Random Ramblings: September 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I am always looking at ways to save money, especially on things we buy all the time.  

My kids LOVE oatmeal for breakfast before school.  We go through ALOT of oatmeal.  Well it may not seem like alot to spend $2.00-$3.00 for a box of 10 packs for instant oatmeal. But when the kids eat almost all of them in one morning it can get costly.  So I start wondering if there was a way I could make my own instant oatmeal.  I turned to PINTEREST of course.  

I found a recipe HERE for apple cinnamon instant oatmeal.  

She stored hers in individual zip lock baggies, but I just stored mine in an large tupperware.  

Her recipe is just for a single serving, but I wanted to make a huge batch so that I had a bunch on hand for breakfasts.  

Let me show you how to make it.  It is very simple. 

Here is the original recipe for a single serving. 

1/3 c. instant oatmeal
2 tbsp. chopped dehydrated apple slices
1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt

I multiplied her recipe by 20.  

Here is what my recipe came out to be :

6 2/3 cups instant oatmeal
2 1/2 cups chopped dehydrated apple slices
5/8 cup brown sugar
5/8 cup granulated sugar
1 2/3 tbsp cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp salt

I just chopped up all the dehydrated apples and mixed everything together in my big tupperware and put the lid on.  I then shook it up so give it a good mix.  I then  stirred it up with a spoon again just to make sure it was mixed up well.  

To cook I just take about 2 cups and add milk and butter and heat up in a pan on the stove.  Just depending on how creamy or thick you like it depends on how much milk and butter you add.  I usually add half a stick of butter and then just add the milk as it cooks.  Because as it heats up it gets a little thicker, so if it seems too thick I just add a little more milk as I go.  

It is really good and actually makes me want a bowl of oatmeal right now.  :)  

What kinds of things to you make in bulk?  Id love to hear what recipes you make in bulk.  


Monday, September 29, 2014


This is one of my favorite pictures I took while we were at Medieval Times.  I love all the colors surrounding the horse.  

For Jacob's birthday me and the kids took him to Medieval Times.  None of us have ever been and Jacob and I love the time period.  I would love to live back where there was castles and no phones or televisions and the way to communicate was with messengers on horses.  I love the clothes they wore back then and just the castles.  Who wouldn't love to live in a castle?  Well even the way they lived back then, seemed like life was much simpler than it is now.  I think I was born in the wrong time period.  Even one of my favorite tv shows is REIGN on the CW Network.  

So I was excited to be able for our little family to go to Medieval Times.  

We got there and I had to take a picture of Jacob and the kids in front of a Knight on a horse out front.  Chloe had to go to the bathroom really bad too.  

We went in and had a picture taken with the King and Princess.  Then we were given our color.  We were going to be seated in the yellow section.  We got the cool yellow crowns to wear for the night.   

Our wench came around and asked us what drinks we wanted and brought us some castle bread (also known as garlic bread).  
The food was really good.  We a tomato bisque soup with the garlic bread.  Then we had chicken and ribs and these potatoes that were really good.  
The show started and they introduced the knights and the King and Princess.  

The show was really good and the knights fight in a battle.  

After all the battles the knights go around and throw carnations to the audience.  Chloe got one and was SO excited to get a flower from our knight.  She LOVES knights and princesses and castles.  She still asks almost everyday when we will go back to the castle.  

Towards the end In the end one knight calls out another and they battle each other.  

After you are done eating they come and take all your plates and bring you boxes if you have food to take home.  Then they bring you an apple pastry for dessert.

It was alot of fun to watch the knights fight and have your own color to root for.  The food was good and it was a fun way to spend some family time to celebrate Jacob's birthday.

Next time I think we want to try the Pirates Dinner Adventure.  It is just a few doors down from Medieval Times and it is the same concept as this, just with Pirates.  Which we also love pirates.

Have  you ever been to Medieval Times or anything like it? Id love to hear or read about your experience.  


Sunday, September 28, 2014


This past week I was over on the LAYOUT A WEEK blog sharing my first.. well layout.  It is a back to school themed layout.  Come on over HERE to check it out and get all the details on how I created the page.
Here is the layout I shared over there.  


Saturday, September 27, 2014


Recently I joined a few other talented ladies as a member of the LAYOUT A WEEK DESIGN TEAM.   I am excited to be part of the team and looking forward to seeing all layouts these other talented ladies share as well.
Let me share the team with you.  

This is me, and you are here on my blog.  

Jennifer is the founder of this blog and you can find her HERE.  

Find her blog HERE.  

Find her blog HERE.  

Find her blog HERE.  

Thanks for stopping.  


Friday, September 26, 2014


I completely forgot to share this with you.  Last Friday was my last day over on the IMAGINISCE blog sharing some projects.  

I shared this layout which I LOVE.  "DADDY'S LITTLE PRINCESS " My daughter is a total daddy's girl and I wanted to capture that relationship they share. This is by far one of my most favorite layouts I have ever created.  
I also created this card "BUNDLE OF JOY".  I only had the stickers for this line, so I used the sticker packaging on the card.  

You can find my blog post HERE  .  

Thanks for stopping by.  


Thursday, September 18, 2014


I am always behind on making cards for people.  I always say I am going to make a bunch of blank ones so that I have them on hand.  But, somehow that never happens and at the last minute I just have no card to give... bummer.
But one thing I have kept up on was 2 straight years in a row I got my husbands birthday card done on time.  Last year I shared the card I made him HERE.

So I think I am on a good roll with his birthday cards.
This year I was inspired by a Nichol Magourik card HERE for my card.

I don't have the stamp set, so I saved the image, and traced it in my SILHOUETTE STUDIO SOFTWARE and cut it out in the size I wanted.

My card is a 5x7 so I made the image fill up most of the space. 

I knew I wanted a rainbow color effect to it, so I was so excited when I was going through my scrapbook paper stash and came across this REALLY OLD rainbow striped paper. I cut that down to 4.5 x 6.7 so there was just a small white border where the base of my card was.  I then sprayed some white Mr. Huey over this paper and let some big white drops fall on the paper, and set it aside to dry while I worked on the rest of the card.  

Now since I had the embossing powders on hand I was trying to figure out how I was going to go about this card.  I wanted the look of embossing powder, not just colored cardstock.  So... I started thinking and here is what I did. 

I cut each word out of white cardstock.  I took my embossing ink and smeared it all over each word, one at a time.  I then covered it with the colored embossing powder and heat set each word.  Yes I know it seems like so much more work than just cutting each word out in colored cardstock.  I just really liked the look of the embossing.  

Then I ran each word through my xyron sticker maker machine and set them aside.  

I took some black satin ribbon and folded it over and trimmed it down so that it would show out of the top and bottom of the card, underneath the size of the rainbow paper.  I glued that ribbon down.  

I took my rainbow paper and placed it on the card, then I placed each word of the greeting in place.  I took some colored twine I had on hand and made a colorful bow and glued that to the top of the rainbow paper and glued a blue button in the middle.  

I had silver dots I randomly placed all over the card.  Then I didn't have rainbow dots, so I took my white pearl looking dots and colored them with my sharpie markers and that worked PERFECTLY, and it is permanent.  I then placed them over the card, close to the color that word that they coordinate with. 

Hope you enjoy my card for today.  I think this was a super fun card to make, and I love the bright colors on it.  


Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Today I am over on the SILHOUETTE AMERICA blog sharing my candle wreath.  It even has gold glittery leaves.  Come on over and check it out HERE.  


Monday, September 15, 2014


Today I wanted to take a moment to say a huge HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my husband Jacob.  
We have been married for 5 1/2 years and were together for 10 before that. We have been through many many things in our life together.  

He is such a hard worker, and works so hard for me and the kids. 

For his first part of his gift this year from me was a little fun lunch date we went on.  I saw it first on groupon and thought it looked interesting. It was a mystery dinner show.  It was like a real life version of the game clue.  It was alot of fun and the food was really good too.  Ill share more on the entire show in another post.  

This year I threw him a "surprise" birthday party, that he found out about from someone, but oh well I am still glad I was able to throw him a Miami Dolphins themed birthday party.  It was alot of fun on Saturday.  

Today I have one more suprise for him up my sleeve, that he still doesn't know about.  :)  That is for later today though, so I will share that later.  

Jacob, we have been through so much in our life together and I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how much I LOVE YOU and wish you a HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY. 
I hope that this year has been full of birthday surprises and that you have enjoyed them all.  
Thank you for all you do for me and the kids and being such a good daddy to them and husband to me.  HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY and I hope your day is wonderful.  
love, NICOLE  

Friday, September 12, 2014


I was asked to join IMAGINISCE as a guest designer on their blog this week.  
Here is a peek at what I created. 

You can find IMAGINISCE on FACEBOOK HERE and on their BLOG HERE.  

Come on over and check out my projects.
I will be back again next week with a few more projects.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014


So Saturday morning we got up and laid around in the super comfy bed and watched a little tv.  Then we decided we should get up and go have breakfast.  So we took our showers and while I was doing my makeup Jacob called me out to the patio. There was tons of hot air balloons all around us.  Some were so close I swear you could reach up and touch them.  Not really, but they seemed that close.  
I snapped a few pictures and finished up getting ready to go.  As we drove over to the restaurant, you could just see them for miles and miles.  It was such a site, quite beautiful. I loved how they just added a pop of color to the overcast sky that morning.  

We had our breakfast, another amazing meal.  I had pancakes and Jacob ordered a burrito that he said was excellent as well.  He also had a side of bacon, and mine had a side of fruit.  

After breakfast I set the timer on my camera, propped the camera up on my sweater on the hood of the car and took a few pictures of me and Jacob.  Normally I hate being in front of the camera, but the grapes were just so beautiful and I wanted something to remember this trip.  Of course I didn't curl my hair until after this, figures.  :)

I think this is the one I am going to frame for our living room wall.  

On Friday we drove past the barrel house and the doors were closed already, so on our way back to the room after breakfast they were open.  Jacob stopped for me so I could walk up and grab a few shots with my camera.  It was cold in there, and smelled just like wine.  It was really cool to see all the barrels though from floor to ceiling.  

We went back to the room for a bit and just relaxed until it was check out time.  It was nice just to sit on the couch, just the two of us and watch a little tv.  Quiet and definitely different from watching tv at home lol.  
I also curled my hair while we were relaxing.  I was definitely having an awesome hair day that day for sure.  :) 

I couldn't stop taking pictures of the beautiful grape vines and flowers while we were there.  There was beauty all around.  
Be ready for an overload of grape vine pictures.  :) 
This was actually Friday night after dinner, and our walk around the winery.  I loved how the sun was setting and  coming through the grape vines.  

More sunset picture with the leaves.  

There was a ton of purple and green grapes, just everywhere.  So pretty.  

These grapes were right outside our room door.  It says you can sample them, so I did and there were seeds :)  .  Still good grapes just be careful of the seeds.  

There were beautiful flowers there along with all these amazing grape vines.  
These flowers were down by the waterfall that we found on our walk around the winery after dinner. 

After we checked out we walked over to the gift shop and he bought me a turquoise winery sweatshirt.  

On our way home we stopped at a little avocado stand to get him some avocados.  He loves avocados, so we couldn't go to avocado country and not come home without any.  We also bought some fresh strawberries and grapes too. 
It was such an amazing trip. I loved that Jacob planned all this and surprised me like he did.  It was such a nice time to get away just the two of us, something we don't do often enough at all.  
This was our selfie on the way home.  
It was such an amazing trip. I loved that Jacob planned all this and surprised me like he did.  It was such a nice time to get away just the two of us, something we don't do often enough at all.  

But that wasn't even the end of my surprises.  We came home to a big surprise party he planned for me.  WOW!!  I was so surprised that I cried when we pulled up to the house and everyone, friends and family were all outside (in the rain) holding signs up for me.  My brother and his wife and their girls drove all the way from Sacramento the night before and went home the next morning just to come for the party.  My dear friend drove all the way from Tehachapi for the party, family came from far, friends came.  It was truely amazing and I cried.  Not tears of sadness, but tears of happiness.  Happiness to have all these amazing people in my life that were there and those that couldn't make it as well, but wanted to be.
It was overwhelming all the love I felt that weekend and was just a reminder of how lucky I am.  So thank you everyone for those memories, but thank you mostly to my wonderful husband who planned
 all this and took the time to make me feel so very special.  I loved our time away together and I hope we can do it more often.  I love you so much.  Thank you!  

If you want to check out the winery you can do so


                       pleast note : I was not paid to write this post, all the thoughts and opinions are all of my own.