Tag Archives: Home Depot

S’Mores; A Simple Sign of Summer…..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more simple signs of summer! The moment that I saw my Home Depot’s parking lot full of flats of flowers, evergreens and perennials, I knew that summer couldn’t be terribly far behind. Really, there’s little as hopeful and inspiring as flowers in bloom, in a rainbow of color. Would be horticulturists seem to agree. I stopped by for a few flowers Saturday morning, and when I returned for a few more in the evening, half the flowers were gone!

These poor kids have spring fever, too. While school seemingly drones on and on forever, I think they’ve just about checked out (which is unfortunate because Amanda has 8 more school days left and poor Nick still has 11 days remaining of his high school career!). After a long, cold winter and obscenely wet spring, we’re all ready for a change in scenery.

But what is there for a teenager to do? The beginning of the school year is always exciting; making new friends and showing your school spirit at football games. You’ve got homecoming, dances and pep rallies; barely a moment for boredom. Things certainly seem to slow down after Christmas, though if your high school team is any good (Be All and End All Academy), basketball games are a real possibility for socializing, entertainment and fun. Of course there are only so many games even a Super-fan can handle, so the Multi-plex starts to call their names. Going to the movies with a gaggle of friends can be a blast, but at $10 a ticket, a visit to the concession stand and grabbing a bite at their favorite eatery (the boys love, love, love Buffalo Wild Wings, otherwise known as B-Dub’s, and I find that Amanda and her pals can’t get enough of Red Robin and California Pizza Kitchen), they’re looking at about $35 for an evening out; nearly cost prohibitive for the average un-employed high school student.  

 

A great alternative to a night out is an evening in with friends; snacks, pizzas, desserts, movies and games. But by May, even that experience can benefit from a change up; thank God for the ever popular bonfire! Teens love hanging out and listening to music, but what makes that even more fun are s’mores; the perfect dessert. What could possibly top the smoky flavor of camp-fire cooked marshmallows, the gooey chocolate-y goodness of a Hershey’s bar, smooshed between a slightly sweet and crispy graham cracker? Absolutely nothing!

I can’t think of a better way to ring in summer than with good friends and a tasty s’more.

More warm weather, more pal-ing around with friends, more bonfire’s, more s’mores…..  

To schedule an interior design appointment or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Cinco De Mayo Celebration!!


As the More is More Mom®, I am all about ………….May celebrations! Let’s see, the month of May brings the likes of May Crowning, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and the ever popular Cinco de Mayo (commemorating the Mexican Army’s victory over the French forces at the Battle of Puebla…once again, I owe all of my knowledge of obscure historical facts to Wikipedia.). Cinco de Mayo is even better then St. Patrick’s Day. The wearing of the green is all well and good, but what’s green beer compared to margaritas? While St. Paddy’s Day is filled with cozy comfort food, the warmer weather of May inspires “Cocktails on the Patio.” Cinco de Mayo? Now that’s a party……

  • Homemade Salsa and Guacamole
  • Nacho’s and Taco’s
  • Steak Fajita’s
  • Mexican Sweet Corn

 

This year my family and I celebrated Tres de Mayo (all in the name of good photo opportunities!). My tablescape was festive and my menu delicious!

You know I’m all about the layering. The brightly hued, striped tablecloth sets the tone for a good time. My tres fabulous, multi-purpose orange runner (which you will find in my “Spring has Sprung at Target” blog https://moreismoremom.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/spring-has-sprung-at-target/) with the beautiful lattice pattern, is the perfect foil (One must love Pottery Barn, especially on clearance!). Hot pink placemats, edged with a beaded trim, are festive. Toss on rattan chargers for a textural element. Amidst the sea of color, the bright green glass dinner plates are a playful tie in to the citrus orange, and the pink dessert plates compliment the pink stripes in the table linens. I completely understand that a tablecloth negates the need for coasters, but I can’t resist the decorative detail of the green sparkles. Besides, the coaster then gives the proper importance to the ever necessary…..margarita glass. I rounded out the fabric elements with teal cloth napkins with a fringed edge, and slid it in place with a rattan napkin ring to re-enforce the texture of the charger. Simple silver flatware and orange and yellow pepper’s to adorn each place completes my table setting. Bigger and better things await….

All of the elements of your tablescape should be thoughtful and help re-enforce your theme. A centerpiece can either merely compliment, or play an integral part in telling you story. How better to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with Mexican Pottery? On a TJ Maxx and More run I fell in love with this sweet little froggy planter, and these wonderful matching patterned planters. The mix of patterns is vibrant and fantastic! Some hot pink floral stems from Jo Anne Fabrics filled in the froggy planter beautifully. The decorative, air purifying, plants I picked up at Home Depot the other day worked quite nicely in the planters. Every table setting benefits from candle light and I thought the simplicity of these votive holders, down played with the driftwood and twine detailing, was lovely.

 

The expanse of my kitchen island always works well for a buffet. I chose a red and orange, big buffalo check, square table cloth to set at an angle to anchor my display. At one end of the buffet, I filled my apothecary jars with lemons, limes and moss covered rocks for color and interest. On the other end, I placed two tall black painted candle sticks with floral detailing. For the center of my display I brought out my Chiquita Banana Lady that I use to serve tortilla chips. She is decorative and useful! On either side of her, I placed oversized margarita glasses (though I suppose that is personal opinion depending on how much you enjoy margaritas.); one to serve salsa, one to serve guacamole. The rest was simple….. a blue glass pedestal dish for the warmed tortilla shells, a platter for the fajita’s, a platter for the grilled corn, a baking dish for the nachos, plates, napkins, and of course blue glass tea light holders.

Not only does your celebration have to look good, but it should taste good too! I made salsa, guacamole, nachos, tacos, fajitas and grilled corn. All easy to make and prep in advance.

 

Salsa and Guacamole:

So easy to make! I always prepare an extra big batch of salsa so we have something to nibble on for a few days, though the guacamole doesn’t last nearly as long. I make both at the same time for the sake of efficiency.

7-8 tomatoes, diced (there about….5 for the salsa in one bowl, 2-3 for the guacamole in a second bowl)

1 large white onion, diced (two thirds in the salsa bowl, one third in the guacamole bowl)

1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced (two thirds in the salsa bowl, one third in the guacamole bowl)

1 bunch of cilantro, washed, chopped (all in the salsa bowl)

3 avocados’, peeled, seeded, mashed in to thin chunks (all in the guacamole bowl)

3 salsa seasoning packets (salsa bowl)

3 guacamole seasoning packets (guacamole bowl)

 

 

In each bowl, stir until the ingredients are well mixed, add avocado pits back to guacamole bowl, transfer to air tight containers and refrigerate until ready to serve….with your favorite tortilla chips!

Nachos and Tacos:

My family likes more of everything (including leftovers), so dishes with identical ingredients would be no exception….

3 lbs of ground beef, browned
3 taco seasoning packets, mixed well with drained ground beef
(Can be prepared in advance, stored in an airtight container, the mess cleaned up, and re-heated as needed.)
3-4 tomatoes diced (wrapped in paper towels, I should be paid for promoting Bounty, and stored in a Zip-Loc Baggie, I should be paid by them too, or an airtight container.)
1-2 bunches scallions, trimmed and diced (I store in a Zip-Loc sandwich baggie)
Lettuce chopped (my usual method….wrapped in paper towel stored in a container or baggie)
Black olives, sliced (I buy them pre-sliced in the can to make my life the slightest bit simpler…not usually my specialty.)
Shredded Cheese (my people like cheddar, but go crazy!)

 

Anything else you like on Nacho’s and Taco’s; peppers, sour cream…have at it!
Tortilla chips
Tortilla shells

Nachos:

Pre-heat oven to 350°

 On a baking sheet (lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up), or if you are serving to guests, I would recommend a pretty baking dish;

Scatter a layer of tortilla chips.

Top with a heaping layer of cheese.

Spread as a hearty a layer of taco meat as your family prefers.

Sprinkle on tomatoes, scallions, black olives and anything else your heart desires.

Additional layers if necessary.

Bake for 10-15 minutes and dig in!

Tacos:
I think we all know how to make tacos. Eat up!

Steak Fajitas:

It smelled heavenly and Chuck said it tasted even better (I was busy nibbling on Nachos).

The Marinade:
I made two batches of the marinade and separated the meat from the vegetables. Each batch required: 

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup red wine
2 TBSP light corn syrup
½ tsp hot sauce (I used way more. If you’re making spicy….make it spicy)

¼ tsp black pepper (I’m crazy for cracked black pepper, so I just kept sprinkling)

The Meat:

 

12 ounces left over flank steak slices (left over from what? I bought one pound of flank steak, sliced it against the grain in very thin slices so they were easy to eat wrapped in a tortilla shell, tossed them in a Zip-Loc Baggie with the marinade over night.)

The Vegetables:

I like a lot of veggies, so I doubled the amount.

2 green bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Toss in to a Zip-Loc Baggie with the marinade overnight.

In a large non-stick skillet, I sautéed the meat (discarding the marinade), in a little bit of oil, until cooked through.

Remove from the pan and set aside on a platter.

In the same skillet, I sautéed the vegetables (discarding the marinade), until the veggies were nice and soft, almost caramelized.

Remove from the pan and set aside on the platter.

Serve on a warmed, soft tortilla shell and top with guacamole if desired.

 

Mexican Sweet Corn:

This was absolutely beautiful, smelled amazing and was outstanding-ly delicious!

I adjusted the recipe to accommodate 10 ears of corn. As it read, the recipe was intended for 4 ears of corn. It can’t just be, because I am the More is More Mom®, that 4 ears of corn seem like a ridiculously small quantity, even for a family of 4. What if someone wants more?

10 ears of corn (husks removed. I always do that the night before I serve corn on the cob and store in a 2 gallon Zip-Loc Baggie…seriously they should pay me. I can’t stand the mess of the silks.)

Mayonnaise (or butter Mixture):

I like mayo just fine, but none of my people like it, so I substituted butter and it was delish.

 

 

2 sticks of butter, softened (or, for a single recipe they recommend ½ cup of mayo, so I assume if you were doubling the recipe, 1 cup of mayo)
2tsp chili powder (I eyeballed)
2 tsp garlic salt (I eyeballed)
Freshly ground black pepper (Again, I used cracked black pepper, and I eyeballed the amount…..I have very good eyeballs.)
Stir all ingredients together until well mixed and store in an airtight container (If you have not already stocked up in duplicates of various sizes of glass containers with lids, you should….) 

Heat the grill. Turn down to medium.

 Brush the cobs of corn with oil and place on the grill.

Turn until all sides are charred, 6-10 minutes.

Remove from grill and slather on your butter or mayonnaise mixture.

Serve on a pretty platter and garnish with quarter cut limes for anyone that might like to squeeze a little fresh juice over their corn.

So there you have it….a beautiful and tasty Cinco de Mayo celebration. Ole!

More celebrating, more delicious food, more family fun……

To schedule an interior design appointment or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Bring in the Spring….


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more gorgeous floral centerpieces! Yesterday morning I was racing around with life’s little errands; the gas station, the bank, the dry cleaners and, of course, my nearly daily visit to the grocery store (bread, fruit and lunch meat are tastiest when served as fresh as humanly possible). The life of a wife is pretty darn exciting. Of course, I had one last stop; Guy-land, otherwise known as Home Depot……

Like Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, I’m fascinated by the hardware store. I have absolutely no idea what everything is used for, but I’m intrigued by all of the possibilities. It must be my shop-keeper’s mentality because I love the aisle after aisle after aisle of neatly organized supplies. However, my favorite spot is the garden and landscape center.

 

Seriously, after the dreary cold weather I am so up for lush greenery and beautiful flowers. While I’m hardly a landscaping expert, and it’s barely the beginning of the season, I couldn’t help but snoop around a bit. What caught my eye was the bright burst of orange in the Sun Star. I decided my kitchen table couldn’t live with out ‘em.

I think a floral bouquet is an absolutely beautiful indulgence, but in many ways, I’m a practical gal. Flowers just don’t last very long, a plant, on the other hand, has greater longevity.

As important as the choice of greenery is the selection of the perfect vessel. The container is a wonderful opportunity to set the tone and show off your style and personality.  Traditional terra cotta pots are great, but a stylish urn certainly ups the ante.

Here, I chose a weathered green pedestal urn with a fleur-di-lis motif. To me, green is the perfect neutral and one of my favorite colors. What I love about this urn is that it is perfectly suitable for use all year long, indoors and out. It would be beautiful from mumms to Paperwhites.  

 

When using a vessel that doesn’t have a drain, you’ll need to create your own. Simply place rocks on the bottom before adding potting soil.

Arrange your plants and cover with more potting soil.

 

To create a more finished look, I like to add moss to the arrangement, and…..voila!  A gorgeous centerpiece to bring a little spring into your home!

More beautiful flowers, more bursts of color, more thoughts of spring…..

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Rain, Rain Go Away….Flood My Basement Another Day!


As the More is More Mom®, you know that I love more of everything……but more rain? Not so much. During the daylight hours, Friday was the perfect day, warm and sunny. By early evening, our car was all packed up with chairs, snacks and bug repellant. The one and only Huey Lewis and the News were playing at the Morton Arboretum (which may not be The Heart of Rock n’ Roll, but it’s still pretty good). I know that the weather people had cautioned us with the threat of rain, but how often are they actually right? I mean, isn’t the Doppler Weather Tracker System really more of a guideline? Who knew its findings were carved in stone? Certainly not me; though I suppose I was entirely optimistic because I was super psyched to hear Huey (cute as he is, he’s still no Donny Osmond….Patron Saint of Teen Idols).

And then the monsoon arrived, completely uninvited. Well, when life gives you lemons, you just have to make lemonade. We diverted the caravan and instead went to a friend’s home with our picnic. They played their Best of Huey Lewis and the News CD. We had cocktails, dinner, some dancing and lots of laughs. It was a perfect evening…..

I will tell you however, when we stopped laughing; the minute the continual rain flooded our street and our sump pump gave out. Ugh! Fortunately, Chuck is a More Handy kind of husband and he tends to pay attention to just this sort of nonsense. At 7:30 AM, as Chuck raced out the door for Home Depot, he instructed me to watch the hole and if the water got too high, he told me I should start to bail. Double ugh!

Naturally, the water was on the rise and my son Nick and I got to bailing. We had a four bucket system going. I filled up the buckets and he emptied them out. This is why we have sons, to do the heavy lifting.

It seemed like Chuck was gone forever, because he was. Our Home Depot was flooded. Our Ace Hardware was flooded. Menards was not flooded, but sold out of sump pumps. Finally, he arrived at his favorite, well kept secret Ace Hardware and they had sump pumps. Who knew how excited we would be to find plumbing supplies?

As much as we bailed, water had begun creeping out of our storage room and into the finished part of our basement. Slowly it made its way around the perimeter when Chuck got the new sump pump installed. Yay! He stopped the water, but what a mess. Triple ugh!     

Why is it so much fun to collect things, but so tiresome to clean them up? Fortunately, because of my compulsive and organized nature, everything in the storage room is kept in Rubbermaid containers (I should own stock), so we didn’t lose anything. The real hassle was in clearing everything out of our finished area so we could lift up the wall to wall carpet and remove the wet padding.

Where did it all come from? The urns and knick knacks? The boxes and boxes of cloth napkins and books? The busts and statuary? The decorative pillows and artwork? Oh, don’t let me fool you. I know exactly where every last item came from and we can start with TJ Maxx & More, Target and Tuesday Morning; the triple threat.

With the carpet propped up on folding chairs and tables, fans blowing to keep the air circulating, the sea of tan carpet looks like the Indiana Dunes. Minus the fun, sand and sun.

A little mess is hardly the end of the world. Thanks to a worn out motor and Mother Nature we got to our long over due spring cleaning and had a little more quality time spent together as a family……

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I Am So All About The Terrarium As Art…


This may seem entirely silly, but I have been so all about the terrarium. As the More is More Mom®, when I get a great big bee in my bonnet, I cannot rest until I have fulfilled my destiny….and today it is the terrarium.

You know that I am a complete scavenger and that I am a collector of scraps of ideas and inspiration. For months I have been yearning to plant greenery in one of my apothecary jars. I know plugging up the hole in the oil spill would be so much more productive, but my single minded focus has me concentrating elsewhere.

Not too long ago I was at Hobby Lobby (one of the greatest stores ever invented behind TJ Maxx & More, Target and Tuesday Morning) and stumbled upon these two beautiful, footed, glass vases. I have been dreaming of interesting ways to incorporate them in to my home and I decided that they would be perfect for the terrarium. I have been so excited about the idea that I’ve decided to make another one as a gift as well.

The very best thing about creativity is having the license to interpret your vision any way you see fit. To me, a terrarium in a formal footed vessel screams juxtaposition and elegance. I intend for them to take up residence in my Dining Room. The container that I have chosen for my friend is a classic and streamlined cylinder.

 

This is the easiest project ever. You will need;

  • Glass container
  • River rock (or something artful and large to provide drainage)
  • Potting soil
  • Plant of your choice

 

 

The bottom layer of your vessel will get stacked with rocks to provide drainage for your plant (and prevent root rot…..yuch!).

 

You will add a small layer of potting soil, making a well in the center for the roots of our plant.

 

After you add the plant, the sides can be filled in with more potting soil for even coverage. Here’s a tip; this is just one of those things that you learn along the way…. I underestimated the amount of River rock I would require and the amount of soil that I would need. When I added my lush greenery, the whole arrangement was just too high. I didn’t want the plants to be peaking out from beneath the glass top. I really needed a plant that was a bit more compact. I ran back to Home Depot and picked up African Violets. They were perfect!

 

Water gently and admire your simple, interesting and organic piece of living art work. Enjoy…..

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