Monday, December 31, 2012

My 2013 Goals

While I'm not really big on New Year's resolutions, its always a good time to sit down and refocus on your goals. I kind of have a lot of goals for this year...I'm going to be a busy girl! We'll see how well I keep to them. Writing this list will bring some focus and sort of make each goal official. Of course posting them for the world to see really holds you to a new level of accountability. So here we go...

Physical Goals

-Complete the Insanity program the hubs and I started but never finished
-Get back into Pole fitness
-Try out Crossfit
-Eat more veggies and less sugar

Mental Goals

-Finish up my B.A.
-Start studying for the LSAT
-Write more poetry
-Get back into piano and buy a keyboard

Financial Goals

-Get our debt paid off
-Start saving for a house
-Increase profits from my blog
-Increase profits from my photography business

Spiritual Goals

-Join a bible study or small group
-Pray more
-Start evening devotions with my hubby
-Make a meal for someone in need at least once a month

I would love to hear some of my readers goals, feel free to share them!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year Beauty Tips 2013

Today we have a guest post on fashion for 2013. Feel free to pin any of these tips. Enjoy!

New Year Beauty


Some beauty trends are classic. The little black dress, a pair of great jeans and a sophisticated pair of red heels will always be fashionable.


But every year, there are certain trends that designers unveil in their fall line that will be really hot for the upcoming year.


For 2013, there are numerous trends that women from all walks of life can incorporate into their wardrobe and makeup kit, ensuring that they look like they really in-the-know when it comes to fashion.




Velvet has been around for years, and a great black velvet jacket really never goes out of style, at least for a man.


But for women, velvet hasn’t exactly been the trendiest of materials in recent years.


In 2013, expect to see lots of velvet blazers, dresses and pants, as well as shoes and scarves.


The great thing about velvet is that it’s a heavy fabric that will keep you warm in the colder parts of the winter and look great at the same time.


Statement Nails


Nail polish has always had its place, but many designers chose to go with a more natural look in recent years, opting for a light gloss or more natural colors.


In 2013, designers are making a bold statement with nails in bright colors with all kinds of designs.


A lot of designers went for bold geometric patterns in daring colors, and this can work for a lot of women that don’t want to limit themselves when it comes to what clothes they can wear by using a more recognizable design.


You can play around with painting your nails in different colors if you want, but for a great, quick look, you’ll probably need to find a salon near you.


Chunky Heels


If you’re like a lot of women, you dread walking around in heels that offer no support, but you might do it anyway, even for long periods of time, just to look great.


You’re not going to have to do that, at least not as much, in 2013.


That’s because chunky heels that offer more support are coming back in style.


Look for a variety of different designers to employ the chunky heel in both casual shoes for everyday wear and shoes designed for more formal events.


Even designers that don’t force you to pay a small fortune for their shoes will be using the chunky heel this year, so you might even be able to save a couple of bucks by shopping around in person and online.


Blue Eyeshadow

Like statement nails, bold, colorful shades of eyeshadow lit up the runways at the end of 2012.


Designers and their makeup artists were making quite a statement by using shades like turquoise and green this year instead of more basic and earthy colors.


A lot of runway models were done up with unique applications of eye shadow as well, partly because of the bold color.


After all, turquoise eye shadow might look great, but when you apply it to the whole lid, there’s a good chance it’s going to look a little silly, even at a fashion show.


If you don’t want to go with such a bold color of eyeshadow, try mixing it in with a more basic color or covering it up just a little bit with a nude eye shadow.


That way you’ll still get the pop of a bright color without the “hey-look-at-me” factor.


Teal eyeliner was also a big hit in recent shows, and it might be just the bold style you’re looking for without being quite as noticeable as blue or green eye shadow.


Cherry Red Lips


Red lipstick is something that almost every woman in the world owns, or at the very least, has thought about buying. After all, red lipstick is a classic fashion accessory.


In 2013, cherry red and bright shades of lip color are going to be very popular, and you’ll likely see them in print ads and at your local makeup counter all year.


Bright red lipsticks are a great way to add color to your look, especially if you tend to wear a lot of black or navy blue in the winter time.


Make It Work For You


At first you may feel like you can’t accomplish these trends, but you can.


Figure what silhouettes flatter your body shape the most and buy a jacket or dress in velvet in a color that compliments your skin tone.


Play around with your nails at home or go to your favorite stylist. Find pictures of designs online that you’d like to try.


Chunky heels are seriously being made in every style that you can think of so just go on a shopping trip with a gal pal and find the one that suits your personality.


Although blue eyeshadow was the devil for a while (thank you 1980’s) it’s making a serious comeback. Stop by a makeup counter at your favorite department store or look on Youtube for a tutorial to help you apply.


Anyone can do red lips, it’s just about finding the right shade for you.


If you just take some time you’ll be able to have fun with all these trends and put your own personal spin on them.


Author Bio:


Marcela De Vivo works for Skintrium, and writes articles that focus on beauty trends, health, and wellbeing.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Quick Recap

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas! We made it to my parents house for Christmas, and had a wonderful time. Unfortunately we were all pretty sick, but now everyone except me seems to be doing better. This cold/flu just seems to be hanging on. I've just been so exhausted, taking care of everyone, I think it hit me the hardest.

Here's a quick recap of our adventures so far...

We went bowling before we left SC. $1 games and shoe rentals, heck yeah!

Serenity really has a competitive streak. She would do a dance every time she threw the ball!

We finally got on the road and things went pretty smoothly after that. We picked up a Geocache in each state, and saw some pretty neat dinosaur statues in Arizona.

We arrived at my parents house in plenty of time for Christmas. Steven and I were able to spend a few nights alone at the Marriot. I loooved the shower, it had 3 different shower heads.

Christmas was lovely, and it was so, so good to see my family again. My siblings have really grown up.

My mom's parents were able to join us for Christmas, which was really special. Christmas brunch was delicious and consisted of fruit salad, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon bread and egg and sausage casserole. My brother is fantastic cook, and made the cinnamon rolls from scratch.

After Christmas we drove to Steve's parents, and have been relaxing since then. Tomorrow we get to pick up our boys, so excited! We have some fun stuff planned :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

15 Kid Activities To Do In A Hotel Room

So you are stuck in a hotel room, the kids are going crazy and you are racking your brain for things to do. Here are a few ideas to get you started. These tips are mostly geared for toddler, preschool ages but some older kids may enjoy them as well.

1. Play with pipe cleaners. You can get a pack of 20 at Dollar Tree for $1 or Walmart for little more. Kids love to make things and wrap them all around the room. It's easy cleanup too!

2. Color. Bring along some crayons, markers and coloring books. If you forgot those just a pen and pad of paper work as well.

3. Weather permitting, take a nature walk around the hotel. (Make sure you are in a safe neighborhood)

4. Make a fort out of blankets, sheets and chairs.

5. Tear up strips of paper and draw shapes to make a memory game. You can also bring along this great Scrap Fabric Matching Game I wrote a tutorial on a while back.

6. Table top hockey. The puck can be a milk jug top, bottle cap or checker. The pucks can be aersol can caps (like hairspray) or a plastic cup. Be creative!

7. Take some small objects and hide them around the room. Go for a treasure hunt.

8. Make bubbles from shampoo, water and sugar and blow bubbles. You can use a straw, a pen cap or pipe cleaners (see #1).

9. Read books.

10. Play a shoot out game by balling up a pair of socks and throwing at a trashcan.

11. Skype with friends and family.

12. If you brought your computer, kids can take turns playing paint.

13. Board games. We like Cootie, Operation, Pop the Pig and Candyland.

14. Take straws and a light objects (like a feather) and see who can blow thier object across the finish line first.

15. If all else fails, there is always cartoons!

Status Report

Hi all! I've been MIA for a while, we have been busy packing up the house and finishing with our moving preparations. We are finally all packed and out of our house! We were hoping to be on the road Friday, but ran into delays with the hub's re-enlistment paperwork. So it looks like we will be hanging around a bit longer. We have military lodging for the weekend with a kitchenette, cable and wifi so I think we will survive. I could sure use a massage and good night's sleep right about now though. We slept on a leaky air mattress for 2 nights at our house, and then last night I was up all night with a puking 2 year old. She is fine this morning, must have been a little 24 hour bug. I'm just glad it's not the flu. Can you imagine being cooped up with a kid with the flu on a cross country drive? Yeah not a pretty sight! 

Well I'm off to try and keep my rugrats entertained. I do have some great new posts, reviews and giveaways in the works so stay tuned!

Friday, December 7, 2012

White Bean Chicken Chili

Growing up, my mom made this delicious white chili. I introduced my family to it and they were in love! Its easy to throw together, filling and great for a family with lots of oinkers hungry kids. I'm listing the larger version, but you can half the recipe if you only need to feed a few.


4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cans great northern beans
2 cans chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped green chilis
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese (use pepper jack for an extra spice)

1. Place chicken in the crockpot, add beans, broth, chilis and spices.

2. About 30 minutes before serving, mix 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/2 cup of cold water. Pour into soup and stir. This will thicken the chili up a bit.

3. A few minutes before serving shred chicken (if it needs it) and add cheese. Serve piping hot!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Scrap Fabric Matching Activity

We have bags of clothes left over from when we did storage auctions. We have sold most of the nice ones, and what we have left over is mostly holey, stained clothes. I have lots of projects with scrap fabric to come up with! I saw a picture on pinterest that inspired this project. There was no link, so I came up with my own version.

You will need scrap fabric or old clothes, felt, spray adhesive and fabric scissors.

Cut out squares of fabric. You can make two squares from each pattern if you are making a memory match type game or cut out lots of squares from each pattern if you are doing an organizing type activity.

These are actully an old pair of sharpie colored pants from my youngest. All handme downs stop with her, she is so rough on her clothes! Make sure you are cutting squares a bit bigger than you need, you will trim them down later.

As a side note, little ones love playing with the fabric scraps. Its a great QUIET activity.

You should end up with a stack of squares similar to this.

Next cut your felt the size you want your squares to be. The younger the child the bigger they should be.
Lay down a newspaper or plastic bag, lay the felt on top and spray one side with the adhesive. Be careful, you only need a very light coat. You don't want it too wet. Next lay the felt (side with the adhesive) on top of the fabric square and press. Set aside to dry and repeat with the rest of the squares.

When the squares are dry, trim the fabric so it matches up with the felt.

*While I used spray adhesive for this project, next time I will probably try a glue gun. The spray adhesive was pretty strong smelling, and it kind of lingered on the squares. If you have kids sensitive to chemicals definitely use a glue gun.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Laughing Jar

This is my "Laughing Jar." Just a simple mason jar. Throughout the year I write down things that have made me laugh, like funny things the girls have said, or funny things that have happened. I usually write it on a post-it but any little piece of paper will work. Fold it up and put it in the jar. At the end of the year I take the papers out, we read them and laugh and laugh! At the end of the year when we are ready to start over, I also take all the funny things about the girls, type them up on a sheet of paper and stick them in the girl's file. I'll probably put them in a scrapbook at some point.

Another idea we plan on doing, starting January is the "Thankful Jar." Over the year you write down things you are thankful for and read them at Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chocolate chip peppermint cookies

Here is another peppermint and chocolate recipe. I just can't get enough of these Andes peppermine crunch baking pieces. Sooo good! I'm going to have to buy a few more bags before Christmas time is over, because they are only sold this time of year.

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 bag milk chocolate chips (I used about 3/4 bag)
1 bag Andes peppermint crunch chips (also used 3/4 bag)

1. Mix flour, soda and salt. Set aside.

2. With a mixer, beat together sugars, vanilla, and butter until smooth. Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition. Gradually add flour followed by chocolate and peppermint chips.

3. Spread flour on a surface and divide batter into fourths. Roll into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Refridgerate until firm.
4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Slice logs into discs and place on baking sheet. Bake 5 min, rotate baking sheet and bake 5 min more. Let cool 10 minutes before transfering to cooling rack.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

I made this delicious pound cake for our Thanksgiving dessert. You can eat it as is or dress it up a bit by adding a drizzle of chocolate or serving with strawberries and whip cream.

1 1/2 cups of butter, softened
1 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened
3 cups of sugar
6 eggs
3 cups all pupose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Beat butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add in sugar, beating well.

2. Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Sift 3 cups of flour in a seperate bowl. Add in salt. Add flour into butter mixture a half cup at a time, beating on low. Add vanilla.

Should look similar to this, at this point.
4. Pour batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. To grease and flour a pan, I've found the easiest way is to rub a stick of butter all over the inside. Then sprinkle a small handful of flour around the inside turning to coat. Turn upside down and tap on the counter or sink to remove excess.

5. Smooth out the batter so it is even. Bake at 300 for 1 hour 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool 10-15 min in the pan then transfer to wire cooling rack and cool completely.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Savory Split Pea Soup

Split pea soup is either something you really love or really hate. I happen to really love it, and its cheap to make so I double love it! I have to admit its not the prettiest meal I've ever seen, but it sure is yummy.

Bag of dried split peas
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
8 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 carrots
Ham hock or Bacon (I used a handful of bacon ends and pieces from a $7 pack I had. Buying the ends and pieces is cheaper than buying the regular packs of bacon and lasts forever.)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Rinse and drain peas and add to crockpot. Heat olive oil in a pan and sautee the onion and garlic. Add to crockpot.
2. Add in the broth, meat, carrots and salt and pepper, stir well.
 3. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4-6 hours. Stir before serving.
Ok definitely not the prettiest but its delicious!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Balsamic Chicken Pasta with Roasted Asparagus

Mmm this recipe was delicious! I made a whole chicken in the crockpot and used half of it for this recipe. The rest I saved for chicken and dumplings tomorrow. The whole chicken was only $4 and I was able to stretch it into two meals. Thats some smart saving right there! Here is the link to my recipe for a whole chicken in the crockpot.

Balsamic Pasta
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons balsamic vinager
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/3 stick of butter
1 lb penne or rotini pasta
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1. Boil noodles in a big pot and add a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil. When noodles are tender desired tenderness, drain and transfer to bowl. Add butter.
2. While noodles are boiling, simmer the balsamic vinager in a small saucepan until 3 tablespoons remain. Simmering the vinager mellows and thickens it. Add to pasta and stir well.
3. Add in chicken and parmesan cheese, stir. Serve with Roasted Asparagus (see below).
Roasted Asparagus
1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil for easy cleanup. Cut the tough ends off the asparagus.
Spread on cookie sheet, drizzle in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I like to add thin slices of Roasted Garlic. Bake until tops are crispy and the stalks are soft (about 10-15 min)