Thursday, January 31, 2013

high five for friday & february goals

1.  The tornado that touched down in Adairsville, GA on Wednesday.  Although this is about 40 miles north of us, it was still a little scary.  I was driving home from an OB appointment listening to the weather when within a span of 5 minutes: my phone started alerting me that I was in an area under a tornado warning and to "take shelter", my husband is texting me telling me to get home as soon as I can because the tornado sirens are going off in Kennesaw, and I then hear the tornado sirens in Marietta.  I just wanted to be home and not on the road.  It was the first time I've ever gone down to the basement during a tornado warning.  We only stayed down there for about 15 or 20 minutes before the "dangerous" part of the storm moved out of our area and they changed it to a severe thunderstorm warning, but it still wasn't very much fun.

2. I made vegetable lasagna on Sunday night and I thought it was pretty good.  We've been eating off of it all week.  Do you like leftovers?  I love leftovers... It means I don't have to cook again.  You be the judge of whether this was healthy or not.  I'm sure all the cheese adds quite a bit of fat, but its more veggies than we would be getting otherwise.  Paired with a salad it is a pretty veggie-heavy meal, and let's be honest most of us don't eat enough vegetables.  This picture really doesn't do it justice.  I adapted the recipe from the Pioneer Woman.  Why do her pictures of food always look so much better than mine?  Anyone have any tips for taking pictures of food?  I've seen some great ones on some of your blogs and of course pinterest...

3.  We switched Knox's dog food back to PurinaOne this week and I am so thankful.  You see we had started giving him Iams and I kid you not he had the WORST gas on that stuff.  This might be more than you wanted to know, but honestly one of us was about to get kicked out of the house because there wasn't enough fresh air for both of us- and it wasn't going to be me...  I love my dog, but I had about had it.  What kind of dog food do you feed your dog?  I know PurinaOne isn't the best dog food out there and a lot of people do feed their dog premium dog food.  But quite frankly I can't afford all-organic food for myself, so why would I feed it to my dog?  My dog is not going to eat better than I do.  I love him, but he is a dog...

4. Speaking of OB appointments, I really don't like them.  Once I start to feel the baby move I find them to be a waste of time and more hassle than they are worth dragging a toddler with you.  Really, I pay $4 for parking (well I don't because I refuse to pay for parking so I park in the hospital parking deck that my badge gets me in and walk 10 minutes up the hill to the doctor's complex) and then wait at least an hour sometimes an hour and a half to see the doctor for 5 minutes.  It is AT LEAST a 2 hour ordeal.  All she really does is listen to the heartbeat, which quite frankly this baby moves enough that I'm pretty sure it still has a heartbeat.  Not that I'm ungrateful for the pregnancy or my doctor (who I really do like) I just dread going to appointments.

 5. Yesterday we met some friends at Catch Air for a play date.  Catch Air is an indoor kid's paradise.  Really.  The floor is completely padded, there are blow-up things to ride, obstacle courses, multiple moon bounces, ball pits, slides, a disco party floor, and more.  Its a blast.


To recap my January Goals-
January Goals

1. Take a prenatal vitamin 5 times/week 
2. Clean out 2012 files and move into storage.  Shred 2009 files. 
3. Get all Christmas decorations cleaned up and put away by this Saturday
Did it!
4. DO NOT LEAVE work early today!  It is a holiday and I am getting holiday pay.  I need to stick it out for the whole shift no matter how tempting it is to go home early!
It was actually really busy at work so I didn't have the opportunity.  
So we'll count this one as a yes!
5. Enjoy more "play-time" with my sweet baby girl and encourage her to play with her baby doll in preparation for the new baby

6. Do one DIY project this month
Nope, didn't do it.  I posted about the DIY Mason Jar soap dispensers, but that was actually a December project...

7. Stick to our grocery budget.  (We'll try this one again)
It was perfect!  Literally less than $1 leftover.  I didn't go over though!  And I bought a lot of "bulk" stock items this month that will last several months

8. Complete proof for 2011 family photo book.  
Nope.  I'm working on it, but probably not half way done yet.  I actually decided to do a combined 2011/2012 book and then I'm going to do one "pre-kids" book of our adventures between marriage and children.  I figure it will be fun for our family to look back on someday.

February Goals
1.  Complete 2011/2012 family photo book AND pre-kids photo book.  
(This is a lofty goal...)

2.  I want to try for another DIY project.  
I'm thinking liquid hand soap to fill up my mason jar soap dispensers
3. Get a pregnancy massage
Chris gave me a gift certificate groupon/living social deal for a massage for Christmas.  I think it is getting time to redeem that :)
4. Exercise- walk, walk, walk! 
I have been pretty good about exercising most of this pregnancy, until this past month!  I hardly did anything in January.  I could make excuse after excuse, but there's really no good one.  I'm certainly past the point of hard-sweat exercising, but I really do need to get outside and walk or get on the treadmill at the gym and walk at least three times/week
5. Slow down and enjoy more "down-time"!
It has been a really busy month.  We've tried to pack a lot in- too much really.  I'm tired.  I need a break.  I can't keep up this pace much longer.

What are your goals this month?

Oh and today is my mother-in-law's birthday.  Happy Birthday Margaret!

Perception Is Everything

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

{WIWW} Currently

Tunic- Target
Leggings- PeaPod Maternity
Boot Socks- Grace and Lace
Necklace- Stella B
Bracelet- Kazuri
Boots- Nine West Outlet (I wear these a lot don't I?)

Thanks Ashley for the template

What are you doing currently?
pleated poppy

Monday, January 28, 2013

Baby Gift Idea: Birth Stats Wall Art

A good friend of mine had a baby girl back in October.  I had been meaning to send them a little something for the baby, but honestly just kept forgetting.  I know, I know some friend I am...  Part of the problem was I kept forgetting and the other part was I really didn't know what to get.  It was a second baby, so they already had all the necessities and I really didn't want to get clothes.  After we had our daughter I pretty much vowed I would never purchase clothes as a baby gift again.  I am so thankful for all that we received, but it was more than we needed; everyone loves to buy little girl clothes.

I was trying to think of something personal but not cheesy.  Around that same time two things happened:

1. I had seen a birth announcement that I really liked; however, the seller was no longer offering her product on Etsy.


2.  I got connected with Lisa from wine and glue.  Not only does she have a pretty sweet blog (sorry you just missed her HUGE giveaway) but she has a great Etsy shop too: hummingbird's view.  She sells some pretty adorable nursery art.  With Lisa's help we came up with this 8x10 print as a baby gift.

my photography skills are not doing this justice...
How adorable is that??  And practical too.  You'd think you'd never forget the date and time of your child's birth or how much he/she weighed, but you do.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who has trouble remembering things like this...  Please tell me I'm not.  I can tell you that my friend LOVED it :)

It is a great gift idea and of course you can customize it to your liking.  I can already tell you my mother's day present this year will be two of these: one for each kiddo.

Here are some of Lisa's latest designs:
Her photography skills are much greater than mine...

In addition to birth stat art, she will customize a child's dinosaur name, make a custom nickname print for your child, custom song lyrics...the possibilities are endless!

I have the twinkle, twinkle print framed and ready to hang up in Phoebe's "new" room with her "new" big girl bed!  I can't wait!

Need a baby gift idea?  Looking to fill that open space on the wall of your baby's nursery or child's bedroom?  Check out her Etsy Shop: hummingbird's view.  

Use code "TEAMBOWEN30" for 30% off your purchase!


Helene in Between

DIY: Mason Jar Soap Dispensers

I posted awhile ago about my love of mason jars and some of the many uses I have found for them.
One of my favorites is the mason jar soap dispenser.  I currently have 3 of them in-use in my home.  We also gave out quite a few of these as Christmas gifts.  I like them because they are simple, classic, and practical.

Want to make one yourself?  Its easy.  You will need a pint size mason jar, mason jar lid, soap pump*, drill, and epoxy.

Step One-
Screw lid on jar and drill hole in the middle large enough for soap pump.  (There is a "button" in the center of the lid.  Drill through it and you will be in the middle.)   This is not an exact science and your hole doesn't have to look pretty.  I had to wiggle my drill around a bit to get the hole large enough.  

Step Two-
Cut down soap dispenser tube if needed and shove into hole in top of mason jar.

Step Three-
Mix epoxy and smear onto underside of lid around soap pump.  We found a plastic knife to work best.  This does not have to look pretty, people.  Just be careful not to sling any onto the the side or top of the lid.  Let dry overnight.

Those are my husband's nasty nails...not mine

Step Four-
Fill with soap or lotion and enjoy!!

THAT'S IT!  How easy was that?
* I could not find soap pumps for sale anywhere.  I ended up buying a cheap plastic soap dispenser from WalMart (that had a metal pump).  I used the pump for my project and threw the dispenser away.  The soap dispenser was right around $6 with tax.
Linking up with Molly for YOLO Mondays

Fluster Buster

Friday, January 25, 2013

high five for friday

From left to right:

1. Phoebe slept in her big girl bed all week this week!  Chris' parents brought down his old bunk beds last weekend for Phoebe.  I am so proud of her and it was a much easier transition than expected!  (There is a second rail on the front side of the bed too...)  She didn't fall out, she hasn't tried to climb out yet, she hasn't gotten her head or any other body part stuck between the wooden rails which are 30+ years old and I'm sure not approved by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), and there have been no major tears shed so I'd say it has been a success.  

2. Highlight of my week was definitely seeing Les Mis with Chris for a date night.

3.  I am not a computer/techie person AT ALL.  Every time we've bought new phones or any new computer or computer equipment we've had one of Chris' students come over to set everything up for us.  We have been concerned about my computer dying for several weeks and for some reason we didn't think our external hard drive was backing up properly.  So we had a former student come over and not only fix our external hard drive so that it automatically backs up wirelessly at regular intervals, but he also suggested that I could possibly** extend the life of my 5+ year old MacBook by purchasing a new hard drive and some extra RAM.  He told us exactly what to get and he came over and installed everything in my computer did a bunch of technical stuff I don't understand but now my computer is running on a Lion operating system instead of Leopard (it came with Tiger...) and I love it!  Thanks Steven!!

4.  I am not a beauty product person.  (Unless its Aveda and then I do have a weakness.)  Until recently I used Pert Plus shampoo.  Before we got married I used Pantene or Garnier or whatever was on sale when I needed shampoo, but then one time I ran out and started using Chris' Pert Plus.  If anything I noticed my hair was a little bit softer and the 2:1 shampoo/conditioner shaved a few minutes off my morning shower as well as a few dollars off my drug store tab, so I've been using it ever since.  Over the past couple months I'd had heard several good things about this Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo, and have been curious.  I found the 13.5oz bottle of shampoo & conditioner, and a small bottle of penetrating oil at Costco all for $9.97 and decided that wasn't too expensive for me to try.  I've been using it for almost 2 weeks and I must admit I have noticed a difference in my hair.  It looks and feels much healthier and most importantly- it is not as frizzy when I wear it straight!!  It still looks shiny and smooth on day #2 after washing too.  I am pleasantly surprised and impressed.  I'm a convert.  I read the most about this on Meghan's blog.  She does beauty product reviews from time to time that I always enjoy reading but admit I am not one to venture out to experiment with new products.  Thanks Meghan!

5.  I had fun playing outside with Phoebe during the warm afternoon sun this week.  She has always loved bubbles, but this week has started wanting to blow them herself.  Adorable.  It has been so much fun to start to see her learn things and become more independent. 

Have a great weekend!!!

Linking up with Lauren 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

When you don't feel like cooking...

When you don't feel like cooking sometimes a healthy dinner salad is an easy and quick alternative for a healthy weeknight meal.
 I admit with Chris being out of town so much over the last couple months with staff training and classes and with all the travel we did for the holidays I have gotten out of the habit of cooking dinners for us.  Quite frankly I haven't felt like cooking much at all this past month.  I have made food for us,  (I know I have because we have not starved...) but nothing fancy and nothing involving much of a recipe.  I need to get back into the swing of things.  I think its a lot like exercising- once you get out of the habit it is hard to motivate yourself to hit the gym or the trails, but once you make yourself and get started it gets easier...
 We don't eat out much and over the past 3 weeks I can only think of 4 dinners where we've eaten out or ordered in, but that is a lot for us.  
Feeling lazy again last night but still wanting to eat healthy, I had just planned a simple salad.  I baked some salmon with a little butter (you absolutely could and probably should use olive oil, I was just in a butter mood for some reason) and Magic Salmon seasoning.  (This is my favorite way to season and cook salmon for an easy meal.  Its very flavorful.)
I prepared my bed of greens with grape tomatoes, avocado, and walnuts and topped it with the baked salmon.  Because pineapples were $1.99 each at Kroger we had some pineapple on the side.  Although I did have homemade bread as well (not baked recently- remember I'm feeling lazy?  I had baked a bunch of loafs and froze them several weeks ago right when we got home from Christmas.) neither of us were in a bread mood.  
I have been experimenting with more homemade salad dressings in attempt to move away from the processed dressings at the grocery store that are filled with high fructose corn syrup and sugar.  To be honest I haven't been very successful, but I did really like the lemon vinaigrette I made to go over this salad.  (Thanks Julie!)
Don't ask me for the measurements- I have no idea.  But I used:
Trader Joe's Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce (this stuff is amazing and is the only mustard you will ever need)
Fresh squeezed lemon juice
Olive Oil
A little honey
Today I'm linking up with Kristine for #whatsonyoursalad.  She has a lot of great salad (and fitness) ideas and recipes, so be sure to hop on over to her blog!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

{WIWW} Date Night

On Monday night Chris and I went to dinner AND saw Les Miserables.  I know, I know- we're big time.  Wanting to dress up a little bit, here's what I wore:

I feel as if Chris and I don't get date nights out very often- at least not as often as I would like.  And while that is somewhat true, we do have an amazing group of college students who do babysit for us for free.  So in reality we've probably been out on 2 or 3 dates in the past 3 months or so.  Could be worse.  (We do get coffee together most Wednesday mornings- its just not all fancy with a babysitter.)

Anyhow, Chris had done some pre-marital counseling for a couple of former students last year, and they very graciously offered to babysit for us so we could have a date night.  And this was a date night done right: dinner and a movie.  Date nights don't normally involve both dinner and a movie because our budget doesn't typically allow for both.  But a couple of months ago I was digging through an old purse and found 2 regal movie passes!!  I mean it has been at least 2 years since I had used this purse, and we never buy movie passes so I have no idea where they came from, but I'm thankful for them! 

And I don't know if you boyfriends/husbands/brothers do something similar, but Chris has always thrown his change into a large jar at the end of the day.  We've cashed that in a couple times and gotten concert tickets with the money.  This past time, however, Chris had noticed that if you choose a gift certificate option on the CoinStar machines at the grocery store that the machine doesn't take a cut of your money.  So he took his jar to CoinStar and ended up with an gift card and Chili's gift card.  Chris LOVES Chilis.  So anyhow, we ate dinner at Chilis and after our gift card our bill ended up being .45.  Sweet!  We figured without all the little surprises and generosity of friends our date night could have easily run us $100.

We had a great time.  It was fun to have a whole night to ourselves out of the house.  And I LOVED Les Mis.  It is just such a phenomenal story!!  I've seen it on Broadway twice (maybe 3 times).  It is by far my all-time favorite musical!  Of course the movie was nowhere near as good as the musical, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  It really is a beautiful story of forgiveness, redemption, and regeneration.  

Dress: Target
Cardigan: Target
Belt: Target
Necklace: Etsy/Christmas gift
Shoes: Ecco

Thankful for a fun night out with my husband.


pleated poppy

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Entry Way Hooks & Shelf

One thing you should know about me- I hate piles, I hate clutter, and I hate disorganization.  That is not to say I'm the most organized person in the world, but I really think that everything should have a "place" and it should return to its proper place for storage.

This includes clothing.  It belongs in a drawer, on a hanger in the closet, on a door hook, or in the hamper- not on the floor.  This is where Chris and I don't always see eye to eye.  It also includes coats, rain coats, and diaper bags.  Getting Chris to hang his coat back in the coat closet on a routine basis is a losing battle- not worth the nagging.  

We previously owned this hideous coat rack, which I absolutely hated.  Not only was it ugly, but it was also very cheap and easily tipped over.  But I conceded to keep it because it was better than the alternative- coats and bags on the stairwell, floor, couch, window seat.  We had been on the look out for a new and better coat rack for the past 2 or 3 years but never found anything we could agree on that was in our price range.  Well last winter, I finally had it with this coat rack and got rid of it.

I had been dealing with coats and bags everywhere- even though it drove me crazy.

And then I saw this shelf tutorial on Jen's blog, At Home in the Northwest.  I loved the shelf and the hooks and immediately knew it would look great with the crown molding in our entry way.  Because I don't have fancy power tools and am not very skilled in wood working, I turned to my Dad.  Who does own many power tools and does quite a bit of woodworking as a hobby.  So this isn't so much of a DIY, but rather a DID (Do It Dad)

How amazing does this look?

Like I said on Friday, having this new rack to hang coats and bags on really might have been the best part of my week.  No more piles of clutter, coats, and bags.

Thanks Dad!

You should check out Jen's blog for more great practical DIY projects and home decorating ideas.