Monday, October 31, 2011

Throw Pillows

How do you spice up your room without spending much money?  You sew some throw pillow covers and shove your old boring pillows inside.  A while back I had to return all of the cute pillows I had bought from Target for the sake of saving money.  It was a bummer, but I got over it and made my way to the fabric store to help dry my tears.  Anyways, I was trying to change our bedding from blue and brown accents to grey and yellow.  Our headboard is brown and we aren't really in the market for a new one of brown, grey, and yellow it became.  Here are some of the pillows I came up with.  The tan and grey one is the only one I kept from target because it brought the brown and grey together.
 This one is by far my favorite.  I made it with Duck Cloth.
 The zebra print I like, the flowers made it a bit too girly for me...and my husband.  I have not yet ripped them off but I think I will.
 This pillow as me trying to replicate the target floral one from and earlier post.  It is OK but it is missing something.  Haven't quite figured out what yet.
The hububs and I also created an angry birds trunk or treat bean bag toss.  Unfortunately there are no pictures of it in his trunk...but here are the bean bags I sewed.  Only two survived, so apparently my sewing skills are lacking or kids are getting stronger.
Time to go pawn all of the Halloween candy off on the next trick-or-treater so that it doesn't become my dinner.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Crunch Factor 10

So lately I have become a little bit more green, crunchy, granola, whatever you want to call it.  I am not an all or nothing type of person, so while I am excited about some of the things I have made or some of the changes I have implemented, this is by no means a promise to stick to them.  My persistence and follow through on all things trendy is not really one of my strong suits. So here are some things I have done to save the earth, our family, and our money.  Humility is also not a strong suit.

In the shower:
-I tried giving up shampoo and rocking the baking soda.  Didn't work for me.  Any other suggestions as I would like to rid my house of shampoo?
-Soap-Bronners all natural castile soap. I use this on my body and my face.  I used to think I had hard to manage skin, but since giving up face soap, I have actually had less problems.
-Body-  My mom makes a sugar body scrub with olive oil, honey, essential oil, and sugar.  I use this on occasion.
-Coconut Oil = My new moisturizer for my face and body, as well as my conditioner.

In the cleaning bucket:
-Homemade laundry detergent.  Recipe taken from this website.  I liked number 8 the best so far.
-After I rid myself of plastic Tupperware I am going to move to homemade dishwasher powder.  It doesn't clean plastic as well.
-I clean with a lot of baking soda and vinegar.

In the home:
-We buy used furniture.  To save money and the rain forest.  We then refinish said furniture when we want something different, and I make my own pillows and decor when I am in need of a decorative change.
-Sometimes I buy soy candles when the price is right.  I don't know if this saves anything.

In the belly:
-I try to buy organic food, especially things where we eat the peel.  Granted, this is not always in the budget.  I also try to eat a lot less processed food, meat, and dairy. But keep in mind that I love McDonalds.  Like I said, moderation.  It's hard to keep my McDonalds lovin' in moderation when they come out with this:
Taffy apple sundae.  Really?  Jerks.
-I also try to buy local when it is an option.

Things I would like to try:
-Juicing.  Documentaries ruin my life.  Thanks to documentary, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead," I am completely sold on the nutritious value of juicing.
-Try to completely give up meat and dairy.  Not for forever, but I really don't think there is a ton of nutrition there and the cost to produce it seems to be more than what it is worth to me.
-Buy all organic and local.  When I'm rich.
-Give up all processed sugar.  (This will most likely never happen if you know me).
-Eat only locally grown and raised food.  This would be hard.
-When we buy a house I would like to make it energy efficient.
-I might cloth diaper my baby's bum in the future.  Don't judge.
-I also might make some of my own baby clothes.
-In the summer I plan on composting with my garden.

So there are my lofty goals that may or may not ever happen.  Does anyone else have any good body, planet, or money saving tips?  Do tell!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Forget.

Forgive me that I forget.  As life becomes routine and miracles become scientific I have forgotten what I really get to do.

While my job feels very task oriented at times...IV's, monitors, surgery, etc. it's easy to forget what I am really a witness too. I've become jaded, as many of us do.  I get caught up in me, my struggles, and my body's desperate cries for sleep.  So sometimes I need to remind myself of the precious moments I get to share with people every day.  I get to see babies take their first breath on a regular basis.  From the beginning of a shift to the end a family of two becomes a family of three.  I get to share these sacred moments with people on a daily basis and sometimes I forget.  It is not always a pretty scene, in fact many times birth can be messy...but so can life. God sets us up for success from the get go.

I had a patient last night who helped me to remember the significance of my job.  Things don't always go as we plan, but in the end it was beautiful to watch the tears stream down her face as she fell deeply in love with her new baby girl.  By the end of the shift I didn't feel like the nurse who started her IV and harassed her all night trying to keep that baby on the monitor, but rather the friend who walked through an unfamiliar place making it a little less scary.  Patients many times say, "I couldn't have done it without you."  People are more than capable of doing it without me, but I'm grateful to share the journey with them.

By next week I will be whining about going to work...but for now I'm going to hold on to the sweetness of the week.

Because I don't like to post anything without a picture, here is a picture of my sweet niece on her birth day.  The day she took her first breath, and the day her parents went from a family of two to a family of three.  It was a sweet day and it is good to remember.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'm an adult and I went to Starved Rock

This whole post does not need to be a proclamation to my adulthood.  However, there are a few weird things I do and get away with because I am an adult.  For some reason all these things are related to food and I feel the need to go public with them.  Confession maybe?  So here are some strange things I do because I can:
I race to eat my cereal once I pour the milk.  I hate soft cereal.  Usually I'm a slow eater, I get over it once the milk is poured.
Speaking of cereal.  I don't like the Luckies.  So many times when I am in a particularly sugar needing mood, I eat just the Charms.  Couldn't do that when I was a kid (as if there is even any nutrition in the Luckies anyways).
My favorite ice cream is Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip.  But I eat  it out of the gallon.  And I only eat the chips and whatever ice cream is on my spoon with the chip.  It's like a treasure hunt and the chips are the gold.  Try it sometime.
If I have milk with an oreo I eat the whole thing.  No milk=no chocolate cookie.  Yes I am completely disgusting and lick the lard out of the cookie and love every minute of it. I then proceed to throw out the cookie part.  I think I like both parts in the milk because the milk dissolves the cookie. (Ironic how I hate soggy cereal but I like soggy cookies).

OK now that you know how incredibly weird and disgusting I am, let's move on.

This weekend we went to Starved Rock with some wonderful friends and it was glorious.  The fire was not so glorious because we bought wet wood.  The weather was beautiful for hiking, really fricking cold for sleeping...but luckily I had a nice husband to keep me warm.  So here are some pictures of the trip.

Our tent looks like a midget tent.  It supposedly sleeps 4, I think it's a lie.
  Freezing with friends.  Please don't mind my morning hair.
 Greg doesn't have high regard for his fingers.
 Can you cook over smoke?  Not so much.
 Not so level griddle.
 Morning breath.  Morning hair.  Morning love.
 Do you see the loan egg on the griddle.  Anna was trying to hard-fire-pit it.
 This is how it turned out.
 The view from Starved Rock.

 So pretty

 Our little monkies.
 God gives the Midwest a small taste of what nature can really be.

 Yep, we went there.  The sign had already been defaced, we just took it to the next level.
 How many people can you fit in the tree?  We fit three.

 This picture reminds me of the little tastes of heaven we get in life.  We see glimpses of it and whispers from it, but until we get there we will never know the full extent.

It was a wonderful weekend filled with great memories.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sweetness in the Struggle

We were really lucky to be able to meet up with a bunch of close friends last night; friends that are not convenient to get together with.  Our schedules are all full and very different.  Many people live in different neighborhoods. However these are friends that the time spent with each other is so rich that it is worth every inconvenience and makes me value our experiences together even more.  Having just come from a wake with a renewed view on the fragility of life and the importance of little memories may have made me a bit more sentimental as well. Just keeping it real.  While I want to be a half glass full of glitter kind of girl, I don't always drink the sparkle.  And when I do, I often choke.  Anyways....

Under the full moon and across the campfire we shared our happy-crappies.  Our last month's highs and lows.  Our honest truths about where we are in life.  And it was good.  It was good to be conscious about what has really been going on with me over the past month or six. It is so easy to get caught up in tasks and work, and the busy-ness of life, but when you sit around with people who want to really hear your heart, it feels good to go inside and dig it out.

So for my own sake of documentation and so that I can look back and remember some of my growth, I want to write it down.  Feel free to skip over this or never read my mushy gushy crap again.  Your choice.

Towards the end of my time at my last job, my tunnel vision was incredible.  I could not see beyond my circumstance.  I was unable to find much positive to cling to, even though I am sure there was a ton around me.  Working nights overwhelmed me and for some reason my coping strategies took a vacation. I hope they enjoyed the beach.  In all honesty I was in a crappy place and I'm grateful for all the friends and family who sat there next to me while gently challenging me to put my big girl pants on.  It's not the days I am most proud of, but it was a season none the less.  I still find myself functioning in a fear of not wanting to return to that place and I'm hoping that being on this side of the wall I can hold onto the clarity that I found.
I had really hoped that finding a new job would solve all of my problems.  Obviously it didn't and I was being an unrealistic fool.  However, while the problems are not solved, I am now able to function.  I am even able to find joy.  So far I have been able to work nights and not cry about it (which may be due to my new found love. Sub-lingual  spray melatonin).  I also take comfort in the fact that there was a rainbow when I was driving in to my first night of work. I'm thankful for God's whispers that I am where I am supposed to be and I am not alone in it.  I have set myself up with a lot of support.  I am grateful to be able to look back and have some closure about my last job.  I really miss so much about it, but I think giving up those things for the sake of a better schedule was worth it.  I work so that I can live, I don't live to work.
There are so many things I have learned by switching jobs and letting the seasons of my life change.  Hope has returned to me and I am looking forward to new opportunities in my career and life.  Both in my life and in my marriage, this past year has had a lot of struggle.  But there is so much sweetness in the struggle.  It's the struggle that strengthens your soul and your relationship.  Instead of just getting through life we are trying to live in the depths of it...both the beautiful and the ugly.  Sometimes its hard for me to see the sparkle, especially when it is dark out.  But if I focus I can see it in the stars or in my engagement ring as I'm driving to work and someone's headlight hits it just right.

That was deep, now onto fluff.  This past weekend the hubs took me to the catholic seminary that was probably private and that we probably shouldn't have been at.  However, all the priests we walked past were very nice and no one kicked us out.  So we walked the three mile trail and took in the beauty of this empty campus.  In all honesty it was a bit creepy that there was this beautiful place and no one was there enjoying it.  The weather was perfect and it was awesome to have a morning together.  We then proceeded to eat at Dairy Dream drive in where I had the most amazing corn dog of my life.  I should have taken a picture of it but I was too busy inhaling it like it was oxygen.  It was so good that my lips looked like they had been glossed by fryer grease by the time I was done.  How is that for an image.  (It is pretty ironic that I loved it so much because I am usually not a fried foods kinda gal.  Maybe I am turning a new cholesterol leaf.)

The beautiful chapel

 I wonder if they do weddings here.  And if so, can I have a repeat please?

 We snuck into the library to use the potty. I want this staircase in my future home.
 He wants this chair in our future home.

I just want to thank my Aunt Alice for showing me how to ride over the bumps in life at my wedding. You will be missed by many and it was great to celebrate your life.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sprinkles and Christmas Heaven

There are many things I love in life, including sprinkles and Christmas.  I enjoy doing shots of sprinkles out of the can (the best sprinkles come this way).  I find them addictive like crack.  Now, it is not all sprinkles that I love, I am a sprinkle snob.  If you want to eat blow-your-mind sprinkles, you must buy Betty Crocker's Parlor Perfect Sprinkles:
I also love Christmas.  The advent season reminds me of being engaged.  Anticipation builds and then everything comes together in full glory.  As a kid my favorite thing to do was to open the advent calendar.  I knew all the little ornaments that were in there, but for some reason, being able to open those paper pockets every day to discover the treasure within warmed my heart.

So imagine my delight when this weekend brought together two of my favorite things along with so many others.  I took a day trip with my mom and sister to Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland in Michigan.  Holy Heaven.  I knew this was going to be an amazing trip when I first saw this license plate
Followed by this street sign
Cheers to the freakin' weekend my friend.  The only thing that could have made this trip better would have been if my youngest sister could have come with us.  So we trekked to Michigan and here is a bit of what Christmas Heaven looked like:
 I bet you want to pick this nose.
 I thought I would never find a wedding dress I loved more than my own.  I was wrong.

 You would be scared too.

 It was so cold!  Making it feel even more like Christmas in October.
 The countdown!

It took us 5 hours to make it through the whole store.  I loved the trip.  Along the way were sprinkles off red fall leaves among the green trees.  I think the advent season should start in October.   There were sprinkles of laughs mixed in with rich conversation.  There were sprinkles of butts mixed in with stick shift lessons (I will never be to old to drop trough to moon my mother when she is least expecting it).  It was a weekend full of things that I loved, and I tried to savor every minute of it.