Buying one of everything at IKEA, oh, and we moved in!

Hi! Man, we have been so busy trying to get moved into the new house. When we left Austin we sold most of our furniture, so moving into the new house was easy because we only had one Pod to unload. However, we hit up IKEA for most of our furniture and between buying, moving, unloading, and assembling, our time is zapped!

Here’s Ben getting ready to unload the Pod last week. We hired a few guys to come help unload so the thing was unloaded in less than 2 hours.

Ah, a nice empty Pod. Come take it away pod people!

Like I said, we hit up IKEA for most of our new furniture. IKEA is inexpensive and has decent quality so it will definitely hold us over for the next several years while I design each room and figure out exactly how I want them decorated.

This picture is only one of TWO trips we made to IKEA for furniture. We had to rent a small Uhaul to get it all home.

And now our house is a mess! Ah the joys of moving. Trying to unpack and find a new home for all your stuff. After living in a place for awhile everything finds a home, but after you move the new house never flows the same way so it’s all trial and error.

You can see a small portion of the boxes we brought home from IKEA. Also, we purchased a couch from there. Our TV and entertainment center doesn’t really work in this new living room so expect a Mounting Your TV Above The Fireplace post soon.

More furniture to assemble…

At least my laundry room is set up and functional. Not pretty at all, but I can do laundry.

More IKEA boxes…

A very crappy photo of my office. I have done exactly NOTHING in this room. In fact, there isn’t a ceiling mounted light in there so I’m just totally avoiding the room for now. #MustCallAnElectrician

Travis’s room… We haven’t assembled any of his furniture yet because I want to paint first. The blue wall actually looks good with his new bedding, but the room is getting painted a light tan (my favorite – Stucco) because I have other plans for a cool wall treatment.

Kinsey’s new room. I painted her room Stucco the day we moved in. I had BIG plans of painting THE ENTIRE HOUSE in one day. So far… I’ve painted two rooms. Haha I need to assemble a few more pieces of furniture for her room, but at least she was able to unpack all her boxes.

The basement – Ben set the TV up so Travis and his friends could play on their video games. Other than that, we’ve done NOTHING. We are getting new carpet down there before we start unpacking. I’m also taking out that bar because the room is too narrow and it takes up too much room. I might move it to the hole where the TV currently is (we are going to put the TV on the reverse wall behind me).

Okay, one of my new favorite parts of this house is the unfinished portion of the basement. We were planning on getting it finished out ASAP but honestly, it is the best storage room! We might be able to park our cars in the garage now because all our crap can go in the storage room. Love it. Those big boxes are our new IKEA couch for the basement.

In addition to all this unpacking and just trying to move in, we’ve actually been doing some normal stuff too. Kinsey busted out the mixer tonight and made gluten-free Pumpkin Muffins for everyone!

She is such a great baker. Kinsey is our little mama and helps keep our home and family running smoothly. We love her and her baked goods!

I have SO MANY ideas for this new house and I am so excited to get busy making this place our own. Gotta run for now and go paint Travis’s room! See you soon!


Chocolate Bar Toffee. Delicious easy to make treat for the Holiday season.

I served this Chocolate Bar Toffee to all the shoppers at the Kirkland’s Grand Opening Event last week. It was a huge hit and I want to share the recipe with you guys now. (Don’t forget to go enter the giveaway for a $100 gift card to Kirkland’s!)

This Toffee is so stinkin’ easy to make. I don’t generally enjoy cooking and baking, but I do enjoy delicious food, so when I do bake, it better be an easy recipe that is extra yummy. I have no patience for mediocre recipes. To make this Toffee, you only need 6 ingredients. It is that easy. The only tricky part about the entire recipe is you have to use a candy thermometer. Don’t let that scare you away though. They are only a few bucks at the grocery store and are simple to use.

To make Chocolate Bar Toffee, you will need the following 6 ingredients:

Sugar, water, finely chopped almonds, chopped walnuts (or pecans), butter, and chocolate bars. I use my mini-prep Cuisinart food processor to chop all the almonds and walnuts. So quick and easy (and dang, I didn’t realize it came in so many colors).

*Note: When you make this toffee, you MUST use a stainless steel saucepan. I have tried it several times (I’m a glutton for punishment) with my non-stick pans and the toffee will not set. I purchased an inexpensive pot from ikea (their 365+ line) and it works great, even though the pot is less than $10.

The full recipe will be at the bottom of this post.

Step 1: On medium heat, melt your butter in your stainless steel saucepan.

Once melted, add your water and sugar.

When the butter and sugar mixture starts to boil (about 8 minutes later), add your finely chopped almonds.

Continue boiling the mixture stirring it constantly. This is the most tedious part. I timed it and after the initial 8 minutes, it was an additional 22 minutes, for a total of 30 minutes stirring. These are approximate times though. Watch the thermometer and go off that.

After what feels like an eternity (30 minutes) your toffee will turn dark and you will start to worry that you are overcooking it. Don’t worry, it is not burnt! You want to cook it to 302 degrees fahrenheit.

When the tempertaure reaches 302 degrees F, pour the toffee onto a greased jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with a lip around it).

If you don’t have jelly roll pans, GO BUY SOME. If you own nothing else for baking, own jelly roll pans! You will use them for everything – baking toffee, cookies, pizza, sheet cake (I need to give you my recipe for that!), bacon, you name it. I use them for random other things like craft projects (great for containing glitter) and to hold screws while putting together furniture. They are also great as trays when cooking meat on the grill. My mom got me these jelly roll pans for Christmas last year. They are from Costco and came with two big ones and one small one. ::End of tangent::

Once you pour your toffee onto your jelly roll pan, quickly spread it out using a spreader.

The mixture spreads very easily and will settle into the pan, but it sets quickly as it cools, so don’t waste time on this step!

Once your toffee is evenly spread, top it with pieces of chocolate bar.

Just plop them down all over the top and let them sit there for a minute or two.

The toffee will quickly melt the chocolate even though the chocolate won’t lose its shape. Take your spreader and evenly spread the chocolate all over the top of the toffee. I usually use King-Sized Hershey bars (the Symphony bars are even better), but I have also used the milk chocolate bars from IKEA and they are amazing.

Sprinkle the top of the chocolate with chopped walnuts (or pecans) and pop it in the fridge for a few hours until the toffee and chocolate are firm.

To serve, break the toffee into small pieces. To do this, I use a paring knife and gently poke the toffee starting at the edge (not too hard though or you will ding your jelly roll pan!). It should just break apart on its own.

Place all the pieces of toffee into an air tight container and store in the fridge or room temperature (don’t store anywhere warm or the chocolate will melt). I prefer to keep mine in the fridge. I like my toffee cold when I eat it!

So easy, and super delicious! Trust me, your friends will think you are the bomb dot com if you make these for them this holiday season. Many customers at Kirkland’s thought I was giving away samples of toffee that the store was selling and kept asking where they could buy it! I told them I was so sorry but they were going to have to make it on their own. It is that good. People literally thought it was store-bought. (Of course, I do recognize that some things, like Rice Krispie Treats, are one-thousand times better home-made.)

And now, for the recipe. You will want to pin this one. Trust me –>

Chocolate Bar Toffee

4 sticks butter
2 C sugar
1/2 C water
1/2 C finely chopped almonds
2 large Chocolate Bars (king sized)
1 C finely chopped pecans or walnuts (I prefer walnuts)

*Must use a metal saucepan that does not contain any non-stick material.

Melt butter in saucepan. Add sugar and water. Once boiling add almonds. Boil until it reaches 302 degrees or hard ball/crack stage. Stir constantly. Pour in a greased cookie sheet and spread out evenly. Put Hershey squares on top. Spread chocolate once melted. Top with pecans or walnuts. Place in fridge until hard. Break into pieces and store in air tight container in fridge. Recipe from


Banishment of the game room blinds

We moved from a suburban neighborhood where I could see into 5 other people’s homes from my back deck, out to the country where we have more than an acre of privacy and tons of trees (and if you can believe it, we paid a lot less for this house than the previous one). One of the perks is that I can’t see into anyone’s house from my backyard (and no one can see into my house). Because of the awesome privacy I was able to take the blinds down in our family room and not worry about any Peeping Toms.

I have enjoyed being blinds-free in our family room so much that I got a wild hair and took down all the blinds in the game room as well! (The fact that they were broken and completely disgusting made the choice a lot easier.) Our game room also faces the backyard, so we have a lot of privacy (I will keep the blinds on the front of the house though because you can see into our house from the street).

I think removing the blinds has made a big impact already. Here’s what the windows looked like when we bought the house. We quickly took down the curtains, but the blinds stayed up for several months afterward.

I am planning on hanging curtains in the game room though because it is nice to be able to make it darker to watch movies or play video games. Also, whenever we have people stay over, they sleep in the game room, so they might not want the sun to wake them up at 6am. I have to figure out what curtains to hang, but I really love the way these red curtains from ikea looked in our last game room when we staged the house to sell, so I might do this again. (They will need an extra black-out layer added though.)

Anyone else blinds-phobic? I never thought I’d be the type of person to remove all my blinds, but seriously, I love it. The sun just flows in freely now. And I don’t know about you, but the weather really affects my mood so the more light the better.

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