in the form of a thunderstorm. Tonight we had the mother of all crazy a** storms!! It started first with some light rain, which turned to heavy rain and super wind, then came the lightening and thunder, and the hail. Crazy I say!! It was raining soo hard water started leaking in through the fan above our stove! (We don't have a hood fan. There's an exhaust fan in the ceiling.) There was water all over my stove and floor. 

Mr. CC, Miss A and I were all leaning over the back of the couch watching out the front window. You know, the way dogs do. haha  Our poor cat, Nellie, was outside and ran under the front steps to hide. We kept calling her, but she wouldn't run into the house. As we watched the water started steadily creeping up over the sidewalk and onto our grass. The neighbor's car was parked in front of our house. I was worried it was going to get flooded. Yep, it did! 

The water was rushing over our neighbor's yard, down our driveway and back to the playhouse that's BEHIND the garage. Once this started happening Mr. CC wanted to get out there and take some video. He put on some shorts and sandals and grabbed an umbrella. Now, keep in mind there was still some lightening from time to time. Men! (eyes rolling and a sigh) I should mention, he is usually Mr. Safety. For reals! Like a little too safety conscience. If it were up to him, Miss A would NEVER run anywhere. Anyway, getting off track. So he headed out and here's the video he brought back. The first part is of our neighbor's yard. Oh, and Mr. CC does swear a bit. If you'd rather not hear, please turn your speakers down. Enjoy!!  : )

What did you think? Pretty crazy huh??? And minutes after it was over, it was sunny with blue skies. 

Remember how you couldn't even see the grass?

Look at all the debris stuck in the grill!

The dirt left on the street looked like giant worm tracks.
We had a couple friends who's basements were flooded. I heard one friend had cars FLOATING down his street! And a major street was washed away! CRAZY!

Well, that's it for my exciting Friday evening. I think I'm gonna put on Neflix and see what they've got for me tonight. Have a good one!  : ) 
** Oh, I'm quite pleased that I got a Catie's Corner YouTube page setup!! Now I just need to figure out how to play the video on my site, not there's. I'll get that all worked out another day.  

Monday, August 1, 2011

Potato Corn Chowder

Hi There! Today I'm gonna share a little chowder recipe I came up with a couple years ago when I had A LOT of leftover mashed potatoes. Usually I use them to make shepard's pie, but I was a little tired of that and wanted to try something new. I put my thinkin' cap on and voila`, potato chowder was born. Well, my version anyway.

This afternoon while looking through the fridge at what to make for lunch I spotted the potatoes and a cob of corn from last night. Hmm, wouldn't the corn be delicious in the potato chowder? Why yes, I think it would! So I started cooking. Of course, I didn't have "blog post" on the brain when I started, so I didn't take pictures at the beginning. Oops!  : )

Catie's Potato Corn Chowder  
3 cups mashed potatoes
1 cob of corn or about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of corn
1 large carrot or 10 baby carrots
1/2 onion
1 tsp minced garlic or 2 cloves minced
2 - 3 tbs butter
3 - 4 tsp soup stock mix
1 tsp parsley flakes
pepper to taste
3 cups water
1 cup milk
grated cheddar cheese, optional

(Blender or handheld immersion blender.)

1.  Chop carrots, onion and garlic. Add to pot with butter and saute until onion is tender. 
2.  While that's cooking, cut corn off of the cob and set aside. 
3.  Once onion is tender add the soup stock mix and water. 
4.  Stir in the mashed potatoes and corn. 
5.  Bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat and let simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes. Stirring occasionally. The liquid will reduce and the soup will thicken. 
6.  Add the parsley flakes, pepper and milk. Let simmer for an additional 5 minutes or so. 
7.  Blend 3/4 of the soup. If using a blender, add the soup back to the pot and mix. 
8. Serve and enjoy!! This is where I add the cheese.  : )


Easy and delicious! Give it a try. You can definitely play around with it and make it your own. I've stirred in cheese before for a cheesy potato soup. And like I said, this was the first time I added corn. Bacon on top with the cheese would be great too! Also, you can vary the ingredients to make more or less soup depending on how much mashed potatoes you have. 

What's your favorite use for leftover mashed potatoes? Please share! 

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