Saturday, April 30, 2011

Simple Skirts!

OK....long story short..I bought this super cute pale pink and yellow eyelet material to make smocked sundresses for the girls.....well standing at the cutting counter I notice how thin it is, grab some muslin to back it with and off I go to sew with some girlfriends.... well BAD choice.. I don't know if it was the 2 fabrics or my machine or what but PROJECT FAIL!  I should have gone with a plain thicker cotton and so now I still had this fabric which I loved and couldn't just let it I had seen this tutorial on MADE and thought why not?!? 

I ran into a local fabric store grabbed elastic (and wicked cute cotton fabrics for the smocked sundresses too) and put these together in an afternoon..super simple (even for me!?!?)! The part that took the longest was feeding the elastic through the waistband, other than that super quick and the girls love them since they have "just the right amount of twirl" to quote my oldest!

BONUS - you get to see my gorgeous forsythia bushes in bloom out front! LOVE them & this is by the far the best they have been since planting them. I got all 3 for less than $10 total on the end of season clearance at Lowes, they looked like dead sticks in buckets but now check it out!

Stay tuned for the sundresses once I get brave enough to try it again I will post pics! Wish me luck!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

My dad would have turned 59 today! I miss him everyday & wish more than anything he was around to know me all grown up, my husband because I know they would get along amazingly & most of all to know my girls and my girls to know their grandpa.  These are my wishes on his birthday.  I miss and love you dad!

Dug through some old photos and found these, one when I was little & we still lived in Missouri and not sure what birthday we were celebrating in the other photo but thought it was great to have a birthday cake picture today!

Friday FAB finds!

How fun are these? Take cheapo headbands and make them super cute with scraps!

Maybe I am the last one to know about this but I just found it this week & am hooked..its like all these blogs I stalk follow rolled into 1 site! WOOOHOOOO!

Strawberry Limeade
YUMMY - this looks like the perfect refreshing drink, now if I could only figure out how Sonic makes their ice into tiny little balls I would be set!

Dish Towel Tote Bag
So fun & looks simple (those are usually my famous last words!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Spring...finally!

Finally getting some sunshine & warmer weather here in CNY!

Monday, April 25, 2011

~Susan G Komen Race for the Cure~

As you already know I am participating in the Race for the Cure next month.  I am a member of a team called "Al's Rack Pack" we have close to 50 people supporting our good friend Allison Enders who recently put the smack down on breast cancer!  She is an amazing woman who many people love and admire and I am lucky enough to call a friend! 

I am proud to announce I have met {and exceeded} my fundraising goal of $250!! Our team has raised over $4500!!  I would LOVE to raise more so feel free to keep donating folks! ;)  19 more days to go till the big race day!

My honor roll of donors!

My mom Debbie Brown - $100
My in-laws Bill & Caroline Barilla - $50
My sister Michele Sutton - $25
My sister-in-law Heather Barilla  - $25
My garage sale partner/neighbor Janine English - $25
My BFF Vanessa Apodaca - $20
My MOMS Club pal Julie Brown - $20
My good friend Karen Ezzo - $10

A HUGE thank you to everyone above, I truly appreciate you all & your donation is helping fund research that we desperately need so we can find the CURE!!!  If you have not donated and would like to please go to my personal page.  Better yet, if you are local sign up to join our team on May 14!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Weekly Menu!

Meal #1  Steak Frites & tossed salad
Meal #2 Chicken Alfredo pasta bake w/ breadsticks & tossed salad
Meal #3 Kielbasa on the grill w/ green beans & rice pilaf
Meal #4 Chicken & Cheesy Rice Casserole w/ cantaloupe & carrots
Meal #5 Sour Cream Noodle Bake w/ garlic bread & tossed salad

Things to try:

Lemon Bread
Butterfinger cookies 1 of Dave's favorite candy bars so this is a must try for sure!

Happy Easter!

Wishing you a very Happy Easter & hoping you all spend this day with those who are closest to your hearts!  While Easter is a fun holiday with the big bunny, eggs & candy lets also try to remember the real reason behind the holiday.  While I am not the most religious person out there I was raised with my beliefs & hope to pass those to my girls as well.

 Luke 24:1-12
(1) But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. (2) And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, (3) but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. (4) While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. (5) And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? (6) He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, (7) that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” (8) And they remembered his words, (9) and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. (10) Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, (11) but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. (12) But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

This is nice story to share with kids to let them know the true meaning of Easter.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Menu!

This year I decided to forgo the whole big dinner spread since its a ton of work & I am not a fan of it anyway!  We are doing brunch instead which I am a HUGE fan of but never do for whatever reason!  Soooo we decided since we host & do the majority of the work we get to choose! Fair right?!

Here is our menu for tomorrow's Easter Brunch!

{includes ham which will hopefully make everyone who wanted the traditional ham dinner happy}

Fresh Fruit Platter

{this recipe is wicked good & everyone always raves when I make it!}

Yogurt parfaits
{layers of vanilla yogurt, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries & granola}

Aunt Connie is bringing a yummy adult dessert so I am going to have these fun desserts for the kiddos!

Coffee, Tea, Mimosas, Milk, OJ

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday FAB finds!

Thanks to my friend Kathy for sending me this AMAZING site w/ patterns and fabrics and all sorts of cuteness!

SUPER fun Easter treat for the kiddos!

Thanks to my friend Jenn for connecting me with this awesome blog & the super cute ruffle pants I now MUST make for my girlies!

Laundry Hanging Rack
My laundry/mud room renovation will happen someday..I have grand plans & have already started buying things & making a to do list for Dave!

Helping Tower
LOVE this for little ones to safely be high enough to help out wherever whenever!  I love everything by Ana but this is on my "have Emmie ask Daddy cause then Mommy gets what she wants list"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Haley dress x 2!

So, last week I mentioned doing a sew-along with a blog I follow, JensOwnRoad.  This is an awesome blog with so many cool ideas and ways to inspire you.  I was super excited when she announced this sew-along for her "Haley Dress".  After the pillowcase dresses I was excited to try my hand at an actual dress with a pattern and everything!

Here are her tutorials - check it out!  The Haley Dress is listed first but other cute ones follow!

I had tons of questions and struggles all the way through but Jen was so sweet and patient and emailed me back all day & night to help me through it!  I learned how to make a pattern, make and use bias tape {So cool & WAY easier than I thought to make..must give a disclaimer here though because I swear it took me at least 1 hour to get the bias tape for the arm holes & straps pinned on and FOREVAH to sew it on} Here's to hoping I get better with practice!

So without further adieu, here are my girls completed dresses {please don't zoom in because they are far from perfect, BUT they are done, I am happy & my girls are smiling so I call that a success!}



And...on a side note check out what got delivered today!?!?!? My fancy smancy new Canon DSLR! {Dave got a $5000 motorcycle & this was my bribe consolation prize! ha ha} I am over the moon stoked about this and took everything I had not to run out to the driveway & hug the UPS guy when he pulled up!  Stay tuned for WAY better pictures at least after I learn how to work this thing!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Beautiful girls......

I have 2 beautiful girls if I do say so myself :) 

I am also lucky enough to have a friend who is an amazing photographer...she snapped some pictures the other day while at her girls are big stinkers when it comes to getting their pictures taken...that's probably the reason we have not had them done for over a year! YIKES! I get all sweaty & stressed just thinking about sitting in Sears Photo Studio enduring the torture of posed photos!  I plan to book a slot with my friend this summer for family photos and she suggested just snapping some fun pictures of the girls since she needs to update her blog more of course I jumped at the chance, just to help out a friend of course, not to totally take advantage of potentially getting some great shots of my girls! It was a win-win I guess but man oh man she had to work for these & I felt really bad..I hope the spring flower bouquet we brought was enough consolation for her efforts & she will still be willing to do our family photos this summer!

Check her out, if you are in the CNY area contact her and reserve your spot QUICK QUICK QUICK, she is FANTASTIC!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Silhouette Give Aways!

Man oh Man.......I have been drooling over these machines forever & trying every chance I get to win is another round of contests this week with a blog hop 6 of the blogs I LOVE to follow!

The 1st chance to enter is:

The 2nd chance to enter is:

The 3rd chance to enter is:

The 4th chance to enter is:
Flamingo Toes

I will add links to this list daily to increase your chances of winning on each of the blogs giving away a machine!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weekly Menu!

This week is Spring Break for us so trying to go with quick & easy meals -

Meal #1 Chicken Salad sammies w/ fries (LOVE this brand in any type!), coleslaw & grapes
Meal #2 Mac & Cheese (still on my quest to find THE go-to recipe)
Meal #3 Chicken Lime Tacos w/ chips & salsa
Meal #4 Spaghetti w/ meat sauce & bread w/ dipping oil & tossed salad
Meal #5 Chicken Lo Mein w/ egg rolls

Things to try:
hummingbird nests - these look like those little Russell Stover Easter nests that I LOVE!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies - what could be wrong with this combo of PB & chocolate!?!
Buffalo Chicken Dip - I have been wanting to make a dip like this forever, we LOVE chicken wings!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sew-Along @ JensOwnRoad!

I am doing a sew-along with one of the blogs I love to follow next week!  Join me if you want - I cannot wait since the clothing Jen pumps out is so stinkin cute!  She is super nice and I have forewarned her I am a beginner & will be bugging her the whole way through for help. Even if you don't want to participate in her sew-along check out her blog and you are sure to get inspired!

I gathered all my supplies today, Emmie's dress will be the green/purple & Savannah's the multi-print & pink!

Wish me luck & pray for Jen's sanity as I am sure to drive her nuts! HA! :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday FAB finds!

Remember pudding pops from back in the day?!?! They were hard enough to be a frozen treat but softer than a normal fudge pop.  I don't know if you can still find them in the grocery store or not but I found a recipe online and they were AWESOME!  Perfect for those warm weather days, or in my opinion everyday is a good day for ice cream!

When & what to go organic with?! Organic is EXPENSIVE & for those of us on budgets its almost impossible to go the totally organic route. I have been switching over slowly and found this information helpful on where you really should spend the extra $$ & where you don't need to worry as much!  **and when you cannot buy organics, try this produce wash**

Personalized Placemats

How cool are these? What a fun idea, I think kids would LOVE this and what a great personal birthday gift idea!

Beginner Photography tips!
I am shopping for my first DSLR camera and there are so many choices, too much info & WAY too many options out there...Considering my photography knowledge is little to none I need all the help I can get!! I have narrowed it down to the 1 I want to start with & hope to get one soon so stay tuned!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Big sister's pillowcase dress!

We couldn't leave out my older daughter, Savannah in all the pillowcase dress fun! Here is her dress..I will say this 2nd attempt went WAY faster & although its not perfect its super fun, less than $5 & she was thrilled! I especially love the dangling trim along the bottom!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pillowcase Dress Tutorial {for the complete sewing dummy!}

A couple girlfriends are wanna-be sewers like myself so we decided to try our hands at those super cute pillowcase dresses you see all over! They look so cute on the little girls and pretty straightforward and easy to make.  I found this tutorial online which had pictures and pretty good instructions so I went for it!  Joanns had some awesome fabrics on sale for only $2.99 yd so I bought enough for 3 dresses {Savannah was specific in her color requests but I couldn't choose between 2 for Emmie so got both for that price!}  I found coordinating fabric in those "Fat Quarter" packages, on sale for 99cents, because I planned on making my own bias tape & maybe even putting a strip of it across the bottom for contrast (lemme just jump in & say all that fanciness did NOT happen).

I was so proud of myself cranking right along through all the steps on the tutorial..then it all came to a screeching halt and the frustration started along with the dummy hat I was convinced I was wearing since I could not for the life of me figure out how to sew the arm holes.  I can sew a straight line pretty good now that I have been practicing but sewing on a curve in a 1/2 circle was WAY beyond me!  I opted for the fold 2x & iron then sew method because I was intimidated & scared of the whole bias tape route.  Maybe the bias tape would have been easier & I should have been scared by the method I chose..Who knows?!?! I think I will try the bias tape for Savannah's dress so I will report back :) 

So come along on my journey to my 1st piece of apparel since those awful 7th grade home-ec shorts!

Cut your fabric to size & then sew together like in 1st pic then iron seam open (yes I am ironing on my kitchen counter using a pizza peel - mad skills I tell ya!)            


Now fold your dress in 1/2 - and get ready to cut your arm holes, I used the measurements she gave as a guide since I was clueless here & just ask Dave - I cannot run a measuring tape to save my life.  Whenever we work on something around here I give him measurements like "Its 25 inches & 3 little lines, just short of the 2nd big line! He LOVES its & that's why I am no longer allowed to be on that end of the tape measure)

*HUGE important note here* - Be SURE to keep the seam you just sewed on the side you are cutting for the arm holes.  A lovely wonderful woman who shall remain nameless did not do this so the seam was in the back & created HUMUNGO problems later!

I was all smug at this point thinking I had this thing in the bag & why had I waited so long to try...I went to fold 2x, iron, pin & sew the arm holes.  While I am trying to fold & iron I started to feel like the stooge hat was on my head.  I was thinking if I cannot even get this to fold easily how in the world am I going to sew this evenly?  I was not & let me tell you I ripped out (thanks goodness for that seam ripper! The instructor of my class was not kidding when she said its a sewers BFF!) probably 4 seams and kept trying before finally throwing in the towel and started my google search of sewing arm holes - there must be some super secret easy trick to this I was just missing since I am new to the sewing world.  I didn't find any & at the advice of my neighbor & sister I just went slow, kept raising the presser foot & scooting over the fabric & sewing more.  Finally it was "good enough for who its for" in my book & I went onto the neckline. 

Here is where the HUMUNGO issue came into play I mentioned earlier.  I folded over the top of the dress about 1" and ironed and pinned it in place. 

Ahhh...a nice straight piece of fabric to sew again - life is good & I will conquer this...not so fast.....In the back of my head I kept thinking its probably going to be hard to feed this ribbon through after its sewn but I don't want to put in the ribbon & then sew because I might catch the ribbon and won't be able to adjust it for the straps.  I sewed both sides of the top, got a skewer (hooray for unprofessional tools!) and pushed it right through to the other side.  Hooray I am seeing the light at the end & visions of Em dancing around in her handmade dress are in my head!  I go to feed the ribbon through the back piece and it gets jammed right in the middle and won't go further!  @#$%?!  I realize now why it was a "side seam"  Well there is no chance in you know where I was going to rip it all apart & start over since I was this far..I carefully took apart just that small piece of the seam and shoved the ribbon through, made sure I had even pieces on each side & sewed the opening closed - thank the lord above I used pink thread that totally blends in with the fabric because it really helps to mask all these mistakes!

Now, finally time to fold, iron, pin & sew the hem along the bottom and be done! This was fast & easy just how I thought the whole show would be! 

AND just to add insult to injury - I had bought this super cute 1" lime green ricrac to go along the bottom seam just to add a little detail.  I start to wrap it around and pin it in place only to realize its about 2" short -

Voila........finally done, I might still add that ricrac trim when I get back to Joanns to get a bigger piece or I might just save those cute little touches for my next try now that I think I might be able to avoid most of the mistakes I made on this first attempt!!

Disclaimer - this cost me 1 spring oreo @ 8:30am!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekly Menu!

Meal #1 pizza pasta casserole, mozzarella sticks & tossed salad
Meal #2 Asian lettuce wraps & fried rice
Meal #3 Creamy chicken tacquitos & spanish rice w/ chips & salsa
Meal #4 Cheeseburgers, green beans & grapes
Meal #5 Garlic flatbread (I find it in the bakery @ Walmart) w/ EVOO drizzled on, real mozzarella sliced, fresh basil cut into super thin strips & halved cherry tomatoes - just pop it under the broiler for a minute to heat thru and somewhat melt the cheese (we copied this from an appetizer @ Circa that was insanely good - super important to use FRESH ingredients & a real ball of mozzarella - not the crappy shredded stuff) & tossed salad w/ buttermilk dressing

Things to try:
Oreo mint brownies
granola bars (I have a recipe I use all the time but this one looks too good not to try!)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Fab Finds!

So, I spend WAAAAAYYYY too much time online surfing blogs {just ask Dave, but seriously I admit it too} I find tons of amazing crafts, recipes, tutorials, I thought I would dedicate Fridays to show you guys what I am loving that week!  This will most likely be a whole mismatched hodge podge of stuff to include recipes, sewing projects, crafts, jokes, articles, whatever catches my eye that week.  It never ceases to amaze me how many talented people there are in the world and they share their talents and creations all over blogland!

Here goes!

I made these yesterday for an after school snack since Savannah was having a friend over to play and a "fancy snack" was requested...which means goldfish & a string cheese would not cut it! ;)  Super easy and insanely good, I could sit down and eat the WHOLE pan if not careful!!

I am obsessed with learning to sew right now, for my girls finding inspiration all over on cute & allegedly easy projects :)

I am in LOVE with this big time, how freakin cool is that idea & bonus - pretty cheap & easy too!

Spring decorating! These are definite musts for me & should be fairly inexpensive since we have branches all over the yard that came out of the trees this winter.  Speaking of, I am proud to announce that we only have  2 major snow piles left to go - 1 where we cleared the driveway all season & the infamous igloo Dave builds in the backyard every year!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

FINALLY..the big secret room reveal

Remember back here when I gave a sneak peek of our playroom addition?  Well this little room has been a project for soooooooooooooo long it feels like, we actually started last summer since this space is over the garage and before we sheetrocked the garage ceiling we had to frame in and get all the sheetrock up in this space!   We worked off and on (mostly off) then got seriously chugging on it this January..2011 seems to be our year of finishing all our 1/2 done projects..which are MANY! 

The original idea came from a super cute blog called NannyGoat.  We had literally just added on our garage and the shared wall matched right up with the existing playroom when I saw this post, how perfect is that?!?! As you can all imagine, hubby was just overjoyed when I showed him, but I quickly placed most of the blame on my sister Paula for showing it to me in the first place!

So...loads and loads of pictures in this post but we are just so thrilled to be done and couldn't be happier how it turned out...the girls are in love with the new space & all their friends that come for playdates are in I would have killed for a space like this when I was a kid...guess I can just live vicariously through my girls now....awww, who am I kidding?! I am in there crawling around with them every chance I get! :)

The entrance! 
Its hard to show true size in pictures but my 2 year old is taller than the opening!  Yes, I made Dave use actual shingles on the roof, the mailbox I found @ Joanns during Valentines day.  All the trim is leftover from other parts of the house, I made the glittery little welcome sign with my cricut. Still on my quest to find a tiny little battery coach light!

Just inside the little "fairy entrance" my girls are crazy into fairies and pretend so this is what the new space is all about!  Let their imaginations go crazy & have a magical place to just dream & pretend! The graphic reads "We believe in fairies..." and a little fairy on a vine swing next to it!  Let me tell you this little section was a real joy to work in, Dave laying on his back or crawling on knees to hang & finish sheetrock and me trying to paint..I plan to do a little more decorative touches in there but that's on the "someday" list!

The lights are from my wedding! Crazy but after we got it all done and just a nightlight in this little crawlspace it was pretty dark..I was looking around for a strand of Christmas lights and remembered using these at my wedding, dug through boxes in the attic and there they were, still with the sage green tulle wrapped around them!

This is the view from the crawlspace to the larger part of the playroom where it opens into the existing space. The glorious free cabinet stuffed with dress up clothes :)

Here is the part up the stairs, this was all a crazy angled space due to working within the garage rafters but its extra space that wasn't going to be utilized and now its played in daily! I used leftover green paint from our master bedroom on the lower, drybrushing some up onto the higher part of the wall to look like grass and leftover blue paint from our guest room on the top for the sky. I wanted some cute magical touches so I added the cherry blossom tree on 1 wall & dandelions on the other wall, these are one of the girls most favorite part of summer..they search the yard for them to blow and make a wish!


 Grrr...I really need a good camera, impossible to get nice pics of these to do them justice!

So that's it, here are some shots of the whole space, old & new!

A corner just for baby stuff, includes all Em's Santa presents!

Little reading corner on the window seat & bins to hold all the "stuff"!

Games/puzzles, the TONS of Littlest Pet Shop gear & computer in this spot!

view into the new section from the old part!

Monday, April 4, 2011

My sewing adventure!

So yesterday afternoon was my Sewing 101 class @ JoAnns.  I registered ahead of time, bought all my materials on the class list with Emerson's help. I was geared up to make a super amazing pillowcase {heavy sarcasm here!}

I get to the class yesterday only to learn the girls at the front counter had given me the wrong list! They gave me the Kids Sewing 101 rather than just the Sewing 101! that's why it read ages 8 & up, and I was all worried to be the creepy old lady in the room with all these kids {who would probably be better than me too!?!} So..I had bought the wrong items and promised my 2 lovely little gals that I would be coming home with a fairy pillowcase just for them!  Oh Boy I was gonna be in trouble!  Instead of a pillowcase I brought home these scraps of fabric from practice stitching, much less impressive - especially to a 2 & 6 year old!

NO, I didn't totally screw it up on that bottom line, I learned a "basting stitch" where you can then pull one end of the thread out & gather the fabric, then put in a final stitch, remove the basting stictch & your gathering stays put!! This will be handy for all these great sundresses I have dreams of making!

So, after the girls went to bed last night I busted out my material and was determined to make a pillowcase for them..I mean how hard could it be?!? I was convinced in 10 minutes I would done and they would be thrilled in the morning.....well almost 1 hour later {I know right?!?!}  I was done..I actually made something from nothing with no pattern or directions.  Its by no means perfect but to my girls its AWESOME and I don't forsee any expert seamstresses to be picking apart my handiwork; if they even try I say "bring it!"

This photo cost me 3 starburst jellybeans @ 8am!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weekly Menu!

We have a couple meals left over from last week's list to carry over.  Since everyone has been sick I made chicken noodle soup in the crockpot one night and another night just did PB&J's {just keepin it real in case you were under the totally false presumption that we always have it all together around this joint! ;)} 

In fact, this sign hangs in my living room as our family motto!

Meal #1 Taco Salad (this is how to make the bowls) w/ spanish rice
Meal #2 Olive Garden Salad & paninis
Meal #3 Chicken Club pizza w/ tossed salad & mozzerella sticks

Things to Try:

Snickerdoodle muffins - I think I'll try these out for a coffee date with some lovely moms later this week!
Chocolate granola

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bring color into your life ~ or at least your house!

If you don't already know Valspar Paint is having a huge Power in Color sample giveaway! The giveaway opens daily at 9am CST, I have been trying forever to score a jar but always too late or too early or forget all together.  The other day I saw their announcement on their FB page that the "store" had just opened so I clicked over quick and was so excited to finally make it and I didn't want to take all day deciding on a color so I went with with "Pomegranate Red", no clue why or what I will be using it on but I love deep reds & I was under the gun so I am sure I will find some old curbside treasure in my attic stash to makeover with it!  So, my advice to you would be go look through all their amazing choices and know what color you want beforehand or just dash over there make a quick choice and try something you normally wouldn't ever go for!

I already love Valspar Paint {remember my bathroom painting here} & Lowes is my ultimate home improvement store so I was super excited to get my package in the mail yesterday.  It comes with a little tray & roller, color palette to find coordinating colors, and a $5 coupon for a gallon of your choice @ your local Lowes too!