Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Follower fun

Forgive me for my lack of real posting this week.
Sure, I brought some deliciousness into your life, caused you to crave Papa John's, and am giving you the chance to win something cool, but I haven't had time to do any fun what's going on in my world posts.

That's because there hasn't been any fun.

I am the coordinator, planner, organizer, supervisor, director, leader, person who is doing everything in preparation for Kaylee's school's fun night this Friday. That means I've planned all the events, contacted and contracted with the food vendor, bought all necessary supplies and taken them to the school (including 600+ drinks, 300+ candy bars, 1000+ bingo cards, etc), designed, written, and made 900+ copies of various flyers and notes to go home, written a schedule for volunteer's needed at fun night and coordinated with the 30+ volunteers we need, etc etc etc.

Turns out fun night really isn't all that fun.

Since I have no time for real posting, I leave you with this list:

Wednesday blogger confessions:

--I like to color with the non-pointed end of crayons.

--I don't have any reason to post this but wanted to include it anyway:

--I own re-usable grocery bags, and keep them in my car so that they're easily accessible, and yet 90% of the time I still forget to bring them in the store.

--I've been known to cancel plans with friends in the middle of winter, just because it was cold outside and I didn't want to leave my house.

--My 7 year old daughter is more into recycling than I am.

--I took that same 7 year old daughter to pick out glasses last night, and because I'm a mom that thinks that kids should get to make as many of their their own decisions as possible (within reason!), we ended up purchasing a bright red pair AND a bright turquoise pair. She'll love looking back on these pictures years from now, wondering what in the world she was thinking!
a little bit like this.

--To go along with that, when I was about 10, I chose a pair of round, bright green glasses. Looking back at pictures, I am HORRIFIED that my mom allowed me to wear them.

--I always go to the self-checkouts at the grocery store if it's an option. I'm OCD about how my groceries get bagged and I think I do a better job than the employees.
 this is NOT good!

--I'm mad at UPS because I was going to use them to ship my cake truffles to the auction winner, but for a little 10 X 5 X 2 inch box, 1.5 pounds, they were going to charge me $50 to overnight it. I don't think so!!

--And lastly,
As a newbie blogger, every time I saw my follower count increase by one, I did a little happy dance. True story.
I was glad that people were interested in reading what I had to say, and looking at pictures that I had posted. I was excited that people were willing to take the time to leave a comment about my posts.
 And now, as a seasoned, mature blogger of three months now, I know that my blog is more than just my silly little ramblings. A blog is a way to connect with people, a way to share my own little world, and get to learn about others as well. I've "met" some great people, and I enjoy getting to read little snippets of their life each day. And I really have some amazing, awesome followers.
Yes, YOU! (In fact, because I love ya so much, I have a follower-only giveaway coming up in April.)

So if you're here, and you like what you see, either head on up to the top of my page or to the right-hand column, and click the little follow button. I visit and follow all my follower's blogs, and enjoy the opportunity to connect with new people. 

(As a little side note, my husband has recently started noticing my followers. (he follows my followers, if you will!) And after seeing more than one of my little happy dances about my followers, anytime he notices that my follow count has increased, he lets me know. He loves to be the bearer of good news. (or just likes to laugh at my ridiculous happy dance) Just think, if you follow me now, he'll be telling me about it very soon :)

Oh, and if you haven't yet, you can still enter my giveaway! And be ready for another one on Monday!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DIY Cake Truffles

When I talked about volunteering in this post, I mentioned that I had offered to provide Cake Truffles in an online bake sale. In case you've never tried making your own, I thought I'd show you how.

They're easy. They're delicious. They're bite sized. They're totally customizable. And they're pretty impressive looking. Let's gets started!

Start with a cake. Any flavor you like. Made from scratch or a box mix.
The top bidder of my Cake Truffles chose vanilla.

Crumble your cake into a fine crumb, and pour into a large mixing bowl.

Add your frosting into the bowl. Again, any flavor. If you're going homemade, use about 2 cups. If you're using a container from the store, use the whole thing. I used vanilla to go with the vanilla cake.

Mix the crumbs and the frosting until it has become incorporated into a "dough." I imagine you could mix with utensils, a mixer, or by hand.

After you've made your dough, refridgerate it for about half an hour. It'll make it easier to roll it into little balls.

Using your hands, roll the dough into whatever size truffles you'd like to have. Mine are about an inch. I placed the truffle balls onto a wax paper lined baking sheet. (wax or parchment paper = less clean up!)
Put the baking sheet into the freezer for about 15 minutes. The colder your truffle balls are, the less likely they are to fall apart in the hot melted chocolate.

In the meantime, melt chocolate in whatever way you prefer. You can melt in the microwave, or in a double boiler on the stove. I recommend using semi-sweet chips, but go with what you prefer. My winning bidder chose milk chocolate.
You will end up using an entire bag (12 oz) of chocolate chips. Because the chocolate is one of the focal points of your truffle, I'd recommend good quality chocolate. I like to use Ghirardelli.
 Once your chocolate is melted, and you've taken the baking sheet out of the freezer, you're ready for the chocolate coating.

I drop the balls one at a time into the chocolate, swirl it around a bit to get it entirely covered, and then remove it from the chocolate with a fork. I use a fork so that the extra chocolate can run off and back into the bowl.
Put the chocolate covered truffle back onto the baking sheet so the chocolate can harden.

If you'd like to cover your truffles in sprinkles, make sure you put the sprinkles on while the chocolate is still wet.

Repeat with all the balls.

I wanted a little variety with my cake truffles, so I did two different kinds of sprinkles, and I left a few plain.

After all the truffles have been coated in chocolate, put your baking sheet in the refridgerator for another half an hour so the chocolate can harden.




How easy was that?

What's your favorite dessert?

(Now I just need someone local who will take the rest of these cake truffles off my hands! Remember, my no sweets for Lent plan?)

I linked up here! http://itsahodgepodgelife.blogspot.com/ 




Monday Minute Tuesday

Here's a little secret. Ever since Isabelle entered my life, 7 months ago, there's a small chance that I might possibly be running late on a regular basis. Maybe.

I figure if I'm behind in real life, it only makes sense that I'm behind in the blog world too.

Thus, a Monday Minute on Tuesday. It's all good, right?



Here's this week's questions:
(1) Where do you get your pizza from?
(2) How would you define your decorating style?
(3) Where do you regularly buy your clothes?
(4) What was the last clothing item you purchased?
(5) What do you prefer in your home: candles or flowers?

1. We usually order from Papa Johns.
Two words:
GARLIC. BUTTER.
Need I say more?
Double bonus: Papa Johns has partnered with my daughter's school, and one night a month they donate 10% of their profits to her school. Eating pizza = doing good deeds :)

2. My decorating style = minimalist. I HATE clutter, although sadly you would never know from seeing my house. It's cluttered. There is not enough room for four people and all our stuff.
However, aside from that, I'm just not a "trinket" person. I'd much rather have bare shelves. Trinkets make for much more work when dusting. I do like art on the walls, and I love displaying pics of my kiddos.

3. I don't think I have a regular place that I buy clothes from. I'll shop just about anywhere, from Macy's to Gap to Target to Dillards to Forever 21. When it comes to things like jeans and shoes, I want higher quality stuff. When it comes to things like sundresses, I love the cheapy stuff from Forever 21. Honestly, though, it's rare that I shop for myself anymore. It's all about cute stuff for the kiddos.

4. Jean shorts! It was a need, not a want, but luckily I found a few cute pairs. None of mine from last year fit anymore. I'm back down to a size 3.

5. Candles, no doubt. Sure, flowers are pretty, but I don't have much use for them. They just sit and wither and die. I'd much rather have chocolates over flowers on valentines day :) Oh wait. We weren't talking about food. I get so easily sidetracked. Yankee candles and Woodwick candles are my favorite. I love spicy smells, like cinnamon.

Where's your favorite place to buy clothes from?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Treasure Hunt and Christmas in March

I do not consider myself to be very imaginative or creative. At all. I'm good at copying, or recreating something that I see, but as for coming up with my own stuff? Forget about it!

Kaylee, on the other hand, has imagination like you wouldn't believe. Based on the kids I've been around while I was teaching, I can safely say that she has a more active imagination than your average kiddo. I don't know where it comes from.

I feel badly about it, because it makes it harder for me to play with her. She'll come up with some crazy idea / scheme / story in her head and ask if I want to play pretend that we are littlest pet shop animals named Cody and Pipsweek (her spelling) going on a treasure hunt, using an intricate map that she just drew.

Umm.

How do you play that?!

Sure, I can pretend to be an animal and make the appropriate animal noises / movements, but doing so while hunting for a nonexistent treasure? I'll pass, thankyouverymuch.

Anyway, Kaylee has been on a big treasure hunt kick after watching National Treasure 1 & 2 recently, and she spent Sunday morning drawing a treasure map and rolling it up inside a gatorade bottle.

Enter my wonderful husband.

While Kaylee was distracted with something else, he got busy drawing his own treasure map. And he had to be all professional like, squirting it with some bleach and putting it in the oven to darken it. Tearing and burning the edges. Oh yeah. The whole nine yards. And then he replaced Kaylee's treasure map with his in the gatorade bottle.

 An authentic treasure map!

Unsuspectingly, I asked her to show me her map again. She got the gatorade bottle, removed the map...and realized it wasn't her own!

She studied the map for a few seconds.

And then she was off!



And here she comes running back with her treasure!

On one of my two trips to Target yesterday, I picked up a copy of Yogi Bear since it was on sale for $15. Kaylee has been asking for it, so she was really excited. 

Cool dad of the year award to my husband, huh? This was much better than just giving her the DVD :) 

In other news, we received a new vacuum cleaner from my dad for Christmas a few months ago. This wasn't a "gee....thanks for the vacuum cleaner" kind of gift; we actually asked for one. 
Well....I've let it sit in the box for the last 3 months while I continued using our old one. But today was the day to get it out!

It sucked.

Hardy har har. (get it?)

ps - Don't forget to check out my giveaway right below this post!

pps - my about me  page has been updated!

Sweaty Bands review and giveaway

  Although I'm not making fitness the priority I hope to in the near future, it is still important to me.

It is my personal decision not to leave my little Isabelle at the nursery at the gym, and I don't leave her with daddy because evenings are set aside for dinner and family time (since my husband and oldest daughter are at work and school (respectively) all day).
I know that taking time to work out is important, but it's more important to me that I have time with my family. During the day, Isabelle and I will take walks together (usually at the YMCA since winter has overstayed its welcome) but I haven't done anything more strenuous than that since before my pregnancy.

Once the weather is nicer, (which I'm SO ready for!) I am planning will take up running and Isabelle and I will head to the streets with her jogging stroller.

Anyway, regardless of my lack of workouts lately, I know the importance of a good head band to keep your hair out of your eyes and off your face while you're running or working out. I have some from Target (conair or goody or something) and I'm not a fan. If I wear them longer than a few minutes (which, duh, I'm going to) they cause headaches. And they slip around on my head a lot. This means either a) I have an abnormally large head and slippery hair or b) drugstore brand head bands aren't the best choice for fitness purposes.

Enter Sweaty Bands!
Directly from Sweaty Bands:
"We’ve turned perspiration into a fashion sensation! Sweaty Bands are the ultimate sports and fitness headband, uniquely designed for women and girls who want to show their style, even when they sweat a while! Slip into one today and become a Sweaty Bands believer."

Sweaty Bands were created by Donna, a mother of three, who has been teaching group fitness classes and personal training for 20 years. Sweaty Bands began as a way to pay for fitness related expenses and she originally sold them out of her gym bag.  Now they're available online and the general public is able to experience this innovative product.


Sweaty bands are soft, flexible headbands that keep your hair in place and absorb sweat. I love that not only do they work well, but they are fashionable too.

I'm a big fan of the Sweaty Band, and can attest that it lives up to all its claims! I would encourage it for all your headband needs.

I asked my husband to snap a few pics to show off the goods: 



Unfortunately, my husband cannot be trusted with the camera. He and I were focusing on different things.

(he giggled like a little boy when he saw me find this one as I viewed the pictures)

Ahem. Back to Sweaty Bands. I was forced to take my own (awkward) pictures after that. 



With hundreds of colors and patterns to choose from I have no doubt that you'll a style for you. With a retail price of $15 and up, they're pricer than your average headband, but they're also cuter and work better, which makes it worth it if you ask me.

To learn more about this company and see all the different options they have to offer you can visit their website at Sweaty Bands.  I would encourage you to go see all their different prints!

You can also find Sweaty Bands on Facebook.
Or Sweaty Bands on Twitter.

And now the fun part!
Sweaty Bands has provided me with a Sweaty Band to give away to one lucky winner!

Entering the giveaway is simple! Just leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite fitness product or accessory and one winner will be randomly selected.
While I'd love for you to become a follower of Loving the little things, it's not a requirement for winning. I'd rather you choose to follow cause you want to, not cause I require it :)
(If this giveaway doesn't interest you, have no fear! There's more coming up!)

Giveaway closes Thursday, March 31 at 9:00 pm CST.
Winner will be announced on the blog and notified by email on Friday, April 1. No foolin!

In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided with Sweaty Bands from sweatybands.com. I received no compensation for my review, and my thoughts are entirely my own.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thankful for (four)

Happy Sunday!

While I'd love to continue the lazy theme from yesterday, there is much to be done, and I really should get busy. Lots of cleaning, lots of laundry, a little baking, some dinner making...

I still wanted to take a minute to share a few things I'm thankful for. Things such as...

1) Delicious coffee from Quik Trip. My budget really appreciates when I get a $1.50 cup from QT instead of a $4 cup from Starbucks. I make my own version of a cocoa cappuccino by doing half  mocha cappuccino and half decaf. Yum!

2) Having a washing machine to do all my laundry for me. I've already washed 4 loads of laundry this weekend. It's one of those things you never think about, but can you even imagine having to wash clothes by hand? I definitely wouldn't have survived the olden days.
makes my life so much easier!

3) Delivering more girl scout cookies. I STILL have boxes full of boxes of girl scout cookies in my house. Every time I pass out a few more, my house smiles at one less thing to clutter it up. I really really really need to get bitten by the spring cleaning bug, because my house needs it! 

4) Buying new jean shorts! I know this may make me unpopular among the average woman, but for some reason, with both kiddos, I end up smaller and weighing less after baby than I did before. (and I weighed a whole 113 pounds the day I checked in to give birth to my first!) It's got to be the breastfeeding. Cause I sure don't diet! Breastfeeding = amazing! Anyway, all my jean shorts from last year would literally fall off when I tried to put them on. I found some sweet sales at Macy's and got a few pairs for less than $20 each :)
 5) Take a look up at the top of my page. Keep looking. Up above the pictures. (which is a new design, by the way!) Notice anything? I'll give you a minute...

I am my own website now!! Oh yeah! My loving the little things blog now has it's own address at www.lovingthelittlethings.com. Pretty exciting!

What are you feeling thankful for today? Take a minute to appreciate the little things!

p.s. Stay tuned for my fitness themed giveaway tomorrow!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

So what Saturday

So what... if I left the house today without showering, didn't shower til 2:00 in the afternoon, and am now in pajamas and plan to be for the rest of the day?

So what... if I'm a bad mom that forgot to pack a change of clothes for Kaylee who played soccer in the rain today? We ran to Target and got a change of clothes from the clearance rack.

So what... if I have my husband take me out for lunch, knowing that we'll both have leftovers and then I won't have to cook dinner? 

So what... if I wore the same pair of jeans 3 days in a row? They're in the washing machine now!

So what... if halfway through writing this post (a baby is a really good blog-writing interrupter) my pj plan changed cause I really love my husband, and actually enjoy being the one to make grocery store trips, and I did end up getting dressed to make a quick Target run?

So what... if that means I've been to Target twice today?

So what... if I'm a bad blogger (or just bad mom) that doesn't always have my camera on me and I have to resort to having crappy photos from my phone?


So what... if some days I count breastfeeding as a form of exercise? It takes a lot of calories to provide for my little chunk!

So what... if my 7 year old pumps more iron than I do? 
So what... if I'm really super excited about lots of upcoming giveaways, the first of which will be Monday?
 
Stay tuned!!!

What are you saying so what about? :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Deep Breath

The inner control freak in me is trying to stay calm.

However, that control freak is pretty strong willed. But it's trying to keep things in perspective.

Here's the thing:
I keep Kaylee (my oldest, 7) on a pretty regular schedule.

(And any parent that has ever cracked open a parenting book has read about KEEPING A SCHEDULE or MAINTAINING A ROUTINE and how ESSENTIAL it is for your child's development.)

While I don't think a schedule or a routine is a life or death situation, I do think that it's pretty important.

For my child in particular, a sleep schedule is necessary. Much to my dismay, she wakes up every day by 7:00am. And in order for her to get all the sleep that a growing kid needs, she needs to be in bed by 8:30, so she's asleep by 9:00 or so.

And no, she doesn't compensate for staying up late by sleeping late. She can go to bed at 8:30 or 11, and she's still up and at 'em at 7:00 in the morning.

But trust me, she needs her sleep. My usually sweet child becomes cranky pants mcgee if she does not get adequate rest. It's not limited to just crankyness either - it's a total emotional upset. Easily frustrated, easily angered, apt to cry at the littlest thing. It's not pretty. 

So needless to say, I honor her bedtime as an important and necessary thing. My husband and I are both fully on board with making sure we don't let other things interfere with bedtime.

Unfortunately, we have some grandparents who totally don't respect bedtime.
Who thinks it's fun to take her to the late movie.
Who thinks it's ok to stay up late watching TV. 
Who thinks it's totally harmless to let her stay up hours past her bedtime.
Who gets to give Kaylee back the next morning and not see the effect the lack of sleep has had on her.

And it drives me CRAZY!! 

I've reminded them that bedtime is 8:30 and asked repeatedly that she gets to bed at a decent time and shared why I think it's necessary.
Smiles and nods ensue.

And then time and time again, I get a little sleep deprived monster coming home to me, instead of the good-natured Kaylee that I dropped off.

And I hate that they totally disregard my requests. 

Yes, I know it's a little thing, and they'd never do anything to harm my child.
I also try to look at it from the perspective that grandparents get to spoil kids and that kids get to have fun and different (less) rules when they visit grandma or grandpa.

But still.

Because of these issues, I never want to let Kaylee go stay the night with her grandparents. I'm all for letting her have quality time with them, but I don't want to allow the sleepover.

What do you think? Is my frustration justified? Or am I overreacting? Do I need to relax about it and just be glad for the time they have together? Be honest! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

TGI fill in the blank Friday

It's Friday, and I'm linking up with another round of Fill in the Blank Friday. 

I'm actually somewhat annoyed on this particular Friday, and am writing a post about said annoyance to hopefully give me a better perspective. I hope to have that post up within the next few hours, and I'd certainly love some feedback about it. 

In the meantime, I certainly hope you're having a better Friday. If you'd like, head on over to this blog and you can join in and link up your own fill in the blank Friday post.

1.   My most prized possession is       it's odd, but I can't really think of any possession I'd consider prized. To me, a possession is just that - a thing. Right now, I'm really loving my kindle, but I wouldn't call it a prized possession. I always love my collection of gorgeous overpriced purses, but again, not prized. People aren't prized, so I can't name my family. I guess I don't have any answer.

2.  If I could be one age for the rest of my life, I would want to be   I'd probably stay in my 20's. My childhood was just fine, but I know I kept waiting to "grow up" so I don't think I'd be satisfied to stay that age. Same with the teenage years. Maybe I'd want to revisit my college years, since I never experienced the typical college life. I was pregnant with my oldest halfway through my freshman year, and had her the summer after freshman year. While I continued going to school and still got my bachelor's within 4 years, it definitely wasn't your typical college life full of parties and carelessness. I'm very content with my phase in life now, being a wife and mom. And while I don't mind getting older, up to my 60s or so, I'm really not looking forward to getting old.

3.  The best way to spend a weekend is  pre-baby, I'd say taking a road trip with the family. That would still be my answer, as Isabelle is very travel-friendly, but I've grown accustomed to lazy weekends at home. I just enjoy spending time with those I love. And eating delicious food :)

4.  My outlook on life is    more positive than negative. I'd rather focus on the good than the bad. I have been so blessed, and I have it way better than I even realize. God is so good.

5.  If you want to annoy me,  just    use improper grammar and spelling. Or whine about personal, inappropriate for the general public things on facebook. Or drive slow in the fast lane. Or do things that very obviously display your ineptitude as a parent.

6.  I am completely defenseless when it comes to    snacks. I am a snack-a-holic. Also, kids. I have a special place for children in my heart.

7.  When dressing for the day one should       wear something that fits!!! Ahh, I understand that we all come in different shapes and sizes, and I'm not here to judge, but dress appropriately, and in your proper size. Don't try to squeeze your body into something that very obviously was not meant to fit you! As for myself, personally, I went through the always need to look cute and stylish phases, and I'm currently in the is it comfortable and can I nurse while wearing it phase. It's not as fun!  


Oh dear. I cannot get the underlining to turn off. Yes, I tried to click the underline icon in my toolbar. Didn't work.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Break 2011

We took a mini vacation road trip for Spring Break this year.

As I posted here, I find spring break to be a little frustrating as a parent. It's not easy to keep my kiddo happily occupied for 17 hours a day for 10 straight days in a row. In fact, for as much as she claims to love days with no school, it sure doesn't take much time at all for her to start declaring how bored she is.

To occupy a few of our days, we set out on a little road trip. While I would have loved a more elaborate vacation, it just wasn't meant to fit in our schedule or our budget at the moment, so a little trip would have to do.

We spent a day and a half in Oklahoma City, OK and a day and a half in Tulsa, OK. It was about 3 hours each way, which was totally managable and kid friendly.

This mama really wanted to go to Dallas, (can you say hello to amazing shopping?!) but spring break is about the kids, and I don't know many 7 year olds that want to spend their spring break at the mall.

In Oklahoma City, we went to the zoo and the Oklahoma Science Museum. Visiting the zoo was the highlight in my book, because it was a sunny 80 degrees outside and I was loving it!

Here were a few of our favorite little creatures: 




What? You didn't really think I was going to show you animals when I have these two cute little girls, did ya?

In Tulsa, we also visited their zoo. You can never have too much zoo time!



 This is definitely a fake smile if I've ever seen one!

 Uh oh...my sweet girl is starting to think some things are embarrassing.
I asked her to take a picture with the statues and she refused. 
She told me to do it instead, and she'd take my picture.

 My pasty winter skin could use some sunshine, stat!


Looking at all the animals is exhausting!

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