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!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blog Hop

I'm doing something new today...It's a blog thing!

Over the past month I've been having fun journaling and sharing different things that are happening during my days. 

I've been having even more fun learning about this cool little world of blogging!  I really didn't know a thing about blogging before starting Simply Sweet Sunday.  I still don't know very much but each time I get on my computer I learn something new.  I love to learn new things and I feel like my mommy brain is getting a bit sharper with each new thing I figure out!  

What I never expected to find was a community of people so willing to help you learn the tricks of the trade!  Lots and lots of tutorials on the how-to's and lots of opportunities to meet new people from all over. 

Today is a day to meet new people from all over. To see what their blogging style is like, to share a quick "hello" in their comment section, and to learn from each other. Below is a "Blog Hop" - I've never done one before and I entered my info wrong, but this is how I learn sometimes!  A blog hop is a list of blogs that is shared on multiple blogs.  You can hop from blog to blog and see the same list as you go!

Maybe you will find another blog you love from the list below!  
FYI...some blogging protocol I've just learned - when you visit a blog, let them know you stopped by in their comment section and let them know you are visiting from Simple Sweet Sunday!  It's sort of like letting a friend know you saw their friend at Target... :)

Hope you have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The 5K

I've added a new page called "Health & Fitness" to my blog {it's up at the top next to "Good Deeds"}.  I will be covering some of my personal challenges and successes as well as some tips I've learned along the way.  This is the first posting and I hope you enjoy!


About 6 months after my littlest guy was born I did something one day that I never thought I would do...I went out my front door and ran down the street!  I'm not what you would call a "runner".  I'm short and curvy - regardless of what my weight is!  Running down the street was like a therapy session and fitness training session all in one!  It felt great!  

So, I kept at it...running a bit further each time, eventually running a mile, then 2, and then 3 miles without feeling like I was going to die!

Little by little, the baby weight came off!

I celebrated by running my first 5K on a rainy Sept morning!  

I never thought I would run a 5K.  I thought that was just for people who were super fit. People with long, lean runners bodies.  People not like me!  

I felt like a super star having finished a 5K!  I was so proud of myself!  I know it's not like I participated in a marathon, but to me at that time in my life it was my version of a marathon! I told everyone about it {and still do 3 years later!}.  It made me feel good about myself, about my body, and it made me want to set new goals.

Completing that 5K proved to that little voice in my head that I can achieve my weight loss goals and I don't have to be afraid of failing.  It took time for me to be able to run 3.2 miles and it will take time to reach my final weight loss goals too.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?!

Do you have weight loss goals?  I would love to know how you are working to reach those goals!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Good Deed Monday #2

Happy Good Deed Monday!!

If this is your first time joining me for Good Deed Monday you can click here for more information. 

This is just our second week of doing Good Deeds. You can join me on making a difference at any time and I hope once you start you keep coming back to do more with me each week. 

Last week's Good Deed #1 was to donate to your local food pantry/bank.  The bonus was getting a cleaned out and possibly organized pantry!

The Mr and I are in the process of redoing our pantry and I had recently cleaned it out but I was still able to find items to donate.  I first grabbed things I had more than one of and then I grabbed a couple of things I knew I wouldn't be needing anytime soon.  The boys and I brought our bag of food over to our church food pantry. 

As I was going through my pantry I felt very grateful to have enough food to not only feed my family with a variety of options but to also have enough to share.  I thought about the Mr and his job and how well he provides for us and how fortunate we are that we have not had to experience the hardship of unemployment and loss of income.  In the 5 minutes it took me to go through and put together a small assortment of food I really appreciated all that we have and was reminded to not take so much for granted.

Were you able to do the Good Deed this past week? How did it go for you? Did you involve your family? Do you think you will start to do this on a more regular basis?
Please share in the comments section below.  I've been looking forward all week to see how you all did - please don't leave me waiting any longer to know what your experiences and thoughts were as you completed this good deed!

This week's Good Deed #2:
Leave a cold drink with a note (or picture!) of thanks for the mail carrier.

It's been pretty hot this summer and anyone who has to work outside could sure use a refreshing pick-me-up.  There is no better pick-me-up than a cold water or sports drink accompanied by a hand written note or some cute pictures from the children.

We will meet back here next Monday to share our thoughts and experiences on this new Good Deed.  Our next good deed will be revealed next Monday too!

~ Don't forget to sign-up to follow or receive email updates so you don't miss out on a Good Deed! ~

{For anyone who blogs, I don't have a button yet...still trying to figure that one out! If you want to share a little about your good deed experience in a post (thanks in advance!) please include a link back to here! ~ Thanks!}

Linked Up To:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tie Dye Saves the Day

Things were starting to unravel the other morning around here - the boys were fighting over everything and I was yelling at them to stop fighting.  So in keeping with my summer plan I grabbed my summer idea list and we picked an activity - Tie Dye T-shirts! 

I bought this kit last year but we never got around to making them, so I dusted off the box and we quickly began to prepare our "Tie Dye Station"!  My littlest guy was in charge of getting all the shirts wet {translation: getting himself, the kitchen, and the t-shirts all wet!}.  My big little guy was in charge of taping down a plastic trash bag and paper towels on the craft table {translation: using a roll of tape to tape down a trash bag}.  My job was preparing the dye {no translation necessary}. 

Once our "Station" was ready we picked out a design offered in our instructions. The boys both liked the "swirl" design.  We twirled the shirts into a cinnamon roll by pinching the middle of the shirt and kept on twisting until the whole shirt was twisted into a swirl.  Then we used 3 rubber bands to section the circle into 6 pie slices.

Now the fun part - using the dye!  We decided we needed 4th of July shirts this year, so our dye colors were red and blue {the white was the t-shirts}.  The boys were able to apply the dye with a little guidance from me. We only had a few moments of dye flying in the air. 

Did I mention we were doing this inside because it was raining? If possible, I think this is an outside activity - less to worry about!

Once the dye was applied all that was left to do was to wrap the bundles in plastic wrap and let them sit for 6-8 hrs.  

That night I cut the rubber bands off and then washed the t-shirts in hot water and a dash of detergent in the washing machine. In the dryer they went and out came some AWESOME T-DYE SHIRTS!

I went ahead and made shirts for the Mr and myself while we had everything out - I just grabbed one of the Mr's old undershirts and a white tank of mine that was not as white as it use to be.

We were that family on the 4th all dressed alike...I know it's cheesy but sometimes I really enjoy a bit of cheesiness! 

 The boys loved making a shirt that they can wear.  It saved me a trip to Target to buy 4th of July shirts. Most of all this was a fun, inexpensive activity that saved the day. 

Simple Home Life: Features & Simply Creations Link Party #64
The Shabby Nest: Frugal Fridays Link Party 
Happy Hour Projects: Happy Hour Friday Link Party

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Good Deed Monday #1

Today is our first Good Deed Monday! I'm very excited about this!

Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself because of all the excitement!

Good Deed Monday is a new page on my blog...see it up at the top?  I've explained it all there - hope it makes sense! our very first good deed is going to be helpful and rewarding! Curious?

{drum roll, please!!}

Go to your pantry and give it a good cleaning! 
During the summer months when most of us are heading out for vacations the food pantries always run extra low and really need donations. 

1.) Take out all the things you have too much of {aren't we blessed to have too much?!}, items you bought on sale and then never used, and toss in two or three items you do use and know others could use too.  Don't have a pantry or anything to donate? Take a trip to the grocery store. You would be amazed what you can pick up on sale for a few dollars.

{Remember every little deed makes a difference!}

2.) Bag them up and take them to your local food pantry/bank, church, town hall, police station.  For more help finding a food pantry/bank near you check Feeding America {I have not used nor am I endorsing this website.  Just found it while doing a simple Google search}.

Now you will be helping those who need food plus getting a clean pantry all in one good deed! 

I'll let you know how my pantry purge and donation goes next Monday along with next week's good deed!  Be sure to share your experience in the comment section below!!!