Friday, November 28, 2008

Surf's Up Saturday- Twilight on the Brain

Ok, I am not ashamed to admit that I will join the millions of teenagers who swoon at the name Edward Cullen and are waiting very impatiently to see the movie Twilight. I read the first book about 2 weeks ago and haven't been able to put the series down. I was so desperate to read the final book that I downloaded the audio book to my laptop since that was the only thing available. =) (Seriously, read these books if you love a good romance mixed in with good old fashioned vampire mythology!!) I have been facinated with vampires since about 6th grade taking it to the point where I couldn't sleep unless my head was turned left since I read somewhere that vampires only bite the left side of your neck...yes I know that is totally silly! Here are some great sites and things devoted to vampires and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer!
Monstropedia- great resource for anyone interested in monsters, including vampires!

Bookends inspired by the Twilight series by PatreskaPapers

Twilight Bracelet by Millie5328

(Another great series about teenage vampires!)

Craft: Make your own Vampire's Blood
What you need:
- 1 cup corn syrup
- Liquid soap
- Water
- Red food coloring
- Green food coloring (optional)
1. In a bowl, mix the corn syrup with some water. Keep adding water until you get a thick consistency. 2. Add a few drops of liquid soap and mix it together. Note: Do not use if you have any skin allergies. 3. Add the red food coloring and put it in the fridge. Once it hardens, use it your face and body to turn into a scary vampire! Tip: If you want the blood to look more realistic, add a few drops of green food coloring.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What I Am Thankful For

The other dy I had the kids make Thanksgiving Thankful Turkeys where they had to write what they are thankful for on the feathers. It was so cute hearing what they were thankful for, Gabby was thankful for spiders, chocolate milk, and mommy who keeps AJ out of her stuff. But it made me think about all the things I am grateful for, especially with all that has happened this last year and with Klint and I coming up on our 5 yr anniversary. So here is the list:

I am thankful for....
* having healthy kids who are the light of my life
* being able to stay at home with the kids
* having a great dance studio where I teach 4 days a week
* finding a great dog who adores me and the family....she is such a treasure!
* still having our house amist all this housing crisis and financial meltdown
* having the ability to create pretty things that people want to spend money on, my wardrobe thanks you!!

and of course I am thankful for having my wonderful husband who hopefully will soon be joining the Lakewood police force. He keeps me sane when the kids try to tie me up and even on no sleep tries to help where he can with the mayhem! =)

Well... I am sure that there is more but that is what comes to mind at first. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone and eat up!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Surf's Up Sunday- Green Goes with Everything

When I go to the library most of the time I never really know what I am looking for. I will browse the various sections and I will just randomly pick up books to read. I do choose a book by it's cover (and it's intro on the back!) but this method rarely fails me. This week I happened to pick up a book called Green Goes with Everything by Sloan Barnett.

As soon as I started reading the intoduction I was hooked... and terrified at the same time. I wanted to run into the kitchen and throw away every cleaning product that I had, then move onto the refrigerator, the bathrooms, basically every room in the house. Now, I know that the purpose of the book wasn't to scare me, but ever since I read the first chapter I am scrutinizing everything that touches my family a lot harder. So in honor of this new chapter of green in our house here are some eco-friendly links and retailers that have caught my eye!!
VivaTerra : I love interior design and this design catalog has been coming to my house long before I switched from Palmolive to Method! The pieces are so natural and lovely, everything looks classy yet functional. When I make my millions my home will be full of items from this fabulous company! One of my wish list pieces is this coat rack made out of entwined roots. And who could pass up these wonderful floor pillows that look like smooth stones? : A great company that makes going green easy as pie! Green-kits are made by Eco-Logics, Inc., a Virginia-based company committed to providing earth friendly products of all kinds. These include leading brands of non-toxic household products and environmentally-friendly paper and household goods, organic baby and personal care products, and sustainable grocery bags. The prices are more than reasonable and there are many kits to choose from! My favorite is the All Green Clean Kit seen below for only $35!! (Now go purge your kitchen and go clean green!)
Baby Bunz & Co: This site is a really great resource for any mom who is thinking about reusable diapers, changing to green baby products, or just looking for something new and different for a mother to be. I have heard many great things about the diaper brand Fuzzy Bunz but I am really tempted to try Weleda Diaper Care Cream for miss AJ's rash prone tushy. : Of all the greal blogs and green sites that I have read this is one of the classiest and has the most diverse resources, without all the preachy-ness that eco sites nowadays can so easily get. I love the article called Don't Be a Turkey, Have a Green Thanksgiving, there are too many good ideas there to name!

What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another. - Gandhi

Friday, November 21, 2008

Calling All Mothers!!!

Check out this project flying around the blogsphere.... just read the post from Rocks In My Dryer and you will get a warm fuzzy feeling inside.... there is a lucky woman out there who has one great guy for a hubby!

I feel so inspired right now... I am sorry this is so short but I have to go write an important letter!

Click here for a direct link to The Mother Letter Project

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cinnamon Bird Ornaments

Although these whimsical birds look and smell like gingerbread cookies, their sparkling plumage hints at their true nature as sweet works of art. This sturdy flock -- including a cardinal and chickadee, among other birds -- will migrate each Christmas to decorate the tree. The birds are not meant to be eaten, though, however enticing they may be.

Tools and Materials
2 medium bowls
1 cup ground cinnamon
1/4 cup applesauce
Craft glue
Rolling pin
Bird templates
Utility knife, or bird-shaped cookie cutters
One straw
Wire Rack
Paper towels
Baking sheet
Glitter and beads
Bottle with applicator tip
Length of thin ribbon for each ornament
Tissue paper, for storing


Step 1: In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup ground cinnamon and 1/4 cup applesauce using a rubber spatula. (I used about 1/3 cup of applesauce because my dough was too dry to shape or roll out)

Step 2: Stir in 1/2 cup craft glue. Stir the dough until consistency is smooth and dry. Let stand 1 hour. Applesauce gives the dough pliability, glue makes it firm, and cinnamon imparts a lovely fragrance and a gingerbread color.

Step 3: Turn out one-quarter of dough onto a cool, flat surface; flatten with your hands.

Step 4: Flatten with a rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick. If dough becomes too dry, spritz with water. If it sticks to rolling pin or work surface, sprinkle with additional cinnamon.

Step 5: Photocopy bird templates onto card stock (these are enlarged roughly 150 percent); cut them out, punching holes where indicated. Lay a template over dough; cut out shape with a utility knife (or use bird-shaped cookie cutters). Repeat with each of three remaining quarters of dough.

Step 6: With a straw, poke a hole in dough as indicated on template (for hanging). Air-dry ornaments on a wire rack lined with paper towels for 24 hours, turning them over every 6 hours or so to keep them flat. Alternatively, preheat oven to 200 degrees. Transfer ornaments to a baking sheet; bake, flipping once, until dry, about 2 hours.

Step 7: (As you decorate, proceed from the finest embellishment to the coarsest, adding glitter, then beads in order of size.) Using a bottle with an applicator tip, spread craft glue over the area you wish to decorate. While glue is still wet, sprinkle with glitter or beads, holding ornament over a bowl as you work; tap off excess. Work with one area at a time, letting it dry at least 30 mins before doing another section of your piece.

Step 8: Thread a length of ribbon through ornament's hole, trim the ends to prevent fraying, and knot. Once you take the ornaments off the tree, store them, wrapped individually in tissue paper, in a cool, dry place.

That's it! Simple as can be! You can find this and more ideas at Martha, you are my hero! =P

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cleveland Craft Show Opportunity!

If any of my fellow Cleveland gals out there are interested in participating in a craft show here is your chance. My dance studio - Rock City Dance- in Middleburg Heights is hosting a craft show on Dec 13th at 1-6pm. It is a "bring your own table" event and only costs $10 to hold a place.
I will be there with all my clippy glory and hope you will come too!!! It is sure to be a hit and just in time for the holidays!

For more info email: or call 440.243.4999

(Oh, and come try out my adult beginner tap class! It is a blast!!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Name My New Line of Products

Ok, so a new day, a new project, and a fresh outlook on life after spilling my tears and putting all the drama on a shelf. I am starting a new product line, not on Etsy since the market is so flooded there, for little girls. I am now selling hair clips and hair clip holders of evey size, shape, and color. And since there is going to be a craft show at Rock City Dance it is a great opportunity to do some great selling. But I need a name for this line since Zen Design Studio just isn't cutesy enough for me. I want to stick with the Buddha, Zen, Panda thing I have going on and need some fresh ideas for a name. Here are some possibilities- Lil Buddha Baby, Buddhaful Baby, Zen & Tao, Zen & Now.

What do you think would be cute?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

When Enough is Enough

When does one finally throw in the towel and just accept the fact that you cannot make your family care about you or what you have made your life be? My heart has been broken too many times by my family, so many times that I had to move two states away from them just to get some peace.

I find myself so envious of all my friends who have family, I have been my whole life. I figured that when I was grown up I would be able to just have a civil relationship with what little family I have left and I wouldn't care about the severe lack of effort on their part to be a real part of my life. But I still find myself in the same place- upset because once again because I believed for one fleeting second that this time things would be different and I would finally be cared about. Silly, foolish girl.

What hurts the most is that there is nothing I can do about it. Family isn't something you can buy, rent, steal, and you cannot make people care about you no matter how great you have made your life. There are times that I think that if I would have been a screw up like all my siblings people would haved cared a whole lot more than they do now.

How sad is it that my aunt, who was my legal guardian, missed my wedding (it was held 30 mins away from where she lives), my first house, the birth and every birthday of BOTH my girls, and every single great moment of my teen to adult life. And what does it say about me that I keep coming back for more?

Sigh... I am very thankful for my great husband who married into this mess of a family- I give him real credit for not running for the hills when I laid out my childhood in the foster care system. And I firmly believe that all of this has made me a better mother to my children. But I don't even want to think about how I am going to explain all this to my girls. Empty branches on family trees always raise questions.

I have no clue where to go from here... I want to get out of this destructive cycle but am torn between the hope that things will change and the reality that they are how they are. Meditation, therapy, coffee? Where is Doctor Phil with his words of wisdom?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Surf's Up Saturday- DIY Day!

In my efforts to keep the gifting simple this year I have gone through and picked some great DIY tutorials for all your crafty ladies to try. I am sure that there are a lot more great how-to's out there but hopefully these will get you started!

1. Quiet Book from Martha Stewart What a great idea, a page for each season and quiet felt and shapes to keep a child occupied during quiet times like a car ride and while waiting in a doctor's office!!

2. Paper Fortune Cookies by For the Love of Paper - A perfect centerpiece for a dinner or party, or just to keep on the table for a new fortune everyday!!

3. Beautiful but Easy Silhouette Display by Wondertime Magazine - I would love to try this technique for the girls, they are so classy and timeless!

4. Diaper Cake by Homemade by Jill - I have never had a diaper cake but if I did I would definitely want it to look like this! It is elegant and has room to add extras like socks and onesies. Perfect!!

5. Bird Mobile by Spool Sewing - Love Love Love this! In fact I love it so much that I put in a custom work request on Etsy to have people bid to make one for AJ's room! (If you are reading this and want the job let me know- I am sewing impaired!!) I don't know if this is an easy project or not, but it is too pretty to pass up!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Perfect Christmas

Every year people talk about how early the store put out the Christmas propaganda and it seems as I get older that as soon as Halloween is done everywhere you look screams "BUY ME". Well this year I am taking a stand against all the madness, the buying, and the silliness of the season. Now, don't get me wrong... I get excited when I see the wreaths out, hear Santa Baby on the radio, and smell cookies and hot cocoa. But it is because I associate those things with family get togethers, dinners with relatives long distance, and watching my kid's faces light up when they hear that Santa is watching. I have been thinking a lot about what my ideal Christmas would be and how to achieve it, what the holidays mean to us (great food and family!), and what my kids will actually remember come Feb when all the lights are gone and all the wrapping paper is put away. Here is my plan:

No Black Friday Shopping- Really, who needs to sit in line to checkout for hours with a bunch of Chinese-made plastic toy that their kids are going to break in the first hour of play anyhow?? I am doing all my shopping online as much as possible from Etsy and stores like that.

I am putting a stop to all the crazy gift giving for the girls. Instead of trying to get them everything they (and we) think they want/need I am limiting it to 4 things: one they want, one they need, one to wear, and one to read. (Thank you Wondertime Magazine for that idea!) We are going to make sure that presents given by family are also beneficial, no more nonsense that doesn't have any use after the initial 5 minutes.

Stockings are going to have coupons good for things that are more time oriented, like a Day With Daddy for Gabby and a Day of Video Gaming for Klint, along with some little things from World Market like foreign candy and bangles from India.

Well, that is all I can think of for now, I am sure that there will be more things but at least those items hit on the things that make me the most nutsy. What things are you going to do to make the holiday season a little bit simpler and mean a little bit more?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Surf's Up Sunday- Christmas Shopping on Etsy

I don't really have theme per se... but I have been doing a lot of list making for Christmas shopping. For the first time in ages I am not going out on Black Friday, instead we are keeping the gifting low key and will be choosing quality over quantity for the gifts we give. So here are some picks that I have checked out and marked for gift giving! (Click on the pic for the details!)

Friday, November 7, 2008

So Very Yappy Happy!

I love getting packages in the mail, especially from Etsy! Today was no different and I got a package that I just had to share with everyone: Spooky's new dog tag from I actually found the seller on Etsy, where I find all my best items.
The tag is not only as crisp and clear as the picture but looks just like an OH state driver's license. It has all of the info too that a standard license would have which is sooo important in case your dog gets away from you. Luckily, although Spooky does have a tendency to follow her nose, she always comes back quickly. It is light and seems incredibly durable. I am pleased beyond belief!
This tag is a MUST for any dog lover, especially those who have dogs that are much faster than we are! The seller and creator of this great product is a fabulous lady to work with, I loved everything about this experience!!

Conversation of the Day

me: So what should we do with the kids today? (I am watching 4 kids along with my two!)
hubby: Well... give me an hour and I can have 5 holes dug.
me: But we have 6 kids today!
hubby: Well we can't bury the baby! That is just wrong!! What we are going to do is just bury them up to their necks, and give AJ a shovel. She can pick a friend to dig out.... or just smack them all in their heads. Either way it is fun!

This is why I can survive watching 6 kids at a time- humor.... and a little duck tape!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We Did It

I love this line from his speech last night: "....we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America."

I have high hopes, as does the world, for the next four years for the USA. I believe that if Obama does a 10th of what he says he will do that it will mean big changes and new direction for everyone, especially the middle class. Hopefully the world will respect us again and we can fix this economical mess that has disabled our country so much.

Congrats Mr. President Elect Barack Obama!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Did You Vote???

Go exercise your right that so many worked hard for you to have, have your voice be heard and make a difference in the world!
This election was so interesting for me from the time when the parties were choosing their candidates to now when it all comes down to us, the common citizen, voting. I was torn for a second or two, but after going to the group's websites that I am concerned with and reading who they are supporting and why, my mind was made up. (As the sign on my front lawn shows!)
We took the kids with us to the voting station and showed them what we are doing, why it was important, and they were so good. (Although they do have a tendency to shout Barak Obama randomly because they think his name is cool) =)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

To Each Her Own

After reading a couple of blogs regarding Halloween I am struggling to remember that each person has to find his or her own path to enlightenment. There is something so wrong to me about people passing judgement on others for celebrating a holiday that today consists of little more than playing dress up and then getting candy from neighbors, in the name of their religion. Most of us, yes even those of us who are *GASP* not Christian, do not make our children sacrifice pets to Satan or go around naked on Halloween trying to raise the dead. And for those of you who chose to not celebrate because of Halloween's origins, how is celebrating the end of the harvest season offensive you? Of course there are groups who do see Halloween as a satanic ritual, but there are also groups who are self proclaimed Christians who have sex with teens and have many wife's in God's name. Both groups are small and not the norm.

Sigh.... there is so much more that my head wants to say, but I think that it would do better for my heart to just know that in the end anger is like taking poison yourself and then wishing your enemy ill, it does no one any good. I can only hope that those who are so closed minded will find their path somehow.

Our Halloween

Halloween is definitely one of our favorite holidays, in fact for Gabby it is THE holiday. Forget about presents, candy, and fireworks... for her Halloween is a treat that is counted down for the way most kids count down until Christmas eve or their birthdays. Every time we went into a store we had to walk by all the decorations and if anyone wants any ideas on what to get her for Christmas- just pick a Halloween decoration and wrap it up- you ill be a hit!!! =)

We love learning about how Halloween started and what it means to different people, how some people celebrate it with ritual and reverence while others see it as a chance to scare every child within a city block (like my neighbors who hire professional actors to scare kids AND adults!). We always choose our costumes soon after Halloween ends to save a few dollars and to have something to anticipate. This year Gabby had her choice of three costumes thanks to loving family and last year's buy, she was a pirate for dance class, a winter fairy to actually go trick or treating, and a genie for Boo at the Zoo. Miss AJ was a pretty little kitten just like her mama!

Since Klint had to work that night and I was on my own we chose to go out for the first hour and then hand out candy for the second which worked out really nicely. Aside from the fact that it cut down on Gabby's candy intake (she still got more than a whole bag's worth!) it gave her a chance to hand out candy too and meet lots of kids. AJ loved going around to people and visiting, although she did decline many offers for candy.

Here are some pics from this year and we already decided that AJ is going to be a cowgirl next year and Gabby is going to be a witch, her favorite Halloween symbol!

A little genie at Boo at the Zoo

My little winter fairy

A pair of kitties!

Going to the next house!

Gabby looking at all the costumed kids!

Mama and Kitten at Boo at the Zoo
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