Showing posts with label Five Favorites. Show all posts

Five Favorites

Workout edition…

Which is comical since this mom is NO workout guru…not even close.  For the first year of my kids’ lives while I’m breastfeeding, any semi-intense cardio makes my milk supply drop like it’s hot so I get my arms toned by lifting babies and my legs toned by walking to the toilet after I hear “ALLL DONE MAMA!!” a thousand times.  My grandma gave me a step-counter and it’s still buried in my nightstand which is still full of stuff I put in there to move BUT before we moved, I wore it during a few average, stay-at-home mornings and no joke, I was up to 3600 steps by noon…in my own, small house.  Who needs a gym?  ;)

Anyway, I thought it’d be fun to write about something other than our mini-kitchen reno that’s going on at the moment so why not a Five Faves post?  It’s been awhile and I’m due to share some stuff I’ve come across that I genuinely like.


Seven favorites

Hey!  I hope you had a great Memorial Day!  We spent the weekend and holiday at home doing tons of work in our backyard.  I can’t wait to show you guys the progress!  We’re putting in an outdoor patio right off the screened-in patio and I’d say it’s about 75% done and so far, it’s only cost us maybe $100.

So anyway, we don’t have any finished projects to share right now though we do have a HUGE project in the works that I’ll type of soon BUT I do have a list of about 30 (possibly more) things I keep on my phone of things I want to share – stuff we’ve bought that we love, recipes I’ve found that have been awesome, excellent reads, companies we’ve had great experiences with, you know, mumbo jumbo that you just might find interesting and that we think is worth passing along.  I meant to share five today, thereby making this the old Five Favorites but then I got a little carried away with seeing Memorial Day sales and so we’ve got Seven.  Lucky, I suppose.  ;)


You might’ve heard or read my words about our Berkey water filterIMG_8603Well, we’re still super happy with it and are so glad that we snagged one last Christmas.  Why am I telling you this again?  Because, Berkey is having a Memorial Day sale that ends Friday!  You can grab one for 15% off with code ‘BERKEY15’!  The filters don’t need to be replaced very often but even with the price of those and replacement, you’re looking at spending about $17 PER YEAR to get good, clean water.  And then of course there’s no plastic being transfered out into the world, which is huge for us.  Anyway, the biggest reason we settled on a Berkey was because it filters pharmaceuticals like acetaminophen and pesticides out of your tap water like a boss.  I know.  Those things are found in tap water.  Scary, right?  You can see everything else they filter out here.  So anyway, the Berkey.  We highly recommend.  We have the Big Berkey and it’s the perfect size for our fam.  We fill it before we go to bed every night and it usually lasts us all day.  The link above is our affiliate link as is the graphic in our sidebar.  You can also grab one on here on Amazon.

Last year our lawn mower broke right in the midst of summer and it was a $60 fee just to get it looked at to figure out what was wrong, not including repair costs.  Boo.  Anthony wanted to see if he could fix it himself before we shelled out cash but didn’t have time at the moment.  In the meantime, our grass wasn’t growing any shorter so we bought this reel mower off a Facebook resale site and have been very happy with it!  So much so that we’re thinking about just fixing and selling our old power motor.  I love that I can mow the lawn while the kids play around me and we don’t have to worry about buying gas, me throwing my shoulder out trying to start the dang thing, or changing/checking/draining the oil.  I also love that the kids can mow the lawn with a little heaving and hoing.  As you can see, Sebastian is patiently waiting his turn.  :)IMG_4520We also have a friend who owns and loves this one.  As for me?  I think I’m a reel mower fan for life.

A lot of homes built in the 70’s and before were built complete with the craziest of tile choices in the bathrooms.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  Those bathrooms with the pink or blue or green or yellow or shmellow tile that adorns the floors and walls and whose color spills over onto the toilet, tub, and sink?vintagebath

Well, I was so amazed at how beautiful Rebecca made her green-tiled bathroom look by just swapping out the vintage mirror and light fixture for something circa 2017, adding new cabinet hardware, and adding some neutral decor.IMG_4510

IMG_4510There’s budget-friendly hope for the rest of ‘em!

I posted once or twice about the fiddle leaves my sister gave us that I propagated (successfully!!!) and then you never heard about them again and you probably don’t care but either way, I’m happy to report that I planted them in one big pot they’ll share for the rest of their days (or at least until they grow out of it which probably will take years and years?  I don’t know…) and they’re doing great! IMG_4519 There hasn’t been any new growth in the form of more leaves (yet) but their stems are growing taller so I’m hoping we’ll have some trees, or at least a bush, in the next year or so.  Go find yourself a friend who is pruning their fiddle leaf and offer to take a few of those clippings off their hands!

A good friend gifted us a Baby Brezza at a baby shower for the twins and we used it for them and every kid since.  Ours steams and then purees the food so all we had to do was cut up the big stuff and toss it in.  I didn’t keep track of how much money we saved making our own baby food for the tots but I know the number was somewhere in the hundreds at least.  If any of that sounds fun to you, you should run quick and grab yourself a Brezza while they’re 25% off with code ‘25food’!  The sale ends tomorrow!

I’m a greek salad junkie and Anthony loves them too though we’ve never been able to find a really good, bottled Greek dressing (that’s fits in our grocery budget at least).  So you can imagine how delighted I was when this recipe popped up in my Pinterest feed one day and, after quickly tossing it together, makes my taste buds sing.  There are measurements for a smaller batch in the comments too since the original recipe makes a boat load. 

Last, take 15% off any pillow cover order of $24 or more in my shop with code ‘MAYIPLEASE’!  The code is only good until the end of May, so tomorrow!  (Where the heck did May go??!!)sale


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*affiliate links included in post

Check It

Everyday I ask myself the same question, “should we leave the house today?” and everyday the answer is “yes, we definitely need to get OUT!” and then everyday I chicken out and we end up staying home because I’d rather come down with a hearty case of cabin fever than brave the public with all three kids in tow (plus, Sebastian has something against his car seat which makes even two minute drives so much fun, as you can imagine).  So, because we don’t leave the premises I’ve succeeded (most days) in getting all three chicks to nap at the same time which means that this mom’s been busy which also means that there are lots of fun posts coming your way in the next few weeks as soon as I can lick up what’s on the plate at the moment and get it all into words.  Until then, feast on these:

In only a few short paragraphs, Tracy at Making the Trek put the most emotion, truth, and profound meaning into one post.    

If you love Target (who doesn’t?), then you have to read this.  If you love Target and you go there just to “get away for a little bit”, then you have to read this.  If you love Target and your wallet cringes every time you walk in, then you have to read this.  Just read it, man or woman, read it and relate.  (Thanks Callie!)

My friend Jesse just finished painting her kitchen countertops and, seriously, she did thee most amazing job I’ve ever seen of all the painted countertops in the world.  She doesn’t have a blog to share all her excellent DIY-ventures but I coerced her into letting me post pictures of them here:

photo 1
Ummm, like, she totally painted those streaks and striations by hand!!!  Impressive or what?

afterlight (1)
She’s in the middle of a kitchen reno, as you can probably tell from the pictures, but how amazing do her counters look?!  I also coerced her into letting me write all about them, the what’s, why’s, where’s, and how-to’s when she’s all done with the reno so stay tuned!

My friends Lauren and Ana have a series called “Belly Buds” going on at their web homes.  They’re both pregnant and due close to each other and they talk all things pregnancy so if you can’t get enough of pregnancy and allllll that goes with it, you should follow along with them.

It’s Lent, a time to give (and give up) until it’s uncomfortable.  If you’re looking for a worthy cause to give to, please consider donating to our friends Jessi and Matt.  I’ve mentioned their situation before but their sweet two-year old daughter Madison was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor and is currently undergoing chemo.  As you can imagine, this costs money.  Donate here and keep updated on Madison’s progress.

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P.S.  We finished constructing and hanging a new chandelier in our entry way!  I posted a sneak photo of it on our Facebook page especially for our sweet fans!  Head on over and ‘like’ us if you’d like to see it!  Spoiler alert:  It’s freaking amazing!!

P.P.S.  These are my five favorites for the week!  I’m linking up with Hallie at Moxie Wife to share them.  Click over there to read more favorites!

Five Faves >Unconventional Beauty Products<

>>Before I delve into my five favorite unconventional beauty things, let me make excuses for the couple of blurry pictures…I didn’t enlist the husband – mistake #1, my priorities for the day were to 1) get this post up, 2) keep my kids from whining (fail) and ransacking the house, and 3) eat, therefore I forwent getting the best of the best pictures.   Also, somebody apparently hasn’t been spending enough time pinning “how to take in focus pictures” and that somebody is me.<<

On the plus side, we’re a linkin’ up with Hallie at Moxie Wife where there are a lot more favorites to be read!

SO.  With that said, here are five wonderful things I use on a regular basis that aren’t quite considered “normal” parts of a beauty routine. 

>>> Coconut Oil as Face Lotion <<<
[or “Medusa called and Wants Her Top Knot Back”]
I think it was my sister maybe who introduced me to coconut oil and it’s many uses, one being face lotion.  My skin is normal/dry so I stay away from all oil-free daily lotions which dry my skin out and instead swirl this on after washing my face each and every night.  I won’t tell you it’s given me the skin of a five year old or given me that airbrushed complexion we all desire but it does keep me nice and hydrated and dare I say “dewy” even?

5 003>>> Olive Oil as Belly Butter <<<
All I have to say about this is that while I was pregnant with the twins I gave my burgeoning belly a rub-down with this stuff daily during the last four or so months of the pregnancy and I have not one stretch mark…nothing short of a miracle considering this:
37 weeks
Yep, that’s me at 37 weeks hauling 13 pounds of baby (eh-hem…babies).
I know that whether or not your skin stretches with or without the appearance of those marks has a lot to do with the skin your parents handed down to ya but I’m still giving this liquid of zee olive lots of credit.  It also helped ease all that itching due to the stretching even though chances are if you saw me during those months, I was usually scratching somewhere on that big ‘ole belly.
(Oh and p.s., I am in no way trying to brag about not having stretch marks or saying they’re bad or unwanted!  They are the beautiful marks of a mother and in not having them I, in some ways, missed out.)

5 001
>>> Baking Soda + Hydrogen Peroxide + H2O = Teeth Whitener <<<
My other sis introduced me to this concoction and then I stumbled upon it on Pinterest.  The recipe calls for a mixing of 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. hydrogen peroxide, and 1/2 tsp. of water.  Brush that on your mouth bones once a week (I just dip my toothbrush in the little cup I’ve mixed it in, brush, dip, brush, dip, and brush until it’s all gone) and I promise you you’ll have whiter teeth in just a couple of uses.  I’m so bad at remembering to do it every week but my sister, well, you should see her pearly whites…blinding.  Did I mention this is like 1000 times cheaper than white strips or professional whitening?  Right up my cheap alley.
(UPDATE:  I forgot to mention that when you brush with this mixture, make sure you ONLY brush your teeth, not your gums.  I learned the hard way and my gums were sore for at least 24 hours…ouch!)



>>> Conditioner as Shaving Cream <<<
I saw this little tip on Pinterest and gave it a shot one time after I’d run out of regular shaving cream and now I won’t turn back.  After shaving with regular shaving cream my legs used to always itch like mad around the 3rd or 4th day after shaving and I never knew why…still don’t but after switching to conditioner, they don’t itch one bit, ever.  Weird, huh?  I guess it’s just the increase in hydration conditioner gives vs. the stuff in a can?  Either way, I like it and you only have to use a little bit which equals $$$ saved.


>>> Straightener as a Curling Iron <<<
I don’t use a straightener much anymore unless I’m giving myself a cut but I used to and when I did, preferring slightly curled ends over stick straight ones, I’d use my straightener to get that curl instead of straightening and then heating up the curling iron.  You won’t get ringlets like you could if you used a curling iron but the subtle curl/wave is great for everyday and is so natural looking.  All you have to do is pinch a section of hair in between the plates, twist the iron like the middle picture shows, and pull all the way down the piece until the end.  Wa-la.

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Any other wise ones out there with some unconventional beauty tips?  I’m always in the neighborhood for more!!!  :)

Five Faves >Blogging Tools<

I’m back with five more favorites and I’m still going to ride the blogging train with them.  In case you missed it, last time I wrote about my five favorite DIY web design blogs.  Well these, my friends, are the five (all free!) things I can’t do without as a blogger.  They’re like a hammer is to a handy man.  Check ‘um:

1.  Windows Live Writer
I use WLW to write all my posts.  I can’t say enough about it.  It’s so much better than using blogger to write because it lets you size your pictures to whatever size you want, edit them (add borders, crop, brighten, add a watermark, etc…), and what you see on your screen is what your post will look like after published.  So many times with darn blogger I’d type up a post and once I posted it, all my spacing would be off and look completely different than what I had just typed in a draft two seconds before.  Not gonna fly with a perfectionist.  Anyway, if you haven’t tried it you should.  You can download it for free from Microsoft here.

2.  Pixlr
We don’t own Photoshop or any fancy photo-editing software because we simply don’t have money to shove their way.  But that’s okay because I stumbled upon Pixlr a couple of years ago and it does almost everything that Photoshop can for your pictures and images.  Every graphic design image on this here blog – our header, our widget titles, our nav bar – was created using Pixlr.  The best part is you don’t have to download anything to use it.  Simply go to, create, save, and done!

3.  PicMonkey
I recently found about about PicMonkey and it’s ability to make creating photo collages a cinch.  Up until a few weeks ago, every collage I’ve made was constructed with a lot of tedious cutting and pasting…a huge time commitment.  I haven’t tried out their photo-editing because I’m so smitten with Pixlr but I’m sure it’s pretty good as well.  Once again, no downloading, just go to and get busy!

4.  Canon T2i
We saved for months and months before the twins were born for this camera…and then we found out our 2011 taxes owed (boo!) were the same amount as our coveted camera so we paid them and started allllll over.  But, we got there and we love this camera!  We’re big on researching big purchases before we buy, and Canon is an all-time fave with Consumer Reports so we knew we wanted a Canon.  We got great deal on this one - $600 with a free five-foot tripod and camera bag – and we have no complaints about it.  Love, love, love.  I use it for all house shots, projects shots, and we haven’t paid a pro-photographer yet to snap the girls; not that we’re outstanding photographers because we so aren’t, but we love that we could stage a photo shoot at home for free if we wanted like this one we did when they were wee babes:

5.  Gold-Striped Planner
desk 028
I had a rough time coming up with a fifth favorite.  I’d include the computer I blog with but it’s going to be celebrating it’s 10 year birthday soon, it’s missing two keys (G & B, in case you were wondering…they still work though), dented in few places, and slower than slow…it’s a wonder I blog at all with it because it literally takes ten clicks of the Chrome icon before it’ll  let me get online and thrice as long to get a post out than if we had a recent model.  But, it works and hopefully Santa will hear my plea for a new one this year. 
So back to #5 – a planner.  Not any planner though.  You know I love stripes, right?  Well, I found this one circa April at Target on clearance for $2.50 and I love it.  I’m picky with planners – they have to have a full page monthly calendar followed by pages of each week separating the days with lines so I can write down monthly things and skip over to write down daily stuff…picky, I told you.  I jot down random ideas, to-do lists…anything pertaining to the blog in it.  It keeps me organized.  Love it.

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And that’s it!  I’m linking up again with Hallie at Moxie Wife!  Go on over and read about a lot more favorites there! 

If you’re a blogger by day (or night), what are some of your favorite blogging tools?  Photo-editing tools?  Apps?  Share the goods!  :)

Five Favorites >DIY Web/Blog Design<

Join me in my first-timer excitement as I link up with Hallie at Moxie Wife with lots of others and share five favorites.  Five favorite what?  Well, pretty much anything you want.  I’ve been reading the posts linked to this little party for some time now and I’ve always found them really entertaining, fun to read, and sometimes really helpful.  I think it’s one of my favorite link-ups in the history of link-ups…such a great idea Hallie!

So, my faves this week (assuming I find time to list my five every week…here’s hoping) revolve around blog design.  I recently gave the blog here an overhaul and I did it all myself…read, free.  Everything was free.  I didn’t pay a cent to anyone to do anything.  And granted, it’s not the most high-tech, glamorous design in all of blogland, but I like it.

It took a lot of googling and a lot of html and CSS learning to stash away all the design knowledge I’ve packed in my noggin’; much of that said learning happening during the couch-sitting later months of the twin’s pregnancy.  So, without further ado, I give you my five favorite websites that give tips and tutorials on DIY web/blog design:

1.  Design It, Love it
image_3 Carolynn’s web design blog is my favorite favorite.  She’s all for helping you make your blog “pretty” and she also has another website devoted to finding and sharing free design tidbits along with free labels, printables, etc… – Fab 'n’ Free.

2.  Helplogger
Helplogger is where I find any technical information I might need like how to add social media icons and how to move certain aspects of your blog to a desired location.  They take the intimidating front of HTML and make it a piece of cake for people like me.  :)

3.  Freckles In April
Besides having a blog I get sucked into for nap times at a time, Kayla has a series on her blog, Freckles In April, called Blog Therapy where she gives hints and helps to a better blog.  She details process steps so well with pictures and explanations that she makes almost any web design tweak a walk in the park.  I’m about to head over and hit her up for her tutorial on making a customized navigation bar.  Should be fun…and up soon! 

4.  Something Swanky
Ashton blogs about dessert and design, two of my favorite things and what a happy pair they are.  She has a whole tab devoted to diy blog design.  I found her blog while searching for a tutorial on image-mapping.  Satiate your sweet tooth before you head over though or you’ll be wiping drool from your keyboard.

5.  xomisse 
I recently found Ellie’s blog after googling tutorials on how to move my date header and I found lots of great explanations and tutorials there.  On top of paid custom web design options, she has great freebie and downloads section I’m excited about.  I haven’t had much time to explore but I look forward to using her blog as a go-to when the design bug strikes.

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Just an FYI, I use the Blogger platform to run my blog but I know some of these websites have tutorials for WordPress as well, in case you’re looking to do some blog tweaking yourself.  :)

Do you have any others to add to the list?  Are you the sole-designer of your blog or would you rather hand the tech work off to someone else?  Or do you have any questions?  I love answering questions!  No secrets here!