Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Favorite Shots

Messy Messy Mess - Now this hasn't actually occurred yet, but I will be taking BOTH boys for haircuts in approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.  I'm sure you see that this can go one of two ways.....will keep you posted.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Oh, Hey Friday - Two Days Later

Messy Messy Mess - I hate changing the cat litter.  Enough said.  Gross.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

DIY Emergency First Aid Kit

Messy Messy Fail - I can no longer stretch out the 12 month clothes so they fit the baby - time to break out the 18 month clothes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Favorite Shots

Messy Messy Fail - For my week working at orchestra camp, I tried to be frugal (cheap!) and pack my own lunch.  My PB&J sandwich was great, but when I went to take a juicy bite of my Cutie (clementine), it was bitter.  That's ok, I still had my creamy smooth Greek yogurt   Or maybe not - curdled!  I ended up buying an expensive salad, but at least it wasn't spoiled or bitter, just costly.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Oh, Hey Friday - Rodeo Time

Messy Messy Fail - I have now gone through 2 new light pendants to hang over our kitchen table - I rejected both.  I thought the first one looked rustic hanging up at Home Depot, but when installed in looked beyond industrial.  The second rejection was my fault - I didn't check the size before ordering and it turned out to be a minnie pendant.  Back to searching I go.  However ANYTHING beats the Pizza Hut looking light we had prior.

Tidy Victory - We finally flipped the baby's carseat around so he is now forward facing.  I swear I heard him singing "A Whole New World" from Aladdin in the backseat while we were driving. 

This was my last weekend home before orchestra camp so we decided to do a whole slew of fun activities.  My husband will be with the boys while I'm working, so this next coming week will be quite the role reversal.  In the mean time, here's what we/I have been up to!

<One> Every year, usually around the first weekend in August, the rodeo comes to town!  The event is a fundraiser for the local volunteer fire department, so for a small town it is a big deal.  People from all over the area come to see the cowboys and cowgirls do their thang.  Nana Patti and I took the toddler for the Saturday night show after eating their delicious bbq dinner at home.  

<Two> August Ipsy Box - So here is what came in my box (from left to right) - Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Gingsng + Biotin Volumizer, Trust Fund Beauty Nail Polish in Elegantly Wasted (how appropriate!  I kid....) Skone Cosmetics Luxe Doubler Eye/Lip Pencil in Wine, Juara Skincare Tumeric Antioxidant Radiance Facial Mask, and Noyah Natural Lipstick in Rose.  So far I have tried the volumizer, which I really liked and smelled FANTASTIC, and the Noyah lipstick  The color is okay, I didn't think I could wear rose, but I think if I adjust my makeup a bit I can do it.  I definitely love the cute houndstooth makeup bag and the nail polish color.  Good job this month Ipsy!

<Three> Traveling - Since both of our families live out of town, we are frequently traveling for long weekends to visit.  I used to dread packing when it was just hubby and I - now packing for us AND two young boys is a snap.  I keep at least 4 plastic grocery bags in our suitcases to separate clean and dirty clothes.  I also keep plastic resealable bags with travel supplies including toiletries, medicine and eating utensils ready to go.  That way when it's time to depart, I can just grab the prepackaged bags and start the trip!  We were able to visit my sister-in-law Sarah in her beautiful new home that she purchased a couple of years ago.  She's also really into photography, so I was able to ask her a bunch of tips.  She reminded me how much I like black and white photography.

A practice shot of the back of Sarah's garage, with her "gnomes" growing in the gutters as she calls them.

Vibernum or hydrangea?  It's growing in front of her house and we can't tell!

<Four> Back to School - As I wait patiently for the toddler's UPK list of supplies I need to purchase for him, I think about how SAINTLY his teacher is for committing to him and up to 17 other precious toddlers in one classroom.  I know that there are definitely some supplies that will be needed and are not provided by the school system, such as tissues, hand sanitizer, etc.,  so I'll make sure to stock up and deliver some extras to his teacher.  I also plan on emailing his teacher to see what their other needs are so we can help out.  I can go without my triple cream cheese or olive tapenade for a week if I can donate some supplies to my son's classroom.

<Five> Zoo - While traveling, we had an opportunity to take the kids to a local zoo and MAN did we have a good time.  This was actually the first zoo visit we have taken the toddler to where he was actually interested in the animals - what a concept!  I recall previous visits being dragged directly through with the toddler leading, wanting to know where the exit was.  The baby hung out in his stroller while Sarah, my husband and I pointed out all the cool animals including: a rhino, orangutans (including a baby so cute!) a snow leopard, tigers, a polar bear, penguins, elephants and the coolest - sea lions!

I forgot how much I love B&W photography!

I wish I would have gotten this shot in color, but can you see the beautiful bird and his reflection that I captured?

It has turned out to be quite the perfect weekend weather wise.  How lucky did we get?!?!  Enjoy these last few weekends of August!

Bright on a Budget

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Parmesan Basil Croutons

Messy Messy Fail - At at our playground date yesterday, we met at a location about 25 minutes from our house, so I packed a picnic lunch for the boys and I.  I had brought some yummy fresh strawberries with a huller to get rid of the green stem without throwing half the berry away.  Sure enough, that strawberry huller fell onto the picnic blanket unbeknownst to me and I knelt down directly on it.  One of the moms with us happens to be a health teacher, when she saw my boo boo her response was, "Oh my".

Tidy Victory -  Three stitches and a tetanus shot later from Urgent Care, I am all set on the straight path toward healing.  The cut was not as bad as I initially thought, but the doctor recommended some stitches for a neat and tidy heal.  If you do have an Urgent Care location in your area, they are FANTASTIC for somewhat-emergency visits if your care doesn't require your regular doctor or an ER trip.  I was in and out of that place in a little over an hour, which would have been several had I gone to our local ER.  I even got to watch some Love It or List It and received a complimentary bottle of red Gatorade for my queasiness (I'm a total wuss, it's embarrassing).

This may be one of the most common sense blog posts you have ever read.  You may start reading it and say to yourself, "Myself, I've known this for decades, I don't need to read a blog post about this."  If you are that person - it's okay to close out the window, I'm not offended.

However, if you are saying to yourself, "What?  Make my own croutons?  Why would I do that?  How do I do that?" like I did a few naive years ago, read on my friend.

Let me tell you that with food items that you have around your house just WAITING to be thrown away, you can create the most delicious, crunchy and tasty croutons.  You will NEVER buy them at the grocery store ever again.  That is, unless, you are having a crouton emergency and you need them immediately as this does take a few minutes to accomplish.  

If you are anything like me, I find it very easy to buy a bag of hamburger or hotdog rolls, use a few, but the remainder get lost in the back of my fridge.  They spend weeks in there sometimes, not moldy but no longer fresh.  Well folks, here is the solution to using that old bread - homemade parmesan basil croutons!

To make your own mouthwatering, cheesy croutons, here is what you need:
  • Bread, stale is best but you can use fresh, too (any will do, seriously, except tortillas, I've never tried this with tortillas)
  • 1/3 c. of olive oil
  • 1/2 c. of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. of granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp. of dried basil
Yummy, yummy, yummy!  The garlicky goodness is about to begin.  My husband loves to munch on these in the kitchen while I'm making dinner, or when they are hot and fresh out of the oven!

Now here is what you do:
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

  • In a medium size bowl, mix together the parmesan cheese, garlic and dried basil.  

  • Using a sharp cerated knife, cut up your bread into your desired crouton size.  I usually slice it up to 1-inch size cubes.  Sometimes if I am building a more rustic looking salad, I'll just tear the chunks of bread.  Be careful if you are cutting really stale bread, the knife can slip quite easily!  I say the staler the better, but you can also use fresh bread which will turn out crispy on the outside but soft on the inside.

Today's croutons were made from old hot dog rolls, I always have tons of these left over.
  • After all of your bread is cut up, put it on a large cookie sheet in a single layer.  This isn't like baking french fries where they need space - put them all on there.  Unless they are overflowing off of the cookie sheet, then you may want to make a second batch on another sheet.

  • Drizzle your 1/3 c. olive oil over the cut up bread and give it a nice toss with your hands.   I sometimes even swipe a handful of bread crumbs in the empty measuring cup to soak up the last of the olive oil and throw them back on the cookie sheet.

  • Sprinkle the cheese, garlic and basil mixture over the cut up bread and give another toss to make sure everything is coated.

  • Place the cookie sheet in the oven for about 15 minutes.  If you like your croutons crunchier, keep them in a bit longer.  Just watch and gauge as the croutons toast up.
  • When toasted to your liking, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let completely cool.

  • Serve on a crisp salad or toss a few in your soup in place of crackers.  Delicious!
This post gives you the know-how so you never have to throw old bread away again (unless it's moldy, of course).  So not only are you saving money by not having to buy prepackaged croutons (which can be expensive!) but ALSO by using up all of your bread products floating around the house.  Seriously people, I've used every type of bread imaginable except tortillas as mentioned above, or cornbread for that matter, but I'm sure that would be delicious, too. 

Bake these babies up and let me know how they turned out.  Even my toddler eats these and he only likes fish sticks!  

Linking up with......

My Pinterventures

A Peek Into My Paradise

Friday, August 7, 2015

Oh, Hey Friday - Mish Mash

Messy Messy Fail - The fruit flies in this house are insane right now.  All windows have a screen, there is no food or fruit out on the countertops and yet they continue to buzz around and make me want to tear my hair out.  I have my little glass of red wine with plastic wrap over the mouth to trap the little snots - you poke a few small holes so the flies can crawl in but not get out.  Doesn't quite seem to be doing the trick.  Back to the drawing board.

Tidy Victory - At story time this week, I was chasing the baby through the reference section when I happened to notice a rack of TV show DVD collections.  There it was, like a unicorn out of the mist, seasons 1-3 of Big Love from HBO.  They really knew how to create an amazing series - all of my favorites were on HBO.  First it was Sex and the City, then the Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and lastly Big Love.  Every plot and storyline was so intriguing and unique.  When I was in college, we all chipped in to purchase HBO so we could keep up.  Now I'm binge watching Big Love.

With my one summer job at Chautauqua Orchestra Camp approaching quickly, I am all over the place getting things ready and crossing items off of my list.  But that doesn't mean I can't find time for little things that make me happy.  Here's a mish mash list of smile-makers!

<One> The Punch Brothers - I recently heard this band open up for Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn at Chautauqua and was completely BLOWN AWAY.  A fun, current bluegrass sound with some serious edge.  Open up your mind and your ears and listen to them.  In all likelihood you won't be sorry.  If you are lucky enough to see them live, their musicianship is outstanding - they are all true masters on their instruments.  When they play together it's absolute magic (not to be cheesy, but it really is).

<Two> Crabtree & Evelyn Nantucket Briar Hand Therapy - One of my best friends gave this to me as a birthday gift - she knows how I love thick hand creams throughout the year, NOT just winter.  Girl knows what I like - it really helps my hands from drying out when I'm doing dishes 50 times a day.

<Three> Lemon No-Bake Icebox Cake - We had that same dear friend over for a birthday brunch this past weekend with her two boys and husband - my menu consisted of my breakfast bake, the Pioneer Woman's breakfast potatoes, champagne oranges and a Lemon No-Bake Icebox Cake.  She loves anything lemon and I knew a cold dessert would be tasty on a warm summer morning.  We loved it - here's the recipe.  

<Four> Wooden Spoon Across the Pot - I have heard that if you put a wooden spoon across a boiling pot it keeps the water from overflowing.  Whenever I boil potatoes, I can only assume my cupeth will runeth over.  I had to make a potato salad for a picnic last week and tried this old wives' tale, and it worked!

<Five> Stitch Fix - I have had a few friends try this and had mixed results, makes me really curious.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, Stitch Fix is a monthly subscription where you pay $20 for a month, fill out a survey about your style, and you receive a box with a few clothing items based on your survey.  The clothing items/accessories are supposedly picked by a personal stylist to fit you like a glove.  You then have three days to either A) return the clothes with the prepaid return tag if you do not like them B) purchase the items at the price listed.  Price points are typically range from $50 - $100 depending on the items, so this is clearly no Old Navy clearance rack.  Might be fun to try the subscription for a month.  Something different and new, especially when you have as limited clothing options as you do where I live.

Do you have a Stitch Fix subscription, and do you like it?  Please tell me about it!

In the meantime, have a great weekend with the ones that you love!

Linking up with.....

Bright on a Budget

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Favorite Shots

Messy Messy Fail - The side garden has been overtaken by irises.  Who knew they could be so overbearing?  They have spread themselves so far out, literally any way they could go except the garage.  Time to clean out some flower beds.  

Tidy Victory - I had noticed my shower curtain liner was starting to get slimy and mildewy.  When this happens I am very tempted to throw it in the garbage and buy a new one.  But that would be wasteful, and I am frugal (cheap!).  So my trick is - throw it in the washing machine, sometimes with some dirty towels, on a hot water cycle with the usual dose of detergent and one cup of white vinegar.  Good as new!  As soon as the washing cycle is done, simply hang the shower liner back up to dry.  I found that pin here.

A corn field in rural Western New York

Linking up with.....

5 Minutes for Mom

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Facebook Personal Profile vs. Page

Messy Messy Fail - Remember that delicious garlicky shrimp recipe from this post?  I overcooked the shrimp - there's nothing worse!  I can't recall why I wasn't paying attention, I knew they would cook up quickly.  Chewy chewy chewy.

Tidy Victory - The toddler (who really isn't a toddler anymore, gotta come up with a new title for him) has FINALLY started trying new foods outside of his usual staples which are: dinosaur chicken nuggets, yogurt, cheese sticks, apples, bananas and veggie pasta with parmesan cheese.  My goodness he ate peas the other day!  

If you have been checking out my Facebook transformation as of lately, you will see that I have gone from having a personal Love MyMess profile to a Love MyMess page, and finally with a personal profile with my name and a LoveMy Mess page.  Not to mention my own personal profile for friends and family but we'll keep that out of the mix for now.  Are you confused yet?  

Let me start off by saying I wish I had never changed a thing to begin with.  

This all stemmed from doing research about Facebook business pages (which apparently are encouraged by FB for all businesses) versus keeping a personal profile for my blog.  I like to play by the rules - even though this blog is a hobby for me, I didn't want to violate any regulations and get kicked on my blogging fanny.  Aren't the Facebook police always watching?  Maybe in my paranoid world.....

Anyways, it seemed as though the best way for me to get my blog out there via Facebook was to turn my blog personal profile (Love MyMess) into a page.  There would be a few pros and cons into doing this:

  • Greater visibility (so Facebook said) of my posts
  • Access to page promotions
  • Access to stats about persons reached, etc.
  • All of my previous posts would be deleted
I really thought this was the way to go for me - I just wanted to have greater access to audience and tools for spreading the word.

So one stressful night, I sat down at my computer, logged into my Facebook Love MyMess personal account and switched over to a page.  I was able to download all of my information and posts onto my computer as it suggested I did.  I assumed I would be able to upload this information and posts to my new page after it was set up.

I now had a bright and beautiful new page.  But wait, where did my wall go?  What do you mean I cannot like other comments or posts of my friends?  Hold on one second here...........

Perhaps it was my naivety or lack of research (I thought I had done enough, but apparently not) but I discovered turning my personal blog profile into a page was NOT a good choice for me.  Here were the new pros and cons:

New Pros:
  • a much more professional looking page
  • ability to boost a post or promote on Facebook (for a price)
  • access to engagement stats, persons reached, etc.
New Cons:
  • no more wall for liking, sharing or basically any personal interaction with my friends who were now just "likes" on my page
  • no more search access - you are a page not a "person"
  • no more personal contact except for messages or direct posts on your page to your friends (which are now "likes")
  • your posts do not make it to your "likes" walls or the public walls as easily as you think
I always enjoyed using Facebook to provide personal interaction with people be it through pictures, likes, comments or sharing their posts.  With a page, this type of interaction was no longer possible.  I could display my posts, share things that I found on the internet (not from Facebook, no longer possible) and view stats, but that was about it.

Remember all those posts and information Facebook encouraged me to download onto my computer?  There was no way to upload it back to Facebook.  It was not just a useless folder on my desktop that I could sadly look through whenever I wanted, but that was it.  No restoring any of it.

I tried posting one of my new blog posts to the page and then had my mom, who "liked" my page, look for it on her wall.  This was a huge reason why I wanted to change to a page, better visibility!  No where to be found.  We tried several times - posting on the page wall again, refreshing her window, they weren't showing up.  

I was now doing more research online and finding other bloggers and authors felt the same way - they missed their personal profile.  They regretted making the change and were considering starting over from scratch with a personal profile again.

I did not want to do this and inconvenience all of my "likes" (formerly friends) to have to "like" me again.  I contacted Facebook (which is almost impossible to do, lots of searching to find the correct contact link) and after several correspondences, they reinstated my blog personal profile.  Kicker was, it had to have my real name, I couldn't just use my blog name (personal profiles are representing individuals, not businesses) as I formerly had (which was basically against the rules).

So now, I had a personal profile for my own personal use (friends & family) with my name, a personal profile for my blog with my name and a page for Love MyMess.  

People now get confused between my personal profile and my blog personal profile since they both have my name.  The reason I don't just delete one is because I do not want to have pictures of my sons public on the blog to maintain their own privacy.  I use the blog personal profile for the interaction I lost with just having the page.  

Also, I wasn't too thrilled initially about my last name being associated with the blog, but oh well.  I cannot change the name on either the profiles or the page - Facebook restricts you from making more than one name change over a period of time.

What is the point of this post?  Hopefully to give you a little insight if you are thinking about doing the same thing.  Once you make a drastic change on Facebook it is really difficult to undo, so REALLY make sure you do your research.  You want to make the right change for you.

As I stated before, I wish I had never changed my blog personal profile to a page - all this confusion could have been avoided.  I am sure there are other pros and cons I am missing when it comes to these different options on Facebook.

And now, here is where you come in!

I'd love to see your comments with other points I may have overlooked, so start commenting!  Has anyone else had a similar experience?  Do you use a Facebook personal profile or page?  

Thanks for reading!

Linking up with......

Polka-Dotty Place

This Is How We Roll Party Button

Google Plus Party

The Diary of a Real Housewife

A Peek Into My Paradise