i should be mopping the floor: May 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday's Freebie: Printable Father's Day Coupons

Want an easy to make gift that dad will love? This Father's Day Printable Coupon book is perfect. Kids can fill in their own "goodies" for their special dude! 
My Mother's Day coupon book was so much fun to put together...I didn't want to leave dad out! These are designed similarly to that one, but with a blank area for kids to fill in their own special ideas and tasks.

The download has two pages...one has the cover and the rest are blank coupons.  

Our dad gets a coupon for someone else to take out the trash. {Or tack the trash? I guess we're going to pin it up for display that week.}

Print on cardstock for best results. 

Some of my other favorite printables include:

Neglect your chores like me and don't miss a thing:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cutter Insect Repellant Pack Giveaway {worth $55}

Ready to rid your yard of pesky insects? 
This giveaway is perfect for the summer!

Yesterday, I told you all about our fun "Day of Play". It involved lots of outdoor fun and Cutter products to keep our time bug-free. Now you can win a deluxe prize pack of Cutter Products for yourself. Enter below through the Rafflecopter Widget {it may take Rafflecopter a moment to appear}.

Enjoy the summer with Cutter!

Neglect your chores like me and don't miss a thing:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Day of Play: Connect and Spend Quality Time with Your Favorite Peeps

The following is a sponsored post by Cutter. I have been compensated for my time as well as provided with products. All opinions are 100% mine.

Is your family in need of some quality time? With the hustle and bustle of...well, life in general, sometimes it's great to just unplug and connect with one another. Annnnnd...it's the perfect time of the year to get outside to enjoy some fabulous together time!

Let me start this out by stating...we HATE our backyard. Actually hate is too subtle of a word. We LOATHE it. We live one yard away from a small creek with {constantly} sitting water. It's lovely. Not. {Or as my kids would say: "prank"...apparently "prank" is the new "not". Okaaaaay.}

We try to avoid backyard everything: eating, playing, gardening...everything. Thanks to our nearby creek {and just living in central Texas in general}, it's mosquito city back there. They have no mercy. And as my grandma would say...I'm just so sweet they can't stay away from me {wink}.

So when my friends at Cutter asked me to work with them on a project...I thought, "Oh yeah, I can put this to the ultimate test."

And I did. 

I was able to try out this awesome assortment of goodies. 

I have several favorites now...love the scented candle, the Natural & Dry Insect Repellants and the Backyard Bug Control. All super awesome! 

My husband prepped the yard with the Backyard Bug Control a bit earlier in the day. It's easy to connect to the hose and spray away; it also treats up to 5,000 square feet. Not only does it kill mosquitoes and other insects, it also lasts up to EIGHT WEEKS {even after rain}. Kids and pets are able to reenter the yard as soon as the product dries, too. 

Both the Natural and the Skinsations are so gentle that I let my children apply it on their own. The Natural version is a very effective alternative to DEET. It is made from oil derived from geraniums. 

I adored the Dry Insect Repellant. It's a water-based corn starch formula that leaves less residue than most repellants. It was actually really awesome...and it's completely unscented! 

{This is the result of a six-year-old behind the camera...your mouth is open and you look cray-cray}.

We also lit several of the candles around our patio area. The Cutter® CitroGuardTM candles create a barrier of protection for your outdoor spaces...and a nice ambiance on a nice evening outside.

Perfect for keeping the bugs away from our brats & doggies on the grill.

You just have to grill out when you're playing the day away outside!

It was a perfect day that melted into the perfect evening.

We made some fantastic Pudding Pops for our special day, too.


We also made a pact to turn off all outside distractions...no "e-time" during the Day of Play. We set our phones to only alert us to rings from certain people and we let them know advance that we were having a family day and needed to unplug a bit.

This all probably sounds a bit much, but we're a very "wired" family, at least my husband and I tend to be. He's a high school principal and can't be without contact to things going on. But, we worked hard on that on our fun day.

It's also nice to take a break during our busiest time of year...with graduations, banquets galore, parties and achievement ceremonies here, there and everywhere, sometimes we just don't see each other much in May!

We didn't have an agenda {kind of nice for a change}.
We just played.  

And played some more. 

And played until the sun went down. 
It was awesome.

The Cutter products seriously did a FABULOUS job in our mosquito-laden yard. Not one of us had a single bite after hours of being out there. That's completely unheard of around here, y'all. We weren't swatting away insects while trying to eat, either. It was perfection. I'm a fan for life!

Want to win your own pack of Cutter goodies to help your summer stay insect-free?

How does your family unplug together?

Neglect your chores like me and don't miss a thing:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Coffee House Pudding Pops

Homemade Pudding Pops are simple to make and taste fantastic. This recipe takes an easy pudding pop recipe and puts a coffee-house spin on it with flavored creamer.

Coffee House Pudding Pops: A Fun Twist on the Popsicle. Only three ingredients. You can easily use paper cups if you don't have the molds.

Coffee House Pudding Pops: A Fun Twist on the Popsicle. Only three ingredients. You can easily use paper cups if you don't have the molds.
I just use the small box of instant pudding for my pops...they are the perfect amount for the molds I have. You could easily use a larger box if you're using paper cups for your molds. My directions on my pudding box call for two cups of milk...I replaced 1/2 cup with the Salted Caramel Mocha flavored creamer. You can adjust this to your own taste, but replacing about 1/4 of the milk is a good ratio. I didn't use full-fat milk since the creamer is so heavy on its own. I could have probably even scaled back to 1% and not noticed a difference.

I also think it would be fun to mix up your creamer/pudding flavors...I bought a box of vanilla pudding and may try it with my Caramel Macchiato creamer.  

Coffee House Pudding Pops: A Fun Twist on the Popsicle. Only three ingredients. You can easily use paper cups if you don't have the molds.
Mix your pudding according to the package {except using the creamer like explained above}. I like to mix it just until the ingredients are incorporated, but the pudding is still liquid-ish. If it starts to set too much, it will be difficult to pour into your molds. I also don't fill all the way to the top...I save room for the pudding to expand as it freezes.

I pop my molds into the freezer overnight. When we're ready to eat, I simply run the molds under warm water for a few seconds to loosen the pop from the mold. I kind of wish the molds came with an eject button of sorts...they can be a bit annoying to remove from their containers.  

Coffee House Pudding Pops: A Fun Twist on the Popsicle. Only three ingredients. You can easily use paper cups if you don't have the molds.
Summery goodness. 
The coffee flavor isn't overpowering in these, so my kids still really enjoy them.

Coffee House Pudding Pops: A Fun Twist on the Popsicle. Only three ingredients. You can easily use paper cups if you don't have the molds.

Click image below to download and print your own recipe card 
{prints in both 3x5 and 4x6 sizes}:

Neglect your chores like me and don't miss a thing:

Monday, May 27, 2013

Summer Grillin' Pin It to Win It Giveaway

Some of my favorite bloggy friends and I have put together something FUN for you! Ready for an AWESOME giveaway, just in time for Father's Day? Win the following grill and a set of fabulous tools to wow Dad with!

Summer Grillin' Giveaway!!

Step 1: Pin the image above.
Step 2: Follow all the bloggers listed below on Pinterest.

Image Map

Step 3: Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. For additional entries, follow some awesome new blogs on Facebook! The rafflecopter may take a second to load.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday's Freebie: {Exclusive Printable Panache Preview} Printable Menu

I've been working like CRAZY to get my printable shop open this summer....it's *so close*. Over the next couple of weeks, I plan to share a few preview printables with you. The following printable menu is one of my favorites.

This will only be a free printable for a few weeks, once the shop opens, I'll pull it into my regular inventory. So...download it while it's free, friend! :)

Exclusive Printable Menu: will only be a free download for a few weeks. Can be framed and used with dry erase marker or laminated. 8x10 size
This prints on a letter-sized document to be trimmed for an 8x10 frame. You can easily use it with a dry erase marker to fill it in week after week. It's also fun to laminate and place some magnets on the back for your fridge.

Exclusive Printable Menu: will only be a free download for a few weeks. Can be framed and used with dry erase marker or laminated. 8x10 size

I have LOTS of fun menu designs in the shop as well as SO much more. I seriously can't wait to invite each and every one of you to the grand opening! It's going to be a BLAST!

Again, download this one while it's free! More previews to come. 

Some of my other favorite printables include:

Neglect your chores like me and don't miss a thing:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gallery Wall Reveal {with tips and tricks for layouts, hanging, photos and more}

I finished our gallery wall and am really happy with the way it turned out. It's a simple gallery wall. I just used some tricks from my newspaper designing days to help me lay this baby out.

I'm a photo nut. Memory keeper. Mama-Razzi. I just love capturing moments that we can look back on and remember exactly what we felt/acted/did that day. I've been wanting to put together a gallery wall with some fuzzy feelings for quite some time. 

I picked up frames at both Ikea and Walmart and used some that I've had in the closet for years {the large one in the middle was put together by our photographer...I'm not sure where she ordered it from, but I can find out if you're interested}. It makes things easier to layout the design on the floor first. I snapped a phone photo and referred to it while I was hanging. 

The beauty of this wall is that it was fairly inexpensive. Some of the Walmart frames were as cheap as $3 each. But mixing them up with some nicer, "chunkier" frames and using my custom matte trick {explained below} helped them to look a bit more substantial and not so $3ish...{because let's face it, a $3 frame can look just like...well, a $3 frame}.  

Many of the cheap frames came with mats that I was able to dress up a bit. I did a post on this last year here {yes, that's exactly how long I've been planning this thing. Just taking my sweet time with it}. Looking back, I do think it's a little weird that I did an entire post on painting mats. Seriously, friends, thanks for sticking with me...even when I posted every little insignificant thing I was doing {today, I had cereal and a banana...what? You missed that post?}. I pray I've grown as a blogger since those days.

Keeping the mats all the same color {this color from Folk Art is called Sky Blue} helps tremendously with cohesion...especially since I used several frame styles. 

The frames that weren't black instantly became black with my trusty spray paint.
Again, this added to the cohesive factor since I mismatched my frames.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not a photographer AT ALL {so, please be kind if you think my lighting stinks or that I need a clue about my settings, you're probably correct}. I've taken a couple of photography sessions and refer to Kristen Duke's book *almost* daily. But I'm just recently branching out of AUTO mode on a regular basis on my DSLR. And most of the photos in my gallery wall are from years ago...some from FILM and {gasp!} disposable cameras.

One other thing I did is totally my own taste and not all people are into it. But, I made sure all of my photos {except the professional ones} were in the same tones. I was going for a bit of a vintage look with this gallery wall. 

I can't tell you how much I ADORE The Coffee Shop Blog. I've followed her for eons...she's amazing. And has the most beautiful preset actions {that are FREE...I can't get over that} to download {it is nice to compensate her in Paypal which there is an option for on her site}. You can use her actions in both regular Photoshop and PSE. I'm showing you how I used the PSE versions today because I think PSE is a lot easier to use for most people {and it's super affordable if you're in the market for a simple photo editing program}.

The above photo is SOOC {Straight Out Of Camera}. I even left the chocolate frosting on his lip for you to see {he's definitely my kid}.

After cleaning up his mouth and then just ONE CLICK of an action {okay maybe two}, this is what happens with the Velvet Cream Action. Truthfully, I sometimes run two actions on photos...I always, ALWAYS use her 2020 Action and then if I'm feeling extra naughty, I'll throw a cool vintage action on top of the 2020 {like the Velvet Cream}. {FYI, you need to flatten in between actions}.

Some photo purists may balk at the vintage effects and all that. But, this just makes my heart go pitter patter. So creamy and dreamy. And flippin' EASY.

Here's a screenshot of the Velvet Cream action running in PSE 11 {it's WAY better than the previous versions of PSE...actions load lickety split. I pretty much download new ones weekly, so that's a good thing for me}. 
Let's not talk about the fact that from this screenshot, it's completely evident that I have over 9,000 emails in my in-box. I'm an e-hoarder, I tell ya. Drives the husband nuts. 

After printing my photos at Snap or Shutter-something-or-other {wink}, I prepped them and was ready to hang. I started with the biggie since it needed wall anchors to hang and would literally anchor the entire wall visually. Once it was in place, everything else would just flow around it. 

Honestly, it was on its lonesome for a few days before I got my rear in gear for the others. At one point, my youngest pointed out that it looked "nekkid" up there all by itself. Ahhh....a future designer, maybe? {Surely all future design enthusiasts say "nekkid" with a drawl}.

I laid out the rest of the wall using visual lines running throughout {I showed them with some red lines above...drawn in PSE after the fact}. Again, this is an old newspaper layout trick I used to use back in my newspaper designing days...but I think design is design and can be applied to all facets of life.  Keeping the edges and corners touching these "lines" creates a pleasing visual layout. If I were to have "floated" any of those frames in their own "areas" it would have broken up the cohesion. The "jagged" edges around the outsides of the layout aren't as "icky" as "trapped white space" would have been within the layout. 

Also, I worked hard to keep the layout really tight. All of my "lines" and space between frames are about an inch thick. Anything much more than that and cohesion breaks and things aren't as connected to each other. 

If you read all of the above and don't think I'm a complete OCD nut, God bless you. 

I really do plan to add a lot more photos to this gallery wall as well as one that will be on the opposite wall in this hallway {I plan to do that one in white frames with the same "Sky Blue" mattes...because I'm cray-cray like that}. It will have more extended family photos that are sitting here in a stack on my desk glaring at me with cutting eyes for not using them in this layout. Cray-cray, I tell ya.

Love the peeps in these pics.
Favorite pic {hands down} is the one of them on the bottom right in their dirty undershirts on the grody dog house wearing 1980s sunglasses. That was life as we knew it five years ago. Perfection.

Neglect your chores like me and don't miss a thing: