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.


Tipsy Tuesday (#299)

Bbbbrrrbrrrr...it is so cold here! I don't like the cold, but I do love wearing warm sweaters.

Tip #299

Remove piling from sweaters with this simple trick from A Thrifty Mrs. 

I love the idea of using velcro rollers, which I happen to have, instead of a razor. I can get rid of the piling and keep all of my fingers!


Valentine, I'm Stuck On You

Elise loves stickers and M&M's, so we put together these little treats for her preschool and church friends for Valentine's Day.

I used cellophane bags from the candy making aisle and PicMonkey to make the bag toppers. Then we just picked some fun stickers from the party and stationary section at WalMart - you can get little booklets with several pages in them for only 97 cents.  We chose some Mickey Mouse, Sofia the First (for the girls), Cars (for the boys), Bubble Guppies, and some Valentine hearts. Each completed Valentine was just under 50 cents, so the price was right, too!

I love doing these crafty things for her friends and can't wait until she can be a bit more involved, though she does enjoy picking stickers and the actual giving. I saw so many kids on friends' Facebook and Instagram feeds making card boxes and I can't wait for that! Did you ever make those in school and set them on your desk for people to put Valentine cards in?


Tipsy Tuesday (#298)

A trip to WalMart, alone, with a toddler, to get a week's worth of groceries is an exercise in survival...and the checkout holdup is inevitable, but we made it, thanks to our list.

Tip #298

Use a cute list like the one that you can find at Hello, Cuteness! to make the grocery task easier.

I find that sorting my list by store area, like this one is, makes it less likely that I will forget something and have to backtrack for it. Do you have any helpful grocery shopping tips?



Listening...to the heat run and it is glorious...because it is at work and I don't have to pay for it.


Drinking...Diet Pepsi.


Wearing...khakis, black turtleneck sweater, and black flats. (BORING!)

Feeling...a little cheated that gas never got below $2 in our area like it did in some places before it started climbing back up. What are gas prices in your area? $2.06 here

Needing...to finish up class and teacher Valentine's for Elise for next week. Is it nerdy that I find this stuff to be fun? I am sure that when she gets older and I have to force her to sit down and write names on them it will feel like a chore, but for now it is fun!

Wanting...to do some Valentine sewing for my girl as well, we shall see what the weekend holds.

Thinking...that I just want to avoid all of the sickies and germs that are floating around the school lately - stay away from my phone and don't touch my stuff, people!

Enjoying...my Trivia Crack win streak against the Rev (5 games in a row!) Anybody else been sucked into this game?


Tipsy Tuesday (#297)

So, we are raising a 2 year old diva, whose night time beauty routine is getting to be a bit much...she needs her cream, and her "chapped lips" (chapstick) and her fuzzy socks...

Tip #297

and she is a bit heavy handed with the cream and chapstick. I think that I shall show her this - a helpful guideline on how much beauty product is really necessary.

Though I must admit that many of these products aren't even on my list. What are your favorite beauty products? What does your bedtime routine look like?



Elise is such a sensitive little girl. She already shows a great concern for others - if you tell her that someone is sick once, she will ask you every time that we see or talk about them if they feel better. Because of the Rev's line of work she hears of illness and hospitals often, its just a part of his calling and we don't hide it from her. It will be a part of her reality, just as late night visits to families who have just lost loved ones and visitations to funeral homes will be. We don't dwell on these things and we don't offer great detail, but we do speak to her in terms that she can understand and encourage her to pray for or offer help to people that need it. And if you tell her that we need to pray for someone she does it right then, "Dear God, help so and so feel better, Amen."
When a friend brought to our attention that the Ronald McDonald House in our neighboring area was trying to fill the house with 5,000 Valentine's cards to brighten the day for the families that will spend the holiday there, I knew that the project would be perfect for Elise. Not only would she get to help others feel better but she would get to use stickers and the coveted markers, which are still reserved for special, supervised occasions. She took her job seriously and even parted with some of her favorite Lisa Frank stickers (where are my 80's friends?).
I hope she always takes such joy in helping others feel better and always remembers to #SendLove. 


DCB Recipe #45: Honey Mustard Chicken

Quick, easy, and full of flavor! It doesn't hurt that it had sauce to dip in - that seems to be a major meal requirement for 2 year olds! Make this one in your deep covered baker in the microwave in minutes (or bake in your oven for 30-40 minutes in a 9x13 baking dish if you don't have a baker), add a few sides and dinner is done!

Honey Mustard Chicken

1lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1/2 c. mustard
1/2 c. honey
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken and set aside. 
In a bowl combine honey, mustard, basil, and paprika. 
Pour 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of the baker and top with the chicken. Top with an additional 1/3 of the sauce.
Microwave, covered, for 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Serve with remaining sauce.


Tipsy Tuesday (#296)

Buy now, for next winter!

Tip #296

Stores are already getting rid of winter items, like coats and boots. Buy now for deep savings.

We were able to score a super cute, warm winter coat for Elise for next winter for just $15 at Target a few weeks ago! It seems crazy to think of clearance on winter when there are still months of winter left for us here, but I'll take the savings anyway!


Blue Ridge Modern Quilt Guild

Sewing has really become something that I want to excel at, so when a Mom of one of Elise's preschool classmates mentioned that she was starting a Modern Quilt Guild, I knew that I wanted to join. She is a talented wedding dress and clothing designer and her mother owns the local sewing shop, so I knew that I would be surrounding myself with knowledge and some great resources. Modern quilting follows traditional quilting technique, but modernizes the aesthetic by using bold, bright colors and print; expansive negative space; high contrast and creative threading. We are meeting once a month to share our projects, learn techniques, and sit and sew a block of the month. This month, I sewed my first block, this cute little fancy fox face. Quilt pattern available here.

I'm planning my first big project, which will be a modern quilt for Elise's vintage modern big girl room. I'm toying with one of the quilt patterns below, in the color palette below left.
Any fellow quilters out there?


Swoon Worthy (and Toddler Approved!)

This month for my Cake Slice Baker's selection I opted for Swoon Pies, a homemade version of Moon Pies. These are only half dipped in chocolate and it is a good thing because I would have had to hose my taste tester off if they had been completely dipped in chocolate....

Elise was a fan and so was everyone else that we shared them with. No crazy ingredients or kitchen tools needed and a relatively quick bake. I would definitely make these again!