Swim Party Cakes

Because there are blossoms on the trees and swimsuits galore out at Target..
Not because my pool has a disturbingly green hue...
Not because the swimsuits at Target look small enough to belong on a Barbie doll and I am in horror that I may have to squeeze into one...
I wanted to share a sneak peak into summer birthday fun.

We had a summer swim and scuba party this month at an indoor scuba facility. Geniusly easy, perfect for a bunch of 9 year olds who have the joy of digging out swimsuits they haven't worn in months and then realizing the dog has chewed up every pair of goggles. (That would never happen in our house). My brain on lack of sleep and seriously limited cake decorating skills couldn't quite come up with a scuba man cake, but I can copy the snorkel dude cake from Family Fun.

He's cute and easy and frankly, nine year old boys don't care what the cake looks like they all just wanted to make sure they got a hershey kiss on their piece of cake. I love being able to make all their dreams come true with a small piece of chocolate.


I know it's no homemade ravioli, but I'm easily impressed with myself. Here's another option for a boy swim, luau party. He was nine and thought this volcano was awesome.

And shocking, it didn't come from Family Fun.
It came from Parents magazine. :)

July 5-September 7, 2005 282

Hold on to your frosting, cause now Ashleigh can post her hula girl cake from her daughter's luau party.
P.S. Since summer is only a few months away I'm calling a pool service and starting my diet. Tomorrow.

Sure, I'll bust out my luau cake from 3 years ago.... I just put a grass skirt on a barbie cake.
luau cake

Tween Room

I'm calling it good.

I started Lindsey's room over a year ago when we got this "graphic pop" bedding from PBTeen.
I thought it was perfect for this little darling. It still has a little floral and little girlishness.
But it is also fun enough to look a little pre-teen and we'll hopefully enjoy it a while before she grows out of it.
It took a few samples to get the color right for the walls. Not too minty, not too florescent, we wanted bright,
but we also needed it not to hurt our eyes when we walked by.

Next I painted this canvas for a little personalization.

I actually traced the flowers on the accent pillow,
then made a stencil out of it with cardstock and an exacto-knife.
Then I penciled and painted them. I used colored bling for the center of the flowers.
I was inspired by this artist to paint the sides of the canvas.
side view of canvass

We got two magnet boards from IKEA for the little entry nook.
I just have to say, I love the sweet cards and pictures she displays.
I know the time is near when this board will have obnoxious things like
the Jonas Brothers and Justin Bieber on it. I will savor this picture if/when that time comes.
magnet board

Girlfriend got this chair with her straight-A money.
(Sorry if I offended anyone who doesn't believe in grade money, including my husband).
Good thing it was on clearance at Target.
She really loves this thing!

These chandelier decals are from house of 3. I think I've mentioned I'm a fan.
Did you see the comment that Heidi left saying she loves this blog?
Well, she said it. That's right. My life is complete. He he.
wall art

I got these colorful flowers at Michael's and this frame was a find from Marshall's.
I photoshopped "You Are Special" on her picture just incase I forget to tell her often enough.
The side tables are from IKEA. Only the best, I know.
side table

This little "word cloud" sits on the other side table.
I believe in positive reinforcement so why not make her good qualities into room decor?
It is so easy at wordle.net.
You just enter the words, pick the colors, and press randomize until you like how it looks.
I printed it and put it in an 8x10 frame.
word cloud

She needed a place to display her treasured snow globe collection.
Next to a place to sleep, this is what she wanted most.
This little shelf came from a garage sale.
It started out a speckled brown stain, but I sanded and repainted it a fun, bright pink.
I love the scallops and the uniqueness of this little bookshelf.

I just didn't feel like the room was done until my recent sewing project.
I found the perfect fabric to make these simple drapes.

I referred to this tutorial at Make It and Love It for guidance and inspiration,
although I didn't use any of the same measurements.
I thought they break up that corner, add some height and give it some continuity
by bringing the wild fabric to the other side of the room.
The pink damask fabric matches perfectly with her lamp. Here's a close up.

So I'm calling it good in here and moving on the my son's room. His room just doesn't match his fun personality.
Any thoughts or inspiration on little boy's rooms?

I'm linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick.
A Soft Place to Land
and Today's Creative Blog!
Check it out.

Lucky 2 Love U

I don't go crazy decorating for the holidays. But, I don't want my house to be a barren wasteland either.
(Why does saying that make me want to sing Teenage Wasteland?)

One of my goals for 2010 was to make my house a home.
I don't consider decorating my strong point, but I am making an effort.
I decided I would get/make one new thing for each holiday this year.

So this is my effort to pay homage to good old St. Patty's Day. I'm part Irish, after all.

Simple, huh!

I stocked up on canvases last time they were on sale and this 11x14 was $2.
I was looking for a shamrock on one of my cricut cartridges but LOWE and behold, I found one at Lowe's.
I donated to muscular dystrophy and instead of displaying this in the store, I asked the guy if I could keep it.
The best part was that the worker asked his manager if I could take my shamrock home.
I convinced him I was a simple crafter with no motive to copy false shamrocks and use them for ill purposes.

I felt pretty good about myself knowing I am serving and donating while I decorate!
I take any self-esteem boosts I can get.

Anyway, I painted my canvass a light green.
Then I just cut out my words on my old school cricut.
Kass has the expression. I have the humble, beginner's model.
I put them on with temporary adhesive (micro sticky dots).

how to

Then spray-painted the most Irish green I could find.
I did it out on the grass thinking it wouldn't show up. It did.
Um, honey... you need to mow the grass so it doesn't look like someone
vandalized a florescent green square in our front yard. Oops.

I simply removed my letters and donation shamrock and I had myself a decoration!

In all seriousness now, I know I am lucky.
This sits next to pictures of my loved ones, who I thank my lucky stars and shamrocks are in my life!
With a recent reminder that life is fragile, I must be reminded to be grateful. I am a lucky lady.

I'm linking to parties at:
A Soft Place to Land,
Twice Remembered,
Making the World Cuter,
and Today's Creative Blog.

Sharing the Project 365 Love

For those of you who don't stalk scrapbook divas like we do, you may not know our good friend Becky Higgins. She is like the Beyonce of the scrapbooking world (without the leotard) and Ashleigh thinks if we actually knew her they would be BFFs.

Last year Becky came up with a genius scrapbook kit called Project 365 which sadly sold out in less than a day. But we were sold on the concept which was taking a picture a day for a whole year! It sounded crazy hard at first but also wonderful and liberating. Becky, do you actually mean we're allowed to just develop 4 X 6 pictures and insert them into slots in albums? No photo enlargements, page layouts, color schemes, or embellishments with hidden symbolic meanings? And it's still scrapbooking? Yes? I'm sold!

We were also sold on the concept of documenting the everyday events of our family life. While no one else may want to see the mundane day to day happenings in our house, in 5, 10 or 20 years it will be fun for us to remember the time Jared (12) brought home a half eaten pan of cherry jello from Jr. High.


Since we didn't have the kit, I found an album with 5 slots for pictures on each page. Then we bought all the paper and embellishments from a scrapbook line called Friendly Forest because it had bright colors and cute little critters. We printed the week titles out for the whole year and we were ready to go.


I kept a lttle notebook with a short note for each day. I printed pictures once a month and then sat down with my supplies, handwrote my journaling and added some embellisments. It took about 3-4 hours a month.

When the year was over I summed up the experience on the last page:

I was highly persecuted for starting this project and embarrassed myself more times than can be imagined by asking to take a picture (like of my veterinarian and of a church meeting). But in the end, I documented things I never normally would have and have a fun record of our family. Already the kids pull out this book more than any other scrapbooks.

When I started Project 365 little did I know what excitement this year would bring. Who knew on Jan. 1 that in the coming year our family would: be expecting a baby, have a job change, ordain a deacon, have a baptism, get two new cars, go on two vacations, have a big calling change, remodel part of our house, and get a dog. Makes me excited for 2010. I say, "BRING IT!"


The great news is that Becky has been at it again. Bless her heart. Go to her website to checkout Project Life. Same idea, very versatile, totally cute! We have several friends that have bought it and some are taking a picture a day while others are adapting it for their needs. I bought it for my teenager to use for all of her high school pictures and memorabilia. You can start it Jan 1st, start on your birthday or start Feb. 19th. There aren't any rules, just enjoy!

P.S. I would like an award for typing this whole post one handed while I hold my little lovey who won't stay asleep. Who says I haven't been productive today?

It's me, Ashleigh. I would like to start by awarding Kathryn the "Great blogging while holding a baby award." Well done.
Now I would like to share a few of my layouts! Very simple and minimal scrapbooking, but hey, I'm done documenting 2009!

365 1
365 2
365 3

I enjoyed having a new perspective on what is document worthy. I love that I have pictures of the simple and little things. I have a picture of Justin throwing a fit in Target because I had my camera in my purse, and I wanted to show him what he put me through someday. I love that I have a picture of Jenna's face when the Jenga game fell. I love the picture of Dave going all out in Karaoke. I love the pictures of report cards, coupons, band-aids, neighbors, day trips, holidays, food and projects. After all, we got in the habit of taking pictures of our silly projects because of our quest for a "picture of the day." Mid-year, we decided to blog these project pictures, and "bee in our bonnet" was born!

A Love-ly Dinner

Thank-you to all of you who humored me with my treat week poll.
First place was the pizookie, followed by the strawberry cupcakes, and the parfaits.

But, before I could put my heart-shaped cookie cutter away, I put it to good use one more time.
We had heart-shaped ravioli for our Valentine's dinner.
heart ravioli

These truly are a labor of love! They do take a while, but trust me when I tell you....
they are soooooooooooooooo good!

As long as I'm sharing this, I thought I'd go all out and post the story and recipe.

I've been experimenting with fresh pasta since my friends got me this dreamy gift last birthday.
The kitchen aid pasta roller attachment!

Are you more impressed with my pasta roller, or my friends who got me the gift card for it?
I know, I'm lucky.

I mastered fettucini very quickly. My kids love to make it too.
Don't worry, I did do a side-by-side comparison with fresh pasta and boxed pasta.
Yes, it is worth the work, the tenderness is divine! Plus, doesn't this look like fun?

I make my dough in the kitchen aid bowl with the dough hook.
I know if I was being authentically Italian, I would do it on my countertop and knead it by hand.

5 cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

As far as technique, watch Mario or Giada. Ha ha. I'm not advanced enough to have a video clip for you.
I did find that the perfect thickness was to go to with a #5 on my roller, for ravioli.

For square ravioli, just lay it out on the table and put the filling in every few inches.
square ravioli
Seal around them with an egg wash, cut them with a pizza roller (or cut hearts),
press around the edges, then press with a fork.

Red sauce or white?
Um... I want the best of both worlds! I'm a little Hannah Montana-ish that way.
square, done

Oops, I forgot to tell you what is inside. I want to try other filling recipes too,
but it's hard to veer off when this 3 cheese/spinach ravioli is so yummy.

Cook 1/2 bunch of spinach in 2 Tbsp. of butter. Cut it up, add to bowl.
Add 1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cubed fresh mozarella
1/2 cup grated mozarella
3 Tbsp. fresh basil (or 1 Tbsp. dry basil)
Dash of Garlic powder and Pepper

And by the way, this makes a ton! I made it all up, but what I didn't cook, I froze.
It was a quick and ready meal for another busy night.

Fancy Fuzzy Rose Rings

Martha had a guest teach her these on her show yesterday.

Rose rings made out of pipe cleaners.

I knew my girls would love these and I had the pipe cleaners out on the table,
cuz we had just made these for Jenna's Valentine's.

I grabbed 6 red and one green, and I made one in about 2 minutes.
I was actually crafting along with Martha! (just like in my dreams, only I wasn't in New York with her)
It was just too easy, you must try! You can get a package of pipe cleaners for $0.99!


Step 1-using 6 reds, fold in half around finger to measure then take it off and twist it a couple times.
Step 2- separate out evenly in a circle.
Step 3- roll each one up like a snail.
Step 4- all rolled up, it will look like this.
Step 5- move your petals around so they are layered like a rose.
Step 6-twist a green one onto the base.
Step 7- roll up the 2 green ones and situate below the petals.
Step 8- pinch the green ones so they are pointy like a leaf.

You can watch Martha's friend teach it here.
She makes everything out of pipe cleaners!
The possibilities are endless.

The girls were excited to wear them to school today
and they actually thought they were kind of fancy!
rings black


I'm linking this to: keeping up with the Schultz family

My Valentine Treat

Yeah for treat week! Thanks Ash, for bringing me some of those cupcakes. Divine!
Did you all see the treats I posted? No?
That's right, that's because the only treat I've been working on is this sweet thing...


He is squishy and soft and his bum fits right in my hand when I hold him. I would like my full time job to be holding him and listening to his sqeaks, but...

Since he is already two weeks old and my maternity leave from reality is officially over, I thought I would try to uphold my end of the blogging bargain, so here's a repurposed frame I made last year for Valentine's Day.


I found a frame in the very dark recesses of my closet with spots for four pictures. I used some fabric scraps I had and cut hearts. I backed each heart with a thin layer of batting and did a zig zag stitch around the edge.


I popped them in the frame and had a cute valentine's decoration for free! Yeah!

The beauty of this idea is that frames can be used for more than just pictures. I put different colored easter eggs with other fabric scraps in this same frame for Easter. With so many fabulous fabrics, paper and other material, the possibilities are endless.

When I am on a streak of fixing my hair for more than two days in a row, I may get my creative mojo on again. Until then, I'll be snuggling my squishy.

Parfaits With Your Sweeties

Can you believe it.... 7 treats!
Just because I've always wanted to have a poll, and because I'm curious,
I'm asking you, which treat was your favorite? Vote on the sidebar to the right!

I'm finishing treat week with my kiddos and making yummy parfaits!
parfait 2

FYI- this is a great thing to do at a school Valentine's party.
This is a fun alternative to bringing cookies or cupcakes.

The kids usually come to the snack station in smaller groups while the rest of the class is doing other things.

We start with clear cups and decorate them with heart foam stickers (just for fun).
You can find buckets of these at craft stores for cheap.
decorate cups

Then we layer cake, pudding mixture, cool whip and sprinkles.
(When doing this with little kids, I don't hand over control of the pudding,
I just give them a spoonful when they need it. They put in the cake and sprinkles.)

For the cake, I make cupcakes and cut them in half. They fit in the cups perfectly.
Or even easier, you can buy a pre-made cake at the bakery and cut it into cubes.

For the pudding mixture, mix equal parts vanilla pudding, vanilla yogurt and cool whip. (dye it pink)
Have some extra cool whip for the top.

They get to choose how many layers and what they want to toss in.

Of course you could make these in fancy glass parfait cups for adults.
And of course there are a million different options for the layers.
You can put some ice cream in there, candies, crumbled cookies,
fruit, chocolate chunks, vegetables... just kidding about the veggies, don't ruin it!
Whichever sweet layers you choose, it will be fun!
parfait copy

I hope someone out there has enjoyed my little "treat week" experiment.
I've had fun experimenting in the kitchen and with my pictures in photoshop.
But I'm thinking the house was a little neglected and I had a little too much fun,
so give me a couple days to do a little housework and I'll be back soon.

I'm linking to Michelle Paige
A Soft Place to Land
and keeping up with the Schultz family.

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Raise your hand if you would love a huge chocolate-dipped strawberry.

choc strawberries

This is a tried and true classic and since I keep melty chocolate on hand, it's easy.
Strawberries aren't quite in season, but they are available -not cheap- but available.

I'm always surprised at how many people ask me how to do this.
If you haven't tried it, be confident that you can do this.

One thing that is important to wash and thoroughly dry your strawberries.

Then, if you're using melty chocolate (the kind meant for melting), just warm it in the microwave or stove top.
If you're using fancy, quality chocolate, use a double boiler.

Now dip and do a few small, fast flicks in the bowl to get the excess off.

Now this is where double-dipping and triple-dipping is accepted and encouraged.
Let them dry (refrigerate for 10 min) completely before multiple dips.
I couldn't resist experimenting with my jumbo heart sprinkles on these too!

I'm just sayin', it would be a very lovely gesture to make these for your Valentine.

Oh, and put your hand down, for pete's sake.

Martha, Sprinkles and Me


I haven't missed an episode of the Martha show. (since it went live)
Thanks to my DVR and a small obsession, I have seen it all.

I have it on while I cook, do projects, and such.
I do skip segments I'm not into, but my point is, I'm a fan.

Sometimes my time investment really pays off when I adopt something I see to my recipe box.
This strawberry frosting is one of those treasures:

*Puree 1/2 c of thawed frozen strawberries.

*In your mixing bowl ad 2 sticks of butter and a pinch of salt.
Beat until fluffy.

*Add 3 1/2 c confectioners' sugar, sifted. Beat until combined.

*Add 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 3 Tablespoons of the strawberry puree.
Mix to combine. But do not over mix. Should be dense.

Martha had the sprinkles (famous cupcake shop) founder on to share the recipe.
They also shared the strawberry cupcake recipe, which I tried and liked.
But it was a little too much strawberry for me, so I usually just make white cake.

So I got out an easy white cake mix, my printed out recipe, some cute cupcake wrappers,
jumbo heart sprinkles and a little costco ribbon to wrap these up.

I usually try to copy the way that sprinkles frosts their cupcakes (the middle one)
But this time I was experimenting.
3 cupcakes

I'm in love with these clear, individual cupcake boxes I got from my cake decorating store.
in box

Perfect for Valentine's Day, wouldn't you say?
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