We're still in the middle of moving, but the blog is now found at everythingisntnormal.com

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Finally In Houston!

We're in HOUSTON!! Wooo, after two long years in Iowa and a total of four years since I lived in Mississippi, I'm finally back in the south and I love it! It hasn't quite yet sunk in that we LIVE here yet, but I'm incredibly excited for the opportunities we have to explore. Especially considering I have finally had the chance to enjoy my first ever Jamba Juice fruit smoothie. And man, this Mega Mango is YUMMY!

Also, I'm wasting some time on Facebook, but mostly because I've been traveling and unpacking for days and I need a rest. Nick is downstairs watching Josie and the Pussycats & setting up his blu-ray shelf while I "work." And I am!
I'm working on the menu for my first Houston based freezer meal workshop, reading blogs, and checking out the promotional material I snagged from JJ. Also, getting started on a little trial of a new probiotic I'm going to be reviewing in a few weeks. See, "work" can be fun! So for the next two weeks, I suspect I'll be a bit slow blogging, but in June I'll be getting back to full speed. In the meantime, use the Contact tab to get in touch if you want to write a guest post.

Also if you're in Texas / Houston, comment below things I absolutely MUST check out!

{hey hey! Any company names I mentioned here are not sponsored placement, just talking about them because I feel like it!}

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fitness Tips for Working Moms & Sam's Club Membership

Hey! So today is just a really quick post because guess what... Amanda from Eat Hard Work Hard is featuring my guest post today! So go check out my post, Fitness Tips for Working Moms (or non-moms!) {yes, I also re-read that as "nom-nom" but I don't care.} And also with my guest post, since it's Wednesday, you can check out the Workout Wednesday Link Up and her other posts while you're there! Thanks Amanda!

Since part of being healthy is eating right, it's important to stock up on food that's good for you. Typically, it's okay to get produce in bulk if you're eating right, because you'll go through it fast. That's why I was excited when zulily, the popular deals site, put up their Sam's Club promotion, for $45 you'll get a year membership, a $20 gift card, a few food coupons you can use to splurge on your "cheat day" and a free canvas photo print. The $45 promotion literally pays for itself. Click the photo to go directly to the sale. (Links to zulily are affiliate links.)

Anyway! Check out that deal and my guest post today, thanks for tuning in and I'll see you later this week. :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5 Places to get Free Boxes (and a moving update!)

So, I thought I'd quickly type out an update on our moving status since I won't be doing a ton of blogging during our moving weekend which, hey, it's this weekend. So here's what's up.

The kid's room is packed, mostly. Their toys have been all but confiscated, with about 10-15 toys for playing over the next three days and the rest packed up. All the broken toys and those with missing pieces are in the trash and the extra clothes have been packed with only a box of clothes for wearing.

The extra pantry supplies have been packed, I've determined we have so much food we don't have to buy anything ever again. This is an exaggeration of course, but there was a lot of food. I've also packed a small amount of my clothes, woo!I've even let myself reorganize and pack some of our overflow of toiletries, even though I said I wouldn't.

I figured I'd also share a note on how we're getting all our boxes for free, instead of paying for shipping or moving boxes. I recommend searching these sources if you're moving or need to store things.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Four Things I've Learned From My Son

My son is four years old. Almost five. That means it's been five years since I graduated high school. Almost five years since I turned down a college education to become a stay at home mom. My life has actually changed a lot in five years. I've been reflecting on that recently but I wanted to share something. Even though I didn't get a degree of any magnitude yet, like my high school peers, I've learned a lot from the teachers I live with everyday. Children teach you just as much as you teach them. I learn a new thing every day, from both my children. So in honor of the first born, my rambunctious little man, here are four things I've learned from my son.

Sometimes you have to go through something hard to get to something good. Or rather, rhyming songs are hard, and dumb mostly, but the show that comes on afterwards is so great, it's worth the wait. Abel hates the song at the beginning of Busytown Mysteries, and he hates when I sing along. But he tolerates it because he loves the show. I realize this is an over simplified lesson for the teaching, but it holds. He's learned very young that sometimes, the end result is worth a painful beginning.

It is possible to read in the dark if your imagination is strong enough. I can't tell you how many nights a week after bedtime orders have been issued and sheets have been tucked in that I have to go confiscate books because they're "reading" them and not going to sleep. I don't know how much actual reading is ever accomplished, but it's apparently important enough to get in trouble for.

Look Mommy! I drew a pillow!
If you betray someone's trust, you actually have to work to earn it back. And you have to acknowledge that person's pain. Abel has seen a lot in his young life. Due to my divorce and the way he has experienced it, he's very sensitive about people being honest and supporting of him and his emotions. Because I know this, I try to reassure him that no matter what, I'll be there, so when a few months ago the last minutes plans were made for him to stay at dad's a week longer than promised, I felt absolutely terrible that I couldn't correct my promise to pick him up in two days before he left. When he got back, he seemed very upset and wouldn't tell me why. When I got a minute free with him, I explained to him that I didn't know, a reminder that my promise feeling like a lie is natural and okay for him to feel and then I apologized profusely. I owned my mistake, even though it wasn't within my control. And you know what? He felt better. I didn't even have to buy him anything. Words and actions mean more than toys and candy. Everytime.

Last but never least, my son has taught me that boys can be princesses, they can live in pink castles and play with pink tutus. Girls can drive cars with their brothers and pretend to be superhero friends. Boys can wear hello kitty underwear and girls can wear Spider-man underwear. Boys can be "the mom" during playtime. Girls can have short hair (he cut his sisters hair, I'm not even kidding) and boys can have long hair, or at least pretend (he got a new brush for his short hair for Christmas.) Boys and girls can be who they want to be, with no restriction based on their gender. This little boy knows that everyone is different, but that it shouldn't ever limit us.

I'm so proud to be a mom to such a beautiful and talented pair of children. Thank you for keeping me busy and teaching me how to be the best mom I can be for you. Happy Mother's Day to everyone, including those who make us moms.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Share the Love - Blogs I Read

Hey, so it's FRIDAY! And instead of sharing with you Rebecca Black's hit single, I'm going to do probably my favorite thing ever. (Just so we're clear, I'll never share that song. I promise.) I'm going to share with you a couple of the things I've been reading up this week, basically just some of my favorite blog posts from elsewhere on the internet or articles I loved.

So, the other day, when I was at the bookstore wasting time instead of getting project supplies, I came across these cool photo album type things that were actually recipe books, each sleeve in the album was made to fit a 4x6 recipe card, they included dividers for food/meal types and the covers were pretty. And they cost more than I wanted to spend. So I came across this blog post by The Idea Room and I'm excited to just MAKE my own recipe book. Using the printables found in that blog post, plus some binder pages for photos from Hobby Lobby, this is going to be my first project after the move. I'll share a photo or two after I'm finished.

On Wednesday, I hadn't had a plan for lunch so while flipping through Pinterest I found this recipe for cauliflower rice and made it right away. Of course, Nick had a sassy anti-vegetable comment for it, but it was the best thing I ate this week.

And I'm an online "window shopper" for just about 75% of my internet time. This week, I found these ADORABLE yoga pants that I pretty much NEED to have. There are tons of different fabric choices on their site and I can't wait to try out the yoga wear and dresses.

Also, if you haven't seen this video of a little dog basically owning his two bigger, brother dogs, you need to. It's one thing to train your pets to wait for treats. It's completely another to have the dog train you. The video is on facebook, but it should be public so you hopefully won't have to log in to view it if you don't use facebook.

And if you DO use facebook, go follow me! Everything Isn't Normal on Facebook

Did you find anything fun on the internet this week? Share with me! I love wasting my time on the interwebs.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Life's Lemons Are Sometimes Cars

I hate Nick's car. Let's just get that out of the way. I hate it, with some serious passion. So today, you're getting a personal, everyday life type post from me.

We're in the midst of preparing for a move several states away, just two weeks from now, and yesterday his car decided it didn't feel like working anymore. It's about 12 years old, so I get that it's not perfect, but it's just plain mean for picking now for all the times it could've done this. I mean, it could be worse I guess, he could have gotten the dumb thing all the way to Texas and then been without a car for a week until I got there because it decided to quit when he got there. But still, yesterday was a super stressful day.
It started like a pretty typical day, get the kids to school, run morning errands, go home to get ready for work, write blog stuff, blah blah blah. Then after Nick leaves, he comes back in the house and tells me his car won't start. And it really wouldn't. Forty minutes later I'm picking him up from the place where he the tow truck took him & the car and he's dropping me off at work. Because you know, that's how his last study day before his last final should go.

After getting a work up from the car shop, the cost to fix the car is four times the cost of the resale value of the car if he were to sell it in running condition. That became a big nope. So we worked out the now whats, the whens, wheres, and whys of a new plan for making sure he could be mobile.

So it looks like, for now, we're going to just be a one car family. Nick can use the public transportation in town, since he still lives in Ames and I can pick him up as needed. Then in two weeks when we move, I'll just go down with him (if that ends up working out) to Texas and he'll just use my car over the summer. It's possible. It will work. We just have to live more simply and save up money faster than originally expected for him to get a new car. And I'll just have to find lots and lots to do during the day. And set up the den in the house as my yoga studio. Which I wanted to do anyway.

Bye Bye Junky Meanie Car.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Aromatic Room & Linen Spray: A Tutorial!

So, as promised yesterday, I have gathered you here today for a tutorial of awesomeness. However, when I finally went back to town for materials, I actually couldn't find what I was looking for anywhere in town. Thanks specialty stores for not carrying anything. You're awesome. So I'm instead doing a tutorial I was going to do next week. You're welcome.
{{Also, there are some links in this post that are direct links to finding products online. Some of them provide me affiliate rewards if you use them. I'd appreciate if you did!}}
Today, we're making aromatic room spray. It's like air freshener, but better. And homemade.
So, circle around and listen closely. I don't mean to sound like a creepy announcer. It's just how I'm rolling right now. Anyway, the materials you're going to need are as follows.

  • Vodka, 80 proof, any brand. (You're only going to use about a teaspoon, so if you don't keep any in the house, a small bottle is just fine.)
  • Essential Oils - I'm using lavender and chamomile because they're both known for having a calming effect. (Yes the chamomile link is to a different brand than my photo - it's the same oil in jojoba blend.)
  • A dropper, for measuring more accurately.
  • A 4oz spray bottle, glass, plastic*, stainless steel, up to you. Darker, or light preventing, is better.
  • 4 oz distilled/filtered water.
  • A shot-glass, teacup, any type of ceramic/glass small container will do. Also, a second one to keep the vodka in.
Making Stuff Time!!

  • To make the spray, you're going to start by putting the 4 oz of water into the 4 oz spray bottle. Now you have water spray. You can stop here if you really just wanted water spray. That's cool.

  • Instead of just using the vodka straight from the bottle, to avoid any possible contamination, I dumped about a tablespoon worth into a shot glass. I used a teacup for mixing.
  • Next, using the dropper, suck up a bunch of vodka into it. Drop 300 drops into the glass/ceramic container. (My teacup.) You'll have to suck up more than the initial go, the dropper likely just won't hold enough. And 300 drops is easier/faster to do that you'll initially think.

  • Then, using your dropper again, put 100 drops of oil into the vodka in the glass. If you're using more than one oil, you'll need to adjust accordingly. I used 60 drops lavender and 40 chamomile. Just don't use more than 100. Essential oils are a great remedy for many ailments, but if you go overboard you can become sick, rashy, or sensitized to them. The next photos explain how I used the dropper even though the bottle has one of those built in drop regulating things. 

  • Stir up the oil cocktail. (Haha, you get it. I know you do.) You can use the dropper to do this.
  • Pour the oil/vodka mix into the spray bottle.

Last Few Steps!

  • Cap it tight, shake really REALLY well.
  • You're good to go. I'd advise shaking it a bit before each use just for optimal scent and lasting.

*The reason we use the vodka with the oil is to "solubilize" the oil, or basically pre-dissolve it. If you don't do this step, the oil won't mix with the water properly and with therefore be less effective. Also, as mentioned above, I stated that you can use a plastic bottle for this. Many people warn against storing essential oils in plastic as the oil will eat away the plastic. Solubilizing will prevent that. 

As I said in a previous post about essential oils, I'm not a registered or certified aromatherapist. I leave it up to you to do appropriate research before using essential oils. I'm including a few links below to help you in educating yourself. 

Guide to Diluting Essential Oils (and info about sensitization)
Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mission Possible, Still Failed

Hello all! Today, I had a mission that I've already failed. In case you're curious, here's the mission.
Complete a tutorial and take pictures, write the tutorial, edit the tutorial, and schedule it for tomorrow - all within an hour. 

Here's why I've already failed. Because it's already 11:00. I went to town and back. I have to go to work at 1:00. And I literally won't have any other time to do it. But it finally stopped raining, so there is that. But really, I went into town, intending to get the supplies I needed for this, with a budget for it too, and I didn't even do that right. See, I did a dry run last night, it went fabulously. But there was no real lighting for pictures and I didn't have enough supplies to replicate it. So I had a plan in my head and here's how it went.
  • Get up & take kids to school (daycare.) 
  • Go to the store & get supplies. 
  • Come home & play with supplies (take pictures) 
  • Write. 
  • Dress for Work. 
  • Work.
Here's what actually happened.
  • Got up, early at that. Scrolled through facebook, twice. Fell asleep.
  • Got up again when the big kid did. Congratulated him for not wetting the bed.
  • Laid in bed, scrolled through facebook. 
  • Woke up Miss Scarlet. She wet the bed. Sorry baby, you'll get it next time.
  • Supervised dressing, brushed S's hair, took daily instagram of her outfit.
  • Dropped them off at school.
  • Spent an hour in the bookstore. Buying nothing.
  • Came home. Checked time. Failed. 
Now? I'm going to get myself dressed for work, go back to town 45 minutes early, go to the actual store I need to go to, which isn't the bookstore, and get supplies. Tomorrow, I'll do the work I was supposed to. Somehow, between dropping kids off, meeting with the lady I'm cat-sitting for, and work - I'll do it. I promise. Shame on you facebook for being so addicting. To the bookstore. No shame upon you. Just stop being so sexy.

To check out the daily Instagram of Miss Scarlet's outfit, follow us at @yesthatshelby and/or search #missscarletren on instagram.

Friday, May 2, 2014

5 Things Friday! Moving Edition

It's Friday! And that means I'm here to make a list of FIVE things, inspired by whatever I want. At first, I was going to make a list of 5 things cats are trying to tell humans, but then I got carried away and wrote an even better list of cat nonsense earlier this week.

So here I am to bring you 5 Things I Refuse to Pack Until the Day Before the Moving Truck Comes. I've been a super procrastinator with packing because I keep getting this "I'm going to need this" sense. We have only 2 more full weeks to pack before it all gets loaded and on it's way to Texas.

So here's the TOP 5 (because there's way more than that) things I absolutely won't pack before it has to.

Yes, that bag is actually overflowing. And needs a bit of
reorganization. But I'm bad at that. And packing.
  1. My clothes. No seriously, just about all my clothes are staying unpacked. I don't have a lot anyway and the majority of them are work uniforms. I might pack some of the kids clothes though, they have an over abundance of them.
  2. My cookware. I'm going to have to live a week without it anyway, so I'm going to enjoy ALL of it until then.
  3. All personal documents. I really need to have this stuff handy, even if I know I won't actually need it. 
  4. The overstock of hygiene items. I'm not talking my day to day stuff, I'm actually talking about the big utility bag in my bathroom closet that has extra soaps and stuff. What happens if I run out of what I have open. I'm not buying more, no way.
  5. My office supplies. I like my fifty pens and pencils and pretty assortment of rubber bands and binder clips. I probably won't need them, but I WANT them. They're adorable.

Your turn! What are FIVE things on your mind?

5 Things Friday is just about anything you want it to be! IT can be about your 5 best buys this week, 5 beauty products you just can’t live without or 5 things your kids said that made you wish the ground would just open up and swallow you on the spot! It’s for Mommy, Beauty, Craft, Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger and everyone in between!

Link up your old or new "5 Things" post and come back next month for the next installment!!

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