Monday, June 28, 2010

cReaTe sign

I took the same techniques used to create my favorite baby's blocks and made a fun new sign for my craft room. I swear I'll never be done with that room- please tell me your craft space is never done! It is a mess half the time! These are the simple inexpensive paper mache cardboard brown letters found at craft stores. I used Ceramcoat paint in a limey green and painted the outside and the top edges.
Then, I simply cut out scrapbook paper in the shape of my letters and paper mached it to the letters. These are easy to hang with 3M Double-sided foam mounting tape, also found at Hobby Lobby. For fun, I added a flower rosette leftover from a necklace I deconstructed.

These would be easy and cute in a child's room, teacher's room or above a doorway to say a pantry, laundry or powder room. They are easy to remove when your decor changes. I'm thinking a "Merry Christmas" set would be fun to mount during the holidays.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mexican Tortilla Stack

My girlfriend Billye shared this recipe with me and I will kiss her for it when I see her in 2 months. It is super easy, really flavorful, and freezes well. Those are my top three criteria! Mexican Tortilla Stack
Brown 1 pound ground beef. Add chopped onions and bell peppers. Drain.
Add to the meat, 1 large can Ranch Style beans (drained), 1 can Rotel, and 2t of chili powder.
You will then layer this mixture in a greased casserole dish. From the bottom: tortilla, meat mixture, 1/4 c grated cheese. Repeat ending with cheese on top.
I made this in 2 8x8 Pyrex dishes and freeze one. An 8x8 with 3 layers feeds 3 adults.
Once it is all assembled, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Peach Pound Cake

Puree these into pound cake? Yes, please cut me a slice!
Peach Pound Cake recipe here.
Don't top with powdered sugar, we are in Texas. Top with Peaches and Homemade Vanilla ice cream from Blue Bell.

Monday, June 21, 2010

4th of July Digital Cards Free for All

It is almost time for 4th of July, one of my favorite holidays. We spend the day swimming, BBQing with my husband's coworkers and then attending a private fireworks display that rivals our town's show. It is a sight to see! I hope you love the 4th just as much!
Share a digital card of your family, pets or self on your blog or print and mail to friends. Just email me at with your photo, name to be printed and your favorite card below. I'll email you back the Jpeg image quickly. Enjoy and God Bless America!
America the Beautiful Patriotic Plaid

Fancy Your Fireworks

Friday, June 18, 2010

No More Brown Bagging It

My daughter is moving into the 18-24 month class at school which means she will no longer have a refrigerator in her class and must bring her lunch in an insulated bag of some sort. Knowing that we'll be carrying this bag 2 times per day for years, I want it to be cute and man, there are some cute lunch bags, totes and classic boxes out there.
Here are some favorite I found in case you want to start back to school shopping now!
Vera Bradley lunch tote from Zappos
Scout insulated set of bags from ebay. I own an insulated pool bag from them that I love!
Cute classic boys lunchbox with a friendly monster from Monkey See Boutique
Classic girls lunchbox that comes in a lot of really cute prints from Monkey See Boutique! They even have large magnets to cover your lunchbox front with holiday designs! Genius!

Large insulated tote bag from etsy
Drawstring insulated tote from etsy
Personalized insulated cooler from etsy
Upcycled tablecloth from etsy
Oilcloth bag from etsy
Vintage Fabric tote from etsy
I think I am going with one of these vintage totes. It seems to be large enough to hold her milk jug, milk cup, water cup, breakfast and lunch and has straps long enough to fit over my shoulder.
Which one is your favorite?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A State-"mint" of Gratitude

My daughter is moving up classes in her school this week and I wanted to do something small and inexpensive, but thoughtful for her teacher that we are leaving. When I saw this "mint" idea here, I knew what to do. Any kind of mints will do, but I love Andes, so I went with them. You can imagine York Peppermint Patties, Junior Mints, peppermints, spearmint gum, it all works! Since I was only using Andes, I found coordinating ribbon in my stash and tied it around like a present.
I wrote my "mint" note out and layered it with extra scrapbooking paper from my scraps.

Ta-Da! A senti-"mint"-al (pun intended!) note for any teacher, volunteer, or friend that doesn't cost a lot, but means so much.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Grilled Summer Vegetables

My coworker shared zucchini and squash from his garden with me this week. I have never cooked these before and asked his recommendation on how to prepare squash and zucchini. I shall trust him in the kitchen from now on!
This is what you need- Wash, peel and dice your veggies. One medium zucchini and one small squash are perfect for two people.
Saute them in a little olive oil until they begin to brown. Liberally add bread crumbs and shredded cheese and toss. What a healthy alternative! You can also cook them on the grill like we did this past weekend with our friends. We used a skillet made for the grill. They tasted just the same.

With all the talk of white dishes last week, here is a summer place setting from our dinner party. Super simple and easy with white dishes! The place mats are from Pottery Barn Kids and wipe clean. Great for family dinners!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gourmet Doughnuts

I live in Austin, Texas. Our city slogan is "Keep Austin Weird". Last night I went to South Lamar where weird is normal and ate food on a picnic table on the side of the road out of a large trailer. Weird, huh? It was worth it and the stretchy pants that came from it.
This is Gourdough's which stands for Gourmet Doughnuts. I sinned big time in the land of healthy diets. I just might sin again next month. This is me and my sin- small doughnut holes, filled with cream, sitting in cream and topped with coconut. The most sinful fruit there is.
I was not alone in my sin- this is the plate of Cherry Bombs my friend Andrea ordered. Doughnut holes, sitting in cream, topped with cherry pie filling, cake batter, and cinnamon and sugar.

In case you don't like sweets, this is the Flying Pig I brought home to my husband. One doughnut, covered in maple icing and bacon coming right up. Sinful!

Heather ate "Son of a Peach". She doesn't cuss, but those words coming out of her mouth made me laugh. Her doughnut was covered in peach gel, with cake batter, cinnamon and sugar on top. Seriously!

I am certain these could be duplicated at home in case your town isn't weird like mine. Here is the full menu. I plan to try Granny's Pie next time I am feeling weird.

Anything about your town weird? Is Austin weird enough for you?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Aha Moment Video

A few weeks ago my husband and I recorded our Aha Moment for Mutual of Omaha's campaign. We met downtown and recorded our message inside a small trailer. We thought about how we wanted to share a message of hope for other couples struggling with infertility. We were "interviewed" by the nicest Mutual of Omaha worker who asked us some really thought provoking questions. She did a great job and after editing, our message was created. Our story has a bigger message about faith and trusting things unseen and at times unfelt. I don't know that that faith-based message really conveyed after all of the edits were placed, but I pray it gives hope to others. We were asked to bring a prop and brought this photo of the blessing we fought to receive.
Before you watch the video, let me just say that I look awful. It is very humbling to share it here and if it were to be chosen as a national commercial, I might just die. The overly awful smile at the beginning was a joke- they asked us to smile really big and I think I overdid it.

Enjoy the video here and remember, I look much better in real life! Of all days to forget to wear blush!
If you are struggling to have a child, know that God has a plan for your life and family and you'll look back one day and see how it all worked together. Parenting after infertility is so much better than I could have ever imagined. Every reward after a challenge is sweeter, more colorful and more enjoyed. Infertility is no different.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

For the Love of White

I have been married almost 11 years. We didn't register for fancy china because it didn't fit our lifestyle or the size of our wedding. We opted for basic dishes from JC Penney that got chipped and broken and have since been replaced with solid white dishes that I just love.

I love bright colors and things to match to the last little detail and just couldn't find dishes I liked that I thought would look fresh in the spring and warm in the fall. That would last me 10 more years of Christmas dinners. I bought these basic white dishes from Pottery Barn and I have all more fun with accessories- serving pieces, placemats, table runners, glasses, napkins, ribbon, centerpieces, you name it! I have found white dishes are easy to add to- these platters are low cost from World Market. Target also has great inexpensive serving pieces in solid white. I own circles, squares, rectangles, ovals and more! I recently saw on another blog that you can stamp onto your white dishes!
She writes:
You wouldn't want anyone making you eat regular ink without knowing right?! First you will need a couple of supplies. An un-inked stamp pad and gel food color and any rubber stamp that hasn't touched regular ink - Again, food safe! Start by soaking the pad with the food color. You don't need to use all the food color, but just make sure you are completely soaking the pad. I usually use a table knife to spread the color all around. You're now ready to go. Ok, here comes the tricky part. Put on your patient pants because this can be trying at times. When stamping make sure to stamp STRAIGHT down and back up again. Since plates are much slicker than paper, it has a tendency to smudge. When this happens I just wipe off the plate with a damp paper towel, dry it and try again. And in some cases, again and again. Stick with it because once you're all done you'll really get a great party detail. I always get compliments on this project. Once I did an old pram stroller stamp for a baby shower I was hosting and one of the guests asked me "where in the world did you find baby stroller plates?" She had no idea they were temporary images. Once food, especially wet food, touches the image it will begin to smear.

Another great thing about white dishes- you can really decorate with them. They can look clean and modern.
Or French Country chic!
I hope you enjoyed checking out my china pattern- thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Dining Room Reveal

This is my formal dinning room stripped down of all decor when I realized I needed a before picture! It is open on one side into my living room and is painted Crisp Khaki like the rest of my house. The chandelier came with the house and matches 2 other light fixtures in the adjacent hallway. The shades were added from Ballard Designs about a year ago as I began to bring in my favorite color- red!Hello Crushed Seed! This is my favorite red color made by Dutch Boy. I had it in my old kitchen and dining room and just loved it! It is such a bold color, but not race car or lipstick red. I went with a soft eggshell finish. This is with 2 coats of primer and one coat of paint... one coat to go!
Ta-Da! My new red dining room! This is the left wall when you enter the room. The two canvases read "Always Give Thanks" and "Count Your Blessings". Perfect sentiments for a dining room. I've had them for years and purchased them at Hobby Lobby for about $20 each. The small arch you see leads into our kitchen.

This is the right wall with my new Pottery Barn reclaimed wood flag. I happened to catch it on sale for less than $100. Score! I wanted something big and clean in this space and this was perfect. The drapes were part of the American Living collection from JC Penney and have since sold out. I have these drapes in my living room as well.

The buffet houses my placemats, napkins, table runners and coasters and is great display space. I have a vintage food scale, a few plates and napkins, an antique replica shadow box with a cross stitch patters and a lush ivy on a red tray.

On my table, I added a red striped runner from Pottery Barn that I have had for ages. It is topped with a vintage soda bottle crate from an antique store shopping trip with my girlfriends ages ago. Inside, I paired my grandmother's utensils with a wodden chicken, Pottery Barn pitcher and more cloth napkins.

Standing in the dining room, you can see into my living room. These rooms really coordinate now which I just love! I told my husband and our handyman that hardwood floors are next. We've been waiting for our daughter to get walking down before we harden the surface. Now, we just need to save a little money!

Monday, June 7, 2010

GIft Basket How To

I love buying sets of items that go together and making a gift basket. It is just how my brain works. For our babysitter's graduation party this weekend, I made her a laundry basket. You know doing laundry in the dorm basement calls for some fun colors and cute stuff! When putting together a basket, I recommend having your items with you when you pick out the container. I searched all over Wal-Mart for a tub that wasn't too big where the gift would look chinzy, but also not too small where it would look like everything was just crammed into a cheap container.

Look for 1 or 2 big items that don't cost much. I used detergent and stain spray as my big items. Those will determine your container size. From there, I added the medium and small items including a lint roller, monogrammed laundry bag, and dryer sheets. I also recommend one fun or colorful item in the front and center. I used clothespins in a clear bag and added curly ribbon.

Keep your colors in mind. The color of the detergent and stain spray set my whole color palette. You want each item to look like part of the set and not mismatched.Think outside the box- the tubs in the cleaning aisle were boring! I found this one in the summer section, likely for holding cold drinks. You can also find colorful tubs in the garden section, metal pails in hardware/paint or colorful organizers in closet/kitchen organization.
Keep odd numbers in mind- odd numbers help with making it look more random. You don't want full symmetry. Balance the size of your items in your bucket.
I added layers of tissue between each item. It makes it more fun to dig in and see what is inside, but also helps with the decor and filling of the container. My items looked a little short, so I covered a box of Bisquick mix in tissue on the bottom. It added weight since my detergent was so heavy and could tip the bucket over, but also added height.
Have fun bucket shopping next time you need a gift!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Monkeying Around

This sweet baby boy is due later this summer to a friend of a friend and we made his shower invite to match his nursery with Animal Crackers from Scrap Orchard. Here is the software I use for digital projects.