Saturday, April 28, 2012

Avoiding reality :)

   Last Thursday I hit a new milestone in my life...turning 30. EEEK!! Haha! People react so differently turning 'thirty' but I honestly didn't mind, it's just a day right? I am lucky enough to be surrounded by many individuals throughout my work day that remind me that "I'm just a pup" or "Oh, you're still a baby" (I work in cardiac rehab and my patients typically have a few years on me :)), they always know how to make me feel good, even though that's supposed to be my job, haha. 
   My 30th birthday was amazing from start to finish. I will say that every time I think about it I smile with pride, gratitude and sincere love for everything and everyone I have in my life. 
  I decided a long time ago that I wanted to do something special for my birthday. I am not one that loves attention from others ( My better half takes on that role, sorry babe, but you know it's true, haha :)) and I wasn't into having a big party, but we'll get into that a little later.  I thought about going to the crisis center or the food pantry to help out but knew I wanted to do more. I wanted to find a way to help people realize that there are still a LOT of good in the world and that we can and should show kindness towards one another. 
   A few months prior to my birthday I was on Pinterest and  'pinned' a blog from a woman who did random acts of kindness (RAK) for her birthday and thought that was the coolest, most selfless idea I've ever seen. I've also looked into the Shine Project as a wonderful resource who also provides RAK and tracks these acts to see how many people were reached from just one RAK. 

I have been asked many times what I did, so I thought it might be easiest to let you know through our blog :)
I'll take you throughout my day but I would love to know if you have other RAK that I couldn't think of :)!!!

1. Dropped off shampoo, conditioner, body wash, baby lotion, soap, diaper rash ointment and diapers to the Women's Crisis Center.

2. Took food to the food pantry. We were told that they see over 400 people a week. These people are only allowed to come to the pantry once a week. ONCE A WEEK?! Broke my heart. Let me remind everyone that we live in a town of about 12,000 people. 

3. Hit up Goodwill. They have one of the easiest drop offs and they come and get it from your car. We pulled in the wrong way and didn't trigger the bell so we did it ourselves, which was fine with me! 

4. Off to Wal-mart. I had a gift card to use up and bought candy and other items I needed for the day. The l had some left over money on the card so I gave to the woman behind me. She was speechless, really didn't know what to say as she just looked at me with a strange face, her daughter chimed in with the 'Thank You!!!' which was more than I needed. 

5. While at Wal-mart, my hubby helped a woman with 40lb bags of salt and put it in her cart and then helped her put them in her car. 

6. Hy-vee, our local grocery store, was our next stop. I bought gift cards to Chili's restaurant as well as a $10 gift card for Hy-vee. As I was about to leave and the couple behind me were checking out. I handed them the $10 gift card and a little card that I handed most people that said "For some reason today you were chosen to receive a random act of kindness, please pay it forward as you can." They were sweetly surprised and thanked me a few times as I was leaving the store.

7 & 8.) I stopped by the Post office and mailed cards to my grandmothers and my mom. They are such amazingly inspiring woman and I honestly give them full credit for making me the woman I am today. They are touching, determined and simply kind souls. I also sent my mother a birthday card.

9.) Next was Starbucks for 2 reasons, I knew I was going to need a coffee to keep me energized for the day and the other was to buy the car behind us their coffee for the day.

10.) Every morning there is a woman who opens the door to the hospital for me with a smile and a nice gesture to have a great day. She was deserving of something!! I gave her a bag of treats and a little quote!

11.) Before I left the house in the morning, I cut flowers from the back yard and put them in a vase, not knowing who I would run into but knew I would find someone deserving of them and I found my friend Cathy!

12.) I work with many physicians as well as their very hard working nurses. Last week I think I contacted them about one thing or another re: my patients over 20 times. I'm sure I got annoying! They were overly deserving of cookies. 
The night before, I made about 5 dozen cookies. This is a huge feat for me, ask my family, I DO NOT BAKE, but this whole day was about others not me so I bucked up :)

13.) I left a bag of dark chocolate in our lunch room at work for my coworkers to enjoy. Chocolate is good for your heart right?!  The balloons and decorations were all them. They decided to have a little party for me the day before...stinkers!!

14 & 15.) Next, I was off to the University of Iowa's Children's hospital as I made super capes. If you read a few blogs below, my super shirts were part of this cape inspiration. I donated 2 capes one for a little girl and one for a little boy. These kids are so deserving of something for being so brave.

16.) While I was there, I was informed there was a girl celebrating her 13th birthday in the hospital and wasn't really happy about it. I gave her a HUGE bag of candy (with permission), I hope it helped cheer up her day!

17.) I also donated a check to the Children's Hospital, 20% of our "Super Shirt" profits from Marie Grace Boutique. See below for the reason we did the Super shirts.

18.) I taped $1.60 to a vending machine for someone to use to purchase a pop. I walked by about 45min later and there were people standing there looking at it but no one took it :) I stopped back the next day, it was gone, thankfully!!

19.) Just walking in the hospital you run into many lost worried souls. I stopped and helped 4 people to their clinic visits. 

20). I handed out 2 Choose Joy bracelets while at the hospital to people that looked like they needed a little guidance. We always have a choice. Ashley from Lil' Blue Boo, was also an inspiration for me to make sure I pay it forward because you don't know what people are going through and you could make their day just by smiling or saying hi!

21.) Parking is a huge issue at our hospital and people drive from all over the state to get their care here and it can become QUITE costly. I placed $3.00 in an envelope and put it on a car from a county in Iowa I've never heard of, which makes me think was a ways away :) Although it probably didn't cover their parking fees at least I could (hopefully) put a little dent in it.

22.) Next stop downtown Iowa City. I went into our local organic foods store to use the restroom and there was a struggling new momma in there needing help as her new baby had an accident all over the car seat and  let me tell you it was EVERYWHERE, ha! I asked if I could help but at that point she had control over the situation so I handed her a bag of chocolates and told her she deserved everyone in there :) 

23.) We have to pay for parking in our downtown area, like many cities and so I decided to plug someone's parking meter to help out. I have now been scolded as this is illegal, I guess and I could have gotten in trouble. I think that I karma helped me stay out of trouble on this one :)

 24, 25, 26.) I gave 3 random tables at Chili's $10 gift cards. I just walked in and put the card on their table and said "I hope this helps, you deserve it" and walked away.

27.) Our friend just had a baby boy, and we stopped by with a handmade gift I made for him. I don't know if this was a RAK as I really wanted to see one of the most adorable babies I've ever laid eyes on. So, although I list it, take it as you wish :)

28.) At Wal-mart in the morning, I bought some bones for our neighbors who have the sweetest chocolate labs. I waited to give the bones to them until my daughter was home so she could do it, they are her favorite animals and gets so excited to see them everyday. 

29.) With my left over baked cookies I hit up 4 neighborhood houses.

30.) I also hit up a new neighbor's house who just had a baby with another handmade gift. Again its one of those things that turned around on me because I was so lucky to see an adorable little man and get to hold him for a little bit! He was PRECIOUS!

So, there are my 30ish things :) 

That evening my husband and I had dinner plans so my MIL came in to watch our little darling. We hit up Red's Ale house in North Liberty for a drink. As I was ordering, my friend Matt came up to me and ask that we join him at his table. I said sure why not. As I walked into the room where I thought he was sitting, I saw my friends huddled in the corner shouting SURPRISE!

I HONESTLY had the best birthday of my life that day. I want to thank my husband and my friends for making it so special!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

BCB-Atlas style :)

Tonight I made the one thing everyone loves, (well, I say everyone because I have YET to find someone who dislikes them) The Atlas's buffalo chicken burrito. When my sister and friends come to town, it's one of their immediate suggestions on where to eat. So, one night I decided that I wanted one but didn't want to drive all  the way into Iowa City, so I made it myself! It has been a hit in my family and with my friends. We still love the Atlas because they have GREAT mojitos and it's always nice to have someone else make dinner for you, hehe! 
First off, I want to bring to everyone's attention that this is NOT healthy but a perfect meal for your 'cheat day'! I have made it a few times and it keeps getting better. 

Here's what I used:
-Tysons' buffalo chicken strips (2 for each burrito). Baked them as directed. 
-I made homemade mashed potatoes with a little dry ranch dressing added for extra flavor BUT you can use Yukon gold instant mashed potatoes as directed on the box. Make sure they are on the thicker side. I also added a little celery salt to the mix, but definitely not necessary. 
-The sauce: 6-8oz of light sour cream,1/2pkg of hidden valley ranch (dry) dressing mix together and add 1/4C of Franks hot sauce(Probably could use a LITTLE less to cut down on the spice, if you're sensitive!). I suggest halfing it if you are making it for just one or two people, we had a TON left over! I use ~1-2oz of regular sour cream for my mashed potatoes.
-sliced and/or grate some baby carrots and celery
-Large tortilla shells, I used the 96% Fat free but that was just what I had at the house.

Now for the assembly!!
-Warm tortilla in mic just to make it easier to work with
-Spread the hot sauce dip on one side of the tortilla
-Next add potatoes then top with carrots and celery
-I added a little ranch dressing and extra sauce to the top 
Wrap and enjoy

The final product! I used more celery and carrots than usual, it's definitely preference but they make a difference!

Finally, they go great with a beer (New Glarus Moon Man, Goose Island's Fleur, or New England's Triple are my favs) but tonight we chose a red wine, which was also a great option! 

Please enjoy!!

-Place 2 chicken strips on the spread

Tonight is the night!

My friend Kris is coming over for dinner tonight. I was thinking, "what can I make for dinner?" then it hit me...Buffalo Chicken Burritos!! So, keep your eyes peeled! They will be just like The Atlas :)

My Daugther! She's not really eating the burrito but we had to be those parents ;)
This is my husband, a very happy man about to devour a buffalo chicken burrito from the Atlas!

This is my homemade version! I'll set up the tutorial and get it posted as soon as possible!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wham a lamma

Hey all! We are super busy with orders this week and can't wait to get them out to everyone!! We are meeting with a graphic designer next week to discuss packaging with our logo on it, whoot whoot! This includes tags for shirts, onesies, tag letters, and other packaging for bows/bands/clips. Jennifer will be posting another tutuorial soon and it's a cooking one :) Can't wait to share!! It's not healthy, but we can indulge sometimes right?!
The picture is from Christmas, our latest with the three girls :) love it!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Super Duper

Today is our first tutorial!
I am so excited to share it and I hope it is helpful. I started this shirt as a way to provide support to a
SUPER little guy, Adlai.
He is currently going through chemo due to a recent diagnosis of HSP nephritis, a kidney disorder that can result in kidney failure if not treated aggressively with Cytoxan (chemo). He is an extremely tough and resilient little man and my heart just goes out to him and his family.
Adlai, like many young boys, LOVES super heroes. I thought that he needed to show a little of his own super hero within himself so we decided to put his "identity" on this shirt to help him get through the hospitalization stays, clinic visits, and chemo itself. I used short sleeves as it's easier for IVs and shots, even though its blistering cold here! I thought maybe I could do a cape to help keep him warm, that might just be a future tutorial :)

I started with a picture of the Superman logo and drew a template of the outer shield onto construction paper. From there I added the letter A to the center. You can use Microsoft word to help with letters or a Cricut, luckily  'A' is a pretty easy letter to free hand, so that's what I did!

I traced the template on to fabric and then onto Heat Bond Lite (my sister likes Wonder Under better, either will do :))

I used an iron to adhere the Heat bond to the Fabric cut out and then ironed the shield onto the shirt.

 Now, on to the shirt!

Next, I used my sewing machine (instead of sewing around by hand) to go around the outsides of the iron-ons. I did a couple of different options, thought I would show both :)

Note, if you don't sew around the iron-ons, the applique will start to fall off in a couple of washing's.

I sure hope this little man enjoys his new super shirts!!!
We will be selling these shirts and 20% of the proceeds will go to the University Of Iowa's Children's Hospital.

We are hoping to blog as often as possible this year! We would love to hear from people about things they want to learn. Also, we're not keeping this to just crafts either. We have some great food demos, kids games/book ideas, picture art, etc! 

Hello 2012!

If you wish to order, please email with your desired size and the letter you would like!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wishful thinking

My goal was that I would have a few blogs in by now but with the holiday craziness, they are not getting done. Bad me! I have a few ideas up my sleeve and I hope to get tutorials put together. I will have things posted within the next couple weeks but my next big hope is to get our website up and running. I will be working on that this weekend! Can't wait to share!!! I'll keep you posted!
Much love,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Welcome to the blogging world right?!

Hey all! I started this blog as a way to introduce our business in a different way.

My sister (Diane) and I (Jennifer) started making hair accessories for my daughter last spring. can't get enough of it! We constantly have ideas running through our head, now if only there was enough time :) I also hope to put up tutorials as well as start some 5 helpful ways to...OR 5 ideas...we shall see how this goes :)
 Little did we know it would turn into a wonderfully fun little side business. I will give a little history for the both of us. We both grew up in Dubuque, IA. Diane currently lives there and is working as a preschool teacher in a small town very close to there. I live in North Liberty, IA which is about 8 miles from the University of Iowa. (GO HAWKS!!) I live with my husband, Ottis, and our beautiful daughter, Hannah. She is our pride and joy. Being the only grandbaby, she is spoiled! I work at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics as a Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist (exercise physiologist) and just love it. My sister and I have been close our whole life, well, except from when I turned 14 to probably 21, I was much cooler than she was. All of that aside, it would make sense that I have her as my business partner. I'm the fly off the handle, got a spur up my butt kind of girl. She's the cautious, let's think about things before we do them person. Combine the two of us and we are a perfect pair.
  Our business started this past June because of a friend of mine who was opening up a local business in our mall. She loved the accessories we made and she wanted to sell them in her store. We just took off from there. We are overwhelmed with everyone who has supported us each step of the way! We come from a family of 'crafters'. Our grandmother E made everything, clothes, quilts, pillows, crochet items, and seasonal gifts. She is a master of all crafting traits and has taught her daughters and granddaughters well. Our grandmother M would mend everything and even dabbled in making clothes. We, however, did not start to actually start crafting until, well, this year and now we can't stop. We are loving life and are very fortunate to have amazing people to help guide us.
I will post pictures of items I made for family members for this holiday season and list the websites that I got them from. Keep paying it forward right?