Random Pics and Tips



TIP #1. How to Make The Perfect Care Package

When making a proper care package there are just certain rules. I never knew that I had a gift for this until my husband, in our days of dating days, pointed  out that I may be the best care package giver in the entire land. Hmmm...Who knew?

WHY?

Well.......Here's the scoop if you want it to be very special:

1. Find a box not too big or small. You want a box that will fit everything you are giving snuggly. A huge box with only a little in it is ugly (sorry but it's true)

2. Line the inside of the box with tissue paper, any color or kind will do. It just makes it look fancy and we all like fancy, right? 

RIGHT!

3. Plan to have a very nice variety of items. This Is the most important step. I suggest at least one food item, maybe a reading material (magazine, book) this depends on the occasion of the care package. I also suggest one more expensive or "nicer" item but only one. It could be a piece of clothing or a purse, wallet, earrings....etc. You could also put some socks or pretty markers in there. Again it depends on the occasion. 

4. Finally you MUST wrap every little item individually. It is so fun to get a box filed with a million little things to unwrap. It feels bigger and more special than a box full of what could look like junk. 
Then I always fill it with some kind of confetti or glitter balls or colored shredded paper; just something really fun to put it over the top and rally adds a "WOW" factor!!!! 

And there you have it!!

 Oh and I ALWAYS, ALWAYS add a greeting card on top:)

(Below, care package for a friend with a huge hole in her heart at the moment)
(I hope it brought one tiny ounce of cheer to her broken spirit)


Tip #2. How to salt and pepper your food properly

The makings of mushroom risotto!!!! 
 ALWAYS salt and pepper as you go, so salt the mushroom mix, then salt the rice. If you have more than 2 pots going at a time, salt and pepper them all to taste so at the end you when you mix them together for the finished product you don't end up with a huge pot of tasteless food that you have to add a cup of salt to taste properly. 

Also, if you are making pasta PLEASE, people please salt thh water prior to boiling, It't your only chance to salt it. It should salty like the sea. And PLEASE don't over cook it. Al Dente Por Favor:) I'm Italian, this is a very important subject for me! 

I'm very serious about food! seriously!!!! 


Tip #3. How to Make Steak House Baked Potatoes

If you want steak house baked potatoes, you must wash, poke with a fork several times, rub with olive oil, sprinkle tops with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, and wrap in tin foil and bake. VOILA! Steakhouse potato! 


Tip #4 How to Make Collard Greens Taste Good

If you want your collard greens to taste good AT ALL you better boil them with lots of ham hocks. 
That's all!!!! 


Tip #5 How To Not Make Your Self Insane
Don't give your kids giant sippy cups full of hot cocoa, whip cream and sprinkles regardless of how lovely it seems at the time. 
Just trust me. 

We ended up with a busted lip, cocoa all over the furniture and about 300,000 tantrums. 

Just trust me! 



Hope you enjoyed my tips and tricks!!!! 

Happy holidays beautiful people!!!

P.S. I have so many delicious recipes, fashion posts at 7.5 months pregnant, yes I actually still have something to wear and some amazing guest posts coming up.  

I'm excited!!!! And I am so glad to back to blogging full time. It really does make me happy!!!!  

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Are You There God? It's Me Hanna.


Where to begin?


On Saturday I had a LONG, exhausting day with the kiddoes, lots of tantrums, back talk, and just general difficulties as usual these days. 

FINALLY, nap time!!! 

I laid them in their beds and went to lye down on the couch, 

finally a rest. 

After a few minuets, I decided to go check the mail. I love "snail" mail and I love this time of year because of all the Christmas cards. 

*They make me happy*

So as I was sorting through, sure enough there appeared to be three Christmas cards sure to brighten my day.


Well...................Little did I know just how bright it was about to get. 

The second one I opened had a beautiful card inside with a VERY GENEROUS amount of money in it. 

I won't disclose how much but enough to buy food and diapers for a couple weeks. If any of you have big families, you know that's A LOT!!! 

I immediately started searching the envelope but there was no return address and no signature. 
The imprint that usually says what state it was sent from was blurred so I couldn't read it.  
They even pasted a printed out label of our address to the front of the envelope so I couldn't even guess at the hand writing. 
There was nothing hand written inside, just the lovely greeting card sentiment and the money.

Immediately I burst into tears! 
I cried a good 15 minuets out of the sheer mercy that was bestowed upon us. 



How could this be happening right now? How could this be true? 

HOW? WHO? 

I have 2 guesses. 
Our wonderful, supportive CHURCH or one of you beautiful readers. 

It doesn't matter. All that matters is that you saved us so much heart ache and worry, you have no idea! honestly a true miracle in my eyes!!! 

With less $100 dollars in our bank account and pay day far, far away this is truly nothing short of a miracle. 

THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU 

Whoever you are, wherever you are!!!!!!! You have no idea what you just did for our little family!



Now......to top it off, that very same evening a case and a half of our beloved Blue Runner Beans showed up on my doorstep from a dear, dear reader Kitty. 

You can go say hi to her {HERE}

THANK YOU KITTY!!!!!!!

Honestly BEST*DAY*EVER!!!!!!!!!

This my friends is the true meaning of Christmas! 
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The Best SOFT Chocolate Chip Cookies and New Friend




It's snowing H*E*A*P*S over here so I thought why not share this new recipe I found and am in love with!!! 


Some chocolate chip cookies are crispy and some are soft. Lately I prefer the soft ones. I think it's because I'm pregnant but who knows?

Anyway, I finally found the PERFECT soft chocolate chip cookie recipe!!!!



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.



YIELD 4-5 dozen cookies!! I froze half or gave half away. I recommend halving this if you aren;t feeding an army! 



Okay enough about cookies, lets talk new Friends!!!!! Ummm.......Pretty much the best thing in the world besides  the smell of a newborn baby.

I think her and her family are gorgeous. She has amazing style and a great outlook on life. 



Gorgeous isn't she?

Cruise on by her blog and say hi why don't cha. You won't be sorry you did!!! 

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For the Love of Life......Best of series

I L*O*V*E this post!!!! I hope you find it inspiring as part of my best of bouffe e bambini segment! 



Life is beautiful, spectacular, tragic, sad, painful, and very temporary so enjoy it.


Take the bad and find a way to make it okay. I trained for 6 months for a marathon that I had to cancel 2 weeks from go time and now I have a boot stuck on my leg for a month and I can't hardly do anything. Pretty devastating!

What can I do about it? NOTHING!!!! So, I might as well make the best of it!!!!!


It has to be okay because if it wasn't okay it would be the end, and if it were the end it would be okay! 


Set goals, achieve them, even if your scared out of your mind. I promise, you'll become a stronger person and you most probably will even succeed. 

Imagine that! 


Live every day in the moment and ENJOY because you'll be gone before you know it. Tell your loved ones how much you care because they can be gone in a heartbeat and one day they will be. I hope that day isn't tomorrow.


Go out and get it!!!!! whatever it is your searching for, go get it. Don't wait around worrying about how,

 just do it!!!!

FOR GOD SAKES "LET THE WORLD SEE YOU SHINE"



Gorgeous Tank found {HERE}
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Homemade Moose Munch




Every Year around the holidays I L*O*V*E to serve Moose Munch around our house. Moose Munch however is quiet expensive in small quantities and comes from Harry and David.

So this year due to our financial situation I decided to make it myself and it came out GREAT!!!! 



Ingredients:
1 cup popcorn kernels
6 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
salt to taste
1/2 cup corn syrup (I used dark)
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2-3 cups candied nuts (my recipe)
3 cups melted chocolate chips milk or dark (I used semi sweet)

Directions: 
1. First get a large pot with a lid an d combine the popcorn kernels with the oil in the bottom of the pan. Heat on medium with the lid just slightly ajar. After a few minuets you will hear the kernels popping. As soon as they start to slow down remove the pot from heat. It is easy to burn popcorn.

2. Next spread the popcorn over greased cookie sheets or cookie sheets with Sil Pat Mats on top. NOTE: DO NOT use parchment paper as I did in the photos. I was able to get the much off EVENTUALLY with no paper stuck to it but it was a nightmare. Just trust me!!! Then generously salt the popcorn. 

3. Next make your caramel sauce. Get a medium saucepan and combine butter, corn syrup, white and brown sugar and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil and stir for about 5 minuets, remove from heat and place dollops of caramel sauce over the popcorn. It doesn't have to be perfectly even. The whole idea is to get different bites of different ingredients. 
Then quickly spread your candied nuts over the popcorn and caramel mixture (this step can be omitted if you don't desire nuts.)

4. Now place 3 cups of chocolate chips into a large plastic container and microwave in 30 second intervals stirring each time until "just" melted. Now dollop the chocolate over the entire popcorn mixture in the same fashion you did the caramel. 

5. finally place in the refrigerator or freezer until chocolate and caramel are set and now remove from cookie sheets and serve either in tins, gift bags, or a nice bowl. I store my excess in hefty zip lock bags and it stays fresh.


 H*A*P*P*Y   H*O*L*I*D*A*Y*S!!!!
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Gratitude...The Best of series!!!!

BE HUMBLE.
BE GRATEFUL.
TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR WORK.

Summer 2012

WE so easily forget the things we should be grateful for.

On a daily basis I try REALLY hard to remain humble and be grateful for what I have.

Summer 2012

For gosh sakes it can be that the dishes are clean that day or that the car had enough gas or that the checking account  isn't overdrawn AGAIN.

Or that we  have plenty of food for our kids and our sheets are clean.

Summer 2012

I really think people get caught up in the glitz of life sometimes and you know what, it just doesn't matter,

That pedicure you were complaining about not getting.....that's $35 dollars in groceries.

That girls trip to Vegas, that's time away from your kids.

Yes, yes everyone needs a break sometimes but on a daily basis please try to be grateful for the little things because in the end they are things that will matter the most to you

Summer 2012

On my death bed I want to be able to say I loved my children with  my whole heart and I gave them ALL I could. I want to be able content knowing I was right there by their  side every step of the way guiding them.

I want to be able to say I took pride in  my work and I worked HARD. I want to say I helped people, I changed their lives. 
I want to dye knowing that everyday i was grateful for what I had and I worked hard to maintain a vivacious spirit.

I want to know I didn't pay someone else to raise my kids and I cleaned up after myself. I took pride in myself and my life. Paying people to fix your problems is EXTREAMLY ungratifying.

I am very much a work in progress just like the rest of us but I know my path!

summer 2012

OUTFIT:
Top and skirt: J Crew
Sandals: Lauren Conrad for Kohls




This is our car. 

Yeah this is what you would call a "BEATER"
Isn't is lovely? It's the only one we got! 

One car family!!!!!

Do I stress about it? 
NAHHHH!!!!!!!!! what's the point? I'd rather be grateful for something else.


This is our house on any given day. Do I stress about it? NAHHHHH!!!!
What's the point? It's just goin gto look like that again tomorrow!


BE HUMBLE.
BE GRATEFUL.
TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR WORK.


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Two Babies? 100 Pound Weight Gain? No Problem!!!!



Is there life after having 2 babies and gaining 100 pounds????

ABSOLUTELY!!!
I'm living proof! 

Hi there,

I am a busy mom of two toddlers, a full time critical care nurse, runner, blogger, wife, and I am currently expecting my 3rd child. I'm a busy lady!!! 

This is me! 



It's so nice to meet you. Today I am going to share my weight loss journey with you.
I hope I can help inspire some of you who have had a baby or two and found yourself stuck in a rut, struggling with weight and just not feeling like your self anymore. I have been there my friends. I have lost 116 pounds and am so excited to share my story and inspiration with you. 

 I went from a size 22 to a size 4. 



Here I am with my little loves. My son little Milton is just over 2 .5 now and Ginger is 18 months. I am 27 weeks pregnant with baby #3.   I'm a busy lady!


Meet my husband, big Milton!!!

So this is how my story begins.......

1. First, we were a happy couple!!!!

2. Then we fell in love and got married.


3. Then I got pregnant........

4. Gained 100 + pounds........

5. And had a beautiful baby boy.

My life was forever changed in more ways than one.

First of all let me say that I honestly feel like my life had truly just begun with the birth of my children. I have love for them like I never knew existed. I often feel like my heart might burst with joy when look at their shining little faces. You can read more about me and my transition into motherhood {here}

However, this is what I looked like with my first born. Then I got preganant again 4 month later. WOW! I was pregnant for 2 years straight.


The wonderful news was I was a mom and had given birth to a healthy baby boy and girl. The not so wonderful news was that I had become obese! Yes, obese. Not exactly how I wanted to describe myself but the honest truth.

Honestly, when I was pregnant I thought I was so big because of the baby not realizing that when the baby came out I was going to be just as big. I was completely shocked at my size. When I looked in the mirror I had no idea what I was even looking at. I felt like I was trapped in someones else's body; a very uncomfortable body.


Brutal Honestly of what being Obese feels like:
  • My thighs rubbed together and I would develop a rash if I didn't have pants between my legs at all times.
  • I had little bumps in my armpits where I would shave because they would rub against my upper arm and chafe.
  • I couldn't cross my legs
  • My back ached; I could barley lift my new born baby without throwing my back out
  • I was always sweaty, especially under my breasts
  • I felt disgusting; I have never been so uncomfortable in my life.
  • I was embarrassed. I would run into an old friend and they would kind of look at me like "oh that poor girl used to be so cute but now she had kids and look at her" I HATED THAT!!!
  • I had stretch marks ALL over my abdomen, thighs, upper arms and even down to the back of my shins because I had gotten so big.
  • Nothing fit. I wore pajamas and plus size maternity clothes for a VERY LONG TIME!
  • I stopped caring totally about my appearance; Never making an effort to look nice.
  • My wedding rings didn't fit and I had gained so much weight some of my shoes wouldn't even fit.
    Basically, I just felt horrible inside and out. I felt very unattractive. I would hardly let my husband touch me becasue I felt so ashamed of my body. I stopped wearing make up all together. I wore my hair pulled back every single day and always was in old ratty PJ's. It was so depressing. I was really unhappy.


    It wasn't long before I knew I had to loose the weight and not just a few pounds, I knew I needed to loose A LOT, and so my journey began.........

    I was motivated and darn right DETERMINED to loose this weight. I wanted to be healthy and happy for me, my husband and my kids, It wasn't just about me. I have heard over and over again in my life that "you should just love who you are no matter what size". I love that and I think it's a great sentiment but the honest truth is for me I couldn't love myself in that condition. What's there to love about not feeling good? When I am thinner, I feel healthy, sexy, accomplished and it radiates to all areas of my life. 
     
    Here are a couple before and after pictures that I hope you find inspiring.


    Starting out is the hardest part of the whole journey. Lossing 100+ pounds is a very daunting task to say the least but 

    I am just an average, everyday woman and I did it. That means you can too! 

     I did it completely on my own. I never joined Jenny Craig or weight watchers. I didn't take diet pills, have surgery or starve myself.   I just had a vision of who I wanted to be and I made that vision come to life, Again, you find my detailed plan {HERE}

    I think it is important to think about it long and hard before committing to something like this becasue it is a long journey but it is VERY attainable. If you have a little will power and a little dicipline you can make it happen.  It's important to set a reasonable, realistic goal and you can read more about that in my {GUIDE}

    I wanted to talk a little bit about common pit falls. Many women who desperately want to loose weight will come up with a list of reasons why they don't think they can acheive thier goals so I just wanted to let you know that there is always a way. Here is how I dealt with many typical obsicles while trying to loose weight.

    Common Obsticles:
    • NO CHILDCARE.   I am a full time mom and a full time nurse. I have no childcare whatsoever. I made time to exercise anyway. I bought a double stroller and a baby carrier and I walked everyday. You don't need to go to a gym to loose weight. I did while taking care of 2 babies under the age of 2.
    • FULL TIME WORK.  I also work full time as a nurse, 12 hour night shifts to top it off. You must make time to prepare food for yourself to bring with you to work so youtr not tempted to eat the junk in the cafeteria.
    • A SPOUSE WHO WON'T FOLLOW THE SAME MEAL PLAN AS YOU.     My husband eats pretty much everything I don't eat. He eats sweets, breads, potatoes, pastas. He eats whatever he wants. So no big deal. Prepare meals that can be shared by both like prepare chicken, mashed potatoes and broccoli. You eat the chicken and broccoli and let him eat everything else. You'll be surprised how easy it is to make it work. 
    • NO TIME. I worked full time and was a full time mom during my entire weight loss plan. My best advice is to be prepared. ALWAYS, keep snack friendly food around the house and carry it with you wherever you go, fruit, almonds, cottage cheese are great examples. This way you won't be tempted to binge on whatever food is lying around the house.
      I have dieted many times in the past and this is the first time in my life I have lost this amount of weight in the healthiest way I know how. I never felt hungry or deprived.


      My best advice is BE KIND. BE GENTLE. FORGIVE YOURSELF and then jump right back on that wagon and try agin. Concictency was my greatest tool.

      A few more tips:
      • Be grateful everyday
      • Just let it go
      • Remind yourself how amazing you are, this is hard work
      • Talk about it, accept praise from others, if you work hard, you deserve praise. It feels so good
                           Some of My Favorite Healthy Snack Foods:
      -carrots and celery with ranch dipping sauce
      - Dannon light n fit yogurt with fresh chopped berries
      -pickles
      -raw almonds with small cheddar cheese wedges on the side

                               My Favorite Junk Splurge:
      -Probably Nutella. I can eat straight out of the jar.
      -I also love cupcakes
      -I'm a super duper lover of pasta and bread and all things carbs


      You can find a more detailed outline in what I did physically to help lop off the pounds in my original post but after I reached about 140 pounds I started running. I didn't want to start running sooner than that because I didn't want to get injured so I power walked 2-5 miles a day with the kids for months and months and months until I got slimmer! Then I started running!

      I have had a life long dream to train for and run a full marathon. About 5 years ago I trained but got injured 3 weeks from the race so I did not finish. However, I did start training again and ran  2 half marathons, a 5 K and a 10 K while 4 months pregnant. It was amazing!  




      I just have to say that I feel better now after having 2 babies than I have ever felt in my life. A few days ago my husband told me I look better now at 33 years old, after having 2 children then I did when I was 18 years old. WOW! 

      Not only am I in love with being a mother but now I can truly enjoy my kids and feel great about myslelf. What a great example for my kids as well. They see their mom as healthy, happy and radiant. That is a wonderful thing my friends.


      I truly hope that I have helped to inspire at least one of you to give it a try. It is possible. It is doable even with kids and work and every other crazy thing life throws at you. I am passionate about this and I would truly be happy to answer any questions or just chat about how difficuilt weight loss can be.  Again, you can find EXACTLY how I did it {HERE}Please feel free to email me anytime at "www.bouffeebambini@hotmail.com"



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