Sunday, January 14, 2018

Boxwood Wreath

I LOVE Boxwood Wreaths!! But like most of the things I like/want...they're expensive!! I was at hobby lobby one day and I found this boxwood wreath for $50!! I don't want to spend $50 on a piece of decor (at least not something so small). 


So instead of spending $50 on the wreath, I spent about $14 on some boxwood garland and a grapevine wreath. Yes...that's right I spent about $14 on this DIY project!! 

I started by pulling off each piece of boxwood from the garland. I then hot glued each piece onto the grapevine wreath. I glued one row of boxwood and then another row on top of that row.  I continued this process until the wreath was complete. I then filled in some of the holes with the extra boxwood pieces. I used all of the boxwood...I wanted my wreath to look as full as possible!!

Here's the end result!!  I LOVE it!! It looks just as nice as the ones I've seen at the stores...but it didn't kill my bank account.  YAY!!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Blogger Recognition Award

Guess what?!?!?!? I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award!! The Blogger Recognition Award is when bloggers recognize a new blogger for their work and then that blogger recognizes a new blogger and so on. It's a great way to encourage new bloggers, make new connections, and build a blogging community.

It's also a way to say "OMG someone other than my mom read my blog!!! Keep Blogging!!" hahaha...at least that was my first impression!! But now I'm realizing it's a great way to find some other bloggers who are just starting off, encourage them, and follow their blogging journey.

I was nominated by fellow bloggers Nicky and Laura, from Woman In Progress!! Huge Thank You Ladies!!

Now I have to follow some rules in order to accept my nomination (I got them from Nicky & Laura). My nominees will have to follow the same rules in order to accept their nomination and award.

The Rules

  • Write a post about the award
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Write a brief story about how your blog began
  • Provide at least two pieces of advice to newbie bloggers
  • Select 15 blogs to nominate. It can be hard to find new blogs, but it's also a lot of fun to see what everyone else is doing.  If you're having problems finding new bloggers search Instagram for "newbloggers" and see what pops up.
  • Contact each nominee and provide a link to this post

How My Blog Began

Honestly I wrote an entire post about the start of my blog here. The short version is I had graduated college, got a “real job”, and wasn’t sure what to do next. I’d reached a majority of my life goals…so now what?? That’s when I decided I needed some adventure/excitement in my life, but how do you do that on a teacher salary in a small town?? Well you change your perspective and start finding adventures in the little things in life. The purpose of my blog is to document these mini adventures and to encourage myself (and others) to try new things.

Advice for New Bloggers

Well it feels a little odd writing advice for new bloggers since technically I still feel like a new blogger. Not sure I’m qualified to give advice yet…but here goes!!
  1. If you’re debating about starting a blog just start!! Don’t wait!! You’ll never feel ready...no matter how many articles you read or how many tutorials you watch that feeling of “I’m ready to start” will never come!! You’ll never feel 100% certain of your decision to start blogging…there will always be some type of fear or uncertainty or anxiety.  If you have an hour a week, a computer, and a vision…then you’re ready!! GO!!
  2. Create a blogging calendar. A blogging calendar helps me keep up with my posts so I don’t get behind. It also helps me avoid posting 3 times in one day and then skipping the next month. 
  3. Let your voice/personality come out!! When I first started blogging I was worried about grammatical errors or the fact that I like to use periods as spacers…..like this….hahaha. But then I read an article that talked about your writing style/voice as a blogger. The people reading your blog are reading it because they like you, your personality, your ideas, and your voice!!  Don’t worry about the technicalities of writing…just write what feels right and let your personality come out!!  
  4. Good photos are a must!! This is the part I still haven't mastered...haha. I know good photos are important because they are what draw people in...I just don't like spending time editing photos!! haha...but yes good photos are a must!! 

I nominate the following bloggers (not all are new but I just love their stuff):


Cooking 1 Handed  One of my friends from high school started a blog. Watching her blog has really motivated me to step out of my comfort zone a little and start blogging again!! She writes about cooking one handed...a baby in the other!!

Fashion Coup where Katie is taking over Fashion with Jesus and modesty.

Casa Blanca where Arielle is talking about mommin, fashion, and life.

Shopping Makes Me Happy--admit it you're already in love with that title!!

Farr From Perfect--a little bit about life and style...plus great photos!!

With Love From Texas--lifestyle, home, and marriage from a Texas girl!!

Glow Up Already--about growing up, glowing up, and figuring it out along the way.

Two Feels Write--2 best friends + 2 English degrees + life = awesome blog

Ashley Scotti--Fashion, faith, and life of a college student

Versed In Fashion--fashion and beauty tips...like actually helpful tips (vaseline as a makeup remover..what?!?!)

Wine in a Coffee Mug--where Lauren is writing about life as a balancing act

On Cloud 12--living past cloud 9 and realizing that happiness is within your reach.

Flourish and Thrive--Making changes in life to make 2018 her year!!

Young Polished Professional--making an ordinary life a little more than just ordinary

The Sarah Ever After--Sarah's sharing life's adventures as a mom and wife from Virginia Beach.


Keep up the good work ladies!! I love each and everyone of your blogs!! I spent over a month just looking for bloggers to encourage and that I actually enjoyed reading...so thank you for sharing a bit of your life with me and I look forward to following your journey!!

Friday, December 22, 2017

White Chocolate & Cherry Shortbread Cookies


 Well this is our second year of baking Christmas cookies at one of my mom's friend's house. We listen to Christmas music, sit by the fire talking, and play with her cute little dog while the cookies are baking!! It's a fun and festive afternoon...and we might do a little snacking while the cookies are baking...hahaha

At the end of the day we grab a little tub (or two...or three) and fill it with all of the different cookies. These ladies have so many yummy, creative, and flavorful cookies that it's hard to choose a favorite. But if I had to choose...I'd say the White Chocolate & Cherry Shortbread Cookies are probably my favorite!! See the yummy recipe below...I promise you won't be disappointed!!

Ingredients

2/3 cup maraschino cherries (drained on paper towel)
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
12 ounces Ghirardelli White Chocolate (half for cookies, half for drizzling)
1 tsp almond extract
2 drops red food coloring
2 tsp shortening

Steps

1. In a large bowl combine flour and sugar. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs (you may need to use a food processor for this). Stir in the drained cherries and 4 ounces of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and food coloring. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.
2. Divide dough in half and roll each half into a cylinder approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll the cylinder up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
3. Preheat oven to 325. Using a sharp knife, slice the chilled dough into 3/8 inch thick slices. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until bottom are lightly golden. 
4. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the remaining 8 oz of white chocolate and shortening. Heat for 30-45 seconds, stir, and heat again. Once it starts to melt, shorten the amount of time you microwave it each time (try 10-15 seconds). Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Transfer the melted chocolate to an icing bag. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies and let them set.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Beer / Wine Christmas Tree (Advent Calendar)



I'm a few days behind on this post, but life is so hectic around the holidays it's hard to keep up!! I feel like there are a million things to do and just not enough time to do them all!! There's Christmas shopping, Christmas crafting, and all of the Christmas festivities!! Mostly I get overwhelmed with all of the Christmas crafting. I think something will take me an hour and then 14 hours later I'm half way done...hahaha

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is our Beer/Wine Christmas Tree. My first Christmas with Neil, I wanted to get him something awesome!! You know something creative that makes him think "WOW, this is the perfect gift from the perfect girl. She's a keeper."  hahaha...ok that wasn't really my thought but it was our first holiday together and I wanted it to be special. 

Somewhere along the journey of gift searching I came up with the Beer/Wine Christmas Tree. Neil really likes craft beer so I thought this would be a fun little way for him to count down to Christmas. Plus every day he can grab a new beer and think "WOW, this girl is so amazing"...haha


So if you're loving this idea and would like to make one yourself here are the steps:

  • Buy 10 feet of PVC pipe (4 inch in diameter).
  • Using a handsaw, cut the PVC pipe into 10 pieces (1 foot for each piece). If you're lucky maybe one of the Home Depot workers will cut it for you!!
  • Using 80 grit sand paper, sand the edges of the PVC pipe. 
  • Spray paint the PVC pipe.
  • Glue the PVC pipe together one at a time using Gorilla Glue. Clamp the PVC pipes together while the glue dries. I glued the bottom row together first (7 to 8, then 8 to 9, then 9 to 10). Then I glued 4 to 5 and 5 to 6. Then I glued 2 to 3. Once I had all of the rows made, I stacked the rows and glued them together. 
  • Spray paint one last layer onto the PVC pipes. 
  • Print the numbers 1 through 10 onto scrapbook paper. 
  • Trace a circle around the numbers and cut them out.
  • Laminate the numbers. I put my numbers through the machine twice to get them super thick/sturdy. Cut the numbers out. 
  • Tape the numbers on the inside of the PVC pipes, so the tape doesn't show.
  • The best part...fill with 10 bottles of beer or wine!! Yes, it's large enough to hold 10 bottles of wine!! 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!






Tuesday, December 12, 2017

12 Days of Self Care

Christmas break is coming up...YAY!! I've always looked forward to Christmas break!! Christmas break is full of board games, movies, hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, Christmas lights, and Christmas music!! What's not to love?!?!

Growing up I always thought that's what Christmas break was like for everyone, but since I've started working in schools I've learned that Christmas break can mean a lot of different things to kids. For some kids it means babysitting younger siblings for two weeks. For some it means two weeks of hearing your parents fighting. For some it can be a reminder of those they've lost over the years. Christmas break isn't always something kids look forward to, which is heart breaking!!

So I've been thinking about how I can help cheer up some of my kids over the Christmas break, and that's when I came up with the "12 Days of Self Care". Self care is any activity that helps take care of your mental, emotional, or physical well being. It sounds like a simple concept, but it's not always that easy. As adults we tend to say things like "I don't have time for that" or "I need to help take care of the children first" or "I just need to finish this project". Adults are full of excuses for not taking care of themselves. It's hard to find time, but really it's hard to justify spending time on ourselves. We're looking at self care in the wrong way, the truth is we deserve a little time to ourselves and taking a break can make us more productive in the long run.

Self care with students is a little different from adults. Most students have plenty of time for self care, but they don't know what to do. When I ask a student what cheers them up when they're sad, sometimes they really don't know. Luckily I have a massive list of ideas in my office and we create a self care plan together.

So back to Christmas break...I believe one of the best ways for me to help students over the holidays is to encourage them to take care of themselves each and every day!! If you're looking for ways to encourage students or maybe you need some encouragement this holiday season, feel free to download the 12 Days of Self Care here.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Half Marathon Training

Well I finished my second half marathon!! It's a miracle!! And I'm not just saying that...I seriously didn't think I was going to finish this one!!

In 2013 I signed up for my first half marathon in New Braunfels.  It was a gorgeous course, but really hard!! I did a decent job training for it but I didn't follow my training as well as I should have.  I was so sore the next day/week/month that I decided I was done with half marathons!!

Well back in August/September I decided I wanted to run another half marathon. I'm not sure what I was thinking but it seemed like a decent idea at the time. So I read through a bunch of training programs and kind of merged them all into this one (download here):
I'm not a professional trainer or professional runner...but I did read from a bunch of professionals. haha...kind of like when you're sick and you google what's wrong with you...hahaha.

Even after all the work I did to put a training schedule together, I still didn't do a good job of sticking to it. In fact I did worse this time!! I did super good for the first 6 weeks and after that I did terrible!! I stopped weight training, stopped yoga, stopped running during the week...I mean I did a terrible job of training!!

Even without following my training schedule I somehow finished the whole 13.1 miles!! I really don't know how I managed to finish!! What's crazier is I'm actually considering doing another half marathon....hahaha

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Buffalo Ranch Chicken Bites

I made these like 4 years ago and then I completely forgot about them!! I was looking over some of my old blog posts when I noticed this recipe had over 600 views!! 600!! That's a lot for my little blog!! So I decided I should make these again and I'm glad I did. They are so easy to make and pretty yummy--perfect snack food for football season!!

Ingredients
1 cup shredded chicken
4 oz cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 tbsp Frank's hot sauce
2 tbsp ranch dressing
2 cans of crescent roll dough

Directions
1) In a small bowl combine the following: chicken, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, hot sauce, and ranch dressing.
2) Separate the dough into triangles. Place a spoonful of the chicken mixture on a triangle. Wrap the dough around the chicken mixture. Repeat for the remaining triangles and place on a cookie sheet.
3) Bake at 400 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned.