Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekend Project: DIY Silhouettes

When I shared the tour of our living room, I had mentioned that I would like to make silhouettes of the boys for above the couch, but that I wasn't completely sure how to do that.  Well, my cousin Natalie left  a comment telling me how she made one of her son, so I have been looking forward to giving it a try.

I started out with a profile picture of each of the boys.  I converted it to black and white and printed it on regular printer paper.  Don't worry about how these look, because you are going to cut them apart.
 I used a pen to trace their profiles, then carefully cut out their little noggins.
 I picked up four pieces of scrapbooking paper at the craft store (2 black, 2 off-white - 59 cents a pop), then used the heads I had cut out as a stencil to trace their profile onto the black paper. 
Once I cut these profiles out it was super simple.  I just used my paper cutter to trim my off-white backgrounds to fit in the frames, then attached the silhouettes and popped them in the frames!
 I really wanted to go very traditional with these and put them in an oval frame, but apparently no one carries them anymore?  We picked up two cheap document frames  ($3 each) to use for now...maybe I will find ovals at a later date. 
We hung them on either side of the big mirror above the couch.  That wall looks so much more complete now, and the little silhouettes make both of us giggle when we look at them.

While we are on the subject of living room changes, guess what else is now in our living room?
A coffee table!  My mom gave this to us when it would no longer fit in their house, she made this years ago out of a chicken coop that used to be used on the farm.  At first I wondered how it would work in our room, since it is very rustic, and our living room is...well...not rustic at all.  Turns out I really love the mix of texture that this adds.  Thanks Mom!!
It gives us a place to corral some stuff, and is also a handy ramp for Jack to launch his matchbox cars out into the air. 

So there you have it - easy DIY silhouettes (thanks Natalie!) and an awesome new coffee table (thanks Mom!).

Linking up: Reasons to skip the housework, My Uncommon slice of Suburbia, Newlyweds on a BudgetCrafty Texas Girls Sugar Bee Crafts,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Earth Day 2012

If you have been reading for since Jack was a baby, you may remember this post. Well, Jack's tree is still alive and kicking - although he is a little small...apparently he needed a much bigger pot for a while.  I had my handsome assistants remedy that this year, and since then the tree has had a major growth spurt...sorry little guy!

As Earth Day approached this year, I was so excited to go out and get a tree to plant for Luke as well, I even drew a little tree on the calendar in anticipation (what?  I know I am a dork, it's ok).

Earth Day dawned cold and rainy, but that couldn't hold us down.  We were saddened to learn that the nursery where we got Jack's tree is no longer in operation, but we called around to find anyone having an Earth day celebration, or even just someone with seedlings for sale.

Again and again, we heard the same thing 'nope, be have bigger trees though', or 'oh, no we aren't doing anything for Earth day'.  So...long story short(er)...I had to order a seedling for Luke through the Arbor Day Foundation  .  It should be here soon.

And yes...I am pouting.  I even had Luke dressed in the SAME EXACT CLOTHES that Jack wore to plant his first tree.

HOWEVER, in honor of Earth Day, I am still going to share of planting pictures with you. About two weeks ago, we added a few plants to the ol' homestead, in the form of a tomato plant, some basil, parsley, and a pepper plant.  I figure if I have to take care of them, I should at least get to eat them, you know?

Jack was so excited to hear that we were encouraging him to dig in the dirt.  He did get a little crazy with the shovel, but that the fun of being two years old!

The neat thing about these plants is that they come in a little biodegradable pot that you just soak in the water, then tear open at the bottom and plant the whole shebang.

I didn't manage to get many picture of the planting process, but bury it in dirt...I think we all can mentally picture that one, right?

The tomato plant (and Jack's tree) live outside, and the other three reside on our kitchen windowsill, mainly because I wanted to be able to smell the basil.    Here they are when we planted them...

...and here they are about two weeks later (right before I picked some basil to add to our dinner - it was delish!).
Oh and those fun little plastic pots?  97 cents at Wal-mart.  We will have to re-pot the pepper pretty soon, but for now I am enjoying their happy presence in my kitchen!

And so ends the story of how Luke did NOT get a tree planted in his name on Earth Day...

If I am being honest though, Earth Day wasn't a total fail, since we did get the chance to go downtown the day before for the 'Go Green in the City' event.  How was your Earth Day?  Did you get your hands dirty?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Car Guys

I was heading home from Matt's birthday dinner last weekend, when what should I see in my rearview mirror but some purty red and blue lights.  Yep, I was getting pulled over.   My brother-in-law had just told me about 20 minutes beforehand that my headlight was out, so I was pretty sure that was the only reason that the fuzz were after me.

Sure enough, I drove off with a faulty equipment card.  The next day Luke and I enjoyed sitting in the grass while Matt 'taught' Jack to fix a headlight.
Jack was so excited to be helping Daddy, but he was even more excited when Matt handed him a part to hold.  He...didn't really hold it.
Ah well...that's probably not important anyway, right?  After only a few minutes of work/play they had success!
Yaaaay! After all their hard work, they were excited to show off their very manly hands.
Can we all just take a minute to look at their identical eyebrows?  Slap a beard on Jack and he is just a little version of Matt!

While I know that Jack didn't really 'learn' much about fixing a headlight here, I feel like this was an important experience for him, and I have it on good authority that Matt enjoyed this time with Jack.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

More or Less

This is how our weekend was...

How was yours? 

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I've been looking though pictures lately, and I got lost looking at wedding pictures just the other night.  I've shared them here before, but not in a few years.
 What a fun day that was!  We laughed so much, we even giggled through the ceremony. 
I love that all the boys were fine with idea of suspenders! I remember thinking it would be so cute and then feeling nervous at how they would all react to the idea, but not a single one was against it!
And then there was this completely unplanned moment when a horse-drawn wagon rumbled by.
We got married in the grove of a living history type 'museum', and had our reception in a big yellow barn with twinkly lights strung from the beams.  Things didn't necessarily go perfectly, but I still wouldn't change a thing! Well...maybe I would change that my hairdresser didn't show up?  But no...because my younger sister stepped up and did my hair, and what a cute story that is now!

Did anything go wrong at your wedding?  Would you change it if you could?

Oh, and the poor resolution of these has nothing to do with the photographer who took them! We have all the proofs, and scanning just never turns out like you think it will!

Monday, April 16, 2012

That Damn Cake

Look, there is just no other way of referring to that cake.  Okay?  What cake is that, you ask?  Oh, that Heaven and Hell cake that Matt 'claims' is his favorite.  I think he does it just to hear the colorful language that emerges from the kitchen every time his birthday rolls around and I have to tackle that beast.

In case you are new here, allow me to recap.  Matt likes this cake called 'Heaven and Hell'.  It's a four layer monstrosity with two different cakes (FROM SCRATCH), peanut butter mousse, chocolate ganache, and I don't even remember what else.  I attempted it for the first time two years ago, and in the process I broke a blender, ran out of eggs, backed my Trailblazer in Matt's truck on the way to the store, and just created a general brick of a cake.  You can read the full account of the debacle here.

It wasn't good.  My family keeps trying to make me feel better and say it was, but no.  It wasn't.

Last year I was in the early stages of pregnancy on Matt's birthday and would vomit at the mere thought of an egg, so my mom took over cake duties for poor ol' Matt.  I don't remember what she made, but I'm glad she did, otherwise I would have had to put a candle on a piece of peanut butter bread.

BUT ANYWAY, April 5th rolled around, and in a fit of domesticity, I decided I could totally make another Heaven and Hell cake for him, but I would just simplify it with boxed cake and store-bought icing.  It went considerably smoother than the first time, but since I only own one round cake pan, it took me around 2.5 hours to bake it.  I skipped the peanut butter altogether this year (I forgot it actually, but I'm going to pretend it was intentional mmkay?) and after letting the layers cool I frosted that sucker with relative ease and took it to my mom's house for Matt's birthday tacos.  The man loves his tacos.

After blowing out the blazing inferno of candles (sheesh, old much?)we cut into the cake and gorged ourselves on chocolate. Matt liked it! Everything was going great! The curse of the cake was broken...or so I thought.

After mentally congratulating myself on creating an edible version of this cake, we drove off into the sunset...and heard a crash as THAT DAMN CAKE slid off the hood of the car and was scattered along George Street.
Cell phone pic via my mom, the finder of the carnage on the side of the street.
 So, as you can see, the curse of the Heaven and Hell cake remains.

Photo Editing

As I am sure the vast majority of you already know, is shutting down shop in three short days.  I have seen quite a few people in a bit of a dither over this, and I just wanted to offer my two cents on the topic.

Actually, it's not even two cents, it's totally free.  As in, a free photo-editing program that I've been using for about a year and absolutely loving.  I will be the first to say that I am not a photographer, but I do like taking pretty pictures of my family, and sometimes those pictures need a bit of tweaking (sometimes they need a LOT of tweaking!).

That's where Photoscape comes in handy.  It is jam-packed with features, I said...FREE.

Here is a screen shot of it in use on my computer (and awww...Jack dying eggs).

So, if you are looking for a nice photo-editing program, I would definitely recommend Photoscape!  You can download it for free right here.

(And yes, you can make collages with it, use the "page" tab)

Happy editing!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Family Photo

I had grand plans of getting as absolutely adorable family photo on Easter.  Didn't happen.  I mean...the pictures are, you know, normal.  No one is looking, someone(Jack) is running away, someone else (Matt) was texting, someone else (me) has hair stuck to her lips.
Ah well.  Next year?

We did get this silly little series of Matt and I, and I kind of love it.  I stuck my tongue out in the first picture, the second one is me telling him that I stuck my tongue out (and do you see the look he is giving me?  I call that the 'teacher look'), and then he smooched me. 

Did you manage to get a good family photo on Easter? Or were yours more of the 'run-away kid' variety?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Luke: Six Months

I am a few days late on this post, but between Matt's birthday and Easter, a certain little man also hit a milestone.

In the last month I have started to feel like we are finally getting into a routine.  That things are quite so 'day to day survival' as they used to be. 

He still doesn't sleep all that great, but it is better than it was, so I can't really complain.  He is getting his teeth now, and although they haven't broken through the gums yet, I can tell they are giving him a hard time.  That said, he is still one of the happiest, easiest babies I have been around.  He just...chills. He has blended into our family so much that it is very weird to think of life before he was here.
In the last month we have also started to give him some 'real' food, although I will be the first to say he is still mainly on breastmilk.  Dude is huge, so clearly he is getting what he needs from me, and I like being able to meet that need for now. 
Inspired by my sister!
We have his six month check up tomorrow, so we will see just how big he actually is, but my guess is somewhere around 18/19 pounds.  He is mainly in 6-9 month clothes, with the odd 12 month outfit in there as well.  And while I realize that shoes are completely unnecessary at this point, I love putting little shoes on babies.  That said, I have NO shoes that fit this kid.  His feet are huge.  So if babies are like puppies (ha) I guess that means he is gonna be a big guy!
Love you Lukey! Mommy is so glad you are here!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easy Felt Eggs

As an Easter gift for my nieces and nephew, I thought I would create them a little gift of the non-sugar variety.  Kids love to 'cook', and eggs and Easter kind of go hand in hand, so I made them this cute little felt egg craft.

It was very easy, and egg-ceptionally (I know, it's so bad it hurts) easy on the wallet. 

I started out with sheet of yellow felt, which I traced circles onto with half of an Easter egg.  These are tHe egg yolks.

Then I cut two sheets of white felt into curvy shapes for the egg whites.  Eggs are pretty forgiving when it comes to shape, just make sure you have enough room for your 'yolk' in the middle. 

I could have just glued the yolk onto the white at this point, but I wanted my eggs to have a little more of a 3-D look.  I layered the whites with a cotton ball, then capped it with a yolk.

I then stitched around the yolk with some yellow thread, and voila! A felt egg.

I popped each egg into an Easter egg, and gave each child a little frying pan as well.

I gotta say, these are stinkin' cute! The kids liked them, although I think it made a bigger impact with the parents!

Cost Breakdown- I made 20 eggs, 4 for each child. 

3 sheets of felt@ $0.29 each - $0.87
3 frying pan set (2 pans per set) @ $0.60 per set - $1.80
Dollar Store Easter Eggs -$1

I bought both the felt and the frying pan sets at Michaels. Cotton Balls, thread, and paper bags I already had at home, so my grand total came to $3.67, so yeah - CHEAP!  Aside from the sewing, it was a quick craft.  I'm not all that skilled with a needle and thread, so that part of the craft took a little longer, but probably came to under an hour.  I just waited until the boys were in bed and sewed my eggs while watching an old episode of Downton Abbey on Netflix.

There you have it! An easy, cute craft that won't give your kid cavities!

Just out of curiosity, what do you call eggs like this?  Here in PA, we call them 'Dippy Eggs', but I'm told that is just a regional thing.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Weekend '12

Still recovering.  No energy for blogging.  Must.  Eat.  Chocolate. Bunny.

Ours was good.  How was yours?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Special Delivery

A few weeks ago I returned home from an outing with the boys to a very exciting sight!  On my doorstep sat the cutest orange package you ever did see!

I excitedly tore through the tape (after carting the little dudes through the door, of course) to open...
Luke's birth day book! (Sorry about the silly last name editing, because Matt is a teacher I'd prefer to not have his students able to google his name and find this site)

I absolutely LOVE the way it turned out.  I made a hard cover 8x8 photobook, and my only complaint is that the pictures towards the binding of the book got a little cut off.  I had adjusted it to take that into account, but it still cut off more than expected.  Still, that is a pretty minor complaint!

I loved this book SO much, that the next week I decided to re-do Jack's birth day book as well! An online friend gave me a code for a free photobook (the same dimensions as Luke's) that she couldn't make use of, so I got right to it!
I had made Jack a book in the past, but it was a different size and soft covered, and for several other reasons it just wasn't exactly what I wanted for him.
I am so pleased to have made each of them their own books, and I really love the cover photos!

Shutterfly is running a special offer right now where you can get up to 30% off of a photobook, so if you have meaning to make one, I would totally recommend it!

*For the record - Shutterfly has no idea who I am, I was not compensated in any way for this post, I just really, really, REALLY love my photobooks.

Have you ever made a photobook?  Are you planning to make a photobook?

Also, I can't post today and not give a little shout-out to my sweet husband! Happy Birthday Matthew!  I love every single gray hair I've given you in the 8 years we have known each other!

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