Wednesday, March 30, 2011

She is ok!

Just a quick post to let my readers know...

I heard from my friend, Sawa, she and her family are ok. It was a huge relief to hear this information.

Now, as anyone who pays attention to the news knows, the scare is radiation levels. If you pray, please keep Sawa and her family in your prayers.

ps. I should be back to crafting and blogging regularly soon. I'm hoping the flu season is done taking it's toll on our house.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My heart goes out to Japan...

Dear Sawa,

If you are reading this, please leave a comment and let me know that you and your family are OK. This is the quickest way I know of to reach you. I will be putting a letter in the mail soon, but I'm worried that the postal service isn't working correctly at the moment. I've tried to locate you on a map, but every map I've looked at shows that everything is demolished, and this scares the crap out of me. If I'm correct the area you are in received category 3 earthquakes.

If my visitor from Japan is not Sawa, I am still worried about you and your family too.

What can we do to help?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Easy Goulash

This recipe is called "Easy Goulash" because that's exactly what it is, EASY. Some may call it homemade hamburger helper. Some may call it goulash. I like to call it a very easy way to "hide" the veggies and the kids gobble it all up. :-)

Since this meal was an experiment on my part, it feeds a small army. My recipes normally do that when I'm experimenting. I'm always nervous about running out of food so I tend to over estimate on amounts. Now that I've made this a bunch of times I know that 1/2 of the recipe is plenty for our family of 5 and we still have leftovers.

Cooking time: 30 min
Servings: Small Army or about 10-12

1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
2 lb. lean ground beef
3 cups elbow macaroni
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cans condensed tomato soup
1 can petite diced tomatoes with onions, celery and green pepper
1 small can mushrooms
1 pinch of sugar to garnish each bowl
Salt & Pepper

Saute onions and garlic in EVOO over medium high heat until golden brown. Add ground beef and brown. Prepare elbows as directed on package. Once meat is browned add tomato paste, soup, and diced tomatoes and mushrooms. Mix together elbows and meat mixture.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hellooooo Out There!

You've probably noticed I've been MIA lately. The last two weeks have been a little bit chaotic and a little bit relaxing. Let me explain what I mean...

Chaotic because:
With three children in the house sickness spreads like wildfire. We've been sharing coughs, fevers, and sniffles. Also, teething and loose teeth have been making my children very cranky. By the time bedtime rolls around we're ALL exhausted. Teething...A is getting molars and M is getting her "big girl teeth". She hasn't lost any teeth yet and she has a dentist appointment tomorrow to see if they need to be pulled.

Relaxing because:
For the last week we haven't had any school. We L-O-V-E the "year round" school year. Having week long breaks with a sprinkling of 3 and 4 day weekends spread throughout the year is wonderful. Because of this I will periodically be MIA.

PS. I haven't forgotten about the tutorials-the dress in particular-and I have a couple more recipes that I'll be posting about soon. I hope your Monday is going well and you don't have a case of the "Mondays". Have a great week!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I made a little something for one of my tiny Valentine's. She took it to school with her, but I was able to get a couple of pics before she left.

This cute little mailbox was made out of a repurposed Cascade Complete All in 1 Pacs, Phosphate Free, 48-Count Containercontainer. I spray painted the lid with Krylon Fusion "Fairytale Pink". Then wrapped the container with some sparkly white scrap fabric which I hot glued in place. And then decorated it with some felt I had in my stash. The flag was cut from a red paper plate that I "laminated" with packing tape.

Total cost: $0.00
How cute was that for her very first Valentine's Party? Pretty adorable.

I hope this makes it on the "to do" list for some of you for next year. xoxo

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It Wasn't the Best...

It was actually the worst

I'm talking about my Versatile Valentine's Dress. I got the least amount of votes, so I was eliminated in the first round. Darn! Even though I was eliminated, Amy is doing a feature on me at her site today. You can check it out at Naptime Crafters. It was hard finding a picture of me that I liked that I wanted to submit to her.

As sad as it was to see I was the very worst entry, I'm not going to let that bother me. I've got 3 new projects going right now. When I get them prioritized and finished I'll be posting them. 

Here are some hints to what they are:
Tutorial for dress.
Valentine mailbox.
Child size house.
(In no particular order)

Have a great day/week! And I'll talk/type to you soon. :-)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Versatile Valentine Dress

Today the voting begins for AMERICAN CRAFTER so make sure you go vote. If you don't vote at least go over and check out Amy's Blog it is filled with all sorts of fun projects and cute pics.

Here is my entry for the contest this week... I'm hoping it's good enough to continue on.


As you can see this one dress can be worn MANY different ways. Making it perfect for everyone, every occasion and every body type.

We've all done projects with the kids in mind, this is something for the GROWN-UPS.

Valentine's Date

Casual and Conservative

Flirty and Fun

Color block Beach Party

This is the back view of the first picture showing the twist down the middle.

Here is a close-up of the strapless, I'm hoping you can see the straps and how they are wrapped around many times and then tied in a knot at the side.

Here are a few ways my inspiration shows how to wrap it:

 And here are some suggestions for styling:

This dress is a skirt with extremely long straps attached that you wrap and tie many different ways. It has only one seam around the waist, making this a very simple and quick project. From the beginner sewer to the seasoned seamstress this dress can be done in under an hour. My inspiration, Butter by Nadia, was $246. My final cost was less than $40. That leaves me $200 to go spend on shoes right? ;-)

I'm off to make a cream colored one and a red one. Oh and a blue one and... and... and. By the time I'm done with all of them I should be able to have a tutorial for you (I warn you now though-if I do a tutorial please excuse my sewing terminology, do-dad and thingamajig and other silly words will probably be in it.)

Have a wonderful weekend and keep your fingers crossed for me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A new place for spices...

This post was prompted by my husband's comment the other day about my Christmas gift from him- "I can't believe you haven't posted about your spice rack yet."

So to show him some love, here you go. :-x

Here is the before shot of my "spice cabinet"

Packed in nice & tight and I ALWAYS needed the one in the back. So I would have to unload half of the spices in order to get the one I wanted.

After hearing me complain about this for a while he told me to pick out a spice rack for Christmas. Well, that was easier said than done. I wanted a spice rack that didn't take up too much space, could fit on that shelf if I wanted it to, came with empty-not labeled containers, and held more than 24 spices... the search began. I thought I would never find one that would fit the bill.

I came across a couple that I liked but didn't love. And by now you know me-I don't like to spend a lot of money on something unless I absolutely LOVE it.

Then I came across was what I was looking for.
But even on sale-NO WAY!-this was well out of my price range.

Then we got to brainstorming...what about regular test tubes and a test tube holder. And that is just what we did.

We ordered the biggest test tube we could that would fit in the holder.

Josh made labels on the P-Touch while I filled the tubes. I wanted clear labels, but they pretty much disappeared when we put them on. So...

I also made a dummy sheet to go on the inside of the cabinet door.

So far it works great. I love the industrial look so much that I don't think it will end up in the cabinet after all.

Also, I have plenty of test tubes left over. I think I might double up on some of the more frequently used spices. And maybe I'll add some sprinkles and sugars from my baking supplies as well. Let me know if you would like the website he purchased these from and I'll post an update. 

PS. If you were paying close attention to the pictures you may have noticed the kiss on my thumb. That was done with my Konad set. You can find the tutorial here. My nails are ready for V-day.

UPDATE: The website that Josh used to order everything was
17 mm Brushed Aluminum Test Tube Rack
16x150 mm Pyrex Glass Test Tubes - Single
Cork Stoppers (Size 5) - Single 
Total cost about $50

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Blizzard of 2011

The weather guys are calling this blizzard the biggest in 10-20 years. Well I know how old I am and I don't remember having this much snow in my lifetime. 

My mom used to tell stories about having so much snow they could sled off the chicken coop. It was drifted up to the roof so they would climb up and just go for it.

The snow began falling last night and it hasn't stopped yet. It's scheduled to stop around midnight tonight. They were off by a couple of hours on when it was supposed to start, so my guess it will end well after midnight.

We're heading outside to play for the day. Stay warm!

The hot chocolate will be ready when you come in. :-)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Oh, WOW!

This weekend was BIG for the blog.

1st:  Sparkle made it to 1000 visitors!
Now I know that this isn't huge (some blogs I visit get this in a few hours), but when you're first starting out it seems like a big milestone. Think of a baby standing up to furniture or sitting on it's own for the first time.

2nd: Sparkle now has 15 followers/subscribers!
Again, not a huge deal to many (most of the blogs I read have thousands), but it's a big thing for me. :-) Think of a baby holding it's head on it's own or finding it's thumb.

And finally... This one is a BIG one...


Woo Hoo!!!
(Yeah, I guess I'm a "woo girl")

Check back tomorrow for my entry to the contest, I think you're going to Luv-It!!

Friday, January 28, 2011


As I was saying yesterday, Josh was just in the Urgent Care last Friday. He wasn't there for himself that time. He was just the driver.

He took A, our 2 year old. She was throwing her nightly bedtime tantrum and decided instead of her usual fit that this time she would tear her nightlight out of the wall-which broke the bulb. When she did this we saw a flash in the hallway, so it must have arced. Luckily she wasn't shocked or injured too badly. She did get some small burns on 2 of her knuckles but the doctor said he didn't think anything else happened and that she would be fine. (He was right, the marks have cleared up a week later.)

We need advice on tantrums. Please!!!! We have NEVER dealt with these before. Our first 2 daughters were little angels. Ok, I'm kidding a little, they did throw an occasional fit here and there but what toddler doesn't. A bounces herself off of the doors. She runs her nails down the walls, (give me fingernails on a chalkboard any day) which hits a nerve. She scratches and pinches the closest person to her. And then just like that-it's over and she acts like nothing even happened. 

We do make her apologize to whomever was involved. And we explain to her that throwing a tantrum is naughty. These are the things we have tried:
I've tried to ignore this behavior-it just makes it worse. I've tried to put her in the middle of a room so she can't hurt herself, but that doesn't last, in no time she's up and at a door or wall. I was talking to some of the moms at dance class and one of them suggested to put her in the high chair. I would try this... but we fear that she would try to pull her hair out or gouge her eyes or it would end up tipping over. My mother-in-law used to put A's aunt in a cold shower to "shock" her out of it. I'm not sure if that would be the right thing to do now???? (Back in the day it's what the pediatrician recommended.) 

The only time she throws these fits is at nap time and bedtime. She used to go to bed great-lay her down and walk away and she was out within 5-10 minutes. Not now-30 minutes after being put to bed she's usually still screaming or crying. I have absolutely no idea what brought this on either. She is scared of the dark all of a sudden too, that's why she had a nightlight to begin with. She no longer has a nightlight. Josh picked up a "glow buddy" while at the pharmacy getting her prescription filled. It is NOT glass and it has a timer on it.

If you've dealt with tantrums what worked for you? Did your child just grow out of it? Did your pediatrician recommend something? We have an appointment coming up in a couple of months but until then I'm willing to try anything creative and safe. I'm pretty sure that part of the reason behind the tantrum is that she's trying to tell us something, but she's not as vocal as her sisters. They are constantly talking for her, poor girl never gets a word in. We have told M and C to stop talking for her, but old habits aren't given up easily.

PS. A couple of side notes:
To help her communicate more we do baby sign language and I'm constantly reading to them to help build their vocabularies. Also, we've attempted the "super nanny" bed time technique where she lays them down and walks away and repeats until the child gives in. We're not sure how many hours to do this??? After 1 1/2 hours of trying this the other night we were exhausted. I don't think this technique would be so bad if she didn't throw herself around when you're trying to lay her back down.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Holy Crow!!!

We had a little scare last night.

I made shrimp pasta for dinner and I probably won't be making it again any time soon. It tasted great and the kids gobbled it down. So why won't I be making it again, you ask? 

Well, Josh hiccuped at the same time he put a piece of shrimp in his mouth. You can probably guess what happened next. That's right, that little sucker slid right down his throat. No, he did not choke, surprisingly.

A couple of minutes later he started having pains in his chest. So me being the S.A. that I am, asked if he needed a drink to wash the shrimp down. (The way he was describing it made me think of when you have a PB & J with no milk-you know, how it gets stuck in your throat.) Well, the drink didn't work.

So after about 5 minutes of his complaining about the pain I started to worry. Oh crap, could this be a heart attack? He's only 29! I started to google chest pains. And it brought up everything: heart attack, angina, pulmonary embolism...etc. So by this time I'm even more worried. I finally talked him into going to the Urgent Care. (I don't think he wanted to go because he was just there last friday night. More on that tomorrow.)

He was given an EKG and a chest x-ray. Both came back fine. Turns out the shrimp more than likely was stuck down where the esophagus meets the stomach, then when he coughed it moved down farther. The doctor believes that he has soft tissue bruising and acid reflux because of all this. So he was given a pain killer and an antacid to help. Poor guy. Feel better honey ;-x

If you've been reading along since the beginning you may be wondering who is this Josh person? Aside from my sister, Sara, I haven't referred to any of my family member's by name yet. Well, Josh is my husband and best friend. When I first started blogging it kind of creeped me out to think about all the millions of people this info would be available to. Now that I've seen how few actually find my blog it doesn't freak me out quite so much. Still unsure if I want to include the kids or not.

ps. Don't forget to become a follower ;-)
Either through Google Friend Connect or Feedburner up there on the left.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Big Brother Little Brother Gift

This past weekend we FINALLY made time to hang out with some friends' of ours. They recently were blessed with a new baby. (He is such a little cutie.) He was born just before Thanksgiving and it's almost Valentine's. Why did it take so long?

It seemed like every time one of us had the time it didn't work out for the other one. For instance, our family of five spent at least 5 weeks going through colds/coughs. Then when we were feeling better they had the flu. The holidays took up a lot of the time in between too.

We had a great time catching up. It's amazing how time flies by and what happens in that time. The kids had a blast with each other. Our girls got to play with boy toys: cars, tools, transformer thingys (not sure exactly what they were called). They have 2 little boys now, one more and we could do some arranged marriages. What's funny though, is out of all the toys available to them, they decided to play with chairs. Yes, chairs. What is it with kids? Boxes... Chairs... Pots and Pans... Why do parents even buys toys? The chairs kept them entertained for a good hour.

Here's what we took for the new baby and his big bro:

I found instructions here. Instead of using Char's template though, I made my own. I had a broken picture frame and the back stand looked like the bottom of a tie. I made the top of the tie freehand. These look even cuter on the little guys. I think I need to change irons, I did iron these before taking a pic, I promise.

PS. Don't forget to become a follower ;-)
Either through Google Friend Connect or Feedburner up there on the left.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Changing Table turned Entertainment/Media Center

Brooke over at All Things Thrifty is constantly doing projects with black glaze. I have admired her creations for quite awhile. I wish she lived closer, I would totally save my money to hire her to decorate my home. Seriously. Go check her out. She is A-Mazing! 

I finally had a piece of furniture that I could try her techniques out on. Remember this?

We were no longer using this dresser from the girls' room and I didn't want to get rid of it. (It's actually a changing table, but we never used it for that.) I decided to paint and glaze it so we could use for our television. This is how it happened...

We carried it down to our dungeon basement to be taken apart and painted. Notice I'm using the skills I learned from the play kitchen. Here, let me give you a closer look.

I used a hole saw to cut holes for the wires. 

We painted everything Dutch Boy "Atonement" because we had to brush/roll it. For those of you spray painters out there it is an exact match to Krylon "Ocean Breeze". This is after 2 coats of paint. It's pretty bright without the glaze. But wait, it's gets better.

Here is a close up of the glaze. I only used one coat of glaze. Sherwin Williams tinted their glaze black for me, (thanks J).

Look at all the storage we now have.

We still have two drawers that are empty. I think I might put some magazines in one of them.

So what do you think? 

Now that I know how easy it is to do I want to glaze the dining room table and the kitchen cabinets. Right now the cabinets are natural maple. I think it would give them a little more character. We bought a quart each of the paint and glaze. We have a little paint left, but it doesn't even look like I touched the glaze. I was pretty amazed at how little was used. We also, changed out the knobs.

Paint: 7.00
Glaze: 10.00
Knobs: 12.00
Total cost: $29.00 

Oh yeah. I'm entering a another contest too. Maybe this one will make it, since the play kitchen didn't.

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