May 31, 2011

June 2011 - Monthly Meal Planning

Ah, its summer... one of my four favorite times of the year {ha ha}. In honor of the warmer weather and less clothing, I attempted to incorporate more light summer type food and less heavy carbohydrates. Attempted, I said… successful at it, not so much. In no particular order, here are the meals for June:

Strawberry Chicken Salad and Fresh Bread
Gyros and Greek Salad {the Hubs LOVES gyros}
Carne Asada fajitas with Spanish Rice {recipe coming soon!}
Gnocchi Supreme {no, I apparently cannot have a month without gnocchi}
Sliders and other small bites, including a too cute mini-wedge salad
Turkey Lettuce Wraps and Fresh Bread
Kabobs served over Wild Rice
Taco Pizza {my belly loves me some Pioneer Woman recipes}
Grilled chicken with watermelon, mango and jalapeno salsa, yellow rice and black beans {recipe coming soon}!

There you have it!  What are some of your go-to summer recipes?

May 30, 2011

Nora's Nursery - DIY Custom Mural










I LOVE my daughter's nursery. It turned out exactly as I had planned {which never, ever, ever happens in my life}. It is warm and cozy, shabby chic and a little tropical {think, Bob Marley's Three Little Birds}. Just perfect!

I used Waverly's Small Talk Blackbird Fabric for the base of the nursery design. The design contains birds, leaves and trees and the core colors in the fabric were black, white, gold and grey. Not too girly, kind-of tropical... perfect for my style.

DIY Custom Mural {for non-artistic people like myself}

Step One: Locate Design

I knew I wanted a mural on the wall, but drawing is not a skill I possess. So, I faked it. Using the fabric as a guide, I found a tree design I liked on the web, printed it and traced it onto a clear sheet protecter. 

Step Two: Trace on Wall

On a borrowed overhead projector, I traced the tree outline onto the wall. A laptop and LCD projector would have worked even better because you could skip the whole "trace it onto a clear sheet" part!

Step Three: Create Templates for Small Details

Once I had the tree drawn, I created templates of the leaves, birds and flowers. I simply placed freezer paper over the fabric and traced the items. Then, I traced the template onto a heavier card stock. I randomly placed the templates on the tree and traced them onto the wall. I made some mistakes...okay...lots of mistakes. Thankfully, pencils come with erasers.

Step Four: Paint

Once everything was drawn, paint your mural {don't be scared, it's just paint}. For this mural, I used acrylic paint in white, black and gold. I mixed the white and black to get my grey. I bought 4 ounce bottles of each color and had plenty left over! 

I found it much easier to get the tree and branches painted first, then the leaves, then the birds.  


Step Five: Admire

Step back and admire the mural!  



Because I was 7 months pregnant and still suffering from "morning sickness", this project took me about six weeks.  However, it could EASILY be completed in a weekend by a non-puking person.

May 19, 2011

Grow with Me Handprint Art



Before Sweetpea was born I had all these fanciful ideas of preserving her every breathing moment. After she was born, reality hit and my “free time” to craft was rededicated to catching up on sleep or laundry {and maybe a few mindless hours playing Words with Friends). Needless to say, while I have taken tons of pictures and videos of her from day one, I have not spent much time crafting a keepsake… until two months ago.

Two months ago, I FINALLY created her “Grow with Me Handprint Art”.  I really wanted to start this with her newborn handprint, but alas…it didn’t happen, so I started with her 4 month old handprint instead {sigh}. Each year, on her birthday {give or take 4 months}, I plan to retrace her hand over the previous year's handprint - creating a piece of art from her growing hand.



Tools: 

8 x 10 Canvas Panel, Tissue Paper, Mod Podge, Acrylic Paint, 8 x 10 Frame (not pictured), Scrapbooking letters (not pictured), paint brushes and the cutest, little, pudgiest hand ever (not pictured)

Step One:

I am not a fan of untextured canvas. It just irks me. It is a personal thing and I wouldn't hold it against anyone if they chose to skip this step. But for me, I took a piece of tissue paper and balled it up several times. Once I got to my desired texture, I pasted the tissue paper on the canvas using Mod Podge.


Step Two:

After your tissue paper thoroughly dries, paint the canvas with your desired color. I went with beige {because I am boring like that}. 

Step Three:

After the paint dries, trace your darling baby's hand in the center of the canvas. Now, if you can actually do this, kudos to you!!  I couldn't. Her wiggly hand just wouldn't bend that way, nor would it stay in one spot long enough for me to trace it. Sooo, step 3b, called for tracing her hand onto copy paper while she was sleeping! That worked!



Step Four:

Trace the handprint on your painted canvas with pencil, then trace that outline with a paint pen. Be sure to add the age of your child at the time of the tracing.




Step Five:

Using Scrapbooking letters, spell out your child's name at the top of the canvas, then frame and display!


I wonder how much larger her hand will look in six more months when I trace it again!?! Ohhhh.....it makes me cry just thinking about it!!!

May 18, 2011

Beauty and Fashion Tips From 1949

I recently found a stash of vintage church cookbooks in my mom's basement. They are tattered, stained and have handwritten notations all over them. I simply love them. Tucked within the recipes are "beauty" and "fashion" tips....from a time that Mrs. Cleaver would appreciate. The wording used cracks me up....


TO AVOID WRINKLES

To avoid wrinkles get as much rest and sleep as possible -- AVOID WORRYING -- try to keep your facial muscles under control -- avoid excessive frowning, squinting and other habits which tend to form wrinkles. A well lighted home will help you to avoid squinting. Massage wrinkles with a rotary and upward motion followed by a good astringent.  


TIPS FOR THE STOUT WOMAN

Avoid dainty and spindly {love this word} chairs and furniture which serve to accentuate your bigness {really? they used the word 'bigness'}.

Hats with wide and slanting brims are usually best.

Wear gloves which match the sleeves in color.

Avoid shoes with heels too high and slender and dark colored shoes are usually better than light ones.

Use fine textured stockings as dark as the current fashion allows {above all, you MUST be fashionable}.

Use a medium size handbag preferably square or rectangular. Too small a bag emphasizes your stoutness.   

If you carry an umbrella, use a long slender one.

Always select dresses with long straight lines which make you appear slimmer. Wear skirts and dresses as long as the fashion will allow.

TIPS FOR THE TALL WOMAN

Never make the mistake of trying to walk or stand in a slouched or bent over position in an effort to minimize your height.

Always wear your hair as flat as it can be made on top.

Wear hats with shallow crowns and large droopy brims. Hat trimmings should be horizontal.

Gloves should be of a different color than the sleeves and the same applies to hosiery.

Wear low heels except with formal clothes.

Handbags should be large and of a contrasting color.

Long haired furs are very suitable {interesting}.

Avoid plain straight dresses. Contrasting bands in blouse and skirt are good.  If the dress is all of one color, set off with a board belt of a contrasting color.

May 15, 2011

Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Balls

Warning! The blog post was written after I consumed large amounts of chocolate and cookie dough…. LARGE FREAKING AMOUNTS! Although I may never again fall asleep, {which is actually perfect since I have a teething 6 month old who has shucked the notion of sleeping} the chocolate covered cookie dough balls were FANTASTIC!

Cookies and Cups, a wonderful blog that I am COMPLETELY obsessed with, inspired the chocolate covered cookie dough balls. I set out to make her Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownie Truffles and FAILED {its okay...I am accustom to failures while baking}. My problem was that I made the cookie dough balls too large, so once covered in brownies, my “little” truffles were the size of pool balls…. a little too gluttonous, even for myself.  So, I ditched the brownies {by ditch, I mean ate them from the pan with a spoon} and just dipped the cookie dough into the melted chocolate. Can't go wrong with that!

Oh, I just wanted to mention that the egg-free cookie dough tasted exactly like the real thing....SINFULLY delicious. 

Here are the Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough balls....


My balls, just chillin' with the Blue Bell ice cream.


Plop! {look at the chocolate trails... I am SO MESSY when I play with melted chocolate!}


Roll it!


Let the excess drip off.


Dry? Cool? Harden?  Whatever.....you get the point.


Place three balls in a small plastic bag and PROMPTLY give away before you eat them all!

May 05, 2011

Cinco de Mayo - Margarita Madness

Even though I haven't had one in decades, I love, love, love margaritas. I typically prefer mine to be on the rocks with extra salt - YUM!  I also prefer to have it on a beach with a little Jimmy Buffet playing in the background. I prefer to be on that beach in a tiny bikini without covering up the mommy jelly belly ... SIGH.


Here are some yummy margarita inspired items in honor of Cinco de Mayo!










May 03, 2011

Dead in the Family

If you like science fiction meets romance meets chick-lit, then please pick up the Sookie Stackhouse novels. They are light, mindless reads…. the type of book that you can start when the plane takes off and finish before you reach your destination. These books allow you to escape reality, for just a few moments at a time… And let’s be honest here, who doesn’t need to escape reality every now and then?!?

The book’s main character is Sookie Stackhouse, a Southern gal who can read people’s thoughts and has a “thing” for supernatural creatures (vampires, werewolves, etc). The first few books had good plots, but after book 4, the plots seem messy, thrown together and the climax/conclusion wraps up within just a few pages. But that doesn’t stop me from reading… nope, not one bit. Dead in the Family continued the recent tradition of a tiresome plot with a brief, unfulfilling climax/conclusion. Sigh.

The next book in the series is due out today, but of course, it will be MONTHS before I read it {the hardback/cheapskate issue}. I have hopes for it though… and if you follow the series, you will understand. In a nutshell, PLEASE reunite Sookie with Bill. She BELONGS with a Southern boy....