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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Just Married Sign

When I got married, I made a "Just Married" sign for the back of our getaway car because I didn't want anyone to shoe polish our car or make it tacky in any way (I'm controlling like that).  It was so cute and tasteful and simple.  So the "Just Married" sign was the very first thing that my friend Christa inquired about when she began discussing design for her wedding.  She asked me to make it, and then that got my foot in the door to totally take over be able to bless her with more of the design elements for her wedding.

The whole thing cost me about $6.  It was $4 for the foam board (which I later saw at the Dollar Tree for $1 - darn!) plus maybe $2 for the suction cups.  

So here's what I did.  I printed up the design on a regular 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.  Then I put a piece of cling wrap over the paper and traced the letters and oval with a Sharpee.  
I then whipped out my trusty overhead projector that I scored on Craig's List for twenty bucks a couple of months ago, taped the board to the wall, and traced with pencil.  (If you don't have an overhead, you could print the letters out to the desired size and trace them directly onto the board.)
After that I copied over it with Sharpee again.  In reality, though, my Sharpee died, and so this is the combination of 4 different dying permanent markers that I found around my house.  Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect because no one is going to be seeing it up close.  ;)
So then I attempted to cut the oval out with scissors, but my suspicions were confirmed when that didn't work (it crumples the board and makes the edges jagged).  So I had to use the Exacto knife.  I didn't really try to do it very slowly or methodically, so there is a bit more imperfection than I wanted, but I think it's fine.  (Plus, I had a teething baby pulling at my leg most of the time, so I'm good with what I got.)
Christa's graphic artist friend that designed the invitations emailed me the files of the graphics that she used, so I printed up the swallow and glued it to the scrap of foam board.
I used the Exacto again to cut it out, but it was really rough looking, so I filed down the rough edges with an emery board.  It worked surprisingly well.
I then eye-balled an outline, penciled it in, and then painted it with the grey paint that I've used for all of the other decor that has been painted.  (I mixed together a jar of grey and a jar of yellow to use for everything.)
I decided to do the edges, too, because it just looked better.  I set it atop a paint jar to dry.
Then I painted the yellow line.  (If you add a tiny bit of water to your brush, you're able to make longer, smoother, straighter strokes.)
That all dried pretty quickly, so I was ready for the next step.  I got some suction cups and removed the hooks.
Then I hot-glued them to the back.  This is how the sign will stick to the back windshield of the car.  It's an extremely strong hold.
Bodda-bing-bodda-boom!  Imagine it with some silver cans wrapped in 3-4 inch yellow ribbon dangling from the back.  :)  Cute!

I'm linking up to my sweet friend's awesome party!

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday: A Place of Honor

I absolutely love Peter Walsh from TLC's Clean Sweep.  He totally speaks my language.  One day I saw him on Oprah, and he said something that has so stuck with me.  He said if something has sentimental value to you, then give it a place of honor.  Don't let your sentimental items become clutter because then they become a burden to you instead of a joy.  (Dang, that's good, isn't it?!)
So this is a Barbie dress that my great-grandmother had made for my mom when she was a kid.  I always loved it, but I had it packed into my jewelry box for some reason.  I ran across it one day, and Peter's words chimed in my head: "Give it a place of honor."  So I went out an bought a shadow box.  I'm so glad I did, too, because I just love looking at it everyday, something I wasn't able to do with it packed away.

Do you have anything that you need to give a place of honor to?  Need some display ideas?   Weekend Bloggy Reading

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Carrot French Toast Recipe

We are some French toast lovin' fools over here at the Hedgie house.  But wouldn't it be nice to sneak even more veggies into our breakfast?!  Well, here you go.  This is such an easy recipe, and you will LOVE it!  I got the idea from here but changed it up a bit.  I love it, too, because it's another way to eat carrots besides the usual sticks!

Carrot French Toast               
3 carrots shredded
6 slices whole wheat bread
4 large eggs
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Pre-heat your griddle or large skillet to medium-low.

In a wide, shallow bowl beat together eggs, milk, and vanilla.  In another wide, shallow bowl mix together the shredded carrots and spices.
Dip a slice of bread in the egg mixture for a few seconds, flipping to get the batter on each side evenly.
Then move the bread into the carrots.  You'll have to use your fingers to press as much of the carrots as you want onto the bread.
Then dip it briefly back into the eggs just long enough to give it a coating of eggs so that the carrots will stick on.
Now spray your griddle with non-stick spray (or use butter if you're not counting calories).
And grill on each side until golden brown - about 2-3 minutes on each side.
The inside should be moist and soft while the outside is slightly crisp and golden brown.

Toppings can be as simple or extravagant as you want - have fun with it!  Here are some options that I enjoy (usually several at a time):
plain yogurt 
maple syrup
unsweetened shredded coconut
slivered almonds
rolled oats

You get the idea.  ;)  I really hope you try this; it's delicious!  Both of my very picky boys asked for seconds.  Let me know if you try it and how you like it!  Veg it up, yo! Weekend Bloggy Reading

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Veggin' it up...again

OK, I'm gonna do it again, but bear with me because I just can't help it!  I can't stop saying how much I LOVE my produce co-op!  I told you way back when that's it's easy, and I told you how I love to veg up our food, but I don't think I've ever connected the two in one post.  So let it be my thesis:

I love produce co-op because it allows me to veg up our food!

Simple, yes.  That's the idea.  (I love simplicity.)   So here's what I used to do.  I would make a meal plan for the week or ten days or whatever I was doing at the time, and then I'd go to the store for what I needed. I would then use up what I had purchased and start the process over again.

Well now...I get my co-op every two weeks, store it in such a way that it lasts, make my meal plan based on what I got at co-op, go to the store for non-produce stuff, and make said meals. Well, there are inevitably lots more veggies and fruits leftover, so of course I don't want them to go to waste.

So every time I cook, I look inside my frig for a veg to throw in there somehow.  This morning I made whole wheat waffles, and instead of oil, I used shredded yellow squash.  The kids LOVED it!  I've also made carrot French toast, which was a huge hit.  I put all kinds of veggie purees in almost everything that I make.  (If the veg is getting to the end of it's life, then I steam it, puree it, then freeze it.)  You can just get as crazy as you want to get with it.

Anyway, I can go on and one, but there you have it.  I just had to get that really quickly while I stand here with a towel in my hair at the kitchen counter getting ready to go to a birthday party after the baby wakes up because I was just that excited about how my kids ate yellow squash for breakfast and didn't bat an eye.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Height

I've been 5'2" since I was about 15 years old, and I've always liked it.  I've checked it over and over again, like you do, but nope - still 5'2".  Short girls generally like being short.  I mean, we give up ideas of being a supermodel, but once we accept that, we're generally happy about being short since it's associated with "cute" and "little".  I think most girls are fine with being considered those things.

(Disclaimer: I realize I'm speaking for a very large segment of the population with no research backing up my assumptions, so whatever...hehe...take it with a grain of salt.  It's a blog, yo.  If you disagree, I'm alright with that.)

Anyway, I went in for a physical a few months ago, and the nurse told me that I measured in at 5'3".  Really?!?!  I grew an inch since my mid-twenties?  Is that even possible?  

I don't really know how I feel about that.  I've always considered 5'3" as average. (I'm sure I'm wrong about that; it's just a mental thing.)  So I don't get to be short anymore?  I don't think I like it.  Although, my BMI does go down with an extra inch.  Hmmm...I think I'll still get a second opinion.  

So you got to the end of this post, and you're like, 'Seriously? That's all?  What's the point of that?'  I'm sorry, my friend.  There was no point.  Just chatting.  Hehe.  

P.S.  I've given up on the photography challenge.  I'm sorry!!  I can't add one more thing to life right now. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lunch Box

So I'm officially the mom of a kindergartener.  I do realize that I'm a newb/noob, when I'm there at school picking up and dropping off - just tryin' to figure it all out.  I realized something this week.  You know those super-organized, way on-top-of-it moms that you just think, 'Where does she get all of the energy to stay so organized?'  Well, I believe now that that level of organization is born out of necessity more than anything else.  School twice a week was a breeze, but everyday?!  I'm totally feeling the need to get organized.

One thing I decided on, until I get my sea legs, is a lunch menu.  I'm just going to make the same five meals until I get the hang of things and feel confident that he'd eat other things.  I am adding things to my list of ideas (need to get a thermos!), but for now it's the same five meals over and over.

I know I've told you this before, but this Super Healthy Kids blog has been uh-mazing and so inspiring!!!  OK so that said, with all of the effort that I've been putting into giving Samuel healthy lunches, how do you think I felt when he told me that they gave him cookies as a snack two days in a row followed by Cheeze-itz yesterday?  Uh...a bit infuriated, kids.

So I talked to Michael, and we came up with a plan to deal with the lack of control that we have in that situation.  It's annoying, but what do you do?  The only time we'll have control is when we bring the snacks, so until then we just have to equip Samuel to make good decisions.  So basically, if he decides to eat the snacks at school, that's fine.  If he decides to eat the fruit I pack him as a snack, then he gets to continue with his 2-desserts-a-week tradition at home, which will be a much better choice than the crappy processed food that he'll get at school.

So, ya wanna see my new favorite lunch box? (My opinions only - no one ever pays me for these awesome endorsements..)  It's made by Sistema, and I found it at Old Navy of all places.  That's also where I've bought several stainless steel water bottles.  They're great prices, and the kids love them.  Anyway, this lunch box is awesome!  It has separate compartments and keeps the "sandwich" area separate from the others.  I just pack this in his insulated lunch box with a cool pack, and it works great.

This lunch has grapes, a string cheese stick, and mini rice cake sandwiches with PB2.   
 Cute, huh?!

So what lunch box ideas do you have up your sleeve for keeping it healthy?  I'm AAALLLLLLLL ears!!

Family Friendly Food at Serenity Now

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday: Bouquet Display

A basketball display case doubles fabulously as a wedding bouquet display case.  Never pay full price, though.  Hobby Lobby has them for half off all the time.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Netflix is reviving my kids' imagination...sort of

Michael and I are always trying to figure out what works best financially and philosophically for our family, so we like to change things up a lot until something really works.  That's why we've had probably seven different budgeting programs before we found one that we loved, about thirty different approaches to discipline, and about a gazillion different potty-training methods.

So one of our latest switch-a-roos has been our TV situation.  Up until the whole digital switch, we just had a regular ol' TV (a big tube one) with an antenna, and the kids watched PBS during the day.  It was actually pretty nice because they didn't get all demanding.  Then we went big-time and got a flat screen and DirecTV when everything switched to digital a few years ago.  We scaled the number of channels down, but we had a ton of kids' shows on the DVR.  Enter the demands...

Despite our attempts at limiting the kids' TV watching with various charts and cards and rewards and whatnots, it was making us uncomfortable with how much TV they were getting away with watching.  Plus, we were wanting to spend less money on such a pointless activity that didn't match up with our values anyway.  So we decided to switch things up once again.

We did away with DirecTV and decided on a Netflix and HuluPlus subscription.  Now, unless you buy movies and shows ala carte, there is a very limited selection.  For many people this is a major problem, but for us it was brilliant!!!  We don't want to watch much TV.  We want TV to serve us, not us to serve the TV!

So now the kids actually get pretty bored with TV since they end up watching the same things over and over and since they are only allowed to watch it when the baby is sleeping and at a low volume.  Thus, they play a LOT more!  I love hearing their huge imaginations blossoming and expanding as they play with their trains and toys and create their own stories.  AND they are more well-behaved!  It's really been amazing.  I'm so happy with this switch.

So that's where we're at with TV.  How do you tame the TV beast in your house?
Oh, and you probably didn't notice, but I TOTALLY forgot to do my Thursday photography challenge yesterday!  The topic was "Dinner", and I made the most awesome carrot pancakes last night, but we ate them all!  So now I just have to make them again so that I can share them with you.  They are, in a word, awesome, and you just have to make them, too!

Have fun this weekend!  School starts on Monday for our little kindergartener, so we're going to take it easy this weekend.  I hope you have a good one!  :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday: Ditch the bookcovers

Chances are, if you're a craft or decorator blogger, then this is very obvious to you.  But since I have many readers that are not, I thought this was worth sharing.

Take your book jackets off before you display them.  
It's okay, I promise they're not going to fall apart.  I put all my book covers in a plastic bin in my shed for when it's time to sell them.  

Oh, and turn them on their side and play with different setups.  Use them to display your other items.  Just don't crowd your shelves.  

That's all I got.  How d'you like that? ;) 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Things I Learned on Vacation

Well, I'm back from my amazing Colorado vacation.  I said goodbye to cool summer breezes and hello to hairdryer wind.

I hope you enjoyed my wonderful guest bloggers!  Thanks, Sarah and Kate!  Y'all are awesome, and I loved reading your posts and seeing that others were inspired by your words, as well.

I always look forward to vacation because I usually learn something new or gain a deeper appreciation for something I hadn't thought of before.  This year in Colorado I learned a lot.  It's such an inspiring place; you'd be hard-pressed to not learn something.  I have been several times before, but this was the first time I had been with kids, so it put a totally new spin on it.  Here are some of the nuggets I took home with me:

1.  I am most uptight and unhappy when I am the least empathetic and selfless.
2.  Nutritious food makes for happier and more well-behaved kids (and parents), and crappy food makes for crappy attitudes and behavior.  
3.  My kids can do way more than I expect out of them.
4.  Contentment is necessary before dreams can be fulfilled.
5.  Having three boys beckons me to live adventurously.
6.  Having experiences like this with my family is absolutely priceless. 
7.  Colorado is inspiring to the point of tears. (Literally.)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday's Photography Challenge - Week 3: Bold Colors

So it's week 3 of the photography challenge hosted by Laura Beth at A Step in the Journey?
I'm in Colorado still, and I figured that out of the hundreds of pictures that I'm taking, surely one of them will fit this week's challenge criteria.  So I looked, and, while I have lots of documented memories, none of them are really what I would classify as challenge-worthy.

So while Michael climbed Pike's this morning and I rested my back (slinging a baby up a mountain two days in a row probably isn't the best idea), I looked around my hotel room for some bold colors.

This was the first thing I thought of:
I love this ring.  Michael gave it to me on our 6th wedding anniversary, and it was a total surprise.  He picked it out himself, and I was shocked that he did such a great job because it was exactly what I love!  The straw hat is something I bought two days ago in Manitou Springs at a funky little shop downtown.  It's gigantic and fabulous, and I love it!

So there you go.  :)  Do you have a challenge photo?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Guest Post: Kate from the Starr Family

Hello all, I'm still in beautiful Colorado this week, so I lined up another wonderful guest blogger.  Kate from the Starr Family blog is one of my faves.  She's got a great sense of design with her house and crafts, and she mixes in some inspirational sentiments that I can relate to.  She's a lovely person, so I hope you go visit her blog because I'm sure you'll love her as much as I do!  Thanks for guest posting today, Kate!!!  

Hi, I’m Kate from the Starr Family!

I am thrilled and flattered-flattered-flattered to be here at Annie’s blog today!  She is the fabulous Arlington Mama, and when she asked me to guest post I thought how fun, and then… absolutely nothing.  My mind went blank.  What in the world do I have to tell you all, her loyal friends/readers? 

{horrifically awful dead silence inserted here} 

Really, therein lies the problem.  The problem in believing.  It is the fear that I have nothing to say of substance…

All too often, I refuse to allow my heart to trust… in me, the woman God designed and destined for purpose.  I discount my abilities, my heart, my mind.  I belittle the talents and gifts; denying myself the opportunity to succeed at the task at hand. It can be as simple as writing a letter, a blog post, for a friend.  But the self-doubt and de-valuation enter immediately, sinking in and saturating my thoughts.  If I cannot believe in my own person, I certainly cannot expect others to take stock in my convictions, my faith, my stories, my life.

    believe  \bə-ˈlēv\
I am a blogger.
I love to blog.  I started the journey because I valued what I was doing; regardless of the quality of content or picture clarity.  I share for family, fun, fellowship, and inspiration.  I put a snippet of our life and everyday goings-on out there… for purpose and sometimes no reason at all.  Freeing my mind of clutter and thoughts, stewing over issues, and unleashing creativity is the beauty of blogging.  And it is the beauty in me… because they are my thoughts.  I choose to write, and believe in the weight, or lack thereof, that my words may carry…  From frivolous crafts to home décor, its the end result of a life lived out with joy.  And its valuable.  As women, the mothers and nurturers, we are called upon to take seriously the matters of our home… everything that details our daily lives, from work to house.  How can we hope to bring efficiency to the table when we are leaving our worth behind, only functioning at half our potential?    We are treasures.  We are called to relish in the possibilities that lie before us and respect the wisdom which pours from our mouths.  

It is necessary to believe in me… a soul that loves her God, her husband, her children, and life.  No matter how small or grand the motion may be, I have absolute capability to execute and accomplish.  I have something to say.  Thanks to sweet Annie, who unbeknownst to her, allowed me the opportunity for re-discovery & affirmation… and the chance to put run-on sentences on somewhere other than my blog.

Let’s talk soon friends… You can find me {HERE}.   


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