Rhyme Time


This is one of those pins that I can’t go to the original site. I’d love to reference who thought up this idea because its brilliant!
It took me awhile to remember to get my paint swatches from work, but I finally managed it tonight!
You start by picking which ending you want to use. I did three separate ones, so I had
B, C, D, F, H, J, L with the ending -OG
B, H, J, L, N, S, T with the ending -AG
B, C, F, H, M, P, S with the ending -AT
The kids were amazed and fascinated. This is also a good activity for learning to read. Arthur’s teacher said to focus on rhymes over the summer, so here we go. Learning fun!

T-shirt Dress


I want to start by apologizing for the T-shirt in the photo. When going to do this pin, I realize there is only one XL shirt in the house, and it’s one of Tony’s work shirts.
This is super easy, but I’ve come to two conclusions. You either need to be a stick figure, like the girl in the original picture and/or you need to use bigger than a 2XL, possibly and big and tall shirt!
It’s really easy. The girl in the original photo did this over another dress, but I thought the original dress was pretty cute. You do need something to tuck into though, so I used a strapless bra. You put the shirt on, sliding your whole body through the neckline. Pull one of the sleeves up and over, tucking the whole opening of the sleeve into the neckline. The sides of the shirt will fold over, helping give the cute look along the front. Then you fold the other sleeve the same way, making sure the sleeves are tucked completely in.
Adjust as you see fit, then go about your business. I like the idea, and I think I will be hitting up a secondhand shop to pick up some really big shirts. I want to work on my upper body a little more first…..
Original picture directions can be found at https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/p480x480/935902_484059871671986_599528537_n.jpg

Dollar T-shirt


Have you ever pinned something, then gone to do it, only to realize there were no instructions at all, just a picture of the finished product? I’ve done that a few times, but luckily have been able to wing it. This one stumped me though, so I fell back on the ever reliable Wikipedia!
This I really similar to my T-shirt napkin I just posted about, but obviously this isn’t a square napkin, so it took some finagling!
Step one: fold your dollar bill like a pamphlet, as shown in image 1. Step 2: like with the napkin, flip it over and fold the top piece back. Step 3: flip your bill back over and fold your corners in until they touch. It should form your ‘collar’
Here’s where I started altering the Wiki directions a bit. Step 4: go to the bottom of your bill and fold as shown in image 4. Step 5: fold the bottom of your bill up about halfway to your ‘collar’. Step 6: fold up the rest of the way an tuck the end under the ‘collar’.
There you have your t-shirt dollar bill. Maybe get a small box and do up several of these as a gift. I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes I feel a little lazy just giving someone money. This is a way to dress it up a bit!
Happy folding!
For wiki directions visit http://m.wikihow.com/Make-a-Shirt-out-of-a-One-Dollar-Bill

Shrimp and Crab Étouffée


This was to die for! I could eat this all week! Even Tony was ready to shove his face into the pan and just scarf it down.
I’m not going to say its simple, but it’s not overly complicated. I did it, you can do it!
You start by melting a stick of butter (1/2 cup if you buy the tub) and then add 1 whole chopped onion, 1 chopped green onion, 2 stalks of diced up celery, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper. Cook until the veggies are soft. About this time the smells will start making your mouth water!
Add 2lbs of shrimp and cook until it turns pink. Add 1 1/2 cups of fish stock (I couldn’t find any so I ended up using seafood stock and it was delicious). Dissolve 2tbsp of cornstarch in additional 1/2 cup of fish stock (or seafood stock) then add to your pan. Bring it to a simmer and leave it simmering for about 20 minutes. Try to control your hunger, it will be worth it.
Add 1lb of lump crabmeat and cook 2-3 minutes. I failed to shred my crabmeat before adding it so I was left trying to shred it when it was in the pan. Learn from this, shred before adding!
The recipe said to garnish with scallions, but I ended up dicing my green onions (they’re interchangeable) and adding them to the dish.
Serve it over rice and garnish with a little parsley. It tastes very mild, and it is so delicious!
This is definitely going into the recipe basket!
Original recipe can be found at http://www.strackandvantil.com/Recipes/RecipeFull.aspx?RecipeID=55432&QuickSearch=72&PageNumber=2&Source=search

Vesta Pizzaria


This was a last summer trip, but I was browsing some pins on Pinterest and I found this one. I thought to myself, I’ve been there! So it’s time for my first restaurant review! Hooray!
I need to start this pin by saying I am an enormous Nora Roberts fan. If its written by her, either under her name or J.D.Robb, I’ve read it, most likely, multiple times. It drives Tony nuts that I own books of hers that I have read 5-6 times. For those of you who are already Nora fans, you know she wrote an entire trilogy about Inn BoonsBoro. From their we fan out to Turn The Page bookstore and right along the line to Vesta Pizzaria. Of course in the books, she changed names, made up characters and so on.
In reality, her husband owns Turn The Page, she herself owns the Inn BoonsBoro and her son owns Vesta.
Last summer Tony’s cousin got married in Maryland. One of my first thoughts was that BoonsBoro, MD is only a half hour out of the way. Oh we are so going!
Tony agreed after my 30 second statement. I immediately launched into planning mode! I knew I wanted to see it all! Of course we went to the bookstore! I didn’t want to go into the inn because we weren’t staying, I wish I had now! We also had lunch at Vesta.
It’s a very small town vibe. In no way is it a big corporate chain. Relaxed and super family friendly environment. Don’t let the basic environment fool you!
The food was amazing!! Tony was just indulging me, but after his first bite, his first words were ‘Ok, good idea!’
I immediately felt smug because I love being right!
You have the front room where you can either place your order or sit and be social. Then there is a short hallway, leading to the back room, where there is more seating and some arcade games.
I feel the biggest pull for this place is the food! We just ordered a large and loaded pizza. It was so great! We forced ourselves to stop eating, mainly so we would have leftovers for the drive.
The scenery is beautiful, the roads are windy, it is a perfect place to go to relax and enjoy a slower pace. I give this restaurant 2 super yummy thumbs up. That sounds a little cannibalistic, so never mind! It’s still really good! Go eat!
Original pin and restaurant website is at http://www.vestapizza.com

T-shirt Napkin


For the record, I did attempt this with my pilfered Olive Garden napkin. I found the material to be a little thick for this one to work. I ended up using a paper towel, which as shown in the picture, allows for personalizing! Lol
To start with, take your square napkin, or paper towel, and fold the corners in to the center. I don’t know how clearly you can see in this image, but you do want the new corners to be sharp, if you overlap a bit, it’s ok! Then you fold the the sides in to the center, as shown in the second picture.
You don’t have to turn it over to complete step 3, this was merely to show you the step. You take approximately the top inch and fold it under. Step 4 gave me some issues and I felt really stupid when Tony got it right away. You simply take the top corners and fold them inward until they meet.
Now we move onto the bottom part. Take the folded in pieces and fold them back out as shown in 5.
Final step is to fold your bottom part over until it tucks under the ‘collar’. Then you can personalize or simply place on a plate.
If it doesn’t seem to want to stay in place, tuck the bottom more firmly under the ‘collar’ and press down firmly. Now you have another fun idea for a party! Kids parties would be super appropriate for the paper towel version of this!
Original site with step-by-step directions, with an actual napkin can be found at http://www.duitang.com/people/mblog/12951353/detail/

Disney Photo Memories


This was something I actually pinned after our most recent Disney trips. I was really excited about it because I realized that this Brittany Smith must be a picture freak, just like me!
I’ve actually been to Disney World in Florida 3 times in my life. The first, my Nana and Papa took my brother and I when I was 7 years old. I have a few specific memories, but the big one is just the wonder of it all!
The second and third time, my dad had an army conference in Orlando, so my parents took my family and I to the parks.
The second and third trips, obviously I was an adult, and my picture obsession had completely set in. I took almost 1,400 pictures in 10 days. I don’t regret a single shot either, because those are moments that will never be quite the same again.
I went through this amazing list compiled by this blogger, and selected my favorite choices.
#4: The Gates of Walt Disney World. This shot can be a little tricky to get. They have big signs saying DO NOT STOP! You may in fact notice little smudges, they’re bug splatter through the windshield. I can understand them not wanting you to stop. It would take twice as long to get in the park otherwise!
#15: Get as close to Cinderella’s Castle as you can. Look up! Snap that shot! It’s absolutely mind boggling how many angles you can take of one location! I have at least 12 shots of different views of the castle, maybe double that of Hogwarts over at Universal! This is one of my favorite angles, probably second favorite after the full shot. It’s an amazing angle, that honestly, not a lot of people will think of.
#17: In motion. Riding the Tea Cups. This is one of the rides I remember riding as a child. Arthur actually rode this twice. Once with my parents, then he rode with us. After we got off, my mom told Tony she would never ride with him. We were spinning like a top!
#18: In the air, on Dumbo. This is a ride I distinctly remember NOT riding. This was closed for repair when I went as a kid. I made a point to ride this with Arthur. Not the most exciting, not the biggest thrill, but it is a landmark ride, and Arthur really enjoyed it.
#25: If you spot Cap’n Jack, snap his picture! We rode Pirates of the Caribbean A LOT!! At least 8 times over the course of the week. There are in fact 3 Jack Sparrows on the ride, and I snuck a picture of all of them. This one is my favorite!
#28: Any shots of the parade are great. I have a great many pictures of a great many parades. Main Street Electrical Parade is fantastic, they all are, but the effects on this one are ASTOUNDING!
#32: This one listed several highlights on the Epcot world showcase. We saw them all. I fell in love with the Eiffel Tower, so of course I chose the pic of that one!
#36: in Animal Kingdom, make sure to take a picture with Everest in the background. I took several shots, with selected backgrounds, of Tony and I. I’m quite good at selfies. I enjoyed how the one of Everest turned out.
#41: Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, don’t miss the ‘Singin In The Rain’ Umbrella. We found this one by chance while wandering. We took shots of all of us. We also made sure to take these on the return trip!
Remember, if / when you go to Disney, it’s not about working your way through the list. All I’m suggesting is that you read it through and try to remember. You don’t want to spend your vacation focused only on your list and your camera. Memories are important, but you want to experience your family time, not just record it!
Original pin and complete list can be found at http://3qtguys.blogspot.com/2013/01/50-must-take-disney-photos.html?m=1

Doggy High Five


This is my Zuko. You may have seen him before in my pin about Sallie the Civil War Dog, check it out at https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/sallie-the-civil-war-dog/ an we got him back in February. He’s around 9 months old, and more than a little high strung. We’re working on a few tricks and he is doing pretty well with the basics. Sit, lay down and stay when he feels like it!
I found this pin a few weeks after we brought him home from the rescue and I thought, what the heck?!
The trick with this is to start with the basics. You teach your dog to sit. Easiest way with this is to have a treat in your hand and slowly run your hand along the top of his head and his butt will naturally go down. Repetition is key, as with any trick. Always say ‘sit’ in a firm voice and gradually try with just the word. Zuko has finally gotten to the point that he’ll sit with a hand signal!
Then you move on to ‘shake’. This is accomplished once he’s mastered sit. Once your dog is sitting, pick up his paw and say ‘shake’. After more repetition, try just holding your hand out and say ‘shake’.
Once your dog has mastered this, you can move on to ‘high five’.
When your dog gets comfortable enough with shake, say ‘high five’ and hold out your hand. This may confuse your dog a bit, but when your dog raises his paw, change your hand position and give him a high five. Remember to reward right away once you complete the trick.
It will take practice, but it’s really rewarding having a dog that can ‘high five’. Also remember, any interactions with your dog help build trust, and lets face it, it’s fun!
Original pin containing other tricks can be found at http://petsitterpatrol.com/2012/04/30/10-easy-dog-tricks/#.UAIFwT-1wbM.pinterest

Animal Babies


Ok, who doesn’t love animal babies?! If you don’t think they’re adorable, I’m fairly certain something must be broke inside you! I don’t go crazy posting their pictures on my Facebook wall or anything, but I love these moments!
Some of you might remember that we bought a zoo membership last month to our very own Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. It’s been amazing having the membership! The animals are always doing something different and I always manage to see something new.
I’m focusing on this one tonight because I have an extra baby in the house tonight and he made me think of the cute baby animals I have posted on my ‘interesting’ board.
These are Reed Titis, native to South America. The baby, chilling on its mama’s back was born on March 29. This was my first time seeing him, and he was precious! He was on her back for a while, sat on the branch for a while, just looking around. Then, oh no! He fell into the leaves of one of the plants below. Both the parents went ballistic! Jumping to his rescue and everything. Afterwards the mom put him on her back again. Almost like strapping him into a stroller.
The kids really enjoyed it and so did we. Never underestimate the happy power of baby animals! I would post the original link, but it transfers you to a really bizarre Asian page. Feel free to check out the pin though! Follow me on Pinterest: Stephanie DeSantis

Infinity Braid


This has been on my Hairstyles & Makeup board for a little while now. Obviously my hair is too short for this now, and I honestly don’t know if I could manage to do this to myself anyway!
I don’t know if you can tell by the pictures, but I ended up using Chiara’s Rapunzel doll.
You start by taking two pieces from each side of the head. The piece in your left hand, curl into a loop. The right hand needs to be pulled under the loop, as demonstrated in picture 1.
The second step is to take your right piece an twist it over the bottom piece of the loop, as shown in picture 2. Continue twisting that same piece until it curls under the pulled back piece on the left side. See picture 3. The directions sound complicated, even to me, but the pictures should really help! Remember how you pulled the left piece under the loop? Tug that piece, ever so slightly up through the loop. Just a little, as shown in picture 4. Feed your top piece under that pulled up piece and tug it down. It’ll look something like picture 5. Adjust your knot to suit yourself, hopefully it’ll end up looking like it did in final number 6!
I found the overall process was made easier by twisting the pieces. It makes them a little easier to maneuver.
I thought this would be difficult, and I’m not going to lie, I’m glad I had a doll to attempt this on. Chiara would never have sat still for this one, and I tried bribing her with cookies! Let me know how your attempts turn out.
To see this style on human hair, check out http://web.stagram.com/p/391864081600562324_17025592
Check out some other hairstyle ideas on my board. Follow Stephanie DeSantis on Pinterest