Curly Crafty Mom: August 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Five on Friday #6

Happy Friday! I've decided to link up for the Friday Five again this week with Darci, April, Christina and Natasha!

Mockup
1. Blog Redesign. If you come around here often, you'll notice I have a new blog design up this week! Jacquelinne was my designer from Smitten Designs and she worked with me to create a logo, header, Facebook timeline background, business cards and just a new professional look and feel for my blog. Brian helped me brainstorm a name and at first I had Curly Crafty Carrie, but I wanted to include that I am a Mom, so finally we came up with Curly Crafty Mom. Curly represents me and my love for fashion, Crafty represents crafts/DIY/decor and Mom represents me as a Mom... as I do blog about my kids a lot still! I also love the tagline that goes with it, "When Curls and Crafts Collide..."

When I worked with Jacquelinne, I wanted to have an actual logo and not just a header. I also wanted to be able to display images on my blog at a larger size than 550px, since I love to display my recipes, DIY projects and fashion posts at a larger scale to show more detail. For the graphic elements, I wanted her to use teal & pink for my main colors and I wanted these colors to be subtle/soft. I also wanted her to use succulents (these are in the header), burlap, chevron, wasabi tape (my About Me photo is taped up with this!), etc. to show the crafty side of my blog.

I also wanted a navigational bar across the top with additional pages my users can click on. These are blank for now, but I plan to work on them a little at a time. I also wanted a side bar and I am also having her create a Blog Button for me with my blog logo. This was an extra request I gave her, and she just finished the blog button TODAY. Check it out on my side bar and feel free to add it to your blog! I would love to trade buttons with anyone that is interested.

I even found some surprises on my blog... like when you roll over the images, a Pin It button appears at the top of the image. I love that Jacq added this!


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2. Recap on my Birthday/Embroidery Machine. I can't believe my birthday was several weeks ago and I haven't blogged about it yet... especially since Brian and the kids made me feel so special on it! It was a really laid back day, we went to lunch at Waffle House... I know, I know... Waffle House?! But, it was close to the movie theater and Nathan said he wanted to try it... and, I thought the boy is 7, it is time for him to try Waffle House! lol! Then we saw Planes and after that we had homemade cake from a blog recipe that I gave the hubby (dang, that is a lot of candles on that cake!)... and, then after the kids were in bed we had birthday cake martinis, from another blog that I forwarded to the hubby. At least he knows what I like, right?! And, as for gifts... I got a sewing and embroidery  machine!! Whoooohooo! I have been wanting one of these forever and although I am not sure I remember how to sew, I will figure out the sewing and embroidery, don'tcha worry! I bought these scraps to play with at first, then I plan to work on embroidering headbands, scarves and maybe even one of my chambray shirts on the pocket. We'll see where this takes me... I am a little nervous, though! Any tips would be appreciated if you know how to embroider!


3. Stitch Fix. So, I've decided to get on the Stitch Fix band wagon! I really need some new Fall clothes and I've been envying what they've been sending everyone in their boxes this month. I even saw someone that got a pair of emerald green skinnies, which I cannot find anywhere! If you don't know what Stitch Fix is, you fill out a questionaire online and the ship you a box of five items every month. If you keep all five items (which, I am planning to buy 1 item a month) you get 20% off... if you buy 1 item, you don't lose your $10 you paid for that month to receive the shipment. Then, you mail back the items you don't want. You can specify your style, what season you are interested in (fall is what I want right now!) and the designers that work with you will send you exactly what you are looking for... I have seen others receive their boxes, try on the their clothes and do a blog post on them, this is what I plan to do when I receive my first box next month. What is nice is you can start or stop shipments at any time. Here are a couple of posts of some other bloggers that do Stitch Fix and what their current box included: Life in the Green House and Walking in Grace and Beauty.


4. School. Well, we are on our third week of school and it seems to be going really well this year. Last year we had so many activities going on and we weren't used to homework, so it was a little chaotic. I did not want that this year... at all. So, instead of doing soccer, Nathan is doing cross country and the practices are right after school (before I even get off work!). Then, he may be participating in cubscouts again... and, Autumn will be doing dance at an earlier time (5-6 pm), which will get us back home in time to do dinner and baths still. 

Homework has been easier this year as well, we started an allowance program with Nathan at $7.00 a week. We've read that $1 per year of age is a good start. For allowance he needs to finish his homework at Grandma's house before I pick him up after work. He also needs to continue to get himself ready for school in the morning and we will start having him pack his own lunch, too! Then, every weekend we have him write out his spelling words 3 times, so we don't need to do this during the week on Wednesday night. Also, this teacher lets the kids do their memory on Monday versus Friday if they are ready! We have Nathan learn his verse and he says it on Monday and it is one less thing we need to go over all week with him. Whew!



5. Labor Day/Upcoming Projects. This weekend is Labor Day weekend and the kids will be with their Dad... Brian and I really don't have any plans, so I plan to relax and get some projects done around the house. We painted the Master Bathroom ages ago and I am itching to get in there to decorate it. I have everything planned on how I want it to look, but some of it involves DIY projects and I also need to purchase a lot of items still (one item I am hoping Pottery Barn still carries!). My goal is to get Brian in there to swap out the lighting with something a lot more modern. I also want to work on painting a chalkboard wall in the kitchen, BUT... I am not sure if I'll get to that this weekend. We were planning on going to the Japanese Festival, but with temps in the upper 100's, I'd rather stay in the a/c! lol! Hope you all have a nice Labor Day! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Library Reading Program Photos from this Summer

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Every year I sign the kids up for the Library Reading Program at their local library. This is a great chance for them to see what the library has to offer them and Nathan and Autumn even got their first library cards this year (Nathan was MUCH more excited about his library card than you can tell in this photo!).


First-Prize_pic-of-the-prizes
Every year the library offers different prizes after completing each level (12 books) and I love to share those prizes on here. The first prize was an excavation kit, where the kids had to hack away at a block to reveal their fossil. They also received a coupon for a Sonic small slushie (which, why did the closest Sonic by us close?) and a buy 1 get 1 free Penn Station sub.


First-Prize_Both-digging-fossils
Both at work, thank goodness we did this project outside... it was a huge powdery mess! The kids found out that throwing the block around helped crack it open much faster, too!


First-Prize_Auttie-holding-turtle-sticking-out

First-Prize_Auttie-close-up-of-her-turtlet
Autumn finds out hers is a turtle!


First-Prize_Nathan-breaking-it

First-Prize_Nathan-holding-up-his-prize
Nathan's fossil!


Kids-on-Balls-at-same-time 

Nathan-on-ball
For the second prize level the kids got a free Sonic corn dog, a free coupon to paint a 4x4" tile at the pottery store AND these gigantic beach balls.



Brian sure had a lot of fun blowing them up... oh, thank goodness for men and the things they do for us!


Aut-kicking-ball

Autumn-throwing-ball-up
Seriously, this ball is bigger than Autumn is! Want to hear a funny story? We have a white fence in our back yard and a storm rolled in... the balls blew to one side of our fence, so I figured they'd be ok. Well, Brian and I were leaving the house later that evening and I saw one of the green balls stuck in the storm sewer opening. Then, we saw the other one WAYYYYY down the street. It was still windy and Brian had to run really fast to get it (oh thank goodness for boys, I had heels on!)... it was funny to see him holding the big green ball as he ran back towards the house. It def. gave me a chuckle or two... ha! The balls are now sitting in our basement collecting dust. Too much work to deflate them.
 


Third-Prize_pic-of-the-prizes
The third prize is always the biggest... the kids always get to select a book to take home and they get free passes to go to the Magic House on evening on a Library night. But, this year they also got two coupons for free kids meals to Buffalo Wild Wings. We used this coupon during our staycation and we also were able to fit in the Magic House. Sweet! 





I love freebies and I love that my kids had a chance to read so many books at the library this summer.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Yummy Fall Treat, Candy Apple Popcorn Balls!

Candy-Apple-Popcorn-Balls
Today I am going to share with you a recipe that I found on Pinterest that I tried out this last weekend during movie night with the kids. Every other month or so, we let the kids bring their sleeping bags into the family room and I select an oldie, but goodie film. This weekend we watched The Neverending Story and to my surprise they both loved it! Of course, sometimes we do watch newer films, but I really love sharing the ones that I loved during my childhood with them. Anyway, it is sort of a tradition for us to make a yummy dessert to go with our movie. With fall approaching, I decided to try a spin on the regular popcorn balls and so we made Candy Apple Popcorn Balls. Oh my... these are delish. Seriously, make them this fall... they will become a staple in your fall recipes, I promise they are THAT good.


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Now, I did not follow the Pinterest recipe exactly... for one, I wanted to try the recipe with kettle corn popcorn, because the fall makes me think of kettle corn! And, two, I didn't add dried apples...my kids are sort of picky and I just didn't think they'd like little pieces of dried apple in the popcorn balls. But, trust me... the flavor on these was perfect.


Prep_ingredients
The ingredients are rather simple. First you make up the popcorn balls, then you make up the candy syrup that you dip them into. 


Prep_butter-melting
Another good thing about this recipe, is that it makes your house smell SO good. Lots of fall spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Mmmm. Here I am melting the butter with the spices.


Prep_melted-marsh
Then I add in some mini marshmallows... and, oh gosh... yum, just yum.


Prep_popcorn-before-rolled-into-balls
Then you dump in the 2 bags of microwave popped Kettle corn. We used the Boyscout popcorn that my son sold. Mix it into the marshmallow/butter/spices and... then, take a sample piece of popcorn, or two, or three... or a handful. Ok, stop! You need to try to make at least 8 or 9 popcorn balls out of this deliciousness. I took it off the burner and let it cool a bit and then I used my bare hands and separated it into 8 balls and rolled them in my hands until the popcorn compressed a bit and they were nectarine sized balls. Really,  I could have just stopped here and ate them all up. But, oh no... we need a candy coating to dip them into still, right?!!


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A couple of pictures of the popcorn balls, aren't they pretty?


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Next, start on the candy coating... it says in the directions to bring it to a roaring boil and once it reaches 300 F you can add the food coloring and cinnamon extract. I didn't have a candy thermometer so I used my husbands meat thermometer and I swear it only reached 220. I let it boil on high forever, maybe it seemed longer than it really was... but, when it looks like the photo above with all of the tiny little bubbles, it is ready! It still feels watery, but when you remove it from the heat it thickens, trust me.


Prep_dip-ball-in-pot
The original candy coating directions tell you to add a few drops of red food coloring. Uhh, it looked red in the pot, but it did not show much red on my popcorn balls when I dipped them in. I had to add about a half tube of red food coloring before I got the accurate candy red color. Now it is time to do a little dipping! First, put the sticks in your popcorn balls, then dip them into the coating. Make sure you have a plate handy to catch any coating that oozes off of your popcorn ball, this stuff is sticky and hard to get off... so, the less mess you make the better.


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Then place them on some wax paper that you've sprayed with PAM. Give the candy coating 15-20 minutes to set/dry.


Done-but-before-decor

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While you are waiting... try not to take pictures that cause you to drool like I did.


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Even Miss Autumn hated waiting to eat them all up! Numnumnum.


Done-close-up

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And, if you are a blogger like me... feel free to decorate the tops of the sticks with a cute bow or with burlap scraps like I did.

So, there you go... a fun new recipe to try this fall. I think popcorn balls are a must have every fall, or heck... anytime for us!


And, now for the recipe:

Candy Apple Popcorn Balls

Ingredients:

Candy Coating:
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon Cinnamon Extract
Red Food Coloring
 

Popcorn Balls
2 Bags Kettle Corn Microwave Popcorn
1 bag (10 oz) Mini-marshmallows
6 Tbsp Butter, melted
1 tsp Cinnamon
⅛ tsp Nutmeg
8-10 sticks for Popcorn Balls


Directions:

Popcorn Balls:
In large pot, melt butter and whisk in cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in mini-marshmallows and stir to melt. Pour in 2 bags of popcorn (try and not get un-popped kernels into the mix). Using a non-stick spatula, fold marshmallows and popcorn together. Clump large handfuls (about nectarine sized) popcorn mixture together and mold into round shapes. Set aside, repeat with remaining popcorn mixture.

For Candy Coating:
In a medium sauce pan, melt sugar, corn syrup and water together. Bring to a rapid boil and while monitoring temperature with a candy thermometer - bring the mixture to 300 degrees. Stir constantly. Gently dip each stick for the popcorn balls into the candy coating and stick into the middle of each popcorn ball. Here, add in the cinnamon extract and food coloring and stir to incorporate. CAREFULLY dip in each popcorn ball into the candy coating, and place back onto sprayed baking sheet to cool. Repeat with all popcorn balls. Allow to cool completely.


Linking up with:
The Inspiration Exchange
Create It Thursday #17 
Hookin Up with HoH #163 
Creative Wednesdays with Pink Recipe Box 
Inspiration Gallery Link Party  
Inspire Me Please Weekend Blog Hop 
All Things Pretty 23 
All Things Thursday Blog Hop 
Overflowing with Creativity 
Submarine Sunday 
Pin It Monday Hop #24
Monday Funday Party 
The Pin It Party #21

Monday, August 26, 2013

Trendy Tot Tuesday #28 - Fall Faves for my Girl

It's Trendy Tot time once again with Mrs In Training, Lindsay and Megan! I have missed doing the Trendy Tot link up the last two weeks, but today I am back and ready to share some of my favorite fall clothes for girls.

I feel a little behind this year, because I haven't done any fall shopping for me or the kids. Nathan wears a uniform and hasn't grown out of the size he was wearing last year, so I will only be purchasing him a few odds and ends. Autumn, however has grown and even though I have a wonderful friend in Colorado that ships me lots of clothes for her, I feel I need to get her some items that reflect the current trends.

Since I normally shop at Gymboree, Crazy8, Gap and Old Navy... those are the oufits you will see today! I really wanted to splurge and get Autumn a Matilda Jane outfit for her school photos, but they are really early this year (Sept. 4th!!), so I just will not have time to do that.

Ok, so here we go...!

Fall Favorites from Gymboree
Gymboree_Kellygreen

Brightest in Class from Gymboree. Gymboree has always been one of my favorite places to shop for my kids... not so much for my son anymore, but I still continue to shop there for Autumn. I cannot find green pants for myself for this Fall... I've looked everywhere... but, here are some kelly green (I want a darker green for myself) pants paired with a navy and green sweater (with a hint line of pink) and navy shoes. I love navy and green together, so of course I love this outfit.


Gymboree_Paris 
Bonjour Paris from Gymboree. Brian proposed to me in Paris, so of course I love this outfit. The little jean jacket with the color Paris tee underneath... the teal skirt and accessories... ahhh. I would love to have this outfit for my little girl.


Gymboree_Londonoutfit
Hello, London from Gymboree. I don't like to see a lot of animal print on youngsters, but... they are really come out with some cute leopard print outfits. I love how the skirt has just a touch of leopard print and I love the little leopard print flats. All of the leopard print jewelery is just darling, too... And, the red all compliments it nicely. I really want this outfit, too!!!




Gymboree_Leopardtrenchcoat
And, if that isn't enough animal print for you... check out this leopard print trench coat from Gymboree? Heck, I would love one of these for myself!


Gymboree_leopardtights
And, leopard print tights!


Now, let's look at my favorites from Crazy8, Gymboree's little sister store.
Crazy8_retrochic
Retro Chic by Crazy8. I love black and white stripes and with a pop of coral, I am loving this outfit. This is the outfit I am considering for her Fall pictures. Please help me decide!


Crazy8_chambraydottieshirt

Crazy8_chambraydotdress
Chambray Dot Tie Waist Shirt and Chambray Dot Dress from Crazy 8. I love both of these, I have a similar chambray dot shirt from F21. This chambray dot dress would look cute with a little scarf in the colder fall days... I love the monogrammed scarves I have seen lately.


Now for Gap. I shop at the Gap mostly for Nathan, but I am starting to find a lot of things I would like for Autumn there as well.
Gap_Logo-Peplum-hoodie 
Arch Logo Peplum Hoodie from Gap. I love the neon yellow against the light grey on this hoodie... and, who doesn't love peplum right now? There are also some cute light grey pants with neon yellow polka dots to go with it.
Gap_bow-peplum-skirt
Bow peplum denim skirt from Gap. Speaking of peplum, I also love this denim peplum skirt. 


Gap_leopardskinnyjeans
Leopard skinnies from Gap. And, I love these leopard print skinnies. Leopard print can be pretty loud, so I love how these skinnies don't appear so loud since they are a soft grey color.


And, last up is Old Navy. I am loving their gold and fleece right now.
OldNavy_Graphic-terry-pullovers
Terry Pull Over from Old Navy. I love how comfy this looks and I love the gold dots. I can't get enough of gold! There are some matching white leggings with mini dots that are gold that would pair nicely with this top.


OldNavy_fleecedress
Fleece dress from Old Navy. I love this comfy fleece dress with the large golden heart on it. So cute!

Well, that is it! Let me know which you loved, too and feel free to Pin away!

trendy tot
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