Tuesday, March 27, 2012

NEW {♥} Laundry Detergent Recipe!!

I have been making my own laundry detergent since my last post with my recipe - which was almost a year ago now.  However, the last time a made a batch I followed a new recipe posted at How Does She? - and it is FABULOUSNESS!!  It has a few more added ingredients {Oxi Clean, Baking Soda, and Purex Fabric Softener Crystals} that combine for a fresh smelling detergent with more cleaning power.

Of course, I realize some make their own detergent to avoid the harsh chemicals found in these additional products, but for my family, I've found this combination works great.  The recipe makes a huge batch, so I don't have to make it as often, and I love having the extra supply on hand. The only thing I did differently was use Fels Naptha instead of the Zote soap. Oh, and I like the smell of the blue Purex over the purple and only used one bottle - the smaller size as pictured below. It still has the smell, but I saved some money!! :)  So, I guess that's two things...or three...??

So head on over and check it out!!

Cheaper AND Better! DIY Laundry Detergent

And if you want to try it before you invest the time and money, just let me know! 
I'm happy to give you some! ;)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Break 2012

We had an action packed Spring Break last week! {Which is why this blog was lacking in new posts!} It was so nice to have Tim home all week. One day we drove out to the beach and spent a few hours and then drove home. It was a very relaxing and perfect day at the beach...just what the doctor ordered!!

Another day, we went the newly renovated Pullen Park in Raleigh. I was very impressed! We picked up a pizza and had a picnic lunch and then played and rode the train.  After, we stopped at Krispy Kreme for doughnuts and slushies. YUMM!!!

Another day was spent working in the yard - well, for Tim and the kiddos. :) Titus found a frog and surprised me by bringing it in the house to show me...pretty sure the neighbors heard me scream when I turned around to find the frog in my face!! I love that he is 200% BOY!!! And actually, his Daddy put him up to it...  

One day, we did absolutely nothing allll day! Wonderful!! 

And now, it's back to the daily {wonderful} grind!!
I have way more pictures than should ever be loaded to a single blog post, so if you are interested I've posted the link to my photos on Flickr. Enjoy!

Spring Break 2012 {My Flickr Set}


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Toddler Flip Flops - Adding a Back Strap

I bought these adorable little flip flop sandals this past fall on clearance at Target for $2.48 a pair - I got a pair for each of my girlies in the size I thought they would need this spring.  Only problem was that they couldn't keep them on their feet! I don't know why they still make toddler shoes without a back strap, but it's practically a necessity!

I really wanted them to be able to wear these and didn't want to have to spend money on a different pair.  It was so easy to add the elastic strap - I did all four shoes in 10 minutes.  I happened to have 1/8" elastic from making headbands for my Etsy shop, but I think a slightly larger size might actually work better.  Still, though, it worked like a charm, and they walked around in them all evening while we were out and about.  It was a super simple fix, and I like that the straps don't take away from the cute design of the shoes - you can barely even notice the straps when the girls are wearing the shoes.

A few tips in case you want to try it:
• Make sure all thread knots, cut side of the elastic, etc.. are on the inside. In my haste, the first side I did was not as neat. :)
• My elastic is SUPER stretchy - make sure the elastic has to stretch around their tiny feet. It does no good if it just falls off. Again, the first one I did was too big and I had to cut the elastic to about 3 inches.
• When you are sewing the loop around the shoe strap, stretch it quite a bit so it will "snap" back for a close tight fit around the shoe strap. :)  Hmm..that's sounds confusing - should've taken a pic!

♥ Baby Feet!!
Best part is when they no longer need the strap, I can just cut it right off! :)

She's on a mission - in her new shoes!

Monday, March 19, 2012

DIY Panera Bread Sandwiches ~ YUMMO!!

I ♥ Panera Bread!! With so much junk fast food out there, it's nice to be able to get a quick meal if needed without feeling "icky" afterward.  Though, if you are looking for a $ menu - probably not the best place to go!  
I've discovered {thanks to my ingenious mother}, however, that I can VERY CLOSELY replicate the yummy taste at home and it's soooo easy!! I just buy their bread - by the loaf! The Tomato-Basil bread is my absolute favorite.  So, I bought a loaf the other night as we were leaving there.  They will even slice it however thick/thin you want. The loaf is way HUGE - much bigger than a typical grocery store loaf and mine only cost $4.59.  I'm not sure if all the different varieties are priced the same as I only buy Tomato-Basil. ;)

Two slices make a huge sandwich, and I can only usually eat half.  I do have to warn that since it is baked fresh, it will not last as long as a loaf with preservatives.  If you won't be eating it all within a few days, it may be best to freeze part of it.

So, just pile on your favorite meats and cheeses and veggies and enjoy!!
OR if you are up to trying some great Panera recipes, go HERE!
My YUMMY sandwich... all natural deli turkey, turkey bacon, cheddar cheese, spinach and spring mix lettuce, a roma tomato, and spicy ranch dressing - delicious!!! ♥ And, as a side note, I ate the WHOLE THING! 

The crust top has a yummy sweetness!!! ♥

It's huge!! Like double the size of a "normal" loaf of bread! :)

...and a pic to show how it's packaged.  Doesn't it look so freshly homemade?? YUM! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Caramel "ICY COFFEE" ♥

I am LOVING this warm weather!!! It is supposed to be in the 80's for the remainder of the week!! We've played and eaten lunch outside every day this week.  

And all this warm weather puts me in the mood for ICED COFFEE!! I usually just brew my Keurig coffee over ice, add my favorite flavorings and sweeteners and call it "yummy", but my brother/sister-in-law got us a handy personal blender for Christmas and it is AWESOME!

  So today I blended my ingredients for a refreshing treat. I used about 1.5 cups of crushed ice, a little over a cup of strong coffee {chilled in the freezer and slightly "icy"}, about 1/2 cup of milk, a squirt of agave nectar, and 2 squirts of caramel syrup. {only because I'm out of chocolate!} And it is SO DELICIOUS!!

I drizzled a little caramel on top to make it pretty and was wishing I had whipped cream!! There's a reason I don't keep it in the house!

And I'm not positive, but actually quite certain it is much more "diet" friendly than the local coffee shop versions. :)  I may try to get my coffee a little stronger next time - a friend did some sort of cold straining method with a whole bag of coffee overnight. I'm just not sure how good coffee can taste if it sits in the fridge for a couple days, but I may eventually try it. I'm not so sure about experimenting on a whole bag of Starbucks coffee, though! And can you tell I don't do so well with "official" recipes?? A little of this and a little of that... :)  I'm sure I'll make enough of these in the future to come up with some exact measurements for you, but it's a taste preference kind of thing, anyway, so experiment and see what you come up with! And please let me know if you have a favorite ingredient or method you use - I'd love to try it! 

So, to feed my addiction, I just made another blended iced coffee and tried a different method.  I filled the cup with crushed ice, added my strong coffee {Pike Place K-cup brewed on the 6 oz setting}, added {my favorite} Italian Sweet Creme creamer and a tiny bit of agave nectar, and then blended it.  LOVE IT!!! It has a stronger coffee taste and isn't quite as thick, which is the way I like it. Basically, I just made my coffee the way I like it and blended it with ice. And, surprisingly, using the hot coffee didn't even water it down.  How easy is that?? This could be dangerous to my health...

Can you tell the color difference? This one has a stronger coffee flavor. YUM!!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

What Do You Think??

New look, new colors, new direction, and hopefully more NEW posts! I will be making some more little changes here and there, but I think I've finally settled on a direction for this blog. My hope is to inspire and encourage other Christian women like myself as I travel through life with my family and faith in The Fast Lane!! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Eating On the Go with Toddlers ♥

So I bought these handy little caddies at Target several weeks and have been dying to try them out! The minute I saw them in the dollar section {♥}, I knew they would be perfect for when I have to feed the kids in the car. 
We haven't been eating out very much lately, so I didn't get to try them until last night.  But I LOVED IT!!!!! Everything fit so nicely, and I could pass them their whole meal at once and then enjoy eating mine instead of breaking my arm by having to hand back a few nuggets or fries at a time to three hungry kiddos. I was a little worried that they would think it was a game and then just dump all the contents on the floor, but they all loved it as well.  And it was perfect for holding Titus's ketchup! Who needs Happy Meals??!!

Of course, I didn't think to take a picture until Titus was almost finished...obviously the fries were the first to go! ...so just imagine Wendy's french fries in the upper left compartment -they were really cute! :)
Definitely horrible picture quality, but my kiddos are still adorable and I needed an "action" shot! :)

Yup, used them for lunch today just so I could take some "pretty" pictures! :)

I actually keep these in the car, cuz you never know... :)

I'd probably do a larger size for bigger kids {you could even fit a drink}, but these are perfect for little laps!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

♪♫ Music Monday - I Can Pray ♪♫

I LOVE this song!!! And this is an area in which I've been challenged more than ever this year. I find it so much easier to read my Bible daily than to commit to a prayer time. Honestly, if I can share my heart a little, one of my desires for this year is to really know God through prayer and not just Bible reading. He speaks to me in so many ways through His Word, but I really believe the relationship with Christ is developed and nurtured through prayer. It is during my prayer time that I feel and know His presence and know that while He is God Almighty, He is also MY FRIEND - as the song states so beautifully! I hope this song encourages you as it does me! I listen to it over and over... :)

** The link will take you to the Word site...so just scroll down a little to the teeny, tiny play box. :) I couldn't find the audio on any other sites...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Be Healthy 2012

One of my long term goals for 2012 is to start eating healthy again!! Tim and I were doing so well before kids, but the past few years have come and gone in a whirlwind, and life has become about "doing it the easiest way!" Well, NO MORE! :) I need my youthful energy now more than ever! So, for several weeks now, I've been slowly making changes to our diet.  The biggest change for us so far has been eliminating processed sugar - which was hard for my coffee drinking habit.  I now use agave nectar, and still love my coffee! ♥

But I'll save the details of our journey for later posts...for now, I've got a free printable for you! The saying "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" is ALL over the internet, but I don't really like the overall impression of that statement that being skinny means you will feel good.  My motto has always been - be healthy...healthy DOES feel good!!  It's all about fueling our bodies with energy foods and knowing what we need to function at our best! I, personally, notice the scale climbing when I consume more sugar than I should - cokes, chocolate, etc.. I especially noticed this during my pregnancies when I craved ice-cold Coca-Cola (no Pepsi for this southern/Georgia girl!!!) and couldn't have it!! 

Anyhow, I wanted a cute reminder I could post on my fridge and thought I'd share with you!! Tried and true healthy recipes "for normal people" coming soon!!

Designed to print as 5x7

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