January 31, 2012

PB&J Creations & My Lovely New Sign!

I ordered a custom sign a couple weeks ago from my dear friend Pamela who blogs over at PB&J Stories and has an AMAZING etsy shop PB&J Creations. That girl is SUPER talented! I love her and all her creations! I loved her the moment I found her blog months ago. I loved her style and creativity and I happily clicked the follow button and ever since then Pam has become an awesome bloggy friend! :)
There is a narrow wall in my dinning room where I thought a subway style sign would look great and so I contacted Pam and asked if she would create a custom piece for me and here it is...
It looks small in the picture above but it's not that small! I LOVE it! It makes me so happy to walk by it everyday! It is even more gorgeous in person! My boring beige walls just don't do this beautiful sign justice! I talked to my husband about painting that whole wall along with the rest of the house! lol I am not even sure if I should even add this to my "projects to-do list" cause it seems like the list is pretty full right now! A whole year has passed and our kitchen isn't completely done! Do you see that ugly box lighting up there in the kitchen?! I asked my hubby to take it off and install recessed lighting. He's an electrician so that should save us some money! 

Anywho, make sure to check out Pam's etsy shop PB&J Creations! I'm pretty sure you will fall in love with one or more of her signs! Remember she does custom pieces too! 

January 30, 2012

How I edit my photos

I've been asked how I edit my photos a couple times along with what program I use for my blog designs so I thought I would write up a short tutorial for ya'll. I am not a photo editing expert at all! I just know what works for me and that's it. I've read that Picnik (which is a favorite for editing photos) is closing in April which is a big bummer for most bloggers who use it. I personally don't use it, I tried it a couple times but it wasn't for me! I use Picasa which is a lot more simple, not too many fancy schmancy tools to use but it works for me. I use it along with my Photoshop. I have Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac and I LOVE it! I admit I don't know how to use EVERY SINGLE feature but I love what I know how to use.  
So here is how I edited the sandals picture I share on my last post (friday) I open up my picture on Picasa and just use the "Auto Color" tool....

If I also need to crop or straighten a picture I do it here. You can also add text so you can watermark your pictures, which I used to do but stopped because it was such a pain to do each one. I then save it and take it into photoshop to finish it off ( I don't like the way Picasa brightens pictures up which is why I use photoshop as well.) I go to Enchance-->Adjust Lighting-->Brightness/Contrast

Then I adjust my settings until I am happy with my photo...

That's it! Super simple but makes a big difference! No one wants to see ugly orangey iPhone pics! Oh btw I use my iPhone for almost every single picture on my blog. Except for a couple where I borrowed my sister's Nikon. I can't wait to own a really nice camera! Anyone have an old one they want to give to me?! 

January 27, 2012

The little things...

I have noticed that the days I do my devotionals, pray and take time aside for God are the days I am most happy. The days I feel more peace. I can find happiness and joy and thankfulness in things that normally would irritate me. Even my husband noticed it early this week, come to think of it he noticed this first which is how I discovered it to be true...

     I know we have all had days where it seems like EVERYTHING just goes wrong and all you want to do is cuddle up in bed and cry and every single thing someone says or does seems to bother you. I don't mean "the time of the month" kind of days. I mean when you're in a bad mood for no reason kind of days. I don't know why but monday was "that day" for me. Everything that my husband would say would either irritate me or hurt me. It's not like he was insulting me! He simply asked me if I would make him a smoothie ?! Yes a smoothie people! I was busy making the kids lunch and didn't feel like making a smoothie so everything escalated from there and then out of the blue he said "have you been doing your devotionals?" um no! Well his question made me angry at the time but later on I reflected and realized what he was trying to say. So after apologizing for my craziness (poor man!) I decided to get up and read my devotional and pray and make the next day a better day and seriously there is nothing better than starting the day off spending time with God!  

 It's so easy to stress out and not take time to enjoy the small things in life. Which brings me to the picture of the sandals. Those are my sons sandals and I don't know why but it bothers me so much to find shoes all over the house. I like for things to be right where they are supposed to be, where I can find them. I usually scream "Josh come get these shoes and put them where they go!" But this week as I was going into the bathroom and I saw those two little sandals, I stopped and...
Instead of screaming I simply thanked God for having little sandals to pick up. 
Instead of complaining about washing dishes (which is the thing I hate to do the most) I thanked God for having plates and cups to wash because that meant there was food to eat, that God provided. 
Instead of stressing out about finding toys everywhere and having to pick them up I thanked God for my two kids and for being able to stay home with them. 

  Sometimes I feel that even though I get to stay home with my kids I don't enjoy them like I should! I let stress over having to clean a home, wash dishes, do laundry, cook, work on designs & everything else get to me. I pray that God changes that in me. That I may enjoy my kids more. That I can find joy in every single thing I do! To stop and enjoy the little things in life. 

May you have a stress free weekend and may
you focus on enjoying the little things you normally don't!

January 26, 2012

Refreshing Cucumber & Apple Salad

It's been a while since I've shared a recipe! This one is actually my husband's. Yes the man can cook! Although this recipe requires no cooking and doesn't really show off his amazing culinary abilities, I can assure you he's a better cook than myself! He came up with this recipe one afternoon while looking through the fridge trying to find something to snack on. It's both delicious and nutritious! The perfect snack for those who made loosing weight a new years resolution. 

-2 Apples (my husband used Gala)
-1 Cucumber
-1 Lemon 

Chop your apples & cucumber into cubes. Add some lemon juice and mix it all together! Super simple! 
Please let me know if you try this recipe! I am sure my husband would love to read what you all thought. You can find more recipes I've shared here. I have an apple cobbler recipe that I've been wanting to share and maybe I will make it next week so that I can take pictures and share them along with the recipe here! I made it for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it! I know I'm super humble! ;)

January 25, 2012

How to remove padding from your Header

Here's another super simple blogger tutorial for you all. Do you use the Simple Template on blogger and you hate seeing the padding on the sides of your header? like this....
If you want your header to wrap around without the padding then all you gotta do is go into 
Design-->Template Designer-->Advanced and scroll down to Add CSS and paste the following code:
.content-inner {
padding: 0px;
if you notice (in your preview section) that your header has gone off to one side then you have to adjust your entire blog width for your header. You can play with it and see the changes in the preview section before clicking "Apply to Blog"....
If you are happy with what you see then go ahead and click the Apply to Blog button!
Hope this tutorial was helpful. You can find more of my tutorials here.

January 24, 2012

Guest Post: Our Beautiful Little Journey

Today we have a wonderful guest. Her name is Noelani and she blogs over at Our Beautiful Little Journey. Noelani is a wonderful writer, I enjoy reading her posts and capturing her love of Christ through her writing. She is a beautiful lady inside and out! Today she is sharing some organizing tips & ways to simplify your life...
If you're anything like me, then you are all about organization and simplicity in life. Even if that consists of simplifying little things such as the following:

1. Get yourself a planner. I personally swear by the Erin Condren planner, as they break everything down (morning, afternoon, night + many more awesome features) to better organize your days.

2.  Create a weekly (or daily) to-do-list. This list should be short, precise and consist of realistic goals and tasks for the week (or day).

3. Clean your entire house, one room at a time.  Garage, sheds, closets, cabinets, drawers, pantry - you name it! Truthfully, if you haven't used an item (let alone looked at it in years), you're better off selling it, donating it or recycling it. I guarantee that you won't miss it and that you will enjoy the extra space and de-clutter in your house.

4. Clean out your emails. Reply to old ones, as well as delete and unsubscribe to the emails that are no longer useful to you.

5. Set a Realistic weekly goal for working out. Not only will it help keep you in shape, but working out also has a tendency of putting you in a better mood and gives you more energy throughout your day. Which in return, also helps boost your confidence. It's a win-win!

6. Make a budget plan, and stick to it. Depending on what your finances look like, come up with a realistic amount per paycheck and set it aside for a vacation in the future, a splurge at the end of the year, or whatever else you can come up with. It could be as low as $5/per payday or as high as you'd like. In the end, it all adds up!

7. Give yourself permission to relax. Make time in your schedule for a little you time. Whether it's a pedicure, massage, trip to the mall, a stroll through the park, lounging in bed with a good book or magazine, or simply taking a bubble bath with candles. Recharging ourselves is vital!

8. Start something new, let something go. Let this be the year for you to start a new habit, and lose a bad one.

9. Create a weekly meal plan. Sit down and make a weekly menu, and then shop accordingly for those ingredients for the week ahead. It will save so much time (and money), trust me!

10. Focus on the present. Try your best to focus on the 'now' as opposed to reflecting back on the past or worrying about the future. Live in the moment, and leave the rest in God's hands. You will be amazed at how less stressful your days become.

11. Learn to say no. It's a tiny word but sometimes a tough one to say. Too often we tend to over-commit ourselves due to fear of disappointing others. But let's be honest with ourselves, if something just does not fit into our schedules, it's okay to say no. By always saying yes, you will either end up draining yourself trying to get everything done in a timely manner, or you will be left feeling like a failure for not being able to accomplish it all. Only you know your limits.

12. Refuel your engines. Finally, don't underestimate the importance of taking care of yourself. Small things like eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough sleep at night will make a huge difference in how much energy you have throughout your day.

Hopefully, you find some of these tips on simplifying things for the New Year useful! :)

Thanks so much for the awesome tips Noelani! 

January 23, 2012

Our Master Closet Mini Makeover

  A couple weeks ago I posted a picture on facebook of one of my trips to IKEA. I got wood hangers for $1, not a dollar each but a dollar for a pack of EIGHT! I had been wanting to buy wood hangers for some time for our closet but when I calculated how many we would need it would be at least $50 in hangers alone so I thought I would save up for it. That is until I saw IKEA was having a one day sale on their wood hangers that are regularly $3.99/per pack (8). We bought 24 packs and ended up using only 16 so I gave the other 8 to a friend. I titled this post as a "mini" makeover because It's not complete. I started the closet makeover by organizing my shoes onto shoe racks from Target which you can read more about here. I think it's 80% finished all I would like to do is paint the closet and maybe stencil a wall or two but the hangers have made the entire closet look so much better! Here are the embarrasing before pictures....
I had a blast taking out all the clothes and putting them back in the closet in new hangers. (No I'm not being sarcastic, I LOVE organizing) My hubby installed a rod and hooks for me to organize my belts. (also from IKEA) Here are the after pictures...

 What a difference wood hangers make huh? Just makes everything look much neater and organized.
I LOVE going into my closet to get dressed now! 

January 20, 2012

Huge Group Giveaway in The Works

I can't believe how fast time flies by! In March this little blog will turn one and I want to celebrate by having a huge group giveaway! So if you have a business, an etsy shop or if you just want to participate please e-mail me your shop/blog name and what you would like to giveaway so I can get you down on my list! I already have a couple people who have signed up so if you want to join us just shoot me an e-mail! As a thank you for participating in my group giveaway I will post your button (250x100) on my sidebar for the ENTIRE month of March! 

Here are some ideas I have for the giveaway... I was debating wether there should be one winner who takes all or wether there should be multiple winners. So after thinking it through I decided to have 2 winners. I would like to group prizes into two categories:

Package ONE will be for a blogger which will include ad spaces, full blog design (by yours truly) and anything else that only a blogger will benefit from. 

Package TWO will be for non bloggers (but bloggers are welcome to enter too!) that will include everything else! How does that sound? 

I will share more details with the people participating. I plan on sending an e-mail the first week of February to those who have signed up. I will have more details on how to enter and such here on the blog a week before the giveaway which is the last week of February so that there is no confusion. I will be asking a couple shops/blogs as well to join and participate so I will post some hints here and there on my facebook page once my list is finalized! I am SO excited!! Are you? 

January 19, 2012

January Birchbox

It's here! It's here! It's finally here! I got my little box yesterday after-all! It seems like my complaint on   yesterday's post worked! I went to check the mail and there was my cute little box waiting for me. Here's what I got this month...
1. ORIGINS Checks And Balances™ Frothy Face Wash
2. Archipelago Pomegranate Body Soap 
3. stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner
4. LÄRABAR Mini Bar in Cherry Pie
5. Juicy Couture
I gotta say the pomegranate soap smells so good, it made my whole box smell lovely! I haven't tried the eyeliner yet but I hear they are awesome! I got the lionfish shade which is a brownish color, something different from the regular black I use. I LOVE my January Birchbox! I am so very happy with it and I can't wait to try out every single item. I think I will start with the mini bar cause I'm hungry!

If you haven't subscribed to Birchbox yet and you would like to after seeing all the goodies I got then click here. Please click on my link, I will shamelessly get 50 points if you sign up through me! Why do I care about points, you say? Because for every 100 points I get $10 to use in the Birchbox Shop. $10 people! Who doesn't like free money? well...technically it's not free but you get my point right? 

BTW the Shabby Apple winner did not contact me and it is now Thursday so we have a new winner!
Congrats Jacqui!
Please e-mail me your address so you can get your necklace ASAP!

January 18, 2012

Random Thoughts

Have you noticed it is wed-nes-day and I have not posted since friday! You hadn't? well that's nice! 
So I have been a little MIA, I don't have a fabulous craft to share or anything this week but I thought I would at least write up a post on some random things I've been thinking this week or that happened this past weekend. I included some pictures so I don't loose those of you who tend to just look at pictures and not read the entire post! Come on you know you do it! I do it sometimes too...
1. Where in the world is my January Birchbox?! I've been seeing everyone post what they got in their box this month and every time I go and check the mail I think I will see my cute little box and nothing! I thought it would get here at least yesterday so I could write up a decent post for this week but nope! I'll try again today.... 
2. Let's talk about Guest Post Wed-nes-day! I sort of ran out of guests so... I think it's time for guest post wednesday to go bye bye! That doesn't mean I don't welcome guests on my blog anymore, if you ever want to do a guest post just shoot me an e-mail! I would love to feature you and your blog/craft or anything else I just won't do it weekly and on wednesdays.  
3. These are my sisters. They are crazy but I love em! We took this picture this past weekend when we went to visit my youngest sister in Houston (she's the one in the middle). 

4. Speaking of Houston, this weekend we went to a huge Flea Market. I hadn't been to a flea market in years! I was excited cause I really wanted to eat an "elote" (roasted corn) but as we were walking through aisles and aisles of vendors & booths I hear my sister (the one on the right in the picture above) yell and then I see my mom coming towards us yelling and then I turn to see what they were pointing at and we see a TON of SMOKE! The flea market was on fire and it was pretty close to where we were so people started going crazy running. My sister took this picture on the way out...
My husband (I LOVE THAT MAN!) is awesome in situations of panic, he calmly told me to remain calm and to give him my daughter whom I was pushing in a stroller. He picked up the stroller (Sarah and all) and we stepped out of the booth's aisles on to the street next to them. We made sure we were all out and began walking away from the fire towards the parking lot. Thankfully we were all ok but it was very scary! My mom was freaking out because just a couple years ago their apartment caught on fire and they lost everything! We kept checking the news to see what started the fire but never found anything.

I think that's it folks! I have a ton of work to catch up on today since I spent almost all day yesterday cleaning & re-organizing. Have a great wed-nes-day!

January 13, 2012

Shabby Apple Winner

The Winner of this Gorgeous Necklace is.....
Sarah @ Scissors and a Whisk

Congratulations Sarah! Please e-mail me with your address to claim your prize.

January 12, 2012

Things my daughter does...

I guess this is kind of like part two, where I left off from my post on tuesday. I didn't plan to write this post and share it with you all because it's something that wasn't planned. It actually just happened on tuesday. Where do I begin? Ok so...

   My Son Joshua goes to school for speech therapy on tuesday's only and so his bus was outside (right in front of our home) and I grabbed his backpack and told him his bus was here and it was time to go to school. My two year old daughter, Sarah, heard me and grabbed her backpack as well and said " I wan go scoo too!"(no they're not typos, that's the way she said I want to go to school too!) So I told her to go put her shoes on (figured it would give me some time to take Joshua outside to the bus and come back quickly) and I stepped out and helped Josh get on his bus. I quickly jogged back to the front door and to my surprise the door was locked! I could hear Sarah on the other side trying to open the door and then I head another clicking sound which meant she locked the top part too! I took a deep breath and calmly asked her to open it and all she kept saying was "I can't" I kind of laughed a little at the silly situation thinking she would be able to open the door and we would all laugh about this later! I was WRONG! 15 mins passed and the door was still locked! I called my husband like ten times and no answer! after those 15mins I couldn't hear Sarah anymore, I banged on the door, I called her name and I rang the doorbell multiple times and no answer! I started freaking out and kept calling my husband to see if there was anyway he could come and after like the 15th time he answered and calmly told me to go break a window because he wasn't anywhere near the house and by the time he would get there it would be about an hour later. I was already freaking out and the thought of having to break a window didn't help! My husband told me to grab a piece of wood (we have a ton) and break the bathroom window (cause it's the smallest) Well I took a good look at that window and said "are you kidding me? You want me to climb through there?" he said "just break it, grab the ladder from the backyard, close your eyes and just hit the window". I did exactly as he told me, I closed my eyes and hit the window, only the window didn't break and I ended up slamming my finger onto the brick! I started crying like a baby! I guess he knew I wasn't going to be able to break it so he said "call the police to help you." I dialed 911 and chocking back more tears I told the police my 2 year old daughter had locked me out of the house and I couldn't hear her anymore inside. A police officer arrived 3 mins later and asked "how can I help?". By this time I could her Sarah at the door again. I said "my 2 year old daughter locked me out of the house when I was outside getting my son on the school bus and I was trying to break a window but all I did was slam my finger" So I showed him the window I was trying to break and he said "are you sure you fit through there?" Um no! I am sure I don't! I am pretty sure he was trying hard not to laugh at my attempt to break a window with a small piece of wood! Anywho, he helped me break the kids' room window and asked if it was ok to meet me at the front door to make sure Sarah and I were ok.
 I ran inside and found my daughter sitting down on the floor (in the living room) watching cartoons! I picked her up and started crying...again! The police officer asked a couple questions and then asked if I needed help cleaning up but I told him no, cause I just wanted to be alone to cry it out! I picked up the broom and dust pan and began picking up the broken pieces.
It was a crazy day to say the least! I can't believe how fast it all happened and as much as I kept blaming Sarah for locking the door, I know it was my fault for leaving her inside! I usually take her outside with me when Joshua gets on the bus, but that day it was cold and Sarah was still a little sick and she wasn't wearing any shoes so I found it easy to just quickly step outside and put Josh on the bus. NEVER AGAIN! Lesson Learned! I am just glad we are all ok. I mean how can you blame a little face like this?... 
This was taken the night before the "incident"!
Oh yeah... this isn't the first time Sarah locks the door, last time she locked herself in my room and I had to get a screwdriver and take the door handle off in order to get her out but this time was a little more scary! Have your kids ever done something like this? Please share!