Sunday, October 6, 2013

Oh the insanity!!

You guys! Seriously! It's been far too long since I've written a post. Life has been crazy since school started. Between school stuff, Dawson's homework and Cub Scouts, Corbin's gymnastics and the biggest time spender of all..WEDDING PLANNING! 

Holy insanity! Seriously. Why didn't anyone tell me that it would be this crazy to plan a wedding? I'm not even doing a "normal" wedding. We are doing a small ceremony and a backyard reception and I feel like I'm losing my mind. There is just sooo much to think about and take care of.

We are less than a week out. Holy balls! I can't believe it snuck up on us! Next Saturday I will be Mrs. Mack. Eek!

 We did get some amazing engagement photos done recently by By Leah Photography. She is so fun to work with and I can't wait for her to shoot our wedding! I'm sure we were a giant pain in the ass because we are not good at staying serious for photos, but she was super patient. David and I had some more tradtional shots taken.

And then...we had some fun. 

Anyways. I'm hoping that after this weekend I'll be able to get back into this whole blogging thing. I have sooo much to show you guys! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

 Meet Chunk, a.k.a Hedwig, a.k.a Mufasa. The kitten that doesn't have a definite name. Isn't he the cutest?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Double Digit Kid

I'm a little late in posting this, or posting anything. But it's the last few weeks of summer and I've been busy doing summer things. 

Last week Dylan turned 10. 10!?!?! When did this happen? I'm having a hard time coping with this double digit thing. I swear just last year he was a cute, chubby little boy waddling around and getting into everything. Now he's a tall, skinny handsome almost teenager.

 I don't think I can handle this...

He's starting to look so...grown. Where are the chubby cheeks? The big brown eyes filled with curiosity? The adorable clumsiness that made us giggle? Oh wait, he still has that. But still. Where has the little boy gone and who the heck is this pre-teen?

He has opinions now. Like he wants pie instead of cake. Ummm...what? When did that happen?

I have to bribe him to get him to smile and take a real picture.

He loves football and duct tape. 

He still adores his Dad.

He tolerates his brothers.

While it's been a challenge and at times it's downright frustrating, I can't imagine not being a Step-mom to my Dyl Pickle. The last 8 1/2 years I've had the honor of watching him grow and slowly become the boy..tween...10 year old (???) he is today. I can't wait to see what the future holds for him!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

You know...I'm really confused by this whole "Wordless Wednesday" but it's Tuesday thing. Is time different in the blogging world? Is everyone just so ahead of the blogging game that they  post on Tuesday? I don't know. But I'm going to try to embrace it, even if I have to look at my calender every week to see if I've really somehow skipped Tuesday. Eventually I will understand!

Anyways. Onto my picture of the week. I'm also not good at not having words. Sigh. Someday I'll get it. 

This is David and our dog Major up at my parents lakeside property. We needed to cut down trees for a future project and as usually Major was right there by our side. We've had 8 yrs so far with our trusty companion and hopefully we'll have many more.

And just because he's so stinking cute. Here is Major from the front!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know you hear that all the time. "These chocolate chip cookies are amazing!"  We all nod and agree while mentally rolling our eyes. The cookies are good, but they aren't that good. 

There will be no eye rolling with these cookies. Nope. You'll love them.

I've been making these cookies for a long time now and I've gotten lots of requests for the recipe and lots of compliments on them. They are the perfect mix of soft, chewy inside and crunchy outside. The best part is, they stay soft for a long time! 

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

1-1/2 cups butter (or margarine if you prefer), softened
1-1/4 cups white sugar
1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to egg mixture, and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Instead of just dropping them onto the cookie sheet, I roll the cookies into balls - it makes them all look very uniform and nice! If you're fancy, use your little cookie scooper thing.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes, or until light golden on the bottom.
  4.  Cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container.

The base of these cookies is awesome. Sometimes we use white chocolate chips, m&m's, milk chocolate chips, etc. Get creative! Bonus point for creativity!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Not so Wordless Wednesday (Even though it's Tuesday)

We finally brought the boys to the Zoo. We promised Corbin we would bring him to see the Dinosaurs around his May. Oops. Oh well. We got there and we had fun. So, enjoy some pictures from our visit! 

We saw some of our favorite animals.

 We played at the parks and in the splash pad.

We saw the Dinosaurs. Which Corbin cried through most of it because he was terrified. Sigh.

And we had some fun. At least when I wasn't forcing them to pose for pictures. 

We love our Minnesota Zoo and I can't wait to go back. We actually bought a membership and I'm debating on going back this weekend. Not sure how David will feel about that though... ;)

Monday, August 5, 2013

DIY Chore/Allowance Chart

We've gone through a lot of different attempts at chore charts and allowance. A lot. With the most recent being each child getting a $5 a week allowance and doing whatever chore we told them to do. The only problem was, they weren't really doing many chores, or one child would do a bunch of chores while the other did none. It was really unfair and honestly, I was tired of paying the boys for not doing anything! 

So it was time to  come up with a new plan.

David and I worked together to come up with jobs we wanted the kids to make and how much each job was worth. Then I got to work on making the chart.
Using a random pile of wooden discs about 1 1/2 inches across, Avery Sticker Project Paper and my handy dandy silhouette, I printed out stickers with each job and the amount it's worth on it.  Eventually I will put a layer of mod podge over them, but I want to make sure I'm completely happy with the amounts of money we decided on. I cut up a bunch of random magnets from my fridge (the ones you get for free from businesses) and glued them onto the back of each discs. Yay for recycling!

I forgot to take a picture, but I did paint a few discs with Chalkboard paint, so we can change the money amount on it if needed. Those are for those random jobs that pop up out of the blue that aren't normally done around the house. I've also been using them for Corbin since there are a lot of jobs on the chart that he can't do and I usually give him random odd jobs helping me out.

A while back I picked up a few metal metal boards from Pick Your Plum. They've been sitting in the closet waiting to be used. This project was perfect for them! 

I weaved ribbon through the holes to give it a finished look and to create a loop on the back for hanging.

 I cut out the boys names and a title for the chore chart out of vinyl and put them on each board. David hung them up for us in the kitchen. I wanted it somewhere that we will remember to look at it, but somewhere that won't be clashing with the decorations we will eventually be putting up.

We have daily and weekly chores. (If the weekly has already been done, I throw it on the back the board until we need it again) When the kids complete a job, they move it to their board. The next morning at breakfast, I go over their chart and give them the money for the jobs they have done. I have a jar full of change and dollar bills in my wallet kept just for chores. 

The boys weren't happy when I told them I wasn't paying them to clean up their rooms, their toys or putting away their clothes. They do still have responsibilities that I will not pay for. I actually told them that if they didn't want to do those jobs, they could pay me to do them. Nobody has taken me up on that offer yet...
We've had this system going for about 3 weeks now and we are extremely happy with it. The boys are doing more chores with less whining. I'm actually paying them based on what they are doing and I'm not chasing them around the house bothering them to finish their chores! If they don't finish it, they don't get money and they want money!

It almost makes me feel better about the years of chore chart fails. Almost.

What do you do for chores in your house?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday Social Week 61

Sunday Social

Today I'm going to link up for another Sunday Social. I have a ton of posts to write up for the next week (maybe 2) but I'm super duper slacking. Fingers crossed I can get some written today! Until then, enjoy some random tid bits of personal information. 

1. What are 3 items you can't live without on a daily basis (water, food, shelter, and clothes don't count)?

Coffee for sure. On the rare chance I can't have a morning cup of coffee I feel like I have no reason to live. haha. Lotion because one day without lotion may cause me to shrivel up and disappear. phone I guess? Although I think I could live without it, I don't really want to.

3. What is something you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2013?
 I have soooo many things. I never realized how many projects we would be adding to our plate when we became home owners! Nothing is needed, but lots of things need to be done to make it home. Painting, decorating, organizing, replacing certain furniture pieces...the list goes on and on!

2. What is your all time favorite book? Why?
It's a book that I bet 99% of people haven't even heard of. It's called "The Truth Trap" by Frances A. Miller.

Matt's parents were killed in a car accident. He and his little sister Katie, deaf since birth, have come to Los Angeles to escape the authorities who want to put Katie in a home. Hiding in an abandoned theater while Matt looks for work, Katie is brutally murdered. And Matt's nightmare begins.

He is accused of killing his beloved sister, and before he can defend himself, he is thrown into jail.

A few days later he is released -- confused and alone in a strange city where the only people who know him suspect him of murder. His chances for a new life depend on the two policemen who first arrested him: Tony Prado, who sees through the proud, hot-tempered, very scared young man to a boy who needs to be trusted and loved...and Les Ryder, who sees a juvenile delinquent who probably killed his own sister.

Matt must prove that Tony is right. But before he can do that, he has to learn to believe in himself again.

 I first read the book when I was in 7th grade and I've read it at least a dozen times since then. It's extremely well written. I cry every single time I've read it and I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I own a copy...that I never returned to the library back in middle school. Don't worry, it got paid for.

4. If you could go back and relive any year of your life which year would it be?

I don't know that I have a year that I would want to relive. I think every year has been filled with good and bad. Keep on trucking forward I say. :)

5. What do you wish people knew about you without you having to tell them?
Ummm...I don't know. Isn't that how you get to know people is by them telling you about themselves?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Monster Cookies

A few weeks ago David and I found Monster Cookies in the bakery section at a store. David apparantely had never had a Monster Cookie and had no clue what they were. I was shocked. He clearly grew up under a rock. So I bought a package, because I will take any reason to buy baked goods.

He obviously loved them. Who wouldn't? They are like a baked good flavor explosion. Peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate. Yum! They are so hard to stop eating. Almost impossible hard. I even ate them for breakfast. They have peanut butter and oatmeal, that's pretty much breakfast food anyways.

When his work had potluck lunch he requested that I make some Monster Cookies for him to bring in and I happily obliged. From what David said, these were a huge hit at his work. Now I'm going to share the recipe with you! Yay! I'm so sweet. 

Monster Cookies
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter, softened
 M&M's  No amount, just use as much as you want
 chocolate chips, again, use as much as you want
 Raisins, optional
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well. Stir in the M&Ms, chocolate chips, raisins, baking soda, and oatmeal. Drop by spoonfuls onto your baking sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not over bake. Wait a few minutes minutes before moving to wire racks or brown bags to cool.
Now eat and enjoy!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ipsy Glam Bag for July

I've totally been slacking on my reviews of my Ipsy Glam Bag. I honestly think I have done one review...and I've gotten 6 bags now. Oops! I will say that I am still loving my subscription. I'm extremely happy to have found Ipsy and I'm very much enjoying all the new products I've been sent. 

If you don't know about Ipsy, I'll give you a quick rundown. It's a monthly subscription service. Every month Ipsy will send you a reusable makeup bag filled( give or take 5 items) with a few different makeup/beauty products.The best part is, it's only $10 a month! 

The July Glam Bag was called "Beach Beauty". It came in this bright pink, plastic bag. Plastic sounds cheap. Is there another word for it? It's a thick plastic, not cheap, flimsy plastic. You know what I mean?

 This is what was in it this month. I'm going to be honest. I wasn't really that impressed this month. It was a lot of samples instead of the usual full size. Oh well, 1 out of 6 isn't bad.

 First we'll start off with the Big Sexy Hair weather proof hairspray. 

The hair spray is decent. Honestly, I didn't find it that Weather proof. My hair still went all crazy stupid when I straightened it and walked outside. I've tried a lot of "weather proof" hairsprays and things. The only one that I have found to work really well is Paul Mitchell Heat Seal. I've used it for 10+ yrs and it's the best I have found. 

Next we'll go with the Benefit Benetint. It's basically a liquid stain for your cheeks or lips.

I actually liked this quite a bit. I'm not typically a fan of anything on my lips, so I shy away from lipsticks. With the benetint, once it's on you can't feel it. It goes on and dries. No goopy, sticky feeling. It adds just the right amount of color for someone like me. For the cheeks it added a light blush, just enough to look a little flushed. I highly recommend it! 

Next is the Pop Pouty Pop Crayon.
I stated above that I'm not a fan of lipsticks. I do try them, but I'm just not a fan of them. This one wasn't that bad. It wasn't nearly as sticky or thick feeling as most lipsticks that I've tried in the past, which is a bonus. The color was...interesting. Definitely not my color!

 The California Collection eyeshadow sampler from BH Cosmetics is next. Each color has come from a different color palette that BH cosmetics has out.
I've tried the malibu and San Francisco color so far. The colors are nice. I was a bit leery at the shimmer of them, but they weren't bad. Unfortunately I didn't find that they had great staying power. I have oily eye lids and use a eyeshadow primer. Most shadows stay pretty well with my primer, these colors were gone pretty quickly. 

Last we have the Coola tinted moisturizer.
 Honestly, I haven't tried this yet. So I have nothing to say. Oops.

So there you have it. My July Ipsy Glam bag! If you are a fan of makeup and love trying new things, I highly recommend getting an Ipsy bag! It's a fun way to get and try new makeup.