Archive for January, 2011

January 31, 2011

The Latest Models: By Request

Last week a friend requested some of these zippy little headbands to send in a V-Day care package to her cute little nieces.  I hope they like them!

{one little, two little, three little flowers}

{aren't they sweet??}

{this single flower has a secret}

{can you guess what it is?}

{it moonlights as a clip!}

January 20, 2011

Zippin’ and Gunnin’

So yesterday when my Martha Stewart “Craft Of the Day” email came through with a “how to” on zipper flowers I happily dug out my zipper stash!  I had already done some stuff with zippers, like the ring I gave away a while back {with a little tutorial as well}, but these flowers were something I had been eyeing for a while.  While everything else {housework, ebay, sleep…} got neglected last night, I got busy with my glue gun and my stash of stinky vintage {you know the smell, right?} zippers.  The results?  Pretty doggone cute, if I do say so myself!  Right now I’m making them into headbands for Monkey A and, let’s face it, I’m gonna borrow them from time to time too.  If I make one that I don’t “need”, maybe I’ll do another giveaway…what do you think??

{some of my zippy new flowers}

{not flowers but still fun!}

{mama needs a new hair pretty...and some highlights}

Which one is YOUR favorite???

January 18, 2011

A good ol’ American contest of my own

When we were in Chicago for our annual Christmas trip with my family it was taking a bit longer than expected to check into our hotel.  My mom always does the checking in, the kids always throw pennies {from the rolls they get in their stockings} into the fountain with The Hubs.  I was just standing around and noticed a small American Girl display at the end of the counter–it was a contest.  Why not??  I had nothing else going on right then, so I filled out an entry.  I never win things, so I didn’t really even pay attention to what I could win.  We got our room keys and off we went, not giving the contest another thought. 

Cut to a week or two later: I’m hustling to get out the door to bring M to school.  The home phone rings {which is pretty rare in and of itself}.  The caller ID says Embassy Suites.  Huh.  Maybe we left something in our hotel room?  I don’t usually answer unless it’s someone I know {and, truthfully, I don’t always answer even then!  Shhh!} but for some reason I picked up the phone.  The guy asked for me {this is}, then asked if I had recently stayed at their hotel {yes}.  Well, I had been chosen as the winner of their quarterly American Girl drawing!  Me!  I was SO excited that I still didn’t ask what I had won–oops!  I knew the guy said something about a doll coming from the warehouse in a few weeks, but that was about it.  YIPPEE!!  A has two Bitty Babies that she got for her 4th and 5th birthdays, has had lunch at American Girl Place with her doll and looks forward to a trip to AGP each time we’re in Chicago.  Being the eBay queen that I am, I was calculating how much I could make by selling an AG doll, but I knew A would appreciate a “big” doll so much more 🙂 

Cut to today: the FedEx truck pulls up to drop off a package and I was thinking, hmm…can’t remember ordering anything; must be for the Hubs.  I grab it and see that it’s THE DOLL!!  A was THRILLED! 

{A with her new "big sister" doll. Excited??}

{a "mama" with her girls...which--she often reminds me--makes me "grandma". Booo!}

I’m not gonna lie, I checked eBay now that I knew exactly what we were looking for and other similar new-in-box AG dolls had sold for…$139.99!!!  {sigh}  I asked if she wanted me to sell it so we could find one {used, perhaps??} that looks like her {brown hair/eyes}.  At first she said yes {yessss!}, but then she changed her mind.  Bummer.  Oh well, she loves her new doll “Eliana” and I look forward to the fun trips we’ll take to AGP with her in the future 🙂

January 16, 2011

Party on Party People!

As promised, here are some of the fabulous photos taken by friend and professional photographer, Emily Rae.  Love them!

{my rockin' 4-yr-old M}

{the studio group pics}

{recording in action}

The boys had an absolute blast!  I don’t know how I’ll be able to top this party… I give up now!

January 15, 2011

Rock on! ZZZzzz…

Remember last week when I mentioned stupid late bedtimes and the havoc it wreaks on my body?  Yeah, I did it again last night.  In preparation for Monkey M’s “Rockin’ Birthday Party” {more on that later, I promise}, The Hubs and I stayed up until stupid:00am {aka 4:00am}.  That, folks, is procrastination at its finest.  I absolutely love planning and carrying out a themed party.  It can get detailed and very expensive very quickly.  But it is OH-SO-FUN for me!! 

M’s 4th birthday party this year involved The Hubs writing a song and then having M and 6 of his friends/cousins go to a studio {Sound Street Studios} to play and record it.  M was on the drum kit, of course {my very unbiased opinion is that M will one day end up a famous drummer!}, while his buddies {and some others, including his friends’ dads, The Hubs, my dad “Papa”, the “videographer” for “behind the scenes” footage, and the photographer, Emily} played other various instruments.  It was the most fun, adorable, chaotic, awesome party for a bunch of young boys!  I mean, there are ALL kinds of princess parties out there for girls, why not more Rock Star parties for boys {and girls, too, of course}??  We’ll even get a mixed-down version of the song on CD!  The afternoon came to a close with lunch, presents and cake pops at Pizza Hut.  I suppose I could’ve hosted a very rock star themed lunch, but quite frankly I didn’t want to clean the house!  {My poor husband did NOT marry a good house keeper!} 

In any case…a lot of the details were planned well in advance of the party, but almost nothing {on my part, anyway…The Hubs was checking things off his list left and right} had been carried out.  The cake pops were not made, the VIP passes were not done, the treat bags were not filled, the party clothes had not been washed/dried, etc., etc.  You get the picture.  So, finally, at 4am, The Hubs {who was fantastic enough to help me finish my list of things until the wee hours} and I turned off our lights with alarms set for a mere 4 hours later. 

Suffice it to say, we’re exhausted today.  My “perfect” party-planning-photo-taking mom self would love to post some of the photos I took today, but doggone it, I’M TIRED!  Sooo…I took a melatonin and I’m well on my way to La-La Land.  I’m not going to stress about not having the photos edited today, but I will be back soon with a full account of the ROCK STAR party!

I’ll leave you with this shot of M dodging the paparazzi with a very clever sunglasses disguise…

{Who IS that?! Must be someone famous...}

January 15, 2011

Drumroll please…

Annnnnndddd, we’ve got ourselves a winner, folks!

{comment #2 wins!}

So, who left comment #2??


Way to go!  I know you wanted this 🙂  I’ll get it out to you ASAP…Congratulations!

January 13, 2011

Quick little lavender lotion CONTEST

Who wants to win some of my homemade lavender lotion?  I’ve got an extra jar sitting here waiting to be slathered on YOUR hands! 

I’ll do it the same as the zipper ring contest: leave a comment here on this blog post {facebook comments won’t count–sorry!}.  For extra entries, share this blog post on facebook, Twitter or your blog and leave me a seperate comment for each one {one comment to enter straight up, another one if you share on FB, another if you share on Twitter, and another one if you share on your blog–please provide a link to your blog = 4 total possible entries}. 

This contest will close Friday, January 14 at midnight EST.

The winner will be chosen using and will receive 1/4 Pint of my homemade, all natural lavender lotion, a “recipe” card with the lotion recipe and enough emulsifying wax to make 1 Pint of your own lotion!  Once the winner sends me his/her address, I’ll get the lotion shipped right out.

{worth playing for?}

January 13, 2011

A girl and her glue gun

If there’s one tool {crafting or otherwise} that I wouldn’t want to go without, it would be my glue gun.  I married into this little mini–it’s old and homely, but I love it anyway!  It has saved me many times over.  I use it for the hair bows I make for Monkey A {and to sell occasionally}, all kinds of craft projects…remember the zipper ring when the super glue just didn’t cut it?  Yep, my trusty glue gun saved the day!  I even use my glue gun for fashion emergencies.  I got a pair of tall brown riding boots to wear with my black LC leggings.  Because I like to change things up with the trends, I tend to buy less expensive shoes/purses/clothes/etc.  {these boots were on sale for $34.99 when I got them–now they’re $29.99!  Hurry up and get yours!}  As much as I love these boots, the inner lining just didn’t hold up for me.  It ripped right at the heel/bottom of the zipper when I put my foot in once.  After a few weeks of using a shoe horn to get into the left boot every time I went to put them on, I said, “enough is enough!” and I grabbed the super glue.  After getting nothing but my fingers stuck together, I turned to my trusty old glue gun.  Success!  One of these days I’ll learn that in most of my scenarios, glue gun trumps super glue!


{so sad}

{glue gun = great fix on the fly}

Now, back to wearing my favorite boots sans the sweating, frustration, and shoe horn!

January 12, 2011

Today’s salad brought to you by Hamm the pig and Bubba the beef-cow

{steak and bleu salad}

For the last 3 days I’ve been enjoying this fabulously yummy salad.  Yes, I’m a creature of habit who likes to try new things.  Make sense?  I like to try new things, then when I find something I like, I eat it…a lot. 

Let me back up by telling you about the pig and the cow.  This past summer we decided to take a different approach with some of our meat–locally grown/raised.  This way we’d know it was fed the healthiest kinds of food, that there were no artificial growth hormones used and other things like that.  Buying meat like this isn’t for everyone, but we decided to give it a shot!  A friend of ours was raising pigs and asked if we wanted one.  Sure, why not?  The kids had fun “visiting” the pigs at different stages of their growth.  We ended up splitting a pig with the in-laws in August.  We’ve still got some of the bigger cuts left, but the pork sausage {unseasoned, so it’s basically ground pork} flew out of the freezer {when pigs fly??}!  For anything I would’ve used ground beef, I used the ground pork.  It was a great subtle change.  We enjoyed having the meat in the freezer so much that when we learned of another friend raising grass-fed beef cows, we were definitely interested!  A month and a half ago we split 1/2 a cow with 3 other families.  That’s a lot of beef!  But we’re going through it and oh, is it goooood.  We just learned that our friend with the pigs has 1/4 cow to offer and you’d better believe we’ll be taking it.  I’m definitely sold on buying local meat!  I’m really enjoying transitioning to homegrown, local food.  We’ll give the garden another shot this spring/summer and we’re considering getting a few chickens {I know!!}.  There’s a home  near our church that sells organic/free-range eggs {XXL in brown, light blue, mint green} and I’ve been buying them there for about 9 months.  I’m excited to possibly have our own chickens so we’re not spending $3/dozen…yikes!

Ok…back to the post!  One of my favorite restaurant salads is Boston’s steak & blue salad.  The other night I pulled a big ol’ sirloin steak out of our deep freeze for dinner.  The Hubs is very much a meat-n-potatoes kinda guy and, while I like my fair share of meat and potatoes meals, I wanted something a little lighter…with a few more veggies involved.  I remembered my fave salad and thought I’d try my hand at recreating it.  It turned out so fantastically fabulous that I had it for dinner again last night and for lunch today.  Not sick of it yet 🙂

To start, I threw a healthy heap of romaine in my salad chopper along with some grape tomatoes, crumbled bacon {yum–fresh, thick cut!}, crumbled gorgonzola and chopped it a bit.

I sliced some of the “like butta” steak {medium rare}

{Mmm...I heart this steak!}

Then added my butter toffee almonds, dried cranberries and some dressing {I used about a 1/2 Tbsp T. Marzetti’s Strawberry Chardonay and 1/2 Tbsp ranch} and tossed it with a spatula. 

{pre-toss. almost done}

{essential to all my best salads}

Seriously, I could eat this salad for lunch and dinner every day for a week, I think!  Oh, and I’ve had a lot of questions about the salad chopper.  You can see it in the above pics, and you can find it at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx for $10-15.  I would highly recommend getting one!  I know my previous list of ingredients seemed long, but when else do you get that many veggies in all at once?  Heck, I wouldn’t normally eat some of those veggies, but in a chop salad, I can’t get enough.  My kids will even eat a chop salad!

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January 10, 2011

Guitar Hero I am not {continued failure on my unofficial quest for perfection}

Last night was another one of those sigh-inducing scenarios for me.  Monkey M’s 4th birthday is tomorrow and today was his day to bring his birthday treat to school.  He LOVES cake pops {thank you, BAKERELLA!} so I decided to make some for his treat.  He’ll be having a rock-n-roll studio recording party this Saturday {he loves drums even more than cake pops}, so I got the bright idea to make little tiny guitars and drums out of fondant to stick on the cake pops.  {sigh}  Why do I make my life so difficult?  The pops aren’t that big to begin with, so I can’t use a cookie cutter…so how to make the tiny {approximately 1″} guitars/drums?

FONDANT: M’s favorite color is green & I had bought white fondant.  I used food coloring to get the right hue.

GUITARS: I bought a tiny wooden guitar from Micheal’s, put it on top of the rolled out fondant and traced it with an exact-o knife.  After the guitars hardened a bit, I dipped a toothpick in sparkly black decorating gel to “draw” the strings and other details of the guitars.  {Seriously?!  What was I thinking?!}  After the gel dried a little bit I brushed on a coat of metallic green {leaf green pearl dust mixed with a drop of lemon juice and a drop of water to make a “paint”}.

DRUMS: There were no tiny wooden drums to trace, so I free-handed them all before cutting them out with the exact-o knife.  I then drew on the details with the black sparkly decorating gel.  After attaching the fondant to the pop, I used the gel to draw drum sticks.

While the itty-bitty instruments were hardening off the side I got everything else ready.  {I had already prepared the cake balls and they were chilling in the freezer}  I dipped the pops in the melted chocolate and, while it was still wet I stuck the fondant shapes to the side.  Easier said than done, trust me.  I was NOT happy with how they turned out, but I reminded myself that I was making these for a class full of 3- and 4-year-olds.  Are they really going to care if the strings aren’t straight?  Or if the drum sticks are crossed or not?  Nope, I think they’re going to look at them and see a ball of chocolate on a lollipop stick and think–YUM!  Sugar!  Once I got past my penchant for perfection {and, let’s face it, I love the reaction I get for my crafty creativity} I moved on to the cake pop holder I found.  Cardboard, made by Wilton, cheap {$5.99 and then an additional 40% off w/ coupon}, reusable, way cuter than the chocolate-dropping-covered disc of styrofoam I usually use for letting my cake pops dry…how could I go wrong?  Assembling that thing should NOT have been as difficult as it was!  {sigh}  Oh well, I eventually got it put together, wrapped some green ribbon around the “plates” and it turned out pretty cute.  So…what do you think?

{tiny guitars and tiny drums on yummy little cake pops}

Here’s where more went wrong…the pops started to crack.  Guess I should’ve listened to the cake pop master when Bakerella said don’t freeze them, just chill them.  They expand as they warm back up–duh!

{cracking up}


{Such a bummer! Probably the best guitar...and the pop cracks.}


{cake pop counter chaos!}


{couldn't send the cake pop holder to school with an empty top tier and I just didn't have any more instrument-making in me...}


{some with sprinkles, some with pearl dust}

{my birthday boy with his special birthday treat. Can you tell he's excited??}

Despite my {un}perfect results, when M came downstairs this morning and saw them all, the look on his face was pure perfection in my book!

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