Saturday, January 25, 2014

Beer cake diy (30 beers for 30 years!)

I've been wanting to make a beer cake for awhile now, and our brother in laws 30 Birthday turned out to be the perfect occasion. Once I realized the correlation between the number of years and the numbers of cans in a case of beer, a theme was born. They are easy make and fun to decorate, and I know I will be making them again in the future!

Supplies you will need:

Case of beer
3 cake rounds (12 inch, 10 inch and 8 inch)
Large plate
Adhesive tabs
Wooden skewers
Pipe cleaners
Rubber bands
Decorative elements (I used curly ribbon, some sparkly twine and labels I made on Photoshop)

Now, a couple pointers~

I highly recommend the large plate to support the weight of the cake. All of the tutorials I found on line just built the cake off of the 12" cardboard round which is going to get really sketchy if you need to actually transport the cake anywhere. I found the one I used at Michael's in the candle isle for $1.99.

Adhesive tabs are also very important if you plan on transporting or moving the cake anywhere. That sucker is going to be heavy and awkward and keeping those cans from rolling off or tipping over will be a lifesaver. Plus it is super fun watching the recipient try and pry the beer cans loose :)

The picture is pretty self explanatory. 

The cake is stacked as such:

12" round - 13 cans
10" round - 9 cans
8" round - 8 cans

I did sticky tabs in between each bear and each layer to keep everything steady. Rubber bands work well for keeping the shooters and cigars steady on the skewers. I wrapped the wooden skewers in pipe cleaners to dress them up a little and then just stuck everything in the crevices of the cans. Wrap some ribbon around the layers, slap on some festive decorations and you are good to go! 

Friday, January 24, 2014

No fuss potty training?

If you clicked on this post in hopes of finding an easy no fuss solution to potty training, you misunderstood the title. 
I phrased it as a question because I have no idea what I'm doing!

My son Blake (a.k.a. B), now two and a half, is still romping around happily with a diaper clad bum. I'm starting to notice some odd looks from strangers when I take him into a public restroom for a diaper change. I find myself analyzing the children on the "Pull-Ups" commercials and trying to guess their age. It's obvious that we are running a little behind on the potty training game.

We purchased a potty a few months back. It's one of the ones that plays a song when it senses "moisture" and lights up when you flush it. It's still sitting upstairs, unused in the boys bathroom. Other than being "flushed" a bazillion times, it is completely pristine. To be honest, I'm the one that is pumping the brakes. Why? It's definitely NOT because I like changing dirty diapers, or spending hundreds of dollars a year on diapers, wipes, diaper pail refills and all the etcetera. 

It's because I have no idea what I'm doing. 

Ask me to house train a dog, sure no problem. Litter box train a cat? Easy as pie. I grew up with animals and know the steps to get from point A to point no more poop on the floor. Kids are way different and there are sooooo many emotions involved. A dog, for instance, is not going to cry if he pees in his new
 batman underwear.

The day we brought the potty home, I set it on the floor, bent down and said to B, "Okay buddy, this is where you are going to go potty from now on. So, instead of pooping or peeing in your diaper, you can go in the potty...okay?". The scowl on his face wasn't encouraging. I figured I would let him test it out, so I took off his diaper and set him on the potty. 
Big smile, "I going POTTY!"
Me *nods and encouraging smile*
2 minutes go by....
"Are you done yet buddy?"
2 more minutes go by....
At this time he stands up and waddles out of the bathroom bare-butted with his Pull-up around his ankles. I look down; Nothing. I sigh and follow B to pull up his pants. I no sooner get them back on and smell something funky. "Blake.....did you just... are you dirty???" The telltale smile said it all. 

I started perusing Pinterest in search of ideas to help us along. I clicked on a link that said, "Potty Train your Child in THREE DAYS!!!!" What, what what?? I eagerly clicked on the link. The basic idea was that you corral your child into a manageable space, strip them naked and present them with a potty.  Every time they have an "accident" you place them on the potty. Red flag right there; if they aren't wearing a diaper, where exactly does the said "accident" go?? Oh no, no, not the floor!! You better plan on hiring a HAZMAT crew if my kid is going to poop on the floor. I don't think so, next option...

Ah here we go, simply place your child on the potty in fifteen minute intervals. Every fifteen minutes??? I'm lucky If I remember to eat lunch during the day let alone put my kid on the potty four times an hour! I have a job, another toddler, and a household to take care of woman!

Feeling discouraged, I sat him down in front of "Elmo Potty Time" on Youtube. I consider loading up the Amazon cart with super hero under-roos, potty champ stickers, plastic sheets, and potty basket prizes. Then I realize that until he makes at least one deposit in the potty bank, they will just go to waste.

I try and remind myself that I don't know any six year olds that aren't potty trained and then I start to cry because that's four years from now. I love my little boy, poopy booty and all, but I know this is a necessary step in his development and I can't help but feel a little bit like a failure. I hear moms with 13 months old brag about how they just got their baby out of diapers by using some sort of potty training boot camp method. I've heard of other kids that refuse to even sit on a potty until they are four. I know he will be ready eventually and if there is anything that I have learned in my two and a half years experience parenting is that he will do it when HE is ready. I'm not going to be pushy, but I want to encourage. It may take significantly longer than three days, but I know we will get there.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chalkboard image transfer tutorial

It's been awhile since I've posted thanks to a three day trial I got suckered into for jury duty. It seems as if my house has been transformed into a large void whose sole purpose is to contain the mountains of dirty laundry which fills it. Three days off for momma and daily duties doesn't end well. : /

This week will be a juggle of catching up on work, laundry and playing with my sweet little boys, whom I have missed terribly!
We are looking forward to the weekend and the prospect of having our team make it to the Superbowl!! I designed a chalkboard for the AFC Championship game this weekend between the Broncos and the Patriots. 

 I used a simple transfer technique that allows any image that you can print to be transferred to a chalkboard. Anyone can do it and it will look like it was done by an artist! It's also great for text if you don't have a steady hand with letters. 

You will need: 
Printer paper
Chalk board

Sounds too easy to be true? Continue to be amazed~

Step 1: Choose your design and print to the correct size (I typically convert to black and white as to not waste any colored ink):

Step 2: Rub chalk on the BACK of the image, covering the backside of the image completely. 

Step 3: Tape the image to the chalkboard with the chalk covered surface to the chalkboard.

Step 4. Use a pen with a cap on to "trace" the image with moderate to firm pressure. Be careful to not let your hand smudge the image. Only apply pressure on the lines that you want to transfer.

5. Remove paper.

6. Fill in the lines and add color!

And Whala! You have a perfect image!

Now go gloat to all your friends!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Post Christmas Winter Bucket List

The Christmas decorations are boxed up and all the holiday festivities have come and gone. The house feels empty and solemnly blank. Sometimes this time of year can leave us with an emptiness that makes us anxious for spring and warmer weather. I have a feeling that there is still plenty of adventures to be had while the frost is still clinging to the window panes!

Every season, our family creates a "bucket list" of things we would like to do.  We are keeping things relatively simple this year so that we can enjoy it without all the fuss! 

This list is our POST Christmas bucket list, (we have a special one just for holiday fun) to be completed 
between New Years and Spring time:

Colored snow orbs
Chili bar
Toilet paper bird feeders  Frozen Bubbles  Winter Picnic

It's a perfect weekend here in Colorado to start our bucket list as we just got hit with a snowstorm that dumped about 3 inches of powdery white stuff all over the state. As soon as the wind dies down, we are bundling up for some fun in the snow!! I get ca-razy excited about snow storms; especially when everyone is home and safe with no where to go.

We are looking forward to living up the rest of the winter season!

So, bundle up or snuggle up, and enjoy the rest of what winter has to offer!

Friday, January 3, 2014


My word for 2014 is Serendipity

No, I don't mean the movie with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale (although it's a great movie) I'm talking about the definition of the word, "luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for".
 I am habitually guilty of over-planning and setting my hopes to high. I've found that this often leads to disappointment and a big mess to clean up afterwards. Looking back over the past couple of years that I have been privileged to be a mother, I realize that the best moments have been spontaneous and unplanned. The fondest memories in my heart are rocking my babies to sleep on stormy nights, or playing cars in our pajamas on the bedroom floor. Surprisingly it's not the birthday parties that I planned months in advance or even the family trips that come at such high expense and frustration. 

It's the unexpected moments, the little serendipities that make life so memorable and sweet. 

We've all seen (and perhaps attempted) the fun crafts and kid experiments that litter the pages of Pinterest. All you need is a can of shaving cream, pipe cleaners, glitter, food coloring, and glow sticks. One hour of set up, five minutes of play time and  an entire afternoon of cleaning up. In my experience with these sort of activities, one of the following will inevitably happen:
    1. The kids just want to eat all the craft supplies
2. They refuse to do the activity correctly
3. They have no interest in doing said activity
During one particular failure of a Pinterest calamity, I was cleaning up the mess in the sink and sulking. The boys, who had no interest what-so-ever in the planned activity were instantly interested in playing in the sink full of cups and sudsy water. The three of us played for nearly an hour pouring water from cup to cup and blowing the suds in the air. 
We giggled and splashed and my disappointment was entirely forgotten.

So this year, I plan to let go of my over-planning, over-analyzing and high expectations and just let the sweet moments happen.. If my kids want to stop at the park on the way home from the grocery store, we will; the ice cream won't melt in 15 minutes. If we are a few minutes late to a party because the boys want to splash in the puddles in the driveway, then so be it. Maybe this years birthday parties will just be cake and ice cream on the back porch by candlelight. I'm going to relax, enjoy and soak it all up.

I will welcome life's little seredipities with open arms.

Bring 'em on 2014, we are ready.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

5, 4, 3, 2, 1....HAPPY NEW YEAR!

We awoke to a beautiful snowfall this morning, and it seemed that the neighborhoods dusty, dry streets were made clean and white in accordance with the holiday. A fresh start, a clean slate; new resolutions and bucket list to start the year. There is something refreshing and energizing about January 1st.

 Chalk board design inspirations from LilyandVal

I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Years Eve. Unfortunately, my afternoon and evening was spent fighting off a nasty stomach bug. (Why is it kids always seem to have a limitless supply of dirty diapers when you're sick to your stomach?) Needless to say, I was in bed by 8pm. 

We did, however, do an apple cider (which Blake calls "apple spider) toast with the boys. They both loved walking around with their little plastic glasses and "cheering" one another!

I have to say my least favorite part of this time of year is taking down the Christmas decorations. I could happily leave them up all winter long if it wasn't for my husband constantly asking when I will be taking them down and the strange looks I might get from our neighbors. One of my favorite childhood memories was laying under (and I mean UNDER) the Christmas tree, staring up at the lights and the way they sparkled and dazzled off the glass bulbs. Not to mention my collection of Christmas decor has reached a mass so large that it typically takes me two full days to put it up and at least one to pack it all away.
It's never as fun to take it down as putting it

I do enjoy a good list, which is why I think I get so excited about New Years Resolutions! I can't say I've had the best success keeping them in the past, so I've learned to stick to more "general" resolutions and straying from the more "specific" ones.
Could it be called cheating? Possibly. Maybe...okay, yes.
While my #1 New Years resolution will be remembering to write 2014 instead of 2013, I thought I'd share my list to help get started on the right track in the new year:

2014 Resolutions


1. Do a good deed, everyday

2. Pray more, worry less

3. Collect memories, not things

4. Treat my body like a temple

5. Listen to more music

6. Visit a new place

 Happy 2014 everyone, from our family to yours!!