A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

Random Thoughts: Today I’m Grateful for Distractions (and Belly Laughs)

This has been a busy week. Not unusually busy, but a little crazy nonetheless. 

It’s moments like this that I catch myself focusing inward when what I really need is a good distraction from the outside. That change of perspective helps me to recognize and love all of the little pieces of my day in a new way (even the moments where I stare at that pile of to-dos and groan).

Here’s an outward action that I can focus on at any time to lighten my load: laughter.

And not just giggles (though those are awesome), but full on belly laughs. Laughter that fills a room to its edges and that erupts in free spirit. Liv is excellent at those, especially when they’re spurred on by a certain someone.

Belly Laughs | PepperDesignBlog.com

Laughter is like sunshine for the soul. Even if it’s not me crying from laughter but I’m witnessing it – that’s the best.

Taylor is almost there. She cracks up at the most random things, and her belly laughs cause her whole body to shake. It’s totally contagious. I can’t wait until I understand what the heck she thinks is so funny.

Oh man, when’s the last time you had a good belly laugh? Are those not the greatest?

PS are you hitting your laughing quota? Is the 15:1 adult to kid laughter ratio really true??

Master Bedroom & Bath: Inspiration

Nothing is solidified as of yet (we don’t even really have a timeline in place), but there is talk around here of getting on that master bathroom remodel.

Master Bathroom Inspiration Board | PepperDesignBlog.com

The plan is to tear down the wall between the older bath in the house and our bedroom. The rooms would officially integrate into one large space with a soaking tub between the two.

House Floor Plan | PepperDesignBlog.com

The above is a layout of our home at the moment. When we purchased the house it had one full bath (#1) and one half bath (#3). Anticipating this master bedroom/bath conversion, we built the second full bath (#2) two years ago – almost to the day, actually – for guests and the kids’ room.

The closet and half bath in the master bedroom will disappear and the wall between the two spaces will come down. The rooms will still be divided visually by a change in flooring (the beautiful hard wood doesn’t run through the current bathroom or the closet so that will go tile all the way across) and perhaps something even architecturally, like a wide arch (which is a frequent feature in this house).

House Floor Plan with Master Ensuite | PepperDesignBlog.com

We’ll use a corner of the new bathroom (probably near where the new door will be) to create a bigger closet. Removing this last hallway closet will officially mean zero storage (with the exception of the pantry in the kitchen) in the entire house. Bah! Talk about really pairing down. The office, nursery, hallway and all bathrooms will be closet free. We’ll have to make super use of the master bedroom closet and furniture storage (which we do an okay job of now).

You can find the full Pinterest board here with all of my master bathroom ideas. I’ve been dreaming up this space for years!

Above inspiration board:

1. A green glass tile shower wall would be so beautiful. It’s hard to see in the top down layout, but the shower will be above the tub and surrounded on two sides by half glass walls, the third side is the edge of the house.

2. Round brass mirrors for over a natural wood vanity (option #2).

3. A beautiful grey & white Spanish tile for just behind the vanity area (sort of like this). More tiles I’m thinking about here.

4. Natural wood vanity + white tile pairing ideas: images onetwo and three

This new bathroom has to accomplish a few different things: it must be true to the Spanish style of this home (it’s just the right thing to do to honor the bones of this casita), it needs to bring that ‘adult’ respite space into an incredibly busy house (I’m picturing bubble baths and heated floors for momma), and in a perfect world it would stay on budget while incorporating all of those special details we’ve been dreaming up.

We’re so early in the process that this all might change… but I couldn’t wait to share the initial plans for this space. It might take a while (we still have renderings, permits and spacial planning to think about) but we’re at the start of something fun.

PS a glance back at our last full bathroom renovation adventure.

Good Eats: Experimenting with Broiling Fruit

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

I had some time on Saturday afternoon to experiment in the kitchen. I have read about the intense, almost smokey flavor that fruit takes on when broiled and it intrigued me.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

I sliced up a few lemons and oranges and arranged them on foil covered cookie sheets. I even added a handful of blackberries for good fun. Under the broiler they went for 5-10 minutes.

The result? The wedges of fruit almost disintegrated, and in their place, an incredibly concentrated flavor infusion that took on a juicy, syrupy quality. Part sweet, part tangy, and yes – just a little bit smokey. Ooooh so good.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

The lemons may have been my favorite.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

I broiled all of the fruit with just a dusting of sugar to try and achieve that charred, bubbly effect. Not enough sugar to create a caramelized layer, but just enough to give the broiler something to burn.

The oranges held their consistency a bit more, but stacked on a cheese plate they would make the most perfect sauce to soak up with fig bread and goat cheese.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

And perhaps the most intriguing? The blackberries. These guys took on a cooked character that I didn’t expect. So good. And so perfect muddled in a cocktail or as a fruit bruschetta (with a creamy cheese. my taste buds are glazing over).

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

These were so easy that it feels like every roasted chicken, baked fish or tangy salad ought to have some broiled fruit on it somewhere.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

Broiling happens at an incredibly high temp (500+) and will bubble the top of fruit until it caramelizes or blackens. You could also do the opposite and turn the heat down way low and dry out your slices for an entire day for an entirely different taste.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

Be sure to leave the oven door open just a couple of inches while broiling. Air circulation is important in such a high heat environment.

Before and after.

Experimenting with Broiled Fruit | PepperDesignBlog.com

Pieces of the finished fruit slices are still tart, some are now sweet, others are just a bit smokey. I’m excited about this entirely new flavor palette to explore.

PS cocktail suggestions to come. More good eats found here. Happy start to the week!!

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