Monday, August 30, 2010

A Cupcake Birthday Card

Cupcakes are irresistable! I like baking cupcakes, decorating cupcakes, eating cupcakes, and punching cupcakes....out of paper, of course! I used a Martha Stewart cupcake paper punch and some other supplies to make a birthday card for a dear friend of mine. This special birthday cupcake card has left Love and Life at Leadora and is now in the mail...I hope she likes it!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tree Attacks Car!

Some days just don't turn out the way that you planned! You see, today I was supposed to run errands. I had shoes and clothes to return, toothpaste and groceries to buy, and postage stamps for thank you cards. Unfortunately, I woke up to the following.

Yes, that's my Honda Odyssey with no passenger window and a big dent in the door! We have been experiencing horrible hot weather here at Love and Life and Leadora, and apparently our oak tree decided it had had enough! A huge branch broke off and attacked my minivan. Fortunately, no one was hurt and none of the neighbor's property was damaged. My poor Honda will have to take a trip to the body shop, but I am secretly hoping to spend a few days with perhaps a cute, little sporty rental car?!

While MacGyver husband and I were figuring out what to do, I received a text from my sweet friend asking,"Want to go shopping?". Of course, I responded, "When do we leave?". Poor MacGyver husband. I left him with the dented Honda and spent the day shopping at Marshall's, Ross, TJ Maxx, and Nordstrom's Rack followed by a delicious lunch at Panera Bread.

If only I could have shopped forever in air conditioned stores! Unfortunately, I had to come home to a car with a dent and black plastic taped to the window and all those bags of things to be returned! I wonder how tomorrow will be?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to School

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. Chinese proverb

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Soccer Superstar!

Today was Willow's last day at the LA Galaxy soccer camp. She had a wonderful time. Out of all of us, she is the most athletic and soccer is a great sport for her. My youngest daughter has a lot of energy, and running on the soccer field still doesn't tire her out!

Not only did Willow get to practice and learn soccer skills, she got to meet one of our favorite Los Angeles Galaxy players. If you look closely at her right sleeve, you may see Donovan Ricketts' autograph. He is the 6'4" goalkeeper for the Los Angeles Galaxy team. It was such an exciting experience for her, and she can hardly wait to go back again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Zoe!

My beautiful, talented girl is 17!! Happy Birthday, Zoe! We love you and are so proud of your accomplishments!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Special Birthday Lunch

Today, my oldest daughter, Zoe, invited friends over for a special lunch to celebrate her 17th birthday. The best part of the lunch was planning and decorating for it! Zoe found these cute napkins at Party City, which inspired our floral theme. We purchased an inexpensive IKEA watering can and filled it with sunflowers, alstroemeria, and salvia. Then, I quickly sewed a burlap tablerunner the night before. Lastly, each guest received a little blue box made out of scrapbook paper. Zoe put candy in the boxes and then included a handwritten sentiment in each one.

Zoe and I had such fun planning this lunch. The best part was making dessert, and the girls really loved the Pioneer Woman's Spring Flower Pots. You can find the recipe on her blog, In clean clay pots, we layered vanilla ice cream and coffee ice cream and then spooned on crushed oreo cookies. On a hot day like today, the flower pots were a cold and delicious treat!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Birthday Surprise!

Tomorrow is my birthday, but look what arrived at my doorstep today!! Someone very special to me sent this wonderful birthday surprise, and I want to say "thank you" to her!

After the FedEx man left and I realized this box was for me, I cried tears of excitement and happiness. You see, I've been sharing an old laptop with my kids and MacGyver husband. The old laptop has been dying slowly and to bring it back to life we have to literally hit it and smack it around. Don't worry, I will be hugging my new computer!

I am so excited....this computer is mine! All mine!! I hope you're listening MacGyver husband and kids!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What's for Dinner x2

Over the weekend, I tried a recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine. Pizza is a popular menu item at Love and Life at Leadora, so I decided to give Martha's grilled pizza a try.

The pizza dough is placed directly on a barbeque, toppings are added, and then after the cheese is melted, your pizza is ready. It was easy, especially since I used premade pizza dough from Trader Joe's. I did have trouble stretching the dough thin enough, and it really puffed up on the barbeque. Also, I made Martha's quick pizza sauce, but unfortunately I added way too much salt to it. Let's just say that if I were on Top Chef on Bravo, I would have definitely been eliminated from the competition based on my pizza making skills! However, I want to try this recipe again so that I can create a healthy alternative to Domino's and Pizza Hut!

Last night's taco salad was something that came to me when I was peering into the refrigerator wondering, "What am I going to cook tonight?". No recipe was followed for this one. I browned ground beef, added a packet of taco seasoning mix, and then put in drained cans of pinto beans and kidney beans. All taco salads need tortilla chips, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, sliced red onion, and lettuce. Avocados are a must, and olives are optional. This salad was tasty, satisfying, and easy to make. These are the 3 prerequisites that will keep taco salad on the menu at Love and Life at Leadora for a long time.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Front Porch Project

Several months ago, I found these galvanized tin buckets at one of my favorite stores, TJ Maxx. The black and white typography on the buckets is what inspired my latest front porch project.

I purchased unfinished wood birdhouses at Michaels and then painted them black and white. The metal tags, also from Michaels, are wired onto the birdhouses. MacGyver husband made the birdhouse roof tops with inexpensive tin sheets from Home Depot.

My talented MacGyver husband also made the chalkboard sign. I absolutely love chalkboards, but I must admit that I am a bit obsessive about creating the perfect lettering on them.
On the blog,, is a great tutorial on how to create fancy lettering on chalkboards using Chalk Ink markers. These markers are much easier to write with than a piece of chalk, and there is no messy dust either. The downside is that at Michael's the Chalk Ink markers are only sold in sets, so you have to buy a white, red, yellow and a blue marker. My guilt, however, easily slipped away when I arrived at the Michaels' counter with the markers and a 40% off coupon!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What's for Dinner?

MacGyver husband and I just finished eating our panini and Caesar salad! The word panino means "small loaf" in Italian. It's plural form is panini. Typically, a small loaf of bread is cut in half horizontally, filled with meat or cheese and served hot after being pressed on a grill. I made our panini with leftover grilled chicken, finely chopped sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, and provolone cheese. Another favorite panini at Love and Life at Leadora is ham, fresh tomatoes, swiss cheese, and basil. The possibilities are endless! What would your signature panini be?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Garden Projects

It seems that we always have an endless list of home and garden projects here at Love and Life at Leadora. Last weekend, MacGyver husband planted a new front yard lawn. Hopefully, in a week or so, you will see tiny grass sprouting. In the meantime, here's a sneak peak of my youngest daughter modeling the newly planted lawn!

While the front yard is looking nice, our backyard is a mess. We have big plans, but unfortunately we had to spend money removing a large pepper tree. It apparently had a fungus, which was causing it to rot from the inside out. Our Tom the Tree Guy told us it was a good thing that we had the tree removed because it probably would have crashed down, causing all sorts of damage.

Although it is always sad to see a big tree gone, we are excited about the new space! Someday soon we hope to plant a fruit orchard and build a chicken coop. Check out this chicken coop: Isn't it something else?
Besides dreaming of fanciful chicken coops, I've been working on new projects for the front porch. Stay tuned, I will be posting photos soon!