Monday, July 28, 2014

Catching up....

Last week, I took the kids to stay at my in-law's so Gracie could attend a day camp close by. For anyone in the area, I would definitely recommend this camp. It was Gracie's second year to attend and she brought a friend with her this time. Each day had a different theme and the kids really loved dressing up. But, total mom fail...I waited until the last minute to check what the themes were and one was "dress as your favorite animated character day". Below you will find my last minute Walmart attempt at a Minnie Mouse costume. 
My mom sucks at planning ahead. 
Unfortunately, camp ended a day early for Gracie and her friend. The camp nurse called and informed me that one of them had lice and would not be allowed to come back the following day, even with treatment. Picking nits out of a kid's hair for 1.5 hours was not how I imagined spending my last night in San Antonio! 

Thanks to the lice, we made it home early enough for Gracie to play in her softball game on Friday!

Dylan got to spend some quality time with my in-laws and one day I took him to this water park. He really has learned to swim quite well this summer so I thought he would enjoy it. The first ride I took him on was a big slide that you go down on a tube. 20 seconds into the ride, he fell out of his tube and was hysterically crying.
Aubarn Waterpark
This is pretty much what happened.
The lifeguard ended up helping him off of the ride at a place that wasn't even a stopping point. I was right behind him so I had to get off too. We pretty much spent the rest of the day in the baby/kiddie park with my sister and 2 year old nephew. So, it was a total good use of the $130 I spent on tickets and lunch....I may just need to wait another year or so before he is ready. 

We are now back home and rested after camp and Gracie's softball tournament this weekend. Dylan started football camp today too so I will have a sports update and pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

DIY 3 Minute Beaded Bracelet Tutorial

I have been really loving the look of stacked, beaded bracelets lately. I love mixing colors and textures. The problem is that I don't love spending a ton of money on things like that right now, especially since I am not working. So, I waited until Hobby Lobby had a 50% off sale on beads and stocked up. 
I love beads!
After a few attempts, I think I figured it out. I am, by no means, an expert but this is the method that worked for me. I welcome any suggestions or feedback!

1. Lay out the beads in order of how you would like your bracelet to look. 
I don't have one of those fancy boards to lay the beads out. My high-tech improvisation was to use the lid of a plastic box that holds my supplies. 
2. I use elastic thread on these bracelets because it allows for stretching and is much easier than using wire with clasps! I use a big paper clip to hold one end of the elastic. I then thread a sewing needle (don't be misled, I don't sew and have no clue what size needle I used...I just kept trying until I found one that the elastic would fit in the eye of the needle) with the other end of the elastic and tie one knot.

3. Thread the beads onto your elastic. I don't really love the color combinations of this bracelet but I am making it for a teacher friend in her school colors. I am pretty sure she won't like it either so I may need to go get more beads!
Again, don't you love my fancy tray?
4. Make sure your bracelet is long enough by holding it against your wrist, add more beads if you need to. Now all you do is simply tie the ends together and knot 3-4 times. Sometimes I use a dab of bead glue on the knot for extra security. I have no clue if it helps or not but I have not had a bracelet break yet and have only used the glue on about half of them. 

5. After the glue dries, snip the ends and you are done! This seriously takes like 3 minutes to make. I like stacking them so I will probably make my friend a few more to mix and match (and make this one not look so ugly!).
My collection of bracelets I have made this week. I have a bead problem.

Does anyone have any suggestions of where to buy beads? I like blingy ones and Hobby Lobby didn't have that great of a selection!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

An Introduction to my Garden

Over the last year, I have really been trying to grow more of our own vegetables. I only use organic methods to grow and while I promise to not get to get on my soap box about organic produce, I do think it is a better option for my family if possible.

I started with one garden box made from a free pallet that I found. Thanks to my handy husband, I now have a few more. I am really learning as I go but realized pretty quickly that I needed a fence to keep my dog out (he killed an entire crop of carrots, twice!). My plan was to get the fencing materials while my husband was at work so we could put it up after he got home. Once I got home, I realized it wasn't really that hard of a project (except for the 100 degree temperatures in South Texas) and I am quite proud of myself for actually doing this on my own. 

Notice that I cropped out the gate? It currently consists of a piece of wire holding the fence together, waiting on the husband to build me a real gate.
This spring, I had really great luck with peppers and cucumbers. I actually had so many cucumbers, that I was running out of ideas of what to do with them. We canned dill pickled cucumbers, bread & butter cucumbers, dill relish, spicy cucumbers, and any other variation we could get our hands on. I am really tired of freaking cucumbers and not sure if I will plant them again in the fall. 

I was picking this many every few days or so.

The Texas heat has pretty much done the garden in for July, although I do have basil and salad mix still growing. A few cucumbers are still hanging on but killed my tomato plants. I do plan on cleaning most of it out in the next few weeks to get ready for fall planting.
My wilted cucumber plants that smothered the tomatoes.
I started some pumpkins recently that I am hoping will grow along the newly installed fence. I made the mistake last year of planting them without a fence and they ended up eating half of my backyard. They seem to be doing okay so far, even with the heat. I am hoping we get some good carving pumpkins!

Finally, I have added a grow light to my list of tools. I am starting seedlings indoors this year. I don't have a place inside the house with good natural light so a light is essential. I ordered it on Amazon for really cheap (even cheaper because I had a $25 gift card) and so far, it works pretty well.

I promise I am only growing vegetables here. 
By no means am I an expert and honestly, have very little clue as to what I am doing. Google has become my gardening best friend and I feel very fortunate when things actually grow and produce!

Where to Begin?

I am not sure how to even begin but I will try. In 2006, I became a mom to Gracie and my mom passed away five months later. In 2008, my dad died when I was eight months pregnant with Dylan. Those few years were a big blur of unhappiness, just trying to barely keep my head above water. My husband and I both know we needed a change and made the decision to move back to our hometown in 2011. It was the best decision that we could have ever made. Although my parents were no longer with us, I felt a sense of peace and calm being back where we both grew up and had great memories. Both of our children now go to the same elementary school we did and even have some of the same teachers!

Not a bad place to live!

After six years in college and two degrees, I had been working full-time for about 12 years in the science field. Again, I was unhappy and knew I needed a change. I was missing out on so much with the kids and was not feeling fulfilled by my career choices at all. Word of advice, for those of you considering a science major in college....DON'T do it! It is kind of bullshit unless you are going to be a doctor. Try engineering or business instead. :)
We all can't be Bill Nye.
The change I needed was more time at home with my kids. I didn't want to quit working all together so in April 2014 I decided to suck it up and ask my boss if I could cut my work week down to 35 hours instead of 40+ hours a week. This would eliminate my children having to go to after school care and to be honest, I could have done all of my full-time work in 25 hours a week. My boss gave me the following reasons as to why this was a terrible idea (none of which included actually calling freaking HR to even ask):

1. Can't you just come in earlier in the morning so you could leave earlier to pick the kids up from school? Sure, I will gladly trade after school care for before school care.
2. Don't you have another friend that is a stay at home mom that could just watch your kids for you after school? Um, that TOTALLY defeats the purpose of me wanting to spend more time with my kids.
3. Kids lie and sometimes tell you things that they just want you to hear. Gracie probably doesn't really hate being a latchkey kid and actually has fun there. Shes just trying to make you feel guilty. Thank you very much, I truly respect you and this job even more now that you called my 8 year old a liar. 

Told my boss im still drunk from last night gif

So, that was the end of that conversation. She dropped it and wouldn't even consider it as an option. After much convincing from my sweet husband, I turned in my resignation a few weeks later much to her dismay and I am now a full-time stay at home mom. I have a lot to learn about being a SAHM and it is much harder work! I am not sure how moms do it with babies and small children because mine are older and very self-sufficient! So far, we have had an awesome summer and we couldn't be happier. 

I am not sure what the future will hold for us. I will need to go back to work at some point, even if if it just part-time. But for now, we are making some financial sacrifices to ensure that the children are my first-priority. Never again will I worry about my job or anyone else before I take into consideration what is best for my children. Plus, my husband has been working a shit-ton of unexpected overtime since I quit working so that helps. :)