DIY Kitchen Banquette

DIY | January 20, 2016 | By

Our kitchen banquette

It’s dangerous when I’m left to my own devices. I come up with crazy ideas, and then expect Trevor to carry them through (he really is the most understanding husband). I help as much as my DIY abilities would allow, but Trevor is a much handier person than me. This kitchen banquette is his best project in our house to date! 

Over Christmas break, it started with just repainting the kitchen, deep cleaning the space and sorting the pantry. Then it ballooned to all of that plus adding banquette seating the corner. The table that we had never really worked with the space and was either too small or too cumbersome (when the leaves were all out). Also, the banquette would give us some much needed storage. So I got to planning. 

I really wanted the kitchen to be this really neutral space with a few pops of color. I love the coolness of the gray walls and seating, mixed with the rustic farmhouse table. 

I’ll include some of the details of what colors I used and items I bought, but leave a comment down below if you want Trevor to do a full tutorial (hint, hint) so you can learn how to recreate the actual carpentry project on your own. I have another pillow or two to add, and I have a few more finishing touches to add (I want to do an arrangement of our Instagram photos on the blank wall), but for the most part its done. 

Read on for the details and more before and after photos!


Kitchen Beautician: Coconut Oil Avocado Hair Mask

DIY | February 18, 2015 | By

Avocado-Hair-Mask-Collage 2(Note: this blog post originally appeared on My Daily Bubble. You can check it out here along with other great parenting, cooking and healthy living tips!) 

Sometimes I not very good at using up things in my kitchen, and avocados go way past their prime. I hate to waste them since they are quite pricey so I came up with a quick hair conditioning treatment to use it instead.

Here’s how you do it. Mix:

  • 1/2 very ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp. honey 

All together in a bowl. I let it sit for about 5 minutes or so to let the coconut oil start stiffening up again. Once its ready (it’ll be a thinner consistency, but still easily applied to your hair), work from the ends into the roots and apply the entire mixture to your head. If you have shorter hair, you may not need the whole thing to really cover your hair.

Let it sit on your hair for a good 30 to 60 minutes. I usually do a facemask at the same time or go read a book for a little bit to help pass the time. 

Once you feel like your hair has had a good chance to soak in all the wonderfulness from the mask, jump in the shower and start to lather up your hair with shampoo. DON’T get your hair wet first. If you shampoo first then rinse with water, it’ll help to rinse out the mask easier. I usually shampoo this out twice to make sure that its thoroughly rinsed out. I’ll then condition like normal.

This mask will leave your hair super manageable, shiny and soft – all things that are really hard to find in the winter! Note – get your avocado as ripe as possible so you make a super smooth paste (with no chunks!). Its going to make quite a mess in your shower, and the chunks will make it even harder to clean up. 


Chicken Stock 101

DIY | January 7, 2015 | By

chickenstockgraphicOne of the easiest things to make is homemade chicken stock. Once you make your own, it’ll be really hard to go back to the stuff in a can (or a box). 

I posted a picture on my Facebook page the other day, saying last night’s roasted chicken was today’s chicken soup. Even if you don’t want to make stock the day after you’ve roasted a chicken, just throw it in your freezer when you have some spare time. There was a time where I was hoarding carcasses in our freezer until I had some time to cook it all down. That’s kind of gross, I guess. 

So here are some of the basics of making your own chicken stock (also the same for making turkey stock, but beef is a whole other ball game):

  • Drop your carcass (which has had the majority of the meat picked off) into a large pot. I use my pasta pot because it has the nice colander insert which makes straining later on a cinch. 
  • Add your aromatics (for last weekend’s batch, I used onions, celery, peppercorns, a head of garlic, fresh parsley and some salt). You want to stay away from vegetables that will really break apart (so no potatoes, broccoli, etc.) and no strongly-flavored herbs (no basil or rosemary). I’ve also used dill before and that’s been great. 
  • Fill the pot to the top with water and leave a little room for it to boil. Bring it up to a roaring boil, and cover and dial it back to a good simmer (that’s about a 4 on my stove). Simmer for a couple of hours until the liquid is a rich, brown color. Pull out all the chicken bones, vegetables and herbs and set aside to cool.
  • Now you can do two things: put the whole pot in your fridge for the next day. After its cooled, the stock will have a light layer of fat on top. Skim that all off them divvy the broth into a bunch of freezer-friendly dishes. OR you can do what I did, which is just turn it immediately into chicken soup (which I’ll explain tomorrow!) 

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

DIY | November 25, 2014 | By

Check out my blog post on My Daily Bubble on how to make your own vanilla extract. It makes a great holiday gift and is super simple. All you need is a jar, some vanilla beans and vodka. 

Also, check out my video that breaks down the process. For the purposes of this video: I used a pint Mason jar, 5 vanilla beans (order then online they’re way cheaper!) and enough vodka to fill up the jar. 

Also, don’t forget to check out My Daily Bubble for great tips on parenthood, crafting, cooking and life in general!