Wednesday, June 30, 2010

etsy love

i love etsy.  thankfully i just window shop most of the time...however, this one caught my eye --simple, yet motivating---  click here to see this item & other fun state shapes!

on another note, i have a whole lot to blog about, but little motivation with the sun shining outside to do it! :-)  hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will get some more fun posts up.  

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Let me introduce our roommates...

Dan (boppa) & Arlene Huhn...
(aka my grandparents)

some fun facts about 'em:

They have been married for 57 years
they have never lived more than 1/4 mile apart their entire lives
my boppa first liked my grandma's identical twin sister
if i don't cook breakfast boppa will eat 6 corn chips for breakfast (something about reminding him of his childhood)
my grandma has ice cream for dinner every night
my grandpa was a farmer and my grandma taught paino lessons
my boppa has nine lives--his angels are really watching out for him
they would do anything for their grandkids
my grandma was known for having one of the best gardens around the area
they only had two children --a boy & a girl--because it was important to him to pay their way through college (so honorable!)
to this day my grandpa prefers to mow the lawn on saturday (even if it needed it on thursday) to have his yard lookin' sharp for those sunday drivers
my grandma has Parkinson's disease--and confined to a wheelchair 98% of the time
any book or tv show my boppa reads or watches he acts like the characters are his friends in real life
they still have pillow talk every night
they are a perfect match--by nature my grandma is a worrier and my grandpa is an eternal optimist
my grandma goes to an adult day care center 4 days a week and calls is "her job" (so cute!)
my boppa can outwork any man half his age
i started calling him Boppa when i was little because i couldn't pronounce grandpa--- to this day (even though we tell him differently) he thinks we everyone calls him "papa!"
my boppa loves the pieces out of my grandma
since moving her we have dubbed them 'B & G'

For the most part moving here has been going really well.  Ryan & I were talking the other day how its weird it doesn't feel weird living here.  There have been a couple of times where its been a little stressful :my grandma will get back from the adult day care center & needing help going the bathroom, Tucker's crying cause he wants a bottle and I'm in the middle of cookin' supper------ but, for the most part its been pretty smooth transition.  
We have been busy helping them out around the house, cleaning, cooking, vaccuming, helping with my grandma when she falls, washing linens organizing the pantry, etc.  Everyday we try to tackel a small project and a bigger one on the weekends.

And, the best part they claim--Tucker! :-) 

They are two very special people!!

9 month Tucker Fix

okay, i'm not gonna lie, this is mostly for the relatives.  However, if you don't mind a couple fun facts about our little kiddo, please check 'em out!  

9 month Tucker Fix

28..5 Inches Tall
23 Pounds

Things he loves doing now:
climbing up on things
can climb up six steps by himself
loves cherrios
does not have an "off" switch to eating
loves to be where the "action" is--for example if I leave the living room and go to the kitchen...he is there within two feet of me in seconds.  i always have to on the lookout for little fingers & toes!
loves to go swimming
can say dada, baba, nana
he is a very happy little guy
wakes up @ 7:00a.m. on the dot every morning (no complaining here!!)
goes to bed around 7:30 p.m and sleeps through the night
loves to play with newspapers and paper bags (under supervison of course!)
doesn't know a stranger
loves facial hair
loves to be sung to
loves spending time with grandparents and great grandparents
takes 2 naps a day (one usually longer than the other)


getting his clothes changed
interrupted naptime
when the food is gone :-)

4th of july idea

Dress up ice cream cones

To create these decorated ice cream cones just melt white chocolate chips in a microwave, then paint melted chocolate around tops of cones with a pastry brush. Then, dip cones in red, white and blue sprinkles. Place on a waxed-paper-lined tray. Freeze for 10 minutes.

thanks All You!


 This past weekend we had our first kid-free getaway. It was amazing!!  We did miss our little one tons, but knowing he was in great care (aka grandma-land) make it THAT MUCH SWEETER. Here is some of the highlights of the weekend...

10:00am.  Dropped our little kiddo off (with MANY hugs and kisses) and headed out!
12:00 Lunch--a cute little place in Pella called the Windmill Cafe--super good & quick service.  
12-5:30ish drove
5:30 arrived at Ryan's cousins' David & Tara's house.  They were fantastic hostesses by the way!!  We felt so spoiled by them that entire weekend. 
6:00 had our first grilled homemade pizza's!  They were so yummy!  
pictures below:
friday night we hung out on the patio and chatted and then went swimmin'...

the girls went shoppin' & got massages

  and the guys went to play golf.  

...that evening we had a birthday party for Tara (our hosts) and the boys grilled some mean bacon wrapped shrimp & bacon wrapped jalapenos.

my husband was really excited for this!! 

two of ryan's cousins

we headed out for breakfast to this adorable little mom & pops joint where they bought an old house and made it a cute little diner.  

we had a GREAT weekend ...however we were really excited to come back and see our little man!!!  
Thanks Dave & Tara!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fun BBQ ideas

***This WHOLE post is from Be Different...Act Normal.  I thought it was so cute you must read/get ideas for your summertime bbq's!  You should really check her website many fun ideas!!***

Here is what she wrote...

Instead of a boring drink cooler, throw some ice in your (cleaned out) wheelbarrow:
You can even have a separate wheelbarrow for the kids so they know what drinks are for them and can reach them easily (but you will want it to be red of course!):

Everyone usually goes for the easy sharpie on the red cup method to mark drinks, which works, but if you are using drinks in bottles, keep a bucket of colorful rubberbands near the drinks and people can color code their bottles.  If you have kids attending, use these
fun food shaped rubber band bracelets
 and they can keep them as party favors after the barbecue:
I love these fun baskets in place of paper plates:
Right now they are 4 for $1 at Target in their dollar spot, but you can usually find them all over the place this time of year.  They are easier for little hands to carry and make for almost as easy of a clean up if you line them with parchment.

Barbecue in a Jar (or a picnic too!)

There are so many fun ideas for using regular old canning jars at a barbeque (or a picnic too!)  Ideas that are both cute and handy.  Here are some of my favorites!

All You used widemouth jars not only to hold the lemonade, but to hold the lemons (and flowers) as well:

But it is the lemonade idea that everyone knows, but that I love the most.  I love drinking strawberry lemonade from a widemouth jar at my favorite barbecue restaurant.

Have little hands that can't hold a big glass jar, go smaller, keep the lids on, and use a straw:

Even if you don't want to purchase the daisy cut metal lids, you can use a drill to make a hole for the straw.

Country Living used these cute jars to store their corn and chickpea salad, but 

Givers Log but the whole darn meal in a jar:

And I have to admit that it looks REALLY GOOD!

Desserts!  Desserts are really fun and cute in a jar!  There are a couple of bakeries that sell cupcakes in a jar, but really all you have to do is bake cupcakes the normal way and then cut them in half, and layer the halves in the jar with frosting:

Or you can just bake them in the jar and let people frost them themseleves.  

The same layering idea works for ice cream.  You can use little jars to make individual parfaits and then seal them up and put them back in the freezer (or keep them on ice!)

 Not Martha has great recipes for baking culte little pies and cobblers in jars too:

And the best part of all these ideas is that you can keep a nice lid on them (and keep bugs OUT of them) until it is time to eat! 

What is your favorite thing to eat or drink out of a jar?
Didn't she do a great job?  so many cute ideas!!  So seriously...go check her out here

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rookie Mom

Today I met up with two girlfriends at Brookside park to go "swimming" with our little ones ----and let me tell you did I feel like a rookie mom.  You could tell they have definitely done this before!  They had their towels, granola bars, packed lunches, juice boxes, sunscreen etc.  I have so much to learn! They were so gracious in letting me soak up their experience and  towels! :-) 

Two things I learned today:
1.)  I need to have a "summertime" bag in the van at all times.  who knows when a fun opportunity like that will happen and I want to be better prepared. 
2.)  you need good girlfriends like that to share in the challenging and joys of parenthood.

Thank you Rachel & Jessica for helping out this rookie mom!! 

Completely random fact of the day.  My hubby proposed to me at Brookside park.   

bubbles & Clarence, Iowa

My sister is a music teacher in Clarence, Iowa.  We really wanted to see one of her concerts before the school year was over so we headed East to see a variety show.  Auntie Carly had bubbles and it is one of Tuckers newest favorite things! Here are a couple of pictures on the night.

Galena, IL

For a fun girls getaway my sisters, myself & my mom went to Galena IL for the day.  It was so much fun going to all the shops and exploring a new, cute little town.  We all enjoyed ourselves and took full advantage of the day!  My little guy stayed with my hubby for the weekend while we spent the night @ my sisters the night before.  Hopefully this will become a yearly tradition! ;-) (wink, wink!)

Granma Ann's birthday

fGrandma Ann's 90th Birthday Party

See this beautiful lady in the photo above?! This Ryan's grandma and in April she celebrated 90 years young.  We have a wonderful weekend with lots and lots of family in town for the event.  Here is a picture of almost all of us Houcksters! 

Ryan got some quality time in with his dad and uncles playing golf...

and some fun ones of Tucker by uncle Andrew...

one other cool thing of the weekend is we got a mini van!! We LOVE it.  My father-in-law Jon had found it for us and it was so fun going with Ryan's Dad, Uncle and brother in law to go check it out.  We were all over that thing checking everything out.  :-)  

It was a great weekend! 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

envelope liners

 Envelope Liners

Upgrade your greeting cards--wedding invitations, stationery, and greeting cards.  This is super simple! You can use almost any paper imaginable to make envelopes liners – solids, patterns, fine paper, newspaper, magazine pages, even photocopies of pictures.

Click here to see a quirky video of sue as she shows you how to do it! 

Click here to order the envelope liner template kit!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

We've moved...again & FPU plug!


We have moved again! Our new address is:

Ryan, Ashley & Tucker Houck
P.O. Box 1784
Ames, Iowa 50010

We're doing something really different this time, even for us! We have moved to Nevada and in with my grandparents, Boppa & Grandma Huhn.  Or as we've affectionately dubbed them (as of recently) 
 B&G.  Here is our thought process behind the move. 

Reason #1
 Dump our Student Loans: It is our hearts desire to kick our student loans out of our lives, which thankfully is our only debt.  No car payments, no credit card balances...just those pesky student loans! We have roughly $45,000 left on SL and then we'll be completely debt FREE!  (minus our rental units)

 About three years ago we took a class offered through our church called Finacial Peace University by Dave Ramsey.  It really had an impact on us.  He is a financial guru with a passion for getting people out of debt and living like no one else, so you can give like no one else!  So, we decided to take to heart  his words and live like no one else (a.k.a. living with our grandparents) so we can live like no one else later on. 

Reason #2
 Education: We want to help pay for (or as much as we can) our children's education...and who knows how expensive that'll be in 18 plus years!

We realize this makes us huge dorks, but hopefully smarter dorks in the long run.  Over the last month when people have asked us where we're living we've been a little embarrassed to tell our current living situation, the reactions have been anywhere from, "wow, thats great!!" to " ohhh...why would you do that?!" But, we've starting to really embrace it.  We are sick of being a slave to the lender.  ( Proverbs 22:7.)

With a little determination, sacrifice and  ALOT of discipline we hope to get there soon! 
Here are Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps:

Baby Step 1
$1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is for those unexpected events in life that you can’t plan for: the loss of a job, an unexpected pregnancy, a faulty car transmission, and the list goes on and on. It’s not a matter of if these events will happen; it’s simply a matter of when they will happen. Learn more

Baby Step 2
Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
List your debts, excluding the house, in order. The smallest balance should be your number one priority. Don’t worry about interest rates unless two debts have similar payoffs. If that’s the case, then list the higher interest rate debt first. Learn more

Baby Step 3
3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
Once you complete the first two baby steps, you will have built serious momentum. But don’t start throwing all your “extra” money into investments quite yet. It’s time to build your full emergency fund. Learn more

Baby Step 4
Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
When you reach this step, you’ll have no payments—except the house—and a fully funded emergency fund. Now it’s time to get serious about building wealth. Learn more

Baby Step 5
College funding for children
By this point, you should have already started Baby Step 4—investing 15% of your income—before saving for college. Whether you are saving for you or your child to go to college, you need to start now. Learn more

Baby Step 6
Pay off home early
Now it’s time to begin chunking all of your extra money toward the mortgage. You are getting closer to realizing the dream of a life with no house payments. Learn more

Baby Step 7
Build wealth and give!
It’s time to build wealth and give like never before. Leave an inheritance for future generations, and bless others now with your excess. It's really the only way to live! Learn more

Father's Day Gift! (free printable)

**RYAN & Jon please do not read!!**

With Father's Day right around the corner why not add some personalization to your gift?  Click here  for this FREE download to add some retro labels to your gift this Father's Day!

Check out here for a cute way one blogger decorated with the label. 

and for a cute card I came across this idea for making a cute/original Father's Day card. 

Enjoy this beautiful day! 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

one (of the many reasons) i love my hubby

My Simple Pleasure of the Day

one of the cutest things my husband does is making it a big deal when i get my back from getting my hair done.  something completely silly, but i love it ... EVERY, SINGLE, time it makes my day.  its something he's done since we got married and  hes got it down to a tee.  I come in, he stops what he's doing comes over (usually with a huge smile on his face) and lovingly shapes my hair, scrunches my curls says its a keeper.  
One of those small simple pleasures in life.  :-)

I've got a thing for wooden pallets

I have a thing for pallets, and chickens. Weird, huh?   Although this post I'll stick with the pallets.  I cannot wait for the day we buy an old farm house-- one where I can decorate how I really want my house to feel. a home. 

I am so glad we have lived in our rentals (making for mortgage/rent free living) but I have a hard time really investing myself in them knowing we'll be moving the next year or more.  So...I have been looking at different blogs for inspiration for my decorating style and what I want in our home. 

I've come to the conclusion its a mix between traditional fall, vintage and a hint of rustic.  Before I actually start decorating it I'll have to narrow it down, but honestly I love them both!  One thing that I've seen a few times is decorating with pallets.  I LOVE IT.  Here are a few of my favorites I hope to mimick someday. 

(above)decorating with it

(below) decorating as a bed.  (love this idea!)

I've seen MANY more ideas as coffee tables, garden furniture, benches etc.  

Google it. 

  You might be surprised what you find. 

Anyways, thought I'd share a goofy love of mine!

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