Over The Weekend

It never gets old having your baby fall asleep on you | The clouds began rolling in, making it rainy for days | Spices I used to make a new rub for the pork. The rub was great but the pork was rubbery. Oh well. | Scout playing peek-a-boo | a ring dish I won from Ceraminic. I’ve been stalking my mailbox all week waiting for it to arrive. | I actually put on makeup and wore my hair down | the boys | a cold, cloudy, and wet day deserved popcorn and a movie with the kids curled up on the couch.
How was your weekend?  
annapolis and company

Scenes From DC | Part II

The Smithsonian: American History Museum

 Could you imagine vacuuming with this ladies!?

Just so you know, I would have totally pimped that Winnebago for this trip.  My kids were so squished in our backseat, it was ridiculous

The Smithsonian was by far my favorite spot.  My favorite exhibit was the Star Spangled Banner.  That flag is HUGE!  To put it in perspective, if your bedroom is 10X12, then imagine three bedrooms and that would be the size of the flag.  I wish I could have taken pictures, but they don’t allow it. 🙁  
I wish I could have taken more photos in general, but it was REALLY hard for me to take any pictures, let alone a “good” picture.  If you have a husband who doesn’t want to wait while you take photos and you’re constantly chasing after children, then you know that sometimes you just have to click fast and call it a day.  Plus, I didn’t exactly have the right lens for the pictures I was wanting to take. One day I will buckle and finally purchase them.

Annnnnnd….in true Luscomb family fashion, when we finally made it home after battling the blizzard that rolled through the entire state of VA, we realized that we had locked ourselves out of the house.  Yep.  We locked ourselves out of the house.  After a few freak out moments and pointing the finger at each other, “this is your fault!”, the hubs hoisted himself onto the roof, climbed through the window and broke the blinds.  

Ahhhh….memories.

If you find yourself planning a trip to D.C., I want to offer a few tips. 

Tips:
  • Use the metro!  The metro train will drop you off right at The Smithsonian.  The train system was easy to navigate, and the only help we needed was purchasing the tickets using the kiosk.  
  • Find a map.  You’ll need it.
  • Wear the most comfortable shoes you own.  The amount of walking you will do is exhausting.  I was actually jealous of the people taking the Segway tours! LOL.  
  • If you have small kids, take a stroller.  Even the older kids will be tired.
  • Bring snacks and plenty of water.  There were not any places to find drinks or food except for the museum.  
           If you eat at the museum, plan on spending a fortune.   
           We purchased
2 sandwiches, apple, 1 bag of chips, 1 hotdog, cheese curds, 1 water, 2 chocolate milks, fountain drink. 
And it cost us $44
  • We purchased the rest of our food from Groupon and Restaurants.com  It is expensive to eat out with a family of five and I really couldn’t find many family restaurants that was close to our hotel. Do some research before you leave.
  • Make sure your hotel offers a shuttle to the train station. 

Yarn Along

When we packed our bags in Utah and headed back south to Texas, I never really unpacked my yarn and knitting needles.  I have a few excuses and a few reasons, but none of it really matters.  I guess the urge to knit warm things in such hot weather never made any sense in my mind.  So…they sat in a box collecting dust for TWO years.  
And since we moved to North Carolina, where the weather has proved to be cooler, and I suddenly became an avid reader of Small Things, my knitting aspirations have come back to me.  
That….and because my husband and oldest son keep begging me to knit them new hats.  I promised them I would in time for winter, but I never did.
I know, I know.  Bad girl. Hahaha!  Anyway, tired of their harassment, I started knitting Bubba a simple hat to wear at work.  (He works in a freezer, btw) 
So far, I’ve realized I’m extremely rusty and had to research what in the world,  p2tog had to do with knitting.  Just so you know, it is very important.  I’ve also had to start this same hat two different times because I totally botched the pattern!  Sigh…
 I can promise you one thing:  This hat will be finished before next winter! LOL.  
One other thing, I’m happy to finally be able to link up with Ginny for her Yarn Along link up that she hosts each week.  It’s all about snapping a photo of what you are currently reading and knitting.  Unfortunately, I haven’t picked out a new book from my library yet.  I’m about to browse my library ebook section and see if they have any that I would like to read.  
Maybe next week I’ll have an actual title to show you and hopefully I’ll be a little further in this hat pattern! 
Liz

Gardening | DIY Seed Starter

It’s that time of year again.  I’ve been hustling and bustling in preparation for my vegetable and flower garden.  Gardening, at one point in my life, I mocked.  Maybe it is a maturity thing, but I’ve found the concept of hand to mouth, lending me a sense of self-gratification that stems from growing your own food.  
When it comes to planting, I am about as impatient as a two year old.  I always want to plant earlier than is recommended, usually resulting in withering leaves, and a disappointed Liz.   But I’m trying to suffocate my eagerness this year, especially being in a new state and being unfamiliar with its climate.  In Texas, I began my garden in February.  This year, my vegetable seeds still await in their packages.
Today, however, I was able to plant my lavender indoors.  Usually, I purchase the little Jiffy seed starter kits, but this year I am trying something different. 
I’ve been saving toilet paper rolls for a couple of months so I could make my own seed starter containers. I hope they work!  
Here is how I make them.

Directions 
 1) Take your toilet paper rolls and cut them half
2) Lay them out on some sort of tray or baking sheet
3) Fill each container with seed starting mix.  I used Miracle Grow Seed Starting Mix.
4) Pour water in each container to moisten the dirt
5) Plant your seeds according to the package directions
6) Water again
7) Set outside/sunny spot inside & let nature do its work!

Sometimes You Look How You Feel

Baby girl began feeling sick on our last day in D.C.  This is how she looked all day while sight seeing.  She just wasn’t her usual self.  She even began feeling warm later that night so we gave her a does of Tylenol.  Her low fever quickly went away.  The next day, she was back to normal, but around 3 in the morning, she woke up screaming with another fever.  We gave her medicine, but her fever was not lowering. 
Deciding we should get her to the hospital, we began getting everyone dressed.  Before we left, we read in a book that we should wait for another hour and see if her fever would reduce.  We prayed and within thirty minutes, her fever broke to 101.4*.   She battled her fever for most of the day, but by dinner time, it was completely gone. (Thank you, Lord!)  Her fever hasn’t been back, which is such a blessing.  
It is such a helpless feeling when your baby becomes ill.  Worry, panic, and fear quickly take over a parents mind!  We feel extremely blessed that it only lasted one day and that she didn’t experience anything else.  She slept a lot during the next day, but other than that she was back to feeling normal.  Again, thank you, Lord. 🙂  


Scenes From DC | Part 1

Bubba, the kids, and I quietly sneaked a spontaneous trip to Washington, DC last week for two days.  
I’m serious when I say spontaneous.  
Bubba came home from work Sunday night and I said we are going to DC tomorrow, and he said, “awesome” and the rest, as they say, is history.
I chose Washington, D.C. because 1) I’ve always wanted to visit and 2) everything is FREE!  

This trip was exactly what we all needed, too.  Do you ever feel like you just need a breather from your day to day routine?  A break from your own backyard?  A chance to have someone else make your bed, prepare your meals?  I know we did.  We haven’t had a getaway in a year and a half!  So to us, this was exactly what the doctor ordered.  Some of you would probably say we are nuts to take two babies on a trip like that, and I totally get why you think that.  The kids were cranky, they screamed, tried to run off into crowds or streets, and they made public embarrassing scenes with their bodily functions.  However, if I stayed at home because I knew my kids would behave like the toddlers that they are, then I would be stuck inside my four walls for many years, and I don’t want that.  

I’ll leave my Washington, D.C. tips and closing thoughts on part II.

iPhone Editing Tip: Get A Good App

Most of us by now have heard about instagram, used it, or have seen others use it.  
I’m also sure you have seen some amazing photos other users posted that made you wonder how in the world did that picture come from an iPhone.  Right!?  Or is it just me? 
I wish I could tell you that I have it all figured out, but I haven’t.  At least not completely.  However, I can tell you how you can use editing apps to improve your photos.  
Editing photos can take a good picture and make it a great picture. 
Before I start, I want to tell what editing app I use.  It is called Snapseed which is a free app by Google.
I like it because it offers an array of filters, as well as the typical fine tuning: contrast, brightness, saturation, cropping, and other general options.  Plus, it is FREE.  My favorite four letter word!   Did I mention that twice? 
In fact, the very first picture I edited using this app, became the winner in an instagram photo contest using this picture! 
Now that I have my bragging out of the way, here is an unedited photograph that I took of my daughter’s hands while she was in the tub.  
This is an okay picture in itself.  However, I wanted it to be a little more dramatic, so I selected the self tuning option on the app and played around with the contrast and lighting, which resulted in this photo.
Can you see the difference?  I lightened it up and added a little depth with the contrast.  Next came the first filter.  I decided to select Bright from the Drama option.  Here is what I got.

From this point, it’s just about layering the filters of your choice.  On this particular photo, I wanted to use the Dark from the Black & White option. 

I could have stopped here because it is pretty close to what I was aiming for, but I decided to take it a step further and layer the Bright from the Drama options, again to make it brighter while still defining the hands.  Here is the final picture.

 Alright, lets recap with the side by side photos.

Here is another before and after photo of Rori.

As for other tips, people who take their iPhone photos seriously, invest in attachable lens and other accessories such as the two pictured below.  The first one is a lens that attaches itself by its magnet.  The second photo (the yellow one) is a case and lens that allows you to take photos in water.  These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to iPhone camera options.  
But if you are a ho-hum instagramer like myself, then I would just stick with a free app and play around with it.  : D

Digital King 000DKWIDE Wide and Macro iPhone 4G/4GS Lenses

Watershot for iPhone – Underwater Camera Housing

A Weekend Recipe

It feels like I haven’t shared a recipe in a while so I figured I would share what I cooked up last night.  Typically, I save pizza for our Fridays, but I was lacking the motivation to make the dough, roll the dough, etc.  

 

I didn’t want to chop or dice anything either, so I reminisced about all the convenience food I used to buy and Hamburger Helper came to mind.  I stopped buying this once I realized I was paying a $1.20 for a seasoning packet and one cup of dry pasta.  
::slapping my forehead as I speak::    

I also can’t begin tell you how versatile this recipe is; making it an added plus in my cookbook!  For example, if you like basil, then add basil!  If you like chili powder, then add chili powder!  You like jalapenos, then add jalapenos!  Want it creamier?  Add more milk!  I could go on forever, I tell ya!
Plus, my son loves me more when I make this so I figured it was reason enough to go with it.  Something about childhood and Hamburger Helper… 🙂
Without further adeiu.

Cheesy Hamburger Skillet
Ingredients
1 lb of hamburger meat
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon all seasoned salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup  whole milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound elbow pasta 
1 can of condensed tomato soup
salt & pepper to taste
Method
Brown and drain meat.  Boil pasta and drain. (set aside pasta for later)
Add your seasonings and flour to the meat.  Stir well.  
Now add your tomato soup and milk.  Stir well.
Cook over low-medium heat until it is a low boil and begins to thicken.  
Once it has thickened, add your cooked pasta and mix until it well combined.  Now mix in your cheddar cheese until it is melted.  
Serve with warm bread or coleslaw.

What you may have missed…

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What you may have missed on Life As Liz in February

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