Photo Dilemma - Feedback Friday

Anyone who follows my Pinterest knows that I have been planning a "Insta-Grad" (instagram theme) party for my son's 8th Grade Recognition this year.  Our 8th graders move up to the high school and our school has a themed dance following the ceremony each year.

We plan to have everything relate in one way or another to photographs.  We have a baby picture guessing game, slideshows, a rented photo booth, and some areas set up like those "Disney Kokak Picture Spots" so the kids could pose with their friends.

The party is today.

The principal told me yesterday he is now uncomfortable.

The party is today.

Here is what he is uncomfortable with...

The photo spots are set up with props, for example, one is a School Spirit Spot with a background and lots of things in our school colors for the kids to dress up in an pose with an adult chaperone there to take their photos with their cameras - most likely their phones.  Here is an example with my 10 year old posing in our driveway:

The principal is suddenly worried about the photos since they will likely be taken on the students' phones.  He has been waffling for the the last 24 hours.  First, he said,

"Sure! Sounds great! We'll have to meet with the volunteers ahead of time to go over rules." 

Next he said "Nope, not going to work. I'm uncomfortable.  Who knows what they will do with those photos?!? Sorry." 

Then he came back and said "Okay, it's fine, just let me talk to the adult in charge before the event." 

Now, it's "I think we need to use a school camera, let me approve every photo prior to releasing them to the students, then send them out via the web somehow, password protected, individually." (there are 250 students who have RSVP'd)

Soooo, I thought I would send it out to you, what do  you think?  It's Feedback Friday...

Does the idea of kids posing for photos with an adult in charge of taking the photo make you uncomfortable?

Do you feel differently knowing they are in school?

Do you feel differently knowing the photo could be taken on a phone?


Tutorial Tuesday!

Amazing Paisley Stenciled Floor:

Fresh Strawberry Pie:

Reusable Snack Bags:

Pallet Garden:

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From Last Rites to Ironman

I have a favor to ask on behalf of a friend.

While driving to the Jersey Shore last summer for family vacation, my friend's van was hit by a reckless driver.  My friend and the kids came out of the accident unhurt, but her husband, Travis, wasn't so lucky.

Travis was so badly hurt that last rites were read while he was in the ICU.

After a year of recovery, Travis has set a goal to compete in the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii.  This is an amazing event full of inspiring stories and I watch it on TV every year.  I believe Travis should compete this year with his inspirational story.

Please watch Travis' story of the accident that nearly killed him and of his year of recovery and vote to send him to compete in Kona!


Angelina Jolie - What Would You Do?

I think we've all heard about Angelina's decision to have a double mastectomy after medical tests concluded she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer.  She wrote about the decision and the procedure in this New York Times article.

The testing determined if there was a mutation between the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 genes.  The price tag on a BRCA-1 and BRCA -2 test is more than $4,000.(source)

From what I've read, the test also concluded she has a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancerHer next round of surgeries include a hysterectomy and oophorectomy (removal of ovaries).

It's Feedback Friday...

Would you want to have this test if it were more affordable?

What do you think of the exorbitant price tag of this test?

What would the percentages have to be for you to consider these drastic measures for yourself?


The 10 Stages of Planning an Adult Vacation

 ("dirty day" in Key West 2012 - no make up or primping allowed!)

Last spring we went to Key West to celebrate (soften the blow) my 40th birthday.  I wrote a little bit about it here. 

Several things went wrong on that trip, some of which were mildly annoying (like the torrential downpours for 24 of our 36 hours there),  and others that have probably scarred me for life.  In any case, I called a "do over".  So, as you read this we are in the air after catching our 6 am flight...smiling and clinking airline cans of Bloody Mary.

As our departure date approached, I realized I was passing through several specific Pre-Vacation Stages.  Planning an adult vacation isn't for the faint of heart, but if you can "work the stages" you will come out just fine.

Stage 1: Suggestion

It all starts with a little comment "We should go away without the kids...ha, ha".  This mere suggestion creates a little niggling that grows and grows.  This niggling can occur over time, but if drinks are involved, the niggling can come on quite suddenly as soon as someone else bites and says "I'm in!".  It never really gets anywhere, however, until they add the crucial..."Dude, I'm serious."

At this point, someone will say "Key West, Baby!" while performing a fist pump.

Stage 2: Denial

You come up with 1,000 reasons as to why this is a bad idea while simultaneously googling everything you can find about flights, rooms, rental cars...

Stage 3: Temporary Insanity

You decide to throw reason to the wind and in a flurry of temporary insanity, purchase the flights and rooms you've been researching while reasoning "Bah! We have plenty of time! It will all work out!"

This stage is usually accompanied by mad giggling and high fives.

Stage 4: Regret

Usually the next day, you come to your senses (or maybe it's later in the month when you look at your credit card bill) and say to your spouse "What the HELL were we thinking?!? WE CAN'T GO TO KEY WEST!!!" but the stage is already set.

Plow on...secretly smile.

Stage 5: Desperation

You begin calling every college student, relative, random grocery store clerk, to find someone to watch your kids.  You call in favors, you beg, you plead, you dangle money...

Stage 6:  Disbelief

Once you get the sitter on the hook, you really can't believe it.  You spend the whole next day watching the phone, waiting for them to call to say they forgot they already have an appendectomy scheduled for that day or that trip to Hawaii they forgot about.

Stage 7: Acceptance

When a week goes by you start to believe this might actually happen so you might as well start to plan. 

You make lists: what to pack, what to do, what to eat, what diets to try...

Stage 8: Procrastination

You realize about 2 weeks before you leave that those lists have become nothing more than words on paper. In fact, where the heck are those lists anyway?  What was I supposed to do? What was I going to pack?  Who is watching the kids again? 

You decide to pack so you can feel like you've something.  As the days go on, you raid this packed bag several times to wear items of clothing you still needed in the meantime.

Stage 9: Panic

Refer to Stage 4 and repeat: "What the HELL were we thinking?!? WE CAN'T GO TO KEY WEST!!!"  but now you can add "The kids have finals coming up! There is a lacrosse tournament that was just scheduled! We have 3 book reports due!  I forgot to start that Suzanne Somers diet!"

There is too much to do, there is too much to organize, there is too much to plan! How oh how will this ever work?  Somehow 3 months of planning occurs in one afternoon, fueled by caffeine and despair. 

Side effects of this stage can be headaches, stomach aches, and the tendency to ravage you children's leftover Easter candy, totally wrecking the diet you never actually started.

Stage 10: Glee

You wake up at 4 am and giddily gather your belongings and steal away in the dark of night for a 6 am flight.  You can't believe you are actually going to get away with it but as you pull out of the driveway you look at each other and an evil laugh rumbles from your very depths "Mmmwwaaaahahaha!  KEY WEST, BABY!"

At this point, you board the plane, read one page of your book and pass out asleep for the next 3 hours only to wake up in Key West, ready for a "do over".

So, tune in next week to read about my "do over" Key West trip!

("dirty day" sunset - still going strong!)


Tutorial Tuesday!

MacKenzie-Childs Herb Garden:

Dress to Skirt Refashion:

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

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 

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Hope Studios


The Great Mother's Day Debate...

My friend Wendy, from Ordinary Miracles, shared a Facebook blog post from Baby Sideburns entitled Ten Things I Really F'ing Want For Mother's Day with me last week.

The author, Karen Alpert, really stirred up some Facebook controversy with her post that has already generated 221 comments and over 300k "likes".

Here is what Karen "Really F'ing Wants" for Mother's Day this year:

"1. I don’t want to wipe a single a$$ all day. I think all kids should have to hold their poop in on Mother’s Day. Now that would make it special.

2. I want brunch. But not with the whole frigging family. I want brunch with my other mommy friends. See ya, rugrats. Mommy’s coming back drunk on laughter and bloody marys.

3. I want to sleep in. But not with my hooligans shouting “MOMMYYYYYY!!!” at the top of their lungs and ramming one of those giant cannon thingies into the door to bust inside. To all the hubbies reading this: when the rugrats wake up, take them outside immediately. Not downstairs. OUTSIDE. That’s right, scoop them up in a football hold and rush them out the door. I’m F’ing serious. Change their diapers and their clothes on the front lawn if you have to. Just don’t let them wake my ass up.

4. I want a card. But not a stupid Hallmark card. I want one of those awesome homemade ones made with macaroni. Only I want the macaroni cooked and poured into a bowl and covered with a delicious cream sauce and paired with a giant bottle of red wine.

5. Jewelry jewelry jewelry. Unless it’s one of those stupid necklaces made with cheap plastic beads. None of that $h!t. Unless Tiffany’s is suddenly selling overpriced plastic bead necklaces. That can be returned for money. Because I don’t want to exchange it and the only thing I can afford is a stupid a$$ pen or keychain.

6. I want you to cook breakfast for me. In someone else’s kitchen.

7. I want to pee and poop alone. I will prepare for the day by downing a tanker truck full of liquid and eating ridiculous amounts of fiber.

8. I want chocolate. But not just any ole chocolate. I want the kind that someone has taken a fat Sharpie to and blacked out the F’ing calorie section.

9. I want a good present. Like one I’ll really like. It’s not the thought that counts. It’s MY thought that counts. And my thought should not be WTF?

10. I want ten “Leave me the f--k alone” coupons with no expiration date."

**some curse words were cleaned up a bit by me for my readers**

Mother's Day 2013 with my boys

I know I'm stirring the pot here, and you can hop on over to Karen's post to read some of the comments there, but let's start a discussion here also.

It's Feedback Friday....

What do you think about Karen's list of 10 things she "f'ing" wants for Mother's Day? 


Sports + Family Dinner = Never

In the midst of yet another sports season (lacrosse),  I'm realizing the family dinners that have always been so important to us have really gone by the wayside.  I'll bet we sit down together less than 3 times a week at this point.

I'm making dinner earlier and earlier to get to practice on time - my two younger ones need to eat early and get to practice, my older one isn't hungry yet, and The Big Guy hasn't even left work by the time I'm cleaning up and heading out!  This is insanity!  How do the "experts" who tell us how important family dinners are do it?

What is your evening schedule?  I'll bet Gina or some of my mothers of teens have been there done that.   In the meantime, I'm feeling rushed, overwhelmed, guilty, and hungry!

Looking forward to the end of LAX season and the beginning of summer break.


Tutorial Tuesday!

Paper Mache Bowls:

Rainbow M&M's Cake:

Teacher Appreciation Gifts:

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




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 the subject of your tutorial to generate  interest.

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

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Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios


T-Shirt to Tank Top - Very Pinteresting!

I've seen these t-shirt turned tank top tutorials on Pinterest and wanted to take a shot at it myself.  I'm a little stubborn and like to look at the finished product and figure it out for myself, so here are the directions I came up with.

Being the mother of boys gives you lots of opportunities to collect lots of boxy boys' t-shirts as the kids outgrow them...yes, I'm now smaller than my 14 year old!

I always liked the idea of this Superman tee, but it wasn't flattering with the high crew neck and boxy fit.  I could always use new work out tanks, so let's do this thang...

I found a tank top I liked and used it as a guide for the front:

I cut out along the arm holes:

Here is the back:

I folded the front to the inside so I didn't cut through my "pattern tank" while cutting the back of the t-shirt.  I allowed the center of the racer back to be a little thicker than the example (I left the center strip about 4 - 5 inches wide):

Here is the tank after it was cut:

Using a 5 1/2 by 6 1/2 inch strip of the sleeve, I made the gathered detail on the racer back.  Simply gather the material in the center of the back by pinning the ends of the strip together like this (I placed the strip longways and pinned the short ends together):

Sew like this (I used the edge of my presser-foot as a guide for the seam):

Now you can see the strip pulling the back of the tank into the center with the seam to the outside, pins removed, here:

Let me show you how to magically turn this seam to the inside using my favorite Vine app:


This was my first attempt and I was a little messy with the scissors, but it took me less than 15 minutes from start to finish!  I see lots of fun tanks in my future!

Do you like T-Shirt Rehab projects?  Check out some of my archived posts for more fun ideas here:


Busted - Feedback Friday

The following video was recorded and uploaded onto YouTube by a 12 year old boy:

It's Feedback Friday...

What was your initial reaction to this video? Did your feelings change after thinking about it?

Do you think this child was disrespectful or justified in approaching the police officer?

On the Today Show, Wendy Williams mentioned that if the child in this video would have been African American the interaction would have gone much differently.  Agree? Disagree?


What to do in Sanibel, Florida

I love to research where to eat and things to do when we visit a new spot for vacation.  We exchanged our Orlando timeshare week for one in Sanibel this year and we found some fun things to do!

Eating out is a special treat when we are on vacation, and I love not cooking and cleaning up!


We usually eat in for Breakfast and Lunch, but once a week we will splurge on vacation. We at ate The Over Easy Cafe and I would definitely go back.

From the outside the place is pretty nondescript, but inside is a warm, cafe decorated like a French Country kitchen!  They had some really interesting egg dishes that we tried, some yummy toppers and fillers for eggs benedict and omelets.  The kids had pancakes that were a little overworked and tough, but it might have been a bad pancake day.


After a long 14 mile bike ride exploring the island, we popped into The Island Cow for lunch.  This restaurant is funky and silly with a cow theme throughout.

There is a large front porch and a bright airy inside for sitting.  Surrounding the restaurant are colorful Adirondack chairs for lounging while you wait for a table.  Be sure to read the funny signs posted throughout on chalkboards!

Walk around the right side of the building to the back courtyard to play some games, watch the hermit crabs while waiting for your table. Be warned that the portions are HUGE so maybe you would want to share.  I had fish tacos that were delicious.

The Island Cow had a great looking breakfast menu too,  I'd probably try this for breakfast the next time I visit.


The Lazy Flamingo caught our eye as soon as we got into town with it's bright "flamingo pink" paint job.  We had a great grouper platter and had fun watching the servers clip tickets onto the old timey wire and zing them into the open kitchen.  The decor was fun, a collection of beachy items and the manager (owner?) was friendly and posed with this flamingo hat.

I especially liked it when he came around to tell the kids that cell phones and ipods have to be put away at the table, "Vacation is for family so talk to each other!"

Doc Ford's Rum Bar is like two restaurants in one - inside the main building it is like a sports bar with lots of tv's but if you turn to the left there is a huge porch attached to another building that I preferred for it's beachy vibe.

The owner is an author who writes books about Sanibel and Captiva, so his posters decorate the walls.  The service staff is super friendly and brought the kids a huge plate of veggies and dip to tide them over until dinner.

I had an amazing dish of shrimp and cheesy grits that I would definitely order again!

One night, when the wait was too long at another restaurant we had planned to go to, we popped into the Blue Giraffe and found our table of 10 could sit right away.

The decor is not as exciting and it's located in a strip mall, but the food was fast and tasty.

Grandma Dot's was right on the marina and there was plenty for the kids to look at while waiting.  It had a screened in porch feeling, though it was air conditioned, and I loved it.

I had a snapper special and seafood bisque that was delicious!  They even served fruit on the side in a little chocolate, shell-shaped dish.  The kids were served quickly so they could get back outside to explore the marina, allowing the adults to linger over dinner.

On our last night, we drove to Captiva to see the sunset and eat at The Mucky Duck.  We had high expectations since every website mentions this seaside restaurant and we were sorely disappointed.  We had an extremely long wait and a terrible meal and service.

If I did it again, I would pop in to see the sunset, then have a drink at the Mucky Duck, then head back to Sanibel for dinner.  Waiting for our table in the sand while playing the ring game and listening to a singer playing guitar was the best part of our Mucky Duck experience.


Pinocchio's Ice Cream Shop seems to be the place to go at the end of the night in Sanibel.  There was a long line that moved quickly and lots of rockers and Adirondack chairs to sit in on the front porch to enjoy your cones.  The servings are huge so a small is plenty for anyone!

What to do?

Go Fishing!

We rented equipment at The Bait Box and went out to the lighthouse pier to fish in the morning and evening.  Lots of locals are there looking for the big fish and are a great source of information about the island.

The kids caught a sea trout, a puffer fish, and another fish I can't remember.

Go Biking!

We rented bikes at Finnimore's Cycle Shop (the owner looks just like Kenny Chesney!) and they had us on bikes lickety split!  The guy who sizes the bikes could adjust seats to the exact right height by just glancing at you.  Amazing.

We explored the whole island on our bikes thanks to the awesome bike lanes throughout the whole island.  On Earth Day, we parked our car and only biked everyplace the whole day.

Explore Nature!

One of our exploring days, we visited Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and for a few bucks we could bike around the entire refuge as long as we wanted.  We saw turtles, birds, snakes, and crabs while there.  I loved the boardwalk paths through the mangroves!

Race Crabs!

On our Captiva evening, our first stop was to 'Tween Waters for the Crab Races (in hind sight, we should have stayed there to eat rather than trying the Mucky Duck).

Sunburned Willie runs crab races with a lot of jokes (usually at the guests' expense).  You choose your crab (don't touch them or you will get yelled at - yes I got yelled at!  Just tell him the number of the crab and the name you choose) and after many hours of stalling, Willie will eventually begin the races.

He has lots of rules, lots of yelling, lots of mean spirited jokes...can you tell I wasn't too crazy about this?  But, the kids loved it.  My husband got picked to run the sound effects (he's to the left in the sunglasses) and Willie yelled at, hit, yelled some more at him the whole time.  By the end of the night, the Big Guy was flinching if anyone raised their arm after getting slapped in the head so many times!

I stuck to the back of the room and watched quietly til I could leave, but the kids were very entertained.  Make sure you go to the early show if you have kids, the jokes get nastier and more suggestive at the later (9 pm) show.

So THAT was my trip to Sanibel Island, Florida!

Your Skin Fix, December Edition