7.29.2011

Bookworms!


I don't know about you, but most of my year's reading happens between the months of May and September. There is something about sitting on the back porch reading in the sunlight or sitting on the beach with a good book that I cannot resist.

With all "my bloggers" (don't you feel like some of your fave bloggers are just for you sometimes?) discussing summer reads I thought I'd jump on board. I'm sucker for a book discussion!

I have a whole stack of books on my nightstand that I've read and added to the pile. Among my favorites were:

Room by Emma Donoghue
As a mother, I could not put it down. I thought about devotion to my own children and wondered if I would have had the imagination and patience to raise a child under these conditions.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. This book was a page turner in the saddest way. This was one of those books I felt compelled to talk about and think about for weeks after I'd finished it.

and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. This was grown up Harry Potter for me! I loved every last page...and there were 592!

Each one of these books hooked me right away and not a darn thing got done around here until I'd read them cover to cover. I'm a little compulsive that way.

My first Kindle book was pictured above Before I Go To Sleep and I was OB. Sessed. during the 24 hour period of time it took me to finish it. I was caught up in the idea of memory loss and I was determined to solve the mystery!

My wish list?

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (I know I'm late to this party!)


State of Wonder by Ann Patchett


What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty


It's Feedback Friday...

What is the best book you've read this summer?

What books are on your wish list?

7.28.2011

Brace Yourself For This One!!!!



I walked back to check in on my oldest getting his new braces and was horrified to see something straight out of a Marilyn Manson video! It took me about 2 seconds to recover enough to say "I gotta get a picture of this!".

The doctor sent me out to the waiting room to get a camera so I could capture this funny snippet of life with a pre-teen! Between giggles I managed to get a picture. I showed it to my son and he was amused and horrified all at once...ah, motherhood...

7.26.2011

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.

This week I taught you how to make Tiny Tree Houses.

Check out some of my favorites from last week: Stuff I Learned!

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!

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






7.25.2011

Tiny Tree Houses



I ripped a page from Family Fun Magazine over a year ago showing mini tree houses built in tree branches. I stashed it away for another day and just found it again last week.

I pulled out my supplies and my kids spent about 3 hours happily designing and constructing mini versions of their dream tree houses. I kept checking on them and couldn't believe the amount of time they dedicated to this project! 3 hours of no complaining about boredom, heat, snacks. It was heaven.

Tiny Tree House Project

Supplies:

Interesting branches (we started out on a walk in the woods)
Popsicle sticks
Random bits of wood
(they sell bags of assorted wood pieces at Michael's Crafts)
Tongue depressors
Larger log or scrap wood for a base*
Drill
Wood glue
Hot glue
Small toys and figures


**We had some discs of wood cut from a fallen tree laying around the garage, but you could use a split log or any kind of scrap wood for a base.

Pull out that drill, girl! Use a drill bit around the same diameter as your branches to drill some holes.



This is a fake picture of an 8 year old "drilling". I let him hit the trigger for about a millisecond before jumping in screaming "Wait, wait, wait!"

Slide the branches into your base and wood glue them for strength. We're building trees, Sister! Show your muscles a little, you're tough!



We used hot glue to build our tree houses because it dries fast and clear and we could move right along without waiting for glue to dry. Waiting for glue to dry has sabotaged many fun projects...it's as fun as ... watching glue dry. Just be sure to supervise little guys - my 8 year old has a blister in the shape of a red hot chili pepper from errant hot glue that just jumped onto his leg during construction (that's his story and he's sticking to it).

Now, this is the most difficult part...step away Mama. Lay out their supplies then don't make a peep.



Let them think of their own ideas and just go with it. You will be amazed at what they come up with! Like feather beds:



X Games Forts:



Platforms and ladders:





Proud boys:


You can "girl them up" by adjusting some of the supplies. My boys ages 8-12 (almost 13) were all thoroughly entertained.

7.22.2011

Stuff I Learned!

3 Minute Up-Do:



Rough and Tough Boy Necklace:



Maxi Skirt from T-Shirts!



CLICK PICKS (this week's most clicked links):

#1 Simple Brown Skirt

#2 To Grey or Not to Grey (Hair that is!)

#3 The Best Iced Coffee

No Kids Allowed - Feedback Friday

Pittsburgh gained national media attention last week when a local restaurant banned kids under the age of 6. Check out the story here from ABC News:



The result was mixed, some people agreed with the decision and others vowed to never visit this restaurant again. It's Feedback Friday...

Do you believe this restaurant owner has the right to deny service to children under 6?

Would you patronize a restaurant with this type of ban?


Do you think this ban resulted from a dislike of children or from bad parenting practices?

7.21.2011

The Most Fun $2 Can Buy


For 2 bucks you can buy a bucket of fish at one of our favorite spots in the Florida Keys - Robbie's Marina in Islamorada.

Why would you want to buy a bucket of fish, you ask? To feed the giant tarpon, of course!

Everyone's goal is to become brave enough to do this (I cringed the whole time I was waiting to catch this photo!):



While your kids are feeding the fish, you can relax on the dock with an ice cold Red Stripe from the cooler (I swear The Big Guy has some sort of built in beer radar - he was on this beer like white on rice while I was left holding a bucket of dead fish. Dude.) Here's The Big Guy doing just that:



Relax in one of the worn Fish Fighting Chairs (for deep sea fishing) mounted around the edge of the dock:



And enjoy the view:



The Big Guy and I first visited here 15+ years ago when it was still a Keys secret (I have more gray hair and Big Guy has less hair since then!). Robbie has expanded since that time (tour buses were pulling up!) but somehow managed to keep the rustic charm of that old marina we first visited so many years ago. Now, we get to share it with our kids!



If you ever find yourself driving the Keys, stop off at Mile Marker 77.5 and visit Robbie. You won't be sorry!

Want to watch for yourself? Just like many other establishments in the Florida Keys, Robbie's has a live webcam. Check it out HERE!

7.18.2011

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 check out my Red Neck Wine Charms!

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!

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







Cowboy Beans



This bean recipe of my Dad's is my go-to for summer pot lucks. I have several copies of this recipe whenever I bring it along to hand out to all the people who request a recipe!

Cowboy Beans

ingredients:

1/2 lb. bacon, chopped

1 1/2 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup each: chopped onion, celery, green pepper

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 tsp each: parsley, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, old bay, vinegar, Worcester sauce, Frank's Red Hot sauce, chili powder

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup ketchup

1 Tbsp. yellow mustard

2 (28 oz) cans Bush's Baked Beans

2 (14 oz) cans Campbell's Pork and Beans

2 (14 oz) cans Chili Seasoned Kidney Beans

1 (14 oz) can pinto beans

1 can cut yellow beans (drained)

1 can cut green beans (drained)

Heat oven 350 degrees.

Brown meats, pour off grease.

Add veggies, spices, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard. Cook until veggies soften. Set aside.

Dump all the beans in a large bowl and mix.

Add meat mixture and mix.

Pour into casserole dish (this makes a large aluminum pan, perfect for a party), cover and bake 1 hour.

Remove cover and cook 15 min. more

**Sometimes I like to make a smaller batch. I split the recipe in half and pour ingredients into a crock pot. Put on low setting for 4 hours or so.

7.16.2011

Stuff I Learned!

Recycled Pallet Headboard:



Customized Curtains:



Yes, we drive a pick-up truck...Is that why I got such a kick out of this Redneck Wine Glass?!?



CLICK PICKS (this week's most clicked links):

#1 Easy French Manicure (this is so brilliant!)

#2 15 Ideas for DIY Canvas Art

#3 Happy Hour Bruschetta

7.15.2011

Kickboxing Princess

An Australian father has been training his 8 year old daughter to kick box and allowed her to compete in a ring with another little girl before a paying audience. You can view the story from the Today Show here:



There has been a major backlash against this father and since it's Feedback Friday, let me ask you...

Do you disagree with this father's decision to put his daughter in the ring?

Would you allow your daughter to kick box?

Does the fact that it is a competition make a difference?

Would you feel the same way about a boy?

.

7.14.2011

Drink "Charms" for Cans


Though my kids will still drink juice boxes and Koolaid, they love to have "pop" or cans of soda when they have friends over or for a special treat. Wet cans of pop don't lend themselves to being written on with markers and kids are famous for setting down a can and forgetting which one is theirs. They are also famous for not wanting to drink from a can unless they are SURE it belongs to them!

Rubber bands to the rescue (unless you are from Pittsburgh, then you would call them "gum bands"). I like to think of this as a red neck wine charm!

Save your fat bands (often I save them from produce like broccoli and lettuce) and write each child's name.

Slip the band over the can and it's marked!

You can also use this method for keeping track of the number of soft drinks they have had by marking a little hash mark beside their name ... just in case your kids are like mine and try to fib about how many cans they have had. They won't even notice the mark and will wonder just how you knew they were asking for a 3rd can!

.

7.11.2011

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.

This week I taught you how to recycled blue jeans into a Drink Cozy!


Check out some of my favorites from last week: Stuff I Learned

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!

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






Blue Jean Can Cozy

I love to recycle and repurpose and while leafing through a magazine last month (AirMall?), I saw a cute Drink Cozy made from repurposed blue jeans! Living in a house with 3 boys, I have an abundance of jeans with holes in the knees that can't be donated.

Blue Jean Drink Cozy:

Supplies:

Old jeans
Scissors

Instructions:

**(I used the waist band to use the interest of the belt loops, but the whole jean could be used if you sewed a hem in the top)

Cut 4.5 x 10 inch strips from your jeans



Trace around the bottom a can onto the wrong side of the fabric and cut it out 1/2 larger all around to allow for the seam allowance.

Sew the strip of jean material, right sides together, to form a cylinder.



Pin the circle to the bottom of the cylinder. Make sure the jeans are inside-out and the circle is pinned like this:



Sew then turn right side out...slip in a Coke (or a Yuengling Lager) and enjoy!



Want to teach me something? Come back for Tutorial Tuesday to link up to be inspired!
.

7.08.2011

Not Guilty? Feedback Friday


The verdict in the Casey Anthony trial:

Aggravated Child Abuse: Not Guilty
Aggravated Manslaughter: Not Guilty
False Information To Law Enforcement: Guilty


Thoughts?

7.07.2011

Stuff I Learned!

Wow, I've learned a lot in the past few busy weeks! I'm finally catching up to post some of my faves:

Natural Mosquito Repellent:


My sister-in-law always talks about learning to do this when she was young and I always wanted to learn! How to Carve Fruit:


Cereal Specimen Chart:


10 Minute Pillow Case:


Rustic Spoon Pendant:




My garden will soon be producing cucumbers, so here are 10 Great Pickle Recipes!

Got an old T-shirt? Make a skirt out of it!


CLICK PICKS
(most clicked links):

How Dare You Jenny Craig!

Upcycled Floral Dress

Guest Room in a Hurry

Organize Your Pantry

 

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