Friday, October 24, 2014

Simple Caramel Apples...Halloween Kid Fun

I love caramel apples!!
My kids love caramel apples too!!

Almost every Halloween we make a batch of these.
They are so messy & yummy &
just really fun to make together.



Since Halloween goodness is in full swing, 
I decided it would be fun to share this with my blogging friends again.

The ((lazy)) mom that I am thought I would just share the
original post that I composed awhile back showing how we made them...

but when I went back & looked at it...

I was SHOCKED to see that the original post
was SIX YEARS AGO!!!
In these pictures my children are so little...
so, so little!!

It really made me sad.
How on earth did six years go by so fast!??
They are so, so big now!!
Oh, so weepy!!!
How dare they do that to me!!!

Well, let's just pretend they're still that little
because these pictures are so cute they deserve another go.
  
Here's the cast member list for this fun kid activity:

a dozen apples 
Caramel (I used the bits, not the pre-wrapped squares)
((I have used the pre-wrapped squares, but the unwrapping...
ain't nobody got time for that...))
cake pop sticks 
nuts
candy (I used some left over m&m's
which appear to be Valentine colored,
I'm seriously good at hiding candy )
wax paper (wax paper is YOUR FRIEND today)


Before you begin your assembly,
you need to go ahead and chop your nuts, candy or
whatever else you want to dip those caramel dipped darlings into,
some people like them just plain caramel...
I'm not picky,
I would never turn my nose up to a plain one. ;)


You will want to give your apples a good bath
and let them completely dry.
This project works the VERY best when your apples are at room temperature.

This project ALSO works very best if you get yourself a
cute little helper to put the sticks in your apples.
(oh, my heart!!)
(weepy!!!!!)



While your little helper is working,
begin melting your caramel bits in a double boiler on your stove top.



Once your apple sticks are in place and your caramel is melted, you are ready to go!

This is the part where you add MORE helpers...
the wilder they look,
they better these will turn out! ;)


You might also consider asking Grandma to come over
to help keep your wildest child away from the boiling caramel while you take pictures...



Now, time to dip!
This part is serious...
mad skills!


There may or may not be licking involved...






 Dripping...
And lots of grinning! :)



 These are really very easy to make
& the kids love it!!



After we ate a few,
we wrapped the rest up to send to school for little teacher treats.
(don't tell them about the licking, that'll be our little secret) ha!


The very best part about this project...
spending some quality time with your little darlings
(who are going to grow up on you,
so please don't blink)!

(you're getting weepy too, aren't you)
(bless, why do they have to grow up!?!)



I'm walking out the door for that oldest baby's VARSITY FOOTBALL game 
(how dare he be that old).

Go get some apples & 
get your babies busy in the kitchen!

Wishing y'all the spookiest Pre-Halloween weekend!

Mwah!

Mandy


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Things Mama Loves...Shutterfly App

I'm starting a new "series" here on the blog,
it's called "Things Mama Loves".

I seem to be shouting from rooftops about things I love
ALL the time over here.
I get excited...
I can't help myself!
(I hope you love that)
(It's fun, I love it) ;)

I thought my excited rants would be easier to find if I put them in a series like the "Dressing Mama" collection. The best part is, you can find a lot of these things that I love in a tidy little box...right over there on the right hand side of my blog (the blue amazon box) in case you want to buy one for yourself or as a gift (I'm helpful like that).

Today I am up on the roof hollering about one of my LONGTIME faves...
Shutterfly!

I have been a (delighted) Shutterfly customer for many years!
I've ordered prints,
I've ordered photo gifts,
I've ordered Christmas cards,
I've ordered photo books,
I've also ordered a few awesome canvas prints too!
(like this lovely 16x20 of my three biscuits)



Always excellent...
service,
products &
most happily, always at an excellent price!

I've been kinda sad lately though...
I just don't use my camera as much as I used to.
I don't have pictures printed like I used to...
sniffle. 

Like many, many, oh so many busy mamas out there...
all my pictures seem to be on my iPhone!!!

Well, Shutterfly (those smart cookies) 
can help you with that!

(insert fake trumpet sound)

Say hello to Shutterfly for iphone & ipad!!!!!
Yay!!!!!




Same excellent service!

Same excellent products...



and best of all...
same excellent prices!!

It almost seems too easy...
The solution to my sniffling,
sad little picture less existence!!!



I think the very best part is that you can add pictures to your cart 
anytime, anywhere...
eternally waiting in car rider line just became PRODUCTIVE time!

I did notice that Shutterfly has FIVE different apps...
(Tiny Prints is the 5th, not shown in the pic)


I'm excited about checking all of them out,
I'm sure they are all simple & fabulous just like the basic Shutterfly app is!

So there it is...
the first installment of Things Mama Loves!

Do you have 4,000 pictures of your beloved, 
spoiled rotten children on your phone like I do?

upload the FREE Shutterfly app.

Let them make those memories more permanent
(because a life without boxes of treasured old photos is just plain wrong, folks!) ;)
You will be so glad that you did. 

Happiest Wednesday to you, dear friends!

Mwah,
Mandy





Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Olivia's Teen Girl Bedroom (part uno)...

Good morning!!

I'm working at the house this morning...
going to do my Body By Will class this evening 
because MISS O says she wants to try it with me!

She shocked me speechless!
Nothing would make me happier!!!

Since she's on my mind,
I thought I would pop in here & tell you guys
about some changes going on in her little world upstairs...

& of course, 
spending time with my blogging friends is 
SO MUCH MORE FUN
than what is waiting for me on the other end of this table...


boo, hiss....

Please ignore my rag tag hobo living room...
I've only had time to put the cushions back on my couch twice this morning.
Little Patti makes it her sole priority to jump up on that big cushion to bark at the birds...
knocking all the pillows off into the floor in the process.

All in a day's work for her.
It's an endless cycle...

Well, anyway...

This summer I made some updates in Olivia's bedroom.
Honestly, I've not bothered telling you guys about it
because her bedroom never even got finished from the LAST time I updated it
& maybe not even from the time before that...

I have to jump through hoops of fire just to get in there & 
change the sheets on her bed...
I have no energy left to do anything else!!!

But this summer, 
we decided to have her carpet pulled up and hardwood installed.
I took this opportunity to to PAINT her walls 
(because nothing is more exciting that not having to worry about 
making a mess on the floor when you paint...)
((it's the little things)).

& OH, did those walls need painting!! 

I think I spent more time PREPPING them than I did actually painting!!



Have you ever!!!

I had to dig deep to fight off a Joan Crawford/Mommie Dearest 
"No Duct Tape...EVER" tirade!
(please tell me you've seen that movie, it's such a classic)

After a quick inventory, I realized...
Miss O had outgrown her little desk,
her little girl looking bed,
her little cute this,
her little cute that...

not to mention the fact that she was looking DOWN at me to tell me about these things (somehow I am shrinking). It became clear that my little girl is growing up.

So, I decided to go on & start making updates for her room like we did for Big O a few years ago (see the teen boy makeover here). We've still go quite a ways to go, but I honestly LIKE to have unfinished summer projects to keep me occupied when it's too cold & nasty to be outside during the winter months. ((ok, I am really just the queen procrastinator...don't judge)).  ;)

Our inspiration came from the Pottery Barn Teen
Emily & Merritt collection.


Sassy & classy...
I really like this collection!

We debated about getting a new bed
(the one at PB Teen was just ridiculous),
then we debated about having her bed upholstered
(still more money than I wanted to spend)...
but then one morning I had a wild hair & just took the darn thing down...
made Big O haul it down to the garage for me...


then I painted like I was on fire before P Daddy could catch me...



Now...$36 later
it looks like a completely different piece of furniture!

That works for me!

Another little project I completed in there was guild her chandy
with some gold paint.

I found this one a few years ago at Lowe's, it was just plain ivory.


Now, it's got some character to it.


However,
Miss O swears on bibles she is melting at night & needs a ceiling fan.
She is her father's daughter....
Hmph...
Gold chandy stays for now.

I'm going to leave you hanging right here,
my blogging time is up...
I must go dust, iron clothes & vacuum.
(hold me)

I will be back to tell you about the desk & shelving unit we ended up going with...
((Oh, SO much cheaper than PB Teen or having it built))

the wall colors...

things we spray painted gold....

And a peek at the (semi) finished room. :)

I'm so glad you stopped by to visit today!
I'm making a few changes on my blog, 
so if you see something new DO check it out! 

Happy Tuesday, dear friends!

Mwah,

Mandy









Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Greetings from the Cutie Kitchen...

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to paint in the cutest little kitchen...

(thus "The Cutie Kitchen" title, I made that one up...ahem) ;)

I don't normally paint kitchen cabinets.
It's not very fun.
It's my back is crying, hard work &
I just really prefer my painting to be for fun...

But this tiny kitchen, 
in this gorgeous historic home...
just sucked me in...



When I first stopped by to visit,
I just wasn't sure what direction to take with it...
layers & layers & LAYERS of white paint...
(so many layers, that I was not even able to remove the doors...ack!)

Then, I ran up on these pictures on Pinterest one evening 
(when I, no doubt was looking for somegthing else entirely)...


Seriously now...
Bells & Whistles all the way!!!!!

Now, tell me...
would you pass up a chance to paint 
someone else's cabinets THAT COLOR?!?!
I was tickled to death...
and got right after it!



I started on the bottom cabinets using Annie Sloan Provence (which I just love).
The owner wanted a distressed aged look, 
so they are finished with the dark wax. 


After a few days we decided that the top cabinets needed to be aged also,
they were stark white & just did not work entirely with the aged look that the bottom cabinets were sporting.

I didn't want to have to paint these top cabinets & then go back and wax them (lots of work & more expensive for the owner). After a little research & playing around with some new products, I decided to distress the cabinets just a little bit and apply a GLAZE over them (because the Annie Sloan Wax would not adhere to that latex paint that was already on there). 


I found this at Home Depot, I think it ran around $8.99 a can.
I have since used this glaze on several different projects and I still have not even used a full quarter of the can! It's awesome & will give you the mileage on your projects!

Here's a before & after...
Stark white to lightly distressed and aged...


Now, together the top & bottom cabinets look fantastic!
I think eventually the home owner will be replacing the stark white appliances with stainless steel & I've heard talk of some really fetching subway tile...
all the same, I think it turned out darling!!


and NOW after some amazing grasscloth textured wallpaper &
replacing the ceiling fan with an incredible new color popping light fixture...


this Cutie Kitchen is really turning heads!
There are lots more things happening in this house, 
I cannot wait to see everything finished when it is on the Historic Tour of Homes next month!!

Come back & visit soon.
I'm going to show you how to turn a CHEAP particle board shelf into a more customized (less cheap looking), snazzy piece of furniture! ;)


Thanks for stopping by the Cutie Kitchen,
I had a lot of fun working on that one! :)

Happy Thursday!
Mawh!

Mandy

Dressing Mama...Handbags I Have Loved

Good Morning, friends!

It's fall break at my house...
and for the first fall break in nine years,
we are not at the beach.

Varsity Football...
you are not my friend.

My spoiled rotten children,
they are bitter.

I've been on the treadmill sweating EVERY possible chance I can.
Sweating stress keeps me sane!!

I've spent a good chunk of the break cleaning out closets &
working on filling gaps in everyone's fall/winter wardrobe.
I've finally reached the point where only one child needs a full new wardrobe every season.

Except for the irritation of finding
size 32/34 pants (cheaply) for Big O,
shopping for my bigs is fairly painless.

But who wants to shop for them,
I'd rather shop for mama! ;)

Let's talk about something fun today,
HANDBAGS!!
Oh, how I love!!!
Cheap ones, Big ones, Sassy ones, Coveted Expensive ones...ahhhhhh!

First of all let's identify what type of handbag gal you are...

There are two basic types of handbag gals:

You're either the type of woman who carries just the essentials:
lipgloss, phone, keys, money, ID
(notice I have listed them by priority, ha)
or
you're the type of woman who carries practically everything
but the kitchen sink.

I think I am a little bit of both.

I love to be out with all my stuff,
it's safe,
it's my life preserver...

But sometimes I just like to be hands free.

Yes, I want my cake &
I want to eat it too...;)

Over on the Rue La La Style Blog I noticed they have a GREAT post about bags...

Handbags 101
From their post I determined that I am definitely a HOBO bag girl AND
I have lots of love for the Pochette (crossbody) bag as well.

If you are a huge fan of designer bags,
you are going to find some steals on their site!

I drooled over their TOD's "Flower" Medium Leather Tote...

 and this divine Chopard Leather Shoulder Bag...




I am currently stalking their site...
hoping to see one of these darlings pop up:
(Merry Christmas, to Mommy)

LOUIS VUITTON Monogram Menilmontant



But since I'm the cheapest person alive,
(it's true, don't act shocked) ;)
I'll share some more affordable bags that I'm drooling over right now...

Like this dotted Cedar Street Dot - Margot Kate Spade bag...
SO sassy & fun!



and leopard "Charles Street - Cayli" Kate
Reow!!!



(& oh, how I love Kate)

This bag is definitely my favorite right now & is just $48!
Street Level Reversible Faux Leather Tote



This tote is seriously awesome
& looks so expensive!

Now this, people...
is the perfect bag for me
(except for the color)
The French Connection "Elite" Hobo,
I love this one!
One strap,
fits snuggly under the pit...
perfection!! ;)




and lastly,
I don't normally like anything Michael Kors, but this...
I adore!!!

Medium Sophie Calf Hair Messenger Bag




So,
what about your guys?
Is there a special bag in your life right now? ;) 

I do love a good deal,
on a good bag!

**************************************

Well...
I'm working on an introduction letter for Big O,
(I would say I am helping Big O write one, but we all know that is a fib)
the time frame for sending out intro letters to college football coaches has arrived...



I cannot say which scares me worse...
having a son old enough to seriously contact college coaches
or
having a son playing college football.
(probably the latter)

Either way,
that is an adventure that I will definitely keep you posted about.

Until then
(just hold me).

I'm hopping up & head out for a run.
My peeps on fall break,
my nephews are on their way for a visit...
mama got to get ready! ;)

Wishing y'all a beautiful fall Wednesday &
awesome good handbag deals!

Mwah!!
Mandy



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