Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Flower hair pin tutorial


It’s nearly time for college football to begin. Around here it’s all SEC all the time. Unless it’s Sunday, then it’s all about the Saints. Our fall schedules revolve around football games. This year that is especially true because this is the first year we are taking the girls into Death Valley. When they were little we brought them to tailgate, but never into the actual stadium. I’m pretty sure they are going to be BLOWN AWAY. 


The girls wanted some hair pins to wear with their “gear” for the football games. You aren’t a true fan unless you are spackled in Purple and Gold from head to toe. For the girls, we picked flowers.

flower cluster

Cheap. $3.50 for the whole bundle cheap. It had the necessary colors, so I grabbed them up.

size sort 

Pop the flowers off of the plastic stem bundle and pull the backing and front fuzzy buttons off. I used 6 flowers to make 2 pins, so I sorted the petal layers by size.

Re-layer your petals with the largest diameter on the bottom. Using a needle and thread, stitch the flower layers back together. I topped my petals with a football shank style button.


After the button has been sewn onto the layers, continue to stitch  back through the layers coming out the back side of the petals. Stitch several passes through the bent end of the hair pins.

hair pins

I squeezed a bit of glue to the back thread and under the football button to ensure it says flat.

glue back

Easy peasy. And cute too, No?


I couldn’t be left out, so using the same technique, I made two styles of yo-yos out of gold tulle, layered them together, sewed a bobby pin to the back and added some bling.

mom's pin

This is so darn easy, there’s no reason to not be properly styled for football games… or the playground… or the mall… or the… well, you get it. 


For the 3rd week in a row I’m linking up to Kim’s Get Your Craft On. This is some kind of record, I’m sure. :-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Butterfly museum – Sweet Shot Tuesday

More shots from our quiet time in the Butterfly museum that’s part of the Houston Museum of Natural History…

butterfly macro 3

butterfly macro

butterfly macro2  

butterfly on wall

What a super fun place to have a camera, no?

And because I’m loving this shot of the T-rex, I’m posting it again. Because I can. RAWR!


I’m linking up to Darcy’s Sweet Shot Tuesday this week…

stop by and check out some REALLY great shots!

Sweet Shot Day

A is for Apple

Monday morning was our first day of school. We brought our teachers a yummy apple cinnamon oatmeal muffins. These are the muffins I like to make ahead, freeze, and then warm up in the microwave for a fast breakfast.

apple muffins

Start with 2 Fiber One apple cinnamon muffin mixes prepared by the box directions , add to the mix one large apple (diced), 2Tbs. of ground Flax seeds, 1/4 cup steel cut oats, and an additional 3Tbs. of water. Bake at 400 for approx. 15-17 min.

After the muffins have baked, remove them from the pans and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack. If you’d like to freeze and heat them, store them in a gallon sized freezer bag. It only takes around 30 seconds or so in the microwave to warm them.

For the muffin toppers, I printed free ones from Scribd, cut out the circles, and then glued them to toothpicks.

Fast, fun, and in my opinion, WAY better than bringing a plain apple for the teacher!


I’m linking up with Kim at Today’s Creative Blog!

Browse through the link party and find even more fun projects!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Last day of freedom


Abby and Jillian at museum

Friday was our last weekday before school started back. Levi had Friday off so we decided to spend the day in the city. Did you know that if you live in the suburbs of Houston, one really never does need to go into the actual city? At least, we don’t. But it was a special sort of day and we didn’t want to waste it by doing laundry and other such nonsense.

We took the kids to the Natural History museum.



Jillian loved the fossils….

jillian in shells 

And Daddy loved the fossils…

daddy and girls


But Abby sat still, without fidgeting, without blinking, without breathing for 15 minutes trying to get the butterflies to land on her…

abby butterfly

I’ve never seen her so still, so quiet, so frozen before… she didn’t even smile while I was giggling at her for being so still and so quiet and so frozen! She took her butterfly enticement very very seriously…

And I had a ball taking pictures. I even got a really fun sun flare.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Beautiful endings

Ricos statue

On Thursday, I proved that one can indeed live Murphy’s law. From an early morning PMS fueled rage because Walmart didn’t have what I needed (as usual), to construction crews cutting our neighborhood power line mid-day when it was 1000 degrees outside and I was just preparing to bake a cake for the next day’s teacher desert bar, to the same crew later cutting our gas main and trapping us into our neighborhood on the same evening our girls were due at Meet the teacher night… and trapping Jillian OUT of the neighborhood because she was at a friend’s house playing when it happened. It was a never ending awful sort of day.

After hiking a few miles in ridiculous heat we were able to escape our neighborhood and then hitch a ride to the school for the last 10 minutes of Meet the teacher. I got to explain to Jillian’s teacher that the lady who brought her was in fact NOT her mother, I was, and here’s your cute little box of goodies that Jillian is going to be so mad about not delivering herself. I was sweaty and stinky but I put on my very best “trying not to be humiliated that I’m meeting my kids teachers looking like this” face and got it done.

So there.

At school, after finally retrieving Jillian, 1/2 of our neighborhood was milling around wondering if we were allowed to get back in, how to get back in, and who the heck had a car that so and so could hitch a ride in. We decided to table the idea of sitting in the heat and hit the neighborhood Mexican placed for margaritas instead. Truly,  tequila was the only thing left to have. It was far FAR beyond time for a drink. We hauled 25 people into the restaurant and sat and enjoyed ourselves for a few hours.

We had dinner with a few couples we knew, and met a few new similarly inconvenienced neighbors and let our kids eat loudly. We were all so exhausted from the day that we just didn’t even care.

Outside of the restaurant we even let our kids play on the statue… because usually, that’s SO NOT my kids playing around in and outside of restaurants… The sunset that evening was a gorgeous reminder that some days, you’ve just got to trudge through and get it done however you can and eventually…things do indeed get better.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to School – Get Your Craft On


I recently found myself in a conversation about Teacher Appreciation week. I was at our back to school PTO board meeting and a question came up about what do we want our Teacher Appreciation week to be about? We were making all sorts of plans about fun things to do for our teachers… Starting with a Back to School desert bar… How yummy does THAT sound :-) My lemon cake will be making an appearance at the bar.

I thought about that PTO meeting while I was drooling over binders and fresh crayons in the school supply section. I remembered THIS feature on Today’s Creative Blog. There are LOTS of really fun supplies these days. I thought that it was pretty lame that the kids got to enjoy all of the goodies. This Thursday evening our kids will go up to the school for Stop and Drop to deliver their school supplies and meet their teachers. My kids will come with a small token of their excitement for the school year.


We filled a fishing tackle organizer with fun clips and tacks in the school colors. We found so many things that we ran out of dividers… but the girls liked the blue ones for some reason, so they had to stay… (It’s sort of hard to remind myself not to correct them when it’s their project…)

When I asked what else they thought the teachers would need in their “survival kit” the girls immediately said chocolate, lip balm, and gum. 6 even suggested that every girl likes diamonds, so nestled in with the kisses is a “huge honkin’  diamond”.

6 was right. Every girl needs big fun bling.

After helping them cover the lid and making a bow for them, the girls decorated the top with stickers and their school logo.

They are so excited to see who their teacher will be. They are equally excited to see if she goes for the candy or stickers first.

Show your teachers you support them and offer your help. Even if it’s in the form of a thank you note telling them how much you appreciate their work.

Have a great school year!



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lt. Dan! – Sweet Shot Tuesday

Every time I get the craving to have some ice cream I start pestering Hubs by yelling like a Southern drawling idiot…

“Lieutenant DAAAN! … Ice Crame… Lt. Dan!”

I’m sure he does not appreciate my need to quote Forest Gump every time I get the hankering, but he married me… Quirks and all.


Could someone please tell me how I happen to end up posting deserts every single time for Sweet Shot Tuesday? I obviously have a problem… and cellulite.

Sweet Shot Day



“Music is the art of thinking with sounds.”

Jules Combarieu

My estrogen levels must be extremely high today… This is the playlist I’ve got on. Can you guess it’s name? Come on… take a shot at it. 


Emo chick.

That is all.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I’m playing around in Photoshop Elements. I’ve had this computer for a while (about 2 1/2 years actually), and PSE came loaded on. As soon as I opened the program I was immediately intimidated so I never really figured out how to use it.

After crawling through several photography blogs, I realized that I really wanted to up my post-shot editing game. Actions are presets that you load into your program and they take a lot of guess work out of the editing process. You find one that you think you may like, load it in, and click. Simple. I like simple.

I still have no CLUE what I’m doing, but I finally was able to load in this action by CoffeeShop. It’s a really neat action called Perfect Portrait so I thought I’d start learning with it.



Meh. Not SO bad… but the color is sort of washed out and it doesn’t really pop.


portrait action_edited-1

And all of that adjustment was just one double-click away. Who knew!

Here’s another, just for playing around…



Boy… this could be a huge time suck… Because now? I want to run every single picture I have through this action.

Best part? CoffeeShop’s actions are FREE. Makes it a pretty strong incentive for me to figure out Elements, don’t you think?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Zesty – Sweet Shot Tuesday

zesty cake

For Abby’s birthday party I made one of the Cake Dr.’s lemon cakes and tinkered with the recipe even more on my own.

Abby loves lemon cake.

So do I.

So does Hubs.

This cake had so much lemon in it, you’d swear you should be puckering. I’ve discovered that if you are using fresh lemon juice and zest, the effect isn’t nearly at potent as you’d think. This cake was bright and refreshing without being too heavily flavored for the hot summer birthday party.

add ins 

The Lemon Curd was my idea. I spread it between the layers of the nearly cooled 9” layers.  I say nearly cooled because I wanted it to melt a bit and absorb into the cake itself, so the layers were still a bit warm to the touch.

I used a basic cream cheese frosting and added 2tsp of lemon juice and 1tsp of lemon zest.

It was a happy, happy cake.

lemon close up

Because I’m so NOT a cake decorator, I used this cool OXO tool to get lemon zest curls from 7 lemons.  I spread the curls around the base of the cake and added my sparkler candles.


Let’s look at it some more, shall we?

zesty cake

Isn’t that cute? I’ll explain later about the crazy way this party was thrown together…

Sweet Shot Day

Monday, August 2, 2010

American Girls…

No, not the song… which always reminds me of Silence of the Lambs with that chunky chick banging on her steering wheel… I’m talking about MY girls and their dolls…

Seriously? American Girl should sponsor us for this post. Seriously. And I’m not even kidding a little bit.

*disclaimer* I have hated dolls ever since I saw Puppet Master when I was a kid. Chucky didn’t help much either. The fact that I can even stand to have these dolls in my house says something about my awesomeness as a mother.


And this doesn’t even count the Bitty Babies, pets, and outfits. Oh, the outfits… with all their shoes. My favorite part of the dolls has to be the outfits… especially the pajamas.

Until we are ready to go somewhere and we can’t find the right shoes for the right outfit. Then? Not so much.

I do love the fact that the only actual toy my girls will play with are these dolls. Not Barbies, or Pet Shops, or even those stupid toy hamsters hiding upstairs. I guess that’s the main reason I don’t mind that there is a bloomin’ fortune in these dolls at my house. There’s my reasoning, folks. At least they play with them. Doesn’t look like a great argument once written down into actual words. I should really work on my justification process.

        abby lanie              jillian and doll

We even still love the first one we got… the Me doll who looks a bit ethnic for “medium” skin tone with green eyes… Whose hair now makes her look like a Rastafarian.


I guess that since most days Abby’s hair looks like a Rastafarian, that means they pretty much nailed it, right?

My girls weren’t into baby dolls when they were little… but right around age 5 1/2 they became interested in American Girls. And for whatever reason, I’m grateful. Because 9 still has a high interest in playing with her dolls.

Yep… I think a paid American Girl Doll review would be right up our alley. Don’t you? ;-)