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Thursday, June 28, 2007

seeing polka dots

prior to the sewing machine incident, i was able to whip this out in order to send to missy for the favorite things swap. speaking of the aforementioned incident... i am happy to report, that thanks to all of your encouraging words and advice, i took apart my machine, performed a good cleaning, gave it a little tweak here and there & it is now working. i have to be honest, i have NO idea what i did, i'm just glad it's on the mend! hope you all have a happy weekend.

many thanks

i just wanted to say a quick thank you. thanks to every one, for all of the birthday wishes, that really made my day! thank you for giving me a place to vent my frustrations, and for all of the totally unexpected, yet very helpful, words of advice. thanks to everyone who participated in the swap & for making it such a success. thank you to everyone who visits me & my little time from time to time.... and a big thank you to all those who comment. i definitely love hearing from you & it's so much fun to link back. thank you for letting me share bits and pieces of my life with you.

merci. gracias. arigato. grazie. fa'afetai.

garden to go.

got an old wagon laying around? put it to good use...

thanks missy!

let me tell you how much i LOVE my swap partner missy! i seriously lucked out! it's amazing how much you can have in common with someone you've never even met! (i've been finding that out a lot lately, thanks to the blog-o-sphere!) I absolutely love burt's bees products, but I've never tried their lip stuff, I already know I'm hooked! i can't wait to wear my new visor running... this is something i definitely needed. strawberry licorice bites from trader joes! this is one of my favorite stores, but again something i've never tried. and I've saved the best for last... Rachel Ray. i have to admit i've watched the show, even flipped through the magazine, but i've never even looked at her cookbook! can't wait to find some new favorite recipes!

thanks missy! i love it all... you rock!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

my birthday cake.

Grandma's Carrot Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 1/2 cup oil
1 cup chopped pecans
4 eggs

Add sugar, soda, salt, cinnamon, oil and eggs. Mix. Alternately add carrots & flour. Add nuts and mix well.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Frosting (the best part)
1/2 cup butter, soft
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
up to a 1 lb. powder sugar

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


i need to vent. my sewing machine just died. mid-project, it decided to break. actually, it is stuck sewing in reverse. i can probably get it fixed... but i was so close to finishing my little project & i so looking forward to using my little project this weekend. now i have to pack up the sewing machine & drive who knows where. hopefully it's a quick fix. is that just wishful thinking?

gavin's starting the celebration early.

tomorrow's my birthday... i guess gavin couldn't resist digging into the cake mama jo had made. the real question is, how did he find it? the cake had been hidden under a huge mound of tin foil... now there are lots of finger holes.


spinach salad with:
candied pecans
cooked rigatoni
shredded chicken
topped with a raspberry vinaigrette


Monday, June 25, 2007

today's the day!

for all you swappers out there... don't forget to mail off your pretty little packages today, that is, if you haven't already! i'm sure everyone is excited to see what their partners have chosen to send, we wouldn't want them to have to wait too long!

once you've received your package, be sure to post photos here, for everyone to enjoy! if you don't have a flickr account, email me your photos & i will post them for you. if you have any questions/ comments, just drop me a line at:

and finally, i just want to thank everyone for participating. i've absolutely LOVED playing the host. it has been so much fun getting to know everyone. i will definitely host another swap soon, so check back often!

happy birthday little brother!

Friday, June 22, 2007

i can't stop thinking about this.

recently I came across THIS post, and I can't stop thinking about it. maybe you've heard the story before, but let me refresh your memory... the author writes about preparing for a trip to italy. Yet, upon arriving you realize that all your efforts were in vain. Instead of italy, your plane has landed in holland. surprise! can you even imagine? and yet...
who hasn't ever felt like this? life can be a tricky thing. as soon as you think you have a handle on it, you get thrown a curve ball. i know i've had my fair share of ups and downs. and it is so easy to get consumed by all that is wrong in your life. but this little story helped me put it all in perspective... you have to remember

"if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about holland."
what a wonderful, beautiful thought. simple, yet powerful...
it reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
"happiness is a journey, not a destination. for a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. but there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. at last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. this perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. happiness is the way. so treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one."
i guess it's my hope that next time I'm down & feeling blue i will remember this story. instead of mourning the things i may miss in italy, i hope that i can learn to appreciate whatever "Hollands" my life brings me & simply enjoy the journey.

lika mama always said... eat your greens!

thanks to kristen I've had salads on my mind. So I thought I'd share one of my favorites... cheesecake Factory's BBQ ranch chicken Salad. I love this salad so much, I've never tried anything else on the menu.

the great thing about this particular salad, it's also super easy to make at home. all it consists of is: chicken, avocado, tomato, grilled corn, black beans, cucumber & romaine lettuce... toss it with BBQ Ranch dressing, and top with crispy friend onion strings for crunch! YUM!

what are some of your favorite salads?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

$12.99? what a steal!

everyone, meet my new favorite skirt. it's nothing fancy... just simple and cute. it's great because it's casual enough to wear with a t-shirt, or you could dress it up with a sweater. and i love the little pockets in the front. all this at a price that won't break the bank! of course you can get one too... it's from a chic little boutique called target.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

it's too soon!

seriously! owen isn't even 8 months yet.
why does he think he can crawl up the stairs? this can't be good!

round two

the last time I tried this
it was a total flop. but this time around success was mine! too bad it so dang hot. As soon as I got them in the car, they melted... can't a girl ever catch a break?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

LOVE this...

saw this at anthropologie & i fell in love, until i saw the price that is. $2,500. YIKES! i swear i could make it for much less! all it consists of is a decorative metal railing & a wood top. one of these days...

travel in style

keep everything in one convenient place when traveling this summer thanks to this handy wallet from Adorn. want to make one? Just go HERE for the instructions. no time to waste? need it today? then buy your very own wallet from a very crafty lady... just go HERE.

Monday, June 18, 2007

it's going to be a LONG day...

i came downstairs to find that gavin had made his own breakfast... rice krispies and cocoa powder. mmmm! sounds tasty!

busy. busy. busy.

we had a fun-filled weekend: graduations, parties, shopping, hershey kiss shaped rice krispie treats, church, father's day & even more parties. but now it's monday morning, back to real life... the little munchkins are sick, AGAIN, the house looks like a hurricane hit it, suddenly got lots of work to do (for the job i get paid to do), & maybe, if i'm lucky, i'll get to take a shower. so, that being said, i don't know how much i'll get to post today. but these magnets expressed perfectly how i am feeling. buy your own HERE.
hope you have a very happy monday!

Friday, June 15, 2007

two years in the making...

Before Gavin was even born, Jeff knew he wanted to shape a surf board to hang in Gavin's room. So, he went out and found the perfect "little" surf blank, so he could shape the perfect board for his new surfing buddy. But life got busy. Gavin was born, Jeff was studying to pass the bar, then he had to get a job, plus there were lots of other, "real" surf boards that he needed to make... and through it all, the foam blank for Gavin's board sat in our garage. When we got pregnant again, the idea re-surfaced. So, after two years & lots of hard work, Jeff has completed Gavin's board. I am so impressed, I wanted to play show & tell. I can't believe he can take a foam block & turn it into such an amazing piece of art. I love the colors! The pop of the green & the resin swirl is incredible. Most of all, I love that Gavin will forever have a surfboard hand crafted, just for him, by his dad. Now, Jeff just needs to do one for Owen!

graduation day.

congratulations kerry!while tackling life, always remember the words of abe lincoln:
whatever you are, be a good one.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

summer flowers

add a little "pop" to your summer flowers! simply fill a vase with colorful buttons, add some water, and top with the flowers of your choice. fun, fast & easy.

what happened here?

I'm guessing Gavin was involved!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

dessert, midnight snack & breakfast...

I made this last night, and haven't been able to stop eating it!

Chocolate Whipped Cream Cake
1 pint whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 tablespoon vanilla

whip it up & use to frost an angel food cake. then for the show stopper - top it all off with skor pieces.

or, do as i did... tear the angel food up into chunks. Then mix the whipping cream, cake chunks and skor pieces all together in a big bowl.

Refrigerate prior to serving.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

still not a winner.

The blog world is full of give aways. Everywhere you look, it seems you can win a prize... design mom, mod mom, tangled & true, just to name a few of the wonderful blogs that love to give! So when Nan, over at Life is Like a Lunchbox, announced she would be hosting Apronpalooza & that there would be contests involved, I knew this would be my chance to win big. So I checked her blog daily & she didn't disappoint. I think the final count was 18 giveaways... 18 chances to win... 18 opportunities to win the apron of my dreams! And yet, I didn't win. I had my heart set on a pretty, new apron... so I made it myself, using the pattern I found HERE. Oh well... someday I'll win.


that's it... I think I got everyone matched up. By now you should have received an email from me, if you are participating in the swap, that is. If you haven't, let me know asap... I'm definitely far from perfect, so I wouldn't be surprised if I made a mistake or two!

so I've been looking for a bench lately, and I came across this idea... although it doesn't work for my space, I thought it as cute & worth sharing! The instructions read: "To get the look, cut a piece of plywood to fit across the seats of three wooden chairs. Cut notches in the back edge of the plywood to accommodate the chair backs and ensure a snug fit. Trim the front edge and sides of the plywood with molding, and seal the deal with a colorful coat of exterior paint." Sounds easy enough! It might even be cute at a dining table!

Monday, June 11, 2007

almost done.

Matching up partners, that is... those participating in the swap should have an email today. I promise! In the mean time, here are some recent pictures. Luckily, it seems that everyone is on the mend!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

let the swapping begin!

it's official, swap sign ups are now closed. thanks for the incredible response. we have over 100 participants! i'm new to the swapping business, so i don't know what's "normal." for me, that's huge. i definitely didn't expect this kind of response... i'm so grateful for everyone posting about it & telling their friends. now, i have to do the hard part, and match everyone up with partners. actually, it really shouldn't be that hard, except that i want to swap with EVERYONE! anyway, i'll probably do something fair, like draw names out of a hat or something. just be looking for an email from me with your partners info. in the mean time, start thinking about what you want to send. if you're looking for a little inspiration, check out these pictures from flickr of past swaps...
swap packages
free people travel swap
mellow + yellow
swap central

Friday, June 8, 2007

tick tock, time's a ticking!

the deadline for swap sign ups is today! so if you haven't joined yet, email me soon at not sure what the swap is all about? read about it HERE. i can't wait, the real fun is about to begin!

head band how to...

head bands are all the rage, and thanks to the good people over at martha stewart weddings you can make one to match every outfit! All you'll need is some remnants of fabric (one piece 6-by-16 inch & two pieces that are 1-by-2-inch), a 1-inch-wide cloth covered headbands, fabric glue & clothespins. Now just click on the picture to enlarge the instructions & you are ready to go.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

snapshots of my day...

what a day! i am so glad it's over & i so hope that tomorrow isn't a repeat! for the most part, both of my boys are happy, easy going kids.... but not today, being sick does that. the high point of my day was when i was in the kitchen licking batter from the spoon, after baking cupcakes for the scout picnic - which is funny, because my oldest isn't even 2 1/2 yet! anyway, i was licking the cake batter off the spoon, while both my kids were crying... it definitely made me feel like mom of the year!

you'll probably think i'm crazy

Yesterday we went to disneyland. As I was walking through the california adventures park this mosaic caught my eye. I've walked past it hundreds of times before, but have never really noticed it. Anyway, as I was looking at it, it occurred to me that this would make a really cool back splash in the kitchen. Maybe I'm crazy, but it just seems so fun! I especially like the idea of incorporating broken china, silver ware, and broken mugs. It won't work in the kitchen I have now, but maybe someday!

the boys are sick.

Gavin's has a temperature of 103, Owen is just plain fussy & I'm tired after being up with them all night, but I can't forget to make brownies for the scout picnic tonight... so I better run to the store.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

not as cute as i imagined.

so, recently I had a cute idea...bake cupcakes in colorful ice cream cones & top them a "swirl" of frosting.Sounds darling, huh? Well i whipped up the batter, poured it into the cones (making sure to leave AMPLE space for the cupcakes to rise). I checked on them with about 5 minutes left & they were looking perfect. The buzzer goes off, & well... they had spilled over, some had sunk in, they were a total disaster! I guess I'll have to go back to the drawing board on this one. I guess they can't all be successes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

i think i want this!

look! it's so small & cheap (only a $100)! wouldn't this be perfect to just throw in your purse?! wondering what it is?. well... it's the Flip Digital Video Camera. Photojojo says:

This critter packs a built-in flip-out USB port for downloading 640×480 MPEG4 at 30 frames-per-second (geek-speak for “pretty decent quality”) to your PC or Mac, a small LCD to review what you’ve recorded, a cable to watch videos on your TV in seconds, and a friendly user interface that requires no manual. (Really, truly!)

Cinema-quality video it is not, but surprisingly clear and bright for its size and cost, it is. We’ve been having a blast using this guy this past week!

We think the Flip Video is perfect for anyone who wants to capture video without hassle, or a rugged camera for little hands.

sounds like fun to me!

father's day: diy

for diy photo cuff links, tie tacks & keychains... go HERE.

personalize a 12-pack of Jones soda with your favorite pictures!

have your kids make an ABC book that reminds them about dear old dad...

why not bake him a cake? how about this one that looks like a shirt & tie. or, if he's a golfer, he might enjoy this cake.

make your own photo snow globe.

decorate his favorite accessory... a tie, or how about putting his favorite picture on a photo tie?

or, if you are feeling REALLY crafty... make him a tie.

personalize a photo book with just pictures of the kids & dad. or, check out all these other great ideas using photos... everything from mugs to luggage tags.

just thought i'd throw a few ideas out there!

i wasn't the only one who liked the brownies...

I came downstairs & found Gavin snacking on last night's brownies!

Monday, June 4, 2007

made these last night...

14 ounces caramels
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 (18.25 ounce) package German chocolate cake mix
1/3 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 cups milk chocolate chips


  1. Peel caramels and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup evaporated milk. Heat and stir until all caramels are melted.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together cake mix, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, melted butter, and chopped pecans. Place 1/2 of the batter in prepared baking pan.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes.
  5. Place the remaining batter into the fridge. Remove brownies from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Drizzle caramel sauce over chocolate chips. Remove brownie mix from refrigerator. Using a teaspoon, make small balls with the batter and smash flat. Very carefully, place on top of the Carmel sauce until the top is completely covered.
  6. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove and let cool.

beautiful organization.

My aunt marty is the organization queen! she has taught me that everything has a place and everything can be both decorative & beautiful... I often wish I could be more like her. As a general rule, I think I'm pretty organized. But I have one or two, shall we say "junk drawers". Who doesn't? One of these particular drawers houses all of my jewelry. Anyway, to make what could be a long story short... I came across THIS cute project idea on Leslie's blog a while back. This weekend I finally made it. A couple of frames, a little scrap fabric, some fun knobs & there you have it! A fun, new way to store my jewels... beautiful organization.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

leaving on a jet plane?

June is finally here! That means summer has officially begun & vacations are just around the corner! I don't know about you, but taking my wee little ones on a plane, isn't always fun or easy. Gavin is such a wiggle worm... it's hard to get him sitting still. Lucky for me, my mom, found the greatest thing ever - the CARES airplane safety restraint harness. Seriously, this has been a life saver. I realize I can take the car seat on the plane... but it's a pain, having to haul it & my two kids through the airport, especially if I'm alone. CARES is lightweight & easy to install on any airplane seat. If you've got little ones & are planning a plane trip, go HERE to check it out. Just thought I'd pass it along!

Friday, June 1, 2007

it's a party & everyone's invited!

Can i tell you how excited i am?! I'm loving this swapping business! It is so much fun. I absolutely LOVE playing host. I love getting the emails, I feel so popular! Plus, it is so much fun learning bits & pieces about every one's lives, and I love checking out every one's blogs.

Many many thanks to everyone who have already signed up. If you haven't yet, all I can say is: why not? This is going to be tons of fun! Who doesn't like getting surprises in their mailbox? In case your sitting on the fence about joining the fun, I say take the plunge! Remember, you have until Friday, June 8th to sign up. Then, I'll email you your swap partners information, and you have until Monday, June 25th to mail your package!

I am so glad that I've gotten such a great response to the swap. I hope everyone is telling the friends... you know how it goes, the more, the merrier!

how we spent the morning...

I spent the day re-connecting with an old friend Coleen. It was so much fun, it just brings a smile to face thinking about it. I don't think we've seen one another since high school, and then a mutual friend Katie mentioned that Coleen had moved to town! Hip Hip Hooray. I was so worried to make the call... would she even remember me? I am so thrilled it all just came together... especially because she has access to such a awesome water park, right there in her community. Can you imagine having something like this, practically in your backyard? Gavin was a bit timid at first, but loved it in the end. I think Coleen & I are going to become VERY well acquainted this summer!

another way to feed the addiction!

Andes Mint Shakes are now being served at Jack in the Box! Yummy! I can already taste it... maybe that's because I'm sipping one right now. mmm mmm good!