Best Starter Makeup for Tweens

Cosmetics and Accessories YingyoIt seems impossible to me that my sweet baby girl, who not long ago was playing princess dress up, is now interested in wearing makeup. For real this time! Not the “let’s dress up and pretend” kind of makeup, but the actual LEAVE THE HOUSE wearing it kind of thing. It has now come time to look into REAL starter makeup.

Now, to me this seemed to me like another version of  “dress up”. Let me tell you, it’s a little hard to see your daughter go from “child” to “teen” with one sweep of the mascara wand.

So that is where it starts. First it’s mascara. Then it’s the lip gloss. Before you know it they’ve moved on to eye shadow and every complexion flaw simply must be covered with concealer. It’s a runaway train that picks up speed at an alarming rate.

Despite the initial shock, I also admit that, once that wore off, this has the potential to be fun! I’ve always loved makeup, but boy oh boy when I first started wearing it, it was a disaster! My mom always took a minimalistic approach to cosmetics, so I didn’t get much coaching or advice on application. The result was over applied EVERYTHING! Heavy purple eye shadow, eyeliner that came in only one color (black) and tragically mismatched foundation.

With these embarrassing memories still fresh in my head, I decided that I am going to take as much control over my daughter’s new frontier as possible. (more…)

Make a Flirt Pole

flirt pole diy cover 2The Problem….having the time and energy to wear out your hyper pooch. The Solution….The Flirt Pole!

Living in the upper Midwest, the winters here can be brutal, and I admit that I can be really wimpy when it comes to having to brave the elements. What that translates into is a seriously hyperactive dog with a ton of pent up energy.

So what to do? There is only so much bone chewing our little was willing to do. Add to that her short attention span and extremely high prey drive, and I was at a loss. Until I came upon something called a “flirt pole”. (more…)

Basement Stairs Makeover

basement stairs makeover cover2I want to share with you our latest home DIY project…..the basement stairs. I am SO happy with the results I just have to tell the world!

First, a little background. We purchased our home about 7 years ago from an nice, elderly widowed gentleman who was the original owner of the house. I could tell that this man must have been quite practical, as evidenced by a house that has not seen a style update since it was built back in 1967.

We’ve done quite a bit of DIY updates since moving in (on a super tight budget, I should add!),  I wish I had documented each one, but want to share with you our latest.

Our first problem and the reason it’s taken us so long to spruce up this stairway were the linoleum tiles covering each step. Having been built in the 60’s, there is an extreme probability that they contain that dreaded asbestos. New stair treads were really expensive, but so would having to jump through all the hoops of removing asbestos materials.

So I asked myself just HOW MUCH time, effort and expense do I want to give to this? They are, after all, basement stairs. The answer was a resounding….NOT MUCH!

Yep, it’s time to get creative. It was then that I had remembered having on hand a small roll of thin, adhesive maple veneer leftover from our kitchen cabinet makeover. As it turned out, it was just the thing to turn those ugly laminated stairs into a view much easier on the eyes. (more…)

Pizza Crust for the Absolute Beginner

pizza dough beginner cover 1Making my own pizza crust had been on my “to-do” list for years. Pizza night is a weekly event in our house, so learning to make it myself became a must, The thing stopping me? A major intimidation factor.

Before this, pizza night consisted of the good ole frozen variety pizza. Cheap and quick was the name of that game. After all, I was at work all day. Who has time to make pizza dough?

Even more so, I had never worked with yeast before, nor did I have a paddle mixer or bread machine.  Clearly this was an endeavor I had better leave well enough alone. Or so I thought. (more…)

Fish Tacos

Fish tacosNow here is something I can say with great confidence…..and it is this…..I sure do love me some tacos!

Bad grammar aside, it’s no mystery as to why the taco is so appealing to so many. And it is this one word……diversity.

Up until recently, I thought I had enjoyed them just about every way possible. Beef, chicken or pork. Sometimes shredded, other times cubed. Heck, even ground works. And the meat options are only the beginning to prove my point that tacos can be anything you’d like them to be.

So having enjoyed them in so many different ways, I admit it did give me pause when I first heard the term “FISH tacos”. Fish? Really?

Not being a big fan of the stuff, I can say I wasn’t exactly eager to dive into this one. Just seemed wrong, ya know? Kind of like when someone decided to dip bacon into chocolate. Everyone loves them both. But together?

Well, turns out the answer it a resounding YES! Scroll down and I’ll show you how I’ve been putting these together ever since by the request of by uber picky eating family.

A Quick Way to Fix Up Your Tom’s Shoes

toms shoe fix coverAs much as I love Tom’s shoes, I actually only own one pair. I’ve worn them for about two summers now. Actually, it’s more like I LIVED in those shoes during that time. I chose a solid gray pair and they go with pretty much E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. So that is why it was just a little bit of a heartbreak to notice that the toe of the shoe was starting to develop a frayed, nasty hole.

I didn’t do much about it at first, and now wish that I had. Now that another summer has arrived, I of course went to my closet to seek  out these lovelies only to find the hole was just simply too big, too obvious and too ugly to take me through another summer.

Of course I should just buy another pair. So what’s stopping me? Let’s see….swimming lessons, tennis lessons, summer day camps, pool passes and not to mention funds for our latest “staycation”. That’s right, I’m pinching pennies anywhere that I can. But I just can’t give up my Tom’s! (more…)

10 Amazing Summer Recipes from your Slow Cooker

summer slow cooker 2I don’t know about you, but when it’s summertime, my slow cooker rarely makes an appearance. I guess I’ve always associated crockpot meals with the  heavy stews and roasts that are so warm and comforting during our freezing Midwest winters. But as I’ve since discovered, that’s been a big mistake.

Don’t be like me and overlook the fabulously tasty family dinners that can come from your crockpot in steamy, summertime weather. Bonus….these dinners don’t heat up your kitchen, and you’re not standing over a hot, smoky grill either!

So let’s give that grill a rest. Check out this lineup of amazing dishes that can be cooked up on the hottest of summer days. Big payoff, little effort…..and super delish! (more…)

My experiment with unshrinking rayon

Unshrink rayon coverI don’t have much patience for laundry. The sorting, deciding what to tumble dry or line dry. Worse yet, lay flat to dry. Hot or cold and which wash cycle. Ughh. Just give me the ‘ole warm wash and tumble dry, please.

In my 10+ years as a parent, I’ve found that kids clothes were typically the easiest to care for. Mostly unfussy cotton blends that wash and dry without much fuss. But lately I’ve found kid’s clothes makers are throwing out some curve balls. And its name is rayon. Rayon? In kids clothes? Isn’t that the same cloth that in some cases you shouldn’t even get wet?

I’ve found out about the existence of rayon in kid’s clothes the hard way. While folding a load of my oldest daughter’s clothes, I came upon her favorite new shirt, which now looked like it would fit her perfectly, about 3 sizes ago!

Panicked, I of course went straight to “what did I do wrong?” and searched frantically for the care instructions tag. And there it was. Rayon. (more…)

Spring in the Midwest Outfit Inspiration

Even though I’m not technically a fashion blogger, I can’t resist having a little fun playing pretend! I recently started messing around with Polyvore to concoct a few outfits for inspirational purposes only. I say that because I’ve found that, apparently, I have expensive taste. The price tags on the items I choose tend to be way out of my league, but that doesn’t mean I can’t take part in the fun! (more…)

4 Essential Cookbooks for Absolute Beginners

beginners cookbooks coverWhen I was working full time, I was quite proud to say that I still managed to keep a regular meal plan.  But admittedly the main players on these menus were really, super basic fare (jarred spaghetti sauce & ground beef, anyone?). Now that I’m home more, I figured it was time to up my game a bit in the culinary department. But where to start?

To explain, I don’t have the same backstory that most good cooks have. Tales about generations of women gathering together in the kitchen, teaching the techniques of age old family recipes and showing their love through food. Nope, never happened.

My story goes more like this: Mom, who’s own mother didn’t revel in the task of cooking, making the effort to cook new & interesting recipes for a family of die hard, picky eaters. The list of meals my Dad would eat was quite short, along with his low tolerance for cheese or anything remotely “spicy”.  She cooked mostly to please his palate, and  us kids had to just go along with it. (more…)