Thursday, October 14, 2010

40% Off On Women's Tea Collection

I just got a wonderful offer from one of my affiliates, Tea Collections. They are offering a 40% off coupon that is good TODAY only, after Friday morning you can get 25% off until Sunday. I'm so excited because fall is in the air and I would love to have a nice sweater or two to help ward off the chill in the air.

To get the discount click on my Tea collection link on the sidebar and enter this code when checking out TEA4UFF. It's that easy!

Happy shopping:)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More Early Shopping

Okay, so by now you have all heard that my sister is having a baby around Christmas. Which makes me think of all the traveling I will be doing back and forth across Texas to attend baby showers, holiday parties, and family events. Which leads me to thinking about not only traveling with my kids, but my 2 dogs. Luckily, I have found some luggage of sorts that will really help me with carting my dogs around with me.

I can’t wait to share this review with you from CSN stores.  If you have dogs that travel with you in the car on trips or just to the vet you need to know about this product.  I’m thinking it will make life easier.  I will let you know as soon as I receive the product for review.




*I am receiving a product free of charge to write a review on from CSN stores.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Baby Is Coming...

Did I tell you I am about to be an aunt again? Well, not until December, but I can't wait! My one and only little sister is having a baby.

Here she is with my kiddos.

We don't know yet if it is a little boy or girl, but are hoping to find out soon. That does not stop me from doing some baby shopping. I love shopping for little baby clothes! It seems many of my friends are having babies and I've found myself needing lots of sweet gifts. So I was happy to partner up with my new affliate Tea Collection. To me it has a down home, yet elegant feel. And the neat thing is it is unique.

Tea Collection has recently launched a new website and has taken their popular products typically found in specialty and department stores directly to consumers. Their clothing is inspired by cultures around the world and it's much more stylish and is always changing. Tea Collection designs clothes for babies up to eight years old. A great option for summer or back-to-school shopping.

So if you need to go shopping for some clothes for your kids or for gifts, please head over to Tea Collection and check them out. I think you will find some adorable clothing that anyone would be happy to receive!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Christmas Shopping In July

I say  it is never to early to start shopping for Christmas, especially if you have little ones on your list!  I wanted to share with you a neat online children’s toy store called Ebeanstalk, that will make your shopping easier.

I love shopping at Ebeanstalk because they have a feature that will list toys by age and  even gender.  They have tons of baby toys to choose from as well.  The website is easy to use, which is a plus for this busy mom.

Sometimes choosing kids toys can be difficult, but they make it a snap.  They have a panel of experts that help test the toys and place them in age appropriate categories according to the development that is occurring during that stage.

If you have a special someone that you’d like to give a gift too, check out their Grow and Learn series.  A gift will be sent out every 3 months, appropriate to the development at that stage.  I think this is a really neat feature that I haven’t found at other online toy stores. 

So remember it is never too early to shop for Christmas!  Have you shopped at Ebeanstalk?  I’d love to hear about it if you have, if not head over and see what neat toys you can find.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mulberries In The Park

Sometimes it takes me awhile to process things.  I’d like to think that I have so many thoughts going around in my head at one time that I overlook simple things. Like the names of streets and the fact that some actually mean something.  Recently, we were at the park by our house and my husband discovered the big tree we like to swing from is a Mulberry Tree.  Hmmm, just so happens the streets that runs by it is called Mulberry.  Maybe I should have recognized that tree 3 years ago when we first moved in, after all the hint is right there on the street sign.

Anyway, all is good because now we know.  And of course the pioneering spirit of my girls would not let all those wonderful mulberries go to waste.  So off we went to the park with step ladder and pails.IMG_7092 The tree is huge and most of the mulberries are up high.  My girls helped each other out grabbing the branches and bringing them down closer.  Little One held the pail for gathering.

IMG_7093 It was a lot of fun, but hard work too we discovered.  We picked a lot of little mulberries to fill our pail.

IMG_7084 Our purple hands told the story of what we’d been up to that day.


We also learned that these berries are clusters of fruit and little tiny bugs like to live inside of them.  Not to be deterred by such talk we consulted the internet and found you just need to cover them with water and let them sit for a bit. Sure enough, after about 30 minutes all the little bugs floated to the top.

Then Em went to making her pie


Didn’t she do a beautiful job?  The taste was very sweet and yummy.

And my girls were so happy to find yet another thing that grows wild here in the Panhandle that they could put to good use. 


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Emma’s Healthy Breakfast Sandwiches

My ten year old is on her way to culinary school.  Okay, not quite yet, but it’s where she wants to go someday.  She cooks for us constantly and is thinking up new twists on everyday recipes.  This breakfast sandwich recipe was derived from a sandwich she had at a little restaurant in Galveston, The Lunch Box cafe.

For bread she likes to use baguette, but we use whatever bread we have around. This morning mine was on English Muffin. First toast the bread.  Spread honey over both slices and natural peanut butter on one slice.  Top the peanut butter side with blueberries. Top the other slice with sliced strawberries and walnuts.  You could use pecans, but we had walnuts today. Put the two slices together and enjoy.  It really is very yummy and nutritious, not to mention easy!


I’ve linked this post to Beauty and Bedlam.  Head over there for more Tasty Tuesday recipes!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Art on the Go – BusPainting

I was so excited when my mother-in-law Pat introduced me over the internet to artist Kathleen McElwaine from Leander Texas.  Kathleen does beautiful watercolors and on the bus! 

She commutes on the bus into Austin twice a day and began a series of watercolors entitled BusPaintings.  She says, “Early on when I began taking the bus, I did do some character studies of people riding the # 983 Express. But then I became hesitant, thinking that perhaps I might be imposing on a near stranger's personal space -- one's mobile sanctum. As a representational artist I constantly look for character … What are the distinguishing characteristics of people … plants and animals… skies or, landscapes?"

She now has an Etsy store and besides selling her beautiful artwork, she will create a watercolor profile picture for you to use on Facebook.  She did my profile and I love it. Better yet my husband loves it.  He thinks she captured my friendliness in the painting.  That was sweet of him to say, I’ll have to bake him some brownies.  Anyway, I want to share my picture with you.

wp_kara_facebook_rlface047I love it!  The picture I sent her was one of me with no make-up, wearing the John Deere sweatshirt my father-in-law gave me.  I think she captured my spirit wonderfully.

Please stop by her Etsy store or her website to look at her work.  I’m already thinking of some Christmas gifts and maybe a few profile surprises for a couple of friends.

Thanks Kathleen!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Would You Dress Up Like A Cow For A Free Meal?

YES! The answer is yes.  Now would you? If the answer is yes then head over to your local Chick-Fil-A for free meal this Friday.

chickfilaCheck out the Chick-Fil-A website to get more details.

Last year my oldest opted out of the dress-up. Something about her mother being totally embarrassing and what wouldn’t you do for some free food comments.  But at the restaurant she realized she was among cows. Big cows, medium sized cows, and little bitty cows.  This year she says she will participate. So maybe it is cool to dress like a cow, if you get a yummy Chick-Fil-A meal.

Here’s my herd.  Hubby and I wore some cow signs we printed off their website, but I guess I didn’t get pics of that.

IMG_3724 IMG_3721

So don’t be a chicken, dress up as a cow and then eat some chicken!

Friday, June 11, 2010

“Decluttering” Our Lives

My family has embarked on a journey to declutter and simplify our lives.  You hear a lot about organizing your house from experts. They even have television shows that help families to get rid of their junk.  Well, I wouldn’t mind someone coming in and clearing out all my stuff for me and giving me a lesson on organization.  Better yet, I don’t need the lesson, but if they’d give me all those neat organizational containers I’d be very happy.

So far no one has called to take care of cleaning up my house so we decided to go it on our own.  I just look around and begin to feel claustrophobic with all the stuff closing in on me.  Anyway, this is all part of our family’s plan to “declutter” and “simplify” our lives.

We started with our little barn.DSC02080  We built it before we even moved into our house.  The plan was to have a place to store boxes as we began moving things.  Well, it filled up with boxes, bikes, tools, lawn equipment, furniture and it all stayed there.IMG_7068All of this was in our barn, along with a riding lawn mower and push mower.  Where did this all come from?

WB decided to build a workbench and some shelves.IMG_7066  Probably should have done that in the beginning, but I’m sure we were a little busy moving into our new house and he was dealing with a hormonal pregnant woman to boot.

It took all day in scorching heat.  I got a few breaks as we found boxes of photos that needed sorting and organizing.  But WB is no stranger to hard work and he kept going.  He’s my little Energizer bunny.  Wait, I don’t think he’d like that comparison. He’s a Gladiator, yes that’s better, my mighty Gladiator.

At the end of the day we had several piles of items for our Boy Scout church garage sale, a full dumpster and this IMG_7074

a clean barn.  I can see the floor.  WB and I can practice our ballroom dancing in here.  Well, we don’t ballroom dance, but we can turn a mean two-step. 

Honestly, we’re sleeping better at night now.  Something about having clutter in your life, it takes over.  Not just your house, but your attitude and really, your well being.  All these material things begin to weigh a person down.

As of today we have “decluttered” four rooms in our house.  We have five more and the attics. It’s a cleansing process and it feels so good when I can look at each room that has been “simplified”.  I’ll keep you posted!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Patriotic Poppies For Memorial Day


A fun way to celebrate the upcoming holiday of Memorial Day is by making crepe paper poppies, or Patriotic Poppies.  This tradition began after World War I when the American Legion began making these poppies to sell to raise money for veterans.

A Canadian physician and soldier wrote this poem during WWI referring to the battlefield of Flanders.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
  In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

So this Memorial Day my family has decided to help celebrate by making these Patriotic Poppies to help us to remember all the soldiers that have given their lives for our freedoms.  You can wear them in your hair or lapel or you can use them to decorate with, it’s up to you.

First start with several layers of red crepe paper. You will need a round template( we used different size bowls) and a pencil:


Trace around the bowl onto the crepe paper.


Once you have your circle cut out you need to make two small holes in the center through all the layers.


Next you take a green chenille pipe cleaner and insert through first hole.


Then feed through second hole like this. You can twist the pipe cleaner behind the flower to make it stay. This will be your stem.


Next separate    each layer and swirl forward to make the petals.

IMG_7014IMG_7013  IMG_7017

Aren’t they pretty?  And so simple to do!  We had great fun with these.  If you’d like you could add leaves to the stems with names of family or friends who were killed in battle.  We are going to wear our Patriotic Poppies with pride on Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kids Getting Creative In The Kitchen

IMG_6822 So the other night my oldest daughter made Bibimbap, a Korean dish. She got the recipe from Sara Moulton’s new cookbook Everyday Family Dinners.

First she made some Kim chi, which is basically a pickled cabbage mixture. Next she made a Sesame Miso sauce, sautéed some carrots and spinach, and browned some tofu. The dish also contained shitake mushrooms, scallions and brown rice. It was topped with a fried egg and chili sauce.


I was really proud of Em for picking this dish to make. She’s more a meat and potatoes gal. But, one thing about my kids is that they are willing to try new things. They love to experience new tastes and learn about other cultures. We had fun discovering what Miso was, a type of fermented soybean paste, and that it comes in white or red.

I enjoyed all the different flavors that fused together to make this dish. Em was a little disappointed. It was a little too much different for her. But that is okay, because they would never know if they liked it if they didn’t try it. This is a favorite saying of Soph’s.

And speaking of Soph she contributed to the meal as well. She created these fruit bites as appetizers or dessert.


They were strawberries, blackberries, lemon and mint. Each one of us got a spoon and we slurped them down!

I love being at home and in the kitchen with my girls. It is always an adventure.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pulled And Stretched Pork Recipe

Well, Smockity Frocks is holding another "What's In Your CrockPot?" carnival and I'm so glad. We use our crockpot more and more around here. It makes dinner time so much easier on everyone! We've discovered pulled pork and how just a little goes a long way. So I like to refer to it as pulled and stretched pork! Not to mention it is super easy and so yummy!

Pulled And Stretched Pork

Piece of pork loin or boneless pork chops (thick cut)

-the amount of pork is up to you and the size of your family. I have served my family of 5 with an inch cut of whole pork loin.


favorite BBQ sauce



black beans (optional)

Place pork in crock pot with sliced onions. I usually use one whole onion, but you can use less or more depending on your amount of pork. Pour BBQ sauce over pork and onions, enough to cover bottom of crock pot. Add about 1/2 cup of water and I like to add 1 TB of vinegar. I was raised mostly on the East coast and vinegar and pork BBQ go hand and hand.

Cook on low for 6 hours. In the last 30 minutes you can add a couple cans of black beans. This is a wonderful way to stretch the meal if you don't have that much meat.

We like to serve on tortillas with grated cheese and some sour cream. We've also had it on yeast rolls.


Head over to Smockity's for more great recipes!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Frugal Master Bath Makeover- Update Knobs

So we've hit a little snag with our granite counter tops. They are in, but there has been some quality issues so we are awaiting the owners phone call to straighten things out. In the meantime I thought I'd share a frugal way to update your knobs.

In a post on my main blog awhile back I shared my tips on spray painting your knobs to avoid the expense of buying new hardware. They can be very expensive.

I have found that spray paint is your friend. They have spray paint that is shiny or even leaves a hammered effect. We were sure what color to go with in this project so we tested several different colors to see what would work best.

When we decided on a color we used a very scientifically exact method of making sure the paint was evenly distributed on the knobs...

Bamboo skewers in the dirt.
They turned out really nice and have held up well. There are a few worn spots on the ones we did in the bathroom, but a lot of grimy and wet hands touch those:)
We've got the tiles for the floor in the master bath so hopefully this weekend that will get finished and I will have pictures to show you. We saved some money with the tiles, almost half, for basically the same look. I'll share that whole story with you soon!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

First Breath - Photo Contest

One of our passions around here is photography. I love to take pictures, WB loves to take pictures and now our children are getting into it. I decided to enter the I Heart Face Photography contest this week. It's titled Dramatic B&W.

WB took this photo minutes after our first born arrived into this world. There is so much I could say about this photo. The gloved hands you see were only a couple of the hands that worked on her within minutes of her being born. My room had a team of NICU doctors and nurses calmly awaiting her arrival. Luckily for me, after 17 hours of labor, I was too exhausted to be terribly alarmed. WB was equally clueless, as he had his camera posed and ready to photograph the event. Seconds after this picture was taken she was whisked out of the room under a hood of oxygen. NICU would be her home for the next week.

Since WB is a contributing blogger here at this site I thought I'd share his first glimpse of his first born. His little girl, who turned out to be quite the fighter.

Head over to I Heart Face Photography to see lots of other awesome pictures. And don't forget to sign up for my 18X24 Photo Poster give-away before you leave!

Monday, March 29, 2010

March Give Away- Free Photo Poster Print And A Winner!

I have an awesome March give-away from U-printing for one of my lucky readers. They are giving away:
18x24 Poster Print for One (1) Winner (one of your photos)
Paper Stock: High Gloss or Semi Gloss
Specifications: 1 Business Day Turnaround Shipping: FREE UPS Ground Shipping Eligibility: Limited to US Residents only

I have several of these posters at my house and they are framed and hanging. Everyone comments on how nice they look, so I think you will like them too. It is a wonderful way to showcase your favorite pictures. U-printing not only does poster printing but they do promotional printing as well. So be sure to head over to their site and see all the neat things they have going on.

So all you need to do to enter is leave a comment. For more entries tweet it, facebook it, or link to this post in your blog. Come back each time and tell me what you have done for more entries. The winner will be announced Wednesday, March 31.

Good luck!

*I have to have an e-mail in order to award you the prize:)
And I will be receiving one poster print as well for hosting this give away.

Congrats to Spencer you are the lucky winner!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Painting Is Complete!

Yes, the painting of the cabinets is done for the most part. Tips to anyone who paints their cabinets sand first, sand lightly in between and wait 24 hours between coats to keep it from chipping. Some you just have to learn the hard way I guess.

This my little vanity area before.

Here it is after.

Notice the light fixtures. I like these much better then our old ones and they did not cost that much at Home Depot. I did see some bronze light fixtures I loved, but they cost over twice as much as these. Being frugal minded I blubbered like a baby reluctantly put it back on the shelf. Oh and did you know there are a gazillion different light bulb choices? If you don't believe me go browse the lightbulb aisle in your home improvement store. I started to get a little grumpy at all the choices. WB, being the wonderful husband he is, recognizes my grumpiness sometimes even before I do. Anyway, I just couldn't decide.

WB calmly let me believe it was all up to me until he saw me fast approaching my melting point in which he stepped up to some nice round lightbulbs and said, "I believe these will cast you in a warm glow setting off your red highlights and if it's possible make you look even more stunning then you already are." What? You don't believe men say things like that? Well, those might not have been his exact words, but whatever he said made me melt. And there is my bit of marriage advice. Marry a man who knows how to sweet talk you in the lightbulb aisle.

This was our sink area before.

Here it is after.

Oh, and WB got some inexpensive drawer pulls at the home improvement store. We have painted our cabinet pulls in the past and it has worked nicely. This time the weather outside wasn't so nice and to save time we bought these. The key is to find some that are inexpensive. You could easily spend hundreds of dollars in drawer pulls, but for me these look fine and I'd rather spend that money elsewhere.

Next is the counter tops. We went with granite. We thought about doing our own concrete counter tops, but decided against. Number 1 it would take some time. WB only has the weekends to work and he is in the middle of training for a 150 mile bike ride sooooo time is limited. Number 2 I'm not sure my back would survive carrying a concrete slab up the steps to our bathroom. But there are some ways to save with granite, which I'll share in the next makeover post:)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Painting Cabinets

I have to admit I have been in hiding since painting my cabinets. Not because I don't like them, but because I was discouraged. Let me explain. We picked a color. It is not the color WB's dear parents chose, which was a very nice color, just turned out a little too light and orange for our liking. We chose the top color.

I got busy taking down the doors and we started painting. I could have sworn I uttered the words "Shouldn't we sand this?" But WB says he never heard those words leave my mouth. I was probably dreaming this whole episode or something. But after we put on two coats and waited a day I saw some chips where the white paint was showing. I was mortified. Did we just paint all the cabinets for them to slowly chip away? WB wasn't very concerned as he was ready to move on to the floor. Whoa, there cowboy! I am all about being frugal and doing this ourselves but I don't want it to look like, well like I painted it.

Which moves me to lend some marriage advice. Oh come on, you knew I was going to work in some marriage advice somehow. When you begin a project don't just assume the other person knows what they are doing. Sometimes I just get into the "Yes dear" mode and I forget to voice my concerns or ask my husband if he has any. Very easily you can fall into the trap of believing your spouse has done the research when he is thinking you've done the research. And well, then you end up with chipping paint.
So here is the plan. We are going to paint another coat. I read online where it is a good idea to sand between coats very lightly. Also, you should wait several hours before adding the second layer. Ahem, we were a little too anxious to be done and see how it looked and we skipped a few things. But it can be fixed so we are fixing it. Then we will move on to the floor. Which we have picked out, but since this post is rambling on I'll just have to share it tomorrow, along with the cabinets.
Can you offer me any other painting advice, quick before I go start painting again!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bathroom Remodel And More Marriage Advice

Part 1 and 2 of the remodel.

I would love new cabinets and mirrors in my bathroom. I would not love the cost. So since this is a frugal bathroom makeover the plan is to paint the cabinets. I'd love to do some fancy distressing work on them, but when I mentioned this to WB he just looked at me.

He does that a lot. He stares with those gorgeous brown eyes, tilts his head to one side and arches his brows. Like when I wanted to have an "Oscar" themed birthday party for one of my kids and started talking about red carpets, limos and maybe one of those search light thingies to put in the front yard. Yep, I got the look.

Which brings me to the marriage advice part. Never marry a man with big brown eyes that have the ability to stop you mid-sentence with one look. You get all distracted and gooey feeling inside and then before you know it you're riding around on a tractor pregnant. Either that or purchase some of those blinders horses wear. I'm thinking of getting a pair for myself.

Alright, back to the remodel. Here are the colors I narrowed it down to.

Which do you like? I'm thinking the top one.
Now look at this:

This is a fifteen dollar cedar beam WB purchased. We wanted to frame our tub area somehow. We are going for a sort of rustic, old World feel. Anyway, here is what WB did with it.

It has no other purpose than to look nice. I will draw the wood into the decorating of the bathroom when I get to that. But it was fifteen dollars and I feel it adds some depth to the look of the bathroom.
Please weigh in with your color choice and feel free to leave any marriage advice of your own.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Frugal Master Bath-Part 2

Thank you for joining me for my second installment of Frugal Master Bath Makeover 2nd edition. If you missed the first edition be sure to check it out here. I not only give you before pictures, but marriage advice. Yes folks, I like to sprinkle my post with a little bit of everything.

WB got busy tiling our tub.

The tile saw is downstairs and outside so he gets plenty of exercise during this little makeover. I have to tell him that several times a day so he doesn't feel guilty for oversleeping and missing his morning workouts. Tile work is hard work, really! If you've never done it try, you will be aching in places you never knew existed.

I love my new tub and fixtures he found. I've already enjoyed a nice warm, sudsy bubble bath in it. Oh, and I wasn't alone. I'm not sure what you're thinking, but if you are a mother of some little tots you'll understand. Any person in this family who takes a bath knows that if you dare to soak you will be joined by Little One. Doesn't matter if she's already had a bath that day. She loves a good bath.

Okay, the paint. That was my area. Here was my strategy. Go to the paint store. Look at samples. Pick out a few dozen colors. Stand in paint aisle and try to visualize what each would look like on my wall. Practice some yoga moves to help the visualization process. Go back and forth, back and forth until I'd narrowed it down to a couple I liked. Leisurely walk around the store thinking of a few other projects I'd like to do until inspiration struck.

Here's what happened. Went to store. Lost husband in fixtures while I went to paint section with all three kids. Little One decides she is tired and cranky and doesn't want to look at paint. Stand in paint aisle with fussing child while your two oldest children pretend not to know you. Look quickly at a couple hundred colors of paint. Grab the two colors within arms reach that look like they might work. Now carrying grumpy child take the paint samples to the desk to be mixed. Glancing over my shoulder I notice a pretty color demo on some drywall and ask how it was done. Plastic bags, base coat and glaze. Nodding my head I hand paint lady my paint samples and tell her that's what I want to do.
Here is the base coat, a pretty wheat color.

Let me just share what I learned about the plastic bag technique. It is messy, hard to control the amount of paint that goes on the wall, and did I mention MESSY. I painted the toilet area one afternoon while Little One napped and stopped. I wasn't sure of my color choice or my technique. I kept looking at the rest of the bathroom which just had the pretty wheat colored base coat on it and thought I liked that better. We left the paint like that for almost a week. I talked about blending in more colors, muting, being subtle... My husband just stared and nodded. Then one morning he sprung out of bed and declared, "I like it. Do the whole thing?" Long story short I traded the plastic bags for a sea sponge. I was able to control the amount of paint that went up and not so messy. After I sponged the paint on with one hand I had a plastic bag in the other to blot at it. This helped to blend it.

So there it is. Like it or not it is here to stay.

Next up is painting the cabinets. Join me tomorrow as I show you the three paint colors we picked out for that and the floor tiles we finally picked out! Please feel free to give input. I need it:)