About Me

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I recently became a stay-at-home mom.  I have an amazing husband and a gorgeous baby girl.  The transition from working mom to SAHM has had it's ups and downs.  Everyday is an adventure as I learn what it means to be a good mom and watch my little girl grow up.

Friday, November 1, 2013

3 Little Piggies: DIY Ears and Tail


Happy Belated Halloween Folks!  Last time I talked about how to make a DIY Piggy nose and today I want to talk about how I made the ears and curly tail for my mommy and daddy pig costumes.  You can see our finished "Pig Products" in the photo below.

Randsome, Cakers and I at the Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival outside L.L. Bean's Flagship store

Pig Ears
Materials:
Pink Felt
Headband
Scissors
Hot Glue Gun

Directions: 

1.  Trace and cut out a pattern for your pig ears
2.  Fold your pink felt in half and trace or pin your pattern onto your felt. *Each ear will be made up of two pieces of felt in order to make them stiff.
You can't tell here but my felt has been folded in half.





3.  Once you have all four pieces cut out, glue them together along the edges.  You could also sew them together, but using a glue gun was easier and quicker for me.

Just in case I plan on using my headband again, I made sure not to get any glue on it.  I glued it inside of the pink flaps and I could actually slide my ears (together or further away) along the headband. 

Pig Tail
Materials:
Pink Felt
Pipe Cleaner
Hot Glue
Safety Pin

Directions:


1.  Cut out a piece of pink felt about an inch longer than your pipe cleaner.
2.  Roll the pipe cleaner up in the felt (gluing as you go).  It's kind of like rolling up a tortilla. 
3.  When you have finished glueing, twist the tail into a corkscrew shape.


4.  Take a safety pin, glue it to your pants, and you have yourself a piggy tail!

Katie Lou

Saturday, October 26, 2013

3 Little Piggies: Halloween DIY Pig Nose

I've always wanted to make my kids Halloween costumes, but the one we found online this year was so cute we couldn't pass it up.  I figured that we could get Cakers the cute costume and I could make costumes for Randsome and myself this year.  Before we even had kids we talked about how we'd like to dress up as a family.  It's dorky I know, but Randsome and I are total goofballs so what the heck; we were destined to be The 3 Little Pigs!  So I hoped online and found my ideas on Kim's blog over at 733.  I made a few changes to suit my needs and an hour later I was done.

Isn't she a cute little piggy?
As you can see Caker's costume is pretty amazing and even though I fancy myself artistic, I'm not that good.  You can find her costume at Chasing Fireflies.  I didn't expect my homemade pig costume to be as detailed or beautiful, but I wanted people to know that I was a pig.  The first thing I made for my costume was the snout.  Here is what you need to make yourself a pig nose!

Materials
Pink Yarn
Pink Felt
Bottle Cap (I used a generic brand Gatorade cap)
2 Pink Buttons
Hot Glue Gun

Directions

First, measure out your yarn to make sure that it is long enough to tie behind your head.  Then Glue the center of the yarn over the top of your bottle cap.


Second, cut out a felt circle to cover your bottle cap.  Cut slits in the sides so that your yarn can come out the edges (this will help you in the tying process) and glue it to the cap, covering the yarn.  


Next, glue the edges of the felt to the inside of your bottle cap.



Once you have all of your edges glued, flip your piggy nose over and glue the two buttons for nostrils.



There you have it folks, a ten minute pig nose!  It's super easy, cute, and as long as your bottle cap contained a beverage you like, it smells good!  Stay tuned for my piggy ears and tail!  Oink Oink

Monday, October 21, 2013

Book Review of: Loose Ends by Terri Reid

Once an author came and spoke to a group of kids I was working with.  I don't remember her name, but I do remember one piece of advice she gave to the group.  She said if you are reading a book for entertainment and you don't like it, stop reading.  It doesn't deserve your time.  She said that as a writer she would hate to think she was torturing her readers.  She only wanted people to read her work if they enjoyed it.  I liked this advice because I've always been one of those guilty readers.  If I think a book is boring I continue reading because I feel guilty if I don't finish.  Since listening to this author speak, I've slowly begun to take her advice.  I still catch myself finishing books that I don't care for, but for the most part I've learned to put down the ones I don't like.

Recently my mother let me borrow her Kindles.  I've had her Kindle for a good month and I've read three books on it so far.  My latest read was written by Terri Reid, and it is the first in a series.  It was either free or .99 cents on Amazon.  The book is called: Loose Ends: A Mary O'Reilly Paranormal Mystery and like the title, it is full of loose ends.  I don't like to write scathing book reviews, but this one is filled with a hefty load of critiques.  I'd like to preface my critiques by saying that underneath it all, I found the book entertaining enough to want to know what happened.  I think the author is a good storyteller, but she needs a better editor.  I'm not the best at editing mechanics, but I feel pretty confident  in the my ability to recognize strong characters, voice, continuity and flow throughout a story.

The book is about a private (paranormal) investigator.  She is a former cop who was shot on the job, died, and then had the opportunity to come back knowing that her life would be different.  When she came back from the dead, she could see ghosts.  Now she helps spirits cross over to the other side.  Even though the book is paranormal, it isn't scary.

One of my major problems was with the cheesy characters.  They are likable enough, but I feel like Reid could have made them a bit more realistic.  For example Mary, the main character, talks to herself a lot when other people are around.  Reid may have been trying to make the character seem cute or endearing, but I found that it actually took away from her writing.  Many of the comments Mary makes out loud would be far more effective if they were said in her head.  I also didn't like the cutesy banter between Mary and her love interest, Bradley; I found it shallow and chintzy.  Often the two characters would say things simultaneously which is a bit too tongue-in-cheek for my taste.  It was like a really bad Hallmark movie.

I did like Mary's two older friends who stop by her office daily.  They were likable, funny characters.  My only issue (and it's a doozy) is that Rose, the older woman, carries a blow-up doll in her makeup case.  She said she uses it to try on outfits to make sure they will look good on her.  All I can say to that is COME ON!  At one point Mary uses the blow up doll to sit at her desk so her police tail won't know she left her office.  It's all a bit stupid.  It's obvious that Reid needed a plot device so she made a normal character into a total nutter with a blow up doll.  I mean Reid describes Rose's character as a classy, well-known real estate broker and then out of no where she adds this bizarre tidbit.  I didn't like it.  It didn't mesh.

As far as the loose ends found throughout Loose Ends, there were a few.  One scene Mary is running through the woods, chasing some ghost children, when she runs into a fort.  It was all strange and confusing, but what got me was when Mary wakes in the care of a paramedic who seemed to appear out of thin air.  She was running in the woods, knocks herself out, and BAM! Paramedic!  He is not a ghost.  He's an actual person.  This paramedic proceeds to drop a concussed Mary off at her car, all the while disclosing a long lost memory from his childhood.  This memory is a clue to help solve Mary's case, which is quite convenient because the paramedic disappears just as quickly as he appears.  By the way, Mary drives home and passes out in her driveway because of her concussion.  It just wasn't believable.  Oh and I hated the fact that she ran into a fort.  It was weird.

There were other mistakes in the storyline.  For instance, Mary tells Bradley the code to her home alarm system and then days later she says she doesn't use it because the ghosts mess it up.  It had little inconsistencies throughout the book that bothered me.

Some may say that I shouldn't complain as I did choose to read a cheap book from Amazon about a woman that sees ghosts, but I've read some pretty good freebies in the past.  I'm also a sucker for the paranormal mystery.

If you are interested in a super easy/cheesy read, you may like this book.  It's totally predictable, and some people dig that, but I like more of a challenge.  I do think the story beneath all of the critiques has potential.  I'd also like to point out that I did finish the book, so that's saying something.
-Katie Lou

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Buffering

Like most babies, Cakes loves technology.  Wether it be cell phones, computers, tablets, remote controls, or our surround sound, Cakes goes crazy over buttons, screens, and blinking lights.  At 17 months she has managed to call and text friends, purchase apps (luckily we intervened), and a family favorite: clean my cell phone in the toilet.

This morning, after wrestling my cell phone from her kung fu grip, Randsome had the clever idea of giving Cakes an old, crappy tablet that we had all but forgotten.  As he was trying to get a game to load, the device started to buffer.  We all know how frustrating it is to wait for any device to buffer, but Cakers summarized that feeling so well.  She laid back on the floor and began a mini tantrum: kicking her feet and yelling at the tablet.  She even slapped it a couple of times.  Normally a mini-tantrum makes me angry, but this morning I had to laugh because seriously, who doesn't want to kick and scream in frustration when they want a program/video/picture to load?
Yes she's sitting in a bumbo.  She loves chairs.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Awkward Moments

For those of you who don't know me, I'm one of the many teachers that got laid off this past school year.  I decided to start substitute teaching this fall in order to earn some cash and to keep up with what's going on with the schools around me.  One thing I love about teaching is that every day is different; you never know what to expect from the kids.  Most of my friends would describe me as a 31 year-old woman with the sense of humor of a 15 year-old boy.  As a teacher this can be dangerous ground because it requires a LOT of self-control to not laugh at dirty jokes and inappropriate comments.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard things that I think are hilarious, but I have to fake a stern expression and reprimand some kid.

I usually do a pretty good job at keeping myself in check.  I may have a potty mouth at home, but at work I flip a switch and my vocabulary changes to that of a professional.  My most recent brush with this appropriate/inappropriate balancing act is one that have to share.

I was subbing for a very good friend of mine who teaches Freshman, English/Language Arts.  Due to her last minute illness there were no plans, so a fellow English teacher came to me (two minutes before the bell) and told me to read this short story called: A Perfect Day For Bananafish, by J.D. Salinger.    She had photocopied it for me and everything.  Now I'm a huge fan of Catcher In The Rye, but I haven't read a lot of Salinger's other works (Bananafish included).

Having NO time to read the story before the class started, I (like any good teacher) decided to wing it.  After all, a fellow English teacher photocopied the story and told me to read it.  It had to be okay, right?  Wrong!  The woman who gave me the story teaches upperclassmen and I don't know if she hadn't read the story recently, or just took for granted some of the content, either way the story was a bit much for a group of 14 year-olds.

Naively, I started reading the story out loud.  It takes place in the late 1940's and typical of Salinger, the characters reek of wealth and superiority.  Things were fine for the first couple of pages, until I saw it.  Do you know how you can be reading out loud but your eyes are ahead of your voice?  That happened to me.  As I was saying the words, I saw the word 'pussy' up ahead.   I started freaking out internally.  In the milliseconds before I had to say the dreaded word I thought, "Shit! I don't know these kids.  I didn't know this word was in here!  I didn't prepare them for it and how am I supposed to explain it to them?!?  Who says the word pussy to a bunch of Freshmen?  I'm so going to screw this up."

I couldn't do anything about it, so I made a noise that said, "Woah didn't see that coming," and read on.  I was hoping that I wouldn't have to say it again, maybe I could just ignore the word like I'd never said it out loud in the first place.  Yeah, that was wishful thinking because Salinger decided to throw it in a couple more times for good measure!  So there I am reading this short story, not knowing where it's going, or how I'm going to explain that in this case the P-bomb didn't mean vagina, to a group of fourteen year-olds that I've never met.  Embarrassing much?  Lucky for me the kids were awesome and didn't make any rude comments.  In fact I think they were more embarrassed than me because I didn't even hear any snickering.

If you're wondering how I handled it, I went on to explain that some of the language used back then had different meanings than it does today.  In this case, a mother was calling her daughter by the nickname "pussycat" and in this context the word does not mean the same dirty thing it does today. Phew!

To make matters worse, the main character shoots himself in the head in the last sentence.  Again, this is something I would have liked to warn the students about, but instead I was completely blindsided.  When I finished, one kid looked at me and said, "I don't like this story".  My response was, "yeah, I didn't pick it."



Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday The 13th

As I write this, the afternoon sun hides deep behind storm clouds, thunder rolls violently every few minutes, and lighting flashes menacingly across the sky-threatening treetops and daring anyone or anything to venture out into the open.   The lights have been flickering and this SAHM is both creeped out and kind of excited.  Every year around this time, my curiosity peeks out from beneath the covers to get a glimpse at the things that go bump in the night.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm a big 'fraidy cat, but each year before Halloween, I get curious.  I don't like to be truly spooked out, but I do like living dangerously on the edge.  I start watching shows like Ghost Hunters and looking into historical, nighttime walking tours.  I've always been a sucker for a good ghost story, and unlike most of my immediate family, I believe in them.

My father has four sisters, all of whom believe in spirits, psychics, and haunted houses.  I must have inherited that curiosity gene because I always inquire about the mysteries from beyond.  I've had my tarot cards read several times in my adult life, but the one thing I've yet to do is visit a psychic.  I've looked into it, they're expensive.  I've been warned about them, they're scam artists or devil worshipers. I've also listened to personal encounters from two women that I completely trust.  I won't write about their experiences, hopefully someday they can do a guest post and tell you themselves.

What I will tell you happened when I was about ten or eleven years old.  Since it was over twenty years ago, I'm not exactly clear on the details.  What I do recall is that the incident scared the crap out of me.  When I was ten I was scared of EVERYTHING, so being home alone wasn't exactly on my top ten favorite things list.  When I was home by myself, I would either hide in my sister's room (she had a t.v. and a phone) or in the living room behind the couch (with a book and the phone).  I would never have answered the door to a stranger, gone into the basement, or left the house.  It was ingrained in my anxious little brain that at all strangers were rapists and murderers and all basements are haunted.

I was in the kitchen, probably scrounging up a snack, when I saw my black cocker spaniel sitting beneath the kitchen table.  She looked funny. I can't explain how or why, but her eyes didn't look quite right.  Thinking she looked strange, I called out to her.  "Molly," I said, and she peered back at me.  She didn't budge, which wasn't completely unlike her.  She loved a good pat, but like any naughty dog, she hid when she did something bad.  I remember feeling uneasy with her strangeness.  "Molly," I called again, "Molly, come."  As soon as I called the second time, I heard a noise coming from my sister's bedroom, which was right off the kitchen.  When I turned, I heard the tags on Molly's collar jingle as she jumped from my sister's bed and trotted into the kitchen to see what I wanted.  Terrified I looked back under the table, where I thought my dog had been and saw nothing.  Molly looked at me curiously from the doorway of my sister's bedroom, wondering why I interrupted her nap.

After I gave her a thorough once-over, I followed her back into my sister's bedroom to hide.  I didn't let her out of my sight, and I'm pretty sure we didn't go back into the kitchen until someone else got home. It's not the scariest story, but it scared me enough to remember it twenty years later.  I wasn't seeing things, there was a black dog under our table one second and the next second it was gone.

I've had a few strange happenings in my life.  The dog story is one of two things that happened in that particular house.  I've had strange phone calls, mysterious doorbell rings, and I swear I saw a ghost woman crying in the middle of the night.  I'm all set with experiencing any more creepiness in the future.  Like I said before, I more comfortable living on the edge of spookiness, but this time of year I feel like listening to what people have experienced.  If you have a scary story I'd love to hear it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

DIY Coasters!

Yesterday I made my first eight coasters!  I was so excited to make them, but I had to do them in stages throughout the entire day.  Each stage took place while Cakes was asleep.  In fact, I was willing Cakers to sleep extra long so that I could just work on my coasters.  That didn't happen, so instead I had to wait until her bedtime.

I found the DIY Coasters on Pinterest.  I thought they were super cute, pinned them, forgot about them for months, and then rediscovered them when I was perusing my DIY board.  Check out my original PIN.  Even though I chose to make tile coasters, I won't actually use them until Cakers is old enough to stop throwing breakables onto the floor; until then my coasters will become gifts.

I got everything I needed at JoAnn Fabrics and Home Depot.  Even though I had scrapbook paper, I wanted to find something that had a vintage feel. I found this Darling Dear Collection, of patterned paper at JoAnn Fabrics.  I really liked the variety of designs and color pallet.  I also picked up a yard of felt for $1.25 in the scrap bin.  Oh, and I can't forget the two pack of paint sponges for .99 to apply the Mod Podge.

I love so many of these patterns

So about Mod Podge...  Please tell me that I'm not the only one who thought it was called Modge Podge?  I wouldn't have even noticed I pronounced it wrong if my friend Miranda hadn't pointed out the packaging.  She always called it Modge Podge too.  I'm glad she discovered that little tidbit for me, otherwise I would definitely be spelling it wrong.  (I'm pretty sure I spelled it wrong in a previous post. I guess I need to go back and fix that!)  I ended up having a friend pick me up some Mod Podge because mine disappeared in my not-so-organized basement.  Thanks Matt!  Now you can cross off 'Shop at Joann Fabrics' from your bucket list!

I was really excited to discover the tiles were only sixteen cents a piece at Home Depot.  Not counting the illusive Mod Podge, my eight coasters cost me around six bucks.  I thought that was pretty cheap.  I already had a paper cutter, acrylic spray, and a glue gun, so I didn't count those either.  My next set of coasters will only cost me the price of the tile!  (FYI Randsome would totally disagree with my horrible math logic here, but that's okay).

My supplies (minus the clear acrylic spray)

Supply List:
  • Felt or Cork
  • Scrapbook Paper (or any paper or picture)
  • Tiles
  • Mod Podge
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Scissors (I used a paper cutter for scrapbooking)
  • Pen
  • Ruler
  • Paint Sponge/Brush
  • Acrylic Spray (or you can use a polyurethane spray)

Directions:
  1. Cut your paper to the desired size.  One set of my coasters covers the entire tile, while the other set leaves a white rim.
  2. Paint the tile with Mod Podge and carefully place the paper where you want it.
  3. Once the paper has dried to the appropriate spot on the tile, continue applying layers of Mod Podge.  You should allow each layer to dry so that it doesn't turn into a clumpy mess.
  4. Once you've layered on the Mod Podge (I did between ten and fifteen layers), spray your coaster with a clear acrylic spray.  This will make your coasters nice and waterproof.
  5. Cut the felt to your desired size and hot glue it on the bottom of the coaster
This set reminds me of a vintage diner.

Note To Self: THERE IS NO MODGE IN MOD PODGE

I like how these feel kind of whimsical

Love the word bubbles!

Voila!  That's It!  It's pretty easy right?  I really enjoyed making these coasters, and I'm excited to give them as gifts!  Let me know how your coasters come out.  Thanks for stopping by!

-Katie Lou



Saturday, September 7, 2013

Protein Powder: Who Woulda Thought?

It was my full intention to post my DIY coasters today, but my Modge Podge is MIA.  I guess I need to make another trip to Joann Fabrics.  I promise it's coming soon!

In the meantime, I want to share a little bit about my first week of carb cycling.  I'm fully committed to this carb-cycling diet; it's new, it makes sense to me, and it's not that difficult.  I'm going on day six and I'm not miserable.

One of my new discoveries, in terms of food and drink, is protein powder.  I always thought protein powder was for body builders or high school boys who want to bulk up for football.  I never considered purchasing protein powder for myself, until I read about carb-cycling.  Never having tried it, I had no idea what it tasted like, or if I would even like it.  So this week when I was doing my groceries, I stopped in the diet/supplement aisle and grabbed a can of chocolate SlimFast.  I always knew SlimFast was for dieting, but I never read the label.  I didn't know it was a protein powder.  It was the only powder I saw, so I bought it.  It wasn't until I got home and looked at my Chris Powell book, Choose To Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution, that I saw he recommends buying a powder that has less than 5 grams of carbohydrates.  The SlimFast powder I purchased has 13 grams of carbs.  It's a beginners mistake, but I bought it so I'm gonna drink it.

In the book, Powell says that blending your protein powder in with your morning coffee is a great way to eliminate fattening coffee creamer.  It also allows your coffee to become a complete breakfast.  This is great for Randsome, because he doesn't eat breakfast, but for me I still have to eat a banana or something alongside my cup of protein joe.

So in case you've been wondering what I've been eating for breakfast for the last six days, there it is; coffee and chocolate protein powder.  It's really delicious (tastes like a shake) and it keeps you full.  Hopefully, once the SlimFast runs out, the next powder I buy tastes just as good.  Don't forget to keep it under 5 grams of carbs!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Coming Soon...

Hey Peeps! Just a quick update today.  I had an extremely productive day (obviously it did not involve fancying up my blog).  I did, however, find my newest craft project.  After perusing my Pinterest DIY board, I decided to design my own coasters.  Check out the pin that gave me the inspiration!

-Katie Lou

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A New Adventure?

I've mentioned in a previous post how Randsome and I started watching Extreme Weight Loss with Chris Powell.  What I didn't say however, was that I found the show so inspirational that I went ahead and bought Powell's book, Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb-Cycle Solution.  I thought, hey, suddenly I'm this stay-at-home mom, my career path is no longer clear, I need a little inspiration in my life!  Well, between Allie Cakes, job hunting, daily chores, and blogging, I don't seem to have a ton of time to read.  So this past weekend I made the time.  Even though I'm only about 3/4 of the way finished, I've decided to give Powell's carb-cycling a chance.  He's a pretty persuasive guy.  I don't know if it's the enigmatic smile or those puppy dog eyes, but I seem to listen when Chris Powell talks; even if he's not talking to me.

Chris (we are on a first name basis) says that carb-cycling is all about tricking the metabolism.  He compares the metabolism to a furnace; you have to fuel the furnace to keep the machine (body) running at full capacity.  He goes into a whole lot of scientific detail, but it all boils down to the fact that you need to eat five times a day, and every other day you cycle between a high and a low carbohydrate diet.  On your high-carb days, you may not eat fats.  On your low-carbs, you may eat fats.  Everyday, at each meal, you should be eating protein.  Don't worry, he gives you a food list.

I'm at the point in the book where he's finished explaining the in's and out's of the diet, and now he's moving on to exercise.  I can't say I'm too pumped to continue reading.  I'm one of those people who knows the importance of exercise, but constantly comes up with an excuse not to do it.  Maybe I just showered, or I suddenly think my basement is haunted; all I know is that when it's time to work up a sweat, I decide to alphabetize my canned goods, clip coupons from the neighbor's paper, or make puppets out of Randsome's holey socks.  We'll see if Chris Powell can use his powers of persuasion to get me to do some crunches.

In the meantime I went grocery shopping; I plan on giving this carb-cycling a shot.  I figure it can't be too bad; it's definitely the first diet I've encountered that encourages you to eat. Also, I hate to brag, but I'm pretty good at eating.  Last week I emptied my cabinets of anything that might tempt me.  When I say emptied, I don't mean I threw it away.  I ate that fatty goodness.  Don't think I'm not taking this new plan seriously, I am.   But, I paid good money for my junk food so the only trash compactor I was throwing it into was my belly.  I actually think I did it the smart way, I was fiscally responsible and I was not wasteful.
There I am, eating like a champ at last year's Friendsgiving.

Now, in the not-so-distant shadow of my french vanilla coffee creamer, sits a half gallon of unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  I've filled my cupboards with almonds and protein powder, and my refrigerator with avocados, cheese sticks, fruit, and vegetables.  It's ironic that I decided to start eating healthy now that our income has been reduced; not the greatest timing I know.  I mean let's be honest, healthy food is expensive, but I'll be damned if I let rich people dominate the skinny market.

...and so begins my stay-at-home, dieting adventure.  I'll leave you with a quote from Powell where he discusses how you may feel on a low-carb day, "you may feel somewhat sluggish, but embrace the feeling because it means your body's burning fat!"  Unfortunately he doesn't encourage you to go take a nap, but I figure, with anything new there is a learning curve.

-Katie Lou

Monday, September 2, 2013

Shout Out To The Sits Girls!

Even though I'm new to the blogging world, it's something that I've been interested for a couple of years now.  I never started one before now because I was too self-conscious.  It wasn't until recently that I threw caution to the wind and decided to give it a try.

I've only just finished week two here, but I've found a lot helpful resources to get me started.  I have to say that my first blessing was finding The Sits Girls website.  Here I've discovered tons of really great blogs, created by incredibly talented women.  I've been able to ask questions in the discussion forums and get opinions and ideas almost immediately.  These ladies made me feel welcome, even though I'm one of thousands of new bloggers out there.

I wanted to share five of the blogs I've discovered in the last two weeks.  They are all unique even if they cover a lot of similar material.  Check them out and let me know what you think!

Tatertots and Jello:  This is probably my favorite!  Jen is great with design, crafts, and organization!
A Girl and a Glue Gun: Kimbo is an awesome crafter!
A Beautiful Mess: where two sister's share their chic craftiness
This Is Mommyhood: A mama to a daughter who is like a hummingbird on crack.  This blog is hilarious!
Spearmint Baby: This is also a Momma blog, with great design tips, along with some great stories and tips.

-Katie Lou

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quick Oatmeal Cookies

I made oatmeal cookies on Monday.  I'd like to say I made them from scratch, but I didn't.  I'm not a huge baker and I don't have a ton of time to bake with Allie Cakes under foot.  That's why I buy mixes.  When you look in my cupboards you see boxes of brownie, cookie, or cake mixes.  I usually buy Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines, depending what's on sale the day I'm at the store.

I've really been into coconut lately, and I wanted to give baking a shot using coconut oil.  So with my Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie mix, I replaced the butter with 1/3 cup of coconut oil.  I also added a couple tablespoons of flaxseed, and dark chocolate chips.

I get my coconut oil at Trader Joe's

The cookies ended up being nice and soft, even the next day.  I don't know if it's because of the coconut oil or not.  If you don't like the taste of coconut, you can't actually taste it in the cookies.

Here they are all finished.  They aren't the most attractive, but they are tasty!


From start to finish, these cookies took twenty minutes.  Do you have any quick-baking solutions to share?





Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Scary Dreams

I've been getting a lot of dreams lately.  I mean, I know I dream every night, but lately I've been getting some real strange and creepy ones.  I'm already a sleep talker and a teeth grinder.  Well, as of about a month ago you can add hallucinator to that list.  It all goes down something like this...

I wake up in bed and see my daughter.  I know I'm awake, I can move around, I can talk, and I can hear.  Most of the time I see Allie Cakes, but in reality it's Randsome sleeping soundly next to me.  I get this sense that something isn't right.  I mean, why isn't Cakers in her crib?  I reach out to touch her, and she feels strange.  That's when I hear Randsome's voice.

"Katie, what the heck are you doing?"
"Allie! Where is Allie?"
"She's in her crib."
This makes me frantic because I can hear my husband's voice, but I see my 16 month old staring back at me.  "No she isn't, she's right here," and I start pawing at his face, chest, arms, trying to make sense of what is going on.
"KATIE!  Allie is sleeping in her crib, you're going to wake her up!"
"Randy! I see Allie!"

At this point one of us turns on the light, Allie disappears, and I see Randy again.  I check the monitor, only to see my girl sleeping.  All is right in the world, so I go back to sleep.

Like I said, this is what usually happens.  Sometimes I throw back the sheets, sometimes I start pawing at the wall.  The one thing that has been consistent is that I see Allie.

The other night I woke up in bed, and standing to my left is a man.  He was short, had scraggly hair, he was wearing a dark coat or shirt, and he was holding something.  I couldn't see what he was holding or the features on his face, but he was coming straight for me.  Screaming, I kicked my feet out from the covers trying to connect with this guy's stomach.

The light turned on and he disappeared.  Randy scolded me for screaming so loudly (I'd be pretty freaked out if he woke up screaming, so I don't hold it against him).  After a bunch of cursing, our conversation went something like this...
"Randy, there was a man."
"Katie, no one is there."
"I've seen him before, in other dreams."
"Did you wake up Allie?  Give me the monitor."  I hand him the monitor and she's sleeping.  I'm holding my chest because my heart is pounding so hard it almost hurts.  "Just relax, you're okay," he reassures me again and again.  Then he says, "What's changed?  Why do you keep getting these dreams?"
"I don't know."
"Well, were not watching any more scary movies before bed.  Just relax."

I married a patient man.  I seriously can't imagine how freaked out I would be if he woke up screaming.  In college I went through a spell where I got night terrors.  My roommate once found me crouched in the corner of my room screaming.  She thought someone was hurting me, and even though she was scared, she busted through the door to try and help me.  (Thanks Heidi)  I'm pretty sure that my dreams are a side effect to a new medication I've been taking for headaches.  I'll be taking Advil from now on.  I'll take my chances with a GI bleed over night terrors.

Have any of you battled with headaches?  How about a scary dream you've had recently?

-Katie Lou







Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pondering

Does anyone else feel gloomy on Sundays?  I know I shouldn't because it's a day of worship and rest, but lately I've been getting a sense of dread.  Isn't that awful?  I dread the week to come because that's when everyone goes back to work and the craziness ensues all over again.  I mourn for the two days of free time that have almost expired.  Quite frankly, I'm sad that my husband has to go back to work and won't be able to hang out with me and the baby.

In the past, this would be the week that I return to work.  I'd begin making lessons plans, arranging my desks, setting up my grade book, putting up a bulletin board, and a million other things that a teacher does to prepare for their students' arrival.  It's an exciting, stressful, and nerve-wracking week.  I won't miss the anxiety, but I will miss that feeling of being part of a team and that sense of being part of something.  I'll miss the teachers that I smiled at every morning for the last eight years.  I'll miss my former students stopping by to say hi, and to tell me how much they hate their new teachers.  I'll miss the look on my new students faces when I tell them a corny or sarcastic joke, and they stare back at me totally confused.  Most of all, and this is a real slap in the face; I'm going to miss that paycheck.  I was good at what I did, and I worked hard at it.  People tell me that the school community doesn't know what it lost when the budget cut me out, but the thing is, it wouldn't matter even if they did.  What's done is done. No one single person or community controls the economy.

It's not just this particular Sunday that I've felt so gloomy, it's been off and on all summer.  The one thing that has made me feel better is this new blog.  It's an outlet.  I've always wanted to write, so I finally am.  Even if I'm not that great at it yet, I'll get better.  Despite the sense of loss, I truly believe this is where I belong now, being a good mother, and sharing my discoveries and misadventures with readers.

With that doom and gloom out of my system, I'm going to spend the remaining hours hanging out with my family.  To make things more positive, why don't you tell me about something good that went on this weekend?  I had banana bread french toast yesterday, and it was TDF.  To Die For.
-Katie Lou


Friday, August 23, 2013

Overcoming A Weak Stomach

Allie Cakes barfed this morning.  I was washing dishes when I heard it; that deep down in the belly huahhh, huaaahhh.  Every time I imagine the sound of gaging, I picture Chunk from The Goonies confessing to the Fratellis about the time he threw fake puke over the balcony at the movie theater. He says, "all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other.  I never felt so bad in my life."  I know I shouldn't be comparing my Allie's upchuck to the 1985 cult classic, but there is just this distinct sound of someone losing their lunch.  In Allie's case it was her morning bottle of milk that splattered in sour, curdled, chunks all over my dining room floor.  I can tell you right now, I can totally relate to Chunk when he says he's never felt so bad in his life.

I have probably one of the weakest stomaches East of the Mississippi. I've got a nose like a blood hound, and I still gag when I look at raw chicken; but when little Cakers got sick this morning, I have to say I handled it well.  I felt so bad for my baby, I didn't even gag.  I once told  my husband that I knew I loved him when I casually picked something out of his teeth.  I've got the same love for Allie Cakes.  When I became a mom I discovered that anything that came out of my baby (whether it be boogers, vomit, or poop) doesn't bother me in the same way as if were coming from some other human.  I guess that's what parenting is about. You love your child so much, you are willing to do anything to make their pain go away.  You put aside the fact that they reek of sour milk and dirty diapers, cuddle them close, and tell them it will be okay.  I'm lucky enough to have a mom who did it for me, and proud to say I can do it for Allie.

Here she is trying out her new kicks.

I'll see you on Monday folks.  Have a good weekend.

-Katie Lou

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It Itches: 3 Home Remedies for Poison Ivy Relief

The homestead has been taken over by a nasty outbreak of poison ivy.  Okay, so my husband is actually the only one with the ivy, but I feel like it has taken over the house.  It has spread between his fingers, up his arms, legs, forehead, and his well, you know...

It started off with the little irritated bumps, moved onto a deeper rash, and now it's starting to turn yellowish.  The puss has started to ooze.  Our countertops are covered in Benadryl, Calamine lotion, and some anti-itch spray.  I've tried to recommend a few home remedies, but he's not into it.  Here are a few of the remedies I've suggested:

1.  Baking Soda Paste *He actually did try this, but it was with a lot of complaint.  He didn't like how it flaked off onto the couch.

Recipe: Three parts baking soda to one part water

Directions: Apply the paste to the infected area.  Allow it to dry completely, it will crack and flake off.  For best results apply every few hours.  The baking soda draws out the fluid in the blisters.

2.  Oatmeal Bath*Aveeno actually sells an oatmeal bath treatment, but it's cheaper to make it at home.


Recipe:
1 cup oatmeal
1 old sock or pair of nylons *you don't want to have to clean oatmeal out of your drain
1 rubber band

Directions:
Fill your sock with the oatmeal and attach it to the faucet in your tub.  Fill up your bath, occasionally squeezing the sock to release the avenanthramides (that cloudy residue you see when you get oatmeal wet).  The proteins help dry out the skin and block histamines.

3.  Chamomile Tea Bath


Sorry about the tiny print on my tea.  It's camomile :)


Recipe:
10 or more tea bags
1 filled bathtub

Directions:
Fill your bathtub with water and add the tea.  You should "steep" in your tea bath for a good twenty minutes to relieve the itching.  Chamomile tea contains anti-inflamatory properties that help with the itching.


I hope you don't get poison ivy, but if you do, maybe this post can help you out!
-Katie


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Weigh in Wednesday

Even though I hate most reality shows, this summer I've found myself hooked on Extreme Weight Loss with Chris Powell.  If you haven't seen the show, Powell works with these morbidly obese clients for one year, pushing them to live a healthy lifestyle.  Most of the people go from like three or four hundred pounds, down to a healthy, normal weight.  It's crazy what these people accomplish in one year.  They are totally inspirational.

Even though I'm not morbidly obese, I'm not oblivious to the fact that I could lose some weight and live a healthier life.  The problem is that I love food, and I don't exercise as much as I should.  I love baked goods, chocolate and ice cream.  I hate running, crunches, and bike rides.  I do like to downhill ski and hike, but both of those activities become a little more difficult when you have to carry a baby on your back.

The first time I watched Extreme Weight Loss I was eating a large and delicious bowl of ice cream.  With each bite I took, the person on t.v. took steps to improve their life.  I felt pretty crappy when I finished the ice cream, and at the end of the episode, Powell's client weighed less than I do.  That's what hooked me.  Week after week I've been watching this show and feeling inspired by these people.  So, I've decided to make some changes.  This week I began walking with Allie Cakes in the morning, this hasn't been great because traffic on my road is really fast, and I've started to make some changes in my diet.

Today I made a healthy banana bread, and I think it's a good example of some of the changes I've started to make.  I found the recipe on Pinterest, but I made a few changes to suit my tastes.  Instead of using oil and sugar, I used honey and applesauce.  I also added cinnamon and nutmeg for additional flavor, and flaxseed for fiber and omega 3's.

My ingredients before I mixed them all together

I use Raw Whole Flaxseed

Here is the finished product!  Yummy!

Banana Bread
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup flaxseed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar free applesauce
3/4 cups honey (or agave nectar)
2 eggs, beaten
3 mashed bananas

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and spray bread pan (I used a stone, so I didn't spray).
2. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients
3. In a smaller bowl mix together the applesauce, honey, eggs, and bananas. Blend well before adding it to the flour mixture.
4. Pour your batter into the prepared bread pan, and bake for 60-65 minutes

Here is the link to the original recipe I found on Pinterest.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Toddlers and Toilet Seats

8/20/13
Last month Cakers and I were alone at my in-laws when I gave her my cell phone to play with so that I could run up to the kitchen to make her a sandwich.  I figured I would have a good three minutes to slap some peanut butter on some bread while she was distracted by my illusive cell.  After hurrying together a pb&j I looked down into the t.v. room and noticed she had gone missing.  I ran down the stairs calling her name.  That's when I heard her splashing around in Sittoo and Pepere's new toilet.  She looked at me with a big grin.  Even though she can't talk, her eyes were saying, "isn't this great Mom?" and she continued to splash.  

Mortified, I grabbed her and held her at arms length.  That's when I saw it: my two-month old smart phone lying at the bottom of the toilet.  With a scream I put Cakers on one hip and dunked my hand in to retrieve my cell.  After washing her up and disinfecting my phone, I threw it in a bag of rice.  The phone was a lost cause, and I discovered it's way more difficult to watch your child in someone else's home.  Since then, I've learned to keep all electronic devices away from my daughter, but it wasn't until this morning that I learned yet another valuable lesson.

Getting ready in the morning with a 15 month old under foot is no easy task.  This morning was no different.  I have curly, knotted hair, and as I was brushing out the knots, Little Miss Cakers opened the bottom drawer, beneath our sink, and threw an open bag of feminine products into the toilet.  It's fairly easy to grab one solid mass from the depths of a toilet, but try grabbing seven absorbent sanitary napkins in one swoop!  If I could've, I would have flushed them, I mean no one wants to plunge their hand in again and again, but I'm in no position to be purchasing a new porcelan god. 

So, after years of nagging my husband to keep the seat down, the time has come where I have to practice what I preach.  Lid down folks!  Lid down!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Welcome Home

Dear Readers,
My name is Katie and I've been wanting to start a blog for over a year now.  I decided the time was right when I lost my job as a teacher because of school budget cuts.  Being laid off sucks, and it hasn't been the easiest of summers for me or my family, but I figure now is the time to try things I've been putting off for years.

I've always loved reading and writing, so I figure I'll fit right into the blogging world.  I'm pretty sure my posts will vary quite a bit in subject (I have a lot of interests).  My hope is that I will make connections with other moms, crafters, writers, readers, cooks, designers, homemakers, and more!  One common thing I've noticed from other bloggers is that if you stick with it, you can really build great relationships with people and share awesome ideas and stories.  That is exactly what I'm looking for.  Like any job worth doing, I know that it won't be easy, but here I go anyway!

Katie Lou