Thursday, May 5, 2016

Key Lime Pie


Dan and I took a trip down (for the 3rd time) to the Florida Keys to celebrate our upcoming 10 year anniversary. One of the things we look forward to is sitting on our balcony, eating key lime pie, with a cup of coffee. I am typically not a huge coffee drinker, but I must admit, the tartness of the pie goes so well with the bitterness of coffee. And I do not like bitter coffee, so that is saying something. 

When we were down there, there was a small ma and pa cafe (City Hall Cafe around mile marker 88 if you ever make it down there) where we LOVED to get pie. We think they have the best pie, but every place claims that, right? Well, we got home, I was bound and determined to replicate what we had down there. I found a recipe that is adapted from this one, that I think is true to Florida Keys, key lime pie. The key is to use KEY limes, not regular limes. They take awhile to juice, but I bought a lime juicer that has made all the difference. 

I have now made two pies since being home and each time we keep saying how "this" is how key lime pie is supposed to taste. Try it for yourself!

NOTE: You can now EASILY PRINT any of the recipes I have shared on this blog! Just click the "Print Recipe" link and it will lead you directly to the recipe for you to print and use for later!

Key Lime Pie {Print Recipe}

Ingredients:

  • 1 graham cracker crust
  • 3 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 3/4 c. key lime juice
  • 1 t. grated lime zest
  • Whipped topping (optional)


Directions:
1. Combine sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, juice, and zest; mix well.
2. Pour into crust.
3. Bake in 350 degree preheated oven for 9 minutes or until bubbles start to form.
4. Serve with whipped topping.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Back To Pinterest I Go

Call me a hypocrite.

I have a new Pinterest account.

I know, I know. I went on a rant one day about why I deleted my Pinterest account. You probably all thought "we'll see how long this lasts!" Though I actually have really enjoyed my break from it! I realized how Pinterest makes you feel like you have to be a certain somebody to be someone. I want to just be Kristin and I hope that you continue to find the person that God created YOU to be, not this Pinterest perfect life.

After I stopped blogging for Organizing Life With Less, closed that business down because I did not have the time to keep up two blogs, I realized my Pinterest account wasn't worth keeping for many reasons. Main reason was I didn't want to spend time on a website that sucked my time away (and I know you know what I am talking about!) Another reason was because many of my links did not work because they linked back to my old website. Hence no reason to keep it going.

Well, I have now imported ALL of my posts from my Organizing Life With Less website into this blog. With that said, I have had a few people ask me about where to find a certain recipe or post, and  how I would have loved to have just shared it with them on Pinterest!

Hence my desire to open up a new account.

The beauty of this new account (for me anyways), is that all of the pins are from this website, with no extras (yet). I am sure I will eventually add some.

If you are looking for a simple way to look at all of my posts from the past, recipes, etc (without being on the actual website), you can now find them all on Pinterest as well.

So feel free to "follow" me!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Around The Home

Not much going on this past week, except that Dan has been CRAZY busy with work. It's always a busy time of year for him, so Mazers and I get to have a lot of fun together, just us two.

We took Mazy in for a recheck for her ears and she STILL has an ear infection! We feel so sorry for that girl! We are hoping this medication works this time. She is still poking at her ear, so we aren't sure if it's just the fluid that is bothering, but we are praying she feels better soon, whatever it is!

I also had a MRI this week for my heart, which I will find out the results for in 2 weeks. It was a crazy day! I drove to Minneapolis, got to the hospital at the University of Minnesota, to only drive around the parking ramp for over 20 minutes and never find a spot. At that point I was a few minutes late for my appointment (which is HIGHLY unlike me) so I valet parked. Got checked in and was then told that the MRI machine was down. They sent me to another hospital 20 minutes away, got there, and the road was closed that led to the place I was supposed to park. After driving around yet again, I finally figured out how to get in. Made it to the heart floor and checked in. After getting my IV and getting all dressed up in hospital gear, I was moved into the MRI machine. After awhile, I started to wonder how long it was going to take. Well, over 2 HOURS LATER I was finally done. The technician told me that it took way longer than expected because my heart had so many irregular beats that it was hard to get the right pictures. I knew my heart beat irregularly, but I didn't expect it to take that long. Oh well! 

Anyways, here's how the rest of the week went:
Mazy LOVES her "puppy"!

Bowling with youth group on Wednesday! Love these girls!

Mazy would eat pizza all day everyday if I let her!

Silly girl!

Long day! She never falls asleep without crossing her legs.

It was a LOT colder this week, hence the hat and winter coat again! She loves going to the park on our walks, swing, and go down the slide. What a sweet little face!

My buddy

Mazy loves her little friend Parker and likes to get his belly

Mazy wanting to be a big girl and eat cereal straight out of the box



Friday, April 29, 2016

Mazy's Quiet Book

Have you ever thought "oh I'll just buy it instead of making it?" 
I am someone who actually would rather DIY than buy, but I have found that I don't want to spend all my time on projects, but with my daughter. Hence, my thoughts to just buy instead of DIY.

I remember having a quiet book growing up. It was a simple book that taught me how to button a button, zip a zipper, tie a shoe, etc. I was thinking Mazy was getting to the age of enjoying a quiet book, so I looked online for one and wowzers, I couldn't find one under $50. A good one cost around $200. After my eyes fell out and I put them back in, I decided that maybe this was one of those projects that I shouldn't buy, but just DIY instead. 

I started to look up different pages to make for a quiet book and before I knew it, I was hooked. And not only hooked, but maybe slightly addicted. It is endless, what you can do for a quiet book! I learned quickly what works and what doesn't, but for my first book, I am very happy with it. Plus, if a piece gets lost, I can just cut out another one! If she gets bored with a page, I can just make a new one and add to it. Those are definitely perks when making your own! 

So one weekend I went to town on the pages and though it took me awhile to make, it was well worth every minute, as I watched Mazy play with it. To see the joy and smiles on her face as she learns a new trick. Again, definitely worth taking the time to make. Plus, I didn't spend NEAR $200 on it either. Not even $50. 

Here's the finished project (thus far):

A mitten and life the flap numbers (with the same number of buttons underneath). Trick here was to hot glue the number flaps and buttons down because otherwise she peeled them right off.

Can peel off letters to spell her name (a bit advanced right now) and pick the apples off the tree with coordinating numbers. Used velcro for the letters and apples

Match the shape and touch 'n feel page. Again used velcro for the shapes, hot glued a pocket for them at the bottom, and just hot glued strips of fabric down for the other page.

Stacking (like her toy) and tie the laces. The shoe page could use some help (learned a lot with that page). I recommend buying the eyelet tool to create the holes for the shoelaces. It really is worth the $2.47. For the stackables, I just put a strip of velcro down and put a little piece on each rung, so it is easy to take off.

Button the flower on and unzip the cookie jar and take the cookies out. Of course she is too young for buttons! I used yarn to attach the buttons and cut a larger slit in each flower so they are easy to get off. I used black puff paint to make it look like there are chocolate chips on each cookie.

The mirror page was harder than I thought, but you can buy flimsy mirrors at Joanns, so I cut a circle and then made a border for it. The other page, well, it's supposed to be a washer/dryer. I used a ziploc bag to create a pocket, and it worked, but it just doesn't look like a washer or dryer. Though this LOVES this page! She loves to take the clothes in and out, and reach her hand into there. 

Busy playing with it!

I had SO MUCH FUN making it and can't wait to make more pages someday! Surprisingly all of the letters did not take a long time to cut. I would just cut squares, all the same size, and cut a letter out of them, so they are all the same size. Once you get the hang of it, it is easier than it looks! The only other struggle I had was burning my fingers with the hot glue gun. But you live in learn, right?

So if you are feeling adventurous or have any questions about making a quiet book, let me know!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

You Are Not Alone

Infertility is something I never understood much about until I started to have friends who struggled to get pregnant. Then lo and behold, we found our own struggle to have children because of my heart condition. As many of you know, we had a dear friend offer to be a gestational carrier for us, so we went through the IVF process. Even though God decided to take those babies home, a year ago God blessed us with our own little miracle, that I was able to give birth to naturally.

Our story is just one story. There are thousands of others out there who have gone through struggles to have children. Their desire is the same as everyone else's - the desire to have a family.


I wanted to share with you the story of my friend Kristina, in light of National Infertility Awareness Week. Kristina and I went to the same high school and even though we hung out in different people groups, it was a connection that God had in the making. It was Kristina that offered encouragement, hope, and compassion during our IVF journey. It was her story that gave us encouragement that God has a purpose in every detail (especially since the IVF process is so intricate). 


When she shared her story this week via Facebook, I did not have a dry eye. It reminded me of the hurts and struggles that so many women go through. And so many women struggle silently. I asked Kristina if she would be willing to let me share her story with you. She kindly agreed and I am thankful that she has chosen to be an open book as she says. Her story has not only blessed me, but I pray that it blesses you too. As you read her story, maybe you too, have or do struggle with infertility. Let this be an encouragement to you, that God is faithful and like she said, God performs miracles. Her 3 children (and let me tell you, they are BEAUTIFUL) are proof of that.


Here's Kristina's story:


April 24-30 is National Infertility Awareness Week. The theme this year is‪#‎StartAsking‬ . What does your infertility journey look like? I have always been an open book about mine. 


I remember dreaming of becoming a mom. I always loved picking out baby names, even when I was a child. When pregnancy wasn't happening after a long time of trying, I was getting so discouraged and sad. Then I suffered through 2 miscarriages. I thought I would never become a mom. I remember standing in the empty spare bedrooms of the house we built, dreaming of them becoming a nursery. I remember telling my friends that if Ryan and I were to never become parents, I would be okay with that, because we are the best of friends, but I just knew I had so much more love in my heart, to pour into a child. 


After some unsuccessful steps taken with my OB, we decided to meet with Dr. Dodds at The Fertility Center. We have unexplained infertility, and so we started with IUI's, since they're less invasive, we were young, and we thought we may have success there. We did 3 of those, with no success. I remember the songs I listened to on the radio, on the way to the hospital, for my blood draws, early in the morning. I would pray the whole way there, that I would get a positive test. 3 times, it was negative. The call from the nurse would put me into tears, when she would say "I'm sorry, it was not a positive test", and I would hang up the phone, and sob, and be so upset over all the money we "flushed down the drain". 


Then we decided to try the next step - IVF. It was even more expensive, but I was determined. I remember the distinct details of these fertility treatments. Everything was so time sensitive. So many injections and appointments. I remember how painful the egg retrieval was, and was so anxious to hear the next morning, how many embryos we had. Then was the transfer day. It would be just under 2 weeks, before we would get the results of whether the transfer was successful or not. I couldn't handle the phone calls anymore, so I made Ryan answer the phone. My heart would start racing when I would see "The Fertility Center" calling on my screen. I hid under a blanket and plugged my ears, because I was so scared of bad news. 


I remember Ryan, ripping the blanket off my head, giving me a great big thumbs up, and a hug, before he even hung up the phone!! Again, I was sobbing, only they were happy tears this time. God had blessed us. Brayla Hope, was born 9 months later. We used the middle name Hope, because we had hoped for a child for so long. After Brayla, we had another miscarriage (natural pregnancy). Our 2nd IVF attempt, was also successful, and we were blessed with Myla Faith. We used the name Faith, because we had faith that God would bless us again, after loss. Our 3rd IVF attempt was successful, and we were blessed with Asher Cade. We used Asher because it means happy/fortunate/blessed. And that is EXACTLY what we are. 


We did have another miscarriage 1 year ago (natural pregnancy). They are never easy, even when you have other children to love on. Infertility has been part of my story. It's part of my testimony. I wouldn't change a thing. It has brought me so close to God. I know He performs miracles through the work of His people. My kids are living proof, and I am forever thankful.


Their beautiful family!

Thank you, Kristina, for allowing me to share you story! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

12 Ways To Have A Successful Garage Sale



It is that time of year again!

I always get excited for garage sale season! Not that I have a laundry list of things I need, but I seem to always find something I want. Especially now with having a 1 year old, I now have a list of clothes and toys I wouldn't mind trying to hunt down. I thought about having a garage sale myself, but found another use for our items instead. Also, I am one to typically just donate the items we no longer need, so I haven't had my own garage sale in years! Though, I find they are a GREAT way to get rid of unused and unwanted items.

Garage sales are a purposeful way to encourage the whole idea of reduce, reuse, recycle. While you are reducing the clutter in your own home, you are helping someone else reuse it because they find purpose in that item. At the end of the sale, whatever doesn't sell, you can recycle it by donating it to your local donation center of choice. Sometimes it's the motivation that can lack when it comes to putting on a garage sale. So here are 12 easy steps to put on a successful garage sale.


1. Gather items - go through every box, bookshelf, drawer, corner, every INCH of your house, looking for items you can put on your garage sale. Decide:
  • Do I really LIKE it?
  • Do I like it enough to keep it?
  • Can I live without it?
  • Will I miss it?
  • Could I use the space more wisely by getting rid of it?
  • Do I have it out of guilt?
2. Write down everything you are putting on the garage sale and write down a price next to it. Writing down every item (or most) will help if the price is lost in the setting up process and help you when you are ready to donate the item and submit it for a tax deduction. When pricing items, remember you are pricing to sell. You are choosing to put it on the garage sale because you no longer feel you need the item - don't let it come back in the house because the price may be too high. Price to sell.


3. Price each item. You can buy colored sticker circles or just use masking tape. Do not price each individual book, but set up a table with hardbacks and paperbacks, each with a sign with the base price. Think about having a box or bin with all $1.00 priced items and so forth. This prevents having to price every individual item.


4. Decide when to have the garage sale (check to see if a permit is needed). Some have city-wide garage sales. Join in on those because the flow of people will be more instead of an individual sale. Some towns require a permit and have set rules on where you can sell items (how far out of your garage). Permits can cost between $5-$20, depending on the town you live in.

5. Advertise. Make signs. You can buy pre-made garage sale signs or you can use old political signs and cover up the advertisement with your own sign. Make sure your sign is clear and easy to read. When there is too much information on a sign, people can get lost in what to focus on. Put up signs wherever people may be led to come to your sale. There are also free websites that you can advertise your garage sale on such as www.yardsalesearch.com. Newspapers (typically for a fee) offer advertising. Consider advertising on facebook or if it is a community-wide sale, create an event and invite your facebook friends.

6. Clean out your yard/garage. This is important because you want to create an inviting environment. Try to take everything that is NOT on sale and move it to another location or hide it the best you can so that shoppers aren't tempted to buy what you are not willing to sell.

7. Get cash and change. Consider getting 20-25 $1.00 bills, 5-$5.00, a few tens, and quarters! Keep all of your money in a money bag or container.

8. Set up your tables. This may seem like a daunting task, but how you set up may determine whether someone buys or doesn't buy something. Make your items easily visible. Some people don't have time or don't want to dig. Hang what you can. Create "curb appeal" by putting items that will attract people at the end of your driveway. If people drive by, you want them to see something that will catch their attention right away. Group like items together. Antique shops can be overwhelming because each item is priced separately. Put yourself in the "buyer's shoes." Make it easy for yourself and for them.

9. Ask someone to help. Having a friend or family member available to assist can take much of the pressure off the day of. This person may even be available to help you set up.

10. Morning of. At this point, everything should be priced and now you just need to open up your garage and move everything out that will be sitting in the driveway. Set up your table in a visible, but out of the way area. Make sure when someone is ready to buy, that you do not block the traffic of those still shopping.

11. Near the end of the sale, mark everything 50% off or buy 1 get 1 free, etc. It may be hard to see some of the items go for 50% off, but just remember, you do not want these items back in your house. The whole point of the sale is to get rid of what you no longer need. You may want to put out new signage or just add a bright colored star that says what the deal is, and attach it to the sign you already have sitting out there.

12. When the garage sale is over, do NOT bring the items back into your house. Put them in boxes that will go straight to a donation center. Remember, you can get a tax deduction on those items too, so you are not at a complete loss! Goodwill’s website has a price listing for items when you donate – so grab a piece of paper and pen, write down everything you are donating, and write down a price as well (if you haven't done this already). If you do not have time to do this when you donate the items, just take a picture of them while they are still on the tables at your garage sale (after it is over) and make a list later, using the pictures.

Hope your next garage sale is successful and even more so, that you are able to get rid of what you no longer need!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Around The Home

As much as we loved and miss our time in the Keys, it felt good to be home this week. We sure missed our Miss Mazy! Dan has been incredibly busy with work, so I was able to catch up on things with home with Mazy's help! Here's what we kept busy doing:

Forget standing in the activity center! Might as well walk around it!

She gobbles homemade waffles up just like her face shows!

We may have stained this pair of pants playing in the dirt, but boy was it fun watching her explore dirt!

On one of our many walks this week

We've been making a little detour to the park where Mazy LOVES to swing!

I have had THE hardest time getting her to eat vegetables. Then I discovered that she likes Tator Tot Casserole! Hello my answer to getting all of the food groups into one meal, minus fruit! 

Mazy's favorite way of going on walks - on daddy's shoulders. LOVE.

Who needs sand for sandbox toys?

Our little scooter has clearly been all over the place - her pants tell it all!

Just chillin'

Me and my girl!

Thankful for another week to live life with my family!