Things have been a little quiet on the blog because just over a month ago I had my second little one. Unlike last time I am very, very sleep deprived. I didn’t have to wake up to take care of an older child last time and I could actually follow the advice of ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’. This is another reason why I am glad I have chosen to permanently stop having kids. I know someday that will make me sad for short amounts of time here and there when I see other cute babies so I decided to take my own advice and write a list of good things about this change. (See Also: Journal Writing Ideas and Bookmark Printables)
Why I Love Not Being Pregnant
Hot Showers. End of story.
No more heartburn and eating tums like candy, even though some flavors are delicious.
I can see (and shave!) “downstairs” again.
Gums don’t bleed every time I brush.
Bending over is possible! So is seeing my toes.
Less Constipation (TMI I know, sorry)
I don’t need Life Alert in case I fall and can’t get up.
I could control my own weight, if Oreo cookies weren’t so delicious.
My feet and ankles aren’t swollen anymore, not that I could really see them when they were.
Bathroom breaks aren’t every 5 minutes and wearing depends is no longer necessary.
I can drink (and eat) whatever I would like! Coffee and Straw-ber-rita’s have been teasing me for months!
Hugs are no longer awkward. Or are no longer awkward because of me.
I may add more to this list as I think of more reasons I am happy to not be pregnant, or if you leave a comment reminding me of more reasons. If I update this post (or any others I will be sure post about it on Facebook or Twitter!
My family loves to go out four wheeling, camping and hiking. Every once in awhile we stumble across a rattle snake and if we have time and resources we usually hunt the snake to eat later. (Don’t worry, we are legally hunting them!) Oh, and I cook the best snake. I’ll have to post the recipe the next time we get one.
We save the snakeskin as well, so far other family members haven taken home the skins and rattles, but this time because I skinned and gutted the snake I was the one to keep the snakeskin and rattle. I had the snakeskin pinned up to dry for the past six months and finally got around to making something with it. I couldn’t believe how paper-y and thin the snakeskin was after it had dried.
Easy Way to Dry Snakeskin: I didn’t have the right tanning materials, so I just sprayed olive oil onto the cardboard where the snakeskin was going and used thumb tacks to pin the snakeskin to the cardboard. I made sure that I stretched the skin out flat as I pinned it in place. I then sprayed more olive oil onto the skin itself and let it dry. It would probably have been dry after a few weeks but I was too lazy (and lacking ideas) to do anything with it then.
DIY Picture Frame: For the picture frame I used foam board and cut out a frame shape with a box knife. The cuts were fairly clean and easy with a straight-edge. They would have looked much nicer if my two year old wasn’t right there trying to ‘help’ the entire time. For the backing of the frame I used cardstock and just glued it on, and also attached the ribbon and the stand with glue. When I find a picture I love it will be glued in as well. Picture frames are usually hung on the wall or out of the way on a shelf so there is really no need for them to be too heavy duty.
Picture Frame Decoration: Decorating the picture frame was the fun part. I decorated it before I glued the back on. First I cut out the pieces of snakeskin and laid them out how I planned to place them. They cut very easily with a box knife, scissors or most any cutting tools would have worked just fine because of how thin the snakeskin was.
Next the snakeskin needed to be glued down. I painted mod podge to the back of the snakeskin and to the foam picture frame and used that to glue all of the snakeskin down.
Lastly I pulled out the hot glue gun to glue down the rattle to the front of the picture frame and to add raffia to the sides to hide the foam board and add a little flair to the frame.
That’s all it took! My snakeskin frame was finished in a short period of time if you don’t count the drying time and the time it took me to try to chase off my little one from getting into my work space.
This is one of our favorite dinners, but I had forgotten about it until recently. At first I called it Redneck Chicken Parm, because I felt totally cheesy for making Chicken Parmesan with microwaved chicken patties. Now I realize that it’s just genius. And delicious. Plus, who can go wrong with a delicious meal in 15 minutes?
15 Minute Supper: Chicken Parmesan
3 Cups Pasta
4 Cups Tomato Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Basil
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Montreal Chicken Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
5 Chicken Patties
Cook your noodles, just as you normally would. The noodles take the longest so start them first.
In a separate pot start your spaghetti sauce. Add the tomato sauce and all of the spices, and let it cook until the noodles are ready.
Heat up your chicken patties in the microwave. After they are mostly heated, pop them in the oven on broil for a minute or two for each side. This just helps make them a little crispy and much tastier!
When everything is finished cooking, dish it and serve it with plenty of Parmesan on top!
If you are storing leftovers afterwards, store the chicken separately so that it doesn’t get too soggy.
I used my new favorite spices for this recipe- the Gourmet Garden fresh herbs and spices, just like in my Burrito Mix Recipe. The giveaway has ended but for more information on the Gourmet Garden Herb and Spices check out that recipe and see why I love these spices.
Need more quick 15 minute recipe ideas? Check out these other great #15MinuteSuppers!
BLOGGERS: Would you like to join us at #15MinuteSuppers? We’d love to have you! Please check out the 15 Minute Suppers website or ask to join the Facebook group (for bloggers) to participate on Fridays…we’d love to have you join us.
I have been wanting to write about some of my random ways to save money, and this week’s Ask the Readers question over at Wisebread inspired me to finally get to writing about some of my favorite ways to save. I hope that these ideas help inspire others to save money in new ways!
As you are reading this remember that everyone’s level of thriftiness is different- where I don’t mind doing certain things to save money they may be way out of your comfort zone, just like many things are out of my comfort zone. (Have you seen that show on tv about cheapskates? I couldn’t do most of the things that they do to save money!)
Make What You Would Otherwise Buy-
This can be food, crafts or anything really. I do a little of both. It helps that I usually enjoy cooking and DIY crafts but many times you will realize how easy it is to do something that you could pay to be done instead. When you see something you want just ask yourself “Can I make that?” and see if it is a feasible way to save some money. I was totally thinking this after driving by the tamale stand last week, so I will probably be making tamales soon.
I joined the 15 Minute Suppers group where we post new dinner ideas on Fridays that take 15 Minutes or Less- the idea is to make something at home in the amount of time it would take to order delivery. Cooking these easy meals saves us money because instead we would be eating out way too often. I try to do the same with packing my husband lunches, but lately I have had way too hard of a time getting up in time to make him something. When I do make him lunches I will sometimes make him Homemade Lunchables or Homemade Chicken Snack Wraps– both things I can easily make at home for way less than what you would buy them for.
I also try to make all sorts of DIY projects at home. Check out some of my Best Tutorials to see what kinds of things you could make instead of buying. My latest DIY projects have been Jeep-related, but I need to get to making new carseat strap covers and fixing up a playmat for the new baby before he comes in a couple of weeks. For me the time and materials to make most of these things is way less than buying them new, plus they are personalized so many times I am more happy with them and less likely to buy replacements.
Reusable water bottles are nice, but they can also be expensive and a pain in the butt. Our compromise is to use bottled water and refill them a bunch of times before tossing them. I love the convenience of just being able to grab a cold water bottle whenever I want and being able to throw it away if I need to. I don’t worry about losing it or breaking it but at the same time we aren’t just thowing away money. I probably buy a case of water bottles once a month or less.
Be lazy at going shopping and wait to buy stuff. Don’t go straight to the store when you need something, wait a few days or so. You might realize you don’t need whatever it was in the first place. I have written about Ways to Stop Shopping but I’ve taken it to a whole new level- I am just lazy and haven’t wanted to take the time to go shopping for things we need, let alone things we don’t need. It has saved me money because by the time I actually do go to the store I realize that I have lived a few days or a few weeks without whatever was on my list and I probably don’t need it at all.
Hide the Paper Goods-
We do have paper towels, paper plates and even *real* tissues but we don’t have them out where they are easy to access. I hide them from myself and my family mainly. Visitors are usually confused, some of my family even gets a little upset that I hide the paper towels. Hiding the paper towels, and paper plates and things makes you stop to think about how easy it is to grab a dish cloth instead of a paper towel or to wipe your nose on TP instead of more expensive tissues.
I love using our “fine china” aka paper plates because it saves me from doing dishes, but having them set out of the way keeps me from being lazy and grabbing them for every meal. Saving the paper goods are all little things but the savings really do add up. What are a couple more dirty dish rags or dirty dishes when you are already doing a load of wash anyway?
On the other side of things, when we get a bad cold I will bring out the nice tissues (I buy the expensive ones with lotion) for when your nose gets too raw. Otherwise my TP Tissue Box is out and works great. When my father or guests come over and ask for paper towels I don’t mind grabbing them from their hiding place and letting them use them. If anyone wants to use my “fine china” I am happy to bring it out. I just try to save everything for special occasions so that we aren’t constantly wasting money on paper goods every week.
These are just a few of the ways that I try to save money around the house. I figure that being a stay at home mom means that saving money is my job, and most of the time I am good at it. So tell me, am I going overboard with saving money or do you do any of these things too?
I started off needing a design for my little boy’s next backpack. He loves all sorts of different tv shows and toys but one thing he REALLY loves is something the entire family loves- Our Jeep!
After a couple other ideas went wrong I started searching the internet for neat Jeep shirts that would be cute and easy to replicate onto the backpack’s fabric. I stumbled upon this amazing Jeep t-shirt by 2GodBtheGlory. They have some painting skills I will never have! (It might be because of laziness though) I also thought of how neat it would be to have Jeep fabric with the print of our very own jeep tires with all of the imperfections from fun outings and good runs.
First I set up my work station- I swung the spare tire out and set up a chair by it as a step stool. I then washed the tire where I would be painting, because dirt will just come off in the wash. I also zip-tied our beach umbrella (that has never been to the beach) to the tire rack (if that’s the correct word for it) so that the paint wouldn’t dry up before I was able to get the paint onto the fabric.
Next I mixed the paint- a nice muddy brown! It didn’t have to be too well mixed either- mud can be all sorts of colors.
Next, the paint had to be painted onto the tire. It needed to be put on thick enough to look good but it also shouldn’t have been too thick. Mine started dripping down the grooves of the tire and that really didn’t look too great. Luckily that’s the good thing about painting tires- they can have tons of imperfections and it still looks good. Also make sure that you paint enough surface area of the tire to cover everywhere you want painted on your fabric.
Once the paint is on you can carefully place your fabric onto the tire and use your hand to press down all parts of the fabric so that it gets plenty of paint.
Carefully pull off your fabric and lay it out to dry. Now you have some of your very own personalized Jeep fabric!
After I printed the tires onto my Jeep fabric, I wanted to add a stencil as well. Check out my stenciling tutorial here– the only thing I do differently for fabric is I print the graphic I wanted out on card stock instead of drawing it on light weight paper. Also make sure to let your stencil dry completely between uses.
I love my new Jeep fabric- and what I’ve made so far with it! I will be writing post or tutorials on my new bags (eventually) but until then I will just show them off here.
This only took the work of the painting and printing- a very easy project as long as you have a blank shirt to use.
Tutorial yet to come- a bit involved but worth it after the backpack is put to use! The painted front had to be painted before we put together the rest of the backpack.
Mom and Dad Diaper Bag
This started off as a simple tote, with the main piece of fabric was painted before the tote was assembled and sewn. This diaper bag also has Spiderman lining with large pockets inside as well as the round pocket in front and two big open pockets in the back (perfect for bottles!).There won’t be a tutorial for this one, but I will be taking more pictures and writing a post with links to the bags (and tutorials) that inspired it!
Stay tuned for updates on this post- I printed more fabric to use for all sorts of other things down the road. You can follow me a few different ways to hear about the updates: Bloglovin, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
First of all, I want to give a shout-out to our Sponsor, Gourmet Gardens. They sent me some awesome fresh spices tubes to use in this dinner. To all of my friends: I can’t believe you never told me this type of product existed! I am so thrilled to have the chance to try out the different types of spices that Gourmet Gardens offers. I thought that my only two options for spices were fresh or dried. I’m so excited to have a way to eat fresher food but still have the convenience of being able to easily pull these out of the fridge or the freezer. See Gourmet Garden’s full line of Herbs and Spices here.
There are four main things that go in our Burrito Mix: Beans, Rice, Chicken, and Salsa. We also use cheese as a topping.
Beans and Salsa
Beans and Salsa are usually the easiest parts of our burrito mix. I use canned beans, usually Great Northern Beans or Pinto Beans. I used to have to kind of smash the beans up so that my husband would eat them, but luckily after a few years of eating this he is used to eating beans now.
Usually I use store bought salsa, but I didn’t know that we were out of it until I had already started everything else- so this time I made my own salsa as well. If you are quick with chopping it could be done in the 15 Minutes as well. It took me quite a bit longer because of my little helper in the background.
My salsa doesn’t look the prettiest, and I’m not even going to give you a recipe because it was mostly just stuff I happened to have around the house- tomatoes, frozen peppers, frozen onions, as well as the spices from Gourmet Garden- Cilantro and Chili Pepper. I chopped and threw all of that together and blended it in the blender. We used approximately one cup of salsa for the burrito mix.
The chicken is another pretty easy ingredient- leftovers from earlier in the week. We had grilled chicken with Montreal Steak Seasoning earlier in the week, and it went perfectly with the rest of the burrito mix.
I used about one chicken breast and shredded it in the blender- it took approximately 10-15 seconds. More chicken is always better in our house though!
The rice is the most time consuming so be sure to start making it first. The rice itself is very tasty and would be a great side dish to any type of Mexican food or otherwise! I used the Gourmet Gardens Lemon Grass and Cilantro this time- it turned out amazing and reminded me of Chipotle’s Rice that I have been craving.
Rice to add to the Amazing Burrito Mix
Recipe Type: 15MinuteSuppers
1 Cup Dry Rice
2 1/3 Cups Water
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Taco Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Gourmet Gardens Lemon Grass
1/2 teaspoon Gourmet Gardens Cilantro
Add the rice, water, olive oil, taco seasoning and Lemon Grass to a small pot. Heat on high until boiling. Reduce heat to medium, so that it is still boiling.
When there is hardly any water left, add the Cilantro and let the rice continue cooking for a minute or two. Now the rice should be ready to add to the rest of the burrito mix. (Or dished up as a side dish to something else)
Mixing the Burrito Mix
Once everything is ready, all that needs to be done is to mix the burrito mix together. We prefer a mix, because it makes for easy lunches for the next couple of days and it tastes so much better to have everything mixed in.
So I’ve already mentioned it above, but we use 1 can of beans, 1 cup of mild salsa, 3(ish) cups of rice and 3(ish) cups of shredded chicken. You can work with the sizes of everything depending on what you have around the house and what your family likes too!
I have been meaning to get a bowl back from a neighbor- but I tried putting everything in a smaller one. Needless to say, it didn’t work. I just wanted to explain why the burrito mix was put into a Christmas bowl for awhile.
After everything is mixed, it can be dished onto a tortilla. We then will sprinkle cheese on top, and sometimes add more salsa. If you need to melt the cheese or heat up the burrito make sure to heat it up before folding it.
That’s it! All of this can be done in 15 minutes and you will have a delicious dinner for your family! Everyone in my family loves this dinner- especially my two year old son (as long as he doesn’t eat all of the ingredients before they are put together- he must have drank a 1/2 Cup of Salsa this time!).
Before you take the time to make this recipe see if you can score some of the ingredients from Gourmet Gardens for free! They are providing the same line of refrigerated spices that I received! See my Instagram post here.
We are so excited to be partnering with Gourmet Garden this week. Gourmet Garden offers convenient herbs and spices in tubes that make creating #15MinuteSuppers a breeze. No washing or chopping required…just squeeze in some herbs to quickly flavor your suppers! Need more quick 15 minute recipe ideas? Check out these other great #15MinuteSuppers from some of my friends!
BLOGGERS: Would you like to join us at #15MinuteSuppers? We’d love to have you! Please check out the 15 Minute Suppers website or ask to join the Facebook group (for bloggers) to participate on Fridays…we’d love to have you join us.
Lately my Journal Writing Tips and Entry Ideas List has been getting buckets of love on Pinterest. Thanks for the love everyone! I really do hope that my ideas help keep some positivity and happiness in your life. To try to help give you (and myself) reminders of the tips and ideas of what to write in your journal I created these printable bookmarks.
These bookmarks would be great to put in your Journal for those times that you want to write but feel negative, or stumped. Putting this bookmark in a journal would be a great gift idea to cheer someone up as well.
I have to brag- the pictures used in the backgrounds were all taken by me! I know that with my little point and shoot camera photography is mostly luck but I am so proud of the beauty I was able to capture! My last camping post and my Arizona Valentine’s are proof of that too 🙂
Feel free to print and share these bookmarks as much as you want! Thank you for doing so- I feel proud to have put together something people like! They turn out best being printed on cardstock or thicker paper, but you could be creative with them too!
I love dogs, but I especially love my puppy! She is a great companion to me, my son and my husband! She can be a pain in the rear, but I can’t imagine life without her now that we have her. Here’s a few reasons to remind you why we love our dogs!
1. Your dog is a forever companion to you- even if it gets uncomfortable when your 40lb or more puppy wants to be a lap dog!
2. Your puppy is a great companion and playmate for your children! The human children can never complain about not having anyone to play with.
3. A dog doesn’t talk back- quite the opposite from some of your other housemates!
4. A puppy is way easier to potty train than a human child! You may have dirty carpets for a little while, but not dirty carpets and dirty underwear.
5. Dogs are more than happy to clean up any dropped food for you, and sometimes other gross messes as well!
6. You will never have to let meat go to waste with a good pup around, meat as well as many other foods and food scraps.
7. A dog can help you stay more active and get outside more, even when you don’t want to. They are way more motivating than a personal trainer!
8. Dogs and their hair can encourage you to clean your floors more often- that’s better motivation than your mother-in-law coming to town.
9. You always have someone excited to see you, especially after a long day when you just want to sit down and put your feet up.
10. Your dog can keep you warm at night and any other time you want to cuddle!
11. Dogs help protect your home and your family, even if their bark is worse than their bite!
12. With a dog you always have some form of free entertainment- whether it is playing with them or watching them be goofy.
13. Dogs can help improve your immune system and your children’s immune system- getting sick less is one of my favorite reasons to have a dog!
We love this tuna casserole- it comes from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (aka. the Cooking Bible) originally but I have made quite a few changes to it over the years to try to get it perfectly creamy and delicious.
Tuna Noodle Casserole
6 Cups or a 1 Pound Bag of Egg Noodles
1/4 – 1/2 Cup Chopped Onion (Can use Dried)
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Mustard (1 t. if using dry mustard)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Cups Milk
1-2 Cans of Tuna
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese (optional)
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Slices Bread, torn into small crumbs
Cook and drain noodles. Melt butter in saucepan, and cook the onions in it for a few minutes.
Stir in flour, salt, mustard and pepper.
Add milk all at once; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Mix sauce with noodles, tuna, and cheese. Spread the mixture in a casserole dish.
Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in the microwave and mix with bread crumbs, sprinkle it on the top of the casserole.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until bread topping is crisp and crunchy.
February 20th is National Love Your Pet Day. I really love my dog, Roxie but today I wanted to take the time to talk about my favorite Pet-Lover and the story of his business, The Safety Collar. My Uncle Glenn was the biggest pet-lover I will ever know. He loved his puppies so much; the story of his business shows how much he loves them.
This last summer The Safety Collar came onto the market. This collar was created by my Uncle Glenn after he and his puppy, Tasha experienced a tragedy.
My Uncle Glenn and Tasha were out at an empty parking lot trying to do some off-leash training before it was too dark. Distracted, Tasha ran off across the parking lot at the wrong moment. A lady cut across the empty parking lot at the same time as Tasha was running free. Seeing the car, Glenn chased Tasha, waving his hands in the air hoping to alert the lady driving of Tasha’s presence. Unfortunately he was unable to alert the driver, and she ran into Tasha.
Tasha did survive, she had to endure months and months of rehab to get her leg and hip back to a healthy working condition. Now she can run and play, along with Nikholai, Glenn’s older dog. She does still get hip pain and will sometimes start to limp after a long day.
Going through the scare of seeing his dog hit, even when she was able to survive was traumatizing. Glenn didn’t want anyone else to ever have to go through an experience like that (or one with a less-happy ending) and he was inspired to create The Safety Collar.
He didn’t start off wanting to make an invention, Glenn started off by shopping. He was looking for a collar that provided the most possible visibility and one that he could leave on his dogs all the time so that they would be safe anytime they went out. He found collars that would help light up, but most didn’t have the quality and strength it would take to truly illuminate his dogs. Glenn went through tons of research and many revisions before he created today’s version of The Safety Collar.
My dog wears her collar all the time. We love it. It’s such a durable collar that she can wear it all the time. It’s water resistant- so I can even keep it on her in the bath. It’s a good time to wash the collar too, any dirt comes off with water and a tiny bit of soap.
Here in Arizona, the summers are so hot that the only real time to play outside is when it’s getting dark out. I love that my dog has her collar on because she usually is right next to my son so I can see him too. The collars are bright enough to light up anything near them as well as them- when walking I can see the ground illuminated beneath us. It’s nice to know that any passers-by would be able to see my dog as well as me.
The light-sensor mode is an awesome feature as well. It’s perfect for when I’m doing stuff around the house and going in and out because Roxie follows me everywhere. We don’t have to waste battery power when there is enough light to see her, whether its inside the house or when we stop somewhere well-lit on our walks.
The battery power is great for something that shines so brightly. It will last atleast 6-8 hours when it’s on constantly, but as I have been bringing them to different Farmer’s Markets and shows lately they have proven to last much longer. Yesterday I was at a Farmer’s Market for 9 hours and many of the collars were still charged up after I packed everything up and brought them home. I had to unpack and turn everything off.
If you would like to look into The Safety Collar more, please head over to the website, http://thesafetycollar.com. From there you will be able to place an order for any size and color that you would like! Getting a Safety Collar to help keep your pets seen is a great way to show your dog that you love them, especially for National Love Your Pet Day on February 20th! The Safety Collar is also on Amazon.com. If you have bought a collar I would love your review on Amazon!
For the week of National Love Your Pet Day we are having a giveaway. The winner will be able to receive The Ultra Safety Collar in a size and color of their choice. The giveaway will go until Monday February 24th 2014. Use the Rafflecopter Widget below to enter the giveaway!