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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reusable Storage

I am starting to reuse items I would normally recycle after seeing a few great tips on Pinterest.  

Tip #1:  Reuse empty coffee creamer/juice containers to hold random pantry items. 

Old juice container now holds popcorn kernels.  Old creamer container now holds chocolate chips.  So much easier than using a twist tie or ziploc bag and easy to pour!

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Tip #2:  Reuse empty tissue boxes to store plastic bags.

I now have plastic bags stored in my pantry as well as in my laundry room and they are all contained thanks to empty tissue boxes!  If you put them in one by one they are very easy to pull out!

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I have decided there will be a place for everything in the new house!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Twelve Months of Giving Back: January

I decided last month that I was going to start a little series on giving back.  You can read more about that here.

Earlier in the month, I saw a Facebook post from an old friend asking for donations for Big Brothers Big Sisters (Bowl For Kids Sake).  In a former life (before kids), I interned at a BBBS in college and went on to work at BBBS (3 states ago).  Steve became a Big Brother (5 states ago) and my mom was a Big Sister for several years.  I love the organization – it pairs adult mentors with children needing a positive role model.  I have witnessed first hand how the relationships that form can last a lifetime.  It truly amazes me how giving and loving people can be.  I knew this was a perfect opportunity to give back, so we donated a small bit to Bowl for Kid’s Sake.  I love giving back to an organization that is dear to my heart!  Learn more at www.bbbs.org.

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I also decided I was going donate blood this month.  I donated blood every 8 weeks in SA, and decided to get started up again here in KC.  I received 3 blood transfusions after some complications I had after Kate was born, so giving blood is very important to me.  I went to the blood bank last weekend and my iron count was too low, so they turned me away.

They told me to eat a big steak, lay of the sweet tea (yikes), drink juice, take vitamins, etc.  So, I ate a big burger last night, have been taking my iron pills, at a good breakfast, and today my iron count was even lower than it was last weekend!  So frustrating!  Five finger pricks later, I have still not been able to donate.  This will not stop me!  I will be going back in the next few weeks to try, try again!

Steve and the kids brought me to donate both times to be my “driver”, but I think it was because there is a Chuck E. Cheese in the same strip mall!  I found them engrossed in a driving game!  So focused!

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I would love to hear how you gave back this month!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

12 Dates For 2012

Steve and I decided not to get each other anything for Christmas this year.  We just bought a new home and we thought that was plenty gift enough for both of us!

I did want to do a little something for him, so I came up with 12 date ideas (one for each month) for 2012.  Life gets in the way, we get busy, and date nights don’t end up happening as often as they should.  This gift will keep us honest and guarantee at least 12 date days/nights this year!

I had to include a disclaimer just in case something fell through… :)
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Here are the dates I have planned…

January- Movie Night (dare we see something that doesn’t have a princess in it!)
February- Nice dinner at local restaurant (reservations already made!)
March- Dinner/Drinks/Live music at a cute local place
April- Comedy Club to see a headliner
May- Celebrate 9 years of marriage & Steve’s 33rd birthday - TBD
June- Boulevard Brewery Tour
July- Country Concert @ Power & Light
August- Sushi Dinner (would never take kids to do this & Steve’s favorite)
September- Sporting KC game (MLS Soccer)
October- Iowa Football Game Watch at Local Iowa Bar
November- Party at the Larson’s (hopefully we will have lots of friends by then!)
December- 33rd Birthday dinner for yours truly

These are not fancy dates, but they don’t include children and that’s all that matters!  I printed each month’s date out on a different shades of blue cardstock, hole punched the sides and tied a festive little plaid ribbon to keep the pages together. 

Steve loved it!  He gets to enjoy all the benefits of the date nights without having to do any of the leg work!  While babysitters and evenings out can be expensive, no value can be placed on adult time and nurturing your marriage! 

This would also be a great for a birthday, anniversary or Valentine’s Day!  Now go get planning!

Linking up with:
http://tatertotsandjello.blogspot.com             
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

“McDonald’s Like” Oatmeal

My favorite oatmeal is from McDonald’s.  Have you ever tried it?  It’s simple and delicious and low in calories!  I just recreated it at home.  It was also delicious.

You will need:  oatmeal, dried cranberries, golden raisins, granny smith apple, brown sugar

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Boil some water and pour over your oatmeal.

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Let stand for a few minutes to thicken up and add your ingredients!

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Would be a great afternoon snack too!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Stools

We knew we didn’t want anything completely made of wood when deciding on bar stools for the kitchen island.  We have dark wood floors, a dark wood island base, a large wooden built in next to the island and a wood kitchen table and chairs.  Do you see a theme here?  We needed a different texture to layer the space a little better. 

We have a large overhang on one side of the island where two bar stools fit perfectly.  After doing a little poking around, we found two possibilities, both at World Market.  Affordable and stylish, just what we were looking for.

These were to two options:

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In the end, we decided to go with the one on the right simply because it is adjusts up and down.  Loving the industrial feel of them.  With a swift turn of the seat, you can accommodate everyone in the family including a 6’4” hubby and two little munchkins!

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More pictures of the new house to come.  Still unpacking and organizing – I wish I had ten of me right now.  I want everything done immediately and my husband keeps reminding me that is NOT going to happen!  Who wants to come help? :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tapioca & Jello Dessert

My mom made this side dish/dessert when we were growing up, and I haven’t had it in years.  For some reason I was thinking about recently, so I made it for my own family. 

Ingredients include two boxes of tapioca pudding, 8 oz. cool whip, water, fruit, and jello flavor of your choice.  I chose strawberry because I already had some in my fridge.  My mom always made orange with mandarin oranges.

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Combine Jello, pudding, and 3 cups water in pan, bring to a full boil.  Let set.  Add thawed cool whip and fold in drained fruit.

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It takes a couple of hours in fridge to thicken and set up.

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I was thinking this would be a good dish to make if you make a “red” dinner for Valentine’s Day!  Your kids will love it!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Moving Madness

We have officially moved into our new home and out of the hotel room!  We ended up staying in the hotel for 56 days and words cannot express how thankful we are to be HOME!  I also have to mention that we are having 60 degree temps in KC-we must have brought the Texas weather with us!

Though we are happy about being home, we are far from being settled.  My sister came up for a quick visit this weekend, and we were able to get most of the kitchen stuff unpacked and I managed to find all of our bedding, but there are boxes everywhere.  Even after six major moves, certain things never get easy, like unpacking and organizing 14,000 lbs. of stuff! 

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Having a basement is the greatest thing that has happened to us in a long time!

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And a 3-car garage!

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My sister and I did manage to get all of the china unpacked.  Maybe I will actually use it this year!

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These two are so excited to be home, and Mom & Dad are excited to have them sleeping in separate beds again!

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We don’t have internet yet (my kids are chowing down a bagel so I can blog at Panera as we speak :), but hopefully it will be up and running this week.  Until then, have a great week! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yarn Wreaths

It seems homemade wreaths are everywhere these days.  People have entire boards on Pinterest dedicated to wreaths, and I know they are some of my most popular posts... 


I feel the same way about a homemade wreath…cute, inexpensive, and custom.  They also make great gifts.  There are a million tutorials and posts about yarn wreaths if you want to make one for yourself.  I like to keep them pretty simple, but the color combinations are endless.  Here are a few images of ones I have either made for someone, sold, or used for myself in case you need some color inspiration!

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Happy yarn wrapping!

Linking up with:
http://tatertotsandjello.blogspot.com             
Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tiny Dancer

In the history of her 3 years, today was one of her best days .   .   .

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The day she started her first tap and ballet class .  .   .

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She was giddy with excitement and has already asked to go back tomorrow. It is going to be a long 7 days until her next class!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

“You’re A Good Mom”

I want to read more this year.  Nothing crazy, just finish a few books (which would be a few more than I read last year)!  I take my kids to the library often, and read to my children often, but I never seem to find the time to read for myself.  I want to read books about things I am interested in, and with this book, I also got a good laugh.

I just finished a hilarious book about motherhood, “You’re A Good Mom (and your kids aren’t so bad either)” by Jen Singer.  This book had me smiling, laughing, and nodding my head in agreement.  The premise of this book is to discuss the extremes of mothering (Slacker Mom and Super Mom).  Jen Singer prefers to “mother in the middle”, which is exactly what I hope I am doing!

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I think my favorite chapter titles read “If You Think You’re a Cool Mom, Your Kids Think You Are a Pushover“ and “You Didn’t Invent Motherhood”. 

We all have those “I am the worst mother in the world” moments, and this book will have you forgiving yourself!  This is a quick and easy read and will leave your smiling. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pendant Lights

We are a little unsure of what we chose for our pendant lights for over the island. After all, we made about 300 decisions for the house in a 3-day time span in order for the builder to complete the work in our time frame. The pendants are pretty, but they kind of just blend in and become an afterthought.

After scouring Pinterest, I continue to be drawn to these industrial looking pendants. Clean, simple, bright. I have finally gotten a white kitchen that I have always wanted and I want the lighting to be perfect. Luckily we still have time to make changes.

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I found these similar models right at the local hardware store.

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The kitchen has white (bone) cabinets, black hardware, a dark stained island, white/black granite, stainless steel appliances and sink, and a brushed nickel faucet.  I am a big fan of mixing and matching different sheens, paints, stains, fixtures, etc.  I think bringing in polished nickel pendants might give the kitchen a little “jewelry”.  Once we actually move in I will post pictures of the final decisions!
Monday, January 2, 2012

Dog Booties

Dilemma:  A Great Dane with huge paws/nails and brand new rustic maple hardwoods meeting for the first time next week.  EEEEEK!  I can already see the scratches…

Solutions:  1. Soft Paws (glue on nail protectors)-too fussy and expensive over time
                  2. Never let the dog on the first floor- impossible
                  3. Leave the dog outside – Hahahahaha, that’s funny
                  4. Get rid of the dog – NEVER
                  5. Dog Booties- YES

So, I just ordered our big guy an XL set of four of these…303D_LPC[1]

HE IS GOING TO BE ANGRY ABOUT THESE!

Samson also has arthritis in one of his hind legs, so these will help with traction on the hardwoods. 
More to come on how they work out, but hopefully they do the trick.  They can be worn inside and out, and have traction pads on the bottom.  Guess what lucky person is home all day and gets to wrestle with a dog her own size to get these suckers on?  Yep, yours truly!  :)
Sunday, January 1, 2012

44 Days & Counting…

Today, January 1st, 2012, we will be spending our 44th day in a hotel.  Yes, 44 days.  We rang in the new year last night by going to bed at 9pm.  We are old and we are okay with it!  This afternoon, we saw “We Bought A Zoo”.  Not a great movie for our kid’s age (a little to much “story”) but I absolutely loved it!  I cried through half the movie (this, to me, is a sign of a good movie).  Steve enjoyed it too.  Very touching, a feel good movie for the whole family (our kids sat through it fine, but it was a little do deep for them).  I would recommend for sure!

This is what life is like in a hotel:

Eating out every meal.  Deciding where to eat for every meal.  A couch that is too small for my 6 ft., 4 in. husband to get comfortable on.  A golf ball shattering one of our windows from the mini golf course right outside our window.  Me wearing the same 3 outfits because I am too lazy to dig through whatever else I packed.  The kids staying up until 9pm because they are sleeping in the same bed and giggling.  After Christmas, the room looking like an episode of “Hoarders”.  Surviving two toddlers with food poisoning.  Surviving one child with the stomach flu.  Surviving one severe nose bleed because of the dry conditions in the room.  Hearing kids playing basketball until 11pm right outside our windows.  Rushing to wipe the water/slobber mouth of a 130 pound Great Dane after he drinks and before he strings it all over the room.  One of our two bathrooms being taken up by cat litter, cat food, and water so we never use it.  Leashing the dog to take him to a 2 x 2 patch of “green space” to go to the bathroom.  Surviving with one kids channel and (gasp) no DVR.  Waking up to lights and bathroom fans when Steve gets ready at 5:30am because there is no door from the bedroom to the bathroom.  Hearing that we will be in the hotel room one week past closing on the new house because of the mover’s schedule. 

Jealous, aren’t ya??

We do, however, have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to in 2012.  We will chalk this month and a half up to another “experience” and be grateful for it.  And, the kids love it at the hotel.  There is something weirdly cozy about living so closely together and getting through these long days together.  We have landed in a great city that are so excited to start exploring, and we are ready to begin this chapter in our life.  Another bonus-my kids are learning how to do laundry.  We go right up to the second floor and the kids help me sort, put detergent in the washing machine, put all the clothes in the dryer, clean the lint, and put it back in the basket after it’s dried.  They would not be doing this if we were in a home.  I might just have to keep this up once we get there…

There is a pool and hot tub, so that is a plus

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We have had unseasonably warm temps, and we discovered a huge park and dog park 4 minutes from our new home.  We are going to come here often!

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Our dog has been getting his energy out at the dog park

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We’ve played lots of “princess” and we’re getting really good at coloring in the lines!

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Don’t forget the coffee and oatmeal…breakfast of champions!

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We are still having fun!  First time on skates for these two and they blew me away with how well they did.  They would fall and get right back up-we will be going again soon!

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Bagels for breakfast-one of our favorites!

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Most of all, we have each other, and that’s all that matters in all of this chaos! 

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Happy New Year!