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Friday, January 27, 2012

Scarves

I have tapped into my creative side since I have been home with little buddy. Thought I would share some of the recent crafts...

I have been knitting for a couple of years. I enjoy it but it has also turned into a little bit of a "side business" if you want to call it that. I don't know that I would label myself as "crafty". I mean I'm not the best at coming up with an original idea, but if I see something I like, I can usually make it happen (and sometimes with a little help from the hubs).


I have all this yarn...


I know...it's almost out of control :)


And now I have all this ribbon (Hobby Lobby was having a half off sale..so I had to stock up). I got the storage idea from here.

Sidenote: that's not the exact link that inspired this storage project but I can't find the original link...so if anybody knows it...message me and I'll update it. Gotta give the brains behind the idea the credit :)


Anyway..here is another angle. All I did was run to Lowe's and pick up some dowel rods ($.75 each). They cut them there for free. I found the basket at Target (under $5). Then just run the rod through the ribbon, put in the holes of the basket...you have yourself some ribbon storage. As easy as that.


Here are a few pics of some of the projects I make with the ribbon and yarn. These are scarves. I make all different colors. I have even made some REALLY CUTE LSU, Auburn and Alabama scarves (sorry...no pics of those at the moment). Because so many people wanted them, I started charging $15 a piece.

Thought about doing an Etsy shop, but my precious and much more wise husband talked me out of it. He knows me too well. I would definitely get in over my head if I had to start taking larger orders.


Here are a few more examples of my knitting. These scarves take a LOT longer to make...but they sure are cool looking. These cost a little more...$45, but they are very unique and they can be made in lots of different colors too.


So that's a quick glimpse of some of the projects that have been keeping me busy recently. I'm not trying to drum up business...just wanted to share some of my newest projects. But...if you saw those pics and you're thinking..."Those are so cute and I have to have one!"...then email me and we can work something out :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Briggs' new trick

Thought I would share a video of Briggs' new tricks. He is so much fun at this age...Enjoy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Healthy Eating

I'm not a big fan of new year resolutions (I mean who keeps those anyway)...but I am an advocate of setting goals and making changes to improve. There is always room for improvement. I know...I know...it's the beginning of a new year and everybody is making changes. It's really just a matter of semantics I guess...but I relate better to setting a goal and then it can be a more long-term change.

So who isn't trying to eat better. I think this is probably one of the biggest struggles for most people...me included. I thought I would share a few tips and healthy snacks that might help kick start your healthy eating.

First and foremost...GET YOURSELF A CUTE CUP!...I promise it makes all the difference. I have two Tervis Tumbler cups (pictured below) so I can always have one clean. They hold 24oz of fluid...I drink at least 2 of these a day and sometimes more....of WATER. When it's a cute cup, it makes you want to drink out of it.

I haven't always been a water drinker. When I started making the change a few years ago...I started by adding those little sugar-free Crystal Light flavor packets to it, then I started just adding a little flavor with a squirt of lemon juice. Finally, I transitioned to making it really cold with a lot of ice. Now, I can drink water at any temperature. I actually can get it down better when it is room temperature or cold from coming out of the frig.

I will say...I drink a coke when I want one, but I try to keep it to a minimum. I found this article and thought it was interesting to inform us all of what is actually in a carbonated beverage. I'm a big fan...most things are fine in moderation...just be informed of what you are putting into your body.


And...read your labels. Most people would say yogurt is healthy. And if you're comparing it to ice cream...it is! But there are also different types of yogurt. Most is very high in sugar content. The new thing now is greek yogurt. I will say...it's an acquired taste, or at least it was for me. It's more the consistency of sour cream and definitely more bland, but I've grown to love it.

As you can see...I'm comparing the Publix brand of Regular Yogurt to Voskos Greek Yogurt. I didn't buy these just for this photo op. I do buy both sometimes. If I'm going to make a smoothie...I need something a little less dense, so I will use the regular yogurt..BUT...for a snack, I usually eat Greek Yogurt. As I said before...I'm not a crazy dieter, but I do try to pay attention to what I'm eating.


Look at the labels...EVERYTHING is higher in the Publix Yogurt (left) verses the Greek Yogurt (right) with the exception of protein content. Big things to look at are...carbs, sugar, sodium, protein. I'm not too big on having to hit a certain number, but as you can see...the Publix brand has almost double in everything especially sugar and carb content.

One good rule to remember...carbs and sugar...BOO, protein is your friend.



For a snack during the day...I "TRY" to pair a protein with a carbohydrate.

So the nuts (which have a little sweet taste b/c they are dusted in chocolate/cocoa) are the protein and the apple is the carb. The apple isn't your typical "carb" like bread or pasta...it's just a good "carb" meaning it's the natural sugar.


Here I have carrots (carb) and on the left is a mini package of hummus (protein) instead of ranch dip (right). Just giving an example of a choice that is easy to make for a healthier option. There are different flavors of hummus but it's packed with protein verses an alternative like veggie dip.


Ok...so hopefully I'm not the only one who struggles through what to eat and making healthy choices. Thought I would share some things I "TRY" to do. I have a lot more to learn in this area, but I do enjoy reading about eating healthy and learning new ways to do it.

Notice my key word...TRY...that means I'm not perfect in this area. I don't always eat healthy and if I want a cookie..I eat a cookie but I don't eat 10....everything in moderation is the rule I try to use. If I know we are going to eat mexican on Friday night, I'll try and eat healthier all week and then I can get that chicken quesadilla. If not, then I get the chicken soft taco and water. It takes a lot of discipline and there are definitely times I'm more disciplined than others...

Got any tips on what you do to make healthy eating choice?..let me hear from ya. I'm always looking for ways to improve in this area.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tasty Tuesday - Shrimp and Corn Chowder

This is a yummy soup for winter time.

Ingredients:
  • 2 sticks of butter (I only use half of ONE stick)
  • seasoning blend (I used about half the bag)
  • 2 cans rotel tomatoes (mild)
  • 2 cans cream corn
  • 2 cans shoepeg corn
  • 1 can water (rotel can)
  • 2-3 potatoes cubed
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp (add last)

Saute seasoning blend in the butter while potatoes are boiling in water (until soft). Drain water from potatoes. Combine all ingredients. Don't drain. Add shrimp last.



Here is a picture of the seasoning blend. It's found in the freezer section. You can cut up peppers and onions yourself if you want...but this will save you some time.


Just wanted to share my trick...I only had one can of cream corn. I did have a can of regular corn though...so I had to improvise. I threw the can of regular corn in the magic bullet with some half and half and a teenie bit of sugar...this is what I came out with.

Can you tell which one I made and which one came from the can? It tasted fine..just saying..you really can't mess this up :)


And here is what it looks like ready to serve.


We usually serve it with Texas Toast, but you can just eat it alone and it's very filling. It also freezes well. So unless you have a lot of mouths to feed...you're gonna need to freeze some :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

CPR Training

I work in healthcare, and even though my hours are kind of sporadic, I do have to be CPR certified. This past week, I had to do some investigating on where would be the best and cheapest route to get recertified. The American Heart Association is the most well known place to get trained. When I called to get information, they explained that my card would be good for two years and accepted anywhere in the world, BUT it would be an all day course (9am-4pm), cost $110 and the first available class was in three weeks.

So...I started searching other options. I found some online options...like you pay a small fee, watch a video online and go to a certified instructor to check off on your skills..that sounded a little shady to me.

I called the Fire Department and GUESS WHAT...they do the course at the fire station, they are an AHA provider (which means I get the same card I would if I went to the source), only charge $5 (the cost of your card) and it takes 1-2 hours...SIGN ME UP!

{Photo Credit: DanOhh Design}

It was the real deal...classroom, stretcher with a practice dummy, air bag...the fireman who did the training did a great job. It was me and one other girl. I was concerned on why the time frame was so different from the official class at AHA. He said they show a lot of videos for the AHA which is why it takes so much longer. I have been CPR certified before so this was just a refresher course for me. He covered all the important stuff including child CPR and choking. Me and the other girl had to practice what we learned for 1 minute each individually and then show our skills for a minute together.


Here I am "fake" practicing. It's no joke when we were doing it for our skills test. CPR is hard stuff and I was seriously sweating when I got done after just a minute. I would encourage anybody to get this training. It's just basic life-saving knowledge. Especially if you have small children.


Sidenote: While I was there...I had to ask.

Why do firemen ALWAYS wash their trucks?

There are 3 parts to this answer:
1. They have to do a morning inspection of their equipment and truck to make sure everything is in working order. So they wash them during the process to make sure they cover the entire truck and it needs to be clean so they can inspect it accurately.
2. It gives them something to do because they often work 48 hours shifts (or longer) and they aren't out fighting fires that whole time
3. Back when fire trucks were first around, they were painted red which was the most expensive color of paint, so they have always kept them clean b/c it's a pride thing...even from the beginning to show they take care of their stuff.

Just thought I would share what I learned during my CPR training...don't say I never taught you nothing :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Play Group

Briggs and I are loving our time at home together. We are a part of two different playgroups. One playgroup is with friends across town and then one is friends in our neighborhood.

I haven't posted any pictures of our neighborhood playgroup because I keep forgetting to take some when we meet. It's been so fun to get together with other moms who live close to us. Sometimes we will call each other and a couple of us will walk the subdivision with our strollers, or we just go visiting when we need to get out of the house. For now...both playgroups try to meet about every other week, so they are keeping us pretty busy...but we love it.

Here are a few pics to show how much fun we have...

There is a pretty broad range of kiddos in this group. The older ones are all toddling around and then there are a few babies who roll around and chew on everything.


Briggs and his little buddy Matthew are rolling on the floor together.

And here is a good shot...pretty typical with all the toys thrown everywhere, moms talking to each other while hanging on to a baby...and then if you look close..in the far right corner, Elijah is cruisin over to check things out.


I couldn't get a picture with everybody lined up on the couch because there is a lot of energy in this group. We had 6 mommies and 6 babies today which was a really great turn out. It's a fun time to just visit and let the kids play. Glad we made this happen and we look forward to getting to spend more time together.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tubes

We have had a very eventful past couple of days. Dr. Lytle had referred us to the ENT for chronic ear infections. Poor little buddy has only had two ear infections but we have been through 5 different antibiotics to resolve them and have had constant fluid since our last visit to the doctor (about a month).

Yesterday was our visit to the ENT...he said what we expected...need tubes. When we went to scheduling, they conveniently had a cancellation AT 6:15 THIS MORNING! I was kind of relieved that we could get it done quickly, but dang that was early.

Well here we are this morning. It was in the 40s outside so we had little buddy all bundled up in his truck jammers and handmade hat from his great gramme.


Here is little buddy with daddy. He got to have his paci all morning (he usually only gets it when he is sleeping) b/c he hadn't eaten until about 5:30 the night before. I know...I know...most of you are saying...WHAT!?!?!?!?!

Apparently BOTH Justin and I misunderstood the nurse who gave us the instructions on when we could feed him last. I felt horrible when I realized he could have eaten up to 12 midnight...oh well...they were rushing us yesterday and I thought when she said nothing after 4:15 didn't sound right. When I questioned her, she repeated herself. Justin and I both heard her, so we were just following doctor's orders even though we thought they sounded strange.

Even though he hadn't eaten since yesterday, he was exceptionally good today. I think he was wondering what in the world we were doing at this place so early in the morning.


After a 1.5 hour wait, we finally got called back to the triage room where they took little buddy's vital signs. He was a trooper.


If you look close you can see the cutest, tiniest little pulse oximeter that I have ever seen in my life (the little thing on his thumb). It is something that measures your oxygen saturation level.


Once we got through triage...TWO HOURS LATER...they finally took little buddy back. Did I mention the child hadn't eaten since 5:30 the day before! I felt so bad for him, but he was a trooper. He got to keep his paci so he was just hanging out.

Then this sweet lady came and got our baby...my anxiety level increased about 10x when they walked away with him. Your mind goes too many places...but we just had to rest in the Lord and trust He would give the doctors and nurses what they needed to get Briggs safely back to us.



And here we are...if you look closely, you can see him holding onto my finger. He was pretty upset when the nurse brought him to us, but I think it was partly the anesthesia, waking up without mommy or daddy, and he was STARVING!...

So once we got some food in him, he was good to go.


I brought him home, we played for a while, I fed him again...got to catch up from yesterday and then he took a FOUR HOUR NAP!


Now he is back to his happy little self...thankfully! And all is well...hopefully this will help with his ears and no more ear infections :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spare Change

If you have talked to me in the last week...then you know I've been CLEANING OUT OUR ENTIRE HOUSE!...I'm trying to give myself two weeks to accomplish this task. I keep getting distracted with new projects during this process. One distraction was...


I rounded up all the loose change in our house...because we had A LOT. I separated it and stacked it up in different increments according to the coin amount..then started rolling. I do know there are machines you can just dump your change in and it counts it for you. Just so YOU know...those machines keep a percentage of your money that you dump in. I was willing take the extra time and effort to save us a little...but you may feel differently.


We ended up with $101.40...pretty good I would say and definitely worth the effort :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tasty Tuesday - Baked Tilapia


I tried a new recipe this week..using up some things in our freezer.

Dip the tilapia in a mixture of olive oil with a little lemon juice. Cover the fish with a can of diced tomatoes (seasoned with basil, oregano and onion, drain mostly...I still left a little juice to help season the fish). Chop up some basil and sprinkle over it, then sprinkle the tilapia with parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake on 400 for 15-20 minutes.

It turned out really yummy...definitely worth a try and it used ingredients I already had (except for the fresh basil).

Monday, January 9, 2012

Painted box display

Anybody have an ideas on why I would have paint, a sponge brush and a plate on my kitchen counter?...you guessed it...time for another project. I guess now that I'm at home more...I'm getting bored with some of the things I see everyday in our house...so I'm just finding a new way to repurpose them.


I had bought these wooden boxes at a craft store a few years ago, painted them brown and hung them over our bathtub with votive candles inside. It's been working for the past 5 years...but I've been wanting to add a little color lately. I debated on painting all the boxes different colors but wasn't completely convinced it would look good, so I waited...

And then the thought came to me...

I pulled them off the wall and used painters tape to help me keep the edges strait. Then I got to painting...just the edges. It honestly didn't take me long at all..maybe around 30 minutes. And since the paint was just on the edges...I just put them back up on the wall to dry. That of course made the hubs happy that he didn't have to move around a mess for days :)




And here is what they look like now...

I left one edge brown...and then rotated the colors on random sides so it didn't look to uniform.


Here is a shot further back.


So there ya go...paint can do a lot to give something you already have a little facelift. Just a sidenote..this project cost me $0 b/c I had all the supplies and used paint I already had...that's my kind of project!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mister Popular

It's finally here...our baby is 7 MONTHS OLD!!!!...big sigh. I still can't believe it. People always say..you blink and they are all grown up...I believe it. We had our 7 month checkup and shots. Since Justin was off work that day...he got to go and experience the trauma.

Here is a picture of my two guys. Briggs loves to chew on ANYTHING these days. In this picture you can see him about to take a bite out of daddy's glasses. Our numbers this visit:

Weight: 20# 2 oz (81.08 %ile)
Height: 27 1/4 (50.17 %ile)
HC: 17 3/4 (81.8 %ile)

Briggs can:
  • sit up all by myself (for 5+ minutes)
  • wave my hand
  • roll all over the place
  • scoot by rocking back and forth (we are doing intervals at night with him to work on scooting forward because his cousin has learned to army crawl..can't have him beating us..haha)
  • put my paci in all by myself
  • eating baby food 3x a day (I eat 4-5 times a day which has made life for mommy so much easier)
  • loves to stand (actually prefers it to sitting or laying down)
  • LOVES to smile
  • has the sweetest little chuckle and babbles with all kinds of noises and squeals
  • has learned to poke out his bottom lip when mommy or daddy leave him at church or school
  • loves people and smiles at anybody who will look his way
  • reaches for mommy and daddy (it often turns into a game to reach between the two of us)

I'm sure you can guess...this picture is before the shots. I included a few other pictures of Briggs with all different kinds of people. He sure is turning into Mister Popular these days.


Briggs with Doctor Lytle (pediatrician)


Briggs with Ms. Jane (the Physical Therapist. Dr. Lytle discovered Briggs' neck was a little tight on one side so we went to see Ms. Jane a few times to get some neck stretches).


We went back to visit Doctor Swindle (the doctor who delivered Briggs)...he thought she was funny :)



And we are sad to say...Briggs was promoted to a new class after the Christmas holidays. I'm sure we will love his new teachers but we miss Ms. Donna and Ms. Amy. So here are our new teachers.

Ms. Wendy...


Ms. Melinda...


As you can see...Briggs gets his nickname honest...Mr. Smiley. Love this little boy. He is such a joy in our life and has touched many others' lives as well. Can't wait to see how the Lord uses Him in this world.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Antique Glaze

I worked on a picture project a while back...got some frames and painted a few...then got some family pictures up around our house. I have recently been working on learning to put an antique glaze on some things around our house. I decided to touch up the frames I painted earlier...and here is how it turned out.

First you have to start with the right kind of tools. I got this bottle of Valspar Antiquing Glaze and a "dragging" brush from Lowe's. The brush has rough edges which makes a difference with your technique.


I poured a very small amount of glaze on a paper plate...probably the size of a quarter. I lightly dip my DRY paint brush in the glaze and blot my brush on the plate to get off any excess...then I blot the brush on the sheet I had my frames on (it's a really old sheet I use to do all my crafts on..and has paint all over it). Then I use long strokes and brush over whatever object I'm glazing.

Note: You are going to feel like you don't even have any paint on your brush once you blot it...but that's the point...you will slowly start to see the glaze appear on your project as you continue this process.

One thing I learned with this project...less is more. It's better to have barely any glaze on your brush and have to go back for more. If you start out too heavy it makes things look cheap. When I first started learning this technique I had to repaint a few things and start over with glazing because I put it on too thick.




This is what the frames looked like before the glaze.


And after...it's very subtle but makes it look a little more aged and not so bold.


Here is what the green one looks like...


And here they are from a distance. It's hard to see...which is why I took close up pics. The whole goal is to keep it subtle and light. You are just bringing a little definition to your project.


As I mentioned before...I did this antique glaze to multiple things in my house...more posts to come when I finish those projects.