1/30/12

New Year, New You?

On December 4th, I willing ran 13.1 miles through the city of Dallas in the pouring rain--- oh and it was about 40 degrees outside. Sound strange? I agree. A few years ago, I would have ventured to say it was crazy. But these days, that is my idea of fun. So much so, that I was willing to shell out $90 and wake-up at 4:30 am to participate!


Now that the New Year is here, we are all looking for ways to improve our lives. We want to look better, feel happier, and find something that will magically put everything into place. For me, that thing has been running. Want to know more? Then join me today at "Running to be Skinny" as I share how I started running and what led me to complete two half marathons in 2011.

Who knows, you might just be motivated to lace up your running shoes too!

1/27/12

The Ultimate Super Bowl Menu

I need to be banned from the computer in the evening. Or at least block all of you who keep pinning food! It seems like everyone that I follow on Pinterest is looking at food around 9pm. And of course it's not fruit and veggies. The photos that keep popping are gooey, carby, and oh so fatty. Yum.








 Usually I have to suffer, knowing that there is really no good reason for me to make any of those recipes. But next week, that will all change. And even though I am not a huge football fanatic, I will happily invite over everyone I know-- just so I can make a few of these delectable treats.

Are you hosting a party? Going over to a friend's house to watch the game? Then take a peek at the menu I have planned. Yes, there are a lot of carbs. Yes, there are a lot of calories. But the Super Bowl  only comes around once a year, so enjoy! :)


1. Buffalo Chicken Bites
2. Hot Wings
3. Loaded Potato Skins
4. {Free} Super Bowl Party Printables
5. Football Brownies
6. Party Snack Sacks (portion control for the chips!)
7. Reusable Food and Beverage Holder
8. Oreo Truffle Football Cupcakes
9. Individual Seven Layer Cups (no double-dipping!)

Want more? Check out all the foods I am drooling over on my Superbowl Pinterest Board. 
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1/25/12

Crafty How To: Upcycled Heart Wreath


We have been saving toliet paper and paper towel rolls for a few weeks. My kindergartener has an eye for treasure. And when you have a crafty kid- paper, crayons, and markers don't last long. She is not exactly 'green' when it comes to her paper use :) So, I like the idea of re-using or upcycling items for crafting. One afternoon while little sister was sleeping and I was knee deep in fabric for headbands, Afton decided we needed to put those cardboard rolls to good use.



We put our heads together and came up with a this-- an "Upcycled Valentine Wreath".


Afton cut the tubes in 1.5-2 inch pieces. Then we set them into the shape of a heart. Finally I helped her hot glue them together. We used about 30 pieces to create the heart. You can pinch the piece at the bottom to make the 'point' of the heart.

If you decide to make one, I would keep it about the same size. Any larger and it would be too heavy to hold it's shape.

The project was quick and easy- the perfect kind to make with your little Valentine. The hardest part was deciding where to hang it.




If you are looking for more Valentine decor ideas, check out the right column on my blog. It's such a sweet, simple holiday-- why not have some fun with it?

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Linking up here:

-Whipperberry
-Too Much Time on My Hands
-Home Stories A to Z
-Tatertots and Jello
-The 36th Avenue
-Today's Creative Blog 
-Itsy Bitsy Paper Blog 
-Under the Table and Dreaming

1/23/12

Save Your Candy Canes

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Hope you haven't started your spring cleaning yet... because you are going to need some mini candy canes.


Read all about these "Lovely Cupcakes" and find out how to make some sweet decorations for your home in my latest article for North Texas Kids.


So join me over at North Texas Kids by clicking here.





Linking up here:

-Whipperberry
-Too Much Time on My Hands
-Home Stories A to Z
-Tatertots and Jello
-Serenity Now
-Tidy Mom
-Made by You Mondays
-The 36th Avenue
-Today's Creative Blog 

1/20/12

Let the Good Times Roll: Mardi Gras

We lived in New Orleans for almost 4 years. In fact, that is where my Afton was born. New Orleans is really like no place else. The food, the land, the parties, the people- all extraordinary. My husband, who is a Virginian by birth, fell in love with the culture. He can now be seen wearing his Saints and LSU gear so often, people often think he is a native Louisianan :)


Source: bing.com via Samantha on Pinterest



So every year, when crawfish come into season and king cakes appear in the stores, he gets the "Mardi Gras itch". Last Sunday he even cooked a big pot of chicken gumbo. He likes to take his time and make his own roux, but if you are looking for a simple version of this recipe, click here.




I have to admit Mardi Gras is a fabulous time of year. Everyone decorates their front porches, gets together for cook-outs, and of course attends a few parades.


Source: etsy.com via Samantha on Pinterest














Source: google.com via Samantha on Pinterest



 Last year we drove to Shreveport to celebrate the season with a few of Jeff's co-workers. This year we will undoubedly do the same- especially because my sister now lives there. If you are from south Louisiana, then you know that the Shreveport version is a bit tamer than the New Orleans scene. But it is family friendly and a lot of fun. If you live within driving distance, check out the parade schedule here. Everyone needs to experience Mardi Gras at least one time!



 And in honor of the season, I will be offering a few Mardi Gras headbands. Purple, green, yellow, with lots of sparkle and feathers. Mardi Gras is the perfect excuse to go 'over the top' with accessories.




Click here to buy
Click here to buy.


Have you ever been to a Mardi Gras parade?


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1/18/12

This Blog Runs on...

On any given evening, I like to spend a few (or sometimes many, many) minutes browsing Pinterest. What did we all do before Pinterest?! Cooking, clothing, design, decor, crafts and more. It seems anything and everything can be found there. And it has done wonders for bloggers, helping us to share our projects and connect with new readers. If I could, I would send Pinterest a big Valentine this year, because I really do love it!





So one night while looking around Pinterest, happily clicking 'see more pins'-- I came across this adorable printable.





The first thing I thought when I saw this image was that it would make the perfect Valentine for Afton's teacher. (Who like many Texans, starts each day with trip to Sonic!)  I clicked on the image and was taken to Sweet Blessings, where I found about twenty different versions of  this printable. So whether you are at home, in a classroom, or even in an office-- there is a printable for you!















I simply chose one, printed it, and then put it in a cute red frame from Hobby Lobby. I am going to pair it with a gift card to Sonic. Afton's kindergarten teacher has been amazing, going above and beyond in every situation. I hope this little treat will let her know how much she is appreciated-- and that it puts a smile on her face too!


Which sign would go best in your home? Are you a Sonic fan? A Starbucks junkie? Or a chocolate lover?

Thanks to Sweet Blessings for making and sharing these printables. Stop by her blog to print yours. Maybe she can make me a sign that says "This Blog Runs on Love, Laughter, and Lots of Diet Coke"!

UPDATE: Shannon was sweet enough to actually make me a sign-- here it is. I plan on framing it and putting it in my craft room. :) I love new blog friends!!! 








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Linking up here: Serenity Now, Home Stories A to Z, Tatertots and Jello

1/16/12

One Word

Can you define a year in 'one word'? Can you sum up 365 days with just a few letters strung together?






 We are half way into January and I have set a few goals for myself and our home this year. But I think maybe choosing one word could help me achieve these goals. This word could serve as my own personal 'theme' for 2012. My word will be something that I could chant in my head when things get sticky. It will be something that will inspire me to do a little better, be a little better. And honestly, don't we all need that?!




So this year, I am challenging myself to "SEE". 



I want to "SEE" the best in myself and others.




I want to "SEE" more smiles.




I want to "SEE" more beauty.




I want to "SEE" that it does not all have to be done in one day.




I want to "SEE" that perfection is not required.



I want to "SEE" more and worry less.



 I want to "SEE" the big picture.

 


2012 is the year that I will "SEE".


 Do you think could you choose just one word to define your year? Could one word help you achieve your goals and keep you on track? Can you find success this year by focusing on a few simple letters?
What would your word be?

Having trouble deciding on a 'word'? Click over to"The Lettered Cottage" for some inspiration.

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