LIFE + STYLE BLOG

Friday, January 29, 2016

Our New Home {Jack's Room Reveal}

Happy Friday! My typical Friday post looks a little different today and instead of sharing my favorites from this past week, I'm sharing one of my favorite rooms in our new house.

It's been 7 months since we moved into our new home and one room is finally completely done. One's better than none, right? Anyone else get overwhelmed with design choices and then not do anything?

Jack's room was the first room to get completed simply because he's the easiest. He's two and has no real design opinion, minus all things Olaf, which let's face it wasn't happening.

I loved how my DIY IKEA Spice Rack Bookshelves turned out so I worked the other decorations around them. Although I didn't have any real theme, I knew I wanted the room to all flow together, feel light and bright, have a variety of textures and materials, and I wanted most of the art pieces to have some kind of meaning or message.

And in case you forgot, here's the before:

And afters. Sources are listed at the bottom of the post.


Wall color: Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray
Dresser/Crib/Rocking Chair: Target (old)
Crib bedding: Restoration Baby & Child (old)
Whale: Hobby Lobby (sold out online, similar here)
Elephant Canvas: Hobby Lobby (sold out online)
Bookshelves: DIY
Metal Letters: Hobby Lobby
Frames on Dresser: Target (old)
Lamp: Target
Mirror: Thrifted
You Are My Sunshine Art: Hobby Lobby
Metal 'Love' Art: Hobby Lobby
Bible Verse Art: Hobby Lobby (sold out online, similar here)
White frames: Target (old)
Be Brave Art: Hobby Lobby (sold out online, similar here)

Don't forget to also check out the other home posts:
Master Bedroom Closet Reveal
Our New Home-Before Pictures



Linking up with ChristinaAmanda, & Karli

Happy 7th Birthday!

Today's a two post kind of day because our first, littlest "baby" turns 7 today. Technically at 11:49pm, but let's face it, I'll probably be asleep.

Ben has grown SO SO much this past year. He's reading, full on swimming, and riding his bike without training wheels. He lost his two front teeth and one bottom one and started the 1st grade at a new school where he's doing better than ever.

We're still working on listening, calming down, and keeping the attitude in check, but I can see him growing and becoming more mature right in front of my eyes. He is the BEST big brother and Jack continues to adore him despite the typical brotherly bickering. I can't wait to see what this year has in store for our not so little guy and we just love him so very much.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

20 Questions with Ben

My first "baby" turns 7 on Friday. Seven! And while 7 is old (compared to the once little bitty baby) I find myself having to remind myself that he's only 7. He's smart, funny, and says things that are wise beyond his years and that sometimes leads me to have slightly unrealistic expectations for the guy. And like every momma at some point or another...or often, you think, Am I screwing my kid up?

This questionnaire has been floating all over blogland and Facebook and honestly I was a little hesitant and nervous to hear what Ben might say. But just when you think you're doing it all wrong, your kid will surprise you...and make you tear up a little (hello #11). And then when you start to get all, MY KID IS AWESOME, I'M A GREAT MOM, he brings you back to reality (cough #9 & #12). Thanks kid.

1. What is something mom always says to you? I love you
2. What makes mom happy? New shoes
3. What makes mom sad?  Me not listening
4. How does your mom make you laugh? Tickling me
5. What was your mom like as a child? Calm
6. How old is your mom? 30 
7. How tall is your mom? I don't know
8. What is her favorite thing to do? Play with me
9. What does your mom do when you’re not around? I don't know because I'm not around; eat stuff that I didn't know we had
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? being an artist
11. What is your mom really good at? Being a mom
12. What is your mom not very good at? Running 
13. What does your mom do for a job? Help people not pee in their pants
14. What is your mom’s favorite food? Peanut butter
15. If your mom were a character, who would she be? Clifford
16. What do you and your mom do together? Cuddle 
17. How are you and your mom different? I have different eye colors
18. How do you know your mom loves you? Cause you smile a lot
19. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go? Mexican
20. How old was your Mom when you were born? 29 or 39

It should be noted that almost anything makes me happier than new shoes, that I'm a terrible artist, and that I do in fact help potty train children with autism. And yes, I suck at running.

Play along and let me know in the comments so I can check out your post!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Olive Garden Copycat {Pasta E Fagioli Soup}


You know what I love more than a hearty soup in the winter? A soup I can make in the crockpot and not worry about for 6 hours! If you like Olive Garden's Pasta E Fagioli Soup, you'll love this copycat recipe.

Adapted from 365daysofcrockpot

What You'll Need:
-1/2lb ground beef
-1/4 tsp onion powder
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
-2, 8oz cans tomato sauce
-2, 15 oz cans beef broth
-15 oz can red kidney beans (do not drain)
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 tsp dried oregano
-1 tsp dried basil
-1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 c apple juice
-8oz dry Ditalini pasta
-parmesan cheese for topping

1. Brown ground beef, drain, and put in crockpot.
2. To the beef add the garlic and onion powder, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef brother, kidney beans, salt, oregano, basil, thyme, and pepper.
3. Stir and cover. Cook on low for 6 hours.
4. 10 minutes before eating, cook pasta until al dente. While pasta is cooking, add apple juice to the crockpot.
5. Once pasta is done, add to the crockpot and cover for 15 more minutes.
6. Serve soup in a big ole bowl and top with parmesan cheese.

This soup easily makes 6+ servings and is just as great the next day for leftovers.

Linking up with Alesha for Delicious Dish Tuesday.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekend Recap

Well hello there Monday. May you be quick and full of lots of good things!

How was everybody's weekend. I knocked out quite a few things this weekend including finishing painting our playroom, cleaning up my Instagram account (follow me here) and trying out a recipe from Pinterest that had been pinned way too long ago. It ended up being a hit for 3 out of the 4 of us. Spoiler alert, it wasn't the children that didn't like it. Insert eye roll emoji. In case you are looking for something new, this White Cheese & Chicken Lasagna was all sorts of cheesy and pretty easy to make, but be prepared it makes way more than 6 servings.

I had great intentions of doing my first vlog this weekend and managed to film Friday, but it was downhill from there. You'll still see some of that footage in an upcoming haul video if that's your sorta thing.

Saturday morning was our usual doughnut trip (btw, not the ideal way to pack the box) and I cleaned the house while the boys came behind me and messed it back up. 

I was also thisclose to finishing up the paint job in the playroom when I ran out of paint so off to Lowes I went. The kids actually sat on the couch in the playroom while I painted and managed not to cover their bodies in Mindful Gray so kuddos to them.

Sunday morning came way too early which meant I got to see the beautiful sunrise and the Starbucks drive thru line.

That afternoon we headed to a birthday party where the kids had a blast running wild and I had a blast watching them. 

Not pictured is laundry, homemade tacos & cheese dip, & Jack peeing on the floor while daddy was literally one foot away from him. And that's why I don't take showers. Often.

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. If you think about it could you all say a little pray for me this week. I have a lot of things coming up and some hard and hopefully big decisions to make. I'm excited, nervous, and hesitant about what's to come and I'm striving to live out this verse. 



Linking up with Biana for Weekending. 
Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Soft & Fluffy Chocolate Chip Cookies


Now that I've got (and aren't afraid of) my Kitchen Aide mixer, a whole new world of recipes has opened up including finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. 

If you like soft, fluffy cookies, then this recipe is for you. In full disclosure, these cookies were good, really good, but not my absolute favorite texture of a cookie. I like more dense cookies and these are well fluffy, hence the name. Lucky for you, I'm still on the hunt and plan to try out a couple other recipes which I'll post as well and then we can have a cookie judging contest. By eating all.the.cookies.

What You'll Need:
-2 1/4 cups flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter-softened
-1/2 cup sugar
-3/4 cup packed brown sugar
-2 tsp vanilla
-2 eggs
-1 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While oven is preheating, mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. 
In a separate bowl combine butter, vanilla, and eggs. Once mixed, add both sugars. 
Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix on low until combined. 
Add chocolate chips.
Place heaping tablespoon of dough onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 9-12 minutes or until outside begins to brown slightly.
Cool & enjoy!

Enjoy linking with Alesha from Delicious Dish Tuesday.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Weekend Recap

Although my weekend isn't officially over (thank you MLK) I'm going to go ahead and recap what we've been up to so far.

Since one of my New Years Resolutions was to not drink soda for an entire month, I tried out this Starbucks Refreshers in Strawberry Lemonade. I was a little hesitant at first considering the description says sparkling green coffee beverage?!? but don't let that scare you off, it's actually pretty tasty.

After 8 months of living in our new house I'm finally getting around to decorating the rooms. Jack's was the first to get done since he's two and has no opinion on how I decorate. The six year old on the other hand is going to be challenging. This is a little gallery wall I completed earlier this week and yesterday I took pictures of the finished room so be on the lookout for a reveal post sometime soon!

Our wild and crazy Friday night consisted of popcorn, pink lemonade while J and I watched the movie Bad Words. It's pretty good if you're looking for something to do and like Jason Bateman. 

The rest of our weekend was equally as low key. Saturday night our niece spent the night and I made a delicious chicken parmesan by combining a couple different recipes as I went along.

Sunday we woke up to frigid temperatures and some snow but that didn't stop us from getting ready and heading to church for the first time in forever.

Not pictured are literally 12 loads of laundry, organizing the kids clothes and closets...again, a trip to Goodwill to drop off several bags, and getting the playroom all cleaned up and organized.

Happy Monday friends!


Linking up with Biana for Weekending
Thursday, January 14, 2016

Swap Shopping & Consignment Sale-ing

Consignment Sale-ing (v.) to shop at consignment sales. Let's make this word a thing, ok?

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time you know I love me a good deal. What you might not know is just how many things, especially kid items, I purchase from consignment sales, Facebook Swap Shops, and even my favorite Goodwill. Everything below was bought from one of those three places and for a fraction of what they would normally cost. Some items were brand new with tags still on them!

So, how can you score great finds like these? Well I'll tell you! But before I answer some of the most commonly asked questions, it's important to know the difference between the different types of sales.

Consignment Sales:
These are local sales held in your community. They're typically at churches, expo halls, large meeting rooms, and I've even been to one at a fairground. With these types of sales, the sellers mark and tag their items with the selling price and then takes them to the venue to be sold. The sellers usually pay a small fee out of their profit to the company/organization putting on the sale. With these sales, the price is set and there is usually no wiggle room on the price point except for some 2 day sales who offer half off items the second day of the sale. 

Consignment Shops:
These are brick and mortar stores that sell and buy gently used or new items. These can include second hand clothing stores, vintage shops, and national kid/clothing chains like Once Upon A Child. I've found these can be a little more expensive than buying from a consignment sale or swap shop but there also tends to be a greater selection of items being sold.

Swap Shops: 
These sales take place on Facebook and are done through a group. The names usually involve the words mommy, mom exchange, mom swap exchange, etc. There are also several county/city exchange groups where items posted are more like garage sale items (household goods, appliances, etc) vs. just mom/kid items. With swap shop groups you often have to be added by the admin of the group and each group has it's own rules as to what can be posted, how often you can post, and when purchased items must be picked up. On most swap shops you also have the ability to negotiate a price with the seller.

Now onto the questions...

Where do you buy from the most ?
There is a great consignment sale in our area twice a year and I usually find some good stuff from it, but aside from that, most of my savvy shopping is done through Facebook. I'm a member of several Facebook swap groups and a new one that only allows people in the surrounding neighborhoods to post items which makes picking up items I buy super easy and I'm not driving all over town.

Is it worth it to drive somewhere to pick up a $2 shirt?
Yes and no:) If I'm getting an almost perfect pair of Sperry shoes for $10 then it's worth the little gas money for me to drive and pick them up. Am I going to drive all the way across town for a $2 play shirt? No. But people who want to sell their stuff bad enough are often willing to meet at a central location that works best for both the buyer and seller.

Do you go to stranger's houses? Do people come to yours?
The great thing about swap shops is that you can check out the people buying your items and who you are buying from. I always ask myself does their profile look legit, is the address in a good neighborhood, have lots of other people bought items from them before? There are times where I have not picked up something from a person's house and instead met them in a public place and same with people picking up items I sell. I don't let anyone pick up from my house that I don't feel safe about or have mutual real-life friends with on Facebook. Just use good judgment and common sense. Often times I buy from the same couple of moms over and over and it can be a great way to connect with other moms especially if you stay at home.

Is someone home when you pick up the item? What if you don't like it in person?
A lot of times people will do porch pickup which is where they leave the item in a bag on the porch and I put the money under the mat. I always look at the item/s before I leave the person's house and there have been times where the items are more worn, have staining, or don't look like the picture. In those cases I put the item back and message the person on Facebook that I came to get the item and it wasn't as described. 

Do consignment sales take cash only? What happens to clothes that don't sell?
In our area, sales take both cash and credit/debit but you often have to pay a small fee (2 or 3%) when using a card. Clothes that don't sell will go back to the seller or are often times donated to a local charity. 

I've gotten on a swap shop a few times and I'm confused with all the lingo?
I completely understand! Especially in the beginning it can be really confusing when people are posting ppu, euc, nwt, etc. so let me help you out with the main ones.

PPU=Pending pick up. The item has been been claimed and someone is scheduled to pick it up 
EUC=Excellent Used Condition
VGUC=Very Good Used Condition
GUC=Good Used Condition
NWT=New with tags
NWOT=New without tags
Next=if the person who commented before them ends up not picking up the item, it goes to the next person. I've seen instances on really hot items where someone is the 5th or 6th person to post next and ends up getting the item because for one reason or another everyone else passed
LO=little one

Have you sold items at/on all these places? Is it really a good way to make money?
Yes and yes! I sell most of my items on swap shoes from kids clothing/toys/shoes/bedding to my clothing, jewelry, shoes, to home decor. The great thing about selling items is it helps to declutter your house and it also gives you cash to buy other items you may see that you want. I've also sold things in a consignment sale and to be honest it wasn't worth the hassle of printing a label, tagging items, dropping them off at the sale, picking up, etc. I didn't make nearly as much money for the amount of work as I would on a swap shop. I've also dropped off bigger items (bassinet, toys, etc) to national children's consignment stores and feel they pay pretty well too.

Isn't it a hassle to take pictures, post a description, etc.
Not really. As I'm cleaning out a closet or going through clothes that the kids have out grown, I make a pile of things to sell, donate, and trash. As I put things in the sell pile I simply snap a pic, and upload it to the swap page from my phone. Once you get the hang of it and how to list items, it takes about 30 seconds. And 30 seconds of work for a $5 profit is pretty easy. I will say that in order to save time and hassle, I have people pick up from my house or another convenient location for me. Although I will drive to your house if I buy something, I'm not going out of my way for you to buy my item.

Anything you don't buy used?
Oh Yes! A good general rule is anything that can't be washed or cleaned I don't buy. The only exception with this is if one of my very close friends posts something. For example, a good friend was selling a ride on rocking horse toy that had a cloth/fur body. Although that part can't be cleaned, I bought it from her because I personally know her, have been to her house, and know she's a clean person. I wouldn't buy something like that from a stranger. Other things I don't buy:

-pillows
-stuffed animals that can't be thrown in the washer
-jeans (I have bought a few pairs, but I'm pretty picky about the style of jeans I like for my kids and since I save so much on their other clothes I don't feel bad spending a little more on GAP jeans. Used jeans also tend to have more wear in the knee and don't last as long)
-baby food, formula, other edible items
-undergarments
-furniture that can't be sanitized

This was a pretty long post but I hoped it helped you feel more confident to shop resale. If you still have questions about something I didn't cover just shoot me an email at ourfishyfamily@gmail.com and I'd be happy to answer that for you.

Happy swapping!


Linking up with Annie for Thoughts on Thursday
Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Recipe Throwback {Deluxe Breakfast Casserole}

After multiple attempts to publish a recipe for an awesome Olive Garden copycat soup I made, PicMonkey won out in then end and I'm throwing in the towel on that recipe...for now. So until I figure out what the heck is going on when I try to edit my pictures, enjoy this warm and cheesy breakfast casserole recipe I posted over a year ago!

This warm and hearty casserole is sure to hold you over until lunch time, but may leave you wanting to eat leftovers for every meal!


What You'll Need:
-1 can Crescent Rolls (or crescent roll sheet)
-2 tbs butter
-16 oz sausage 
-1 green pepper
-1/2 of sweet onion
-1 cup chopped hash browns
-Cheddar or American Cheese
-salt & pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While oven is preheating, cook sausage thoroughly and drain. 

In a skillet melt the butter and sauté chopped green pepper and onion. Once vegetables become tender, add hash browns and cook on low for 5 minutes, just until the hash browns begin to soften. 

Layer the crescent rolls in a greased 9x13 inch pan and top with sausage. Next add the vegetable-hash brown mixture and top with cheese. I prefer American cheese with breakfast food (eggs, casseroles, etc) and we only had slices so that's what I used. You could use shredded Cheddar if you prefer and I think Swiss would be good as well.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and enjoy!
Monday, January 11, 2016

Weekend Recap

Hello Monday, we meet again.

Jack's been battling a nasty little cough and cold this week and after providing such loving care to him, he thanked me by sneezing, coughing, and just non-stop breathing in my face and now I have the lovely thing. My snot is still clear (tmi?) so I've just been taking otc meds and keeping Kleenex in business.

Anywho, despite my cold we headed to dinner at Texas Roadhouse Friday night where the cinnamon butter and multiple birthdays kept the kids occupied while waiting for our food. The man at the table next to us was celebrating his 70th birthday and after a little coaxing from his family and waitress he jumped right up on that saddle while the restaurant sang to him.

By the time we got home I was more than ready for bed and luckily Jack never turns down the opportunity to sleep in my bed so I used him as my excuse as to why I went to bed at literally 8:00 on a Friday night while the other boys stayed up like normal people.

 Saturday morning was spent cuddling with all the Olaf's and watching our first real snow fall.

And although I had a list a mile long of things to do, Ben was dying to "play" Pokemon and although the rules were made up as we went, it was so great to sit and give him my undivided attention. He was so sweet and even let little brother play and little brother was sweet enough not to throw all the cards. I'm really trying to make time and give my undivided attention each day to the kids-especially Ben whose at an age where he is pretty independent. 

For lunch I made these sandwiches inspired by Lisa. I got the croissants from Walmart of all places and they were freakin delicious!! After lunch Ben helped me bake some homemade chocolate chip cookies which I'll post the recipe for next week.

Not pictured was Saturday night's delivery Chinese food which was the worst we've ever had. Why can't our town have good Chinese?!? #firstworldproblems J and I watched some movies and I wasn't in bed much later than Friday night.

Sunday was spent indoors as much as possible since the couple inches of snow also brought with it 10 degree temperatures. I managed to snap an outfit pic before we headed to lunch and I left out my poor red, chapped nose. You're welcome.
//shirt-Banana Republic(old)//
//jeans-Marshalls//
//booties-KMart(old)//

I hope you all had a great weekend and an even better Monday!!



Linking up with Biana

Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday, Friday

Happy Friday everyone! We've got some snow forecasted for Saturday so I'm going to be stocking up on all the things to make snow ice cream and bake chocolate chip cookies while we watch the snow fall.

It's the first linkup of the new year so let's get to it!

//one//
Wondering where I've been this week? Well I've been with the rest of the country watching Making a Murderer on Netflix. Even if you've read all about it online, you've got to check this show out, but it is a total time suck!

//two//
My sister gifted me with all the things necessary to make Moscow Mules for Christmas and I whipped up a batch for J and I. I like to make them with: 1 1/2 overflowing shots of vodka, 1/2 bottle (6 oz) Ginger Beer, and 1 whole squeezed lime. 

//three//
After almost 10 years, I finally threw away a pair of grey sweatpants that were at least 2 sizes two big and had a lovely whole developing in the lady bit area. My husband had been nagging me forever to toss them and after I did, I'm not sure why I waited so long. To take their place, I picked up a pair of Gilligan & O'Malley pjs from Target and they are so so comfortable.

//four//
I posted this on my Instagram the other night, but my new wreath from The Magnolia Market arrived and I LOVE it! It's almost too huge for my front door, but there ain't no way I'm sending that baby back. Any other Fixer Upper/Joanna Gaines fans?

//five//
New Years Eve we went to a dinner with some friends and then grabbed a drink (literally one for me) at a small little bar. The struggle was real to stay up until midnight. Good thing I have some equally lame friends who I could snapchat throughout the night about how tired I was. The one and only pic from the night.

Happy Friday!!!


linking up ChristinaAmanda, & Karli

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Year {2016}

Man I love the start of a new year and all that comes with it. 365 days ahead to do, be, and live better than ever before. No year will be perfect, but it's my hope that 2016 will be just as great if not better than the past.

Some years I make broad resolutions and others more specific. Last year I was a little too ambitious and to be honest no one likes not meeting their goals. This year I'm still making resolutions, but I'm taking inspiration from Elise and choosing a word that I want to represent this upcoming year and that word is...

JOY

We can all use a little more Joy in our lives and I hope to find and appreciate it in all things big and small.

And now the specific resolutions:

1. Continue to try new recipes and branch out in the kitchen.
2. Travel, travel, and more travel. Whether it's close by or far away. See something new.
3. Grow this blog.
4. Create a better nighttime and morning routine with both the kids and myself. We've gotten way too relaxed with these and lack of order and organization tends to create more stressful bedtimes and mornings.
5. Continue paying down our debt. I paid off one student loan completely this past year and I'm coming for the rest of them.
6. 12 acts of kindness for strangers. I've got some great, simple ideas from Pinterest so there really is no excuse. And man it feels good to give.
7.  Have family game night once a week.
8. Go an entire month without repeating a single outfit. And for heaven's sake-get a new full length mirror.
9. Do thoughtful, unexpected things for the husband.
10. Workout 4 times a week and no soda for an entire month. Much more doable than an entire year.
11. Strive to be the best mom I can be. Better not perfect.
12. Pray more, ask for less. Have time with the Word daily.
13. Finish decorating the house.
14. Figure out a better allowance system for Ben.
15. More cooking at home, less eating out.

So, what are your resolutions for the upcoming year?


Happy Happy New Year and all it's possibilities!