Carmel Comfort & Torani

Remember this post on RICE PUDDING? 

Well I got a couple bottles of Torani, sugar-free Pumpkin Pie and this

so instead of adding cinnamon and sugar I added it and YUM-O, it was delish.  I also cooked it with vanilla soy milk instead of cow's milk, soy milk has about the same amount of protein and calcium but even with the added sugar it has much less sugar then plain milk and when I'm making a sweet treat I like to save the sugar anywhere it won't be noticed.  For anyone trying to cut out even more sugar the sugar-free pumpkin pie was amazing as well.

You can get 10% off HERE on all Torani products.

I got the bottles through SheSpeaks, a program where you can receive free products to review and share with friends, if you are interested in this program check out their website and don't forget to mention that you heard about it here.

14 Rules for Raising Sons

My first baby when he was 14 mths.

I found this WONDERFUL POST on 

about 25 rules for mom raising daughters and it got me thinking about similar rules for raising my sons, since I'm due to have my second son next month.  You should really read it, it's a beautiful post.

So here's my 14 rules for moms raising sons:

Milli Halloween Costume Done!!!!!!

Sorry for the terrible pic

I did it!  I finished the Milli Umizoomi costume in record time.  The hard part was the cap,

Halloween Costume Project

Can you guess what my 4 yr old daughter is going to be for halloween this year?  Guesses on Facebook were:  Little Bo Peep, Little Miss Muffet, Dora, Hello Kitty and Stephanie from Lazy Town.

I thought the fabric was a dead giveaway, esp. since I had to design it myself and order it from Spoonflower, there just wasn't any print that was anywhere close.  (It didn't turn out nearly as bright as I thought it would though.)

Give Up?

Cheap Foaming Handwash Refill

So I love those foaming handsoaps but I hate, Hate, HATE the price tag so I decided to refill them myself on the cheap and it turns out to be ridiculously easy.  Here is what you need:

One Empty Foaming Dispenser
Liquid Soap, any kind will do

That's really it and since the Suave was one sale for a buck and in a scent that not only do I like but my husband won't mind it either, I used it.  You can also use Castile Soap, shampoo, melaleuca hand soap or whatever.

Now to fill it up:

Really, that little, I swear that the companies that sell these things must think we are big suckers to charge more for something that is 99% water.  If you use liquid castile soap you only need about 2 TBSP and shampoo lathers a lot so you can use less as well, just pour some in and if it's thicker foam than you want you can always use less soap the next time and if it's too weak then a tiny bit more soap.  

Now fill it up with water, I was impatient the first time and just filled it up until most of the bubbles had poured out of the top but if you fill it up slower then you don't get too many bubbles and there's no mess.

(The foamer in the pictures was filled with dishsoap, hence the color difference from the shampoo.)

Politics 101

I hate how biased all the information out there is in the political field esp. if you are only just now getting interested in it so I'm going to share a truly non biased and simple explanation of it for any beginners out there.

First Up, the two major political parties:

Easy Peasy Rice Pudding/ Cereal

If you've never made or tried this delicious comfort food you have been MISSING OUT!!!  I remember the first time my mom made it

Eating Well

How I throw together a great meal at the last minute from whatever I have on hand.

Fixes for Mealtime Madness

Do you ever feel like your children are more closely related to barbarians than you when at the dinner table, not me, NEVER ;)  but just in case you have I found this post through Owlhaven and just had to share, Seven Strategies for Dinner with the Barbarians from "Like Mother, Like Daughter

Potty Talk

So here's a very mommy post, we've been potty training and so I've had some fun ;) conversations with my daughter about the amount of toilet paper that you should use along with just how to use it.  For anyone out there that would like to know how you're actually supposed to use toilet paper you can refer to this blog post from Cottenelle a year ago or read on.

Since kids use an average of 8 sheets for #1 and 16 for #2 this guideline is a good one for them to learn early on.  For my little ones just learning I have them use only two sheets, their hands and bodies are small and any kid of potty training age can count to two at least so it makes it easy, then I show them how to fold it in half twice and then in half again the other direction so that you have a square.  For #1 I have my girls wipe from front to back but for #2 I have my kids wipe from the back so that they won't wipe so far forward that they are wiping poop where it doesn't belong.  It's a bit of a stretch but easy to reach the parts you actually need to get to.  I teach them to wipe once and then check the paper and if there is poop on it then to get another two sheets and do it again until it comes back clean.

If they are making a mess wiping then it is often a sign that they aren't really done yet, there should be very little to wipe if they have actually gotten it all out and usually one or two wipes will do it.

This doesn't work with the cheap toilet paper, you usually have to use at least twice as much so keep that in mind.

A Shrub You Can Drink

Angry Chicken posted about this delicious drink called a shrub but it's also referred to as a drinking vinegar, since I LOVE vinegar this sounds like a great drink to me, sweet, tangy, fruity, YUM!

Featuring The Peaceful Mom

I have been following The Peaceful Mom, Kimberlee,  for a while now and have loved her very honest posts about the ups and downs of being a mom, she's been doing the mom thing a few years longer than I have and along with her great advice on topics that I can always use yips and trick on like her budgeting and organizing, esp. her organizing.  She also has great gluten free recipes that although I don't need, I really appreciate since I've had several friends who had to go gluten-free.

Please check out her wonderful blog, you'll regret it if you don't.

Living on Less Than $28000 a Year

Get Organized! Series

How to Play With Dynamic Color Combinations

Click on the post for pictures
I have a basic rule of thumb that I follow whenever I'm putting together an outfit so that it's colorful but foolproof.
  • 1 True Neutral
  • 1 Practically Neutral
  • 1 Color that Pops
  • at least one of them has to be a warm and one a cool color
So like in my yellow and aqua polyvore post the neutral was gray, the almost neutral was aqua and the pop was yellow, in my blue and red outfit, the neutral was gray, the almost was blue and the pop was a red orange color sometimes called chinese red.

I have always worn a lot of cool colors and so my pop of color tends to be a warm, esp. since they "pop" so easily in any color palette but by toning down the worm colors you can have a bright turquoise, green, or any other really bright, saturated cool color be what pops.

Like here:
Which Yellow Do You Love?

Which Yellow Do You Love? by pvdela featuring tear drop earrings

This also shows how instead of putting together complementary colors going with a color that is just to one or the other side of it can be much more interesting, purple is complementary to yellow but pairing it with a red violet can really pop, as does indigo.  I also like pairing colors with another one that's 3 over on a 12 color color wheel, like the teal and turquoise, the same idea would be pairing  red and indigo like I have here:

red and indigo

You can see that I either go with a soft periwinkle and bold red or an almost nude pink with a deep indigo.  You could put most neutrals with any of these.

So what colors do you love but don't know how to make it really sing?  Or what color combinations are your favorites right now?

Orange and Blue Green

Orange and Blue Green

Here's a great way of pairing orange with turquoise, but it looks great with indigo and periwinkle as well, this is just my favorite right now, I also tend to pick oranges with a touch of red to them.

Threads 4 Thought floral print shirt, $48
Wallis orange top, $61
H M short cardigan, £15
Mango cropped jeans, £40
Carvela Kurt Geiger heel pumps, £120
H&M leather shoes, £7.99
Lillybee orange flat shoes, $138
Report patent leather flat, $50
ASOS high heel shoes, $39
Flat heels, $36
Melissa polka dot shoes, £85
Gucci leather shoes, £150
Supertrash leather flat shoes, €140
Leather tote handbag, £295
Miu Miu flap bag, $1,195
Miu Miu clutch bag, $1,495
Turquoise jewelry, $22
Fresh water pearl jewelry
Kate Spade facets jewelry, $58
Wet Seal metal jewelry, $9.50
Wallis engraved jewelry, $12
Hoop earrings, $8.40

Featuring Owlhaven!

Mary Ostyn at Owlhaven is a wonderful woman that I aspire to be more like, she blogs about family, saving money, homeshooling, cooking, adoption, etc. all while raising 10 kids, 2 are out of the home and married now but we all know how much more we talk to our moms after we get married.

I could tell you about some of her wonderful posts, like the one on babies and sleep or her recipes, or the how she is preparing her teen boys to be ready for life on their own but it's too hard for me to pick one because then I feel like I'm leaving out others  that are just as wonderful.  Check her out, I promise that you won't be disappointed.

The Tooth Fairy Cometh

So the other day I saw this really cute post on 10 tooth fairy traditions and I thought, "too bad that I'm still a year or so away from that, these are so cute and fun."  Well, later that afternoon my DS showed me his loose tooth, so I thought I'd share that post along with a few other cute ideas I found.

The picture on top is for tooth fairy pouches by Ashley at Make It and Love It

Another Tooth Fairy Pouch from Shannon at Sew, Mama, Sew

And a Tooth Fairy Certificate by Jennifer at Tip Junkie

A Brush up on Grammar

photo by Richella at Imparting Grace

My grammar is pretty decent but it's amazing all the things you forget from school over the years and all the things you didn't really learn well in the first place so I thought I'd share Richella's Grammar Lessons from her blog Imparting Grace, they are 28 of some of the most commonly made mistakes and if you are looking for more the books under the hat are great and a couple are even quite funny.

Featuring Sew Mama Sew!

is a fabulous blog/ shop/ forum run by 5 fabulous ladies and their tutorials have seriously increased my sewing capabilities, from batting to zippers these gals have a tutorial for any of you beginning seamstresses that want a more finished, professional look to your projects.

Check them out HERE.

Awesome Ric Rac Tutorials

Ucreate has a great list of tutorials from clothing to gifts and more using Ric Rac so I just had to share it.  What's your favorite way to use ric rac?

Featuring Huppie Mama

I've decided that Fridays are going to be my "Feature Fridays" now instead of fashion because I follow over 200 blogs for one reason or another and I wanted you guys to see just how great some of these blogs really are.

Huppie Mama

I met Carrie about two years through my Etsy shop and I've loved following her blog ever since, she really focuses on her journey as a "huppie" mom, trying to keep things natural while enjoying the conveniences of modern life as well, basically a mom after my own heart.  Here is her definition of a Huppie Mama:  As a new mom, I've begun to explore a variety of eco-friendly, traditional baby products. Sometimes my sister calls me a 'hippie' because of the earth-friendly, back-to-basics nature of these products, and sometimes she calls me a 'yuppie' because of the level of research I do and the extra few dollars I'm willing to spend to buy something special for my family. So what does that make me? A well-educated, earth-friendly mama - a huppie!  -from March 2010 "Huppie Mamma"

I loved her post on "I Know if You Breastfed" because that's pretty much how most of us breastfeeding moms feel, like when my SIL gave my other SIL and me a hard time about the fact that our 11 month olds were still "so dependent" on us and how she could never have done it, she used to give the excuse that her babies were allergic to her milk but we all knew that she really just had no desire to breastfeed, and that's okay.

Her sister site "Busy Lil Hands" also has great posts on teaching our toddlers.

Bad Grammar Therapy Anyone?

My sister knows me well and shared this hilarious post about how a fellow blogger copes with bad grammar, now I'm a lover of the Alot as well.

Awesome Photography Tutorials!

So Lindsay over at Shrimp Salad Circus put together an awesome list of photography tutorials that I just had to share.

And what else could it be called but...

via guggenheim and edited by shrimp salad circus

Right now she has 12 great links for tutorials on everything from portraits to great beginner tips, so what are you waiting for click on the link and get your cute butt over there right now.

Rainy Day

I love the color trend of gray and yellow but I especially like it when you add aqua or teal, it really makes all the colors come alive.

Rainy Day

Pleated dress
$42 -

Yellow trench coat
£35 -

Cole haan shoes
$178 -

Diamond jewelry

Forever 21 belt
$3.50 -

Kids Are Like a Magnifying Glass

This has been coming up for me a lot lately in one form or another so I thought I'd share something that I wish someone had told me before I had kids.  Kids are like having a BIG FAT magnifying glass on the world, your life and especially your relationship with your significant other!!!!!!!

All of us parents see the world differently once we bring that little bundle of joy home, colors are brighter, new dangers seem to creep up all over the place, the simple act of folding clothes can turn into tug of war or dress up with one little tug, many of your favorite hobbies get forgotten or at least put aside to make room for lots of peek-a-boo, sticky fingers and preschool shows played over and over until you start dreaming about them.  These changes I expected for the most part, I knew that I'd be setting aside a lot of things for these formative years with my kids and I was excited to do it because I knew all the joys that would replace them, what I hadn't expected was the effect it would have on my marriage, where our relationship was already good it became WONDERFUL, I can't even describe how amazing it felt to watch my husband hold our tiny baby boy and look at him with such pride and love and where it wasn't so great it got frustrating if not down right miserable like how hurt I felt when I realized that his expectations of what his job as a father were compared to mine and that my son liked his uncle better than his dad that first year.  (Things are great now though)

Looking back I could have avoided a lot of problems if someone had only told me this secret, my life felt a little like a roller coaster until I figured it out and then my DH and I were able adjust and now life is so much better than it was before kids, it is never boring with them around and they teach me every day, if DH was up for it I think I'd have ten of them, maybe more.  I greet them as they get up in the morning with a big smile and an enthusiastic "IT'S MY ...!!!!" not because I'm always feeling that awake and cheery but because they make every day interesting and I want to make sure that they know that I'm always excited to be with them and that to me being their mom is is the greatest privilege.

It just doesn't get better than this.

What I Wore Wed.

I actually wore this with my carnelian necklace and a pair of bright red orange ballet flats

 and the tights were actually gray leggings from target and the dress is one from last spring with the same cut and color except that is has a pattern to it.

My color philosophy for fashion is that I try to always have one color that is a "nearly neutral" The pop of color might be the main color or just an accessory and I might have more colors than three but that is the basic formula I tend to go by.

New Look

New Look - from H&M

Products in this look:

Cable-knit Tights, Dress, NecklaceH;amp;

Green Soup For My SIL

My SIL got a Vitamix for Christmas and is supper excited to start making great healthy "raw" meals for her kids and this recipe is her request.

 I first started making this back when I was single with my roommate, I found a recipe and found it so delicious, fast and easy to make that it immediately became one of our favorites.  I'm showing it in my Vitamix but you can make it in a pot and use an immersion blender just as well. 

1- You'll need:  Chicken or veggie soup stock, 2-4 greens, garlic, pepper.  For the greens I used celery, a green butter lettuce and spinach but I've used collard greens, romaine, cabbage and iceberg, so use whatever you like.

If using a Vitamix heat up the stock before starting to speed things up then throw everything in the blender to taste and blend away til nice and smooth.  If you are using a pot and immersion blender then just throw everything  in the pot at once and heat up until the greens have wilted and it's steamy then blend.

For the garnish or topping you'll need sour cream, cilantro and garlic, I cheated and used pre-chopped cilantro in a tube and garlic powder because I forgot that I was out of fresh garlic and I love the tubed herbs for convenience.

If you use the powdered garlic this will taste much better if you make it ahead of time.

I know it doesn't look as pretty but I prefer lots of little dots of the sour cream rather than one big one in the middle because it's easier for me to eat it that way but either way you'll want a little bit of the sour cream mix with every spoonful of soup.

This makes a great meal with sandwiches and my kids love it, here are pictures of my two youngest, they practically drank theirs and I really did drink mine.