Monday, June 13, 2011

My 2011 Reading List & Goal

I've always been a reader. When I was younger, I loved reading through my National Geographic Animal Encyclopedias and pretend I knew exactly what they were talking about. I didn't, but I learned a lot of new words and animal descriptions. As a young teenager, I loved fantasy adventures - anything that was make believe and I could travel there in my head and follow along with the characters. I swore I was there! Now as a young adult, I find myself drawn to more of the Dystopia genre. For those who don't know what in the word that is, it's more Science Fiction/New Age. A lot of books take place in the future and are the stories of creating a new world and society. I try not to read only this genre, but it's hard. I'm going to try and balance them out with some of the classics, since I never really got into those either.

I'm going to be updating this post as I go. I'll also be including some reviews of my favorite books in different posts! If you have any suggestions of books - any genre! - I will gladly consider them.

For 2011, I have created a reading goal. I decided that a pages goal is better than a book number goal.
This years goal is 10,000 pages.

{277} My Sisters Keeper by Bill Benners
{504} Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
{566} New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
{632} Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
{758} Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
{176} Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy
{337} Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
{249} The World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
{331} The Dead and The Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
{321} Room by Emma Donoghue
{267}The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
{398} Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
{391} Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
{497} The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
{603} Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
{520} The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
{163} Heaven if for Real by Todd Burpo
{336} Unwind by Neal Shusterman
{194} How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
{272} The Awakening by LJ Smith
{256} The Struggle by LJ Smith
{443} The Help by Kathryn Stockett
{362} Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury
{273} A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
{422} Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
{403} Barefoot: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand
{228} The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Hadden

TOTAL:  9879 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Melting Away

I'm finally beginning to feel better. Not too many more stomach problems and the sore throat and ear aches have disappeared, too. Maybe it was just allergies. Just in time for this blistering hot weather to show up. Now, I hate having to run my air conditioning. If it were only me in the house, the dogs and I would be sweating it out with all the windows open. Hubby loves the AC, but hates the bill. But this past week even I am cranking the AC up. It's miserable just to walk to the car into the house. YUCK. Thankfully, I spend most of my day in an air conditioned classroom or else I may melt away. In fact, sometimes I have to wear long sleeves in the summer because it gets that cold in our room. I love it.

This week at work we had our annual carnival. It's mostly for the older kids to enjoy, but there's two bounce houses, a slip n slide, lots of water play toys, popcorn, and snow cones.We got to take the infants in the stroller to watch the fun and excitement but it was also fun to see some of my infant graduate be big kids and play around outside. We survived about an hour outside before we had to retire back to the ice box.

Hubby had had to work all weekend, nights again. Friday night he called me and told me he thought he broke his finger, but didn't remember doing anything to it. I was half asleep and just thought maybe he jammed it. Then he sent me a picture of it. OW! It was swollen, bright red and pale white in places. It looked like he had hit it repeatedly with a hammer. So, they sent him to the emergency room. A few hours later he called back. He got bit my a Brown Recluse! WHAT? My poor Hubby. They had to poke and prod him but now he's better and his finger has returned to normal color and size. And thank goodness I was half asleep or else I would have panicked more!

We did go to the Farmers Market yesterday. It was so hot that we rushed through it and forgot some things. I really wanted to get some eggs, but I forgot! Boo. We did get some amazing new butter from the same lady. This time it's strawberry honey butter. AHH. It's like putting sweet butter and homemade strawberry jam on things. YUM. This lady works butter miracles. We're also going to order some local beef that is 100% grass fed. I can't wait to see how that comes about and also how it tastes.

Today, I am just laying around the house. I did some cleaning and organizing, but I'm feeling so lazy. I do know that I'm going to try and post at least every other day this week. I love my blog and love my readers! And I know when I get to 100 followers, I have an awesome giveaway planned.

Go check out some awesome blogs today!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Great Cloth Diaper Change 2011 Part III

Some of you may remember my posts about my experience at the Great Cloth Diaper Change this year. Well, the final tally has come through. Although I'm disappointed to see that they left out the most important part in this change.....the CLOTH part. But, I guess I'll take it.

5,0256!!! Awesome job to my host, Goldie at Butzie Covers and everyone else who participated or hosted!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless(ish) Wednesday

For this Wordless Wednesday, I thought I would do a little throwback. This is me on my first Easter! AWW. Big old head with no hair! My child could only be so lucky. Thankfully Hubby had lots of blonde hair as a baby and toddler.

Weekend Adventure Lake Trip

The lack of posting going on here is making me sick. Can we fix that? Okay, so maybe it's not the lack of posting making me sick but something sure is. My, to put it nicely, stomach problems, is continuing for the past week now and I think the toilet may start growing to me. I'm not sure what is going on because I feel fine, not sickly at all, but then I must run to the bathroom, more than once. I've been following the BRATY diet - bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and yogurt - but it's without fail that the dreaded feeling comes back. This diet is also making it hard for me to continue with my healthy eating, but I'm really trying. Although I've been cheating a little it, I'm happy for announce I've already lost 5lbs. Isn't that amazing? I'm pretty excited because that is motivation for me. 

Since I haven't been feeling too hot, Hubby took me this weekend to a great place a few hours from us in Kentucky, Lake Malone. It's posted that you can't swim, but apparently, that just means we said no swimming if you get caught, because everyone swims. I was a little chicken at first, I'll admit. The idea of hanging out in water that I can't see through it a little creepy to me. But it was so hot, that I gave it. And then I never came out. We brought Cupcake and PB Cup on separate days, and both of them enjoyed to water. I couldn't get pictures the second day because I......broke Hubby's camera. Yeah, I got a fancy waterproof case and everything. Then I slipped on the rocks and jammed to lens. ACK. He's not upset, but I am. Which proves to me I shouldn't chance my fancy camera by the water.

The first day with Cupcake was only her second time in the water. She was not so sure what to do. We have to pull her in most of the time. And she got shown up by a few other dogs who just jumped right in. But that's okay, because I love her anyways. She was SO hot that she ended up giving in a few times and just sitting in the water with me. 
I also met the Cicada's for the first time ever. We don't have these in California. And they're LOUD. Apparently these little suckers only come out every thirteen years, so I'm happy for that one. They were dive bombing the water and floating next to me. The ground was covered in them. Yuck.  This one especially loved my towel. Apparently they are "generally harmless." Unless of course they mistake your limb as a tree and try to bite you. It's painful to humans but not harmful. I just decided it was best to steer clear of them and then battle them out in thirteen more years.
 I've also decided after this swim trip I am going to get that bathing suit I've been wanting for a year now. It's expensive, but gorgeous. And if I haven't changed my mind yet, I should spoil myself and get it, right? Right!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Excuse the Dust...

If you looked at the blog and said to your self....hmmm...something looks're right! I finally got my new layout! I'm also in the process of setting up the twitter, a facebook, adding some pages, and much more. So please excuse the messy dust for a few days! I'm trying to get it all under control to be prefect again!! =)

Celebration of Life

I didn't get to post much about our kitty, Frankie. Now I wish I had. As if feeling ill wasn't bad enough, Frankie passed away Friday morning. Unfortunately, it was one of our own dogs that did it. I guess you may need some background information before you understand the situation completely. We have to sets of dogs - Peanut Butter Cup and Two-Bit, and then Cupcake. All three of our girls used to get along just fine until one day they snapped. I guess it's common when you have all female dogs, but it's still heartbreaking for us. It has been over a year now and they still cannot be together. We work with them but it just seems to be something that has snapped inside of them. They fight. And they don't just fight they will fight to the death. It hurts my heart to know they will never get along again, but we love them all so much.

Que Frankie. Frankie showed up one night as a little kitten meowing his head off on our front porch. We brought him inside and I loved him, but knew we just couldn't keep him. We went around the neighborhood and asked if anyone knew who he belonged to, but no one knew. He had to have been someones pet because he was just too perfect. Him and Cupcake instantly got along. They slept together, played together, and ate together. They loved each other. He was so sweet, loved to play outside, but came inside to sleep with us at night. Hubby and I marveled over how lucky we got that this awesome cat chose us. Hubby had been wanting a kitten for some time, but I always put my foot down, saying Cupcake would not like a cat or we didn't have to room.

The night Frankie passed, he must've slipped right outside before we let the other two girls, PB Cup and Two-Bit, outside for their last trip before bed. That was it. The girls did what they naturally do as dogs and got Frankie before we could. It hurts inside to know our own animals did this, but I still love them. They didn't try to kill him on purpose, but Frankie had no chance. We buried him that morning in the back of our garden where he wouldn't be disturbed by any other animals. I've been crying for a long time over this. If you know me, you know that our animals are our babies. I love each and every one of them. And this situation was particularly hard for me to handle.

But now I'm trying not to be sad and try to celebrate the few months we got to have with him. We've already decided to get another kitten/cat for Cupcake. She knows something is not right. She sniffs all the spots he would hang out in and knows he's in the garden. When you know your animals well, you can tell. Frankie chose us and I couldn't thank him more for that. He gave us laughs and we gave him a loving home and lots of love. He showed Cupcake she could have another friend, even a cat. He is missed in our hearts and will be thought of often. But now, we have one more little kitten angel up there to greet us later on in life. We love you Frankenstein.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


So no Wordless Wednesday yesterday and not a very long post today. Needless to say, I'm exhausted! I have more energy tonight than I did yesterday, but I still feel run down. Yesterday I had that drained feeling of when you sit out in the sun all day long, except, I wasn't in the sun at all. I didn't have a fever, but I feel asleep on the couch watching movies around 10. That's how tired I was, and sadly, that meant I didn't get my workout in. BUT I've been really good with not eating fast food for lunch. Yesterday for lunch I ate a onion pita pocket, a slice of reduced-fat colby jack cheese, some chipotle mayo, and a grilled veggie Boca Burger. It was so yummy! And today I have another chicken quesadilla. I can make it all the way to Monday, I think! Then I'm going to start all over again. I've been doing good with dinners, too, and trying to limit my snacking. I love snacks.

I have some really awesome things lined up for this weekend and next week. Yay! What do you guys do to keep your healthy motivation up after the first week?

And some blog hopping

Smart and Trendy Moms

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I almost forgot to mention my new twitter account. If you want to follow me, you won't be sorry! 

Meet My New Best Friend, Jillian Michaels

Hello. Have you met my friend Jillian? Oh you don't know her? She yells at me to work out through my TV screen. She's my new best friend forever! NOT! I recently got onto a scale and this has kicked my booty into gear about living healthier. It's not just about weight loss, it's about setting myself up for success. I know I could choose to make healthier choices.....I just choose not to. I've have Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred hanging around my house for a few months. I've done it once or twice, but I give up rather quickly. Not this time. The other teacher I work with and I were talking and I just feel this is something I need to do. I need to exercise. I need to eat healthy. I need to eat my veggies(YUCK). For me and only me. To make a healthy home for a future baby and to be healthier when my children grow up. I want them to be able to learn from my healthy choices and grow from them.

So, I've decided I'm going to take it week by week and not get down on myself if I lax. My one pledge for this week is I will not buy lunch all week and if we go out to eat for dinner, I will choose something healthier than my normal choice. So far so good. Today for lunch I brought a 100-calorie tortilla, some southwest grilled chicken, and some cheese and made my one quesadilla. I also had some broccoli with cheese and a organic strawberry milk. In fact, I only had one soda all day! GO ME! This is HUGE!

Yesterday I also set out on an adventure and made my first set of cloth wipes. I bought 1/2 yard of yellow terry cloth and 1/2 yard of yellow flannel. I already had orange thread and voila. I got myself eight pretty wipes! I used the scalloping stitch for the first time on my machine and I think I'm addicted. It's so pretty. I think next time I'm going to buy a nice towel to use as the terry cloth side that way I have more color options and I can choose some cute prints. By the time we have a baby, I should be stocked and ready!!

Now onto the blog hopping. Please go check out Staci at 7 On A Shoestring!! She is awesome over there so go check her out! She's got great deals and a few giveaways that are coming up. Thanks for loving me as much as I love you, Staci!

And go check out these lovely ladies, too. If you're a new follower, comment and let me know so I can follow you back!
BWS tips buttonThe Adventures of My Family of 8 Tuesday Blog Hop

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day! I hope it's a happy one for you and not a day of sorrow, but of celebration of life. Before I married Hubby, Memorial Day was just an excuse to have an extra day off and BBQ like crazy. Now it's more to me than that. Hubby is a soldier and has served several deployments. He's my little hero. I have not known anyone personally who has given there life in this war, but Hubby has seen it first hand. He's had friends make the ultimate sacrifice, and although I don't know them or their families and may never speak to them, I want them to know that my love goes out to you. Hubby is the best man I know, and not because he's a soldier, but he's my husband. He works hard, does his best, and loves me(and all my craziness) more and more everyday. I knew what I was getting into when we got married, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I love my soldier, but I am thankful for the sacrifices others have mad, past and present, for us to be where we are today.


If you know someone who has served or maybe you have served yourself, please don't forget to take the time to say thank you. It shouldn't take a national holiday, but sometimes it does. I appreciate everything the military has done and the lives that were taken. God Bless.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Farmers Market Sunday

It's been scorching hot around these parts lately. Hubby is back on night shift for three months. That means two different sleep schedules! But he sacrificed his sleep yesterday to accompany me to the Farmers Market again. It was twice as big! Lots of new venders and that makes me one very happy lady. There was even a TON of produce, which makes me an even happier lady. The morning started off chilly but by the end of the day I think it was up to 90*. Today is even worse with record high temperatures of almost 100*. Helllooo southern weather! At least it's just dry heat and not humidity....yet. So what did we get?

We got a fancy granola bar(that was in no way healthy. 400 calories?? EEK), a head of cauliflower, two giant potatoes, two fried apple pies, and some strawberries. We also got some lemonade....but I drank it all! OOPS! First, I have to tell you about this sweet friend pie lady who we bought the amazing honey butter from last weekend. We didn't have enough for what we wanted, so I told her I would catch her with my extra dollar this week. When we got there she remember us(and PB Cup our dog), and said "You don't owe me anything. Here's another lemonade on the house!" What? Okay, I'll take it! Next week she says she's making some sweet cream honey butter but adding some organic cinnamon. I told her she better save one for us or else I'll hunt her down!

The cauliflower was apparently supposed to be a new hybrid that grows purple. The guy said that since it's so hot it just wasn't becoming the purple they were looking for....purple veggies that are supposed to be white scared me so I went with the purest looking one. Yikes. I have plans to make mashed cauliflower with these. Hiding in my veggies where I can get them since I'm trying so very hard to stay on the healthy track. Lately though veggies have just been a huge turn off for me. I've never been a picky eater but now I feel like a five-year-old. The only veggies I do like right now and smooshy peas and broccoli with cheese. Oh and avocados, but they're just not the same quality as they are in California. I got spoiled.
On my quest to be healthier I've tried to eat more wraps. I don't know what it is about the wraps I make but they never taste like the ones I buy pre-made. This one is a 100-calorie tortilla, half an avacado, 1 tbs chipotle mayo,  baby spinach, and some southwest grilled chicken. My biggest challenge with sticking to eating healthy(AKA, not eating fast food), is that I can't find anything I like that is easy to bring to work. We have a fridge and a freezer in our classroom, along with a microwave. So I have a lot of options. But I don't like anything. Fried food sounds so much better. I did find these awesome little frozen veggie singles in broccoli and cheese from Green Giant. It's only one weight watcher point and even though I'm not doing that program, I figure one point has to be okay, right? Anyone have any suggestions on what they like for a healthy lunch? I'm out of ideas! 
It's been a lazy Sunday around here. Cuppy has been nice enough to not leave me alone all day when it's so hot out. She always has to have some part of her body on me. She'll even come up if I'm sitting on the couch with my legs crossed and prop her head on my crossed foot that's in the air and fall asleep. Mommy's girl? I think so. Hubby is asleep and has to work tonight. Tomorrow he and I both have of and if it's not to hot we plan on going out to the Lake and going kayaking. Did you know at a slow pace kayaking can burn up to 400 calories an hour? Me either but I think that's enough inspiration to get my booty our there more. All I need is a cute swimsuit. I want this one. Anyone want to buy it for me? I'll take applications. If you buy it by tomorrow it's 15% off! You know you want to? I'll bribe you with cupcakes carrot sticks(healthy thoughts).

I'm also in the process of getting a new and improved layout. Lets just say it involves owls and is custom made. YAY. I also just got a twitter - @thehitchedlife. Follow us! If you're here from one of these lovely blog hops, let me know so I can follow you back. Happy Sunday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Inside Scoop on Summer Camps

With summer just starting, many parents are playing the back-and-forth game of whether or not to send their children to summer camp. Not only did I attend a few different camps, but I've worked a few myself! My very first camp I worked at was Rawhide Ranch in Bonsall, CA. It was a week long overnight camp and I was lucky enough to be with the youngest girls. This camp was ranch and horseback riding camp. Campers had riding lessons twice a day along with animal science, horse science, and vaulting(gymnastics on horseback). They also got to choose four different elective classes to take during the day, including archery, riflery, swimming, crafts, climbing tower, intro to rodeo, roping, farm life, country dancing, drama, pony carting, creative writing, crafts and much more! While I was a counselor there, I taught riding and dabbled in a little of everything with electives.

I loved every day of my job. Each day came with challenges, but at the end of the day, I felt good knowing my girls were in my care. I had girls who were terrified of horses upon arrival. At the end of the week, they placed in the top five at the rodeo. I had girls who were shy and didn't speak to anyone, including me. At the end of the week they had met penpals for life. There were many nights I stayed up with girls who cried to me about how much they missed their mom. But at the end of the week they cried when they had to leave. I watched these girls grow up in a matter of days! 

I'm not a mother yet, but I know one thing about myself and that's that I was meant to work with children. Without them in my life, I would be a gloomy and miserable person. I won't know what it's like to leave your children with a complete stranger for a week, but I promise you, with the right camp, your children will never experience anything like it. You will see a new spark in your their eyes that wasn't there. You children may even discover things about themselves they never knew! Like they could ride a horse in a rodeo and win a blue ribbon! Or shot a bow and arrow. These skills are something that they will remember forever.

How do I know this? Because as I counselor, I learned things about myself that these girls taught me. For thirteen weeks I met amazing little girls who got a little taste of independence. Their parents trusted me with their most precious gift, and I thank them for that! Always check into your camp and read reviews about them. I'm not saying just ship your children off anywhere. But when you find a camp that clicks, it may change your childrens life. These amazing little people left after a week as little women! 

The summer I worked at Rawhide Ranch will always be one of my favorite summers. I made many friends myself and a few older campers I've got to see grow up and even graduate high school, now! That's amazing to me. Summer camp, whether you choose overnight or even a day camp, is something I honestly believe every child should experience. Happy camping, Ranch hands(and readers).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(Fairly) Wordless Wednesday

Hubby and I drew on our to-go box. Our initials are BS. Haha.

Trashcans and Washers and Tornados, Oh My!

If it's not one thing it's the other, right? I've experienced this in full force the past few weeks. Last week our washer decided it was the perfect time to go on the fritz. Boo. Especially when I needed to do laundry! Well, Hubby did a wonderful job of finding someone off of craigslist who came to our house Monday. He offered us a low quote for a new motor and then scooped ours up. He even left behind one of his other washers so I could finish my laundry. How awesome is that? He got it fixed the next day and dropped ours back off for the trade. After Hubby went to work(he's on nightshift now) I went downstairs to plug in the washer. And now the washer leaks from the water hose. Boo. So I have yet to finish the laundry and now we have to make a run to Lowes before this crazy weather hits.

Speaking of weather, I'm really over this Spring. Tornados are a-brewing here and everywhere else it seems! Thankfully we've not been hit too bad, but tonights storms are supposed to take the cake. Last night I was in the middle of cooking dinner when the sirens went off. I'm getting more fearless when it comes to the tornado warnings and one day I may blow away because I was "that person" who didn't go into the basement. Oops. It's just a hassle to get the animals downstairs because they don't get along. Cupcake has to go in a separate small kennel while the big kennel is covered with blanket so they don't see each other or else they will fight. Not good.

This trashcan is a whole different story! Our trash company recently got an online payment system. We tried this for our last payment and I guess something didn't go through and the trashman came and repo'ed our trashcan. But he did it in the most awful way. First he had to go through our gate into our backyard. Once he got the trashcan he proceeded to dump our trash in our backyard. Meanwhile, the girls were downstairs in their kennel and PB Cup, our 70+ pound German Shepherd busted through the latch and attempted to bust down the garage door to get to the trashman. Needless to say, Hubby called the trashman and let him know how he felt about the situation! Now we have a pretty pink trashcan in support of breast cancer research. Yay. I love it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

That Pee Stick Thing!

"Have you peed your pee stick thing yet?" These are words that are heard often around my house. I don't often talk about trying to create our little monster to more than a few select people, but I feel like many others may be able to relate to what I'm going through. Hubby and I have been doing the baby thing for almost a year and a half now. It's not that long for some but for me personally, it's a lifetime when you are dead set in what you want. Both of us have our eyes set on the final product - our little monster. We were blessed last October, but unfortunately God called that that little bean up early and I miscarried at around five weeks.  We're taking it one day at a time and just continuing to half faith that God has something big in store for us. We just have to be patient waiting for him to decide when the time is right.

In the midst of all this trying, I'm using OPK's to know when I'm ovulating. If you have no clue what that means it's a little stick you pee on and if the first line is as dark as the control line, your magical lady bits produce an egg in 24-48 hours. I get to pee on this lovely stick twice a day, just to make sure I don't miss it! So the other day when Hubby shouted "Have you peed on your pee stick thing yet??" I could help but giggle! Sometimes I take things way too seriously, but he makes me lighten up about them, which I need!

Sometimes I have people ask me how I do my job everyday when I've been trying to have a baby myself. In case you didn't know, I've worked in an infant room at a preschool for almost a year and a half now. I did Kindergarten and school age for four years so being with the infants is a completely different experience. My question to them is always - How could I not love my job? I love my babies! And why not work with them when I have so much love to give. I couldn't be happier when I find out people I know and love are pregnant. Sometimes it stings to know that it's not me, but a baby is a gift, and I can't be jealous of that. I know one day my time will come and when it does, I want people to share the same joy and excitement with me as I have for them.

I want people to follow our journey because it's a different and sometimes difficult one. But why not be there to enjoy(or hate) the ride with me?

Blog Hop Tuesday

Last week I had a lot of fun doing this and followed and got followed by a lot of great new people!! This week I'm a featured blog over at 7 On A Shoestring!! She is awesome over there so go check her out! Thanks for loving me as much as I love you, Staci!

And go check out these lovely ladies, too. If you're a new follower, comment and let me know so I can follow you back!
BWS tips buttonThe Adventures of My Family of 8 Tuesday Blog Hop

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Buying Local

Saturday was opening day at the Farmers Market here in town. I never got a chance to go last year for one reason or another but this year I became determined. In fact, I'm hoping to go every Saturday, especially since I've newly discovered my love for local products. I guess our Farmers Market was rated #1 in Tennessee and #6 in the nation. Pretty awesome! I've been on the search for raw local honey and that was my main goal of our trip. There wasn't too many produce booths yet since it's so early in the season but I accomplished my honey mission and then some.

Not only did I get local raw honey but a lovely lady who was selling fried pies(they were sold out when we got there) was also selling sweet cream butter with raw honey. Holy moly batman. It's heaven. Hubby and I tasted it when we got home and I could have eaten it straight out of the mason jar with a spoon! We slapped it on some cinnamon raisin bread and it's delicious. We've eaten half a loaf already with this stuff. Yum. I'm also hoping that taking the raw honey everyday will lessen my allergies. Hubby and I are going to try this so cross your fingers that it works and I'm not miserable all Summer.

We also went to the flea market here for the first time. There was A LOT of people, however they were selling a lot of junk, too. We did make it out with a beautiful silk dress and two prints of Native Americans that were beautiful, framed in rustic wood. I can't wait to hang them in our living room and will snap a picture of them when we do. We still want to paint before we hang anything up. Did anyone else find anything good this weekend?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom


Happy Birthday to the most beautiful women I know, my mom. Growing up, it was always my mom and I; we were best friends and still are. She was there for me when I wanted someone to play, to cheer me on when I didn't think I could keep going, to help me with my homework and fix my boo-boos when I was little. As I got older and I went through some "teenage angst" she may have secretly wanted to strangle me, but she always supported me in what I did. In honor of my mom's birthday, I wanted to share some of my favorite moments that we have shared together.

I will always remember my mothers painted nails. She had the most beautiful natural nails and they were always long and painted in bright colors. This also was not helpful in the Polly Pocket department when I used to beg her to play with me. Polly used to go flying across the room! Mom used to attempt to do my hair as well. I will never live down my 80's party bangs or the time she crimped all of my hair(bangs included) for my school picture. One of the passions we share is riding horses and the many hours in riding lessons and on the back trails were the best. I also was a "I-can-do-it-myself" child. I learned how to write my name, tie my shoes, and roller blade about five minutes after yelling at my mom to let me do it! Sorry, mom! I'll never forget the first text message my mom sent me and how long it would take her to send one back. Now she has a facebook and can text faster than I can! 

I used to think that I didn't resemble my mom in any way, by looks or in personality. Now I think I look just like my mom and I'm beginning to act like her too, but because she's one of the strongest women I know, I wouldn't want to be like any one else. I love you, Mom! Happy birthday. XOXO

Zenni Optical Review

In the Summer of 2006 I worked on a Horse Ranch as a camp counselor. Boy, do I miss that Summer. Anyway, during this time and for almost eight years prior I was a devoted contact lens wearer. However, I never wore my contacts correctly and often slept in them and when I took them out or put them in I never washed my hands. This and the crazy dust on the ranch resulted in the worst eye infection ever. I had ulcerated corneas in both eyes so bad that my eye doctor told me if I would have waited a few more weeks I would have begun to loose my eyesight. He also told me I would never be allowed to wear contacts again and if I did my eyes would be easily irritated. Upon hearing this, my eighteen-year-old self was not please.

GLASSES? ME? I didn't even wear glasses when I first found out I needed a prescription. I went straight to contacts. I was not a glasses kind of girl. Didn't dorks wear glasses? No, I was not a nerd! I was cool! This resulted in me being a very pouty and spoiled girl and picked out a pair of glasses that I was going to be "stuck with" my whole life. It took a few days and once I slipped those glasses on I became a different person. Now I was cool. I loved them so much and I wanted about ten different pairs in different colors. I took back everything I ever thought about someone who wore glasses. Then I realized that if I ever wanted a knew pair of glasses  I was going to have to shell out anywhere from $200-$500 every time. That was a mood killer.

Since 2006, I've owned one other pair of glasses. They're just too expensive and my lenses are a weird prescription, too. Until last Summer I overheard a classmate of mine in college telling someone else about how she got her glasses for $20. My radar went off and I knew I had to know how she did it! She told me about Zenni Optical. I went straight to my computer after class and looked them up to see if they were legit and they were. I could have squealed. But I was happy with my current glasses and just kept putting off ordering new ones.

Two weeks ago I buckled down and went through their glasses selection. I knew from experience what shape I liked and that I needed a full-rim and not a wire frame or half frame, although they have all of these options on there website. Upon first glance I noticed their easily navigatable sidebar and search options. I selected woman's glasses and full-rim and got almost 800 results. I went through and clicked on the ones I liked to see a enlarged view and if I thought I may like those, it was a snap to favorite them to view later. After I selected my favorite ones I finally decided on my new glasses. A pair of bright green ones for $29.95.


Gorgeous, right? How I could resist something so unique and funky? It screamed not me at all but I had to have them. And you know what else? For that great price of $29.95, which is almost $270 less than what I paid for my current ones, you get free anti-scratch coating and for only $9 you can get polycarbonate coated lenses(I opted out of this) and only $4.95 you can choose to get anti-glare lenses. I couldn't click on the anti-glare lenses fast enough. That was one thing I wanted so bad with my current glasses and it would have cost almost $100 extra. Yes, you read that right. As a starving college student you can see why I didn't choose them.

Well after inputting my prescription in, which you do need to know your pupilary distance but is easy to find if you don't know it, I hit submit and was told my glasses should be on their way in 2-4 weeks. Ouch. I was so sad because I wanted them now. But in one week I checked my mailbox and low and behold, they arrived! I pulled them out of their padded package and they came in a lovely hard shell case with a micorofiber cleaning cloth and put them on. I felt eighteen again! Rejuvenated! 

I loved them but I also loved the price and super fast processing and shipping time. And these glasses aren't made of cheap lightweight plastic. They're just as good of quality as my Calvin Klein frames. And if you don't have anti-glare lenses I can not stress to you the difference in your view. I didn't think it would make that big of a difference but it does. It feels like natural eyesight again. I have already updated my favorite list with them because they also carry sunglasses and swimming goggles at the same low prices. I already can't wait for my sunglasses to come in.

NOTE: This review and opinions are mine and based solely on my experience as a customer. I was not compensated for this review.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's the season....

I just got done chopping up watermelon. This could only mean two things. 1. I'm going to be making a bunch of watermelon fruit leather. 2. It's Summer. Isn't the right? I always feel like when I cut up the first watermelon of the season it's the mark of Summer. This one was so big I only got halfway through before stopping and covering the other half in the fridge whole. Oops! 

Tonight has been a laid back kind of night. Hubby and I went to dinner. I finally got that sushi I was craving. Spicy crab roll. It was delicious. Now we can home, cracked a bottle of wine, and are enjoying the beautiful night outside on the patio together before the storm hits. It's looking like we're in for a rough week with some storms and possibly tornados this weekend and into the next week. This is especially nerve wracking since Hubby starts but up with the night shift. 

Tomorrow we're heading to Nashville to see Social Distortion. Hubby loves them and I like their new stuff. Should be a pretty exciting! What are you doing this weekend??

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Homemade Strawberry Fruit Leather Recipe

Strawberries are my not-so-guilty pleasure. I love them. Any way and any how I will eat them. So when I remember that you could make your own fruit leather and strawberries went on sale....BINGO! I had to make it. I've made two batches so far. The first one I spread a little too thin and it ended up being kind of crunchy. The second batch was just perfect and was gone in a flash! Hubby loves it too. We have a pineapple and a watermelon sitting in our fridge. I'm going to do some research and see if those fruit leathers are possible. Although I wish I could say I made these the old fashioned way and dried them outside....I didn't. I cheated and used the oven. But it was still just as good! And now that I want to make more the weather has started to get super gloomy and now so good for dehydrating fruit puree. So, here's how I made my fruit leather. I used suggestions from The Vintage Chica and it was perfect.

Strawberry Fruit Leather
You will need:
Strawberries - I used 2lbs and it was perfect for one sheet.
Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Sugar (to taste)

1. Preheat the oven to the lowest setting - mine was 170 degrees.
2. Rinse the berries and cut of the green tops.  Cut the berries into quarters if they are large berries.
3. Place the berries in a covered saucepan on medium heat.  Pour in 1/2 c. water for every 4 cups of fruit.
4. Bring the berries to a simmer and let them cook down for 10-15 minutes until the fruit is soft.
5. You can mash the berries us with a potato masher. I let the berries cool a little and threw it in the blender for a few seconds. Then put it back onto the stove.
6. Add sugar 1 tsp. at a time until desired sweetness and lemon juice to taste . Mine were pretty sweet so I didn't need much.
7. Simmer fruit until sugar is completely disolved and the mixture has thickened (about 5 or 10 minutes more).
8. Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Pour the strawberry mixture onto the lined baking sheet.
9. Bake in the low temperature oven for as long as it takes for the puree to dry out (between 8 and 12 hours) and not be sticky to the touch...Mine took about 7 hours, but a little second in the middle was still sticky.
10. Let the fruit leather cool.  Then as you take the leather up, tightly roll it, plastic wrap and all as you would do cinnamon rolls. - I bypassed this and just folded it into a baggie. It disappears too fast!
11. Store the homemade "fruit roll ups" in airtight containers or plastic baggies.

Eat and enjoy! You may need to make two or three trays full. You can also dry this out in the sun all day if it's hot enough. Just make sure you put cheesecloth or something similar in a tented fashion so those pesky bugs don't get to it! Now it's going to be time to make some more. Hubby just finished off the last of it!

(Fairly) Wordless Wednesday

I'm sick....again/still....I'm still craving sushi. Oh, but I got new glasses! What do you think? I think I like them. It will just take some getting used to.

Link-up here & here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blog Hop Tuesday

I'm doing a new thing and we'll see how it goes! If you end up here from one of these fabulous ladies, leave me a comment and let me know! I'll follow you back!!

BWS tips button 7 on a Shoestring

The Adventures of My Family of 8 Tuesday Blog Hop

Cloth Diaper Status Update

I'm home sick today. Boo. After my stomach sickness bout on Saturday, I thought I was fine. I even ate (a lot) yesterday! But last night and this morning my crazy sore throat and vomiting came back and I just couldn't bring myself to infect my cute little babies at work. They don't deserve this crazy sickness or whatever this may be! I'm feeling much better after some toast and although I want sushi so very bad right now, I'm going to resist the urge and stick with something better for my tummy. Did I mention I really want sushi though? 

I just completed a HUGE order of cloth diaper things. I'm so so so excited. I have also purchased a few patterns. I got one sized pattern that is XS/Newborn - Large AIO. It's from Very Baby and is the Very Basic All in One Pattern. It got a lot of good reviews and I was informed it was a good idea to have a few XS/S sized diapers because sometimes newborns can't fit in the OS. I'm also okay with having some AIO in my collection because even though they take a longer time to dry, it's nice to have something that resembles a disposable when people are watching the monster one day or if we're out and about. It's also very easily made into a cover, so that if I love the prefold route, I can whip up a bunch of those no problem.

The Very Baby AIO

I also got the NykiBaby One Size pattern. The reviews I read seemed fairly good and I figured I'd give it a shot by making a few. If I fell in love with them that would be fantastic. If I didn't, well the would be there for days I didn't feel like washing or I could donate them. No big deal. I really liked it because of the snaps that I have some weird obsession with. Oops! I'm not sure why but snaps seem fun. Don't worry. I'm making some velcro ones, too.

The Nyki Baby OS

The very last diaper pattern I purchased with recommendation from Goldie at Butzie Covers was the Kayla's Cloth Kit Ones. When I went into Butzie when she so kindly fixed my broken snap on my Kawaii, she said she loved this one! They were trim between the legs but held up good. I'm not so sure how I feel about a OS that does all velcro, but I'm going to try it. If I hate it, there's some tutorials for making them into snaps but a lot of the reviews say they love the OS velco. We will see!

Kayla Cloth Kit OS
Okay, here's what I ordered and if you have recommendations for the next order, please let me know. I decided to stick with black on black until I got the hang out things. =)

I ordered black PUL, black cotton veleour, some elastic and touchtape (velcro), some size tags and labels, and birdseye for the soakers. My first few diapers will be made out of cheap velcro, white PUL, and leftover flannels. I know that I will mess up my first few so I'm going cheap! I don't want to waste the good stuff.

I almost forgot! I also went to the local fabric store and bought a bunch of flannel and terrycloth to make some cloth wipes! YAY! I went gender neutral since whenever we are blessed with a little monster, we won't know what it is for a while. I admit, I did grab some pink stuff BUT a wipe is a wipe right?

Oh and here's a little breakdown of cloth diaper "lingo" for my friends who may not know what the hay I'm talking about up here, thanks to The Cloth Diaper Report.

AIO (All In One) - A diaper with a waterproof outer shell/cover, inner lining and soaker all sewn in one. The most similar to the convenience of a disposable diaper, but longer drying time.

/Touchtape - Hook and Look used for diaper and laundry tab closures (a.k.a. “velcro”, but not the Velcro brand)

Cloth Wipes
- Cloth wipes can be made of many different fabrics such as terry, flannel, cotton, fleece, sherpa and velour. They are convenient to use with cloth diapers, because they can be washed together with your diapers.

Diaper Cover
- Used with prefolds, contour and fitted diapers these provide a waterproof barrier and can be reused with multiple diaper changes. Made from PUL, fleece or wool.

- Can be either reusable or disposable, a liner helps make clean up easier or should be used when using diaper creams or ointments. In the latter case, it helps keep build up from forming in the main diaper.

OS (One Size) Diaper
- A diaper that can be adjusted in the rise (usually with front snaps or adjustable elastic) to grow with you baby. Some brands get small enough to fit a 4 lb. baby and other brands get large enough to fit a 40 lb. child. A typical size range is 7-35 lbs.

Pocket Diaper
- A diaper with a waterproof outer and inner lining with a pocket opening at the back of the diaper where an insert may be stuffed. These are available as sized diapers, are the most popular style for one size diapers and are also a feature on some all-in-one diapers.

- a rectangular diaper available in many sizes and fabrics, cotton being the most popular. These diapers are the “old school” diapers that are the most affordable cloth diapering option.

- Polyurethane laminated fabric or basically laminated fabric. 1mil and 2mil are the most common thicknesses of the lamination with cloth diapers and accessories and both cotton and polyester fabrics may be laminated. The polyurethane (plastic) layer serves as a waterproof barrier, but has some breathability.

- Plastic closures in a “T” shape that have tooth-like hooks to grab on to the fabric of a prefold or contour diaper. This is a safer alternative to the traditional pins.

Wet bag
- A bag made of PUL used to store diapers. Drawstring, zippered and Velcro closures are the most common.