Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gifting Oatmeal Cookies

Hope you all had a great weekend! I just wanted to share this gift giving idea. A friend of mine gave me a batch of delicious homemade oatmeal cookies that she packaged in a Quaker Oats container. I love this idea - great re-use of an oatmeal container and a cute way of packaging it :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Surprising Finds

As we begin the building process, I have been scouring for deals on building supplies, fixtures, etc. Here are my finds (so far!):

I scored two of these bathroom fixtures for $10 each!

I love the detail on these. I spray painted them white and am going to change out the glass globes.

LOTS of commercial grade paint by Valspar for less than half price!

Bathroom light and vent brand new in the box - retails for $80 but we only paid $20.

Marble vanity = $20 and just needs a little cleaning :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dream Home

Hello blogging world! Wow, I have really slacked off since HR was born. Since both girls are snuggled in bed for the night I thought I would explain another reason I haven't had time to blog - we are building a house! This has been in the works for the last couple of months but today we finally signed the papers for the closing. I hope to share some of the projects as we go through this journey. We went house hunting this past Spring only to find that most homes we could afford would be real fixer-uppers. When Chase and I sat down to look at our budget, we realized we could not really afford the houses in our price range once we factored in all the renovations that would need to take place. However, we can afford to build a house and, just to ensure we stay under budget, I'm putting my thrifting and frugality into overdrive! I feel so blessed to have this opportunity and look forward to the coming months. I also discovered Pinterest today and have already spent entirely too long getting inspired by house decorating boards. I ought to be careful since these days it is hard enough to sleep with visions of cabinets, light fixtures and paint colors dancing in my head.

Here are some pictures of our new lot and neighborhood:

I am so thankful for this opportunity that God has blessed us with and I pray that we will be wise in each step of the process. When I get too overwhelmed I just remind myself that it is just a house. Although it is very exciting and will hopefully bring us great memories, it is just a house. I dwell on these lyrics from the beautiful hymn "This World is Not My Home"

This world is not my home I'm just passing through 
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore 
O Lord you know I have no friend like you
If Heaven's not my home then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore

Friday, July 15, 2011

Raspberry Smoothie

Summer always seems to be the time that we focus on getting in shape so we can look our best. Sporting my summer with a new baby means that I definitely have some shaping up to do! Shortly after HR was born, I started working on a healthier diet for myself. My inspiration came from The Biggest Loser recipe book that I borrowed from our library. Not all the recipes are great but there are some good ones and just reading it was motivating. Since sweets are my weakness, I started making this raspberry smoothie to help curb my cravings. I'm not a huge smoothie fan but I've been drinking this just about everyday for the past month and I love it! It only has around 160 calories and everything in it is healthy! It is also great for making and taking on the go when I'm too busy too eat or when I don't feel hungry but I know I need  to get something in my system so that I have energy!

What you'll need:

1/2 cup *Vanilla Almond Milk
1/2 cup Fat Free Plain Yogurt (Greek yogurt is even better for you to use but I don't keep it on hand)
1 cup frozen raspberries (I throw in a couple frozen strawberries too as a natural sweetener)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

*In a pinch I've used regular milk but it isn't nearly as good and you'll need to add sugar and extra vanilla.

Blend for about a minute until smooth. The cocoa in this makes it taste so rich. Yum!

 I put my smoothie in this clear glass so that you can see how pretty and yummy it looks but normally it goes in a lidded cup with a straw so I can take it on the go...and better guard hide it from Ellie :)

Oh and here is a random tip - You know how yogurt tends to separate in the refrigerator and look like this:

 The liquid contains the sugar so I just pour it out each time before using the yogurt (instead of stirring it back in). This allows you to get more protein from your smoothie and less carbohydrates. You could also strain your yogurt but I'm not that crazy ;-)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

God sightings

"...we as mothers cannot fathom the mighty works God may accomplish through the tiny babies in our wombs, then in our laps and always in our prayers." -Women of Deliverance by Cindy Colley

In a previous post, I mentioned our family Bible Time. Something else we are working on is "God sightings." When Chase goes to Honduras through Torch Missions, all the volunteers get together in the evenings for a devotional and singing. They also share with each other how they saw Jesus that day. We want Ellie (and ourselves!) to always be mindful of God in the little details of life - from a flower in the yard to the food on our table.

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. - Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Home again, home again!

Hannah Rose is almost 9 weeks old already! We have spent most of that time either having company or being company so, needless to say, we are ready to get some structure back into our lives! Several weeks back I drove out to Tucson with the girls, my mom and her two dogs. Yes, you read that correctly. Twenty hours with a toddler, newborn and two stinky adorable dogs.

The drive wasn't nearly as stressful as I thought it would be. I planned and fretted and fretted some more about the road trip. Fortunately, my friend Lindsay was road tripping with her three boys the week before we left and I asked her for some tips. You see, Lindsay has three boys - did I mention that? Anyway, she is one of those moms that I envy because she is super crafty and always seems so together when I feel like a frazzled mess! She suggested taking lots of snacks and movies to watch. My mom also convinced me to buy some inexpensive toys to give Ellie along the way. Great idea! I know some of you super moms may be questioning my use of bribery with a toddler but let me tell you, it worked! When Ellie started getting restless in her car seat or didn't want to get back in the car after a rest stop, we just pulled out a present :)

To keep expenses down, we also packed sandwiches, drinks and snacks. This also stressed me out a little because I'm still uncomfortable with Ellie eating junk food (did I win back any mommy points?!). Instead of packing a lot of junk, I brought string cheese in the cooler and made our own trail mix of unsweetened cereal, dried bananas, raisins, crackers and then threw in a SMALL quantity of mini marshmallows and teddy grahams. I put it all in a large ziploc bag and just scooped out a small bowl as needed. It was a hit with Ellie (except for the dried bananas!).

I'm so thankful that God gave us a safe trip and I hope to get back to writing more posts soon. Here are some pictures from the drive:
Playing with one of her road trip presents

Riding in the car for 20 hours isn't that much fun - I asked her to smile for this one!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Picture Perfect feat. Scrabble letters

Last year for Father's Day I made Chase this picture:

(As always, I apologize for my photo skills. I hope being a good photographer is not a prerequisite of including pictures in a blog...)
I know, I know - baby sister still needs added but I haven't searched for extra Scrabble letters yet. I originally found them at an antique shop but you can also find them online. You could also make fun magnets or jewelry out of them.

For my project, I just glued the letters onto card stock, had it custom matted at Hobby Lobby and stuck it in the shadow box. I love easy projects!

However, it seemed a little too contemporary with the rest of the decor in my house and I felt like it needed something more. That is when I found this post by Love Stitched for a lace matted picture frame. I thought her picture turned out lovely and it inspired me to raid my mom's lace collection (thanks Mom!).

All you need is the amount of lace to go around your matte, scissors and spray adhesive.

I did miter my corners instead of overlapping them but I think Love Stitched's looked great and she didn't miter her corners so it won't make too much of a difference, just depends on your preference.

And here is the finished product!