About Me

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This blog is about what happens to a former newspaper photographer when she becomes a mama and moves home to raise her kids. I'm a wife to my best friend Michael who is a photographer for the Tulsa World. I am a mama to two beautiful girls who make me laugh every day. I was born and raised in Oklahoma and I think it's a wonderful place to raise our children. I was a newspaper photographer for 13 years before leaving to stay home with my girls. One of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I am blessed with the ability to stay home with the girls mostly but also freelance photography some. Sometimes I can't believe I'm actually getting paid to do something that is so fun! I recently heard someone say "I spent my 20's thinking I knew everything and I have been spending my 30's proving myself wrong." I relate so much to that because I realized a while back that I spent my 20's thinking mostly about myself and my career and I have spent my 30's mostly thinking about our children and how I could stay home with them more and work less.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My VERY favorite kitchen appliance EVER!!!


I can't remember where I got this little gadget. I think my dad got it for me at a garage sale or maybe I got it at a garage sale? I can't remember. Anyway, thought it would be good for the camper until I discovered it's awesomeness!
It's a crockpot like thing but the top is removable from the warmer base so you can brown your meet in the non-stick pan directly on the stove (see picture) and then transfer over to the warmer so no dirtying up another pan! The base also happens to be a little griddle if you wanted to make a couple of eggs on it or a pancake or two. Never done that but it would work great.
You can buy a new one w/ a handy case from Target. Here's the link: West Bend Slow Cooker
Worth every penny!!
I don't always have time to make dinner right at 5 but I always have time to make it at like 2ish so like today for example I browned my ground turkey with taco seasoning and then put it on the warmer at the low setting and added some RoTel so the meat would stay moist and then when we get home from our activities it will be so much easier to throw together the taco salad. I think this is the coolest little gadget that I never even knew existed before. It's like the perfect little size too that can be cleaned so much easier than my traditional crockpot. Can I say enough about this? Sorry to go on and on!!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Beyond PB&J - Tulsa World

I posted this earlier and thought I'd repost today as some of us are back to trying to get inspired as we pack lunches again. Enjoy!

I clipped this article out of my very favorite newspaper, The Tulsa World, a couple years ago and hung it inside my pantry for those times when both me and the girls are bored with their lunch boxes. It has some great ideas for lunches.
Big sis has recently started packing her own lunch which was sort of a punishment for complaining about what I packed for her but turns out she really loves packing her own lunch and prefers to pack it herself. Next stop...she does her own laundry!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Food Find!





I broke up with bagels over 3 years ago when I joined Weight Watchers. I lost 46 pounds 3 years ago and have only had one bagel since I joined WW. It's just one of those weakness foods for me and I have to stay away. Did you know some bagels can be 9 Weight Watcher points!!! I only get 21 points a day so that just wasn't going to fly. They just aren't worth it to me any more. I found these new bagel thins at Wal Mart the other day and they are only........wait......this is exciting......1 WW point each!!!! And it comes in Everything flavor which is my FAV!!! Can you tell I'm excited? They basically took a bagel and gutted it and made it really flat. You still get the flavor just not the gigantic bread blob of a bagel. That actually still sounds really good to me, a gigantic bread blog. Yum! If you pair this little bagel thin with a laughing cow cheese wedge it's only 2 WW points total. That's just what I had for lunch and it was GOOD!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Laundry Confession

I have a confession. I don't do Mike's laundry. I know, isn't it terrible? I have just never done it, his clothes take forever to sort, wash and dry and I find that it just makes me happier when he does his own laundry. I do all the other laundry in the house and I really don't despise doing laundry like some people and I think it's because I don't do Mike's laundry. I only have to do laundry about once every two weeks between me and the girls. If I had to do Mike's laundry I would have to do it like every other day or so just to keep ahead of it. Now, I have been known to do his laundry when I feel sorry for him like when he's worked a whole bunch and hadn't had time to do it or if he's sick. Or like when his dad had a heart attack and I was so nervous at home with the girls while they were all at the hospital all I could think to do to help was do Mike's laundry. Every once in a while (very rarely actually) I feel kind of guilty for not doing his laundry, more now that I don't work, but then I hear someone complaining about doing laundry and I think to myself the guilt is worth the satisfaction I get out of not doing his stinky laundry.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

For all mamas out there

Inside Recess Game





The oldest has the most amazing first grade teacher. She's just AMAZING and we all really love her. I'm always trying to find ways to thank her for all she does. She mentioned the other day that she needed more inside recess stuff for the girls to do. I have been saving our Folgers coffee containers for a while because they seem so useful for something???I put together this little stamp kit for girls for inside recess days for her classroom. I used scrapbook paper and Modge Podge to cover the sides that said Folgers coffee and the top I had to use E6000 glue because the Modge Podge wouldn't stick. I used my 40% coupon at Hobby Lobby and got a stamp set for around $5 that I put inside. Good thing I finished it just in time for no more inside recess. : )

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

video

This is me.

I heard someone say something the other day that really hit home with me. They said "I spent my 20's thinking I knew everything and I have been spending my 30's proving myself wrong." I can so relate! I think I relate so much to that because I realized a while back that I spent my 20's really thinking mostly about myself and my career and I have spent my 30's mostly thinking about our children and how I could stay home with them more and work less. I wouldn't trade my 20's for absolutely anything, It was such a blast and I loved my job at the newspaper. But then we had our first baby when I was 30 and well as most of you know babies ROCK your world! Parenting is so humbling and boy does it make me feel stupid sometimes. It's just so funny to me how focused on my job and career in my 20's I was and how the minute I had a baby all I could think about was how I could quit working. I am so blessed to be able to freelance about once a week.
I told Mike the other day that I'm fine with working a little more as the kids get older and in school but I want to be able to take them both to school, workout, pick them both up from school, and have dinner ready when he gets home at 5:30. Those few simple things make me extremely happy and grateful. I guess I'm old fashioned huh?

Tips my mother-in-law sent me

I'm very blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law. She actually has her own blog you should check out. http://ginnysimons.wordpress.com/
She forwarded me this email the other day with all kinds of cool and useful tricks. I'm thinking this will improve my quality of life greatly!

Subject: Fwd: FW: Clever Ideas Worth Knowing

There are some pretty good ideas here.

(The last hint about clothes drier is very informative - but I haven't checked it out on Snopes)

Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store.
If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.



Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil.
It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!



Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.
Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.



Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef.

It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich, add a couple of
spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.


Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and

at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.


Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!! Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummm!

Reheat Pizza
Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low
and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.


Easy Deviled Eggs

Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up.
Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done. An easy clean up.


Expanding Frosting
When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer
for a few minutes.. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

Reheating refrigerated bread

To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in
a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food

moist and help it reheat faster.



Newspaper weeds away
Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers,

put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and for-

get about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic. They will not
get through wet newspapers.

Broken Glass

Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.

No More Mosquitoes
Place a dryer sheet in your pocket.
It will keep the mosquitoes away.


Squirrel Away!


To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.


Flexible vacuum
To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel
roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.

Reducing Static Cling

Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt
or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and ... TA DA! ... Static is gone.


Measuring Cups
Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water.

Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such

as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.



Foggy Windshield?

Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!

Reopening envelopes
If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside,
just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.


Conditioner

Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.

Goodbye Fruit Flies
To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2' with Apple Cider Vinegar
and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!


Get Rid of Ants

Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

IMPORTANT INFO ABOUT CLOTHES DRYERS
The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the
house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load clothes.) He told us that he wanted to show us something; he took the filter over to the sink and ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material .. I'm sure you know what your dryer's lint filter looks like. Well .... the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn't go through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh that's what burns out the heating unit. You can't SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free ... that nice fragrance too. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box ... well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen.
This is also what causes dryer units to potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very longtime (and to keep your electric and gas bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months. He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long! How about that!?! Learn something new everyday! I certainly didn't know dryer sheets would do that. So, I thought I'd share!
Note: I went to my dryer and tested my screen by running water on it. The water ran through a little bit but mostly collected all the water in the mesh screen. I washed it with warm soapy water and a nylon brush and I had it done in 30 seconds. Then when I rinsed it .. the water ran right thru the screen! There weren't any puddles at all! That repairman knew what he was talking about!

PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK.

NOT ONLY COULD IT SAVE SOMEONE'S HOME, BUT IT COULD SAVE A LIFE !

I have had this blog for a while now but as you can tell haven't posted anything because I didn't think I had much to write about that many people would be interested in. A few of my good friends have convinced me that I should just start writing. So that's what I'm doing...writing! I guess I'll post some of my favorite recipes, weight watchers secrets, and other fun stuff.