June 28, 2013

Coffee Date VLOG 6.28.13

Happy Friday friends! Another Friday, bring on the weekend.

One thing I am not excited about this weekend is the record high temps here in Phoenix.

We're supposed to hit 119 today! Yuck.

I will be staying inside, thank you very much.

Gotta love that screen shot. Enjoy. ;)

IMG 3610 from Andrea Worley on Vimeo.

Here's the link to the homemade protein bars I mentioned.

Linking up with Rags to Stitches today.

Watermelon, Berry & Chia Seed Fruit Pops - All natural Fruit Pops

Summer Recipes
Today I have an awesome treat for you, I've teamed up with some other awesome bloggers to bring you 20+ fantastic summer foods! Perfect for your next gathering. Today, I'm sharing with you a refreshing summer snack from my home to yours! 

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Summer is here! And it's hot here in Phoenix, I love offering my kiddos a fun all natural fruit pop as a way to cool off in the summer time. I also love making these myself and knowing just exactly what's in my food. No preservatives here, these are all natural, no added sugar. 

Wanna make some of your own? Ok, good. Here's the thing, I don't use measurements most of the time, so go with me on this one. Here's what you'll need:

Two handfuls cubed watermelon (seedless)
One handful black berries
One handful blue berries
1/2 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 Tsp Chia Seeds (don't be scared of these, they have great health benefits read about them here. I like to sneak them in wherever possible.)

Blend all these together in your blender.

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Then pour the mixture into your Popsicle molds. Mine are from World Market, but you can find these just about anywhere. If you have any of the mixture that won't fit into the molds, well that's just a bonus drink for you to have right away! :)

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Let them freeze up, I did mine overnight. After that take them out and enjoy! 

They are yummy and your kids will love them! Check out 20+ Summer recipes from some of my fave bloggers! There's sure to be something amazing you can make for your next BBQ this summer! 
  1. Great-Grandma's "Secret-Ingredient" Potato Salad
  2. Blueberry Pie Bars
  3. Watermelon Green Tea
  4. Independence Day Cranberry Pop Rocks Mocktail
  5. Fruit Pizza
  6. Zucchini Recipes
  7. Grilled Pizza
  8. Fruit Yogurt Parfaits
  9. Root Beer Float Popsicles
  10. Watermelon Smoothie
  11. Refreshing Summer Noodle Salad
  12. Frozen Banana Rum Cocktails
  13. Coke Float Popsicles
  14. Peach Cobbler Cupcakes
  15. Lemon Picnic Pasta
  16. Sand Castle Rice Krispies
  17. Frozen Chocolate Bananas
  18. BBQ Chicken Pizza
  19. Watermelon Berry Chia Seeds Pops
  20. Fresh Summer Melon Ideas
  21. How to cut a watermelon
  22. And, even more Favorite Summer Recipes

June 26, 2013

5 Questions: Sara from Mom Endeavors

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Today's 5 Questions comes from Sara at Mom Endeavors! Sara lives locally here in Phoenix, and I've been lucky enough to get to know her personally through blogging. Her blog is inspired by her three boys, she loves college football specifically the Huskers and Sonic Cherry limeades (my kinda girl!) for more about Sara check out her blog here. 

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June 24, 2013

Crispy Shoe String Potato Fries

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Crispy shoe string friends!

Yum! Let's make some shall we?

I made these for Memorial Day this year, and a few times before that. These are quickly becoming a family fave!

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What you'll need:
Safflower oil
Sea salt
4 Russet potatoes

Here's what you do:
Wash and cut your potatoes. Slice your potatoes, cut them thin and leave the skin on. You can see how I sliced mine in the picture above.

Drizzle your baking pan with safflower oil, place potatoes on baking sheet. Then drizzle some more oil on top of fries and season with salt and pepper.

Safflower oil is the secret here, it's an oil made for high heat and helps make your fries crispy my friends. You can buy this oil in organic/health food sections of your grocery store. You'll thank me when they come out of the oven.

Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Yum, yum, yum!

June 21, 2013

Coffee Date // this weeks happenings

Happy Friday friends. If we were having coffee today, I'd tell you today was an iced coffee kinda day. It's so hot here already in Phoenix, today is officially the first day of summer but I'd tell you that Phoenix has been having summer temperatures since the end of April! It's hot, nuff said.

If we were having coffee today, I'd tell you that this week has been exciting, draining and challenging all at the same time. 

Exciting because Zane turned six months old on Sunday. Exciting because we enrolled Ava in her very first dance class and picked up her ballet shoes this week. She can't get enough of them, and wants to wear them every where. 

But of coarse they are only for "dance class." 

she's a natural.... no?!!

Also exciting because Zane tried cereal and food for the first time. He ate all of it with out hesitation. He's a champ, he wanted more. He had his six month well baby this week, and is growing and growing. He's going to crawl anytime now. He's already got two bottom teeth and working on the top two.

Crazy nuts. It's going by way to fast for me.

If we were having coffee today, I'd also share with you that this week has been emotionally draining on me as I deal with personal family issues. Spent lots of time in prayer this week and reflecting and asking the Lord for guidance in situations.

So, if we were having coffee today I'd ask you to cozy up on my couch while we sip away and ask you how your week has been?

Tell me, let's have a chat.

Happy Friday. xo!

linking here.

June 19, 2013

why commenting matters & why you should be commenting.

Since writing this post, my heart has been stirring more and more.

More thoughts on story telling.

More thoughts on how I can be authentic in my writing & blogging.

More thoughts on how I can tell my story, your story and make it matter.

Make it count.

Today I want to talk about commenting. I feel like the days of commenting for most is lost. It used to be a lot of us would read a post and comment.

Now, we read posts and don't comment at all before closing the window.

Or we only comment on blogs that are bigger in the blogging community.

Or you only comment because you hope you'll be noticed by said blogger.

I don't know which category you fall into, maybe all of them?! But, I know which ones I fall into. I've felt really convicted about this the last few months.

I know just how much goes into a post, how much of your heart goes into writing something. How much time is spent editing photos, writing and brainstorming to put something together.

Here's what I came up with; if they took the time to pour their heart into this post and I'm sitting here reading it the least I can do is comment something meaningful.

Something meaningful, did you catch that?!

Please don't just post something like; "that's cool" and move on. Because really that's not genuine is it?

Commenting matters because it encourages the blogger, builds relationships and helps build community in the blogging world.

You should be commenting because you want to join in and build community too. You should be commenting because you want to add something, and build relationships and make this space as real and authentic as you can.

As a blog reader myself, I comment on every blog post I read. I comment something, I find something within that post that resonated within me and tell the author about it.

As a blog writer I respond to every comment that comes to this blog. Because it's important to me to continue building this community for what it can be.

Here's my challenge for you as a reader, comment on what you're reading. Dive into the community.

If you're a blogger and your not responding to your readers I challenge you to do so. Engage with them, challenge them, evoke conversation.

I hope it changes the way you blog, and challenges you to build community around you.

June 18, 2013

Quick Gift "Dad's" Float KIt for Father's Day

I put together a quick Father's Day gift for my husband after finding lots of online inspiration. In passing a couple months ago my husband mentioned he wanted root beer floats for Father's Day. So I set out to put a little something together at his request. 

I saw a great tutorial here from A Night Owl blog I used her tutorial and just replaced the paint with glass etching cream and etched my Husband's initials onto a mug I bought at the Dollar Tree. I then paired it with a "DAD'S" root beer sampler pack I found at World Market. I placed them all on a tray together. 

I added some vanilla ice cream and some cards we made for Daddy and presented it to my Husband. He was really happy with it, and is still raving about the mug. He's been using it for everything for the last few days. A really simple and meaningful gift doesn't have to take long, this was just the thing! 

Happy Father's Day Hubby!

June 17, 2013

Better Nights with Good Nights

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and GoodNites, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #BetterNights  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO.

I posted this picture on my Instagram this week with a caption that read:
"Keeping it real; saving my sanity and putting and end to the bed time madness with these."

Ava has been potty trained for the most part except for having accidents at night, and I remember right before the baby was born a lot of my friends mentioned that she might regress in her potty training once the baby was born. I was hoping that she wouldn't but open minded that she might and decided we'd take it as it came. 

Well, she regressed. She started wetting the bed during both nap time and bed time. We've tried a lot of things, like cutting her liquid intake off two hours before bed time, waking her up at night so she could use the bathroom just to name a few. Nothing was working. And I was waking up in the middle of the night to my toddler who was wet, and washing sheets daily because of this wetting. I knew something had to give.

It wasn't until I met up with some girl friends and we started talking about our kids that I mentioned the issues we were having. I also realized that my daughter is a heavy sleeper and doesn't wake herself up when she needs to go, she's also a sleep walker which has added some interesting things to the mix. 

One of my girlfriends told me that if it helped to save my sanity and make things easier that we should just put her in a pull up at night. Eventually she will learn and grow out of it, and if it saves my sanity in the mean time it was all worth it. 

This thought resonated with me ever since, and I think as parents we tend to get caught up on a lot of things when it comes to our kids and their development, especially when we always want them to be moving forward and learning new things.

Once I posted that pic on Instagram I got a ton of messages from other friends letting me know their kids had similar issues that they eventually out grew. It really helped to know there was a community of moms and other parents who had been through similar things and came out on the other side.

It reminds me as a parent that we each make the best decisions for our children no matter what everyone else is doing, but it's always night to hear that you're not alone either.

So we put Ava in Good Nights Bed time Underwear, and we haven't looked back! They are keeping her dry at night when she doesn't wake to use the bathroom. They are saving my sanity and helping me during the day.

I love that they come in a wide range of sizes, they have fun prints on them to help them not look so much like a diaper to your toddler and more like undies. They absorb really well, we've had issues with others that are similar and they've either leaked or not absorbed well at all, these do both of those jobs well.

Ava also has really sensitive skin and I'm happy to say that she hasn't had any issues with rashes with this brand. She's really taken to them well, and hasn't had any issues.

So I encourage you moms out there that may be struggling with the same issue, I would say to you; It's ok if this is the route you choose to go. You're a good mom, and eventually your child will grow out of this. Do yourself a favor and save your sanity now.

Plus Good Nights wants to offer you a special coupon so you can save even more, click here to get your exclusive coupon from Target.

Ok, so I'm intrigued to know; what are your potty training stories? What helpful tips have saved your parenting sanity? I'm convinced the more we're willing to share as mothers about what we're going through builds a community of encouragement.

Let's share & encourage each other.

June 13, 2013

5 Ways to Repurpose a Brown Paper Bag

This post originally appeared on Mom Endeavors, but I wanted to share it here too. 

Brown paper bags aren't just for packing your kiddos lunches anymore! I've rounded up some awesome ways to repurpose those brown paper bags into really fun crafts and DIY projects. Since these bags come in packs of 50 for under two dollars you can re make these awesome crafts for just mere pennies per project!

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1. Brown Paper Flowers by A Place for Us
2. Simple Brown Paper Gift Packaging by yours truly
3. Holiday Halloween Bunting Banner by Little Miss Marmalade
4. Brown Paper Bag Pinwheel by Style Me Pretty
5. Brown Paper Bag Baskets by Martha Stewart

Pretty awesome right?! Think twice before you throw away those bags, make yourself something pretty!

June 12, 2013

5 Questions: Allison from All for The Boys

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Today's 5 Questions comes from Allison, you probably know her from her popular site called All for the Boys. She also runs a popular blog for scrap booking and memory keeping called All for the Memories and All for the Everyday. 

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Visit Allison elsewhere with the links below;

All for the Boys / All for the Memories  / All for the Everyday / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Google+

June 10, 2013

{Sears Style} Dressing Daddy for Father's Day #ThisisStyle

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. #ThisisStyle

Father's Day is fast upon us, just one short week till we get to celebrate DAD and show him how much we love him. I've got a few things up my sleeve, so I was excited to shop for some new clothes for Hubby for this special day. I'm not sure about your hubby but mine is not much of a shopper, it's really hard to get him to spend any kind of money on himself let alone go into a store with me. My husband has a great sense of style, I really enjoy picking things out for him now that I've learned his style and what works best.

This time I was excited to shop online with Sears for some awesome budget friendly duds for my Husband. I've shopped at Sears a lot in the past for my husband, I'm always impressed with their quality and the affordability in their clothing options. 

The first step for me was to scour their website and look for options. In my mind I had a running list of the things that my husband needs in clothing and some fun items as well, like a new pair of sun glasses.

Once I found items that I loved I made a pin board with all the looks I was loving, and wanted Orion to check out. You can see that here.  This made it really helpful for me to find things that I liked, and wanted him to check out later. 

He ended up choosing from the board a shirt, pair of shorts and some fun aviator sun glasses from the board below. 

One thing I love about Sears is their Shop Your Way Rewards, I'm a big rewards card fan and if you're already shopping there you might as well be earning rewards & discounts to use later on future purchases. I was able to save a little bit extra and earn points for the future with my online shopping order.

I've always loved this shade of blue on my husband, this shirt is super soft and the color is so vibrant. Best part it was under $10! We paired it with these awesome shorts, they are Covington brand from Sears.

trying to do his best model pose.

Remember when I mentioned that everything was really budget friendly? Sears is always having some sort of sale and I really love that when shopping. I can count on that I am going to get the very best deal for our budget. Here's a little cost break down of what we got:

shorts under $15
shirt under $10
glasses under $15

clearly we do not take ourselves to serious around here. 

These little munchkins are ready to celebrate DAD!

To see more of our shopping experience visit my Google+ album here. Follow Sears on Twitter for more updates, or follow them on Facebook here.

June 5, 2013

Tequila Lime Chicken & Cilantro Rice

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There's a few flavors in this life that I just love together. Cilantro and lime being really high on my list. I love the fresh smell and taste these flavors bring. I also love experimenting with these as well and seeing what new dishes I can create.

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Let's make some tequila lime chicken shall we?!

Tequila Lime Chicken (serves 4)
2 chicken breasts
1/2 cup salsa (any brand you like)
1 2 oz. can of black olives sliced
1 4 oz. can of green chilies
1/2 bottle of tequila lime marinade (mine was Fresh & Easy brand)
1 bunch cilantro chopped
1 lime

Dump all these ingredients into your crock pot and let it cook on low for 4-6 hours. Once cooked through pull out the chicken and shred with a fork then place it all back into the crock pot and mix together.

Serve over a bed of cilantro lime rice. I love the Cilantro lime rice from Skinny Taste

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June 3, 2013

My Fave Instagram Apps + A Few Instagram Taking Tips

Happy Monday Friends! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Summer is fully upon us!

Today, I want to share with you my fave apps for Instagram. Instagram is my fave social media tool right now, I love sharing pictures and I love even more the handiness of capturing moments with my phone and not lugging around my DSLR everywhere I go.

First up, the apps I love & use frequently:
1. Instagram- (free) you need to get this one first so that you can share photos. There's a lot of in app filters you can use my faves are Amaro, Rise, Valencia, Nashville. You can also do basic crops & small edits in Instagram. 

But to really kick your photos up a notch you'll want to download, use and play with the following apps:

2. Phonto-(free) This is my fave app for adding text to your photos! They have a ton of free fonts already in the app. I've had this app for over a year now and never added any fonts to it, there's so many to choose from. You can adjust the size, color and angle of each font as well. It's a great go to app! Here's a few examples from my feed showing you this app:

3. PicFrame- (99 cents) I use this app to make collages of photos like the one you see above. They have so many different layouts to choose from too, you can really add a lot of photos in one Instagram with this app. Plus you can adjust the spacing width too. Also you can add color to your spacing if you don't like the white grid, you can make it any color of the rainbow. 

4. BokehCamFX- (free) Want to add a cool bokeh effect to your photos? This is my go to app, you can add circle or heart bokeh with this free app. and also adjust the size of them. The only down side to this app is because it's a "free" version of the regular app you have to deal with some pop up adds in the app. Here's an example of some bokeh added to some of my photos:

5. Over HD- (1.99) When I bought this app it was on sale in the app store, so I wanted to try it out after seeing it with a friend's instagrams. What I liked about this app was the collection of fonts it has, this is the only other font app I use along with Phonto. It has a few fonts that Phonto doesn't have which I like. 

6. Afterlight- (99 cents) This is a great photo editing app, and one that I use often. It has great filters, my faves are Frost & Glacier. Plus it has some awesome frames that you can put around your photos. Some examples:

7. BeautifulMess- (99 cents) This app has only been out a couple weeks and it's quickly becoming a fave of everyone on Instagram. The gals over at A Beautiful Mess blog did it right! This fun app allows you to add cool frames, doodles and drawings. There's a ton of in app add ons you can make, I've just been using the basic ones that came with the download and so far I'm loving this app A LOT! Here's a few examples from my feed:

Aren't those so fun!?! 

And lastly, 

3 Tips for Using Instagram

1. Take your photos with your phone camera and not the Instagram app. Taking your photos with your phone camera and importing them into Instagram will make them less grainey and more clear. The camera in the Instagram app itself is not that great and leaves your photos very grainy. You don't want this when sharing your best photos. 

2. Have fun & be creative
The best photos I see on Instagram are the ones that are creative using many of the apps I've shared above. Get creative with your angles and how you take photos. Just like your regular camera shoot above and below to get different shots. Get creative with it and have fun.

3. Share your real and everyday life
The great thing about Instagram is that it's all about real life, what you're doing in the moment. That's what make these photos taken with your phone so special I think. They are quick fleeting moments that you've been able to capture. People want to see that, I want to see that. Share your kids playing, date night, your messy house, whatever captures your life, share it. 

What about you, are there any apps that you love? Share them with me in the comments below! If you're on Instagram too leave your username below, I wanna find you and follow you. Happy Instagramming friends! 

Make sure you're following me here @photosbyandrea on Instagram. 

June 1, 2013

Our Summer Bucket List

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Summer is upon us! We're so ready for it! This year I wanted to help keep up focused, give us something to look forward to this summer and have A LOT of fun! Here's our summer 2013 bucket list:

*See the fireworks at Tempe Town Lakes
*Have a water balloon fight
*Take the kids (mostly Ava) to see $1 summer movies
*Go on a picnic
*Evening family walks
*Host a BBQ
*Visit the farmers market
*Splash Pad Saturdays
*Go antique shopping
*Go on a family vacation
*Clean up the backyard
*Take lots of pictures

What's on your summer list? 


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