Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Totally Obsessed Tuesday--The Difference a Dollar Can Make

Well, it's Tuesday again.  I actually was proactive and started writing this post last night, and I had it all planned out.  I was going to talk to you about the benefits of coconut oil, my new favorite beauty product, and another awesome app.

However, something a little less frivolous came to my attention today, and I decided that those things could wait.  Your life will not be drastically altered if you have to wait a week to learn about lip pencils and how much more delicious your brownies could be if you made them with coconut oil.  So instead, I'm going to reach out today and ask everyone I know to help drastically alter someone else's life for the better.

I know.  Sounds heavy and serious and hard, right?  Just bear with me.

If you've read my other Totally Obsessed Tuesday posts, you know that I follow a lot of Mom Blogs.  Some of them are funny, some are crafty, and some are heart-wrenchingly inspirational.  My favorite of the latter category is Hands Free Mama, whose blog I follow by email.  I haven't really mentioned Rachel before, because I know she's not quite everyone's cup of tea.  She's very God-centered, and her urgings that we put down our goddamn cell phones and pay attention to our children are hard to swallow in our technology-obsessed age.  However, she is one of my favorites.

Today, Rachel wrote about her old friend Amanda, who used to babysit her now ten-year-old daughter Natalie. Amanda and her husband Johnny are trying to adopt a boy from Uganda.  Due to the rather outrageous amount of money it costs to adopt a child from another country, Amanda sent out a plea to her friends and family to help her raise enough money to bring her son home.

You can read the full blog post here, but here it is in a nutshell: Ten-year-old Natalie wanted to help her old family friend, but only had a single dollar bill in her wallet.  She was concerned that a dollar wouldn't make a difference, but her mother told her to imagine what would happen if everyone Amanda knew sent her a single dollar.  You don't have to imagine: Amanda posted the same query on a social media site when she received the dollar from Natalie, and within just a few hours, over three hundred dollars had been raised. That means THREE HUNDRED PEOPLE, who may or may not even know Amanda, donated a dollar to help the couple bring their new son home.  Rachel took it a step further, and in her post today, asked everyone to continue the trend and send a single dollar to Amanda. 

I don't know why this story hit me so hard.  Maybe because it shows the incredible impact of one little girl's huge heart.  Maybe because I find this display of how good and kind people can be to be inspiring.  Maybe just because I hope people would be so willing to help me if I were in the same situation.  No matter the reason, Amanda and her soon-to-be son have been all I can think about this afternoon.

I know you don't know Amanda or her husband.  I don't either.  And I know there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of deserving couples in this same situation.  And I know there are a million other things you could do with that crumpled dollar bill in your wallet or at the bottom of your purse.  But I'm asking you, as my friend, to do something more meaningful with that dollar than buy yourself a chicken sandwich or a new tube of Chapstick.  I'm asking you to help this couple, that none of us know, to become a family.  Amanda and Johnny's story can be found here if you'd like to read it for yourself.

If you are as inspired by ten-year-old Natalie as I am, you can send Amanda and Johnny an envelope with a dollar in it at this address:

Amanda Campbell
300 N. 38th Ave, Apt. 13,
Hattiesburg, MS, 39401

If you decide to send them a dollar, or even if you don't, all I ask is that you pass the message on to any family and friends you have who might take up the challenge themselves.

Either way, I promise to return to frivolity next Tuesday and tell you all about my coconut oil brownies.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I Solemnly Swear That I'm Up to No Good


I don't know why I do this to myself.  I don't know what on earth possessed me to try to fix my blog myself.  Boredom, probably.  Mixed with a significant lack of caffeine.  And a toddler-ish "I can do it mySELF!" attitude.

But I clearly can't.  Do it myself.  So I've enlisted the help of my friendboss Courtney to help me get my blog looking the way I'd like it to.  Until then... Excuse the mess.  

I did manage to change some things on my own.  Like the background color.  And the font.  And that's about as far as I got before blogger and I got into an argument.  And I lost.

I swear, one of these days, you'll show up on my blog and gasp and go "Ohmygosh!  It looks so fancy!!"  And you will know that Courtney responded to my plea for help, and you will go to her blog and thank her for being so fabulous and fixing my eye-sore of a blog. Check back often to see when that glorious day arrives.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Totally Obsessed--Um, Fridays...

I know.  I know.

You're giving me that you-abandoned-us-again look.  I get it.  I didn't post a Totally Obsessed Tuesday. I haven't even managed a Weeknight Recipe Rescue (yeah, I just made that up, just roll with it) for you.  I suck at life this week, okay? I  know.

Let me defend myself.

This has been a crazy week.  I got my traditional Beginning of Fall Cold last Friday (even though it's not fall here until, like, November.  Guess my Yankee body didn't get the memo).  And it has seriously kicked my butt.  I barely got out of bed from Friday until Tuesday except for work.  Then, Tuesday there was an FRG meeting and I had to go be all social through my cold-medicine-induced haze.  And now, the last two days have been consumed with a panicked flurry of activity trying to jump through flaming hoops for the government trying to get myself ready for school. There have been many phone calls to government agencies, lots of tears, and a little bit of panic.

I thought about you guys. I really, really did.  On Tuesday, as I was lying in bed, very nearly asleep, my eyes popped wide open and I thought "Oh NO!  I didn't blog today!  Shit!"  I almost got out of bed that very minute to post something.  Except, you know, it was late and I was tired.  So I didn't. But I thought about it.  On Thursday, while I was cooking dinner, I though "Hey! Thursday starts with T!! It kind of works!"  But I was cooking dinner, and I don't know if you know this, but my chicken paprika is REALLY EFFING GOOD, and I just couldn't tear myself away.  But I thought about it!

So here we are on Friday.  I hate to tell you this, but the only things I've been Totally Obsessed with this week are NyQuil, trying to get things set for school before it's too late and I have to wait another semester, and apple donuts.

About the apple donuts. I don't know how many of you live in Northern Illinois, but if you don't that sucks for you.  Because you can't go to Jonamac Orchard and feast on their apple donuts.  They are the most delicious thing about fall.  Except maybe pumpkin spice lattes, but that's another story for another ToT.  If you live within an hour of Dekalb, Illinois, you HAVE TO GO THERE. The apple donuts are heavenly.  They've been on my mind all week, and I'm super upset that I'm not at home and can't just go get one (or two.  Or a dozen).

In any event, that's all I have time for today.  I cross my heart and hope to die, I'll post again later this weekend.  I swear!  But now I have to take the munchkin to his dad's.

Oh, before I forget--Who ARE you people?  My first Totally Obsessed Tuesday post had fifty views.  That's a LOT for my page. Usually, I get somewhere between 15-30. I know my mother reads me, and Sarie, I know you're out there.  Alicia, I know you follow by email... But for real, who are the rest of you?  Leave me a comment!  Tell me who you ARE!  I'm dying to know!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Totally Obsessed Tuesday

Holy crap.  It's Tuesday again.  I don't know how that happened.  My biggest news is...


Insert disco-type happy dance here.  I love lounging around and having some time off... But there IS such a thing as too much of a good thing.  The days just kind of all blur and mush together when you have nothing on your schedule except cleaning and watching Desperate Housewives (which I finished, and can I just say, they need to make a damn movie). 

As promised, I also have some pictures of Gavin in his first day outfit and his class of 2027 (!!!) tee-shirt.

Okay, so he's only looking at the camera in ONE picture, and making a crazy demon-baby face, but I think he looks pretty freaking adorable anyways.  Also, for the record, Courtney and I did NOT cry.  But probably only because we had no time.  Gavin was being a tad... difficult this morning, and we were running late.

Okay, enough bragging about the adorable tiny human.  It's Totally Obsessed Tuesday again!  I promise at some point in the future, I'm going to format this blog with tabs and pictures and all sorts of neat stuff.  And when I say "I'm going to format this blog," what I actually mean is "Courtney is going to be awesome and format this blog for me" because I'm useless at technology and she's the best friendboss ever.  But for now, you'll just have to search through all my posts. :)

Enough idle chitchat.  Down to business.  This week, I'm featuring Iron Bank Coffee, an app called Snapseed, and crockpot cooking. 

Iron Bank Coffee Co.

For those of you not in the Columbus/Fort Benning area, your life sucks, because you will never know how amazing Iron Bank is. They have, hands down, the best coffee in the area.  Forget Starbucks or Caribou, Iron Bank is where it's at.  They have delicious coffee drinks that you don't have to order in a foreign language, and their names aren't almost a sentence long. (Grande chai tea frappuccino double blended no whip, anyone?) They have amazing, unique food, including some paleo and vegan options, as well as your more typical morning pastries if you're not feeling super adventurous. 

The shop itself is adorable.  There is no other word. It's actually located in what used to be a bank.  The vaults are intact, and there are tables set up inside them.  The whole place is so adorable and eclectically decorated. Also, did I mention the food?  

 A cute little mini cupcake.

Their delicious (and artful!) hummus platter.  I order this basically every time I go in.  I could probably do a whole ToT section on this plate alone. Also, that bit sticking up that isn't carrots?  That's grilled parmesan cheese.  Basically the most delicious thing known to man.

If you live in or near Columbus, or ever get to visit, you have to go there.  Even if you only get as close as Atlanta, it's worth going the hour and a half out of your way for the coffee.  I swear. Also, their regular drip coffee is $1.50.  Seriously.  Where else can you get a great cup of coffee for under two dollars?


For the record, I actually own a great camera. But to edit the photos I take with it, I have to upload them to my computer (which takes forever), import them into Photoshop or something similar, and then edit the photos in a very user-unfriendly program.  Not to mention the fact that I have to lug the camera around with me all the time, which is almost always a hassle.


I snap a picture with my phone (which is always in my hand, pocket or purse).  I open it in Snapseed.


 Then, with a few flicks of my finger, I take a photo from this:

To this:

Once I like the way it looks, I save it to my camera roll, and BAM.  Done.  Or, if I want, I can upload it right to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, a text or an email, or even Google +. The best part about this app?  It's free. If you take as many photos I do, you should totally check it out.  It's SO user friendly and easy to understand, and your pictures come out great.  It has a lot of artsy filters and frames like Instagram does, but you can do SO much more than just that to your pictures.  Also, if you have the Walgreen's app, you can order prints from your phone... Just some food for thought!

Crockpot Cooking

So this is the part where I admit that I may have overbooked myself just a TINY little bit.  Now that Gavin is in school during the day, I'm only working in the afternoons.  So, once I discovered I had a little free time on my hands, I immediately had to go fill it up.

I've joined the FRG for my husband's unit.  For those of you who don't speak military, it's the Family Readiness Group. Basically, the FRG is a support system for soldiers and their families, made up of those soldiers and their families.  I can see that your eyes are glazing over and you're losing interest.  It really is a lot more interesting than it sounds.  I'm a "Key Caller," which is a volunteer position that basically means I'm going to be heavily involved in fundraising, keeping families informed of what's going on with the guys at work, and making sure that all the families are doing well.  So I'll be kept pretty busy with that.

In addition to that, our neighborhood has been having some pretty major problems with our housing office--maintenance issues not being dealt with, landscapers running over our internet cables, trash not being picked up, etc.  Some of the families decided to start a homeowner's association, of sorts.  They'll have neighborhood meetings about things that need to be addressed with the office, and, and then a committee of volunteers will collectively descend on the office to address the problems, the theory being that they can't ignore us as a group they way they ignore our individual complaints. Somehow, in a moment of weakness and caffeine deprivation, I accidentally volunteered myself to be a part of this committee.  So now I'm a member of the informal Neighborhood Association, I guess you could call it.  So there will be meetings with the committee, "town" meetings with everyone from the neighborhood, and then meetings with housing to take care of the problems.

As if all THAT weren't enough, I also decided to go to EMT school this semester. So every Monday-Thursday from September-December, I'll be taking evening classes here on post. I know, right?  I'm crazy.  I get that.

This is my super boring long winded way of saying--I'm not going to have time to cook, y'all. I will literally be on the go ALL. THE. TIME.  Enter my new best friend the crock pot.

I've been doing dinner in the crock pot every Saturday for a while now.  I've made crock pot bourbon chicken, slow cooker pork chops, mac and cheese, baked potatoes, some soups... (I will eventually post some of those recipes, I swear.) But it is now time to step up my game.  Basically, my crock pot is going to carry the brunt of the load four days a week from now until December if I survive that long when my schedule will ease up a bit.   So, I turned to Pinterest, as usual.  And I now have some lovely links to share with you all. 

This woman is basically my hero.  She used her crock pot EVERY DAY for a YEAR and she never repeated a recipe.  Then, the angel went and posted ALL of her recipes online!  Some of them are dips and desserts and such, but there are some great dinners on there too.

Here on Craft-O-Maniac, I found the "Top Ten Fall and Winter Soups" you can make in your crock pot.  I LOVE soup. So this one for me was a no-brainer.

This blog gives you five crock pot meals you can make on Sunday, throw in the freezer, and then just dump them in the crock pot for the next five nights.  It even includes a SHOPPING LIST. And there are FIVE PARTS.  That's 25 recipes!  That's over a month of weeknight meals!!!!! Yes, I know I'm more excited about that than I should me.  No, I don't care.

Finally, I decided to include some Martha Stewart in this post, even though I don't particularly like her.  I have to admit that I did make her slow-cooker beef and tomato stew that can be found in that link, and it was pretty freaking delish.  So there.  Now no one can ever say that I didn't give Martha an appropriate compliment.

So I've worn myself out with this long post, so you guys must be worn out too!  Next Tuesday I'll try not to ramble so much!  What are you guys totally obsessed with this week?  Leave me some love in the comments!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The End of an Era

Or, more accurately, of a season.

Today officially marks the end of summer for me, as tomorrow I finally go back to work after a super long vacation.  Tomorrow morning, Courtney and I will drop Gavin off for his first day of preschool.  Not going to lie, part of me is a little sad.  I had to re-make his magnet calendar to reflect our new schedule, and I realized that we won't have the freedom to go to the Columbus Museum whenever we want anymore, or declare Fridays "Pajama Day," or go to the library for preschool story time on Tuesday mornings. 

The other part of me is all "heck yes, I get to sleep in!"  And I am excited for Gavin.  It's going to be so great for him to be around kids his own age.  I see lots of playdates and birthday parties in our future.  So change is good... But Courtney and I will probably both cry when we drop him off tomorrow.

Anyways, I'm trying to focus on the positive.  So I'm going to do a few fun back to school things for him.  I just calculated that Gavin should graduate from high school in 2027 (good God, will I be old!), so I think I'm going to make him one of these tee-shirts:

LOVE THIS! Put the child's graduation year on a  large t-shirt. Take a picture each year with same shirt to watch the kid grow into the shirt.

Basically, you print the child's graduation year on a shirt, (or in my case, freehand it with fabric markers) and take a picture of them in it every year on the first day of school to watch them grow into it. 

The one I made was fairly simple.  I bought an extra large white tee shirt and this set of Crayola fabric markers from The Happiest Place On Earth (or Hobby Lobby, as some people more mundanely like to call it). 

The directions say to put something between the layers of fabric so the colors don't bleed through, so I just grabbed a big document envelope I had lying around the house and stuck it between the front and back.  Then I laid everything out on my butcher block and got started!

First I freehanded lightly with a pen, just to make sure I had everything centered right.  Then I got to work with the fabric marker.  I have to tell you, this was pretty slow going.  Fabric moves, guys.  It doesn't sit still the way paper does when you try to write on it.  It probably took me a solid fifteen minutes to finish the lettering.

It probably would have been easier to get some iron-on appliques and just do it that way, only I don't actually own an iron, or know anyone near enough to borrow from that does.  So I had to do it this way.

Which I discover also calls for an iron.  You have to use heat to "lock in" the ink.  However, there was a caveat at the bottom of the directions that said you could also just pop the finished shirt in the dryer on high heat for half an hour.  Just to be on the super safe side, I did it twice.

This is how the writing turned out.  Not perfect, but as I said, it was a last minute freehand project, and it gets the point across. I'll post the picture of Gavin wearing it tomorrow. But for now, I'm going to revel in my last night off, relax on the couch, and maybe catch another episode of Mad Men.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pesto Chicken and Creamy Rice... Om nom.

Okay guys, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret--I LOVE to cook.

Oh wait, I've said that before? That's not a secret?  Oops.  Not a secret... I guess it's also not a secret that some nights (read: work weeknights) that I just do NOT want to spend four hours in the kitchen.  But I also don't want what comes out of my kitchen to taste like it came out of a Hamburger Helper box, either.  (Unless it did.  But not really, cause I modify and season the hell out of my Hamburger Helper meals... You get my drift.)

So I have some secret meals up my sleeve.  Some delicious, juicy, decadent meals that take roughly twenty minutes to throw together.  And I'm about to share one with you.

I found this recipe for Pesto Chicken and Creamy rice via Pinterest, on PlainChicken.com.  This is basically Steph's recipe, but I made a few changes to it.  You can head on over there and read her recipe (but mine has pictures along the way!)

This is basically everything you'll need to make this recipe:


1 package boneless chicken (I use tenderloins)
1 package Near East brand Long Grain and Wild Rice
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
3 tsp garlic powder, divided
2 Tbsp pesto
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Seasoned salt and pepper to taste

First, preheat your oven to 375.  I always forget this step.  So if it doesn't come first, it's no big deal.  You'll just have to wait a few minutes to put it in.  I find the preheating time to be an excellent time to have a glass of wine.

Next, mix the milk, the soup, the rice (including the seasoning packet), the salt and pepper, and two teaspoons of the garlic in a 9x13 glass baking dish.  It will look a little funky, like mine does in the picture below.  If you choose NOT to use Near East Long Grain and Wild Rice (it's not necessary, you can use any old non-instant rice--this just happens to be my and Jimmy's favorite), it will look LESS funky than mine, because the Near East seasoning packet is green... It looks better when it's cooked, I swear.


Next, lay out the chicken on top of the rice/soup mixture.  I use the term "on top of" lightly, because the chicken will kind of sink, and that's okay.  We're not going for magazine worthy photos of our food, here.  (Also, once upon a time my mom dated a photographer who actually did a lot of food spreads for magazines, and she told me the food is inedible once they're done with the photos.  They have to cover the Thanksgiving turkeys in shellac to get them all shiny like that.  So don't feel bad when your food photos don't look like that.  At least we can eat yours.)  Ahem. Anyways.  Then sprinkle the chicken with the remaining teaspoon of garlic powder.


Next, spread some pesto on each of the chicken pieces.  I won't lie to you, I use WAY more than two tablespoons.  I love pesto.  I could bathe in the stuff.  Except that would be gross and green... But whatever.  I still could.

IMPORTANT NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT STICK THE SPOON BACK IN THE JAR AFTER IT'S TOUCHED THE CHICKEN.  I don't want anyone getting salmonella from spaghetti night later on my account.  The way I do it is I scoop some pesto out of the jar with a spoon, slide it on to each chicken tenderloin with a (clean!) finger, and then when they all have pesto on them, I spread it around so the chicken is evenly covered.  This time it didn't matter because I was using the last of a jar, but still.  Don't do it.


See? Now they all look pretty and pesto-ed.

Now, all that's left to do is smother sprinkle the chicken with parmesan cheese.  Do yourself a favor and use the good stuff, not the powdered stuff in a can.  That's good enough for some dishes, but not for this one.  I used more than a 1/4 cup of cheese.  I have an ongoing love affair with cheese, and no one can stop me.  So use however much or little your heart desires.


And you're done!  Cover that sucker with foil and pop it in the oven for 45 minutes.  I repeat: COVER IT WITH FOIL.  I can't stress that enough.  I forgot to one time, and the result was disastrous.  The chicken was about as moist as cardboard and the rice was actually crunchy.  So please, please cover your delicious dish with foil.


Please ignore the nasty that is my oven.  Let's not talk about it.

A few quick notes:  This meal typically takes me 20 minutes to throw together (when I'm not taking pictures, that is).  If I know I'm going to be dead tired when I come home in the evening, I make it the morning of and put it in the fridge until it's time to cook--I've even made it the night before, and it turns out just fine.  Also, this is a DOUBLE RECIPE.  I've never learned to cook for two.  Thankfully, I have a husband who comes home for lunch and loves leftovers, so I cook for four and refrigerate what we don't eat.  If you want measurements for a single recipe that feeds two, head over to Plain Chicken and use Steph's measurements.

This meal pairs really well with frozen spinach or garlic bread.  Tonight I made it with lemon broccoli, which I found in a budget-friendly four-ingredient cookbook.  It's hit or miss with that book. It also has a recipe for hot dog soup.  But the broccoli was good, so I digress.

I should also warn you.  It is TOTALLY NECESSARY to do the dishes RIGHT AFTER this meal.  If you leave your 9x13 pan sit overnight, even soaking in hot, soapy water, you will be making a cleaning nightmare for yourself later.  I don't know if you know this, but pesto dries like concrete.  So, don't say I didn't warn you.

Anyways, protip for when it comes out of the oven: it's HOT.  The steam under the foil will be HOT.  Yes, I've burned myself on the steam before.  I highly recommend cutting some slits in the foil to let the steam escape for a few minutes while you finish up the rest of dinner.


I go a little overboard because I really, really don't want to get burned again.  Anyways, finally, here's how it looks when it comes out of the oven:


YUM.  Yes, this picture is blurry.  I was hungry and in a hurry, okay?  Make it and try to take a few pictures while your mouth is watering, see how yours turn out.



I should also warn you.  It is TOTALLY NECESSARY to do the dishes RIGHT AFTER this meal.  If you leave your 9x13 pan sit overnight, even soaking in hot, soapy water, you will be making a cleaning nightmare for yourself later.  I don't know if you know this, but pesto dries like concrete.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Totally Obsessed Tuesdays

So, in an effort to make this blog have a little bit more structure (cause we all know how much I love order and symmetry and structure), I've decided to make posting on Tuesdays a "thing."  And this "thing" is going to be Totally Obsessed Tuesdays.  For one, it will force me to post at least once a week (I'm aiming for twice--once on Tuesdays and one more random blog throughout the week).  And, it will introduce all you lovely people to all the awesome things that exist out there that you don't have time to find because you're busy having real lives, which I don't.

So, for my first Totally Obsessed Tuesday, I will discuss three things I've become Totally Obsessed with: Ipsy, Mom Blogs, and Down unStoppables.


A quick explanation:  Ipsy is a beauty service.  You take a quiz about your style/makeup preferences etc, pay ten dollars a month and BAM.  They send you a cute little makeup bag filled with three or four products tailored to you.  EVERY MONTH.   For ten dollars!!!  (Also, you cancel at any time if you're not happy with it.)  Who could feel guilty about blowing ten measly dollars a month on themselves? Not me, and I bet my budget is even smaller than yours.

I didn't discover Ipsy myself.  My friendboss Courtney introduced me to it, via her Mom Blog (see what I did there?), Adulthood Redefined.  It's not JUST a Mom Blog, but she's a Mom who blogs, so that's what I'm going to call it.  Anyways, she recently did an excellent review of Ipsy and Birchbox (another similar service) on her blog.  Go read her review.  (And then the rest of her blog, cause it's awesome.)  She explains Ipsy way better than I did in the five sentences above.  In fact, her review was so excellent that I went out and bought one of the products she received in the Ipsy bag, and then went and signed up for Ipsy myself. I'm currently on the waitlist, but I can't WAIT to get my first bag. 

If Courtney's review is not enough to convince you to go sign up ASAP, I'll add one last tidbit.  One of the products she received and reviewed in July was Weatherproof by Big Sexy Hair.  I don't know how I LIVED in the South, with curly hair, without this product, for an entire year.  It's amazing.  It's basically a spray that keeps your hair from getting poofy and frizzy in the heat and humidity.  I showered Friday afternoon and put it in my hair.  Went to a beer pong party, where my hair remained fabulous all night.  Went to bed.  Woke up Saturday morning... and my hair STILL looked amazing.  Seriously.  You need this in your life.

This product costs $20 at Wal-mart (although I got it at the Post Exchange for $12.50).  Courtney got it and FOUR other products for $10 in her Ipsy bag (plus the bag itself).  If that's not awesome value, I don't know what is.  For real.  Go sign up.

Mom Blogs

Ever since I started my job as a nanny, I've been obsessed with Mom Blogs.  Some of them I found through Facebook (those are the funny ones), some through Pinterest (the crafty ones), and some through other blogs.  I can't get enough!  Some of them I follow for practical purposes; rainy day craft ideas for me and Gavin, picky eater recipes, etc.  Some I follow just because it's interesting to see how the other half lives (I'm looking at you, Mommy Shorts!)  And others because I need to know that it's not just me that sometimes needs a Valium, a stiff drink and a hot bath after a three-hour-long screaming temper tantrum.  (Yes, I said three hours.  And yes, that actually happened.)

I read a lot of blogs, and they're all listed on my blog roll.  You should go check them out.  But I do have a few favorites, that I immediately drop everything and read the moment they hit my email.

Mommy Shorts

Ilana is kind of my hero.  This woman has a job, two ridiculously photogenic children, a hot husband, takes amazing pictures (WITH HER CELL PHONE), and is a fabulous writer.  Oh, and her daughters are always wearing the most adorable shit.  Like, magazine worthy clothes.  ALL THE TIME. I would so be her nanny/slave/unpaid intern if I lived in NYC.  Which I can't.  Cause we're poor and I'm so not a city girl.  But whatevs.  She's awesome.  You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and her actual blog.  She's fabulous.

 Baby Sideburns

Karen is effing hysterical.  This is why I follow her on Facebook and read her blog.  For the hilarity factor.  Because she says, out loud and on the internet, the things that almost every mom and caregiver feels guilty even thinking (but we all think it so I don't know why we feel guilty and don't just say it.)  For example, the other day she caused me to spit coffee on my laptop: "ZOEY:  'Sometimes when I pick a booger I put it back in my nose.' The really F'ed up part of this is that I was all psyched and praised her for it. I'm like hells yeah, then I won't find your booger on the arm of my chair later."  For real.  She will make you giggle and feel like you're not a horrible parent/aunt/uncle/babysitter for all those things you think about the tiny humans in your life when they get on your nerves.

One Good Thing

Jillee is the ultimate crafty mom, which is why I follow her.  This woan makes her own cloth NAPKINS, okay?  That's how you know she's legit.  #1 she uses cloth napkins in her house (and she has four kids), and #2 SHE MADE THEM HERSELF.  I can't even CUT in a straight line, let alone SEW.  She has tons of homemade products, from cleaners to beauty stuff to laundry hacks. (I found her via Pinterest through her homemade dryer ball tutorial, which has been a godsend for our crappy, previously inefficient dryer). She has adorable crafts as well, and of course, the recipes.  One of the best things (in my opinion) about Jillee? She posts EVERY DAY.  Every single solitary day, there can be a little bit of awesomeness in your inbox.  If you have a single crafty or DIY bone in your body, you should go check her out.

Downy Unstoppables

Whew!  This has been a way longer post than I intended. Thanks for sticking with me, guys.  One last thing before I sign off for the day.  Downy Unstoppables.

Oh. My. Freaking. Word.

I was skeptical.  I won't lie.  Twelve weeks of freshness?  Who needs any laundry to be fresh for twelve weeks?  What can you get away without washing for twelve weeks?

That is so not even the point, guys.  The point is that your laundry room will smell like heaven.  If you leave the door open, your whole house will smell like heaven.  Your sheets, towels, socks and underwear (yes, even your husband’s) will smell like heaven. You will WANT to do laundry.  You will want to re-do every piece of laundry in your house that was done before this lovely product came into your life.  You will want to put your couch, your husband and possibly your dog in the washing machine (disclaimer--please do not try to put anything living or anything that is not laundry in your washer.  It won't end well).

This is the scent I used: 

The others smelled great too, this one was just my personal preference.  Don't believe me yet?


This is me and Caitlyn, texting about how amazing her house smells after I lent her our new favorite household product to try it out before she bought it. As I state in the  text, the unstoppables are about a dollar more expensive than regular fabric softener.  Last time I went shopping, I had a coupon for a dollar off any Downy, and I'd had my eye on the unstoppables for a while, so I decided to give it a go.  I'm now a convert and will never go back.

Alright, my lovelies.  I think that's quite enough for one day.  Jimmy is home and I think it's time to get my butt in gear and make some dinner.  I'm thinking Pesto Chicken and Creamy Rice... Maybe if you're all nice to me and leave some comments, I'll post a recipe later this week. :)