The Best Gift

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I'm going to tell you a little something about myself.

I love pictures. 

Like, a lot.  I'd almost say I love pictures as much as The Alison Show loves planning parties.  For our anniversary, Paul gave me family pictures.  This is kind of a big deal because as much as I love pictures, he dislikes them even more.  I'm in love with Corissa's style, and she got us in before the leaves started changing (call me crazy, but I wanted green!). 

We just got them back and I am over the moon.  Heart eyes for days.  

My heart just melts into a little puddle.  And I want to wallpaper my house with our pictures.  



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The Best Sloppy Joe You'll Ever Eat

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I kid you not.  This is the be-all and end-all of sloppy joe recipes.  It came from Jess Kotter, and Grandma calls it barbeque.  Grandma used to make it all the time for family get-togethers.  Whenever I smell it, I think of sitting at her old wooden table eating this sandwich with potato chips on a vintage Corel plate, listening to a recording of her playing the Beer Belly Polka on her accordion.

I love it because it is as delicious fresh as it is frozen and reheated.  You can't say that about many recipes.  So call it barbeque or sloppy joes, you really need to try this recipe ASAP.

You'll need :
2 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups ketchup
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/3 cup water
3 TBS brown sugar
3 TBS mustard
3 TBS vinegar
3 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
16 to 20 hamburger buns

1. In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion and garlic until meat is brown and the onion is tender.  Drain off fat.
2. In  a 3 1/2 to 4 qt. slow cooker combine all other ingredients and stir in the meat
3. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high setting for 3 to 4 hours

If you don't want to use the crock pot, add green pepper, celery & water to the drained meat and simmer until tender.  Add rest of ingredients and simmer for several minutes. Stir frequently. 




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The Email Game

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Guys.  My email.  *shakes head*

I had 196 emails sitting in my inbox and everyday I ignored them, they grew more. I've been avoiding it because I just didn't feel like sifting through the junk to get to the real stuff from people I actually know...anyway, I'd like to introduce you to The Email Game!

*The friendly folks at Baydin who created the Email Game have no idea who I am.  I just really love this service and I wanted to share it with you.*  

It's free and it works with Gmail and google apps.  If you don't have Gmail,'s probably time to make the switch.

I love the Email Game. My emails grew from 196 to 247 in the couple of days I ignored my inbox, but I was able to cull through all of them in 15 minutes, and it would've been even faster if I hadn't gotten distracted half way through. 

Even better?  You don't have to create an account with them.  Even better than that?  It really is a game with a timer and points based on how fast you go through your messages.  

I think I was introduced to the Email Game from Kristen Kalp over at Brand Camp, back when she was helping me with my photography business (you should go take a peek at her website.  She's phenomenal for small business owners!).  I've been using the Email Game for a couple years now, and it keeps me from pulling my hair out over the sheer number of emails that can accumulate in my inbox.  

My biggest tip?  Unsubscribe!  If you find that you never really read the emails from XYZ that you signed up for a year ago, let it go.  You have enough going on in your life as it is.  

Give it a try, and let me know if you like it. 



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3 Tips for Keeping Your Sanity While Potty Training Your Toddler

Monday, September 1, 2014

Oh my heavens.  I don't like potty training.  I don't like it at all.  We're actually just coming through on the other side with Max, and I honestly don't even know how long we've been at it.   All those Pinterest posts that promise your child can be potty trained in a weekend?  Lies.  At least for us.  I'd say Max has been potty trained during the day for probably 5 months, but staying dry through the night has just clicked in the past month or so.  Which means laundry for days and days.

I finally figured out a system that requires less laundry most of the time and I feel like banging my face on the washing machine for not having figured it out sooner.  If I would've known these things when I started potty training rather than at the end of potty training, I'm 80% sure there would've been fewer swear words.  Without further ado:

Plastic pants + training underwear = significantly less pee everywhere.  Max wigged out when I first put the plastic pants on him, but guess what?  I'm the mom and I'm bigger than he is.  Somehow I convinced him to keep them on.  Added bonus, not having to wear them anymore is an extra incentive to stay dry through the night.  It did take a couple of times for me to realize that although Max had stayed dry, the underwear was still damp because he's a sweaty little boy and that plastic is not breathable.  So before you heave another disappointed sigh, make sure you figure out why the underwear is damp and maybe you can celebrate instead.

I didn't start doing this until probably a month ago and I wish I had been doing it all along.  I don't know what I was thinking...I'm pretty sure this is the first thing most people put their kids in when potty training, unless you're me.  *facepalm*

I know.  This may seem a bit much, but let me explain.  The waterproof zipper pillow case keeps the pillow dry.  The cotton zipper pillow case makes the vinyl a little less crinkly sounding when your kid lays their head down and if you put the zipper side into the pillowcase first, they don't realize it can come off (unless they take the pillowcase completely off).

My washing machine is basically the size of a thimble, so washing Max's pillow on a regular basis was out of the question.  Even if you're washing three pillowcases, they still take up significantly less room in the washer than a pillow.

If you're diligent about tip #1, you may be able to disregard tip #2.

Let me preface this tip by saying how much I loathe removing the fitted sheet and the mattress protector, washing them, and then putting them back on.  It drove me insane.  I don't know why, but it did.  That's why I used a waterproof crib pad and a flat sheet in addition to the fitted sheet and the mattress protector.  That way, I only had to rip off the top two layers (which took two seconds) and throw those in the wash AND his mattress was still protected in case he slept on it before I had made it up again.

There are also nights where Max decides to sleep on the other end of his bed, which doesn't have a crib pad on it.  It is still covered by the mattress protector though, so not a big deal (except that then I have to strip the entire bed and wash it...).

There you have it.  What's worked for you when potty training?

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