7 Days of Gratitude

Alright, so I was tagged twice in the “7 days of gratitude” dealio on Facebook (hi, Amanda and Sheila!)… But wasn’t totally feeling it. I do the #100daysofhappiness on Instagram, and that has been awesome for feeling grateful! So instead, I decided to do a little post.

I have so much stuff to be grateful for – holy cow. So I guess I will just list the things that have really popped up over the last week…

Friends who can bake.

My community group and the awesome friendships that have come out of that.

All of the amazing friends I made in college whom I can SnapChat ugly faces to and be friends with even from far away.

Caleb. He just lights up my life every day. And I love his laugh.

Michael. Just, everything. All personality traits. His neverending patience and his ability to skillfully do pretty much anything are so, so, so great. His ability to be friends with everyone and love everyone. Everything. He’s the best human of all the humans.

My ridiculous dog who won’t come inside because all of the squirrels are out collecting food for the winter.

My mom, who stands up for herself, gets stuff done, and never ceases to be an outstanding role model… all while putting others first.

My dad, who constantly shows me what integrity means in his hard work and dedication to his job and to our family.

My brother, who is crazy and awesome and can lift heavy things and sing all the bass songs. And who makes pretty darn good decisions for a junior in high school.

For our house and the huge yard we have to run around in.

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Living close to in-laws who love us, and love Caleb and have family parties whenever possible.

A mother-in-law who is willing to go out of her way to help us whenever she can. Despite hip surgery. And a torn retina.

A father-in-law who can literally fix anything – and is totally willing to help us out fixing up our house.

Mike’s little sister Sky, whom Caleb absolutely adores.

The CSA, which gives us enough tomatoes for 271 people for the year.

The network of mamas from MOPS who understand and have been there.

My job, which I have been at for a year! I still absolutely love it.

My co-workers, each of whom is totally unique, amazing, and knowledgable.

Easy access to doctors, who can expedite the whole “getting healthy” process when I’m sick.

You. Because you are amazing and lovely and you mean something in my life and in the lives of many others. (And just the way you are).

Jesus, who seriously has given me such a good perspective on this life and made me realize that everything is something to be grateful for, and that I should be content with where I am at, no matter the situation.

Now that I’m done with my speech, I will accept my award. Thank you.

But seriously, think about how many things in your life are amazing and how many things you have to be grateful for. The end!

This post brought to you by… HTML and CSS!

I can make a paragraph

With different heading sizes

Which is kind of awesome

I can also italicize and bold text.

And I can make a list:

  • Item 1
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Or a numbered list

  1. Item A
  2. Item B
  3. Item C
  4. Item D

And look – a table!

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All of this is made possible by…Girl Develop It
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You can email them here!

Oh yeah – I totally coded all of that! Booyah! This is made much easier using the free course materials from Girl Develop It. Great resources if you’ve been thinking of doing some basic coding. I can already do more than I could with the “Visual” side of WordPress – and this is Day 1!

So now you totally get to see everything I do – sorry (not sorry)!

Making my Home: A checklist

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Have you ever thought about the influence you have over your home? How your actions, reactions, words and gestures reflect to the back of the minds of your little ones, your significant other, and your visiting friends?

There is an atmosphere about your house. There is an aura that makes your house a home, and you play a large role in creating that home.

Everything that you do and say either builds up or tears down your house. So, it is vitally important to take inventory of how you are making your home.

Building it up…

-Am I using encouraging words?

-Am I keeping the house organized to meet my family’s needs?

-Am I really listening when others speak?

Tearing it down…

-Am I scrambling to find a dinner recipe at 5pm and creating a stressful environment?

-Am I complaining incessantly and causing strife?

-Am I not making quiet time for myself to feel refreshed and centered?

There are so many considerations, and I can probably put a million reasons under “Tearing it down”, but let’s start with five maximum.

Then, choose one Build it up to expand upon, and one Tear it down to improve upon.

Your home is already looking better :)

Download here: Making my home

Men’s Shirt to Skirt

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I’ve seen tutorials on Pinterest for awhile now about how to convert a men’s button-down shirt into a skirt… and finally decided to try it! Mike had a shirt that didn’t fit quite right, so I used this (incredibly vague) tutorial and pretty much winged it. IMG_4437   For the most part, I like how it turned out! I’d love to try it with a patterned shirt next. IMG_4421 IMG_4426   Although it’s definitely not perfect (and for sure a little wrinkly… ;) ), the color is great and it works for a first “free-handed” try at making a skirt out of a men’s shirt. IMG_4440   I’m convinced that I like this style enough, so maybe the next try will be another Thrift Store Clothing Makeover!

All-natural mosquito barrier

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 2.23.16 PMWe kind of have a lot of mosquitoes at our house. Like, a lot.

That being said, my mom told me that she heard on the news that you could call a lawncare company and have them spray for mosquitoes – the story said it’s about $60 for the whole summer. I was toooootally fine spending that money to get rid of these nasty ‘squitoes.

Buuuuut then I called and it was $200 for application #1, which would last for 3 weeks, and another $100-$150 for every application after that! This is calling various companies, mind you. Um, no thank you.

One website mentioned an all-natural, chemical free, garlic-based mosquito barrier, which intrigued me. It was pricey for them to do it, but at that point I kind of asked, “Isn’t this something I could make myself?”

The answer was YES! And it wasn’t even expensive! And it was super effective for three weeks!

Ingredients

Click the links for each to see where I purchased each essential oil. I’m sure others work just as well ;).

We also bought this sprayer for $10 to spray the yard (bushes, underneath trees, brush in the back, perimeter) – you just mix all of the ingredients right in there.

We barely saw any mosquitoes in our yard for those three weeks!!!! It was SUPER easy to make. We highly recommend it :)

Life Lately [ August ]

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Life lately.

Life lately is much better for energy levels, happiness, and enjoying life. Not just from the cooler, pleasant summer weather we have been experiencing. Recently, I started (a very mild dose of) thyroid medication and it has made a world of difference. I thought that my exhaustion and slightly raised emotions (Mike is probably laughing at that line) were just as a results of having a baby… then having a toddler… even though he sleeps extremely well and lights up my life. Well, it turns out that having even slightly abnormal thyroid values can really significantly alter mood and energy levels. I am so, so, so thankful for levothyroxine. I really do feel more like my outgoing, energetic, loves-people self.

I am loving being able to work from home in a job that uses my degree on software that will be used in clinical trials to help people who need new medication and medical devices. I am so blessed, and without an explanation for why I am so blessed. I question it a lot, and I still don’t know – but I do know that I am constantly thankful and constantly in love with a God who loves me.

Life lately is back to baking. Back to creating and photographing. Back to writing training documents for work, blogging for another software company, and trying to sustain a desire to learn more about graphic design.

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Life lately is holding hands, trying my hand at yoga, and cleaning little handprints off of doors (and windows and appliances and furniture and…). It is Caleb transitioning from two naps to one nap per day, repeating tons of words and noises that he hears throughout the day, and following his dad around like a shadow.

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Life lately is home improvements (and a lot of praise for a handy husband), a little boy who laughs his head off when he burps, a dog who barks and barks at the outdoor cats walking down our street, creating new friendships, and rolling my eyes at all of the yard work there is to do.

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Life lately is beautiful, and I don’t think I’d change a thing.

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Cauliflower Rice and Beans

Cauliflower rice is something that we have tried once or twice before and been okay with (cauliflower doesn’t taste like much), but not overwhelmingly excited about.

This blog post details the basics of making cauliflower rice and three ways to make it. I definitely agree with her methods.

1. Cut cauliflower into small florets.

2. Put cauliflower into food processor and chop into small, rice-sized bits.

3. Cook on the stovetop with a little oil.

The first two steps you can do ahead of time, and cook the rice as necessary through the week.

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Have you ever had Caribbean rice and beans? They are so good. This is a much, much simpler version of the traditional rice and beans, but with the same flavor palette. We definitely loved this version of cauliflower rice. Cooking it on the stovetop keeps some of the crunchiness of the cauliflower, which we definitely enjoyed over a steamed, mushier rice.

Cauliflower Rice and Beans

Serves 8 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped finely into rice
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp cumin

Instructions:

  1. Heat coconut oil over medium heat.
  2. When oil is liquid and hot, add cauliflower. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add black beans and cumin. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until entirely heated through.

Summer CSA Vegetable Curry Stir Fry

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Kohlrabi. Again.

I thought it was a little difficult to use the kohlrabi from the past weeks of the CSA, but look at the one from this week!!! It is literally as big as my face!!!

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I came across this curry recipe on Pinterest and thought it looked interesting for using up my two massive bags of peas from this week’s CSA. Of course, I didn’t have potatoes or coconut milk, so I went down my own little path to create a stir fry that had the curry flavors.

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It actually turned out really well! Perfect for a summer evening. And for using up a lot of CSA vegetables.

Also, I know my food photography needs tons of improvement, but between work, watching Caleb, and home improvements, I just haven’t found the time. Sorry for any eyesores. But at least now you can use that kohlrabi ;)

Ingredients:

1/2 onion, chopped

1/4 cup green onion tops, diced

1 cup peas, de-shelled

1 small kohlrabi (or 1/4 of your kohlrabi if it’s the size of your face), peeled and diced

1/2 small head broccoli, chopped

1 small hot pepper

1 chicken breast, diced

3 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp fish sauce

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp brown sugar

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup 2% milk (could also use whole milk or heavy cream)

2 cups rice, cooked in chicken broth instead of water

Instructions:

  1. Heat coconut oil in wok until liquid, then add onions and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add peas, kohlrabi, broccoli, and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Push vegetables to outside of pan and place diced chicken in the center of the wok. Cook until chicken is almost done, about 6 minutes. Stir pan so that the chicken is dispersed throughout the vegetables.
  4. Add fish sauce, cardamom, salt, ginger, curry powder, and brown sugar. Stir contents of pan well to coat all vegetables and meat with spices.
  5. Add chicken broth and milk. Cook for an additional 10 minutes or until most liquid is absorbed.
  6. Serve over cooked rice – the best flavor comes from rice boiled in chicken broth instead of water.

Note: You can use TONS of different vegetables in this recipe. I planned on adding squash, but it turns out that I didn’t get to it in time from last week’s CSA (R.I.P., squash). Have fun using whatever comes in your CSA! :)

Thrift Store Clothing Revamp: Floral Dress

Before and after

Thrift store clothing revamp: Take 2. (See Take 1 here).

Floral Dress Before

This revamp was much easier than trying to manipulate a romper. This dress had some great lines sewn in that made perfect points at which to take the dress in!

Before and after

 

Step 1: Remove shoulder pads.

Step 2: Hem lining now too long from taking out shoulder pads.

Step 3: Dye the bottom of the dress with a pink & orange combination.

Step 4: Take the dress in. Try on. Repeat until the correct size is reached.

Step 5: Sew button back onto the back.

Before and after 2

Also, I apparently did get a little bit of a tan so far this summer. (Evidence: ghostly skin on left, pathetically tan skin on right).

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The back is SO cute. And normally the zipper isn’t sticking out, but whatever. I’d go for better pictures, but I’m normally doing this while trying to bribe Mike to take pictures and keep the baby out of trouble.

I kind of love the old ladyish print. I’m cool with it if you are.