May 31, 2010

before and afters

Nothing brightens a house (and my mood) more than some newly painted walls. I have a large framed print that I love the green colors in. It hangs on a small wall in the eating nook between the kitchen and family room. I proposed to Mr. Hawthorne that we paint the wall green to pick up the colors in the picture. Just one wall, one dark color. (In our last house, most of the walls were painted a dark color and although we loved it, we opted for lighter walls in this house).

Mr. Hawthorne set out to buy paint and came home with BEHR "Moss Landing".

Three coats later...Ta-Da!!

The hallway got a new color too. I very much wanted a light turquoise/blue-ish color for the entry way and a linen color for majority of the house color. Mr. Hawthorne came home with BEHR "Aqua Breeze" and BEHR "Off-White". Nothing has been painted in the off-white color yet so I'm eager to see just how it turns out. Although I love the idea of lighter walls this go around, I'm wondering if the off-white will have enough color in it for me.

The hallway was a dirty, dingy white probably painted a million years ago. And, now it's a lovely easy, breezy light blue. Fresh!!

All-in-all Mr. Hawthorne could start a side business painting houses because he rocks at it. I am a horrible painter. He is good at picking out colors and excellent at putting paint on the walls. Did I mention he is my go-to guy when it comes to painting furniture different colors too. We've revamped several hand-me-down and thrifted pieces which I love. Nothing makes me 'happy dance' more than finding a really well made piece of furniture in an ugly color, bring it home and watching Mr. Hawthorne puts his painting talents to work.

May 30, 2010

antique adventure

I spent the day with five fabulous ladies in the Snohomish WA antique district today. We walked, we talked, we shopped and we ate. It was heavenly. I went with plans not to buy anything but ended up scoring big time. Isn't that always the way?! Anyway, thank you pals! It was a perfect way to spend my Sunday.

May 29, 2010

baby advice 101

The girls were rummaging through a closet this morning and while digging out old Halloween costumes, they dumped out a bag of cards from when I was pregnant with El Fuego. My work mates had hosted a baby shower in which they presented me with "Baby Advice". Each co-worker wrote their best advice for becoming a new mother. It was interesting to compare what was most important to each person. It was also evident which people were new to parenthood themselves and which people were very much removed from that chapter of their lives. With my favorite "YODA" loving family recently welcoming their third baby boy into the world, it inspired me to write the advice that was given to me almost nine years ago. Ready? Here goes:



Enjoy and record every new milestone. Take lots of pictures and write where and when.
~Kathy

Hold your little one as much as you want and never worry about "spoiling" him! Talk to him every minute he is awake!
~Mary

1.Take as many naps during the beginning - don't worry about showering!
2.Point the pee-pee down!
3.Ask about the mini-pill at the 6 week appointment.
4.Go out to eat often the 1st three months.
5.Order out often!
6.Make dad get up at night every other night!
~Tina

Take time to let your son sleep in your arms so you can feel his warmth, take his baby expressions and hear his little baby sounds. Remember, it takes at least an hour to pack his diaper bag, extra clothes for both of you, and get him in his car seat! You'll be a wonderful mother.
~Julie

Love your boy unconditionally and teach him to be accountable.
~Renee

1.Always bring at least 2 extra sets of baby clothes in case of explosive diarrhea!
2.Pamper yourself when he is asleep, you rest, too
~Tara

Have fun! Keep your sense of humor! Enjoy the moment!
~Lori

Take all the advice you get with a grain of salt. There are few hard rules or constants when raising a child.
~Shawn

Enjoy the whole experience: the good times out weigh all the bad.
~Annette

Your husband is lucky to have you. Remind him often!
~Helena

May 28, 2010

career day

This afternoon I visited the second grade classroom to catch up some on some business. The kids each chose a career they wanted to pursue and created projects. El Fuego wants to be a pro baseball player when he grows up.

dancing girls

Petite Artiste and Miss Divine are gearing up for their recital next week. They both had observations days in class the other day so the parents could see them rehearse their dances. Both classes were adorable. I am always impressed at how well the girls are doing with dance. Miss Divine loves to tap and she tends to tap her feet unconscieniously all the time. Petite Artiste loves to twirl and her plies are downright cute in everyway.

May 26, 2010

chocolate honeycakes

I predict very soon that you will grow tired of reading about my adventures into soap making. I apologize. This is all so new and exciting for me. And, I find a huge amount of joy in being creative and having it actually turn out.


Sadly, I'm not so sure this is the case for my brand new soap du jour. After some research, I learned beeswax and honey will make for a fabulous firm soap with super skin loving qualities. So I played around with some ingredients and test ran some chocolate honeycakes.


FYI: do not insulate your soap made with honey for it will cause the soap to superheat and although I'm not sure what super heating will actually do to your soap, I didn't want to find out. So I took the Internet's advice and did not insulate my soap. Also, the beeswax batter got very thick, very fast which didn't allow me a whole of time to mix in the honey and pour into the molds. The mold I used is a cupcake/muffin tin hence the name "honeycakes".





soapy love

By Golly! I think I have myself some actual soap. This has very much been a trial and error experiment of the whole soap making process; not to mention the fact that I have NEVER made soap in my life. This is my third attempt and the best sample to date. I've played around with the recipe and this time I added the cocoa butter soap on top. It's clear I need to work on my swirl technique though.


Now I wait.....six whole weeks for the soap to cure.


Next up: chocolate beehive honey soap.

May 25, 2010

cocoa butter soap :: batch #3

I just put soap batch #3 to bed and in 24 hours I am hoping to reveal some beautiful soap. About a week ago, I made chocolate soap using by product from the cacao bean produced from the process of making chocolate. This particular chocolate by product is straight from the Cotton Tree Chocolate company in Belize.


Today, I used my tweaked recipe and added a layer of cocoa butter soap on top, mixing it slightly. I very much would love to see some fun swirls and patterns when the soap is cured. And I'm first to admit that making soap is a lesson in patience for me. Once you put a batch to bed, you are supposed to wait at least 24 hours for it to go through the saponification process. This is very, very hard for me. I want to peek and poke and tweak and examine. But I know if I want the soap to look anything like it is supposed to look then I need to leave it be.

Here are my oils and chocolate by product about to be heated up and mixed. The by product smells a bit like chocolate brownie and the cocoa butter smells delish too. I must refrain myself from wanting to take a nibble.

All melted...looking like chocolate soup.

Then I mix up my lye water solution. This is the dangerous part.

When making soap using lye always, always, always wear eye protection and gloves as well as long sleeve shirts and pants. Make sure to be careful not to breathe in fumes as well.

The lye water solution gets very hot!!

Once I mixed my chocolate soap together with the lye solution, I poured it into the mold, covered and let sit while I whipped up the cocoa butter soap. Here are my oils and cocoa butter waiting to be melted and mixed.

After adding it's own lye water solution, I used a stick blender and the batter reminded me of pudding. Once I again, I had to remind myself this was soap and not a delicious dessert.

Then I put the cocoa butter soap into the mold on top of the chocolate soap. With a fork I gently mixed. I didn't want to mix the two soaps together completely, but I wanted them to hold hands a little bit. After all, they only just met.

I'm hoping this will make for a fun and beautiful pattern once I'm able to cut it. And get this!!! After 24 hours (or 2 to 3 days), I can cut the loaf, but it has to cure for a grand whopping total of six weeks. Total lesson in patience for me.


Wish me luck!

Side note: I am not a professional soap maker. I'm learning as I go. This is a brand new experience for me as I'm having fun learning. This chocolate soap is a trail run as I try to formulate a recipe or two that turns out gorgeous soap. The idea behind it is that once I get soap recipes that work using this chocolate by product, my friend and all around zen guru, will have a product for retail.

Remember if you want to send me any soap tips or simply just drop me a note, you can email me at littleirishblog@gmail.com.

May 24, 2010

mantel :: before and after

I thought I took a before picture of our living room fireplace mantel before I took everything down, but I guess I didn't. Or at least I can't find it if I did. Which is the case in most instances. Like my brain. I haven't been able to locate that darn thing for at least a month now.
This picture was taken from the craft closet take-over. I had piled everything from a self onto the fireplace which is not how we've lived with the fireplace to date. But it gives you some idea of the mishmash-up like how the clock was not centered on the wall because I simply hung it on an existing nail. I had a few glass jars here and there. Sometimes they had things in them and something they did not. I wasn't in love with the look, but I didn't hate it either.
Then, one day a local craft store had a warehouse sale. I went to check it out having the thought firmly planted in my front lobe that I would not buy a bunch of "stuff" no matter how cheap it was. And I was successful in that until I was preparing to leave, empty handed. That was when I walked passed a huge mirror for....gulp....39 bucks. I've always wanted a big mirror and this deal was just too darn good to pass up.
So I bought that sucker and precariously loaded it into my minivan and brought it home.
BEFORE:

This weekend Mr. Hawthorne hung it on the wall over the fireplace mantel, all centered and everything. I am extremely pleased. I also purchased that lovely vase you see there for a whopping two dollars. I added some branches from the backyard and Voila! Instant makeover!

Next up, we need to get some paint on these walls.

AFTER:

May 18, 2010

May 18, 1980

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. I was five years old and this picture was taken by my mother from our front yard. I don't remember the event aside from always knowing we had this photo and how it resembled a horse head.

May 17, 2010

farm girls are us

The girls and I spent some time down on the farm this past weekend. We fed the herd, brush a few ponies, had a few rides and got very, very dirty as any good farm girl should.




mr hawthorne runs

My Mr. Hawthorne ran his very first marathon this weekend and I'm happy to report he didn't die from doing so. Actually he did quite swell and I believe he is very pleased with his accomplishment, as he should be.


May 13, 2010

three things

I’ve subjected myself to a hailstorm of doctor visits recently not by my choosing, but rather, because I had a brilliant plan to get myself healthy (and lose weight) by signing up for a half marathon in June. A plan so brilliant which led to aches and pains; Some I accounted for and some I didn’t. I expected to be sore but I didn’t expect plantar fasciitis. That was my first hurdle, and I still struggle with it. Besides the normal pain and tribulations with starting a workout routine, I discovered three little known facts about myself along the way. This, by the way, got me no closer to my original goal in any way. Oh no, in fact, I feel further away from said goal than I ever did.

First up: breathing. I planned on running the half marathon as much as I could. That meant I would have to go out running and build myself up. I set my bar very low however. I thought if I could run at least five miles without stopping I would be very pleased with myself. Very pleased indeed. In order to run for that distance one needs the assistance of their lungs to be successful. Mine weren’t in the mood to cooperate in the slightest. I felt like I was trying to breathe through a straw. After visits with my regular medical doctor, earning herself a failing grade, I decided I would call in a specialist. I took some tests, got some meds and followed the plan. The test results showed that my lungs are small most likely caused by my weight. The pressure from the extra weight acts like compression on the lungs, therefore causing them to be smaller according to the pulmonary specialist. Small lungs…who knew. The medicines he prescribed are helping mucho grande however, losing extra poundage would be better. I get it Mr. Doctor. And, I know. This was why I was trying to start a running program for myself in the first place. Catch 22.

Second: fatty liver. Just typing those two little words about myself makes me shiver. It doesn’t sound very cute does it?

“Fatty liver ma’am?”

“Ahhh, no thanks.”

Spying my cute fatty liver in the first place was a not-so-happy accident. I’ve been having tummy troubles and since it’s impossible to have a 24 hour flu bug every other day, I suspected my gallbladder as the culprit. After another doctor visit plus an ultrasound, we discovered my gallbladder was doing just fine but my liver….it is fatty. What that even means I’m not sure except that losing weight would help tremendously. You don’t have to hit me over the head twice.

However, my weird flu bug ailments coupled with intense pain was not alleviated by the discovery of my fatty liver. All we did was rule out my very happy gallbladder as the instigator. Which leads us number three: IBS. Yes, that’s right…Irritable bowel syndrome. Has a lovely ring to it, doesn’t it?

I can’t believe I just wrote that about myself on the world wide web. But, since we are close buds ... two peas in a pod ... the Internet and me ... I can share right? What's a little IBS between friends anyway?! I sort of feel like I just revealed a dirty little secret while flashing on scenes from Along Came Polly.

“Oh don’t worry” my doctor told me, “It’s very common.”

Phew, that’s a relief! (Not!)

The good thing is I started with a medicine that is supposed to help relieve the symptoms. However, my RN friend warned me that IBS is a blanket diagnoses when doctors don’t know what the hell is wrong with you. And, then she told me to request a CT scan of my belly stat. I heed her warning, I do, but I’m going to try these meds for a bit first. I've had my fair share of doctor offices lately and I’m not in a rush to get into another one anytime soon.

So there you go. The three things I’ve recently discovered about myself are I have small lungs, a fatty liver and a cranky pooper. Aren’t I fun to be around!

May 11, 2010

cocoa butter balm :: working title

Tonight I had myself a little experiment. I made chocolate lip balm. Just like that. And you know what? It was pretty darn easy. A little messy, but easy none the less. Not even kidding.

Recently, I've been enlisted to procure myself a set of skills to help my friend, Erin, take flight with her passion. A chocolate passion. And, since I never turn my nose up to chocolate, I am doing my very best not to fail.

Therefore, I decided to do a little test run using chocolate by-product from Erin's chocolate company plus some coconut oil from Belize mixed with some key ingredients for lip balm and voila. To my complete surprise, it worked. It actually worked. I am so excited. Not only did it work, but I can actually put it on my lips and it feels like honest to goodness real lip balm. I'm serious!!! I don't mean to go on tooting my horn, but, *toot*!


Coconut Oil from Belize. Cool huh!
I also added olive oil.

Beeswax and Shea Butter.

Chocolate by-product from Belize.

Melt and mix.

Pour into very cool lip balm tray.

Let cool and harden.

Pull from tray and cap. Awesome!!

May 10, 2010

rock on

I think I'm forming a little love affair with Picasa. It is so fun cropping and making collages and playing! Plus it's pretty easy to use which is totally up my alley. I caught the kids rockin' out to Rock Band the other day. El Fuego was concentrating very hard, Miss Divine just wanted to make sure she looked good.

today's challenge:: miss divine's room


This weekend I had one goal. Organize and clean Miss Divine's room. She had too many pieces of furniture and although her room is large, it has an interesting footprint. The chimney downstairs goes right up the middle of her room which is flanked by two windows. The wall her bed is on jets into her room which is adorable for her bed, but it makes it challenging to give Miss Divine spaces to play and keep her things organized. She has our old TV armoire in the corner (which I love but want to paint it white some day) and I took out a little dollhouse shaped shelf. I want to put in a little desk in it's place but I'm waiting until I find that perfect piece. Her room is also the only room in the house with wallpaper and although I'm not a fan of 80s floral wallpaper, this particular paper is not offensive. It also matches her horsey motif so it's low on the list of things to get done.

After going through and organizing (and throwing away) little misplaced treasures I put Miss Divine's little bits and doodads into a shoe organizer. It hangs on the back of her door, tucked away where no one can see it. It's easy for her to find her goodies and easy for her to clean up. She also has a smaller jewelry hanger in her closet for little things. I think I read about this trick in a magazine ages ago and finally put it into use. And, I must say, it's pretty handy. Barbies fit perfectly too so if you have a Barbie collector in your house, this would be a super way to store those special dolls.

This is the smaller hanging organizer. It hangs in Miss Divine's closet and takes up very little room. It also has front and back pockets. It's a good thing.

May 8, 2010

back it up mama

Petite Artiste's preschool class had a sweet little gathering in honor of Mother's day. Us mother's were presented with cookies and juice as well as a musical of sorts, ending with this little dance-off. Miss P can shake her groove thang. Enjoy!
video

kickin' it old skool

The big kids' school had a PTSA fundraiser at the local roller rink. Everything from the smell to the skates to the mushroom sized seats to the lights and to the concession stand was all as I remembered it back in my day. It was totally awesome! The best part is the kids love it. El Fuego and Miss Divine took their in-line skates. We rented a pair of roller skates for Petite Artiste. She was wobbly at first and cried a little, but then she got the hang of it. So much so that after our roller derby adventure, we stopped the sporting good store and picked up a brand new pair for her to practice with.



See all those specs around Miss D and her friend? That's magic dust for awesome-ness!!