Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Attention fellow magazine pack rats

If you're like me, you know some magazines are far too valuable to throw out or cut up. Even for your idea file. Every picture is a great idea. Every article is super informative. You'd as soon throw out your wedding pictures than part with a single issue.

And if you don't save magazines, you can stop reading now.

Anywho, you end up with an annoyed husband and bookshelves looking like this because you've subscribed to Martha Stewart Living since you were 16.


Eh, some things are worth it. But, at times, it's difficult to collect all the creative inspiration you need for a season or holiday. So this is what I do.


Rather than order the back issues by year, January-December, I group them by month. That way, when I'm ready to decorate and prepare for the 4th of July, I just go to that section and grab all of my July issues. I save myself from picking out single issues from the past 10+ years, and replacing them is a snap.

Try it. You may like it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

For the long, lazy days of summer

What's a 4th of July BBQ without lemonade? The summer icon couldn't be any simpler to make and it's so much more impressive than a pitcher of Countrytime.


Here's the recipe I used, from The Queen herself.

You'll need:

3 cups lemon juice (about 20 lemons' worth. I wait until our fruit store puts them on sale 10/$1.)
2 cups sugar or Splenda
4 cups ice water

Pour the lemon juice through a fine strainer into a pitcher. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Add ice water and enjoy!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Gardening fun

We're out of town for the next few days on a family vacation.

My trusty assistant had to attend to a little last second gardening. I love the diaper poking out!


"See" you Monday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I do (love this!)


One of my favorite pieces of "art" around the house is the wedding invitation I had matted and framed.

It's sweet, sentimental, and it was a super easy project. I bought an 8x10 frame at Michael's (naturally I used my 40% off coupon) and then chose a pretty sage green mat. The girl at the framing counter even did it for me right then and there while I waited.

I love it as a special little gift, too. Since my sister claims she doesn't read my blog, I can safely say she'll be getting one when she gets married in October!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Knitting for a dummy?

One of the nicest gifts I received after Little Guy #2 was born was this sweet handknit baby blanket from Project Linus.

Needless to say, I love his blankie and I love the organization. So to show my appreciation, I've decided I want to become a "blanketeer" and make blankies for other newborns and children in the hospital. Problem with that last statement? I have no idea how to knit.

I bought Knitting for Dummies at the $1 Spot at Target and I'm hoping it delivers. I am a dummy, so we're good in that department. Also, I'm pretty much self-taught when it comes to sewing (apologies to Mrs. Pietro, my 8th grade home ec teacher) and most other things crafty, so hopefully I'll get the hang of it quickly.

And for those of you who already know how to knit, consider becoming a blanketeer, too. Or maybe you could just come over to my house and teach the dummy. Or you could knit a pretty sweater for yours truly. You know, whatever.

ps. I'd love to hear any other tips or tricks or suggestions, too!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mondays of a stay at home mom

Before I was a mommy and got to stay home, I was like the majority of the workforce and loathed Mondays. The weekend was too short, I had a million things to do, and Friday was just so far away.

Things are really different now.

Now I almost look forward to Mondays. (Don't tell my husband!) The calm. The quiet. The lack of the weekend's hustle and bustle. The fresh start to a new week. I really like it.

My control freak, organizational loving self still needs a plan, though, so this is what I do every Monday morning.



After breakfast, Little Guy #1 watches his Gymboree movie and Little Guy #2 bounces up a storm in his Exersaucer. I peacefully sit with my can of pop (I like caffeine, just not coffee) and map out a list for the week.

I write out what I need to get done, our weekly menu, bills that are due, the chores, the errands, the stores I need to go to and the things I need to buy. I list everything. Of course, as I accomplish things, I cross them off my list. This works for me because I like the visual of what I've done and what I have left. I also use graph paper because I fell in love with it in highschool and it's been my favorite paper ever since. (Hey, we all have our quirks.)

So this is what's worked for me for the past few years. It keeps me on track and I feel like I'm actually getting things done in the midst of the clutter and chaos in the life of a 2 year old and infant's mom. Many of the daily mom jobs have little evidence to show for them (uh, preparing, serving, and cleaning up after 3 meals a day comes to mind), and this is my proof.

Now if you want to really throw me for a loop, give me a Monday holiday like Labor Day. Yikes!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!


To my husband,
I may not say it enough, but you are a wonderful father. You do a great job and we love you!

And to the other fathers out there, enjoy your day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

For the impatient gardener

I love looking at lush, overflowing, beautiful flower pots in my yard. What I don't love is waiting until August for them to grow that way on their own.

So when Home Depot had hanging baskets on clearance for $6.99, I scooped them up. On their own, they look cheap and a little tacky with the glaring white plastic pot and hanger.


But pop the plants out of the plastic planter and into an aged terra cotta pot, and they look full and great!
Here are a few other pretty flower pics from around the yard.


And my trusty assistant just so happened to find a few mud puddles to jump in while I was outside planting. Who would've guessed?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Funny stuff

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

-Roseanne Barr

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Do it yourself fruit leather? Don't.

It broke my heart when Costco stopped selling my beloved fruit leather. So I got all motivated and found a recipe to make it myself. It sounded so easy. That was my first mistake.

I stocked up on fruit. I bought cherries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. I blended them. I made an entire batch of each fruit.

I was so excited. So hopeful.

I waited for hours and hours and hours until they were dry. Seriously, I had them in there for 10 hours.

And naturally, my hand is stained again. I can't do any project without making a mess. At least it's not spray paint this time.


And what did I end up with?



And a whole bunch of this.



Grr...

So after all that, I went on over to Stretch Island and just ordered some. Save yourself the aggravation and do the same.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On belt-tightening...

I stumbled across this discussion somewhere online, and it's a good one. We all could stand to tighten our belts during our current economic situation (nevermind the fact that I will be sending at least 2 boys to college in less than 18 years!!), but when is it time to say when? What can't be given up? I, for one, know I still need to live my life.


And here is where I draw the line for sacrifice:


Getting my hair cut/colored professionally. I go to a fancy-shmancy salon. I like it. I love looking in the mirror and admiring my fresh, new hair, not to mention the 2 hours I have all to myself to while I'm gettin' all purrr-dy.


Pricey toilet paper, Kleenex, and paper towels. Paper products that resemble sandpaper have no place in my bathroom (ouch!), and cheap paper towels are just wasteful since I use twice as many.

Along those same lines, Pampers. I've tried Luvs. I've tried the Target and CVS brands. I don't like them. Pampers are the best for the two chubby little butts in this house. Anyone who suggests cloth diapers...yikes!

High speed internet. I mean seriously, is anyone willing to go back to their slowpoke, dial-up modem??

Cable TV. I grew up without it, but now that I've had it, there's no turning back. I could do without the movie channels, but my husband, not so much.

That wasn't too bad...right?

I happily clip coupons and buy generic store brand items. I shop at Costco so I can save by buying in bulk. I hold off on buying things until they go on sale. I love eBay and flea market finds. I try. I really do.


So, what's too much for you? What won't you give up?


ps. Don't forget today's Kimba's garden party!

Monday, June 15, 2009

*Sigh*

Today Little Guy #2 is 6 months old, and Friday Little Guy #1 is going to be 2 1/2. Definite cause for celebration, however, the last 3 years of my life have passed in the blink of an eye. I know that one day soon...

I won't have little shoes by the door.



Little boxes of raisins won't be such great treats.

I won't have monster truck rallies in our living room.




My refrigerator won't be covered from end to end.



My windowsills won't look like this.



A bucket of chalk won't be that exciting.


Sippy cups won't be necessary.


And I'm sure glad that day isn't today. My poor heart couldn't take it.

(Yes, this post could've easily also been titled random clutter found around my house, but I decided to take the sentimental route.)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Check it out

My favorite little antique shop is famous! Well, almost.



Man, I love that place.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A big day


Little Guy #1 ate his first Happy Meal yesterday. Naturally, we had to take pictures.

The crowning jewel of the entire event? The Little Guy told me Ronald McDonald isn't wearing a hat, meaning he's riding his bike without a helmet.

My "safety first" indoctrination of my children? Working like a charm.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Home cooked crayons

This is a little something I found floating around blogland and I had to try. (Thank you to whoever gave me this idea!) Finally, something to do with all the broken crayons and cheapy restaurant crayons we have in our house. (For the record, I'm that girl and pronounce them "crans")

So here's what you do...

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Line a muffin tin and fill the cups with broken crans. Get your little helper/aspiring hand model to help you. Try to convince him that you're not really making cupcakes and that you're not going to eat what you're making. Good luck with that.


Bake until the cran pieces are melted, about 15ish minutes.

Let tins cool and pop crans out of the liners. This is satisfying like unwrapping a Reese's peanut butter cup, only not as tasty.



Then color 'til your arms fall off!!



I made mine in a mini muffin tin so they would be smaller and thicker, making them easier for a certain little boy to use, but of course this would work great in a regular tin, too.

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