Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking Forward to 2012

It's almost 2012.  That means the flea marketing and "antiquing" is going to be superb this next week because people are getting rid of things to make room for new stuff they got for Christmas, as well as the tax conscious consumers are making donations before year end to claim charitable contributions on their taxes  (I did a tax internship).  I'm definitely going to hit a few places tomorrow and do some more on Monday, and if needed Wednesday.  I really don't need anything in particular.  Just want to see if their is something I can't live without.  I'd be happy to do some personal shopping if anybody wants me to keep an eye out for anything.  I'll charge a 10% finders fee (*wink). 

I suppose I'm looking forward to 2012 and to see what it brings.  2011 brought a lot of change to our family~including our big move back to Arkansas and my retirement.  The impending new year is making me think about my 2011 "resolutions" and how I never seem to accomplish them.  I had three:

1)  Get back in shape        FAIL
2)  Don't procrastinate about getting things done around the house     SEMI FAIL
3)  Stop making work my first priority and make my family #1         PASS

At least the most important one is the one I managed to accomplished.  And now that I'm no longer working I should be able to concentrate on getting 2011's #1 and #2 addressed.  So, the first actions I'm taking in order to ensure successful resolutions for the new year is getting them written down. The second step is that I'm going to add actions I'm going to take to get these goals accomplished.  So here they are:  My New Years Resolutions for 2012:

1)  Get back in shape by using our brand new treadmill for cardio, taking walks with Evelyn once the weather warms up, and using the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred (I've already done it a few times and it is a real a**-kicker), and eating a more balanced diet.

2) Stop procrastinating about getting things done around the house by making a list of items I need to paint, sew, purchase and make a schedule so that I clean a room each day instead of trying to clean the entire house at once. 

3) Make my blog my "job" - other than being a good mom and wife. 
Blog Goals for 2012:
  • Reach 100 members
  • Get 1,000 page views a month (right now I average about 400 a month)
That's really it.  I'm keeping it simple and trying not to make my expectations too high. 

But to reach my 3rd goal - I need your help!  Please tell me what you like and dislike about the blog or what you would like to see me blog about.  I welcome constructive criticism - I don't want a comment or email that says "I don't like your blog".  I'd rather have "I don't like your recipes" or "I don't like it when all you do is a complaining post" or perhaps "You are like, the most brillant craft idea stealer ever!".  I want to make my blog something you want to read and in order to do that - let me know what you like!

Promises to YOU, the readers!!!!

I love to read blogs.  I read a range of different types daily.  But I've noticed lately, to much chagrin, that some of the very popular ones have "sold out".  They are now getting sponsors and that requires them to post daily - and because of that, the quality of the postings has gone down.  This makes me so sad because I use to look forward to read their posts and now if I see a new post on my dashboard I think "oh great, is this one an actual post or just filler?"  I don't want to E3 Creations be like that.  So I promise never to post just to post; therefore I won't be posting everyday.  If I have tons to talk about and lots of ideas to share - I might post everyday one week.  But  I'm all about quality over quantity. 

2012 is going to ring in Beth's Favorite Things. That's right - I'm going to do giveaways of some of my favorite things! You will have to leave a comment to enter so if you are a dedicated reader but aren't "follower", you need to join and be a fan. Because I am not paid to blog - if you are interested in advertising please contact me ;) - the prizes won't be that great. But hopefully it will attracts more members. More members=my blog being more attractive to advertisers=bigger and better giveaways. Get it? Good.

So spread the word when I do a post you like - and comment, comment, comment!!!  Don't forget to write down your resolutions and put them someplace you are forced to look at them.  You are more apt to accomplish them if so.  Goodbye 2011, you were a better year than 2010 and brought me much happiness.  Here's looking forward to 2012 - a new year that is FULL of possibilities!  What will you do with this new year?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 is Going Out With a Bang

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!  Evelyn had a wonderful time this year and REALLY appreciates Santa now after he brought her a tricycle!  Santa, how did you know?! ;)  Pictures to come later....but first a totally true story. 

Today was not a good day: 

Episode One (insert Law & Order "dut dut" here)

4am:  Nope, not Evelyn related.  I start coughing......then I cough a little more...then I cough for 3 minutes straight.  So I try taking out my night guard (*insert your laughing here) because they tend to make you salivate more.  No help.  I try about 4 different sleeping positions - no help.  So I get a cherry flavored Halls and stick it between my cheek and teeth and that helps and I finally get to sleep probably around 5:15ish. 

Episode Two (DUT DUT)
7:30am:  I wake up because Joe is leaving for work and Evelyn is placed in bed with me.

My thoughts:
1.  Oh crap, I fell asleep.
2.  Oh good, Evelyn is still watching Bubble Guppies in bed with me. 
3.  Oh crap, it's a school day and we are going to be late.
4.  I'll brush my teeth later.....................I did, I promise.

Everything went well between dropping off and going back home and picking up and then going to lunch with my friend Lauren.

Episode Three (DUT DUT)

I leave lunch with Lauren, get to the highway and get pulled over.  I assumed it was because I was speeding (which I do most of the time).  So I pull over and the officer asked if I knew why I had been pulled over.  So I of course said "No." Here's a quick recap of the rest of the conversation.

Officer:  Did you not see the huge semi truck you passed a minute ago?

Me:  What semi truck?  Did I pass it on the highway?

Officer:  No, you passed it before you got on the highway.

Me:  So, what's the problem?

Officer:  When you were turning right at the stop sign, he was turning right where you were.

Me:  Um, ok.  So we were both turning right...............I don't get it.

Officer:  (sigh)  The last stop sign you stopped at before you got on the highway...

Me:  Got that part.

Officer:  Okay, you turned right and then got on the highway.

Me:  Yep, got it.

Officer:  You turned right and almost got hit by a semi. 

Me:  Where?! (I turn to look back from whence I came)

Officer:  (laughing) You didn't even see him did you?

Me:  I guess not.  But I still don't understand, I think I would see a semi almost about to hit me.  So I was turning right, and he was turning right, but if he was turning right onto the street I was on, how did he almost hit me?

Officer:  Can I see your license, registration, and proof of insurance please?

I give the documentation to the officer and while he goes to his car to make sure I'm not a felon I draw a diagram of the intersection in question because I still don't understand what he's talking about.

(Officer walks back up to my window)
Officer:  Here is all your paperwork back.

Me:  Yea, I still don't get it - I drew this because I'm a visual learner, and I don't understand what I did wrong.

(The officer looks at my drawing)

Officer:  No no nono nononono.  The semi was in front of you. 

Me:  With all due respect, if a semi was in front of me, I would have seen it. 

Officer: (notably frustrated) *sigh.  Okay, the semi was in front of you, but because it's SO big, they have to make wide right turns (I nod and do my "mmhmm" noise).  So to make his wide right turn, he pulled into the LEFT LANE OF THE STREET YOU WERE ON.

Me:  Oh.  Is it legal for him to do that?

Officer:  What?

Me:  Pull into the left lane?  What if someone had taken a right turn onto our street just then?

Officer:  Ma'am, I'm going to let you off with a warning today for Improper Passing.  Please watch out for those semi's in the future.  Have a nice day.

He then practically runs away from my car to his.  What a waste of 15 minutes. 

Episode Four (DUT DUT)

3:00pm:  I decide today is begging for an accomplishment.  So I decide to finish up my Ikea Rast hack project.  So I change clothes, get everything all laid out and go to get the paint.  I go to the paint section of my garage and open the lid of the paint I'm going to use:  A gallon of Ralph Lauren silver paint.  Looking good.  Can't wait to use it and get this project done and I'm gonna feel so good and it's gonna turn my day arou......
My happy thoughts were cut off because I tripped and dropped the entire gallon of paint - keep in mind the lid is off - onto the floor, wall hangings, paintings, and other gallons of paint.  "OHHHH S&*T"

1st Thought: Get a hose and I'll hose everything off and kinda power wash the paint out onto the driveway.

2nd Thought:  That's stupid, you can't rinse cardboard boxes and paintings.  I'll wipe it up with paper towels.  Wait, there is just too much of it.  How can I contain it?!

3rd Thought:  I'll get a crappy plastic cup and scoop the paint into the cup and then take it into the house and rinse it down the drain. 

Yes ladies and gentlemen, that was the winning idea.  So I start to execute it and it is actually working pretty well.  I was shocked.  But there was just so much paint I was able to corral it into the cup pretty easily.  Guess I was so impressed I didn't think to TAKE OFF MY SHOES BEFORE I WENT IN THE HOUSE.  So now there is a trail to the kitchen sink and back that looks silver leafed. 

I finished off the garage clean up with paper towels and only a small of the garage looks silver leafed, and of course, my favorite painting needs some TLC touch up to remove the last of the paint from it.  (I'm hoping nail polish remover does the trick)

Episode Five (DUT DUT)

As I'm taking a carload of stuff to Goodwill, I get a text from Joe that Evelyn was bitten at school.  So I call....

Me:  So, where did she get bitten?

Joe: really aren't going to like this.

Me:  So on the face

Joe:  Yup.

Me:  *enter cricket noise because I'm practicing my 5 deep breaths to calm down

On the face. THE FACE.  Some jealous child is trying to get some of Evelyn's cuteness a mouthful at a time.  Well, it'll take a whole lot of mouthfuls to take the cuteness out of my child. Next conversation between Joe and I....

Me:  Well, how bad is it?

Joe:'s aaaa.......I mean.......You can still see the teeth marks.

Therefore I attach Exhibit A below

The blue circle denotes the area of cuteness discussed previously.
The red circle denotes the area where the offense occurred. 

To be perfectly honest............I know it's not that bad.  Here is a pic of the first bite Evelyn came home with:

That was the worst one she's ever had - her first one from March 2010.  I totally cried and almost took her out of the daycare I was so upset.  Then the next week she bit somebody and I felt awful and got over it.

Poor E.  She's definitely been the victim more than the aggressor.  But I definitely would rather be the parent of the bitee than the biter.  You DO NOT want your kid to be the biter.  Through a lot of recon and powers of deduction, Candace and I figured out who the biter was at E's Dallas daycare.  Candace's daughter Rebekah goes to the same school E did and Rebekah was a recurring victim.  Let me tell you.........It's always the quiet ones. 

Anyway, the biting incident took me totally offguard because I thought a class of 2 year olds had outgrown the biting.  Joe asked what happened to make this other child bite Evelyn and he was told the other child was loving and hugging on Evelyn and then all of the sudden she bit her face!  Sociopath.

Episode Six (DUT DUT)
7:30 pm:  While crouching to hang up Joe's pants in the closet, the crotch of my only semi-still fitting pair of jeans rips.  Awesometown.

Episode Seven (DUT DUT)
9:50pm:  Mavs lose their fifth game in a row; tonight was the third game of the regular season. 

In conclusion, when it rains, it pours; but tomorrow is another day. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm just now getting my internet working after fighting it for a week, and even at that - it's still intermittent. I'm still sick and for some reason still refuse to go to the doctor. I also did my weird neck tweaking thing I do every few months or so and was pretty immobile on Saturday. You know...things are great.

But seriously, I am feeling better and my neck isn't so bad today and best of all I think I'm finally into the Christmas spirit. I had an ugly Xmas sweater party to attend this weekend and Joe and I doning our outfits and seeing everyone in red and green really gave me an attitude adjustment. So bring on the carolers, cards, lights and merriment!

As previously discussed, I love me some mint. At my job in Dallas, it was so renowned I loved mint that people would bring me back their Andes or puffy mints from when they went out to lunch. I love my ex-coworkers!

I came up with this cookie last spring sometime after I found the Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips at the store one day. I have a problem with stopping myself from eating them once I get started. I'm not in denial, this is not a "pretty" cookie, and one thing I've learned from Pinterest is people like a "pretty" presentation or else they ignore the recipe. But I assure you what these cookies lack in looks, it makes up for in a burst of mint chocolatey deliciousness in your mouth.

1 3/4 C. flour
1/4 t. baking soda
1 C. butter - softened
1 t. vanilla extract
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. milk
1/2 t. salt
5 ounces of Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips
1 handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl mix together the flour and baking soda and set aside.

Cream the butter using an electric mixer. Add vanilla and both sugars and continue to beat until fluffy. Then add the egg, cocoa, milk and salt.

Add in the flour mixture - but mix with a wooden spoon. (As I don't have a wooden spoon I turn over my rubber scrapper and use the wood handle part to mix). Then fold in the chocolate chips and Andes pieces also with the wooden spoon.

Dollop them onto a greased cookie sheet (I use non-stick cookie sheets) and bake for 12 minutes. (If you want them to be prettier - like I did for the pic - take some extra Andes baking chips and press them into the top of the uncooked cookie dollops).

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

They are festive and compliment pretty much anything you could want to eat anytime of year. I haven't had a problem finding these Andes baking chips as I did with the peppermint bark chips.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm a hypochondriac who is starting to hate Christmas

I'm sick.  The kind of sick that makes all my other sick days since my last bout of stomach flu in June laughable.  I'm sweaty; no wait, I'm cold; my throat hurts; I'm weak; I can't sleep because I'm swallowing and salivating and drainaging all at the same time.  I hate it.  I can't get things done and I certainly am not a good Mommy to Evie when I feel bad. 

Take a nap you say?  I totally would.  Except for the fact that the past 3 days - each day being a different issue - I have to wait for AT&T UVerse techical support to show up and screw up something else. 

Day 1 - Sunday
Neither the iPad or the Kindle have a wireless connection.  That was remedied after an hour Live Chatting with a guy on the support site and he did a system reset on their end and suddenly everything worked perfectly.  Note:  This is after I was convinced the iPad was messed up and went through the painful hour long process or system resetting it.  Twice.  No bueno.

Day 2 - Monday
All was fine and dandy until about 1pm when the PC internet went down (connected to the ethernet).  NO PC internet = no blog posts.  After an hour on the phone with someone trying to fix it; they conceded and sent me a tech guy.  "Your technical support should be there sometime between 4 and 9pm".  Really?  9 pm?  Whatever, I'll wait up. 

So that dude shows up at 5:15 or so and about an hour and a half later he says it's all fixed and he changed the PC to Wireless internet instead and blah blah blah.  Well, shame on me because I was part of the problem.  During his work, I turned off the security alarm notification because it was beeping every 10 seconds since it didn't have a phone signal and driving me bonkers.  Turns out the phone was never reconnected....I figured this out at 10pm as I'm getting ready for bed and noticed the notification light was still on.

Day 3 - Tuesday (Today)
Wake up and the TV in the bedroom is out.  We try to restart the UVerse box - no worky.  I tried 2 more times and that worked. All other TVs are ok.  Still no phone and guess what?  No internet on the PC either!  Another phone call - only 20 minutes this time and this time the tech is suppose to arrive between 12 and 4pm.  (It's 3:26 and I'm still waiting).  I threw a mild hissy fit today on the phone which is why the call lasted the full 20 minutes and I pulled the "Don't make me go back to DirecTv" threat.

All of these things are making me angrier and tireder.  We've only got half our Christmas shopping done and I'm tired of trying to accomodate what everyone else wants to do for Christmas.  What about me and my family?  We've never get the chance to start our own holiday traditions because we have to attend or host the events for both sides of our family and sometimes I just want it to be us.  Just the 3 of us.  Alone and quiet and making our own special memories.

In Conclusion:
  • I'm a bit of a hypochondriac
  • I hate technology
  • Families are annoying
  • UVerse is better than DirecTv

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Obsession of the Day: Chinese Chippendale Chairs

Today was our first snow to experience back in Arkansas.  I suppose it flurried overnight but left enough to blanket the yards and rooftops.  Roads are clear though and that's good.  I took Lil' E outside to play in it and she was not having it.  She kept saying "Oh No My Slide!!"  "Oh No My Basketball Goal!"  "Oh No My Table"  "It's Dirty!!"  and she wouldn't touch it at all.  I did, however, sing the Bubble Guppies theme song and got a smile out of her. 

On to the topic of the day:

When I say Chippendale, you think this......

When I say Chippendale, I think this.......

Then I think of this......

I've seen them. Twice.

And then I think of Chinese Chippendale chairs.

I love Chinese Chippendale Chairs~what a lot of people (like myself for years) refer to as bamboo chairs.  They are called Chippendale for Thomas Chippendale who lived in the 1700s in England and was a renowned interior designer and furniture maker who introduced the style.  It's truly amazing that Chinese Chippendale or Chinoiserie is still a popular design staple today. 

You'll notice in the pictures below there are many of today's designers recreating these looks.  If you want to look at more Chinoiserie style items I encourage you to visit  That Beth is an abundant resource for inspiration and links to purchase Chinoiserie items.  During my research I found about 20 photos of chairs I wanted to include for this post, but thought since she's already done the work you should directly visit her site.  Hope you enjoy!
Courtesy of Chinoiserie Chic

Courtesy of Jonathan Adler

Courtesy of V and M

Graciella Rutkowski Interiors, via

Courtesy of STYLEBEAT

I'll take the beverage cart too. 
Courtesy of Society Social

Monday, December 5, 2011

DIY: Make a Cupcake Stand into a Jewelry Stand

You have all heard me talk about Laura before; she is one of my oldest and dearest friends. We met at a mutual friends' birthday party the summer before our 6th grade year of elementary school and I then remembered her our first day of 7th grade in 7th period band. I played flute, she the alto sax and she sat directly behind me. And for all you people snickering that I was a band nerd-I was not. Band was the schizznit back in junior high. All the cool kids did it. Anyway, turned out Laura and I had 3rd period math together as well so we ended up being pretty tight and still are (that's making a very long story short).

Now that I've moved back to Fayetteville, we live about a mile from each other, but our proximity in mileage way underplays how close we are.  I don't say this and mean it about a lot of people, but I...Love...Her. Tomorrow will mark her 30th birthday and I know just what to get her. We recently acquired mass amounts of jewelry via a Premier Jewelry party and she doesn't have enough space or places to store/display her beautiful pieces. 

We had chatted a little about what might work for her before I went on my last trip to Dallas and low and behold, look what I found at Home Goods for $15......

Booya! A 3 tiered food stand that is super chic and is crying out not to be stuck on a kitchen counter or in cabinet storage for the remainder of its days.  I picked out black which will go in Laura's bedroom or bathroom, but they also had shiny silver and brushed nickel (that I saw). 

I thought all the little scrolls would be perfect to hang earrings from.

From Hobby Lobby I grabbed 6 pages of scrapbook paper, glued 2 pieces back to back 3 times over, measured and cut them into circles and made a liner for each tier so the jewelry wouldn't catch or fall through the spaces in between the wiring. Here's how it turned out.

Then I staged it with my jewelry and had a photo shoot.........

I wish I could have styled it with earrings ears are not pierced.  (enter gasp here).  I know, it's odd.  When all my friends were getting theirs done in 2nd grade my Mom wouldn't let me, and when in 5th grade when she said I could none of my friends were wearing earrings anymore so I just never got it done.  I've actually never had any piercings of any kind.  A boy once told me it was refreshing to see that I didn't have my ears done, so I'll stick with the refreshing instead of weird. 

Laura also wanted a Razorback pumpkin so I fixed one up for her too....
Happy Birthday Laura! You deserve all your birthday wishes to come true. 

On an even more personal note, I keep all my jewelry in what was my Granny's jewelry cabinet.  It was converted from a Corticelli Silk thread display cabinet from the early 1900s.  She lined each drawer with some batting and velvet and I would spend hours as a little girl covering myself with her jewelry and playing dress up.  When my Granny passed away in September of 2007 this is the one item I was willing to fight for from her estate, and I'm so glad I didn't have to wrestle my Mom for it.  Evelyn is already opening the drawers and covering herself in my jewelry daily.  I hope long after I've passed on that it stays in our family. 

 This is what it looks like under the velvet liners.  You can see where the
spokes use to be for the spools of thread. 

Again I want to encourage everyone to recycle old furniture or go to garage sales or flea markets and seek old old items to be made new again like the thread-turned-jewelry cabinet!  You can get some real steals on one-of-a-kind furniture if you just take the time to look.

December 30, 2011 UPDATE:

Here is how Laura styled her stand in her own house - looks great!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Peppermint Bark

Now that it's December it's time for an overabundance of sweet holiday treats.  I love mint anytime of year, but this is the only time of the year I can make one of my favorite desserts because of product availability.

Joe and I love mint chocolate chip ice cream throughout the year, but now that it's holiday season Blue Bell has their Peppermint ice cream available (Braum's has it throughout the year some places).  When I was grocery shopping Monday I picked up my tub of peppermint ice cream and then thought of a recipe my mom and I made up about 7 years ago after having some of Williams Sonoma's Peppermint Bark. 

Williams Sonoma can eat it.  My mom and I came up with a better tasting recipe and it does not include paying a ridiculous amount of money for it.'s only 3 ingredients!  So simple and so hard not to stop eating it.  Give yourself about 30 minutes to complete this start to finish, and that includes hardening time for the almond bark.


  • You will use an entire package of the Plymouth Pantry Vanilla flavoredAlmond Bark.
  • You will use about half a bag of the Andes Peppermint Crunch.
  • You will use about half of the Bob's Sweet Stripes soft peppermints.
  • Items you will need:  Microwave safe bowl, wax paper, cookie sheet (preferrably with sides), and a rolling pin/hammer/meat tenderizer...something to smash things with. 
Note:  The Andes Peppermint Crunch is hard to find and is only available in stores around Christmas time.  I found it at Wal-Mart and it was not on the cooking aisle, it was in a large mid-aisle display in the food section that had holiday specific items like jellied cherries, pumpkin pie filling, etc... 

Directions:  Open the bag of Almond Bark, break it apart, and place in a microwave safe cooking dish (I used my big Pyrex bowl). 

Next, you will need to unwrap about 2 cups worth of the Soft Peppermints.

Next, you will place the peppermints in a ziplock bag and smash them via a rolling pin or any other device of your choosing.

You'll want to break them into pretty small pieces so they disperse easier
in the melted almond bark, and you want them to be chewable in the bites you take. 

Now it's time to melt the almond bark.  I put mine in the microwave according to the directions for 90 seconds. That amount of time almost had it completely melted after I removed it and stirred for about 2 minutes.  Then I popped it back in the micro for the recommended additional 15 seconds and that did the trick. 

While the almond bark was in the microwave I lined my cookie sheet with wax paper.  I lined it horizontally and then vertically to make the removal of the bark after it dries easier. 

Add the crushed soft peppermints to the almond bark and mix thoroughly and quickly.

After your peppermints are all mixed into the almond bark, you will just poor it onto the cookie sheet and start spreading it out with a rubber scraper.

You'll want to spread the mixture out as thin as possible without any gaps. 
This is why its important to really crush up the soft peppermints. 

After I got all mine spread out this is what I ended up with.  I didn't use up the entire cookie sheet. 

Last thing is to just sprinkle the Andes pieces on top and push them into the mixture.  If you don't, they'll come off when you break the bark apart. 

And there you have it!  Make sure it is hard before you break it apart.  I let mine sit for about 15 minutes before I broke it into pieces.  Just enough time to unload and reload the dishwasher and lick every leftover morsel off the rubber scraper and Pyrex bowl. 

I broke mine into pieces by hand, but you could use a cookie cutter to do shapes or use a knife to cut squares, rectangles or triangles.

If you prefer your mint with a little chocolate, you could melt a layer of the chocolate almond bark on the bottom of the cookie sheet before you add the white chocolate mixture.   

Here is the finished product!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...