Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Birthday Fun

Someone in our house celebrated a birthday this past weekend.

Our sweet little Oliver turned three years old! I can't believe he has been with us for three years already.

Of course we had to have a little photo shoot of our cutie pie wearing his bday hat and posing with his gift.



After a while he got bored and started trying to eat the number off of his hat!


Finally it was time to open his gift.

I think it is safe to say that he loved his mini t-bone treats!


Happy Birthday sweet Ollie!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Green Door

This past weekend I gave our front door a little face lift!

Our front door was pretty drab and I would love to get a new one, but those things are expensive. So instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a new door I decided to just give it a little $20 update.

This was our front door. Boring, dirty and blah black.

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My little helper peeking out!

It definitely needed some color. I decided to go with a color called Chopped Chives. I figured green would look nice with our red brick and black shutters and it wasn't too girly for Danny to veto.

I am not a novice painter but I decided to go ahead and check out some front door painting posts from my favorite DIY blog Young House Love. I knew they had tackled this same project on their own home recently so I re read their post so I could get some pointers.

It took me five thin coats to get the coverage I wanted I on the door. Every time Danny would walk by he would say, "Wow, that is green". I think he was worried about the final product!

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While I had all the hardware off the door I decided to go ahead and give it a quick paint job also. Again, I took some pointers from Young House Love on this. It really is amazing what a difference a little bit of spray paint can make! It totally gave the door hardware new life. I was worried about it scratching off easily but so far we have not had any problems.

Here is the new front door in all of its green glory! It did turn out a little brighter than I thought it would but I am really happy with it. It just looks so much more cheery and inviting.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A New Normal

To say that the past couple of months have been rough would be an understatement. One month ago today my beautiful mother passed away. She went in to the hospital for something minor, ended up in a coma 5 days later and stayed in that coma for over two weeks until her body shut down and she left this world.

Sitting in a hospital day in and day out, sleeping on hospital floors and chairs, putting on a happy face for visitors, putting on a strong face for family members, seeing your loved one laying helpless in a hospital bed day after day, holding that loved ones hand while they leave this life, planning a funeral, attending a funeral, smiling through the pain, and dealing with the aftermath of a life lost too soon can take a huge toll on you.

This has been my world.

The whole time my mom was in the hospital I just knew we were going to get a miracle and she was going to recover. When the doctors would come in and tell us the odds of her pulling through and would list off all the things that were going wrong with her I would listen intently but their words never devastated me like you would think they would. Something inside me kept saying, “This isn’t going to happen, she is going to make it, she isn’t ready to die.”

Every time we would walk into her room we would look at her monitors and hope to see a positive change in the numbers. We would check those monitors hundreds of times a day. We had gotten so used to looking to those monitors to tell us how she was doing and letting those flashing numbers determine our emotions for that day. Sometime towards the end of her last week in the hospital I stopped looking at those numbers. I didn’t even realize that I was not looking at them anymore until someone would come into the room to visit and ask me how she was doing and I really didn’t have any idea what to say. Normally I would be able to tell someone her blood pressure trend for the day, her heart rate trend, how her breathing was, how high they had her ventilator, and everything in between.

Some people may say I was in denial and just didn’t want to see the numbers anymore because I didn’t want to believe them but I call it faith. Something inside me changed. I realized that those flashing numbers meant nothing to me. It didn’t matter what they said, all that mattered is what He said. I couldn’t let those numbers determine my mood and my outlook and my emotions for that day or hour or minute because in the end the ultimate decision on the fate of my mom didn’t lie with me or the doctors; it was up to God. And while it may seem scary to realize that no matter what we do here on earth we may not get the outcome we want, it was actually comforting.

I knew that my mom was resting in the arms of Jesus while she was lying in that hospital bed. I knew that He was there with us as we prayed for a miracle. And I knew that He knew what was best. That is what got me through the day she passed away and every day since.

I have had to wake up every day for the past month to the reality that I have a new normal. Some days are tough and some are surprisingly easy. There are days when out the blue, the reality of my life will sneak up on me when I least expect it and literally take my breath away. But, at the end of the day, no matter how great a tragedy this has been or how heartbroken I am over this, I have to thank God for all the thousands of ways he has blessed my life. I know I am lucky. I got to spend 27 years having a mother who loved me more than life itself. A mom who made me feel special, and beautiful and important every day of my life. A mom who thought I was the most amazing girl she had ever met. A mom who sacrificed things she wanted so I could have what I wanted. A mom who loved me when I didn’t deserve it and worked hard to mold me into the person I am today. And even though I don’t have my mother on earth anymore, I now have an angel in Heaven.

Yup, I am blessed.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Saturday afternoon we had an incident.

A certain green reptile escaped from his pond and was trying to break in our back door!

Danny was about to walk into the back yard when he noticed Jaws looking in at him through the glass! He has lived in the pond for about 2 months now and he has never gotten out but rain on Friday night made the water level in the pond really high and he was able to sneak out! We returned him to the pond and used a bucket to get some of the water out so he couldn't do it again.

Turns out once he got a taste of freedom he wanted more! I looked out our bedroom window on Sunday afternoon to make sure Jaws was still in the pond (I was paranoid and checking on him all day). I didn't see the stinker so I started scanning the yard and noticed him walking along the side of the fence between the flower beds. I have no idea how he was able to pull him self out of the pond again so I went back out and grabbed the bucket to pull more water out.

Rain storms last night filled the pond to the brim again, so I made sure to go pull water out last night before bed before he had a chance for another escape.

I am hoping when I get home from work today all the animals will be accounted for. I figure three things could have happened today:

1. The dogs were patrolling the yard so Jaws was too scared to climb out of the pond

2. Jaws got out and the dogs poked at him all day and gave him a turtle heart attack

3. Jaws found a way out of the yard and moved on to bigger and better things.

I am really hoping options 2 and 3 did not happen and my beloved turtle is safe and sound!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stella & Dot Knock Off

I am going to a Stella and Dot Jewelry party later this week and was browsing their website to get an idea of some of the items I want to buy. While I was looking, I came across the Layla Stretch Bracelet and two things crossed my mind; Layla is a cute name and I could make that bracelet for way less than $34.

I did a quick internet search for some printable Michael's coupons and discovered that all beads were on sale for 50% off! Perfect! You seriously should never ever buy anything full price at that place because you can always find some sort of coupon or get lucky and have the item you need be on special that week.

I ran to the store and picked up my beads, a roll of .7mm clear Stretch Magic and some bead glue (used a 40% off coupon) which I needed for a different project but it came in super handy on this one as well.

Then I made the easiest bracelet ever made.

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Step one: Cut a strand of Stretch Magic

Step 2: String your beads on the Stretch Magic

Step 3: Tie a knot, put some bead glue on it, let dry, tie another knot, more glue, let dry


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I ended up getting beads to make two different types of bracelets and did a cost break out for both of them.

The grand total for the bracelet with the turquoise beads was $2.92 and the coral one was $3.05 which is more than a $30 savings over the Stella and Dot version!

Next up is another knock off bracelet that will save you over $250!!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Food Truck Friday

Recently Dallas has started to get on board with the whole food truck thing and I couldn't be more excited! I have heard about them in New York and other big cites and they are apparently super popular in Austin but not so much in Dallas.

I really don't know what is so appealing to me about buying my food out of a truck but I am all about it so I have instituted what I like to call "Food Truck Fridays". Basically, Danny and I can only eat dinner from a food truck on Friday nights until we have been to all of the food trucks in Dallas. This shouldn't be too hard since they are really only 6 food trucks in Dallas. There could be more than that but they are pretty hard to find. A lot of them don't have websites and there is not one central website you can look at to see all food trucks out there. It is pretty much by word of mouth and some major internet digging that I find out about these places.

Food Truck Friday commenced last Friday when we went to Nammi Crusin Vietnamese Fusion. I don't think Danny was totally on board with the whole food truck thing, but after having Nammi last week, he is totally on board! It was so yummy. They sell traditional Vietnamese sandwiches called Banh Mi and Vietnamese tacos.

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By the time we got there on Friday night they were already out of beef so we had a grilled pork sandwich, a bbq pork taco, a chicken taco and a glass of their basil mint lemonade making our total bill $14. The sandwich is 12 inches so we split that and each taco has an extra tortilla and has plenty of filling so we were able to make 4 tacos out of the 2 we purchased. Everything we ate was so good. It all had such great flavor and everything tasted so fresh! We will definitely be going back to Nammi in the future. I wish we would have taken pictures of our food, but we were too busy devouring it!

On the list for tonight is Jack's Chowhound. They don't have a website that tells you the schedule for the week so you have to follow them on facebook or twitter to get their location. Hopefully we have another successful night!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Adventures in Jewelry Making

So, I have a new hobby that I am totally into right now but will probably be totally over in about a month. I am now a jewelry maker!!! Just add it to the long list of other hobbies I have attempted in the past like scrap booking, sewing, scarf making, tortilla making, running (this one has surprisingly stuck), etc.

I see so many cute and easy DIY jewelry tutorials on Pinterest so I decided to take a shot at it!

So far I have only made a couple of bracelets and one necklace but I am really loving it and I have a few more projects that I will take on as soon as my supplies come in the mail!

First up we have this braided bead bracelet. The tutorial I followed used satin ribbon cording, but I could not find beads with a big enough hole to use that stuff. Instead, I bought some natural colored twine at Michael's for $2.99 and a bag of beads at Joann's for like $4.

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I used an end crimp and and lobster clasp at the end of my bracelet to close it but you could always just tie it in a knot.

Then I decided to get a little more fancy and make a beaded clay bracelet like one I saw here on Etsy. All you need for this is some oven bake clay, toothpicks, chain and some sort of clasp to close it all up (some jewelry making tools like pliers and a chain cutter are needed also).

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You can find tons of colors of oven bake clay at craft stores for just a couple of dollars each . All you do is roll out some beads, poke a hole through them with a toothpick, and stick them in the oven and bake using the package directions. Then just string your beads on your chain and add your clasp. Voila! Cute, inexpensive bracelet!

All the supplies I bought to make this probably cost me about $20. That includes 5 blocks of clay, 72 inches of chain, a box of clasps, a box of small jump rings and a box of medium jump rings (I use these to hold the beads in the middle of the bracelet so they don't slide all over the place).

So far I have made three bracelets and only used up the tiniest bit of clay and I still have enough chain to make at least three more bracelets. All in all, I would say that each bracelet costs about $3 to make.

This weekend I finished up this braided bead necklace that I have been working on. I think it may be my favorite thing I have made yet! All I needed was 6 strings of beads (they come 2 per pack) from Michael's ( I got them when they were on sale for 40% off and then I had an additional coupon for 20% off my entire purchase so they were practically free). I also picked up some of that clear plastic thread stuff that looks like fishing line, something called a bead clamp and used some chain and a lobster clasp that I already had on hand from my bracelet making. Total this necklace probably cost be about $6 to make.

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This weekend I am hoping to make another necklace like this and make a couple of different types of bracelets if all my supplies come in!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Green is Clean - Household Cleaning Products

I recently decided that we were going to start taking small steps to get unnecessary and harmful chemicals out of our home.

This is a pretty daunting task because so many of the everyday products we use have chemicals in them that are harmful to us and unnecessary since there are natural alternatives that can do the job just as well if not better and for a fraction of the price.

Danny thinks I am turning into a hippie and rolls his eyes at some of the stuff I come up with, but if I can make our home a safer place for us, our pets and our future children then I am for sure going to try it!

To get this party started I purchased the book The Naturally Clean Home.

This book gives some great recipes for all sorts of cleaning products for all around the house. It also helped me realize that you use the same basic ingredients in almost all types of natural cleaners you make so the cost is really minimal.

I am making my own cleaners as I run out my normal store bought ones (I am way too cheap to throw away cleaning products that are only half used up). So far I have made glass cleaner, an all purpose cleaner that I use on my counter tops and I cleaned my toilets with Borax. To make these cleaners I had to purchase the following:


1. Distilled White Vinegar (2 gallons from Sam's for $3.17
2. Dr. Bronner's Liquid Soap (16 oz at Whole Foods for $6.99)
3. Hydrogen Peroxide (32 oz at Target for $.99)
4. Tea Tree Oil (2 oz at Whole Foods for $11.59)
5. Lavender Essential Oil (1 oz at Whole Foods for $11.59)
6. Borax (4 lb box at Target for $2.99)

The most expensive components are the essential oils but those will last you a really long time. As a bonus you can put Tea Tree Oil directly on pimples to help clear them up so you have a 2 in 1 product!

I re-use the plastic spray bottles from my old cleaners, add my ingredients, give it a shake and I am ready to clean!

So far, I have really loved the way these products are cleaning my casa and don't miss my old cleaners one bit.

I still need to switch out the dusting spray, the foaming bubbles bathtub cleaner, the carpet/upholstery spot cleaner, the hardwood floor cleaner and the Febreeze. I think I will have the hardest time changing out my bathtub cleaner because that stuff is amazing and makes that dreaded task quick and easy with minimal scrubbing involved. However, when I used it this weekend I immediately started sneezing and I could feel by lungs burning so I know it needs to go!


Our next green endeavor is composting which was surprisingly easy to get Danny on board with. We just started this little project yesterday but hopefully I will have some good updates on our progress soon!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A New Home For Jaws

Yesterday one of my dreams came true. We introduced Jaws (our pet turtle) to his new home!IMG_4877

I have had jaws as a pet for the past 7 years. He has been every where with me! He lived with me in two different places in College Station, he would travel home with me to Brownsville for holidays, he moved with me to Dallas and has lived with me at three different places here.

When we bought our house the thing on the top of my to do list was to build Jaws a pond to live in so he could get out of the aquarium he had been living in for far too long. After a year and half of being in this house, we finally got around to getting that pond built for Jaws.

Yesterday afternoon his new habitat was ready! Jaws finally got the home he deserved. Luckily, my sweet friend Tori happened to be at our house when we put him in his pond for the first time so we were able get a family picture to document the big day.




Jaws shares his new home with 5 goldfish, two koi fish and some aquatic plants. So far he seems to be adjusting very well to his new environment and Danny and I could not be happier that Jaws is finally living in the type of space that he deserves!

Monday, July 11, 2011

An OKC Wedding

This weekend we headed to Oklahoma City for Brian and Jessie's wedding. I didn't get a single picture of the two of them but they looked gorgeous and the wedding was beautiful!

Any wedding that involves Danny's fraternity brothers turns into a total dance party and this wedding was no different.

I think it is safe to say that a good time was had by all!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Missing Something?

What does this sweet dog have in common with this guy?

He is now missing the same tooth!

We came home today to find that Ender had gotten a little too rough with one of his bones and his tooth fell out! This isn't a baby tooth either. He is 4 years old so it looks like he is going to have to live with this for the rest of his life.

We called the vet and left them a message to let them know what happened and to make sure there isn't anything we need to do about this. He doesn't seem to be in any pain so I am guessing they will tell us to just let it be.

Ender loves his bones, but it looks like we are going to be more careful about what we give him unless we want to have to get him some doggie dentures in the future!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Burn Baby Burn

I had an unfortunate run in with my Bombshell this morning.

In the few months that I have been using this curling iron I have never had an incident until today! I have no idea how hot the curling iron really gets but it felt like 5000 degrees when it touched my neck this morning.

The bright side of this burn is that while it looks horrible, it doesn't look like a hickey so I can still wear my hair up while I work out without people thinking I am a hoochie and I still have great waves.

I don't have aloe or neosporin at work so I have been rubbing Carmex on it. Haha, hope that helps!

Pain is beauty...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Perfect Pair

This afternoon Tori's bridesmaids got together to throw her a Bridal Shower.

Bride's Mom, Bride, Groom's Mom

We used The Perfect Pair as the theme (found on The Hostess With the Mostess) and it turned out adorable.

Tori and her fiancee Daniel like coffee and teas so this was the perfect theme.

I made a sign to go behind behind the coffee and tea station that said "Coffee &Tea, Cream & Sugar, Him & Her" (all perfect pairs) and we had 2 different flavors of tea and two flavors of coffee for the guests to try. We also had some cute purple sugar to sweeten things up and cucumber water, lime water and mimosas to drink.

See that cute wooden pear between the water containers? It says The O'Neal Family Est. 2011 and it was made by Erin. It was sooo adorable!

For the food, we had sandwiches, mini quiches, pasta salad, fruit kabobs, cheese & crackers, cookies and a beautiful (and delicious) cake made by Erin.

Tori and the Master Baker
We had the shower and a dentist office that one of the bridesmaids works at. Sounds weird but it was actually perfect and the prettiest dentist office I had ever been to! They had beautiful furniture and flower arrangements so we really didn't have to do any decorating.

The beautiful bride
It was so nice to get to catch up with the bride to be and all the bridesmaids! Just 2 more months until the big day. Can't wait!!!