Small Joy: Cold Brew

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This summer has been unusually hot for this part of the state. Usually things cool off during the night and I need a light sweater on the way to work. But instead, we’ve run our ancient hand-me-down air conditioner multiple nights and hid out in the bedroom (the only room that the AC can cool). In the morning, a hot cup o’ joe is the last thing I want. Consequently, I’ve been dabbling in the world of homemade cold brew and iced coffee.

Once I figured out a technique that works for us, my dabbling quickly descended into an addiction. When I tasted how much smoother and less bitter cold brew is, it’s hard to go back. I am not exaggerating when I say that my coffee has become my 2nd or 3rd favorite part of every day.

In case I’ve piqued your interest, here is the recipe that works for me. You may need to tweak it for yourself, but don’t be discouraged. It took me a couple tries to figure out exactly how I like it. (in fact, my batch from last night didn’t turn out very well because I didn’t give it the full brew time. C’est la vie.)

Ingredients:

  • 4.5-5 cups water
  • 1 cup course ground coffee beans (I would recommend a medium roast like this)
  • milk (I love this coconut-almond milk)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ice!!

Equipment

  • A french press (or a carafe and sieve)
  • Coffee grinder
  • a drinking straw or two
  • your favorite glass or drinking jar (I drilled a hole in a canning jar lid because I refused to pay $10 for a pre-made one. It works great and keeps me from spilling in the Jeep on the way to work)

Instructions

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  1. I like to grind the beans fresh and coarsely. I’m not too particular, but it does help to have the grounds coarser.
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  2. I dump 1 cup of the grounds into the french press with the water. I used to measure, but don’t anymore because it holds just about the right amount of water. I let the mixture to sit for 18 hours on my counter. I usually make my brew at dinner time and drink it for breakfast — easy peasy. coffee2
  3. After 18 hours (give or take, this isn’t a science. Just figure out what works for you), I push the french press down and either stick in the fridge or mix with milk and a bit of maple syrup. I used to remove the grounds and filter through a coffee filter, but have gotten lazy, especially because keeping the grounds at the bottom haven’t made that big of a difference in taste to me. I usually do 1 cup cold brew, 1 cup milk and 1 tbsp syrup with 4 ice cubes. I like my brew stronger, so the milk creates a lovely iced latte.coffee1
  4. The best part is sipping on such a yummy drink. I love using a fun glass and straw. Somehow, it’s never quite enough.

If you try this and have any success I’d love to hear about it. Small daily joys like these are crucial in a wold where evil and hurt are so prevalent.

Yellow House Adventures: Kitchen Reveal

Oh hey, remember when I talked about updating our kitchen?

Well, it’s been done since Easter and I just never got around to taking pictures. Anyway, I finally remembered to do it and I can’t wait for you to see how great it looks. We didn’t change any of the layout or functions, so I’ve haven’t had any adjustment in that sense. I’d gotten so used to how nice it all is, that I was shocked how bad it was when looking back at pictures. The kitchen was the last room to get a makeover because I really didn’t think it was that bad and really it was Dave’s idea to do anything to it. But now I can’t believe what a difference a couple coats of paint, a new countertop/sink and white appliances can make.

I fall in love with this little house all over again every time I take a step back and realize how cute it really is.

To summarize the work we (Dave and a friend did most of the real work) did, I’ll list it here before you see the amazing results:

  • Paint Cabinets
  • New Countertop
  • New Sink and Faucet
  • Backsplash
  • Valances
  • Coat Rack
  • New (to us)  Stove
  • New (to us) Fridge
  • New Light Fixture
  • New Range Hood
  • Magnetic Knife Board
  • Extra Surface between Fridge and Range (This is amazing, it added 30% more counter space and filled a really awkward gap in the kitchen.)

Starting off with a couple before/after shots:

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And here are shots of just about every angle of the room:

 

Hosting Easter: 5 Simple Decor Ideas

I remember looking around our little house at Christmas time and feeling like it was finally a Home. We had spent the end of Thanksgiving weekend decluttering and pulling out our meager Christmas decoration. Something about the seasonal decor brought the perfect atmosphere and I dreaded the day we’d have to pack them away. However, I’ve been surprised how much I continue to love our home for each new season.

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This year, Dave and I have the honor of hosting our Family Easter. Which means I have an excuse to decorate for Easter.

Our main living space is painted light green and decorated in white with dark wood and some other neutrals sprinkled throughout. The color scheme works so well for spring that I don’t need much. I wanted to keep my budget small, so I’ve been diy-ing it up. Here are some of my budget-friendly, simple easter ideas:

  • painted plastic eggs — I used chalk paint and de-neonified these babies. Super easy and I grabbed the eggs from a resale store, though I’m sure most people have them lying around.
  • budding branches — I remember as a child bringing snipped branches from bushes into our home every year, sticking them in a vase, and waiting for them to grow little mini leaves. Then we hung decorated eggs from the little branches. I’m hoping all my branches grow little leaves in time for Easter. Grow, baby leaves, Grow!
  • chalk sign — Oh my! I saw this phrase on a sign at Hobby Lobby and loved it, but did not love the colors or design. So I took a picture and recreated it on a chalkboard we have left over from our wedding. It makes me smile every time I see it.
  • wheat grass — I actually grabbed one of these in the grocery store for the cats (trying to curb their succulent eating habits with better alternatives). But they look so cute that I thought they’d make good centerpieces and grabbed a couple more. I’m thinking with a couple eggs nestled in I’ll have myself super affordable table decor.
  • bunny rabbits — We found some really, really ugly rabbit figurines from the resale shop and spray painted them. voila, pottery barn-esque, subtle bunny cuteness for the season.

I can’t wait to see how everything comes together. All the freshness and white is making me unreasonably excited.

Have a wonderful weekend! You know I’ll be Easterfy-ing our whole house.

 

 

Likes, Links, and Clicks

IMG_87611. Dave is heading out on a camping trip with the guys tomorrow so I’m having a sleepover with some girls from our Sr High youth group. I’m so excited for a good old fashioned night of popcorn, movies, nail polish and hopefully lots of giggling!

2. Today finishes out the 2nd week of Huset Fitness and while I’m not making any dramatic changes, I am eating better and am more fitness conscious than I have been all summer. I did this squat challenge and the original last night and oh Jelly Legs it is a good quick killer workout.

3. I ordered my first pair of (faux) leather pants to add a little edge to my capsule and now I need some tips on how to style them. I’ve been filling a cart on ThredUP and I’m about ready to thin it out and order. I love the ability to get clothes from the brands I love from an online consignment style site. I also have been weeding out my closet and stuffing the nicer stuff in one of the ThredUp bags to send in and see how much of it they’ll buy from me. Fingers crossed!

4. The darker side of travel. Everything has it’s payoffs. Since the harder parts of life don’t make a good picture, it’s no surprise that extends to travel grams.

5. The picture above is of a huge pot of red geraniums we bought last weekend at the farmer’s market for $8. The flowers i put in our hanging basket by the front door back in the spring had died, so we “splurged” and they are so pretty. I love flowers in the summer and the farmers market is the best place to get them until I grow them myself.

Summer Favs

Summer in #puremichigan is magical. It makes up for the terrible winters, except that it’s too short. The days are long and warm. The fireflies and crickets put on a show after dark. Grass is soft and bbqs become a daily occurrence. It’s easy to be happy and lighthearted during this season. This may be a bit cheesy, but all this to say Michigan summers are the best. A few highlights around here lately:

1. This romper. I couldn’t get on board with the romper boat until I found and tried on this one. It was love at first wear. It’s long enough in the torso to not give me a wedgie and the fabric is so soft. It’s my go to for Fridays at work because it feels like wearing PJs. In fact this is a very “professional” car selfie of me just this morning. Lookie what I’m wearing!

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2. This adorable succulent arrangement. I found it downtown last weekend when we stumbled on a street festival unintentionally. I’d been looking for some succulents to stick in the bathroom (have to be faux since there are zero windows in there). These were a steal and some of the cutest I’ve seen.

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3. My Madewell Transport Tote. Oh my. I’ve dreamed of this bag for years and Dave-man gave it to me as a wedding gift complete with my new initials “EMR.” It smells of leather and fits everything from a sweater to my dslr and pretty much anything else I might want. I’ve even used it as an overnight bag. I heard that it took the designers 7 months to perfect this tote and I have to say I can tell. There is nothing about it that I would change.

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4. Salads. All of them. Chicken Caesar , Asian Sesame, Cole Slaw, Southwest, you name it, I’ll eat it (minus the tomatoes, please). I’ve always loved salads, but in the summer they are the perfect food. We have at least one a day and somehow I don’t get tired of them. In fact right now my mouth is watering just thinking about a big ol’ crunchy bowl o’ greens.

5. Long evenings. I love having 5 hours of daylight left after I get home from work. It’s amazing. We’ve been pretty busy around here working on projects and such, so we need all the time we can get. Please excuse the unlandscaped and messy backyard in this pic, that is one project we haven’t gotten to yet.

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6. The weekends. Weekend are always nice. But in the summer they are wonderful. We tend to fill ours to bursting. Every Friday-Sunday is a new adventure and I love being able to be outside in the sunlight all day. In a way, I feel like Frederick the mouse — saving up all the sunshine and colors for when winter comes back.

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7. This little babe of a car. I’ve been calling him Mikey the Miata and Dave-man has spent countless hours in the garage tuning up his new baby. Since we’ve been together, this is our sixth car between the two of us. I have a man whose favorite pastime is craigslist and finding good deals on engines. This one is my favorite by far and I’m ready to sell my old Passat and drive this little “barbie car” full time. Now to only convince the hubby. 😉

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I have about 985 other favorite things about summer, but these are my top 7 right now. Do you love summer as much as I do? Anything you love in particular?

Have a wonderful summer weekend! We’re already packed up and ready to zip out of town at 5 tonight heading to the west side of the State and a weekend on Lake Michigan.

Happy Friday!

My New Favorite Room

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Somehow I spent an entire week staying up until 1am painting and I survived. And now that I have a fresh and cheery bathroom, I actually think it might have been worth it. It isn’t done, but the most dramatic transformation is. While the pictures don’t go from terrible to amazing, it did become a pleasant space. Here is a little before/after comparison:Bathroom-beforeafter

My original plan was (full post here):

  1. Visually make the room feel larger with a lighter wall color (it’s still the bright blue you see in the first image) — I’m thinking a light gray.
  2. Incorporate some bead board — Just because I love it!
  3. Find a new solution to the medicine cabinet issue — probably just take it out and replace with a mirror against the wall
  4. Rework the space over the toilet to work better for storage.
  5. Set the storage situation up to prevent clutter on the vanity.

So far I’ve accomplished:

  1. New paint! A darker gray than I thought originally wound up being light enough to brighten up the whole room. And I painted one wall white which also helped.
  2. Bead board wallpaper in the toilet nock and east wall — this stuff is so cool. Cut it with scissors, wet it down, hang it up and then paint it. No sawing, nailing or heavy lifting work necessary the way true bead board would require. Magical!
  3. I removed the medicine cabinet and have a place holder mirror up for now — still looking for a pretty mirror to go above the vanity. I also updated the lighting above the vanity with a new fixture. It was my first adventure into electrical work, and I’m pleased with the result.
  4. The space above the toilet still is not finished, but I am currently working on a solution to create a bit more storage for all our extra toiletries and such. Keep an eye out for what I come up with. I’m excited and hoping my idea turns out as cute as I think it will.
  5. Storage — I’m a huge clutter bug… I leave my make up out and never put away my things. It drives me crazy, but I’ve realized I have to set myself up for success and create solutions that make keeping things tidy super easy. So the little cubby shelf next to the vanity helps quite a bit. We added 3 baskets that I can dump my curling irons and hair dryer into and sweep my hair products into another. It isn’t perfect, but it’s working better. Plus we have 3 cubbies for towels and toilet paper storage.

So far so good! I think the bathroom has become my favorite room in the house, which is awkward since I can’t just hang out in there. Dave-man and I are still commenting a couple times a day how much we love the transformation. This one goes down as a win in my books.

I’ll sign off with a couple more pics.

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Have a wonderful day!

Bathroom Peek

20150620_5I’ve finished the cleaning, deconstructing, wallpapering, painting, repainting, installing, and touching up of the bathroom. While not 100% done, I am definitely in the enjoying stage now. I can’t believe what a pleasant room our cave of a bathroom has become.

I will hopefully get a more extensive progress post up soon. Have a wonderful weekend!