Hidden Organization

All week I've been working diligently behind the scenes on my upcoming post for Monday, which will feature my 'Mom Cave' with the hopes of winning a gift certificate to HomeGoods.

I've been decluttering, organizing and arranging my little heart out - somethings are turning out well and others not so much.

Like these cork tiles, while I like them in theory, they weren't working for the space I had in mind. Time for plan B.

Actually, I didn't have a plan B.

But when I put them by our backdoor in the kitchen, with the intention of returning them - it came to me. I could use them to help tidy up this catchall.

I think every home most have a spot like this - A place where you put your take out menus, car keys, pens and paper, important stuff on the way to be filed, etc. Do you?

Some people are lucky to have a dedicated drawer or even cabinet - or a kitchen with enough counter space to accommodate a stash spot; unfortunately, I am not.

Fortunately, these light weight tiles came with double sided tape so up they went - on the inside of the cabinet door!

The perfect spot for take out menus, party invites, reminders, emergency numbers and some of my daughter's latest artwork!

And my counters are so much cleaner and organized. I can actually find what I am looking for!

All in all a success. And I am that much closer to a well organized home! Bonus.

Don't forget to leave a comment on my searching for sconces post to let me know which ones you think I should go for.

And of course, check back Monday for my Mom Cave debut!

Apples, Pumpkins and Gourds - Oh My!

Ah Autumn, how I love thee...and all the fun you bring!

On Saturday, we spent the beautifully crisp day picking apples, pumpkins, and gourds. We headed to Wisconsin and visited the Elegant Farmer. If you live in the Chicagoland area and haven't been to the Elegant Farmer, I would recommend it for a day of good old family fun. And, of course, their pies are hands down the best store bought pie I have ever had.

By now, you probably know all about my love affair with farming and my quest for a simpler life, so it almost goes without saying that we all had a great time visiting the farm!
A brief recap of our day.

There were apples a plenty,

and pumpkins too,

a tractor ride,

and a good time had by all.

We managed to bring quite a bit home with us. Clearly, it was a successful trip!

1/2 bushel of apples

Pumpkins and Gourds of all shapes and sizes

I've already found a home for some of our new gourds as part of my Fall entry.

Front porch

Front steps

Thanks to some great friends for a fun day!

Kitchen: Oven Love

I am excited to tell you that we made a big purchase over the weekend - that's right, a new stove!

You are probably thinking, wow, this must mean they are going forward with the new kitchen project that I blogged about here. But sadly, the answer to that question is still unknown. Time is slipping away and we have yet to agree on a new layout and fear the project would run into the Holidays - so we shall see. But then why, you ask, would you buy a stove?

Because we loved it. We knew it's what we wanted and we heard that they were no longer being imported into this country (still being made though - so parts won't be a problem) and stock was running low. And most importantly, the price was right.

So, which one did we go with in the end - is the anticipation killing you?!? I won't keep you in suspense any longer.

Fratelli Onofri Royal Chiantishire Giant Oven

We took the advice of many a reader, family member, and stranger and ditched the double oven concept in favor of one large oven. We will attempt to squeeze in a microwave convection oven somewhere else.

We made our purchase at Reed Appliances in Chicago. It's a small, family run, high end appliance shop, also offering support - run by Mike and Yanike Reed. If you are in the area and like the idea of buying your appliances from a company that actually provides personal service - check them out.

Now, all we need to do is plan the rest of the kitchen to live up to the beauty of our new stove!
Ah, details, details...

Sausages, a Summer Recipe

During the Summer, the days are long and hot, and I usually don't feel like making much for dinner. But alas, these responsibilities do not go away so I am always in search of easy, low maintenance, quick cooking recipes. And now with Fall quickly approaching, my cooking bug is beginning to resurface.

My last trip home to Cincinnati resulted in a freezer full of the most lovely sausages you can imagine from Kroeger and Sons meats at Findlay Market. If you live in or around Cincinnati and haven't been to Findlay Market, you really are missing out.

As you probably know, sausages are a mainstay in the UK and that is where I truly fell in love with them. But finding the same variety that are available in the UK is hard to do, even in Chicago. Fortunately, Kroeger has over 40 varieties on any given day - hence the load we insisted on bringing home with us.

Last night I made Grilled Sausages with Figs and Mixed Greens for dinner. It was delicious and everyone enjoyed the meal, probably for different reason, but nonetheless it was consumed by all!

Check out the recipe here. I used lamb and fresh cherry sausage from Kroeger. I also added avocado because we had some on hand and it needed to be used - and because my daughter is mad for the stuff! For the dressing, I substituted agave nectar for the pomegranate molasses. Maybe not quite the same but it worked.

This is a great way to serve sausages while it's still warm outside and without some of the guilt!

Let me know if you try it and like it.