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Little Bits grow up so fast…

Let me just take a minute to say that I can hardly believe Little Bit 2 in the THIRD GRADE!  I mean, sniff sniff, it’s just crazy!

I’ve been having a slight problem with this lately as it seems she has tons of 3rd grade homework, along with a long list of wants and at times enough attitude to fill up the entire house!  With a house that is always busy and an older sibling as well as a younger sibling, sometimes this Little Bit seems to get put on hold a lot of times.  For right now, however, I’m doing a little reminiscing of the days past and my quiet, artsy ‘Middle Bit’ (A.K.A. Little Bit 2) is on my mind.

She is always excited and nervous on the first day of a new school year.  And I doubt that’ll change in the years to come.

1st day of Kindergarten

She always chooses her ‘first day of school’ outfit very carefully

1st day of 1st grade

The ‘first day of school’ picture is a prerequisite,

1st day of 2nd grade

and she takes posing for this pic VERY seriously.

3rd Grader, Right HERE!!  Woohoo!

Isn’t it just so crazy how big they get in what seems like such a little bit of time?! She’s growing up everyday and sniff it just seems like yesterday that she was my little Kindergartener.

I’m so happy my girl (and my other Little Bits as well) are happy and healthy and growing like weeds.  Somedays I long for the solitude of bedtime – aaaahhhhhhh – but it’s times like these right now that I just wanna hold onto them and squeeze them forever :D.

Til Next time…

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Halloween “stuff”… A skeleton and a scarecrow

I love this time of year!

The weather is turning cooler (time to pull out all my cute and comfy boots!), the leaves are falling, and everyone is gearing up for Halloween!  You know what that means… pumpkins, skeletons and costumes! My kids especially love it when we start pulling out all of our Halloween decorations.  Each year when it’s time to put all the Halloween “stuff” away, I make sure to go check out all the after holiday sales.  So, every year we have new “stuff” to dig through and get excited about without having to actually go out and buy new stuff at “new stuff” prices.  Aaaaaahhhhhh, I DO love a deal!

We also love to make our own decorations.  The kids really like to get creative when making anything so it’s always fun when we start getting out our crafty supplies to make something new.

A couple of years ago, Little Bit 1 (he was little once upon a time) and I built a skeleton out of PVC pipe with a little help from my Dad.  I saw a “tutorial” in a magazine (although I can’t remember which one) and it sounded pretty easy.  I had my Dad cut white PVC pipe  to the lengths we needed, then we just put the “skeleton’s” body together with elbow joints.  Once all that was together, we used an old Sunny D jug to make the “skull”.  We just painted it white, let it dry and painted on eyes, and mouth with black.

Our skeleton on the left and our scarecrow on the right

Since we love to make some interesting decorations, when we went to the Fall Festival at BrookGreen Gardens this year and they said we could make our own scarecrow (pictured with our skeleton), we jumped at the chance!

LB2 decided her name should be Sparkles.

Once we had a name, it was time to draw Sparkles’ face:

Here are the two littlest bits drawing on a face for Sparkles.

Then we had to pick out clothes and the stakes and put her together.

Add some straw and moss for hair with a few zip ties and wah-lah

Sparkles was born!

The girls were really excited (even though they went to play in the hay stacks while my Mom and I put the whole thing together!) especially when we got to take Sparkle’s home with us.

Now I just have to figure out how I’m going to store Sparkles.  Hmmmm.

Til Next time…

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Costumes of the past…

Halloween is officially upon us.  Well, I suppose it HAS been upon us for a couple weeks now but I feel like I’ve been in some weird state of denial LOL.

 All those spooky decorations and Halloween candy trying to jump into my grocery cart (I swear, it literally tries to JUMP into my cart!) has only one thing to say:  It’s that time of year again!!  Get ready, get set and… get spooky!

I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year.  I like the weather (even though it’s cold enough for a coat in the morning and warm enough for shorts by mid-afternoon), I like the fall festival’s, the decorations you see all over and, of course, all the yummy recipes you get to make this time of year.

I especially like to see all the creative, scary, sweet, and awesome costumes out there when Trick-or-Treaters start ringing my doorbell.

 I tend to get a bit nostalgic these days and lately I’ve been thinking back on all the Halloween’s of the past.  I couldn’t remember all the many costumes my family has worn, but I did find a few pics from the past few years.  So I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did …

LB3’s first costume when she was still in my belly — My lil punkin 😀

LB2 – as a super cute kitty

and LB1 – ummm, slasher??? (this was the first year he decided the scarier, the better

2009

My cheerleader and my ladybug!

LB2 2010

LB3 2010

2010

LB1 – a Spy, I think

Dad as a werewolf

2011

LB3 – Supergirl!

2011

LB2 – My Little Pony (Rainbow Dash to be exact)

LB1 – decided he was too cool this year to dress up.  He DID stay home while we trick-or-treated to hand out candy.

This year, my kids have decided they wanted to be things that didn’t require any sewing on my part — huh, go figure.  I tried to nudge the little bits into letting me sew SOMETHING for them, and I even thought about making LB3 another princess dress (since that is what she will be this Halloween), but I ultimately decided against it since she already has about a billion princess dresses in the dress-up bin.

LB2 has changed her mind so many times that it’s almost difficult to keep up with all the ideas she’s had just in this month alone!  First she wanted to be a princess like her sister, then that changed to a spider princess (your guess is as good as mine), then on to a snake princess (I have no idea what THAT would look like either), only to be changed again to a vampire and now she has FINALLY decided (her words) on being one of the girls from Monster High.  I just decided to buy her the accessories for that one since, again, I really have no idea and we’re running out of time to make something.  I guess we’ll see what happens and I’ll make sure to let you all know what we come up with.

LB1 has decided to make his own costume 🙂 which I think is awesome.  I will definitely post pictures of that.  He has also changed his mind several times since the beginning of October and has gone from Spiderman, to The Punisher and then some type of thing where he started making a costume out of recycled soup cans (don’t ask because I don’t know), and now he’s decided to be a character that he’s made up himself.  I’m not sure what that person will be or look like, but I’m excited to see his vision come to life :D.  He’s pretty creative when it comes to this type of thing, so I think it’ll be pretty awesome when he gets done with it.  I’ll keep you posted on that too:D.

So that’s where we stand so far on the Halloween costumes.

Til next time…

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Dedicated to all those blogs out there…

I love reading other blogs.  It’s so fun for me to see what other people can do with a little bit of ingenuity and a few items around the house.  I think I really like to read the blogs out there to get ideas for projects I want to do, enter contests (though I have yet to win a single one LOL), and I REALLY love reading about the writers.  I feel like I know some of these people (is that weird?) and I often find myself laughing out loud to some of their funnier stories.  No matter how tough my day is going, I can always count on my fellow bloggers out there to either make me chuckle or give me a new idea for a new craft project.  With all that said, I wanted to share with you some of the blogs I  follow and read (at least the highlights — I AM a mom of three, ya know) nearly everyday!

A few of my all time favorite blogs are:

http://www.sawdustandpaperscraps.com

http://www.infarrantlycreative.net

http://www.oneartsymama.com

http://www.simplesimonandco.com

http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com

http://www.tipjunkie.com

and, of course, my cousins blog 😀

http://where-is-my.blogspot.com

I WAS going to only list a couple, but I really couldn’t decide which ones were the best out of this list! I mean, seriously, they’re THAT good :D.  You should really go check them out!  I know you’ll find at least one on the list that you’ll decide to follow.

Til next time…

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‘Mother’ Bracelet…

Several years ago my kids gave me a necklace I saw in a magazine and wanted :D.  It was so nice of them (and mostly Hubby) to order it and give it to me for Mother’s Day that year.  That was long before LB3 came into the picture so…  quite a few years ago.  The necklace part of it was a light pink satin-y chord and the charm was a simple circular washer with ‘Mother’ stamped on it.  Sometimes simplicity is best :D.  I’m not sure why I always forget the “before” pics, but just sit back and try to imagine it :D.  Okay.

Because the chord is such a light color, it’s gotten dirty over the years.  I thought about just washing it but it didn’t work to get all the dirt out so my cute and simple necklace just stayed, unworn on the jewelry holder in my room for quite a while  *sigh*.

The other day, however, I found a really simple tutorial online:

http://www.happyhourprojects.com/2012/06/ten-minute-bracelet.html

so I went searching through my crafty stash and this is how it turned out…

This is my cute washer that I started out with — cute, right?

And in my crafty space I found this crafting string.  There was pink in the pack as well, but I thought I’d just use these two colors so I can wear my new bracelet with anything — not just pink.

All I did from there was braid my string (looping it onto either side of the washer first) and knot it at the end of each side just like in the tutorial

Ta-Da!

 I ended up with a super cute “new” bracelet:

Isn’t it cute?!

I like it 😀 and wear it often, and that’s much better than just leaving it hanging on my jewelry tree!

Til Next Time…

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Caramel Latte Machiatto… cupcakes! Oh YEAH!

The Hubby’s birthday is upon us and I always like to make his birthday cake from scratch.  Unless he makes a special request, I usually dig through my recipes and let him choose what he’d like or I try to find an interesting recipe online to test out.  One year I made my great-grandmother’s Coca-Cola cake from my recipe box (my great-grandma knew how to bake, let me tell you!) and another year a made-from-scratch red velvet cake with homemade cream cheese frosting (oh that one was yummy!) and a few years ago I found an online recipe for a Dr Pepper cake — Hubby’s favorite drink.  Each one usually goes over very well in our house as we do like some sweets but for some reason each year I have this urge to try something different than the last.

This year I wanted to continue the tradition of baking Hubby’s cake from scratch (I do love to bake), so I asked Hubby what his heart (or tummy rather) desired for this year’s birthday treat.  Now, Hubby loves to get a Caramel Machiatto from Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts so I decided to google (Hi, my name is Kris and I’m addicted to GOOGLE) his favorite drink with latte in the middle and cake on the end :D.  Up popped a recipe I HAD to try — it wasn’t a cake but I made an executive decision and figured cupcakes would do.  Here’s the recipe I found in case you want to try it out as well:

http://buttercreamchantilly.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/my-caramel-latte-macchiato-cupcakes/

SO… an idea was formed that I would bake, from scratch, Hubby’s Caramel Latte Machiatto Cupcakes as his special birthday sweets!

I gathered my ingredients, rolled up my sleeves and snagged my helper…

LB2 ALWAYS loves to help me do some baking — and she really loves the end result 😀

a few mixtures later and…

  we had our cupcake batter! Yum!

Into the cupcake liners…

Then my little helper put them into the oven — she really did a great job as my helper 😀

Mmmmm, they smelled SO good!

The finished product with homemade butter cream frosting (are you drooling yet?)

Now for the taste-testing…

The birthday boy gets the first bite — Happy Birthday to you…

The crowd was pleased :D.

I just want to put in a little side note here, just so you’re aware, that I DID actually follow ALL of the directions from this recipe (mostly because it is for Hubby’s birthday and  I didn’t want to mess it up)  and there were A LOT of directions, see:

Two PAGES of directions!!  It was a lot but LB2 and I did have some fun putting it all together :D.

And the payoff WAS pretty good ;D.

Til Next Time…

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DIY Laundry Powder — revisited…

You may remember a few weeks ago when I posted my DIY laundry soap and how I goofed a bit when reading the directions; or should I say not really reading all the directions.  Anyway, I decided next time I needed to follow the directions so I could make sure my soap turned out the right way.  On my second attempt, I used Dove soap instead of the Fels Naptha and my soap smelled sooooo good.  I also decided this time I wanted my soap to be chopped up a little bit smaller.  I had seen somewhere online a woman who used her food processor to chop her soap up when making her laundry powder (I looked again for that link, but couldn’t find it — it was basically the same directions as before except for the addition of the extra step to blend, one cup at a time, the powder once it’s all mixed together).

Now, since I really loved the way the Fels Naptha soap cleaned the clothes and the way the Dove soap smelled in the laundry soap, I decided to make a super huge batch with both soaps.  The best of both worlds :D.

I now know 😉 if I’m using an entire bar of the soap I need to use more of the other ingredients (I mean it’s really amazing that my recipes turn out okay what with this aversion to direction reading!) so MY ingredients for this large batch of Laundry Powder is:

4 Cups Borax

4 Cups Washing Soda

1 Bar Dove soap

1 Bar Fels Naptha laundry soap

cheese grater

Electric Blender (no not for cocktails)

So, I just followed the directions that I used before, but just so you don’t have to look that up I’ll give tem to you again:

1) Grate your soaps and put them in a large bowl.

2) Measure out your other ingredients and mix everything together in the large bowl.

3) Using 1 Cup at a time, pour your powder/soap mixture into your blender and blend until the powder is fine.

4) Put your fine powder into an airtight container and use 1 Tbls per load of laundry.

Now, a blog of mine would NOT be complete without some pics so, as to not disappoint, here are some pics:

I forgot to take before pics so the other ingredients are in the container :D.

I really like the powder to be super fine like this much better than with the clumpy (only grated, without blending in a blender) soap.  Since I did make a batch in between this one and my first try (the last one I blogged about), I know that I really liked to use the finer powder better. It lasted a little longer and I think that’s partly because the soap was ground up smaller, and it just seemed to look more like powdered laundry soap you’d buy in the store.

  So, there you have it.  I DO know how to read and follow directions.  It’s difficult for me, but it can be done :D.

Til next time…

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The bookshelf makeover…

When I was a little girl, my Great Grandfather built me a bookshelf that my Dad brought home and put together for me.  I used this bookshelf for… well, forever — at least until I got married and moved away from home.  Now, I assume that most people don’t form emotional attachments to furniture but me? Well, I’m not like most people.  I love my childhood bookshelf and it’s moved from town to town and state to state with us for each move over the years.

It’s spent some time in my son’s room.  He wasn’t exactly thrilled with the heart cutout on it, so when my first daughter was born (that’d be LB2), it was moved into her room and he got a new one.

Over the years, this bookshelf has followed us faithfully all over the place 😀 and hasn’t received one single fresh coat of paint (what a bad bookshelf owner I am! SO, recently I decided to freshen it up for my girls (since they’re sharing a room now) and maybe even add something on it that will give it a little POP!

I ultimately decided to add a little green that will match the green trim on the house bed (I’ll get to THAT at a later date), so I went to Walmart and chose our green and got started.  I really wanted to tell you about this little trick using saran wrap over painting trays.

 Okay, so we all know that I’m a little cheap I mean thrifty.  I’m always looking for ways to cut costs so that I can save a little bit of money (that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and if you agree please email my hubby :D).  So, I heard about this trick a while ago and thought I’d try it and see how it turns out.  All you do is wrap saran wrap (I used the Glad Press n Seal because I like it better than Saran wrap) over the top of your paint tray like so:

Then you just pour your paint in the tray as you normally would and use your roller.  My tray had already been used a while back so it still had some leftover paint in it (Hubby doesn’t like the whole clean up when you’re done painting process) but that’s okay, it still worked for me.  And no, I didn’t use a roller for the entire project, but it was super helpful and things went much quicker in the beginning when I was putting the white on it.  Anyway, once you’re all done painting for the day, you just clean your roller and throw away the saran wrap (or press n seal — whichever you choose to use) and your tray is all cleaned up.

So once all the white was freshly added, Hubby nailed together the backing which was coming off and it already looked like a new bookshelf!  A new bookshelf that I forgot to take a picture of.  Sigh.

Even though I forgot to take the “after” picture of the plain white paint, I DID remember to take the “after” picture when it had it’s green trim done.

Isn’t it cute?

Well, I really like it.

So now it’s in my girls’ room with all their many books on it (we like to read over here — a lot) and they love it.  Now, to get started on that house bed….

Isn’t it too cute?! My Dad made it for LB2 and she is SO in love with it.  For that matter, LB3 is super in love with it as well :).  All it needs now is a little detailing (like some green trim that matches that bookshelf ;D)!

Til Next Time…

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