Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Auf Wiedersehen

See y'all Monday!!

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Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner

The winner of the Eclos Beauty Skincare Giveaway is . . . . . . . 

#1


#1 ?!  That hardly ever happens!  E-mail me with your address so I can get that right out to you!
I'm leaving for camp tomorrow morning so I won't be around for a few days.  Have a great weekend everyone!!

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mini-Suitcase Memory Boxes

Girl's Camp starts TOMORROW!!!  I am equal parts thrilled and prematurely exhausted.  I'm just wrapping up some odds and ends and wanted to share this cute little project with you.  Since the theme for camp is "DestiNATION:  Camp"  we tried to do lots of travel-related stuff for the girls.  I've shared the passport journals we made earlier, which have been a big hit with the girls.  The other camp leader I'm working with found these really cute wood boxes that look like suitcases that we thought would be perfect little camp memory boxes.  Hopefully they'll save all their handouts and trinkets from camp in there.  Maybe not, but a mother-figure can dream.

The girls each got to paint and decorate their own and some of them were preeety unique, to say the least.  These were a couple that I whipped up today for girls who haven't had a chance to do theirs.
I just spray painted them -- quick and dirty, no sanding or being too careful required -- and then lined all the edges with gray and white striped washi tape.  You can see on the blue suitcase that I didn't think to do the washi tape until after I had applied a few of the stickers.  That's alright.  {Please tell me it's alright. I'm a little bugged by it, even though I'm trying not to be.}


I found some vintage travel sticker digital images like this one on etsy and printed them on 8.5x11 full sheet mailing labels.  Once you cut them out they work great as stickers for the mini-luggage boxes.  Looking at these pictures it is clear I should have used a higher quality printer setting on the stickers.  It makes them look rough and aged, I guess.  If you're feeling really crafty you could paint a coat of Mod Podge on top to help protect the stickers.  Have you seen the antique glaze Mod Podge they have now?  That would be really cool. 

I have to give these away to my campers, but I really want to keep them for myself.  I may have to make a couple more once I get home.  Don't forget to enter the giveaway I have running right now for some amazing Eclos Beauty skincare products.  I'll be announcing the winner tomorrow morning!

I'm linking this project up to Something to Do Saturdays on Turning This Into That.  Come check out the other cool projects!

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Delicious Salads for Your Summer Cookouts

Happy Memorial Day, friends!!I hope you all had as good a holiday as we had.  We are so grateful to those who give so much so that we can enjoy the freedom that we too often take for granted.

We spent the day at a pool party/pot-luck/barbeque with all of our best friends.  The weather was unseasonably temperate today so it was PERFECT to sit in the shade and chat while watching the kids swim.  I whipped up a couple salads as our family's contribution to the meal -- one an old family favorite and one a new addition to our summer routine.  I thought I'd share them with you here, even though it's too late to use them today.  This was just the first of many summer barbeque celebrations to come.

This one is a recipe that I used to make all the time when my kids were younger.  Somehow it fell out of our regular rotation, but I'm bringin' it back.  If I had to eat one salad for the rest of my life, I think this one would be it.  It's super easy to make and de-licious.

Seven Layer Salad

Fill the bottom of a 9x13 pan with chopped lettuce. I like a combination of iceberg and romaine.  Then layer on top:


  • 1/2 C. chopped celery
  • 1/2 C. red peppers
  • 1/2 C. red onion {can use green onions for a milder flavor}
  • 1/2 C. frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 pint of mayonnaise -- spread it like you're frosting a cake and then sprinkle with a little sugar.  You may be able to get away with less.  Use what looks good to you. This sounds like it may be yucky, but trust me!! It makes the perfect yummy dressing for the salad.
  • shredded cheddar cheese {eyeball it}
  • sliced hard boiled eggs {about 6} and crumbled bacon {we like turkey bacon}
Once you've assembled the salad, cover it and let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  The longer it sits, the more the dressing absorbs all the flavors and the better it tastes.  Obviously you can alter the recipe, leaving out ingredients you don't like and/or substituting with things you do. It's just a different, yummy take on a traditional green salad.




The other salad I made today was a Hawaiian Macaroni salad from Foodie Family that I found on Pinterest a little while ago.  It was absolutely delicious, though a little peppery for my taste.  Follow the directions exactly, even though they're a little different than a regular pasta salad.  You won't regret it.  They say it tastes just like the macaroni salad you'd find at a Hawaiian restaurant.  I don't know if that's true, but I really liked it.

I'm looking forward to a fun-filled summer of my favorite cookout foods.  If you have a favorite salad recipe, I'd love to hear about it!

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Awesome New Skincare Product Review & Giveaway{#EclosBeauty}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of éclos Skin Care for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Those of you who know me personally commented last week about how much my daughter looks like me.  Like, exactly like me.  A spitting image.  We get that ALL THE TIME.  The rest of you have maybe never seen me because I don't, as a habit, post pictures of myself.  It's hard having a pretty young thing running around with your face, except at an ideal weight and with flawless skin.  {Seriously, what fourteen year old has skin like that?!}  It can make you a teensy bit self-conscious.  That's why I was super excited when I was asked to try éclos Skin Care products and review them on my blog!  I'm willing to try anything at this point.

The downside?  I have to post pictures of myself -- before and after.  {Major cringe}  I'm telling you, it is physically painful to me to look at pictures of myself.  But I was willing to bite the bullet and do it.  I got the package in the mail and it was like Christmas morning.  I love beauty products.  It's a little bit of a sickness.
Eclos_StarterKit.jpg
The kit contains Facial Cleanser Skin Prep,  Cellular Activator Face Serum,  Moisture Therapy Regenerative Cream,  Restorative Eye Cream,  Instant Radiance Facial Scrub,  Skin Renewal Clay Mask, and an éclos Terry Cloth Head Band.

Here's the science-y stuff:
éclos Skin Care features Apple Stem Cells extracted from a rare Swiss apple which have shown tremendous ability to stimulate skin stem cells, encouraging aging skin to behave like younger skin. Plant extracts, vitamins and anti-oxidants combine with the Apple Stem Cell technology to help minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and tired skin.

They had me at "encouraging aging skin to behave like younger skin".  Yes, please!  I've seen the commercials on tv for similar, very expensive products.  This is the first I have heard of at my price point and in the stores I shop at.  The suggested retail price for the whole kit is just $19.99.  Sweet!

I really liked the products, too.  They smelled really nice and clean and left my skin feeling super clean and soft.  You know how with some products you wash your face and then still get junk on your towel when you dry off?  This doesn't do that.  My face was actually clean.  The clay mask was probably my favorite.  I used it a couple times a week and it made my face feel deep-down clean. 
So, here they are -- my photos:


Nothing like pointing out all your flaws, right?  In these photos I have foundation and powder on, but nothing else.  I just couldn't take one completely bare-faced.
After just a couple of weeks my skin is so much brighter and fresher looking -- almost glow-y.  Seriously.  In the after picture I am only wearing a little sheer tinted sunscreen, eyeliner and mascara.  I have ALWAYS worn full-face makeup, every day, no matter what I'm doing.  Always.  Even working out.  All summer long.  Even at camp.  {Which is maybe where the acne came from...}  My skin looks so good now I can wear an almost bare face and feel almost pretty.  Confident, at least.  That's awesome to me.  The texture of my skin is better, too.  It's nice and smooth, which I haven't felt in a while.   I can't wait to go to camp next week and leave my makeup bag at home!

I struggle with insomnia, which usually leaves my eyes droopy and tired-looking.  I feel like I look a lot fresher and brighter after using the Restorative Eye Cream for a couple weeks, even though I haven't really been sleeping better.  That sells me on the product right there.

Here's the really fun part:  They gave me a second kit to share with one of you!!  In order to win and try it for yourself FOR FREE, just leave a comment on this post telling us which product you are most excited to try.  Easy Cheesy!  This is going to be a quick giveaway since I'm leaving for camp next week.  I'll pick a winner Wednesday, May 30th and let y'all know who won right here on the blog before I leave. 
Good luck!!
{This giveaway is only open to my readers in the United States.  Entries must be in before 9:00 a.m. Arizona time on May 30th, 2012.  Winner will be chosen using random.org}
Visit Sponsor's Site

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Awwwwww, Yeah!

Me and my boys, driving to Sonic for 50 cent corndogs and half price slushes, listening to Karmin, drinkin' in the summer goodness.  Does life get better than this?!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Big, Big Treat {Flavored Rice Krispie Treats}

It's the last week of school here {yay!}and with three kids' award ceremonies, class parties, and "graduation" events we've been pretty busy.  I meant to post this recipe yesterday for Big, Big Treat Tuesday, but just didn't get to it.  Did you know that you can flavor rice krispie treats?!  I'm always the last to know.  I found this link to Shugary Sweets on Pinterest last week and new I had to give it a shot.

I know what you're thinking -- Rice krispie treats are already delicious.  Why would you need to add "flavor"?  It's just for funsies.  We all need a change of pace once in a while, no?  So, I stood in the store for what seemed like forever trying to decide which flavor of pudding to get.  My first choice, coconut, only came in the cooked variety and I didn't know if that would work.  My second choice was banana, but Brent hates banana.  Then I looked at pistachio.  Not every member of our family likes nuts.  I ended up getting butterscotch and pistachio, resigned to the fact that we were just going to have to make {and eat} two batches.  My poor family.  What will they do?

I cannot put into words how much my family loved these treats.  My friend, Jamie, is the undisputed rice krispie treat making champion in our little group of family friends.  My kids said these were the only ones they have ever liked better than hers.  And Brent ate them.  He never eats anything with marshmallow in it, as a rule.  I had to cut these two for the picture last night and set them aside to photograph in the daylight -- that's how fast they were going.

Next time I make these I'm gonna' really do it right by adding butterscotch chips and peanuts to the butterscotch ones {my family will kinda' sorta' eat peanuts}.  I also think adding real pistachio pieces to the pistachio ones would be awesome.  And maybe a drizzle of chocolate like in the example I saw.

They are just as easy to make as regular rice krispie treats.  You just add a 3.5 ounce box of pudding powder to the melted marshmallows and butter before stirring in the cereal.  My mind is going crazy thinking of awesome flavor combos -- white chocolate pudding with almond pieces, banana pudding with crumbled vanilla wafers replacing part of the cereal in the recipe, chocolate pudding with white chocolate chips or mint m&m's.  I'm also wondering if those new frosting flavor pouches would work -- have you seen those?  Bubblegum flavored treats would be yummy.  And orange cream.  Mmmmmm.  I'm glad my family like them so much.  It's gonna' be a long, hot summer and these will be so easy to make for Family Night without heating up the whole house.

I hope you're having a great week, friends!

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Rosette & Faux Feather Headband

Just one last cute little surprise for Sis for the dance tonight.  We played around with her hair yesterday and just didn't love anything we came up with.  Her hair is cutest styled the way she normally does it.  So I was thinking that since we couldn't do anything fancy with her hair, maybe we could put something cute in it.  I LOVE a cute pixie cut with a funky headband.  That's probably my most favorite thing.  I wish I could pull it off.  I can't, but Sis can!

I wanted to make something totally unique for her -- we have a ton of rosette headbands here.  I remembered seeing these really cool string feathers over at Blue Sky Confections a few weeks ago.  I looked and found that tutorial and this other one at Twigg Studios that is only very slightly different.  I had everything but the liquid starch in my craft stash so I whipped one up and brushed it with Mod Podge to stiffen it up.  That came out a little bit clumpy-looking.  I want to make another one using starch to see if it will turn out better, but this one will do for now.
I glued the pretty string feather to a plain little headband and then whipped up a couple of rosettes out of the fabric from her shoes.  {I really do love a good fabric rosette.} A sprig of pearly white berries was the perfect finishing touch.
I'll put some pictures up tonight when she's all dolled up for the dance so you can see what it looks like in her hair.  {It's adorable . . . .}


Have a great weekend! 



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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mod Podge Shoe Makeover

Today's project was the result of an odd sequence of events, but it couldn't be any more perfect if I had set out to do it on purpose.  I love it when that happens!  

Our daughter, Sis, has her 8th grade promotion dance coming up on Friday night.  Contrary to what you might think, it's a very big deal.  We've been thinking about what she would wear for months now.  {I'm using the term "we" very loosely here.}  After going through two or three very nice options, we have finally settled on a dark grayish blue dress with a pretty mustard yellow sash from Downeast Basic.  It is by far the least formal of all the dresses we have tried to work with, but also by far the most practical.  She can wear it all summer to church and stuff.  

I'm happy with my daughter's choice,  but it was still a pretty casual dress and other girls are going to be dressed like it's the prom.  Now, let me say right now that we do not feel pressure to "fit in" with all the fads and fashions of the day.  Far from it.  I LOVE that my daughter chose a very modest, very pretty, very age appropriate dress.  And, if I can vent for a moment, I think it's ridiculous for people to treat 8th grade promotion like a formal event.  It's a special occasion and can be celebrated as such, without going over the top.  My concern was that Sis wouldn't feel "special" enough on this special occasion.  She puts a pretty dress on for church every Sunday.  She wants this night to be something out of the ordinary, and she should.

Because we spent a little bit of money on the dress, she was just going to borrow a pair of my shoes to go with it.  That would have been fine, really.  They aren't really special and they kind of pinch your toes, but they look alright with the dress.  So, in the back of my mind I've been trying to think of a way to make her outfit a little bit more special.

I've also been thinking about giving my kids' bathroom a makeover and trying to do it on a next-to-zero budget. {I told you this was an odd sequence of events -- I promise I'm getting to the point . . .}  Yesterday, while I was at JoAnn's getting some stuff for Girls Camp I found the fabric of my dreams for their shower curtain.  And it was ON SALE!!!!  I had just been paid for something I had written so I decided to splurge and spend the $20 to buy it.  It's a beautiful mustard-y yellow background with sprigs of white berries.  Perfection.  I am so excited about it.

THEN, last night Brent went to hang out with his friends -- guy's night -- and I was doing some research for a project that I have coming up.  I came across this picture on Pinterest:


And the clouds parted, the heavens opened and a choir of angels sang.  I had a plain old pair of shoes in my closet that I could fix up to go with Sis's dress and I could use a little bit of the shower curtain fabric to make them really beautiful and special.  It was PERFECT!!  I set right to work so I could surprise her when she woke up this morning.

She and I both LOVE the way they came out!  I followed the tutorial from The Diary of Dave's Wife {watch the clip of her on the Valley Dish show -- it's helpful} and it was really pretty easy.  The shoes I picked were probably not ideal -- they have a little ridge across the toe part that looks like a weird crease or bubble in the picture, but doesn't look bad in real life, and the straps and cutouts at the ankle were a little weird to work with -- but I ADORE them.
So much cuter than the boring brown leather I started with.  I swear one of these days I'm going to start remembering to take before pictures of my makeover projects.  I only had gloss-finish Mod Podge on hand so they have a sheen to them, which makes the cotton fabric look like a fancy silk or something.
And look how perfect they are with that dress!  It's like that fabric was made to go with it.  I also dug out a cute bracelet from my jewelry box that she might want to borrow and {shhhh! don't tell} I'm going to make her a fabric flower corsage to wear.  We're figuring out what {if anything} we can do with her hair to make it different and fancy.  She got a pixie cut a few weeks ago, which is too cute for words on her, but doesn't provide a ton of styling options.  I think I have an idea I want to play with though. 

I had a design professor at BYU who taught us that if we had a dilemma and just couldn't find a solution in the moment we should walk away from it and do something else.  She said your subconscious will continue to puzzle it out and then, all at once, the solution will come to you, seemingly out of nowhere.  She taught us that a creative mind can't be forced.  It's so true!  What do you think?




The 36th AVENUE

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fighter Jet Mural Project

This week a friend of mine recruited me to come paint a mural in her son's bedroom as a birthday surprise. I was thrilled to be able to help out.  Her son is turning 5 and he was so cute.  When Brent and I showed up yesterday morning he was just leaving to go spend the day at his grandma's house.  He knew we were going to do something in his room, but he had no idea what.  It was like pulling teeth for his mom to get him out of the house.  That kind of excitement is contagious! 
I love the way it turned out.  The black and white jet silhouettes on that turquoise wall look awesome.  He was super stoked about it, too.  {But he would have liked it a little better with an F-16 Eagle on it, he told me.  That kid knows his stuff!}  It was hard to get a really good picture of it since it was so big -- wall to wall, floor to ceiling -- but you get the idea.  His little sister requested a Rapunzel mural in her room when it's her birthday.  I'm in!

I'm going to be spending the rest of today and probably most of tomorrow sewing Austrian flag pillowcases and making 9 pairs{?}of lederhosen for Girls Camp.  Good times!

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day {A Day Late As Usual}

A gift from my eldest son, passed down the pew to me in the middle of sacrament meeting yesterday.  Yep.  I'm the luckiest mom ever.  Did any of you get a magical liger ride for mother's day?  I didn't think so.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

In Which I Celebrate {and Make a Craft}

Thank you all for your kind comments on my earlier post about my Chernobyl-sized meltdown yesterday.  Your kind words have helped immensely.  AAAAAAAAND . . . {drumroll} . . . Brent got a job!  It's just a contract position so it will only last until about the end of September, but, y'all, we're going to be getting a paycheck.  Every week from now through September.  And now I feel even more horrible about yesterday.  If I had just hung in there for one more day . . . But I'm not going to beat myself up.  It happened and now I'm moving on.

And making a craft.  Because that's just what I do.  I saw this wreath that The Nester made almost a year ago and instantly fell in love.
Source: thenester.com via Amy on Pinterest

Who else in the entire world can make a wreath out of plastic spoons and have it be classy enough to hang up in an actual house?!  When I started brainstorming about the kitschy gallery wall I wanted to make in my kids' bathroom, of course this came to mind.  I dug up a pack of spoons and spent about 15 minutes whipping one up tonight.  It's bigger than I thought it would be, but beautiful in real life nonetheless.

I hung it up in my bedroom just to snap a few pictures of it.  This gray and white paint is what I have leftover and will be using to paint the bathroom upstairs.   I'm toying around with a few things to frame with it for the bathroom gallery wall.  Three for my three . . . monsters.  Or this print I designed in Gimp last night:
I'm not sure.  I'll just have to play around with the layout of everything for a while.  Here's a closeup of the spoons:
Just put a dab of hot glue on the back of the bowl of each spoon and another dab on the front of the end of the handle of the spoon you're gluing it to.  Keep going, one spoon at a time until you have a wreathy shape.  I used a whole pack of 48 spoons which was just right for this wreath.

I've also been working on a few fun little prints for the wall.


nowhiningthumbnail


Loveisallyouneedthumbnail

If you would like to download the Love is All You Need and No Whining printables, just head over to the My 3 Monsters Facebook page and click on the Exclusive Downloads button.  Have a great weekend everyone!







The 36th AVENUE

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The Straw That Broke the Camel's Back

******** Breaking News ********

This just in {and just in time for Mother's Day}:  I'm a terrible mom and just a bad human being.
Awesome.

Do you ever have "one of those days"?  Like when your husband has been looking for work for nearly 6 months, but you think things are fine.  You're going through life day-in and day-out counting your blessings, which are many, and thinking that you're coping with stress remarkably well {if you do say so yourself}.  

And then you try to escape to your bedroom one afternoon to watch a cheesy Lifetime movie, but mostly for a few moments of blessed alone-ness. But then, one by one, each member of your family follows you in there, including the dog, so that you are now 1) no longer ALONE, and 2)crowded into a much smaller space with all the people who you were momentarily avoiding even though you love them dearly. 

And then one of them starts snoring, and one of them wants to know why she's not receiving texts on her cell phone, and one is complaining that he has been prematurely and unceremoniously removed from the computer by another one who swears that "FIF-TEEN MINUTES" have actually expired. And then the last one decides to chew on your favorite sweater.

And in that one moment, the weight of the stress of the entire past six months comes crashing down on you as if it had been balancing precariously above your head the whole time just waiting for this moment.  So you jump up and say some things you're not very proud of and storm out the front door and take off in the car without any explanation whatsoever, leaving your hurt and confused loved-ones wondering when {or if} you will be coming back.  And also what's for dinner because you didn't bother to cook them anything on your way out the door.

And then, as you're driving around aimlessly and crying, you wish you hadn't done what you just did, not because you're really noble and good, but because you know you're going to have to go home and pick up the pieces of the mess you just made and you're exhausted.  Your tantrum hasn't made you feel any better at all and you wish you could just take the last 30 minutes back. 

Nope?  Just me?  Good.  I wouldn't wish one of those days on anyone.  Ever.  Thank goodness for husbands who have many of the pieces already picked up when you get back home.  And for kids who are quick to forgive and remind you why motherhood isn't completely thankless work.  Thank goodness for good mothers everywhere {especially my mom and my mother-in-law} who are strong enough to bear the weight of significant burdens, who set a good example for the rest of us me.  Thank goodness that today is a new day and yesterday is in the past.  Mostly. 

I just need to give myself a break.  It's OK to struggle a little, right?  I read so many blogs written by beautiful women, with perfectly beautiful homes, who never seem to struggle with anything ever.  Or the ones written by beautiful women who are dealing with major illnesses or deaths of loved ones or unimaginable trials with grace and poise.  And who have beautiful homes and create beautiful crafts and things with their happy kids in spite of their troubles.  I don't fault them for that.  More power to them. 

I am not one of them.  My house is in almost-constant need of cleaning.  My kids don't always get along.  Or make good choices.  I've had both my boys go to in-school suspension in the past month.  That wasn't in my perfect-mother plan.  I would sometimes rather watch a lame Lifetime movie in a dark room by myself than cook a beautiful meal or spend quality time with my husband.  That's me right now.  I need to stop beating myself up for not being someone else when I'm honestly doing the best I can.  It's hard to thrive or excel in your own skin when you're drowning in comparisons, y'all.  It's OK to be in survival mode right?  There's nothing wrong with me that I can't do more, right?  Please say yes. 

Have a great weekend, friends.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Going Green {& Gray & Eclectic}

I'm dreaming of re-doing my kids' bathroom.  The success of my budget powder room makeover has me thinking that maybe I can perform miracles in the rest of my house, too.  Oh, how I wish . . . 

Here's my grand, if -I-could-have-my-druthers scheme:



Now, I know that our current situation does not allow for the re-tiling of the tub surround in that beautiful white subway tile, but I do have some gray and white paint in my garage leftover from our master bedroom redo a while ago that I could use on the walls.  {Free.  Yay!}  I have plenty of old frames and knick-knacks laying around. Plus, I'm pretty crafty.  I think I could get some cuteness together for a pretty good start on a gallery wall  with what I have in my craft closet.

I found some cool floral-y, bird-y fabric at Savers a looong time ago that I had planned to use to reupholster a chair in the living room.  It was too lemony of a yellow to go with my buttery yellow walls, but it would look great as a shower curtain.  {Or, if I suddenly feel rich -- hee, hee -- that green Waverly number on the board up there is less than $30.  And would match the green and white towels that we already own. Hmmmm.}  The sconces are only $18 each at Lowes, so if I was going to be spendy, I could probably swing those.  Or I could live with the current light fixture for a while longer.  It's fine. 

I may have enough moulding in the garage from another project to frame out the builder's grade mirror in there until such time as I can afford that awesome hanging bird mirror.  That's the great thing about eclectic decorating -- you can "build it" over time.  I don't have to wait to get started!  This can be one of those projects that evolves over time and becomes so much more fantastic in the process.  That's exciting to me.

Obviously at some point I'm going to want to do that tile project in the shower.  And I think I want to bump one of the walls out into the boys' room to make their almost-completely-unused closet smaller and this used-by-three-nearly-teenage-kids bathroom a bit bigger.  And I have my eye on that cool ceramic tile that looks like wood for the floor.  {Have you seen that?!}  While we're being completely frank, the ugly vanity top and faucet need to get the boot someday, too.  But what I have actually still functions so those things don't HAVE to be done TODAY.  {Tomorrow would be fine, hun, if you want to pencil it into your planner. Ü}  My point is, I don't have to have the budget for everything just to get started.  I love that!

Maybe that philosophy doesn't work for you.  Maybe you're an all-or-nothin' kind of gal.  Or eclectic just isn't your style. Or you're in a completely different phase of life than I am.   That's OK.  As for me, these past few months of unemployment have taught me to look for the small rewards in life.  It's an exciting challenge for me to try to make the most of every single thing I have -- using up old cans of paint and picture frames.  Creating something {hopefully kinda'}beautiful out of things that many people {including my former self} would be wont to throw away.  The day of acquiring has passed {for a time}.  Now is the day of becoming a wiser steward of the things with which I've been blessed.  Making the best of things.  Looking on the bright side.

Phew!  Sorry to subject you to my philosophical awakening.  That was just my extremely verbose way of saying, "Yay!  I'm gonna' repaint my kids' bathroom."  Also, I wanted to say, "Yay!  My potato plants are growing."  I worried for a while that I had done something terribly wrong, but then one day they peeked their little green heads out of the soil and decided to grow like crazy.
That is not really what I expected a potato plant to look like.  Interesting.  Hopefully they'll bloom soon-ish.  I'll show you if they do.

Have a great day, friends!

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

{Win a Spa Getaway for 4 from Bloom.com}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bloom.com for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
So, I have a couple of issues I want to talk about today. 

Issue #1:  I'm getting older!
This is no surprize, really.  And I don't really have an issue with the number or anything -- 39 in October, woot, woot!  What is bothering me is that my face is different.  I look in the mirror sometimes and think, "Who is that mess?"  My skin is a different texture.  My {mostly-gray-really-but-still-brown-thanks-to-L'Oreal} hair is a different texture.  The makeup colors and finishes I have always used look . . . weird, for lack of a better descriptive word.  Lots of people told me this would happen.  I just didn't believe it, I guess.  I feel like I went to bed one night all youthful and dewy skinned and woke up the next day all dry and dull-looking.

How do you know what to do when this happens?  Obviously I need new products, but which ones?!  I don't want to waste a ton of money buying things all willy-nilly, hoping to find something great.  I don't have the time or the budget for that.  I was pretty dang excited to find Bloom.com.  Bloom.com is a social beauty network that will "revolutionize" the way we all find and buy the right products.

I logged on and used the Best4You Beauty Finder tool.  It asks for different information depending on the product you're looking for -- birthday, skin type, etc. -- and then recommends products.  It gives you the Best Overall, Best New, Best on a Budget, Best Natural and various other best picks.   Bloom.com has 10,00 items from over 150 top brands, so there is bound to be something you'll like.  You can also read unbiased feedback on the products from other Bloom.com users.  That is exactly what I need!

Even cooler is the fact that your purchases will come with free gifts AND 10% back in Bloom Dollars.  {First time purchasers will get 30% back on their first order!!}  With that issue on its way to being solved, let's look at

Issue #2:  I need a vacation!
I know, I know.  I just got to go on a girl's cruise with a bunch of friends in January.  It's more than anyone could ask for, but if I'm being totally honest, I wanna' get away again.  Bloom.com to the rescue again:

Bloom.com Copy - Google Docs

Win a spa vacation for 4 girlfriends!

Bloom.com is giving you the opportunity to win a FOUR Girlfriend Luxury Spa Weekend in Vegas ­ all expenses paid at the luxury 5 star Aria hotel!  {I want that!}  You can enter to win just by joining Bloom.com.  It's free {and easy} to join {and awesome --see above}.  You can get extra entries to the sweepstakes for every friend who joins from your invitation.  Go check it out.  Good Luck!!
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Big, Big Treat Tuesday {Old- Fashioned Butterscotch Ice Cream}

It's that time of the week again . . . Big, Big Treat Tuesday!  {I can feel the excitement in the air, can't you?}

I have a confession to make.  This isn't the treat we actually had last night for family night.  I was lazy and we just went and got slushes.  It was one of those days.  And that picture of the two adorable kids licking the ice cream beater thingy?  That's from, like, seven years ago at my sister's house.  Whatever!  Weren't Riley and his cousin Tess the cutest little stinkers?!  When I think of homemade ice cream I ALWAYS think of licking the beater thingy as a kid, with my Monson cousins, at grandma and grandpa Healey's house. It's kind of an iconic memory for me.

We did make this delightful treat several weeks ago, however, and I can tell you that it has been the favorite thing to come out of our ice cream maker since we got it.  The recipe was printed on the ancient, yellowing instruction sheet we found inside the maker when we picked it up at the thrift store.  I've looked all over for a date that would tell me how "vintage" this recipe is.  I'm guessing the machine is from the early 60's.  {The cost of a replacement motor on the info sheet we have is $8.  That can't be very current.}Anyway, we're just going to call it:

"Old Fashioned Butterscotch Ice Cream" 

2 C. milk 
1 C. brown sugar 
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
4 C. cream
4 Tbsp. vanilla extract

  1. Scald milk by heating just to the boiling point.  {Here's a helpful video if you don't know what that means.} 
  2. Cook sugar and butter together in a small saucepan.  Boil it for one minute, stirring constantly, and then add to hot milk along with the salt. Stir until both are thoroughly dissolved.
  3. Add the cream and allow to cool.
  4. Stir in vanilla extract then freeze in your ice cream maker, following manufacturer directions.  
  5. Remove from ice cream maker and store in your kitchen freezer for several hours to finish hardening.
  6. Enjoy! 
This ice cream has more of a toffee flavor to me than butterscotch, but it is to-die-for delicious.  We ate ours plain, but how good would it be with some caramel sauce and chunks of English Toffee on top?  Oh man!

I love using the older recipes that came with our vintage ice cream maker.  I sometimes think that {especially where food is concerned} our grandparents knew how to do things better. And here's one more completely gratuitous photo of those sweet, ice cream-y little babies I love so much:
 
Have a great day, folks!




Lil\'Luna

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Vintage Scale Makeover

I was at Goodwill last week on a dollar day when I came across this little beauty.
It was covered in a layer of rust and grime and had clearly been mistreated in its past.  That white paint job was positively shameful.  Not to mention the naked babies that creeped me out just a smidge.  I walked on past.  It wasn't the right color tag so I would have to pay full price -- $5 -- and, ewwww, those babies.

But it kept calling to me.   How many time have I seen vintage scales in beautifully styled home decor photos and coveted them?  How often have I vowed to one day own one?  The answer, for me, is OFTEN.  

Source: fun.kyti.me via Sibylle on Pinterest


They're awesome, right?  So I decided to give rusty naked baby scale a second look.  There were little metal tabs on the back of the face that made me believe I could maybe get the face off.  That was good.  The naked baby face didn't appear to be glued on.  Also good.  I reluctantly purchased rusty naked baby scale and brought it home, hoping that Brent wouldn't think I was absolutely crazy.  He didn't.  {At least he didn't say so out loud which was good enough for me.

I sat down and began taking that old scale apart.  I was right -- a little screwdriver helped to unbend the tabs and the face came right off.
I cleaned up the old glass with a little Goo Gone and set it aside.  The needle came off the front by releasing a small screw.  Then there were just two more itty bitty screws to undo and those creepy babies came right off, too.  Hooray!

I scanned the old naked baby face into my computer and used Gimp to design a new one and printed it out onto card stock.  
A fresh coat of Valspar Golden Maize spray paint freshened the whole thing up.  I reassembled it all and voila!  New, beautiful vintage scale for me!!

I love it so much!!  Now I just have to find a spot for it.  I was thinking I'd put it up on the shelf in my kitchen, but you can't really see how cute it is up there.  For now it's on the dresser in my dining room, but I don't really love it there either.
Never fear, it will find a home in my kitchen soon enough.  The moral of this story is, don't let some rusty naked babies scare you away from something you know in your heart you will love.  Or something like that.

I'll be back tomorrow with a delicious treat idea from our Family Night. Have a great day!



Lil\'Luna

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