Monday, January 30, 2012

Make Over Your Monday

Happy Monday everyone! How was you week? Were you able to help out with some needs? We were able to give a large donation of household items to Goodwill. I've got a house-wide organization planned for next month so I know I'll be donating much more.

The challenge this week is to teach someone something you are good at doing.

We all have something special that we can teach. Take the time this week to share it with those around you. It'll make you feel all kinds of wonderful!

Have a great week!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Worry-Free On A Sunday

Last summer I made {THESE} worry dolls for Lo.
Lil' sis NoJo has been having some pretty scary dreams about a sea witch coming into her room and taking her away (and no, she hasn't been watching the Little Mermaid. I have no idea where these dreams are coming from, but they are terrifying her!). Lo was happy to share her worry dolls with her first...but now she has reclaimed them and it was time for Noa to have her own. We sat down and designed them together. She picked out all the fabric and yarn, and decided which dolly got which skirt. She even helped cut out their hair. It was a fun project for the two of us and she is VERY excited to have her own dolls! We are ALL very excited to have an uninterrupted night of sleep!!!
Have a wonderful and worry-free Sunday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Updated Outlet Cover Tutorial

I am s-l-o-w-l-y working on finishing the yellow room. The hubby had to take off all the outlet covers to paint. I thought it would be a good idea to update them. They were so gross and BOR-ing! After a little Googling I found {THIS} tutorial, it was the perfect solution to my problem. 

These outlet covers are not only super easy to make, but super cheap too! I covered 6 outlet plates for under a dollar-you can't even buy one new cover for a dollar. All I needed to buy was the paper, all the other supplies I already had on hand. 

Here's all you need:

  • Mod Podge
  • Pretty scrapbook paper
  • Old outlet covers
  • Exacto knife
  • Coordinating paint

Start by tracing your outlet covers onto the back of the pretty paper.
Use the exacto knife to carefully cut it out.
Mark where the screws are going to go and gently poke a small hole with the exacto knife.
Using a foam brush, paint a layer of Mod Podge on the top of the outlet cover and the back of the pretty paper.
Place the pretty paper on top of the outlet cover and gently press out all the air bubbles. Once it is dry you can paint the edges of your outlet cover with paint. This will hide the seams. I also painted the top of the screws to match.
Once the paint is dry cover the outlet cover in several thin coats of Mod Podge. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next. 
I LOVE the finished product!!! 
I can't wait to start transforming all the other outlets in our house!

Happy re-covering!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fish Tacos With Lime-Cilantro Crema

We had these last week and they were so yummy! They reminded me of California and even made me a little homesick. I served them under the guise of "California Tacos" so that the hubby would at least try them. He is on self-imposed, strict no fish diet, and I have never seen him willingly eat a bite of fish that wasn't battered and deep-fried. Apparently I wasn't as slick as I thought because Logan took one bite and said, "California Tacos taste like fish!"


No worries they were so good the hubby at 3!!! I think between the de-lish cilantro crema and the crunchy cabbage, the fishy-fish was overpowered by yumminess!!! They truly were wonderful and I can't wait to make them again. These amazing tacos were posted on My Recipes and the original recipe comes from Cooking Light-one of my favorite magazines!

Crema (I doubled the recipe, the crema is wonderful!)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3T fat-free mayonnaise
  • 3T reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1t grated lime rind
  • 1 1/2t fresh lime juice
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1t ground cumin
  • 1t ground coriander
  • 1/2t smoked paprika
  • 1/4t ground red pepper
  • 1/8t salt
  • 1/8t garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds red snapper fillets (I used Tilapia)
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
Preheat oven to 425 degrees

To prepare crema, combine the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. I made mine in the morning and put it in the refrigerator, letting the flavors develop throughout the day. 

To prepare tacos, combine cumin and next 5 ingredients (through garlic powder) in a small bowl; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over both sides of the fish. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Place fish in a bowl; break into pieces with a fork. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish evenly among tortillas; top each with 1/4 cup cabbage and 1 tablespoon crema.


For those interested...(one serving=2 tacos)

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 394
  • Calories from fat: 14%
  • Fat: 6.3g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 1.5g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5g
  • Protein: 40.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 40.1g
  • Fiber: 5.5g
  • Cholesterol: 70mg
  • Iron: 3.5mg
  • Sodium: 857mg
  • Calcium: 233mg

Monday, January 23, 2012

Make Over Your Monday

Happy Monday! How did your week of silliness go? I have to admit I could have been better with this one. My week started off great and then kind of feel apart towards the end. I will definitely have to add a little bit of silly to this week!

The challenge this week is inspired by my daughter's daisy troop, the challenge is to help someone with something they need.

We've been talking a lot about needs vs. wants with our girls lately, and we're trying to instill in them a sense of gratitude. Even as an adult I struggle with this. It's easy to lose sight of what's truly important. Our family is lucky, we have all that we need and much of what we want, but we know that not everyone is as fortunate. We are teaching the girls ways to help others. It's a hard concept for a 6-year-old and 4-year-old to grasp, but we work on it daily.

So let's get out there and help with some needs, no job too small. It's going to make you feel good, I guarantee it!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Flu" vs. Flu

This is the one time of year when I'm going to get all "nursey" on you...

Flu season is right around the corner here in Indy and it's around this time of year I hear the following(or something very similar):

"I am never going to get my flu shot again. Our whole family has been vomiting and having diarrhea all week. It happens every year, I get the flu shot and I still get the flu!!!"

I hear it every year and everywhere. From friends, patients at work, random people on the street, and it's guaranteed to be a Facebook post or a Tweet from at least one person. The bottom line is this: That statement is all kinds of wrong.

Here are the facts my friends:

  • The Flu (aka Influenza) is a respiratory illness that infects the nose, throat and lungs. You can have high fever, coughing, body aches, sore throat and fatigue. The symptoms often come on quick and hit you hard. The seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect you from the Flu.
  • The "Flu" (notice my cute little quotation marks!!!) is not really the flu at all, it's really gastroenteritis. You could also call it the stomach flu if you want. It's the virus that gives you all the unpleasant tummy issues that most people don't want to talk about. The seasonal flu vaccine does NOT protect you from the "stomach flu." 
  • Also, the flu shot does NOT give you the flu-I hear that one a lot too! It is an inactivated virus (AKA not live). If you get sick after getting the shot it's most likely because you waited in a germ-infested waiting room for your turn to get vaccinated (The flu mist is a live vaccine, but you still will not get the flu from it. You can however get cold symptoms for a few days, mainly stuffy nose.).
Okay...I'm all done being nursey...consider it my one PSA for the year. If you've inadvertently used flu instead of "flu" no worries, it's a pretty common misunderstanding!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and stay healthy!

For more information on Influenza please check out the CDC website {HERE}

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sad News On Saturday

After a particularly rough night with one of the kiddos I woke up to this email:

Official Announcement: Picnik is closing 

Since joining Google in 2010, we have been creating editing magic in Google products while continuing to keep Picnik awesome. But now we get to focus on even awesomer things. Picnik will be closing on April 19, 2012.

Your photos liberated
Amazing photos are created in Picnik, so we have launched a new feature, Picnik Takeout, that easily downloads your photos to your desktop in convenient zip files. You may also elect to copy your photos toGoogle+ where you can store and share your creations. You may request your photos at any time and use this handy tool as many times as you like until our closing date of April 19, 2012. Learn more.

Premium Refunds
To our primo Picnik Premium members, we'll begin processing a full refund of your current membership fee within a week of this announcement. By "in full" we mean the whole darn thing. Yep, this means even if you are on your very last day of an annual membership, we will refund you the entire $24.95. Just because we want to say thanks.

Now the Good News - Free Premium for ALL!
To express our gratitude for your support over the past 5 years, Picnik Premium is free for everyone! Use Picnik in all of its premium glory, for free, from now until our actual closing day. Touch-up, Textures, Advanced, and more are all free for you to use!

We have been incredibly proud of building a product that is used and beloved by so many of you. We continue to be amazed and humbled by the photos you create and we are immensely grateful for all of your support, creativity, and passion.
We are excited by the photo-editing fun we have already brought to Google products, like Google+, where you can find many of your favorite Picnik effects in Creative Kit. We encourage you to visit Google+ andgive it a whirl.
Please visit the Help Hub for more information on our wind down, and check the Picnik blog for updated information on our April closure.
It's been awesome,
Team Picnik

I'm so sad! 

That means we have 3 months to make all our printables and giant portraits--so get out there and BE CREATIVE!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My New Addiction-Printables

Oh dear, I have a new addiction and it's a F-U-N one!!! Thank you Thrifty Decor Chick for posting {THIS} tutorial. I am in crafty girl heaven! I use Picnik all the time to edit my photos, and I had seen several blogs about how to use the site to make super-huge prints, but using them for printables never occurred to me. I've had lots of fun turning some of my favorite Pinterest pins into artwork.

**One step I did differently from TDC - instead of opening a painting program I just downloaded a high quality picture to Picnik and covered it with a rectangle by going to the "stickers" tab at the top (pink arrow) and then clicking "geometric" on the left (blue arrow). You can change the rectangle to be any color that you would like**

We all know that I  The Avett Brothers and my favorite song lyrics come from Murder In The City. I pinned {THIS} awhile back thinking I would buy it for our house eventually. At $12.50 it was very reasonably priced, but I made mine for $3.23 and could customize the color and the font.

Pretty cute don't you think?
I love, love, LOVE it!!!

I used Thrifty Decor Chick's trick, and instead of using matting I just centered the picture on top of poster board.

It's the perfect addition to my entryway. I love that you see it every time you walk in the door.

I couldn't stop there! I was having too much fun!

I loved {THIS} quote for Lo's room. It's going to look fab-u-lous above her crafty desk. It suits her PERFECTLY!
I can't wait to hang it up!

Thrifty Decor Chick printed her designs at home. I tried to do that, but each time I tried making the picture bigger (I wanted 8x10 pictures) it became very fuzzy. It also would have used A LOT of printer ink. I just sent mine to Walgreens to be printed. It cost a little over $3 and was ready in about 20 minutes! I just love Walgreens!

**A tip for when you send pictures online to be printed. If you are making an 8x10 you need to "crop" them on the photo stores website. If you don't, the top and bottom will be cut off. Trust me on this one-learn from my mistake! It took two tries (and two trips to Walgreens) to get it right. The wonderful folks at Walgreens not only tried to fix it in the store for me, but I didn't have to pay for the mistake photos.**

The printables are so quick to make, depending on how fancy you want to be, and are completely and totally ADDICTING!  Don't say I didn't warn you!

Have fun and let us know what creative designs you come up with!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Murray Math

This year we decided to skip the traditional Christmas cards. The holidays are stressful enough, and it always seems like I am rushing to get the cards out on time. This year instead of Christmas cards we sent "Happy New Year" cards-a great solution to the problem. We also had an ulterior motive...we had something very special to share!

I wish I could have their faces when our friends and family opened our cards and saw this:
Such a fun way to tell those we care about our good news!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Make Over Your Monday

Happy Monday! How was your week? We had a fantastic weekend. The whole family took a trip to Chicago to visit our dear friends that we miss VERY much. It was such a fun time and went by way to fast!

Did you decide on your word for 2012? I finally settled on the word that I feel suits me the best. I've decided not to share my word. I like the idea that it is just for me, and I can meditate on it when I need to. Feel free to share your word if you'd like. If you still are searching, don't give up. It will come to you when you least expect it!

This week's challenge is a fun one. I'm hoping it will help melt away some of those winter blahs that might be creeping up on you.

This week the challenge is to do something silly. 
There's nothing better to put you in a great mood than to let yourself go and find your funny side. Children do it all the time and adults should do it more often.

Have a wonderful week and enjoy all the silliness that you uncover!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Year Of Running

Last year I decided that I would track all the miles I ran. I've never really kept track before and I thought it would be interesting to see how many miles I logged during 2011. I used the Daily Mile website and it rocked. It's super easy to use and you can track all different kinds of workouts, not just running. My favorite function is the route creator, I use it all the time during training season. 

Here are my fun Daily Mile stats for the year:

  • 611 Miles Ran 
  • 21 Pounds Burned
  • I went around the world 0.02 times
  • 401.5 donuts burned
  • 894 TVs Powered 
  • During training months I ran about 70-80 miles each month
  • I saved 32.4 gallons of gas

What a great year of running! 

Here's to a great 2012!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Meat-Lover's Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

This is a big family favorite. I love it because I can make it in the slow cooker, it makes a TON and freezes well, and EVERYONE in my family will eat it. The Mommy Trifecta! It comes from All Recipes and it is DE-LISH. It's great on any type of pasta and would also make a great meat sauce for your lasagna. Serve it with a side of broccoli and garlic bread and you have a wonderful meal!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1/4 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 (29oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5oz) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5oz) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, cook and stir onions and Italian sausage until the sausage is browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage and onions to a slow cooker. In the same skillet, cook and stir the ground beef, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and marjoram, breaking the meat up as it cooks, until the meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the ground beef into the slow cooker
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, thyme, basil, oregano, and 2 teaspoons of garlic powder. Set the cooker on low and cook the sauce for 8 hours. About 15 minutes before serving, stir in the sugar. Serve hot. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I ♥ Walgreens

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
I'm a huge fan of customer service. When I find a place that treats me right I stick with them. My family has been going to the same Mexican restaurant for over 30 years-we are loyal people! That's why I was BEYOND disappointed when I found that starting this year I could no longer go to my favorite pharmacy, Walgreens. I've been going to the same Walgreens for 6 years. The pharmacist knows me and my family and is always so thoughtful and kind. They even have a drive-thru so I don't have to lug two kids in the store just to pick up our prescriptions (The girls love them because they often get suckers)
So why am I losing my favorite place? Basically it all comes down to contracts. We are part of the Express Scripts Network and they are no longer contracting with Walgreens. So sad. Now I have to find a new pharmacy, move ALL of our family's prescriptions and foster a new relationship with a new pharmacist. It's not just me that's being effected. Tricare, a client of Express Scripts, who provides prescription coverage for many military personnel can no longer can use Walgreens either-so sad. Walgreens even tried to negotiate their contracts separately and it was rejected. I know from personal experience that Walgreens tried to keep their current customers. I was told of the change several months before it occurred and the pharmacist spoke to me personally and helped me contact our Human Resources to express our frustration. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful. So frustrating and unnecessary!
For more info you can check out the press release: Walgreens and Express Script
Even though I can't fill my prescriptions there, I still prefer Walgreens to any other pharmacy. To further show that they are totally awesome and value their customers they have developed a Walgreens Prescription Savings Club. It's a way to help alleviate some of the financial burden of their customers. Individuals can join in January for the special price of $5 for the year or $10 for a family membership, saving over $15 off the regular price.
So what are the benefits of joining? You'll get savings on over 8,000 generic and brand-name medications, discounts on seasonal flu shots, pet prescriptions (yep, even the pets get some lovin'), nebulizers and diabetic supplies. As an added bonus you'll save on Walgreens brand products (which are already at a great price) and photofinishing services. What a great way to show their customers how much they mean to them.
If you love Walgreens as much as I do make sure you show your support by following  Walgreens on Twitter or Walgreens on Facebook.
Visit Sponsor's Site

Worms and Dirt

Last week my oldest turned 6. It's been a birthday tradition the past few years that I make the girls shirts with their new age on them. This year Lo very nicely asked for a matching skirt too. Typically I pick fabric with cupcakes and desserts on it for their birthday outfit, but Lo has VERY strong opinions on what she wants to wear and chose this bright and extremely colorful fabric. It's not what I would choose, but it suits her perfectly. The skirt pattern is the Girly Skirt from Pink Fig Designs. It's one of my favorites. It's very easy to make and the pattern goes from 6mo-10years making it well worth the money.
Her new doll Lilly Anna needed a matching skirt of course. (I'm hoping to finish the tutorial next week. I found a really easy way to make it that I never thought of and I'm excited to share it with you!)
One of the best parts about birthdays is the special birthday dessert. Our tradition is that whoever is celebrating their birthday gets to pick out the dinner and dessert. This year Lo wanted Italian sausage sandwiches and a "surprise" treat. I love that she wanted a surprise, it made it so much more fun for all of us. I was so excited when I found {THIS} recipe.

It's perfect for my bug and treat lovin' girl!

Worms and Dirt Brownies

  • Your favorite brownie mix and the ingredients listed on the box
  • Oreo Cookies
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • Gummy Worms
  • 6 (8oz) Wide Mouth Half Pint Jars (I couldn't find them easily and had the taller half-pint jars already. They ended up being HUGE desserts. It took my girls 3 days to eat them and they didn't even finish them. Next time I would probably do them in muffin tins and make them much smaller)
  • Preheat oven to 350 and spray the inside of the jars with cooking spray
  • Fill jars about 1/3 full with brownie batter. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (Since mine were so tall they took MUCH longer. I just checked them every 5 minutes. It probably took 45minutes for them to bake). Place jars on a cooling rack until cool.
  • Remove lid and foil from canned frosting. Microwave for about 30 seconds or until pourable, but still thick. You can skip this, but I have found it's a lot easier to get frosting to spread neatly and evenly in a jar when you can just pour it in. Pour a bit of the frosting in each jar.
  • Immediately top with a handful of crushed Oreos and Gummi Worms
Lo was so excited for her special dessert. She said it was the best dessert EVER!
Nothing is better than an ooey-gooey, chocolaty dessert!

The girls can't wait until their next birthday, they're already asking for dessert surprises for next year! At least I have a whole year to plan!

Have a great day and thanks for checking in!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quick Tip For Those Who Paint

As you probably already know, I paint A LOT. Since I've banned sanding projects from my house, I'm also painting a lot of primer too.

This is a great tip for those who paint, whether it be a little or a lot. Cover your paint tray in foil. Then when you're finished you just crumple up the foil and throw it away. No more buying a ton of painting trays, you just need one!

Happy painting!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Robyn's New Look

This is Robyn. She belongs to my youngest. She came to us last year and she constantly looks like she just came home from a night of "being up to no good." It's not uncommon to find her half-dressed, facedown on the carpet.
Her hair was fully of teeny-tiny elastic bands. She was a hot mess!
I was so excited when I found {THIS} on Pinterest. I had high hopes for Robyn, perhaps she could turn her life around.
All you need is a wig comb (purchased from a local beauty supply shop), fabric softener, and a small spray bottle.
I used about 50% fabric softener and 50% water in the spray bottle and then got down to business. First I cut out all the rubber bands and then separated the hair into small sections. I sprayed each section and started combing, starting at the bottom of the hair and working my way up.

Here's what she looked like with half of her hair done.
I decided that her new look would last a lot longer if we braided her hair.
Robyn did loose a handful of hair in the process, but it was a small sacrifice for loosing her bad-girl image.
Robyn looks so much better (and innocent, like a good dolly should) and Noa loved her new look!!!

**Robyn is not a true American Girl doll. I'm not sure I would try this technique on such an expensive doll. While Robyn's hair looks 100-times better, it is not perfect. For more treasured dolls I would take them to a doll hospital or doll restoration place where they can be taken care of properly.**