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APRIL 2011

g r e e n j e l l o w i t h c a r r o t s. c o m 1

April 2011 BUMBLES & LIGHT




amazing blogging - we absolutely adore it.



You know how to recycle, but UPcycling is going to blow your mind.



Yummy yummy yummmmmy, that’s all I really need to say about this, right?


Image Credit: Rebecca Sims Retro Road Trip - 29 From the Archives of Blond Mom - 40 Bumbles & Light - 6 10 Minute Leg Warmers - 14 Two Peas & Their Pod - 32 Photography 101 - 15 Upcycling for Spring - 24


NOTE FROM THE EDITORS: A pril make s u s w a n t t o p r a n k p e o ple. Why is April Fools’ Day only ONE DAY? It should really be an entire month of pranks. Wouldn’t that be WAAAAY more fun? (As long as you’re the prankster and not the prankee, that is.) We can’t even think of a good prank to pull today. We’ve had huge brainstorming meetings with all the higher-ups (ok, so we’re the only higher-ups and it’s not like we’re anything impressive, BUT STILL) and we can’t think of a single decent prank. But you can bet your buttons that we’ll think of one in a week, you know, when it’s too late. So we really should get April to be declared “April Fools’ Month”, instead of “Day”. And then we can prank you properly.

MAGAZINE CREDITS: Editorial Director: Michelle Laird Executive Editor: Melissa Bastow Photographic Supreme Genius of all Time: Marissa Vargason Fashion Expert Extraordinaire: Abby Adams Singles Section Specialist: Barbara Managing Supreme Director of all Things Zebra Print: Michelle Laird Super Awesome Writer of Awesomeness: Annie Valentine Ultimate Quasi-Date Setup Artist: Barbara Master of the Universe: Melissa Bastow



Great Giveaways A list of blogs you can visit to win some fab giveaways. Something from Barb - The One that Got Away There’s a problem with the one that got away.



Charity of the Month - Japan It’s easy to help the people of Japan by donating through the Red Cross


Photography 101 - Aperture The second step in using your camera in manual mode. Tips from a Real House Wife Spring cleaning. Ugh.

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Sew That - 10 Minute Leg Warmers Make your own gorgeous fabric flowers. Guest host: Little Birdie Secrets


Annie Knows Best - Retro Road Tripping You can have an enjoyable road trip WITH the kids (Is it even possible? Why yes, yes it is.)


Abby’s Fab Five - Here Comes the Sun Summer will be here before you know it - stock up on cute sunhats now.


Totally Legit Horoscopes These are really real. I swear. It’s not like I just made them up or anything.


Blog Designs of the Month Some of our favorite blog designs by our favorite designers. From the Archives of... - Blond Mom Just Beat It



Visit our Sponsors Because I said so. Plus, they’re awesome.


Contact Melissa for pricing & details:


Blog Review by Melissa Bastow

w w w . b u m b l e s a n d l i g h t . c o m is

inspiring, well

written and gorgeous. It is delightful to read. Rebecca, the author of Bumbles and Light, has captured the every day moments of life and turned them into magic. Her style of writing mixed in with her amazing photography will have you spell bound and wanting to read more. (You will at least want to peruse past posts just to look at the photos.) Rebecca blogs mostly about life with her husband and their three year old son. She records adventures taken, recipes they’ve tried and the ups, downs and life altering experiences that make life an ever-changing rolller coaster ride.


Getting to know Rebecca through her bio was spectacular. Her descriptions and experiences painted warm and vivid mental pictures, and convinced me that I could never, in anyway, word things as lovely as she has: “I am a 25 year old British stay at home mother to a three year old boy. Married to a U.S. soldier and currently living in Illinois. I have an accent that is not quite British anymore after 4 years of being surrounded by Americans, yet it is certainly not an American accent either. I still dress quite distinctly like a European and after living in Germany for over 2 years I often use German words for things when I find that I like the German word better than the English. I have seen the Vatican from the very top of the 259 steps of St Peter’s Basilica and been covered in mud in the preserved World War I trenches outside Ypres, Belgium. I have wandered Montmartre side streets in Paris, bustling with people on an evening, gotten lost in the streets of Greenwich Village NYC, run through golden cornfields on the English-Welsh border and sat outside with a cup of tea watching fireflies in the fields of the outer Chicago suburbs. I have held the hands of others through addiction, fear, despair and come out the other side. I have left everything behind to begin anew, traveling across the North Atlantic Ocean with a single suitcase containing my worldly possessions. I own altogether too many books and have read every single one of them at least once. My dream job would be to be a Librarian or Archivist. I take my camera almost everywhere with me. I have fought mental illness and trudged through crisp snow in the mountains of the Lake District, England. I have explored a morgue, deep in the bowels of an abandoned hospital on a summer evening, climbed to the top of scaffolding holding up a five floor warehouse to look at the city lights of Nottingham at night and I have watched the sun setting over disused train tracks on the West Texas horizon. I’ve listened to the echo of my own footsteps while climbing the leaf-covered stone steps of a Nazi-era Amphitheater, watched dark storm clouds chase one another over Lorelai Rock on the Rhein River and heard the roar of small Spring waterfalls, while stepping over moss-covered rocks in the otherwise calm silence of the Black Forest. I have held my son’s tiny hand through the plastic window on an isolette in the NICU ward, the sounds of bleeping heart and lung monitors in the background forever etched into my mind, along with the camaraderie between mothers and a collective sense of loss. I have walked, speaking only in whispers, through catacombs beneath the ground on the outskirts of Rome and silently watched fireworks explode over Heidelberg castle. But, my favourite place to be in the whole world is at home, wherever that may be, cuddled up with my little family.”


“I managed to make an escape on Sunday afternoon for a quiet walk all alone. I wandered for a while, through the old cemetery near my apartment and out the other side. I walked up the side of a large hill that I can usually see from my living room window, following the zig-zag of the path through the trees and past a small stream. It was so beautifully quiet up there, all I could hear was the stream trickling slowly past me, the birds in the trees and the sharp crunch of leaves underfoot. Sometimes it’s refreshing to have some quiet.”


Recently, Rebecca and her family moved from Germany to Illinois. She had only three weeks to prepare and move after living in the same apartment for three years.

“Over the past two days, all of the furniture and stuff was packed into boxes and removed from our apartment. The rooms echo, they’re white and bare just like when we first moved in nearly 3 years ago. I was walking through each room, thinking about how I would decorate differently if we were moving in again… there’s something about bare rooms, there is so much potential… a blank slate. When we finally get a new place to live, I’m sure I will feel the same way about it before our furniture arrives. We’ve been unbelievably busy. Last week both Mikey and I were sick, but we still had to soldier on because there was so much to do. Mikey has been stressed out these past two days, seeing all of our stuff being packed away. He falls asleep early, worn out from everything and wakes up screaming, not knowing where he is on a mattress in an empty room. I know change is harder on him because he doesn’t really understand what is happening. He was only around 10 months old when we first moved to Germany. He has grown up here, in this apartment and in this country. He has learned to walk on these floors and learned to talk in these rooms. I thought we’d have more time, but you always think you have more time than you do.”


“Today is my 4th wedding anniversary. 4 years since we walked nervously into that courthouse in the outer Chicago suburbs. We didn’t have a fancy wedding and I didn’t have a dress. We didn’t even have rings. We don’t have a single photograph from that day, but I can remember it as though it were yesterday. It’s been a year of ups and downs, much like any year. I am just as much in love as the day we were married, and then more. Even though I know I’m a pain most of the time, he’s put up with me. I’ve been tripping over his boots left out in the living room for 4 years now, we’ve worked our way through deployment and separation, he has risked eating some of my lessthan-spectacular kitchen concoctions, deals with my poor housekeeping skills, he has always been there when I’ve needed him and we’re raising an amazing little boy together. I said to him this morning, ‘Wow, 4 years. How did that happen?’ to which he replied, ‘Laziness?’”

I know I’ve mentioned this about three times, but I can’t seem to praise the photography on Bumbles and Light enough. I thought perhaps this was because the pictures of Germany impressed me based on location. But she makes Illinois look pretty great too, so I think it’s because she’s just amazing with a camera. It only seemed natural to put one of her photos on the cover this month (and on the table of contents pages). You can see more of Rebecca’s photography and read more about her on her blog:

w w w. b u m b l e s a n d l i g h t . c o m

All text and photos courtesy of Rebecca Sims and are subject to sopyright.


Wondering Won deri n g how h ow YOU YO U can do your you r part par t t o help h el p th e earthquake/tsunami the earth qu ake/ts u n am i victims v i c ti m s in i n Japan? Japan ? Obviously it’s not possible for every person to go over there and hand out care packages. But you can donate. The American Red Cross is only asking for a minimum $10 donations. It doesn’t sound like much, but if everyone was to sacrifice that $10 from their monthly food budget and have mac&cheese for dinner one night, or take it from their date night budget and skip the popcorn at the theater, just think what the total sum of everyone’s $10 is going to do for those in such dire need. It’s a small sacrifice for a big cause.

There are two different ways you can donate $10 to the Red Cross:

Tex t 90999 (all regular texting charges apply) OR

go to the American Red Cross website 11

C o oki n g, la und r y, carpet shampooing, di s h e s, wi n do ws, s c r u bbi n g be h i n d y ou r t o i le ts with a n old rat t y t oot hbrush - - s o m e t i m e s i t al l j u s t s e e m s l i ke TO O TOO M UCH.

We feel your pain, we k n o w yo u r wo e s, we s h ar e yo u r

h ou se ke e ping frus t rat ions. So t ake it easy f o r a m i n u t e an d t ake s o m e advi c e, on u s. He re y o u have it :


The birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing... What does that mean? Spring cleaning fever has arrived! (Why was spring cleaning invented? Why don’t people just keep there house clean all year?) If you haven’t already started, here are a few tips for you: •Are you wondering exactly where to start? Think about where you enter your house the most and start there. Clean the rug/floor mat/what ever you wipe your feet on. If you don’t wipe your feet on something before entering your home then get something so you are not tracking dirt into your house anymore. •Use 2 buckets while cleaning. One for sanitizing solution and one for rinsing your dirty sponge or rag. •You can use this year’s spring cleaning as an opportunity for decluttering and getting rid of some things. Like last year’s fashions....or your husband’s favorite X-box game that you are sick of him playing 24/7 and happened to “accidentally” hide. Donate this to your favorite charity or put it towards the charity that goes to you... aka yard sale. •Don’t try to do your whole house in 1 or 2 days. You may give yourself a anxiety attack. Tackle a room a day. Or if you have older children get them involved and tackle 2-3 rooms a day. Just make sure you finish top to bottom. •Did you know if you clean the coils on your fridge it will help you save energy? So by doing this you are getting 3 bonuses, a clean fridge, helping the environment, and lowering your monthly bill. Honestly I just learned how to clean my coils. It is super easy! You can find them in the back if you have an older fridge or if you have a newer one they are underneath the skid plate. Remove it, and with a soap rag wash off the excess dirt. •Move your furniture around for a new look while your at it. Everyone needs a little change in their life plus new furniture arrangements add a little excitement! •Open the windows for some fresh air while cleaning... and so you don’t choke to death on all the cleaners! Good luck on this year’s Spring cleaning!



h t t p : / / w w w. m o n e y s a v v y m a m a . c o m

h t t p : / / w w w. s h i n i n g 2 s a v e. c o m Would you like to have your blog listed in next month’s Giveaway section? Email: for details.


sew THAT You know how the weather is getting warmer, but it’s not quite warm enough to let your toddler go bare legged just yet? Whip up a bunch of these leg warmers and that won’t be a problem. This tutorial came from the awesomeness of Sew Much Ado. You can find more tutorials and details on their blog:

Yo u ’ l l N e e d : •1 pair of women’s knee socks (Target and the dollar store are great places to find inexpensive knee socks if you don’t have any to refashion) •Sewing machine & Scissors

Start by gathering supplies. (You might want to make a few of these at one time, since they’re so fast and easy).

Cut each sock off at ankle, forming a long tube of fabric. Leg warmers can be made shorter by cutting sock off at a higher point above the ankle.

Cut heel and toe areas off of each sock. This will form the upper band of the leg warmers. For each sock, fold short tube of fabric in half, matching raw edges.

For each sock, place long tube of fabric inside of short tube, matching raw edges and right sides together.

Pin and sew 1/2” from raw edges, joining the two pieces. Trim seam allowance to 1/4”.

Unfold and admire.. Fold the cuff upwards and you are done!

This tutorial can be found exactly here:



Ready for more? Hopefully by now everyone has a good understanding of what ISO is and what key points it plays in learning how to shoot in manual. If you missed last month’s article, you’ll want to read that before moving on to aperture, but don’t worry, after we learn all the key points we will review how they all fit together in the puzzle.

During this second part of the three part series, we are going to be discussing aperture. Aperture, also referred to as F-stop, is the unit of measurement that defines the size of the opening in the lens and can be adjusted to control the amount of light reaching the digital sensor. Say what? Okay lets think of this in easy terms. A small number, for example F1.8, denotes a large aperture. While a larger number, for example F16, denotes a small aperture. When I think about aperture I relate it to the human pupil. When we are in a dark room our pupil dilates to allow more light for us to see. This is the same as a large aperture (small number) the lens dilates to allow more light to reach the sensor. If you are outside in the sun, your pupil constricts to restrict the amount of light your eyes need to see. This is the same as a small aperture (large number).

There’s a little more to the aperture story though…


Have you seen those images with amazing background blur? Also known as bokeh (pronounced bo-kay), is the blur that you see that separates the background from the subject. This occurs when your aperture is large (small number) usually around F 1.8-3.5. If you are seeing those gorgeous landscapes and everything is in focus and extremely sharp, this is by using a small aperture (large number) this allows everything to be in focus. A good rule of thumb is to have the aperture at least 1 stop higher than the number of people you are shooting. For example if you have a family of 5, you would want your aperture to be at least F 5.6-7.1 and this will help to ensure all members will be in focus. To sum up aperture, the larger the aperture number (F16), the less light your camera lets in and the more that is in focus, the smaller your aperture number is (F2.8) the more light your camera lets in but the less that is in focus, thus producing the blur.

A P HwithYMarissa1 Varg 0ason1 How do I change the aperture? Each camera make and model is different. To change the aperture on a Nikon, you should have a dial on the top of your camera (models D90 and newer) this dial should move the aperture number up and down. If you look through your eyepiece while scrolling the dial, you should see a number at the bottom of your screen that has F (3.5 etc) and it should change. To change the aperture on a canon you would hold down the “av” button on the back of your camera near your lcd screen and while you are holding down the “av” button, you will scroll your dial on the top of your camera. On canons that are the 40D model and newer, you should have a wheel on the back of your camera near your lcd screen, this will control your aperture, again do this while looking through the eyepiece and note the numbers changing. However… please note that your aperture will ONLY go as low as your lens allows. On the top of your lens you will notice some numbers. Most lenses have numbers for example 3.5-5.6. This is stating that if the lens is completely closed and not zoomed out, you can go as low as 3.5, but if you zoom it out, you can go as low as 5.6. Please send any questions or comments to: We will be discussing Shutter speed for the third part of our three part series.

Marissa Vargaon is an award-winning photographer with a pure and simple photographic style.

A studio and on-location photographer, Marissa specializes

in modern custom portraiture for all ages, including maternity/birth, newborns/ babies/children, families and teens/high school seniors. Her company, Marissa Vargason Photography, is located in Syracuse, Utah, and serves the Salt Lake City and surrounding areas.

You can see more of her amazing work on her blog:

h t t p : / / m a r i s s a v a r g a s o n p h o t o g r a p h y. c o m / b l o g


esigns Blog D OF THE MONTH

These are just a few of our favorite blog designs from some of our favorite blog designers.

w w w . r e b e k a h t e a l . c o m B l o g g e r : R e b e k a h • B l o g D e s i g n b y : w w w. d e s i g n e r b l o g s . c o m


w w w . i r o c k l o c s . c o m Blogger:






w w w. d e s i g n e r b l o g s. c o m

g r a c e i n t h e p i n k c i t y. b l o g s p o t. c o m B l o g g e r : G r a c e • B l o g D e s i g n b y : w w w. l e e l o u b l o g s . b l o g s p o t. c o m


The Problem with “The One That Got Away” I definitely have “One That Got Away.” I don’t know if this is normal, or if I’m the only one, but since I’ve heard the phrase before I’m going to assume I have company. Sometimes it’s nice to have an OTGA. (I’m not going to type the phrase out anymore. It’s too long.) For me, I didn’t look at him with regret, but with nostalgia. I remembered the fun things we did, or what I liked about him or even the things I was going through when he was in my life. I don’t feel bad or sad. Mostly wistful. But. There’s always a “but.” But he’s the guy that I always come back to in my mind when my relationships aren’t going where I’d like them. I go through a break-up? He’s the one I think about. I lost faith in the male gender as a whole? He slowly reminds me they can’t be all bad. I could go years without seeing or talking to the guy (and I have) yet he’s the one I constantly think about. I compare all the others to him--and is that really fair? I’ve put him up on such a pedestal, but what if he’s really not that great? What if, in his absence, I’ve made him better cuz I want to believe there is someone out there that’s as good as I believe he is. I don’t know if it’s cuz he’s really as amazing as I remember or if it’s cuz of all the guys I’ve liked/dated, he seems to still be the most available. Am I really that crazy about it, or is he just my best option? And why can’t I just move on from him? My OTGA recently came back into my life. Kind of. I still have the potential to be pretty crazy about him. I still get excited to see him, hear from him, spend time with him, etc. But I’ve done this with him before and ended up disappointed. What if this happens again? How long can he keep being my OTGA before I move on? But what if I don’t have to move on? Can’t he just turn into my “One” instead of the “One That Got Away?” Barbara is a native of Provo, Utah aka The Hurry-Up-And-Get-Married-BeforeYou’re-Branded-An-Old-Maid capitol of the world. She has over 8 years professional experience as a “young” single adult and has lived through all the exciting, horrendous, embarrassing, unusual, and cliché things a relationship has to offer. When she’s not busy being 100% single, she enjoys dealing with mentally unstable roommates, vainly avoiding chocolate, and sending her nieces and nephews back to their parents when they get tired and cranky. You


can read Barbara’s blog at: b a r b a l o o t s u i t . b l o g s p o t . c o m

Abby’s Fab Five h e r e

c o m e s

t h e

s u n

Are you ready for summer? If you have been privy to the same bitterly cold winter as me, then I’m sure you are. The better question is, are you ready to protect your skin this summer? Protecting your skin from UV rays is essential to warding off skin cancer and signs of aging. I don’t know about you but I can do with out cancer and wrinkles. Here is what you need:

1- Sunscreen Use spf 30 on your face every day- every single day, no matter how much sun time your planning on. For the rest of you, spf 15 should suffice. Remember to reapply after swimming or an hour in the sun and don’t forget your feet, ears, and scalp (all places my hubby man has missed).

2- A Sun Hat Shade your precious face as much as possible,

especially if you are spending a day at the pool or on the lake. Besides, the right hat can do nothing but add to your summer look. How cute is this San Diego Straw Cap ($39 at Urbanoutfitters. com)? So cute. If you need more coverage, try a floppy straw hat like this one (also from

3- Sunglasses Shades do more than make you look cool. They protect your eyes, which are prone to aging. It doesn’t matter if I’m just walking my dog or driving to the store, if I’m exposed to the sun, I’m wearing my sunglasses (blast you future eye wrinkles!) and you’d better believe that I look cool.

4- A Way to Cover Up When you aren’t splashing in the ocean

or impressing your fellow boaters with your mad wake boarding skills (of which I have none), you need to cover up. Long gone are the days when only tan girls were the hotties. Vampires are in and so is their skin (thank goodness since I’m a perfect second for Snow White). Protect your body with a cute cover up. You could try either of these from Urban Outfitters or you can do what I do and make use of last year’s sundresses. I’ve already got two of my old favorites picked out for this summer.

5- A Big Gulp No, I’m not suggesting that an ice cold Diet

Pepsi will help you fight cancer (even though it would taste perfectly delicious on a hot day). What I’m saying is that if you want lovely, glowing skin, you need to work on it from the inside out. Make sure to fill your water bottle before hopping on the boat or hitting the water park this summer. For the sake of our environment, please skip the plastic bottled water and go for a reusable tin bottle like these from Abby Adams is a happy and hopeful mom to one cute daughter and two furry babies. She likes to read, write, exercise, and shop. She is a personal style fanatic and loves to try new looks and products. Get to know her better at her blogs: Diligent Joy m i s s a b b y a . b l o g s p o t. c o m and Confessions of a Beauty Aisle Addict b e a u t y a i s l e a d d i c t. b l o g s p o t. c o m


Capricorn (12/22-1/19)- Avoid yellow socks unless the moon is full. Aquarius (1/20-2/18)- Surprise! You’re on Candid Camera! Pisces (2/19-3/20)- Brushing your teeth four times a day isn’t going to get the taste of green bean and strawberry jello gulash out of your mouth. Aries (3/21-4/19)- Sometimes we really wonder about you. Taurus (4/20-5/20)- Fashion faux pas or not, sneakers look excellent on you. Go buy three more pair. Gemini (5/21-6/21)- It is the dawn of a new species - the gentle, mop-haired, hippo - and you’ll be the first to make the discovery. Cancer (6/22-7/22)- First, I just have to tell you how fab you look in that color of lipstick. It really makes your eyes pop. Secondly....well, actually that was all I had to say. Leo (7/23-8/22)- You will eat the best hot chocolate lava cake you’ve ever tasted this month, so savor it because you’ll never get it again. Never EVER again. Ever. Virgo (8/23-9/22)- Your plans just aren’t going to work out for you. Sorry. You might as well whip out the ice cream and chick lit right now and skip the disappointment. Libra (9/23-10/22)- If you sing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” on a road trip, you will get punched in the nose. Scorpio (10/23-11/21)- That hobby you wanted to pick up? Three words of advice: WASTE OF TIME. Sagittarius (11/22-12/21)- You get a big cosmic thumbs up this month. Congrats, yo.




Rachel Sue is a stay at home mom with four adorable kids. She spends most of her time trying not to go crazy. Or avoiding chores. The two go hand in hand. She runs the blog Reduce, Reuse, UPcycle! She started upcycling after years of looking at craft blogs, wanting to make some of the projects but wondering how some of these women could manage such a huge crafting budget. Upcycling was the perfect solution because it let her craft to her heart’s content and not have to sell a kidney on the black market to afford it. Rachel’s goal on Reduce, Reuse, UPcycle! is to bring you the best upcycled crafts she’s found from all over the blogosphere. It’s a great collection of some of the cutest projects we’ve ever seen upcycled. r e u s e a n d u p c y c l e. b l o g s p o t. c o m

a guest article written by Rachel Sue Ward

Everyone knows what recycling is, but have you ever heard of UPcycling? For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it is very similar to recycling, but you are taking the recycling process into your own hands. Rather than having your paper, plastic, glass, used clothes, books or whatever shipped off to be ground into a pulp and remade, you take those items and give them a new life: wall art from paper towel tubes, light fixtures from old jars, home decor from book pages and just about anything from a t-shirt! This is a great way to do a favor -- not only for the planet but your wallet as well! I don’t know about you, but when Spring rolls around, I want to throw out everything old and dreary and bring on the color, but my budget just won’t allow it. Enter upcycling. You would be amazed at some of the things that you can create from items just lying around the house.


One of my favorite things is to change up the wreath on my front door for each season. Sadly, though, wreaths can be incredibly expensive. Katie, author of Punk Projects, came up with a solution for that. She took a simple wreath form, sometime available at your local dollar store, and covered it with leftover fabric scraps that were too small to really do anything with. This project requires the most minimal sewing skills, some fabric scraps, glue and a little time. It would be so easy to inject some of your own personality as well. Stick with a few of your favorite colors or change up the lettering on the front. Add some ribbon, or make a few yo-yo flowers to use up more fabric scraps. Then on those days when spring rebels, and winter tries to sneak back in, your front door will remind you how close bright, sunny days actually are!

P h o t o s c o u r t e s y o f P u n k P r o j e c t s. R e a d m o r e a b o u t t h i s p r o j e c t o n t h e P u n k P r o j e c t s b l o g : h t t p : / / p u n k p r o j e c t s. b l o g s p o t. c o m / 2 0 1 1 / 0 3 / f i r s t - d a y - o f - s p r i n g - s p r i n g -w r e a t h - d i y. h t m l


As for inside the house, Sarah from Harrigan Howdy saw an Anthropologie window display and was inspired to find a way to duplicate it. Inspiration struck and she cut up plastic water bottles to create some amazing spring flower decorations, but you could use soda bottles, even 2 liter plastic bottles and have them be different sizes. Each water bottle created one flower. She spray painted each one different colors and strung them across her mantle in a garland. These would be amazing in a classroom setting but elegant enough to use as decoration at a baby shower or a brunch. And if that wasn’t enough, Sarah also used them as a candle holder on her Easter table. Just set the center of the flower inside glass candle stick and put the candle right through the hole. An easy way to spruce up a spring table.

P h o t o s c o u r t e s y o f H a r r i g a n H o w d y. R e a d m o r e a b o u t t h i s p r o j e c t o n t h e H a r r i g a n H o w d y b l o g : h t t p : / / h a r r i g a n h o w d y. b l o g s p o t. c o m / 2 0 1 0 / 0 3 / c r a f t i n g - a n t h r o p o l o g i e - i n s p i r e d - f l o w e r s. h t m l


I don’t know about you, but our spring break tends to have at least one rainy, inside day. So I found a great project for that rainy spring break day. And the results are a kid friendly Easter decoration. The next time you finish off a dozen eggs, save the egg carton for these little cuties. It is a simple matter of paint, tape and a little patience. And when the kids get a hold of them, it won’t be an expensive disaster. Just grab another egg carton and put together some more!

P h o t o s c o u r t e s y o f J e r o m i n a J u a n. Re a d m o r e a b o u t t h i s p r o j e c t o n h e r b l o g, Pa p e r P l a t e a n d P l a n e: h t t p : / / p a p e r p l a t e a n d p l a n e. w o r d p r e s s. c o m / 2 0 1 1 / 0 3 / 1 9 / e a s t e r - e g g - c a r t o n - c h i c k s /


If you are not a lover of words, you might not apprecieate the next few projects as much as I do. I found an old, huge dictionary about a year ago and it is my favorite go to for any projects involving paper. These spring projects are no exception. Missy from Marvelously Messy created these adorable origami bunnies. She used old sheet music. If you are a music lover, that might be the way for you to go. I think these would also be adorable folded out of pages from a gardening magazine or right out of my favorite dictionary. If you’re worried about trying to figure out the folding from a diagram -- don’t. Missy shares an instructional video on how to make them.

P h o t o s c o u r t e s y o f M a r v e l o u s l y M e s s y. Re a d m o r e a b o u t t h i s p r o j e c t o n t h e M a r v e l o u s l y M e s s y b l o g : h t t p : / / m a r v e l o u s l y m e s s y. b l o g s p o t. c o m / 2 0 1 1 / 0 3 / o r i g a m i - s p r i n g - b u n n y - c r a f t. h t m l

Are you tired of those brightly colored plastic Easter eggs? try taking a page out of Southern Scraps book, literally, and making some book page Easter eggs. She simply used some old, boring plastic eggs and covered them with book page scraps to give them a shabby chic look. She added a cute bow and flower for an added touch, but I think they would be just as adorable plain in a simple Easter basket.

P h o t o s c o u r t e s y o f M a r v e l o u s l y M e s s y. Read more about this project on the Marvelously Messy blog: h t t p : / / s o u t h e r n s c r a p s. b l o g s p o t. c o m / 2 0 1 1 / 0 3 / b o o k- p a g e - e g g s. h t m l See more of the excellent upcycled crafts Rachel has found by visiting her blog: If you’d like to write a guest article for The Barrel, email Melissa for details & guidelines.


Annie Valentine

is a humor

columnist and blogger. She lives in a house with her husband, and four small children who call her “Mother”, “Mommy Dearest” and on special occasions “Your Royal Highness”. Catch up with her at, or you can send her an email at

Photography courtesy of Snugg. See more of her amazing photography (with her stuffed pup and animal friends) on her flickr account:


w w w. f l i c k r. c o m / p h o t o s / s n u g g l e p u p / 4 9 0 7 8 6 8 1 8 4

by Annie Valentine

So you’re taking a family vacation. The pit stops, the ghost towns, the scenic drives-- you want your family to soak it up. Only this time, your children won’t spend the entire car trip glued to the DVD player/ipod/Nintendo DS. Oh no, this is going to be a Family Vacation to Remember. Whether you’re family is made up of toddlers or grown-ups, here are a few suggestions to make the road a bit less bumpy.

* For small children, a pack of pipe cleaners and some fingernail clippers and you’re on your way to busy finger fun. They can twist them and torque them in any direction, making letters and animals and shapes----whatever their skill level might be.

* Print off maps for them to color, or encourage them to make their own. Any coloring is good. * Take a Picking Bag. Fill a duffle bag with cheap toys and treats, and then use it as a good behavior incentive. Trash duty, or buckling seatbelts will be a snap if your kids get to choose from the magic Picking Bag. (This also works with older kids; simply cater the contents to the age group. My mother used this on my sisters and me last month during our annual girls’ weekend. We were total suckers for the Picking Bag.)

* Give each of your children a roll of quarters or dimes to spend at gas stations. When they misbehave or get sassy, they lose a coin. Money is a powerful motivator.

* Load your ipod with family favorites. Instead of riding in silence while your kids listen to their own

music, have everyone choose 5-10 of their favorite songs to burn on a family CD or play on a family play list. That way everyone gets the chance to listen to his or her music, and you can still share with your children the magical talents of Neil Diamond.

* If you have older kids who are too cool for car games, simply up the ante. Trust me, your teenager will

be way more willing to play Car Bingo if the winner chooses the next restaurant or pit stop. Teenagers are suckers for a little power, even if it means playing dorky travel games with the family.

* When it’s just the two of you, take a newspaper along, or print off a few headlines from the Internet

to read out loud. Buy a random magazine and read from it. The Reader’s Digest is always good for conversation.

* Dive. Instead of always eating at established restaurant chains, look for local dining and try something

unexpected. There’s always the chance that your eating experience might tank, but you’ll certainly never forget it.

Whatever you do with your next road trip, remember there are a million ways to make memories. And it’s not really about your final destination; it’s about how you choose to get there. 30


12 months • 365 ideas We have SO many Blogging Prompts that it would take you over THREE YEARS of daily blog posting before you ever ran out of content ideas. There is a special E-GIFT for those of you that sign up for the 365 Days Worth of Blogging Prompts. We have an Exclusive Photo Prompt Book that will be offered strictly to the subscribers of our blogging prompts.

B R O U G H T T O YO U BY: The new book from fabulous blogger (and now published author) Melanie Jacobson . 31

Blog Reveiw by Michelle Laird

Maria and Josh have created a very delightful food blog called Two Peas and their Pod. It has a variety of all kinds of food and of course they are all scrumptious! Josh and Maria were neighbors and met at church. They started out as best friends until he talked her into marrying him in June of 2008. They enjoy watching sports together, hiking, running, traveling, watching movies, and if you didn’t notice cooking together. They are expecting their first baby in September (congrats!!) Maria and Josh’s blog didn’t start out as a food blog. They started posting pictures of hiking, telling their family updates, and Josh sharing his political views. But they love creating recipes together so they started posting their creations to tell family and friends. They got great feedback and it started growing with more and more readers, so they decided it was time to start a full time food blog. Maria will tell you that is great to have help in the kitchen! “Four hands are better that Two,” she says. I must say I agree with this! I love to hear when men help in the kitchen. I am not the best cook, but my husband is wonderful; yet he can’t follow a recipe to save his life. During our first few years of marriage making dinner usually went like this: 1) I start dinner with great expectations of some elaborate creation 2) then I ruin it by burning, or adding to much or not enough of something 3) Then I freak out and start crying 4) my husband comes to the rescue to fix it. Since then we’ve come to the agreement that we will help each other in the kitchen from the start (as to avoid the tears). So yes , Maria you are right! I am a huge believer that Four hands are so much better than Two! She has even trained Josh to do the dishes. Now only if I could get my husband to do that one!

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Honey Yogurt Waffles

INGREDIENTS: 3 tablespoons unsalted butter • 1 cup all-purpose flour • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats • 2 teaspoons baking powder • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon • 1 1/4 cups skim milk • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt 1/3 cup honey • 2 large eggs • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • Maple syrup or honey-for serving

DIRECTIONS: Melt the butter in the microwave and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, honey, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Gently fold in the melted butter. Preheat and lightly grease the waffle iron. When the waffle iron is hot, pour batter into the wells of the waffle iron. (Fill according to the manufacturer’s instructions). Close the lid and bake until the waffle is golden and set. Carefully remove waffle from iron and serve warm with maple syrup or a drizzle of honey. Note: To keep the waffles warm, preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Place a tray of waffles in the oven to keep warm until serving.


Boneless Buffalo Hot Wings

INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN: 3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast cut into small cubes • 4 cups of flour 2 teaspoons of salt • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper • 11/2 cups of buttermilk

DIRECTIONS FOR FRYING CHICKEN: Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dip cut up chicken into flour mixture then dip into buttermilk then back into the mixture. Fry for about 5-6 minutes at 360 degrees or until golden brown on all sides. I used vegetable oil since I am allergic to Peanut Oil.

INGREDIENTS FOR SAUCE: 1 large bottle of Franks Red Hot • 2 tablespoons of butter • Cayenne pepper to taste (depending on how spicy you like it)

DIRECTIONS: In a small sauce pan put Franks Red Hot in pan melt the butter and then add desired amount of cayenne pepper. Then bring to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. After all chicken is fried cover all sides of chicken with sauce. This can be done a few ways. I tried to put in bowl then pour sauce over and mix. I did not like this way because it was to aggressive and damaged the chicken a little. I then laid all of the chicken on a cookie sheet and poured the sauce over the fried chicken. Make sure all of the chicken is well covered. Put the chicken that is on the cookie sheet into the oven, preheated to 350 degrees. Bake the Boneless Hot Wings for 20-30 min. or until crispy!


Pumpkin Granola

INGREDIENTS: 5 cups rolled oats • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice • 1 teaspoon cinnamon • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg ¾ tsp. salt • cup brown sugar • ½ cup pumpkin puree • ¼ cup applesauce • ¼ cup maple syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 3/4 cup dried cranberries • 1/2 cup pepitas

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt. Mix well. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container. *Note-serve granola with yogurt, milk, or enjoy plain.


Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus, Spinach & Feta INGREDIENTS: 1 cup orzo • Salt-about 1/2 tsp. for boiling water • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped • 1 teaspoon olive oil 8 asparagus spears, cut into 1 inch pieces • 1 cup packed fresh spinach • Juice of 1 large lemon 1/3 cup feta cheese • Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: In a medium sauce pan, bring 4 cups of water to boil. Add the salt. Stir in orzo. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain orzo and set aside. In a small sauce pan, saute garlic in olive oil. Add in asparagus pieces. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Stir in spinach. Cook until asparagus is tender and the spinach shrinks down. Put the orzo in a medium bowl and add in the vegetables. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the orzo and vegetables. Stir. Season with salt and pepper. Taste-add more lemon juice if you wish. The lemon I used was huge, so I only needed to use one lemon. If you need more juice, go ahead. Sprinkle feta cheese over the top of the salad. Serve warm. (I also liked the salad cold.) Serves 4


Whole Wheat Noodles

with Peanut Sauce & Vegetables INGREDIENTS FOR PEANUT SAUCE: 1 small piece of lemon grass, chopped • Freshly grated ginger-to taste • 1 cup water ½ cup hoisin sauce • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter • 1½ tablespoons sugar

DIRECTIONS FOR PEANUT SAUCE: In a small sauce pan, simmer lemon grass in the water for 5 minutes, strain out the lemongrass and add the remaining ingredients to the water. Whisk well and simmer an additional 5 minutes. If the sauce doesn’t thicken, whisk for one minute over medium heat.

INGREDIENTS: Whole Wheat Spaghetti (Soba noodles would work too) • Broccoli • Red Pepper Strips Green Pepper Strips • Carrot Strips • Cilantro • Sesame Seeds

DIRECTIONS: Boil a pot of water and add a little bit of salt. Add the pasta and cook until done. Drain and set aside. Steam or blanch the vegetables. In a large bowl, add the pasta and vegetables. Toss. Stir in some peanut sauce. I didn’t measure anything because I was making the dish for one. If you are making it for several people, make a box of pasta and lots of veggies. Slowly stir in the sauce and taste. You probably won’t need all of it. When I made it for myself, I probably only used 2-3 Tablespoons of the sauce. It is pretty flavorful. Just add a little as you go and save the leftover sauce in the refrigerator. I sprinkled the pasta and veggies with sesame seeds before serving. This dish is good hot or cold. You can use whatever veggies you like too. Enjoy!


M&M Chocolate Chip Blondies INGREDIENTS:

1 cup all purpose flour • 1/2 tsp baking powder • 1/8 tsp baking soda • 1/4 tsp salt 1 stick butter, melted • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar • 1 egg • 1 teaspoon of vanilla 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips • 1/3 cup M&M’s

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 8X8 pan with cooking spray. I used a glass Pyrex dish. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl-flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter and brown sugar. Stir until smooth. Add in the egg and stir. Next, stir in the vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir until the ingredients are combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and M&M’s. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the blondies for 23-25 minutes, until the blondies are set. A toothpick will come out clean when they are done. Let the blondies cool on a rack. When cool, cut and serve.

Find more amazing recipes (and mouth-watering pictures) at:


Miss Delacourt Has Her Day is the latest delightfully entertaining novel from author Heidi Ashworth.


OR 39

. . f o s e iv h c r a e h t m o r f •

Ju st Be a t I t November 17, 2006

Our dishwasher died a few weeks ago. It’s been sitting there mocking us with it’s unwavering evil red eye on the control panel. We’ve researched the stuck control panel issue on the Internet and unsuccessfully tried the recommendations of pushing various combinations of the control buttons. I’ve open and closed the door about 999 times to see if it will miraculously come back to life. The hubby has turned the breaker off and on to no avail. At first I found some sort of Zen peacefulness in actually hand washing dishes but by about day two I was considering buying paper plates and plastic cups in bulk. Realizing that it would probably cost as much to get someone to repair our 8-year-old or possibly older dishwasher we inherited from our home’s previous owners as it would to buy a new one, we’ve been temporarily ignoring it because, as inconvenient as it might seem, one can live without a dishwasher. When I came home from work Tuesday the hubby was already there and I heard the sweet, sweet sound of the dishwasher merrily whirring away when I walked in the kitchen. I believe the exclamation, “THANK YOU LORD” was shouted by me because it really was a religious experience to hear dishes being washed, and not by me. Our dishwasher had risen from the dead. It was like a holiday. He also had dinner ready in the crockpot the next night, which was yet another religious experience. I asked the hubby how he fixed the dishwasher and his reply was basically, “You know that scene in Armageddon where the Russian astronaut is frustrated about the screwed up spaceship controls and he just starts beating the hell out of the spaceship with a big wrench? Well that was pretty much it, only I used my fist.” This handyman tip not approved by the Maytag Man.


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The Barrel of Blogs April 2011  
The Barrel of Blogs April 2011  

A magazine about blogging, bloggers, and blogs, and also includes super awesome articles written by super awesome bloggers. We like blogs.