Saturday, January 21, 2012

Classroom Valentines- Coin Purse Valentine

 In years past, I've been sorta lame as far as getting a fun idea together for classroom valentines.  I have the kids hand-write their classmates names (good practice!) and send in the usual character cards and piece of candy.  Nothing wrong with that, but I feel the pressure with a crafty blog, and all ;)  This year, with the dawn of pinterest, so many fun and easy ideas have struck my fancy.
I went to Michael's all ready to buy some things for a project that I had in mind. 
Much to my delight, I walked past the stocking stuffer bins.  They were marked 90% off!
I found a bunch of these adorable coin purses.  It said that they were .15 apiece!  Better yet, when I went to pay, they each rang up for .10!  

 I was going to grab them as goodie bag items for my daughters bday in March.  Then I wondered how I could use them as Valentines for the girls in her class (since they're a little more wintery than springy).
Here's what I came up with...

To top a sandwich bag with a label like this one I used powerpoint.  Create a text box.  Make the measurements 6.5 wide by 4 tall.  Come up with your fun Valentine "line", print, cut, fold and staple.  That's it!
So now I don't have to make notebooks and I think the girls will like these better anyway :)
AND  I was able to get coin purses for all of the girls in two classes for less than three dollars.

Can't wait to show you what I found for the boys!

Our Reflection
Todays Creative Blog

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Healthy (er) Brownie Cake

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm making some concerted efforts to eat a bit healthier.   One thing I'm trying to pull from our diet is hydrogenated oils.   Turns out they're horrid for you.  Like, really horrid.  Our liver has to work in overdrive to filter these bad fats (as well as processed foods and chemicals from soda, etc but that's a conversation for another day!)

The other night I was really in the mood for brownies (I said healthier, not that I was on a diet! ;)).  I found a recipe but altered it (a lot) and thought I'd share; especially since the brownie cake (I call it that because it has more of a cakey texture than brownie) turned out delicious and the kids love it too.

Brownie Cake
1-1 1/2 cups of sugar (depending on how sweet your tooth is)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 C coconut oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 C unsweetened apple sauce
3 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2  tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 C flour (I love the Eagle Mills Ultragrain flour)

2 Tb White Sugar
1 C semi sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 inch jelly roll pan with coconut oil.
2.  Cream 1 1/2 C sugar, coconut oil and butter.  Add eggs.  Mix cocoa, salt, baking soda, connamon and flour ingredients.
3.  Add dry ingredients to sugar mixture alternatively with applesauce.  Pour into jelly roll pan.
4.  Combine 2 TB sugar and chocolate chips.  Sprinkle over batter.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let me know if you have any questions!  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tasty Healthy Snacks-My week in review

In an effort to eat a little healthier, I decided to hit Pinterest up for some healthy but tasty snack options.
I found a bunch, hit the store and went to town.
Here is what I made and my thoughts on each.  Click on the name and it will take you to the source.

These were OK but way too flaky.  My son took a bite and blew little flakes of kale all over the kitchen floor.   Perhaps I overcooked them?   They also made my house smell like a sushi shop.  WHen my daughter came home from school, she ran to me with a horrid look on her face and said, "mommy!  what's that AWFUL smell!"  She then retreated to her room where I guess it smelled better.  Won't try again.

Easy and tasty.  Problem is I ate a small head of cauliflower in one sitting.  Not bad nutritionally, except that my stomach felt like it was having a fiesta, and not a good wholesome fiesta.  A spring break in Daytona Beach fiesta.  They need to write a song about cauliflower similar to the "Beans, beans, the magical fruit" tune...
Will make again for sure-just eat in smaller portions ;)

My friend posted the recipe for this one on FB.  I've had one of these each day for the past three days.  It is OH SO good.  Better yet, it's FILLED with good things for your body.  And even better, is that it keeps you full!   I'm good for three hours after drinking this.  New favorite lunch.

These are really good and taste way better than they look. My girl is the only one that didn't like them.  Great for breakfast or as a snack.
I'll make these again for sure.  I used craisins instead of raisins.  There are a whole lot of different things you could add to these to make them however you'd like.

In my oven now is a version of these Honey Roasted Chickpeas.
I used coconut oil instead of vegetable and omitted the sugar.  I'll let you know how they turn out!

How about you?  Do you have any healthy snacks that you can recommend?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Insta Friday!

 Friday is here!  It's a snow day! 
Here are my cell phone pics of the week.
My girl got her first "real" haircut at the salon by her auntie Cat.  The boys are waiting patiently ;)
First time roller skating.  Doing the hokey pokey!
"Roger, Roger.  What's your vector, Victor?"  What they hay is with the giant headphones at the library?  Hilarious.
Scooter riding it up on a gorgeous winter yet springlike day.

My husband got these weird "lobster" gloves for bike riding in the winter.

Not a very manly place to take a rest, but better than the leopard print chair, I guess.

Wednesday-50 degrees and sunny....
Thursday-30 degrees and snowy!  Love Chicago seasons.

Finally got to wear my new Sorels!  First pair of GOOD winter snow boots.  Wish I would've invested earlier.
Short but sweet.  Gotta get three kids bundled to play outside!
Have a great weekend.

life rearranged

Monday, January 9, 2012

Queen of Hearts Pillow Tutorial

I know, I know... Valentines day is more than a month away, but in crafty world, it's kickin' into high gear.  I like to decorate a bit for the "little" holidays.  I think the kids like it and it adds some festivity to our home.  I don't like to spend a lot of money on said decorations, however.
I saw a pillow on pinterest with felt circles and I thought, "well wouldn't that be darn cute with hearts?" In typical Tina fashion, I had to do it right then and there.  It's a sickness really.  Here I am 45 minutes later typing a tutorial for it.  Make it stop!!!

I had a pillow cover that I had picked up from Ikea a few months back.  It's a white waffly 20x20inch cover.  I also had some red felt.
Here's what you need in case you want to make one for yourself!  It took me approx 30 minutes from start to finish.

1 20x20 pillow cover (or make your own in whatever dimension you'd like!)
2 sheets of red felt (I used a 22x11 portion from a piece I bought a while back)
Red Thread

Instruccione's: (Don't ask my why I felt the need to write that in Spanish.  No lo se').

Cut 16 hearts out of the felt.  I made mine different sizes because I knew I'd never be able to get them all one uniform size.  I also used the old, fold in half to cut your heart method.  While you're cutting, a great song to listen to is Bon Jovi's "Shot through the Heart" except you can change it to "Cut Through the Heart."  Chuckle.  Snort. 

Place them where you want them on the pillow...

Pin those hearts down.

Sew up the middle of each heart backstitching at the beginning and end of each heart.  Don't cut the thread after every single heart in one row.  Just pull it along and cut all the thread at the end (see pic).  It makes it go much more quickly this way!

Tip:  (This is the hardest part) because the pillow case is pre-made you need to make sure it doesn't bunch up as you sew.  You don't want to sew through both layers of your pillow!  Keep adjusting it as you go along...

Load your pillow inside and viola!  A cute addition to your Valentime's day decor (correct pronunciation for my three year old).

Let me know if you have any questions!  I'd be happy to help :)

Our Reflection
Todays Creative Blog

Friday, January 6, 2012

When the door is closed and the window is too...

I was thinking the other day about the quote, "When God closes a door, He always opens a window."  I first heard this quote in the Sound of Music when Maria visits the nun lady (Mother Abess) for advice and said nun lady belts out, "CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN".

When I was a kid, this was the most boring part of the movie.  An old nun sitting at a window staring out singing = FFWD on the VCR remote.  I wanted to hear the Von Trapps singing and running around the hillsides.

I digress.
SO the quote.

 "When God closes a door, He always opens a window."

I've been standing at a door for a year or so waiting for it to open.  Then I started knocking on the door and it still didn't open.  Then I tried to open it by force.  That didn't work, so I ran around the house looking for that open window that Mother Abess told me would be open because dang it, that door was closed and locked.  Guess what?  Window not open.  So I looked through the window.  And what I saw caused me to furrow my brow.

I was trying to break into a house that would take me down a path that would be OK, something I was good at, but definitely not something I was passionate about.

God could have opened that door for me but He knows better.  I'm so thankful.  I was putting limits on what He wanted to do in and through me and picked a door that I thought was good enough.  But now I see that He's leading me to a place where He can use me and my giftings for something I'm passionate about.  Something that won't fizzle out after a few months or years.  Something more eternal.

Look through the window before pounding down the door.  It will save you a lot of time and energy.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How Can I Be Satisfied?

For the past week or so, I haven't been able to get a song out of my head.
It's a worship song by a man named Kevin Prosch.  Kevin made a huge impact on worship back in the early 90's.  In fact, Martin Smith of the worship band Delirious says in his book, "Delirious", "without Kevin, the entire geography of worship in the West would not be as it is today... from Kevin, we learned that God was and IS speaking through music, and that our creativity should be unleashed in response to Him rather than used to define Him."  And I'm betting most of you don't even know who he is!

Between the ages of 12-15 I listened to Kevin's cassette tapes until they couldn't be played anymore.  For years we searched for CD's because we yearned to listen to his music again.  Thankfully, I received his "Come to the Light" album a couple of years ago.

A song he wrote called, "How Can I be Satisfied" is the one that has been playing non-stop in my head.  I couldn't find the lyrics online, so I listened to the song and typed them out.

oh Lord hear my prayer and my argument; I come with dust on my face.
 who could have need of anything else, once they have felt your embrace?
i as a son present my complaint, won't you bend down you ears and hear me?
ive cried out for more, there has to be more.  enlarge my portion, come near me.

oh lord break me open with your loving grace, like the five loaves of bread.
place in my heart a passion for you, like none that i've ever had.
my eyes fill with longing for your words of life, I'm hungry for all that you have.
don't let my mind deceive my heart, give me the strength to press in.

should i build an altar and stay here?  and grow old and say i'm content?
when will we meet again?  i must have more more, i know there is more, there has to be more!

and how can i be satisfied unless you come near and stay by my side
call me your friend count me in for life, oh how can i be satisfied.

That's my prayer for this year-and always.  That I wouldn't be satisfied.  That I would always want more of Him and that He would place in my heart a passion for Him, like none that I've ever had.

The only place I could find this song for purchase was on Kevin's website.  It's $2.  You won't regret it. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fab Jewelry Finds

Check out these fabulous statement pieces I stumbled upon while working super hard on the computer (snicker)... Actually, since the kids are back in school it's been way too quiet around here.  I still have my littlest but he has no one to tattle on and therefore minds himself.   He'll probably tattle on me later.
I was smitten by some of these pieces and thought I'd share.  They look really expensive but most are from-drumroll please-JC Penney!  Wowee.  I've been hearing that Penney's is trying to reinvent and from the looks of these beauties, I'd have to say I like the improvements!

Boo-This one isn't available-Was on clearance for 12.50!

I think this one is my fav.  You could wear it with anything-dress up a tshirt, black dress, tank in the summer-you get the point ;)  $25.

This one is gorgeous!  It's only $15!

Bracelet-under $10

I really like the braided bracelet trend right now....


Aren't these fun?  $15 for all. 
Another JCPenney find.  I like it but would probably remove the charms.  Can't beat $6.

Yea, so that's what I spent a half an hour doing this afternoon ;)  Figuring out ways to spend my lil' bit of Christmas money!   How are you getting back into the swing?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Busy Mama Workout

  I used to be a member at the YMCA and go at least three times a week and spend at least an hour each time.  That is pretty much impossible this year.  So-I quit.
I can't run like I used to because I was getting headaches every time which I (well, a physical therapist) discovered stemmed from a pelvis that was out of whack and was causing me horrid shoulder pain and headaches after intense running.
I still run/walk a couple of times a week but I knew that if I wanted to stay in some sort of shape I needed to add something else.

Wouldn't you know it, I found a little routine on Pinterest of all places called the "Morning Metabolism Boost" workout.  It takes less than ten minutes and doesn't require weights, a mat, etc.  (I do it barefoot!) 

Repeat this cycle 2x right when you wake up in the morning-I attached links to short videos for mountain climbers and burpees so you know how to do them right.

I love it.   I've added reps to each exercise as it becomes easier (so I do 65 jacks, 10 pushups, 25 situps, 25 climbers, 30 second plank and 10 burpees after doing it for a month or so).  It takes me three songs to get through it and my kids sometimes do it with me ;)  The muscles in my legs seem leaner and I'm happy to be able to do push ups again (after my shoulder pain has been subsiding from less running).  I feel like I can stick to this because it doesn't take any prep (getting in the car and driving someplace, setting up the living room for a DVD workout, etc).

I can't speak to weight loss, but I didn't gain any weight over the holidays-and if I'm not sure I could keep count of all of the cookies I ate--and bread and meat and-well, you get the point!

I figured a fitness post at the beginning of the year would be apropos. 
If you try it, let me know what you think!
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