Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Well Hey There Pretty Girl

{10 1/2 months}

Washing a Dishwasher?

Thanks to Pinterest, I've recently learned that I can, and should, clean my dishwasher every once in a while (how embarrassed should I be that I never knew this?)I've also learned through Pinterest how to make any and every kind of cleaning product for $.03, make clothing using only men's shirts and scissors, and am now chock full of witty sayings and sarcastic comments. Watch out world.

Lately, as in the last 2 years, I have not been impressed with the way my dishes come out of the dishwasher.  I thought it was because we have one of the cheaper dishwashers (it's a good brand, just on the low price end), and I was convinced that next time we needed a dishwasher, "top of the line" was a must.  I usually rinse the dishes somewhat well before loading them.  But ohmygrossness... It wasn't barf twelve times disgusting, but it was not "clean".  I won't go into great detail about what I did (and I'm quite sure you don't care to see pictures of my hard water-crusted filter), and there are 4 jillion how-to's (complete with pictures) on the internet.  But this is the blog I loosely followed - this is another good one.  I didn't have any heavy duty cleaner to run through a cycle or two, so I dumped in some vinegar and lemon juice.

I'm excited to see in the next week or so how sparkly clean my dishes come out!  If your washer isn't living up to your standards, give this a try before you shell out the bucks for a new one! :)
Since I'm usually hanging out on the floor with my sweet baby in the morning, I'm thinking that my spill-proof travel mug should just be the new norm...  Playing coffee musical chairs is getting kind of old. :)
And if you're looking for a great travel mug, I'd highly recommend the Contigo spill proof (this isn't a paid advertisement).  You have to push the button to open the spout, and once you release, it closes.  No forgetting to close your spill-proof mug and defeating the purpose.  I've had mine over 3 years and still love it :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Coffee Perfection... Almost

... Well at least in my opinion.  I know there are about 14 gazillion "Perfect Iced Coffee" recipes out there, and I've tried several... Today I decided to throw it all out the window and try something completely from scratch, no "recipes" in mind... Because all of the recipes I've tried just haven't cut it.  They're good.  But not great.  And I'm so over paying $4 for iced coffee at the local Yuckbucks.  Side note: my church now has a coffee shop - Jitters, and they get their beans from a member whose hobby is roasting his own beans. Oh. My. Goodness.  Seriously.  After having Jitters for a couple of months, I ran through the drive-thru at the above mentioned chain coffee shop and literally wondered if they had run out of coffee and gone outside and dug up some dirt to replace it.  I love strong coffee.  But I don't love strong bitter coffee.

Well let's get back to this morning.  What I made this morning was really good, but I would still probably tweak it a bit, so here's what I did and what I would do next time.

I used my french press (it's a small, single serve - I think 12oz) and added 3 level scoops.  Next time I'm thinking more along the lines of 4 or 5 heaping scoops of ground coffee (especially if you're going to ice it).  I also added 1/4 tsp. of dark chocolate cocoa (I get this at the local Spice Merchant) before I added my boiling water While it was brewing, I added 2 tsp. of good, rich vanilla from Mexico (the only way to go when it comes to vanilla!) and 2 packets of Splenda to 1 cup of skim milk.  Next time I think I'll start with 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 packet Splenda.

After 3 minutes of brewing, I mixed the coffee and milk, added a bit of ice and voila!  I was pretty excited that it turned out, not having any idea how the cocoa and vanilla would taste together (although very rare, sometimes too many good things together don't turn out good).  One of the best parts is that this comes in around 90 calories - and those are just from the milk, so they're "good" calories :) - especially if you're like me and don't like to "drink" away your daily calories (unless of course they're in the form of melted chocolate ;)
{this is only a portion of how much it made... I made it to last the whole day}
Like my straw? It's a sneak peak at one of the things that will be at Emmalyn's First Birthday party - which I'm having a blast planning and crafting for!  Can't wait for you to see it all!  But you'll have to wait until after October 13th :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grand Lake 2011

 Every other summer, Chris' grandparents - Grandpa and Grandma Ludlow - treat everyone on Chris' mom's side with a family reunion at Grand Lake.  This year was the third year, and I'm already counting down until summer '13 :)  We tried a new resort, and while the facilities were newer, Grandpa wasn't able to sit on the deck and watch his grandkids (and great grandkids) play in the water like previous years... Big bummer :(  

It worked out to where Chris, Emmalyn, and I were able to go down Thursday after work with Tera (Chris' sister) and Brian (her BF) and stay at Brian's grandparent's cabin that night.  We got up Friday and had the whole day to start vacation off right :) 

My dad had told me about "Little Blue River" in Disney, OK and I thought it would be fun to make a little family trip there. So Friday morning we got up and headed that way... Well, it's definitely a "you have to know exactly where you're going" place; you're not going to accidentally stumble on it :)  Thanks to the friendly local gas station attendant, we finally found it! What a great little place!  Reminded me of Pillsbury Crossing for all of you K-Staters :) 

 {so beautiful!}

 {I now realize how white trash I made E look by just taking her pants off, ah well}

As we were walking deeper and deeper, she'd try and "step over" the water by bringing her legs up higher with each step :)

Another place I wanted to explore was Lendenwood Gardens, which happened to be about five minutes from the place we were staying!  It was warm and muggy, but beautiful as well!  Good memories, and great photo-opps ;)  To say that watching Em experience new things is "awesome" would be putting it lightly... I could watch her all day exploring new things of this world... I love seeing the wheels turn in her head... Soaking it up, taking it all in...

{she love, love, LOVES riding on dad's shoulders}

Unfortunately, that's about the extent of my pictures... We did a lot of relaxing, which isn't really photo-worthy, and actually would be quite boring for anyone else to look at.
{Quality book reading time with Grandpa Shields before bed one night}

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mama always said "Better Safe Than Sorry"

I know it's been about 12 ions since I've posted, and this isn't a "fun" post by any means... I promise I'll get to some fun posts soon.  But I thought I'd give a free PSA reminder to all my bloggy friends! :)

Story of Relevance #1:  Recently a friend had her purse stolen out of her husband's car :(  I've had my car broken in to in high school, and Chris' truck has been broken in to in the last few years.  You feel SO violated when someone has been in your personal property (car, house), and took something of yours.  Ick :(

Story of Relevance #2: Chris and I were recently at Target. We split up because I was getting non-fun stuff (ie toilet paper), and I always feel pressure when he's with me (I like to take my time to make sure I'm getting exactly what I want, especially now that I coupon).  I know this "pressure" is ridiculous because he couldn't care one hoot, but it's just how I feel.  Anyway, so after figuring out the price per inch (or something like that) on toilet paper, I went on to do my other shopping.  When we met up again, I realized my phone wasn't with me - I asked if he had taken it, which he hadn't, so I went to retrace my steps.  I start [kind of] freaking because in my whole life of owning a cell phone I have never EVER left it anywhere. Ever!  Even with crazy mom brain - and I didn't even have the kid with me this time!  As I was coming up on the tp isle, it looked as if someone was looking at a phone kind of curiously and started walking away with it.  I was too far away to say something, so I figured I'd just follow them.  Thankfully they took it to customer service, where I retrieved it 3.2 seconds later.  My whole life is on that phone, so THANK YOU whoever you are for being a responsible citizen! :)

Point of Story #1 and #2:  Both of those stories compelled me to do what I did today... And I'd highly suggest you do the same! Crazy weird things happen, and you'll say "I wish I would have..." when they do!

 I took everything out of my wallet (except the checkbook and cash - which is never in there anyway, so don't have to worry about that!) and scanned the front and back of everything into my computer, where it is now safely stored.  If anything ever happens to my wallet, I have an accurate account of everything that is in it.  This has made me go through my wallet and take out unnecessary items.  When Emmalyn was first born, I had to give her ss# all the time it seemed, so I still had her card in there! NOT necessary!!  One suggestion I'd offer, if you have a smart phone, I'd highly recommend a "Password Keeper" application.  You have to enter a password to get into the app (so it's secure!), and it stores everything you could need or want!  I LOVE it :)  One last thing, write down all of your information from your cards (DL, credit cards, debit cards, bank acct info), and the phone numbers to those places.  If anything does happen to your wallet, you can quickly and effectively call places to have them put holds on your accounts.  This may seem like overkill, but I promise you won't regret it if something happens.

This is one sheet of my scanned cards...  Yes, I scanned my rewards cards (and sorry, I didn't want a picture of my important cards floating around the internet, no matter how much I "erased" on them).  I'd rather just glance at a document, rather than trying to rack my brain of all the places I have cards :)