Sunday, September 30, 2012

Making your bed, daily, with "Sham" shams.

I have decided to begin a few challenges here on Purple Frog...hopefully challenges I will master as well as you :-) These will be household challenges for the most part and sometimes we will go one month, sometimes two.

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time cleaning my house and an even harder time keeping it clean (could be the three boys I live with?). Oh yea...I also do not enjoy cleaning. at. all.

However, one thing I am learning about myself (which has actually come as a big surprise to me) is that I love having a picked up home, I didn't say dusted or mopped, but picked up.

Many of you have probably heard of flylady before and while that is a fantastic site to get you on your way to a clean home, I can't ever stick with it for longer than a month. Too many habits to start at once for my time schedule and my lack of will-power.  (However, I encourage you to visit there because it is a great motivator if you can stick with it!)

So...I want to challenge you, as well as myself, to start just one "clean-up" habit at a time.  And after 12 months, just think...we will have anywhere from 8-12 habits that are daily/weekly and take little time because they will be routine by then.  That's what I am finding keeps a house decent.  (Again, I did NOT say immaculate b/c that is just not who I am...just decently clean/picked up).

October's Habit?  Make your bed, daily.  I can hear the groaning already.  But let me assure you, it's easy.  How do I know?  Because this is the one habit from flylady that I started a few years ago and have never stopped.  I now LOVE, truly LOVE getting into a bed each night that isn't still wrinkled from the morning.  I like seeing the quilt spread out with a couple of pillows on it.  I never thought those sentences would ever come out of my mouth (and my mother has probably just fainted from reading this).
Disclaimer...I am not a professional photographer and these were all taken with my phone so ignore the blur and color craziness on them :-)

 Now, I didn't say your kids beds, your dog's bed, all the beds in your...JUST your bed.  Because this first habit is for you, to make your room feel more cozy at night.

If you need inspiration, here is a quick and CHEAP way to make your bed more attractive to you (yea, sometimes we need that little encouragement, don't we?)  I love pretty pillows, but I don't usually want to spend the money on fancy ones and I can't always afford them anyway.  Plus when you have handmade quilts, it's sometimes hard to get any to match.

What you will need:
*2 pillows, standard (surely we all have 2 extras in the house, I know we did! Usually the ones we purchased but then hated sleeping on)
*Go to Wal-Mart, Target, etc...and purchase a set of cheap king-size pillowcases in a color to match your currently quilt/blanket.  (We use quilts in our home, just like the feel plus my mom is one awesome quilter).  Wal-Mart has a great section of their kind of brand sheets/pillowcases in a rainbow of colors, Main Stay I think? Cheap-o!!
*Buy a package of velcro squares, you'll need about 8 "pairs".
*Buy or rummage through your home for 16-20 buttons.
*Get either some fabric glue or if you are handy enough to sew on a simple button, find some thread to match the pillowcase and a needle.  Embroidery floss (cross-stitch thread) is fun b/c it's thicker and add just a bit of decorative flair
*Masking tape, just a few small pieces or something similar

What you will do:
Now, put your standard pillow inside the king sized pillowcase and get it as much in the center as you can.  About 1 1/2-2 inches from where the pillow is towards the sewn side of the pillowcase, place a small piece of masking tape, just something to mark where your line of buttons will begin.  Do the same about 1 1/2-2 inches from the where the pillow is towards the open side of the pillowcase.

Take your pillow out and lay the pillowcase flat on a table or even on your bed, wherever you want to work.   Take a ruler and mark each button spot in line with the first one (I measured from the edge of the pillowcase to help).  Or you can just sew on buttons in random order all along the edges, that would be a fun look too!

Begin sewing the closed edge buttons first, these are easy because you are actually sewing the pillowcase shut with these buttons to keep the pillow inside from moving around and to give you a floppy edge to your "sham" of a sham ;-)  No one will see the back except you so no need to sew from the inside and make things hard on yourself!  Or just use fabric glue to attach the buttons and also use some to close the pillowcase along the line of buttons.
This picture, while blurry, shows you how far my buttons are from the edge of the pillowcase.  This is the closed edge.

Next, mark your button spots on the opened edge of the pillowcase.  This time, however, you will be sewing the buttons ONLY to the top of the pillowcase, so your pillow can slide in and out when needed.

This shows the inside with the sticky velcro squares on the opened edge of the pillowcase, so pillow can slide in but stays secure with velcro in place.
Once all buttons are on, take your velcro squares and stick them under each button on the opened edges of the pillowcase.  If you feel the needs, add a few stitches to each piece or fabric glue.  Mine have stayed just fine without that extra step, though.  It's not like you are messing with them daily.

Now, put your standard pillow inside, seal up the velcro and wah-lah!  A "sham" sham :-)  Add a few cheap throw pillows (if you get lucky like me, most of your blankets will have a little of one color in them...red for me...and you can use the same throw pillow(s) with every quilt and sham set!). 

Ok, get to makin' that bed!!

Do it in the morning, after you get up, I promise it takes LESS than 2 minutes if that.  Pull up the sheets, only tuck if the sheets are waaayyy long (I only tuck the bottom), pull up the quilt/blanket, place your sleeping pillows on top and fold the quilt/blanket over them.  Add your "sham" shams on top and a throw pillow and you're done.  Do this EVERY morning, even on Saturdays when you don't get out of bed till noon.  (Ok, that was me BEFORE kids, sadly, not anymore). 


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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Indian Summer LO and FREE Template! (join the Blog Hop!!)

You still have through tomorrow to join in the Indian Summer Blog Hop from Daybreak Scraps!! Start HERE at Tammy's Blog.

As an extra freebie, I've created an easy template from my Indian Summer Layout :-)

 Here is your template !  Click on the IMAGE to download!

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Indian Summer Blog Hop!!!!

If you have NO idea what that means...

Do you digital scrapbook? If so, Dawn at Daybreak Scraps has created a fantastic fall kit titled "Indian Summer" and she has invited her Creative Team members to join her in making some fun FREEBIES to go along with it!

By starting HERE at Tammy's Blog to grab your first FREEBIE, you will then travel through several more CT blogs (gathering more FREEBIES!) until you reach Dawn's to get the kit as the grand prize :-)

Aren't these colors beautiful?

Ok, enough chit-chat...here is my part, 3 Wordart images. I hope you can use them!

Click on the IMAGE to download :-)
Ok, your next stop is....SONDRA!!! 
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Breast Cancer Shirts Last Chance!!!!




10 Days Left to order a Team Priceless breast cancer t-shirt!! 
Please e-mail me here with orders and put "Priceless Shirt" in subject line. 
Thank you!  Together we fight for a world without cancer. 
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

Well, I don't have any pictures of our actual meal, because we ate it all up before I thought "hmmmm, I really ought to write this down".

I have a great base recipe for beef stroganoff, however I have never been able to find one ingredient listed in the recipe...Lipton Garlic Mushroom soup mix. I can find every kind of onion mix out there, but no garlic mushroom. So I shy away from this recipe a lot.

Last night, however, I was ready to take it on and used a few spices I had on hand to sort of simulate the soup mix. Here is the recipe and it was SOOOOOO savory!!!

Beef Stroganoff
1 to 1 1/2 lb stew meat
2 Tbs flour
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 c water
1/2 c white wine (I used Chardonnay, a cheap one at that)
1/3 to 1/2 chicken bouillon cube (to your taste)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I use 1/2 a batch of THIS recipe...soooo much better!)
1 c sour cream a bit of heavy cream (about a Tbs or so)
noodles (the fun wavy stroganoff looking noodles)

Take your stew meat and cut into bite sized pieces. Heat butter and oil in a pan. Put meat in a bowl and sprinkle with flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder, then mix to coat. Brown the meat in your oil/butter.

Once meat is browned, add water and wine, stirring meat while adding to avoid lumps. Stir in the chicken bouillon cube crumbles (I say crumbles b/c that's what mine does when I cut into one) and add minced garlic. I also added some crushed pepper and more salt at this point. Check on what tastes good to you. If it gets to salty, that's where the added heavy cream comes in handy later :-)

Add the mushroom soup, stir to mix and let this all simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, this is a definite must, helps the flavors saturate.  This soup already has extra mushroom pieces in it b/c I made it myself from the recipe link above so I didn't add extra mushrooms to the stroganoff.

When the timer dings, start cooking your noodles and add sour cream to your meat mixture. If the dish tastes too salty, add the bit of heavy cream to decrease saltiness.

Serve over your noodles, with a side of healthy steamed broccoli (and a touch of melted Velveeta) and enjoy!
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

New CT for me :-)

I am so excited, along with having the great privilege of being on the CT of Daybreak Scraps and Elaine Theresa, I am now officially on the CT of Two Cute Kids!

I love being a member of a Creative Team because not only do I receive great products, I mainly get some scrappin' done. 

Here is my first LO with Happiest Place, a great Disney themed kit from Two Cute Kids. I love the squared paper especially, fun design :-)  More to come in future posts!


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Friday, September 14, 2012

Mr. Fix It and a Freebie!

 Dawn over at Daybreak Scraps has created yet another fun kit! This one is called Mr. Fix It, the colors were different for me at first for a Mr. kit but once I started using them, I LOVED them.

I was asked to create some fun wordart to go along with the kit and we want to share one with you :-)

Just go HERE to get the Freebie and then go HERE to get this fantastic kit!  I have also made a few more LO's with more Daybreak kits you might want to check out.

I used "What I Love About You" for this LO, a very versatile kit, the colors can be boyish, girlish, friendish, familyish (yea, made that one up), well you get the point.

I used "Summer Rhapsody" again on this LO, these colors are just wonderful.

And for this one I used "Hope Renewed"



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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Weight Battle Update #3

Well, I realized last night that I haven't given an update on my inch loss progress and I was actually a bit nervous to measure.

See, over the last couple of weeks, I have just felt puffy and my eyes definitely show it.  I have been told it could be anything from low iodine in my system to pre-menopause (which I have been feeling for a couple of years) to thyroid issues.  I plan on getting some bloodwork done this Friday morning so we will see.

Anyhoo...I was pleasantly surprised with the inch loss over the last 2 weeks, very surprised actually. I kept thinking my waist was shrinking a bit but then I would tell myself that was just wishful thinking ;-) I have lost another 3 inches, and this time no gains anywhere! I lost from my lower thighs, my waist, my lower belly and my hips! Amazing.  I still haven't changed my diet, I still drink one Dr. Pepper a day because it's just sooooooooo good! (no diet drinks for me!)

But here is what I physically have noticed this time (last time it was THIS).  My posture around my shoulders has improved some.  My shoulders do not appear as slumped as they have over the last many years.  Granted, it's not huge yet, but I can see a difference and it makes me want to stand just a bit taller :-)  Course the hubby says it makes my chest stick out a bit more, which he likes...blah!  I'm one of those weirdos who wants a SMALLER chest!

What I did over the last 2 weeks:  9 days of T-Tapp (4 of Instructional #2 and 5 of The Total Workout).  The Total Workout is the Basic combined with 35 more minutes of legs, arms and balance work.  The 5 of the Total Workout was one of their "boot camps" suggested in the brochure.  You get your body really ingrained in the T-Tapp technique by doing the TWO or the Basic Workout Plus 4-14 days in a row, I stopped at 5.  I then took a couple of days off after this boot camp and hopped back up on my treadmill yesterday for a 4 mile training walk.  I'm a bit behind on training for the 3Day this year...I'm not placing blame but it MIGHT be due to having 2 kids at home, one an active 17 month old, and homeschooling, just sayin' ;-)

My plan for these next two weeks is to walk 3-4 times a week (hopefully once or twice on actual roads, not just the treadmill) and T-Tapp 2-3 times a week, at least one of these being the Total Workout.  I am convinced T-Tapp does what it says. 

Here's a quick video for you this week!  These are called Hoe Downs and when you tuck your rear and pull your shoulders back, your heart rate will be going by the end of these 3 little minutes.


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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Easy Iced Coffee

Ok, so this is a no-brainer for most of you coffee drinkers, but for me, it was an "ah-ha!" finally moment :-)

I grew up in a non-coffee home.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I don't even think my parents had a coffee maker.  Let's skip along a few years...around 30 years of age and my lovely friend Julie introduced me to the ever-sweet and wonderful "gas station" cappucino.  I was hooked instantly.  Of course,  there really isn't a whole lot of coffee in that syrupy mixture, but it was so addictive.  Now, let's travel about 3 more years and my encouraging sister-in-law introduces me to the white chocolate mocha at that ever-popular coffee franchise. Oh. my.goodness.  Gone was the love of gas station coffee.  I was yet again hooked.

Now, over the last few years, I have advanced from those initial sweet drinks to lattes, other cappucinos and actual brewed coffee from home (but I do require quite a bit of creamer and flavor). I am not to the all-black method of drinking coffee, far from it, but I do like a cuppa java several times a week.

I am the only one in my house who likes it, yet again.  Hubby can't stand it.  I hate to brew more than a few cups worth because it's wasteful and to be honest, I never have time to drink more than one mug without it getting cold with the boys around!  I have also tried several of the pinterest versions of iced coffee which require overnight soaking of ground coffee, messy straining, etc... and come to find out, it was still a bit too strong for my taste, or maybe I was just not good at making it.   And it was a pain.

Anyhoo...I have discovered that if I make my normal 2 cups worth of coffee, enjoy the hot one right away and save the rest in a mug overnight in the fridge, all I have to do in the morning is add some cream (yes, I add actual heavy cream for this method), some vanilla syrup and a few ice cubes.  Then Wah-lah!  I have what I would consider a match to another popular fast-food-restaurant-with-a-King's "iced cappucino" (which is VERY tasty but is also close to $3 a cup!).  And I am happy to not be throwing coffee down my sink in a waste :-)
Ignore the Spiderman pillowcase in the background and the bagels on the cup ;-)  I love this cup.

Easy Iced Coffee:
1-2 cups brewed coffee (your regular brewed coffee)


Leave in fridge overnight (I just clean my coffee cup from the day and put it in there)
Heavy cream (I pour slowly, until it's very creamy and light in appearance)
Coffee syrup flavor to your taste (vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, mixture of lots, whatever)
ice cubes

Enjoy!
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Friday, September 7, 2012

Gluten-Free Mini Cheesecakes

One of my close friends and her family have to eat gluten free. It's not just a healthy choice for them, it's a necessity. And, having a child with a physical disability, I totally get when as a mom, you just get tired of having to do things "different" sometimes. And you get really tired when others seem oblivious to the details you battle. (Like blocking a handicap ramp in a parking lot, don't EVEN get me started!).

Anyway, I have been guilty of not helping her as well as others, not that she would ever expect or ask for help. She simply brings separate food and snacks to all church, 4H, co-op, etc...events so her family can eat with everyone.

However, to her youngest son, this can be not so fun. All the kids around him are enjoying oreos and he gets special peanut butter cookies that are yummy but he knows they aren't what everyone else is eating. So as it was my turn to take snacks to our 4H meeting, I thought I would attempt a gluten free but fun sweet snack most kids would enjoy.

Enter the mini cheesecake. I mean really...it's cheesecake, it's finger-food size and, did I say it's cheesecake?  And it's already pretty much gluten free, just gotta change the crust options.
So here you go, gluten-free mini cheesecakes :-)

2 packages cream cheese, softened to room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
12-15 gluten free shortbread cookies (mine were a bit large for the muffin tin so I had to trim them up just a tad, you can take the crumbs for a topping)
cupcake holders

Mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs and mix until blended.  Place a cookie in the bottom of each muffin cup and top with a scoop of cream cheese mixture.  I sprinkled some of the cookie mixture on top for decoration.

Bake for 20 -22 minutes, until set, then refrigerate for 2-3 hours.  Top with fruit or fruit topping (if it's safe).  
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Conquer Your Fears and "Live to Give" Webcast Info!!!

 
Thomas Nelson Author and Hoops of Hope founder, Austin Gutwein, to host September 6 online event to focusing on themes his latest release, Live to Give.

On September 6 at 8 PM EDT, Austin Gutwein will be hosting a live Facebook web event to encourage participants to conquer their fears and use their talents to help others. The webcast will center on the themes Gutwein writes about in his latest release “Live to Give: Letting God Turn Your Talents into Miracles(Thomas Nelson/August, 2012). At the conclusion of the webcast, the winners of a month-long social media fueled “Get and Give” contest will be announced, including the winner of a Kindle Fire and $250 donated to the winner’s charity of choice.  

Join Austin on the evening of Thursday, September 6th as he shares about his own experiences and encourages others to conquers their fears and “live to give”. Austin will also be taking audience questions and interacting with participants. PLUS – there will be several “Live to Give” giveaways – books, gift certificates and much more! RSVP today and tell your friends.

Based on the John 6 story of Jesus feeding the 5000, in “Live to Give” Gutwein challenges his readers that regardless of age and talent, God can use them to make a difference. Even though God could take care of everything Himself and doesn’t really need our help, He desperately WANTS us to help Him care for others. Gutwein walks young people through discovering and embracing their unique God-given strengths and abilities, then figuring out how to use those talents to help others. Sometimes doing that takes a leap of faith on our part, and often becoming fearless in the process.  

More about Austin: At eighteen years old, Gutwein speaks with wisdom and has the experience to reinforce his message. When Austin was just nine years old, he watched a video that showed children in Africa who had lost their parents to AIDS. Gutwein realized these kids weren’t any different from him—except they were suffering. Feeling called to help, he took his love of basketball and decided to shoot free throws to raise money for orphans in Zambia. On World AIDS Day in 2004, he shot 2,057 free throws to represent the 2,057 kids who would be orphaned during his day at school. Through sponsorship from parents and friends, Gutwein raised over $3,000 that day to give hope to eight orphans in Zambia.

Over the past eight years, Gutwein’s efforts have created Hoops of Hope, the largest free throw marathon in the world. With an estimated 40,000 people in more than 25 countries participating, Hoops of Hope has raised more than $2.5 million to build schools, medical clinics, dormitories for orphanages, and the only computer lab in Zambia.  

Enter to win a Kindle Fire and have $250 donated to your favorite charity. Click for the banner for details and entry or visit http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13528976/livetogive
 

 Learn more about Austin and Hoops of Hope at www.AustinGutwein.com and www.HoopsOfHope.org.
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