Saturday, April 30, 2011

Smitten Saturday

since Mother's Day is a week away i thought it would be nice to share some things on my wish list. 

{hint, hint, Mr.} 

most of the items on my list are in a pretty good price range so they won't break the bank. i would be happy with any one of them!

also, i was thinking about starting a weekly post, sharing all the things that make me smitten.


No. 1} i have a very bold, black and white damask dinnerware set and would love something white, but still with a touch of pretty. i think these NeoBaroque dishes would do the trick! at $160 for an 8 piece set, it's the most expensive thing on my list. but, oh how i love it!!!

No. 2} silver bangles, classic and timeless. 

No. 3} i have been on the hunt for a beautiful teapot to replace the nasty IKEA teapot we've had for way too long. Le Creuset has the most beautiful colors and i know it will last FOREVER. plus, my kitchen could use a little pop of color right around the stovetop area... just saying.

No. 4} my friend Allyson makes the most beautiful double sided silhouette necklaces and i think it would be so sweet to wear each of my babies close to my heart. 

No. 5} Seattle's Best coffee. in any shape or form, at any time of the day. it truly is the best.

No. 6} silver hoop earrings. also classic and timeless.

No. 7} i just love this graphic designer. her prints are awesome. i think my walls are crying out for one to be hanging on them. especially this one of California. i would customize it with a little heart over San Diego. cause that's where my heart is. (Fresno is growing on me... don't worry all you Fresnonians? ... Fresnites? ... Fresnoans? ... what are you guys called, anyway???)

No. 8} this mama needs some new jammies, QUICK! the free camp t-shirt and 10 year old flannel pants ARE NOT sexy. therefore, it would be an investment for both my Mr. and i to get me some ultra comfy and super sexy jammies, STAT. i know my man says he doesn't care what i look like, but i'm pretty sure he's lying. 

i love presents. sometimes they're hard for me to receive because i instantly think about what else the money could have been used for, but they truly do make me feel special. {sidenote to my honey: if you don't get me any of these things i will still know you love me! no pressure!}

what's on your wish list for Mother's Day? mani/pedi? sleeping in? breakfast in bed? ALONETIME??? haha. if you're a mom i hope it's amazing because being a mom is hard work!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

the blog post with many titles

one title could be: "we drove from Fresno to San Diego, back up to Oxnard, back down to San Diego, and back up to Fresno and called it a vacation".

my Mr. was asked to lead worship for the Hume Lake Staff Retreat in Oxnard, CA and we all decided it would be a good idea to make it into a mini-vacation. we really needed some time alone and the kids had been missing their family. also, since the only people we trust to watch our children for several nights are their grandparents and they all live in San Diego. thus began a road trip totaling 1200 miles driven and 24 hours sitting in the car. 


as soon as the kids found out we were going to San Diego for a visit they were chomping at the bit to pack their bags! Big A decided all he would need was pajamas, and Little A thought it best to pack all her beautiful princess gowns. as much fun as all that sounded i did have to repack their bags while they were asleep. don't worry, they didn't even care once they were there. 

we like to drive through the middle of the night so the kids sleep in the car and have less requests for potty breaks and food. it also ensures that they don't incessantly lovingly ask a gazillion couple times when we will get there during the 6 hour drive.

we left at 2am and arrived at 7am, just in time for them to wake up and eat breakfast. first stop was Denny's where we filled our tummies. the next stop, since we "happened" to be at the Denny's right down the street from their house, was to our mentor's house. oh how we miss them! it was such a sweet time. 

after a short visit we head on over to my bestie's house for an overdue play date. we have been raising our kids together and they all love each other so much and it has been 4 MONTHS since we've seen each other. so not right. 

 we finished off the day with a lovely dinner at my Mr.'s dad's house and the cousins were there! so glad it was spring break and we got to sneak in some much needed time with family. 
grandpa trying to "break the eggs" on the trampoline

 then we spent the night at my Mr.'s mom's house and hit the road the next morning. another title could be: "how many people can we squeeze into one day".
another title could be: "my new hat", or "we love to take pictures of ourselves"....

two whole days without the bambinos. it was so nice to sleep in and eat out and have uninterrupted conversations. after our little trip was over we were on the road again to pick up our kids that we didn't miss at all totally missed. we also wanted to celebrate my little brother's 18th birthday while we were in town so we went over to my family's house for a little party. 
sisters and their mini-me's
 i can't believe he's an adult!!!! oh. crap. actually, i'm so proud of him and all he's accomplished. he will be attending UCLA next year! my boy's wicked smart!
one of the favs
after the party we drove home... through the night...trying not to fall asleep...

 this trip was totally needed. but man am i tired.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Crafts

this Easter we had a nice little dinner at home with a few friends and some yummy food. we had a small window during my Mr.'s break from leading worship for all 4 services at our church during lunch time to eat, have great conversation, and squeeze in a mini egg hunt with my two kidlets and our friend's daughter. it was a sweet time and i loved it. 
here are all the crafts i made. you can find the links to them all in my previous post.

i made a ham, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, and this tasty Lemonade Cake. friends brought salad, bread, specialty butters, drinks, and yummy cupcakes. 

what a great way to celebrate the sacrifice my Savior made and rejoice that He is risen!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

learning, loving, and Easter

random, i know. 

first thing i learned was that if you want people to comment on your blog you should just ask. 
second thing i learned is that i don't want to ask for comments. 

i realized i got sucked into the checking, checking, checking of my comments whenever i would make a post and i hit an all time low yesterday when i had a pity party about no one commenting on another post. while some of my questions were legitimate, it was not my favorite moment. but you all were gracious and left so many kind and important comments and i thank you. but i don't want to be that person, so you won't hear that from me again. enough said.

onto way better things. 


i have been scouring the internet for Easter craft ideas because i have been a lame mom for the past four years and NEVER decorated for the holiday. GASP. i can't believe i know me so well and i would pass up an opportunity to craft for a special reason. or... any reason. who am i? anyway, i'm trying to make up for lost time so here's my compilation of the things i want to make for my home and with my kiddos this year. 

the other night i had a couple girls over and we attempted to make these book page birds nests. they look super easy but totally aren't. i completely abandoned the instructions and shoved a bunch of shredded book pages into a latte bowl and threw some glittered eggs into it. it's ok, my kids won't know the difference. 

i plan on making these decoupage book page Easter eggs with the extra shredded book pages i have left over.

about two years ago when i discovered blogs i stumbled upon this cute tutorial and i went out and bought everything to make these adorable Easter buckets. do you think i ever got around to making them? NO! and i probably won't this year but i still really want to. i don't know what my problem is. i also love this blog, she always has the best holiday crafts. 

i might forgo the buckets and make these Easter egg hunt bags from Purl Bee. but i probably won't. i do love anything with giant ricrac though. ANYTHING.

i would love to start making these secret message Easter eggs a tradition that i do for my kids every year. how sweet would that be?

my Mr.'s side of the family makes cascarones every year. you can usually find me hiding in the bushes so i don't get cracked with one.

someone told me about Resurrection Cookies last year and i didn't make them with my kids. fail. this year, i'm gonna do it. i hope. here's the recipe and instructions:
Resurrection Cookies
  • 1 cup whole pecans 
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 egg whites
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • Plastic baggie
  • Wooden spoon, rolling pin
  • Tape
  • Bible
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. (Do this before doing anything else.)
  • Place nuts in baggie and beat them with a wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested and He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3
  • Open the vinegar and let everyone smell it. Put 1 teaspoon into the mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, all He was given to drink was vinegar. Read John 19:28-30
  • Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.Read John 10:10-11
  • Sprinkle a little salt into each person’s hand. Let them taste it, then brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27
  • So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Sprinkle a little sugar into each person’s hand. Let them taste it, then brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16
  • Beat with mixer on high speed for 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents our purity in God’s eyes because our sins are cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18
  • Fold in nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60
  • Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and TURN THE OVEN OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door shut. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66
  • You’re done! Explain that you cannot eat the cookies tonight, but that you have to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. That might not make anyone too happy. Explain that Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22
  • The next morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the third day, Jesus followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9

so here are all things Eastery that i spotted and loved. i hope you love them too. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ice Cream Family Date

i worked so hard on my last blog. did you like it? sometimes i can't tell because a ton of people will look at my blog but no one will comment. i'm still new at this so i guess that's how it goes?

i've been struggling with the purpose of my blog lately. originally it was created to be a resource for the people interested in previewing my wedding invitations without having to meet up with me. then slowly i started adding the little crafts i would make here and there, because those are totally related to my invitation business, right? i thought so, you know... it's all creative... or something. lately i've been wanting to add more personal stuff; pictures of my kids, things my family does around town, stuff that's on my mind. but i'm not sure how true to the original thought i should stick to or just be myself and put what i want. hmmm. 


when my parents were here a couple weekends ago we stumbled upon the cutest ice cream shop in downtown Clovis and totally fell in love. the inside of the shop is decorated with retro red diner chairs and black and white checkered flooring. i failed to get any pictures of the inside (cause there were other people in it and i didn't want to look like a freak taking pictures of the floor and chairs.) but other than the cute decor it had THE BEST ICE CREAM ever. EVER. it's Fresno State ice cream. and dang it's good. 

 Fresno State has an agricultural department because there are a ton of farms out here. they have a dairy farm and everything. well, i guess they make their own ice cream and shops around town sell it. it is so good and creamy and their flavors are amazing. 

the green one is pistachio (mine), the blue one is bubble gum (big A's), the orange/pink is rainbow sherbet (not Fresno State and it was little a's) and the one in back is a mix of cookie's and cream, coconut, and toasted almond (???) (my Mr.'s). the pistachio was RIDICULOUS! 

 apparently, big A liked his. when i was little bubble gum used to be my favorite ice cream flavor. i would spit all the gum balls out onto a napkin and save them for the end. my Mr. said he would just chew them up and swallow them with his ice cream. big A is just like his daddy. he saved one for the end and ate the gum with each bite. 

 we tried to have the kids take pictures of us, it turned pretty good. my Mr. looks like he's about to wipe my daughter's face in her picture. i just look confused.
then we tried to do self portraits. here's how that went: 

Mr. silly face
Mrs. trying to be cute

me, "come on honey, let's do a cute one. it's for my blog.

Mr. (even more silly)
me: REALLY? 

i love family dates. especially when it involves good ice cream, good weather, and silly pictures. 

so to all 33 of my best friends followers, what do you think? do you think i should stick solely to my design stuff for this blog and start a separate personal blog? should i just not include any personal stuff at all? what would you like to see more of?

Monday, April 11, 2011

our house: boy's room

so, after my last post i realized that i've shown you more of my daughter's room than my son's. we all know how i love evenness, so here is a post full of pictures of my son's room and an inspiration board of his my dream room.

for the first 3.5 years of Big A's life he was totally and completely obsessed with cars. thus began the plan to decorate his room full of all things car related. then BAM, one day someone gave him a set of underwear with Spiderman on them, and he was all, "ooo, who's that!?!?!". and from that moment on he could care less about cars. sad day. (were you like me when you were little and felt sorry for the toys that didn't get played with as much as your favorites so you tried to do a calendar of "playdates" so they would all get an even rotation of playtime with you? oh, good. i'm glad i'm not alone.) anyway, now that he loves superheroes i'm trying to save my pennies to transition him out of the car theme.

before we moved to Fresno, i let him pick his favorite bedroom colors from the Serena & Lily catalog and this is what he picked. not only is it cute, but the bedding collection is his name. double rainbow. check out those awesome red school chairs. i love them.

i was so lucky when a friend of mine had these two beauties left over from a community garage sale that she let me have!!! i ran straight to Home Depot and grabbed a can of red spray paint and finally got around to finishing them this weekend. 

 only now they make that big empty spot on the wall look even more massive. i'm working on designing and purchasing some posters and getting some of his baby pictures printed to fill it up. stay tuned for that.

 free bookshelf that needs to up it's cuteness factor. 

 the car bedding. i am still SOOOO in love with it and will probably hoard it for the rest of my life, but it doesn't even fit his bed and he's ready to be a big boy... 
this used to be my dad's dresser when he was little. then my brother used it. i snatched it up when my dad was letting it rot in the backyard and switched out the knobs. i have plans to strip it and repaint it, but not til its nice and hot this summer. 

ok, here's the inspiration board. drumroll please...

2. loving these pendant lamps. if only we weren't renters. and if only it didn't get to like 115 degrees in the summer where a ceiling fan was super necessary.
3. i really want to make 2 of these quilts for his bunkbed. they look easy enough. 
4. coolest rug, ever.
5. these storage crates would look AMAZING under his window for toy storage. 
6. whipped up this little ditty when i was inspired by another poster that i cannot find to credit for the life of me. if you've seen it let me know!

ok, now it's more even. although, now you've seen way more of my son's room than my daughter's. oh crap. guess i better start working on her room tour. 

what do you think?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

a hunting we will go...

for awesome trash treasures that other people don't want anymore.

i've been getting into some antique/thrift store shopping lately. i've gone on several adventures, some with friends, some with my Mr., and some with my family. i realized that i haven't shared any of what i've been purchasing with you, shame on me! i know you're DYING to know what i got. right?

this aluminum pitcher was $2.00. it's totally stained but i think i found a tutorial online about removing stains from aluminum by boiling it in cream of tartar??? what? i know. we'll see how it goes. i still love it. (also, i'm TERRIBLE at flower arrangement. i couldn't do it to save my life. notice how i shoved way to many flowers in that thing and it doesn't even look cute. oh well. i try.)

 i also found this cute little wire heart shaped basket thingy for $.25. it looks so cute above my daughter's bed. it's totally throwing my OCD off by making the wall off-centered. but i'm trying to be better at finishing projects and i thought just hanging it would make me feel better. i better get something up on the other side, and quick! i'm thinking of designing a faux cross stitch poster of a bible verse or something. hmmm.

this little gem was $3.00. it's got significant meaning. my Mr. was named after this song. (now you all know his real name. GASP! hehe) i'm not sure what we're going to do with it but i just had to get it for him. 

the little milk hobnob glass vase in the front was $2.00. the other two in the back are milk glass given to me by my husband's late grandpa. i loved him dearly and am going to start a collection because i think he would like it. like my bookshelf? me too. i love it even more now that it's color coordinated. (more evidence that i'm really OCD) (i'm sure people who are TRULY ocd hate me. but i really am, a little. i count my steps from the car to the front door, and if one arm gets touched i have to touch the other to make it even. CRAZYTOWN. i know.) 

these babies were a gift from the sweetest gift of all, my stepmom. who should really be my real mom. she's like Joseph to Jesus, the mom God chose to raise me. love her with all my heart. she and my dad came up for a weekend visit and we perused an antique store with kids in tow. NOT A GOOD IDEA. my daughter was all, "oooo, a TEA PARTY!" as soon as we walked into a really nice antique store with LOTS of breakables in low places. we were there for all of five minutes when i couldn't handle telling her to put her hands in her pockets anymore, and she wouldn't let me hold her. we made it out unscathed. whew. 
but you better bet that as soon as naptime rolled around we made a beeline straight for that same store, sans babies. i scored this precious little plate set for $5. they're so cute and dainty and i just love the little designs on them. i think i'll put them in our bedroom somewhere. now if i can only find the smallest plate hangers IN THE WORLD. 

i'm still training my eye for awesome finds. i feel like i miss all the good stuff when i'm out and about... but i guess it's something you have to learn. my stepmom is a PRO. she's been doing it for years and knew all sorts of little facts and things to look out for so you don't get jipped. where has she been all my life?!?! how come, now that i live 6 hours away, i'm just discovering we could have been doing this all along. sad day. 

at least i can look forward to more adventures with her to come. do you like to go alone, or with someone special? what do you usually like to get, clothes or home goods? or something totally different? 

hope you like my treasures!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Meal Planning


this is going to be a long post. 

partly because i'm going to vomit my thoughts all over this blog and partly because it just is. 

ok. for one, i love to meal plan. it feeds into my OCD like none other. it allows me to make a chart and cross things off, which makes me feel all warm inside. also it helps me keep to our grocery budget because i am only buying what we need and we are eating what i buy. sparkles and rainbows are flying out of my kitchen on a nightly basis. it couldn't get any better than weekly meal planning right?!?! NO! ever heard of monthly meal planning?? what!

 several weeks ago i came across this blog post about monthly grocery shopping. (sorry about the poor link. i tried to give her credit and she has good things to say about monthly shopping but her blog is not functioning right. try again later!) it caught my attention because the idea of shopping only once, preparing all your meals, and freezing them sounded not only like a fun project for this OCD mama, but also because it seemed like you put in all the effort at the start and get the rest of the month off from cooking. VACATION? yes. 

now...i LOVE to cook, but there for sure are days when i am not prepared for a certain meal, or just plain old don't feel like cooking. i have a process that goes on in my head and if i don't follow it i get easily overwhelmed. dinner time is not one of those time i should be deviating from a process. i'm also not one of those special people who can look in the cupboards and be all "bippity boppity boo" and come up with something that will blow my family's minds... i need a recipe. like, every time.

so i decided to go on the adventure of attempting to monthly meal plan. only my meal plan will be bimonthly because, joy kill, i don't have a separate deep freezer. our freezer is ridiculously tiny so i just can't fit that much in there. it's ok, it's still awesome.

wow, still with me? it's gonna start getting good now, promise. 

last year i stumbled upon this wonderful creation that i use religiously. it's a grocery list that is pretty and allows for me to plan my week like Jesus isn't coming back anytime soon. you should get it and love it like i do. after printing my grocery list i embarked on a hunt for healthy freezer friendly and crockpot ready meals. then i filled out my form for double the amount to make it two weeks worth. AH-MAZE-ING. 

now, i will give you all my recipes for the next two weeks and how i altered them to either be freezer or crockpot friendly. 

the link calls for pork, but after watching Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe with my Mr. about pig farming {gag} we decided to take a break from pork for a while. i substituted the pork for chicken thighs. i will have to go back to the store to pick up fresh bell peppers and snow peas next week since i don't expect them to keep for two weeks. 

we had this last night. the collards were nasty. i think i will try adding kale next week. also, the link calls for andouille but i just put turkey kielbasa in instead.

i make this all the time and we all love it. to make this one freezer friendly i just put all the first 6 ingredients, except the oil, in a ziplock. i also substitute zucchini for black beans and omit the jalapenos to make it more kid friendly.

i also make this one pretty regularly. i didn't think i would ever like meatloaf until i had this one. this recipe is for a single serving, so in order to make two family sized batches i had to multiply everything by 8. (who says you never use math!) to make it freezer friendly i put it in foil tins. so easy. i will serve it with freshly steamed green beans and roasted yams. 

here is my spaghetti recipe. i forgot to take a picture. it's the best. my son does a little fist pump when he knows it's spaghetti night. i usually add zucchini and substitute the ground beef for mild italian turkey sausage. doubling this recipe was gave me enough for 4 calzones and 3 family size batches for later. 


i purchased some premade pizza dough. i rolled it out and filled it with the spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, olives, and fresh mozzarella slices. to make them freezer friendly i wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in freezer bags. 

first time making calzones. 
mmm. can't wait to eat you.

i'm not sure why this is the only picture i took. it doesn't look like all the rest and it's giving me a little twitch. but i guess i'll just have to deal with it. anyway, to make this freezer friendly i browned the chicken and put the first 6 ingredients in, except the oil. once it's thawed i will follow the remaining steps. 

chili. i also don't have a picture of this because i'm making it tonight. i usually make cornbread with this. love this recipe. 

 here's my freezer, minus the meatloaf. the meatloaf tins are in the door. i'll still be able to squeeze the second batch of chili in right up top. nice. 

so right around 4:30 when i'm usually sweating over chopped carrots you can just find me playing with my kids in the yard. 


***UPDATE: in case anyone is wondering, i spend $200, give or take for the few non food related items like deoderant and stuff. we are a family of four so it may be more or less depending on how many are in your family and how far these recipes go for you. i purchased my meat at Costco and did all my other shopping at Fresh & Easy. i heart Fresh & Easy. ***

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Paper Bunting

so... in order to get a shop up and running i need money. i don't have money. you have money. i have bunting. let's trade! 

just kidding. not really. in all seriousness, i am trying to sell a couple of these cute little suckers so i can put the money towards my packaging and building up my supply so i can have a nice shiny store when it comes time for the grand opening. so, here are a couple premade paper bunting(s?) that i made recently. if you are interested in one please email me. i also take custom orders. 

 "smitten" bunting - fifty five dollars

  "dwell" bunting - forty five dollars

 "tiny" bunting - forty dollars

also, my brother is turning 18 in a couple days and this is his senior year in high school and i really want to get him a camera. the money would also go towards that. 

shhh. don't tell him.