Thursday, June 30, 2011

I didn't reinvent the wheel or anything... but these cupcakes rock.

You guys... Once again, overwhelmed and truly blessed by your words of encouragement on my previous post, and all of your private emails as well.  Those of you who have dealt with Aspergers syndrome have been a massive love bucket just pouring over my head with thoughts, love and words of experience.  We are still in the beginning stages of determining if that is the "label" that fits- man I hate to say label, but I know you guys know... 
 Okay so here's the thing.  One of my BFF's, Alli, is having a birthday.  And my bookclub girls decided that we needed to celebrate her tonight, so I baked her some special cupcakes and my man took one bite and said, "Babe, you must blog on this."  And I put my hand on my hip, rolled my eyes and said, "It's not like I reinvented the wheel or anything,"  To which he took another mouthful and said, "I don't care.... blog it.  They rock."  So... here they are.  You can thank my man for this one.  And no... they are not P90X approved, but I'm cheating tonight and I'll be eating a whole one while I celebrate one of the sweetest women I've ever known.  Besides my obnoxious personal trainer husband woke me up at 6:00 am today to get my work out in.  (In his defense, I told him too... but still.  A girl needs a cupcake every now and again.)
 I can not live in a world where cupcakes and cheese are banned.  I just can't.

So you begin with a yellow box cake mix. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners, and place one Oreo cookie into the bottom of each liner.  Then, place all the remaining Oreos into a ziplock  bag, and let the nearest hoodlums beat it to death with a rolling pin. While they are doing that, prepare the batter according to directions on the box.  Set aside half of the crushed Oreos.  Stir the other half of crushed Oreo cookies right into your batter.  Spoon Oreo cake batter right into your liners, and bake according to instructions.  (You may have to decrease your baking time by a few minutes due to the Oreo at the bottom.)
Okay, now the fun part!  Make the frosting.  And don't just make frosting... make some frosting!!  I took mine from Martha Stewart and added Oreos.  Heaven...

Oreo Frosting
*Beat 4 1/2 sticks room-temperature butter and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar until pale and fluffy.  Gradually add an additional 5 1/4 cups powdered sugar.  Add 1 1/2 tbsp milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract.  Beat until pale and fluffy.  Now stir in remaining crushed Oreo cookies.  Store at room temperature until ready to use. 

I thought the finishing touch (because all cupcakes need a finishing touch, right?) would be a tiny Oreo cookie perched right on top of that fluffy Oreo frosting. 



Mmmmm... cupcakes.
 And these are a few of my recent Etsy additions- (I'm donating 30% of my July profits to my blog friend Kearsie and her sweet family, while she battles breast cancer.  Thank you guys for being such a huge part of that!) I made a camera strap for myself, and it was so cute, I made one extra.  (I'm aware that everyone out there is making camera straps, so I'm not making these for my store anymore, but I couldn't resist adding this one.) FYI, I also reduced the prices of a few things in my store so I could begin thinking about a Fall collection.
  I added a few more Chicken Wire Memo boards, and might have a couple more on the way as well. 
And of course I restocked my favorite items too, like Mr and Mrs pillow slips and "eat" napkins.  Man, I love those things!
Thanks again for every comment, email, and kind word, not to mention orders and love sent Kearsie's way.  I just love you guys!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jonah Days

I still remember reading the expression "Jonah day" in Anne of Green Gables.  I guess there are bad days... and then there are truly Jonah days.  Days where you take all the wrong turns, go all the wrong directions, wind up in big messes and feel awful about it all.

The past couple of days have been Jonah days around here. Last night, I chipped our new counter top, we broke several pieces of trim causing no end of frustration, (it's always the little things...) my son broke our dishwasher, (which may or may not be fixable) half the electrical circuits in our kitchen were fried by the granite cutting saw being used during installation and are not working so we are trying to get an electrician in here now, both kids had major meltdowns that left me breathless within a span of two days time, all while we were trying to prepare for JJ's Aspergers testing and psych evaluation, and hearing that my husband possibly has a few months to choose where he'd like to transfer within his company to.  And those are just the highlights.


But we have our health.  (Isn't that what the saying is?  At least we have our health...)


And the truth is, while the past couple of days have been wildly crap-tastic for me, my heart has been burdened for those around me struggling with far more.  I've got friends struggling with selling homes, moving across the country, on missions trips in dangerous places, dealing with hard decisions, and my dear blog friend Kearsie, has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  In fact, I've decided that the only way out of a Jonah day is to help someone else... so for the month of July, 30% of my Etsy profits will be deposited right into Kearsie's hands.  (I'm restocking Etsy this week, FYI.)


I guess that's what you do on a Jonah day.  Lift your head and look around you.  My prayers are with so many of you who are struggling too....

Blessings,

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Personality

Hi Friends! I've just completed silk screening 60 "eat" napkins for my Etsy store, and our counter tops were installed last night, so I've been busily cleaning dust, and putting the place to rights while I finish a few more items. I'll be listing a bunch of things on Etsy and showing our finished kitchen in my next post (s?) so bear with me while I post a breezy post about not much. (And take a nap.)

One of my very favorite things in life, is going to a house of someone I've just met, and getting the house tour.  Oh the bliss... I'm probably one of those annoying people who look at every little thing, examine all the details, and ask a million questions about where did they find this, or how did they make that... The other day, someone I had recently met asked for the tour, and did the same thing to me.  It was so much fun, that I decided to do a tour of this room with you.  (You may be bored stiff right about now, and clicking out.  It's okay, I totally understand that not everyone pours over magazines for an hour the way I do, scrutinizing every little detail and taking it all in.)   If you are like me however, this post is for you... I'll explain in brief detail how I infused my personality into the details... Here we go!
1) Our photo gallery.  I found frames in all shapes, colors, and sizes at the Goodwill.  Then I spray painted each one Heirloom White, and distressed them.  I used only black and white photos for a cohesive feel, and above that, I painted a Great is Thy Faithfulness sign on a thin slab of bead boarded wood.  (see below)

 (FYI, I am currently taking orders for these signs- they are priced at $50.00 each, plus a $20.00 shipping/handling charge.  Each sign measures approx 58" long  by approx 5" wide, and is hand-painted and lightly distressed.  If you would like to order one, shoot an email to me at lemonademakinmama@comcast.net )
2)  I ordered this print on Etsy, and used a Goodwill frame for it.  (See below)
 This is the same frame that I used for this post, and I had painted it turquoise, (exact color, Sherwin Williams Jade Jargon- same color as my desk, only without the Walnut stain over top.) thinking I'd use it for something else, only I loved it for this print, and white was the best color for the frame, so I painted it. See the turquoise version, below:
(Awww... aren't they the cutest?!)
3) I get emailed about this coffee table a lot.  My brother made it.  That's really all I can tell you. Other than the fact that I love it, and my Mama bought me those green mossy balls that are sitting on it, for a birthday present a couple years ago.
4) These pillows were my version of stopping the madness.  Er, something like that... I used to switch them all out seasonally, but that was getting expensive and driving me crazy thinking that I needed to change all my decor along with them... not exactly the mindset I'm striving to promote in my world, so I agonized for a couple of weeks and settled on these with my whole heart.  So far, I've still got em.  My goal is to keep them for a really, really, really, long time, and be content with that.  I'm fairly confident that can actually be done.
5) This is a wooden box I found at a store locally, and some folded blankets and curtains.  Yes.  The top pile is a stack of curtains.  I just keep thinking I may need them for something, and they look rather nice on top of my TV armoire.
6) I painted this many years ago, after seeing the actual painting in Pottery Barn.  Which I could not afford.  I actually painted this for a friend, and then I loved it so much I painted another for myself.  I'm sure I'll probably go to jail for copyright infringement or something, but I'm coming clean here and saying that I copied it, so hopefully I'll get off early for good behavior. 
1) I silkscreened these pillows, and one time, I even listed some in my Etsy store, but they were too much work, so I discontinued them.  Plus, you can find them all over the place and I hate to be predictable.  (giggle.)
2) I get asked about this mirror all. the. time.  Here's the skinny- It was in our bathroom, and I hated it.  No, I loathed it.  I would dream of ripping it off the wall, and finally convinced my man we should do that very thing, and replace it with a nice mirror.  Well, it must be strong, because it remained intact.  So then we had no idea what to do with a ginormous unbroken mirror.  Finally, I decided we needed to epoxy a wood frame around it (using molding) and create a window!  Hanging it was a challenge, but we finally figured it out, and everyone was happy.  Especially me.
3) A Mama desk.  Which makes me blissfully happy.  You can read about it here.
4) A goodwill chair makeover, found here.
5) These are the silhouettes of my kiddos, and I get emailed about these every time I show a photo with them in it. (see below)
These larger ones were super easy to create- First I hunted until I found a silhouette example online, and I used that for the backs of their heads, and an example of how it should look.  I snapped a photo and printed it out in the exact size I wanted the silhouette (which took about three tries to be honest) cut the outline of my hoodlum's profile, then traced that right onto a piece of card stock.  I then cut that out, and glued it down onto a contrasting card stock paper and framed it.

Thanks for going on this little mid-week tour with me!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stawberry Fields, forever...

 This weekend was a whirlwind of activities and emotions, but I'll stick to the activities part for this post.  We went to a strawberry festival.  I had these grand imaginings of my precious family, tromping around in wellies, buckets in hand, and strawberries being picked all around.  Only my man laughed out loud, when I shared this, and reminded me that he'd been a strawberry picker back in junior high, and flatly informed me that we were not picking strawberries ourselves, and that he was happy to pay a little more to get a flat of picked strawberries. 
 We did get to ride on a tractor's wagon, much to the delight of my son.  I've always though it would be so much fun to drive a tractor around, but my man assures me that it's fun for about the first ten minutes, and then it's work.  Whatever.  (I bet if I was the one driving it around, it would  be fun.)
See? Doesn't this look like fun?
We also got to watch a magician perform, and this may have completed me.  I loved the performance, which began with opening dance number to Muse's Supermassive Black Hole, using magic rings and plenty of little foot kicks and magiciany-type gestures.  It doesn't get any better than that in my world.  Ava got her face painted, and it doesn't get any better than that in her world.
Adrain was happy because I didn't force everyone to actually pick any of these little gems.  So really, we were all in happy little worlds, there at the strawberry fields.   


This morning, I was faced with 8 lbs of ripe strawberries, so  I made lots and lots of jam.   My kiddos are in PB and J heaven.  
Lastly, I just had to show you this.  (Please ignore the fact that I've got one extra stripe at the bottom, and it's white.  The original plan was to cut it off, but in the end, I just decided I didn't care, you know?)
 I convinced Adain to hang this up for me.  It's huge!  I don't think I quite realized how ginormous it was until I saw it hanging on the side of my home.
 I put my hand on the stripes so you could see how large they are.  I put it together from old pallet boards, and then painted the flag on it.  Bring on the forth of July! 
 How was your weekend? 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Barns and flags, and random photos.

I love this barn.  Correction, I love all barns.  I drive past it all the time, and I finally decided to post it so you could see it too. One of my favorite red barns... (FYI, I edited in Picnik with a cinema scope action- minus letterboxing.  Just wanted to share that because I thought it was fun.)
 Need one more?  Me too. 
 
We are getting into the July 4th spirit around here, almost finished with our house projects, and ready to settle into summer.  We have one last thing happening- the counter tops.  My brother-in-law is installing them for us, as that's what he does for a living, (hence our incredibly affordable hook-up.) and he's warned me that it makes a huge amount of fine dust on everything.  You know what- I'm not complaining one little bit, no sir!  Just so appreciative that we get to do this. 
 Anyway, today I decided to take a fun break from life, and put out my little flags and such.  You know what I mean by a fun break, right?  Just doing something that doesn't "need" to be done.  (My favorite thing on this cabinet is the bucket of yellow flowers, but I decided to switch it up for a couple weeks while we celebrate.) My hoodlums were munching quesadillas for lunch while I did this, and they gave me plenty of pointers on what should go where.  What a bunch of goofs!  Man, I love 'em.  
 
My little trick for keeping these upright and where I put them in things like buckets and pitchers, is sand.  I put a container of sand inside the bucket, and then put the flags into that container. 


Ava took this photo, after she completed a puzzle today and I thought it was adorable, so I'm posting it.  (Plus, lots of you have been asking me about my laminate flooring.  Ta Da!  It turned out fantastic, and I'm so happy for the seamless flow it creates, and the icky carpet removal.)
 We are going to top some July 4th cupcakes with these stars...so stay tuned! I hope they turn out cute and patriotic! 

That's all I've got for today...  Wishing you all a fun weekend! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On learning optimism. (And photos of my kids being kids.)

The night was stuffy, and my blankets had wrapped themselves around my legs, twisting me up and pinning me into place.  I was having a dream, and the edges of it lingered as I woke in the middle of the night.  Thoughts of our daily life had been pressing upon my heart all week, so it was no surprise that my dreams tangled in amongst those worries.  As I squinted to see the time in the dark and pushed the quilt away, my mind continued the conversation I was apparently having in my dream.

Awake, but not fully.  Asleep, but not quite, I was vaguely aware, that I had been praying over our present situation.  I rose to get a drink of water, realizing sometime in the night, my heart had become lighter.  I struggled to fully wake, not wanting whatever dream I was having to end.  Softly, I felt a gentle question impress upon me, though not audibly, and it trailed off into the warm night air, swirling around me as I walked back to bed.  The question was, "Why can you not accept the good I offer you?  Why do you wait for the bad, worry over the possibility of loss, and anticipate hopelessness when that's not what I have ever given you?" 

As I reached the edge of my bed, I was startled by the clarity of this thought, believing it didn't come from me.  I lay awake in the dark, listening to the even breathing of my husband, and mulled over the verse that promises, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord,  "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11)  Inhaling the sweet night air, I murmured a prayer of thanks.  Thanks for the moment.  Thanks for the past.  Thanks for the promises kept up to that point, and thanks for His patience with my reoccurring pessimism.

When I woke up the next morning, the sun was peeking through the crack in my curtains, dappling my pillow with warmth and light.  The night's prayer time, fading quickly, as dreams and half-dreams often do, left subtle traces of hope in my heart, and I rose to greet the day, feeling surprisingly optimistic.


Perhaps you've seen or experienced loss and heartbreak. Perhaps it has touched you, or you fear it's tentacles reaching out to you some day soon.  Perhaps, like me, you allowed the anticipation of awful possibilities to tie you up in knots, and strangle the hope in your heart.  It's no way to to live.  It's no way to dream.

We've been promised a future with hope! It may not be the kind of future we thought it would be, but reach for that promise with all you've got.


Lately, I've been practicing the art of pushing away that pessimistic kind of fear, and to do that, I've been stopping to Give thanks for this very moment, whatever it happens to look like at the time.  I've been amazed at the turn around in my heart.

Ah... the adventure continues...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Office Space....LMM style

I'm very excited to finally have my own little desk space.  Originally, when we took our house off the market, and I realized we would be staying here, and that I didn't have an office to call my own, I began hunting.  I knew that I wanted a simple table design.  I knew I didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars.  I knew I wanted real wood.  I knew I wanted it to look old, beat up, worn out, and well loved.  I knew I wanted a pop of color on the table itself, and I knew there was no way I was going to find everything I wanted for the price I wanted to pay.  So I did the next best thing, and asked my brother to make me one.
I really love how it turned out.  I used Minwax Special Walnut stain for the first layer, brushing it on a little at a time, and then wiping it off.  After that dried overnight, I used Sherwin Williams Pro Classic water based paint in Jargon Jade, and painted the whole thing.  Once that layer was dry, I freaked out momentarily, because it was a super bright, albeit darling color. Finally, I hit the whole thing with my sander, taking a good portion of the paint layer off.
 It was almost perfect after that step, but I really wanted a little more depth, so I went back over the whole thing with a rag and more stain, being careful to rub it in all over.  I got really excited at this point, because it suddenly looked exactly like the picture in my head.  You know what I mean right?  I had this mental picture that I really hoped it would turn out to look like, and when it did, I was thrilled!
I'm not sure I've ever mentioned this, but I love office supplies, and cute stationery.  I love pens, pencils, colored pencils, little notebooks, pretty folders, and anything like that. 
 I would hate to break from blogger tradition, so from this point forth, I'll proceed to present you with a zillion photos, from random angles, of my desk.  Bwahahahaaha!  (You know it's true... we all do it.)  These seagrass boxes were a find at TJ Maxx a few years ago, and have moved all over my house.  Now they store cards, office supplies, cords, chargers, cordless mouse... all the ugly stuff. 
 See?  Ugly.
 I love how nothing matches, but everything coordinates. 
 
I have had these three little cups forever!  I got them in a three pack at Ikea, but used rub-on letters to create the "etc." 
From now on, you'll know where I blog!  I love this spot in our home too, because to my left, I see our glass sliding doors that lead out to the trampoline and backyard, and to my right is the front door where I can see the bike riding and fun that happens out there.  It's a perfect spot for monitoring things.  My headquarters, if you will.  I feel like I suddenly have eyes in the back of my head.   


I love the collection of favorite items hanging on the wall.  I can just look up at all the silhouettes of my kiddos and smile, remembering how little they were when I made the first ones, and seeing how they have grown to the most recent ones...  

Sigh.

Happy.