Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cool Quote

Go John Lennon

Crafty Friday: Easy DIY Sugar Scrub from Ingredients in Your Cupboard


This is another simple way to pamper yourself- and for a far lower price than what you would get charge if you purchased this on your own.

MIX:

*1 cup of white sugar

*2 ½ cups of brown sugar

Next, ADD:

1 cup of olive oil

3 Tb vanilla extract

1 Tb of cinnamon/nutmeg mix

Pour into a jar for gifts or into single serving use pouches for yourself! The sugar softly scrubs away your dead, dry skin, and the olive oil soaks into your skin and softens tough, dry areas. WONDERFUL for a hand or foot scrub.

Mix ‘em up and have some fun! Makes great gifts, too!


Friday: Crazy Easy DIY Soothing Bath Salts


Today's Crafty Friday project is about as easy as you could hope for. 3 ingredients and BOOM. You have bath salts. It is nearly impossible to ruin these.

MIX:
*1 cup of ice cream salt/ rock salt

*3 Tb of almond flavoring (you can do vanilla, mint, etc. Whatever calms you most)

* 1/8 tsp of food coloring


You're done! I like to put my in single- serving bags, 3 Tb each. These bath salts are perfect for a foot soak or a nice, long soak in the tub. Aromatic and soothing!

Gotta love Conference....


I can live with this!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thursday: Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie! 5 ingredients- no bake!

Just starting out
This week, for Snacky Cakes Thursday, you'll find yourself in a rich, creamy, peanut buttery chocolate heaven. Reminiscent of T.G.I. Friday's peanut butter pie, this dessert takes just a few minutes to prep and a freezer.

Ingredient List:
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 8 oz container of whipped topping
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
4 oz (1/2 block) cream cheese
Spreading melted chocolate
AND
of course. 1 graham cracker crust




*Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, stopping to stir every 20 seconds or so
-spread 3/4 of the melted chocolate on the bottom of the graham cracker crust


Mixing the filling...

*Soften the cream cheese and peanut butter in the microwave (think warm, gooey, but not hot)

*Mix the peanut butter, whipped topping, sweetened condensed milk, and cream cheese in a bowl until smooth
Swirled chocolate

*Pour into graham cracker crust

*Swirl the remaining chocolate on the top of the pie

*Add Reese's mini peanut butter cups to garnish if you so choose

*Throw this bad boy in the freezer for at least 1 hour and pull out 10-15 minutes before you want to dig in. (Note: Because there will be a layer of solid chocolate at the bottom, cutting it will take a little bit of force.)

Makes a creamy, crazy-satisfying dessert. After all, if you are going to splurge your calories, why not make it something that will actually satisfy your sweet tooth?

***If you prefer to make your crust from scratch, rather than use a ready-made one from the store, just follow the simple instructions in this 2-minute video. Making a Graham Cracker Crust




Wednesdays: VOTE! Team Gale or Team Peeta?

VOTE!
Team Gale or Team Peeta

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wednesdays: 5 Ways to be a More Productive Stay at Home Mom


Let’s face it- being a stay at home mom IS work- but without the regulated hours or regular pay of a  40 hour work week,  it leaves YOU, the mom, in charge setting your own work, hours, goals, etc.

There are lots of good reasons to be a SAHM- I have at least five reasons for being a stay at home mom- but if you don't feel productive and successful, you might want to give it up altogether.

Here are 5 tips on how to be more successful as a stay at home mom

1- When possible, wake up before the rest of your family (namely children) shower, dress, and get ready for the day. This will automatically set your mind in go-mode, preventing you from being sluggish and unproductive throughout the first hours of the day

2- Any physical exercise, even just 15 minutes a day, will release extra endorphins, giving you some extra energy. Additionally, a little cardio can help you work out anger/frustration (which can’t help but give you more patience with your children)

3- Each night, before going to sleep, jot down a to-do list for the next day. Even if you aren’t able to accomplish everything on your list, you will find that simply having them written down will help you to do more than if it was just on your mind

4- Have one long-term goal (eat better, work out, finish an art project, sculpture, quilt, garden, etc.) and do a little bit of work on it each day. Stay at home moms are busier than ever, so giving just a few minutes a day over time will result in a substantial result that will surprise you.

5- Tune out the TV. Have favorite shows? Ones you can’t miss? Just choose even one hour of TV that you normally watch and substitute it with listening to the radio for an hour instead- that hour of programming that you miss will quickly turn into something far more important: an hour playing with your kids, a cleaner home, a better dinner that evening….

However, remember to keep a balance in your productivity. In five years, will you remember that half hour that you laughed and chased with your children? Or your spotless floor? Just be careful not to get carried away with productivity.

It's important to be productive, but make sure that you are happy, too, or you risk resenting your sweet children. Here's 5 Ways to be a Happier Stay at Home Mom.

New to mom-ing? Check out 5 Tips for New Moms.









Tuesday Newsdays: Hunger Games Weekend and Baby Shots

Baby at the doctor's
This week was relatively eventful: baby had her well-child visit to the doctor where we learned she had acid reflux.... sad baby..... and got her shots. She cried right when she got her shots, but as soon as I picked her up, she was fine, as if she had forgotten the ordeal already. Which would make sense, as it seems she forgot ME this weekend....

They gave her silver bandaids-
Like they were WANTED her to
pull them off herself....
I took a mini road trip with my mom and sisters to visit my eldest sister for a Hunger Games viewing and party. I was away from her for a total of, what, 52 hours? And when I first saw her when I got home, it was like she didn't know who I was....

Which is entirely unfair, since I had taken her about a month ago for a week in Texas, and when we returned home, she was smiling and laughing with her daddy like she didn't know how she lived without him.
Ok, Sam looks a little tired,
but I love the little monkey baby


I guess she's just a daddy's girl.
The baby I missed this weekend

But returning to the Hunger Games.... we went with a fairly large group and as we discussed how we felt about the movie, the critiques were so mild that I am quite certain there is very little wrong with the movie at all. Like my sister-in-law's "In that one scene in the cave, the blood looked fake on his forehead." Yup. That was it. That was her whole critique. But I wonder- after having all those Twilight movies come out with "Team Jacob" and "Team Edward", will there be a similar "Team Peeta" or "Team Gale" debate? If there is.... I MIGHT just be Team Gale. Maybe. And let me just say that a weekend away with my girls- a blast and a half!

And looking over this particular blog article today, seeing only pictures of my baby- you can see where my mind was all weekend, even if I wasn't home.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday: Why I still have faith in America


America has its own set of problems, as most Americans are well aware. Economy seems to top our problems list, with education, crime, drugs, and healthcare clamoring after it. Some Americans may even be led to disparage their own country, seeing every dark smudge and all that could be better. They say that their faith in America is lost.

Lost? I say I still have faith in America.

Why?

Because Americans are still outraged when they discover a wrong.

I’ve lived in Russia and learned a code word for the mafia so you can talk about them without having any mafia members overhear you, as you live in fear that they might discover your words. I’ve seen the yakkuza (Japanese mafia) clearly recognized for their crimes but living with impunity. I was in a car in Bolivia where we were pulled over and expected to bribe policeman two times within as many hours. So many citizens of so many nations have come to accept corruption. They feel there is little or nothing they can do to protest it without fear of death, so they learn how to manage their lives within a framework of corruption and lies.

I have faith in America because our people still detest scandals. I have faith in America because stories of do-gooders still attract interest and attention in our news. I have faith in America because there still those do-gooders doing their best to assist others in need. I have faith in America because Americans still expect certain standards and rage when they are not met.

The day that we, as Americans, accept corruptions, crimes, and wrongs as inevitable may be the day that I lose my hope in America. However. As long as the people in America understand and act on their right to expect right, we cannot fail.







Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thursday: Easy Cheesecake! (No Bake!)


Are you ready for a cheesecake that's easy, quick, and unhealthy? (Sorry, it's just not possible to find a healthy cheesecake- your diet will just have to suffer.

Ingredients
*1 8 oz tub of whipped topping (thawed)
*1 8 oz container of cream cheese (softened)
*1 can of sweetened condensed milk
*1/4 cup of lemon juice
*1 graham cracker crust

Step 1: Mix the whipped topping, cream cheese, and sweetened condensed milk until smooth and silky.

Look! All done and yummy.
Ready to mix!
Step 2: Add the lemon juice and stir thoroughly until completely combined. (MAKE SURE THIS IS A SEPARATE STEP- ONLY ADD AFTER THE OTHER THREE INGREDIENTS ARE MIXED) The lemon juice reacts with the sweetened condensed milk (similar to my  4 Ingredient Key Lime Pie ) and makes it thicken. A LOT.

Step 3: Pour into a graham cracker pie crust and throw it in the refrigerator for at least an hour before enjoying.

Step 4: Feel free to garnish with strawberries, caramel syrup, chocolate syrup.... whatever makes you and your cheesecake happy. What'd I tell you? Easy! Five minutes, tops. And only four ingredients for the filling!

***If you prefer to make your crust from scratch, rather than use a ready-made one from the store, just follow the simple instructions in this 2-minute video. Making a Graham Cracker Crust





Monday, March 19, 2012

Tuesday Newsday: Baby Sure Loves Her Daddy....

Just love this photo

Tuesday News Days!

This week, Sam and I had our first date night in over a month! And our first time away from baby longer than one hour together. PERIOD! All other date nights were shorter than an hour! We saw the VOW…. Something that I vow to NEVER make someone else watch it.




Baby and Turtle pal
Baby and I made a trip to the mall for shopping and stopped to play in the play-yard. She was so strong and stood up holding on to the turtle. Sam was extra proud of her for spending time with a turtle, since Sam is always trying to make sure that his baby girl loves animals like her daddy. (I keep telling him that ALL little kids love pets and animals….) Plus, mommy got to buy an awesome white pencil skirt. Mommy… looks like a babe. ;)

We also had a fun time with baby’s cousin, as we had a really fun game night- Sam FINALLY learned how to play Phase 10! I just hope I can make Sam play it again.

Exciting week? Well, maybe not that crazy- but we did get to spend a lot of time together, just dad, baby, and I.
Snuggles...

Especially daddy and baby- which is good, since he will have her next weekend while I spend time with my sister's in Idaho at.... THE HUNGER GAMES PREMIERE!!! SO sweet.
Loves to sit with papa
Just laying on daddy...





Mondays: Why I Donate Breastmilk

I have a little 6-month-old pumpkin pie. She is tall and skinny, but has little rolls of fat on her thighs. In my eyes (I'm her mom....) she is just the cutest, sweetest thing in the world.

When she was just a few weeks old and I was slightly more emotional than normal, having just given birth. I was up late feeding her and watching the TV. Some doctor show came on and in the course of the story, a premature baby died. Being a new mom, this seemed like the saddest thing in the world and all I could think was that if I could help a little, tiny, helpless infant, I would.

Now, some mother's are very successful breastfeeding. Great for those of you that are. My little one and I did not fare so well and I ended up pumping exclusively. As time went on, it was clear that I made far more milk than my baby girl needed. I had heard that breast milk was something that could be donated and thought I might like to donate my extras, but first, I wanted to know more. I called a mother's milk bank and this is what I learned.

*85-90% of all donated breastmilk goes to babies in the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) who were born prematurely. Often time, these premature babies were delivered so early that the mother's body was not able to produce breast milk to feed their own child.
*Babies born prematurely have very sensitive intenstines and formula can eat away at their insides. This can be fatal

Ok, so I learned more than just that, but those were the things that stuck out and made a difference. I thought that if I had the ability to make extra milk and if this milk could literally mean life or death for a new baby, I couldn't think of a reason NOT to donate.

And bottom line, being a mom, I just could not imagine the feeling of watching my own little girl, writhing in pain in the hospital, all because she didn't have breastmilk.


Is pumping a pain? Kind of. Some times. ALWAYS. But, for me, it is worth it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thursday: 4-ingredient Blueberry/Blackberry Cinnamon Rolls


This is an easy and cheap way to make blueberry cinnamon rolls!

Ingredients:

1 cup of blueberries or blackberries (frozen or fresh)

½ cup of sugar

2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice (a mix of cinnamon and nutmeg is a decent substitute)

2 packages of refrigerator biscuits (homestyle or traditional- either is fine)
Step 1

STEPS:

1- Wet your hands slightly and take 2 biscuits- flatten/combine them as shown in the picture

Step 2
2- Combine the sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and berries in a saucepan on medium heat until warm






3- Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the berry mix on the dough and roll it

Step 3
Step 3












4- Place the rolled dough in a round, lightly greased pie pan

Steps 4 and 5
5- Once all of the berry rolls have been put into the pan, pat the dough down to flatten it slightly and sprinkle with a dash more of pumpkin pie spice



Bake your rolls at 350 for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Spread some frosting on the top if desired, pull apart and enjoy!




PS- Don't forget Freebie Friday's this week, I'll be giving away a sushi making set!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tuesday News-Days: Some-day Nursery and First Solid Meal!


Baby girl is on a 90-day Layaway...

This week, Sam, baby, and I are getting ready to move out of our small, basement apartment. Are we moving? Nope, not even close- but I know that we will be moving in the next few months and am preparing accordingly. 
SO, I am getting everything ready for my someday nursery.
Our new white crib!
Newest addition? This cute little white crib. I bought it at Burlington Coat Factory, and through a combination of gift cards, coupons and other discounts, it came at the low low price of $80! Take that white crib, add my rocker and ottoman and diaper changing station (a little extra paint) and I have the nursery ready to go!
Don't you think she'll be
happier in her own crib
than a pack-n-play?




Not that I HAVE a nursery, but someday when I do, I’ll be ready to go. I can see it now- white furniture, pink and turquoise for bedding, cushions, and curtains…. Just have to get a place to put it all.

Now, if a some-day nursery isn’t enough, little girl had her first solid meal this week- Rice cereal! She kept using the same sucking that she does to drink from her bottle to eat it, but couldn’t figure out how to keep her mouth closed while doing it. This, naturally, gave her face, bib, and me a fine, thin coating of milky rice cereal.
  
She definitely loved it, though. Just check out the pictures!
Practice makes perfect!
Getting ready...
Daddy RUSHED home to
give her the first bite
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