Sunday, November 24, 2013

Princess Castle Pinata Tutorial

The day before Lily's princess birthday celebration, she had one special request: a princess castle pinata.

Living in El Paso, it's no surprise that the "it" party activity thing is obviously to beat the crap out of crepe paper candy filled cardboard.

I decided I'd just make one, because I'd be damned if I'd buy a $30 pinata just to have it stuffed and destroyed.

So, this is how I did it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Baby in a Pumpkin

It's October.. My absolute favorite month of the year (ok, November is a close second.)

Lily and Jerrod's birthdays, Fall break, football, the World Series, basketball season starts, Pumpkin flavored errthang... It can't get better.

 

And in true "this is our last baby" fashion... I've had to include Everly in some naked baby/Pumpkin photos.

 

I just had to share:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Maple Bacon Cupcakes Recipe

Since Jerrod and I started dating 2 weeks before his birthday, I had that awkward decision of what was appropriate to give him... Do I make a big deal out of it? Do I not? He was also living 3 hours away from me, so I hadn't seen him at all in those 2 weeks.

 

In true Sierra fashion, I went all out.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Owl Costume DIY Tutorial

There are few things my 7 year old son, Caleb, has strong opinions about:

Tomatoes are gross, dad is his hero, Captain America is the best Avenger and that Everly HAD to be an owl for halloween.

I don't know why she had to be an owl, but I thought it was cute he cared so much. So an owl she will be!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Congratulations, Sadie!

The winner of the oatmeal steam bowl and lid set from Gracie China Coastal Imports is Sadie K!

Congratulations, and thank you everyone for participating! We will be hosting more giveaways in the near future!! :)

 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Felted Wool Sweater to Pillow Cover Tutorial

It's no secret, I absolutely love all things Shabby Chic.
I believe I developed this adoration when I went to visit DeAnna in Montana (where she briefly lived) and we were a little outside of Kalispell. We literally made it our mission to: 1. Get a slice of Huckleberry Pie every day I was there from a different restaurant. (Seriously, so good.) 2. Go fishing in the scariest of the scary places (Huge CHECK next to this one, Devil's Elbow, anyone?!) 3. See a bear. In the flesh. (We even baited them with fish near the hotel... No luck, at all... and 4. Hit up any/every little shop we could. It was October, and everything was just beautiful. The shops were unlike anything we have in the Southwest, so quaint and adorable. I was in love.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Everly in her room

I snapped some photos of Everly in her room, and just had to share.
I can't believe she is already {almost} 8 months... It has just flown by!
She is the apple of our family's eye, she has such a silly personality... And she has gotten so "stranger" aware in the past couple weeks. She just buries her face into my shoulder when she doesn't know someone. It's adorable.
(Her outfit is Janie and Jack)
(Mine is: Pencil Skirt- J. crew, Striped Shirt- H&M)
Everly Pearl

What am I wearing?

Blown Up photo tutorial, here!

 


Her eyes blow me away.

 

 

Loving on baby. I always try to snap some photos of me with the kids when I take their photos. I love looking back to their baby photos and remembering how I felt holding them in the photo.

 

 

 

I'm working on a blog post on making pillow covers out of sweaters, stay tuned!

 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Easy Peasy way to Clean the Stove...



Ok, so who doesn't love a clean house? I plan to post some of the tried-and-true tips I have used to improve our house, starting with this gem. You see, we bought our house 3 months ago and either the owner before us didn't have time to clean or didn't like to, so my first order of business was to clean the heck out of our new home.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The New Chick :)


Hey there! I just wanted to write a post introducing myself:
 I'm DeAnna and I was Sierra's wombmate 26 years ago, so naturally I couldn't allow her to have something as cool as this blog and not share it with me! We share everything, dangit! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Easy and Yummy Oatmeal Recipes + Giveaway!

 

 

I thought I would host a giveaway to kick off the all-new direction with this blog as I have enlisted the help of my twin sister to co-author this blog from now on (read more about that HERE) and share my FAVORITE oatmeal recipes. Whether you have stumbled across this blog from pinterest or you are a regular around here, you can win! Details on how to enter are at the bottom of this post! :) Back to my oats...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Welcome, DeAnna...

Now you all get to... sort of.

So as you may (or not) know, I have an identical twin sister, DeAnna.

We are pretty much your typical polar opposite sisters. I'm the neat one, the structured, control-freak, athletic, organized and neurotic one.

DeAnna is the free-spirit, wild child, tattooed, anti-gym, shameless and easy-going one.

But we do have the same goals... We are both blessed with being able to stay home with our kids. (We both have 7 year old sons and babies under 1, and of course I had to trump her with also having a 5 year old girl.) Anyway, we are both constantly trying to be the better wife, Christian, sister, daughter and soccer-mom... All while restoring the glamour of being a homemaker and caring for your family. Be gone, yoga pants and t-shirts!

Well, when it came to my blog, I asked DeAnna if she would want to write on it. Although she doesn't like and do exactly what I do, she has a variety of other skills/ideas that I don't. (We were obviously way too much awesome for one person so God split us into two, ya know, to even the playing field.) And she agreed!

So I am SO excited to welcome DeAnna as a writer for this blog! We talk at least 5 times a day and I think she is hilarious and I'm sure you will too. We are both extremely busy, so this will help us to have more regular posting, and an even broader spectrum of topics!

I'm slowly tinkering with this page to reflect the changes, but I was so excited I had to share.

 

 

 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fall is in FULL Effect!

Fall is here!!!!!!
Okay, it's not really "fall" yet, but Football officially started last night, it's September, and damnit, I'm READY!!
I thought since I have a whole new house to decorate for, it only made sense to pull out my Fall decor and see what I'm working with, then figure out what I'm lacking/needing, and pick it up in the next couple weeks when I had a chance. Yeaaah... that was two days ago. I couldn't stop myself. So... it's FALL! BecauseIsaidSo!
I was really only lacking Fall florals, so I picked them up last night at Hobby Lobby.
I absolutely LOVE how my house is now, but you can see how it normally looks here!
Well, since there isn't a tutorial associated with this post, I'll get right to the pictures. I've added captions of tips/tricks things I did. I'm hosting a giveaway in my next post, so get excited for that!
 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Recreated Childhood Pictures, Gift Idea

 

 

Sorry for the lack of posts! My twin sister was visiting from Atlanta, GA the past few days. My mom, stepdad, aunt and cousin also came to meet her new little man, so we had a full house and I was enjoying every moment I could with my tubby little nephew, Kato! He is just adorable! He is 3 months younger than Everly, and nearly 3 lbs heavier. He is a TANK. I was just loving every second!

 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping Simplified

Every so often, it really occurs to me just how unprepared I was/still can be when it comes to taking care of my family. Things that girls learned in the 50's from their mothers are just not what we learned growing up. I have no idea how my mom prepared her meal planning for our family, and when my parents divorced when I was in high school, she had to work and I don't remember family meals being feasible from that point forward.
Dinner is the most important meal to me for our family. It's really the only time that we all sit together, in one place during the day that we are able to talk. It's also extremely important to me that Jerrod always have a meal to take to work for lunch. When he is working non-stop, especially when he is working every single day during a plant shut down, I like to think that with the worst of conditions, he is able to look forward to having a healthy/hearty meal in the breakroom at work. There are only so many ways I can make Jerrod feel loved and thought about when he is working 12 hour days, I like make his dinner a major priority.
A lot of what I have learned works best is probably no different than what women would practice before being thrust into the workforce. (And if you're working and raising a family, God bless you! I couldn't hack it... It's like having 3 full time jobs! You have all the respect I can send to you!)
 
I'm hoping my little blog might help anyone feeling as overwhelmed as I did when it came to meal planning/grocery shopping. It's now just a little less awful... (Seriously, does anyone enjoy this part of being an adult?)

 

 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Long Skirt Flop - Refashioned to Dress

 

What happens when you are vaguely watching a movie, facetiming with your sister, drinking wine and sewing a simple long skirt?

Mistakes. Stupid, rookie mistakes.

 

 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mom Jeans Re-do to Highwaisted Studs

Contrary to just about everything else in my wardrobe (I'm mostly a basics/solids/classics kinda girl), I have been OBSESSED with highwaisted hipster jeans. Not owning a single pair, I was constantly drooling over them on my childhood friend's Etsy store. (Check her out at www.OmenEye.com, her shorts have been featured on The Voice, in Rolling Stone, and on countless big names! Pretty cool, and a great option if you'd rather have a pro make some for you, instead of winging it like my nature basically forces me to do.)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Enlarged B&W Photo Tutorial

I have been in a MAJOR crafting mood since I have been prepping my fall decor for next month. I needed a break from sewing/embroidering and decided to try something new. I had been wanting to add more pictures to my wall decor, and this was the perfect way to do that. I am beyond thrilled with the results!! You would never guess it only cost me about $12 out of pocket to make this gorgeous custom photo enlargement. Let's get started!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Football Wreath Tutorial

To celebrate preseason games kicking off today, I've got a football wreath tutorial for ya!

I tend to go all out for Fall/Christmas decor, which completely eclipses my desire to decorate for football! It's 16 weeks of fantasy football, Sundays camped out in front of the NFL ticket, finger/comfort foods and I absolutely love it.

I like to think I'm the perfect combo of extreme girly/crafty girl and sports fan, and this is the love child of that. Jerrod's old neighbors literally take down their Halloween/Christmas inflatables on their lawn EVERY Sunday and set up an extravagant Cowgirls Cowboys display, and while I commend them on their fan-dom, ain't nobody got time for that. So I'm just going to swap out my Fall/Christmas wreath for this Vikings wreath every Sunday. That'll do.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Earthy and Warm Living Room

This is my view throughout the day from the sink, :whine: At least it's a nice view!

My favorite thing about our floorplan was how open it was. Because of this, however, it makes it a little more challenging to decorate. Having a living room that is open to the dining room and kitchen, I wasn't sure what "theme" to go with that I wouldn't end up hating in 6 months.

So I decided to go with an "un-theme." Everything was going to be fair game, so long as it looked vintage-y, warm and homey. This would include a lot of neutrals with pops of white.

I will include as many details about the accents/where I got them and tutorials for things that got a new look.

Here we go!

 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How to use Gymbucks

 
 

A Virtuous Woman seeks her husband’s approval before making purchases and spends money wisely. She is careful to purchase quality items which her family needs. (Proverbs 31: 14, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 18, 1 Timothy 6: 10, Ephesians 5: 23, Deuteronomy 14: 22, Numbers 18: 26)

 

Every so often, do you have those moments where you figure something out and just want to share with everyone you know?

This is one of those moments for me.

After having 3 kids, I have all but perfected wardrobe shopping for them. Each size, season and event requires a certain attire, and until they are about 6, they outgrow most of their clothes before the season changes. So it was basically a necessity to master the art of shopping for them. Being the shop-a-holic that I am, I was up for the challenge.

I am a quality over quantity type of person, but don't want to blow tons of money to achieve quality, so I had to come up with a system to make raising the kids affordable, without sacrificing quality. I love Gymboree, Gap Kids and Old Navy for the fact that they outlast the constant washing and (let's face it) wear and tear the kids like to indulge in. They run, crawl, climb and jump about 99% of their "awake" time, so I need clothes that will deal with that. I also like my kids to look like "kids." Lily is 5, she will dress as such... no neon midriff sparkle shirts with "Delicious" across her shirt. NO THANK YOU. The only greater thing than hearing how cute I dress my dolls kids, is that they are well behaved, so I take pleasure in dressing them cute. I also like Lilly Pulitzer, Janie and Jack and Ralph Lauren for events and holidays, but I have to snag some great deals to indulge in those brands.

Gymboree is great because they offer Gymbucks. Gymbucks are $25 coupons you get for every $50 you spend to use at a later date, which is marked on a calendar on the coupon.

To acquire Gymbucks, the best thing to do is hold out for a sale. I am blessed to live really close to a Gymboree retail and a Gymboree Outlet. Both of which offer many sales. For instance, they do "Everything in the store is $10.99." So I stocked up on 5 dresses for Lily, each of which retailed normally for $24-$44. In essence, I got 5 dresses for almost the price of 1. And then I got $25 to use later during a Gymbucks acceptance week. You can acquire Gymbucks several times in a couple months by doing this.

When it is time to REDEEM the Gymbucks, here are my tips:

  • ONLY shop clearance and markdowns. Don't waste your gymbucks on buying only a couple retail items, it's not worth it.
  • SIZE UP. A lot of the stuff in clearance is way out of season, figure out what size is best for your little one in the following season(s). If there's one thing you can count on and plan for, it's that they are only going to keep growing. Use this to your advantage. Gymboree sizes by age, so it makes it really easy to figure out.
  • Get all the basics. Pajamas, socks, underwear, etc. These can be as low as .50, and I almost always find accessories from lines we already have.
  • Get all the Holiday stuff. You'll be so relieved come Easter/Thanksgiving/Christmas that they have a fully accessorized holiday ensemble instead of waiting until it's near that time and hoping your store has the sizes you need.
  • More is more during this time. Stock up on any/everything you know you'll be needing. For example, it's 105 degrees outside right now, but I know Caleb is going to need jeans in the next couple months. The jeans were all priced (on sale) at $14.99, so I got him 5 pairs.
  • Which reminds me, take full advantage of any sales they're offering during gymbucks redemption times! You'll be able to stretch your $ this way.
  • Plan gifts! I can have a hard time spending the minimum amount (even buying ahead, even sizing up) with my 3 kids. If I know of a birthday/new baby/etc, I use this time to get adorable outfits for a great price! So keep those in mind as well!

 

So for my purchase above, I had $75 of gymbucks to use. I had to spend $150 to use them.

I got:

Caleb: 5 pairs of jeans, shoes, a winter vest.

Lily: A birthday shirt, layering shirt, 7 pairs of socks (which are mostly parts of lines she already has).

Everly: 3 Dresses, jean skirt, socks and leggings.

Gifts: Onesie for our new nephew and birthday gift for our friend's daughter.

FOR A GRAND TOTAL OF: $154 - $75 GYMBUCKS = $79.00

I didn't have to sacrifice quality for savings, and I won't be running to the stores when everything is marked up for winter because I'm slowly starting to stock up for upcoming seasons/

To stretch your money even FURTHER, here's a tip: Once your little one outgrows their clothes, take all your Gymboree clothes to a consignment store and sell them! Consignment stores LOVE Gymboree for the fact that their colors stay vibrant wash after wash, they eat them up! I keep all my lines together, take them to Other Mother's and get more CASH to roll into starting the Gymboree cycle again. IdoNOThaveaproblem, I swear.

I hope this helps you in your shopping endeavors!

 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Golf Cupcakes Tutorial

My father-in-law is an avid golfer so it only made sense that I would make him golf cupcakes for his birthday! Happy Birthday, Gerry! (Now, here's how I did it:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pita Pizzas Recipe

Jerrod can't complain about a vegetarian dinner if I include green chile, right? It's also pizza! Sort of...

Well that was the goal. I made a trip around the world somehow when I was meal planning this past week. We have Italian, Mediterranean, Thai and Mexican food on the agenda... and this was *my take on a *healthy pizza. (about 350 calories/pita pizza without the cheese). The kids made their own, loaded with cheddar/jack cheese and pepperonis.. so everyone was happy! I got a "best mom ever," mention, so, it was a hit.

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 425.

Ingredients:

-Pita Breads

-Pesto

-Veggies: Red Onion Slices, Tomatoes, Spinach, Mushrooms, Green Chile (etc!)

-Cheese: (or skip, to save on Calories) Feta, Cheddar/Jack

Layer ingredients on pita and place on cookie sheets in the oven for about 20 minutes.

 

Throw a side together and you're set! This will definitely be on rotation as a regular for Meatless Monday!

 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ultimate Arm Exercise

 

I'll be honest, working out my shoulders had become a major disappointment in recent months. I felt bored working them out, and didn't feel like they were evolving anymore. I had reached the worst part of working out: the plateau.

I told my husband my problem and he showed me a few new techniques and exercises to try. Within a couple weeks, I had a noticeable difference in my arms. They were more defined between my deltoids and biceps, and by the end of my workout I could hardly lift my arms. So I had to share!

First, make no mistake, you MUST weight train. Sure, classes are fun... I am always up for yoga with the girlfriends or a mommy and me class... But if you want to see real results in your arms, you absolutely have to incorporate weight lifting into your workout regimen. Unless you're naturally fit, in which case, I hate you, you are setting yourself up for failure without weightlifting. Start slowly if you're intimidated... Focus on form and completing your reps. Women: Trust me when I say, you will NOT "bulk" up from lifting weights. Somehow this rumor started, probably from lazy, scrawny men, and because of it, millions of women are killing themselves in classes, doing endless cardio and avoid the free weights like the plague. You're doing yourself a major disservice! And wasting your time. You will never get the results you want unless you isolate your muscles and make them work. Also, consider that the more toned your muscles are (by lifting) the more calories they burn doing everyday activities than if they are not. Essentially, your body burns more calories after lifting than if you ran on the treadmill for an hour. You may be running calories off, but you're also running off muscle, which makes your body work harder to burn off the calories, see how that is counterintuitive?

So, stop perfecting the "skinny arm" (I know, we all do it) in pictures, and start perfecting your shoulders! The great thing about weight training is that switching up your work out can shock your muscles and results are almost instant. I added this workout to my shoulders day, and within a couple weeks I could see and feel a major difference. This exercise works out your shoulders, chest, forearms, back and their supporting muscles.

How to:

Using a light weight (8 lb. dumbells pictured) start at picture 1. Think: Down, Up, In, Out, Down, while doing this exercise. Do 12-15 repetitions per set, 3 sets total. If you find by rep 10, you can't keep your form and hit your rep, lower the weight. If you're not challenged at rep 15, up the weight. Add this to your workout, once a week, and you'll see a big change!

 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cheerleading, near and dear to my heart. *TIPS list.

Being a former high school cheerleader, High School cheerleading coach, and now mother of an aspiring cheerleader, you could say Cheer has a special place in my heart. Add the fact that our family is HUGELY into football + my ever evolving sewing skills, and you get a 5 month old with her very own custom cheer uniform(s).

When I first married my husband, I really had no interest/understanding when it came for pro football. My dad never watched football, and I never had a "team." I have always loved basketball, so when we got married, the deal was he would love my Lakers and I would love his Vikings... and after completing a season of Fantasy Football with him, I am obsessed with it.

Now, Caleb, is starting to play tackle football after playing two seasons of flag football. He is THRILLED, and Lily, needless to say, is on the cheerleading squad for his team. So of course Everly needed a cheer uniform for the Longhorns (Caleb and Lily's mascot) and the Vikings.

I don't use patterns. Ever. I hate them, they make me twitchy and my eyes cross... so creating a cheerleading uniform for a 5 month old was a little tricky. What I've found works for me is to use the kids' clothes that fit them well as a loose pattern, laid directly on my fabric.

If you're a person that needs the boundaries and step by step process, by all means, get a pattern and do what works best for you. My sister is exactly like that. If I tell her a recipe, and say "add a little olive oil," she will immediately ask me "how much is a little?" And we're twins. So I get it, some people are better with clear instructions. Or in her case, just having me do it. ;)

However, if you want a bit of a challenge and want the freedom to do more as YOU envision, follow these basic tips.

I thought about writing a tutorial on this, but it feels way too informal without measurements, so I'm calling this a "Tips List" instead. I get so many messages/emails from people asking me to make a custom outfit similar to one I've made before, the problem, however, is that since I don't use patterns, it's really hard to replicate my projects. With the kids here, I'm able to size them multiple times to make sure it's the perfect fit after I begin the project with a basic sizing idea. The purpose of this post is to show the basic construction of these cheer uni's. Once you can construct outfits you like mentally, it's much easier to come up with your own patterns, I promise!

If this all ends up being way too confusing, I apologize. I wish I could do a workshop for these sorts of things... maybe one day!

The following tips would most likely work for sizes 0-24 months clothing to be used as a basis for a cheer uniform. The buttons at the neckline make it suitable for babies to get in and out of.

TIPS LIST:

  1. I use a shirt/dress/pants depending on what I'm making that fits the child perfectly. For this, I am using one of Everly's long shirts. I lay it directly on top of my fabric I'm cutting, and give myself a 1/2" seam allowance all the way around. I fold the fabric twice, along the grain, so one cut = front AND back pieces of dress. I am cutting the lining in the photos below as an example, you can do this all without a liner, just cut the "Longhorns" or whatever fabric you're using, instead. As shown in the next 2 images below:
 
2. The front of a shirt is different from the back. The neckline is lower. And for the purpose of this "pattern," it also has a shorter armhole, which will allow for it to folded over on and be buttoned. Take note of this and cut the front neckline lower, and the top of the arm hole, as shown below:
 
 

3. Next, you will sew the sides together, from the armpit to the hem, with "right" sides facing each other, using a 1/4" seam allowance.

4. Next, you'll press and pin 1/4" all around the top, from the from neckline, down the armholes, to the back. Then sew.

5. Next, if you want to add a cheer styled skirt, it's easier than it looks. Just cut several rectangles and triangles, and alternate sewing them until you've reached the circumference of your dress, and sew the skirt shut, so it's a circle. Then pin it to the dress, and sew the entire circle around (with "right sides facing each other):

 

6. If you want to add to this, it's very simple. For example, I added the banner across the front to make it look more like a uniform, just do this in the first steps, before you sew them front to the back. You're essentially "making" your fabric before you sew it.

 

I know this was vague, but if anything I hope it shows the process, so if you decide to make one, you have loose reference as to how to do it.

If you use this, please share your results with me! I love those emails!!