Monday, January 30, 2012

Tie Secret Love Note

My sweet sweet husband wears a tie at least 4 days a week.  I snuck one of his ties out of his closet and left a little note.  This is on the back of the tie - just for him!

I first embroidered it on my machine - you could totally do this by hand if you wanted to.  My  hand embroidery isn't the best, though, so I chose my machine.  This is on cheap felt.

I just cut a heart around it - and held it up to the tie to make sure it wasn't too big.

Pin it on the tie - making sure you don't catch the front.  Stitching on the front will give away your secret!!

I stitched around the edge and was done!

I can't wait for him to find it.

You could hide a little message on so many things.  I love that it is simple and subtle and secret!

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Link parties I participate in: 504 Main,  A bowl full of lemons, Be Different Act Normal,  Blue Cricket Design, Craft-O-Maniac, I Heart Naptime, I Should Be MoppingLolly Jane Boutique, Ninth Street NotionsSerenity Now, Sew ChattySkip to my Lou, Someday Crafts, Tatertots and Jello, The Girl CreativeThrifty Decor Chick, Today's Creative Blog

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Grateful Sunday

There are some weeks that I have to remind myself that I love being a mother - this was one of those weeks.  At least I have enough experience in raising children to know that everything is a stage that comes and goes.  Everything - the bad and the good!  I am grateful for this perspective and that my husband knows how to pick up the slack when he sees that I'm burnt out.  I'm grateful that he can sense it before I even say anything (it might have something to do with me snapping at him a little, maybe).  I am grateful that this is a new week and I have three kids that I am absolutely crazy about and only 9 weeks until my heart grows even that much more!
What are you grateful for?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekly Pinterest

I noticed that Cheryl at a pretty cool life has done some posts on how Pinterest has effected her week!  I think it is a brilliant idea for a post and have done the same thing!  I love pinning away, but I try to only pin ideas that I will actually use and not just dream about.  Well, there is actually a lot of dreaming but I like to think of it as practical  dreaming :).

Thanks to Pinterest, I've done the following this week:

  • Added a pin button to the bottom of my posts thanks to Julie Ann Art.
  • Cleaned my Dyson - thanks to Ask Anna

  • Organized my Christmas wrapping paper using toilet paper rolls, thanks to this pin:

  • Made Orange Pull-Apart Coffee Cake - thanks to the Whimsical Cupcake.  I stayed up until 10pm (practically the middle of the night at our home) to finish this and my pregnant body could not thank me enough!
If you'd like to see what else I'm pinning - please follow me here!  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Garage Organization Part 1

I shouldn't have titled this part 1 -  I think I just jinxed this project!  Anyways, our garage is a mess.  So messy, in fact, that once my dad drove right by our house while the garage was open knowing that Tom or I would ever keep a garage that looked like that.  To my credit - it is my husband's domain and I don't really touch it. 

During Christmas break, Tom started to do something about it.  He drew up plans and thought about the needs of the garage - now and 10 years from now.  

We already had these shelves against one wall - they are getting a complete overhaul.  Look how effective they are!

He started by building a work bench along one wall.  His saw is sunk a bit so the wood can lay flat.  

Tom and I organize very differently and as much as I'd like to get my hands on this - it's his and this is how he likes it.  He doesn't want it pretty or tidied up - he has made it clear to me this is how he likes it.  And since I'm a good wife, I let it be.

Next up are these shelves - we want them more of a custom size.  There is too much space between each shelf.

I'm assuming we'll be working on this for the next year.  Tom works a lot and on a lot of  Saturdays - which means project time is limited, but this is something he wants and I would LOVE!

Stay tuned . . . .

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Ode to Oats

The other day, my friend told me that she could never get her kids to eat oats?  WHAT?  We eat some type of oatmeal at least 2 times a week sometimes more!  I've never heard my kiddos complain and they often choose it over a cold cereal.  I think of oatmeal as a neutral flavor - how can you not like it?  Then I remember when I was a kid.  I was served oatmeal with milk and brown sugar.  That was the only way we ever had it.  My sister HATED it!  I loaded up the brown sugar, of course, and tolerated it.  There was really nothing to love or hate.  Fast forward to my sister's baby shower about 5 years ago.  There was a catered breakfast and part of it was an oatmeal bar.  "Weird," I thought, "who would choose oatmeal over pancakes, doughnuts, eggs . . . "  Then I looked at what they had to offer, tried it, and oatmeal became a different experience.  It wasn't something to be tolerated - you could enjoy it.  There were so many toppings and I had never even thought of having different toppings - peanut butter, coconut, granola, all fruits, nuts, etc. etc.  YUMMY!

I have my 3 favorite ways to eat oatmeal, but there are oh so many more.  The beauty of oats is that they are so versatile and you can change it to fit what you and your family love.

Baked Oatmeal - G. usually claps when I make this.  It is like a warm oatmeal raisin cookie.  I usually use Our Best Bites recipe - but use way less butter and sugar.  Skinny taste just posted a recipe for Baked Oatmeal with blueberries and bananas that I can't wait to try.

Overnight Oats - yum yum yum!  I use equal parts yogurt, milk, and oats (usually 1/3 cup each per person).  Mix them up at night and put them in the refrigerator.  In the pictures below, I used plain yogurt and chocolate mint soy milk.  My favorite is with vanilla almond milk.  Soaking it overnight makes the oats creamy like a pudding!  In the morning, I stir it up and top it with fruit

We usually don't eat this much in the winter - but it is perfect for the summer!

Create your own Oatmeal Bar - every Sunday, my kids ask for oatmeal and they all have their ways that they like it.  Just boil up a pot of oats (please don't insult your family by using flavored instant oats) and top it with their favorite toppings.  I. likes it with peanut butter, coconut, and brown sugar.  G. likes it with raisins and peanut butter and banana.  M. likes it with almond butter, craisins, brown sugar, and coconut.  My favorite way is apple sauce, peanut butter, and chia seeds.

Oats really "stick to my ribs."  They fill me up and help me go hours without going hungry.  I try to always add a protein and a fruit to mine.  You can google health benefits of oats and learn all about how awesome they are for you!

We like them creamy, cold, crunchy, hot, topped with our favorite fruits, or mixed with yogurt, etc. etc.  I think if you don't like them, or your kids don't like them, you aren't really giving them a chance.  Tom's parents called them (and still do) "mush" and I'm not sure I could ever like something called mush and I for sure couldn't convince my kids to eat mush!  That might be a reason to call off oats, but I'm not really sure even that would count - try them, eat them, get them in your diet!!

What is your favorite way to eat oats?

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Grateful Sunday

Source: via Laurel on Pinterest

Today, I am grateful for:

  • friends that stop by during the day
  • dinner at a friends home
  • M. singing songs and rubbing my face while I'm trying to get her to sleep
  • fresh,warm, homemade bread - a total craving this pregnancy!
  • this is Tom's busy week at work - and then we might have a break
  • a car full of teenage girls - I love just listening
  • finding a forgotten gift card
What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tom's Favorite Salsa

I'm guest posting at Ruby Jean's today and sharing Tom's favorite salsa recipe!  Please, come find me over there!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mommy and Me Journals

Sometimes I feel that I am not able to give each one of my kiddos the individual attention that they need - that they deserve.  I, of course, feel super guilty about this.  At the start of this school year I decided to do something about it.  I made these "mommy and me journals."  

It is a simple composition book that I covered with scrapbook paper.  I personalized it with their names (but of course, I'm showing you the back so you don't see their names :)

In the back is a simple ribbon hot glued to the inside cover - it's our bookmark.

My kids write a letter to me and let me know what they are thinking.  They let me know what they wanted to tell me but I was too busy running around to listen.  They write and I take the time to listen.

This is I.'s page telling me what bugs her:

G. is writing:

And then I write back and tell them how wonderful they are.  I just set it on their bed when I'm done.

And they set it on my bed when they are done.  We are averaging about one letter every other week.  But I love it - I hope this reinforces how incredible they are and how much I value our relationship.

It doesn't ease all the guilt I have about not giving them individual attention - but it is one step closer!

Link parties I participate in: 504 MainA bowl full of lemons, Be Different Act Normal,  Blue Cricket Design, Craft-O-Maniac, I Heart Naptime,  Lolly Jane Boutique, Ninth Street NotionsSerenity Now, Sew Chatty, Simply Sweet HomeSkip to my Lou, Someday Crafts, Tatertots and Jello, The Blackberry VineThe Girls CreativeThrifty Decor Chick, Today's Creative Blog

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Grateful Sunday

28 week baby bump

Today, I am grateful for:
  • When my husband works on Saturdays, he can take some kids into his office.  The kids are good and Tom can see them but still get some work done.
  • yummy fresh baked  banana bread.  My friend was over while I was making it and had never heard of some of the things we do.  Is it weird to put peanut butter on banana bread?  Is it weird to put cream cheese on banana bread?  Is it weird to toast banana bread the day after you made it to warm it up?  She had NEVER heard of anyone doing any of that and I have never thought twice about doing it.
  • watching my kids excel when they work hard
  • the gender of this unborn baby is a surprise - we won't know until it is born.  I've done this with all my babies and this time it just seems a bit more exciting!
  • Thank you LaborLooks for the hospital gown.  I can't wait to see the faces of the nurses as I tell them I have my own designer gown!
Check back later to see the winner of the Dove Dark Chocolate Gift Basket giveaway - or enter if you have not done so!  

What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dove Dark Chocolate Gift Basket Giveaway

Congratulations Sharstin!  You are the winner!  Please email me at with your shipping address and we can get this taken care of right away!

In the interview I had with Food Network's Claire Robinson, she let me know that one of her goals for 2012 is to make smart choices with sugar.  Dove Dark Chocolate is a very smart choice and has provided a gift basket filled with chocolate as a giveaway to Ducks in a Row readers!  Yum-o!  Chocolate and healthy?  I questioned it, but Claire explained it a little to me.  My kiddos about jumped for joy when our basket came.  It is STOCKED with delicious chocolate!

If you are interested in winning this awesome gift basket you must be a follower of Ducks in a Row.  Then, just leave a comment.

For additional entries - like Ducks in a Row facebook fan page HERE and leave a comment letting me know.
OR follow me on Pinterest HERE and leave a comment letting me know.  OR do both!

The Giveaway will end on Sunday, January 15th.  Good luck!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Interview with Food Network's Claire Robinson

Do you make resolutions every January that are forgotten by February?  All of us do!  Sometimes I think we just get so excited to make changes that our goals set us up for failure.  Celebrity chef and Food Network star Claire Robinson offers tips to bloggers on how to make resolutions that you actually want to keep.  She will provide information on everything from how to make healthier eating choices to tips on establishing what matters most for your upcoming year. 

Luckily, I got to be one of the bloggers to interview her.  The following is a clip of her and I talking.  I'm on the phone, she's on camera.

Direct Link:

In case you don't feel like watching, here are some of Claire's suggestions for keeping your 2012 resolutions:

GET EDUCATED TO MAKE HEALTHIER EATING CHOICES-  A common mistake is that people make drastic decisions (such as instantly turning vegan) that are difficult to keep.  In order to make healthy choices last for the long-term, you must make taste a priority. 
 - Make a commitment to give back to your community, focusing on an organization or project that you feel passionate about to kick off the new year.   
To reinforce your long-term health goals, you should implement a built-in reward system that allows you to celebrate the small victories and keeps you motivated.  

She has great ideas - including portioning out your snacks (which I've already posted about!)  This interview was sponsored by Dove Chocolate which is hosting a fantastic giveaway that should be up tomorrow!

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