Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to- Necklace organizer

Remember the post about the necklace organizer? Here's the how to.... So simple, so easy!

Step 1: Gather your supplies (cork board, fabric, scissors, stapler with staples, hooks for hanging or 3M strips if they work in your home because you have drywall walls - not plaster, and cup hooks).

Step 2: Wrap and smooth out the fabric around the corkboard.

Step 3: After making sure the fabric is smooth, staple it in place.

Step 4: Attach the hooks for hanging. The type varies on your taste. I chose saw tooth. They were $1.

Step 5: Insert the cup hooks. Sorry, I forgot the pics for this!

Step 6: Hang

Step 7: Add jewelry. I have necklaces and bracelets on here.

Step 8: Stand back and enjoy it. :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Getting organized: Necklace Organizer

Oh the frustration of tangled necklaces in a jewelry box. That's why I am not a jewlery box person. I would constantly want to wear the necklace in the back and when I rotated the necklaces around, they would all tangle together. Now, I love the jewelry box I had because it was given to me by my grandma who passed away almost 14 years ago. But, I really cannot use jewelry boxes effectively.

I had been coming up with all kinds of ideas to make my own jewlery organizer. Some included a towel bar with shower cutain hooks to hold the necklaces. Some were frames with the backing out of it and ribbon in it's place. Some were cork boards with pins to hold the necklaces. Larger armoire type jewelry boxes. So many choices, but what was most cost effective and useful for me?

Well, I decided to use corkboard covered in fabric and cup hooks to hold the necklaces. Here's how it turned out:

A how-to will post next week. It will have step by step instructions. Altogether, this cost me $14. So worth it. Of course, I could have waited another day or two to buy the large piece of corkboard for an additional $4 off, but I wanted to get this done before the craft party and I returned to work!

I love it. I love the fabric for it (thank you cousin). I love that it fits in that room perfect. I just think it's grand! So glad I did this. I can see everything and everything has a place. That's soooo nice! I'm just working away at this 2012 goals.  How are you doing with your goals?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Getting Organized: Earring corralling

I really struggle with jewelry organization. I usually just let them sit on my dresser top. This has become dangerous with a toddler around. I've lost many earrings from a cute lil toddler who likes to check things out. Needless to say, I was sick of losing earrings.

I was searching all kinds of cute things and pinning great things on pinterest to make, but I really needed to do something STAT! Thank goodness for TJ Maxx. While perusing the store one day, I found this:

Look how cute my earrings look hanging there. So much better than anything else I saw. Was it cheap? No- not by my standards. It cost me $12.99... but the peace of mind that I know where my earrings are and things are cleaned up is worth it!

I may paint it but for now, I'm letting it be. I like the little tray under it for my rings and bigger bracelets that don't work on my necklace/bracelet organizer (post coming soon). So glad I went to TJ Maxx and found this! Plus, it goes with the garden theme in the room.

What do you do to store your earrings?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tasty Tuesday

You all know, I'm all about a new recipe, especially for comfort food. Enter, the Pioneer Woman Cooks. Gosh I love this book! Good stuff I tell you, good stuff. Read the review here.

One of the recipes that stuck out at me was the meatloaf. I looked at it and decided it would be the next thing I tried. As usually, Ree Drummond did not disappoint.

Needless to say, the meatloaf is AMAZING- probably has something to do with the bacon and the delightful sauce. This will be my go to recipe for meatloaf. As always, I make every recipe as is the first time I make it. Next time, I may add chopped onion, celery and shredded carrots. I think they just add great flavor, plus you sneak in veggies that way.

The recipe is easy to make; however, I had the experience that after mixing everything my "loaf" was more mush than form. I began wondering what I did wrong because it seemed too moist and I couldn't get it to form a nice loaf. A friend made this upon my recommendation the next night. She had the same experience. So, when you make this, expect it to be more moist/mushy than you think.  This just meant that I needed to construct/build my meatloaf. My friend said she felt like she was making a sand castle. Nothing like playing with food! :)

Despite the moistness and the need to construct the loaf, it cooked up perfect!

Because of lil man's allergy to dairy, I did not add the cheese. I did soak the bread in milk. There was no reaction to the dairy, so that was a plus. I was really testing the waters with this. I can only imagine what adding cheese would do to this meatloaf. AMAZING!!!! 

Here's a link to the recipe. Enjoy!

I'm linking up to Tasty Tuesdays on 33 Shades of Green. Stop by and see what she and others have cooked up this week. Some good stuff out there. Click this link.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Getting Organized - Family Command Center

One of my goals for 2012 is to get organized. I'm taking this a little at a time (of course). We had have a junk drawer that was filled with pens, markers, scissors, tape, twine, and any other miscellaneous items you could imagine. I'm sure we're not the only ones like this, but I needed to start to corral things so that like things were together. All the pens were taking up the majority of the drawer. We also needed to organize mail, write the meal plan, a calendar for important appointments/activities, a place for note cards of a pad of paper and pens (easy to find working pens) so we could quickly make a list. So, I was reading The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking's October 31 days series and came across this post about command centers. I knew I needed to do it!

In the post, Kelly had great ideas. I needed something simple and space saving. Enter Landee See Landee Do with the following:

Pinned Image
So cute right???
I loved it! Not only did I love it, but I could do it! So easy and on the side of my fridge? I'm sold!

Here's my version of this command center - Mind you, I only have the side of the fridge, not a wall covered in steel- don't I wish I did!

This was modified for our family. I have a white board (1 of 35 I bought for my classroom- well made out of showerboard) for messages, grocery lists/needs. The green box is from Target and cost $4.50. It holds key notes for things (window measurements, room measurements - things I'm always looking for), blank index cards for lists or recipes or whatever, my sharpie for freezing food, and dry erase markers for the board. The pen holders are cans covered in scrapbook paper that match the mail holder that is on the other side of the fridge. The pen holders are held on by magnets from Walmart ($3). The calendar hanging vertically is our family calendar/meal plan calendar. I write out the meal plan and any appointments/events on it. This has worked for us for a year. If it ain't broke, don't fix it is my motto. The bottom calendar is for lil man. He uses it to color while I cook and do food prep.

Lil man's calendar will be moved eventually and I'll put his laminated chore chart and some toddler/preschool activities (maybe a magnetic board for matching colors, etc) in its place.

Is it as beautiful and Pinterest worthy as Landee's, probably not, but it was cost effective and works for my family which is what is most important! So easy to do and cheap.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tales of a tonsillectomy...


Many of you know me personally and know that I recently had a tonsillectomy in my middle 30's. I wouldn't normally post something like this, but since I know some of you have said you wanted to see how I did before scheduling your own, I decided to post my tale.

Where to begin... I was nervous, oh so nervous, the night before surgery and couldn't sleep. The last time you are allowed to drink or eat anything is 12. Nothing may be ingested after that time- except small sips (itty bitty) of water if needed. You are allowed to brush your teeth. Since my surgery wasn't scheduled until 10 the next morning, I decided I would eat my heart out from 10:30 - 11:30. What did I choose??? A big bowl of ice cream and huge glass of water. Some indulgence, huh?

The day of surgery, everything went great. I was nervous, but the nurses helped as did the receptionist who became a dear friend and constantly checked on me. She was my little angel through this. The doctor came and asked if I had questions. I had one: Do I have to do this? The answer was, of course, no. Considering I had been giving strep to my little one all year, I figured even though to the doctor the answer is yes, for me, the answer is no.

Waking up from surgery, I was soooo stinking thirsty. I was elated to have ice chips to suck on. I couldn't get enough of them. I went through 3 glasses of them and 2 glasses of water. I was at the hospital a total of 6 hours for my 15 minute surgery. Good times. Soon, it was time to go home.

Mind you, hubby was not with me as his grandmother had passed and the funeral was the day of my surgery. My step dad and nephew took good care of me until hubby arrived.

When I got home, I needed help walking up stairs and settled in to bed comfortably. I was even brought a special treat - banana popsicles! YUM!!!!! I was given water. The nurses said that it's best to swallow as much as possible for proper healing, so down went anything that would go easily.

I learned that I couldn't have anything red- so glad everything I bought was red. UGH! Go figure. I didn't care though. Honestly, I had banana popsicles and water. What more do you want... until, of course, your stomach starts grumbling.... asking for a burger.... or a steak.... or quesadilla... or enchiladas (all of the foods I have yet to eat- as of Saturday 1/14).

Day 2 was good as well. I actually felt like I only had a sore throat and as long as I had jello, Mrs. Grass noodle soup, and water, I was good. A friend dropped off a humidifier to me (per doctor recommendations and now mine) and I told her it was easy peasy. I didn't know day 3 would make me think otherwise.

No lie- Day 3,5-7 and 9 were the worst. Day 3 forget it. I couldn't do a doggone thing. I hated swallowing, but continued because I didn't want to dehydrate and I just kept thinking swallowing = healing. Repeat that 10x in your head and you have my coping mechanism for that day. Day 4 I was able to eat some great soup a relative made for me upon my request. Day 5-7 just like day 3. Then came day 8... glorious day 8... I felt fantastic! I did a little cleaning and got out of my room for most of the day. It felt good.... only to make me realize on day 9 I overdid it. Up until day 8, I couldn't handle dairy products, but day 8 let me enjoy a small scoop of ice cream. (ELATED! I must be getting better!) Day 9: I felt okay enough to drop a paper to the doctor's office. I drove the 1.5 miles there only to get super weak and feel light headed walking into his office. I immediately headed home (after a DQ stop which was on the way home).

Day 10 I started to eat more foods. I added mashed potatoes to the diet. That was joy! Pure joy! Now, on Day 17, I feel really well. I have some scabs in my throat still, but they are almost 100% gone. The fear of hemorraging is diminished because the scabs are almost gone, which means I get to try to eat more food. Last night, I had an omelette with ham, onions, peppers, and of course, ooey gooey cheese with fried potatoes as a side. It felt so good to eat out at a restaurant and not get soup or macaroni and cheese off the kids menu.

Things I experienced that I wasn't aware of:

1. The need for pain meds every 4 hours for a minimum of 6 days straight. I moved to 6-8 hours on Day 7. Day 9, I had taken it once. I am not a medicine taker. I hate pain meds and meds in general. I was amazed at the amount of pain I was in if I was late for a dose. If you do this, take the meds!! The doctors give them for a reason- so I learned.

2. You don't sleep. Yep. I slept a total of 1 hour for every 4. Literally, sleep an hour, up the next 3. Take meds. Sleep an hour, up the next 3. Repeat cycle for 6-7 days.

3. Depression. Holy cow!! I didn't realize that I would be so depressed. I was just a mess mentally, emotionally, and physically. I don't like to depend on people to help because I have a control issue. I can do it by myself because I'm capable.... Not when you have surgery! I was more dependent with this surgery than with my C-section. I felt selfish and helpless requesting someone to bring me something- putting my needs before their own. This set in around day 5.

4. Loss of weight. I lost 13 pounds in 7 days. While that's a good thing, it's not done the healthy way, so the minute you start to eat again, the weight comes back on- unless of course you want to stick with a liquid diet. Sorry. That's not for me. I'm a meat and potatoes kinda gal.

What did I eat:

1. Jello- lots and lots of good old jello

2. popsicles

3. broth

4. Mrs. Grass noodles/Lipton noodle soup

5. Sweet potatoes - boiled until mushy with butter and cinnamon.

6. Scrambled eggs.

All of this was through day 7.

After day 7, I added baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, oatmeal and green beans. Today, I'm eating toast and bread again. I'm afraid to try my favorite veggie chips, pretzels or popcorn yet. I'll talk with the doctor about that this week.

What you should know:

1. This isn't easy, but it's not the end of the world (even though it feels like it at times).

2. It's frustrating not being able to eat and hearing your stomach grumble and growl. I really gained a new appreciation for those who go without food due to financial hardship or lack of availablility.

3. Every person has a different pain tolerance and threshold for what they can withstand. Your experience may be different.

4. Supposedly, you are to be healthier afterward. I can't really say much about this yet. From the forum I read to get through this, it does make you healthier.

5. Take at least the full 2 weeks off work. You will not be able to talk for long periods of time- shoot, sometimes one word hurts like heck and you are done for the day. I took 2 weeks and a day (I was to go back on Friday then get a 3 day weekend). I took the extra day as I'm a teacher and the doctor told me long stretches of talking will not be good and possibly 3 weeks would be better. This was all arranged prior to surgery.

6. Have a lot of books/magazine to read and an outlet (FB, blogging, something). Don't forget sudoku or word searches/crossword puzzles, words with friends, etc.

7. Have a pen/pencil, white board or notebook handy for communicating. Yes, I did need to do this.

8. Don't think you'll be eating ice cream the whole time. I didn't eat ice cream until Day 8.

9. Lastly, the older you are the worse it is. Please, if you're considering it, don't wait. I can't imagine how it would have been if I were older.

10. Oh! Find a sitter for your children for at least the first week. Also, freeze meals for them to eat.

I hope this is somewhat helpful. For more information, go to the Tonsillectomy Recovery Forum. I found lots of advice and help there... as well as a place to grumble or encourage others. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Strawberry Dream Smoothie

During my tonsillectomy, I really didn't eat much new- nor did I cook- aside from jello and Lipton soup. As I progressed, I tried new and different foods. One of which was a smoothie recipe I had wanted to make that I found in my Nestle cookbook.

First, this was very simple to make. It had nutrients I clearly needed. It took just a minute to throw together... okay, maybe 5 minutes.

I had 1 big problem with this recipe (other than it was too thick for me to enjoy the whole thing) - I couldn't find Nestly Carnation Instant Breakfast in Strawberry flavor. So, I used what I had which was vanilla.

This was really tasty and smooth. It was refreshing and filled with nutrients which was fantastic! I actually plan on making this in the mornings on my way to school. Maybe not every morning, as I love my scrambled egg sandwiches for the commute, but certainly at least 1-2 times a week.

Here's the recipe:
8 oz strawberry fat free yogurt (I used Greek yogurt for extra protein)
1 packet Stawberry flavored Carnation Instant Breakfast
1/2 c. frozen strawberries (optional- but totally recommended)
1/2 c. fat free milk ( I drink 1%, so that's what I used)
1/2 c ice cubes

toss it all in the blender, cover and blend until smooth.

Wa la!! Simple, quick and easy, yet totally scrumptious!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Meal Plan Monday....

Ahhh... the tonsillectomy is behind me. I'm finally able to cook my way through the Pioneer Woman cookbook. :) This week, I'm trying 3 of her recipes... I never do more than 1 new recipe a week, but I'm soooo behind and there were so many things that looked delicious, I decided on my top 3.

Monday: Meatloaf (topped with bacon and other goodness), mashed potatoes and glazed carrots.
Tuesday: Chicken spaghetti and salad with homemade bread
Wednesday: left overs
Thursday: the Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich with fries
Friday: out
Saturday: Chicken tacos.
Sunday: left overs or grilled cheese and tomato soup. :) Simple and easy!

Enjoy your week. Look for the recipe reviews on Tasty Tuesday!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Home Goals 2012- revised

I've been looking at my 2012 goals list. I am slowly working my way through getting organized. Let's face it, that's gonna take a while as I go through each room and every nook and cranny I can think of that needs a little help. Some need more than others (kitchen drawers, office, stairway to the basement currently serving as our mudroom).

I was reading Nester's post about home goals. I wanted to revise what my 2012 home goals were. Some have popped up out of necessity (to be expected when the house is 92 years old) and others are just crossed off (new mudroom- not happening).

The pics I am going to show are those as the house is now. So, you'll get to see how truly human I am! Again, I hope to get through most of these, as they are slightly ambitious.

1. Curtains for the living room to brighten up the space. We have so much dark wood (that I refuse to paint over).  If I can't do that, maybe a slip cover for the couch (with dogs and a 2 year old, curtains will be easier to keep clean!).  For the record, hubby is against this, but we've been here for 11 years and had curtains once on this window for a period of 1 year. I need a change!
Yes, I know the couch, end table and lamps don't match. And, yes, I have a 2 year old so toys are regularly out.
Lookiing for something truly unique here. I think I want to do a muslin fabric- 4 panels. Light,  simple, and care free just like us!

2. Paint the dining room. I have a love hate relationship with this room. I hate the colors, have since I painted it 7 years ago but haven't known where I wanted to go with it. I still don't know but paint is going to happen this year. Pics of dining room here.

3. Fix the balcony off the spare room. Some of the wood has started to rot and the railing is coming off. I love this space (even though it gets super hot) as it would be great to grow herbs and small plants in pots out there, but right now, it's not safe.

4. Organize and paint the current "closet", for lack of a better word, leading to the basement, what I call the mudroom. This house has NO storage space in it. Those that it does have are small and odd. Don't judge me by the following photos. It's hard to find places for everything, but now that the basement is totally finished, we are able to use it to store things.
Lots of empty space... maybe a shelf with baskets for seasonal things.  I was in the attic and saw just the shelf that may work while looking for something else.

Shoes, gloves, winter gear... what to do with them? We've tried a few different solutions. This will be fixed! I can't stand it!

Yes, these stairs do to up to the second floor... we just use them for storing things that have no place (insert sheepish smile with embarrassed cheeks here)....

bags, bags and more bags.


Coming up from the basement.

The only other storage area we have - as you see it coming from the basement.

  Clearly, I need help here. I'll take suggestions. Better yet if you want to come take care of this for me, I'm all for it!

5. Create a better "office" space. It's simply a spare room off the bathroom. really, we don't use it as an office other than storing documents in binders on a shelf. I would love to change this into a closet for my clothing for when we have another baby.

6. Paint the hallway and new curtains here.

7. Build a pantry for the kitchen. I need more storage here- or to get rid of lots of stuff. You know- equipment takes up room (coffee pot that I have only for guests since we don't drink coffee, mixer, crock pots, Foreman grill, toaster, food processor, deep fryer, etc.).

8.  I would love a new floor in the kitchen and to paint the kitchen, but the balcony will probably eat that budget. Shoot, I would just love a new kitchen as mine is from 1952, but it will wait.

Ambitious, yes. Mainly painting and organizing. The biggest project will be the balcony. Since we are DIY'ers we have to find time to get it done, but we'll get through some of it. I'll keep you posted as we go.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mail catcher How To

Remember this post... with my diatribe about mail... Here's the how to for those interested in making this.

Materials needed:

Cereal box
Scrapbook paper
Modge Podge
Ruler or measuring tape
Sponge applicator brush
3M strips for hanging
(I also snuck in some double sided tape as I was having issues with my glue one day- don't ask- pain meds do a weird thing to you)

Step 1: Cut the top off the box and measure to where you want the pocket to go. I simply cut down the sides until I reached the spot where I wanted to stop then cut across and wah la! For the sides, I just drew a diagonal line and cut from where the pocket began to where the top was.

Top cut off
The sides

Step 2: Measure the area and cut the scrapbook paper accordingly. So I forgot pics of this, but figured, you would understand. Shoot! Look above and you'll see I forgot to take pics of the beginning too!

Step 3: Adhere (glue) the paper to the front of the box using the Modge Podge and sponge applicator.

Step 4: Do the same for the sides and inside of the box. I chose 2 different pieces of scrapbook paper... just because.

Step 5: Once the box is covered in scrapbook paper (to your liking- notice, I didn't bother with the back as I knew no one would see it), apply the 3M strips to the back of the box. I used 4- one in each corner to ensure it would stick on the fridge.

Just a little closer... why? To make sure I knew where the 3M strip was- really need to get my eyes checked.

Step 6: Place it where you want and start putting your goods in it!

So simple, so easy and quick. Not to mention, I love it and it's working out for my family. Isn't that what's most important?

Now I think I'll make another for all those stinking magnets on the fridge.  The fridge would look much prettier that way!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What do I do Wednesday

I typically like to think of myself as a decent gardener. I was better before the little one and a crazy schedule, but I like to garden when I get the chance. Oh, I'm talking about flowers as my yard is too small for anything else. Although, I may venture to herbs and tomatoes in pots this year.

So, imagine my frustration when my ferns look like this
and shed like this (oh embarrassing!) once I bring them in for the winter.

I water them regularly as does hubby, yet they insist of shedding and dying. I love having these outside my door as an entry to my home and beautiful decor for the porch, but they just look terrible when I bring them in. Anyone able to help?

This mess is too much! These guys are going to be tossed. I hope to do better with them summer of 2012.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: French Onion Soup by Tyler Florence

As many of you know, I recently had a tonsillectomy. That made it interesting for finding foods I could eat. While I thought I would get to indulge in ice cream and yogurts and smoothies, I learned that those items are not recommended for the first few days. When I did try to eat such things, I didn't like how they felt going down. Anything too thick was just uncomfortable.

I had hadd enough noodles and wanted something else. I decided I would try to make my own French Onion Soup. Online I went! I found a great recipe by Tyler Florence and figured it would be good as all the other recipes of his that I've tried have been fantastic!

I was feeling well enough to make something one afternoon, so I decided to make the soup. Hubby went and bought what I was missing the night before. Cooking I went. Thankfully, I have a small table in the kitchen as I needed it to sit on while carmelizing the onions.

Now, I have to tell you I didn't finish the recipe with croutons and cheese as I couldn't have them. I must also admit that I was the only one who ate this soup- I couldn't help myself.

This recipe was easy to make and VERY tasty. The only complaint I have was it was a little salty, but I wouldn't have minded if I were well. It would have been perfect.

I did have to make modifications because of my situation. Here's what I changed:
- finely chopped the onions using a food chopper
- ran out of broth so I used beef bouillion cubes that I dissolved in water.
- I didn't have fresh garlic (how that happened, I don't know as it's a staple), so I used a little garlic salt.

To say I loved this recipe is a complete understatement. It was soooo tasty and delicious. I would definitely recommend it. Easy to make, lots of flavor, comforting, delightful!

The recipe can be found by clicking the link above. I didn't take a pic because I wasn't feeling great!  Sorry!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Getting organized- starting with mail

Here's the situation. It's a new year and I vowed to become a little more organized this year. What am I thinking? This requires work - sorting, purging, finding storage solutions on a budget- which can be tricky.
Now, don't get me wrong, the dollar store has tons of great plastic bins for $1 and Marc's has cheap storage solutions too but I don't like plastic everything-especially when it will be on display. I know I can paint it, decorate it whatever, but sometimes I just figure if it's not what I truly love, I don't want to waste the money no matter how cheap.

 What I have the most difficulty with is mail. It ends up in about 7 different rooms (okay, that's quite an exaggeration, but not too far off). Yes, I can be that disorganized with paper. I hate it, yet my whole life revolves around it.

Now, I know I can make things easy and just do everything online like most people nowadays do, but I like to keep people employed in the post office. I do bills 50/50. Some online and some via mail. Those things like doctor bills, those are mail. Seeing as to how we are always at the doctor, I get them regularly. So, back to what this post is really about- storing mail in a nice convenient spot altogether- not all over.  I can't believe I just confessed how terribly disorganized I can be! Yes, I'm human.

For a few months I've been trying to find a nice mail holder that fits my taste and isn't outrageously priced. I had a great one that had cute glass panels and such, but it fell off the plaster walls and shattered. Boo.

Seeing as to how bins for organizing can be expensive, I decided to come up with something on my own. I'm sure I've seen something similar on the web somewhere, but where and when I couldn't tell you. Those were the pre-Pinterest days.

Here's what I made to solve the lost/scattered mail problem in our house:

How did I do it? I'll share on Thursday!

By the way, I've been using it for a week and what a difference. I'm sure 99% of you reading this are far more organized and do not need this post, but think of what else you could use it for- papers to return to school or an outgoing bin or holding all those magnets your toddler likes to get out and play with on the fridge only to see them end up on the floor and throughout the house... oh, that's not you? hmm... What are we doing wrong??  Lots of things to do and it's totally cheap, cheap, cheap!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The sound of what???

Sitting here trying not to be terribly bored out of my gourd while trying to eat this yogurt during day 8 of tonsillectomy recovery. As I’m surfing the net and visiting lots of new places, I keep hearing some funny rumblings from my dog’s belly – mind you, he’s on the other side of the room about 12 feet away.  At first, I was thinking he was going to get sick and needed to go outside, but now I think I’m wrong.

I’ve heard this before… it’s my dog telling me that daddy (hubby) forgot to feed him last night (the feeding of the dogs is his job).

I kind of have a feeling I know what he’s thinking (despite the fact that he’s sleeping- I know because of the loud snoring… and yes, I hear the belly over the snores).

Old man Boston- the tummy rumbler/snorer
“Bet that human wouldn’t let her stomach get this empty. Humans eat all the time. Food is always at their disposal- no need to wait for someone to get food for them. They just get it themselves when they’re hungry. They have no clue what it’s like to be this hungry… I’m starving over here and she’s on the computer doing who knows what trying to look too busy to feed me.”

Honestly, I can say my stomach sounds the same way right now! I do understand, Boston (our dog name). I get it. I haven’t eaten solid food in 8 days.  8… not 1… 8!

I haven’t ventured into the dog food territory since having this operation. Ya see, the food is kept on the top shelf in the basement which requires some lifting. It’s a 50 pound bag. I’m not supposed to lift more than 5 pounds – tell that to the 35 pound toddler who crawls on you and wants you to hold him- another tale for another day. So, it makes me nervous to go down there and think about trying to pry the lid off the dog food container that is over my head instead of taking it down from the shelf.

Oh, but his stomach is getting louder…. I guess I’ll move warm cuddly Benny (sitting next to me) and my warm spot on the couch, take the step stool to the basement and go about it that way. Dogs, enjoy your solid food while I munch on broth and yogurt.

Benny- he was keeping my feet warm until I had to get up to get the food. His belly wasn't rumbling.

Book Review: Copper Sun

I haven't done much but lay in bed and read since December 29. Well, I have blogged and played Words with Friends, but really, that's been the extent of my life for the past few days. Sounds thrilling right?

On New Year's Eve, I finished up "The Hobbit", which I will not spend much time reviewing as most people have already read this fantastic tale. If you haven't, you should. It's truly a great tale about an unlikely hero who ends up going on a crazy adventure with people he doesn't consider his friends until the end. There... that's "The Hobbit". It's also the precurser to the Lord of the Rings trilogy and there's a movie coming out next December. So, go read it.

Next up: Copper Sun by Sharon Draper.

image from here

I must admit to hearing this was good, but I was having issues with reading it. I don't know why. Maybe I wasn't in the mood, I don't know. But, since I borrowed it from school before winter break, I figured I should read it so I can review it for the students when I get back. I did have another choice, but I chose to start here. I'm glad I did!

This book is a piece of historical fiction. It's the story of Amari (and Polly). Amari is an African girl who is taken away from her village by white slave traders after witnessing terrible events in her village. What those are, I refuse to say because I'm not a spoiler. She ends up on a slave ship to the American colonies where she is sold into slavery. She is bought as a birthday present for a plantation owner's son. Need I say more? Didn't think so. She tries her best to stay under the radar and remain strong only to come against many obstacles. Eventually, she ends up on her own with some unlikely guests.
Polly is the other participant in the story. She is a white indentured servant. She is sent to the plantation with Amari to help Amari learn and to watch out for her. Polly despises Africans, so the relationship is very interesting as Amari despises Polly as well- both hate each other only based on color. Sad.

 An unfortunate event happens on the plantation that land Amari and Polly in the middle of a major mess. They end up on their way to auction with another person. I will say the unfortunate event was mindnumbing and horrible. I couldn't believe what I read and I wanted to go after the plantation owner myself. On the way to auction, something happens. Polly, Amari and guest find themselves in the woods trying to make it to a safe place where they can be free. They fight over going north vs. going south, eventually walking in the way that feels right.  I have to stop there so I don't spoil it.

The end of this book is beautiful and yet terrible all at the same time. Don't you love those? I do. Draper offers hope and peace. She does a great job stating the perspectives of both characters. The story is well thought out and keeps you interested. I finished it in 2 broken days.

I do recommend reading this, but must tell you that some of the content is a bit hard to bear. I do not recommend it for students who are not mature. Definitely something with sensitive material in it, even for adults. You will feel emotion in this book, including some laughter- which is much appreciated. If you want to try a quick, easy read with incredible content, this is a book to choose!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Introducing... and a give away!

The winners will be announced in the next 5 minutes!  Thanks to everyone for visiting, reading and participating! Please stop back and see me again!

Winner #1: Becky "I like the Lisa! They are all very pretty!"

Winner #2 Nancy "I'd love the blue Danielle Poinsettia on a pin!"

Thank you to all who participated and visited for the first time. I hope you will stay awhile.

Winners, I will contact you via email and give you the email address for Mommy's Happy Place so you can claim your prize! Congratulations!
Isn't it great when you discover a hidden talent among your friends? I work with this great person, Tamra, who is a librarian at our school. She is so good at keeping me in the loop of new good books and just being there in general.

One day, I was perusing her FB page to see she was making deliveries of pins and hair accessories. I had no clue she had such a talent. I knew she was a crafter like me, but didn't know what she made. I asked her about it and she sent me to her link- Mommy's Happy Place. She also has a shop on etsy here.

These are such great little pins and clips. Great for adults and kids alike. I loved that I could get the clip type I wanted for the design I liked. There were things for all ages. I found some that I thought would be great for cheerleaders, others for myself, mom, friends. It's great. You can even custom order items!

I ended up finding one I loved and immediately placed my order. I had it the next day (because she delivered to work). It was even more beautiful in person than online (isn't that the way it goes?!).
Check out some of her work:

Alexis Style
Mariah Style


Danielle- blue poinsettia
Pinked Danielle




Just have to say, how could would the Mary design be on a lil one if attached to a headband? What about the Keira as a cool pin on a jacket? I just love the Lisa too. How cute as a clip on a cardigan? 

In order to start the new year off right, Mommy's Happy Place is going to give away 2 accessories- 1 to 2 different winners. The great thing about it, you choose the clip you want and the design you like! In order to win, leave a comment with the style and clip you like. Winners will be chosen at random on Friday, Jan. 6 and announced on this site that evening.

Isn't it great when you find out a friend has a talent you didn't know about?! Love it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks

It's time for another book review! I've been reading as much as I can fit in during this busy time. I asked for this book for Christmas but couldn't wait. So, I simply borrowed it from the library. :)

Image from Amazon
This book is fantastic! I love every page. The pictures are fantastic. Ree brings a little ranch life to your life which is fun. I've always wanted to live on a ranch, so I get happy seeing all the pics of horses, cattle, cowboys in chaps... oops, I mean, wilderness.

Yes, this is more than a cookbook. Ree puts in stories behind recipes and stories about life, including how she met "Marlboro Man".

As far as the recipes go, they are simple, basic, filled with ingredients I've found in my pantry. The recipes are certainly filled with yummy goodness, not really low fat/low cal cooking, but those recipes you love as comfort foods. Just good, down-home cooking.

What I love most, there are pictures for every step in every recipe. Yes, I said it... a picture for every step of every recipe. AMAZING! I typically do not buy cookbooks that do not give a picture of every recipe, so this is beyond a great cookbook.

As you can tell, I highly recommend this as one to own and use in your kitchen.