From Yellow To Orange To Butterflies

If you do not know, let me be the first to tell you...2 years old are opinionated. They will tell you exactly what they do and do not want to wear. You can make Elise's day by giving her something with pockets and send her into orbit by picking the wrong pair of fuzzy socks.

Daddy thought it might be nice for her to have a yellow Easter dress since she doesn't wear that color often. I wasn't 100% sold (I was worried that it would wash her out since she is pale like her Mama and has light hair) but I found a beautiful yellow and turquoise fabric and started planning her dress.

Then she informed me that she wanted an orange dress..and  she reminded me every day that she wanted an orange Easter dress...all I could see was pumpkins and Tennessee Volunteers, it was awful, but she would not be swayed. So search #2 for fabric was on and I finally settled on a fabric that had a nice amount of orange in it but plenty of pink and aqua to satisfy me as well. I showed it to her...her response, "Where are the butterflies?" My response? "YOU ARE KILLING ME, SMALLS!"

We took deep breaths, I let her go to the computer with me and my 2 year old picked out her butterfly fabric...pics of her dress to come.


Tipsy Tuesday (#304)

I think that those EOS lip balms are just too cute!

Tip #304

So, I love the idea of reusing the container once the lip balm is gone.

It can be used to store jewelry for travel, hold a few pills, or even change ($3 in quarters will fit inside!). And they are so small that they take up practically no space so they would be perfect for toting around in your gym or sports practice bags!


Cinderella Cheesecake

I have no clue why my choice for this month's Cake Slice Baker's selection is called Cinderella Cheesecake, but I saw peanut butter and chocolate and I was in! Slightly more involved than my few past bakes from the book, but so worth it. I baked it for a work potluck luncheon today, so I've only tasted all of the elements separately, but they were enough to convince me that I am a new fan of brownie crust filled with peanut butter cheesecake. And appropriate, since Elise got to meet Cinderella at the local movie theater last week!



You Have To Start Somewhere...

When all of this drama forced me to give up my diet soda, I bought a fancy new water bottle. I found that once I had the right water bottle - for me that means one with a straw - and a splash of lime was added, I don't mind the water so much. I'm up to 3 bottles a day, which is huge for me.

Once I conquered the water, I knew it was time to get focused on adding in some exercise. I used to go to the gym before Elise was born, but going now would mean sacrificing the already short amount of time that I have with her in the evenings, so I need something that I can do at home. Jill began talking about the 21 Day Fix (a combination of a portion control system and exercise DVD's) and it seemed like something that I wanted to try. As luck would have it, I found a friend getting rid of her system for next to nothing, so I am going to sit down with it this weekend and study it all and get a meal plan worked out and start my first workout.
The final piece of the puzzle? It is time to retire my 7 year old Easy Spirit sneakers that the Rev's Mom gave me and come into this century. The Rev took me shoe shopping on our date night last week and even though I kicked and screamed because they have no just plain white shoes (ya'll know how plain I am!), these fit great, and will be here tomorrow (the store didn't have my size in stock so we ordered online).

Obviously, I have a lot of weight to lose and will need many rounds of the 21 Day Fix, but you have to start somewhere...


Tipsy Tuesday (#303)

Maybe I don't have to teach Elise to sit like a little lady after all...

Tip # 303

Avoid sitting with your legs crossed for extended periods of time.

From ABC News, "Sitting with legs crossed at the knee can bump up blood pressure, according to a study published in Blood Pressure Monitoring. Leg crossing increased systolic blood pressure nearly 7 percent and diastolic by 2 percent."

"Frequent crossing of the legs also puts stress on the hip joints and can cause pooling of blood in the legs when the veins are compressed," says Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, FACC, a Connecticut-based cardiologist and author of The Great Cholesterol Myth. "This could predispose you to inflammation of the veins of the lower legs and possibly a blood clot."
Dr. Sinatra says to avoid crossing your legs for longer than 10 to 15 minutes, and to get up and walk around every half hour or so.


What's In Your Purse?

I've not always been a purse gal, but as I get older, I find myself needing more "stuff" when I am out and about, particularly since becoming a Mom. There is nothing worse than being caught unprepared! I try to keep my bag pretty organized so that I can just reach right in and grab what I need.

We have transitioned so that Elise just has a small backpack with her diapers, wipes, and change of clothes that she takes for school and church nursery, so no more hefty diaper bag. In addition, I keep a large pouch of snacks, flexible straws, and kid sized utensils in the car that I can just grab and take in if we go to a restaurant.

I thought it would be fun to take you on a purse tour. Here is a breakdown of what I carry:

Elise's pouch (floral): Extra diaper & wipes, Coloring supplies, Stickers, Paint with water cards and paintbrush, Plastic bag for wet clothes

Beauty/First Aid pouch: Lotion, Brush, Lip gloss, First Aid Kit, Nail file, Lint roller, Basic medications (Tylenol, heartburn, etc.)

Office Supplies pouch: Calculator, Pens, Extra Memory cards, Backup external battery pack and USB cord for phone



Hand Sanitizer


Wristlet with Cash, Debit Card, ID, etc.

So, what's in your purse?



Listening...to "Let It Go" over and over in my head...someone at my house has caught on to Frozen.

Eating...this Mint Chocolate Chip Brownie Brittle...only 120 calories and oh so good!



Wearing...khakis, orange sweater, and brown flats. (It's back to chilly today...)

Feeling...blah and just overwhelmed with some drama this week. People just need to grow up!

Needing...to order the fabric for Elise's Easter dress...first she wanted orange (thank goodness that passed!), then she wanted butterflies, by the time that it gets here that may have changed, holding my breath. Who knew 2 year olds had so many wardrobe opinions?

Wanting...a break and my hour of sleep back.

Thinking...too much...need a brain break, as well.

Enjoying...the warmer days that we have had as of late, can't wait until they come to stay.


Tipsy Tuesday (#302)

I'm ready to start some fun Easter activities with Elise!

Tip #302

But I'm not a fan of the messes, so this Easter egg dyeing tip is pure genius!

From Lifehack, "Place each of the boiled eggs into the whisk being careful not to break any of the outer shell. Once this is done, you can dip it in any color that you want. Food coloring usually stains your fingers, but the whisk prevents you from putting your hands in the dye. Now you can enjoy your Easter without the trouble of the cleanup!"


The Things You Say

Dear Elise,

At 28 months (yes, I still count your age in months), you are quite the chatterbox, with a rather impressive vocabulary. I wanted to jot down some of the favorite funny things that you say so that we will remember them. Here are just a few:

• "Two treats": When you get something special, you want one in each hand!

• "It's Taco Tuesday!": The only day of the week that you know consistently, besides church days. All we have to ask is guess what day it is and you answer with...

• "Cold water, fresh milk": You know how you like your drinks...if we hand you a cup, your first question -  is it cold water or is it fresh milk?

• "Muddle Puddles": You have discovered Peppa Pig and she loves muddy puddles which you call muddle puddles.

• "Not today": You know that you aren't allowed to tell us "No," this is your sneaky work around, when asked to do something that you don't want to do you will reply, "Not today."

• "Next Christmas": You fell in love with candy canes, you talk about them all of the time and remind me that you will get some more next Christmas...

• "Fuzzies": Not much gets between you and your fuzzy socks!

•"Honey Bunners": We have Star Wars cups and your Daddy has been teaching you all of the characters on them, one is a bounty hunter, or as you call him, a honey bunner....

• "That's crazy": Daddy tried to explain that grandparents are our parents, your response..."that's crazy!"

• "You Miss Me? I Miss You.": This is my favorite, of course. You meet me at the door when I come home from work to tell me that you missed me. And when we wake you from nap or in the morning, you tell us that you missed us.

Oh, how we love you and the things you say.

Mommy (and Daddy!)


Tipsy Tuesday (#301)

Because I do actually read labels and look at portions...

Tip #301

but a visual is much easier for me to use as a tool when keeping healthy portion sizes in mind.

This infographic from Skinny Mom is a great meal planning aid to keep me on track. I'm often surprised at the way products are packaged and how the portions actually break down - did you know that a package of PopTarts is 2 servings? Or that most "single-size" bags of chips are actually more than one serving? It can be eye opening to look at labels.

Are any of these portion sizes a surprise to you?


Tipsy Tuesday (#300)

Trying to keep a 2 year old occupied during a week 's worth of snow days requires all sorts of creativity...

Tip #300

When it's too cold to play outside, get creative and bring the outside in.

We loaded up a plastic bin with snow, gave Elise some watered down paint (you could just as easily use food coloring in water), a paint brush and let her snow paint. It kept her occupied for quite a while and she didn't feel like she was missing out on the snow fun.

What is your favorite rainy/snow day activity? We've got another storm front heading our way, so we're looking to arm ourselves against boredom!


Mississippi Mud Cake

Our new baking selection, The Southern Cake Book, has really been hitting it out of the park. I chose to bake the Mississippi Mud Cake this month in cupcake form. The cupcakes were really dense and brownie like and are covered in marshmallows, chocolate drizzle and pecans. Bonus: the frosting makes extra and would be awesome drizzled over warm pound cake or ice cream. The recipe with the cupcake adaptation can be found here.


    http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.php?id=497482" title="click to view in an external page.">An InLinkz Link-up



A Smile A Day...

Seeing all of the ways that smiling benefits us makes it all the more disheartening that there are still children who suffer from a deformity that could be easily repaired in a 45 minute surgery. Operation Smile agrees and has devoted itself to providing life changing and even life saving surgeries to those born with cleft lips and cleft palates.

From their website:

"Our free, life-changing surgeries take as little as 45 minutes, and can give a boy or girl with a facial deformity a lifetime of smiles. Plus, every child we heal creates a ripple effect on the child's family, community and country. Our medical volunteers span six continents — surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, intensivists, nurses, speech therapists, nutritionists, dentists, child life specialists and so many more. They do far more than provide free surgery for these children; they provide comprehensive care to treat the whole child. Imagine an older child whose cleft palate is fixed, but is still unable to speak — or a child who has never before seen a pediatrician or dentist before they encounter Operation Smile. Many of our patients are severely malnourished because their parents don’t know how to breastfeed a child with a cleft. Our medical teams give our patients specialized care so they can live healthy and productive lives."

Not sure how you can help? Glad you asked! There are several ways that you can help bring a smile to a child's face.

1. A surgery can cost as little as $240. Consider donating in honor of your child's birthday, to celebrate a special milestone or accomplishment, or as an alternative to office gift swaps why not have everyone pitch in and make a donation? Right now corporate partners have donated essential medical equipment and supplies for upcoming medical missions in 5 countries. Your gift multiplies 14X in impact to help ship them to waiting children. Every penny counts.

2. Buy something that you already need and watch a portion of the proceeds go to Operation Smile. Did you know that CampusBookRentals donates to Operation Smile with every textbook rented? I remember scouring the college bookstore for that last copy of a book needed, such a pain. With CampusBookRentals.com you just click and they will ship the book to you for free and then allow you to ship it back for free when you are finished - makes way more sense than buying books that you will get next to nothing for when you take it back to the bookstore!!

What always guarantees a big smile from you? Quick, go visit Operation Smile and share that joy with someone else!


What Elise Wore: Queen of Hearts

We celebrated Valentine's Day with tulips for me, hyacinths for Elise, a candlelit family Valentine's dinner and White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake for the Rev.

We woke up the next day to a sprinkling of snow and ice (enough to cancel church) and dressed our Valentine up for a little post Valentine's Day lunch. Have I mentioned how much I love sewing ruffle pants for my gal? She is the queen of our hearts, for sure!

{Tunic: DIY by me; pattern here, ruffle pants: DIY by me}


I Still Smell Smoke, I Can't Feel My Feet, And Soda Has No Fizz...

So, to catch us up to where we left off...3 years ago I started smelling smoke, I finally found a Dr. who dug a little deeper to find answers and a tumor, and then went on a roller coaster ride to remove the tumor, only to  conclude that while it needed to come out, it had nothing to do with the smoke smell.

Two weeks before Christmas, I went to see a neurologist, whose best guess was that some type of headache could be causing the smell. She scheduled an EEG to rule out seizures, and prescribed Topamax (an anti-seizure/migraine medication) daily to see if that helped any. The EEG showed some slowing on the left side of my brain, but they can't pinpoint what might be causing that, no evidence of seizures though.

I started the Topamax, gradually working up to the full dosage as she prescribed and I have never felt worse. This medication is EVIL! I can't sleep, my hair is falling out, my hands and feet tingle like they are asleep about 50% of the time, and soda tastes flat. I had a follow up visit with her on Friday and left more frustrated than I was when I went in. She must be getting huge kickbacks to prescribe Topamax because she pretty much told me that it wasn't causing the majority of my side effects, that it was coincidental, just like the increase in smoke incidents and headaches since starting the drug were coincidental, too.

Fortunately, I saw my ENT right after her and he is still the most awesome Dr. I've ever had. He's not satisfied with her answers and looked up side effects right there in his office to confirm that I am on track and the medication is indeed responsible. I think that even though we knew it was a long shot, he was hoping that when he removed the tumor, the smoke smell and headaches would go away. It really is his mission to see me well. He is researching my condition (phantosmia) and looking for answers.

So that is where we are today. I'll keep you updated.