Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Kitchens Across America (and $100 Visa gift card giveaway!)

The kitchen has long been known around the world as the heart of the home. The place we gather, talk, laugh, share our dreams, raise our kids, and make the very food that sustains us. The hub of family life. And the American Kitchen is no exception. From coast to coast, it is the anchor of the home. It's where life happens. But I think the American Kitchen is unique in that its face is so diverse. It has changed so much over the decades, and continues to change in ways that reflect the diversity that is us. There is so much variance based on geographic location, economic background, and cultural roots. If we look in our own neighborhoods we can find a wide range of kitchen styles, cooking styles, and family styles.  Every family is unique with different needs, different history, and different culture.

When I think of the American Kitchen, my first thoughts go to the originals. Settlers coming to a new world and moving west, with minimal supplies, small homes, and only fireplaces or wood stoves to cook on. But that's not what it is anymore. We've come leaps and bounds with modern amenities from running water to refrigerators to microwaves to grocery stores. I have a Kitchen Inspirations board with some of my other favorite ideas for a modern American kitchen.

Even my own kitchen has evolved over the last seven years. It's gone from feeding two newlyweds to a family with two wild little boys. From boxed mac 'n' cheese three times a week to meals cooked from scratch. From a chilly rental proper to a cozy kitchen of our very own. It's where we've learned to bake bread, plant seeds, ice bruises, and parent our kids. What a journey these walls have seen.

Our kitchen three years ago in February 2011.

My idea of an American Kitchen now is a place that pulls our family together. We go about our days to work, to the park, to the store, but every night we all end up right back here. Together. We cook, work on projects, finger paint, and clean up spills. We fill our tummies with nourishing foods and hearts with laughter. We grow together.

Since 1905, GE Appliances has been a part of changing the way people live, play, cook, celebrate, and shape life at home in America. For 110 years they have been making products for the American people - for individuals and families whose unique needs, history, and culture give America its rich diversity.

This is why GE Appliances has started a documentary series called Our American Kitchen. It takes a peek into real homes across the country to see real families living life in their own kitchens. From an autistic boy who found a voice through cooking, to an injured athlete turned home chef. From a family with children adopted from around the world to a woman who started a cookie business out of her home kitchen. We'll see how different these kitchens can be, yet they still work in the same fundamental ways. This is the idea behind Our American Kitchen.

Time to give away a $100 Visa gift card to one lucky reader! Want a chance to win? Just leave a comment answering this question (and make sure we have a way to contact you if you win):
What does the American Kitchen mean to you?
Entry Instructions: 
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You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
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  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 4/1/15 – 6/30/15.
Be sure to visit the G.E. Appliances brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Clipboard Calendar {free printable}

Last year it was the middle of February when I finally made my printable clipboard calendar. And I loved it. I loved that the simple style was pretty enough to hang in my kitchen. I loved the big spaces. I loved that it was on a clipboard so it was so easy to pull it down, mark a date, and put it back up. You guys, I can't go back to regular calendars.

But this year it was over halfway through March and I still hadn't found the time to make an updated one. In February I thought I would just move the numbers on this one rather than start over, and I didn't even find time for that! So I did the easiest thing I could think of. I deleted all the dates so I can just print a new one off every year and write them in. If you're photoshop savvy that may not be the faster option for you... but it definitely is for me!

And I made that into a free printable for you. Because a 2014 calendar is not super helpful anymore.

So if you are as far behind as I am, or really like to plan ahead for next year, you can print your own and fill it out with the correct dates for the year. Then just clip it on a clipboard with a loop at the top and you're good to go! As each month ends I like to just slip that page to the back of the stack. It makes it much easier the next year because I can flip through the pages and copy any important dates like birthdays.

Now my only goal for next year is to have it printed in January. And maybe change the main font. But let's not get carried away.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Nightstands Day 18 - Easy Open Storage

We've made it to the final day in our DIY nightstand series! See the entire series here. Today's plan is the fastest, easiest nightstand we've shared thus far. Kind of like no homework the day before spring break? It's a simple design with lots of open storage.

This super simple build is a great way to get your feet wet in DIY, or a great first project for kids who want to follow in your footsteps! The open storage is perfect for stacking all your favorite books, or tucking in a few baskets for extra blankets.

This nightstand is inspired by another Ikea find. It's very affordable, but the beauty of DIY is that you can adjust it to any size you need. Plus it's a good option if you're not one of the lucky people that live next to Ikea!

image via

Shopping List:
1  -  1x12  @  8'
wood filler
wood glue
1 1/4" screws
Kreg Jig with 1 1/4" pocket screws (optional)

Finished Dimensions: 20" wide  x  16" high  11 1/4" deep

Friday, March 20, 2015

Nightstands Day 17 - Nesting with Drawers

It's already day 17 in our DIY nightstand series! See the entire series here. Today's plan is one of our favorites in the series. It's nesting tables that are like two nightstands in one!

You can separate them when you need more space (too many books to read, anyone?) and tuck them back in when you don't.  They U-shaped legs help the tables slide neatly together to look like a finished piece.

I spotted just a little glimpse of some nesting tables in a Better Homes & Gardens magazine that inspired the plans today. I made the top drawer a little deeper but tried to keep the clean lines and simple style.

image via Better Homes & Gardens magazine

You can alter the length of the legs to get the height you need for your bed. But don't stop there! These nesting tables are also great in the living room!

Two tables = two drawers for double the hidden storage! Ready to build your own? Let's get started!

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