Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thrifty Tuesday

Today is what I like to call Thrifty Tuesday. Today is the day I do my grocery shopping and at the same time try to find the best deals possible for our budget. After looking through the ads and my coupons I realized I needed to stop by a local grocery store today(before the sale ends tomorrow!) because I could get some really good deals on things that I know we use. Here's what I got:

The price? $13! Not too bad. I was able to get 4 boxes of cereal(one of the hubbs favs), 4 bags of goldfish(Our oldest's fav that I normally can't get because they are way expensive), 2 hand soaps, 4 deodorants, and the most expensive were the two bottles of gummy vitamins that were still only $2.50 each. Normally I would have to pay $40 total for these items and that's with buying the generic brands.

Some people roll their eyes a little at people who coupon, etc...but oh well. It pays off. I'm able to put $27 into our car fund that I normally wouldn't be able too.

Happy Thrifty Tuesday!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Valentine's Door Decor

Being in a house full of boys leaves me with little encouragement to decorate for Valentine's Day, with the main decor usually consisting of hearts, red and pink(a major sin according to my husband). But this year I decided I at least wanted something up--actually I am just having withdrawals from the Christmas decor being put up.

My goal? There would be hearts, but I would at least stay away from the detested "pink". Here's what I came up with for the door....It's a little different, but I tried to do something different than the ordinary wreath.

1. I started with 3 different colors of felt (LOVED the cranberry color!). I liked the way the black looked with these colors and even though it's not your typical Valentine's color, I used it anyways! I cut 3 different sized and shaped hearts from the felt.

2. I layered more hearts...

3. Then I added, *a fav*, a burlap layer

I'm not sure why this is sideways...
4. Using a simple whip stitch I sewed the layers together

5. On this one I did a running stick under the red layer to secure the top hearts to the bottom

6. I decided to give these some depth so I stuffed them with some poly fill that I had

7. Using thread I attached jute twine to the back of each heart in order to hang them

8. Finished hearts

9. Hanging on our door! I tied them together along with a couple pieces of burlap ribbon.

I added a button at the top just because :)

I really like how these turned out. Just enough "girl" but no pink, I don't want the men to go crazy...

AND the whole project cost about $1

***Tip....if you've ever worked with burlap you know it frays really easily. I turned the hearts over and spread elmer's glue around the edges (it dries clear) and it won't fray!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fab Food: Flourless, protein packed Banana Muffins(aka Elvis Muffins)

Our family has been sick the last week. That on top of me just feeling "blah" lately definitely hasn't been fun. Yesterday though, the clouds parted, and we saw that light! I was finally feeling better and everything that I've been dealing with because of my thyroid felt better. I felt normal, like myself again. For the first time in a while.

That "good feelings surge" started me on a "busy spree." I cleaned, finished projects, played with my boys, and baked. It was fun, relaxing, and I was at peace.

The baking part of my day started with me needing to use up some bananas that had gotten old. A lot of people throw these out, but THAT IS A HUGE MISTAKE! Old bananas are the best.

--Here's a secret: I used to be a health nut. There was a time in College and early marriage that I loved recreating recipes to make them lower in fat and healthier over all. My husband didn't exactly care for this, mainly because he never knew exactly what he was eating. During my first pregnancy all that changed when all I wanted was meat and potatoes. The hubbs was a happy camper :) Now I am trying out "healthy" again and attempting to marry healthy and tasty to satisfy everyone(especially the picky kiddos).

With three HUNGRY boys in the house I always need something on hand that I can feed them--especially for breakfast. They don't mind cereal, but that gets old and isn't very filling so I try to have muffins, pancakes, or oatmeal already made to give them. I typically make whole wheat banana muffins for them with our old bananas, a fav, but I decided to try a recipe that I found on Pinterest instead. And of course because I always have to put my own spin on things, I changed it up a little. Ever heard of an Elvis sandwich? Peanut Butter, banana, and honey...grilled. This was partly my inspiration....

The original muffin recipe can be found here: banana oatmeal cups

This is my recipe:

Blue Suede Muffins


3 mashed bananas
1 cup skim milk(original used Vanilla Almond milk, but we didn't have any)
2 eggs
1 TB baking powder
3 cups Old fashion oats
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 TB sugar (or you could use honey)---optional, and I opted!
4 Tablespoons Peanut Butter (Sunbutter is another great alternative!)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (A MUST!!)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2) Spray or line muffin tins (Makes 18 muffins)

2) Beat bananas, milk, eggs, extracts, sugar, and peanut butter using an electric beater

3) Mix together the Oats and baking powder and add into your liquid mix

4) Fold in your chocolate chips

***Note, the mixture smelled horrible to me, but trust me....and yeah, DON'T forget the chocolate chips, they kind of "make" the muffins

5) Fill muffin cups 3/4 to almost full...will make 18 muffins

6) Bake for 22 minutes

7) Let cool about 10 minutes and ease them out of the muffin tin using a knife to loosen them.

Fiber, Protein, LOW sugar...love. Enjoy :) They are moist and the flavors are wonderfully subtle. Even the hubbs loved these and they are quickly disappearing. The best part? I don't feel guilty about eating them and they "stick" with ya for a while.

***An update***
I've revamped this recipe a little since this post. A few have asked for it, so here ya go....

4 mashed bananas
1 cup skim milk(original used Vanilla Almond milk, but we didn't have any)
2 egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 TB baking powder
3 cups Old fashion oats
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
--no sugar :) I added the extra banana to compensate!
3 Tablespoons Peanut Butter (Sunbutter is another great alternative!)
Less than 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips and Peanut Butter Chips combined (A MUST!!)
Bake 20 minutes at 375.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Coke crate recycle

This post has been about 9 months in the making. I finally did something with our entryway. It's eclectic, colorful, and kind of rustic. It meets our typical requirement of not just "there" for the sake of being there, it can also be useful. 

Our living room has one big, long wall that needed something on it and we needed a space to put our books, Bibles, games, toys, etc...so I kept my eye out for a sofa/entryway table that would work for our needs/wants. 

I finally found one at a flea market last April and paid a great price for it. It actually was made to be an entertainment center for a flat screen. I loved it, but wasn't quite sure what to do with the small shelf that was made to hold a dvd player, etc. I would have loved for those to be drawers, but they weren't so I decided to try and put something in there that could be used as drawers. At first I thought of putting rustic looking baskets in there, which would have been fine but I already feel like I have too many baskets so I was determined to figure something else out.
The table, originally a blue-grey with a black shelf on bottom. I loved the blue-grey, but not the black, so I painted the whole thing blue :)

During our brief visit to Dublin, TX this last summer we found various treasures and one of them was a yellow coca-cola crate. I loved it because normally the only color I find those in is red and I decided to get it and figure out some way to use it later. Plus it was only $3, so that made it an even better find.

This Fall when I was still trying to figure out what to do with the small shelf on our entryway table I walked by the crate(that was just sitting in our garage) and had an idea. I decided to put it on the shelf to see if it fit in one of the slots(there were two). It fit perfectly and looked kinda funky(which I love) plus also matched the distressed look I gave the entryway table when I repainted it. It became my new "drawer" and because there were 2 slots I needed another crate. My husbands father has all kinds of *treasures* so we asked him if he happened to have a coke crate he didn't need and he did! I was pretty excited.

We put them both in the slots and liked it(well the hubbs was warming up to the brightness of it), but they needed something else to them. I decided to make rope pulls for each of the crates to give them more of the "drawer" look.

Here's my step-by-step:

1. First I headed to Ace and asked one of the salesmen if they had scratchy rope(yes, that's the official term). They did and it was only $.15 a foot. I got 2 feet.

2. Next I decided where I wanted the pulls to go...in the center, 2 inches from the top of the crate. My crate measured 18 1/2 " long, so I found the middle of the crate at 9 1/4". I wanted my rope pulls to be 4 inches wide so I measured 2 inches on each side of the middle point(at 7 1/4 and 11 1/4) and made a mark---making sure it was still two inches from the top as well. Confused yet?

3. Next find a drill bit that is the same width(or as close too) as your rope and put it in your drill. Drill your holes where you marked them on each crate.

4. Take your two foot piece of rope and tie a knot in the end of it. Starting on the inside of the crate pull the rope through one of the holes and then through the other hole(leaving some lose rope in the front to form the pull). Knot it and then cut off the excess. Repeat the process with the second crate.

5. And last we put felt circles on the bottom of each crate so they do not scratch the shelf.

And there ya go! I like how it turned out. Even the hubbs likes it a lot better now. It fits our crazy household/life.

They go pretty well with the distressed finish I gave the table, ha, and the brightness of the blue(I kinda love our random blue table)

And there ya have it. I definitely think it looks better in person, but what can ya do.

And by the way, the total cost of this drawer project was $3.30. Not too shabby. Happy recycling everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Have you ever had those days where you just feel defeated? A day where you feel that nothing is "for" you. Not your kids, your own body, or even your dog? Yeah, been there.

Kids are one of those things in your life where you love em and then you have the moments where you think you will lose your mind. They have their own agenda and then you have yours...typically on polar opposite ends of the spectrum.

Body. Wow. This past year I have thought "Why does my body hate me?" one too many times. I don't think I have written about this since my "Hooray for being girl?" post. I was originally diagnosed as having post-pardem thyroiditis, but after further tests the doctor found out I had Hoshimotos disease. It is an auto-immune disorder of the thyroid where your body basically is at "war" with your thyroid. Eventually I won't have a thyroid at all. It is crazy to think that that your own body is always "at war". Along with my doc we still have not found the right dosage for me because the dosage I need is not available, so I'm either too high or I'm too low.  I never knew how important your thyroid was until mine wasn't working like it should. I know I'm not alone in that and I also know that I am so blessed that I do not have a life threatening disorder, but things have been a lot harder than normal.

I say all that to say this.....How easy is it to just give up when you have those days that just seem crushing? Lord knows there have been many days where I just wanted to ignore all responsibilities, curl up, cry, and watch Gilmore Girls just to retreat from my own life for a little bit. I also know, again, I'm not alone.

But do we, just give up? Immaturity tells us we can. Self-centeredness tells us we can. The Godless world tells us we can. But, no, we don't. Nor should we.

After stepping back a second and taking a look at your current state, what you consider crushing, you realize giving up won't solve anything. You will only let yourself down and let down those closest to you.

I am, however, a BIG proponent for taking a break every once and a while to rejuvenate, and well, regain sanity :) You have too.  It makes you a better parent, wife/husband, and friend.

I say all that to say this (for myself more than anything): don't give up. You are worth more than how you currently feel, your family and friends are worth more to you than that.

God has not given up on you. Jesus gave his life for you because you ARE worth THAT much to Him.

Yes, we have our days. I believe it is okay to be upset, but don't let yourself stay there. It is debilitating. Try to take a second, step back, regain perspective, and take a break if you can, THEN keep pressing on.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Train Church

There are the days that are filled with screaming, tantrums, messes, etc....from the kiddos by the way, you will NEVER see me acting like that ;) ....and then there are the *sweet* days in which your son asks to make a church for the trains so that they have somewhere to go to Bible class.

Yes, it's a Pink shoebox. It's what I had. Sorry to the Hubbs for emasculating our son for a little bit :) and btw, the sign says "Train Church" if you couldn't read that.

"back, back train and get your load...."

I asked him if we should get some activities for them to do, but he told me, "No, they don't have hands mom, they have wheels! They can't color."

Thank you, Lord, for his sweet little heart.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What to do with an old shirt...

Have you ever looked in your closet or drawer and realized that you had WAY too many t-shirts? I have...way too many times. This last week I decided to recycle one of my shirts.

Lately I have been wearing my shirts more often because I have been working out more. One problem I have with shirts is that the sleeves bug me and get in the way. One solution is to wear tank tops, but in an effort to save some money I decided to make this shirt into a tank top of sorts. This requires no sewing, but you could of course polish the edges by making a seam with a sewing machine.

Here's your how to on making the tank top...

1. Take your shirt and lay it out flat (No picture, just imagine a shirt on a table)
2. Starting directly under the seam in the arm pit make a curved cut up and towards the neckline.

3. The result is a shirt that covers my sports bra(a must), but also gives me the ease of movement. 
finished product!

Now, in an effort to never waste my scraps :) I decided to use the sleeves to make a headband. Truth is I loved the color of this shirt too much to waste the material! Here's the how-to to make the headband (btw cloth headbands like these sell for about $1 in stores)

1. Lay your sleeve out on the table

2. Cut the seams off of the sleeve

3. Roll the raw edges underneath and put it on! The material will naturally roll under and stay together.

Now if you REALLY had a shirt you wanted to be rid of but love the color too much, you could also make an infinity scarf out of it (This I do not have any pics of, sorry! I'm a busy momma and don't have the time to stop sometimes...that's my story). I'm seeing these everywhere and really all you need is a good jersey material.

1. Lay your shirt out flat
2. Take your scissors and cut horizontally across the bottom. Make the strips at least 4 inches wide because they will curl up. Make as many as you want.
3. Layer them one on top of the other around your neck. You could even do multiple colors if you wanted.

The hem of the sleeve can also become a collar for the dog, as my oldest saw the need for :)

And of course you could always use it for a rag like my husband does, but these options are a little more fun!
So, there ya go! Easy things you could do with an old shirt. Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle, AND save yourself a little cash :)  

**Also, since shirts have two sleeves and I only have the need for one headband, I have an extra headband! So if for some reason you want this extra, just let me know! If no one claims it, it may become part of our dress-up bag :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

To my Daddy...

Today is my wonderful Daddy's birthday. Since we live in different states, we wanted to send this message to my dad via the wonderful Internet.

We love you Dad/Papa!

And because trying to get two kids to stay still on a couch and hold a sign proved to be pretty funny, here are some of our out-takes...


Pryce found a candy cane...

fighting over the sign....
and getting to eat the candy cane Pryce found... :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fab Food Friday: King Ranch Chicken Mac & Cheese

Let me start with an, "OH MY HEAVENS this is good!" Yes, that was my first reaction. 

When I was flipping through my December Southern Living I came across this recipe and knew it would be a hit, especially with my hubbs (the ultimate Tex-mex fan himself). I immediately scanned my pantry and figured out we had all the ingredients needed to make it, so I added it to our meals this week. 

This got a big thumbs up AND let me also say that even our VERY picky boys loved this meal....

Ok, on with the show.....and again, I forgot to take a ton of pics, so put on your thinking caps and imagine the first part of this. I did change part of the recipe to suit our tastes, and I put that in parenthesis. 

King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese


Makes 6 servings


  • 1/2 (16-oz.) package cellentani pasta (I used 8 oz of elbow pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I used olive oil)
  • medium onion, diced
  • green bell pepper, diced
  • (10-oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • (8-oz.) package pasteurized prepared cheese product, cubed(I used 2% Velveeta)
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of chicken soup (can use reduced fat)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (can use light)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (I used a little less because of the little fellas in the house and it was perfect)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese (I used 1 cup of Sharp Cheddar)
The How-To
  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  • 2. Meanwhile, melt butter(olive oil) in a large Dutch oven(since I was just going to bake it in a skillet in the oven anyways, I went ahead and sauteed everything in the skillet to save a dish!) over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper(I also added the diced chicken here to give it more flavor), and saute 5 minutes or until tender. 
  1. 3. Stir in tomatoes and green chiles and prepared cheese product; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until cheese melts. 
  2. 4. Stir in chicken(unless you add it earlier like I did), next 4 ingredients, and hot cooked pasta until blended. 
  3. 5. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 10-inch(we used 12 and pretty sure it was way to much food to fit in a 10 inch!) cast-iron skillet or 11- x 7-inch baking dish; sprinkle with shredded Cheddar cheese.
  4. 5. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly.

And another shot....

Ok, and another....... :)
I HOPE you chose to make this for your family. It was E-A-S-Y and made for a wonderful comfort food on this chilly night. 

Enjoy Ya'll!
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