Friday, March 29, 2013

Super Cute Pillowcases

A while back my super talented mom made the kiddos blankets with matching pillow cases.

Last night she surprised them with Easter pillow cases! Her plan is to make a fun pillow case for each holiday. Sounds good to me!

Thanks Mom! You're the best Grandma in the world!

Happy Easter everyone!

(Excuse the wrinkles in the pictures. The kids slept with the pillowcases right away and I'm on vacation. The iron is only coming out on Sunday morning!)





Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fresh and Easy Mexican Sides

Something amazing happened the other night.  We were eating dinner and both kids asked for seconds. Of everything. Noah, who would live on cheese sticks and grapes if we'd let him, told me I should make this every night. 
 
And the win goes to Mom! 
 
The recipe for Spanish Rice is adapted from my Aunt June's recipe and one I love to make.
 
Spanish Rice
1 cup uncooked rice
2 tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced (sometimes I use dried onion when I'm in a hurry)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 can Rotel, drained (leave the juice if you want more kick)
2 cups water
 
Melt the butter in a large skillet (one with a lid) on medium heat. Add the uncooked rice and stir. Fry the rice until it browns.  Add the remaining ingredients, stir and cook until done. About 15-20 minutes. 
 
Refried Black Beans
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp canola oil
2 cans seasoned black beans, drained but not rinsed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack
 
Heat oil in pan and saute garlic. Add black beans, cilantro, onion powder and cumin and cook for about 10 minutes. Mash with potato masher or immersion blender, depending on desired consistency. Add a little water if it becomes too thick. Stir in cheese until melted.
 
 Baked Tortilla Chips
flour tortillas
canola oil for drizzling
salt
optional seasoning: cumin, pepper, chili powder...
 
 
Heat oven to 350. Cut desired number of tortillas with pizza cutter and place pieces on foil-lined pan. Drizzle with oil. Spread with paper towel by dabbing to ensure each piece crisps up. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake in oven for 7-9 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges. The chips should be crisp, not chewy.
 
Note: I picked up the homestyle tortillas the other day with out realizing it and they must be a bit thicker. It took just a bit longer to crisp.
 
Enjoy!
 
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Awesomest Weekend

First off, I want to make it perfectly clear how much I love my family and want nothing more than to be home with them. BUT...This past weekend was the awesomest weekend I've had in a while.  My husband gave me something that, to a mom, is like gold.  He gave me.... (wait for it)
 
Time in the house alone.
 
ALONE!
 
As in no one here but me!
 
As in no getting up because the kids are awake!
 
As in no stopping arguments between siblings!
 
As in no fixing dinner for the family, but getting to eat whatever I want!
 
On Friday afternon, he and the kids packed up the van and left for an entire weekend in Chattanooga.  When the kissing everyone many times and pushing aside the mom guilt, the van pulled out and I walked back in the quiet house with a big smile on my face and squealed. I might have jumped up and down. I might have even talked to my self about all the things I could do.  I gave the house a good cleaning so I could enjoy the rest of my time and went to bed early with a book. 
 
A trip to Jo-Ann's and Home Goods was in order for Saturday!

Found this guy at Jo-Ann's for 40% off plus a coupon for 25% off my purchase.

Fell in love with these dishes...especially the cute cake stand.
And these bowls.  Love!
These jars are going to make their way into my pantry sometime soon.

This could go many places in the house.

So could this...

or one of these...
and how about a cute little lamp?
The white pillows look hackable. Hmm...
 
These are about the cutest thing ever!
 
I spent the rest of the day watching old movies, cooking yummy food and priming a few different projects.


 
 
More on these to come! 
 
 The kids are on spring break so we are enjoying extra snuggle time and looking forward to spending Easter with family.
 
Hope your week is off to a great start!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Junk Drawer Take Over

Today I decided to take over the junk drawer.

 
This drawer used to be organized.  I got to work clearing it out and throwing away pens and pencils. Why do I feel like I need to keep every pen and pencil my hubby and kiddos bring home? 

First I cleaned the drawer and then lined it with some pretty wrapping paper I picked up at Home Goods this weekend.
 
I also lined the white dividers with another wrapping paper for some contrast. I can't believe how much stuff was in there that we just didn't need to hang on to. Hmm. Wonder what the case will be when I go through the other drawers in the house. Any bets?
 
Update: To keep the dividers from sliding around I just used a little loop of tape. Works great!

I love it!  It makes me happy when I open the drawer.

I keep walking into the kitchen to take a peek!

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easy DIY Spring Decor

 
 
The weather is getting nice, the windows can be opened to air out the house, flowers are starting to bloom...I love spring! Everything starts to feel so fresh. 
Nope, these aren't real. But they are pretty.
 
Yesterday I made a couple of really quick projects to help freshen up the house.  I picked up all of my supplies at Hobby Lobby and used a bunch of glue sticks and went to town!

I picked out 3 of these sprigs (on sale) from the floral department along with 2 foam discs to help hold them in the vase.  The Vase was found in the spring department (also on sale).
 
Just stack the discs in the bottom. They had adhesive squares to help hold them in place. To fill up the space between them and the vase I stuffed some of the paper they wrapped the vase in.  I didn't want it to wobble.
 
 

The last step was to cover the discs with sheet moss and glue it in to place. Easy enough!
 
For the second project, I made a moss topiary. I have been wanting to make one of these for a long time. Let me tell you...it was so fast and easy! You can make your own or buy the topiary. It is a foam ball on a down stuck down in a pot-looking foam shape. Fits perfectly in a pot. 
 
I chose the easy way!
 
 
This is how it looks in the kitchen. I might make one on the other side as well. Haven't decided yet. (sorry, there is not a good way to photograph the kitchen. It's just a bit dark)


First I painted the terrecotta pot so it could dry while I glued on all the moss.  Then I started piecing the moss on. I glued the biggest piece on the top and wrapped it around. To fill in the rest of the ball, just take pieces and fit them in.
  
 
add some moss to the bottom and you're done! You could paint or stain the dowl, but you don't need to.

 
While walking around I found this little chalkboard frame. It was just too cute to pass up. I used my coupon for it. There are other chevron pieces there as well. I heart chevron! ...and chalkboards. I heart chalkboards!...and grey and yellow. I heart grey and yellow!...and metal accent.....oh, you get the point.
 
 
Have a great week!
 
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Favorite Apps

To say I love my iPhone is an understatement. Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite apps with you.

Pic Tap Go: Totally awesome and worth the $1.99. There are 47 filters and get this...you can layer them to create different effects that you can save to use over and over again! I heart this app!
 
Artkive: I've had this a while but am just getting to this one. It is a mama's dream! You can take pictures of art, sort them by child and document about that piece of art.  When you have enough, you can order a photo book! So easy! I have not printed a book yet so I can't tell you how they come out.
 
Gratitude Diary: I'm always looking for ways to notice the little blessings around us and this app helps with that.  You write in it like a dated journal.  I use this to document while on the go. Then when I have some quiet time, I transfer the entries to my One Line A Day journal.


(in)courage: A great daily source of encouragement from different women. Quick posts each day to inspire you.

Blue Letter Bible: Allows you to read the Bible in different translations and study the Greek words and meanings among other things. Love it!
 
Your turn! Share some of your favorite apps in the comments. We would all love to find something fun!
 
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Craft Room Inspiration

I'm relaxing today.  Flu B hit our house a week ago and I had already been taking care of sick kids and a sick husband for about 3 weeks before that.  Kayla's fever finally went away and she is at school.  Noah is fine so far....I was assuming that he'd get it as soon as she went back. And I'm in my house alone for a while. 
 
Thank the good Lord for a break!
 
I'm about to go start digging around in the craft room and start working on that room.  This weekend I came across a FANTASTIC blog that I'm pulling my inspiration from. 
 
Have you read Raising Up Rubies ? Don't you just love that name?! The pictures below are from her blog and I'm using them as my inspiration. 
  

Gorgeous!

Here's what I love. The big table that could be used to host a craft night or work on projects with the kiddos. Or have them working in the room while I'm working on something.

Cheap-o book shelves. They picked these up for cheap and added molding. Perfect!
 
I'm saving cereal boxes and will cover them with brown paper. Cute labels and there we go!  Cheap and cute storage!
 
I'll keep you updated on the room a few projects at a time!

What would you add to your craft room if you had the space?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

That One Little Word

Usually on Fridays I take a look back on our week and share some photos with you. It's a way for me to intentionally be grateful and find the joy and blessings that are easily missed.  You can read more about my One Little Word here.
 
I have missed a couple of weeks and am feeling like I really need to take the time to look today.
 
The kids have been sick.... For a long time....and I'm tired. I'm forgetting about all of the blessings that are around me.

 
Spring is here. Windows can be opened during the day and fresh, warm breezes are blowing.
 
 
Even though she is currently on day 6 of a constant fever, we could have much bigger problems. 
 
For now she rests.
 
 She will be better soon.
 
 
I have a great man who takes care of us and loves to be with his kiddos.

 
Homemade cookies. Need I say more?
 
 
A garden that will soon be planted with food for our family to enjoy.  Kids who love to be out in the garden with us. They're ready.  (both kids were sick this day but made it out for some fresh air)
 
An amazing walk-in clinic that is open on Sunday.
Poor kiddo.
 The kids and I stayed home from church last Sunday. He wanted to go outside but this is all he wanted to do once he was out there. Symptoms became much worse and we took him in to find out it was pneumonia.
 
 
We watched our church service on the computer. He wanted to play along! We are blessed with kids who love music.
 
 
I'm thankful for this reminder that was shared with me by a friend. So often I focus on their behavior when I should be focusing on my own.
 
 God will take care of the rest.
 
That brings me joy.
 
Joy and relief.
 
 
 
Hope you are all having a great weekend!  Do any of you have a word this year? How is it going?
 
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Easy Curtain and Lamp Redo

Hope you are all having a great week!  I thought I'd share a couple more quick and easy projects from our little guy's bedroom.

This was a cheap-o white lamp from Walmart.
I painted the base with a glossy red craft paint and covered the shade with the navy and white star fabric.
The fabric is from Hobby Lobby and is still there. (I've had this in my stash for years)
 I used the same fabric to update a curtain he had. It was just a simple, plain curtain that I picked up at either Target or Walmart when we moved in. (Read about the pallet sign here.)

 All I did was sew the fabric right to it and hung it back up. Easy peasy!  Good thing too because sewing is definitely not something I'm very good at.

During the day we just use some twine tied in the middle of the curtain to let in the sunlight.
 A moose from my teaching days...
...and this room is loooking more cabin-ish all the time!

 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chalkboard Table Games

I'm so excited for Leanne to be back to share her chalkboard table games today!  I love the idea of a chalkboard table and here are some great ideas to use with your kiddos!
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Hello there! My name is Leanne and I am so happy to be back today to share some fun and educational chalkboard table games! You can check out more fun activities for your kiddos at And Away We Go!! Enjoy!!


This past summer, after seeing many inspiring projects online, I decided to give our basement coffee table a quick coat of chalkboard paint. The table is an old remnant from our apartment days and can be picked up at Ikea for a whopping $19.99! I used Rust-oleum Chalkboard Paint in black on the top surface of the table. They do have a spray paint version, but I was unable to find it at my Home Depot. We use both traditional chalk and chalkboard markers on the table. The markers are nice because they are less messy. However, they have left marks behind on the table, which doesn't happen on a true chalk board... must have something to do with the paint. I guess we will just need to give it a fresh coat sometime soon!

Andrew has had a great time playing with the table. It is good for all sorts of games and learning activities. So, I thought I would share our favourites!

Some Games...

A little village for his cars and trains
Table hockey!
Chutes and Ladders
Some learning activities...
Place the correct number of objects in the box.
Trace the letters with your finger.
Printing practice
Initial letter/sound sorting
These learning activities have been great for Andrew. He enjoys running around, rummaging through his toys, looking for what he needs. The printing is far from happening with him, but he does like to make marks over the broken-line letters, and tracing the letters with his finger is great practice for directionality! It is amazing to see how fast these skills develop at this age and with hands on activities like these they stay focused for longer periods of time!