Thursday, May 24, 2012

Savin', Spendin' and Shoulder Buddies

If you have no idea who these two are then consider yourself lucky...
For months and months Lo has been talking about these Shoulder Buddies non-stop. I now know the name of EVERY kid at school that has one, where you can buy them and how much they cost ("Six dollars and some cents"). Basically they are plastic troll dolls that have a magnet. You put the little magnet disk under you clothes and then the Buddie sits on top. They all have cute little names and have their own "smarts" (a positive message to share), they sit on your shoulder and remind your child of whatever their focus is. Great concept, but it's totally lost on my girls-they like them because they are cute and "EVERYONE else has one." 

As you may remember, the hubby and I have really been trying to make the girls earn the things that they want so the ONLY way Lo was getting a SB was to earn the six dollars and "some cents" herself. After buying her Bitty Baby her cash flow was pretty much gone so it took another few months to get all the money she needed. Finally after weeks and months of waiting she had enough! We went to the store yesterday and she is now the proud owner of Tempo, the music loving SB.
She is truly ecstatic and I hope that by earning it herself it means more to her than if she was just given the Buddie. I think it was a good lesson for her (and myself). She got to make the decision to save or spend her money they way she wanted to. I really tried not to give my input or coach her one way or the other. She has been more responsible with her money and I have noticed that she hasn't been asking for things as much as she used to. We are really focusing one being grateful for what we already have and little-by-little I think it's sinking in.

Noa bought a SB for herself too. Her name is Sam and she is a patriot. She also has the same hairstyle as Noa so it's a perfect match!
The next big save is for their birthdays in December and January. They have both decided that instead of a party they want to go to the American Girl Doll store in Chicago. The deal is that Mommy and Daddy will buy each of them a doll for their birthday, but they'll have to save for the accessories themselves.

I see a lot of extra chores in their future.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Little Red Riding Lo

The end of the school year is always so much fun! Lo's been having a blast. They've been visiting other kindergarten classes playing games and meeting new friends that might be in their classes next year, they got to go to the first grade playground (so exciting), and Field Day was a huge hit with tug-o-war, water balloon fights and obstacle courses. No wonder she is so incredibly sad that school ends next week!

Today was another exciting day, Fairy Tale Dress-up Day! They have been reading and learning about fairy tales (apparently there is a list of rules that make a story a "true" fairy tale, who knew?). To end the project the kids get to dress up like a character from one of the "true fairy tales" that they learned about. Despite our closest fully of fairy tale princess dresses, Lo really wanted to be Little Red Riding Hood. We actually have a costume, but it's about two sizes too small and therefore not really appropriate for school. We agreed that the hood would still work and that Mommy could make a skirt to match. (She also wanted me to make her a collection of felt cookies for her basket. She is so her Mommy's daughter. For us it's all about the details!)

With all the craziness going on in our house I knew I need a quick and easy skirt, something that I could make in under an hour during rest time. I love the Simple Skirt from MADE. It truly is simple and doesn't require much fabric (I chose the double layer skirt and used Method I for the casing). I also like that it is a very forgiving pattern. I used really cheap fabric (since we already had it on hand) which I feel is more difficult to work with than better quality fabric. My stitches were all over the place and my serger wasn't behaving very well, but once it was all put together you could hardly tell. 
We used the remaining fabric for her basket of goodies (minus the goodies) and she was the most adorable Little Red Riding Hood ever!

I can't wait for her to get home so I can hear all about her day!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Crock Pot Artichokes

We love, love, love artichokes! They are so yummy and super easy to make and now that I've found out how to make them in the crock pot they are even easier! 

First you'll need artichokes. You'll want to find ones that are green and consistent in color. The leaves should be tight and free of brown spots.  (So, Indy isn't the hot spot for artichokes. I went to two different places looking for a better quality artichoke, but no such luck. Sometimes you just have to work with what you got and in the end they were still de-lish!)
Cut off the steam and the head of the artichoke.

Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the top off of each leaf. 
When you're all done it should look nice and pretty like this:
Repeat with the remaining artichokes.
Rinse off each artichoke and place in your crock pot.
Fill the bottom of the crock pot with about 2 inches of water. I add freshly sliced garlic in between several of the leaves and drizzle them with olive oil, red wine vinegar and fresh lemon juice. Then I put the lemon in the water and sprinkle each artichoke with salt and pepper. It all depends on your tastes. Feel free to add or omit ingredients to your liking.
Cook on HIGH for approximately 6 hours. The time will depend on the amount and size of your artichokes. It took a little over 6 1/2hrs for mine to cook. You'll know they are done when the leaves peel off easily. 

I also like to make my own aioli dipping sauce. I make it in the morning and let it marinate in the fridge while the artichokes are cooking. Again you can add what you like to the sauce, make it your own. For those less adventurous, melted butter tastes yummy too!

I use:
  • Mayo

  • Fresh Lemon Juice

  • Fresh Garlic

  • Lemon Pepper
Add in your preferred amounts. I like A LOT of lemon pepper and lemon juice in mine. If it gets too tangy for the rest of the family I just add more mayo to tone it down a bit. Just remember that the favors will develop more as it marinates throughout the day. 

Serve with your hot and steamy crock pot artichokes. Don't forget an empty bowl to put all the leaves in. I think the girls love them so much because not only do they taste great, but it's the only time they're allowed to play with their food!

Going Organic With Whitney Farms®

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Whitney Farms for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
As you know I've been deperately trying to get everyone and everything in order before the baby gets here. One area that I've been neglecting is our garden (I'd show you a picture, but I'm too embarassed by it's current state), but I am DETERMINED to get it up and running in the next few weeks. I will be so sad if I have a summer without fresh tomatoes and basil!!! Seriously, nothing tastes better than fresh picked veggies and herbs!
I NEED to see this out our back window this summer:
 I've mentioned before that we decided as a family to eat and live organic as much as possible. It can get expensive but we try our best and I fully believe that some things (like meat and poultry) taste much, much better when they are raised/grown organically.

That's why I am so excited to tell you about Whitney Farms®
Whitney-Farms-Logo_Banner_New_C.jpg (6 documents, 6 total pages)
They have a great line of  organic plant food and organic soil. I'm really excited to try their Toamato and Veggetable Food
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You may remember how I had some "issues" with some of my tomato plants last year. Despite planting about 8 tomato plants, only 3 really gave me edible tomatoes. I'm hoping that by giving them some organic food this year we can have a better crop! My basil will be so lonely without fresh tomatoes by it's side!

So check out Whitney Farms® they have a $3-off coupon on their website they you can use on any of their organic products. You know I'll be using my coupon! Thanks Whitney Farms®!

Happy Planting!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Make Over Your Monday

Happy Monday! How was your week? We've been having some ridiculous weather here in Indy. It was in the 80s all weekend. It was like a little taste of summer and the girls are getting antsy for the pool to open. 

The hubby was in Cleveland this weekend running a marathon. Originally the girls and I were supposed to go too, but 5+ hours in the car each way did not sound to comfortable for this pregnant mama. Not to mention the weather was hot and humid there. Despite less than perfect running conditions, the hubby rocked it! He came in at 4:25 (a new marathon PR!) and the girls and I are so proud of him!

The girls and I had our "girls only" weekend and spent some time outside. Lo is going to Girl Scout camp this summer and they had an open house. We got to see the camp, check out the cabins and get a sneak peek of crafts the girls might do. It was good for Lo to see everything. There is an overnight experience and she was really worried about where they would sleep. The younger girls get real cabins with windows, doors and running water, and the older girls sleep in tents. Of course now she is disappointed that she doesn't get to stay in a tent! NoJo had a great time too and can't wait until she is old enough for camp!

To cool off from the hot weather we set up the sprinkler in the backyard. It was the best $2.89 I've ever spent! 

...and while the girls enjoyed their fun in the sun this pregnant mama treated herself to a nice cold (non-alcoholic) beer...looks forward to the day when she can enjoy a real one!

So how did you do on last week's challenge? Were you able to surprise a few people? I was able to perform a few secret acts of kindness. It's always fun to surprise people with good deeds!

This week's challenge is to do a little spring cleaning. 
Organize a closet, clean out a drawer, or if your ambitious clean out the garage (or come and organize mine!!!), no job is too small. Now's the time to get it done, summer will be here before you know it and who wants to stay inside all summer cleaning?!?!? Not me!

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Baby Blocks

There's something special about giving or receiving a personalized gift.

That's why I L-O-V-E love these adorable baby blocks from Craft-E-Family

We got one after Lo was born from one of the hubby's coworkers and coincidentally got one after Noa was born from someone else. They were one of our favorite gifts and both girls have them proudly displayed in their rooms. They are one of my go-to new baby gifts and since receiving Lo's the company has added many more products

The girls just sent one to their new baby cousin and it arrived 2 days after ordering-super cute AND super fast delivery. They offer free shipping, are under $20 and are totally unique. Any new parent would be delighted to receive one as a gift, we certainly were!

All opinions are mine, Craft-E-Family doesn't know who I am. I just love their blocks and wanted to share.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Toothless On Tuesday

Remember when I shared the tooth-fairy pillow I made Lo? I made it just in time because this is how she came home from school last week:
She was so excited that it fell out at school because not only did she get a glittery tooth case, but she also got to pick a treat from the nurse's treasure box. It was declared the "BEST DAY EVER!" 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Make Over Your Monday

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I had a great weekend. On Saturday night the hubby and I went to a formal fundraising gala for a cause that is near and dear to my heart. We had a great time catching up with friends and just enjoying an evening with grown-ups! For Mother's Day the girls surprised me with with an adorable video that I will treasure forever!

How did you do on last week's challenge? I had a great Nurse's Week and I'm so lucky to work with a wonderful group of nurses and doctors.

This week's challenge is to do something for someone else without them knowing.
Surprise you neighbor with a treat, clean up your daughter's room for her, leave a note of appreciation for someone who brightens your day. You can even get the little ones involved. They'll love being super secret detective spies! 

Have a wonderful week,

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Glass Etching

I love when you rediscover a fun crafty project! A few years ago my crafty girls gave me the best birthday gift ever. It was right after the "Crafty Bible" (Martha Stewart Encyclopedia Of Crafts) came out. The hubby got me the book and each of my friends got me supplies for some of the projects inside. One of my favorites was the section on glass etching. It is such an easy project and there are so many fun things you can do with it. I knew a set of etched glasses would be the perfect addition to a gift that I was putting together.

Here's what you need:

  • Glass Etching Cream (from your local craft store)
  • Brushes
  • Rubber gloves
  • Contact paper, stickers and/or reinforcement stickers (they make perfect etched circles)
  • Glass items to decorate - Goodwill is an excellent place to find things to etch
  • exacto knife

Here is a close-up of the Etching Cream

So let's get started...

Using your exacto knife, cut out your shape, letter or design from the contact paper. Some craft store also sell etching stencils that are already cut out. Attach the design to your glass. Make sure you seal all the edges so the cream doesn't leak under.
Using your brush, apply a thick layer of etching cream over the stencil. Follow the directions on the bottle to see how long to leave it on (for me it was only 5 minutes).
After the appropriate amount of time rinse the glass under water and gently remove the Etching Cream and contact paper. In less than 10 minutes you can have a perfectly personalized glass!
It's so much fun and definitely addicting. They make great gifts too. Who wouldn't love a set of etched wine glasses and a fabulous bottle of wine.

Here are just a few other ideas that I found: