Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Casually Feminine

The Family Revised began hosting Casually Feminine last week and the topic was pajamas. I didn't get in on the action then, so I'll update that part now. What I wear to bed greatly depends on the temp. Our house is very old and does not have central heat and air, so in the winter I dress VERY warm and in the summer I don't. Winter wear is usually pajama pants or sweat pants and a pajama shirt or sweat shirt with socks. Some of my pjs are kind of cute and some, not so much. In the summer it's usually just a t-shirt or tank top and undies. I do have a few spaghetti strap nightgowns that I will wear if it's super hot, but I don't like nightgowns, I get all tangled up in them. I am thinking of investing in a few more feminine t-shirt night gowns. We shall see. My hubby has no complaints about what I wear to bed, but I am trying to look more feminine most of the time.

Today's topic is hair. What a topic for me. I love my hair. I love to style it all different ways, it's fun and my hubby loves my hair, too. I have had it short several times over the years, but always end up growing it back out. I keep layers cut in it so it's very versatile. I have some natural wave, so I'm able to wear it curly if I use curl spray and scrunch it, that's a very quick fix for me after I have showered, so that happens fairly often.
This pic is when my hair was shorter and darker, but you get the point of the curliness.

I also wear my hair straight fairly often. I usually just let it dry by itself or do a quick blow dry and then run the flat iron through it. If I do that then I had some volume at the crown. I'm no fan of flat hair. If I'm just hanging around the house I may not add the volume, I might just brush it out, but because of the layers it still looks like it has a style.I don't know why that pic is so tiny, but it is. I couldn't make it any bigger.

I also like to curl my hair. I do this with a curling iron and it takes me about 15 minutes from start to finish. I usually do that for date night or if I'm getting dressed up or sometimes just because I want to. My husband likes BIG hair, so this really suits his fancy.I also do the occasional ponytail or pull just the sides back in a clip or put my bangs back in a bobby pins with some volume. If I'm going out and wear a ponytail I'll add some volume at the crown then put it up and let my bangs sweep to the side. If I'm wearing a ponytail at home I put it all back.

As you can see from the pics my hair is colored. It has been MANY colors over the years. I love coloring it. I would change the color more often if I could, but it seems I've settled into the blonde. My husband really likes it, it doesn't require much maintenance (I only have to have it done every 2-3 months) and it hides my gray really well. I have a gray streak in my bangs (thanks DAD!) and when I was doing the darker colors I had to color it every 3-4 weeks. Not fun, but at 33 I refuse to look like a skunk. I started coloring it when I was 14, why in the world would I stop now. LOL

So that's the lowdown on my hair. I think most days it looks pretty feminine and like I've done something to it. I do not ever spend more than 15-20 minutes on it and most of the time it's much less time than that.

Hop on over to The Family Revised to read what others have to say about their hair.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Glorious Day ~ Casting Crowns

Music speaks to me, so this week while we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, I'm going to post some music that reflects His sacrifice.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weight Watchers Online

It's official. I have joined Weight Watchers Online. I love the program, but didn't do it as well without meetings. However, the local meeting is held on a very inconvenient day for me and I have to take a ten minute detour because of road construction, so it just was not happening. Doing the program online is cheaper and it adds some accountability because 1) I've already paid for it and don't like to waste money and 2) I'll get email reminders and need to input my weight, etc. I've also found a couple of friends, who both happen to live VERY, VERY far away who are or will be doing the program as well. So, I'm putting it out there, that I would LOVE to have more friends doing the program, so we could encourage and hold each other accountable. Let me know if you are interested. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Follow

Friday Follow

I've been wanting to get in on this for a while now. Seems I was not thinking of it until Saturdays. Glad my friend Pam at got in on the fun today and that served as a reminder for me to try it out. You should too!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Sign for Mason (and his Momma made it)

I posted this on my FB page, so if you are friends with me there and are seeing this twice, please forgive me, that probably happens often. I only have so much material ya know.

I am not what I would consider to be artistic. I am however what I would call crafty and I do consider them to be two different things. I don't often have artistic design ideas on my own, but I do often see something and think "maybe I could do that". I try lots of different things. It works well for me because my attention span is short, so I just have lots of different hobbies and bounce from one to the other and back again.

I've been seeing a lot of those cute little canvas signs that people are painting lately and thought I'd like to try one. I looked at canvas today (while I was at the store picking up my prescriptions, blahhhh). I decided I didn't want to spend $6 on a 8x10 stretched canvas in case I wasn't any good at it. So I bought 3 8x10 wrapped canvasses for about $4. I thought that would give me more opportunity for practice, too. As I was looking at them Kelsi asked what I would do with them and Mason immediately chimed in and said, "I want a sign for my door, with my name on it." So, I tried it. Our house is 112 years old and the upstairs is still a bit rustic. Mason's room also has several antiques in it, so I wanted his sign to be a bit rustic. I think it turned out nicely. I learned some things and will do some things differently next time. It took me somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour from start to finish. I may wait and give it to him for his birthday in a couple of weeks, or I might not. We shall see.

Kitchen Gadgets I Love #5

I got one of these measuring cups for Christmas a couple of years ago. The 4 cup one cost about $10. Which I would have never paid for a measuring cup, so I put it on my wishlist and got it. :) I LOVE it. I would now like to have the 2 cup one as well. The way that these are made allows you to look down into them as you pour to see your measurements. No more leaning down to see things sitting on the cabinet or trying to hod them up level. I also love that the 4 cup one goes all the way down to 1/4 cup measurement, so I can use it for almost anything. You should definitely have one!

P.S. I have recently seen that Wilton and Pampered Chef have something very similar.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

WW Key Lime Pie (or whatever fruity flavor you prefer)

1 box sugar free lime jello
1/4 C. boiling water
2 - 8 oz. containers light lime yogurt
8 oz. fat free cool whip
1 - 9" low fat graham cracker crust

Dissolve jello in boiling water. Cool slightly

Stir in yogurt.

Fold in cool whip.

Pour into crust and chill.

Cut into 8 slices. 3 points per slice.

Pretty stinkin' easy. You can also make many other flavors, just match your jello to your yogurt. Lots of possibilities there (peach, lemon, strawberry, strawberry-banana, raspberry, etc.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Strawberry Concoction (Faux Cheesecake)

This has no crust, but the flavor really reminds me of cheesecake. It is SO yummy!

2c. strawberries sliced
2c. vanilla fat free yogurt (can use plain)
1 box fat free sugar free instant pudding mix (small box) [I prefer using white chocolate flavored, but you can use vanilla or strawberry]
2 c. fat free cool whip

Place strawberries in the bottom of an 8x8 casserole dish. Stir pudding mix into yogurt and spread mixture over strawberries, then spread cool whip over the top.

Serves 8 (1 WW point per serving)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip (I Winged It)


2 [10 ounce] cans chunk chicken, drained
2 [8 ounce]packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup Ranch dressing
3/4 cup hot wing sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Spread cream cheese on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Combine chicken, dressing and wing sauce and spread over cream cheese. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top and bake at 350* until cheese is melting (the chicken mixture will probably be bubbling around the edges).

I have made this twice and we LOVE it! The other night I was "winging it" and just using what we had. I had one block of cream cheese, 4 small cans of chicken and very little hot wing sauce. So, I used a smaller dish and just had a thicker layer of chicken. I also added vinegar, hot sauce and salt to make up for my lack of enough wing sauce. It was FABULOUS! I do think you could probably leave out the two cheeses for a lighter version and it would still be really good. We ate it with tortilla chips, but you could use crackers, etc.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Accidental Minestrone

Last night I was completely unsure what to make for supper. We had been gone for a couple of days and had just gotten home and I was just struggling to think of something. I've been keeping pre-browned ground beef in the freezer, canned tomatoes in the cabinet and plenty of frozen veggies, so I just thought maybe vegetable soup would work. When I got the tomotoes out I noticed some kidney beans and decided to use those too, then I looked in the fridge to see if we had any leftover veggies in there. We had leftover garlic and rosemary potatoes and green peas. We also had carrots, celery and onions cut up for salads, and I keep a jar of minced garlic in the fridge, so I added all of that. Then I looked up the ingredients online to see if there was a similar soup recipe that would give me an idea of some other herbs to add, but instead found that I had basically just made minestrone. I did add more rosemary and salt and pepper and we sprinkled a bit of parmesan cheese on in our bowls. It was SUPER yummy and healthy, too.

When I have time I'll try to find the recipe that was similar to what I did.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Y-u-m-m-y Supper

On the green plates for this evening:

Venison cube steak cooked on the George Foreman grill with homemade (sort of) steak sauce
Garlic rosemary dice potatoes
Steamed Broccoli with cheddar cheese
and last but certainly not least,
Applesauce Cake

Your mouth is watering, isn't it???

Awesome Educational Website (and it's FREE)

Just found this site and will surely be using it with my kids. So far I've checked out some of the math, the science and the social studies and I am impressed!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Another Giveaway

Fresh Cut Quilts Pattern Co. is hosting a Spring giveaway. Entering gives you a chance to win a layer cake of quilting fabric and two quilt patterns. Looks pretty neat!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Pattern

I just bought another pattern on Etsy. I bought it from the same seller that I got the last one from. This one is for a peasant style dress that I can also shorten and make a peasant style shirt or tunic. I'm super excited. One of the fabulous things is these are written in more of a tutorial format and have many sizes included, so I can make them for my 1 yr. old niece or my 12 year old girls. I must also say the customer service is phenomenal!

Check it out:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Divorce STINKS

No my hubby and I are nowhere close to divorce! Praise God we are headed in the direction of our 15th anniversary. That being said, my husband was divorced when I met him and had an 8 yr. old child. That child is now 24 and in Army Basic Training. Being the second wife and step-Mom was never easy. It's so hard to figure out how to do it all right and I'm certain that we made our share of mistakes, but we love him so much! We didn't get to spend very much time with him during is teenage years, by no choice of our own, but thought that the relationship was really improving. Anyway, now that he is in Basic we have received no phone calls, his Mom and girlfriend are getting all of those, only a handful of letters and now are not going to see him this weekend because he doesn't think he has enough time to visit with everyone, so his Mom and girlfriend are going to that. Rejection stinks and it's worse when it's coming from someone you love so much. Having to tell my kids we weren't going stunk. Just once I wish he had to be the one to give them the disappointing news. We are so disappointed, so very sad. Please pray for us, our hearts are broken.

If you are contemplating divorce and have children, do ALL that you can to work it out! See a good Christian counselor, die to yourself and be willing to put in a ton of work, effort and love even if your spouse is not doing the same. Trust the Father's plan for marriage. Be the husband/wife He has called you to be, regardless of who your spouse is being and trust Him to do a great work in your marriage. I promise it is possible!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Let's Get Physical (Intimacy in Marriage)

I found THIS great series on intimacy in marriage over at Learning as They Grow. Make sure you start with week one and read on through. Very thought provoking!

Homemeade Dishwasher Detergent

Today we ran out of store bought dishwasher detergent and I am determined to use things that we have on hand as much as possible. A friend had told me about making this homemade a while ago and we talked about it again recently. You mix 1 part borax to 1 part baking soda. I used a quart sized jar to hold it in so I used 1 1/3 cups of each. I also added 2-3 Tbsp. of salt to help keep the dishes from becoming cloudy. I have recently begun learning about and using essential oils, so I wanted to add a scent. By far my favorite is Lemongrass oil. It smells a lot like lemon drop candy. After I added all of my ingredients I put it in my blender to grind it into a fine powder so it would dissolve very easily. We tried 1 Tbsp. in the wash today. If that doesn't seem to get them clean enough we will go up to 2 Tbsp. It made my house smell so good! I also added vinegar to the rinse reservoir. I'm really enjoying trying new things and saving money in the process.

Kitchen Gadgets I Love #4

This is a Paula Deen loaf pan that I got for Christmas. It's glazed stoneware, so it holds heat well and heats evenly. I love the width of it. It makes a perfect sized family loaf and my bread just seems to turn out better and it's pretty! You can go to THIS POST to see bread that I actually made using these pans (I have two). You can purchase them HERE.

If money were no object I would have the Pampered Chef version and honestly that will probably be one of my freebie or discounted items when I host another party. I especially want their mini-loaf pan.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Kitchen Gadgets I Love #3

I need to preface this by saying that is not the exact one that I own. The one I have is a K-tec Kitchen Champ that I bought used from ebay and I got an AMAZING deal. I stalked ebay like a mad woman for a LONG time before I found such a good deal. I think I have about $75 in mine and it's a $400 machine. I LOVE IT! The blender is amazing (this company actually makes the blenders that places like Starbucks use) and the mixer works great for making anything whole wheat. However, if money were no object I would own this.

It's a Bosch and will also hold a blender. I think the motors hold up longer on the Bosch and the bowls are a bit larger, so I could make more loaves at once.

5 Question Friday

My Little Life

How much time do you spend on the computer a day?
Too much. I have no idea, but would probably ashamed to find out. I am trying to work on spending less time on it.

2. Will you pay for your children's college or raise them to pay for their own way?
We will try to help our children as much as we can, but reality is they will need to try for scholarships and we will encourage them to stay home and go to college so their expenses are lessened (Remember that I have twins that will go at the same time, can you say EXPENSIVE!)

3. Have you ever been in a car accident?
Yes, I have been in a few car accidents.

4. What is your favorite book?
Lies Women Believe and The Truth That Sets Them Free By Nancy DeMoss That book had a profound impact on my life and came to me at the perfect time. God's timing is always perfect!

5. Do you make your bed everyday?
I straighten the bed everyday. My husband likes to fold clothes on the bed, so he likes for the covers to be lying flat when he's doing that. If he wants to fold clothes the least I can do is straighten the covers.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kitchen Gadgets I Love #2

This is a collapsible colander that I got for Christmas. It folds flat so it doesn't take up near as much room in my cabinet. It has arms that pull out so it will rest over your sink and it's quite a bit larger, so it will hold a lot more. It holds all 5 lbs. of hamburger when I pre-brown it and still has room for more. Again, I'm a cheap-o, so I never would have just bought it for myself, but I did ask for it for Christmas and I'm so glad I did.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kitchen Gadgets I Love #1

When I first saw this one I thought it was a little expensive for what it was. However, I had a Pampered Chef party with a friend and ended up chosing it as one of my freebies. It's great! It has made pre-cooking 5lbs. of hamburger meat at a time much easier. I also use it to chop whole canned tomatoes (it's cheaper at the local grocery store to buy the large can of whole tomatoes) and we use it to mash our baked potatoes before we put all of our toppings on. It gets used around here alot and even the kids have found it very helpful.

Quick Supper

Wednesday's are so busy for us. On a typical Wednesday we are schooling, getting ready for co-op and dance the next day, I'm finishing up the lesson for Wed. night Little Praisers, working, cooking supper, attending a meeting and going to church. I have to be ready to walk out my door with most of that complete no later than 4pm. It is not easy! I also have to make sure that whatever we are having for supper is portable and can be eaten fairly quickly. Patrick and I usually only have about 15 minutes between the meeting and church to try to scarf something down.

As I said before we are eating out of the freezer and pantry. So, today I decided chilli would be the easiest thing to take with us. I don't have bell pepper or onion, so I had to be a little more creative. I ended up using 1 lg. can of tomatos, one can of rotel, three cans of dark red kidney beans, 1 can of green chillis, 2 packets of chilli seasoning and some minced dried onions. I also had ground beef already browned in the freezer. So it literally took me 5 minutes or less to combine all of the ingredients in the crockpot and turn it on. In my book, you can't beat that!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Possibilty... I was pondering sponsoring a child I decided to look at children that needed sponsors. I thought that I might like to sponsor and older child that has been waiting for a sponsor for a while. So, I searched for children that met that criteria and came across THIS child. Then for fun I began to search using my children's birthday's and came across THIS child.

Yes, you saw that correctly the first child shares a birthday with my daughters. I found it intriguing that two of my searches led me to him. We'll see.........

Also, a group of bloggers are in Kenya now learning about an area that Compassion helps. You can read about what they are experiencing HERE.

An Idea....

....for how to use some of our saved money. I'm really pondering this and praying about it and gonna talk to my hubby about it, and have him read THIS.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

.....better known as how our lack of discipline and planning caused us to have to be total tightwads for a while.

We've had a lot of expenses lately, most of which I should have planned for, I just did not think about them. Since the first of the year we've had to buy dance recital dresses, pay for Mason to play baseball, I totally messed up the house payment (I was way too tired for multi-tasking and trying to understand a new banking system and GOOFED), the girls birthday and weekend getaway and a bunch of other junk. So, it seems that we are finding ourself in a position that requires being REALLY careful with our money, or more like we aren't spending any. Thanks to Mr. Dave Ramsey we have some savings, but we are trying not to touch it. We're not broke or poor (compared to most of the rest of the world we are truly wealthy), but we just need to be careful. And guess what.......I'm so THANKFUL that we are in this position. We've been living like a bunch of spoiled brats, not thinking about where our money is going or being careful enough with it so we could be generous in areas and this has brought me back to a place of frugality. I used to be so frugal and I loved it. It was so fun to save money. It sort of felt like beating the system and it impresses my hubby and I LOVE that! So this week I've found myself being self-controlled (go figure, guess I needed some work on those fruits) and creative and it's FUN! So what have I been doing.

~Yesterday I went to 2 stores and bought NOTHING! I didn't need anything anyway, so why do I feel compelled to buy something just because it's a good deal????

~We went to my Mom's for lunch (we actually do that most Sunday's so it wasn't very creative, but it did save me money) and we ended up staying for supper too. It was such a relaxing day and I didn't have to feed my family once. Mom had a TON of leftovers from my brother's birthday dinner, so we all ate those and we just had corn dogs for supper (None of us were very hungry after lunch anyway).

~Today I finally made homemade laundry detergent. I've had the ingredients for ages, but didn't have a 5 gallon bucket to make it in. I finally found a 2 gallon recipe. I didn't have a 2-gallon bucket either, but I did have a few old laundry jugs that we'd been saving (okay, okay they were just here because we'd all been to lazy to get them in the garbage). I made the detergent in a lg. pot on the stove and then poured it into the bottles. It will have to set up overnight before we can use it, but we still have a little store bought left. HERE'S where I found the recipe. I think I'll be getting more ideas from her site as well. I have read that this is fine for HE washers.

~I also found 2 bottles of half used fabric softener, so I diluted those with water. When I was a teen and lived with my uncle he did that all the time and it still worked great. I've read about another way that the Duggars do it (which you can find HERE), but I think my kids might make too big a mess with it their way so we'll stick to this for now.

We'll be eating out of the freezer and cabinets for a while, but honestly we should have been doing that anyway. To be truthful we will financially be back to normal in a few days, but I'm praying I'll get back into my old frugal habits and stay there. I have lots of ideas on how to put some extra money to good use, so we are gonna be busy working to make those ideas become reality. This is gonna be fun!

Prayers of an Excellent Wife (Giveaway)

So, the fleshly part of me didn't want to post this, because I want to win the book. LOL Thankfully the part of me that longs to see women learn to love and serve their husbands they way that God desires for us to won out! Plus, I've read The Excellent Wife and it was FABULOUS, so I think this one would have to be great as well.

Go HERE and read a neat little post on praying for our husbands and follow the directions to enter yourself in the giveaway.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

5 Question Friday

My Little Life

1. What's your guilty pleasure?

I'm trying to think what that would be. I'm sure there is one.......Probably just eating sweets when my kids aren't around so I don't have to share. That's awful, I know, but I'm thinking most Mom's do this.

2. What is your favorite TV series?

I really don't watch a ton of TV. Most of what I watch is what my kids or my hubby likes. Right now though, I love The Biggest Loser.

3. Can you speak any foreign languages?

No. I can count in spanish and Korean and I know the sign language alphabet and several signs. I hope to finish learning sign language some day.

4. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

I'd be ashamed to even count! I know I have 4 pairs of tennis shoes (2 pr. are old and I wear those when I might be getting dirtly) and too many pairs of dress shoes and WAY too many pairs of flip flops and boy am I ready for flip flop weather!

5. What's your favorite kind of M&M's...peanut, almond, straight up regular, etc.?

I really like peanut m&m's, but hands down my favorite are peanut butter. I actually potty trained all of my children using those!

Hop on over to to get in ont the 5 question action.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Simplifying Our Food

So, I'm working on simplifying life in general around here, but I have to start with baby steps I suppose. One thing in particular that I have been working on is food. I have grand plans on where to go with that.

~Shop sales and begin couponing
~Make out two weeks worth of menus and grocery list based off of what is available from sales and couponing
~Pre-cooking as much as possible
~Making healthy, easy to prepare choices

So far I'm shopping sales, doing a tiny bit of pre-cooking and attempting to make healthier easy to prepare choices. The only pre-cooking I've done so fare is ground beef. When I buy it I'm going ahead and cooking all of it, seperating it into ziploc bags and placing it in the freezer. I plan to cook up some chicken, shred it and freeze it as well. Those or some of the simple pre-cooking plans, but the girls and I have bigger plans along those lines as well. So thankful they are interested in helping in the kitchen. It takes a lot of the load off of me and helps them learn to do these things for their own families.

I got some fabulous deals this weekend at the grocery stores in a nearby town. I spent about $100 and bought a BUNCH of breakfast foods, meats and veggies. Speaking of veggies.....One of the stores that I went to had Birds Eye Steamfresh veggies for less than 90 cents. I am in love. They are so YUMMY and EASY! I'm definitely sold and will be buying lots of these everytime I see them on sale.

On the simple healthy meal front I have realized that for me it's easier to provide a meat and veggies. Last night I cooked pork chops (I got lean sirloin pork chops for 99 cents per lb.), broccoli w/cheese (This was the Birds Eye, it took 5 min. in the microwave then I sprinkled just a bit of cheddar over it and stuck it in the oven for a min. or two to melt the cheese) and mashed potatoes (I found country crock potatoes on clearance at the local store for 99 cents). Supper was finished in less than 20 minutes and I only spent about $4 on the entire meal. Tonight we had sirloin beef roast (got it on sale for $1.99 per lb.) potatoes ($1.88 for 8 lbs.) and green beans (These were the Birds Eye as well, they took 6 min. in the microwave). I cooked the roast and potatoes in the crock pot all day. The skin of the potatoes is said to house many of the nutrients an no one here minds eating it, so I just laid the potatoes on the cutting board and quickly quartered, then diced them. I probably had 10 minutes of prep in this entire meal. It was very yummy and super cheap. I think I spent about $7, but we have enough leftovers for a full meal. So that makes that meal come to about $3.50 per night.

I'm sure I'm not gonna find those veggies on sale like that all the time, so I think I'm gonna invest in Pampered Chefs micro-steamer, it's actually pretty inexpensive and I could just put frozen veggies in there and have the same result.

One other goal is to eat more green veggies. Honestly this is hardest for me, but I'm getting much better. So far we are all eating salad, broccoli, green beans, brussel sprouts, turnip greens (I tolerate those), everyone but me will eat green peas and I hope to try to feed them all asparagus really soon.

What do all of you do that makes meal time easy?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Our Soldier

My step-son's girlfriend got this picture of him in the mail today. Gotta love technology. She's two hours away, but was able to share this with us via Facebook. It's the first time any of us have seen him as a soldier. It was so good to see his face. We miss him terribly, but are just so proud of him!