Monday, December 31, 2012

My Cosmo VoxBox Came!

I was pretty excited to be selected by Influenster to receive their Cosmo VOXBOX. It was like Christmas before Christmas! In the box was a Venus Embrace razor, Pilot's friXion pen, Ghiradelli Sea Salt Escape chocolate bar, and Bath and Body Works' Forever Red perfume.

Okay, so let's start with the Pilot FriXion Pen....I LOVE this thing! They sent me a black on and a purple one. What's great about it is that on the bottom of the pen is this little rubber thing that allows you to erase the special ink. Now, I've used erasable pens before and they always leave marks behind...not this one! My only flaw was that I wished the eraser was on the lid because I usually put the lid on the bottom of the pen when I'm using it. So here, I had to take the lid off in order to erase. Just a minor detail but overall I do love this pen!

Next, they gave me the Ghiradelli Sea Salt Escape chocolate bar which had almonds in it. If you know me, you know I'm super picky with my candy bars and desserts. However, I tried to be open-minded and try it anyway. And actually, I really enjoyed it! There was something nice about the almonds with the sweet chocolate and saltiness of the sea salt. I would definitely consider buying this in the future. 

Now the Bath and Body Works Forever Red perfume is next. It's in a cute, convenient small red bottle and has a pretty nice smell. I've worn it several times and like it okay. I am picky with my perfumes so I probably wouldn't have purchased it myself, but it's not bad either. 

Finally, is the Gillette Venus Embrace. Being a Venus user already, this was a no-brainer. They are definitely my favorite razors for women. The razor is cute and feminine but also works really well. My husband didn't love it because he steals my razors sometimes, but it wasn't designed for a man's face. I had no issues with it at all. Will definitely continue buying Venus razors in the future.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the products I received. Quality items for reasonable pricing.

Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post in the form of these free products. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

{DIY} Family Tree in Pictures

Hey Everyone! Hope y'all are having a great new year! Today I'm going to share with you my favorite DIY project to date. This has been several years in the making because we are making a Family Tree in Pictures! I'm one of those people who cherish where I came from. I want to know my background and see the people who are a part of me. It's crazy to see features of mine in the faces of these strangers I've never been so fortunate to meet. So after getting photos from several sources like my Grandmother, Aunts' facebook pages, mother-in-law, etc..I felt I had enough to at least get my project started. It's certainly not finished but I love what I have so far. I had a vision in my head of what I wanted to do after I saw a wall in Paula Deen's home with framed pictures of her ancestors. I put that together with old farm windows and then began my search. I looked on Craigslist for the past six months for either old farm windows or a door with lots of window panes. FINALLY on Christmas Eve I found a farm house not too far that had a ton because they just replaced ALL their windows! I got 6 for 40 bucks! (I only needed 3 but figured I should grab extra just in case)

Once I got them home, I cleaned the windows and frame and windexed the glass. 

I used a toothbrush I have in the kitchen specifically for cleaned nooks and crannies and got all the dirt out of the many crevices. Next, I couldn't figure out how the heck I was supposed to hang these on the wall securely. We thought about drilling wall anchors and doing hinges so I could flip the windows up. But I didn't want to do that because I'd rather be able to take them off the wall if I need to. So I decided to check out Michael's.

Here's what I found. This PerfectHang picture hanging kit which is good for up to 30 pounds! For 5 bucks! Great deal! And it was SOOO easy to install!

First thing to do is to screw in each hook. I just eyed where I wanted to put them..Didn't bother measuring exactly. Here, I used a screw gun which took a total of 30 seconds for both. However, I discovered that it's not a good idea to have the hanging cord so near the top so I ended up moving them more like a third of the way from the top.

Next, I followed the diagram on the package to tie on the cord. You can cut the wire with scissors if there is excess but make sure it's secure first.

I never used one of these things before but I realized I LOVE IT! It holds up to 30 pounds and the design is great because the pin goes in at a downward angle and only makes a pinhole. So if you mess up...your wall isn't destroyed! 

I did this with all three of my windows and then hung them to line them up.

Next, I purchased several yards of burlap for $3.99/yard from Joann Fabrics with a 40% of coupon. I got 3.5 yards so it was super cheap! $7! And I have extra because I wanted to be able to use it for other things too and since the nearest Joann's is 20 min away I really didn't want to have to make another trip.
Now, I laid the fabric on the window and stapled it with a staple gun in one corner. Then I used my fabric shears to cut the piece to fit.

Nex, I used a sharpie to carefully outline the window panes so I knew where the pictures should go. 

My next dilemma was how to stick the pictures to the burlap without being permanent but strong enough to hold. I discovered these in Joann's. UGlu Dashes. They stick to fabric AND paper! I think they were $5 for 162 dashes.

Now's the fun part! Lining up my amazing pictures! I even have some from the late 1800s of my great great great grandparents! I used this window for MY side of the family. The upper panes (and lower right) were for my mom's sided of the family (I have a lot more pics of her side and the pic of my Grandma Ethyl is original and she has a hand-written note to my grandpa so this one is very special and deserved it's own window). The bottom panes are for my dad's side. Once I was done, I carefully pulled the stapled corner out and discarded the staple. I carefully flipped over the burlap square and inserted it onto the back of the window. Then I used the staple gun to secure it to the back but left the bottom open so I can add more pics until I feel like I am finished. I did this with the other two panes as well. 

The center pane of the center window is my wedding photo. The pane beneath that is for a family pic of me, my husband and daughters and of me and Prince Charming when were were kids. Left two panes are for my parents and the right two are for his parents. The window on the right is for HIS side of the family. The upper three are his mother's family and the lower three are his father's family. Here's a closer look....

My side of the family

As you can see there are quite a few blank spots which I hope to fill with more ancestors. I am really excited to see these pictures and to remember the people that came before us. I think sometimes, there'll be a day when I have great great great grandkids and wonder, will they know anything about me? I think so especially with the modern technology we have. It was different back in the days of my ancestors especially since pictures those days were so rare to begin with. I will pass this family history on to my kids and I hope they have the same appreciation and cherish these photos the way I do. It's really neat to see my daughters' faces in the images of their grandparents as children. Words cannot describe how much I love his project! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and maybe inspires you to do something similar for your family. Happy New Year, All!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Where are You?

Just a warning, complete honesty to follow. May be a bit morbid as well. Proceed with caution. :)

I can't seem to find the words to express they way I have been feeling these past few days since the horrific event of Sandy Hook Elementary. I know that every blogger out there has shared their thoughts already and I am behind, but it's not a competition and has been something I just haven't been able to talk about  let alone write about (plus I've been crazy busy).

For me, I was on my way home last Friday afternoon when my husband told me what happened. I work in a preschool and we live in a bubble during the work day where we hear no news at all. Immediately I began to cry and then sob and ask "Why?" over and over. Why would this happen? Why would anyone do this? They're babies! I headed straight to my princesses' school to pick them up instead of letting them ride the bus. They've all been smothered in hugs and kisses and "I love you"s this past week and I don't care. They are my whole world.

This event has truly rocked me to my core like nothing before. I find myself thinking about everything that transpired in that tiny little Connecticut town so many times throughout the day. Whenever I am alone with my thoughts something always seems to trigger the thoughts and I think about way too many details. I think because I have a daughter in kindergarten this has shaken me up pretty heavily. It could've been her. It could've been her school. Her friends and her teacher laying there on the floor in their tiny classroom. I see their faces when I think of Sandy Hook. And I cry. I cry about these poor babies so often and I don't know, maybe I'm weird. Please tell me I'm not the only one that this has affected so much. I wonder what it was like for those children that Vicki Soto hid in cabinets and closets telling the shooter that they were in the gym. Did they cry? Did they hear her lie and get murdered protecting them? Were they scared? Were they quiet? Did they cry inside their hiding spot? Did they understand what was happening? How does a first grader handle this? They had to grow up in the matter of seconds in order to stay alive. What about the kindergarten kids? They're my princess's age. Did it happen quick? Did they understand what was going on? Did they even know what a gun was when he came in the room? Did they suffer or go quick? I know, this is morbid thinking but every little thing triggers these thoughts. This morning I was packing her lunch and I thought, those kids' lunchboxes are probably still in the classroom. Just a stupid detail, but packing a lunch is something I do because I love my daughter and I think.."that was the last time those moms got to pack their child's lunch....forever." Forever. How long is that word? I can't imagine a world without my daughter. Oh what are they going through? Tonight, I was making dinner and listening to the radio and the song Christmas Shoes came on and of course it all came rushing back again...tears just don't stop...even now as I am typing this. I hurt for those families. I hurt for those children even though I know they are with Jesus. I hurt for the students who were saved and their teacher murdered. And I ask why? Why did this happen? Why does God let these things happen? I am a Christian. I love God, even now and will never turn my back on Him, but I just don't understand. My husband and I talked about this and tried to rationalize what happened and the only conclusion we have come up with is that God gave us free will because He loves us. He gave us the ten commandments which has Thou shalt not kill but some people choose not to follow the commandments. It doesn't make me feel better. It doesn't make the families feel better either. I saw one of the fathers of the children who were killed in an interview offer forgiveness to the shooter. It amazed me and upset me because I, as a Christian, would have a difficult time saying that. It would totally have to be God giving me peace because right now, I am mad at God. Mad for the children and their families. *Gasp* Did I just say that? I don't think I am any less of a Christian because I am mad at Him. It doesn't make me any less my earthly father's daughter just because I am mad at him. (although I am's just an example) I always love my dad no matter what and will try to live my life the way I have been taught by him. Just the same I will always love God and live my life accordingly...only right now, my emotion is anger. But again, God gave us free will. A friend reminded me of the days when Jesus was born. King Herod had all the children under two murdered. I never really stopped to think about this event. I mean TRULY think about it. How horrific would it have been to live in a time like that? When your government demanded your child be killed? It was mass genocide! God allowed Herod's free-will to reign and he used it for a purpose. I don't know what good will come of this. Right now I can't see the forest through the trees. I know as time passes these thoughts and emotions will subside. Or at least be pushed aside. God will have the glory and already His name has been spoken by our President on national TV..something I never thought I'd see. The father of Emilie Parker gave grace in Jesus' name to the shooter..and amazing act of love. Already he has been glorified. Why did it have to take this happening? Why do I fear speaking His name and sharing His love freely?

On the Monday morning after the shooting, when I dropped my daughters off at school, I will be honest, I was scared. My stomach was in knots and I got all choked up while trying to hide it from them So I kissed them like crazy and told them I loved them and then drove down the road to Wawa to get some breakfast. As I was paying for my food, I heard sirens and saw a police car zoom by towards the school. My heart started racing and I could feel the tears welling. Then another police car zoomed by. Oh my goodness! Then as I was heading to my car another one passed by. That was it. I was going to be late to work because I had to know that the girls were okay so I got back in my car and headed back to the school. Everything was okay although the cops (I found out later) WERE headed to a school in lock-down. Just not OUR school and it was a false alarm. So, needless to say I was a few minutes late to work. Yesterday was their holiday party at school. It was the first time I was actually in the building since Sandy Hook and I automatically was checking out the place. Were the doors locked? Where were the doors to the outside located? Especially in relation to my kids' classrooms? Where would they hide? I was almost in tears when I realized the back entrance to the school was  next to my eldest daughter's classroom. They would probably be the first classroom. Then I was in the kindergarten class. Looking at how big was their bathroom? Could they hide? Sigh..why can't I shake these thoughts? I had so much respect for teachers, even before, but especially now. They are their parents during the day and care for them and kiss their boo boos and comfort them. We need to show them our appreciation.

What has our society come to? When we can't send our kids to school and believe they will be safe? Things need to change. I have never been in opposition to guns nor for them. I believe in the constitutional right to bear arms. Our forefathers put that in there so that the people would not be beholden to corrupt government. I don't think that not allowing private citizens to purchase guns is the way to go. All that will do is make purchasing guns something people do on the black market. And who buys things on the black market? The bad guys. How can the good guys defend themselves if only the bad guys have weapons? Here's what I think should be done. I think that the Principal and Vice Principal in every school should have a weapon locked up in a secure location where only they have the code, ON CAMPUS. I think they should have weapons training and crisis training as well as permits and permission from the school board. There definitely should be a process to follow in order for that to happen. The reason? Because they are the first responders. Not the police. Even if the police are 2 minutes away, that could mean a dozen deaths. If the school is armed, I believe that it will hinder the bad guys because as of now with the weapon-free zone at schools, they know there is no opposition and they will enter and be king of the castle...till police arrive. Why is it that banks can protect money with armed guards or hidden weapons and the schools with our most precious merchandise can't? Something needs to change. We live in a time when people can't even go to a movie without getting shot. I have never considered this before, but I am seriously thinking about buying a gun for my home. There are quite a few logistics we'd have to work out because we have three kids and want to make sure it'd be safe. There is a guy we know who carries a gun (with a permit of course) and it used to piss me off that he would have a gun in my home. Let's just call him Dwight Schrute..because that's who he reminds us of. But now? I think I understand. I told my husband..if there was someone like him in that movie theater in Aurora, the bad guy would have gotten one round off and then our friend would have "Dwight Schruted his a**". But no one carries guns for protection these days...only the bad guys. Back in the old west, when times were violent..that's what people did. Are we back to those times? I know it's different. We have law and order for the most part here. But still.

And one last thing, the media needs to stop glorifying these crazy people! Stop it already with plastering his face on the news and saying his name! He should only be referred to as "the shooter". I don't even know the guy's name because I don't want to. I don't want to remember him. I want to remember Vicki Soto, and Emilie Parker and the victims. Their faces should be on the news. Their stories should be the headlines. So my message to the media? Just stop. Stop giving other crazies motive to be copycats.

Okay, so now I am off my soap box. I don't even know if anyone will read this and it's a bit morbid and dramatic but this event was morbid and dramatic. I can't believe how much it has affected me and it feels good to write about it. I was fortunate enough to chat with (and cry with) a good friend last night about all these thoughts and I think it really helped. Where do we go from here? Well, all we can do is pray. Pray for the families, pray for the kids, and pray for your family. I have to trust God that all we be okay and arrive home safely every day. Don't take life for granted and thank Him for each day that you and your family rest your heads in the same home. Every day is a gift. Cherish it.

With Christmas only a couple days away I must not forget the reason for this holiday. God gave us His most precious gift, His Son who died on a cross to save us. So while I can try and empathize with what those families are going through, God ACTUALLY KNOWS because He gave His Son willingly. What an amazing gift!  
Thank you, Lord for your mercy and grace and for loving me in my imperfectness. Though I do not understand many things, YOU do and Your love endures forever. I love you I will trust in You. (even if it IS begrudgingly at the moment:) ) Please give your peace that passes all understanding to those affected by this awful crime and show your love and mercy to them in their times of need. Amen.

The following is a video with Mike Huckabee explaining Where was God? Very insightful.

P.S. I try to stay away from politics on The Redheaded Princess. You may disagree with my position but that is fine. It's a free country right now and we all can have have our own opinion. I am not here to argue because any arguing will only be more upsetting and it will NOT change my mind so please don't bother. I doubt my arguments will change your mind either. Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Out of Hiding...hopefully

For the past seven weeks I have been taking a horrible horrible horrible (did I mention it was horrible?) statistics class online. It has taken my every waking moment that wasn't filled with my job, children, sleep or did I mention I was running my church's children's Christmas play with a friend? I have cried I can't tell you how many times and gone to bed at 2 am on multiple Sundays. It's been rough and that's an understatement. It all ends this Sunday and I CANNOT WAIT!! The play was a big success and was over this past to come. So what I am trying to say is that because of all of this AND being a mother and wife (yeah, my poor family has been quite neglected) and planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas that's I've been MIA in the blogging world. It's been CRAZY! I just checked and I only have 2 blog posts in the past month! So sorry y'all! I have a break coming up and it may be that you will be bombarded with things I've been wanting to say or do but haven't had the time...I seriously do not know how you bloggers can post on a daily basis let alone read your favorite blogs as well. Where do you find the time??

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chicken and Broccoli Braid

One of my favorite recipes (I know, I say that about all my recipes) that I cook for my family is this delicious chicken and broccoli braid. About 6 years ago a friend of mine gave me this recipe and I've been making it ever since. And who doesn't love a one pot braid meal? I have actually made it several times for a meal to bring to someone in need. Usually it's a hit with kids too! So that's a plus! 

1 lb. chicken (you can use leftover chicken to make it easier and quicker)
2 cups cooked broccoli (frozen or fresh)
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (I sometimes use a blended cheese like Mexican blend)
1/2 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dill (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
2 packages crescent rolls


1. Alright, first thing's first. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.


2. Next, if cooking the chicken (because you're not using leftover chicken) sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet and cook chicken till it is cooked all the way through.


4. Depending on your preference, dice or shred the cooked chicken.

5. For the two soups, I usually will put the leftover 1/2 can of each together in a plastic cup and freeze it.

6. Then, I'll cut the cup in three places on the top and peel the cup away and just heat it up in the microwave.

7. I used this type of broccoli that could be steamed in the microwave.

8. In a large bowl mix together the cooked broccoli, cooked chicken, cheese, garlic, soup and dill. Salt and pepper to taste. I don't always remember the dill and it tastes good with or without it.

9. Unroll the two packages of crescent rolls and place together vertically using a rolling pin to seal seams.

10. Add broccoli chicken mixture to the center lengthwise.

11. Use a small knife to cut 1 inch slits on the sides the entire length of the rolls.

12. Fold each strip over the broccoli mixture alternating sides.

13. Brush egg wash all over the top. This gives it that nice golden shiny crust. Bake in preheated oven 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and the crescent roll crust is fully cooked.

Isn't that pretty?!?

I usually use a pizza cutter to cut through the braid. It makes it much easier and quicker to cut.

Enjoy! This is excellent as leftovers too. I usually heat it in a toaster oven so the crust will still be nice and crisp.

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