Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Stockings DONE!

Stockings were always my favorite part of Christmas morning. We had to save the stockings for last. We opened all the other gifts, then had to clean up the mess. After that we could get into our stockings.

The stocking always held the most magical gifts. From the practical toothbrush, to the color-changing pens, to the latest cassette tape, and even jewelry as I got older. I love this tradition, its right up there with picking out the Christmas tree.

Fast forward a few years and new family later…we have an ugly mash-up of stockings. I mean real ugly. To top it off, the twins don’t even have stockings. Last year that was okay, they were only 5 months old. (I know, somebody call the Bad Mommy Police STAT!)

I have been wanting to make Christmas stockings for a couple of years now. Just never got ‘round to marking it off my to-do list. This year, we needed proper stockings. And pretty ones.

I found this tutorial from Teal and Lime and fell in love. These were it!

I absolutely adored her color choices, but I don’t want to make stockings again. (Especially after cutting out all those a’s and e’s, if you don’t have kids yet- choose their names wisely. Winking smile) So I choose the timeless red and green, lime green, but green.

I LOVE how they turned out!


My brother also needed stockings, so I added those to the list. This project was fairly simple. It took me some time because I did eight stockings with full first names, but I had them done in a couple of hours. (If you want to get your stockings done quick, just use initials.)

This project was also cheap! Jo-Ann’s had felt-by-the-yard on sale for 2.99 a yard. I bought a yard of each color. I think I have enough red for two more stockings, and a ton of green. Not too bad in my book.

Here’s a question- What can I do with the rest of this felt? I am supposed to be using up my stash, not adding to it!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thankful For Huge Messes

I am so thankful for this:


A huge mess? Yes, a huge mess. A huge mess that I have probably picked up about twenty times today. Why am I thankful? It means my little boys are FINALLY feeling back to normal. Thank goodness!

Because this nasty bug has stuck around so long, my Christmas crafting has been put on hold. I have spent naptime debugging, shampooing carpet, trying to catch up on laundry, dishes, clearing a (gate-able) area for the tree, you get the idea.

Today I was able to craft! I’ll post updates later this week, here’s a snippet to hold you over:


Pretty little earrings for the neighbor girls. I think I like the snowman (complete with each girls’ initial) just as much as the earrings. (Note to self: learn to take better photos!) This is my first time ‘wire wrapping’ my earrings. I am in love!

The best part? They are even packaged. (This may be normal for some, but not me. I am usually trying to remember where I stashed the gifts, AND rushing around like a madwoman trying to find and wrap everything on Christmas Eve.)

Are you getting your holiday to-dos done? Or are you in my boat, and had to decide that some things may not get done this year?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Twin Tip Tuesday, Dealing With Sickness


Hubby has been on vacation this past week. Poor guy.

It was actually a ‘staycation’. We had plans to get started, and almost finished on Christmas to-dos.

All started well. Friday Granny was staying with the boys. Our plan was to spend the night away, and go shopping the next day.

The boys were sick within ten minutes from us leaving the house. Luckily mom insisted that she could handle it, and we fully trusted that she could. Even so, it still made shopping harder. I find it very overwhelming to shop during the holidays. On top of the huge mess of people, all the pretty things, and the yummy smells- having two toddlers at home absolutely miserable- OVERWHELMING!

Enough whining about what I didn’t get done (or the ever growing pile of laundry to do).

Twin tip:

The elusive 24 hour bug people talk about, well keep dreaming. By the time Thing 1, Thing 2, and yourself get the bug, well…you do the math. I will spare you the yucky details.

The positive to our flu is my list of “thankfuls”…

I am thankful that A) I am able to stay home with the boys, because this darn flu would have cost so much money in lost wages. B) That hubby was home to help. I am so sorry that this is how he had to spend his hard earned vacation, but I am so thankful that I didn’t have to deal with this bug all by lonesome. C) I am also thankful that we are able to celebrate this season, even though it is not as organized as I had hoped. D) I am thankful for a thoughtful husband who knows I appreciate practical gifts. (The carpet shampooer he bought while we were dating has saved our house from smelling like a barf bag.)

Hope this twin tip helps, just remember 24 hour flu equals 72 hours (at least). Tell your employer I said so. (By the way, the photo was pre-flu. I should have saved my money, because apparently Cheese Puffs taste better off the floor.)

Have any speed-disinfecting tips?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Letting You In, part 5

I was supposed to be studying for exams. I was supposed to be ordering flowers. I was supposed to be to my final dress fitting. I was supposed to be tallying up RSVPs. There was so much that I thought I was supposed to be doing.


Planning a funeral was not one of them.


My creative energies have never been tested so much. This memorial needed to represent my father. I focused on the details, finding jobs to keep the family focused on remembering this great man. I guess this was part of my grieving process.


For instance his urn was a motorcycle gas tank. It was from my little brother’s first motorcycle. Dad had it saved in the garage, “scrapbooked” so he could hold all the precious memories alive. Levi (my brother) meticulously sanded it down, and painted it flat black. One of our favorite memories. Ask dad his favorite color, “flat black,” was always his response. He even went so far as to spray paint an old International pickup truck flat black while mom was sleeping. We then put an ‘In Memory’ decal on his urn.


We had decided to wear jeans, a ‘God’ T-shirt, and dew-wraps. You see, dad lived his life for God. He ministered in a way different from the typical pastoral figure. He ministered through living. He always had on a God shirt. It was typically black, and looked like any other biker T-shirt, until you read it. This always drew questions, in which he was always prepared to answer in an inviting way.


He led and participated in many ministries. He was a “Biker for Christ.” He did prison ministries, helped out at soup kitchens, and went with the church teenagers on their mission trips. He was weeks away from becoming an ‘official’ pastor.


I’ll never forget the first time he preached in front of the church. At the time our church was still ‘traditional.’ Dad stood at the front of the church with a black T-shirt emblazoned with bold white letters; “SATAN SUCKS." This was my dad.


This day he was nervous. To add to this nervousness, he had hecklers! Yes, hecklers AT CHURCH! The old ladies did not like his shirt, one even told him to turn it inside out. His nervousness led to pacing, and a view of the back of his shirt. JESUS SAVES. You could feel the sigh of relief and acceptance as everyone sat back and listened to his message.


Back to his memorial. This was by far the most powerful day of my life. I know in most circumstances, especially ones like ours, people are defeated. Questioning God’s purpose, and even existence. I felt empowered. At the end of the day I knew dad had served his purpose.


The day started out wet. A wet, rainy day; how fitting. There were bikers from all across the country (family, and friends he had made in his ministry) riding to this memorial. And it was raining. Hard.


I’ll never forget standing in the church parking lot that day. The rain had let up, and was barely a drizzle. All of a sudden there was thunder. A loud, continuous, rumble. I think I heard it before anyone else, or at least I had registered what the sound was.


The tears started to flow, rushing down my face like the rain we were wiping from our windshield earlier. My soon-to-be-husband wrapped his arms around me tight as we waited.


The thunder got louder and louder. And here they came. Motorcycle after motorcycle. Pouring in from both directions, merging together in a single file line. Somber faced. Filling the church parking lot. Remembering my father.


To this day, I get butterflies when I hear the familiar rumble rolling down the highway.


The church was packed. The pews were full. The family center, equipped with video feed, was loaded. People were standing everywhere in between. In over thirty years of service, this was the largest turnout the pastor and his wife had ever seen.


The service was so fitting. Upbeat music. Dad’s story. God’s story. An invitation to Christianity.


Towards the end of the service the pastor invited people to ‘tell their story,’ to remember Dave. This is how I know dad served God’s purpose for him. So many people, some I had never met, stood up and shared how dad led them to God. And we only heard from the sanctuary! The family center was just as energized! People came up to me weeks, even months later sharing their story.


That’s it for today. I’m starting to feel like I am rambling. Come back next week to read more of “my story.” Thanks for bearing with me on this challenging trip.


Wondering what’s going on? Here’s part 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stash Crafting, Crossword Decor

You have heard about my hoarding issues. I’m trying to recover, I swear. Here’s my problem; I see a project I want to do, buy the supplies, and there it sits until I have the time. Call me an ambitious crafter. This wouldn’t be so bad except one thing, I forgot what project the supplies were for when I do finally find the time. Does anyone else suffer from craft amnesia?

I bought this Scrabble Turn Tile game at a garage sale two summers ago (er… may have been three summers ago…) I had grand ideas. But I forgot what they were.

While corralling my craft clutter I pulled them out, wanting to make Scrabble gift tags/ornaments like these. But the Turn Tiles are much bigger than regular Scrabble tiles. The gifts would have been at least ten inches long for some names, and that’s using nicknames. I’m looking more for classy, not gaudy. Scratch that idea.

So I started messing around with our kids names, and came up with a crossword style board. Luckily it works for our family’s names. I found a cute piece of scrapbook paper that I think will look decent in our living room once it is painted.

I used glue dots and stuck the tiles to the paper. I found a 12 x 12 frame at Jo-Ann, and used my coupon to get it cheap. I really wanted a shadow box, but knew if I waited until I found one this project would sit in that corner of the room where unfinished projects go to die. So I used two-sided tape, and stuck the whole thing right to the glass. (I may be a bit redneck…)


Some of the paper under the glass is visible(never should have trimmed that scrapbook paper…), but I can fix that if it really bothers me. I figure I’ll leave it as is. Eventually it will get on my nerves and I will find the shadow box.

This project was so quick, just like most of the others on my list. Obviously this is where I need help. I need to find the motivation to just start.

Do you have any quick projects waiting patiently to be finished? If so, go do it! It feels good to mark something off of your to-do list.

See you tomorrow for part 5 of Letting You In.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pinned it, Crocheted it! Am I Too Old For a Slouchy Hat?

I have a huge Pinterest addiction. I am positive that I’m not alone. This turns into a problem for people like me, people with to-do list issues. Like most other pinners, I pin, and then never do…
Well, I can finally mark off a to-do. I had pinned this slouchy hat pattern from Jenn Likes Yarn. (This has been repined over 125 times!) Since this pin was so popular, I decided to go for it.

Here it is, mommy’s totally selfish crochet project:


I used Lion Brand Micro Spun in Turquoise. This is a sport weight yarn, which was thinner than the yarn used in the pattern. I still used the recommended G/5.00 mm hook.

I tend to be a tight crocheter, so I usually have to add an extra row or two of increases. Combine this with the thinner yarn, I made 2 more increase rounds for a total of 88 stitches.

*I did make one mistake. I was worried that the hat was going to be too slouchy for my preference, so when I got closer to the crown, I decreased down to 80 stitches. This resulted in a tighter band. Too tight when I dropped down to the recommended H hook for the brim. I had to pull it out, and continue with the G hook.

This pattern is very well written. If I had used the same yarn used in the pattern, this hat would have been perfect. It is also a quick project. I was finished in a day (a day with twin toddlers), including figuring out additional increases, and ripping out a handful of rounds.

Here’s a problem, my step-daughter and I were watching the Disney channel. These hats were very abundant. (If you are looking for a teen gift, this is it!) This brings me to my question:

Is very-close-to-thirty too old to pull off this trend? (Okay, I know its not too old for most, but I am not a trendy momma.)

Hope your weekend was wonderful!

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Life for the Un-wearable

First, let me apologize. I know you were looking forward to egg-free Christmas cookies. I want to try a couple more recipes. Don’t worry; I’ll post about them as soon as I can.

Today I wanted to post one of my quickie refashions.

Do you have clothes that are okay, but you just don’t wear because they don’t feel right? Or they’re just not ‘you’? Maybe they are uncomfortable.

I have a huge pile of these clothes. Some are ‘transition’ clothes from when I was pregnant. Some still have the tags on. Some I have just grown tired of.

What do you do? Easy-peasey. Cut into the buggers, sew a little, do whatever it takes to make them wearable.

Let’s go back to my pile. I am not wearing these clothes. (Its been a year and a half since I’ve been pregnant…) The only good they are doing is insulating the walls of my craft dungeon. But…I was scared. What if I mess up, then perfectly good clothes have been ruined. Perfectly good un-wearable clothes. I had to tuck my worries away, and just do something.

My latest refashion:


I did wear this shirt once or twice, but that wonky hemline bothered me. Not a scoop hem-type of girl. The shirt itself was also much wider at the bottom.

I sewed straight down the sides, then tried the shirt on to make sure it fit. (This is the most crucial step. ALWAYS try it on before you cut!) Then I cut away the extra fabric.

Next I straightened the bottom hem. Roll it up, stitch it down. (This part can be skipped on most t-shirts, because they don’t fray.)

Finally, wear away:


This refashion was actually done a couple of weeks ago. I refrained from posting right away. I needed to make sure I was going to wear it. Yup, I wear it, a lot. This is now one of the shirts that I grab as soon as laundry is done.

Moral of the story? Just take the cut. Use your un-wearable clothes as a learning tool. If you mess up its not like you were wearing it in the first place.

*Please tell me that I am not the only one with this ‘pile’.

Have a wonderfully wearable weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas

Mmmm. We love Mexican food around here. If I can throw it in the crockpot, its even better.


How did I manage make such a fantastic meal? I’ll show you.

Keep in mind that this is more of a guide, not a recipe. Honestly, when using a crockpot you don’t really need a recipe.

Here’s what I did:

I pulled a roast from the freezer. (For this meal, use whatever meat you have available, chicken, pork, beef, or venison. It doesn’t have to be an expensive cut, the crockpot will make things nice and tender.) Today I used venison. When it was mostly thawed, I sliced it into thin strips.

The secret to tasty venison, is marinade. Not just the marinade- but the length the meat marinades. Marinade the meat as long as possible.

This time I used vinegar, and KC Masterpiece Spicy Mango. (Its what was in the house.) This sat in the fridge all night.

In the morning I dumped the container of juicy meat into the crockpot. I didn’t have a fajita seasoning packet, so I mashed up a handful of recipes Google provided me with. Dump this in, and add sliced onions and peppers. Oh yeah, if you have some minced garlic hanging out in the fridge, put a spoonful or so in.

This is my favorite part, I didn’t have to cut a thing! Well, not today. During the summer I got an awesome deal on red peppers and onions, and green peppers from a local produce stand. I got way more than we could eat fresh. The peppers and onions were washed and sliced, flash frozen (so they don’t stick together), and dumped into a Ziploc freezer bag.

That brings us to my ‘slow cooker fajita hint’: do not put all of the peppers and onions in the slow cooker right away. A handful will do. Well, I put all of the onions in right away because I don’t care for crunchy onions. But peppers? I want some crunch!

You have two options. 1. You can pan fry the remaining peppers and onions before serving. Or you can save yourself from washing another pan, and 2. toss them into the crockpot during the last half hour to hour.

Serve with rice on tortillas topped with sour cream and cheese. Like I said, mmmmmm.

Want to know my spice mash-up? Okay, you pulled my arm. Here it is:
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
Are you a crock-potter? If so what’s your favorite slow cooker meal?

Stop back tomorrow, I have been experimenting. Trying to find egg-free Christmas cookies.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Letting You In, part 4

I was working. Well, not really. Business had slowed right down, there was a regular customer, and my fiancé. We were all chatting while I cooked dinner for my customer, when Brian’s phone rang. My phone was just ringing, but I didn't get to it in time.

“Its your mom.”

“Hello,” I answer.

“Your father was just in an accident.” My mom is frantic. It sounds like she is running.

“What happened!”

“A deer. It jumped right out of the ditch. There was no time to react. This is bad. I need you here, now!”

“Mom, where are you? Did you crash your bike too? Are you okay? Why does it sound like you are running? Did you call 911?”

She did crash her bike too. But she was physically okay. She ‘laid’ her bike down, and landed in the ditch. (That is her term, ‘laid down.’ I personally think it may be hard to lay a bike down going 50 mph.) She had called me while running to dad. She put his glasses under his nose, he was breathing. No coratid pulse, but a slight femoral pulse. (Mom is a RN). She performed CPR until the ambulance arrived.

I called my brother, he didn’t answer. My customer took over the bar (don’t worry, he is friends with the owner). My fiancé went to my brother’s. I raced to the hospital.

I have never drove so fast in my whole life. The hospital was about 25 minutes from where we were, and I think I made it in 10. (I did at least have enough sense to put my flashers on.)

It seemed like the longest drive ever.

When I was about five miles from the hospital, the helicopter was arriving. I got a sense of panic and relief all at once. Panic because this IS really bad. Relief because, “he must be alive.”

My stomach still drops every time I see a medical helicopter.

I finally arrived at the hospital. I threw my vehicle in park, and ran as fast as I could. I had lost my sandals along the way, and left my car running in the parking lot. When I got to the entrance, I knew he wasn’t going on the helicopter. The responders’ faces told a sad story that I wasn’t ready for. I remember screaming “DADDY!”

They were in there. A whole team trying like hell to save him.

I truly believe this. My mom used to work in this very emergency room. With these very nurses and doctors. A couple of my classmates were working. Some were my parents’ Christian biker friends. Some went to our church.

They tried.

I’m sorry, but I have to continue next week. I hope you understand, this is not some ploy to get you to come back, this story, my story, is a hard one to write.

Need to catch up? part 1, part 2, and part 3

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lil’ Monsters, and Christmas Plans

Happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope you had a good holiday. Ours was wonderful! Oh yeah, sorry for being M.I.A. this past week (not that you probably noticed, but anyways…).

Here’s a little peek at a couple of past projects, my lil' monsters:


These hats are what started my most recent crochet hat obsession. I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn, and this pattern. I had to add a strap to the green hat because boy 1 kept pulling it off.

Onto other things…I have been thinking about Christmas gifts. Bought some goods to make them, tried to stuff into one of my ‘hoarding spots’- and got completely overwhelmed. I have TOO MUCH CRAFTING STUFF! I know for my sanity that now is not the time to effectively deal with this though. So I’m just closing the door until the holidays are over.

Here is a glimpse of my Christmas crafting plans:
  1. Faux fur and flannel blanket
  2. Card Table Playhouse
  3. Christmas Stockings
  4. A personalized camo fleece blanket, per hubby’s request
  5. Coffee mug cozies
I hope to at least finish the blankets, cozies, and stockings this week.

Wish me luck! Have you started Christmas crafting?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Letting You In, part 3

Where were we… I was taking an extra-full load of college classes, bartending two nights a week, and planning a July wedding.

While working on Wednesday night, I had a couple surprise visitors. First my parents came in. They were on their motorcycles, taking a ride around the thumb. (We live in Michigan, ‘the thumb’ is actually a place. Beautiful drive actually.) They had just visited my brother and his (pregnant) wife, and had stopped in to see me. Shortly after that my soon-to-be husband came in.

Things were slow at the bar, so we had time to chat. We started talking about the final details of the wedding. It was only 17 days away! Gasp!

Dad was wondering what I wanted him to wear. “Nice jeans and one of your good t-shirts.”

“I can get a suit or a tux.”

“I want my dad to give me away, not a stranger in a suit. I don’t think I have ever seen you in a suit.” So it was settled. (I was more worried about the people who are talking about coming, that have not sent in their RSVP. How can we make sure we have enough food and drinks?)

We chatted some more, and when they were ready to head home, my fiancé and I walked them outside. What a beautiful night. We gave our hugs, said our good-byes, and watched the two Harleys rumble toward home.

Twenty minutes later I got the worst phone call imaginable….

I hope you are enjoying these posts, or at least tolerating them. I am so sorry for chopping it up so much, just bear with me, you’ll see the difficulty I face writing these.

Miss part 1 and part 2? There you go.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Little Man Refashion

While I was pregnant, I had dreams of making a room in the basement my craft room. I plugged away as best as I could, but never fully finished. (One of the downsides to being pregnant with twins, I was huge, so nesting was about impossible.) Needless to say, that room became a catchall, and my craft stuff is still spread out (or hidden…) throughout the house.

This past week, I decided to devote at least twenty minutes a day to cleaning up this space. Twenty minutes flew by, turned into an hour or so, and the room is much improved. I was so inspired, I spent Saturday’s naptime sewing in there!

First up, daddy shirt to toddler shirt:

I have a bit of a hoarding issue. A craft hoarding issue. I hate to see something go that could be turned into something we could use. After our garage sale this summer, I snagged hubby’s button-up shirts that did not sell. I have been holding on to them since… you may be wondering why...

Enter Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. I am not much of a ‘pattern follower.’ And, I shy away from sewing clothing. So, I have to admit, this shirt took some time. The instructions were not as clear as I needed them to be. But the result was worth it! This shirt looks professional (almost, I’ll explain later). I am predicting that it won’t take as long for the next one either, because now I am more positive about what I am doing, and I have more of an idea of were I can use existing hems.

Speaking of which, do you notice anything? Look closely:

Remember that I am trying to use up my stash? Well, I have quite a few iron-ons. I figured I would use one of them to spruce up the shirt. The whole project went great, no unpicking. Then I ironed. I ironed that dang thing upside down! I was going to put a patch over it, but hubby insisted I leave it. We’ll see…

If you’re looking for a boy sewing pattern, this one looks nice- just give yourself time to read and re-read the pattern through the first time.

Do you have any favorite boy sewing patterns/tutorials?

Friday, November 16, 2012

This Weeks Egg Free Recipes

If you’ve read some of my recipe posts, you know that I have a toddler with a severe egg allergy. My boys are very independent when it comes to feeding themselves. (They also have pretty good arms, just ask the spaghetti sauce covered wall.) Not only is figuring out healthy, balanced meals to feed toddlers difficult, then throw an allergy into the mix? Needless to say, the rest of the family is beginning to lose trust in my cooking abilities.

I didn’t take food pictures this week, so here’s the picture we used for our Thanksgiving card. (No, I am not a crazy, send a card for every holiday, person. Rite Aid had a coupon code for 5 free cards, and we do not have a decent picture for Christmas cards yet.)

Big Picture Dump 706

Recipe #1: Baked Oatmeal Cups from Sugar free Mom

This recipe is not egg-free as written, but the flax seed/water combo worked great. This recipe is awesome, completely customizable, freezable, and easy to eat on the go. Different flavors I made: blueberry, strawberry, (mix berries into mixture), coconut, chocolate chip, blueberry craisin, and pomegranate craisin (these are toppings, just press on top before baking). Another bonus- no oil, or sugar (although I substituted honey in place of the Stevia), and lots of fruit. These are wonderful!

Recipe #2 Egg-Free Meatloaf Cups from Jazzy Allergy Recipes

These weren’t bad. I will be experimenting with this recipe the next time I make it. I feel it needs more substance, maybe oatmeal or rice. I am really glad I found this, because I had no clue of what to use instead of eggs. This is also my first experience with ‘muffin meatloaf.’ I froze the leftovers for quick lunch/dinner options.

Recipe #3 Twice Baked Potato Casserole from Taste of Home

Holy Crap! These are awesome! We are potato people around here. Anyway imaginable, we devour  them. This recipe is like cheesy potatoes, but with real potatoes, not the frozen hash browns. It does take a little more time (baking the potatoes first), but it is worth it! Make these for your next get-together. They are that good! (Definitely not low fat though…)

Do you have any egg-free toddler recipes?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Letting You In, part 2

Where was I? I had decided to be a nurse…

I went to the college to sign up for classes. By my calculations, I could finish up my remaining prerequisites in the upcoming Spring-Summer semester.

I met opposition. The guidance counselor did not think it was a wise idea to try 18 credits in the condensed semester. He told me that most people have trouble with 12 credits, the most success coming from only taking 6 credits. The issue was that by taking these classes now, I would be on the outrageously long clinical waitlist a year earlier than if I were to stretch it out. The consoler told me, “You will not do good, and will more than likely fail. Why waste your money?” After I insisted on taking all 18 credits this semester, he made a note on my file along the lines ‘warned student about difficulty of course load.’

Things were going great. I was fortunate to make friends with some like-minded students going into the nursing program. I was getting great grades, keeping up on all my reading, homework, and class projects, working two nights a week bartending, and planning a July wedding. I was set on proving that ignorant counselor wrong.

Then the unthinkable happened….

…to be continued.

miss the first post, I’ve got you covered Smile

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

30 by 30 Update, Only 6 Months Left!

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I made a list, a list of thirty things I want to accomplish before I turn 30 (next May). This is not a crazy-exciting list. This is not a outrageous, adventurous bucket list. This is just a list of a few things that I have need to personally work on. Sorta a list to help corral the chaos.

Without further ado, here’s my updated list. (a strikethrough means completed):

  1. purge home, clear clutter {Ongoing. Seriously, will this ever be done?}
  2. make cleaning a habit {Still working on this. Taking a cyber-break helped a ton!}
  3. make recycling a habit {After a few visits to town council meetings, our town finally started curbside recycling in August!}
  4. scan pictures, organize pictures {Have not even touched this. To my defense, the desktop started deciding when it wants to work, and it is not very often. (Lame excuse, I know.)}
  5. organize recipes {Same result as #4}
  6. paint bedroom; decorate {Started thinking about colors…}
  7. paint living room; decorate {Picked a color, bought a sample, loved it. Need to remove wallpaper border at top of 12 foot wall, buy paint, and paint!}
  8. learn how to effective manage household, and time {Ummm, I am thinking this is going to take me a very long time…}
  9. make wedding album {See #4}
  10. journal for the boys {Procrastinator! I will do this this week. I’ll tell you about it when I’m done.}
  11. journal for my husband {See #10}
  12. learn how to use my camera, and take more pictures {Getting better.}
  13. have monthly date nights with my husband {Sitter situation has been difficult. Note to self; make this a priority!}
  14. go on mini-vacation with hubby {We did go away overnight in September. For a wedding. Does that count?}
  15. go on vacation with the family {Thanks to a wonderful Christmas gift last year we took the family to Great Wolf Lodge. This is probably going to have to suffice for this year.}
  16. read to the boys every day {Ongoing.}
  17. learn to/teach the kids to pray (and Lord's prayer, and Ten Commandments) {Am I a bad mom?}
  18. teach my step-daughter to sew and/or encourage her creative interests {Struggles here…}
  19. implement a budget {Nope}
  20. start nursing clinicals {Find out in a week if I’m in!}
  21. manage time better {Isn’t this the same as #8? Guess I know what I need to be working on!}
  22. get up early (like to start day by 6:00) {Boys are early risers. I am no means perfect, but so much better.}
  23. dress for my hubby more often (less jeans and t-shirts) {I am struggling in the colder season, but I am crossing it off because 1. I wore skirts/dresses most of summer and 2. hubby likes me in jeans and t-shirts.}
  24. style hair more, less ponytails {Since I made the cut, I have been better, not perfect, but better.}
  25. blog regularly {Ongoing.}
  26. exercise regularly {You would not believe that one of my previous careers was a full-time fitness instructor and personal trainer.}
  27. craft through books; get rid of books not needed {I have not actually been crafting through books, but I have been getting rid of the ones that do not inspire my creativity.}
  28. craft through stash {Stash is still here, but getting smaller. The only materials I have bought have been project-specific.}
  29. make a dress, and wear it {May make more, but check this one out.} 
  30. start selling on etsy {I am scared…}
  31. do a 365 project {Have been thinking of ideas, may start Jan. 1st.}
  32. have a (semi) handmade Christmas {have ideas written down, need to get cracking!}

Wow! I have so much room for improvement!

Thanks for bearing with me on this long, boring post.

Do you set goals, if so what are your methods for achievement?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Crocheted Turkey Hats and Reindeer Hat

I have to say, I am feeling like a very accomplished crocheter (okay spell check, I sometimes make up my own words). My skills have improved drastically. I am able to dissect patterns, and then use the bits and pieces that I feel will make my finished product look the way I have imagined.

My boys are now ready for Thanksgiving (one of mommy’s favorite holidays). They have turkey hats!

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Yarn used: Red Heart Super Saver
Adapted from these patterns: My Creative Side and Stitch11

I also whipped up a Rudolph hat. This is my most recent pride and joy. I used a pattern for the hat, and made up the rest. This hat is so stinking adorable if I do say so myself Smile
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Yarn: hat- Vanna’s Choice, Barley; add-on's- Red Heart Super Saver.
Earflap hat pattern: Alli Crafts
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Here’s my dilemma, hubby is very insistent that I should making these items to sell. (Actually most people that see them say the same thing.) I love and appreciate his confidence in my abilities, because quite frankly I have my own insecurities. For instance, I am a naturally frugal person. I go to craft fairs and bazars to “project shop.” You know what I’m saying right, “I can make that.” Anyways, I have no idea what people would consider a reasonable price for the things I create.

This is where I need your help, if you were in the market for hats like these, how much would you pay?

Thank you for your input, I hope your week is wonderful!

Participating in this linky party, and this one.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Letting You In, part 1

I started this blog to help me see through the cloudy chaos that my life has become. I have a strong feeling that I am not the only person dealing with these struggles. BUT…. right now, it just looks like a chaotic blog. I have to-dos, goals, cleaning, mommy-hood, crafts, and of course cooking. Well, this is me right now- a big jumble.

That’s my problem though, I have neglected to share much about myself. You see its hard, opening myself up. I even have a hard time letting those close to me in. Of course its bad, but sometimes it seems better for everyone involved if I just bottle everything up and deal internally. This is a problem area of mine that I am committing myself to work on- sharing me. No matter how scared I am. Here goes (a little):

My life changed so much in just over two years time; most of it occurring in two months time.
I was working as a teller at a bank. I was good at my job. In fact, I was even told that I had a chance to be a supervisor in the near future. Sounds great, right? Nope. I was very unhappy and unfulfilled.
My soon-to-be husband had been prodding me to go into nursing, something that had been a part of my inner debates for a while. I decided to ‘get my feet wet’ before I took the plunge. I signed up for a two week Nurse Aide Certification class. After completion, I had a good feeling that this was the direction God wanted me to go in. So I registered for the few classes I needed for validation into nursing clinicals, put in my notice at the bank, and cashed in my 401K.

To be continued…..

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pink Cheetah Baby Shower Gifts

There’s a new baby on the way! It’s a girl. We don’t get many girls in this family. So of course, I have been crafting up a storm.
The color/theme is pink cheetah. I found this fabric at JoAnn’s, and used brown flannel as a compliment. We know her name, so that made these gifts really fun!
The first thing I made was a blanket. This blanket is about a yard widthwise, and lengthwise.
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For this blanket I used this tutorial from A Feathered Nest.
Next I made my specialties; bib, burp cloth, and onesie.
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I tried a new pattern:
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This pattern is the Snuggler from Simple Sewing for Baby. (I’m not getting paid for this- just wanted to let you know where the pattern came from.)
Next up was some yarn work (fulfilling my crochet kick).
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The hat on the left was made using this pattern (with some adjustments for 0-3 month size), the headband from here, and the hat on the right from this pattern.
Everything got the addition of handmade tags, including care instructions. I love giving handmade gifts! What are your favorite baby gifts to give?

Participating in these parties: TOO Cute Tuesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Elmo Hat

This has been a busy week. I have been working on gifts for a baby shower on Sunday. (I’ll post pictures of them as soon as they are done.)
I have also been on a crochet roll! Our nephew turned one this week. He was having an Elmo birthday. I have been coming across some adorable Sesame Street hats on Pinterest that I wanted to try. This was the perfect opportunity.
I wish I could give you a pattern that I used, but I can’t. I looked at a few, read a few, then just went with my gut.
It gets cold here in the winter. So I tend to prefer half double crochet to double crochet when making child-sized hats. The tighter stitch makes for a warmer hat (and I think dc looks girly sometimes).
Here’s what I did:
Crochet earflap hat in appropriate size. I used hdc. There are many sizing charts online if your recipient is not available to measure.
Crochet two white balls, and an oval orange ball. (YouTube is a great reference.)
Make pupils, and stitch onto eyes. Stitch eyes and nose onto hat.
Cut mouth out of felt, and sew on.
This hat went extremely fast. Actually all of my crocheting has gone by fast lately. The only downside to my projects this last week is that I had to buy specific materials for them, so I haven’t been using up my stash…this week. I’m okay with this though.
Stop back tomorrow to see the baby shower gifts!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Did you dress little ones up and go begging for candy? We did! Halloween is a big deal around here. My mother-in-law comes over and hands out candy. Hubby’s brother brings his family over. We go showing off our kids to the neighborhood.
Last year, we even put my expecting sister-in-law in labor. (Story for another day…)
Needless to say, we love Halloween.
This year the twins were Vikings. They were oh so CUTE! (Even though they didn’t keep their helmets on.)
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I’m sure you all have seen Cheri’s Viking tutorial over at I am Momma. Well, this is where my inspiration came from.
She uses toilet seat covers (genius!). The hubs wasn’t too thrilled with that idea, he felt it would look like carpet and nobody would be able to tell what they were. He wanted authentic-looking Vikings. After all he was a Viking fan for a year…Favre fan.
So I took him to JoAnn's, and had him pick out some fur. We also bought some leather cord, and ordered our Viking helmets from Amazon. That’s it.
The fur was cut into two oval (like a toilet seat cover) shapes, and four rectangles. Then I cut a slit, and a circle for the head of the ovals. Fasten it on your little Viking. Wrap the rectangle around their boots, and wrap with leather lace. Take pictures, and head out on the town. So simple, yet so cute.
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What was your favorite costume this year?

Linked up here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween, I’m Back!

I’m not going to write a long post apologizing for being absent in the blogging world.
It’s simple. I was spending too much time on my laptop, and not getting things done. I had to ‘unplug’ (although not a full unplug…). I was feeling overwhelmed with everything I wanted to get done, and the reality of what wasn’t getting done.
Good news- things are getting done! I have been “crafting away” my stash slowly but surely, finding egg-free meals for my allergic toddlers, settling into a cleaning routine, spending time with family, and much, much more!
Here’s to new beginnings!
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(These hats were crocheted using Jack and Mr. Boo patterns from achickwsticks.com. (Personal mods on both.)
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Egg-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

I found this recipe at Don't Waste The Crumbs before we knew we had an egg allergy in the house. Let me tell you, these muffins are awesome. I am not very good at eating breakfast, when these were in the freezer- I had breakfast almost everyday until they were gone. They are that good!

They are also better in the nutrition department. Tiffany uses oat flour. She shows you how to make your own. Don't panic, its easy.

If you don't have an egg allergy in the house go try her recipe.

There are many (too many) substitutes for eggs. A common one for baking is apple sauce. Sometimes it works, sometimes your baked goods taste like crap. I was a little tired of having one out of three baking recipes tasting good, so I did not use applesauce this time.

For this recipe I tried the flax seed route. I'm not sure why, but I have been intimidated by flax seed. What is this stuff? I had the fear that everything would taste cardboard healthy.

I figured that since the muffins taste great with oat flour (not cardboard healthy), I should try ground flax seed as an egg substitute.

Its easy. First mix your egg substitute. 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed and 3 Tablespoons of water for each egg. Mix it up. Let it sit for two to five minutes. While it is sitting I get out the rest of the ingredients. Then I start mixing, adding the flax seed mixture where the eggs are needed.

This recipe makes 18 muffins. Since I was making them for the littles, I made some mini-muffins. The recipe made 24 mini-muffins, and 9 regular muffins.

That's mama muffin, with her twin little muffins. (Maybe I need a nap.)

I let them cool completely, then put in a freezer bag and freeze. When we want a muffin, we pop one out and warm in the microwave for 30 seconds for a large muffin, and 15 for a mini-muffin.

The verdict:
These are wonderful! This is going to be an egg-free go-to favorite! My wheels are spinning. Maybe I could add cocoa powder, make them double chocolate. Maybe I could use zucchini instead of bananas. What about apples...

Have you discovered any egg-free secrets? I would love to hear them all!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Family Favorite Peanut Butter Pie

Are you busy?

Me too. Most of my cooking and baking as of late seems to be quick, easy, and cheap. On top of that, I am trying to become more educated and accomplished at egg-free cooking.

Want a yummy, quick, egg-free desert that your family will request over and over again? Try this peanut butter pie. (I found this recipe online a couple years back, and unfortunately didn't write down the source.)

The ingredient list is simple, I almost always have everything in my pantry or freezer.

Are you ready?

Peanut Butter Pie

1 graham cracker crust (I use chocolate)
1/2 cup peanut butter (usually I use crunchy, this time I used creamy so the twins could have some)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 block of cream cheese (4 ounces), softened
1 8 ounce tub of whipped topping (like Cool-Whip), thawed
handful of crushed chocolate chips (optional, I run mine through the food processor)

Combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, and cream cheese. Beat until creamy and well combined. Fold in whipped topping. Pour into crust. Top with crushed chocolate chips. Freeze for at least 12 hours. Slice up and serve.

I will not judge if you refrain from letting your family know what's in the freezer....

Linking up here.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Where Did Summer Go?

Summer has flown right on by! It seems like we are always busy. We have been enjoying the weather. I have been experimenting in the kitchen (trying my hand at egg-free cooking, successful recipes coming soon). Hubby finished the tree house. The boys are very efficient at walking, in fact they are almost running. And, I have been (slowly) plugging away at my to-dos.

Here's a little update on last month's goals:
  1. Work on purging computer room. I had a very successful week with this last month. Plan to finish it this month.
  2. Focus on daily cleaning habits. We started a chore chart for the kids, so some cleaning habits of mine were worked on too. Need much work in this area. Ongoing.
  3. Make a 30 meal list. I wrote down some of our favorite meals. Tried some new ones. Now I need to compile them all in a binder to make meal planning a little easier.
  4. Start journals. Nope, not yet.
  5. Read to boys everyday. Overall I was pretty good at this.Ongoing.
  6. Continue to get up early. Was good for a while, then started slacking. Needs work. Ongoing.
  7. Sew, and crochet. I was very good at this last month. Ongoing.
  8. Start etsy shop. Just need to take that leap, and list.
  9. Make two Christmas presents. Nope, not yet.
  10. Look for dress to make, start making. Did it (nap time dress). Would like to make another dress if time allows.
This month's goals:
  1. Finish computer room.
  2. Establish cleaning routines.
  3. Complete meal binder.
  4. Complete and write in journals.
  5. Continue reading to boys everyday.
  6. Establish regular wake time.
  7. Continue to use up craft stash.
  8. Make two Christmas presents. Find stocking pattern.
  9. Start on boy's Halloween costumes.
  10. List in etsy shop.
Does goal setting work for you? How do you manage those massive to-do lists?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I have a confession...I get distracted easily.

What! You already knew that! Hmm...  As long as we are on the same page.

So where have I been and what have I been doing? I have been working on my to-dos. I have been experimenting in the kitchen (looking for egg-free recipes that taste good, so stay tuned). I have been sewing and crocheting. The cleaning (bare-minimum) has been getting done. The girls and I have been crafting. Whew, I'm exhausted!

Anyways, how did I do on my goals this week?
  1. Resume!  This is a scratch off the list because it is not something that I have to do, and it just depresses me that I haven't done it yet.
  2. Make journals for the men in my life. Well...I pulled out the notebooks, just have not wrote in them yet.
  3. Find 7-10 meals for 30 meal list. Involve the family. I needed to start on this, so I started brainstorming (writing things down fast, then I may have misplaced my list...). I have a list of about 12 meals, and many more to jot down.
  4. List items in etsy shop. Have not done this yet.
  5. Finish computer room. I have not touched the computer room after my long session a couple of weeks ago.
  6. Make journals for my men.  Oops, looks like I didn't proofread too well last week. Guess I get to scratch something off :)
  7. Sew 2 headbands, 2 bibs, and 2 burp cloths. *Find dress to make. I cut a bunch of bibs and burp cloths out. I sewed about 4 or 5 of each. The girls wanted to make headbands, so I'm counting those too. And I made a dress! Not 100% from scratch, but I made it and I wear it!
  8. Crochet 2 dishcloths. I crocheted 2 and a half. Just need to weave in ends. (Such an easy job yet I always put it off.) 
  9. Continue reading to the boys everyday. Did not do too well this week.
  10. Make 2 Christmas presents. I did not do any Christmas presents this week. We did work on my bead and fabric stash. I think crafting with the girls is a good excuse for not crossing something off my list. (And I gave them ideas of Christmas presents they can make.)
This weeks goals:
  1. Write in journals.
  2. Sew 2 headbands, 2 bibs, and 2 burp cloths.
  3. Crochet 2 dishcloths.
  4. Read to the boys everyday.
  5. Work on meal list, and organizing recipes.
  6. List something in etsy shop.
  7. FINISH computer room.
  8. Use up massive zucchini that were given to us. Document recipes that work.
  9. Go through one shelf of bookshelf.
  10. Get up by 6:30 each weekday morning.
Do you make weekly goals? Any tips for accomplishing them?

p.s. monthly checkup will be posted tomorrow

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Egg-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Hubby has been asking for oatmeal raisin cookies, with peanut butter.

Lets make hubby his cookies, and go one step further- and make them egg-free for the boys. Keep in mind that egg-free is not my area of expertise yet, I'm still learning.

Here's the concoction (with my verdict following):

Egg-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temp.
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil (this is the egg substitute)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon (or more if you'd like)
1 1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy (if for littles use smooth)
1 1/2 cup flour
4 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375.
Mix together butter and sugar.
Add vegetable oil and vanilla.
Mix in baking soda, salt, cinnamon, peanut butter, and flour.
Stir in oatmeal.
Incorporate raisins.
Scoop out on ungreased cookie sheet. Smoosh with a fork (not necessary, but I love it!)Bake for 10-15 minutes. Until edges are golden.

Verdict: This is not a chewy cookie. I was expecting a chewy oatmeal raisin type of cookie. They were soft with good flavor; unless let in the oven too long. They crumbled. Pull these babies out as soon as the edges start to turn gold. Overall, these are pretty good (especially if you have egg allergies). I will be trying different substitutions; I would like to cut back the oil necessary.

*I am not a chef, baker, or professional recipe writer- just a mama who won't let allergies tie us down. If there are any mistakes in the recipe, please let me know so I can fix them.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nap time Dress

Most of you mamas know. Once you have littles, you rarely sew, or craft, for yourself.

One of my 30 by 30 goals (#29) is to make a dress and wear it.

Well, I made a dress. I made a dress using what I had in my stash. (I may be a craft hoarder...)

I sorta followed this tutorial by Maggie of Smashed Peas and Carrots. If you looked at Maggie's and are wondering, no I'm not preggers (she made it as a maternity dress). I had this dress hanging out in my favorites since before my pregnancy with the boys. There are many dresses in Pinterest world similar to this one, but I figured 'I liked it two years ago- lets make this my first.'

Sorry, I don't have any in process pictures, or before pictures for that matter. Just follow the tute. Its pretty good.

The few things I did different:
  • I skipped hemming the bottom of the top, and top of the bottom (confused yet?) before sewing to the elastic. I was trying to accomplish this during nap time, and since it was for me- I figured it would be okay.
  • I used Marissa's tutorial for easy gathering. I AM SOLD! Every time I try to gather, I get so frustrated because my threads break. This girl is a genius!
  • I made a sash, and tacked it on. I didn't care for the look of the white elastic (next time I'll dye it). I think it made me look fluffy. After I hemmed the bottom to the length I wanted, I used that strip to make a sash, and tacked it down in a couple of places. This seemed to tame down the midsection fluff.
Are you ready? Here it is:

What do you think? I'm hooked, I want to make more dresses. If you have any favorite 'nap time' dress tutorials, please share.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Last Weeks Shortcomings, Goals for the New Week

I have a confession.

I woke up this morning with a deep seeded desire to rush through last weeks' list of goals. Then I thought about just telling you that I finished them. Nobody will know, right?

I couldn't do it. I started this blog to help me recognize my problem areas, organize my to-dos, and most importantly corral my have-to-get-dones. Fibbing, or rushing through the job isn't going to help me at all.

While I can't actually cross anything off of my list, I did get things done. That is important to me. I had the opportunity to spend time enjoying my family, and the beautiful weather God blessed us with. This is also important to me.

Another thing I gained this week, insight. I waste too much time on the Internet. Unproductive time. So, the new week is here. I have to forget last week's shortcomings and start fresh (keeping in mind the Internet sucks my time like a hungry mosquito).

Here's a repeat:
  1. Resume!
  2. Make journals for the men in my life.
  3. Find 7-10 meals for 30 meal list. Involve the family.
  4. List items in etsy shop.
  5. Finish computer room.
  6. Make journals for my men.
  7. Sew 2 headbands, 2 bibs, and 2 burp cloths. *Find dress to make.
  8. Crochet 2 dishcloths.
  9. Continue reading to the boys everyday.
  10. Make 2 Christmas presents.
(Good thing is, I am inspired to get off the computer and mark some things off before breakfast!)

Do you have weeks like this?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Slow Cooker Recipe- Roast

Roast is one of my go-to recipes. It is so easy, and the family loves it! I just put everything in the slow cooker, and leave it be until dinner time. By lunch the whole house smells scrumptious. By dinner every mouth on the block is watering.

We do things a little different around here though...don't hate me, please...

Here goes: we eat venison. I understand this may offend some of you, so I'm okay if you decide to skip this post. (I just wanted to issue a warning.)

There are a few reasons we eat venison.
  1. My husband enjoys hunting. Hunting is a pointless hobby if you don't eat what you hunt. (Like growing a garden and not eating the vegetables you grow.)
  2. Venison is a very lean, good-for-you meat.
  3. It a cheap, lean, good-for-you meat.
  4. We all enjoy it!
The biggest complaint I get from other wives of hunters is that they don't know how to prepare venison. The trick, er- one of the tricks? Cook it long and slow. This is where a slow cooker comes in handy.

Here's how I cook a roast (venison or beef):
Gather your ingredients. For us its potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, onion soup mix, roast, and a can of cola (Coke is best, but we only had Pepsi).
Clean potatoes, cut in half (or smaller if potatoes are large), and layer in bottom of slow cooker.
Add carrots.
Next, add the roast.
Put onion soup mix on roast. If your feel like it- rub it in a little.
Cut onions. (Tip- if you have onion haters, cut them large so they are easy to pick out. Just don't skip the onion. They give so much flavor, and the "Mmmm. What's for dinner?" aroma.
Layer the fresh mushrooms on top. The mushrooms are totally optional. We love mushrooms here. I have used sliced, whole, and skipped them all together. It all tastes good.
Pour the cola over it all.
Set slow cooker to low, and walk away. Let cook all day, at least 8 hours, but longer is better.
Plate up, and enjoy! Sorry such a bad 'final'picture. This is one of the lil' ones' plates, most was devoured before I could take a good picture.

This meal is wonderful! Everyone loves Roast Day in my neighborhood. The little guys, picky girl, growing teenager, grateful hubby, even the neighbor girls enjoy Roast Day.

What is your go-to family meal?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Remember my 30 by 30 list? Well, I decided to do something about #24. (Style hair more, less ponytails.)

My hair has been on the shorter side for most of my life. For some reason or another (laziness, maybe), I had been growing it out. It is pretty, and long. This means that I put it in a ponytail every single day.

I am sick of the pony. It makes me feel sloppy and undone, but I don't have the time to blow dry and style this long mess everyday. Hubby was ready for short hair (he loves my hair short).

But will I have the time to style it? Who cares, lets go for it...



I actually got the cut last Friday. I waited to post, because I wanted to see if I could (would) consistently style it. Guess what? I have done my hair everyday since Friday, and wore makeup most days (something I rarely do).

The verdict: I love it! It takes about 10 minutes to style it straight. It takes about 20 minutes to wear it curly.

Hubby had a surprise when he came home. He loves it!

p.s. the pony was donated