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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bad Hair Day

Getting my hair done is one of my favorite things.  I don’t usually get mani’s or pedi’s so getting my hair done is my only salon time.  I love the time to myself.  I love being pampered.  I love to be creative and come up with something that looks good with the help of a professional.  I just love it. 

On Tuesday I had watched 5 kids all day (well, one was in school) for part of it).  And I was so looking forward to some time away to get my hair done. 

I got there, and they gave me a nice, refreshing Bellini – a nice way to start some ‘me’ time.  My stylist and I started talking about what we’re going to do, and I basically told her that I wanted bronzy reddish low-lights with blond highlights.  It’s basically what I had before, but I told her I wanted it to pop a little more (which was my mistake).

Well, this is what I ended up with…
"bad highlights", "what to do when you get a bad hair color", "what to do when you get bad highlights", "hair too red", "low-lights too red", "should I get a new hair stylist"
I really should have taken a picture of my part because it was very stripy.  It was way too orange for my liking. I should have known that it didn’t look good when my stylist was over-emphatic about liking it after she was done. 

I texted that pic to my friend Misti and to my other friend Andrea who was my previous hairdresser (she changed her schedule which is why I can’t see her anymore).  Both of them said it was too red.  Andrea actually called me as soon as she got the picture because it was that urgent.  Winking smile

I was in a pickle now.  It wasn’t awful, but I sure didn’t like it.  So what do you do when you can’t make a decision?  You consult Facebook, of course. 

The answers were all over the place, confirming why I was having such a difficult time deciding what to do. 
  • Do I go back to the same person to fix it and risk her screwing it up again?
  • If I go back to her, is she going to hate me for being the whiny one that got exactly what she asked for but didn’t like it because she didn’t picture it properly in her head first?
  • Did she just make this mistake because she doesn’t know my style yet, and I just need to invest more time with her?
  • Do I go to someone new and spend more money?
  • Do I go to someone new and risk him/her screwing it up again?
  • Is my hair going to be too damaged after two bad dye jobs to fix for a second time?
Well, my cheapness won out, and I went back to her this morning.  She redid it for free, and we talked about it for a long time before forging ahead with the fix, including another stylist in the conversation (who I ended up wanting to be my stylist, but don’t want to risk the awkwardness).
"bad highlights", "what to do when you get a bad hair color", "what to do when you get bad highlights", "hair too red", "low-lights too red", "should I get a new hair stylist", "fixing bad lowlights and highlights", "fixing a bad dye-job"
I was SOOOO nervous!  I’m usually all smiles and giggles at my hair appointments because I’m so glad to be talking to other women but not this time. I was all business.

And in the end, I really like the way it turned out.  She ended up keeping some of the blond highlights out but not as much as the first time.  Then she put an ash brown on the red parts (which is a cooler color to cover the warm of the red) and then putting a warmer brown over the rest of it. 
"bad highlights", "what to do when you get a bad hair color", "what to do when you get bad highlights", "hair too red", "low-lights too red", "should I get a new hair stylist", "fixed dye job", "fixed bad highlights and lowlights"
Not bad.  I’m pretty happy with it. 

Okay, so her excuses (gathered from our whole conversation) were:
  • I said that I wanted something a little more drastic.
  • My hair took the color way more easily than she expected (she called it virgin hair, which it wasn’t really).
  • She still thought it looked good with my skin tone.
So should I keep my upcoming appointment with her in 8 weeks?  I’m nervous about her now, and I’m thinking about switching again.  Finding a good hairdresser is SOOOO hard!!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

You Gotta Give A Little

Remember when I told you about getting a bunch of furniture from my old boss’s late mother’s estate? That’s where I got my coffee table and that pretty little round table from.
Farmhouse Dresser
Well, I had also gotten an old farmhouse dresser from him that I had planned on refinishing. I got it into my garage, though, and I was just too overwhelmed. It was a much bigger task than I felt like undertaking, so my old boss gave me his blessing to pass it along to a better home.

So I listed it for free in the antiques section of Craig’s List, and this sweet soon-to-be new mama called me asking about it.  I made sure to tell her that it was a huge job, but she was totally up for the task, and the project was underway. 

I had kind of forgotten about the whole thing until yesterday when she emailed me pictures of the finished product.  I was blown away with what she did with this dresser. 

It’s one thing to see “before” pictures online, but I saw this before in person, and it was rough.  The drawers felt like they would fall apart if a gust of wind came by.  So when I saw the finished project I was just so impressed.   

So I asked her if I could blog about it, but she said that she had been wanting to start her own blog, so low and behold she up and started one this weekend!  It’s super cute, and I am seriously excited about the projects that she’s going to blog about.  She has totally got the DIY touch, and I think I’m going to learn a thing or two about refinishing furniture from her!

If that wasn’t a teaser, I don’t know what is!!!  Nope, I’m not going to show you the after. 
You have to go go go visit
And do this almost new mama a favor and follow her!  How many times do you get the chance to follow a blog from the very beginning!   

OH, and I almost forgot!  The reason for my title is because if my old boss or I had held onto that dresser, it would have never found the loving home that it did.  Here's to not hoarding!!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What’s For School Lunch Today?

Well, the kids are nestled in bed, and Samuel (and I ) eagerly await morning for his first day at a new school.  I’m so excited for him, and I am just so thrilled we took the plunge and moved. 
For his first day lunch I packed two mini-build-your-own-pizzas, strawberries, and naked noodles (from the pasta we had for dinner).  Who needs real Lunchables when you have a mom that frantically makes pizza dough while cooking dinner since her son mentioned that he thought the pizza Lunchables were cool?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Another Pinteresting Recipe: Dried Strawberries

"Dried Strawberries", "Pinterest Dried Strawberries", "Pinterest Dehydrated Strawberries", "Dehydrated Strawberries", "Oven-dried strawberries", "Oven dehydrated strawberries"

I’m sure many of you have seen these delicious looking dried strawberries on Pinterest.  The person that I pinned it from says,

“strawberries dried in the oven. taste like candy but are healthy 3 hrs at 210 degrees.”

Healthy candy?  Well, you just gotta try that.  And it sounds easy enough, n’est pas?

So I put followed the directions, but if you’ll look at the original picture, the strawberries don’t really look cut up like the directions say.  AND they look dry not juicy. 

Well, when the 3 hours was up, mine were still very juicy, and I thought they were supposed to be drier, like apricots or raisins.  So I just kept them in the oven until all of the moisture was gone, and this is what I ended up with.

"Dried Strawberries", "Pinterest Dried Strawberries", "Pinterest Dehydrated Strawberries", "Dehydrated Strawberries", "Oven-dried strawberries", "Oven dehydrated strawberries"

They look a bit sad compared to the original recipe.

One kid loved them, two kids hated them, and Mama thought they were fine but too earthy, like beets. 

After thinking about it a little more, I’m thinking that I should have taken them out at 3 hours and just let them sit and set up.  I think they would have been plumper and still dried out if I would have done that. 

I’m still a little hesitant to try them again, though, because it was a bit of a waste of a perfectly good batch of strawberries.  I may try it again if they go way on sale. 

Anyone else try this?  Any luck?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Annie’s Blessed Nest

In case you haven’t noticed yet, I decided to make myself a .com.  Since I’m no longer an Arlington mama, I decided to not have my blog name associated with a place (other than my home, but okay).  I’ll eventually get all packed up and moved over, but it will seriously probably take a me a year.  Until then, feel free to visit me at the old address or the new one.  Both work. 

www.anniesblessednest.com

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Pinteresting Recipes

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I realized a couple of weeks ago that I was in a recipe rut.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I was pinning away to my trusty Pinterest Recipe Board like crazy, but I was not making any of these said recipes.  That annoys me, so I did something about it.

So my first experiment was this guy from Val So Cal

Prosciutto, Asparagus and Parmesan Spaghetti

Does it not look mouth watering?! 

It’s a pretty simple recipe, but, doggone it, I found a way to screw it up.  I tried to make it not So MANY Cals (see what I did there??), so I omitted the heavy cream and used whole milk – mistake. 

If I were to try this again, I would make it just as the recipe states.  AND I would have extra prosciutto and shredded parmesan for the top.  Since prosciutto is so expensive, however, I'm pretty certain that bacon would work, too.

This is how mine turned out…. IMG_3879

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the taste extravaganza that Val’s picture depicts, either.  Michael and the kids liked it, although no one was doing summersaults over it.

My next experiment was this beauty from my favorite kids’ food blog, Super Healthy Kids

I had such high hopes for it because the mister and I LOVE Greek food, and the kids loved the gyro meat we got from our favorite Lebanese restaurant.  So this was my try at it…

 IMG_3957

The verdict: Michael devoured it; it was just okay for me; the kids detested it.  They actually spat it from their mouths. 

If I had to do it over again, I would omit the Tzatziki sauce on the kids’ gyros; it was too sour for them.  AND, no offense to SHK, but I’d probably make Carmella’s Tzatziki sauce instead.  It’s pretty delicious.

IMG_3956So I had a big ol’ loaf of the gyro meat leftover, though, and I didn’t want it to go to waste.  So when in doubt, drown in melted cheese – am I right?

IMG_3999

So I laid out some of my fresh, whole wheat bread (but any bread will do).  I crumbled up the gyro meat and then put shredded cheese on top.  All I had was Colby Jack, but it did just fine.  Mozzarella would have worked best, probably.  Then I topped that with parmesan and a little crumbled feta, and I set it under the broiler for a few minutes just until the cheese melted and the bread was toasty. 

O.M.G. – delicious!  You can pretty much do this method with just about anything and it will turn out delicious. 

IMG_4003

Two thumbs up from the older kids.  Samuel was the biggest fan.  He actually said I was the best mom ever – and he never exaggerates. 

IMG_4007

It took the little ‘un a minute to warm up to it, but he liked it, too.  He actually picked all of the meat and cheese off of the bread and just ate that and not the bread.

IMG_4008

And if you missed it, the Mexican Pizza was my third experiment

IMG_3944

What about you?  Have you had a Pinterest win lately? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Time to get for real

As you may know, I have a love-hate relationship with My Fitness Pal.  I love it because it just works.  Tracking everything that I eat and all my exercise makes me live in reality.  Weight loss is not rocket science.  All you have to do is burn more than you eat. 

Simple, right?  Ha!  We all know that it’s the mental aspect that’s the tough part.  

Summertime is always fun and busy (and just a little stressful), but I always seem to put on a few pounds because I’m too busy to track my calories.  I have been weighing in, however, and I keep watching the number slowly climb ever upward. 

SOOO, it’s time to bite the bullet and start tracking all those little calories that add into pounds again.  I would really rather not, but I have proven to myself over and over that I can’t maintain my weight without tracking my calories.  ::sigh:: 

What about you? Are you able to maintain or lose without tracking?

BTW, I’m on week 3 of Hal Higdon’s 18 week marathon training schedule. Anyone else running White Rock this December??

Look who found his way onto the kitchen table while I was blogging…

WP_000959

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Babysitting and Being an Aunt

Babysitting is so darn expensive.  Kenna getta AMEN!!  We were budgeting for it when we didn’t have a mortgage at the old place, but now that we’re back to square one on that front, we’ve tightened the ol’ purse strings.

So if one of our big values is our marriage (can’t have a well-functioning family without a healthy marriage), then why haven’t we had any regular time together since moving into this place? (That’s why our California trip was SOOOO nice!) 

Well, thankfully, we’ve hit on something VERY good!  My sister-in-law and brother-in-law have two little ones, so we’ve decided to trade babysitting weekly.  On top of that, my other sister-in-law and brother-in-law have older girls that we love having over, so we trade on an informal basis with them.

This is such a win-win!  There’s the obvious benefit of getting to have a regular date night, but the family benefits are awesome!  We get to know our nieces and nephew better and have closer relationships with them, and my boys get to grow up with their cousins.  That is SOOOO awesome!  I just love it!

img_2177s
Val Cannon Photography
That coupled with the many visits that we’ve had from all my other nieces and nephews this summer has made me one happy aunt.  I have ten nieces and nephews, and they’re ALL my favorites.  Smile 

WP_000751

I always had amazing aunts growing up on both sides of the family, so it makes me so happy to get my turn at being the aunt.  I had some pretty good examples to try to follow.  (Having a larger house with a pool has definitely helped with that, but it’s definitely not a requirement.) 

All that to say, I highly recommend doing this if you can.  Trading with friends is also a great option.  You can even barter babysitting.  There’s gotta be something you have that is valuable to one of your family members or trusted friends (or their teenage kids).  Where there’s a will there’s a way!!!!

What are you doing to have a regular date night?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest Bedroom Cheap Makeover Plans

As it currently stands, my guest bedroom looks like this.
IMG_3888
It’s okay, but I do admit that it’s pretty slapped together.  It pretty much just has the odds and ends and leftovers from the rest of the house.  I was sitting in there today looking around, and I came up with a plan to spruce it up without spending a lot.
GuestRoomBlog
I hate the color in there, so a richer color will add a lot of character.  The headboard will definitely be a focal point and conversation piece.  The curtains will add height and contrast.  And the fan updo is just a necessity.

I already have paint, and I can get reclaimed wood for free from Craig’s List.  So unless I have to buy extra paint, I’m thinking that I could get away with spending less than $40 for a whole new look for this room. 
Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mexican Pizza (aka Chalupas)

I told my kids we were having Mexican pizza tonight, and they informed me that they were just quesadillas.  Well, they were wrong, too, because they were really just chalupas on flour instead of corn tortillas.

I wanted to follow this awesome recipe from Super Healthy Kids where she does indeed make an actual pizza crust…
….but when it came time, I just didn’t feel like making a pizza crust.  Know what I mean?  So instead I opted to make super thick tortillas, and boy were they a crowd pleaser. 

So here’s what I did. 

First I made the dough…

tortilla dough

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoons shortening or oil (I’ve used bacon fat and coconut oil)
1 cup hottest tap water
Only add the dry ingredients first, mix a little, cut in the fat, then add the water a little at a time.  You can put it in your breadmaker, mixer, food processor, or do it by hand.  We’re flexible here. Smile

"Thick Whole Wheat Tortillas", "Chalupas", "Bean and cheese", "healthy Mexican food"

Let it mix for 5-6 minutes, then take it out and cover with a wet, warm towel for about 15 minutes.  (It was at this point when Isaac took a light bulb from the garbage and smashed it into the coffee table.)

IMG_3902

IMG_3908

If you want something lower in calories, you’ll just make regular tortillas now (roll out an egg sized ball into a flat circle).  But if you’re in the mood for something new and fun (and really yum), roll out a ball of dough about the size of two eggs into a thick tortilla. 

IMG_3913

I had an excellent sous-chef in my kitchen today rolling out tortillas.

IMG_3910

For thick tortillas, heat the griddle to medium-low, and for regular tortillas do medium-high.

IMG_3926

Oh just look at that grainy goodness!

IMG_3931

I wanted to make sure they were cooking through, so me and the boys scarfed this down hot.  Whew, it was Goooooood!

So to continue with the dinner, I used:
1 small can of no-fat refried beans
1 1/2 cups (or so) shredded Colby Jack cheese
1 avocado
1 Roma tomato
shredded lettuce
green onion
hot sauce
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Bake at 400 long enough for the cheese to melt.  (Look at that dork in the reflection anxiously awaiting melty cheese.)
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Now top it with all those yummy veggies, slice it with a pizza cutter, and you have yourself a meal that my kids would inhale (I don’t know about yours).

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Below are the full recipes.  :)  Enjoy!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Do your thing

I was on the elliptical today at the gym, and I was watching the people in one of those classes that require lots of steps and synchronization.  What I like to do when I watch them is to spot the “Annie” in the class.  That’s the person that is usually a few beats behind the rest of the class, facing a different direction than everyone else, arms are raised when everyone else’s aren’t, and whose feet look like they weigh about 20lbs each.   

Today it happened to be an early teen boy.  He was the ‘Annie’ in the class – poor kid. 

That’s why I don’t go to those classes, though.  I just don’t like them because I’m not good at them.  Now that’s not to say that I never do anything I’m not good at.  Sometimes that’s required in life, but if it makes the difference between going to the gym or not, by all means,

do what you’re good at! 

Now yoga – ah yoga – that’s my thing.  That’s my show-off class.  I’m not usually the best in the room, but I sure do try.  It doesn’t even give me the calorie burn that I desire, but whew it heals my body!  LOVE.IT.  Especially right now while I’m in marathon training, yoga is a great cross-training exercise.

All that to say – I don’t think people should worry so much about what they do.  All or nothing people like myself want to find the perfect thing that will make their bodies into machines, and then they don’t like it for one reason or the other and stop entirely.  But doing any movement at all is better than giving up on exercise because it’s not perfect.

The hubs thing right now is mountain biking.  He loves it, so I totally support that (even when it’s inconvenient).  The kids like swimming and X-box Kinnect Sports, so I let them play that and we swim often.  I just want us moving. 

What do you do to move??

This is hilarious, btw....

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stop Shoulding All Over Yourself!

I had the super-humbling honor of speaking at a SAHM’s brunch for a friend of mine’s church group today with another fellow blogger, the Gracious Green Woman.  It was so much fun, and I was so blessed by all those awesome women!  Shout out to Jennifer for inviting me.  I LOVED it!

I would love to share with you everything that I shared at the meeting, but I pretty much blogged it over the last few years.  I basically just shared the major milestone, stop-me-in-my-tracks types of things that God has taught me since becoming  a mom (and I know it’s only the tip of the iceberg). 

One of the things I shared, however, that I haven’t blogged about yet, is a wonderful little phrase (borrowed from my 12-stepper friends) that a mentor of mine always tells me, and that’s: “Stop shoulding all over yourself!”

So often as busy moms we feel guilty for not doing enough – whether it’s for God or for our families or whatever.  We constantly say, “I should be doing X more.” Or, “I know I should X, but…”

But here’s the deal…if you’re carrying a huge burden of guilt or shame or self-pity or whatever, then it’s not Jesus’.  His burden is easy and light, remember?  (

Matthew 11:30  “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

There is a wonderful book that I have recommended before called The Busy Mom’s Guide to Spiritual Survival, and in it she says the same thing. 

“We move beyond the guilt of ‘I know I should, but…’ to raw, authentic passion for God’s word.” – pg. 43

No more shoulding!!  Just let Jesus compel you toward Himself.  He’ll do it because He sure loves you a lot.  All you have to do is surrender. 

He knows you’re a mom, and He knows all that that entails.  Your relationship with Him is forever changed, and how great that is!  It’s new and exciting, and we have the awesome privilege of experiencing life with Him in a whole new way.  What a joy!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

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When we placed the offer on this house, I went out and found an inexpensive very cheap dinette set off of Craig’s List.  I paid $75, which I thought was a steal.

Turns out the joke was on me.  I sort of knew that it wasn’t great quality when I got them, but when I put it in the house and the kids started using them, I began to cringe every time they touched them. 

So far the above photographed incident has happened three times!  No mas, amigas! 
I repaired it the first time it happened.  Then when it happened the second and third times, the wind was let out from my sails and I gave up on them. 

Looks like I’m in the market for another secondhand project.  Stay tuned!

ETA: I found the set on Walmart's website.  Steer clear!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Internet Explorer Is Ruining My Life

Not really, I just like to be overly dramatic.  But for real, who can tell me how to fix this?
In every other internet browser my page list displays properly.  Here it is in Chrome.
"Chrome displaying page list properly", "Link List", "Page list showing vertically instead of horizontally"
But in Internet Explorer, the browser that 80% of people still for some reason use, it displays like this.
"IE displaying Page List Vertically", "Internet Explorer showing page list vertically instead of horizontally", "Chrome displaying page list properly", "Link List", "Page list showing vertically instead of horizontally"
It’s been like this for months, and it’s driving me crazy.  I have searched and searched for a fix, but alas my computer savvy is lacking. 

Anyone have a fix you’d like to share??  Pretty please??

ETA: Fixed it with a Link List - totally easy!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Beef with Pinterest

Okay, if you know me at all, you know that I LOVE Pinterest.  I was one of its earliest evangelists.  I’m just mad that I didn’t come up with the idea myself.  But here’s my big beef….and it’s not even really with Pinterest but rather Pinners.
 
What is the deal with all of the outrageous desserts!?  I mean, seriously!  I know that I’m a broken record, but seriously, anyone can make food that is delicious – anyone!  The real skill comes in making it with integrity – using real ingredients that nourish your body. 

Now before you start rolling your eyes, let me make the disclaimer that I definitely partake of the sugary, food-colored, overly processed desserts from time to time.  It’s a definite weakness.  But I'd love to get to the place where I actually have the skill to pull off delicious but somewhat healthy desserts.

So anyway, of course this is going to be delicious; I mean look at it:
It’s an Oreo inside a brownie with chocolate syrup on top!  It looks amazing.  And there are a ton of those recipes being pinned all the time.  It’s like people are just asking themselves, ‘How can I take a regular dessert and add even more fat and calories to it?’

Where is the integrity in these ingredients?
Now look at these - Double Chocolate Brownie Batter Pancakes.  It sounds like the very thing I'm complaining about, but...

....look at these ingredients!  Definite integrity.

Or these No-Bake Oreo Cookies -
Look at these ingredients!

Or these chocolate covered bananas -

And here are these ingredients.

So I know I sound like I’m lecturing, but before you pin that cheesecake with chocolate chip cookie crust with Reece’s peanut butter cups on top drizzled with chocolate syrup and sprinkled with M&M’s, think about an alternative. 

My current favorite recipe blogs are:
Gina’s Skinnytaste
Chocolate Covered Katie
Super Healthy Kids

Okay, so now that I've gotten on my soapbox, allow me to step off and share with you my blatant hypocrisy.
AND!!!!
Oh boy.  It's good to be humbled every now and then.  :-P

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