Bye Bye Carpet

Today is the day!  This carpet is about to be ripped off the stairs and replaced with wood.


So here are the before shots.

stairs with frames

Can’t wait to share what it looks like when it’s completed.

Happy Thursday,

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

Chicken & Dumplings are yummy and perfect for a cold fall evening.  This meal is the closest I’ve come to making something from scratch.  The best thing about this recipe is my whole family loves it!  I posted on Instagram and many friends asked for the recipe.  So here goes…


To begin you will need:

  • A stick of butter
  • Half an onion chopped up
  • 1 clove of Garlic (I normally use fresh but didn’t have any on hand)

Put the above in a big pot and heat over medium heat until the onions are cooked to the consistency you like.

carmelizing onions

Now add your water.  Uh oh…I don’t have an exact measurement to give you because I just add water until the pot is almost full. Turn that heat up to medium high to high (depending on your stove.)

newpot filler

  • Cut up chicken & add to pot.  I usually cut up about 2 to 3 chicken breasts.

boiling chicken

While the chicken is boiling.  It’s time to get the dumplings ready.

new Ingredients for dumplings

Dumplings Recipe

Even though the recipe says drop spoonfuls, if I have time, I let the kids roll the dough into balls.  Otherwise, it totally works to just spoon up some dough and drop in.

Dumpling Dough2

When you are mixing the dough, at first you will think you don’t have enough milk…keep stirring and it will form into a dough.

Dumpling Dough

The kids love to mix the dough and roll it.

girl scooping dumpling dough

Dumplings and Dough

girl rolling dumplings


By the time you are done with making the dumplings, your chicken will most likely be cooked.  If not, let it boil until the chicken is cooked through.

before dumplings

After the chicken is cooked, if the water is not boiling, turn up the heat to high and wait for the stock to boil.  Once it is boiling, add your dumpling dough.

adding dumplings

If a child is helping you with this, make sure you remind them the pot is hot and to carefully drop the dumplings into the soup.  Otherwise, the mixture might pop up onto their and burn them. (I know this by experience)

newdroppings dumplings into pot

  • add some salt and pepper to soup

After you have carefully dropped your dumplings into the pot, turn down the heat to low.  Cook uncovered for 10 minutes then cover with lid and cook for another 10 minutes.  It is completely normal for the liquid to have a white creamy consistency.

ENJOY!  Sometimes I double the dumpling recipe because that is everyone’s favorite part!

new bowl of chicken and dunplings

Feel free to pin the following collage to your recipe or food boards on Pinterest so you can find it when you want to make it. 🙂

Simple Chicken and Dumplings at

Simple Chicken & Dumplings Ingredients:

  • Salt & Pepper
  • Stick of Butter
  • Half of Onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • Chicken (around 2 to 3 chicken breasts)
  • 2 Cups of Bisquick
  • 2/3 Cup of Milk
  • Water (depends on the size of your pot…about 3/4 full)

Always LOVE to hear your feedback. Please let me know if you tried this and you & your family liked it.

From our family’s kitchen to yours,

The Monster Rap Family

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Halloween Mantel

Happy Halloween from our family to yours!

Stay safe,

Who Says Crafting & Recycling Don’t Go Together?

oklahoma craft class

For today’s Wordless (actually limited) Wednesday I wanted to share a pic of an upcoming craft class.  We will be putting to good use our old catalogs and magazines.  Besides, gotta love how fun and therapeutic decoupage can be.  So all you local readers, be sure and head to Dottie’s to reserve your spot…any state can be made.  Please email me if you have any more questions about the class.  And as usual, I will have a tutorial on here after the class.

Crafts bring joy,

Outdoor Living Area Reveal

I’ve been waiting for over a month to post photos of our new pergola and outdoor living areas.  Unfortunately, the brick layers are not done with the outdoor fireplace.  I decided I’m tired of waiting.  I’m bringing you the reveal today.  Drum roll…

outdoor living area

I’m very pleased with how this space has turned out.  Now I wish I could show you a before photo.  I’ll have to put that on my to do list.  But for now, picture the entire slab of concrete by the pool completely empty for over a year.

I bought the pergola from Average Joe’s Pergola Depot. (Here I go again giving free advertising…way to go Shan, you should’ve asked for a discount or something)  They have the best prices on the web for pergolas.  The name of our pergola design is The Big Kahuna.  It still needs some stain.  The wood is cedar, but it’s already lightened up a bit since we bought it in May.

The black and white chevron rug (7′ 10″ x 10′ 10″) is from Ballard Designs.  The rug (indoor/outdoor) has held up beautifully.  We’ve had lots of rain this summer.  It still looks brand new.  I’m very happy with the quality.  Can’t wait to show this photo to the lovely people from Ballard Designs at Haven Conference this week!

The furniture came in a set from Lowe’s.  I wish I could have chose a color for the cushions.  I like the white cushions, yet they show dirt pretty easily.

entire view of pergola

Here (above) you can see the full pergola and the partially done fireplace.  Sorry for the fence in the photo.  Whenever the fireplace is finished I will take a photo without the fence.  The fence normally goes around the entire pool.  We took part of it down for the 4th of July when we had friends over and haven’t put it back up yet.  I was happy to get a shot with the sunset in the background.

Now we have a sweet place to hang out with some shade.  What do you think?

Home brings joy,

Anything Could Happen

Hey there!

haven buttonI’m getting excited about the blog conference I’m attending in Atlanta next week called Haven.  Last night there was a twitter party for attendees.  I was tweeting away with the best of them, only to realize nobody could read my tweets because my twitter account is “private.”  I used to have my twitter open to the public and received all kinds of SPAM so I decided to privatize it.  It was kind of a let down since the whole idea of having the party was to get to know some of the bloggers before attending the conference.

So I was visiting the Haven Link Up…

haven link up photo


I’m wondering if I’m going to a modeling conference instead of a home bloggers conference.  Holy cow…if you want to see more of the beautiful bloggers click here.  If you are not sure what a link up is…it’s where you link up your blog so conference attendees can get to know each other by visiting their blogs.  Most bloggers inserted a photo of themselves instead of using their blog’s logo like I did.  Honestly, it’s probably a good idea to add a photo so people can put a name with a face.  However, I don’t really have a professional updated {with my new pixie cut} photo to share.  I need to do that.

Anyway, all of these bloggers look beautiful.  There’s nothing to say that they shouldn’t be beautiful.  Everyone is beautiful to God since we are all His children.  I guess it’s just a little intimidating.  I’m not sure what that says about me.  I’ve had friends tell me they used to think I was intimidating before they got to know me.  {I’m pretty sure it’s not because they thought I was model worthy.}  I’m completely and utterly shocked when this information was explained to me.  The LAST thing I would want would be for someone to be intimidated by me.  I love people and strive to be as friendly as possible to everyone I meet.

Shan at Blissdom

Blissdom 2012

Here’s what I have learned about myself after attending 2 Blissdom blog conferences.  Even though I am secure in who I am as a person…even though I am content in knowing I’m not the top blogger on the block…even though I’m a people person…I still struggle socializing at conferences.  I am the girl who always wants everyone to feel accepted.  In high school I struggled with being friends with just one group of people.  For me, it was better to be friends with people from all the different “groups” than to ostracize people who weren’t in my group of friends.  This can be a little difficult because then I don’t feel like I belong anywhere.

before Blissdom cocktail party

Me before Blissdom cocktail party

Let’s face it, when a bunch of women get together {sorry I know there are men bloggers too} invariably cliques form.  It’s like a law of nature or something.  This part makes me uncomfortable.  It’s not necessarily the workshops I have a problem with, it’s the “cocktail” parties and formal occasions.  You walk in and everyone is dressed up.  I like to dress up.  It’s fun when most days I wear t shirts and jeans.  After I walk into the party, and since I don’t know many people…well, it’s awkward.  Where do I go?  Who do I stand by?  Who do I talk to?  Then I feel as though people around me are noticing I’m alone.  I begin to think, “they must think I’m a real loser since I don’t have friends to come to the party with.”  The last conference I went to had a scenario like this:  I walked up to a table with 2 younger woman.  I asked if the spot at the table was taken… if I could join them.  They politely said I could join them.  We began to talk small talk and exchanged our business cards with our blogs on them.  I don’t remember exact words these girls said (thankfully), however I do remember how they made me feel.  I felt small…less than.  This is the exact feeling I never want people to have around me.  Nobody, I don’t care how many visitors come to your blog a day, is better than another person.  We all have problems.  We all have talents.  There is a quote that says “comparison is the thief of joy.”  I completely agree.  Once we begin to compare ourselves to another person we become insecure with who we are.  That feels dark and lonely.  Joy is filled with light and unity.

Roomspiration Blog Hop & Link Party


After sharing the preceding story you might wonder why I even want to go to these conferences.  Well, fortunately, those “cocktail” parties are few and far between in the grand scheme of the conference.  The majority of the time you are in workshops learning more about the world of blogging and in this particular conference, home blogging.  The last 2 conferences I attended were for all types of bloggers, open to all.  But do you know who were the most genuine and friendly bloggers I met there were?  Yep, it was the home bloggers.  These are the women who focus primarily on inspiring others with things they do in their home by way of design and DIY.  After Blissdom, and later in the year, I had the amazing opportunity to be invited to participate in a blog hop with many influential home bloggers.  Do you remember what it was called…Roomspiration.  The other participants welcomed me warmly and helped whenever I had questions about anything.  I have never been able to meet any of these sweet ladies in person.  At least not yet, because I will next week at Haven!  A teensy part of me is nervous they won’t remember me.  It’s been a while since Roomspiration and I haven’t posted as often as I did then.

Whether those girls remember me or not, whether I make any new friends or not, I still want to go.  Going to the conference gives me something to look forward to.  I get away for a little bit from my normal routine and I am Shan the blogger.  I’m not so and so’s mom or so and so’s wife, I’m just me.  I enjoy being around other women who share in my passion for blogging.  I’m not going to let my uncomfortableness of certain social settings keep me from attending.  We have to take risks in life to grow and learn.  It’s not always pleasant, but wisdom and experience are the fruits yielded.

A friend once said this about me, “what you see is what you get.”  He is exactly right.  I don’t hide behind my feelings.  Many times I say the things I’m thinking when I probably shouldn’t because it sometimes is taken the wrong way.  I like to be unique and creative in the way I dress.  I absolutely despise gossip, which I know for a fact has kept me from having more friends.  I just try to treat others the way I would like to be treated.  Therefore, if I don’t want to be gossiped about, then I don’t gossip.  I have a big heart and only want the very best for people.  I have sincerely enjoyed writing and posting photos about our family’s home.  I’m grateful for the countless people I have gleaned inspiration from to make our home a haven.

Front of our home

If you are attending Haven next week, I hope to meet you.  Please use my comments section as a sort of guestbook to let me know you stopped by.  I would love to visit your blog as well.  BTW, thank you for visiting my small abode. 😉  Only 5 more days…

Home Brings Joy,