10.31.2010

The Chic Life - Sunday Funny


Pete thought it seemed a tad dramatic, but Wendy wanted to let her guests know she didn't appreciate their tardiness, through her creative use of body language.


Happy Halloween everyone! CLICK HERE!

10.29.2010

Sports Customs - Feedback Friday


First of all, let me tell you that my middle son's youth football team has made it to the Superbowl!!! Yahoo! We are so excited! We are making decorations! We are planning parties! We are inviting family!

Hold on...there is one small order of business I need to mention. Here is a portion of an email I received from a team mom following our playoff win:

"Middle Gold families are asked to bring 1-2 dozen cookies to share, and the Big Gold team families will bring snacks. The night should be a fun and exciting time to get the boys pumped up for the big game, including a burn in effigy. Anyone want to lend a hand on that piece, please let me know!"

An effigy is a representation of a person, especially in the form of sculpture or some other three-dimensional form. (Wikipedia)

An Effigy burn would have looked like this:



Our sons on this team are 9-10 years old.

It's Feedback Friday and I have to know:

Is a "burn in effigy" common for sports teams with children of this age?

Do you think this activity is appropriate?

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10.28.2010

It's 2 O'Clock...Let's Shop!

Tomorrow night we are having one of these...



And I never have enough of this...



Aren't these the coolest Retro Marshmallow Roasting Sticks? I love the colors and the wooden handles - Who's got the S'mores?

Want to know how to build the perfect fire? Click here...it's called How To Build a Fire - and every dude with a tee pee fire building technique will bow down to your fire building prowess. No joke.
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10.27.2010

Why Don't You...Spice Some Nuts?


Photo: McCormick

I love fancy restaurant salads with the spiced nuts sprinkled on top. I feel healthy and decadent at the same time when I make myself one for lunch with a sprinkle of cranberries, feta, and sweet and spicy nuts (My friend, The Treat Girl, loves this salad!).

Sweet and Spicy Nuts!

Ingredients:

1 egg white
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Whisk together ingredients and add 2 cups lightly salted, roasted mixed nuts...or just pecans like I do!

Toss to coat then bake on a foil lined sheet at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Yum!

There is still time to join my Tutorial linky party and win a great monogrammed tote! Scroll down and teach me stuff!

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10.25.2010

Tutorial Tuesday with Stitchfork 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.

Click to see my weekly tutorial: Halloween Costume Ideas!

I want you to meet a Monogramming Rebel: Cathy from Stitchfork Designs Blog!

Oh, she never runs with scissors and will put on a sweater when it's chilly, but all the rules go out the window when she sits down to design a monogram. Check it out!

Custom napkins:



Custom towels:



Custom burp cloths:



The sky is the limit! Imagine the personalized wedding, shower, anniversary gifts you could give with Stitchfork as a resource!

Cathy has generously offered a giveaway for this Tutorial Tuesday in an effort to build her new blog Stitchfork Designs Blog. New followers will be entered to win this Custom Monogrammed Foldable Tote (see the cute folded version in the bottom corner?):



So link up today AND follow Stitchfork Blog to enter to win this cool bag.

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

* Follow Stitchfork Designs Blog

* 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




10.24.2010

Halloween Costume Ideas!

My kids begin to plan for Halloween about one week after the last Halloween. We have gone through many ideas, but these are the ones we've stuck with for this year.

My oldest son wanted to be something unexpected and tongue-in-cheek, so he chose Lady Gaga in a meat dress...of course. I searched high and low for fabric resembling meat and finally settled on an irregular red stripe (I believe it was supposed to be wood grain) at JoAnn's.

I referenced this photo:



and made this dress out of a series of jagged triangles that I sewed together haphazardly:



24 hours before this weekend's costume contest, he suddenly felt uncomfortable wearing a dress yet still wanted to be GaGa. It's time for Walmart, doggy toys and some imagination:



We hot-glued various meaty squeak toys (steaks, chicken legs, ribs) onto a clearance t-shirt, added the GaGa glasses, and a wig and he was good to go. I actually think what we ended up with was more ridiculous and more GaGa!

My youngest son was torn this year..."Do I want to be scary or something I love?" He really loves donuts. Really. In fact, he wrote me a whole Mother's Day card this year all about how much he loves donuts. I'm jealous of donuts now.

We decided to combine the two and make him a "Krispy Skreme" zombie with a big moldy donut:



There are many great tutorials for making felt donuts if you google them. But here is what I did: I cut out the round shape from tan felt, and another of brown felt (for the chocolate). Then I cut out the middles. I cut the chocolate more wavy, like icing, then sewed it to one of the donut rounds with my machine.

Then, I put right sides together and sewed around the outside edge of the donut, then turned right side out.

Next, I whip stitched the inside of the donut hole, leaving a 6 inch space un-sewn so I could fill the donut with quilt batting.

After I stuffed the donut I sewed the opening closed by hand.

We hot glued on patches of faux fur that we spray panted green and gray for mold, then added several bugs and rats to make it look really disgusting.



We got a hat from Krispy Kreme and rubbed paint on it and changed the name to "Krispy Skreme" using Magneto font on the computer and glued the new name over the old. We hot glued on several bugs and creepy crawlies.

The t-shirt used the same paper logo I printed out on the computer and sewed onto the shirt using a zigzag stitch. It's temporary and I can use the shirt again!

Thank goodness my middle son wanted to buy a costume this year...



You are going to die when you see my costume this year...it's a surprise though. I can't show you until AFTER Halloween!

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The Chic Life - Sunday Funny


Wendy knew she'd better come prepared for strip-poker night with her old hand model room mates!

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10.23.2010

Stuff I Learned

I love the feeling of this Bat Art!




Encourage your kids to wash by putting prizes in their Soap!


These Ribbon Pumpkins are so simple, yet super cute!


This Painted Mirror is so gorgeous!

10.22.2010

That Pink Ribbon - Feedback Friday


Quick, what do you believe is the leading cause of cancer for women in America?

I read a post this week that made me think about that pink ribbon, CLICK HERE to learn what I learned along with some food for thought.

Thoughts, comments?

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10.21.2010

It's 2 O'Clock - Let's Shop!



How many times have I tried to figure out a good way to pack cupcakes in my boys' lunches for special occasions?!? Lots! Look what I found! This cute Two-Pack-Cupcake-Case (say that 5 times fast) is just the ticket - and only 9 bucks! Whoot! (Clearly, I must finish each sentence in this entire post with an exclamation point!)

They have one that holds 6 cupcakes, too!

Buy Now

10.20.2010

Why Don't You...Cut the Bottom of Your Pumpkin?


Photo Credit:Martha Stewart


Consider cutting a hole in bottom of your jack o lantern this year. The pumpkin will be more stable and easier to carve AND your candle will sit up easily on the smooth surface. Simply place the candle on the ground and place your carved jack o lantern on top!
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10.18.2010

Tutorial Tuesday!

Hope Studios


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.

Scroll down to see my weekly tutorial: Trick or Treat Mummies!

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




10.17.2010

Trick or Treat! Mummy Treats!



I still remember trick or treating as a child. The word would pass throughout the town quickly as to which house was giving out full-sized candy bars or quarters. We would all rush to that house before they ran out!

When I had kids, I decided I wanted to be that house. Since I live on a hill and get under 30 trick or treat-ers per year, I can afford to do that.

While blog hopping to some of my blogging "peeps" this week, I came across a great idea to jazz up my candy. Thanks Haley!

Let's begin with:

Hershey's Bars
White fabric you've ripped into strips
Googly eyes
And a hot glue gun




Hot glue your strips of fabric to the top of the candy bar wrapper, wrap the fabric around the bar haphazardly, then hot glue again at the end::



Almost a mummy!



Attach some googly eyes:



Repeat 25+ times! Look at the band of Mummies!



Way cuter than that boring bucket of candy!

BOO!


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The Chic Life - Sunday Funny

Victoria's Secret

Wendy should have thought it through before she so hastily returned that horsehair sofa. She hadn't sat down properly in weeks!


10.16.2010

Stuff I Learned

Running low on Skull Candlesticks? Thought so...



Amazingly, you can recycle an entire sweater - check out Twelve Crafts Till Christmas to learn how!



LOVE this DIY Dessert Stand...Makes me want to plan a party!




Just look at this gorgeous Paper Flower Wreath!


10.15.2010

The Birds and the Bees - Feedback Friday


My friend Craig from the Constant Complainer shared a story about a "Sex Test" that was administered to students at Hardy Middle School (part of the D.C. public school system) this week that had parents in an uproar. I googled the controversy and found this news report from NBC Washington and another story HERE on MSNBC.

Okay, here is the scoop...

Students as young as 12 years old were about to begin a Health Class Sex Education Program by Metro TeenAIDS organization. To determine their baseline knowledge, the students were given a survey of questions to answer. Including some of the following questions:

What is your sex? (options were Male, Female, and Trans gender)

How sure are you that you...

Can name all four body fluids that can transmit HIV.

Know the difference between oral, vaginal, and anal sex

Would recognize the signs or symptoms of an STD.

Can correctly put a condom on yourself or your partner.

Can clearly say “no” if you do not want to have sex.

Can convince a reluctant partner to use barrier protection (i.e. condoms, dental dams) during sex.
For the complete survey CLICK HERE.


Parents were sent an "opt out" form for the program, but it was accidentally sent home the same day as the survey was administered.

Some further information about the students of D.C. Public Schools according to the Washington Post...

"Nearly seven percent of all D.C. teens were diagnosed with chlamydia in 2008. Further, D.C. teens account for half of all chlamydia and gonorrhea cases in D.C. And more than three percent of District residents older than 12 are living with HIV or AIDS."

Adam Tenner from Metro TeenAIDS defends his position:

Thoughts, Comments, Questions about this "Sex Test" administered to the students of Hardy Middle School?

Is this test appropriate for this population?

Would this test be appropriate for all children of this age?

Should the parents have been given an opportunity to opt-out of this program given the statistics regarding HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and sexual activity of this region ?

10.14.2010

Let's Make Stuffed Peppers!


The Big Guy spends his days in a fancy restaurant, so when he comes home he's all about comfort food! Lucky for me, that's right up my alley.

We were overwhelmed with peppers from our garden this year, so I decided to make a bunch to freeze for this winter. This recipe, from Cook's Illustrated, was a bit different from my usual recipe, but very good.

Classic Stuffed Peppers
Cook's Illustrated


4 medium bell peppers (about 6 oz. each) 1/2 inch trimmed off tops, cores and seeds discarded

1/2 cup long grain white rice

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onions, chopped fine ( about 1/2 cup)

12 ounces ground beef, preferably ground chuck

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained, 1/4 cup juice reserved

1 1/4 cups monterey jack cheese ( about 5 oz)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

black pepper

1/4 cup ketchup

Directions

1. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over high heat.

2. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bell peppers.

3. Cook until peppers just begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

4. Using slotted spoon, remove peppers from pot, drain off excess water and place peppers cut side up on paper towels.

5. Return water to boil; add rice and boil until tender, about 13 minutes.

6. Drain rice and transfer to large bowl; set aside.

7. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F.

Meanwhile, heat 12 inch heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat until hot, about 1 1/2 minutes; add oil and swirl to coat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes
  1. Add ground beef and cook, breaking beef into small pieces with spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant about 30 seconds.
  3. Transfer mixture to bowl with rice; stir in tomatoes, 1 cup cheese, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Stir together ketchup and reserved tomato juice in small bowl.
  5. Place peppers cut side up in 9 inch square baking dish.
  6. Using soup spoon, divide filling evenly among peppers.
  7. Spoon 2 tablespoons ketchup mixture over each filled pepper and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese.
  8. Bake until cheese is browned and filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Serve immediately.
We loved this cheesy recipe! I did add extra large can of tomato sauce to the pan to fill up the cracks between the peppers while it was baking because the Big Guy likes tomato "gravy" for his mashed potatoes and I like a nice, soft pepper.

***A great bloggy friend, Tricia, has a great story on her blog today about a brave serviceman battling cancer. He is celebrating a birthday today! CLICK HERE to learn a little about Will!

10.11.2010

Tutorial Tuesday!

Hope Studios


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.

Scroll down to see my weekly tutorial: Creating a Vegetable Garden- Part 3.

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




Building a Garden - The Conclusion

Okay, let's finish up this garden! We have all the components for our garden, let's assemble it.

Line the inside bottom of your main garden box with weed blocking fabric, stapling it to the inside edges:



Place each raised bed frame into place and let your kids inspect the arrangement:



Check for level, you don't want all your precious rain water running right off next spring before it can reach the roots of your plants. You can use little "shims" from the home improvement store to level up the corners of your individual raised beds.



This part is fun for the kiddos - fill the walkways between the raised beds with pea gravel. This is easily found at your local home improvement store. I used about 6 bags. The kids love using rakes and trowels and hands to smooth it all into place.



This pea gravel gives you a well draining walkway that discourages weeds AND it's so pretty!



Now, fill your interior boxes with soil and you're good to go!

For good measure: I mixed in one bag of manure compost to the soil in each raised bed.



Pretty as a picture.



If a fence is necessary in your location, I can show you how we build ours next week. Now, get to work! You're in the home stretch!

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