6.30.2010

Summer Staycation - The Laurel Highlands



Like I mentioned earlier this week, we went on a mini-vaca last week and decided to keep it in the 'hood, migrating an hour down the road to our ski condo in the Laurel Highlands. We packed some clothes and some friends, and our combined 8 children, and headed out.

Travel expenses: A tank of gas
Lodging: Free
Restaurant bills: None
Family Fun: Priceless

Once you begin to research it, and treat your home like a vacation destination, you will see there are so many fun things to do that you can't even fit them all in! We did all the things the kids ever asked to do. You know, the requests you respond with "We'll see. Maybe someday..."

So, this is what we did last week:



Our hiking, biking, sunning, swimming, rock jumping, rock sliding, horse riding, golfing, caving, exploring Staycation.

Tutorial Tuesday is going strong, click on over to add to the list of great projects, or browse for some inspiration, like...

This great Travel Organizer for your own summer vacation!

6.28.2010

Tutorial Tuesday Linky Party!

Welcome to Tutorial Tuesday - If you are new here, this party is to showcase your weekly tutorials. What counts as a tutorial? Anything to "teach me stuff" counts - a recipe, a kid's craft, a DIY project, how you got your baby to sleep through the night ... I'm not picky.

Take a look at some ideas from last week for inspiration:

Rustic Farmhouse Table:



Caramel Marshmallow Treats:



A New (Old) Chandelier:



Just link up below so we can all pop over to learn something new. Click here to read my latest tutorial How to Entertain Your Kids All Summer

I don't have a giveaway scheduled for this week since I just returned from a mini-vaca. I hope to be back on track next week. If you are interested in sponsoring a giveaway, contact me.

Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios





How to Entertain Your Kids All Summer

(I was gone on a mini-vaca last week - did you miss me? Well, while you were reading here, I was with my boys biking, swimming, hiking, fishing, and horseback riding. I'll show you some pics later this week. So, I'm behind on all of your blogs, but I'll get caught up soon.)

Oh, I'm sorry, did you think I was going to give you a perfect summer entertainment tutorial for you to implement here? I won't do that, but I will give you a small bit of advice from a mom who has attempted to entertain children for 11 summers...

Let them play! Don't schedule them too much with camps and classes. Let them get bored. They will come up with something amazing to do once they get their little brains working. Like what, you ask? Like this...

Kick a ball at the garage door "goalie" in their pj's during a rainstorm.



Try to break a glass with only their voice.



Play all afternoon in a box drawn with chalk and a ball.



Try the peds on their heads during a summer shoe shopping trip.



Eat fresh peas from their pea patch at sunset.



These are what summer memories are made of. Those kids of yours will come up with things you never imagined to propose or plan. Try it, you'll like it...

Do you have a tutorial for me? Tomorrow is Tutorial Tuesday, your chance to link up your own tutorials - come on, come back tomorrow and Teach Me Stuff!

If you would like to host a giveaway for Tutorial Tuesday, contact me!

6.27.2010

Sunday Funny

2010 Barbie



6.26.2010

Stuff I Learned - Tutorial Tuesday Wrap Up

Another great week! Thank you, everyone, for participating. If you would like to schedule a Tutorial Tuesday giveaway, contact me.

I don't know about you, but I cannot resist browsing the fat quarters at my local fabric store. I love all the color combos and the patterns all squished together on those shelves! Sew Chick and Unique will teach you how to sew a Fat Quarter Bag in about an hour - yes!



Upholstered headboards are EVERYWHERE in design mags these days. So much so, that The Big Guy even commented on them and how comfy they looked. Check out this Tufted Headboard Tutorial from Lemon Tree Creations.



Have I ever explained how much I love recycling projects? I thought not. Dollar Store Decor made a Tin Can Organizer that is easy, free, and customizable. Right on.



Mama Thompson has the same ugly window wells I have in the basement of my house...want to make them pretty? How to Update Your Window Wells

And if you didn't read the link about Mary's Dresser, please do. It will give you goosebumps and you will be glad you did.

And, I love me some recipes, and these really got me going this week. Let's cook!

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Green Onion Bread

Roast Your Own Coffee


Thank you to Gina, from Acute Designs, for sponsoring this week. Our lucky winner is...The Paisley Cupcake! (isn't that the greatest blog name?!?)

If you didn't win, it's not too late! Hope Studios readers can take 15% off your total purchase from Acute Designs! Woot woot, shopping spree!

To learn more about Gina and Acute Designs, check out her blogs: Useless Endeavor and Taste

6.25.2010

Are Pit Bulls Safe With Kids? Feedback Friday

This topic ignited a firestorm of controversy a few weeks ago on Momlogic as readers weighed in on an article entitled "If you have a baby, give away your pit bull". This article referenced a news story from the Detroit news site, Click on Detroit, about an 11 month old baby mauled to death by the family pit bull

Pit Bull Lovers website maintains that pit bulls are just like any other dog and are safe with children using the precautions you would with any dog.

Here in Pittsburgh, another pit bull attack was reported by WPXI News just last week. A 5 year old girl is recovering after being bitten on the face, receiving 600 micro-stitches.

A website known as the Pit Bull Awareness Center has dedicated a whole website to warning people about the dangers of this breed, using graphic stories and images.

Yet, Rescue Every Dog, a dog rescue website maintains that pit bulls tend "to love all people, especially children. The only caution I would add is that, because they are very exuberant and energetic dogs, they can sometimes overwhelm very young children and accidentally bump them or knock them over, particularly when they are pups."

Pets Do website lists pit bulls as #1 on their list of most dangerous dog breeds while Dog Politics website lists the top 10 most dangerous dog owners, rather than naming breeds.

Confused yet?

It's Feedback Friday...So which is it?

What does your experience tell you about pit bulls and kids? What does your gut tell you?

This?



Or this?


6.24.2010

I Cut My Kids' Allowance This Week

I know, risky, huh? It's week 3 of summer break and I was running myself ragged picking up, cleaning, cooking, entertaining, all while pestering my boys to get their reading and summer workbooks done. Not fun. Oh, and on top of that I was paying them. I felt a little bitter. I don't want to feel bitter. I love those guys!

Marzipan came up with a marble reward system a few years ago that I halfheartedly attempted to enact way back then. My little one was too little, I was disorganized, the kids were unsure. Needless to say, it didn't work out. But, with a 7, 9, and 11 year old? I began wringing my hands together like a madman hatching a plan...this just might work!

So, everyone's allowance was cut in half and the remaining half will have to be earned. MMMWWHAHAHAHA!

I combined Marzipan's plan with a similar one I read about in Family Fun Magazine this month and Juniper's Marble System was born. It's pretty self explanatory through pictures:




A full jar yields $10 (it takes about 200 marbles to fill a jar, and they are earning about 10 marbles per day). They have completed more than the mandatory 20 minutes of reading and 2 workbook pages every day so far, along with picking up extra chores now and then.

I know many of you will write in that certain things are just expected and that allowance isn't for work done...That just didn't work for us. A lot of things were expected and there was a lot of arguing and nagging to get it done. I'm getting some help around here, they are getting rewarded, and both of us feel "in control".

Win/win as far as I'm concerned.

Don't forget to link up with our Tutorial Tuesday party! Scroll down to add your own tutorial for fun and prizes.

6.21.2010

Tutorial Tuesday with Acute Designs!

Welcome to Tutorial Tuesday - If you are new here, this party is to showcase your weekly tutorials. What counts as a tutorial? Anything to "teach me stuff" counts - a recipe, a kid's craft, a DIY project, how you got your baby to sleep through the night ... I'm not picky.

Just link up below so we can all pop over to learn something new. Scroll down for my weekly tutorial from yesterday - Easy Sesame Chicken!



You might recognize Gina, fromAcute Designs, since she has hung around here for awhile and I'm so excited to introduce you to her shop!

Self taught, Gina uses materials (satin, chiffon, voile, cotton, silk), feathers, buttons, deconstructed vintage jewelry , vintage buttons, and flowers to create this eclectic line of accessories.

Look at these lovely hairpins - I love the idea of popping a pin in my hair to transform my whole look. The set of three is only $14 - It's so affordable to be cute!



I love this 5 Flower Necklace/Headband - double duty accessories!

Wear it on your head:



Or on your neck:



Look at the detail of this floral hair clip. It's like a little sculpture for your hair!



I just thought of about 25 ways to jazz up my hair and clothes with Gina's accessories - you really need to check out her Acute Designs shop!

Acute Designs is offering one lucky winner a $30 gift certificate to her shop this week...

Want to win?

Either link up with our party (rules are below)

OR

Comment below and tell me about your favorite Acute Designs piece. Easy peasy, right?

Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios





Sesame Chicken



My tutorial for this week is an easy, yummy recipe. Come on, we are all sick of the same old chicken dishes. Let's learn a new one!

Sesame Chicken

Chicken cutlets or tenderloins pounded to 1/4 inch
1 egg
3 T. white sesame seeds
3 T. black sesame seeds
1 cup panko crumbs
1 t. salt
olive oil
sesame oil


Mix together seeds, bread crumbs, and salt in a shallow dish (white and black sesame seeds and sesame oil can be found in the Asian food section of your grocery store).

Beat egg in a separate bowl.

Dip chicken in egg then press into the seed/crumb mixture.

Saute in pan with about 1 T. olive oil and 1/2 t. sesame oil until golden brown.

Serve with a salad!

Got a tutorial for me? Well, come on back here tomorrow to link up for fun and prizes!

.

6.20.2010

Sunday Funny



Happy Father's Day!

6.19.2010

Stuff I Learned - Tutorial Tuesday Wrap Up

Before I begin, I want to assure everyone that I really do click each and every submission for Tutorial Tuesdays. I would love to comment on every one, but the total time to comment, do word verification, do word verification again because I messed up, then submit x 60 submissions is taking too much time when I have three rug rats asking me to play. So, thank you for being understanding and submitting anyway. I love everything I see!

My kids would have loved playing with this Pretend Mail Kit from Twelve Crafts til Christmas!



I actually lost my mind a little bit when I saw this Baseball String Bracelet from I Can Find the Time! Just look! Cute boy jewelry...L.O.V.E.



I really need to take the time to organize my stuff, especially my car, which is my mini home away from home (can I get an amen?). Leanne showed us a Car Organizer even I can make.



Let's do some cooking this weekend!

Strawberry Jam


Cast Iron Skillet Brownies, no mixing bowls!

How about some fresh Pesto for your pasta?

This week's winner of the $30 gift certificate from Oh Write is Kimbo's Crafts!

You can learn more about Kate, from Oh Write on her blog. Thank you for sponsoring!

Contact me if you would like to host one of our upcoming Tutorial Tuesdays!

6.18.2010

Thunder Thighs - Feedback Friday



I have a friend. A really fit friend who looks great. She was told by someone that she has "thunder thighs" during an argument and has never worn shorts since. She's young (in her 20's), she's fit, she's thin, and she's self-conscious of her legs.

When I was in high school, a boy in art class made a joke about my "man hands". I have been self-conscious about them ever since. I wear lots of bracelets to draw the eye to my wrist, I never wear nail polish, I never wear rings other than my wedding ring.

When I was about 14 I was told my butt was getting "jiggly" and that is the day I began exercising and it continues to this day. My main goal? Decrease the jiggly in my butt.

It's so silly, but I believe we all take such comments to heart and it helps form our body image, sticking with us. In most cases, the person who made the comment won't even remember saying or even thinking such things. It's just something we harbor within us.

I had such positive response to Take a Compliment where you all shared what you love about you. Let's take it a step further this week and share our story about what fueled our insecurities.

Let's put it out there and let it be banished from our heads. Let it become a silly story from our past that can no longer hurt us. It's Feedback Friday:

What comment or situation caused an irrational body insecurity or affected your body image?

6.17.2010

20 Minute Dress

Jessica, my new bloggy friend from Style Obsession recently posted about this great Rachel Roy dress that was on sale this month:



I commented that this dress seemed easy enough to sew, and a fun challenge was on!

Jessica and I emailed back and forth a bit and soon she had come up with her version.



I promised her I'd try to carve out some time to come up with my own version. My first attempt couldn't accommodate my ample behind, so I needed to re-cut and start over. It ended up taking me about 20 minutes from start to finish. I started with a paper pattern I used to cut out the fabric shaped like this:



Using a skirt as a measurement guide, I cut a rectangle and simply cut the corners out to create the arm holes. I ironed a 1/4 inch fold in the slanted area and sewed so the arm holes would not fray, then sewed a hem.

Next, I folded the neck area down 1 inch and sewed a channel for the ribbon. Now, just pin right sides together and sew from the hem to the bottom of the slanted armholes (between the arrows in the picture)

Turn right side out and thread cord or ribbon through the channel and tie over your shoulders.




Thanks, Jessica! This was a blast!

Don't forget to link up for Tutorial Tuesday - you just might win some custom stationary from Oh Write!

.

6.14.2010

Tutorial Tuesday with Oh Write

Welcome to Tutorial Tuesday - If you are new here, this party is to showcase your weekly tutorials. What counts as a tutorial? Anything to "teach me stuff" counts - a recipe, a kid's craft, a DIY project, how you got your baby to sleep through the night ... I'm not picky.

Just link up below so we can all pop over to learn something new. (My weekly tutorial is a Keepsake Necklace for kids). I do not have a sponsor for next week if anyone is interested. Email me if you have a shop or blog and would like to sponsor Tutorial Tuesday.

Karen, the founder of Oh Write , (a newborn Etsy business) is a stay at home mom to a 2 year old daughter. She recently decided to dive into the world of at-home business and I'm so tickled to have met her! Kate's products and store were born of her love of the hand-written word...sound familiar? I knew this was a match made in heaven as soon as I saw her cute stationary.

I love that the sets of cards match while each one is unique:



And the stitching detail is so cute!



Check out the paper bag colored envelopes - I would love to give a stack of these wrapped in twine as a hostess gift!



Oh Write is offering one lucky winner a $30 gift certificate to her shop this week...

Want to win?

Either link up with our party (rules are below)

OR

Comment below and tell me about your favorite Oh Write piece. Easy peasy, right?

Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios




6.13.2010

Keepsake Necklace - Tutorial



I have stalked admired blogger, Whimsy Love, for about 2 years now. She comes up with some really fantastic projects to do with her kids. Really. Fantastic. In fact, she is keeping a Summer Diary of all the fun activities she and her girls are doing during summer break. Once you get over your inferiority complex you will find yourself very inspired!

A project she shared last year has stuck in my head...it has stuck in my head for 10 whole months. Bug Catcher Necklaces! Now that my boys are home for summer break, it was the perfect project to kick off some more kid-friendly tutorials. A necklace to house your favorite bug or a special keepsake. (We all know how kids love to collect special treasures.) Let's do this thang!

Keepsake Necklace Tutorial


Supplies:

Prize capsule
Assorted beads
Beading cord
Thumb tack



Poke or drill a small hole in the center of the cap. Tie a bead in the center of your cord then feed both ends through the hole like this:



Fill the cord with beads. Be creative! Be colorful! Get crazy and put the soccer ball bead beside a sparkly pink one! Yeah.



Once you've filled your cord with beads, tie the loose ends so you can slide it over your head like a necklace.

Poke holes in the top of the capsule with a thumb tack so your little bug can breathe.



Now go on a little nature hunt for mosses, sticks, leaves, grasses you can use to build your buggy habitat. Oh, look for some bugs while you're at it! See our little centipede? He's cute and crawly, the perfect combination.



Wear your new buggy friend around town. You can be all..."Yeah, it's a bug. I know. Cool."



Let that little guy out after awhile, you don't want him to die!

Not into bugs? That's okay, this necklace is the perfect spot for lots of other special things...favorite rocks, special shells, or little toys:



Have a tutorial for me? A kid's project, a recipe, a magic method for getting grass stains out of baseball pants? Link up tomorrow for fun and prizes - Here's a button to get you started:

Hope Studios



 

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