Monday, August 25, 2014

Great new wig + discount code

I received product compensation for this post. However, all opinions are 100 percent mine.

Costumes and wigs jots aren't for Halloween any more. Since entering high school, Leelee has made some great friends who introduced her to cosplay. It is a pretty great creative outlet. And she's convinced me to join in on the fun.

Don't we make quite the pair?

Look at her wig though... It's pretty rough. In our short time doing this we've learned about good costume wigs and bad costume wigs.

Recently, we ordered a new wig from Abhair and it's definitely in the good wig category. 

Our biggest challenge with a full wig is getting Leelee's curls under the wig cap. No photos but we ended up braiding it tight around the top and around the ears and using a lot of bobby pins.

She has a lot of thick hair.

I wanted a chance to play with the wig first. I've never had long thick hair before so this was a good way to see how I'd look.

This is the wig unstyled, btw. It's heat resistant so it is possible to add more curl, which is pretty cool. All the wigs I've seen before melt with heat.

Leelee is a bit of a rebel (she is my kid!) and realized wigs were not expressly forbidden in the school dress code. So, she styled the wig in a nice braid and wore it to school.

Her other rebellion? Sparkly sneakers!

She looked quite nice to go to school, even if her hair was silver. Too bad not everyone saw it that way...and, next year wigs might be on the no-no list. 

Her future hair plans include pipe cleaners for the Pippy Longstocking effect. But, she has the sense to wait to test those waters again! Last year she literally tied her hair in to the shape of a bow.

Want to try out the wigs and extensions at abhair.com for yourself? Use code MickiA15 for 15 percent off site wide. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

More classroom display ideas

I mentioned in an earlier post that D wasn't too interested in decorating his classroom. He gave me a stack of posters and told me to have fun.

He was very skeptical when he saw the other supplies I brought along.. The duck tape made him nervous. But as we crafters know, duck tape is very versatile and on trend.

One of the biggest challenges D had in his classroom was getting posters to stay on the walls and I thought the duck tape would be the perfect solution. In his mind, I would be using the tape directly on the posters! That was definitely not happening.

Instead, I used double sided mounting tape to attach the posters to butcher paper, then framed the butcher paper in duck tape to affix it to the walls.

This created a really nice framed art effect. 

This was so much more polished and put together than posters just plastered on the walls.

D also let me decorate outside his classroom. The teachers needed a tech themed board in the hall...

The only change I would have made to this board is flipping the direction of the guy with the phone so he's looking at the words. But other that, I was pretty happy with it!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

White chocolate and dark chocolate oven s'mores

Summer is over for us. All my children are in school this year, even Little Miss. Her teacher is Mrs. McDonald and the kindergarteners keep calling her Mrs. McDonalds ha ha It's very cute and reminds me how my first graders last year called me Mrs. Celery. 

The biggest regret this summer was not being able to camp. With my graduate classes and D moving to a new school that's on a different calendar, we just didn't have a chance.

The solution was to bring our favorite parts of camping home. The kids pitched the tent in the backyard and slept outside   for more than a week.

Normally, when we do indoor s'mores we just roast the marshmallows over the gas stove. This time, we wanted something a bit more... Fun.

These aren't your typical s'mores. We used white chocolate chips and Hershey nuggets layered in a cast iron skillet.

Next, we topped it with mini marshmallows and placed it in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes to melt the chocolate.

After everything was melty, I turned the broiler on to give the marshmallows a nice toast.

Scoop into little ramekins and dip in your graham crackers!

This was a small cast iron skillet and it made quite a bit of dip. It took 1 bag of white chips and one bag of chocolate nuggets.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Daily Classroom Board

School is winding down for me, finally. I really love being back in school. For the most part, I love learning and to be honest, I'd love to be a permanent student. But, that's just not realistic (or economically feasible!)

While I'm almost done for the semester, D and the kids are getting ready to head back to school. A big change this year is D is moving not only schools, but school districts. He gave up tenure, which is a very scary thing, to be at a school further from home, but one that will hopefully not give him so much stress.

That also means he has to set up his classroom in a new school for the first time in six years. He has a lot of ... stuff...

I love him and he is a great teacher, but his classroom before was a bit much. Posters...everywhere...even things hanging down from the ceiling. I found it to be scattered and well...over stimulating. Less is more!

After all my "suggestions" and pinning ideas for him he very graciously agreed to let me take over the classroom decorating.


The first thing I introduced him to was Washi Tape. And I had to reassure him that it was perfectly fine to go on the white board.

I really love how the blue just pops off the black butcher paper. I wanted to use purple, but ... well, he had to draw the line at "girly" colors...

This is the only dry erase board he has in the room. It is at the front right next to his SmartBoard.

The desks are set up in a horseshoe shape, a configuration D said he'd "try" just to humor me. I really believe he's going to like it. He can do a quick round of the students and be just a few steps from anyone needing help as he teaches from the middle.

Anything to get him out of the traditional "rows of seats" mindset. He completely nixed the "E" configuration.  At least with this, he can group the kids together a bit easier.

I'm sure I won't think this is as much fun once I have my own classroom. For now, it's great to have his to practice on!

linked up at: project stash **monday funday ** busy mondays ** inspiration mondays ** block party ** mix it up mondays ** frugal crafty home **

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Brownie cupcakes with lavender icing

This year for the big 4-0, my wonderful Leelee decided to break out her baking skills again. Usually I have angel food cake, pretty much every year. Leelee has been trying to break me of that and this year she succeeded ... Mainly because I was too busy doing the school thing to worry about birthday cake.

I headed off to my night class on American Realist Writers and tried to stay awake. I came home to find a complete cupcake flop. I'm not sure what went wrong, but it was gooey and sunken. Edible only because it was chocolate.

The next day, she tried again while I was at school working on a research paper (History of Educating Women in the United States and Projections for the Future). For some reason she didn't think to look in the freezer for butter and ended up substituting plain shortening. I was very pleased with the result! It was more cake than brownie, but just barely. Paired with a lavender icing...just a wonderful combo! So very glad I planted lavender this year.

This recipe originally called for dried lavender. I've never seen dried lavender in stores. When substituting fresh herbs for dried, you typically need to triple the amount of dried herbs. Fresh herbs are generally better, in my experience, so I tend to go with fresh even if the dried is readily available in stores.

Brownie Cupcakes with Lavender Icing
adapted from Martha Stewart
  • 3/4 C plus 2 T  flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 tsalt
  • 1/2 C plus 2 1/2 T Shortening
  • 3 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/3 C sugar
  • 2 large room temperature eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract 

 Lavender Icing
  • 1/3 C milk
  •  1/2 T fresh lavender
  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • Purple gel-paste food coloring 
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. 
In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt butter and chocolate. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Beat chocolate with an electric mixer for 3 minutes on medium speed. Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined. Beat in Vanilla and reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients and beat until just combined.
Divide batter into muffin cups. Bake about 18 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

To make icing:
Bring milk and lavender to boil. Remove from heat and let set for about 10 minutes. Using a strainer or cheesecloth, strain the milk and throw away the lavender. Quickly whisk in the sugar until smooth, then strain again. Add the gel-paste coloring.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Painting cloth shoes

It happened.

I had a birthday and I was none too happy about it. I keep hearing that 40 is the new 30. When I was 30, it was the new 20. All I know is I don't like this getting older thing.

So, for my 40th birthday, I decided to do something very kid-like. I attended my very first Con. And I went in Cosplay!

For those not familiar with Cons or Cosplay, it's short for convention and Costume Play. Basically, I dressed up in a costume and hung out with other people in costume, played video games and pretty much nerded out.

I also had a major pity party. It was the only party I was going to get. My best friends all moved away. There was no one to throw me a big party. D was at scout camp...again. He's there every year on my birthday. My kids woke me way too early with their bickering. Needless to say, I was more than a bit cranky all day.

But, I got to wear a costume, so...you know, that tends to make things a bit more fun.

Add caption

Leelee and I got to hang out all day. I should be pretty happy that my teenager wanted to spend time with me. And in costume, no less! Definite parenting win.

Also in the parenting win column for the week: the kids' new obsession with Hitchhiker's Guide! The older kids watched the movie and now Danger Girl plans on reading the books... Once she finishes all the Harry Potter books. She's read four of the books the first three weeks of summer vacation. She is trying to rack up as many AR points as possible.

So, back to the cosplay... I dressed with items from my closet to create a sort of steampunk gothic lolita look. Steampunk plus gothic plus japanese lolita. Pretty darn fun!

The only think I didn't really have were the shoes.  Lolita shoes can be very cutesy or completely over the top. A basic lolita shoe is a blinged up ballet flat or Mary Jane. So that's where I decided to start... With a grubby old pair of ballet flats.

Next, I turned to my trusty stash of chalky paint...I typically mixed 1 C paint with some plaster of Paris and water... Except this time I added a bit more water.  It was definitely a more soupy texture...I'd say condensed tomato soup after adding the water rather than a tomato bisque, being more creamy.

Two coats of paint later...

I was really expecting the shoes to be stiff, but they weren't. The paint hasn't cracked at all.

I'm definitely filing this tip away for trying on other shoes. It definitely gives new life to an old pair of shoes. I'm anxious to try adding a second color or design. So many possibilities!

linked up at: Monday Funday ** Busy Mondays ** Inspiration Mondays ** MMM ** Frugal Crafty Home **In and Out of the Kitchen ** the scoop **

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

BLT recipe round up

It's getting late in the evening, the kids are gone and I've got the munchies after a marathon homework session. I don't want just anything right now...I really want a nice juicy tomato and some salty bacon. I'll even take some lettuce. Bread is completely optional.

Basically, I'm craving BLTs.

And there's no bacon in the house. I have plenty of L & T, but it's just not the same with out the bacon. Without the bacon, well...it's just a salad.

Instead of going to the store for bacon (which would actually require putting on pants, shoes and a bra), I created a recipe round up of amazing BLT inspired dishes.

I bet you're craving bacon now, too (you're welcome)! And don't forget to follow my BACON board on Pinterest.

BLT with a Twist from Passports and Pancakes

Easy BLT Dip from Smarty Pants Mama

Vegan (yes VEGAN) BLT Salad from Cookie + Kate

No tomato, but watermelon instead from Healthy. Delicious.

Buffalo Chicken + Avocado BLT wraps from Half Baked Harvest

Spicy Chilled BLT soup from Framed Cooks

Caprese BLT Panini from Cooking for Keeps

BLT Pancakes from One Ordinary Day

Caesar BLT Salad from Big Sis Lil Sis

BLT Pasta Salad from The Cheese Pusher

BLT dip from Lemon Tree Dwelling

Ranch BLT Pasta Salad from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

BLT Panzanella from A Family Feast

Grown Up BLT Grilled Cheese by The Corner Kitchen

BLT Pizza from How Sweet It Is

Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad Sandwiches from ME!

As a bonus...how about some bacon for dessert?

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