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Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Project: Stocking Holder

I am so excited about finally finishing this project!  We don't have a mantle in our home. Every year I fight with sticky backed hooks to try to hold heavy stockings to the wall. I usually give in and use nails and then have to patch the holes on January 2nd. Not this year!!!

I made this darling stocking holder from reclaimed wood, paint, and coat hooks. Additionally I used my Silhouette Cameo to make plastic stencils for the first time. I think it turned out cute. What do you all think? I still need to work on some cuter stockings but these were left from last year.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Food Journal and Avoiding Carbs. Mission Possible.

My Crossfit coach asked me to start keeping a food journal this week. I can see this being a very beneficial tool in helping me achieve my fitness goals. I am still tweaking my system but so far I am liking the MyPlate app from on my iPhone. I have used the desktop version before but would have to remember to enter what I eat. With the app I can enter things as soon as I eat them.
Yes, I am weighing my servings out on a kitchen scale. Why? BECAUSE ALMOST EVERYTHING HAS CARBS!!! Ugh! Carbs are the crack cocaine of foods. I have to really monitor how many carbs I am eating a day. My coach told me to stay below 50 grams of carbs daily and wants me to be really closer to 30 grams on most days. Did you know one serving of carrots has 7 grams of carbs and one serving of broccoli has 6?!? To stay within my target I have to be really careful. 

So what have I been eating? Well this is what I had on Tuesday.


I have the same thing for breakfast every day, an EAS AdvantEdge ready to drink protein shake. I love these because they are low carb, unlike many of the so called protein shakes out there, and they are something I can grab from the pantry and go straight to the car.
One shake has 100 cal, 2 g fat, 3 g carbs, and 17 g of protein. And they taste good too!


I love my Planetbox lunch box. For this lunch I packed 1/2 of a cucumber, 5 ozs of cherub tomatoes, 70 ozs red seedless grapes, 2 boiled eggs, 28 grams of roasted almonds, and a lunch size can of tuna (I think it was a 3 oz can). This was plenty for lunch and my afternoon snack.
This meal had 541 cals, 27 g fat, 13 g carbs, and 43 g of protein. It seems like a lot of fat but that was healthy almond fat :)


This was dinner last night. That is a 9.3 ounce top sirloin steak with 72 grams of steamed carrots and 91 grams of broccoli.
This dinner had 397 calories, 9.3 grams fat, 12.9 grams carbs and 62 grams of protein. I was happy with that!

My grand total for this day was 1038 calories, 38 grams of fat, 29 grams of carbs, and 122 grams of protein. In the future I may choose a leaner meat at night if I eat almonds during the day to reduce the fat intake just a bit but my carb intake was spot on! It can be done  :)

I cleaned the kitchen after dinner and avoided it for the rest of the night since that is my weak time. Any tips you all have to avoid eating at night?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fall Decor: Simple Re-purpose Project

I am starting to put I up my Fall decorations, inside and out. Hopefully I can share some of the ideas I use to inspire someone else.

I found this wreath in one of my Halloween storage tubs.
It was too small for a door wreath and was old and falling apart. I decide to reuse the items on the wreath to fill one of the apothecary jars I made. 

I think it turned out pretty cute. And I love that I recycled something that I was going to toss.
What have you re-purposed lately? Share your comments below :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

More Paleo Lunch Ideas

Paleo Meat Balls

I made Paleo Meatballs for dinner tonight. The recipe is super delicious and can be found here. I am linking to the recipe since it is not mine and I want to give credit where credit is due. :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Catch up September

I haven't been very diligent keeping up with my blog lately. Between school and family and home obligations I just haven't made the time.
Let me catch you up on whats been going on around here:

1. School is back in session. I am taking 18 credit hours this semester which means I drive the 50 miles each way to campus Monday through Friday. That is almost 2 hours per day in the car. Not my idea of a good time but it will be worth it in the end :)

2. My sister is staying with us! I love having my baby sister home! We lay in bed and watch tv together and I have someone to cook for when Jason is on the road working. It is such a blessing to have her here with us and I secretly hope she never leaves.  :)

3. Jason and I are planning our One Year Anniversary trip. Fall Break from school is the same week as our wedding anniversary so how could we not go away for a few days??? We are thinking Gatlinburg, Tennessee but are kicking around a few other ideas as well.

4. Harley dog is loving having Cuddy dog here. Cuddy is my sisters big ole baby pitbull. Harley taught Cuddy to bark and play in the yard. Gracie Marie is not fond of having Cuddy around, however, and makes sure to bark and snarl at her anytime Cuddy gets close. Poor Cuddy!

5. FOOTBALL SEASON IS HERE!!!!!!  Enuf said :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Paleo Lunch Ideas

I have been trying really hard to eat Paleo for most of my meals. Something that really helps me is to make my lunch to take to school instead of eating in the dining hall or student union. By taking my lunch I have complete control over what I eat and I limit my portions to only what my Planetbox lunchbox will hold. I have shared a few pictures of my lunches on Instagram but decided to put them on my blog to help spark some ideas for others who need Paleo lunches.

Hopefully this will spark some ideas for you all on items to pack for a healthy lunch.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fried Squash

Fried Squash Amanda Style

You will need:
Yellow Squash, peeled and sliced medium thick.
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
salt and pepper (to your liking)
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
canola (or your favorite kind) oil
Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet on high heat.
Mix the milk and egg in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, corn meal, salt, and pepper.
Dunk the squash into the milk mix and then into the flour mix. You want a good coating on the squash so don't try to do it all at once!
Place several (maybe 7)  pieces of squash in the hot oil in a single layer. Let it cook for 2 or so and then flip and cook the other side for 2 minutes. If you have ever fried eggplant, then it is the same principle idea.
Pull from the oil and drain on a paper towel.
This is so simple but soooo good, especially when you use fresh squash from the garden. It isn't really healthy (it is fried after all!) but it is a nice treat now and again.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summer Time

Whew. It has been a busy summer around the Bradley's neck of the woods.
I am attending both summer semesters at Henderson State University. Six is the maximum number of hours the college will allow a student to take in each summer session, and there are two sessions. So I will be twelve hours closer to finishing my BSE degree in August :) 
Summer I ended June 27 and I was so pleased to see that I earned As in both of my classes. Hooray!

Jason had the weekend home recently and surprised me with an impromptu trip out of town. He wouldn't tell me where we were going, just to pack an overnight bag and leave the fur kids extra food. We left on Saturday morning and drove the back highways from Benton to Harrison. The weather was absolutely gorgeous!  We made some fun stops along the way.

We stopped by Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas. Since this wasn't our original destination and a last minute decision to stop, we didn't do the tour. We did watch a video about the mission of Heifer International and selected a few items from the gift shop. If you are interested, you can find out more about the organization by going to 

We stopped at several little stores and tourist sites along the way. We I wanted to go see an Opera in the Ozarks performance in Eureka Springs but we didn't want to hurry so we decided to wait and go another time. We found a Hampton Inn in Harrison, Arkansas and checked in for the night. After going out to dinner we returned to the room and were in bed before ten. We were both pretty tired.

The next morning we decided to meander back home. We stopped at a couple of places along the Buffalo River to scout out some possible camp sites for an upcoming camping trip we want to take soon.  We had swim suits but had forgotten to bring towels and really didn't want to get wet and then have a long car ride home. I elected to wade in the river in my board shorts and flip flops. There were tiny fish and they tickled as they nibbled at my feet!
Jason is a fan of smoked meats and cheeses. We found two places within a mile of each other on Highway 64 in St. Joe, Arkansas. We stopped at both :)    Coursey's Smoked Meats makes really awesome sliced meat sandwiches so we picked up two along with chips and canned sodas and had a picnic on the Buffalo National River at Tyler Bend. I joked with Jason that the forest ranger was going to kick me out of the park for feeding a bear. My pet name for him is Honey Bear.

We had a really good time and it was just the break I needed between summer sessions. We got home Sunday afternoon and classes started back on Monday morning.

Hopefully we will get to take that camping trip next month and I can share more of our adventures.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Deocrating for Independance Day. Part One

I like to start decorating for July 4th sometime in mid to late June. This allows time to get everything up and enjoy it before it has to come down again.  I am going to take the next week or so to share some of these ideas.

Remember those DIY apothecary jars that I made? (click here for tutorial)
Changing out the contents for different holidays and seasons is a simple way to make your home festive.  I purchased most of these materials at the Dollar Tree.  The first jar is layered color confetti paper in red, white, and blue. The second jar is open top and has red, blue, and silver star garland and has two flags that I picked up at WalMart for about a dollar each. The last jar is another red and blue garland strand.
It is really simple and cheap but is fun and festive.

Up next will be a banner to span across the opening of the doorway!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mamaw Mae's Rice and Tomatoes

Tonight as I was chopping an onion to prepare supper, I started crying. As much as I would like to blame the onion, it was innocent of any offense. I was crying because I was making a recipe my Mamaw Mae used to make. Even though she has been on the other side of the veil since 1993, I still think about her often and miss her very much. She influenced my life in many ways and I am eternally grateful for her love.  

In remembrance of my Mamaw, I want to share a recipe that she used to make often. It has always been one of my favorites. It is really cheap to make, as were most recipes that orginated during harder times.


Rice and Tomatoes

You will need:
2 cups slightly undercooked white rice
1 large onion, chopped
a tiny bit of cooking oil of your choice
1 quart of HOME CANNED TOMATOES (if you are completely desperate you can use store bought. It won't taste near as good though.)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet and saute the onion until done.
Add in your canned tomatoes AND the juice.
Liberally salt the tomatoes and add a good amount of black pepper. The amount of salt will depend on whether you use home canned tomatoes that were packed without salt or nasty store bought canned tomatoes that bring shame to your Mamaws that came before you.
Let this simmer for about 15 minutes while you cook your rice in a separate pot.
Stir the slightly undercooked rice into the onion and tomato mixture in your skillet.
Let it all simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and it looks about right.

You can serve this as a side dish with just about anything or let it stand on its own as a meatless, frugal dinner.

I hope you give this recipe a try. It is absolutely delicious and reminds me of simpler times spent in the kitchen with my best friend, Mamaw Mae.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fun With Vinyl

I have been having so much fun since I jumped into the world of vinyl cutting on my Silhouette.

I made this beauty for my mother in law for Mother's Day:

I was surprised by how many people asked if I could make them a sign. I sat down and calculated the cost of all the materials and supplies and finally settled on a price. I am excited that I might actually get to sell some of these!

Then tonight I decided to try my hand at personalizing water bottles for some of our nieces.

I used the font Cutie Pop for the purple and pink bottle and the font Handwriting for the blue bottle. All the images are from the Silhouette store. I found the bottles at Hobby Lobby.  I am really anxious to see how well these hold up. If they do well then I will be making more, possibly to sell (with different graphics and fonts).

I am just so excited about all the possibilities of things I can do with vinyl. :)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Another finished project: Our Photo Wall

After being married for 6 months, I finally put our wedding pictures on the wall! Our photographer did such a wonderful job taking and editing the photos and I wanted to do them justice by displaying them nicely. This is what I finally decided on:
The view headed down the hall from our main areas to the bedrooms.
Close up view of The Family Proclamation
I have wanted some sort of personalized frame to display The Family: A Proclamation to the World for a while. I found this awesome, wide frame at Michael's on sale for less than $10! I ordered the proclamation from the Church website for only 50 cents in an 11 by 17. I framed it and then added Bradley Family and our wedding date in viny cut on my Silhouette. I love this personal touch that shows that we claim the Proclamation on the Family as truth and apply the teachings to our family!

I bought this frame set during Black Friday sale at Walmart for around $6. I chose to put wedding pictures of us and our families in the frames. One of the frames was for a 5x7. I didn't have that size picture printed so I decided to put our initial there instead. I had some matting paper in 5x7 and I cut a B on cardstock using my Silhouette. I just glued it to the mat and used it in the space. Love it!
Final view of the whole thing as seen from the hallway looking toward the living room.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

My first Glogster and feedback needed!

I had to create a Glogster for an assignment in my Educational Technology class. We could select any topic that we wanted. Since I did a booth at a preparedness night at church on food dehydration I thought I would make my Glogster on that. I need feedback from peers for my written reflection on the assignment so please take a look and share any feedback below in the comments section! Thanks!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

TBT. Nothing but ball ya'll.

I am going to jump on the Throwback Thursday bandwagon. 

I started playing baseball when I was 5. My Nonny was a feminist who thought that a girl could do anything a boy could do. And since we didn't have a girl's softball league in White Hall yet, she signed me up for baseball. There were only 2 or 3 girls in the whole league. I was bullied horribly, but I learned to play ball. I played in the boys league for 2 years before I was old enough for the girl's softball league. I was ahead of the game (pun intended) because the other girls hadn't played. I really loved playing sports and played in baseball, softball, basketball, and volleyball leagues. My Nonny wasn't okay with me playing football, but I probably would have if she had let me. I wasn't a tom boy though! I love cooking with my grandmother and wearing dresses and having pig tails. I just really loved sports!  I plan to strongly encourage my kids to be involved in sports!
So today's TBT:

Me at age 5. I was serious about ball. :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Never too old for an Easter basket

My sweet husband is going to be out of town working this weekend and won't be home for Easter. This necessitated rearranging some plans, including giving his Easter basket early. I firmly believe that my good, hard working husband needs to be shown how much I appreciate him. One of the little ways that I do this is by taking the time to make him something special.
So here is Jason's 2013 (early) Easter basket:
I added some of his favorite things: eclipse chewing gum, Butter finger eggs, beef jerky, cheese dipping snacks, Reese's Eggs, different kinds of snack crackers, bread sticks, Jolly Ranchers, suckers, a new Iphone case, Iphone screen protectors, playing cards, and a little stick anywhere basketball hoop. Oh, and a rubber duck dressed as a super hero. Since he spends so much time on the road, I wanted him to have lots of snacks in his basket so he knows that I support him while he supports our family. It doesn't cost a fortune to make your husband a basket for Easter. Go for it! The big kid in him will appreciate your effort. :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sweet baby Gracie Marie

I realized that I have few pics of my sweet little baby on my blog! Her pictures cover my facebook but not here. Prepare for cuteness overload!

Gracie Marie Bradley was born in late Spring 2010. She was so tiny and so needy. She had a rough start to life. She was born so small and had to be taken from her mom. She was the only survivor of her litter and nearly died from hypoglycemia herself. My sister saved her from the breeder but didn't have the time to spend with her that Gracie needed. So I adopted her in August 2010.
She saved me more than I saved her. She is my sweet baby and I love her so much!



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Spaghetti Squash

I have mentioned spaghetti squash to several people and have been surprised when they either hadn't heard about it or had no idea how to prepare it. It is a fabulous, lower carb alternative to pasta. Here is how to prepare it:

You will need
1 spaghetti squash
olive oil

Using a large, very sharp knife, cut the squash in half and use a spoon to remove all the seeds. Rub the inside with olive oil and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Place cut side up on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. Keep an eye on it and pull it before it burns. You will know when it is done when it pulls away from the skin easily. It should look like this:

Let it cool for a few minutes and then use a fork to scrape the inside of the squash out. See how easy it is to do?

You can use this in place of pasta with most any sauce. Be sure and drain the liquid off. Otherwise your dish will be watery. I will often lay it out on a flour sack cloth towel to absorb some of the moisture.
It is also delicious when tossed with just olive oil and herbs and garlic.

Give spaghetti squash a try instead of carb loaded pasta!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Saint Patrick's Day Decor #3

Remember those apothecary jars that I made? If not, check it out here.

I can use these for every season and holiday by simply changing the contents.
This is how they look for Saint Patrick's Day:
Here is a closer look at the contents of the jars:

I filled the first jar with cheap, shiny, shamrock garland that I picked up at the Dollar Tree for $1.
The second jar is filled with white shredded paper and then I used a circle punch to make some circles on a green and white polka dot card stock. I pushed these down and to the side of the jar for just a little green color. Cost: free with scraps I already had lying around.
The third jar is filled with green glass gems that I also found at the Dollar Tree. I used 3 bags so this filler cost $3 but will get reused for something at Easter and Christmas. :)
Total cost for fillers for 3 jars: $4.  What an inexpensive, fun way to decorate for March!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Saint Patrick's Day Decor #2

I think there should be a banner for every holiday in our home. I don't have a mantle, but I do have a shelf above the doorway between the living room and kitchen. It makes a perfect place to hang holiday banners.


I kept this banner really simple. I cut white card stock on my Silhouette Cameo. I then used the same shape but reduced the size to cut this pretty green polka dot from patterned paper. I cut the letters on black card stock using the Harrington font in Silhouette Studio. Then I glued it all together. I used a glue stick for the two banner shapes. I found a glue pen is easiest for the letters. I used a single hole punch to punch holes on each side of the banner piece and then strung a ribbon to hang the banner. Easy, simple way to bring festive to your home!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Saint Patrick's Day Decor #1

I want to share some ways that I am decorating our home for Saint Patrick's Day.  Today is Day 1 and combines a family activity with some easy decorating.

This is the inside of the door going to our garage. This is the door we go out most often and so I chose this location for our activity. I made a simple sign and then used my Silhouette to cut out four leaf clovers on green card stock.

The idea is that the family comes together and talks about their blessings. Then you write a blessing on each clover and sticky tack it to the door.
We used a gold Sharpie to write one word blessings such as family, love, faith, home, etc...
This would probably be MUCH MORE fun with kids instead of a grumpy husband who thinks it is silly. But still, it did get us thinking about our blessings, which was the main point of the activity :)

DIY Apothecary Jars for Cheap

I have been wanting some apothecary jars, but even on sale they are a bit more than what I want to spend. So tonight I made a couple from glass jars and candle sticks. It is a really easy project!
First, find some glass jars that you like.
I found this one on sale for 50% off regular price at Hobby Lobby. It was only $5!

I then found this little open top jar at the Dollar Tree for, wait for it, $1  :)

I found matching candlesticks on sale, 50% off regular price, at Hobby Lobby for $3.50 each.
I used E6000 glue that I already had at home to glue the jars to the candlesticks. Just spread a thin bead of glue to the top of the candlestick and then set the jar on top, making sure the jar is centered. Then leave it alone to set overnight and VOILA:

I spent a total of $13 to make two apothecary jars!

Tomorrow I will post some ideas on how to decorate with them!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Garden Omelet

I love omelets! You can put almost anything in an omelet for a nice brunch. Today I made a garden omelet and it was probably the best I have ever eaten. This recipe makes two generous servings.

4 slices turkey bacon
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced bell pepper
1 medium zucchini
1 oz of fresh grated cheddar
3 eggs
pat of butter

In a cast iron skillet, fry the turkey bacon. Remove to a plate.
Add onion and bell pepper to pan and cook until almost tender. Add zucchini and cook until heated.
Remove the veggies to a bowl.
Add a pat of butter to the skillet and let melt.
Scramble the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add eggs to the skillet, then add the veggies back, keeping them to the middle of the eggs and in a thin layer. Grate your cheddar on top of the veggies.
Let the eggs cook until the bottom is no longer runny. Fold the omelet over itself and let it finish cooking.

I like to serve this omelet with a few slices of avocado and a generous spoonful of homemade (no store bought please!) salsa. You can serve with fresh fruit with a balanced, nutritious breakfast. Enjoy!

I don't believe in Tattoos

 I can't even fathom defacing my skin with ink...but I will rock some nail art! :)   I love having my nails done. It just makes me feel more put together. Plus it keeps me from chewing on them which is a very nasty, horrible, bacteria ingesting habit!!! Here are some of my more recent, favorite designs I have had on my nails:


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Stir fry: An easy, healthy meal

I have been struggling this week with how to incorporate my love for cooking and baking into a healthy lifestyle. I have started working out twice a week with a Crossfit coach and he is constantly reminding me that "We can't out train poor nutrition!". I love to cook and so tonight I decided to make a stir fry that follows the nutritional guidelines found here.

Stir fry is one of the easiest ways to incorporate more vegetables and lean protein into our diets. It is so versatile that you can literally use whatever you have on hand. For example, tonight I used leftover beef steak. I almost always cook my steak rare, partly because I like rare meat and partly because it makes it easy to use in a second meal without over cooking the meat.


Easy Stir Fry:
minced garlic
sliced onion
cabbage (finely shredded)
yellow squash
bell pepper
left over steak
1 tbs oil
sunflower seeds
Stir fry Sauce Recipe at Eat Live Paleo

Heat your wok over high heat. Add oil by pouring down the side of the pan and swirling to coat all sides.
Cook garlic for a minute or so until browned.
Add onion and cabbage and allow to cook until onion starts to soften.
Add the remaining chopped vegetables and rare steak. Cook until heated and tender crisp.
When almost done, make a hole in the middle and add in a little Stir Fry sauce (see link above for recipe). I also sprinkled on a few sunflower seeds at this point for crunch.
Serve and enjoy!