Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Weekend Run-Down

This weekend, J and I had a staycation and it was just absolutely wonderful. I did all of my favorite things (reading, gardening, snuggling, napping, crafting, sewing, painting), it was simply fantastic. We did so much that I just don't think I can show it to you all in one day! 

Here's a quick glimpse...

We made tractor crayons for someone's upcoming 3rd birthday (DIY instructions coming soon).

We snuggled and napped, a lot. (We also trimmed and bathed the dogs, gave P his shot and cleaned O's ears. They smell so good now.)

We finalized the herb garden. Yes, I snuck in a Lady Bell, too. My markers are popsicle sticks.

We painted, a lot...indoors, outdoors...and yes, I am using a changing table to store my event wares! Brilliant. And that is chalkboard paint on that old frame. I'll show you the finished product soon. I bought the old frame for $2.

We planted our flower beds. And our hanging baskets (including tearing up some old burlap bags).


We finished planting the garden, but we still need to stake my peppers once they get a bit bigger!

Look at that kale! It is so beautiful.

My beans and peas sprouted up out of nowhere! Wow!

I sewed, I read, I painted my nails, we went to the movies, we relaxed, we took a long drive in the country, we took a load of donations to goodwill, we went to the new 8am service at church, we got the backyard all organized, we cleaned and we crafted, a lot! I even got vegetarian Chinese food and a husband willing to sit in the same room with me while I watched The Bachelorette. I'm a lucky one. I hope you had a good weekend. This staycation was JUST what I needed.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Wherever this finds you on this memorial day, I hope you are enjoying yourself immensely but I also hope that you're spending some time reflecting on those who sacrificed and still sacrifice for us.

I will always remember my dear friends, two brave men who were taken too soon while protecting us. Marine Lance Cpl. James Swain and Army Sgt Ricky Jones, you are eternally missed and I will never forget the sacrifice you made for my freedom. James -- you were the best theatre co-star I could've ever asked for. And, Ricky -- you had the best TP'ing arm I've ever seen.

Our flag is flying today, is yours?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Greatest Spectacle in Racing!

That's right, it's the Indy 500! I grew up with the sights and sounds of the Indy 500. Listening to the race on the radio while jumping through the sprinkler in the backyard or playing my aunt's pool. The Indy 500 provided the soundtrack for my spring-time growing up... the trials, carb day, the princesses, etc... it is part of my history.

It's interesting how things that are seemingly in the background growing up end up impacting you more than you think. A lot of my friends now work in the racing industry. Even though I'm in the Badger state, this Hoosier still knows the importance of race day. I just wish I could hear the squeal of tires and powerful engines from my backyard.

Here's to great weather and a safe race for all the drivers! Gentlemen, start your engines!!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Crafting on the Go!

I am not the world's best rider. I bring probably 3 x's the hours of activities I would need while in the car because I never know what I will want to actually do. J just likes to drive and listen to Handle on the Law. I, on the other hand, get antsy after about 5 minutes.

For our trip last week, we had 14+ hours of driving time between Friday and Sunday. Evening drives tend to be worse on me because I've worked all day and then driven until some late hour. On this occassion, my allergies were in full swing and I was getting sick so I (even more than normal) was dreading the drive.

To combat this, I had a loaded up IPad with Khloe and Lamar, Glee, Modern Family and Happy Endings to keep me occupied if need be. Apparently, I'd missed a whole season's worth of all four shows. But, like I mentioned before, I have to pack more than 14 hours, I need about 40 hours of stuff. So I also packed my craft items. I love crafting and it is relaxing for me, so I packed some things that I needed to do for this upcoming shower. Make sure when crafting on the go that you pack everything you might need (i.e. glue, scissors, tape, hole punch, etc) not just the craft items themselves. A key to making this work is to bring along a few pillows to act as your car "table." One should work, but I used two.

Then just get to business. You may have to get creative with space.

I had to makeshift a needle out of a paperclip because I forgot a needle. It was more difficult, but it still worked.

On the car ride I managed to watch four hours of commercial-free TV, made two strands of garland, one banner, wrapped 3 yarn letters, read a handful of magazines, finished a novel and chatted J's ear off. You can get a lot done in 14 hours... 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Random Musings

Last night I ate Special K for dinner and I had a piece of toast. Just keepin' it real in case someone out there thinks I make great dinners every night. I can't wait to show you how to craft in the car tomorrow... just in time for any Memorial Day roadtrips you have!

The favors for the bridal shower in a few weeks turned out super cute. I finished them up last night. See for yourself. I won't tell you what they are just yet! Stay tuned.

My hair stylist says that there's always something new going on with my hair. She's right. Since 7th grade, I've been doing something different with my hair quarterly. Most of the time I go for that goldenrod look with blonde and/or copper hi-lights but regardless, my hair is constantly in flux.

Here's my latest change...

From this...

to this...

What do you think? I know it's dark for summer but it is very close to my natural color and I'm thinking that I kinda feel like a frizzy-haired Kardashian stepchild with it. HAHHA! Oh, the fun! Did you hear Kim's engaged?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

DIY -- Pioneer Woman Style

I love the Pioneer Woman and her recipes! Wow! I've been wanting to try her Pasta ai Quattro Formaggi ever since I started eating cheese again. It was worth the wait.

I want you to go over to her site for the recipe and beautiful pictures. You won't be sorry!

I used chevre, chedder, parmesan and fontina cheese. I used her directions (using 2% milk instead of cream), but I forgot to save some hot pasta water so mine wasn't as creamy as hers. C'est la vie. It was still delicious.

And, 'tis the season for goodness! For dessert I shared this big beautiful bowl of cherries.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DIY -- Pasta Mama from Good Morning Mama's

I love Good Morning Mama's... especially their Pasta Mama. What can I say? I have awesome friends who take me to awesome breakfast places when I'm in Indiana that I crave the rest of the year.

So, being in Wisconsin, I decided that I would make my own version of the Pasta Mama for dinner last night. I ran by Trader Joe's to get a bell pepper and fresh Parmesan since we have no food in our house right now. I got home and went to work.

Angel Hair Pasta (I used whole wheat)
Bell Pepper (I used red, they use green)
Fresh Parmesan
Tiny bit of butter or margarine

1. Boil the pasta to al dente. Do not overcook. Trust me on this one!!

2. Drain the pasta and put a tiny bit of butter in with the pasta so it doesn't stick together.
3. In a separate pan, start making scrambled eggs.
4. Once the eggs have started taking shape, turn to medium heat and dump in the pasta and bell pepper pieces.
5. Toss the pasta, bell pepper and eggs together until the eggs are completely cooked.
6. Lower the heat and add in the Parmesan.
7. Serve it up with a few shavings of Parmesan on top

It isn't just like the Pasta Mama and I did not put in enough Parmesan, but it was good. I'll eat it again, but nothing beats the real thing. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

DIY -- Yarn Inspired Ideas [Wreath]!

I am still harping on all this yarn stuff -- sorry! Just bear with me! The last one... maybe!

I also made some yarn wrapped wreaths! I found Cranny on Etsy and fell in love with all of her items!  Especially these wreaths...


Buy you know I can attempt my own hand at it, so I did! Same as with the letters, you glue the yarn in place and start wrapping. Cover the entire wreath -- this may take you a few times around.

Then embellish! That simple, but it is darling and completely goes with our feel of the shower! I can't wait 'til you can see the cute ones I made!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

DIY -- Yarn Inspired Ideas [Letters]!

I love showing you all what I'm working on, but I don't want to give it all away.... oooh, the conundrum! So, I'll show you some progress but not the finished product. Sound good? OK, good!

I've been spending some time wrapping letters.... it's quite fun, but it's also keeping me busy. You just wrap and wrap and keep on wrapping... you get the picture.

Supplies needed:
A wooden letter or cardboard letter
Tape or hot glue

Print and cut out the letters you need on a normal piece of paper. Trace those on cardboard (I used a cereal box.)

Cut out the cardboard letters.

Secure one end of the yarn with tape or hot glue.

Start wrapping....

Or, you could buy an already finished letter (like the wooden letter below) and you eliminate the first few steps. Secure the yarn and start wrapping.

The wooden letter was sturdier and didn't bend as much, but the cardboard letter was at a much better price point.. FREE. So, you know, pick your favorite.

I found this idea here and here! Both are beautiful! I can't wait to show you these finished and displayed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

DIY -- Yarn Inspired Ideas [Garland]!

I've been working on the bridal shower for my future SIL lately. I hope it's a lovely time.

In preparation, I've been working a lot with yarn. Yarn wrapped wreaths, yarn wrapped monograms and yarn pom pom garland to name a few!

Here's some help in making your own garland!

For the garland... (I got my idea here)

Wrap your yarn around a wooden fork/spatula about 50 times.

Tie in the middle tightly before cutting the edges.

Trim up the edges. Repeat!

Once you have as many as you need, pull a darning needle with the yarn through the center of each pom pom to create your garland! And, viola!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's official then...

I'm a student again! After my year and a half MBA trial, I didn't think I'd ever go back to school, but I guess this makes it official! Here's to nights spent reading books I'm not interested in! J/K ;)

I'm taking a certification course to become a Career Development Facilitator this summer. There are other requirements needed to actually become a GCDF, but this is my first step. I'm actually doing it in conjunction with my job, so it should bring about an advancement at work, too.

Well, here goes nothing!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

You craft with that?

So, I like to craft on the cheap... we all know this and should come at no surprise. My husband and bil thought my crafting items combined were quite hilarious yesterday, so I'll leave you to decide.

I'll show you what I made soon!

Monday, May 16, 2011

John Deere for Her!

I spent all week/end with two of the most awesome kiddos I know and we got to do lots of fun things -- from baking cakes, to making chocolate covered pretzels and fortune cookies, to painting magnets, painting fingernails, watching movies, playing with the "goggies," etc.

We also got to spend some time shopping for and crafting for a certain someones upcoming special 3rd birthday party. We bought about everything we'll need and we got the invites mailed out, we made a banner, we made the favors, we made decorations for the cake table and we made her a hat to match her get-up! I don't want to show you too much quite yet, I want to wait for the party, but here is the invitation we picked out!

As you can tell, the party is at the farm and the theme in pink John Deere. Too cute. I still have to make tractor crayons, but other than that, we're good to go for the party!

Friday, May 13, 2011

DIY -- Fortune Cookie Tower & Chocolate Covered Pretzels

I saw this a while ago and I knew immediately that I would do this for J at some point in time because of his love of fortune cookies... especially chocolate dipped and sprinkled fortune cookies. I decided his 28th birthday would be a great occasion!


I scorched my white chocolate (that I had dyed orange), so I used all milk chocolate instead. Not as orange, but just as tasty!

 First melt the chocolate for a minute and a half, stir, and melt and stir in 15 second intervals until melted and creamy. Or, dippable, as J says. Note: When you think you need to cook it for just 15 more seconds, you don't! Just stir and stir and stir. Otherwise, you will meet the same fate as my white chocolate!

Start dipping! We set up a sprinkle station, too. Sprinkle as soon as you pull out the chocolate so it sticks really well! We had three different sprinkle options to choose from.

Then start stacking the cake being sure to fill in the middle as you go so that it doesn't collapse in on itself.

Build up until you're satisfied with the size and shape of the cake. Let them firm up overnight.

With the left-over chocolate, we dipped pretzels. Follow the same procedure as above, just place the pretzels on wax paper. We re-heated the chocolate for 5 seconds when it hardened. Worked like a charm!

And, trust me, these are just as good as they look!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I Feel So.... Trendy!

I was browsing the interwebs the other day and found this great decor, wedding, party site. Anyway, as I was looking, things were looking vaguely familiar to things I had just done for L's shower!

Looking at what you can buy for lots of money and what I did it for made me feel a. Trendy and b. Frugal! Double goodness!

The pom-poms. The circle garland. The pennants. The pinwheels. The glitter numbers/letters.

What do you think? I feel like I am so now!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Special Delivery Tonight!

I am so happy to see his face tonight! He misses me and needs to meet the "goggies."

I can't wait to have him in my arms... either him or his big sister! A fun, fun weekend awaits full of the zoo, picnics, parks and playtime!!

DIY -- Make Your Own Paper Fortune Cookies

I saw this super cute idea and thought it would be perfect for our Friday night birthday activity for my husband who loves fortune cookies!

The longest part of making these was getting responses from family and friends. Once that is complete, you can get down to business!

Start by cutting out your circles (about a 3 inch diameter), print and cut the fortunes, and gather up small rubber bands (optional).

Fold the circle in half wrong side out and gently crease a small portion of the middle.

With wrong side up, glue along the edge perpendicular to the crease.

Fold the fortune and place it in the middle of the fortune "cookie."

Fold the paper in half without creasing the other edge. You can either hold the paper together until the glue holds or get crafty and use household items like me (clothespins also work well).

 Once the glue dries and hold them together, you have little taco looking things.

Now you use that little crease you made to fold the "cookie" in half. It helps if you push in on the crease while you fold the edges in. To get it to maintain the shape, I used small rubber bands to keep them in place.

For storage, I used a clear baggie with each guy's name on it. This way they stayed protected until the big day.

The day of the party, I took them out of the bag, removed the rubber bands (they held their shape beautifully) and displayed them in the party area (aka the kitchen table).

Viola! It was so fun hearing them read their fortunes. A lot of inside jokes were shared!