Thursday, June 30, 2011

Phin loves Grandma, Grandma loves Phin

My furbabies LOVE that grandma and grandpa are in town. They get really spoiled, get to eat just about everything, get to spend all day roaming the house and the backyard, etc.

My Phin loves his grandma almost as much as he loves me. They love spending time together. I'm so glad she doesn't get tired of his affections.

Thank goodness for grandparents.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Father's Day Visit

We visited with my FIL on Father's Day. It ended up being an awesome day... we went thrifting, ate at our favorite place in Sterling, spent some much needed time on the back porch and helped finish my in-laws bedroom remodel. 

Here are a few pictures from the day!

I can't wait to show you some of my thrift finds. I got a bunch of great deals!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Photo Shoot

Sorry for my delay in posting this week. My parents are in town, I'm participating in my face-to-face sessions for the CDF course I'm in and J has been sick -- allergies/summer cold/chest congestion and dental work! So, I apologize!

Last week while J and Twin were out bowling, the boys and I had some fun with a photo shoot!

Here are my not professional tips to getting a good shot of your favorite furry friend.

1. Keep your camera handy -- you never know when they'll do something extra cute.
2. Get on their level/change your angle -- I chose to get on the floor with them and crawl around behind them. I also like shooting from above them (like standing on a chair above them).
3. Use natural lighting/no flash -- you can capture better expressions and clearer eyes this way. I opened the blinds and curtains and turned off most artificial light in the room.
4. Go outside -- I prefer outside shots of furbabies, but mine go crazy when outside, so I chose to shoot inside this time.

I hate how the TV is coming out of his head, had I rotated, I could've eliminated that.

What are some other tips you have for me?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Countertops, Anyone?

Since we're getting new flooring, I agreed to NO projects for one year. Well, it was a year from last June, so my year is almost up, but I think J might need another year before undergoing any other major projects. Trust me, I am ready for bead board.

In the meantime, I managed to squeeze in a small project. We remodeled the kitchen last May, but we didn't have enough money for new counter-tops. We re-vamped the floors last May, too, but we knew it was a temporary fix. Since we're now getting new flooring in the kitchen, it's also time for new counter-tops...but we don't have enough saved for a new counter-top to go along with my new floor. Our awesome friends told us about a new paint technique you can apply to your counter-tops to replicate granite. We decided to give it a go. If it's horrible, we'll have to get new counter-tops sooner than later. If it works, we hit the jack-pot.

The 30lb box of goodies arrived yesterday. Can't wait to get started!

My dad is going to take point on this when he gets here this weekend. Fingers crossed that it works out!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lemonberry Fizzle

Some stormy summer nights, you just need a sweet lemon treat. Enter my Lemonberry Fizzle.

Have you ever heard of Annie's Eats? I love her recipes and I found her lemon blueberry cupcake recipe the other day and thought I'd give it a try.

Thank you, Annie. Not quite the same as the one I had from The Flying Cupcake, but it was still really great!

You can follow her recipe, but here are some of my pictures...

Ice them and eat!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What a day?!?!

My Monday was a Manic Monday... wooooooo... just another Manic Monday!

I got a coveted spot at the upcoming Whatever Craft Weekend and then had to transfer it to another person right away. Leave it to me to get so excited that I totally forget a very important family event. Regardless, I am so so sad. But I keep reminding myself what a blessed life I live if that is my biggest heartbreak. Plus, I hope it made the day of the woman who took my spot. I am letting myself be mad that I won't be meeting two of my favorite bloggers, Ashley Ann and Meg. Maybe next time... tear*

My online class is up and running in full swing. I'm learning a lot but it is kind of intense...not gonna lie.

I'm planning two, seemingly easy, but VERY time consuming events at work which are eating away at my time.

All I want to do is love on Phin and he wants NOTHING to do with it.

I can't WAIT to see my mom and dad this Saturday. Can't come soon enough.

I want Qdoba, bad, like really bad.

I just bought some pretty awesome shoes for Kenya... waterproof shoes... all black. Pure beauty. You know you want some....

I bought enough OTC drugs for a small nation today.. all in the effort of keeping me healthy and clean while in Africa. I should be prepared!

After two long years of saving, we're finally getting new flooring throughout our entire home. Dark Chocolate Mahogany hard wood for the kitchen, entryway, dining room and upstairs living room... tan/beige carpet everywhere else (except the unfinished laundry area). I'm really looking forward to it. Tonight we went and selected the final colors and got estimates on arrival dates of the flooring. That also means that we've been busy touching up the baseboards and painting the few things that need painted (fireplace, etc). Now we just have to decide how we want to structure the install... days in a row versus spread out.

It's actually darker than this in real life... maybe this is the wrong picture??

I also worked a 10 hr day, which is uncommon for this time of year. It was just a crazy Monday. I really hope today... and the rest of the week...settle down.

Oh -- and we won 2/3 of our volleyball games last week! We're doing great!

Monday, June 20, 2011

My first harvest!

I am happy to announce that I harvested from my garden for the first time on Saturday! We harvested some kale, chard and romaine. I had a lot of romaine.. so much that I took some to my in-laws. We'll all be eating organic, home-grown romaine for the next few days.

Freshly harvested food are best in the first 5 days after picking, so I've got a few more days to eat up before I need to go pick some more. It was just unreal... the garden didn't look any thinner after we harvested, than it did before! Crazy! Phin enjoyed the ride to the garden and I just really like the  blurry artistic feel of this picture!

And, because it is almost my 1 year anniversary of being vegetarian, I decided to treat myself to a corn dog! ... A meatless corn dog, but boy was it a good one!! Thank you, Trader Joe's!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Wishing my dad and my father-in-law a very happy Father's Day today!

And, wishing my husband a great Father's Day, too. You're the best dad our pups could've asked for!

Love you all!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Holy Cow!

Holy Cow! I've been blogging most weekdays for 1 WHOLE YEAR.

Happy 1 year anniversary to my blog!

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Friday Ramble

How are you spending this weekend? I hope you're all doing something special for the dads in your life.

I sent my father his gifts home with my mom last weekend. I got him two serious gifts -- a car mount for his Zune and a PGA golf shirt -- and then I got him a funny gift. We always joke about "happy pills" in my family, so I made him a container of happy pills for happy Father's Day. My mom said he got a kick out of it!

 I already caved and gave J his gifts from the pups...

And we are going to visit my FIL tomorrow even though we mailed his gift already.

I really think time with the dads in your life is so important. You can learn so much and create such great memories if you just take a little time to truly spend time with them, doing what they like, asking their opinions and really listening to their responses. I'm always amazed at how much knowledge my dad has ABOUT EVERYTHING. I have been so blessed to have an amazing father, an incredible father-in-law and a wonderful husband that loves our pups more than anything.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend! We're celebrating a friend's birthday tonight, harvesting the garden and visiting the in-laws tomorrow and a girl's day on Sunday. Should be fun!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Casa de Brown

It is summer, which means Casa de Brown is open for business.

Let the visiting begin!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dirt Pudding Flower Cups

For our Love is Sweet dessert themed bridal shower, we decided to make individual dirt pudding flower cups to put at each place setting. Here's how you can duplicate this for your next event!

I found the small flower pots at Bailey's (a discount store in Knox, IN) for 50 cents each, but I'm sure you could find similar ones (I prefer them without a hole in the bottom).

Small Flower Pots
Large Cupcake Holders
Flowers (1 per flower pot)
Small Doilies

Ingredients (We doubled the batch for 20 flower pots)
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding (I always use Vanilla)
2 cups  cold milk
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
15   OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 1-1/4 cups), divided (I always use a whole bag between the mix and the topping)
10 worm-shaped chewy fruit snacks (if you want to use them)

I use this tried and true Kraft recipe because it has few ingredients, is delicious and it's easy for little helpers to assist easily!

1. Beat pudding mix and milk in large bowl with whisk 2 min. Let stand 5 min. Stir in COOL WHIP and 1/2 cup cookie crumbs.
2. Refrigerate about 1 hour.
3. While the filling is setting-up in the fridge, wash the flower pots and put the large cupcake holders inside each one.
4. Measure the bottom of the pot to the top edge of the pot and cut straws to that length, 1 straw at the correct length per pot.
5. Spoon into 10 flower pots; and top with remaining cookie crumbs.
6. Stick the straw in the middle of the pot so that the top can't be seen and push the flower into the straw to support it. 

It really is easy, delicious and beautiful! Some people thought they were potted plant favors!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My garden is flourishing!

By now these pictures of the garden are already outdated! It is just growing like crazy. Everything is doing great so far, although my zucchini isn't looking very strong yet and I transplanted one brussel sprout and he looks mighty tiny. I'm hoping he takes root and continues to grow.

We're planning on mulching this weekend to hopefully retain some more of the water.

I love the bright pink of the rainbow chard and the deep purple on the edges of the kale! Beautiful color. I am so looking forward to my fresh veggies! I really never knew that I would love gardening as much as I do.

Basil seems to be the one thing that just keeps dying on me. Anyone know if it's finicky?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Love is Sweet Dessert Shower!

My soon-to-be sister-in-law had a lovely shower. It is always nice to see what you've been envisioning in your mind, displayed in real life. I love events! I love love. Perfect!

Since it was dessert themed shower, I coined it: Love is Sweet. I also incorporated flowers and floral prints to nod at the bride's love of and history with flowers. I also incorporated a LOT of yarn to showcase her love of yarn (her favorite place is a yarn store) and her favorite hobby of knitting. So with desserts, yarn and flowers, I went to work. I'm going to show you some finished products!

Everyone could drop off their dessert recipe for the bride (I included the card with the invitation) and pick up a favor when they walked in.

At the same table, they signed in on the shower tree. Each person "leaf"ed their fingerprint as a leaf and then signed their name next to it! I think it turned out really cute. So sorry the picture is so blurry. It doesn't do it justice. I just love this idea and I'll definitely do this again... maybe at a baby shower or something! So cute!

Love is literally sweet! I made a banner with Martha's help for the buffet table. I love all of the beautiful colors on the table!

Here is one of the yarn wreaths in its final glory! I know it's dark, but it was ADORABLE. I wish this picture did it justice!

For the table runners, I made them out of Amy Butler Love Paradise Garden in Midnight. It pulled in the pink and navy of the shower, but also the floral we needed. Centerpieces were made of old copper jello molds and bundt pans filled with peonies in all shades of pink!

The small flower pots are actually filled with dirt pudding and a real flower from Grammy's yard! Don't worry, it was all safe to eat. I'll give you DIY details soon! But aren't they cute? They greeted everyone at their place settings... and the pudding was delicious to boot!

E got a lot of wonderful goodies for her shower, too!

The shower was a success, everyone had a great time and the bride was showered with all sorts of wonderful things for their home. Love is surely sweet!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Herb Thief!

I finally got all of my photos downloaded and I saw these old pictures from when I first put out the herbs on the back deck. Apparently, we have an herb thief in the family!

Hmmm, these smell good.

I don't mind if I do... I'll just help myself.

Uh oh, I've been spotted. I'll just lick the pot instead and pretend I was watering the lavender.

This one also loves to take out the popsicle stick markers and move them for me to find. He likes to leave them under the dining room table or in his chair (his "safe" zones) mud and all! He sometimes leaves them outside, too.

He is a crazy one, but I love him anyway.