Resolutions……

photo (6)It’s January 10th, and I have lost count of the number of people who have posted (whether on Facebook, Instagram, twitter, blog, etc.) their New Year’s Resolutions. I actually started to feel bad that I had not set couple of resolutions for myself, so I started to consider some of the following…

  • Get back to (insert weight) in (this time) after giving birth.
  • Only eat out (insert number) times per week.
  • Complete all assignments for school minimum two days ahead of due date. (i.e. this is the year I finally stop procrastinating.)
  • Complete one craft/DIY project each month.
  • Organize home office and KEEP it that way.
  • Post (insert number) blog posts per month.

As I started making my list, I realized I could go on and on. There are several things I would like to accomplish this year. Considering the fact I am giving birth to my first child in April, this year would be a good year to finally become the wife/student/worker/mommy/<insert title> that I “should” be. And then I remembered………………..

I AM GIVING BIRTH TO MY FIRST CHILD IN APRIL!!!

I am going to be stressed, sleep-deprived, emotional, and overwhelmed. I will probably definitely want to kill my husband MORE THAN ONCE throughout the year. Yes, I obviously want to provide my husband and child with healthy home cooked meals every single night, maintain a spotless home, stay organized and on top of everything I have going on, blog every week about the joys of motherhood, sew my baby super cute clothes, and become that MILF that I see in the magazines, etc. etc.

But do I really have to make, and shout out to the world, a few new year’s resolutions to accomplish the things I want to do. For me personally, that is just another added item to my ever-growing to-do list. Yes, I am driven in what I want to accomplish in my life. Yes, I do have goals. But I am also human, with weaknesses. I know myself well enough to accept my flaws and to realize that I should not add any extra expectations on myself that what I already have, especially this year. I do have a good marriage. I will be a good mom. I will find success. But I will fail and make mistakes at times.

I am proud of those that can make New Year’s Resolutions and stick to them. I am proud of those that stay super organized ALL of the time, are the ROCKSTARS in the classroom/office/home, are home-maker GODDESSES, and  can whip up fantastic super healthy recipes 90% OF THE TIME. I look up to those women (and men). Good Job Guys!!! Keep up the Hard Work!!

Resolution QuoteHowever, this year, I am just going to try to enjoy my third trimester of my first pregnancy. I am going to love on my brand new baby girl in April, and thank God every day for my little growing family and those I have in my life. I am going to be thankful that I have family to support me while I go to school, establish my career, and experience motherhood. Mainly I am going to try to stop and smell the roses MORE TIMES than I have a meltdown.

I am scraping the whole “New Year’s Resolutions” for the year 2014. Good luck to those who have set them. For me, though, I am just going to go with the flow, relish the joys and accomplishments this year, and just shrug off the days I come up short of my expectations for myself.

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2013 – A Look Back

Highlights from 2013..

Around the World in 2013 – Know your history!! Key events from around the world for the year 2013 can be found here, here, and here.

Image courtesy of here.

Image courtesy of here.

Personal highlights

  • Finally started my own blog. Hopefully 2014 will bring more dedication to actually posting on regular basis though.
  • Really dug in to beginning “DIY/Natural homemade lifestyle”. Some recipes that I made and actually continue to use include cleaning products, facial toner (this recipe), laundry detergent, and no-poo hair routine (similar to this routine). Made first ever maxi skirt (used this tutorial) and dyed my own shorts for summer. Actually completed some crafts that I have “pinned” on Pinterest and pictured in my head including turning wooden crates to bedside tablesdoor hanger, and flower tower.
  • Had a column published in the  local newspaper. And actually was paid for it!
  • Completed 12 hours towards my Master’s degree, while still working full-time and continuing to grow in expectations/responsibilities at work.
  • Was successful at first ever public speaking engagement that was actually for my job rather than for a grade in school.
  • Quit smoking!

Jekyll Island, Georgia – first full family vacation where Ronnie Dean got to experience a full week of vacationing with my family, and my family experienced a full week of vacationing with Ronnie Dean. This included:

  • Ronnie Dean was able to truly experience my sister’s love of “birding” – as in every time she yelled at Dad to randomly pull over on the side of the highway for a picture of a “rare” bird.
  • The family experienced the Montgomery focus and dedication when discovering a new way of hobby. Ronnie and I discovered the “old school” way of catching blue crab, and Ronnie also got to walk along the beach with a homemade spotlight looking to “spear” fish. Although they have heard me talk about it, they finally experienced first hand how Ronnie Dean is like a kid on Christmas morning when discovering a new kind of “hunting”. Poor Dad did not realize that staying with his daughter and son-in-law on the beach to catch crabs would last until 2:00 in the morning.
  • This family vacation also provided Ronnie Dean’s first actual flight and the first time we actually flew together. Saw Captain Sig Hansen from Deadliest Catch tv show in the Atlanta airport – Ronnie Dean got pretty excited! 😉
  • Ronnie Dean and I discovered that no matter where we go, we can always find a fellow “redneck” to discuss fishing/hunting and the different techniques in different parts of the United States, hence the “old school” crabbing and the spear fishing.
  • Whole family went deep-sea fishing. It was fun seeing my parents and sister, especially my mom and sister, reeling in the black sea bass. They even touched the fish! And of course we have the large fish we caught at the taxidermy to go on our wall and the piece of driftwood hand chosen by Ronnie Dean on driftwood beach for the fish to be mounted on!

Hunting highlights

  • Ronnie Dean broke his bad hunting streak and got that buck he has worked towards. Plus the freezer is full of venison!
  • Got my first coyote!

Family highlights

  • Ronnie Dean and I grew our first garden. And plants actually grew!! Abundantly!! We  are loaded down with pickles and peppers still. First garden and canning adventures were a success. This also led to my first ever HOMEMADE PIZZA!! and it was actually tasty!
  • Celebrated our third year of marriage, September 18th.
  • Our slobbery bloodhound turned three, July 18th.

It has been an eventful year with lots memories made. However as with everything I saved the most important change/highlight of 2013 for last. This past year, Ronnie Dean and I made the decision that we were ready to expand our little family. I did not refill my birth control prescription for June and we made the decision to not exactly “try” but rather to quit trying to prevent it and if it happened, it happened. In all honestly, we thought it would take months for the birth control to get out my system and there was no reason to stress/rush the process. Well needless to say what we thought would probably take months to happen, actually took less than a month. (Yes, turns out I was actually pregnant when we went on that family vacation. In fact, my sister informed me last night that while on vacation, she actually asked Mom if she thought I might be pregnant!)

As of today, December 31, 2013, the last day of the 2013, I am 26 weeks and 5 days (based on my estimated due date). The baby is around 14-15 inches from crown to heal and weighs around 1.6 to 2.2 pounds. (Based upon three different pregnancy apps.)

Miss Harley Cheyenne Montgomery is expected to be here April 3, 2014.

Needless to say, 2013 was an excited year with lots of memories made and milestones. However, the year two thousand and fourteen is shaping up to be the most life-changing so far, and I for one cannot wait!

Veggie Pizza – A Recipe Experiment Success!

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Our first garden is doing better than Ronnie and I expected, so we have been canning and trying out new recipes like crazy. Also, my husband has been working on the road during the week, therefore he is only here on the weekends to help me figure out what to do with all these veggies. When we decided to grow our vegetable garden, it was centered around having the vegetables to make pickles, in which Ronnie swore he would help with if the garden was a success. Well as you can see in the picture above, we are in veggie overload, especially on cucumbers and zucchini, and he can’t really help from a hotel room! It sucks when he has to work on the road and stay in a hotel room throughout the week, but it does have one advantage. I always try out new recipes whenever he is gone. This is because if the recipe is good (and I know what Ronnie considers good), then I have something to surprise him with when he gets home. If I try out a recipe and it is bad – no big deal. I can just eat it/dump it and no one has to know!

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Well last night was one of those “let’s try something new” night since I have all these veggies that need to be taken care. I had to stop by Kroger on my home anyway (needed ingredients to pickle my cucumbers!), so I went ahead and bought thin pizza crust dough and pizza sauce. I chose Prego Pizza Sauce Veggie Smart – no specific reason other than it was on sale. I chose Pillsbury brand for the dough because again, I just focused on sale items. If this recipe was going to stink, at least it wouldn’t cost a lot! I have on my kitchen bucket list to make my own pizza dough and pizza sauce, but for now these will work. In the end the pizza turned out AMAZING! This will definitely become a surprise for Ronnie when he gets home20130711-082004.jpg

Ingredients:

*Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough

*1/3 cup Pizza sauce

* 1/3 cup Zucchini – sliced

*1/3 cup Squash – sliced

*1/2 cup Carrots – shredded

1 pod –  Okra – sliced

*1/4 cup Shredded CheeseSeasoning/Fresh Herbs

*These are rough estimates of the amounts. I used these
numbers to enter data into My Fitness Pal in order to have the nutritional values found below.

-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.                   -Bake 10-15 minutes

-While the oven preheated, I rolled out my dough. As you can see, I did not exactly get a round pizza. I think my dough got too warm on my way home (happens in 100 degree weather here in Arkansas). The package said it would just roll out, and well it didn’t. It still worked just fine, and the shape didn’t bother me. I used my pizza stone to bake the pizza on, but you could use a basic cookie sheet as well.

-Once you have it the size (or shape) you want, place in oven for about 5 minutes (followed this step based off instructions of Pillsbury container).

-While waiting for dough to pre-bake, slice the veggies you want. I used my Mandolin Slicer, so about five minutes was all I needed to get my veggies ready. We already had the shredded carrots in the fridge, so I added those as an afterthought.

-After the dough is done pre-baking, take it out of the oven and spread your pizza sauce on. The recipe on the dough package called for 1/3 cup, but I just     eye-balled the amount until it looked right. After that I added my veggies and shredded cheese. I added some dried herbs on top. **Please note, whenever I try new recipes, I just grab random herbs/spices and then can never remember which ones I used. That is part of the fun of trying new things, you don’t have to be too serious about it. For this recipe, I used basil and Italian seasoning. I know I used one more, but for the life of me cannot remember what it was.

-Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until you reach the desired crust. **The package stated 6-9 minutes, but as my dough turned out a little thicker, I put it on for longer until my crust looked a little darker. I like my crust a little on the crispy side.

-Let the pizza cool, and enjoy! This took all of 30 minutes,which would have been shorter if I didn’t have to fight the dough with my roller! Simple, easy, and delicious!

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Please ignore the “Goal” column. These are my personal goals set up in My Fitness Pal, which is a free app that makes it easy to track your food intake and exercise goals. Plus it comes in handy for determining nutritional value for new recipes!

Thanks Mom!! My Mandolin Slicer

So yes, I am a dork. I am thanking my mom for a mandolin slicer. Back-story: my mom gave this to me over a year ago. We tried it out while she was at my house with an orange. It made a mess; I think we did it wrong. Ever since, it has been in its box in the back of cabinet. Last night, I decided to make zucchini pickles and was DREADING having to cut all the slices. I can never cut them even, and it just takes forever. Then I remembered that weird little slicer in the back of the cabinet. I decided to give it a shot, and the outcome: IT’S AWESOME!!! My slices were perfect, and it took no time to slice the veggies. YAY!

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So we are starting to get quite a few zucchini from the garden, and with the hubs on the road this week I am tired of trying to eat them all by myself. So after giving some away, I headed to Pinterest to find a zucchini pickle recipe.

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PERFECT SLICES!!

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I found this Pickled Zucchini Recipe at neckredrecipe.blogspot.com. Really simple recipe.

Outdoor Oasis

With the dawn of Pinterest, it seems as though you can get ideas and instructions for almost anything. I can get inspired from my couch as I click-through that nifty app on my phone. However, the absolute best inspiration and my favorite type of “research” involves family.

Below are pictures from the yard of one of my aunts. She is a Master Gardener and my go-to for flower questions. She is the one who came over and helped plant my front flower bed when we first bought our house. Every trip to her house includes a stroll through her yard. Her use of flowers, pots, plants, and decor motivates and inspires me as I create my own backyard oasis.

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Love the different aspects of color and types of containers she uses. I absolutely love her red deck with the water feature and planted containers all over.

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These were some of my favorite flowers I found. I am inspired by all of the different colors and textures my aunt uses throughout her landscaping.

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She ties in ornaments, tables, and rocks to provide places to sit and walk through all of the flower beds.

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Just another example of the several types of colors and plants she incorporates.

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Besides providing a beautiful picture, this tree was also home to two bird nests, with one being a hummingbird nest!

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This has to be my favorite yard ornament ever!

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As I smell the flowers, you can see my sister photographing everything in sight!

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Aunt Cindy includes different aspects throughout her flowerbeds, including several rock pathways such as this one.

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This is part of the border separating her property from her neighbors.

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These awesome pots lined the steps leading up to her back door on her deck. I must have something like this whenever we finally build on our back deck!

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Yet another seating area in my aunt’s yard. These are hanging from a tree with seating below. Can you guess what I will be on the lookout for on future flea market trips!?

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Even Dad enjoys strolling through the flower beds and yard, as my sister is still photographing everything in sight in the background. I do believe he wished we would focus more on the flowers and less on taking pictures of him!

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My aunt always likes to share some plants as well. Here is a crepe myrtle that she gave me for my yard.

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She also loaded me down with some gardening books!

Hopefully this has inspired you as much as it did me!!