Monday, June 8, 2015

3 Tier L-Shaped Pallet Couch w/Table

As I mentioned in my Memorial Day weekend post, we built a pallet couch for our upcoming BBQ. I wanted to share with you how we made our pallet couch.  I am sharing the slightly simpler version. It was not hard to make, the only difference is we created an extra space in the middle which gave it an odd size. Therefore, we had to create an extra frame for the middle, for this tutorial the base will consist solely of pallets. I plan on adding pillows, I just haven't decided if we are going to make them or buy them.

3 Tier L-Shaped Pallet Couch w/Table

Table Saw
Power Drill
Nail Gun
Staple Gun
Measuring Tape
Caulking Gun
Paint Gun
Paint Brushes
Painters Tape
Measuring Tape
Box Cutter
Drop Cloth

9-12 4x4 Pallets
1 Pallet (larger size or same of others)
2 2x8 Lattices
2 4x8 sheets of plywood (or anything cheaper like OSB) (we had it cut at the store for free)
1 sheet of Plexiglas (thicker the better)
Foam (qty based on size of pallets)
1 bx of Wood Screws
Outdoor Fabric (qty based on size of pallets (a few inches longer/wider than couch))
1 gallon of Outdoor Paint
Construction Glue

Stack your pallets in 3s. Form an L shape (two sets on one side and one set on the other) if you want more seating room add another stack of pallets to the other side (two sets on one side and two sets on the other).  Make sure the front of all the pallets are lined up.
Using a nail gun, nail each stack together 1st in the front and the back. After you nail the stacks together connect all of the stacks to one another.* If they seem impossible to nail together, use 3 inch long furring strips and place them between each stack of pallets, but inside the pallets so that they are unseen and nail them through the front of the pallets. *you may want to use a piece of wood to reinforce the furring strip in place while nailing.
Now you have your base.
Place your lattice on top of your pallet base and measure the length from the ground to the top of the lattice.
Cut your furring strips to that length. You will need 3 per stack. (9-12). Using your nail gun nail the furring strips to the back of the pallet base (1 on each end and 1 in the middle).
Place the lattice in front of the furring strips and staple to the furring strips (you can also use brad nails).
Use drop cloth to protect area. Using a paint gun (paint entire couch), use brush to fill in any gaps.

Place your foam on top of the plywood, cut as needed using a box cutter. Once your foam is to size, using a caulking gun, cover plywood with construction glue. Place foam on top and allow it to dry.
Cut fabric leaving six inches around the sides, lay fabric flat, pattern-side down. Lay foam covered plywood on top of fabric, foam-side down (make sure it is even on all sides). Pull fabric sung and staple around the entire piece of plywood until all side has been stapled down.

Cut pallet in half. Stack the two halves and nail together using the nail gun. Cut a piece of lattice the same size of your table and place on top. Using a nail gun or brad nails nail down the lattice to the top of your table. Using a paint gun (paint entire couch), use brush to fill in any gaps. Allow to dry; once the table has dried, place Plexiglas on top of table. Place painters tape in each corner of the table and pre-drill holes on each corner (tape prevents Plexiglas from cracking, drill wood screws into each pre-drilled hole.  Remove tape.
Place table upside down (place on grass of under something to prevent Plexiglas from scratching) place caster in each corner and using a pencil, mark the holes. Pre-drill each hole (you can do 2-4 per caster) (I did 2 per caster diagonally). Drill wood screws into each pre-drilled hole.

*Keep in mind that of you want to use pallets for the back you can do that too, you will need about three, just remove the bottoms of them and nail them to the back of your base. Also, the hardware will cut all of your wood if you want them to.
*You can add throw pillows or make your own.
*Consider adding battery operated tea lights under the Plexiglas to illuminate it in the evening.

And…It Is What It Is!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Weekend Getting Dirty with the Family

I hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend, I surely did! Aside from spending my Friday & Saturday doing homework, I was able to get together with the family and work on the back yard. Even though we bicker and disagree about how to do this or that, we all find a way to work together and make it happen. It is those moments that I cherish the most, I enjoy my family and I would not trade them for the world. I have two awesome kids who work my every last nerve, but I just do not know what life would be without them. Plus everyone gets to release their frustrations with a few lawn and power tools.
In a few weeks we will be having a celebration at our home; celebrating two birthdays and two graduations. My daughter and cousin are both graduating from high school and I could not be more proud. However, their friends are a lot younger than me and mines, therefore, the girls and their friends will have the entire back of the house, while our friends have the front. We are having a Luau theme in the front of the house and a graduation theme in the back. It will look like two completely different places which is the intention.
There is something about working on home projects that just makes me happy. I have never been one afraid to roll up my sleeves and dive into building or fixing something around the house. However, my schedule has prevented me from being able to, but having the family there to assist me has been great.
The four of us got dirty digging up dirt and rocks and building a pallet couch (details and photos soon). We started on the yard a week ago, during the weekend, then came back to it this past Sunday and Monday. Every inch of my yard, including the concrete patio looked like a jungle. It had been over taken by blackberry bushes, vines, moss and grass as high my waist. Now that it is all cleared up, we just have to do some clean-up of the dirt and debris we left behind. Once it is completed I am sure it will be awesome!

And…It Is What it Is!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Crock Pot Chronicles - Shani’s Red Beans & Rice

With my full-time school schedule and full-time work schedule, I try to find ways to continue to feed my family home cooked meals. A crockpot is a great way to do so. I will start my Crock Pot Chronicles and share them with you. I do not do a lot of crockpot cooking but when I do I will share.

Shani’s Red Beans & Rice

1 bag of red beans, soaked
1 large turkey leg or 2 medium
4 cups of chicken broth
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of garlic, minced
1 whole red bell pepper, chopped
1 whole green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon of Shani’s Cajun Seasoning
1 teaspoon of pepper

The night before:
Soak complete bag of red beans overnight
Chop all vegetables and put in a container in the fridge
Mix all seasonings in a bag and set aside

The next morning:
Rinse beans and dump into crock pot, add veggies, chicken broth and seasonings. Place top on crockpot and plug it in, turn temp to low.

Allow it to cook while you are at work, when you get home it will be ready for dinner.
Cook rice per the instructions and enjoy

And…it is what it is!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Shani’s Chicken Tomatillo Avocado Enchiladas

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I wanted to make something for the family to commensurate the holiday. I decided to come up with this yummy enchilada dish. I hope you enjoy!

Shani’s Chicken Tomatillo Avocado Enchiladas

1 lb of Chicken Breasts
10 Tomatillos, chopped
3 Limes, juiced
1 large Onion
1 tablespoon of Garlic
1 bunch of Cilantro
2 Chiles
½ Avocado
2 cups Mozzarella
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 pkg of Tortillas
Mexican spices

Chop chicken, pan sear slightly.
Add chilies, onion, garlic and Mexican spices
Let simmer for 30 mins

In a blender, mix tomatillos, lime juice, onions, garlic and cilantro.
Pour ¼ of mix into a separate bowl, set aside.
Add avocado to remaining mix in blender.

Drain broth from chicken.
Add 1 cup of cheese, mix
Fill each tortilla w/meat mix, roll.
Add tortillas to lightly oiled glass baking dish.
Cover with sauce from the bowl you set aside
Cover with remaining cheese

Cover with foil and bake 30 mins

Remove from oven

Dice remaining avocado and sprinkle on top

And...It Is What It Is!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Lemon Butter Chicken, Artichokes and Cheese Tortellini

Lemon Butter Chicken, Artichokes and Cheese Tortellini

1 bag of grilled Chicken Breasts
1 bag of frozen Cheese Tortellini
1 can of Artichokes
1 jar of Lemon Butter Sautee sauce
Juice from 1/2 Lemon

Pour all contents into a large saucepan
Heat on medium high until it comes to a boil
Lower heat to medium low and cover, let simmer 20 mins

And...It Is What It Is!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Chunky Veggie & Egg White Frittata

Chunky Veggie & Egg White Frittata


24 egg whites or 6 cups Liquid egg whites
½ cup of red onions, chunky chopped
½ cup of red bell peppers, chunky chopped
½ cup of mushrooms, chunky chopped
½ cup of scallions (green onions), chopped
½ cup of spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a separate bowl mix your veggies together so they will be well proportioned.
Spray a glass pie dish with olive oil and add in veggies, spread veggies evenly.

Pour in egg whites, do not overflow. 
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. 
Allow to cool for 25-30 minutes before cutting. Store in the fridge not the freezer. 
They only take about 30-60 seconds to warm up in the morning 

Meal Prep - Week of 04/19/15

I do not always share my meal prep for the week, but this week I wanted to share it with you.

Breakfast: Chunky Veggie & Egg White Frittata 
AM Snack: Small Salad with grilled Chicken Breasts
Lunch: 3 types of Chicken Breasts, steamed Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli and Stir-fry Veggies
PM Snack: Hummus/Turkey Muffins

I am having sweet potatoes for 2 days and I seasoned them differently during meal prep for each day, 1 day I have ginger and pumpkin spice day 2 is cinnamon and nutmeg.
My meat was seasoned three different ways as well to provide variety. I picked up a neat trick from Fit Men Cook

To make meal prep easier, I do not cook my veggies or sweet potatoes. I just wash and chop my veggies and I slice my sweet potatoes thin with a Mandolin so they cook thoroughly. When I microwave my food I leave the top on but vent it and the steam cooks the veggies and sweet potatoes.

And...It Is What It Is!