The Clean Thursday: Summer Wreath

I am truly worried about that stupid freakin oven now that I have completed today’s Clean Thursday pin, the Summer Wreath. It was seriously the easiest wreath I have ever made. And cuuuh-huhhh-yute. Here’s the info:

Pin: Summer Wreath

Website: Create. Craft. Love

The hardest part was the Hobby Lobby trip due to the apparent 2-trip bathroom rule that no one told me about but my girls follow it like champs. I picked out the essentials and some fabric to make a wallet on Sunday. I went with turquoise blues and bright orange and added a purple B for our last name. The pin is really just a starting point for your own creativity. You can use any color or design or you can follow the scheme on the site. Here is my new front door wreath:

 

Presh. This pin is absolutely approved which really pisses me off because that means I will slave my life away on that oven tomorrow. No way will I have two successes in one day. Oh well. Until tomorrow.

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The Dirty Thursday: Baking Soda Magic Oven Cleaner

There comes a time in a woman’s (or man’s) life when she must dig down deep within her soul to muster up the strength to face adversity. She will not be defeated easily, nay she walked through the valley and spat (is that really the correct past tense of spit… Nevermind… Doesn’t matter… Press forward) in the eye of evil. She lost many a battle but by God she will win the war. It is time… To clean the oven.

Now some of you millionaire mamas out there may have a so called “self-cleaning” oven that I’ve heard of (and I may be completely overestimating what those ovens do anyways). If so skip right over this, sip your martini, and do not read any further for it is so grotesque that you may never casserole again. But for us brave souls that have looked into the abyss, stay with me. I may be a little melodramatic right now. I usually lose it around Thursday, but I feel like the oven is a place no one wants to clean. And don’t get me started on oven cleaners aka death bombs. I’d rather my oven be dirty than my food taste like it has been seasoned with pesticide.

So forever ago, like years I really hate cleaning my oven, I found the pin below:

Pin- Oven Cleaner

Unfortunately, it leads to a bad link but the directions are in the caption. So today… through gritted teeth… I opened up my oven in hopes this pin works. Back story on this oven…it was this dirty when we moved in back in April. I doubt it has been cleaned in the 8 or so years J has lived here. I scrubbed the kitchen and the years of filth away… Except for the oven. Here is the beast:

 

Brace yourselves…

 

ok honestly it really isn’t the worst but yuck.

I sprinkled the baking soda all over the dang thing. Do you ever get a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach when you are doing something you know you will regret? It pretty much defined my last two years of college. But it was too late to turn back. I mixed a spray bottle of vinegar and dawn, the blue kind is the only one that comes with the magical grease fairies, and sprayed, then poured it on the soda. The spraying was taking too long. So here it is. Tomorrow morning I will regret, I mean know if it worked. So stay tuned…

I need a martini.

 

 

 

The Liebster Award

I can’t believe I’ve only been at this a week and how much I am loving blogging.  I received word from Megan at Room with a Bloom that I had been nominated for The Liebster Award.

liebster-award

I am so honored thank you! I was not quite sure what the award was but basically it is an opportunity to meet new bloggers. Here are the rules:

1. You must link back to the person who nominated you.
2. You have to answer all the questions you were given by the person who nominated you.
3. You must choose 5-11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers, and come up with a new set of 11 questions for them.
4. Let your nominees know they’ve been nominated.
So here goes!
1. What’s your favourite season of the year?
Honestly I love all seasons for many different reasons but if I had to choose just one, I would choose fall.
2. What does your blog name mean?
My blog name “Twin Tested, Pin Approved” means that I test different pins on Pinterest and write about my experiences with the testing process which often involves my twin girls!
3. What is you’re favourite candy/sweet?
I love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. They are my favorite!!! AHHHH haha
4. How long have you been blogging?
A little over a week, and I love every single minute of it. I have always loved to write. And to write about something I love (Pinterest)  has been so much fun so far. It’s also a way to release a little stress in an often hectic struggle of feeling the need to be the perfect mom and fiancee.
5. Which blogs do you check daily?
The Blogess is hilarious.
6. If you could go on a holiday anywhere, where would it be?
To the bathroom by myself. Or Italy.
7. Do you have any Special talents?
I made two people at one time. I think being a mom is a special talent honestly. We do so much for so many. The world is blessed to have us haha.
8. What is the best book you’ve read recently?
I never have time to read and I’ve been meaning to start The Creator’s Map by Emilio Calderon, but the last book that I loved was very Downton-Abbey-esque, The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin.
9. What is your favourite holiday of the year?
Christmas by far. We do it up big in my house.
10. What’s something that you’ve learnt recently?
That just because you fail at something doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Some things are meant for others and can open the way to greater things for you. As much as God blessed you in the past, he is going to bless you even more in the future.
11. What quote do you live by?
It’s a Bible verse actually: Jeremiah 29:11
I nominate:
And my questions:
1. What has been your favorite family vacation or vacation in general so far?
2. What color looks good on you?
3. Who taught you how to cook?
4. What made you decide to start your blog?
5. Who was your favorite teacher?
6. If you had to wear one pair of shoes for the rest of your life, which pair would you choose?
7. Beach or Mountains?
8. What word do you use to describe yourself and why?
9. What movie can you watch over and over?
10. What’s your favorite pin/pin board on Pinterest?
11. Who inspires you?
Make sure to link the answers back to me and keep up the good work ladies! You are all doing fabulously!!
Lauren

Twinnie Tuesday: Bingo Counting and Bead Sun Catchers

For today’s Twinnie Tuesday, the girls and I had a little learning fun. They love when I let them make stuff or use markers and scissors which I won’t let them take past the kitchen. They are very creative especially L. They are doing pretty well for kids their age. They can write and spell their names. They know parts of books and have a broad vocabulary. The only thing I feel they need a little help on is math. I mean who doesn’t… it’s math. It’s ridiculous nonsense half the time. So I found some different counting and math activities on Pinterest and decided to give this one a go. The links are below:

Pin: Bingo Counting

Website: You and Me Make W.E.

I definitely had to help them with this one. I had some old Bingo dobbers or markers around and they loved smushing them down on the paper. I am going to do the activity again and it was very successful so I give it an A for Approved. Or a 100% since it’s math.

 WP_20140729_011 WP_20140729_010 WP_20140729_009 WP_20140729_008 WP_20140729_013

After  “Math Bingo Dobber Game”, we tried making plastic bead sun catchers. They looked so beautiful and easy I had to try. Here are the links:

 Pin: Sun Catcher

Website: Craftster

I decided to use a large muffin tin to make smaller discs and string them together.

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I really didn’t expect this one to turn out that well. When I smelled burning plastic, I almost lost all hope. I thought they would for sure stick to the pan. Much to my surprise, they didn’t. They were perfect. The activity was great to do with the girls. Easy, inexpensive, and beautiful. Another A+ and approved.

We had a great Mommy & girls learning day. When we were finished, the screaming and fighting began. Ahhhh twas a sweet moment while it lasted. And it was a good thing they were going to Nana’s.

 

Mommy Monday: Dry Brushing

I need to get healthy. Like for real. I have a wedding in a little over nine months where I will be standing in an unforgiving white dress in front of people on a beach. I also will be standing again in front of people as a matron of honor for my sister’s wedding in November of next year. I say healthy because I have learned to appreciate my butt, boobs, and curves. But I got some stuff, like all mamas especially moms of twins or multiples, that’s gotsta go. I’ve been trying to do P90x3 now for, oh I don’t know, 4 months to no avail. I feel really great when I do it; it’s just the doing it that I have issue with. It always seems like something is going on. Today, I was going to start full force, and I woke up nauseous and dizzy and not feeling good which obviously means that that time of the month is on its way. So I’m going to give it a go again tomorrow. But when am I going to stop putting myself off until tomorrow? My whole point of today was to kick start a workout and pamper myself a little. To let the house work slide just a touch (not completely because that ain’t helping mama either right ladies? That just means double work on Tuesday) and to concentrate a bit on myself. Fit in a longer shower. Take time to moisturize, exfoliate, paint my nails, fix my hair for once and not rock the mommy pony. Did I do any of this? No. My hair is in a “ballerina bun” which is code for I didn’t want to wash or fix it. Why is it so hard for us to take a little time for ourselves? We can organize birthday parties, bake cookies for a classroom and a half full of kids, wash and fold a load of clothes at the speed of sound, paper mache a volcano, spend all day putting together a lego tower according to the picture on the box, sew a baby doll a dress, and cook a gourmet meal. We can withstand cold season, spaghetti night (if you have toddler twins you get this), cranky mornings, and fussy husbands. We are mom, teacher, doctor, nurse, friend, gardener, maid, personal assistant, chef, shoe finder, repairman, chauffeur, cheerleader, coach, etc. We do so much for so many people except ourselves. We/I have to do this. I have to put myself first to be better and have more energy to do all that “mom” requires. Men get this. They have Boys Nights and man caves. They go golfing and out to drink and play basketball. Why can’t we get it? They don’t mind us taking a day. And if they do mind, give me an hour with them and I will put them in their place haha. I need a day where I put myself first. And the countless women like me have to start putting themselves first too.

That being said, I did take the time to do one thing for myself today that I am really starting to believe in: dry brushing. I found a few pins that go into the benefits of dry brushing.

Why You Should Be Dry Brushing: pin

Website: Live in the Now

Another website I found: MindBodyGreen

Dry Brushing Benefits: pin

*** The last pin has a blocked link, but the pin shares some of the benefits in its caption***

DryBodyBrush-850x567
Picture from MindBodyGreen

I believe in dry brushing because I have dry skin (really dry sometimes) and also have some swelling in my feet after standing or sitting at the computer all day teaching. It usually goes away quickly once I put my feet up, but sometimes, especially during my period, the retention of water and swelling can be troublesome due to poor circulation throughout the day. I started dry brushing to improve those two things. I don’t do it religiously or every single day like I should, but I can tell the difference when I do not dry brush in the mornings. It’s also amazing how skinny my ankles look and how radiant my skin is and show soft it feels on days that I dry brush. *** Almost forgot: this pin in APPROVED!!

Looking at yesterday positively, I will say I took the time to do one thing that I see as beneficial and healthy. Negatively… that’s all I did.

So I am going to make an online pact that I hope yall will hold me accountable to. I am going to workout 5 days a week. And take time each day to pamper myself just a little. And every Monday, Mommies everywhere, I want us to start using this day as our day to full on relax and use our extra time for us. For me I will be reviewing a pin on beauty, health, or skin care. This will almost force me to do something for me. I encourage you to do the same. Start the week renewed and refreshed. I’m taking back Mondays, that horrible day of old, and reclaiming it as Mommy Monday. A day when we are first. Tell your kids and your husbands to get over themselves for one day. Make it an eat out day or an easy meal day. Let the kids eat PB&J for one night. Let your hubby cook. Put your feet up. Concentrate on you. If Mommy has a good Monday, the rest of the week will be better for the rest of the family. We have to stop worrying about being perfect and “on” mommies all of the time. We have to stop being so dang concerned with everyone else. We really need to take care of ourselves. Viva la revolution!!! Mommies Unite! But seriously… if you aren’t with me completely and don’t feel you can devote a whole day to yourself, at least lock the door the next time you go to the bathroom and exile everyone from your potty time. Poop in peace Mamas. At least on Mondays.

 

Sunday Funday

How great is our God, sing with me, How great is our God.

My Sunday Funday has been spent trying out Barefoot Contessa recipes, eating with the kids and my papa, getting renewed and perspective at church, and now to unplug and snuggle with my main squeeze who has been working hard all day.

I will leave you with a picture of L’s pillowcase dress (not a bad mommy anymore) and a lesson I learned at church today: God doesn’t leave you at the bottom. As much as he blessed you years ago during your spiritual high, he has so much more in store. His blessings have no limits. See you tomorrow for Mommy Monday.

Schoolhouse Saturday

I am an Adult High School and GED instructor at a local community college, and I often look to Pinterest for ideas especially for science. I also, like I’ve mentioned, have preschoolers and a soon to be kindergartener in the house. Pinterest has some amazing pins for parents getting us organized and on task for the school year so we can aid in the learning process at home (after all, no matter what anyone says the PARENTS are responsible for our children’s education). So my Saturdays will be focused on some area of formal education be it my students’ or the youngins’ or, like today, social awareness that will educate or inspire the online mommy/daddy blogging community.

Being a teacher, and a nerd, I love the excitement of a new school year even though I teach year round. I absolutely love shopping for school supplies. Brand new crayons, fresh smelling notebooks, newly sharpened pencils, and the crisp cleanliness of everything packed in a new book bag means the same crisp cleanliness of fall (and football Go Niners!) is right around the corner. Back when I was in school, we only needed supplies for ourselves. I took a peek at R’s Kindergarten school list (last year’s but I assume it won’t be much different) and it’s clear that students/parents are helping supply classrooms and not just their own book bags. I’m completely understanding and ok with this. Teachers here in NC have it rough. Cuts in pay, allotments for classrooms non-existent, shared assistants, increases in classroom sizes, reimbursements and tax deductions that MAY cover one month of expenses, long hours, and the demands of COMMON CORE !!! to top it off, there’s a reason I left public schools. I feel their pain and parents are asked to pay out of pocket for the state’s lack of classroom support. And unless we kick all of the idiots out of Raleigh and Washington, D.C., things aren’t going to get better any time soon. The thing is I understand the plight, but many parents don’t. My kids will be attending a small, country school in the forgotten part of our county. Many children cannot afford the extra burden of school supplies. So we can look at the list and gripe about more stuff we have to buy, or we can think of those kids who will be coming to school on the first day in hand-me-downs, shoes that don’t fit them, and an empty book bag, stomach, and heart. You may not can afford many more, but try to look at the list and send a few extras to school that day. Buy 4 instead of 2 boxes of crayons. Send double the baggies or tissues. Or if you really feel the need, pack a whole book bag or double the list.

Complaining won’t get you anywhere, but that smile of relief on that harried kindergarten teacher’s face will set the tone for a wonderful new year. There isn’t a pin to approve today, but I will include a link to my board with lots of back to school ideas. And remember that the best way to feel love is to give love. So many times we talk about being Christians and the Bible til we are blue in the face. But how much greater and more powerful is it to live like Christ and give of ourselves. Be His hands and His feet. Be a blessing through your actions and how you treat others not just through your words.

School Board: Pin

Foodie Friday: Peach, Arugula, and White Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Homemade Baked French Fries

Today’s pin is from Carrie’s Culinary Creations: Peach, Arugula, and White Cheddar Grilled Cheese. I found Carrie’s recipe for Homemade Baked French Fries on a link on the pin.

The pin: Peach, Arugula, and White Cheddar Grilled Cheese

And Carrie’s Site: Carrie’s Culinary Creations

 

I started out with the fries. I’m lying. I started slicing peaches and quickly realized I should probably do the fries first because they have to bake… The recipe calls for 2 large russet potatoes, peeled. Crap I literally just now read the word peeled. However, Carrie didn’t peel hers in the photo so we’re good. (I doubled the recipe but 2 would’ve been plenty. I have a gene that runs on my Nanny’s side of the family that makes us make too much food. It’s a disease really). You are supposed to cut them into 1/3 inch fries. I just know there is a 58 year old woman in Idaho who is saying to herself, “clearly those are 1/4 inch fries. She is an idiot.” Well let me assure you Susan, may I call you Suzy, I used my tape measure and all are perfectly 1/3 inch. Just kidding. Who would do that? Heh. Heh.

 

After I wiped the potato juice off my tape measure, I put the fries in the cold water and dried them off. This was weird to me but I guessed it was an advanced culinary way to freshen up the potatoes or what not and the drying was because water and oil clearly do not mix. I underestimated the absorbency of my paper towels and ended up drying them off “dishes” style. There are other steps so make sure to check out the link.

 

I used 2 different pans because I wanted to test the baking times for each color of pan. Or maybe they all didn’t fit in one pan. So in the oven they went. I then started on my sandwiches after a brief pause to play the blood inspection game: “L hit me in the nose.” “Are you bleeding?” “Yes!” “Where?” “I’m not bleeding but she hit me in the nose like this *punches self in nose*.” Now you’ve been double-punched B, excuse me if I don’t have sympathy for you.

 

I used a few different things almost entirely because Aldis didn’t have exactly the thing I needed. They didn’t have arugula (no clue but I think it’s fancy lettuce/spinach so I bought Artisan lettuce which to me means fancy lettuce) and I used Monterrey jack because um it’s good, And though I like Aldis because my $200 a week grocery bill shrunk to like $80, I am now not so much a fan of their sack of peaches. Oh well no turning back advance advance.

 

I grilled my cheese and called/yelled to the kids to wash up for lunch then yelled again as the turned my TV to the reggaeton Sirius station and then the tasting began. R said he liked it but he says that about all of my food (kindred spirits). L took the cheese off of the bread (apparently I didn’t grill that one enough. Whoops) and B ate the fancy lettuce “salad.” So success.

Personally I think it would be better grilled in the oven. Better peaches next time will also help. It was a good grilled cheese though.

Then we waited for the fries which were still in the oven of course. I attempted to turn the fries but quickly saw they were sticking to the pan. Next time I will use foil but they were delish!! A very easy, fresh lunch that beats the heck out of fast food. So for this pin the verdict is: approved! Now to figure out who Ella is because it seems she is locking herself in the girls’ room. ??? Happy Friday. Teachers join me tomorrow for Schoolhouse Saturday.

 

The Clean Thursday Part 2: Boat Cleat TP Holder

The 2nd part of today’s post is a little and inexpensive addition to my newly remodeled bathroom. Both the decor and colors are a very classic beach theme. Much better than the yucky green stuff as you can see below.

 

The problem with the new walls is that the existing toilet paper holder didn’t fit and looked awkward. And I don’t know about yall but I like to have the TP readily accessible when I’m doin my bizznass. The reaching around behind to the basket that housed the paper on the back of the potty just wasn’t cutting it. Not to mention I was getting tired of hearing “Mooooommmmmyyyy I need some toilet paper!!!” (to which my good mama response was to delegate the paper retrieval to the daughter who wasn’t on the pot). So when I found this perfect little pin I was elated. And then I clicked on the link. Two dilemmas: number one, the website is, I believe, in Greek. Number two, the picture is just that, a picture. There’s no tutorial!!! Don’t those people know that we Southerners love our beach-themed johns???? I’ve included the link even though it’s all Greek and useless and all:

Boat Cleat TP Holder

Using the picture, I tried my best to come up with a little tutorial. So here goes…

I picked a spot high enough out of the way but low enough that the kids could reach.

 

The tools/materials I used were:

1 silver boat cleat

2 1-1/4 in wood screws

1 white plastic TP rod

1 thin white nylon rope (I actually used a fish stringer and cut off the ends; the only colors they had in regular rope were camo and pink and that wasn’t happening)

Screwdriver

I mounted the cleat to the wood slat on the wall with the screws. Then I threaded the rope through the TP rod. This was a bit tricky. I had to heat seal the ends of the rope (melt it with a lighter and not burn the house down) and saw off one end of the TP rod.

I assure you this is not a tortuous tampon.

 

I then looped the rope through the toilet paper and tied it boat dock style to the cleat. It’s important that you do not tie the ends of the rope together so tight or complicated because you will at some point need to change rolls. In my house that will be tomorrow. And the best part is the cheap part. The total cost was under $10! Cute and cheap. So for this pin: Not approved. For the project: most definitely approved.