Halloween on My Mind

Yes, we are still in the month of August and here in Texas it is triple digit heat every.single.day. yet I am already thinking about Halloween.  Actually, I have been thinking, planning, web searching, and pinning all things Halloween.  Folks, that is what happens when all the stores start displaying all of the Halloween and autumn décor before school even starts.  My kid started school last week and I found all his school supplies alongside the Halloween items.  Now that school  is in session the Halloween aisles have expanded even more so.  Oh and do not get me started on the Christmas décor.  Ay ya yay.  Well that marketing thing is working and I cannot wait to get started in my home.  Yep, I'm a sucker.

Check out some of the ideas I have come across while scrolling the web and are making my creative wheels spin:

Witches shoes decor from Better Homes & Gardens

Eyeball wreath also from Better Homes & Gardens.

Good Housekeeping shows a creative way to fill that fireplace.

From All You.
I think I'll incorporate this somewhere inside my house.

Last but not least a fun lantern project also from All You.
I know my kids are going to like making this one.

I have also seen lots of mummy inspired decorations and I thought of a cute craft I can make with my kids for their classroom Halloween parties.  I'm getting excited but first let's get rid of this heat!

I Heart Blueberry Muffins

Seriously, look at that deliciousness...

I don't know about you but this is one of my comfort foods.  Of all the pastries to choose from, blueberry muffins are ALWAYS at the top of my list.  In fact, I love just about every blueberry baked goodie out there but the muffins are oh-so-scrumptious and make me weak.  One of my first loves when it comes to food.  Blueberry muffins are the reason I started to bake and made me determined to be a darn good baker.  Ahem, I must say I'm pretty good at it yet I still have a lot of learning and practicing ahead of me.  That's otay.  My good friend, Cristina, says it is therapeutic for her, and I have to agree. J

I first started making muffins from a box (gasp!) and didn’t attempt to make them from scratch until after I got married.  I was so afraid of ruining them that and I did not want it to be a killjoy.  Well… they turned out to be not oh-so-scrumptious.  I was so bummed and disappointed.  Obviously, I had become too comfortable and confident making them from a box all those years.  After that I did baking research and read all sorts of tips, advice and how-to’s.  Then I came across a slew of blueberry muffin recipes.  I have been using the same recipe for a few years now and I’m quite happy with it.  So are Mr. DP3 and my sweet girl because they always give me a thumbs up.  Yay. (My boy is not a fan of the blueberry muffin – sniffle, sniffle.)  The recipe I use is from here but I tweaked it a bit and this is my version:

·         1½ cups all-purpose flour
·         ¾ cup white sugar
·         ½ tsp. salt
·         2 tsp. baking powder
·         1/3 cup vegetable oil
·         1 tsp. vanilla extract
·         1 large egg (room temp or close to)
·         1/3 cup buttermilk plus a little extra
·         1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Topping (optional)
·         ½ cup sugar
·         1/3 cup all-purpose flour
·         ¼ cup butter, cubed
·         1½ tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 12 cup muffin pan or line with liners.
2. Combine 1 ½ cups flour, ¾-cup sugar, salt and baking powder.  Place vegetable oil into a 1-cup measuring cup; add the egg and beat together; add vanilla and enough buttermilk to fill the cup (going past the 1-cup line is okay). Mix this with flour mixture until there are no dry ingredients left.  You don’t want to overdo it or else you’ll have flat top muffins.  Fold in blueberries.  Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture (optional).

I use a small scoop for the batter.
Three scoops per cup is usually the norm for me.

3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, ¼ cup butter, and 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon.  Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.  Mine are perfect at 20 minutes in my oven. 

Oh did you notice those liners?  Don't they look kid-like?

They are dinosaur liners left over from one of my son's parties.  I took muffins to work in dinosaur liners.  My co-workers thought they were fun.  Awww.

There ye have it ladies and gents.  You have yourselves my favorite blueberry muffin recipe (to date) and I hope you all can bake a batch for yourselves and devour enjoy them as I do.  J  I make mine without the topping most of the time to save calories and also my hubby really doesn’t care for it.  They taste great either way!

I gotta have my muffin with my fave coffee from Mickey D's.
The perfect combination to start off my work day.

Now tell me what baked goodie you heart and share your recipes with me.  The more recipes in my kitchen the better!

Pink is My Signature Color

"My colors are blush and bashful."
"Her colors are pink and pink."
"My colors are blush and bashful, Mama!"
In case you do not recognize the lines, they are from one of my all time favorite movies, Steel Magnolias.  I watch that movie at least five times a year and refer to it almost weekly.  When someone at work is frustrated I grab a helpless, innocent co-worker and say, “Here! Take a whack at Ouiser!”  Of course we all break out in laughter.  In addition, lucky me that my hubby’s favorite chick flick is Steel Magnolias too.  (rut roh he just might kill me for that confession) He just loves that scene when Inell discovers that there is beer in her Frigidaire.  It gets him rolling every time.

Yes, I LOVE pink and I choose it over any color 99.9% of the time.  I grew up with all sorts of pink things from toothbrushes, alarm clocks, trashcans, phone, house slippers, purses, wallets, furniture, carpet, curtains, etc.  When I lived at home with my parents, my entire room was pink.  Pink on top of pink.  It was my haven, my comfort zone, my getaway, and inspiration.  My bedroom was small about 8’x10’ therefore it was a cozy, pink haven.  My first car was a Geo Storm that was a pretty teal green BUT it had pink pinstripes on it.  My wedding colors were just like Julia’s in Steel Magnolias, pink and pink.  J  I had eight bridesmaids (yes, I know) and all were pretty in pink.  Now I have a daughter and I must say that I have trained brainwashed coached her well when it comes to all things pink.  I would say that 75% of her wardrobe consists of some kind of pink item.  I can gleefully report that pink is her color of choice.  She makes me proud.  It’s the little things folks.  The little things that tickle me pink.  J

A couple of months ago I came across this:

Right away, I told my hubby that I wanted a pink kitchen.  I mean, why not?  After all, I am the lady of the house and I do spend quite a bit of time in there feeding my family.  I quickly started brainstorming and I have a plan to convert my current kitchen into my pink dream kitchen.  I.AM.TOO.EXCITED. Of course I will share that transformation with you all once it is complete but to be honest I am sure it will take a few months or so.  That darn busy life of ours.

Meanwhile take a look at some of the pink projects that catch me eye when I blog hop.

*A pink chalkboard vase from Centsational Girl

cg pink chalkboard final

*A pink kitchenette and cute little birdies that make a playroom pop over at Sixty-Fifth Avenue. Adorbs.

*This little girl room makeover at Pretty Handy Girl. I love the pink walls!

*This cayute girly dresser over at Making It  Homey

*And finally this pink swing bench over at Maison Decor.  I must have one.

Those are just a few of the pretty in pink things that make me stop and say "ooooh what is this?"
Yes, I love pink and it will always be my signature color.  I grew up with it and plan to grow old with it. :)

Popcorn Theme Party Invitations

I am a bit of a scrapbooker and I first started out by making my son's birthday party invitations.  I had too much fun making his 1st Birthday Party invitations that I was on a roll for some time.  My sister-in-law first got me hooked on it and then I dabbled in it more and more.  Now I don't scrapbook or make invitations as much as I used to but I still find it fun and therapeutic when I get the chance.  This past weekend I came across a sample invitation that I had made for my co-worker's daughter.  Her daughter was planning a sleep over but wanted movie or popcorn type invitations to pass out to her friends.  They looked in just about every store in town that carried packaged invitations.  To their surprise they were not able to find any kind of invitation like what her daughter had in mind.  My co-worker then asked me to make the invitations because I had made some really cute ones in the past.  Aw, shucks she made me blush.  :)  She told me that her daughter wanted it to look like a red and white popcorn box.  And this is what I created:

Pink Texas Chick
I made invitations with real popcorn on them!

I admit that I was a little nervous because I wanted my co-worker and her daughter to be pleased and I wasn't sure I would pull it off.  The thought of using real popcorn popped (ha!) into my head as I was driving home.  I quickly changed gears from nervous to excited and I must say they turned out quite groovy.  These were really easy and quite fun to make and they were a hit with everyone.
Here is what I used to make this invitation.

  1. Red, white and yellow card stock
  2. Stamp set (this one is from Stampin' Up!)
  3. Elmer's All Purpose glue
  4. Paper punch for rounded corners
  5. Paper cutter
  6. Ink pad (I used Bravo Burgundy from Stampin' Up!)
  7. Adhesive either in glue dots (left) or adhesive tabs (right)
  8. All natural, white popcorn
Here is a rundown on how I made the popcorn invites.
  • Cut red card stock to 4"x6" pieces
  • Cut white card stock to 4"x5" pieces and several 1/4" strips
  • Cut yellow card stock to 4"x4" and 2"x2" pieces
I then stamped all of the yellow pieces with the It's A Party and the Date, Time, Place, For stamps.

I rounded off the white 4"x5" card stock pieces so that I wouldn't have pointy corners behind the popcorn.

I used Elmer's All Purpose glue for the popcorn.

I then assembled the cards in this order:
  • Used the glue dots on the white strips to put on the 4"x6" red card stock.
  • Used the adhesive tabs for the yellow card stock.
  • Used Elmer's glue on the back bottom portion of the popcorn card stock to adhere to the red card stock.  You don't want to put glue all across the bottom because the sides of the popcorn will stick out OR you can put some glue on the red card stock and then stick the popcorn card stock.
  • I glued the popcorn card stock about halfway down otherwise the entire invite would have been too top heavy.
I'm sorry I don't have photos for each step but my camera died as I was snapping away.  grrrr!

Anywho, here is the final product.  Not too bad, eh?

And here it is in a cellophane bag with some candy.  The top of the bag was too short to be tied so it was folded back with a sticker.  These invites were going to be hand delivered instead via the postal mail so I knew I had no worries as far as trying to stuff these into envelopes.  Fun and catchy!

What do you guys think?  What DIY craft has been your own creation that turned out better than you thought?


Pictures: I Love Them!

“Get my camera!” That is something my husband is used to hearing from me.  Or, “take pictures, hurry!”  The poor guy knows that photography is a big thing with me.  No, I am no pro or near pro or even amateur pro.  I just like love taking pictures.  I always have ever since I had my first pink Le Clic camera.  Yep, I had one of those and I thought I was one cool teenybopper with my pink Le Clic that used disk film.  Oooooh yeah I was clic chic because my camera required the expensive film.  Oh how I wish I still had it.  Just to have it ya know.
Source unknown

Well fast forward a decade or so and I am a late teens/early twenties girl working in the photo lab of my local grocery store.  That is when I really took a liking to photography.  I learned so much working in the photo lab and I was even one of the best at developing all of that 35mm film in an hour. 
{Brag note: I even had regular customers specifically request that I develop their film.  Double fist pump in the air!}
Yeah, you remember those 1-Hour photo labs.  That is where I wore my white-look-at-me-technician-coat and developed all sorts of pictures for a few years.  The variety of pictures that we came across was from A-Z.  Wowza.  Thankfully, we only had to call the authorities once and thankfully, the pictures we reported did not involve children.  And that’s all I’m gonna say on that topic.

Anywho, each picture is different because of its setting.  I learned how to process each negative accordingly.  Density was added if a picture was taken indoors or at night, i.e. we increased the “exposure” to prevent having those bright, white faces on people.  Cyan, yellow or magenta were either added or taken from the photo if the picture was taken in a hospital or at the beach.  Hospitals and offices have fluorescent lighting so pictures taken in that setting always had adjustments.  Always.  Hospital pictures were near and dear to my heart because most of the time the y were of newborns.  Hells yeah I was gonna make that new momma happy with her baby’s first pictures.  Now do you remember back in the day when you turned in a roll of film and the pictures came back with a tint of pink, yellow or blue or the flash made everyone pale faced?  And the technician said they couldn’t fix them because of the lighting, the film or maybe even your camera?  Lie!  I’m sorry to tell you that the photo lab technician was just being one lazy son of a gun.  With a little tweaking, the great majority of those 35mm pictures can be fixed. 

So, yes, over the years, I have taken tons of pictures and my poor hubby says I take too many.  No way.  You can’t have too many pictures of the memories you're making.  Never.  But I admit that my camera (sometimes cameras) is always in my purse.  It’s like having my wallet in my purse.  Gotta  have the camera too.  And yes my poor kids are like “enough already you crazy lady!”  Yeah, I’m one of those moms. A mamarazzi like how I’ve heard a few people say.  Chuckle, chuckle.  It makes me giddy.  J
Now are you ready for the shocker?  I do not have a fancy smanchy camera- yet.  Nope, I don’t have one and I’ve been eyeing them for a few years now.  After everything I just shared with you, you’d think I owned a top-notch camera. Once I am able to get the camera, I am going to buy this baby:

A Nikon D3100.
I can’t wait to get my hands on it and call it my own.  In my opinion, Nikon is alpha to Canon although they do make great cameras.  Heck, if someone gave me a Canon I would shamelessly and gratefully accept it.  I just think Nikon is a wee bit better.  Just sayin’.

So until I can get my dream camera I rely on these three cameras.

My Fuji Finepix  Z33 WP pink camera.
I’ll be honest.  I would never buy a Fuji camera.  This camera was a birthday gift from my husband and kids a couple of years ago.  I didn’t have the heart to tell my hubby it wasn’t on my wish list.  Well actually I kinda did tell him but I didn't have the heart to return it.  He was proud of himself because he really took his time trying to decide what camera to buy me and asked the salesperson lots of questions.  He didn’t know that I no longer wanted a point-n-shoot camera.  Obviously, I kept it and I’ve worked with it.  It’s a lot better than I thought.  Still not my ideal camera BUT it is waterproof and that is a huge bonus.  I am digging that especially since I can snap away while the kids play in the pool or splash around at fountain parks.  I mean here are a couple of shots of my boy underwater. 
Pretty cool, huh?

Then there is my almost nine-year-old Nikon Coolpix 3100.  It’s a great point-n-shoot camera but it’s been dropped a couple of times so sometimes the battery will hang out a bit and turn the camera off and on.  wonk wonk. 

Notice how the bottom doesn't close all the way? :(

And then there is the good ‘ol iPhone camera.  Yes, my phone screen is crack-a-lackin’ but no worries because that just happened yesterday (I don’t want to talk about it) and I will soon be upgrading to the iPhone4. (come on iPhone5 release so the price on the iPhone4 can drop!)

Ya know, for a camera phone it is not bad at all.  It’s come in handy many times.  I even took this picture of my boy with my iPhone.  It was such a great pic that it was featured during the weather forecast of my local news.  hoo-wah!
Running through Butler Fountain in ATX.

**And here's proof that I'm definitely not a pro but I do enjoy the snap, shoot, click of it all.**

My hubby's Nana & Popo looking at one another.  Love.

My baby girl's first steps on the beach.

I was in awe of Lady Liberty.

My boy at West Point for his uncle's graduation.

My boy's first airplaine ride at age 4.

I was sitting in my car waiting for my
hubby when I noticed the sunset.

Her first time in a swimming pool.
Look at her studying the water so carefully.

Do any of you like photography like me but don't know what you're doing?  :)

Goodwill Goodies

Well Mama (me) has been out of touch lately because I have been sickly again.  Therefore, I have been out of touch but I'm back for a brief moment.  I thought I would share with you all the recent goodies I have found at Goodwill.  I have made five purchases within the past couple of weeks and I am truly excited to dive even more so into the DIY world.  Here is what is ready to be tackled:

  1. An old memo board
  2. An old letter holder
  3. Some kind of ceramic or heavy plastic decor piece
  4. A beat up white table with lots of potential
  5. A vintage like tool box
I plan to tackle at least the table this weekend.  And lemme tell I am beyond excited.  The table will be for my girl and it does involve pink.  That's all I will say for now.  Hopefully I can start it and finish it this weekend and then show it off.  Cross your fingers for me and hope that all goes well.  Eeeeek!

Snack Station {Halloween}

Hello, happy Friday and happy kickoff to Halloween weekend!  I know, I know I’m rarely on here but I finally got a light under my butt to p...