Friday, December 30, 2011

Family Schedule

My sister-in-law gave me the most awesome Christmas gift ever!!  She simply took a collage frame and printed out headers with the days of the week, the title, and one that says "Extra."  

Each frame has glass over it, so she gave me a pack of dry erase markers with it, that will write on the glass then wipe right off.

This will be great for seeing at a glance what doctor appointments, 4-H meetings, homework assignments, etc we have in the upcoming week.  So simple to make, but such a brilliant idea!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Home Redo -- Bathroom

This house was when we bought it.  If you haven't read about the contact paper on the walls or the flea infestation, check it out here and here.  Well, our upstairs bathroom was no exception.  The walls were a very light pink, and it had a very dated, floral border on the walls near the ceiling.

You can't see this in any of the pictures, but above the sink was a very large flower sticker, seemingly randomly stuck on the wall.  I didn't want it there, so I peeled it off.  It was covering a very large hole in the wall.  Yes, they covered a hole in the wall with a sticker.

The bathtub/shower had glass doors.

At first, you might think this was a nice touch.  But they hadn't been properly stuck down to the tub, so water would pour out underneath, no matter how much you caulked around it.  It would get in the tracks and get all underneath them, turning absolutely grimy and propagating all sorts of nastiness, no matter how much you tried to clean them.

We repainted, redid the floors, and pulled off the horrible shower doors.  We also put in an over-the-toilet shelf that's really pretty.  I love my bathroom now!!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!!

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Amazed by Life #4

It never ceases to amaze me how you can waste spend hours of your time finding burnt out lights on a pre-lighted tree, just to have a whole section go out the following day.

It never ceases to amaze me how much fun kids (and daddies) can have decorating gingerbread.

It never ceases to amaze me how the very sight of Christmas lights makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside (as long as they're all lit).

It never ceases to amaze me how the God who created the entire universe by speaking it into existence could love me enough to come to earth as a baby and later give His life for me.

Merry Christmas, and God bless you!!!
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup -- Gluten Free!!!

This soup has been my number one craving throughout this pregnancy.  I always use my big cast iron pot and double the recipe (except the meat) so that I have plenty of leftovers in the fridge!

Even the kids love it!  Here's the original recipe, and I'll post my changes below it.

1 lb chicken, cubed and cooked
1/2 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup chunky salsa
1 cup frozen corn
2 cans chicken broth
black beans
tortilla chips

Throw all but the last 2 ingredients in your pot, and bring to a boil.  Break up some tortilla chips in your bowl, pour soup over them, and top with cheese.

When I make this recipe and I'm in a hurry, or while I've been on bed rest, I often use a can of chicken instead of cooking some.  Instead of using chicken broth, I use water and add a bit of Better than Bouillon to it.  The original recipe didn't actually call for beans, but it's so much better with them!!  I use whatever kind I happen to have already cooked in the freezer.  If I don't have any cooked, I'll cook a package of lentils and throw some of them in.

If you need the recipe to be gluten-free, make sure you use a gluten-free salsa, etc.  This is one of the quickest, easiest, and yummiest meals!!  I LOVE soup--especially in this colder weather!! Pin It

Friday, December 16, 2011

Felt Flowers

Ok, I know there's been a major hair clip theme lately.  But you're limited with what you can do when you're on bed rest for preterm contractions.  Plus, when you're expecting your fourth girl, you have frillies on the brain!  (At least I do have 2 boys mixed in there, too.  It helps keep me up-to-date with all the latest sound effects.)

Anyway, the other day I came across this felt flower tutorial through Fabric Bows and More.  I went more than a little flower crazy, playing with size, color, number of flowers, etc!!

I made a couple of other pairs that I gave away.  I showed these to my friend and neighbor, and she made some where she alternated colors in one flower.  They're gorgeous!  So I have a feeling I may be making some of those tomorrow.  I also may play with making some and gluing a bead in the center, or maybe lining the edges of the petals with glitter.  What little girl doesn't like some sparkle?

These seriously take mere minutes to make.  If you have a large 5-petal flower punch, making a pattern is super-easy.  If not, I found easy-to-follow instructions here on You Tube.

I love them!!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another Hair Clip Gift

A friend of mine emailed me the other day.  She wanted to make some hair clippies for her daughter for Christmas but found herself running out of time.  So, I told her that I would make them for her, and in exchange she's giving me some venison!!  WOO HOO!!!!  I've been wanting my hubby to get us a deer, but he hasn't gone hunting.  So this is GREAT!!!

It worked out with good timing.  I'm officially on modified bed rest for preterm contractions (modified, because it's impossible for me to not get up when I have 5 other kids to take care of!), so this gave me a project to fill a couple of hours during which I wouldn't be getting much done, anyway.  She had no specific requests, so I tried to simply make a variety.

She did say that she really liked the ribbon flowers I've made in the past, so I made a couple of sets of those (you can see originals at the bottom of this post):

I loved the lace bows I made recently, so I made some of those (these look blue-and-black, but they're really purple-and-black):

I love double-layered bows, so I made one of those, as well as a bow from some leftover gift package ribbon I had:

And here are two other bows I made from fancy gift package ribbon, and wrapped with a feather boa:

I also made her a woven headband, which she can either wear by itself or with any of her clips clipped to it (again, the colors are a bit wonky.  It's black, pale pink, and lavender):

I hope you like them all, Vanessa and Lydia!  Merry Christmas!!

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Festive Hair Clips

I love the holidays, and I love holiday bling.  No, I'm not talking ugly Christmas sweaters, but I have a Christmas bracelet and a silver Christmas tree necklace.

Last year, I made my girls matching Christmas headbands.  

They still wear those, but this year I wanted to do clips.  I was going to do mistletoe ones at first.  Then my friend Brooke came over, and we decided to do holly, instead.  To make it even more fun, we did it in different colors and used single-prong clips so we could clip them onto thin, satin-covered headbands.

We started by cutting out the leaves and berries out of felt.  I don't know if we're super-silly, super-picky, or super-untalented, but it took us forever to get exactly the shape we were wanting for the leaves.  We then stitched a couple of stitches down the center of each leaf.  We sewed the leaves together, then glued on the berries and a cluster of seed beads.  For the headbands, we had thin, satin-covered ones from Wal-Mart.  We took a short piece of 3/8"grosgrain ribbon and hot-glued it around the headband to make a tight loop to clip the clips to.

I made the traditional green-and-red, a classy black-and-white, and a fun pink-and-brown.  I love how they came out!!  My girls love them, too!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Help Me with my Hair!!!

I LOVE my hair short and spikey.  It's super easy to style, super easy to deal with, no babies pulling on it, etc.  This is how I love it best:

(Totally ignore the goofy facial expression in the following pic.  Remember, we're dealing with the hair. hee hee)

There are a couple of downsides to short hair.  One is that I have to get it cut often.  My hair grows really fast, and my hair cutter lives quite a ways away.  But I can deal with that.  

The other downside I can't just "deal" with, however.  My hubby doesn't like my hair like this.  He doesn't like it short and spikey--says it's too much like a boys'.  

This is how my hair is currently, though it's gotten longer since this picture was taken.  (Sorry for the blurry picture.  It was a kind of dark room, and I don't like my picture taken, so there aren't very many very often.):

My hubby says he doesn't mind if I get it cut shorter, just not as short as I'd really like.  He suggested something like what Alice has in the movie Twilight.  But my hair has wonky waves to it, and I really don't have the time to flat iron, style, etc.  I need quick and easy.

I also can't do a whole lot in the way of bangs.  See how my hair always flows out around my forehead? That's just the way it goes.  It always has.  It won't hang down nicely in front. 

So here's where you come in.  How do you like my hair?  Short or long?  Any suggestions on a style that's not too short bu not too long that you think might work for me?

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Knife Block Up-Cycle

Ok, my friend Jenine did an awesome upcycle of her knife block, and she agreed to let me share it with all of you!

She started with the typical knife block that we all have sitting on our counters, some spray paint, and an accent detail.

Here is how she says she did it:

You don’t need to cover the holes.  The paint just doesn’t go into the holes. 
What I found neat is that the scars from not putting the knives away carefully look really pretty now that I distressed it. 

I used the purple first, let it dry, then used the green over the top.  Once it was dry I sanded to reveal the purple underneath.  I did the opposite with the flower disk (green then purple).  I used Gorilla wood glue for the disk.

The entire project cost me $8.00.  $3/ea for the paint, and $2 for the disk.  Got all supplies at Hobby Lobby (used my 40% off coupon for 1 of the paint cans).

The colors are Ivy Leaf (Krylon) and Grape (American Accents).

These photos don't totally do the colors justice, as they're deeper than they appear.  The purple looks more accurate in this photo:

The green looks more accurate in this photo:

She has not yet sealed it with anything, but likely will.  She originally got the idea from Johnny in a Dress.  Now I've been eyeing my own knife block.  I'm thinking bright tomato red!

Thank you for sharing your project with us, Jenine!  It looks great! 

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Green Smoothies

I few times recently, I have had people ask me what my favorite green smoothie recipes are.  While I know that there are wonderful recipes out there, I don't use any recipes for ours!  We buy whatever fruits and veggies are in season or on sale, and we throw whatever we have into our smoothies.

I typically start with an apple, pear, or both.  We also typically throw in a very generous handful of spinach.  From there, it can vary greatly.  For example, yesterday's smoothie had an apple and a pear, a large handful of fresh cranberries, carrots, frozen strawberries, several leaves of cabbage, 1/2 a cucumber, frozen broccoli, and some romaine lettuce (we're actually out of spinach).  I may mix it up today by using an orange, green leaf lettuce, grapes, peppers, etc.  No matter what mix I use, my kids guzzle it down!

I do also add water to help thin it down some.  Otherwise, it's pretty thick.  My Little Love #5 is severely allergic to dairy, so I don't use any kind of dairy base like milk, yogurt, etc.  I also can't use bananas, avocados, or various other tropical fruits because of her allergies.  But my kids have never complained.  Any time the smoothie seems a bit too tart or bitter to me, I'll either add a large dollop of Polaner All Fruit or local raw honey.  But this is a rare occurrence.

So grab some fruits and veggies, grab your blender, don't worry about specific recipes, and enjoy your fresh fruit-and-veggie smoothies!!

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy birthday to me!!!

Ok, my hubby loves me a ton.  The other day was my birthday.  I wasn't feeling well, but I had a midwife appointment in the morning.  Knowing the appointment would be short, we loaded up the kids and headed there (we can't take the kids inside, however, because they use latex gloves in the office.  So my hubby waited out in the car with them.).  After the appointment (where everything looked and sounded great with baby), we ran to the pet store to get crickets for Itchy (our pet tarantula) and food for our fish.

We LOVE the pet store we went to.  It's owned by a super-nice guy who truly knows and takes good care of his animals.    While there, we picked out a couple of gorgeous orange shrimp and a sweet little boy pleco for our tank.

Doesn't he look like a sweet little old man?  =)  We named him Plucky.

Then, my hubby gave me a wonderful surprise.  He told me I could pick out a snake for my birthday!!  As some of you know, I've been really wanting a sand boa, as I discussed in a recent post.  I went ahead and held a couple of different rosy boas, too, but the sand boa still had my heart.  So he came home with me!!

On the way home, my hubby chuckled and said, "Most women would want a pretty dress for their birthday.  But I got my wife a snake."  What a great man!

I named him Malcolm, but I just call him Mal.  He's sooooo cute and sweet and still so little!

So we now have a couple more very loved members of our family.  Thank you to my sweet hubby for such a wonderful birthday surprise!!

Oh, and we also have a gift card from my sister-in-law to Hobby Lobby for two of my girls.  I can't wait to see what fun crafty stuff we all decide to get!  Have any of you seen anything recently that's simply a gotta-have?
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