Father's Day Cookies

Are you getting your man a big screen TV for Father's Day?

I'm just going to give mine the remote.  I hope it will do.  
At least it will solve that age old question, "Does anyone know where the remote is?"

I'm sharing my cookies on somewhat simple.  
And you can get the instructions on how to make this remote control cookie, here!  

Or you can just stick with some good old ties.  Ties will do too!

I also included a few tips on making any type of custom cookie you want.  
(Just in case remotes aren't your "thing")

I Love Pinterest!


I want to tell you why I love Pinterest.  
It's because my brain is mush.
It's because I'm a visual learner.
It's because my computer bookmarks were a mess.
It's because it is a great source to quickly take me to the best websites.
It's because if I "pin it," it won't let me forget a great idea.

Like sidewalk paint for example.
Equal parts water and cornstarch, plus a few drops of color make for a perfect spring activity!

I originally found this idea through Pinterest.  (original link)

Goes on clear-ish.

Dries like chalk.  Washes off with water in an instant!

This is just one of the ideas on my "Kid Stuff" board.  I have so many projects waiting for me to try.
Pinterest is basically the same thing as bookmarking, but it lets you do it by category, and also has a picture to go along with the link.  So you can easily scroll through and find that idea you filed away.  It is way faster than reading through my long list of bookmarks.  Plus, I can follow other people's idea/picture collections.  Go to Pinterest and request an invite to get in on the fun!

I want to find and follow new cool boards!  Send me your link!
If you want to follow my boards here is my link:  Ashleigh's Pinterest
If you want to follow Kathryn's boards, here is her link:  Kathryn's Pinterest
If you are curious to see if people have put your pictures on their boards, type http://pinterest.com/source/(the name of your website).com  
I was excited to see some "bee in our bonnet" projects up on your boards!  Thanks so much!

WARNING LABEL:  Pinterest can be addictive and hazardous to your housework.  If you make it past the first couple of days with your jaw on the floor, you can usually recover.  I am now back to normal.

Homemade Yogurt with Michiko

I'm sharing another one of my genius friends this week...

My good friend, Michiko is not only one of the kindest people I know, but is also completely amazing in her (beautiful) kitchen.  She has an adventurous, yet scientific approach to cooking.  She studies cookbooks and most importantly, experiments until she gets it right.  I just try to find reasons to cook with her and hope her expertise rubs off on me!

She recently introduced me to homemade yogurt.  She actually made gallons of it for our church Easter party and served it with various fruits and toppings to make the yummiest parfaits on the planet!
homemade yogurt parfait

I knew I had to learn how to make this stuff, as vanilla yogurt is a staple in our house.  So when I discovered that she had written out her recipe over on her blog I quickly bought the ingredients.  I'm pleased to say that it turned out great!  I gave my neighbor a jar of it and she texted me, "I didn't know homemade yogurt could be so much better than store-bought!  Wow."

And this is what I have had for breakfast.... every day this week!
Homemade Yogurt + Fresh Fruit + Granola = Really Yummy

These are the only ingredients you'll need (and you'll need your kitchen scale to measure those ounces):
1 gallon milk
10.5 oz. non-fat dry milk
15 oz. sugar
.6 oz. unflavored gelatin
3/4 c. plain yogurt for the starter

After you come back from the grocery store with your ingredients, go to Michiko's blog for step by step instructions.  You will be so happy when you end up with one whole gallon of fresh, homemade yogurt goodness!  There is enough to share, but you may find yourself hoarding it.  I'm speaking from experience here!

Thanks again Michiko, for letting me share your recipe!
(Oh, and I'll be forever indebted to you for introducing me to steak au poivre).

Ladybug Party with Katie

Are you ready for some serious cuteness?

I'm so excited to tell you about my friend Katie.  She and I have been good friends since 2nd grade.  We've been though it all together: 80's bangs, perms, braces, middle school, years of cheerleading, ASB, EFY, and now parenting and parties.  Katie has a creative talent that I have been leeching off of for years.  We used to make creative quotes and handouts to give out at EFY.  We made many a "dot-lettered" signs for football games and dances back in the day.  But these days I just drool over her home (which looks more like a model home), gawk at her scrapbook pages and DIE over her adorable parties.  

So when I got her most recent invitation...

...to her daughter's first birthday, I knew I had to take notes and ask to share it with the blogosphere!  Thanks for letting us take a peek, Katie!

She asked to borrow my cake stands which were already red, from Christmas and Valentine's.  (See how I made them here).  I was so excited for her to use them because that means they are cool.  Katie only uses cool things!

The birthday girl was the star of the show!  Katie made her tutu and wings.  The leggings are killing me!

She wasn't the only one dressed up!  Look at the high-chair!

It is all ready for the main event...the cake eating!
cake time

She made the cutest banner that had a picture of her from each month of her first year.

The activities and games planned were perfect because they entertained the whole age range of kids that were there.  There wasn't a dull moment.

1- They played parachute and bounced the ladybugs around.  Katie made these out of loofahs!  
2- There was an easel set up where they could paint a ladybug.
3- There was a jewelry making station complete with ladybug beads.  
4- She spray-painted a million beans to camoflage some plastic ladybugs that were about the size of a quarter.  They could dig and dig with their ladybug shovels until they found them!
5- The kids had a blast pushing each other around in this!
6- Bubbles are always a hit!


My kids' favorite part was the real ladybug hunt.  Katie made adorable bug catchers and bought real ladybugs at the local hardware store (gardening department).  I thought they might all fly away after the lid came off, but most of them didn't go too far.  The kids gathered round as they crawled all over them and managed to get several in their jars.  They sat there, still finding for about 15 minutes!
catching ladybugs

Katie puts a finishing touch on every little detail.  She really thinks of everything and ties it all in.  Let me show you what I mean...
1- Adorable water bottle labels, coordinating table tops.
2- The matching bins of water, tied with polka dots!
3- The banners were darling, but look what they were tied up with!  Coordinating ribbon and ric rac!
4- Ladybug napkins.
5- A matching bracelet for the star of the show.
6- Ladybug bubbles that the kids blew at her right after the "happy birthday" song.
little touches

Katie asked me to help her with the food.  This was probably the most flattered and intimidated I've ever been, because her party food is always perfect!  Katie knew exactly what she wanted and I tried to deliver.  She made the cute cupcake toppers and I made some cupcakes.

She wanted chocolate covered pretzels made to look like ladybugs.  They turned out pretty fun!

She also wanted some black and red cake pops.  Some were ladybugs and some just had a drizzle.
cake pops

And she gave me a picture (source unknown) of some cookies to make.  I later found that the original designer of this style is here at this etsy shop.  If you're in the market for ordering some, contact their shop!

I made the little ladybugs as "floodwork" on parchment and transfered them once they dried.  I did a big red dot, then while it was wet, a black dot for the head.  They melded together.  Then when they were dry, I drew the line and small dots with an edible ink pen.  They were so little (and crunchy) it was almost a little too much like eating a real ladybug!
cookie 2

She put some of the big ladybug cookies in these bug catchers (with easter grass) as the favors.
To die for, I tell ya!

I actually did a ladybug party for my (now 10 year old) daughter's first birthday.  It was nothing like this, yet Katie asked me details about it.  I showed her my vellum invitation and she was kind not to laugh.  Anyway though, no matter how you do it, "ladybugs" is a really fun party theme and I'm sure some of you out there will be inspired to try it out.

Thanks again Katie, for allowing me to share your wonderful party ideas!

I'm linking up to Be Different Act Normal and Tatertots and Jello.

I've been known to have a stash.
Not the kind that needs bleaching,
the kind made of chocolate, kept for the kind of emergencies when I love my kids so much that I need a time out.

My dad still hasn't let me forget the last time we moved and there were one (or four) empty boxes of Hostess Chocolate Donuts under my bed. I was pregnant!!! That's my story and I'm sticking to it! :)

So when I saw these cute little M&M tins at Michaels, I pictured the tin in my side table drawer filled with M&M's (is that wrong?)


But, I thought some awesome moms and friends needed one, too.


With a fine print warning that seems kind yet straightforward.
Happy early Mother's Day!

Easter Duds in my Favorite Fabric

This is one of my favorite fabrics of all time.  This gorgeous blue and gray floral from Amy Butler makes my heart go pitter patter.  I bought it (and a few coordinating prints) a couple of years ago.

I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it.
(Amy Butler, Lotus)

I nearly fainted when I found this dress, made by an adorable company called, Persnickety.  (dresses here)  Not only is it made from this dreamy fabric, but the style is beyond cute.  The gathered bodice looked so adorable on my sweetie.

I have been matching my girls' holiday dresses for years.  And while my oldest hasn't protested the matching, she does prefer a more "grown-up" style these days.  So it was like a miracle that I had been hoarding this exact fabric.  Yes, the stars aligned in my favor.  I used my precious Amy Butler fabric to make a coordinating skirt for my oldest.

I used the Amy Butler "barcelona skirts" pattern as a guide.  It is an adult pattern, so I took the smallest size in a little at the waist and shortened it.  This girlie was thrilled with how it turned out.

I also added some gray tulle to the lining layer.

So it matched the bottom edge of the dress I'd bought.

To finish it off, I made some fabric flowers.  I know I'm really late to the fabric flower party here in blogland.  How could it possibly have taken this long for me to get on the band wagon?  Well, I've arrived, and I'm staying at the party.  They were so easy and fun to make!  I used this tutorial, but I want to try more of the million other versions out there.  Anyone know of some other adorable flower lessons?  It think this could become addicting.

It was a sacrifice to cut up more of my dwindling fabric, but I think it was worth it.

I thought my little peeps were matching enough, but all in their own little style.  I loved it, and they loved their Easter duds.  If only the stars would align for me to get a good picture of all three of them...

Oh, here's a good one.

No wait, there's random people in the background!  Arghmph!
That's okay though... that's what photoshop was invented for!

I'm now thinking of useful ways to use my cherished leftover fabrics!
I'm thinking a bag?  A quilt?  A bucket of fabric flowers?  We'll see!

I'm linking up to Blue Cricket Design.
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