Provo

I Got Scolded by the Mayor and Kissed by a Camel

3/31/2016 Laura Watkins 4 Comments


Tonight's Provo Birthday Block Party was so much fun! My parents and uncle were in town, so we got to share one of the events that makes our city cool.



It's been cold and rainy all week, so we were lucky we didn't get rained out tonight! It was still pretty cold and when Mayor Curtis was saying hi to our family, he exclaimed, "Where's your coat?" To be fair, everyone else was bundled up and I was wearing a skirt and 3/4 sleeve shirt with my usual sandals. I shrugged. "These are my winter clothes." I really didn't want to explain how my messed up thyroid makes my temperature intolerance so bad that I literally did not even wear shoes or long pants most of the winter. Unless I couldn't get to my car without getting snow on my toes, I wore sandals. I did try to wear long pants one day, but I just got too hot! I really did try... But that's ok. Wearing minimal clothing when it's freezing out makes me look tough, right? ;)


But the block party was lots of fun! There were all kinds of food trucks: pizza, burritos, crepes, waffles, doughnuts, ice cream... Lots of variety. My kids are huge Waffle Love fans, and my mom (the strawberry waffle obsessed woman herself) got to try them. Of course it was love at first bite. :)


While we were waiting for our waffles, my oldest ran off to meet some of his favorite cast members from Studio C. They were so nice talking to him, especially Whitney Call, as he jumped up and down and told them all about his favorite episodes.


I haven't seen nearly as much Studio C as the kids have, but I recognized a lot of these cast members from one of our favorite YouTube videos/song parodies: Firebolt (BYU Divine Comedy's Harry Potter parody of the pop song Firework--which my family doesn't actually know the "real" lyrics to, just the HP version, which we like better. :)

He also met Matt Meese, Whitney Call, Jason Gray, Stacey Harkey, and Jeremy Warner. Jeremy was pretty funny. He's a pretty unique looking guy, so it cracked us up when my son told him that he looked like Jeremy from Studio C, and he replied, "Yeah, I get that a lot."


The IFA Country Store (where we buy our bunny's food and litter) sponsored the event and did free pony rides and a petting zoo. 



These alpacas were super cute but my favorite was:


This camel!




I had no idea camels were so sweet! This this lil guy (or gal??) kept coming back for more love. I tried backing away, but he wouldn't let me, just kept nuzzling and loving on me. :) SO cute! 


This kids loved touring the firetruck and ambulance!


We finished off the night winning two hats in raffle while our two youngest played in the bounce house.



Then, I polished off a "Buff Chick" from the Sweeto Burrito truck. Get it without the cilantro sauce and have them add bacon. Trust me, it's life changing! Some of the best comfort food out there. I mean, tater tots, crispy chicken, cheese, bacon, and sweet buffalo sauce? Can't go wrong. I'd forgotten just how much I loved these!

Thank you Provo City and IFA, we had a blast!
#ProvoRocks

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    4 comments:

    perler beads,

    Perler Bead Spring Cake Tutorial

    3/24/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments


    Walking through the grocery store, inspiration struck. I saw a cake on clearance and knew I had to make a spring Perler Bead cake topper tutorial for you! My husband insisted it needed to feature Cottontail Teemo (from League of Legends), and my daughter demanded a Baby Groot.



    Watch our Perler bead Easter bunny Teemo bead sprite come to life in this time lapsed video.



    This DIY tutorial will show you how to make your own cute Perler bead cake toppers! Watch this video or read the tutorial here.



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      batman,

      DIY Perler Bead Cake Topper Tutorial

      3/09/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments


      Guardians of the Galaxy inspired Perler Bead Cake Toppers
      Original design by House of Geekiness.
      For our DIY Perler Bead Cake Topper Tutorial, you'll have two options for the the cake topper bases: sticks or Perler prongs. Stick bases are quick and easy. Perler prongs are less expensive, but take more time.  
      Stick Bases for Perler Bead Cake Toppers

      Watch the video here or continue reading the tutorial.

      To make stick bases for your Perler Bead cake toppers, we'll need the following:



      Reusable mounting putty: I prefer Loctite's Fun-Tak


      Back view of Perler Bead Cake Toppers using popsicle sticks and reusable mounting putting to make stick base
      Original design by House of Geekiness.

      Plain, unused craft popsicle sticks (like these ones here),

      Guardians of the Galaxy inspired Perler Beadsprites
      Original design by House of Geekiness.
      And your favorite Perler beadsprites. Learn more about bead sprites here.


      Roll about a marble sized piece of mounting putty in your hands until it's soft and pliable.


      Place worked putty high enough on the stick so that it will keep your Perler beadsprite in place but not visible from the font. You'll also want to leave enough room below the beadsprite to place the stick into the cake, so it will be firmly anchored (usually around 1-1/2 inches).
      This putty is pretty strong. As you can see above, I've placed the putty in a few different places, and it still kept them in place. 

      Perler Bead Prongs for Cake Toppers
      Custom designed Perler Beadsprite wedding cake toppers based on image
      Original design by House of Geekiness.
      To make Perler Bead prongs for your cake toppers, you'll be putting your beadsprite together on your Perler peg board, then adding the prongs before you iron it, to create one solid beadsprite. 

      True Romance inspired beadsprite wedding cake toppers
      Original design by House of Geekiness.
      But first, decide if you need 1, 2, or 3 prongs per beadsprite. For smaller Perler beadsprites (such as cupcake toppers), I suggest 1 prong. For most bead sprite, I use 2-3, depending on how large or top heavy they are. 

      Custom designed Perler Beadsprite wedding cake toppers based on image, by House of Geekiness
      Original design by House of Geekiness.

      You might need to add a few beads to create a solid place to attach your Perler prongs to the bottom of your beadsprite. 

      Above, you can see the extra beads I added under/beside their feet to attach the prongs to.  2 x 12 bead prongs are usually enough for a cake, but you may want to go shorter or longer depending on the size of the beadsprite and the number of cake layers.

      Put them together, iron, and you have your Perler Bead Pronged Cake Topper! 
      Batman and Catwoman Inspired Perler Bead Cake Toppers
      Original design by House of Geekiness.
      Batman inspired Perler Bead Cake Toppers with Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Batman. 

      Original design by House of Geekiness.
      Doctor Who Inspired Tardis and Eleventh Doctor Perler Bead Cake Toppers
      Original design by House of Geekiness.
      Disney Inspired Snow White, Elsa, and Tiana Perler Bead Cake Toppers
      Original design by House of Geekiness.

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        Arabesque,

        Arabesque Chapter 2.1

        3/08/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

        I will be sharing parts of my writing every week (alternating between Arabesque and Persephone) as I write them (with the exception of some parts of Arabesque, which were written previously), so please be patient with any errors you may find, as these are a first drafts.

        About the book

        Tatania is tired of living in her sister's shadow but doesn't know about Princess Anna's dark secret. 

        Bound by a sacred oath, Anna's struggles to live a double life that can never be her own. 

        Described as "Sense and Sensibility meets Ever After with ninjas," Arabesque is full of action, romance, intrigue, and betrayal.

        Since I've always been super paranoid, Arabesque was officially copyrighted in 2009. Duplication or use of this work in any other form is prohibited by law.

         Chapter 2

         Tatania

             When I got to go back to my room, I spotted a tray of food lying on the table.  Nora you’re the best!  She even left extra dessert.  My stomach eventually stopped growling as I ate, but I still felt agitated.  I needed some quality relaxation time.

             I walked down the candle-lit hall way, soft red velvet carpet lay beneath my feet.  Elena was very particular in her choice of décor, usually a bit over the top.  Beautiful paintings lined the white walls, while burgundy ran along the wall at its midpoint for contrast.  Small, bust-laden tables appeared here and there.

             I exited through an elaborately carved white door.  The fresh winter night air was as crisp as the crunching sound my boots made on the snowy gravel of the walkway.  Clouds covered the moon and darkness shrouded the night.  I carried a lantern that emitted a glow, giving my surroundings a dream-like quality.  I pulled my hood and cloak closer to me to fight the frost, and walked a little faster.

             I smelled the stables before the soft light could reveal them.  The homely, sweet smell of hay made my feet move faster.  Several whinnies and knickers greeted me as I unbolted the door.  I walked down the row of stalls, giving an occasional pat to the heads that nudged at me.

             I got to my horse’s pen.  He made a happy sound and kept his head buried in the manger of alfalfa.

             “Thanks, Bella.  Knew you’d be happy to see me, old boy.”  I gently slapped his rear as I entered the stall.  “Can’t stop eating even to say hi, huh?  Should have known.”

                     Bellerophon raised his black head and stared at me for a moment as if to reply, “Well yeah, it’s food…  This is a serious matter,” then arched the thick crest of his neck to lower his head and continued eating.

                    I picked a few pieces of straw out of his mane and examined his shaggy, dark brown, winter coat.  In a month it would begin to thin out, becoming a sleek black that appeared nearly metallic in sunlight.  Only his hooves would retain their winter look.  Long feathery wisps of hair grew from the back of the knee to the fetlock of each leg.  It thickened from the ankle down, partially covering the delicate hooves in a ruffled black skirt.  This ebony drapery waved in unison with his long mane and tail in the wake of his movement as leaves sway in a breeze, when he ran.

                    Bellerophon came from an ancient royal breed of horses.  It was said that his breed were born of the Night itself.  The night grew weary of blanketing the world of light so it created a herd of animals; creatures of the purest black.  The Night’s servants ran together after each day, gathering darkness to them, blocking the moon and the stars.  They soon became so powerful, as they circled the world, dragging their dark shadow behind them, that no light could break through.  The entire world was plunged into perpetual night.

             But soon the Light grew angry that Night would dare obscure the heavenly bodies.  He began to chase the black herd, cutting off bits of its shadow and eradicating the creatures one by one until a lone mare remained.  The night feared the extinction of its creation and set free its servant.

             To fool the Light, she was released into the world in the form of a spotless white foal.  The mare darkened as she grew until she became black as her master.  When the Light realized what she was, her place among the race of men was assured and he could not destroy her.  Ribbons of night would always appear behind her as she ran, no longer able to conquer the Light, but forever would her white foals turn black as she reminded the Light that Darkness is forever willing to engulf it.

              Like the horse of legend, Bellerophon seemed to gather blackness around him.  At seventeen hands high, he was massive—I was unable to see over the top of his back now that he was full grown.  His proportions were perfect.  Although built like a draft horse in height, the thick crest of his neck bore an elegant, relatively petite head.  His size and muscular frame spoke of tremendous power within.  He was breathtakingly magnificent…Just not when he was hungry.

             With a huff, he finally polished off the last of his feed and moved to face me.  His muzzle prodded my clothes, searching for snacks in my pockets.

              “Sorry big buy, nothing tonight.  I just came out for a quick ride.”  I grabbed a curry comb, brushed, then rubbed him down, being sure his back would be free of irritants.  Once I’d neglected to brush him thoroughly and he was poked with a small piece of straw wedged beneath his saddle.  He threw me off and broke my arm.  I never again had to wonder about the meaning of the phrase, “a burr under your saddle.”

             Bella began prancing anxiously as I returned from the tack room with his gear.  I called to him softly and slipped the bit between his teeth and into his mouth.  I gently pulled his forelock out from under the leather straps around his ears and laid the hair across his forehead.  I adjusted the saddle blanket on his back and swung the saddle on top with a great heave.  Reaching under his belly, I grabbed the girth strap and began to cinch it. It was several notches larger than usual.

              “Aw come one Bella,” I whined as the stallion filled his stomach with air.  “I know saddles aren’t the greatest and I wouldn’t want that strap squeezing my belly either, but even if you get all bloated, you know I’m gonna just tighten it eventually—why fight it?”

             He shook his head snorting.

            “No, I’m not gonna do it,” I said.  “That thing is staying on your back!”

             Bella turned his head and bumped me, his big dark eyes sparkling as they pleaded.  I continued my work, slowly making progress.  One notch tighter…  Bella continued to nuzzle me.  I stroked his head and hugged it as he leaned into me.

             “Oh all right you big baby, but this is the last time!  I can’t be riding bareback so often, especially not in the winter.  See how spoiled you’ve gotten?  And it’s not exactly safe for me since it’s so slick out and you can’t help but run yourself into the ground every chance you get.  I know for a fact that the stable hands exercise you every day, there’s no reason for you to be so restless…maybe you just miss home, can’t blame you for that.”

             I removed everything, lead him out of the stables, and over to the pasture fence.  I held the reins in one hand, scaled the fence, the slipped onto my horse’s back.

             Biting cold air lunged at my uncovered face and stung my eyes but I didn’t care.  Riding was as close as I could come to being home again.  My father always rode with Anna and me.  He said that our first steps were on horseback.

             Bella’s muscles surged as we sprinted across slopes and around trees.  The direct contact made for better communication between us.  He could feel every direction my body gave him and I could feel him asking permission to run all out.

             “Sorry Bella, I’m not feeling particularly suicidal at the moment.  Maybe when the snow’s gone.”  I slowed him to a walk and laid my head back to relax and took in the sky.  The clouds had briefly allowed the moon’s glow to rest upon me.  I closed my eyes as Bella slowly walked, his steps muffled by the coverlet of snow.

             My mind freely wandered, releasing the tension and agitation of the day.  My hands held the reins loosely, they ached so bad!  If Elena kept me writing like that, I’d be the only woman in the world under sixty with arthritis.

             As I gazed up at the heavens, I thought about my mother. What would she think if she was here with us?  Would she like me?  I knew she’d like Anna, everyone did.  But what would she think of the daughter who had just barely given up most of her tomboy ways (and only then after persistent pleas from Father and Aunt Eloise)?  I was by no means a proper, beautiful young lady.  But she’d love me anyway, right?  Father did, and mothers are supposed to love even more unconditionally than fathers.  She’d love me.  She did love me, she had to!

         The clouds parted as if whisked away by a great, unseen, hand.  Seleine, the moon, glowed more brightly than I’d ever seen.  Comforted, I slowly smiled.  Yes, she loved me.

         A strange sound caught my attention and I sat up.  Bella pranced anxiously.  There was another horse up ahead.  I asked Bella to speed up a bit and we trotted into the clearing.  Still too dark to distinguish anything, I shouted a hello.  I continued cautiously but the other horse was gone.  A cold shiver ran down my spine.  Was someone trespassing on Sir Rupert’s land?  I suddenly realized we’d been out for a long time.

         We headed back more slowly than we’d come, but still at a fast pace.  I took Bella to his stall, cleaned him up, and gave him a bit of water.  After he was equipped with his warm blanket, he wandered out of the small back doorway, into his private paddock to graze.  I walked back through the door and toward the house, but something was missing.   I stopped and wondered, was there a horse missing or was it out grazing too?


        Read Chapter 2.2 here or more about my projects here.

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          Donate to Animal Shelters by Playing Video Games!

          3/07/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments


          I love this company! We've been using World's Best Cat Litter since 2012. We found it when we were searching for a litter that was natural and wouldn't kill our bunny rabbit or dog (both of which tend to nibble on litter... I know, yuck). This stuff is made from corn and is all natural and was exactly what we were looking for. We love that it clumps so well and you don't get all the dust in the air when it gets stirred up. 

          I signed up for World's Best Cat Litter's email list because they send out coupons quite frequently, and I just saw this cool thing! They're always donating to shelters, which is another reason we LOVE them. 

          Check this out. So far, I've played just a few minutes and already donated 17 pounds of litter to animal shelters! I'm gonna download the app and let my kids play. They'll love playing and we'll be donating to shelters. Win-win.











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