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August in Review: Vacation! Haven! and Bacon!

Since I've gotten back from Haven, I finally feel like I am hitting my blogging stride once again.  I took a long break towards the end of my pregnancy, and having a newborn in the house can really be a productivity damper, but lately a lot of projects are finally falling into place.

In fact, I had enough projects in August that I actually can do a round up!  

This month I shared about my Haven experiences in a series of 2 posts.  I met so many of my blog idols along with learning how to improve my blog.
On that same trip I also visited my parents and helped fix up their boat house.

This makeover included repairing a cinderblock wall.  That was so much fun, I just had to share the tutorial:

I also thought I would share my mom's Rustic Nautical Mantle.

I am really getting into the "nautical" theme lately and I think I am going to do the baby's nursery in that theme.  Check out my "Baby Boy's Room" Pinterest board to see what I'm thinking.  I shared my daughters' nursery (along with a bunch of awesome wall paint patterns) here.

Wow! To think, that was 7 years ago already!  They aren't babies anymore!  In fact they are headed back to school.. so I whipped up this gift card printable for the teacher:

And what month would be complete without the inclusion of some bacon?
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I have a lot of great posts lined up for September.  It is finally FALL and I'm ready!

Making a Boathouse Beautiful

Last late month I gave you a little preview of my parent's boat house makeover that we all worked on during my vacation surrounding Haven:

But now it is finally time for the entire reveal!  First I want to show you just how large the boat house was (it was the only house on the property):  

And here are some of the photos of the demo (the un-permitted, illegal ad-ons were removed.) First the front porch came off:

And we were left with a gaping hole in the roofline (which was eventually replaced with a dormer to mimic the look of the main house):

The back of the boat house was actually worse.  The entire back room's roof was rotten.  Some beams were completely severed.  Yeah.  Not safe:

The boathouse was constructed of solid cinder block.  Talk about a beast to demo:

Once the extra rooms were gone, we were left with a cute little house with a terrible paint job:

We then painted the boathouse with the same color scheme as the main house and trimmed out all the windows with molding (I am going to post a tutorial on how to do it shortly).

What a difference!

A couple more before and afters.  Looking up from the water:
 And remember my post about repairing a cinder block wall? Well there it is!

Now the boat house looks like it always went along with the main house and not that it is 60 years older. Mission accomplished.
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and at these great parties

Maple Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin


Pork loin was on a SUPER sale this week, and as soon as I brought it home I knew I had to wrap it in bacon and sweeten it up.  Since the only thing that makes pork better is MORE pork! 

I looked through a bunch of recipes which ranged from really sweet to really savory, and I came up with this hybrid, which was perfect.  The sweet crispy bacon, balances the savory bite of sage and black pepper.  

Here is what you need:
2 tsp sage
1 tsp each:
     garlic powder
     onion powder
     black pepper
2 Tbsp maple syrup 
1 pork loin roast (I used a 1 pound roast)
8- 12 slices thick cut bacon (I used turkey bacon)
1 Tbsp olive oil (if using turkey bacon)
This recipe would be FANTASTIC with regular thick cut pork bacon, but this time I used turkey bacon.  We eat a lot of bacon in our house.  And by a lot, I mean we should be buying pork futures.  So when turkey bacon went on sale at Costco, I stocked up.  4 pounds will probably last a week or two. 

Okay.. on with the recipe. 

First preheat your to 350 F.  In a small bowl mix together the sage, garlic, onion, pepper and salt.
Add 2 Tbsp of maple syrup to form a paste.
Baste the roast all over with the paste.
Lastly wrap the roast with the strips of bacon.  Make sure the ends overlap slightly and make sure to tuck them securely under the bottom of the roast so they stay secure. If you are using turkey bacon, make sure to drizzle the top with the olive oil, since it doesn't have as much fat as pork bacon.
Yes, this is ugly looking now, but just wait..
Bake covered at 350 for about an hour (or until internal temperature is 160F.)  Baste with remaining 1 Tbsp of maple syrup and return to oven (uncovered) for about 10 minutes to form a glaze.
This is what it looks like when it comes out.  Make sure to let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. 
The bacon has rendered and the interior roast is very juicy. The spice rub has penetrated the meat, and you get the flavor all the way though the medallions.

Plus we are talking about PORK wrapped in BACON! How can it be wrong?

It seems that all my 'fan favorite' recipes involve some sort of pork product.. From my Smothered Southern Style Pork Chops (people actually rave about these to me!) 
to my Balsamic Bacon Brussels Sprouts (12,000 pins can't be wrong!)
It seems like everyone shares my love of all things pork! 

Sharing at some of these fantastic parties.

Blog Housekeeping.. Buttons Buttons Everywhere!

If you are a subscriber to my RSS feed or read my posts on Bloglovin or Feedly, or get my posts via email,  it is possible you got a flurry of posts this weekend. (I tried to make sure they didn't go out, but I am not always 100% sure I know what I am doing!) That is because I am reorganizing around here to make things easier to find.

The biggest changes you will see are the new buttons on the left sidebar:
My Favorite Tutorials:

Featured Recipes:

If you didn't realize it before, all of those little buttons are clickable (even the ones in THIS post are clickable).  They all contain round ups of my favorite posts.  I also tried to go back and make sure I fixed up all the broken links.  If you are browsing and notice one, please feel free to comment or email and let me know. 
I'm really excited to introduce my Blogroll.  It is only a teenie fraction of the blogs that I read, and I am going to update it slowly.. but for now, I encourage you check out some other great blogs (and tell me if you think I am missing any other 'must reads'!)

I also have updated my home tour.  If you haven't ever visited that page, you should definitely go take a peek.

It contains all the before and afters of all the rooms in both my Boston and California houses.  You can see how far I have come and just how far I have to go.

Lastly, I wanted to point out that I have FINALLY joined Instagram and Google+.  I would love it if you followed me over there.  (You get to see cute pictures of my kids! *wink* wink*)

Or for the more traditional crowd, I am also on Facebook (my favorite!) Pinterest (my second favorite) and Twit-ah!  (Be warned.. I tweet about TV a lot.) Look me up!  I would really enjoy interacting with more of you personally.. Since often blogging feels like talking to myself!

And come back on Tuesday.  I am featuring a REALLY REALLY good recipe involving Bacon!  How can you go wrong?

Rustic Nautical Inspired Mantle

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My 80s tract home has a very different style then my parents' lake house.  Since I frequently share my seasonal mantle designs (which always have a similar look), I thought I would mix it up a bit and share my mom's nautical themed mantle. 

I think it is beautiful in its simplicity and monochromatic color scheme.   Even though I probably couldn't pull off this design aesthetic in my house, I really love it.

The fireplace itself is floor-to-ceiling river rock with a simple cape-cod style mantle.

Because the fireplace itself is so dramatic, the accessories she used are all very neutral, and stay within a theme.   The featured piece is a simple oil painting of sailboats with a rough driftwood frame:
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