Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Calling All Locals

This one is for all of you lovely friends in Waco, or the Central Texas area .. I am having my very first in-real-life event THIS SATURDAY! I am so terrified *errr* excited to show off all the incredible silhouette offerings from my shop

The coolest part, aside from getting to hang out with moi, is that there will be an amazing photographer, Nikki Riggs, there to take your kids' profile shot for me to draw from! HOW EASY IS THAT?! All you have to do is swing by  Pinwheel Kids, an awesome local children's boutique, anytime from 9-11, get their photos taken (free of charge) and pick out which silhouette lovelies that you want to order. 

You can see all of the product offerings and price-list here. (And no shipping charges since it's local!)

This makes for the easiest and most memorable  Mother's Day gifts ever! Give me a call/text/e-mail just so we can be expecting you, and I'll look forward to seeing you then :)

Lots of love,

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring is here

Spring is here, and we are loving it! We're doing our best to spend our days outside before the oppressive summer heat rolls in and sequesters us to the air conditioning. Selah's favorite activities are swinging, collecting rocks, and  running down our sidewalk (except for the one crack that she always stops and crawls over). 

It's so much fun to see her discover nature.. the clover, flowers, rocks, and neighborhood animals. She's not the biggest fan of getting dirty though, and runs over to me anytime she gets dirt of her hands! I can she her develop a little more courage each day. Walking faster, running even! Venturing father into the yard, stepping in an ant hill *ouch* and swinging higher and higher. 

These are sweet days.

I hope you're enjoying the weather too!

Lots of love,

Thursday, March 22, 2012

DIY Fruit Fly Traps

It's about to get ugly up in here, friends. Fair warning. If you can't handle the carnage of scattered insect bodies then now's your chance to flee to the hills.
We had a lovely get-away to my grandparents lake house last week. When we arrived home, we were feeling refreshed and rested, ready to take on real-life until.. I opened the kitchen door and *sniff* *sniff* I knew right away

The refrigerator died. 
While we were away on vacation.
It's like it really knew.

After a mad dash to round up ice chests, salvage some of the still cold items from the freezer, and throw out most everything else, I noticed some nice new guests hovering around a bunch of brown bananas on the counter. Goodness. I left bananas out on the counter before we left. 

Fruit flies.
Tiny, pesky, swarming.
Fruit flies.

I knew just the thing to catch those little pesky suckers. It's super easy, chemical-free, and will catch the buggers practically overnight! The added bonus is that I'm sure you already have all of the ingredients on hand.

All you need is dishsoap, vinegar, and a small container to hold the mixture! 
Equal parts vinegar and water, then add a small squirt of dishsoap. Stir gently. (I used apple-cider vinegar here, but I have used regular white vinegar with great results before.)

Set your jar out wherever there seem to be the most flies, or even in a few rooms in your house. 

In about 12 hours, all the gluttonous little fruit flies will have plunged to their soapy deaths. I've seen some 'humane' catch and release traps out there... Sorry, but that's not how I roll friends. 
                                                  Victory is mine!! Take back your kitchens too!


Lots of love,

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Broken Things. Not Broken Spirits.

The journey into toddler-dom is a fast and furious journey! Who knew what an incredible difference there was between a crawler and a walker?
                                And most importantly, WHY DIDN'T YOU WARN ME?!

The result of this adorable tangle of curls toddling about the house is a slightly less-than-adorable path of destruction. It's impressive really, the sheer amount of disarray that can come about in 2 minutes flat. Each day, I preform a series of mommy-math calculations to determine the cost/benefit analysis of the each activity.

It looks a little like this:
        one private potty trip for mommy > or < possible toddler catastrophe mid-bathroom usage
    benefits of unloading the dishwasher > or < Tupperware lids thrown across the kitchen by the kid
      one hour of  toddler destroying a deck of cards > or < cost of deck of cards from .99c store

 Now, if you know anything about me, it's that sometimes I struggle with loving 'things'-- attaching sentimental value to inanimate objects. As a girl, I sealed my Barbies and special toys in labeled Ziplock bags to save for my future children. *weird kid* Even now, I like to temper these tendencies by watching episodes of Hoarders. This sentimentality has it benefits, like the fact that I cherish most of the items in my home, and I have a special affection for preserving family mementos and traditions.. but my toddler doesn't share this passion.

She breaks things, you guys. She BREAKS them. While I was still pregnant and only envisioned snuggling and cuddling the little baby hiccuping in my tummy, I resolved to communicate several values to her throughout her life.  Coincidentally, one of those values was that:

There will be many ways for to Selah to learn this lesson as she grows older, but during the toddler stage, it's my responsibility to demonstrate this lesson for her. This means that when an object is broken, or a mess is made, my reaction is far more important than the destruction of any material object.  If I speak negatively, raise my voice, or act hostilely as a result of a mess or a ruined 'thing,' it communicates to Selah, that she is less important than my 'thing.'  


By extending an attitude of grace and forgiveness to our children within the home, they will then learn to do the same outside of the home. Proverbs 16:24 says  "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Appropriate discipline and instruction is a necessary part of parenting, but in my life, I've found the most transformative experiences are true encounters with forgiveness and grace-- I can't help but think the same is true for our little ones.

Lots of love,

Friday, March 16, 2012

You might just pee your pants.

Jessi, from Naptime Diaries approached me a little while ago and said ... "Hey Girl..I have this idea and it might just blow your mind. How about our Etsy shops be BFFs?" Or something like that..
*and the heavens sang* 
And we know that it was just meant to be.
In the spirit of artistic collaboration, I thought I'd share what Jessi has to say about our new endeavor!

Hi friends! It's Friday and I've got something new to share with you that 

I. do. not. want. you. to miss. 

A few weeks ago, I asked the beautiful and talented Lindsey from Out of Alabaster to make some custom silhouettes of my kiddos. I knew she did talented work and I knew that when you purchased one of her silhouettes, you got a high resolution file that you could manipulate in any form for a million different projects. I started thinking - grandparent gifts! framed silhouettes! coffee mugs! use them on my blog!
etc. etc. etc. 

The only thing is, I was BLOWN AWAY when those files arrived in my email inbox and my mind got to whirling and twirling and I thought - the one thing I'd really like to do with this silhouette is combine it with some colorful designs and scripture. And then I thought, I wonder if anyone else would like the same thing?! And so I propositioned Lindsey to see if she wanted to team up and offer her illustrations in combination with my graphic design. 

And we are so excited to share one part of that with you today in this form: 

We're offering custom silhouettes of your loved ones built into a custom print, at a discount when you buy them both together. When it's all said and done, you get a one of kind print AND a high resolution digital silhouette to use in any other way you want. 

In my Etsy shop, you purchase the custom silhouette design listing and then from there Lindsey will handle the silhouette illustration while I get started on your print. Whatever colors/patterns/scripture you'd like. We'll send you a proof before printing and shipping and you're good to go! 

The silhouette and print package is $35 which is a huge discount on both products when bought together. Unfortunately, we can't apply any sales or promotions to this listing since it takes so much custom design work - but we are still happy to offer buy three, get one free on these prints! 

Just think: birthdays, decorating, Mother's Day, Father's Day, grandparents gifts, baptisms, not to mention all the cool home projects you could do with custom silhouettes of your kiddos! 

Lindsey and I are so thrilled to be working together and we're hoping you're going to love this fun collaboration as much as we are! Get on over to Etsy and check it out! And maybe tell a friend or two if you want:). 
Spoiler alert: 
Right after I got super excited about silhouette prints, I went a little nuts thinking about incorporating silhouettes into BLOG DESIGN. So come Monday, Naptime Diaries may or may not have a facelift and you may or may not get to hear about how we could help you integrate some silhouette action into your branding/logo/blog design!

*eek* It's pretty incredible, right?! 
I knew you'd love it!

If you have purchased a silhouette previously, and you'd like one of these sweet new prints, just use the coupon code ALABASTER at Jessi's shop for 25% off (this makes your print only $15). I repeat. This coupon code is ONLY for customers for whom I have already designed a silhouette, and the only coupon code accepted for these specially-designed prints.

Lots of love,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ricotta Gnocchi

Gnocchi.(Pronounced: NuhYoke-ey) Say it with me. Gnocchi.

Now, doesn't that make you feel like a more superior being? It sounds so fancy, so difficult. You can casually throw it into a sentence at your Zumba class. Something like, "We couldn't decided where to go for dinner, so I decided to whip up some homemade gnocchi instead..."

Bragging rights.

That's what this recipe gives you. It comes with some serious bragging rights, and it's worth bragging about because it's so stinking delicious. The secret... what you don't tell your Zumba friends, or your in-laws, is that making these gnocchi is EASY. Your kids could make them!

Gnocchi are little pillows of deliciousness. They are light, airy, tiny Italian dumplings. Sometimes, they can be made with mashed potatoes, but this recipe uses ricotta cheese instead. This makes the process really fast, the gnocchi extra light and fluffy, and who doesn't love cheese anyway?

Ricotta Gnocchi
16oz container of ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
4 eggs
1c parmesean cheese
2tsp salt
2tsp pepper
1tsp garlic powder
2c flour

First, get a large pot of water on the stove. That way, it will be boiling by the time you finish the gnocchi.

Stir together gently, adding flour until it is all evenly combined. You should have a soft dough. Don't worry if it's a little bit sticky.

Flour a cutting board, and place about a tennis-ball sized blob of dough onto the floured surface. Now, channel your inner five-year-old. Or, grab your own real-life five year old, and roll this dough into about a 1/2in thick rope. Then cut, the rope into 1in pieces.

Plunge your little gnocchi into boiling water. Cook them only until they float to the top of the water, and a minute or two more. They cook really quickly!

Add your finished gnocchi to your favorite sauce. I used a homemade bolognese, but any sauce will do. You could easily saute them in a pan with some brown butter and fresh sage (yum!).


Lots of love,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rainbow Party Time

The sweetest niece in the world just turned TWO. I can't even believe how fast the time has flown by! My sister, Kelley, threw the cutest rainbow themed party for Mercy and all of her little friends.

There were rainbows everywhere: a fabric strip rainbow garland hanging from the mantle and chandelier, rainbow colored toys, and even rainbow snacks! It was sweet and simple, perfect for such a bright little girl!
                                                                     photo by Tiffany Bonow Photography
Rainbow fabric banners are a simple and beautiful way to brighten up the space! Just cut and sew a straight line through strips of multicolored fabric.
The showstopper of the day, was the layered rainbow cake. It was magnificent!!
Mercy is a hoot and a half, so the lively and fun rainbow theme was perfect for the occasion. Together, Mercy and Selah are fast-- it's constant cousin double-trouble! Even at the party, we found them tucked away in the back bathroom, playing with Kelley's perfume and other no-no's!

This is Mercy the day BEFORE her party.. she decided to taste-test  her cake. Hahahaha! Kelley is such a great mom; she rolled with the punches and made another red layer.
Mercy was very excited when the official time came for eating cake, and everyone was impressed to see the spectacular rainbow layers revealed!
The kiddos were kept busy with lots of art activities. 'Clean' finger-painting was a favorite of the little fingers.   Just squirt a few blobs of fingerpaint in a Ziploc bag, and tape it to the table. No clean-up! Giant rolls of butcher paper taped to the floor served as a coloring area, and a kiddie snack station. 
Look at all that beautiful toddler artwork!
Selah and Blythe provided the musical entertainment.
Giant butcher paper rolled out on the floor served as a kid's art area, and then doubled as a picnic mat.
Happy Birthday Mercy!!

Lots of love,