Tuesday, May 26, 2015

{ Simple Sun Tea! }

Today was a warm & sunny productive Tuesday!! The heat was kicking my bum & that's when I decided to make some simple ,yet refreshing sun tea! I used to make sun tea all the time when we lived in our condo. I would set the jar out on our screened in porch & the sun would drench the jar in a matter of minutes leaving us with some delicious tea for days!! I must say I haven't made sun tea in almost 3 years , but why not today?! My grams gave me a glass mason jar dispenser so I put it to use today! For this simple recipe keep reading below...


. Glass jar
. 5-8 Regular Tea bags
. 3 tablespoons honey
.3 tablespoons sugar { Optional }
. 4 sprigs of mint
. Lemon { Optional }

** This is my own recipe, so you can tweak the above ingredients to your liking!  

Fill the jar with cold water { You can boil the water first too } & add the tea bags & mint! Let the jar sit in the sun until the water is tinted, this usually takes 1-2 hours! After the tea is done, add the honey, lemon & sugar! Put the jar in the fridge until cold . The tea will be a refreshing low calorie beverage that will last for days!

Both the lemon & mint are great for detoxing & bonus they're refreshing! You can use fresh lemon or bottled lemon { NOT from concentrate }!

Serve with some sugar free butter cookies or a light snack & you have a refreshing summery snack! After being outside with the puppies all day & spray painting I needed this!!

Have a lovely evening everyone!

Dolen Diaries


{ Life is Beautiful - A Cottage Story & Tour! }

Let me first start off my saying this has been one of the most relaxing & memorable weekends!! The hubby & I planned this little trip about a week ago & couldn't be happier we took it! We traveled north to my grandma's cottage off of Lake Huron  in the little quaint town of Lexington, MI ! It was like the first time I was seeing everything again & it sure was eye opening! It had been 3.5 yrs since we had been up there in the summer time  & so much has changed...I can remember going up there every summer/ weekend as a child & loving the sandy shoreline & the Petoskey stone filled lake!! I remember going for walks on the beach with my grams looking for Petoskey stones & vintage colored glass that washed ashore, penny candy store & bonfires! Things sure have changed since those days..as everything in life does ! I had been putting off going up there for a while due to the emotions &  overall change the time has brought. It no longer is a warm vacation area filled with people, memories & excitement, but more of a memory of what was or used to be. As much as I love what my life has become & as thankful as I am, I miss the days of hearing my papa say " Go out to the garage & grab me a jug of water "..  { they have well water } ! I can't believe it's been 11 years since his passing.. I was reminded this weekend that I've always loved writing { old poem & paper about my papa's passing } & that blogging is where I'm suppose to be in life.
Sit back & enjoy some lovely pictures from what was a small non-livable 4 room cottage with no heat or washing machine to a gorgeous memory filled cottage/lodge inspired home built by the two best  grandparents!



I inherited a lot from my dear grams, but not her green thumb or my papa's gardening skills!! Her gardens are so gorgeous, unlike my faux ones hehe!


Cute, cozy & charming!


The raccoon carved out of a tree stump has always been the talk of conversation! As a kid this was my favorite thing about the deck!! I mean who can say their grandparents have a 6ft wood carved raccoon?!

Can you guys see why I love this space & where  my love for old vintage & rustic goods come from?! Flea market mornings will always be engraved in my memories from up there!!

This was the original outhouse that was converted into a workshop/potting/storage shed!


- Angels Shall Guard Thee -


My grams has an eye for junkin' & refinishing anything old !


The whole little original cottage is paneled in knotty pine! 


One of the guest rooms! I always told my grams she should have started a Bed & Breakfast!!!

My grandmas sitting room in her bedroom upstairs { Newer part } ! Her whole room is decorated in vintage shabby chic items!

As a kid I always thought junking & making the old usable again was 'lame', but now I can see the beauty in the pictures, & the charm in the old & used! My grams is one of my most favorite people on earth other then my hubby { we're so much alike }! She's one of a kind with her kindness, need to give & her eye for old & worn goods and turning them into beauties! Though I'll miss this cottage as I still call it, I can't wait for her to move downstate with us again. Growing up with her behind us until I was 9 was a blessing & I can't wait to have her back so close!! Lexington,MI will always hold a spot in my heart for more reasons then one, but new memories are around the corner as with anything in life. I hope you've enjoyed just a peek into this amazing little cottage & journey that has touched our family since 1989! Take the memories in , because time doesn't slow down!

Have a great week guys!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

{ Entertaining with Simple Spaghetti Bake }

Hey guys!! I'm sharing a super quick & simple recipe that ANYBODY can make  without using hamburgers & hot dogs this memorial day weekend!! I had a huge leftover loaf of bread from church so I had to come up with a thrifty & delicious recipe right?! We're just like most, we love having little barbeque's & enjoying the company, but entertaining for some can be hectic & downright flustering!! We've all  been there before..you're having people over & you reach for the hot dogs & hamburgers...right?! It's just natural to reach for easy outdoor food that most EVERYBODY likes! We're no different then the next couple  { Well, I am, I eat veggie burgers } but you get the picture ha-ha! Instead of the same thing, I'm sharing SIMPLE SPAGHETTI BAKE . Bonus it's super thrifty, yummy & fast, and who doesn't like spaghetti??


.................................Things You'll Need................................

.1 can of 5 cheese sauce
.1 box noodles
.1 small bottle of V8- use 2 cups
. 1/2 lb beef
.1 stick of butter
. Olive oil
. 1 large loaf of bread { Ours is from Panera }
. 3 tablespoons of garlic powder
. 2 teaspoons of salt
.1 bag parmesan cheese
. 1 Tablespoon of onion powder
.1 pinch black pepper
.1 pinch red pepper
.1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
.1 tablespoon olive oil

Note: You can add any ingredients you like, fresh veggies, more spices etc..


Start cooking the 3/4 box of noodles, adding a few pinches of salt to the water. Next get the meat { If you're using beef } to start browning in a pan { 1/2 a lb }. Grab a mixing bowl & start combining the above ingredients! Once the meat is browned, drain & add to the sauce mix with all the above ingredients! Next drain the noodles & cut with kitchen sheers into about 4 inch pieces!  Combine ALL ingredients into the mixing bowl & add the cheese of choice! Next take the bread loaf & cut down the middle & scoop out all the excess bread filling on both the top & bottom! This will make a 'cove' for the beef spaghetti mix! Fill the bread loaf & top with more Parmesan cheese & 3-4 little round scoops of butter & close! Bake for 25-45 minutes on 400 degrees! 

Once the loaf is done you can pop the top off & cut the bottom up into sections. The top now becomes crispy buttered bread to scoop up the leftover sauce goodness on your plate! Hence the reason why we added some butter on top of the mixture & then closed it. This is the easiest recipe & can be modified to your liking . We actually used veggie beef crumbles!! With a few staple ingredients you can feed an army a delicious hassle free Italian dinner! 

Have a happy & healthy long weekend everyone! Please remember to give a blessing & BIG THANK YOU to all our TROOPS & VETERANS this memorial day weekend!



Thursday, May 14, 2015

{ DIY Farmhouse Flower Mascot Sign! }

Wow, I can't believe it's Thursday already!! I've been keeping busy with a few little project this week one being this simple rustic art!! I wanted something summery that signified our home, yet rustic so I broke out my Americana Decor chalk paints & whipped a little something up!! I'm still undecided where this piece will go, but it's perfect for summer! I've always loved Hydrangeas so I made them our house mascot haha! The project cost nearly nothing as the wood was free &  the paints I had & mixed to get different colors!  I'm no artist { That's my BFA sister,Olivia } but I think for a rustic piece anyone could do this! Keep reading below to see how you can make one!!


I've said this before, but always start off chalking out what you're drawing{ Tip from my sister}!  It makes mistakes easy to wipe away & it gives a nice platform to measure distance/spacing when writing or drawing!


I chalked out our last name, then outlined the letters using the color 'Serene'! I wanted a thicker edge so I used the flat of the brush to make an even thick line!

Note: I did mix a bit of ' Yesteryear' into the Serene color!

To make the petals ,simply dip the tip of your brush in paint & make circles { Less perfect the better } in an overall circular motion for the bloom look. I looked at a picture while I was painting them. I used two different paint colors for the petals & then placed green/ cream dots for the centers. After the paint dried I used a blue/purple marker to add depth to the flower & then used my wire brush to distress & lessen the color and harshness!! 


The Hydrangea flower symbolizes heartfelt emotion & gratitude all which describe our little family. Do you have a particular flower that you love or you feel represents your family? I know my late great grandpas was a Poppy & my moms is a Daisy..I just love flowers even though as mentioned before I'm a ' Black Thumb' ;) ! I hope you've enjoyed this little summery DIY! 

Have a great night guys!


Thursday, May 7, 2015

{ $10 DIY Daisy Wreath }

Happy Friday loves!! This week literally flew by with the combination of projects, weather & life!! The weekend here in the north is suppose to be not so nice { bummer } so I decided to get two projects I've been wanting to complete finished! This is the simplest & cutest little vibrant wreath & all for under $10!! I'm a wreath queen & I've been drooling over the boxwood wreaths from Target, but I can't bring myself to pay over $40!!!! I'm shocked half the time with the prices of wreaths, so I made my own!! 

Keep reading below for this easy tutorial!

. Tutorial .

1. ) 

Start with a plain branch wreath! These can be purchased at the dollar store or Dollar Tree!! Add the burlap ribbon or bow if you want or just keep it simple without a bow!


Cut the stems  off of the Daisies { Dollar Store } to about 4 inches! You can use razor scissors or artificial plant snips which can also be purchased for a $1 +Dollar Tree !

** You'll need about two bouquets of Daisies { $2 }!


Take the cut Daisies & stick them through the wreath in a round directions until it's filled!  After you stick all the Daisies through the wreath turn the wreath over & snip the rest of the stem almost off, but leave a little bit so the stem is still secure!


Pick a ribbon & attach to the top through a branch, hang & enjoy!!

Side Note: You can also skip the ribbon & just set the wreath on something like pictured here! Either way is super cute & easy! I'll be showing the other way in the next post- stay tuned!!!

I chose to place it on our little fireplace mantel until I reveal why & where I actually made it for!!! I love how summery & rustic it is & bonus it was super simple!!! 

Bright & fresh ,and all for under $10!! I hope you have fun making one of these! I forgot to mention this tutorial is good for any flower of choice, just make sure the stems aren't really thick! See sometimes it pays to use cheaper materials for simple DIY projects like this hehe! 

Have a happy & healthy Friday!! 


Sunday, May 3, 2015

{ Our Fresh Garden Inspired Front Porch }

Well that's a wrap on the weekend..:( ! It turned out to be an amazing weekend filled with a mini celebration for our 8th year together ,DIY & lots of sun { which my pasty self needed } haha! We ended up having a little bonfire, yup the first of the season & a little delicious BBQ my hubby made & setup with a cute little love letter & all!!! We also got in some lovey dovey relaxing time , DIY & finished our little spring garden inspired front porch! With today's weather I feel weird saying spring as it was more like a summer day minus the horrid summer humidity :) ! I've been slowly working on our  front porch area for the last month here & there & today with a few little finishing touches it's complete- I think! I hope you all had an exciting weekend!

I love the way the flowers compliment the chalk paint color on this vintage bike!!

I mentioned a few of these sources before in the  Vintage Bike Makeover  &  No Sew Cushions  tutorial ! The bike was a garbage find, the galvanized bucket was also a garbage find , the brown tin pots are from Dollar Tree , the hat was a gift & the flowers are faux/ real dried hydrangeas thanks to my grams! The chippy white bench is a thrifted treasure from a family member!

I just added some $5 greenery plants from IKEA ! I pry needed 3 or 4 per each hanger, but for now this will do! Also look at the hydrangea plant & the color vibrancy in just 3 days!! :)

The hanging baskets I loveeee! I'm still on the fence about painting them..thinking some metallic bronze or silver spray paint I bought today?! Yay or Nay? The little retro white lanterns are from +Target

Side Note: See I already forgot something haha..I will be adding some faux greenery from +IKEA USA  to the hanging baskets..{ I'll update this particular picture after I get my butt out to IKEA!! }.

The lovely Hydrangea plant was a surprise gift from my lovely & sweet grams today for our anniversary! I was so EXCITED when she walked in with this plant  { it's just what I needed to complete this little space } ! Being the " Black" thumb I am , I'm going to try & plant it soon so the poor thing can have a standing chance with me....eek! I love hydrangeas & I'm so excited for this one to bloom. 

Note: Fun fact if you add a fork to the side of the plant it will change the bloom colors!!! I had no idea this was possible until grams mentioned this. I guess Hydrangeas thrive on acid & the fork provides something like this..who knew? Not me haha!

 Thanks for stopping by!

Have a happy & healthy week everyone!