Tuesday, August 31, 2010

buttton, button...who has the button?

It's no secret that I love buttons!  I wish I could tell you that I have an amazing button collection, but I can't.  I am always looking for great buttons at fabric stores and it's just not happening.  Thanks to the Internet I am able to browse countless buttons without dragging the kids to a store where they are not allowed to touch anything.  Which, to be honest, is impossible and gives me a migraine.  Even just thinking about it makes me want to lay down.

I am happy to say I found a great online button shop.   As Cute as a Button has some beautiful pieces that I hope to add to my teensy collection someday.  If anybody out there knows of a great button shop, please let me know because  I am definitely open to suggestions!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A day to remember

A couple of days ago, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Normandy, and more specifically, Omaha beach. Truly, I never thought I would stand on the shore that was once a bloody battlefield not so many years ago. The scene was mostly reverent. There were a few children playing along the shore. The tide was low, though not quite as low as it was on DDay. Omaha beach was huge. We sadly only had a few minutes to stand there before we had to leave, but I must say that it was completely surreal.

Prior to Omaha beach, we stopped at Gold beach where we saw a WWII DDay veteran. He was treated like a veritable movie star and rightly so. His name was Stanley Hodge, age 85. He was dressed in his full, decorated, British suit. It literally brought tears to my eyes.

We stopped at Pointe Du Hoc (the cliffs between Utah and Omaha beaches that were heavily bombed by the US prior to DDAY). Huge, HUGE poc marks covered the land. I climbed down into one and was completely hidden (except from Megan who took a picture of me ;) ). As we climbed through the German bunkers, I tried hard to imagine what it must have felt like to be a solider of war, fearing for my life. It was crowded, and there were many children there. They ran carefree over the crater filled land. All because brave men were willing to stand in harms way to protect freedom.

We also visited the American and German cemetaries, each standing in complete contrast with each other. The American cemetary, very reminicent of Arlington cemetary, was very reverent and peaceful. Each grave was marked with a very triumphant looking white marble cross. Heroic monuments, an unknown soldier wall, a reflecting pool and a view of the ocean added to the increible feeling of awe. The German cemetary on the other hand had a very dark feel. Soliders were buried two to a plot. The headstone is a simple greyish brown rock. Clusters of five crosses, made of the same dull material, are interspersed throughout the grass. A large mound in the center, topped with a shapeless mother and father figure (again, same dark stone), solemnly overlook the dead bodies. They wait, watch and mourn for the unknown soliders. Certainly less fanfare for these men and women. I couldn't help but feel a little bad for them. For many of them, it was just a case of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were just fighting for their country; doing as they were told. Though many were very evil at heart, I am certain there were others who were good and just fighting out of circumstance.

It was no doubt one of the most intersteting days of my life. A day I never thought I would experience. More than ever, it was a day that increased my gratitude for my freedom, and for those incredibly brave men who risked their lives to preserve it. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Like Pulling Teeth

I don't know of a single individual who wants to be the poor soul sitting in this seat!  I hate the dentist.  I shouldn't say "the dentist", but I hate going to the dentist. 

 Today was not the best of days in my household.  Two of my children had to have some work done today, but my five year old had to have MAJOR work.  When the kid comes out of the room with drenched clothes and you find out it's actually sweat, you know you're in for it.  What's even worse is the fact that when my kids come out of anesthesia, or anything similar, they turn into MONSTERS!  No joke.  This isn't the first time I've experienced anesthesia meanness.  When my oldest came out of it after his tonsillectomy, I thought he was going to, literally, rip my head off.  I was hoping it was just him, but no sirree.  It must run in the family.  It's not from me, that's all I'm saying.

So it's quiet time for now and I will continue to try to make the two of them happy...even though it's pretty much impossible.  Wish me luck!  I'm just glad it's over and I will leave you with one tip:  Floss!  Trust me!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Coach's Oats

I love oatmeal!  I especially love oatmeal with a bit of brown sugar and slices of banana added to the top.  If you've never experienced this, do it!  When it comes to oatmeal, steel cut is the way to go, but there's one drawback...It takes about 30 minutes to cook steel cut oats.  Bummer.  Now comes Coach's Oats!  I found this oatmeal at Costco and was smitten when I tried the sample.  These are oat groats that are toasted and then broken into pieces, thus creating a steel cut flavor and texture with a cooking time of no more than 5 minutes.  This is the best news ever!  This is, by far, my favorite instant oatmeal.  Thank you Costco.

I just have one bone to pick with Costco.  They also carried the Coach's Multi-grain pancake mix and it was even more impressive than the oatmeal.  These pancakes were the perfect flavor.  The reason I say "were" is because Costco no longer carries them.  Why do you do this to me Costco?  You may go to Coach's website, which is very informative, but the pancake mix must be very special.  You must call the company if you have inquiries about the pancake mix.  I never thought I'd ever have to call a company about pancake mix in my lifetime.  So, I tried to recreate this pancake tonight using 4 different grains, but the results were not up to par.  Not bad, but not great either.  Does anyone out there have a great multi-grain pancake recipe?  If so, please do share!

*Please note:  Heidi is on an amazing vacation to Europe for the next 2 weeks so, more than likely, she will have some interesting, fun blogs when she gets home.  Can't wait!  'Til then, you're stuck with me blogging about oatmeal!  I sure hope she's having fun!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eeby Geeby's

What is this, you may ask!  This, my dear readers, is my new BEST friend!  I don't know why this is my best friend because every time I use it, it presents me with some REALLY bad news!  This has been my companion for the past two nights when I go hunting.  What am I hunting?  Scorpions!  Hate them...SO MUCH!  And this is why I want out of Arizona.

When my husband went out to the garage three nights ago and came back in with a look of terror on his face, I knew my personal nightmare had just come true...again!  Scorpion!  Only one foot away from the light switch.  Now that this has come about, I cannot stop thinking about these uninvited visitors.  Lucky for me my good friend, Shannon, from Shannon Makes Stuff, allowed me to borrow her Scorpion Master, which she bought from Lowes.

Some say they would rather not know what was lurking in the backyard.  Not I!  I will not stop until I've demolished them from my side of the fence.  I'm usually very afraid of the dark.  Walking around in my backyard in the dark is even worse.  (We once had our car stolen from our driveway, but that's a whole different story!)  I'm willing to put my fears aside and stop playing defense.  I am now on the offense!  Persistence is one of my strengths!  I guess I better go buy my own flashlight. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

squeaky clean!

There is no better feeling than having a really clean home, in my opinion.  The problem... actually getting it that way.  Keeping a clean home has been quite an obstacle for me in the past.  BUT, I am creating a new me!  Since the children have returned back to school, I have become a bit obsessed with cleaning.   It's been very rewarding in more ways than one.  #1-I have a really clean house.  #2-cleaning for 3 hours straight is a great workout!  Especially when you have to mop 1000 square feet in an 80 degree house.  That can really work up a sweat!  Try it.

Anyway, when free time actually came around today I found this cool website on O Happy Day.  It's called Alice Supply Company and it's great!  Wouldn't you be much more likely to sweep if you could hold this retro broom in your hardworking hands?  I think I would...maybe?  I think their products are awesome, especially the plunger, but is it too cute to use?  I might actually leave it out if I could keep my little girl from playing with it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pea Pod Pendant Necklace Tutorial

How darling is this little pea pod pendant necklace? I love it! Go check out the tutorial over at Just Something I Made.

I love the green on green.

Friday, August 13, 2010

S'Mores on a Stick

Yesterday I hosted a little play group at my house. My boys LOVE having friends over, so they were excited about all the action. Plus, one of their favorite cousins came over to play -- Jake! It was a good day.

For an easy and quick activity, we made S'Mores on a Stick (perhaps to the chagrin of the other moms.)

I just zipped over to the grocery store and grabbed skewers (which I cut in half), some chocolate chips, marshmallows, fruit loops, graham crackers and sprinkles. I crushed the fruit loops and crackers, and placed them on the table with the sprinkles. I melted the chocolate in the microwave, and we were ready to go! The kids simply put a mallow on a stick, dipped it in chocolate, then the topping(s) of their choice, then voila! Finished! My kids ate about 10. So did I. Ooops.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Play Time

While visiting Purl Bee today, I fell in love with this hand-quilted play mat.  I love the subtlety of the gray with the pop of color.  I'm really contemplating making one.  Why don't you make one with me?!  There is a great tutorial for the Cheerful Quilted Play mat here!  I love the hand-quilting around the flowers, but, most of all, I love the random stitching around the dots. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Organize books

We love picture books at our house. We purchase them for our children on each birthday, holiday, etc. A few years ago, we reached the point where there were too many books and no organization. While shopping one day, I came across a clearance sweater organizer, and realized that it would be the perfect solution for our book problem. It has worked out really well.

It holds a LOT of books.
It's hidden away in the closet.
It doesn't take up much space.
Accessible for the kids!

Hopefully this idea can help you get more organized too!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pretty things and a tutorial

Okay fellow bloggers. I have been working hard on a tutorial all week for you, but I am still not satisfied with the final product. I have literally forced myself to put it on the back burner for a little while. In the meantime I wanted to point you in the direction of an INCREDIBLY AWESOME tutorial. Shannon, over at Shannon Makes Stuff (did you know that Lynsee and I actually KNOW this amazing gal?) teaches us once and for all how to fix those annoying shirts that dip too low. I have so, so, so many tops that I am either forced to layer or constantly adjust. It's so frustrating. After a few simple steps, your shirt will be transformed into something that doesn't need to be fussed with. Thank you, Shannon!

Also, we wanted to give you a sneak peak at a new product line we will soon be launching in our shop. We are so excited to share it with you! Expect to see some fun new things in September.

Side note: I LOVE photographs edited using the lomo effect. Since I just got Photoshop Elements (YES!), I played around with this effect this afternoon. The before picture is below!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Silky Smooth

As a hairstylist, this is, by a long shot, my favorite tool...my best friend!  The ghd flat iron is absolutely amazing!  My sister-in-law, who has naturally curly hair, recently visited and tried out my ghd.  To say she was impressed would be an understatement.  To be honest, it is a bit pricey, but well worth the money.  This is a tool that gets used almost everyday and will last years.  It really makes my life easier.  That sounds ridiculous, but true.  This will flatten curly, frizzy hair to a silky smooth masterpiece.

I am not new to flat irons.  I have used the, so-called, "great" flat irons and this one is, by far, the best.  Not only does it perform great, but it comes with a zip up, heat resistant bag.  It's a pain in the neck taking your flat iron on the road and having to wait for it to cool in order to pack it up.  With this bag...no need to wait.  Just zip it up and pack it away.  So clever!  The ghd also comes with a hard case for even more protection.  Go to their website and check them out.   What are some of your favorite hair products or tools?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The PEN Story

Love everything about this video -- the music, the concept, etc.

I spent the night and morning working on a project I was hoping to share with you. I have encountered some pitfalls. I am taking a break from it but hope to finish it soon! (Hint: it involves lots of chiffon!)

Monday, August 2, 2010

German Chocolate Cheesecake

I discovered this recipe when my husband could not make a decision on what cake he wanted for his birthday.  He couldn't decide between German Chocolate Cake or cheesecake.  Really, who could?  That is why I went to my trusted search engine to see if the two coexisted somewhere.  And...they sure did!  This has now become a family favorite.  What's even better...this cake tastes better leftover.  My personal opinion, the longer this treat sits in the refrigerator, the better.  The recipe says to refrigerate before serving because that is how I like it.  You don't HAVE to refrigerate before serving, but I HIGHLY recommend it!  You must, must try this recipe and let me know how you like it!  Enjoy!

German Chocolate Cheesecake
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) German Chocolate cake mix
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, cubed
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups flaked coconut
1-1/2 cup chopped pecans


Prepare cake batter according to package directions; set aside. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour half of the cake batter into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Gently pour cream cheese mixture over batter. Gently spoon remaining batter over top; spread to edge of pan. Bake at 325° for 70-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. For frosting, in a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, butter and egg yolks Cook and stir over medium-low heat until thickened (about 10 min) This should be thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla; fold in coconut and pecans. Cool until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cooled cake. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Yield: 16 servings.