Random Ramblings: August 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012


I wanted to make my boys new teachers some kind of gift for the first day of school.  I had a few ideas floating around in my mind, and then of course I saw something on pinterest and fell in love with it and knew instantly that was what I wanted to make for them. 

Here is the link to the pin I first saw. 

I took pictures of how I made it, but somehow I think I deleted them.  :(
But it is pretty easy to figure out.

I took and empty aluminum can and washed it out real good.
Then I hot glued yellow pencils around the entire thing.
You can't see but then after I glued a green ribbon around the center of the pencils.
I found these large apples at Hobbly Lobby and thought they were exactly what I needed to add to them and write the teachers names on them.  

I got the pencils and the red crunchy paper at the dollar store.
After I put these together I put some green floral foam inside each of the cans.  This would hold the treats in place.
I took oreo cookies and put a sucker stick inside each one.  Then I dipped them in red or green melted chocolate and froze them to harden quickly.

**on a little side note... I don't know if it was the triple digit hot temperatures we were having that week, but it took me 4 attempts to get the chocolate to melt correctly.  It would be perfectly creamy and then bam just like that it would be too hard and clumpy.  I think it was getting to hot and burning.  It was a disaster and I almost tossed the entire project out the window.  I tried melting it in the microwave and also doing with a dounle burner over the stove, with the same results.  So I did have to work very fast**

After they were cooled I took a small piece of stick pretzel and glued it on with some of the melted chocolate to look like the apple stem, and used air head green candy for the leaves.
I ripped off a piece and shaped it to look like a leaf. I then
wrapped them in a small clear bag and tied it up with some thin green ribbon.  I arranged them in the can and then added the crunchy paper and it was that easy.  I love how cute they are.

I think the apples with their names on them are a cute little added touch.  

I know that little Jacob's 2nd grade teacher loved the gift becuase she stopped me the next morning to thank me.

Do you make your kids teachers a gift for the first day of school?  

~N I C O L E 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


At the start of summer, we really didn't have anything planned.  Which with Jacob's work schedule that is usually how we do things.  But when I was looking back at all we did, I was surprised at actually how much we packed into this summer.
With school starting next Monday I thought I would share with you all the fun things we did to fill these summer days and nights.  

We did lots of bbqing like always.  OK I say we like I actually cooked it on the BBQ or something.  That would be my bbqer extraordinaire husband that did the actual bbqing.  

We got to meet my new niece Lily for the first time.  She was 2 months old already.  We all met at my grandmas house to surprise her and that was alot of fun.  We had lunch and got to visit with her for a bit.  She had recently had shoulder surgery so it was nice to get a chance to visit with her after that.  The next day  my brother and sister in law brought Lily over, Jacob bbqd and I got to do her 2 month pictures.  You can check out all of her pictures HERE. The little guys were so in love with her, they were always asking to hold and feed her. Chloe took alot longer to warm up to her.  She didn't like it so much when I was holding her the first day.  

Jacob's aunt Robbin came out with her 4 kids from Kentucky.  The boys had a blast spending alot of time with her boys.  They hung out and went riding on the quad a few times as well.  

Her daughter Darci came over to spend some time with the little kids too.  They had fun playing out on the front porch with all kinds of toys.  

We added a fish to our pet family.  Caleb used his birthday money to buy all of the stuff for it.  

We spent a few days camping at Silverwood Lake.  We camped and took the boat out.  My sister in law Jamie and I had a huge water fight with all of the kids back at camp which was alot of fun.
Jacob took the kids in boat from camp down to the dock in the boat, just like this and got a ticket for it.  We see everyone doing it, but he just happened to be the one who got pulled over and get a ticket for it.  Figures.


Out on the lake.  

We went fishing a few times up in Big Bear.  On this trip Jacob caught the first little cat fish, but threw it back because it was not that big.  

The kids spent many many hours with the laptop under the pool table in their fort I built for them.  They would spend hours under there watching cartoons.  

Since the grass was finally all grown in and full green the kids liked laying on it and rolling around in it.  

Finally little Jacob was cast free.  No more casts.  Just in time to gain some strength in his foot and leg before school starts.  This is the straightest his foot has ever been in his entire life.  

We took a drive up to Crestline one day. It was such a nice drive and we stopped at a little restaurant up there for dinner. 

We went to Venice Beach one day. We got lost and it took us forever to get there.  Once we got there it was freezing cold.  My sister in law and I got sweatshirts it was that cold.  The kids had fun burying each other and the guys had fun boggy boarding in the ocean for a while.  The kids found an odd amount of dead jelly fish washing up on shore too, which was kind of creepy.  

My sister in law and her boyfriend came over for dinner one night and we heard the kids laughing hysterically  .  They would get into sleeping bags and slide as fast as they could down the stairs.  We couldn't stop laughing at them, it was pretty funny.  

We bought a new to us, little used Honda Accord.  We got it to save some gas and since Ryan will be driving here in a few weeks, it is always good to have another little car around.  It already saves us so much gas for Jacob driving back and forth to work, and little trips to the grocery store.  

Jacob came home from work on graveyard the morning of my birthday and had this delicious cheesecake he bought for me.  It had 4 flavors and they were pretty yummy.  He had a beautiful card for me too.  He also got me a tablet that is on its way to me right now.  That same say I had lunch with my mom and she bought me a few outfits at Fashion Bug.  

The boys both passed their driving permit tests on the same day.  Oh heaven help us..  

Dirt Bike riding with cousins.  

Jacob bought a new KTM 450 and we got Marcus a YZF 125.  We used to go riding all the time, until Jacob's bike got stolen, then we kind of just quit going.  But I am excited that we were able to get him and Marcus bikes.  Riding has always been Jacob's thing and I can't wait to go out more again.  I love riding the quad.  I must have 4 wheels on the ground at all times.  We did get the little boys a 50 with training wheels too that they have a blast on.  

Roasting marshmallows and making smores one night of riding.  

Last week we were back up at 5am so Marcus could go to football practice twice a day. From 6am - 8am and then again from 5pm to 730pm.  

We had a few thunder storms this summer too.  I wish those would happen more often.  

We enjoyed some summer evenings outside.  Popsicles and all.  

Ryan's girlfriend Candace spent alot of time with us and he spent some time with her and her family as well.  

It sure was an eventful summer.  I am looking forward to some down time at home now with the kids starting school on Monday.  

What did you do this summer?

~N I C O L E 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I ran into Ross one day last week to look for school shoes for the little boys.  I found some great shoes that they loved, and I also found this stand that I loved too, and for $3.99 I couldn't pass it up.  I knew when I put up the bookcase behind the couch in the family room that I wanted something just like this to hold a picture on top of it. 
So I bought the stand and figured I would just find the perfect frame for it later on. 
Well that later on came the very next day in fact.  But not so much in the form of a frame, but a piece of wood.  I was at Hobby Lobby getting some black thread and I came across this block of wood with an amazing shape. 
I had a great idea the second I saw it.  It was a great price too at only $2.99. 
So I bought it and brought it home and spray painted it a flat black.  In this heat wave we have been having here in southern California it dried in minutes.  But I still let it sit outside overnight just to make sure.  Then the next morning I spray painted the back side since you can see it too. 

Then I made my 5 kids and my oldest sons girlfriend and her twin sister all sit in the grass in the front yard so I could take their picture for this project.

After I took the pictures I took some course sandpaper and sanded the edges of the painted board. 

Then I printed the picture in black and white in 8x10 and trimmed it down to fit on the board.  It ended up being about a 7x8 size I believe. (don't quote me on that one) .
Then I took some corner turns and brads and I just hammered the brads into the board. The wood was soft enough they went in very smoothly without any trouble.
I just put the picture inside the photo turns, without glueing the picture down.  This was it gives me the option to change the picture whenever I feel like it.

I love so much how it turned out, and it was such a inexpensive project too.  $2.99 for the wood and $3.99 for the stand.  The spray paint I had on hand and the sandpaper too.  Then I printed the picture at home as well so that was free too.  Under $8.00, not bad I say.  

~ N I C O L E 

Monday, August 13, 2012


I LOVE day planners!  There is just something about having all of my life stuff organized into one place.  Well in the past recent years I have been buying the premade ones like I posted about HERE .
I have been known to buy a new one at the start of a new year, and then buying a new one 6 months later, just because I like it so much better.  
Well they have always worked out good for me, but I always felt like they were really lacking in the full organization area for me.  But it worked until I came across one that I really liked and thought would work for me.  What I loved most about those planners was that it had the full month view and then a weekly spot where I could write in more detailed information from each day if I chose to. 

While doing some back to school shopping on several different occasions at Staples I came across some of the Martha Stewart day planner accessories .  It got me to thinking, well here I go I can just customize mine the exact way I want it to be.  The binder isn't too huge, but big enough that I can get alot of stuff packed into that thing. 
So I got alot of supplies and got started to building my own customized day planner. 

I got blank lined pages to fill up all my sections, 2 sets of calendar pages, an address book with abc tabs, dividers, highlighters, and a pocket and little tiny post it like type tabs. 

This is what it looks like after it is all put together.  I am a visual person, so it had to have all kinds of different colored tabs. 

When I divided it up, I did 5 main catagories and alot of sub catagories. 
My main catagories are

~MONTHLY~ {where I have the months calendar and then the weekly detailed pages as well .  I still highlight everything in both the monthly and weekly sections and the highlights are colored coded as follows 
YELLOW - bills due
PINK - appointments
GREEN - work schedule and paydays
ORANGE - birthdays and holidays
BLUE - all school related things {days off, minimum days etc..}
PURPLE - Nicole Mantooth Photography stuff

~NOTES~ {blank pages for notes, grocery lists...etc.}
{sub catagory
* Christmas 2012 - where I keep a list of all the people I am buying gifts for and what I have already bought.  I write down ideas of things I think that person would like, or things that I am going to buy for that person.  Then if I have a gift, I highlight it so I know it is already bought and in the closet.  Easy to help keep track when I am out and find great deals on things. 

~BUDGET~ {sub catagories are
* Bill Contact Information - phone numbers, account numbers and all bill related info I need when calling a bill or for making a payment

* Bills Due - a list of bills due each week and the amounts

* Budget - a work in progress

~ALL OTHER~ {sub catagories are
* Nicole Mantooth Photography - all things related to my photography buisness
< a sub catagory in this section is a list of my picture of the day >

* Blog ideas and schedule - ideas for this blog and a schedule of when I posted it

*Website login information - usernames and passwords for different websites
*Menu Planning - to plan the weeks worth of dinners to make for much easier grocerry shopping

* Party Planning - all things related to parties coming up I am working on in the family.  I write down ideas to food I plan to make to the guest lists.  At the moment my sub catagories here are
< Ryan's 18th Birthday 8/2012, Chloe's 3rd Minnie Mouse party 01/2013, Jacob's 8th Birthday Party 02/2013, Jamie's Wedding 9/2012>

~CONTACTS~ {tabs with abc with all of our contacts phone numbers and addresses}

I am really loving my new day planner so much. The only thing that stinks right now is that I could only find a calendar that started for January 2013 so I am using my old one right now until the end of the year, then I am  all over this new planner.  I love being organized and having it all in once place.
My next organizational project is going to be our new filling cabinet.

How do you organize your day to day life events?  

~ N I C O L E 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Lately I have been seeing cinnamon sugar butter all over the shelves at the grocery stores.  I did buy one small tub at Target on a whim.  It was on sale and though I didn't have any coupons I still bought it to try it out.  

This is the one I bought.  

It was good, nothing overwhelmingly jump and down over the top good, but just so-so good.  

So it got me to thinking, why couldn't we just make our own.  So I got some butter sticks out and let them sit out for a little bit to soften up. 

I did soften it just a bit more in the microwave so it was easier to mix.  

I added the last of the cinnamon I had in the container, which was about 1 tablespoon. 

I then thought why not add some sugar and make it cinnamon sugar butter.  
So I added 2 packets of truvia to the butter mixture as well.  

So I just put it in a bowl and mixed it up real well.  

We toasted a hot dog bun and had to give it a try.
Now this butter, IS SO SO YUMMY GOOD.  
It melts into some yummy cinnamon sugar goodness.  

It was so quick and easy and the kids love it.  We even tried it on some pancakes, and it is just as good on them as well.  

This is definately one of those things we will keep around in our house all the time.  

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

sugar or sugar substitute 

1. Mix softened butter, cinnamon and sugar into a container.
2. Serve on warm toast or pancakes.  

Yep that simple.  Enjoy.  

Let me know if you try this and what you try it on.  

I think this would make cute Christmas gifts given in little small canning jars with a tag tied around the lid.  

~N I C O L E