Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child

The small details of Christmas seem to have gone by the wayside this year... It feels like there just isn't enough energy once the day-to-day tasks of dishes, laundry, diapers, meals, etc. are done! I love the Christmas season, and have a whole entire closet of embellishments to show for it. I usually love decorating- two trees (one real, one not), the porch, and nearly every room of the house gets some festive touch. Then, there is the shopping, wrapping, baking and entertaining! So fun! This year... not so much. The real tree, that I usually love to decorate "my" way, has only a few ornaments, that the kiddos pulled out and put on when the tree went up. The "fake" tree just got put up yesterday, rather haphazardly, and is looking a bit sad. And that's it. No stockings, garlands, candles, trees, wreaths, etc. The wicker furniture hasn't even been pulled off the porch and put away for the winter! Luckily my sister and a friend came over on Saturday and did some baking! We "cut back" drastically in the gifts department, and haven't even begun to wrap. (Although the task isn't nearly as overwhelming as some years!) I so look forward to hosting a Christmas brunch for my parents and my in-laws, a tradition I started when we got married, and yet I just couldn't pull it together this year.
What's my excuse? Not sure. Could be that I am now a Mom to 5 busy young ones. Could be that I am 8 months pregnant for our 6th little love. Could be that the tight budget just hasn't allowed for it this year.
And yet, Christmas is here. I am enjoying listening to Christmas music throughout the day and into the evening. The tree(s) seem to look just as magical, especially at night, even without all the details. The childrens' programs were as special as ever. And I am so grateful to be surrounded by an awesome bunch of friends and family. And thankful to have been blessed with an awesome man I call my husband, and our beautiful children.
Merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Must Try.....

From Coffee, Cake and Chocolate via Design Crush

I have always been a fan of an old family favorite known to me as Butter Tarts. However, I have often wondered if they could be even better without the raisins. (I know, I know. You'd hate to have an ounce of anything remotely healthy added to an indulgence, right?) When I stumbled across these, I knew I must try them at some point this holiday season. They look and sound devine...

Caramel Tarts
1½ cups flour
½ cup sugar
125g cold butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsps iced water

395g can sweetened condensed milk
75g butter
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsps golden syrup
3-4 tbsps flaked almonds to decorate

To make the pastry, place the flour, butter and sugar into a food processor and process for 20-30 seconds until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk, vanilla essence and water and pulse until mixture comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To make the caramel, put all the ingredients in a saucepan (except almonds!) and stir over a medium heat until combined.

When ready to bake, spray 2 Texan muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray (or whatever size muffin pans you have). preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is about 2-3 mm thick. Using a 9cm cutter, cut 12 rounds from the pastry and press them gently into the bottom of the muffin pans. The pastry should come up the sides about 1cm. If using smaller pans, adjust the size of the rounds accordingly.

Spoon the caramel into the pastry shells, filling almost to the top. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and bake in the lower part of the oven for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden. they may need a shorter cooking time if using smaller pans. Cool for 10 mins before lifting out onto a cooling rack.

Source: Foodtown magazine, June/July 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Avocado and Plum

Purple and Green, originally uploaded by findingcalminchaos.

Row 1: Invitation (the knot), Bride (the knot), Shoes (Tanya Goodwin via Perfect Bound)
Row 2: Reception (the knot), Bouquet (the knot), Pears
Row 3: Tie (the knot), Votives (via Once Wed), Photo Collage (the knot)
Row 4: Cake Topper (via Once Wed), Wish Tree (via Ritzy Bee), Car (Brides)

This post has taken me forever to put together, and I am still not happy with the way it turned out. I was trying to put together a somewhat casual look using dark purple and avocado green against a warm, rustic backdrop. So, while I haven't had much to show for it, I have been devoting quite a bit of time on this! I thought the image below nicely captured the feel of this board, but I wasn't able to use the image in that application.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Warm Autumn- Orange and Turquoise

Row 1: Wagon (Brides), Shawl (Etsy), Bridesmaid (The Knot)
Row 2: Invitation (Etsy), Bouquet (Brides), Seating Cards (The Knot)
Row 3: Tweed Suit (The Knot), Children (Brides), Carame Apple (Brides)
Row 4: Necklace (Etsy), Ring Pillow (The Knot), Aisle (The Knot)

We learned an important lesson at our house recently. Never dump a glass of lemonade on the laptop keyboard. It will wreck the computer. So, that is why I have been MIA for a while here...

Thought I would put together a "fall" wedding board, using the traditional orange. But, I thought the turquoise accent gave it a pleasant twist. I love the idea of using tweed for the men's suits. And the shawl would be perfect either for the bridesmaids, or the bride herself for some fun pictures, and to keep warm following the ceremony and into the evening.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Green and White Hydrangeas

Row 1: Table (Brides), Bouquet (the Knot), Cake (the Knot)
Row 2: Pew Decor (the Knot), Shoes (the Knot), Napkin (the Knot)
Row 3: Iced Tea Station (Brides), Suit (the Knot), Program (the Knot)
Row 4: FG/ RB (the Knot), Pear Vases (the Knot), Limeade Favors (the Knot)

I think this has to be my favorite board so far. Could be because of the green, could be the hydrangeas (another favorite of mine), could be that I just like the simple, classic color palate.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rustic Victorian

Row one: Strawberry Pie (MS), Reception Shed (the Knot), Wedding Dress (Brides)
Row two: Bicycle Built for Two (Brides), BM Dress (Rebecca Thuss), Table setting (the Knot)
Row three: Typewriter guest book (the Knot), Floral Centerpiece (the Knot), Invitation (via frolic!)

I'm feeling rather "autumnal", and thus the rich jewel tones of this board, mixed in with rustic fall countryside. I picture lush, textured fabrics (velvet and burlap). While I would keep the ceremony decor to a minimum and allow the beauty of nature to set the tone, for the reception I would take things up a notch. I love the idea of contrasting the simple setting of the shed with an abundance of mixed jewel-toned flowers and fruit. The meal would also showcase the bounty of nature, with succulent fruits and veggies accompanying each dish.

Monday, September 8, 2008

It's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

I'm back!

I don't really have a good excuse for being gone. I found out in the beginning of June that we are expecting #6 to arrive sometime at the end of January. And then the funniest thing happened. Along with the aversions to some of my favorite foods (coffee, salads) came an unexplainable aversion to want to have anything to do with this blog! Never mind the fact that life became somewhat of a mere existence, just trying to keep my head above water and not drown in the overwhelming weariness of the first trimester. It was a good day if I got the dishes done, a load or two of laundry to go, and supper made in time for hubs to get home. Blogging just felt somewhat out of the realm of possibility, even if I had been interested.

But, along with September came the kids' return to school, the beginning of the 2nd trimester, and renewed energy and a sense of new beginning. It feels so good!

So. I am hoping to be back to posting regularly again.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Family Reunion

Family Reunion, originally uploaded by findingcalminchaos.

Row 1: Party Sign from Cox and Cox, Lanterns (the knot), Croquet (BHG)
Row 2: Flag Bunting from Etsy Seller, Cookie Jars image by Amor*ology via Oh Happy Blog, Bottle Tops
Row 3: Photo Booth from {frolic!}, Crayons (the knot), Sandwich (BHG)

Now, my sisters will probably just about die when they see what I have posted here, as this event is supposed to be Simple! Easy! and Informal! (You see, I have a habit of making these things too complicated) Never fear, my dears. This is just for fun. Although, I did try to keep this board real, as in we ARE hoping to incorporate quite a few of the elements. (Photo booth, Croquet, Cookies) I'll try to post a few pics of the real event in a few weeks.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Flag Day!

Row 1: Dessert Buffet via Lucky Me, Parfaits (MS), Dress, Mini Burger (MS)
Row 2: Reception Table, Flag Planter (MS), Mini Pie Favors found via S&I, Ceremony (Red Barn Studios)
Row 3: Suit by JCrew, Red Barn (Red Corral Ranch), Cake (MS) found via Wedding Inspirations, Stationery by Bellis
Row 4: Bouquet from Etsy seller tinarie21, Reception (Red Barn Studios), Flags from Country Living Magazine, Trike from Brides, via S&I

In recognition of Flag Day falling on a Saturday this year, I thought I'd do a Flag Day Wedding Board. Could be used for Memorial Day, 4th of July, or (in the instance the stationery was designed for) a couple who met through their politically tied jobs! No matter which side of the isle you are on, and in a time of political dis-satisfaction in this country, I still say we live in the greatest nation on earth. So, get out your flag and fly it with pride! (or don't. 'cuz that IS what makes this nation so great.)

I'd love to see an old upright piano used for the prelude music (you're a grand old flag), as well as the more traditional ceremony tunes. I like the look of a vintage-styled, knee-length white dress with red accessories- a red sash at the waist, simple red bead necklace and red shoes. A short or bird-cage veil would be cute as well. I think the key to pulling this off without making it feel too cheesy, is to choose a venue that naturally lends itself to the colors, for example the red barn with white trim that is used here. Then, use the colors of red, white and blue generously, but be selective in actually using the flag so that it doesn't feel overdone.

***Update: I just came across this lovely photo while perusing {frolic!}

***Update #2: The perfect table setting from Rebecca Thuss

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Photo Booths- What fun!

My sisters and I are in the process of planning a little, informal family reunion in a few weeks. It dawned on me the other day that we need to have a DIY photo booth set up. Here are some images that have inspired me:

(as always, click on picture for link back to source. thanks!)

Thank Goodness It's {green} Friday!

Clockwise from top left:

Cuff Links

Thought I'd put together a Father's Day- inspired collage today. I know it's so cliche to give a tie for Father's Day, but how could you go wrong with one as hip as this? Love the 3-D card- how do people do these things?? The romper is for the little one that gives proof of fatherhood, to wear in honor and appreciation of the man he calls dad. And, the classy cuff links are for the guy who works in the office from 9-5 to provide for his family.

The Dad in our house will be gone fishing Friday and Saturday, so our plans here are to create some cards and make a yummy breakfast for him on Sunday. Then we'll spend the afternoon hanging out as a family, I think. Oh. And we'll let him off of diaper-changing-duties for the day. What could be better than that??

Hope your weekend is a special one!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Modern Formality, Teal and Golden Yellow

Row 1: Church from The Knot, Petal Bouquet from MS, Dress from Brides
Row 2: Calligraphy by Laura Hooper via S&I, Cake from the Knot, Mango Puree from the Knot
Row 3: Reception Lounge from The Knot, Vest & Tie via, Teal Car via Flickr

eyelet and lace

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Thank Goodness It's {green} Friday!

Camping with Etsy, originally uploaded by findingcalminchaos.

er, Saturday. *cough, cough*

My hubby was really looking forward to taking the 6 and 4 year old boys camping this weekend, but got rained out. They are all very disappointed. So. This post is dedicated to all those who wish they were communing with the great out-doors, but can't. At least not in the fun, camping sort of way.

All images found on Etsy.
Back Pack
Bug Soap
Tree Stamp
The Buttons Go Camping Journal
Camping Decals

Did you make it out camping this weekend? I think my favorite camping activity is sitting around the camp fire in the evenings. What is yours?

Sunset in the Rockies

Row 1: Gift via weddingbee, Ring, Bouquet
Row 2: Groom, Invites, Blue Truck
Row 3: Cake, Sweetheart Table, Ceremony
Row 4: Aisle Petals, Punch photo by Gertrude & Mable Photography via Snippet & Ink, Bridesmaid via weddingbee

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Southern Comfort

Southern Comfort, originally uploaded by findingcalminchaos.

Row 1: Wall decals by Blik via Velocity, Bridesmaid Dress, Cake, Shoes all via
Row 2: Shirley Plantation via flickr, Invitation by Idieh Design via Toast and Tables, Dress by Alfred Angelo via
Row 3: Umbrellas, Reception both via the knot
Row 4: Reception Tent from the Knot, Groom via Brides, Bouquet, Table Centerpiece

This board was inspired by the image of the invitation. I liked the unique and quirky aspects of it, as well as the variety of color. I imagined a ceremony held on the front porch of an old, Southern plantation home, with the ceremony held in a nearby tent. I was looking for a touch of southern formal, toned down by a barrage of muted bold colors. I like the idea of using historical figures for table names, or another option would be vintage tea tins like these from Martha, for a nod to the past.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Dirty Little Secret That's Been Swept Under the Rug

To anyone out there with a large family, or a room with heavy traffic like a back entryway or mudroom, it's time to bring the outdoors in. Wait now. There are days when I wish everyone could just leave more of the outdoors, OUT! With 6 people regularly coming and going, we seem to have a continuous sand box in our house. I considered putting down some grass seed, giving it a sprinkle of water here and there, and creating an organic rug, but that seemed a bit extreme. And then I discovered the beauty of the outdoor rug. I have one in my back entryway and it is the best thing ever! So much cuter than many of the options that are designed for this type of space. And so, so, so easy to clean! The ones I am talking about are made out of polypropylene. Simply sweep, or vacuum for daily cleaning. (Forgot the dustpan in the closet? Just lift one corner of the rug, check if mom is looking, and give a brisk sweeping motion with the broom.) But, if it is looking a little worn out and weary, take it outside, hose it off, and let dry. Fantastic! And, size for size, I think they are quite affordable! And cute! Did I mention cute?

(As always, click on picture for link to source.)

I think this brown floral one would look cute in a laundry room, or even a master bathroom that needs an added boost of style.

I love the brick red color of this one. The one I have is (sort of) along these lines, only more orange, and an all-over large print floral. I love the cheery welcome it greets us with every time we come home!

I just think this one is pretty. This would work well in a more formal front entry.
And this one. Well, did I mention that I like green things? Even bright,-lime colored green things? So many things and so little time. (oh. what? i need more money? ah, shucks.) See, that's why I have this blog. "cuz dreamin' don't cost nothin'!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thank Goodness It's {green} Friday!

Green Vinyl Wall Decals, originally uploaded by findingcalminchaos.

I have fallen in love with vinyl wall decals. There are just so many places I can think of to put one that I can't decided where to start! Luckily, they are quite reasonable, so I may just have to purchase several.

I know, I know. I cheated on the bike picture, as the actual decal is black. I was always drawn to decals that were colors other than green, 'cuz almost all of the walls in my house are green. I think I just might have to buy it for my back entryway. I think it would look perfect as I already have this print in there:
Click on pic for link to

Actually, it would be fun to put the frog in there as well, down near the baseboards, for a touch of surprise. We are a home for kids, you know.

I also have my eye on a couple others, one that I'll be blogging about in the near future, and one that I would like to put in my powder bath.

There are just so, so, so many ideas! I'm sure you'll see a lot of these popping up in my entries. I am just that fond of them.

How about you? Do you have one in your home? Any that you fancy, or ideas of how to use them?

Photos all courtesy of Etsy sellers:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Blogging Woes

Arg. I am having issues with getting my Friday post to show up correctly. It keeps leaving off half of my typing when I publish the post. It is late. I am tired. I will have to be tardy with getting all of the lovely green things I found to you this week. I am off the the Children's Museum tomorrow with my 1st grader. Good Times! Must. Get. Some. Sleep.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Black and White Formal Meets Country


Row 1: Chandelier via {frolic!}, Dress Nordstrom's, Veil here, Bouquet via The Knot,
Row 2:
Suit Nordstrom's, Anemone Ribbon Bout via InStyle Weddings, B-Maid dress from J. Crew, Bouquet via The Knot,
Row 3:
Programs via The Knot, Barn, Reception via The Knot, Guest Book via {frolic!},
Row 4:
Escort Card Crystals via The Knot, Reception via The Knot, Children Peeking via The Knot, Candy Buffet,
Row 5: Cake, Oreos and Milk, all from The Knot, Silhouettes via Etsy seller MissCrowland, Just Married Car via Brides

Please bear with me as I am a rookie at creating these boards. I realized once I put it all into this format that it looks rather busy and a bit awkward. I hope it still conveys the ideas I am trying to get across! Now, you tell me. What works? What doesn't? Does this all black and white board spell out f-u-n or y-a-w-n?

***Update: You have to check out Snippet and Ink's post today, Down Home Black Tie. So Cute!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

Pause and remember....

Click on picture for credits.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thank Goodness It's {green} Friday!

In order to satisfy my love of all (okay. most.) things green, I have decided that I am going to declare Fridays as "Green Day". Every Friday I am going to post a medley of random finds that are, essentially, green. While I love How About Orange's blog, I'm not quite dedicated enough to devote my whole blog to the color. You'll have to get your fill of things green on Friday. So. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here is some green greatness to feast your eyes upon.
From cb2 (click on picture for link). Affordable, too!

Also from cb2. Love the color, the pattern. Just don't have a place for it!

So cute. If I were to get married again (really, I hope I never do.) I wouldn't have a problem deciding what color to go with. Green. For that matter, I had green when I did get married. It's just... there are so many fun, awesome, lovable greens to choose from. How would I ever pick just one?

*sigh* If only I could get DH to wear this. I think he would look smashing.

Cute! Fun! Click on picture to read her description, and the secret word on the back. I love things that exude a little humor. Life is short, you know.

Ahhh. I think I should purchase this and hang it in my kitchen. 'Cuz some days I could use a reminder. or two. For that matter, it should become the banner for this blog! Click on pic to see more from this Etsy seller.

Fantastic. A compact carrier for my ipod/iphone. For nights on the town. And it's green! If only I had an ipod. or went out on the town.

Yes! If I were a gal with a "real" job, or even "just' a yuppy soccer-mom, I would have to have this sleeve. For my Caramel Macchiatos. Unfortunately, I mostly just stay home. And drink Folgers.

So, today I am off to the zoo on the kindergarten field trip. Where we should see lots of lovely green things. And brown. And spotted. And striped. What are you doing today? I hope it includes something green, eh-hem, I mean great!