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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Chocolate Hazelnut Soap

This past weekend, one of my best friends came to visit. She and I have known each other since those uncomfortable junior high days of braces, over-sized glasses and zero sense of style. Fortunately, we survived the preteen years and have come out the other side with an awesome friendship and (hopefully) a little less adolescent awkwardness.

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We spent this past weekend hanging out downtown, eating great food, reminiscing about old times and of course, crafting. I couldn’t wait to share my new love of soap-making. I’ll admit, after my last soaping mishap I was a bit nervous to create my own recipe. But when you’re crafting with friends, the mistakes are half as frustrating and the successes twice as fun, so why not give it another shot?

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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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DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice

Am I the only one who stands in the middle of the grocery aisle Googling for DIY and/or substitution recipes once I find out whatever I need is out of stock? Hopefully not, because it’s proven to be super helpful 99% of the time – like today. I ran to the store for pumpkin pie spice and it was the only empty slot in the entire spices section. Lovely. So I Googled “DIY pumpkin pie spice” and one of the first results was a great little recipe from Annie’s Eats. The best part… I already had all the ingredients at home!

If you find yourself in need of pumpkin pie spice this season, check your pantry for these common spices before shelling out a few bucks for something you can mix yourself!

DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice
From Annie’s Eats

2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1½ tsp. ground allspice
1½ tsp. ground cloves
¾ tsp. ground nutmeg

Mix them all together and store in an airtight container!

Do you have a favorite money-saving DIY pantry tip?

Hearty & Healthy Chili

There’s nothing better than a big bowl of chili and some corn bread.  A few weeks ago I started having chili cravings, so I vowed to find a really great recipe and get crackin.  I hadn’t found a good one yet when we were invited to dinner at our friends’ house – and guess what?  They made chili!  It was an old recipe from a close family friend and it made its way home with me.

When I was making the chili grocery list, I decided I was going to try reducing the fat and salt to make it a tad more heart healthy without losing any of that amazing original flavor.  I substituted ground turkey and ground chicken for 2/3 of the ground beef, sprung for low sodium diced tomatoes and sauce, and drained the beans.  The chili turned out AMAZING.  It didn’t have as much kick straight out of the pot, but the next day after the meats had absorbed all the flavors and spices, it was to die for!

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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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