Jul 31, 2013

Whatcha Wearin' Wednesday

Today I'm posting a little outfit that is good for kickin' around town but also looks nice enough to go to a casual lunch or a meeting at the kids' school.  

Again, please excuse my squinty eyes!  I promise, I will get this style photo thing down!  

So here we have a simple navy and white striped t-shirt with 3/4 length sleeves, paired with khaki bermuda shorts.  The jewelry is mostly gold-tone, as are the flip-flops.


* The stripes on the t-shirt seem nautical and summery to me.  And though the sleeves are a bit long for summer in Texas, they push up easily!

*  The necklace is a good weight; it hangs nicely and goes with so many things.

* Navy, khaki and white - classic colors

* I love using gold shoes as a neutral.  So much more fun than taupe or beige.  Gold is a go-to for me.  For cooler weather, I have a pair of gold flats that go with everything!

t-shirt - Uniqlo
shorts - Old Navy
necklace - The Limited from waaaay back - I'm talking high school!
earrings - gift from parents
bracelet - Macy's
flip-flops - American Eagle by way of TJ Maxx

I'm linking up this week with The Pleated Poppy and Random Wednesday at Because Shanna Said So.

Jul 29, 2013

Pinhole Craft

Looking for something to do with your kids today?  How about this easy and good-looking craft?  

You've probably already got all the supplies you'll need.

  • Construction paper
  • Graphic Images (from the web or draw your own)
  • Tape
  • Pin (I used T-pins for easier grip)
  • Phone book or other thick, springy surface
*This craft does use sharp pins, so be sure your child is able to handle pins before attempting.

Tape the image to the construction paper.  (Note: If making a letter, print it in reverse.  You will end up turning the paper around, so you want the letter to face the right way at the end.  (See "N" below.)

Simply place the paper on the phone book, then pierce the paper along the outlines.

Once finished, tape the paper in a sunny window and enjoy!  (My daughter thinks it looks like "tiny diamonds" shining through.)

Jul 26, 2013

Bake a Cake IN a Jar

I don't just mean PUT and SERVE a cake in a jar...I mean actually BAKE it in the jar.  No really!  It's SO easy, you don't even know.  Well, after you read this you will.  Super, super easy and so, so fun.  Here's how you do it...

First you'll need mason jars.  I purchased a dozen at my local grocery store.  I chose half pint size because that's the size I wanted.  I've seen recipes that use full pint jars as well.  Really, it's up to you.  Wash your jars thoroughly and allow them to dry. 
Next, mix your cake batter.  Any cake batter will do.  I used our favorite Betty Crocker Yellow Cake mix.  Feel free to make something from scratch (you'll have to explain to me later WHY you would actually do this instead).

Using a narrow serving spoon, fill the jars 1/4 of the way. (You'll notice that in the pictures, my jars were a little more full.  This ended up being too full and didn't leave enough room at the top after they baked.)  Wipe any excess from the sides.  
Place the jars on a cookie sheet and bake them according to the instructions for cupcakes. (approximately 13-15 minutes based on my experience).  I cooked just 4 at a time, just to make sure I was doing it right, but you could fill the cookie sheet if you wanted to.  Allow them to cool completely.  (Notice how these are too full?  I just cut some off the top to make room and made the next batch smaller.)

Now it's time to let your imagination go wild!  The rest of the jar can be layered with all sorts of toppings, from fruit to candies and frosting to decorations.  For my daughter's cakes, I decided to go with a strawberry shortcake style jar.  I sliced fresh strawberries and tossed them with a bit of sugar.  I made homemade whipped cream (This is my favorite, tried and true recipe.  You'll see it at the bottom of the page, after the shortcake recipe.)
Once they were full, I used scraps of fabric I already had to cut squares and decorated the tops with them.  
I've seen others use decorative paper, stickers, glitter or anything you like to add a little something.  You can tie ribbon and create personal labels.  They can be as fancy or as rustic as you choose. 

This was a HUGE hit for my daughter's birthday. 
I will do this again soon, maybe for a dinner party or book club. Oh, check out my other "in a jar" posts for jam and butter.  Apparently, food in a jar is my schtick!!

Jul 24, 2013

Whatcha Wearin' Wednesday

Whatcha Wearin' Wednesday is back!  It's been a while, but I thought I would post an outfit that I've worn recently.

First, I would like to ask you to ignore my squinty eyes in this photo!  It was a tad sunny, but otherwise a good time for photo-taking.  So there it is!

I love this yellow dress that I found at Old Navy on clearance.  It has a circular eyelet pattern on it and a simple zip up the back.

Here I wore a skinny metallic pink belt to try to define the waist a bit.  The turquoise wedges are really fun and turquoise is a go-to color for me in the summertime.  It goes with almost everything!

The necklace was made by me several years ago in my making-jewelry phase.  This is one of my favorites, and I've gotten a lot of mileage from it!

I didn't wear earrings or a bracelet, as the bright colors and the necklace are enough for me.


* Color!  I am a color addict and I love putting several bright colors together.  

* The ease of the dress.  It is a breeze to zip and go.  I love dresses for this reason.

* Wedges make me feel tall.  And powerful.

Dress - Old Navy 
Shoes - TJ Maxx
Belt - Target
Necklace - made by me

I'm linking today with The Pleated Poppy and Random Wednesday.

Jul 22, 2013

Manicure Tips

I've used many brands of polish, in many price ranges.  My favorites are OPI, Essie, and Deborah Lippmann, but I've also found some drugstore brands I like, such as L'Oreal and Milani.  Most will work as long as you follow these tips.

Store polish in a cool dark place, and just go through your stash and toss out any old and goopy polishes.  Don't try to save them with polish remover.  Just say goodbye and move on.

I'm not a professional by any means, but these are my personal tips that have worked for me.

1.  After removing polish, file nails in one direction only.  Do not file across, as this can give a rough edge to nail tips.
2.  Do NOT soak your nails right before or after a manicure.  You don't want added water here.
3.  (This is my #1 tip:)  Buff nails GENTLY and lightly to remove ridges and give a smooth surface.  Don't do it too much or you could thin the nail.  This step has made a HUGE difference in the staying power of my polish.
4.  Wipe nails with acetone polish remover to prevent residue like water, lotion, or natural oils and to remove any particles left from filing and buffing.
5.  Start with a sticky base coat.  
6.  Use thin coats of polish, and let it dry between coats.
7.  Be sure to cover the free edge of the nail with polish to "seal" the manicure.
8.  Give nails plenty of time to "cure," even if they seem dry.
9.  Use a top coat, and try to do it every day.
10. Use cuticle oil.

This might look like a lot of steps, but once you do it a few times, it really doesn't take long at all.  The best part is that your manicure can last much longer with very little chipping in between, so it's worth it.    Hope this helps your manicure look pretty longer!

Jul 17, 2013

UPDATE: New Cake Carrier!

Remember the awesome vintage cake carrier I found last month?  I wrote about it here.

Well, last week my friend and I were at World Market and I saw this!

It's a brand-new, pretty cake carrier!  With space under the lid for a pie or cupcakes or utensils or what-have-you. 

One thing my vintage carrier has over this one is that mine has additional storage space UNDER the cake plate.  But this one is really pretty and Frenchy.  There was one left in our store, but you might be able to find one here.  

These dessert carriers make me want to make desserts!  I'm thinking of trying this Lemon and Strawberry Sponge Cake. Yum! 

Jul 15, 2013

Snake Pendant DIY

This charming snake pendant (see what I did there?) costs only pennies to make!

I had these little party favors from the dollar store, and I selected the snake.
Then I cut off the little tongue, and I made a small hole through the middle of part of the tail.  (I used a 1/16" hole punch.)
Next, I spray painted it gold and let it dry.
Then I used an Ultra-Fine Point black Sharpie to fill in the eye area.  After that, I used metallic black puff paint in the center of each eye for more dimension.  Let that dry.

At this point, I also decided it needed a bit more "gold" so I used a little Gold Leaf Rub'n Buff.  Spray on a clear sealant and let it dry.
Add a jump ring to the hole you made earlier, slide it onto a chain, and enjoy!

Jul 12, 2013

Easy packing for camp (or any long trip)

My 9 year old son just left for camp, for the first time, EVER!  So that makes this my first time to pack someone for camp, EVER!! 

My plan was just to pack everything on the "What to Pack" list from the camp,  fold it in the duffel bag, and be done.  Then my friend Jenni stopped by as I was packing and gave me what turned out to be the best advise EVER!

Take a full day's outfit (shirt, shorts, socks, underwear), fold them up and put them in a Ziploc bag.  If you want to, you could even label the days: Monday, Tuesday, etc. or even just Day 1, Day 2, etc. 

There are MANY reasons that this idea is great:
  • My son could not match his clothes into an outfit if his life depended on it.
  • He tends to pull everything out of a bag to look for something.  Then nothing goes back (or if he's forced to put it back, it's just shoved in there, dirty and clean all together.)
  • Each morning, Sam can reach in his duffel, pick out a Ziploc bag, and be done.  No choosing, sorting, searching necessary.**
  • Because each bag is packed tight and you can take the air out of them, there is tons of room in his bag for other things.
  • At the end of the week, when his bag is being repacked, maybe, JUST MAYBE, he'll think to put something wet or nasty in a Ziploc.  Ok, so not likely.  But it COULD happen.
  • This is great for any trip, whether you're with them or not.  The next time we head to Disney World, I'm doing this for both of my kids. 

So, that's IT.  I feel like a super hero this week, like I've saved one small portion of my world.  It's kind of awesome.  Am I the last mom to hear about this idea?   Maybe I'm not so super?  Or maybe I am!

**Blogger's update:  As of yesterday, day 4 of camp and based on online photos posted by his counselors, Sam appears to be wearing the exact same clothes for every activity all week:  his bathing suit bottoms and the same t-shirt.  It's nice to see all of my efforts making such a difference for him.

Jul 10, 2013

TIP: Keep a Swiffer Duster in Your Car!

Today's tip comes to us by way of our friend and neighbor, Denise.   She gave me permission to use her great idea!

Does the dashboard of your car ever look like this:

Can you see that dust?  You may also be able to see the place where my index finger tried to wipe away the dust from the speedometer.  Classy, I know.  That's how I roll.  Here, have another look at that dust: 

 Here's where our smart friend comes in!  She keeps the Swiffer duster in her car and uses it to keep her dashboard clean and dust-free.  The wand and five dusters are just $4.59 at Target, and one duster should last you for many months, as you'll only be dusting the dash!  And look, the wand fits perfectly in the glove box:

I used the Swiffer to dust the dash, the radio, into the vents, and of course, the instrument panel.  Works like a charm, and I can take care of this annoying part of life whenever I need to!

Thanks, Denise!

Jul 8, 2013

Grandparent Gift Wrap

I had a little present for my dad, and the gift bag I had just wasn't cutting it.  So I got some markers and stickers and set my kiddos loose.

I would recommend using permanent markers if the bag has a glossy finish like this one, or use a matte finish if you're going to use regular markers.  This took a long time to dry with regular markers, but the kids had fun making it.

Grandparents always seem to like something that shows the kids are actually involved in the gift giving, and this really fit the bill.  My dad was very pleased with his gift and with the packaging it came in!