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Easy Summertime Treat – Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Recipes

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What are your favorite things about summer? For our family it’s swimming, boating, riding bikes and of course eating lots of ice cream! I recently picked up this ice cream maker from Walmart and it has been the best purchase. With ice cream being my kids’ treat of choice it’s been getting a lot of use!

 

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Window Treatments – Why we went with Shutters

Collaborations

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One of the most important elements of interior design and many times overlooked is window treatments. They are not only necessary for privacy, but they can also make a major statement and bring your home’s design to the next level.

In my home I installed Polywood® Shutters from Sunburst Shutters on just about every window. I love the clean, modern lines that fit my style perfectly.This type of window treatment brings a classic elegance to each room that will never go out of style.

The Polywood® Shutters are the perfect choice because they are 100% custom made to fit each window. They are also made in the USA and specifically engineered with a durable recyclable solid wood substitute; so they won’t chip, crack, warp, or split.

The installation was easy and painless. Sunburst Shutters sent out someone to take all the measurements and place the order. Then when my custom shutters were ready they delivered and installed them. One feature that sets Polywood® Shutters apart from other plantation shutters is they are extruded with an exclusively patented weather stripping, which adds another layer of window insulation. We all know that windows are a primary source of heat gain/loss inside a home, but these shutters have weather-stripping along each side to provide optimal window insulation, blocking more temperature and light than any other shutter.

This was a big selling point for me because my daughter’s and twin son’s rooms at the front of our home are greatly affected by the heat of the summer sun and the cold of the winter

 

We have now gone through our first winter with these new shutters in our home. I can say from first hand experience that there was a noticeable temperature difference in my kids’ bedrooms. They are a world of difference from the basic blinds we used to have!

 

 

There are a ton of window treatment options out there and I’m super happy with my decision.

These new shutter are the perfect fit for my home and my design style. Plus they are a true classic that never goes out of style!! Now I’m on to the next design project!

-Grey Birch Designs-

“Big Boy” Room Makeover with Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart

DIY Projects

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My youngest son recently asked me to turn his room into a “Big Boy” room so he could be more like his two older brothers. I decided to make his room more sleek and modern in a few ways. First, I wanted to update his wood herringbone feature wall behind his bed. I originally installed the feature wall several years ago but the wood had a very rustic feel. To make the wall more sleek and modern I painted it a dark satin black. It was actually pretty fun and easy to do.

black wood herringbone bedroom feature wallblack bedroom wood herringbone feature wall    

Next, I decided to upgrade some of his furniture and decor. He previously had a lot of hand me down furniture from his older brothers, so he was super excited when I told him he was going to help me pick out some new big boy stuff for his room. I’ve always been a big fan of the Better Homes & Gardens line at Walmart because it’s well designed but still very affordable. It makes a lot of sense to have budget friendly furniture and decor in a kid’s room so it can be easily changed out as he/she matures. I knew I wanted an upholstered bed to compliment his new sleek black wall. The Knox Upholstered Platform Bed has clean simple lines giving the bed a masculine look, but the upholstered headboard gives it a soft feel that’s perfect for a little boy. The bed is also a great size. It adds dimension and texture to the room without taking up a lot of space.

 
bedroom with black wood wall and white bedding

Then I switched my attention to his rug. I wanted a rug that was soft for him to play on but also strong enough to handle some 7 year old punishment! I also needed the rug to be a neutral color with a simple pattern so it didn’t compete with the other colors and textures in his room. I went with the  Trellis Shag Area Rug which has a great soft raised pattern that works well with the bed.

 

Another area of my son’s room that gets a lot of use is his reading nook. He has a thin cabinet for all of his books that fits tightly up against the wall. He also has a comfy leather chair to read in. I wanted to dress up this space so it stayed comfy and functional. While I was shopping I found this cute 28 inch Round Metal Wall Mirror  to hang above his book cabinet. I added a few hanging plants to add in some life and greenery, as well as a cute little sign to fill out the space. This was a really fun and easy weekend update that we were able to complete as a family. We spent one day prepping and painting the feature wall, and another day putting together all the furniture and decor. Travis even did his best to help since he was so excited. Now he has a “Big Boy” room that his older brothers will be jealous of for years to come.

                   pipe shelves and black cabinet in kids bedroom                    leather chair in reading nook of kids bedroom

-Grey Birch Designs-

This post is sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart

Easy Holiday Wreath Update with Krazy Glue

DIY Projects

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Each year when the holidays roll around I always find that my seasonal decor style changes a bit, but I really don’t want to invest in all new decor year after year! Last year I wanted flocking on EVERYTHING, this year not so much. So when I opened up my holiday storage bins and found just about every faux greenery covered in flocking I knew I had to come up with an easy solution that wouldn’t break the bank!

before photo of flocked holiday wreath        After photo of updated flocked holiday wreath              

I had these really nice pre-lit Holiday wreaths I love to hang over the windows in our sunroom, but I wanted to add more natural elements and greenery to balance out the flocking on the wreaths and give them a more natural organic look and less of a white Christmas farmhouse look this Holiday season!

I found some faux greenery stems and mini pinecones that worked well with the flocked wreaths to give me the look I was hoping for! All I needed were some zipties, wire cutters, and Krazy Glue for this project!

Step 1:

First I took my plain flocked wreath and pushed back all the branches so I could get to the metal frame of the wreath. Then I laid down these faux pine leaf stems with baby pinecones (they are larger of the two I picked out for this project) and attached it to the frame with a couple zipties.

attaching faux greenery to a flocked wreath

I repeated this step on the opposite side on the wreath, overlapping the base of the greenery stems just slightly so they flanked the bottom of the wreath and traveled up towards the top.

Step 2:

Next I took my second style of faux stems  (a thicker pine with small berries on it) and layered them on top of the ones I already attached to the wreath. I did the same thing using just a couple zipties to secure the branches to the frame of the wreath.

attaching faux greenery to a flocked wreath and trimming off the extra pieces.

Since the faux greenery I used is traditionally used in things like vases and containers, they have long stems on the bottom that I didn’t need in my wreath. I took some wire cutters and simply cut off what I didn’t want!

Step 3:

Now that I had the greenery secured it was time to fluff the wreath. I wanted the flocked branches and the new stems to look like one so I bent and moved the branches as needed to blend them together in the wreath.

fluffing and styling the flocked wreath

Step 4:

Next came the icing on the cake, that took the wreath from plain to Wow! I cut up pieces of faux frosted eucalyptus and placed then randomly in the wreath. To keep them in place I used the Max Bond Krazy Glue. It works awesome because is has a quick grab time, about 20 seconds, and it bonds to anything!! I placed a small bead of  Krazy Glue around the frosted eucalyptus and held it in place until it grabbed!

using glue to attach faux branches to the flocked wreath

Step 5:

I loved how the faux greenery with the baby pinecones looked in my wreath but it needed more of the little pinecones, so I took more of Krazy Glue and added a handful of these little pinecones around the wreath to bring in a more organic look. I added a pea size amount to the bottom of the pinecones and attached them to random branches in the wreath!

gluing pinecones to the flocked wreath

This was a super easy project for the holidays that I tackled in an afternoon and it completely changed the look of my old plain wreath! Thanks the the versatility of Krazy Glue I was able to get the look I wanted for my holiday decor this year without having to go out and buy all new wreaths!

before photo of flocked holiday wreath         After photo of updated flocked holiday wreath

 

-Grey Birch Designs-

 

 

Holiday Charcuterie Board Baked Brie

Recipes

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 With the holidays around the corner, one of my favorite things to make in the kitchen is a charcuterie board. There are so many different varieties but my favorite is the traditional cheese and meat board. Before I head off to the market, I like to make a list of everything I need. My Samsung refrigerator has a super cool voice controlled assistant called Bixby that makes things really easy. I say “Hey Bixby, add Brie cheese to my grocery list” and it does the rest. Then I can quickly send the list to my phone and head out the door. On the off chance I forget to send the list, I can view the inside of my refrigerator from my phone at the market. Pretty cool! 

                     White kitchen decorated for Christmas wit a stainless steel Samsung refrigerator                   White kitchen decorated for Christmas   

When I build a charcuterie board I like to include fruit, crackers, meats such as prosciutto and salami, and a variety of cheese. My favorite is baked brie. For my baked brie recipe you’ll need:

Charcuterie Board Baked Brie

Charcuterie Board Baked Brie

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Brie cheese wrapped in a puff pastry with added sweetness from brown sugar, jam and a hint of maple syrup!

Ingredients

  • One sheet of puff pastry dough
  • One round brie cheese
  • 2 table spoons strawberry jam
  • 1 table spoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions

    1. Pre-heat the over to 350 F
    2. Slice the top off the brie (optional but it will help the puff pastry stick to the cheese)
    3. Place the brie on top of the puff pastry. Spread the jam on top of the brie and fold the dough over it
    4. Sprinkle the top of the dough with brown sugar and maple syrup
    5. Bake at 35oF for 30 minutes.

Notes

Let cool for 5-10 minuites before serving. Place in the center of your charcuterie board and add fruit, crackers, meats, jams and other cheeses to finish builded your board!

 

          Food to make a charcuterie board and baked brie                food to make baked Brie for a charcuterie board

This recipe is delicious! I have a lot of fun making these charcuterie boards with my family and awesome appliances like my Samsung refrigerator make it stress free! To read more on some of the awesome kid friendly features our Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator has to offer check out my blog post here 

charcuterie board on kitchen counter with baked brie cheese

-Grey Birch Designs-

Our Basement Build Project – The biggest project we have tackled to date!!

DIY Projects

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 This is a project that I didn’t think we would ever see finished. When the plans we had to build a new home fell through (thank you COVID) we decided to finish our basement! Throughout this huge project I’ve been asked the question “Are you happy you didn’t move?’ and I can honestly say it was the biggest blessing in disguise!! It was hard to see at the time, but now sitting here I feel so incredibly happy for where we are!!

For our basement we knew we wanted to build 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchenette, a living room, and a game room! It was a bit overwhelming to think about all the work but also super exciting. We knew it wasn’t going to happen over night, but I’m excited to say we are officially finished with phase one of our basement build!

 
 

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Microwaveable Mug Cake Recipe – With Sharp

Recipes

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It is no secret that our family spends a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking, eating, and laughing together. That is why it is important for me to have high-quality appliances in my home that I can depend on year-round.  Over the last eight months, we have enjoyed spending extra time teaching our kids some of our favorite family recipes since we have been spending so much more time at home!
 

 

 

We recently upgraded our microwave oven to the Sharp 1.8 Cubic Feet Stainless Steel 1100W Over-the-Range Microwave Oven and could not be more excited to share all of the details with you all. I have to say, the edge-to-edge stainless steel, black glass, and discreet branding (yes, the logo is on the inside of the oven)  make this oven pair beautifully with our other stainless steel kitchen appliances. 

 

Our Sharp above range microwave oven saves on counter space without compromising functionality in our kitchen. This full-feature over-the-range microwave oven from Sharp offers convenient Sensor Cook Technology and Auto Defrost, making cooking and reheating my favorite foods, snacks, and beverages easier. 

 

During the day, our kids love to use our Sharp microwave oven to make a quick meal and hit the Express Cook +30 button to warm their food up; it truly makes cooking more simple during the day. The kids are super impatient,  so it’s an excellent one-button feature. Given that our family uses the kitchen appliances in our home MUCH more now than we have in the past, the Simply Better Clean enamel coating inside the oven is a life-saver because it is stain resistant wipes clean with a damp cloth.

 

This Sharp over-the-range microwave oven also includes a super cool setting to soften ice cream for dessert time! If you don’t have a sweet tooth, worry not. The Melt/Soften feature is also specifically tuned to quickly melt cheese, chocolate, or soften butter, making impulse baking a breeze.

 

My daughter’s most recent baking obsession to make when she is craving something sweet (which is all the time) in our Sharp Microwave Oven are mug cakes! By far, their favorite is the Chocolate Banana. It’s super easy to make:

 

 
Chocolate Banana Mug Cake
 
Ingredients:
One medium banana
2 TBSP cacao powder
2 TBSP almond milk
1 egg
2 TBSP maple syrup
1/2 TSP baking powder
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup flour
 
   

 

Directions:
Mash the banana inside a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients together. Stir in the dry ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips. Grease 2 microwave safe mugs with cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the 2 mugs. Individually microwave the mugs for 60-90 seconds – this is where the Express Cook +30 button comes in handy. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whip cream and enjoy!
 
 

 

Overall, we’ve been very happy with our new Sharp over-the-range microwave oven and recommend incorporating a Sharp microwave into your kitchen design. The microwave oven is very well made, making it super practical for everyday family life, and it looks so sleek and premium in our newly remodeled kitchen!

 

-Grey Birch Designs-

 

 

Living Room Update

Design Tips

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hunter Fan Company. All opinions are 100% mine.

I recently gave my living room a little update. I have been really loving the more eclectic, lived-in look than the matchy matchy look. I wanted my living room to have a warm, inviting feel with a mix of old vintage and new modern designs.

I started with my sectional pillows. Instead of picking 2 or 3 of the same throw pillows and repeating them throughout the sofa, I picked 7 different pillows that all complemented each other but were still different. This really makes the room feel like things have been collected over time and not staged. Next I changed my rug to a larger size. Our living room is pretty big and our previous 8×10 rug didn’t adequately fill out the space. I went with this new rug because of all its amazing texture. I’m a sucker for good high texture pieces!


The biggest change was upgrading our ceiling fan to this matte black Solaria from Hunter Fan Company It’s the best fan we have ever had. We had previously had a 52″ fan in here and it really didn’t move the air around very well so it was time for it to go!

Aside from this fan being a larger size, 60″ in fact it has the brands exclusive SureSpeed technology, which means it’s a high-velocity fan with airflow optimized for high-speed cooling … and let me tell you that’s exactly what it does! The fan has specially designed blades and the motor is smaller, which makes it push air more efficiently 20% more airflow than other fans! It also has an LED light, which is nice because we have been switching all our lights to LED – they are long lasting and energy efficient. But my favorite thing about this fan is thepre-paired and ready to use wall control! It eliminates the need for a remote and that’s a total game changer. There is nothing more frustrating than losing your fan remote and not be able to control it … believe me I know from first hand experience.

I have only seen this wall control feature on Hunter fans and I think it’s the smartest design I have ever seen! All you do it install in on your switch plate and it’s ready to use. You can turn it on and off through the wall control, as well as change the direction the fan spins and the speed, all from one place! Yay for never misplacing your ceiling fan remote again!!

The last thing I did to round out this room update was add in some vintage and faux vintage looking pottery, warm wood tones, house plants, and some candles! It wasn’t a big change but boy does this space feel more homie and functional, with an eclectic vibe that I’m completely in love with!!

-Grey Birch Designs-

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