Friday, February 24, 2012

Time to SHINE {Pass.It.Forward}

Ever wanted to change the world?  Ever wanted to do something that made a difference?  Ever wanted to change lives?  Ever met Ashley from the SHINE Project?  She wants to change the world, make a difference, and change people's lives.  And she does it.  And she wants others to do it, too.

Today is a HUGE day for the SHINE Project as Ashley is announcing her newest project and website. This project is simple: Pass It Forward.  By giving forward, you can give back. 

Here's the best part...there's a pass it forward card. 

Back view of Pass It Forward card
Here's how it works in Ashley's own words....

Pass It Forward was designed to get people to do little things, everyday, that makes an impact on the community around them. Pass it Forward is designed around a card.  Each card is given a unique ID number. Lets say we're at McDonalds, and I decide to pay for the person behind me in the drive through. I'd give the cashier the card, and tell them to pass it along to the next car when they give them the food that has been paid for. I then go home and log into the website that was on the card, and find my unique ID number. I log into it, and add my information... My first name, city, and a description of what I did....

Let's say the person behind me was you, you would pass it forward to someone else, and then would go home and do the same thing. From the very beginning, you will be able to track where your card goes, and how many people you affect just by doing one simple act of kindness.

Doesn't that sound cool?  And easy to do?  It's like a virtual pat on the back when you register your card and see where and how it blessed others.  Here we are, you and me, with the opportunity to dig our hands in and spread the shine!  We can make this happen.  We can bring a little shine to people.  And we can see just how far our shine will go.  To say I'm excited about this project is an understatement!

As one of the bloggers announcing this project, I will be getting my very own PassItForward card in the mail very soon.  And when I get my card, I'm gonna spread the SHINE!  Then I will come back here and share with you all what I did to PassItForward.  Awesome sauce!

I know you are now as excited as I am, so, go now, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 and find out how you can PassItForward and spread the shine, too!
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oh, How Time Flies {David Day}

I can't believe it's been 4 years.

Four years since I pined for a baby to love and care for.  Since I longed to be a mommy.

Four years since I first met that sweet baby.  Since we met eyes for the first time and I held his chubby little baby body in my arms.  It felt so good and so right to wrap my arms around him.

Four years since we brought that precious boy to our home.  His home.  Since we bought a crib and clothes and pacifiers and bottles and everything we thought we needed for our new little bundle. 

Four years since mommy and daddy woke up several times each night to bottle feed a hungry little baby.  Since we rocked a fussy infant and gave him all the love we could muster.  And then some.

Four years since the first bath in his new home.  Four years since his first smile in his new home.  Four years since we first cuddled and slept beside each other.

Four years....

And now, we have an energetic, percocious 4 year old.  And more memories to be made....

Home just a few days.  About 4 months old
Adoption Day!  2 years old

Everyday misadventures.  4 years old

Thank you God for this blessing I call my son.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nature's Candy {Happy & Healthy Valentines}

In an effort to be completely honest here, I'll admit I'm no picture of health.  But, being a mom, I try me darndest to make healthy-er choices for my son.  Besides, I think he's wild enough without the added assistance of sugar.  Can I get an Amen, fellow moms?!  With this in mind, my inspriration for this year's valentines was born.

I found this idea on Pinterest, but never pinned it, and can't find it again.  Sorry, if I could, I give the proper props, I would.  Anywho, I made these cuties (pun intended) for my students and for my son's classmates.  I designed the tags using Picnik online photo editing site and printed them out on cardstock.  I dropped the little fruits into the treat bags (found at Wal-Mart) and tied on the tag with twine.  Voila!  Couldn't have been easier.  I liked that not only, they weren't a sugary nightmare, but that they were more fun than a store-bought valentine. 
And, now, it's time for me to eat all that chocolate I won't let my kiddo eat.  Can't let it go to waste, can I?!

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On Text Messages and Grace

Ain't technology grand?  I have the world at my fingertips with my cell phone.  At any moment I can comminucate with someone and not even have to talk to them.  Gotta love text messaging.  That is until you accidentally send a text to the wrong recipient with a message you wouldn't want them to read.


Today I got one of those messages.  My first thought was, Oops.  That was not meant for me.  My second thought was, Glad I didn't make that mistake!

At this point, I had a choice.  I could A) respond in a snarky manner; B) not respond; or C) respond kindly and gently.

As I learned in collge, if in doubt, C out.

The whole communication fiasco had stemmed from a misunderstanding.  I sent my reply and quietly said a prayer.  I prayed for grace.  Grace for me, and grace from me.

In the time it took me to pray, the texter responded.  And grace abound.

I am so thankful that I chose to be graceful.  And when I don't choose grace (which as a broken, sinful human, is most of the time), I am thankful for God's grace.


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Monday, February 6, 2012

Suds-n-Duds {Homemade Laundry Soap and Other Adventures in Cleaning}

It's hard being a domestic goddess.  I should know because I have been one lately.  It's my other job, right after wife, mom, and 4th grade teacher.  Really, I do not know what has come over me.  The new me is dreaming up cleaning schedules to clean one or two parts of the house each day, and planning meals, and making her own cleaning products.  The new me has even missed watching some episodes of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood.  Don't tell the old me, she'll be mad!

Update: I'm now all caught up on my fave shows.  Just in case you were wondering, or concerned.  Thank you OnDemand!

With all this cleanliness (as you know, it's next to Godliness) going on, I thought I'd share my secrets that I found on Pinterest, of course (not so secret).  You can be a domestic goddess, just like me!

Here's the Homemade Laundry Soap...

You need the following ingredients, all available at Wal-Mart in the laundry aisle.  The cost is about $11.  I already had the large box of baking soda on hand at home, so the washing soda, Borax, and Fels-Naptha only cost me 7 bills, dawg. 

Grate the bar of Fels-Naptha with a cheese grater.  You can also throw it in the food processor to break it up a bit, but not necessary.  Add 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of washing soda, and 1/4 cup of baking soda.  Stir it up, as Bob Marley says.  Use 2 tbsp. per load.

Don't worry, you'll make more than this.
We've done a few loads since I made this batch.

Looks a bit like shredded cheddar cheese in white powder.  If you don't like such big chunks of soap, put the grated soap into a food processor to break it up a bit.  It still gets the clothes clean either way.
This recipe doesn't make a ton, but at just 2 tbsp. a load, it'll go far.  Next time, I'll double or triple the recipe.  The great thing is, I will only have to buy the Fels-Naptha (only $.97 a bar).  The sodas and Borax will last me a long while, making this very inexpensive.

It gets the clothes clean (which is the point), they smell fresh, and not too shabby on stains.

And, speaking of stains, I'm still trying to get through my last bottle of OxyClean stain remover spray.  But, when that bottle is empty, my next project is homemade stain remover. Stay tuned.

I also recently went homemade with my all-purpose spray cleaner.  I LOVE this stuff.  I use it mostly in the kitchen, but it's great on glass, furniture, and in the bathroom. 

Homemade All-Purpose Spray Cleaner....

One part vinegar, one part warm water, and a few drops of tea tree oil (or any scent of essential oil, although the tea tree oil has some disinfectant qualities that I like).  Put it all in a spray bottle and you're ready to rock and roll.  This is livin'!

The vinegar is really cheap at less than $2 for a gallon size jug (found in the cleaning aisles at Wal-Mart).  The tea tree oil is pricey ($10 for a small bottle), but you only use a few drops, so it lasts a while.  Plus I use it for soap making.

And for those tough to clean areas that need a little extra, this little magic potion will change. your. life. 

Homemade Non-Abrasive Scrub

Some baking soda (now you know why I keep such a large box on hand) and some hydrogen peroxide.  Mix whatever amounts you need in a small bowl to make a paste.  Use your hand or a sponge and rub this stuff on whatever and it's like buttah.  I used the concoction on my glass-top stove.  So clean.  Not a scratch.  Hallelujah!  It's amazing on bathroom sinks, too, to get off any soap scum.  My blender got some new life breathed into with a quick cleaning with this stuff.  Looks like new, I tell ya. 

Well, there you have it.  I may sound like a real granola, but I'm lovin' the homemade cleaners!  I call it being light green. 

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Pinterest Made Me Do It {Cooking Edition}

Pinterest has changed my life.

If you live on this side of a rock, you can relate to the above statement.  The change for me has been threefold:
1.  I waste a lot more time than I did before I found Pinterest.  Or it found me.
2.  I have a rich fantasy life that consists of an amazing wardrobe, an impeccably decorated and perfectly organized home, a sharply dressed and photograph ready child, and a variety of incredible craft ideas that would keep me busy for the remainder of my natural born life.  And all of this is organized within several cleverly named boards that house thousands of pins.  And more await....
3.  I have cooked more in the past month than ever before.  If you listen closely, you can hear my husband singing praises.

In all seriousness, Pinterest has been my inspiration, muse if you will, for a plethora of things.  From painting without sanding tutorials to how to make homemade liquid hand soap.  It's the instruction manual for my life.  If it's been done before, it's been pinned.

I have pinned,  I have made. 

The biggest inspiration has come in the kitchen.  Here I would like to share my favorite recipes I've tried so far.  You'll thank me.

Ah, Pinterest.  My waistline will not be shrinking with your dominating web presence taunting me with new delicious pins each day.  Oh, but you taste so good!

NOT the end.  

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

When Shopping Trips Go Bad

I use to pride myself on having a good shopper.  My kid has always been a champ at rolling the aisles or racks in a cart or stroller.  Of course, there were the occasional grabs from the shelves or pulls of the clothes racks, but all in all, he rocked at shopping.  A real mother's dream I tell ya!

Until.  Now.

Perhaps with age (his being a little over 4) comes wisdom, but as of late, shopping has not been fun with this little charmer.  Let me re-phrase that, it's been torture.  He's smart enough to know that he can really rock momma's world if he disrupts the shopping.  It's button-pushing at it's finest, folks.  
This was the high point of our Target trip.
If he's not throwing a temper tantrum, he's throwing stuff out of the cart, or kicking me, or wanting to get out of the cart, or standing up in the cart, or screaming to be held, or hitting customers as we roll by, or saying he needs to potty right in the middle of grocery shopping after we've already made one trip to the restroom.  Ugh.

I know some of you can relate.  And, I hope this is just a phase and it ends.  Soon.  I can't take much more.  A girl's gotta eat and have clothes, so no shopping is out of the question.  And, almost as much of a nightmare as shopping with Crazy Preschooler! 

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