Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hairstyle Winner...

Remember when i asked your opinion a bit back on which hairstyle I should pick? Well, thank you all for voting and taking the time to write in. Honestly, I'd had my decision made until she actually started cutting. And then, when she got going, I just told her to keep going. 6 inches whacked off and I feel so much better. My hair is healthier and happier. I'm beginning to feel more like my "normal" self, too. It has since turned under itself instead of the outward flip it had when I left, but it is great, still. I think I *might* even start wearing it down more. yeah right


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Stronger

This amps me up! Get it, girls! GIRL POWER!!! RAWWWRRR!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Product Review: Beanies by Stacie + a Giveaway!

 
First of all, I just want to point out that I happened upon Beanies by Stacie through a local Mom's board. I'd always admired the work, but it wasn't until I was barely pregnant with Tesla that I finally ordered something. I ordered a cocoon from her and just said, surprise me when I told her the colors. I might have mentioned I wanted something pastel and organic feeling. This is what she came up with:


Then, she had her annual Christmas in July sale, so I jumped on that deal! I ordered hats for myself and my girls. Not only that, but I requested some slippers for all of us, too! She complied and boy howdy do I love them!!!



Not only that, but Tesla seems to love her hat too!

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I know some of you have Christmas gifts on the brain. Well, I would highly recommend you check her out. She has quite a few ready to ship items available, too! She's super quick, the quality is unparalleled, and she's just awesome! 

Now for a giveaway! I'm feeling the love that you all have been giving me for my mom. Thank you for those warm virtual hugs!! I would like to return the warmth! One lucky comment will receive a pair of slippers handmade by Beanies by Stacie courtesy of Hello Bianca! (yeah, that's me and I just totally referred to myself in the 3rd person, ha ha!) Here's how you can win:
  1. Go fan her on Facebook and tell her I sent you! Leave me a comment saying you did! 
  2. Leave me a comment telling me why you need your very own pair of slippers and what colors you would choose.
  3. Share this giveaway with a friend on twitter, facebook, through a blog, or even a copy and paste. Leave a comment telling me you did.
All comments must be made on my main blog page: www.hellobianca.com This contest will end in one week on November 2nd. Good luck!

**This review and giveaway are totally my own out of the goodness of my heart because I wanted to share an awesome product. I was not approached by Beanies by Stacie to do a review, nor the giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.**

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Fighter

We are still unclear as to what is going on with Mom, but she is continuing to fight whatever it is that is ailing her. The biggest offender, the experts believe, is a staph infection. They think this bacteria was dormant in her body and awoke with a fury as a result of this operation.We will have a better understanding of what is to come when the cultures come back. In the meantime, thank you for your prayers! She really is a fighter!

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And I have to admit, I got more than choked up when I took this photo. My sister said it best, "Love this Picture B! Good job for capturing something I took for granted seeing my whole life!"

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Monday, October 24, 2011

A Baker in Progress

We made pumpkin empanadas. This was the first time I really let go and allowed her to do almost all of the work. I helped her to create a separate batch and wow, were they delicious!

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fear & Gratitude: A Tale in the ER & ICU with a Texas Tech Victory

The Lord never gives you more than you can handle.

The past couple of days have been an emotional whirlwind. Yeah, that's more than an understatement. My mother recently had back surgery to repair an earlier surgery from 6 years ago. At that time, I had written a post and asked for prayers of strength and healing. A week after having her surgery, she was moved to a Rehabilitation hospital. After being there for two days, she was walking. Not only walking, but she was upright, taking it easy, walking from the gym back to her room. Joyful tears filled my eyes and I was overcome with emotion. I just knew in my heart of hearts that one day, mom would walk that 5K she's been wanting to do for 10 years. You see, over the years she's elected to participate in races, and with the help of generous friends and family, they've pushed her in her wheelchair. She's not actually gotten to do any walking in a race since the 80s.


The day after this photo was snapped, we heard wonderful news that she was going to be discharged on the following Monday. We were beside ourselves with excitement and anxiety.

And then, Friday happened.

Her blood pressure plummeted, her heart rate increased and the two were so dangerous, they feared to give her any pain medication. She didn't eat at all on Friday. By Friday evening at 10:30, they were able to stabilize her enough by giving her 1.5 liters of IV fluid. She was given more medication to give her a comfortable and restful nights sleep. When I spoke with the nurse, she told me that she anticipated her to be well enough for rehab the next day and more than likely, they were NOT going to discharge her on Monday, though.

When I went to visit her Saturday morning, the attending PA warned me that things weren't looking so hot. Her blood pressure was, in fact, worse than the day before and she continued with her elevated heart rate. They hesitated to give her a sedative, but they knew she was in an extraordinary amount of pain. She then told me that they were going to be transporting her in an ambulance to the ER to get an MRI. Since it is Saturday, the only way you can get an MRI is through the ER.

I took my first ambulance ride with her, and was reminded just how bumpy the roads are to get to the hospital. With every bump, Mom felt it and screamed out in pain. My heart was breaking. I give thanks to the driver who did his very best to try to distract me from it by talking about his 15 chickens. We got to the ER at 10:30. Over the next 9 hours, she had to be moved to different beds to have an MRI, X-rays, & CAT scans. She was pricked for blood more times that I would like to think of. She's only had a half a cup of water before we went to the ER. Her mouth and tongue were blistered, she was ghost white, she was only speaking Spanish, and in a weak voice at that. She was shrieking and screaming in pain multiple times per hour. I stood there holding her hand, quietly sobbing when I knew she was finally granted a few moments of sleep. I've never before felt more helpless and inadequate. So there I stood, holding her hand, praying, and talking to her of happier times. I was grateful for my sister to be there. We held each other when we quietly sobbed. They moved her to a critical care room and set up a morphine drip. Each of us took turns with mom when the other had to go to a meeting, go feed a baby, or go grab a meal. We talked with our friends and family, each of them giving us hope. She was scheduled for surgery to go in a clean out the wound. Before my sister returned from her meeting, Mom gave me her wedding bands since she knew she couldn't wear jewelry. I did my best to not cry. I smiled and told her that I would return them the next day when I saw her awake and feeling better. She put her hand on my face, blessed me and began to rest.

At 8PM, I left to go home. Don poured a drink for me. I settled in to watch the Red Raiders play OU. OU is ranked 3rd in the nation. We are...well, I was just hoping we weren't going to lose by more than 40. I know, I have no faith in my boys. I still hoped, but I didn't really think anything was going to happen. Then Sister called me at 11:30 telling me mom was septic. They cut off her morphine drip because her blood pressure was the lowest ever. 77 over something, I don't remember. Her pulse was too high. And then she delivered the verbal blow that punched me in the gut and took my breath away. "He says she needs to get past this, Bianca. She's so septic, she is in jeopardy of having organ failure. It's not looking good." With tears in my eyes, my body shaking, "I'm on my way. Keep breathing. I'll be there soon." I threw some things in the bag and headed back up to the hospital. I caught every green light. At this point I'd forgotten about the game. I was excited that we were ahead, but I knew that we were notorious for not having a great 2nd half showing. There was a massive storm brewing in the distance, and I pressed on to the hospital. Because it was after 10, Sam had to let me in. We briskly walked in to see her and she didn't look like my mother. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I covered her with her prayer blanket and added the olive cross that I'd purchased from our home church in Lubbock, St. John Neumann (Jerusalem earth, incense, and flower petals). I knew she had a lot of prayer warriors and boy were we needing a miracle. I tried to prepare myself for the worst, but a big part of me did not want to accept it and I just kept praying my rosary knowing she was going to get better.

Primo came by and stayed with us until 3. The Red Raiders pulled off a miracle and defeated OU in a nerve wracking game. During that time, I received so many wonderful messages of encouragement from friends both near and far. I had texts, voice mails, private messages, and so many re-threads of my prayer requests. I was overwhelmed by the thoughts, sentiment, and sheer compassion. My cup runneth over, indeed. I slept until 5 and headed home to feed Tesla. I slept from 6 until 9, and during that time, I slept hard. I checked my phone for texts and didn't have any missed calls or texts. But then I saw sister's post about how great mom looked after taking in 7.5 liters of IV fluid. Imprinted in my hand were my rosary beads and I continued to give thanks.

I was definitely afraid, but not once was did I feel alone. Thank you, all of you, who reached out and offered meals, babysitting, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, alcohol, and hugs. We are beyond blessed.

Mom is stable for now, but it appears that she has developed a staph infection. Mostly likely, a bacteria from one of the surgeries from 6 years ago was dormant and awoke with this surgery. Mom's surgeon cut his out of town visit short and rushed back to be here first thing Sunday morning to assess her. He wants to go in and remove that old hardware, but only when she is feeling much better and stable. We have a looong road ahead of us. Thank you for your continued prayers and thoughts. Indeed, they are working! And we relay all of your thoughts and prayers to Mom and they give her strength and inspiration!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Miss Representation: Movie

For those of you unaware, there's a fabulous new documentary out there called Miss Representation.  It is about the projection of women in the media. Miss Representation is something we need to share with all our friends and families to change the way our children see themselves and others.






Tomorrow night, I will be having a house party at my home to show the premier of it on the OWN network at 9/8 Central. Hopefully, we will achieve the goal: Educate, Engage & Empower. I feel fortunate to have grown in a world with strong women. Physically and emotionally strong women who always told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. At the time, I found it ironic that they were telling me to aspire for greater ambitious careers, yet, they themselves were content (or so it seemed) with being homemakers. It wasn't until later that I realized their chosen path was to raise their family. Because of it, I saw that homemakers worked hard in their homes and still looked amazing doing it.

We didn't watch much television growing up, and we didn't get many publications. There were advertisements on billboards, but nothing like today. We were watching the first part of the baseball play off game (maybe the 2nd inning) and there was a preview for the new release of The Thing. I was scared! I couldn't begin to imagine the fear in the mere seconds Mari watched before I rushed her to the other room. I realize that she will be exposed to those things some day, but there's enough time for that later. Additionally, I purchased this month's Men's Health. It was just laying around. While I realize it is filled with half dressed men showcasing their fabulous muscles, I was surprised to see a full page devoted to a gal in skimpy undies, caught looking over her shoulder as she took off her tank top. I only saw it because Mari was pointing out that the girl was naked. Not quite, but mostly. She looked at me and stated, "She's a cochina showing her panties." But her young eyes were fixated on that perfect body. I was impressed with her body and would love to have one like it, but what kind of message was it sending my daughter? I asked Mari what she thought the girl was thinking. She thought that the girl was surprised and angry. I asked her if she thought the girl was embarrassed. She said, "Yes. She wanted privacy to change her clothes." "Exactly, kiddo!"

But I've since evaluated the different impressions I've made on her and other influences. Since having my own daughters, I've actually tried to put more of an effort into my appearance. I try to show them confidence and not be overly critical of my body in front of them. I don't get embarrassed when she watches me get dressed. She knows what a "real" female body looks like. But I have to keep it up. I'm glad there is this film to hopefully raise awareness and maybe, just maybe, make a change.

I encourage you all to set aside some time tomorrow night at 9/8 Central on the OWN Oprah Winfrey Network!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bountiful Baskets: Great for the Budget


For about a month now, I've heard about this food co-op called Bountiful Baskets from Jacki. For those of you who don't know her, well, you are missing out. She's an amazing resource for all things that are good. Well, to me, any way. She's a real salt of the earth kinda gal. She knows her stuff about sewing, cooking, canning, gifting, running, food, pretty much all that kind of stuff that I think was normally passed down from generation to generation, but somehow some of it was lost for me along the way. She's helped to reinforce things I had learned and has taught me so much along the way.

Anyway, when she mentioned Bountiful Baskets, I had to do further research. When I went out to the website, I can honestly say I was simultaneously overwhelmed and unimpressed. What? How? Well, there's not a whole lot of photos and there's a whole bunch of text. I was going to have to sign up to fill out a form too. bleh! Well, I missed that initial offering. And then Jacki posted a photo of all of the stuff she had gotten. To further rub my nose in it, she posted some pretty amazing looking recipes of her haul, which had me drooling. All of that sexy looking produce, all delicious, all packed a PUNCH! KA-POW...suck on that non-wholesome/chemically laced foods!

So I went out to the site again and bombarded poor Jacki with ridiculous questions. To which, she had the patience to deal with me for a bit and kept posting the link back to their site. I know she was probably thinking, "For the love of God, Bianca, this isn't complicated. read the damn site!!" But she was very cordial and helpful! I signed up, I read, re-read, then read aloud to Don everything I thought was important. We huddled over the computer trying to decide which basket to buy. Organic, non-organic...do we do add-ons? Hmmm...We ended up going with 1 organic basket (basket=$15+organic=$10...$25 total for organic basket) and added on 2 pumpkins, which were described as smaller than a basketball ($3.25 each). We figured if they weren't large enough to carve, we could get cheaper ones later.

Since this was our first time to participate, we had to pay a $3 first time fee. Each time you participate, there is a $1.50 processing fee. Knowing that there didn't have to be further commitment, we thought $36 was ok to invest. To further complicate things, we were out of town, so instead of picking up where we would normally pick-up, we decided to do pick-up in Lubbock. Not only were were buying for the first time, but we were also going to be traveling with these foods. Luckily, they have a food storage guide, so we used that to go on. We took 3 re-usable shopping bags, and showed up 10 minutes before pick-up time (you can arrive an hour early to volunteer. I may do that another time.). We were 15th in line with a longer line snaking after us and others continued to arrive after we left. This is what we received:

Organic Basket (filled 2 of our shopping bags)

  • 1 bunch of chard
  • 6 bananas
  • 6 plums
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 apples
  • 4 pears
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 1 basket of concord grapes
  • 1 basket of kiwi berries
  • 3 romaine hearts lettuce

Add-on: 2 large pumpkins, one was the size of a basketball, the other one was larger!

Oh my, was a haul!! I've never even had kiwi berries, nor have I prepared chard on my own. I'm guessing it is chard because I don't know what it is. I am going to be using this recipe and I want to try out this acorn squash bisque recipe, too! Can I just say that meal planning has been amped up 5 notches. I'm beyond thrilled and excited to be cooking. Plus, my Everyday Food magazine actually features many of the foods I received (they are in season, after all), so I can use a whole lot of those recipes in there too.

If you have a Bountiful Baskets offering in your area, I would highly recommend you check them out! I calculated everything that we received and compared it to what we could have paid in the grocery store and honestly, we saved about $5, but hey, that's an overpriced coffee right there. Knowing most of the foods are more local, and that I have a boost in my meal planning (after all, I don't have to think as much, I just have to figure out what to make with what I have instead of deciding what to buy AND what to make). Go for it and enjoy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Short or Long?



I have a hair appointment next week and it always takes me about that long to commit to something. I’m in that in between phase right now and Don isn’t helping. He likes my hair no matter how I have it. We all know that it’ll be pulled back in a ponytail anyway. Ha ha! Leave a comment to help me choose which style you think would look best on me. Many thanks!

Shorter hair inspired by Jackie O, like this…
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Or keep growing it longer to get to this…


image found here






Freschetta Winner!

Congratulations #4 comment from Samantha "Anonymous" who tweeted our giveaway here.

Thank you Samantha and Karin for entering! Samantha, I will be contacting you soon to get your prize to you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Texas State Fair: Dinner Date with the Family

Each year we've gone to the fair, we haven't really had a chance to make a day of it. There is so much to see and do there, you could spend an entire day taking in all of the sights and experiencing all of the events. Not to mention, you'd be spending quite a bit of money, too! Last year, we had coupons left over from our visit, so I wasn't going to make that mistake. (We ended up trading them with Primo for a good meal and well, I think we got the better end of the deal!) We weren't quite able to do it as cheap as we did in 2008, but then again, there are 4 of us, one of which is all too eager to ride rides (thank goodness for half price ride night, which is actually 2 tickets discounted from the rides I ride night).

We didn't have to pay entrance to the fair and like I mentioned it was half price ride night. (Thank you teachers who don't go to the fair and are generous to share with a family who has an expensive tradition!) I had budgeted $60 for food and rides, and we opted to purchase $50 to begin with. Tickets are valued at 50 cents, so we had 90. I took 40, I gave Don 40, and I tucked away 10 in the bag for later. Right off the bat, we hit up Fletchers.  Priced at 9 tickets a piece ($4.50), it cost 27 tickets. Man were they delicious!

Fletcher's Corny Dog
Next up, we went inside the food pavilion (as if there aren't food vendors every where!) for fried banana pudding. They make it like an empanada. The outer shell is almost like a pie shell. They fill it with the banana pudding, fry it, then top it with whipped cream, and powdered sugar. 8 tickets, I think. Amazing!

Fried Banana Pudding
Our stroller broke last week. I was devastated to say goodbye to the red stroller. We replaced it with the same type of stroller, but in a blue model. The plan was to have Mari walk and Tesla to ride in the stroller. Well, the Sugarbean wanted to ride, so I wore Tesla. Because of this, I had difficulty eating anything that wasn't easily held. I spilled the insides of my banana pudding on her head. I can say, not only did she smell and taste sweet, but her hair was well-conditioned! See how comfortable Mari is in the stroller. Such a little lady!
Enjoying the corny dog
Next, we wandered over to the petting zoo, but boy was it a madhouse! I bought $2 worth of the feed and we didn't use any of it. I repurposed an abandoned larger feed cup to house my two smaller cups and poured it all in there. Unfortunately, we didn't use any. If anyone local is going to the fair, I will happily give you my feed cups so they don't go to waste. Seriously, it was so packed in there, I couldn't even grab a photo! Awful! We scurried out of there and went to stare at the large pig. It was just being stinky and lazy.
Award Winning Pig
We headed over to the craft building to see our friend do a cooking demo. We stopped just to say hello and browsed the photography entries and the other handmade items. I would like to enter something next year! Before we stepped out, we marveled at the butter sculpture. Yes, that is all butter!


Then we headed to the Midway. First stop, Tornado Taters. I don't like them crispy like chips, instead, I ask them to lightly fry it. I top with spicy seasoning, hot sauce and ketchup. 9 tickets.
Tornado Taters...lightly fried

Then it was time to ride the slide!!!!! 10 tickets (5 tickets each) I have to tell you that the slide was quite popular. We even had to wait in line towards the top. I nearly threw up my tornado taters with the fear welling up in my belly. I kept hunching over so I wouldn't look over the edge. I don't know how many times I was barking at Mari to keep her hand on the side. And on the inside, I kept thinking, but that's silly if the ramp dislodges off of the slide and we fell. No amount of holding on would matter. And then we would sway. Ugh!!! But we made it to the top.
The Slide!!!
The Sugarbean REALLY wanted to ride alone, but I wouldn't let her. Oh no! I couldn't imagine her flying down the side. Maybe next year. Maybe. She still had a whole lot of fun. I was laughing the whole way down, as was she. Here's a video I shot of halfway down.

Then we went on to let Mari do some more rides. We did a fun house, a car, and a mini roller coaster. When she was riding the car, Tesla was quite upset. So much so that she was actually crying tears. I think she was afraid for her sister. She is not the little adventurous one like her sister and that is fine by me! I calmed her down and she ended up sleeping most of the remainder of the evening. Here is a shot of Don squeezed into the mini coaster. What Daddys do for their girls, right?
Moving Roller Coaster

Then we stopped by for Fried Upside Down Pineapple Cake. (6 or 8 tickets)
Fried Pineapple Upside Down Cake
We'd had enough of the Midway and said our goodbyes until next year. We escaped without playing any games, too!
Super Midway
I really wanted our pineapple whip (12 tickets...6 tickets each), so off we went to grab some before the car show. Lucky for me, I ran into a friend while in line. Literally, ran into her. (Hi Nan!) After going through the car show and realizing that we liked the Ford Flex (albeit out of our price range), we were ready to go home. But we FINALLY found the fresh squeezed lemonade stand. 10 tickets each. We had 7, so I had to buy 13 more.
  Fresh Lemonade and Dole Pineapple Whip
Then, while we walked out, we saw the fireworks that accompanied the video and music montage. It was indeed a wonderful end to a terrific date night! We were all ecstatic!


 TOTAL SPENT: $58.50 RIDES & FOOD + $10 PARKING

HDMR: I Don't Know How She Does It & Downton Abbey

I Don't Know How She Does It
Recently, I was one of the 100 people who went to see I Don't Know How She Does It. Yes, I paid full-price for it. I was a sucker for the trailer. I know a lot of people thought it was lame. It was listed as a comedy and I wanted funny. Plus, I wanted to go to a movie with my mom and I figured this would be a good one. (We also got to see Bridesmaids together, which was REALLY funny!  I know you've already seen that one.)

Anyway, in this film, I didn't really think it was much of a comedy. I guess I could see where some things might have been funny, because yes, it is relatable. The part about making the list at night...OMG, yes! When I lay my head down to sleep at night, I do the list in my head. I fall asleep making the list. I wake up and I'm still making the list. These lists become lists of tiny lists. It's really out of control! But the rest of the funny?? I was waiting for it, but no. My heart was breaking, actually, because it is a very real movie. Yes, we're in a recession and the problems she has don't have anything to do with not having a job or trying to make ends meet...but they are still very real problems. Knowing that, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the film, even though I was disappointed I didn't laugh more. And Pierce Brosnan...va-va-va-voom! That man just gets so much better as he ages, it's ridiculous! And big kudos to Olivia Munn, too! She brought the funny. I really like her!

It's worth the rental, for sure. Make yourself a bowl of kettle corn and a root beer float (or a glass of wine) and indulge for a 89 minutes.

Downton Abbey
After hearing all of the awards this show won at the Emmy's I was curious. Thankfully, Netflix had this on streaming. We only own one television and I don't always want to watch football when it is on (even though I really love it), so I watched it on my phone and on my computer. Folks, I loved it! It was every bit of dramatic and scandalous as I wanted a show to be. There was snark, there was betrayal, there was snobbery at its finest, and the costumes....oh, how I loved the costumes. I can't think of one single character that I did not like. I couldn't believe it was a part of PBS's Masterpiece theater! How in the world they are able to sustain the writing and the cast, I have no idea, but I am looking forward to the 2nd season when it premiered in January.

Those of you who are lucky enough to have Netflix streaming (Qwikster?), you should definitely check it out. I give it a waaaay thumbs up and it makes me happy knowing it won so many awards!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tutorial: Childs Apron...The Belladyn Apron

This is a loose tutorial for an apron that fits size 3T-5T.

< 1 yard of fabric
thread
36" of at least 1" ribbon (4 strips of 9 inches)

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BOTTOM
Then, I cut out a 14 inch piece of fabric. I hemmed 3 sides of the edges. 1/4" hem folded in twice. The other side I gathered together. If you need help with gathering, check out this link. If you are feeling sassy, I would highly recommend you buy a ruffler foot. I used one for about two months and became addicted. I need to get one for my machine! Set your bottom aside.



TOP
I took one of my daughter's tops, folded it in half and came up with the basis of the top of the apron. It is about 12 inches by 10 inches. You will cut two of these pieces.

What I did was cut a 12 inch piece of fabric, then spread it out, folded at 9 inches and cut leaving that fold intact. The folded another 9 inches and cut at that fold. This left me with enough leftover fabric that if I wanted to make pockets, I could have.

Match up with the two right sides facing each other. before you pin, add your ribbon to the edges. (refer to my graphic for placement.

Sew on 3 sides, then turn around.

PUTTING TOGETHER
Match the bottom of the Top of the apron with the top of the Bottom piece. (it will look like the top is upside down. Pin along the edge and be sure that you pin it so your gathering seam will not be visible. Sew across the edge. For added security, I sewed along that edge as well. If you had a server, it would finish it off for you, but I don't have one, so I made do.

**tip: Be sure you don't sew over the ribbon!

FINISHING 
Next, top stitch all the way around to be sure it gives it a more professional look. Also, when using grograin, you must either burn the cut edges with a lighter or use some fray check.

Iron out the wrinkles and pay special attention to the side where you sewed your parts together. If you iron it properly, your unfinished edge will be concealed. I added a couple of homemade flowers and a fancy button at the center to one side. I think it gave it a bit more flair.
Now sit back and enjoy a glass of vino because you just made the awesome Belladyn apron! Woot Woot!

I plan to make another soon. Would you all like more pics in progress? How about a downloadable PDF of the top "pattern" piece I made?  These would make a great gift for tiny hostesses for Thanksgiving/Christmas! The two I made just happened to be for a birthday party. Nothing like handmade gifts, right? I think these aprons finally put me over the edge to purchase my own labels, though! EEEK! So exciting!




Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Power of Prayer for my Momma: SanJuanita

Tomorrow, mom goes in for back surgery. I'm asking for prayers from all of you who pray. Please call on God (or whatever you choose to call your deity) to guide the surgeon's hands, help to make him alert, and expert. Pray that her recovery is smooth. For those of you who aren't the praying type, just put out positive thoughts tomorrow for my mother. She's so very precious to all of us and if you know her, well, then you are aware of how awesome she is. I believe in the power of prayer and the power of positive thinking. Thank you!

Copyright Michelle Monk Photography
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Matthew 21:22

Friday, October 7, 2011

NYG: Only 3 Months to Go

Remember so long ago when I made my New Year Goals? Well, I can say that I've been mostly successful with it!

I haven't made something new each week, but I have made more things than not. I have definitely tried new things each month, the biggest ones being a triathlon and Mari's soccer coach. I have stuck with doing 1 load of laundry a week, but it hasn't always been my own. Actually, it's mostly not been my own laundry, ha ha, but I have been doing it. Now that I think about it, I've actually been doing more of my own laundry than before. And as far as my Cardiotrainer numbers...I get mad at myself when it falls below 1000. I hope to keep it hovered near the 1500 mark, but I need to find more time (and make more time for myself) to do just that.

How about all of you? How have you been keeping up with the goals you set forth for yourself?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pssst....Guess What!

Thank you readers for well, being my readers! You guys are awesome!!! For those of you who actually come to my main page, thank you! A giant high five to those of you who leave comments. I <3 comment love!!! *swoon* I know some of you lurkers are quiet, but I know you are there, so thank you nevertheless!


My News: I've taken the plunge and am now a part of Latism | BlogHer Network! 

*POP* 

That was me opening up some champagne! Grab your coffee, tea, milk, water, (beverage of choice) and join me in the virtual celebration. (I'm actually having a hot chai tea latte!) Let's all bust out the Cabbage Patch and Roger Rabbit...holla! Where my peeps at?

Anyway, just wanted to say thank you for being supporters of my small space on the Internets. Please continue to show me some of that awesome love!! 

*****
I'm so excited for you Bianca, but what does that mean? Well, it just means I'm advertising now to get enough income to pay for one of my smaller indulgences each month. It also means that I'm a part of a larger network of blog writers like The Pioneer Woman! And it is my goal and hope to attend the BlogHer conference in 2012, with a sponsorship. We shall see! *fingercrossedfingerscrossed*

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Road Trip: Austin & San Antonio

It's been a while since I graduated from high school. It doesn't really hit me how long it has been until I think about the number of years I've had a friendship. I met Miles in my Sophomore year. He was very gracious and indeed a friend. He was one of the few friends I had that first year. Being a transfer student, I was already an outcast. I was grateful to have him as a friend, as I treasure our friendship now.

We graduated and went our separate ways, to different universities, eventually meeting up again at Tech. Then, we graduated and went our ways, until the advent of social media. Through MySpace and continued through Facebook, we maintained contact. He made the trip to celebrate my 30th birthday! (there he is in the blue shirt with cap)

Every so often, we'd meet up for dinner or on IM to talk about photography. You can imagine my excitement when he told me he was getting married and would we like to come to the reception. My response was, "Are you kidding me! Yes, we'll be there!" This past weekend, we trekked to San Antonio with a pit stop in Austin.

They had an intimate, family-friendly reception at Big'z Burger Joint. We ate delicious burgers, drank festive drinks, wore leis, danced, and talked. It was a wonderful time! I loved that we were able to take home photos from their fabulous wedding in Hawaii. Also, the hula girl straws were so much fun. I actually had 2 Pepsi's because I liked sipping out of that straw so much. Mari and I had a ball with the temporary tattoos, too! Don and I were able to dance to our song and Tesla had a fabulous time dancing and singing along with all of the music. The service at Big'z is top notch as is their food! If you are in the area, definitely check them out! Congratulations Miles & Beth!!

Like I said, we made a pit stop in Austin first! We stayed the night with our dear friends (Hi Jennie & David...and Emily, too!). Friday night, we dined at the ol' Magnolia Cafe with said friends and with my Brother. (Who will be moving away from Austin this week, so keep him in your thoughts for a safe passage.) We totally love the SoCo area of Austin. The food was pretty good, too! The next morning, we popped awake and headed out to Town Lake for a 5K (which isn't a lake at all, really). It was a busy, busy trail, but I was still able to log an ok time while pushing Tesla. Mari was happy to stay back and play with her friend. (Thanks Jennie!!) Here's the view of the bridge I crossed over. My view to the left...

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My view to the right...
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Seriously, with that much beauty, how would you not be motivated to run?

Afterwards, we headed over to Thunderbird Coffee for a cup o' Joe and to meet up with another buddy of ours...another friend of mine from high school that I've known as long as Miles. (Hi Danny! Thanks for coming out!) Don't you just love the decor? I like the lights!IMAG1172
Mmmm...that caramel mocha was AWESOME!!!
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I'm a huge fan of independent coffee shops. Even better when they make darn good coffee and this place did NOT disappoint! Check them out if you are ever in the area. I even had a Grilled Nutella & Honey panini, which was perfectly delicious when paired with my iced coffee and good conversation from old friends.

When we headed South to San Antonio, we stayed at the Drury Plaza North. This was a fun decorated hotel with excellent service. We were actually happy about all the extra perks: 2 free drinks, hot breakfast, free parking, free wi-fi, small fridge, in-room coffee maker, and microwave, spacious and comfortable room,  great terrace and pool. We would highly recommend this. Our two complaints about the room: it didn't offer movies for purchase and there wasn't a fan in the bathroom. (that's why you travel with matches and a candle, folks! hehehe) We didn't need to buy a movie anyway (because I truly passed out as soon as it was possible...and it was the soundest sleep I've had in weeks!) and there was a public bathroom on the lower floors. Mari really enjoyed the stationary:

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I enjoyed the colorful lobby and really wished we had more time to play with our actual cameras in the lobby. Another time! Mari really did love that orange ottoman.

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Yes, folks. She's still wearing her shoes on opposite feet. No big deal. It seems to work for her, so we don't mind. 

On our way back home, we hit up the South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery for a Holy Cacao cake shake and Torchy's Tacos for lunch. We had prime weather to sit outside on a picnic table with friends. I swear we saw Val Kilmer's doppleganger, too! Why didn't get get a pic? 

All in all, it was a wonderful trip.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Freschetta: Proud to Support Pink Giveaway


Hello friends! Guess what! I'm a part of the Freschetta Fresh Connection Community. Basically, that means I like pizza and I like to give my opinion. Freschetta contacted me and gave me a coupon to try out their pizza and write a review on it. We'll see how it matches up with our homemade pizza. I'll give you my review later.

Anyway, for the month of October, they are are participating in breast cancer awareness month. What, you didn't know it was Breast Cancer awareness month? SAVE THE BOOBIES! During this month, you can purchase a specially marked package of Freschetta (look for the Proud to Support Pink). You can go to www.proudtosupportpink.com and enter the code found on the back of the marked box. Each entry will donate $1 towards their $50,000 goal to the  Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. (Which, by the way, Memorial Sloan-Kettering is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!) WTG Freschetta!

Freschetta also gave me a nifty prize pack to giveaway to one of you lucky readers!! In it includes a coupon for a free pizza as well as two (2) pairs of Freschetta proud to support pink earphones (one for you to keep and one for you to give away). Who couldn't use free pizza and an extra set of earphones?

Here's where you can get involved! I would love it if you would go to the site www.proudtosupportpink.com and share your cancer-related story! If you do that and tell me did, you will get an entry. If you become a follower on my blog, you get an extra entry! If you tweet about this (or mention it on any of your social media outlets), you will get one more entry! How exciting, huh? All entries must be noted in the comments section on my main blog at www.hellobianca.com. That's a chance for 3 entries!!!

Contest ends Wednesday, Oct. 12! Good luck!

**Dislaimer: I was contacted by Freschetta, as part of the Freschetta Fresh Connection Community to participate in this contest. I received a coupon for a free pizza and 2 earphones to review. The thoughts/opinions/ideas expressed here are my strictly my own.**

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tesla 6 Months!

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Dear Miss Tesla Jane,

It's been 6 glorious months of sheer happiness with you. Every.Single.Day. I look at you and am simultaneously overjoyed and inspired by you. You have such a calm demeanor and aren't really bothered by anything. You are incredibly curious! You are constantly watching and observing. Now that you are more able and aware, you definitely want to be involved with everything that is going on around you. You love to feel the different textures wherever you are. You like to rake your little fingers like crazy. You say things like "mamamamama" or "bababababa" for when you are ready to eat. Sometimes, we've caught you saying "hi" but I'm not sure if that is your intention or not. You are now trying to wave goodbye, although, right now you just do it with your fingers instead of your whole hand.

You've been sitting for quite a while on your own. A few weeks ago, you even went from belly to back, to pushing yourself up to a seated position. Just yesterday, you got up on all fours and crawled a few feet. You were motivated to be closer to your big sister, whom you adore!

Right now your favorite toy is cellophane or crinkly plastic. You can entertain yourself with that stuff forever. Luckily, the folks who made your toys and activity mat are aware of this because you can't seem to get enough of the petals on the flower or the wings on your butterfly. You also like the way the keys on my keyboard click. We have since resurrected the "play" wireless keyboard and you happily tap away on the keys.

I'm happy to say that you have been a breastmilk baby with the exception of two ounces of sample formula. Lucky for you that we have such good friends who have donated their excess reserves. This mama doesn't feel nearly as guilty for not being able to keep up with your demand. You are happily eating the homemade food. 1 oz of fruit for breakfast and 1 oz of veggies for lunch. For dinner, we surprise you with some veggie that we are eating together. Not surprisingly, you are pretty good with a spoon and understand that when we put food on it for you, you like to "feed yourself."

You've had a nasty virus/cold for a large portion of your short life. Your daddy and I have had a couple of laughs, though. After you sneeze, you will have accumulated a copious amount of snot on your nostrils. Then you'll breathe and a large bubble will form. It looks like a frog is about to croak. Then we will quickly wipe your nose, which you loathe. However, you don't mind when we use your aspirator. You actually giggle and laugh...usually. As a result, you are getting pretty close to knowing how to blow your nose in a Kleenex. I'm pretty impressed with that, actually.

You are starting to get more hair and the more you get, the darker it is becoming. Your eyes are still a stunningly hazel color. Your smile, like your sister's, is a bright megawatt beam that lights the room. Your feet are still tiny, but the rest of you is growing like crazy (still hovering in the 95th percentiles in all of your categories)!

It's so hard to believe it's been six months already. I'm so lucky to be your mama! Happy Birthday Sugarbaby! We love you!

XXOOXXOO,

Mama!

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