Friday, January 27, 2012

Ball Mason Jar Drink Dispenser

So there I was...pinning, and pinning, and pinning...and then! I saw it! Not just a Mason Jar (which I love so much I have dedicated a board just to all things Mason Jar....titled "Mason Jar Love.")
I'm so obvious right?!

So I repinned it of course...

and followed the link to check out the price.

$69!!!! hahaaaaa, you gotta be kidding me!
Seriously, I am cheap like that.

Plus I thought for a hot second before I realized...Wait a minute...I can make that!

I knew that Hobby Lobby sold oversized Ball Mason Jars...oh, and I had a 50% off coupon that I found online the other day. I searched the internet for spigots to put on the jar I would buy from Hobby Lobby...$15...$18...$20!! No thanks. I could always find a cheap glass drink dispenser and take the spigot from it...Yeah. That's the plan.

So, Friday rolled project day. I went to Hobby Lobby...happily picked up my oversized Mason jar...(half off, thank you very much.) Then as I head up to check out I saw a tall apothecary jar drink dispenser...$30.00...darn it. I had a 40% off coupon on my phone, but even that would only be like $20 after the coupon. Still not cheap enough. So I gave up, and decided to head over to HomeGoods to see what they had. I might get lucky. But I didn't, they had nothing.

So then I head over to Goodwill...walked around for about 5 minutes...then I saw it. Would you believe that I found the very apothecary jar that Hobby Lobby was selling for $30...for $4!!! YES!!! $4!!!! I had to laugh at myself a little, because just a week ago I was laughing to my Mom about how I saw a lady on HGTV who found exactly what she was looking for at a thrift store. What were the chances I thought! Well, obviously...the chances were pretty good...and I was SURELY in luck!

So I headed home, and after a few youtube videos on gutting glass, and some help from Husby to find the right Dremel tools...I was in business.

Here's a little video the project went down!

And a few photos of the finished product!

Enjoy! And be sure to click here ---->  Pin It

I would love to see other projects like this!! :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I'm going to lose it.

I wanna lose weight.
I wanna be healthier.
I wanna be more active
I wanna get skinny.
I wanna wear cute clothes.
I wanna...what is it about the start of a new year that gets you thinking about all this crap? Granted, it's not a bad list of things to want for myself. However, it is frustrating.

If you've never struggled with your weight, you may not get what I am about to rant read along if you must, just stop short of judging me if you can...or at least keep it inside if you do.

I've been laying in bed since Husby and I turned off the lights at 11:30pm. It is now 1:20am. I tried reading for a while, but that pit was back in my stomach. That knot that rises up on occasion that seems to keep my mind on nothing else but getting skinny.

S K I N N Y.

I kinda hate that word.

I tried reading a new book, but every other word just made me think about getting skinny. And trust me, the book has nothing to do about weight loss or 'skinny'ness.
If you must know, it's "Heaven is For Real."

I am thinking about it because I know it's time again. Time to try and lose weight...again. I hate even having to do it. And I hate even having the feeling of hate about having to do it.  
Chubsters will get that, you skinny folk...not so much.

I don't want to have to watch food go into my mouth for nutritional purposes only. I like food too much. Ugh.

...but for all the distaste I have in dieting and losing weight...I have even more of a distaste of my dunlop belly, the same belly that for the love of all of those around me, I desperately try to keep tucked in my 'a-couple-sizes-to-big-for-real-fashion' jeans. God bless the man I married that gets to see it, and still somehow, chooses to love me.

Please don't think this is the pity party section of the blog...that's coming later...I don't plan on going down that road, that's not what this is about.

I am just sharing...because I am wide awake...and oversharing is a thing I am pretty good at.

Speaking of oversharing...I hate that I keep thinking to myself, just hold off on dieting because this month I am finally going to get pregnant and I will start gaining pregnancy weight. I've been saying that for quite some time now. If I dieted through all the times I told myself to hold off  I would probably be the skinny version of myself that I am longing for.
And no, that's not an invitation for infertility pity either.

I am the type to hold my tongue usually on all things personal/infertility...I don't feel sorry for myself and neither should you. Gods got a plan...and I am sure in his bag of plans there is one for a skinnier me too. See, I can be positive on this weight loss subject.

My Mother-In-Law is the incredible shrinking woman right now...she's lost something like 49 pounds on this 17 Day Diet. I don't wanna do it.
Ugh. Diet. Ugh.

To those of you who know me...and are silently saying to yourself, 
wow for a positive person, this post is rather negative.

No, it's not really...I am positive that I hate this.
See? MIL has lost 49 pounds and looks amazing. She's a diet rockstar. She is like the gold star of dieters. I kinda wanna be like her.
Ugh. Diet. Ugh.

So...I guess I am going to wake up...after I fall asleep, since now the eyes are getting heavy now that I have placed my rant up for the public to see...and I am going to order the book. Then I am going to have yet another conversation with Husby about how I hope he is ready for another wild diet ride. 
Babe, you're amazing to me during these's to hoping you don't starve.

Then I am going to have to pack away all of the wonderful recipes that I spent about 3 hours researching and pinning and printing and planning for tonight, I am going to have to toss out the whole e-mealz plan...or at least get prepared to get really creative with the pre-planned meals.

Then...I guess...I am going to lose it. Some of it. All of it.
Who knows, in the process I may actually get pregnant...finally...then I will be a smaller, much happier version of myself and I will be that much closer to being one of those cute pregnant ladies.
So here I go...
or something.

Oh..and seriously, don't feel like you have to comment.
I don't necessarily need the encouragement.
I know I don't need the told-you-so's.
You can offer up a firm "word-to-your-mother" if you are feeling me on anything I typed.
I'll hear ya.
And from one struggling chubster to the next...we will silently battle this dumb war together.
And that's just fine with me.

Monday, January 09, 2012


Have I mentioned how much these jamesvandermemes CRACK me up?


Quatrefoil Idea...evil genius? Just maybe!

I am leanign more towards evil OH MA GOODNESS...

I'm excited...

I was going back through old posts and I came across this sweet little thang...

Gorg right?! If I remember the price tag correctly, it was somewhere near $299 and it was quite heavy. But oh how I lurved it!

So I keep skimming through posts and came across this included this little bit...

Which is made from...styrofoam. Oh yes.

So I thought to myself...could I quite possibly use styrofoam, some 1x1's and MAKE my own room divider? I mean, it would be super simple and super lightweight. I could cover the quatrefoil design with fabric or yarn for a more colorful look. Or I could just paint it. I could even stretch fabric across the back of the quatrefoil design to make it more of a true room divider instead of leaving it open.

I don't may just work...I may just be onto something. I am thinking it will be rather cheap too. I can watch Hobby Lobby for sales and snatch up some small styrofoam circle wreaths for cheap, then decide on how to decorate and incorporate color; whether by buying fabric or painting it, or yarn like mentioned above. Then I'd pick up some 1x1's at Lowe's, those are usually pretty cheap and I won't need many of them. Then I think I will need 6, this could work!

I think Husby is going to think I am crazy...but I am giving it a shot!
What do you think? Am I absolutely crazy? - Week 1


So we joined and we LOVE it. We just completed our first full week on the program, although we didn't utilize the entire menu because we had some events going on. In fact we only made 3 meals from the was enough to know that we made a good choice in joining!

I'll share...
bear in mind these are the greatest photos, I just snap them with my phone righrt before dinner for our FB friends...

Monday, January 2nd was "Upside Down Pizza."

To be honest...when I looked at the recipe, it didn't scream PIZZA to I added some pepperoni, but it was DELISH! We really enjoyed it!
We joined the Walmart Dinner for 2 plan...and it was the perfect amount of food for us with a little leftover. Although after cooking crescent rolls on top of meat in the oven, it didnt' heat up well. So the leftover were tossed.

Tuesday, January 3rd was "Creamy Chicken Enchiladas."

I was a little nervous about this one as well because it had a sour cream and green chilies sauce, instead of the traditional red enchilada sauce. I wasn't sure how that would fly with my sour-cream hatin' Husby...but...he loved it! And so did our guest for the evening.
The meal called for 4 rolled enchiladas and I didn't know if it would be enough for all of us, knowing right off the bat it was an uneven number for 3 people. I mean, would we just split the 4th one three ways?
That was an easy fix...there was plenty of fixin's to go in the enchiladas and I was able to split it into 9 smaller enchiladas that fit perfectly in a 13x9 casserole dish.
It was also very yummy!

At this point in the week...we knew we would have a night off and a night out, because we normally eat out after church on Wednesday. Then Thursday Husby was really feeling pizza, so I gave in and we postponed one of the meals. Friday we had a party and Saturday night it was time to enjoy another homecooked meal!

Saturday, January 7th was "Worcestershire Chicken on White Rice, Glazed Carrots and Cornbread." BAM!

Oh man was it yummy. I hadn't cooked carrots in...years...seriously. Even though they were glazed I still put carrots in my body, which is saying something! :) I promised myself and Husby that we would be adding MORE veggies to our meals this year and is helping us do just that!!


Sunday was supposed to be "Penne Sausage" but due to the BRONCOS game it got pushed to tonight! And a point worth making...Instead of ordering out for food, we ate food from the house. Good  move! :)

...After our first week, albeit not a full one...we are still so pleased with E-mealz!! If you haven't tried it, you should! Follow any of the links above or clink on any of the banners in this post or on my blog! It's worth trying.
Take the fuss and mess out of planning and make dinner time a little more interesting!

Emealz - Easy Meals for Busy People!

Things I have to do...

...but I don't plan on making myself busy with them.
does that make sense?

I mean, I have a to-do list that, to me, seems pretty long. Yet, none of them are ubber important. I have added a priority rating per say to each of them.

There are things like, redesign the aePhotography blog/website, build/paint shelves for our closet downstairs, make curtains, go through all of our clothes and purge at least 40% of them.

Nothing earth altering and none of it has a deadline date to it.
This is a good nature is to make a list and want to get through it at lightning speed.

But then, I just find myself busy checking off to-do list items and missing out on life too, missing out on spontaneous creativity and such. So...not this round.

Even though, I felt that I had pretty much effectivly redone how I put my to-do list together, the researcher in me decided to look around to make sure I wasn't missing some other super effective changes.  Here's what I found:

  • Organize the lists - i.e. "Tomorrow," "This Month," "House Maintenance," " Personal."
Let's take the "Tomorrow" list...they say:
  • Spend 15 minutes at the end of each day to plan "Tomorrow's" to-do list. Not at the very end of the day...then you will just end up jotting down what didn't get done today. Give yourself time to plan, check out tomorrows schedule, the calendar, etc.
  • Don't write your to-do list on the morning of the day you plan to complete the list. It should already be waiting for you.
Why? Writing a to do list the day before has many advantages over planning your upcoming day on the morning in question. After all, you have just completed a day’s work and hence you should have a good idea of where you are in the grand scale of things. What didn’t you get to today? What tasks will naturally fall into tomorrow’s to do list? Writing tomorrow’s to do list can also be a way of recognizing that everything does not all need to be done in one day.
  • Prioritize the tasks.
Oh good, I was on top of this one! Give them a rating of sorts, Red = Get it done, most important, Yellow = Want to be done soon, Green = No deadline, get done when you have time.

When color coding a list, it's important to bump previously unchecked, incomplete into a higher priority for the next day, to encourage thier completion.
  • Don't make everything Red, there's no need to be dramatic about your to-do list.
Go digitial. Trust me, as much as I love a handwritten to-do list...going digital just makes sense. For example, on my phone I use "Evernote" or "Springpadit." In the past I have used apps like "Remember the Milk" and "Todoist." There are also online applications as well, such as "Tadalist," "Toodledo," and "Remember the Milk." RTM can be used on  your phone and web...making it one of the best all around options! Just remember, don't get too fancy with the lists. It's pointless to have a to-do list app or program that takes longer to set up and manage than it does to actually complete the items on the list. duh.

Other things to remember...don't write things like "start..." or "research..." on your list...items like that are time suckers with no real end point. Also, manage your completion and reward yourself with a break. Days are meant to be loaded down with to-do this and to-do that. Remember...a few mall things done in a timely manner each day will give you more time...don't fill it back up.

Here's to a more organized,  less crazy busy 2012. :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


It's like a magic word from baby Jesus. 

Where do I sign up?! Oh, I already did...I am following the "My Simpler Life's Declutter Calendar" during 2012. So far, I am loving it. I already feel so challenged and victorious over clutter!!

Sunday, I thought about "Who I want to be this coming year." Not sure I came up with a real answer, other than the fact that I want to become more organized. Funny thing is...this calendar will help!!

Monday, I set up a "donation station" downstairs. It's nothing super formal...I plan to get some rubber tubs specifically for this. Then I want to quarterly take whatever I collect in this station to Goodwill. This also helps with taxes. You know you get credit for that? Awe.some.

Tuesday, (well, actually we did this last Friday...whatevs.) we decluttered the top of our cabinets (kitchen and bathroom), which actually didn't require any decluttering, however it DESPERATELY needed a dusting. Thanks to Husby who stood on the countertop for over 25 minutes to vacume up there, and all over the ceiling and walls in the kitchen! That job, simply made me breath easier! Since that task was already done, I moved onto Wednesdays' task...So on Tuesday night...I kinda got ahead of myself here, and I did Wednesday and Thursday's job too. I decluttered the top shelf of one of my cabinets (I picked the Baking/Spice Cabinet). I even ended up decluttering the entire cabinet. As well, I went through and discarded all expired and old spices. Gosh, I should have done that a while ago...the oldest one was from 2003. "No wonder the food is bland sometimes," I quipped to Husby.

So, I guess technically I get a day off today and tomorrow since I finished that task yesterday...but I will stick with the organizing game. Tonight, just for the heck of it...I am organizing and decluttering the sock drawers. If there are no matches, old socks and the like...they are gonezo. Tomorrow, I will probably make a run to Wal-mart for the rubber tubs I need for the donation station downstairs.

So I would say that the longest tasks took just under a half on hour each. That's not a bad amount of time to take out of your day to declutter.
I think I'll stick with this.

How will you declutter life?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Three Days far, so good.

It's January 3rd.
Thanks Captain Obvious.

So far, I am pleased with 2012. I want to make big plans this year...and check them off my list.
Husby and I are making some mentioned in the last post.

They are going to follow a few categories: Enjoy, Create, Organize, Grow, Save, Home, Cook and Health.
Any number of things can fall under these categories. For example, "Enjoy" could be anything from a date night, to the movies to a  new book. "Grow" could be anything from a garden, to my hair, to our savings account. We are hoping these categories will require and encourage us to get creative in how we complete our goals.

I know it's my hope to have Monthly and Yearly goals within these categories.
Husby and I are going to work on them tonight. So soon, we can share them with you.

What are you doing this year to challenge and grow?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy NEW.


I am blogging.

double woah.
I know, I am kinda blowin' your mind here.

It's all rather surreal.
well, more the 2012 part, not so much the blogging, although I know I haven't been around since June.

Poppa-son preached today at church...about the HAPPY NEW...*i know, you wanna say year...but that wasn't really it* it was more about the NEW Deal, Heart, Attitude, etc. God has given us so much and it's our time to turn around and live in this NEW-ness he has for us.

Let's be honest...2011 sucked.
No really, it did. Especially around these parts.

It wasn't so much any one thing that sucked...although there are plenty of sucky things to choose was just the culmination of all things sucky that made me long for 2011 to be a distant memory, even if it was only mid-year 2011 when I was thinking it.
Yeah, I know, we still had months to go.

It's just all so crazy really. Husby and I sit here (between the living room and office) talking back and forth about how we didn't even think this far into the 2000's when we were little. I stopped planning and thinking about life in the middle of my twenties. Oops.

Thanks to Facebook, now my 2011 can be summed up in a couple of categories and main stories on it's new timeline feature.
I'll share, because I am sure you are dying to know...

In 2011, I added 51 friends to my friends list...and it doesn't tell me, but I am pretty sure I unfriended about the same amount. I guess that's some weird twisted FB logic on exactly how life works eh?

I almost lost my Husby to some maniac while he was on the job in January. It put him out of work for exactly 2 months.
It was a tough and trying time, especially for him.
But it looks as though many blessings will spring from this event, even into 2012.

I *officially* crossed over into the smartphone world with my first DROID in February.
Then went onto replace said phone 5 times.
Johnny 5, as I call him is still going strong...thankfully.

We celebrated Valentine's Day in style...homemade Chicken Pot Pies by Husby.

I finished my first full chair furniture refinishing project.
It fell apart shortly there after and no, I still haven't fixed it.

In March we finally finished the basement remodel project...with the exception of a few closet doors.
And I still don't have about 95% of the photos from the renovation, as my external hard drive crashed...and by crashed I mean, crashed to the floor, then crashed. Yeah, that happened in 2011. sucky. Can you say "goodbye 8 years worth of photos." Eeek. Still praying the tech can fix it.

I started my new job...which just happens to be my first job out of high school...back to working at the church I attend and have grown up in. Working for some people and ministries that mean the world to me.

I went to Ocean City with my VERBIES.

Husby went back to work...then got conked on the head by an ironing board at Lowe's.
Yeah, we found blessings in that too. :)

I celebrated 8 years of marriage to my best friend...delighted we made it through the 7-year-itch, but found ourselves still battling for a strong marriage in this love-confused world.
You know you have to fight for marriage right? It just doesn't come's work...very rewarding work.

Easter in my families house...blasting old-school christian music.
We know how to rock.

In May, I directed the 4th annual Murder Mystery show.

Husby, Liv and I saw Brian funny.

I made my first...and probably last Rainbow Layer Cake.
gorgeous, but too much work.

106 friends posted on my wall..."Happy Birthday."
I turned 30 this year. ehhhhhh.

I learned that if you say "beer can" in a british accent, you've really just said "bacon" in a jamaican accent.
Blows your mind right?

In June, I saw NKOTBSB.
Oh, yes I did.

I photographed my first aePhotography wedding.

Planted my first square foot garden.
Got one green pepper and one tomato. That's it. Ugh.

Husby and the VERBIES went to build a clean water well in El Salvador...couldn't be more proud of all of them!

In July...we planked.
Like alot.

We also took our small group to the shooting range.
Cause that's how we roll.

We also, didn't put all of our eggs into one omelette.
It was a holiday that needed to be celebrated.

I photographed my second aePhotography wedding.
And decided that as proud as I was of the job I had done...weddings aren't my thing.

In August...Maryland had an earthquake.
No joke. It was pretty big too. And it was my first. AND, it was awesome.

Went with the VERBIE Leaders to the beach for the weekend...
a cold, rainy, but awesomely fun weekend.

September was WAY low key...and I was more than ok with that.

I started as a middle school small group leader...
And I am loving it still.

In October I spent the evening with my Cousin, Husby and some of my cousin's friends from Australia touring the White House and eating yummy food in DC.

I got the flu...part 1.

In November, I went on another trip with my VERBIES...making memories in the mountains of Maryland.

Then we had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It's quickly becoming one of my favorite holidays. The food this year...we simply ahhmazing...

I got a cold/flu...part 2

Then on the of the "sucky things" happened...we lost Jeff and Jon...way too early.
This crushed us all...and it kinda felt like life stood still for about a month. For their families, I am sure it feels as if letting go of 2011 means letting go of them for good. I can't imagine, even if I wanted to, and I still pray for them daily.

December flew by...Christmas with Family was as lovely as always...

Oh and I got a bad cold...again...part 3.

This year, I shot over 49 photoshoots...I'd say that was a booming side business for me in 2011. So proud!

Even with all of that...good or bad or indifferent...I am so ready for 2012.

There is so much that I desire for 2012. I am so ready for what this year holds...and I am so not ready for another hard year, so here's to wishing, hoping and praying that 2012 holds more amazing, wonderful memories and lots and lots of love and good things

And yes, I think I am going to try and start blogging again. Who knows why...I kinda miss it.

So that was the summed up version of my 2012. Hubby and I have plans and goals for this year...I will share those once we have them nailed down. They won't so much be resolutions as goals.
Not that I am one of those people that doesn't believe in resolutions...I just know how we work...and goals work better for us. ;)

Well, I am off to spend time with family...and watch the Cowboys kick some Giants boo-tay. Thanks to Husby's new toy, the iPad2....I could travel to the parents house and continue blogging.
ain't technology grand!?!?
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