Thursday, July 5, 2012

$2 Picture Magnet Gifts - AWESOME

My husband and I were talking yesterday about how we are going to try to make this Christmas an exclusive hand-made gift Christmas.  ((TRY)) So I got an idea inspired by some snowmen magnets I saw on Pinterest one time and couldn't wait to give it a try.  Check it out!

Pictures (I did the instant print kiosk and made them smaller by printing four photos in one frame - cheaper too!)
Clear accent stones (Dollar Tree!)
Magnet tape ($1 from Michaels)

Lay the stone over the photo to get the area you want just right.  Use a marker to outline the cutting area and cut it out on the inside of the circle.
Line the outside edges of the stone with the glue and affix the photo onto the stone.  Cut off a piece of the magnet strip and stick it on the back of the photo.
It was that east!!!  In afterthought, I glued the stone directly to the whole photo and then cut off the excess, it made it a little bit easier.

The end results.  Super cool, easy, and totally unique magnets that grandparents will love and cherish forever =)

Friday, June 29, 2012

What a busy couple of weeks!

These past couple of weeks have kept me so busy that I don't have time to sit still and think.  About anything!  I guess that's a good thing since Patrick is gone most of the days and nights at his career course, but there are some days I wonder how long I can keep it up!
We've got swim lessons starting soon, the summer reading program, library visits, free bowling all summer long, MOPS meetings, play dates, LINKS workshops, and as if that weren't enough I started taking a few online classes.  What the heck was I thinking?!  On the bright side we have an abundance of books, the kids are happy, and I'm getting smarter by the minute (ha!)

I finally broke down and got a babysitter for the girls a couple of afternoons this week.  The first time I just went to the pool with a friend and relaxed, swam some laps, soaked up (a little too much) sun, and tried to forget about how hot it was outside.  The next time I totally splurged and got a mani and a facial.  Go me!  But the awesome gal who watches the girls for me is going home for three weeks (waaaahhhh!) so I'm debating on finding someone to fill in during her absence or just suck it up.  What to do?! 

I have actually been keeping myself so busy with on the go things that I haven't had time for much craftiness lately, but not to fear - I feel that I'm going to be making something cute for 4th of July real soon, say stay tuned!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Diaper Cake = too easy

I'm hosting a baby shower and had no idea what to get the third-time-around mama to be, except for consumable goods, so diapers it is!  But how boring is that?  So I've never made a diaper cake before, I didn't get online to look for directions, I just figured it couldn't be that hard, so I went for it.

Easiest instructions EVER are right here:

1.  Take all diapers out of package, roll them up, and secure with a rubber band.

2.  Locate something round to use as a base.  I used an empty oatmeal container.  You could use just about anything recyclable, or this is an opportunity to stash away extra gifts (such as shampoos, baby formula, etc.)  I put a large rubber band around the bottom part of the container and then started tucking diapers under the band all the way around.  Then I did the same on the top part.  I wanted something tall enough so that the bottom two layers were attached and the diaper cake didn't fall apart.
3.  Add another large rubber band around the bottom layer of diapers, and start adding diapers to make it a thicker layer.  Once you have the bottom two layers, you can just wrap up four or five diapers for the top layer, or what I did was use my shampoo here and did the same thing I did with the oatmeal container - throw a rubber band around it and add diapers for a single layer.
(Yes, that's Vin Diesel in the background there)

4.  Add ribbon to cover up all of your rubber band goodness, and you're all set!  Easy as 1, 2, 3.  And 4!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Boule Bread - Super simple first attempt

I love bread.  A little too much I think.  So I decided to take a stab at my first boule, looking for something super simple of course!  It turned out great!!  A little too great, as the recipe made two medium loaves and we are down to only one (less than an hour out of the oven that is).  So here you go, it really is simple, give it a try!

1 T salt
1 T sugar
2 1/2 t yeast (I used the kind for bread machines)
1 1/2 cups water, between 100-115 degrees (temperature really does matter so the yeast will activate properly)
4 cups all purpose flour
butter to brush on top after baking

Mix salt, sugar, yeast, and water and let stand for about 5 minutes.  You will see it be a little foamy on top, something like the head of a beer.  THIS IS GOOD!  If there is no foam your yeast is no good, so discard and try again, making sure water is right temp.

I threw the flour in my kitchenaid mixer with a dough hook attached, turned it on "stir" speed, and poured the yeast water in slowly.  If you don't have a mixer you'll get some good arm muscles kneading all of this by hand, but it is SO worth it!  Leave it on the mixer on stir speed for about 5 minutes, or for those of you hand kneading go about the same amount of time, just push past the forearm soreness =)

Place in a bowl and cover with a clean towel for about 45 minutes, until dough appears to have doubled.  Punch down and let rise again, I let the second time be about 30 minutes.  I can be impatient sometimes.

Preheat over to 400.  Split dough in half and on a floured surface, one at a time, shape dough into a nice round dome shape.  Cover with oiled plastic wrap for five minutes.  Grease two round cake pans (or casserole dishes, pretty much anything round will do) and place dough forms inside each dish.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden.  You know it's ready when you take it out and tap on the crust and it makes a hollow sound.

Rub butter on the top of each boule and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before taking them out of their pans.  Then enjoy!!!  My youngest daughter certainly loved them, and she's only 10 months old, so she can't lie.  Yet...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Family Vacation!!!

Aaaah, the feeling of getting back home to your own bed and pillow can never be under-estimated, but nothing else compares to spending time with some much loved family.  It's hard to visit all of our family whenever we want, especially being in the corps and always moving, but it makes it even harder when some of that family is military as well, so we have two very crazy lives that have to sync up for a few moments of togetherness.

Did I mention that El Paso (unlike 29 Palms) has civilization... like we got to go to a Super WalMart and the outlets, a bagel shop, the zoo.... all of this no more than 15 minutes from their doorstep.  Can you tell I'm jealous?

We let Patrick push all four of us girls in the big buggy =)

And my sweet niece A making a friend of a sea lion at the zoo

 All of that stuff was great, but the best part was going to White Sands, NM.  It was absolutely gorgeous - white sand dunes as far as your eye could see (which wasn't very far while in the extreme winds that were whipping us around out there as well).  I realized I was way too out of shape to be running up the side of these enormous dunes with a sled in my hand (workouts start tonight BTW) but it was awesome to look at and crawl around in. 

It was sad to go, but all great things must come to an end.  We got to spend a week with my awesome brother-in-law and the family.  And Shannon and I got to drool over Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in a Fast and Furious flashback.  It was great to have some quality girl time with her, she rocks!

Speaking of my rocking SIL, did I mention the swag???  If you don't have a scentsy rep already I highly recommend her, it comes with perks!  So the real reason I visit her is to clean out her storage closet...

My house will be smelling great for a long time!!  Go check her out at to get your house smelling amazing too!

Well, here we are, back home, about to cook dinner and just letting the kids run around the house doing whatever they want.  It was a long drive yesterday and they've earned it, just like us adults earned fajitas and a Fat Tire.

Looking forward to our next escape from the high desert...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I'm Back!

Good morning America!  I know, I know, it has been nine months (as my SIL Shannon informed me) since I have blogged, but let me just say:

1.  I had a baby
2.  My husband deployed
3.  I drove with brand new baby and 4 year old and 2 german shepherds and stepmother while towing a trailer from California to Virginia
4.  I had a super colicky baby the entire time I was there
5.  I kept up my college classes during all of this
6.  Repeat step 3, but in reverse, and throw in a break-down followed by sitting on the side of the interstate for 3 hours waiting on a tow, then having to spend at extra $2,000 for a big UHaul truck to continue the journey
7.  Settling into our new home on base, unpacking (I'd still be living in boxes if not for my Vianne), making friends, losing friends, making new friends, and still waking up at all hours of the night
8.  Patrick came home from deployment!!!!!!!
9.  Crap, now I have to buy more groceries and do more laundry than ever
10.  On vacation at my SIL's house =)

So, I promise I will get better about this, and give it another whirl.  After all, it looks like I am going to be in California for another two years so I have to find some way to keep in touch with my beloved East Coast (and keep my sanity in the 110 degree summers when I refuse to "play" outside).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Patrick's Big 31!!!

So yesterday the husband turned 31!  He said it didn’t really feel any different than 30.  I still think he woke up just as cute as he did he day before, so I don’t see what the big deal is =)  

(This coming from the one who will be turning 30 in 3 more months.  It’s all about attitude…I love looking at people in magazines and saying to myself “Wow, she’s 26, I am waaay younger looking that her” LOL)
I knew there was no way I could top last year’s concert in the back yard.  Awesome band ( set up in the back yard, about 40 people, four wheelers, kegs, tons of food, bonfire, beer pong, flip cup, kids games, and riding through the corn field was a little over the top.  We would be soooo arrested in this neighborhood for doing just one of those above mentioned items…so what in the heck was  I going to do?!  Doctor put a big “declined” stamp on my original travel plans to San Diego, so we are literally stuck in the desert!
When in doubt, go shopping!!!  There are some awesome outlets down the hill, and in pulling a double duty the place is huge so I figured all of that walking might help the baby along (as in GET OUT).  No suck luck as of yet though…
So we spend about 5 hours shop hopping, and still didn’t hit all of the stores.  He got new shoes, pants, polos, dress shirts, socks, coffee press, external hard drive, and I just know I’m forgetting something.  Of course Just ice got a pair of shoes and I got some jeans to look forward to fitting back into soon =)

So now we are hungry and tired (mostly me hungry, go figure) so we head to Rancho Mirage to PF Changs.  Yummmm!!! We haven’t been to one of those since I was pregnant with Justice, and it was just as good as I remembered.  Even Justice couldn’t stop eating the chicken.  
 Me at 38 weeks
Outside of Changs
Loving her food
We are stuffed!

Of course since there was a Yardhouse next door, we had to stop in there so Patrick could get a beer.  It was quite amusing… I’m blowing up his spot but it took about an hour to down half a yard.  In his defense, we had just stuffed our faces at Chang’s so I guess that plays a factor.  I am under strict direction from Jonathan to “bring my big purse” if we go back so I can smuggle out a glass.  I might need to buy a bigger purse…
Patrick's half yard of beer

Justice is cheering Patrick on to "chug" LOLOL!!! 

All in all it was a lovely day spent with the family, and I couldn’t have asked for better in the present situation.  Happy birthday to my sweetie!!!