Friday, April 20, 2012

What I'm Reading

I read this one a while ago and forgot to write about it. Well here it is... I loved it. I was definitely skeptical going into this read because honestly I didn't think Stephenie Meyer is that great of a storyteller, but this was not what I was expecting. The whole story line was so thoughtful and intriguing. It is based on a time where Earth has been overrun with aliens who take over human bodies. Most human souls disappear once the alien invades, but some fight back. The story follows a host body who inhabits both an alien and the original soul the body belongs to and the struggle that ensues. The book also highlights the life of a small group of humans who are among the few the aliens have not yet overtaken. There is a little bit of a love story going on as well, but not so much that my husband didn't also enjoy this read. Oh and they are turning this into a movie! You may have seen the teaser if you went to see Hunger Games in theaters.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quick Headband

With a quick trip to Idaho in the works I managed to squeeze in the time to make a headband for my daughter to wear on Easter Sunday.
I started with a pre-made stretchy headband and added some bias tape with hot glue to make a base for the clippie to attach.
Using a free pattern I crocheted this super quick little flower. To the original chain 27, I added a few extra chains in order to make a slightly larger flower.
 To the back of the flower I hot glued a metal clip and then hot glued a felt circle on top of that.
Complete! And very cute. Too bad my daughter refused to wear the headband, but thank goodness the removable clippie worked either way.
I think my daughter has gone long enough without a bunch of mama-made hair accessories. With how easy this whipped up I think I'll be up for making more to go with every outfit.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I have been a little preoccupied lately, but I do have lots of things to post about once I take the time to get it all written down. First I need to do a little backtracking and show off my daughter's Easter outfit...
The dress and cardigan were supplied by her grandmother and the hair clip I made myself as a last minute addition. She is just too dang cute! We spent the weekend with family in Idaho and had a wonderful time. The day before Easter was spent hunting eggs...
 This was my daughter's first time being involved in this tradition and she got right to work.
 And it took some serious concentration to get every last egg put away in her basket. :)
Her 2 year old cousin was so adorable. She spent more time picking up eggs for my daughter than she did for herself.
More craft projects coming soon!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mini Photo Book

I put together this little photo album for my daughter to flip through when I need her quietly occupied. It is a compilation of mostly pictures of her, but also pictures of my husband and I as children and of course, a few pictures of our dog.
It wasn't important for this to be a high-quality keepsake. My main goal was to complete the book quickly. I did go through the extra effort to add labels to each photo using picasa, but I made sure it was a very quick process. 
I cropped every photo to be oriented the same way even if it made the picture awkward so that it would be easier for my 1 year old to flip through and look at each picture at the correct angle.
The flip book cost me a dollar at walmart and was meant to hold 24 pictures. Using the front and back sleeve you could easily fit in an extra 4. I left the very back blank so I ended up with 27 total photos. My cover photo was a 4x6 just like the others, but I then cut it down slightly to show the existing backdrop.
As evidence of her little fingers being in practically every photo, my daughter loves her book. (Who doesn't love looking at themselves?) I want to make another one featuring extended family members and one showcasing the letters of the alphabet. Such an easy and rewarding "craft".

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Basket

It is April and Easter is almost here. Last year my daughter was only a couple of months old and missed out on the festivities. I think this year she'll be old enough to "hunt" for her own eggs. So of course I had to come up with a cute basket for her to hold all her goodies in! Here is my free-to-me solution:
I started with this basket I have had sitting around forever that a friend donated to me.
I didn't like the existing gold ribbon so I replaced it with this thick white lace trim using a little hot glue here and there to keep it from slipping off. I also added thin pink ribbon with hot glue around the body of the basket.
Finally I added a bunch of rosettes over the ribbon seam. I am pretty sure most of the rosettes were made from old t-shirts.
I can't wait to see this little basket in action!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pipe Cleaner Matching Game

Here is another great, easy, cheap activity I put together for our upcoming road trip. The activity simply involves sticking the pipe cleaners through the holes. For older kids it can also be a color matching game (stick the correctly colored pipe cleaner through its coordinating hole.) I found the idea for this here.
In order to make this for your own toddler, take an old canister (chip or oatmeal containers work great) and pop holes in the top. I found using a pen or thick nail worked much better than a knife. Add reinforcement labels to each hole and color them if desired. Since my daughter is so young my final step was to fold each pipe cleaner in half to make it easier for her. Easy right?
I also went a step further and covered my container in material. I would have used paper, but this is what I had on hand and I didn't want to buy anything. I hemmed two sides using my sewing machine, glued the top hem to the top of the cannister using hot glue, and glued the side hem over the side raw edge. On the bottom I made cuts every few inches in order to glue down smoothly.
Honestly, my sixteen-month old has a hard time doing this. She does try really hard and it holds her attention for a while, but it isn't easy for her. I don't think it will be too much longer that she will be able to fully enjoy this though.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ruffled Clutch

A friend and I got together to do some crafting and I worked up this cute little clutch. I just love it! The free pattern came from and it was easier than I originally thought including sewing in my very first zipper.
Here is all of the crafting goodness laid out all over her living room. Her daughter was kind enough to happily bounce in a doorway swing the whole time and keep us entertained. It was wonderful and I had an excuse to get some projects out of the way.
The hardest part honestly was choosing which fabrics I wanted from my stash and then cutting out all of the pieces. I didn't have any fusible interfacing and used an extra piece of muslin in its place. Also my zipper started out way too long, but it wasn't a problem to just shorten it with some scissors.
I love all of the options Noodlehead gives for inside compartments. I added two cardholder spots to mine. 

I am seeing more of these in my future.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

I haven't been to Red Lobster's Restaurant in several years, but the one thing I remember about eating there is their blissful biscuits. This homemade recipe came out exactly how I remember them. Soo good. 
2 1/2 cups Bisquick
4 Tbsp cold butter
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Butter Glaze:
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp dried parsley flakes

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease or line one cookie sheet with parchment; set aside.

Combine Bisquick with cold butter in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter (I just used a fork). Don't worry about mixing too thoroughly; there will be small chunks of butter in the mix about the size of peas. Add cheddar cheese, milk, and garlic powder. Mix by hand until combined, but don't over mix. Dough will be very dry and crumbly.

Drop 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto the lightly greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes in preheated oven until the tops of the biscuits begin to turn light brown.

While the biscuits are baking, melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir in garlic powder and dried parsley flakes. Use a brush to spread the garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits (I just spooned the mixture on top). Sprinkle a little kosher salt on the freshly coated biscuits. Makes one dozen.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Discovery Balls

We have an upcoming 6 hour drive and my daughter is in that stage where she refuses to sit still. She just wants to run. To make the trip go a little easier I have been researching some new activities fit for a 16 month old that we can take in the car with us. I will be posting several of them here in the next couple of weeks. First up... discovery balls.
They are just like stress balls, but filled with different substances so she can discover the different textures and squishy-ness levels. So far the one filled with beans is definitely her favorite. These were a very quick project and cheap too.
To make your own you will need:
filler (beans, rice, flour, etc.)
funnel (optional)

My only cost was a pack of 20 helium quality balloons I bought for $1. Helium quality balloons are nice because they are thicker and less likely to pop a hole, but any balloon would work.

Now fill your balloons up one by one. If you do not have a funnel, it is easiest if you have a helper who can shove the stuffing in while you hold the opening open. If you do have a funnel, simply stuff the spout in the opening and fill the funnel with your filler a little at a time. You'll need to continually push the filler inside the balloon down to create a little well and stretch your balloon out. Also you'll probably need to shake the filler down the spout because it tends to get a little jammed up in the spout.

When you reach your desired size, tie off and enjoy.
I have seen these balls decorated with hair and faces and it comes out pretty cute. Also one blog suggested filling with playdough which I think would be a cool substance to play with.

***Also, if you decide to make these and let young children play with them, be careful not to let them use the discovery balls as a chew toy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Another Scarfette

I crocheted another scarfette recently. I love it because it is a fairly quick and easy gift. Maybe one of these days I will make one for myself...
The basic idea is just take any scarf design that you like, shorten it, and add buttons to one end. I used this scarf pattern.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Monkey Bread

I tried a new recipe for hubby's Birthday breakfast and it was a hit (and super simple too). I found it on The Jones Way...

2 small tubes refrigerator buttermilk biscuits OR 1 tube Pillsbury Grands buttermilk biscuits
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 C. pancake syrup
1/3 C. packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Spray a fluted pan with non-stick spray. Combine the melted butter and syrup in a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Place about half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top. Lay the biscuits on the bottom of the pan, overlapping edges (closely together) to form a ring. Top with remaining syrup and sugar mixtures. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 1 minute in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter and enjoy!

Monday, March 5, 2012

USA magnets

Hubby loves maps, history, and all that stuff so I knew he would love this as a gift. It is a puzzle made out of a map of the United States with magnets attached to the back of each piece. Great for hubby and great as a teaching tool later for my little girl.
Here's how I pulled it all together for less than $8. I started with a poster map I bought for less than $2 at a local teacher/homeschool supply store. I don't have a picture of the poster because I had to cut it up before I brought it home in order to keep it a secret from hubby. From there I glued the map in sections onto cardstock I already had on hand using rubber cement. It is best if you cut the map up as little as possible before this step because it makes it a lot easier.
After the glue has dried, cut all the states out. I found that sometimes it was a lot easier using these tiny craft scissors on some of the more "squiggly" states. By the way... if you happen to get tired of cutting and accidentally cut the tail off of Alaska at the very end, it is an easy fix. Simply glue the state onto another piece of cardstock and cut it out again. It will be a little thicker, but not enough to matter.
Next you will laminate your states. I found a genealogy and copy center which has self-service laminating machines at a good price. I chose to use hard lamination which is a bit more expensive but apparently it works better with thicker products. It cost me a little more than a dollar to do this. Next cut out your states leaving a bit of a border.
Add strips of magnets to the back of each and your project is complete! I bought this roll of magnets from Lowes for about $3.50 and had some left over as well.
I think it would be cool to do this same project using family pictures or significant landscapes as well. Oh the possibilities... 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Birthday Coupon Deals

Hubby's Birthday is just around the corner and just in time I happened upon a blog post by Deal Seeking Mom listing out a bunch of restaurants which will give you free stuff for your Birthday if you subscribe to their fan clubs online. Here are the Birthday deals we have received so far...

Baskin Robins--- free scoop of ice cream
Texas Roadhouse--- free appetizer or sidekick of ribs w/ purchase of entree
Famous Dave's--- buy one entree get one free (up to $15 value)
Red Robin--- free gourmet burger
Del Taco--- free premium shake (vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry)
Noodles & Company--- free entree or trio (up to $7.50 value)
Happy Sumo--- $15 off next purchase
Dairy Queen--- $3 off an 8-10'' blizzard cake
Wendy's--- $1 off any combo meal

Not all of the sites give you a Birthday "gift", but most of them immediately send you some kind of deal via email...

Famous Dave's--- free burger or sandwich w/ any purchase $5 or more
Red Robin--- $3 off total purchase
Del Taco--- 2 free chicken soft tacos
Texas Roadhouse--- free tater skins, cheese fries, baby blossom, fried pickles, or rattlesnake bites w/ purchase of entree
Wingers--- $5 off take out purchase of $20 or more
Wendy's--- $1 off any premium sandwich
Dairy Queen--- Buy one medium blizzard treat get one free (they sent me two of these)
California Pizza Kitchen--- $5 off purchase of $20 or more
Quiznos--- $1 off a regular or $2 off a large sub
Happy Sumo--- 2 for 1 (limited to certain days of the month)
Baskin Robbins--- buy one cone in the flavor of the month get one free

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ham Sliders

I had some leftover ham in my freezer from Christmas (yes you heard me. Christmas.) and I figured it was about time I used it up. I went searching for a good ham recipe and found these delicious looking sliders. So I gathered my ingredients and made some up for lunch. They were so good! I will definitively be making these again.
The original recipe makes 24 sliders, I only made 5 to serve my husband and myself. Also, I strayed from  the recipe to use up what I had on hand.

5 dinner rolls
sliced honey ham
5 slices Swiss cheese

1/2 Tablespoon yellow mustard
1/4 cup melted butter
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
a couple dashes of onion powder

Cut the rolls in half and spread mayonnaise on the top and bottom of the inside of the roll. Layer ham and Swiss cheese and close up the sandwich. Place all of the sliders close together on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the top of all of the sliders. Let the sliders sit for about 10 minutes then cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 12 minutes until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for about 2 minutes longer to crisp the tops. Serve.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

This week around the www...

The RedBall Project is done by artist Kurt Perschke all over the globe. I love this one where the ball is squished between two buildings in Taipei.
 This wall art is pretty cool and I would love it in my home somewhere.
 Soule Mama made an ice rink in her back yard. How much fun would that be?
 These teapots are so cute! Now if only I had a railing...
 I love books that aren't books.
And lastly, legos. Who doesn't love legos? And apparently they can be used to fix up old walls.