Marble Run Fun

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You may have guessed by now that each week I’m thinking of ideas to make my house feel more like a home. We moved into our home almost a year ago and ever since, we have been gradually adding things to make it more us. Down in our basement we had a big blank wall. My husband came up with the idea of a big magnet board for that wall. When we lived in Boston, the city had an amazing Children’s Museum that we visited quite a few times. There was a room full of tracks to set golf balls on to watch them roll all over the place. The room included a metal wall with moveable magnetic tubes and pieces to roll your golf ball on. The Leonardo in Salt Lake has a similar exhibit.

We started with the metal wall. Josh got this from his work. They used it to list employees and chart tasks, then updated the system. I checked out pinterest and others did smaller versions.4

Then I picked up supplies from Home Depot and The Dollar Tree.

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I started out using the “Goop” to glue on the magnets, but swiched to a glue gun to get finished quicker. I will probably go back to the “Goop” later since it seemed more sturdy when it dried.

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I started adding pieces to our wall. So much fun! I can’t wait to add more and more! The funnels were the most fun and can be found at the dollar store. I couldn’t believe Home Depot didn’t carry them!

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The girls tried it out and had a blast. We are going to make a trip to the local thrift stores to get some more light weight pieces to add!

Such a simple project that can be done on smaller walls as well.

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Thanks for stopping by and try this little project if you need something fun to do over spring break!

XO, Repeat

Orange Dreamsicle Cake

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I’ve turned one of my all-time favorite ice cream treats into a light and refreshing cake!

When I asked my youngest son what kind of cake he would like for his birthday (which happens to be on the first day of spring) this was his request. I thought it sounded weird to use orange sherbet in an ice cream cake, but when I thought about those delicious Orange Dreamsicles I’d get from the ice cream truck, this totally made sense. This recipe is so simple it will make you scream for Orange Dream…sicle! Okay, nerdy chills happening!

ORANGE DREAMSICLE CAKE

ingredients:

1 white cake mix

1 container orange sherbet (1 QT 1 PT or 48 FL OZ)

3 cups heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup powdered sugar

method:

  1. Bake white cake in one 8″ round pan following instructions on the box (I used the egg white only version). You will have half the batter left over to do whatever you want with. I made 12 cupcakes.
  2.  In another 8″ round pan spray with cooking spray. Line the pan with two sheets of plastic wrap crossing them and creating a plus sign. Make sure the plastic wrap is up snug against the inside of the pan and has a few inches to hang over the pan.
  3. Scoop as much slightly softened orange sherbet into the pan as will fit. I used an extra deep 8″ pan for mine, but a regular size pan works too. Smooth out the sherbet using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
  4. Cover the top of the sherbet with another sheet of plastic wrap and place in the freezer to chill at least 30 minutes.
  5. Once the cake layer has cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer to chill at least 30 minutes as well.
  6. Make your whipped cream icing! I like to chill my mixing bowl in the freezer for a few minutes before I get started on this. Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment. Pour heavy whipping cream into chilled mixing bowl. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and set at medium speed. Mix until cream begins to get pretty stiff. Add more powdered sugar if it isn’t sweet enough for you! Refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

assembly:

  1. Unwrap your frozen white cake and place it on a cake board or cake stand. I like to drizzle a bit of honey down beforehand to get the cake to stick.
  2. Gently remove the sherbet layer from the pan. I used a helper to hold the pan while I tugged upward on the plastic wrap surrounding the sherbet. Stack sherbet layer on cake layer.
  3. Frost cake with whipped cream, smoothing sides and top as you go with a cake spatula or butter knife.
  4. Put in the freezer immediately after the cake is iced. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 12

Enjoy!

–Pete

A Beginner’s Guide to Gardening

It seems that over the weekend we all of a sudden got buds on the trees here in Utah! So many blossoms and now the brown is fading from lawns! Such a great sight!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a total fan of snow:

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Life is just a bit easier when the weather warms up.

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I’m loving seeing this green rise out of the brown!

We got a little excited to start our garden the other day. My husband and I lived the first 10 years of our marriage in rentals. It was always a dream of ours to have a garden. Here is my beginners guide to get anyone started:

  • GARDEN BOXES- When we put in our landscaping, we had three garden boxes made by our landscaper. He knew exactly how to do it. Here is a look at the ground surrounding our garden boxes and an idea of the size they are:

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  • GET STARTS- I was told that it is a lot easier to work with starts instead of seeds. As a beginner, I wanted the easy way for sure! Here is a list of the first plants of the season to plant:planting guide
  • PREP THE SOIL- Our neighborhood is full of crappy soil. The whole place was built on a gravel pit. Our landscaper collected a huge truck load of fertile soil from the Provo River area. He set aside some for our plater boxes. Great soil can be bought at your local garden center as well! We purchased this all-purpose fertilizer to mix in as suggested at the nursery (follow the directions on the box):

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  • START PLANTING! I let my girls come help me. There is a project for every age. Diggers, waterers, fertilizer sprinklers, etc. It felt great to be working hard out in the sunshine!

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As a Bonus, these cute plant markers were in the dollar Spot at Target.

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AS A SIDE NOTE: If we get back to freezing temps, the Nursery told me to just get an old sheet and cover these babies to keep them warm.

Happy Gardening!

XO,

REPEAT

 

 

Blimey, It’s Leprechaun Cupcakes!

Cupcake making is always great because it’s pretty easy and yields plenty of treats to go around. This little project can be done as a fun group activity with children–adults doing some of the more tedious parts.

To get started you need:

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  • cupcakes
  • orange buttercream
  • marshmallow fondant (recipe here)
  • circle fondant cutter
  • fondant rolling pin
  • black & green food coloring gel
  • piping bag, coupler, & Wilton tip #18
  • gold luster dust, vodka, & food-safe paint brush (optional)

To get started:

  1. Tint your fondant. You’ll need more green than black & white. If you don’t have gold luster dust, tint the white fondant yellow. Wrap black & white fondant in plastic wrap until ready to use.

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2.  Grab a chunk of green fondant and roll it into a cylinder. I decided on the thickness of my cylinder based on the size circle cutter I had. You want your cylinder’s circumference to be a bit smaller than the circle cutter. Wow, this is starting to sound like geometry!

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3. Next, cut your cylinder to the desired height of your hat, making a crisp top and bottom. Set side finished pieces on a surface dusted with powdered sugar to prevent sticking.

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4. Cut out fondant circles.

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5. Attach cylinders to circles. Set finished pieces aside.

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6. Next roll out black fondant (pretty thin) and cut it into strips with a sharp, non-serrated knife.

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7. Wrap black fondant strips around the bottom of each cylinder. Cut off any excess. Note: I didn’t use water as glue to attach my fondant pieces for this project. My fondant was doing a good job sticking on its own.

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8. For the hat buckle, I used my knife and cut tiny rectangles and then even tinier rectangles inside that (Congratulations! You made it to the tedious part!).4

9. I know not everyone has this stuff in their pantry, so don’t fret! I think yellow fondant buckles are just as cute. If you do have some gold luster dust on hand it’s a fun addition to this project!

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Using a food-safe paint brush mix your luster dust with a bit of vodka (it evaporates quickly and won’t gum up your fondant) and paint it on dry-ish buckles. Attach buckles to hats and HOORAY, they are complete!

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10. Now it’s time to ice your cupcakes! Fill your piping bag with orange buttercream and pipe little rosettes around the entire cupcake. Don’t they look like little curls?

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11. Top it off with your fondant hats. You now have cute leprechaun cupcakes!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

xo.

Pete

A Bit of Green in a “Pinch”

Why is it that on St. Patrick’s Day no one in my family can find a single article of green clothing to wear? Let me tell you, the fear of being pinched is REAL! Years ago I came up with a remedy for our lack of green. It was a day I was under intense pressure to have a solution in very little time. With that being said, this project takes no time at all and has a very adorable end result!

You will need:

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  • green felt
  • small white buttons
  • needle & thread
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
  • hair clips or bobby pins
  • mini safety pins
  • small straight pin
  • clovers template (click here: clovers)

method:

  1. Print clovers template.
  2. Cut out desired sizes of clovers (I used the smaller sizes).
  3. Use a straight pin to attach clover to felt.

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4. Cut around clover pattern.

5. Stitch small white button onto clover.

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6. For hair clips or bobby pins, use hot glue to affix clover.2

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7. For a lapel pin, use the small safety pin to attach to both the clothing and the clover.
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My work here is done. You now have pinch insurance. You’re welcome!

xo.

Pete

10 Things to know about Newborn Photography

I have been taking photos for families for the past nine years. To see some of my work, check out Teaplant Photography. Session inquiries can be made by heading to our contact page.

I just had the greatest time taking photos of my newest baby nephew this week. Since Denise and I have been working together on creative projects, we had the chance to collaborate on this photo session. I utilized Denise’s incredible illustration and hand-lettering talents. I also got some great art direction from her. What a dream come true to get to unite our forces (I’m cheesy, but this is so fun!!)FullSizeRender

Here are some things that I have learned over the years as a photographer and as one who has scoured the internet for the past 10 years for information on photo shoots. That makes me an expert, right?!

  1. You should always plan about two hours for a newborn session.
  2. A newborn session is done when a baby is nine days old and younger. Photographers (and mommas) notice that the newborn look starts to change after the first nine days.
  3. Keep outfits and blanket choices simple. The most important thing about a newborn photo is really being able to see the details of the baby. You don’t want too many outside factors to distract from that.
  4. The best time to photograph a newborn is during his sleepiest time of day with a full tummy. I prefer to use natural light in my photos, so daylight hours are the best for me.IMG_5416
  5. A fed and sleepy baby can (and will) still get fussy in photos! It’s A-Okay. Cameras are quick and can snap a shot just before that face crinkles up. If mommas and photographers work together, they can time shots just right–right after a soothe and just before a ticked off yell. 🙂
  6. Warmth is a big help! Popping blankets in the dryer during sessions can help with those wigglers. Also using heating pads under blankets and props are helpful. Keeping your photo area at a warmer temp will make being out of a swaddle more bearable for the babe during diaper(less) shots.IMG_5420
  7. Recruit helpers! If your mom or mom-in-law are in town for the baby, have them over for the session. It is great to have an extra set of hands to grab burp rags in a hurry or to help hold up blankets or equipment.
  8. Don’t stress it. If you are sleep deprived and not feeling your best, don’t let that keep you from getting in the photo. The memory of those moments are so significant and when they are captured in a photo, they will less likely be forgotten. Also, don’t stress if you think your little bundle of joy isn’t being cooperative enough. Odds are, a ton of great shots were captured when you least expected it. Have faith in your photographer (and the power of photoshop!)
  9. Show your photographer your Pinterest boards before sessions and keep them on hand during the session to make sure you get exactly what you have in mind.
  10. Make a photo sentimental by including a special item like a blanket from your childhood, including multiple generations of family in a photo, or adding a meaningful toy or accessory.

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Thanks, Justin and Hailie, for lending us the cutest little model!

XO,

Repeat

DIY: Paint Your Piano!

Painting a piano sounds scary, but I’m telling you, it’s not as scary as it sounds, especially if you have an old beat up piano that will look good no matter what you do to it! A few years ago I found a piano on Craigslist. I called the seller and he told me he had a bunch of pianos I could come check out. I don’t know a thing about pianos so I called my friend who was a music major in college and she came with me to take a look. The piano we both liked the best was only $200. The seller even delivered it to my house. The piano became special to me when I opened up the top and saw that it was a piano from the L.A. Unified School District where I grew up!

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Here is the breakdown of my piano DIY:

Supplies

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I also used Elmer’s wood filler to fill in any holes. Then I sanded the dried filler with Josh’s sander. First time for everything! Note the fear in those eyes!

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Once the sanding was sufficient we just got straight to it and started painting. I like chalk paint because it goes on so thick and smooth. We did two coats. After that dries, we did a coat of Creme Wax to protect it from water:

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We didn’t have a piano bench so I found one at Hobby Lobby that I spray painted.

Then I put it all together and got this:

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And the Before and After:

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Shop Kid’s Easter Clothes Online

Hey Guys! Easter this year is April 16th. I have to say that more than once in my years of parenthood, I have been shopping for Easter clothes in some of my favorite stores and just can’t find what I’m looking for. A lot of times stores skip ahead to summer themes and so many shops just don’t carry boys’ ties and dress clothes. I just recently checked some hot spots online and found multiple sales for PERFECT Easter clothes. I jumped on it so that I’ll have plenty of time for shipping. Here are some great options that I found.

P.S. Such a bonus to shop and support some local art moms like Hum and Freshly Picked!

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Mini Boden, Hum Stitchery, June and January, & Apparel, J. Crew, Target, Freshly Picked, Called to Surf, Saltwater Sandals