Friday, August 29, 2014

Hoot - Flush - Scat - Chomp

I see Carl Hiaasen's books floating around the schools and the covers always catch my eyes.  They're simple, bright and I love them.  I originally read Hoot back in elementary school and it was the thing to read at that time.  Awarded a Newberry Honor, this prestigious award helped gain the book even more attention.  Since then he's written others that inspire kids to care for the environment and invoke their love of mystery.  Of the 4 books that I've read my favorite is his most recent eco-adventure, Chomp.

Discover all of Carl Hiassen's eco-adventures.  The stories take place in Florida and are great for kids in upper elementary and lower middle school.  Good books for adults to read with kids.  These adventure tales are inspiring books to get kids thinking Green.  Get them aware of Green issues and get them thinking about easy ways for them to do their part.  Whether they're into wildlife or not, Hiassen's books add a thrilling mystery to the wilderness.  With a cast of oddball characters involved in an ecological mystery thriller kids are sure to find the books intriguing.
Roy Eberhardt is the new kid--again.  But if it wasn't for Dana Matherson mashing his face against the school bus window that one day, he might never have seen the running boy. And if he had never seen the running boy, he might never have met tall, tough, bully-beating Beatrice. And if he had never met Beatrice, he might never have discovered the burrowing owls living in the lot on the corner of East Oriole Avenue. And if he had never discovered the owls, he probably would have missed out on the adventure of a lifetime.

With their father jailed for sinking a river boat, Noah Underwood and his younger sister Abbey, must gather evidence that the owner of the floating casino is emptying his bilge tanks into the protected waters around Florida.
When Biology teacher Mrs. Starch goes missing in the swamp after a class field trip, Nick and Marta suspect their classmate Duane Scrod Jr.  Deciding to investigate further the kids find themselves knee-deep in illegal activity.

Wahoo's father takes a position as an animal wrangler on a reality show called Expedition Survival, and Wahoo ends up wrangling too.  Then when the bonehead star of the show goes missing, search parties are sent out, but get lost.  Who comes out alive is anyone's guess.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cork Letter Craft

This cork project was months and months in the making. Mostly because I refused to just buy a bunch of corks but instead, I asked family and friends to save their corks. I felt like it would be more special to use 100 wine corks from many wonderful times had amongst friends. There were corks from my friend Marie's wedding, from one of my work events, from my parents, from our engagement party and Joe's sister Liz even saved us a whole boxful from her work.

After I knew that we had enough corks, I set to work on the rest of the needed materials. I found a big letter "M" from my local Michaels store. I have not seen that size at any other locations so I think that the sizes and styles depend on your store. I spray painted the letter purple and set to work organizing the corks while it dried.

I wanted the cork letter to have a mixture of cork colors and styles. I carefully aligned the purple shades so that I could easily spot the different contrasts and grab the cork I needed. I used a hot glue gun and started the process. I was careful to make sure the bottom row of corks would stand the letter up straight when set down.

This was used on the guest book table at our wedding and will grace our home now in post-wedding glory. I am already looking forward to my next cork project!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Watermelon Arugula Salad

Looking to find a use for all the watermelon, this recipe was a great solution.  Perfect for a summer's lunch or dinner, this salad complements many dishes. The sweetness of the watermelon, feta cheese, and spicy arugula just works.

Arugula, Watermelon, & Feta Salad
A recipe from Ina Garten, it'll be a hit.
4 servings

For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup minced shallots (1 large)
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

3 cups (4 oz) baby arugula, washed and spun dry (opt. spring mix)
1/8th seedless watermelon, rind removed, and cut in 1inch cubes
12 oz feta cheese, 1/2 inch diced
2 tbsp chopped mint leaves

1. Whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, shallots, honey, salt, and pepper.  Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly, to form an emulsion.  If not using within an hour, store the vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator.

2. Place the arugula, watermelon, feta, and mint in a large bowl.  Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to coat the greens lightly and toss well.  Taste for seasonings and serve immediately.

Other great salads to whet your summer appetite:
Avocado Corn Salad
Strawberry Chicken Salad
Broccoli Salad 
Pioneer Pasta Salad
Buffalo Chicken Salad

Check out our Market Inspirations for Summer

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Embroidered Herb Hand towels

Aren't these hand towels just the cutest to brighten up a kitchen in the summer! My mother-in-law bought these at a church fundraiser for charity, and I was so in love with them, she gifted them to us to brighten up our new kitchen. 

Considering that I'm not gifted in the sewing, knitting, embroidery categories, the fact that someone can create these is pretty amazing.  Since I can't create them, I love that I have the opportunity to enjoy and use other people's skills, and in this case it's in the form of hand towels.

If you're ever looking for creative ideas for items to donate towards a church fundraiser these are totally doable.  Or if you're gifted in this department the towels would be perfect for wedding gifts for a new couple starting out, or as a housewarming gift also. 

Just grab some quality plain white hand towels, and then embroider different popular herbs onto them.  I like that with this style it's a picture of the herb and then the name of the herb. 

My towels include: mint, chive, thyme, sage, cumin.
Other ideas could be: parsley, basil, oregano, lavender etc.

I can't wait to pull these out again at the start of next summer.  They inspire me to get out planting to bring those same delicious herbs into my kitchen and incorporate them into tasty dishes. 

Perhaps, these will inspire you to create some herb hand towels of your own. Whether you keep them or give them away to liven up someone else's kitchen, these specially crafted towels are a unique touch to the kitchen. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Makeup and Beauty Essentials

I want to tell you about a few new products that I have experimentally bought and am really digging at the moment.

Sally Hansen Nail Stickers:

I have tried this new innovative nail styling once before, a couple years ago. I took another stab at them for a personal shower that was animal print themed (more on that later). These are essentially thin stickers that you carefully put onto your nails and then file the access off of. They took me less than 10 minutes to apply and I am still rocking them as I write this, over a week later. They have hardly chipped or budged. Seems worth the $10 to me!
Essie Nail Polish:

If you are on Pinterest and have any interest in fashion, you have likely pinned an Essie nail polish pin. I had pinned a few myself and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. My cousin, Teresa, is quickly becoming my new personal beauty consultant and she suggested a color called "Turquoise and Caicos." Since that ties into my honeymoon plans, I used "wedding expenses" as an excuse to buy the very pretty bottle of nail polish. I hadn't realized how expensive they are but the colors are beautiful! I can't wait to rock some turquoise in Caicos on our honeymoon!

Benefit Eyeliner:

You might have seen my post talking about Benefit mascara. Best thing since sliced bread.  They have since come out with a new eyeliner and I had been dying to try it. Finally I caved and needless to say, I adore the eyeliner. It goes on clean and smooth. It doesn't smudge or budge, which is great for cat eyes and all day wear. Highly recommend this product!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Roommate Locator Board

This is a project for all those college students out there.  College is chalk full of opportunity and nobody wants to miss out on any of it. Everyone is busy.  Even if busy sometimes means napping.  With so much going on coordinating time with your roommate can sometimes be tough especially if you can't keep track of your roommate's schedule.  Here's a solution.

A useful craft to make, to help keep your roommate's classes, work and comings and going is through this board.  When I lived in a college dorm, Melanie and I turned this into a craft activity and the result was a locator board.  We posted it outside our dorm room and it was so helpful, not only for us, but friends who stopped by unexpectedly.  I had a hard enough time remembering where and when I was supposed to be somewhere, let alone a roommate or more too.  Plus, since we had two campuses, that just doubled all our possible locations.  With the board I could then contact her if I too wanted to eat, or meet her at the workout center.  However, if I saw she was at work or class I knew we'd just meet up later.  Yes cell phones can contact you whenever, but doing it multiple times a day wasn't courteous, especially if someone is in class/a meeting etc.  If you live with more than one roommate, making a board for all of you will only enhance your communication.

-2 foam sheets (sturdy but lightweight)
-scrapbook paper and plain white paper
-scrapbooking stickers (theme that fits you both)
-magnet strips
-foam letters
- markers

1)  Attach foam sheets together to help on sturdiness.  Then attach scrap paper with tape or glue to the foam sheet leaving room at the top for your names.
2)  Using foam letters spell your names at the top.
3)  Add the location possibilities by writing in marker or stickers on plain paper.  Example: library, class, workout center, etc. Cut out and place in a column in the center of the scrapbook paper
4)  Attach small magn
et squares on either side of the center column, creating two new columns.  Need one column of magnets centered under each of the roommate's names.
5)  You then pick a token or sticker to represent you and attach a magnet to the piece.

Have some bonding time with your roommate and create this craft together.  It's fun to shop for the materials together and then assemble.  Make your lives easier and clearly communicate with one another through your own Roommate Locator Board.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Seattle in 24 Hours

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I was able to spend a little time in Seattle not too long ago. I was really looking forward to this trip since I have never been to Seattle or even to Washington State for that matter.

While it was a short work trip, it was still an adventure. I hopped off the plane and drove two hours outside of the city to a beautiful area near El Clum, Washington. Talk about stunning views that will take your breath away. I had to drag myself indoors when it got dark out. The mountains are beautiful and majestic. I can see why people are drawn to live near them. And the constant wind through the trees was mesmerizing.

After the event ended on the second day, I was able to sneak into the city of Seattle before heading to the airport. I was awed at the gorgeous bodies of water and bridges going into the city. It made me want to abandon my car and jump onto a boat. I love Minnesota boating and would be blown away to have mountains in the background!

I was able to walk around the classic Pike Place Market and even experience a few small fish throws. If you are unaware, Pike Place Market is one of Seattle's trademarks. It was founded in 1907 and is a central area that many shops and restaurants are centered around.

Right outside of the Market is the original Starbucks. I was a really excited to grab a cup of coffee from this iconic stop. Due to historic preservation guidelines, the store is required to keep its signage and structure the same on the outside. I was told that the line usually goes out the door and around the corner. I lucked out and had a short wait. It was worth it to get my "You are Here" mug!

The last thing that I was able to sneak a peek of was the Seattle Space Needle. This, of course, is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city. While there are a number of places throughout the city to see a beautiful view, no one can deny this awesome-looking structure.

From the very small snippet that I was able to experience, I really loved Seattle. The absolutely gorgeous view of Mt Remier on the way to the airport didn't hurt either :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Burlap Wedding Day Canvas

Holy Cow! I promise that I am alive!

I have been just a bit overwhelmed the past few weeks with sending out wedding invitations, wrapping up bridal showers, celebrating the weddings of a few friends, traveling for work events every week, starting to move into our new apartment and trying to spend time with family.

Seriously, where did the summer go?? As much as I adore blogging and miss it dearly, I have felt strongly about focusing on the amazing last few weeks before I become a Mrs.

That being said, I was running an event in Seattle today and am now waiting for a flight that is 6 hours delayed. I guess God thought that it was time to get the creative juices flowing and to crank out some writing while jamming out to some tunes. Finding that silver lining!

One of the projects that I have been so excited to share was actually a wedding present that I made for a dear friend of mine. I was honored to have shared a wedding shower with Mary back in June (See my Tea Party Shower post!) and finally, it was her wedding day in July!

Mary did the very fun burlap and mason jar theme that is taking the world by storm. It was so cute! She used tree pieces as centerpieces with burlap runners, mason jars with flowers and tied with twine and clothespins with pictures of the happy couple.

I knew ahead of time that Mary was going this decorating route and was able to make a piece to tie into her special day.

Burlap Wedding Canvas

  • Burlap Canvas (I found a whole array of options at my local Michaels store)
  • Sharpies, both thin and thick
  • ModPodge Glue
  • Paper or Wooden Figures (I also found these wooden birds at my Michaels store)
  • Paint in desired color
  1. Begin by painting the figures the color of your choice. I painted the "love birds" black to match the sharpie colors.
  2. I carefully stenciled on the happy couple's last inital, R, onto the canvas and then filled it in.
  3. Follow the last step to also add on the wedding date.
  4. Using a ruler, I added the thin black lines with my smaller sharpie to outline the wedding date.
  5. Lastly, use your glue to add the figures to the canvas.