Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Homemade pizza and menu time

I know you see a lot of homemade pizza on my menu lists. There are some nights I just don't feel like cooking a real meal. Easy and quick dinner nights are always my favorite, but easy usually means buying something frozen, already prepared, processed or has 450 ingredients. When I discovered homemade pizza, I was in love.

Now, pizza in any form isn't the healthiest thing ever, I mean, it is cheese, after all. But, making it myself means I know exactly what goes in it, and honestly, I think it tastes much better than frozen pizza, and it's cheaper than take-out pizza. I use a yeastless pizza crust recipe, or you could use a yeast crust recipe. There are so many pizza crust recipes out there, you can look one up and take your pick. And you can essentially put any toppings you want on there to make it a little more healthy. Sometimes we do green pepper, sometimes tomatoes, sometimes spinach, whatever we are feeling that night. The possibilities are limitless.

You can find the recipe HERE.

And here is our weekly menu plan:

Chicken and cheese quesadillas

grilled cheese and hot dogs

Pork stir fry over rice (bumped from last week)

Chicken tacos

Baked chicken breasts with roasted cabbage wedges

Homemade veggie pizza (Superbowl night, DUH! I have no idea what we are doing this night...we may be celebrating with friends and if so, this will get scrapped)

Crockpot lasagna

Grilled chicken wraps with roasted potatoes and spinach salad

Homemade pizza rolls

Monday, January 30, 2012


I have mentioned before how awesome Pinterest is. But, I just don't think you really know. Let me show you why. 

From sweet pictures like this:

To inspirational things like this:

To yummy things like this:

To great outfit compilations like this:

There's just so much great stuff compiled from a bunch of different sites to one site. One place for you to look for recipes, outifts, school things, crafty projects, just about anything you can think of! So, since there is so much awesomeness in one place, I wanted to share the most awesome things I've found on there. 

How to make the perfect bacon. I never know how to do this properly until now. 

Tips for cleaning microfiber furniture. This seems weird, putting rubbing alcohol all over your cushion, but it works!

Do you frequently eat pancakes? Try this way of storing/pouring the batter!

And things that are on the list to try:

Really awesome toy storage here!

And I'm trying these roasted cabbage wedges this week. 

I love Pinterest. That is all.

Friday, January 27, 2012

DtD Challenge # 11 - BAGELS!

I love bagels. Especially one slathered up with cream cheese. I mean, who doesn't love a good bagel? No, they're not very filling nor very healthy, but they sure are good. So, when I found this recipe on pinterest, I thought it sounded easy, yummy, and definitely worth trying. The writer said making bagels is no harder than making a loaf of bread, which I do every week, so I was pumped.

I've been sickly all week, so haven't felt like doing much of anything outside of the bare necessities. However, when I woke up this morning, I felt determined to try it. Heck, I even went to the gym this morning for the first time since I got sick.

So, after we had breakfast, and Jude was occupied watching a new show call Octonauts (which is super cute, by the way), I set to work.

Mixing all the ingredients together

Kneaded for 10 minutes and rolled into this ball

Divided in to 9 equal sized balls (the recipe called for 8, but I had an extra)

Rolled out into dough bagel shapes

Boiling the bagels. This was weird. I know it's a normal part of the bagel making process, but I haven't boiled dough, ever. So yeah, this was weird.

Into the oven they go...

All done and ready to be slathered with lots and lots of cream cheese.

Conclusion: They tasted good. Really good. Better than store bought bagels, even. But, mine weren't as fluffy as regular bagels are, and I'm not sure why, which was kind of a bummer. And the process of making these was tedious. I was busy with these for over an hour, and I felt like I had neglected my children a little. Making loaves, or even rolls is not near as hands-on time consuming. There's a lot of sitting and rising, but I can leave that and go play with my kids until time to pop them in the oven. With these bagels, there was the kneading, dividing, rolling, boiling, then baking. It felt like a lot, and I'm not quite sure it was worth the effort.

They also seemed to be lacking in something. They tasted a bit plain. I used 2 cups wheat flour and 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour. So, what was missing?

Will I make these again? Possibly. I'll have to tweak the recipe a little, and figure out why my bagels weren't fluffy before I try it again. Baking bread, any kind, is an art and takes lots of practice. So, I'm not giving up on you forever, you delicious slice of circular yumminess, you. Just for the time being.

Up next week: I need to be inspired photographically. So my plan is to get out this weekend and take pictures. Preferably somewhere outside, and somewhere away from my house. I'm hoping it will be sunny...and I'll be here next week to report to you to show you what I saw!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The dilemma of milk

Lately I've been thinking more and more about our milk consumption. My boys down 4-5 gallons of milk a week, and more if I would let them. We love it around here. It's almost like liquid gold. So, here enters the dilemma that every mama comes to face.

Dun dun duhhhh....Organic milk vs. store-bought conventional milk. 

Yes, we all know organic milk is healthier and way better for you. But here are my questions/concerns: is conventional milk all THAT bad? Are we pumping our kids full of horrible, unhealthy hormones by drinking this stuff? And what about local milk? I have so many questions about this. Can I get some, and if so, where? Is it better than conventional, but maybe not as good as organic? I would honestly love to try this option. I think supporting local farmers is absolutely fabulous.

And here is my biggest question of all: Can we drink organic milk on a budget? Folks, we're on a tight grocery budget, and spending $30 a week on milk alone sounds really, really difficult. In fact, we are on a tight budget all around. We don't eat out, almost ever, and we don't spend a lot of 'extra' money. But can I trim the grocery budget somewhere else to be able to make room for the organic milk? These are all the questions that are running through my head.

The research I've been reading says it's good to fork over the extra dough to get organic on the things you consume most in dairy, grains and vegetables. But what happens when your budget is already stretched to the degree it can be stretched?

These are all things I'm considering. So, with all these unknowns present and questions flying around in my head, what will I do? I want to make the best decisions for my family, based on health and budget. One thing I do know is I'm going to reevaluate our grocery budget and see if I can sacrifice to have fewer ingredient meals so that I can make more room for the milk. Or if we're really ok just drinking conventional milk. That is something I am going to have to pray about and figure out!

What about you? What are your feelings about milk, organic or otherwise?

And to end, this has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but I thought you could use a cute face to brighten up your day! I know it brightens mine.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shows I love

Since I'm sickly today, not feeling very productive, and haven't done much other than feed my children and make sure they don't kill each other, I wanted to share something that is very important and very dear to me.

My favorite shows of the 2010-2011 season.

This is serious business folks.

Ok, all joking aside, tv is silly and in my opinion, is a huge time suck. It's the epitome of anti-productive. But, I still like to have down-time and escape into the enjoyment of a show or two. So, here are my favorites this year.

Downton Abbey. I have only recently heard about this show, but it is by far my favorite show this year, and maybe one of my top 5 favorites of all time. I was hooked after one episode. There was something that reeled  me in about the characters and made me fall in love with them. And I just love period book, shows, movies. There's something regal about them, and I love to learn about that how life was lived during that time period. The story revolves around the Crawley family and their servants at their estate, Downton Abbey, in England. The series starts out on the day Titanic sunk, and the second season involves WWI. The first season is available for streaming on Netflix and the current season is on the PBS website, if you want to catch it. You won't be disappointed.

The Walking Dead. This is my second favorite. This show is exciting, thrilling, disgusting, eerie, haunting, but captivating all at the same time. To be honest, the first season was way better (in my opinion), but now I have gotten so much into the story line and characters that I am hooked. I don't typically like this type of show/movie/genre, but the story line is just so good. This show is about a group of people and their life after the invasion of zombies. Sounds hokey, but its actually very good. The second half of the season starts next month, and I can't wait!

And this show. Yes, some will argue that it's gone on too long, and maybe it has. But, I love it so. The chemistry between these actors is amazing. They are hilarious, and the way the story is told is unique. The writing is mostly good, quirky, and honestly, I almost love it as much as I love Friends (which holds a special place in my heart!). This show follows the lives of these 5 friends, but is mainly about the main character, Ted, and he telling his kids the story of how he met their mother. I think Marshall (Jason Segal) may be my favorite character, I'm not sure. It's hard to decide.

I really don't have a lot of time to watch tv, and I know you don't either. But if you have any spare minutes in your day(s), try one of these out.

Now I'm going to go lay down and rest before I'm on mommy-duty again. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Me and food

Something has come to my attention recently. I have not done super great with watching what I'm eating lately. I mean, I haven't started sneaking bon bons in the middle of the night or anything, but I've definitely become lax and have been eating way too much white sugar. Yes, I'm still exercising and running 4-5 times a week. I've even added an extra 20 minutes to my gym routine to get more weight training in (and I've been doing some cross-training with the Crossramp too, which I L.O.V.E). But, I'm feeling the effects of my non-self-controlled-eating so much lately. In order to combat this, I'm going to have to do 2 things:

1) start writing down everything I'm eating during the day (just to keep up with it and to try to cut out all the snacking)
2) cut out white sugar altogether for the next 30 days (gasp! This one will be really hard because I've been baking some lately, and I found that it's something that I really enjoy)

Just to clarify, I am not a calorie counter. It's just not for me. It's stressful and sets me up for failure, which makes me feel bad about myself every time I eat a brownie or anything sweet. But, I need to regain some self control and some perspective. So, here it goes! Wish me luck.

On another note, (and totally opposite to what I just posted) Jude and Ezra's birthdays are coming up next month and I am going to make their cake again this year. Last year I did a boxed cake mix, but I think I'm going to go all homemade this year. I got this recipe from the Pioneer Woman today and I really want to try it as their cake. Look how pretty it is!

Yum!! It's like a cookie cake with a marshmallowy frosting and fruit on top. My mouth is watering. I want some now!

Oh wait. I just said I'd wait 30 days before eating white sugar. Darn!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"All natural"......right

You've seen the label "all natural" on foods, right? Nowadays it seems to be on everything. All natural chicken, all natural peanut butter, all natural cheese, all natural ice cream (really???), the list goes on. We think that's good when we see that on a product, don't we? It makes us feel better about what we're buying, no matter what it is. I know I do. We think we're getting something real, something healthier than all the processed stuff out there. Well, I've been reading differently. 

Here's a few things I've learned from doing a little reading about "all-natural" foods:

The term "all-natural" can mean anything, the term has no nutritional value, and isn't even regulated by the FDA.

"A "natural" product can be virtually anything -- genetically modified, full of pesticides, made with corn syrup, additives, preservatives and artificial ingredients"

Most all-natural products are heavily processed. 

All natural doesn't mean that all the ingredients are all natural. In fact, usually it's quite the opposite. 

And many, many more facts that are sort of shocking. I'm not here to get on a soap box, but I am here to tell you to please be aware of what you are buying. Look at the ingredients lists and read up on which ones to stay away from. Educate yourself on food products. But don't feel guilty if you buy a pack of hot dogs or lunchables, or even a frozen pizza every now and then. 

With that being said, its time for my weekly menu. This week it's a little different because there are a few extra days in this week's menu (and we have a lot of chicken to use up):

Easy dinner night 

Tilapia with rice in pesto sauce

Spaghetti with local beef and homemade breadsticks

Homemade pizza

Chicken Noodle soup

Pork stir fry

We're having some friends over, so I'm cooking chili

Fish sandwiches

Chicken tacos

Cheese & bean quesadillas

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Random thoughts and DtD Challenge #10

When you have kids, you can't help but think (almost at every moment) what they will turn out like. You pray for their future and who you would like them to be, but you really don't know what kind of people they will be. My Mom told me today that all throughout my teen years, she worried about me. This isn't news to me for a few reasons. First of all, she is a worrier. Big time, and when I say big time, that is putting is mildly (love you, Mom!). Secondly, there was definitely a reason to worry about me. I lived by my own set of rules, no one could tell me what to do, and I had no remorse for anything I did. I thought it was the only and best way to live. And not only was it totally unfulfilling, it took me down some dark roads. So, yes, I knew my parents worried. But this is the part that sort of surprised me. She said she never worried about my step-brother Mark, she never worried about my sister. But she did worry about me...and a lot. Was I really that worrisome? I never thought much about that, but I guess so, when I think about how I used to live.

Fast forward to today. I am no longer that girl. I have been brought back to life. I am blessed beyond belief with a wonderful family and life. Life is not always peaches and cream, in fact, quite the opposite, but I have a hope and belief in Jesus that has given me joy and purpose. And I am so grateful for my parents, who showed me what a real parent's love is like. One that is accepting, forgiving and encouraging to no end.

I think of my children, how they are now, and how they will be when they are grown. And then I think of who I was, and who I am now. I'm not perfect, or even close, by any standard, but I am definitely different than how I used to be. It makes me stand in awe of how powerful God's grace is, and how much He cares about me to not let me stay that person forever.

On another note, I realized that I never wrote about my Duties to Delights challenge; I've been falling behind on my posts these days. (I haven't forgotten about my photo challenges either!) Blame it on my new-favorite-show-that-I'm-completely-obsessed-with Downton Abbey. So, I said last week that I would choose something from those household tips books to try. I liked the Heloise book better, but the Good Housekeeping book made me realize one thing: My kitchen is very disorganized. Is anyone that knows me surprised by this statement? Because I was not. :) I am not a naturally organized person, so this was kind of like a "duh" statement. But when I really started to look at the specific ways in which this was true, I noticed something had to change. I had several places that had pots and pans falling out every time I opened the cabinet. My baking ingredients were scattered in several different locations. There was a billion things on top of my fridge (which isn't a bad thing, it just looked cluttered and I didn't like that). So, I reorganized a few things, and cleaned a few cupboards up, and I have to say, I like it much better. When all your cooking items are in the same place, when things are easier to pull out of the cabinet (and put back), when your kitchen looks less cluttered, it just makes life a ton easier. I still have a ways to go, my kitchen still needs a lot more attention. But I've gotten a good start on it, and that makes me happy!

So, if you have a disorganized and cluttered kitchen, I encourage you take the time today to declutter and organize. There are so many things in our kitchen we have stuffed in the cabinets or drawers that we don't use anymore, or that often. You will feel lighter, somehow, and may even view cooking as more of a delight than a duty.

Up next week: I found this awesome homemade bagel recipe on Pinterest, and I want to try it. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bread storage

I love baking bread. Well, I love the idea of it. It's healthier, cheaper and tastes way more delicious than store bought bread. But I must confess that I don't really love making it, mostly because it's messy and takes half a day. While I don't love the process of making the bread, the end result far outweighs my dislike in making it. I'm always glad it's done when I pull those delicious smelling loaves out of the oven.

I've been making my own bread for quite some time and I've been trying to think of a more environmentally friendly way to store my bread. I normally just buy the plastic zipper gallon ziplock storage bags and reuse them until they're no longer reusable. It's not my first choice, but it works and it's cheap.

I was looking online today for bread boxes and came across this:

It's a reusable bread bag, that's machine washable. How did I not know these existed? That shows you how well versed I am in the ways of baking. I think I just might have to save up to get a few of these, as I also need something for flour storage. 

What about you seasoned bakers out there? How do you store your bread and flour?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Having parented

The last few weeks have been particularly hard, parenting wise. I love being a mama, but if you have little ones, you know what this means. Some weeks are good, some weeks are just hard. It doesn't take some big huge thing to throw you for a loop. It could be something small, but it still rocks your world...and just because it's small doesn't make it any less significant.

There's just so much that goes along with raising little ones, knowing you're responsible for how someone turns out is pressure-filled, to say the least. There's just so much at stake. Yes, they have their own personalities and can make their own choices, but we help shape and mold them. Parenting is such a blessing, but it can be difficult too. And becoming discouraged is so, so easy. I've been discouraged about 450 times this week alone. That is why I am so grateful for people, for prayer, for truth, but mostly for Jesus.

I read an article today called Don't Carpe Diem. If you are struggling with your little ones and need encouragement, read it. She talks about how everyone always tells you to enjoy every moment of parenting, because they go by so fast, but that way of thinking just doesn't work for her. It, in fact, makes her panicky and paranoid, and makes her feel that if she's not living in that constant state, then she's doing something wrong. Do you know why I love this article? It's raw, honest, and you know what? I think it's ok. I think it's ok that she doesn't love every single second of parenting. It makes me feel like something isn't wrong with me because a lot of times, I feel that way too. Parenting IS hard, but there are good moments too. She says it like this: 
"Last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: 'Sugar, I hope you are Enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast.'
There was a famous writer who, when asked if he loved writing, replied, 'No. but I love having written.' What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, 'Are you sure? Are you sure you don't mean you love having parented?"'

So true. While I don't always love parenting, I love having parented. And I love my kids. So, so much. 

Things I am most grateful for this past week:
My husband. He is having a hard time also, but I just love him. He can admit when he's struggling, and while he's struggling, he still encourages, supports and prays for me.

My accountability group and my sister, who have lifted us up so fervently in prayer and with encouraging words.

The promises and hope I have in Jesus. That I can trust Him. Without His help, I am certain I would not be able to do this.

If I have any words of wisdom, it's this. Hang in there. Keep at it. And you are not alone. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Household delights (no, this is not an oxymoron)

"Caring for a house has never been easier---and harder. Easier because we now have so many products and services at our disposal to help clean, organize, maintain, renovate, and repair a home. Yet understanding and using these products and services takes time that we don't often have."

Confession: I am a sucky housekeeper. Sure, I have tools that help me to be a better housekeeper. But, I still have to work at it. I am not a naturally "like-things-to-be-clean" person, and I have no idea how to organize, which is why I always have to seek outside resources for help. My biggest desire is to best take care of what has been entrusted to me, my husband, my kiddos, and my house. And I need lots of help, people. I'm always reading books on how to organize, how to cook, how to parent, how to best love my husband, how to teach my kids, because, let's face it. I really don't know that much. Whenever I think I do, God shows me every time that He is the only one who has all wisdom. I am grateful for this. So, while I haven't even come close to having it all figured out, I do like to gain as much knowledge and wisdom as I can. But, I have to be discerning about what I read. I don't read just any ole thing. With that being said, I got a few books from the library that I'm super excited about reading.

Do you struggle like I do? I really do think we can gain wisdom on these things, we just have to look for it. And we don't have to be burned out on it either. We can find joy in learning about and doing these every day things! Crazy, right?

The quote above is from one of the books I got from the library. This book:

And here's the other:

It's one thing to read a bunch of information, but another to put it into practice. What is the point of just reading to gain knowledge? In my opinion, it only works best if you use the information you were given and share it with others. My goal is to pick one thing from each book to try this next week. You might even see it on next week's Duties to Delights Challenge. 

Who wants to try something new with me?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spinach leaves!

I used to hate spinach. Even now, I have to make myself eat cooked spinach. I don't hate it anymore, but its definitely not my favorite. So, when I discovered bagged spinach leaves, I was in love. We eat spinach salads (even Jude eats this!) and I put the raw leaves on my sandwiches and wraps. It's an easy, healthy way to add some nutrition to my diet, and the bags of spinach are very reasonably priced. You can even try the organic option if your budget allows. If you're looking for an easy way to add some nutrition to your diet, try raw spinach leaves. Yum!

With that being said, its menu time. Here it goes:

Rotel chicken (bumped from last week)

Small group night, easy dinner for the kids

One pot mac (like homemade hamburger helper, with local beef)

Chicken ceasar salad and homemade bread

Leftovers or sandwiches

Baked fish and veggies

Turkey paninis

Group night, easy dinner (maybe homemade pizza)

Pork stew

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

10 things to do with your boys

I read an article that someone wrote about things to teach your boys. It got me thinking. Since I am still learning what it means to raise little boys who will one day be men, I was inspired to write my own post of things I currently love doing with my boys. Things I know they love and think will have a lasting impression on them.

1. Read to them.
They love to hear your voice. Heck, try doing different voices. They will love that even more!

2. Encourage them
Boys need encouragement. Well, all kids do. But in having boys, I've noticed that they really crave my approval. The way Jude's face lights up when I've praised him on something is the best. We will always be their #1 cheerleader, and they will probably always want us to be.

3. Play superheros with them, build forts with them, play in the dirt with them
These are all things girls don't normally like doing, but my boys love it...and sometimes we just need to get out of our own worlds for a little bit and go into theirs.

4. Hug them
Little boys need hugs from their mamas. Sometimes if we're on the road to Memphis, or anywhere where we're in the car for a long period of time and the boys are crying, I'll reach back and just hold their hands...they instantly calm down.

5. Explore with them
Whether it be outside, or trying to figure out some kind of toy or game, the need for adventure is ingrained in our little men. You won't always be invited on their adventures, so take advantage of it while you have the chance.

6. Jump around with them (yes, even on...gasp...furniture)
Most people have a "no jump on the furniture" rule, but in our house, we really don't mind it. Sometimes we have to throw out the stuffy rules and just have fun. It works for us!

7. Cook with them
They love it and their wives will thank you someday! Yes, it is messy, and yes, it will take much longer than doing it by yourself, and sometimes you may end up with food all over you and the floor. Clean up is not that hard, and the memories you make will be worth it.

8. Wrestle
My boys love to dogpile on Mommy. Most of the time I get hurt because someone jumps on my head or something, but I will never regret these moments. They always involve laughing and I'm glad for the times where we are laughing so hard we can't breathe.

9. Look at them when you talk to them
This is very important to Jude, and also important to me. He always says, "Mom, look at me!" when he wants my attention. You really know that someone's listening if they're looking at you.

10. Chase them
My kids beg for this...when Mom is feeling up to it, I comply. Nothing gets squeals quite like running in circles, trying not to get captured.

My advice is this: Even if you don't do any of these specific things with your kids, pay attention to what your kids love and do those things with them. It doesn't matter if its fishing, or playing ball, or doing a science experiment. Every kid's interest's are different, and they will love that you take an interest in what they love. For every time you sacrifice your time, or sacrifice doing something you love, you build them up. They may even take those sweet and fun memories with them into adulthood.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Shelf life

I've been working on a post for several days, which is why my blog has been blank since last week. But I came across a site today that I thought was so helpful and wanted to pass it on. But first, I wanted to share a few things I learned from the site...

Did you know that you should always hold off on washing grapes until you’re ready to eat them?
According to the California Table Grape Commission, the reason is that the excess moisture created by washing speeds up the grapes' decay. To keep grapes at their freshest, store them unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigeratorAs noted here, fresh grapes usually keep well for up to a week in the fridge; you can also freeze grapes for future snacking or use in cooking. (I had no idea you could freeze grapes. How did I not know this??)
Quick tips:
Store tomatoes at room temperature
For maximum flavor and juiciness, keep them out of the refrigerator until they're full ripe. (This is really helpful, I always keep mine in the fridge)
Freeze whole lemons and limes
An easy way to ensure you've always got fresh lemon and lime juice on hand when you need it.
Don't store eggs and milk on the fridge door
For maximum freshness, move past the door and keep eggs and milk in the main compartment of the fridge.
Don't store potatoes near onions
They should only come together when you're ready to cook them. 
Here are a list of foods that are surprisingly freezable:
Opened wine
Brown rice (uncooked)
Fresh herbs
Tomato paste
Bread (I freeze my homemade bread frequently and freezing works well)
Maple syrup (100% pure)
All of this comes from a handy site called stilltasty.com: your ultimate shelf life guide. It has just about every food you can think of, how long it stays good in the fridge and in the freezer, and other good information too! Check it out!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Kid's play and menu delights

The holidays are finally over, which means we are officially back on track...with exercising, with housework, with life in general. Lazy time is over. I haven't done any purposeful teaching or reading or anything since early December, so I thought it was about time to get back on track with that. 

We pulled out a few puzzles and games and started at it. 

The game they're working on in this picture is this:
This game was a Christmas gift from Jude's good friend Jack, and he loves it. Its a really neat little deal. There are 16 different puzzles that are designed to make kids think by counting, sorting, categorizing, creating spatial relationships and color matching as they build more and more complex puzzles. I highly recommend it. If you want to get one, you can get it HERE

Aaaand, it's menu time, so I'm going to jump right into it:


Chicken fried rice

Homemade pizza

Rotel chicken


Fish sandwiches (cod) and steamed veggies

Pork chops, potatoes and spinach salad

Small group/easy dinner night

Monday, January 2, 2012

Just a few things

Today is not a typical Monday. Ross took a few extra days off work, so we've been hanging around in our pjs, curling up to watch movies, playing outside, sword fighting, pretending to shoot webs out of our wrists like Spiderman, doing lots of dog-piling and wrestling, and enjoying our time together before things go back to normal the day after tomorrow. I didn't leave the house once and I even got a hot, relaxing bath in. It was glorious.

On a totally unrelated, but helpful note, one of my favorite sites, The Frugal Girl posted something neat the other day. Her post was entitled A Simple Air Freshener, and it's something I never thought about before. I love scented candles, but apparently, the fumes they put off are really bad for you, and the good ones can be expensive. She suggests boiling a few things, like spices, (in this case, it was an orange peel, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves). What a great way to get your house smelling yummy without harmful fumes entering your lungs, or having to spend a ton on candles!

Or you could just bake some bread or some cookies. Both make your house smell equally delicious! :)

And here is my weekly photo challenge picture:

This is me playing outside today in my monkey pjs. They were the very first gift Ross ever gave me, which happened to be my birthday, not long after we started dating, 6 years ago. The exciting fact about these is that I haven't been able to wear them in years, but was able to put them back on about 4 months ago. Yippee!!!!

A few New Year's resolutions that I thought of for myself:

  • Spend less money on crap
  • Get involved in the MCP Project 12 (an online monthly photo challenge contest, to grow my photography skills
  • Finally learn how to use my sewing machine
  • Connect with and get to know my neighbors more

Happy second day of 2012! 

Disclaimer and Copyright

All information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Whether you try any of my methods or ideas is totally up to you. I am in no way saying you should do everything the way I do, every family is different and you should find out what's best for yours. I would, however, be delighted if you tried some new things in your own lives (whether be my ideas, your own, or someone else's), and shared it with me.

Also, you may use any of the content of this blog for your own personal use, but please do not take the ideas on my blog and claim them as your own. You may link back to my site with proper credit. This is much appreciated.

Helpful Sites

The Frugal Girl (frugality, repurposing, etc)

The Pioneer Woman (recipes)

MCP Actions (photography, PS/PSE actions)

Coffeeshop Blog (photography, digital design and PS freebies)

Digital Photography School (photography)