29. July 2013 · Comments Off on Boys’ Baseball Bedrooms on a Budget · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
Who needs a Fathead? For the cost of a single Fathead we were able to do all this with Jacob's room.

Who needs a Fathead? For the cost of a single Fathead we were able to do most of this with Jacob’s room.

Each time we move, we try to come up with ways to make the PCS appealing for the boys. You know, something to look forward to. In the past we have given them gifts, and we’ve also given the boys some liberties with decorating their bedrooms.

(Truth be told, the boys absolutely love it here…they’re really enjoying the hiking and the views of the mountains from throughout our house.)

For the past two houses we were in rentals, so we weren’t able to do much with the bedrooms, but in our current house we let them have a little fun. We told the boys they could come up with a theme with which we’d be willing to paint the room. They quickly agreed on baseball-themed rooms.

As always, I came up with a Pinterest board with the boys’ ideas.

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08. October 2012 · Comments Off on Happy Halloween: A Decorating Idea · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,


I love my ghosts! Last year my ghost door hanging and my 10 hanging ghosts got moldy from one too many humid Florida Octobers. So I trashed them rather then packaging them up with all of our costumes for a year.

This year I decided to make another batch of ghosts…and I figured I’d share this fun and easy homemade Halloween craft with you! And you get to recycle/repurpose plastic grocery bags, so win win for reducing waste!

Materials required:

  • One package of Gerber white flatfold diapers. I’ve included a picture of the package label below. Don’t get “prefolds”; they won’t work. You could also buy a cheap white sheet set and cut the fabric into approximately 2′ x 2′ squares.
  • Transparent monofilament, such as inexpensive fishing line. This will make the ghosts appear to float.
  • Stuffing for the heads of the ghosts: I used plastic grocery bags, preferably white ones like Walmart.
  • Twist ties or pipe cleaners

It’s all pretty straightforward: wad up 2-3 plastic grocery bags and cinch them in a diaper with a twist tie or pipe cleaner. Then thread a needle with some monofilament (about 1 yard per ghost) to make a hanging loop through the top of the head.  Simply hang them outside on your favorite tree or under your favorite eave…and let them blow in the wind!

This is the packaging to the diapers I picked up at Walmart.

We have fishing gear, so I didn’t have to travel far to find some monofilament…

Thread the monofilament through the very top of the ghost.

A gift for a GeekMom writers’ gift exchange last June.

We and our house is doing just fine with Issac.  It’s no worse than tropical storm-strength here, but my neighbors and our family are all puzzled by this dull roar that we’re hearing outside.

In the meantime, we are all stuck in the house, and the kids are off of school both today and tomorrow.  This is a quiet week for me, some Air War College reading, and preparing the family for this weekend’s trip to Atlanta for a Braves/Phillies game and Dragon*Con.

I had just realized today that I didn’t share a craft I had done this past June!  So here we go!

The ribbon wreath.

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Our family likes to go to the beach on weekends.  It’s Dave’s and my little indulgence on Sunday mornings these days: we head out around 10am and come home in time for a late lunch around 1pm.

You never know how the Gulf is going to behave on a given trip to the beach.  Sometimes there’s a ton of seaweed, sometimes there are jellyfish, sometimes the water is really deep at our favorite spot, sometimes it’s really shallow.

On our last trip, two weekends ago, the seashells were out in force and we enjoyed collecting several.

The kids have brought home buckets full of small seashells before, and they’ve mainly sat in our garage awaiting an idea.  This time the kids begged me to help them do something more fruitful than have them sit in the garage.

So I offered to buy the kids a vase and they could fill the vase with the shells.  I went to Walmart and took a look at the glass vases in the craft/candles section and thought to myself “That’s going to take forever”.

I found a hurricane glass and chose a sand-colored candle to add to the glass.  The kids filled the hurricane glass with the shells and it now sits in the bathroom to match their surf-shop bathroom look.

First we washed the shells and sat them out in the sun to dry.

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02. August 2012 · Comments Off on Summer Crafting · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Getting the family ready for Dragon*Con, Halloween and the Disney Princess running weekend all at once! I found the iron-on for stretchy-fabric paper at our local A.C. Moore.

The weather continues to get the best of us this week.  We were still able to hit the Pensacola MESS Hall again on Wednesday, and today I had some meetings on base while the kids stayed home and our neighbor’s son watched them.  With thunderstorms all around us this afternoon squelching our pool plans, I was able to catch up on some craft stuff.

Such as putting finishing touches on our Incredibles costumes.

“What in the world do you need Incredibles costumes for?”

Over Labor Day weekend, the family is heading up to Atlanta.  We got some Braves-Phillies tickets on August 31st, and then on Sept. 1-2, we are planning to visit Dragon*Con for the first time.

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23. December 2011 · Comments Off on The Annual Holiday Open House…Cute Party Idea and Recipes to Share · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
Why invest in those complicated key-ring-like wine charms when you might have a house full of THESE?

I’d heard about it from one of the GeekMoms.  I can’t remember whether it was on GeekMom itself, or one of the GeekMoms referencing another website with this idea.

I went through my kids’ THOUSANDS of Silly Bandz and found some particularly fun ones that our guests would recognize.  Spongebob and Phineas and Ferb bands made it into the batch, along with some sports-themed ones.  Folks who had the wine got a laugh out of choosing what charm to put on their glasses from the 20-or-so I had set out.

Mr. Krabs from Spongebob.

Ferb from Phineas and Ferb.

Last night we had our annual holiday open house.  We’ve tried to do this every year…this year we almost DIDN’T do it because of Dave’s back surgery recovery.  If you had asked in mid-November, the answer would have been a resounding NO.  We didn’t even decide to proceed with it till after Thanksgiving.  So long as folks had about 2 weeks notice, right?

However, I think as time goes on over the years, planning for it gets easier and easier.  I set out the cookies that I’d made this week, and set out two fondue pots: one with cheese and one with chocolate.  Diced bread, fruits, veggies and pound cake all over.

I make something for my punchbowl each year too.  Last year it was a festive rum punch that was too sweet, IMHO.  This year I attempted homemade egg nog with spiced rum and I was impressed with the flavor and texture (and I was impressed with how quickly it was consumed).  I made a double batch based on Alton Brown’s recipe, except with Myer’s Spiced Rum instead of the bourbon recommended in the recipe.

I messed up by not taking pictures of my pretty punchbowl filled with egg nog.  So I found this picture to inspire you.

We also presented these incredible bacon-cream cheese wraps that we had tasted for the first time at someone else’s holiday open house last year.  I followed the recipe linked above, except I baked them at 375F instead of 350F.  Wednesday night I hand-rolled 3 lbs. worth of bacon roll ups!  Not to gross folks out, but the bacon grease gets into the bread some and then toasts the bread up really nicely.  Yum!  Seems like a rather campy, 1950s-esque hor d’oeuvre idea, but they disappeared very quickly!

My bacon-roll-ups looked like these.  Photo by Janetishungry.blogspot.com.

We had a nice time — because it was rather close to the long holiday weekend, many of our friends were out of town, but that was okay.  As usual, I made too much food, and I’m convinced we now have more wine and beer than we started with, thanks to our guests bringing so much!  Thanks to everyone who could make it.

29. November 2011 · Comments Off on A Quick Holiday Craft Idea · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

I’ve been contemplating holiday crafts for Dave’s squadron’s Christmas party.  I’m helping to set it up.

(Oops, did I say “Christmas?”  I mean, um, “Holiday“.)

I recalled doing God’s Eyes in Girl Scouts and Sunday school when I was growing up.  With all these remnants of yarn hanging around from my HAP afghan rectangles, and a huge box of popsicle sticks in my craft drawer, this was an easy one for my kids!

With standard craft popsicle sticks, these are perfect size for the Christmas tree!

If you don’t have popsicle sticks on hand, just march out to the backyard and pick up two sticks!

It’s fun to see my kids grow in dexterity and pick up on more difficult crafts!

The kids “tested” out this craft with some multi-colored yarn, but I have a bunch of holiday colors for the party.

Timmy’s alway been my “craft” kid, and he did most of one of these with a smile!
This one is Jacob’s completed God’s eye.  Hanging on the tree!
06. November 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Dave Update:  With the kids at home to help Dave (most of the help he needs now is picking up stuff that he’s dropped, by the way), I was able to go back out to the weekend crop on Saturday and take advantage of a few more hours of making pages.  Dave had a really good day, although he’s really starting to get bored just sitting and watching TV.  He’s having trouble reading with the drugs he’s on, but hopes to get into reading a bit more once he’s off them.

After I got home from the crop, we took Dave out to dinner — his first outing since he came home from the hospital at dinnertime on Tuesday.  We just went to Vinnie R’s, a local Italian restaurant that’s right on the edge of our neighborhood (1.5 miles from home).

At about 8:30pm last night, Dave sneezed.  He typically doesn’t suppress sneezes, and he didn’t with this one.  The pain started right back up again and we felt like he was back at square one, the jolts of pain and muscle spasms immediately returned.  He was on a minimum of pain medications, so he felt every bit of the pain until he went back up the recommended dosages and could get things back under control.

This morning (Sunday), he’s feeling better.  He slept a little funny and had a knot in one of his glutes that took a couple hours to relax.  But otherwise, he’s ready for another day of sitting and healing.

Saturday’s Progress: I did 9 more pages on Saturday: 5 more pages for Timmy’s 1st year baby book and 4 pages featuring our October 2004 Bahamas cruise for our family vacations scrapbook.

Angela had proclaimed “This isn’t a competition…BUT….”.  We didn’t mean to, but we girls were definitely counting the pages we made up over the weekend.  I completed 17 pages in over the two days, which is pretty impressive for me 🙂  The other ladies will have cranked out anywhere from 25-40 pages over the weekend, but they were staying at the hotel and had 18 hours per day available…I did not.

One of the ladies gave me a ton of design help on Timmy’s 1st Christmas pages.  I realized how far into the stone age I am with my styles.  I broke out my circa 2002 Coluzzle and you’d have thought I was breaking out Medusa’s head, lol!

Things have come a long way since the days I last did marathon cropping, back when we were stationed at Patrick AFB and I’d get together with Angie, Kasi and Suzy for afternoon crafts about once a month or so.  For the first time, this weekend I was able to try out a Xyron sticker machine, a Cuttlebug cutter/embosser, and the electronic Cricut paper cutter system (with an infinite choice of cartridges!).  I could get lots of use out of the Xyron and should probably buy one, but the Cricut scared me to death!

Dave should be proud that I did all of these pages without paying a DIME for any new scrapbooking materials — only a payment into the meeting room at the hotel, and about $30 worth of photos that I had printed up at our local Walgreens.  Although I now want to hit up A.C. Moore and stock up on some of the latest and greatest!  With a 40% coupon, of course!

I’ve completed 13 pages of Timmy’s first year scrapbook and probably have about 6-7 more pages in mind.  They aren’t chronological (I have a traditional baby book that documents his first-year milestones), but rather fun collections of pictures I had of him in his first year, such as eating, bathtime, and family gatherings.  Jacob has a similar book that I finished several years ago.

These title letters came from the Cricut machine.  We also embellished some of the Christmas trees in the header paper with glitter.

Some captioning went into the lower left.

We took a cruise in October 2004, just after Jacob turned two years old.  Dave’s Mom joined us and we had a lot of fun.  We squeezed it in between all those hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004.

That pic of Jacob in the upper left is one of my favorites in the whole world, and Walgreens cut off the word “Pirate” that was written above “Jacob” on the hat (because these are digital prints being blown up into 4×6 size or something like that).  The Carnival Kids Club had the kids dress up as pirates and “attack” one of the restaurants and cause all sort of mayhem.

This was from our visit to the Nassau Zoo.  These were the friendliest flamingos we’ve ever seen.

I further embellished this page with homemade stickers of gas station pumps and tanks (hence the strange caption).  We have so many pictures of Timmy eating and drinking — always so happy.

Just before I left for the evening, we got to watch a sunset beach wedding out the window.  We had fun coming up with our own stories of how the couple met and what their circumstance was for having a wedding with only a bride, groom, clergyman, photographer and three flowergirls.  We had two hypotheses: a husband and wife privately renewing their vows with their three daughters, or a servicemember quietly marrying a single Mom of three girls just before he takes a deployment.

Thanks to my maximum zoom on my iPhone camera, you too can watch a sunset beach wedding!  The bride is just off the picture to the left.  There are three flowergirls walking from the stairs to the aisle drawn into the sand.

The bride is standing right under the pirate flag.

It wasn’t that warm (upper 60s), and it was rather windy, as you can see from the bridal veil.

05. November 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Dave Update:  Friday was a pretty good day for him.  He was able to rest very comfortably, and after the kids came home from school he walked up and down our block — the kids walked the dog.  With the back brace he’s keeping very nice posture while he back heals…

He’s looking great, and moving decently all things considered.  His spirits are high during the day.  By evening as the medications wear off he’ll get pretty worn out.  Which means he’s sleeping well at night…

Well before Dave’s surgery was scheduled, I had arranged with a childhood friend Angela to meet for a weekend of scrapbook cropping on November 3-5 with some other ladies.  We pool our resources — such as all those computerized, digitized tools that I haven’t invested in yet — and banter ideas back and forth.  I love doing these, and I hadn’t been to a crop since I was stationed in eastern Florida right after Timmy as born!  Most of the ladies booked rooms at a hotel on the beach and we rented one of the hotel’s meeting rooms to do the cropping, but my plan was to do marathon cropping during the day and sleep at home at night.

Our view from the meeting room we rented to crop.

We’re playing it by ear, but today I was able to go out and join in on the crop briefly while the boys were at school.  Dave stayed home and since I wasn’t far away, I could be back quickly if there were problems.

Enjoy some of the pages I made Friday for Timmy’s first-year scrapbook.  I did 8 pages…many of which I started at the crop and then finished at home tonight.  As I finished each page at the crop I took quick phone photos and texted (ahem, iMessaged them) to Dave.  They aren’t great photos here, and the scrapbooking supplies took a beating during our PCS last year so we have lots of upturned corners.  Make sure you see the last picture, it’s my favorite of the bunch…

If Dave is still doing well, I would like to go back Saturday and see if I can crank out 8 more pages.  I’m taking the ladies a lasagna, at a minimum…

There’s a page to the left of this titled “FIRST”, that looks the same with four other visitors (mostly family).
This is a pre-made page that I won as a door prize at a Stampin’ Up…or was it a Creative Memories? Party.  Today I just had to add the pictures and the word cutouts.

Some “journaling” (i.e. captioning) will go on the right side of this page.
A caption will go in the lower right.
My favorite so far.  Thanks to Angela for her Sizzix that makes “shadow” letters that made this so much fun to do…

07. August 2011 · Comments Off on Timmy’s Apple Tree · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

About a month ago, when our friends the Goldmans were visiting from North Carolina, Timmy and Johnny had apples as a snack.

“Um, okay…I guess that’s exciting…”

Wait, there’s more!  I promise!

Timmy typically makes one pass around an apple, taking off the skin and any flesh underneath that the first set of bites will cover.  Then he calls himself done.  He doesn’t eat any part of the apple that doesn’t have skin in the same bite.  Frustrating, but at least he’s eating apples.  He eats 3-4 per week, can’t complain about that….

Johnny, on the other hand, is very good about eating as much of the apple as he can, and he left a minimal core behind, complete with the seeds exposed.

Timmy had never noticed the seeds in the core before, and immediately wanted to plant the seeds from Johnny’s apple core.  Amidst all the chaos of our friends visiting, I made Timmy set the seeds aside and promised to plant them when things had calmed down some.  I needed time to prepare a place for the seeds to go and I didn’t want to do it yet.

We had a planter that the boys made at Lowe’s last year, complete with a window in the front to let you see the root action.  I had to clean out the dead carrot plant debris and refilled the container w/ fresh soil.  We planted the two seeds on July 13th.  I wasn’t optimistic.

On the 18th, the boys flew up to their grandparents’ house in New York.  So far, the container hadn’t done much, but on the 22nd, this is what we had:

Here it is on the 26th, just before I left for New York to pick up the kids:

And this morning:

Timmy’s so excited about this, and I’m glad I let him go forward with this experiment, against my better judgement.  Timmy’s already making plans about where to plant the apple “tree” when it’s big enough to plant outside.  He pointed to a corner of the backyard and declared “It needs to go HERE!”

Again, I’m not optimistic…apple trees don’t typically grow in this part of the country.  I have a large patio planter that we can use, if it comes to that.