Saturday, June 30, 2012

Operation Smile

There are so many things in life that we, as humans, take advantage of. And as Americans, we take advantage of so much more. Like a smile. 

I look around at all the beautiful smiles I have in my life. My husband, my family, my friends...heck even Ernie has a joker type smile smeared across his face most of the time. And I never realized how fortunate we are to have those smiles.


I am here today to share with you a wonderful organization called Operation Smile

Every three minutes a child is born with a cleft — often unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile. In some places these children are shunned and rejected. And in too many cases, their parents can't afford to give them the surgeries they need to live a normal life.

What a humbling statistic. Even more humbling knowing that if I was born with a cleft, my parents would have been able to afford surgeries. And most likely, yours would too. But that isn't the case for the rest of the world. 

Since 1982, Operation Smile — through the help of dedicated medical volunteers — has provided more than 2 million patient evaluations and over 200,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities.

Operation Smile is a charity organization for children – donate non profit

So look around. I am almost positive that you are surrounded by beautiful smiles, loving eyes, and open arms. You are blessed. I'd love for you to take a second to check out Operation Smile and learn more about their history, their mission, and what sets them apart as a worldwide organization changing lives. You can even donate online to be a part of this wonderful organization.

Did you know that a 45 minute surgery can change someone's life forever?

Arfiase, before and after surgery 

 How else can you help?

Are you a college student? Or enrolled in a college course? You can help Operation Smile and change lives, just by reading your textbooks! When I first enrolled at Texas A&M University, I was appalled at how much textbooks cost and I KNOW some of you can relate. They are through the roof! Well I may have just the solution for you (and your pocketbook). Campusbookrentals.com allows you to rent textbooks for a fraction of what you'd pay for the book (& let's face it, it stinks getting $10 back at the end of the semester for a $150 book!). The wonderful thing about Campusbookrentals.com is that for EVERY book rented, they will donate a portion of the proceeds to Operation Smile. They have a goal of changing 1,000 lives this year. I would love for you students to consider this goal as you register for fall classes, changing lives is easy. Thank you for your support!

 




Photobucket

Friday, June 29, 2012

DIY silhouette canvas



Ever since we moved into our home, our mantel has been naked. I actually borrowed a mirror from my mom when House Hunters came back to film our house because I didn't want the world to see my bare mantel. I've combed Pinterest trying to find ideas but was having trouble making a decision. 

I am hosting multiple parties and showers at my house in July and wanted to have it decorated before then. I had few craft ideas with canvases so I went to Hobby Lobby to grab one. I decided against a large square canvas and went for 3 clearance rectangle canvases. 

(sorry, I only took instagram pics)


These pre painted canvases were in the 80% off aisle and I knew I couldn't get a better deal. I decided to prank Jon and showed them our new decor. I wish I would have gotten a picture of his face as he was telling me he thought they were "cool". Little did he know I was planning on painting them :-)

So back to the project. I primed and painted them a dark turquoise to match our new cabinet that sits under our mounted TV


I planned on mounting the canvases vertically so I needed vertical pictures to silhouette. I chose an engagement picture of ours and a picture of Mr. Ernie (still trying to decide what to do with the 3rd). I uploaded the photos to Block Print and chose the 12 page option. Block Print creates wall posters from high res photos. You upload a picture, choose how big you want your poster and it pops up a PDF of your photo. 

Here are my photos...each is 12 full sized pieces of paper



Next, I carefully cut out Ernie's body and mine and Jon's exactly how I wanted the silhouette to look. This was probably the most time consuming because I had to cut off the white borders and try to match up the pieces perfectly. Here is Ernie with his cutout, he was very confused haha.


I traced each silhouette lightly with a pencil on the painted canvases and painted inside with white primer (since it is thick and the canvas was dark). I did a couple of coats and let them dry.

Here are the 2 finished canvases!


So what should I use for the silhouette of the 3rd canvas?




Photobucket

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bad things happen

....when husbands are away

Seriously. I haven't had the best luck when my husband is out of town. Jon travels for work quite a bit and no lie, every time he is gone, something happens (okay not every time but still). A couple weeks ago it was the smoke alarm going off in the middle of the night. I spent 75 minutes in my tallest shoes I own on our step ladder trying to yank wires out of the ceiling. On the verge of tears, the alarm finally stopped chirping after 45 minutes (oh yeah this was between the hours of 2-3am).

This past week, it was the AC. We just moved into our house 2.5 months ago and the only thing that came up was the upstairs unit wasn't blowing cold air so we had it fixed. Well....Sunday night I woke up in a full sweat to Ernie panting and knew something was wrong. Jon left that morning for a 4 day business trip and Ernie and I were left in the heat. Thank God we have 2 units and used the upstairs to cool the downstairs. To add to the AC drama, I teach Zumba on Mondays and don't get home until after 7p so the AC guy couldn't come until Tuesday afternoon. 

Red neck AC?

Funny thing is...the guy was there for 10 minutes and the AC was back on. Our capacitor heated up and busted so he changed the part and we were happy as clams. 

So currently I am counting down the minutes until Jon gets home tonight so all chances of household disasters will be eliminated. 

I think there is meaning being this phenomena...

So please tell me I am not the only one. Does your car happen to break down when your man is on the road? Or your computer crashes when your geek is away?


In other news, since Jon has been gone, I've...
  • Started season 1 of Pretty Little Liars
  • Painted our upstairs guest room bathroom
  • Had girl time (and Ernie had a playdate)
  • Started some crafting for my sister's baby shower
  • Did some baking

I am so ready to see him tonight!


p.s. the winner of the $50 Shabby Apple gift card is...

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Photobucket

Monday, June 25, 2012

My life

...is way cooler in Instagram



We are absolutely nuts about Ernie. I mean, doesn't he look like a fat little human in the picture with Jon? How did we get so lucky with his cute butt.

Maranatha has always been our peanut butter of choice but places around here stopped carrying it for about a year. Not only did HEB (main grocery store) not carry it but I couldn't find it at Central Market or Whole Foods so I basically bought Wal Mart out of their entire stock when I saw it last week. It is the best when it comes to organic PB, it doesn't get all oily and gross and you don't have to stir it every time you use it. I also really like Smart Balance so we keep that in the house too.

Speaking of food, Jon drinks a gallon of milk every 2 days. On his own. The only milk I consume is in cereal (or baking) and I try to put as little as possible. People ask how a family of 2 can shop at Costco and milk alone answers the question...

I love saving money when it comes to fashion, style, etc. I am not a designer handbag or jean person and always try to buy stuff on sale so it's not a surprise that I always buy the cheapest frames when picking out my glasses. This year, I felt like I deserved my first pair of Raybans and I couldn't love them any more. I don't feel comfortable buying Rayban sunglasses just yet...I am known to lose or break about 5 pairs a year so I go for the Forever 21 $5 sunnies :-)


My mantel project is almost done! I have one more canvas that is painted but I am not sure what silhouette to do. A lot of you asked for a how-to on Instagram/Twitter so I will definitely share the details.

Lots of family time this weekend...James had a basketball tournament and we begged him to take a picture with his sisters (he is almost taller than all of us)

I think my heart has been officially stolen by Sophie the apricot toy poodle. She is my sister's inlaws sweet pup and I just couldn't put her down. If you haven't noticed, Ernie is quite the chunk and not exactly a dog I can carry around all night :-). Jon had an apricot toy poodle growing up name Jean Claude hehe

Another project that was finished this weekend was our TV console (remember the $40 Goodwill piece I posted last week?). It is the same color as the canvases...it looks really blue in the picture but it is a gorgeous dark turquoise. I love having color in our house! It's my third piece to refinish and I used this method.


Yesterday Jon woke up with really bad allergies so after church we totally vegged out. We started watching 30 Rock from the beginning on Friday and are obsessed. Why am I just now watching?! We watched some Mystery Science Theater, Dateline, and didn't leave the house until a walk with Ernie at 9pm. It was a true, and much needed, sabbath. 

I woke up in the middle of the night in a full sweat and Ernie was panting. Turns out our downstairs AC unit was just blowing air, not cold air. Just our luck huh? The high today is 104. Luckily we have a home warranty and hopefully have a guy out there today. The joys of homeownership! We are thanking God we have two units though. 

& if you missed it Saturday, I posted a great recipe for quinoa 'mac & cheese'



What was the best thing about your weekend?






Photobucket

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Quinoa mac and cheese


Who doesn't love mac and cheese? Crickets...

And as delicious as it is, the nutrition isn't always as desirable. I came across this recipe for quinoa mac and cheese and knew I had to try it. I am always looking for ways to "healthy up" some of our favorite recipes. I have to admit, it didn't taste like mac and cheese to me but it was great! I will definitely be making this as a healthy side for future dinners. 

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups quinoa
Salt
Season Salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese (plus some for sprinkling)
Panko Bread crumbs for topping
1. Cook the quinoa as per instructions (salt the water)
2. Whisk together eggs and milk in a large bowl
3. Stir in cooked (and drained) quinoa and cheese until cheese is melted
4. Season with season salt
5. Pour over greased full 9x13 baking dish and top with Panko bread crumbs
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes
7. Enjoy!







Photobucket

Thursday, June 21, 2012

We have a date


Friends, mark your calendars, set your DVRS...we have a House Hunters air date! If you follow me on Twitter, FB or Instagram, you might have seen the announcement on Tuesday but our episode will air Friday July 20th at 9pm cst. We are psyched! Honestly we haven't thought much about the show since filming wrapped up about 2 months ago and it's hard to believe it's actually happening.

This guy is excited
 (cross your fingers that Ernie gets a spin off show and we become filthy rich and can retire)

Lots of people are asking if we are nervous. I don't call what I am feeling as nervous but more anxious. We already shot the show so it's not like we can change anything but I am anxious to see how they edit it. We'd like to think we are a pretty darn fun and awesome couple, let's just hope the producers edited it that way. I used to think it was so dumb that the Real Housewives would blame stuff on editing but I can totally see where they are coming from (on a much smaller, less dramatic scale). 

Here is the link to the little press release sent out by HGTV about our episode. FYI we are not 20 year olds, I think they meant to say 20 somethings haha.


(my husband and chunk are the greatest)
 
I haven't talked much about what they shot but my blog was mentioned and filmed quite a bit, in fact I had to mention it on every house tour, especially in the kitchen :-). I wasn't sure if they would want to feature my blog but our field producer was all about it! They filmed me cooking in the kitchen, taking pictures, editing and writing posts and even shot my blog header and scrolling through my blog. I can't wait how they put together our story but I am SO excited to see where our episode takes my blog. 

Speaking of that, I will be accepting sponsors for the month of July starting today (to start July 1). House Hunters is HGTV's highest rated and most profitable show and with my blog being featured quite a bit, I am hoping to see some changes in pageviews :-). This month will be really excited for my blog and I'd love to help promote your blog/shop/business. Visit my sponsor page for information on my rates, etc. ***update, I only have 3 SMALL spots left for July!

oh...and if you aren't already a follower of my blog, be sure to click the blue 'join my site' button  on the left handside of the page!

Thank you for all your love, excitement and support! Spread the word!


Photobucket

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Insta-randoms

So you may have noticed I was absent from blog land yesterday, very weird for me on a Tuesday. Most days I plan what I am going to blog about for the week and write the posts ahead of time but life has been a little all over the place lately. Being out of the office last week means I have lots to catch up on at work so I needed yesterday to focus. Days of coming home from work and getting in pjs to cuddle with my hubby for 6 hours are long gone. Yes there is still lots of cuddling but laundry, dishes, yardwork, Zumba teaching, catching up with old friends, house projects, baby and wedding shower planning, etc has taken precedence. I've always been one of those people who sleeps 9 hours a night but lately I am telling myself 7-8 is fine. Late nights with Jon are worth more than that extra hour of beauty sleep (and lately I am cranky if I get too much sleep).

So what else...

I am about to finish my 2nd spicy paprika project. If you missed the first one, I re did an old old wooden ship (okay no, it was a desk...can anyone name that movie though?) and love it so much, I am re doing a $20 craigslist dresser in the same color. I used about 5% of the gallon of paint I bought so I am finding uses for it :-). This dresser will go in the guestroom which I plan on painting light gray to match the gray and yellow duvet.

The inspiration for the dresser came from this picture I found on Pinterest. The room will be gray and yellow but this pop of color is perfect.

Speaking of painting projects, I popped into Goodwill on Monday (so sad we don't live near one anymore, we used to live a block from one!) and bought this $40 cabinet/buffet/console thingy for under our TV in the family room.

I posted our house to do list in May and one of the things on the list was get something for under the TV. We bought a new TV when we moved and put a dingy little ikea shelf to house our DVR and it looks awful...


The walls are a sea-foam/gray ish (picture sucks) and our couch is gray so I am thinking a dark turquoise for the new shelf. We have lots of colorful pillows in that room so I plan on taking one to color match. I am hoping to start priming today. A few people suggested white but I can see it being quickly covered in sticky hands and puppy slobber haha. When we were looking for a new sofa, Jon loved this creamy white leather sectional and I have to say, it was gorgeous. I told him we can buy it in 35 years (then we'll have to cover it with plastic because we'll be grandparents).

I know some people think having carpet is old school or cheesy but we love it!! We had one room with gross berber carpet in our old house and knew we wanted it when we bought. It will be nice when we have kiddos but for now, we love laying on it to watch TV. We are weird.

We try to have date night once a week, just the two of us going out for dinner and something fun. I dress for comfort and luckily, most Austin restaurants are accommodating to my style :-). It's fun to dress up fancy every once and a while but shorts and a hat are my kind of night out.

This text was from last week when I flew back from NY. My nickname of the moment is smoochie plus some derivatives (smoochles, smoochie pants). And no, I don't know another Jon Hart, I just have him as husband in case of an emergency haha

I started Bloom yesterday and already love it. I will definitely be sharing my thoughts on the book when I am finished. 


Did yall watch that guy tight rope walk over the falls? We thought it was so cool he was so open with his prayer and proclaiming his faith and love for Christ on TV. Finally someone shedding good light on Christianity in the media :)

What are your randoms?




Photobucket

Monday, June 18, 2012

Grace vs. nature

We had an absolutely wonderful weekend. I returned from NYC on Friday and spent a perfect afternoon/evening with Jon. Why does spending a week apart feel like eternity? We had date night, worked around the house, spent the day at the pool with friends, held new babies, watched basketball and celebrated the father's in our lives. 

My pops

Future daddy (not yet folks!)

Yesterday, church was so adorable. They started out the service with funny dad movie clips- Daddy Daycare, The Switch, Kindergarten Cop and raffled off gift cards to dads with the most women living in their home, newest baby, and coolest power tool. I was anxious to get into the meat of the sermon, called No Perfect Dads Allowed. Our church operates by the mantra "No Perfect People Allowed" and it is fully embraced just looking around the congregation. One of our Pastors, Ted, paralleled a story from the book of Samuel about King David and his son Absolom. I won't get too deep into the story but the message was about paying attention, giving time, and accepting those you share a deep relationship with (mostly talking about children since it was Father's day). And that the feeling of love is not enough.

He showed us clips from the movie, Tree of Life, that was actually filmed right outside of Austin last year. The movie metaphors the King David story in the Old Testament. Something that really stood out to me was the phenomenon of grace vs. nature.


There are 2 ways through life and you must choose which one to follow

The way of grace. Grace doesn't try to please itself, it accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. It accepts insults and injuries.

The way of nature. It only wants to please itself, get others to please it too. It likes to lord it over them, to have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it and love is smiling thru all things. 

It taught us that no one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end.

Ted challenged us to dig deep and look at the way we've chosen to live. He encouraged us to live the way of grace with our children and our fathers and those we love deeply. He begged us not to remove affection as a form of punishment to those and bestow grace upon their actions.

What I love about my marriage is the depth of conversation we can have about any subject. And something we talk about a lot is parenting. We pray that it is in the Lord's plans for us, sooner than later, and that because He loved us, He will show us the way as loving parents. We talk about how we want to raise our children, what is the best form of discipline, and what we want to teach them. Ernie has been wonderful practice for us, not only showing us how much we can love a little being but how important love, respect, and discipline are. If I don't show Ernie grace when he misbehaves, how will he learn? The most amazing example is when we get upset with Ernie and scold him for something and all he wants is affection from us. 

Grace vs. nature is applicable to SO many things in life

I know I am not the only one who despises those people who post sad quotes and statements on Facebook, letting the world know how miserable they are. It all made sense after yesterday. These people are choosing the way of nature. 

Or how about bullies. What good is calling someone gay, ugly, fat, dumb going to benefit that person? It's self righteous. 

Or how about something as simple as people doing good deeds to better themselves, or to show the world. Jon brings up this story quite a bit and it just doesn't sit right with me. He was doing a charity drive at work around Christmas and someone said, "guys, this is for US, to make US feel good about ourselves" rather than it being for the better of the community or for the spirits of the children who otherwise wouldn't have celebrated Christmas. Way of nature. 

Now I am not saying I am the example of someone who chooses the way of grace, because I am not. There are times and situations when I choose my well being over others. Or I find delight in winning, being first, or showing my success. But I really do strive to be a woman of grace. Just like Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, love is patient, kind, not self seeking. It lives in the way of grace.

http://www.primitivesbykathy.com/images/items/medium/17056.jpg 
 via

Such a great inspiration, have a great week friends!
 
Photobucket

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing


Jon called this meal Thanksgiving in the crockpot :-)

Ingredients
4 thawed chicken breasts
6oz. package of stuffing mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup water


1. Put your chicken in the crockpot

2. Pour the package of stuffing on top


3. Mix together the water, sour cream and cream of chicken soup well. 


4. Pour your mixture over the stuffing


5. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
6. Fluff and serve! Enjoy!!


(next time I make this I want to try adding some veggies)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...