Thursday, July 31, 2014


My mom requested a birthday card with a cow on it. It was for the brother of the boy for whom she was the paraprofessional this past year. He apparently has a thing for cows, so it's reasons like this that make it extra fun to have a Cricut because it might be a little bit more difficult to find a cow birthday card.

The cow was cut from "Create a Critter" at 2.5 inches. The party hat was from the same cartridge but a different page and was cut at 3 in. I know it seems strange because you'd think the hat would be larger than the cow, but it's all relative to the main image on the page. The sentiment was from the "Stamping" cartridge, and I used the shadow feature for the yellow just to help it pop off the card a bit.

Though the card isn't fancy because I chose not to use layers or use any other tools, I think it'll work for a boy who's going to 1st grade. By the way, I apologize for the quality of the photos! I took them really quickly on my iPhone the day I was going to give it to my mom, so I didn't have the chance to ask Howard to take a picture of it for me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mail Time!

Yay for freebies in the mail! The latest PinchMe box came today with all the items I chose. Getting the shampoo samples in the package isn't too big of a deal, but I like that they put all 3 Garnier samples in each box. I like that I can try the exfoliator without having to purchase it. I'm loving the St. Ives scrubs lately (the pink grapefruit one and the green tea one!), and know I won't buy the Neutrogena pink grapefruit anymore because it's so drying. If I had the opportunity to try St. Ives sooner, I might not have bought the Neutrogena  scrubs all those times.

The Tom's deodorant is a nice full-size, and it'll be nice to try that too. I used to use Secret when I was younger before I tried Dove and loved it so much more. This will also give me the opportunity to test out a new brand especially one that seems to be better for you with nothing artificial in it according to the packaging. 

Of course, the thing I'm most excited about is the Sinful Colors nail polish! I've mentioned before that the formula is usually a little thinner than what I like, but I'm not one to pass up free polish especially in colors I don't already have. Strangely, I really should only have 3 from PinchMe. The third one was in my box even though I only had the option to pick the Skinny Girl bar, which was amazingly tasty by the way. I have no problems with the random bottle in the box!

So far I've only used Ablaze, but I will use the others also when I'm in the mood. I don't think I've ever worn an orange color before. The most recent one I chose was Tantalize because I don't have any silvery gray. We'll see how it looks on my skin tone.

It's so much fun getting stuff in the mail! Speaking of getting stuff in the mail, I really have to get better with mailing cards out to people just to say hello or that I'm missing them. Hopefully, I can make a bunch of cards that are fairly simple so that I can have them throughout the year. Okay, gonna get on that instead of continuing this nail polish chatter!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Comforting Congee

There's something so comforting in a bowl of congee even if it is the middle of summer! On Sunday, Howard and I ate lunch with his family after church because his Aunt Grace is in town. I enjoyed some sliced fish congee, which I rarely get nowadays because it tastes better when it's eaten right away as opposed to when we bring it home.

Despite the extensive menus in all the restaurants, hubs and I are rather satisfied having the same things over and over again. Guess we just like what we like!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mickey Says HBD!

It's a given that a huge Disney fan like me would have all the licensed Disney Cricut cartridges. The only bad thing about them is that the characters are so detailed with such small cuts that they're sometimes difficult to assemble. Thankfully, the Mickey and Friends cartridge isn't too bad! The only reason why I hadn't really used it before for the characters is because I knew I would need a skin color cardstock for Mickey's face. 

Well, that problem was solved with my Copic markers! I just had the face cut out in white, and then I used the E00 Skin White Copic marker to color it in. I didn't make the picture below too large because I know it might be a little frightening, haha.

This was actually the birthday card I made for our friends' son. His 2nd birthday party was this Saturday, and I helped with the decorations. I knew I had to use an actual cut of Mickey on the card itself! Knowing that it might be a little difficult dealing with the separate pieces, my base was actually a 6 x 7 inch card. It's easy being able to make different-sized cards nowadays (well, at least for myself when I need it) because I can just make the envelope myself. The image was cut from "Mickey and Friends" at 6 inches, and the sentiment was cut from "Lyrical Letters" at 2 inches. A simple blue mat was the only thing I felt was needed to tie this card together since the focal point was obviously Mickey himself!

I didn't write down the cartridges or sizes for the cuts I used on the envelope because I kind of did it last minute, but I really enjoy being able to dress up envelopes when it's not being mailed to the recipient! I welded all the letters together so it'd cut in one piece, thus making it easier to adhere to the front of the envelope.

After I finished this card, I was definitely in the mood to make some more character cuts from the cartridge! I haven't yet had a chance to do so, but now I know it'll be manageable. I have so many Disney friends who would appreciate them too!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Haul: Couponing at Target for Random Items

I went out to do some errands on Friday because we were in need of groceries, and I wanted to snag some good deals. That included Target because I definitely needed some milk and some hamburger buns. My mom has pointed out to me that getting lactose-free milk at Costco would be cheaper than just picking up the Market Pantry half gallon, but since I use gift cards from Swagbucks, free is always going to beat cheap.

Just missing a half gallon of milk!

Everything in the picture above including the milk that was already open and in the fridge cost just $13.54 including tax. I didn't have to pay a cent out of pocket so I was happy about that as always. Who wouldn't be? I'm particularly excited because the Playtex tampons were $6.99 a box, so already that alone would be $13.98 and I paid less than that for more items. Here are the breakdowns of the items:

  • Playtex Sports tampons were $6.99 a box. There were $3 manufacturer's coupons on Red Plum online, so I had those printed out and ready to go. I had looked on the Target website to see how much they cost just in case I needed to price match at customer service, but that wasn't a problem at all.
  • I knew I wanted to use the $5 off $15 personal care Target coupon, so I needed just a little over $1. I chose the Oral B Pro-Health Stage toothbrush (4-24 months) with a baby Winnie the Pooh on it for $2.54 because I had printed out a $0.50 coupon for it. It'll be included in the bucket of things I've purchased for my sister-in-law's baby. 
  • The Up & Up Sport Sunscreen has been a clearance find on Instagram. People were getting it for super cheap when there was the buy 3 get 1 free promo. I had looked for it earlier in the week but couldn't find any. I just randomly spotted this on an endcap by itself. I scanned it for the price, but nothing came up. At the register, I asked the cashier how much it was, and nothing came up there either. I told her that I had seen others get it on clearance, so she just punched in $2 for me. I had a $1 Target coupon and the 5% Cartwheel, so it was $0.95 for all 3. I think that was a pretty good deal even though it's not a high SPF. I don't know if my dad needs it, but if not, it'll get used by us for Disney trips (I don't usually wear any at all except for on my face) and field day at school, haha. It doesn't expire until 2017, so we have time.
  • The Up & Up crayons were $0.39 each, but I had printed out a $1.50 off 3 school supplies coupon when it was still available. Once it got out on Instagram that you could get free things with it, everyone printed it until it was gone. I had only printed out two. I kept procrastinating and didn't do it on Howard's computer or the laptop! Stupid me for waiting because I was able to get 6 boxes of crayons completely free! There was no overage, but I didn't mind at all. These will be used for Operation Christmas Child. I know there's a new mobile coupon for $1 off of 2 school items, so I will hopefully get 2 more boxes (or 4 if I get Howard's mobile coupon too).
  • The hamburger buns were $1.13 with the 5% off Cartwheel deducted. Even though the milk isn't pictured, it was $3.17 after the 5% off Cartwheel.
  • Lastly, I picked up two containers of Wet Ones. They were originally $2.74, but they were on price cut for $1.99. I had Target coupons for $0.50 off along with a manufacturer's coupon of $1 off of 2, so each one ended up being $0.99. These things are perfect for road trips since sometimes you need to actually clean your hands instead of just use hand sanitizer. I purposely picked the sensitive skin one because it said it was safe for babies. I will put one of them in the bucket for my sister-in-law so they can keep it in their car or something too.
Pretty good deals, wouldn't you say? Target hauls are never spectacular or super interesting, but I do like writing them up every once in a while because I have a record of the prices. I'm so glad we have a Target closer to home. Plus, it's right in the same shopping center as Five Below, but I'm getting ahead of myself!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Burrito Bowl

Howard and I went to a birthday party today for our church friends' son. We had to do a few errands on the way home, so we picked up Chipotle for an easy dinner since we were in NJ.

Yum, burrito bowls are quite tasty! It wasn't until after I finished it that I realized there was no cheese! Oh well. It was still so good that I didn't even notice! Yum.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Puzzle Craving

Yesterday I had a craving for a specific food item, but today I have a sudden craving to do a puzzle! I was browsing the endcaps at Target to search for clearance toys. I've gotten in the habit of checking clearance areas so that I can pick things up to use for gifts without having to spend an arm and a leg. I spotted these puzzles that weren't on clearance or anything, but I was definitely intrigued by these Disney lenticular puzzles.

Don't mind the fuzziness of the villains one as I took a picture of the back of the box that showed the lenticular image.

I used to do puzzles with my mom when I was growing up, and we used to do them even when Matt was a kid too. We'd always do the edges of the image first and then work inwards. My 3 favorites are actually 500 piece puzzles from the dollar store. Howard and I did a few of them too when we were dating. We have a Disney one now from Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney that I think I might just have to take out to do because it seems like it'll be so therapeutic. Anyone else enjoy puzzles like I do?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Potbelly in my Belly

I haven't had much of an appetite since Sunday night for some reason. Even though my stomach feels empty and I force myself to eat, I haven't been looking forward to it, which is odd since typically it's so exciting to me, haha. Well, today in the early afternoon, I started feeling a craving for a specific item. I asked Howard if he could bring it home for me, and being the wonderful husband that he is, he went to after work to pick up food from Potbelly Sandwich Shop!

A few months ago, he had brought back the Mediterranean sandwich for me, which is listed on the website as follows: Zippy Hummus, Feta, Artichoke Hearts, Crispy Cukes and Roasted Red Peppers. I really wanted that one particular sandwich today. Here it is with lettuce, tomato, and onion as well. It has a nice kick to it without being really spicy.

As I browsed the menu, I also saw that they had potato salad. I have had a strange hankering for deli-style potato salad as well even though my mom's mayo-based potato salad and my Aunt Kathryn's German potato salad are much better. But this was something I just really wanted, and it was definitely much better than the kind you get at a local deli. The sandwich was quite filling, so I took a bite of it and then put it in the fridge to eat about two hours later.

Thanks, hubs, for the yummy food! I posted on my Facebook status that even though I had a craving, it was just a regular ol' craving. It's the same kind regular ol' people get on a regular ol' day! So no, I'm not pregnant. I just really wanted a good veggie sandwich!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Girls Just Wanna Have [Crafting] Fun

I decided to spend the day relaxing and not doing any housework. Well, in reality, my stomach kind of decided that for me as I spent the day drained of energy. But it gave me an excuse to just craft for fun! I absolutely love that I've been getting orders done and have a list of crafting items that still need to get done, but I admit that sometimes it gets a little daunting. I lose the excitement to use my Cricut and all my tools and play with my paper when I feel overwhelmed with what I must do as opposed to just doing what I want to do. So I decided to just look through handbooks and cut out whatever images I wanted. That included some Disney characters like this one below.

I already posted this zoomed up shot on Instagram/Facebook, but can you tell who this character is? It's pretty obvious considering the colors alone. The Disney cartridges are hard to work when they're not cut out in a larger size, so I've had a few struggles here and there with tiny pieces, particularly the eyes! At one point, I even threw away the itty-bitty circles not realizing that they were the centers of the eyes! I don't know when I'll put all these cuts on cards, but for now, I'm just enjoying the crafting fun.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Massive Brussels Sprouts

On Sunday, Howard and I stopped by one of the grocery stores in Chinatown to grab some fruits and veggies for the week. Though I'm sure my dad might say some street vendors are cheaper for some items, I liked the convenience of having everything there. Not everything was a better price though, but it was nice knowing the general supermarket sale prices to compare.

The one thing that caught our attention was the brussels sprouts! They were $2.50 a pound, which is what I pay on sale at Stop & Shop. However, it was better that these weren't packaged because we were able to choose the sprouts ourselves. 

I mean, look at how massive they were! I couldn't believe just how large they were when I was washing them and getting ready to cut them last night.

Howard mentioned that he thought they tasted better than the supermarket, but I couldn't tell since I know I roasted them a little longer than I did last time, which could have been the difference. Either way I'm quite excited knowing that we have easier access to one of our favorite vegetables!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Accumulating or Using Nail Polish? (Part III)

In the past, I used to think that it didn't matter what season it was when choosing a nail polish. I still don't think it's that important, but I really do enjoy the fact that bright colors really work for warmer weather especially since I wear flip-flops in the summer. This is the color that I had on my fingers and toes during our church summer retreat.

It's the Revlon Colorstay in "Coastal Surf (170)." It was pretty easy to apply. I do think I've used it before in the past when I first got it at CVS. It does have a flat brush, so it doesn't take as long to cover the nail. Plus, the polish is a good consistency so I don't have to worry about it running the way I do when I use my free Sinful Colors polishes. I took the photo with the bottle after retreat, so if you actually look at it closely, I have cracks and tip wear, but it's nice that even though it cracked quite a lot, it wasn't flaking off.

When I change my nail color, I like to use one that's completely different. Typically, I'd go to a pink or something like that, but I was feeling purple. I also really wanted to use a Sally Hansen one since for me, they apply so easily. This is Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in "Deep Purple (170)." Haha, I just realized both of these polishes are 170! 

Though the bottle looks full, it's actually about a quarter empty. This is one of the first nail polishes I bought when I initially went to CVS in search of colors! I purchased a bunch of Sally Hansen ones with an ExtraBucks deal even before I started couponing, so I actually used this one quite a few times. Though it's not seen in the photo, there's actually really fine blue shimmer in it. The first coat was a little patchy on some nails, but the second coat evened it out. I think mine got a little thicker because I didn't put the cap on as tightly, but I was still able to work with it.

Personally, I don't need to have a perfect manicure. As long as the color stays on for almost a week without noticeable chipping, I'm fine. Nail polish is the only way that I "accessorize" since I don't wear jewelry, and it does make me feel happy when I see the colors!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lego Sushi

Let's be like Howard today and look at some Lego since we have a brand new Lego store at our local mall!

Lego sushi.

Now I hope I can sleep. Dumb insomina. Good night.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Secret Crafting

This is a zoomed up portion of something I've been working on lately. I can't post the exact project just yet since I don't want anyone to see it until the person I'm making it for uses it, but I have to say that I'm really excited with how some of the things turned out! It's very different than just plain ol' cards, so I've been able to use some cuts and shapes from my Cricut cartridges that I haven't used before.

I do wish that my Cricut didn't make so much noise when cutting because these past few days, I've dealt with pretty bad insomnia during the night. I'd stay up and craft if I didn't have to worry about the sounds waking up Howard or our neighbors!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Favorites

Wow, it's already Friday, so how about an edition of Friday Favorites?

Favorite #1: Yankee Candle Votive Samplers

It's easy to see that I'm a huge fan of Bath & Body Works based on how many times I've posted about candles on this blog. I mean, I even wrote about my 6 new candles yesterday! When I was first starting out, i didn't know whether I should go for BBW only or branch out into Yankee Candle as well. Basically, BBW candles are actually cheaper with the sales. However, Yankee supposedly burns longer, so the price is supposed to be better in that regard. Unfortunately, the scents aren't as nice as BBW candles, in my opinion. Yankee candles are sharper and don't seem as smooth, so I never felt the need to buy their jars or tumblers. Their votives, on the other hand, are definitely enjoyable!

I wanted to have more options of scents. Plus, using a 3-wick candle means you need to make sure you have enough time to let the wax completely pool to the edge of the glass. Sometimes I just want to light a candle at night before bed, but I don't know that I will have an hour to let the wax pool correctly. These votive samplers are the best for that. I ordered a bunch of these when they had their $1 sale because I was able to get free shipping, and I still had money in a Paypal account from a large card order. I also purchased two of the votive holders. I burned part of two of them and really liked that I could get a quick scent. 

The ones in the picture above are a few I picked up at Yankee Candle's semi-annual sale a little over a month ago. They had a selection of votives for just $0.50. I would suggest buying them then, but there aren't as many choices as you'd probably like. Even when I was choosing $1 ones online during the sale, they would run out because I have a tendency to add things to my cart and just wait (sometimes I just like picking things out, and I end up not buying at all!).

I'm super excited to have these especially when it's a bit cooler in September. I'd still recommend BBW candles over Yankee, but I'm at that stage right now where ANY candles intrigue me! 

Favorite #2: Tums Ultra Strength 1000 in Peppermint

Oh, the "joys" of having acid reflux, Barrett's Esophagus, and no gallbladder! I'm pretty good at knowing how to avoid major heartburn because I try to avoid things that are really acidic. I also know that it's better not to have acidic things late at night. In fact, yesterday Howard and I shared two peaches after he got home from work before I even started making dinner, and I felt fine! It was much more enjoyable knowing that I wouldn't be uncomfortable later.

Even though I try to avoid things that are extremely acidic or fried or spicy, there are times I just really love a big bowl of pasta covered in tomato sauce! I also like things with a slight kick in them. Plus, anything that has noticeable fat or oil or butter in it can make me sick. Instead of waiting for any symptoms to hit me, I've learned to pop a Tums in my mouth after I finish dinner so it can start neutralizing acids right away. Silly me has been taking the Tums 750 before I realized that there was a difference in strength! I think I bought this more so because it was peppermint, which I know helps with nausea. When I took that first tablet and had it work so quickly, I was so impressed! It's peppermint Tums 1000 from now on!

Favorite #3: Pop-Tarts

Remember when Pillsbury Toaster Strudel first came out, and their commercials were always about how they were so much better than other breakfast pastries (ahem, Pop-Tarts)? I was definitely a huge fan of Toaster Strudels because they were warm, and I liked being able to control how much frosting I'd put on top because I didn't like things to be too sweet. In the more recent months, Howard and I have been enjoying Pop-Tarts!

Considering our extremely small refrigerator, I have to say that it's quite awesome not having to keep Toaster Strudels in the freezer since we just keep the Pop-Tarts on our counter. It's also really awesome that I can pay next to nothing for Pop-Tarts since I'm part of Kellogg's Family Rewards, which means I input codes from Kellogg's products and trade them in for products or coupons! I was able to get $0.75 coupons that double at my grocery stores, so I can get each box for about $0.16 when it's on sale 3 for $5. Um, yes please! Just pop them in the toaster for a quick warming, and then it's done! It's not pictured here, but the chocolate chip one is really yummy. I like that there are so many varieties these days compared to when I was a kid.

And as always, Friday nights are the best because my husband doesn't have to go to work the next day! Here's hoping I can sleep tonight because I barely got any sleep last night.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Haul: Bath & Body Works (FREE candles!)

Despite the fact that I've only completely finished 2 of the 3-wick candles I have purchased, I just bought more. And I'm not making any apologies for it! I know I have mentioned it before, but I really started burning candles more often to cover the smells from the hallway that would travel into our apartment. Once I picked up a few around Black Friday 2013, I've been loving my stops at Bath & Body Works even if I don't actually purchase anything. Sometimes it's just as much fun going in to sniff the new scents that I know I won't like (ex. bakery/dessert scents, floral scents, and pumpkin scents), but the curiosity gets the better of me because I see everyone else loving them. 

At this point, I can pretty much predict which ones I will enjoy since I'm fairly predictable! Citrus scents or musky scents (like "mandles" because they smell like men's cologne) are the ones I typically enjoy. Because I saw that the fall test candles were mainly pumpkin scents and other items that don't look like they're for me, I knew I should grab a last few summer candles and be set for the year. I still have plenty of winter candles from last year (mmm, Sparkling Icicles, Black Tuxedo, and Mahogany Teakwood!), so these would be the last set for a while. I did recently buy 2 Pomelo Grapefruit as backups just in case they don't bring it back next year since it might be my favorite summer candle, but other than that, I haven't bought any in a really long time. 

Now before I get into the actual scents I chose, I'd like to point out that I did not pay ONE CENT for any of these candles! Because of Swagbucks, as usual, I got all 6 candles absolutely FREE! I knew I would want to get some of the Summer Sips candles, so I exchanged 5000 SB for a $50 e-gift card. I used the code on that to purchase an actual gift card online, which I received in the mail to spend in the store!

Howard was with me that day, so these are the ones that we chose together.  

These four are from the Summer Sips line: 

Nectarine Green Tea (Japanese green tea and ripe nectarines): This was the one I was looking forward to getting when I saw the Summer Sips candles online and on Instagram during the testing phase. I adore London Calling (Tea & Lemon) because it's just so calming. I was hoping this tea scent would come through fairly strongly too, but at first sniff, I was actually a little disappointed. I didn't think it was too special because all I could smell at first was the nectarine. Later on, I took another whiff and got some of that green tea. I'm hoping it burns really well too, so I chose to get two of them instead of one of the Pink Apple Punch candles in the same line. That one smelled a lot like Jolly Ranchers to me, so it was just a bit too sweet. 

Sparkling Berry Fizz (sweet elderberry, tart black currants and bubbly spring water): So I don't know what elderberry or black currants are supposed to smell like, but this is a pleasantly sweet candle. I'm okay when candles have a sweet fruity scent, but I don't like sweet bakery scents. This is actually very close to the "almost too sweet" side of things for me. The first whiff smells a bit like candy, but then when I smell it a bit more, I get a deeper berry scent. I was okay just having one of these. I have to say that the wax colors in this line are really pretty!

Peach Cilantro Twist (summer peach, garden cilantro, and a hint of juicy mango): Howard really enjoyed this candle! He really zoned in on the peach aspect of it, but when I smelled it, it was almost all cilantro! If you don't cilantro, steer clear of this one. I feel as if there's no escaping it. I said that it reminded me of fish, haha. It's not that it smells like fish, but my mom used to grow cilantro and use it on whole fish because that along with ginger really takes away fishiness (it's the equivalent of other types of cuisine that use lemon or other acids to remove fishiness). I admit I actually chose this one because he liked it so much. If I were choosing them quickly, I might have chosen a Pink Apple Punch instead. I have a feeling it's going to burn very well though and work very well in our apartment since burning a candle in the apartment means burning it in the bedroom, the computer area, and the kitchen since we're in a studio.

These two are from the Coastal Cool collection, and are in frosted holders without lids: 

Sunset Beach (pineapple, papaya & sugarcane fragrance although the paper lid says "Fruit Pops, Sugarcane, & Sunrays"): First of all, I'm really hoping that this burns well because I did see after the fact that many people had bad experiences with it having no throw. We'll see what happens when I try it out myself. In terms of the cold sniff, it has a fruity scent, but it's very different than the other ones that I already have. It must be the papaya since it has a bit of tropicalness to it. If there are issues with the burn though, it'll have to go back. I do love the colors of these frosted holders though. Haha, that did sway us a bit in terms of narrowing it down. I do wish they had lids though for easier storage and also knowing that the wax is protected from losing all of its scent.

Beach Day (saltwater, lemon leaves and citrus musk): The thing that I think of when I sniff this candle is "summer musk." I do like the musky scents when it gets warmer because when I'm cold, the smell just fills the room and makes it much more inviting. This candle is a much lighter version of the muskier scents from the winter lines, but if you don't like that aspect of candles, this is another you'd have to avoid. I was actually thinking of getting the Coastal Sun one because it was orange and grapefruit, but Howard pointed out that I like it because it's citrus ... just like other candles I already have. He said that the Beach Day is much more unique, and he was absolutely right. I like having quite a large variety instead of having the same ol' same ol'. 

Yesterday I took the time to pull out the two candles I finished from the one Expedit square I have reserved for candles (one Sparkling Icicles and one Flannel), so I could fit the new ones in. Of course, I didn't have enough room, so I had to pull out the ones I had triples of and put them in the big BBW bag I have off to the side with extra lotions and body washes I bought at the last winter semi-annual sale. Do I have a ton of candles now? Yes, I absolutely do! But I know I'm really going to appreciate them even more when it gets cooler out, and I look forward to returning home each day in September and then throughout the winter!

Oh, can I just end by reiterating that I got these new candles for free? Okay, just had to get that out again.


I just wanted to add for my own records that the candles were on sale 2 for $22, and RetailMeNot had a coupon for a free 3-wick when spending $20. That meant that each candle was only $7.33 not including tax. We split this up into two transactions (Howard had to pull up the coupon on RetailMeNot on his phone), so that means I still have money left on my gift card too!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Random Thoughts of the Day

Here are just a few things that I was thinking of today that clearly do not warrant a full blog post!
  • I'm so glad that cereal companies are making protein-enriched cereals. The Cheerios Protein and Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy are excellent because a bowl of cereal never lasts very long. I get hungry so quickly after, but now I can last a little bit longer if I have to. Plus, I probably don't have enough protein in my diet anyway.
  • Having tea in the summer? Yeah, I never thought I would be that kind of person. I miss having tea with my mom after work; if we lived a little closer, I'm sure it would be nice to have a "cuppa" (Howard and I have called it that once in a while because of Sherlock!) after we get back from school. We're really only about 15 minutes away, but since I'm on the service road, the traffic gets really backed up. I remember she used to have tea even in the hotter weather, and I didn't understand why, but as I got older, I wanted it too! It's just so comforting and much easier on my stomach than anything cold.
  • I made a good choice today as I skipped the chocolate I wanted and had a peach yogurt (lactose-free, thanks Yoplait!) instead. In the midst of eating it, I actually thought, "Huh, I guess I didn't really want chocolate." I just wanted a snack and was in the mood for something on the sweeter side.
Huh, didn't anticipate that the thoughts I had today would be all about food and drink. That is all. Have a great night!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Clean Microwave

I finally took the time to clean the microwave today using the vinegar trick that I learned on Pinterest. For a moment, I contemplated taking a picture of the dirty microwave to post a before and after picture, but that quickly turned into a "people-will-judge-me-for-letting-it-get-so-dirty" thought so you'll just have to take my word for it! I poured 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of just boiled water into a Corelle bowl. I popped it in the microwave and set it for 10 minutes. I hung around in the area just to make sure it was okay since I had also seen some suggest floating a toothpick in the water so that the water would bubble instead of cause an explosion, but others said that as long as there was the turning table inside creating movement, it would be okay. Once the 10 minutes were up, I waited a bit longer for the steam to do its job. I probably could have waited a little bit longer than I did, but I really wanted to see if it worked or not. It was pretty cool that it made scrubbing it down so much easier! I'm sure using a rag or sponge would've meant less work for me, but I didn't want to dirty anything so I used cleaning paper towels (as in, the ones that I get for free from CVS and not the thick Bounty ones). It did require some time to wipe it all down, and since there was some gunk I had to clean, I also dipped the paper towel in the vinegar to help it more. The result is pretty spectacular! I wouldn't say it looks brand new, but it's really amazing how vinegar made it so much nicer!

After I was done cleaning, I had to burn a candle as the smell of vinegar was stuck in my nose, haha. Good thing I have plenty of those.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Field Day 2014

At the end of June, I went back to sub for one last day when the school was having their Field Day. I'm happy I got to be part of this annual tradition even though it meant being outside for a long time and getting a pretty bad sunburn. I never posted the few pictures that I took on my phone, so here they are! 

The mom of one of the students was able to bring 3 horses. If the parents had given permission, the kids were allowed to go on a brief horseback ride. I stood there for quite some time capturing pictures of the day. Thankfully, they didn't smell bad, so I was able to enjoy being around such majestic animals. 

I did get a breather indoors for a bit because I had to fill water balloons again this year! Haha, last year I had that job with a few students, but this year, I was able to get through a lot of them rather quickly because one of my former co-workers, Caroline, helped me out with it. She was really fast at tying them, so we got through a lot much faster. Plus, we didn't actually have to fill all the balloons in these packages since we were just doing a water balloon toss.

The elementary school director and superintendent wanted me to stop filling water balloons to make sure that I ate! They both knew that lunch is important to me and my health because not eating can make me sick. The middle school kids had a special rodeo event the day before, so there was leftover fried chicken, corn, and biscuits, so I was able to eat some of that instead of the food I brought.

Once I finished transporting all the balloons out and eating lunch, I went out and was able to enjoy an ice. The mom of one of the teachers at the school brings these refreshing treats; it's such a treat in the heat! The kids are given 3 tickets for treats, so they can get the ice, cotton candy, and popcorn. I just had to be super careful when eating this since I was actually wearing a white shirt, which I normally never do. I just knew that if we were going to be outside, I should wear a lighter color shirt since I wasn't going to wear a tank top to school!

For some time I helped one of my former colleagues, Caroline, deal with the cotton candy machine. I was just collecting tickets whereas she had the sticky, messy job of making the cotton candy! I helped peel the fluff off her hands and arms in between waves of the kids. This picture doesn't even capture how bad it got! It was going all the way up her arms!

The cotton candy in that rack was much larger, but it melted into those smaller balls on the cones when left out in the sun. That meant it pretty much had to be made to order since she couldn't make any ahead of time. The tickets were collected in the cigar box. At the end of the day, I actually had to wash one of the boxes where the tickets for ice because it was so sticky. 

Ahhh, the final results! These were the same buckets we used last year for the balloons. Some of the kids from the student council filled some of the balloons as well. We definitely had to keep guard over them because there were some who would want to go over and just grab whatever they wanted even when they were already out of the game!

It was definitely a hot day, but I did have fun helping out! It wasn't until I left that I realized just how burned I was though. Everyone was saying my face was red, but I knew that that always happened when out in the sun. I did put on some SPF on my face and arms and knees, but I completely forgot my neck region! I can't believe I completely about that area! I was already feeling miserable before I drove home.

That night, I actually felt extremely sick. I was gagging in the bathroom, and then I finally fell asleep on the floor after a long time of misery. My wonderful husband took care of me and got me whatever I needed. Then he woke me up so I could move to the bed. I thought that maybe I felt sick from eating dinner too quickly, but afterwards, I realized that I probably had sun poisoning. It's kind of crazy that that happened considering I've been outside in Disney World in heat as well, but I guess I'm a lot more mindful of sunblock on vacation. Plus, I have the option of taking a breather in the shade or in AC whenever I want. I must be more careful about this if I'm there at next year's Field Day!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

As the Deer Panteth for the Water ...

We got to see the deer again this morning! When Howard and I approached the spot where we wait for my parents to pick us up on the way to church, we saw that the two baby deer were in the same spot as yesterday. I was so excited! I was hoping they'd stay out so that my mom would get to see them too because she enjoys things like that too, and she was able to see them as well. It just seemed like a great start to our Sunday at church because one of the songs I used to play all the time when we still used the book of praise songs was "As the Deer." When my old church friend Brandon and I would play the piano for Junior Worship or fill in when the pianist wasn't there, we both had our go-to songs. One of his was "Change My Heart O God." One of mine was definitely "As the Deer," and I could play it for the longest time years later from memory. 

Maybe it is because we are "city folk," as my husband pointed out, but I just get fascinated by these things.

After church, my family stopped by the hospital to drop off some food for my grandma. We parked across the street where there were a ton of turkeys! I know there are plenty of wild turkeys on our borough as there used to be rather large ones that would invade my college campus. I'd be walking down the path behind one of the buildings, but then I'd have to turn around and walk the other way if there was a turkey. In the middle of class, we'd suddenly hear the gobbles interrupt our professors. This was the first time that I've seen baby turkeys, and there were a lot of them! There were at least 3 larger turkeys and 7 smaller ones; there was even one crossing the busy street.

Though I don't know that there are any songs to sing in church that have turkeys in them, I just felt that I had to include that picture as well. I might not look at the bigger turkeys and think that they look peaceful and graceful, but they're still God's creatures!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I Want One!

Howard posted this photo on Instagram yesterday morning as he was going to work. I couldn't believe that he saw baby deer so close to where we live since we're right on the service road. He spotted these two little ones on the other side of the highway right off the service road, and I was so amazed because they're so tiny! I was even happier today when I got to see them for myself! As we were returning home from a few quick errands, we waited at the traffic light near this area when Howard said that it looked like they were there again. I held my phone up to capture video, but I was determined to just look at them with my eyes and not through my phone's screen. So beautiful! I think that recently I've been even more appreciative of animals especially after having gone to our local zoo. I feel that learning more about animals and the amazing things they can do just points to a wondrous Creator. I look forward to the days when Howard and I can share these moments with our kids.

Friday, July 11, 2014


So it completely and totally slipped my mind until this morning that I didn't blog for Friday, July 11th! Oh well. It happens. I was busy making banner pieces on my Cricut for an upcoming birthday party and watching TV shows about airports on YouTube. Haha.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Biking in the Poconos

My grandparents used to have a house in the Poconos where all the family would go on mini-vacations. I remember getting really excited once we found out that we were going there. It was extra fun when we were there with our cousins because that meant walking just a short distance down the road to the lake where we could skip rocks in the water, pretend to push the huge unmovable boulders, jump from rock to rock outside of the house, compete with a small plastic foosball table, and ride our bikes. There was one bedroom that had bunk beds, and that was the only time my older brother and I were exposed to them, so it was such a treat! We'd also go downstairs to the basement that was pretty much empty except for a dart board. Thinking about all the things we did then makes me wonder if many kids in this current generation would be satisfied spending a weekend like that since we didn't have electronics and couldn't really watch anything on the TV that didn't even get good reception. 

My older brother and I enjoyed riding our bikes all the time back at home, but we could only ride on the sidewalk. At the Poconos house, we could ride on the road because there were very few cars that traveled that area. Even so, we'd stick to the side of the road and call out to each other, "Car!" and stop until it passed. There was one occasion where I was trying to turn my bike around after a car had passed, but instead of moving it in the right direction, I actually started rolling into this ditch of like, wheat or weeds! I just kept laughing and laughing even though I had no clue how I was going to get out of that situation since I continued going farther and farther down! I distinctly remember what it felt like when I was stuck in that spot, but what makes it even more hilarious now is the fact that we have it preserved forever because my dad was recording a video! Haha, why he didn't come over and help me is beyond me! 

A much more pleasant bike riding memory would be all the times I sat on the little kiddie seat on the back of the big bike. Above is a picture of my grandpa and me enjoying one of those rides. When we sat in that seat, that meant we were actually able to go our journeys farther away from the house since an adult was riding. I'm glad that I have so many memories at the house but especially with my grandpa!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Every time we go to our church retreat, one of the things I look forward to doing is just throwing my head back and staring up at the sky because the stars are just so easily seen in comparison to life in the city. With his tripod and his new fisheye lens, Howard was actually able to capture it with his camera! Isn't it just magnificent?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

How Do You Spell the Noise a Donkey Makes?

Taken at the SI Zoo
This donkey is here to tell you to let everyone know that I am not in the mood to write a blog post tonight. The past two nights since returning from the church retreat have ended with me konking out fairly early without drying my hair, making for a rather uncomfortable sleep. Tonight I am going to dry my hair instead. Good night! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Bookworm Card

I've said it before, but custom card orders give the chance to use cuts I haven't used before! This particular card was requested for a group of school administrators. It took quite a lot of time, and it's not really one that I would want to mass produce because of all the details. However, I do really love how it turned out. I got my inspiration from this pin on Pinterest but changed it a bit. 

The first task was to cut out the stack of books from the "Locker Talk" cartridge at 2.75 inches. It actually cuts as one color, but I cut it out in blue and then again in yellow. I snipped the 2nd and 4th book and glued it on the blue piece so that the colors of the covers wouldn't be all the same.  

This clearly took a bit more time, but the result was worth it. I have seen others use a pencil to make it look like there are pages on the white portion of the books, but I didn't want to mess with it.

The apple was cut at 1 inch from "Create a Critter" and the worm was cut at 1.75 inches from the same cartridge. I checked the sizes on Craft Room to make sure it would work with the books. I played around with the location of the worm and apple to see where I would end up placing them. I actually took this picture to send to Howard for help with placement. I actually ended up changing the placement entirely because I wanted it to be a little shorter.

I needed a way to add the "thank you" sentiment from Pink by Design's set "Scripted Year." I used the 3rd smallest Spellbinders Nestabilities die from the Big Scalloped Circles Large. I needed a circle to fit into it, so I cut them out at 1 5/16 inches using the Martha Stewart circle cutter.

And after all that work, this is the final result!

The card base was the standard A2 size at 5.5 x 4.25 inches, but I chose to make the layers thinner than normal. The larger black mat was actually cut at 5 3/8 x 4 1/8 inches, and the polka dotted patterned paper was 5.25 x 4 inches. Lastly, the white layer was 4 x 3 inches for the image itself.

The itty-bitty worm was popped up every so slightly to give it a bit of dimension. Out of all the cards I had done that week, this was by far my favorite.

The funny thing is that as much as I love books, I don't know why we positively associate worms with them or with apples! If I were reading a book, I'd be pretty upset if there were a worm in it or anywhere near me!