Friday, June 29, 2012

treasure hunt

The day after Fletcher's birthday we had a treasure hunt for him to find his gifts.  Brian had gotten Fletcher a few sailor trinkets, including a telescope and compass.  I suggested drawing treasure maps to find them, and Brian ran with the idea and really came up with a fun little hunt for our 4 year old. 

The first map and present were found in his room.  Swim goggles!  And a map pointing towards the pool.  So he put on his swimsuit, of course.
When I saw the bottle of wine in the pool, I almost dropped the camera and dove in.  But then I saw it was empty except for another map.  Bummer.  For me.  For Fletcher, it was great, I'm sure.
Brian had to help out on this one.  After a quick study of the map, it seemed to be pointing us to the sandbox.
Where we found the compass and another map! 
That map says walk 25 feet to the NE.  A quick lesson on the compass wasn't quite enough, so Brian helped point him to the right place.  Where we found ANOTHER map and the telescope!
The map told us to look the other way through the telescope.  And Fletcher did great with this one!
And off he went to the "x" that marked the treasure!
And of course we found the treasure in the pirate ship!  Er, canoe.
I have to give Brian all the glory.  He did an awesome job with this, and I think Fletcher will have some great memories of turning 4.
Great job, Papa.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

coconut + lime popsicles

Hi Summer.  Have we not given you enough attention?  Because this is a real tantrum with these 105 temps.  In the Midwest!  Don't you know that's way too hot for us Midwesterners?  All right.  We'll play along and make popsicles.  Is there a better combination than coconut and lime?  Peanut butter and chocolate, cheddar cheese and apples, coffee and caramel, vodka and the freezer are all contenders, sure.  But coconut and lime is such a summery combination! If you need a cold treat, go gather these ingredients:

3 limes
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3- 4 T honey
makes 10 small popsicles

First zest 2 of your limes into a large bowl.
Add your coconut.  I had my assistant add it.
Pour in the coconut milk- you or your assistant.
Add the yogurt.
Juice all 3 limes into your mixture.
Add your honey.  I only added 3 T to mine because I wanted to keep these popsicles tart and refreshing.  If you like it sweeter, I suggest adding more as you taste to find the right sweetness level for you.
Whisk the mixture together well.
Pour into popsicle molds.
I added a bit of coconut on top (bottom?) because I love coconut. 
Freeze overnight or 8 hours. 
Enjoy, and stay cool!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

what i'm loving lately: for my summer face

Here's a peek into my teenage years: I was obsessed with NOT getting wrinkles.  Yes, as a teenager.  I've also always been very pale, and I don't really tan.  I pink up a little, but no tan.  So while my friends were all laying out, worshipping the sun for a nice bronze glow, I was, uh, wearing a hat.  Don't get me wrong.  I tried.  I would try for a bronze glow, but it was definitely more a pink glow.  And never on my face.  I always kept my face covered.  Flash forward (a LOT) of years, and here I am, still wearing a hat.  And I know you're in suspense: I've got the beginnings of wrinkles anyway.  But I know it would be way worse if I had left that hat off! 
Now that the sun is so intense, and my children won't always stay in during the brightest part of the day, I've added some new products to my makeup line-up this summer.  And I like them so much, I wanted to share them with you! 

First I put on the L'Oreal Sublime Sun on after my daily moisturizer.  It is very silky and lightweight for a sunscreen, and blends right in.  When you pour it into your hand, it's very liquidy instead of creamy like most sunscreens.  And on top of that, in place of a foundation (which I don't wear normally) I use Neutrogena's Glow Sheers.  It's a tinted moisturizer, so you could definitely skip your regular moisturizer if you'd like.  I have dry skin, so I just layer it on up.  It provides just a bit of coverage foundation-wise.  I only use a small amount, because I don't normally wear foundation.  If you didn't notice in the picture, the Sublime Sun is SPF 50, and the Glow Sheers is SPF 30.  So I feel pretty covered when I wear these.  And I've gotten some compliments on my skin lately, even a comment on my skin being "perfect." Which it is NOT.  So I'm laying the blame on these products! 

Happy sun-worshipping!  I still wear a hat.

*I received no compensation for this post.  L'Oreal and Neutrogena have no idea who I am.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

trains, family, birthday party weekend

Oh my have we been busy.  We may like to jam-pack in our weekends around here, but this past weekend was a bit ridiculous.  And all for our newly minted 4 year old!  We had my parents visiting last week, so we started the fun for him last Friday by going to his favorite place, the train station.
We watched a few trains go by, and then showed Gigi and Bop the pretty historical area around the Capitol Building. 
We took our time, looked around, and stopped to smell the flowers.
We capped it off with a trip to Barnes and Nobles to play with their trains and maybe pick out a few books to take home.  And of course when Papa got home that night we had cupcakes after Fletcher made a wish or two.
Saturday was the big party day!  Poor Fletcher, there wasn't one kid at his party, but Brian's parents came down, and we had a few neighbors and new friends.  And two dogs, too!  Everyone enjoyed the pool (even the dogs) and Fletcher didn't even mention that there were no kids at his party.  He did like the construction cake I made for him!
I found the idea somewhere on pinterest of course.  But I can't find the original to give credit.  Please forgive me, ingenious person out there!  Fletcher had a great time, and declared it a "great" party.  Rowan just loved on the dogs the whole time, and begged to keep one of them.  Sorry Rowan. 
She also took advantage of Mama being busy by eating the first tomato off our tomato plant like an apple.  At least it was thouroughly enjoyed!  The next morning I think she had a bit of a cake and ice cream hangover. 

We finished off all the celebrating with Fletcher's first trip to the movies to see Brave.  Cute movie, and Fletcher was trasfixed the whole time.  Pretty sure I've never seen him eat so much popcorn in one sitting before! (warning: cell phone pictures ahead)
It was a full weekend, and I feel like I'm still recovering. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

4 years old!

My Fletcher is 4 years old today!  Yes, it is unbelievable.  Four years ago today Fletcher came into our lives and I took on the most important role of my life: Mama.
{Fletcher Joseph, 6/22/08}
I know I will blink and he will be 16.  And driving.  Oy.  But for now he's still a lovely little boy who still loves his Mama.  Thank God for that!
He is so loving.  So so loving.  I have never met another little boy so willing to dole out kisses and hugs- sometimes to complete strangers.  Yes, I'll work on that.  But for now it's so sweet.  I have NEVER heard him say anything mean to another child (Rowan excluded, of course) and I wish I could keep him that way forever.  If you don't know Fletcher, he'd love to meet you.  If you do know Fletcher, well then, he'd love to take you home and let you play with his toys.  True.
As outgoing as he can be, he also has a introspective side.  He is inquisitive, and can sit for hours trying to figure something out.  He has a mechanical mind, and he tends to be very literal.  But mostly?  He just loves anything FUN.  He loves toys, he loves play, and he loves loves loves other little kids.  He is beside himself without any friends here in Missouri.  He'll be making some soon since he's starting preschool in the fall *gulp*. 
His favorite color is purple.  His favorite food is doughnuts, but he will gobble down a salad- no joke.  His favorite person is Papa (unless the situation calls for Mama).  His favorite activity is playing with his trains.  Trains are his passion.  He likes cars, trucks, and construction vehicles.  If it has wheels, he'd love to look it over from top to bottom.  He likes books, and his current favorite seems to still be Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things that Go.  His favorite show is Spongebob, much to my dismay.  He even imitates Spongebob's laugh.  It's kind of funny.  He SAYS his best friend is Rowan, but they behave as sibling for the most part.
He lives to dance, and he is actually quite good.  He has rhythm, this one.  He is carefree about most of life, laidback, and mostly easy going.  But he can be cautious.  He does not care for tall twisty slides (unlike his reckless sister) and does not wander far from my side in public.  Unless he spies another little boy, that is.  And in that case I have to be careful because he has upon occasion wandered off with another family!  Yikes!  He loves people. 
He can tend towards being a homebody, but when adventure calls, watch out!  He answers!  He loves to have new experiences and to see new places.  He just wants to go sleep in his own bed when it's done.
He thinks Papa is pretty much the coolest, and can be his little shadow.  He loves to help with Papa "projects" and can be found following Papa around his shop and garage on weekends.  He adores Brian. 
He's a beautiful little blend of Brian and me.  We all thought he looked like a Brian mini-me for quite a while, but lately he's been taking after Mama a bit.  And I think his overall personality tilts slightly my way. 
We love him exactly the way he is, and I think he's pretty great.  He's a joy to be around, a cheerful optimist that keeps us all looking on the sunny side of life.  He is kind, incredibly loyal, and just the sweetest boy I have EVER met. 
Happy Birthday, Fletcher!  We all feel so blessed to have you in our lives.  You are an amazing, fun, and loving boy, and I love you so so much. 
xoxo, Mama

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

diy painted ikat rug

I picked up this super cheap rug on a recent trip to the store, and brought it home with intentions to paint it.  I have been using my painted beach bag a lot, and getting loads of compliments, so it inspired me to try my hand here.  I decided to try and replicate some of those gorgeous ikat patterns that I have been seeing everywhere lately.  If you've never heard the word ikat before- don't worry.  It's a recent word for me, too.  I was going around pronouncing it "eye- cat" like some fabric pedestrian, ha!  It's actually pronounced "ee- coht" apparently.  And the name refers to the way the threads are dyed before the process of weaving into a fabric.  So obviously this is "fake" ikat.  If you'd like your own painted ikat rug, first google "ikat" for inspiration.  I drew from many different patterns, and pretty much ended up with something unique.  Ikat is very forgiving in the pattern, as you will see, which makes it perfect to try and replicate with paint!  I do a lot of painting, but exact is NOT my thing.

Materials needed:
1. a plain rug of any size with a low pile
2. fabric paints or craft paints
3. various sized brushes

I decided on a rounded diamond shape that is very popular in ikat fabrics, and used that as my jumping off point.
I patted my paint brushes rather than stroking them across the rug.  Soon enough my pattern emerged!
When your own rough outline of a pattern emerges, it then becomes much easier because it's all about painting in the negative space.  I just kept the colors coming and layered them inside AND outside the pattern.  Not as hard as it looks, I promise.
And that is it!  This literally took me one hour to whip up.  And that's including stopping to take pictures!  Let dry for at least a few hours, depending upon paint type.  I used acrylic which dries quickly.  After drying, place your new rug somewhere that makes you happy!  My kitchen is a bit dark, so I knew it would perk it right up.
I completely expect some fading and wear as I stand on it to do dishes, but that will make it look even better, I believe.  I like this so much, I may try a bigger rug!  This would also be great on those plain outdoor rugs for a summer deck, no?