Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Superheros in swimsuits!

The girls kept trying to get their beach towels to stay on like capes in the backyard today...not working out so well...

**IDEA** we took the capes Aunt Paula made outside, they had a blast running around the yard saving the world from super bad guys {and looking super cute doing it if I do say so myself!}!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekly Menu!

Meal #1 Chicken Taco Salad Foldovers w/ spanish rice & chips & salsa
Meal #2 Brats w/ macaroni salad & watermelon
Meal #3 Southern Fried Chicken Strips w/ tossed salad & cantelope
Meal #4 BLT's w/ fruit salad & coleslaw
Meal #5 Chicken Fajitas w/ homemade tortillas & chips w/ salsa

Snacks & goodies
Lemon Blueberry Crumb Bars
4th of July Lemonade cake
Rolo Brownies {oh my goodness I could be in heaven!}

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Big day in the Barilla house...Savannah got her ears pierced.  It wasn't planned, had not even talked about it but while out shopping she looks at the jewelry counter at Kohls and decides she wants to have her ears pierced..so off to the mall we go. 

 Waiting & still excited..but soon the screaming begins

Checking out the marker dots to make sure they are even

Here we go!!

All done finally!!!!
{I win the super nice mom of the year award here as I am laughing & she is screaming!}

NOW later at home she is thrilled & cannot wait to get "BIG hoop earrings"!!  Oh man, kinda scared for what she will pick out when its time to change them!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pillowcase Dress using an actual pillowcase!

So...after making the girls their pillowcases dresses from scratch here & here  I found a really pretty pillowcase at a thrift store that looked brand new...it was only $2 so I grabbed it.  Its been sitting in the bag of fabric remnants I have been acquiring since learning to sew.  Today I grabbed it out and got to work..I don't know if its the sun finally being out after several days of cloudy rainy weather or what but I was itching to sew something summery and fun..plus I try to sew at least 1 thing every week to keep learning and getting better! 

I snapped some pictures along the way because I know learning to sew is frustrating {at least for me!}  I search and search for good simple easy to follow tutorials with tons of directions for people like me who get lost easily and need their hand held throughout.

1 pillowcase
2yds of ribbon
coordinating thread
{obviously sewing machine, measuring tape, scissors, pins, etc.)

OK - so first pick out a pillowcase that suits your fancy. Just be sure to hold it up to your child to make sure the length is ok...you might need a king size or the standard might be just fine. Pick a coordinating ribbon for the "straps"

crisp white w/ eyelet trim! Ribbon left over from an Emmie skirt!

Next fold your pillowcase in 1/2 and cut off 1" {or more if necessary} on the top, this will become the top of the dress.

Next, take the folded pillowcase {make sure the seam is in the fold you are cutting on} measure & cut the arm holes.  For my 6.5 year old I cut down 6" & across 2".  Just measure a dress or shirt your child currently has, or I found this tutorial helpful for determining sizes under step #4. 

Next, you will finish the top of the dress.  Turn the pillowcase inside out.  Fold over about 1/4" on the front, iron that down then fold over again 1" {I did 1 1/4" so I can easily change out the ribbon whenever we want} and iron that in place.  Repeat the same thing to the back piece. Pin each side in place. Now you will sew that in place, run a stitch right along the bottom edge of your folded piece in the front and back.

Next its time to sew the arm holes.  My LEAST favorite part of any dress or top.  A little trick to make it a bit easier is to cut a tiny slit in the corners of each arm hole, that just makes it easier to fold over, iron in place & sew. Fold over just a tiny bit then again about 1/4" so you have a clean finished edge.  It will bunch a little as you sew but it really doesn't matter since this is a loose fitting dress and it wont be seen under their arms either!

Next take your ribbon and feed it through the "pockets" you sewed on the front and back, easiest way is to attach a large safety pin to one end and feed it through. I chose to take 1 long piece of ribbon {66" to be exact} and only tie on one shoulder because I like that style..but you could take 2 pieces and have ties on each shoulder like I did on the original pillowcase dresses I made.  Be sure to use FrayChek on the ends of the ribbon so they stay nice and crisp.

Voila...a super cute light and airy summer dress for your little gal!

Friday FAB finds!

this is a FREE download e-book, beat that summer boredom

Hanging Paper Lantern
this is super fun & would be really cute with mutli-colored lanterns!
super cool food website I just stumbled on through Pinterest, tons of good stuff in here!

Old Navy Tank Sale
$2 for a tank top for girls of all sizes! waahoo! I am headed there this afternoon!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Crayon Shadow Box! ~Teacher Gift~

{image from FamilyFun.com}

Savannah was lucky to have an amazing teacher this year.  We lucked out with Kindergarten and our luck continued to 1st grade, Mrs.Webb was just the right balance of strict and sweet!  When we saw this in Family Fun magazine she wanted to make it for a gift to Mrs.Webb. I was all for it since it was way easier than these batches and batches of strawberry jam we made last year for everyone she remotely had contact with at school!

Here is our gift, I found a 12x12 scrapbook page at JoAnns that looked like the writing paper, so I grabbed a 12x12 shadow box & got started peeling & breaking crayons!  Project was pretty cheap and hopefully will be gracing her classroom walls forever!  The shadow boxes were 40% off so it was $14.99 & the scrapbook paper was only 59cents, we are always overflowing with crayons & I used my E6000 glue to hold it all in place!  You could really do this in any size shadow box, much smaller or larger - totally customizable project!

Forming the W was trickier than I thought but we finally got it to where I am happy with it, not perfect but I had to lock my OCD anal retentive side in the closet for this project! Word to the wise, I had problems with hot glue melting the crayons and the Tacky Glue they suggest using did not work well for me, I would go with good ole Elmers or the E6000 which I use on anything and everything craft related! I also tried using a paper with a crayon/pencil border but it was just too overwhelming..the clean look is definitely the way to go with this!

If you want to make one for a special teacher or anyone in your life, go here for the directions!

Here's to hoping we continue our lucky streak with 2nd grade teachers!  Only 1/2 day more to go then 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe!

YUM-O! Homemade jam is the best! I made strawberry freezer jam for the first time last year & was hooked!  It was so quick and easy, I always envisioned slaving over a hot stove for hours on end, cooking berries down and then ladling them into jars and boiling the jars to seal them and on and on and on........

Enter freezer jam {the heavens part & angels sing} Today I made 12 8oz jars of strawberry jam in under 2 hours!  I used the recipe directly from the Ball Instant Pectin container, just tweaking it a little. This recipe yields 2 8oz jars of fruit jam. While its tempting to just make a huge batch to be done even quicker it reads right on the package DO NOT exceed 6 jars per batch because it will not set up correctly.  I just did 6 small batches to fill my 12 jars so I was sure it would set up right.

1 2/3 cup prepared fruit
2/3 cup sugar
2 TBS pectin

Wash, cut stems & halve the berries.
Use a potato masher & crush berries, or I used a Pampered Chef chopper
Stir sugar & pectin in 4 cup capacity measuring cup
Add prepared fruit & stir for 3 minutes
Pour jam into clean freezer jars & let stand for 30 minutes. 
Put in freezer for 1 year, refrigerator for 3 weeks, or use right away!

Tower of Fresh Strawberry Jam Goodness!

I know, easy peasy right?!?! I plan to make a batch of raspberry jam {Dave's favorite!} too once they are ripe for picking!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weekly Menu!

Meal #1 Fish tacos w/ mango salsa & tortilla chips
Meal #2 Basic Mac n Cheese w/ hotdogs & fruit salad
Meal #3 Turkey Caesar Sandwich w/ Olive Garden Salad & cantelope
Meal #4 Ravioli w/ tomato & onion sauce w/ Olive Garden breadsticks & fresh fruit
Meal #5 Buffalo Chicken Sandwichs w/ tossed salad & french fries (♥ this brand!)

Strawberry freezer jam {this will be awesome with all those strawberries we just picked}
Award Winning cookies
Chocolate swirl banana bread
Iced Coffee - we drink a ton of iced coffee this time of year, this method looks WAY easier than making espresso each time we are craving an iced coffee!

HAPPY Fathers Day!

Wishing my husband a very happy fathers day! You are an amazing dad, I really believe it takes a special guy to handle living with ALL girls {even the animals}!  I appreciate you TODAY and EVERYDAY!

Top 10 reasons you are a great daddy!
#10 Listening to Kidz Bop instead of country music
#9 Listening to countless stories & endless talking from both our girls
#8 Playing barbies & doll house instead of GI Joe
#7 Knowing when to be the tough guy & when to be the cuddly guy
#6 The look in your eyes while you are watching your girls & you think nobody is looking
#5 Always stepping up as a dad & husband without hesitation
#4 Watching Blues Clues instead of your TV show
#3 Taking the girls fishing even though its chaotic instead of relaxing
#2 Passing out hugs & kisses & I love yous each & every day
#1 Letting the girls paint your fingernails & playing dress up {that takes a REAL man}

Saturday, June 18, 2011


It is strawberry season here in NY, one of my most favorite things about living here...all the amazing fresh local fruits and vegetables we have access to all summer!  Last year I made strawberry jam for teacher gifts so we picked a ton of berries and I was making freezer jam for days!  This year we have a much easier homemade gift planned for Savannah's teacher and I have talked her into not needing to give every teacher & office staff a present as well!  I am thrilled she loves to give but that's a lot of work for mom!

 Emerson's expression in this picture pretty much sums up our afternoon of strawberry picking, and don't let Savannah fool you, she just had to use the potty!

We went to a local farm that we have gone to the past couple of years but this year it was not a great experience. They used no chemicals which is GREAT but they didn't maintain the field either so weeds were insane and made it very difficult for picking..Not to mention Savannah had to go potty right from the moment we arrived and Emmie liked to throw rocks more than pick berries! We spent about 1 1/2 hours just to get a decent amount of berries to take home.

We came home & drowned our sorrows in creamsicles & ice cream sandwiches! 

Then went to the park to end on a happy note!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday FAB finds!

these are super cute & I always like to have notes around just in case!
{so now someone do something nice for me so I can send you one! HA!HA!}

this is a cute article and worth the read!

I am always on the lookout for healthy kid snacks so I want to give these a try!

This is my next sewing project, cannot wait to make cute coverups for the girls

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Empty Nesters Already?!?!

WOW..didn't think the hubby & I would be empty nesters quite this soon....no plans for a month long tropical vacation for 2 just yet though!

Our robin family I told you about here & here have grown up and moved out of their nest!  This morning before school Savannah wanted to peek in and see them like we do several times each day..well this morning 1 of the babies got spooked and launched out...we got dive bombed & squawked at by the mom & dad birds and then they busily tried to chase down the baby who was running all over the driveway and across the road.  Soon after another baby got courageous and leapt out of the nest...there is still 1 little guy hanging out in there as of right now {sprawled out & enjoying the extra space I think!}but I don't think it will be long before he bails too!  It has been so fun seeing all this unfold, the mom building the nest, the 3 eggs appearing then hatching and watching them grow from these tiny little skin babies into big feathery toddlers! ha!ha! 

Here are some pictures we took along the way.........

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My FAVORITE granola!

I was making a batch of this today and thought I would share the recipe, its really fantastic & easy to make!

Best Granola Evah.........

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/4 cup + 2 TBS dark brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 TBS maple syrup (super important to use REAL maple syrup)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup ground flax seed
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut, brown sugar, and flax seed then add maple syrup, oil, and salt. Pour onto large baking sheet. Cook for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.

Remove from oven and transfer into an airtight container. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed.

{Recipe adapted from Food Network's Alton Brown granola}

Monday, June 13, 2011

Garden Bugs!

{Photo from FamilyFun.com}

Working on these today for our newly planted garden!  Super cute way to keep track of what is planted where!

Go here for the instructions if you want to make garden markers too!

Here is Little Miss Emmie all excited to put the markers in our garden!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekly Menu!

Meal #1 Bacon wrapped hamburgers, tortellini salad w/ fresh fruit
Meal #2 Grilled Teriyaki Chicken over rice w/ grilled pineapple & eggrolls
Meal #3 Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas w/ mexican rice & chips w/ salsa
Meal #4 Coconut Chicken w/ garlic rice pilaf & green beans
Meal #5 One Pot Spagetti w/ Braided Bread & tossed salad

Treats & things to try!
Magic Chocolate Ice cream
Twix Cookies
Iced Lemonade

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Garage Sale Scores!

Headed out early this morning to a few garage sales with my girlfriends...while I didn't find a ton of stuff I did find a few cool items and managed to spend under $10!

Cool antique doorknobs to add to my stash for $2, when I finally accumulate enough I will be mounting them to pieces of wood and using in our entryway near the church pew I refinished {which is still waiting on a cushion by the way, someday!}.  I ended up getting rid of the cubbies, it was just too crowded, so now I need places to hang purses, backpacks, coats, etc!

Nice matching pair of 2 hurricanes w/ candles for my mantle for only $2.50

Also found this cool bottle, I plan on using it for Olive Oil or something, only 25cents!

Cute little Ball Jar shaker set for just 75cents!  I plan on using these for cinnamon/sugar mix & powdered sugar.

A few other odds & ends for the kiddos but nothing deserving a big hoorah!  Sooooo looking forward to Madison Bouckville (basically a HUGE rummage sale outside the actual antique show that goes on for miles!) in August.  My sister came all the way from AZ last year & is coming back out so this will be our annual tradition, something fun for just my sister & I!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday FAB finds!

Indoor citrus trees
I do not care for oranges, but I do LOVE lemons!

Personalized Tote
Super cute for those upcoming beach days!

Make time when you don't have any!
This is a local mommy blogger who I know personally from 2 of my moms groups! Smart lady ;)

Clone your favorite summer drinks
Starbucks Frappuccino, Orange Julius, Slurpees, Wendy's Frosty, etc....make your favorite drinks @ home!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

House Party!!

Have you heard of http://www.houseparty.com/ ?    You all know how I love a good deal, freebie, coupon, giveaway, etc.  Well this is all that kinda rolled into one!  Perfect!!!  You can register on their site and apply to host various parties.  Really the only commitment you have to make is to host a party with however many people you want, have the product to sample and pass out the freebies to friends!

I have applied for a few but never was chosen until recently. This is a Breakstone Sour Cream event for June to sample their new sour cream dips & zesty blends.    My Bunco group is going to be on June 18th this month so I plan on bringing the dips w/ some chips & veggies along with the coupons & cutting mats to pass out!  In this Party Pack I received a chip & dip serving bowl, spatula & coupons for FREE products. Also $1 coupons, recipe booklets & flexible cutting mats to pass out to guests!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cookies for Breakfast?!?!

I posted a recipe awhile back...I couldn't find the page but I know I had posted wanting to try these!  Well I happened to have buttermilk for another recipe so I baked them last night and served them for breakfast today!  They were a HIT!  Even hubby {the anti-wheat bleached white bread lover} liked them! AMAZING!

I let the grains soak all day and put them together last night..they are super moist and delish!  Kids thought they were in heaven getting to have cookies for breakfast so I win the super cool mom award while getting healthy stuff in their little tummies! SCORE!  Serve these with some fresh fruit on the side & start their day off right!

Hope you enjoy the recipe like we did! We used chocolate chips {of course} but I think it would good with raisins too!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lazy Days Skirt!

Thanks to my friend Jenn for sharing this skirt pattern with me...super easy & so cute! I let the girls pick their fabrics for these skirts..I was able to coax Emmie into something we both liked but Savannah was harder to convince ;)  She goes for the bright & vibrant prints which isn't all bad but check out these fabrics we ended up with & know that these are SUPER tame from what she started with! I am talking hot pink & black leopard print, then there was one with monkeys & palm trees....anyway, she was thrilled to see her skirt yesterday when she got home, so much that she wore it to school today! I see myself making several more of these skirts, the ribbon hem is just too sweet! Not to mention these are CHEAP, I only used 1/4 yd for Emerson & 1/2 yd for Savannah + ribbon!

fabric for 1 more skirt each girl :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Perennials & Vegetable Gardens

I was very lucky with the house we bought when we moved to NY, although it was a total mess inside & outside, there were tons of perennials in the yards.  I have spent the last several years moving things around and transplanting into gardens since it was just thrown all over with no rhyme or reason.  I have learned a lot about gardening, both for flowers and vegetables and am still learning every summer!  Here are some pictures of some of the perennials I love in our yard, most were here but we have added a few here and there too.

Peonies! We have 3 varieties, dark pink, light pink & white - they all smell heavenly!

    Rhododendron                                                                                   Lupines

Poppies                                                                            Lilies

 Lilac (we have all 3 type, pale lavender, deep purple {showed you here} & this white)

Remember last summer on this post that I showed our new vegetable garden?  Well this year we decided to remove that HUGE Lilac for more room, we have rototilled everything & finally got the garden planted over the weekend.  We have sugar snap peas, 4 types of tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, green beans, & for the first time cantelope!  I am still working on an herb garden with cilantro, dill, parsley, basil, peppermint & chives.  Thanks to a friend who overbought strawberry plants I now have a small patch of strawberries to go along with all the other fruit bearers; our Cortland apple tree, 4 blueberry bushes, 4 grape vines, raspberries & blackberries!