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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring Fling Skirt Tutorial

I have a board on Pinterest labeled "Future Craft Projects." This board is full of fun and creative craft projects -- most of them I've never had the chance to do.
My daughter LOVES wearing skirts and dresses. In fact, she insists on wearing one or the other on a daily basis.
I decided to go ahead and attempt one of the numerous skirt tutorials I have pinned to my board.
And let me just tell you -- I have absolutely fallen in love with this tutorial. It's called the Spring Fling Skirt. This blogger does a wonderful job of explaining how to make this skirt, including posting several pictures. A nice thing about this tutorial is that it's a very simple project to do, even for the novice seamstress.
And one of the best parts about this skirt is: it's reversible!
The two pictures above are of the exact same 4 skirts!

Picking out the coordinating fabrics & binding was a lot of fun!
On this one I broke the rule of no directional fabrics.

I just love this material so much that I didn't care if some of the cupcakes ended up hanging upside down or sideways.

And here's the other side of the same skirt! I let my daughter pick out this material today from the patriotic section at JoAnn. 


I love the color combination of green and turquoise. 

Here's the other side of the floral skirt. This material is Marvel Comics super heros! I happened to find a yard of this in the remnants section so with the extra discount it ended up only being $3.50 -- score!

I'm loving this combination of super girly flowers and tomboy superheros!

This black and white material is from Hobby Lobby and is very soft!

And the other side of the same skirt is Mickey Mouse -- so fun!

Tada {again}!

And last but not least: this beautiful blue floral print....

... paired with a dainty heart-flower material.

Soft and feminine!

And the neat thing about this material is that it is the same fabric my mom used for my daughter's coming-home-from-the-hospital outfit!

Now the only problem I'll run into is how will my daughter decide which one to wear each day!
She had a blast today wearing her "princess skirt."
It's perfect for twirling and jumping and running!

You may be wondering, which skirt did she pick to wear the first day she had all 8 {4} to choose from? 
Mickey Mouse, of course! I wasn't surprised at all.

Thank you so much for joining me on this skirt adventure.
Rest assured that if you are my friend and you have a daughter, you will receive a skirt like this at the next event we attend. It is so precious.
Please go check out the original tutorial at This Heart of Mine and show her some extra love!
Do you have a favorite tutorial or blog that you found on Pinterest?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mother's Day Out

I know, I know -- it's been a while! Things have gotten busy in real estate and I'm not disciplined enough yet with my blogging to make time to write posts amidst the chaos. I'm so sorry!
But I'm back & ready to share with you all!

My daughter has been in a Mother's Day Out program since she was 15 months old. She attends school at a little Baptist church near us, two days a week for a few hours each day. It's been so wonderful for both of us, and we love the teachers & curriculum, so my husband and I decided to enroll our son, as well. He will be 15 months old in a few weeks so he's about to start!

My friend Mandy made my daughter a nap mat one year for Christmas and it's been great at school. And now that my son is about to start, I need to make one for him! I have seen several different tutorials for nap mats on Pinterest but have picked out the one I'm going to use to make his.
So now I have the pattern and the supplies -- all I have left to do is block out the time so I can sit down & sew!

I promise I'll share the tutorial with you all after I'm done (and I'll give my thoughts & opinions on it, too).

Have you ever attempted to make a nap mat for your child(ren) or anyone else before?
Were you successful? 
Did you use a tutorial/pattern or did you just guess as you went along?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Weight Loss -- Really Real

So for quite a while now, I have needed to get serious about losing weight. To be specific, approximately 50lbs. And I can give you a laundry list of excuses as to why I haven't done much anything about it but that's not what this post is about. I had two children within 18 months of each other, and gained over 50lbs during each pregnancy. It is high time I get myself in shape for many important reasons:
{overall health, longevity of life for my husband and children, my body is a temple, brothers wedding fast approaching, etc}

A few months ago I signed up for The Color Run, my first 5K. I thought I'd get motivated and start training for the run. I ran some, but not nearly as much as I should have been running.

Then a few weeks ago I decided I'd start the workout DVD set, Insanity. April 1st rolled around (my startup day) and I of course have had a laundry list of excuses why I couldn't start each day since then.

So here I am, for all of the blog world to see. I am looking toward my lovely readers as the encouragement and accountability that I need. I WILL start the Insanity DVD's tomorrow. I WILL make a strong effort to make better food choices.

I'm looking forward to taking this journey with each and every one of you!

What's your favorite weightloss DVD or show or program?

Are you a disciplined eater?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


These days, every time you open your facebook page you see an ad for a friend or a friend's friend who has decided to try their hand at photography. Some actually have great talent and do a great job. But so very many really aren't great at all.
I was fortunate enough to find an awesome photographer for my kids right from the beginning. You can see in this post she did both of my childrens' newborn pictures. She also did my son's 6 month pictures & my daughter's 2 year pictures. And our most recent venture with her was my son's 1 year pictures. And as usual, she didn't let us down. Her name is Jacqueline Childress of Tiny Impressions Photography. You can see her website HERE and her facebook page HERE.

My son's birthday party was sock monkey themed {check back later for a post about the party} so for his pictures we used some props from the party decor.
The best smile we got from him all morning was when the photographer's son came in to say hi....
And this particular morning my son was obsessed with this toy....
And his precious face in black and white...
And then there was my favorite part of the shoot -- his smash cake!
At this point the photographer and I laughed when she said "I don't think it's physically possible for him to have anymore cake on his hands right now."
As always, balloons are a must...
Oh his sweet, sweet face....

And now I'll finish this post with one more gem...

Do you have professional pictures taken of your children? Your family? Your significant other?
What was your child's reaction after tasting cake for the first time?

{party hat, tie, and bunting were made by Blessed Creations by B}

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Change of Plans

My plan for this evening was to write a wonderful post about my recent garage sale experience. That plan quickly changed when I happened to check in on my one-year old son. He felt very warm to me so I got him up to give him Advil and take his temperature. It definitely caught me by surprise to see the number -- 105.7!
We called the after hours number for our pediatrician and they recommended we take him to the ER or another urgent care facility that was equipped for babies.
I took him and the place was great. The doctor ended up diagnosing him with what he kept referring to as Slap Cheek.
I was given some tips on how to manage his fever and sent on my merry little way.
On the way home we stopped for Advil and Tylenol. I let my son play with the boxes and it seriously made him the happiest baby ever.

Have you ever had a late night scare with your child(ren)?

Becky Brooks

Monday, March 4, 2013

One Half

My children are 18 months apart, almost to the day. Which means their birthdays fall almost exactly 6 months apart each year. Tomorrow my daughter will be 2 1/2 and on Thursday my son will be 1. I saw a cute idea on Pinterest (where most of my ideas my inspiration comes from) that I decided to start.
Unfortunately I cannot find the original pin to give them credit, but it was adorable!
We aren't having a party or giving presents. But my daughter will wake up to this:
It's definitely not my fanciest work.... 
But I think she'll get a kick out of it! 
I went with strawberry cake & strawberry icing.
Because they're pink!

I hope you have a blessed day!

What's your favorite way to celebrate little milestones in life?
Had you ever heard of a half birthday celebration before?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Just Checking In

So... life has been super busy the last few weeks. Sorry I've been absent. Real estate has picked up, my daughter had pneumonia, and I'm in the middle of planning my son's first birthday party so my days have been full.
This morning we had my son's 1 year pictures done by one of my favorite photographers, Jacqueline of Tiny Impressions Photography. I'm so excited to see how they turn out. She took both of my childrens' newborn pictures:

 and their 2 year/6 month pictures:

Here's a peek of today's fun (she didn't take this one -- I did with my phone -- so don't judge her by this one). My son didn't want to smile all morning but Jacqueline was so patient and worked hard to get great pictures.
I'll share some of hers when they're ready.
Have a blessed weekend!

Becky Brooks

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Handicapped by Technology

Is it just me or has society become handicapped by technology?
I'm a Realtor and was out showing lease houses this morning to a client. And after the very last house I showed him, my phone died (which I had been using for GPS). 
I was in Saginaw and I don't know my way around that city at all without some form of navigational help. But I thought to myself, "no problem - I've got this."
Not. So. Much.
I was trying to get to Grapevine but ended up in Lake Worth. Oops.
I then had to find a store that sold car chargers. And then I had to sit in the car & wait for my phone to charge enough to turn back on. I didn't want to attempt to drive anywhere without the GPS for fear of getting lost again.
My phone finally turned back on, I opened up Google Maps, and was back on the road, headed in the correct direction.
But that entire ordeal wasted an hour of my day. An hour!
And who knows peoples' phone numbers these days (besides a few close family members)?
Other constant technology uses:
-checking email
-watching Netflix
-surfing Pinterest
-looking up definitions or how to spell a word
-sending text messages (sometimes to avoid calling a person)
-MLS (multiple listing service for Realtors -- seriously, I don't know how real estate agents were able to get anything done before MLS came along)
and the list goes on and on.

Don't get me wrong, I love technology (but not as much as you, you see...) but it became painfully obvious to me today that I have come to rely on some forms of technology (namely my phone) way too much. 
Make sure you take time to pull away & detach from technology every once in a while. Enjoy this beautiful planet the Lord gave us!

What is your technology guilty pleasure?
What in your life would seemingly collapse without technology?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pinterest Top 10: Chocolate Cake Recipes

If you're anything like me, you love Pinterest.
And again, if you're anything like me, you pin a bunch of great ideas on Pinterest but only get around to doing/using about 10% of those pins.
I've decided to once a week give you a list of the top 10 pins (in my personal opinion) for different categories. And I would love for you to share your favorite pins for those categories, as well!
This week I thought I'd start out with something fun:
I mean come on, who doesn't love a delicious chocolate cake?!
Here we go!

#1. The Best Chocolate Cake {ever}
I see this one commonly described as: the Best Chocolate Cake {ever} so of course it needs to be #1! Head on over to Add a Pinch to see the full recipe along with many mouthwatering pictures [it's where I snagged the one above]. It's simple, moist, and delicious.

#2. Creamy Nutella Chocolate Cake
I have recently seen an influx of Nutella-based recipes on Pinterest and this brings joy to my mouth. I hope you have tried Nutella. But if you haven't, stop reading this post & immediately drive to the store & buy a container. It is a delicious mix of hazelnut & chocolate. Yum.
This recipe is from Luxe Finds and uses a Trader Joe's Cake Mix & a few other ingredients, including Nutella. Sounds delicious! In the picture above [found on their page] they have paired it will vanilla ice cream. Perfection!

#3. Midnight Sin Chocolate Cake
Oh, wow. I found this recipe on the Not So Humble Pie blog and it looks absolutely sinful! This picture from their page makes me not only want to bake this cake this instant, but it also makes me aware of my desire for the perfect white cake stand.
{I collect cake stands but that's an entirely different issue we'll talk about another day}
You can tell just by looking at this picture that is it moise & rich & will require a full glass of milk to finish. This one is a must-try.

#4. Almond Espresso Chocolate Cake
I love almond {flavoring, especially}.
I love espresso {peppermint mochas from Sbux are my weakness}.
I love chocolate {anything}.
So a cake that combines those three flavors is a little piece of heaven, in my opinion!
Taste of Home seemingly nailed-it with this recipe! Their picture above makes my mouth water. And I love that they garnished theirs with powdered sugar, chocolate shavings, and espresso beans. Precious. I WILL bake this in the near future -- I just need to find a reason to first!
{as if you really need a reason to bake a chocolate cake}

#5. Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
I definitely thought I should feature a gluten-free cake in this list. I used to {attempt} to bake gluten-free desserts for a co-worker a few years ago. I was usually pretty disappointed with the end result. It always seemed to turn out dry and flat.
I found this recipe on King Arthur Flour and as you can see from their picture above, this recipe doesn't seem to have either of those problems!
[make sure you read their tips in this recipe to ensure the proper allergy-free results & best consistency]

#6. Chocolate Banana Cake with Buttercream Frosting
This next one I know is delicious because the recipe is endorsed by one of my favorite bloggers, Dara, over at The Hungry Momma blog. She's a whiz in the kitchen so whatever she tells you to do -- do it! This cake is yummy and delicious and sure to please the masses {even the little picky eaters in your life}. Mmmmmm.....
[keep your eyes out for that lovely Dara -- she's someone you want to keep up with in the future]

Time for the 7th Recipe Stretch -- or something like that.
Do you feel like you've gained a few extra pounds just by reading this recipes?
One fun idea is to bake and then give away! You could make your favorites & then take them up to your local fire station or police station & share the love with some of the bravest people around. <3

Now back to the grind.

#7. Fruit & Chocolate Cake Recipe
As you can tell from this picture from Food Lve, this recipe has a wonderful presentation. And it kind of makes you feel like you're eating healthy because hey, there's fruit on there!
{though this recipe is cheating a bit because let's be real, it's actually a brownie under there but who doesn't love brownies?}
I feel like this one would be lovely to bake & bring to a party. It's easy and looks delicious -- what more could you ask for?

#8. Coca-Cola Cake
I'm from the South {hooray for Texas} so I couldn't make a list of chocolate cake recipes without including a Coca-Cola cake. You can find many variations of this recipe all over the web. And as you can tell from this picture from Serious Eats, you actually use Coca-Cola when baking {hence the name}. This cake is moist, rich, and delicious.

#9. Julia Child's Queen of Sheba Cake
Why? Because what's a baking top 10 list without something by Julia Child? She's amazing.  So that means this cake is amazing. She is wonderful to watch on old cooking shows. She was real. She was talented. And she was funny!
Her recipes are usually trickier than the normal add-your-eggs-and-beat-then-pour-in-the-pan type of recipes. And this one fits that bill. It's not at an expert level, but don't try it when you have a toddler at your heels wanting to help and you're in a hurry to throw something in the oven. I am sure the end result of this one will be worth the extra effort! I found this recipe and picture on the Women's Health Magazine blog. 

And last but not least.....

#10. Vegan Chocolate Cake
Now I am not a vegan nor have I ever wanted to be a vegan (just a personal choice -- nothing against vegans of course). So why did I choose this one? Honestly, because my daughter picked it. My brain is tired from sifting {<--- baking humor} through so many chocolate cake recipes so I had my 2.5year-old daughter come point to a picture on Pinterest. But I think it's the perfect choice! I included a gluten-free cake so it only seems fitting that I'd also include a vegan cake. Vegans needs chocolate cake love, too! ;D
I found this recipe & picture on Hub Pages posted by Melissa Davis. 
P.S. You'll never guess the secret ingredient that helps this cake be soft & fluffy without using eggs!!

I hope you've enjoyed this week's edition of Pinterest Top 10.

Now I'm challenging you to pick one {or more} of these delicious chocolate cake recipes & try it out for yourself! I'd love to hear how they turned out!

And now I leave you with two {not-so} deep questions:

Is there a delicious chocolate cake recipe that you love that I didn't feature on this list?

What would you like the theme of next week's Pinterest Top 10 to be?