May 21, 2012

{mini} monster cookie Monday

I baked! That's right. I used nap time today to bake...even though I had plenty of other projects that I would have preferred to tend to.

Big deal, I baked? It is for me! I hate really don't like baking {and by baking I actually mean the cleanup}. Plus, I tend to get sidetracked/distracted when I bake quite often letting the smell of something burning reminding me that I'm baking.

My daughter needed 3 dozen cookies for {kindergarten} graduation tomorrow. So, I decided to be "the good mom" and actually make them instead of buy them.

I cookie choice {monster cookies} was {a bit} selfish for several reasons. One, they're a personal favorite {in case there were extras for at home ... of course I was sure to make extras}. Two, they don't require flour {call it quirky but I don't like working with flour}. Three, they're super simple to make {this momma likes to keep tasks simple}. Four, there's little mess {no beaters required and they bake on parchment paper ... hello clean pans!}. Five {last but not least}, they only bake 9-10 minutes so I don't have enough time to get distracted during bake time!

My recipe is one given to me by a dear friend {momma Jan} who introduced me to monster cookies a number of years ago. {If you Google "monster cookie recipe" you get tons of similar recipes}

Monster Cookies:
1 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
{mix sugars together well}
3 eggs
1 stick melted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
{mix well into sugar}
12 oz peanut butter *{I used almost an entire 16 oz container}
{mix well into mixture}
5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup m&m's
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins *{I skipped these because I forgot to buy them!}

Use parchment paper on pan, spoon "blobs" onto pan spacing a couple inches apart, bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes.  Cool on pan for 9-10 minutes before moving to cooling rack.

Bless the mommies that can "do it all" and make it look so effortless.  Share your secrets!

May 18, 2012

fab friday {finds}

I found a couple new projects!!!  I was not planning on adding to my project list, but I came across a couple fab finds today...

On my way home from dropping off my daughter at school I came upon a neighborhood garage sale. I don't normally stop at garage sales {I'm trying to get rid of "stuff", not bring more in}, but something said "check it out!". 

So we stopped and I found these...{can't wait to repaint them!}

The frame was only 75 cents!!! {score}
The dresser was only $4!

I wish we didn't have such a busy weekend ahead. I can't wait to get these painted and show off their new look.

May 17, 2012

summer adventure journal {hot town, summer in the city}

Summer break is almost here!

Only three more days left of school!!! Yes, if you're doing the math, next Monday is the last day of school for my kindergartner.  Kindergarten graduation is Tuesday evening.  Clearly I'm excited for summer break {mostly to not be commuting nearly two hours total a day round trip for drop off and pick up since we moved half way through the year}.

{side note: if you're thinking "I thought she was a home school mom?", yes we home school our oldest and our second has been in a private school for "socialization" purposes - aka: she needed to find herself out of big sister's shad}

We {the kids and I} have been planning and making a summer "bucket" to-do list.  They of course are thinking they need to come up with a "not bummer summer" challenge {Judy Moody inspired}.  We need to "buckle up" the list still, but in the meantime, I came up with summer adventure journals for the kids.

While we love free, unplanned days, my kids definitely benefit from some sort of structure once in a while.  To keep on top of hand writing basics, spelling, etc. I decided to make these summer adventure journals so that they can write about, draw, make notes, or add in "treasures" {postcards, pictures, maps, etc} from our doings over the summer.  At the end of the summer they will have a little diary and scrapbook of the things they did.

The Summer Adventure Journal:

I had these composition notebooks that I bought at Target last fall on clearance for 12 cents each...

I collected a few supplies...

I channeled my mad book covering skills that I developed in middle school and high school...

Voila! There you have it...

Here is the start of our summer adventure list {these are just ideas, we won't necessarily do them all}:

*Chalk the entire driveway
*Lemonade stand
*Parade of parks (we pack a picnic lunch and spend the day "park hopping" usually hitting up 5-6 parks)
*Beach days
*Have a water balloon & squirt gun fight
*Ice Cream Sampling (go to a few different ice cream shops in a day sharing a dish of ice cream at each place)
*Visit libraries we don't usually go to

Minneapolis/St. Paul specific adventures:

*Chutes and Ladders
*French Park
*Irish Festival
*Torch Light Parade
*Red, White, and Boom fireworks
*Como Zoo
*Minnesota Zoo
*Sculpture garden
*Minneapolis Farmer's Market
*Twin's game
*Minneapolis public library

May 16, 2012

Child Apron {checking things off the to-do list}

Whew! Last night I finished the apron that I was working on.

The apron is part of a gift {yet another birthday party} for a friend of my daughter. I am so tired of buying Barbies, Princess junk stuff, Polly Pockets, etc. so I've been trying to think of "different" things to give when giving gifts.

When we decided on what to give for a gift {the apron & a cookbook} my daughter asked if she could design it. I was thinking she meant choose the fabric, but she really meant "design" it. So, I took her drawing and totally "winged" it. Once I planned it out it was actually pretty painless. I had planned on creating a tutorial as I went, but got so into it and was on a roll that I didn't get pictures as I made it. Perhaps I can later post my directions {should there be anyone interested in them or should I someday decide to make another}.

So, here's the finished product...{don't worry we were just modeling the finished product}

My daughter is a shrimp for her age & the girl it is for is tall for her age, so hopefully it fits!

We put it together with the rest of her gift...

We even wrapped it up already...{this part is shocking because I AM that mom usually throwing the gift in a bag on the way to the party!}

May 15, 2012

another re{fashion}!

Happy Tuesday! 

Well. A fussy {possibly teething} baby and the arrival of gorgeous weather are certainly interfering with my sewing/crafting/creating/me time.  I need to get back into gear quick as I have some pretty lofty goals and plans for some projects that need to get done soon {very soon}.

What I'm working on:
* creative wedding gift of date nights {for a wedding this Friday night! can we say procrastination?}
* an apron {kids} for part of a birthday gift {for this Saturday! yup...procrastination!}
* a "twurddle pawncess" skirt for my 2 year old {that's 2 year old for twirl princess skirt...just because she asked for one}
* and the pile of unfinished projects still sitting here {that I may have added to...}

Even though I already had my "to do" list of projects, I had to whip up {re-fashion} this little thing last night...

I was sorting through the kids' clothes yesterday and came across this little dress in the back of my daughter's closet.

I had bought it from Baby Gap six years ago for my second daughter and just loved it.  It was one of those things that I just couldn't part with after she outgrew it {it was 0-3 months}, even though there's nothing particularly special about it.  It's just a knit dress.  Low and behold a few years later we had another girl {not exactly planned}.  I pulled out the cute ric-rac Baby Gap dress for her, but she never wore it {being born in the winter}. So the dress has just sat on a hanger, moved from closet to closet, never worn again.

Then yesterday, along came another "aha" re-fashion kick moment.  I looked, measured, looked, measured, thought, and debated...finally coming to the decision to cut it off and make it into a skirt for my 2 year old.  It took all of about 15 minutes.  {I think the deciding part of whether to actually do it or not took longer.}

I cut off the top leaving just enough to attach an elastic waist to.  I happened to already have 1" hot pink knit elastic, so I just zig-zagged it on and voila!

Don't mind the pictures...this little 2 year old can't be bribed to pose for pictures.  I've tried and tried...

May 14, 2012

weekend re-cap

I hope all of the mommies out there had a wonderful Mother's Day!

I have to chalk this Mother's Day up as the best so far {in my 7 years of being a mommy}!  It was a wonderful Mother's Day, and an incredibly awesome weekend.  I feel so blessed!

As if Friday wasn't an awesome enough day with all of the lovely blog comments I received and new "friends" I made in the blog world, my mom surprised me by having my three girls stay over night at her house on Friday night. So, between my little guy sleeping and my husband at a work function I was able to finish a couple of unfinished sewing projects.  One being this bag that I started {and never finished} two years ago!

To top off blessing me by giving me a night off from {most of} my children, my mom gave me one of the most awesome gifts I have received...a gift certificate to have a cleaning service come to clean my bathrooms and kitchen.  It's amazing how the little things can be the best gift.  I absolutely hate having to clean the bathrooms and kitchen {though I do do it}, so this gift just made my day!!!

Saturday was a gorgeous day spent with quality family time and a BBQ with friends.

Sunday {Mother's Day} I was showered with love from my kids {assisted by my husband}.  I was able to sleep in until 8 {thanks to my hubby}, was brought breakfast in bed {which I promptly brought to the kitchen table to eat...this momma was not going to be washing sheets on Mother's Day}, and was blessed with homemade cards, a bouquet of weeds flowers, and gifts from the kiddos. Love it!

We spent the day with my family at the zoo and conservatory where I was hoping to get some good picture taking {practicing} in with my new camera. Unfortunately, the kids were far more interested in their uncle {who never says no to treating them} and the animals than being "subjects" in my photos. 

I feel so blessed to have spent time with some of the most amazing people in my life!

I'm energized and looking forward to an awesome week. I have so many projects and ideas that I'm hoping to "tackle" this week.

May 11, 2012

eeeks!!! {exciting friday}

What an exciting day. I stepped {WAY} out of my newbie blogger comfort zone and joined Find a Friend Friday over at Sew Many Ways. I can't say that I had big {or any} expectations from it. But, what I can say is the response I received from joining {comments and followers} made my day and warmed my heart. {Keep in mind I'm not usually a sentimental gooey person}

Seriously. It has totally made my day! I'm so incredibly happy that I stumbled upon the Sew Many Ways blog. If you didn't find my blog through Sew Many Ways...go there. :)

On another note. I started some much needed cleaning and organizing in my sewing and craft room.  I came to the realization that I need to "ground" myself from buying any more craft "stuff, fabric, and so forth until I make a serious dent in what I already have!

I have a tendency to be easily distracted by new projects and ideas that I get. That's why I tend to keep my sewing and creations to simpler, quicker things {though I am capable of doing much greater}.  Being a stay at home mom with four kids, homeschooling, and a husband that travels {a good amount} doesn't leave me with a ton of opportunities to sew and craft. So...when I do have the opportunity, I like to focus on things that I know I can get done in a quick amount of time. When I do get pulled away in the middle of a project is when the "new" ideas come to me and I start something new rather than finish.

My goal this weekend is to take some time for me {and my is Mother's Day weekend, right?} and get moving on some of this "stuff".

Happy Mother's Day! Wishing you all a beautiful weekend.

May 10, 2012

blogging {brain surgery}

Love this quote by Robert H. Schuller.

Well. I have blogged approximately 20 posts now and have to say that I'm quite proud of myself. I'm proud for actually doing it.

Yesterday I was about to give up though. All because I was having a horrible time adding a button to my blog and because I'm not sure I was able to post something. {Silly! You would have thought I was trying to perform brain surgery.}

As I sat frustrated, ready to quit, I remembered 'it's just a blog, and I'm doing this for me'. I blog because maybe even one person will be interested in the things that I do and share {at the very least it's a diary for me of what I've done}.

I didn't start a blog with the intention of being Martha Stewart. Nor did I do it with the belief of becoming a blogging prodigy with 15,000 followers.

If I manage to get 5 followers {that are not related to me} that would be fantastic...if I would ever get 100 I would straight fall off my chair!!!

But that's not what this is all about.

So, i took a deep breath and began to search. Thanks to googling {and googling, and googling} I found a very clear link with directions to get me through adding a button, and all was good. So the blogging shall continue.

My Journey...

I talked about blogging for months and months {probably more like years}. But I never actually did it {blog}. I didn't know what to blog about. I didn't know what to call my blog. I didn't know how to blog. I didn't think anyone would care. I could write dozens more "excuses". It was intimidating. Why?

I was intimidated from blogging because there are millions and millions of blogs already. There are so many blogs that I enjoy reading that are so accomplished and successful {surely I couldn't be that}. The things I would blog about have pretty much already been said. But, oh well!

So, I started blogging anyway. I started blogging about things that interest me and things that I've been doing. Why not? Back when I was in school {for interior design} one of my favorite teachers told us "great design repeats itself, the best designers in the world are inspired by what's already been done too, don't be discouraged". So that's what I'm doing. Even if it has been done for years.

I figured out how to set up a basic blog {it is VERY basic}. I have also figured out how to post. It's simple, but it's simply me and a snip-it of the things I enjoy doing.

If anyone has joined me...thank YOU for reading my blog! I welcome any {nice/constructive} comments and feedback you would like to share.

May 9, 2012

gap kids inspired denim {re}fashion

I was shopping with my oldest daughter the other day and she spied some very adorable shorts at Gap Kids (the embellished Bermuda shorts).  She seems to gravitate to anything that has beads, gems, sequins, sparkles, etc.  While they were very cute, I can't justify $34.95 on a pair of cut of shorts...we're trying to be smarter with our money and keep to a budget.

So my 7 year old actually had the "aha" moment and said "mom, you could totally make these".  So we {I} did!  They were so quick and easy to do, and cost close to nothing.

We already had a pair of jeans {bought last fall on clearance for $9} with a hole in the knee {shocking...} that still fit.  I cut them off just above the knee, turned the raw edge outside {like the ones from Gap} and hemmed. She chose embellishment/beading at Joann's {wasn't my choice, but that's OK} to go across the pockets, which we got on sale for 74 cents!  I hand sewed the beading on and decided to add a little embellished detail with embroidery floss {which I had on hand}.

Voila!  Done and done!  A new pair of shorts from jeans she wasn't going to wear anymore. 

May 7, 2012

baby bow ties & denim re-fashion

It was a rainy, rainy, busy weekend with yet another birthday party.  Needless to say I didn't get as much done as I would have liked to.  I did catch a break for a couple hours on Saturday while the two youngest took naps and the two oldest girls were playing. I decided it was the perfect opportunity to sit down at the sewing machine!

My favorite "make" of the weekend was a couple of bow ties for my little guy. I found a tutorial online that seemed simple enough. Something along the way went horribly wrong, so I found myself repairing and repairing, tweaking, and repairing. The second one I decided to just "wing" it, and do my own thing.  The result: much easier, much quicker {I had it completed in no time at all}. Now that I have a quick way to make them, I'm so excited to make more! How many bow ties are too many?


My other project... My daughter "L" has been asking and asking for a denim skirt.  It hasn't been at the top of my list of items to look for and buy for her. 

The other night while doing laundry and folding a pair of "outside play jeans" I had an aha moment.

Ugly $5 Old Navy jeans {with holes worn into the knees} + 2 gathered strips of cotton fabric = begged for denim skirt. Ask and you shall receive!

May 3, 2012

oh happy day {agave iced mocha}!!!

I have a total weakness for mochas. Hot or cold I love them both. However, I know they are NOT good for my waist line or my wallet.

So...I have been searching, making, and trying {for a while} several recipes that I've found online. Some were "ehhhh", some were "mmmm", and a couple were "oh my goodness! Awesome!". Unfortunately the ones that were awesome had a lot of sugar, cream, and chocolate syrup {of course they tasted awesome}.

I don't buy/keep cream on hand. I don't want to use heavy amounts of caramel or chocolate syrup. And, I didn't want to be loading sugar into my mocha {I know many claim that agave is no better, but I personally prefer it to white sugar}. So my mission was to create a "healthier" {less unhealthy} option.

This is what I came up with...

Directions/Recipe for Iced Mocha {it's so simple I'm not even sure one could call it a recipe}:

*coffee ice cubes (pour coffee into ice cube tray and freeze)
*almond milk (or any milk)
*natural unsweetened Hershey's cocoa
*agave nectar

To make:
{I use a bullet type blender and have found adding the ingredients in this order mixes best}
1. fill cup half way with coffee ice cubes (about 7 or 8 cubes)
2. add milk to top of coffee cubes
3. add 1.5 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa
4. add not quite 1/2 tablespoon of agave nectar (I totally eye ball it)
5. cover and blend until all ice cubes are blended (add milk as needed if too thick)
6. add a straw and enjoy!


I'm sure this would be heavenly topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of ooey gooey chocolate or caramel sauce - but the goal is to keep it on the less unhealthy side.