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Carousels and DNA

Friday, August 19, 2011
My aunt, Karen, and cousins, Joanna and Elenya, have been visiting for the last couple of weeks from Texas. Karen came to help get grandma transitioned home from from assisted living after having knee and leg surgery. While they were here, I had the pleasure of hanging out with two very cool kids. We shopped, went to the pool, and I got to introduce them to spa pedicures.

Tuesday I got to show them where I work, and we spend most of the day doing hands-on science activities in the lab. I had a blast showing them what I do and teaching them about DNA and genetics.
Elenya matching up a patient's chromosomes to make a karyotype.

Joanna and her K'Nex DNA model
Check out those pipette skills!
I am so glad to have gotten the chance to get to know these girls better!

DIY wall art

Tuesday, August 16, 2011
A year after moving into the house, we have things pretty well decorated...but one thing we still have a lot of is wall space. In particular we had a whole wall in our living room that had nothing on it. Several months back I saw these canvases in a catalog and thought they would look good in our living room...but I definitely did not want to pay the $350 that the company wanted for the set.
So last week we set about to make our own. The great part of doing it yourself is you can pick out exactly what colors you want. We found 18x18 canvases at hobby lobby (1/2 off) and painted them in coordinating, solid colors.
Here is the finished is far from perfect...but I am still really happy with how it came out. I think it ties the room together nicely.

Robots and Rhinos

Monday, August 8, 2011
For Ann's birthday party Saturday night, I made Key Lime cupcakes (see last blog post) and S'mores cupcakes.

At the party we asked our nephew Ben what the cupcakes looked like. Emily and Matt apparently don't expose him to enough campouts and campfires...because he took one look at the S'mores cupcakes and said they looked like "robots." Then he looked at the Key Lime cupcakes and said they looked like "Rhinos." Not exactly the look I was going for...but ok.

Here are my S'mores/Robot cupcakes:

There is a graham cracker crust in the bottom...

and a chocolate cupcake middle...

And a marshmallow creme on top. I even got to have fun with a kitchen torch...
I think they turned out super cute and really did taste like a campfire s'more.


Key Lime Cupcakes

This past weekend was seriously busy. Friday night we had Andrew's parents over for dinner...Andrew made some really yummy chicken kabobs on the grill. And we hung some more pictures in the house. We are slowly getting rid of all the empty walls....more on that later.

Saturday morning I headed to Guntersville to hang out with the Montevallo DG's. The Huntsville alumni group took them lunch and helped out with some rush prep. It was a lot of fun to hang out with college kids and sing DG songs again. : )

Saturday night we went over to Emily and Matt's to celebrate Andrew's mom's birthday. Emily and Matt made some awesome fajitas and guacamole.

Sunday we went out to the lake for a surprise party celebrate my dad's birthday. We had great food and a great time hanging out with family. Then I headed to the airport to pick up my Aunt Karen who is in town from Texas. It was so great to see has been way too long.

I was charged with making the desserts for Ann's party. The summer "Southern Lady" magazine had some darling key lime cupcakes on the cover that I decided to try. I was a little nervous as I had not ever tried to make cupcakes or icing from scratch...
But in the end they turned out really cute and delicious.

Key Lime Cupcakes from scratch

Key Lime Buttercream Ice Cream

The Finished Product

A cute trick I learned this weekend was using scrapbook paper as cupcake wrappers. I used basic white cupcake liners for baking and then slipped scrapbook paper ones around it before serving. You can find simple patterns online....just print and cut out the pattern, trace onto scrapbook paper and cut out the wrapper. Using decorative scissors on the top makes it really cute and tailored. No more searching for the perfect cupcake liners for every occasion...just make your own.

I also had an adventure with S'mores Cupcakes, and a kitchen torch, this weekend...but I will save that for another blog post.

Happy Monday!

So ready for football season

Friday, August 5, 2011
It is hard to believe that fall, and football season, are just around the corner. We are sooo ready for some cooler weather....but it is a little hard to start getting in the mood for pumpkins, cornucopias, and fallen leaves.

Back in the spring, Emily and I were out yardsale-ing and we saw the cutest Auburn wreath on some random family's front door. We decided then that we would try to make ourselves one for this fall.

It turned out to be easier than I imagined. Here is the finished product:

Supplies needed:
Vine Wreath (medium sized)
Light weight unfinished wooden letters
Wooden footballs
Florist wire
Paint and paint brushes
Hot glue gun

I got all the supplies at Hobby Lobby (gotta love that store), but it took a couple of trips to get all the letters I needed. In the future I will try to plan ahead better and just have them order them for me.

How to make it:
1. Paint the wooden letters a solid color, for my wreath I painted "WAR EAGLE" orange.
2. Paint dots on the letters, I used white, but it could be any color. Note - I found that sponge "dobber" paint brushes work really well for this.
3. While the paint is drying, make your bow. I used three types of ribbon in three different widths. Ribbon with a wire edge works best (especially for the biggest ribbon width). The bow should be pretty big. Attach bow to wreath with either florist wire or hot glue.
4. Attach your letters and footballs to wreath with hot glue.
5. Wrap some additional ribbon around the wreath and secure with hot glue.

So simple. But so cute.

Patriotic Parties

Wednesday, August 3, 2011
It is a month over due, but I thought I would share some pictures from our Fourth of July parties. It was a busy...but very fun weekend. Andrew was off on Monday, the 4th, but had to work the rest of the weekend...So that meant we had to get a little creative to get all the parties in in a short amount of time. Sunday night we spent out in Union Grove. We love to spend the 4th of July out there in the country where shooting off fireworks is completely legal. Monday morning we went to Lake Guntersville and then Monday afternoon/evening we hosted a 4th of July party at our house. Here are some photos of our party-filled 4th of July.

I decided to make an attempt at cake pops for the occasion. I used patriotic funfetti cake mix, vanilla frosting for the inside and white and milk dipping chocolate to coat. I think they turned out really cute...and yummy too! I am looking forward to playing with more flavor combinations.

I also found these super cute printable cupcake toppers from the Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate Magazine's website here (Fourth of July Party Circles). I just printed them out and glued them on a colored paper background and then glued it on a lollipop stick.
I can't brag too much on the cupcakes...they were straight from a box...but still good.

Here are the cupcake toppers up close : )

Pretzel stick "sparklers." Just dipped large pretzel sticks in chocolate. Then dyed white chocolate red and blue and drizzled it over the top or added sprinkles.

One easy way to decorate a drink table is to take off water bottles' labels and wrap a strip of scrapbook paper around them. Seriously takes no time at all.

Table centerpiece. Can't tell in the picture but I just bought a flower pot, painted it blue and filled it with red and white flowers.

Ann made this amazing fruit bowl, inside a watermelon, and made super cute fruit kabobs.

I hear cutting watermelon into small shapes like stars is a bit difficult...but it turned out super cute anyway!

The 4th of July spread. Yummy!
Hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and salsa, pasta salad, grilled corn on the cob, deviled eggs, etc.

If you haven't been to Pier 1 recently, they have a really cute line of "tasting party" dishes out right these mini parfait cups.

I made these mini-dirt cups for the kids (and secretly for me) Just 5 minute jello pudding, crumbled up oreo cookies and gummy worms. : )

We went a little over board on the desserts...but they were all so good!
We had dirt cups, cake pops, sugar cookies, dipped pretzel sticks, chocolate covered strawberries, and red white and blue fruit parfaits.

Emily did an awesome job with the cookies (they turned out just like Martha Stewart's) and the patriotic strawberries.

A blog resurrected...

Monday, August 1, 2011 it has been a long time (ok, an entire year) since I have even thought about blogging. Partly because life is busy and partly because I feel like our lives are typically not all that exciting or interesting.

But I have been wanting to find a way to chronicle some of the house decorating and party projects I have been working I figured I would give the blog another go.

Here are just a couple of pictures from past year. More to come!

Last fall we added a new family member. Her name is Sadie.

We think she is just about the cutest cat ever.

It snowed...a lot!

And Auburn won the National Championship!

War Eagle!

Speaking of being cold...

We recently got back from a fabulous trip to Alaska with Andrew's family!

We cruised from Vancouver, BC to Seward, AK, stopping in Ketchikan, Icy Straight Point, Juneau and Skagway.

This picture is of us in front of the Mendenhall Glacier!

We had a fantastic sermon this morning about the importance of faith and rest. I am going to try to keep Matthew 11:28 in mind this week as I go about my work and to-do lists...

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."


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