Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Repairing and DIYing

August is when we spend a lot of time entertaining.  Which is pretty silly considering it's the hottest part of summer here in west Texas.  But the end of a season means squeezing in as much as we can before the start of another.  So with friends and family coming over I decided to make a quick repair to an old card table and add some shade to our back patio.

Project Card Table:

This 20-year old card table has seen a lot of parties, crafts and garage sales.  Because of it, the vinyl cover has some pretty serious worn spots on it, notable along the edges.  I normally toss a tablecloth over it, but with our unnaturally strong winds we always have to tie or weigh the cloth down.  I’d had my fill of that and decided it was time to recover it. 

 ... project continued on Joy Comes in the Morning.

Project Patio Shade:

My next project I needed some extra shade for our back patio and more privacy as the live borders started to die back.  I've seen some beautiful outdoor curtains but couldn't afford them.  When I stumbled across some inexpensive material, I had an idea.  

... also continued on Joy Comes in the Morning.  

* Correction:  
I posted I bought 9'X12' canvas (I found that size for $19 at Walmart.)  What I bought were 6'X9' for $8 at Big Lots. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Organizing Ideas for a New School Year

This is the year that all my kids are in school.  <insert Snoopy dance>
Week one has been more successful than I had anticipated.  Yes the two kindergarteners have already had a warning sent home, but I've not forgotten that these are my kids.  I was in trouble most of elementary until I learned to control myself.  I was a fast worker and an avid socializer.  Seems my little ones are more like me than I initially thought.  ;)
So with a week under our belts I thought I'd give our fun windows a makeover.  Nothing major, just a few clothespins and a $1 piece of contact paper. 

The windows on the outside are for the Kindergarteners.  Each window has 5 clothespins with the days of the week written on them.  Each day they pull out their work from their folders and hang them.  This is their opportunity to show off what they drew and what they learned.  In the middle I have a little dry erase sheet to put encouraging words.  The pockets house flashcards, dry erase markers and an erasure.  The oldest... she still owns the fridge doors.  ;)

When we sit down to dinner the twins can point to their window and talk about what they learned that day. 

I hot glued clothes pins on each window with the days of the week written on them. 

$1 for a sheet of contact paper that works as a dry erase surface.  You can write directly on the glass, but it's very hard to see.

My next project was super simple and can be done with stuff you probably already have around the house.  I had this small basket, it was big enough to fit two Kindles and an iPod.  With a box of cute clips (6 for $1) I ran the chords through them so they wouldn't tangle.  On the side I hung an old jean pocket I cut out of jeans I no longer wore and used it to store earbuds.  
Now the kids have one place to charge all their electronics and store them at night.  After school they know exactly where to find them and no one is fighting over the others charger.  
(Yes... it happened often.)  ;)


I let the kids pick their clip colors... y'all know that's super important. 
As you can see from my board above, I <3 old jean pockets.  :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Topsy-Turvy Wind Chimes

My friend, the one that watches the twins while I lead a Girl Scout troop, she gave the kids some Topsy-Turvy planters.  Y'all know the tomato and strawberry nylon hanging baskets with random holes on the side for plants?  Supposedly you can grow fruit and veggies.  And I have seen them in person actually growing stuff.  And for a brief moment mine worked. 

And when I say brief I mean the time it took them to go from beautiful in the store containers to dead in a week.  Needless to say I hate Topsy-Turvy planters and I will do whatever I can to bring them down.

Okay I'm just kidding.  That would take some serious work and I'm not up to it.  And I’ve no doubt some person out there has mastered the art of aerial gardening.  But that person isn’t me and I’ve no desire to make that a goal.  But I do have a lot of junk and no place to put it, so why not use the now defunct baskets to display my junk.  

So here's an easy photo tutorial.  No words really needed.  Just cut and hang really.  So I guess I didn't need to blog about it.  But seeing as it's been a month since my last one and I like to say I blog... well hush it.  This is my page.  ;)

Add caption

The first one I made I used jute to tie the junk on.  Pretty simple.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

M.O.M.'s Whole30 Results

It's day 31 of my Whole30 diet.  

That means I made it!  And I really did make it.  No cheating, no starving, nothing but real food for 30 days.  And man did I have some temptations!  

The first week I went to a Girl Scout camping trip.  Mind you the camping trip was at a fancy hotel because my girls and I, we like to live it up.  But as their leader I did make sure that s'mores were provided as well as pizza because... well I'm a great GS leader. 
I handmade 24 individual s'mores and didn't have a taste.at.all.  Not even when I passed the last one across the counter did I stop to lick my fingers.  NOPE!  And the pizza?  I sat down with my plate of fruit and veggies and just ignored those greasy cardboard boxes.  First hurdle cleared.

Next hurdle was a get together for a new all women's shooting club I've joined.  

Women + Guns = Killer Snack Food!  

But I just grabbed a few pieces of fruit and drank 3 bottles of water while smelling coffee creamer, cookies and cake... oh my!

Next was ice cream for the kids to celebrate the last day of school.  I ordered 3 of my favorite sugary desserts for the kids, for myself, I ordered an unsweetened tea.  I survived yet another hurdle.

Then summer break officially started and most of the snack food had been cleared out.  The kids were made aware that mom wouldn't be taste testing their mac & cheese to make sure it was ready, or cleaning off the spoons after making a truck load of PB&J sandwiches.  I realized then that I wouldn't be able to eliminate all the sugar and carbs from the house, but I could at least jump on the scale (not Whole30 approved) and see what I had done those first 10 days.  When I saw 10lbs gone the temptation to just take one bite was eliminated.  Because what was the point?  I'd already committed and starting over just wasn't an option.  (I mean, I'm lazy... and do overs are work!)

The last but certainly not final temptation was at my parent's place for Father's Day.  On the table was squash and zucchini (whole30 approved) but covered in butter and cheese.  I had to say no thanks.  The handmade fries; I didn't hesitate to say no.  When the fruit was brought out I thought maybe I was still able to enjoy something sweet, but those had been covered in sugar.  <sigh>  Why people why!?!  Then came the chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter and marshmallow filling.  Like a prissy dog walking down the street I turned my nose to everything as though I were above it.  And dammit I was.  I had gone 28 days without cheating.  I didn't care what we were celebrating, my health far outweighed what others thought.  And for too long I've not make it a priority.  

What I did have was a steak and I pulled together the hamburger fixing to make a salad... no dressing because everything had sugar.  And you know what?  I survived.  And as I chugged my water while watching other drink wine I didn't feel deprived.  I felt fully alive!  I didn't need or desire to make food what I celebrated.  It was my dad and my husband.  The father that raised me and the one now raising my kids.  What on earth does food have to do with that?

Day 30 I sat on the couch making plans with the husband.  What will we have on day 31?  I hesitated because nothing came to mind.  Fruit had taken over my dessert cravings and my carbs were replaced with veggies.  

"A bourbon and... oh wait, no Cokes.  Maybe a wine cooler.  Or a hard cider.  I don't really know.  Nothing comes to mind."  

And that's when it hit me;  my cravings were gone.  My desire to use food as a means to celebrated just seemed so lame.  So temporary as to be made meaningless.  And that <happy sigh> was when I knew I could do this for a lifetime.  

But just to be sure, this morning I tried a teaspoon of raw can sugar in my coffee.  Three sips and I tossed the cup.  My celebratory item today was a piece of gum.  I know, super lame, but that's it.  I'm still chugging my water, still eating meats, veggies and fruit.  And after the husband texted me saying his hot dog and chili fries at lunch made him sick, I knew he was in this for the long haul too.  I replied back to him:
"It's like going back to a night club during daylight hours and seeing the stained couches, the vomit smeared floors and the haggard toothless whores lounging about. Comfort food is now a sleazy club you never want to go back to."

Results, cause really that's what motivates many of us:

18.2 lbs LOST!

-1.25" arms

-1.50" under breast

-1.50" waist

-3.75" butt... told y'all everything went there on me!  ;)

-1.00" thighs

...and because I have crazy amazonian legs I went up .5" in my calves.  
I swear I was built for manual labor. 

So I lost a total of 8.5"!!!

I'm down a full size in clothing and my joints are already feeling better.  
I'd call it a great success and one I plan on continuing for a lifetime. 

... and the secret to not starving is simple... eat.  

How I Started:

Go to whole30.com and read the simple steps.  Then print out the grocery list.  

Head to Pinterest and look up recipes.  My favorites are the cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash spaghetti, dressing and the turkey sausage.  

For a quick satisfying snack, grab a handful of almonds or coconut flacks.
And water... you will find you can't get enough of the stuff.  Especially if you're used to cokes and coffee like I was.  

Don't worry with exercising in the beginning.  Unless you already work out... then for heavens sake don't stop.  ;)  

Whole30 has a cute calender that let's you know the process and changes you'll see step by step. 

If you can, find support.  I'll be happy to help where I can, but a family member, friend or co-worker is even better.  

And remember, you can say no to food... even your mom's.  ;)

Best wishes!!!

Third 10 of Whole30

Days 21 through 30

Second 10 of Whole30

Days 11 through 20 of Whole 30

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Olive Oil & Balsamic Dressing

1 cup olive oil 

3 tbs Balsamic vinegar

3 tbs lemon juice 

1/2 tbsp minced garlic

 1 tsp oregano 

1 tsp basil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper 


*I used a Garlic Sea Salt grinder for my 1st batch, 

the second time I used minced garlic and sea salt separate... both taste great.