November 04, 2012

Toddler Made - Sharpie Dyed Fabric

Homemade Christmas gifts are the best!  I don't receive very many of them, but when I do, I throughly appreciate them. It's the effort -- NOT THE GIFT -- that counts. 

This year, I wanted Sweetpea to spend some time making gifts for her grandparents. It is a great opportunity for her to get her craft on and I think the grandparents will love having something that she created. Over the next month, I hope to accomplish (and blog about) 5-6 homemade gifts that can be accomplished by a 2 year old.

One of Sweetpea's grandparents is BIG into quilting and absolutely loves fabric. Sweetpea is BIG into coloring. Lucky for me, you can dye fabric using Sharpie markers and rubbing alcohol (how cool?!?).

Sharpie Dyed Fabric 

Cotton Fabric
Sharpies (all colors)
Rubbing Alcohol 
Clip Board (or similar)

Step 1: Cut your cotton into squares that are a little larger than your goal square. I only created 10 total squares, but in hindsight, I should have created at least 20.

Step 2: Tape your square to something. I used a clip board, but anything other than the dining room table would suffice.

Step 3: Give your toddler like colors (e.g., all blues, greens, reds) and let them go to town scribbling. The more ink on the fabric, the better the result. Have them scribble on at least 5 of the squares. Sweetpea needed some help with filling in white space.

I bought the big package of Sharpies so that Sweetpea and I could create lots of different color combinations. I'm kind-of a nerd for colored Sharpies....

Using both hands - thank you very
It needed a bit more color.

Step 4: Cut your squares into your desired size.

Step 5: Pair your colored square with several white squares.  The color on the one square will dye anything you put with it.

I added a small piece of green fabric with
lots of green marker, like a color boost!

Step 6: Place the squares (the colored square should be on top, with the white squares on the bottom) into individual bowls (I used paper bowls) and pour in a little rubbing alcohol.

You can't see them, but the white squares
are in there - soaking up the color!

Step 7: Swish the alcohol around in the bowl and let them sit for about 10 minutes. 


 Step 8: Remove them from the alcohol and spread them out on wax paper to dry.

I love that dark blue one - we used blue,
green and purple to get that coloring.

Aren't they pretty?!  I just love how the white squares turned out - uniquely faded. This is why I wished I had done more white squares. They are effortless and they turn out beautifully!!

September 27, 2012

Paint It Black

"I wanna see it painted black, painted black 

Black as night, black as coal" 

Paint It Black, Rolling Stones

My decision to paint my interior doors was an easy one and it was based on 4 main factors:

  • I hate anything builder basic. Even when you spend money at the design center, you still end up with a house that looks like everyone else's....and NOTHING like those cool pictures on Houzz. I have the same issues with cookie-cutter landscaping, but that is a whole 'nother blog posting. 

  • I have touches of black all around my house. A picture frame here, a knob there, etc., I felt like I needed a way to ties these items together. 

  • I saw THIS POST and fell in love. Scroll down until you see the black door.

  • I am a huge sucker for all things tan and black. Love, love, love.

Once my decision was made, I got started right away. You see, if I don’t immediately work on a project, my mind will chew on it at the most fun times {oh…2:00 AM to 5:00 AM}. Trust me, I don’t need more reasons to not sleep. Does anyone else get insomnia from home d├ęcor, or is it just me?? I was kind-of hoping to find a support group on this subject….

Here are two techniques that one can use to paint their doors:

(1) Removal of Door.  Honestly, painting it while it was lying down was not worth the effort of the removal and reinstall. Plus, you miss painting it in its room, under its specific lighting conditions.  This method took LOTS of time and four coats of paint, plus extra touch-ups once it was back on the hinges.

(2) Door on Hinges. This method takes three coats, but doesn’t take too much total time – maybe 3 hours (INCLUDING dry time).

Guess which method I used for the majority of my doors?? I'll give you two tries....

Painting Your Interior Doors Black


Black paint, satin finish. I used "Broadway" Behr paint with primer added.
Small roller
Paint Brush
Thin Cardboard
Painters Tape

Step 1: Clean your door. I used the Lysol wipes for this task. 

Step 2: Tape off the handle, lock, hinges, etc. However, if you get some paint on the metal, it scrapes off super easily with your fingernail.

Before = Boring
Step 3: Paint everything you can with the small roller. I used a magazine (or thin cardboard) to place in the space between the door and the moulding.

1st Coat with Roller

Step 4: With your paint brush, paint any area that you missed with the roller.  Important:  Look for any drips and wipe them up... drips will ruin the finished look.

1st Coat Finished!

Step 5: Let this first coat dry for approximately 15-30 minutes. I live in a dry climate, so it only took 15 minutes.

Step 6: Repeat steps 3 and 4.

Step 7: Let this coat dry for about an hour or longer. 

Step 8: At this time, you have to retire your roller.  I'm sorry, but the last coat MUST be completed entirely with your paint brush. You can try it, but I guarantee you will regret it. 

All Three Coats -- Dry Time!

Step 9: Let it dry.

Step 10: Remove the tape and touch-up where necessary.

A GREAT tip: Keeping your moist {hate that word} paint brush and roller wrapped in foil will allow you to avoid washing your brushes/roller out between doors. 

August 06, 2012

{Gag-Me-Grape} Kool-aid Play Dough

A few weeks ago, Sweetpea and I decided to have some fun in the kitchen. She, to my knowledge, has never had the pleasure of playing with play dough. I know what you are thinking... but I am NOT a terrible mama. You see, my little darling LOVES to eat, chew, naw on everything she possible can. As such, I delayed buying any play dough simply because I really didn't want to have her eat it as her afternoon snack!  But after finding a recipe for kool-aid play dough, I figured we would give it a try. Guess what, she DIDN'T eat it.  And honestly, I don't blame her. REAL play dough has a more appetizing smell than the gag-me-grape play dough I made. If you make your own play dough, please use a pleasing scent {strawberry is always nice}.

Gag-Me-Grape Play Dough

1 cup flour
1 pkg Unsweetened, kool-aid
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 cup boiling water

Step 1: Mix the flour, salt, oil and kool-aid together in large bowl.

Step 2: Add a cup of boiling water to the mix. Mix well. 

It smells worse than it looks.

Step 3: After mixed and cooled a bit, plop it out of the bowl and knead it into a large ball. I would like to state, at this point in time, my kitchen, my counter, my hands -- all smell like gag me grape.

LOOKS just about right.

Step 4: This makes a LARGE batch. SUPER LARGE batch. So, put some in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for future fun. Then hand over a small hunk to the kiddos for fun!!

See those sweet little hand prints!

Yes, paci stayed in. I didn't want to take any chances.

Oh boy! Smashing, squishing, fun!

July 25, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream featuring Dark Chocolate Chips

Not so long ago, I was known as "plain vanilla".  I LOVED just regular, old, plain vanilla ice cream. If I was feeling particularly daring, I might add chocolate syrup or sprinkles. However, that has now changed!  A few weeks ago, my husband and I purchased an ice cream maker -- nothing special, I think it cost a whole whopping $24.00 at Target.  The key (for me) was getting an ice cream maker that used ice and rock salt -- not the kind that you stick in the freezer for hours at a time. Let's face it, when I want something, I generally want it NOW -- not 24 hours from now.  In our new ice cream maker, I tried out The Pioneer Woman's "Blackberry Chip Ice Cream" and it was delicious!!!! This coming from plain vanilla and blackberries are not my favorite berry!  After that, my tastebuds revolted and demand we try different flavors of ice cream, so we tried Strawberry and Dark Chocolate Chip next.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream, with Dark Chocolate Chips

  • 2 pints fresh strawberries
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • bag of dark chocolate or a big bar of dark chocolate

Step 1: Combine the strawberries and 1/4 cup of sugar in a saucepan.  Cook over low heat until the strawberries break down a little and get syrupy.

Step 2: Place strawberries into food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Step 3: Add half-and-half and sugar to saucepan over medium heat. While heating, place 5 egg yolks into separate container and wisk a bit. Splash in some of the warm half-and-half to eggs. The pour eggs over the half-and-half and cook until thick (5 mins). Stir constantly and do not overcook!

Step 4: In a new bowl, add the strawberries and heavy cream. Then pour over the half-and-half/egg mixture. Mix well.

Step 5: Add mixture to your ice cream maker and follow your ice cream maker's instructions.

Step 6: After ice cream has been made, pour in a bag of dark chocolate chips or a chopped bar of dark chocolate. Stir.

Step 7: Freeze until hardened. 

June 06, 2012

2012 May Vacation

Family Vacation. For us, it hasn’t rolled around for….well, a really long time.  Sweetpea is 18 months old, so it is safe to say that we haven’t gone anywhere, that 100% fits MY vacation definition, for about 2 ½ years {YIKES}. NEEDLESS to say, we were loooooong overdue!!  When planning  for vacation, we had two conditions: (1) we wanted to drive and (2) we wanted some luxury and an awesome pool.  Our solution?? Driving to Las Vegas. Yes… with a toddler.

In total, our vacation encompassed 2400 miles within 5 states.  We visited the Grand Canyon, Zion and Arches….plus, we had three luxurious nights in a penthouse suite at the Bellagio.

Sweetpea was an AMAZING traveler. We only stayed in the car for 3 hours max – in which she would snack, sleep or play on the iPad.  Truly, she was a happy little camper. She LOVED the hotels and, of course, the pools…. And by the end of the day, she was SACKED out!!!!!

Keeping busy with 'Peek-a-Boo Wild'

From Denver, you could absolutely make the drive to the Grand Canyon within one day – it would be a really, really long day, but you could do it.  We took two days to get there.  Our first stop was in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  It was nice, but not nice enough to ever go back. Been there, done that kind-of thing.  Flagstaff and Grand Canyon is a different story. In fact, Flagstaff is one of the few places in which I would willingly move to.  It was wonderful little city! Plus, the flipping Grand Canyon is only an hour away! It was Andrew’s first time to Grand Canyon and, as everyone else, he was in awe of its grandeur. Heck, I’d seen it before and I was still in awe.  If you haven’t been here – SHAME ON YOU!

Fun tourist area - Old Town in Albuquerque.


Yes, we took our child to Las Vegas. People are always talking bad about people who bring their kiddos to Vegas… and I disagree, as long as you are the type of parent to limit what you do in Vegas.  Some parents are unable to limit themselves and therefore, shouldn’t take their kids to Vegas!! You can’t go to some hotels, you shouldn’t drag them shopping for endless hours, no long days in the sun and early bedtimes….  For my husband and I, we only really care about the grand pools and fine dining. We never took Nora out on the “Strip”, we didn’t take her to seedy hotels (i.e. TI, etc), nor did we stay up late. Instead, we went to the aquarium, the pool, nice restaurants and then back to our suite for bed.  It was a relaxing time for us all! Funny enough, this is no different that our previous trips to Vegas. Can you say party animals???

I’m not going to lie, with a toddler in tow, we took extra steps to ensure that we would enjoy ourselves when staying in our hotel room for more time than usual. Therefore, we booked a suite {Penthouse Lakeview Suite} overlooking the Bellagio fountains. After Sweetpea sacked out {see picture above}, Andrew and I would sip wine in front of the windows and have our adult time.  Getting a suite with extra room, a fridge and a microwave was 100% worth it for us!!

Kitchen / Bar

Refrigerator {in case you didn't know!}

Powder Room
Living Room {with sleeping princess}

Bathroom #2

Bathroom #3

The BEST part -- THE VIEW!
We also splurged for our pool trips by renting a cabana. How else do you handle a toddler in the Vegas sunshine?! A note of warning, if you ever want to book a cabana for a trip be sure that you call way in advance!! Also, Wednesday seems to be the ‘sweet spot’ in Vegas – it is after the previous weekenders leave and before the new weekenders arrive.
Great location!
Comes with mini fridge and snacks.

It WAS hilarious!

Catching up on her reading!

Zion National Park is only 2 ½ hours from Vegas and it is beautiful. The park encourages you to utilize their shuttle service {to avoid having too many cars in the Park} and I have to say, it was really nice.  When we got off the shuttle for a hike, it felt like we were the only 3 people in the entire park.  Andrew and I have mentioned several times that we will be making a return visit to Zion National Park very soon!  The Zion area is within close proximity to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Lake Powell.

Can't remember what this was called, but it's pretty!

Beginning of our hike.
End of our hike.

This was our first trip to Arches National Park!!  It is SO close, yet we never bothered to make the drive?!  Not cool of us. Not cool at all. We didn’t get to spend too much time at this Park, but will likely use an upcoming three-day weekend to do more exploring. From the little we saw, we really liked!

It looks Egyptian to me...
An arch.

It might not look as fantastic as it felt to us, but for the Mitchell Party of 3, it was AWESOME!!! We are actively thinking of how to spend our vacation next time.... does anyone have any suggestions?!?

May 12, 2012

Motor Skill Development

For about six months now, Sweetpea has been effectively dropping clothespins into a jar. And she still gets a kick out of it. When she gets them all in, she claps and brings the jar over to me to dump out so she can start over again. This keeps her happily occupied for about 10-15 minutes! A toddler miracle! 

I could do this all day long.

And gone. NEXT!

I've been noticing a lot of super fun crafts on Pinterest dedicated to toddler motor skill development, however, my daughter is still in the "let's see how it tastes" phase. Just last week she flipped out when I took a piece of chalk away from her. You see, she wanted to eat it. She pouted for 2-3 minutes and then attempted to climb the entertainment center to get back her tasty chalk. She was a determined little girl. I don't get it -- eating a carrot is far too disgusting, but chalk.... yummy, yummy?  Anyway, many of the fantastic Pinterest ideas include items that could easily be eaten by Sweetpea -- therefore, they are a no-go at this time.

Then, I had an idea.....  actually, going through our junk gave me an idea.

Andrew and I have been slowly purging our house of junk. My husband, bless his heart, despises going through things and deciding if they are to be kept or thrown away, so he keeps everything. The result of his unintentional hoarding, is about 40 expired credit cards, reward cards, gym membership cards, blockbuster cards, old hotel key cards, blank gift cards, etc. 

The "grand" idea {yes, I'm sure it isn't original}....

Credit cards are hard to swallow and we have tons of them -- all in different colors. I have empty shoe boxes and craft paper for scrapbooking in which I will never actually use for scrapbooking purposes. Plus Mod Podge. I love the smell of Mod Podge. All those items equal a new motor skill toy for Sweetpea. And she loves it!

Not perfect, but who cares?!


Got it!