Dans le Lakehouse

Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

January 12, 2017

How to Make a Layered Smoothie

How to Make a Layered Smoothie
Handy Hubby and I are smoothie OBSESSED.  In the summer months, it's an unwritten rule that we carry our smoothies out to the deck.  They're deck drinks.  In the winter, we still love a good smoothie but they're best enjoyed fireside, wearing thick socks and cozy sweaters.  Preferably under a blanket.  
 
How to Make a Layered Smoothie

To facilitate the smoothie obsession, we own three different blenders (because sometimes we want another smoothie while the first blender is still in the dishwasher - I kid you not), but I still pine for the Vitamix.  I've tried SO many different smoothie combinations, but I'm always on the look out for new smoothie ideas (pinned to both my "Breakfast + Brunch" and "Drinks" boards), although I rarely follow a recipe.  I like to make it up as I go and I mix it up a lot, depending on what's in the fridge and freezer - and how adventurous I'm feeling.  I've learned that smoothies are a great carrying agent for healthier fare like greens, whey protein powder, and flax seed.  I've also been getting pretty festive with my concoctions - I still salivate, just thinking about a pumpkin pie smoothie I made to help me get into the spirit of fall. 

Lately, though, I've been wanting to up my smoothie game.  After seeing some gorgeous layered smoothies on Pinterest, I wanted to give it a try!  There's a little trick, but otherwise it's actually really easy to make these multi-colored smoothies.

How to Make a Layered Smoothie

Here's the secret: pop the glasses in the freezer for about 15 minutes after pouring each layer.  You don't want the layers to be frozen solid, you just want them to morph into a slushier consistency to prevent the different colors from bleeding together.  Here's how I knew they were ready for the next layer: I shook the glasses a bit and if the smoothie sloshed around in the glass, it wasn't ready.  If it only jiggled a little, it was firm enough.  

Because of this extra step, layered smoothies are a tad more time consuming so they're not practical for a speedy workday morning, but for a lazy afternoon snack or Sunday brunch they're perfect!  Hubby and I loved how each layer had a subtle but distinct flavor, but you could definitely create wildly different layers for a unique taste experience.  The best part is how pretty they are, which I swear makes food even tastier.

How to Make a Layered Smoothie

Here are the three smoothie variations I layered together - I kept it very simple.  These measurements made two 16 oz. glasses, with a tiny bit left over for the chef.  Because I was making three mini-smoothies, I used my Nutri Bullet Blender, which was perfect for the job.

Layer One:
1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/4 cup yogurt
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 scoop protein powder

Layer Two:
1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup frozen peaches
1/4 cup yogurt
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 banana
1/2 scoop protein powder

Layer Three:
1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup yogurt
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 scoop protein powder
1 tbsp flax seed

How to Make a Layered Smoothie

Sixteen other bloggers are sharing their smoothie recipes today through Saturday, so I'll be updating this post with all of the their delicious recipes.  Be sure to pin this post for later!  

This post was sponsored by Wayfair, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 
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January 9, 2017

DIY Orange Slice Coasters

DIY Orange Slice Coasters

When I shared my citrus and turquoise tablescape, I left out one detail: my DIY citrus slice coasters.  You can spot a sliver of them in the photos:

DIY Orange Slice Coasters

Keeping with my orange and aqua theme, I made a dried orange slice garland for the window, made use of my vintage orange pitcher, decorated with mandarin oranges - and made these coasters from birch slices!

DIY Orange Slice Coasters
DIY Orange Slice Coasters
DIY Orange Slice Coasters

They were SO easy to make and now I'm dreaming up some other slice fruit variations - I'm making pink dragon fruit slices next.  I love dragon fruit.   

DIY Orange Slice Coasters

If you saw the etched birch slice ornaments I made with a friend, my "dipped" painted birch slice coaster, or my Komondor stamped birch slice coasters, you might have gleaned I have a thing for birch slice crafts.  It's such a rustic anomaly for me.  We have so many wood piles around the property for our wood burning fireplace, sauna, and fire pit, that I think birch slice crafts sort of seeped into my subconscious.  I've actually been wanting to slice a big birch log for a charger or serving platter, but our chop saw can't handle the diameter and we don't own a chainsaw.  So I have this huge birch stump in the garage, tempting me, until I can figure out a way to slice it.

Birch slice coasters are way easier!

Supplies: 

How to Make Birch Slice Coasters:

If you missed my other tutorials, the steps are simple!  Either purchase pre-cut birch slices or grab a branch or log and chop it into even slices, preferable with a chop saw for a nice smooth cut.  Peel off any loose birch bark and give the top and bottom surfaces a light sand.

For this citrus slice, I first painted the entire surface white.  Once the paint was dry, I used an orange acrylic paint to paint the "rind" - birch slices are perfect for this, because I just followed the bark line.  Then I hand-painted the orange segments and let the paint dry before going back in an adding a dab of white paint here and there.  Sketching the shape lightly with a pencil (or using a paint pen like this one) might help create a more symmetrical orange segment design but I was overconfident and just started painting.  Then I realized it's been ages since I even held a paintbrush!
DIY Orange Slice Coasters

If you prefer, you can cut out a circle of felt and affix it to the bottom with craft glue to provide a smooth, soft surface between your drink and table.  But that's it!

Imagine how cute a set with lemons, oranges, and limes would be.  But I want to make a set of dragon fruit coasters next.  These birch slice projects are addictive, I cannot stop myself.
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January 7, 2017

10 Sneaky Ways to Fit Exercise into a Busy Day

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CentrumFunFlavors #CollectiveBias



Centrum® MultiGummies® has given me some ideas for meeting my fitness goals this year!  I have really ambitious fitness goals for 2017, which include joining my municipality's fire department.   I'm excited about some aspects, like getting my DZ license and driving the truck, but I'm also worried that I won't be strong enough for the work.  In the summer, I'm pretty active and I feel stronger, thanks to fun activities like swimming, canoeing, and sailing (which is a ridiculously good core workout when Lake Superior decides to kick our butts).  But in the winter I go into hibernation mode and I've got such a long list of reasons for not staying fit: I'm super busy, I live too far from the gym, I'm still embarrassed about the time I fell asleep in a Pilates class.  I was starting to warm up to some winter activities, like snow shoeing and skiing, but then the temperature really plummeted - even my hardiest neighbors, the ones who jog all winter in fancy jogging clothes, seem to have disappeared indoors.  

But we have an idea!  Hubby and I are looking into some kind of treadmill or elliptical machine that's small, so we can transform the office nook into a teeny tiny hidden home gym.  We were even thinking of eventually installing a small TV, plus maybe a fan for some airflow, and hiding the whole thing with some kind of door when it's not in use.   



In the meantime, inspired by Centrum® MultiGummies® (which is a great-tasting and super easy way to sneak in some vitamins), I'm on a mission to sneak in as much fitness and activity into my day as possible.


Yup, they're a gummy, but these multi-benefit multivitamins include 100% or more of essential nutrients, Vitamins B12, D, and E.  Antioxidants such as Vitamins C, E and Zinc help support normal immune function* and B Vitamins aid in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.* Also, B-vitamins to help support daily energy needs.* Lots of important health benefits, but it feels like I'm just popping a couple of sweet treats in the morning.  So easy!

Here are my 10 sneaky, excuse-proof ways to fit exercise and movement into a busy day:

I Put on Wrist Weights for Random Tasks...

I hate lifting weights.  Hubby really wants to get into it, so we added weights to some yoga workouts - it was tough, but good for me.  Then I stumbled across this genius idea:  put on some small wrist weights when simple tasks, like blow drying my hair.  It adds some resistance training to something I'm already doing!  Sneaky sneaky.

I Park Farther Away...


This might be the oldest trick in the book, but those extra few steps taken during every errand or appointment really add up and it's a great way for me to get a little more exercise, no matter how busy my day is.

I Phone a Friend...


My biggest success with dedicated exercise was with our treadmill, which I ended up using a ton because a friend of mine loved her treadmill too (she was so fit, people at her gym started a rumor she was training for the Olympics!).  When we couldn't meet up for a walk in person, we'd pop in our Bluetooth ear pieces and have "treadmill dates," which was really motivating for me because it didn't feel like exercise.  I loved swapping a coffee date for a walk because it really just felt like getting together with a friend.  When Hubby and I moved from Ottawa, we sold our treadmill - and I actually miss it, which is why we're trying to fit one into our office closet!  I also miss having a workout buddy, but everyone I know is secretly my fitness buddy because anytime the phone rings, I grab my hands-free headset and go for a walk, do some gentle stretches, or even just swiffer the house - as long as I'm moving!  People used to ask me about the suspicious rustling and heavy breathing, but now everyone knows I just can't sit still and chat!
 
I PVR a Free Yoga Program on TV...

Over the years I have taken a ton of fitness-type classes, including self defense, fencing (for real), dancing, Pilates, step aerobics and more, but these days I like exercising in the privacy of my own home because it's easy, cheap, and no one will laugh at me if I accidentally doze off.  I have a huge collection of workout DVDs but I get bored quickly so I found a program on TV that delivers a new yoga routine every day.  I set my PVR to record it, which means I have extra motivation to watch and delete them because, if I don't, my PVR fills up super quickly and there's no room for Nashville or The Walking Dead!

I Get Active on Commercials...

After some exceptionally long and busy days, all I want to do is curl up on the sofa with The Big Bang Theory, so I bargain with myself: watch the show, but do some stretches or push-ups on commercials!  It's a great way to sneak in a little exercise on those days when I'm just beat. 

I Play "Tag" and "Keep Away" with Szuka...


I love going for walks but sometimes it's way too cold or muddy to brave our dirt road, so Szuka and I have some games we play in the backyard instead.  We can both get our hearts racing (and tongues wagging) faster than walking, so it's an easy, speedy way for us both to get some exercise - but it just feels like we're playing.  She loves fetch, but she also loves to play tag and keep away.  She likes me to chase her around the yard (that's tag) or I grab one of her toys and try to evade her by running around the property (that's keep away).  Does a short burst of games ever get my heart rate up!  We even play this inside, which wreaks havoc on our hardwood floors, but it's a great way to keep both of us active, especially when neither of us is keen on braving the blizzard raging outside.  Plus I think the mental challenge of trying to catch me (or find me if I'm lurking in the trees) is good for her brain.

I Set a Timer for Working...


Getting lost in a busy work day is sometimes the biggest obstacle to working out, so I try to remember to set a timer.  Every half hour (or hour on a super busy day), my timer goes off (in another room, to make sure I actually get up and turn it off) and I try to move around a little.  I do some stretches, grab a glass of water, or take a quick break with Szuka - anything to get up and out of my desk chair for a few minutes! 

I Do My Own Snow Removal...

When we lived in the townhouse, the condo dealt with grass cutting and for many years we hired out snow removal too.  These days we do it ourselves and I hate it, but it's such a good work out.  The snow blower we use does a lot of the work for us, but it still requires some manhandling and we do quite a bit of shoveling.  I can definitely get a good sweat going by clearing the driveway.  Some days I'm super tempted to hire it out to a neighbor who has a plow on his truck, but I remember that I need this activity to be healthy and I power through.

I Dance When I'm Cleaning...


Don't laugh, but to make cleaning more fun - and to get my heart rate up a little - I often dance while I'm cleaning.  Once the music is pumping, the tasks fly by and I find that I'm moving more without even realizing it.  Szuka joins in whenever I bust a move, barking and hopping - it's the cutest.  After an hour I'm winded, Szuka is ready for a nap, and the house is that much tidier.  It's my favorite hack for squeezing in more exercise and staying on top of the mess!

I Got a Pretty Fitness Tracker...


You can always lure me into doing something with jewelry.  Hubby did a fitness challenge through work and had to get 10,000 steps a day so he was wearing his step counter every day and I got one too - solidarity!  It helped me see just how much all of those little changes (parking farther, moving while I'm on the phone, dancing while I'm puttering) logged steps and got me moving more so I could top up my steps and reach my goal (of beating Hubby). 


For some people, exercising is something they look forward to but I only look forward to certain things - a lot of which are warm weather activities.  To keep me moving in the winter - and overcome the litany of excuses I dream up - these are my little tricks to keep moving and work on my fitness, no matter how busy (or lazy) I feel.  I'd love to hear your tips!  

Sometimes it's just nice to make something you should do feel more fun and less like a chore.  That's the spirit of Centrum ® MultiGummies for adults: you can take your daily multi-vitamin in a tasty gummy you look forward to each day!  Plus Centrum ® MultiGummies are gluten-free and have no artificial flavors or sweeteners.


I picked up a bottle at Wal-Mart which was so convenient - I didn't have to brave the kind of supplement shop where other patrons clearly don't need to trick themselves into getting fit and active.  Click here for some great coupons!


*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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January 5, 2017

DIY Walnut Plywood Bed Frame with Welded Legs

Our bedroom recently got a major upgrade, thanks to this gorgeous, DIY walnut bed frame with welded legs:

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

Here's what our bed looked like before:

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

For warranty purposes, we had to keep our mattress and box springs on an ugly, utilitarian metal bed frame and this bed skirt was the best way to hide it.  I liked the look, but Szuka got into this habit of snuggling up against it, which created a permanent dent where she pressed on the fabric.  I was also worried that our bedroom was going to smell like a dog's butt, so I started washing the bed skirt more, and of course it shrank, so I cut it and pinned it in place to fake the length but then the safety pins would open up and slide around. 

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

I was 100% done with this bed skirt and the warranty on our mattress had long expired anyway, so I started sketching plans for a modern bed frame.  I envisioned walnut plywood (to tie in the bedside boxes we made, as well as the walnut throughout the house, like our DIY walnut desk and floating walnut bathroom vanity).  I decided that welded metal legs, in the same size square metal tubing as the frame of our headboard, would make the headboard, bed frame and nightstands look really cohesive. 

It was a surprisingly easy project - it's basically a walnut veneered plywood box with some metal legs that Handy Hubby welded in an afternoon!  Here's how we made it, and what supplies we used.

Supplies:

As always, we began with a sketch of our design and made a materials list and cut list.  We measured the exact size of our box springs when they're pushed together and, allowing for the thickness of the material and a teeny tiny extra allowance so we can easily slip the box springs into (and out of) the frame, cut the plywood pieces to fit the box springs exactly.  The legs were designed so that they run the width of the bed, so those cuts corresponded to the plywood box we built.  The height was chosen so that the overall height of the bed would still be a comfortable reach to the nightstand.  If you make a plywood frame for your bed, the measurements will be different, which is why I'm not including our cut list.

How to Make Welded Furniture Legs:

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

We needed six pieces the width of the bed and six pieces for uprights.  Local metal places sold the square metal tubing by the foot, but we asked them to cut lengths that could fit in our truck and made the rest of the cuts at home.  Hubby marked off the lengths we needed and used a 4.5" angle grinder to cut the pieces at 45 degree angles, one at a time. 

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs
DIY Walnut Bed with Welded LegsDIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

For each of the three legs, we needed two lengths the width of the bed and two lengths the height we wanted the bed frame.  My idea was that the elongated rectangle shape would mimic the design of the headboard, while offering a nice stable support for the bed. 

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

After the pieces were cut, Hubby worked on each of the three legs individually, assembling them and holding each rectangular leg together with welding magnets, checking that they're square, and tack welding them together with our wire feed welder.

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

Then he welded the four pieces together to make the rectangular legs I designed.  He used the same 4.5" angle grinder, this time with a grinding disk, to clean up the welded area to make it less rough.  He then used a flapper disk on the grinder to smooth out the welded joints even more and prepare them for painting.

Below you can see the cut pieces vs. one finished leg:

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

No photographed: we attached the legs to the walnut box using screws, so we had to pre-drill holes through the legs.  Using a step drill, Hubby drilled out holes in both walls of the upper bar of the leg (the square metal tubing is hollow inside).  The hole next to the bottom of the bed frame is where the screw gets tightened.  There is a larger hole drilled on the other wall of the same tube to allow a screwdriver in to tighten the screw.

Once the welded legs were complete, we brought them to Hubby's Dad's workshop - with its glorious spray painting booth - so I could paint them the same matte black we used to paint the headboard and side tables.  Spraying on the paint ensured a nice, smooth finish.

How to Build a Plywood Bed Frame

With the legs done, we tackled the plywood box - with one small mistake!  After sketching the design and making our cut list, we headed to a local supplier to buy the materials.  We originally planned to use inexpensive plywood and apply walnut veneer to only the sides but we were talked out of applying veneer.  We decided to go with walnut veneered plywood instead, but we had to race to another place with minutes to spare before they closed and we mistakenly bought walnut veneered ply for the whole project, adding to the cost.  We forgot that we wanted to use inexpensive ply on the bottom, which you can't see anyway. 

Other than making that one costly error, building the box that our box springs now sit in was simple.

We took our walnut ply out to Hubby's Dad's shop and cut out the pieces on his table saw.  Hubby and his Dad cut two pieces for the bottom and four pieces for the sides.  Easy peasy - although handling the sheets was often a two-person job.

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

We assembled the bed frame in the room, because it's so large.  After laying down a protective sheet of plastic, we started with the bottom.  Because we have a king-sized bed, the bottom of our bed frame is comprised of two pieces of plywood glued together.  We placed them on the floor, with the bottom facing up, and applied glue to the edges of the plywood, sticking them together.  Then we glued and nailed some cross pieces in for added support:

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

The completed legs were then fixed in place with wood screws through the pre-drilled holes I mentioned earlier (I think this was Szuka's protest against the new bed):

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

Then we flipped the bed right side up (wow, is it heavy!) and the side pieces were glued and air nailed into place.  We left everything alone overnight for the glue to dry.

With the bed constructed, we finished the exposed edges with walnut edge banding to create the illusion of solid walnut.  This post has great tips for applying pre-glued edge banding (it's really easy).

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

After that, all that was left to do was give the bed a few coats of Danish Oil and wait patiently for it to cure so we could move our mattress and box spring back into place.  You can see we evenly spaced the legs, and they're inset from the ends so that the leg by our feet is not flush with the end of the bed.  We did this so that when we walk around the bed, we won't stub our toes on the metal. 

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

And, voila!  A beautiful new bed frame in walnut, with welded legs to match our headboard:

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs
DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

We've been using the new bed for about a month and I LOVE it!  It's so much easier to clean under the bed, plus there's no longer a bedskirt kicking around, picking up dust and doggy butt prints.  I was worried that replacing a light bed skirt with a darker wood bed frame would make the room feel darker/heavier/smaller but it's had the opposite effect: the room feels larger and airier.  Happily, Szuka doesn't seem troubled by the change after all, because she still lies beside the bed some nights even though she can't really lean against anything.

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

You might have noticed that I finally decided on a new duvet cover and shams (after using the other pin-tucked set for over five years).   I actually short-listed quite a few, including the Belgian Flax Linen set in Teal, the Cotton Cashmere in Heather Gray, the Ripple Texture in Stone White, the Organic Cotton Braided Matelasse in Stone White, the Organic Cotton Smocked Pleated in White, and the Organic Cotton Shadow Diamond Matellase in Stone White.  I contemplated so many different colors and patterns, but ultimately I decided that I really like white bedding.  It helps make the bedroom seem larger and also helps to create a calming atmosphere.  Because I tend to forget the bedding in the dryer on laundry day, I also love a duvet cover with some texture to hide any wrinkles - that's my housekeeping hack for the week!

I spent weeks shopping, but eventually I chose the Organic Cotton Brighton Matelasse in Stone White with matching Euro shams, from West Elm (it also comes in Platinum, a soft grey, and Slate, a rich charcoal hue).  I liked how long our last West Elm duvet cover lasted, plus I had purchased the Euro pillow inserts from West Elm so I knew that most of their duvet covers would have that particular size of shame as an option.  I am totally smitten with the texture of this duvet cover, which has a really beautiful, organic quality to it.

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

To keep warm on blustery winter nights, I also splurged on a king-sized blanket (finally).  Hubby and I both kept going back to the Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool Blanket in Shale, which is the perfect grey/blue hue and a timeless design (it's available in Queen and Twin sizes as well).  This blanket adds a really breathable layer of warmth and on those frigid nights when we need it, neither of us has woken up overheated or feel suffocated, despite the substantial weight of the wool.  Plus it's made in the USA!

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs
DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs
DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

Just to shake things up a tiny bit more, I added a bright blue Hungarian embroidered pillow from my Grandparents - which pulls out that same cobalt blue from my mid-century posters.  I pull all of my bedroom decor colors - teal, green, blue, brown, and grey - from the mid-century posters hanging above the dresser, and that helps the room feel cohesive.  The fashion theme has also inspired my love of textures over patterns, and I really enjoy how the matelasse, tweed, silk, and wool add interest to the room.

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs
DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs
DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs
DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

Starting the year with new bedding and a new bed feels amazing - now I just need to save up some cash to replace our 10 year old duvet and mattress...

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

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