What’s Trending on Pinterest Today

Maybe it’s because of a certain project I’m working on for a class.  Maybe it’s because my other class is studying databases and I’m thinking about redundancies.  While browsing Pinterest yesterday and today, several trends stuck out.  Pumpkin was sort of obvious now that we are into September, but salted caramel is everywhere! And it is too bad I just finished my jar of Nutella…

Salted Caramel (and Apple Cider)




Nutella Treats

Source: pepper.ph via Louise on Pinterest


Eye Shadow

Source: favim.com via Breann on Pinterest


Up-dos involving braids

Fun with Vegetables for the Whole Family

I guess one of my themes this week is vegetables, huh?  First lettuce, now this.  I’m going to run with it!

While I have to talk myself into eating fruit, I love vegetables and I love preparing them in fun, new ways.  Along the way, I hope my kids fall in love with vegetables too.  They have their favorites right now – peas, broccoli, corn – and hopefully their tastes will broaden with time.  But for now, I’m trying to be a little sneaky.  Call it something greasy, and you’ve got a mouth-watering way to eat carrots, squash, cauliflower, and more.  Everyone craves chips, fries, tots, and fritters.  Why not make them out of veggies?  

Here’s a look at my greasy-food-turned-vegetable goldmine.  Some I’ve made, some I’ve tried, and some I can’t wait to try.

1.  I made these carrot fries yesterday.  Love fries.  And these came out nice and soft, which is actually how I like my fries.  Shawn said they still tasted like carrots, which was true, but they seemed a lot like fries because of the seasoning and shape (I used a little bit of olive oil, breadcrumbs, and fry seasoning).  Even Adrian liked them.  Very tasty and easy to make!

2.  Tonight we are going to have squash chips.  My dad made these when he was visiting us, and I saw a picture of them on Pinterest the other day.

3.  Zucchini tots.  These came together really easily, smelled great while cooking, and look really cute in the mini-muffin pans.  The middles were a little soft, but the flavor was great.

4.  Broccoli fritters.  I called these green balls of goodness, but Riley still wasn’t a fan.  I thought they were delicious.

5.  Cauliflower tots are on my list to attempt as soon as we get another cauliflower in our  basket!

6.  How about mac and cheese, cauliflower-style...

7.  Zucchini fries.

8.  Cauliflower-crust pizza.

9.  Zucchini pizza slices.  Or maybe you could make these as boats?

10.  I suppose the possibilities are nearly endless!  I may have to try a version of carrot tots or squash fries.  Maybe a squash pizza crust or carrot mac and cheese.  Love the versatility of vegetables!  And thank you, Pinterest, for the inspiration!  I may need a new board: Greasy Veg Goodness.

Does Pinterest Really Save You Time?

Start your stopwatch now.

1.  Search house.

2.  Find empty plastic wipes containers.

3.  Clean out one of these containers.

4.  Think about how to repurpose container.

5.  Consider outrageous possibilities: hot tub for princess dolls, paper airplane hanger, etc.  The list is endless.

6.  Decide on a more conventional option: crayon storage or bedroom clutter organizer.

7.  Find Mod Podge and tissue paper.

8.  Dump crayons out of a Crayola box and sort by color.

9.  Have a brilliant idea!

10.  Collect a dozen empty toilet paper rolls from around the house.

11. Cut them in half.

12.  Hot glue them into plastic wipe container.

13.  Put crayons by color into half toilet paper rolls.  Then you have the red roll.  The blue roll.  Etc.

14.  Smile at own creativity and ingenuity.

15.  Apply Mod Podge and tissue paper to outside of The Ultimate Crayon Sorter.

16.  Let it dry.

17.  Take copious pictures of project, especially really close-up and artsy ones.

18.  For example, set the bottle of Mod Podge next to a small heap of tissue paper strips.  Have your paint brush drip a small puddle of Mod Podge onto your dining room tabletop.  Then, snap a shot. Plan to call this one: Exterior Decor Materials.  It looks something like this but a bit more stylized:

19.  Sign-in to your blog.

20.  Title a new post: DIY Ultimate Crayon Sorter.  Get your inspiration from here…

21.  Upload lots of pictures.

22.  Add captions.

23.  Narrate the project-developing process.

24.  Publish post.

25.  Click on the  Pin It button installed on your web browser.

26.  Select your best picture of the crayon sorter to pin to your DIY/Crafts Board.

27.  Compose a comment to go along with the image.  Something like “Best way to organize crayons.  Super easy and fun project using a plastic wipe container.”

28.  Tweet Pin.

29.  Post pin to your Facebook timeline.

30.  Repin your pin to your board called Pins I’ve Made/Used/Bought.

31.  Scroll through new pins on Pinterest.

32.  See an idea for a Car Activity Kit that is stored in a plastic wipes container.

33.  Wonder where you put the rest of your plastic wipes containers.

34.  Wish for a pin to help you organize and find plastic wipes containers.

35.  Wander house for a box you can wrap in gift wrap or fabric and use to store repurposeable empty home supply containers.


Our Summer, According to Pinterest

Thanks to Pinterest, I have a wealth of ideas and activities I plan to tackle to help make this summer organized, exciting, educational, and fun.  Shoot, I already printed out monthly calendars with notes, weekly calendars with sections to record dinner plans, and cleaning schedules for daily, weekly, and monthly chore charts.  First things first, right?  I am both thrilled and nervous to have all three kids home all summer.  On the one hand, I can’t wait to spend lots of quality time with them; on the other hand, that’s a lot of hours to keep three kids occupied!  But maybe, with a little help from Pinterest and the mommy blogging community, we’ll survive…

First, to kick things off:

Then some planning:

When we get bored:

When we run out of money (Who are we kidding…we’ll be starting here!):

A few special treats:

Some fizzy and scientific fun:

Some boy-focused fun:

Some messy fun:

Some pretend fun:

When the kids resist naps:

To activate our inner artists:

Fun in the kitchen (and our tummies):



And of course we also have the YMCA for Kid Watch, swimming, and the playground, area parks, our children’s museum pass, day-trips to Atlanta, bike-riding, walks, the library, and errands.  Target should be good for at least an hour a week…I kid, I kid.  Not really.  Only sort of.

Then we have our trip to Virginia, vacation in Florida, and possibly other trips to PA and Texas…

Did I mention I’ll be taking one class, teaching myself Spanish for Reading Knowledge, reading approximately a book a week, writing as much fiction as I can, creating a syllabus for creative writing, and trying to get an article published?

Should be enough to fill the time, right?  Now that I have it all written out, I think the time is going to go by entirely too fast!  I hope we at least have time to make s’mores one night…

A Candy Land Birthday Party

Saturday was a beautiful day for Riley’s birthday party!  We had it at a nearby park with a covered pavilion, plenty of wide open space, and a playground (that we never made it to during the party.).  The pavilion was ours from 1-5 to give us an hour to set-up and pack-up around the two hour party, and we needed that whole time and then some!  Just after noon, we packed up the family and all of the party stuff in two cars and took off for the park!  Alli, CE, and my parents came down from Virginia to celebrate Riley’s birthday and Easter with us.  I don’t know what we would have done without their help!


1. I took this idea from Pinterest:

And had Shawn and CE put up the table cloths across the top of the pavilion.  It was a bit breezy, but they certainly filled the space nicely and created a cool effect.

2.  We had three helium-filled Mylar balloons for the cake table.

3.  Alli did streamers around each of the pavilion poles.

4.  On the tables, I just had table cloths and bowls for candy and food in Candy Land colors.

The Party Plan

Our idea for the party was four half-hour blocks of time for the following activities: games, eating, art, and playground.  But actually, we ended up with blocks for games, eating, art, and free-play around the pavilion while the parents and fam all chatted.  The two hours went by so fast, and I think everyone had a good time. I hope so!  Riley said she did!


1.  Balloon Pop Candy Race.  We did this last year, but with dinosaurs and lizards in the balloons instead.  The kids formed two teams of three, and raced out into the field where they popped a balloon, retrieved the candy, and ran back to tag off.  It was adorable watching all of the kids run and find new ways to pop the balloons.  Good times.

2.  Easter Egg Hunt.  This one seemed like a no-brainer considered Easter was the next day, and the party was focused around candy!  Alli and CE and Riley stuffed the eggs in the morning, and my dad and Adrian hid them around a field.  Total: 131 eggs!

3.  Bucket Ball Toss.  I had this idea from Pinterest for this game:

But instead of buckets, I used brightly colored pots and ping-pong balls.  Then, we just had all of the kids stand around and try to toss a ping-pong ball into a pot.  Okay, so this was a little lame, but the kids seemed to have fun!  Next time, I’ll just get buckets!


1.  Cookie Cakes.  Since I had had a cookie cake for my birthday, Riley wanted a cookie cake for hers.  But instead of one cake, the plan was to create four 9″ round cakes (since she was turning four and I had bought four packs of cookie dough).  In the end, we had three.  Two rounds turned out perfectly and popped right out of the pan (Kroger’s brand).  The next two didn’t, and I ended up destroying one cake and leaving the last one in the pan (Nestle’s).  Then, Riley and I iced and decorated the cakes with M&M’s, so they looked like giant pieces of candy.  Who knows?  She may be the next Cake Boss.

2.  Candy.  In keeping with the theme, we had a ton of candy at the party!  It was also part of the party favor, but during the party, we had all different sorts available for everyone to enjoy: gummy bears, jelly beans, Hershey kisses, Reese’s cups, M&M’s, Robin Eggs, and assorted mini Hershey’s bars.  We still have a bunch of candy left, too!

3.  Snacks.  We kept it simple since we had so much candy: pretzels, grapes, and strawberries.

4.  Drinks.  Capri Suns for the kids and bottles of water for everyone.


1.  I picked up a balloon animal kit for three dollars from Target.  The plan was to have Shawn blow them up for the kids, so the kids could decorate them as snakes (or something simple).  Instead, the kids helped blow them up and got a chance to wave them around a bit until they popped.  Adrian went through at least ten balloons!

2.  My dad is a sign-making genius!  So I asked him to make a banner for the kids to color together at the party.  Riley loves to color, and I thought it would be nice to have a chill activity in addition to the games.  My dad brought markers, and I picked up glitter glue pens and stickers.  The adults did most of the work on the banner, but the kids sat down for a little while, and it was nice having something for them to do quietly for a time.  I will definitely post a pictures of the completed banner once I get it from my dad!


1.  A friend of mine, for her baby shower, attached a thank you note to the favor for all of the guests, and I thought it was a genius idea!  So Friday afternoon, Riley picked out thank you notes and filled them out for her friends.

2. Then we picked up water bottles for all of the kids and attached the thank you notes to them.  At the party, the kids filled their water bottles with candy before they left.

I love being able to celebrate our kids’ birthdays in fun ways.  Now that Riley is getting older, it is nice having her help plan and prepare for the party, too.  A big thanks to all of Riley’s friends for coming to her party!  A big thanks to my family for being there and helping so much!

Enjoy the pictures!

Flash Forward: My Future Office

Someday.  Someday.

First, a few desk ideas

Could be pretty easy to put together, and I like all of the functional storage.

I like the glass table.  The backdrop might be a little busy for me, though.

Love the simplicity here.  And of course the wall shelves.

Now for some addition furniture/storage features…

For the home center part of my future office.

Must haves for the walls…

Of course, most of these ideas came from Pinterest.  The first two wall decor ideas came from class readings this semester that I then pinned to my boards on Pinterest.

Now that I have my virtual workspace created, time to get back to work.  Happy Thursday!

Don’t Listen to Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines…

I’ve been making cake mix cakes ever since I was a kid (right, mom?).  They are easy and versatile.  I’ve had them as dinosaurs, as tigers, in trifles, in dump cakes, as cookies.  But I’ve always followed the directions and mixed them with water, oil, and eggs.

Until Thursday.

And now I don’t think I’ll go back.

On Pinterest, I found this pin one day…

So last weekend, I bought a cup of Greek yogurt (It was on sale.).

Thursday, I was craving something sweet and we just so happened to have a confetti cake mix in our cupboard.

The recipe is simple: One confetti cake mix, one cup water, and one cup of Greek yogurt (I used vanilla bean, honey).

WOW.  That’ all I’m going to say.  I’ve haven’t been able to stop raving about the results.  Usually, I need (a lot of) frosting in order to eat cake. Ask my twin sister.  We used to frequent Barnard’s dining hall in college just for their desserts.  We’re talking monstrous triple layer cakes, which of course we scraped the frosting off to eat by the spoonful.  In my opinion (until Thursday that is), the best kind of cake was the kind with the best (and most) frosting.

But WOW.  The Greek yogurt made the cake so moist and a little denser than normal cake.  Almost a brownie consistency.  And because it is healthier than the eggs and oil kind of cake, you feel GOOD eating it.  Ours was gone by the next night!

Delicious Cake + Good Feeling While Eating = No Need for Frosting + Happiness

Hungry Girl also features different substitutions to try, but I might have to stick with Greek yogurt for a while.  Seriously, so good!  Plus, Publix has BOGO cake mixes this week.  I plan on stocking up!

Pinterest and the Stress of Planning a Party

Riley’s fourth birthday is fast approaching.  April 7th will be here before I know it, especially with Spring Break over and classes and school work kicking into high gear for the final six weeks of the semester.

I started talking to Riley and Shawn about the upcoming celebration over the last couple of weeks.  We decided we would do a party for all of Riley’s friends, and the party’s theme would be Candy Land.

(I should confess first and foremost that I got the very idea to have a Candy Land party from Pinterest.  I saw a couple of cute party ideas and then proposed the idea to Riley, who really liked it.  And of course, I knew she would.  The girl does not know a sugary food she doesn’t like!  So even from the outset of party planning, Pinterest was a player…)

So now we have three weeks to go, and we need to get serious about planning her party.  Here’s the problem: Pinterest has upped the stakes.  I have a board for birthdays and a new board for Candy Land parties.  All of the ideas are great, but they are sort of stressing me out.  Now I have to make choices.  Now I can see ways to be cute with candy for activities and decorations, and I have the pressure to put these ideas into play.

Consider how we planned Riley’s third party.  The biggest decision was which park to plan it at.  She choose dinosaurs and lizards as the theme without any input from me, and we went along with it.  I bought some dino decorations and plastic toys from Dollar Tree.  I picked up a few dino party game ideas from a book a friend of mine found at a library in Denver during our vacation out West last year.  I think the book had three ideas, and we used two of the three.  For decorations, my dad made a sign and I bought some balloons.  For favors, we went with bubbles and a few little dino toys.  My twin sister helped me make a dinosaur shaped cake I found on a website.  We bought pizza.  We set out a cooler of drinks and bowls of grapes and pretzels.  And that was it.  Boom.  Done.

All told, I will probably execute a similar approach to Riley’s party this year because of time and money.  I will try to spice it up with some great ideas from Pinterest (like giant balloon lollipops, a candy buffet, and some cheap decorating ideas).  But all those other ideas on my inspiration boards will haunt me a little.  I love planning parties for my kids.  I love going all out.  Pinterest works on both of these desires of mine in paradoxical ways: I can collect all sorts of great ideas, and that growing body of ideas increases my anxiety.

I realize that shouldn’t happen.  Right?  I mean, Riley doesn’t know what Pinterest is or what it does.  And for her, as long as her party has food and friends and fun, she’ll be all set.  But still.  Now that I know all these greats ways to carry out a Candyland party, I want to put them into practice.  I want my online inspiration to positively influence my offline party planning.  The problem is, Pinterest doesn’t care about time or money.  On Pinterest,  my resources are limitless, inconsequential.  It’s in the translation from online to offline that things get problematic.  When Pinterest meets practical issues, something has to give.  And as a result, I hover in this party-planning purgatory, plagued by this uncomfortable feeling of stress that I know I should not feel, but feel all the same.

Filtering seems to be the issue.  I have to filter content from Pinterest to pull off Riley’s party.  On Pinterest, the only criteria for filtering is a simple question: Do I like this idea or not?  In reality, filters abound: How long will this take to make?  What do I need to buy?  Do I really need this?  Will Riley like it?  Do I know enough about jello?  Can I manipulate tissue paper?

Don’t get me wrong: I am still enjoying the party-planning process with the help of Pinterest.  But I do get this funny little feeling at times, and I need to remind myself to breathe and relax.  I already have invitations, and maybe next weekend we’ll start shopping for decorations, candy, and supplies.  Hopefully, I can spread out the preparations, so the days before won’t be frantic.

And after the party, I’m sure I’ll blog about it.  Maybe I’ll even have a new pin or two to put up on my board for pins I’ve used, bought, done, or made.

I’m sure I will.

*Note: all of the images in this post are from Pinterest pins.

What Spring Break Means These Days…

1.  Cookies for breakfast and lunch.

2.  Pulling an all-nighter (see my previous post about GOLD).

3.  Lunch @ Olive Garden with the hubster, the littlest one, and a gift card.

4.  March Madness Round One.

5.  Conference in Mississippi.

6.  More writing time.

7.  Mid-week play-date.

8.  Sleeping in until 7:30…twice.

9.  Guilt-free pinning to plan Riley’s fourth birthday party.

10.  A twelve-pack of diet root beer.

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