Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Social




1. What is something you've always wanted to do but are afraid of?
Hmmm... I'm not sure. I've always been pretty good about just doing whatever I want. I don't think I've really wanted to do anything crazy like skydive. Maybe jump off cliff into a waterfall... I'd love to do that, but I've never been somewhere that I could... so it's not that I'm afraid to do it... I guess something I've wanted to do since we've been here in Alaska is to go hiking, but I dont want to do it alone because there have been 3 or 4 bear attacks this year. Being eaten by a bear is something I'm definitely afraid of!


2. Where do you see yourself in five years?
The plan is that my husband would like to get out of the Army, and work in the oil fields... so I will go from "Army Wife" to "Slope Wife"... I'll end up seeing my husband about as much as I do with him being in the Army (slopes are 2 weeks on/2 weeks off) but he'll be making twice as much money as he does now... I'm planning on taking his GI Bill soon, so I'll hopefully be going back to school for either a masters in Art, so I can be an Art teacher, or something in the medical field.


3. What are you looking forward to before the end of 2013?

Actually getting to experience seasonal changes... in NC it goes from summer to fall, and then to spring... the winter has been so mild the past few years there. Its already feeling like fall here with the crisp air, and cooler weather. I'm excited to see how the critter likes actually getting to play outside in the snow this year. My sister got her the cutest pair of pink carhart overalls for the winter.


4. What are your hopes for your blog?

I'm not trying to get a million followers, or make a million dollars. I'd love to get paid to spend all day doing crafts like Tatertots and Jello, but I dont have that kind of dedication to blogging & I'm horrible at remembering to take step-by-step pictures of projects I do... I would like to actually stick to blogging this time around, not disappear for months, and to hopefully build up some bloggy friendships again. I'd also love to find some other Alaska bloggers, so if anyone knows of a great blogger from Alaska, send me the link!


5. Do you always see yourself living in your current town/city?

I'm not sure. Right now, we'd like to stay in Alaska indefinitely, but I can't say what will happen. It's all going to depend on how the hubs likes working on the slopes when he gets out of the Army in 4 years.


6. What is your morning routine?


Change baby
Let the dogs out
Feed baby
Let the dogs in
Relax on the couch & watch Sesame Street with the baby
Get up and run errands or spend my day cleaning up after the 16m old tornado


To join, link up with Ashley HERE





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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies



No flour! No eggs! No white sugar! No oil/butter!

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH BITES
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (recipe says dont use regular or they will be too oily)
1/4 cup honey (I used agave nectar)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350°F / 175°C.

Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they’re combined.



Put in the chocolate chips and stir it. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.



With wet hands, form into 1 1/2″ balls. Place onto a piece of parchment paper. If you want them to look more like normal cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don’t do much rising. Bake for about 10 minutes.



Enjoy :)



Not my recipe. Recipe was shared on facebook VIA If this is your recipe, please let me know and I will credit it back to you.






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Friday, August 16, 2013

Is it already Friday again?





ONE: I made some super yummy peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies yesterday. They have no flour, oil, eggs, or white sugar. Somewhat healthy cookies?! Sign me up!! I was super skeptical of these, but I can assure you that they taste way better than they sound. I'm going to post pictures and a recipe some time in the next few days, so keep your eyes peeled.

TWO: Today is national airborne day! The first ever paratrooper was shoved out of a plane on this day in 1940. My husband has been a paratrooper since 2010 and has over 30 airborne jumps. His favorites are the ones where they drop his howitzer (he's artillery, so this is like a present day canon) out of the plane with them, and when it lands, they shoot it right there on the drop zone. Here is a picture of them dropping hundreds of soldiers during his last jump at Bragg.



Its cool to note that the jump training my husband did at Ft Benning, GA is the SAME training that my grandfather did when he went through years and years before! They enjoyed swapping jump stories when my gramps stopped on the way from FL to NY before we left NC.

THREE: My mom just shared the fooducate app with me, and I spent a good bit of time in my pantry scanning barcodes. I'm going to do a full post on this app sometime coming up, but the basic gist of the app is that it gives the food you're eating a letter grade. Some of them surprised me, and thats what I'm going to post about when I get some free time.

FOUR: Big Brother anyone? I wouldnt call myself a superfan, but I've seen most of the seasons. One of the good things about living on the west coast is that I can watch BB after dark right after the episodes air, and I dont have to wait until 1am, which was exciting for me in the beginning. When the season first aired I was rooting for Aryn, mostly because we share a first name, but after the whole ordeal with the racism, I couldnt decide who to back. This season has been super boring as far as game play, and I've lost interest pretty fast. Its no fun when you know who's going home each week. Sorry CBS, but this summer has been a fail!

FIVE: I finally got my husband to get our broken washer out of the house (although sitting on the porch isnt much better) and I'm so relieved to finally have my laundry room back. I have some pinterest crafts I've been wanting to do in there, and I can finally get started.


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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

So what wednesday




So what...

*if my living room is a mess. I know the critter is going to take everything I put away back out in 10 minutes.

*if I'm still in pajamas at 2:42pm. Its cold today here in Alaska, and I havent really left the couch since we woke up aside from fixing the critter breakfast and lunch.

*if I've got laundry piled up. I'll get to it eventually, right?

Its definitely fall here in Alaska, and it's gotten cold, FAST! Its so different from North Carolina, where it wouldnt get cold like this until November. The change in the weather has made me so lazy! Yesterday, we were up and out of the house running a bunch of errands, and when I woke up today, I was bound and determined to get motivated, but I came downstairs, cuddled up in a blanket, and haven't left this spot. I have got to get the last of our clothes put away before my MIL gets here in two weeks. I also have a bunch of pictures from our old house sitting on the floor in one of the spare bedrooms that I have got to either hang up, or find a place for... maybe tomorrow.


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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Homemade baby wipes



We JUST finished up the last of the baby wipes we were given at the critters baby shower (we got like 3 cases of them!! So blessed), so I decided to give making my own a go. I initially repinned THIS recipe, but ended up checking around a few more, and winging it.




I used:
1 1/2 cups of warm water
1 tsp of baby wash
1 tsp of baby oil
1/2 roll of paper towels
Airtight container

I put it all together in my container, gave it a little shake, then shoved in my paper towels, and shook it again.

I got this container for $2.21 at Walmart and it fit the paper towels pretty well. I had to squish them in the top, but once they're in, they fit perfectly... then you just pull out the cardboard roll, and they come out easily.

When I looked at a few more, some people said that baby oil isnt the greatest for kiddos (this is the first time I've ever used it... thankfully I only bought a tiny travel size instead of a big one!), so I think next time I'm going to use coconut oil, like a few suggested, and I'd only use 1 cup of water, because mine are super wet. Not sure if it was because I bought a cheapo roll to try these out with, or they just dont need that much... but I'd rather add more water if I need to, then have sopping wet wipes.

These were super easy & cheap, so I'll def be making them again when I run out. I'm loving that I have time to make homemade things now that I'm staying at home. I really want to try making my own laundry detergent next, but I still have a jug and a half to use up first. I popped into our local grocery store one day for one thing (I think it was eggs) and ended up finding 100 load armend hammer detergent, normally $14.99 for $5 with your rewards card. It was such a good deal that I bought 4 of them! ha!


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Monday, August 12, 2013

Adventures in cloth diapering



With me not working, I figured I would give cloth diapering a try. When I was working, I'd be lucky if I did laundry once a week, so there was no way I could have kept up with cloth diapering... maybe if I had a normal 9-5 job, but coming home and having to grade papers and get lessons together on top of cooking and cleaning, there was no way.

I sat down and totaled up what I would spend on diapers til the critter turned 2 1/2 to make sure it would be worth it, and I'll be saving a bundle.

Reading THIS post by a fellow Erin over at Erin's Diary is what sparked my initial interest into checking out cloth diapering. She broke it down into everything needed, and it didnt seem like such a chore at all. I also just happened to be checking out the sites she suggested while Kawaii was having a 25% off sale. Score! I ended up getting around 20 diapers (some with double inserts) and a wetbag for about $130, and flushable liners, so I didnt have to get a diaper sprayer.

Alva baby definitely had way cuter patterns, but they're not as absorbent. It might have helped that the ones I got from Kawaii were overnight diapers. The critter drinks water like its going out of style, which means she's a heavy wetter, so I just double up the inserts, and we're good to go. Even with two inserts, we're snapping her on the smallest setting (she's itty bitty... 6th percentile for weight) so we'll be able to use these for quite a while! Hopefully, they'll get us through potty training... but even if we have to buy some larger size cloth diaps, we'll still be saving some cash... and her tush looks so much cuter in 
these! 


Critterbug was as excited to tear into that package as I was!

So cute! 

Like the marker all over the carpet? We had some people over a few weekends ago and my friend Chelsea and I ran to the store since our husbands swore up and down they could handle the 3 kiddos... We were gone for less than 30 minutes and returned to find marker all over the carpet, and both girls screaming at the baby gate at the door for Mama while my husband chatted on the phone, and hers enjoyed a beer with some other friends on the porch. Ughhh, MEN!! Lol





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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Happy Anniversary




I meant to post this yesterday, but happy anniversary to my dear husband




I don't have any pictures of our actual wedding bc we got married in the court house near Ft Bragg, where no cameras are allowed (boo) but at least we have some pictures from our reception at my parents house. If I could have done it all over again, the only thing I'd change would be to take a picture of us on the day we got married at the court house. Not sure what I was thinking that day... but I'm so glad we didnt try and organize a huge and expensive wedding from 16 hours away from all of our family, and most of our friends.


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Friday, August 9, 2013

Happy dance for Friday





1. Friday doesn't excite me as much as it did when I was working... but today the hubs will finally be back from playing soldier in the woods for the past two weeks, so I'm pretty stoked. The critter has been running around yelling DaDa for the past few days, so I know she's been missing him.

2. I've almost got my house together! We got here at the end of April, so it really shouldnt have taken me this long, but I feel like I spend my day cleaning up the living room 182735983 times, and never get much past that. I really feel like chucking all of the critter's toys most days. Who's with me?!

3. Speaking of the critter, I have no pictures to post with this blog because someone, who will remain nameless, decided to pull my camera card out of my computer while I was fixing her mac'n'cheese and CHEW IT UP!! I know she's getting a few more teeth, but chewing up my camera card? Really? When did she become a dog? Ugh!!

4. My MIL will be here in two weeks, and I'm starting to get really grouchy about it. I am so envious of people who have great relationships with their inlaws. If you'd like to take a gander at what I'm working with, check out THIS letter she sent me after her first visit to our house in NC. She spent the whole time bossing me around about this stupid, ugly, china cabinet she brought for the hubs without even asking if we wanted it, and how it needed to be in the house. Our kitchen in NC was SMALL! There was no place for it could go, aside from where our dog crate was, so she suggested I put our dogs in the garage to make room for this cabinet. Our garage is insulated, and runs around 110 degrees in the summer... but anything to accommodate her stupid cabinet right? She kept telling me, "we'll wait til [the hubs] and see what he says," like he was going to side with her. He has such a horrible relationship with her, I don't know how she'd ever think he'd take her side in an argument. She sent him off to be raised by his grandparents/uncle because she was too busy bouncing from man to man to be bothered to raise her son. For the record, the cabinet never came in the house in NC, and even here, where we have way more room, he still put it in the garage.

5. On a brighter note, my parents will be here at week after she leaves, and I'm super stoked!! My dad has been obsessed with Alaska for years before we even found out we were coming here, and he knows all about it. We're going to pan for gold, and rent an RV to go on adventures!! I promise to take lots of pictures, and not let the critter chew them up this time. The only poo-poo part is that the hubs has to go back to the wilderness to play soldier again the entire time they are here. He's so bummed about missing the gold panning lessons, and all the other fun we are going to have. He adores my dad since they both love to do all those outdoorsy, manly things like hunting and fixing trucks.



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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dear Mouse,



I try to be compassionate to all of God's furry creatures, I really do. When I first saw you in the garage, I thought, well, if you stay in here, and out of my house, we can co-exist. It has been getting a little chilly at night here in Alaska.

Then, you decided to hide out in the 3 boxes that I have yet to unpack, resulting in the doggies turning them into cardboard confetti and spilling the contents all over the garage floor while trying to catch you. Guess who has to clean up the mess you left in your wake? ME! As a result, my compassion for you is gone.

The peanut butter has been placed on the snap traps, and I wish you all the best in your transition to the mousey afterlife.

Warm regards,


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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Who needs a man




The other day I posted HERE about how my washing machine died on me as soon as the husband walked out of the door for a two weeks of playing Army in the wilderness. Some luck, right?

Anyways, I thought I could prove my abilities to survive just fine on my own by getting another washing machine. I hoped on craigslist and found a super capacity washing machine that someone was selling dirt cheap because they were PCSing to a new base. I managed to get it into my SUV, (I mentioned in my previous post that I couldnt find my husbands truck keys anywhere... he has both sets. Jerk! lol) out of my SUV, into the house, and up to the first landing on our set of stairs by myself. I even managed to slide it 1/2 way up the remaining set of stairs before I finally gave up and admitted that it was just too heavy for me.

So much for showing how much I didnt need a husband right?! After staring at it on the landing for 2 days, I finally broke down and paid someone $20 to help me bring it up the rest of the way.

Now I can do laundry? Nope!

Of course it couldnt be that simple though... when we got it to the top of the stairs we realized that it was too big to fit in the door... Just my luck right? I had to break out the power tools, and take the door of the hinges.



Now I can do laundry? Nope!

The hoses that came off my washer dont fit onto the new washer, and the ones that came with the newer one leak! Ugh... so off to the hardware store I go!

Another $10, and a new hose later, I can finally do laundry again. I'll leave getting the old washing machine out of the house to my darling husband. God help me if he has to deploy again before I can make friends with tough husbands.


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Monday, August 5, 2013

ISO: Church Family



Yesterday I had every intention of taking my butt to church. I had gotten a few post cards in the mail from churches welcoming us to the area, and inviting us to check them out. I ended up waking up super late & was pretty bummed. Turns out, one of the churches had a 1pm service. I did a quick google search on it, to see if it was something I'd be interested in, and packed up the diaper bag.

I grew up going to a Catholic church. I was baptized, communed, attended church school, and was confirmed in that church. We live in a small town, so it wasn't a very big congregation at all. When I moved to NC, I was invited to church with a friend, and I was in complete culture shock. While it boasted being non-denominational, it screamed Southern Baptist. Don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with being a Baptist. But if you are a baptist, and you visited a traditional Catholic church, you'd be thinking the same thing. It was so different! While I loved the message of the service, it was a little more than I could handle. While I didnt lose my faith, I didnt find a place to fit in while we were there.

The church I visited yesterday is very new-age, light years from my comfort zone, but I really enjoyed it. They had a guest pastor from one of their other locations, and he was hysterical and offered a great message about not holding on to disappointments. The music was AMAZING! So far from the traditional music of our Catholic church. However, it is a very large church with multiple locations (and they even podcast so that their military members, and oil workers can tune in) and I was hoping for something a little more personal, but I had such a good time, that I think I'll give it a few more times before I make my final decision on it. Maybe I'll even attend one of their events.

I even got this great little welcome gift. Its full of six stories of church members who were in a hard spot, and found God again. I've only just started reading it, but I'm interested to get further into the stories.

That little number on the top is for their child care. They flash it on this little screen if they need you. Kind of made me feel like I was in line for the deli. Ha!


The first time I've gotten out of yoga pants all week! Ha! Can you tell my husband has been away for training?





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Thursday, August 1, 2013

How I did my own blog design



 My blog does not look professional by any means. Like most other things I do, it's amateur. Very fitting with my blog title, right? Ha! Anywho, I think it looks decent, and I'm pretty proud that I did it all by myself. If you're like me, and don't have the extra cash to drop on a gorgeous, custom designed blog, then you hopefully the links that I share will help you create something beautiful.

First thing to do is to choose a picture, or a few, that you'd like to use. From this, I decided on the colors. As you can see, I chose this super gorgeous picture that I took of my daughter at the Knik River. Blue and grey seemed like the prefect color combo to accompany this picture. If you don't want to include any pictures, no problem. Just decide what colors you're loving at the moment... and what colors you can live with for a while, because if you're not a pro as graphic design, it's going to take you a while.

It took me about 2 weeks to get my design together. I totally understand why blog designers get so much $$ now! This was fairly time consuming. It might have gone faster if I wasn't so darn indecisive. It also doesn't help that I have a 16 month old who I can't neglect. Plus, she has already ripped one command key of my Macbook, so I try to only get on it when she's napping.

HEADER
Once you have your theme, you can go ahead and make your header. I used THIS tutorial from Mama Whimsy as a starting point. I checked out picmonkey, but I wasn't finding the fonts that I wanted, so I ended up scrapping it and doing it in Photoshop Elements instead. (On a side note, if you like photo editing, you can normally find Photoshop Elements on sale around black Friday at staples for close to $60. Which is a steal! Its a smaller version of Photoshop, and so far, I havent found anything that its lacking in comparison to its much more expensive original)

Time to put it on your blog. Difficulty level: easy if you know how to work the picture editing software

First click on LAYOUT (I made a "tester blog" so I didn't totally destroy my current layout)

It should open up like the picture above. Then you'll need to click EDIT to the right of your header box

This pop-up will allow you to upload the header you made in picmonkey or photoshop. Make sure you click the second box to use instead of a title

When you install your header, it will be left aligned. Follow THESE tips from Keren (snoop around her blog too, she's got some pretty neat freebies!) on how to center your header. All you have to do is paste a little code. Difficulty level: super easy!

BACKGROUND
I did a little googling (I typed in light grey background) and found this cute polka dot image. To install your background you want to go back to your main page, click on TEMPLATE then CUSTOMIZE(under the picture of your blog) and then click on background. It will bring up the picture below.
Just upload your background image here

PICTURE BIO
The next thing I wanted to do was the cute little picture bio that people have on their blogs. I again went to PSE, but you can use picmonkey for this too. Once you get the bio to your liking, click on LAYOUT again, and you're going to ADD A GADGET on the right side

click on ADD AN IMAGE, and upload your bio. Difficulty level: easy if you know how to work the picture editing software.

SIGNATURE
Then I went to work on a signature. Installing this was a little more difficult, but still doable for the novice blogger. I used my trusty friend google to find THIS easy how-to. You'll need to host the image somewhere. I used photobucket. Difficulty level: easy if you know how to work the picture editing software.

SOCIAL MEDIA ICONS
If you're feeling really ambitious, you can make your own social media icons. This is a little time consuming, as you have to open a million windows to link up all your buttons. I was lucky enough to find grey polka dot buttons on google. They had tons of colors and styles to choose from. I just photoshoped out the ones I didn't want. I used THIS tutorial which walks you through how to use THIS website. You'll need your photobucket for this one too. Difficulty level: easy if you know how to work the picture editing software... just time consuming!

When you finish go back to your LAYOUT. Add an HTML/Javascript gadget and paste in your code.

PINTEREST BUTTON
If you post a lot of crafts or recipes, you can add a cute little Pin It button to your post really easily. Go HERE and grab the code and follow the same directions you used to add your post signature. This will put it on all of your new posts. Difficulty level: easy

BLOG BUTTON
You can use THIS site to make a grab box for your button. I hosted my button icon on photobucket as well. Generate your code, and paste it into a GADGET (html) like you did for your social media icons. Difficulty level: easy if you know how to work the picture editing software.

ADDING CUSTOM FONTS
I used THIS tutorial. Difficulty level: maybe I'm just not tech savy enough, but this was hard for me. Mostly because I dont know HTML, so I didnt know the codes, so I was having to do a lot of googling for them. If you look at my history it has a lot of "CSS code for" this and "CSS code for" that.







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Murphy's Law

Have you heard of Murphy's Law? If not, it usually goes something like this: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong

If you're an Army wife, it basically means that everything in your house will wait until your husband goes away to break. Seriously, nothing EVER breaks when he's home. Darn Murphy!

Tuesday, the hubs left on a 2 week training (If you're planning on stopping by because he's gone and robbing me, we've got 4 dogs, a security system, and his loaded pistol is by my bed. I dare you to come in) and of course, Tuesday night, I go to switch laundry from the washer to the dryer, and I notice that the top is dry, but the bottom is soaked. The stupid washer wont spin.

It was 2am, I had just gotten the baby down, I was exhausted. I was trying to wash all the brand new cloth diapers I had just gotten (I'm going to do a post on this soon) and here it was, the middle of the night, and I was scrubbing diapers in my bathtub so they didnt get musty smelling. Cue uncontrollable water works... I sent my husband a woe-is-me text, and thew myself a pity party. At this point it was 6am my parents time, so I called my mom & dad, and calmed myself down enough to realize I could call someone to come fix it.

Of course it couldnt be that easy. I paid $60 for the guy to come check it out, only to be told that it wasnt worth fixing (we're talking a $400 part plus labor) but he would, if I wanted him to. Once he left, it hit me that I would either have to go to the laundry mat for the next two weeks, or I'd have to figure out how to get a new washing machine.

The idea of spending hours in the laundry mat with a 16 month old doesn't sound like something I would ever want to subject myself to, so I set out in search of a new washer. Thankfully, living near a military base, people are always moving and selling their things for dirt cheap. I found a washer for $100! Sweet!

Then Murphy reared his ugly little head again. I can't find the keys to my husbands truck ANYWHERE. They're probably right underneath my nose, but I can't find them. I did some measuring, and I THINK I can fit it into the back of my SUV if I lay it down... but even if I can get it into my car, I'm not really sure how I'll get it out by myself... and our W/D hookup is upstairs, so I'd have to figure out how to get it upstairs.

Ugh...