christmas tree luminaries @ somewhat simple

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I am super duper excited to be sharing this glamorous DIY over at Somewhat Simple today because 1:  I finally feel like I am able to wrap my head around life a little bit to post more often; and 2: This is the first Christmas project I have done this season.  It is a bit early for me, I admit…I usually don’t get into the Christmas Spirit until Thanksgiving is over.  But it was too pretty not to make and share as soon as possible!  Let’s not forget also that my spray-painting “season” is dwindling.

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SO, friends…head over to Somewhat Simple and check out this fun Metallic & Mod Christmas Luminary tutorial!

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#MakeIt Blogger Challenge: Felt Turkey Puppets

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Hey everyone. Halloween is over, and now it is time to get ready for my personal favorite holiday…Thanksgiving! That’s right. Move aside Santa, Cupid, and Ghoulies…turkey is king in my World.

This month, I am back at it for another #Makeit Blogger Challenge, sharing an easy turkey-themed project that you can do with the kids…turkey puppets.

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Keep this one up your sleeve for some Thanksgiving Day fun…maybe even do it ahead of time so the little Toms can put on a puppet show. I mean, what other entertainment (besides THE parade) would be better?

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The supplies are basic: felt, feathers, and some googley-eyes. And some heavy duty craft glue…that felt is tricky!

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Trace and cut out a mitten shape out of two pieces of brown felt.

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Glue the two sides of felt together to make your mitten.

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Stick on your eyes and feathers. We used real and felt feathers.

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Have some fun.

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This picture is my favorite!

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Make sure to check out some other fab turkey-projects from some of these very talented ladies!

1. Turkey Apron 2. Gobble Gobble Thanksgiving Placemats 3. Wood Slice Turkey 4. Thanksgiving Tray from Cupboard Door 5. Turkey Puppets 6. Thanksgiving Turkey Card 7. Turkey Pops 8. Magnetic Turkey Tic Tac Toe 9. Turkey Day Photo Props

Gobble Gobble!

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#MakeIt Blogger Challenge: Painted Pumpkin Plates

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Happy Monday.  It is really starting to feel like fall here with this chilly weather rolling in!    It makes me want to bundle up with a mug of something spicy and hot under a warm blanket.  I even pulled out my Wicked Good Slippers this morning for the first time in 6 months!

Here is some total fun-ness I am sharing with you this week as part of the new #MakeIt Blogger Challenge.  Ginger from Gingerly Made reached out to me recently to be a part of this fab group of bloggers sharing monthly projects, DIYs, recipes, crafts and the like each month.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity and for now it keeps my creative brain going.  This month’s theme: Pumpkins!  So, get on your fuzzy slippers and check out this easy DIY (and the other fun pumpkin-themed goodies) to get in the fall spirit.

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If you read my post last week, you know that easy is best for me right now and these super-sweet painted pumpkin plates totally fit the bill!

You’ll need:

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Make sure the bottom of your plate is clean.  Starting with the brown paint, make a stem on the bottom of the plate (we don’t want the paint where the food goes!).  Let it dry.

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Next, swirl around some orange paint in the center to make your pumpkin…and overlap some of that orange on the brown.  Let it dry…again.

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Flip your plate over and done!  Now seriously, how simple was that?

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Make sure you check out some of the other fun pumpkin projects this month…

1. Rustic Book Page Pumpkins 2. Pumpkin Table Centerpiece 3. The Giving Pumpkin 4. Painted Pumpkin Plates 5. Rustic Wooden Pumpkins 6. Wood Slice Pumpkins 7. 3 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Cake 8. Ikat Pumpkin Artwork  9. Peanut Butter Pumpkin Cookies 10. Pumpkin Coin Purse 11. Pumpkin Project

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life in general: 09/29/14

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Here we are and it is almost October. I can not even believe how time has been flying these past couple of months. “They” were not joking when they said that our babies grow up so fast. Since Áine has been born, time has seemed to speed up. In the meantime, I can’t help but feel that life is passing my by…lightening speed-like.

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For example…I have not posted on here in over a month. Almost two to be exact. I mean, WHAT?

Here is the deal: I have had the best of intentions to keep things going on Circus Berry at a pretty good clip. Clearly that has not worked out. Taking care of three kids, one being a newborn with a crazy schedule, plus the new music, dance, and tumbling lessons has given me a wake-up call–my time is, well, nonexistent. Let me be a little more accurate though…I have dedicated myself to daily exercise and clean(er) eating using Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix Program, which definitely takes some time and planning. If it wasn’t for that little nugget of “me” time each day, I would go crazy. All things considered, it does feel pretty darn good to be back in most of my pre-baby clothes at 2 months postpartum…and I am seeing muscles I never saw before too! Winning!

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Turns out I have to resign myself to the fact that until my baby girl heads off to daycare at least a couple of days a week (or has a more predictable schedule), I will not be posting with the regularity I would like. Or cooking fancy meals regularly. Or crafting to my heart’s desire regularly. I have to accept that odd jobs and projects in the house are not going to be done as quickly as I would like (let’s face it, when are they EVER?). I have to be okay with it. IT IS SO HARD FOR ME TO DO, but I am working on it and it is happening slowly.  Here is a shot of my almost-completed mudroom wall that has taken me weeks, if not months, to finish:

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**Another “funny” story: I bought a jar of tomato sauce the other day. OMG! Yes, I bought a jar of sauce. The kids have to eat and despite my efforts to make batch of sauce, it didn’t happen. I stood in the aisle of the local Wegmans for about 5 minutes, inner turmoil and all, reading labels until I chose a small jar of Wegmans-brand sauce that contained only 5 ingredients. THAT is an accomplishment. I still twitch when I think about it, even as I write this, but I did it. Baby steps.**

In an effort to manage my expectations, I did a little brain dump last week, setting out some of my priorities and things I would like to accomplish on a (mostly) daily basis.

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The day flies by and by the end it feels like I have gotten nothing accomplished. So, I am trying to set reasonable goals for each day focusing on my own wellness (i.e. exercise, eating, stress management, sleep), the health and wellness of my family (i.e. healthy meals, kindness, play, responsibility…the occasional date night), the smoother functioning of our household (darn that laundry), and my own creativity (i.e. photography, journaling, reading, learning Spanish). I can’t control much these days, but if I get a grip on some of the day to day stuff I might feel a little bit better about the fact that I don’t in fact have control.  Maybe?  I have even recruited the help of some awesome programs to help me on my way:

Emeals–Thank goodness for pre-done meal plans complete with grocery lists!

Beachbody 21 Day Fix–30 minute workouts done daily, at home, with little equipment needed…and a no-brainer nutrition plan.  It works and is totally doable in this crazy time.

MOMables–I make Moira’s lunch everyday and not having reinvent the wheel when it comes to healthful, whole-food lunches and snacks has saved me time and energy.  And if you sign up to Plum District you can now get the program for 39.50 for a 1-year membership.  Make my life easier for almost 40$ a year. Yes, please.

Duolingo–(Re)learning Spanish has been on my list of to-dos for a long time.   With this (free) app, I have been practicing for about 10 minutes a day, while baby nurses.  Now that is multi-tasking!

So there it is.  A glimpse into my mommy-brain in its current state.  Make sure to visit me again soon!  Even though you won’t see new content daily, I promise there will be some fun things popping up here as I make my way through “managing my expectations”.

Thanks for sticking with me!

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back-to-school book page wreath @ Or So She Says

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I just love a simple DIY, don’t you?  I am one happy crafter when something comes together in a cinch and this Back-to-School Book Page Wreath is no exception.  I was looking to update the front door a little bit and in a little bit of time (we all know how much extra time newborns give us, right!?!?).  If you like easy and fast, then this is a good one for you.

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Seriously, stop over to Or So She Says today to see how I put this door decor together in no time at all.  Perfect for the back-to-school season!

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straw tote upcycle @ Somewhat Simple

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Hey everyone.  I am over at Somewhat Simple today, sharing a quick tutorial for upcycling a simple straw tote.  I picked one up at Target a couple weeks back, right before baby girl arrived.  Believe it or not, in between contractions that seemingly lasted for days, I added a little paint here, a little paint there, until I got a fabulous black, white, and gold tote.  We all know how much I love that combo.

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Stop over, check it out, and say hello!
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introducing…

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I am a week late…more than a week…but today I am finally sharing the big news.  Making the big official announcement.

Last week, July 16 at 8:42 am, Baby Number Three made her way into the World.

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That’s right, it’s a GIRL!

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Her name is Áine Katherine and she is pure angel.

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And we are all in love…can you tell?  Big Brother and Big Sister are totally smitten.  They shower her with gentle caresses on the head, kisses, and soothing words.  They tell her she is beautiful and when she cries they tell her, “It’s okay.”  I am amazed at how quickly and how much my first and second born have grown up since Áine’s arrival.  I am in awe that we all started in this same spot.  I am once again overwhelmed by the unconditional love a Mommy  and Daddy can feel, not to mention that same love from a sibling, grandparent, auntie, or uncle.

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The past week has been full of sleepless nights, postpartum recovery, the occasional visitor, and little milestones.  We are doing well at the Circus Berry household, albeit adjusting to life with a newborn.  Mommy is on the road to pre-pregnancy functioning, and Áine is thriving.  All is right with the World and life is good.

Thanks for hanging in there while I adjust to our new life.  Circus Berry will be back in full action soon.  In the meantime, have a great weekend and enjoy those summer days!

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sour cherry & almond coffee cake muffins

So, for the last two weeks we have had a hearty stock of cherries in our fridge.  Sour ones to be exact.  If I was in a different state (i.e. not pregnant) I would be concocting all sorts of delectable drinks with the little tarts, but that is not the case right now.  That being the case, I have replaced the cherry cocktail with a cherry treat.

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As I side note, let me just say that I can hardly believe it is cherry season already, but when I showed up to my CSA last week to pick up our fruits and veggies, there they were!  Maybe it is me, but I tend to measure the passage of summer in two ways…the landmark dates that make up summer (Last day of School, Independence Day, Birthdays, and Labor Day) and seasonal produce.  Before we know it I will be swimming in plums…which is a different series of posts entirely.

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With our first batch of cherries, I made a Sour Cherry & Almond Coffee Cake, adapted from Martha Stewart.  It was delicious but wasn’t screaming out almond or cherry to me, which was what I really wanted.  With our second batch of cherries, I decided to give it another go, making a few more alterations and serving it up muffin style.  Jackpot.

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The result is exactly what I was going for.  A little more cherry, a little more almond flavor, and you have a most perfect treat to go with your morning coffee.

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Sour Cherry & Almond Coffee Cake Muffins

makes 12-15
adapted from Martha Stewart

Topping:
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped, raw almonds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 cups fresh sour cherries, pitted

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a muffin tin with paper cups and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

Make the topping by stirring together the butter, flour, almonds, sugars, salt, and cinnamon with a fork.  Set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl using a mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar together until pale and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, vanilla, and almond extract.  Working in alternating batches, add flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Beat until just combined.  Using a #20 fisher (3 Tablespoons), scoop batter into muffin cups.  Top each cup with 4-5 cherries and sprinkle with the topping.

Bake in preheated oven until topping is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.  Allow to cool before enjoying.

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If you don’t have fresh sour cherries, you could use frozen.  Either way, whip up a batch and invite someone over to indulge in coffee and cake with you on the back porch.  Ahhhh, summer.

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life in general: 07/14/14

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Good morning and Happy Monday. I have clearly been absent from posting and sharing regularly for far too long. Much has happened and continues to happen on the home front here and what I have found is that the longer I stay away, the harder it is to bounce back.  So, here I am today to just give an update, let my readers know I am still here, and to give a glimpse into some of the great things I can’t wait to share.

I apologize in advance for the word-heavy post.

As I wrote before, I accepted a Speech-Language Pathologist position back in April–short term and part-time–that extended to just a couple of weeks ago.  It was a great opportunity to get back into it, to see how much I really missed it, and to give myself a better idea of what I might really want to do with that professional background.  As it turns out, I did miss my SLP work…at first.  Then I missed my blogging life, my creative brain, and being available physically, mentally, and emotionally more for my family.  Trying to do all three (SLP work, blogging, and family) was oh-so exhausting.  I constantly felt like I was spread too thinly and couldn’t get to anything I actually wanted to do.  As Mr. CB put it, I was “neither settler nor explorer”.  Oh, how the tables have turned!  Whereas I was sobbing in my basement over my therapy materials and books several months ago, I am now ready to pack them neatly away for the time being.  I suppose that is the difference between being ready to do something willingly and being forced into it against your wishes.

Since being done with that work at the end of June, I have spent the time nesting, resting, and everything in between!  I have been getting to some of the home to-dos that fell to the wayside, trying to get better at preparing meals (vs the takeout that we relied on for months), getting ready for baby in some ways, and working on posting a little here and there.  You may have seen some of my posts where I contribute monthly, like these:

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A Dozen Tissue Paper Party DIYs @ Organize & Decorate Everything

Simple-Abstract-Art-DIY  Simple Abstract Art DIY @ Somewhat Simple

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T-Shirt Bag DIY @ Or So She Says

On the home front I went through a slump of trying to get my head on straight and get my mojo back.  It seems like the anticipation of baby number three coming has stopped me dead in my tracks from getting anything else done.  It could be any day now and that waiting is brutal!  (I am just over 38 weeks and having pretty uncomfortable contractions, sporadically, every day).  And this pregnancy-brain-thing is no joke!  Motivation, inspiration, and general thinking skills were on the fritz for a couple of weeks.  No matter what I thought of doing, I felt like I just couldn’t follow through.  Or remember.  And let’s not forget the last trimester exhaustion.  If I wasn’t going stir crazy trying to figure out what to do, I was struggling just to keep my eyes open and my body moving.  Sure, I am still tired (especially since sleep at night has become more of a challenge–thank you very much hip back and heartburn pain), but full-fledged nesting has kicked in and I have found a little bit of energy to get through my ‘lists’.  What a relief!

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It all came to a head last week.  I snapped out of my stupor, into action, and went from zero-to-sixty in one afternoon, preparing a number of posts to share this week and next…some treats, some crafts, some decor, and some party ideas.  It was a tiring but therapeutic, happy, and fulfilling day.  And it was a gentle reminder of where I want to be right now.  So, what do I have to share?  Some great uses for seasonal fruit (enter: cherries!), a fun and easy straw bag upcycle, and some can’t-go-wrong pieces of DIY abstract art.

In the upcoming weeks, I will also be sharing some of the parties I put together, including my son’s Contstruction-themed third birthday and my sister’s Vintage-lace-style bridal shower.  These events turned out beautifully and I can’t wait to share the details!

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And maybe, just maybe, I can share the announcement that little baby K has arrived, whether I am carrying a boy or a girl, and the big name reveal sooner than later!

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See you this week!

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12 Fabulous Photo Displays @ Organize & Decorate Everything

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It’s the second Thursday, which means that I am visiting over at Organize & Decorate Everything today, sharing some inspiration for restyling and rethinking the photo collage for your upcoming summer celebrations.

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Weddings, showers, milestone birthdays, and of course graduations, are a great reason to show of your loved one(s) through the years. Head over and check out some Fabulous Photo Displays that are being featured. You will absolutely love some of these ideas…I know my brain is swimming with Photo DIYs already!

Have a great weekend!

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