Friday, September 28, 2012

Target Treasures!

So I don't know if its just a stay at home mom thing, or just a mom thing, or even a girl thing, but I LOVE Target.  I find any excuse I can to go there.  I need diapers; well then I have to go to Target.  I need razors; Target it is.  My furnace needs a new filter (did you know you're supposed to change those every month? I didn't!), must get one from Target.  Now I could get these things at any store and probably one closer to my house, and for cheaper.  But I would never deny myself a chance to browse the beautiful, colorful aisles of my favorite store. For some reason everything appeals to me there.  I'm not sure what exactly it is, but when I look at anything there I immediately want it and can actually envision it in my house or me or Bug wearing it.  Honestly I can't remember the last time I went to Target and spent less than $50. Is that bad?!  Even if I'm just going for diapers, I always leave with a cartful.  And recently I've been extending my Target experience by getting lunch there. Bug eats all 3 of the chicken tenders she gets in her meal, and I pick at her fries and drink a Starbucks. So anyway probably my favorite part of Target is the dollar section in the front (which I've noticed recently has jacked up its prices to $2.50. Its ok; I'll deal.) Bug also loves this section because they always have lots of stickers and little notebooks. Recently, I was very excited to find that all the Fall/Halloween decor things in this section were actually really cute. So I just wanted to share my finds with you.  Now I'm pretty sure all these things were $2.50, but its still a pretty good deal!

Front: Tea towels, rug, candy dish. Back: decorative pumpkins, yard stake, door sign, spooky word decoration.
Not bad for some quick decorations around the house! Warning though, I went back to get more yard stakes and they were all gone, so hurry up and go get yours!

I also wanted to share this nail polish I discovered over the summer. I've only seen it at Target (not that I go to a lot of other stores), but its usually down on the bottom shelf under the OPI or essie (expensive) nail polish. Its called Sinful Color and its $1.99!! They have the same cute colors as the rest of the brands and I think it stays on as about as well as them too. Here is just a small sample of the colors I have.

One last find I want to share with you all. I love all of Target's kids clothes and I always find the cutest things for Bug. Well this is my favorite item for the fall. She looks super cute in this cardigan, and she wants to wear it all the time!

So what are you doing still sitting there?! Go to Target to get some of this stuff now! And come back and share your recent "Target Treasures"!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I love smoothies! You can have them as your breakfast or as a mid day snack or as an after dinner dessert!  And if you (or your kids) are not veggie lovers, it can be a good way to hide them!  I'm always trying to come up with new smoothie recipes.   So here are just a few that I love to make!

Note: I'm all about using what you have! I use almond milk and sometimes coconut milk, but you can certainly use whatever milk you have in the fridge. Also, if you don't have or you don't like the taste of agave nectar, use honey or sweetener. 

Directions for all smoothies: Put ingredients in Magic Bullet (or blender) and blend well!!

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal                                                               
perfect for breakfast on the go!
1 banana
1/3 cup old fashioned (or quick) oats
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 packet of sweetener (I use Truvia)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1-2 ice cubes

Cucumber Melon  
1/2 cup cucumber (6-8 slices)
1 cup cantalope
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp agave nectar                                                               
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1-2 ice cubes
*optional 1/2-1 packet sweetener

***You can replace the cantalope with strawberries for another delicious combo! 

* If you think it sounds strange to add cucumber to a smoothie, TRY it!  It is very refreshing! 

tastes like fall!
Sweet Potato
1 banana
1/3 cup sweet potato (cooked and chilled, I used leftover baked sweet potato)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 packet sweetener
1-2 ice cubes

a sweet treat!
Honey Banana                                                                                                

1 banana
1 TB honey
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1-2 ice cubes

No Bake Cookie   
dessert for breakfast!

1/2 cup old fashion (or quick) oats                                                                       
2 heaping tsp. cocoa powder
2 heaping tsp. peanut butter
2 packets sweetener
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1-2 ice cubes                                                                   

As you can see, I use a lot of bananas, so I tend to over buy them, and then they all ripen at the same time, and this could be a problem.  But, did you know that you can put overripe bananas in the freezer?  If you bake banana bread, I'm sure you did!  But you can also use those frozen bananas in your smoothies!! So, don't ever throw your bananas away.  If they've gotten to the point of brownness that you won't eat them plain, just stick them in the freezer and save them for your next smoothie....or banana bread!

Monday, September 24, 2012

DIY Closet Organizers...For Baby!

As soon as I heard that my super organized friend "M" was having a baby, I knew this was one project I had to complete! Off I ran to Hobby Lobby to pick up four wooden door hangers...I did some research and found the lowest prices and the best quality at Hobby Lobby. If you are planning on trying out this project, be sure to buy the thicker door hangers that are priced at .99 cents instead of the thinner at .79 cents!

You will also need scrapbook paper, number stickers, Mod Podge, acrylic paint, scissors and foam craft brushes to complete this project.

Step 1...trace your wooden door hanger onto your scrapbook paper and cut out

Step 2...Paint the back and sides of your wooden door hanger with your choice of acrylic paint

Step 3...Once your hangers have completely dried, add a generous layer of Mod Podge to the front of your hangers and the back of your scrapbook paper. Carefully line up your scrapbook paper with the hanger and smooth out the paper to avoid bubbles. Let dry for at least an hour.

Step 4...Add your number stickers to indicate the clothing sizes. I used 0-3, 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12 months. Once you have placed your stickers, apply a generous layer of Mod Podge to the front of the hanger. You will want to repeat this process several times...I added a total of three layers of Mod Podge to the front. Make sure to again wait at least an hour in between layers to allow for drying time.

Ta Da!! The finished product!

P.S. In case the opening of your hanger is not large enough to fit your closet bar, add a strip of ribbon that can be tied onto the closet bar!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bug's 2nd Sesame Street Birthday Party!

Before I even asked her the question I knew what the answer would be, but I asked anyway.  "Bug, who do you want on your birthday cake?" I asked.  Without hesitation she answers "El!!" Just in case she wasn't 100% sure, I asked "anyone else?" "Nom nom  nom" she replies. So Elmo and Cookie Monster it is! Luckily this is a pretty common theme and I found tons of ideas on Pinterest!

The first things I made (which was my first attempt at any sort of craft) were the treat bags.  I found different variations of these all over the Internet, but these are how mine turned out.
I went with Cookie, Elmo, Burt, Oscar, and Ernie because I found those colors in treat bags, but luckily Bug likes all those characters with the exception of Oscar.  They are pretty generically made: I traced circles and ovals on construction paper and glued them on the bags.  I couldn't find anything to trace to make mouths so I didn't give them mouths! I think they still turned out pretty cute though!

I also wanted to make the fruit and veggie trays into Elmo, Oscar and Cookie Monster's faces.  I found this idea on Pinterest.
 Oscar got a little jumbled on the journey from Pap's refrigerator to the party, but overall these were super easy to make and Bug knew who they were all supposed to be. Success!!

Next were the cupcakes. I was soooo nervous to make these but luckily I have wonderful and talented neighbors and friends who helped me. I used Funfetti cake mix, store brand icing and red and blue food coloring. My neighbor had pastry bags thankfully and a star tipped icing thingy. Once we had them baked and iced I used marshmallows for their eyes and I found these little sugar eyeballs and glued them onto the marshmallow with some icing.  For Elmo I broke an Oreo cookie in half for his mouth (which was probably the most difficult part of these cupcakes! It was really hard to get them straight).  And before we iced Cookie I cut a slit in the cupcake and put half a Chips Ahoy cookie in his mouth. I wish I would have gotten a picture of the cupcakes as they sat out in the 90 degree weather. Poor Elmo and Cookie's eyes melted right off!

                                             Bug loved the Cookie Monster cupcakes!

So I had that all under control and planned out.   Then I am asked what activities and games I'm going to have at the party. Activities?!? Games?!?! I hadn't thought about that. So I did some research; I watched Sesame Street with Bug.

Kids love sweet stuff, so what could be more fun for the kiddos than to decorate sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles?! And there you have it: Cookie Monster's Cookie Table. This beautiful sign was designed and drawn by my wonderfully talented neighbor. I bought some slice and bake cookies, different flavors of icing, and sprinkles.....lots and lots of sprinkles. Luckily I had tons of stuff left over so B and the 2 Js came over the next day and we had Cookie Monster's Cookie Table part 2 on Stonf's kitchen table! Any excuse to decorate and eat cookies!!!

Bug's birthday usually falls around Memorial Day weekend and for as far back as I can remember it is always HOT that weekend.  The park where I have her party has a water pump that the kids love to play in. So while thinking of more activities I thought of having a duck pond, because Ernie loves his rubber duckie!! Again this sign was made by my neighbor. She is an amazing artist! I got this pool at Toys r Us for $5.00 and bought a bunch of Dollar store rubber ducks. I have to say this was the main attraction at the party. The kids loved the pool and they all got to take the ducks home.

Bug's cake was adorable, but I cannot take credit for it.  My favorite local bakery, Kretchmar's Bakery, did a beautiful job with her cake and I could have have been more pleased with it.

I ordered Bug a cute Elmo birthday shirt and tutu from Etsy, and when I got it in the mail her eyes lit up and she wanted to wear it immediately. So of course party day, she wants no part of the tutu. She walked around in the shirt and her diaper all day. (Keepin it real!)

I did manage to get the tutu on her the next day for a picture, but not with the shirt on. The shirt, of course, had blue icing all over it!

So overall for my first time trying to make things myself I'd say I did a decent job.  Everyone who attended the party told me everything looked cute, so unless they were lying I think Bug's party turned out great.  She had fun and there were no major catastrophes!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ladybug Birthday Party

How did we come up with the ladybug theme?  Did you ever see the "Ladybug Picnic" song on Sesame Street?  That was our inspiration, and besides, there were so many cute things we could do with ladybugs! Some things worked, others did not.  But I think the party was an overall success.

Inside the treat bag!

Treat bags!

I wasn't lying when I told you Ronnie was my "go to" guy.  I told him my idea for a kid size cornhole set, and he did it!  He constructed these boards for me, and I painted and decorated them.  And with a foot of "ladybug" fabric from Walmart and some expired dry split peas, I made the beanbags to go with it!

Ladybug beanbag toss game
Hidden bugs sandbox
The trickiest part of the cake and cupcakes was getting the frosting RED!  I must've added two whole bottles of red food coloring.  And, I researched before I did it, so I had red gel color and the liquid drops.  And I used BOTH!  One thing I did notice was the longer you let the frosting sit, the redder it got.  I still wasn't convinced the red was RED enough, and I used red sugar sprinkles on top.  They turned out just fine! 
 I came up with the idea to use Oreos as the ladybugs' heads when I saw Stonf use them as mouths on Elmo cupcakes.
Ladybug veggie tray
*Compliments of Stonf
Cupcakes and cake!

Biggest Failure: I had this cute idea to make rice krispy dots...rice krispy treats rolled into a ball and dipped in chocolate.  I wanted to dye the chocolate red and black.   First of all, I had the hardest time forming the rice krispy treats into balls, and after about 4, I gave up.  And then, when I tried to dye the melting chocolate, it turned to poo!  It literally looked like dog poop!  So, I scratched that idea, took the leftover Oreos, dipped them in white chocolate and milk chocolate, and then added black and red sugar sprinkles. 

Keepin it Real Moment:   We have a dirt backyard, as opposed to a beautiful, green lawn.  It hadn't rained in about a month, and I was thrilled because it would've made for a muddy mess.  What I didn't consider was that extra dry dirt turns to a dusty mess.  Needless to say, everyone's feet were black by the end of the night!

Monday, September 17, 2012

All About HSB

Welcome to Real Livin' With HSB!  We are so happy you have decided to check out our little piece of the Internet!  Since this is our first post, we thought it would be a great idea to take a moment and introduce ourselves and, of course, our blog!

We are a group of 3 best friends who have know each other since junior high school.  Back in the day, we went by some crazy nicknames that have actually stayed with us 15 years later, which is where the "HSB" portion of our blog originated.  Through 15 years of friendship, we have stuck with each other through lots of good, and of course, some bad.  Now that we are all moms, most of our time together is spent having play dates with our kids.  It was actually during one of these many play dates that the concept of Real Livin' With HSB originated.  I'll set the scene for you all...Hooch, B, and Stonf all sat around Hooch's dining room table after a long day while four kids (all under the age of 5) destroyed Hooch's house around them.  Hooch, an avid blog reader, mentioned to Stonf and B that, while she loved to read blogs, she was discouraged at times seeing all of the beautiful houses and perfect decor that was typically showcased on many of the popular blogs.  Stonf and B quickly shot out the idea of starting a blog where we showcased the good, bad, and ugly of our lives.  Of course, we would love to share pretty pictures and crafts that have gone right, but we would also share the times when things didn't go so well.  And with that, Real Livin' With HSB was born!

We had many blog "meetings" at our favorite establishment, On The Border, where we ate lots of chips and salsa and discussed what topics we would write about.  Since we all have different interests and talents, this blog will be kind of all over the place.  You can expect to see party planning, decor, crafts, recipes, beauty tips, and even the occasional "Keepin it Real" moment.  We sincerely hope our readers are as excited about our blog as we are!  Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's take a minute to meet Hooch, Stonf and B.


Hey There! I am the mom of a super cute (and very sassy) 3 year old daughter, Felicity, and wife to my college sweetheart, George.  All of my life, I wanted to be one of those women who "has it all and does it all."  I dreamed of a successful career, perfect family, and a beautiful magazine worthy house.  In reality, I did achieve the part about the perfect family (in my opinion at least), but the rest, not so much!  I work full time in a job that does have some perks, but is definitely not my dream job.  It basically pays the bills, which is pretty much all I can ask for at this point!  And the magazine worthy house...umm, yeah, I love my house but I'm not holding my breath waiting for the day it appears on the glossy pages of a magazine.

To escape the 9-5 of my everyday life, I craft and decorate constantly.  I'm pretty sure my house will never be "finished" because I tend to change my mind and my decorating style All.Of.The.Time!  It's a good thing my husband is patient and doesn't care to have much of a decorating opinion.  Anyways, I hope you have fun following my crafting and decorating...and anything else that may pop up in between.  Thanks for stopping by!


I am a 29 year old widow and only parent to a fearless, fun, finger sucking 2 year old Bug.  I have been "doing it on my own" for over 2 years now.  I stay at home and aspire to be one of those perfect know the type with the clean, well decorated house, delicious, healthy dinner on the table, and doing fun, educational activities with the kids.  But the reality is my house is a mess, we have mac and cheese at least once a day and we spend a lot of time watching TV.  So follow me on my real life journey to attempt to be that perfect mom.  I have a feeling it is going to be a long journey!  


I am the proud stay at home mother of two amazingly beautiful children, Jacob, 5 and Julia, 2.  I am married to my best friend, my soul mate, the love of my life, my "go to" guy, Ronnie.  I enjoy cooking, baking, cleaning my house, raising my children, party planning...let's just stop right there...reality check!  Truth, I am the mother of two beautiful children, Jacob and Julia, who make me crazy sometimes.  Truth, I am married to my husband, Ronnie, who is my total opposite.  Truth, I do enjoy cooking, baking, cleaning, raising kids, party planning, but 1. I don't have time 2. I don't know how 3. Somehow, everyone else has the ability to do all of those things at the same exact time...I have yet to master multitasking.  My hope is that through this blog, others can relate to our real life stories and experiences.  We may not be perfect, but we're "Keepin it Real!"