Friday, June 22, 2012

Thirty-One Giveway!! Utility Tote

Well hello there sweet peeps!
It's Fri-DAY
Aren't you excited for the possibilities of the weekend?
I sure AM!
And as promised I am giving away an all new 
Utility Tote from Thirty-One!!
 The winner will receive a Thirty-One Utility Tote 
with a topper.
Imagine all you can carry/haul around in your stylish utility tote!
I have mine filled to the brim with photo props.
Makes it SO easy to just pick it up and go or store in the trunk of my car.
I plan on getting some more at this incredible price.
When you spend $35 you get your tote for only $10.
Here's an easy way to hit the $35 mark:
Buy an organizing utility tote for $30
Then buy the top a tote for $10
BAM! you get your utility tote for $10!!
Get several to give as gifts and our items are personalized with beautiful embroidery!
Check out my website to place your order
Now since I am feeling extra giving ;)
I am going to be giving away a Thirty-One utility tote in 
the black happy dots pattern :)
Because, well, it makes me happy!
We even carry the new "spirit" line to personalize with your favorite team spirit slogan.
I love Thirty-One products especially since I am totally into organization :)
I plan on using many of their products when I re-do my home office later this month
Here's a cool idea for your home office:
 (photo credit-Traci Thomas)
Here's what your tote will look like if you win the giveaway! {minus the embroidery}
  (photo credit-Traci Thomas)
So what are you waiting for? 
Place your order today with me and start getting organized!

to enter my giveaway all you have to do is comment on this post right after you:
*follow me on google friend connect
*subscribe to my blog via email
*follow my blog via facebook >>>click over there
*follow me on twitter>>>>click on the button 
*follow me on pinterest>>>click on button
Don't forget to leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win!!
This giveaway ends on June 30th at 10 p.m. CDT
Only residents of the continental U.S. are eligible
If you are already following my blog please enter and just state so :)
Winner will receive on Thirty-One Utility tote in Happy Dots with top. No personalization is included.
No purchase necessary to win.
I am an Thirty-One independent rep and I am purchasing this item myself to give to one lucky, faithful reader :)

Good luck everyone!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Fun at Camp

Well we did it!
We dropped off the little guy at
We got to see some pics of him thru their
secure website.
I am sure he is having lots of fun.
Here are a few pics of him at Camp Huawni.

I sure do miss him :(
But I know he is in good hands and getting to be a kid.
He can run around all day playing with friends without me 
worrying that he will be run over by a car or taken by some 
I want my children to have those carefree days and just be kids.
At Camp Huawni, my little guy will get to make some great memories.

And as for me, well I finally finished my consulting work and hopefully won't have to be doing that anymore.
I took the leap of faith and now I have to work hard at moving my photography business forward.
I also have a lot of projects to finish here at home and lots of traveling to do. 
I thought I'd have lots of time to do said projects since the boys aren't here-WRONG!!
I find myself sidetracked most of the day taking care of the day to day chores.
Well, such is life.
And what a great life it is!!
What about you?
Are your kids doing any fun camps this summer?
I'd love to hear from you in my comments.


***This post was sponsored by Camp Huawni. I have not received compensation for my opinions. I may have received products for mentioning them in my blog.
All opinions and post ideas are mine.***

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How to Wrap A Pretty Wedding Present

 Ahhh June, the time of year for many weddings and celebrations!
Today I will show you an idea on how to wrap a pretty wedding gift or any other gift using things you 
have on hand.
For this particular gift, I wanted it to look like a fancy box.   
You start off by buying some good quality wrapping paper in a nice solid color. This way you can use it over and over no matter the occasion.
I love this aqua colored paper from 
it's good quality, thick and has lasted me for over a year.
Next you gather some supplies:
 I used things I had on hand-silvery ruffled border, glittery chip letters, glue stick, MS silvery paint, and MS stencils used to paint my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Armoire.
First you wrap your gift just as always except instead of using transparent tape I used my glue stick. You can use double sided tape as well. The trick is to NOT have the tape showing.
On one side of the gift, I only glued it partially so I could create a pocket for the card.
I find this a lot better way to present the gift and the card.
I made the card too, but that's for another post.
Next, I took my silver-metallic paint and chose a stencil I wanted to use.
I then stenciled all six sides of the wrapped box just to give it some class :)
{I waited for the sides to dry before proceeding to the other sides}
After all the stenciling was done, I then took the glittery letters and glued them to the top of the gift:
 I then took the silvery, ruffled, border and carefully glued it around the edges.
 And that's it! 
See how simple and inexpensive it is to wrap a pretty present?
It sure beats sticking it in a gift bag.
I find that when I am given a present, I love the way it's wrapped and makes me feel extra special :)
You can use kraft paper and your favorite stamps and any pretty craft paint too.
How about using buttons and scrap fabric to create pretty rosettes that you can glue in groups on top of the box?
The possibilities are endless!
How about you? 
Are you going to any fancy soirees this summer?
I'd love to hear about it in the comments and link up your pretty gift wrap ideas in the comments or via email so I can feature YOU on this blog this summer!
Don't forget to come back later this week for my Thirty One giveaway!!
Have a great first day of Summer.


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Yahoo News! Interview: Remake America

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a representative 
of Yahoo! News
She told me all about a series on their site titled "Remake America."
The series deals with six families facing real 
financial challenges and the online community who offers suggestions.
The families are given the help of a professional financial adviser to aid them in their quest for financial recovery.
When the representative explained to me what this series was all about, I was intrigued. She then asked me if I was willing to interview one of the families in the series for them.
Of course I said yes!
With my background in finance, anything I can do to help others is something that I always strive for.
An appointment was made and I made the phone call to Kirk and LaTosha.
Before I post the transcript of this interview here is a video from Yahoo! News where you can get some background on the couple.

LaTosha and Kirk live in the Houston area and together they have six kids. When Yahoo first met the couple, Kirk had lost his job and with only one income, the couple is found themselves in some serious financial trouble.
After a few months, with help from the financial expert, Kirk and LaTosha are on their way out of the financial hole they first found themselves in.
I spoke with LaTosha late last week and here is my interview:
"Hi Latosha:
My name is Patty and I am a blogger at Our Adventures in Big Ole Texas.
I’ve been following along on Yahoo! News and the Remake America Series.
I was asked to conduct a brief interview to share on my blog about your experiences with Kirk losing his job and the overall experience with Remake America and using Faroosh Torabi’s advice.
The last episode dealt with your making some extra income by catering. How’s that been going?"
LaTosha: "It hasn't been. I haven't had much luck with that until this morning when somebody contacted me about possibly catering an event. I'll be working on the menu tonight and hopefully that will work out.
Patty: " Do you feel that maybe Kirk can do something on the side to make extra money as well?"
LaTosha: "I mean he can do that if he wants, if he can do something he likes, but, you know, I'm not going to force him to."
"One of the episodes dealt with you and Kirk communicating more about expenses and budgeting. Have you both been doing better in communicating with each other regarding making purchases,etc?"

LaTosha: "You know we've always talked about it, finances, I don't know why it came across, but I've always been the one who pays the bills and we have never made purchases without each others consent."
"Have you guys developed a household budget and have you been able to stick to it?

LaTosha: "What we've been doing differently is try to stick with it and develop a safety net. 
"What are some of the difficulties you find yourself in when drawing up a budget?"
LaTosha: "Some things are not as important to him as they are to me and vice versa."
"How is Kirk’s new job as far as salary as compared to the one he had before?"
LaTosha: "Kirk's job is going well with the same salary range as before."

"What are some of your financial goals short term? (in the next 30-90 days)"
LaTosha: "Continue building savings is the main thing. We really hadn't done that before and we want to be prepared should something like this happen again."
"Long term? (1 year to 5 years)"
LaTosha: " Long term, we would like to purchase another house, so that's a goal and college savings for my younger children, also pay off our vehicles."
"How do you think this experience has helped you grow together as a couple?
As parents?"
LaTosha: "It definitely helped us grow closer as a couple and communication has improved and we have grown stronger together. As parents it has helped to better communicate with our children, even though you want to keep their innocence but live in reality and sometimes you have to have the conversation of wants versus needs they need to understand that."

"Well I think you guys are very courageous and inspiring and we all appreciate you sharing your story with everyone. Thank you very much, LaTosha.

LaTosha: "Thank you."

Thanks so much LaTosha and Kirk for sharing your story with all of us. 
To see the next installment in their story click on over to Yahoo! News-Remake America.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to Make Watermelon Water {Agua de Sandia}

How to make Mexican Watermelon Water
Como hacer Agua de Sandia

On these hot summer days, wouldn't you want to drink a refreshing natural drink?

Well watermelon water, or agua de sandia, as it is known in Mexico is pure refreshment.
To make this you will need the following:
1/2 of a medium seedless watermelon
2 liter pitcher

First scoop out some watermelon into a bowl
 and with a masher mash it up very well until it is a watery consistency.
Next, pour ice into the pitcher, add the mashed up watermelon, add cold water and sugar to taste.
We like it very sweet :)

Sit back on your patio and enjoy it with your friends!


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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

T Minus Four Days to Camp

Here we are mid week and I am still getting the little guy
ready for his first time ever going away to Camp Huawni! 
I am anxiously awaiting a name stamper so I can
stamp all his clothes and things with his name! It was supposed to arrive today but it wasn't here yet when I last checked. 
I hope it will be here tomorrow. 
We have had a super busy last few days.
First off, we dropped off the big guy at A&M for his robotics course.
I was very apprehensive about dropping him off to be alone
for three weeks so far away from me!!
(ok, it's not THAT far but I'd rather have all my kids under the same roof. You moms know what I'm talkin' bout)
So, Monday night I call him to see how he's doing and he didn't have time to talk to me! 
Can you believe that!

I guess he's growing up and liking it.
They will be keeping them pretty busy every day not only with academics but with fun activities in the evenings.
The reason I was so apprehensive at first, is that my sweet, big guy is in the autism spectrum.
I always worry that his quirkiness will garner him some teasing or unwanted attention.
But apparently I was wrong.
I can't wait for him to return and hear all about it.
Here are some pics of the big guy's dorm room:

                                                                       moving in

 the dorms are super cramped
checking out his study area

 And of course I had to take a pic with my guy
I had a call from him just a while ago.
He complained about the food but he did 
make some new buddies.
All that matters is that he's happy ;)
And a big steak will be waiting for him when he gets back.
Now, I have to continue packing for my other guy.
This summer's going to be quite the adventure.



Monday, June 11, 2012

Transform With Chalk Paint {Nightstand}

This little nightstand is about to get hit by the magic wand!
 You've seen me transform my cheap armoire before with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and now you get to see 
this cheapo nighstand get the royal treatment next!
A little background on this piece:
It cost me about $30 nearly 12 years ago. It is made of fake wood and most people would trash it after having so long.
But I wanted to give it a fresh new look.
I want to show you what YOU can do with pieces you may have and think that they are not worthy of keeping.
This time around I used the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Graphite for the all over color but I added Smoky Mountain Grey from CeCe Caldwell's line of chalk paint for comparison.
I'll tell you which one I prefer at the end of this post :)
 Here are the steps I took with this piece:
First I removed the drawer knob.
I did not have to sand this piece because I was using chalk paint.
Chalk paint is NOT the same thing as chalkboard paint.
I used a medium, angled brush to apply the first coat of the graphite paint.
I let it dry and did two more coats. The reason for this is that I wanted a nice sleek finish and not the "shabby" look you can get from chalk paint. 
Chalk paint dries pretty fast and it has no smell. This is what I like about working with the Annie Sloan brand. 
After I was satisfied with the finish, I went to work on my stencil.
Using my Cricut cartridge Storybook and using my Gypsy to design it I measured the area I wanted to stencil on the top of the nightstand. I then input the dimensions into my Gypsy and cut the stencil out on cardstock.
Because I was making a stencil, I had to use the "negative" part of the diecut and it took me some time assembling it with tape on the top of the piece.
My husband advised me that I could have just used spray adhesive to put down the cutout on top of the silver metallic paint then, take it off and repaint with the graphite.
I, of course, wanted to complicate things and did it my way.
I actually like my way better after trying his way on the bottom portion of the nightstand. I did not want to use up that much of my silver metallic paint doing it his way.
You can try it either way considering the cost of the paint.
After stenciling the top and bottom of the piece I let it dry and in the meantime I painted the drawer front with the
Smoky Mountain Grey sample from CeCe Caldwell.
It spreads beautifully but I did notice it has a slight odor.
Now, if you're like me and don't want to have any odors or are bothered by them because of asthma, then I would suggest the Annie Sloan brand.
As this was drying, I went ahead and painted the knob with the same silver Martha Stewart paint I used on the stencil.
Here are some pics of the process:

And some of the finished piece :)

All in all a fun little project.
So, remember, don't throw out that piece of "junk" just yet.
Instead see if you can transform it!

Be back soon!
And don't miss any posts, get them delivered right to your inbox by subscribing to my blog on the right hand side>>>>


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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Make A Laundry Bag (Stencil and Dropcloth)

How to Make A Laundry Bag Out of Dropcloths

Well it's T minus 10 days 'till the little guy goes off to 
and I am busy getting all his gear ready.
The big guy goes off to his camp this Sunday so I am getting his gear ready first.
One of the things on both their lists were laundry bags.
Now, I know I could just go buy one but what fun would that be?

So here is how to make your very own cheap laundry bag:
You will need-
some type of strong cording such as clothes line
acrylic paint
letter stencils
stippling brush
a sewing machine

For my lettering I used my Cricut and Gypsy with the Storybook fonts

I wanted to make the laundry bags look kinda vintage-y
What do you think?

The big guy's bag has his monogram on it

and the little guy's has his name stenciled on the back
The number 13 was used to signify the first letter of our last name ;)
My mom, who is a professional seamstress and could sew these babies up in a matter of minutes, helped me out by cutting the dropcloths to size and sewing them. Then she put the cording on each and we tied a knot at the end.
The bags measure 20 inches wide by 30 inches tall.

I cut out the words "laundry" and the monogram/names with my Cricut and used them as stencils.
Then I lined them up using a t-square to make sure they look
somewhat straight {you can use a level too if you want}
Here are the steps in pictures:

I am very pleased with the results.
Again, you could just go buy one but it's SO much fun to make one.
I can see these used for college kids as well. You can make them as big and wide as you want. 
These can also be used when going camping.
Imagine them with your family's names and/or a cute
symbol on them.
You can also make these by using an iron on and designing the lettering on your computer :)
So many possibilities.
Cost: $4.00 for the cording
I had everything else :)

I'll be back soon with many more projects.
Including one recipe to help keep you cool this summer.

 linking to:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bittersweet Week {Hello and Goodbye}

Yep I finally did it. I took the leap of faith I needed to take and I retired early from my government accounting job.
Today was my last day :(
And just as I was doubting myself for my decision, I got an email wanting to book a wedding with me in the fall :)

 {copyright Patricia Martinez Photography}

Isn't it something when we start to doubt ourselves only to have little reminders that we are not alone?
That maybe there IS someone out there watching us and making sure we live up to our potential.
And that makes me feel a whole LOT better.
So this week the kids finally got out of school and summer is officially here!
It was bittersweet for our little guy as he bid farewell to his elementary school.
We will begin homeschooling him in the fall and I will blog about this entirely new adventure.
Our big guy, well he bid adieu to to middle school and is now a REALLY big guy going to high school.
We are also getting ready to send the little guy to Camp Huawni and he is very excited!!
It'll be nice to be able to run around and just be a kid.
Hurray no electronics!
This mom is happy :)

 {copyright Patricia Martinez Photography}

And as for me: Well I am planning on keeping myself busy with home projects and building up my photography business and we'll see where this journey takes us.
 {copyright Patricia Martinez Photography}

So if you need some family or wedding pics contact me.
 I have lots of time now ;)



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