The Saturday Spruce-Up: Upper Kitchen Cabinets

February 11th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in 2012 Resolutions | The Saturday Spruce-Up - (Comments Off on The Saturday Spruce-Up: Upper Kitchen Cabinets)

This week’s Saturday Spruce-Up again is super lame. I don’t even have before pictures. Enjoy.

I took everything out of my kitchen cabinets, wiped out the insides with Clorox spray, and only put back in the things I actually use.

I also organized my "big spoon" drawer. I removed everything I don't use on a regular basis.

The box of stuff I'm donating, including an entire set of dishes, a few bags and purses, clothes, cook books, etc. I love de-cluttering!

Told ya, lame. But at least you got to see the mint green paint and amazing vintage contact paper inside my kitchen cabinets…

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Funny Friday: Shoes for the Unemployed

February 10th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Funny Friday - (Comments Off on Funny Friday: Shoes for the Unemployed)

Image courtesy of Zappos.com

Since my honey and I are going on vacation soon, I have been shopping online for various clothing and shoes that I might need for the trip. Today I was looking at sandals, specifically Adidas Adilette Slides. My sister had a pair of these when she was in high school, and they fit me too, so I wore them a lot. And I loved their retro style, the fact that they aren’t thong sandals, and the comfort.

Today I was on Zappos.com looking to order a pair, and I came across this little gem. Here’s the “most helpful” review:

From “Guy F” in New Jersey:

“These shoes are awesome. They have made my life as an unemployed person so much better. Since I got laid off, I’ve spiraled in to a depression cave that includes┬ázero┬áapartment cleaning. Due to this, my floors are horribly dirty. Now that I have these amazing┬ásandals, I don’t have to step in alternating dirt and wet dirt with my sock feet. They are also great for walking out to the mail box to get all of the “past due” bill notices that are showing up these days. They are very versatile shoes. If you also drink yourself to sleep every night, these are definitely the shoes for you.”

And of course, I marked it as “helpful” too. Have a great weekend everyone!

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Rachel Maddow on the HHS Contraception Mandate – WRONG!

February 7th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Rachel Maddow on the HHS Contraception Mandate – WRONG!)

I have the Today Show on this morning while I am eating breakfast, and I hear Matt Lauer talking about the new HHS mandate on contraception. He was talking to Rachel Maddow about it and she said, “it’s just a broader contraception issue.” She also claimed that studies show that the majority of Catholics believe that artificial contraception is okay, and that 80% of all Americans “need” this type of coverage.

Then she gave this example (paraphrased of course): An Amish man applies for a job as a bus driver. He gets the job, but then tells his employer, “I’m Amish, so I can’t drive the bus.” Well, he knew what he was applying for, and it’s the same with this new healthcare law.

WHAT? She is totally missing the point here. Of course employees can’t control what type of insurance their employer provides and pays for. The issue is that employers who have a conscientious objection to artificial contraception, abortion causing “contraception” (such as Plan B), and sterilization will still have to pay for it. The issue is that we as Americans have the RIGHT to follow our own consciences. The first Amendment in the Bill of Rights is Freedom of Religion, and this mandate is blatantly violating that right.

This is NOT just a Catholic issue, or even just a contraception issue. It’s a violation of rights issue. The main stream media is doing their best to make it just a Catholic thing, but wake up, people. If the Obama administration is willing to take away our freedom of religion, the freedom to follow our own consciences, what’s next?

For more information on the Catholic Church’s stand on this, click here.

Make-A-List Monday: Music Trivia

February 6th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Make-A-List Monday - (Comments Off on Make-A-List Monday: Music Trivia)

A couple weekends ago, my honey and I participated in the QND Music Trivia Night to benefit our local Catholic high school. My honey is so great at identifying songs and bands, and I knew he’d be a real asset to our team. I, on the other hand, can know every single word to a song, but I won’t know who sings it or event the name of it.

So when we were answering questions at the trivia night, my honey and the others at our table answered all the questions–except one. I knew the answer to exactly ONE question. And it’s because I was dancer growing up. I recognized “Waltz of the Flowers” by┬áTchaikovsky because I was in the Nutcracker ballet at least five times.

But I do know about other music and other bands, so here is a list of bands I WISH they’d have asked about at Music Trivia Night:

1. Abba – my kids and I love the movie Mamma Mia! and watch it fairly regularly. I’d have known Abba from a mile away. Plus I love them.

Don’t act like you don’t love it.

2. Matchbox 20 – Their album Yourself or Someone Like You was the first CD I ever bought. I think I know almost every word to every song. And I still love it.

“Hang” was my favorite. Still good music.

3. Sublime – I have never smoked any type of illegal drugs, but Sublime is also one of my all time favorites. Their self-titled album was one of the few CDs I listened to over and over and over in high school.

This version is edited so there are no “bad words.” Your welcome, Mom.

4. Green Day – My brother introduced me to Green Day, and it was another one of those bands that I listened to over and over.

I don’t care for their new stuff, but Dookie was a winner.

5. Lyrics from Disney princess songs – I know pretty much all of these. I could sing this Little Mermaid one in my sleep.

“Lookin’ around here you’d think, ‘Sure, she’s got everything!'”

Although I only knew one answer at Music Trivia Night, I just like what I like. Now I’m going to get back to watching Mamma Mia! with my two-year-old. ­čÖé

The Saturday Spruce-Up: Double Feature

February 4th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in 2012 Resolutions | Living Simply | The Saturday Spruce-Up - (Comments Off on The Saturday Spruce-Up: Double Feature)

The last couple weeks and weekends have been a little too busy around here, and I feel like life goes too quickly when we’ve got too many activities going on. That said, I haven’t been able to make as much progress on the house as I’d like, but I did get one little area under control.

First let me explain this area. It is our front entry way, but it is the least use part of our house. We have a big screened in back porch, and everyone enters through there into the kitchen, not the front. So this tiny little area has been an hot spot for me to pile junk.

So just looking at this tells me how long it’s been since I had this little space all cleared out. There is a baby swing in there, people, and my baby can already walk. That means it’s been a good nine or ten months since it was used. There are boxes of random papers, “projects” I’ve been meaning to work on, and a tipped over hand-me-down magazine rack filled with old Better Homes & Gardens. Plus this entryway needs drywall and a paint job, but that’s a different project for a different day.

Okay, I admit, this is a lame project for the Saturday Spruce-Up. Lame. Check out the “after.”

So it still needs drywall, trim, and paint, but at least I can get to the front door (and even get it open!) if we ever needed it as an emergency exit or if a stray pizza guy comes to the wrong door.

Now for the awesome part of the Saturday Spruce-Up. But Bryn, you already showed us so much amazing change in your house, how could there be more?

Well, folks, be prepared to be stunned. Presenting: My son and his flippin’ sweet preschool ‘fro.

Oh yeah, I had to include Peach in there too because she's awesome.

Well if I had Peach, I had into include Vanilla too, right?**

Yes, our son had a super sweet four-year-old white boy afro. It took forever to get it all washed and the shampoo all out, plus it was starting to look funny unless I gelled it. And am I willing to gel a FOUR-YEAR-OLD’s hair every morning? Unlikely.

I went to the gym to work out one Thursday evening and here is what I returned to find (in a fort of course!)

I'm not sure what's happening with the elephant and the black stallion...

That’s right, my honey buzzed TT’s hair while I was gone. I wouldn’t have objected, so it was a really fun surprise. No, he no longer has his sweet ‘fro, but we have no more crazy bed head, and no more gel. Nice.

So there ya go. One lame and one awesome Spruce-Up. Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

** P.S. The picture above with TT & Vanilla is the TV I mentioned in my Super Bowl post yesterday. See? We are definitely living like no one else now so we can LIVE like no one else later. Thanks Dave Ramsey.

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Funny Friday – Super Bowl Weekend & someecards.com

February 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Funny Friday | My Lover Boy - (Comments Off on Funny Friday – Super Bowl Weekend & someecards.com)

This weekend is the Super Bowl, practically a holiday in many households. My husband is already asking what I’m making for him to eat while he watches the game, and I’m actually looking forward to the commercials. And the end of pro football for six months. That might be the best part about the Super Bowl…

Anyway, here are some fun and funny eCards from someecards.com to celebrate the holiday that is Super Bowl weekend:

 

The last one in particular makes me laugh because we just had our big TV go out, so now we just have our little tiny 14-inch kitchen TV in our living room. As Dave Ramsey would say, we are living like no one else now, so we can LIVE like no one else later!

Have a stupendous Super Bowl weekend! Whether you love football or not, it’s still something to celebrate! ­čśë

2012 Resolutions on February 1st

February 1st, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in 2012 Resolutions - (Comments Off on 2012 Resolutions on February 1st)

One month ago, I posted on this blog about my New Year’s resolutions. So how am I doing? Let’s see…

  • Pray more. I feel like I’ve been doing pretty good with this one. I am remembering to pray more often and pray for people I said I’d pray for. I still need to get on it if I’m going to start a daily bible reading or devotional. Still work to do.
  • Go on dates. My husband and I have been on two official dates since the new year began, probably a record for us. We went out with his cousin and his girlfriend one night, and just last weekend we did a music trivia night with our friends. So I guess we had group dates, not just the two of us. Work on this.
  • Be healthy. This resolution is actually going pretty well. I have been going to the gym at least three times a week and I’ve just trying to be moving overall a lot more. Salads and oatmeal are my new best friends, but I still do get to have Buffalo Wild Wings every once in awhile. Plus I’ve lost six pounds since January began. Yay!
  • No more CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). This will forever be a work-in-progress, but good news! We had my parents over for dinner at the last minute this week, and the house was just fine. Yay, again!
  • Be bold and enterprising. Okay, so I haven’t switched over to wordpress.org yet, but I’m still hoping to do that soon enough. I have listed a few things on ebay and started selling things on craigslist, so that’s a start. I still need to quit making excuses and just go for things.
  • Simplify. I have a good handle on this, but I’m nowhere near where I want to be. I have gotten better about donating or just throwing things away that really are junk. Still working on this one too.
  • Keep learning. Yeah, I have till the end of the year to get these done right? I’ve done nothing in this category yet.
  • More quality time with the kids. We have watched significantly less TV since the new year began, especially because our big TV quit working. The kids and I have been making forts, reading, and just playing a lot more. I’m really trying to soak up all these moments while I still have them here at home with me.

So it looks like I’ve got a lot of work to do in the next 11 months. I’ve never been real good at sticking with resolutions, but if I post them on here, I feel like I have a little accountability at least! Hope you are all doing well with your resolutions too!

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I'll Never Fry Bacon Again

January 31st, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Recipes - (Comments Off on I'll Never Fry Bacon Again)

I'm hungry just looking at this.

For the very first time last night, I made bacon in the oven. This could perhaps be one of the most genius ideas in cooking. I have never been any type of gourmet chef. I┬ánormally stick to what I know, and I’m constantly googling “Easy [chicken, beef, pork,whatever] recipe.”

Bacon is a constant favorite in most households, mine included. Who doesn’t love bacon?┬áIt’s probably my husband’s favorite food. For awhile now, I’ve just been getting microwave bacon because it’s easier and doesn’t splatter all over me while I try to cook it in the skillet.

That is, until yesterday. Regular bacon was on sale at our local Hy-Vee, so I picked up a pound. I brought it home and had to do an internet search on “oven cooked bacon” because I didn’t want to screw it up.

Here is the “recipe” I used from about.com: (I don’t know if you can actually call this a recipe because it’s so darn easy!)

How to Make Perfect Bacon

  1. Line a baking sheet with foil. This will make cleanup easier later.
  2. Arrange bacon slices on the foil and place the baking sheet on the center rack of a cold oven. Close oven door. Turn oven on to 400┬░F. Walk away.
  3. Come back 17 to 20 minutes later. As soon as the bacon is golden brown, but not excessively crisp, it’s done. The exact time will depend on the thickness of the bacon slices, and also on how quickly your oven reaches the target temperature.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the bacon to another sheet pan lined with paper towels to absorb the fat. You can pour the liquid fat into a heat-resistant container to save for other uses.

That’s it! Even I could do it, and only burnt a few pieces that were in another pan on the bottom rack.

I’ll never fry bacon again.

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Make-A-List Monday – Before I Was Mama

January 30th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | Kids | Make-A-List Monday - (Comments Off on Make-A-List Monday – Before I Was Mama)

Today’s Make-A-List Monday is things I never had to think about before I was the mama. Being a mom is one of the greatest gifts anyone can receive, but it also comes with major life changes. So here was me, before I was Mom:

  1. It took a half hour at most to get to the grocery store, shop, and get home.
  2. I peed alone.
    And the only butt I had to wipe was my own.
    And I didn’t stand up and announce, “I need to go potty!” every time I needed to go.
    And I had never had a toddler say (loudly), “Good job, Mommy!” after I finished “going potty” in a public restroom.
  3. My house was still unorganized, but I had no one to blame it on but myself.
  4. I had never planned an entire day around nap time. Oh, nap time, how I love thee.
  5. I never noticed how many f-bombs are in R rated movies.
  6. My favorite brands were NOT Graco, Osh Kosh B’Gosh, and Carter’s.
  7. I kept my make-up in the bathroom, not the van.┬áThese days, it’s either mascara at stop lights or nothing.
  8. I didn’t know it was possible to love my husband any more than right then.
  9. I relied more on myself than on God. My faith has grown 100 fold since I had children because most of the time, I have no idea what I’m doing and just have to rely on Him. I’d go crazy with worry if I didn’t have faith in God.
  10. I couldn’t function on less than 8 hours of sleep. Haha, that one just makes me laugh now.
  11. Lunch with my mom consisted of actually having a conversation with her and catching up on each other’s lives, not chasing or quieting or encouraging small children to eat more than just ketchup.
  12. Time went by more slowly.
  13. While driving, I actually listened to music or talk radio instead of babbling of babies and toddlers.
  14. I never knew how intensely my own parents loved me. Or how annoying and sad it was when I fought with my siblings.
  15. I had no idea how strong I am. Or how amazing the human body is. Or that labor pain wouldn’t kill me, but could actually bring another life into this world. I was much less confident about my body then.
  16. I didn’t know how much love my heart could hold. It’s like my heart grew bigger with the birth of each child, and I’ve grown to love my honey even more seeing him as a father. Oh, how He loves us!

My four loves at Rocky Mountain National Park last fall. I AM SO BLESSED!

 

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Obamacare's Violation of Religious Freedom

January 29th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (Comments Off on Obamacare's Violation of Religious Freedom)

So yesterday I attended a wedding shower for my future sister-in-law and did a music trivia night to benefit our local Catholic high school, so I ran out of time to post anything for my Saturday Spruce-Up. I know my rabid readers are so disappointed, and I apologize…

Anyway, I was just introduced to a great article detailing the slippery slope we may be on in Obamacare’s mandate that everyone pay for things such as contraceptives, abortion causing drugs, and sterilization, even if it’s against one’s own conscience. Here is an excerpt from the article on WSJ.com by Timothy Dolan:

The Catholic Church defends religious liberty, including freedom of conscience, for everyone. The Amish do not carry health insurance. The government respects their principles. Christian Scientists want to heal by prayer alone, and the new health-care reform law respects that. Quakers and others object to killing even in wartime, and the government respects that principle for conscientious objectors. By its decision, the Obama administration has failed to show the same respect for the consciences of Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease.

This latest erosion of our first freedom should make all Americans pause. When the government tampers with a freedom so fundamental to the life of our nation, one shudders to think what lies ahead.

In addition, Dolan explains that it’s not just the Catholics that object to this mandate.

Certainly many of these good people and groups [who objected to the mandate] were Catholic, but many were Americans of other faiths, or no faith at all, who recognize that their beliefs could be next on the block. They also recognize that the cleverest way for the government to erode the broader principle of religious freedom is to target unpopular beliefs first.

Click here to read the full article–it’s worth the five minutes!

The government is basically attempting to take away freedom of conscience for the individual, which is against the Bill of Rights (Remember the first amendment – Freedom of Religion?). So what can we do about it? Pray, pray, pray. Spread the word, and don’t be afraid to speak up.

No matter what you believe, this is not just an issue about contraception, it’s a direct violation of everyone’s freedom of religion. If we just let this go, what’s next?

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