cheesy taco casserole

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
2 cups tortilla chips
1 ½ cups medium salsa
½ cup tomato
½ cup red pepper
½ cup green onion
1 ½ cups shredded cheese

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium skillet, cook ground beef through over medium heat. Do not add oil. This will take approximately 10 minutes.

2. In a 3 quart/oblong casserole dish, layer the bottom with tortilla chips. Then drain and add the ground beef. Next, evenly spread the salsa. Top with the remaining ingredients in just that order.

3. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the cheese has melted completely. Serve hot.

Emory

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halfway backyard makeover

Hi, everyone! Today I’m going to show you the progress so far in our backyard makeover. First, an explanation as to why this was so vital.

Our house is more than a century old, so with it came with old problems! It was also part of an estate sale and had been neglected for many years. When we purchased it last summer, we were well aware that the basement walls were cracked. We also were told that at some point, the basement floor had gotten wet. Fast forward to this past spring, and the entire basement flooded. As the snow slowly melted, water poured in through the many cracks. This went on for weeks.

We eventually cemented and sealed the basement cracks and perimeter, yet the underlying issue was underneath the back deck. Under that rotted deck was a large, two foot deep pit. The power line to the garage was exposed, and mice had eaten away at the plants and other garbage that was down there. It was a huge mess. Our yard sloped towards our house as well, which meant that all of the water from the back alleyway, our neighbour’s yards, and our yard would drain into our basement. Hence, the urgency to rectify it before the next spring melt. Below are the before photos.

Geoffrey began by tearing out the old deck. He buried the power line, fixed the cracked foundation, and added more wood siding to the bottom of the house. Then he filled the pit with yards and yards of dirt, grading it as he went along. At the same time, he cleared away the thorny bushes and plants at the back of the yard, and found some extra paving stones. He used those to continue the path to the back door.

Inevitably, he laid down pea gravel on one side where the old deck used to be, and sod on the other. Then he built a small deck (as I call it), or large step (as he calls it). I bought new lights and hardware, and he replaced our old ones with the new ones, then the old garage lights with our old porch lights. Whew. There’s more, but that’s the gist of it! Here are the after pictures.

We’re going to wait until next year to stain the deck, paint the back door, and add more plants. The house also needs a new shingles, soffit, fascia, and eaves. We’re hoping to get to that in the spring. Additionally, it needs to be painted, and is in need of a new fence! Hence, the halfway point. Or less than, I should say. ;-)))

That’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed my little update!

Emory

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tilapia fish in tzatziki sauce

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

For the fish
2 tilapia fillets

1 cucumber, sliced
½ lemon, squeezed
salt and pepper to taste
butter for skillet

For the sauce
1 cup plain yogurt

1 cucumber, peeled and diced
½ lemon
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp dill
1 tsp garlic salt

Steps:

1. For the fish: place skillet on stove. Turn heat to medium. Add butter.

2. Once butter has melted, slice cucumber and add to skillet. Coat with salt and pepper.

3. Place tilapia fillets over the cucumber. Add salt, pepper, and lemon to fillets. Continue to cook over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes.

4. For the sauce: combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Turn on.

5. Once cooked through, remove the fillets and cucumbers from the skillet. Transfer to a plate and top with the Tzatziki sauce.

Emory

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sprig west peg board

I purchased this rectangle peg board from a Canadian website that I use to buy the majority of Remy’s shoes. Although primarily a site for children’s moccasins, it features quality-made products for your home as well. I saw and fell in love with this interesting wall shelf by Sprig West.

Made of Baltic Birch, it can be mounted either horizontally or vertically. It comes with four pegs and a shelf, and can hold up to 80 lbs!

This shelf is unlike anything that I have seen before. Given that it is also made in Canada, I could not pass up purchasing it. I’m so glad that I did.

Emory

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family room to back porch to bedroom makeover

When we purchased our home a year ago, the back addition was labelled as a family room. It was also one of the first rooms that I tried to improve a bit. In this blog post, I explained how we added wallpaper, a new light fixture, barn wood shelf, and began using it as a porch/office. This worked very well for us and our dogs until recently. Above are the before photographs.

Knowing that we desperately needed a third bedroom for guests, I began to brainstorm how we might be able to change the space into just that. I was also thinking about resale. I contacted our realtor and asked him what it would take to legally call a room a bedroom. He replied that it would need a window (or door) and preferably, a closet. The room was already equipped with the former, so we set about obtaining the latter.

The first thing that had to go was the carpet that our dogs so aptly stained over the previous year. I returned to the same flooring store where we purchased the carpet for Remy’s room, and picked out a laminate floor that I thought would work well.

Next we ordered a large wardrobe from IKEA. Prior to its arrival, I gave the room another coat of white and Geoffrey added the quarter round moulding. After we completed that and the closet arrived, he put it together for us. Then I set to decorating- the best part!

Here is our newest bedroom:

I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about staging a room. That and my style so often changes. That said, I do what I can on a limited budget. I’m sure that many will pick out flaws with our work, but we’re both so happy with it. It’s a huge improvement and better yet, has increased the value of our home. We know that it was a smart decision in the end.

Emory

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  • Hello, friends. My name is Emory. I live on the Canadian prairies with my husband, daughter, and animals. Welcome!
    helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

  • Thank you to all those who liked, commented, and sent me messages yesterday. I am overwhelmed by your love. I would like to share one more thing. Since 2013, I have used my blog as a creative outlet and my Instagram account as my diary. I feel it’s a much better platform to reach out to others, and to be more truthful (if we dare). I try to only follow those who don’t always show the ups and highs of their “perfect” lives. While I think that the more popular, beige square, ad-infused, California chic, glam mother accounts are beautiful, I also find them to be depressing and unoriginal. A miscarriage is real. It is nothing to be ashamed of. If you don’t choose to discuss yours, that’s totally fine! I needed to share mine in order to begin my grieving and healing process. I am now a mother to two children. This is something that I did not want to, nor will I ever hide. Yes, our second child came much too early and did not survive, but that does not make his/her life any less worthy. Our baby was alive at one time. Our baby has a soul. Now, our baby has a name and will forever be part of our family. We are a family of four- three on earth and one angel in heaven. So, thanks again all. Sadness. What a difference a year can make. Last holiday season, Remy turned 10 months old. She had just gotten her first two teeth, and on Christmas morning, had learned to crawl. This year, we are mourning the loss of our second child. I suffered a miscarriage this week, and it has left a deep void in our family. This was going to be our Christmas card where we revealed to friends and family our joyous secret. Now, it remains one of our only photos as a family of four. Because of this, I want to share it with the world. Give your children an extra hug and kiss for me tonight. You are so blessed to have them. All my love, Emory.
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