Thursday, August 23, 2012

M .I .A .

M.I.A. - Missing In Action.  That pretty much sums up my past few weeks and why I haven't been very active on my blog.  I know you all understand how the days of August start to fill up with lots of to-dos with the anticipation of the busy days of September drawing near.  

Ever since August 1st I have been making more "to-do" lists than usual, getting back on track with my health and fitness goals {yea!}, and trying to squeeze in as much summer fun as possible.  

Here are some pictures of what we've been up to the past few weeks.

Digging up the shore in search of buried treasure!

Watching movies on a rainy day with friends.

Cleaning out our office and adding some much needed shelves!

 Catching some waves

Read, reading, reading!

Learning to swim and losing some teeth {not at the same time!}

  I think I will be a bit sad when school starts this year - it's been a wonderful summer! I feel so blessed that I was able to spend every day with our boys this summer.  We had lots of fun together and I know the memories we made are not going to just be remembered by me...the boys will remember these days too.  

So if you don't see much of me on here for the rest of the month please know I am off having fun with my boys, curled up on the couch reading, or catching up with a friend.  

I hope you too are saving some time for fun and I've figured out this summer the to-do lists will always wait for you but the days of summer will be gone before you know it!

How was your summer?  Are you ready for it to be over or are you savoring each day?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Blog Love

I've been given a blog award!  I've received the award "Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award", which is to encourage the spirit of sisterhood.  Erin from Chronic Christian Crafter nominated me for this award.  How sweet is she to think of my little blog?!  Take a minute and stop by her blog!

Here are the rules:
1.  Thank the giver.
2.  Post 7 things about yourself.
3.  Pass the award onto 7 other deserving bloggers and inform them that they have been nominated.
4.  Include the logo of the award in a post or on your blog.

7 Things About Me:

1. I have my mom's hands.  People have always said I look like my mom {and I do}, but it's my hands that I often look at and see the hands of my mom.  I love that my mom and I share so much in common.

2.  My favorite color is red. I love to wear it and decorate with it - just love the rosy cheerfulness of this color!

3.  Some day I'm going to own a beach house.  Not sure when or exactly how, but I'm going to have a lovely little beach house where The Mr and I spend our days with our toes in the sand.

4.  I wish I could have my own chickens and chicken house in my backyard.  I would love to have fresh eggs to eat each day -YUM!

5.  Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year.  Love the magic of the night, the traditions shared, and the hope of what the next day brings.

6.  I'm a morning person.  A wake up singing with a huge burst of energy morning person!  

7.  Peanut butter is one of my favorite things to eat.  I have some almost every day {I have to measure it out because I've been known to get carried away with a spoon and a jar!}.

Now the fun part...I get to pass on the award! ...and the winners are {drum roll, please!}:

Lovely Little Things
Keeping It Simple
Confessions of a Redheaded Mama
Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons
Jenni From the Blog
Sumo's Sweet Stuff
The Nest Effect

Congrats ladies!!
I enjoy each of these blogs and know you will too!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Good Deed Monday #7

Last week's good deed was to host a swap party.  Now unless you are a super speedy person I doubt many of you were actually able to host your own swap party in a week.  But maybe it got you thinking about hosting one of your own.

I had an accessories swap party last Thursday.  It was a lot of fun and very easy to do.

I invited a bunch of friends about 2 weeks prior and asked them to go through their drawers and closets and bring any good but no longer needed/used accessories to swap.  I chose accessories because one size fits all.

I set up my small craft room off of the family room to feel a bit like a store.  I used trays and mirrors for the jewlery table.  I used my coat rack and a card table for bags and purses.  My two tier basket was used to hold scarves and a large wicker picnic trunk was used to hold wallets, belts, and "shopping bags" {gift bags}.

I made some yummy treats for my friends and I to enjoy while "swap shopping".  Most of my treats were inspired from things I have pinned from Pinterest.

Cannoli Dip from Big Red Kitchen

I used red pepper hummus and roasted onion dip in my veggie cups

I also served a signature drink so I wouldn't be opening wine bottles all night.  I made a Gin Bucket - it was refreshing and tasted nothing like gin {perfect drink for a girls night out!}!   Everyone loved it and it was fun to serve something new.

I set up the "swap store" as my friends arrived.  They enjoyed the food and drink while the "store" was closed.  Once everything was set up the "store" was open and the shopping began!  Everyone just helped themselves to items they liked.  It was the best guilt free shopping!

Everyone went home with some new treasures and the few items that were left over are being donated to a local charity.

There are lots of types of swap parties you can host:
Book Swap {adult, children, cookbook}
Clothes Swap {adult or children}
Halloween Costume Swap
Toy Swap
Recipe Swap
Coupon Swap
Food Swap
Seed Swap

The internet is a good starting point when looking for ideas and methods for swap parties.
I just might have to have another swap party...maybe a food swap!

Let me know if you are planning a swap party and what you are swapping!

This week's Good Deed Monday #7 is:
Drop off hand written/drawn thank you notes and doughnuts {or baked goods} at the police station.

Hope you have a great week!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Good Deed Monday #6

Wow, this week has gone by FAST!  I'm a bit late posting this week's Good Deed - sorry!
I have a feeling that my posting schedule will be changing a bit as the start of school approaches - I love Good Deed Monday posts and I will do my best to make sure there is a good deed each week.

Last week's Good Deed was:
Keep your town clean!  Bring a plastic bag with you the next time you are out out running errands, taking a walk, playing at the park and pick up any trash you see laying around.

My boys were especially interested in helping out with this deed.  They loved gathering up some grocery bags and disposable gloves for this very exciting clean-up mission.

We headed over to a local park that is near a walking/bike path and picnic table area.  Unfortunately, we were not disappointed and found LOTS of trash to pick-up.

It didn't take long to clean up the area and it has sparked a new awareness of litter - for both myself and the boys.  You know how you don't really notice something until it's brought to your attention?  Well, that exactly what has happened.  While driving, I now hear from the backseat, "look, there's some litter!!".  I don't think I will be able to go for a run without bringing a bag with me.  It's hard to ignore something once you are more aware.

A little factoid:
If every person picked up just one piece of litter today, there would be over 300 million fewer pieces of litter. If every person picked up 10 pieces of litter, there would be 3 billion fewer pieces damaging our environment.

This week's Good Deed is:
Host a Swap Party! 
This week I will be hosting an accessories swap party.  It's a fun night out with the girls where each guest brings {in our case, accessories} gently used and no longer needed items to be swapped.  Anything that is left over is then donated to a local charity.  Sounds like fun, right?!

Now, I realize this takes a bit of planning and one should provide 2-3 weeks notice so friends can clean out drawers and closets.  Maybe you can start planning your own swap party this week!  

Check back next Monday to check out my party!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Post Workout Meal

Lately, I've been getting my workouts done very early in the morning.  
5:30 AM EARLY.  

For some reason the summer months wreak havoc on my workout schedule and more workouts are missed than completed.  

I decided a few weeks ago to go back to my early morning schedule and I'm still trying to adjust to the early start to my day.  I'm really dragging by the afternoon on the days I'm up before 5 AM!  

I love how my workout is done before I've even started my day so nothing can sidetrack my efforts but I really don't like the sluggish feeling I've been having in the afternoons.

I've found that the more water I drink pre and post workout the less fatigued I feel. Especially during these hot summer days!  I also have a yummy power meal that I like to make for either breakfast or lunch that always gives me lots of energy and is packed with filling protein and potassium. 

Post Workout Meal
1 Banana {sliced}
1 cup Fat Free Greek Yogurt {plain or vanilla - I really like Trader Joe's Greek Yogurt}
1 Tbsp Peanut Butter 
2 tsp Honey {if using plain yogurt to add a touch of sweetness}

Add everything together in a bowl.

Mix together.  Enjoy!

You can also make this the night before if you need to be able to grab it and go.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Good Deed Monday #5

This past week's good deed was to donate blood {Good Deed Monday #4}!
How did everyone do?

I just saw on the news that the Red Cross is reporting that the blood supply has dropped to a critically low level.  If you weren't able to donate last week I encourage you to donate this week.

I donated on Saturday with my friend Danielle and The Mr.
Everything went great and all in all it was a very positive experience!

We were all a bit skeptical that I would be allowed to donate and/or if I would faint afterwards. Why all the concern?  Let me give you a little back story...

I'm a fainter.
I am one of those people that normally has a very low blood pressure and have been known to faint every so often.  The Dr tells me to actually increase my salt intake!

I didn't really think much about this when planning on donating blood this week until The Mr and I had a conversation mid-week.  After expressing his concern and doubts if I would even be allowed to donate I went where everyone goes when posed a question...Google!  Afterwards I can't say I felt any better.  There was reason to be concerned but I was determined to complete this good deed!

I planned and "trained" for the upcoming blood donation like a true athlete!  Well, not like an actual athlete, but I ate and drank like it was my full time job!  Salty food, Gatorade, and steak were my keys to success!  I also made arrangements for the boys so The Mr could accompany me just in case I had any problems.

My "training" paid off!  Not only were my iron and blood pressure levels good {my highest blood pressure reading in years!} but I felt great before, during and afterwards!

The Mr decided to donate as well - who says we never do things together anymore!

Danielle, unfortunately was not able to donate this time.  Her iron levels were just a tad bit too low.  But her company made the experience much more enjoyable!  The time flew by while we laughed and talked!

I'm really glad I donated blood. Now I'm not afraid to donate and will very likely do it again.  For most people it's a very simple thing to do and it really does make a difference in someone else's life.

I saw this last week before I donated blood and it made me giggle!

This week's Good Deed is:
Keep your town clean!  Bring a plastic bag with you the next time you are out out running errands, taking a walk, playing at the park and pick up any trash you see laying around.

As usual we will check back here next Monday to share how our good deed experience went - 
make it a good week with a good deed!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Birthday Cake Batter Popcorn!!!

I made something today and I just have to warn you that it is delicious, super sweet, very easy to make and addictive! 
Read on if you dare, but you have been warned!

I made Birthday Cake Batter Popcorn.  I found it on Pinterest the other day and have been thinking about it ever since!  Cake batter ice cream is very popular with my boys this summer and there was no doubt in my mind that they would love the popcorn version of their ice cream.

The original recipe seems to be from Mrs. Schwartz's Kitchen

I've seen it a few other places, but the recipes all stay true to Mrs. Schwartz's original creation.

Here is what you need:
Popped pop corn {I used 1 bag Newman's Own Natural Microwave Popcorn}
White chocolate, melted {I used 4 oz Ghirardelli White Chocolate Baking Bar}
1 cup cake batter mix {I used yellow cake batter}
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
assorted sprinkles

Pop the popcorn {if you are popping your own just make sure you add salt}

Spread popcorn onto a large cookie sheet with a lip.

Pick out any un-popped kernels - I realized this after the first time I made the popcorn when I bit into a kernel!

Melt the chocolate in the microwave.  You don't want to scorch the chocolate so put it in the microwave for 30 second intervals stirring between each 30 seconds until it is fully melted.

Add the vegetable shortening and stir until it is melted.  I found using a whisk helped make it nice and smooth. I put it back in the microwave for about 10 sec to completely melt it and help the chocolate mixture stay warm. 

Slowly add the cake mix. I added a little bit at a time stirring until blended and then adding more until the full cup is added.  The mixture will have thickened but should still be pourable.

Pour chocolate mixture onto the popcorn.  

Add some sprinkles.

Mix with your hands and coat as evenly as you can.

Add some more sprinkles!

Let it cool and harden and then ENJOY!

Some reviews in my house were as follows:
Me:  Wow! Very sweet, but yummy!

My boys:  Can we have some more?!

My husband:  ummm, kind of chewy. no popcorn crunch.

My girlfriend:  Get this away from me. I can't stop eating it!

My girlfriend's husband:  Chewy. Really sweet. Would be better on pretzels. 
{may just try the pretzel idea!}

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Good Deed Monday #4

Today marks 1 month of Good Deeds!  I hope you've been able to participate in some of the good deeds over the past few weeks.  I think we are making a difference each week and I love it!!!

Do you have some ideas of things we could do?
Suggestions are welcome!

This past week the good deed was to write a letter to someone you know and mail it {Good Deed Monday #3}.

I have to admit I am not a letter writer - I get writer's block when I have to write thank you notes!  For this reason, instead of pulling out the tons of stationary and note cards I've acquired over the years, I headed to Hallmark.  Yes, I needed cards!

I found a nice assortment with varying "thinking of you" sentiments.  While there {without children!} I became inspired to write to not just one person but several.  I walked out of the store 30 minutes later with a small stack of cards and went straight to the post office to get some cool stamps.  I figured since I rarely mail anything anymore I should do this with some pizazz!  I picked out some pretty cool stamps that are all about different ways to be more green.

Back at home {still without children!} I began my writing spree!  I wrote to a couple of friends, 2 of my nieces, and my dad. I think the last time I mailed something to my dad, with the exception of birthdays and father's day was back in college! I think he will like getting something in the mail that isn't a bill!

I can't wait for my friends and family to receive their cards in the mail.  I imagine them getting their mail and flipping through and stopping when they see a hand written envelope.  Some might think it's a thank you note or possibly an invitation.  When they flip it over and see the return address stamped on the back I hope they will smile.  As they open and see the card picked out by me just for them with a message about how important they are to me, they will be holding in their hand a gesture of my love and appreciation.  Instead of reading how I think of them often and that I am thankful they are a part of my world on a glowing screen, they will be seeing it in my handwriting.

Who did you write to? You can share below in the comments.

Good Deed Monday #5
Donate blood at your local blood donation center or blood drives.  

This is a personal challenge for me - I don't like needles and have never donated blood.  I  know how important donating is and have even helped organize and run blood drives - just never had the courage to donate myself.  If you are like me, I hope you will accept this challenge and donate this week. 

Any friends in my area who want to go with me on Saturday morning let me know - I would love the company and support!

Here are some links to get you started in finding where you can donate near you: {Colorado area} {New York/New Jersey area} {Texas area} {Virginia area}

If you live near a military base consider donating blood for the men and women who serve our country

Hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kids Painting Pool Party!

I have a special treat today!  My friend, Danielle, has done a guest post for me and I am so happy to share her with you!  She was my son's class mom last year and I was blown away by her creativity!  When she shared that she has always wanted to start a blog but never got around to it I just had share my blog with her!  
I asked her a few questions so we could get to know her a bit better.

1.) Tell us a few things about yourself:  
"I am a stay at home mom of 2 girls, the older is nearly 4 and the younger is 2 ½.  My life is mostly consumed by those two, but I’ve also got 1 older boy to take care of - my husband of 6 years!  When I am not busy taking care of my family, I like to bake, spend quality time with my Nook, watch guilty pleasure television shows, and craft whatever newest project I find on Pinterest."

2.) What are 3 things you couldn't leave the house without (not including, keys, wallet, and kids!)?
"I never leave the house without my “no-more diapers, but still jam-packed” bag.  In it you’ll find water, snacks, sunblock, Purell, crayons and, most importantly, my camera.  I am a crazy mom-erazzi and I’m not ashamed of it."

3.) My favorite day is Sunday - what's your favorite day?
"My favorite day of the week is Pancake Saturday.  Saturdays are the only day we all get to sleep in so we’ve made a habit of letting the kids climb in our bed for some early morning cuddle time, then we all head downstairs to make pancakes together.  My kids love to help mix the batter and flip the pancakes but the fact that their dad loads their pancakes with butter and syrup really has them sold." 

Okay, this is where I turn things over to Danielle - Enjoy!
Hi there, readers.  I am Danielle, your guest poster for the day.   I found this outdoor painting idea through Pinterest ( and thought – duh, that looks like so much fun. 
I love letting my girls freestyle paint and I love washable paint because it does actually wash off, but I despise the stress I inevitably feel when the paint comes ever so close to my walls or the girls start to fuss because it’s taking too long to wash the paint off after a project.  
My solution was to combine this outdoor painting project with a backyard pool party!  

First, the supplies –  
1 white twin size flat sheet {WalMart for $5}.  
Big bottles of washable paint {AC Moore -$2 each, but with coupons I got 7 bottles for $3!}.  
Paper plates {my kitchen!} 

Baby/Kiddie Pool {optional, but so helpful & fun!} 

While the kids played in the pool, I set up the sheet and paints in my driveway.

I lined the kids up and gave them two rules - no paint on the garage and no paint on the Mommies.  The only other “rule” was to have fun and paint however and with whatever they wanted.  

The best part (for me and for them) was that the kids were able to use the pool as their “rinse” station.  

By the end of the project, they were dipping their hands in the paint just to rinse them off in the pool.  

This wound up being a very kid-friendly project and one that allowed the parents to be very hands-off.  We will definitely be doing this again!
Thanks, Danielle! This is wonderful - the children look like they had a great time!  I love the idea of incorporating the kiddie pool.  Such a great way to help clean-up!  I will be giving this a try with my boys before the summer ends.  
Danielle, I hope you will join us here again with some more great ideas!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Birthday

Tonight I said goodnight to my 3 year old like I normally do every night.  

In the morning my baby will be a 4 year old.  

I can't believe how fast the last 4 years have gone by!  They have been fun years - years blessed with laughter, snuggles, and smiles...oh, the smiles this sweet boy shines into the world!

I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27

Happy birthday to my sweet, happy blessing!

*He wanted a donut cake for his birthday!*
So simple - just pile a bunch of donuts on top of each other and add some candles!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Good Deed Monday #3

Good Morning!

If this is your first time joining me for Good Deed Monday you can click here for more info on what good things we are doing here each week.

We know our mail carrier by name and he always takes the time to stop and chat with us as he does his mail route.  The boys were really excited about doing something nice for him.  I explained  what we were doing and why and then let them take the lead.  

My biggest little guy thought a cold bottled water would be perfect and quickly put one in the fridge to get it "nice and cold". 

Then there was talk about what to draw in the pictures.  Both thought drawings of the mail truck would be cool to draw.  Soon my boys were busy creating their own versions of the mail truck.

Once the pictures were drawn we wrote out a little thank you message to attach to the water bottle. 

Since our mail carrier comes at about the same time each morning we rushed to put everything into the mailbox before he arrived. 

The boys waited by the door for the mail truck to park on our street - they were so excited!  

Our mail carrier was very surprised and thankful when he opened our mailbox!  Lots of thank you's were showered upon the boys for their beautiful pictures and thoughtfulness.  The boys hardly knew what to do with themselves!

I really loved sharing this good deed with my boys.  To see them eager to do something nice for someone else was heartwarming. 

It didn't take much to brighten someone else's day - to let him know we were thinking of him and that we cared that he was working in such hot weather.  

How did you do this past week?  If you leave me a message in the comments below I would be so happy!

This week's Good Deed:
Write a letter to someone you know and mail it (you know, with a stamp).

Maybe there is someone you think of often but haven't been in touch in ages.  Or, maybe you have a friend or family member who is going through a rough time.  Instead of sending an email or using Facebook consider writing a letter instead.

 I will have a new Good Deed next Monday and look forward to sharing with you who I'm writing to this week!

I hope you have a great week!

{If you want to share a little about your good deed experience in a post (thanks in advance!) try including my new button ~ Thanks!}

good deed button

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Spray Paint Love

Recently we had a patio installed and the Mr and I have been busy fixing up our backyard and adding the finishing touches. 

I found a stack of plastic flower pots in our shed along with some metal nesting tables that I had picked up at an estate sale a few years back.  The pots and tables had seen better days, but they were just the sort of finishing touch I had in mind.  

The pots were fine, but I wanted black pots to tie together with my black window boxes and patio furniture.  It seemed silly to buy more pots when these were still functionally fine to use.

The metal nesting tables were a great find 5 years ago and just the sort of thing to round out our patio furniture, but they really needed some TLC.  

Spray painting the flower pots and nesting tables was the logical answer to give new life to these items in my shed. I went to the hardware store and picked up a can of flat black, a can of primer, and a can of "Eden"{green} spray paint that all work on plastic and metal. 

I gave each item a good washing.  For the metal tables, I also used a metal brush to help clean up the rust spots and any dirt that had settled over the years.

I didn't prime the pots. I just sprayed the flat black spray paint on each and let them dry for a few days before using them.

The metal tables were primed first to help the green spray paint cover better and last longer.

I love the way everything turned out!  The green tables are just the pop of color I was looking for to add a little fun against the black iron furniture and red cushions.  Everything looks brand new!
For about $12 {$3 per can} I was able to reuse things we already owned and add a bit of style to our outdoor space...that price certainly works for me!

Spray Paint is the perfect medium for's easy to use and it gives you instant results!! I'm already looking around to see what else needs a facelift with the help of some spray paint!