Friday, September 30, 2011

I Was Featured on 30 Handmade Days!

I don't often to linky parties or blog hops, but occasionally I do.  I entered Pity Party 56 to share my fun Postal Pix Instagram Canvas Pics.


Thirty Hand Made Days

Imagine my surprise today when I was picked as one of the top clever ideas.  I really think this is such a fabulous project and a great way to display photos and I am so glad it is being shared with lots of people.

I can't wait to link up again with another fun project or recipe.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Boo & Trick or Treat Square Printables

I made these fun and simple square printables to decorate our mantle {which is still a work in process}.  I am loving square prints and frames these days.  Once November rolls around I will replace them with two fall related square printables.  As usual, if you would like these, just leave a comment and I will email you the files (usually in less than a day).

I printed mine through Persnickety Prints very inexpensively.

 I am linking up @

Thirty Hand Made Days

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oh, How Pinteresting!

Pinterest is absolutely one of my favorite websites.  Today I am linking up over at The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting! so I can share some of my latest Pinterest finds.  Since it is almost October I am going to share some of the fabulous stuff I have pinned onto my Halloween board for great Halloween food and favors.

This recipe for homemade pumpkin butter -

These candy corn colored chocolate dipped pretzels -

I am so making these ghost smores.  How cute are these?

Pumpkin Fudge -

How about some ghost poop?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cookies - EASY

Last year I saw these cookies mentioned somewhere and searched high and low for them and never found them.  Sunday evening while grocery shopping I finally found them 2 for $5 near the registers.  So I happily threw two bags of them into my cart.

Yes... I am a baker.

Yes... my dream job would be a bakery storefront.

Yes... sometimes I just want to throw together a quick and easy dessert.

Yes... I love anything pumpkin.

Then I set out to find what else I could make besides cookies using this mix.

I can also make pumpkin spice bars.

I cannot wait to make some great things with this mix.  If I like it, I am stocking up before the end of the fall season.

What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Miscellany Monday

I am linking up at lowercase letters today for Miscellany Monday. 

1. Craiglist Find - I have been wanting some sort of sofa table thingy for my entry way.  Saturday night I looked on Craigslist and found one!! So Sunday we piled in the car and took the 40 minute trip to pick it up.  I love this table - it's actually called a country server.  It is made out of solid pine and still is sold in the store for $179.99.  I have plans for some fun paint for it and some new knobs - I cannot wait to share it when it's finished.

2. Reality TV - This morning after Madison left for school I crawled back in bed and watched Sister Wives and Kendra from last night.  I love both of those shows.

3. Our Pet Free Home - Poor Maddie pouted and cried all day Saturday.  She announced at lunch she wanted a puppy.  After reminding her of their cost and care not to mention the fact that Chris and I are so not pet people she pouted and ignored us for most of the day. 

4. I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant - I will admit in my obsession of trash reality TV I have watched this TLC show before.  My sister got quite the kick out of the text I sent her the other day in regards to it.  Although I was 100% serious... sometimes I do really really wish I was pregnant and didn't know {not sure how that really happens} and that I would one day have a baby in the bathroom. 

5. Bridesmaids - We watched this on Friday night.  It was okay.  I did not think it was as funny as everyone tried to make it out to be.

6. Car Seat Safety - It makes me cringe when I see photos of parents using car seats incorrectly.  I see it all of the time - on Facebook, on blogs, or on TV shows.  This blog post gives some great and easy to follow tips on car seat safety. Here are 7 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe.   This is NOT how your baby should be in the car seat!  This is wrong.  If your baby rides around in the car like this, this is just one of the wrong ways parents put their kids in car seats. 

The chest clip is too low.  It needs to be between the nipples and the sternum.  It is not doing ANY good down over your baby's tummy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fabulous Fridays

This is going to be quick.  We ordered Bridesmaids on pay per view and it starts in 11 minutes.

This morning I got up and did my usual morning routine - making a hot breakfast and packing lunches for Chris and Maddie.

After she went to school I got sucked into the original 16 & Pregnant on MTV while folding laundry.  This morning was Macy & Ryan.  I didn't really want to get ready to go volunteer at Madison's school... but I went anyways.

I got there and her teacher looked at me like I was nuts.  I swear I was supposed to be there today from 9-12, but she didn't need me until 11:30.  So I left.

I ended up at Target.

Since I had skipped breakfast I went to the Starbucks inside for a cup of heaven or otherwise known as a salted caramel hot chocolate.

While in the dollar section looking at the Halloween stuff a lady  starts randomly talking to me.  I hate when people do this.  She went on and on how her complex makes you only have a sign on your door to say you want trick or treaters and she just isn't doing this.  She goes on and on about how she is decorating.  I nodded and muttered a few "umm hmms" and then went to the next row of dollar stuff... and then I heard her start up with someone else.  I wanted to say "Listen lady... I get it... I have no friends either... I am all alone at Target too... but unlike you I am not friend searching at Target".  I may sound like a total B*TCH... but I wasn't in the mood for Halloween decorate conversations with strangers.

I did pick these up which I read about on some blog.  YUMM-O.  I said they were for Maddie when I threw them in my cart... but I really wanted them too.

I ended up with about $95 of randomness... some sodas, some jeans for Maddie, three bags of Halloween candy, some pumpkin pie yogurt I cannot wait to try, paper plates, organic vanilla milk, etc....

Gosh... I love Target.

We went to dinner tonight.  We haven't been out to dinner at a restaurant (Subway doesn't count) in two weeks.  I think we definitely enjoyed it more than usual.  Madison told me this week she missed going to restaurants.  It was nice to relax and have someone else serve me and clean up the dishes.

Now we are about to watch a movie.  Next week I can't wait to share more about this neat DIY project I did for Madison's room.  Here is a sneak peek -

Happy Weekend!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday Random Thoughts...

~ First of all... I watched Dancing With the Stars this week just so I could see Chaz Bono's performance.  I never watch and I give my mom crap all of the time because she loves this show.   I am pretty open minded and have zero issues with him performing on the show as a man.  I don't have to understand it or like it, but I believe it's his right.  Although we do not have any transgender family members... I have gay family members...and I was never brought up thinking it was weird, wrong, or strange...because it isn't...and I don't.  Madison has been around my gay family members has gone to school for years with families that were "different"... with two moms or two dads or just a mom or just a dad... so it isn't weird to her either.  I guess if you don't like the show now because he's on there... then don't watch it.... but I am not sure why others let it affect them so much.

~ Being a stay at home mom/housewife has always been my dream.   Except now I stay home and my kid is in 7th grade... so while it was fun at first... I am starting to get a little bored.  I am starting to miss my daily adult interaction that I had when I worked as a teacher.  It doesn't really help that I have met like zero people here and have no friends here, so that makes it even more isolating.   Any suggestions on friend making?

~ Being a stay at home mom/housewife and living on one income because now I pretty much make zero ... although I will take this time to shamelessly plug my two current business ventures, Betty Ray's Bakery - great items... but seriously the brownies... amazing and I started to sell Scentsy products.   I am going to be offering a giveaway for each of those businesses in October on my blog... or if you have a blog and are interested in hosting a giveaway for one of those two businesses... let me know!

Anyways... since being on one income I have become frugal... which kind of makes me wish I had been more frugal when we had two full-time incomes.  I have been grocery shopping all of the time to make dinners at home for my family.  Since I have no friends... I eat lunch at home now  I shop sales... and put back things that we do not need. Well on Tuesday I needed paint at Michaels.  The shelf said it was on sale for $1.99, after I paid, I realized I had been charged $3.99.  The old "living on two incomes Melissa" would probably just have not worried about it.  Well the new "we have one income and I am going to make every dollar stretch Melissa", got back in line after checking the price for a refund... that was less than $2.00... and now that I sit here and type this... I may need to go back, because I don't think that girl did it right... I think Michaels owes me more money.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Displaying My Instagram Prints from Postal Pix

Today I am sharing a fun and easy project you can do to display your photos.

Yesterday I once again talked about my love for Instagram photos.  I recently found a free app called Postal Pix.  I downloaded it and within minutes transferred over my favorite Instagram prints and ordered them as 4x4 prints from Postal Pix.  The quality is great and I knew I wanted to find a way to display them in our home.  The most difficult thing was to decide which ones I wanted to display.

I had these canvases in my craft bin. They are slightly larger than 4x4 and I purchased them at Michaels many months ago from their $1 bin. They were originally made for kids and each of them have a pre-drawn design on them. However when you give them a couple of coats of paint...the design disappears. I painted them black using a cheap foam brush from Michaels.

Once the paint dried I just covered the canvas with a layer of Mod Podge using another foam brush, then centered the photo on the canvas and smoothed it down using a small piece of saran wrap... that way you don't get smudge marks on your photos.  Once that dried I gave it two more coats of the Mod Podge.

Once they were dried I hung them on an empty wall at the entrance of our hallway.  I love the way they turned out so much I did three more a few days later.  Here they all are displayed in our house -

1- My husband took this one of me.
2- Madison took these at the local farmer's market.  I made them into a collage.
3- This is a street in a place called Island Park near our house.
4- My husband took this one of Madison while peeking into her room. 
5- I took this of Madison on her first day of 7th grade.
6- My daughter Madison too this of a rose in our garden.

I cannot wait to Instagram some more and to order them from Postal Pix.  I am hooked on this fun project.

What do you think? Do you Instagram? What do you do with your photos?

Thirty Hand Made Days


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Postal Pix = Best Instagram Prints Ever

One could say I am pretty obsessed with the Instagram app on my phone.  Some of the photos I've taken I really love and I wanted a way to print them out.  I found Postal Pix. 


It's an app you download. It's free.

You select the photos from your IPhone you want and you can choose either 4x4 or 5x5 prints... and they are cheap!  I ordered a bunch of the 4x4 ones.  As soon as they arrived... I added more to my cart.... that is how awesome these are.

And.... then I figured out the most super fabulous way to display these great photos in my house.... and that post will be shared tomorrow... here is a sneak peak -

Go download Instagram and Postal Pix right.this.second.  You will not be disappointed.

{I am in no way affiliated with Instagram or Postal Pix... I am just a super happy customer}

Monday, September 19, 2011

Glazed Cinnamon Apple Bundt Cake

Here is a super easy recipe you can make for breakfast or as a dessert.  My recipe it below but essentially I took this cinnamon roll cake recipe, added apples to it, and baked it in a bundt pan.  My brother-in-law went apple picking yesterday and brought a bunch of apples over so I had been looking for something to make with them.  My husband suggested an apple cake and that's where I came up with this recipe.

Ingredients -

-1 box of yellow cake mix + the ingredients it calls for {mine called for 3 eggs, 1 cup of water, and 1/2 c. oil}
-1 cup of light brown sugar
-4 T of cinnamon
-3 large apples - peeled and chopped
-2 cups confectioners sugar
-warm water

Directions -

-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease your pan.
-Mix up your cake batter.
-Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl.
-Make sure your apples are peeled and finely chopped.
-Pour 1/2 of the cake batter into the pan.
-Cover with the apples.
-Cover the apples with about 3/4 of the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture.

-Cover with the remaining cake batter.
-Sprinkle the top with the remaining cinnamon/brown sugar mixture.

-Bake as directed on the back of the box until a knife inserted come out clean.

-Let the cake cool for 10 minutes and then turn it over onto a plate.
-Gradually add teaspoons of warm water to the confectioner's sugar until you get a smooth/thick glaze (probably 4-5T).
-Pour over the cake.

-Slice and serve.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our Weekend in Review

We've had a calm and relaxing fall weekend... just like I like it. 

On Saturday Chris went into work for a few hours and Maddie and I spent the morning/early afternoon running errands.

Top/Left - We shared a ham and cheese croissant at the farmer's market
Top/Right - I used my points from grocery shopping at Stop & Shop and was able to save $.60 off of each gallon of gas.
Bottom/Left - I won a UPrinting giveaway on a blog and ordered these postcards for my new baking business on etsy.  I love the way they turned out.
Bottom/Right - Here is Maddie before heading out for errands.  She loves wearing her new glasses.

Sunday morning I woke up and put a pot roast in the crock pot.  I love how it makes the house smell great all day.  Then I whipped up a quick and easy glazed cinnamon apple bundt cake {recipe coming tomorrow} using fresh picked apples my brother-in-law dropped off for us yesterday.

Probably the best part is Madiaon got invited over to her friend Kristin's today.  She connected early on with Kristin and they have been dying to get together.  I dropped her off thinking I would then make a quick trip to Michaels... but ended up staying and chatting with her mom for an hour...which was nice and cheaper than Michaels.  The bad thing is they are only here for a year before they go back to Florida... so I sure hope Madison becomes friends with some more kids who will be here more long term.

This week we have an ice cream social at Madison's school and I am going in to volunteer again.

Friday, September 16, 2011

An Amazing New School

Before our big move to Rhode Island this summer I was a teacher.  I was an overwhelmed, tired, and burnt out teacher.  I was so excited to move so I could stop teaching. 

This morning I went in and volunteered in Madison's 7th grade English class for two hours.  I found myself eating the words I recently muttered of "I WILL NEVER TEACH AGAIN". 

I loved the classroom.  I loved the atmosphere.  I loved sitting down in the library and conferencing one on one with several students about books they had recently read.  I loved being in the classroom and while the teacher was working with one table I noticed another table of three boys who seemed distracted.  I sat down with them and got them motivated to work.  We started their assignment together.  I gave each one of them individual attention.  I started to remember why I went into teaching.  I started to remember what my job had been like before it made me cold and angry and bitter. 

The middle school here in Rhode Island is like night and day from the one I worked at in Virginia.  I am so thankful that my Madison has been given the opportunity to go to this amazing school.

Guess what? I am going back next Friday to volunteer again.  I am also seriously considering taking a part-time or temporary teaching position for this great school system.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's OK - 9.15.11

I am linking up again today for It's OK Thursdays....

Its Ok Thursdays

~It's OK to pretend you forgot to pick up the grapes your husband asked for at the grocery store... because they were $2.99 a pound... you are on a budget... and think grapes should always be $.99 a pound.

~It's OK  to wish every single morning when the alarm goes off at 6 am that you could just stay in bed instead of getting up to make a hot breakfast for both your husband and daughter.

~It's OK to prefer baking and blogging over house work and job hunting.

~It's OK to be 33, a mother, and watch the Jersey Shore and Teen Mom.  Is it just me or is Amber being kind of a fake good mom now with all of this CPS stuff going on?

~It's OK to be totally 100% serious when your husband comes home from work to tell you that a co-worker's college sophomore girlfriend is unexpectedly pregnant and to immediately tell him to tell the co-worker we want to adopt the baby.  Unfortunately my husband wasn't as on board with this idea as I was... and frankly I am not sure what their plans are for this baby... but I was and am serious.

~It's OK to watch Up All Night and the Rachel Zoe Project on your DVR in bed before attempting to begin any household chores this morning.

~Happy Thursday~

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Longer You Wait...

I found this today on Pinterest... maybe somehow Pinterest knew what I needed to see... although I am pretty sick of waiting.

My lunch consisted of a Coke Zero and a peanut butter Snickers on the way home from the grocery store yesterday... in between hysterical wails while thinking of the baby we so desperately want but cannot seem to have. 

I noticed a zit on my face this morning when I was driving Madison to school.

Oh ... and the pregnancy tests I took yesterday and Sunday were both negative.

So it was really of no surprise to me when I got my period today.  But it hurt nonetheless.  And to be perfectly honest... I am pretty sick of hurting like this.

Oh and if we know each other in real life... I am totally okay with not talking about this.  I'd actually prefer not to.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Free Fall Printable - Subway Art w/ Graphics

Today I am sharing a fun and free fall subway printable. 

{The file you receive will not include this border}

Would you like one? Simply leave a comment.  If your email is hooked up through blogger... I can respond that way and attach your printable... if it isn't, then go ahead and leave your email and I will send you the printable within a day.

Then you simply upload it to your favorite printing service (Shutterfly, CVS, Persnickety Prints, etc...), choose 8x10 (it will print best that way) and make sure they don't auto color correct it.  When it arrives or you pick it up, simply put it in a frame and you have instant fall decor for a bare wall, mantle, or table.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9.10.11 - Our Overnight Trip to Maine

On Saturday morning my father-in-law, Gil, met us at our house and we headed to Maine for the day.  It was a quick easy drive up there.  We stopped for a quick lunch along the way... at a gas station.  Yep... we ate lunch at a gas station.  They had an Italian place inside and it was good.  While eating we saw these two with their lovely hair dos checking out at the register.

 We also stopped at this HUGE Indian along the way so Maddie could pose for some photos.

We arrived in Freeport, Maine and started to hit all of the shops on foot.  The first thing my husband asked me was if I had brought the camera... oops.  We have a small point and shoot and a larger expensive camera (that I have no idea how to use)... both of those were left at home. 
The weather was gorgeous and this was a beautiful little town.  They had all sorts of big stores like the largest LL Bean store, Gymboree, Coach, North Face, etc... as well as a bunch of little fun shops like the one called Abacus where I bought this calendar at.  They are actually 12 separate prints.  So during the month I will frame the print in an 11x14 print and then I figure afterwards there are several (obviously not the cat and dog ones) that I will frame to display in our house.  The $28 price tag on this calendar was much easier to swallow than the $125 print by this artist I really wanted.

Maddie wanted this duck.  It was $59.  She liked it simply because it was decoupaged with French words.  She is obsessed with anything French related.  Obsessed. I explained to her we could very easily create something similar with a paper mache duck at home.  She seemed satisfied with that.

Then we stopped for Wicked Whoopies. We got a small original, an oatmeal creme pie one, and a chocolate peanut butter one.

Here is Maddie with her favorite Starbucks drink - passion fruit ice tea lemonade.

We stopped at this little shop.  They had funny little things like these onion ring flavored mints-

And this moose hat my husband tried on-

A bit further down we found a small ice cream and candy shop that featured lobster ice cream. Maddie and Chris each had a sample.  They were not impressed.  They settled for cookie dough and strawberry cones instead.

Some more photos of Maddie - 

Then we headed to Brunswick where my husband and his four brothers were all born to surprise Chris' Gram.  I am so glad we decided to do this.  She was definitely thrilled to see us.  We had a nice visit with her.

Later that evening we stopped for dinner to get some yummy Maine seafood before heading back to our hotel in Freeport for the night.

The weather was beautiful and we had a great weekend.