Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DIY Wooden Utensil Box with Burlap Flower

An old piece of fence wood before:
An old piece of fence wood after:

Tonight I want to give a quick shout out to Heidi, over at the Frugal Girls. I'm super honored that I was able to guest post for them. If you'd like to read more about how my husband and I made this utensil box, out of an old piece of fence wood, you can click here.  Making something out of nothing is so much fun! Check out the Frugal Girls page, to read the whole post.


Natural House Cleaning Products-Review and GIVEAWAY!

Recently I was sent a 30day supply of natural cleaning products by Natural House. I was excited to try these products because they are made with probiotics and they are supposed to be way safer and more effective for cleaning. 
I was sent their "Flushy", "Sinky" and "Trashy" products and while they all seemed to work well, "Trashy" was my favorite. Trashy is a trash can spray, that uses probiotic cleaning to remove odors and keep odors from coming back.

Natural House probiotic cleaning products brings you a revolutionary, new method of cleaning the most dirty areas of your home. Utilizing non-toxic, probiotic cleaning agents, Natural House products are strong enough for commercial clean-up, yet safe and gentle for all of the members of your Natural House.

Here's a little more info about why these all-natural cleaning products are superior to those currently on the market:
*Natural House products use an eco-friendly cleaning method of probiotics that create a beneficial, odor eating ecosystem to naturally drive out and digest odors at their source.
*Natural House's plant-based ingredients are eco-friendly, non-toxic and biodegradable to naturally fight the toughest problems you face in your house.
*Natural House's products, Sinky and Flushy even break down and digest fats, oil, grease, and solid waste to ensure your disposal, pipes, drain lines or septic tank run smoothly.
*Natural House's cleaners contain good probiotics which continue to scour, clean, consume odors, grime, grease, and germs, and they continue to do so until your next weekly treatment!

So how exactly does probiotic household cleaners work?

The surfaces in your house are like a garden. If you don’t seed with good plants, weeds will grow. You have the same choice with your household surfaces: sanitize for a moment with harsh chemicals leaving your surface open to recontamination or seed with probiotics to continuously weed out the bad micro-organisms.
Traditional cleaners “clean” a surface for a moment in time; the second the rag is finished wiping the surface, that surface is almost instantly polluted once again with ambient dust, dirt, and micro-organisms.
Natural House probiotics creates mini-ecosystem on a microbial level that produces enzymes which break down odors, dirt, fats, oil, grease, food scraps, waste and toilet paper products on a continuous basis between applications. This creates a natural, clean, balanced environment that is safe for even the most sensitive members of your natural house.
The action is in the foam! When using your Natural House products be sure and let it foam first to release the cleaning agents before going to the next step on the package directions.
The short and skinny of it is this... our natural probiotic cleaners keep on cleaning long after you've stopped!

Now, for the giveaway details!
Natural House has offered to provide one of my readers with a 30day supply of their probiotic cleaners.
To enter this giveaway, all you need to do is answer this question in the comments section: What is the most challenging part of your home to keep clean? If you are not a follower of my blog, please leave your email address so, I can notify you, if you win.
For additional entries:
*Leave a comment that you follow me with Google Friend Connect
*Leave another comment if you follow by email.
*Leave another comment if you follow me on Pinterest.

This giveaway will be open until Monday, March 12th and the winner will be chosen with random.org
Good luck!
*I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Project 365{+1} Week 8

This week, for Project 365{+1}, I went with "yellow" for the theme. Yellow is cheery and bright, and one of my more recent favorite colors. Yellow is happy and sunny and it reminds me of summer. 

I haven't decided on a theme for next week yet. Have any ideas? I'm open to anything (well, almost). 

This week, I'm linking up with The Naptime Momtog

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Black and White Music Party

Yesterday we celebrated my nephew's 3rd birthday. My sister did an amazing job planning him a music themed Birthday party. Everything was black and white and totally adorable. We all got to decorate our own pizzas and for dessert, she made Oreo cupcakes. I love this boy! I'm so thankful for his friendship with Judah and for his kind heart. Happy Birthday, nephew! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Daily Gifts of Grace-Book Review

I review for BookSneeze®
Have you heard of Book Sneeze? Well, if you're a blogger, who loves to read, you might want to check them out! They have a huge selection of books and they'll ship one to you, for free. All you need to do in exchange, is provide an honest review of the book. 

In early January, I received a daily devotional, titled "Daily Gifts of Grace", published by Thomas Nelson. When I saw that this devotional was available for review, I quickly jumped on it because this is a Women of Faith daily devotional. I've read one of their devotionals before and I really loved it. Really, anything from Women of Faith is most likely going to be pretty awesome. 

Here's a little about "Daily Gifts of Grace", quoted from booksneeze.com:
"Women of Faith speakers share insight, advice, laughter, and maybe even a few tears in this daily devotional. Voices from fiction, recognizable names from Christian conferences, and well-known Christian writers also are included.

Daily Gifts of Grace is a daily devotional designed specifically for women, with a beautiful hardbound case and a magnetic closure. Readers will be pleased to open it for a devotion that will help them face the day or for an inspirational devotion to close the day.

Contributors include Joni Eareckson Tada, Lisa Whelchel, Jenna Lucado, Sheila Walsh, Kim Cash Tate, Patsy Clairmont, Natalie Grant, Lisa Harper, and others."

Here are my opinions on the devotional:

Cover & Presentation: They say you can't judge a book by it's cover and maybe that's true but, I often do it anyway. The cover of this book grabbed me. It folds open and has a book mark built in so, I can save my place each day. Normally I wouldn't even talk about the cover of a book during a book review but, this one is too good to not mention.

Length and Practicality of each Daily Devotion: I love the length of each devotion. For me, it's the perfect length for a quick morning cup of coffee. Reading the devotion for each day is very doable and not overwhelming. Also, each daily devotion feels like it applies to my life and I feel encouraged by what I read.

Overall opinion of "Daily Gifts of Grace": Overall, I would give this book 5 stars. I love how each devotion is inspiring, easy to read and apply to my life and also, inspirational. This book is also very easy to understand. You don't need a PhD in Theology to get something out of this devotional. I feel like any woman could pick it up and be encouraged. 
For this review, I was provided with a copy of "Daily Gifts of Grace", by BookSneeze.com 
Like always, these opinions are my own. 


Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Few Pin-spired Crafts

Hey everyone, it's Thursday!
If you've been following my blog for awhile, you might have noticed that my favorite thing to write about on Thursday's are my craft, cooking and D.I.Y adventures. This week, instead of sharing one recipe or one craft, I want to share a few crafts that I've done lately, because I've been pin-inspired. 

I'm not going to show where the original ideas were from because honestly, I've tweaked them all to make them my own and secondly, I always feel nervous showing other people's pictures. You have to be careful posting content without permission! Honestly, it's even better when you make something you're own. It seems like craft, cooking and D.I.Y blogs are popping up everywhere. If you ever see something and you wish you could do it, just try! Don't be afraid that yours might not look like the original. Just have fun and make it yours. It doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful and who knows, maybe yours will even turn out better than the one you saw?!

So anyway....... I've been pin-spired and it's been super fun. The first crafty adventure that I'd like to share is this little shadow-box-type frame (honestly, I have no clue what to call it!). Judah got a fun play dough set for Christmas and it came in this Melissa & Doug wooden box. The box was too nice to throw away but, not practical for storing play dough in so, we stained the box, gave it one coat of gloss, attached some wire to it and then I found those tiny clothes pins at Michael's. Now it's a great place to hang pictures, Judah's artwork or special cards.  

The second pin-spiration that I decided to share, are these small vases with burlap and baby's breath. I already had these vases so, all I did was wrap burlap around the top, fasten it with a hot glue gun and then I added some white flowers. Now, they sit inside our chalkboard and I totally love them!

The third pin-inspired craft is spray painted mason jars. I love spray paint and I love mason jars so, when I saw this, I was all over it. First, I sprayed on a layer of light beige glitter spray paint. It barely gave the jars any color so, I decided to just go big and I went and grabbed my bright pink spray paint. The bright pink was almost too much so, after that was dry, I gave it another layer of the beige glitter spray. To finish them off, I added a big, chunky, imperfect burlap bow. It's like rustic meets girlie-girl and I kind of like it. When I look at this jars, I see them filled with plastic forks and spoons at a party.

So, what about you, have you been pin-spired? If you don't already follow me on Pinterest, you should! I love seeing what other people post and getting fresh ideas. The link to follow me in on the sidebar of my blog. 

On a side note, I just wanted to say how much I love that I can write about totally shallow things like Pinterest and fun crafts and then other days, like yesterday, I can write about heavy, emotional things, like how I'm sensitive. Thank you for the encouraging comments and for understanding. Some of you I know in real life and I love ya, others of you, I might never meet but, we all can relate to each other. Even if we are all different, we  encourage each other and I'm grateful for that. So, thanks!

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This post might be linked to some of my favorite linky parties.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sensitive? Yep. Me too!

Something's been brought to my attention a lot lately. No one particular has actually mentioned it to me but, I've noticed it a lot about myself and for some reason, I feel the need to write about it. So, here we go. I'm sensitive. Like, really sensitive. My feelings and emotions are. I'm fragile. I don't do well at all with scary movies. I don't even like driving in the wind. I'm just flat out sensitive and to be honest, sometimes it sucks. Sometimes I wish I was tough and that my feelings didn't get hurt so stink'n easily. Sometimes I wish that I could just roll with the flow, not over analyze and not feel inferior, about things that aren't even about me!

Part of being a sensitive person is worrying that my children will be like me and that they'll have hurt feelings, sometimes feel lonely and be sensitive to life in general. While I never want them to be that "tough" kid who doesn't care about other people's feelings, sometimes I wish for them to not be quite as sensitive as I am. 

As I've been thinking about this and trying to put a positive spin on it, I came up with one awesome thing. God made me this way. I've always been this way and I doubt I'll ever be different. God made me sensitive for a reason so hopefully, I can take this sensitive spirit of mine and use it for HIS glory.

So, what about you? Are you let's say, maybe a little too sensitive like I am? I honestly don't know why I'm even publishing this post but, I feel better now that this is off my chest. And now, I think I'll go spray paint some mason jars (and do some stupid laundry) because, those are very insensitive (and important!) things to do. :)


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Project 365{+1} Week 7

To mix it up a little but, I decided to go with a theme for Project 365{+1} this week. I decided to try and incorporate some sort of "sign" into each picture. It was easy and fun. I did well with using a sign for each day except Saturday. It was raining really hard and I desperately wanted a picture of Paisley in her rain jacket, with an umbrella. I didn't try hard to incorporate a sign into that picture. Having a theme for the week really helped me not get into a rut. I think I'll continue to pick a theme for each week, as long as it's fun, and not a chore.
I wanted to share this picture even though it wasn't one of my "pictures for the day. This picture shows what it really looks like when you're trying to get a good picture with your kids. Well, my kids at least. It's funny...I see mom's post these amazing photo shoots that they've done of their kids and I wonder if it was all smiles and sunshine or if they a few of "those moments" as well. Anyway, this is what it really looks like when I'm trying to get a good picture of my kids. We press Valentines into each other's heads. I try to keep babies from falling out of wagons, we smile, we cry. You know, it's just real life. 

Saturday it was raining super hard. I put Paisley in her rain jacket, gave her an umbrella and sent her outside. The umbrella was too big for her to hold so, we held it together.
The "sign" in this picture is the sticker that sits on the clock in Paisley's room, on her changing table. When I'm changing her and she's fussing, seeing this sticker helps lift my mood. Yes, that may sound strange but, it works!

Yesterday was President's Day and rumor has it, that you're supposed to plant your peas on President's Day. Well, to the Country Store we went and then planted our peas is what we did! Judah is a great garden helper! Seriously, being outside with him and planting the peas was the best part of my day. It was tempting to not take 100 pictures of his sweet little dirt covered hands holding seeds. My hands were also covered in dirt and I didn't want to get my camera too messy so, I was able to resist.
For next week, I'm planning on using a theme again, possibly "yellow". Yellow is happy, sunny and bright and with all the rain and cloudy weather we've been having, I could use a little of that! I might try and use a little yellow in each picture. We'll see!

Naptime Momtog

Saturday, February 18, 2012

MilkyWay Muddy Buddies

Recently I was invited to a baby shower for a sweet friend of mine (so excited!). I asked her what her favorite candy bar is and when she told me "MilkyWay", I decided to make MilkyWay Muddy Buddies to bring to the shower. Very recently, I gave up anything with sugar in it for a very long time so, I haven't tasted these. However, my husband and Judah are perfect for taste testing and according to them, the recipe is delicious!!!
 MilkyWay Muddy Buddies
9 cups Chex cereal
1/4 cup Butter
3 MilkWay candy bars
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar

On very low heat, melt the butter, candy bars and peanut butter, stirring frequently. While they are melting, measure the Chex cereal into a large bowl. After the butter, candy and peanut butter are completely melted, pour the mixture over the cereal. Stir very well, to coat all of the cereal. Add the powdered sugar to the coated cereal and stir. The directions on the Chex box say to put this mixture into a large ziplock bag and then shake, to thoroughly coat the cereal. I didn't have any bags large enough so, I covered my bowl with plastic wrap and then carefully shook the bowl around. 

Next, dump the Muddy Buddies onto waxed paper and allow to cool (although, I'm sure they would taste pretty good warm, also!!).

This recipe might be linked to some of my favorite link parties
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Honest Random Thoughts

It's Saturday afternoon. Our children our napping and broccoli soup is simmering on the stove. You might say to yourself, "Gee, it's like her children are always napping." Well, let me get that story straight....trust me, they aren't always napping. I just don't like to blog when they're awake. My blog posts would most likely be a bunch of interrupted sentences and it's not fair to them anyway. 

This morning my husband went to his men's bible study. It's the perfect way for him to start his Saturday but, I still felt a touch of jealousy. He was out of the house and he even got to take a shower before he left. I was here. Changing diapers, cleaning pancakes of the highchair tray, dreaming of a shower, folding laundry, you know how it goes. Do you ever struggle with that? Even though you know they are doing the right thing, it's still hard to not feel slightly resentful?
A few days ago, I stopped nursing Paisley. It was time but, it's still been hard on me emotionally. I know this is a pretty personal thing to talk about but, I know other mommies out there can relate so, I'm going for it. For literally almost 4 years, I've been either pregnant or nursing, without a day in between. To be just "ME" again is super weird. Don't get me wrong, it's good but, it's also strange. The "lasts" with our kids are bitter sweet. They are sad because they are signs of the inevitable....that our babies grow up. But, they are also sweet because as my babies get older, I've realized how much fun it is to see them grow and change. Oh, how proud I get of the most silly things that they can do! So, I've shed some tears these week over this "last" with Paisley. It's just how it goes!
My last random thought is about something much less serious. Chalk board paint. Oh baby! I bought some for the first time yesterday and I'm already compiling a mental list of the things I hope to create. So, be prepared to see some chalkboard paint on this here, ol' blog in the near future. 

Thanks for sticking around and reading my random thoughts. I hope you can relate to some of these feelings. Happy Saturday!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Forced to Slow Down

This morning I woke up to Judah telling me that he just threw up. It wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear, before I even had a chance to pour a cup of coffee. Being greeted by his news and also hearing Paisley awake, quickly jump started our day. 

It's seems like we've had a lot of plans lately. All of them have been great but, it's been a little too much for my taste. When we go, go, go, I start feeling behind and with feeling behind, comes the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Today, we stayed home and even though I was bummed to miss the family story time at the library, a day at home was just what we needed. It was a simple day, the kind where you stay in your pajamas much longer than you probably should, Judah watched lots of T.V because honestly, it was the only way that I could keep him still. We read lots of books and we played hide and go seek. I washed laundry and enjoyed our home. Even though I don't like seeing my sweet boy sick, I enjoyed the day with him. We cuddled more than normal and I'm glad we were forced to slow down. 

I wasn't going to share these pictures but, they are just too funny not to post. The other night, we brought out some snorkeling goggles for Judah to wear in the bath. When Paisley saw them, of course she wanted to wear them, too! She was hilarious in these and she knew it. So stink'n funny.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

White Chocolate and Coconut No Bake Cookies

For Valentine's Day, I made the girls at my table some super easy White Chocolate and Coconut No Bake Cookies. A few of them mentioned that they'd like the recipe so, here you go ladies!

White Chocolate & Coconut No Bake Cookies
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 package white chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal

Over low heat melt the butter. After the butter is melted, stir in the milk and white chocolate chips. Continue to stir over low heat until the white chocolate is melted. Turn the heat off and stir in the coconut and oatmeal. Scoop onto waxed paper and place in the refrigerator to quickly harden. After the cookies are set up, they can be stored at room temperature. These cookies are rich, super easy to make and a fun alternative to the regular no bake cookie.
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Pie Pockets

Yesterday was not only Valentine's Day but, it was also one of my favorite mornings that we have a few times a month....A MOPS morning! To celebrate how much I love the girls at my table, I whipped up some Pie Pockets for them and also some White Chocolate & Coconut No Bake Cookies (recipe to follow). This recipe is one that came to mind, late one night when I was crawling into bed. These are super easy to make and the options for what you could fill them with are endless. 

On a smooth surface, roll out either your favorite pie crust. Homemade or store bought, both are fine!
 Use a cookie press or a cookie cutter to "stamp" the pie crust. If you're using a cookie cutter, just press it on the pie crust lightly so, you don't push it all the way through.
 Use a circle cookie cutter or a large glass to cut out circles of pie crust. I didn't stamp the circles that would be the bottoms of the Pie Pockets because I figured the design would get messed up while they baked.
 Scoop a tablespoon or so of lemon curd, homemade jam, chocolate chips or even peanut butter and chocolate sauce onto the pie dough. Smooth it out s little but, don't get too close to the edge.

 Place the stamped piece of pie dough on the top. Tightly pinch the edges together and then use a knife to make a design around the edge.
 Bake the Pie Pockets in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until they are lightly browned. Place on a wire rack to cool.

 For Valentine's Day, this heart was perfect but, I'm sure I'll make these again throughout the year and do different designs on the top. For a kids party, I could stamp them with my child's initial or their age. Super easy and yummy!
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