Sunday, January 29, 2017

La La Loved it!

*may contain spoilers

Ice cream, hot fudge and a warm brownie was my delicious dessert before adding the cherry on top which is the latest Hollywood sensation "La La Land". Seriously, I loved it. I loved it so much I walked in the door and said to my husband "I want to write a paper about it. I want to critique it." He laughed at me, of course. This is silly; this is not necessary. I graduated from college 11 yrs ago and haven't felt the need to write a paper after a performance in a very long time. But I'm an adult and this is one of the perks.  I get to do what I want and post it on the internet.

First of all, I would say this movie is yellow. Yes, definitely yellow, well, the first half at least. After that it becomes more hombre and takes on a more sky blue feel, think back to the color of her sweater after the storytelling audition. During the opening sequence I began contemplating what I would wear on that highway exit. I loved the variety of colors, hair styles and shoes. I noticed two different women in yellow dresses. I wanted to be them. I wanted to wear a dress as bright as the day of sun. The sunny feel continued throughout the scenes: the dance with her friends through the apartment, the poolside, the glow on her face as she raced towards the movie theater. The change in hue came as she spoke on the phone to her mother and he to spoke to (the always fabulous) John Legend. Their dreams shifted: she quit her job and began to write, he accepted a new form of jazz. The mood continued to shift during their very real conversation at dinner, later her disappointment, and then her rejection of his apologies. The sky came back into view as he blared his horn outside her home. Her hope returned and she gave it one last shot. Her pale blue sweater was soft and comfortable. She needed to be comfortable with who she was and stop pretending to be someone else. She told of sweet memories that are unique to her existence. She shared a piece of her soul, only then did she become a success. Only then could she soar higher. We fast forward and find life is still beautiful even though it is different than one might expect. Joy is found in love and family. Happiness is achieved and dreams are fulfilled. Seb's is a glorious sky blue atmosphere, it is lively and full of music. And our lovers are afforded one last smile as they contemplate what "could have been". The film ends and all is well.

Mia wore beautiful dresses. Sebastian wore handsome suits. She only wore pants on a handful of occasions and her last audition was one of those. Her pants represent her strength. Mind you I don't find dresses weak, but pants are often a sign of command and power. Think of "wearing the pants in the family" for instance. In art nothing is "just because". In art the details matter, the details are why we like it. I loved those girls in yellow dresses. But in truth I probably would've been wearing jeans, my black converse with daisies on them and a funky headband. I would've been the first to jump on the hood of my car and my darling husband would've rolled his eyes at me. We love movies that we can correlate with life and I actually break into song and dance on a regular basis so this was not a stretch for me.

The dancing was ok. I usually love Mandy Moore (the choreographer, not the singer). But I was a bit underwhelmed. That's all I'll say about that.

Lastly, I love Casablanca. "Here's lookin' at you, kid." If you have not had the pleasure of watching Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman fall in love and then.......well, I won't give it away. Here's my point: Mia mentions the movie twice early on in the movie. Can we say foreshadowing?! He has a club. They have a special song between them. And the final goodbye. La La Land is the modern day Casablanca.

This movie may not be for everyone, but it is definitely for me. ✩✩✩✩

Thursday, November 3, 2016

DIY Vinyl Apron from a Tote Bag

Necessity is the mother of invention. I was throwing a "painting party" for my young women at church and at the eleventh hour I realized we lacked aprons. I ran to the dollar tree hoping to find something and I came home with 9 vinyl tote bags and 3 spools of gross grain ribbon. An hour later with my scissors, hot glue gun and sewing machine I had 9 vinyl aprons for my youth to wear and stay clean. Here is the super easy tutorial.
Turn this.....
...into this!

1. Cut the 2 side panels from you bag.

2. Lay bag flat and cut off one handle completely.

3. Remove only one handle strap from the other end.

4. Fold the corners at the top of your apron in making a triangle. Apply hot glue to the right angle.



5. Sew the strap you removed in step 2 to the spot you cut away on step 3.

6. Fold over the ends of both neck straps and sew with a zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying. Tie the two straps together in a simple square knot.

7. Cut cross grain ribbons about 18inches long. Sew the ribbons at the first fold mark on the bag/apron.

Finished! It really is that easy :)














Thursday, September 8, 2016

Pantry Living weeks 10 & 11

We did it! Pantry Living Take 4 has ended. I'm happy because it means I can freely grocery shop again. I'm sad because it means summer is over. My hubby and kiddos are back in school and the real work now begins. I will reflect on my entire experience in my next post. For now, let's wrap this baby up.

Unopened boxes of cereal after week 11: 11
Gifts received: 5 boxes of cereal from my parents, pack of diapers in exchange for simple sewing job,
Jars/ bottles opened: spaghetti sauce, flour, sugar, green beans, mustard, soda, toilet paper, wipes, diapers, glass cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, bbq sauce, chicken broth, black beans, ranch dressing, italian dressing, rice a roni, pasta, chips, cookies, crystal light rasp lemonade, graham crackers, peanut butter
Allowable purchases: gas, milk, bread,
Cash purchases: cute chapsticks for stocking stuffers ($1 each), party favor bags and banner for Lilia's bday in March($1.50 each), posters from Justice for Christmas gifts($1 each), matching pear dresses for my girls from H&M($5 each), silly paper and pen sets($1 each), new butter colored purse for me from Guess(amazing deal $40), giant glass measuring cup/bowl($5), travel carrier for cupcakes ($9), dish scrubber, front loader toy for Levi's birthday ($15 used a gift card with a few dollars cash) , 2 new school shirts for Max ($1 each) (I added up my savings that shopping day: $229!), lunch and dinner out, strawberries, bananas,
Cheats: pizza (it was a desperate situation. Found out while relaxing on the beach Max had soccer that evening. Ordered a pizza from the beach and picked it up on the drive home. Ate in record time and got him to practice only 3 minutes late.)
Garden: Green beans and sugar snap peas are finished, blueberry bush is still dead, but cherry tomatoes are making for delicious mozzarella caprice
Unexpected huge credit card purchase: a new hot water maker. Discovered ours was leaking. $1700 later we are good to go. ouch!
Pantry after week 11

I have an announcement to make. Technically Pantry Living is over but my hubby has asked if I could try to sustain it a little longer.  So for the next month I will be shopping minimally. Strictly what is needed and what is an amazing sale. I still have enough frozen meat to get us through the month as well as a lot of food in our pantry. This message is sponsored by my plumber and hot water maker.
Hope your Summer was amazing!
Happy September!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pantry Living Weeks 8 & 9

I can see the finish line.....This summer is flying past me and I am so close to the end of pantry living! It will be a pleasure to grocery shop again but I will miss my lazy days on the beach, late nights on the boardwalk and our adventures.

My amazing 10yr old niece just left yesterday. She made our family of 6 into a family of 7. She is tall and beautiful and ate as much as I did. This didn't hurt pantry living because I was prepared! I knew long before the summer she would be our live-in mother's helper for a month so I knew what I needed. We love her and miss her!!!! Can't wait until next year!
Pantry after week 9

Down to business (hope I can remember):
Unopened boxes of cereal after week 8: 23
Unopened boxes of cereal after week 9: 19
Jars/Bottles opened: peanut butter, Italian dressing, Ranch dressing, ketchup, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, olives, corn meal, flour, sugar, garlic powder, oreos, goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, chips, soda, box of candy bars, ziplock bags, juice, cake mix, can of pineapple, box of ramen noodles, paper towels, toilet paper, rice, tomato sauce, beans, macaroni and cheese, pasta, yellow rice, toilet bowl cleaner, capri sun, evaporated milk, syrup
Gifts: giant jar of peanut butter, baloney, clothes for my kiddos, candy
Cash purchases: doughnuts, treats on the boardwalk, Slurpee (bring your own cup day! we took a plastic gallon container from ice cream!), baskets, bday gift for a friend, picture frames, flip flops for my niece, sunglasses for me, tip at restaurant, strawberries, apples,bananas, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, celery, ice cream, milkshakes, pizza, bowling, chuck e cheese,
Allowable credit card purchases: bread, milk, eggs, raspberries, gas, cheese,
Cheats (hold on to your hats! I ran out of cash while I was running errands): chips(we have nacho cheese left.....this was an emergency), underwear for the kids(too good a deal to pass up), the cutest leather sandals ever for Levi (only $4), Minecraft (I've lost my mind), a dvd for Levi's upcoming birthday, a full length mirror for the boys' room (only $5), footless tights for Lily ($1.50), Lysol wipes (technically a school supplies need), an adorable and super soft jacket for Lily for Christmas ($15, I'm sure this beautiful color will be gone in 2 weeks time when this would have been allowable), lunch at Red Robin after our entire family enjoyed the open house of the Philadelphia Temple ( I was short on cash by about $10 so unfortunately I had to cheat, but at least I tipped in cash!)
Garden goodies: LOTS of cherry tomatoes, a few baskets of green beans, a few peas past their prime

Lessons learned this week: be better at watering the garden, carry more cash than I think I need, pick sugar snap peas sooner,

2 MORE WEEKS OF SUMMER!
Happy Summer!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Pantry Living Weeks 6 & 7

Wow! 7 weeks now without buying meat, potato chips, cereal, shampoo, diapers..........Time is flying! My pantry is starting to show. The cereal is a simple indicator of how much we eat. We're nearly through my large stock of peanut butter. Not sure if we'll make it through the month on what is left. Apparently we love peanut butter even more than I thought. We used to go through one giant jar in a month. Now we got through it in 2 weeks!
My freezer has more room in it now but I've done awesome with meat this summer. We still have a lot of meat left. Italian sausage, chicken breasts, chicken legs, whole chickens, meat loaf, crab meat, homemade hamburger patties. we will have leftover this summer! We finished our fish sticks and chicken nuggets, frozen french fries and breakfast sausage.
Pantry After week 7 (forgot to get pic from week 6)

Now for the stats:
Unopened boxes of cereal after week 6: 33
Unopened boxes of cereal after week 7: 29
Allowable Credit Card purchases: gas, milk, bread, hamburger buns, tomato,
Cash purchases: Trip to Storybook Land for our family (an awesome storybook themed small amusement park), school supplies (notebooks, markers, crayons, colored pencils, pencil box, headphones, heavy duty plastic folders in 3 different colors, blah blah blah ),Vic's subs, dinner at Joe and John's for the family, naan bread, cucumbers, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, apples, lettuce, peppers,  2 new school shirts for Lilia on great sales, 2 new shirts for me,  new lunch bags for Max and Daddy, new winter boots for me 90% off reg price was $89! I also bought a different pair of boots that was 90% off in a size 9. I'm still trying to find someone to give them to. I apparently am not related to women with a size 9 foot.
Cheats: new sandals for Levi on a screamin' deal $4 for OshKosh leather sandals, Christmas present Cinderella Barbie Doll for Katy for $6.99, doughnuts(next year I might have to make them an allowable purchase. I cheat with them far too often)  (*usually because I was in a credit card only line and one thing in my cart didn't qualify for panty living)
Jars/Bottles opened: peanut butter, graham crackers, cookies, cheese crackers, marshmallows, chocolate bars, chicken broth, mac and cheese, spaghetti sauce, pasta, rice, granola bars, fruit snacks, chips, soda, ziplock bags, parchment paper, powdered sugar, sugar, flour, corn starch, cinnamon, salt, ketchup, mustard, sour cream, ramen noodles, diapers, wipes, soap, handsoap, body wash, kid body wash, toothpaste,
Garden goodies- green beans, sugar snap peas, 3 cherry tomatoes a day(so weird), 2 zucchini

Zucchini plant update: we are on the final few leaves. The vine burrowing pests have entirely destroyed the one plant and I'm on the last quarter of the second plant. The wood ash I sprinkle on the base of the plants seem to slow down the demise of the plant. Best I can figure is since the plant was already infested with whatever this stupid bug is the wood ash slows down their feast allowing my plant to produce a zucchini. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a zucchini yesterday. I will probably pick it tomorrow. Sadly, this will probably be the last of the summer and maybe forever. I'm not sure I can go through this again, just so frustrating.

Only 4 more weeks left of Pantry Living!
 Happy Summer!


Sunday, August 7, 2016

An apostle of Jesus Christ

My name is Melanie Brough. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. I am a mother of four. I am a wife, sister, daughter, cousin and friend. I am a daughter of God. My goal in life is to serve those around me so that we may all grow closer to our Father in Heaven. My family can be together forever because of the plan of salvation. This plan was explained to us by our Heavenly Father before we came to earth. We are here to learn and serve and become more like Him. Through faith and diligent righteous service we can make sacred covenants and return to live with Him again.


This morning I was blessed to be invited to a very special church service with one of the Lord's 12 apostles on the earth today. Elder Quentin L Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited Philadelphia. I am honored to be a choreographer for the very special Youth Temple Cultural Celebration that will be performed on September 17th. Almost 2,000 youth from our area will perform to celebrate the dedication of the Philadelphia Temple. This is an amazing project.

I am part of a committee with several choreographers, musicians, costumers, and a production team that has dedicated countless hours to pull this performance together. We were all stressed, exhausted and overwhelmed. Today we are uplifted, loved and spiritually fed. I have renewed enthusiasm and faith that I was given my talents for this cause. I was reminded that my Savior is aware of me. I was given an apostolic blessing.

My husband and I took our older two children to this sacred event. We heard testimonies of how the temple has blessed lives. Stories were shared that bore witness of the divine nature of temples. My heart was full.

The Philadelphia Temple is a magnificent structure. The architecture is exquisite. But more importantly the ground is holy. I know my Savior lives. I know the temple is the house of the Lord. I know that through the covenants made within those walls families can be sealed together for time and all eternity. The gospel of Jesus Christ is of peace and love and only by abiding by those laws and precepts can true happiness be achieved. I bear witness of this in the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pantry Living: Weeks 3, 4 & 5

WHOA Nelly! July is almost spent. Craziness! So my life is busier than normal this summer because of my recent church assignment. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love my Savior and I the young women at church that I've been asked to serve. I recently spent 3 days camping with them and am prepping for even more fun. My darling hubby and parents are huge helpers with the kiddos. And bonus: my 10yr old niece is here to be a mother's helper for the next month. 

Events in our home that affected our pantry: 
  • a mouse (got to a bag of flour and some dog food before he met his demise)
  • family visiting
  • growth spurts 
  • lots of beach days
Pantry After week 3
Boxes of cereal after week 3: 48
Boxes of cereal after week 4: 43
Boxes of cereal after week 5: 37
Allowable credit purchases: gas, milk, bread, eggs
Cheat: clearance shoes for Katy (I used a self check out credit card only lane...oops!)
Cash purchases: ice cream, Wendy's, Burger King, ice, pizza, naan bread, bananas, apples, strawberries, lettuce, carrots, celery, cucumbers, cilantro, shirts for Levi (store credit), chinese food, leggings for me, a new LuLaRoe skirt for me, flip flops for my niece, lighter, 4 boxes of dog food(she is eating way more than she used to), soda for hubby, Wawa Cookies and Cream milk for me (YUM!)
Boxes/jars opened: 2 peanut butters, 2 jams (accidentally), nutella, fruit snacks, oreos, chips, doritos, 7-Up, zip lock bags, canola oil, chicken broth, bbq sauce, rice, flour, sugar, raspberry lemonade crystal light, hand soap, toilet paper, paper towels, toilet bowl cleaner, cheese its, italian dressing, syrup, box of ramen noodles, dog food, pasta, spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, lysol wipes, baby wipes, diapers, automatic dishwashing soap.

Pantry after week 4
Pantry after week 5
Garden goodies: 2 zucchini, 2 large baskets of green beans,

Gardening woes: vine burrowing bugs have attacked my zucchini plants AGAIN! I was devastated last year when I lost my plant to it. I recognized the signs this year and tried to be proactive. It has helped so far. A few leaves unexpected die and start to look weird and orange at the base. I gently tugged on that part of the plant and the whole thing easily snaps free. The bugs eat at the base of the plant and leave big holes in the vine. I threw them in the trash and picked on small zucchini to discover a giant grub(i think) inside the tip. Both of my plants have been affected. I read on one blog that they pour wood ashes around the base of their small plants to prevent the pests from laying their eyes on the leaves. They continue to dust the base of the plant with wood ash because the bugs don't like it. Well, after our last firepit I did that and in my mind it is helping. What is left of both plants is still producing and isn't speedily fading, as has happened in the past. So far I have two nice zucchini that are the size of a large cucumber. I made bread today and it is divine!
Goofball making a green bean mustache.
What are you harvesting now?

Happy Summer!