Friday, November 2, 2012

Our Fun-Filled Halloween

We had an awesome Halloween. Each year gets more fun as the kids get older and more excited about their costumes. 

Here's our Tennessee Titans Player holding his football brother-

Doing the Heisman pose-

Little quarterback- He actually does have a decent arm.

Football baby! How cute is this costume? I LOVE it!

Miss Peacock was being bashful for the camera. I had visions of doing some incredible, gorgeous peacock face paint- but have you ever tried to paint a 2 year olds face who has been waiting all day to go and get candy? Needless to say, thats the best I could do.  

Miss Flamingo on the other hand was not bashful at all, and was dancing all around the front yard, hammin' it up for me. And she sat still as can be while I painted her face. She is totally cooperative when it comes to "gorgeous stuff". 

Th peacock feathers are made out of felt, and the flamingo feathers are just a boa from Michaels. So simple to put togeher. Both are just safety pinned to the skirts, so I can reuse everything.

Chomping at the bit!

Notice the last name on the jersey? I was so excited to find it!

They only did 2 cul-de-sacs, but came home with loaded buckets. They (which means me too) totally cashed in and got lots of full and king size candy bars.

Earlier that day we had lots of fun doing Halloween themed things. Orange smoothies with lunch,

 Mummy hot dogs for dinner, (those are their scared faces)

and pumpkin pretzels for snacks.

We also had a blast making footprint ghosts, and dancing to the Monster Mash over and over. I think that about sums it up. Super fun day!

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Birthday and an explanation.

She's 2 years old? Where the heck did the time go? She was born just yesterday! Here's a handful of pics from the small party we had for my baby girl a few weeks ago. 

The chalkboard was made with some leftover MDF, and chalkboard spray paint. Love how it turned out, and I can't wait to use it for future parties as well. (I'm thinking your baby shower Chelsea!) 

I made the food labels with small squares of wood found at Michaels, painted them, applied a square of chalkboard vinyl, then hot glued a mini clothespin to the back.

On display, I had a baby photo of her, her 1 year photo, and her 2 year silhouette. (haven't taken her 2 year photo yet. Better get on that!) 

The homemade Guatemalan Salsa (an easier way to explain it than using its real name- Chirmol) was a big hit. Thanks for the recipe Frenely!

As evidenced by the picture above, she didn't know what to think when everybody started singing to her. I made lots of Dark Chocolate mini cupcakes, but we forgot to snatch a pic of those with their adorable toppers on them. Just know they were super cute, and super delicious.

I made the invites and favor tags on PicMonkey. The poem read-
"Thanks for coming to party
as Bri turns 2.
Here's some Hugs and Kisses
from us to you!"
Attached to a bag filled with Hugs and Kisses. 
Nothing too original, I know. But not too bad for making the favors the night before I suppose.
Thats about it. It was low-key and nothing too fancy, but tons of fun. Birthday girl had a blast and cashed in with some awesome gifts. Thanks everyone!

It's true what they say, "Time flies on wings of lightning!" Can't believe she is so old already, speaking in full sentences, making us laugh all the time, dancing goofy, becoming independent. (too much so sometimes!)We love you sweet girl!

Next subject. Why am I blogging so much less now? Well, long story short- I want/need to put my focus elsewhere. My cute fam.

(pic taken when baby was just a week old, look how tiny! Also, why does big bro get a goofy look on his face whenever the camera comes out? Am I the only one who has a kid that does that?) 

 I had been considering slowing down blogging and doing it less frequently, for a few weeks before I actually did it. I noticed that I was hurrying through books and games and lessons with the kids so I could go link up to a party and visit other blogs. Or sitting at the breakfast table on my laptop trying to finish up a post while my husband and kids were talking and laughing, having fun without me. 
But I was having a blast in "blogland" making new friends, constantly being inspired by new crafts and projects through link parties, and getting featured more and more. Blogging and networking with other bloggers is super fun. Its also super time-consuming. 
So I stewed over it for a little while. Then it was Conference Weekend. You guessed it- I got my answer. Now is NOT the time for me to be blogging full force. I have 4 young, adorable kids at home with me all day, I need to take advantage of this precious time. I don't want them to look back on their childhood and remember me always being on the computer. I want them to remember how I used to play lots of games with them, read thousands of books to them, built lots of forts with them, and took the time to really enjoy the things we were doing together. 
So at least for the time being, I'm scaling back on the amount of posts, (I'm not completely stopping, I'm thinking once a week. So keep checking back- probably on Mondays) and I'm not going to be joining link parties everyday of the week.
 I know I'll be back at it full force again someday. Just not now. 

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My girls Gallery wall and A WINNER!!!

We just re-arranged the kids rooms. Again, for the 3rd time in the past year. Now that my 2 year old was climbing out of the crib and pack n' play, we had to get her a big girl bed. So we moved her in with her big sister, and moved my son into the room with the crib, that the baby will move into as soon as he is sleeping through the night. (We're almost there!) So now that it wasn't a boy/girl shared room, I could go all out on the girly-ness. So I present to you project #1 in our girly room. The gallery wall.

I found these frames at TJMaxx for a steal and using some vinyl and scissors, I made the silhouettes in like 15 minutes. I love how they turned out, and love that they were so simple! 
All you do is take a picture of them looking to the side. 
Print it as a black and white "fast draft" to save on ink.
Tape the photo on top of some vinyl and cut around the head, neck and a little of the shoulders/chest. 
Cute and easy!

The I am a Child of God frame started out looking like this-

 Black spray paint, cute fabric and some vinyl gave it a face lift. 

The B.F.F. frame was found in the "As is" bins at Michaels. It had no glass, so was only $2.99! I painted the aqua straight on the backing of the frame, then added vinyl letters. It's my hope and prayer that my girls will really be "Best Friends Forever"! So far, so good!

The chalkboard frame was another "As is" find for cheap. Again, I just painted right on the backing of the frame. 

I got the temple print on Etsy, but now can't find the name of the shop. But a quick Etsy search will find you plenty of options. The print looks a lot less "pea- soupy" in real life. 
I guess that pretty much does it!
I'm so in love with gallery walls, I think there is one in just about every room in my house. I know I'm not the only one, who's with me?

 OK, enough jibber-jabber, on to the winner of the 
Hand carved Filipino Nativity from ELEVITA! 

And the winner is....
Eliza Challis!

Congrats Eliza! You're gonna love this nativity, I have one and ADORE it. 
Thanks to all of you who entered and who checked out Please remember them as you do your Christmas shopping, they have lots of great gifts for all ages.  These gifts Improve Lives Worldwide! 

ps- I know I've been making myself scarce the past few weeks. A post on why that is, is in the works so stay tuned!
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cupcakes with scales and feathers

Ok, I know what you're thinking- "cupcakes aren't exactly going to help with the whole, losing the baby weight thing", but rest assured, these were made before I embarked on that journey. ;)
Have any of you seen the book, "Hello Cupcake"? I'm so in love with it. I seriously looked through it a million times after I bought it. There are so many fun, amazing, totally awesome ways to decorate cupcakes in there, its mind-blowing. Here are the 2 that I've actually made and not just ooohed and aaahed over.

Marshmallow eyes and teeth,
 M&M nostrils, pupils and claws,
Oreo Crisps (in the 100 calorie packs) make the spines on his back.
Creepy lookin' but super tasty!

You know I had to make owls. If you remember, my husband says I look like one.
I'll take that as a compliment, look how cute these are!

The eyes are Oreos and mini-Oreos,
the ears were made from the left over Oreo sides without frosting,
big pupils are Junior Mints, little pupils are M&M's,
big beaks are whole Runts bananas, little beaks are half of a banana.

And that is about the extent of my cake/cupcake decorating experience. I'm not sure if cake decorating is something I want to keep working on. Very labor intensive, and they disappear in minutes! All that hard work down the hatch in the blink of an eye. But the kids went nuts for them of course- can't decide if it is worth it....

*don't forget about the incredible Elevita giveaway going on as we speak! Click here to enter. Giveaway ends Monday, October 15.* 

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Giveaway! $125 value

Brace yourself for a HUGE giveaway. Like a $125 value huge.  
But first let me introduce you to an incredible, non-profit organization- Elevita.
Here is Elevita's mission statement-

"Our mission is to alleviate poverty worldwide by helping artisans in developing countries find a greater world market for their products.
We use 100% of the profits from these sales to fund meaningful humanitarian projects, especially in education.

The artisans we try to help are:
- Artisans who have limited access to markets
- Artisan groups that work toward educating women and girls
- Artisans in distressed areas
- Handicapped or otherwise marginalized artisans
Elevita is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with 100% volunteer management."

They have a wide variety of awesome HANDMADE items for sale from all over the world; here are a few of my favorites. 

How cool are these unique bibs? 

Cutie the Lamb really is cute isn't she?

Wouldn't your little girl love this backpack? Perfect for school, church, or a weekend at Grandma's.

This tunic would look super cute with leggings, a belt and some boots. Perfect fall outfit!

This bag is called the "Hold Everything" bag. That tells you all you need to know!

How gorgeous would your tree look adorned with some of these?

To purchase any of these items, or to see what other treasures they've got, check out While you're browsing click on the link in each item's description to learn more about the artisan who crafted it. Then make sure to learn about the girls school that your purchases would help fund. 
Now on to the giveaway!  
Up for grabs is this Beautiful hand-carved Filipino Nativity, just in time for the upcoming Christmas season. 

Item Description: "This exquisite wooden nine piece set is hand carved by Aman Cagayat in the Philippines. The wise men are bearing gifts of mango, rice, and bananas. Especially touching is the young boy with the carabao, or water buffalo. The figures are all in native Filipino dress, and the palm tree (with removable leaves for storage) adds a beautiful touch to the scene. This nativity is a real treasure that will be enjoyed by your family forever!"
This nativity normally sells for $125 and will be the perfect addition to your Christmas decor.
Giveaway ends next Monday, October 15, 2012.
Good luck everybody!

*I was not compensated for writing this post, or hosting this giveaway.*
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Striped hallway- part 1

I'm still trying to figure out a few more things to hang as part of the gallery wall in the down stairs hallway, but who knows how long it will take until I'm satisfied with how it looks, so I figured I might as well show the first part of the hall makeover- THE STRIPES!!! I've been wanting to paint stripes on a wall forever now. I finally got my husband to admit that it would look awesome, he agreed to help, and 5 days later (yes, 5!) we had awesome stripes.

Pretty sweet right? If you are smart and buy enough paint, and don't have 4 young kids who wake up super early in the morning, and therefore need to go to bed at the same time as senior citizens, it won't take you 5 days. ;)

Here is how it used to look. Boring, forgotten about, not enough stuff hanging on the walls. 

The first night all we did was give it a good coat of white. We didn't have to tape off the ceiling, floor boards or doors since they were also all white. (actually we used leftover ceiling paint that was already in the garage when we bought the house.) 
The below pic is after the second night.

The wall measured 89 inches top to bottom. I knew I wanted 7 stripes with the top and bottom being white. (save time and hassle by not having to tape off the ceiling or floorboards) so 89 divided by 7 is 12.714.....We just rounded to 12.5, I was ok with the bottom stripe being slightly wider than the rest. So we just made a tiny pencil mark every 12.5 inches on both ends of the wall. (and one in the middle of the long wall) Then I held one end of the tape, my husband held the other, and we lined the tape up with the markings. No level, no lasers. Only one piece took a few tries to get it looking straight. The beauty of doing a long skinny hallway is that you can't get far enough back to see if your lines are actually straight. So we just eyeballed it and called it good.  By this time it was like the middle of the night (or maybe 10) and the baby was asleep, so we crashed too.

The next night was Sunday so we took a break.

Monday night we started painting the gray. But I only bought a quart and it wasn't enough. But neither of us wanted to go to Home Depot to get another can.

Tuesday I went to HD and we finished up the painting.
Count 'em, that's 5 nights. It certainly didn't need to take that long, so don't let that scare you off from painting your own.
I love it. Hubby loves it, AND said he was glad we did it. This coming from a guy who frequently says, "It looks fine"- thats saying a lot! Looking at these pictures makes me realize that those brassy doorknobs need to be taken care of. Another project added to the list!

linking up to these parties-
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Monday, October 1, 2012

My Halloween Mantle

Now that it is October 1, I can decorate for Halloween! I don't know why, but I feel weird setting up Halloween stuff in September. 
So I did this last night after the kids were in bed to surprise them when they woke up.

 I got most of the stuff from the dollar store. I'm just recently discovering how AWESOME that place is.
 I found the moss stuff in the vases, the crow, the little skulls, the skeletons, the candles, the plate, and the black "spooky cloth" ALL at my local Dollar Store. 
The plate was plain white that I Mod Podged some Washi Tape (from Michaels) onto. I guess the tape doesn't stick to glazed surfaces, this was my first time using it. Mod Podge to the rescue! Problem solved.

The silver skull was the same one I used at the Pirate Party. Picked it up at Michaels with my 40% off coupon. The white pumpkins were also from Michaels. After they got a coat of white spray paint to make them brighter white, I just used some craft paint and a tiny brush to paint the spider and webs on them.
The 2 big vases were clearance finds from TJMaxx. I've had them forever, and they just hold different things depending on the season, or where they are placed in the house.

And no decor project would be complete without something made with my trusty sidekick- the Silhouette.

Am I the last one to decorate for Halloween? I just can't bring myself to do it any sooner. Just like I can't bring myself to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Come Black Friday though, I am a Christmas decorating fool!
Happy October to you all! (and Happy Birthday to you Mary!)
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Friday, September 28, 2012

Figure Friendly Friday #6- Crispy Coconut Chicken with Mango Salsa

Happy Friday everyone! Guess what? I was a guest poster over at High Heels and Grills yesterday! It was my first one, and it was a blast! You've all been over to that blog before right? If not, go over there immediately, they've got AWESOME recipes. (now including one from me!)  Sarah was my very first bloggy friend. Never met her in real life, but already love her. In case you missed it, HERE is the link to my guest post. But because this is a healthy and incredibly delicious recipe, I had to share it with all of you for Figure Friendly Friday too!

Hi, I'm Stacia, and I am a coconut addict. 
I seriously eat shredded coconut straight from the bag, with a spoon. So naturally, anything with "Coconut" in the title, catches my immediate and undivided attention. I saw this recipe on The Fit Cook blog while doing a search for coconut recipes. 
Coconut and mangoes? Shoot, I'm sold! Here is the slightly varied, recipe-

What you'll need-
-1 red bell pepper
-1 yellow bell pepper
-1 ripe mango
-1/4 red onion (can be omitted if you are not a fan of onions)
-1 large tomato
-1/2 cup cilantro
-1 egg
-1 bag ( 7oz.) sweetened shredded coconut
-1/2 tsp. cayenne peper
-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1 1/2 Tbs. coconut oil (extra virgin olive oil would also work)
- salt and pepper to taste

What you do-
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Whisk egg in shallow bowl. In separate bowl, combine coconut, (I'm a fiend, and went heavy on the coconut. Feel free to use less) cayenne pepper, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
3. Dip each chicken breast in the egg until coated, and let the excess run off. Then dip chicken in the coconut combo making sure it is thoroughly coated.
4. Heat the coconut (or olive) oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden.
5. Place chicken breasts on parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and bake for about 25 more minutes. Start checking at 20, to make sure they aren't being over cooked.
6. While the chicken is baking, prepare the salsa by dicing both peppers, mango, onion, tomato and cilantro. Season with S&P to taste. 
7. When the chicken is cooked, place on your fancy serving dish, (or in our case, our plates) and top with mango salsa. 
8. ENJOY!!!

The whole family loved it, including the kids, for which it was a colorful and tasty way to get their fruits and veggies in for the day. 

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