Spring has Sprung, mostly.

Long time no talk, right?

The end of winter and beginning of spring are typically busy for me. I begin to break out of my post holiday misery and get busy with projects, baking, cleaning, gardening – you name it. On top of that, things at work pick up and by April I am in full swing insanity mode.

I plan to write more as I do more and make more this spring and summer.

Here’s some pictures of what I have been up to, lately!

I bought a DSLR camera and a subscription to Adobe Lightroom and I have SO MUCH to learn.

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Uploading the images to WordPress has made them slightly grainy. You can follow me on IG @ JedikImages to see the better quality and my photography progression!

Living in certain parts of south Louisiana made it close to impossible to have a proper vegetable garden because of poor drainage and the fact that the ground stays wet almost always, so I am trying my hand at container gardening. This year I am trying tomato, peas, cucumbers, green beans, bell peppers and jalapenos.

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I’ve been baking a lot, as well. Chocolate chip and toffee cookies and my family’s favorite cupcake: Chocolate Stout Beer Cupcakes with Peanut butter Buttercream. Let me know if you think I should post the recipe to the cupcakes… they are truly divine.

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Lastly, and definitely most importantly: IT’S CRAWFISH SEASON, Y’ALL! These babies were from Easter Sunday. Soooooo GOOD!

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How’re y’all doing?

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So much to do… So little time.

Do you ever have so much going on but also nothing at the same time?

I know that doesn’t make any sense at all, but that’s how I am feeling these days. I wish I had more to share on my blog! I am super busy and doing all sorts of things, but nothing that would really wow my 2 readers.

Before my heart was tragically torn from my chest (for the 50th time) last Sunday, I started and completed my very first Heat Transfer Vinyl project. A Vikings shirt. I since passive-aggressively hung it in the part of my closet I hardly ever touch. ANYWAY – I was surprised at how easy it was. My only struggle was weeding out the itty bitty tiny little holes in the Norseman’s braid. Not only were they tiny, but I had a hard time finding the cut lines in all the glitter. Lesson learned, I guess!

I wore it last Sunday until about the middle of the 3rd quarter. Purple jerks. It will hang in my closet until I am ready to look at it again.

Something else I have been working on and learning is knitting. Well – I have been on-and-off teaching myself to knit for 2 years now. Because I haven’t really stuck with it, I still do not know how to incorporate cool patterns and I am still limited to simple scarves and blankets. I decided I would knit a HUGE blanket and then move on to something a little more difficult. I didn’t want to make just ANY blanket, so I cast on enough stitches to make a queen sized blanket. Why do I do things like this to myself? I have gone though 2.5 skeins of yarn so far and have practically nothing to show for it because of how BIG the darn thing is. Whoever I give this blanket to better love it and want to be buried with it.

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The lighting in this picture is so horrible that it looks NOTHING like what it should. Think… summertime watermelon. Except watermelons do not have this much white. Never mind. The colors are really pretty, trust me.

Speaking of horrible pictures… I decided on what I want to buy with the money I allot myself at tax refund time. I usually save most, but keep a quarter of it to spend on something I have been really wanting. I want a camera. A nice one. One I can learn all the amateur photography ropes on. Not that I want to become a professional, but I so badly want to LEARN! And take cool pictures. You know?

Give me your suggestions!

What are you guys working on these days?

Wild Hair Up My A… Butt.

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Jared left this morning for a 2 week work trip (at least it isn’t 3 months this time) and I suddenly have an itch to do something I wouldn’t normally do alone.

I’m going to re-design our hall bathroom. Without him. Also without him knowing. He will either kill me or start an HGTV show with me.

I would love to remodel the whole thing but the truth is, the vanity is not yet outdated, the toilet is nice, and the shower is always covered by the curtain. And let’s be honest, I don’t know the first thing about removing and installing toilets.

SO – I am going paint the walls and either paint or stain the vanity cabinet, add new hardware to the cabinet, possibly change the light fixture and build (yes, build) some simple shelving to hang on the wall above the toilet tank. Of course with all this will come new linens and pretties.

I have exactly 13 days to complete my wild plan.

Okay – so I know 13 days seems like plenty of time, but I work Monday thru Friday 8 hours each day, I have a child that needs me to feed him once in a while, rental houses to fool with, and a household to at least TRY to maintain. Time is precious and time is fleeting.

I’m starting tonight by conducting an inventory of supplies we already have and by beginning to clean out the bathroom.

We won’t be living in this house forever. We have plans – over the course of the next 5 years – to build a bigger house right down the street from where we currently live. However, we plan to keep this house and rent it out, so when I can find the time and the funds to update, I will take full advantage. Time, as I mentioned before, will always be an obstacle, but I can rest when I die, right?

I will post an update half way through the insanity, with befores and afters!

When was the first time you took on something bigger than moving around furniture on your own?

 

Happy 2018 / Disney Crafts

Happy New Year, y’all!

Did you stay up to watch the clock strike midnight? I didn’t. I was asleep on my couch by 10 pm… Ha! Some years I have the energy – this time around I did not. Regardless, I am excited and ready for a new year. I am going to work on making this my best, most productive year yet!

After doing some serious purging and cleaning, I have decided last minute that one of my goals this year will be to get more crafting and projects done. I am notorious for buying all the supplies I need to complete crafts and projects but I never actually get around to doing them. Anyone else do this? I can’t be the only one.

I started 2018 off by completing 2 projects, both Disney themed! One thing you should know about me is that I LOVE DISNEY! We go to Disney World as often as we can – I am currently planning a trip for Fall 2018. The last two times we went (July 2016 and May 2017) were both awesome but unforgivingly hot. Yes, a Louisianian is complaining about the Orlando heat. It’s hard to enjoy the happiest place on earth when sweat is stinging the crap out of your eyeballs.

Anyway! I love Disney and I force my family to love Disney with me. We have two cats, brother and sister, named Lilo and Stitch. Can’t get any more Disney than that! The two crafts I finished were both very simple, self explanatory, and seen many times on Pinterest. I’m still getting my footing in creative originality.

The first project I (FINALLY) completed was ceramic tile coasters, mod podged with old Disney Park Maps and coated in high gloss resin. To finish, I used my Cricut Maker to cut out squares of felt to hot glue to the backs of the tile. I made 3 sets of 4 to give out as gifts to some of my fellow Disney-loving family members.

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My second mini project was a Disney Pin Board. We have a growing collection of pins we purchase every time we are at Disney. What better way to display your pins than a fancied up cork board? I cut a simple stencil using my Cricut Maker, painted the castle/logo onto the cork board, and stuck all the pins I could find on it. I have more, but, you know… I can’t find them amidst all of the junk and unfinished projects I have.

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I am hoping to find the rest of our pins, and purchase many more in the future. I just love them!

Do you love Disney? Have you made similar projects?

Here’s to a productive and DISNEY filled 2018!

Don’t Just Post About It…

DO IT.

It is almost 2018. A brand new year full of potential.

Too often we post cutesy pictures – words over top a pretty, scenic view – that tell us to take the new year by the horns, look at it as 365 new chances, to do the things we always say we are going to do… But do we?

Nah.

But 2018 can be different. We can really put in a valiant effort this time. I know I’m going to try. Are you?

Here is a list of the things I am going to start doing in 2018:

  • Better, healthier food choices
  • Drink. More. Water.
  • Stay on top of my household chores.
  • Grow some of my own food.
  • Read more. I only read, and finished, 11 books this year… unacceptable.
  • MEAL PLAN! For the love of God.
  • Move more. Walk more. Dance more. Spend more time outside MOVING.
  • Spend less time on social media. I am averaging about 15 hours of social media time per week. That is just insane to me. I would like to move that number down to 5.
  • Find a hobby that my son and I enjoy doing together.
  • Find time to meditate, to be with myself and with God.
  • Volunteer more.

I think all of these things are doable, easy, and can become healthy habits.

What will you change, do more of or do less of in 2018?

Santa.

My ten and a half year old son James asked me the question of all childhood questions aside from wondering where babies come from.

We were sitting in my car in our driveway, just getting home from running some errands.

“Mom, tell me the truth, is Santa real?”

The “tell me the truth” part got to me. I can’t say for sure what I would have done had he left that out, but he didn’t and I told him the truth. I have a suspicion he was already feeling a certain way about the subject since he added “tell me the truth” to the question.

It turned into a 30 minute conversation about Christmas, Santa, presents and telling lies. Thankfully, there were no tears shed, and he wasn’t disappointed which is what I assume all parents fear when it comes to coming clean about the fat man. While the sting of disappointment hurts a little more for the parents than it does the child, I feel like if they ask, you gotta tell em. They’re asking you because they already deep down, in their heart of hearts, know. Or at least they’re beginning to question just how Santa gets in to the houses that have no chimneys. I mean, really, how does he? Do y’all just leave a key out? A window cracked? Does he just Amazon Prime it to your house?

Here, in a very condensed nutshell, is what I told my son James regarding the existence of Santa:

No. There is no fat man in a red suit who comes from the North Pole on a sleigh guided by flying reindeer. There are no toy shops run by elves. Frosty doesn’t talk. The jury is still out on the abominable snowman theory, though. You know what is real, though? The Christmas spirit. We all have a little bit of Santa in us. We are Santa. There comes a day in every little believer’s life where we do not stop believing in Santa, but instead we start believing in the good of the world. The tradition of Santa is passed on from parent to child when we show you that Christmas is about love, sharing, and doing things for others without expecting anything in return.

You’ll always get presents under the tree from me for as long as I live, but now I am passing on the Santa torch. Christmas marks the day Jesus’ journey on earth began. It marks the first day of a life we should all strive to replicate. We use Santa as a catalyst in his story for children to understand. You have a man who works his fingers to the bone day in and day out and spends all of his time bringing joy to total strangers without demanding anything in return. He spreads cheer, love and excitement. He has compassion and he wants to see everyone happy. Doesn’t Santa… and Jesus sound like a person you want to be?

James, when you see the look on someone’s face after opening a present they were not expecting, you’ll understand that the greatest gift you could ever give someone is kindness. Even if they think Santa brought it and not you, remember – You are Santa. They don’t have to know it was you because at that very moment, all that matters to them is that someone out there cares about them.

I have been your Santa for 10 years, and I will always continue to be your Santa and even Santa for other people. But now it is time for YOU to be Santa.

After we finished our conversation, we got out of my car and started toward the house. He stops and looks up at the chimney coming out of the roof of our home and says “I mean… I can’t even fit down that.”

Have you ever had the Santa talk? When did you stop believing? Do your little ones believe?

Amish Friendship Bread

Just over 10 days ago a coworker gifted me a bag of yeast with minimal instruction.

Days 1 through 5, just mash the bag around on your counter top every so often. Day 6, add a cup of each: milk, sugar, flour. Days 7 through 9: mash, mash, mash.

Day 10 – bake, and divide the rest of the yeast goop into 1 cup portions for you to start all over again with, or to give away. I kept one and gave one away.

The bread gets its name because one cup of the yeast goop, with other added ingredients, makes 2 loaves of bread. One to eat and one to share with a friend. I don’t have 2 loaf pans, so I used a bundt pan and, well, I’m not gonna share.

If you want to learn more about this surprisingly easy process, check out this website.

The best part is that there are SO many variations and things you can do with the yeast goop. I should stop calling it yeast goop, but it is funnier than calling it a “starter”. Since this was my first time ever, I just stuck with the plain old recipe omitting the raisins and nuts. In 10 days, I will add stuff to it as I feel a little more comfortable now that I am a seasoned friendship bread veteran and all.

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Have you ever had Amish Friendship Bread? Do you bake it yourself?

Happy Monday, y’all!

Bathroom Decor and Sneaux

It snowed today here in Southeast Louisiana. The last time that happened? 10 years ago! My son was just beside himself. He had the day off from school and I had the day off from work. We had a complete SNEAUX DAY!

After an hour of playing in the snow, James and his friend were ready to come in for some hot cocoa.

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It was fun watching my son play in the snow for the first time. I grew up in upstate NY, so the snow and I are no strangers. I am glad he got to experience the magic of snow while being a kid.

On to the bathroom decor! Last week as an early Christmas gift, Jared got me the Cricut Maker. Not ever owning a Cricut or any kind of cutting machine before, I was absolutely overwhelmed with the seemingly limitless possibilities. It took me almost a week the decide on what I would make first. The Design Space is fun to play around in and as a complete newbie, I still have many, many tutorials to watch.

Because it is Christmastime and I am on a SERIOUS budget, I had to get pretty creative with things around the house for my first project instead of purchasing some more crafting supplies.

I have these old Golden Guide books. The Zoology Guide is from 1956! The information in these books is incredibly outdated so I decided to keep them only for crafting purposes.

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I decided to use the Cricut to cut letters out of the pictures found in the Cacti guide.

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The very first project completed with my brand new Cricut Maker is some Bathroom Decor. Our guest bathroom is pretty generic and plain. I think this will add a little… character. 😉

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If I had a better camera you’d be able to see it’s true beauty. Gorgeous, isn’t it? 😀

I look forward to creating more with the Cricut. It truly is a remarkable machine to have at home for crafting. Do you have a Cricut? What have you made lately?

Enjoy your weekend, y’all!

23andMe

Just under a year ago I received a 23andMe Ancestry kit and since then I have been 100% obsessed with learning about all the places that have made me… me.

23andMe extracts DNA from a sample of your saliva that you send in after receiving the kit. They then analyze it and spit out a report that highlights your ancestry composition, breaking it down by region AND by each an every one of your chromosomes. It gives you a probable timeline of your grandparents, tells you which haplo groups you belong to, and how many Neanderthal variants you have in your DNA.

As an American, it can be downright confusing trying to trace your lineage. Some of us have North American family dating back to the Europeans making landfall here, and some of us (like myself) are only second generation Americans. MANY of us are told out right lies about who we are and where our DNA comes from. I swear it is true! Our family line includes the Royal Family of the nation of XYZ. 

In this post I really just wanted to share with you some cool things that come up on your 23andMe ancestry report. I was not asked by 23andMe to toot their horn for them – I am simply just a big fan of theirs!

Before I share some screen shots, I wanted to let you know that you also have the option of receiving your DNA’s health history for a higher price. This is not something I have done yet, but I do plan on it in the near future.

Composition

As you can see above, my DNA comes from pretty centralized area in the world considering almost 100% of my percentage wheel is in the blue color family! I am certain this is because I am only 2nd generation American on my dad’s side. From here, it gets a lot more specific.

Breakdown 1

As I stated above, I am all (well, mostly) European. 23andMe does a pretty good job breaking it down, and giving you options to look at the numbers based on their confidence. Your DNA is analyzed and compared to DNA that comes from every part of the world.

European Breakdown

Sub Saharan Breakdown

Native Breakdown

You can expand each population to see what percentage of what makes you, YOU. I was surprised to see that they could detect numbers as small at 0.1% and 0.3% (West African and Native American). Though these numbers are small, it just means that this part of my DNA is very old and has been passed through many great grandparents to get to me. It is so cool to think about how I share DNA with Native Americans and West Africans who lived many, many years ago.

Timeline

This is probably my favorite feature from 23andMe’s reports – the Ancestry Timeline. When you hover over each population, it tells you that it is likely you had a grandparent or great grandparent that was born in that area during the time period shown. I know zilch about my mother’s ancestry, but I know a lot about my dad’s and I can confirm that my paternal grandparents were born in Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s. This timeline indicates that there is a strong probability that I had a Native American great grandparent(s) that was born between 1720 and 1810. Because that was so long ago, it explains why I only have 0.1% Native American in my DNA!

Chromosom Breakdown

Here you can see the ancestry breakdown in each of your chromosomes. I am still learning about chromosomes, so please excuse my lack of explanation here – but it is pretty cool to look at, right? 2.2% Italian? Who knew!?

Neaderthal

The last thing I wanted to share with y’all is the Neanderthal variant report. Considering my German history and the fact that Neanderthals come from Neander Valley in Germany, the amount of variants I have is not surprising. From this you can learn which physical characteristics about yourself comes from you Neanderthal ancestors! For example, the fact that I do not sneeze after eating dark chocolate is thanks to my 288 Neanderthal variants. Who knew?

I plan to send my mom a kit for Christmas so I can learn more about the DNA I share with her and where it comes from and of course for her enjoyment and knowledge. When a family member completes a 23andMe kit, you can link reports to see what DNA is shared!

All in all, I truly love 23andMe. Technology is amazing and they have really done a good job at giving us the gift of knowing who we really are. Additionally, you become automatically included in whatever new report they come out with. I really recommend this kit to anyone and everyone who is interested in their ancestry.

Have you done an ancestry test yet? Were you shocked at the results?