DIY refinished iron garden bench

My husband and I went a little cray this weekend with our DIY projects but we felt so accomplished at the end of the day.

One night my husband called me outside after he got home from work. He was totally excited as he lead me to the side of the house to show me his side of the road find. To my surprise, he brought me an old iron garden bench that needed a lot of work. It was painted brown with black cast iron. The wood was broken in several places and rotting out. Silly me didn't get a picture of it before my hubby tore it apart but you can imagine how it looked. It was bad enough for someone to leave it on the side of the road and even worse when it was still there at the end of the day in North Portland when my husband picked it up.

The project took us about two weekends and cost a little over $40. He poured our hearts into this bench and brought it back to life. I am proud to display it in my yard and relax on it in the sun when the boys are romping around in the grass.

We had so much fun finishing the first one, my husband stole the decrepit bench from my parents front yard while they were just inside watching a football game and we restored that one too. They look amazing. Check it out.

This is my parents bench. So pretty!

DIY cabinet door chalkboard

I wasn't planning on painting my cabinet door with chalkboard paint but I found a can for half off at my local grocery store and I couldn't pass up the opportunity. This is a really simple and cheap project that you can do on any budget.


  • Chalkboard paint ($4.99)
  • Foam brush ($.89)
We had to do four coats of paint so the white wouldn't show through but the paint dried quickly and the whole project took maybe an hour at most. We were doing other things while it dried so I don't have an exact time frame. 

Our friend also drew this really cool taco ti illustrate our menu for the night. I don't want to erase it so we will be having tacos every night for the rest of our lives...


Menu: Week 112

Another Monday has arrived and my week is full of dropping kids off at school, going to work and finishing the 3rd draft of my new manuscript.

In all the chaos I have to sit back and just enjoy the wonderful things around me. It's the only thing that keeps me sane.

I hope you enjoy this weeks menu.

- Taco pizza

- Spaghetti w/sausage

- Baked Ravioli

- Diamond burgers

- Cranberry, cream cheese and turkey sandwiches

- Potato soup

- Tuna sandwiches

Findings Friday

Welcome back for another addition of Findings Friday. I have some awesome things for you today to check out.

  • I keep having to remind myself  that its September. If you have the same problem, Here is an illustration to remind you. 
  • There are some stunning dresses over at free people on this page here. I don't like to wear dresses a lot, but these are stunning.
  • Since we recently purchased a home, I've been learning how to decorate it and I found this site that has some great and easy decorating tips for fall.
  • This is my favorite chicken recipe of all time. Cajun Chicken Alfredo. So Delicious!
  • Angel's Rest is a gorgeous hike in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. I've been on this hike and this is a beautiful shot. The cover photo for my facebook is me and my husband at the top.
If you would like to be featured on Findings Friday send me an email or comment below.

The Best Pumpkin Muffins Ever

It's the first day of fall people! And that means Pumpkin everything!

One of my most favorite pumpkin foods is muffins. They have just the right amount of pumpkin and they are light and fluffy. I could eat dozens if it wasn't for my diet... Sad day. I guess its up to you to eat the rest for me.


  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 and place liners in muffin tins or spray with non stick spray.
  2. Combine the flour, both sugars, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
  3. Add eggs, pumpkin puree, oil and vanilla. Mix well but don't over mix it.
  4. Scoop batter into tins. Do not over fill.
  5. Bake 15 minutes for mini muffins and 20 minutes for larger muffins.
My kids ate these down like they were candy. I guess I'll have to make them again soon. Enjoy!

Cajun Chicken Alfredo

One of my all time favorite recipes and my go to for when we have company over, is Cajun Chicken Alfredo.

It's creamy with a little bit of a bite. No too much though, I don't do spicy so you will be glad to know that all you non-spicy people out there can eat this. It's amazing.


  • l lb Chicken tenders
  • Cajun Spice
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 TB garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups Italian cheese blend
  • 1 lb cooked Fettuccine

  1. Heat skillet over medium heat. coat pat with olive oil. You may need more than the TB if you have a bigger pan.
  2. In a large pot cook Fettuccine according to the package.
  3. Put your already thawed chicken in a plastic bag and sprinkle your Cajun spice into the bag. Seal the bag and make sure all the chicken has a nice coat of spice.
  4. Cook chicken in olive oil until fully cooked through and both sides have a slight browning to them. Remove chicken from skillet and place on a plate to use later.
  5. In the skillet, pour in chicken broth to deglaze the pan and bring the Cajun spices up from the bottom. Add garlic and stir for 2-3 minutes. 
  6. Add cream and simmer for another minute or two to heat up the cream. When the cream is hot enough, add the cheese and stir until it is fully melted and you have a wonderful creamy sauce.
  7. Add the cooked and drained Fettuccine to the sauce and serve with the chicken.
That's all there is too it. Try it out and let me know what you think. This one is for you Ashley!

Menu: Week 111

Here we are at the beginning of another week. Thankfully there were no scary life threatening surprises this time and I was able to spend my weekend loving my family instead of hoping for life to get better.

Enjoy this weeks menu.

- Blue cheese burgers

- Chicken broccoli stir fry

- Million dollar spaghetti

- Oven fried chicken

- Teriyaki salmon

- Tuna sandwiches

- Dinner with the In-laws

Findings Friday

I've had a lot of time to scour Pinterest this week and find you some really awesome finds. Check out the list below to see what I pined or follow this link to check out my boards.

  • I have these Macho Nachos on the menu for the week. They look amazingly delicious and I can't wait to try them.
  • Because its been such a hard week with my dad's heart attack, I've relied a lot on my faith to get me through. Here are some inspiring bible versus for hard times.
  • I couldn't get through my week without a little fashion. Check out this amazing dress and find a new fashion blog to follow.
  • If you're a cat person like I am, you know that when you need a little comforting your feline companion is always there.
  • Our country has some amazing natural sense. Check out this site to see some awesome photos of the natural beauty that surrounds us.
That's all for today. If you have a photo that you would like featured send it my way at shenderson(at) and I'll share it here on my blog.

Saying Goodbye to Summer

Well, with summer fading from our minds and fall creeping up on us, its time to remember some of the fun DIY projects and recipes that i'e shared with all of you over the last few months. Check these out.

One of my first projects from this summer was this awesome DIY solar light cluster. This was really easy to make and only cost me $15 in supplies. Check out the link below to see how it was made.

DIY Solar lights

This was my favorite project this summer. My husband and I turned the ugly towel rack in the bathroom into something that we love to show off. We used wood from our back yard and the cost was about $12 for the rest of the supplies. Check out the link below to see how it was made.

DIY Towel Rack

How about a DIY custom door mat? I loved how I got to make this one personal. My house is chaos all the time and I was able to incorporate that into the decorating of my new home.
Check out how you can make your own by clicking the link below.

DIY custom door mat

This summer we went blueberry picking and one of the most amazing salads I've ever had come of it. If you want the recipe for this amazing blueberry blue cheese salad, check out the link below.

Blueberry blue cheese salad

For my 300th post my husband helped me put together this awesome drawer organizer. It was super easy and super cheap to do. This is a must if your utensil drawer looks like mine did, or you just want it nice and organized. Check out the link below for more details.

DIY utensil drawer organizer

 I have three kids and they grow really fast, so this DIY wooden growth chart is a must around my house. This project cost me about $5 and took about 15 minutes.
Check out the link below to see how it is done.

DIY wooden growth chart

This one was more for my husband. He loves cucumbers and this salad meet his approval. If you too love cucumbers then follow the link below for the recipe.

Delicious lemon cucumber salad

Menu: Week 110

It's strange to think that life can change in the blink of an eye. Yesterday started out like any other Saturday, but by noon it had been flipped on its head and we faced uncertainty.

I got a call from my brother while I was at work. I didn't answer but I figured if it was important he would leave a message. There was no message. Fifteen minutes later my mother called. She never calls when I'm at work unless its an emergency. This time I answered.

With sirens blaring in the back ground I learned that my Dad was having a heart attack and he was on his way to the hospital.

It was unreal. My father has always been strong and he's still so young. This couldn't be happening.

Many things were going through my head at that moment, but there was always one thing that I could rely on in moments like that, my faith. I know I don't get religious on my blog often, but in moments of uncertainty whether you are religious or not a prayer sent up to heaven never goes unheard.

My Dad will be ok. He will need time to rest and recover, but I truly believe that all the prayers sent his way gave everyone the strength to get through this tough time.

I hope you all hug your loved ones a little closer this week and please enjoy a meal around the table as you reflect on your day. Enjoy this weeks menu. I know I will.

- Cajun Chicken Alfredo

- Nachos

- Chicken Tacos

- Blue cheese burgers

- Tortellini and chicken skillet

- Chicken and broccoli stir fry

- Pizza

Findings Friday

Here is another round of Findings Friday. Check out some of the awesome Pinterest findings from this week.

  • Its road trip weather for us here in Oregon. The leaves are changing but the ever greens are still vibrant. 
  • Turn those spring dresses into fall fashion just by adding a sweaters.
  • You can never have too many ballet flats.
  • For a laugh, how about some Mindy project quotes to brighten your day.
  • Bellow is a list of love songs to cuddle with your honey in the cooler evenings as fall approaches. 

Gluten Free Mini Muffins

As a mother with a gluten free child it's some times hard to find snacks that are both safe and delicious for my son. He's still young enough that if I mention gluten free he turns up his nose to it, but if I don't mention it, he wont know the difference. 

These gluten free muffins are amazing. Every single person in my family loved them and the kids had no idea that they were gluten free. Plus, they are tiny enough to put them in their school lunches and they still have room for their cheese sticks. Here's the recipe.

2 eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cups gluten free all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 bag chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Place muffin liners in mini muffin tin or grease tin.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until creamy then mix in the milk and the olive oil.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips, but don't mix to much, the batter will be very thick.
  6. Scoop the batter into the muffin tins, filling only to the brim. Don't over fill.
  7. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Larger muffins will take longer. 

Menu: Week 109

Well, we survived the first week of school with most of our sanity. The boys love going. I'm so glad its another short school week because I still haven't gotten used to making extra food for school lunches. I get to make more gluten free muffins for the boys today. Maybe I can get them to help me? Maybe...

Enjoy this weeks menu.

- Oven baked chili dogs

- Chicken Caesar salad

- Lemon Pepper Chicken Alfredo

- Sticky Sesame Chicken

- Garlic Ranch Chicken Pizza

- Spaghetti

- Dinner with the in-laws

Hidden Storage Books

We've been having problems with a messy book shelf under our TV. It's where we keep our remotes and it always seems to get filled with knick knacks and junk. So, with a little inspiration from good old Pinterest, this is what I came up with. It cost me about $10 in supplies, only because I didn't have enough books around the house that I was willing to get rid of.

This is what the shelf looked like after I had half cleaned it up. It still looked messy.

Supplies you will need:
An assortment of books
A small box
Glue gun
Scissors / Exacto knife.

First, I removed the covers from the books. I felt like I was doing something wrong since I'm an author and all. It was like destroying the one thing I was made to create, Yikes!

After removing all the covers and cutting the spines out of them (Except for the end books of course) I started gluing them to the box.

It was super easy, took me about 10 minutes and turned out awesome! No more mess!

You can't even see the box from the side.

Findings Friday

It has been a long week with the kids going back to school and me trying to figure out how to cope with my children growing up too fast. It's a strange feeling only having my two year old at home with me on Mondays, but we are learning to be patient with each other and how to communicate better. We will be fine... In a few weeks... Maybe...

I still found time this week between dropping kids off at school, grocery shopping and picking them back up again, to pick out some findings that I've come across on Pinterest. Here is the list. Enjoy!

  • I love fall and its warm clothing. Especially scarves, they make me feel so warm. Check out this site with lots of discount coupons for fall styles.
  • As this recipe say, these blueberry muffins are easy. They are also delicious and I made some for my boys with the blueberries that we picked this summer. You really need to try them.
  • How can you beat the beauty of nature. This photo was taken on the road to Los Glaciares national park in Argentina. Amazing! 
  • I've always loved the bohemian style, but sadly I'm a little lost when it comes to fashion. I rely on Pinterest to tell me how to dress. This article has some great tips on how to master the boho style.
  • If you need some funny quotes and sayings to get you through your day, check out this site. There are some seriously funny ones on here.
  • Found this weird post with a Venus fly trap that looks like Santa Clause and blows bubbles with bubble gum. So weird... But awesome!
  • I haven't made these DIY Popsicle stick pallets but I want to. They look like a fun accessory for my living room. 
That's all the good stuff I have for you this week. Enjoy and if you have something you would like me to feature, leave a comment or send me an email.

Sweet and Sour Pork

I've never been a fan of sweet and sour anything, but a few weeks ago my husband requested sweet and sour pork for the weekly menu. I'm up for trying new things and I usually like the things I make. I found this recipe on and tried it out. It was delicious!

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • Pork steak, or I used pork chops cause they were cheap
  • Oil or shortening for frying
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Paprika 
  • 1 TBS. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 15oz can of pineapple chunks
  • 3 TBS. brown sugar
  • 2 TBS. cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 green pepper chopped up
  • 4 cups rice cooked
Here is how it's done. It's super easy:
  1. Heat oil in a pan. Sprinkle pork with paprika and brown in the pan. Cover pan and cook pork for about 20 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Combine in a medium bowl brown sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add the pineapple liquid, soy sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and water until mixture is smooth. Add to meat, cooking over low heat until thick, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in pineapple and green peppers. Cover and simmer over low heat for 6-8 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
  4. Serve over hot cooked rice.
This is really a great recipe and my husband loved it too. Try it out and let me know what you think by leaving me a comment below or sending me an email.