Friday, June 29, 2012

The Party Chronicles: Episode 3- Pete the Cat

The Party Chronicles 
Episode 3- Pete The Cat

The inspiration for Olivia's birthday party this year came from her absolute favorite book- Pete the Cat. 

If you don't know who Pete the Cat is, stop what you're doing right now and check out this book. It's adorable. It's entertaining. The message behind it is fantastic, and the pictures are hilarious. Livy became attached to it immediately and Pete's motto became our family motto for the year. She had the book memorized after reading it once, and has repeated it over and over again ever since. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

DIY Open Shelving

So. Open shelving.
Who's intimidated by the concept?

I'll confess. 
I used to think it was impractical in the kitchen. I mean--come on. 
The dishes will get dusty. You have to keep it looking "perfect" for it to work...
Ok. Maybe I just thought I was too disorganized to pull it off.

Well... since then I've come around.
I'm a believer!
("And then I saw her face! ... now I'm a believer! not a trace... of doubt in my mind!
I'm in love--Aaaaah--I'm a believer! I couldn't leave her if I tried..." But I digress...)

You may be asking:
Do my dishes get dusty? 
The dishes we keep there are the ones we use EVERY. DAY. so they get circulated regularly.
Those bowls up top are primarily for decoration and to bring color into the space, though. When we use them we give them a quick rinse before putting anything inside. But they are typically used when we're planning on inhaling an entire bag of jalapeno cheetos while watching a movie from redbox. It's just easier--and more fabulous--to do so out of a cute bowl. So. Not an inconvenience. 

Is it a pain keeping it looking organized? 
Everything has its place, and even when there are dishes missing (two of our bowls are in the dishwasher, since this was taken after breakfast time), it doesn't look "messed up". Plus--the white dishes keep everything looking crisp and clean.

Wanna learn how to create this look in your own home?
Or do you just wanna see what my kitchen looked like before we overhauled it? 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Make Your Own Wall Mirrors

It all started when I wanted a mirror by the baby's changing table to give him something to look at during diaper changes. As I shopped around, I couldn't find anything quite like what I wanted:  small, circular, with some sort of frame (preferably orange).  So I decided to make my own mirrors--using plates as the frame!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Party Chronicles: Episode 2- Despicable Me

The Party Chronicles: Episode 2

When Olivia was two, her favorite movie was Despicable Me, which she fondly referred to as "FLUFFY DIE!" (Her version of the line "It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!")  So for her birthday we had a FLUFFY DIE party! It was such a blast! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Geeking Out Over These!

Rustoleum Spray Paint.
Or... really spray paint in general. 
Just used it for the first time on a house project this past week! 
I know... I know... what took me so long, right? I don't know. Honestly. Maybe just the fact that I finally have a house so I can really incorporate a color scheme? Who knows. 

I wanted my barstools to really pop in my white kitchen, so I thought maybe a bright sunny yellow...
 Turns out it's a little TOO bright. I love the color and the hubby likes it, but it just doesn't work in my kitchen. So I'm gonna go for "lagoon" next. I'm just gonna wait until the cabinet doors are all done first, per the hubby's request. It will be my third time painting them, so I suppose he has a point. :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Party Chronicles- Episode 1: The Wizard of Oz

I love to throw parties. I'm always looking for an excuse to celebrate! 
So, I'm thinking that every once in a while I will go through my files and pull out some pictures of parties I have thrown in the last little while and do a little bloggity blogging about them. (Please keep in mind these are old pictures... taken before I really knew how to use a camera. ) 
I'll take you step by step through the planning process. If there's something you want me to do a more in-depth tutorial on, let me know and I'd be happy to help.
 I'll also tell you how much money I spent on the party. I don't know about you, but I often find these beautiful extravagant parties online that I'd love to copy, except for one tiny detail- we're college students! We're not exactly rolling in money. Even if I did have an extra thousand sitting in my wallet I can think of at least a thousand places that money needs to go. But I have found that you don't need a lot of money to throw your child a memorable birthday party. It CAN be done! 
So let's begin!
The Party Chronicles- Episode 1

Meet my oldest Daughter Addison. I know. She's adorable right?!
(For the record I did NOT tell her to pose like this. This is what she does EVERY time I pull out the camera.)

For Addison's 3rd birthday she kept telling me she wanted a "yellow birthday". I was like "Okay... sure. Yellow. We can do that."  Then a few weeks before her birthday she said she wanted a "Yellow Brick Road" party... Oh! That makes MUCH more sense! 

I was in party planning heaven! The Wizard of Oz was a childhood favorite of mine. There were three people I always wanted to be growing up- Annie, Shirley Temple, and Dorothy. It makes me smile to see Addie in love with the same timeless movies I loved as a kid.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Father's Day Round-Up

10 points to the first person who can name that movie!

That's honestly the first thing that came out of my mouth when I saw Adriane's cute Father's Day card. Is Father's Day seriously just days away? Contrary to what my dear Adriane assumed in her previous post, I am NOT prepared! We've had a few insane happenings around our house over the past few weeks, one of which involved me chopping the top 1/4 inch of my thumb off with a veggie slicer... and finding it later in a sink full of dishes... (Tell the truth, which word crossed your mind first- "Gross!" or "Ouch!" You can be honest, I won't judge. It was a toss up for me!)  Anyway, this lovely turn of events, among other things, has left me paddling along at about half my normal speed. So in hopes that something will spark a new fabulous idea, I've decided to share with you five projects I've done in the past that took very little $$ and prep, and turned out absolutely darling.

#1- "DADDY" Collage

I will never forget the look my husband's face when he pulled this out of the gift bag on Father's Day. His eyes welled up with tears, he pulled our girls close to him, and just sat there with a smile on his face, studying the pictures that so beautifully sum up the kind of incredible father he is.

It was pretty easy to put together. I bought a matte and a panoramic frame from Michaels with my handy dandy 50% off coupon. Then I found a font I liked on the computer and typed up the letters "D", "A", and "Y", and used them as stencils to cut the word "DADDY" out of the matte. Then I printed off  some pictures and stuck them behind the stencil. Don't be afraid to crop your pictures differently.

#2- Picasso Tie
This is SO easy and ridiculously fun. 

Step One: Find an old tie (Or, for those of you whose middle name is Martha Stewart, make one.)
Step Two: Let your kids get in touch with their inner Picasso...

Step Three: Turn the tie over and write a little love note on the back
Step Four: Wrap up the finished product and force Dad to wear it to church. Teeheehee...
I helped Addie make this for her daddy when she was just 23 months old. I'm thinking it's time to revisit this gift now that I have multiple artists in the family. I don't think we truly tapped into the full cuteness potential this gift has to offer. Don't get me wrong- I love her scribbles, but just think of the kind of art you'd get out of your older children. I think I may do this one again. 

#3- I Wanna Be Like You Dad!
Last year my husband was just starting his student teaching for the LDS Seminary program, which we were all very excited about. So for Father's Day I took the girls outside and let them play dress-up in his "work clothes." The result was both hilarious and adorable. :)

 As you can see... this was a pretty low-key photo shoot. The end result was absolutely nothing like what I had pictured in my head... yet I love them all anyway! I printed off my favorites and put them in a collage frame along with a handwritten card from Addison about how much she wants to be "Just like Dad!"

which leads us to:

#4- Walking in Your Footsteps
This could really be done for any parental figure in a child's life: mom, dad, grandparent etc...
I sneakily snapped a picture of my daughter holding hands and walking with my dad. Then I added one of my favorite quotes- "Mommy and Daddy always tell me to walk in Jesus's footsteps. But I can't see Him... so I'm walking in yours." I wish I knew where the quote originally came from. If you know the original source let me know so I can give them credit. 

My dad absolutely loved this. He even made a copy so he could have one at home and one in his office. Along with the picture I wrote a letter to my Dad about how grateful I am that my children have him to look up to. He is such an incredible man- always so selfless and Christlike. I couldn't ask for a better example for me OR my kids. 

#5- Canvas Art 

Who here loves finger-painting!? 

Honestly, I really do! It's such a thrill to smear paint all over a blank canvas with complete disregard to rules and order. There's no stress to stay within the lines! That's my kind of art!
All I did was mask off the letters with painter's tape and let my kids go to town. I'm sure you can imagine why there are no pictures of the process. If you are outnumbered by your children, and your kids are very young... I highly recommend grabbing another adult to help supervise this one. I still have teeny tiny blue foot prints running across the length of my back patio. I couldn't quite catch my baby before she ran right up and over the wet sign and just kept on going! 

Notice how these aren't perfect. I kind of love that about them. Proves they were homemade by little loving hands. :)
 As you've probably noticed, I actually did these for Mother's Day, not Father's Day. But I think you could use the idea for so many things: Mother's Day, Father's Day, Teacher appreciation gifts, Christmas...  I also think it would be cute to let your child make a one-of-a-kind masterpiece to hang in their bedroom. You could use letter stickers to write out a fun quote and then let them finger-paint away! This particular one was made for my Mother-In-Law's Home Office which is decorated in these colors. 

Well, there you have it folks! 5 easy ideas for Father's Day that you can whip up in no time! Now if I could just think of something new to do THIS year...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Father's Day--Are You Prepared?!?

It's that time again folks! FATHER'S DAY! If I know our Jamie, she probably has a million and a half things planned to surprise her sweet honey. Me, I am still working on being organized enough to realize 1) Father's Day is coming and 2) It's my job to make it fun! Luckily, I have something to fall back on this year: a card! 

I designed it last year but forgot to actually GIVE it to the father's in my life (sorry guys...) so I'm going to pull 'em out, print 'em off, pretty 'em up, and give 'em out! 

 Baby steps, right?

It's true that the mustache trend peaked right around last year--but the men in my life don't know that! 

Would you like to make some cards too?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Magnetic Spice Jars

Well. It's dinner time.
I swear--it catches me off guard EVERY. NIGHT.
I'm stressing out trying to get it done one time, and that cursed spice cupboard is slowing me down.
I mean, COME ON!


Sound familiar?

I thought that getting a cute 'lil spinning spice rack would help.
Well, it made them easier to find, sure. But I only used something like 20% of the spices included, and lots of my recipes called for spices NOT included in the rack, so I ended up back where I started. 

I had seen some magnetic spice jars in magazines, but I couldn't justify the price tag. So I decided to try my hand at making my own! 

Out of baby food jars.

Before any of you gourmets get up in arms about the whole "spices need to be kept in the dark" thing--these jars really only hold a few tablespoons. I would assume that if used regularly, you will cycle through the spice before the light could really do that much damage...

Wanna make your own?

Here's the How-To:

Materials Needed:
Babyfood Jars
Scrapbook paper/cardstock
Distressing ink
Hot Glue & Gun (or superglue!)

1. Feed your baby lots and lots of baby food. :)

2. Remove labels and wash bottles and lids in the dishwasher--don't stress too much about that little sticky spot from the label. You'll be wrapping the jar with paper anyways, so it's not a huge deal.

3. Choose your color scheme and paper. To make my job easy, I picked up the Latte Stack at JoAnn's, along with its coordinating solid pack. These go on sale all the time, and there are always coupons floating around. But anyhoo--whatever paper you choose, cut it into 1" wide strips, and make sure they are long enough to wrap around the jar and overlap a little bit. You will need to cut out circles for the labels, as well--two for each jar. I don't have a fancy paper cutter, so I went about this the old-school way. I pillaged my box with old coins, and found two that were about the right diameter. I think I used a silver dollar and a quarter? Maybe? Once I cut everything out I distressed the edges with brown distressing ink.

4. Fill in your labels with your spice names. I wrote mine by hand, but you could also use your printer before cutting them out.

5. Get some magnets. I used some 1/2 inch diameter earth magnets I got on ebay. Because I'm a cheapo I used two of these smaller diameter magnets per jar, but if I did it again, I would spend a little more per magnet and use one per jar instead. Something like these:

I just searched for "earth magnets" on ebay. These ones are 1" x 1/8".

6. Now it's time to assemble your spice jars! Use the Mod Podge to adhere the strips around the jar, let dry, and then cover the strip with another coat to give it a nice even sheen. Use the same method to adhere the labels on the end. Glue the bigger circle first, then the smaller one with the spice name, then cover the whole shebang with a final coat. 

7. Glue your magnet(s) to the lid using hot glue or super glue and you're good to go!


I originally posted about these HERE, buuuuut I have since taken new photos for an article I was featured in on You can find it HERE!

 photo bloglovin_zps73d7815c.jpg

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"Gingerly" delicious Pear Crumble

They say that "necessity is the mother of invention" but in our house it often feels like "Mother Hubbard is the mother of invention!" 

My husband recently decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle (I know, I don't get it either). and as his loving and supportive wife, I try my best to take his dietary guidelines in the consideration while I stock the fridge with string cheese and try to disguise the cartons of ice cream hiding in the freezer so he won't be reminded of what he's missing out on. I really do try to cook things he can eat, however when he's working late and won't be home for dinner I bust out the the poultry and diary products! So last night when poor hubby came home from work starving, my leftover creamy chicken enchiladas were of little interest to him.  The pantry was empty of vegan friendly options, and all of our fresh produce had been gobbled up. So I did what any exhausted mommy would do. I sent him digging into the crawl space (also known as the dungeon) to forage through our food storage in search of something that would satisfy his cravings. 

He came up about 15 minutes later (Truly, it's scary down there.) carrying a few jars of pears that I had bottled last year. Yeah, last summer I made the mistake of thinking that if I canned and bottled every bit of produce coming into my home it would make me a better mom- a mistake I will not make again. Turns out it makes me a tired, frazzled mom who spent all day canning 8 lousy jars of pears ... that no one will eat. 

So when the hubby asked if he could use them to experiment I told him to go right ahead, and as it turns out- he's a genius. A little dash of ginger, a little (or a lot) of butter... and TA-DA! I think we may have just found a way to use up every last pear in our house! And I may have even found the motivation to can them again this year! 

This dish is delightfully savory and SO easy to throw together! You probably have everything you need on hand right now. *Note*- this recipe is NOT vegan, due to the butter. I guess he was hungry enough not to care. :) 
Cut up your pears and toss them in a greased 9x9 baking dish. 

Then dish up a pear for your daughter because she suddenly decided she DOES like them!

Sprinkle them with a little bit of ginger and a little bit of salt. I know it sounds strange to put salt on your fruit, but don't skip it! Trust me! Something magical happens when the seasonings and the pears mingle. 

Now put your face right down there and smell those pears- another step that is not to be ignored. Mmmmmmmboy!

Gently stir your pears, and then toss the rest of the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. 

Dump all that buttery crumbly goodness on top of your pears.

At this point you could sprinkle a little more salt on top if you want. I did, because I know that my husband likes it to be more savory than sweet. It's up to you. :) 
Then toss it in the oven for about 25 minutes or so. 

This crumble is delicious on it's own... but it seemed lonely to me. So I did what I do when I feel lonely and plopped a few big scoops of ice cream on top. 
When given the option between ice cream, and no ice cream... ALWAYS pick ice cream. 

Ginger Pear Crumble 

7 or 8 pears (I used canned, if you use fresh pears, just add a 1/4 c. sugar and add about 10 minutes to the bake time.) 
1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1 stick of Butter (softened) 
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp. Salt 
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon 

Cut the pears into chunks and place them in a greased 9x9 baking dish. Sprinkle the ginger and salt over the pears and stir gently to combine. Combine the flour, oats, sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Mix until crumbly. Pour over the top of the pears, salt lightly, and pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. 

Serve warm or cold. 
Top with ice cream if desired- which in my book is always. 


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