Red Brick Bungalow has Moved!

Hello!  We’ve moved!  All the good stuff is now here:


Please re-subscribe on the new blog if you would like to receive updates.  I don’t want you to miss a thing!  Thanks so much for checking in on me; I’ll see you over at the new place.  Can’t wait to show you around!

{Celebrate} Valentine’s Day

Hello!  Valentine’s Day is speedily approaching.  How do I know that?  Well, because in an effort to not be lame have a romantic night out this year, we tried to make dinner plans last week at a nice restaurant for the 14th and guess what?!  Everywhere is booked solid.  The entire day.  Including lunch.

So….we’re on to plan B:  dinner a different night [or] a night out at one of our favorite, less fancy, places.

Note to self:  book Valentine’s Day Dinner along with Holiday Prep in December.

Ok, next, it’s time to think about getting 75 valentines ready for my kids’ class parties.  My kids will be sending the ones that come straight out of a box–or even better–the candy that comes with a spot to sign your name on the treat itself.

The last time we made homemade Valentine’s Day cards around here was when I had only one child in school, but my heart still stops for a darling V-Day card.  Check out this collection assembled over on The Inspired Room.  My favorites are the tiny make-it-yourself envelopes.

And since it is the month of love, I decided to show myself a little love and finish a pretty box for myself:

DIY Kate Spade Box

After seeing Jen’s DIY Kate Spade boxes, I started this project back in November with this old brown box:

DIY Kate Spade Box

You might remember that even after 4 coats of the pink spray paint, it still looked like this:

DIY Kate Spade Box

So I bought some spray primer, and one day when it was about 49 degrees out–I was pushing it, I know–I gave it about four coats of primer; then re-sprayed it with 3-4 light coats of Krylon’s Colormaster in Watermelon.  I taped off the front edge at about 1/4″ and applied DecoArt’s Metallic Paint in Glorious Gold (found at Hobby Lobby) with a small sponge brush.  I also painted a silver label plate gold to match.   I think next time, I’ll try this metallic tape Jen used instead of the paint.  More control; cleaner lines.  But for now, I’m satisfied with how it turned out.  It isn’t perfect, but I achieved the look I wanted and its much brighter than the old Tuscany-style box that I was ready to donate.  I LOVE it!!

DIY Kate Spade Box

Using Graph Paper to Plan a Space

One of the first things I reach for when planning a space is my pad of graph paper.  Its so much easier for me to visualize the space when it is blocked out right in front of me. Also, by measuring and sketching the entire space at once, I save myself the headache of running back and forth because I forgot to measure the distance from the south wall to the window, say.  It’s also a place to jot down any other measurements that are pertinent to the project so everything is in one spot. Since I’ve got my boys’ bedroom on the brain, I spent a quiet afternoon a few days ago hanging out with my son while he played Legos and I measured and sketched: Boys' Bedroom This sketch shows the bedroom in its current state with the exception of the nightstands which are future nightstands.  That’s what got me measuring in the first place–I was trying to remember how much room there was between the beds and the window so I could plan for the nightstands.  Now I know there is a good 18-24″ for each nightstand which is helpful as I watch the local online classifieds or look at plans like this one from Ana White: Boys' Nightstand

This DIY duo would only set me back about $50 total, so the price is right, but I am somewhat intimidated to tackle it on my own and I feel guilty roping my husband into another project. So I am watching and waiting. And while you watch and wait, I highly recommend having one of these close by:

hot chocolatehot chocolate

That is a mug of Stephen’s Milk Chocolate Cocoa with a shot of milk and a scandalous amount of whipped cream on top.  And it is dangerous.  I think I had three of them last week.  I blame it on the damp cold weather we’ve had lately.  But it has got to stop.  The scale this morning told me it knows what I’ve been up to. Must stop. Well, I’m off to tackle my day.  Stay cozy and cheers from my home to yours!


I’m in the market for a pair of booties and here’s what I want:

1.  I prefer a real leather upper over synthetic material.  I’m trying to upgrade my wardrobe to quality classics that will last forever.  (I believe the only bootie on this list that isn’t leather is the croc bootie, top right, but it was too cool to exclude).  I saw my friend in a pair like that and they were amazing.  Oh, and the lower-cut bootie, bottom center, is suede.

2.  I want to wear my booties with everything.  My booties should go with skinny jeans, skirts, leggings, and my pajama bottoms when I run the kids to school in the morning.  At first glance, the red ones aren’t as versatile as the others, but I can’t help it.  I think they’re lovely.  And there are very few things in my wardrobe that wouldn’t work with them.

3.  No stilettos.  I think all of these booties sport a stacked heel less than 2.5″ high.  Some are closer to 1-2″.  I need to run around in these boots all day and still want to put them on the next morning.  Style, yes.  But oh, comfort.

4.  Under $150.  Preferably closer to the $100 price-point for my budget.  I hoping to score on an end-of-season sale.

And that’s about it.  Which one would you pick?

**First column, bottom three booties:  All others:

Mood Board: Boys’ Room

My boys have wanted a Spiderman bedroom forever and until now we’ve gotten away with just some navy bedspreads and a giant Spidey vinyl decal on the wall but I wanted to create a boys’ space that was fun and reflected the boys’ interests, so after checking to see if they were still set on this Spiderman theme, I got to work brainstorming.

The look I’m going for is fun and easy-casual, but pulled together with storage solutions to keep things tidy.  I want this place to be FUN but I don’t want to spend a ton of money in case they change their minds in a year or two.  Oh, and did I mention I also have to marry a bit of Lego theme with the Spiderman, per the youngest’s request.  So…here is what I came up with:

Boys' Room Mood Board

  1. Dana Decals
  2. Pottery Barn Kids
  3. Pottery Barn Kids
  4. Simply Love Creations
  5. Pottery Barn Kids
  6. Pottery Barn Kids
  7. Pottery Barn Kids
  8. Simply Love Creations
  9. Pottery Barn Kids
  10. Pottery Barn Kids
  11. Centsational Girl
  12. Pottery Barn Kids

I love the Pottery Barn look so the challenge will be creating ‘the look’ without the price tag.  Also, the ‘Big Brother’ sign may get nixed.  My oldest says its for a baby.

After I created the mood board, I realized I forgot to include nightstands.  Duh.  Those are top-of-the-list for storage and tidiness.  Right now, each boy has a stack of stuff on the floor next to their beds so its hard to ever look truly cleaned up.

I pulled all of my ideas together for some focus.  When I look around the house, there are a million things I want to do so I freeze and do nothing.  This board will give me the visual direction I need to get going and not get distracted by too many other projects.

I hope to have some updates soon!

Crispin: The Cross of Lead

Book Club
Photo Source: Wikipedia

I’m reading this Newbery Winner from 2003 for several reasons:

  1. It sounds interesting
  2. I’m screening it for my son before he reads it
  3. I’d like to eventually read all of the Newbery Award Books (since 1922)

Here’s a quick summary from ALSC:

“Crispin: The Cross of Lead,”published by Hyperion Books for Children, is an action-filled page-turner set in 14th-century England. “Asta’s son” is the only name the 13-year-old title character has ever known when he is suddenly orphaned and stripped of home and possessions. Accused of murder and wanted dead or alive, Crispin flees his village and falls in with a juggler, Bear, who becomes his protector and teacher. Relentlessly pursued by Crispin’s enemies, the pair flees to solve the mystery of his identity and fight the injustices of feudalism.

“Avi masterfully creates a plot that sustains tension and suspense from beginning to end, while seamlessly weaving in details of daily medieval life,” said Starr LaTronica, chair of the 2003 Newbery Award Selection Committee. “Readers experience Crispin’s surroundings through Avi’s sensory descriptions; they see, hear, smell, taste and feel his world. In the hands of a superb craftsman, ‘Crispin’is a fascinating coming-of-age novel that brings to readers a riveting adventure and invites them to consider how life hundreds of years ago echoes our contemporary search for freedom.”

Join me!


Source List:

  • Dark Trouser Jeans:  Old Navy
  • Naval Stripe Tee:  Old Navy
  • Mustard Cardigan:  Old Navy
  • Teal Scarf:  Costco (can be found here, but it’s double what I paid for it)
  • Boots:  Aerosoles from Macy’s (old)
  • Sunglasses:  Calvin Klein
  • Bag/Purse/Diaper Bag(!):  Ross Dress for Less
  • Faux Pearl Earrings:  Claire’s

Greek-Style Skillet Dinner

Greek Skillet

Greek-Style Skillet Dinner

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) reduced sodium beef broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (8oz.) tomato sauce
  • 2 c. uncooked penne pasta
  • 2 c. fresh spinach
  • 3/4 c. crumbled feta cheese, divided

1.  Cook ground beef and onion in large skillet on medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink, stirring occasionally.  Drain fat.  Add oregano, cinnamon and garlic powder; mix well.

2.  Stir in broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in pasta.  Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 10 minutes or until pasta is nearly tender.  Stir in spinach and 1/2 c. of the cheese. Cover. Cook 5 min longer or until spinach is wilted and pasta is tender.

3.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. feta cheese.  Cover.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

**Adapted from a recipe found in a McCormick’s mailer coupon, 2011.**