Thursday, February 28, 2013

Puzzles and Pizza

1. Can you tell the difference? Mitch couldn't. 
2. We had homemade pizza for dinner the other night. We used this dough recipe from Merrick's Art, which not only tastes great, its super easy! Is there anything that girl can't do?
3. O's great-grandma gave him this puzzle for Christmas this year. She bought it used and glued pictures of our family under the shapes. O absolutely loves seeing his family under each piece. It's also helped him learn everyone's name. It really is the sweetest present. You can see part of my youngest brother's face in the bottom left corner. 

What have you guys been up to this week?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Creative Combos: I love to massage!

jacket: pacsun (old), black top: so old, can't remember, tank: stolen from my mom, jeans: charlotte russe (shop), flats: payless (shop), necklace: sam moon (shop)

I wore this yesterday for a seated massage event I worked at.  It's casual but professional enough for my career and I love how I don't have to constantly be fussing with it like some outfits require. The high-waisted pants help them stay up (and hide my post-baby tummy!) and the flats are cute and very practical. 

The massage event was so much fun! I don't have very many chances to massage anymore, so it's really great when I have the opportunity. It reminds me of how passionate I am about the work I do and how much I enjoy it. I know it sounds corny, but there's something so rewarding about helping to relieve someone's pain or stress, even if just for a few minutes.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pinterest Challenge #1: DIY Dry Shampoo

For my first Pinterest Challenge project, I decided to give dry shampoo a try.  I had an experience a couple months ago that turned me off to store-bought dry shampoo.  I literally used it once and it was out.  I don't know what I could have possibly done wrong, but anything I did shouldn't have used it all up! What a waste of money!  So when I came across this DIY method on Pinterest, I was sold.  And the best part- its only two, cheap ingredients that I already have around my house.

DIY Dry Shampoo

1/4 cup corn starch

1/4 cup baking soda

Mix the ingredients together and put it in the container/dispenser of your choice. Thats it!  Super simple, right?

I used an old sugar shaker I had just laying around.  My method for applying it is a little different from the norm. The sugar shaker would dump out WAY too much to pour it right on my head, so I shake some out on a clean, flat surface (I usually use the back of my hand-held mirror) and I use a big powder brush to pat it onto my scalp. Different, I know, but it works for me!

Now I know what you're thinking- "Why the heck does her dry shampoo look red?" Well, I'll tell you. My only problem with the original recipe is that its white, which is fine, but it doesn't look great against my red hair, so I did my own little addition to the recipe to try to get it closer to my hair color. I had no idea what a process that was going to be.  I started with an old matte bronzer. REALLY orange and not a great look on my pale skin, so I broke it up with the back of a spoon and mixed it in.  This gave me a very light peachy shade. So then I tried a couple more things. I put a in a little cinnamon, but I didn't want my hair to reek of it, so I changed tactics.  I found some other old bronzer and that got it a little closer, but not enough. My last ditch effort was paprika. I was super nervous about this one but it really doesn't have too much of a smell and, after mixed in, the cinnamon covered up any hint of a smell that there might have been. So now I have a dry shampoo that is sort of a deep, dusty salmon color.  Hey, its not bright red, but its better than white. I'll take it.

After putting it to the test, I have to say I am happy with it.  I've been trying to wash my hair less often so it will be healthier and this little product makes it so easy to get through those more oily days. The baking soda and corn starch work together to soak up all of the extra oil and its a lot easier to mask that I've used it with the color.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Homemade Body Wash & No-Grate Review

***Update: Check out my update on homemade body wash for all the tips and tricks I've developed that make the whole process easier, faster, and so worth the effort for the end result!***

I'm the kind of person that can't justify making a new product to try if I still have some store-bought product left to use. So when I ran out of body wash the other day, it was the perfect time to try homemade body wash from One Good Thing by Jillee. And the best part (or so I thought)- I didn't have to grate the soap! We just happened to have a bar of Dove soap laying around so it was perfect. I was so excited! The stars definitely aligned for me on this project.

No-Grate Homemade Bodywash

1 bar of soap
(I used Dove, but its entirely up to you)

3 cups of water

Jillee's recipe calls for 2 cups of water per bar of soap, but after making my Shmancy Liquid Hand Soap and seeing how much that solidified while cooling, I decided to add another cup to be safe.

I brought the water to a boil on the stove then turned it down to medium. Then, I stuck the whole bar of soap in a microwave-safe bowl and set it for 90 seconds.  Be sure to watch it constantly because it will overflow. I added the soap to the water and waited for it to dissolve completely. Once it was done, I put it in a glass container to cool off, probably for only about an hour or two. After that, I put it in my cleaned out body wash container, stuck it in my shower and waited for the next time I needed a bath.

A few notes on this project- I personally didn't like the no-grate method. I wouldn't call the consistency of the soap "melted," per se.  I'd refer to it more as "foamy," so it didn't just pour out of the bowl into the pot. I had to use 2 spoons and scrape the soap off of each of them.  I had more dirty dishes when I was done and they were completely caked in soap. It also took longer to dissolve in the water than if it had been grated. I, personally, don't think it was worth saving myself from grating the soap. I probably won't do it again.

However, I am very pleased with the body wash itself. I'm glad I added the extra cup of water because the consistency came out like a slightly thicker version of body wash. I need to keep my container upside down so it doesn't stay stuck to the bottom, but that doesn't bother me. I'm a big advocate of the no-suds soap, as I talk about in my Shmancy Liquid Hand Soap post, but when it comes to body wash, I love a nice, luxurious, lather. This definitely delivers and it doesn't require as much product to produce it. It also doesn't leave you with that draggy feeling after rinsing that bar soap sometimes can.  My skin felt very soft, clean, and moisturized.

I'd say this is a great money-saving project with results even better than store-bought body wash. As you can see, it only filled up about half of my bottle, so I'll probably double the batch next time. I hope if you try melting the soap, you have better luck than I did.

***Don't forget to check out my update on homemade body wash so you can see all the little tips and tricks that will make your body wash-making experience so much faster and easier and definitely worth it!***

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


1&2. I have very handsome boys. Just needed to show them off for a bit.
3. L's 4 month doctor appointment.  He's doing great!  He only cried for a minute after his vaccines and was totally fine as soon as I picked him up.
4. Coloring is all the rage at our house.
5. We celebrated Valentine's Day on Saturday since Mitch had school all day Thursday. We decided to go get donuts for breakfast. We didn't even get out of the parking lot before digging in, as you can see.
6. We went out for burgers for our V-Day dinner.
7. No-bake cookies, Mitch's favorite. We got a little fancy and used a pancake mold for the big heart. Turned out pretty cute, huh?
8. L's first time eating "solid" food. It went better than I expected. He ate about a full 2 tablespoons of really watered-down rice cereal before he started fussing for his bottle. Not too shabby.

Our V-Day was super chill and we had the boys with us the whole time, but I loved it. If anything, our reason for celebrating Valentine's day has grown with each kid so it only makes sense to share the day with them.

Monday was Presidents Day so we got to spend all day with Daddy.  He keeps pretty busy, what with 18 credits this semester, so its always a nice treat to have an extra day with him.

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pinterest Challenge

Merrick of Merrick's Art recently issued a Pinterest challenge and I am so excited to participate! The idea is that, over the next six weeks, I'll work on six pins that I probably wouldn't get around to otherwise. There are so many ideas that I've pinned that just sit there waiting for me to find the time or motivation or both so this challenge is so perfect for me.

Sisters Share It All: Pinterest Challenge

I created a board for this pinterest challenge so you can see the links to all my pins here. Also, here's a little preview of the projects that I plan on working on:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Creative Combos: Goodbye Winter

coat: target (old), dress: nordstrom rack, blouse: pacsun (old), patterned tights: gift, shoes: payless (old), belt: thrifted

This dress is definitely a major staple in my closet right now. I love how the paneling on it gives such a slimming appearance and its so fun and easy to layer. Because its one solid color, I can layer a blouse underneath with a fun pattern.

Its getting to be about that time when I'm ready to say good bye to winter. Being in Utah, it can be so beautiful. The mountains are breathtaking and the whole valley is covered in gorgeous snow, but it's been going on long enough. My family has been sick almost constantly this winter and I am so ready for some warmer weather. I'm a flip-flop girl at heart and my feet are ready to see the sun.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Shmancy Liquid Handsoap

If you’re like me, you take home every little toiletry item on the bathroom counter when you stay in a hotel.  There really is no need, but you justify it to yourself. “These would be great for when I’m traveling,” or “I’ll put these in my guest bath for others to use,” or even “These are so cute!  I can’t leave them behind.” But inevitably, they sit in your cupboard for months, even years, just waiting to be used. Well, I found a solution for those itty-bitty bars of soap that have been doing just that- liquid hand soap!

We ran out of hand soap at our kitchen sink recently, which proved to be very inconvenient. It’s one of those you-don’t-appreciate-what-you-have-until-it’s-gone kinds of things. You don’t realize how often you wash your hands until there is no soap to do it with. I remembered a post on One Good Thing by Jillee about how she had made her own “resort quality” hand soap using those little space-hogging soaps, so that’s exactly what I did.

Her recipe made about a gallon of hand soap. Since we’re tight on storage space, I decided to ¼ the recipe.  If you want to do the regular batch with no math, you can find her original recipe here.

Shmancy Liquid Hand Soap

2 ounce bar of soap (I had 1.25 oz bars so I just used 1 whole one and 3/5ths of the other)

1 quart of distilled water

1 ½ teaspoons glycerin

Essential Oils (optional)

This bar of soap was obviously obtained with the excuse, "This is so cute!  I can’t leave it behind.”  I mean look at it! You can't blame me, right? Most adorable bar of soap ever. It was hard to make myself cut it up.

Mine was such a small batch and my bars of soap were so little that I just used a knife to shave off pieces rather than grating it or putting it in the food processor. I heated up the water on the stove, added the soap shavings, and waited for it to dissolve. Once it’s completely dissolved, I took it off the heat and added the glycerin. I added a few drops of Lemon essential oil for a little extra boost of fragrance, but that’s entirely optional. I transferred it to another container to cool off.

Jillee recommends waiting 24 hrs for it to thicken up a bit, but I’m impatient, so I checked on it after about 8 hrs.  It was like rubber. It had formed to the shape of the container it was in and there was no breaking it up.  She said it would thicken up, but that’s not what I expected. I tried whisking it, like Jillee recommended, but that wasn’t cutting it, so I dumped it into my blender, added about a ½ cup of water and hit high speed. That definitely did the trick.  I filled up my old soap dispenser and put the rest in a Tupperware until I need it. 

There are definitely some differences between your run of the mill soap and this stuff.  It's a little thinner and it doesn't really get sudsy when you use it, but that doesn't mean your hands aren't getting clean.  Its natural for us to think "If it bubbles up, than its cleaning." I mean, think about it- is there a cleaning product in your life that doesn't? That's what all the cleaning products I grew up using did. It took me a little while to get used to the idea of no suds when I first made my laundry detergent, but after seeing our clothes were just as clean, possibly even staying in good condition for longer, I was converted. Now its never a big deal when I make something that doesn't produce any bubbles.

We’ve been using this soap for a couple days now and I must say that I’m pleased. However, I would be pleased with anything homemade (I made it, I’m automatically proud of it), so I had my husband put it to the test.  He washed his hands with regular soap and then I had him try the homemade solution. Even he could tell his hands felt softer after using the shmancy soap. My hands definitely feel clean and moisturized and the savings are nothing to snub your nose at.  The only expense I had was the glycerin for about $9, which will last me a long time considering I’m using less than 2 tsp. each time.  I’d say this qualifies as a success.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sick as a Dog

1. Its been over 2 years, but now its official- I am a mother to boys.
2. The only things that have gotten me through the past few days.  That and my wonderful husband, of course.
3. Valentine's Day advent calendar I made for Mitch.  A few of the activities I included were cuddle while watching a movie (his choice!), make out for 5 minutes, and make cookies with the boys for the neighbors (see #6). I got the idea here
4. Sneak peek of Friday's post.  Care to venture a guess?
5. My boys and me.  Lousy quality picture, but we don't get many of just us, especially all looking at the camera and smiling, so I'll take it.  :0) 
6. Valentine cookies we made with the boys.  O was a big help with the sprinkles.  If you ask him, they're "Hummy!"  Recipe can be found here.

This week in general has been rough for me.  I've been pretty sick, the worst of it being my sore throat. After only 2 1/2 hours of sleep last night, its gotten to the point that I've finally made an appointment for this afternoon to get checked out.  Wish me luck and say a little prayer that I don't pass whatever this thing is on to my boys!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Creative Combos: Mommy

chambray top: pacsun (shop), maxi skirt: urban trends, flats: payless (shop), earrings: forever21 (similar)

This outfit is pretty basic, but its my go-to mommy outfit right now. Everything about it is a favorite.  I could wear this outfit day in and day out.  I feel put together but also very comfortable and I can do anything my toddler wants me to in this.  And the shoes go with absolutely anything.  They are neutral, but a little fun because of the sparkles.  I intentionally kept this outfit very basic.  This is my getting-stuff-done-around-the-house outfit so I hardly ever actually add accessories to it.  I am in the market for an inexpensive statement necklace, though, so if you think of anything, let me know.  

The plan for my outfit posts is to try to show that we can be creative with what we already have.  We have an extremely limited income so I have what I have and that’s probably all it’s going to be for a while so I try to come up with as many unique combinations as possible.  Hopefully I can be successful in being creative and maybe even inspire a few new outfits for some of you.