Random Ramblings: June 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012


Tomorrow we are heading out to go camping.  We are only going for one night, but I am still looking forward to getting out of the house for a even just 2 days.  There will be lots of cousins for the kids to play with, lots of food to eat and the guys will be doing some fishing.

Tonight we also have a birthday party for our nephew to go to so I need to not spend alot of time on the computer today.  I need to pack all our stuff still and I have about 4 loads of laundry to still fold.

But I did want to stop in today and share some pictures with you.  Last weekend my brother and his wife were in town and we finally got to meet our new niece Lily.  I was so excited to be able to take her pictures. I wish they lived closer so we didn't have to go months in between seeing them.

So I just wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures with you from our shoot.  

Sweet Lily, oh how I love you and we miss you so much already.  I hope it isn't another 2 months until we can see you again.

You can see her entire session HERE in her smugmug gallery.

~N I C O L E 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

{ JELLO COOKIES } recipe

I saw these on pinterest of course and I knew I just had to try them for the kids. I mean what kid doens't love jello or cookies.  So to combine them, thats a yes, please! 
So last week we finally sat down to have a baking day.  We made frozen smores too that I will share next week with you. 
First I want to give credit for where I found this recipe.  It was on the blog I {heart} naptime. 

. . . . . . .

 J E L L O cookies
Yield: 2 dozen
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Ready In: 30 mins



  1. Beat butter in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla. Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  2. Divide dough into 4 sections. Sprinkle 2 Tb of jello onto each section. Knead together with dough. You may want to add a few drops of food coloring to make the dough more vibrant.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in the extra jello from the packets. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Flatten with bottom of bowl.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 min at 350 on lined baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets 2 min. Remove to wire racks and cool completely.
These were alot of fun to make and it was fun for us to taste each flavor.  There was a little of each color left so in the end we rolled 2 rainbow cookies for the boys.  They loved those. 

Have you ever made anything with Jello, other than Jello?  Do you have a fun twist on a cookie recipe?  Id love to hear it. 

~ N I C O L E

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Today I wanted to share with you one of my new favorite spots in our home.  It isn't a place to sit, or hang out or anything like that, but it is a place that place that holds alot of love.
It is my new black frame collage photo wall.  It is the downstairs hallway.  It has been many many things since we moved here 2 years ago. Watch let me show you... 

We moved here on July 9, 2010.  (Wow has it really been that long already, sometimes it feels like a lot longer yet sometimes it feels like we just moved here) .  
I was excited and wanted to decorate it all up.
I put this table there and had plans to put some stuff on the wall above it.  

It sat like this for a while, undecorated.
Then it quickly became a storage spot for all the kids toys.  Like a mini playroom. 
This isn't the best picture of it, but you can see over there to the left of the stairs it has the baby gate and then it is filled with toys.  

That didn't last too long either because I really did not like it that way. You couldn't walk through there, and it was such a tiny space that they toys quickly took it completely over.  

So then I got a grand idea to build a desk into the spot.  
It was a good little desk, but alot that I didn't like about it either.  The desk was a smidge too low and hard to work at, especially with the laptop.  Then if you were sitting there, the kids always wanted to walk past but with the chair out, it didn't leave for much room.  I could not get the shelves to stay on the wall.  I am sure I could have hung them better or with some butterfly screws in the wall, but it just seemed like too much work.  It just wasn't functioning well like I had hoped it would.  It rather seemed to be the catch all for unfinished projects, junk mail... all those sorts of things.  So I wasn't loving this anymore at all.  
So finally I took it all down and apart.  Then I moved a bookcase into this spot with intentions to get a few more and line the wall with them.  But the bookcase sat there, with the hampster for a few months and then got moved into the dining room when I changed that around and moved some furniture.
So there it sat actually for once empty since we moved in.  I hung a frame up on the wall just for the heck of it and instantly this idea came to me.  Why don't I hang ALL my photos here.  One of the main reasons I still had hardly any pictures hanging up since we moved in was that I didn't want  them spread all over so no one could see, but I had other plans for the stairs.  So this was the PERFECT spot to put all the frames up so I didn't have to just pick the 'perfect' picture to hang, now I could hang tons of them.  I collected all the black frames from every room in the house and set them all in the hallway.  Then I just started hanging.  No plan in mind ahead of time.
Just picked up a frame and found a good spot for it.  I absolutely love how it came out.  Now I THOUGHT I had alot of black frames, but once I got them all up on this HUGE wall it seems like I barely have any frames.  So I can't wait to get more frames to fill up much more of this space.  (Well ok I promised my husband I would fill all the blank ones before I ever bought a new frame :) )
I have been filling them slowly.  Just going through pictures and printing them as I find the ones I want to hang up.
I love this spot that holds all these family memories.  That is why it is my favorite spot in the entire house.  I will often stop when I am walking up the stairs and just stare at all the pictures.  

(see what I mean about in size proportion with the wall.. and even here you can't tell as much.  It is a very tall wall ) 

Here is a view from looking down on part of the stairs.  

I can't wait to get all the rest of the frames filled with pictures and start collecting more.  I figured I will even start looking at thrift stores and garage sales for frames, because I love me some black spray paint.
I love how the wall came out so much that I even started a white one in the littles ones room.  I only have one picture frame in white up at the moment, but I will start adding to it as I find more frames.  

Where do you hang your pictures in your house?  

~N I C O L E 

Monday, June 25, 2012


I thought it would be fun to share some of my instagram pictures. I have the HTC inspire phone and for about a month it was broken and I had to use an iPhone. I did not like it because I could not do anything on that darn phone. Just before my HTC broke I had downloaded the instagram app and was so bummed because I couldn't even use it .
I was so excited when the parts came and I my wonderful hubby was able to fix it for me. Darn parts came from China on a slow moving boat.
Since then I have been a little obsessed with my instagram pictures so I just thought it would be fun to share.
I had to add them from my phone so they are not in order, but you get the general idea. 

These guys definatley use the .pool table more than anyone else in this house.

Making jello cookies with the kids.
Mommy snuggles put her to sleep. { usually she's a daddy snuggler}
Pretty sure this is why I never buy them markers. The lids are always lost the first day!
Jacob recently became very fond of tic tac toe.

My neice Lily 

06. 20.2012
All done and pretty tasty too.
Finally adding my journaling cards to my project life binder. Love that we can look back it in so many years from now and see the day to day stuff. 

 Hanging lights in the 3 little ones room. Great for decorations and nighlight.

Chutes and ladders with the kids.

I do npt drunk coffee so my wake up refreshmant is a glass of ice cold diet Pepsi

Go fish while dinners cooking 


Chloe and Lily

Wheat tortillas are actually pretty good.

What the three little ones request for breakfast most mornings. PBJ and fruit. 

Our cutie princess who loves to sleep in her brothers tshirts
Working on this rag quilt today.  Almost done.

The kids just found this dead in the living room floor.

Coloring is still just as much fun as an adult.

Calebs very first tomatoe off his his tomatoe plant. He's so excited.

I love when my boys pick me flowers from the yard. 
Chicken going into the crockpot for dinner. Garlic and herb seasoning
Jacobs making us yummy bbq chicken for dinner

The littlest blonde has been tuning an on and off again fever since Saturday. We ow have no more fevers but she has turned into extra cranky pants blonde girl.

The garden is coming along nicely. We even have one green bean plant on steroids.

My view from my side of the bed tonight.

Strawberry shortcake hanging out under Chloes nightlight watching over her tonight

Jacobs teacher came to test him today and he is officially a 2nd grader!

Editing this precious baby and watching my own marathon of Cake Boss on Netflix.

New air conditioner in the expedition today. Wahoo!

This has become our little family thing. Thursday night on payday night we go to Jack in the Box at midnight. Just our thing. Love creating family memories.
Do you have instagram?  It isn't just for iphone anymore.  I LOVE it! 
If you want to follow me my user name is nicolemantoothphotography.  Share your username so I can follow you too!

~N I C O L E

Friday, June 22, 2012



A few weeks ago I finally got the red white and blue ruffle dress finished that I wanted to make for my little Chloe. It seemed to just take forever because I would work on it in my spare time.  So I would only get a little done at a time.
It turned out exactly how I had imagined it in my mind. It love when that happens. 
So I started with the basic pillow case type dress.  I don't like making the arm edging so most of the dresses I seem to make her end up being strapless and I add some kind of ribbon for the straps. 
So I did the basic strapless dress with a white piece of fabric.  Then I took 3 long strips of fabric.  First I sewed a hem on each of them. 
Then I started with the blue fabric.  I pinned it on and made sure they were very full ruffles.  That is what I wanted, big full ruffles. 
Then I took the red strip and pinned it on above the blue.  I pinned it so that you could see enough of the blue strip but not the entire blue strip was showing. 
On the final white strip I hemmed both sides of the strip since you would be seeing the top edge of that one.  Pinned that on and sewed it on as well. 

Then I tried something totally new that I had never done or even attempted to do before.  SHIRRING.  I first ever read about it on a blog called Make It and Love It.  You can find the post I read about shirring HERE. I had no idea you could do this on a regular sewing machine. I always thought you had to have one of those fancy smancy sewing machines. I was pretty excited.  I had asked my mother in law about it after I read that and she happen to be at Joann's a few days later and picked me up some of the elastic thread. 
I was so excited to give it a try.
( Don't look too close because there is defiantly a lot of mistakes and my lines are no where near straight. ) 

So I did rows of red then blue then red then blue. Now it wasn't nearly as stretchy as I thought it would be so I didn't want to get it too tight and not be able to stretch over her.  So I need to definitely practice on that one some more.  It was fun though to see it gather together like it did when you were sewing with it. 
When you shirr something, you use the elastic thread on the bottom and normal thread on the top. 

So after the ruffles were on the shirring was done I needed it to be able to stay up on her .  It wasn't that tight so some kind of straps were necessary.  I went in search of something in my ribbon stash and found the perfect ribbons.  Red and Blue in the exact colors of the dress.  It also added a bit more splash of color at the top of the dress since the shirring wasn't that bold. 
( I just tied a knot at the end of each ribbon color to keep it from fraying )

I just attached the ribbons on the dress and then I tie them together.  Pretty simple for straps.  I love using ribbon as straps. 

Then the dress was complete.  I LOVE this dress so much.  She loves it too, she loves dresses.  Now they go with her RED WHITE and BLUE sandals that I made for her.  In case you missed that post you can find it HERE . 

( Here she is modeling the dress and sandals for me ) 
After I took these I did add a bow to the middle of the dress right at the bottom of the shirring.  It just adds a little something extra. 
I love so much how the dress came out.  Now I am no expert seamstress by any means at all. I know I probably did most of the things wrong, but it worked for me at this moment. I should learn to do them the right way, but hey if it ain't broke, why fix it, right?  Right!

I found some Red White and Blue hair bows to match for her as well. She looks so cute and I can't wait for her to wear it on 4th of July.  Although I have had her in it already and people compliment us every time we are out. 

Thanks for taking a look.  This dress was so much fun I definitely would love to make her another  one sometime soon. 

It makes me feel like a clothes designer...  :)

~ N I C O L E