Our deck project is complete! If you have been following along on my Instagram page (@suburbanboymom if you aren’t already following) you know that we took on a project much larger than we had anticipated. We purchased our home exactly 1 year ago, and the previous owners had built and stained a HUGE deck on the back of the house before they listed it. The deck was one of the main selling points for us, but over the course of the last year, the stain had chipped, peeled and scratched (and our dogs digging at the rabbits under the deck didn’t help) and was in dire need of a new stain job. I decided that I wanted a lighter color stain this time to make the nicks and scratches less noticeable, and to make it a little cooler in the hot summer sun. My husband is pretty handy and can handle most DIY home projects, so we headed off to Lowe’s to buy what we THOUGHT we needed. He started to attempt to remove what was left of the old stain one Sunday afternoon, expecting this to be a few days job. HA! To spare you all the frustrating details (and to keep this PG) it was basically our hell on earth. Multiple trips to Lowe’s, hundreds of dollars and several headaches later, we were quickly discovering what a daunting task we had gotten ourselves into.
In the mean time, the kids’ backyard playset had finally given us it’s last safety concern and it got to the point that we didn’t feel comfortable having the boys’ friends on it, in fear that someone would get hurt. Our neighbors decided that they would like to take on the project of rebuilding it, so we gave it to them. We were then left with no functional deck, outdoor furniture and the kids outdoor toys all over the backyard from clearing off the deck, and now no playset for the kids to play on (and a huge dead spot in the grass where the playset had been). THREE WEEKS LATER, and the deck looks amazing! My husband did an awesome job, we learned a LOT of lessons for next time, and look forward to enjoying the rest of summer hanging out on the deck! We ended up purchasing a new playset for the kids that will be delivered this week! Backyard reno is almost complete!
With the deck freshly stained, and our new playset on the way, we are anxious to entertain and have friends and family over for the 4th of July. Today I am sharing one of my favorite (and pretty simple) recipes to make when entertaining a crowd. We make it for special dinners for the family as well, just scale it down. This is obviously not the healthiest recipe, but super yummy and has quickly become a staple for any get together with friends and family.
Cheesy Potato Casserole
This savory side dish is always a crowd pleaser. Make enough to feed a large crowd, or scale down for a special family dinner side dish.
- 1.5 bags Frozen Southern Style Hashbrowns
- 2 cups Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese Divided
- 1 cup Sour Cream
- 1/2 can Cream of Chicken Soup
- 3/4 cup Mayonaise
- 1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
- 1 tsp Minced Onion Flakes
Remove frozen hash browns from freezer, but do not let thaw completely. The more thawed they are, the shorter your cooking time will be.
Spread hash browns into 13"x9" baking pan.
Add in remaining ingredients and mix together well. Place remainder of shredded cheese aside.
Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of shredded mild cheddar cheese on top of casserole.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Baking time will vary based on how thawed the potatoes were going in. Casserole will be done once the base ingredients are boiling and the cheese is melted and starting to brown.