Thursday, May 31, 2012

One project that's done...we'll mostly...

Our kitchen makeover -  I'll start out by saying this took approximately 1 1/2 years...one would think we tore down walls, added square footage or a whole new kitchen for that matter....but no, we just like to have never ending projects around here *sarcasm*  The sad thing is it's not 100% done...I want a new floor, gas stove, and an island...but I know when to count my lucky stars and not push my luck.

Here's the before kitchen - boring and blah...


The cabinets all one level made the ceiling seem short, which they are - stinkin' 8' foot ceiling -  but I didn't want that to be emphasized by the cabinets
The appliances are different - stainless and black - we try to only buy if it's broken or if it's a deal we can't pass up - like this big momma...



Pretty fridge, right?!?  No I did not pay full price for that - it's used and it was only $600 - and it didn't come with the vents... which are $250 - so it's kind of hard to buy vents that are almost 1/2 as much as the fridge -  remember I'm cheap
Jay built the cabinet around it - thinking that we would take out all of the cabinets and put in the fancy kind of doors...


See the "open" cabinet doors- in the 11 years I had been in this house, not once did I have glass in them - I finally got tired of bugging Jay to put some of the clutter and put up paper - tacky I know but a girl has to do what a girl has to do.




and drum roll please - TA DA!!!  Here it is!



Got rid of a 1/2 working stove and oven - and replaced them both with something prettier

We replaced the oven cabinet with open shelving (LOVE!) and more counter top space (also LOVE!)

Made one cabinet go up to the ceiling to help elongate the area

and yes, that is an electrical outlet without a cover - the title of the post is "well mostly" You'd think a trip to Lowe's would be easy?!?

Put up an awesome farmhouse light without the outrageous price - IKEA rocks!

I made some boxwood wreaths to put spruce up the cabinets doors

Put in new butcher block counter tops (Jay stained them dark and sealed them) - again IKEA rocks!

We added "feet" to the bottom of the cabinets to make something boring into something special!




Since the cabinet that Jay built was different from the rest of the cabinets, I wanted it to look like a piece of furniture - so I painted and weathered it - yes...still no vent...maybe one day...

Painted chalkboard on the wall and framed it out in trim...one for me and one for the kids

Since I couldn't get new floors, I bought these runners at Wal-Mart and placed them everywhere they would fit, to help distract the eye from the ugly tile...it works until I point it out to someone...

We thought about scraping the ceiling smooth - but that is A LOT of work for Jay and I didn't want that look in the kitchen, so we put up cheap wood paneling  and painted it for that farmhouse look.



Put a pallet wall- everyone thought I had gone off the deep end when I said I wanted to do this...I had to fight for my wall - but in the end, I won and I got to hear - "you were right"...that's always nice to hear...

I painted the pantry doors a slate blue to add some pizazz to the little entry way there


All in all  - this is my dream kitchen, well I need wood floors, a gas stove, and an island - then it's my dream kitchen!  But that's not asking for too much, right???  Do you think it's too soon to ask for those???




Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Buckets of Fun this Summer

Summer = swimming, beach, family, vacations, sleeping in
Summer also = "I'm bored" "I'm hungry" "There's nothing to do"  "It's too hot to play outside"

While my kids are going to undoubtedly drive me crazy, I'm excited to have them home for summer.  I have lots of ideas I want to do with them...we'll see how many actually come to pass...I'm thinking 50%, ok...10% of them.  One of them that will definitely happen is going to the beach!  And going to the beach means you need toys, more specifically sand buckets.  For Elaina's class we gave them buckets and I attached a "Have BUCKETS of fun this summer" tag to them.  So if you're like me and wait till the last minute to do gifts, this one is great - it's easy, fast, and will get used this summer!







Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Countdown to the Most Magical Place!

This past weekend my family and I went on a mini vacation to see some family in Jacksonville, Florida.  We travel I-10 to get there. At one point there is the turn off to get on I-75, which is the way to Disney World.  Our home away form home.

We go to Disney because I have to my children love it and it's a great family vacation.  There is nothing like seeing your kids' faces light up when they set their eyes on Belle or Buzz.  Also we are fortunate to only be 6 hrs. away from the place!  And believe or not, you can do Disney on a budget...remember I'm cheap. 

I have Our family has been having some major Disney withdrawals and we are planning a trip in October...which seems like an eternity away!  So it was the hardest thing to not yank that steering wheel to the right and head south like sailors to the sirens.  Instead we headed to Jacksonville and had a great time...by the way we went to St. Augustine...that place is AWESOME!  We'll definitely head back there unless my car goes on auto pilot and heads south...

To prep for our trip in October and to give as a gift, I designed this Countdown to Disney subway art and it's here for you to download!






Wednesday, May 23, 2012

One Smart Cookie!

Here's another idea for a classmate gift!  Tired of the school gifts?!?  It's a love/hate realtionship for me - I love designing them...but since I'm a procastinator, I end up hating them...

On another blog I saw how they used CD paper holders to put cookies in and give that as a gift and I LOVED it!  In fact I've used it for Christmas gifts, birthday favors and now end of year gifts.  It's cheap and easy wrapping - and the fun part is you can make cute labels to go on the front to match whatever the theme may be.  In this case, it's for Elaina's "smart cookie" classmates.  I don't have a great chocolate chip cookie recipe to go with this...I'll admit it - I go to Sam's, buy the big tub of chocolate chip cookie dough, and follow the directions.  My cookies always come out to thin or don't spread - yes, I know how to fix it, but I don't want to when it's so easy to scoop out of a tub.  Besides when you're hiding in the fridge, spoon in hand, making sure no one (including the hubby) is around, and you scoop that little bite of cookie dough heaven on demand...well nothing beats that...don't judge.

So no great recipe here, but my mother-in-law and sisters-in-laws can make some mean cookies...maybe they can share in the cookie recipe love.

Here are the labels (one has purple writing and one has yellow)





Here's the final product!




I used a 3.5" scallop circle (from my Cricut, but they have punches that do 3.5"- if you don't want to spend the money on a punch, cut a 3.5" square!) behind the 2" circle.  I punched holes on either side and wrapped it with bakers twine...the cookie will come later...if I haven't eaten all the dough by then...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Poppin' and Rockin' Summer

So it's that time of the year again - end of year parties, teacher gifts, and classmate gifts...I only have 2 kids to do this with - I don't want to even think about next year with all 3!

Evie's class is doing a movie party and we are bringing the best caramel popcorn ever! After Evie and I tried to come up with something to do, I quickly decided her ideas were slightly out of my budget and I thought that the popcorn was going to have to work would make a great gift for the students!  As I was thinking of a saying for the tags, "poppin' and rockin'" kept coming to my mind, but the popcorn only covered the poppin' - but Pop Rocks would cover both!  I know that it doesn't really coordinate - popcorn and Pop Rocks - but kids don't care and it's the only thing I could come up with!

Here's what I came up with...





And here's the final product!


What you'll need:

lunch sacks
glue sticks
Poppin' & Rockin' tags (download here)
circle punch from cute paper, mine was white on one side so Evie could sign it (I used a 2" punch)

Glue just the 2 sides and bottom 1/2" edges down to the lunch saks.  This will make the oh so cute pocket for the Pop Rocks to fit into.
Have your child write "From:" on the round punch outs and attach with ribbon or twine


Here's the recipe for the best caramel popcorn ever
If you don't like caramel popcorn, then use regular popcorn - but not liking caramel popcorn is almost as bad as not liking chocolate - I said almost...not liking chocolate is a sin.


CARAMEL POPCORN
from allrecipes.com

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 quarts popped popcorn

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place popcorn in a very large bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
  3. Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.               



Saturday, May 19, 2012

GET YOUR SUMMER ON

Believe it or not, I love having my kids home for summer...most of the time.  I know that sounds kind of loony, but I look forward to not having to sit in carpool 4 times a day!  We can hop over to Nana's house and go swimming, jump on the trampoline for about 2 minutes before we all die of a heat stroke (Alabama heat is no joke!), sleep in all the time on occasion, and go to the beach!

I get to spend time with the 3 most awesome little people I know.  I also get to go grocery shopping with those same little people...I said I love having them home MOST of the time.  So yes, summer is almost here and then the next school year will start and Evie will start 2nd grade at a new school, my Elaina will start kindergarten, and Landon will start preschool...I'll have 2 mornings a week with no kids...what am I going to do with all that time??? probably clean...

So before I send all my kiddies to school/preschool, we are going to have an incredible summer, even if I pull all my hair out after the grocery shopping trips.




Evie's teacher asked me to make the invitation for their year end faculty party, so I did that and I created a "keep calm" poster also (she should have known I wouldn't have stopped at just the invitation...)










Friday, May 18, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Breakfast

Who says it has to be "teacher appreciation week" to give teachers an appreciation breakfast?!?  Not me, because that's what happens when you don't know it's teacher appreciation week the week of teacher appreciation week...I'm kind of tired of writing "teacher appreciation week"...it's beginning to not look like words anymore...you know what I mean?!? moving on...

Several mothers from my daughter's class and I got together, dished out what needed to be done and did it.  They asked me to decorate...I don't know if they knew what kind of monster they were unleashing, but it was too late, they already had asked.  We did homemade cinnamon rolls (more on that to come later - they were fabulous!), fresh fruit, Keurig (I don't drink coffee, but I'm told this is the best!) coffee, juices, and milk. We wanted to make sure the teachers could get their food and "run" off to class (they wouldn't run because you get in trouble for that kind of stuff in school, not that I ever did that), so we made sure everything was carriable (I don't care if spellcheck said that word was wrong, I like it better then portable).  The fruit was whole, we had lids for their coffee cups, and I put the cinnamon rolls in bakery bags.  And because I'm me and I can't leave well enough alone, I made tags to go on the bakery bags...remember I have a problem...

I have the tags and a print I designed (for an 8x10 frame) down below for you to use, if you want to do something for the teacher in your life. I think the teachers really enjoyed having breakfast done for them and they deserved it!  The teachers that Evie has had in that school have been INCREDIBLE (notice I used all caps, they are that INCREDIBLE!).  I wish I could do more and be at the school more for them,
but that would require me bringing my 2 year old monster little boy...after I did they would demand kindly ask for me to not bring that hurricane back to the school.





Sorry the pictures are not great, I didn't have my camera...


Click here to download the wrappers (the wrappers are 6x4, after folding 6x2)



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When you are feeling ambitious in the morning...make pancakes!


Confession- I’m lazy overwhelmed in the morning and my idea of a good breakfast for my kids is a bowl of cereal.   

Usually my kids are ok great with that, but lately they have been requesting pancakes (daddy spoils them on Sat. morning).   So trying to be a good mommy, I have made them on occasion – not the made from scratch kind, but the add eggs, milk and oil kind (not all of us can be perfect, especially in the morning!)  As I was surfing on Pinterest, one day I came across a “make our own mix” pin…so I pinned and did some research on different homemade pancake mixes.  After considering how much I spend on pancake mix (that stuff is not cheap) bad the ingredients are for my kids (always my number one…hahaha…I couldn’t keep a straight face with that one…while it’s definitely on my list, I’m the first one to admit Reese’s cereal is their favorite cereal – it has vitamins in it), I decided to give it a try and see how it worked out…the results: it’s great!  Easy to make (very important), no junk (just what I put in there), and CHEAP (score!) 

Below is the recipe I came up with...
-want to make it a little healthier?  grind up some flax seeds and add that to your batch (not the whole mix, flax seeds start to lose some nutrients once they are grounded up)
-want blueberry pancakes?  throw some of those in the batter
-want something not healthy but really good?  throw in a mashed banana, chocolate chips, and pecans and then another handful of chocolate chips for good measure


Pancake Mix

5 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. powdered milk
1 c. buttermilk powder (if you don't or want to use this, you can use all regular milk)
1 c. sugar
3 TB. baking powder
1 1/2 TB baking soda
2 1/2 ts. salt

Sift and mix all the ingredients together, then store in an airtight container


To Make Pancakes

2 c. mix
1 1/2 c. water
1 egg
2 TB. canola oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

I used a 1/3 c. to pour the pancakes on the griddle and I got about 10 pancakes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

lemonade stand...drink stand, whatever you want it to be

For my daughter's 5th birthday we did a pink lemonade party, inspired by "Pinkalious".  So of course, we had to have a lemonade stand!  I told my hubby for several months that he needed to get to work on one (I work on parties for at least 6 months - obsessive, maybe...it comes with the whole projectitisis thing), thinking it would take him a little while to get it done.   Boy was I wrong!  (that was really hard to admit I'll admit when I'm wrong) He whipped it together in a couple of hours - he's amazing with those power tools!  I also don't have step by step pictures, due to the fact that when I got there, he was done (I really underestimated him on this - which works more in my favor than his...I now know he really can do projects fast and fast projects = more projects!!!)



He also came up with an awesome idea - paint the top with chalkboard paint so that it can be whatever you want it to be (I think he really did this, because he knew that I'm using this at brother's wedding reception and he didn't want to make another sign...but it works for me!)  He also made it where the sign and post can come out for moving it around...he's so smart! 

Here are some others pics of the party!  I'm going to show how to make the chalkboard frame & banners in a later post.  And how sad is it that I don't have a picture of just the birthday girl and her table...all that planning and I forgot to assign "photographer" to someone...I'm going to have to start to plan a year in advance now...




This is the subway art I made for the lunch table and it's here for you to download!



Monday, May 14, 2012

For the nanas and mimis in your life!

This post is late due to these were gifts to the most important women in my life...so this can be something for next year or a birthday or just because I love you gift...don't you love "just because I love you gifts"...so technically my hubby loves me everyday, right? So should I get one everyday, right?!?  Food for thought ladies, food for thought...

I love subway art...it's taking over in some of my rooms and I wanted to give it as a mother's day gift.  I found some great ones but they weren't specific enough for me.  My munchkins call their grandmothers "Mimi" and "Nana".  I found an absolutely adorable grandmother subway art printable from eighteen25, but again the whole "grandma" thing threw it off, so I made my own inspired by theirs.  I did it in grays and black because I wanted the flowers (or whatever embellishments) to really pop.  The paper flowers and gem stickers came from WallyWorld for $1.00 per pack.
cheap frugal & cute = happy me!

I also wanted the package to be wrapped cute, so at 10:00 at night I went to get my brown kraft paper, butcher's twine (LOVE that stuff), quote from this post, and mini clothspins. I open my scary closet and low and behold, the brown kraft paper was gone and all I had was Christmas wrapping paper.  So Christmas wrapping paper it was...in reverse. That's right...use the white side and they won't even know, well until they open it and who cares at that point, right?!?














Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Visiting Teaching Idea

Confession - I'm not a good visiting teacher...but I'm working on it. 
This month I knew that it had to do it and I had to do it before Mother's Day.  I also knew that because of genetics and the problem that I have with projects, I would be on the computer designing something for my sisters.  After some research, I found this amazing quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland that pretty much is perfect.  I love his talks!

I also wanted to make some pinwheels, but my Cricut is put up in the horribly messy craft cabinet (that is my next "organizational" project - a picture of the scary beast is coming...) and I was to lazy to get it out wanted to make them by hand.  I took pictures of how to do that and I'll share those soon.  Here's how it came out!  And of course, there's the download of the quote - it's for a 8x10.  (I made it smaller for the gifts and it did cut some off of the sides)


 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Absolute Sweetness!

This week started me visiting the hospital and ended with me visiting the hospital.  My mom had kidney stones (uggg!  I hope they are not hereditary-she was absolutely miserable, well until they gave her drugs, then she was "floating"...) that had to be blasted.  Then to end my week, my sis-in-law gave birth to my absolutely beautiful little niece, Isabella. 

As I walked down the hall to go visit them, the smell of baby - not the "where's your mommy, so she can change you" kind, but the sweet, clean, baby magic kind of smell - hit me and I thought "Oh, no!  Please don't start to want another baby!"  So I waited to see if the urge would come, thank goodness it stayed away...until I met little Isabella.  Well, it almost came.  But if there was a baby around who could change my mind, it would be her.  I'm already ready to go back and hold that absolutely sweet bundle of joy!

There's something for you to download!  Since I made the Teacher Candy Bucket (that post is here), I knew I wanted to come up with one for a gift to take to the hospital.  I figure most mothers (with the exception of me) want to eat healthy when they get home, but the hospital is fair game.  It's kind of like the "I'm on vacation and I'll eat what I want" excuse rule. 

I designed it for a 5x7 and there are 2 designs, one for a boy and one for a girl.  I attached it on the front of a gift bag and filled that thing up with candy!





By the way...my mom is back to normal now! And not "floating" anymore...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Shout out to all the teachers!!!!

Confession - I dropped the ball on this one.  I had no idea that it was teacher appreciation week, until my sis-in-law informed me on Tuesday afternoon (she didn't know either...how it slipped by me with all the stuff on Pinterest is beyond me...).
I felt like such a loser.  Teaching is one of those jobs, like nursing, they do all the work and don't get all of the recognition.  I'm so grateful for the teachers that have been in my life.  I'll never forget my ninth grade English teacher jumping around the class playing both roles of Mercutio and Benvoilio fighting to the end.  My love of reading really started around then and is to this day my stress relief.   While we should always remember our teachers during the whole year, I knew I had to quickly make up for the ignorant lapse I had.  So I texted Evie's teacher to apologize and got on pinterest...

To say there is a shortage of ideas on Pinterest, would be to say I won't paint my kitchen ever again.  A ton couple of ideas jumped at me, one of which was this cute candy bucket.   So as soon as my other half returned home, I was off to WallyMart, then to 2 gas stations...why Wally doesn't have Skor bars and Pop Rocks is baffling.

I loved the bucket and the words of the poem, but I wanted a different look for the poem.  So I redesigned it and turned it into subway art...yes the ever so popular subway art.   I have also made it for you to download!  It's designed for a 5x7 size.  The heart is off center, so your child can sign their name on it.  The OCD in me had a hard time letting that be! Here's the bucket I put together and the download link is below that!


Thanks to all the teachers in my life and for the ones helping my kids through their journey.
You are appreciated!









Confessions...

Being a mommy is tough...being a mommy who has hundreds lots of projects going on is insanity.  Everyone who knows and does this is nodding their head right now...I have 3 wonderful children, an absolutely amazing husband (who is handy with power tools and stays busy on "our" projects), and a slight case of projectaholism (it's a serious condition...ask my husband).
 
My husband and I built our home 11 years ago, in our first year of marriage. Some would say that is a sure recipe for a disastrous first year of marriage, but the truth is I was a young wife who just wanted a house and didn't voice my opinion on many things (not that it would have mattered...budgets have to ruin all the fun!).  As the years have gone, my opinion has grown (budget, not so much...).  It has started to become a monster problem that has to be controlled...in a frugal (cheap sounds so...well, cheap) way.  We thought we would sell this house and build a new one. One that had all the wonderful things I dream about...nooks that I can read in, a wrap around porch with hammocks and rocking chairs, a craft room, a bigger kitchen, a bathroom that would make you want to lock yourself in it all day long...mmm...ok, back on track here.  But the more we thought about it, our budget and finally, our memories, wouldn't allow us to leave. All of our children have been born (well not physically born, but you know what i mean) in this house. I want them to bring their children here and say "this is my childhood home". Silly maybe, but that's how we feel.

Since we decided to stay, things had to change. I'm a stay at home mom and my home is my office, so I need it to function and be what I need (and want...you can add a wrap around porch to any house, right?!?) it to be.  I want need organization (how many times has that been your New Year's resolution?!?), cleanliness (and not just - throw it in a closet or under the bed kind of clean), to be self sufficient (the dreaded words "food storage" keep popping up in my head), and a homey home ( homey home noun. - all who enter my house feel at home).


This blog is about that...my confessions.  It's good to purge the soul.