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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Southwestern Style Chili

Five days ago I started on a new fitness journey called the 21 Day Fix.  The thing that really peaked my interest was the containers and the portion control it offered.  Now, I consider my family pretty healthy eaters (we don't buy many processed foods, cook a lot of our items from scratch, and are very selective at where we eat out at), but I know that our portions were out of control and uneven.

I've been an athlete for most of my life and it was really within this last year that I completely let myself go (not my proudest moment).  So I needed that radical change.  So far I've been pleased, but what it really has led me to is experimenting in the kitchen, which I love....except for the dishes.

So without anymore delay, here is my version of a Southwest Style Chili.



Ingredients:

21 Day Fix Southwestern Spice Mix*
2 pounds of chicken
1 medium yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
1 can black beans, drained
1 can organic corn, drained
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with chili's
1 small can tomato sauce

1.  Cut chicken into bite size pieces and marinate in spice mix.  Marinate for 2-24 hours, whichever you want.  I marinated mine for 24 hours and the chicken was very tender.

2.  Dice onion and bell pepper and add to hot pot along with chicken and a little bit of olive oil/coconut oil.  Cook until onions are translucent and chicken is cooked through.

3. Add in black beans, corn, both cans of tomatoes, and tomato sauce.  Stir.

4. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30-40 minutes.


Voila!

For the 21 Day Fix containers - Fill up 1 green container and mark off 1 red and 1 yellow.

*For those that don't have the 21 Day Fix guide, use spices commonly found in chili: cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano. I normally do equal amounts of each spice and then flavor to taste.

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Wallets

As the owner/creator/designer/person who does it all for my shop, I often find myself blocked in the creativity department.  Sometimes it is as simple as the design dimensions just aren't working out.  Other times it is the fact that someone else thought of it and I don't ever want to be accused of stealing someone's design.

So after much thinking, drawing, and debating...I decided to go forth with another version of the cash envelope system.  This time it is a zip pouch with a divider in between.  On the divider is 4 card slots.  Behind that is some cut out tabbed dividers to organize your cash, receipts, coupons, etc.  The front can be used to carry your checkbook, cellphone, or other papers.  It is quite stylish and streamlined.  I'm pretty happy about it.

Here is what it looks like:



I look forward to churning these out quickly and only doing a few of my other wallets a month.  At least that is what I'm thinking.  I may try to churn out as many as I can.  Either way....a fabric haul is in order.  Can't wait to go shopping with my Aunt in a few weeks!

Posh Tot Couture and a Coupon Code


One of the best things I love about Instagram is the teaming up with other shops.  Every single small boutique shop owner I have interacted with have been purely amazing and super friendly.  This includes the owner of Post Tot Couture.

So what is Posh Tot Couture?  Posh Tot Couture curates couture clothing for little girls at an affordable price.  That is right up my alley and who doesn't love a cute little girl in cute, stylish clothing?

Here are just a few samples of the clothing they offer:





Seriously, too cute!  That vintage chiffon dress...to die for!  That dress is in definite 1st place for Lil Miss and her upcoming photo shoot!

Now Posh Tot Couture is offering my readers and fans 25% of with code "MOONORCHID" at checkout. How awesome is that?!  Coupon code not valid on sale items. Many thanks to Posh Tot Couture and don't forget to follow them on Facebook and Instagram (links below).

Posh Tot Couture

Posh Tot Couture Instagram

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Liebster Award

I was nominated by Brittany over at The Ashmore's for a Liebster Award.  She nominated 11 of us bloggers that have less than 200 followers.  This a way to connect with others in the blogging community and to discover some amazing other blogs out there!



Brittany is having me answer the same 11 questions she answered and at the end I will nominate other bloggers.  They will also have to answer questions as well.  Yay!  What a fun way to get to know each other.  Ready?  Here we go!

1.  How did you decide on the title of your blog?

At first, I wanted a way to be able to incorporate the word 'mom' into my title.  The first letter of each word achieves that.  Second, I wanted to envelope something that would define what a mother and what women are.  Orchid's are beautiful and so are all women.  At that, specifically the Moon Orchid,  in China, it is known for refinement, friendship, perfection, all things feminine, noble and elegant.  Ding ding ding. I knew this had to be it.  It just seemed right.  That last 'm', motifs, is exactly what I do.  I find destinctive themes within my shop but all those things end up centering around what a woman or mother would do and may need in their life.

2. What is one word that sums up the heart of your blog and why?

Success!  It really is.  But not in the comparing success that we, as women, often do.  I want people to come across my blog and think to themselves "This is it.  This is perfection.  It isn't picture perfect photo-op that I'll never achieve but it is success in the aspects of life we all walk through."

3. What are your other favorite pasttimes besides blogging?

I love to sew, read, cook, dance in my living room, watch way too much Netflix and enjoy the company and converstaion of my husband.  We have a lot of fun!

4. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

The chance to have a little bit of my world out there.  Plus the people!  I've had the chance to read some really great bloggers!

5.  Which project, recipe, or idea would you most like to try on my blog yourself?

The letters glued to the burlap fabric.  Such a neat idea.

6.  Where does your blog inspiration come from?

A lot of it comes from my everyday musings.  If I'm on the ball, I'll take pictures of a recipe I'm doing.  Sometimes it comes from other blogs and how their posts made me feel.  Sometimes it is just life.

7.  What is one country in the world you would want to visit and why?

Well, for the longest time is was France.  Now, I just want to go everywhere.  But if I have to pick one, I'd now say Ireland.  My sister took a trip there and I was amazed by the beauty and how green it was.

8. If you have children, what are their names?  If not, what is your favorite boy and girl names?

Aaden (often referred to as Mr. A), Landon (often referred to as LB), Hudson (often referred to as Hud, Hudsio, or Mr. Hud), and Audrey (often referred to as Little Miss or Princess).

9.  A long lost relative leaves you a large sum of money.  What do you do with it?

Do it the Dave Ramsey way.  LOL.  Ensure I have my $1000 emergency fund, pay off debt, 3-6 months of savings, retirement, college funds.

10.  In your opinion, what is the best blog post you have written so far? (Include link)

This one.

11.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I hope to still be blogging and sewing, homeschooling and finishing up my nursing degree.


And now to add to the fun!  Brittany didn't ask me to but I will be asking my nominees....11 facts about me!

1. I have a BA in Psychology.
2. I had 2 hospital births and 2 home births.
3. I share my birth date with my husband and an Uncle.
4. I served in the Navy but never went on a ship.
5. I am uber competitive and never let my husband win...wait....maybe he always lets me win ;)
6. I hate to bake because of the mess it makes but I have a sweet tooth.
7. I love to babywear my kids and have bought way to many baby carriers
8. I love essential oils
9. I have an obsession with fabric that has turned into an obsession with quilting
10. I've only visited 13 states.
11. Grew up in a state where is snows but never went skiing.

So now for my nominations:

1. Suzanne - http://www.suzannehines.org
2. Heather - http://www.perennialvintage.com
3. Mary - http://theloveofmary.blogspot.com
4. Chalyce - https://essential7.wordpress.com
5. Mahsa - http://www.mahsatousi.com
6. Kristie - http://www.velvetchandelier.com and http://kristievento.com
7. Megan - http://diyhomemaker.com
8. Natasha - http://natashakotto.com
9. Brittany - http://www.allthingsouthern.blogspot.com

Thank you everyone and for those nominated, please answer the above questions and provide 11 facts about yourself.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ipsy Bag - January Edition

I received my Ipsy bag in the mail yesterday and was super excited to look at all the products.  For those that don't know what Ipsy is, it is a $10 a month subscrition service to beauty and makeup products.  You will receive 4-5 products a month.  Usually they are the sample/travel sizes but every once in a while you will get a full size item.  You take a beauty quiz when you sign up so that they can match products to your preferences.

I find that by offering the sample/travel items it gives you an idea of the product without having to pay full price.  That way if you like it, you can buy it.  If you don't, no worries...you didn't spend an arm and a leg.


Here is my January Glam Bag:



Fresh Start

Real Techniques Fine Liner Brush
J. Cat Gel Liner in Blue Black
Pacifica Mineral Coconut Eyeshadow in Ethereal
Manna Kadar Sheer Glo Shimmer Lotion
Nourish Organic Renewing Eye Cream

So for $10 I received 4 sample/travel items, 1 full size item, a zippered pouch and shipping.  Not bad, especially if you are wanting to try different products but don't have a lot of money to spend on full price items.

If you are interested in signing up for Ipsy, click here.  Follow the instructions to get yourself off the waitlist and you'll then be signed up for a monthly Ipsy bag.  Best thing, you can cancel at anytime.

Now for my review:

Liner brush - I have a couple of Real Techniques brushes and I love them.  The liner brush looks exactly like my Smashbox liner brush.

J. Cat Eye liner - I swatched this on the back of my hand and now it won't rub off.  Awesome in my book!

Pacifica Eye Shadow - This is a beautiful high-lighting/brow bone shadow.  It is just silky and buttery smooth.

Shimmer lotion - I rubbed this on my hands and was amazed at how sheer it was and it didn't feel sticky or leave any weird residue.  It added a very dewy glow to my skin without looking like a had anything one.  In other words, healthy glow.

Eye Cream - I've never used any eye creams but I will definitely give this one a shot.  I'm now almost 31 and have a few lines around my eyes.  I know the benefits of Avocado and Argan oil so I might as well give it a shot.

I can't wait to see what February's Glam Bag is.  I look forward to the middle of the month (13th-15th) as I just love opening packages!

As always, if you have any questions, comment and I will get back to you!


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Erin Condren Teacher Planner - Homeschool Style

This is our fourth year homeschooling and I love to plan.  The problem is not everything works for me in the homeschool planners that I've seen and have used.  Over the past 4 years, I have tried Sonlight's lesson plans where I can just put the date we did things, the Well Planned Day, the Well Planned Day's online version, Debra Bell's Ultimate Homeschooling Planner, and a slew of other cheap ones.

None of them worked.  I always found myself disorganized, flipping through the pages to make sure things flowed well, and just unhappy with them.  None of them are bad planners.  They just didn't work for me.

Enter Erin Condren!  I have done a few of her Life Planners for personal use in the past and love them (albeit I love Plum Paper Designs planner as well) but I decided to give her teacher version a try for our current homeschool year.  Let me tell you....I am thrilled.  I absolutely love the planner.  I don't use everything there is, i.e. Absent list, but I use pretty much everything else!



I love that there is a tab in the back called 'Checklist'.  I use it for each one of my kids and I post their test scores for math, language arts, and spelling.  It include the practice tests as well.  Don't mind the fact that much of the test scores are missing.  I was going to enter them over Christmas break but I never got around to it.  Slacker mom.

I use the graphing paper at the front to plan out our work boxes.  We change out workboxes every few months just so the flow of school still actually happens.  Plus it doesn't lead to monotony or boredom.

The weekly spread - my favorite - has so much room.  I'm able to write out all of our subjects.  There are 7 columns.  Ours includes Science, Read Alouds, Geography and History, Math, Reading, LA and Spelling, Art.  I also color code my kids and then there is plenty of room to write out what they are to be doing that day.  I also have pretty big lettering so the amount of room I have without it being jumbled up is heaven sent.





As you can see in the above picture, the planner has a spot to write the week number and then it had Monday through Friday with which you could write in the corresponding date.  I chose to measure out the block and create my own stickers.  They have Day 1 - Day 200 (although we don't do 200 days of school) printed on them and then I just ran them through my sticker machine.  Voila! Stickers to place there and then I just write in the date we completed those items.  It has made my life so much easier since we do not do Monday through Friday school all the time.

There is also a Year at a Glance page.  I used it to put down our main group work for what I'd like to accomplish in our Read Alouds, Science, History, Georgraphy, and Art.  It helped form the foundation for how to schedule everything else.

Finally - like she always does in her planners - stickers!!!  I don't really use them except for the Holiday ones.

The planner also comes with monthly spreads and then a couple of note pages behind the month.  I haven't really used them all to much except to track when we didn't do school because of vacation or illness. Also in the back it comes with 2 pockets to keep your papers, a vinyl pocket insert to put in any sheet you don't want to get ruined, and a vinyl zip lock pouch to keep other items (labels, business cards, etc).

The price of the planner is $59.  A bit pricey, but totally worth it.  I wouldn't trade this planner for the world.  The craftsmanship is amazing, colors are brilliant, size is fantastic (10x11) and I would recommend this to any of my homeschooling and teacher friends.  I can't wait to order my next one.  That is how fantastic this planner is.









*Here is an invite link if you'd like to purchase anything.  Any purchases using this link will credit me.  In turn I will use those credits to do a giveaway of items.* Copy and paste link into browser.

https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/amandabaldwin