Friday Favorites…August 14 Edition

I thought it would be fun to share a few of my recent favorite things here today. It’s totally random but I think a lot of fun.

It’s August, 99 degrees outside, and I just bought some Christmas fabric. Is that wrong?

I don’t know what came over me. I was purchasing some fabric for a DIY project in the boys room and all of a sudden I saw this fabric and knew it would be great for Christmas time. I love the modern colors – let’s face it, red and green are nice but sometimes something different is great too.


So I guess the etsy shop where I found this fabric is one of my new favorite places too. Head on over to FRESH MODERN FABRIC for some sewing inspiration.

iusb_760x100.14678346_sg1wisla_280x280.15846855_rv4pf6p6Last summer our entire family got into watching America’s Got Talent on NBC. Yes, I admit with Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B, and Howie Mandel as judges things can get a little spicy but most of it goes over the little kids heads. We really enjoy sitting down all together and watching the talent – both good and bad. Right now they are in the final stages of the competition where we get to vote from home. The kids love it and can’t wait for the next episode. The way my 10 year old talks you would think he is running the actual show and personally knows half the cast. Since the show is long, two hours, we always record it and then watch it commercial free.


The Goodwill Box a.k.a We are cleaning and discarding like crazy over here. Right now we are decorating the boys room, decorating another room, and cleaning out the garage. Because we have moved around multiple pieces of furniture I have gone through almost every nook and cranny in this house. I have a cardboard box in the garage and every time I come across something we don’t need I place it in there. When the box is full I drive it to Goodwill and start a new box. Love the feeling of getting organized – although that’s still a ways a way since not one of the rooms is done.

Sausage, Pepper, and Mushroom Hash – My husband made this meal last week and it was absolutely delicious – the only part we skipped was the egg at the end. I was so glad to finally have a wonderfully filling meal. We tried one of those home meal delivery services and disliked 2 out of 3 of the meals they sent. I signed us up for the vegetarian meal option (mistake with a capital M) and it was quite awful. The one meal we both enjoyed had orzo pasta, tomatoes, avocado, and chickpeas in it. Next time I would make it without the chickpeas because I really dislike anything made with chickpeas – do not offer me your special hummus recipe, it is like all the others out there – tasteless and gross. So I’ve gotten slightly off topic, sorry chickpeas will do that to you. Anyway, the sausage & pepper hash was wonderful. Actually every recipe we’ve tried from Iowa Girl Eats is great.

Elle King’s song Ex’s and Oh’s – Love this song! That’s a good thing since it’s on the radio practically every hour.

This LEGO clock: BEST PRESENT EVER from my sister. My boys have this in there room and get themselves up everyday for school. It is so much easier to get them up with the sound of “beep beep,” than my voice singing, “good morning my loves.” Imagine that. Seriously, they get up and start the day all on their own.


I am loving these Tucker + Tate ‘Marin’ Canvas Slip-On Sneakers for little girls. During our tax free weekend I picked up a pair for Caroline to wear to school on non PE days. She picked out the green pair in the store even though I was campaigning for the pink.

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Okay those are some of my recent favorites.

I’d love to know what you are loving right now!

2014 Family Words of the Year & Our Wall of Pictures

Last year was the first year each member of our family came up with a “word” for the year.

The word each person chose was entirely up to them, although I did provide the 4 yr old with some choices.

The idea is that the word is supposed to be one of the things they want to focus on for the year. Kind of along the lines of a resolution.

Our words are hanging on a large corkboard which I found at the Habitat store for $4. I then glued on some left over fabric (burlap with gold circles) and placed our word canvases on there with push pins. I then took pictures we had printed out already and let the kids pin those up.

It’s literally my favorite thing in my house.


Here’s a close up look at the canvases and how we made them. The idea is based off the same project I saw on Shannan’s blog. We’re not really friends. I just like to pretend we are so I call her by her first name 🙂


The project starts off with scraps of magazines – the best in my opinion are the Boden catalogs because of the vibrant colors – I spent a couple of nights watching tv and cutting out different patterns and colors.


Then we hodged podged the heck out of those scraps onto a 9 x 12 canvas.

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Once Caroline was done, I went back over hers with the hodge podge several times since she was rocking about 4 layers in some parts.


Once the whole front was covered, we used old science fair sticky letters we already had and placed our words onto the canvas. I then spray painted the canvases (I initially painted my with white acrylic paint but liked the look of the spray paint better) and then peeled off the stickers.


Can I just stop for one minute and say that this kid “DID” 2014.

KJMP_McEachern_20141013_0282Signed up for the Geography Bee all on his own, finished the school year with awesome grades, made the school band he wanted to, became a leader on his soccer team, made the state meet in summer swimming, made the region band, joined the school pentathlon team all on his own, ran for the cross country school team, and so much more!

Middle school really agrees with him. So proud.




It’s funny how you start out the year thinking your word will mean one thing and it really ends up meaning something else. I thought my word would mean to find the courage to travel to Ethiopia but what it really meant was to find the courage to be around those who could add to their families. With each person who told me they were pregnant the pain of our loss really struck home again. While happy for them I found it just brought out sadness for me.

Courage for me this year was finally visiting my sister who had a new baby and experiencing that joy with her. I went back and forth and back and forth about making plane reservations but what I kept coming back to was my word for the year: courage.

I could do it. I needed to do it. So I did it. And it was wonderful.


Next week I will share with you our 2015 words.

It should be interesting to see what path those words take us on.

Children’s Thanksgiving Books

I have shared some of our family’s favorite Christmas books (along with our Christmas Eve tradition) before so I thought it would be good to share some of our favorite Thanksgiving books.

I keep all of our holiday books together and only take out the ones that pertain to that month at the beginning of the month. I’m pretty sure that’s the former teacher in me coming out.

Nothing fancy for storing them – just some old milk crates in our storage closet. (Christmas – bottom shelf; Halloween – left of top shelf; February – right of top shelf)


It’s exciting to see all of our favorite books come out and sit and enjoy them. Please tell me about any favorites your family might have.

Ten Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston

-Cute rhyming & counting book with each turkey falling off the fence after some mishap-

Fat Turkey's Song (Thanksgiving Song)


I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson

*My friend Betty gave this book to my children years ago & it’s always a favorite – the illustrations show grandma eating the entire Thanksgiving dinner, even the pot it was cooked in!


Arthur’s Thanksgiving by Marc Brown

Arthur is in charge of the school Thanksgiving play and he can’t find anyone willing to be the turkey –


 Thanksgiving Mice! By Bethany Roberts

-Adorable board book about mice putting on a Thanksgiving play, one of our favorites-


Franklin’s Thanksgiving by Paulette Bourgeois

Franklin is sad because his grandparents can’t come for Thanksgiving. He decides to invite some friends to dinner without telling his parents.


Olivia Talks Turkey by Farrah McDoogle

Olivia is up to her usual antics this time learning how to “call” turkeys with the help of her teacher Mrs. Higenmuller


We Gather Together…Now Please Get Lost! by Diane DeGroat

We added this book to our Thanksgiving pile last year – Gilbert is not happy with his partner on the school field trip to Pilgrim Town so he ditches him once they arrive. Unfortunately it was not a good move for Gilbert.


The First Thanksgiving by Garnet Jackson

– Simple reader that shares the Thanksgiving story –


We’re Gong on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

Not necessarily a Thanksgiving book but the illustrations indicate it’s cold and windy so I put it in our pile.


A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving DVD

Not a book but one of my kids favorite holiday DVD’s – always fun to pull this out in November


And here’s our new Thanksgiving book this year (book fairs sucker me in everytime)…my 8 year old LOVED this book and read the whole thing in one day, constantly spouting out facts he found interesting.

What Was the First Thanksgiving? by Joan Holub

This 100 page book is filled with illustrations, maps, pictures, and information about both the Indians and the Pilgrims.


I’m already thinking about adding these books to our collection next year…

The Berenstain Bears Thanksgiving Blessings by Mike Berenstain


The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing


Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of The Puppeteer of the Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet


Obviously, I have a love for children’s books.

Happy Thanksgiving Reading everyone!

Mystery Boxes…Do You Dare (Halloween Party 2013)

We had our annual Halloween party this past weekend and it was a lot of fun.

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As well as being quite tasty.

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But….not too healthy (only some of the butter we used).

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We may have cooked ourselves silly making sugar cookies, pumpkin whooopie pies, banana bread, oreo mummies, cupcakes, chocolate faces, pretzel witch fingers, pretzel eyeballs, marshmallow sticks, rice krispie treats, snickerdoodle cookies, and pumpkin muffins.

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We also played a game which I think the kids enjoyed – Mystery Boxes

The idea of Mystery Boxes is to reach into the box and try and figure out what food is in there.

For example, I told the kids that I had witches hair. Once they felt it, they needed to decide what food my witches hair really was.

I took 4 boxes (Cheezits, Amazon, shoe boxes) and spray painted them or covered them in fabric with Modge Podge.


I then glued on a piece of cloth to the outside which covered a hole I had cut out in each box.


Each box on the inside was lined with tin foil. One had a cup and another had a bowl which held the food items.


Before starting the game, I handed out a piece of paper to each child and told them what was in the mystery boxes – witches hair, mummy intestines, troll eyes, and Frankenstein eyes. Then I had some parents hold the boxes for me, not letting the kids peek inside the boxes.

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This picture of my son reaching into the box is my favorite one from the party.

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Here’s a sample of the sheet with their guesses on it.


Here we all are talking about what each of their guesses is for the food items.

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And the reveal….

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In case you are wondering…

Witch Hair = Ramen Noodles

Frankenstein Eyes – Olives

Mummy Intestines = Lasagna Noodles

Troll Ears = Dried Apricots


Mystery Boxes = Silly & Slimey Fun 🙂



My Favorite Things – Day 5

Welcome to Day 5 of Big D & Me’s Favorite Things!

You know what #5 is?

It’s YOU!

I want to thank all of you who support Big D & Me both professionally and more importantly personally.

All of your kind comments and encouragement really do lift me up.

I know you’re saying so what, you appreciate us. We wanted something good today.

Well…  are in luck because you could be a big winner!

You could win items from Day #1, #2, #3, and #4.

Ha! Fooled you.

See I’m just like Oprah!

You see, I’m giving one lucky reader this from Day #1


this from Day #2


this from Day #3


and this from Day #4


So go ahead and…

Leave me a comment sharing an item that is currently on your favorites list.

Just by leaving a comment you could be a winner!

One person will be announced as the winner on June 28th!

My Favorite Things – Day 4

Welcome to Day #4 of Big D & Me’s Favorite Things

Today’s favorite thing is actually 2 face products that I recently found and am loving.

Both products are form YES To. Inc. – I’ve bought mine at both Target and Walmart (though Amazon has them for cheaper I just discovered).

First up is the grapefruit facial scrub ( good for Correcting & Repairing – Yes, please! )


I use this scrub at night on my face and neck and occasionally on my arms, back, and legs. Let’s face it after all, there’s a lot of correcting and repairing that needs to be done.

After I finish exfoliating in the shower, I get out and rub the Deep Wrinkle and Night Cream on. The product claims it “reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles in 7 days!”


While I’m not sure it’s true, I certainly have thought my skin looks better.

Here’s what the package says about some of it’s ingredients:

Wild Acacia – This sustainably harvested African pant is clinically proven to visibly & immediately decrease wrinkle depth by tightening skin polymers and dermal matrix, leading to smoother, younger-looking skin.

Cupuacu Seed Butter – A natural emollient rich in fatty acids that helps the skin retain moisture, improves elasticity, and plumps skin thought its Phytosterols that replace lipid loss in skin.

Blueberries – Rich in anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C and Anthocyanins to help fight the formation of free radicals that can damage the skin’s microstructure.

Sounds more like a fruit salad to me but I am loving it non the less.

So far I am using the products every other day and have no complaints.

Alright, that wraps up Day 4 of Big D & Me’s favorite things..we’ll wrap up this fun series tomorrow with Day  5.

My Favorite Things – Day 3

Welcome to Day #3 of Big D & Me’s Favorite Things

What’s today’s favorite thing?

Why it’s my favorite sandwich in the whole. wide. world.


It’s actually my  answer to Subway’s delicious flat bread veggie sandwich. If I had not found my own version there’s a good chance I would have eaten our grocery budget for the month in these – I love this sandwich so much!

So here’s how I make my favorite sandwich:

Start with this yummy flatbread – I buy ours at Costco.


Melt your favorite cheese on it – give me a break people, it’s a veggie sandwich, I deserve some cheese.


Chop your favorite toppings: red onions, cucumbers, banana peppers, spinach, & tomato.


Add some spicy mustard


Pile everything on (and yes, that’s another flatbread on top ready to go after I eat this first sandwich)


Roll and devour 🙂


So there you have Day #3 of Big D & Me’s favorite things.

Come back to tomorrow for Day 4!

My Favorite Things – Day 2

Welcome to Day #2 of Big D & Me’s Favorite Things.

What’s today item?

Well, it’s something to help beautify us….

Butter Nail Polish!


I spotted this nail polish as I was walking through Dillard’s one day and was drawn to the fun pops of color.

I am cuurently sporting the Fiver Nail  Lacquer which is mint green.


While it’s a little pricey, the polish is a fun splurge & it certainly dresses up those cute summer sandals.

Considering trying this Jaffa Orange next..


Come back tomorrow for Big D & Me’s Favorite Things Day #3!

My Favorite Things – Day 1

This week is going to be just like when Oprah had her favorite thing shows.

Although it will be slightly  different in that nothing is being given away and everything is actually affordable.

Other than that, it’s exactly like Oprah’s favorite things!

So let’s get this week started by showing off Day #1’s item…

drum  roll please….

Stacy’s Pita Chips


These chips are seriously delicious!

Every time I’m in the grocery store I just stare at these chips and know I should not pick up the bag because if I do I will eat the entire bag.

This is not a joke. I can finish off the Costco size bag of these chips, completely on my  own, in roughly 48 hours.

Gross. Disgusting. Sick I know.

But sooooooooo good.

My favorite are the Simply Naked Pita Chips but I have been known to consume a bag or two of the Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips as well. They also have vegetable & cheese flavors.

Seriously, go pick yourself up a bag of these babies. Delish!

Come back for Day #2 of Big D & Me’s Favorite Things tomorrow!