Sunday, June 17, 2012

BIG CHANGES for this working momma!

Wow.  So much has happened in the last couple weeks!   Really BIG things!

For starters, I resigned from my job on June 1st after almost 9 years there!  All of you know how much I've been stressing about getting a better work/life balance.... I'm hoping this is it!  I have left my job at the corp office of one of America's favorite department stores.... and tomorrow is my first day at the corp office of one of America's favorite craft stores!  (Don't think I'm not beyond thrilled about being closer to the crafting world, having a discount!, and figuring a way to justify 'craft time' as 'working at home' time!)  This company really values families and seems to really have a reasonable stress level.  I pray that this is exactly the change of pace my family needs.  I'm sure you could tell by my lack of blogging that time was beyond precious and (work) stress at an all time high. 

After resigning on a Friday.... mr. fix-it and I booked a trip the next Monday... and left 4 days later!  Talk about spontaneous!  Yes, last week at this time, I was here:

St. Thomas!  The US Virgin Islands.  (My passport had expired and mr. fix-it doesn't have one... getting that taken care of has been on our to-do list, but with only a couple days to plan this trip, we had to go somewhere we wouldn't need them!)  It was GORGEOUS!  We took this opportunity to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary (which was in April, sandwiched between baby Bree's 1st birthday, my brother's wedding, and my Dad joining the Catholic church!)

We took recommendations from friends and did some things I never thought we'd do... stayed at The Ritz!....ate kangaroo.... vacationed without feeling the need to DO THINGS the whole time..... and I read more than 2 books!  (My sweet mr. fix-it surprised me with an extravagant anniversary gift the night before our trip - an ipad!!  So, I spent days at the beach, sipping fancy drinks and reading the 50 Shades series on my ipad.)  HEAVEN!!!

Here we are, celebrating our anniversary at the Old Stone Farmhouse in St. Thomas.  We're in the kitchen, meeting the chef and hearing all about all their yummy food and how he prepares them.  Such a cool experience!

I also have some exciting blogging news - I just need a little more time to get it together and then I'll share.  And that will probably corresponde with getting Bree's fun filled 1st birthday party on the blog, too!  (Oh, and GT turns 4 next month, so there's PLENTY of party planning to do!  He just changed his mind... from Angry Birds... to Spiderman!  So, here we go!)

Wish me luch tomorrow!  :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Semi- Homemade Teacher Gifts!

Y'all know that the Semi-Homemades LOVE our teachers!  (And when I say love... I mean, I have several right now that I'd LOVE to employ as a full time nanny!  They adore my kids - and teach 'em alot, too!)

I haven't had time to share a new idea for this year's Teacher Appreciation wk... but North Texas Kids featured ALOT of great ideas - and my holiday gifts from a few years back made the list!  (It's #6, remember those?) 

Be sure to head to for this great list!  And show love to those teachers!

And head HERE if you want to go straight to these Semi-Homemade Sweets - super easy, but big impact! :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Semi-Homemade Bedrooms: Modern Safari Nursery

Hi, y'all!  It's me!  I'm still here (but barely!)  I just want to send a giant THANK YOU to my readers who continue to email me with just the sweetest words of encouragement.  There's nothing like working a crazy day full of meetings... running a carpool to cheer practice... and then opening my blog email to read how I've inspired another mom while she's throwing together HER kiddo's party.  Me, an inspiration?  It's still shocking...
Thanks especially to Stacie in Ohio.  She's got 2 sweet girls, a financial job (like me!), and tries to stay sane by being creative in the kitchen.  You should see some of her cakes!  That's something I've always wanted to do.... and I'VE been inspired by HER!  My friend Juli and I are going to take a class!  (Soon.  Maybe during summer when things -ha! - slow down?)

This blog has been in draft for 9 months!!!  Crazy.  But, here it is... the last Semi-Homemade nursery I'll ever do for my own kiddos (I'm going to have to live thru others from here!)  And I've decided that I'm going to do something I've never done... and share Punkin's real name with you.  Partly because I'm hoping that I do enough to keep us anonymous and safe.  And partly because... let's face it.... I'm lazy time-starved, and all that editing to keep the kids' names out of pictures is ALOTTA work. ;)  But Sissy and Gman will keep their blog names.  At least for now. 

The idea:  Semi-Homemade Modern Safari Nursery

The inspiration:  before Pinterest, I had bookmarked websites, pulled out magazine pages, you name it... for THE most incredible PLAYROOM.  We were going to build a floor plan with a playroom on the ground foor, and I pictured it to be a modern black and white room... with pops of lime green... In fact, I even blogged about it back in 2010 here.

We never built that floor plan.... but the idea for this room was the push I needed to NOT find out the gender with our lil Tiebreaker and wait til her birth! 

The focal point:  those of you who know my last nursery (G-man's all-over-Pinterest pirate nursery), know how I love a good decal for a big impact on the cheap.  And I've worked with some good Etsy sellers, but Jill at WhimsyWallArt is AMAZING!  She suffered through 17 notes back and forth with me and totally exceeded all my expectations.  She was able to design a custom decal that matched back to the bedding.  LOVE!  Go check out her shop.... and know that you can throw any kind of custom request her way and see what she can do!

Special touches:  another Etsy find, this precious modern elephant mobile was a gift from my little sister.  It's so sweet, and handmade... I just love it.  Oh, and it plays music!  From Etsy seller lollipop moon.

And I just love the custom bedding I ordered on Etsy.  I told Mellissa at Mellissa's Boutique what I was envisioning... she put together a board of fabric options, and helped me decide on placement, number of fabrics, etc.  I couldn't be happier!  She even sent me the swatches right away, so I could match paint colors, and get shopping!

I love the bold colors of this room.  Before we moved furniture into it, people would walk in and draw in a deep breath... maybe a gasp.  ;)  But I didn't hesitate in my love for a bold, bright nursery!  I knew that adding the dimension of black furniture and some details to the wall... the balance would be perfect. 
The print over the dresser is just a reasonably priced picture from Target. And a few fun frames from Hobby Lobby showcase some of Punkin's newborn pics, an old maternity pic fo me, and her birth announcement. 

The baptismal gown hanging on her closet door was worn by both my girls and I just adore it.

Introducing....:  I loved this decal the moment I saw it!  Totally one.of.a.kind... this Subway Art birth announcement has all your punkin's birth info AND you get to add the sweet nicknames you love.  Sold!  :)  So... introducing.... Bree Caroline.  The sweetest punkin in all of Texas.

I'm totally guessing, but I think sweet Bree was about 4 months here..... Time flies!  Can't believe that Punkin turned 1 a couple weeks ago.  We had one of our most fun semi-homemade birthday parties yet!  We had an outdoor movie party in the backyard, a party I started brainstorming while I was still pg with the Tiebreaker.  Stay tuned for all the details!

Another shot of that mesmerizing mobile... :)

I'm not gonna lie... This decal was THE most challenging one I've ever done.  That skinny font required ALL my patience and some kid-free alone time (but mainly just so they wouldn't hear my cussing, ha!)  It was all worth it - the subway art was the perfect match for Bree's modern nursery.
The Etsy seller Little Love Letters looks closed, but if you search "subway art nursery decal," several other great options are available!

B is for BreeThis wall came together as Bree and I shopped after she got here... :)  The white B is from a local trade days show (then painted by me!), some of the others are Hobby Lobby finds....  and Jill had thrown in some extra zebra-striped elephants when she did the decals that hang over the crib.  Love her!

Watch me grow!  Love the light in her nursery.... and that sweet elephant (from Mrs. Everything) was one of the first 'things' I had for Punkin's nursery!

These fun curtains were totally reasonable.... from Target!

Come on in, y'all!  Another elephant from Jill welcomes you in.... :)

I wanted to DIY a nightlight, but.... it wasn't getting done, so I searched the web over until I found a zebra one.  And now I don't even remember where I got it... ;)

I DID recover G-man's pirate trash can with some leftover material from Bree's bedding.  She sent all the scraps and I was able to do a couple projects!

Hope you enjoyed a peek into Bree's nursery.  This pic must have been a current one way back when I was first ready to share her room.  :)  Time flies, I can't even believe it!  Next up... Punkin turns 1!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sissy's Semi-Homemade Birthday Party - A GIRLY Painting Party!

Y'all.  I have a SIX year old!  Unbelievable...
What's even MORE unbelievable is that she declared, less than one week before this party, that she wanted everything to be "zebra" and "cupcake."  And I was able to indulge her, because - except for the location - I had done NOTHING for the party.  Nothing.  And I thought when that happened last year, it would be a fluke.....sigh.  But isn't that why Our Semi-Homemade Life even exists?  ;)

Theme:  pink.  zebra.  it could have only been more girly if there was some Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez.  (Oh, wait... she got both those cd's as gifts.)  ;)

The fun:  Painting!!!  When Sissy came up with this idea, I thought it was genius!  I did this a couple of summers ago with a girlfriend of mine and we couldn't have had more fun (of course, there was wine involved, but...)   We had Sissy's party at the same type of place (they do kiddo parties AND girls' night outs, etc!)  Basically, you bring the kids and the cake - they do the rest.  That even includes a couple of super fun instructors!

They even customized a current painting in their gallery.... they zebra-fied their cupcake painting!

Here is Sissy, hard at work... :)  (See?  They even include the smocks - everything!!)

A look at the final products..... aren't these kids amazing artists?  And each one is so unique!

We only had one (lucky!!) guy invited.  And the instructors let him pick out ANYTHING he wanted to paint.  He picked this super cool guitar painting, they sketched it up, and away he went!  LOVE IT!

The decor:  Oh, THANK YOU, Michaels and Hobby Lobby!  For making my last second party planning super easy, by having an abundance of hot pink and zebra on almost every aisle!  I started scheming/shopping/crafting on Thursday... the party was Sat.  But look at all this fun stuff:

I HATE throwing parties at locations other than my home.... because it's such a rush to set up!  I knew I'd only have about 20 min for set up before guests would start arriving.  So I mocked it up at home. :)

Oddly enough, this place had some of its OWN zebra decor!  Like this table runner and the seats in the background.  I love the modern look of the invite Sissy picked out, too!  It's by Katherine at Etsy shop Hopscotch Ink - check out all her other cute (modern!) items in her stationary boutique!

The cake:  I tried a friend of a friend of a FRIEND who does cakes - she's the Queen of Cakes, in fact!  And she was just a doll to work with!  (If your local to me and want her info - let me know!)  She whipped up this cuter than cute cake, and it was sooo good... that a self-proclaimed Cake Snob Mom said it was delish!

The sweets:  In my mad dash down the aisles of Michaels, I grabbed some molds for these "pop princess pretzals."  I did chocolate and pink vanilla and the moms couldn't stay out of 'em.  ;)  And look at that picture of Sissy (another masterpiece from Kristie Clark!)  She's just growing up so fast!

Ahhh...... Pinterest.  Because I had such short time to plan this party, I FINALLY GAVE IN.... and activated my Pinterest account.  And thanks to all those creative people, I made these darling marshmallow pops, and these wild pink zebra cookies. 

First off, these marshmallow pops are the easiest thing in the world to do and were snatched up by those kiddos faster than you can say, "sugar high."  You will probably see them at all our parties for the rest of the year.  (And Sissy took them to her Valentine party at school this week!)  I got my directions from The Hostess with the Mostess HERE.

And I had to turn the cookie recipe into something more semi-homemade-approved.... Semi-Homemade Wild Pink Zebra cookies!  So I basically took a sugar cookie mix, added in some bright pink food coloring, baked them, and threw some Hershey Rasberry Hugs on top as they were cooling.  Easy!

Y'all know how much I love printables (they're a lifesaver for moms like me who are perpetually RUNNING BEHIND!)  All You Need Designs on Etsy did these cute custom zebra water bottle wraps - with such a quick turnaround!  The little tents pictured above are from CupcakeCutieesParty on Etsy, too - even MORE cute party stuff!

The favors:  Just a mix of girly stuff!  Cupcake lipgloss, zebra bandaids (for those stylishly injured, ha!), chocolate from Dylan's Candy Bar, Hello Kitty stamps, and an assortment of bracelets, rings, and funky colored hair extension clips! 

The crew:  Here they are!  All but one kiddo was able to make it, and you can tell here how much fun they had!  Starting kindergarten was such a big change this year.... We'd always had relatively the same invitee list - the kids she'd gone to school with since she was a baby.  Only one of these kids was at her party last year... but she's so blessed to have a great, core group of girl friends!

Like this one... her best friend... Giggling together while everyone sings Happy Birthday to her.  (Love this pic!)

See how good the cake was?!  Almost GONE!  2 layers!  lol

And here's the birthday girl with the biggest party favor they got - her final masterpiece!

What a sweet party for such a sweet girl.  I can't believe she's already six... and so smart, independent, confident, friendly, outgoing... 

This is from her actual birthday, back in December.  (We didn't throw her party until January, because of her crazy basketball schedule!!  See what I mean?  Grown up!)  After a day with mom (pedis, lunch, shopping, the merry.go.round at the mall!).... she came home to just ONE birthday gift.  But it was a good one!  I'll never get tired of looking at this picture and remembering that happy day!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Why I Hate Doritos

Listen up, all you mommas of BOYS. 

This is why I now HATE Doritos (and no, it has nothing to do with yesterday's Super Bowl commercial!)

Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday.  (I know YOU know this... but just getting us all on the same page.)  We went to a party.  It was a big party, probably 30-40 really fun peeps, lots of which were (really suprisingly well behaved) kiddos.  Good times, just a really nice afternoon in TX.

And this momma was BUSY.  Because the party was so crazee, I had to hold the sweet punkin most the time (lest she get trampled by the bigger kids while she's trying to figure out the whole walking thing - see how close she's getting?)

Between the punkin AND tending to my drink (vodka. fresca.  Have I told y'all that we're halfway thru a 10wk Biggest Loser contest and I've been winning the entire time?!)... So between the punkin AND my drink AND socializing... I didn't have time for much else.  And my big kids were being really good, so I didn't get in their business much.  I noted that Gman had a handful of Doritos EVERYTIME I saw him, but I was like... Whatev.  It's a party, he can knock himself out.

Cut to 2:15a.m.  Gman calmly shows up at my bedside and says, 'momma, I spit up on myself.'  I take him to the bathroom, where we can take a peek in the light.  He is covered, on one side, in NACHO CHEESE VOMIT.  All in his hair, plastered to the side of his face, all in his PJs, in every nook & cranny of his little left side.  AND, all over his bed, he announces.

He's calm, not scared or acting like he's got a stomach bug.  Because he doesn't.  He's puking because - in typical BOY fashion - he ate his weight in freakin' nacho cheese Doritos.  mr. fix-it put him in the tub, and I went up to his poor room.  Remember the one?  We may have to change the color scheme.  To navy blue, crisp white.... and nacho cheese orange!!! 

Hope you enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday as much as we did.... minus the 2am repeat of nacho cheese!!
This is post-party, on our way to Punkin's crib... with 52 seconds left in the game.  I think the GIANT football head behind us is hil-arious.   :) 


Saturday, January 28, 2012

It must be January....

...because my whole house is sick!  Everyone but me (knock on wood!)  So... fingers crossed that translates into a blog post or two?  At the moment, everyone is tuckered out!

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