Saturday, April 27, 2013

DIY: Circle Punch Paper Mache Bowl

So, I hoard paper circles.

They're kinda like pogs for crafty people. I bought a 1" and 2" circle punch last year and now any and all scrap paper, birthday/Christmas cards, magazine ads, etc. could possibly end up looking like swiss cheese.

A couple of weekends ago, the weather sucked and Brody had slipped into a coma, so I decided to use a handful of the circles to make a paper mache bowl.

This paper mache recipe makes a lot of goop. Store in a tupperware and you can basically use it forever.
  • Combine ½ C. flour and 2 C. cold water in a bowl
  • Boil 2 C. of water in a sauce pan and add the flour and cold water mixture
  • Bring to a boil again
  • Remove from heat and add 3 Tbsp. of sugar
  • Let cool (paste will thicken as it cools)

Find a bowl of some sorts and cover in saran wrap. Be mindful of the shape of the bowl around the base. If you're using thicker cardstock and and the bowl doesn't have a gradual curve, you'll have some issues.

I used a paintbrush and just started layering on the circles. I screwed up the first bowl by using black circles with lighter colored ones. Depending on the kinda of paper, dark colors may bleed. Beware.

Drying time is a bit tricky. If you let the paper dry completely while it's still on the actual bowl, sometimes the saran wrap will stick to the bowl and you have to carefully, but aggressively chisel away at the adhesive in between layers. If you slide your creation off the bowl too early, sometimes it warps a bit while it finishes drying. I guess find your happy medium.

Once you peel the plastic wrap off, you can either be done, or create another layer of circles on the inside. I opted to use all one color for the inside of the bowl. Once completely dry, you're good to go!

Are you a circle punch junkie too? Here are some other DIY projects to do with your circles.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mommyhood: Week 21

My lil man is 21 weeks old already. Quite a bit has happened over the last couple weeks... lots of firsts, new routines and discoveries.

Side note... saw this idea on Pinterest, but didn't get around posting it last week.

First of all, thank God the sun decided to make an appearance. During my lunch hour this week, Zora said the hell with going potty and eating and decided sunning was more important. Can't say I blame her. So I brought our lunches out on the deck and we absorbed some Vitamin D.

That evening, we even took a nice walk as a family, dug out the patio furniture and hooked up Brody's swing. Although sleepy, he seemed to really enjoy it.

Brody started on solids last week Tuesday. Mama Z cooked/mashed him up some carrots and I got to feed him on my lunch hour. He did surprisingly well and caught on super fast. We did carrots for the first four days, peas the next four and now we're on squash. Right now he has a pretty consistent eating schedule. Oatmeal and 6 ounces for breakfast, 1/2 jar food and 6 ounces for lunch, 6 ounces for a snack about 3:30, then the rest of the jar and 6 ounces for dinner.

He likes to eat. Takes after his mama.

Brody also discovered his feet last Saturday. He'll tug at them whenever he can, but it's only when he's butt naked on his changing pad or in the tub that he likes to stick them in his mouth. For once, I'll apply my filter here and not post any photos, but my view lately is of Brody's naked little undercarriage up in the air while he gnaws on his toes. Odd, but kinda adorable.

Discovered Brody is like a bird. Naps best when you throw a blanket over his head. No joke. But then again, I like to sleep with a blanket wadded up on my pillow around my head so..... is that hereditary?

We're going to be in trouble when this kid is mobile. He has to grab everything in sight... then stick it in his mouth. Front of his shirt, blanket, bib, toys, my hair, hands, toes... directly into mouth. Hoover.

There has always been this fascination with Zora... he stares her down whenever she's nearby. Thank God my sweet girl is so laid back and not aggressive. In the last week, Brody has ripped a fistful of fur out and had a death grip on her jowls. She just stares at me like "control your offspring." Such a sweetheart.

She's doing her part though to make sure Brody builds up his immunity. Whenever she approaches him for kisses, this crazy kid opens his mouth as wide as it can go and she basically licks the inside of his mouth until I can break it up. No judging.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Homemade (Healthy) Dog Treat Recipes

I'm one of those people who cares way more about what I feed my dog than what I put in my own mouth. My pup loves the dried chicken treats, but I swear there's a damn warning or recall on them like every other week. So from now on, only homemade treats for the fur child. All of these recipes have some healthy/beneficial component and are 100% Zora approved...

Peanut Butter + Oats Cookies

2 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. rolled oats
1/3 C. natural peanut butter (or regular)
1 1/4 C. hot water
Cookie cutters

Preheat oven to 350°. In one bowl, combine flour and oats. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and hot water. Combine mixtures and stir well.

Drop dough on lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out dough anywhere from 1/8” to 1/4” thick. Cut into desired shapes. Bake on greased baking sheet for 20-30 minutes. Store in airtight container.

Oats contain more protein per calorie than any other common grain. They have anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties. Oats also have a calming effect on the nervous system (great for anxious dogs!) and help strengthen the spleen, pancreas, heart and immune system. Lastly, they are rich in silicon and help make bones strong.

Peanut Butter Cookies

2 C. whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 C. natural peanut butter (or regular)
1 C. skim milk
Cookie cutters

Preheat oven to 375°. In one bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk. Combine mixtures and stir well.

Drop dough on lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out dough anywhere from 1/8” to 1/4” thick. Cut into desired shapes. Bake on greased baking sheet for 20 minutes. Store in airtight container.

Peanut butter is rich in oil, protein and fatty acids. These ingredients, along with vitamins H and K, give dogs a shiny coat. Vitamin E also helps strengthen your dog's immune system.

Peanut Butter + Banana Cookies

1 large egg
1 large or 2 small banana, peeled and mashed
1/3 C. creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 C. rolled oats
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 300°. Combine large egg, banana, peanut butter and syrup and mix thoroughly until smooth. Stir in flour and oats.

Drop dough on lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out dough to 1/4" thick. Cut into desired shapes. Brush tops with egg whites. Bake on greased baking sheet for 25-30 minutes or until hard and crunchy. Store in airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Bananas are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins C and B6, manganese and folate. They contain almost no fat, very low in sodium and are loaded with potassium.

Gimme Kisses Cookies

2 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. rolled oats
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes or fresh parsley
2 large eggs
1/2 C. water
1/2 C. non-fat dry milk
1 C. peanut butter

Preheat oven to 300°. In large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs lightly; add in water and peanut butter. Gently add the wet to the dry ingredients.

Drop dough on lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out dough and cut into desired shapes. (You can also bake the dough as one giant cookie and break it apart after it's done.) Bake on greased baking sheet for 20-30 minutes or until golden. If you want the cookies to look shiny, you can also brush a thin coat of egg whites on them before baking.

Parsley aids in digestion and will also give your pup fresh breath. Parsley is also high in vitamins A and C.

Pumpkin Cookies

1 (15 oz.) can organic pumpkin puree (NOT the spiced pie filling)
3/4 C. dry, uncooked cream of wheat (or rice cereal if wheat sensitive)
1/2 C. dry powdered milk

*Instead of cream of wheat, you can add 3/4 cup of rolled oats.

Preheat oven to 300°. In large bowl, mix ingredients together thoroughly.

Drop dough on lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out dough and cut into desired shapes. Bake on greased baking sheet for 15-20 minutes.

Pumpkin is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins C and E, which help to reduce cataracts and heart problems. Pumpkin is also great for weight loss since it acts as a healthy filler.

Vegan Biscuits

1 banana, mashed
1/2 C. peanut butter
1 C. rolled oats
1/2 C. applesauce
1 1/4 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

*If your dog is allergic to wheat, try substituting amaranth, rice, millet, quinoa, almond, corn, oat or potato flours/starches.

Preheat oven to 350°. In large bowl, mix ingredients together thoroughly.

Drop dough on lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out dough and cut into desired shapes. Bake on greased baking sheet for 10-15 minutes, until edges brown. Cool and refrigerate.

Cinnamon is good for your dog's heart since it improves circulation. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which helps relieve joint pain. Cinnamon helps lower cholesterol levels and regulates blood sugar. Perfect for diabetic pups!

Two-Ingredient Treats

2 C. whole wheat flour
2 (4 oz.) jars of pureed baby food - beef, blueberry, sweet potato, chicken, etc.

*Make sure baby food does not have traces of onions, raisins, grapes or artificial preservatives.

Preheat oven to 350°. In large bowl, mix ingredients together thoroughly.

Drop dough on lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out dough to 1/4" thick and cut into desired shapes. Bake on greased baking sheet about 1/2" apart for 20-25 minutes. Cool and store in paper bag. (Storing in an air-tight container will make them soft, but still edible.)

Pumpkin Apple Treats

3 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 C. oatmeal, chopped in food processor
2 sm. or 1 lg. apple, finely chopped or grated
1 egg
1/2 C. pumpkin
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 C. cold water

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix flour and oatmeal. Add apples, egg, pumpkin, brown sugar and water. Drop dough on lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out dough to 1/4" thick and cut into desired shapes.

Bake for 35 minutes. Then, turn off oven and leave baking sheets inside for an additional 35 to 45 minutes to crisp.

Frozen Peanut Butter Banana Pops

3 (6 oz.) containers of plain, low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 C. peanut butter
1 (4 oz.) jar banana baby food
1 Tbsp. honey

In medium bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly. Pour mixture into small cups (i.e. Dixie Cups) or silicone mold. Freeze.

Once frozen, peel away paper cup and serve!

Canine Cookies

1 C. hot water or broth
1 envelope dry milk
2 tsp. bouillon

3/4 C. oil
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
5 C. whole what flour

Combine first set of ingredients. Add second set of ingredients. Stir to form a very stiff dough. Roll out and cut into shapes. Bake at 300° for 40 minutes, turning cookies over after 20 minutes.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Brody's 4 Month Appointment

Little man had his 4 (and 1/2) month appointment today. This kid is a frickin' champ! Nurses poked him in both thighs, he let out one cry and then immediately switched over to tease mode with his flirty lil grin. Yeah buddy!

Brody currently fits in all sorts of different clothing sizes... anywhere from 3-6 to 18 months. At only 19 weeks, he weighed in today at 19 lbs 2.8 oz, measured 26 inches long and had a head circumference of 43.5 cm (93rd, 66th and 86th percentiles respectively). That's my tank.  :)

November 29 9 lbs 1.9 oz 21 inches
December 3 9 lbs 2 oz 21 inches
December 10 9 lbs 2.4 oz 21 inches
January 3 11 lbs 9.2 oz 21.5 inches
February 7 15 lbs 4.4 oz n/a
February 12 15 lbs 5.8 oz 24.5 inches
April 15 19 lbs 2.8 oz 26 inches

Doctor gave us the go ahead to start on solids. Brody's been on 8 oz every 4 hours for a few months already. Even though he's only eating 4 times a day, I'm sure he's ready for a little change. Hmm... what shall his first meal be?

Still the best baby ever! Bedtime falls between 7 and 8:00 PM... then he wakes up around 5:45 every morning like clockwork. Last Saturday he woke up around 5 AM, jabbered for a bit, then went back to sleep until 7:30. This kid rules.

Still isn't a huge fan of tummy time, but is getting stronger and stronger every day. He isn't too anxious to roll over, but is pretty stoked about his toes that he found on Saturday. So for now, it's just naked dancing on the changing table.

Brody loves his ExerSaucer! He can also grip most of his toys pretty well, so I dug out anything that can hook onto those plastic chain links and attached them to his saucer. This may be a bit premature, but I gathered up all the bathtub toys in hopes that he'd like to play with them as much as I do. Unfortunately, he's still pretty excited about just chewing on the wash cloth. Nothing says I can't play with them still... right?


And holy crap screecher creature! I LOVE his noises! He's become so chatty and giggly... you can't help but smile. He's my little ray of sunshine. xoxo

PS... 3:28 is the best noise ever. I just about piss myself every time.

I thought Brody's head was getting um, un-flatter, but his doctor still said it was pretty bad. She's referring us to Mary Free Bed so they can monitor progress and determine if he'll need a helmet eventually.

Daycare with Miss Pam is still going extremely well and he just loves his time with Grandma Z on Tuesdays. I'm so thankful that he's in such good hands while I'm at work all day.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Doggy Miracle

If you know me or my dog and/or have followed my blog for awhile... you know that sometimes Miss Zora is a bit, um... disobedient. Specifically when she doesn't want to come inside. Most of the time, she's just in the backyard being a little shit, but there are the rare instances when she gets loose. Usually this means Clay and I sprinting around the neighborhood, hopping over fences, climbing in and out of brush piles and eventually cornering Zora behind some shed somewhere and have to carry her back home.

So Zora's been going in and out all day today. Go out, run around, come in, repeat. A little while ago, I let her out and went to check on her like 10 minutes later. That's when I saw that someone had opened up the 10 foot chain link utility gate to our backyard. No joke. The giant pin was pulled out and the gates were wide open.

Yeah. Someone intentionally opened up our gate and left it that way. Now I'm super paranoid.

So naturally I panicked because Zora knows no boundaries and we live near a pretty busy road. I yelled for Clay and when I went to show him that the gate was open, I saw Zora's white fluffy butt way over in the neighbors yard. Clay called for her and get this...... she came back into our yard and all the way inside!

I know most of you are like "yeah, that's what dogs do. You call, they come running." Um no. Not Zora. She knows being out of her yard is a big no-no and will avoid us like the plague once she's free. That fact that she came running on the first call is AMAZING! This will probably never happen again so I'm going to relish in how awesome this is.

Just thought I'd share how proud I am of my fur baby.... minus the fact that she also rolled in poop during her journey. Whatever. I'll take it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Healthcare... I Effing Hate You.

I have never had good luck with doctors. Ever. My records are never transfered on time, appointments are unexpectedly changed or deleted, test results get lost, symptoms are disregarded so tumors are left untreated, prescription errors, insurance claims ignored... you name it, it has happened to me. So the relationship I have with my primary physician's front office is usually a rough one due to some name calling and screaming matches.

The latest drama includes my super sore, infected ingrown toenail gone wrong. The slightest pressure on the inside of my right foot is enough to bring me to tears. Obviously it needs to be taken care of. To give you the reader's digest version of what I've gone through these past two weeks, I've made 23 phone calls to Priority Health, urgent care, the hospital and three DIFFERENT doctors offices. I even drove to Muskegon at 6 AM the other morning to see a nurse that did absolutely nothing for me. In short, I have been denied care by every single place for one reason or another. You're a new patient. We don't have your files. You can't see an OB and a MD. We can't refer you. There's a long wait. We can't help you, seek elsewhere. You need a referral. We have a new computer system, so I can't add you.

Bottom line, I'm effed. And pissed.

So God bless our healthcare system. One that denies care for the stupidest effing reasons ever and employs some of the dumbest people I've ever met. Sorry family and friends that work in healthcare, but after the past two weeks, I'm ready to amputate my own toe and seek further treatment from a witch doctor.

On a slightly related topic, let's chat about medical records. Dear parents, please be your child(ren)'s health advocate and keep very detailed records regarding all procedures, vaccinations, check-ups, tummy aches, etc. Don't hesitate for a second to interrogate the crap out of the doctor so you know exactly what's going on. The only records both my sister and I can rely on are the ones kept by our mother because our childhood doctors did a piss poor job at accurately documenting information. You can only imagine the problems we ran into with sports physicals, school immunization checks and so on.

I was recently updating my vaccination spreadsheet for Brody and found out that, at only four months old, he already has a few discrepancies in his file. I pulled out every medical document I have on him (and trust me, I do have every single one) and discovered the following:

  • There's no record of the Hepatitis B vaccinnation he got at birth.
  • They did not administer a Hepatitis B vaccine during his one month appointment (which I'm told he should've gotten.) Yes? No?
  • The vaccination printout that I received from the hospital stated he should've received six vaccinations during his two month appointment. I was given seven vaccination "follow up/side effect" handouts, his appointment summary listed eight vaccines and the MySpectrum summary only lists four.

What the eff is going on?! When you choose to work in healthcare, do you not realize that you are dealing with people's lives and their well-being?! The shit you do (or are suppose to be doing) is extremely important and should be taken seriously and handled in a timely, accurate manner. 


So have a great weekend everyone. I'm just gonna sit around and wait for my toe to fall off. Maybe then someone can squeeze me in.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Link Party Features

Thank you to everyone who came out and linked up at the #biggestlinkpartyever and to Ginger Snap Crafts for hosting! Along with the 40+ co-hosts, we had 782 links showcasing various DIYs, crafts, recipes, home makeovers, etc. These are my favorites:

Freezer paper stencil Tshirts from Delightfully Noted

Brick fireplace makeover from In Designer Jeans

Skinny Oreo milkshake from Will Cook for Smiles

Lego birthday party from I Dig Pinterest and I Did it Too!

Log cut coasters from Quintonwench

DIY chevron rug from Pneumatic Addict

Custom soap dispensers from In Designer Jeans
Target mirror hack from Pneumatic Addict

Peanut butter brownie cupcakes from It's A Lovely Life

Chocolate strawberry dessert wrap from Mommy on Demand

Friday, April 5, 2013

New Do + Squeaky Tank

I did it. I went and got my pony cut off. Much sadness... kinda.

I went over to Great Clips in Holland after work and showed the lady this picture while explaining all the reasons I fail at being a girl. By the way, did you know you can get $12 hair cuts there?! Yeah, me neither! This greatly pleases my Dutch I-don't-care-what-my-hair-looks-like alter ego.

Anyways, she hacked about 9-inches off and thinned the crap out of my hair. I feel incredibly bald... and missing my pony... but so far I like it. Not a fan of having to spend more then 30 seconds on my hair in the morning, but it'll be worth having my date night hair differ from my 9-5 hair or "hey, it's Tuesday" hair.

And since no post is complete without referencing Lil Tank, here are some photos Clay shot during their so-called "man time."

I also finally captured Brody's new noises on camera. He's like a dog... is super entertaining until you put a camera in front of him; then he freezes. But check out this video and audio clip of my squeaky lil guy! Love it!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Finding Me Time: Body + Beauty Battles

I love that Lil Tank runs on such a predictable schedule. Wakes up at 6:00 AM, eats 8 oz every 4 hours, back to sleep between 7-8:00 PM. It does suck a little bit that he goes to sleep so early. We have a lot of kisses and cuddles that have to fit in the few hours I have with him after work. However, I know that a couple hours in the evening to myself or spent with Clay is healthy to have.

Lately I use some of that available time to workout. No more excuses for not fitting into my clothes. I found the BeFit YouTube channel has a ton of workout videos and started Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred about a week and a half ago.

So far I really like it. Isn't so hard it makes you want to quit, yet I feel like I got a really good workout in. Best part, 25 minutes. No excuses for not being able to fit that into my day. I love how it reminds me of the abuse my body took during all those years of sports. Lunges and squats are accompanied by the lovely sound and sensation of my knees grinding and popping. 

So far I'm down 35 pounds with about another 15 to go to get down to my pre-baby weight. SIDE NOTE: Be sure to check out I Like Beer and Babies on Monday, April 22. Me and my inner fatty grew a pair and submitted some photos for her "Body by Baby" segment. Eek!

In other self-improvement news, I have this itch to do something drastic to my hair. But then I think back to the two other times I chopped off my hair and the growing out mullet stages that lasted F-O-R-E-V-E-R and the appeal disappears... a bit. 

Yes, did this. Twice.

Here are my issues regarding hair though... 
  1. I CANNOT style my own hair. At all. I can't even use bobby pins properly. I was born without that girl gene apparently. I rely on my younger sister to do my hair (and make-up) for special occasions.
  2. I have this super thick hair that tangles so easily. So instead of dealing with it, I throw it up into a wet ponytail (unbrushed) after I shower every night. I know, BIG no-no.
  3. There's this overwhelming anxiety issue I have if hair is in my face. No joke.
That's why you don't ever see me without my hair in a ponytail. I figured a giant messy knot thrown up on top of my head is better than this frizzy, disheveled mess falling in my face. But what does one do without the skills and know-how or the help of little sister when wanting to look nice the 2-3 times a year I give a shit?! AAAHHHH INNER TURMOIL! 

I need someone to move into my house that does my hair in the morning, watches Brody and Zora all day, then kicks my ass into shape at night. Any takers?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wow Me Wednesday - Link Party Co-Host

Hey everyone, I'm co-hosting with Ginger Snap Crafts and numerous other fantastic bloggers for "Wow Me Wednesday"... a place to link up and show off all your latest DIYs, recipes, home improvement projects, etc. Join in and be sure to visit/comment on other links! 

Fellow co-hosts:

These are the party rules: The "rules" are simple. Please consider sharing this party on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. Link up to your post, not your main blog. Must be something made by you! (No etsy shops, giveaway or business links, please.) Visit other links, make new friends and most of all, have fun!

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