Saturday, February 28, 2015

Conversations with Josh

By now, I'm very positive that most of the internet has seen the stupid dress that has been trending everywhere. Thursday night was when I was first introduced (I guess is a good way to put it?) to that damn dress. When I still see glimpses of it I still see it being white and gold. That's all I'm saying about what I think about the dress color currently. However, I do think it's cool that there's a scientific explanation online about why people are seeing different colors. Maybe it could be blue and black. I dunno. It's an ugly dress anyway. Why aren't we talking about the Llamas escaping?? (That news report MADE MY DAY on Thursday).
Anyway, y'all we're here because we're linking up with Amanda for My Conversations. I brought up that dumb dress because of a conversation Josh and I had about the dress. Warning, this post is NOT PG.

Me: Babe, what color is this dress? *shows him the picture*
Josh: Blue and black. *he goes back to playing trivia crack*
Me: Shut up! No it's not! It's white and gold!
Josh: Um, no. You're wrong. It's blue and black.
Me: (because I'm SUPER mature, y'all) You're wrong. and you're a jerkface.

-- a few minutes go by and Josh has gone from Trivia Crack to checking Facebook--

Josh: WHAT THE FUCK?! What the actual fuck?! Someone CHANGED that picture. That's not the same picture that you showed me. How is that possible?!
Me: *confused* Um... what??
Me: *dying of laughter at this point* I told you it was white and gold!
Josh: No! It's not possible! Someone changed the picture. Someone changed the internet.
[he shuts off Facebook and opens it back up.]
Josh: SEE?! Now it's blue and black again. Someone CHANGED the internet! What kind of sorcery is this shit?!?!!! Someone changed the picture!!!

I spent a good part of that night laughing hysterically about how massively he was freaking out. Best thing ever.
So that's all I have to really say about the dress. I'm not going to ask what color y'all think it is, because I don't really care anymore. But if you have some funny conversations ABOUT the dress... (did you or someone you know freak out like Josh did?)

Link up with me and Amanda to share!
Knock on Wood Blog | Conversations Link-Up

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Easy Monkey Cupcakes : Pinterest Win!

As y'all may recall, I promised to make Monkey Cupcakes for Zander's birthday. I also promised to share the outcome. And the verdict is, Monkey Cupcakes were an overall pinterest win!

In true blogger form, I felt the need to break down the original pin and compare it to what I actually did. Here's what I pinned.

Starting off, this gal wants you to make your own cupcakes by hand. Sorry but, ain't nobody got time for dat! This mama has never been one to make cupcakes from scratch.  Cooking is my forte... not baking. So, to prevent a disaster in Kitchen Camacho, I opted for a cake mix from a box.
You can see the other ridiculousness she calls out for on the post.

On Monday, I did a practice run on the decorating part of the cupcakes. Lucky for me this past weekend my mother in law brought cupcakes for a mini birthday celebration with Zander so I had those to practice on! My mistake with the practice was I forgot to use the nilla wafer for the face. Instead, I drew on the face. Clearly my piping skills are less than desirable.
This is why we practice!  
So here's what I actually used:

  • 1 box cake mix (plus what the cake mix called for to bake!) 
  • 2 tubs chocolate frosting. I only used one, but the extra was just in case!
  • Chocolate graham crackers. I used 1 and a half sleeves. 
  • Nilla wafers
  • Orange frosting for piping. Or whatever color you want the mouths to be. Zander wanted orange.
  • Candy Eyeballs. These can be found at Wal-Mart!

Chocolate Dust! 

What I did:
+ Bake cupcakes as directed per the cake mix box.
While the cupcakes were baking, I started prepping the decorating stuff. This took quite a bit of time. Lucky for me once the cupcakes were done baking they still had to cool before I could start decorating. (Pro tip: if you're doing this with your kids, there WILL be a mess and cookies WILL go missing. Also, the kids will be asking 15,472 times if the cupcakes are done and if they can eat them.)

Decorating prep included:
+ Crush graham crackers into chocolate dust. For this I used my food processor. (pictured above). It was much faster and easier than crushing by hand. It also made the dust finer. This is my substitute for the "chocolate sanding sugar" that the original post called for.

+ Cut 24 nilla wafers in halves for ears on each monkey.
Pro tip: I used a serrated knife & sawed the nilla wafers to cut them in halves. I found when I used a non serrated knife and tried to chop them in half, they basically crumbled or flew across the kitchen!

+ Drew smiles and noses on whole nilla wafers for the monkey face.

Once the cupcakes were cool, I frosted them with the chocolate frosting.
Each cupcake was then dipped into the graham cracker dusting to give the look of "fur"... now here's the hard part. When you do this, the frosting loses its stickiness. I learned this the hard way.

In order to stick the halved nilla wafers on the sides for ears, I had to spread a little frosting on them.
Place the smiley face nilla wafers where the nose and mouth would go. (I had to do the frosting trick here too.)

Put two candy eyeballs above the mouth wafer. These sat in nicely without any extra frosting.
And VOILA! Monkey!

Definitely a win. I won't know until Zander comes home from school today if they were a hit with the kids. I should have known yesterday ON his birthday, but silly Georgia CLOSED Walton County schools for "severe weather". Which is dumb because we weren't affected by the "winter storm" at all. So I'll let y'all know how they went over with the other kids.
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Happy Birthday Zander

Five years ago, this sweet loving little boy came into my life. It's hard to believe time is going by so quickly. Amanda was there during my whole labor. Yes... the whole thing. I was only supposed to have three people in the room with me. I ended up with four people. Oh well. I'm glad Amanda was there. She and Josh had to remind me to breathe. It was a long drawn out process.

Zander was due March 3, 2010. He was born Feb. 26, 2010. I was induced a week before my due date. I really can't remember why I was induced now that I look back on everything. I do remember it was such a long few days. I went into the hospital on Feb 25 and got checked in very early in the morning. About an hour after checking in and signing all of the needed paperwork, they started the pitocin drip. Looking back... worst experience ever. I was confined to the bed and couldn't eat anything. I mean it, y'all... anything. I was so hungry. They gave me ice chips. Big fat whoop. Of course, by the time my contractions started regularly I vomited up the ice chips anyway. 

The doctor broke my waters. If Zander had been my second child I would've refused this. They didn't really have to break my water, but they wanted to and I didn't know I was allowed to say no. (Do you hear that new mom's to be?? It's OK TO TELL YOUR DOCTOR / MIDWIFE NO!) Because after they broke my water, I still had a very slowwww labor. Zander moved down the birth canal slowly. Every hour they came to check me was always, "well, if he doesn't move down more it'll have to be a c-section" I didn't want a c- section. That much I knew. 

12 hours into the labor I was exhausted. I had an epidural put in early. I was a wimp and I couldn't handle the intensified contractions that the pitocin drip brought on, but I could still feel the pressure from the contractions and that's what wore me out. Amanda could always tell when I was having a contraction. I would stop breathing. Thank God she was with me the whole time because she constantly reminded me to breathe. "Melissa, breathe." she would tell me. Later she admitted that she thought I was going to punch her in the face because she kept telling me to breathe. I told her I was glad she reminded me because the pressure was awful.
When Manda finally got to meet Zander!
With the epidural and the pitocin, I managed to sleep through most of my labor. Josh, my mom, his mom, and Amanda were watcing DVDs in the hospital room. I could hear them laughing at me whenever I'd have a contraction though. Looking back I would've laughed at me too. During a contraction, I'd wake up, breathe through the pressure so I wouldn't push, and as soon as it had passed I'd go right back to sleep... SNORING!

I had a different doctor with Zander than I did with Ainsley. I didn't like my doctor with Zander that much. I begged to be checked every hour. I was lucky to get every hour and a half. You hear that new moms? I know doctors and nurses are busy, but a Mom's instincts are pretty spot on.
While I had beeen begging to be checked- Zander had made his way down to the birth canal. He was ready to come out, but because I had been told "not to push" until someone saw I was at 10 cm... I waited.
My mom and mother in law and Josh came to my rescue and yelled at the nurses. They finally checked me at 1:00 AM on Feb 26. I was ready. He was ready. I knew it.
20 minutes of pushing later, he was here. He was beautiful. Handsome. Whatever. He still is. He's still my sweet baby.
Even though I had a rough pregnancy with him, he was / is my easiest baby. Sure we fight and argue now, but he's my sweet boy 99% of the time.

Happy Birthday my sweet Zander. "I Love You This Much"

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Current Events from the Kids' Point of View

Many of us keep up with current events, right? We know what's going on (for the most part) in the world around us. We know what the weather is going to be like... or what it should be like... in the next few days, and we know which sports teams won the previous night. We stay up to date on our current events. And hey, if you're like Kenji, you keep up with all of the award shows! Heck, some of us can even spout out the silly laws that our states have!

However... What if you're two and five? Current events and news mean absolutely nothing.

"We get to take walks." I swear, there's something about walking somewhere that gets these gets so excited. So maybe it's a good thing that I don't have a car for now. Walking to the library and the park is always the best part of the day when we do it. This is a good one for me because it tends to tire them out to the point of they put themselves to bed at night!
This is more important than Georgia Senate passing the hot car bill.
"Yes, let's put that poll there."
"Mommy doesn't like PBS Kids." It's true. I really don't. I tolerate it because it's one of the few channels that has relatively educational programming when the kids do watch T.V. When I take over the T.V. though it goes straight to HGTV. Zander has told strangers in the store on numerous occasions that I don't like "". More proof that kids hear more than we think they do!
This is more important than the law that it's illegal to tie giraffes to a light pole in Georgia.

"Ainsley hit me!" I can't tell you how many times I've heard this during the day. No, I didn't sneak a typo in there, either. Ainsley is in fact the bully out of the two and when she doesn't get her way, she takes to hitting. (Insert heavy sigh from me here)...
This is more important than Savannah, GA selling St. Patrick's Day parking in advance.
"I didn't hit him, I was just reading quietly."
"When we think Mommy isn't looking..." we do a lot we aren't supposed to. Ainsley is the worst. There may be several chairs in the kitchen with sharpie drawings on them. Doritos have been purposefully dumped on the coffee table. They also tell each other to smell the other's feet. There's something about stinky kid feet that really cracks them up.
This is more important than Georgia's "winter storm"

"Mommy is mean". This can be a blanket statement for a number of things, but specifically I won't let the kids eat condiments for dinner. Sorry, kiddos but honey mustard is not a main course.
This is more important than Atlanta mayor's car booted for illegal parking.
"But Mom, I really want to eat all of the honey mustard!"
I do think "adult" current events are important, so please don't misunderstand that. And I do realize there's more going on out there than just "Georgia related" stuff. I maintain the fact that this is my little space, and I can write what I want. So there!
What current events would you say we really need to know about right now? Is there something more important than the crazy winter weather?
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

(Really Awesome) Spinach Coated Chicken

It's no secret around here, I'm not a professional food blogger and I'm really bad about taking pictures to share amazing recipes. However, there is the brief moment where I shine through and remember to document experiments in the kitchen!

For this particular recipe, I was inspired by the mayonnaise commercial that tells you to coat the chicken in mayo and then top with bread crumbs. Apparently to keep the chicken moist or something like that. Whatever the commercial said. Clearly I paid attention. 

I did a little google search on that recipe and found this one: "Amazing Chicken Recipe"
I, however took a twist on it. Mostly because I *ahem* ran out of mayo. Oops. Improv to the rescue in Kitchen Camacho!

What You'll Need:
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves. 
  • A Spoonful of mayonnaise. 
  • 1/2 cup Spinach Dip of your choice
  • 2 Cups Seasoned bread crumbs * 
** I used my homemade Seasoned Breadcrumbs
  • Garlic, Salt & Pepper to season chicken. (season to taste). 
What To Do: 
+ Pre-heat your oven to 425
+ Grease a shallow baking dish
+ In a small bowl, mix the mayo and spinach dip
+ Season your chicken and coat with the dip mixture
+ Roll your coated chicken in the bread crumbs
+ Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the chicken isn't pink & the juices run clear. 
The whole family loved this dish. It paired well with mixed veggies! 
Do you ever have to improvise with recipes to make sure dinner gets on the table?
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Rambles on Exercising.

A Random picture to go with my Rambles today!
I found that picture on google a while back, and I need it framed for when I get an office in our house! ... moving on... 

I must confess, y'all. I'm a bad blogger. Or maybe I'm a liar. Maybe both. 
Allow me to explain... On my sidebar, I say I blog about staying healthy. Except, when was the last time y'all read anything from me about staying healthy? Oh wait... I can tell you... it was Jan 1, the last time I went running

Y'all, I even said in that post that I would do better with the My Fitness Pal app. I have not done better. In all fairness, for the entire month of Jan, I was kind of M.I.A. So there's that. I also have not been running since that last week of December. I could use the excuse that it's been entirely too cold to justify running. (Yes, 30 degrees in GA is cold! Sorry to those that are in the teens and negatives, but I will complain about 30 degrees!) 

I do have good news for y'all though. I haven't been completely inactive since my return. It may have taken me several weeks to get back on track, but I am going to do this. I do have some accomplishments to celebrate and some goals that I want to meet. I'm sharing them with you so maybe y'all can help keep me accountable. Deal?

Why I'm celebrating? 
I did get back into working out. All by myself (without anyone saying, "Hey, Melissa! Maybe you shouldn't eat that donut.") 

What am I doing?
Zumba mostly. No, I'm not going to any classes outside of my house. We have an xbox and a kinect, so I'm using the Zumba Rush game. I've mentioned playing it before in my old blog. Basically, you can make your own Zumba class by picking songs, or choose from a pre-loaded class that comes with the game. 
In addition to Zumba, I'm doing Dance Central on xbox and free weights in my living room. (Lots of squats, y'all!) I'm also using my fitness pal to keep track of what I'm eating. I may not always eat the BEST foods in the world, but at least I won't eat the whole box of cookies... just a few of them! 
What are my goals?
Well, honestly I'm not 100% sure of my current weight. I'm pretty sure it's somewhere in the rage of 185 - 190 lbs. (Yikes!) I do know, whatever my starting weight is, I would like to lose 25-30 lbs by my brother in law's wedding. 
So, to break it down, I would like to lose 1-2 lbs a week. I want to be healthy about it though. 
I plan to start linking up with Rebekah for the Step up Sunday to help keep me accountable. I feel like posting my success and/or failures publicly each week will help me. That's the idea anyway. 

How can you help?
Add me on my fitness pal! (MCam87) for starters. If you're already friends with me on there and you don't see me do anything for a few days, feel free to yell at me! 
Tweet me, message me, do whatever you need to to push me back on track! Tough love is welcomed here, y'all! 
Any suggestions on healthy snacks or stuff y'all do to exercise at home is welcomed as well!
Now that I think about it, I need to go back and re-read Cassie's post about staying motivated

I'm starting this week with a grateful heart & linking up with Emily. 
Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

I'm grateful that I have the willpower to do this in a healthy fashion. I don't have to rely on pills or crash diets. I think because I stick to healthy choices is a big reason that I've been able to maintain my weight for the past 6 months.  I'm grateful for all of the support I have from my friends and family outside of the blogging world. It's a big help, seriously. 
So what have you done lately to get back on track? 
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Friday, February 20, 2015

Things I Love: Photography

There's a lot of things I love in life. A few I should probably mention immediately are my kids, my husband, and really great chocolate. I also love amazing photography! I have a deep appreciation for people that can snap a picture and turn it into something that gets hung in museums and are priceless works of art.

Today I'd like to introduce y'all to my sister, Becca. She's a recent graduate from Gwinnett Tech for photography, and she's pretty amazing. Her photos are something I really love, and I feel like the blogging world needs to know about her! Now, I'm not saying my sister has pictures in museums, but I am saying that she could. I might be a bit biased but I love her work.
Becca doesn't like to have her face in pictures ;)
When asked what type of photography she does she said,
"I specialize in Commercial Advertising Photography and play around with Conceptual Photography."

I also asked what her goals for her photography is. She answered with,
"I am trying to put together a portfolio of stuff I have edited or retouched to try and get my feet in a business of my own. Hopefully I will have that up soon!"
Personally, I think she has a real talent when it comes to retouching and editing. While she was in school, one of her projects was to retouch a photo. The photo she used was one from our Grandmother. It's got to be over 100 years old and the result was incredible. Well, just take a look:

Want to see more of her work? Easy... Bex Photos is where you want to go. On the site, she has a blog (it must run in the family!). It's a photography blog, but what else would you expect? I love scrolling through her new pictures each week. Last week, she "Illustrated a song"... Can you guess which song?

I love my sister, and I love that she's found her passion. It's not everyday where you know exactly what you want to do when you "grow up" Becca has figured it out. If you ask me, photography is her calling! She knows she doesn't enjoy photographing people because she's not comfortable "bossing" people around, and that's OK because she's making art with everything else!
Interested in buying one of her (amazing) pieces? Even easier! She has an etsy page!
"Trees" One of her pieces for sale

Do you share my love for photography? Do you know a local photographer that's just starting up? 
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