Friday, July 29, 2011


I successfully grew my own basil this summer!  (Quite a success because I have no green thumb!) 
It has been fun having fresh basil on hand to use in the kitchen.  

We have enjoyed making and eating basil pesto this summer.  Then I came across this recipe for brushetta from Andrea at and it was delicious!  

Makes the perfect summer appetizer!  Yum!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How I Send Cards

I am a tad bit organized, favor my left-brain, and work off of lists.  These traits also fall into the world of how I send cards for any occasion.  My family often remarks how they received a card from us - on time - for a birthday.  And this is why...

At the beginning of the month I make a trip to the Dollar Store (cards are 2 for $1.00!) with a list of upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, babies, weddings, etc.  (It helps to make this trip child-less because my kids can easily start running laps around the perimeter of the store...not like I know from experience that this could happen...)  Within a day or two after purchasing my monthly card stash, I address and stamp all of the cards at once.  Then (yes, because I am crazy) I make a note on my calendar to put the card in the mail on a particular day so it will arrive on time.

Living out of town, it always feels so nice to receive mail from home on my birthday.  There is really nothing better than receiving mail on your birthday, or any special occasion!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cleaning out "Photo Booth"

The other day Ryan ran an update on our computer and later told me that we should probably weed out some of the 800+ photo booth pictures and 200+ photo booth videos.  So I went through and deleted a lot of 1 second videos, a lot of bad pictures, and a lot of random pictures taken at the Eiffel Tower, in fish bowls, on roller coasters, and at Yosemite.  (All backgrounds available on photo booth.)  

Here are some of my favorites that I came across...    

Grumpy x4

 She was so little!  
(And I'm thinking this will definitely be her kindergarten hair do.)

And he was so little!

First pic in the new house!

Attempting a dimple????

I love this picture.  There's just something warm and fuzzy about rollers and Christmas lights.

Everyone says "cheese!" 

Jude is ghostly white!

The Blessed Mother stopped by!

How can this not make you laugh??

Sometimes rain gear is necessary!  Even indoors.

I should really pluck my eyebrows.  And Clare should really not choke Jude.

A sleep smile for her first photo booth photo!

First picture as a family of 5!

Ellen rocks the polka-dots for Halloween.

Jude's "guitar" before Santa brought him a real one.  Yes, that is a light saber.  And yes, he has it twisted about 10 times in his shirt.

Sometimes I can be the fun parent.  But just sometimes. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

1st Birthday Cakes

It's hard to believe that Ellen is turning 1 in about 6 weeks!  (How did that happen???)    

I have been thinking of what kind of cake to make Ellen for her 1st birthday.  

Clare's birthday falls in October so I made her a pumpkin cake when she turned 1.

Jude was obsessed with the school bus that used to drive down our street at our first house, so he got a bus cake.  

Ryan taught Ellen how to make monkey noises when asked what a monkey says.  Of course now it is one of her favorite sounds to make.  So I have been looking around for a simple monkey cake to make for Ellen's birthday.

Here are some of my favorites:

These cake pops are too cute:
Or cupcakes:

I think Clare is probably envisioning something like this!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Professional Interior Design Help

I "won" an hour with an interior designer at an auction back in December.  I finally called her a couple of weeks ago to redeem my time and she came over a couple of days ago.  My main questions for her were colors for my first floor and help arranging furniture in my family room.

Arranging furniture in our family room has been a challenge.  There are 2 windows, a fireplace, stairs, and a doorway to configure around.

At first we had it arranged like this...

Testing paint colors here...

Then Jude fell off the ottoman and hit his head on the fireplace hearth and had to have a head wound glued shut.  So then we flipped things around a bit and currently have it like this...

The designer recommended hanging the TV above the fireplace and moving the couch (which she named "the elephant in the room") against the big wall, opening up the traffic flow between the family room and the kitchen.  I'm not sure what I think about having the TV above the fireplace...any thoughts on that??

Colorwise she confirmed my fabric ideas.  But she stressed having 3 colors in a room/house with a 60-30-10 color ratio.  So with the khaki on the walls, do a dark brown curtain, with blue accents throughout the room.  The accents can come in the form of throw pillows, art, accessories, etc.  She also recommended painting the armoire black if we keep it in the room.  And get bigger lamps and ditch the white lampshades.  And we could switch out the coffee table with a big storage ottoman, too.

She also recommended switching these pillows to add a better pop on the couch...

 ...and compliment the rug that is in the entry way:

So all in all, lots to think about.  And furniture to rearrange and see how things work in a different configuration.  I'll post any major getting new pillows!  :)


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ups and Downs

On one hand there is good news around here and on the other hand not-so-good news...  

The good news is that Ellen has finally cut both of her top two front teeth!  They have been a long.time.coming.  The funny thing is that they are going to be about a mile apart!  
It has also been fun lately to see Ellen really enjoy pulling herself into a standing position and "cruise" around a bit.  

Here she is in action...

The not so great news is that poor Ryan tore his rotator cuff and needs to rest it as much as possible.  This is easier said than done with 3 kids in the house.  So I am praying for a speedy recovery for my his sake!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Window Paint

We are trying to beat the heat this week!  (I'm breaking into sweats just standing outside watering my poor flower beds!)

We made this washable window paint the other day for some indoor (non-sweaty) entertainment.  The kids had a lot of fun painting.  

I saw the "recipe" for this window paint here.  Mix 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap with 1/2 tablespoon of washable paint.  It easily washed off the window when it was time for clean up.  (I think it might be fun to paint a big flag for July 4th or pumpkins on the window for Halloween.)  

Did someone forget how to spell her name this summer??

(And Jude kept asking if we could paint the mailbox...something the characters do in one of his favorite movies, "Up"...which I decided against.)  


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Not Made" Basements

Clare considers our basement "not made" because it is not finished.  Although I wish our basement was "made" with a bedroom and full bathroom when we have out of town guests, it does permit us to use it in other ways...especially in heat waves!

While the kids were riding bikes, I organized my wreaths.  Most of them were on the floor or smashed in seasonal storage boxes.  So I put some nails in my future "storage closet" and hung the wreaths.

Yarn wreath made here.
 A little organization amidst the heat!!