A "New" Shirt And A Ghetto Latte

 This weekend while I was at work a girl sat down next to me and was wearing this really cute shirt.  I looked at the shirt and thought, oh man I could make that so easily!  I have no idea where her shirt was from, but it inspired me.  So I took a couple shirts that I bought for a few dollars from Goodwill and created some inspired shirts.  This one is like the one the girl was wearing, but I thought that it was so easy, I could put the ribbon anywhere on the shirt.  So I combined this with my love of leggings.  Here's my how to.  You can have a brand new shirt in literally two minutes with nothing more than a shirt, a pair of scissors and a ribbon.

 First, find a shirt you want to use.  This one I got at Goodwill but hadn't worn yet, I felt it just needed something.
 I put it on, found where I wanted the ribbon to go and cut a little hole so I would know where to fold the shirt.  Then I folded the shirt and made little cuts all the way around.  The cuts don't have to be very big at all, like half the width of the ribbon you're going to use.
 Then cut the shirt all the way around, each hole about an inch apart.
 Then take your ribbon and start to weave it through the holes.
 When the ribbon is woven all the way through, tie it into a bow.
 Then you're all set to go!  I wore this with leggings, boots and a long sleeve shirt underneath.  It was surprisingly warm for a mid November day
 Now you say, oh wait!  Is that a Starbucks latte in your hand?  I would say, well, let me tell you how to be cheap.  On a budget a latte blows through a good portion of my weekly fun money.  So I get a coffee with sugar free peppermint mocha syrup, then I add one packet of sweetener and cream, then, hoila! A ghetto latte that tastes just like the one that costs $4 more.  You can do it with any kind of flavoring, and when it's sugar free the only calories are in the cream.  So my ghetto latte cuts out a a couple hundred calories and $4.
 When I got home tonight, I made the shirt in the above picture.  First I put the purple shirt inside of another shirt that had a neckline that I really liked.  Then I traced the neckline with a pen.
 And cut it down so that it wasn't so high and tight.
 Because I was doing the neckline I couldn't get it to just fold over nicely for me to cut.  I had to pin it so that I could cut the holes.
Then I again cut slits about every inch or inch and a half.  I then unpinned and wove the ribbon through.  The result was the shirt in the first picture.  Sooooo easy!


In The Spirit

It's really quite crazy how before Halloween was even over Christmas was being forced into our faces.  Not to mention completely confusing small children who can hardly keep straight what tomorrow means, let alone "after Thanksgiving."  Now that Halloween is past it's ridiculous how much Christmas stuff is out there.  Tonight we were driving home from my work and the lamp posts surrounding our little town green had Christmas lights, red bows and greenery on every lamp post.  Munchkie exclaimed as she looked out the window "look Mom (this is cool now, just to say Mom) it's Christmas all over!"

Besides the fact that I really feel like we need to be thankful for all of the blessings in our lives before we start demanding of people all of the things we just "have to have," I think that Christmas being vomited all over me just makes me anxious.  It makes me realize that my time to decide upon presents, create and distribute is very rapidly dwindling.  I really enjoy creating homemade presents and I feel so much better giving someone something that I have created in love, rather than running into a store and picking up a completely impersonal gift card.  Not that there's anything wrong with gift cards, because I do appreciate them in my own life, I just feel that I get more out of giving a homemade present.  I am getting slightly stressed because I know that I need to get a move on, start creating.  My ideas just aren't panning out like I would like for them to and it's making me nervous.

This post I read tonight reminded me that the holidays are not about me.  They are about others.  It's about giving and helping those in need.  Especially as we are trying to teach our daughter the positive meaning of Christmas and encourage the giving rather than the receiving.  This post really hit me. We so often give our leftovers.  The toys we don't want anymore because they're worn or broken.  The clothes that are stretched out and fit oddly.  The random things around the house that you just don't want anymore.  Really should we be giving people our broken, misshapen, or even diseased extras?  Do people who live without really need 57 cans of potentially diseased cranberries?  How about giving something that I would feed my own family?  It really made me think, this week at Whole Foods (my fav store) whole chickens were on sale and I bought three for my family.  Maybe this is my reminder that a family in need could use an antibiotic and hormone free, vegetarian fed roasting chicken.  Maybe instead of worrying so much about more "stuff" that I can get people who have everything they need, I should worry about how much I can help meet the needs of those do don't have any "stuff"  Instead of how much can we spend per person, how much can we bless others.

This year, I won't give any BAD CRANBERRIES.  This year, we're going to do things a little differently.


Thank You Pinterest for a Sweet Ending

Let me just start by saying that first I am an emotional eater, I know this and I am working on it.  Secondly, my day prior to noon was great.  We met some friends at the children's museum and had a lot of fun running around and exploring.  Then we left the museum and it was all downhill.

It was supposed to rain today, but I still thought that it was a good time to go out and do things.  Since it was my day off, I needed to get things done.  And it really wasn't raining that hard when we got onto the subway.  So I took Munchkie in her stroller onto the subway, and emerged only to find out that it was pouring out.  We got to Munchkie's Daddy's school in the hopes to surprise him at the library his Spanish test was in.  The police were covering the perimeter, requiring a school photo id to get onto school property due to whole Occupy(my city).  As I turned away, tears welling in my eyes and searched for the best place to run to get out of the rain I could hear several people giving the policemen a difficult time saying "seriously man, it's a woman with a child and it's raining out!"  We met Munchkie's Daddy for a quick cup of a coffee and lunch then headed into our mission of the day.  A new stroller.

The last several weeks we have noticed a drastic decline in the state of our stroller.  We bought our stroller on Craigslist for a significant discount just over a month ago.  We loved it compared to our clearance umbrella stroller, but it's starting to wobble, shake, and we have to fight with it maneuver.  Let me explain my day's travels so you can understand how important a highly functioning stroller is.  Thankfully, Munchkie's Daddy drove us to the subway station this morning, cutting out a half mile walk and bus ride, so we got to the subway station doors without a problem and started our travels.  We had to switch lines which meant that I carried Munchkie in her stroller down three flights of stairs- not one person stopped, not one person offered to assist me, I just heard grumbling behind me because I wasn't going fast enough (this was a common theme throughout my day).  We got onto the other line, hopped off, climbed another flight of stairs (we being me carrying the stroller with the child in it) before realizing there was an elevator, then an escalator to get to the street.  We should have walked half a mile to our meeting place bakery, but accidentally went down a wrong street and backed tracked almost the whole way, taking two more flights of stairs down onto the correct street level.  Again, with the grumbling business men and women behind us trying to get a coffee and pack of cigarettes in on their morning breaks.  Then after the museum walked back to the subway, off the subway, up an escalator, then a flight of stairs only to be turned away by police officers.  Ran to lunch across brick sidewalks and then back to the subway station to catch a bus.  Down two flights of stairs to a bus, off the bus and walked three blocks on brick sidewalks to a resale children's store.  Couple more brick sidewalks back to the bus, riding it to the subway.  Rode the subway to where we switch lines, heading up three flights of stairs there.  Onto the last subway of the day until our bus ride home.  Hopped the escalator to the bus, and then walked the half a mile home in the pouring rain.  Needless to say, our stroller gets a work out on my days off.  On my days of work, it's just a half mile walk to the bus, short bus ride, quarter of a mile to the babysitter's and then back again at the end of the day.

We were going to the children's resale shop to see a stroller that had been on Craigslist and hoping that there were other strollers available to look at.  When we got there the stroller was dirty, big and had a fixed front wheel which isn't that convenient for maneuvering around a city.  So all that traveling for nothing.  I had to make the trip worthwhile so I got Munchkie a couple nice second hand items of clothing that I had been keeping my eye out for.  After arriving to the store in the rain, we had to head home in the pouring rain.  We went to the bus stop, where we almost got hit by a car crossing the street, I stepped in several puddles soaking both my socks and my pants (since in the morning sunlight I had forgotten to wear my rainboots that came in the mail yesterday).  By the time we finally arrived home I was literally soaked to the bone and Munchkie was napless.  Apparently today a new bus announcement started, something along the lines of "Courtesy Counts, before riding with a stroller or baby carriage think of those around you" and so in between each stop it played, and everyone on the bus looked to me and my stroller. Sweet.  No wonder not one person offered to assist me as I lugged a child in a stroller up and down stairs, escalators and on and off buses.  In fact, at one stop, I couldn't move to the front of the bus fast enough for my stop (I was trying to struggle against the wobbly wheels and not bump into people's outstretched feet and umbrellas in the aisles) so the bus driver just moved on to the next stop.  Thanks dude.

Needless to say, I was in a HORRIBLE mood by the time we got home.  Add to that four accidents in a two legged mammal's pants, a four legged mammal's accident on a rug, a broken glass and overtired toddler and I was ready to loose it by the time Munchkie's Daddy walked in the door. I needed something sweet and chocolate and I needed it NOW.

In comes Pinterest, my go to site for all things creative.  I remembered that I had pinned a microwave cake recipe I had found. The wonderful thing about Pinterest is that there is no searching around for that recipe.  I go to my Pinterest boards, click on the right one and there it is.  Let me tell you, it hit the spot.  Deliciousness to a poor weary mother's tongue.  I sat watching Hulu shows in my pajamas enjoying a piece of Nutella heaven.

I took this 90 Second Nutella Cake and made it grain free.  Obviously it is excellent the way she makes it as well and it is way healthier than any other microwave cake recipe I've seen.

Grain Free Nutella Microwave Cake

1 heaping tablespoon Nutella
1 heaping tablespoon coconut flour
1 teaspoon cocoa
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon truvia

Add the coconut flour to a microwave safe bowl or mug.  Lightly spray the tablespoon with cooking spray and scoop out the Nutella.  Add remaining ingredients and mix together thoroughly. Microwave 30 seconds to a minute.  Check for doneness and then savor each bite as you think of better things.


Another Way to Curl Your Hair

A friend of mine sent me a link to this YouTube video recently and I decided to try out her method of curling her hair. Let me tell you that I love it. I wear my hair in a sock bun almost every single night because it takes close to two seconds and almost always looks great. If it doesn't look great, I just pull it back into a pony tail and no one knows the difference. A picture is worth a thousand words right? So I'll just post pictures and let you watch the video.

She does her hair with plain water, but I mix water, hair gel and leave in conditioner in a spray bottle and use that on my hair to help it hold.  When I take it out, I spray some curl spray on it, which I think is just hair spray marketed for curly hair.  The picture below is what happened after a few hours when I only used water.
This was my first attempt, it turned out pretty good for a first attempt.

And then this is today, I haven't washed my hair for a few days and it was the third day in a row that I had done the sock bun.

If you try this, how did it work for you?


Crackers Straight From My Oven

 Tonight we went to some friends' house down for dinner and I was to bring an appetizer.  I had been wanting to try making my own crackers for a while, but for some reason I was a little intimidated.  Obviously taking food to someone else's house is the most appropriate time to try something that's intimidating.  It was ridiculously easy though!  Well,  I have to admit that my fourth batch was the best.  I don't know if it was the best combination or the best because I had gotten better by the fourth try.

Thank you Google and Pinterest for assisting with almost all of my kitchen endeavors.  Between the two I found some options.  The first one I tried were these Grain Free Almond Crackers and they were definitely good, but I should have added more seasoning and salt for flavoring.  The second batch I made of them had more salt and were better.  Then I decided to try a different kind.  I made this Sesame Sunflower Seed Grain Free Crackers recipe, but I thought it odd that there was no binding agent, only water.  So I altered it a little bit.  The first batch I added an egg white and water to mix them together.  Then the fourth batch I made, I decided it was time to go all out and combine to create my own recipe.  They were everyone's favorite.

Pumpkin Flax Crackers

1 cup pumpkin seeds, hulled
1 cup ground flax 
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

1. Combine pumpkin seeds, salt and garlic powder in a food processor and puree until ground.
2. Add flax and food process until well mixed.
3. Mix together dry mix with egg whites in a mixing bowl until a paste.
4. Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper until thing, to the thickness you prefer a cracker to be.
5. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into squares.
6. Place dough, on parchment paper, on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of your cracker.
7. Once slightly golden (if it gets too dark it tastes like burnt nuts) remove, let cool and break apart into crackers.

 I took a wheel of brie, added this Honey Spiced Peach Spread on top and piled the crackers around it.  I thought it was quite good and it was super easy!  This might be my new staple to bring places.


Taking Baby Steps

Lately I've been feeling like I can hardly hold things together. I feel like I can't do anything well.  I think that a lot of it is our "fresh" start, which feels more difficult than fresh.  I had set all of these goals and guidelines for myself when we moved and I feel as thought I have let my family and myself down.  The very first blog I started reading was Simple Mom and somehow she has managed to post something at the exact time that I needed it.  It is beyond eery the timing of her posts.  I have commented on this to Munchkie's Daddy and close friends several times, and it's happened again.  Tsh (that's her name, interesting isn't it?) recently had a post on Imperfection and discussed how we cannot be perfect, then another blog I read Simple Organic posted The Truth About What I Don't Do inspired by Tsh's post..  I really appreciated reading that someone else, someone who inspires me, isn't as perfect as I picture them in my head. This may sound weird, but it took a huge weight off of my shoulders.

I have been struggling with loneliness in this move, but then I guess I added a bunch of other unneeded stresses to my life as well.  I thought that I would magically love doing dishes, so decided that we could survive without a dishwasher to be "frugal" and "eco friendly."  I thought that somehow I wouldn't mind folding and putting away clothes, which just isn't the case, and it's even more apparent in a two foot square apartment.  I also thought that I would be ok with working in a hospital setting, rotating shifts between days and nights, working weekends and holidays, which is just really difficult.  I thought that taking public transportation would be the easy way to do things, not three to four times longer than actually driving.

I should have realized that the stressors of moving, starting over and flipping my way of life around was enough to deal with.  I shouldn't have added onto myself the need to be perfect as well.  Because that isn't obtainable.  Nobody's perfect, nobody does everything right.  I certainly am the furthest thing from perfect, and I think that the last few weeks have really hit me hard in these respects.  When I don't obtain a goal I set for myself I get so discouraged that I don't think I can obtain any goal I set for myself.  Which then makes me fall further and further from the direction I was going.  I get so overwhelmed by my backtracking that I have a hard time moving forward and this is the place I am in now.  I feel that I have backtracked on my goals and can't quite figure out how to start working on them again. 

As the article on Simple Organic said today, baby steps.  You can only take baby steps.  So I think that my baby step will be to go to bed, since it's late, wake up in a little while and after taking Ana to daycare, do the dishes.  I think that I will also write out my goals so that I have a list and once there's a list, there's a responsibility to cross things off.

  • Do the dishes as they get dirty- not put them by the sink for later
  • Vacuum several times a week
  • Do laundry on a regular basis and
    • put the clothes away as they are clean.
  • Loose those last 20 pounds
  • Exercise (I was going to say exercise more, but then that would be a lie, so we'll just start with exercise)
  • Meal plan
  • Cut out TV
  • Sleep more at night, so I'm not tired and unproductive during the day
  • Get out and make friends
  • Complete the sewing project that I have all of the supplies for.
  • Hang pictures on the walls
  • Keep the kitchen counter clutterfree
I think that is a good start for now.  With some baby steps I think that I can get past this funk that I am in right now.