Thursday, August 30, 2012

Airport Survival Kit

As I mentioned in my last post, Shannon and our Dad are off visiting Kelsey in Australia. Kelsey has been there since the end of June, "studying" abroad for a semester in Geelong. She's been doing some travelling, met some great friends and is having an amazing time. I am sure she is doing a little studying here and there as well. We miss her (especially JJ since she was babysitting for him before she left), but we are so happy she is living it up and having the experience of a lifetime.

Anyway, before she left, my mom had our local family over for dinner to wish her off. The travel time from NJ to where she is in Australia was about 24 hours. I know I would go nuts being by myself and stuck on a plane for hours on end to a strange new place. To help her survive her long journey, I put together a little "survival kit". I have pinned a couple "kits" here and there - but never found quite what I was looking for, so I just gathered some of her favorite things and put them together for her.

I got some magazines (to help kill some time) and some other "toiletry" items I know I like to have on hand: chapstick, lotion, gum and some whisps. I made sure they were under 3oz so she could carry them on. I bought some of her favorite candy and rounded it out with a batch of my chocolate chip cookies (she loves them and I figured a taste of home might be nice once she arrives). Lastly, I included a card with a couple pics of her and her niece and nephew so she could hang them up in her room.

Although the travel was rough, she said the kit helped (especially the candy). We miss you Kelsey - can't wait to see you in November!

Monday, August 27, 2012

100th Post!

I can't believe I am typing up our 100th Post! What started as a silly idea between Shannon and I has turned into a pretty decent display of all our attempts at pinterest/internet recipes, crafts, and baking. I just wanted to thank our readers - despite our slow down in posting this year, we still have a steady stream of over 100 pageviews a day! Below are our most popular posts to date:

(This was actually our first post and Shannon snapped the pic from her phone!)

and our #1 Most Popular Post (by far) - Cake Batter Dip

We started the blog on September 28, 2011 - so we are close to our 1 year blogiversary as well. We are going to hi light our favorite posts for that. In the meantime, I have a couple things to type up and hopefully post while Shannon is visiting with our other sister Kelsey in Australia. I am super jealous but can't wait to see the pics of them from the bridge climb! Have a great week!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Button and Bow Tie Garland

The Diaper Trike was not the only thing I attempted to make for our cousin Katie's Baby Shower. The overall theme for the shower was "Buttons and Bow ties" - inspired in part from this pin:

From The Hostess with the Mostess Blog. The shower they threw was adorable, and I loved the bow tie garland they made with diapers. Since I had the diapers taken care of with the trike, I tried to replicate with onsies.

It was pretty simple, I just folded over the sleeves to make one long strip, then folded the ends in and secured with a rubber band and covered the rubber band with ribbon:

I thought they came out cute, but thought they needed a "little more". I was brainstorming ways to add buttons to the garland without looking cheesy. My first attempt was using a simple salt dough and cookie cutters to make a couple. I was inspired by this pin for sugar cookies:

And this recipe for salt dough. I mixed all the ingredients and added some blue good coloring:

And kneaded and kneaded and kneaded. After 10 minutes, I rolled it out and used two different sized circular cookie cutters and a straw to make them look like buttons.

Of course, once again, I did not read the directions all the way through and only gave myself an hour to bake them at 200 degrees before I was falling asleep on the couch. "No biggie", I thought to myself. It says you can also let them dry out for 48 hours. I figured I could throw them back in the oven the next day for a couple hours and they would be as good as gold. Unfortunately, even after drying out all night, and being in the oven the next day for 4 hours, and then drying for a week, they never hardened up. In fact, by the end of the week, they were even more "pliable" then they were when I started. I don't know why - maybe I added too much water, maybe it was just too humid out (we don't have central a/c so it can get sticky because we turn the window units off when we aren't around) - who knows. I am super disappointed though because I would like to use salt dough for Christmas ornaments in the future.

So, the Friday night before the shower, I whipped up some faux buttons using some scrap book paper, foam board, and my Creative Memory circle cutters circa 2002. Not my best work, but they did the job.

Here is the garland on the candy bar:

Some tips if I were to attempt this garland again:
  • I would get some fatter ribbon for the bow ties. What I had looked a little thin.
  • Seek some alternative for the button - painted wooden circles? painted paper plates?
  • Find a better way to secure them. We didn't hang it on the wall because the weight of the onsies sort of twisted the ribbon string down and you saw the ugly side. Perhaps this is why the ladies from JL Designs used diapers instead (much lighter).

The mom-to-be seemed to have a great time and was very blessed with all the gifts her friends and family brought - check out this haul!

Baby Salvatore is due October 5th, but we all know he can come whenever he decides - so we are patiently waiting for him!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Housewarming Gift

A friend of mine recently bought her first place. She just moved in 2 weeks ago and I went to go check it out the other night. And of course I wanted to bring a little something when I went. I decided to forgo the usual bottle of wine because I figured that's what everyone else who visits will bring her. So I turned to this pin for inspiration.  

Martha Stewart

This housewarming gift is from Martha Stewart. Unfortunately, Martha’s site does not list what items are in the bucket.  I decided to just use the pin as a general inspiration and do my own thing. I went to Target and tried to think of things that you can always use when you first move to a new place but can never find packed away in your boxes.

Here’s what I bought:

  • 2 pack of Flashlights – (in Boston we’ve been losing power quite often with the blazing heat so these may come in handy!)
  • Batteries – always useful!
  • Scissors
  • Extension Cord– a must in a new place
  • Candle
  • Gorilla Glue- not exactly sure what that is but I liked the sound of it
  • Basket – I decided to do a basket instead of the bucket I think she’ll get more use out of it.
I used some Styrofoam in the bottom of the basket and covered it with tissue paper to lift the candle up a bit and give it a bit of dimension.

I think if I was to make this gift again; I would include a hammer and/or some picture hanging supplies. The possibilities are really endless with what you can put in here.

I think it came out cute. Just a simple little “congratulations on your new home” gift.

Update: Need another housewarming gift idea? Check out these "Now & Later Cookies."

Monday, August 13, 2012

Beach Themed Centerpiece

Remember that beach themed party I mentioned a few weeks ago? Well I wanted to share some photos of the centerpieces we did.

The inspiration was this photo I had pinned:

We did basically the same thing with just a few tweaks.

The beach balls I ordered were a lot smaller then I anticipated, but we made them work.

Here’s a break down of the cost:

  • Beach Balls –12 for $11 from Oriental Trading
  • Buckets - 12 for $19 from Oriental Trading
  • Grass –12 for $6.25 from Oriental Trading
  • Flip Flops - $2.50 a pair from Old Navy & Target
  • Starfish – We had on hand.
  • Smaller Shells – big assortment from the Dollar Store. I bought two.
Total Cost for 12: $68.25 or
Total Cost for 1: $5.69 a piece. Not too shabby!

We also spread fish nets over the table tops to really drive home the beach theme.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Diaper Trike

Happy Monday everyone! Shannon and I were actually in the same state this weekend. Our cousin Katie had her baby shower on Saturday so Shannon made the drive down to NJ. It was a lovely day, but I think we are both still exhausted (tons of presents to haul!). For the shower, I decided to try my hand at make a diaper trike instead of the usual diaper cake. I found repinned this image a long time ago and its apparently a link to buy one.
So I did some googling and found some great instructions at Southern Fried Gal

I pretty much followed her instructions word for word. I made the wheels out of rolled up size 1 diapers (15 each for the back wheels, 25 for the front).

Then I wrapped some ribbon around the rubber bands and secured them with a safety pin.

Then I pulled one of the security blankets through the middle of the front wheel, and around the outside of the little wheels and through them. My blanket was a bit short so I had to use safety pins to bridge the gap and connect them.

Short blanket meant more safety pins.

Next it was on to the fun stuff - arranging a couple bibs for the fender and seat, using a bottle as a headlight, and then securing it all with the second security blanket. A couple of socks as handle bars, so ribbon to cover the rubber bands, and its done!

I cut a piece of foam board to put it on and wrapped the whole thing in plastic, but we decided to put it on the table unwrapped as a little more blue on the candy bar. Isn't it cute?
The handle bars sort of slumped sometimes, I think the bottle was a little fat.

Displayed on the candy bar

The Verdict: It was pretty simple to make, and I think it was a hit. As I said, its a nice alternative to the diaper cake. It took me a couple tries to get the wheels the way I wanted, but it only took an hour or so for the whole thing.

Things to Note/Consider: Either I had short blankets, or the size 1 diapers were a little too big. For both the one blanket to secure the wheels and the other to make the handlebars, they were a little too short. I wound up using an extra pair of socks in the handlebar socks to fill them up a little. Other than that, the directions and photos from Southern Fried Gal were easily to follow and worked out great.
I have a couple more things to post about from the shower - hopefully I will be able to get them out soon. Have a great week!
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