Thursday, March 29, 2012

Homemade Bubbles







Nyla and I have been blowing bubbles everyday for the past 10 days. At first she was unsure of the bubbles having never been around them but now she says "bubbles" everyday. So out we go to blow bubbles and she gets a hold of the container and dumps them out, of course! 
As a mom of two it's not easy for me to get out to the Dollar Tree just to buy bubbles so Daniel looked up homemade bubbles for me and they really work! I used our empty bubble container and went to work. All the ingredients you probably always have on hand. Enjoy!

Homemade Bubbles

2 cups water
1/2 cup dishwashing liquid (I had a knock-off of Ajax)
2 tsp sugar

Dump all ingredients into a container with a lid and shake to mix. It will be very bubbly so give it a few minutes before you start going crazy over the bubbles. They work just like the store bought bubbles!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

BIG Laundry Oops!

Everyday I try and do 1 load of laundry so I stay on top of the laundry that gathers around here and yesterday was no exception. My basket was full so I threw it in the wash before I went to do some mission work with my church. Right before I left I went to hang/dry my clothes. Well I open up my washing machine and see ALL my clothes (about 8 shirts, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of socks, 4 pair of underwear and 2 sets of pj's) covered in this paper crap. I didn't know what happened until I saw the culprit.... a coloring book! Yes an entire coloring book (some pages were colored) somehow got into the wash. I don't know if Nyla threw it in my basket in our closet or if it fell from our coloring stuff that's kept above the machine. But it was in there and it made a big ol' mess!!!

I left to go do my mission thing and would deal with it when I came home. It ended up being a bigger mess than I thought. Every piece of clothing was covered in hundreds of pieces of paper. I called my mom (because mom's always know what to do right?) and told her what happened. She told me to let everything air dry overnight and then brush it all off the next day. Let's just say I went to bed pretty upset with myself.

Today I tried to go in with a good attitude and conquer this huge mess and just get it all done. I start taking each piece of clothing one by one and start brushing it off. Sometimes brushing it works, sometimes it doesn't. After shirt number five I was furious again. So I quit for a bit. I came back to it awhile later and just couldn't get it done. My jeans are the worst looking. They must have been by the coloring book the whole time. They have tiny pieces and big pieces and those pieces are just sticking to the jeans. So annoying!

I, again, left it for awhile and came back to it. Brushing it off obviously wasn't working. And picking it off piece by piece? Forget it! I decided I'll throw small loads in the wash (after I've shaken them out a good bit) and try washing again; then I'll dry it in the dryer and go from there. So far, one load has done well with this. I have 2 more loads to go and I have I have as much success!

Piece of advice: Look in your washing machine before washing anything. You never know what you may find!!!

What big laundry mistakes have you made?


Here's one shirt covered in the paper. This picture doesn't really do it justice but you get the idea. It's not just the outside of the clothes, it's the inside too!


And here's the inside of the washing machine AFTER I took all the clothes out. It was a huge mess and it was everywhere! I'm mad just typing this!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Favorite Find Friday

Hey y'all! I'm linking up with Sno White over at Joy in my Kitchen for this weeks rendition of Friday Favorite Finds! This is a great time to find new recipes to try or just drool over. I usually just drool. ;) Happy 100 Friday Favorite Finds to you Sno!

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Here are some favorites for this week! Enjoy!



Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake Ice Cream... Wow!




We love breakfast in this house so I had to pin some yummy looking cinnamon rolls. Of course I need another cinnamon roll recipe like I need a hole in the head. :)


Blueberry French Toast Sandwich? Yes, please!



Garlic Bread Pizza Crust

Source: howsweeteats.com via Rachel on Pinterest


I hope you got some good ideas or just drooling is fine too. :)

Have a great weekend!


*All photos were taken by the wonderful recipe creators, and were embedded on this blog using Pinterest. To see or pin the original recipe, click the "Source" link below each photo.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fun at the Zoo!

We just LOVE the Memphis Zoo! My parents got us a membership for Christmas when I was pregnant with Nyla and we're so glad they keep renewing it for us each Christmas. I love the gift of experience! (As my friend Rachel says over at Frugal and Simple). We love it because it's clutter free, which is what we're trying to do around here, and I'd much rather my girls have a bunch of experiences in learning and developing than a bunch of toys that barely get played with. So far the toys are winning out, which is fairly common at this age, and because I'm not sure what other "experiences" to ask for as gifts. Suggestions?

Any who, we went to the zoo last Saturday morning and had a great time. Nyla is at the age where she wants to walk the ENTIRE time and point to everything and see everything. It's great, we love it! She rode in the stroller on the way into the park, a little in the park and back out to the car. She was wore out on the way home and promptly fell asleep, as did Naomi.

Here are some pictures from our big day!
(One day I'll get brave and go by myself with 2 babies, one day.)



This is Nyla's "bird face." And this is why her nickname is "Bird."


She's sitting in the rocking chair at the "Farm" having a snack. And pointing to who knows what.


A horse friend at the Farm.


Daddy and Ny checking out the tigers. The white tiger is Daddy's favorite.
We are thankful we got to the Zoo right around opening time. When we got finished around 11:30 is was PACKED! Since we have a membership we have the luxury of doing a few exhibits at a time instead of having to pack it all in in one day. Thankful for that.

What kinds of experiences do you want for your kids or what have you done for them?

Best Pizza Crust



I've been making my own pizza crust for close to four years. Yesterday I finally found the one I've been searching for! While it's more high maintenance than I like, it will be a pizza crust to make for special occasions or whenever I remember to make it.

Ingredients

    3 cups bread flour, plus a little extra for your work surface
    2 tsp sugar
    1/2 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
    1 1/3 cups ice water
    1 Tbsp vegetable oil
    1 1/2 tsp table salt


Directions

1. FOR THE DOUGH
Pulse the flour, sugar and yeast in a food processor (fitted with the dough blade, if possible) until combined, about 5 pulses. With the food processor running, slowly add the water; process until the dough i just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let the dough sit for 10 minutes.
2. Add the oil and salt to the dough and process until the dough forms a satiny, sticky ball that clears the sides of the bowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface and knead briefly by hand until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape the dough into a tight ball and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl; cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 3 hours.
3. TO BAKE THE PIZZA
Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position (4 to 5 inches from the broiler) and set a baking stone on the rack.
Transfer dough to a clean work surface and divide in half. With cupped hands, form each half into a smooth, tight ball. Place the balls of dough on a lightly greased baking sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart; cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour.
5. Coat 1 ball of dough generously with flour and place on a well-floured work surface (keep the other ball covered). Use your fingertips to gently flatten the dough into a an 8-inch disk, leaving 1 inch of the outer edge slightly thicker than the center. Using your hands, gently stretch the disk into a 12-inch round , working along the edges and giving the disk quarter turns. Transfer the dough to a well-floured pizza peel and top with toppings of your choice.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Bake until the crust is well browned and the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pizza halfway through the baking time. Transfer pizza to a wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Repeat step 5 to shape, top and baked the second pizza.

Serving size: 12 inch pizza, cut into 8 pieces. This recipe makes 2 pizza crusts.

Serving Size: Make 2 12-inch pizzas, 16 slices total


Tip: Since this is a thin crust go easy on the toppings so the middle gets crispy and not soggy. I use 1/2 cup sauce, 1 cup a cheese and light on the other toppings. It works out great!

Monday, March 12, 2012

TV=OFF in Our Home

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We don't have cable or satellite, we have the free, over-the-air TV and we love it! We love it because it costs us nothing and we don't feel the need to watch it every night because there's not that much on anyways.

About 6 weeks ago I made the decision to keep the TV turned OFF all day while the girls and I are home. I was keeping it on just to have it on. Doesn't everyone do that? Well I decided I didn't want to anymore. Nyla has never been interested in watching it and I never wanted it become a babysitter anyways. So what if she follows me around all day? She helps with the laundry, dishes and some of the cooking and yes she's only 19 months. Is she in my way? Yes, sometimes. But most of the time I'm happy to have her there learning the day-to-day routine I have. And I'm teaching her chores early, which is a goal of ours anyways.

My favorite author, John Rosemond (a Christian psychologist), talks about the evils of TV (my words, not his) and how there's no such thing as a "kid's" show. Why? Because the shots change every 3 to 10 seconds which means their attention span is only for that long. "But my kid can watch TV for hours on end. Doesn't that mean he/she has a good attention span?" That is one of the questions he addresses. His answer in a nutshell, no, it doesn't mean they have a good attention span because the world doesn't change every 10 seconds. That's NOT real-life! When they go to school do they change subjects every 10 seconds? No they don't. So why subject them to that and teach them that when it's not real life? You can read more on this subject in his book, The {New} Six-Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children. I'm getting off topic, but he's a great reference!

Anyways, I decided to keep the TV off before I even read that book and then when I read it, it cemented what I wanted from each day with my girls. NO TV!!!

For the first 3 days it was a challenge which means I was a bit addicted. Again, I didn't watch particular things or whatever, I just had it on to have it on. Even Nyla would go up to it and say "on" those first few days. That was a wake-up call! I didn't think she was really watching it, but apparently she was. After those first three days I didn't have a hard time keeping it off anymore. And after a couple weeks Nyla quit asking to have it on. Thank goodness!

So here we are, about 6 six weeks later and the TV is still off all day. I lost 3 pounds in 5 weeks because I didn't find myself bored and wanting to snack while the TV was on. I am more productive during the days, I'm reading more and my girls are getting more attention from me. And all these things mean turning the TV OFF has been more than well-worth it!

My goal is to continue this. We watch Jeopardy in the afternoons sometimes. We watch Wheel of Fortune each night and an occasional show but all-in-all the TV stays off. If basketball is on we are usually watching that. We are sports fans in this house after all!

This is a goal I never even put on my 2012 goal list but it has quickly become a top priority. And I want to continue this for years to come. It works for us and who we are and what we want to do as a family.

What are some of your goals?

*The opinions on John Rosemond's book are my own. I was not contacted by him or his affiliates in any way.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Simplify: Kids Clothes

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It's been 19 months since our first sweet girl arrived and while we have loved every minute getting to know her we have NOT loved all the clothes we have accumulated with our now 2 baby girls.

I realized last summer that we had WAY more than our girls needed in the clothes department. Yes, Naomi will need the 18-month clothing that Nyla wore but she will not need as much as I have. Nyla wore about 20% of her wardrobe, just like us big people tend to do. When my mom brought over the 18-month clothes I got everything out and see what I had, see what I remembered liking on Nyla and see what she never wore. Let's just say we had a bigger pile of what she never wore and I didn't want all that staying in our house. I'm slowly minimizing our wardrobes and the girls are no different. I wash almost everyday so there's no reason to have 24 dresses, 12 pairs of shorts and 30 tops. Yes we really did have that much for Nyla and more!

When I went through their clothes I decided to not to keep what I didn't love and not have too many of one item. It's just not necessary. I have never sold any clothes to our local kid's consignment shop but decided to try it. So I went through all their clothes and filled up a large plastic tub of clothes and shoes. I hope to make a little money and get rid of clutter in the process. It's win-win all around!


Here's Nyla and Naomi's closet... it's packed! And this is only one side of their closet.


Here's the tub of clothing I'm taking to our local kid's consignment shop. I hope to make a decent amount of money on it. Whatever they don't want is going immediately to Goodwill and NOT back into our home. Can you see that it's packed?!?! I stuffed as much as I could in there. I hope I'll get some good money for some of it. :)

How often do you declutter?

This post is linked to Project: Simplify at Simple Mom.

*Update: I took my full box of clothes to a local kid's shop (not the one I was thinking about when writing this post) and made $21 while getting rid of half the box! I had the choice of $30 in store credit but opted for the cash since I needed to buy a few extra groceries. I will be taking more clothes, shoes and toys back there!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Minimizing: It's A Process!

For the past couple of years I've been reading some pretty amazing blogs about minimizing and simplifying life. I'll tell you that I was just going with the flow, buying what I thought I needed and what would make me happy, but it didn't and sit still doesn't. And all I was left with was a bunch of useless stuff filling up our closets and our floors making life harder than it needed to be. But, thanks to these blogs I saw I could live a different way. I saw that all that stuff that I thought I needed, well I really didn't need it like the world was telling me. So I made a decision and started changing the way I thought about what I brought into our home.

When we started house hunting in April of 2010 and then began packing for the move into our first home I really started paring down what we had. And we had a lot! Or I had a lot. :) Once we got moved in I went through more of our stuff. I realized that 1. we didn't have room and 2. we didn't need it and it hadn't been used and 3. I was tired of it! Being 8 months pregnant when we moved was actually helpful in paring down since I was nesting then. :)

Here we are 2 years later and I'm still de-cluttering. Honestly, it feels like it's been a never-ending process for the past couple of years. But I'm doing a little at a time and I feel accomplished every time I get something done.

In the past 2 months I've gone through our outside closet (this holds decorations and stuff for outside), our laundry room, pantry, both girls closets and our closet. That is all over the place but when the urge comes to minimize I jump at it. Just today I was reading how Rachel is clearing out her boys clothes. She has 2 beautiful boys and while the baby will need the big boys clothes in the next year or so she realized he wouldn't need as much as they have. I have been realizing the same thing, I just haven't been able to figure out what to do exactly. And I kept thinking, "What if Naomi does need more clothes? I don't want to get rid of them just in case." Well that's not the thinking I want to have because then I'll use that every time I start to minimize our things. Nyla didn't wear quite a few items and they were just stored in a box. I have my favorites which means I'll put Naomi in the same clothes I put Nyla in. So I am getting rid of a lot. I went through and filled up a large plastic tub of all kinds of clothes. Next week I'm going to take them to our local kid's consignment store and see if I can get some money for my clothes. What they don't take I'll immediately take to Goodwill so it never comes into my house again. I think it'll be win-win all around!

So, while I am making progress in minimizing, de-cluttering, paring down, getting rid of the excess... whatever you want to call it, I still feel overwhelmed about it all. I am taking it one day at a time, one month at a time and one space at a time. Rome wasn't built in a day! And my house will NOT be the way I want it in a day! This is especially true while I have 2 babies at home who are growing like weeds and they require a certain amount of stuff. What they don't require is a lot of stuff like I originally thought. Nyla is content reading, playing music and playing with her little kitchen. All her other toys are just in the way of her creative self!

Blogs that inspire me:

I have quite a few other favorite blogs but these two are truly my inspiration for getting rid of the stuff and not be bogged done by it. These are actually two of the first blogs I ran across about 3 years ago. I have no idea how I stumbled upon them but I'm thankful I did. I hope you find inspiration in them as much I have!

Now go out and conquer that pile of stuff that has been getting on your nerves for awhile, you know which one I'm talking about! :)



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dedicating Naomi

Our sweet Naomi got dedicated in church this past Sunday. It was such a sweet time being in front of our church dedicating her to our great God! We have the sweetest Pastor who married us and now has done the dedication for both our girls. It's still mind boggling that we have 2 girls! Here are some pictures of her big day!!
Mommy and Naomi


Daniel was holding Nyla but I had a necklace on so she wanted me, plus she was tired so I was holding both of them for a few minutes. That almost 50 pounds of sweet baby love right there!


We made the switch. :)


Ronnie is praying for our little family.


Our Preschool/Nursery Director, Kathy, saying a few words. So sweet!

I'm thankful Naomi did so well. I left Sunday School a little early to get Naomi dressed and she was NOT happy. She was overtired and needed a nap and she was screaming. I thought it was going to be the loudest baby dedication in the world. Thankfully when we got in there she was quiet and looked out at the congregation and just took it all in. As soon as it was over she was back to screaming. We greatly appreciate her 10 minute break to get dedicated!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Frozen Cherry Salads

I have a fond memory of these growing up. My mom would make them and we'd have them with dinner or as a little sweet dessert after. I have wanted to make them for awhile but just kept forgetting about them. Last week when I went to the grocery store I add the four ingredients needed for this delicious treat. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have over the years.

Frozen Cherry Salad
Serves: 48

Ingredients:
1 can cherry pie filling
1 (20 oz) large can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 (14 oz) can condensed milk
1 (16 oz) cool whip, thawed
1-2 drops red food coloring, optional

Instructions:
Mix all in a large bowl and scoop into paper lined muffin cups, 1/2 to 3/4 full. Freeze for a few hours. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Note: These make a lot! I put 12-16 in a gallon freezer bag and pop one out when I want a sweet treat.
These make a beautiful little treat for a bridal luncheon or baby shower.

48 calories per serving (if you make 48)