I created my own little oasis

As I have mentioned it before, we are still renting an apartment until we have saved up enough to buy our first home, hopefully sometime in 2012. So for now, we have to make our apartment work. We have access to the back yard, but it is 2 stories down and all the way at the end of a garage full of construction equipment and other stuff.

That’s for sure no easy access to an outdoor space where we can enjoy a little bit of sun in the afternoon or drink our morning coffee.

We do have this though:

Sadly, this was nowhere near the relaxing space I wanted our balcony to be.

So I took a close look at what I wanted and needed for this place:

  1. Comfy chairs with fun covers
  2. A table to put a glass on
  3. I didn’t want to spend a lot
  4. It had to be save for the baby.

First, I searched stores like Amazon, Ikea, Walmart and Overstock. None of the sets seemed to be comfortable AND cheap. All the bistro sets I looked at, where either cheap and seemed to be uncomfortable, or they where simply far too expensive.

This set had the price ($65.00 I think), a look I liked and chairs that actually seemed to be comfy. The ratings were very good too. However, I hesitated to buy this set, because my son is a climber and I was very afraid for him to climb onto the chair and then onto the table and for him to fall off the balcony. Scary thought!

So, this one would not work for us.

I also checked out Ikea, and they have some very nice outdoor sets right now.

I particularly liked this one:

I loved the blue cushions that fit these chairs and the price was great. But again, especially the table was too high for my comfort zone and the chairs were cute but did not invite for long sitting sessions.

Then I had an idea. We always used to have our blue beach chairs on the balcony. They are comfortable but not cute enough.

So I got two of these cushions from Ikea at 9.99 each:

Then I saw they had small outdoor footstools that could serve as my table:

I got a small plant, a little tray and one of their small multi-use rugs ($3.99), and created my own balcony oasis for about $ 50.00.

Here is another close-up:

Last week, we already enjoyed our first warm evening of the year outside. I believe we sat outside until almost 10pm enjoying a glass of wine.

I am so happy about this little update, especially since all my requirements were met. I did not spend a lot of money, my balcony is very cute now, the chairs are comfortable and the table is VERY low, so that even if my son climbs on it, he is not able to reach the top end of the balcony rail.

Last week, I caught myself peaking out to the balcony soooo many times. Amazing how a little flower and some fun colors can really turn a space around to the better. This is definitely going to work for us this summer.

(Liniked up to Centsational Girls’ Outdoor Party)

I am finally back :)

After a month of absence I am finally back to blogging. We had some internet issues that took a while to be resolved and once done, I lacked the motivation to start writing again. I also made no meal plan this whole past month and I might have made dinner about 4 times. The rest of the nights were pushed on my hubby and his brother.

Last night I decided it was time to get back on track. On track with writing, meal planning, cooking and getting myself a little more prepared for the week.

I did go shopping though 🙂

After my month of absence, I have updates for several places to show you. One of them especially left me completely excited. But more on that throughout the week.

Last night we went to see the animated movie Rio and my family loved it. My son enjoyed his first 3D-movie experience and hasn’t taken off his pair of glasses since.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Meal Plan Sunday: 3/6/2011

Here is the meal plan for this week:

1) Breakfasts:

  • French Toast
  • Cereal with Milk and Fruit
  • Oatmeal with Cinnamon Sugar

2) Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Peanut Butter Sandwiches
  • Soup

3) Dinners:

  • Stir-fried Pasta, Green Beans wrapped in Bacon
  • Rice, Beans, Steak
  • Veggie Soup, Garlic Bread
  • Rice, Broccoli and Chicken Breast
  • Leftovers
  • Pasta Bolognese with Veggies
  • Pizza

Mmmmh …. Bacon :)

Here is a very easy recipe for one of my favorite side dishes. All you need is a package of bacon and a can of green beans.

Slightly grease a baking form with a little bit of butter or oil. Preheat oven to 400F.

Cut bacon slices in half and then wrap about 3 beans in the bacon.

Slightly sprinkle bacon with pepper (no salt necessary!). The bake in oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until crispy.

I had stir-fried pasta with this:

Cook pasta in salt water, then drain.

Fry some more bacon in a pan. Add pasta to the bacon.

I also added green peppers and 4 eggs. Mix everything until the eggs are cooked. I added ground pepper and paprika spice.

Here a closer picture:

There you go. A very easy and quick meal for all the bacon lovers out there.

So many ‘treasures’ and no space

Today the borough in which my work is located had the first pickup for bulk items since before the winter. So while trying to find a parking spot in the morning, I had to focus to keep my eyes on the traffic because there was SO MUCH STUFF on the side walks. I mean there were doors, tables, dressers, scrap wood, you name it. A lot of the items where in really bad shape, but there were a lot of treasures in between. Unfortunately my car is very small and on top of that after all I had to go to work.

One item in particular caught my attention. A leftover narrow upper cabinet combination that would have been perfect as a play kitchen or something along those lines. The treasure was lying on the sidewalk right across the street from my job, and was far too big for me to bring home. And it was still ‘treasure’ enough to stay on my mind until now.

Maybe next ‘treasure pickup’ I will have more luck or time.

Meal Plan Sunday

Here is this week’s meal plan:

Breakfasts:

Cornflakes with Banana, Oatmeal, Homemade Waffles, Mozzarella Sandwiches

Lunches:

Leftovers ( x 3), Mozzarella Sandwiches

Dinners:

Rice, Pork Medallions, Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Spinach Quiche, Baked Potato Wedges, Sausage and a Side Salad (I ended up not making this last week because we had friends over and ordered Pizza)

Rice, Beans, Chicken

Pasta Bolognese with Veggies

Veggie Soup, Garlic Bread

Rice, Beans, Beef

Leftovers

Snacks:

Baby Carrots, Apples, Pears, Banana-Smoothies, Crackers, Joghurt

Bring on the bubbles!

I am back with another laundry room update, since I figured out some very easy decoration for my freshened and more organized laundry room (find part 1 here).

It all started when I saw this picture the other day while browsing the internet:

Unfortunately I can’t find the link to this picture anymore but whoever created this nursery, I love the circles.

Then I thought that the circles would make a nice decoration for my tiny laundry space.

So I went to AC Moore, looking for wooden circles like the ones in the picture. They didn’t have any wooden ones, but I found similar ones in the Styrofoam-isle. I brought home a bunch and actually laid them out on my kitchen floor:

Then I got out the two paint samples I received for free in the mail and using a brush I just kind of pushed the paint on my circles:

I painted a few in the tealish color, a few in light green and a few I simply left the way they were.

After about 15 minutes of painting, I had this:

Then I used a few pieces of double-sided tape to attach them to the wall:

Here another close-up:

I think the bubbles are fun, and this was VERY Easy.

I also found an XXL-pin for clothes, decorated it a little bit and attached it to the other side of the wall:

Now everything I need to do is find a solution for the work-clothes chaos created by my Mr. Multikulti. Once I find a good and especially cheap solution for that, I’ll write about the changes.

(This post is linked up to the Shabby Nest’s Frugal Friday , ‘Not baaad Sundays’ ,  ‘Tuesdays Treasures‘ and Centsational Girl’s Paint Party)