Chocolate Mint Cookies

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Growing up, my mom always made chocolate mint cookies for Christmas. I remember helping to put the little Andes mints on the top when the cookies came out of the oven, and I’d often attempt to sneak a few into my mouth for good measure. Of course, when there weren’t enough mints for the last tray of cookies it was glaringly obvious who was guilty of stealing them, but a bit of mischief was part of the fun of baking with Mom.

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Our Open “Haus” Menu

I recently shared a few creative and simple entertaining ideas inspired by my brother and sister-in-law at their open house for FreshGround Roasting. As that event was being planned I thought, “Why not make this a weekend event and host an open house at our place the next day?”

OK, I’ll admit it was quite busy cooking, cleaning and setting up for two consecutive open houses. But it was totally worth it! We had a great time on Saturday with FreshGround. Then on Sunday, my husband and I invited friends, family and neighbors to our open “Haus” (our play on words since our last name is Hauser).

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Knife Block Redo

I haven’t had much time lately to tackle the big DIY projects at my house. I have furniture, pallets, burlap, paint and all kinds of other goodies in our garage just waiting to become some wonderful DIY creation. I keep reminding my hubby that I DO have a plan for that pallet and those scraps of wood – and that huge old junky looking window I convinced him I needed.

I’ve finally accepted the fact that I just don’t have time for those big projects right now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still keeping all those amazing supplies. I just have to be more realistic with my DIY projects at the moment. So this week, instead of stressing about finishing of my big furniture projects, I decided to check some smaller, more realistic projects off the list.

After initially seeing this idea on Pinterest and a host of other blogs, I decided to redo my knife block. It’s one of those boring wood knife blocks that wasn’t really much to look at. I wanted that functional block to become a fun pop of color my kitchen desperately needed.

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Offbeat’s Picks: Cavallini & Co. Rubber Stamps

My mom and I used to make card-buying quite the epic field trip. We’d head out to the Hallmark store and peruse every aisle, laughing at the funny cards and holding back tears when reading the heartfelt sympathy cards. Before we knew it, we had forgotten that we only went in there for one birthday card, and instead came out with enough birthday, baby, sympathy, thank you and congratulations cards to last the entire year.

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Chicago Trip & Guest-ifying Your Home

I’m so excited to be in Chicago visiting Sarah and her hubby for the first time since we started the blog!  We’re looking forward to doing lots of blog-worthy activities on this little weekend trip.  Today we’ve got an open house for FreshGround Roasting, tonight we’ll be eating at Maya Del Sol (their favorite restaurant), tomorrow we’ve got an open house here at Sarah’s, and in between we’ll be doing lots of exploring and picture taking!

I wanted to do this quick post because when we got in last night and Sarah showed us to our guest room, I squealed with delight when I saw the “guest table”.  The guest table was a little refinished dresser stocked with a bottle of water, 2 glasses and a basket of essentials.  Sarah said she got the idea from a recent trip to our house, where I had bottled water and some snacks on the nightstand in their room.  I got the idea from an article I read about how to make guests feel more at home.

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An Inspiring Home

An inspiring environment breeds creativity.  I realized this for the first time fresh out of high school when I decided to redo my bedroom.  Picking out paint colors, carpet textures, a bed set and some new furniture was so exciting.  Once the room came together I felt so cozy and motivated to create.  I started to draw more, I started to get into crafting more – my life just felt more organized and productive.  Ever since then, it’s been my goal to curate an inspiring space wherever I live.

We made these shelves from apple crates that we ironed with vintage logos and stained to finish!

My tastes definitely drift and change at times, but I’d say my overall style is clean, bright, rustic, vintage and natural.  I love the rough textures and warm tones of reclaimed wood paired with whitewashed walls and brightly painted pottery.  I love chipped and worn wrought iron chairs with a ruffled floral vintage apron draped over the back.  I love quirky little gadgets like misfit toys that have found a home on my shelf.

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DIY Clamped Mason Jar Vase Centerpiece

So one day I was browsing through an interior decorating catalog when in the corner of my eye, I saw what I thought was a centerpiece composed of a row of glass bottles clamped together.  When I actually looked at it, it wasn’t at all what I thought it was, but I was so intrigued by the idea that I decided I had to make it myself.  Once I get something in my head like that, I turn into some sort of robot programmed to complete a mission.

I recruited hubby to go to Lowe’s with me to find all the pieces we’d need to create the imaginary centerpiece.  Because of my deep love for mason jars, we picked up a few of those (instead of bottles), and hunted down all the other pieces in about 15 minutes flat.  I have no idea how we found all that stuff so fast.  It was like I developed some sort of sixth-sense while I was in mission mode.

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Keeping Your Closet In Check

“I have nothing to wear!” is a phrase frequently used by yours truly. It has inspired many an eye roll from hubby and as much as I’ve huffed and puffed about it, his eye rolls are justified.  My closet is a scary thing. It seems full, but it’s an illusion! I swear there are clothes in there from 1998 that haven’t fit me since 1999. I’m such a hoarder when it comes to clothing. I always tell myself, “Someday you’ll want to make those jeans into an awesome purse!” or “Someday you’ll want to cut the sleeves off that sweater and use them as legwarmers!” Unfortunately, these projects pile up and are then forgotten, much like the clothing in my horror of a closet.

You know it’s time to take action when: you’ve got 4 pairs of pants on 1 hanger, making room for something new would require the use of a crowbar, you can’t remember the last time you saw empty rack space, and 90% of your stuff hasn’t been worn in 5 years. I’m here to tell you that there is hope! The closet CAN be tamed! I decided to set some new standards that will help keep my closet organized and current without breaking the bank.

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