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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Candy Jars

This wedding is indeed the wedding held together by hot-glue.  I have at least one burn on my fingers each day.  Speaking of, does the smell of hot-glue make anyone else as happy as it does me?  When I smell it, it makes me think of crafting and making something fun.  

Anywho.  

On Tuesday night, Michael was working late on the computer in the living room, and I was clearing my dining room table of the dozens of glass jars that will be used in the wedding on Saturday.  I had bought some yellow and grey chocolates that day as an impulse buy at Party City, and the idea came to me that I have several small, squatty Ball jars that could go on each table and house the candies.  

But how to dress it up???

Well, I did what I always do.  I looked around at the scraps of crap that I had lying around and came up with this.
I LOVE them!  Like really, I even bragged about them to my friends when I had finished them.  And they were super quick to make.

So here's what I did.  I took a yellow, silk flower, and I pulled it apart and hot-glued a piece (each piece had 3 petals) to the top of each jar.  
I had this silver, silky, thick, rayon type of fabric that was a wine bottle bag, so I cut it into strips.
Then I twisted up the silver fabric into a rosette, hot-glued it to the flower - bada bing bada boom!!  I love simple, easy, and beautiful!  My favorites.  :)
I can't wait until Saturday to see it all come together.  I'm so ready for the bachelorette party tonight, too!  After all this prepping, I need a drink and some laughs!

By the way, if you missed it, I was over at Creative Carmella's yesterday with other wedding crafts.  Go see!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guest Posting at Creative Carmella's Today!!

Hey everyone! I hope you're having a great HUMP day! Come and see me over at Creative Carmella's! She is busy as a bee taking care of her sweet new baby boy, so I pitched in and gave her a guest post. I'm talking about some of the wedding crafts, so go see! And if you like my blog even a little, then you'll LOVE Carmella's!  I joke that she's my long lost sister because we have so many similar tastes.  So go and give her some love.  :)  She's in the throws of the first few weeks of baby, so she may need it.

Have a great week!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday: Circle Sandwich Cutter

I was making the kids' lunch one day, and Michael goes, "Hey, that should be a Tipsy Tuesday."  So I whipped out the camera real quick-like and made sure to make a mental note of it.

Okay, so let me set this up for you first.  I have a cute, little sandwich cutter from Pampered Chef that cuts sandwiches in circles and seals the sides up, but it doesn't work so well on whole wheat bread (which...you know me by now).  So it very rarely gets used.
But whenever I want the kids to eat a sandwich that they normally wouldn't try, I try to trick it up a bit - make it a circle, a robot, whatever cookie-cutter I have.  So on this particular day I pulled this glass out in a rush to make a circle sandwich, and it worked surprisingly well.  It sealed up the sides of the whole wheat bread and everything.  I was very impressed!
So there you go, all you whole wheat bread users out there!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Guest Posting at Kingdom Twindom!

Hey y'all!  I'm excited to be guest posting over at my friend Sarah's blog, Kingdom Twindom +1.  :)  Come and see me.  She's having a series of how people met her.  It's a really fun idea.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wooden Ceremony Sign

So the wedding has been consuming all of my free time lately, so much so that I totally forgot to do a Tipsy Tuesday yesterday!  Oh well.  I'll catch up in October.  Anyway, here is one of my latest crafts for the wedding.
We needed a sign in the front room where the guests arrive to point them to where the ceremony will be, as it's not very intuitive, and we don't want guests walking in on the bride or groom getting ready directly to the left of the entrance.  

So I still have some of my old fence wood on my back porch that Michael forgot to take to the dump.  And since I wasn't going to be sawing or sanding it, I thought it'd be okay to use.
And you know how I have a need to NOT spend money, so a real stencil was out of the question.  I did, however, find an image online of a stencil that I printed out and traced.  
The wood is so soft that the pen creates an indention that is easy to use as a guide while painting.
I did the same thing with a printout of the word in the font that I wanted.
There it is.
Once it was finished, however, it just wasn't what I wanted.  It was too simple and plain.  So I decided to bedazzle it with a little bit of yellowy fall prettiness.
And this is what I ended up with.  :)  I love the way the flowers make it so much better.  One and a half more weeks until we can see it all come together on Lafe and Christa's big day!

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Healthifying a Fav Friday: Chorizo to Soyrizo Tacos

I've been wanting to start a weekly series about how to healthify an old favorite meal, but the reason I haven't yet is because the title I made up is ridiculously long and I couldn't think of a better one.  I'm open to suggestions, though!  Alliteration is appreciated.  ;)

So here is one of my faves.

I grew up in San Antonio, and every single San Antonian is pretty much addicted to breakfast tacos.  (Seriously, ask them.)  They are the perfect food, except they're not so great on the waistline.  Chorizo and egg happens to be my favorite breakfast taco, but it's pretty much the fattiest, too, of course.

Lucky me, though, because I discovered this bad boy about 9 years ago.
source
It's a soy version of chorizo, and if I didn't tell you before serving it to you that it was soy, you'd never be able to tell the difference.  (There are other brands, but this is the one that I happened to find first.)

You'll get soyrizo for about 80-120 calories per 2oz serving (without eggs).  In stark contrast you'll get full fat chorizo for about 260 calories per 2oz serving.

So here's how it works (for those of you not accustomed to the greatness of breakfast tacos).
Spray the pan with a bit of cooking spray (or whatever you like to use).  Then squeeze the soyrizo out of the tubes and break it up with the spatula.  Above is what it looks like uncooked.
It's kind of hard to tell when it's finished, but it will look like this.  It's really okay, though, because there is no meat in it.
So now add your eggs.  I used an entire package of soyrizo this time, so I added a dozen eggs (I like leftovers).  You can just do one tube and use 6 eggs or even half a tube and do three eggs.  You should also add your salt and pepper at this point.  Just season it as you would your regular scrambled eggs.
This is what it looks like after you mix the eggs all in with your spatula.
And this is what it looks like after the eggs are cooked through.
While the eggs are cooking, dice up some tomatoes, an avocado, and get out some salsa (or really anything you like on Mexican food).   This way, you fill up your taco with veggies (and flavor) and use less eggs - healthifying it even more.
Warm up your tortillas.  This is how the San Antonians do it (at least the Southsiders).  If you have electric, then warm up a skillet or a griddle on high and warm the tortillas on that.  The microwave makes them too rubbery.  I like to use the Mission Whole Wheat Carb Balance tortillas because they're 80 calories per tortilla as opposed to an average of 140 calories for the basic white tortilla.
And this is what you end up with.  YUM!!  We eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It's just that good!  


Family Friendly Food at Serenity Now
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday: Walk There

So I know I already posted today, but I just couldn't leave you hangin' on my Tipsy Tuesday!  So here it is.

If you need to go the store or to the post office or anywhere else nearby and you're in good health,

.....walk there! 

That's it.  :)  I've had so much fun lately walking (and jogging) within about a 3 mile radius of my house because everything is here - the boys' schools, every grocery store I need, the post office, the library, the park.  And so what if I'm in my workout clothes all day?  I'd trade fitness and wonderful workout endorphins for makeup any day!  

One little sub-tip: While you're driving around, pay attention to which major roads have sidewalks.  You'd be surprised how out of the way you may have to walk if there is no sidewalk.  

My Jogging Journey

"That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run.  So I ran to the end of the road.  And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town.  And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Greenbow County.  And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I'd just run across the great state of Alabama.  And that's what I did.  I ran clear across Alabama.  For no particular reason I just kept on going.  I ran clear to the ocean.  And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going.  When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going. "--Forrest Gump 
Okay, so I've never been much of a long distance runner - never really had the lung capacity for it.  I could sprint pretty well, but when it came to even 1/4 mile, I would get so winded.  So I never really gave it much thought.  For some reason, I'd do really well on the elliptical, but as soon as I'd get on the treadmill or the road, it felt like my airways were closing up.

Well, thanks to Facebook I kept seeing all of my old high school friends (and boy do I mean old - hehe) logging all of their running while training for their marathons, and lemme tell ya, I was getting jealous (in a good motivating, competitive way).

So I decided to start running, but then I got a stress fracture in my ankle*, and then this happened....
40 weeks pregnant with my third boy - How much mileage can I get out of this picture?
....need I say more.  

So after Isaac was born, I was determined to get back in shape.  My 40 week free-for-all did nothing for my body.  So we splurged and got a Bob Revolution (oh wait, it matches with our values so it's not a splurge - holla!), and let me tell you - I LOVE IT!!!!  It has totally allowed me to become a runner now.  The boys (I run with Levi and Isaac) are totally content (most of the time), and it's so easy to push that it's not even a factor.
Me and Isaac and the Bob on the Royal Gorge Bridge on our Colorado vacation a few weeks ago
I didn't follow a plan or anything; I just started out walking and jogging intermittently until I ran more than I walked.  I would run until I couldn't anymore, and eventually my running time was longer and longer.  And today I ran for a whole hour!  Well, I did drop the boys off at school in there (in which I paused my timer), so it wasn't an hour straight, but it's a hell of a lot more than I've ever run ever before, so I was happy about that.  It was a little over 6 miles, and I think that's a good start.

*My disclaimer is, though, that if you want to start running, then listen to your body!  A couple of summers ago I got a stress fracture because I tried to push myself into running sooner than my muscles and bones were ready.  And stress fractures really suck.  If I would have paced myself, then I wouldn't have had the huge setback of an injury.

So anyway, if you find yourself jealous of your running friends like I was, then just go for it!  What's your workout routine lately?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Balance and How It's Hard to Find

Yesterday I wrote about my philosophy with feeding my children, as it has consumed my thoughts lately with the beginning of kindergarten.  My brother-in-law, John of Blog Droll (a very funny blog, if you're looking for one), had some very thought-provoking comments.

Basically, he said that his dad was so extremely strict with food that it led John to begin to sneak food, eventually leading to a full-blown food addiction.  (Read about it here in his post: Why You So Fat.)  My husband Michael (and John's younger brother), however, had a completely different experience growing up.  Same family, same rules, totally different effects on the adult children.  (It's all there in the comments if you want more deets.)

So all of that dialog made me really think about my approach with my kids.  Am I too strict?  Do they feel the need to sneak food?  Do they feel like food is a reward?  A punishment?  Am I providing a good enough balance?  What kind of outlook on food am I really providing them?  

Of course, I would love to think that I'm balanced (we usually are in our own eyes, right).  But it's just so dang hard to see those blind spots!  

My awesome friend, Kellie, said it well:

Everyone's idea of balance is different, so it can be crazy sometimes. Just like all aspects of parenting, we create a beautiful well thought out plan and then continually tweak it depending what the world/our kids throw at us. ;)

Amen, sista!
Samuel and Michael
Yesterday, Samuel went to the Wednesday night kids' church, and they gave him Kool-aid and two cookies.  [[CRINGE]]  [[FACIAL TICK]]  And when he got home he told me about it as if it were bad news.  It was, in fact, a great opportunity for a teachable moment.  


Although, (I know I've said this once or twice) I don't like it when other people give my kids sweets without my permission (because if the kids get sweets and junk all the time from other people, then I feel like I can't give them any myself, and thus I'm the bad guy pushing carrots in their faces all the time), we were still able to give him a healthy response to what happened.  He told me about it, and I said, "Samuel, I'm so glad that you want to be healthy, but it's okay if you have treats every now and then.  Did you like them?"  He smiled and said he did, and then I told him to tell me about them.  It was a great moment.  I could even see relief come over his face at my response (which signals to me that some tweaking was needed).

Anyway, all that to say that balance is hard, but I'll continue to look for teachable moments while maintaining my views on feeding them healthfully.

Parenting is hard!  Gah!  Why does it have to be so easy to screw kids up but so hard not to!
Family Friendly Food at Serenity Now

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kids and Food - My Philosophy

So it's no secret that I can be a bit fanatical when it comes to my philosophy on how to feed my children.  (I'm a bit of a food snob - there, I said it so you don't have to.)  It's been on my mind a LOT since Samuel started kindergarten.  I thought that he had too many opportunities for junk food in preschool, but my word, there are a ton more now that he's in elementary!  (Not to mention the "food" that they serve in the cafeteria.)  It's something that I find challenging, but it's also a great passion of mine.  And since you're reading this, you're probably in my camp, too.  ;)
First day of kindergarten
My mission with feeding my kids is this:

I want to feed my children in such a way as to give them a healthy diet for optimal growth and development while developing in them a palette for healthy food so that they will be equipped to make healthy choices for themselves in the future. 

I believe that during these formative years it is so incredibly important to give them what they need for proper nutrition to grow their bodies and brains to their greatest potential.  That's what we all want, right?

I need to teach my children to make the right decisions because they can't expect to know how to make good choices on their own - they're just kids.  If I don't give them the tools that they need to be able to make good decisions, then how will they know how to make good choices for their health in their adult lives?  Sure, they might learn, like I did (I didn't grow up eating very healthfully), but statistically speaking, it's not likely.

There is a ton of research stating the obvious benefits to feeding your child well.  You can check here and here for a couple of studies, but there are a ton out there.  Sure, I do allow for snacks a few times a week that are not beneficial for them, but moderation is key for us so that they don't begin to feel left out all of the time.  I also don't want the pendulum effect, where they go crazy and eat their little hearts out when they're away from me, so I allow for snacks within the moderation that our pediatrician stated was proper for them: one serving of sweets (desserts, candy, pastries, etc.) or junk (fast food, processed snacks, etc.) no more than twice a week.

As a friend reminded me yesterday, healthy is all relative.  As she said, to some people healthy means that it's not fried.  I used to be in that camp, but today I have many more requirements to be able to call something healthy.  Whatever place on the spectrum you are, there's no judgment.  I would just hope that you're moving toward the healthier side by making tiny choices everyday to be healthier.  All of those tiny choices add up.

So why am I getting all preachy on you all of the sudden and not posting a craft or an embarrassing story?  (I do hate being preachy, sorry, I'm just in a hissy.)  Because our society is being flat out ridiculous when it comes to food, y'all!  Seriously, it's driving me mad.  I shouldn't be being the weird one for trying to feed my kids healthfully.

I know I've said this before, but this generation of kids is going to be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.  Is no one else outraged at that?  (I know you are, but I'm talking about all of those vast unknown peoples.)  ;)  It's not some mysterious cause, either.  Like, 'Oooh, that's weird - I wonder why - I guess it's just destined to happen.'  No, it's not!  Come on!  Parents have a responsibility to their children.  I feel the weight of that responsibility on my shoulders every time I go to the grocery store, cook, and hand them something to eat.  

Okay, sorry for yelling.  But it just gets me.  I think I'm ready to step off of my soapbox.  Can I get a amen, though?  I'm not the only food-crazy, am I?
Family Friendly Food at Serenity Now

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday: Use your china

Use your china.  
I love my Johnson Brothers Friendly Village.  :)
I don't know if my dishes are considered "china" or not, but they are pretty, and I like them a lot (and I didn't buy them at Target).  (ETA: Just discovered that "china" means it's porcelain.  Mine's not.  Wah-wah.)  While I don't use them everyday, we do use them often in the autumn and winter (they have a winter scene on them) - when we have company, at holidays, special occasions, every chance I get.

Life is too short to not use your china.  If you're not using it, then either a) use it, or b) sell it!  I'd rather you just use it, though.  :)  Please, do it for me, use your china!  Then tell me about it!  

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