Thursday, November 13, 2014

Holiday Giveaway!

Today we are having our first snow! And seeing that we are also halfway through November I say it is time for Christmas!! :) If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen the Natural Ornaments I have been working on, and yes a tutorial is coming soon! But First, why not do a giveaway?!!

The winner of this giveaway will win a set of my natural ornaments--either chalkboard or Christmas silhouettes. Each set has 6 ornaments in it.
To enter:
  1. Follow me on Facebook
  2. Follow me on Instagram
  3. On my Holiday Giveaway Post on Instagram comment what set you would like to have--either the chalkboard version or the silhouettes!
  4. For extra entries, tag as many friends as you would like on my Holiday Giveaway post on Instagram--one friend per comment please! 
That's it! The giveaway is open until Midnight on Sunday (Nov 16th). Shipping in US only.
Good Luck!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Our Favorite Homemade Biscuits

I finally made the perfect biscuits. Biscuits that are so good and easy that I made them twice this week already!

My hubby lived in the South for two years, after he came back you could say he was kind of a biscuit snob...which made it super intimidating for me! ;) After a few failed attempts I gave up and we have just been buying our biscuits. Until now.

This recipe really is super easy...I whipped up a batch for breakfast this morning in about 10 minutes.

Homemade Biscuits:

1.5 cups flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
6 Tbsp COLD butter/margarine
1 egg
1/2 cup milk


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter in.
..For some reason I still don't have a pastry cutter...this masher works perfectly! ;) 

You should see small, pea-sized pieces of butter throughout the dough. Add the milk and egg; mix until ingredients are combined.

Sprinkle flour on top of dough and on a clean surface. Knead the dough 10-15 times with your hands. You can add more flour if super sticky. Pat the dough out to 3/4-1 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter (or in my case a glass cup).

After cutting, pat out extra dough and cut again! I get about 8-10 biscuits from this recipe.

..thickness of my dough

Place biscuits on lightly greased baking pan and bake 8-12 minutes (10 min is perfect for me, but start low the first time). The bottoms of the biscuits should be a beautiful golden brown and you should see the tops starting to turn a little brown.

These taste even better with homemade freezer jam. I'll post an easy recipe for that soon. Enjoy!!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!!

This month went by way too fast!! So instead of doing any of the tutorials I was planning on I am just going to highlight some fun Halloween crafts...

Dead Tree silhouette: I bought large sheets of paper from the dollar store, projected a tree onto it, trace and cut! Simple.

 Witch Legs: Super easy! I found this tutorial of Pinterest showing how you can cast yourself with tape! I then bought the tights from Walmart and shoes from Target.

Skeleton Cookies: This was such a fun project! I decided to try out "flooding" as a way to frost cookies...smoother look and great for decorating. You can know all that I do on it by reading this tutorial! :)  I used the Swig copycat sugar cookie recipe from Vintage Revivals and it was fantastic! 

Made for cute treats for the neighbors! 

If you want to see how to decorate your house for Halloween and still make it look gorgeous check out my friends house!!! .......Give you ideas for what to buy on clearance this year! ;)

And Last but certainly not is a throwback to last year when my daughter was the cutest old Lady ever!!!!  :)

Happy Halloween!!! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Be A Mom

Today I made my bed.

I am not one to blog about "personal" things--I'm not a motivational speaker nor do I have this infinite pool of wisdom for how to have the perfect life. Actually, most days I feel like I am failing in most areas of my life. And today it finally dawned on me that I was..and why. I haven't been making my bed.

You are probably thinking right now that I am crazy and I am going to lecture on house cleaning. Nope. I just wrote in my journal (first time in awhile..)and this is what is says:

Get Up.
Make your bed.
And be a Mom.

That is all that I needed to do today.

Its late at night. I am typing as I listen to my girls sleep. Tomorrow I will probably be embarrassed that I published such a post as this. But tonight, I know I need it. And I guess I am just wondering if someone else needs it as well.

I am "failing" because I am trying to do to much. And when we take on too much we are not able to give our all in any areas. In this media filled world we live in I often feel like I SHOULD have it all and do it all. And as I am trying to be super women I am forgetting and missing out on the most important role that I have. So today I tried to simplify my life.

Put down the phone--turn off those Facebook notifications so you are not tempted to look at it every minute of the day. Get down and play with your kids. Your day will not be perfect. I still had frustrations. But I also didn't feel like I was failing. I set two goals for myself--make the bed and play with my girls. And I succeeded. I achieved ALL.

Start Small. Today I made my bed and it made all the difference. I encourage you to "make your bed" as well.

I made a Printable to help me remember to simplify my life. And I thought I might as well share it with you! :)

 Download PDF here.
Download PDF here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Garden Party

I hosted a small Blogger Social last week and had a blast! I love spending time with talented ladies that uplift and inspire me to do more.
We kept it simple--black and white theme with floral and some gold of course!

Brittany and Steffanie from Living in the Willows  helped me plan and set up everything! Steffanie also made the invitations for this event.

I made outdoor curtains for this event and LOVED how they turned out...I will have a super easy tutorial up for you soon :) 

We had a separate table for crafts

Using my kitchen chairs really set the mood and took the party up a notch! 

We had a variety of flowers, some from my garden and some from Walmart--thats right! They had beautiful flowers at an amazing price. 

As guests arrived I had them start making their own Floral crown. They were so much fun to make, and a great way to get conversations flowing. I took what should have been a perfect picture of us in our crowns....unfortunately it was dark and I couldn't see well enough to focus correctly! :(  I show this picture to prove that 1-we looked adorable in our crowns, and 2-No party comes out perfect! I almost cried when I looked through our pictures and none of the group shots had turned out. Then I just brushed it off, the night was too perfect to let a little thing like pictures ruin it. Notice as well that I didn't have any pictures of the food. The food was AMAZING and beautiful. But between keeping it covered to keep bugs off and making my own floral crown I got distracted and forgot. Thats ok :) This wasn't a picture perfect party. However, I didn't throw it to be! I had a party to get together with some sweet gals, have fun, learn, and be inspired. 
Mission accomplished :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kitchen Table Tutorial with Free Plans

Its here! Our kitchen table tutorial with Free plans brought to you by my wonderful Hubby :)
I had him write it up for you...because I just give him an idea of what I want and he figures it all out, the brains of our operations, hehe! Enjoy!

This tutorial was written so that the intermediate / advanced user could use just the pictures, and none of the long dialogue. Please feel free to skip the sentences. The tabletop measures 40” x 84” and 31” high.

We start out by building the frame. I purchased 1x6’s. Using my table saw, I cut two lengths down to 4” wide. Using the 1x4’s and 1x5½’s (1x6), build the frame as pictured below using glue and pocket holes (the small circles are pocket holes; I used a Kreg pocket hole jig). This is one of the strongest ways to join wood together. If you don’t have a pocket hole jig, you could complete the table without it by attaching the first layer to second layer (see two steps below).

To make the frame stronger, add diagonal supports. I used 1x2’s cut to 8” long. Use wood glue and brad nails to attach. If you don’t have an air nailer, use screws instead and drill pilot holes first (countersinks are best).

Our final layer of strength will come from another layer of 1x4’s and 1x6’s. Notice in the picture below how I switched up the cuts so that not all of the joints occur on the same places over the lower layer. I simply used wood glue on the face of the wood and a couple dozen brad nails. Again, screws with countersinks would also work.  
Note: If you don’t want to fork out the $150 for a good pocket hole jig, you could join the first and second layers with screws and probably attain the same strength. If you do this, extend the middle two vertical 1x6’s like I did for the outer two vertical pieces. Then add the diagonal supports. 

Next we’ll add the table legs. We purchased redwood fence posts (we found ours for $17 each) and painted them white prior to putting them on. I cut them down to 28”. The placement of the legs doesn’t really matter, go with what you like best. I placed the leg as pictured with one face flush with the seam and the other face flush with an imaginary line extended from the brace (as pictured).

Attach the legs from the top of the table. Apply a liberal amount of glue, then use 4 - 2 ½” screws (small holes in the picture below). I always use a countersink bit before using screws; its stronger, prevents splitting, and makes the screw flush with your work.
Then dowel each leg by drilling in the middle of the leg (big hole in the picture). I used a ½” dowel. Using a ½” drill bit, drill down about 3 ½” (1 ½” for the brace, and 2” into the leg). Apply a liberal amount of glue to your dowel then hammer your dowel into the hole. Don’t try to cut your dowel to 3 ½”, instead, leave it long and hammer it in. Then cut it off after it is fully inserted. I used a hand saw, then sanded it smooth. 

Next we’ll add the tabletop. I used a combination of 2x3’s, 2x4’s, 2x6’s, and 2x10’s (all purchased from Home Depot) to create a design. I planed each piece, then sanded it smooth to prepare it. I also used a band saw (jig or scroll would also work) to round the corners of the 2x10 end pieces. With the frame standing on the floor (Note: the table will still be a little wobbly at this point, but will be very strong once you add the tabletop), throw all of the pieces on top as designed below. Don’t attach yet.

You should have approximately a 2” overhang on your sides, and a 4” overhang on each end.  Home Depot / Lowes wood is rarely perfectly cut. Each of my pieces were about 1/16” short of the displayed measurements. This means that my table is actually ¼” shorter than displayed and ” less wide. Before attaching pieces, make sure your table top is centered on your frame by assembling the pieces and taking measurements of the overhang on each side. Make sure they all match.

After you have measured the overhang on each side and are comfortable that the table is centered, attach the 2x4’s first (side pieces), then the 2x10’s (end pieces). This frames in your entire tabletop and makes it easy to attach the rest of the pieces. I used my brad nailer to quickly attach each piece (have someone push down from the top, else the brad nail will pop the board up), then went back through with my countersink bit and screws. Use 2 ½” screws and plenty of them on the 2x4’s and 2x10’s since they are the least secure due to the overhang. For the rest of the pieces, I used 2 screws each, unless I felt a wobble, then added more as necessary.

For the finish, we used a lacquer based clear coat from Home Depot. Sara applied with a brush and did 5-6 coats on the tabletop (legs were already finished), sanding between each coat. We didn’t bother finishing the frame pieces as no one will ever see it. Lacquer is much stronger than latex, which means it will hold up better under a kid beating.

I love how the table turned out. Hopefully we keep this one for longer than a year or two as has been our standard in the first 5 years of our marriage (this is our 5th table in as many years).
I’m happy to answer questions. Just leave comments below. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Bear Lake

We finished off our summer by heading up to Bear Lake and relaxing with some family. It was our first time and we loved it. I think we might be going a couple times next year ;) We were astounded by how pretty not only the lake is, but all the surrounding area.

Most of these pictures were taken by my sister, she takes beautiful pictures. Check out her Facebook page!

We stayed in the cutest little cabin.

Daddy sneaking ice cream to Olive...

We hiked up to Bloomington Lake, well worth the little hike! The lake was a gorgeous emerald green.

I think I am now officially ready for Fall!! How about you??