Thursday, April 28, 2011

Motivation.

Sometimes you need some motivation or inspiration to accomplish something. Well, quite frankly I can't find mine anywhere around here lately... I've been super lazy about going to the gym. Which is extremely rare for me. The kids love being there and so do I. So what the heck is my problem? Excuse number one, we moved, Okay that was almost a month ago and the house was unpacked a week later. Try again. I'm 23 weeks pregnant. Well that's never stopped me before. Next. Okay I've been totally sick and so have the kids. This is the only one that holds some merit. But the kids are better and I now have antibiotics so I should be chipper in a few days. But still, after getting out of the routine it's hard to get back into it! So, If you're like me I need motivation! Here are my best ways to get my lazy booty motivated to go to the gym.

Buy a new workout tank. I LOVE this one from Lululemon. I think it will balance the belly nicely.

Lace up your Nikes!

Nike ID is the coolest thing ever! I have a pair of what I call watermelon nikes. {They are bright pink and neon green} I custom made them online. Love them!  They are bright and obnoxious, Like myself. They even have my nickname KHICKS on the back! I feel like a proud peacock struttin' her tail feathers when I wear them! Great running shoes.

Make a new playlist. I know common sense right? But I can't tell you the last time I made a new one.

If you don't have a gym bag, get one! Sigh, I've lusted after this one for a year or 2. It's been retired and I cant find it on ebay :(
Post a picture of your fitness inspiration. Mike doesn't like me to plaster pictures of fitness models all over, or anywhere for that matter, but I'm a visual person and need to see what all the hard work and sugar deprivation can produce. So I just keep an oxygen magazine in my gym bag. This is Amber Elizabeth, She's my fitness inspiration... Hello? Do you see those arms? I mean, her abs aren't too bad either. She is always in Oxygen magazine, and I  think she is beautiful... I will look like that again after this kid is born. With a few more stretch marks of course. And maybe a few more dimples on the back of my thighs...

Set a goal. Write it down! It doesn't necessarily have to be a weight loss goal.  Sign up for a race, trust me after dropping $30-$100 to run, you better believe I'm running. No getting out of it. Be accountable to a workout partner.


Sarah, that one's for you! {we're running the disney princess half ONLY because she likes the medal.}


Think about the benefits, not the difficulties.
UGH! So here I go... I will be at the gym this week!
This is a post I found on one of my favorite blogs, I can't wait to try this one!!!  Who needs Pottery Barm?!? Okay well,  I do but you know what I mean!

After repurposing my vintage trunk, I was out a coffee table.  I can’t live without a place to set my coffee and laptop every morning so I got to work building what I thought was the perfect coffee table!
I modified Ana’s plans a bit to fit my couch.  We have a sectional that is equal on both sides and if any of you have the same then you know our pain in finding a square coffee table.  Of course, the plans were for a rectangle so I had to do some calculations to get a square table.
Here are pics of the steps I took as I went:

Pre-drill all of your screw holes to prevent the wood from splitting.


I used Gorilla Glue Wood Glue to join every piece.

Lookin’ like a table now:)

After supports

Trim pieces

Wood putty the screw holes.  I used Elmer’s Stainable Wood Filler.

Sand the rough edges and wood putty after it dries.
That was it for the building!  It was not difficult and I finished it in an afternoon.  How did I finish it?   I do love what I did with it and that is a tutorial in itself so I will be back to share that you all very soon!   Thanks so much for stopping by and keep those ‘I Made it Without My Hubby’ projects coming!  You gals are so talented and we love being inspired:)  You still have time to enter, just click on the button below:)  Also, keep a close eye on our future posts for info on how you can win a  Silhouette machine this month!!!!
~Ashley
So, I shared my DIY Coffee Table with you all a few days ago and now I’m back to share how I finished it!

I love the size, the functionality and the “old” look….. and the fact that it only cost me $40 to build!!!

I started by painting the legs with a favorite ~ Rust-Oleum Heirloom White spray paint.

Next, I stained the top of the table with two coats of Minwax Dark Walnut Stain.  I painted it on with a foam brush, let it sit for about 15 minutes, wiped it off with an old cloth and repeated after 24 hours.

After another 24 hours I painted on 1 coat of Minwax Polycrylic Gloss with a Purdy brush.

To achieve a more “worn” look, I used my 3M sanding block to distress the edges of all of the legs…

and I followed up with a bit of Minwax Dark Walnut stain on the distressed edges.  Yes, I am doing this over my carpet.  I was so anxious to get the table in the house that I forgot to distress it:)

Ahh!  I LOVE it:)  This is where I do all of my blogging:)







 No creaking, wobbling, swaying….  Nope, this table is built SOLID!
Thanks so much for stopping by:)
~Ashley

 Seriously, Amazing!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Miss Kynzi Bianca Hicks









Would you believe that this sweet little thing is going to be a year old tomorrow?!? Where does the time go? What a sweet little blessing she is to this world. I am so thankful that she was sent to our family. The first thing I ask the doctor every time is " does it have hair?" It became a joke in our family because Blake and Lala were so bald. So of course the first thing out of my mouth was, "Does she have hair?" and Mike and the Dr. Bing both said "Yes, Tons!" I thought they were lying and trying to be funny, and sure enough this cute little thing came out with a MOP full of black hair! I was SHOCKED! and so excited. I finally got her! She is what I had pictured my babies would look like from the time I could imagine them! Not that Blake and Lexi weren't cute, they just looked polar opposite of what I thought my babies would look like.
She has the sweetest personality and melts my little heart. She is calm, easy going, independent, and of course she already has a bit of sass to her. {she is my child after all would you expect anything less?}
She is very aware and has fantastic motor skills. She eats everything in sight, and loves baby dolls. {or bothering her sister by taking them, I haven't quite figured it out} She also already has a shoe problem, she will spend 30 minutes at a time trying on everyone's shoes {also, my kid}. I finally got a "mommys kid" FINALLY!! Blake and Lala prefer Mike over me, and quite honestly it doesn't bother me, by the time he gets home I'd rather they go to him anyways. But not Kynzi, she wants her mommy! And I don't mind one bit because she is also our first cuddler. The other kids from the time they could lift their head up wanted nothing to do with cuddling.  It's so funny to see how different each child is. They came from the same genes, and yet they look so different, have different interests, have different strengths and weaknesses. It's so challenging to find the most effective ways of teaching each child, disciplining each child, and finding and meeting their individual needs. It's been a pleasure to be this sweet perfect little girls mommy. And for the most part, because she was my #3 there will be a number 4, she isn't the child that drove me over the edge. She has been the perfect addition to our family. Happy birthday my beautiful little one. The pleasure has been mine to be the one to bring you into this world, to tend your needs, and to enjoy your presence. You are a blessing to many, and have so much to offer this world. I adore you, and love you with everything I have. Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Your dishwasher... not just for dishes.


The secret to cleaning everything from hair brushes to small kids toys may actually be an ordinary appliance in your kitchen! "Sixty five million Americans have a dishwasher and many of them just use it for plates and knives and forks and spoons,"says Every Day with Rachael Ray Editor-in-Chief Liz Vaccariello, "But it can do more!"

• Soap: "Don’t use any other soap beyond dish detergent soap in your dishwasher because it will over sud and it could flood your kitchen or leave a film on your objects.”


• Baseball cap: "If you're worried about throwing it in the washing machine because the brim is going to get all gross," Liz explains, "you just throw it in the dishwasher and it doesn't move."

• Makeup and hair brushes: "Take the hair out of the hairbrush and put this stuff in the silverware racks so it doesn’t rattle around, and it comes out - not only will it be cleaner, but they’ll work better!"

• Fake flowers: "I love fake flowers, but the dead giveaway that you have fake flowers is the dust that accumulates on it," Liz points out. "You just stick them in the dishwasher, and they don’t move around,
and when they come out - the dryer keeps them crisp and colorful and they come out looking like new."

• Plastic toys: To clean your kid's action figures or bath toys, toss them in lingerie bags to keep the pieces together and put them in the dishwasher. "I do want to say something about bath toys. A lot of people think, 'Oh, if the kid is in the bath with the soap and water it’s going to keep them clean,' but the bacteria on your child’s body gets in the bath water, and often bath toys are the most dangerously dirty objects you can have in your house."

• Glass bowl light fixture: Twice a year you can give the light fixture a good cleaning by taking down the glass bowl and putting it in the dishwasher, it will come out looking brand new! Tip: remove large dust bunnies or bugs from the bowl before placing it in the dishwasher.


The only one I haven't tried is the fake flowers... because I don't have any. But seriously, If your a germ a phob this should be better than hand sanitizer and free alcohol wipes at chick fil a!

Citrus Tilapia- super easy. If you are scared to cook fish try this.

Marinate tilapia filets in equal parts lemon juice and lime juice for 15 min (If you find the first time this is too cirtus-ey for you cut it with some water next time)

Place tilapia in pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, searing both sides {also salt and pepper both sides.} Lower heat and continue to cook another 4-5 min. turning once, or until internal temp reaches 145 degrees. 

We serve with brown rice or couscous and favorite veggies.

Chicken Chili... Yes, I know it's not winter anymore, but that doesn't mean you can't have chili!


{Yes, this is my mama's recipe that wins the chili cook off every year}

2 cans of white beans. {I use great northern}
1 can of chicken breasts
1 can of green chili enchilada sauce
1 pkg of taco sasoning
1/4 cup of corn bread mix
I get my mixes at whole foods so that its natural.

Pour everything except the corn bread mix in pot and warm through.
Add corn bread mix and simmer for 10 min.

We serve it with Plain Greek yogurt, And I'm a sucker for some shredded cheddar cheese on top.

Pecan chicken... mmmmmm

Pecan chicken - seriously awesome. Credit to my mama.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, split into cutlets
2 cups pecans
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon season salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons cornmeal
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk


Combine pecans cheese salt pepper and cornmeal in food processor and process until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Pour onto a plate.

Combine eggs and milk in bowl.

Dip cutlets in eggs wash then into pecan mixture. Place on greased baking sheet.

Bake at 325 for 25-30 min. or until juices run clear.


I also use this recipe to make my kids homemade chicken nuggets. I just use ground chicken breasts and scoop with a cookie scoop and then roll them in the breading.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kynzi's birthday.

Thursday is Kynzi's birthday... AGGGGHHHH! Panic mode! I totally forgot about her birthday until this last Saturday a family member asked me what we were doing... whoops a daisy. So my poor little brain has been going a mile a minute to throw something together. No it won't be this elaborate, but I will throw something together!
UM HELLO?!? Does this not SCREAM my name nonetheless, its not MY birthday...

The perfect backyard...

Being the beautiful spring season it's got me day dreaming about the perfect backyard. A place to send the kids to play and run, somewhere to host backyard football games, somewhere to throw pool parties, a place to have friends over for BBQ's, with adorable tablescapes. A place to put a beautiful garden, SIGH...


Friday, April 22, 2011

Clutter Free.

If you know me, you know I hate clutter. I have none in my house, and never intend to.  My Mother In Law teases me that when I go looking for something and can't find it, she knows I threw it away. Which is most likely true. She won't give me any of Michael's "keepsakes" because she thinks I'd throw them away. {Which in all honestly, She's probably right, because all I think is hey, that's less crap I have to organize and store"}  It has it's downsides. Occasionally Mike asks me for a paper and I say I can't find it, and in the back of my head I'm thinking "Oh was that the yellow piece of paper laying on the dresser I threw away? Hmmmm. I'm sure he knows, because he knows that everything has a place and everything in it's place. But those are few and far between. And living clutter free is so worth it. So here's a few of my best strategies.
 
  • Consume consciously. Buy only what you LOVE, don't settle. If you "like" the dress, chances are you will wear it once and it will sit in the back of your closet and clutter up space. Buy only what you will use. Don't just buy it because you can get a good deal on it or get it for free. {I think this is why extreme couponing airs right next to hoarders.} 
  • If you are buying a newer version of something get rid of the old one.If you get a new shirt, Get rid of an old one. Cell phones, TV's, computers, dressers, Bikes, Tupperware containers. Why are you keeping those old warped containers that are missing lids? You just bought a new set. how much Tupperware do you really need?
  • Live within your space means. Just like living within your financial means. Enough said. 
  • Have a "landing strip" this is where Mike throws all his junk from his pockets when he comes home from work. Wallet, keys, gum, chapstick, phone, Etc. And I hang my purse.
  • Make sure everyone in the house knows where everything goes. If you set out on this mission alone, your going to fail. Teach the kids to put their shoes in the basket by the door. Not thrown in the front hall. Make it their habit. Pull a karate kid and make him hang his jacket up 4,000 times. 
  • Buy a few quality items instead of a hundred cheap items. Point in case, My kids closet. My kids have very few clothes. I buy them 4-5 nice, quality shirts or dresses, and spend the same amount of money as I would, instead of filling their closet with a thousand cheap "they won't last a day without a hole against my toddler" clothes. 
Don't know where to start?... 
  •  Pick an area to focus on. Don't take on the whole house at one time. You will be overwhelmed and quit.
  • Visualize what you want. Look at pictures, get inspired. And think of how much better you will feel when it's the way you want it.
  • Clear out the space. Totally empty. What's better than a blank canvas?
  • Sort everything into 4 piles. { Keep, Toss, Donate, Fix}
  • Go back to the keep pile. Now cut it in half by repeating the 4 piles.
  • Give everything a "home" a specific place where only that item belongs. 
  • Pick storage containers, or baskets. You have to know what and where you will be storing before you can pick them out. 
How to let go of items you think you need to keep.
  • Ask yourself - " Do I LOVE it?"
  • Ask yourself - " Do I use it a lot?"
Don't keep things out of a sense of obligation, fear, or guilt. I mean don't go throwing away your nana's heirloom broach, but don't keep your old boyfriends t shirt either.
Only keep sentimental items if you associate them with happy memories. Don't keep you and your x husbands wedding video. Why do you need that? Do you remember that show that Jerry Seinfield did a while back and that crazy lady kept her dead husbands prosthetic leg? Tell me how that makes sense. Trust me, you'll be happier with less.

 

This makes me happy.