Monday, August 10, 2015

Dear Person Who Found my Coupon Binder

Dear Person Who Found my Coupon Binder,
  I am hoping that Friday when you found my lovely pink binder in the shopping cart at Kroger you were simply too busy to remember calling my number, as it was posted right under my name on the outside.  I'm sure it was a crazy day for you just like me!  I was trying to get through the grocery with my four year old and three month old and simply forgot to toss it into the car after loading my purchases.

  If by some crazy mistake it slips your mind to call me, I hope the coupons I had organized inside help your family to save money.  I spent many hours cutting, and placing them in the clear pockets inside so it would/should be very convenient for future shopping trips.  The scissors in the pencil holder inside were some of my favorites.  I bet they'll come in handy as well.  Hope your Monday is better than mine has been.  I've been searching high and low for my binder.  :)

A sarcastic Brenna

All joking aside, I am pretty devastated my coupon binder is missing.  Its been such a great tool in my quest to save money for my family.  Oh well, and moving forward.  I'll take this golden opportunity to find the good in the situation.  This opens me up to a new project, Coupon Binder 2.0.  I'll post more as it comes together.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Stitch Fix! First Shipment

After hardly any convincing, my friends helped me sign up for Stitch Fix.  What is this you ask?  Its a miracle for mommy's like me who wish to look decent, but have no clue how to do so any longer.  After having baby boy, three months ago (yes, I know *tear*) I am in a rut.  I am in between sizes.  My clothes from before my second pregnancy don't fit (YET) and I am over my maternity clothes.  It was as if Keila and Erica knew exactly where I was in my closet dilemma and they were at the ready to help.

Stitch Fix is an online service that provides five items in a shipment to your door.  These beauties are hand selected by your stylist- I just love thinking I have a stylist by the way - after you complete a survey about your personal preferences.  I was even able to provide a price range per item to ensure I was still able to make our commitment to budget without overspending.  The shipment frequency can be chosen as often, or as far apart as you like.  I chose every quarter.

I was able to give my friend a credit for her referral of $25.  And in turn, as I tell my friends I'm able to receive the same credit!  Another great advantage to this service is the discount offered if I kept all five items shipped; 25%.  I love a bargain.  Like my mom always says, "Never pay retail for ANYTHING!"

SO, lets get to it.  My first FIX!

Item # 1 Gilli Blossom Maxi Dress, Large, $74

At first glance, I didn't expect to love this item.  I have large hips and I'm not thrilled with the way flowy dresses look right now.  But I tried it on anyway.  I'm so glad I did.  It drapes very nicely and doesn't cling in the wrong places.  The crochet detail on the back is spot on to my style (HA!  I didn't know I had one until now) and I feel very trendy.  The best part by far is the fact I'll be able to nurse baby boy while wearing this one.  I was struggling to find items to wear to church or out to eat with friends that would be flattering and yet functional. The stretch of the neckline will allow it to keep its shape after using it as well.  SCORE!  I'm keeping it! 

Item #2 Gorjana Teresa Mini Bar Studs $38

Again, at first glance, I wasn't too excited about these studs.  I have my "old faithful" pair of dangly earrings I wear most days; however, something my stylist included on the note sparked my attention... baby proof.  Good point.  In a few short months, my ears and all things dangling from them, will be fair game for Luke.  I'm so happy I have a pair of earrings that will look nice with many outfits.  I feel these will be my new go-to earrings!  Kept, of course.  

Item #3 Market and Spruce Walfrid Henley Blouse, Large, $48

I was so excited when I saw this beautiful top.  I was most happy about trying this piece on.  The print is lovely and the fit is wonderful.  I love that the sleeves are three quarter and can be secured once rolled with a button.  I have a feeling I will be wearing this for our family pictures this fall! Kept for sure.

#4 Level 99 Blossom Flare Jean, 32, $118

Yes, yes, YES!  I needed a pair of jeans that didn't fall down, stretched with me, could be worn casually or to the park for a play date or to a dressier get-together, and that FIT without making me feel overweight.  Not that I am satisfied with my current state post-baby, but you know...  Apparently, these lovely jeans are made with a special material that gives them extra stretch.  I kid you not, they feel like lounge pants, but I feel so fabulous in them its hardly fair.  Very well worth the price tag.  I don't think I've ever paid this for a single item of clothing in my life.  Its a KEEPER!

#5 Market & Spruce Lille Quilted Detail Henley Top, Large, $44

This was another one I wasn't quite sure about; however, I'm holding on to it to see if the styling tips I was given help to inspire me.  The quilted detail on the shoulders and the material is quite nice.  Its heavier than normal tees, but it has the look of a standard tee.  I decided to keep this one so we will see.

So, what is my verdict after my first stitch fix?  I do adore having advice from someone who obviously knows more about fashion than myself.  I appreciate the suggestions provided on the cards they sent.  The discount for buying all five pieces plus the $20 styling credit is a great incentive, and the referral credit possibility will be a huge treat if applied.  I do believe I will keep my next Stitch Fix scheduled and I will be very excited when a new box with lovelies arrives at my doorstep!

If you would like to try out this fantastic service, I would greatly appreciate the referral.  And keep passing it forward.  Wouldn't it be great if we could all receive a free shipment?  Here's hoping you love your fix as much as I have mine.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Baby Wiles Ultrasound 06/10/10

Keeping Chickens

So... yes.  We haven't been inside over the last 10 days (it seems like).  And can you blame us?  Its been so nice outside.  We are making every excuse to be outside enjoying this beautiful weather. 

Since I last blogged, Little Man and I have tended the garden, played with the neighbors' kiddos, played in C's "park" (playset), hung multiple loads of laundry outside to dry (thanks hubby for the bonafide line), taking numerous nature walks, fished in the pond, and WE GOT MORE CHICKENS!!

Poor Lady, our Light Brahma Hen, has been flying solo since the nasty coyotes, hawks, and dogs snatched up her buddies this past fall/ winter seasons.  My dear friend Nicki lent us a few hens to keep her company.  I swear to you she was depressed without any other hens to boss about.  After a trip to an auction left us empty-handed yet again, I went in search of young hens on Craigslist. 

Luckily, my first search directed us to a farm in nearby Auburn.  I madesure my father-in-law was with us then we went that day to get some chickens!  The farm was amazing.  The had so many breeds!  C loved the chicks.  I loved learning about different breeds.  Jerry (the FIL) loved cathcing up with the gentleman, who it turns out was an old aquanitance.  Small World!

We decided on 5 hens.  All just at the age of laying.  3 Black Orpington and 2 Black Cochins.  They are all small but I am encouraged by the size their stock is and how well they were cared for.  They both are supposed to be relatively good layers and are very docile.  Great for my buddy that thinks they are his stuffed animals still.  Have mercy on their litle bodies!

A few days after getting the girls home and settled, my Sister-in-law sent me a video (to her defense it was my step-brother's idea) of the "I Can't Believe Its Not Butter" commercial of the lady blow drying her chicken in the kitchen to "fluff" her eggs.  This got me to thinking, "what exactly does my family think I do?..."

So this one is for all my friends/ family out there.  Call me when you want some fresh eggs!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins

As with all my new recipes, someone is due a thank you.  This one came from Pinterest.  Hop on over to this original recipe and give them credit!  They deserve it because these are awesome!

The recipe I found on pinterest has been on my clipboard in the kitchen for a week just waiting to be made.  This morning afforded us just enough time to get them made, with the help of my buddy.  He LOVES to help in the kitchen.  He'll be a catch for some lady... when he's thirty forty.

He was helping to whisk the dry ingredients here.  Notice the lovely bouquet he picked yesterday!

I know this recipe calls for Nutella by name, but we used some of my favorite Trader Joe products.  I adore the coconut oil spray and the cocoa almond spread is delicious!  Just ask Little Man.  He licked the spoon dry.

Get a buddy to help you line your muffin pan with liners.  SO much better for cleanup.  And we need that around here, for sure!

** Also, notice Lightning McQueen.  Such a photo-bomber!**

If you're like me, you need the recipe handy, so here it is!

Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins
Yield: 18 muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined. Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together banana, sugar, brown sugar. Beat in egg, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture, until there are no lumps. Fold in pecans.

Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Top each muffin with about 1 teaspoon of Nutella and use a toothpick to swirl it into the batter.

Bake muffins for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve warm or store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

With help from MyFitnessPal ap, I created the recipe and got these nutrition facts.  Hope this helps!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pantry Organization- A Work in Progress

Let me preface this post by saying, "I am no expert, nor do I claim to organize to the best of my ability."  In fact, this whole stay at home thing is a work in progress for me.  Someday, I may be closer to getting it right, but we "ain't there yet" folks!  That being said, I am super excited about the progress being made in our household to organize.

With the help of my cousin, the Organizing GURU of Kentucky (she may get me for that one), I have made huge leaps in this process.  Over a year ago, I came home from the hospital with lots of ideas to fulfil.  One was to get things organized.  The pantry was a rough shape.  Especially after being MIA for 2 months.  Thankfully the expired items had been tossed in my absence, but the holes left only added to my instincts to get the space sorted out.

The first thing to accomplish was to completely empty the whole shebang (another Guru tip).  I trashed the items I had not used in years, didn't want, and didn't know I had...  Yes, I know... shameful.  Then, I mapped out a plan of what it should look like.  

My first purchase was from Target.  I found wire shelving on sale. The short, three level kind fit perfectly in the spot left below my installed wire shelving.  

Next, I found the canvas Walmart Bins at the top.  They are perfect for storing categorized items.  I use them for dry pasta, pasta meals (such as hamburger helper, etc.), rice and soup mixes, and baking mixes.  On a side note, since they were purchased and labeled I've gotten a printer and a Cricut.  New labels are in the works!
Below the canvas bins are my canned items.  I don't like to keep too many canned items.  In a perfect world, this shelf would be filled with my canned vegetables from the garden. I'm getting closer, but am not there yet!

On to the OXO shelf, my favorite shelf.  I found a set of the POP containers at Sam's and about had a moment when I saw the price.  After getting over the initial sticker shock I rationalized the price by comparing it to the individual pieces overall cost if  purchased at TJ Maxx.  It was a deal, so I bit the bullet and bought them.  And am I ever glad I did.  I smile every time I need something from one of these handy dandy containers.  With a little help from my Cricut, I even made my first project, labels for the POP Containers.  Like I said, it makes cooking even more of a joy.

Below my happy shelf, I have my three tiered shelves from Target.  The one on the left, is a Little Man friendly zone.  Snacks that are handy for his height.  I have storage for his drinks that have not yet made it to the fridge, a special treat bin (for extra good behavior), a breakfast bar and healthy snack bin, and a LM exclusive snack bin.  In between the red bins, (purchased for $1 each at the dollar store) I have goldfish crackers in another container, and some emptied and cleaned creamer containers.  They work great for a snack on the go of goldfish cracker or nuts, which are also located in this area.  Below the bins I have a spare garden basket filled with melamine plates and cups for LM.  They are handy when friends come over, so we haven't packed them away quite yet. 

On the right side I keep bread, chips, my dutch oven, tortilla shells, and pizza crusts, and extra disposable cookware/ bake ware for "meals to be delivered" without the need to have the dish returned.  Potatoes and onions are on the bottom, as well as extra snap containers.  Someday, I'd like to get a root vegetable bin like my grandmother had in her kitchen.  The kind that are wooden and say Taters on the top preferably.  I'm such a nerd. 

At the very top, I store my slow cookers, canner, pressure cooker, and rarely used items.

As I type this, my mind is racing with ideas to improve upon this most recent version of the pantry.  Alas, it is spring, the garden needs some love, our preschool program is in gear, and sometimes we just need to be silly and play outside.  It may be a while before improvements are made again.  I'll enjoy what is done so far.  After all, it is a HUGE improvement over what was here 1.5 years ago.

What are you doing to tame your mess this spring?  Please share and let me know!!  I love inspiration. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lego Town

Disneyworld was a great trip for our family.  So many memories.  We loved all the parks and "firsts" the trip held for us and little man, but perhaps one of the most unexpected surprises was LM's excitement about Legos.  The Lego Store in Downtown Disney was awesome.  They even had a play area inside for the kiddos to create in. 

It was so much fun coordinating with Santa and finding the perfect Lego for our creative buddy.  From the day the table arrived, it has held a permanent place in our living room.

Yesterday, we spent some time creating a Lego town.  I know, I know, I'm partial, but LM is so creative.  Let me explain with pictures.

The is Lego Man's tool truck.  It is even
equipped with a spot for him to hang his hat!

This is a bird's eye view of the whole she-bang!
Office/ Observation deck on top of the tunnel, slide,
Entrance up the stairs to the office, two car garage,
workshop for the big vehicles, secret entrance, and
work vehicles.

Observation deck/ office and tunnel below.  Large
enough for his Iron Man car!
I'm just amazed at how his 3 year old mind can come up with such great, imaginative, designs.  He takes my breath away!