First off, go here to see the 


Unless of course you struggle with jealousy.  Then what ever you do, do not click here.  I am serious.  This is your last chance.  Don't look here.  You will get drool on your keyboard, and then sink into a huge hole of never ending depression.  Or maybe that is just me.  

Secondly,  Blogger is loading pictures in a wacky, random and unpredictable order. 
Anyone know a way around it?

Lastly, I am slowly transferring pictures from our old computer to our fab Mac and I just had to go through Halloweens past.  So here is a random sampling of this day from the last four years.  (In strange Blogger- inspired order.)

Dorothy and Nemo 2008
Halley changed her mind about a thousand times as to who she wanted to be.  Lucy has wanted to be Nemo for over a year.  My mom made Halley the dress and I found the fab (yet not really trick or treat friendly) ruby slippers on Ebay.

Nemo 2008
I lied to Lulu and told her that it is a requirement of the pumpkin patch for all girls to wear pony tails.  It worked.  I am brilliant.

Beautiful Butterfly 2006
Here is Lulu's first Halloween at six months old.  Her cousin is wearing this costume this year.  I love to see different kids wear the same thing.  Happiness.

Nemo 2006
Halley was the original Nemo.  Just another beautiful day at Disney's California Adventure.  This was the first year that they decorated for Fall and it was amazing.

Halley at the pumpkin patch when she was about 1 1/2.  She has always been into ponytails.  No lies were required to get this hairdo.  Sadly no costume pictures from this year.  Jason had the flu and I was dealing with crazy (requiring hospitalization) morning sickness.  Good thing Halley was too young to know what she was missing. 

Beautiful Butterfly 2004
Halley's first Halloween.  This is still one of my favorite pictures of her ever.  We took her trick or treating to the grandparent's houses.  Happy memories.

Alice in Wonderland and Tinkerbell 2007
After an Ebay seller never sent me the costume I ordered, my mom miraculously whipped up this Alice dress on October 30th.  It was so much better than the shady Ebay seller's could ever have been.  I made Lulu's tutu the day of Halloween while she was napping.  When I finally tried it on her, well, it was a bit big.  Cute, none the less.

Hope you all had a fun night and are snacking on the kid's candy while they sleep.

I pressed snooze for one hour.
I woke up to what looked like a crime scene.
  (Halley had a bloody nose in the night).

This little one gave me a panic attack.
I cried.
She's fine.
I'm not.  
The term "non-stress test" is really stinking stressful.
  I am at the point in my pregnancy where I get them twice a week.  
Two down, 18 to go.

I wistfully ate some of these fun, nostalgic cookies, knowing it might well be the last time.  
Mother's Cookies suddenly ceased production.  
Another casualty of our awesome economy.

I began painting a forest of wood.
So very sorry homeless animals.  I had good intentions, but I can no longer use reclaimed wood from construction sites, since construction sites don't exist thanks to the awesome economy.

I burned myself with the glue gun making this.
It was worth it though.

How was your day?

Off to take Dorothy and Nemo to the pumpkin patch.

Today did not go exactly as I planned.

But I suppose life never really does.
Sign count is still holding at zero.
Taking daughter to pediatrician for major skin issues count is at one.

But, my sister in law who just returned from visiting her sister in law from Texas cheered me up with a little retail therapy.

I have noticed that lately I mostly talk about:
Hating the heat.
Not finishing stuff.
Flip flops.

This falls into one of those categories.  One of my favorite categories.
So if you are from Texas, Sam Moon is old news to you.  Annoying even.  However, to me, Sam Moon is my new favorite obsession.
But, if you don't live in Texas, meet your new best friend.   Do I need a new purse?

Do I have 30 handmade purses staring at me right now?
Would I feel that bad plopping down 20 bucks for one of these trendy beauties?

Do I care?
Not really.

Did I mention that they sell funky jewelry too?

I should be outside working on signs.
It should not be this hot.

I have made no secret of my disdain for the heat...  I have decided to blame it on the fact that I am Irish.  Thanks to Google I have figured out that the average temp in Ireland is around 58 to 68 degrees.  Perfect.  Send me there quick.  I would get so much more done.  

But until I move, I am catching up on the Tivo in the comfort of my AC, making fun things that don't require sunscreen, ice water and sunglasses.  I am also trying not to freak out that in 8 days I need to have at least 100 signs made.  My current count is zero.  But my non-sign related count is awesome.
So as the girls sleep I am just kicking back in my favorite corner of the couch, leisurely making yo-yos and pretending that it is cold enough outside for Halley to actually wear something this cozy.
These are making me look forward to Christmas, even if we end up spending it at the beach.  Maybe tomorrow I will brave the outdoors, work on my tan and knock out some signs.  For now I am a bit partial to the beanies.

Here is one of my favorite recipes.  
A true winner through and through.  
I couldn't even begin to count how many times I have made it.  
The best part is you assemble it the night before and 
then just stick it in the oven in the morning. 

Make Ahead Breakfast Bake
What you will need:
9 eggs
Package of hashbrowns (any kind you like, rectangles, shredded or tater tots)
1 can evaporated milk
Add ins of your choosing.
I usually make a girly version with artichoke hearts, feta and sun-dried tomatoes, and a manly version with a pound of cooked crispy bacon or sausage.
Cheddar cheese

Whisk together the eggs and evaporated milk.

Layer the hash browns in 9 x 13 dish.

Pour egg/ milk mixture over hash browns.
Scatter the add ins on top.
Cover with foil and store in fridge overnight.
In the morning, remove foil, cover with cheddar cheese.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

We cashed in 150,000 hard earned frequent flyer miles, reluctantly ditched the kiddos and headed to Kauai to celebrate our 10th anniversary.
After 6 some hours of panic (I am not a good flyer and was irrationally convinced that our plane was going to crash) I was so happy to see this glorious island.

It was so amazing to be together, just us, like honeymooners.  (Well, as honeymoon-ish as a 7-months pregnant lady can be.)

We watched unreal sunsets and wished we were on this sailboat.

For future reference:  Havianas + pregnancy + slippery rocks do not equal smart hiking shoes.

Jason played Tarzan.  I played photographer.  Glad he survived.

Once again:  Havianas + pregnancy + crazy trail through a sugar cane field do not equal good hiking shoes.

I sent Jason ziplining while I laid by the pool wasting brain cells as I read 1,383 pages of co-dependant, dysfunctional, teenage vampire garbage.  (Sorry Twilight fans.  I just don't get it.  No judging.)

Played tourists and went to a fun luau. All we got were arty pictures.  (No flashes allowed.)

Witnessed thousands of examples that our creative Lord designed this beautiful place.

Swam and snorkeled in warm, crystal clear water.  Was glad I didn't get attacked by Nemo. Still dealing with my fish phobia.

Drank can after can of the most glorious beverage ever made.  Tried to sneak one on the plane.  Got busted by airport security.  Tragic.

Couldn't believe how fast the past ten years have gone by.  Flew back home excited to see the kids who survived just fine without us.  So good in fact that my Mom was able to potty train Lucy while we were gone.  Best homecoming gift ever.  A two month reprieve from diaper duty.  Possibly even better than a week on a tropical island.

Why do I love blogging?
Reason #27 winning giveaways.
Reason #7 having giveaways.
So, feel like giving something away?
Want me to gush over your awesomeness?
Maybe you don't have a blog, or just want more people to find you.
I would love to host a giveaway for you and feature your treats on my little old blog. 
Just click on my new "Write Me" button on the top right sidebar and we can chat.  
I have discovered so many new shops through giveaways and although I rarely win, I sure do commonly buy.  I bet there are so many more like me.

Which brings me to my second point....
I can't ask for giveaways without having one myself!
do you want one of these bamboo purses?
I might just have one to spare.
Leave me a comment about any random thing and I will choose a winner on Monday.  The lucky lady will get to choose what ever color she so desires.

Lastly, I don't know how or why she does it, but from the Fabulous Grosgrain comes this gorgeous, ridiculous, scrumptious, frivolous, frothy, 
Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!
If I made this (I could never, ever, even with all of the time in the world have the skills, patience, or vision to whip this up) you had better bet that I would never ever give it away.  But she is.
Now my little purse giveaway looks LAME!  Oh well, comment anyway.

Here's a quick tutorial link for you today.  I found this pumpkin beauty that Elise made over at Nest Sweet Nest and it has suddenly moved to the top of my must do list.  I love the fabrics she chose and the fact that it will last all the way through Thanksgiving.  It is over 90 degrees here, but I am willing myself to believe that it is indeed Autumn.  You can find the full tutorial right here.

A while back Michelle from Hello Cupcake gave me this sweet award and just the other day Heidi Jo from Swirls of Creativity did too.  So I am going to stop slacking and follow through with their kindness.
Here is the fun tag that goes with the award.   I am supposed to answer the following questions with one word answers.  I can't promise I will do a very good job, but here I go.

1.  Where is your cell phone?  Table

Seriously, he did.

What?  Who does that?  
Jason does, only he didn't mean to.

I love thrift shops.
Jason, well, not so much (germ OCD.)

But we were at Goodwill fetching the most hideous outfit for 80's night at church and he found these new-ish Hurley tennis shoes.
Great condition, perfect size, super cheap.
So, I held them (I'm germ proof) and promised he could wash them at home.
They were washed in hot water and came out sparkly clean and creepy- free.

he really wanted to wear them.

he put them in the dryer.  
All 20 some pounds of size 11 1/2 wet canvas and rubber.
Crazy noises could be heard all the way down the street.
Weird smells emanated from the dryer.
Then it suddenly stopped.


$10 shoes.
$490 dryer.

No more Goodwill shopping for him.  Ever.

It's not me, it's you.
We have to break up.
You have been a bit too scandalous lately.
Besides,  I have someone new...

It's true love forever and ever.
Who needs gold medals when I can cook amazing meals easy and quick.

It was good while it lasted, but I have to move on.
Let's still be friends, okay?

For this yummy mac n cheese go here.
To get your own magazine (that's better than a boyfriend) head here.

I am not one of those Runway Moms.  They are not really human anyway.

I am more in the realm of puffy, tired, constantly puking moms.
Despite the fact that I have only gained a few pounds because of the lovely lack of keeping food down, my wedding ring has been too tight since week 8.
I have been trying daily to pry it off of my finger.
I have Googled myself crazy looking for solutions.

Nothing has worked.

Yesterday I drove by a fire station and almost stopped in to have them cut if off.  Lucy was with me and I figured she would be scarred for life if she saw them come at me with the ring saw.
So it stayed on, digging a permanent divot in my skin.


Then suddenly, in the middle of watching House, I miraculously wiggled it off.  Don't ask me how or why, I am just glad to be able to breathe again.

So what did I do today?

I went to buy myself the most obnoxious bling-ed out fake ring I could find.  
For six bucks.
I am so a Runway Mom now!

I love my sewing machine.
It's not fancy.
It's simple, just like me.
Mrs. Dunbar asked me to share a bit about sewing so here I go...

My mom handed it down to me and I pretty much taught myself how to sew.  When it broke, all I wanted for Christmas was to have it fixed.  The man at the sewing machine shop tried his best to talk Jason out of fixing it (a new machine would have cost less) but I was insistent.  I am so comfortable with it and can't imagine learning another one.  It's basic stitches are all that I need, and although sometimes I am a bit tempted by fancier versions, I come back again and again to my trusty Singer.

If you are just starting out all you really need is a basic machine.  You can find them for around $100.  A hand me down machine is great too, but I would really suggest that you take it in for a tune up.  This may sound cheesy, but they do have motors and just like cars, if they sit around unused for an extended period of time they don't work right.  You might be trying to sew and become easily frustrated, only to realize that it is the machine's fault, not your own.

As for where I buy fabric, this is a tough one.  I am a total fabric brat.  But, this is how I look at it:  if I am going to spend a couple hours making something, I want it to last and be beautiful.  For the most part I don't sew to save money, lets be honest, how much easier would it be to hit the clearance rack at Old Navy and buy an outfit for $3.97?  I sew because it makes me happy and what I am creating is much more unique than what you can buy a the mall.

I buy nearly all of my fabric on Etsy.  Once in a while I come across amazing fabrics at JoAnn's (love the 40% coupons) and I buy basics like solids and polka dots there.  But nothing comes close to Etsy's fabric shops.  I figure that the money spent on shipping is offset by the tax and gas I save by shopping from home.  You can expect to pay an average of $8 a yard, but it is really worth it when you compare the quality and design.  Some of my favorite shops are: Fabric Closet, Above All Fabric, Down Shadow Lane, and Fabric Supplies.

Earlier this week at Disneyland, Halley and Lucy were wearing matching Halloween dresses that I made for them last year using this tutorial.  We were stopped dozens and dozens of times and I secretly wished I had a whole bin of them in my stroller to sell.  I could have made enough money to renew our passes that expire soon.  But my point is, a lady in her 80's came up to me and grabbed my hands.  She asked if I made the dresses and when I replied yes, she looked at me with tears in her eyes.
"You know it's a lost art.  Bless you for doing this."
Then she walked away.
It was so sweet.  I don't think that sewing is a lost art.  It isn't so much of a necessity as it once was, but I think with the help of shows like Project Runway and sites that support handmade such as Etsy, it is quietly making a resurgence.

So grab a machine, buy some yummy fabric and start sewing.  It is so much easier than you think!

I feel a bit ripped off.
We don't really have Fall here.  It stays pretty warm until Thanksgiving, and it is hard for me to decorate the house all warm and cozy when it is hot and windy outside.
But, I am doing my best to embrace this fake season and add a little Autumn to our days.
If you haven't tried Scrapblog yet, you are missing out.  I made this little treat in less than a minute.  Then I saved it as a JPEG, sent it off to Costco to print and poof!  Halloween cards.

Wait... are you thinking that I might need a little spell check for my signs?
This might only be charming to me, in the way that stories about what kids say are usually only charming to their parents, but indulge me.
I love the word SPOOKY.  I call most scary Halloween things "spooky" in a silly voice so Halley and Lucy are distracted by the creepy gore in front of them.
Lucy suddenly started calling every single Halloween related item "SMOOKY".
Let's be honest, "smooky" is one of the best words ever invented.
So at Target she spotted these candy pumpkins and asked if she could have some "smooky candy".  After I nearly fell over laughing, I bought the bag of pumpkins and decided right then and there that I needed to make a sign to commemorate the phrase.

If you are feeling crafty head on over to Hostess with the Mostess for instructions on how to make these fab paper pumpkins.  I bet even your kids would want to help out.

My old neighborhood was filled with young families and each Halloween we would "Boo" each other.  It is a fun tradition and Simply Mein has great downloads and instructions on how you can start it where you live.

Now we are surrounded by empty nesters, but I am tempted to see if they might want to join in on the festivities anyway.  

I love headbands.
There is nothing better to hide my boring brown roots, tame my shouldn't-have-cut-them bangs, or make a messy ponytail look a bit more polished.

Halley loves them too and is trying her best to graduate from bows to headbands full time.  (Although I am fighting her every step of the way.)

I am also fighting the messy jumble of the headband basket.

So why not recycle and organize all at once?
You just need 
an oatmeal tub,
two pieces of 12 x 12 paper.
Mod Podge,
a foam brush.

In just a few minutes you can go from this...

To this....

Just peel off the label from the oatmeal container, slather on the Mod Podge, stick on the scrapbook paper, let dry...

add headbands.
No more messy jumble!
(The inside is great for storage too.)
Mod Podge away.