6.28.2013

Tombstone Fun - Feedback Friday

Ha, did that title get your attention?  It's Feedback Friday!

I saw a post on Facebook the other day that asked this question:

If you died today and the last text you received was written on your tombstone, what would it say?

While googling "tombstone" to make mine for you, this tombstone with the word Hope came up on the first page.  Kind of creepy!  Anyway, here is my last text:


Check your phone!  What would your tombstone say?

6.27.2013

Water Balloon Sports!



Fill up some water balloons and let the kids use them in place of a ball for baseball, golf, lacrosse, hockey...it's fun!

Want some more fun summer ideas?  Here are a week's worth of ideas:










Next week I'll share some more ideas to keep you and your kids entertained this summer!

6.25.2013

Tutorial Tuesday!

Taco Casserole:


How To Clean Burnt Stainless Steel Pans:



Faux Stamped Metal Necklace:



CLICK PICKS (last week's most clicked links):






Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog 

address) using the subject of your tutorial to generate  interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

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Hope Studios



6.24.2013

It's So FLUFFY!


Want to know my super simple tip for fluffy pancakes?

Drumroll...

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks then fold them into your pancake batter!

You can find our favorite pancake recipe here:


6.21.2013

Summer Reading List



From what I gather from friends I'm unusual, but I actually catch up on my reading once summer vacation begins.  We have 30 minutes of reading time for all of us during the day and I sit right alongside the kids and read my own books.

I just finished Th1rteen R3asons Why by  Jay Asher and Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.

I chose 13 Reasons because a student in our high school recently committed suicide and I thought this book might help my 14 year old make some sense of it.  After reading it, I chose not to give it to my son since I wasn't on board with the message the book sent.  The story is of a high school student who also commits suicide and beforehand records a series of audio tapes explaining why and calling out each student she blames for her decision.  After her death, the tapes are to be distributed to the "guilty" for them to listen to. (yes, I just ended this sentence in a preposition and it's really bugging me)

I just hated the lead character by the end of the book and didn't care if she committed suicide or not!  That sounds terrible, but I just couldn't like her, and I didn't like that the author didn't fully explain the brain dysfunction that can also lead to suicidal thoughts.

Me Talk Pretty was just the opposite in weight and I needed some light reading!  It's a collection of short stories that are pretty hilarious.  I have listened to David Sedaris on This American Life podcast when I run, and just imagining the words in his voice made it even funnier. I would recommend this book for fun beach reading this summer!

I finally found Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson, and plan to start it today.  My friend Tara recommended it months ago.

I love to get recommendations and I have a whole Pinterest page devoted to Books I want to Read, as well as a note in my phone.  So, what better place to get book ideas than here?


It's Feedback Friday...

What is on your summer reading list?

What books have you read lately?

What book did you really dislike?

6.20.2013

Hosting a Farewell Party

Dear friends of ours are moving this week and I knew that I wanted to host something special for them before they left.  I organized a Farewell Party last weekend and I wanted to share.

I used Evite for the invitation, but there were no templates for goodbye parties, so I had to wing it by using a general themed invite.  I had trouble with the phrasing and finally settled on "A Farewell Party in Honor of (my friends' names)".

I ordered a customized photo book from Shutterfly using my coupon code for free shipping (SHIP30).  I filled it with our photos together from over the years and added friendship quotes.  You can see our journey together here:



I found a hard bound notebook with their last initial on it and attached a pen and encouraged friends to write a goodbye note for them to take along with them.

We started the evening at a local restaurant with a Tuscan theme, so I made this simple centerpiece to decorate the table:


Here is a quick photo tutorial so you can make one for yourself:


Use clear, nesting containers. 

Slice fruit of choice and place slices between the two nesting containers.  I used lemons and sunflowers to keep with the Tuscan theme of the restaurant.

Cut flower stems so that the blooms are just above the opening of the container.  

Fill with water,  placing flowers in the center container and around the outside container to help hold the sliced fruit in place.

We moved on to a local nightclub after dinner to listen to a band and party our sadness away.

Since we couldn't use any decorations in the rented "lounge area" that attached to the walls or ceiling, we filled clear vases with different sizes of glow sticks.  These served as decoration and people began to wear them once the party got started.  We also used bunches of balloons and big bowls filled with bead necklaces to brighten up our area.


Though we had a great, fun night, it was still so sad to say goodbye to a friend that has become more like a sister over the years.  I swear I haven't said goodbye to a good friend since college and the tears won't stop flowing!

Goodbye, my friend!  Til we meet again in Key West next Memorial Day!


6.18.2013

Tutorial Tuesday!

How To File Fabric:


Blanket-Wrapped Diaper Cake:


Design Your Own Fabric:


CLICK PICKS (last week's most clicked links):





Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog 

address) using the subject of your tutorial to generate  interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

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Hope Studios



6.17.2013

What to do in Key West, Part 2





Breakfast - 

We usually eat at our hotel since they offer a complementary heavy continental breakfast, but one morning we always head out to Blue Heaven.  This place has changed a lot since we started coming here 15 years ago, but I still like it just as well as before. 

Play ping pong or shop the quirky art shop while you wait for a table.  We had BLT Eggs Benedict (bacon, lobster, and tomato) that were fantastic!

Lunch -

We never visit Key West without a trip to El Siboney, authentic Cuban restaurant.  When you see lots of work trucks in the parking lot, you know it's a great local place.  I try the roast pork with a side of fried plantains and beans and rice...I dream about their beans and rice...



We usually end up spending one or two afternoons eating lunch while listening to Michael McCloud sing on the little stage at Schooner Wharf.  This ramshackle bar is not much more than a roof with one wall and lots of umbrella tables and sun shades over top.  They have good music, great atmosphere, great beer bucket specials, and a tasty "Miami Vice" (swirled strawberry daqueri & pina colada).  We like to order the Key West Mahi Melt sandwich and the coconut shrimp.

We biked to Stock Island this visit to eat at Hogfish Grill. 



The Hogfish Tacos and the white conch chowder are amazing and worth the ride.  We sat right on the dock, looking over the fishing boats for an amazing lunch.

Sunset -

Everyone thinks that heading down to Mallory Square or the Pier House to view the sunset is a must, but we like the spots that are a little more "local" and less popular.  We like the rooftop bar of Turtle Kraal right on the Gulf.  We had jerk grilled chicken wings that were fantastic and saw the most beautiful sunset.


Looking over the railing into the interior courtyard in the back, we watched some bocce leagues for entertainment.

Happy Hour -

We always hit The Bull for early music and drinks while in Key West.  They had 2 for 1 margaritas and Yankee Jack singing the day we were there.  He pulled me onstage and sang me a song about mothers this afternoon:


It's always fun to have frozen drinks, and we headed right across the street to The Flying Monkey to sample a huge selection of frozen choices.

Dinner - 

We stumbled into Caroline's Cafe for dinner one night and got to sit right on Duval Street to people watch while eating a great meal.

Fun -

We always rent bikes and you can bike just about anyplace you'd like to go on the island!  It's great to get out into the air to really see the island.  Like I said, we biked to Stock Island, and we biked all along the beach.  They have a HUGE paved path that runs parallel to the water that is a beautiful ride.



There is live music in almost every place you enter and that is the huge draw for us since we love live music!  Here we are in our favorite bar, Smokin' Tuna, listening to some of my favorite bands.

To see more Key West posts check out last year's trip:

Shocking Key West

Where to stay in Key West

Key West, Baby!

How to Plan an Adult Trip to Key West

6.14.2013

School "Gender Bender Day"? Feedback Friday





While "Googling" a solution to our TV that keeps randomly turning off (always right when someone is about to kiss, tell a joke, or reveal a deep dark secret!), I stumbled upon a story from The Daily Caller website about a Milwaukee elementary school's proposed "Switch it up Day" (originally called "Gender Bender Day").  What on earth Google thinks this has to do with the search term "tv turns off when using my dvr", I have no idea!

Anyway, it caught my eye so I clicked and read about Tippecanoe School for the Arts' spirit week. One of the spirit days involved girls dressing as boys and boys dressing as girls for the day.  Our school has a similar spirit week and the themes are Crazy Sock Day, School Spirit Day, Backward Day, etc...

I was able to find a copy of the flyer distributed by the school with the original name here:


The school stated that the day's theme was "chosen by the school's student council and it is only meant to be fun" and that participation wasn't mandatory. (source)

A school board member speculated that parents stirring up controversy over the day were using their children for political purposes and that little children aren't thinking of "sexual orientation". (source)

When it came time to celebrate "Switch it up Day"/ "Gender Bender Day" it was reported that few students participated and that most of the gender benders were teachers and staff.

There are lots of comments on the articles I found on this controversy, so I thought I would mention it here for Feedback Friday...

Do you find the idea of "Switch it up Day" offensive or fun?

Would you feel differently if it were called "Gender Bender Day"?

Would you encourage your child to participate in this day as a series of themes for the week?



6.13.2013

What to do in Key West

The Big Guy and I have been visiting Key West together for the past 15 years or so. We love it more and more, and at this point, it feels like coming home as we step off plane onto the hot runway.

Our favorite place to stay is Simonton Court - a little oasis one block off Duval Street.  You can see the inconspicuous entrance to the left of the building visible from Simonton Street.  This compound used to be a cigar factory that was converted into a collection of cottages, rooms, and townhouses.

The gate is locked with a code once it's dark and this little spot is protected from any riff raff that might wander down from Duval Street late at night.

Look at this front porch with rocking chairs facing Simonton Street!  So cute!  We stayed in a room at the back of this building this year, facing the interior of Simonton Court.

Here is our room, called Honeysuckle.  It was a sweet little room off the front gate with whitewashed walls, a comfy bed, and huge shower.  We try to stay in a different room every time we visit.


Here is the path leading from our room to the interior of the compound.  You won't believe what this path leads to!


This gorgeous main pool is our favorite - there are 4 others.  It used to be an old cistern and the original bricks remain on each of the 4 corners.  You can see the Manor House near the back and the breakfast area in between.


Come on back Monday and I'll tell you about some of the places we visited and fun things to do in Key West!

6.11.2013

Tutorial Tuesday!

I had time to add some of my faves from last week! Enjoy!

 Natural Weed Killer:  





 CLICK PICKS (Last week's most clicked links):

#1  Hundreds of Sewing Tutorials

#2  Super Yummy Fruit Salad 

#3  Menu and Shopping List
 
Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog 

address) using the subject of your tutorial to generate  interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!




Hope Studios



Your Skin Fix, December Edition