Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Favorites

This week I thought I would highlight some other bloggers who inspired me with their words, food, fashion or crafts this week!

{One} I found Cooking with Vinyl via some link up this week on a day when nachos were the feature.  I am a total sucker for nachos especially the everything but the kitchen sink kind and these look amazing!  Plus the author, Becky, ties a song to every food post which I just found really fun.  Just happens to be she paired one of my fave foods with one of my favorite albums of all time so I was an instant fan.  
{Two} My friend Holly wrote a great piece with a love challenge for February.  Check out her post here and see why you really want to come back to visit the first 14 days of February.  
{Three} If you are a runner you really should be following Red Head on the Run.  I get the running bug every once in awhile and I found her blog in the Fall when I was training but I follow her now because she is so honest and real and funny and takes some pretty cool shots with her Go Pro.  I loved her post this week calling us to all be real.  You will laugh and if you are a mom you will definitely identify!  
{Four} If you are looking for a quick and super easy craft for the weekend Our Blog Around the Corner has you covered with the DIY Sharpie mug project.  I purchased the paint pens and had some mugs on hand from a past project and Carly Jo created this mug in less than 30 minutes.  If you are looking for a quick, easy and cheap gift for a teacher or friend I think this would make a fun one.  Add a Starbucks gift card or some candy and ta-da!  
{Five} And lastly I need a little help from you guys.  I received our edited pics from our photographer this week from our family shoot.  She knew I had a blog and was kind enough to take a few headshots without me even requesting.  Here are the 3 very similar shots and I would so love if you would take a vote and let me know which one you like best!  

If you didn't read my February bucket list post this week you can find that here. Visit tabanderika.blogspot.com to see her fun new Bucket List series.  

Feeling the love?  You can visit here to read my Valentine Inspired posts.  

Carly Jo and I will be traveling to my hometown this weekend to grab my niece and take her to the American Girl store for a belated birthday celebration over lunch and shopping.  I love to give moments instead of just a gift and I hope it makes a bigger impression.  We started this last year so I'm excited to be going back.  

We will also visit my Mamaw who found a lump in her breast recently and will be getting that checked this coming week.  She had radiation several years back for a lump that was removed so I'm hoping this may just be some scar tissue and not that the cancer is back. Please say a little prayer for her as she is not the most patient person and this may take a few weeks before there is a plan.  

Hope you all have a super weekend!  

Hop on over here to see where I might be linking up!  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

February Bucket List

Joining Erika and Emily for the Monthly Bucket List link up.  Here's what I hope to accomplish in February. 


My number one focus in February will be to remember how blessed I am and try to combat the stress.    Baseball season will begin and we will split our time between watching TCU play in Fort Worth and the little man closer to home.  With every weekend full of fun this leaves no time for laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping or any of the other 1000 things that typically need tending to over the weekend.  I will have to be organized and very diligent about handling these things during the week..amidst all of our other weekly commitments.  Working out gives me so much energy and helps keep me positive so I will do my best to make 5 workouts a week.  My quiet time definitely helps me remain calm so I know it is a must.  On top of all the personal stuff we will begin the process of preparing for our annual budget at work so I will also need to be focused there in order to have a clear mind when I leave.  My goal for 2015 is to Be Present in all that I do and I have been successful in a couple of areas but there are definitely a few more that still need lots of work.  
We set aside one night a week the entire month of January and having that time to connect one on one without the kids chiming in was gold.  I'm not saying every other day was perfect but I definitely had a softer and more loving heart.  It will definitely be harder in February with increased nighttime activities and the weekend but I'm definitely putting effort into seeing this continue.  
On to a for real lifetime bucket list item!  TCU will be playing Arizona State and I am taking this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.  My mom, Jordan and I will fly out a day early and rise at the crack of dawn to make the trip from Tempe to the Flagstaff area to see the Grand Canyon.  I can hardly wait to share this beauty with them.  
Christmas cash is all but a distant memory and we will be spending a lot of money on hotels the next few months so I know I need to cut back on my shopping budget.  Plus...the more time I'm spending online shopping the less time I have to stay focused on the other tasks to be successful with #1.  I'm going to try and shop my closet as much as possible this month and wear the clothes I already have.  I have more clothes than I even know what to do with and I have been really good so far this year about immediately putting an item in the give away bag if I wear it and don't spend my day feeling good in it.  I think culling out some of the clothes I don't love will really help me see what I have to work with.  I love, love, love adding new clothes to my closet so this is going to be super hard but I'm going to give it a go.  
That's right you avid readers out there go ahead and roll your eyes that reads A book!  I'm trying to be successful here and didn't want to immediately set myself up to fail.  I read a total of 5 books over the entire year last year so it's just not my thing.  I love reading but it often takes a back seat to something  else.  My reading list, however,  is getting longer and longer so I'm really hoping I can knock a few out this month as I'm traveling and staying in hotels but one will make me feel super.  I am going to start with this one.  Yes I realize it is already a movie but if you think reading 5 books in a year was pitiful you really don't want to know how many times I made it to the movies. 
Wish me luck friends!  

Interested in where else I may be linking up....just visit here!  


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What I Wore Wednesday - Faux Fur

I purchased this vest probably 3 seasons ago and I always have fun finding a way to add it to my daily wardrobe.  It is a little different than most and it always creates the greatest conversation even with strangers.  I have seriously been asked what it is at least 100 times and it never gets old having people guess what it might be.   Men especially love to make wild guesses.   I've styled it here with a grey Pleione top and my distressed jeans for a more casual look.  I have also loved these booties.  
 Taking pictures for a blog post is so much fun but oh my goodness I hope someday I am a little quicker at figuring out just the right angle.  So far my kids have not been willing to help me out even when bribed with money so for now I am using a tripod and remote.   
I swapped the distressed jeans for black pointe pants and this outfit is ready for date night or casual workday.  I love the Kimberly necklace from Stella & Dot.  It is a little pricey but I'm positive I've gotten my moneys worth as I wear it often.  You can find it here.  I also love this mixed media top from Pleione.  I have it in black, gray and white and it has been great for layering under jackets but also looks great alone.  I do think the darker colors show less wrinkles.  I have purchased these black pointe pants several years in a row from White House Black Market and I wear them countless times each fall and winter.  They wear and wash well.  
Here is a vest I like from Nordstrom that has some chacter.  
Link here
And Darcy at A Memory of Us has a gray faux fur in her post today so hop on over and check that out!

Do you have a little faux fur (or the real thing) in your closet?  How do you love to wear it?

Happy Hump Day!

To see previously WIWW posts click here.

Visit here to see where I'm linking up!  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tasty Tuesday - French Toast

We are enjoying a few more lazy Saturday mornings before baseball season is in full swing and typically that means a late breakfast full of carbs.  It has been a long time since French Toast was on the menu but there was a loaf of sour dough bread (Carly's fancy lunch bread) in the pantry that was getting old so it seemed to be a good choice.  Having bread that is not super fresh is key as it soaks up the milk and egg mixture perfectly.  

Here's what you need: 
4-6 slices of bread
2-3 eggs
Splash of milk (I used almond)
Touch of vanilla
Powdered sugar or syrup

I typically scramble two eggs and one egg white and add a splash of milk in a shallow bowl.  Soak the bread in the mixture and add to a non-stick pan.  I use Pam in the pan as well just to be sure it doesn't stick.  Cook for about 1 to 1/2 minutes on each side and you have your french toast.  I am not a huge syrup person so I dust my french toast with powdered sugar and enjoy with bacon.  
Weekend Breakfast
Carly gave my French Toast her stamp of approval.  

Check out where I may be linking up today here

Monday, January 26, 2015

Man Crush Monday


Blogging

Several of the bloggers I follow have posted interviews with their husbands over the past few months so I decided I would play along.  Since we are trying to make date night a regular habit, this was a fun activity to get us talking.  Keith was a good sport and played along even though I do think he was a tad bit nervous!

Me:  So…you know I have a blog….do you know the name?
Keith:  Queen? (I giggle)
Me:  Are you sure?
Keith:  Yeah, (smiling) I think so.
Me:  Have you ever read my blog?
Keith:  No baby....I'd have to know where to find it first  
Me:  Well, thanks to the blog world I’ve seen all these husband interviews…you up for that?

Keith grins and doesn't have to answer because he knows there is only one answer.

Me:  Ok...Where did we first meet?
Keith:  The Chicken (with confidence)....is that not right?  Well let's just go with Northgate to be safe.
Me:  Sadly I'm not positive either but Northgate would definitely be it I just can't remember which bar (go figure). 
Me:  What first attracted you to me?
Keith:  I thought you were pretty baby.

This man knows my love language.

Me:  What is the most fun you can remember having with me pre-littles?
Keith:  I guess it would have to be when we went to Sheffield.
Me:  Me too!!  I really felt like that was a real turning point for us.....nothing says love like being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no running water for 4 nights.

Seriously y'all....this man took me to a desolate part of Texas I didn't even know existed and there was no running water and we stayed there for 4 nights!!  Nothing helps your relationship bond more than splitting the wet wipes each night for your bath!

Me:  What do you think my best quality is?
Keith:  You're a doer
Me:  Really?   You like that? (I'm seriously thinking this is not true!!)
Keith:  Yeah
Me:  What is the best part about being married to me?
Keith:  Coming home to you everyday.
Me:  Awww....baby that is so sweet! 
Me: Do you know what you do that drives me crazy?
Keith:  Everything......I don't know.  Maybe that I don't listen to you sometimes?  
Me:  Maybe..haha....I guess that would just about be at the root of the things that drive me crazy....so yes.

Ironically this man is snoring so loud next to me right now....oh my goodness I don't even know how he can sleep through that!

Me:  Do you know what I love most about you?
He dips his head and grins his big shy grin and I melt....yep...that's it right there.

When I first laid my eyes on this man he was walking through the front door of a bar and when our eyes met he dipped his head just a little and smiled his big dimpled smile and I seriously just melted right there.  Did I mention the cowboy hat and starched jeans??

Me:  What is your favorite thing I cook for dinner?
Keith:  I don't know.  Some of the stuff lately has been really good.  Maybe the corned beef .
Me:  Really?  All the stuff I make and that would be it?
Keith:  It makes really great breakfast tacos.  Like, I think I could sell them they are so good.

A side note y'all...I am obviously trying too hard most days because I literally throw a corned beef brisket covered in water in the crockpot all day and this is what my husband has chosen for his favorite meal.  Good gracious I've been overachieving!

Me:  What is your favorite thing to cook for dinner?
Keith:  Grilling is my favorite.  I know you think I like making fried stuff but that is just what I know.  I really like being outside and grilling up dinner.   
Me:  What is something you would really like to do with me without the kids?
Keith: (This question gets him talking with excitement!) Actually I would love to fly somewhere to take you fishing like Alaska or Costa Rica or something.
Me:  Yeah that would be fun.  (As long as I am not puking over the side of the boat!!)
Me:  What do you enjoy most about being a dad?
Keith:  They just love you no matter what you do.

He may or may not be in for a rude awakening....speaking from experience of already going through the teenage years with the Bigs.

Me: You have been such an amazing stepdad for the Bigs….was that hard? 
Keith:  No not really
Me:  Do you think the fact that you were little when your parents divorced help you understand what they were dealing with?
Keith:  Maybe.  I mean Jordan is just easy and loves everyone and accepted me.  Riley and I are a whole lot more alike than he realizes in a lot of ways.  It was just going to take time but once he saw his dad and I get along I think it helped.  
Me:  Okay, last question before our food arrives.  What do you think the secret is to a happy marriage?
Keith:  Making sure you are happy.

And that my friends is how he has kept me around....he knows how to say the right thing at the right time!

This was so much fun!  And once our food arrived we kept on talking about us....not just about the kids or about us today but the us that was fun and spontaneous and did I already say fun?!!  We get so caught up in being parents sometimes that I think it's easy to get distracted and forget we once had a lot more in common outside the kids and had so much fun together!  Having a date night doesn't have to be extravagant.....sometimes it can literally be dessert and wine on the back porch after the kids are in bed.  The most important part of a date is taking some time to focus just on the two of you and reconnect enough to remember why sticking it out is really important and why the heck we even want to be together anyway.

One last picture....this one totally cracks me up.  While it appears we were looking at each other with love and adoration strolling down the beach we were actually cracking up at how stupid we felt!
I'm so, so grateful that God brought us together.  We did not have the most conventional dating relationship and I have to admit I would have been the last person to bet on us being married but we are a perfect match and at the end of the day regardless of how much we drive each other nuts we are committed to making this relationship work.

Hop on over here to see where I might be linking up today!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Queen's Chronicles Week 4

Here is a peep at what we were up to this week! 

Day #18
Dillon celebrated turning 13 with some friends playing paintball.  I have to admit I was just a tad jealous I did not get to join in the fun.  
Day #19
Monday I was off but my sweet hubby had to work.  He hit a deer with his car a few months back and has been driving his work truck so it was the perfect day for us to drive over to Austin to pick him up and see him in action!  
Day #20
We have actually stayed committed to our Tuesday date night for 3 weeks in a row!  Keeping it real this week as our date included some sushi before a run to the grocery store.  Who says you can't still have fun at the grocery store without the kids?!!  By the way....Sapporo beer is one of my very favorites!  
Day #21
Good gracious I hope I survive the arrival of Girl Scout cookies.  This precious girl wants to be a girl scout and her momma is not exactly girl scout material.  I already was warned about advertising too early! 
Day #22
Thursday was another basketball game and I have to admit this picture is somewhat cheating because it is actually from the weekend tourney.....but since he did play basketball this week it was a good excuse to use this fun shot!  I love watching him run up and down the court.  
Day #23
Friday night Sissy took Dillon to the movies for his birthday gift.  My kids all have more than they could ever need so I love for them to receive time with others instead.  This was a perfect way for them to have a little one on one time.  The Littles miss this girl so much!  Even though she lives in the same town we just don't see her every week.  I never think about these two looking alike until I take their picture together but there is definitely a resemblance don't you think? Of course he has now outgrown her and is very close to outgrowing his mom too.  
Day #24
 Finally the sun came back out and Saturday we took a 2 mile walk and no one was complaining.  It was so nice to get out and soak up some sunshine.  

I have to say I take a lot of pictures so I really didn't think making sure I had a picture to document every day of the year would be that big of a deal....but oh my goodness I really have had to be thinking about it! 

Hope all of you are off to a great start to the new year!  I can't believe the first month will be over this week!   

Happy Monday! 

View where I may be linking up here!  



Friday, January 23, 2015

Love is All You Need


Valentines Day is quickly approaching which certainly starts to put the love bug in the air.  I love the color red, flowers, chocolate and loving on people so this is always one of my favorite holidays.  Here are some of my faves this week! 
My Valentine decorations are out and they add a fun pop of color to the house.
Last year I made this yarn wreath which I found on Pinterest and you can find the link here.   It is super easy and just requires wrapping the wreath with yarn and cutting hearts out of felt.  I made another this year for my daughter and literally put it together while watching tv. 

I always struggle with ideas for the glass containers on my entry table.  This year I saw an idea someone used for mason jars and decided it would be perfect so I layered doilies and attached with string.    I love how it tuned out!
I made a new wreath this year which was also super easy.  I purchased the wreath and burlap from Hobby Lobby and the remaining items came from the Target One Spot! I made my banner several years back with burlap and hearts cut out of fabric and it was also super easy.  
Here is the wreath I used.  
Looking for a good love story?  Here are a couple I read this past year that I loved! 

I really loved this story because it was set in Texas!  
Not exactly knock your socks off love story but I loved this book so much and it really made me think about my own life.  
Oh my goodness....have you seen this add?  I have a feeling these will be a favorite! 
But my very favorite Valentine treat is chocolate covered strawberries.  The kids and I usually make at least one batch every year.  
I shared a few date night inspiration outfits here.  We will be spending our Valentines Day at the ballpark as it is opening weekend for College baseball.  Purple is a Valentine color right?  
Jenny Collier shared some valentine gift ideas here for women, men and children

I shared some simple ideas for sharing some love on the blog here yesterday.  

Happy Friday everyone....go out and share some love everyday! 

You can see where I'm linking up here!

And joining the Every Girl linkup up!  

Hill Collection

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Target is Spot On

Joining Andrea and Erika for a Favorite Things Link up!
Isn't the social media world so eye opening?  I mean geez, the Target Dollar Spot has been RIGHT there every time I walk into the store but until my friend Holly and various instagrammers started pointing out their finds I walked right by the "junk" and obviously missed out on some greatness!  Here are a few things I found recently that will add just a little extra love around my house as well as some extra to pass along to friends and family!  
We (insert Carly & I) love leaving little love notes for each other during the month of February.  We have had mailboxes for the past several years but the lids were all a real pain.  We found these along with some stickers and decided it was time to make a change.  Carly had so much fun decorating them.  The notes don't have to be fancy just a little something kind or encouraging or even funny. 

I love finding inexpensive ways to send a little treat to a friend or family member to let them know they are on my mind.  Here are a few things that jumped out at me.  

How cute are these note pads?  For $1 I would never feel bad about doodling, making list and tearing out pages, etc.  They are cute on their own but I slapped a sticker letter I had at home on one and loved the results.  Someone with a J name is going to get a treat!  
Christmas is my favorite time of year to run and get the mail mainly because the rest of the year it is full of junk.  I am really trying to make an effort to send more snail mail this year just to let someone know they are on my mind, to offer some encouragement or just share a funny.  I saw these notecards and thought they would be perfect!  Again...for $1 you can't go wrong.  
Initially when I saw these little jars I thought they were cute but didn't really have a use for them.  I followed my friend Holly's direction and just grabbed them anyway figuring they could always be returned.  I also bought some cute little tags and already had some Valentines stickers to decorate the mailboxes.  All 3 came together and this idea was born.  I really intend to fill with hershey's kisses or m&m's and have these handy to give out to someone I see as I go through my day that really looks like they need a little pick me up.  

I have a niece and nephew who are 7 and 3 and I love sending them a little love in the mail.  We live 2 hours apart but I don't see them as often as I wish so I definitely feel like a little treat from Aunt Shelly between visits helps keep my memory fresh in their little minds and associated with some happy!  I picked up some items from the dollar spot along with these cute little felt baskets and ta-da...perfection.  I added a couple of items from the Valentines candy but even those were less than $2.  
I plan to to show a little more of my Valentines decorations in a future post but here is a wreath I put together.  If you want some super cute decorating inspiration you need to follow @evanssuzanne on instagram.  She posted a picture of a wreath she made and I had to copy.  The wreath and burlap came from Hobby Lobby but everything else I used came from the Target Dollar Spot.  I added the letters from my scrapbook stash.  I'm just tickled pink over how it turned out.  I'm kicking myself now that I didn't buy more of the larger flowers as they were all gone when I ran back a few days later.  Rule #1.....buy now, return later!  
Lastly, I found this idea on Pinterest and thought it would be fun for Carly's valentines at school.  Of course she was cool with it as long as "we can attach candy right?".  Well of course we can!  You can find this idea here.  
And then I found these little stamp pads....you guessed it.....at the Target One Spot!  We haven't tried them yet so we will see if they are actually worth a dollar.  I'm more optimistic about the ink pads than I am about Carly Jo actually sitting down long enough to make these Valentines Cards.  She loves creating but on her terms!  
While not from the Target One Spot, I found this post by Our Blog Around the Corner and knew we had to try it.  My nine year old made this cute mug in less than 30 minutes.  We purchased the Sharpie paint pens at Hobby Lobby and even with the 40% off coupon they were a tad above $10 but they are super easy to work with.  I've had these mugs forever that I purchased on super clearance somewhere so we needed a fun little project.  
While love is something that should be free flowing year round, in February it always seems to make a special appearance.  Find someone to pass along a little extra love to.  Maybe it's the custodian that cleans your office, the teller that deposits your money, the checker at the grocery store.  Whoever you can find and feel led to touch just do it.  I promise you will not regret it!  

Visit here to see where I'm linking up!  

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