Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Have a safe and happy Trick or Treat Night!
I am going to try not to eat more candy than I pass out.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The newest member of our family....

Meet Zenith.  Isn't he gorgeous?  His television, turn table, and radio all work.  We decided he goes perfect with the granny chairs in our living room.  His picture is black and white, and he needs a converter box, but that's ok with us. He's really, really heavy, but we got him in the house with only a few bad words and a furniture dolly.  Awesome.

Friday, October 29, 2010

BIG BROTHERS...little sister

Look at these silly kids with their momma. 
No, I mean really...LOOK at them.  
Haven't they grown?  BIG. 
Here's Brady's boot... Size:  Jet Ski 

And here's Bodie's shoe.  Size:  wakeboard

I'm not exaggerating either.  You wouldn't want to go head to head with Brady in a football game and make him mad.  He might clock you pretty good. The coaches love him.

Bodie passed me up by about 2 inches this summer, and he can stand his ground with the best of them on his scooter (gosh..I wish I had muscles like that in my legs)...

We took this picture tonight about two minutes before Brady picked me up and swung me around for about 30 seconds, and he didn't even have to use his real muscles.

What?  What do I feed them, you wonder?  Frosted Flakes. And the house.

I'm glad Katie is still 
knee-high to a grasshopper. 

The Last Letter! But I hope not...

(here's a bit of a letter that my mom wrote 
to her parents when I was a baby...isn't that neat?)
I hope that this week you have:
  • found a new love for the handwritten letter
  • remembered how you used to write notes in school
  • read some old letters you've kept for years
  • thought about bringing back a long lost art
  • made someone smile
  • and used up some stationery that might have been packed away and replaced with technology
Your last prompt...but the first of many letters I hope you continue to write...send a sweet note to your spouse or your best friend.  You can tuck it in their lunch box or pack it in their bag they carry to work.  Mail it to the office, or put it on their desk.  Stick it in their front door at home or sneak it in their mailbox. I bet they'll be surprised, but I bet they'll have a much better day too.  What a way to start the weekend!  I've had tons of fun this if you have too...comment here and tell me how many letters you wrote.  The random winner will get something fun to write their next letter with.  New pens are the best, aren't they?  Especially ones that write smooth, don't bleed, and come in pretty colors.  Thanks for spending time with me!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

We met Bakerella!

Bakerella is a Goddess. She's the royalty of cake pops...and cake balls...and she has a fabulous blog.  She was in Dallas today, and Melissa and I took some comp time from school and drove down to meet her! We pretty much squealed like teenage girls in the line while we read went gaga over her book...the lady in line next to us would just turn around and grin and shake her head.  Then when we got to her table, we squealed some more, took pictures, and I had her sign my owl page...what other page WOULD I have her sign?  Who cares that we were surrounded by Williams-Sonoma yumminess (pumpkin butter, cupcake mixes, Christmas treats)...we were meeting Bakerella!

Then she signed our cookbooks.  Here's my owl page with her pretty signature!  See? She was super sweet and giggled with us...we threw her off course getting her to sign a different page than usual.  High maintenance fans.

So glad we made it there before they tapped the line!  What a fun day for me and my buddy.  Time to go bake some cakes!


New places to go...
fun things to do...

(Snapshots of picture 
of one moment at one time)

(interview with Rachel Denbow...and a very cool shop of repurposed clothes...with a purpose(they benefit an orphanage...spectacular)

I know...I have just added 
to your reader feeds...
but you won't regret it.  
Neither will I.

Pen Pal Prompt #4...Almost there!

I think I have a new hobby.  Writing.  Not typing...I do that all day at school...but writing...with pretty Sharpie markers on vintage stationery.  I've now gone through a stack of Just A Notes from Current.  I used to make wish lists of cute stacks of paper and notes from them.

Here is prompt #4.  One more, writing hens, and we are finished; unless, like me, it has become a habit for you. 

Write a letter to someone you are missing lately...this could be someone who has moved or that you have moved away from; someone who has been on your mind and in your heart; near or far; just someone you need to see in person to give them a hug.  Write this letter on extra special, very pretty paper.  Seal it with a wish, and maybe they will appear at the coffee shop and sit beside you for a long awaited visit.

I know just who is getting this letter from me...I miss her.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Green Play Doh Monsters and....two winners!

Katie and I found the cutest idea here for homemade play doh monsters with bouncy ball eyes.  We got the play doh recipe (no cook recipe...easy!) from Cooks. com.  We used this one.

1 c. flour
1 c. boiling water
2 tbsp. cream of tartar
1/2 c. salt
1 tbsp. oil
Food coloring
Mix and knead together. We used some extra flour and then turned it out on a thin towel and kneaded it with a dusting of flour too.  It's perfect!

We bought the bouncy ball eyes in a package of 30 at Target.  
Then we separated the dough and Katie gave eye transplants to each of the monsters.  Adorable.

And here they are finished and cooling off.  The dough is warm while you work with it.
16 little scary monsters!!
We packaged them in cellophane bags and added black satin ribbon and a tag that said:
I'm a green play doh monster
As scary as can be 
Take my bouncy eyeballs out
And then you can play with me!
Happy Halloween!
I think her friends will love them.  Don't you?

And, finally...the little (owl) birdie gets to fly home for the winter.  The winner of the birdie giveaway is.....

Lauren Fisher said...
My little girl LOVES Owls! Lauren
and also:
Sheridan said...
I love all of em'!! Especially love Katie modeling w/ them. :) I love that you commented on my post (so fun to read comments...I read them over and over...I really do!), and I decided to give both of you a birdie!  So email me at smartypantsart (at) gmail (dot) com, with your address and I will send them out this weekend!  

Pen Pal Prompt #3

We are half way there!  For letter #3, write a little "thank you" note to someone you see every day...a friend at work, a neighbor on your street, or someone who is part of your daily routine (daycare, Starbucks barrista, Chick Fil A or Sonic server...)and those are in no way directly related to my daily routine...oh, um....well, maybe they are.  Anyway, they will either think you are off your rocker, or they will be so excited to have a pat on the back from a buddy.  You can mail it or hand deliver it.  Awesome!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This is Halloween...

It is Red Ribbon Week (Drug Awareness) at school, and we have been dressing up.  Today was "kid" day, and since it is so close to Halloween, I took a little bit darker spin on it and went for the more Tim Burton "Coraline" kind of's how I went to school today.  Love the tights! But that smile isn't very scary, is it? 

Tights:  Target
Dress:  Ross
Long Sleeved Tee:  Old Navy
Mary Janes:  American Eagle
Last night I tried some spooky letterpress...I will have to do a review on this for you in a week or so.  It is letterpress using a Big Shot die cutting machine with a plate.  Pretty neat, although not an authentic letterpress look. 
Very simple and easy to clean.  And cute!

The spider web is done with an embossing folder and the Big Shot.  I like it too. 

Scary little greetings for this weekend, no?
Well, I have written 5 letters!  Are you keeping up with me?  I have to go to the post office to get stamps tomorrow...that's the worst part about sending letters, isn't it?  The lines at the post office are not nice.  Don't forget to comment that you sent the letter for each prompt...and I'll do a drawing over the weekend for some new writing utensils!  And if you missed my little birdie giveaway, tomorrow is the last day to comment on that...I will draw a winner Wednesday night so she can fly to her new nest! Happy Tuesday Night!  I'm going to go read a 1965 Good Housekeeping.  I bet I find some fun things to share from that...see you tomorrow!

Pen Pal Prompt #2


I got my two letters written last night on pretty little vintage "Just A Note" folded cards.  Remember those?  The ones with the gold seals that were decorated on one side and then you write the letter on the other, fold, seal, stamp, and mail?  Yay!  My stash of vintage paper has a purpose now...besides me just going through piece after piece admiring the era of letter writing.  

Here is your next prompt!  Write a letter to your momma (especially if she is about to come get the kids to give you and your hubby a date weekend...ha!)...or your child...or an immediate family member. 

Keep the smiles from mailbox coming!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Did you write your letter?


I don't talk much about being a teacher because I feel like my blog should be separate from school...kind of like separation of church and state...but I wanted to tell you about how much teaching a new class has changed my entire perspective about what kids are capable of and what I am able to be as a teacher.  PAL is a Peer Assistance Leadership program that is nationwide.  It is not a very large group in the grand scheme of things, and that is actually on purpose.  The small group is able to be more coherent in terms of group dynamics and how they are able to act individually but with norms that are consistent among the group.  I have 20 students in my group this year, and we have three groups of kids in our school for one grade.  These kids come from all walks of life and their stories are all different, but what a great group of kids!  They are so eager to share compassion and kindness, and they love to be a part of school wide and off campus activities as representatives for making the right choices.  This week, we will begin our travels to a local elementary school so that the kids become mentors and peer helpers of younger students...teaching them the kindness and compassion they will show...and that there is always hope.  The first smile on a kid's face when their PAL shows up to spend some time with them is priceless.  The teacher's squeals of joy to see our group walking the halls of their school is beyond the feeling of excitement and joy knowing what we are there to do.  It is awesome.  There is no other way to put it.  The coordinator for our PAL group told me once that these have been the most rewarding years of his career, and I believe it.  I didn't know how much that these kids could change others, but change me too...and lead me to a second calling...right in my own school.  I love it.  My job is not a's just the other side of the person I am.  I am humbled that I can be the leader of these kids, and be a better leader and mentor in my classroom from what I am learning and will continue to learn.  Teaching really does touch lives...forever.

With this in mind...I have decided to start a new pen pal challenge this week.  Play along if you like.  I think it's so cool to get *real* mail...a handwritten note or letter...don't you?  Each day I will post a suggestion for the letter you could write...but write to anyone if you wish...and mail it right away!  Tomorrow there will be a smile on someone's face as they open your letter. we go! Get some pretty stationery or just find the back of an old piece of mail...creativity makes it fun...and WRITE (not type)! Pass the word around to your friends and have them stop by here.  Let's see how many fun letters we can write in a week.  Feel free to use the picture below in your blog and comment to tell me you sent a letter!  This will deserve a prize at the end of the writing utensils, anyone? I've gotta start practicing my writing skills again...they are kind of rusty!

DAY 1:  Write a letter to a friend you see on Facebook, but it's been a long time since you have seen/talked personally with him or her.  I have just signed myself up to write two.  Yay!

Thank you....

Hello to my new readers...and hi to everyone who has been here for a while!  I love my little nest online.  I love to read your comments.  I love having a place I can share anything from stitches to silly to's the cheapest therapy I know of!  Thanks for being here with me.  Leave your blog in the comments if you are just stopping in...I love to find new friends.  And don't forget to enter my very first giveaway!  I am stitching up more birdies tonight in yellow polka dots and other sweet!  Oh, and I am thinking of a pen pal challenge again in the next week or so...I would love for you to be on my list of letters to write!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


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So I danced with Cinderella...

For her daddy...

I love my girl.  Oh, to let her stay like this forever...if you haven't heard the must listen... 
or watch the music video here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Little birdies....

First one is finished!  And Katie claimed her.  But, I have seven more (all in different patterns!).  Leave a comment here telling me what your favorite feathered friend is, and I'll choose a random nest on Wednesday to send her to. 

Sewing birdies...

I have cut out 8 of these little guys from some fabric scraps and felt I have been hoarding.  Hopefully they will be stitched up this evening.  I think one little birdie will find a new home with a giveaway.  Stay tuned!

Saturday: Real Simple 101

This magazine is the best...just ask Cassie.  I don't know why I haven't renewed my subscription yet, instead of buying it straight off the shelf at Target.  Here's what I learned this month:

The Nutcracker will be released as a new movie on November 24 starring Elle Fanning, Nathan Lane (he's awesome), and John Turturro.  Katie and I are so there. I bet Mr. Miata goes with us too.

A new favorite quote:  "Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a BIRD(ie) I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." (George Eliot, in a letter to Miss Lewis, Oct. 1, 1841) I love fall!

No obligation book club...once each month...this month it's cookbooks.  I love to read fact, I probably read them more than I use them. 

I really need a pair of these gloves for winter from Talbots.  Arent' they pretty?
I really like these too.  Now to find a vintage pea coat to go with them.  

Did you know that if you put bold blue, green, or purple eye liner on the inner third of your eyelash line will make your eyes seem instantly awake?  I think I'll go buy all three.

These book ends from Z Gallerie would be so cute holding books on my night stand in my bedroom. Cute little guys. 

And this owl candle from the fall collection there?  Oh, he's adorable. But Mr. Miata said no more owls.  Can I sneak him in?  For a fall table decoration?  Maybe.
You can make a darn precious Christmas tree out of recycled old books.  I am doing this for sure.  It's on page 63 if you are standing at the checkout at Target and need some enlightenment.  

Some cool online Christmas card making sites if you are pressed for time:  
  • (this one makes a fun...and so fun to get!)
  • (going green this year?)
  • (these are adorable...and a huge selection)
There.  Those are the pages I have dog-eared in just a fraction of the magazine.  Yay!  I have decided to make an idea book and tear out the idea pages of the magazines that I want to use/try/remember (I read a lot of magazines) instead of just throwing them out and waiting on the next issue.  I have been sharing them with the ladies at work, but it's time to get some major use out of what I have been reading.  Organization...for the holidays!  YES!

Oh, and I just convinced myself to renew my subscription.  They have a "free Solutions issue" deal going on right now, right here.

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pink Popcorn Boy! Run!

My vintage magazines make for interesting, inspiring, and funny reading for sure!  For the last day of our little "Treat Week," I thought I would share some vintage recipes, and instead I came across these ads that just made me giggle.  I really wish I had lived in the era of June Cleaver and Betty Draper, but I am not so sure I would have wanted to be COOKING in that era.  Ha!  Look at these ads I pulled from December 1962, 1964, and 1965 Family Circle Magazine.  By the way...the cover price back then?  10 cents.  Cool.(Oh, and I promise a modern recipe at the end of the post!)
Oh my gosh!!  Pink Popcorn Boy might be the star (or scare) of your Christmas Buffet! Haha! Dr. Pepper?

The cake of a "wife" time?  Really? What does that mean, actually?
Oh, gross.

For a minute I thought these cookies were baked with gum.

This popcorn tree is ALMOST as funny as Pink Popcorn Man up there.  I wonder if he could be an ornament on it?

Lemon...nog...Lemonog? pie?  with that jellied fruit from fruitcakes?  Blech. 

Well, now that I have helped you plan your next holiday line-up...
Here's a REALLY GOOD recipe to share when you need a quick, simple dip for parties or whatever...this is from my sweet aunt, and I take it everywhere.  We eat buckets of it when there are 30 plus of us there.  If it's not there on the table, somebody's in trouble.  So, here you go:

1 jar Armour dried beef (near the canned tuna and chicken)
(yes, I know I just gagged at the Spam ad)
1 can Rotel (I use mild)
2 pkgs. cream cheese (I use low fat)
3 or 4 chopped green onions

Here's how I do it.  I am sure my aunt makes hers a little different, but it's still yummy.  Process the dried beef in the food processor, and gradually add the cream cheese in chunks.  Then add the Rotel.  I drain it a little bit, but you need some liquid to make the dip creamier.  Then poor what you have into a mixing bowl, and fold in the chopped green onions.   Serve it in a pretty chip and dip tray with tortilla chips, Fritos, or we also figured out those new Keebler Italian crackers are great with it.  Enjoy!  

I hope you had fun this week! This was a first run at trying something new and adding some friends to the fun.  I have a new line up of things to do this weekend, and I share soon!

Miss Breck...

from December 1964 (Family Circle)
...bares a strange resemblance 
to Betty Draper
...don't you think?  
I love reading old magazines.

Chewy Caramel Popcorn and Pretzel Bars

Meet Cassie!  She's my first teacher buddy, and we have been through thick and thin together, had lots of Starbucks, partied at Christmas, and packed and moved me in less than two days...she's just as cute as she is sweet, makes adorable apron tops and cloth napkins, and her cooking skills, I bet, were inherited from her momma...who feeds friends upon friends...even still.  Oh, I love to go over there.  
Thanks for stopping in, Cass!

Thank you, Trina, for letting me share my treat with you and your birdies! 

Last night, my brother and I made Chewy Caramel Popcorn and Pretzel Bars. Making caramel for the first time was so fun. We watched the sugar boil until it became an amber color, then poured in the cream. Magic! We added Reese's Pieces to the top for color and flavor. This is definitely a treat that requires flossing afterward!


Nonstick cooking spray

12 cups plain popped popcorn (from 1/2 cup kernals or 2 microwave packages)
4 cups coarsely chopped small salted pretzels
2 cups sugar
coarse salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup of Reese's Pieces candies

1. Coat a 9 x 13" baking dish with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, toss together popcorn and pretzels.  In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water to a boil over medium high.  Boil, undisturbed, until mixture is amber in color--8-12 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and slowly pour in cream (mixture will sputter).  Immediately add marshmallows; stir until melted.

2. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pretzels and quickly stir with a rubber spatula to coat.  Transfer mixture to dish and use a piece of plastic wrap coated with cooking spray to press evenly into dish.  Sprinkle with coarse salt and/or Reese's Pieces if desired.  Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.


Cassie Cakes

How Feed the Birdies flew in....

Once upon a time two little boys ate Happy Meals in the middle seat of a Ford minivan. Not quite willing to eat the last few fries, they launched them out the door screaming, "feed the birdies!!" And so my journal of a road through motherhood and wifedom, with a little bit of crafting on the side...where everybirdy gets a french fry. And we're all happy about it.