Friday, June 29, 2012

Dollar Crafts: Ice Pop Art

It has been HOT these past few days.  Over 100 degrees hot.  Not fun for a pregnant girl!  This is a fun art project that will help keep your kids cool.  I found the idea in my Disney Family Fun Magazine.  All you do is freeze plain water in Popsicle molds, then let your kids use the ice pops to draw on colored construction paper.

After doing some "coloring" my girls decided to eat their Popsicles.  They didn't seem to mind that it was just ice!

The article also recommends using an ice pop to scribble over a washable-marker drawing and watch the colors combine.  

Stay cool!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fourth of July Flag Wreath

I had such good intentions of making a Spring wreath for my front door, but nothing materialized.  Then, I saw this cute flag wreath in my Disney Family Fun magazine that looked really easy to make.  I especially like that the wreath can be used for Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.

All you need is a wire wreath (Michael's and Hobby Lobby sell them for $3), red, white and blue tulle (I bought 25 yards of each and had lots left over), wooden stars and white paint.

1.  Cut a bunch of pieces of tulle.  The width of your wreath will determine how long you should cut your pieces.  I cut mine ~11 or 12 inches long.

2.  Fold a piece of tulle in half and place it under the wreath.

3.  Insert the ends of the tulle between the loop and pull tight.

4.  I alternated two reds, two whites and two blues to fill my wreath.
5.  I attached a long piece of red tulle to the wreath to hang it on my door.

6.  Lastly, I painted three wooden stars white and attached them to the wreath using fabric tape.  I appears to be holding very well.

Happy 4th of July!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

8 Years

We met 17 years ago....

We graduated high school....

Graduated college....

And found out together that we passed the CPA exam....

We moved to California to start our careers...

And one day on vacation you proposed....

8 Years ago today we got married and my life was forever changed for the better....

We moved to NYC and traveled the globe....

And then decided to start our family....

We moved to Chicago so you could go back to school....

And we decided to grow our family....

I watched, so proud, as you graduated from Kellogg....

Then we moved back home and bought our first house....

And now we wait with anticipation for our third baby girl to arrive....

I love our life and I can't imagine spending the past 17 years with anyone else.  Happy 8 year anniversary babe!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Shutterfly Giveaway Winners!

CONGRATS to the following people:

Scott who wrote:

I'd love to try Shutterfly. Thanks for hosting this giveaway! on Shutterfly Photobook Giveaway!!

Katya Sarria who wrote:
I missed the giveaway but can I still join? (: on Shutterfly Photobook Giveaway!!

Email me at and I will send you the information for your free Shutterfly photo album.  YEAH!

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Popsicle Stick Flag Magnet

Ava loves spotting American flags as we drive around town.  She points out every flag she sees.  There is a HUGE one near our house and she always asks if we can drive by it.  When I saw all these Popsicle stick flags on Pinterest, I knew she'd love to make one.  I decided to make it into a magnet because magnets are one of Ava's other favorite things.  All day, she makes art projects and then tries to find space on our fridge to hang them up.  Here's what our fridge looks like today:

Here's what you need to make your very own magnet:
- Popsicle (craft) sticks
- Small wooden stars (I found mine at Michael's)
Red and white paint
- Paint brushes
- Small piece of white card stock
- Small piece of blue card stock
- Magnetic adhesive strips
- Glue gun

To make our flag magnet, Ava first painted the Popsicle sticks red and white and she painted 3 stars white.

While Ava was busy painting, I cut a piece of white card stock.  When the Popsicle sticks were dry, I glue gunned (is that a verb?) the backs of the Popsicle sticks to the card stock.

Next I cut a piece of the magnetic adhesive strips in half and Ava stuck them to the white card stock.

While the stars were drying, I cut a small piece of blue card stock and glue gunned it to the front of the flag.  When the stars were dry, I put glue on the back of the stars and Ava stuck them on the blue card stock.

She was so excited to show everyone her new magnet!  Happy 4th of July!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shutterfly Photobook Giveaway!!

I love Shuttefly.  Love. Love. Love.  And I'm not being paid by Shutterfly to profess my love.  I am so excited for this GIVEAWAY.  If you haven't discovered Shutterfly yet, read on.  Here are all the reasons that I love Shutterfly:

I upload all of my photos to Shutterfly and use them as a back up for my numerous other back up devices.  The best part is that you can store all your pictures on Shutterfly free of charge.  There are no restrictions and they will never delete your photos.

Another Shutterfly feature I use and LOVE is their Share Site.  I share our photos and videos and other photo projects and updates with my friends and family on our personal Share Site.  It's very easy to use and update.

There are so many great products that Shutterfly offers.  I have created many photo books, coffee mugs, mouse pads, note pads, stationary cards, address labels, holiday cards and ornaments.  I also purchase prepaid print plans so that I can order all our 4x6 prints for our photo albums for just $0.09 each.

In the past year or so, Shutterfly upgraded their photo book software and it is AMAZING!  I'd love to go on and on about all the features, but I'll just get to the GIVEAWAY and let you discover it for yourself.

1.  Join my blog - Click on the link that says "Join this site" in the top right hand corner of my blog.

2.  Comment - Leave a comment on this post before Sunday, June 24nd at midnight.  I will randomly select 5 people who will receive a free 8x8 photo book from Shutterfly!

Unfortunately, this offer is only available to people who have never made a photo book on Shutterfly.  The winner will be announced on Monday, June 25th.  Be sure to check back!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Pixar's latest movie, Brave, opens in theaters on June 22nd!  Did you know that this is Pixar's first movie featuring a female lead character?  Her name is Princess Merida and as you can see from the picture, she has some archery skills.  I'm not sure why there are so many movies and shows focused on archery.  I wonder if this will bring back the sport?!?!

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Meatless Monday: Caprese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Good news!  We planted two basil plants in our back yard and one of them is doing great!  We think the other basil plant was eaten by a little critter or deer because the whole thing is missing.  But look at how huge and delicious the other basil plant looks!

With all this yummy basil, I was inspired to make The Steamy Kitchen's Caprese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette.  Let me tell you - IT WAS AMAZING!   I thought I had perfected the Caprese Salad with the Balsamic Reduction, but I was mistaken.  The Basil Vinaigrette takes the cake.  If you make this, you will not be disappointed.


4 large tomatoes, sliced into thick slices
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced into thick slices
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

For the Basil Vinaigrette:
1 small shallot, roughly chopped (substitute with 1 tablespoon chopped onion or 2 garlic cloves - I used garlic )
2 slices fresh chili pepper
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons good white wine vinegar (I didn't have white wine vinegar so I used Rice Vinegar instead.)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 tsp table salt)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1.  To make the Basil Vinaigrette, add the garlic (or shallot or onion) and chili pepper to the blender. Next add the basil leaves, water, vinegar and salt. Blend. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil as you are blending.
2.  The vinaigrette will appear a bit runny.  That's okay.  It's still delicious!

3.  To assemble the Caprese Salad, layer the tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. In between each layer, season with a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle the basil vinaigrette on top.

You can store extra basil vinaigrette in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Father's Day Crafts & Gifts

Tim and I are not big on surprising each other with gifts (with the exception of my New York trip - thanks babe!).  If we need something, we just go out and buy it.  For Father's Day, Tim is going to the Cardinal's game with some friends that are coming in town that weekend.  So my Father's Day gift to him is a night off!  Priceless!  But I do enjoy giving crafty presents to Tim from the girls and me.  Last year I found this cute card idea on Pinterest:

 Front of card from Ava
 Inside of card from Ava
 Front of card from Sidney
Inside of card from Sidney

There is also a cute "kid interview" card on Pinterest that Ava did for Tim's birthday last year.

In case you're wondering, Tim does not wear earrings - those are his cheeks above his ears.  And he does not have 3 eyes either - that is his forehead.  Gotta love kid drawings!
Click here if you'd like to download a copy.

This year I found another idea on Pinterest, of course.  I bought the white "D" and "A" letters at Michael's for $4 each.  Not bad, especially if you have a 40% off coupon!  The letters also come in black but they're a bit smaller.  I took pictures of the girls holding the letters and used the pictures to make a card.  Here's how it turned out:

To make the outside of the card, I printed wallet size pictures at Walmart and pasted them onto white card stock.  Then I pasted the white card stock onto a piece of folded green card stock.  To make the inside of the card, I printed the text on a piece of 8.5x11 paper and cut it down so you can see the green card stock.  Then I taped it to the inside of the green card stock.

I also got an email from Shutterfly a long time ago for a free mug so I decided to make a mug for Tim for Father's Day - he drinks coffee every morning.  One side of the mug is shown in the picture above and here's the other side of the mug:
I LOVE Shutterfly.  I upload all my pictures to Shutterfly and I have a Share Site where I share pictures and videos with my family and friends.  I also make all of my scrapbooks on Shutterfly - they upgraded their Scrapbooking software program in the past year and it's AMAZING!  I especially love that they are always sending me emails with free stuff and promotions.  I highly recommend Shutterfly (and no, they don't pay me to say that!).  

There are also some cute books that star Daddy that the kids could give to him:

Happy Father's Day to my awesome husband, my loving Dad, and my wonderful father-in-law.  My life is so much better with you in it!

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