Little Letters

animal in the attic

Dear Animal Living in our Attic:  Even though you’re super entertaining to Penny and Seuss, I’d be really excited if you just got the hell out of here.

Dear Penny:  Look at your pantaloons in that picture!  Looking epic.

Dear KC:  Remember how you asked if we had any plans this weekend, and then asked if we could clean out all the closets?  I sure do love you.

Dear Heartburn:  As fun as it was to have you here (meaning: not at all), it would be great if you could just go ahead and leave and never come back.

Dear Beef Stew:  What about how I’m planning on making you for Halloween?  It’s gonna be so delicious.

Dear 7qt Staub Pot:  I think you’re going to need to find a way into my kitchen stash.  Deal?

Dear Halloween:  You’re just around the corner!  I’m gonna eat so much candy.

Dear August:  What will you be for Halloween?  I can’t wait to see you all dressed up!

Dear Credit Card Payment (which included the down payment on the new car):  Oof.

Dear Everyone:  Homemade Christmas gifts this year?

Love, Chelsea

Cheesy Garlic Noodles

Cheesy Garlic Noodles

First of all, I had to google how to spell “cheesy.”  I wasn’t sure if it was “cheesy” or “cheesey,” and really, both don’t look right to me.  Apparently “cheesy” is the correct spelling, though, according to google, so who am I to question that.

Second, this isn’t health food, so let’s not pretend that it is.  I mean, the healthiest thing in this whole dish is the garlic, and there’s only one clove of it in the dish, so… that should give you an idea of where this falls on the “I feel good about eating this” scale.

That said, sometimes you just need a dish like this.  Sometimes you want to make mac and cheese from a box, but you decide that maybe making this is a tiny bit better, if only because you know what’s actually going into your body.  (Seriously, what is that cheese packet made out of?  It’s like neon orange.)

I call dishes like this “babysitter food,” because it’s the type of thing I’d whip up when I was babysitting back in the day (heyyy high school), after I’d convinced the kids that yes, they really did need to go to bed even though their parents weren’t home.  (Of course, I’d generally let them sneak in an extra 30 minutes of Veggie Tales beforehand…)

So next time you’re feeling like having something a little indulgent, or you simply have zero ingredients to make any semblance of a real meal — try this out.  You won’t be disappointed.  (Unless garlic sometimes gives you heartburn, like it does to me.  Ouch.)

Cheesy Garlic Noodles 1

Cheesy Garlic Noodles

serves 2


  • 1/4 pound spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
  • parmesan or pecorino romano cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Once boiling, add in a big handful of salt and cook noodles according to package instructions.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, combine butter, olive oil and garlic into a small pan over low heat (lowest heat possible!).  Cook until butter is melted and garlic is fragrant, 2-3 minutes.
  3. When pasta is done, drain it and transfer to a bowl.  Pour the butter, oil and garlic mixture over the top and toss to combine.  Add in cheese to taste (I like a couple handfuls) and toss to combine.

It literally doesn’t get any easier than that.


In a Slump

so tiredI had planned to take pictures of our Halloween decorations this week and talk about our plans for the holiday.

I had also planned to take pictures of the floor we redid downstairs (like, 100 years ago) and post about that little redo.

And I realize that it’s only Tuesday and I may actually get my act together and find the time and energy to make that all happen this week.

Or I might not.

Frankly, I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately.  While I’m super excited about the fact that it’s finally fall and the holidays are juuust around the corner (I mean, I can almost hear those sleigh bells jing-a-ling, ring-ting-ting-a-ling), I really haven’t felt much like myself lately.  I’ve been fighting some kind of flu/cold thing and ended up just staying home from work yesterday because I was feeling so crappy and tired.  And during what should have been a relaxing afternoon, I discovered that we have some kind of critter running amok in our attic and front wall (always a welcome surprise.  Not.)

So, since this space is where I talk about what’s going on in my life — that’s what’s going on.  Life feels a little messy (as does our house), I’ve been avoiding my usual routine of cooking like the plague, and I kind of just want to hang out under the covers and wake up when it’s Halloween.  Or November.

Does that ever happen to you?  Where nothing is really tragic or wrong within your life, but you’re just kind of… tired?

I think I need to just snap out of it.

Anyhoo, that’s the deal.  I’m hoping I can work on getting back to being a productive human being over the next few weeks.  At that point things will hopefully pick up on the blog and be a little more interesting.

For now, bear with me, as things might be a little more silent over here.  (Or, at least a little less interesting than I’d prefer.)

Little Letters

sleepy penny

Dear Sleepy Pup: I feel exactly the same.  Let’s just snooze the day away.

Dear Mom:  Happy birthday tomorrow!  25 years since the big quake too — think you’ll ring in this one with another natural disaster?  (Let’s hope not.)

Dear House:  You’re looking so festive for Halloween!  I can’t wait to watch Young Frankenstein and Hocus Pocus.  And of course my all-time favorite, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Dear October:  Finally you’ve gotten the memo about fall weather!  I love it.  Please keep the cold/grey/rain coming.  (Especially the rain!)

Dear Nails:  I need a mani/pedi.  Like, stat.

Dear Soups:  I’m excited to start making you soon.  Especially since I have had zero interest in cooking anything as of late…

Dear Boudin:  Remember how delicious you are?  I had almost forgotten.

Dear Penny:  I can’t wait to put you in your little Halloween costume!  I’ve got to start getting my “scuba suit” together.

Dear Trick-or-Treaters:  We are getting full-size candy bars this year, so I hope there’s more of you than there were last year.  (So, six or more would be ideal…)

Dear KC:  Remember how you spent a full hour putting up Halloween decorations last week?  I love you.

Love, Chelsea

My Fall Bucket List


It’s officially been fall for a few weeks now, so I’ve started thinking about what I’d like to knock off of my fall bucket list this year:

  1. Have the first fire of the season in the fireplace (y’know, once it’s not a million degrees outside)
  2. Spend a rainy day inside watching movies under a blanket (with lots of popcorn)
  3. Figure out how to make a scent on the stove that makes the whole house smell like the holidays
  4. Paint the ceiling downstairs and finally finish off that freaking laundry/family room (uggghhhh)
  5. Post about our little basement redo (complete with floor install!)
  6. Make applesauce from scratch
  7. Make some sort of fall muffin (plum streusel? apple bran? pumpkin cream cheese? So many options!)
  8. Indulge KC and try his special fall-cocktail (Fireball + hard apple cider.  But seriously, ew.)
  9. Take a walk outside with Penny once the air is nice and crisp (and step on every single crunchy leaf I see)
  10. Host Thanksgiving for the second year in a row (like a boss!)

What’s on your list this year?  Fall knits + sweater snuggles with a special someone?  Pumpkin-based everything all the time?  I’d love to hear all about it!

Little Letters


Dear August: You are so sweet and snuggly and loved.  And you’re going to be the best dressed baby on the block if I have anything to say about it.

Dear Fall:  You’ve arrived!  How wonderful.  I can’t wait to make all kinds of soups and stews and figure out this new crock pot I bought.  Oh yeah, and I can’t wait for all the rain you’re going to be bringing (hint hint).

Dear Halloween: I think we’re going to decorate the house in your honor next weekend!  KC is so excited about that life-size skeleton we bought.  (And I am too.)

Dear New Car:  You sure are nice, but you really make me stress about finances.

Dear September:  You’re kind of dragging.  I’m excited for it to be October soon.

Dear Hard Cider:  What about how KC is obsessed with you?  It’s very fall-appropriate, but I can’t really get on board.

Dear Pumpkin Spice Latte:  I don’t care about you at all (never have, never will).  I’m only excited for the Christmas beverages to come out.  (Christmas coffee!)

Dear KC:  I am so excited to have zero plans this weekend so we can relax and hang out (just me and you).  I love you.

Dear Beauty’s Bagels:  I can’t even deal with how delicious you are.  So hooked (even though there’s always a line).

Dear Dinner:  Make yourself tonight?  Thanks.

Love, Chelsea

DIY: Updating a Dresser (for a nursery!) Plus, a Tea Cart

Happy Monday, friends!  I have a brand new DIY post for you (hooray!)

My sister Alexis recently bought a house AND had a baby, so while moving and decorating a nursery, she discovered that she had a couple pieces of furniture that she wanted to update.

Given that I like to paint things, I offered to help her refinish two of her pieces — an old wooden tea cart and painted wood dresser:

cart dresserTo start, we sanded the pieces down (a quick sanding, since y’all know how I really feel about sanding things…)  Also, there’s little else that’s more amusing than seeing a 9-months pregnant woman wielding a power sander.  (The fact that she kind of went into labor the next day may or may not have been a coincidence…)

After the beasts were sanded, we wiped them down with a clean cloth, and had our men step in to help me prime and paint (because really, they weren’t doing anything, and an almost-mama has no business being around paint fumes — so she got to hang out on the couch.)

The pieces got primed:

dresser primed cart primedI used a new primer this time, hence why it’s gray.  I picked up KILZ MAX®* at Home Depot and had the people working the paint counter tint the primer gray since we were going to be painting these pieces dark colors.  (Awesome that you can tint the primer, right?  Makes covering the piece with your desired paint color sooo much easier.)  And you guys know how much I love primer.  I mean, don’t even think about painting furniture without it!

kilz max primerWe let the primer set for about an hour, then got to painting the pieces.

Alexis chose a woodsy sage green for the dresser (to go in le bébé’s nursery) and a dark navy for the cart, which now lives in their family room.

I didn’t actually get to photograph the finished pieces until the day Alexis was in labor at the hospital, so I may have been a little distracted — I apologize if these pictures aren’t my best work.

dresser finished 2And how cute is that little wooden elephant?  It was a present from me and KC (we got it while traveling through Scotland earlier this year).

I think the green is quite an improvement on the teal/white combo:

dresser finished 3 dress finished 1The dilapidated tea cart got new life with it’s new navy coat:

cart finished 2Let’s just ignore the painters tape on the wheels…  Remember, my sister was in labor when I took these, so I really couldn’t focus on anything but that!

cart finished 3 cart finished 1The how-to is down below!

How to Paint Painted Furniture

What you’ll need:

  • Piece you’re painting
  • Sandpaper (we used medium grit 100)
  • Optional: electric sander
  • Clean dry cloth(s)
  • Optional (but recommended): drop cloth
  • Primer (we used KILZ MAX* and had the paint counter tint it gray)
  • Paint (we used semi-gloss indoor paint)
  • Paint brushes
  • Optional: finisher like urethane to seal the surface
  1. Sand all surfaces of the piece that you’ll be painting (a once-over is fine.  You just want to rough up the surface a bit so the primer adheres to it.)
  2. Wipe down the piece with a clean dry rag to remove all dust and debris.
  3. Paint 1-2 thin coats of primer, allowing at least an hour between each coat to dry.
  4. Once well-covered, paint 1-3 thin coats of your paint, until the piece is fully covered (allow an hour between each coat).
  5. Allow the piece to cure for at least 72 hours, then you can finish the surfaces with urethane, if desired (helps defend against wear and tear for surfaces that get a lot of use).

*This post was sponsored by KILZ MAX, but all opinions are my own.