The End of Month Three: Forget the Past, Look to the Future

I am not going to get bogged down. No weight lost. Another month gone. Moving on.
Health Goals for 2012
1. No soda
2. Gym 5 times a week
3. Smaller portions
4. Eat out only 1 time a week

Weight Loss Goals for 2012
1. -5 pounds a month

Personal Goals for 2012
1. Be a better mom/wife
2. Be a better friend
3. Cook at home more
4. Stick to a budget
5. Pay off debt
6. Stop worrying (as much) about things I can not change

Coaster Tutorial

Finished Product!

Okay, so to make the coasters you need cheap tile, Mod Podge, scrapbook paper (or napkins), cork board, a clear waterproof sealant, and a hot glue gun.

I bought the cheapest white tile I could find, it was .10 at Lowes. First, you cut out your scrapbook paper. You can use napkins, but they wrinkle (it looks very textured). I prefer the scrapbook paper/cardstock because it is thicker. I like to cut my paper smaller than the tile, so you can see a little white on all sides. It makes it adhere better, in my opinion. I usually put mine down before spreading anything, to see how it fits. Generally, I have to trim off a bit on the sides to get it looking the way I want.

Then, take a foam brush and spread Mod Podge all over the tile. I like to spread it both up/down and sideways.
Once you have podged the tile, you need to set the paper down. You will have a few seconds to postition it before it sets. I like to smooth mine all the way around on the edges to make sure it gets a good seal. This can be messy!

After that, spread the ModPodge over the top of the paper. I do this the same way I did on the tile. I like to do two coats. I will do one coat, move on to the next tile, then after I finish all four, go back and give each one another coating of podge.

Make sure you smooth it out as much as possible. It will look cloudy, but it will dry clear.

After they are completely dry, spray them with a clear WATERPROOF sealer. You can get this anywhere they sell spray paint, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Lowes....I like to spray my tiles outside, and then let them sit out overnight so the smell has time to air out.

The final step is to cut cork board to a bit smaller than the tile, and then hot glue it to the back!

These are super easy, but they make great presents. I hope this helps someone out!

Just A New Obsession

So this month I started thinking about upcoming birthday parties. I will be 29 on May 16th, A will be 3 on May 20th, J will be 30 on September 7th. All of these days are far away. I know this, but I can't stop party planning! I got the idea in my head, and now I am  spending hours (literal hours) on Pinterest and party blogs looking for ideas.

I guess some might say I have some obsessive tendencies, I think I am just slightly type A. (I am not worrying about my birthday; 29 is not worth noting. And for my 30th, I dont want a party, I want Lasik!)

I am of course in the early stages of party planning, and this will probably be my obsession for 5 or 6 months. All of my plans require a patio in the I am going to be giving up my spring break to put in a paver patio. The leading idea for A's party is a painting party. The leading idea for J's is a beer tasting.

Original Link

Original Link

Again, these may change, or I will obsess over making those two ideas into the best I can. I have not ever really thrown a big birthday party. A's 1st was just family and close friends. Her 2nd was at My Gym (I did nothing). I have never had a party for J. So, this will be a new experience for me. All this planning and looking has sparked major house envy and yard envy.

My game plan (so far)
Step 1: Major cleaning of entire house over the course of 5 months. (No, my house is not filthy, but if you are having a party, it has to be perfect!)
Step 2: Put in a paver patio.
Step 3: Clean up backyard.
Step 4: Pick perfect party idea.
Step 5: Execute party plan.

Sounds simple, right?

The True Story of How I Became an Unlikely Troll Collector

Much like Richard Mayhew, from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, I once found myself the unsuspecting owner of a Troll doll collection.

“In actuality Richard did not really collect trolls. He had found a troll on the sidewalk outside the office, and, in a vain attempt at injecting a little personality into his working world, he had placed it on his computer monitor. The others had followed over the next few months, gifts from colleagues who had noticed that Richard had a penchant for the ugly little creatures. He had taken the gifts and positioned them, strategically, around his desk, beside the telephones and the framed photograph of Jessica.”

Читать полностью:

My collection started out is a similar manner; my Memaw brought me a Troll doll at Christmas. I, of course, said that I loved it, and I put it out on my bookshelf. To be honest, I didn’t really love it. I mean, I was 15 and it was a troll doll. BUT, in the spirit of being a good grand-daughter I gushed over it. This was my first mistake.

When my birthday rolled around, she gave me 2 trolls. Again, I acted enthusiastic. She reminded me to put them with the other on my bookshelf. I now had three Troll dolls. My collection was forming.

For my next two Christmas and birthday gifts, I would receive Trolls. I think when I left for college I owned close to 20 of the ugly little things. Every opportunity for a gift was an opportunity for a Troll.

I had those little guys out on my bookshelf, until J and I were married. Only then (at the age of 23) did I pack away my Troll dolls. I had been “collecting” them for 7 or 8 years. I had a garbage bag full of the little guys!

I am a little sad to say that I don’t know where they ended up. I hope that I had the good sense to donate them so that some other teenage girl could become an unwitting collector of Troll.
Photo via About Face

The Best Parenting Moment of My Life (So Far)

Today J and I took A to see Yo Gabba Gabba Live. I can say without hesitation, that today was one of the best days of my life. Ever.

A's PawPaw bought her the tickets for Christmas, since the show was on December 3rd. We did not tell her we were going until Friday, the 2nd. I didn't know how well she would understand the concept of one more week, three more days, two more days, etc. So we told her on Friday night.

I bounced back and forth on how I thought things would go. There was no doubt it would be loud and crowded, something not all toddlers handle well. I didn't know if A would be scared by the lights, noise, and people, or if she would even care about watching her favorite show live.

Turns out, she loved it!

We started our morning the way most of our mornings start, early. A is not a late sleeper, so when she opened the door to our bedroom at 5:45 this morning, I wasn't surprised. We spent a few hours hanging out, ate breakfast, then ran a few errands. I told her to pick out a dress to wear, and she went straight to her dress-up bin. I had to redirect her to her closet, where she picked out her "Punky" dress. (We call it that because it has about 5 different colors on it, and she wears it with her hot pink and green high tops.) She could barely sit still while I fixed her hair.

All morning long she kept asking if it was time for Gabba. When we got to lunch at Chuy's, she told both the hostess and the waitress about her afternoon plans. She even asked the hostess if she wanted to go with her. I thought she might take a nap in the car on the way to the show, but I think the excitement had her too amped up.

As soon as we started getting close, everything became Yo Gabba Gabba. The overpass was YGG mountain, the small lake was YGG lake, and all the trees were YGG trees. When we pulled into the parking lot, we had to keep her close, as she wanted to run!

Once we were in, it was very crowded. We skipped the major line for merch, and instead opted for the Kia photo line. I did buy A a set of YGG clips.

Once we got to our seats, which were really good, A could barely sit still.

Once the music started, she was so excited, I actually started crying. Not sad tears, or even tears of boredom, but happy tears. A was so happy and excited. I loved that J and I were able to have that moment with her. About half way through the show during Hugs are Fun, she told us both she loved us.

After the show, all she talked about was how great it was. Then, maybe 5 minutes in the car, she crashed.

She only woke up about 30 minutes ago. Now she is sitting next to me, cuddled up under a blanket. She just told me again that she loves me.

Days like today are victories.

The End of Month 2

Well, here we go again. This is my third post (you can find the first two here and here) in what I am hoping will be a year-long weight loss journey. So far though the journey has been difficult and the weight loss has been, um, none.

When I decided to bring this up on my blog, I really thought that public accountability would be the kick in the pants I needed to get myself going. Obviously, it hasn't been. The only plus is that I haven't gained any weight.

I can make excuses, this week has been insanely stressful, like stomach aches, headaches, and sore muscle stress. Also, the fact that Tyra Banks wrote a best selling "novel" has sent me into a deep depression.

Or...I can own up to the fact that I have been lazy. At this point I have given up on November (it is the 30th). I am setting my sights on December.

Seriously, Tyra freaking Banks? The book is called Model land. The Lead character is named Tooke. How sad is that?

The Anti-Martha (For Now)

Top Reasons I am Not Martha Stewart

#7. Just last night, I dropped my glass baking dish on my arm, burned myself, broke the glass, and ruined my cookie bars. (No pictures of this, as I was crying over both the pain from the burn and the fact that I ruined my stinking cookie bars.)

#6. When I cut potatoes for a dish, for every five slices that make it in dish, one falls on the floor.

#5. Every cake I have ever made has been from a box and bad.

#4. I have no magazine, TV specials, or sheet line.

#3. My paper flowers are always lop-sided.

#2. My craft projects ALL require a "test-run" before I can reveal the final product.

#1. I dug tissue paper out of the trash to wrap one of J's Christmas gifts.

There are a lot of other reasons I am the Anti-Martha, but....I am trying to grow! For example, I did make a successful Sopapilla Cheesecake and my tile coasters turned out pretty good. I think I can mimic ideas fairly well, but to come up with my own creative reuses of old sweaters, well I just don't have that gene I guess. I will keep working on embracing my inner Marthaness. Hopefully, I will find my deep hidden domestic goddess. She must be in there somewhere, right?

My not-Martha ready tree. Just for fun.

Pinterest to Reality #3

This Pinterest to Reality is a two-fer. Today I tackled the sopapilla cheesecake. 
Pinterest Via My Yellow Umbrella

And the scrapbook/tile coasters.
Pinterest Via Two Girls Being Crafty
The cheesecake is a bit of a misnomer, it is not a traditional cheesecake, but it does mix sugar, vanilla, and cream cheese.
The gang's all here! Crescent rolls, cream cheese, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, and butter.

Step 1: Lay out one can (or 1 1/2) of Crescent rolls.

Step 2: Combine softened cream cheese (2 8 oz pkg), vanilla (1 tsp), and sugar (1 cup).

Step 3: Mix it! Mix it good!

Step 4: Spread the mixture.

Step 5: Cover with the other roll (or roll and 1/2) of crescents.

Step 6: Pour the melted butter over the top, then sprinkle a sugar/cinnamon mixture over it.

Step 7: Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

I have not tasted the finished product yet....but I think my picture looks pretty close to the original!

The other project I undertook today was making coasters using ceramic tile and scrapbook paper. I won't do a step-by-step pictorial of this unless it is requested, but I do want to make a few things clear. All the sites I found that talked about how to do this talk about how cheap it is. It is cheap....if you scrapbook. If you don't, then it is less cheap. I spent 1.74 at Lowe's for 16 white ceramic tiles. Obviously that is incredibly cheap. The tiles were .10 a piece! BUT, I spent 50.00 at Hobby Lobby. I needed Mod Podge, spray Acrylic Sealant, scrapbook paper, and cork board. I made 4 sets though, so I feel like I can divide that 52.00 by 4. Plus, I still have TONS of scrapbook paper and Mod Podge left, so the next time I want to do this project, it will be cheap. If you already have the MP and the paper, then your overall cost will be far less than mine. Anyway, here are my finished sets!
The first set I made, please ignore my ugly blue craft towel.

Set 1. Animal print and red, for Gigi.

Set 2, blue, green, and brown.

Another shot of set 2.

Set 3, birds, flower, brown and blue.

Closer of set 3.

Set 4.

Set 4.

I have to say, I feel like this round of Pinterest to Reality was a good one! My work was pretty close to my inspiration. 

My Week as a Single Mom*

*Technically it was only 3 nights and 4 days, but it felt like a week!!

About a month ago J found out he was going to be attending a conference in California. He works for a local electric company in the accounting/finance department, and the conference was related to their operating system. The conference was going to be held in a little 'ol place called Disneyland. Disneyland!! The most magical place on Earth? Whenever I have to go for training or a conference it is in some 2nd rate hotel, never Disneyland. Technically, they were in Downtown Disney, not the actual park, but still...

We hemmed and hawed about all of us going or not. Generally speaking, most schools have "black-out" days where teachers are discouraged from taking off. The days leading up to major breaks are black-out days. The days J would be gone were the Tuesday-Friday before our Fall (Thanksgiving) Break. We talked it over and decided that A and I would stay for a number of reasons: 1. I technically couldn't ask off anyway. 2. I need to save my days for the chance that A will get sick. 3. Disneyland and plane tickets are expensive.

So with our choice made, I began to work myself up knowing that A and I would be ALONE for 4 days! I know that this probably doesn't seem like a big deal to most people. However, J does a lot around our house. For example, he packs the lunches in the mornings. Usually, A and I leave the house around 7:00, while he does not leave until 7:30, so he packs our lunches and loads us in the car before he gets dressed. He also usually dresses A (I pick out the clothes). Then I, usually, fix her hair. It is a good system, that allows me to get myself ready.

Knowing that J would be gone meant that I would be in charge of getting myself ready, A ready, lunches packed, and the dogs put away. I would also need to make sure A had extra clothes in her school bag.

J being gone also meant that we would be home alone. At night. Alone. You may remember a previous post of mine from way back in September of 2010, A Funny Thing Happened Back on the Farm Last Night, where I discussed how paranoid I can be. I had already made the decision to have A sleep in bed with me, just in case.

So the day arrived. A and I drove J to the airport, got lost trying to leave the airport, stopped and picked up pizza, and finally went home. I immediately checked all the rooms and the windows. I locked the front door, back door, and even the laundry room door that leads to our garage. (This was at 3:30 in the afternoon.) Around 7, I gave A her bath, then we put on our pj's and got a book to read. She feel asleep around 8, and I put her in bed. I put things away, then rechecked all the doors.

This was my pattern every night until Friday.

In the mornings, I got up, got ready, then got A ready. I made things go a bit smoother by picking out our clothes the night before. I would then put the dogs up and then pack our lunches. We made it out the door by 7:00 every morning! I was so impressed with myself.

Those four days made me very thankful that I have J to share the work of raising our daughter. It also made me even more impressed by what single parents do everyday.

Outfits of the Week

So about 3 months ago I mentioned that I would occasionally be doing outfit posts....well now it begins! Part of the reason I want to document my outfits is so I can see what I really wear, how I present myself, and how the outfits I wear REALLY look. What I have decided is that I will take pictures Monday-Thursday morning and then do a picture dump with some helpful commentary on Thursday or Friday. (I won't be taking pictures on Friday because we wear jeans and school shirts on Friday.) To my two's of readers out there, this will be a weekly post, not the main focus of my blog.

A's Clothes from Monday
Dress: Macy's (gift from Coach and JoJo)

A Week That Just Kept Giving

Saturday: Started out great. We went to Hobby Lobby to pick up more tutu material (pictures to come in a later post.) Then we went to a spooky story time at Barnes and Noble. We came home, had lunch, took a nap, and then played outside for a bit. We made a last minute decision to go to the Trunk or Treat in Aubrey. A had a great time. We had a great time. Then, suddenly, things took a turn for the worse. By the time we got home from Denton, A was crying and running a fever. Then she threw up. A and I were up off and on all night.

Sunday: More of the same. We made a decision to keep her home from school as her fever was still come and go.

Monday: J stayed home with A, I went to work.

Tuesday: I stayed home with A. She was still not 100%. I took her to the Dr. No news.

Wednesday: J's mom came up, so A stayed home again. J and I carpooled to work, so I was sans vehicle.

Thursday: Picture day for A. She woke up sullen and pouty. She refused (literally refused) to go to the bathroom before we left the house, and consequently, had an accident on the way to school. She did this while wearing her picture day dress. Luckily it was salvageable. I received the results of my students' most recent test and spent 5 minutes crying in the bathroom.

Friday: Not a bad day, really.

Saturday: Decided to re-cut my bangs, made a mess of my hair.

I am holding out hope though, we have a birthday party to go to tonight. Hopefully, watching A play with her friends will brighten my mood!

Well, One Month Has Come and Gone

I weigh the same.

I will readily admit that I blew off the first two weeks of the month. However, I actually got up 9 days the last two weeks at 4:45 and went to the gym. It has actually gotten relatively easy to make myself get up. Now, if I could just get everything else in line....

It is frustrating to do a lot of work (or what feels like a lot of work) and see no result. This is why people quit. Why should I keep depriving myself of an extra hour and a half of sleep when nothing is even happening? These are the thoughts that cycled through my head this morning when I got on the scale.

I know people will talk about inches and the way clothes fit, but that hasn't changed either. I also know people will say you can't expect to see changes overnight. But, when you are in a low place already, not seeing any change is the reason you fail. (I speak for myself only, obviously.) If I don't see a change, I make a bad choice. One bad choice leads to another, which leads to another, which leads to no weight loss or even weight gain.

I am jealous of those people who can work out 3 times a week, cut out one coke a day and then Poof, 10 pounds melt away. I think I am one of those unfortunate people that will have to work out 5-7 times a week, cut out all soda, and count calories just to see any results at all. I hate that.

I am not asking for the easy way out. I will go to the gym. I will give up cokes (tomorrow I promise!). I will use a child's plate to help with portion size. All I am asking for in return is that by the end of November to see some change on the scale!

Trunk or treat 2011.
This is the 2nd post in what is my year long quest to healthy. On the last Sunday of the month, I will update this. No weight talk in between.

Do You Really Want to Smell Like Her?

One of my occasional guilty pleasures is America's Next Top Model. About 4 years ago, it was can't miss tv for me. I have not watched the last 6 or so cycles, but this year is an "All-Star" cycle. I use the term all star loosely...Most of these girls are working models in the sense that they book jobs, but outside of the top model viewing community, they don't have name recognition.

The most recent episode had the girls creating their own scent. All I kept thinking, was, would someone really want to smell like a top model cast off? I mean these girls (as pretty as they may be) were all losers on their cycles. I already feel like the celebrity perfume market is seriously overcrowded, why would I want a non-celebrity scent too?

One of the girls (Bianca) was complaining about the challenge not being genuine....Again, think about where you are. You are a contestant on a reality show, and that reality show is America's Next Top Model. What is genuine about that?

The girl that won the challenge, Lisa, is probably the girl I would want to smell like the least. In her original cycle she peed on herself while wearing an adult diaper. I know people can change, but what she has shown so far this cycle is more of the same. I do not want to smell like the kind of person who pees on themselves.

The Questions of Life and A Difficult Decision

Our whole lives are driven by a series of questions....
Ages 6-18: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Ages 6-18: Where do you want to go to college?

Age 18-21: Are you dating anyone?
Age 18-21 (If the answer was no): Have you met my _________?
Age 18-21 (If the answer was yes): Is it serious?
Age 18-21 (If the answer is no): Why not?
Age 18-21 (If the answer is yes): Don't you think you are too young to settle down?

Age 22-25: Are you dating anyone important?
Age 22-25 (no): Have you tried ________?
Age 22-25 (yes): Is it serious?
Age 22-25 (no): Don't you want to get married?
Age 22-25 (yes): Has he asked you to marry him?

Age 25-30 (If unmarried): So are you dating anyone important yet?
Age 25-30 (If married): When are you having babies???!?
Age 25-30 (After one baby): When are you having MORE babies!!!???

I have been fielding these questions for 22 years. I don't yet know what the questions will be after 30, but I can wager a few guesses. The last question is the one that really gets to me. When are you having more be honest, probably never. I won't rule it our completely, but we are happy. We are happy as a family of three.

J and I have bounced around this topic and decision for over a year. At one point or another one us wanted another one, the other did not. Lately though, the vote has been unanimous, no more babies. We have been told we are selfish, we are doing A a disservice, she will be spoiled, she will be lonely, she will be alone.....The thing is, we disagree with all those things. Yes, it might be selfish on our part. We want things. Better things than we have now. We want to be able to take family vacations, have a nice home (in a good school district), give A all the things we never had. Yes, we could do this with another child, but not to the extent we can with only one.

I am not knocking any choice. If you want 7 children and can afford them, then have 7 children. If you want 2, 3, 1, or none, do what you want. There is no right number of children for any family, so why is that people feel like having one is a bad thing? I don't need a guilt trip. Trust me.

This is a really hard decision for us to make. We are still not 100% certain (but 95% of me says no). I LOVE A with all my heart. I want to give her the world. I want her to have as much of my attention as possible. But I am a "bad" mom because I only want one child....I am not sure how that adds up.

I will miss the pink baby smell. I will miss the adorable baby clothes. I will miss the coos, the giggles, the snuggles. But another baby is just a temporary fix to those lost memories. I would rather look forward to A's first day of school. The nights she wants to sleep in bed with me. Her first trip to the ocean. Her first flight. So many more great memories to build. So much love to give.

So the next time you ask me when I am having another baby, and I say I'm not, don't judge. Don't tell me to give it time. Just trust that I know what I want, what my family needs, and that I am happy with my choice.
The Three Musketeers

Good (Bad) Movies

This weekend A was out of town, so J and I rented 4 movies. Bridesmaids, Green Lantern, X-Men First Class, and Thor. I know, I know, these are all old movies, but we don't have a lot of opportunity to watch movies on a regular basis. A loves to be the center of attention, and we love to give her that attention. Part of the great thing about having just one darling baby is that we CAN give her a lot of attention. Sometimes, we give her too much.

Anyway, this movie marathon got me to thinking about some of my favorite movies. I love bad, cheesy movies. Movies that other people think are crap are generally high on my list. Some of my favorites include: She's the Man, Centerstage, Eurotrip, The House Bunny, Plan 9....I could go on, but I won't.

I like acceptably good movies too, but a lot of time, the schlocky ones really get to me. Does it have Bruce Campbell in it? I bet I will love it. Does it have a former Disney teen star in it? Love it. Does it involve tired cliches? Count me in. Did Ed Wood have anything to do with it? Duh.

Good (Bad) movies are one of my favorite ways to spend a sick day. (Or they were pre-A). Do you have any secret shame movies?  

Pinterest Pin to Reality #2--Bunny TuTu

Pinterest Via Posh Tots

What you need: Tulle, a crochet headband, and a pair of scissors.

Step 1: Cut the tulle into strips. I chose 4 colors, hot pink, pink, pale pink, and white. I bought the 6" spools from Hobby Lobby. This way it only required one cut, as opposed to a large yard of tulle that you have to cut both width and length. When you decide the length you want the tutu to be, cut your strips double that length. So if you want a 5" tutu, cut your strips into 10" pieces.

Step 2: Find something to put the headband around. I used my leg. It was easy. Other sites I saw recommended a book. For me using my thigh was easiest. I sat on the couch and moved it around when I ran out of loops.
Step 3: Fold the tulle in half, then loop it through the 2nd row holes. This is similar to how you might tie a scarf. The 2nd hole works better than the first because if how tight you will pull the knot.

Step 4: Keep going until you have made your way back around.
 Step 5: Go back and add more for additional fullness. Really though, you are done. It is super simple!

My "final" product.*

I hot glued the bunny tail to the band.


I think she likes it!

Bunny Tutu!
Obviously, mine is not quite as posh or polished as the inspiration, but overall I fell pretty happy with the results! *I have added a bit more since I took the pictures tonight.

Pinterest Pins to Reality #1

On Sunday I dove into my Pinterest hair and nail board to find a new idea for my finger nails.

Photo Via The Beauty Department
Step 1: Remove any prior nail polish. Wash hands.
Step 2: Use your favorite base coat. I like Sally Hansen's Double Duty.
Step 3: Paint your entire nail with the lighter color. I chose OPI's Glitzerland, a metallic gold.

It looks more true gold in person.

Step 4: Let those suckers dry. My first try I did not wait long enough and the reinforcements stuck to my gold coat. Not good! Wait at least half an hour to make sure the lighter color is totally dry before you attempt the top layer.
Step 5: Place the reinforcements on your nails. You can go with a smaller moon or a larger one, the key is consistency! Once again, I found this out the hard way the first time I tried this. One hand had larger moons, maybe half navy and half gold. The other hand had small moons. Neither way is better than the other, but it looked silly since my hands did not match each other. The tutorial I used recommended cutting small slits in the reinforcements to help them lay flat. DO THAT!
Step 6: Paint your top coat. I used Ulta's Moody Blues.
Step 7: Let it semi-dry then remove the stickers.

Reality, take 2. Much better, but still not quite right.

Today I went to Hobby Lobby and loaded up on paint, spray glitter, tulle, and headbands. My goals, make my painted pumpkins and A's bunny tutu costume.

I have yet to do the pumpkins, but I did make the bunny tutu. It looks amazing! I am saving that for a later post, but I will do a step by step tutorial on that as well.