Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My New Planner

I am a meeting planner by profession and a serious planner by personality. I was a Franklin Covey girl for years and then made the move to using Outlook as my planner 4 years ago. It made sense for my life. Now that I am working part time from home (or will be in 7 weeks!) I am making the move back to paper and I am amazed and thrilled at the new planners available!

After hearing rave reviews from friends on Facebook and blogs, I am going with the momAgenda. First of all, I love the fun colors and prints of the outside of the planner- I opted for turquoise and added my name in silver. I love the zebra and gold metallic also. There is always next year! I selected myAgenda since it will be personal and professional. It appears to be the same book only it says my instead of mom on the cover ;)
I love that there are 5 sections grouped in rows on each weekly page. I am envisioning personal, job #1, job #2, dinner, and a miscellaneous category. How great is that- all of my lists in one place! The original intent appears to be one section for each member of your family.

While browsing momAgenda, I found a couple of other products I love! Check out the Kitchen Folio with all of the inserts as a free download! They are cute colors and fonts and practical in information like emergency numbers, vacation packing lists, and even lists geared toward the holidays when we all stress out more!
I also just love the school days books. It is one book for your child's entire school year. There is a page and folder for each school year- a place for art, school photos, report cards, etc. What a great gift to share with your children.
If you are in need of a new planner (they start in August or January), I highly recommend you check out momAgenda. My book is on its way- I am excited to sit down with a fresh new planner and start jotting down my new life!

* Nobody paid me for this post- momAgenda doesn't know me at all, but they do have a rewards program which is tied into the links I shared above. I would share them without a rewards program.

* There is free shipping codes on Retail Me Not for momAgenda. Every little bit helps!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Self Tanners Review

I am white, really white. I am almost clear. I have freckles and now I have age spots from the sun. I am going to be THAT old lady. I am trying to be okay with it. My compromise has been self tanners. I'll never lay out and get a bikini line or show up on Monday with a glowing tan from a great weekend on the lake or at the pool.

I've tried my share of self-tanners and thought I'd share my favorites with you. I'm not afraid to try any of them- I like to spray them on at night before bed. I tuck my jammie pants up mid-thigh and roll my t-shirt sleeves up. A few minutes of prepping for bed and the next day and I'm dry enough to go to bed. It seems to work well.
If you have the money to spend, St. Tropez products are wonderful. They cost $30 - $40 per bottle. They leave you with a real tan color- nothing orange. The spray foam is a favorites of mine. It does have an odor, but only until you shower the next morning. I used the Neutrogena micro-mist all of last summer. I selected it over St. Tropez because it was a spray. Nice to not have to scrub your hands after applying tanner and worry about an odd colored palm or pinky the next day. It works well and you are confident of your coverage area with the wide sprayer. It costs less than $10 at the grocery store.
My micro-mist was out so I tried the tan towels 2 weekends ago. I love that there is just 1 towel in a packet and it covers your whole body. At $4.99 per towel, you expect it to work. I just didn't get much color at all from it. Boo. This weekend, I purchased the Banana Boat spray tan at Target. It was next to my Neutrogena micro-mist on the shelf and about $3 less. It actually smells wonderful- a citrus scent. The only bad smell came the next morning in the shower. But, overall, this gave me a subtle amount of color and smelled good. It is the cheapest on the list by far! I think two applications two days in a row will yield the amount of color I want.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I tried air brushing. I went to a salon, stripped down, and had her spray me like you would detail a car. It wasn't as awkward as I expected, being naked and 10 inches from a stranger! The color was good and strong, the odor was minimal; however, my freckles and age spots were magnified with airbrush tanning. My assumption is the pigmentation that creates an age spot is the same pigmentation that really sucks up the tanning juice. I found spots I never knew I had. I might do it again for our trip to the beach only to get a good color foundation, but it won't be an often occurrence for me.

So, tell me, any other self tanners I should be using? Any you'd recommend?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday's Foot Fetish: Big Bow!

I caved and bought these- I love the animal print with the big satin bow! And, I love that they are flats and a peep toe. That is practical people. I need practical shoes.
Kendra shoe by Libby Edelman on Zappos

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Red, White, and Blue Dessert Ideas

Oh Pinterest- how you complete me! I love looking around and finding pretty things and new blogs to swoon over! Click here to check out my page or here for a simple Pinterest tutorial.

Now onto the desserts I have found- all look so very yummy. Which one shall I make?

Red, White and Blueberry Trifle
festive chocolate dipped pretzels
Chocolate Dipped and Sprinkled Strawberries
Cream filled strawberries
cupcake kabobs- I think these are my favorite as of now :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Homemade Granola

Doesn't this look yummy? Being on the HCG Diet recently I really missed my granola bars. So, I made up a batch of healthy and hearty granola recently. I found the recipe online- it was super easy!
I never knew granola was so simple. Mix up the dry ingredients. Melt the wet ones. Stir and bake.
Since I made so much, I used Second Sister's post and made a little extra to include in my Father's Day goodie basket.
Go here for the recipe.

BTW, this is divine with a little almond milk!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday's Foot Fetish: for the beach

Aren't these fun? I think they'd be so cute with white pants and with long dresses!

Razzy sandals only $39.95 at Nordstroms
We are going to Cabo for a wedding in late September and I have to admit, beach fashion makes me nervous. Dressing appropriately for a wedding makes me nervous. Looking my age, but cute to 20-something year old girls makes me nervous. All of this is at play for a beach wedding of a beautiful (and young friend!) of Marcus and I.

Suffice it to say I am doing a little online looking and shopping to get ready!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tie Dye Roses

Have you all seen these? I don't have a clue what they are called- I saw them at my local grocery store. They are a little more expensive that normal roses ($7.99 for 6), but so pretty!
No photo editing here and a myriad of colors available!
Hint hint wink wink Marcus :) I love these!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Honey Bun Cake and Lemon Strawberry Shortcake

I had a fun-filled weekend with family this weekend. On Saturday, we had a family reunion with my Dad's side of the family and on Sunday, lunch with family on my Mom's side. I brought two new desserts to the weekend festivities. Brave, I know!

I had you lovely bloggers in mind- I wanted to share new recipes with you all and tested them on family. ha! Both were wonderful and I feel safe sharing them with you.

This is Honey Bun Cake and tastes just like Mrs. Baird's Honeybuns from the vending machine. It would also serve well as a coffee cake for a morning event due to the cinnamon content. It was super easy- using a yellow cake mix as the main base of the cake.
Printable recipe here

On Saturday, I took Lemon Strawberry Cheesecake Bars to the reunion and they were also yummy! The base has a strong shortbread taste with jam seperating the shortbread from the lemon cheesecake topping. Delish!

So good in fact, we are them before I remembered to capture a picture! Here is the printable recipe for it as well.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tacos Al Pastor Recipe

I had Tacos al Pastor about 3 months ago. And, I fell in love! So, I dug around online and found the simplest recipe that seemed to match the restaurant taco I so enjoyed. These were super simple to make and both Marcus and I thought they were amazing! A new favorite!
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 (8-oz.) can pineapple tidbits in juice, drained
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican-style chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 6 (8-inch) soft taco-size corn or flour tortillas, warmed
  • 1. Combine pork and next 9 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Seal and chill 4 to 24 hours.
  • 2. Cook pork mixture in hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until pork is done. Serve mixture with warm tortillas and
Really, only 2 steps and most ingredients are already on hand! Enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday's Foot Fetish: Nautical Sandals

How cute are these? Perfect for an afternoon out on your yacht. Who am I kidding? Good for the public beach? I love them! I picture them with a boatneck navy top and white pants!
Jellyfish flops on Zappos

Thursday, June 9, 2011

So, Yea, Um, I Quit My Job

Three months ago, I quit my job. Kinda. Here is a timeline of God's movement in my life over the last few months...

The day I took this picture was the same day I started praying about quitting my job. It was once a dream. Then, I had to start traveling again and I thought about that dream more and more.

March 1, 2011: My bible verse for the next two weeks, "Be Still and Know that I am God." How divinely fitting- sit back and let me show you. Listen and I'll tell you something wonderful. Don't do it all yourself. Leave me room to be miraculous. I picked this verse not knowing how much I would rely on it.

March 4, 2011: I broke down emotionally during a meeting at work about billing. Who cries about billing, especially when it isn't your money? That would be me. Our accountant abruptly called the meeting to a close. My CEO asked to speak to me- I couldn't fully process what was happening. I left quickly for lunch and cried for an entire hour on the phone with Marcus in the Wendy's parking lot. I couldn't take it any more- I wasn't doing the job I loved and my sweet girl was growing up in daycare. The combination was too much- God had been whispering and now he was yelling at me. I couldn't kick and scream anymore.

That afternoon I went and chopped my hair off before having dinner with 4 friends that night. God put them in my life that day to reassure me. I hadn't seen two of them in MONTHS. Three of the four work from home or quit successful careers to be successful Moms. The other announced she was pregnant. I could see God's love throughout the evening.

I stayed up late that night processing everything in Excel. I needed to see the numbers. They told me I needed to work, but not nearly as much as I thought. I began writing a proposal to my employer- let me do one part of my job, from home, part time for a small portion of my salary.

March 7: I wanted to see what options I had. One of the friends from dinner on March 4th discussed some real estate work she was doing. So, I called a friend in real estate and asked him if there was an opportunity. We met for lunch on March 7th. He told me what a "God send" and "an answered prayer" my call was. We started developing a plan for me to work for his team of 4 real estate agents to be a virtual and marketing assistant.

March 11: I played a little game with God- I was honestly so scared. Show me "this" loud and clear and I'll know "this" is a valid opportunity. He showed it to me in a big way.

March 14: Saw a Christian Mom tweet about "this is the job God has chosen for me". I knew that tweet was for me. I suddenly felt so reassured- God wants this for my family and He can move mountains to make it happen. I can move dirt. I can't see how big this is, but He can. I felt a peace- even if my employer says no, God is saying yes to the overall plan and He will work out the details.

March 15: My new Bible verse for the remainder of the month was picked with this whole life change in mind, "Stand firm in your Faith. Be courageous. Be strong." It has helped me to stop thinking of all the what ifs and just trust that when in accordance with God's Will, you are under his wing and he will protect and provide.

March 18: I rarely see my CEO- he is at the capitol most days. Since we had a meeting on this day, I knew it was the best day to talk with him. I shared my proposal and demotion request.

March 22: I got the call on this day that my employer was open to my proposal and that we could talk more the following week to work out the kinks. We agreed August was the best time to make the change- it works well for us in many ways, including financial.

April 25: The day after Easter, Abby is accidentally given a peanut while at school and goes into anaphylactic shock. As scary as it was, it also told me that we can't control her environment when we are not there. No matter how much everyone else is watching out for her- she needs her parents. I was so grateful to have this plan already in place when this happened.

During the month of May, we spent time tweaking our budget. Cutting expenses out, learning to shop at Wal-Mart and learning that the Great Value brand is just that, a great value! I've taken extra cash and we've purchased items we know we will need in the fall just to help ease the burden of a reduced income. I have purchased things for so long to make me happy that I am honestly excited to change direction and enjoy my time more than my things. During all this tweaking, God also showed us more income in three different ways that will give us a safety net in the fall. Honestly, He has shown Himself in this decision more than in anything I've ever witnessed, including IVF. I stand in awe!

So, the blog will likely see some changes as my life changes. I expect less shopping related posts- I don't dream well. I just buy well! I expect more kids crafts and crafting on a budget posts. No major home renovations. I expect to have more time and less money which leads to all new types of creativity!

If you are reading this and are a SAHM or WFHM (work from home Mom), I'd love to hear your best tips! What do you love about being at home? Favorite crock pot cook all day dinner recipes? Any organization tips I can use?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Homemade Banana Pudding

It is summertime and that means lots of outdoor dinners, BBQs, and picnics in Texas! I love taking a light and cool dessert and this banana pudding is one of my favorites. Although I originally got the recipe from my Dad (who is a fabulous cook!), he doesn't remember it. Who knows where it came from!
I've made sure to share all the ways you can reduce the fat and calories inside without losing the rich flavor. A little can go a long way with this one!

Dad's Banana Pudding

1 lg box vanilla pudding (I also like to use banana pudding)
8 oz. cream cheese (you can go fat free on this one!)
1 c. Eagle Brand Milk
3 c. milk (2% works fine, too!)
1 t. vanilla
8 oz. Cool Whip (fat free of course!)
3-4 chopped bananas
vanilla wafers (why yes, Reduced fat works!)

Mix all ingredients together and chill overnight. Bananas will brown up in this dish as it sets- just chop up the bananas for garnish just before serving. I also like to add a few wafers at the end so you get a few crunchy ones in there.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Who Me? An Award!

I love the love shared among bloggers! Lucy gave me an award this week and I just love it! She said some nice things about me on her blog and we've never even met. Isn't that just the coolest? Thank you so much Lucy! I love having a happy reader and new friend!
So, in honor of the award, I'm to tell you 7 random things about me and share the love with other bloggers. So, in random order... hehe!

1. I spent a summer in Europe studying the European Union and attended Wimbledon as part of that trip. I am not a tennis fan, but I would go back just to eat the strawberries and cream. That was 12 years ago, but I can still remember them vividly.

2. I met my husband while interviewing to be on the student senate at Angelo State University. He didn't vote for me. :( It didn't matter. I was elected and served each year I was in college as a Freshman Representative, Student Senator for Liberal Arts, and as Student Body Vice-President my last year. I loved every bit of it!

3. I would love to meet Tim Tebow.

4. I could eat doughnuts every day for breakfast for the rest of my life. Likely, a short lived life due to a heart attack!

5. My daughter was originally a twin. Her twin passed away really early on (like 8 weeks pregnant) and if she had been a girl, her name would have been Amelia, or Millie for short. Through World Vision, my husband and I recently began sponsoring a little girl named Millie in South Africa born on the same day as my daughter. God is into the details of our lives!

6. I love colored pens and Sharpies, pretty file folders and my label maker. I spend too much money on office supplies.

7. I have been keeping a big secret for almost 3 months and finally get to share it next week in bloggyville. It makes me heart smile and will change this blog for sure! Stay tuned!

Along those lines- I created 2 new pages on the blog- my bucket list and our home. More ways to meet the person behind the birdie.

Now, onto my versatile bloggy friends!

I love Shannon's mix of family, faith, and home decor on her blog! Her style is simple and still unique. I want to sit around and chalk paint things with her! We've never met and live states apart.

Katie is the epitome of a Southern girl and she is moving to Texas soon! I can't wait to learn from her as she brings her Southern charm to Texas. Plus, her home is beautiful and now she has a new home to decorate!

I love Jessica's style, too! She mixes colors and patterns like a skilled artist! We share a love of scrapbooking, card making, applique and monogramming on our kids. She recently moved from the South to Detroit and had the best attitude about it. I can't wait to see Detroit and her new house through her eyes!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday's Foot Fetish: Beaded Heel

Aren't these new sandals by Steve Madden so cute? I love the detail on the heel- really cool!
I can only find them on the Steve Madden website (after I tried them on and kicked myself for not buying at the mall in San Antonio last week!).
The good news- they are on sale! Go here to get a pair!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Desktop

Ahh, summer is here! I love the bright colors of summer- swimsuits, beach balls, flowers in bloom, sundresses, watermelon!
I hope you have a wonderful month of June!

Remember, wear sunscreen!