Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Memorial Day Walk and Baseball Game

J had to work on Memorial Day so we did our grilling out on Sunday. We didn't really have any plans for Monday but on our way home from the store yesterday I noticed that the American Legion was hosting a Memorial Day baseball game at the baseball park very near our home. So I decided that Noah and I would walk down there and watch a bit of it if he wanted to. 

Noah seemed excited about it so we headed down towards the baseball park to our usual little spot where we watch. (I can't get his wheelchair in the actual park by myself so we usually go to a spot on the back side of the park where there is a little area I can push his wheelchair up to for him to see.) He enjoyed watching so we stayed there for awhile. 

Then we decided (Ok, I decided) we were going to walk just a little bit further to a Veteran's Memorial Park. It was only about 8 minutes (walking time) away from where we were so we headed there. I had been wanting to go there for awhile and take pictures but just hadn't done so yet and Memorial Day seemed like a fitting day to do so. The Veteran Memorial Park houses a large memorial wall that lists the name of soldiers in our county who lost their lives during various wars. Noah was pretty patient while I took some photos. 

Then we headed towards home which is also back towards the baseball park. Noah signed more baseball so we stopped and watched a few more minutes before heading home.

We had a fun little Memorial Day walk! What did you do on Memorial Day?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chicken Parmigiana Burger

I've never really been a burger girl (especially traditional burgers with beef - ew) but lately I'm loving different types of burgers and doing innovative things with burgers thanks to a couple of blogs, cookbooks, and friends. Plus burgers are great and easy when cooking for guests at summer cookouts and gatherings. 

So when I read this  recipe for Chicken Parmigiana Burgers on one of my favorite recipe blogs, Gina's Skinny Recipes, I thought it sounded like a different and delicious take on burgers but the problem was the tomato sauce. I can't eat it so I had to make some changes and what resulted is one yummy burger!

Ingredients Needed: (This makes 4 burgers)
1 lb lean ground chicken
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1 Roma tomato (You could use any type of tomato actually but Romas are the only kind I can stomach because they are the least acidic.) 
4 Basil Leaves
4 very thin slices of part skim mozzarella 
4 whole wheat hamburger buns
1/2 TBSP Light Parmesan Peppercorn Salad Dressing

1. Mix the ground chicken with the garlic powder, basil, and oregano. Form into 4 patties. Put the patties in the freezer for about 5 minutes before cooking; this keeps them from falling a part when you cook them. 
2. Cook your burgers for about 5 minutes on each side until cooked throughout. (You can do this either in a pan on the stove or on the grill.)
3. While your burgers are cooking, toast your buns if so desired. (You can do this either on the grill or in the oven on broil.) 
4. Once your burgers are cooked on both sides, top each burger with a Basil leaf, 1-2 slices of tomato, and the cheese. Leave on the grill or in the pan for an additional minute or so while the cheese melts. 
5. Place each burger on a bun bottom. Brush a little bit of the Light Parmesan Peppercorn dressing on each bun top. 
6. Dig in and enjoy! 

Happy Memorial Day! 

Linking to the parties listed in my sidebar

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Quote of the Week: Catches your Heart

"There are many things in life that will catch your eye, 
but only a few will catch your heart.... 
pursue those."
 ~ Author Unknown

Saturday, May 28, 2011

One Year Post Scoliosis Surgery

One year ago today Noah had his Scoliosis surgery. (This is the post I wrote one year ago today in the wee hours of the morning before waking Noah up and driving to the hospital. It brought tears to my eyes to re-read it.) Oh what a scary and stressful time and experience that was. At times it seems like such a distant memory that it feels like it was years ago while at other times I can recall all the nervous and scared feelings like it was just yesterday. Thankfully to Jesus, our friends and family, all of those who prayed and sent cards to Noah via his card drive, we made it through that experience. 

One year post surgery, Noah is doing GREAT! He rarely has pain anymore. He'll wince occasionally when he is lifted and sometimes his back will bother him if it rains or is very cold and the doctor said that those are little things he might have to deal with for the rest of his life but the improvement is so drastic and great that I think dealing with that is worth it. 

And you may be wondering how will we celebrate this one year post surgery milestone? Well, Noah said he wanted Rice Krispie treats so we'll be toasting those! 

Friday, May 27, 2011

It's Not Acceptable

Love this new PSA featuring Lauren Potter and Jane Lynch from Glee. 

Go to the Spread the Word to End the R-Word website for more information and to sign the pledge

On Forgetting

Every Friday, I'm joining other bloggers for 5 Minute Friday (hosted by Gypsy Mama) to take just five uninterrupted minutes to write from the heart. 

This week's prompt: On Forgetting

There are so many things in life that I want to forget like failing geometry in high school, a speeding ticket, or all the dumb mistakes I made in my youth. 

But as I always am in life, I'd rather focus on the positive and in this case the things I do not want to forget. There are certain moments in time I live over in my head and my heart on occasion to make sure they are never forgotten and embedded into my mind for life. 

I hope I never forget the overwhelming love I felt the first time I saw Noah. Here I was, practically just meeting the little boy, and the overwhelming love I felt for him almost knocked me over. I hope I never forget his tiny fingers and precious little newborn nose an how he was so anxious to be in the world that he came so early. I hope I never forget those weeks of worry spent in the NICU and then the pride and joy I felt finally felt when we were released to go home, such a simple milestone for most babies. 

And even though it is bittersweet to remember, I hope I never forget the love I saw on my second son's mother's face as I placed him in her open arms. I hope I never forget the days he and I spent together in the hospital when he was all "mine."

I hope I never forget the amazing feelings I felt on my wedding day as I married my best friend and soul mate. It took many trials and mistakes to find him but it was worth it to be so happy and surrounded by love from family and friends. 

There are so many other things in life I hope I never forget; memories with my family and friends, stories they have told me, where I was during important moments of history and so on but my five minutes are up. 

Check out this week's 5 Minute Friday Link Up to read others' thoughts on forgetting.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Let's Talk about Pinning

So many people have been asking me about Pinterest lately that I decied to just write a post about it so I can direct them here! (ha!)

So, you are probably wondering what exactly is Pinterest? Well, it's a website where you can basically create a virtual inspiration board. You can "pin" (think store, catalog, or save) ideas you see for home decor, recipes you like, party ideas, craft ideas, products you like, make a wish list, and so much more. 

I know what you might be thinking - the same thing I was thinking when I first heard of Pinterest - I don't want/need another site to log into, put things on, follow people on, etc. In fact, I avoided Pinterest for a bit because of that. 

Let me back up and tell you how I was doing things.... I like to read blogs and have various crafting and home decor blogs in my Google Reader. When I would see a project I really liked, I'd save it in a file on my computer. After a bit of time, the files grew larger and larger. And if I wanted to find something, it was a chore to do so. 

Enter Pinterest.... You can custom create your own boards so I have boards for home decor, craft ideas, recipes, etc. When you see a project you like, you simply copy/paste the URL of the project into the "add a pin" form at Pinterest. I even have a board called "my wish list" where I have pinned things that I would like for my birthday or Christmas and intend to link that to my Mom and hubby. There's also a "pin it" button you can download for your browser and when you see something you want to pin, you just click on it in your tool bar and the form pops up asking you what board you want to save it to, etc. 

So, I'm not saying Pinterest is for everyone. I'm just explaining what it is and how it is helping me. I'm glad I didn't stick to my initial reaction though and gave it a chance. It has made saving and finding things that I like a heck of a lot easier!

And if you like you can click to

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Last Miracle League Game of the Season

The spring season of Miracle League has come to end. Noah had a blast and is a little sad it is over. He sure does enjoy the games and having his Granddad be his buddy and we sure do enjoy watching them. 
These pictures are from the last game which was last week. 

Linking to Special Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs and Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Moms

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

All You Ever Wanted to Know about Freezer Paper Stenciling

Since I have posted projects using the freezer paper stenciling technique, I've had multiple questions about it and requests for a tutorial so here we go.... 

First, let me explain some elements of freezer paper stenciling and what you'll need and then I'll get into the step by step process. (Note: This post might be a little long but I'm trying to be as comprehensive as possible!) 

What is Freezer Paper Stenciling?
The basic gist of freezer paper stenciling is that (once your design is cut out and we'll talk about that in a second) you can iron it SHINY side down to whatever you are painting on and it creates your stencil. Then you paint it, let it dry, and peel up your stencil. You will be using the negative space to create your stencil. For example, if you are wanting to use a "C" you would you discard the actual "C" and use the outline as your stencil.

You can freezer paper stencil on just about any type of fabric. I personally have used this technique on t-shirts, baby onesies, and tote bags. But I have also seen it done on  canvas, throw pillows, place mats, pillowcases, dish towels, etc. 

The Freezer Paper
Let's talk about the freezer paper its self. Freezer paper is similar to wax paper except it has a shiny side and a dull side. (Wax paper will NOT work for these type of projects.) I bought my gigantic roll of freezer paper at  Walmart for about 6 dollars.  It is a huge roll though (150 square feet!) and will probably last a long time! It was located right by the wax paper and aluminum foil. 

Cutting your Design
I use my Silhouette machine to make my stencils. I simply choose whatever I am going to cut in the Silhouette software, size it how I need it, and then let the machine cut it. I use the blue blade cap and cut on the same settings as if I were cutting vellum. If you do not have a Silhouette machine or another type of personal cutter, you could always find an image or words online, print it out, then trace it onto the freezer paper, and cut it out with an exacto knife. 

Painting your Stencil
You could use fabric paint for these projects but since I already had a lot of acrylic paint I thought it would be more economical to just use the acrylic paint mixed with a fabric textile medium. The fabric textile medium can be found at your local craft store and once you have mixed it with the acrylic paint, it makes the paint softer and makes it able to withstand being laundered. If you are using the medium, follow the directions on the back of the bottle as to how much to mix with the paint. I do 2 parts of paint to 1 part of the medium. Be careful with this, if your paint is too runny, it will seep through the stencil. (Yep, I learned this the hard way.)


When I first started freezer paper stenciling I only did quotes, sayings, and words but soon branched out to shapes, objects, and animals. Doing an object or a shape is a little different than doing letters because (unless you are just doing a silhouette of an object) you usually need to do more than one color and layer. I'm going to use the T onesie I showed you yesterday as an example of layering. With it, I needed to iron down the T, paint it, then move on to the turtle, and lastly the grass. This required me ironing the turtle down on top of a portion of the yellow T. I was worried about that but finally just went for it and it was fine! It didn't mess up my iron, the paint, or anything.

How to Freezer Paper Stencil 
So, I'm going to walk you through the steps with pictures using a little tote bag that I stenciled on a quote as an example. 

1. Cut your stencil out of freezer paper. If you have done this with a Silhouette machine or another personal cutter machine, you'll peel your freezer paper off your cutting mat. If you are doing words, be sure to save all the little parts that go in the letters like the p, a, o, etc... Discard or set aside your words or design. 

2. Using your iron on high heat (with NO steam) iron down the stencil SHINY SIDE DOWN. (If you iron it shiny side up, it is going to stick to your iron and make a mess.) I make a couple of passes over the entire stencil with my iron. 

3. If your stencil involves letters, you'll need to iron down the little parts that go inside the letters. I find it best to use tweezers to peel the little pieces off my cutting mat and then use the tweezers to get the little pieces where they need to go. Once I have all the little pieces ironed down, I'll pass the iron over the entire stencil one more time for good measure. 

4. Now paint your stencil. I just use a regular paint brush although I do know others who prefer to do this with sponge brush but I like using a small paint brush instead so use whatever you feel comfortable with and just paint away. You really don't have to worry about staying in the lines when you are painting (at least I don't!) but just be sure not to jostle or bump the stencil too much or the paint will seep through. Also, around the edges of the stencil, do not make large strokes. I usually just kind of pulse the brush up and down or make very small strokes around the edges of the stencil.

5. Let your paint dry. If you think it needs a second coat, let it dry 3-4 hours and then put on a second coat. I almost always do 2 coats. I just think it looks better and gives better coverage. Once your paint is dry (usually 3-4 hours) you can easily peel off your freezer paper. If you did words, you'll need to use your tweezers again to peel up all the little pieces. 
6. Lastly you'll need to heat set your paint. I turn my garment/bag inside out and iron on the back side of the paint. Then I turn it back to the right side, lay a piece of cloth over the painted portion and iron for a minute.

So, I hope this helps those of you wanted to learn about freezer paper stenciling. If you have any questions don't hesitate to email me or leave me a comment. I'll do my best to answer your questions. 

And if you do give freezer paper stenciling a try, I'd love to see your projects! 

(Linking up to the link lists listed in my sidebar)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cute Little Baby Onesies

Noah's PCA recently asked me if I would decorate some onesies for a friend of hers who is about to have a baby boy. She bought 3 onesies - 2 white and 1 blue and white striped - and basically told me I could do whatever I wanted to decoration wise. 

So I broke out my trusty Silhouette machine and created Freezer Paper stencils for each of the onesies. I'm finished with them now and love how they turned out. 

I orginally got the idea for this puppy dog face onesie from here. I looked for something similar in the Silhouette store but couldn't find anything so I just created my own design. 

I have been dying to make a tie onesie for awhile now. This tie was purchased from the Silhouette store and it actually came with two ties; one polka dot and one striped. 

The baby's name begins with a T so I created an initial onesie for him and added the turtle and grass to make it look less plain. 

Love how they turned out!

PS. Several of you have emailed or commented with questions regarding Freezer Paper Stenciling - I have a tutorial all about that. Check it out here
ETA: Got an email about this so thought I'd post in case anyone else is wondering....
Yes, I'm willing to create, design, and sell custom onesies/t-shirts for the babies/children in your life. Email me for more information.

Linking up to the crafty parties listed in my sidebar

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Quote of the Week: Hope

"Hope is the little voice you hear whisper maybe 
when the whole world is saying no." 
- Unknown

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Favorites # 5: The One with Canvas Picture Frames

It's time for another Friday Favorites.

First up is some of the crafty posts I have seen around the blogosphere in the past couple of weeks. 

I love these canvas picture frames created over at Heck Fridays. They are an inexpensive way to dress up photos and I like the multi textured, multi dimensional look that they have. 
These would make a great gift too for mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends - anyone really! And you could personalize it even more by adding a quote or captions.

Suzy over at Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom made these bracelets  with popsicle sticks. Can you believe that?!?! Wowzers. I have a love affair with bracelets and these unique bracelets instantly caught my eye. She provides a great step by step tutorial if you want to give these a try.

How sweet is this photo garland that Beth over at I Should be Folding Laundry created for her son's first birthday party? She used photos of her son over the first year of his life and commented that guests loved seeing how much he had grown over the year. I think this would also be sweet for an engagement party featuring photos of the couple over their courtship or with belly shots for a baby shower. Oh the possibilities are endless!

This free printable tag over at Domesticated Lady is adorable for an end of the year teacher gift. Simply add some graham crackers, marshmallows, and a snack size hershey bar to a cello baggie, print the tag, and staple it on and you instantly have a cute, inexpensive, and unforgettable teacher gift. Besides who doesn't love s'mores?

Are you noticing a trend with me featuring something with an owl each time I do a Friday Favorites? I adore all things owlie and while this probably isn't something I'd actually carry,  this adorable owl bag over at Pinkapotamus is certainly adorable!

Home Decor 
Book Shelves
I am so in love with these book shelves (literally) from Real Simple. And honestly, they don't look to difficult to assemble and install. But I'd prime and paint the brackets the same color as the wall so they blend better but still..... LOVE. How cute would these be in an office? 

Pineapple Yogurt Dip
Summer is almost upon us, friends, and this pineapple yogurt dip from the Splenda website (I know, not technically a blog) would be great for summer get togethers. Love the idea of serving it in a pineapple too. 

Special Needs
I'm loving this new series that friend and fellow blogger Doni is writing at her blog, Mama Diaries, about her autistic son, Ty. It's very real, transparent, and  may just inspire me to do something similar. 

This is Just Cool
I was browsing a blog I recently found called Holiday Snob when I came up on post for Birthmother's Day with a free printable for Birthmother's Day too. I was pleasantly surprised to see birthmothers being mentioned and remembered on this blog. Holla!

So, what favorite posts did you read this week? 

When the Seasons Change

Every Friday, I'm joining other bloggers for 5 Minute Friday (hosted by Gypsy Mama) to take just five uninterrupted minutes to write from the heart. 

This week's prompt: When the Seasons Change

When the seasons change, or rather when this season changes, summer will be upon on us. Want to know a secret? I loathe summer. Seriously, I dread it every. single. year. I do enjoy the laid backness (I know, I made up a word) of summer but what I don't enjoy is what it does to my son.

A lot of special needs kiddos need, thrive, and crave routine and structure and my Noah is no exception. In fact, I think at times he probably is on the extreme end of needing structure and routine. He likes plans, knowing what is going to happen when, and he adores school and the routine, structure, interaction, an stimulation that school provides. 

In the summer there is no school obviously. (He does go to a day camp for special needs kids for half days 4 days a week for a couple of weeks.) But the summer is just hard for him which in turn makes it hard for me. I try hard to provide him with routine and structure. We have "Momma school" where we work on things he was working at during school so he does stay in a routine with what he was learning and I try to make things fun for him but even giving it 110 percent, I simply can not provide the same structure, routine, and social interaction that school provides him with. And that leads to autistic meltdowns, more outbursts, and an unhappy Noah which makes me frazzled, frustrated, and unhappy as well. 

The good news is I do have some things planned for "Momma school" (he's really into the computer lately and now has his own Facebook page so I might let him write some guest blog posts or something over the summer too!) that are different from the past so hopefully that will be fun and as much as I am dreading it, I am remembering that Christmas break and spring break weren't near as bad as they have been in the past so I'm hopeful that this summer won't be as bad either. And we have a PCA this year so that will help as well. Despite my feelings, I'm trying to have a positive attitude and remember that I can do this because I was made for this

Oops, I just wrote for 6 1/2 minutes instead of 5. ;)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

Last week, I was blog hopping and came across this cute Chevron striped canvas tutorial at Pocket Full of Pink. I loved the colors, the saying, and the fun summer vibe it gave so I decided to create one of my own.

Using my 40 % off coupon at Michael's, I bought a set of 2 canvases. I used one for this project and have another one for a future project. I created a Chevron stencil using the Chevron border in my Silhouette software. It took me a little bit to figure it out but once I got it, painting the yellow stripes wasn't too difficult. 

I cut the saying, "Here Comes the Sun" out of blue vinyl I had in my stash. Then the pennant bunting is just triangles cut from left over scrapbooking paper. I glued the white ribbon on top of it with my trusty glue gun then glued it on to the canvas. 

I love how it turned out and it's my first project featuring Chevron stripes! I think it is going to go above the summer mantle. I'm wanting my summer mantle to be bright colors and fun and I'm thinking the blue, yellow, and red I used in this project might be the springboard my summer mantle decor. Stay tuned - I'll show you pics when it is finished. :)

Linking up to the crafty parties listed in my sidebar

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Freezer Paper Stenciled T-Shirts

I'm officially hooked to freezer paper stenciling. It is one of my favorite, recently learned techniques. The possibilities with it are endless, I love creating custom pieces that no one else will have, and it's really not that expensive of a project to do. 

So, back when I began freezer paper stenciling and was telling my BFF about all the possibilities of projects, she said "oh, make me a shirt." Well, the next week Hobby Lobby had all their t-shirts on half off so I bought a couple including one for the BFF. She likes the saying by Ghandi, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." So I decided that would be the perfect saying on a t-shirt for her. I played around with different fonts in my Silhouette software until I got the saying fixed just how I wanted it, cut it out with the Silhouette on freezer paper, then ironed the freezer paper onto the t-shirt, and painted it. It turned out really cute - so cute in fact, that I made one for myself except my lettering was in my fave color, teal.  

BFF's Shirt

Close up of BFF's shirt

BFF modeling her shirt

My shirt with teal lettering

Then, Mother's Day was creeping close and my Mom likes butterflies so I decided to make her a shirt. I used a butterfly from the Silhouette store and then used the quote "If nothing ever changed there would be no butterflies." It turned out super cute as well. 

Close up of Mom's shirt

Mom posing with her shirt right after opening it
(Oh and thats my brother's doggie Hansel who had an ear infection and needed his Nana)

For myself, I made a shirt that says "I Shoot People" ya know, since I love photography. The camera is another image from the Silhouette store. It is cut out of black and white polka dotted fabric. I cut the saying out of freezer paper and then painted it on in black. Love how it turned out too! 

My new found love of freezer paper stenciling has me excited for the Christmas holidays. Think of all the cute shirts I could make for myself and others! 

Currently, I am freezer paper stenciling some baby onesies for Noah's PCA to give to a friend at her baby shower. They are turning out super cute and I'll be sure to share as soon as I'm done with them! 

ETA: A couple of people have asked me questions about freezer paper stenciling and asked if I would do a tutorial with pictures. I'm working on one so it will be coming soon!

Linking up to the crafty parties listed in my sidebar
Serenity Now Crafty Cutter Party