Saturday, March 31, 2012

Botanica Outing

This morning the hubster and the grandpa both worked overtime (blech, but grateful for the moola), so grandma treated the girls and I to an outing at Botanica. (Thanks MIL!).

I'm not usually real big on Botanica, or on Tulips....but I think today's outing changed me.

You cannot deny the beauty of these things when they are so abundant!

Stopping to smell the flowers.

Apparently, Hannah uses her entire head to smell the flowers.

Of course, knowing the gorgeousness of Botanica this time of year and the perfection that was the weather this morning, we took the opportunity to dress the girls up in matching outfits and do pictures too. Grandma made the outfits. Hannah deemed hers 'weird' (such a diva), but Brooke and I thought they looked pretty good!

Heaven forbid Hannah break out into a big smile for me.

(These pictures are all out of order by the way, but I'm not going to mess with fixing them)!
It was Tulips and Fairies day, so in the kids' area the girls could make Fairy headbands and wands.
Hannah took the coloring of her butterfly VERY seriously.

I love this shot.
The girls loved this fountain!
These bright orange ones were my favorites.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Disney Fever Thursday

One of the things about a Disney trip is the character interaction. There's nothing quite like the experience of your child meeting their favorite character.

I would say, hands down, that the character experiences on the Disney Cruise are far better than the ones at the park. Simply because, the time and locations are clearly printed in the Navigator (daily schedule) that you receive each night.... it's a beautiful, air conditioned environment (unless you're up on the pool deck or upper deck meeting someone!). Often, several are gathered at one time.

Last year, there was a Princess gathering in the atrium of the ship at 930a.m. We went down to get in line around 9a.m....among the first in line. Then at 930, Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White, Bell, Ariel, and Princess Minnie all came down the grand staircase, and we took our turn with each one. (It was like a receiving line at a wedding!).

We were first in line for a Mickey and friends gathering as well. Take the time to watch this video, it really is so sweet. And the characters are so fun. You'll see Minnie dancing around, Chip hanging on the bannister, and Dale off playing the grand piano. Notice too Chip's interaction with Hannah at the end. It is so precious. This was one of my favorite moments on the entire cruise. Magical!!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oh so Pinteresting

It's Wednesday.....!!! Today I tried to dig my flower bed out from all the bermuda and weeds that infiltrated last year....Uncovered a mega ant hill that made me itch like crazy.... returned THREE pairs of shoes, and bought THREE more (all of which were for the children. I'm going to have to take donations to buy myself any new shoes).

Anyways...It's time for oh So Pinteresting!

First off I can't find the pin for this, so maybe I didn't pin it....but I saw the idea for these TWINE EGGS on pinterest. The person used embroidery floss (so did I), and a mixture of glue and cornstarch, and put the string over water balloons to make these sweet little twine eggs. Kind of like doing paper machie with string...right? Okay, so for the record...NOT AS EASY as it looks. I've done lots of paper mache before....but I did about 8 of these and only these three came out...kind of. BUT they look cute on my entryway table inside this little birdcage I found at Michaels for $11.

Back to Pinterest..... These bubbly love potion sounds sooooo good.

Here's the link. And here's the pin.

Have you ever done this naked egg project? I think it'd be fun to do with the kids. Kinda gross but certainly interesting.

The link. And the pin

I made these cookies yesterday....these are INDEED THE BEST chocolate chip cookies I have EVER BAKED! I think the key is using the real butter. And I used semi-sweet chips. Really, you MUST MAKE THESE. They will DISAPPEAR so fast.

The link. And the pin.

What have you pinned lately? Linking up at the Vintage apple.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Little Girls morning out

This morning, Hannah and I went out to celebrate my BFF's twin girls' birthday. They are about five weeks younger than Hannah. We sent the big kids off to school, and then it was mommies and little girls out for some Birthday fun.

We went to build a bear and Debbi treated the girls each to a bear. She is so sweet!

Here is Hannah making sure hers is squeezably soft!

And here Ragan or Rylee :) filling their bear up. She has one wear purple and one wear pink usually, but I can never remember which one wears which color :)

And here the girls are with their finished product! Hannah decided hers was a boy and named him Cutie-Pie. Being the bargain shopper she is, she found a shirt that had a hat included with it.

After Build-a-Bear fun (which every kid must do at some point. Sweet, albeit expensive, thing to do!), we went to Old Navy so everyone could get some new flip flops. You can't beat Old Navy $2.50 flip flops!

Then we stopped in at Noodles and Co for some lunch. They have great mac and cheese for the kids... unless you are of course Hannah who only eats the cheap Kraft stuff. And if you are the mom of Hannah, you will be running back home between the mall and preschool to get her to eat some nuggets or something because that fancy mac-and-cheese just didn't cut it for her. :)

Fun morning out. Never can get enough time with these girls!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A new twist on Tie Dye

I love doing fun crafty things. I love doing tie-dye stuff. I think it's a throwback to VBS or church camp or something like that. It's always been something I enjoyed.
Last year, I learned how to make these Mickey tie-dye shirts. I made FOURTEEN of them for our cruise (our family, and some friends). Took because I had to sew the mickey shape, pull it tight, wrap it with rubber bands, etc etc. But they looked good!

I found a new technique that I wanted to try. It is originally called Batiking (I think) and it involves putting something on the shirt that is dye-resistant, then doing the dye. Originally it involved wax I believe...can't even imagine what a mess that would be!
Anyways, I found directions (on Pinterest) to use this blue-gel glue. Apparently, the blue-gel elmers is the way to go. I cannot attest to how any other glue would work, but I can tell you the blue-gel elmers worked!
As with half the things I do, I decided to do a Mickey shape. Why not, right? This was going to be a birthday gift for one of our little friends.
I had a friend/client pick up some of those auto-emblems for me on their last Disney trip and I've never stuck it on the car. I've found it is very handy for tracing on shirts!
In this case, I did a bead of glue all the way around the face of the emblem,
then flipped it over in the center of my dry shirt to make a transfer of the shape....
I then went back over the shape with a better bead of glue.
Let the glue dry for several hours. Prepare for tie-dying as you wish. I like the spiral look. To do that, you pinch in the center of the shirt and twist in a clockwise motion, twisting tight. Put several rubber bands around your twisted shirt to hold it in place.
Prepare dyes in the colors of your choice...I find three is a nice number for spiral, because then where they overlap...theoretically...additional colors come out. I slightly dampened my spiraled shirt and then started putting the dye on. You want rubber gloves for this part!
I have yet to get colors to come out as bold as they initially appear....of course a lot of the dye washes back out when you squeeze/rinse. I like to use these bottles for this process, and just saturate the shirt in sections in our stainless steel sink.
After your shirt is dyed, squeeze out the excess and remove the rubber bands. Then go lay it somewhere to dry (I layed it on a garbage bag in the garage). This lets the dye soak in really well.
When I layed the shirt out, I decided that the Mickey didn't pop quite as much as I wanted...because of the tie-dye that I did instead of just dying it a solid color. So I went and got my squeeze bottle of red, and after sticking a walmart sack in between the layers, I just added more red to the inside of the Mickey.
After the shirt is dry, fill your sink up with warm, soapy water and dunk the shirt in there. Agitate it a little bit and give it just a few minutes. While it seems a little redundant to let the shirt dry (setting the dye) and then dunking it in water, this will remove the glue. Then throw it in the washer and dryer as normal. (I threw mine in with some old towels that needed washed, so if extra dye got on anything in the wash, it'd be no biggie).
Here's how it turned out! I like it! Next time I will slightly dampen the shirt BEFORE I twist it, which allows the dye to soak in a little better (which is what I did with last year's shirts). I was nervous about the Mickey outline getting soft again before the dying process was done.
Give it a try! Fun project! You could do words, shapes, etc. You can tie-dye it like I did, or soak it in a solid color of dye...whever you like! I'm anxious to try some other techniques!!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Cottage Collective

Just stopped into an awesome little shop called The Cottage Collective.

Some great women, including my friends
Abbe and Missy, took their creative talents, put them in a cute house, and named it the Cottage Collective. These moms took their creativity to work to help contribute financially to their households. They love Jesus, they love their families, and they love being crafty!

They've got a little bit of everything! I took some pictures, but they don't do it justice. So go see their
pictures over on their facebook page.

They have everything from adorable re-purposed furniture (Abbe), to colorful, fun paper goods (think striped straws, awesome tags, wraphia, etc)..... Hand made polymer clay jewelry and classes (Missy) which I have a few pieces of stuff like blankets and clothes, vintage finds like white pottery pieces...aprons, hair bows...and so much more.

It is such a happy little shop. You will come home and want to start redecorating your house. And you'll find lots of things to do it with right there!

The Cottage Collective is near Central and Hillside.... just West of that intersection/north side behind Deli Bocca. or Bocca Deli. Or something like that. It's called the Green Elephant shopping area, because there are three green Victorian-ish houses that have shops in them. And the Cottage is one of them!!!!

I believe they are going to be open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Grand opening is next weekend, and you should totally go check them out!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Disney Fever Thursday

Gasp! In the midst of surviving a rainy Spring Break, taking the girls swimming, and trying not to wheeze from what seems to be chlorine inhalation (the indoor pool always make me wheezy when I get home), I almost forgot that it's Disney Fever Thursday!

Today I am going to give you some good tips for travelling with munchkins.

1. Do not spend all the time leading up to the trip telling your three year old 'We're going to go see Mickey!!"....because when you arrive and are soaking in the THRILL of walking down Main Street USA, seeing the castle for the first time, etc... your three year old might be totally unimpressed and looking around going "Where's Mickey?!". Been there, done that, had to go find the mouse immediately so we could THEN get on with the excitement of it ALL.

2. Do not go to WDW without some sort of attack plan. It's huge, and you can't just randomly roll out of bed, show up, and do whatever. Ya gotta have a strategy. No you don't have to have every minute planned, but you have to have a plan in mind. That's where a helpful travel agent like ME comes in handy. :)

3. I've noticed this year that Hannah is the right height to be in my blind spot. She'll be standing just behind me but my elbow/arm makes me not able to see her. She's also ridiculously social. For the trip this year, I ordered personalized wrist-bands. Those rubber, debossed ones. I got two of them for $12 including shipping, they say "Faith, Trust, Pixie Dust" on the front, and "Mom Cell#@@@-xxx-1234" on the inside. So IF we get lost or separated, they can tell a cast member how to get ahold of me. Neurotic mommy moment? Maybe. Just better to be safe than sorry! I ordered mine from

4. Stay onsite. And if you can swing it, stay at a deluxe resort. WDW is all about location, and the deluxe resorts are either on a monorail or within walking to distance to the park. We have always stayed in the Magic Kingdom area right on the monorail. This makes life sooo sooo much easier when you have a little one. You can just head back to the hotel for some rest time, get out of the heat, and swim for awhile too. It really helps to have downtime in the afternoon. I think people who drag their 3 year old to the park first thing in the morning and stay there till it closes deal with a lot more meltdowns than we do! :)

5. I was recently asked to list the three things I must do on a Disney trip. The answer varies per family member I suppose. The girls would say: Ride Small World, Have a Mickey Bar, go Swimming, meet characters. My answer would be: Ride Aerosmith Rock-n-roller coaster, eat at Ohanas, and take pictures in front of the castle.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oh So Pinteresting Wednesday

It's Spring Break here and while it was GORGEOUS LAST WEEK it has done nothing but rain here since Sunday evening.

You know it's rained a lot when your 12-pound dog squishes when he walks across the yard.

I have plenty of things to do (ie, messy house) and ZERO motivation to do it. Is that normal for Spring Break/rainy weather? We'll say it is.

Anyways, time for Oh So Pinteresting Wednesday. Just a few....

Love this hairdo. Tried it on Brooke. Epic fail. Hair stylist I am NOT.

Source. Pin.

A guide to fruit/veggie storage. Interesting. Helpful.

Source. Pin.

Apparently I need to get to an IKEA. I'd love to redo the playroom and include this as part of the design.

Source. Pin.

This is cute, but I'm betting I'll NEVER get it made.

Source. Pin.

What have you pinned this week?!

Linking up at the Vintage Apple for Oh So Pinteresting Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sugar Free Baked Oatmeal

Today, I made the first baked-good I have EVER made that doesn't have sugar.

At least from what I can recall.

Now, you know I don't have anything against sugar. I'm actually a big fan. I am a cakechic after all.

But I saw this recipe on Pinterest for individual baked oatmeals, and thought 'hmm. that might be a good breakfast item for my terrible breakfast eaters." I happened to have everything on hand, so decided to give them a whirl today.

Here is the family review on them:
Hannah loved them. (i did put choc chips in them).
Brooke thought they were okay but a little weird.
Matt agreed with Brooke.
I thought that you really had to convince your brain that these are NOT a muffin and therefore are not quite the texture as a muffin and if you convince your brain that they are baked oatmeal, they are pretty good.

I would definately rather eat one of these than a bowl of oatmeal any day of the year.

Are they yummier than a granola Are they healthier than a granola bar...yes!!

If you follow the link to the recipe, I'll tell you what I did different. I don't have Stevia so I used a little over a 1/2 cup of honey. And I don't have flax seeds or flax seed meal, so I just left that out.

And I baked them a little extra...just try to get past that oatmeal texture a little bit! Otherwise, I followed the recipe as I found it.

Did I mention they are SUGAR FREE.

Give it a try! What have you made from Pinterest lately that you thought was good?!?!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Disney Fever Thursday

It's Disney Fever Thursday my friends!!! Today I want to share with you a few Walt Disney World facts! Some little tidbits you might not know.

1. I have many clients who do not realize how big WDW is. Did you know, it's about 40 SQUARE MILES, which is about the size of San Francisco?!

2. WDW employs over 60,000 people. They are called Cast Members.

3. The pool at Disney's Beach Club resort has a sand bottom. It holds 750,000 gallons of water and it is the largest sand bottom pool in the world.

4. Spaceship Earth, the big silver ball at EPCOT, weighs over 16 million pounds.

5. Annually, nearly 6,000 cell phones, and 18,000 hats are turned into Lost and Found. They receive an average of over 200 pairs of sunglasses turned in each day as well.

6. The Disney monorail has about 14 miles of track in service.

7. WDW is a happy place. But I wouldn't go there over Easter weekend...where Magic kingdom has been known to reach 'capacity' and have to stop accepting guests for part of the day! Personally, we think May is a great time to go!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Marking Time....Good Life

How do you mark the passage of time?

Is it each milestone your kids hit?

Is it the calendar year?

School year to school year?

I have found since having children that I tend to think of time in terms of birthday to birthday, and vacation to vacation.

Today is almost exactly the half-way mark between the girls birthdays. To celebrate their 4th (Hannah) and 8th (Brooke) birthdays, I've put together a photo montage of the last year.

Simply put, we are so blessed.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Disney Fever Thursday

Welcome to the second installment of Disney Fever Thursday. Why are we Disney nuts? Here is a photo tutorial....
The rides are a lot of fun...

We look good on a Disney cruise :)
Riding surrey bikes is something we've only done at Disney, and it was such a hoot.
The shows on a Disney cruise are quality.
WDW is full of things to do to make magical a kiddos first ride on Dumbo.

The character interactions are priceless.... matter what your age!

You get to let your little explore the world of fantasy and princesses.
You can see fireworks every night!!!
And you can get creme brulee as a dessert on a 'fast food meal' on the dining plan. Seriously? Creme Brulee? fast food? yum.
And...because it's our home away from home!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

That's So Pinteresting Wednesday

I have been much less busy the last week than in the month previous, but yet still didn't get over here to blog since Thursday! Sorry about that!
time to link up with the Vintage Apple for That's So Pinteresting Wednesday. Since I got a new laptop, I've actually gotten to do some pinning! Here's some of my favorites this week:
Princess Punch. The pin.
Salted Caramel Frosting. Making it this week. The Pin.
Sweet Ginger Scallion Noodles. Made them on Tuesday. Almost like my favorite restaurant in the world O'hanas at Disney. Except that I think I would use double the sauce on a package and a half of noodles. The pin.
Fairies in a jar. My kids would love this. Not sure it will work, but we may well give it a try one of these nights! The Pin.
Adorable picture. The pin.
And not on pinterest, but my girl was looking gorgeous for pictures this week. After we washed her hair and let it dry just a bit I put it up in about 6 tight little buns for her to sleep in (which she said was NOT comfortable). It came out so curly and pretty the next morning. I told her sometimes there is a price to pay for beauty.
Head over to the Vintage Apple for the pinteresting linky party and see what other people found nifty this week. And come back tomorrow for Disney Fever Thursday! Have a great day!