Home Decor, DIY, Parties, Nesting, Cooking, Random Thoughts...all part of our family's journey

Monday, June 17, 2013

Scrap Wood Mirror

My awesome husband put together this mirror out of some scrap wood we had lying around in just a few minutes.  The mirror is the builder grade one from when we remodeled our boys' bathroom.  He cut the four pieces of wood to size and we glued the wood to the mirror with liquid nails.  We let it dry overnight with some bricks on top to hold the wood to the mirror.

To do it again I would make the frame tick bigger...you can see the mirror edge from the sides.  And it's REALLY heavy!

Rainbow Pasta

My son loves to "make necklaces" with this homemade dyed pasta.  To make, simply place pasta in a ziploc baggie, add rubbing alcohol and food coloring and let it sit overnight.  You don't have to cover the pasta, I just did enough so there was a thin layer on the bottom of the bag.  The next day I opened the bags and let them dry out.  The bags stink horribly when you open them (:

I was able to get a wider range of colors by using vegetable pasta (the ones that are already colored to start with) as well as plain pasta.

I found the recipe for making the pasta at Intrepid Murmurings.

Christmas Fiesta

A couple years ago while Josh was a children's pastor, we hosted a Christmas Fiesta for the kids at church.  After the service, all the kids (and a few volunteers) headed to the Fellowship Hall for a Tex-Mex bash.

We had a taco bar so each kid could choose what they wanted to eat.  They could choose from chicken or ground beef and we had plenty of lettuce, cheese, rice and veggies.

Before they could grab a plate, the kids had to have their picture taken in front of the chili peppers.  While they were eating, I went and printed all the pictures on photo paper and cut them out so they could make a picture frame present for their parents.

We also made Christmas cards.

The tables were decorated simply since this was a party for kids (:  I grabbed some pine branches from our backyard and decorated them with small gold balls.  Another chili pepper bandana decorated completed the fiesta theme.

After we ate and made crafts, we had a pinata.  What's a fiesta without one? (:

Friday, June 7, 2013

My Christmas Mantle: a lesson in priorities

This year's Christmas decorating was a lesson in learning it's okay to be unfinished and to be imperfect and to be not quite what I wanted.  The week before Christmas Elias was in the hospital, so decorating wound up being unimportant.  It was a pretty scary time...it took the doctors almost three weeks to figure out why he was sick and he kept getting sicker and no treatments seemed to help.  Meanwhile, I was on bed rest and 38 weeks pregnant...since both Jeshua and Elias were born at 37 weeks we were expecting Corban to arrive at any moment.  (I actually took my hospital bag and kept it in Elias' room).

I love my new ornament wreath...I purchased the balls at Target's after-Christmas clearance last year.  My mom brought me a wire hanger to use (I tried bailing wire but it wasn't strong enough).  I had to hot glue the tops to every ornament and then glue about half of the balls to the wire (or each other) to keep it all together once Josh bent the wires together.  It was frustrating and tedious, but the finished wreath looks nice.  And I have to admit it, my hubby was right (:

I need to figure out how to better hang our stockings...I love the look of the curtain rod, but with five stockings you can't put any weight in them or it knocks the whole thing down (which is why they're sitting on the floor in the picture).  We purchased one for Corban just in case he showed up before Christmas.

I love my real tree...I think purchasing a cut tree is wasteful...right now it's sitting in the urn on my back porch so hopefully we can use it again next year too!  I covered the dirt with some moss...I took the moss off when we took the tree outside.  My only not-so-great thing about it is it's a cedar, so it's pretty pokey, especially when you step on one of its pieces!

I had a hard time balancing the natural elements and my bright ornaments. I also didn't find the right balance of height...it's too stair-stepped.  But in light of the few weeks we had before Christmas, it was just fine (:

Jeshua's 3rd Birthday: Curious George and the Pizza Party

For Jeshua's 3rd Birthday, he wanted to have a "friends" party.  His favorite book at the time was Curious George and the Pizza Party and his favorite food was pizza, so we decided to have a Curious George Pizza Party birthday.

We invited five of his friends over to make and eat pizza.  When they arrived, each child received an apron with their name on it and a paper chef's hat.  They decorated the aprons with fabric markers while the others arrived.  I don't have any pictures of the finished aprons :(
The kids then made their own pizzas.  I used mini pre-cooked pizza crusts.  The kids spread pizza sauce and topped their pizzas with three kinds of cheese, crumbled sausage, hamburger and mini pepperonis.  Each child's pizza was baked and then left to cool for a few minutes.  For the adults we offered Papa Murphy's pizzas we baked after the kids' pizzas were done.

While the kids waited for their pizzas to cook, we read Curious George and the Pizza Party together and played with balloons.  

In addition to pizza, we also served pasta salad, Greek salad, fruits and veggies, french bread and breadsticks. The kids drank juice boxes and the adults had pop or water.  You can't see them in this picture, but the windows were draped with a circle paper garland.

For dessert, my mom decorated a round cake to look like a pizza.  Curious George sat on top.

Guests were greeted by this "Loyd Pizzeria" sign on our front door (I made using my Cricut) and balloons.

Each child took home their apron, chef's hat and a goodie bag filled with Curious George stickers, tattoos, bubbles and Curious George fruit snacks and a few balloons.  My sister designed the sticker.

Jeshua loved his first friends party!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Petal Carrot Cake Fail

Have you seen the pictures of Petal Cakes floating around?  I love the look and Jeshua wanted a carrot cake, so I decided to try the decorating technique.  Basically, you pipe circles vertically with a #1 Wilton tip, then smush them to the side with a small spatula.  Then, repeat. Easy, right?  

The cake itself was simple...I just called my mom and got her recipe.  I'm not much of a carrot cake fan, but Jeshua's favorite vegetable is carrots and when he found out that carrot cake existed, he begged me to make him one.  Then, I whipped up a double batch of my mom's cream cheese frosting, did a quick crumb coat and started icing the sides.

Lesson learned:  don't try anything fancy with soft cream cheese frosting (:  The first portion of the cake didn't look too bad.  But the longer I kept the icing bag in my hand, the softer the cream cheese became.  So it started falling off the cake.  Seriously, slouching. By the time I was halfway done with the sides I knew I was headed for defeat.   I was putting the icing on thicker and thicker and was quickly running out.  So I quickly finished the sides, didn't even bother with the top, took a quick picture to remind myself that it's okay if it doesn't always look good because this was the best tasting carrot cake I've ever made.  It's also the only carrot cake I've ever made...shh. (:

Teacher Thank You Gifts: Orange You Glad It's Summer?

I'm not one for sentimentality.  So teacher thank you gifts from me have to first of all be practical and useful and second cute (:  Plus they have to be somewhat frugal.  I put these together for less than $10.00 each.

I found this cute printable on Pinterest and thought it was the perfect mix of useful and cute.
I found the orange tumblers at Publix of all places (after looking at Wal-Mart, Target, Dollar-General, etc. and no one else had just plain orange tumblers for under $10.00).  In the tumbler went a travel sized tube of Banana Boat sunscreen, a coral nail polish, Tangerine Ice Breakers, Burt's Bees lip balm, Peach Mango Crystal Light, Peach Trident Gum and Godiva Dark Chocolate Caramels (so I could have the rest of the bag!)  I used lime green crinkle paper for filler and secured the "Orange You Glad It's Summer" tag with turquoise baker's twine around the outside of the tumbler.

It's not a gift card, but I hope they liked it (:

Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt

In March we hosted a neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt to get to know the people who live around us a little better.  With help from lots of friends, we cooked hot dogs, decorated cookies and hunted about 1,000 eggs (:

I had great plans for making everything look cute, but you know what they say about plans (:  On the Tuesday before the hunt on Saturday we had a small house fire.  That pretty much nixed everything except what I already had done and the bare essentials.  Bye-bye Cheetos in icing bags so they look like carrots.  And the wheat grass I bought to "plant" in a vase. (:

About 30 of our neighbors attended and many brought donations to help out as well because they loved what we were doing.  It was great to meet so many new people!  We found out one of our neighbors is from Zambia -- not the region Josh and I visited, but I loved having that shared experience.

With help from some of our teenaged friends, we put out about 1000 eggs in our front yard.  1000 eggs doesn't look like much, but every kid went home with a full basket.  We separated the yard in two:  one for preschoolers and one for school aged kids.  The preschoolers got tired of picking up eggs before they were all gone so the older kids were happy to help (:

We served everyone lunch:  we ate hot dogs, cheetos and cheddar bunnies, Capri Suns and Hawaiian Punch.  For dessert we decorated plain sugar cookies.  For the sugar cookies I made eight different flavors and colors of frosting and some homemade sugar sprinkles.

My sister designed these tags for the Cheetos and Cheddar Bunnies.

She also designed this Easter Subway Art.  Isn't she awesome?  I'm pretty sure I couldn't host an event without her and my mom's help.  They would probably agree (:

What's a party without balloons? (:

One of the projects I completed before the house fire was a book page mod-podged Easter Egg tree with a milk bottle vase.  Sounds impressive, right? (:  You can see my inspiration here.  I hadn't counted on it being windy (I know, winter in Alabama = silly me).  So I had to mar the visual perfection (ha) by filling the milk bottle with clear marbles.  But I didn't have enough so I had to use yellow ones too (:  And...it still blew over.  Since the only trees we have in our yard are Willows and Bradford Pears, sticks were hard to come by...so when it blew over all the carefully selected only ones big enough in our entire yard not covered in thorns branches snapped.  All of them.  This happened while I was inside doing something so a well-meaning neighbor fixed it for me (: And of course the only picture I have of the arrangement is after the tumble.  Oh well, I like(d) it. (:

Our boys loved having new friends over and our neighbors enjoyed meeting each other.  We're planning another get together for sometime in August.  Now to follow up with our neighbors... (:

Valentine's Day: Juice Boxes and Bubbles

For the boys' MMO Valentine's Parties, they each were asked to bring juice boxes and they both wanted to take bubbles to their friends.

I'm pretty sure I couldn't be near as crafty without my sister designing all the text for my projects (:

Elias' Dinosaur Birthday Party

Elias loves dinosaurs, so for his second birthday we had a small family party with lots of fun dinos hanging around.   

My mantle was transformed with the help of a velociraptor (printed at Staples), lots of plants, trees and dinos.  I picked up the chipboard letters at Hobby Lobby and painted them in orange, lime green and blue.  I made the banner with help from my sister with my Cricut.

For lunch, we ate dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets, french fries, salad, fruits and veggies and pasta salad.  We drank green kool-aid, ate orange and lime Jell-O and had cinnamon-sugar cookies stamped with dinosaur tracks.  A few dinos hung out on table as well (:  The paper garland blocked the view out the windows while allowing light in.  I found the metal pails and paper cups at Target.

Elias wanted dinosaur sprinkle cupcakes:  they were frosted with chocolate-almond frosting, dusted with oreo crumbs and decorated with green grass, dinos and jelly bean rocks.  I found the cupcake liners at Target and the jelly bean rocks at Toys R Us (weird place to find them, I know).

 Even T-Rexes like jelly bean rocks (:

Elias, Jeshua and their cousin Addy had a dino dig in the living room: I buried pieces of a wooden dinosaur puzzle in a box of play sand.  Each boy had a paintbrush (I painted the handles) to excavate with.  When all the pieces were found, we put the puzzle together. This made a huge mess! My boys were too excited about digging to keep the sand in the box (:

Guests were greeted at the mailbox with balloons, dino tracks on the sidewalk (made with my Cricut and secured with packing tape), and this hand-painted "ROAR" sign on the front door.

My mom made the boys dinosaur tails as a present so the rest of the afternoon was spent pretending (: