Wednesday, July 31, 2013

First Day Of School Photo Ideas

Our first baby is starting Kindergarden in less than three weeks.  She has been home with Kevin and I for almost six years and the time has finally come to send her off into the big world.  How cliche to say, but it happened way too fast.  I'm nervous.  I'm not quite sure how to feel about handing our child over to an almost complete stranger where she will spend the majority of her life for the next nine months.  How will our lives change?  How will she change?  I know she will do great, in fact she's so sick of being home with us that she is really looking forward to the change and is eagerly counting down the days.  Me? Not really.  As much as I wish I could slow down time, I know that I can't and that is why pictures have always been so important to me.  This is a big day for our little one and the morning of her first day I will want to spend as little time as possible behind the camera and as much time as possible seeing her off for her first big day at school *tear!* Anyway, I did some Pinterest searching and found a few ideas that I am definitely going to keep in mind for the morning of.  Stay tuned for the final product and an update to see if I made it through the day in one piece!

First Day Of School Photo Ideas
Using a blackboard, write the date and what your child wishes to be when they grow up.  See how things change as the years go on! Photo Credit
First Day Of School Photo Ideas
Take a picture of your child on the first day of school.  Print and frame the photo and have your child hold the picture on their last day of school.  Photo Credit
First Day Of School Photo Ideas
Have you child hold a blank piece of paper on the first and last day of school and photoshop the dates for a cleaner look.  Photo Credit
First Day Of School Photo Ideas
Have your child hold a framed blackboard and write the grade your child is entering in chalk. Photo Credit
First Day Of School Photo Ideas
Have your child pose on the first day and the last day of school in the same outfit.
Photo Credit

I love all of these ideas but think I will use the third idea with the little girl holding the blank piece of paper and photoshopping the information onto the photo.  This way I can add any information that I may have forgotten!

Are there any special photos you take to remember your child's first (and possibly last) day of school?  

Spinach and Sausage Breakfast Strata

I love making this for two reasons.  We always have an abundance of eggs and there is nothing better than a breakfast already made when you wake up in the morning.  Everyone in my house loves this, it is great for the holidays and it is delicious!

  • 16 ounces of breakfast sausage 
  • 1 onion chopped 
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced 
  • 14-16 ounces of fresh baby spinach chopped
  • 10 eggs 
  • 1 cup of half and half 
  • 4 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 cups of bread cubed (I used stale bagels, wheat bread, and hot dog buns)
  • 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese 
  1. Brown sausage, onion and garlic.  
  2. Add the spinach and saute.
  3. Whisk eggs, half and half, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. 
  4. Line the bottom of a 9x11 casserole dish with half of the cubed bread.  
  5. Sprinkle the sausage, onion and spinach mixture over the top of the bread.
  6. Pour half of the egg mixture over the mixture and sprinkle with half of the cheese.  Repeat, ending with cheese. 
  7. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
  8. Preheat your over to 350 degrees.  Bake uncovered for one hour.
  9. Once the strata is done cooking, allow the casserole to rest for around 15 minutes.  
  10. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

(The Best) Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (Ever)

Best pulled BBQ chicken you will ever eat.  It's awesome.  Try it and let me know how much you love it! 


  • 2 pounds of chicken breast 
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 clove of garlic minced  
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika 
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke 
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 cup of apple juice 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock 
  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce 
  • Kaiser rolls 
  • Coleslaw 
  1. Place all of your ingredients in your slow cooker EXCEPT the chicken stock and BBQ sauce.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  
  3. When the chicken is done cooking, add the chicken stock and BBQ sauce.  Shred the chicken and mix the chicken with the sauce and BBQ sauce.  
  4. Serve the pulled BBQ chicken on a kaiser roll topped with coleslaw.  
  5. Enjoy! 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Project Life, Project Now

ILast month, as I sat in my living room sifting through all of the digital pictures that I had taken over the years, sheer panic hit me. Sheer panic.  I was buried under a digital mountain of over 100,000 (yes, you read that correctly) pictures and I had absolutely no idea where to start or what to do with them.  What was the point having all of these photos on my computer that no one has even laid eyes upon and more importantly, what am I going to do with all of them!?!?  Enough was enough.  I decided to pick a starting point, suck it up and start getting these pictures off of my computer and into albums.  I began editing pictures and printing them...thousands and THOUSANDS of pictures. My eyes were crossing. I was printing them all, the good, the bad and the ugly. At this point I couldn't even differentiate between the three and I really don't even know that I cared. I picked out albums,  the boxes of pictures started arriving at my front door and I began filling my albums.  I felt accomplished. Finally I felt like I had done something with these pieces of my life. The next time my mom came over I showed her one of my albums.  As she flipped through the pages looking at my pictures I watched her face glaze over with boredom.  Oh my God, I had failed. I had failed to do the only thing that I had set out to do, share my story.  My family's story is exciting, it is comical, emotional, beautiful and at times, a bit insane but it is nowhere near BORING! There had to be a better way....
That night the stars aligned and I stumbled onto Becky Higgins website.  Becky Higgins, a busy mother with a passion for capturing the little bits of life is the creator of Project Life (from her website) "a solution-based approach to scrapbooking that was created to simplify the process in order to allow you more time to enjoy life! It requires no glue, no scissors, no tools, and no skills of any kind. The design of our products takes the guess work out of layout design so that you can focus on recording your everyday moments through your photos and journaling." After spending just a few minutes flipping through her website I fell in love with her products and knew instantly that I had FINALLY found the solution.  For those interested, here is the link to her "Getting Started" which explains everything you need to know to start your Project Life album.  It's easy! And the end result is something you will be proud of! 
So after becoming slightly obsessed with this product,  I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up my first core kit. I have spent the last few weeks frequenting Michael's and Hobby Lobby, stocking up on Project Life goodies to start my albums. Both stores offer coupons on their phone apps, usually for a discounted amount of 40% and to date I have not paid full price for my supplies. I also joined the Facebook (support)group Project Life 2013 where other Project Life users share their tips and pages.  I have spent a lot of time annoying the members with my questions but thankfully everyone has responded graciously and have helped me tremendously through the getting started process.  But how was I going to get started? With over 100,000 pictures and eight years of life, where do I even start? This was one one of the questions I took to the members of the board and patiently waited for the responses to come in. Almost all of the ladies suggested that I start with the past week and work my way back, but to make sure that I stay current and record the memories that were happening NOW.  I have to say I was a little bothered by this advice at first.  I kind of felt like saying  "I have 100,000 pictures of life that I have to get caught up on!  How in the world should I just stay focused on the past week?!"  But as I gave this concept some more thought, these ladies had given me the most amazing advice yet.  I have been so focused on getting caught up with these pictures taken so far in the past, I was not recording the precious moments that were happening in my life now.  The little things my kids were saying, the little things that we were doing, the little moments that we were sharing.  They were all little things and as each week passed I was forgetting and essentially losing these memories. We all know that the little things amount to be the biggest things that in the end matter the most. So it begins.  Project Life, Project Now.  

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Aerograph Four Station Airbrush Tabletop Stand Holder ~ Kevin's Review

Aerograph Four Station Airbrush Tabletop Stand Holder for lures and crankbaits
Aerograph Four Station Airbrush Tabletop Stand Holder

So I recently dusted off the old airbrushes (a Badger 155CT and an Iwata Eclipse CS) to paint up some fishing lures I have been turning on the lathe.  I find it my duty to report  products that make our lives so much easier... even if they do not apply to "everyone".

One of the biggest pains in the neck when airbrushing, besides color changing, is having some sort of rest for your brushes.  And if you are changing between more than 1 brush it is mandatory you have some type of holder or stand.  I have been messing around in the garage trying to conjure up something to take care of this problem and finally resorted to seeing what was available online. Enter good 'ol Amazon... I found this Aerograph Four Station Airbrush holder for $13 u.s. I figured it was worth a shot and -

Aerograph Four Station Airbrush Tabletop Stand Holder for lures and crankbaits
Suction cups to hold it in place or remove to use screws

not only was I surprised to find the frame on this airbrush holder was metal, but that it also had suction cups to hold the whole thing in place.  If your painting bench does not have a surface they will stick to then you can simply pull them out and use a few screws to mount it. 

Aerograph Four Station Airbrush Tabletop Stand Holder for lures and crankbaits iwata eclipse cs and a badger 155ct
4 Place airbrush holder

As you can see from my photo, I shoot with both a gravity feed and a syphon feed brush.  Both fit perfectly in either style holder. Im thinking I will probably end up using the rubber coated wires on top mainly while painting... at least until I add another brush to my bench.  

Aerograph Four Station Airbrush Tabletop Stand Holder for lures and crankbaits iwata eclipse cs and a badger 155ct
Holds my Iwata Eclipse CS and Badger 155ct perfectly

Time will be the ultimate test to see how well this stand holds up but I dont for see any issues.  "Dont need an airbrush holder" you say? Neither does this little guy but he found another use - cookie holder!

Cheers! ~ Kevin

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