Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Frugal & Fabulous Fourth of July Fun!

With Independence Day just a week away I wanted to share some crafts, treats, and activities to try.
(Super Easy) Red, White, & Blue Garland
You could use rubber cement to glue the sides together, but I like the look of it like this.
Healthy, patriotic treats
Target has a great selection of fireworks. Sparklers are my personal favorite.
Clever sparkler safety!

1. President Guess Who - As an educator, I'm all for incorporating educational games into holidays. I mean, why not learn some history while munching on some BBQ?
2. Firework Pom Poms - Easy, crafty, and cute!
3. Firework Art - Make sure you add enough water, and don't hold back with the colors either. Fireworks are always so colorful!

And of course, don't forget to document your fun!
Dave & Me last year
 Happy 4th!

P.S. What are some things you like to do on the Fourth of July?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Simple Summer Dinner

With packing in full swing, I've been eager to try some of the simple summer meals I've stock-piled in a Word Doc. Who wants to pack, clean, and slave over the stove? (Not me, that's for sure.) One of my favorite meals from this weekend was definitely these Black Bean Quesadillas. 
About 15 minutes to prep & cook
One bowl for mixing & one pan for cooking
(Heck, if you're really not feeling it, you can skip the pan cooking and make them in the microwave! - 30 seconds each side - if you're interested.)

Fun Fact: I don't really do recipes... instead, I do taste. That being said, make sure you add salsa to your liking and at least enough cheese to melt the tortillas together. Oh, and you may want to try some sour cream for dipping, but remember you'll be adding a bunch of extra calories to an already delicious meal. Just sayin'.

Then, when you're done with dinner, I suggest this beautiful fruit combo of pomegranate & apricot.
(It's even tastier if you let it sit overnight)

Well, there you have it - an easy, delightful, lovely looking meal!

Happy munching!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Date Night Improvisation

For our date night last week, Dave drew the "build a house of cards" stick. I was pretty excited about this because we both have creative minds, and I couldn't wait to see what type of card castle we would create together. I grabbed our pack of 5 decks of cards (for a great game called Hand & Foot some friends gave us) and cleared a flat surface so we could start. I figured our coffee table would do, but after several attempts, we realized it wasn't the best base for our masterpiece. So, Dave suggested we try building on the carpet, to help "hold" the cards. Welp, that didn't work so great either, so it was Us 0-Cards 2. Finally, we tried using my yoga mat, with the hopes that the rubber surface would really give the cards a good grip. 

Needless to say, we were riding on a failboat. So we ditched the idea.

Then, we tried building a "house of DVD's" ...cause we had a ton of them right in front of us (and I told you, we have creative minds)... This seemed to be working, but quickly fell, causing a domino effect. It was at that moment we turned to each other and both said "DOMINOES!" After Dave broke free of the "jinx!" I put on him (teehee), we called our friend, Dan, frantically searching for a set of dominoes. Whad'ya know, he had a set of nearly 100!

All that to say, if your plans fall through: accept it, get creative, and move on! We ended up having a blast, and made a couple of cute designs in the process. 
Then, we knocked them all down =D

-Happy Improvising! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I've been working on getting a family menu together so I don't have to decide on what to make each night (because as we know, I'm exremely indecisive...see my date night jar...) and I'm happy to say that tonight is the first night I cooked something off of the menu!
- Mac & Cheese w/ Broccoli -
Believe it or not, it's only a tad over 300 calories per serving, so if you love mac & cheese, this is a great meal for you to try since you'll be getting a serving of veggies, too. Also, it's super easy, inexpensive, and quick.

In addition to dinner, I made an easy, healthy, (yummy!), dessert. 
Instead of the cheesecake filled strawberries that have been all over pinterest, I cored my strawberries with a baster

and filled them with cool whip (a great low calorie treat to satisfy any sweet-tooth). After I filled them, I put them in the fridge for a few hours to chill - delish!

As I was taking this photo, I realized they could totally
double as Santa hats for a cute Christmas treat  (if you flip them upside down, of course)

Well, I'm now off to have a mini TV marathon with the hubs =)

Happy eating!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Photo Update

So, I haven't been taking a photo a day... but I have been taking a couple here and there, from the photo challenge I posted previously

Also, I had a yard sale today (to downsize for the move and help off-set the cost of a moving truck) and it was a great success! It's pretty incredible how God always provides for Dave and me at the most perfect times. It's as if He has it all planned out or something!

Anyway, enjoy this beautiful sunny day! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Cleaning, regardless of how bothersome,  is a necessary evil. Today I wanted to share a few tricks that can help make the challenge a little more tolerable. If you happen to be someone who loves cleaning, then please message me and we can chat, ;) - but, if you're like most people I know, it's just another tedious task. 

(Tip #1) One of my least favorite parts about cleaning is dusting. a) Because I am HIGHLY allergic to dust and b) because I have to move everything from it's place and then put it all back again... I've tried various "Swiffer" type dusters, but nothing seemed to trap the dust well and I usually ended up having a sneezing attack. Instead, I've ditched the expensive cleaning supplies and have been utilizing lonely socks.
Wear it like a sock puppet, and get cleaning!
What makes this trick really great is that it's free, it fits into places as small as your pinky finger, it holds dust better than anything I've ever tried or seen, and it's reusable - just throw it in the wash when you're done!


(Tip #2) Another not-so-favorite cleaning task of mine is washing dishes. Now, if you're lucky enough to have a dishwasher, be very appreciative. Unfortunately, not all of us have been blessed with such high-tech machinery. One thing I always struggled with was scrubbing away coffee or tea stains from my mugs since they are a very pale beige. However, I quickly discovered the beauty of lemon juice and how great it is at doing the scrubbing for me. If you find coffee rings or discoloration on your ceramics, simply fill it half way with warm/hot water, put 3-5 drops of 100% lemon juice in, and fill it the rest of the way with warm/hot water. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes (no harm it letting it sit longer though), and wash it normally. 


(Tip #3) Vacuuming, by far, was my least favorite thing to do, ever. I would have opted to pull out my own eye lashes before I'd want to get up and vacuum the house. It used to take forever, hurt my back, and usually just result in the dirt or crumbs being moved around and not so much being sucked up. I've always dreamed of having a Dyson vacuum though, because they work like magic, and are really nifty and actually fun to use. Problem was, they started around $400 and that was way out of our budget. That was until my husband introduced me to Woot! This website (also available as an app) offers a couple of items per day at a highly discounted rate. I patiently waited and lo and behold they were selling a Dyson at half price! Needless to say, I jumped at the deal and am now a happy "Stepford-esque" vacuumer!

Woot! often sells Dyson vacuums like this and some other models, 
so be on the look-out!

                                                             Happy Cleaning! -N

With the right tools, what used to be my least favorite thing to do, has easily become my favorite. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Snap Shots

Two things to know about me: I love photography and I have a great DSLR camera that is broken. It's been broken for so long that I've given up on paying a bazillion dollars to get it fixed and I have finally given into the instagram obsession. (I've actually been on instagram for awhile but I never really got into it.) Anyways, I decided to take advantage of the resources I do have, i.e. an awesome iPhone and this nifty little app, and do a monthly photo challenge. Since I am so indecisive, having a list that tells me what to do is extremely helpful and actually helps foster my creative genius. Here's the list I've been using and the photographs I have taken thus far.

If you'd like to view my photos some more click here: