Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Love You Because...Mirror with Dry Erase Marker

I have been inspired by Pinterest once again. I saw some cut out signs with I love you because. I have had a mirror that I picked up at a garage sale for 50 cents laying around my storage building. It was finally time to do something with it! With Valentine's Day around the corner, I thought this would be the perfect decor. And besides, my 3 year old informed me today, that we just did not have enough Valentine's decorations out. I think I have created a holiday monster. Lol!

Here is the ugly gold mirror I started with...

I taped it off and spray painted it with glossy black paint. Oops. I forgot to take a picture of this step. Then, I finally tried some of the precious little flowers I see on blogs everywhere. I found a great tutorial. The pictures were so amazing, and the steps so clear, that I made my first rosettes (rolled flowers)!
I found this awesome tutorial at My Sparkle. Check out her blog here.

Here are my first five attempts. The rolled flowers were easier to make then I anticipated. I can't believe I waited this long. Just remember, they don't have to be perfect. Imperfection adds to the creative unique look in my opinion. I just hot glued my little rosettes to the mirror. The last step was adding the saying, I love you because... I sure wish I had a fancy machine, but I just used some stickers.

I think the hardest part was taking the pictures to share with you. It is sooo hard to get a good picture of a mirror without some crazy reflection! I set a dry erase marker out, and I can't wait to write some love notes to my family on the mirror.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu

Ok. My husband has informed me my food photography on this meal is horrible, but the chicken was delicious. I should have googled images in advance to see how they cut it into beautiful slices to display it. Lesson learned for next time. Ha! I promise this meal is so easy to make and amazing.


Chicken breasts
Sliced ham (or any lunch meat)
String cheese
Italian dressing
Bread crumbs


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak a few toothpicks in water. Pound each chicken breast with a mallet to flatten it. I like to put saran wrap on top so raw chicken does not fly anywhere.

2. Layer the chicken breast with ham and a half a piece of string cheese. The wonderful thing about using string cheese instead of shredded cheese, is it withstands the heat of the oven well, and does not melt too much.

3. Roll the chicken up and dredge it in dressing followed by bread crumbs. I use whatever I have available. I had a tomato basil vinaigrette we had in the fridge. Yum.

4. While still holding the rolled chicken breast, insert a toothpick to hold it together. I soak the toothpicks before I start so they will not catch on fire in the oven.

5. Place in oven at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Make sure your chicken is cooked through.

6. Again, another horrible picture of a truly yummy meal!

We have received sooo much rain this week. Our pasture is a lake. My son was so entertained, that he wanted to sail a boat. We did not have a boat, because that would have been too easy. I cut a milk jug in half and we created a pirate ship with a flag.

Well, the boat did not last too long, because the water ended up being so much fun. He played for about ten minutes, and then my good mother instinct finally kicked in. I took him inside to get out of his wet chilly clothes.

Do something unexpected with your kids soon. Instead of saying no, just say yes for once, and see where it takes you.

Lesson: If life gives you lemons a lake make lemonade go jump in it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Penguin Winter Party

We are delaying my son's birthday party so we can have both of the boys celebrate together. I am sure it is not fair at 3 to do that to a kid that has been talking about his birthday party for 6 months already, so we had a penguin party/play date to pass the time. We had ten little kids over for crafts, games, food, and fun.

We started out with a few crafts. I copied a simple penguin image and mounted it on construction paper. The kids glued cotton balls on the penguins tummy and then colored their little guys. I forgot to take a picture when everyone was working on their projects, because I was so busy assisting them. This is my youngest making our craft.

Every child got a bag with a penguin stuffed animal and a book of their own. They all sat down on the penguin blanket, and opened up their treasures.

Then my sweet cousin Cassandra read Penguins, Penguins Everywhere by Bob Barner to them.

After storytime, I passed out trays and filled them with a big scoop of salt. I then handed out penguins, wooden trees, candy canes, red stones (gems), snowballs (marshmallows), and ponds (blue foam cut outs).

Here are the bags of snowballs! Most of them were eaten by those sneaky little boys.

The penguins ducked and dived through the snow. I think pretending with the penguins was their favorite part. These 2-4 year olds played with it for almost 20 minutes until I announced it was time for lunch.

I kept finding amazing penguin items on sale after Christmas for pennies, so the penguin party idea transpired. I took these adorable placemats from Target and wrote each kids name on the hat of the penguin. The kids also had penguin cups to drink out of for fun. Remember the bags I made last week (here)...I used those for lunch bags and had everything made up in advance. With ten little ones running around, it is hard to get them all lunch at the same time otherwise.

 I used baby food containers to put fruit in, and I taped a cute penguin image on top.

Then for desert we had deep sea fishing penguins. I found this precious idea at Cute as Fox.

I altered it just a little. I started by placing gummy fish in the bottom of my cups. I filled them with blue jello. I taped penguins at the lip of the cup, and stuck a toothpick through the paper for a fishing pole. The toothpicks stayed in place by themselves. I tied some white yarn on them for fishing line.

My clever husband suggested spraying whipped cream around the edges to leave a small amount of blue showing to represent deep sea fishing. It was a little too hectic at the party to try this, but I did later, and it was precious!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

LOVE Burlap Valentine Pillow

My cousin Summer and I love to go to garage sales and antique shopping to find new treasures. Her newest obsession has been burlap pillows. With Valentine's Day a few weeks away I decided to make her a little pillow to sit out with LOVE. I liked it so much I had to make a second one for myself. Sometimes a simple design is the best.

I decided on a small pillow. My design started out with two 9x9 burlap squares. I used HeatnBond iron-on adhesive to bond my fabric. I am sure you have used this wonderful invention before, but if not, it bonds fabric to fabric. The adhesive nature makes it easier to hold something in place to sew. I did the letters L heart V E. I used a zig-zag stitch to further bond the design to the beige burlap.

Since the burlap was somewhat see through, I used a second fabric behind it. Make sure to face right side up of the fabric and face right side up of the burlap on top. (As shown below)

Then I folded it over, and sewed right sides of burlap togethe,r leaving a small opening to turn the pillow inside out. Next, I filled it was stuffing.

You can either hand stitch or machine stitch your opening closed. I hope my cousin likes her new pillow. I will drop off her surprise this week.

Can you believe our grass is still this green in Texas? It is raining today and in the 70's. I don't know if Texas realizes what winter is...surely it is to come.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Valentine Banner and My New Dining Room Table (Booth)

It has been forever now since my husband and I started our project of a new dining room table. If you have been following for that long, we got an old booth from my brother-in-law....along with a few additional hundred guests. I will explain in a minute. My husband worked hard building a new frame and we kept the original cushioned seats. It fit perfectly in a nook in our dining room and became our new dinner table. I love it! Especially with three windows surrounding it. We live in the country, and we have an amazing view of the pasture, 100 year old barn, and animals.

It reminds me of the booth in our little camper. It is so cozy that we find ourselves doing crafts there, playing games, and of course eating meals together. It is my new favorite spot in the house! Oh, and about those few hundred visitors this booth started with...(original post)

Bees!! Swarms of bees came out the second day we had the booth in our driveway...and I was stung. Hence, the reason my husband built a whole new base. When we opened the old one up it had honey oozing and dripping everywhere.

Today, we made a little Valentine banner to hang around our dinner table. It is a wonder I ever get anything done with my two little helpers. Notice my youngest is stepping all over our project. Ha! Super helpful.

I started by cutting triangles out of beige burlap. Then I cut out hearts, x's, and o's out of red fabrics. We adhered them with craft glue and glued them to a ribbon.

It was such a fast and easy no-sew Valentine project to add some zing to our dining room. What are you all working on?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Avocado Grilled Cheese

Looking for a fast easy twist on a simple lunch? I was for sure. I enjoy a "hot" lunch in the winter but I don't want to create anything too fancy. The other day I decided on a whim to add some avocado to my standard grilled cheese and use a white cheese instead. Yummy! I should have thought of this much sooner. My boys and I ate it with some taco soup. 

We are so excited getting ready for our winter penguin party on Friday. Stay tuned for some more fun!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Leftover Christmas Wrap into Adorable Paper Bags

Does anyone else have extra Christmas wrapping paper laying around? I had a stack of leftover Christmas paper that I don't care to store until next year. When I was a little girl, my mom, sister, and I used to make all kinds of cute bags from our wrapping paper. I had some precious penguin paper left and we are having a winter penguin party this Friday. A perfect match.

Wrapping Paper
Box from the cupboard
Glue Stick

1. Start by picking a box from your cupboard of desired size. Cut your wrapping paper as if you were wrapping a present minus the top side.

2. Begin wrapping your box, leaving the top open. I used a glue stick instead of tape to seal the edges.

3. Fold the bottom and glue. (My little helper assists)

4. Carefully begin removing your box from the wrapping.

5. Crease the edges and sides well to form your bag.

6. I used fancy scissors to trim the top and voila...

These precious little bags are going to be our lunch sacks for the penguin party later this week. Just remember any wrapping paper will work. It is also a great solution when you can't find the bags you want. Just buy a roll of wrapping paper in your desired color or print and set to work. These little gift bags are easy to make yourself.

Tags: DIY gift bags, Make your own gift sacks, Treat sacks

Friday, January 13, 2012

Walgreen's Fight to Regain Express Scripts

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

The insurance world comes clad with its share of terminology that can be difficult to comprehend at times. As a nurse, I know first hand, how hard it can be for patients to understand the stipulations and terms of their insurance policy. Our health care world is constantly changing and I even find it challenging to keep up at times. One prime example is Walgreens and Express Scripts

I was disappointed to learn this week that Express Scripts is no longer contracted with Walgreens in their pharmacy provider network. What does this mean? It means that if you have Express Scripts for your pharmacy coverage,  you have to find another pharmacy provider for in-network coverage. For many people, this means leaving their trusted pharmacist that is familiar with their medication history, drug allergies, and care. It also means the added inconvenience of locating an alternate pharmacy with potentially different hours, a possible different distance from the house, and an unknown pharmacist. 

The truly sad part, is Walgreens has tried to negotiate to keep Express Scripts. They even offered in negotiations, to not instate an increase in rates. That is almost unheard of these days. In addition, one of Express Scripts clients is Tricare. Tricare insures many people, including our countries military personnel. Walgreens offered to match or beat any pharmacy in the Tricare network, in attempts to solidify their dedication and support to our troops. This too was rejected. 

Walgreens is dedicated to its patrons and is making every attempt to allow patients use their pharmacy still  when at all possible. They are offering their Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens at a discount in January for $5 per individual or $10 a family. Walgreens is dedicated to its customers and does not want to lose them.

Just remember, consumers are important. How we feel and how we respond to health care, can make a difference. You can support Walgreens on Twitter or Walgreens on Facebook. You could also contact your local media and speak up about how this is personally effecting you or your loved ones. I encourage you to speak up and do your part.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Conversation Hearts at Dinner

Ooh la la...Valentine's Day is around the corner. We have pulled out all of our Valentine's books and a few small decorations and games from last year. We try to add something new each year to celebrate Valentine's Day. Conversation Hearts remind me the most of this special holiday, to celebrate the ones we love. I decided we needed to make some "true" conversation hearts....not that the Hug Me, Kiss Me, etc are not precious enough.

I have tons of scrapbook paper scraps thanks to my  fabric and paper fairy. (My mom has a wonderful friend at school that passes me all her extras. I love it!)

I cut them into hearts of all colors.

On the back, I wrote out "conversation" questions.

Here are some ideas to get you started :

1. Describe yourself
2. Favorite place to eat?
3. One thing you want to do today
4.What are you best at?
5. If you could buy any animal what would it be?
6. Trampoline or pool?
7. One word that describes you
8. Favorite spot in the house
9. Favorite holiday and why
10. What would you like to buy yourself?
11. If you could change your name what would it be?
12. Favorite place to be?
13. What are you proud of?
14. Beach or snow
15. If you were an animal what would you be?
16. If you buried a treasure chest what would be in it?
17. If you could have any party what would it be?
18. Sledding or swimming?
19. If you could climb in a box and be shipped anywhere, where would it be?
20. Best childhood memory?
21. If you picked up the phone and could call anyone, who would it be?
22. Favorite silly word?
23. If you were a superhero who would you be?
24. Who do you miss?
25. What is your most prized posession?

I stuffed the hearts in a large mason jar with some cotton balls. My son saw me creating this Valentine Game, and of course he wanted to know what every card said so I let him pick two. It was a bigger hit then I expected. The first question he drew was if you could buy anything at the store what would it be...He chose apple. I laughed so hard. (I was expecting a toy) His next question was if you could change your name what would it be...he said Daddy. (Ahh..my heart melted). I think we are going to have some fun dinners ahead of us. Eating at the dinner table every night is so important to me, and this will make me treasure the moment even more. No wonder Bill Cosby used to have a show about kids saying the funniest things.

Here is one of our fun games from last year...

Click here to see how to make your own XOXO Valentine Tic Tac Toe Game
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