A DIY Latte

A hot drink, especially in the colder months, is so comforting.  It's warm in your hands and warms you up inside.  I had gotten in the habit of pulling into a drive-thru for a caramel latte a couple of times a week, but thought there must be a way to make one at home.  I've been making them for almost a year, and thought I would share how. 

Here's what you'll need.

I brew a strong cup of coffee using either a coffee maker or an espresso maker.  I started out using the Bialetti, which is also good if you're making more than one.  If I'm using the K-cup style brewer, I use the smallest cup to make it strong.   Either way only use 1/3 to 1/2 cup of brewed coffee.  

My favorite coffee right now--Starbucks French Roast.  The darkest roast I could find.

Next, heat up 1/2 cup of milk and add it too the coffee.

Sweeten to taste with flavored syrup.  I have found the large bottles of Torani flavored syrups sporadically at Ross and the smaller ones more recently at Sprouts.

Whip the mixture with a frother and enjoy!  You can buy more expensive frothers, but this one from Ikea has worked well for me and costs less than $3.  

I like to drink out of a mug at home.  But for $1, Starbucks sells a reusable, recyclable cup that you can take on the go.  Gotta love that.

Laundry Room-Behind the Doors

This laundry-hall is probably the hardest-working room in my home.  It's where I go in and out several times a day, and it houses the pantry, laundry, and coat/storage closet.  The door to the hallway constantly stays open.  And the pantry door is usually open as well.  After the countertop was put down, I really wanted to clean up the pantry a bit.  It could use more work, but it has come a long way since I originally shared my plans for the space.

I keep my purse and reusable grocery bags hanging here, so I can easily grab them on the way out the door.  Though the food is front and center, the shelving extends another 2 feet into the wall beyond the sliding doors.  It houses a lot of paint and supplies, extra bottled water, AC filters, the leaf to my dining room table (seen at the bottom there), and more.  A lot of this stuff needs to be moved to the garage.  But the garage could use a good clean out and organization first.  Actually, a lot of this stuff needs to be purged.  All in due time.

The little 'Groceries' sign came from Hobby Lobby a few years ago.

The other side; I couldn't really get a full picture in the narrow hallway.  But you get the drift.  Food plus some Helmsman Spar Urethane.   How is it I have all this food, but still have a hard time deciding what to cook?

Moving over to the coat/storage closet.  The ironing board and accoutrements hang on the door.  We take it down and iron in the narrow hallway.  It's a tight squeeze if you need to get by when someone is ironing, but otherwise ok.  If I'm feeling like supermom, I will take it to the family room and knock out a week's worth of ironing in front of the TV.  

In addition to coats, this closet is currently housing my outdoor dining chairs for the winter.  I also store floor cleaning supplies in here.  A large industrial dust mop for the wood floors, a steam mop, and the broom.

Extra cleaning supplies above in the basket, and hanging on the wall, an insulated tote for cold groceries, and a backpack for travel.   (And the Bub's little coats!)

One day I would like to have a small outdoor storage building to hold gardening tools and to pack up outdoor cushions and chairs for the winter.  Right now everything has to go in closets or the attic and garage.

I think this hallway packs quite the punch.  Once the doors are closed, it looks calm and serene.  And that I can work with.

Laundry Room-Update

The best laid plans...always seem to go awry.  Several months ago, I shared plans for my laundry room.  The washer and dryer were delivered, but I wasn't able to move forward with the other parts of the plan.  Then you know what happens when you have family coming in town...you feel the urgent need to fluff the house, and finish all the projects you started.  So when my sister called to tell me she was coming to town with friends, I decided, "Now is the time to finish ALL the projects!'  Well, not quite all, but I did get a few done.  The view is so much better.

Just to remind you what it looked like before:

First off, I wanted to lighten the space.  I went with Behr Ultra Pure White off the shelf in a gloss finish for the trim and doors. That alone brightened up the hall.  The dark trim just didn't work in this space with the fluorescent lighting and no windows.  For the walls,  I chose SW Amazing Gray, only when I put it up, it read more like a beige over by the pantry doors, but I still like it.  It's a good neutral.  As you can see the floors remain, but the neutrals coordinate better. 

Next up, I wanted to hide the water heater.  

I used the Ikea KVARTAL track system and mounted it to the ceiling.  Then I hung simple, white drapes I found on clearance at Target a year ago.  I told my sister it kind of looks like a shower, but better than the water heater, I hope.

The final goal for the space was/is to add storage and folding space.  I went and got a nice piece of oak plywood cut at the Home Depot for the countertop, brought it home and REALIZED I MEASURED WRONG!  I am sure I have precise measurements and drawings stashed away somewhere, but in my haste to get this project done, I took the depth measurement from only one machine, forgetting that the dryer stuck out further from the wall to allow for the vent pipe. *Sigh*  So after I gave myself a time-out to avoid crying, I devised a plan to cover my tracks.  In the end, I realized I couldn't permanently install the countertop yet anyway, because it will be impossible to install the cabinets, which is the remaining major item to be checked off the list.  

In the interim, I am enjoying using this new space, especially the countertop.

Looking back from the washer/dryer down the hall:

 I've had my new washer and dryer for about 4 months and I am loving them.  I had read reviews talking about the mildew smell that front loading washers can get, but so far I haven't had any problems.  They do have more upkeep than a standard washer, because you are supposed to wipe down the seals after each use, and drain the line at the base of the washer once a month.  But for me, gaining all of that counter space is worth the extra bit of upkeep.

Linking up to Wow Us Wednesdays over at Savvy Southern Style.

A Boy's Room

Boys rooms can be a difficult thing to decorate.  If you look online you're often limited to plaid patchwork quilts or the latest superhero theme.  Nothing wrong with those, but I just don't want to have to redo the room when he outgrows whoever or whatever he's into at the moment.  I have been brainstorming ideas forever and came up with this mood board a few months ago, but have had cold feet when it came to pulling the trigger.

A Boy's Room

This past week, I finally got fed up with my own indecision and the state of his room and decided to make a move. Whatever I did, I felt would be a step up from what he had going on, which was last done when he was a baby.

I am a decidedly neutral-loving girl, but my boy is full of energy and requested bright color.  Bright wall colors make my heart hurt (ha-ha!), so we are working toward a compromise.  Originally I was thinking of going with a light gray on the wall, but as you can see I have gray-blue on the walls.  It reminds me of the sky and atmosphere.  The room isn't complete and we may change the wall color to something bolder, but we've got a start on the space.

I have a loose 'night sky/night-time' theme for the room.  The Bub is a night owl, and has fought sleep since they day he was born.  He gave up naps at age two and never willingly goes to bed.  We also used to stargaze at night in the summer and count the stars as they came out.  So when I saw the star chart poster, I thought it would be cool since it identifies the constellations in the night sky.  I also have to finalize the artwork for the gallery wall frames over the dresser.  I am planning to have the Bub recreate some artwork they did in Kindergarten of the phases of the moon for the lower frame with the three sections.  And then I have a poster that reads, "Shoot for the moon, even if you fail, you'll land among the stars."  That will go in the frame above the owl.  I'm excited to get those up in the frames.  

This unit from Ikea is essential for corralling all of the toys that kids seem to have.  The sections and bins are lifesavers.  I still want to add a pinboard over the cube storage to post up some of his artwork from school and other things of interest to him.

Although I don't see a bright neon color on the walls, I can envision bringing bold color in by perhaps  painting the bed in a bold reddish-orange or grass green.  He also has a play table that could be repainted in a matching color.  We often think that to add color it has to be on the walls, but bold color can be just as a effective used in textiles and furniture.   I am also debating bringing in the chalkboard and book ledges from the playroom, since it has become somewhat defunct.  Pretty much all of the toys and art supplies have been moved to his room.  I am also looking into some new bedding to coordinate with the space.  But I like the direction we are moving in.

                                     Before                                                           Progress

To see some of my inspiration for boy's rooms, check out my Boy's Room pinterest page.