Monday, June 4, 2012

Create a Schedule

I don't know about you, but I am always trying new things to get organized. I know that in order to be organized you really have to get committed. For me, usually, I am diligent for about a week then I just forget about it or lose sight of the end goal. Other then making a weekly meal plan I just haven't been able to stick with anything. Its kind of a lifestyle change I guess and since lately I've had some success with lifestyle changes I decided it was time to tackle this "getting organized" thing again.
So on pinterest one afternoon I came across a schedule on A Home Made by KiKi. I really loved it and she had great ideas. I decided I like the method of having one printed for each day. So I looked around for a form I could make my own and found the one KiKi mentioned from Simple Mom to be pretty close to what I was looking for. I tailored it a little and made it work for me. Here is an example of the Monday schedule I made.
Here's the break down on my blank version. I liked the MIT (most important things) that Simple Mom had on there so I left it. 
I left the inspiration section. I am not sure that I will use it all the time but maybe if I have a motivational quote or something I will fill it in. Maybe even something I am personally working like to be more grateful or not lose my patience. I just thought it was a good personal spot.
I left the food section pretty much the same but just changed it to say "prep" instead of notes. I really liked the way that KiKi did that on her schedule. That way I can remind myself to thaw something or marinate something and make sure its ready to be cooked when the time comes. 
I cut my water intake down to 6. I'm not real good at drinking as much water as I should and I thought 8 glasses seemed intimidating. Since I plan to change this when summer is over I may be better at it and able to bump it up. 
Since I don't work I changed that section to appointments and to dos. For example if one week I need to run by the hardware store but there is no real urgency then I can put it there and it doesn't have to go into the schedule. Or maybe if I need to make a phone call.
The last think I changed was the today's chores since I had a to do and appointment section I decided I just wanted the chores section. I decided to break down my weekly house cleaning and laundry and try to make certain things for certain days. Basiclly, try to have it all done by the weekend. 
In the general plan section I filled out my schedule for each day for the summer. Like certain days have library readings and the movie theater by us plays free movies on Tuesday and Thursday. I wanted those to all be on there, even if I don't actually do it so I can remember that those things are going on. I also wrote in things I want to try to make a habit, like the dog walk and working with Penny. 
Lastly, the notes section is great for anything else. I find it most useful for things I realize I need to add to the grocery list. Ideally, by the end of the week I will only need to make a meal plan and flip back through my notes and my grocery list will be compiled. 
I left some blank lines I could fill in as needed.
I made a slightly different one for the weekend. I was going to leave my weekends free but decided since Chris and I are list people anyway that I may as well have one. I hope that it also helps keep us focused on the meal plan for the weekends because we are bad about having a plan but giving up because it got late in the day fast and reaching for something unhealthy.

So I printed my customized version for each day and slipped them into a plastic sleeve and put them in my family binder (where I also keep a monthly calender, a tab for each family member, emergency and baby sitter info, menus, and all my coupons -yes, its getting pretty thick.) I used a fine point sharpie like Tiffany suggests from A Day In My Life. So far this is working great. 

If you want to save a copy and use it for yourself click here
Good luck to ya!

Monday, April 23, 2012

5k to Five Fingers

Hello blog land! I could tell you that I have been so busy training that  haven't had time to blog but to be honest, working out takes less time then I'd actually like to admit.  I have however, actually been training -that word sounds so weird coming from my mouth.
Here, at my house, we are not very well educated on fitness and even less concerned with running. So when we decided to commit to this exercise endeavor we knew were going to need a lesson in it. Maybe a trainer, or coach, or someone to just tell us what we should be doing. When to push through the pain and when to take a day of rest. We needed some sort of plan.
Luckily, the Couch to 5k is all the rage (or was at some point) and Chris had heard of it, even talked about giving it a whirl once before. So we pulled up the details again and decided that we had about 10 weeks until the next race and since this was an 8 week program, it was perfect (if it actually works.) Now we had a plan...
Strength training 
Just before I got sick in February  we were trying to work out for the Mudder Dash and we started using some (Android) apps on our phones... sit ups, push ups, pull ups, and squats.  A couple work outs into it I was benched but Chris continued to power on. It was pretty successful for him so we decided to try it again, this time together. We also decided to see if there was a C25K Android App. - there is, a lot of them actually.
We went with the app by Run Double we liked the GPS feature. Now we had a coach.

I know, I should have started documenting this journey when the journey actually began but, I didnt. However, I can tell you so far the C25K seems to be working. To my disappointment all the extra running has not actually shed any extra pounds off my frame, I've actually gained a few. But, Im still motivated because my body is changing. My legs are stronger (and sometimes more sore than I ever thought possible.) Things that used to jiggle do not anymore. I can even do 4 cheater style pull ups (which is much better than my previous none.) I'm not gonna lie. Its petty tough some days and even going into our third week, I can't imagine being able to full out jog a 5k by the end. Just have faith though right -or get the right equipment?
So with all the success running has become a little bit of an addiction for me. Well maybe its more of a motivation to feed my shopping addiction. Either way, it keeps me pumped to do more so I'll take it. With all the new fitness we've been doing we have also started acquiring new gear. We pulled out the dumbbells for strength training and my old ankle weights from waiting tables, for jogging.  There was much debate in our previous run about whatt he best all around shoe would be for the event. Chris finally talked me into trying out a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. Yes, those hideous, goofy shoes. After talking about it a while and doing all kinds of reading from research to bloggers, I went to try them on and just get a feel for them... I walked out with these bad boys.
The Bikila
I talked to a sales guy there who seemed pretty knowledgeable about them and helped me with a few different pairs. He was wearing the KSO himself. I thought I would feel slightly embarrassed wearing these around but he assured me that I should just own it and I'd love 'em. So I went with obnoxious pink and orange. Hey, if nothing else they would fit right in with all the crazy race attire.
The whole next day I wore them everywhere, and loved them! Finally that evening we ran, my parents were in town so we didn't have the jogging strollers (they add about 30 to 50lbs when loaded with kiddos)  this time and I felt wonderful. My foot seemed to have no trouble adjusting to the shoe, then again, I am a barefoot walker anyway. I had no pain at all and figured that maybe I just did it right. We started wearing these early enough in the training that maybe we will just adjust naturally instead of having to change years of built up bad running form. The next day I was fine as well. Day 2, was a different story. I hurt so bad. I could barely walk and when I did, I walked like an old man. Here we are, on day 3 and I am still sore but its much more manageable. Tonight, I will jog in them again. Hopefully when I report back the results wont be as extreme.
More Gear
I picked my shoes up on Thursday and this Sunday the hubby wanted to get a pair for him. -Can you see that this is quickly becoming and expensive hobby? Its like those free dogs people get but then have to take it to the vet and it ends up costing a fortune. - He picked the Speed version and went for something that looked a little less obvious.
While he was shoe shopping I was looking around for a good pair of running shorts. I have a pair that is loose fitting, and a few other pairs of pants and capris. It was my experience though, that I needed something fitted for the run, the mud and water are heavy and drag your clothes down. It got rather uncomfortable. So I talked myself into these itty bitty things 

Made by Moving Comfort

I was definitely skeptical about my ability to pull these off but when I put them on, I was immediately in love with the comfort aspect and to be honest, my rear didn't look half bad either. SOLD! with the promise to go home and look online at the other great things this company may have out on the market.

Even More Gear
I'm telling you, this is becoming a sickness or obsession. So today at Target I decided to swing by the athletic section and check on the clearance rack. I scored a pink shirt for just $3, now I have a whole running ensemble! But what I really need was a nice running stroller...ah yes, my other sickness - strollers. See in the beginning we were running using only the double bike trailer. The hubby wanted to switch off and I knew immediately, we were going to need something better. The double jogging strollers were expensive and I read 10 terrifying reviews on one popular brand about the front wheel popping off, the mom flying over the stroller, and everyone involved (including the kids) was injured. I decided 2 singles was the most fair and the best way to go. Also if I wanted to run while Emma Bean was in school, I could do it with just a single. I found a great deal on a Dreamer Design (discontinued but had great reviews) stroller right away. I let the hubby use it while I was pushing the Britax B-Agile (my pride and joy!!) it was working but it was a bit of a work out on its own. I finally decided to sell it and buy a used maclaren and find another deal on a jogging stroller. 
After a lot of research and looking, I lost control. I fell in love with the BOB Revolution. I knew I had to have one and forget the separate umbrella and jogging stroller, this one was good enough to do it all! Here's a handy little video but don't watch it if you don't want to want the stroller!  I read one review on amazon where a lady had her kid in the stroller next to the car door and was putting some stuff down in the front seat about to unload baby into the car seat. While the car next to them started back out and did see them. The other car was squishing the BOB between the two cars with baby in it. The lady obviously started yelling and the car stopped, the BOB and Baby were fine but the car's bumper was dented and bent. After that story I  had already purchased the BOB in my heart but my head was saying "another expensive stroller?"  I finally justified it that I didn't want to be held back by my stroller. If I was going to do this running thing and stick with it, I needed to be invested in it and comfortable. To craigslist I went and today I will be picking up my very own BOB Revolution in brown, I can hardly wait!
So there you have it, one little mud run and now I'm becoming a junkie. I have goofy shoes, tiny shorts, and a fancy stroller. You'll have to stay tuned and if I'm brave enough I'll post pictures from today (again, I should have done this in the beginning) and then again right at the end of the C25K. Kind of a before and after, you'll be able to see for yourself if you think the C25K works and if the investments were worth it! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Mudder Frickin' Good Time

This past Saturday I ran my first ever 5k. Actually, it was a 5k and obstacle course, in the mud.
Might Mud Dash
As you may remember one of my resolutions this year was to lead a healthier lifestyle. Well, Chris got wind of the Might Mud Dash early January and it was all over. He came home talking about it the team a bunch of people from work had put together. My first reaction, was "you should do it, it sounds fun" - to watch you make an ass of yourself, I wouldn't miss it. A couple of days went by and Chris broke the news, he wanted me to do it with him. It took me a few days to mull it over and finally get on board. However, I was looking for someone else to do it with because I didn't want to join a team of dudes from his work and get left in the dust to eat shit mud all on my own. Chris assured me he would stay with me so we began training.
Some of you may remember February was a rough month for me. I had some major health issues pop up and training, for me, was on hold. I was on bed rest a week and then on light duty until I was cleared by my doctor on March 23rd. Chris kept training, I was pretty sure he would literally have to drag me through the course at this point - that was if I was cleared by the doctor.  Sure enough she gave the go ahead and I started a 2 a day jogging program to try to cram for the big day. Ok so really it wasn't so much of a program as it was me just trying to run as long and far as I could twice a day for a week and a half with a 2 or 3 day rest before the race. I have no experience in any kind of working out so I really didn't know what to do.
Fast forward to race day!

Pre-race photo op!

I think this is my game face. I know, I look a little more intimidated then intimidating.
So my plan all along was to get to the back of our wave so I wasn't in anybody's way and I didn't have to watch everyone else pass me. Of course we begin to line up and the team decides they want right at the front. 

Some pre-race strategy talk no doubt.
Its time to go so, from the front, we start. Chris said for me to just push as hard as I want and he'll keep up. The goal, finish under and hour, hour and a half TOPS and finish first on our team. So I just started jogging. We were in a whole mess of people so I was just weaving through trying to get to where I could run a pace I was comfortable with and not be tripping over anyone or have anyone trip over me. I guess somewhere around a mile in we hit the first obstacle. I still was sure where Chris was, we were separated in the crowd but I knew he hadn't passed me and I didn't want to turn back and look. I just kept having a conversation with myself "push! push! he'll catch up." I finally saw a goal point to slow down and take a breather and just as I approached, Chris was at my side. One obstacle down, 13 to go, and now a team.
We paced ourselves with a fast walk and a light jog until the next obstacle which wasn't very far. After that we just alternated a walk job approach. I was pretty winded so I couldn't run long distances anymore. just after the halfway marker was the first get muddy obstacle. You just run and jump shoulder deep into a trench full of muddy water then make out to the other side. It was actually a nice time for it, the water was cool and woke you up a bit. But once we were out, I was a bit bogged down. Cotton clothes probably weren't the best choice (which means shopping for next time!!) We made it through the next few obstacles keeping a pretty good pace but I had a moment of weakness when I hit this bad boy...

Ok, I know it looks like something from a playground and I should easily be able to get over. But I am pretty scared of heights and it was a good 20 to 25 feet to the top. Chris said he felt like we spent about 5 min on this one alone. Not all of that was me, the girl ahead of me was freaking out pretty bad and kind of stuck for a min at the top. Although, there is no way I had the guts to get off my straight up and over path and go around her. Once I got about halfway to the top I started getting nervous, at one point I looked back to Chris and he said I had crazy eyes. I did actually make it over though, and when my feet were on solid ground I felt awesome. Accomplished and my adrenaline was there for a second (and final wind.)
We jogged to the hay bales and Chris when right up them and looked like a gazelle flying over them. I followed behind him and managed to keep up. Almost immediately after there was a wall. I was pretty tired at this point and not sure I had the strength to get up and over. Turns out I did. Here are a couple of shots from a couple different people. 
That's me in the pink and Chris to my right in black.

Right after the wall there was a rope swing then we rounded the corner and were at the upside of the 50ft mudslide hill. I gave it one last push and Chris and I sprinted up the hill. About two steps from the top I nearly fell to my knees to crawl the rest of the way but some nice girl to my right just put her hand on the back of my arm to support me for a moment and I made it. I was actually excited about this one, it looked like the most fun. So we slide off into the sunset mud pit, only they hadn't cleared the ground that well and I hit my tail bone on a rock. I turned to my right hip because of the pain and took another softball size rock to the hip before splashing into the mud pit. Chris was at the end by the time I made it there, waiting to help me out and we crossed the finish line together.  They slid medals over our necks and as corny as it may sound, it was awesome! I was kind of in the zone for the whole run but when we finished I felt great.
We looped back around to cheer on a couple of the finishing team members then went to the car to get cleaned up. We came back in to grab a beer and check our times out. When I saw 44:28 was our time, I was shocked. I was so proud of us. We accomplished the course and our goals and all with just two weeks of practice. By Saturday night, I had already found our next mission... The Original Mud Run 
It comes to Houston May 26th. Tonight we start our couch to 5k program and our new goal is to finish in under 40 min. We have to get ready for the Zombie Run in December, I'm pumped about that one and want to make sure I can fare well in the Zombie apocalypse. So who's game? You don't have run with me, I'll take training partners too. I promise, its so worth it. 

**hopefully I'll get a few more pictures, Ill post as soon as I do!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Miss Manners?

The Dilemma...
Growing up I was never required to say Ma'am and/or Sir so it never occurred to me that it was something I should consider with my own children. However, since Emma Bean has been in school this year and really is starting to grasp things like manners, she has developed some pretty poor ones.
Overall we have great kids but here lately with all I've been through they've had a bit of a free run staying with Grandma and me being limited to bed rest then light duty. I believe all the extra attention may have gone to little Emma's head. As a matter of fact, we were even informed that she was a bit of a pill those last few days at Grandma's house (**gasp**.)
Obviously, its time for an intervention. The hubby and I have really been trying to work on our patience with the kids too. I'll be the first to admit all the screaming nonsense overwhelms my nerves rather quickly. I can't fathom how two little people can be so loud and more irritatingly, for what reason? But, in taking a step back and using my superb parenting experience to really analyze it, this may all be communication based. OK, so that's just a random conclusion I've come to out of desperation for getting to a better place or at least less tense.
Enter Manners...
My initial feeling was that Ma'am and Sir were a bit harsh and somewhat kept my kids at a distance from me. Like they wouldn't feel comfortable talking to me when they were older. I understand the need for manners and believe in it too. I just felt like that No Thank You is just as respectful as No Sir both of which are much more desired then a Nah or even a short No. Although we never used Ma'am and Sir, somewhere along the way I picked up that Yes is much more acceptable (and intelligent sounding) than Yah. I just kind of figured my kids would get there.
The truth...
The truth is though, they shouldn't be expected to just pick up on something, not something as important as manners. Its our responsibility to teach them and teach them early. The more the hubby and I discussed it, the more I started leaning to the side that maybe I should require Ma'am and Sir. After all polite and respectful kids are never a bad thing. I also feel like it will take care of some of the screaming. Instead of just screaming at us or her brother it gives her the tools to actually use words. It becomes habit, second nature. Eventually, without even knowing it, she'll just say "Eli can I please have that back" instead of pointing or pushing and "ahhhhhhhhhhh." Maybe that's wishful thinking for siblings, but maybe it will just work.

So, that's where I stand. I'm teaching my kids manners, we start today!

not the best picture of them but the most recent one I've got

I'd love to hear about your experiences, tips, and opinions as parents, teachers, or other people who deal with children on a regular basis.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom

Good morning blog land! Today I want to give a birthday shout out to my Mama. Shes the best of friends, a great mother, and a fabulous Gigi.
Mom and Paul

Like most teenage girls, my mom and I didn't always see eye to eye. Ok, never saw eye to eye. I couldn't figure out how she could always be to strict and obtuse when it came to the everyday dealings of a high school girl. This is a matter my precious Emma will one day educate me on, I'm quite sure. Payback, right?
Fast forward to freshman year of college. After lessons in the real world  a more adult world, the entire time with my mom in my corner, I began to heal over some of those teenage girl hostilities. My mom supported me as I learned that meal plans from the student center do not mean you're doing it on your own, working weekends as a horse wrangler at a YMCA camp is not a real job, there is such a thing of partying too late and too loud with your roommate, being in college does not mean skipping your 8am - everyday, sororities and girlfriends can be a lot of fun, and establishing who you are has nothing to do with who you want your boyfriend to be.
Then, I moved into a house, a rent house, but a place my roommate and I had to take care of all on our own. My mom supported this decision as well as many others that led to lessons like:  roommates- suck (well maybe just make better friends then roommates,) waiting tables is fast way to make money, just because you can make more the next day doesn't mean you should spend everything you make tonight, skipping an 8 am class is different then skipping work - either are unbearable with a hangover, love can put you on a fabulous high it can also knock you right on your butt, the only thing that sucks worse then breaking up is seeing him with another girl, sororities - who pays for friends or needs that many t-shirts anyway- no offense to those of you've held on to and no longer pay for,  its great for you to try new things and exciting to land an awesome job but Per Diem should not be spent at the bar buying drinks for all your friends - well at least not before you actually take the work trip, spend time establishing who you are.
After years of the vicious cycle called college, which I should actually refer to as college days since I don't know how much time I actually spent in college, my mom and I had finally not only repaired all the mother daughter drama but built a friendship. I had a new respect for her as I began to understand all the things she did for my brother and myself and all the things she was truly protecting us from. I learned she was an amazing person, so strong, determined, and successful with her life, her career, and obviously her children.
Me and my brother, his graduation (in case you hadn't caught on)

I was happy to have her standing by my side I took a step in the next direction of my life. I took the job in Connecticut. A leap of faith, a scary one. She and I drove halfway across the country mid February in a single cab Ford Ranger, stick shift too, and I started my new life. We had a lot of fun together on the trip and setting up my new place, even just checking out the town. And oh, how I bawled the my first morning of work as I stood in my window and watched her climb into a cab and head back to the airport. This was it, I was truly on my own  and the closest thing I knew to home was pulling away to head back. That moment was really a turning point in my life. I knew it was time to step up and take control of my life. To make my mom proud and remember all those lessons I'd been learning along the way. The most important though was now, without distractions, I could decide who I was, who I wanted to be, define myself. And she had equipped me with all the right tools.
It was a good thing too because 5 months later I found myself pregnant and following my soon to be husband and a uhaul back across country, home to Texas. Through this too, my mom stood by my side. As soon as we pulled up to unload our belongings into our home, my mom was there anxiously waiting. She supported our decision to get married and insisted on a big wedding. True to herself, she did a amazing job. It was a wedding to remember and many of my friends often do reminisce about the wonderful night  experience.
My wedding day

Among all the planning, just before the wedding, my mom lost her own mother. For the first time I felt like I was able to be there for my mom. I know my mom still has a hard time with this, my Nanny was just as awesome of a person, but again my mom was teaching me. She reinforced how special our relationship is. How important a relationship with God is. To treasure both relationships and how to nurture them. How to be grateful for all the wonderful times, but all the ones I get annoyed too. And how to be strong, to be the rock for my family.
After the wedding it was time for her first grandbaby, did she ever embrace this life change. She adored Emma. She was so proud I'm sure that her coworkers grew tired of photos and stories.
Brand new baby Emma Bean

Two years later we surprised my mom at Christmas with the news of baby Eli. As always she was excited and proud. Eli arrived in a scary NICU whirlwind but again my mom was there for me. She stayed with Emma and supported me through frantic crying and did she ever pray. For me, for him, our family. God does answer prayers and he did this time. Eli was fine and it was a fluke hospital mistake.
Brand new baby Eli

Just as it happened 18 months ago, I found myself unsuspectingly in the hospital last Friday. Again, she was here. She kept my household together and even waited on my while I'm stuck on bed rest.
That being said;
Mom, I couldn't make it out to get you a gift. I thought about hand making you a card, but we both know I have hideous handwriting and two kids that would be all up in that mess. But this is the gist of what it would say. I love you so much, I am who I am and my family is what it is because of you.
My mom and my family

Because of the things you taught me all along the way and the support you gave me to build this awesome life for myself. I could never thank you enough or fit everything I should say into a card. Even if I could somehow manage to write them down. Thanks mom, and I hope you have a the best birthday!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Crazy Stuff Happens

As some of you may have been aware this weekend was slated to be Emma's big 4th birthday bash...vintage Barbie style.  I couldn't wait and have been pinning like crazy. We ordered the sweetest Barbie dress from Etsy.
Polka dot Ponies
My mom made her the cutest matching hat and we had all the decor and food lined out.

Unfortunately, crazy stuff happens and the party was postpone. Without going into all the gory details, I'm talking scene from Carrie, here's the rundown. Sorry to be vague but as you will soon read some of it is a bit personal however, I'm feeling the need to share. haha
Anyway a while back I had a LEEP procedure done (if you want more details on that feel free to look it up.) Lets just say, for the sake of being as tactful as I know how to be, its one of those things thats handled by your womanly doctor. So it had been about two weeks and I started having complications. I went in Thursday to get checked out and they said it appeared to be a fluke and everything was healing nicely. Thankfully I called my mother in a day early so I could go to the appointment without my kids tagging along. There's just something unsettling about bringing your kids to those kinds of things (not to mention the scarring it may leave on their poor minds, haha.) So Friday my fabulous husband had hired a cleaning service to come clean the house before the party and relieve me of the extra stress. My mom and I met a good friend and her little girl at McDonald's for coffee and play time while the house was being cleaned. Just before heading back home I experienced these complications again. I called my doctor back and she said I needed to go to the ER. By the time I arrived the situation had worsened and the Dr. took me into surgery. Well, they called it surgery it was really only a couple of stitches but it did require full anesthesia and the whole nine yards. Afterward she decided I needed 2 blood transfusions due being severely anemic. Needless to say I was staying the night and the party would need to be postponed. 
I'm back home now and feeling fine (minus a pounding headache.) I am a little bored with a week of bed rest, its not nearly as fun as it originally sounded. My MIL came and is taking the kids back to her house after school tomorrow, I was thinking of all the wonderful things I could do without the distractions of bickering children and milk cup refills, but the hubby made it very clear there would be no projects this week. 
As for Emma she was very sweet and understanding for a 4 year old. 

Taken on an I-phone - excuse the mess it's just the party paper. Cute hat huh?
There is a slight possibility Mommy was more excited about the Barbie birthday or maybe its the fact we told her she gets to have 2 birthdays this year. We did a little family celebration with my parents and then one with my MIL when she arrived. But, we'll all just have to wait a while longer to see the exciting Barbie party.
Well there you have it the Barbie Birthday drama weekend! In the meantime 
Happy Birthday Sweet Emma Bean!!

On a lighter and VERY exciting note, today my blog was featured by one of my very favorite bloggers, Cassie at Hi Sugarplum. This is my first blog feature and I am in blogger heaven over it! Shoot over and check it out, leave her a comment too! 

I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I just wanted to share my pinterest Valentine's Day cards for Emma's class. I was so excited to make them and love how they turned out.

These were super easy just a quick snapshot and some writing in picasa.

Then I made little "x" slits above and below her hand so the lollipop could slip right through. I was planning on just using a hole punch but the hole punch wouldn't reach the right spot. Lastly,  I secured it in the back with a piece of scotch tape. The total was $3 and some change (plus the cost of  candy, which I would have bought anyway) for a cute personalized card.

For the class

For the teachers
The Teacher's cards say "The difference between ordinary and EXTRAordinary is a little EXTRA... I hope you have an EXTRA special Valentine's Day."  
Although looking at it, I think I may have written and instead of an, of course I did.  Ah well, better luck next year!
I just tied punched two holes at the top of the photo and tied it around the gum with a pretty ribbon. Then taped the ribbon on the back. 

Hope you all have a an extra special day as well!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sometimes life hands you lemons

I have been pretty bad at keeping up with my blog goal this last couple of weeks.  I did make my post last week but it was really just a copied recipe which I realize was a bit of a cop out. While, I do have a good excuse, I am not really ready to talk about it here in blog land. So I decided I would catch you guys up to speed with my plans for some upcoming blog posts. 
This week I have a primary focus: Emma's Vintage Barbie 4th Bithday Party! But, its funny how hosting a party, even a 4 year old's, can really bump the to do list a  notch. I do have to focus on food and decor for the party, I'm also planning on an awesome photo booth and have to figure out the barbie cake. But some how, refinishing the vintage hutch in the garage and bringing it into my kitchen to replace the $10 garage sale dresser, just became a priority. You know, so the house looks good for company. While I'm at it I probably should just move that dresser into the craft room, then I could get organized and I could really show it off when everyone is here. Since my kitchen would be lookin' so good, I wonder if I'd have time to paint my living room and get rid of that yellow color that have been bothering me for the last 3 years?
I know, whats wrong with me, right? I have exactly 5 days and two kids to keep fed, not to mentioned entertained. WHY on Earth would I take on these projects...Don't do it, you're house is going to be a train wreck when everyone gets there. Does anyone else have a similar thought process?

I just don't think I can hold stay tuned for the craziness to come!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tiramisu- YUM!

Tiramisu has long been one of my favorite desserts. I often see new recipes pop up on pinterest but have always heard its hard to make. Last week I pinned this recipe for Jo's Easy Tiramisu and last night I made it. It was pretty awesome, enough that I wanted to share! The following picture and recipe is from (she has a great picture tutorial too) but the part in red is what I did differently.

photo stolen from: Jo Cooks
  • 1 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese Found this in the fancy cheese section by the Deli. Don't taste it alone, I did and gagged a little. I was expecting cream cheese and got something more like a spoonful of butter.
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract I used about 1 and a half but would stick to one if you use the rum.
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 24 lady fingers I've never used these and had to ask where to find them, by the strawberries.
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup brewed coffee Brew Strong Coffee
  • 1/4 cup rum (optional) I left it out because I didn't have any but think it would be better with it
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  1. In a mixer beat the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla extract until light, fluffy and smooth.
  2. Fold the mascarpone cheese into the egg mixture with a spatula. Set aside.
  3. Dip the ladyfingers in coffee and arrange 12 of them in the bottom of an 8×8 inch dish. You don’t have to soak them in the coffee for a long time, just briefly dip them on both sides. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the ladyfingers and repeat with the remaining ladyfingers, then cheese mixture.Seriously, don't soak them just barely wet them. They absorb the coffee real speedy like and it make the end result a little too mushy if you just drop them in.
  4. Now you need to cover this and refrigerate it for about 1 hour then sprinkle the cocoa powder just before serving. It looks beautiful, and people will think you spent hours slaving over this in the kitchen.
It was great and so easy. You can do it and you should!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Valentine Wreath

Last week I posted about my Valentine mantle and mentioned I was planning on making a wreath for the door.  I got to it today! It was very simple and I made it with mostly leftovers and scraps I had in my craft room. I didn't take pictures each step but I tried to document a little.
I had been looking at wreaths on pinterest and was going to try to do another mesh ribbon wreath but I never got around to getting the materials and its been a crazy two weeks with Emma in swim class and the car in the shop. So I opted for a simpler one and it was perfect. Here's my finished product:

It was inspired but this one:
So here's how. What I used (and this was pretty inexpensive:)
Styrofoam wreath form (I had one laying around)
Scrap burlap cut into about 2-3 in strips
Scrap Valentine colored fabric
Red ribbon (thick)
Pink ribbon
Corsage pins (2)
Thin red ribbon
3 pearls or beads for center of flowers (I purchased mine a while back and found stems in the floral dept at Hobby Lobby for dirt cheap that had a bunch of pearls on them I could just pull off)
Scrap Scrapbook paper -red and neutral 
Scrapbook letters
glue gun and glue sticks

First wrap your burlap around the wreath form pulling tight and gluing as you go. 
Then you will make 3 flowers 

Jaihart had a link to Craftaholics Anonymous with a tutorial on how to do this but, I'll try to give you a little tutorial of my own. But be warned, it was hard to take pictures one handed and the pictures that have my hand in them, well I'm no hand model. 
First take your strips of fabric and fold one in half. 
Fold the end over then roll over a couple more times to get started. 

You continue rolling the fabric (this time a little more loosely) and kind of shaping it as you go. I use a dot of glue where needed to hold it together. 

This was supposed to show you the dot of glue. Obviously,  you may have to look close.
If your fabric strip runs out just fold the end under and glue the next strip from the underside until you get the desired flower size.
The end of the fabric strip

The end of the fabric strip view from the bottom

Fold under

Start the next strip from the bottom

When you get the flower as big as you want just cut off any excess fabric leaving yourself enough room to fold the end under just as you did above. 
You may have this little piece on the back that sticks out from rolling it in the beginning. Sometimes I do and sometimes I dont, it depends on how I start the flower.

 All you have to do is cut it off pretty flush so that you can glue it to the weath.

 Then flip the flower over and voila, looks great! You may have burned your finger tips with the hot glue a couple times but you get better at it as you go. Sometimes I make a couple extra if I've got the time and keep them in a drawer in the craft room so I can grab them out for another project. They're really cute on headbands or even gift packages.

Ok so now just glue your bead or pearl to the center and make 2 more for the wreath. 

Once I had the flowers attached (just hot glue them) I started on the the little XO banner. 

I used some left over scrapbook paper and letters to make the little banner. I just cut the paper to fit the letter. Then glues it to the red ribbon. I used red paper to make the heart. I attached the ribbon to the wreath with the corsage pins. I liked the pearl pin heads on them because they went with the little pearls on the flowers.

For the ribbon hanger at the top I just glued the pink ribbon to the red then looped it around the wreath. I flipped it right sides together and stitched the end (while still around the wreath) to hold it together. I made a cut on the backside of the ribbon to hang it from the door. I just have a 3M hook attached to my door for hanging. 
So thats it, the Valentine wreath and rolled fabric flower tutorial.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Valentine Mantle

As soon as I took my Christmas decor down I was already hunting for Valentine Mantle inspiration. Now that I have the vintage window from last years TN trip, I just really like changing it up for the holidays. I've never been a big fan of Valentines Day but Emma is obsessed so I decided to embrace it.
I Saw these two on pinterest but pinterest was kind of disappointing (gasp, I know) in the way of Valentine Mantle inspiration. I mean, my first picture wasn't even a mantle but a shelf.
who else but, The House of Smiths

Better Homes and Gardens

I also saw this really cute, easy and in-expensive garland...
I was going to hang it in the playroom window for the kids. Then I decided to reclaim the playroom for my craft room so I used it on the mantle. Here's what I came up with...
 The cupcake liner wreath was on the door last year. I hope to make a different one this year but haven't decided what kind yet. The L-O-V-E letters I've had forever. Since college, back in the day of 'Live, laugh, Love.' They were silver and I spray painted them red.

 I hung my garland across the front of the mantle and around the topiary pot.

Then added construction paper hearts.I just used needle and thread to string them up.

I think it came out cute. It put me in a festive mood and I didn't have to take all my usual decor down and find a place to store it. 
Post pics of your great Valentine ideas. I have a few more places around the house that I could stand to show a little love!