Sunday, August 3, 2014

CoLoR rUn!!!!!

Such a fun day today! Did my first Color Run ever! I love downtown Grand Rapids, and this was the first 5K that I've ever done down there and it was a riot! My friend, Cheryl, and I signed up together - along with a few of my co-workers. 

Here are some pics:

This is pre-race... nice and clean for now!

Cheryl and I relaxing before heading to the Start chute.


About midway through the race!

Our Office Assistant, Kristen, and me - my co-workers are cooler than your co-workers!!


Jumping for joy!!

Good times were had by all. Thank the good Lord for make-up remover wipes to get the color off my face, and I think I'm going to need to wash my hair at least three more times before I'll get all the blue out.... Right now I'm rocking some bluish/green patches that make it look like I was swimming in a chlorinated pool for too long! The bottom of my foot is still blue and I have a green patch in my armpit, but it was a ridiculously good time. My shirt is hanging outside in the sun... I sprayed it with vinegar in hopes of keeping it colorful - we'll see what happens!

I can't wait to do this with my kiddos next year! It will be so fun to spin and twirl through the color stations with them!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!!

He is risen - He is risen indeed!!

What an amazing Easter we were blessed with!!! It's always a good Easter when you can actually WEAR the new Easter clothes and cute sandals that you bought for church without worrying about freezing half to death!!! It was so warm here in West Michigan! I may have even gotten some sun on my arms sitting outside today!

Our morning started with Easter baskets at  home - after getting ready for church, of course! Church was great... lots of singing and celebrating! Of course it ran late - which is fine - but it kind of started us off schedule for all the running around from family to family that we had going on today. 

After church we went to Rick's family's house on Mona Lake - this was the first year without an Easter Egg Hunt for the cousins - Josh and Logan are the only ones who aren't teenagers - but there was still good food, coloring eggs and the gifts of over-sized, gigantic beach towels to get ready for summer! Oh - and I might have even gotten an updated family photo today!! I'm waiting for the pics to be sent to me, but I'm cautiously optimistic!!

Then we left Rick at his family's and the boys and I headed into Coopersville. Rick was on call this afternoon for work and C'ville was a little too far away to be... We spent some time with my mom - sitting out in her backyard while the boys played with some of their Easter gifts. We weren't able to stay as long as I would have liked, but it was a nice visit.

The next stop was to my dad's house. He has started doing an Easter Egg Hunt for the boys every year and he had been looking forward to them coming out. Grandpa Greg and Uncle Kevin made it a geocaching egg hunt with 24 very well hidden eggs and coordinates to the next one in each egg. There is some tweaking to be done to the method, but I have a feeling this will be the new way of hiding eggs... Uncle Michael and Aunt Katelynn were there as well and we had a cookout. 

My forearms and the tops of my feet saw more sun then they have in MONTHS, so I might have actually gotten some color! It was beautiful weather - sunny and in the 70's - so practically perfect!! God blessed us with a beautiful day to celebrate the gift of the resurrection!!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Where is Spring?

Man, oh man, am I ready for spring..... This winter has been BRUTAL. We got more snow this year than we have ever had at our house. In fact, I still have at least 2 feet of snow in my backyard. Like, covering every single square inch of my backyard... We have snow piles that are still 4-5 feet high, and at least 24 inches of snow on the roof of the garage   :(

The temps for the next bunch of days don't give me a lot of hope that I'll be rid of it anytime soon.

Today as I was driving home from work, it was sunny and gorgeous outside. I could see grass along the highway and I just wanted to go for a trail run.... Unfortunately, there is still way too much snow in the woods, and I'm not even sure I could get down the two-track that leads to my favorite running trail... Oh, and it was only 25 degrees, too, which would have made running outside extra crappy. So, interval/strength training and cardio it was. 

Big bummer because I'm doing a 5k in August and I should probably start to train... and by training, I mean running. Not a runner, and yet running a 5k - go figure...

All of my spring clothes are waiting for me in my closet, but it's still too cold to wear them without an extra layer. Our whole family is anxious to get back to the beach. We want to take our Land Rover to the sand dunes (which we always do at the beginning of April) - but I think that if we want to go up anytime soon, we're going to need snowmobiles!

Think warm thoughts... and send them to Michigan. Winter has outstayed it's welcome this year!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

That Time of Year Again...

If you're newish to Holman Happenings, our biggest one is a cancer survivor. He's been in remission for (hopefully) 9 years - we'll confirm the "9 years remission" in about 2 weeks. I got the letter in the mail from the Children's Hospital and they've scheduled his next MRI and appointment with the oncologist. 

We are SO lucky that we have A-M-A-Z-I-N-G care so close to home. Right now we're on a "once a year" scan schedule, but next year will HOPEFULLY be our last scan. Once he hits 10 years remission, we don't have to go back to the oncologist or have ANY MORE scans. We can go ahead and put this nasty not-niceness behind us. We've been doing this since he was diagnosed in 2004 and I'm anxious to not have to do it anymore. 

Good juju is always appreciated... I'm not expecting anything less than an "All Clear" - but we've been doing this long enough to know that you never know for sure until you know for sure  :)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

DIY Updates

Ok.... it's been a while, but we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the laundry soap!! It smells so clean and fresh. I'm still getting used to the lack of suds, but we are really, really happy with it. Definitely a keeper. 

The dishwasher detergent started leaving a film on all the dishes... I'm not sure if we need to change up our rinse aid or if the boys were being too "helpful" and putting in too much soap. That DIY is still up for debate.

I've been making my own pancake syrup for a long time now - that's a gorgeously easy recipe of 1C water, 1C brown sugar, 1C white sugar and 1Tbsp maple flavoring. Boil the water, dissolve the sugars and mix in the maple flavoring. Let it cool and you're good to go!! I haven't bought pancake syrup in months. Last night when I made another batch I even had to make my own homemade brown sugar because I was out. If you didn't know, brown sugar is nothing but white sugar and molasses. 1C sugar and 1Tbsp (or more, depending on your preference) molasses mixed together - I used a wire whisk to mix it up. 

Last night was homemade potato chips in the microwave! Thank you Pinterest... they were so yummy. I'm going to give them a trial run with the family and if those pan out, they might replace the store bought ones in this house. Not that I keep chips in the house, but when we're having sloppy joes or something, it will be nice to have a homemade option. They were super simple... thin sliced potato coated in olive oil and sea salt (or seasoned salt, or whatever you like), plate coated with nonstick spray, pop them in the microwave for 3-4 min (or until they start to brown), flip them and cook until the edges brown up (that could be as quick as 30 seconds or as long as 2 min - just keep an eye on them). Remove them to a cold plate and let them cool. They will get crispier as they cool.

Next on the agenda is homemade hot cocoa powder. My littlest one is OBSESSED with the Keurig and loves to make hot cocoa for everyone. Unfortunately, I can't keep enough mix in the house! I'm hoping that homemade will be cheaper than the stuff in the canister - more on that to come later  :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Another DIY!!

So, here is the latest and greatest DIY project that I whipped up in about 2 minutes tonight!

Homemade dishwasher detergent!

Super easy... 1C baking soda, 1C Borax, 1/2C salt, 10-12 drops of essential oils. 

Mix it together and store in an airtight container. Use 1Tbsp in the main compartment and an extra 1/2Tbsp in the other one.

I used it tonight and it seemed to work just fine! I was a little skeptical that I wouldn't love it, since we typically use dishwasher gel here, but there was no gunk on the glasses or bowls in the dishwasher! I consider that a success.

I'll be running another load in the morning... hopefully test number 2 works as well as the maiden voyage  :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Happy Momma!

So, I started doing a parenting devotional on YouVersion. It was a short one - only 5 days long - but I got one of the best ideas from it!! I'm very confident in my parenting abilities and I don't often have those "I'm a terrible parent moments", but because this is a trick that I've never tried before and it had such quick results, I wanted to share.

I love my kids to pieces. Like, I would walk through fire for them. But, like every parent out there, sometimes I get overwhelmed, short tempered, etc. It's not always fair and not always warranted, but it is what it is. That's just the reality of my life - I know that all parents can relate to this...

Anyhow, one of the things it said to do was to write your kids a letter. Just tell them 5 good things that you've noticed about them. So, Sunday night, I sat down and wrote a letter to each of my boys. I gave them to them yesterday morning as they were getting ready for school.


The immediate response from my boys was amazing! They were both being all shy and blushy (like boys will get when they're embarrassed, whether good embarrassed or bad embarrassed) and came up right away to hug me and say thank you.  Both boys had the letters set out in their bedrooms all day long. When I got home from work tonight, I noticed one on the kitchen table and the other on a pillow. Obviously, they were reading them again today! Josh even thanked me (again) for the letter as I was telling him goodnight. He said that the letter really made him want to get his grades up even higher (we've had a rough transition into middle school but he's really been trying and that was one of the things I pointed out) and that he really appreciates being noticed.

I'm trying not to dwell on the fact that that could be interpreted as he doesn't feel noticed on a regular basis - I'm choosing to hear him say that because this isn't a way I typically give him props, it's a good kind of different  :)

I understand the power of positive reinforcement and use it on a consistent basis, but this was positive reinforcement in a different way than how I usually present it and I was so impressed with the way my boys responded. I don't want the novelty to wear off - the way it sometimes can - so I think this is something I'll save for every once in a while and not make into an every day thing. Try to keep it extra special, ya know?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Jumping on the DIY Bandwagon!

So, my husband is on a mission to make a substantial dent in our debt this year. Basically, that means taking a closer look at where we spend our money and cutting out some of that unnecessary spending that seems to attack our bank account each month. 

One of the things he wanted to try was making our own laundry soap. Now, laundry soap is not a huge expense for us. I only ever buy one brand, I can only find it at Menards, and it only costs $3 a bottle. I would typically buy 5 bottles at a time and that would last us a good long while. By the time it was time to replenish our supply, I couldn't remember the last time I had to bought it. But, he wanted to give it a try, so I was fine with that.

If you've ever checked into it, I'm sure you've seen that there are about a million recipes for making homemade laundry detergent... especially if you like Pinterest. I think that making powdered detergent is less time consuming, but we have always used the liquid, so that's the route we went. This recipe came from my friend Erin over at She's been making it for her family for quite a while now. The nice thing about making it myself is that I know exactly what's in it - and exactly what's not. I can pronounce everything, which is a good thing too!

We took the plunge Friday night. I was able to buy everything at Meijers in the laundry section and it was ridiculously cheap. We had the first batch made in about 20 minutes and were able to use it the next day. I don't have an excess of time, so the fact that it was so quick definitely got a gold star from me. I didn't take pictures or anything like that, but here's the process in a nutshell:

What you need

(1) Fels Naptha Bar - at my Meijers it was located on the other side of the laundry aisle by the bar soaps in the grocery section
(1) box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
(1) box Borax
5 gallon bucket with a lid

What you do

  • grate the entire bar of Fels Naptha into a small bowl using a cheese grater
  • bring 4-5 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan
  • add the grated Fels Naptha to the water and turn the heat down to medium
  • stir continually until all the soap is melted (be careful not to let it boil over) - the mixture will be frothy
  • set aside the soap mix and fill your 5 gallon bucket half full with hot water
  • dissolve 1 C washing soda and 1/2 C borax into the water 
  • pour in the melted soap mixture and stir until completely mixed
  • add more hot water to the bucket, filling it to about 2 inches from the top
  • stir it up again and put the lid on
  • let it sit at least 8 hours (overnight worked well for us - make it after dinner and let it sit in the basement)
  • when you take the lid off, it will be gelled - we have a paint stirring attachment for the drill and used that to mix it all up. Your other option would be to use your hands to break up the gel, but I'll let the drill do the work for me. 
How to use

We filled up old laundry detergent bottles with the homemade soap. I like the convenience of having the measuring lines on the lid - and the idea of not having to dip a measuring cup into the detergent every single time. You will want to use about 1/2 C of soap per load and don't freak out that the soap doesn't foam up in the washing machine. That was a little strange to me at first, but I used it with all of the laundry this weekend and it seemed to work just fine!

I have UBER sensitive skin so I'm excited that it's unlikely I'll react to this detergent. It smells really clean and fresh, but I think I'm going to add some lavender essential oil to a batch and see how that turns out. I have a delicious lavender and tea tree oil blend that I think would be fantastic in a laundry soap!

Husband is definitely a fan. We have enough stuff to make 25 gallons of laundry soap before we'll have to buy more Fels Naptha bars (but at about $1 per bar, when we run out, the cost to replenish that stock will be minimal). I'm pretty sure it'll be spring before we need to mix up another batch of laundry soap, although we did give a bottle away for a friend to try. Considering I'm not out by Menards very often to buy more laundry soap, the idea of not having to think about running out is pretty sweet. It's funny how you always need to do laundry when you're low on detergent... I'm excited to have everything on hand to make more when we need it!

If you make your own laundry soap, do you have any tweaks you recommend?