Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thrifty Jewelry Christmas Gifts

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.  It's a good long weekend full of family, fun, and good food without all the other stressors that come with so many other holidays.  I love it!  This year we ate with Bill's family and the next day we hung out with my family.

We have a tradition now for the past few years that the girls (actually, nephews have been known to be involved before, too, making stuff for girlfriends) have a big crafting day, either after the food is put away or the next after everyone wakes up from late night/early morning shopping.  My sister, Leslie, and I had been checking out blogs, scouring Pinterest for this year's fun idea.  We never really came up with one big idea, we all kind of did our own things.  So I'm sharing this with you today to give you some fairly quick, all pretty easy, and mostly pretty cheap gift ideas you can whip up for those on your Christmas shopping list.

At my mom's house in the middle of the crafting L to R: my daughter, Cheyenne; sister-in-law, Alana; sister, Kristen; niece, Ashtyn, Mom, nephew, Mitchell, applying to college; sister-in-law, Geri; sister, Leslie; and daughter, Natalie.  Not a great picture, with two big windows it's kind of hard to take good pictures here.

I'll share a little of what we were all working on.  My mom has made great headbands and hats for many of the girls and she was busy finishing flowers and attaching them and stuff.  (I'm giving a headband away when I hit 100!)

Leslie and Ashtyn made this really cute necklace.  Here is the tutorial from Little Miss Momma, she did such a good job with it, why redo a good thing. :)  Here's my tip for this one, just from watching Leslie, the actual assembly of the necklace was fairly quick, but she already had a bajillion circles cut out.  So put on a good show and start cutting first.

Geri, scored a great deal on her Black Friday shopping and got a whole bunch of Swarovski crystal beads and charms for $1 a box.  So she got busy making a bunch of bracelets.  She just strung them on stretchy chord, tied them off with a square knot, and put a little super glue on the knot to hold it tight.  I believe she also made a pair of earrings to match by gluing a charm to some posts she bought.

Kristen (with help from Alana the jewelry making expert!) was busy making a really cute interchangeable necklace.  Come back on Friday and I'll show you how to do it.

I was being very frustrated making a leather wrap bracelets like Want to Get Crafty's here.  My advice - DON'T use sinew for the thread, it's way too sticky, and when you're working with a piece that's around 10-12' (yes feet!) long, it's a pain in the butt!  Then after I finally got it all done, I didn't like it, so that's in the redo pile.  This one was not so quick, but that was mostly because I was trying to figure it out for the first time.  Once I got the idea of how to do it, it went pretty quickly, and if I used waxed thread instead of the sinew it would have been even faster.  I'll redo it and let you know.

  However, I also helped several of my family make this bead necklace.  Again, come back on Friday and I'll show you what I did. (Part 2 here.) 

I hope this gives you some fun ideas for Christmas gifts.  It really is fun and so satisfying to say, "Yah, I made that!"  What is on your Christmas crafting list?

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thrifty, Easy, Name Sign

Ahhhh, what a great weekend!  I love Thanksgiving!  The food is great, but being in the company of family all weekend is the best!  As part of the weekend's fun, my cousin and his wife and brand new baby came up to visit my aunt and uncle who live next door to my parents.  We went over and visited and I got lots of new baby holding time.  It was great!  Here's the gift I made for them, that I think turned out really cute.

Here's my thrifty tip for you - I found the wood at my local thrift store.  Cost me a whole 75 cents!  As I was walking through the store one day, I was laughing at all the plaques and signs that had been really cute decor in someone's house at some time.  I thought of how many signs had come and gone in my house and I had sent here to die, also.  I picked one up, reminiscing at how I had once had something similar when I started really looking at the size and shape, the nicely routered edges, and how easy it would be to just sand a little or slap some new paint on it and it would be a fresh canvas.  Now I had a whole new set of eyes as I looked around, not at what it was, but at what it could be.  I know, I know, some of you are experts at this and easily see the possibilities of someone else's trash, but this was a whole new experience for me.  I grabbed a piece of wood, a little sanding, some wood filler (of the nice wood burning/etching) and it will be perfect for a wedding present I need to make. I found a totally plain piece of wood, just need to sand the super high gloss finish off of it and another wedding present for this weekend.

Then I stumbled across this piece above.  I don't know what it originally was, there was nothing on it, just wood slats.  It needed a little glue to hold one of the slats that was starting to fall off, but a very easy fix.  At the moment, I thought a Halloween or fall decoration, "trick or treat" or some other 3 word phrase.  So I grabbed it, took it home, and it sat waiting for inspiration to strike again.  Halloween came too quickly, and thankfully it never got painted.  Fast forward a month, and I wanted to make a present for this cute new baby boy, who's nursery is NOT babyish I was told.  I remembered this wood slat piece.  My sister Leslie was visiting, so she helped me come up with this cute design all while playing a little "Dance Central 2".  :)  Using my cricut (and my new gypsy!) and the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge, I cut the "L" at 11" height, and the name at 1 1/2" height.  Here's my second thrifty tip for you - when making stencils for painting, etching, or anything like that, use contact paper.  A lot of the tutorials I've read use vinyl, but why use your good, expensive stuff when you can get a giant roll of contact paper for a few dollars.  It cuts like vinyl - I use all the same settings, but it's stickier so seals better with paint or etching cream, meaning cleaner lines.  Oh, another thrifty tip - instead of using transfer paper, I use blue painters tape for transferring vinyl (or contact paper.)  It picks it up easily, can be reused several times, and is much cheaper.  The only downside is you can't see through it.  Anyway, I laid out all the templates and painted them with ivory craft paint.  I just used a sponge brush and "pounced" (real technical term) all over it.  Later, I pulled off all the stencils and started sanding.  I wanted an "old, distressed" look to it.  I sanded through the paint, and then started on the actual wood and I really liked the look it gave.  When I was all done, I gave it a good wipe down with a damp rag to clean it all up. 

The final verdict, I think she really liked it and said my cousin would love it!  Yeah!!  And baby Luke is just adorable, I just wish he lived closer so I could snuggle him more often.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Doctored Cake Mix & Cheyenne's Birthday

As I mentioned in this post, my daughter Cheyenne turned 16 a couple weeks ago.  We had both sets of grandparents over for presents and cake and ice cream.  Since she is now allowed to date, her dad and I gave her a "promise" ring - a promise to us ring, to remember who she is, make wise decisions and to stay pure and clean.  I think she liked it.  However, I don't think that was her favorite present.  Bill's brother, Uncle Thomas, loves to tease Cheyenne.  He loves to give her presents like a John Deer tractor poster or calendar, or a TinkerBell calendar, usually wrapped up with Hannah Montana wrapping paper or Jonas Brothers cards.  This year was no exception, and topped everything he'd ever given her before.  He gave her a tote box and inside this box was all the ingredients (and I mean everything!) to make HIS favorite cookies with instructions that she had until the expiration date on the milk to make them for him.  Little does he know that when he returns from his honeymoon (he just got married this past weekend, yeah!) he'll have a plate of beautiful cookies waiting for him - with a little pepper or some other special ingredient in them. Oh, and Cheyenne's wedding present to him, a beautiful, bright green John Deer tractor poster for their new house. :)

I'm not a big party person, I'm too cheap. :)  My parties here and here are fairly low-key and pretty simple and easy.  Now these two fabulous parties here and here are my sister, Leslie's, awesome creations.  See, she loves to plan a party, me, not so much.  So back to Cheyenne, 16 is one of those big years and we told her she could have a party.  She wasn't sure she wanted to, which friends should she invite, it costs too much, it's too much work for you, mom, and on and on.  I told her 16 is a time to celebrate so quit your whining we're having a party! ;)  Let me tell you though, a 16 year old party is so much easier to plan than a 6 year old party.  I decorated our bonus room a little, bought a bunch of pizza, and left them to have fun watching movies, playing xbox, ping-pong and pool.  They all had a great time, I think, and there was only one small casualty of a broken pool cue (thank goodness it was just the little one.) 

Now if you've stayed with me this long, I'll share my favorite cake recipe.  I made this once for the family party and then again as cupcakes for her friend party.  I'm not a beautiful cake maker.  It takes me too long and I don't have enough patience for it.  I've adopted the motto that it's not what's on the outside, but what's on the inside that matters.  So true in life, and even more so for cake! :)  See above for my fancy decorating, well, actually Natalie did the writing (that's how Cheyenne used to sing "Happy Birthday"), I only frosted.  I'm as busy as the next mom, and sometimes a box cake is just faster.  However, my husband is somewhat of a food snob and can always tell a box cake from a "real" cake, and then complains.  So when my friend, Hilary, shared her "doctored cake mix" recipe, I was all over it.  This is so good and very moist, unless my husband sees the box (which I usually quickly bury in the garbage) he can't tell it's a box mix.

Basic "doctored mix" Recipe
-Hilary Muckleroy

Prepare cake mix as per package directions.  In addition to this add:
1 egg
1 c. flour
250 ml (or 8oz.) sour cream or yogurt
1 c. white sugar
1/3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla or other suited flavoring

Use any flavor cake mix, yogurt, or flavoring.

Bake according to box directions.  If baking a 9x13" pan, it will be more full, so it will take a little extra time.  Or, you can make a 9x13" pan (normal fullness) and 6 cupcakes.  I saved the 6 extra cupcakes in the freezer for later. 

Use your imagination when it comes to flavor combos.  I've done white cake and chocolate cake with strawberry yogurt, both good.  I wonder what white cake with key lime yogurt or boston creme pie would taste like?  Maybe chocolate with butter flavoring?  Chocolate with orange yogurt and orange flavoring?  The possibilities are endless and now I'm getting hungry. :)  What else could I try?  What are your favorite flavor combinations?

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cheyenne's Birthday

My baby just turned 16!!  My sweet little girl is getting all grown up!  Where has the time gone?  Seems like yesterday she was this little.

Now she'll be dating and next month she'll have her driver's license.  Oh, and she's waiting for a phone call to see if she'll have a job through the holidays, too.  I don't think I'm ready for this.  Can I be this old?  Wasn't I just turning 16? (Sigh...)  The fun part of her getting older is we have a lot of fun together.  She's my scrapbooking and jewelry making buddy.  We had so much fun going to basketball games together last year.  She's my fashion consultant.  She's my friend.  I sure love you, Cheyenne!

Before I get too, mushy, I'll share with you the card I made for her.  Here's my philosophy on card making.  I like cards to be quick, easy, and not make people guilty for throwing them away.  :)  I don't want to be the reason for someone's hoarding, someone's overflowing box of cards they can't bear to throw away because someone went to a lot of work making them. lol  So here it is, simple, easy, yet cute.

Step 1: I cut an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of brown cardstock in half the short way.  That leaves you with two card bases sized 4 1/4"x 5 1/2", also known as an A2 size card.  Then I tore the numbered sheet of paper slightly smaller.  I have a few of these embossed paper packs that have different colored cores so when you tear or sand the other color shows through.  Really fun for cards or scrapbooking.

Step 2:  I sanded all the 1s and 6s for 16, ya know. Glued that onto the brown base.

Step 3:  With my cricut I cut the "sweet" from the Graphically Speaking cartridge, and "16" from Doodletype.  Glued those on with my Zig 2 Way Glue - it's like gluing with a ball-point pen, awesome! Finally, grabbed some ribbon and miraculously managed to tie a decent bow on the first try.  Yes, I have a love/hate relationship with bows.  I think I'm a little bow-tying handicapped, they just never come out right.  So when they do turn out right, I'm thrilled!

That's it! Quick and easy.

Come back tomorrow when I share more birthday fun and a fabulous upgrade of a box cake mix!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Pie is a BIG deal in my family and coincidentally, my husbands family, too.  For as long as I can remember, my dad always requested cherry pie for his birthday instead of cake; I think my brothers did, too.  After I got married, I found out Bill loves pie, too.  In fact, when we get together to celebrate any birthday for his dad or any of his uncle's, we always have pie.  To prove how big of a deal pie is at our house, a few years ago we hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house and ended up with 9 pies for 7 adults (and kids, who don't each much pie. :) ) We like our pie!

This was for Bill's birthday, thus the "B" on top. :)
Lucky for me, my mom is an amazing pie maker and passed her talent on to me.  Not to be bragging here, but pie is one thing I excel at, maybe it's all the practice I do now.  One of the highlights of my newly married life was when my FIL raved over my pie (a little to MIL's chagrin) and then the next time we had pie, MIL sprinkled sugar on top and did a few things to try and make her's like mine.  I was secretly ecstatic!  (MIL is a pretty good cook, and I had heard too many times already "Call my mom and see how she does it.")  She has since admitted that I can make a better pie than her and leaves that to me now.

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I already have my pie crusts in the freezer, I thought I'd share a couple recipes with you.  First of all, my mom's Fool Proof Pie Crust.  This recipe is awesome!  I've never had it come out tough, only tender and flaky.

Fool Proof Pie Crust
No matter how much you handle this dough, it will always be flaky, tender and delicious.  Scraps can be re-rolled if necessary and crust will never be tough.  Dough can be left in the refrigerator up to 3 days or can be frozen until ready to use.  Recipe makes 2 double-crust pies.

4 c. flour                      1 c. shortening (not refrigerated; do not use oil,
1 Tbsp. sugar                  lard, margarine or butter
2 tsp. salt                    1 Tbsp. white or cider vinegar
1/2  c. water.                 1 egg

In large bowl, stir together with fork flour, sugar, and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly.  In small bowl; beat together water, vinegar and egg; add to flour mixture and stir until all ingredients are moistened.  Divide dough in 4 portions and with hands, shape each in flat round patty ready for rolling; wrap each patty in plastic or waxed paper and chill at least a 1/2 hour.  When you are ready to use the pie crust, lightly flour both sides of the patty and roll out on lightly floured board or pastry cloths.

The next recipe, Huckleberry Pie Filling, came from my husband's Aunt Janie.  For those of you who don't know what huckleberries are, they're a cousin to the blueberry, but smaller and more tart.  They only grow up in the mountains and are a hot commodity.  Seriously, people around here will go to their death beds without revealing their secret huckleberry spot.  The berries are only in season for a couple of weeks at the end of July, usually, and it's back breaking work to spend hours hunched over a bush picking the little things.  Then you bring them home, freeze them, and treat them like gold, only to be used for the specialist of occasions. :)  Huckleberries pie is a favorite in Bill's family, so I was thrilled when his aunt shared this recipe with me.  This same basic recipe works for about any kind of berries, too.

Huckleberry Pie Filling
2 c. frozen berries                                 ½ c. water
3 Tbsp. tapioca                                     1 c. sugar

In a small pan on low heat, combine berries, tapioca and water.  Add sugar.  Bring to a slow boil.  Mix 2 tbsp. cornstarch and ½ c. water until smooth.  Pour into berry mixture.  Bring to boil and stir until slightly thickened. Let the filling cool a little before pouring into crust. This will keep it from boiling over and making a mess in your oven. Pour into pie crust and bake.

 After baking, let cool before serving.  This lets the pie filling set up so it doesn’t all run out when you cut it.

If you've never baked a pie, try it!  I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about it, too.  I really think the secret is a lot of practice, so don't give up if it doesn't turn out perfect the first time.  Mine still aren't the prettiest every time, but at least they taste good.  

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Disney Cars Birthday Party

If your kids are in love with Mator, McQueen and the rest of the gang, this post is for you.  Leslie is back today with another super fun birthday party, just as all the fun of Cars 2 comes to your house!

My 3-year-old loves cars, trucks, trains, tractors- you name it.  He is the only person I know who gets excited when we hit construction while driving (which seems to be everywhere in Utah County right now)!  To me it's a little truck or a big truck but he corrects me on the specifics: pumper, grader, paver, roller etc.  (I'm sure the fact that we are constantly renewing the Mighty Machines DVDs from the library has encouraged this fascination).

Anyway, he also loves the Disney Cars characters so when he turned three last April, that was the theme of choice. 

I was very inspired by the party featured here on the How Does She website.  I love seeing other blogger's party ideas for inspiration. I thought these cars looked so fun!  So, I went to work.  First, I (and every friend and neighbor I could ask) collected cardboard boxes.  Then, I tried to follow this tutorial but ended up with my own trial and error models.  Last, I got out the paint and my son's car collection and had fun recreating the details.

I'm glad a took a few pictures the day before because party day was rainy and cold and we didn't get to race around for long.  However, the cars were used all summer long and we still have one as a decoration in his room.

The decorations were simple.  I made a runner and racing flags from the checkered fabric (we had to be able to wave them and say, "Gentlemen start your engines" before they began to race around), and a pennant banner with the birthday boy's name (which is still hanging in his Cars room). 

I am not a great cook or cake decorator.  (Sometime I should post the pictures of the melting Lego block cake that was never meant to be).  But, this was easy enough and for the 2-year old and friends there were sufficient ohhhs and ahhhs.  (The Oreo racetrack helped).

The treat bags were also quite simple.  I searched for cars images online, copy and pasted them into Word, and inserted the guests names on the images.

Then we raced in between rain showers.

This little one and Sally could hold their own against all those boys!

Now that Cars 2 was released on DVD, I've got to remember that for a certain someone's stocking stuffer!  Thanks for reading!

Thanks Leslie, that is one super fun party! Kachow!

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Evolution of a craft and what I learned

I love Thanksgiving and think it get's shoved aside with all the fuss of  Halloween and then overlooked in the excitement of Christmas.  That's why I loved this cartoon when I saw it on Facebook.  I'm always on the lookout for a cute Thanksgiving craft, so today I'm sharing with you my first Thanksgiving craft of the year.

A couple of months ago, our group of ladies at our church had what's called a "Super Saturday" - a day full of crafts and fun, usually once a year.  I was so excited to attend! It had been YEARS since we'd had one. I was also asked to teach a class how to etch glass, something I love to do.  So because I was teaching, I only got one of my 4 projects started, well 3/4 of the way done until I got picky.  If you read this post and learned a little about me, you'll know that I can be a bit of a perfectionist and then I procrastinate - the reasons I don't finish my projects at times.  There sat my really cute "Give Thanks", my husband growling more each day at why there was such a mess on the table (my craft room is also the exercise room, play room, and more.)  So this week I decided to tackle the project and just get it finished.  Thus the evolution of a craft and what I learned along the way.

So as I said, I started this at the church.  Got all the pieces painted and picked out my paper which was being mod podged on top.  As I looked at all the cute paper to choose from, I realized I had the same pack of paper at home.  No wonder I was having such a hard time deciding, there were so many I liked. :)  I finally settled on a few and got to work gluing them on.  First tip I learned - when mod podging, brush the glue on the wood AND on the paper.  It eliminated a lot of the bubbling up that I usually got when I just put it on the wood.  As that was drying, I went to work on my pumpkin, to which I stressed and fretted over for a long time.  It just wasn't coming out like I wanted.  I finally gave up on that and decided we'd see how it looked later; I could always paint over it and start over.  So as I was cleaning up my stuff and getting ready to go home, I looked at my now, paper covered letters.  Two of them were looking really pink.  I don't know if it was changes in lighting, me just looking more closely, or the mod podge changing the color a little, but my 2 red letters were now pinkish. You can't have pink letters in a Thanksgiving craft.  I decided to hurry (since the glue wasn't completely dry yet) and rip the paper off those letters.  Yup, I did it, as some of my friends watched as this crazy woman frantically undid what I had so carefully done in the first place.  I went home a little frustrated with the mess I'd made (still not liking my pumpkin at all) and wondering if I'd be able to fix it all.
Not positive this was the red (turned pink) paper.  See, there it looks okay so maybe it was the mod podge.  But that is the blue paper.

My mess of a craft sat and sat waiting for me to take pity on it and just finish the darn thing.  Procrastination set in and my mind said, "You have a whole 1 1/2 months until November, no worries."  September finished, October flew by, and now November is here.  Bill's grumbling over my "mess" was getting louder so I finally took some action. As I pondered over it, I realized the blue stripe was not so great either (it had the pink color in it, too, and just wasn't giving me a Thanksgiving vibe.)  Now this one was good and dry, thus I discovered tip number two - when you want to remove something mod podged spray it with water and let it soak in. I sprayed the whole letter and let it sit about five or ten minutes and the paper came off fairly easily - well, at least the top layer.
After I got the top layer off, I sprayed it again with water and let it soak in for a few minutes.  Then using a little dish scraper, I easily scraped off the rest.  This actually came off MUCH cleaner than the paper I ripped off before it was fully dry.  I didn't even need to sand it.
Not a great picture of the scraper, but those things are amazing - for dishes and crafts! :)
 On the first set of letters I had to do a bit of sanding to smooth out the rest of the paper left on the wood.  As I said, I had this same pack of paper, so I flipped through and found the perfect pieces!  I quickly traced the letters on, cut inside the lines, and glued them on.  Tip number three - I had a little brayer to roll out the bubbles with, worked great! I also thought, later, I could have used the little scraper tool, that would have worked just as well, I think.  Something more than just hands was a lot easier to get all the wrinkles and bubbles out.  As I was waiting for that to dry, I decided to tackle the pumpkin again.  It was now not looking as hideous as it had been, but it still needed something.  Tip number four - if you think your craft, whatever it is, is awful and ruined, give it some time and some space and then take another look.  It might not be so bad. :)  I finally just added some jute and a leaf and viola! I liked it.

So that's it, my "Give Thanks" is now proudly displayed in my home; my craft table is almost cleaned off (today's project is to finish :) ); and I learned some valuable lessons and patience in my crafting.  Have you ever had a craft project teach you a thing or two?

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Today is a New Day Printable

Hi everyone! If you'll remember back a couple weeks ago I posted about starting each day with a plan and organizing your day.  I don't know if it's helped any of you, but it has sure helped me get a lot more done each day.  Anyway, I really liked the printables I had listed there, but neither were exactly what I wanted.  So I decided to make my own.  I was so excited to try this, and I even made those water bottles from a real picture of a water bottle.  New technique for me and I was so impressed with myself for figuring it out. lol  Here's the link: Today is a New Day

Today is a New Day

I printed mine out at my local copy place and had them laminate it, too.  Then each night, after the kids are all in bed and I'm relaxing for a bit, I take 5 min. and plan out my next day.  It's really been working well, and it helps me sleep better, too.  Why, you might ask?  Because as soon as my head would hit the pillow a million things that I needed to do the next day would start racing through my head. lol I know I'm not the only one who does this, right?  Now, I've already gotten at least most of those things planned out or there's no room to add anything else anyway.  It really does help me fall asleep faster.  Try it!

A big shout out and a thank you to Krista Sahlin for letting me use her buttons on this to share with you.  They were a freebie from her site here.  I also want to thank Summer Driggs for letting me use the rick rack on this, too.  They were a freebie from this kit here.

Anyway, I hope someone else might find this helpful. I'd be happy to change any of the box headings if you'd like, too. Just let me know.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

Things have been a little crazy busy around here for the last few weeks, but hopefully I'm on top of things now and it'll be a little calmer.  Meanwhile, a couple weeks ago, Laura from Our Prairie Home awarded me, and 14 others, with the The Versatile Blogger award.  I was so honored.  Thank you so much, Laura!

As part of accepting this award, I now have a little work to do:
1. Thank and link back to the person that gave you this award. 
Thank you again, Laura, you're right, us newbies have to stick together.  She has a great site full of fun vintagey crafts, amazing furniture makeovers, and more. Just the name of her blog Our Prairie Home makes me want to visit. :)
2. Share seven (7) things about yourself.
Here goes:
1.  I'm a mom to 6 fabulous kids ages 16 (in 3 days) to 6 - including triplets.  We had 3, two girls and boy, going for number 4 and surprise! we get 2 more girls and a boy. :)
2.  I'm somewhat of a perfectionist and a procrastinator - not a good combination. Makes getting things done a little hard at times.
3.  I love being organized - A place for everything and everything in it's place, at least most of the time is my motto.
4.  I love a good book!
5.  We love to watch movies as a family, although I suck at the quote the movie line game.  I never say it quite right and can't remember every line from every movie I've ever seen like the rest of the family can. :)
6.  Biggest pet peeve - chewing with your mouth open or smacking - "A smack for a smack!" is the rule at our table. lol
7.  Love living on a farm, but not having to make a living from the farm.  We live on my father-in-laws farm letting us enjoy wide open views, delicious beef, my kids having the opportunity to do some real work, and the smell of sunshine (my husband's nice way of saying manure that is NOT my favorite!)
3. Send it along to 15 other bloggers and let them know they've been awarded.
I've been doing some searching and found some really fun bloggers that I'd like to share with you.  I'm following them all now, and hope you'll do the same.

1.The Small Things - she has THE best hair tutorials I've seen.  Very easy to follow videos that show you step by step how to do each style.  My new favorite hairdo - her messy ponytail/bun!

2.Love Notes by Lauryn - she's a preschool teacher, which I believe is right up there with kindergarten teacher and Saint.  She's a great graphic designer and I really learned a lot from her ABC’s of Hair (um, can you tell I need some help with my hair?)

3.Ribbonwood Cottage - I found Debbie from her nice comments on my blog and I’m so glad.  She's a cross-stitcher, too, something I really enjoy but don't see enough of in blog land.  She lives on a cool farm, and deep down, I'm a farm-girl at heart.

4.Red Hen Home - I LOVE her amazing beadboard signs!! Plus she does incredible furniture makeovers. 
 Check out her awesome theatre room.

5.Sugar Baby Boutique - she has some really great storage ideas for crafts to hair accessories.  I really like her magnet board made with paint sticks.

6.Roca and Company - if you have a shirt you're tired of, this blog is the place to come.  She has some amazing shirt refashions and she throws a "rockin" linky party every Friday!

7.A Home, Made - Amy's a newbie, only been blogging for almost a month.  She made an awesome spooky castle/craft with stuff from around the house - tp/paper towel rolls, lids, tissue box. Very  cool!

8.Imperfectly Inspired - Another newbie, only been blogging for almost 2 months. She has a really cool DIY picture matting of an old picture of her Grandpa and Grandma. I love it!

9. The Creative Paige - I really like her cute blog design, it makes me happy when I'm there. :)  Paige has  tons of cute printables, too, and she likes a lot of the same blogs I do.

10.Mndy Made -  Her little girl is adorable! I really like her cute clothespins tutorial.  I've got to make these for my kids's chore charts.

11.Redfly Creations - I just found her from a link party where she posted a recipe for the Amish Friendship Bread.  Awesome!! My kids love that stuff, but I hate throwing away half the start each time since I've already given it away to every friend, neighbor, and family member who will let me in the door with it.

12.Bear Rabbit Bear - She made potato head pumpkins this year.  They are so cool! I'm definitely keeping that in mind for next year!

13.Adventures of a DIY Mom - I love her reversible bead board pumpkins (I think I have a thing for beadboard), and will definitely be making these.  Rachel also has a lot of great canning ideas and tutorials.

14.Simply Dove - Sarah has lots of fun sewing/refashion ideas.  I really like her simple tutorial for an infinity scarf.  She also had a post on macro photography a few weeks ago – great pictures.

15.Make the Best of Everything - "The Happiest people don't HAVE the best of everything. They MAKE the best of everything!" is the subtitle on her blog.  Words to live by!  She also has really fun felt play-food ideas and her homemade tortilla chips look delicious.

So if you're in the mood to make some new bloggy friends or just be incredibly inspired, go check out the above blogs.  Share some love in this big old bloggy world!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween Fun

Before we get too far past, I want to share our Halloween fun with you.  Let me start by saying I'm not a huge fan of Halloween (I know, I know, heaven forbid I'm not a fan of Halloween.)  I mean I like it, but I don't go all out with decorations or costumes.  I'm not spending a fortune on a costume my kids will wear once.  And if I'm making them, it'll be out of sweats or something they'll wear again.  Oh, and I really don't like the school carnival, it's hot, it's crowded, and full of whiny kids and pushy parents. lol  So what do we do for Halloween?  We started off by bribing convincing our youngest four that we could have so much more fun at home carving pumpkins and getting Wendy's for dinner than going to the school carnival. It worked and after a little photo shoot down at the farm (more on that later) and some yummy burgers and fries, the kids all started picking out their patterns to carve.  I'd found some great patterns online and they quickly snatched those up and set to work.  This was the first year that the triplets only needed minimal help, so that was fun.  Here's what we ended up with. Can you tell what they are?

The Hunger Games MockingJay and an Angry Bird
Two Angry Birds and a skull

On Monday, I got to help with Chloe, Maddie, and Jon's 1st grade class party, which according to most of the class was "the best party EVER!" (until next year! lol) After lunch, I went back to the school to see them all in the costume parade.  Then we came home, got all the costumes fixed up with the face paint, weapons, and hats/masks that weren't allowed at school.  We visited my parents and picked up Natalie from school and headed to Bill's office for his office party/trick-or-treating.  The employees all bring their kids and they go trick-or-treating from office to office. Let me tell you, this is the best way to trick-or-treat!  It's warm, we don't have to build costumes around coats, they get a lot of candy and we're done by 5 p.m. :)

After the party, we headed home and did a little trick-or-treating to Bill's parents and a just a few neighbors.  Then home to have pumpkin pizza (papa murphy's) while we watched a movie together, interspersed with races to see who could answer the door first.  It was a good night!  Here's my cute kiddos:

It was pretty windy, even here on the porch.  Every picture has Maddie trying to keep her hat on or her hat all smashed down from holding it down.

Billy the Ninja

Chloe the black cat

Jon a knight

Maddie a witch
Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween holiday!

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