Friday, May 31, 2013

Let's Go Fly A Kite

When Caitlin was a toddler we took a "mommy and me" dance class. It was all well and good, what with the wee tutus and the sweet twirling... but in the spring we had to perform in a recital. That's "we" as in ME. The moms had to get up on stage and help our little ballerinas through their simple routine. The song? "Let's Go Fly A Kite," from Mary Poppins. To this day, every time I hear that song I break out in a cold sweat. But every time we fly kites, I can't keep from singing it and going through the motions from that long-ago routine.
All this is to say that one cold and breezy day a few weeks ago, we did just that: went to the park to fly kites.

Caitlin's sea turtle kite glided easily on the breeze, trailing a string of baby sea turtles behind her {so cute!}. Caitlin hardly had to move; she stood in one spot and sailed her kite with no apparent effort.
Hunter's dragon, on the other hand, swooped and dove dramatically. It crashed frequently, and required constant attention to stay on course. Hunter spent the whole time sprinting to relaunch the kite, while Chris patiently wrapped the string again and again.

It was a such a fun way to spend a lazy afternoon. The kids are anxiously awaiting another sufficiently windy day so we can do it again.

We are off to a big soccer tournament tomorrow. Caitlin's team will be playing three games in one day and the weather forecast is looking rainy and chilly. Wish me luck!
What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cottage Dining Chair Makeover

These chairs have been around. I'm not sure how old they are, but they once belonged to my stepmother's grandmother. My wonderful stepmom redid them for herself and used them for many years, but they had been relegated to the basement for a long time. Then they moved to the garage. They were on their way to a bonfire when I snagged them. We had been using a mismatched bunch of garage sale and Ikea chairs, and they were definitely worse for the wear. In fact, they were so beat up we usually had to shuffle the chairs around when company came for fear that if a full-sized adult sat on some of them, they would be reduced to rubble. 
It was time for a change. When I saw these babies- six MATCHING chairs- I jumped all over them.
I brought them home and unloaded them in my garage, where they sat for the next six months. I finally got around to tackling the project... and they sat, unfinished, in my kitchen for another month.
But now they're finally done. And I love them.

Behold: the before.

And the after.
 I'm not gonna lie. There's a whole lot of wood glue and prayers keeping some of these old beauties together. That being said, they're still sturdier than what we were using. I just might have turned into the chair-police, though, as I am constantly reminding my family to be gentle with them.

I painted the chairs with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White and finished them with her clear wax. It was my first experience with ASCP, and I have to say, I was very pleased. Yes, it was really expensive, but I loved the ease of application and the fact that I didn't have to sand and prime beforehand. I read a lot of reviews and blog posts about ASCP before buying it. The one thing I have to say is that I didn't get the wonderful coverage so many people raved about. It took three coats to fully cover the chairs... I was literally scraping the bottom of the can by the last chair. Obviously, these chairs were stained a dark color and I was going with a very light paint, so that definitely played a role in coverage.
I will definitely use ASCP again, though. Duck Egg Blue speaks to me.
 The fabric on the cushions was a clearance find from Calico Corners. It was not at all what I was planning, but I love the simple, classic look of ticking. The only thing I don't like is the light color. Let's just say they will be getting a heavy dose of scotch-guard before we have spaghetti again.
{Ahem. Some people are messy eaters. And by some people, I mean me.}

I added the jute trim as an afterthought. Caitlin pronounced it too nautical looking, but I'm alright with that, matey. Ships ahoy!

I'm linking up here:
My Romantic Home
French Country Cottage
Savvy Southern Style
DIY by Design
I Gotta Try That
Creative Cain Cabin
Between Naps on the Porch
DIY Showoff
Jennifer Rizzo
Miss Mustard Seed

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Easy Caramel Apple Tart

I love to bake, but there is one thing I have yet to master: pastry crust. I just never seem to get it right, and I've pretty much given up trying. I usually keep a box of frozen pie crusts on hand for pie-related emergencies.
 {What? You don't have pie emergencies?} 

I had planned to make an all-American apple pie for Memorial Day, but when I saw this simple recipe, I was inspired to tweak it a bit. The result was weeknight simple, but oh-so-yummy.
{This recipe is modified from one I found on the back of a can of pie-filling.}

You'll need:
1 (15 oz.) box of refrigerated pie crust
1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (21 oz.) can of apple pie filling
About one dozen individually wrapped caramels
1T. heavy cream {+more, as needed}

Heat oven to 375.
Unroll one crust in center of un-greased baking sheet.
Place second crust flat over the first, matching edges and pinching to seal edges.
With a rolling pin, shape into 14" round.
Fold over 1/2" of crust border, to form an edge. Press to seal seam.
Prick crust with fork.
Bake 20-25 minutes, or till golden-brown.
Cool completely before adding toppings.
~While the crust is baking~
Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl with electric mixer till well combined.
In a separate, small bowl, combine caramels and heavy cream. Melt in microwave, check and stir frequently to avoid scorching. {My caramel got a wee bit scorched, but I was not about to waste it. Hence the brown bits. They add flavor.} 
Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over cooled crust.
Spread pie filling over cream cheese mixture.
Drizzle caramel over the top.

*Best if eaten right away, but it can be stored in fridge. 
This recipe is fast, easy, and very flexible. It can be as fancy as you want it to be. If you are an awesome pastry maker, by all means, whip up your own light and flaky crust. Use fresh apples. Or strawberries. Or peaches. Try it with a bit of whip cream or some coffee and ice cream. The possibilities are endless!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

A-Camping We Will Go

{image via The Graphics Fairy}
Happy {early} Memorial Day, y'all!
We are taking a long weekend and heading out to the wilderness for a bit of good ol' fashioned camping. In tents. In 40 degree weather. 
{As long as it doesn't rain -too much- I'm good.}

I have lots of fun things to share in the coming days; including my {finally!} finished chairs, my thoughts on our first year of homeschooling, and a few great books and recipes. 
Enjoy the long weekend and welcome to summer!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

All My Jeans Are Mom Jeans

While perusing the interwebs the other day, I came across a most startling headline. It read, 'Mom Jeans' Are No Joke. They Are Glorious and Should Be Embraced. 
{you can check it out here but beware: the author drops the f-bomb with abandon}
All hail the return of the Mom Jean!
{These are currently available at Top Shop}
But, I have a rant confession to make about mom jeans...
My name is Jessie, and I wear mom jeans. 
Actually, for the last 11 years, all my jeans have been mom jeans.
I am, in fact, a mom; therefore any jeans I wear are technically mom jeans.
Just as any shoes I wear are mom shoes, and any purse I carry is a mom purse.
You get the idea.
So whether they are distressed boot-cuts,

 or ripped and whiskered flares,

or cropped boyfriends,

or indigo-rinsed skinnies,

even if they are high-waisted, wide-legged, and spandex-filled...
...all my jeans are mom jeans.
I'm tired of the denim industry trying to sell me jeans for sweethearts, divas, or rockstars.
I'm none of those things.
 I'm not trying to fool anyone into thinking I'm anything other than a 30-something hockey mom. 
{even if I was, a pair of jeans ain't gonna do the trick...}
I don't want a blinged out behind, a low-rise, or slim-fit-thighs. I just want comfortable jeans that don't show my drawers, that corral my muffin top, and that don't cost a fortune. Oh, and I'd like them to be cute too.
If that means I wear mom jeans, so be it.
pleated poppy

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Spring Into Summer Vignette

Last week I finally got around to putting away my Easter decorations... six-ish weeks after said holiday. That might just be a new low record for me. But with my Pottery Barn knock-off bunny gone, I was left without anything fun on our open shelving. Enter my cure-all solution for decorating dilemmas: when in doubt, paint it out. 
 I got out my trusty pot of chalkboard paint, a piece of scrap cardboard, and my chalk markers and voila~ intsta-art.

Along with my grandmother's silver butter-dish, I displayed a few more pieces of thrift-store silver, some creamy white pottery, and a variety of faux greenery. The finished vignette feels simple and fresh. It's a nice segue from late spring into summer.

Peek-a-boo. I see me. And a crooked apple.

One thing I will readily admit: I am no photographer. I always admire the deceptively simple still-life shots I see on other blogs. Not so easy in real life. Everything looks fine from far away... and even through the lens of my camera, it seems fine. But closer inspection reveals a big ol' mess. The devil is in the details, as they say.

Let's take a broader look at things, shall we?
 Much better.

I'm linking up here:
My Romantic Home
French Country Cottage
Savvy Southern Style
DIY by Design
Ironstone Nest
Creative Cain Cabin
Between Naps on the Porch
DIY Showoff
Jennifer Rizzo

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Crossing a Bridge

Life: it's full/crazy/busy these days. 
My new work schedule has taken some getting used to.
I work a few hours in the morning while Hunter does his independent work and a few hours late at night while everyone else is in bed.
It's great for our family schedule, but not so great for blogging and crafty project time.
I'm sorry if posting has been erratic; hopefully it will get better when school is out.

Last weekend marked a big milestone for Caitlin; she became a Girl Scout Cadette.
This was her fifth year as a Girl Scout, and she is really excited about this transition. I can't believe she is one of the "big girls" now.
I'm pretty sure just a heartbeat ago she was a Daisy bridging to Brownies.

But on Saturday, after months of hard work, she and her troop-mates received the highest award given to Junior Girl Scouts, the Bronze Award.
Caitlin was very nervous about explaining their service project to the large crowd at the bridging ceremony, but she did a great job.

Naturally, we celebrated the occasion with cupcakes.
I am one proud mama. 
{I knew I bought all those Girls Scout cookies for a good cause!}

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Casual, Colorful WIWW

pleated poppy
Hey folks~~ happy Wednesday!
Here's a peek at what I've been wearing this week; my casual and colorful staples.
Scarves, cardis, and pops of color.
{Apologies for the grainy pics.}
 Cardi, tee, jeans, flats: All from Target
Scarf: Lands End
Petal Pusher: The Pleated Poppy

 Tee: Boden
Jeans: Silver
Scarf: Dress Barn
Sandals: Roxy
Headband: local craft fair

Just wanted to show the cute headband a bit better~ such fun, pretty colors.