April 17, 2014

How to Care for Succulents

It's that time of the year again... right? I'm hoping not to jinx the gorgeous weather we've been having lately here in Wisconsin with a post completely centered around gardening, but you'll forgive me if I do, right? Okay, thank you! Anyways, last summer I became intrigued by the beauty that radiates from the pretty green looking succulents you see all over the blog-o-sphere, Instagram, Pinterest and you name it. I immediately wanted in on this "fad" because you know, when the hipsters start doing it, everyone better jump on board.

After purchasing my first succulent plants from Home Depot, I was actually a little surprised with how fragile and delicate these plants can be and became a little nervous about taking care of them. From what I had heard prior to purchasing them, they were impossible to kill and incredibly easy to take care of. But trust me, with my black thumb, anything is possible!

Now that I've kept my succulents alive for an entire summer (last summer) and have done plenty of research in between, I'd love to share with you what a learned about these pretty little plants. They're not as easy to care for and indestructible as you may have thought, but with the proper care and knowledge they're really not all that bad!


one: Don't over water. This is where I almost went wrong. A plant is a living breathing thing right? Therefore it needs to be watered everyday. Wrong! Whatever you do, do not water succulents every day. You will kill them. Succulents belong to the cactus family of plants and therefore don't need as much water as your other plants may need. However, you must keep in mind that these plants have a growing period in which they'll need more water than they normally would. From late fall to early spring they lay dormant and don't grow as much so they don't need as much water, but during the summer, while they're actively growing, they'll need more water. Makes sense, right? A good rule of thumb, is to only water your succulents when you feel the soil around them is dry. Don't continue to water if the soil stays moist-- they don't need it at that time!

two: Keep out of direct sunlight. This seems silly, doesn't it? Don't all plants love that nice bright direct sun, especially those in the cactus family? Well, succulents love their sunlight, but since they're a more delicate variety they can burn and shrivel if left in direct sunlight for too long. Keep your succulents in a well-lit room, but I wouldn't recommend keeping them in the windowsill exposed to the extreme heat of the afternoon sun.

three: Proper drainage. When choosing a pot to place your succulents in them, you're not just going to want to look at the aesthetics of the pot, you're also going to want to check out the functionality of the pot as well. Make sure that there's a way for the water to drain out of the pot or your plant will be headed for the compost pile quicker than you thought! If your pot is similar to the metal one I used for my succulents, you can easily use a drill to drill a couple holes in to ensure proper drainage. Easy as that!





I hope that helps you out if you're thinking about planting some pretty succulents in pots around your house this summer. They're so pretty and simple and easy to keep alive during the winter, but just keep these little lessons in mind!

What's your favorite gardening tip you've ever received?
Are you planning to grow succulents this year?


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April 14, 2014

Life Lately

It's been a while since I've done a post like this. It's been a while since I've just sat down at the computer and wrote about what's going on with us and what we've been up to lately. It just seems like good ol' Instagram takes care of that aspect of blogging nowadays, doesn't it? Why share here what I share there? Well, the real question is, why not? This blog is the story of my family. It's my journey through nursing school, being a young mom and everything in between. I think I've gotten away from that lately. I've been so preoccupied with work and planning a wedding and oh you know being a mom and all of life's other responsibilities that sometimes I forget that we still have a story to tell.

Here's what we've been up to these past couple of weeks. I think I'm going to make it a goal of mine to share this with you all here on the blog more often, as well. Instagram is nice, but sometimes it's nice to share a little more of our "life lately" story here, as well.


1. Front porch swinging after dinner (and custard of course) at Culvers and after running around the house like crazy people. It was fantastic. And I learned that I don't need a treadmill or a babysitter to run outdoors-- I can get my run in just running in circles through the living room, dining room and kitchen. I'll be well on my way to a 5k in no time and the giggles from Alea are just a bonus!


2. I feel like I've conquered the world. Isn't it funny how a pair of jeans can either make us feel completely miserable or like we just climbed Mount Everest? I'm still a little bit in shock that I can fit into my most expensive pair of jeans. A pair of jeans I splurged on from The Buckle just months before getting pregnant with Alea. I've almost put the in the donate pile on a number of occasions, but something has always made me hang onto them for just a little bit longer. Now I'm pretty darn happy that I did! Of course, this day would come just weeks after buying 4 pairs of size 4 jeans from American Eagle. Guess I better go back and stock up on 2's now!


3. Three words: Fazoli's bread sticks. They complete me. Almost as much as sharing them with this little sweetheart. She devoured her "noodles with white sauce" (also known to grown-ups as fettucine alfredo) and had her head popped up looking for the bread stick lady to come by again! Yep, she's her mother's daughter!


4. Grocery shopping just wouldn't be the same without a 4-year-old hanging off the end of the grocery cart, now would it? News flash: just minutes after this photo was snapped, she managed to fall off the end of the grocery cart and an older gentleman giggled and said "child abuse, aisle 4"! Whoops! Guess it wouldn't be a grocery trip if it didn't end in tears, right?


5. The weather is finally taking a turn towards spring. I can smell it in the air and so can my allergies. I've been sniffling and sneezing and loving every second that we don't have snow. It's been amazing to come home after a long day at work and relax on the porch with a diet soda and a good book. I can't even tell you how much I love it!


6. Last week at work, one of my sweet residents said to me, "Chelsea, you know what I love about you? You're always smiling!" And then I proceeded to smile for the rest of the entire day. It's little things like that, that make me so happy I do what I do. Just knowing I made one person's day is good enough for me!


I was compensated for the review of this product by Bliss and Linqia, but all opinions are my own.

7. For the past two weeks now I've been using the Bliss Fat Girl Slim products in preparation for my wedding in June. I've gotten lots of questions on social media about whether or not they work and how in the heck they work. Let me tell you first off, I love them! I was a little hesitant about the Lean Machine because of the suction. I was nervous it would hurt and it would pinch off my cellulite rather than increase circulation to the affected area, but I've been pleasantly surprised. I've noticed a slight reduction in the dimpling of my thighs after just a couple uses! Not only will I be ready for my wedding in June, but I'll feel so much more comfortable wearing shorts prior to then.

And as for the Bliss Fat Girl Six Pack, I've been loving that as well! Neither of these products are going to magically dissolve your fat, but they certainly help tone the trouble areas along with healthy eating and exercise. I personally know that no matter how many sit-ups or crunches I do, I'm always going to have that little pooch under my belly button, but the caffeine that it contains helps tighten up that excess skin. Love love loving them both!


8. My little Alea Lou isn't so little anymore! My sunshine just celebrated her 4th birthday on April 3rd! I had to work that day, but we celebrated with Starbucks after I picked her up from daycare and then met up with daddy for dinner at Olive Garden. She was beyond excited when she opened her Disney Frozen Ice Castle and Elsa and Anna dolls after dinner and I swore about 72 times under my breath trying to put that darn castle together when we got home. It was a perfect birthday ;)


9. Alea's still the pickiest of eaters, but I'm choosing not to fight it anymore. (More on that another time). She likes what she likes and I'm more than happy to serve that to her without arguments. She's expected to try new foods at her new daycare and that's good enough for me. She even asked to try a carrot the other night when I was packing my lunch for work. She didn't like it, but it was a shot!


10. Alea's foot fell asleep for the first time and it was absolutely hilarious. She kept yelling, "FOOT! WAKE-UP!"


11. Ariel bubbles in the front yard is our new go-to activity. Thank goodness for this beautiful weather! We were getting all kinds of stir-crazy from being tucked away inside all winter long. Bring on the sunshine and blue skies!


12. If was allowed to wear something other than scrubs to work, it would be this outfit every single day. I can't even begin to tell you how obsessed I am with my tribal print blouse from my last Stitch Fix. I'm officially counting down the days till the next box arrives at my doorstep. (It's four if you're curious!)


13. I'm still pinching myself every single day at work when I sign my name with the initials "RN" after it. It's just so surreal. I never thought this moment would arrive, when I would become a nurse, and now that it's here I'm in complete and utter disbelief. Some days are hard, but it's all worth it in the end. I have a job that helps support my family and it's an absolute dream come true!


14. I learned how to use a knitting loom... just in time for the snow to melt and the temperatures to go up! I've never had the greatest timing in the world, I guess. But this infinity scarf looks ridiculously adorable on Alea, don't you think? I've made myself a yellow one and am in the process of making a grey and green one for myself as well. At least we'll be prepared and warm next winter!


15. Sweet little Lou caught her first bug from daycare. It wasn't pretty. She woke me up at 3am and puked in my bed and then proceeded to throw-up all over the bathroom as well. (I hope you're not eating breakfast, lunch, or any meal for that matter right now.) I prescribed her lots of fluids, lots of rest and mommy snuggles and we took care of that nasty stomach bug in no time!

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But, if Instagram is more your speed, I wouldn't mind if you followed along with our life there, too. You can find me at SunnySprinkle. I'll be there on the daily ;)

What does your life look like lately?

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April 10, 2014

Ham, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Muffins

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and Kraft #FreshTake. #CollectiveBias

Can you believe that Easter is just a couple of weeks away? I just checked my calendar and my jaw immediately dropped! I'm actually scheduled to work that weekend, so unfortunately I'll be working on Easter, but it doesn't mean I can't whip up something delicious to share with my family when I can't be there! We usually don't do a whole heck of a lot for Easter besides color eggs, eat delicious breakfast food and watch Alea open up her Easter basket, but even so, I'm a little disappointed I'll be gone the morning of Easter.

To make things a little more special and remind Cory and Alea how much I love them both, I wanted to whip up a little something special for them to enjoy Easter morning. (And maybe something easy enough for me to bring with me to eat on Easter morning at work, as well!) I found a $1 off Kraft Fresh Take coupon, headed out to Walmart and decided that I'd see what I could do to make a fun breakfast twist on this product that's usually used for quick and easy dinners. Thus the creating of these delciously cute ham, egg, and cheese breakfast muffins! Yes, they're most definitely as good as they look!



Ingredients:

1. Corn muffin mix
2. Kraft Fresh Take (Click for $1 off coupon!) Coupon good through the end of April.
3. 4 eggs
4. Mini cubed ham
5. 1 stick of butter
6. Milk



Recipe:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Prepare your corn muffin mix according to the directions on the box in a large mixing bowl.
3. Scramble 3 eggs in a skillet greased with melted butter.
4. Stir the scrambled eggs and the cubed ham into the mixing bowl of corn muffin mix.
5. Grease muffin tin or use cupcake liners.
6. Fill muffin tin 2/3 full with mixture.
7. Bake muffins for 15-18 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Let cool.

Since this recipe includes eggs and ham, keep refrigerated. Best served fresh, hot, and topped with melted butter!





They turned out even more delicious than I ever envisioned. Using the Southwest Fresh Take really added a little extra zip and zing to the muffins and gave them some a yummy feel. Maybe next time I make them I'll try adding chorizo and we'll spice them up a little bit more!

I hope this recipe helps spice up your family's Easter brunch and makes Easter with your family a little more special!

What's your favorite food to celebrate Easter with?

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