Category

budget friendly

Food & Foliage at Nancy’s Airfield Cafe

As a mom who loves good food and a cool experience, I’m pretty open to dining adventures that allow my kids to be included.  This weekend, we celebrated my husband’s birthday with lunch & extended family at Nancy’s Airfield Cafe in Stowe, MA. We loved every buzz and bite that came our way.

After a ride along the foliage filled backroads that left me mesmerized we wound our way to Nancy’s Airfield Cafe.  Situated at the edge of Minuteman Airfield,  Nancy’s offers aviation aficionados the opportunity to watch aircraft depart and arrive at this small air field while enjoying a hot meal and cool cocktail. Ideally situated for arrival by car or aircraft, this dining destination will have those who came by car rubbing elbows with those who made Nancy’s part of their leisurely flight.

The quaint interior is filled with country charm. From the artwork for sale on the walls to the simple tables set to allow guests to catch sight of the aircraft coming and going, the simplicity of Nancy’s lures in locals who regularly make this a must for breakfast and lunch.

Lines around the corner are a normal part of dining at Nancy’s where reservations are not allowed (although large parties are encouraged to call) and 10 is tops for those seeking seating together. If dining with kids be warned that the best seating is in the exterior room on the runway. However, children are not allowed to be seated in that room due to an unlocked emergency door that opens onto the runway (apparently too many kids have tried to escape). Topping out this week with our party of 10, we were seated within the interior space of Nancy’s where the windows offer obstructed views of the choppers and planes parking on-site.

Expecting little of the food at a place that pride’s itself on its location, I was more than pleased by my meal. I took a chance ordering a specialty cocktail, hoping that at it’s $9 price tag it would please my picky palate. And it did, just strong enough my gin based libation was tart and refreshing with little sweetness; I enjoyed it so much I ordered a second.

After skimming the regular menu and specials I decided on something I would not typically order- bratwurst on a pretzel roll. For $14 two hearty sausages, topped with sauerkraut and mustard arrived with a few pickles on the side.  A bit too much for me, I quickly passed one to someone with more of an appetite and set to work enjoying what was on my plate. The meat was juicy, and full of flavor with just enough topping to enhance the flavor and just enough bread to enjoy the juice. I ate every last bite and left feeling comfortably full. Those with me ordered an array of dishes ranging from lamb burgers  to breakfast favorites like pancakes and egg sandwiches. Everyone left happy.

When the kids got restless and their food was gone a few adults brought them to the small expanse of lawn in front of the landing strip to run around while we finished our drinks and payed the bill. At that point, it was clear Nancy was ready to turn the table; upon seeing part of our party depart, she rushed over to request we relinquish one one of the tables we were using so she could set up another party. One can’t fault her as many of those lined up had hungry kids in tow and no chance of being seated in the other room so we happily obliged and made our way outside for goodbyes.

Much to our pleasure, a helicopter had landed on the lawn mid lot and our final treat was a close encounter of departure, which left the kids cheering and the adults happy to have successfully made it through a meal in a restaurant as a family without any tears (from kids or adults).

-Filling your desire to dine one family friendly spot at a time, Jess

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Handmade Animal Magnet Tutorial

I recently attended the wedding of my childhood neighbor (Congrats Kayla & Steve!).  I truly enjoy going to a wedding or event that has every little detail thought out and presented in a unique way and this couple did not disappoint.  The theme was whimsical woodlands meets fairytale love story.  They did an amazing job and their wedding was really a true representation of their personal style.

One of my favorite details of the wedding was the seat card holders for the guests.  Each seat card was displayed upright in between a mini animal toy figurine which was cut in half with a magnet attached on the inside of each end.  I guess my kids found these little figurines just as enjoyable as I did since I woke the following morning to a screaming match over whose new toy it was. Since I only had one to spare, the only solution was to make my weekly trip to Michael’s a little early and get the supplies needed to re-create these little woodland gems.

Here’s what you need:

  • Plastic mini animal toy figurines (I got mine at Michael’s)
  • Sharp knife
  • Fine sand paper
  • Non-toxic paint or spray paint
  • Magnets
  • Clear glue (I used gorilla glue as well as hot glue to really secure in place)

Picture 1

Step 1:

Picture 2Take the plastic animal of your choice and vertically cut the animal in half.  If you notice that the edges of your animal are a little rough after the cut, take a fine grain sand paper and sand the edges so that they are nice and smooth.

Animals with magnetsStep 2:

Connect 2 of your magnets together (its easier to work with them already connected first).  Take your gorilla glue and dab a little on one end of your magnet as well as a little on the flat side of the animal.  Hold the magnet in place on the animal until dry (30 seconds – 1 minute).  Repeat this step on the other half of your animal.

Step 3:

Start hand painting or spray painting both sides of your animal and let it dry completely before moving to the next step.

Step 4:

Animal Seat Card HoldersOnce the paint has dried on your animals, use a glue gun to seal around the edges of the magnet.  This adds some extra adhesive to make sure that your magnets stay in place.  Once the glue has dried, your magnets are ready to use.

This is a quick project that will add some whimsical fun to your home or next event.  The magnets are a unique idea for seat cards at your next dinner party, a perfect way to display photos or décor for a birthday and they also look great on the fridge (just in time for all the lovely artwork your kiddies will bring home from school).

Animal Magnet Card HoldersTry this project next time you are stuck in the house with your kids on a rainy day.  Complete steps 1 and 2 on your own and then let your kids use their creativity to paint the animals the colors of their choice.  It is a great way to educate your children on their animals or dinosaurs, they get to explore their creative minds with some crossbred species of animals and you will have some pretty cool magnets to hang all their beautiful artwork with.  Picture 8

Just one wedding guest who appreciates the little details that make a stylish wedding, Thia 

Share your kids creative animal masterpieces with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch

Easy Homemade Appetizers to Take to Any Gathering

I’m a big fan of making what I take to people’s gatherings but I follow a few simple rules: I must be able to make it ahead of time, serve it at room temperature and it must be a finger food of just a few bites-no plate required. Recently, baffled by what to bring to a friend’s annual lobster bake, I perused a collection of my family’s recipes and found two gems that fit all my requirements and would please all party-goers-  zucchini bars and pepperoni pizza bars.

Passed down from my great aunts, and compiled to a simple well-worn booklet by a distant cousin for a family reunion in 2008, I knew two things about what I was making to take one of my favorite annual events- both would be darn good and super easy.

Of all the excellent recipes in my family recipe collection, I chose these two because I thought the idea of dueling bars (one with and one without meat) would be ideal for noshing while sipping a summer cocktail and awaiting the main event.  These are not trendy recipes with lots of fancy ingredients, they are easy to follow, mix by hand treats the Italian women in my family served regularly, especially when having guests.

Recreate my family’s recipes to bring to your next gathering:

Aunt Louise’s Zucchini Appetizer

  • 3 cups of zucchini thinly sliced and quartered
  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup parmesen cheese
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram (leaves or powder)
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 clove of finely chopped garlic

Mix all ingredients together by hand. Transfer into a greased 13×9 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Cool then cut into bars sized to your liking; serve; enjoy. Excellent served at room temperature; this appetizer satisfies as a side dish for dinner or even as a vegetarian main course.

Aunt Lorraine’s Pizza Appetizer

  • 1 & 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick of pepperoni, diced w/skin removed
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8oz muenster cheese, diced
  • Oregano or Italian seasoning mix

Mix eggs, milk and flour to remove any lumps. add remaining ingredients and combine well. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cool then cut into bars sized to your liking; serve; enjoy. These can be served hot, or at room temperature. This appetizer look and tastes like a deep dish pepperoni pizza.

Serving suggestion: Be the best guest at the party and bring a plate or platter the hosts can keep. The kindness of your hosts should not end in a flurry of empty dish drop offs the following day. I keep a stock of cute plastic platters and bowls on hand (purchased for a little over a dollar at my local Christmas Tree Shop) so that even when an impromptu gathering pops up I am prepared to plate well.

-Simplifying your appetizers one bar at a time, Jess

Share your easy appetizer success stories with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch

5 Free, Family Friendly, Fun Things To Do Around Boston This Summer

This summer, the team at Amazing Matriarch has been hard at work finding FREE ways to fill your days with activities that every member of your family will enjoy in and around Boston. Read on to find five of our favorite ways to entertain our kids when we just don’t want stay home or fork out serious cash for an activity.

1. Splash Parks

Not only are these water areas a way to cool off on hot summer days, most are FREE! Make time for favorites in the center of the city like the Rings Fountain on the Greenway or the squirting frogs at the Frog Pond. Or enjoy FREE parking along with your FREE water park at one of the parks in the suburbs of Boston. The city of Waltham has 8 spray parks, most in locations with easy parking, and many that are fenced in. And Belmont, MA is home to Beaver Brook where you’ll often find someone from Amazing Matriarch enjoying the water followed by a game of catch and picnic on the expansive lawn on the other side of the Brook. We like Boston Central’s comprehensive listing to find new spray parks to explore.

2. Bike Paths

Cape Cod Canal
Cape Cod Canal

With a new bike rider and a 2 year old who thinks she’s the coolest on her tricycle, I tend to be cautious about where we go to ride bikes. Many paths are packed with riders who find “newbies” a bit annoying making it a bit scary for those who are just learning. However, there are several trails that will have your young riders moving along with confidence.

The Cape Cod Canal is a waterside oasis for riders, walkers and anyone looking to enjoy the sea breeze. With FREE parking on the access road between the Bourne and Sagamore Bridge you can easily bring your bikes down the stairs, directly onto the trail that hugs the non-Cape side of the canal.

Having been detoured there recently when a nearby beach lot was filled, my kids had a blast zooming around while more experienced riders passed them with ease and cheered them on. Clean restrooms are conveniently located along the path.

After, enjoy a pre-packed picnic under a shady tree, bike to the end of the trail (with more experienced riders- or pay to park within the beach reservation) and take a swim at Scusset Beach. Or drive across the street to one of the clam shacks on the other side for a taste of summer by the sea.

Recreation Sundays on Memorial Drive are a favorite for Bostonians. With the wide road with scenic Charles River views open for biking, walking, running or rollerblading you can be sure there’s plenty of room for bike riders of all levels. Open late April-November annually, this section of Memorial Drive allows you to detour into Harvard Square for shopping,  a libation or a bite to eat.

Experienced riders can continue along the paved pathways for the miles that lead to the Esplanade and into Downtown Boston. Explore the city by bike then head back before Memorial Drive reopens at 7pm.

Zipline @ Joey's
Zipline @ Joey’s

3. Playgrounds

Some summer days require little activity on my part. For those days I head out on playground explorations with my little ones. Being zero budget meccas of fun playgrounds can entertain my kids for hours without any creativity or activity on my part. Often, I enlist a friend with kids to join me so we can chat while our kids run wild (I do get looks of horror from first time moms who find my hands-off, solve your own problems approach to playground parenting appalling, but I’m ok with that). As someone who’s always seeking something new I get tired of our lame local playgrounds and head out to find other cool spots for my kids to frolic.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of playgrounds around the city and in the suburbs. Some are simple with swing sets and slides, while others add extra excitement like zip lines. Leave your local playground for the day and seek out something special. You won’t spend a dime and your kids are sure to be beat by the time you leave.

Joey’s Park in Belmont is tops fro a range of activities to suit all ages. A zip line, where amazingly, even on a crowded Saturday, you’ll find kids patiently waiting in line for a turn and helping toddlers who try to cut in the kindest of ways. Lots of climbing structures, tires to hop from and even a musical feature sit alongside an expansive lawn and tennis courts. Your kids could play all day at this amazing FREE playground.

The playgrounds along the Charles River Esplanade are awesome! With a variety of climbing structures and pathways for kids to ride bikes all while within your view; if watching more than one, you’ll feel in control and at ease while your kids get some energy out.

4. Take in a movie outdoors

Two Boston spots make it their mission to bring you outdoor movies for the family all summer long.

The Hatch Shell, located along the Charles River, offers Free Friday Flicks. Pack a picnic and your kids and head into the city to sit alongside the Charles taking in a movie and the view for FREE, with little worry that your little ones are too loud or rambunctious for the “theater”.

Music and Movie Fridays at the Boston Harbor Hotel are geared towards a more mature audience, but are still fun for families with older kids. Enjoy harbor views from the pier and enjoy movies from your youth or even your parents’ younger days.

5. Free Fun Fridays

Probably the best FREE fun you’ll find around Boston takes place on Fridays with 70 Free Fun Friday events happening throughout the summer. For 10 weeks, starting the final Friday of June, you’ll find 7 different free activities for families throughout the entire state. Visit old favorites or discover new spots without spending a dime.

-On a mission to save you money all summer long, Jess

Share the free activities that keep you going on long summer days with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch

A Quick Tutorial to Create The Hair Bow Hairstyle

Part 4 in a 6 part series

Moselle Sath, creative stylist at Shag Boston, sat down with team Amazing Matriarch to create some quick hairstyles that women on the go can achieve in minutes.

The Hair Bow

The bow is a timeless accessory that has been worn by fashion icons since before the turn of the century.  It was only a matter of time before the accessory evolved into the actual hairstyle itself. Whether you want to throw your hair up quickly on a hot summer day, have an important meeting that you want to dress to impress or are going to be out and about in town during fashion week, the hair bow is a versatile hairstyle that is sure to turn heads.  This style is perfect for mid – long hair and would also look great as a mommy and me fashion.  Take a cue from one of my favorite style icons, Minnie Mouse and try out this simple hairdo for your next look on the go.

What you need to create this look:

  • Hair Dryer or Flat Iron
  • Brush
  • Clear Elastic
  • Bobby Pins

Step 1:

Blow dry your hair or use a flat iron to straighten your locks.  This step will result in a clean and polished look once your bow is complete.

Step 2:

Step 2
Step 2

Gather up all of your hair and start securing it in a ponytail on the top of your head.  When you have one more piece of elastic to wrap around, instead of pulling your hair all the way through, pull your hair about 75% through the elastic creating a loop with your hair and leaving about an inch between the elastic and the ends of your hair.

Step 3
Step 3

Step 3:

The loop that you have created should look like a very loose bun.  To form the bow, you want to divide your looped hair into 2 sections.  Press one side of looped hair flat against your head and secure with a bobby pin (from top to bottom).  Then repeat with another bobby pin from bottom to top.  Once the 1st side is secure, repeat these steps for the other section.

Step 4:

Hair Bow - Step 4
Step 4

Once the bow is secure on each side, take the loose strand of hair hanging and wrap it around the middle of the bow to polish off the look.  Secure this strand of hair with bobby pins.  Make sure you tuck in all the strands of hair so you are not left with any fly aways.

Step 5:

Finally you want to fluff out your bow to give it some volume and finish it with a bit of hairspray so it will keep shape throughout your entire day.

– Just one active lady sharing some fun ideas to add variety to your everyday hairstyle, Thia

Try this look on you and your mini me!  Share your hairstyles with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch

Become a Summer Supper Superhero: Grill Once, Eat Three Times

When summer days are filled with outdoor fun, dinner preparation often falls through the cracks leaving this matriarch feeling not so amazing. My default to dinner is ordering pizza, hitting the drive through, whipping up mac n cheese or hot dogs day after day. Committed to ending the cycle of sub-par summer food, I’ve been testing recipes that can conquer multiple nights with simple tweaks that are no more difficult than boiling a box of mac n’ cheese. Grill once and have the making of dinner for three nights- a Monday’s mixed grill, taco “Tuesday”, and a pasta bar.

Night 1: Mixed Grill w/dipping sauce

Choose several meats to grill and lightly season with olive oil, salt and pepper (so you can alter their flavor profiles for future nights). My most recent variety pack included chicken cutlets, pork tenderloin and sausage because each cooks quickly, is enjoyed by all members of my family and offers versatility to transform in different dishes with very little effort.  Whatever you do, grill enough that you’ll have lots of leftovers.

Grill to your liking and serve alongside a salad  (tomato, cucumber and feta & watermelon caprese right now and coleslaw are in my current salad rotation) or a selection of grilled veggies, which will double as add in for your pasta bar and taco toppings.

Since the meats are very lightly seasoned, add a few dipping sauces for a little more “umph”. Cooking Light’s July issue has a recipe for Nuoc Cham that’s easy to prep and stays fresh for several days; it’s healthy and flavorful and works well on everything. My kids will eat anything dipped in ranch dressing so I put that on their plates, alongside my favorite bottled BBQ sauce for a trifecta of fun sauces that everyone can agree on.

Night 2: Taco “Tuesday” (or any day)

tacos-245241_1920 Chop some leftover chicken and pork tenderloin, quickly warm in a skillet and sprinkle with taco seasoning (you may need to add a touch of water to incorporate the sauce into the meat). To save sodium make your own:

  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika (hot, smoked or regular)
  • 1 tsp red pepper (if you like some spice)

Store in an airtight container to use when needed; add 1 tsp cornstarch to keep from sticking if it is humid. Or save time; buy a packet at the grocery store.

While meat is warming (about 5 minutes as to not overcook), wrap soft taco shells in foil and place in oven, set to 350; when oven has preheated shells will be warm.

Serve with your favorite salsa, guacamole, cheese, sour cream and leftover salad from Monday (a spicy slaw tops tacos nicely).

Night 3: Pasta Bar

spaghetti-709337_1920Set up two or three sauce options, dice  and warm (the microwave works well) the remaining meats and place in separate bowls. Sauté vegetables (or use pre-grilled veggies from night one) while pasta cooks. Then set out for everyone to make their own pasta creation.

My kids love pasta with “red sauce” so I typically keep a container of my homemade sauce frozen at all times, but when I run out and it’s too hot to even think of making more I turn to a jar of store bought. Rao’s wins taste test after taste test but comes with a hefty price tag ($9). My kids are just as happy chowing down on Ragu and at a much lower cost, I’m happy saving.

A tip to buy the healthiest sauce available is to read the list of ingredients, check preservatives, sodium and sugar content and try to buy a sauce that has very few ingredients.

I enjoy a fresh pesto and if I don’t have some on hand I buy a container from a local farmer’s market or Whole Foods. If you’re inclined to make your own, pesto freezes well if you divide the olive oil and drizzle some over the top in an airtight container adding the cheese when it has been defrosted.

My husband’s favorite is alfredo sauce; it’s tasty but not waistline friendly. I trick him by providing all the flavor with fewer calories using a tried and true Food Network recipe that I can prep while the pasta is cooking. I like to mix my alfredo with a pinch of red pepper and a tablespoon of tomato sauce.

Pair with a leafy green salad (use the bags to save time), a tall cup of cold milk for the kids, a glass of wine for yourself then sit back and enjoy the creative combination your family puts together without any complaints for the third night in a row.

-Making it easy to feed your family when the weather’s warm, Jess

Tell us how you simplify supper-time via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch

 

Handmade American Flag Lanterns Perfect for July 4th

 

With 4th of July rapidly approaching I wanted to create some red, white and blue party décor that I could use at our family celebration this weekend.   I headed over to Michaels Art & Crafts and after a little while cruising the aisles hoping to find some inspiration for my decor, I came across some jumbo sized mason jars.  This particular brand, Ball, is made in the USA and I thought they would make a great base for party lanterns.  I knew I needed an American flag displayed somewhere at our celebration, so I decided to paint the stars and stripes on the jars to create handmade American Flag lanterns.

This project was very simple to craft and the added bonus was the wallet friendly cost at the end!  Follow our easy steps to create your own American Flag inspired lanterns.

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 Mason Jars (any size will do)
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Paint for Glass (I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint)
  • Circular Foam Brush
  • A Mini Star Lever Punch
  • Rope (a thin size for the base of the Mason Jar and a thicker size for the handle)
  • Clear Glue
  • 3 Candles (make sure these will fit into the nape of your jar)
  • Sand (optional)

Step 1:

Clean the outside of the mason jars with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt on the surface before you begin painting.  Let them dry completely.

Step 2:

Once the jars are dry to the touch, you can begin placing your painters tape.  Since I had blue and red paint, I placed the tape where I wanted the white sections to be.  I took the lever punch and started punching little stars into the painters tape and placed each star on the jar one at a time so they were evenly spread out all around the surface.  I then started placing the stripes down on the other 2 jars making sure they lined up but also eyeballing it as I went.  Rub your finger over all the tape to ensure it is securely in place.

Step 3:

Start painting the blue paint onto the jar with the stars and the red paint onto the jars with the stripes.

**Note** – I ended up using a circular foam brush to apply the paint because on my first try with a brush all you could see where the brush strokes when I was finished.  I switched to the circular foam brush and applied the paint in a dabbing motion and this presented a more smooth finish when the paint dried.

Let the first coat of paint dry completely.  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint dries really quickly, so that was ideal for me to complete this project in an hour and a half.

Step 4:

Once your first coat of paint is completely dry, you can then apply your second coat.  Let your second coat of paint dry completely.

Step 5:

Once the paint is dry, remove the painters tape.  You may need to clean up the edges of your lines a bit in case any paint bled under the tape.  I used a cotton swab for this process.

Step 6:

Use a sealer to place over your jars so that the paint that you applied will stand the test of time.  Let the sealer dry completely.

Step 7:

Now that your sealer is dry, you can start adding the rope to the nape of your jars.  I used a hot glue gun with clear glue to secure the rope in place.  Begin with one layer of the thinner sized rope for the bottom of the jar neck to the top stopping along the way to secure with glue.  Next cut a small handle (or large depending on your preference) out of the thicker sized rope and glue each side of the handle to the mason jar.  Finish with one more layer of the thinner sized rope over the handles.  Repeat this step for the rest of the mason jars.

This American inspired party décor is an inexpensive way to put a unique twist on your celebration and it will last for many years to come.

– Just one proud American whose heart beats true for the red, white and blue, Thia

Share your July 4th party decor with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch

Simple Hair Tutorial for the Waterfall Ponytail with a Twist

Part 3 in a 6 part series

Amazing Matriarch teamed up with Moselle Sath, creative hairstylist at Shag Boston, to help create some amazing hair styles that are easy to achieve for women that are always on the go.

The Waterfall Ponytail Twist

The waterfall ponytail with a twist is exactly how it sounds.  A fun take on the ever classic ponytail, this style will add a little flavor to your normal hairstyle routine.  Our 5 minute tutorial will break down how to create a topsy tail (remember those?) without the actual hair tool that our mothers used.  Perfect for those of us that require a little extra sleep in the am or just don’t have any spare time with the stressful morning rush.  This style is so easy that you can create it in the car while you are stopped at a stoplight.  You will end up with a fresh new look to sport in the office or at school drop off and no one will realize how little effort it took.

What you need:

  • 3 clear elastics (or more, depending on how many ponytails you want to create)
  • Comb

Step 1:

Gather a small section of hair from each side of your head to create a half up ponytail and secure with an elastic on the back of your head.  Note – you want the elastic to hold your hair in place but you also want to leave it a little loose.

Step 2:

Create a part in your hair just above the elastic to make an opening for your ponytail.  Next you want to lift your ponytail up through the opening you created above the elastic in your hair.  Pull your ponytail through the front opening down through the back.  Make sure you pull the entire ponytail through.

Step 3:

Push your elastic up into the twisted tail to secure tightly in place.

Step 4:

Now you want to gather a small section of hair that is still hanging to create a second ponytail.  Make sure to include the ponytail from the first section in this second ponytail.  Repeat steps 2 & 3 until you have created 2 twisted tails.

Step 5:

Repeat these steps for as many twisted tails as you want to create.  3 is a great number to use as a guide. Keep in mind to always include the ponytail from the previous tail to ensure a uniform look for your end product.

In 5 minutes or less, you have added a nice twist to your classic ponytail and you are ready to take on the day.  Have a little extra time?  Take this hairstyle a step further and add a regular or fishtail braid to the final ponytail.

– Just one snooze button addict sharing a quick twist for your morning hair, Thia

Try this look on you and your mini me!  Share your takes on this style with us via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch

Repurpose Old Picture Frames with Nautical Burlap Art

Quickly Create a Cool, Coastal Look Inspired by the Waters of Maine Without the Hefty Cost

For under $15 (if you have frames on hand to reuse) you can make your own wall-art using easy to find items like: burlap, paint and stencils.  Without old frames on hand, I purchased new ones by cruising the sales and clearance sections of Home Goods and Kohl’s.  For $25, I found 4 frames that would work great for my project.  Less than an hour after starting these mini masterpieces (including drying time), I had an entire wall of art ready to hang.

Here’s what you need for your wall décor refresh:

  • Burlap Material
  • Stencils of your choice (Martha Stewart has some great templates)
  • Acrylic Paint color of your choice
  • Assorted sized paint brushes
  • Frames (if you do not already have them)

Step 1:

Take out the picture filler from the frame and use that as a template to cut your burlap to fit nicely into your frame.

Step 2:

Take your stencil of choice and place it on top of the burlap piece.  Grab a few heavier objects such as a paper weight, thick book or even a rock to hold the stencil in place while you are painting.

Step 3:

Grab your smallest paint brush, dip the tip into your paint color and then begin painting in your stencil.  I like to use a dabbing motion when painting on burlap because of the different directions of the material, I find that you have more control dabbing as opposing to regular brush strokes.

Step 4:

Once your stencil has been painted onto the burlap, remove the stencil and touch up any areas that you would like.  When you have finished, allow it to dry for at least 30 minutes.

Step 5:

When the paint is dry, take your burlap piece and insert into your frame.  This will look great with or without the glass in the frame.

This burlap art is a great way to create unique art on a budget.  Perfect for party, seasonal or holiday decor, try this project at home and transform your living space without making a dent in your wallet.

– Sharing design inspiration from my home to yours, Thia

Try this project for your home revamp and share your final product with us! Via Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  Tag us on social using#amazingmatriarch. 

Family Friendly Scavenger Hunt Activity for National GO Day

The warm weather is in full effect in New England and June is the perfect month to get outdoors and enjoy some active and healthy fun in the sun.  The humidity hasn’t yet set in and the kids are still in school so you are still limited in terms of travel.  Day trips to the beach and family hikes are a favorite pastime for late afternoons and on the weekends in our household.

In recognition of National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day), Saturday, June 13, 2015, plan a family excursion to the beach or an adventurous hike through the great outdoors.  A fun activity to do with your little ones is our Amazing Matriarch scavenger hunt.

Your kids will collect an assortment of natural treasures; they will learn about other habitats and the environment (hello, hands on science), and they’ll work on developing their math skills as they count their treasures.  Best of all they’ll remember what they learned, making this hunt better than any standardized test the powers that be deem a priority.

Here’s what you need:

  • Amazing Matriarch’s Scavenger Hunt List
  • A small bag or pail to collect and store your found items

Print up Amazing Matriarch’s scavenger hunt list (click on the beach edition or forest edition images below to download), cut the page in two and create little booklets so each child has a guide of their own.  For reference, I take a single hole punch and put a hole in the top left corner of the booklet and secure with a ribbon that can then be tied to a bag with handles, or held on their wrists for easy access.  A stapler, tape or glue will work for securing the pages together in your booklet as well.

Amazing Matriarch Beach Scavenger Hunt                              Amazing Matriarch Forest Scavenger Hunt

For a few glorious minutes, you’ll get to relax a bit and enjoy nature at its finest while your kids’ attention is focused on the thrill of the hunt.

– Just one adventurer adding a little learning to Family Fun on your next outdoor excursion, Thia

Try this activity with your family on National GO day and share your experience with us via Facebook:  Amazing Matriarch,  Instagram:  amazingamtriarch or  Twitter:  @AMatriarch;  Tag us using #amazingmatriarch. 

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