Chic Little House - House Fire

Greetings Chic Little House Followers, 

My name is Summer and I am a friend of Katrina's. I have some news to share about Katrina and her family. On Saturday, July 7, 2012 Katrina's home was involved in a fire that has left her home inhabitable. Katrina and I have been friends for quite some time, I know she has mentioned that before, and to hear the pain in her voice when she called to tell me, still saddens my heart. At this time, I am hoping followers of Katrina's blog would offer support and words of encouragement to the family. There are many tough days ahead, as a good portion of Katrina's home must be rebuilt and many items are total losses due to smoke damage. 

Katrina and her husband have worked so hard on making their house a home as you all know...

each step of the way, a little more love went into their home

Katrina and Hasani inspired us all with hard work and diligence to see a task completed

And while its hard to think about what they have lost, my heart rejoices in what remains..

 They are all still together... safe

I am most grateful for that!

If you would be so kind, please extend your thoughts and prayers to my dear friend and her family. Post a little bit of strength, a scripture for comfort or whatever your heart leads you to say. While homes can be rebuilt, replacing family is impossible. 
God truly spared a few angels to give us all more time to know and love them and to demonstrate our own kindness by helping them now that they need us. 

If you have any questions, or would like to help in other ways, please contact me at my blog theshadesofsummer.blogspot.com or Brandi from Don't Distrub This Groove at bet1975.blogspot.com

I appreciate you all, and pray God's blessing upon your families as well.


Our 4th of July BBQ

I hope everyone had a fun-filled 4th of July Celebration! Wasn't it kin-of awkward that is was right in the middle of a working week? I prefer Holidays almost at weeks end, hello more time off, lol. But we made the most of it and crammed as much in as possible: Shopping, Parade Watching, Movies our yummy BBQ and of course Fireworks. As you know my man likes to grill, and we shared one of our favorite grilling adventures just the other day {BBQ Carnitas Nachos} I found a gingham paper table cloth while grocery shopping for $ 1.99 knowing it mode make the perfect table runner for a future outdoor dinner, I'm glad I bought it! It look so cute hanging out with our all white dinner ware. We kept our BBQ Menu Simple, but tasty. We served up Corn on the Cob with butter & Cotija Cheese, Bake Beans, Red Skin Potato Salad, BBQ ribs and Burgers. We also had fresh fruit, Watermelon and Plums. The Plums are actually from our tree in our backyard! This is the first year they where ripe, and we have a ton. We plan on giving a bunch away to friends and family and I'll be using some in baking recipes :) 

I also picked up a few citronella candles to place on our table, to help keep the bugs away.  

For the past couple of months my favorite cook book is Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, filled with amazing recipes. So far I've made Banana Split Cupcakes, Vanilla Confetti Cupcakes and Strawberry cupcakes. I planned to make cupcakes for 4th of July, but wasn't sure which ones I wanted to bake. I came across a One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcake recipe that looked tasty and easy, a winning combination.

Over the past few weeks, I've starting falling in love with cute cupcake wrappers, when I saw these gingham at Wal-Mart for $1.75 for 75, I couldn't resist. Plus, they matched the gingham table cloth I bought and used as a runner for our table. My new favorite background for taking food pictures is quickly becoming our new counters. 

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting


1 1/2 All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 Cups of Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Baking Soda
3/4 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Large Eggs (room temperature)
3/4 Cup of Buttermilk (I had no Buttermilk on Hand, so I used this substitute)
3 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup of Water

Bake It

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees, line your cupcake pans with liners. I double lined mine, I wanted to be sure the gingham pattern on the liners would be seen since I was baking chocolate. Shift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, sugar, baking soda, baking powder together in a large bowl. Next add in the eggs one at a time, warm water and buttermilk, oil and vanilla until smooth. I mixed after adding each ingredient one at a time. Pour batter into each liner, filling 2/3 full. Next bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes, insert toothpick to check when they are done. Cool on wire rack. 


I found an amazing butter cream frosting recipe from Savory Sweet life. It was simple, just using 6 simple ingredients. Click here for the recipe. I attempted to frost the cupcakes old school Magnolia style {not as cute, but I'll get there, I think!} I topped each cupcake with a M&M and called it a day :)

Hasani said they were amazing, and he couldn't stop eating them an asked me not to make them again since he couldn't resist. To bad his birthday is this month, because I'm making these again, lol. 

How was your 4th of July? Did you BBQ and making any yummy treats for your family and friends?


Counter Happiness

Today makes it officially one week, since our counters were installed. A full seven days of counter happiness, and oh do they make us happy! Like seriously happy: like I did a happy dance, kissed my new counters, beamed with joy kind of happiness! Yup, they make this girl, that happy. After all we did a huge upgrade from our previous counters, which were white tile  extra ugly brown grout, and the we also had a matching backslash for extra credit. not to mention, we lived with this tile for over three years, and I hated spending time in this kitchen. Walking in there pretty much sucked the life out of me, I know I'm being overly dramatic but I gotta share my feelings, lol. Now before I can share our in progress kitchen pictures, here's what our kitchen looked like before, good bones but plenty of ugly. Oh and I should warn you now, this is one my long wordy posts, heck most of my posts our wordy, lol. 

A few weeks ago in mid May, I shared some solid surface samples we were considering for our kitchen counters. We like two colors both from Corian, but the prices were drastically different. One route we would spend $ 975 and the other our option our new counters would cost $ 1800.00 for only 25 square feet, our old rough measurements. We budgeted $1K for new counters not included misc. counters charges, faucet, sink and new garbage disposal. you can read more about those options here. At the beginning of June we stopped in our local Lowes to look at more samples, both of us weren't 100% sold on the idea of solid white counters even though it looks great in other homes, like YHL. We just thought it wouldn't be a good fit for our homes kitchen. 

We decided to take another look at the LG HI-Macs, after reading the great things you all said about them and Lowes installing the product in your home. That's how a new color from LG caught our eyes plus we like the warranty & ease of care. Here's some quick facts about LG Hi-Macs straight from their website.

  • Normal Care: HI-MACS® is non-porous, so it can be wiped clean with a damp cloth or sponge and mild detergents or general purpose cleaners such as Mr. Clean.
  • Spills and Stains: While most everyday spills can be removed with the cleaning techniques listed, some troublesome spills and stains such as food dye, tea, and fruit drinks may require more aggressive cleaning. These items can be removed with full strength bleach followed by a general cleanse
  • Warranty: 15 Year Warranty on Solid Surface Materials 
  • Repairing Scratches: For removing superficial scratches, rub in a circular motion with a wet # 7448 Scotch Brite buffing pad until the scratches are removed. Clean thoroughly with soap and water and let dry

The funny thing is we saw the color before and loved it, but the price point was way out of our budget and I refused to even consider it, after all the last time I did that I found out Corian Rain Cloud was $72 a square foot, and we had to keep it moving. We we stopped into Lowes, and talked with a Kitchen CSR, we mentioned how much we liked the LG Hi-Macs Cotton Dust color over going with the standard solid white, we also shared it wasn't in our budget. He smiled and called of the fabricators / installers to see if they have are aware of any sales coming in the future on the color we like. As luck would have it, they we starting a new sale that week, but not yet sure what colors listed on the special. He suggested we leave our name and number, and he would call us and let us know which colors were going on sale. 

A few days later, I received a phone call letting me know the color we loved Cotton Dust was special for an amazing price of $ 37.00 a square foot!!! Which means the price point dropped from Group C Pricing all the way down to Group A pricing!!! Which meant huge savings for us, oh and since we were buying over 25sq feet of counters we also qualified for a free stainless steel under mount sink!!  Yes, sir we saved a lot of money on counters we love and a new sink! Before I share our new counters and our counter price breakdown, here's a reminder of how our kitchen looked after we ripped out our old tile counters, back splash and kitchen sink. Our kitchen started looking better and not so dark.

Here's my kitchen now in Progress. We really love how the counters turned out!! I love how seamless and clean lined the LG Hi-Macs are and feel. They are heavy and solid, and substantial feels like solid stone, type of solid. Out fabricator was amazing he's been installer { solid surface, granite, quartz for over 20 years } and said this new color reminded him of Quartz or Limestone it reminds me of Quartz too! The color is a very soft grey, with flecks light and dark grey almost reminds me of crystal. I'm also in love with our new faucet, its from Peerless. It's a one handled pull down faucet. We went with chrome to add a bit of bling in the kitchen, and I'm so glad with did. It's super high, but not crazy high, just the perfect size. 

I love the curves :)

We loved the eased edge on our counters, likes like a pretty block, nice and thick. We actually have a 2 inch font on our counters instead of the regular 1 1/2 size, which gives it a more modern look. The picture below is one of the best examples of how our new counters look. 

We also love our new sink, nice and DEEP. Like super deep, I'm in love with it. I bought this simple metal strainer to place inside our sink so when I put dishes in side nothing scratches or breaks on the stainless steel. 

I love how seamless and clean lined our new counters feel!!! 

Now for our cost breakdown our counters. We ordered 26 square feet of counters, @ $37.00 a square totaling $ 962.00. Plus an additional fee of $ 150.00 for the sink cut out and sink being mounted on counter. Then we paid for them using our Lowes Credit Card, which saved us an additional $ 55.60 { next we paid off the full amount of our counter purchase, didn't wait finance fees :) } the final total of our counters { not including tax, since tax varies county by count and state by state I'm leaving it out } was $ 1, 056.40. We came in under budget on our counters, since we budgeted only $1K for counters only - that budget didn't include the sink cut-out, new faucet, sink and garbage disposal. Now lets add up the savings shall we :) 

The original price of our counters were $ 54 a square foot, thanks to the sale we saved 
$ 442.00!! Plus we saved an additional $ 170 bucks on a stainless steel sink, we most likely would have purchased from Overstock here. So that's a savings of $ 612 bucks that were able to go elsewhere in our kitchen redo :) Oh, and just to make me extra giddy about the savings, I noticed Corian sells almost the identical color we bought, called Silver Birch for $ 61 bucks a square foot! Ok, math problem one more time we would have spent $ 1586.00 on Corian, instead we saved $624.00 going with LG HI-Macs, and our installer prefers LG HiMacs, he had them in his own house for years. 

Now with the counters completed we still have much more to do. Next up removing the old drywall and installing new drywall that we can tile over with pretty white subway tile! Little by little its all coming together. I'm excited for the next steps ahead, because once my counters are painted white, I know the beauty of our new counters will stand out even more :) And my kitchen won't be so dark and I'll be able to take better pics :) and hopefully get better taking pics :) lol 

What do you think of our counters? 


Kitchen Questions: Hood Options

As you know, our kitchen re-do / reno / update whatever you wanna call it is full swing, so far we've demoed out our tile counters and YES our new counters with all the fixings { faucet, sink, garbage disposal } have been installed and I will have pictures and all the details to share on Tuesday, I promise!! :)  Today I wanted to to get your input on Hood Options for the stove. There are two types I like, the Stainless Steel Industrial ones and the seamless blends right into the kitchen cabinets look.

For our own kitchen, we plan on going with the stainless steel hood vent, I'll be sharing all the deets on the style with and why this week on the blog. I like both styles a lot, but really love how the a stainless steel hood vent can me small kitchens feel larger, make standard size size ceilings appear larger too. But I also love the look of the integrated seamless vent hood, it adds so much charm in a kitchen and really makes helps a kitchen look custom.  

Now you turn, what style of hood vent do you like? The Stainless Steel hood Vent, or Seamless Hood Vent? Or do you prefer a microwave above your oven for convenience or the look?