Friday, August 31, 2012

30 Day Food Challenge Review

The 30 day food challenge is over!! And if you follow on will see that we cheated on the last day and ordered a pizza;) Oh one's perfect and after one tasted amazing;)
I learned a lot through this challenge. It taught me to think before just throwing my hands up in the air at 5pm when the family is hungry and going out. It made me be more responsible and fulfill part of my roll as a mom and wife by providing meals for my family. made me grow up and stop blaming my lack of cooking on "our busy lives" or "the weather" or "the kids".
 In the end we had more family time at the table, less distractions with going out to eat (and getting ready to go out to eat) and we saved money!
Some tips for cooking consistently at home:
1. PLANNING AHEAD: Instead of just going to the store and throwing things in the cart (hello $200+ grocery bill!), look at your local ads and compile your weekly dinners from what's on sale. I feed our family of four on $50-$60 a week.(and yes...the baby counts....he is packing it away lately!). That is without buying pre-packaged dinners or processed foods. The only things I buy in boxes are cereal and pasta.Every now and then I buy biscuits for donuts or a treat, but cookies and crackers are not staples. Buying fresh veggies (or frozen) and making a dish from scratch is cheaper than buying that nasty lasagna in the frozen food section. Yuck!
2. MAKE ONE MEAL: as moms, we can get into a rut of making just what our kids will eat and THEN making our dinner too. No more! This month taught me that my kids eat what we eat. It's either than or an empty tummy. By the end of the month, our 4 year old rarely had an issue with what was put in front of her.
3. WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER: For a few years now, I have streamlined my grocery and cooking days. When I get home from the grocery store, all my produce gets cut up and prepared for snacks or meals. My cereal goes in storage containers and whatever meat won't be used within the next few days will get put in the freezer to ensure it won't spoil.
The second part of this rule is to make more than one meal at once...or prep more than one meal at a time. So, when browning ground beef for enchiladas...brown up some extra for tacos or baked ziti....OR go beyond that and while assembling enchiladas....assemble chili in the crock pot stoneware at the same time and store in fridge until the next day when you place it in the warmer. Heat up the stove top once and get two meals out of it. This is how I made a lot of our meals this month.
4. DON'T BE A LEFTOVERS DIVA: You gotta get over leftovers if you don't like them. They are your best friend! Some dishes are not good for leftovers, but most dishes are just fine when reheated. Get the most out of your money and reuse that meal! I like to use leftover chicken chili as the stuffing for enchiladas and leftover chili in stuffed peppers.
5. FIND WORTH IN COOKING AT HOME: This was the main thing I learned this month. As a stay at home mom...I am guilty of the "does anyone see what I do?" feelings. Especially when I make a meal and my 4 year old tells me it looks gross. You won't get paid for cooking or maybe even told how much everyone appreciates it, but find what makes it worth it for YOU. Maybe it's knowing you are providing a fresh and healthy meal for your family, or that you are saving money for a vacation or to get out of debt. Whatever it is, make it fun! Make a challenge out of it and feel good about yourself for providing that service to the ones you love;)
$175 (in fuel and eating out) and 6 pounds lost!
The money we saved is enough to buy the Disneyland tickets for my husband and I...AND I'm down 6 more pounds before the half marathon!!
Thanks for following along for the last 30 days;)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Making a Creative Space

We have this weird cut out in our home. When we moved in...we weren't quite sure what to do with it. It's where the cable hook ups are for a television...but it's not center in the living room...and we don't have cable anyways.
I had my grandma's dresser in there for a while, then we let my brother borrow it for his new apartment. So, back to square one with "the nook".
At a trip to Ikea, I like the look of the wire and hooks they have to display art...but not the price ($12.99? No thanks.) so I decided to recreate the same idea for cheaper. I picked up one of their $1.99 curtain rods and a pack of curtain hooks for $2.99. My mom bought my daughter this table and chairs from Ikea too for her birthday (can't beat $19.99 for three pieces!) and it all fits perfectly.

There is a lot of crafting and creating in this space and my daughter loves that she gets to display her artwork in the living room for all to see. I love that it's a part of our home decor as well!

A $5 transformation that made my 4 year old and myself happy. Not too bad;) 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Simple Quilted Blanket (using vintage sheets)


Every time we go to California, we devote one day to the beach. There is nothing like laying in front of the ocean, hundreds of miles from the stress of work and house chores.
I found this double size vintage sheet a while back and knew I wanted to make a new beach/picnic blanket out of it.

This was a simple project, and while I don't have a step-by-step tutorial for you, I will explain it. (I constructed it in the same way I made my daughter's baby clothes quilt)
2 double size flat sheets
double size piece of batting (purchased at Joann)
matching thread
STEP 1: Layer one sheet on floor (right side UP) then, the next sheet on top of that (right side DOWN) and then the piece of batting on the back side of your top piece. Trim everything to the same size if needed.
STEP 2: Sew all around all three layers, leaving an opening at the bottom to flip the blanket right side out.
STEP 3: Flip blanket right side out, fold in opening edges and stitch opening closed and also continue to top stitch around the entire blanket.
STEP 4: Using the darning foot (or quilting foot depending on your sewing machine), sew over the top of the blanket with decorative stitching. I loosely stitched around the flowers on my blanket instead of a traditional quilting design.

Now we have a new blanket for our time at the beach and our picnics in the park this fall.
Hope you are having a lovely Monday!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happy Sunday

I've been soaking up the last few weeks of summer here. This summer has gone by much too quickly and even though I love fall...I will miss this season. So many wonderful memories:)
Watermelon has been eaten in pounds this summer. We love it!
Beautiful cloudy August weather:

A curious baby boy who is obsessed with whatever is on the end table:

Grocery shopping:

Fish sitting:

Cookie making (for Disneyland!!!!):

Summer hairstyles:

Finishing our beach quilt:

Trying to figure out the stairs:

Cardigan love:

Pineapple cupcakes to celebrate Friday:

And a vintage Cinderella journal I may have to buy for myself:

Happy Sunday!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

DIY: Stenciled Mickey Shirt Using Bleach

I made my husband a Jack Skellington shirt last time we went to Disneyland so this year I decided to go classic and make him a Mickey shirt.
I have been seeing stenciled shirts using bleach all over blog land and decided to give it a try myself.

spray bottle
freezer paper
STEP 1: Cut out a stencil of what you want your design to be out of freezer paper. Iron the shiny side down onto your surface.

STEP 2: Place cardboard in the middle of your shirt so the bleach doesn't soak into the back.
Mix a solution of 60% bleach and 40% water in a spray bottle (use more bleach depending on the color of your shirt. This shirt was I knew not much bleach would be needed.)
STEP 3: Spray bleach solution evenly over stencil and wherever else on the shirt you want. I sprayed evenly over the front to make it look more even. Depending on the color of you will see the change in a few minutes.
STEP 4: Peel off the freezer paper after a few minutes so that it doesn't get soggy.

STEP 5: Once you are done applying bleach, soak the shirt in water for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then wring out thoroughly and wash in the washing machine to ensure all the bleach is out. I washed it with some of my cleaning towels just so I didn't waste a whole load on one item;)

I think it was quite an upgrade for the $.50 shirt I found at Joann!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say....

This is just a random post about something that really upset me today.
I got online to look up costume ideas for the Disneyland Half Marathon and found a blog of a lady who participated a couple of years ago. I was excited to see the pictures she took along the route and then saw she had this "segment" of her post called "What Were They Thinking?" where she took pictures of people from behind to make fun of their costumes.
I couldn't believe it.
I got sick to my stomach, then mad. Like, I wanted to leave the longest "YOU SUCK!" comment kind of mad. Mature, right?
I really can't believe someone would do that. How terrible would it be if you came across someone's blog and saw that they had taken a picture of you just to mock you?
Maybe in some of your cases, that has happened to you in the blogging world, or real life. If it has, I'm sorry.
This world we live in with all this social media is tricky. People seem to have a lot more confidence to say something hurtful since they don't have to say it to someone's face and they can add a smiley face behind it (because then it wasn't mean, right?)
Let's just remember (myself included because I am not perfect!) that our words and actions can hurt others. Is it really worth saying something if we KNOW it will cause pain? If it's not constructive...KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!
I think that blogger could have learned a lesson from our Disney friend, Thumper:
"If you don't have something nice to say....don't say anything at all."

I'm Doing It!

Um yeah...I'll be here next Sunday. As in, 10 days from now. Kinda scary, exciting, and nausea inducing all at the same time!

Doing a half marathon has always been something I wanted to accomplish and it was one of my resolutions for this year (remember those...from about 8 months ago?)
It actually started a couple of years ago when I was watching an episode of Biggest Loser where one of the finalists participated in the Disneyland marathon and I thought it was just something that they put together for the show. I thought, "There's no way you get to run through the park in real life...but if there was, I would totally do it!"
Well, at the beginning of the year I was bored and decided to Google this idea of a Disneyland half marathon and found out it actually existed! And registration was opening in a week!
And I signed up a week later.
Then I freaked out.
Then I started training.
Now I'm 10 days away!
I am so beyond excited and just hoping to finish strong and have a great experience! I have already met some great people on Facebook that are "ralking" it too (run/walking method) and I got my final corral number this week! Eeek!
And of course you can't go to Anaheim without having a family day at Disneyland, so expect many Disney themed crafts on here soon:)
Oh, and if you have any advice on half marathon happenings....PLEASE share in the comments!

Monday, August 20, 2012

DIY: Love Your State Wall Art

When thinking up new wall art ideas for our master bedroom, I wanted something simple and personal. I've been seeing a lot of state themed art online and we love where we it only seemed natural to incorporate it into our room somehow.

Wanna make your own? It's super simple! Here's how I made mine:

1. Traced the outline of our state off the computer.

2. Traced my template onto some cardstock and traced the edges with a black marker.

3. Cut out a tiny heart where our city is and glued it on. Then I glued it to another piece of cardstock and framed it.


We love our state! Do you?

Friday, August 17, 2012

FREE Printable!

I created this print in Photoshop for our master bedroom and thought it would be fun to share! I printed the cream one for us, but thought I would make some more in my favorite colors:)

Click on the link below the print you would like to download. Each print is an 8x10.
*Also, these are for personal use only, not to be duplicated and profited from.*

Happy Friday!

The Perfect Sugar Cookie: Mickey Mouse Version

I've struggled with making cut out cookies. I haven't seemed to find a recipe I like and then comes the whole bother of rolling on a floured surface and then the cursing that comes about 1 hour into the process.

Yup, makes for some great Christmas memories.

I finally rented the book Cookie Craft.

I was skeptical. But Bakerella said it worked...and well, you listen to anything she says.

So, I tried it.

And it worked.

It totally freakin' worked!

I won't be posting the recipe here since it's copywrited (and you really need to read the whole book anyways, because it's amazing). But I have never made such wonderful sugar cookies that looked great, tasted great, and didn't leave me in tears!

I am loving the Mickey Mouse cookie cutter I recently ordered off Ebay. I made up some plain to decorate later, but I also decorated some with sprinkles before baking and they turned out great too.

Now off to find some more fun cookie cutters since cut out cookies don't scare me anymore!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

DIY: Earrings from Scrapbooking Embellishments

I have started loving stud earrings lately. I found these metal scrapbook embellishments at Joann this week and I thought they would make adorable earrings.

I attached hot glued them onto some earring studs I already had and that was it! Normally hot glue wouldn't hold onto metal, but I think since these flowers are so thin, it seemed to bond well.

 Now I have three new pairs of earrings for about $2.50. Not a bad deal.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Recipe: Chicken and Spinach Calzones

The 30 Day Food Challenge is going well! If you are following on Facebook or can see I haven't given up yet. Thanks for keeping me accountable, guys;)

What I'm finding is after the first week of the got pretty darn easy! I am able to make two and three meals at a time and I love when I don't have to worry about dinner

(you know, when it's about 10 minutes before the hubs is home, I have a four year old that is practicing her sass, and am 8 month old who decided he either needs to pull my laptop off the end table or be held every other minute)

(makes 4)



1/2 cup FROZEN SPINACH (thawed and drained)



1 cup shredded MOZZARELLA CHEESE

STEP1: Grate garlic clove into alfredo sauce (I use a hand grater). Mix in chicken and spinach. You can add more sauce if you just want the consistency to be like chicken salad...not too runny.

STEP 2: Roll out pizza dough onto cookie sheet, pressing evenly and using the whole pan. Cut into four equal pieces.

STEP 3: Divide mixture evenly on one side of each dough piece (with room to fold the other side over)

STEP 4: Sprinkle top of mixture with shredded cheese. Fold over other end of pizza dough and roll the bottom dough up over the top dough, sealing the edges.

STEP 5: Bake per dough package instructions.

These are great to serve right away, or make them ahead of time to reheat for lunch.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Become an Email Subscriber

I wanted to update you all on the new email subscriber link I have on the right side of my blog. I love getting questions and comments, and I finally got around to hacking into my blog template so I can reply directly to you!


Unfortunately, through Blogger, you will not get notified immediately of my responses, but you will if you subscribe via email! Plus you can stay up to date on all the shenanigans that go on that sounds like a win, win, right?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

30 Day Food Challenge

I don't know what I've gotten myself into.

I've given myself the challenge of eating at home for 30 days.


Not sure I can do it, but I know that we will feel better, save money, and have more meals together at our dinner table.

It's not really that we eat out a ton or that we are eating a lot of fast food (but seriously, if I eat at Chipotle one more time...I might puke). I have just gotten lazy about cooking at home while I'm working on a few projects. Some exciting things have been happening with this little blog and it has redirected my focus on being intentional with my time in the kitchen. My lack of energy to cook has made me sad because I really do love it. I love coming up with new recipes and making good, nutritious meals for my family.

In order to not freak out my husband completely (the man loves his Jimmy Johns on the weekends), we will splurge on one weekend meal, but the others will be at home, together.

In order to keep myself accountable, I will be posting one meal photo a day on Twitter and Facebook.

Wanna do it with me? Share your Twitter or Facebook page and we can do it together!

Besides, it can't be all bad to have some extra money for some vintage shopping in the end, right?


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