Happy (Belated) Mother’s Day

This year for Mother’s day I was fortunate enough to celebrate three Moms!  But what to get for the super women who do it all?

Well, I love sharing our family recipes because my mother is particularly notorious for accidentally leaving out ingredients or crucial steps.  So it’s important to write them down to remember exactly how to make them!  Since chalkboard style printables are all the rage (see a million examples on Pinterest like this board), I decided to craft up a few family recipes chalkboard style – one for each of the ladies.

I started with finding a chalkboard background and downloading a few key chalkboard fonts.  There are tons of great posts on chalkboard fonts from Jenni from the blog, Lil Blue Boo, and Side of Sneakers just to name a few.  Don’t forget to download some doodles, dingbats, and ornaments.  I found quite a few helpful ones like LCR Kitchen Dings and Sugar Coma that were cooking themed.

Then I grabbed a few family favorite recipes and set to work with my Mom’s favorite dish from her mother.  This particular recipe cracks me up because when my Mom gave it to me, I got practically NONE of the actual assembly instructions.  So I was pretty anxious to see if I was able to interpret them correctly to see if this is actually how Nana makes the mac n’ cheese.
Nana's Macaroni

I haven’t gotten any edits back yet, but she may be saving them up to let me know in the future 🙂

Next up was my Mother’s chocolate chip recipe which I like to enjoy sans chocolate chips.Jane's Chocolate Chip CookiesFinally, Heather’s recipe for my favorite – Black Bean Hummus.  Probably not her signature dish (see Jello Pretzel Dessert) but this one had so many comments in it that I thought it was pretty funny to see how she’d changed it up from the original. Heather's Black Bean Hummus

So there’s the whole set!  I put them in frames and all the Mothers had a great treat on their celebration day.



Golden Oscar Party Decorations

Every year I’m trying to add just a little bit more to Oscar Party.  This year design inspiration came from (where else?!) Pinterest.  I saw Hank & Hunt’s giant gold wall decoration and I knew I needed that sparkle at my party.  While I loved the medallion, I really wanted it to scream Oscar and what better way to do that than with a lovely Oscar statue?  Oscar Party Decoration

Isn’t he cute? To begin, I used the projection method to trace the outline of my statue onto foam core.  Oscar Party DecorationI then spray painted the foam core gold, because I figured a bit of the edge would be visible and I didn’t want any white peeking through. I used the same method as it inspiration post and bought the same gold mylar cord for my Oscar statue.

But since my design had a few more subtle curves than just a circle, I needed to cut the rope pieces a bit smaller – just about 1″ long.
Oscar Party Decoration

I then taped the pieces down to both sides of the statue.Oscar Party DecorationMake sure to only over hang the edges of the foam core a little bit or the statue will come out looking like a giant sparkly blob. Oscar Party DecorationYou know I know this because I first made a giant sparkly blob and had to go back and redo it.

But he’s all done and I love my shiny gold Oscar man!  I inserted a pin in the top and tied some fishing line to the pin and then thumb tacked it into the ceiling.  He’s right at home with my tissue paper pom poms and ready to be part of a fab tablescape……which I’ll have to take a picture of when it’s all decked out.

But if a tablescape isn’t in your future, I think this would be a great addition to the photobooth prop box.


Handmade Thanksgiving Place Card Turkeys

I had some free time with the kiddos this past weekend and with the Thanksgiving holiday this week, I thought it was time to get crafty!  So Caroline and a non-participating Jack created some adorable Thanksgiving turkey place cards for our table this year.

I’m sure you’ve seen tons of samples of these on Pinterest – I found this adorable one here from this source.

Non-participating Jack was NOT down AT ALL with putting his hand in paint so that was an utter fail right out of the gate.  Caroline however was a bit of a better sport and I was able to convince her to do all the hand print feathers.

But even Caroline cried “fowl” when I asked if we could paint with her foot.

No way.

So we called an audible and painted the turkey bodies with the side of her hand for more of a “profile” turkey look. 

Once the painted hands were dry, we cut them out and glued them to the back of the body with a glue stick.  I cut out beaks and feet to attach as well. Then I created a stand for the place cards by cutting strips of card stock about 3″ wide.  I folded the paper into quarters and glued two of the sides together to create a triangular stand.  Then I glued a stand to the back of each turkey.  Caroline wrote out each person’s name in festive Thanksgiving colors and we attached that as well as a goggler (whoops!  How did we forget that before!).  Done!

Now we’re all ready to be festive!  Happy Thanksgiving!


Road Trip Games – They Are Not Just For Kids!

This past week, I hit the dusty trail and drove from Austin to San Diego.  We drove straight through, which is not for the faint of heart!  With all those hours in the car, we needed something to break up the boredom.  So before we hit the road, I spent a lot of quality time preparing some road trip games.

And every game has a winner right?  So we had to have a road trip game prize pack.  Here are a few of the goodies I had in my prize pack:

  • Wine (Hey, eventually you will get somewhere you can drink it!)
  • Beer (You have to cover all taste palates)
  • A bottle opener/corkscrew (This was one of the first prizes awarded)
  • Starbucks Via
  • Glow in the dark bracelets and necklaces (night driving fun!)
  • A car air freshener (We ended up with “Black Ice” which was a horrible combination of nasty smelling men’s cologne.  We tried to hide it in someone’s bag for the drive home, but it was quickly discovered!)
  • Scope brush ups (For that I’ve-been-in-a-car-all-night taste in your mouth)
  • Beef Jerky
  • Mini Oreos
  • Goldfish
  • A manicure buffing block
  • American Flags
  • Fancy Chocolate
  • Gum
  • Wipes (Disasters will happen, whoever wins this might be your best friend)

I know, I know, it’s a lot of prizes – but I had a lot of games!  When I set out to plan my games, everything I found was geared toward little kids.  Bingo and various license plate games are popular, but I needed something for an older audience.  So here is what I ended up with:

  • Bingo (this was a flop, just don’t play it)
  • Name that Tune
  • National Geographic Geography Bee US Edition
  • National Geographic Geography Bee World Edition
  • US Citizenship Test Questions

Bobby Bones Show style Name That Tune (NTT) was, by far, everyone’s favorite game.  The rules are simple:

  • Say your name to buzz in
  • One point for naming the artist of the song
  • One point for naming the song title
  • Three points for guessing the theme
  • If you have already guessed the theme or a song, you cannot buzz in again
  • Person with the most points wins

Seven songs are played for 30 seconds from the beginning of the song.  Players can buzz in at any time.  If all the songs are played and no one has guessed the theme, the moderator will read out the song titles and artists and give players 30 seconds to guess the theme.  This game concept shamelessly stolen from the Bobby Bones Show, go here to listen to podcasts of them playing the game.

The themes ranged from super easy to more difficult.  I used playlists in iTunes to pick music from my collection to make the games.  Here are the themes and songs I came up with:

Songs about Road Trips

  • Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver
  • Surfin’ Safari by The Beach Boys
  • Runnin’ Down a Dream by Tom Petty
  • Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts
  • On The Road Again by Willie Nelson
  • The Long and Winding Road by The Beatles
  • Everyday is a Winding Road by Sheryl Crow

Songs with Baby in the Title

  • Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice
  • Baby I need Your Loving by the Four Tops
  • Baby Come Back by Player
  • My Baby Blue by the Dave Matthews Band
  • Don’t Worry Baby by The Beach Boys
  • Baby Boy by Beyoncé Knowles
  • ….Baby One More Time by Britney Spears

Songs About California

  • Route 66 by Nat King Cole
  • California Gurls by Katy Perry
  • Get Back by the Beatles
  • Hotel California by the Eagles
  • California Girls by The Beach Boys
  • California Soul (Diplo / Mad Decent Remix) by Marlena Shaw & Diplo
  • California Dreamin’ by The Mamas & The Papas

Songs with USA or America in the Title of the Song, Artist Name or As the Name of the Album

  • Move Along by The All-American Rejects
  • Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen
  • We’re an American Band by Grand Funk Railroad
  • Surfin’ U.S.A. by the Beach Boys
  • Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus
  • I’m on Fire by Bruce Springsteen
  • American Boy by Estelle

Song Title or Artist with Kiss in the Name

  • Then He Kissed Me by the Crystals
  • Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me by U2
  • Rock and Roll All Nite by Kiss
  • Kiss the Girl by Samuel e. Wright
  • I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry
  • Kiss by Prince
  • A Kiss to Build a Dream On by Louis Armstrong

One Hit Wonders

  • Tainted Love by Soft Cell
  • I Try by Macy Gray
  • Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang
  • My Sharona by The Knack
  • Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas
  • Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice
  • Come on Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Artists (or at least one band member) Who are Dead

  • (Sittin’ on) The Dock of The Bay by Otis Redding
  • Burning Love by Elvis Presley
  • I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston
  • Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
  • Hot Stuff by Donner Summer
  • Rehab by Amy Winehouse
  • Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees


I have Vanilla Ice in my music collection.

Don’t lie, I bet you do too!

For the geography quizzes, I pulled questions from National Geographic and I found the US citizenship questions via about.com

National Geographic Geography Bee USA Edition

1. Which state has a climate suitable for growing citrus fruits—California or Maine?

Answer: California

2. Which is the easternmost state in the contiguous United States?

Answer: Maine

3. Name the mountain range that extends from Maine to Georgia

Answer: Appalachian

4. Which of these territories is not administered by the U.S.?
A. Guam
B. Northern Mariana Islands
C. Falkland Islands
D. American Samoa
E. Howland Island

Answer: C. The Falkland Islands

5. This state is nicknamed the “Old Line State” or the “Free State”

Answer: Maryland

6. America’s most famous horse race is held each year in Louisville, located in this state.

Answer: Kentucky

7. In Florida and the West Indies, a small low-lying island usually made up of coral or sand is known by what term?

Answer: Key

8. “With God, All Things Are Possible” is the motto of which midwestern state that is home to Cuyahoga Valley National Park?

Answer: Ohio

9 About how many islands are part of the Florida Keys archipelago?

A. 170
B. 340
C. 1700
D. 3400

Answer: C. 1700

10. What is the approximate population of Oregon?

A. 6.1 million
B. 5.2 million
C 4.4 million
D. 3.8 million

Answer: D. 3.8 Million

National Geographic Geography Bee World Edition

1. Which country has the world’s largest Muslim population?

Answer: Indonesia

2. The North Atlantic current brings warm waters from the tropics to the west coast of which continent?

Answer: Europe

3. How many countries border the Mediterranean Sea?

A. 7
B. 14
C. 21
D. 28

Answer: C. 21

4. Which Canadian province produces more than half of the country’s manufactured goods?

Answer: Ontario

5. To visit the ruins of Persepolis, an ancient ceremonial capital of Persia, you would have to travel to what present-day country?

Answer: Iran

6. Lyon, the capital of Roman Gaul, is found in the eastern region of which country?

Answer: France

7. Which country recently reinforced security barriers along its border with Yemen in an effort to stop illegal immigration?

Answer: Saudi Arabia

8. In March President Obama attended the Nuclear Security Summit in this Asian Capital city located on the Han river.

Answer: Seoul

9. Tswana is a Bantu language spoken by the largest ethnic group in which country?

Answer: Botswana

10. Cameron Bay has served as a naval base France, Japan, The United States, the former Soviet Union. Cameron Bay is located in which country?

Answer: Vietnam

US Citizenship Test Questions

1. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?

Answer: We the People

2. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

Answer: twenty-seven (27)

3. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?

Answer: four hundred thirty-five (435)

4. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

Answer: the Speaker of the House

5. What are two Cabinet-level positions?

Answer: Secretary of Agriculture
Answer: Secretary of Commerce
Answer: Secretary of Defense
Answer: Secretary of Education
Answer: Secretary of Energy
Answer: Secretary of Health and Human Services
Answer: Secretary of Homeland Security
Answer: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Answer: Secretary of Interior
Answer: Secretary of State
Answer: Secretary of Transportation
Answer: Secretary of Treasury
Answer: Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs
Answer: Secretary of Labor
Answer: Attorney General

6. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States?

Answer: John Roberts (John G. Roberts, Jr.)

7. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is onepower of the federal government?

Answer: to print money
Answer: to declare war
Answer: to create an army
Answer: to make treaties

8. When was the Constitution written?

Answer: 1787

9. Who was President during World War I?

Answer: (Woodrow) Wilson

10. Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?

Answer: World War II

So how about that for your next road trip?!  And we discovered if you don’t finish all the games on the road, these can all be converted into excellent drinking games when you arrive at your destination.  I sincerely hope that my grandmother didn’t read down this far 🙂  Happy road tripping!


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Harvesting Bluebonnet Seeds

One of the best parts about living in Central Texas is the beautiful wildflower season.  Every family tries to get out and get their “perfect” bluebonnet family photo.  In my attempt to grow what works here, I’ve been trying to add bluebonnets to my garden.

So I started off with planting a few seedlings in the Fall a few years ago.  They made it through a really cold Winter and I had a great crop of flowers in the Spring!  The next Fall I was lazy and didn’t plant.  Luckily, my previous crop had dropped seeds and I had a spotty collection of bluebonnets.  In order to concentrate them, I decided to harvest the seeds.

I spent hours slaving away at popping out all those mini seeds and gave up when I was only a third of the way through the pile – this was tough work!  So I let the pods sit on my work bench, you know, like for four months.

And I made a wonderful discovery.

Nature doesn’t need any help from me!  The seed pods had popped open by themselves and blew seeds not only all over my workbench, but half my garage as well.  It was as if I’d decided to pop popcorn on the stove, left the lid off and just walked away.  In short, a giant mess.

So after a bit of clean up, I only had a few pods that I needed to remove the remaining seeds – what a bumper crop!  Now I only use the lazy method for harvesting seeds.

I collect all the seed pods when they turn a light brown, but haven’t opened.  If you shake them you can hear the little seeds rattling around in there.  Then I throw them all into a paint tray.

(You can see a few of the pods have already opened in this picture – these have been sitting for a few days)  I cover the paint tray with another upside down paint tray, making sure to leave a little breathing room.  

You don’t want to put them in a plastic bag!  I tried that once and they got all moldy because there wasn’t enough air circulation.  Yuck!

Now walk away and forget about them.

When you return days or weeks later, you’ll find this.

lovely, lovely little seeds at the bottom of the tray!  Throw the seed pods into the other tray and collect these lovelies from the bottom.  What a haul! 

Take these right out to the garden!  This is when nature plants, so this is when you should plant your seeds too.  The bluebonnet had a tough shell and it needs the hot heat of a Texas summer to crack it.

Now just later, rinse and repeat.  Put the now empty tray lid back on the seed pods and check it again in a few weeks.  After a few cycles, most of the seed pods will be opened.  You can do the rest by hand or just decide you’ve done enough hard work 🙂

Then sit back and wait.  The seeds should sprout in the Fall and make wonderful bluebonnets for the Spring!


Anthem Printable – More Americana

Well, I sort of really loved the “Sweet Land of Liberty” printable I made last weekend.  So I’m following it up with another printable along the same line this week, but with the national anthem in mind.  

And you know that all good things come in threes so I’ll have to make another.  What’s your favorite patriotic song?  What printable do you want to see next?  Let me know in the comments!


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Girls Ruffled Halter

So I’ve been MIA from blogging… sorry Martta! I don’t have any specific excuses, except… life. Anniversary, birthday party, visiting family, end of preschool… and that was just the first part of May. Anyway, I am finally getting back to my sewing machine, and will hopefully have some time to get some long overdue posts up!

I downloaded the ruffled halter pattern & tutorial from Oliver & S ages ago. I finally printed out the pages, and did all the fun taping, tracing, and cutting required of a PDF pattern. Here is the link if you want if for yourself… here.

Honestly, the hardest part of sewing this cute top is getting the pattern together, and cutting the pieces! And I have to say, I am seriously terrible at cutting out fabric. So don’t let taping & cutting deter you from actually getting to the sewing part!

I was able to finish the top in just a few hours… and that included interruptions from 2 sick kids, and dinner, dishes, etc. I considered using a piece of ribbon for the tie, but I didn’t have anything in my stash that coordinated, so I used the matching fabric. I’m so glad I did.. it all turned out so cute, and she got many compliments when wearing it at a birthday party.

And the back…

In the pattern, the ruffles are do not have a finished edge. They are cut on the bias, so won’t fray quite like a straight cut, but over time I have a feeling I will not like the frayed edge. When I sew this again, I will probably hem the ruffles so they do not fray at all. If you have a serger, I would serge the edges for a fun finished look. Contrasting thread?

I made the Medium size, which says it will fit a 5/6, and I think that is very accurate. My daughter just turned 5, and I know she will be able to wear this for a year or two.

I definitely recommend this pattern! It’s really cute, easy to sew, and FREE!

Leave us a comment, and let us know if you’ve made this ruffled halter, or if you plan to in the future!


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