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Gettin Crafty! A gift EVERYONE can use!

Ok, maybe everyone is an over-statement…

How bout this, anyone with a few kids and maybe a few kids with kids. Or someone with like 12 sisters and/or brothers. No really.

I saw this pic on the famous Pinterest (ya, I mess around on there once in a while – Jenn Parke if ya want to follow my boards or whatever). I am TERRIBLE at following directions, so I often look at pictures and then figure out how to do it by looking at it.

Saw this. Pinned it. Then screen shot it and went shopping.

fam birthdays


From Michael’s, I purchased a 14″x4″ blank wall plaque ($3.99) and 2 packages of the little round wooden discs (3.49 each). From Ace Hardware, I purchased a 14 piece package of little silver eye screws (2.29) and a spool of wire (3.99).

I really wanted silver little S hooks, but those little guys are actually quite pricey, and I was considering making quite a few of these….

From Walmart, I purchased a can of Khaki colored spray pain ($3.00).

Total: $17.25, or $20.25 if I include the paint, which isn’t really fair because it will be used for MANY other things…..

I posted a pic of the finished project on Instagram (yep, I’m there too…) and people were all sorts of interested in HOW I DID IT! I went back to the original pic I found on Pinterest and the link no longer works…so I how no way to point people to it! So I thought…hey, I can at least tell people how I made it!

Step 1: Lay all the materials out and paint. Let dry.

Step 2: Apply a second coat. Let dry.

Step 3: Measure center and draw light pencil line for FAMILY text. Sponge paint the word FAMILY in all caps in center of plaque.



I already had 2 inch letter stencils, so I used those. I also had a deep red paint and used an old sponge to paint the letters with.

Step 4: Once the FAMILY was painted and dry, I drew another light line in the center of that and free-hand wrote birthdays with a black permanent marker.

Step 5: Measure out and make center marks for the 12 months. Abbreviate each month above the center mark. This is the step I was least pleased with, and that was because of the plaque I chose. Because it had raised sides, I was unable to use a stencil or even write in a nice, fun font….



Step 6: Screw in the eye thingys under each month. (I enlisted the help of my darling hubs for this job)



Step 7: Write the names and days of birth of each family member on a wooden disc.

Step 8: Drill a small hole at the top and bottom of each disc. Big enough for the wire (or hook) to go through.

Step 9: Assemble and viola!



The Happy Couple and their new family birthday chart! I think they like it!


Cheers to a Fantastic NEW YEAR! And stuff.


So, I kinda lost my groove on the whole blogging thing last year (2012). I have no idea if I have it back. I don’t really feel like it. But, I did get a giggle going over my top posts from 2012.

The busiest day on my blog was on Jul 24th, and it went to my first ever giveaway post (Road trip, snacking, naked fruit and MY FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY!!!), that was kind of a big deal. Turns out, to this day, it has been my ONLY ever giveaway. I’m such a stud!

The post with the most views went to one of my FAVS (I can’t put a title on this mess…) simply because it is so appropriately ‘me‘.

I also got a kick out of my top 5 most active commenters. Seriously friends, this is HUGE. First, people don’t read my blog. Second, nobody really enjoys commenting if it causes any more work than saying “that was funny…”. Third, a third item isn’t even necessary.

top commenters

On that note, a HUGE thank you to my top 5. You ROCK.

With all that said…. SMOOOOCHES to you and your loved ones. Here’s to a FABULOUS 2013.


Ooops, I meant to insert the one below…. *muahahah*

Or did I!?!?!


Sweet tooth FAIL

It’s not fair to keep this story to myself.

I made that decision.

A couple days ago a IG friend (@janinenickel) posted this on Instagram:

I advised her to “Never EVER say no to carrot cake!!!”

Her response was great. And true. Especially true about carrot cake.

I triple heart carrot cake.

So, since then I have been CRAVING carrot cake with a certain intensity that shouldn’t be allowed…..

I blame it on my passion.

So, I decided enough was enough. I am always goofing off in the kitchen. It was high time I made that dang carrot cake to quench my craving.

I google carrot cake recipes, skim through a couple of them, find one that meets my requirements, in other words, I have all the ingredients for.

I whip up the batter. Notice the pre-heat temp is only 300 degrees. I was thinking that was kind of cool, but didn’t pay much attention to it.

I put the cake in the oven and took a gander at the bake time. 1 hour. Holy moly, that’s a long time for a cake.

Oh well…..

*waiting patiently*

I pull the cake out and put it on a rack to cool.

I take another gander at the recipe. Cool for 1 hour….but that wasn’t all…..




I want to eat this cake RIGHT NOW.

Not a day from now.

I could have ignored the rules. I could have defied them.

But, in the end, I am a rule follower.

There it is, second shelf down, just hanging out in my pantry.

*no longer patiently waiting. now I am just mad*

The next evening, after a chaotic day, I am finally able to frost the beast.

Then I refrigerate it for a bit. But since my patience has been wrung DRY, it only lasts in the fridge about 10 minutes.






*my patience totally disagrees*

Click here for the recipe for any of you who might want to try this at home.

Ya, I realize it says right at the top that the total time is 25 hours, 35 minutes…but who really reads that stuff?



Hide yo 10 year olds….


10 year olds.


He likes her, but she like’s a different boy, but his friend said he heard that she told her other friend that she did like him…


I get a text from a sweet friend, “Did you hear about the conversation the kids had today?” (kids being her super smart, driven, sweet son and my daughter)

I respond “Oh crap. NO”

She says “call me…”


He likes her as more than a friend, she likes him too but also thinks she likes someone else but doesn’t really know what it even means to “like” someone. But apparently, being appointed as Queen Hula Hooper of the girls team in their “Hula Hooping Club” is a big deal.

Ya, it makes no sense to me either. But if you try to listen to the explanation of a 10 year old, that’s about how the conversation goes.

So, after the incredibly awkward ‘who likes who’ conversation and the repeated “YOU KNOW YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE A BOYFRIEND” chat, we settle into our post school/homework and evening schedule. The kids have a bit of down time before we have to run to a meeting and they choose to play Xbox for a bit.

Well, I am guessing that being smart, cute and witty is a pretty big plus in the 10yo girl world BUT, adding Halo player just makes the boys go crazy.

C. R. A. Z. Y.

My kids (10 & 8) get on Xbox Live, (only allowed to play Live with our good friends/neighbors) and start playing with a friend. Well, that friend happened to have 3 other 10yo boys from school over.

I was listening to all the silly chatter and giggling, yes, from the boys and it was HILARIOUS. The audio was working but they couldn’t hear us, so all we were hearing was them “I can’t hear her. She’s not there. Maybe she can’t hear us. Is she there? Should we call her? Maybe she is calling us?”

After the technical difficulties were worked out…I hear the battling of questions regarding the game…

‘Why did you kill me? Who has the sword? Who is the juggernaut? No, that’s me, don’t kill me…’

After a while, the boys had to stop playing. Shortly after that, the doorbell rings. 2 of those boys wanted to ‘say hi’.

I answer the door.

CUTEST BOYS EVER in their football gear. “Hi, is Lexi here”

Lexi: “Hi”

Boys: “Hi”

Lexi: Silence

Boys: Silence

Me: “So, you on your way to football practice?”

Boys: “ya”

Me: “awesome”

Boys: “ya, we just wanted to say hi”

Lexi: “Hi”

Silence….all around

Me: “Well, nice to see you boys, have fun at football”

Boy: “ok, bye”

As they are walking off the porch, one boy giggles to the other saying “I didn’t know what to say”

See the top right window? Can you picture the fairy tale conversations taking place at night?

Now….where should we put the 10ft tall prison style barbed wire fence?

Hide Yo 10 Year Olds!


I need one.

I had a HORRIBLE nights sleep last night…and if you knew me, even a little bit, you know that means the mind was spinning in circles…and coming to very STRANGE conclusions, such as door to door robbers

I need a GIGANTIC do-over. Or, simply a time machine.

I promise I am NOT going to change anything that would like set the world off balance. (I’ve seen Fringe….WEIRD stuff) Or change the outcome of something bad that happened. Although that would be great.

What I FAILED to do, over and over and OVER again, is actually quite simple.

I thought about doing it all the time.

But I always had an excuse….there’s just not enough time, I don’t know how to do it right, I can do it tomorrow….

Well, I missed my chance.

And it’s keeping me awake at night.

So, with all this said…I feel a tiny bit of weight off my chest, because I am CONFIDENT that someone will be able to help me. Once I have a solution, I actually feel like I will be able to move forward.

Here it is, here is what I failed to do and lost my chance…. UNLESS, any of you brilliant people know how to help me….

I need my entire twitter history.

That feed holds some extremely important dates, times, situations and experiences that are priceless to me. It holds memories of my dad’s battle with cancer.

There, now you can’t make fun of me.

Can you help me?

************* WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER ***********


Congratulations doll face!! Tweet me, email me, FB me or snail mail me your shipping address!

*Note to EVERYONE: Thanks SOOOO very much for entering my first giveaway. It was a HUGE success. Everyone who entered was assigned a number and I used to generate the winning number.


We aren’t really snackers. Unless the kids are bored, then they can’t seem to eat enough. But generally, we eat the normal 3 meals a day and that is really all we consume.

Unless we are going on a road trip.

Then, all rules, regulations and calories go OUT THE WINDOW.

We eat. and eat. aaannnnnddddd eat.

*insert random topic switch*

The other day, I got this email saying something like “Hey, you’re super awesome and we love how many people love you you seem to have a nice little following and we would like to send you our product to try and then offer a sweet giveaway to your readers, would you mind if we did that?”

I responded with “DUH!! Here is my shipping address!”

AFTER THAT, I researched the company and made sure they were legit! (my bad, I will try harder to swap these last 2 steps in the future.)

*switching back to previous topic*

You know what snacks I actually do like that are healthy…. APPLES. I really do love a good apple. Whole or sliced. Plain or dipped in peanut butter.

Of course, the best way to enjoy an apple is on a stick, dipped and lathered in caramel…..

But, have you ever had DRIED APPLES?


*topic switch*


Bare Fruit


*topic flip flop*

We loaded up the truck, packed the few snacks I could find in the pantry and then the kids noticed the box on the front porch.

*TOPIC MERGE – watch how smooth this is!*

I squealed with delight as I opened the box….. it was my free sample (HUGE BAG) of Cinnamon Apple Chips.

Oh my heavens….DELICIOUS!

Sweet, tart, organic, crunchy, gluten free, cinnamonny deliciousness.

There is a slight chance I didn’t share much.

So, they were excited that I enjoyed their product and want to offer one of my readers a FREE CASE. Entry is EASY.

1 – Like them on Facebook – click here –> Bare Fruit on Facebook and click the little like box

2 – Enter a comment below including your name, and make sure I can contact you if you win.

Deadline to enter is Tuesday, July 24th.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, July 25th.

I will use a random comment selector to pick the winner, so make sure you enter the comment!

Alright….are you ready?



Oh….how we have been BUSY.

From camping to beach housing to laking to swimming to visiting with friends to yard working…. oh wait… one of these is not like the other….

B. U. S. Y.

Like you. Everyone I talk to is busy. It’s summer. Time to do everything. Twice.

Apparently Yes is the new No.

Ok, maybe I am the one who keeps saying Yes.

But guess what I’m NOT doing.


That’s right. I haven’t done laundry in WEEKS. Why?

Because of this.

My closet broke. My laundry bin is UNDER that giant pile.

So, we have avoided the closet. When we run out of clothes we will deal with this situation.

Thankfully it’s summer. We can virtually live in bathing suits. Occasionally, we throw something on over the swimwear. But that’s usually only for a short period of time. (you know, like a 2 hour church service, or…. actually I can’t really think of any other example…)

A towel is proper cover up, right?

At one point, the husband said he wanted to throw everything in the closet away and start over. I’m hoping he was serious.

I do see the near future involving us being unable to leave our house. And we might not be able to invite you over.

That, my friend, is when we will all be sitting around playing bingo. Yes, that’s right. BINGO.

Why, you ask?


1 – I don’t need clean clothes in order to play online games
2 – It’s NOT Facebook
3 – It totally has the word CHEEKY in the name
4 – Who doesn’t like BINGO?
5 – It’s NOT Facebook!

Preface: We overbooked a few weeks this summer but CHOSE not to back out of any of it.

A quick Friday afternoon to Sunday morning camping trip.

It’s only 50 miles away. But it will take at least 3 hours to get there.

I need a drink for this drive.


Giant love hearts. *swoooon*

One more quick stop, to “top off” the propane tank. That was already full. And we missed the minimum 5 gallon purchase sign. AT $3.47 a gallon.

That was an expensive top off.

Then we drove.

and drove.

aaannnndddd drove.

Around the lake.

For like ever.

And then we arrived.

A meadow in the middle of nowhere the trees. A little flat opening begging for tents and campers. No sign of the lake that we just drove around for HOURS.

No cell signal.

No electricity.

No toilet.

Again, no sign of the lake.

But there were bears.

I can do this.


We had a GREAT time. We laughed, we rode bikes, rode quads, played card games, shot BB Guns, paint ball guns…

Time to rush home.

Commence 3+ hour drive home.

We broke down.

Notice the CLIFF on the left side.

And the MOUNTAIN on the other side.

Enter MacGyver.

The dude has brains.


After about 45 minutes or so, he got the truck running, with fear of it shutting off again, we BOLTED. Driving like mad around this bumpy, windy, scary dirt road.

Did you hear the BUMPY part?

We hit a bump a bit too hard. Huz says “UH OH.”

With the fear of the truck shutting off, we are in super frenzy mode to check the bikes on the bike rack.

This is what they looked like at the beginning of the trip.

They did NOT look like this anymore. They where on the ground.

Giant metal hitch mount rack = broken.

In lightening speed, we unhooked and untangled all the bikes, stuffed them all inside the camper and jumped back in the truck.

We made it home.

Just in time to shower, re-pack the 8yo and drive him up to his bible camp and race back a dinner party.

I forgot what I was coming home to.

Just before we left, the closet broke. Again.


Current truck status: 98% fixed – turns out the alternator died.

Current bike status: 70% ok

Out of 4 bikes….

- one bent wheel
- one severed brake line
- one destroyed drink holder

Current closet status: 12% worse

Time to pack for the next trip.


Sure…I’ll Take Two!

Just over a year ago, I came home extremely P.O.’ed. That may be an understatement. I had been to about 7 different stores looking for any kind of stupid little pirate decor for Pirate Day at the school where I was required to build make a cake for the cake walk. (I was excited to make this cake prior to all this.)

I am not competitive or anything. I just like the stuff I make to be better than other peoples stuff uhh…store bought stuff….

So, after having ZERO luck at toy stores, dollar stores, cake shops, etc, I was stuck with the stupid cake topper set from the bakery at Walmart. It was lame.

This has little to do with my actual story, except to remind me of HOW MAD I WAS. And now behind. I only have so many hours in a day.

So, I get home, with the dumb little pirate ship garbage and prep the cake mix. As I am working in the kitchen, the door bell rings. That’s when the bouncy, happy go lucky husband comes BOUNDING down the stairs to answer the door WHILE INFORMING ME he actually INVITED the door-2-door vacuum salespeople to come in and demo their “goods”.

1. Of all the freaking days.


So, I tell them I am not in the mood, I have no time and don’t care to see their product all while never leaving the kitchen. The nice, extremely tall German lady proceeds with her demo, all while making SURE I could see her the whole time.

Steam was POURING out of every orifice I have. Seriously.

I see my husband smiling and getting all googly eyed at the ‘product’ in which he was originally told was an air filtration system…

The demo seemed to take 3 hours.

I stayed in the kitchen the ENTIRE time. Working on the stupid cake…which did turn out kinda cute in all my anger…

Meanwhile, of course he bought the super powered, spaceship looking, whole house air filtration master vacuum that can also double as a leaf blower, power washer & dog cleaner…

Scratch that. It’s just a vacuum.

But that’s totally ok, it was only like 5 grand. Ok, not really…but seemed like it at the time.

Reminds me of the time he bought the Water Softener. Or the time he bought the fancy cleaner that can’t be found in stores. Oh, and DO NOT TAKE HIM to a car dealership. He will offer to pay full price AND tip the salesman.

So, now when someone walks through the neighborhood with a clipboard or a folder or is wearing a backpack, we hide.

Last night was a reminder of this. He saw someone at the neighbors. He saw them sitting on stools on the persons front porch talking with them. He knew this could be bad. He grabbed a blanket and covered the only open window.

He made me write up a No Soliciting sign.

I think he knows his weakness. I will by all means help him conquer this weakness.

We will prevail. Even if we are held captive in the bedroom for an hour while we think they are out there.

Love you hunny! You’re just a super duper sometimes OVER-generous person!

*I feel it is UBER important to mention that since his vacuum purchase, he takes pride in vacuuming and rarely lets anyone else do it.

SCORE FOR ME!!! Big. Time.


Jenny (@jennyonthespot) is a gooood friend of mine from LOOONNNNGGGG ago (like 1999ish). She is one of the most FANTASTIC people I know. And I know a lot of people. She’s also quite famous in my eyes. Like an online superstar. Seriously, if you haven’t met her, you’re missing out. Jenny On The Spot. Or JOTS.

We hadn’t seen each other in YEARS. Like a whole lotta years. So many years that we each had offspring that we had never met.

Oh…..her offspring…. SO DANG AMAZING! Each one of them. Joel – the tenderhearted, SWEET, attentive (with the exception of when he babysat all the kids) YOUNG MAN. Then there is the quiet, witty Livi. What a beauty. And then there is sweet, little Lucy. Watch out for this one. She will have you wrapped around her fingers with just her smile.

Be still my heart.

Paul and Jenny. Our DEAR friends. It’s been WAY too long.

I just want to kiss you.

I missed many opportunities of Paul showing his love for Bry. It was fantastic. SOOO many missed photo ops. Especially while he was demonstrating how his dog likes to get attention. Those photos would have been EPIC.

2 days was NOT ENOUGH TIME. But every second was AMAZING. We LOVE you guys. We MISS you guys.

Thank you for visiting. Thank you for being even AWESOMER than, well, than a Voodoo doughnut.

Mmmm….VOODOOO doughnuts….

Until we meet again….

Let’s talk, chat, text, IM, tweet, IG, blog and FB our way through the next many years.

So much LOVE. We NEED you in our lives.