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7 Home Improvement Projects to Get You Off the Couch this Winter

 

While winter can easily become a depressing time of year for us, there is no better way to brush off the winter blues than to keep busy. Even though snuggling up on the couch with a cup of  steamy chai tea and a good page turner sounds heavenly, there is much more potential that awaits us when we muster up some motivation.

So rather than sulking in our sorrows from the chilly weather, cure cabin fever with some affordable home improvement projects that will knock your socks off without knocking the budget.

 

1. Paint. Winter is the perfect season for painting and not just because you’re forced to stay inside, but because cold weather is actually ideal for the paint drying process. Paint is the cheapest way to transform a room or piece of furniture. It’s a great time to creatively change a room, add an accent wall or touch up areas that “mysteriously” got scuffed or marked. If you find yourself stumped by paint colors, try Joanna Gaine’s new paint line by Magnolia Homes Paint.

 

2. Trim Up. And I’m not talking about your waste line! I’m referring to the baseboards, door frames and molding. Trim is relatively inexpensive and easy to install, but makes a bold statement. Whether your trim just needs a fresh coat of paint or you’ve been considering adding a detailed finish like bead board or crown molding, winter is the perfect time to turn this simple idea into a reality.

 

3. Re-finish Wood or Furniture. Maybe you’re tired of your outdated bathroom vanity, kitchen cabinets or that family heirlo0m dresser in your bedroom. Take this opportunity to spruce things up with some new paint or stain.

 

4. Update Hardware & Doorknobs. I am a detail- oriented person and I think style is found in the details- the little things. It’s amazing what new hardware and doorknobs can do to transform your home. And again, budget-friendly!

 

5. Organize the Laundry Room. Since laundry is the gift that keeps on giving, it only makes sense to show it some love. Create a bin or hamper system for sorting and simplify organization by labeling each container- even husbands and kids can participate…maybe…but don’t get your hopes up!  Have a designated area for hang drying clothes and ironing. Add a little simple decor to make it a space you’ll enjoy spending time in… okay, a space you’ll mind less spending time in.

 

6. Shed Some Light on the Subject. While paint sets the tone of the room, the lighting sets the mood of a space. Lighting strongly indicates whether a space is intimate or casual. I personally love Wayfair for lighting inspiration. Add a touch of elegance to a room with a chandelier or make a bold statement with something modern.

 

7. Make a Splash with Backsplash. A backsplash is a simple and economical way to change up your kitchen. This is a great element to show off your personal style. Choose something timeless, like a subway tile or add some fun with a printed mosaic tile.

This winter doesn’t have to be a total bore! Get off your couch. Get inspired. Get creative. And get to work!

 

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker

Food and Recipes

Mom’s Easy Crockpot Beef Tips

beef-tips

We all have our go-to comforts. My personal favorites include a hot chai tea latte, sweat pants, a Julia Roberts movie and THIS recipe! Over the years, I have expanded my own repertoire of recipes, but there is nothing like a good ole’ comfort classic! I’ve been abundantly blessed to stem from a line of marvelous cooks whose love was served on a warm plate.

But in my humble opinion, a hearty comfort food does not necessarily require hours spent in a hot and stuffy kitchen. As if this comforting dish couldn’t get any better, it’s super easy (for the home-cooked challenged) and super quick (for all you busy moms)! Let me tell you about this crockpot wonder…

First, there’s beef. Need I say more? Honestly- enough said- but I will elaborate. Even though my family is more often a chicken-eating kind of crew, I still usually prepare a beef meal at least once throughout my weekly rotation.  Then there’s red wine. I don’t actually like to drink wine, but it’s amazing to cook with! The alcohol cooks out and an incredibly rich, savory-sweet flavor is left to permeate the beef.

Two vegetables complete the star line up of ingredients for this meal: chopped celery and onions. You know what that means? Not tons and tons of prep! My Mom seasoned this recipe very simply with salt, pepper, parsley and beef bouillon.  There really is no need to add any other spices, but I decided to put my own mark on the beloved family fav by adding a bay leaf- only because they add a touch of earthly warmth that I can’t resist! And in the chill of Cleveland winters, I can use all the warmth I can get! All that’s left is to pick your starch sidekick-  warm, buttered egg noodles (my preferred choice), rice, or mashed potatoes- you can’t really go wrong!

As we all know, crockpots have two options of cooking temperatures: low and high. If you find yourself in more of a time crunch, by all means, cook on high for less time. But I will say- if you can- let this cook low and slow for the full 8 hours. It will melt in your mouth! So worth it! And just think of all you can accomplish while your dinner is cooking! I will add, however, try to run a few errands out of the house, because the delightful smell throughout your home tends to make 8 hours feel more like an eternity!

So ladies, get your crockpots ready as I give you a taste of my home with this all-time comfort classic!

Ingredients:

1 package of beef tips

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 carton of beef stock, plus 1/2 cup

1/3 cup of good, red wine

2 tsp. beef bullion

1 Tablespoon flour

Salt & pepper, to taste

Fresh parsley

Directions:

Combine all ingredients (Minus 1/2 cup of stock and flour) into the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5-6 hours. Combine 1 Tablespoon of flour and 1/2 cup cold beef stock. Add to beef and stir until well combined. Serve hot over cooked noodles, rice or mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Sounds pretty simple, right? Told ya! Enjoy!

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker