Toy for Tot: Pom Pom Ball Sorting

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How to keep your toddler busy in the kitchen while you make dinner, featuring a bowl of pom pom balls and an empty egg carton.

IMG_4876Kids love putting objects into various containers… especially when there are 18 individual little buckets! They also like to try to eat the poms and dump all of the poms out… but that’s the nature of any toddler toy :)

IMG_4883 IMG_4892Sometimes, they may even be able to get a handsome hat as a result of playtime.

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But hey, as long as you can make this delicious garlic cream sauce and get your pizza in the oven, who’s complaining? He’s happy. And all you have to do is spend a few bucks on some pom pom balls! Or find some other object you have around the house to sort. Easy peasy!

Photo Post: Joy the Baker’s Baking Bootcamp (Apple Pie Biscuits)

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I need to work on my photography. A lot. So, every once in awhile, I’ll have a photo post with just a few photos! This is from some Apple Pie Biscuits that I made today from Joy The Baker’s Baking Bootcamp. They were so easy, and we all liked them a lot!

I also kind of like toying around with the faded-photo trend. Although I need to work on that as well.

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But sometimes food pictures just need full color.

 

These were really simple to make and really delicious! Caleb saw them cooling on the stove and would accept nothing less than to have one as a bedtime snack :) I also may have eaten one or two as a bedtime snack…

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
  • Item 2
  • Item 3
  • Item 4

Or a numbered list

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

And look – a table!

Header 1 Header 2 Header 3
Data 1 Data 2 Data 3
Data 4 Data 5 Data 6
Data 7 Data 8 Data 9

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.