Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"In the Morning?"

Lucy & I have much in common and for an extended time we both sported the same enthusiasm for early mornings...none.  However, approx 2 weeks ago, 'Ricky' & I made a drastic change to our sleep routines with the kids: we subtracted Olivia's nap from the equation.  Result: both Livy & Jonah now go to bed at 6pm!  It's amazing, in fact we're still pinching ourselves:)

Mornings (starting much earlier) are now spent taking walks with Ladybug, running errands and playing vs moping around and desperately counting down the hours till nap time! 

Here Livy is dancing around in some of her new winter wardrobe- she can't wait for the weather to cool a bit more so she can wear her "no man" top:)  She insisted on wearing it out a few days ago and then declared she was "haw" while trying to pull her sleeves up!

And not only are the kids doing tremendously well (Jonah now naps once vs twice since he's a "big boy") with this new routine, but so is Mama!  I have more energy and 'Ricky" & I have had more meaningful time to reconnect over the past 2 weeks than we've had for the past...year?  Yeah....

So by daring to try something new (and I was convinced this wouldn't work!) we're now happier than ever & no longer dread early mornings; in fact, our days start at 6am and that suits everyone just fine:)

Happy Wednesday:)


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

B is for Button

 My good friend, Betsy is expecting a little boy (Benjamin) this November & she's using buttons in his nursery theme.  My creative juices instantly started to percolate gift ideas...and here's what I came up with:

Letter 'B' Button Canvas:

I started with an 8x10 canvas and covered it with 1/2 a fat quarter from Stampin' Up!

Use your handy dandy staple gun to secure the fabric.

Then gather some buttons (I found these at Hobby Lobby in the sewing section) & adhere in desired pattern- great activity to get your kiddos involved long as they're not tempted to snack on the buttons:)

I added a felt applique element at the top and stamped directly on the fabric with Staz On ink and a Stampin' Up! stamp set that I love- it was just perfect for this!

Hoping it brings smiles to Benjamin- it was made with love & Livy's "hep":)

Button Burp Cloths & Receiving Blanket:

I discovered the most perfect button print for these, of course in my favorite Stampin' Up!  'Sew Suite' trio of fat quarters.  A fat quarter makes 2 lovely burp cloths or 1 receiving blanket; I then backed these with soft white minky for Benjamin's sweet face:)

These were simply made using the handy dandy "uh 1, uh 2, uh 3, uh 4" method: 'wash, iron, cut & sew'.  I rounded the corners by running my handy dandy rotary cutter around a jar lid- easy:)  Then pin wrong sides together and stitch, leaving a peep hole to flip inside out.  Then top stitch around the edges to seal the peep hole and ensure the edges lay flat.  Done! (So sorry there's no pic!  I totally neglected to snap one...grrrrr...)

TIP: If replicating this project, ensure that your fabrics are washed with 'free & clear' for baby's comfort:)

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lobbying for Hobby Lobby

Several months ago, I made a decision to take my occasional business from the 'M' store (Michaels) and transfer it to Hobby Lobby.

I wasn't horribly displeased with the 'M' store but most of my crafting needs are met through Sweet Stamper (totally spoiled with Stampin' Up! quality!) and now that I've delved into the sewing world, the 'M' store just doesn't fit my needs.

I also can't say that I've ever experienced any extraordinary customer service at the 'M' store and really dislike not being able to check for supplies on their website- as a Mom hauling 2 toddlers, I need to know that a trip to a store is going to play out well & not being able to check supplies really chaps me, especially in this computer era...

Hence why I found myself looking at the Hobbly Lobby website.  I can shop from home and have it shipped (including fabric!), see all their products, and they have fantastic sales.  Their 40% off coupons can be used once a day, each day of the week for the respective sale dates, meaning I could go everyday & save 40% off!  My favorite location in SA is the store at Bitters/West Ave as I'm always met by faces wreathed in smiles and employees bouncing everywhere, anticipating questions and ready with answers and a friendly attitude:)

The biggest reason I've transferred my business though is that they're a Christian, faith based company.  Hubby & I have determined to be more intentional with who we support and this is a company that has earned our business.  Not only do I need many of their crafting/sewing products, not only do I save lots of $$$, but I'm supporting a company that shares my values & faith.

And if that wasn't enough, I just read how Hobby Lobby (and other companies) are standing up for their beliefs:

"The arts-and-crafts supply retailing giant Hobby Lobby on Wednesday joined dozens of other employers suing the Obama administration over a mandate forcing them to offer contraceptives and potential abortion-inducing drugs in employee insurance plans.
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The government gave secular businesses until Aug. 1 of this year to begin offering that insurance when their next enrollment period begins. Faith-based groups, such as Catholic hospitals, universities and nonprofit ministries, must comply by August 2013.
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Hobby Lobby CEO and Founder David Green, who is a Christian, said he cannot abandon his religious beliefs to comply with the mandate."

I'm proud to support Hobby Lobby & I challenge you to give them a chance at earning your business too!  The kids & I are heading there today, coupon in hand so we might just bump into you!
Thanks for stopping by,



Saturday, September 15, 2012

No 'Poo Update


So for those interested in my no 'Poo journey, I've put some notes together:

I originally began my no 'Poo regimen every other day as that's what I had been doing with my conventional shampoo- I'm now up to every 3rd day & sometimes 4th (I usually avoid going out in public at this point!).  I've been doing no 'Poo for approx 2 months and love it.  I'm also glad that I checked into some trouble shooting advice as each person's hair & oil glands are different.

The original recipe is: 1 tbsp baking soda/8oz water (shampoo), leave on for 1 minute and rinse thoroughly, then 1/4 cup vinegar/8oz water (conditioner) and leave on for 1 minute, rinse thoroughly & done!

My 1st tweak: 1 heaping tbsp baking soda (shampoo) & little less than 1/4 cup vinegar (conditioner)

My 2nd tweak: same as above for the 'shampoo' & 8oz of chamomile tea vs vinegar's SO divine!

I made the chamomile tea tweak for 2 reasons:
  • I found when I sweat that a vinegary odor would release from my hair if I had just no "Poo'd...not so pleasant:(
  • I had some loose chamomile tea (I used Might Leaf) that needed to be used:)
  • The tea heightens natural highlights, giving a boost to blond tresses!
I'm so in love with the simplicity & purity of this beauty regimen & gladly neglect this aisle in the grocery store now, saving me more $$$...all natural, economical, win-win!

 Chamomile Citrus

Let me know if you have any questions:)  BTW, my favorite chamomile tea to drink is Mighty Leaf Chamomile Citrus....mmm...


Friday, September 14, 2012

Quilted Flowers

A few months back, I snatched a long sleeved T-shirt & vintage denim jumper from GAP to put away for Livy...when I tried them on they weren't nearly as big as I thought they would be so I opted to go ahead & get them ready:)

I dithered & went round and round about how to embellish this neutral ensemble...and finally decided to keep the ensemble neutral, where it could work for any season.  Still, it needed some kind of personalization...and then I saw them...

...these gorgeous quilted flowers, resting on one of Sweet Stamper's studio shelves!  The colors were perfect & fit so well with the vintage feel of Livy's denim jumper!  These flowers were made from running quilt remnants through the Sizzix Big Shot using the Fun Flowers Bigz L die- easy!  Gramma graciously relinquished these treasures and I set out to add some Stampin' Up! chunky buttons to finish off my ensemble embellishments.

 I attached the larger flower to a safety pin (like the efficiency of this!) so I can remove the flower for washing and to change the look vs sewing it in place.  The smaller flower I thread onto a basic hair clip and it sits on Livy's head perfectly.  I love the thickness of the quilt on these pieces!

My little model was thrilled to try on her new outfit and insisted on wearing her pink boots (only 4 sizes too big!)- they've barely left her feet all $5 I've ever spent:)

I love being able to personalize the kid's clothing with creative embellishments, taking something ordinary & transforming it into something "boutiquey" & unique:)

 "Livy, say cheese!"  "Theez!"

Thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, September 13, 2012

"That's No 'Scuse'!"

"That's No 'Scuse'!" of Ricky's most recurrent responses to Lucy and one that is repeated in abundance here at the 'Ricardo's' house:)

During a weekly jaunt to the grocery store with the kids last week, I pulled into a check out lane and began the task of keeping the kids from 'hepping' too much (aka tossing products onto the conveyor belt!), squabbling with each other and organizing how I wanted things to be rung up (yes, there is a "right" way!).  I realized that a film was being shown on a mini flat screen across the main aisle, directly behind us.  Olivia quickly noticed and swiveled around in an effort to see what she was missing.  'Pirates of the Caribbean' was playing and I immediately told Olivia to turn around and sit still- I didn't want the images & language of this flick to defile the eyes & ears of my little M's and was mentally fussing about this being played at 10 o'clock in the morning on a weekday.  I then realized how easily we can take for granted the safe environment that we create (in our homes) for our children- hubby & I have had many chin wags and adjusted much (and continue to!) in an effort to provide a safe & secure environment in our home for Livy & Jonah.

You see, I'm a bit strict.  And I have no problems with being referred to as a "strict' parent- our kids are SO worth mine & 'Ricky's' "extreme" efforts in ensuring that they're safe, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally & spiritually too.  Do I want our children to be raised in a sterile bubble?  Of course not.  However, I feel very strongly about the incredible responsibility we as parents have towards our children in guarding them from inappropriate...everything!

Most know that I'm a "cable nazi"- we have no cable & no desire to get any & yes, I said we, as hubby is 100% with me on this (though, not initially!)!  It's not that I have a problem with cable, per se (Downton Abbey....sigh) but rather that I don't want the added cost & responsibility of having to constantly monitor what our little M's are viewing.  This works for us- it may not for you & that's fine.  Hubby & I have discovered that we're far more productive without cable (HGTV...sigh) and bask in knowing that as we switch on DVDs & movies that 'clear customs' the kids are kept safe from unwanted media exposure.  I never have to wonder if a rough night in the sleep dept was caused by something they had watched a few hours prior to bed- that gives me great peace of mind which is priceless in my estimation:)

This applies to the radio too.  As the kids & I made our way to Gramma's house this morning, I switched on KPAC, our local classical music station (usual practice of mine)- I was grinning as Livy began to vocally impersonate the orchestra in her attempts to sing with them:)  That did my heart good:)  Classical music is proven to improve health in plants (so just imagine what it's doing for my little M's immune systems!), reading comprehension & memorization retention, just to name a few!  Do we only listen to classical music?  Of course not ("Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog...") but I purpose to switch it on consistently.

'Ricky' & I have committed to guard our little M's (that means monitoring what we say, watch, do etc...prayers's a constant journey!) and provide a safe & secure environment for them in our home (The 'Godfather' is not allowed to be aired in our home anymore...unless it's on the back porch when they're asleep!). We want Livy & Jonah to cherish the innocence and beauty that comes with youth for as long as possible- after all, we're old for a long time and only young for a short while:)

So, where do you rank on the strict scale?  I was raised by 'strict' parents & am so thankful, hence why 'Ricky' & I journey down this road, continuing to adjust things as the kids grow & change- it's important to me that we limit any potential regrets as much as possible, knowing that we did our best:)  There's just "No 'Scuse'!" not to...

...and if you don't agree, Livy might swing her golf club near your head to convince you, in a loving way:)


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Anchors Away!

Happy Patriot Day!  During our recent Labor Day jaunt to Kid to Kid, I picked up a basic black & gray long sleeved T-shirt ($2) for Jonah in hopes of adding some applique- I've been dying to try some applique so here's my first effort.

I spent all of 2 minutes googling my desired applique template, printed it out with my handy dandy printer and cut it out:

Then I pinned the template to some red felt that I snagged from Sweet Stamper (handy dandy Mother!) and cut out- this was accomplished with my eyes half closed as the kids ate breakfast, so imagine my surprise when I saw that it looked decent!

Next I top stitched the anchor with some doubled black thread- I didn't use any fusible stuff as it's a smallish piece, wasn't going to experience a lot of wear/washing and the felt naturally 'sticks' to the jersey:)

My stitching was a bit messy ensuring that Jonah's shirt would have that 'homemade' feel- Olivia had commandeered one of my arms to snuggle with while I was trying to stitch:)

 Next I found these cute metal buttons at Hobby Lobby (for a whopping $1.35)- they came in a 3 pack so I opted to just use all three:)

Here is Jonah's completed 'Anchors Away' T-shirt; I love how it turned out, especially as this was my 1st try with applique!  My top button shifted a bit while stitching but oh well...I'm learning to embrace the imperfections of my efforts to actually get things accomplished:)

And Jonah loves posing for pictures in his new 'designer' T-shirt, just like the 'Cuban Ham':)

Let me know if you have any questions & stay tuned for more applique:)


Thursday, September 6, 2012


Yesterday, I came across an article of sorts with tips for maintaining a healthy liver- seemed prudent to peruse...

I wasn't surprised by some of the food items listed (ie: broccoli, leafy greens, citrus fruits, oats...) but was delighted to see these three words: turmeric, cinnamon & curry powder.  I adore all 3 of these spices and have decided to pull these out of my spice cupboard more often:)  Who knew that sprinkling cinnamon on your morning porridge would boost a healthy liver?

Speaking of livers, I recalled Lucy penning her first play, "A Tree Grows in Havana" where her hurried typing results in Ethel mistaking "liver" for "lover" as she proof reads her script!  It's a hilarious scene of wholesome humor and always makes me smile whenever I think of my "liver"!

With fall slowly peeking through the sweltering temperatures here in south Texas, I'm excited about adding these 3 spices into regular dinners at the do you integrate these spices in your culinary repertoire?

I just made Stovetop Rice Pudding and added cinnamon (score!) and have a curry chicken pot pie on my list of things to make.  I've also recently had a hankering for some Indian food so some roasted cauliflower with turmeric & curry is sounding lovely (double points!).

Establishing healthier eating habits can be a challenge so why not make it as fun as possible?  Add a little turmeric, cinnamon & curry into your foods to 'spice' things up and be a "lover" to your "liver":)


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"I'm On My Way To Cuba..."

Music is a universal language, transcending dialects & cultures and reaches every living being- I'm positive that even my one house plant perks up when hearing the 'I Love Lucy' intro:)

Livy & Jonah are no exception.  Jonah enthusiastically claps when he here's 'Lucy' come on or the 'Mickey Mouse Clubhouse' theme and Livy has always responded to hearing Ricky sing 'Babalu' & every other musical number in 'I Love Lucy' for that matter:)  I love to see their faces light up when we sing 'The Itsy Bitsy Spider' & 'The Wheels on the Bus'- recently we haven't even utilized the radio in the car as I've been the chosen station, rehearsing as many songs as I can muster while keeping up with Livy's requests:)

Over the past couple of weeks, 'Ricky' & I have purposed to improve some lax sleeping patterns (with Livy, primarily) and pulled out the 'sleepy' CDs again in an effort to produce as many lulling sounds as possible.  I'm so pleased that after the first week, we could already see the positive results from this simple addition...more sleep= happy parents:)

Just as age appropriate, positive music brings welcome effects, the same can be said for 'angry' music resulting in frustrated and chaotic behavior.  I'm extremely strict (ok, maybe insanely strict!) about what we allow the kids to watch & listen too, hence why we encourage happy, restful, fun and soothing melodies (kids love the Baby Genius CDs at present)- there's enough drama in the gene pool without needing to add more!

Take a moment to check what kind of energy is being broadcasted in your space this may not revel in singing an Elmo song but purpose to ensure that peace is invading your space vs unrest.  No matter the age, everyone near you will be appreciative:)

Thanks for stopping by,


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Perfect Day

Hi All.  Hoping you enjoyed a fabulous Labor Day- the 'Ricardos' sure did:)

With 'Ricky' working long hours we were thrilled to have some 'Daddy time' yesterday:)  He made breakfast for everyone (great to share family meals together!) and I'm loving that we can all eat the same thing!  No more baby food, toddler food, adult food- we're synchronizing and it's making things so much simpler and enjoyable for everyone:)

We then headed out to Kid to Kid, one of our favorite spots- I had to check out their Labor Day sale where summer clothes were 50% off, including clearance items!  We picked up this cute striped GAP dress for Livy... (thinking of adding a flower...)

...and this Gymboree Tshirt for Jonah.  My Mom bought this identical shirt (I love white shirts!) for him when he was much smaller and I loved it- so thrilled we found another to fit our 'Big O Boy'!

We then headed to Hildebrand in search of 'the perfect piece' to serve as a play kitchen for the kids- I'm planning on transforming an existing piece of furniture into a play kitchen, hopefully in time for Christmas:)  It will be a huge accomplishment if I can manage it (with much help!) and will be a tremendous surprise for the kids, hopefully providing hours of fun for many years:)  More details to follow on this...

After naps and laundry (after all, the laundry doesn't do itself, on a holiday or any other day!) we headed out to Chick-fil-A with our calendar coupon in hand, ready to get the kids good and worn out!

Livy played hard with some little boys, sliding and climbing the tunnels in the play area and practicing her monkey moves...

...while Jonah proceeded to eat all of their chicken nuggets, save 2 bites which he magnanimously gave to his sister:)

And once the kids were bathed and tucked into their beds, 'Ricky' & I enjoyed a movie with some Sangria- it was the perfect end to a perfect day!

Here's the Sangria recipe:

2 large oranges
2 large lemons
1 bottle inexpensive Merlot, chilled
1/4 cup Triple Sec
1/4 superfine sugar (or run granulated sugar in food processor for few seconds!)

Slice one of the oranges plus both lemons and add to a pitcher.  Pour in sugar and mash with wooden spoon until fruit starts to break down and release juices.  Add wine, Triple Sec and juice from second orange.  Chill for 2 hours and enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, September 1, 2012

"I Hep!"

Crock Pot dinners are fabulous and always a win-win at the Ricardo's, especially when beef is included.  With that in mind, I layered beef ribs, red potatoes & carrots in my handy dandy Crock Pot for a dinner this which Livy enthusiastically declared, "I hep" and ran off muttering, "I get me 'tool"!

So, propped on her "tool", Livy eagerly piled in the carrots and then sprinkled Penzey's Mitchell Steak Seasoning (free with an order!) over everything.  This proved to be another great way to get Livy involved in helping...and she was an angel following this exercise...for at least a few minutes anyway:)

Everything was tender & lovely after 6 hours on low...

...and Livy was thrilled to tell 'Ricky' that she "hepped" make his dinner:)