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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Picket Fence Love

I'm a sucker for a picket fence. 

There's something so classic and serene about a picket fence.

So today I wanted to share with you a board I curated at Hometalk. Its totally Picket Fence Projects, and there's some great inspiration there!

Hometalk is an amazing site. Its kind of like Pinterest but a whole lot more and specifically for all things home. The cool thing about it is that even if you don't have a blog you can share projects you've done and gain followers {or follow a bunch of inspiring people}.

There are so many inspiring things you can make and do with picket fences either as a whole or with the individual pickets. {Remind me someday and I will share with you a side table I made out of a picket fence}.

I'd love to have you hop on over and check it out! Just click on the picture above or on the above link.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Inexpensive Baby Shower Ideas

If you follow my blog at all you know that recently I hosted a baby shower. 

The shower was for my dear co-worker Amy as she and her husband Ben are expecting their first little bundle of joy....a boy due later this month.

 For her shower I kept things simple.

Decorations were mostly scrapbook paper cut pennant style and strung on jute. These were hung in the living room and above the gift table.

Here are the supplies I used:

A shower game gift for the mom to be was used as decor.

 A few inexpensive poms added more color to the table, and I had enough of the pennants to add them 

But the punch, oh the punch was the best part! It is so good!

Its a cream of coconut punch that is amazing. I wish I'd taken a pic of the full punch bowl but alas. {Its hard to be the hostess and a blogger!}

Here's what you'll need:

I forgot the ice cream. You will need vanilla ice cream.

The coconut can be found in the mixed beverage section of your grocery store.

Here's what you'll do:

In a blender put 32 oz of pineapple juice, 1/2 small bottle of rum flavoring, and 21 oz of cream of coconut. Blend well. Just before serving add this to your punch bowl with 2 Liters of lemon lime pop and top with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

And....its almost gone, so sad!

Amy ended up having her baby early, about a week or so after her shower. Little Gabriel is just about perfect!

Thanks for stopping by!

I'm sharing this post here:

Between naps on the porch

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Travel Art

Oh, the places we've been! 

Ok, so it really hasn't been that many, but I decided to make some art out of it.

I am hoping to put another gallery wall together for the wall that leads downstairs to my boys rooms. This will be the eventual home for this piece. For now its in the entry.

Monday, July 8, 2013

8 Hours, 8 Questions

Its Summer.

And I have four children.

I love my four children, but there is something about being with them all day that magnifies the little sins in their hearts.

Now asking questions is not a sin, but I've noticed something. Answering their questions has bread laziness in them. 

I'm not talking about a question who answers are out of their grasp, I'm talking about questions that have answers right in front of them. Like "what are we having for lunch?" when I'm right in front of them putting the peanut butter on the bread. And I'm serious when I say its about 57 questions an hour between the four of them.

I didn't realize how bad it had gotten until my husband announced that for 5 minutes they couldn't ask me anything one evening, and said, "how do you do it?"

One morning in the haze of waking up it struck me! What if, for one day, {8 hours to be exact} I allowed them each to only ask one question per hour. In theory it seems genius!

The goal of this little experiment is this:

1. To encourage them to think for themselves

2. To encourage them to problem solve

3. To promote a sense of confidence in solving those problems

4. To encourage them to be thoughtful about what their needs really are.

To make this easier to manage we will have a chart. Like a star chart that they can check off when they ask their question for the hour. 

In part this will take a strong resolve on my part to recognize other attempts to question and put a stop to this. I struggle with the idea of implementing a consequence if they ask something but we will have to see how this little experiment goes. 

They are kids and so to be clear I don't think this is something that should occur more than for the purposes of training them. For us it will be just one day. {My kids are 5,7,9, & 11} As another way of clarification my kids know what is happening each day, we have as schedule. We also have a list of what we are having for dinner. They know the drill and if they forget - its even posted. I think that kids just do better when they know what's coming. And, they don't need to ask!

I will finish writing this post Monday evening after we have tried it.

Here's our chart to track.

The kids were a little apprehensive about this whole thing but I think there was a smidge of excitement {although they would never admit it}.

The first hour was smooth sailing. It was new and exciting....and we were out running errands.

Hour 2, it totally worked to my advantage. We were in a store and they were quiet. There was no, "mom, can we get this?" and "can I just borrow my allowance to buy a pack of gum, I'll pay you back when we get home". Ahhhhh! Peace!

Hour 3, What? Didn't you already ask me a question. We weren't home yet and I didn't have my chart. Who can keep track of this madness without a chart!

Hour 4. I set myself up well by announcing what we were having for lunch and when. Go outside!

Hour 5. I had to make a concession. If you are doing your summer workbook and you have a legitimate math question, ask and I will help. If you could have figured it out on  your own, you're toast!

Hour 6. Frustration sets in....on the kids part.

Hour 7. Creativity sets in. "Mom I'm going to have cookies for snack because I don't like the muffins you're offering." Oh no, no you're not!

Hour 8. We're in the home stretch! We're going to make it! Kids are getting fed up with this question business. Me, I've had a nice day! :)


I expected that the kids would learn a great lesson. I didn't think that I would too!

I learned that I answer 57,000 daily questions because of my own laziness. It is easier to respond to a question than it is to take the time to train them properly or set them up to win. Ouch! They have to ask questions because I'm not engaged in what they are doing. I'm distracted by so many other things throughout the day. Good things, house work things, but things that take my focus off of them.

One child admitted he didn't learn anything. OK. I'm sure he did, he's just not going to admit it. He's also the same kids who asks 56,000 of the 57,000 questions.

My oldest said it made him think more creatively and to work at solving his own problems. Good.

I didn't have to implement any consequences. If they had already asked their question I would remind them of this. If I knew they weren't thinking about it I would say, "is this your question for the hour?"

I'm not sure what all they may have gained today, but I'm thankful for the insight I learned.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Homemade Heath Bars

Happy Independence Day!

Before all of the festivities begin I thought I'd share another recipe. Just in case you need one for today! ;)

My main goal in sharing recipes {besides wanting to pass on the yummyness!} is to help preserve the food legacy of our family for future generations and just in case I lose a recipe. {not that that's ever happened!}

So today I am sharing a recipe from my husband's grandma. 

Homemade heath bars.

Oh my! They are really so good! As in I probably ate half the pan in two days. {You kind of have to pace yourself because they are pretty rich.}

These are easy to make and take only a few ingredients.
{sorry about the crazy photo quality of the next few}

This is all you need:

For the bottom part:

Cream 1 cup of butter {softened to room temp}
1 cup of brown sugar 
1 egg yolk

Once that is mixed well add:
1 cup of flour 1/3 at a time until well mixed

Press into a 9x13 ungreased pan and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Right when it comes out of the oven, open 6 Hershey bars and lay them on top of the pan. Once they are completely melted spread them evenly across the top.

And then comes the tricky part. Cutting them. 

I like to refrigerate them for 10 or so minutes and then do an initial cut while things are slightly firm but not hard. Cut all of your pieces. Put it in the fridge. 10-20 minutes later do it again. 

This will save a ton of frustration because both layers become really hard and chewy which make it super hard to cut if you don't do it as it cools.

But oh, its oh so worth it!

They won't last long!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Burp Cloths and Washcloths

Things have been moving kind of slow around here.....around the blog I mean. 

With summer I had grand visions of projects accomplished and lots of posts. was not to be......

But I'm here today with some simple burp cloths and baby washcloths that I made for a recent shower I hosted.

These were inspired by the recent release of 'Monsters University' and some really cute monster flannel fabric I found. I suppose it goes without saying that these were made for a little boy...yet to be born.

{Here are the two fabrics along with a pack of regular washcloths}

Regular white washcloths are lined with flannel on the inside in contrasting patterns. This gives a nice soft lining for baby's sensitive skin.

I purchased a half a yard of each fabric which lined 6 washcloths and made two double sided burp cloths.

If you can't tell these pics were taken outside. I took my sewing machine on vacation and sat out on the deck and stitched these guys up. 

If you want to make the washcloths here's what I did. First I cut my fabric  to size and pinned on the backside of the washcloth.

I used a zigzag stitch to stitch it in place.

Here are the settings:

For the burp cloths I took the two contrasting fabrics and laid them with right sides facing each other and stitched them on all three sides. Then they were insided out and stitched shut. These really could be any shape or size you want depending on your fabric.

About a third of the way up from the bottom and down from the top I stitched across the burp cloth to keep the two fabrics from pulling apart.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Drum "Shade"

I'm always looking for "creative solutions" to design problems. In other words, cheap!
 Free is even better!

So enter today's solution to a big problem.

Down in our lower level we have a small hallway. Super small. It had one of those cheap globe ceiling fixtures that over time and lots of jumping on the stairs above had caused it to come loose and then crashing down.

Fortunately no one was injured.

But this bare bulb sat exposed for months waiting for a new one. Because it was on the lower level, the boys level it didn't glare at me much waiting for a fix. So it sat for a long time!

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