December 19, 2011

If ya like it than ya shoulda put a PIN on it

Clever huh?

Have you seen the pin that said something about wishing there was a big red button to press that says "I actually did this" when you actually complete a pin that you pinned? (how's that for a opening sentence??) Ha!
I totally agree. There at least should be some kind of way to check things off without erasing them from your boards. I can't help it.. I'm a helpless list maker and the whole point of lists is to cross things off.

Good thing I'm a blogger. I can broadcast to whoever cares (let me believe you are all dying to know this, mkay?) that I do complete the things I pin. Or have intentions to. Okay.. really I'm just showing off. Humor me.

* None of the pictures below are my own. Had I known I was going to be showing off, I would have snapped pictures. In the future.. get ready for it. Correction. One will be my own. Oh, you'll know it.*

Parmesan Roasted Potatoes by These were just okay. Nothing special and I probably wouldn't take the time to make them again. It was probably umm.. me.. though.
 IHOP pancake recipe by These are delicious. I was serious when I got onto FB afterwards to declare that I'd never buy a box of Bisquick again. Yum and Easy Peasy.
Crock pot Orange Chicken by No. We did not like this at all. But I think it's just that we don't like Orange Chicken and I thought we did. I feel like it's a good recipe if you like that dish!

Crescent Breakfast Ring by Really good. Especially the first time I made it (Thanksgiving morning). The other two times have been a little off, but I have no clue why. Just hasn't been quite as good as that first time. Definitely worth it to make on your own!  - Mine for sure didn't look like that!

Delicious Apple Crisp by . Ohhhh yeahhhh!! Fabulous. Make it. The end.

Pioneer Woman's Mashed Potatoes. If you're looking for a low-fat side, don't even bother clicking. It sounds too good - and is even better than it sounds - so don't tempt yourself. We eat mashed potatoes so few times a year that it doesn't matter. Amazing! Creamy. Buttery potato goodness.

Chili's Skillet Queso by Tastes just like Chili's!
Chicken in a Blanket by We really liked this one! Good to eat during football. I'll definitely make it again.
Crock Pot Honey Chicken by So very good. It's a new favorite of ours! Need to make this again real soon!

Mexican Stuffed Shells by Another new favorite. Perfect substitution for a boring ol' Taco Night.

Ohhh my that took a long time! Clearly, my husband is thankful for Pinterest! Speaking of that man..

I've also started this idea taken from 101 sweet things to do for your husband. I'm not very good at expressing my feelings towards him and find myself all too often getting caught up in the business of life. I want to show him how much I appreciate him through simple acts of kindness. I've only done the first two.. I umm.. forgot. See. Life is busy. But I'll jump back on tomorrow!

I did this just this weekend with the plates of cookies I made for neighbors! Same ribbon I'm noticing now, in fact.
This is a good little workout. Kept me sore for days. Obviously, I need to do it more often!

Ohh my gosh.. just figured out I could embed the pic instead of saving the picture, copying and pasting all the sources.. blah blah blah. That could have saved me an hour. Anywho.. I did that ice cube thing above and Andrew loved it! Freeze the cubes with a bit of food coloring in it. Pop one in the tub with your kiddo and watch the crazy fun take place.

Fun with Scarves. So many neat ways to wear them.

The perfect website to help with any beginning "photographers" out there. Seriously, if I can even begin to understand about aperture and shutter speeds.. you can too!

Speaking of photographs. Look at this picture that I took.. in the dark.. of our Christmas Tree.. all because Pinterest taught me how.

Source: Me.
 And this one when I was just playing outside with my camera last night. Around 10pm. I know.. crazy life I lead :)

For the only lighting being that dear in the corner, I have to be pretty proud of myself on that one. That's taken in manual.. and it was definitely better than the one taken in auto. My little point and click was never  capable of taking pictures in the dark! So thank you Canon.. and thank you Pinterest for teaching me about photography!

And just because this has made me laugh more times than I'd care to admit.. I'll end on this note..

Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

December 16, 2011

Thoughts from the shower

I do my best thinking from the shower. I can't be the only one. I really think it's the only time of day that I am truly alone. All day. No toddler pulling me in one direction in the other. I don't hear kiddy sing along music or the sound of "ca's" driving around the house. No husband to interrupt my thoughts with a random conversation about work, football, or brilliant ideas that only he could think up. No phone ringing or beeping with text messages. Nothing. Just me, steam, and silence.

Most shower sessions are very random. For instance...

1) Why does it seem, that even though most everyone we all know are adults, that a lot of the times we can't talk to each other like adults. I find that often, when people are mad at each other/thinks someone's upset with them/ has their feelings hurt, that it's based off of assumptions. We assume tone through text or email and don't clarify. We hear something that someone said and let it fester forever. Someone unknowingly does something to hurt our feelings and we never clear the air. I think, as a general rule, most of us hate confrontation, even if it's done in a kind, gentle manner. We don't pick up the phone and ask our friend or family member what they meant by that text and make sure we weren't reading into it. We stick a tone into it and let ourselves get all worked up.. possibly over nothing. When rumors are started and we hear that so and so said this or that about you (or anything like that) we play into it instead of talking to said person and finding out what's really going on. When our feelings are hurt, we don't sit down with the person who did whatever it may be and let them know how it made you feel.
I'm not talking about myself at the moment or any certain situation (I don't want my friends reading this and racking their minds over whether or not they did something to hurt me.. ha!) I try to put my fear of confrontation to the side and talk things out with people. If our relationship is important enough to me, you'll know if something is wrong. I've just seen this happening a few times lately and it makes me sad. Important relationships that you may really benefit from aren't even given a chance because of assumptions.
If you feel like I'm talking to you right now, and again, I'm not speaking to anyone in particular, maybe you should think about this and work on fixing a relationship over the holiday. Tis the season, right? Yes, I do feel like every bit of a Hallmark commercial, but just go with me here. I felt the need to share, maybe someone needed to hear it!

2) Trey took on a temporary position (that he someday in the near future will actually hold) this month and let me tell you.. I almost forget what he looks like! He's working very long days and we hardly see him. I've been sick with strep and exhausted, but not really complaining (to him at least.. my poor girlfriends!), but the other night he came home and let me know just how badly he felt about it all. He was actually apologizing. It was a particular night that he wasn't home until after 8 and had been gone since 6:30. I let him know that, although it's been a little difficult and tiring, he had no reason to be feeling badly or apologizing. I know that if he could choose, he'd be right here with us. First of all, he's getting great experience and is actually enjoying himself. Secondly, I don't have to worry about whether or not he's hurt or alive at the moment. Too many of my friends' husbands are deployed and 4 guys from their unit have been killed in action over the past two weeks. Enough said. He's home. He's safe. You won't see me complaining.. too much.

3) I don't have any Christmas presents wrapped and it's the last thing I feel like doing. It's all big chunky toys. I don't know how to wrap things like that.

4) I thought I was dying last week. At the very least, I couldn't explain why I was so tired. I couldn't make it through the day without either napping when Drew did or crashing as soon as he went to bed. Turns out I had strep throat. A day and 1/2 on my antibiotics and I feel like a new woman! Such a relief!

That's all. My thoughts aren't always as involved. Sometimes they are ridiculous and wouldn't be deserving of a blog post. Like the last two points. But some need a way to get out!

December 13, 2011


December always seems to fly by faster than any other month doesn't it? Happily chaotic seems to be the right description of my life in December. Especially since we moved away. It's a month chock-full of giddiness, mushiness, and love. Lights and decorations everywhere. Cookie baking. Shopping. Gift exchanging. Cookie eating. Picture taking. Packing. Flying. Xanax. (What? It's nerve-wrecking flying with a toddler. Especially by yourself.) Visiting. Flying some more.

Chaotic, but I love it all. Well, most of it. I could really skip the whole flying part, but it's a necessary factor unfortunately. An unpleasant means to get to the desired end.

Trey and I are leaving soon since he has block leave. We'll be flying together to Alabama.(He hasn't been home since he joined the Army.. he's a little stoked).  After some time there he will fly home and I'll be driving to SC. He had a few more days of leave, but I didn't want to rush my time with my family. He wanted to get back early anyways, so our plan worked out.

I'm so excited to have that extra time to spend with them.. I haven't seen them since March.. but I have to admit to having mixed feelings about it.

Let's just say that after having 9 New Years together, the next two we'll be apart. This year is by our choice. Next year, not so much. I feel terrible for choosing to spend that time away from him when next year we won't have that option. Will I regret that? Not that I can do anything to change the situation now.. changing tickets is expensive. And I'm so much looking forward to spending time with my family, that I don't know that I would even if it were free. Which makes me feel even more terrible.

I know that I'll have a great time. I know that I want Andrew to get that time with his grandparents. It will all be fine and I'll be flying back here to the EP before we know it. I'm sure I'll have a bad moment or two on NYE where I'll be missing him to pieces and feeling bad that we're not together.
But I'll enjoy my family 100% while I'm able to be under the same roof as them. Then I'll come home and make the most out of the next year with my best friend. And hopefully my parents will visit us in 2012 :) *hint hint*

Waaaaa - my heart's a little torn!

December 7, 2011

Leotard Optional

No, this isn't an x-rated ballet class. That's the color of my nails. Booyah!

I hardly ever spend money on things that aren't a necessity. We're a one income family with a baby. I have to be a bit frugal, ya know? And I have a really hard time putting my wants.. or needs even.. above my boys'. Especially when one of those boys is a little debit card happy -ahem-

Enter in the control freak, budget-lover's dream. We started Dave Ramsey's envelope system a few weeks ago. I know almost everyone knows about this, but just in case you haven't, you need to know a bit about it. Look into a little further, but basically, you set your budget. Figure out what you pay for necessary bills and keep that in your account every check. Set an amount for other things, (groceries, gas, entertainment, etc.), make an envelope for each category, pull out the cash each payday and stuff your envelopes. Once it's gone, it's gone.

Heaven. For me, seeing the money makes it harder to spend. It's tangible. I can see it slipping away or adding up. It holds me accountable. We have envelopes for anything you could think of.. I think. We have quite a few. One of them just has my name it. I get a certain amount and spend it on whatever the heck I want. So yeah.. I basically have an allowance. At 28 years old. It's cool though.

So yesterday... I almost didn't allow myself that OPI nail polish at Sephora. I've never even walked in that place. In my defense, I had no clue what I was missing. $9.50 on a bottle of nail polish? Are you kidding me? My brain screamed at me, telling me how unacceptable and irresponsible that is. But y'all.. they had samples out. And it looked so so pretty on my fingernail. And it was called Leotard Optional. Cute, right?
My friend, JG, has an OPI obsession (come on.. you know it's true. She has so many that she's having a giveaway on her blog that ends Sunday I think. Go enter and tell her I sent you.)
Where was I.. oh yes.. JG.. she entered into my mind a lot. I kept thinking about how happy her OPI makes her and how fabulous her nails always look. I thought about my little envelope with my name on it. I don't have to justify whatever I buy to anyone. It's my envelope. And here I am justifying it to y'all.. but really.. we're just telling stories, right?
So not only did I get Leotard Optional..
I also got Chestnuts About You. Two. Yup! I did it. How could I resist Chestnuts About You? It's sparkles.
 I had no buyers remorse and now my nails look fantastic. I may even stop biting them again.

A little nail polish.. specifically OPI.. can do wonders for your soul. Trust me on this one!

As a side note, I know the whole kids' book swap thing has been going around, but if you haven't had the opportunity to sign up and want to.. please let me know! I've done my whole part and have started to even get books in for Andrew, but two of my girls aren't able to do it anymore so I need replacements. Let me know if you're up for it and only if you are serious about it. It's not fair to others if you don't follow through. You only mail out 1 book and get 6 other people to sign up, and you have potential to get 36 books in return. Easy Peasy! I need 2 people.

December 6, 2011

True Meaning of Christmas (the next Charlie Brown special)

I've had these jumbled up thoughts in my head for almost a week now and have been trying to get to the computer to sort them out (I've tried talking about it multiple times, but my mouth, unfortunately, doesn't have a backspace button), but I've been busier than normal. In a good way. I've allowed myself a little more freedom in my social life area and it's done my soul a ton of good. Most importantly, I helped friends get ready for Nancy's sweet baby shower that was held on Sunday. Nancy and I discovered we had locked up talent that was dying to be let out.

Not perfect, but keep in mind that this was the first time either of us had ever even touched fondant.
 And Ashley convinced me that I need a Cricut when we worked on this together.

I seriously want one so very badly. Good thing my birthday is in March because my Christmas present was used up with a camera. Which I love.
 Speaking of Christmas.. let's get down to the point.

Growing up, Santa was EXTREMELY good to us. The presents always extended far out, half way across the living room. It was SO MUCH fun. I'll always have warm, fond memories of waking up on Christmas morning and seeing the room dimly lit by the tree and other decorations, and feeling the magic of Santa Clause even as an adult. Having younger brothers helped too. I'll always remember both of their excitement.. coming to frantically wake me up so I could see what Santa brought. We'd all sit down in the living room, my mom with her coffee, camera, and a huge grin on her face. My dad with his OJ, trash bag, and sweat pants telling us all to "relax". Ha! He loved it all just as much.. I think we were all just a little too hyper for him.. and I'm not sure why the sweat pants stick out so much.. but they really do. We'd open a present one by one, each taking turns and would stop half way through to refill drinks and maybe get a little something to much on. This was like a two hour affair.. at least. I loved it. I have such great memories of Christmas with my family.

Which makes my conflicting ideals that much more difficult. I'm struck with my strong dislike of the commercial side of the holiday this year more than any others. The constant countdown reminders of how many days you have left to shop. How Black Friday might as well have started on Thanksgiving itself. I'm seeing people break the bank.. literally.. trying to get gifts for everyone they feel obligated to buy for.

We're choosing not to do that this year and it's a great feeling. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to give. It's one of the best feelings. But it becomes such a hassle around Christmas. I hate that gift giving is EXPECTED.  I hope this isn't coming out wrong. I want to give.. within our means. And that's what we're doing this year. My side of the family usually gets a gift for everyone.. this year we're doing a $25 limit Chinese gift exchange. It's going to be a blast and we'll be able to just be. Together.

In our immediate family.. Trey, Drew and I.. I want to focus on the real meaning of Christmas in the years to come. I want to talk to our kids about Jesus' birth. To show them what it's really all about. To teach the importance of giving.. ironically. But giving to those that have less. We'll still have all of the fun decorations and Santa will be a part, but I don't know that we'll have presents filling up the living room on Christmas morning.

I saw this on Pinterest the other day.. which is what sparked all of this.

A big part of me wants to stick with this. The item they want and read can be from Santa. The other two can be from us. If we do this, we can take whatever money left of what we budget and sponsor a child that may not receive anything.
We, as a family, may not have excess.. we may not have the best of things.. we definitely don't keep up with The Joneses in other words.. but we have plenty. We have everything we need. We are warm, clothed (even if I do have to do laundry twice a week), and always have food on the table. Andrew is in no shortage of books or toys. We take all of this for granted and I want to teach him that others may not have ANY of this, and we can be in a position to help.. if we don't spend all of our money of gifts for him that he may WANT but not NEED.

I can't help but go back to my fond memories growing up though, and feel like he'd be missing out on that. It's a smaller part of me that thinks like this, but it's obviously enough to cause some conflict. When he's older.. but still young.. how would I deal with the whole, "but Johnny gets a ton of gifts from Santa.. am I not being a good enough boy?" type of thing.

I'm probably thinking way too much into this, but that's what I do. I have no idea how I'd answer that.

Anyways, that's where we are and we'll sort it all out. In the meantime, we are very much enjoying our lower-key Christmas this year. It's going to get busy soon with traveling and chaos, but right now, it's calm, beautiful, and peaceful. And Andrew almost has putting coins in the Salvation Army bucket down pat.