Random Ramblings: 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Today I thought I would share a little about how I match up my coupons with the weekly store sales.

Our grocery store ads come in the mail on Tuesdays.  So usually on Tuesday evenings I sit down with the paper and go through it. I circle the things that are good prices and also things that I know I have coupons for. 
Then I take out my paper and start writing it all down. 
I list the item and the sale price. 
Then if the item has a coupon to go along with the sale price I write that item down, then list what the value of the coupon is and then what price I would be paying after the reduction of the coupon. 
For example :

Let say it was for Hormel Chili...

* Hormel Chili $1.59
-.55/1 = $1.04each

If it is a coupon for buying 2 items I would write it like this

* Hormel Chili $1.59 x2 = $3.18
-.55/2 =  $2.63  ($1.32ea )

This helps me keep a rough total in my mind to know what I am going to be spending on each item and if it is a great price then I will stock up and use all of the coupons in my binder.  If it is an ok price, but I know the coupon doesn't expire for some time I will just decide at the store how many I am gong to get. 

The local grocery stores near me are closing one by one it seems.  They just closed Albertsons and last year they closed the Ralphs close to me. 

My main grocery store is Winco, which doesn't have an ad that comes each week in the mail but I shop there so much that I know a lot of the prices just off the top of my head.  And since I go so often I just take my binder with me each time I shop and as I see good deals I just grab them, or go back for them. 
I also shop a lot at Food 4 Less and Stater Brothers. I sometimes shop at Vons, but they are across town so the deal has to really be worth it for me to drive all the way over there.  :)

I have only shopped once or twice with my coupons at the Dollar Tree too. 

I am still so far behind on my coupon cutting, it isn't even funny how behind I am. 
But I will get organized again and be ready for a new start at the beginning of the year for some more coupon saving. 
I have a grand plan for 2013 to keep track of every penny I save with coupons and see how much we save over an entire year.  I can't wait to see the total in December 2013.  Want to play along too?  I think it would be a fun challenge for all of us to see what we can save over an entire year.  No penny saved is too small. 
~N I C O L E 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

{ MANTOOTH 365 } APRIL 2012 - PART 1

I am so far behind on sharing my mantooth365 photos... but what else is new, right.  So I thought I wouldn't overwhelm the situation here, and only share the first half of the month of April to start with.  That is where I left off, and I swear I am going to get caught up, and stay caught up for good this time.  (really hopeful here). 

So here you go...
{MANTOOTH365} APRIL 2012 ... part 1

Jacob fixing the clog in the sink once again. I don't know how many times I have plugged it. But he is always so great and fixes it right away. ♥ you babe for not getting mad and fixing it.

This is one of the kids favorite things to do. They turn on the hose in the backyard and get all muddy. It makes a mess and I have so much laundry to do after, but they sure have a good time, which makes it all worth it.

Poppys that all of the sudden popped up in our front yard. Caleb keeps picking them but they are still hanging in there.

Caleb painting. He was haivng a good time just painting the entire paper black.

Chili Rejenollos for dinner tonight. Ive only made them a few times since they take so much work to make. I don't care for them, but I like making them for Jacob since he really likes them.

Dying Easter eggs tonight. The colors were not turning out very bright except for the pink one.
Easter Day.
Today we are camping in Silverwood. This is all the older teenage cousins, and Brandon's girlfriend. It is rare that all the older cousins are together in the same place at the same time. So I made them get together for a picture

Camping still. While the guys went fishing out on the boat we took the kids down to the water. They had been dying to go but man that water was so cold. They had fun for time we stayed down there.

Last day camping. It was so much fun to get away for a few days. Mom and Don let us use their trailer so it was nice to have that to sleep in and get out during the day

Jacob's work at night. Where he spends most of his time. We can see this bright lit up tower from home.

Since grandma had bought Caleb a tomatoe plant she also bought little Jacob a plant. She got him an orange bell pepper plant. He loves taking care of his own plant too. We need to get him a planter just like Calebs to put his in now too
Happy 16th Birthday Marcus. I made pizza and hot wings for dinner tonight. Marcus girlfriend Megan stayed for dinner too

Chloe loves to have her pretties painted. So today mommy and Chloe have matching pretties.

Yummy pancakes with sugar free syrup for breakfast

~ N I C O L E


 I am so sorry for the delay in posting the winner of the FREE 8x10 canvas print. 
There were only 3 entries, so I plugged the numbers into random number generator and the winner is comment number 1. 
Congratulations Valerie Lynn Moreno
Done, done and DONE! I would love a canvas print of our family Christmas photo, so then every Christmas I have a perfect decoration for my home that shows our love and joy together :)

Valerie give me your email so that I can give you the information for ordering your free canvas. 

Thank you printcopia for the opportunity to give away this canvas print. I know that Valerie will be just as pleased as I am with mine. 

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I am off to clean up around the house and fold some laundry. I have to make a trip to Hobby Lobby to pick up some new paint for the sweatshirts I am working on for Christmas. 

~ N I C O L E

Thursday, November 22, 2012


today I am THANKFUL for :
so much! I am thankful for my life. I have an amazing husband and wonderful kids, all of which are my entire life.
I have wonderful extended family that I love with all my heart. Who are there to support us through thick and thin. We may fight from time to time, but in the end we are always there for each oth

 We have wonderful friends, that even though we don't get to spend nearly enough time with all of them, we value their friendships.
I have an amazing job that I love so much (next to being a wife and mom). I love that I can capture moments in peoples lives for them and save them as photographs. It is amazing to be able to do what you love.
I truly have an amazing life.. I am not rich, but I am surrounded by love and amazing people and that is more than I could ever ask for.
All of these things, and people have made me who I am today.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING to each and everyone in my life.
I hope everyone is very blessed today and spends time with those they love.  Enjoy some great food and relaxation. 
I just put in our Cinnamon Roll French Toast , and then when it is done I am going to my hubby an omelet (he isn't a French toast kind of guy). 
Then we are going to go by my moms for lunch.  We are having turkey sandwiches over there with her turkey. 
Then we are going to my in laws house for turkey dinner. 
It should be a good day. 
~ N I C O L E


I cannot believe that as I sit here and write this, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
Well if you really want to get technical, today is already Thanksgiving since it is 12:01am already. 

 That is just crazy to me.  Where in the heck did this year go already?  But I am ready for the year to be over and have a fresh new start to the new year.  This year hasn't been too horrible, but we have had a lot going on and it will be nice to have an end to some of them and have a new year to start fresh with. 

                                                     Over the summer Jacob's brother and his girlfriend came over and they made dinner at our house.  Trey (his girlfriend) made some twice baked potatoes.  I had never had them before and now I am hooked on them.  So I thought it would be fun to share the recipe with you.
They are super easy and you only need a few ingredients to make them.
sour cream
shredded cheese

First bake your potatoes in the oven just like if you were having them for regular baked potatoes. 
While the potatoes are in cooking, cook the the bacon. 
Take the raw bacon and cut it into little pieces.  Then cook it in a pan until it is crispy.  Put the cooked bacon on a paper towel to drain until you are ready to use it. 
When they are done, unwrap them from the foil and let them cool for a bit. Be careful because they will be very hot. 
Cut them in half. 
Scoop out the potatoe and try not to rip the skin.  Leave enough in there so that they can stay together.  They will be like little potatoe bowls. 
All the potatoes that you scooped out, put into a bowl. 
Add some butter .  The potatotes should be hot enough still that the butter will melt. The amount is just to your preference. 
Add some sour cream.  This really just depends on the amount of potatoes that you used.  I just added some and then mixed it all together. You want a creamy like texture, but not runny and not dry either. 
Add a few sprinkles of the shredded cheese to the mix too. 
Add a little salt too if you want. 
Mix well. 

Now take the creamy mixture and refill the potatoe bowls. Fill them pretty full. You will have plenty of mixture. 
Top with a little more shredded cheese.
Then sprinkle on the crumbled bacon.
Put them back in the oven and let them cook for a few minutes.  Long enough to melt the cheese on top.

Then enjoy. 
Let me tell you they are SO good! 
I am so glad Trey showed me how to make these. I think I might have to make them again soon just writing about them is making me really want some.  
You can add onions on top too, but we don't like onions in this house like that so we left those out of this recipe. 
You could add some dry ranch seasoning to the mix too, and that would probably be real good too.  We like to dip ours in ranch sometimes too, which is really yummy as well. 
Let me know if you try either of these recipes. 
I tell you , you won't be disappointed in either one. 

Tonight I prepped Cinnamon Roll French Toast Bake for our Thanksgiving breakfast. I made it last year and the kids loved it, so I want to make it our traditional Thanksgiving Day breakfast.  I have  Christmas morning breakfast, so why not have a Thanksgiving Day breakfast too.  

It is a recipe I found on none other than pinterest.  If you want to try it you can find the recipe HERE on my blog from last year. 

~ N I C O L E

Saturday, November 17, 2012


This summer I saw this fun idea on pinterest and knew that it was something me and the kids just had to do.
I went to Target and found the roll of Kraft paper.  It was in the envelope mailing aisle. 
It was less than $5.00.
I brought it home and unrolled a bit and made each kid lay down on it one at a time, with their arms out... like a hug. 
I used a different color marker for each one of them and just traced their upper half of their body. 
After they got up, I just cut off the paper from the roll and moved on to the next child.  I actually repeated with the same child 3 times before moving on to the next child.  I had plans of mailing hugs to 3 different family members. 
So after they were all done I cut them all out.  I colored in their hair with the same colored marker and I was going to have them color on their clothes, but we just ran out of time and I wanted to get them mailed. 
I included a poem with each one and had the kids sign them in their own writing too.  So it was that much more personalized. 
Then I grabbed one of each child and folded them up together and put them into a large mailing envelope and addressed them to their destinations. 

I mailed them to my neice Lily, who may only be 6 months old, but we miss her and they kids miss not being able to see their new baby cousin, hardly ever.  To my grandparents who live about an hour away and we wish we could visit more often than we ever get to. My aunt lives there too, so it was also for her as well.  Then to my other Aunt that we don't get to see often enough either. 
I was so excited because I knew that they were all going to be so excited to receive these in the mail, and knew my grandma would most likely cry lol. 
They got them later that week, and they all in deed did love them. 
If you want to really surprise someone far away, mail them a hug.  All the people that received them told me how much it meant to me that I took the time to send them a little something fun in the mail. 
Have you ever mailed a hug to anyone?  I think mailing kisses on Valentine's Day would be so much fun to.  Have the kids put on chapstick and kiss red paper and cut them out... 

You should try to send some love in the mail, it is really fun. 
~ N I C O L E

Friday, November 16, 2012


Thursday I was having a not so wonderful, stressful kind of day. 
Then right after I got home, the UPS man showed up with this beauty! It came so fast!  YAY!
I have wanted a canvas print for SOOO long. 
Just recently I received an email from a company called PRINTCOPIA . They offered me an 8x10 canvas to try out their company.  I was SO EXCITED! 
I had just gotten the little 3 their matching picture outfits so I knew I had to find the older boys theirs so I could take this picture for my new print.  I didn't want an old one , it had to be a new updated picture. 
So that weekend I had the clothes ready, the kids got hair cuts and off we went to the spot I had been wanting to try forever for pictures. 
I went home and started editing them so that I could order my canvas print asap. 

I got it ordered and then I just waited, but not long at all.  Thursday it was here!

It looks amazing.  It is beautiful! The texture is great and the coloring is just right. 

You can order the thickness of the canvas at either the standard .75" or 1.5" for an additional charge. I got the .75" one.

I have moved it all around the house, because I just can't decide where I want it to be. I want to make sure everyone that ever comes over can see it.  For now it sits on the black shelf above the couch in the living room. 
Now what I haven't told you yet...............is the most exciting part of writing this blog post. 
With this canvas print I got, I also get to give one away to one lucky reader.  Yes you can have a beautiful canvas print too!!  Then you can enjoy one just as much as me.  (Trust me you will LOVE it too).


Here are the rules for entering.
1. You must become a follower of this blog.  Just go to the right sidebar of this blog, scroll until you see where is says followers and click where it says Join this site. 
2.  You must like my Facebook photography page.  You can find it here at Nicole Mantooth Photography.  Leave me a comment on my wall so I know you visited and liked my page.   
3.  Visit PRINTCOPIA on facebook HERE and like their page. 
4.  Then come back here and leave a comment.  In your comment let me know you did all 3 of the above things, and tell me what you would do with your free 8x10 canvas and what your picture would be of. 
5.  Entries must be received by Wednesday November 21, 2012 at 11:59pm pacific standard time. 
6.  The winner will be announced on Friday November 23, 2012
7.  Contest is open  only  to the continental United States.
Good luck! 

edited to add :
I forgot to mention that the sister companies of printcopia also have some super cool products.  You can get car magnets at HERE  and vinyl banners HERE and also lawn signs HERE . I haven't tried out any of these companies, but I wanted to share the links so you can check them out too.
~ N I C O L E 

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Look I am actually posting a real project.  Yes a real project, can you believe it. Me either! :)
Life has been so busy that I only have half finished or not even started projects all around the house.  So finally I was able to finish this fun and super fast project the other day. 
It all started with a gift that is coming for our family for Christmas. My mom bought us all Disneyland tickets as our Christmas gifts (thank goodness none of my kids read my blog.  ;) )
So my mom and I had been talking about it and we wanted to make some kind of unique shirts for all of us that match.  So my brain had so many ideas I didn't even know where to start.
I couldn't use my silhouette for anything, since I don't have my SD anymore and waiting to purchase the Cameo.  So that was out.... so I needed something that I could do by hand and wouldn't take 6 months to actually get done, since I needed to make 8 adult ones and 4 kid ones. 
So after many ideas I finally came up with this one and I have to say I LOVE it so much. 
First I found a Mickey Mouse head picture online, saved it to my computer and printed it out in a small enough size. I then cut it out and traced it onto the back of some contact paper. 

Then I cut it out and peeled off just like you would a sticker.  Then I placed it right where I wanted it on the shirt. I pressed it down really hard so the edges would not lift up .

I found this paint at Walmart.  It runs around $5.00 and some change for this sized bottle.  It is made for screen printers.  Well I thought this would be perfect - the exact look of paint I wanted but didn't want to use a screen printer.  It will dry so that it is moveable without cracking. 
I picked up red to try this out with first. 

I had these Spray Pens from Close to my Heart that I knew would work out perfect for my grand idea. 

I VERY CAREFULLY put some of the paint into one of the spray tubes.  NOTE : do it slowly or it will get all over the place.

I started by spraying some onto the was paper I had under the shirt and then sprayed all around the outline of the contact paper so that it would create a spray effect onto the actual fabric.  It is pretty globbed on there to get a good crisp line of color where the contact paper edge is.
 (this yellow was just my practice at first just to make sure that this grand ideas was going to actually work )

After the paint was completely dry (overnight) I just simply peeled up the contact paper and it left the negative space with the red splatter around it on the shirt.  EXACTLY what I had envisioned in my mind. 

I am thinking for the girls I am going to do a little bling action around the shape too.  We shall see. 
I love that it came out exactly like I had pictured it in my mind. 
I can't wait to do all the rest. 
I am going to do the guys shirts in a whole body Mickey image and the girls will all be like this.  However my mom and I decided we are going to do it in white paint instead of the red.  We went to Target tonight and got all the sweatshirts for the rest of them.  Tomorrow I am going to go to Hobby Lobby and see if they have the paint in white so I can get started on them. 

I honestly don't know who is more excited about our upcoming Disneyland trip..oh wait that would be me since none of our kids know yet and won't know until Christmas day and then we leave the day after.  :)

Have you made shirts with screen print paint?  Have you decorated shirts before? I would love to see.

~ N I C O L E

p.s. Stay tuned for a BIG GIVEAWAY soon on the blog.  I can't wait to share with you! 

{ 30 DAYS OF A THANKFUL YOU } DAYS 11,12,13,14 and 15

{ DAY 11 : NOVEMBER 11, 2012 }
today I am THANKFUL for :
Today I am thankful for all the Veterens out there. They fight so hard to save this country and without those men and women we would not have this freedom we have.
{DAY 12 : NOVEMBER 12, 2012 }
today I am THANKFUL for :
Today I am thankful for my wonderful mom (
Sandra Parker ). She is always there for us. She is very supportive and she is such a wonderful grandma to all our kids. Thank you for being so great mom. I ♥ you!
{DAY 13 : NOVEMNER 13, 2012 }
today I am THANKFUL for :
Today I am thankful for couponing. This year has been the best year I have done with couponing (well and the first full year). I have saved so much money in general. I am grateful for learning to coupon and being able to save our family money on the things we need and want.
{ DAY 14 : NOVEMBER 24, 2012 } WEDNESDAY
today I am THANKFUL for :
Today I am thankful for diet Pepsi. Because sometimes I just need some bubbly refreshments.
{ DAY 15 : NOVEMBER 15, 2012 } THURSDAY
today I am THANKFUL for :
Today I am thankful for the love and support from our family and friends through thick and thin. For loving us no matter what. For knowing they are there for us is comforting.
Are you keeping up with what you are thankful for this month?  Do share, I would love to read it.

~ N I C O L E

Saturday, November 10, 2012


{ DAY 10 : NOVEMBER 10, 2012}
today I am THANKFUL for :
Today I am thankful for the nice relaxing PJ day I had today.
~ N I C O L E


{ DAY 9 : NOVEMBER 9, 2012 }

 today I am THANKFUL for :

 Today I am thankful for this rainy, cold weather. It is long overdue, and we never get enough of it here in Southern California. I love fall, and this rain is an added bonus.
~ N I C O L E

Thursday, November 8, 2012



 today I am THANKFUL for :

 Today I am thankful for technology. Technology has developed so much since I was a kid and I can only imagine how advanced it will be once the little ones are my age. The advancement in technology has allowed us to stay in contact with friends and family we would otherwise probably loose contact with. It allows us to share pictures ...
with family far away. It allows us to watch tv shows on our wii, and cell phones. You can watch youtube videos online for anything and everything you can even think of. Our cell phones are so smart they can almost have the conversation for you. I am amazed at how Chloe at only 2 years old knows how to turn on every electornic devise we own and actually know how to use it. I just can't even imagine what is yet to come.

{ DAY 8 : NOVEMBER 8, 2012 }

 today I am THANKFUL for :

 Today I am thankful for all the wonderful teachers little Jacob has had. All of them have been so kind and understanding . They have all been so amazing with all of the things we have to go through with his foot. Mrs. Umstead was just the most amazing kindergarten teacher and loved him so much. She is just an amazing teacher. She still ke...
eps in touch with us and she we see her everyday when we pick up Caleb. Mrs. Allende was so wonderful with little Jacob's surgery last year. She went above and beyond her teaching duties. Right after his surgery she called to check on him, she came to our house days after he got home from the hospital and brought him a stuffed giraffe from their zoo field trip. She called us often to check on him. Then she made special trips to our house to test him his school tests. She was great. Mrs. Fino is his teacher this year and has been so great with him this year too. She always asks him how he is feeling, gives him the option to put his foot up and understands that he is often in pain. When he misses school she has the class make him get well cards and sends them home with Caleb. Today she called and checked on him and said she misses him. I feel blessed to have had such amazing and wonderful teachers that truly understand all that my little guy has been through.

~ N I C O L E

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


{ DAY 5 : NOVEMBER 5, 2012 } MONDAY

today I am THANKFUL for :

Today I am thankful for all my past, present and future photography clients. Without you all I would not be where I am today and not be continuing to grow. I am learning more and more each and everyday. I LOVE being able to do what I am doing and capture these special memories and moments for people.

{ DAY 6 : NOVEMBER 6 , 2012 } TUESDAY

today I am THANKFUL for :

Today I am thankful for the right to vote. As our world keeps changing it is a great feeling to help make a difference. We voted today!

~N I C O L E 

Monday, November 5, 2012


We had such a busy weekend that I was barely on the computer even, I know huge shocker there lol.
But I still did have my daily thankfuls written down.  

Saturday we had some old friends, Eddie and Melissa come down and visit for the day from Tehachapi.  Jacob bbq'd some ribs and potatoes (so YUM).  Then we hung out for the day.  It was so a lot of fun.  We have known them for at least 12 years.  4 years ago they moved away and we have not seen them since.  So it was great fun reconnecting with them.  

So here is my catch up on my THANKFUL YOU...

{ Day 2 : NOVEMBER 2, 2012} FRIDAY

today I am THANKFUL for:

my kids. All 5 of them. They teach me things, and help me grow. They remind me to sometimes slow down and take the time to enjoy all the little things in life. They have made my life complete and they are my everything. They remind me to be patient, really patient. They have taught me a love that I have never known and a worry I have never known. They bring me joy, and happiness and a love like no other. There is no love like a mom for her children. Thank you my children Ryan, Marcus , little Jacob, Caleb and Chloe. I love you all!


today I am THANKFUL for:

Christina from our credit union. She has helped us with a lot of our banking/loan needs this year. To thank her I am going to send her a thank you card and a little starbucks gift card. I love being able to surprise people like that, with little acts of kindness they weren't expecting.

{ DAY 4 : NOVEMBER 4, 2012} : SUNDAY

today I am THANKFUL for :

Family time. Today we went out riding and it was nice to spend the day as a family. We don't get too many all day family days, so I truely enjoy them when we do.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Anyone there? Hi, hello and how are you? I've missed you little blog.
It's been a vicious cycle around here. I got behind on writing on this blog and then I would got overwhelmed on where to even start to play catch up. Then I would sit down to actually do it and then I would hear a little voice calling me from upstairs chanting "fold me, fold me or wash me, wash me". So I would get up from the laptop and fold the laundry or wash the laundry, or in all honesty I don't do either but then just run out of time with other things to do to be able to get back to the ole blog.

So now I think it is such a good time to get back to this blog.  I have been seeing all over facebook the daily posts about being thankful.  So it gave me an idea.  I want to try to post everyday about what I am thankful for.

Then I would love to see what everyone else is thankful for as well.  I know that all year long, I know what I am thankful for, but it seems to just be there. Fall is a great reminder to me to take a moment to recognize all of what I am truely grateful for.  So please join me in this quest for the month of November.

Here goes...

{ DAY 1 : NOVEMBER 1, 2012 }
today I am THANKFUL for :
Today I am thankful for my wonderful husband Jacob.  He works very hard to provide for me and the kids.  He is very loving and sweet.  He is a great dad to the kids.  He is a really good cook and master bbqer.  He loves animals (sometimes too many animals lol).  He loves to go dirt bike riding and teaching the little boys how to ride too.  We have been through a lot over the years and I would not be the mom, woman and wife I am today without him.  Thank you Jacob for being a wonderful YOU!  I LOVE YOU!  XOXO

What are you thankful for today?  

~N I C O L E 

Friday, October 5, 2012


I don't know if I can even really call this a recipe, it is so simple. 
We actually do this one two different ways. 

Sometimes we used already made chicken patties and something we use shredded up chicken.  

For the shredded up chicken kind I just boil 3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken and then shred it up. 
Then I pour a bottle or 2 of Franks Red Hot Sauce and let it simmer in the pot until it is all heated through.
Then we take hamburger buns , spread ranch dressing on each side of the bun and fill it with the shredded chicken mix.

For the pre-made chicken patties, I cook them in the oven until they are heated through and have a bit of a crunch to them.  Not burned but crispy on the outside.
Then we add some ranch to the bun, and top it with some Franks Red Hot Sauce and add the chicken patty to the bun.  Easy peasy..

This is such a simple quick and easy dinner.
I am not one for spicy things, but you can adjust the amount of Franks Red Hot you add to the chicken to determine how hot you want them.  

We  usually serve this with some french fries, for a quick quick dinner.

To make it even easier the other night when I made it, I just poured a bag of frozen chicken into the crock pot with a bottle of Franks Red Hot, and left it to cook all day on low.

It was ready when it was dinner time and it was even faster to get dinner ready in just minutes.  

What is your favorite quick night dinner recipe?

~N I C O L E 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

{ SILHOUETTES } photography

There is so much about a silhouette picture that just captures me.  Its not like the same feeling I get from a black and white photo, and not the same feeling as I get from a color photo either.  Just something about the way the photo captures the subject in a black silhouette and leaves some bright color in the back.

I just thought I would share a few that I recently took.  
This was my handsome hubby and his brother out riding their dirt bikes and I wanted to get a shot like this of them.  I have been wanting to do pictures like this of the kids for a while, I am hoping to do so soon.  

While we were out watching Jacob ride that night I was able to snap a shot of the 3 kids together at least.  Id really like a family shot like this too.  

This one was just the other night when I was leaving Rite Aid.  

I have some old pictures of Ryan and Marcus from years and years ago that are silhouettes of them playing in the water in Big Bear.  I am on the hunt to find them, or the negatives and I want to pick a wall in my house and hang nothing but my favorite silhouette pictures.

I have some more I am waiting to edit to add to my favorite collection as well.

~N I C O L E 

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I found this piece of wood in the garage, I think left over from one of the million other projects we have done around here.
Well when I was spray painting the wood for the art hanger I decided to do something fun with this little scrap of wood as well.
I spray painted it with the can of chalkboard paint I had on hand.  I figured I would spray it, then figure out what I was going to do with it.  

So then, just as I thought I had the perfect idea.  I found these little eye hooks and s screws and made it into a little sign for the fireplace.  

I eyeballed it about the middle of the fireplace and just screwed the s hooks in with my hand, same with the eye hooks onto the sign.  

I wrote Happy Fall on the sign with chalk and hung it up.  I love that I can change the sign for whatever season, or occasion it is.  It took minutes (minus dry time) to make this little guy and it adds such a fun touch to the fireplace.  I love my new candle scones that my mom and my aunt bought me too.  Im going for a much simpler mantle at the moment, mainly because I took all the teal decorations down and don't have alot of black and brown ones.  
You can see HERE how I built the fireplace mantle myself. 

H A P P Y   F A L L everyone.  

~ N I C O L E 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

{ ZUCCHINI BREAD } : recipe

(yes I realize now that I spelled zucchini wrong.. oops!)

This summer our garden produced so many zucchini that I knew I had to find some other ways to cook it other than just fried.  We had it marinaded and grilled on the BBQ the other night which was really really good.  It just melted in your mouth and the seasoning was just perfect.  

But today I am going to share with you the zucchini bread that I made, made a lot of it.  I made a few mini loaves and they went so fast that I then made a huge batch of 20 mini loaves the next time.  I didn't mean to make that many, but they went to anyone and everyone and we had a few left over for ourselves, so it was good I had that many.

After searching for a good recipe I found one that I wanted to try.

Let me share it with you.

. . . . . R E C I P E . . . . .



1 lb. zucchini ( 1-1.5 cups after shredded and wrung out)
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. all spice
1.5 C. sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 C. plain yogurt (I used vanilla in mine)
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
6 tbs. melted butter


Move the oven rack to the middle slot.
Preheat oven to 375*
Spray 9x15 inch loaf pan with non stick cooking spray

Chops ends of zucchini and finely shred the entire thing - peel and all.
Put the shredded up zucchini and ring it out as hard as you can to get rid of all the access liquid
Set it aside. (there should be about 1 - 1.5 cups)

In a new bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, all spice and salt.

In a smaller bowl whisk sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice and melted butter until well combined.

Now gently fold yogurt mixture and zucchini into flour mixture using a rubber spatula.  Do not over mix, mix just until it is all combined.

Pour into loaf pan ( or into all the mini loaf pans like I did)

Bake until golden brown and there are very few crumbs on the knife when inserted through the middle of the loaf. 40-45 minutes.

Cool 10 minutes.  Then you can turn it out onto a new plate and cool completely for 1 hour.
Store it well covered for up to 3 days.

I covered all our mini loaves with a few layers of saran wrap and they lasted for about a week.  I did store them in the refigerator as well.  We like ours cold with a little butter smeared on each piece.

Here is the instagram picture I shared with all my mini loaves in the oven.

Do you like zucchini bread?  If you have a good recipe, I would love for you to share it.

~ N I C O L E 

Sunday, September 16, 2012


When little Jacob was in kindergarten he was bringing home so much art and papers that I knew I had to find a way to store it all.  So at the time I took 2 hooks and some string and hung them on the wall, and tied the string to each one.  I used some colorful plastic clothespins that I found to hang up all the work.  It worked for us that year, but it just wasn't what I wanted.  So I wanted to come up with a new idea. I had a bunch of ideas in my mind, even saw a few cute ones on pinterest.  But it just never got made...  Then last year he was in 1st grade and didn't bring  home as much art stuff, so we just continued to use the string.
Then I changed all the stuff around in the hallway and it got taken down.  
Then came August 20th when little Jacob started 2nd grade and our little Caleb started kindergarten.  Back to getting stuff home everyday.  So I decided to put those floating around into actual.  To actually make a physical product from an idea.  

I went to Home Depot and looked at some wood.  I once again ended up getting a fence board because it was straighter than the actual "normal" pieces of wood.

I brought it home and spray painted it black.  No fancy spray paint here, I used the .97cent cans from Home Depot.

Late that night I brought the painted board in and layed it down flat on the pool table.  I took my stack of clothespins and brought out my E3000 glue.
I glued them on right down the board, spacing them evenly.

Then I took some picture hanger hooks and nailed them to the back of the board.

Then I hung up the board right in the spot I knew I wanted it to go.

I LOVE how it turned out and I can't wait for the kids to bring home more art and school work 

This was one quick and easy and cheap project.  

How do you hang your kids school work?  

~ N I C O L E