Baby in a Truck

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I recently found this pin and was reminded of this picture I took of Chiara when she was only a few weeks old. When Arthur was born he was an absolute brute. He was 9lbs 10 1/4 oz. See? Brute! Chiara, on the other hand, was a petite 7lbs 1oz.
She was so tiny! Everyone kept telling us, oh you just forgot how small Arthur used to be. Then I got to inform them that Arthur was never that small!
Arthur has been collecting toys since he was born. First grandchild on my side and first grandson on Tony’s side. It was bound to happen! When he got this truck, I think Tony was just as excited with it. They don’t make a lot of metal toys anymore so this was a nice toy. He still has it and it is holding up great!
We were sitting around, watching tv one night, and Tony just got up and laid Chiara, blanket and all, in the truck. I had the initial OMG reaction. She didn’t even wake up. Arthur was fascinated and he just started scooting her back and forth. He has always been very sweet with her.
I know my shot isn’t as posed and ‘cute’ as the original pin, but mine was a quirk. We still find this to be a cute photo today, even though Chiara is now 3 and scoots herself around on this truck.
I think the most important thing to remember about pictures of kids, take a lot. This is the digital age and if the pictures are crap, you can delete them. Sometimes bad pictures are worth keeping too. I have pictures of my kids in complete meltdown mode, and they are funny to look at now.
Enjoy your camera time!
Original pin and picture can be found at http://www.inky-dinky-do.com/tonka-trucking-along-bakersfield-ca-newborn-photographer/

Write your name in Elvish

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This one is pretty self explanatory, but I was really hapoy with the way it turned out.
I’ve always been fascinated by Elvish writing. J.R.R. Tolkien created an amazing world, full of amazing cultures. The details are amazing. I love the fact that he created a complete language for the Elves. There is actually a class in an English college that teaches it. How amazing would that be?
The writing is beautiful too. I’ve been toying with the idea of an Elvish tattoo for awhile, just haven’t gotten there yet. Then I stumbled across this pin that teaches you the very basics of writing in Elvish.
Obviously there will be exceptions to these basic rules, but the basic steps are as follows. It will make everything easier if you print your name to start. You guys know me as Stevie, which is short for Stephanie, but Stephanie just turned out better.
The consonants remain as is. When you get to a vowel, the vowel will move up and to the left, so it ends up above the previous letter. Special rules are explained on the original site. For instance, you’ll notice the silent ‘e’ at the end of my name ends up below the ‘n’ while the ‘I’ goes above.
There are special letter combinations, that may exist in your name, and they have their own symbols. Definitely check out the full site for more detailed rules and the full alphabet. I know I’ll be going back to do my kids’ names at the very least!
Original pin and full alphabet can be found at http://www.starchamber.com/paracelsus/elvish/elvish-in-ten-minutes.html

Hocking Hills, Ohio

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I like to add side trips on road trips. It occasionally drives my husband insane, but he usually goes along with it. Yesterday we took our kids to West Virginia, the half way point between my parents and I. Mom and dad wanted to take the kids for a week before bringing them back next weekend. It gives Tony and I chance for some quality time and the kids love spending time with Nana & Papa.
I’ve had this pin for awhile but we haven’t had the chance to get there yet. It’s only a little over two hours away from us, just south of Columbus, yet we couldn’t find the time. It added not quite an hour to our drive, but it was worth it to check this place out to make sure it was good for the kids. We brought the dogs for our drive and they loved it too.
We got there later than I had wanted to, but that usually happens when I spend time with my mom. It was around 7:30 when we got there and there were signs telling us the park closes at dark, unless of course you were using one of the campgrounds or cabins. So we parked at the Cedar Falls parking lot and made our way down the pathway to the falls themselves.
It was a quad burning path, and I definitely felt the burn this morning. They have stairs going down then you wind on through the woods. The whole vibe is very much the land that time forgot. Have you seen the Hunger Games? It reminded Tony of the arena, so of course when he mentioned that u started whistling like Katniss. It was a great moment because all of the rocks were bouncing the sound back at us.
Cedar Falls was beautiful. The picture shows how it splits and comes back. You can walk in the water and get right up under the falls. I waded in a little bit with Zuko, but as we didn’t have a change of clothes or towels, we didn’t want to get too wet.
When we left the falls, we had a little time left, so we started making our way to the Old Man’s Cave. It was a 2 mile hike, and I stress hike, so we didn’t manage to make it all the way there. We did see Ash Cave along the way.
All of these hikes are not for the faint. They do have wooden markers, so you know you haven’t gone off course, but the term path is being used lightly. I ended up going barefoot, note the picture on the left, because flip-flops did not work on our path.
The dogs did really well. Juliet was a little hesitant, but she is 11 years old, and she did much better on the trip back to the van. Zuko was ready to continue on, as a puppy, he has no fear. Tony and I decided we will definitely come back. We’ll either wait for the kids to get a little older, I don’t want to carry Chiara over those paths, or we’ll spend a weekend there, just the two of us. I’ve never been camping, aside from the backyard, and I think this would be alot of fun!
I’d definitely recommend this as a point of interest if you’re passing through the Columbus area. Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes and have plenty of time to wander. I can’t wait to go back and see the Old Man’s Cave and the Rock Bridge.
Original pin can be found at http://www.hockinghills.com/parks.html and it is also the official site.
Follow me on Pinterest: Stephanie DeSantis

Oven Roasted Goodness

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This was simple and yummy. My two favorite descriptors! This really struck me as just another way to do up Italian sausage, and we love that in this house.
For this recipe you need 1 package of sausage (recipe says anykind: breakfast sausage, Italian sausage or whatever), 4-5 decent sized potatoes, 1 small jar of banana peppers, 1-2 sliced bell peppers, 1 large onion, 3 tbsp olive oil, salt&pepper and rosemary is optional.
You slice up your sausage, or if you use Italian sausage like I did, ‘unskin’ it into a bowl. Throw in your cut up onion, sliced bell peppers and diced up potatoes. Drizzle your olive oil over your food and make sure it’s fully coated. Add your salt & pepper and rosemary if you choose. Make sure it’s all good and mixed together.
Layer it on your foil covered baking sheet and garnish it with banana peppers. Place your tray in the oven at 400* for 30-35 minutes.
We decided we won’t add rosemary next time. Also, keep an eye on your meat. As soon as your meat is cooked through and potatoes are nice and tender, you are good to go.
A nice addition to this is a little Frank’s Red Hot. Then again, we put that sh*t on everything. Sorry, couldn’t resist!
This dish will make an excellent meal on it’s own or a great party snack. Happy eating!
Original pin can be found at http://lilasapron.com/2011/10/07/oven-roasted-sausages-potatoes-and-peppers/

Tuna Salad Sandwich

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I’m a big tuna fan. Sadly, I am the only one in the house who likes it. No big deal, since I can make up a can, refrigerate it and nibble on it a little each day. I found this recipe this week and new I would try this immediately.
So here I am, my first day off since finding it, and lunch time rolls around….
You take 2 cans of tuna in water, 1 medium stalk of celery chopped, 1 small onion (I used half if a regular onion), 1/2 cup mayo, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and mix it all togetger. Slather some on your bread and enjoy.
I had 2 sandwiches for lunch and another 2 for my late night snack. They are delicious. I think I’ll be making this up again next weekend when my mom is in town. She is another fan of tuna salad sandwiches.
It doesn’t get much easier than these kind of recipes. Take all the ingredients, stir, eat. Too bad I didn’t find this earlier in the summer. This is a great idea for a picnic!
Original pin is at http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/tuna-salad-sandwiches/1516cf19-d7c2-44ea-8698-5e9f3c5aed4d
Find me on Pinterest at Stephanie DeSantis

Hair Bow

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This one was a little goofy. I think with more time to play I could’ve gotten it a little better, but time with Emily was short. I took merciless advantage of her hair while she was here!
This is pretty simple, although you will want to play around to get it just the way you want it. You start with a high ponytail. You want it at least on the crown of your head, if not a little higher. The last time you pull your hair through, leave the ends caught in the front, about an inch of leeway.
You take your poof of hair and divide it in half, these will be the two sides of your bow. Then you take your leeway hair in the front and wrap it over so that it holds the division between your bow sides. Use bobby pins to hold it in place. I ended up having a little extra leeway so I wrapped it to cover the hairtie as well.
As I said, it turned out pretty cute, but I’m looking forward to attempting this one again.
Style on and let me know how it turns out!
Original pin and directions at http://longhairstyleshowto.com/bow-bun-tut/

French Braid Bun

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This was an elegant hairstyle that I couldn’t wait to try. Unfortunately I haven’t had hair long enough for this in a long time. Chiara’s hair has enough length for this one, but she doesn’t have the thickness to pull it off. But lo and behold, Erin came to town and along came Emily. Emily has gorgeous, thick, long hair. Perfect!
I had fun playing with her hair in general and ended up trying out two pins on her hair.
This one was really easy. If you can french braid, you can do this. Start to the right of the part and braid the hair at a slight angle across the back of the head. Once all the hair is included, continue braiding as far as you can then put in a hair-tie. Roll up the hair, curling up the left side of the braid, then use bobby pins to hold it in place.
Et voilà! You have a simple, yet elegant hairstyle that you could wear to class or out on a nice date. Happy styling!
Original pin can be found at http://www.oncewed.com/diy/waterfall-braid-bun-hair-tutorial/

Footprint Butterflies

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Today I bring to you my very first guest blog, from my very dear friend Jenna Salamon. Check out her blog about life with her family at http://salamonsalamanders.wordpress.com

Foot Print Butterflies: I found this idea on Pinterest a while back so I decided to make this with the kids for Mother’s Day.  Of course I put my own spin on it and I think it turned out fabulous!!  I made mine on an 8 ½ x 11 canvas but you can make it on anything.  
Here is what you will need: 
CanvasPaint (I used kid friendly Crayola paints that I found at Wal-Mart) 
Paint brush
Old Socks
A wet rag (to wipe off the feet after) 
Two Pipe cleaners
Hot glue gun
Start by lightly coating the right foot with paint.  Press the foot in desired location on the canvas.  Wash the foot with rag and then place in old sock.  Then lightly coat the left foot with paint and press on the opposite side of the footprint you already have down so you can make a butterfly.  Then wash with the old rag and put in the old sock.  This project went really smooth considering my children are 6 and 16mths old.  We didn’t get too messy! (THANK GOD) Let the butterflies dry overnight. 
When completely dry twist pipe cleaners to make the body and antenna of butterflies.  Glue in the middle with hot glue gun.  Then by each butterfly mark each child’s name with a black sharpie marker and age.Enjoy!!
Original pin can be found here:  http://pinterest.com/pin/106538347406578426/

Paint Chip Calendar

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This is one I’ve had pinned for awhile and just never got around to doing. Today I was at work, contemplating what to blog about today and I decided I was going to make a more permanent food calendar. For about a year now, we’ve been doing a monthly food calendar and plotting our grocery list for the whole month. We’ve been doing really good and it helps us not to fall into the monotony of the same thing every week.
I’m about to celebrate 10 years with Walmart and they gave me this nifty little pin and a pretty award type thing in a frame. The award will go in a file and I will use the frame for this pin. The next trick was remembering to bring home the paint samples. I forced myself to get them today and then this pin was a piece of cake. I cut the top 2 colors off of each Colorplace sample and lined them along the 8.5×11 frame so they were even. They are small boxes, but I loved the way it turned out.
Then you just need a dry erase marker and a starting date for your calendar.
Next memo to self: get a more fine tipped dry erase marker!
This would be great for a family calendar, doctor appointments, soccor games or dinner plans. Pick your colors, pick your frame and have fun.
Original pin can be seen at http://chicisms.com/crafty-chic-paint-sample-calendar/
Follow me on pinterest at Stephanie DeSantis

Jerk Chicken Nachos

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This is not from Pinterest, but it was such a yummy treat that I had to share it. My cousin Erin made these up for lunch lunch today and they were divine!

6 cups tortilla chips
3 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend
2 tablespoons Jamaican Jerk Rub (carribbean jerk works just as well) divided 1 small yellow or red bell pepper or combination
1 lime
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
¼ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon additional Jamaican Jerk Rub (optional)  
1.  Preheat oven to 425 F.  Arrange tortilla chips in a slightly overlapping layer on Large Round Stone
2. In large bowl, combine chicken, cheese and tablespoon of jerk run; mix gently using scraper.  Sprinkle chicken mixture evenly over tortilla chips.  Bake 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted; remove from oven to cooking rack. 3. Meanwhile, dice bell pepper with knife.  Cut lime in half crosswise.  Juice half of lime in to small bowl; add remaining jerk run add bell pepper and mix well.
4. Snip cilantro using kitchen shears.  Slice remaining lime half in to slices, then cut in half.
5. Spoon bell pepper mixture over nachos; sprinkle evenly with cilantro.  If desired, combine sour cream and additional jerk rub in resealable plastic bag; trim corner to allow sour cream to flow through.  Pipe sour cream mixture over nachos.  Garnish with lime slices.

They were heavier than I’m used to for lunch, but I couldn’t stop eating them and I’m glad we have leftovers, even if Erin said they will get soggy! So try and enjoy!