This Will Make you Laugh Out Loud

Don’t look at this picture if you are in a setting where you are supposed to be quiet or solemn or reserved.

 

Matthew's 1st BDay

 

Buy It, Spy It or DIY It – World Market Edition

Today, friends, we are window shopping at Cost Plus World Market.  Come along with me, k?

Buy It Spy It DIY It World Market Edition

Jackson Rectangular Table with Metal Base | World Market

Buy It – I love this table for $269! The metal and the rustic wood together is great and I like a table that feels airy and not bottom heavy.  Good price for a great table!

Eden Table

Buy It – What??  Two “buy it”s in a row?  Crazy, I know.  But, at $69, this little table is adorable.  I love the finish on it.

Desert Santa Maria McKenzie Ottoman | World Market

DIY It – I LOVE this ottoman and there are a bunch of them in gorgeous fabrics.  I’ve seen this fabric in my never ending search for fabric for DIY curtains and I sort of feel like you could build this puppy from scratch.  Maybe.

Green Josephine Desk

Buy It – Ok, this could go either way, buy it or diy it, but honestly, I couldn’t DIY this thing.  And it’s $199, so not totally, horribly expensive.  And, also, I completely love the color so much that I don’t think I can live without it.

Gerber Loran Headboard

DIY It – Obviously.  That fabric is ridiculous.

Arrow Throw Pillow

Buy It – Oh, my God, World Market, Cost Plus, whatever your name is, take my money right now!  $29 for 18 square inches of gorgeousness.  If only my kid didn’t have a penchant for throwing every throw pillow in the world on the ground.  Is it hoarding if I buy this and put it in storage until my kids move out?

Chindi Bust with Antlers

DIY It – Love this guy!  You could buy it for $70, but, if you already have a ceramic or other faux animal head, this is an easy DIY.  I’ve seen that type of rope or twine at Home Depot in lots of pretty colors.

Aqua Suti Pouf

Buy It – What?  What??  $39 for a pouf?  I’m going to need to rename this post “Just Buy Everything”

Petrified Wood on Stand

DIY It – Ok, this one is a fun DIY, I bet.  Wood slices (which I believe you can buy at Michaels) and one of those wood burning tools?  That would be neat.

Mini Journals, Set of 6

Buy It – Ok, so I realize that at some point this post went off the rails and has really just become a shopping spree.  But, these little journals (2″x3″) are $18 for 6 of them.  They are the cutest little things I have ever seen.  Ever.  My daughter is going to flip when she sees these.

I didn’t even make it through all of the departments.  World Market is my new favorite place on the internet.  I think it says a lot that I did not find a single “Spy It”.  That tells me that the goods here are pretty unique and priced well.  Well done, World Market, well done.  You just about defeated my little blog game.

If at First you Don’t Succeed… String Art Retake

If at first you don’t succeed, fail a little less the next time.  Tonight I gave String Art a second try.  I’m happier, but not quite there yet.

String Art Retake

After my initial attempt, I did some more searches and I found a picture of a free form string art in a little boys room.  For some reason, I didn’t pin it and I have never been able to find it again, but it was affixed directly to the wall instead of to a piece of wood or canvas.  At some point I became I fixated on having the string art attached to something other than the wall.  But, when I saw that picture, I thought I would give it a try.

I basically outlined a letter S on the wall with a pencil and then started adding nails.  I realized as I was nailing that I would need to vary the distance of the nails depending on what part of the letter I was at.  The tighter the curve, the closer together the nails needed to be to mimic the curve.  I also realized while nailing that I now had 40 or so nail holes in my wall.  Hmm.  Interesting. Then I realized that if and when I paint that wall, I have no idea how I will paint behind the art. So, something to think about if you are thinking of trying this!

Once all of the nails were in, I used ombre embroidery floss as the sting. I loved this part. It was very relaxing, sort of zen like.  After I had added a few layers of string, I stepped back and checked things out.  That’s when I realized I wasn’t thrilled with the shape of the S.  I like the top, but I would love the bottom curve to curve in a little more.  It’s not terrible, but not exactly what I wanted.  Not bad enough to start over, at least not right now.

Top Ten Reasons to Visit Great Wolf Lodge

My family took a short vacation at Great Wolf Lodge this past weekend.  I haven’t stopped talking about it since we left.  It was absolutely amazing.  I have compiled the top ten reasons you should save your pennies and get to your nearest Great Wolf Lodge.

1.  The Indoor Water Parks

The water parks are the headliner attraction.  They are fun, clean and safe.  There is something for everyone in the Water Parks.  There is a shallow water playground with small slides and water play designed for toddlers through about age 6.  There is a lazy river (my favorite), a pool with basketball nets and a wave pool.

Every inch of the water parks are under the watchful eyes of multiple lifeguards.  The location we stayed at (New England) was extremely busy, but because there are two separate water parks, it never felt overly crowded in the water.

2.  The Water Slides

Ok, I will be honest and tell you that I only went on one water slide.  I am not usually a water slide person, but this one was fairly tame and didn’t put me into cardiac arrest, so I did it several times with my daughter.  There are definitely some that are not tame at all, so for the thrill seekers, they got you covered.  There is one slide that you stand in, they shut a door around you so that you are in what reminds me of the Hunger Games Capsule thing, count down and the floor drops out and you drop straight down.  It sounded like this, “Ready, (door clicks shut), BANG (floor drops out) RRRAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (person screams) every 3-5 minutes.

This is the River Canyon Run, the fairly tame one I went on.

3.  The Food

Lodge Wood Fire Grill Great Wolf Lodge

 

The dining at Great Wolf Lodge was casual.  The Lodge Wood Fire Grill was the fanciest spot, but still totally family oriented and casual. They offered a buffet for breakfast and dinner.  We did breakfast and it was actually very good and very reasonably priced.  The dinner was, I believe, $17 for adults and $8 for kids and 3 and under are free.  I’m sure those prices will vary depending on where you are in the country, but for Massachusetts, that’s a really good deal.  And there were lots of other options.  We got a take out pizza from a food stand in the arcade and we had lunch at one of the smaller spots.  The food there was fantastic, but I can’t actually see it listed anywhere on the site.  It was a bistro type setting with pub food.  The four of us for lunch was less than $50.  There’s also a Dunkin’ Donuts IN the building.  If you’re not familiar with Dunks, it’s kind of like a coffee cult.  And I can’t forget to mention the sweets.  They have home made fudge and taffy, ice cream and bakery quality cookies and brownies and more.

4.  Magiquest

This is the coolest, smartest thing ever.  It’s pretty pricey, but unless your kids are super disciplined, you will have a VERY hard time getting out of doing this.  Plus, it is lots of fun, so almost worth the price.  Basically, the kids pick out magic wands and then you purchase the virtual game and a guide book.  There are several different quests and adventures to go on throughout the hotel.  It’s basically like an interactive treasure hunt.  My kids really loved it and it seemed like every other kid loved it, too.  Actually, I think a lot of the parents were kind of into it, too.  Me included.

5.  Howler’s Peak Ropes Course

There is a three story, super cool ropes course INSIDE the resort.  My kids were ready to stage a revolt because I didn’t pack closed toed shoes and we didn’t get to do this one.  I can’t wait to go back so I can do this. I mean, so the kids can do this.

6.  Northern Lights Arcade

Northern Lights Arcade

There is a really cool arcade in the middle of everything.  The games are different than I’ve seen anywhere else and the tickets are “green” aka, there are no tickets, your points are saved on a card you swipe.  My kids are arcade aficionados, and this one impressed them.

7.  Scoops Kids Spa -

Scooops Kid Spa

They really have thought of everything.  There is a kids spa in the resort.  You can get a mani/pedi or a facial.  Come on.

8.  Shopping

Great Wolf Shopping Image - Buckhorn Exchange

I’m not usually a fan of resort shops, but I did quick browse and I did see some cute things, not your usual fare.  More craft than souvenir, if you know what I mean.  And some cute clothes and bathing suits, too.

9.  Miscellaneous Other Things To Do

If somehow none of the above floats your boat, there is also, ping pong, indoor miniature golf, giant checkers, character shows, bedtime stories, a build a bear type store,  hot tub and a small outdoor splash pad. Yes, in addition to all of the other stuff I already mentioned, they have those 8 things you can do.  Oh, and there’s a gym.  For you exercise freaks.

10.  The Decor.

Family Suite

Of course I can’t not mention the decor.  The room was beautiful and comfortable and clean.  There were cute Lodge touches, but it wasn’t over the top.  Here are some of my faves from around the hotel:

Great Wolf Lodge Decor

The antler chandelier and the fall forest wallpaper are KILLING me.

So, you’ve heard it hear, get thee to the Lodge.  Great Wolf Lodge.  You will not regret it!

What I Made This Week – Three Low Carb Recipes

What I should write is a tutorial on how to undo a week of good eating and gain back the 5 lbs. you lost.  But no one is googling that, am I right?  (The quick version is it involves an enormous Mexican lunch and then a mini vacation at Great Wolf Lodge (post to follow!  It was awesome!)).  So, instead, I am sharing what I made tonight so that I can undo some of the damage I’ve done.

For breakfast this week, I made an egg casserole again.  This one has a pizza twist, with turkey pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.  It’s based loosely on this recipe from Against All Grain.  The tomatoes on top really make it special.

Pizza Egg Bake1

Next up is a Spaghetti squash recipe I sort of made up, but it is based on this recipe from Sweet Remedy.  Instead doing a full lasagna, I went simple with some frozen meatballs popped on top of the squash after it was almost done cooking.  I have spaghetti squash amnesia.  I forget how good it really is until I make it again.  This needs to become a staple for me.

Low Carb Spaghetti and Meatballs

And finally, as either a side or a snack (I’m day dreaming about dipping these in tzatziki) I made Zucchini Bites from this recipe on Cavegirl Kitchen.  These are really yummy!

Zucchini Bites

And there you have it!  Just like that and I can be back on track.

Researching A Curtain DIY

I’m in the mood to DIY some curtains.  My family room has not had curtains or any other type of window covering for months.  We are planning to get new windows at some point soon, so I have been telling myself that I should just wait until that’s done, but come on.  We need something, right??

So, how do you DIY curtains?  Well, you google a tutorial on how to actually fabricate the curtains, but before that, you have to do some research.  Here’s what I do.

Where to Start When DIYing Curtains

1.  Figure out what color, pattern, size curtain you want.

I love saturated, primary-ish colors, so I know I want that reflected in my color scheme somewhere. Look at the different colors in your room and decide what you want to pull out with those curtains.  Here are some of the colors that I want to see somewhere in the curtains (except those crazy yellow flowers):

ecozier chaiseClose Up Upcycled Mirror

Pattern is important.  Think about the patterns that are already in the room and the patterns that are in the rooms that are adjacent to that room as well.  For instance, I have these curtains in my living room:

rokuroom

When I’m sitting in the family room, I can see those curtains and vice versa.  So I want something that will not look too much like those and also not completely clash with them.  The scale of the pattern is a personal choice.  I definitely lean toward big bold pattern.  Whatever your preference, I think it’s important to have a balance of patterns.  In the pic of the living room above, there’s the geometric (actually I think there’s another name for that pattern, but I’m not sure what it is…) panels, stripes on the pillows and a floral on the chairs.

The size of the curtains is obviously super important.  The last thing I want to do is get the wrong size panels or not have enough fabric.  Before I make an actual purchase, I’ll measure twice, but at the research stage, you need to at least know if you want something floor length or shorter.  In the familyroom, I’m leaning toward shorter, like a touch longer than the sill of the window.  It’s a gamble, I know.  The way the furniture is set up right now, long curtains won’t work and I really like the furniture placement.  I’ve found some inspiration on Pinterest that is giving me the guts to try it:

Short window panels due to a built in bench seat. Love the yellow trim with the black and white

Floral curtain, short and small window just like bonus room.

2.  Start researching fabric and other “creative” options.

My first stop is on-line fabric stores.  I pin a bunch of things that appeal to me and mull them over for a while.  Here’s what I’m currently mulling:

fabric samples

1. Ikea Frederik  - This one has all of the right colors, but it might be a little too juvenile?  I’ve loved this fabric for a very long time, though.

2.  Premier Prints Magna Timberwolf Macon Fabric - I like that this bold and retroi-ish.  It’s missing the little bit of green that I would like, but that’s not a deal breaker.

3.  Suvi Primary - This one is scaring me a little. This might be too much for a curtain.  Maybe a pillow.  Maybe.

4.  Swavelle/Mill Creek Indoor/Outdoor Crosby Confetti - I like these colors, but this might be a little too literal 70′s instead of a modern update.

So those are some of the fabrics I looked at.  But I looked a few more creative options, too.

creative fabric finds

1.  Japanese Cotton Kimono Fabric – Oh, this is so enticing.  I’m not sure exactly how to buy this, but this one needs further research.

2.  Raindrop Shower Curtain – This one is pretty cool.  Maybe a little too much white, but all the colors are right.  Interesting option.

3.  Colorful Stripe Fabric – I love the texture of these ethnic inspired fabrics.  I haven’t found exactly the right color combo yet, but I’m happy to keep looking!

4.  Room Essentials Circle Tablecloth – I really like this one, too.  I wish it had just even one more color in it.  Just a speck of something else.  Still a maybe.

The next step in researching curtains is to hurry up and make a decision.  This, friends,  is the hard part!

What I Made this Week – Parmesan Zucchini Snacks

First, an update from last week’s post with the Low Carb, Paleo-ish Menu Plan.  I lost 4 lbs! And then I gained one because I cheated and ate some fried dough at the Drive In and some  ice cream cake for my father-in-laws birthday.  Oh, and I had fried clams.  Oops.  But, hey I still lost 3, right?

Tonight, I tried a recipe I pinned a while back and have been wanting to try.  When I was gifted this zucchini, I knew it was time:

ingredients

You can find the recipe here on a great blog called  The Dinner-Mom.  I still have tons of zucchini left over and she’s got some other interesting recipes that call for it.  Including zucchini brownies.

So here’s what mine looked like fresh out of the oven:

Out of the Oven

Mmm, yummy, right??  But, let them chill for a few minutes before you put them on a plate.  Then they will be cooled a little and a bit crispy:

Low Carb Parmesan Zuchini Snacks

These were very tasty.  I would like to try this again with cheddar cheese.  The parmesan cheese is a rich flavor and you can have one or two and get a savory, salty fix.

Buy It, Spy It or DIY It – Urban Outfitters Edition

Urban Outfitters is nostalgic to me because there was (maybe still is?) a big one in the city I went to college in.  Somehow I remember it being far less expensive then, however.  But their stuff is so quirky and, well, let’s face it “cool” (I hate cool, except, really no one hates cool) that you might not mind paying a premium for the kitsch.  Here’s what I thought was cool*puke a little*.

Buy It Spy It DIY It Urban Outfitters Edition

Tufted Corduroy Floor Pillow

Buy It – This floor pillow comes in a number of punchy colors and at 2 for $60 dollars, it’s a great dorm room buy.  I would have loved a couple of these for Melrose Place night when 12 young women were squashed in  3 square feet of available dorm room space.

Pop Desk Lamp

Spy It – Yes, I like this lamp as much as you do.  It’s cute in lavender and there are a bunch of other cute colors.  It’s $89.  Still super cute or can you take your butt to Target or Walmart or Ikea for something nearly as cute?  I thought so. Me too.

Plum & Bow Annette Sofa

Buy It – I’m totally crushing on this sofa.  I love the arms and the fabric (and it comes in blue, too!).  Under $800 is a great deal for something this classy.  If only a mysterious accident would befall one of the two sofas I already own…

Oh My Wood! Pyramid Headboard

DIY It – I love this headboard.  It’s pretty, it’s colorful, it’s unique AND it screams DIY.

Coming And Going Coat Rack

DIY It – Every third yard sale and/or thrift store you go to will have a coat rack.  Don’t you dare pay $78 for this (and that’s a sale price!).  Get thee to the Goodwill, blast it with same spray paint.  Done.

Acid Etched Letter

Buy It – I like these metal letters, especially at the sale price of 2 for $20.

Assembly Home Sweet Scandinavian Planter

DIY It – Aww, I love this little dude.  It’s $19, but so DIY-able.  It would be hard to find something with those cute feet, but even just a little round bowl with Sharpied eyes and mouth would be adorable.

Jewel Glass- Pack Of 4

Buy It – I love to have every day things have a little touch of special.  These are $14 for the set of 4 and definitely have that special touch.  I would love to drink my lemon cucumber water out of one these.

 

 

Big Girl Blog – I’m Self Hosted

I did it.  I made the plunge. I guess plunge isn’t really the right word for it since it’s taken me weeks to go from purchasing a self hosted domain (I don’t even know if that’s how you phrase that) to actually writing my first post on my very own site.  No more .wordpress.com for this girl.  I literally have, like, butterflies, really.  It’s quite exciting.

You should know that I’m not super technical.  I was in college in the late nineties when almost no one had a computer of their own in their dorm room or apartment.  I would go to the computer lab to write a paper, but I was not very great at it.  I knew about the internet and I thought it sounded pretty cool, but I did’t really *get it*.  I had a vague understanding of what “MIS” meant, but html and all of the rest of the acronyms, were way beyond me.  And, for the most part, still are.  It was definitely a vastly different technical world as compared to the one my kids are growing up in with laptops and tablets and our phones (which are really just super mini computers) at their fingertips at all times.

So making this switch for me was scary.  I kept reading things about how awesome it would be to have creative control and to be able to customize and it just made me think that it didn’t sound awesome at all.  I wanted to stay in my safe wordpress.com cocoon and let the scary stuff be taken care of by them.  BUT… I also really wanted to try to monetize and that’s just not possible it seems with that wordpress.com stuck after your cute blog name.  Which brings me here.  To undercoverdiyer.com, which was by some miracle available to me.

It all began with this post on Pro Blog School.  Please hop on over there and check it out.  It is an amazing source of information and I love the story of the wifes blog taking off and the husband digging in and figuring out this whole background blog world.  I took Jason’s advice and chose Media Temple to host my domain (seriously, is that even what you call it?  Yes, I think it is).  It’s not the least expensive, but I read a couple of cautionary tales of crashing sites on that glorious day when a post went viral and I thought I would put out some good vibes and assume that day IS going to happen for me and I would be ready for it.

I am not going to sugar coat this.  There were many times after I purchased the hosting that I thought I  would cancel and quit and stick with wordpress.com.  Looking back,  the things that were tripping me up were small and fixed easily.  For instance:

  • It is super simple to export all of your information from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.  It’s basically a few clicks and done. Except! there is a limit to the size of the file you can successfully export and I think this is where I got tripped up.  I ended doing three separate exports, sort of.  The first export I chose “All” and it took all of my media (A LOT) to the new site, but not, any of my posts.  Weird. So I exported again, this time just posts (that’s an option you can click on) and I got the posts over to the new site.  Finally, I did one more export of “All” and this time, because it recognized that I had already added the media and the posts, it brought over things like categories, pages and comments.  I’m sure this is not the best way to do this, but it worked for non-techie me. This took me several hours over several days to figure out.  I read LOTS of how to’s, but they all kind of scared me and suggested making phone calls and I have an aversion to the phone, so I wanted to figure it out on my own.  And, so I did!
  • So, somewhere in between figuring out how to get all of my stuff on the new domain, I got stuck on something else.  For some reason, (well not *some* reason, I know the reason now, but at the time I was thinking it was a curse that had been placed on me.  There was no other explanation).  My hosting place was telling me my blog was blog.undercoverdiyer.com.  Dude, no, it’s not.  That’s so not what I wanted!  I struggled with this for days, I emailed the hosting company for help on how to change (there are directions that would have worked, had they actually applied to my dumb problem), I asked techie people at work for help.  No one could figure it out.  Until.  I downloaded wordpress.org for the third time from the easy 1 click process on Media Temple and realized that the address (blog.undercoverdiyer.com) that they autopopulated during the process was just a “suggestion” and that I had to change it to what I wanted.  Days, people.  Days I spent trying to fix this.
  • Then there’s finding a theme. Oh. My. God.  That also took me several hours over several days and I didn’t want anything fancy. I wanted plain and simple and everything I saw was fancy pants.  I would have totally stuck with Adelle, except for the pink polka dots.  Technically, this part was easy, it was just going through the masses of different options that is time consuming. I’m like, 99% happy with what I chose, Galaxie.  I have a scary feeling though that I will be a serial theme changer.

Those were my struggles.  But, I also want to share something that was SO easy.  The social media icons.  I had no idea how to get those cute social media icons.  I vaguely understood that it was going to require the dreaded html.  But, I found the greatest tutorial on how to add them to your site AND this magical blogger who wrote the tutorial also provided FREE cute icons.  You can find the tutorial and the free download here on the amazing blog, I Gotta Create.

So, welcome to my new little corner of the blog world.  I would truly LOVE any feedback/constructive criticism on the new site.

My Journey from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

What I Hate About Back to School

We still have almost 3 full weeks of summer before school starts for our kiddos.  Public Enemy #1 when it comes to back to school is the Evil Paper Monster.  I need a plan and I have one percolating.

Three Steps to Tame The Paper Monster

Step 1: Corral It

The first step to taming the Evil Paper Monster is corral it.  Picture me on horseback, with a whip, herding the papers into a barn.  Ok, except in this case, the barn is going to be my pantry and the stalls of the barn are going to be these:

KASSETT Box with lid IKEA Perfect for newspapers, photos or other memorabilia.

That’s the Kassett set of 2 boxes from Ikea.  They are $6.99.  I’ve used these in the past, but more as an archiving system than an active filing (I use the term filing loosely) system.  I’m going to get 4 of the boxes, one for each member of the family.  The kids boxes will be used to house the stuff that the kids want to keep like special projects/papers.  My husbands will collect his work related stuff and mine will house the stuff that needs attention: reminders about important dates, projects, field trips, etc.  I know what you’re thinking.  Dude, you’re never going to remember what’s in that box.  You are correct.  That’s where step two of the system comes in to play.

Step 2:  Snap It

Sony Xperia E1

Why am I showing you a picture of my cell phone?  Well, first of all, I ADORE my cell phone. It’s a Sony Xperia and it is the best phone on the planet.  But that has nothing to do with this post.  Maybe someday I will extol it’s virtues in a full post.  But for now, the phone is important for two reasons.  1.  It has a camera.  2.  It is never apart from me.  It is basically an appendage at this point.  I’m not going to claim that I came up with this idea, because I’m sure other people do it, but I will say that the idea came to me without researching it.  You know those important papers, with important dates and information you might need at a moments notice?  Take a picture of those papers with your phone.  You instantly have a copy of that paper with you AT ALL TIMES.  Are you at Michael’s and and poster board is on sale but you can’t remember if you need it for your daughters project?  Check the pic on your phone.  Did your kids teacher send home a list of things the classroom needs but you’re having sensory overload at Target and can’t think straight?  Check the pic on your phone.  I’ve read about and admire the idea of scanning important documents and going paperless, but was totally overwhelmed at the thought of buying a scanner and actually scanning stuff.  Snapping a picture is basically the same thing and totally not overwhelming.  And now you’re thinking, Dude you’re going to spend forever looking for the right pic on your phone!  And, bam, step three.

Step Three: Evernote It

Cover art

Evernote is an awesome app.  First of all, kudos to the logo designer.  Elephant, get it?  They never forget anything.  If you download the app to your phone, you can super quickly zap the pics to Evernote , give them a tag that will make them easy to find and, if needed, set a due date. This is the one step in the process that I’ll be working on making a habit over the next few weeks.  My goal is going to be to do a quick review of anything that is in or should be in Evernote at the end of each day.  I’m talking 5 minutes tops.

And that’s it.  My three steps to taming the Evil Paper Monster.  What’s your plan??

Linking up to:  The DIY-ers and Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party and Plucky’s Second Thought and Frugal Crafty Blog Hop and Merry Monday Link Party