TV Armoire to Office Space

Ahhh, the gi-normous TV armoire from days of yore.

Since switching to a flatscreen TV on a low, unobstrusive cabinet, the big ol' Bessy that used to house our old TV has had an identity crisis.  First we stored our liquor in it, and had visions of putting up a mirror in the back and adding shelves to hold glassware.  The panel in the back had been cut out to allow for the big behind of the old TV.  {This is the day we moved when I was cleaning it out so pardon the dust.  Okay....I'm really just a horrible housekeeper!}

Using a TV armoire as a bar is a great use of the space.  Check out these repurposed cabinets:
Photo:  Lookiloos

Photo:  MommaCass/GardenWeb

However, since we moved to our new house I realized this armoire would make a lovely home office for moi.  And although it is far from complete, since the wonderful and Centsational Girl, Kate, is posing the question "Where do you blog?" I thought I'd join the party and share with you my visions for this space.

Here she is today:  the hub of my house, where I blog, check emails, look at the family calendar, and study.

All the electronics fit inside, including the printer, the harddrive, and all those ugly wires. 

I decided to hang my old photos before I painted this room, so that I could try out different displays and patch unused nail holes.  This wall is a work in progress, but it is next to my computer and I love seeing these special photos every day. 

My grandparents in Mayo, Ireland in the 1930s.

Look how cute my father-in-law was as a babe!  Love, love, love this photo.

Here's my mom when she was about 23 with her nieces,  rocking the 1960's Jackie O look!  If I may say so myself, she's as gorgeous now as she was then.

Okay - sorry -  I got a little sidetracked there!  Getting back to my bloggin' spot...
I have some grandiose ideas of what I can do with this little box o'mine.  Just look at these divine spaces!
Photo:  Happy Wives Club (?)

Photo:  Country Living
Photo:  Thomas J. Story/myhomeideas.com

Photo:  Seymour Cabinet - Pottery Barn/2007

For the back of the armoire, I'm thinking of covering a board with some fabulous geometric wallpaper or fabric like this on from Kravet.
I'll utilize the doors as cork or message boards, get some cute accessories and a lamp to jazz up the space, and a rolling keyboard tray to improve functionality.  I'm so excited for this project! 

Thanks for joining me to check out my home office!  The bloggers who have linked up to Kate's party have some truly lovely spaces to share - check it out here.  And be sure to see Kate's office - it's gorgeous!

Thanks for hosting, Kate!  Have a wonderful day everyone!


Color Without Commitment

Hello, hello, hello, my friends!  I hope you are enjoying these fleeting days of summer!

I have been trying to pack in lots of activities into these last few days before the kids go back to school.  Since we moved at the beginning of August, we haven't done much that is noteworthy and the Mama Guilt started kicking in.  So...a trip to the beach, another to Canobie Lake Park (an amusement park) and lots of swimming later, the kids step onto the school bus tomorrow morning and the mom gets back into a routine - including blogging on a more frequent basis! 
Thank you for tuning in despite lack of activity over here at Shine Your Light!

If you saw our new family room that we painted, you might think that I am a neutral girl and hold a grudge against color.  This isn't so!  Color, you did nothing to offend me! 

We are on our fourth house as a married couple and over the past thirteen years I have had rooms of almost ever color of the rainbow (except for orange, until we moved here to walls of burnt orange with peach trim!  Lovely.)  Our last two houses were colonials, and I was constantly seeking a balance between traditional decor, which I felt was appropriate for the style of the house, and some creative and eclectic elements that I lean toward.  This time, while we are again in a colonial-style house, we are pursuing a different vibe, not so traditional, more beachy, airy and comfortable.  No rooms that are off-limits for our children.  A place where guests can put their feet up in rooms that we actually use more than twice a year.

And so, we start by neutralizing this space.  After the painting, the fun will begin when I can interject color in bits and pieces to the space. 

This room is my favorite inspiration - I adore vintage travel posters, and these colorful accents!  It's cheerful and happy, and how easily interchangeable are pillows for the seasons or when you tire of them?
Photo:  Traditional Home

I love the neutral backdrop in these next few photos, accented with punches of color. 
Photo:  Southern Living

Photo:  Erica Georges Dines/Southern Living

Photo:  DecorPad

Photo:  Country Living

Photo:  Candace Olson/HGTV

My first contribution to the color palette of our new home is the Serafina roman shade from PB (on sale as it's discontinued.)  The shade will go in our first floor bathroom which I've been busy as a bee giving a facelift to.  Now I am stalking ebay looking for some more of this fabric to make pillows for the family room!

Here's a sneak peek of the bathroom before it's makeover in, as you guessed, all it's PEACH glory!:
I'll be showing you the after of this little bathroom very soon!

Have a wonderful day and thanks for visiting!


There is no way to happiness.

Happiness is the way.

So, treasure every moment that you have.

And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special.
And remember that time waits for no one.
So stop waiting until you finish school, 
until you go back to school,
until you lose ten pounds,
until you gain ten pounds,
until you have kids,
until your kids leave the house,
until you start work,
until you retire,
until you get married,
until you get divorced,
until Friday night,
until Saturday morning,
until you get a new car or home,
until your car or home is paid off,
until spring, until summer,
until fall, until winter,
until you are off welfare,
until the first or fifteenth,
until your song comes on,
until you've had a drink,
until you've sobered up,
until you die,
until you are born again,
to decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination
Work like you don't need the money,
Love like you've never been hurt,
And dance like no one's watching.
{Author Unknown}


Giada's Chicken Cacciatore

I'm an Irish girl who grew up on a meat-n-potatoes diet.  The Irish get a bad rap for not knowing their way around a kitchen, but in my family we have a lots of great cooks.  I always loved cooking, and baking, and eating.  As a mom, I'm all about trying to help my kids develop a love for lots of different foods, and in doing so I've realized I've had unfounded hangups about certain foods. 

Mushrooms.  Blech!
Capers.  No thanks!
Olives.  Nasty!

How can I expect my kids to be adventurous eaters when I myself won't even eat a certain celebrated food because it happens to belong to the fungi family?

I have learned to really enjoy mushrooms by experimenting with them in my cooking.  Now that I have conquered the mushroom I've moved on to the caper.  Why dislike a caper?  It actually brings a briny, delicious flavor to a sauce that is quite delightful.  If you're not a caper lover, and especially if you are, I beg you to try this recipe from Giada de Laurentiis' cookbook Everyday Italian.  Delicioso!

Now time to get over olives. 

Chicken Cacciatore

4 chicken thighs
2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise

2 t salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c flour
3 T olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 t dried oregano
3/4 c dry white wine
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 T drained capers
1/4 c chopped fresh basil

{I substituted the bone-in chicken with 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts and the taste is still delicious.  Cooking any meat with bone in and skin on will give your dish more flavor but I opt for the low-fat version whenever possible.}

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 t each salt & pepper.  Dredge chicken pieces in flour to coat lightly.
In a large, heavy saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, saute chicken just until brown, 3-5 minutes per side.  Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic and oregano to the same pan and saute over medium heat until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.
Chop everything before you begin cooking and clean up your work space as you go.
Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth and capers.  Return chicken to pan and coat in sauce. 
Bring sauce to a simmer, and continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes for bone-in breasts and 30 minutes for thighs, and approximately 15 minutes for boneless breasts.

Using tongs, transfer chicken to a platter.  If necessary, boil sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. 

{I serve this dish with thin spaghetti.  Cook according to directions and after draining, lightly coat with olive oil until chicken cacciatore is ready.}  When serving, spoon sauce over chicken and spaghetti and garnish with basil.
Bon appetit!


Shine Your Light

You are like a light for the whole world. 
A city built on a hill cannot be hid.   No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead he puts it on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house.  In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16


Those Sweet Days of Summer

This summer has been a whirlwind for my family.  I am so glad that we spent a week on Cape Cod and weekends away with friends and family before we moved, because since we moved we haven't done much that is noteworthy.  This is the nature of the moving beast - my days are spent trying to find the scotch tape, the checkbook or bug spray in boxes stored in the basement while the kids happily run amuck with the neighborhood children.  No one is complaining, but with one week to go until the kids start a new school year I have felt inclined to put down the paint brush and enjoy these fleeting moments of freedom with them.

 This week we took the train into the city {Boston} with our friends to spend a leisurely day.  I have oft wondered why, oh why, when my family emmigrated from Ireland, did they choose a part of the United States that has long, cold winters, but New England summers make living in this part of the country so worthwhile.   The weather was brilliant - low 80s, breezy, with wispy clouds dancing across a hazy blue sky.  Our fair city is filled with the sites and sounds of the modern world amidst churches that are in their third century. 
The crown of Trinity Church in Copley Plaza

 The Boston Public Garden was filled with musicians, tourists, lovebirds and children. 
Taking a ride on the Swan Boats in the Boston Public Garden is an annual tradition for us.
Good thing my eldest darling was in camp as he would have perished at the thought of doing this with his family in broad daylight!
The Public Garden always has the most amazing flowers in bloom!
And then there are trees to climb....
....and handstands to be exhibited while picnicking on the Common.

The rooms can wait to be painted, but these summer days and childhoods are passing in the blink of an eye.  Oh the sweet days of summer with my cherubs!