Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Happy Halloween!
We celebrated Halloween at work on Friday. The folks were amped for Halloween because we hosted a pumpkin carving contest. The objective was to allow employees to carve or decorate pumpkins and put them on display for one week. As patients entered our space, they had the option to vote for their favorite pumpkin. We tallied the votes and awarded the winner $75! We had thirty two votes and nine pumpkin entries.

The winning pumpkin was…. JACK from Nightmare Before Christmas! LOVE. 

I think it is important to introduce a little bit of fun into work. A breath of fresh air and gives staff something else to talk about other than the demands of their job. (It also gave patients something to chat about while waiting in the lobby! That can be very boring). Fun builds morale and that makes me OH so happy. 

Stand Still

When I was a little girl and my mama would fix my hair, I had the tendency to wiggle around and sway from side to side. My mama would get so frustrated! She’d say “Sissy, be still!” (That’s what my family calls me). I’d huff and puff and eventually settle down (honestly.. you have to calm down when your mama has your ponytail in her hand and is yanking on it!).

In some circumstances, I’m still that little girl, I’m fidgety and unresolved. There are things in my life that just keep me all wound up and swaying from side to side. However, this time instead of my mama telling me to “be still” it’s the Lord. What started as a little nudge from him, a little whisper, “Sissy, be still!” has turned into a full fledged ponytail yank! It’s like he’s saying now, “Do you hear me little girl? I said BE STILL!”

He tells me this in so many ways… every where I go, I wait.

Scriptures like these scream “stand still”:

Exodus 14:14 (God’s Word Translation): ” The Lord is fighting for you! So be STILL!”

Samuel 12:6 (NIV): ” Stand still and see the great things that the Lord is about to do before your very eyes!”

My life is in transition (not in a bad way) and is forcing me to embrace stillness. I’m learning to stand still and listen to him and wait for his move. Until I know where I’m going, I’ll stand. After all, I’m sick of getting my pony tail yanked! My head is starting to hurt. (I’m a stubborn little girl).

Have you ever been there? Has your daddy ever told you to be still? 

“Boo”

I’m all about not-so-scary ways to celebrate Halloween. Therefore, J and I decided it would be fun to “Boo” our neighbors. We don’t get trick-or-treaters on our street so we thought this would be a fun way to celebrate!

We decided to “boo” two ladies in my life group and one of our street neighbors. We gathered inexpensive gifts from the Dollar Tree and filled the above baskets based on household specifics . For example, our neighbor has two little girls so the basket had fairy stickers and sparkly headbands.

The idea is to “boo” a house anonymously (Becca, now you know! xoxo) and then encourage them to “boo” two more people! To alert them of the game, you print off a poem and a notice for the door that this house has been “boo’d”. You can find the printables at http://www.myfolsom.com/boo/k.pdf.

This idea can be tailored to any household and is a lot of fun! Go get your “boo” on!

What special ways to you celebrate Halloween?

Style Inspiration

I chose to read Lauren Conrad’s book Style because I’ve been reading her blog for a while and really want to learn more about…style. Before I chose to check out the book (the library is a frugal girl’s best friend) I searched for other blogs that have read and reviewed her book. When I found that my go to style blog (Snappy Casual) received inspiration from this book, I knew I had to check it out IMMEDIATELY! And by immediately, I mean I had to be placed on a wait list because of its popularity. Due to the build up of wanting a book, waiting for a book and then FINALLY receiving the book… I became absorbed until I read in in its entirety.

Since I feel like I’m just learning to develop my own style and working on actually dressing like an adult, I learned a lot from her book… J seems to think that means I’m getting ready to spend a lot…I am inspired, so we’ll see…

One area in my life that could use dramatic improvement is my wardrobe. I have a lot of clothes but not a lot of “workhorse pieces“. As a result, I need to hone in on my needs and build my wardrobe.

Lauren says that the key pieces include:

  • Little Black Dress 
  • Jeans
  • Collared Button-Down
  • Skirt
  • Boots
  • White and Black Tops
  • Black Heels
  • Blazer
  • Coat
In order to focus my attention on what I really need to buy or update, I created a style board on polyvore. This will be a great way for me to concentrate my efforts on obtaining new versatile pieces into my wardrobe and will guide me as I dig for the best price! 
Key Pieces





Do you have workhorse pieces in your closet? Are they similar to Lauren’s recommendations?




Autumn Wreath


Over the weekend I made a wreath that captured the essence of autumn. I wanted to make a wreath that would carry us from Halloween through Thanksgiving and incorporate elements from the super fabulous yarn wreath trend. (The yarn reminds me of a fall sweater!)
I purchased the foam wreath, yarn and artificial flowers at Michael’s. ($10 investment).

I wrapped the yarn around the foam wreath. This process took me around an hour and I did not strive for perfection. The goal was just to cover the wreath with yarn.

After the wreath was covered, I used a wire cutter to cut the stems off of the artificial flowers. Once my glue gun was hot and ready, I placed the flowers on the wreath. 

Enjoy!

Turn it Down- Electric Bill Savings

                                  

J is our resident saver! He is very frugal. The yin to my yang. The voice in the back of my head that keeps me grounded when I want to splurge and use all of our savings. I’m so grateful for his ability to see the way our daily habits impact our future. He looks for ways to make subtle changes to our lifestyle that saves our family loads. 
It is with the reasons above, I thought it would be nice to share his tips for reducing your utility bills. J recently shared these tips with my little sister via e-mail so they are his words and not mine… so they are equally more helpful. 
Here’s a few things you can do to reduce your utility bill:
  • Think of all the things you have that use electricity all day long. Turn off and unplug when you are not using them. Just having items plugged in uses energy.

  • Start with making sure you have a programmable thermostat set only to keep you comfortable during the hours when you are home. Every degree you lower you save around 4% from your heating bill. Keep the temperature low and cuddle up if you are chilly. It’s cheaper to throw on a sweater or grab a blanket! 

  • Use energy efficient light bulbs and turn off lights when you are not in the room. 

  • If you aren’t using a room, close off the vents so more of your heat will go into the space you are actually using. 

How do you save on your electric bill? 

             

Three-Cheese Pasta Bake

While looking for a casserole style carb friendly dinner, I stumbled on this three- cheese pasta bake recipe.My goal was to find a quick dish that would satisfy my carb craving and also be large enough for J to take  to work for lunch the following day.

This recipe was the golden egg of all leftover ventures because J was able to take it to lunch for FOUR DAYS (and he didn’t complain about it once!). SCORE!

Recipe:

1 (16 oz) package of ziti
2 (10 oz) containers refrigerated Alfredo Sauce (I just bought a cheap-o can in the spaghetti sauce aisle)
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
1 (15 oz) container of ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

** Optional: recipe says to add chicken, shrimp or sausage if you’d like. (I used canned chicken because I was too lazy to cook chicken breasts before starting dinner).

Prepare ziti according to package directions; drain and return to pot.

Stir together Alfredo sauce and sour cream; toss with ziti until evenly coated. Spoon half of mixture into a lightly greased 13-x 9-inch baking dish.

Stir together ricotta cheese and next 3 ingredients; spread evenly over pasta mixture in baking dish. Spoon remaining pasta mixture evenly over ricotta cheese layer; sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Enjoy!

Fall TV Line-Up

I’m addicted to Fall TV. Our DVR broke down during the week of season premiers and I almost had a panic attack. There are some really great comedies on TV right now. J and I enjoy winding down with an episode or two before bedtime. (Yes, I know what the sleep guru’s say about TV before bedtime…).

Here’s our favorites:

Modern Family on ABC- The antics of Phil and Cam make me laugh out loud every single episode.

Big Bang Theory on CBS- Sheldon and his roommates are super nerdy and such a comical dynamic.

New Girl on FOX – Jess is a train wreck! She’s quirky and funny. (I watch alone).

Glee on FOX – The newest season is a little odd but I love it. I’ve been a self-professed “GLEEK” and really enjoy anything musical so despite the newest season, I am still a die hard fan!

Up All Night on NBC- I’m a huge Christina Applegate fan. She is a new mother and working in a very demanding environment. Pretty funny. (Not fantastic, but funny none the less. As a result, I watch alone).

What’s your favorite TV show?

Compromise

(Source: http://yubanet.com/cartoon/Compromise.php) 

 Marriage is all about compromise and it’s hard when you have two people as strong willed as we are. Recently, we had a disagreement that resulted in an hour long text battle. He shared his opinion. I shared mine. Back and forth, back and forth.I think we both realized we were at an impasse. We needed a time out. We were not hearing each other and we were each feeling very frustrated. We were being brats!

J and I are smart enough to know when we need a time out. We stopped messaging each other for a while and I thought about our conversation. It’s like the cartoon above, in life we act like there is a huge gap between what you want and what the other person wants. That’s a lie! The gap is only present if we choose to keep it there. We want so badly for the other person to budge. We want them to make the first move.Why are we so prideful? Or is it just me?

I realized that there was an oppotunity for us both to have what we wanted if we would each give a little. I knew I had to make the first move. I sent him a message and asked for a compromise. Of course he agreed! He’s wonderful.

Conflict happens and it’s ok. It’s how you sort it out that matters.

Is there a person or situation in your life that could use a resolve? Are you just stewing on the issue waiting for someone else to make the first move?

Humble yourself and make the decision to MOVE!


Pumpkin Cupcakes

WARNING: Your husband may eat 10 of these little bad boys in 24 hours! BE PREPARED! 

Pumpkin is my absolute FAVE and I was very excited when I stumbled across this easy peasy recipe! These two ingredients create the most fantastic muffin ever…but when you ice them with cream cheese icing, they turn into delicious cupcakes! I found the original post of pinterest  and instantly fell in love.

Here’s the recipe:

  • Buy the two ingredients above.
  • Throw a tub of cream cheese icing into your cart.
  • Send your husband back to the store to get real pumpkin versus pumpkin pie filling! (KEY POINT).
  • Mix well.
  • Bake as directed.
Enjoy!