Monday, April 28, 2014

Pantry Nightmare finds a Perfect Solution

The Pantry can be a sight for sore eyes if not organized well. Thankfully I have a decent size pantry with a door so when weeks of disorganization pass me by I can always shut the door and hide the mess. The problem? I got tired of searching for that can of beans I knew I had laying around somewhere. 

One of the problems with organizing the pantry was I knew the way I’d like to organize it would cost me some serious bucks at The Container Store until one day I found a solution.  I visited a friend’s home who had some cute baskets she snagged at PierOne. I couldn’t believe it when she told me she paid $1 for a small basket and $2 for a large basket. Bingo! This could be the solution I’ve been searching for in my pantry! 

Although I never envisioned round baskets as the major solution, I envisioned more rectangular baskets, it was a cheaper solution for sure.

Sure enough I scoped out my PierOne and they were stocked with these guys!

Here’s a before picture of my pantry (don't be scared!)

Seriously...are most pantries this full??? I'm a bit embarrassed. Oh and a tip I found on Pinterest if you are needing more storage in your pantry, just buy an over the door shoe organizer and it works great for things like aprons, aluminum foil, straws, etc.So after about an hour of organizing and about $25 later (Yay!) here's what it looks like now.

One thing I want to improve on is making some sort of labels for each basket but for now this will do the trick. FYI, I did buy these about two weeks ago so I'm not sure if PierOne still has this great deal. Wish I would have posted earlier but a case of pink eye and a ear infection in my two year old left me worn out and unmotivated for a week.

Organized Shoe Hanger

So what's the moral of the story? You may not be able to get the dreamy organized pantry you want unless you are willing to fork out the money, but you can find easy and affordable solutions if you just keep your eyes open!

Happy Monday!

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Glam Filled Weekend

I'm attracted to details. I love it when people put thoughtful consideration into the "little" things. My eyes can't help but wander off to those things that are marked with beauty.

The other day I attended an event at my church held for all the women. It was an event meant to encourage and bless, to meet new people, and have fun doing it all with one another. Being new to the church I had no idea what to expect.

From the moment I hit the parking lot I felt like I was hitting the red carpet. A section of the parking lot was blocked off with tents and shimmering lights. It was just enough to let my mind wonder what would I find in those tents when the service was all said and done. When I entered the door I was greeted with lovely faces and head was spinning. Glamour and sparkle everywhere. My eye didn't know what to focus on next! I love that about an event. Careful attention to detail to wet your appetite for more! In the middle of the foyer were theses glittery lights that made me want to stand in the middle of it and have a photo shoot all to myself, lol!
Photo Courtesy of Daniel Villarreal

When I entered the sanctuary there were great big black and gold balloons and each seat had a mini bundt cake. Couldn't wait for the opportunity to devour it! 

Then worship began. The team did an amazing job ushering us into God's presence. One of my favorite songs right now has been Hillsong's  I Surrender, as they played this song it was just a powerful time for me personally to focus not only on the lyrics but on my journey since my move to the great city of San Antonio. 

After a few giveaways (sadly I did not win one) I learned about a ministry called Jesus Said Love. It is a ministry that exists to share Jesus with the women in the commercial sex industry. I'm so proud that our church reaches out beyond the four walls of the church! 
Photo Courtesy of Daniel Villarreal

Our pastor's wife Jannelle brought a powerful message about being ready. Here are a few points that I jotted down that I absolutely loved.

- Unearth what's in your heart.
- What are the things that you have inside of you? You are going to have to dig to unearth it!
- Are you going to be ready when the door opens?
- Your ministry is your God assignment!
- Be battle ready so you're not surprised!
- The devil is going to go after those who are kingdom minded.
- Determine your stance!
- Give yourself permission to make mistakes

I was so grateful to hear this message that focused on empowering us to be kingdom minded and ready for the battle. 

Remember the tents I mentioned earlier? Well the whole outdoor scene was transformed into one big girls after party! One tent had mini sliders and the other a french fry bar! In the background we were serenaded with an acoustic set. 
The Trio

A huge backdrop allowed for some selfies and group photo opportunities. 
Hayley Shannon & Yours Truly!

A lemonade bar with four flavors (mango, raspberry, pomegranate and pineapple) left me wanting more. If you ever do an event and need some mouth watering beverages look no more! 
The Lemonade Company

For $15 I nabbed a glammed up shirt with the words BOLD, our new name for our women's event. Score!!!
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth & Judy Dominguez

Overall I couldn't have been more pleased. I enjoyed some great girl time, heard a powerful message, made new friends, and I was pampered through the whole process. 

P.S. I finally did have that bundt cake and it was so moist and yummy I wish I could have eaten about 10 more! :)

So what did you do this weekend?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five Fun Facts on Friday

I've skipped a few days of writing this week because my husband just launched his first blog, Alamo City Living. I'm so excited for him because this blog is a little bit of everything Mr. Idol related: real estate, life, photography and film. All of that to say I've been pretty involved with helping him by mapping out some posts and doing some research for him so hopefully I can give some more attention to my blog next week.

As I mentioned last week, without further a duo....Mother's Day Special Edition: unique gift ideas coming from children. 

1. Breakfast in Bed

Even my kids, ages 4, 2, and 10 months old, can help do something like this. Well, probably not the itty bitty one but the other two are definitely old enough to help crack some eggs and set the table with adult supervision. Give them some aprons, have them pick out some flowers, and a card and it's a special treat for mom. I thought this was a cute idea too!

2. Mother’s Day Time Capsule

This looks like a fun and creative idea! If you don't do this for Mother's Day it's a great idea for a birthday gift!

3. Mini Film

I absolutely love that my husband is a creative genius! I think something like the film below would be a great Mother's Day gift! I know he used the application iMovie to make this but if you  are like me and know nothing about how that works it may seem like a lofty task. This isn't really a gift coming straight from the hands of little ones but they could definitely play a huge part to make the film. Videography is one of my hubby's passions but if you can't afford to hire someone like him try researching these apps out and see if they help the non-techy person in you! 

This is a thoughtful one. Cut strips of paper and ask the kids what they like about mommy. Jot each one down, fold it up, and put it all in a pretty little jar that they could even decorate. Simple and perfect!

5. Photo Bookmarks

These are also a cute idea! Click here for the easy steps and final product. 

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ask the How and the Why

Too often we ask the "how" without the "why."

I recently started reading a leadership book on church growth. I'm not a pastor or on staff at a church but the subject of leadership intrigues me. I'm a leader. I lead my home daily. The little people who follow me may not have a choice in the matter but I do lead them.

The introduction of the book grasped my attention because this principal of asking the "how" with the "why" can be applied to our daily lives.

I have a four year old and she asks an insane amount of questions. If I'm honest there are moments where I want to close the conversation as rapidly as possible so my answers are short and sweet sprinkled in with a few uh huhs. But this thought of giving her a reason, giving her a why is important because it continues to generate curiosity and understanding. I'm doing her an injustice when I cut the conversation short.

On the other spectrum it had me thinking too about how I ask other moms questions about parenting or blogging or whatever the subject may be. There is power in asking why we do the things we do not just how we do them. Knowing the why empowers us for growth. What's the principal behind the policy? Have we focused more on methods instead of motives? Actions rather than attitudes?

Don't fear the why. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Significant Reminder

"Everybody you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

A precious mother of seven children said that to a group of mothers the other day. I was in that group and it was a necessary reminder. 

Being a parent no matter how many children you have is not only a blessing it can also be a challenging task. The moment that little bundle of joy is put into your arms no instruction manual accompanies him or her. I think in those moments we are so giddy and happy and beyond excited but once the honeymoon phase passes we wonder what are we to do next. 

Parenting is challenging because it comes with no particular formula. Parents are different. Children are different. Thankfully there are great resources like books, the Internet, our parents, friends, and counselors but ultimately it's up to each one of us to walk this out. 

So the next time you see another mom at the grocery store with a cart full of crying children say something kind. You've been in the trenches of motherhood extend grace, say a prayer, or put your hand on her shoulder and tell her to hang in there.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Five Fun Facts on Friday

With Mother’s Day being next month I thought I’d do my part by doing some research on what would be a thoughtful gift to give that special mom in your life.

 A month away seems like eternity to most people but with the hustle and bustle of life who wants a gift that was thrown together last minute? Don’t get me wrong I’m grateful for the flowers, jewelry, etc. but I’m one of those who actually likes a gift that had love and thought put into it so this is a short helpful guide for what I thought would be some neat ideas to get you working towards. Don’t worry mates I’m working on some Mother’s Day Gift Ideas that would come from the little ones! So stay tuned!

I doubt my audience of readership is men but hey you never know! If you are a man and you’re reading this I hope this is helpful to you. If you feel lost, uncreative or no idea where to start maybe you can recruit the help of a sister or aunt or your own mom to help you with the process. Ladies, no shame on forwarding a link of this post to the man in your life as a *hint hint.* I know my husband actually appreciates the “hints” he hates starting with a blank slate. 

I know there are so many creative ideas out there but I thought I’d start with five since it is Five Fun Facts on Friday!

1. For the Sentimental Mom/Wife in Your Life: Kid Portraits 

It may take work and you’ll have to be sneaky but a gift of portraits of your kids may just bring her to tears! I happen to know a great photographer ;) so if you are interested visit his website to schedule your portraits! You can always do a follow up with a family portrait but this would be neat for her to not stress over outfits and hair and just enjoy the byproduct!  

On that same trail….One of the best gifts my husband, the photographer, gave me was a  40 page book of our kids with photos he took throughout the year. I treasure that book! Now at days with everything digital it is so rare you come across a photo album or scrapbook. My hubby used this website and they do a really neat job at a reasonable price.
Front Cover
Inside of the book

I've never used this company but if you are an Instagram junkie this may work for you!

2. For the Foodie Mom/Wife in Your Life: Food Tour 

About four hours will be needed to make this an event she won’t forget! Combine food with the River Walk, History, and Architecture in San Antonio and you’ve got a real win! Visit here for more details. Make the reservation, book a sitter and the two of you can enjoy a great day! 

3. For the Everyday Mom/Wife in Your Life: In Home Spa  

I’ve always wanted to do an all-day Spa where I’m being pampered and relaxed but who wants to spend $500!? I know it won’t be the exact same but trust me she won’t complain if you follow every step below! 

- take the kids somewhere for 3-4 hours 
- set it all up for her so she doesn’t have to do anything but enjoy: buy her bath soaks, lotions, bubble bath, etc. 
- set up candles all throughout the bathroom 
- a touch of rose petals laid out 
- buy her a book she’s been wanting to read in fact you can even go the extra mile and get her one of these sweet little bags 
- you can buy her one of these and she can get a good foot soak in and use it for other days to come
- you can also buy her a nail polish or two with a manicure kit. 
- if she doesn’t have a robe you can even buy her a soft or silky one 
- top of that little adventure with a bottle of wine, a plate with cheese, crackers and fruit and I think you’d be Husband of the Year! 

4. For the Decorator Mom/Wife in Your Life: Canvas Art  

I’m a fan of Erin Condren’s products and her website offers Canvas Art! You can find options here or try Etsy for a one of a kind unique art! 

5. For the Romantic Mom/Wife in Your Life: What I love about you book 

My husband got me one of these one year. Not this exact one but same concept and it was so sweet and thoughtful reading through how he felt about me. Some parts even made me cry! This one is a good start or you can make your own. My husband got mine at a Hallmark store you may be able to find one through there too.
Hallmark's hard cover version
The first page of the book

Alright well hopefully this is a good start for you all! Start dropping the hints now! ;)

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When Parenting Meets Chaos - Pt. 3: "Making Your Own Emergency Kit"

So you’re stuck in a mess of a situation and a multitude of “I should haves” come blurting out of your mouth. Today is about hopefully keeping you at peace and getting you prepared for the day kid chaos comes knocking at your door.

Today I’ll be walking you through making your own Emergency Kit to keep in your car for those “oops” moments. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation like this one with no means of back up!

Don’t stress out about having to spend a ridiculous amount of money to make this kit. All of the items I listed below I already had in my home, and if you don’t have the items you need visit your local Dollar Store or Target’s $1 bin. You can start a kit with what you do have, leave it in your car, and build on it as you see items on sale or items that can be useful. 

Mom's Car Emergency Kit:
- back pack/reusable bag/duffle bag
- set of clothes for each child (don’t forget to rotate when seasons change)
- undergarments for each child
- extra set of clothes for mom (I threw in an extra shirt but not an entire outfit)
- diapers (if you need them)
- wipes
- 1-2 towels
- hand sanitizer
- roll of paper towels or handful of napkins or both
- tissue
- pair of scissors
- flashlight
- First Aid Kit
- meds (tylenol, benadryl, tums, etc.)
- feminine products
- 1-2 trash bags
- travel size toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, toilet paper, etc.)
I got everything but a flashlight. I'll be searching for one soon!
It all fits just great!

Feel free to add items or take out items. These are just a few ideas to help you get started, and these are items that I would personally like to have in my own kit. If you want to get even more organized and prepared I recommend visiting this website for some great ideas on Emergency Preparedness.

I'd love to hear some of your ideas on what you think needs to go in a Emergency Kit!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"When Parenting Meets Chaos" - Pt. 2: No More Shame, No More Guilt

Yesterday’s blog post described my most recent parent chaos situation I faced. If you somehow missed the drama please be sure to catch up by reading it here

Today I want to write about something I think we all face as parents at one point or another, shame and guilt. We are not perfect. Don’t let other parenting blogs or moms fool you and I’m sure each one would agree that they too don’t have it all together. We write because we are passionate about others seeing our mistakes and learning from them and to share a few laughs too. 

I’ve been guilty of keeping my kids from fun because I didn’t want to deal with the aftermath of a mess. I’m a bit OCD and as a planner I like order and when it doesn’t happen I tend to freak out a bit. Well shoot, when will these kids ever get to experiment and have fun? I know. I know. It just wasn’t fair to them and it took my little parenting chaos I described yesterday to make me realize I was inhibiting them from creating fun memories. 

So what’s the core problem? Is it laziness on our part, are we too wrapped up in our own stuff, is it a matter of carving out time? Each of our personalities are different and our schedules and seasons are different so I think this is the first step for us. Figure out what’s the core problem and I think that once we know what that is we can put a plan of action into place to keep us from feeling like failures. 

Today is not about making you feel like a failure or to pour on the guilt if you’ve felt the way I have. Today is about empowering you to think outside the box. It’s about changing the way we think and visualizing an insane amount of memories our children will share with us and with one another. 

So a few practical ideas:

- Carve out time each day for your kids to enjoy some kid to parent time and/or some out of your comfort zone fun. You know your family schedule so you arrange the time but even 30 minutes can be sufficient. 

- Limit your phone use. I love to take pictures of what the kids are doing because it can always turn into a great blog idea or simply serve as memories but once I snap those shots I try to put the phone away and engage with them. 

- Plan, Plan, Plan. If you know your day is filled with laundry, cooking, and all the household chores maybe wake up an hour or two earlier to try to knock some of those things out so you don’t let those tasks over rule the opportunity for some potential fun. 

- Consider "dates" with each one of your kids. Plan it out. Something even as simple as going to the grocery store with one child as oppose to all of them can make that one child feel special. Be creative. My four year old doesn't take naps anymore so while the other two were napping the other day we played her favorite board game and she loved it. It made her feel incredibly special. Not everything needs to be a huge event or cost you money.

- Be prepared for the unexpected. Please note that no matter how prepared you can be plans can still go awry so it’s not always a guarantee but hey it’s better than nothing! Visit tomorrow to catch a glimpse of how to make your own Emergency Kit for the unexpected chaos!

So no more shame and move over guilt! No mom out there is perfect! Figure out what works for you and your family and go with it. Don't try to follow another mom's schedule or routine. It's great to get ideas but don't fall into the trap of "I'm not good enough" because your life doesn't look like someone else's. That's when the shame and guilt creep in. Hang in there mommy, you're doing just fine!