Let me start by saying, If you are an oak wood lover than I encourage you to proceed with caution ! Last year we finally found our dream house after 9 years of searching and as we pulled down the tree lined driveway up to the columned front porch, I knew this was the house before we even walked in the front door. Unfortunately, our dream home was built in the 90's and has oak EVERYTHING, but I was able to look over this knowing that I could make some quick improvements ! Well, between work, kids, side jobs, and traveling...quick did not happen BUT 1 year later we have conquered our UGLY oak banister and I could not be happier !
Some quick tips !
Use this stain..it will be your best friend, I promise ! It comes in MANY different stain colors but after looking at swatches on Pinterest, I decided on their most popular color..Java !
USE LATEX GLOVES ! I started this project thinking that I wouldn't need them...I was wrong.
No matter what you have read on Pinterest, DO NOT use the rub off method..I made this mistake and it made our wood look like dirt. Simply take a $1 foam brush and paint on the gel stain (going with the grain) and let dry 24 hours in between coats. I like the "distressed" look because it gives the wood some dimension, so I only used one coat. Top with your favorite polyurethane and you ARE DONE !! I have a friend that paid a "professional" $2,000 to achieve this same look !
There is something about these chilly evenings and the glow of the Christmas tree coming from the living room. It evokes a special "something" that is un-explainable and it makes me want to cook, bake and try new recipes. Your children will ALWAYS be your biggest critics, so when you get a thumbs up (and clean plates) across the table...you know you have a winner !
CREAMY CHEESY STUFFED CHICKEN PARMESAN
4-6 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (halved & pounded down).
4 oz softened cream cheese ( I used fat free).
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach (thawed & drained).
1 cup mozzarella shredded cheese.
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs.
1 cup spaghetti sauce.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, and spinach. Spread mix evenly onto thin chicken breasts and roll up chicken tightly, secure with a toothpick. Prepare 13x9 baking dish by spreading spaghetti sauce on bottom,
Beat egg in a small bowl. Mix together Italian breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a separate bowl. Dip each chicken breast in egg and then roll in breadcrumb mixture. Remove toothpicks.
Place chicken breasts seam-side down into prepared baking dish.
Bake 30 mins and VOILA !!
I topped my chicken with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and served with french-style green beans, sweet corn, and crescents....your children will be singing your praises...Spinach and all !!
Do you ever look around you..at your children, your comfortable home, the presents under your "perfect" Christmas tree and just think "Wow, we are so blessed". My husband and I talk about this often, especially this time of the year when so many parents do not have the money to pay their next electric bill..let alone presents for their children. We have always tried to teach our children that giving is always better than receiving, so this year we are going to try something new. In the past, we have done the traditional "Angel tree" at the mall, helped out a family at church but this year we are going to try something different. I saw an interview on a morning talk show where "secret santas" are paying off layaways at local Walmarts and I thought this would be a great idea ! I would encourage everybody to give back this season in one way or another, even if it is not monetary. There is a wonderful foundation called payawaythelayaway.org where you can donate any amount to help a family with Christmas. Spread the love this holiday season ! XOXO
" You only live once but if you do it right..once is enough" ~ Cecil Beaton