Have you tried Canva?

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As I become a little more experienced in the blogging world (still have a long way to go) I am learning more about graphics, how to include them, and most of all how to create my own. There are SO many sites out there for helping you, some free and some paid, that it can get overwhelming. At least it started to get a little overwhelming for me. I searched around for free sites first (duh) because I’m a frugal kind of person. This is when I found Canva.

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There are so many options. You can also upload your own photos to use as backgrounds as well. Some advanced options and images have a charge, but the only charge I have ever seen was $1.00 each. I love the easiness of using this site, the options, and downloading the graphic so much better than any of the other (free) sites I attempted to use.

Here are a few of my “creations” thus far 😉 :

To all of Our New Followers!-1

 

July 4th

 

Things to Do Thursday

 

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ALWB - July photo challenge

 

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I know some of them are not completely fabulous, but hey, I’m still figuring it all out. Have you ever used Canva? Do you have another website to make graphics that I might have overlooked?

Share them with me!!

Fried Green Tomatoes (in the oven!)

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We love fried green tomatoes at our house! I hear so many people say they’ve never tried them and I am just shocked. Ha! It must be a southern thing, but I just thought everyone had the opportunity to try them growing up. Either way, I think everyone should try them!

NEED:

3 medium green tomatoes, sliced. (I always find mine at our local farmer’s market.)

Cooking spray (we use olive oil spray)

Olive oil

Cornmeal

1 cup of milk

1 egg (large, small, brown, whatever. We get ours from my mom so they’re pretty farm fresh and luck of the draw 😉 )

Salt/pepper to taste if you prefer. Sometimes I do not add anything extra.

Baking sheet

**TIP: Slice your tomatoes thick. If sliced too thin, they’ll cook like a green tomato chip because they’ll completely dry out faster.

DIRECTIONS:

Lightly spray your baking sheet and preheat your oven to 350.

Set that aside.

In a small bowl beat egg and milk together.

In a container with a lid or ziploc bag, add your cornmeal and any seasonings to taste.

Place each slice into the milk/egg mixture, then place it into your cornmeal container.

Once you have about 5 or 6 pieces in the cornmeal, close the lid and shake. Shake it a lot to make sure the pieces are truly covered. You can check and make sure, and manually turn them over if needed. (Unless you peeled the skin from each slice, there more than likely will not be flour on the edges. They will turn out fine.)

Then place each slice on the baking sheet. You can space them closer together if you have more slices.

Repeat until all of your slices are on the baking sheet.

Take your olive oil and drizzle across all of the slices. (Add salt and pepper here if you want to.)

Bake for 15 minutes in the oven.

Take a fork and turn every slice over, drizzle olive oil on the slices, and bake again for another 20 minutes.

Let them cool before serving.

DELICIOUSNESS!

This is such a perfect recipe to stick in the oven and be able to continue preparing the rest of your meal.

***You can also use squash and the same recipe to get oven fried squash! 🙂

Fried Green Tomatoes

As you can tell, one was snatched off of the tray a little early. 😉

 

 

Southern Mom Life’s {Easy} Homemade Chicken Salad

 

We love chicken salad around our house. There are a few restaurants where I LOVE to pick it up for lunch, but we like to throw some together at home for quick sandwiches every now and then. We have done a homemade recipe where we boiled our chicken; however, when we decide last minute or find ourselves in a time crunch, it is great to have some cooked chicken on hand. (Explains why this recipe is called Easy Homemade Chicken Salad.)

****SIDE NOTE: I noticed when putting this post together that we buy a lot of Wal-Mart’s brand “Great Value”. That is probably because I am such a cheap-o when it comes to grocery shopping. Groceries are so expensive, you almost have to be! You will notice almost everything in this recipe is Great Value brand, ha! Maybe I should have named it “frugal and easy.” 😉

 

INGREDIENTS:

  1. (2) Cans of cooked chicken breast (I usually buy sodium free as well)
  2. Mayonnaise
  3. Mustard
  4. Pickles
  5. (1) Celery stalk
  6. (3) Boiled Eggs (We used fresh farm eggs from my Mom’s house)
  7. Freshly sliced tomato (For adding to the sandwiches 🙂 )

 

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THE STEPS:

Chicken Salad 1

Dump the chicken, chopped celery, and chopped pickles into the bowl and add a little mustard.

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Mix it all up. And if you prefer it like I do, “chop” the chicken while you’re at it.

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Next, add your mayo. I apologize, I do not have a measurement. Our kitchen is more of a measure-by-taste kind of kitchen for some things. 😉

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By now your boiled eggs should be cool, so chop them up and blend them in with a spoon. This should help absorb some of the creaminess. Also, if it is still too sweet… try adding a little extra mustard. If it is somehow not sweet enough, my mom has added less than a teaspoon of sugar to hers before.

This usually makes enough for 5 or 6 sandwiches! Definitely enough for a summer weekend lunch plus leftovers for Monday at work. I love easy and light recipes during summer when it is so hot and humid!

My {Latest} Favorite Hobby – Kayaking

Trevor had recently took up kayaking with some friends when he has “guy time” and I was iffy about it. For some reason if you’ve never been kayaking, everyone wants to scare you with how easy it is to flip and alligators, etc. I got tempted and tried it out in his parent’s pond on Memorial Day weekend… it is NOT scary and I do not know why people love to freak others out about such a fun activity! You would think this was paddle boarding an ocean current or something! (I’ve never done that either, so it might actually be fun and easy. Just setting an example here.)

I paddled around for at least 30 minutes that day! When Trevor saw how much I loved it, he ended up getting himself a new blue kayak and giving me his yellow one. We got the chance to go for a couple of hours a few weekends ago, and I am in love! I have many hobbies that I mostly never have time to do often, but this is one that I definitely want us to commit to doing many times throughout the end of summer! (Summer weather doesn’t end here until like the end of October. 😉 )

We’ve only been to “New City Lake” here in out hometown, but I am ready to make a plan to Kayak all across North Alabama!! I think it would be boring to kayak the same location over and over. I want to find all of the little lakes and places that aren’t super popular. Like here, no one visits the city lake except for the locals. I want to find those places. I have already started researching!! 😀

kayaking 4I’m so thankful to be from Alabama the Beautiful!!

 

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kayaking 2He fished, but I wasn’t up for that yet. I wanted to enjoy just kayaking for my first time.

 

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Have Kayaking ideas that are in North/Central Alabama, northern Mississippi or southern Tennessee???

PLEASE SEND THEM TO US!!

What Apps I’m Using on a Daily Basis

 

 

Today I am letting y’all in on the secrets of the Southern Mom Life iPhone. Secrets… Ha! I’m not much of a gamer and don’t really edit my photos a million ways. I don’t even make collages, but these things helps me survive and more or less pass the time unproductively… depending on the moment. Here’s what I currently love and use every day on my phone:

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1. Mail – Although I am on the computer at work, this enables me to check my personal emails on lunch, etc. And send a quick response when needed. Having access to email also makes it easy when I am out and about and have a moment to check it. I know I hate when it has been a week since someone responded to me 😉

2. Fitbit – This is an App I have been using since the end of May. I LOVE it! And I really want a Fitbit device to wear as well to keep up with my sleeping patterns too. That’s on my wishlist at the moment. (Along with 100 other things.) I use this to keep me on track for being more active and drinking water!! fitbit1

fitbit2It also lets you enter a weight goal and it gives you a daily “Calories Burned” Goal in order to help you achieve your weight loss goal. You can also enter what you eat and it will monitor the calories for you! Looking for a fitness app that will really help hold you accountable? Download Fitbit from the App store for FREE!

3. Instagram – Well, this is a little self explanatory. Who doesn’t already have Instagram? 😉 I am also on it a little extra lately as I try to build the Alabama Women Bloggers Instagram page as well. Follow us both at @cindy_britton and @alwomenbloggers !!

4. NOAA Weather – This is also a FREE app that is awesome when keeping up with the radar, satellite, etc. It pinpoints to your location, so make sure you enable location access for this app in your settings. Click on your location’s pinpoint and you can also access temperatures, 3 day forecasts, humidity, and all of that.

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You live in a town severely affected by the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak like I do, and you will appreciate and love this FREE interactive app with an continuously updating radar!

 

5. Life at Cornerstone – This is my church’s app! It is awesome. Even if you don’t attend my church or even live remotely close enough to, you can access an entire album recorded by the praise and worship team to help keep you motivated and uplifted. You can access previous messages from the pastor and a series from his wonderful wife. There is also a Daily Confessions and Study Center to help you grow in your every day Christian walk when you need a little guide help with your individual bible study. There is also a place to submit a prayer request! This is an app I definitely need in my every day life!! 🙂

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What apps are you using on a daily basis? Are you weird like me and refuse to pay for apps? What apps help you survive today’s crazy world??

Maybe I’m Old Fashioned? Part 1

So, I have recently realized that I am either an old soul or was born in the wrong era. Is there a difference? Ha!

Maybe it is because I am a mother and view the world differently than I probably would as a single-bachelorette-23-year-old. Whatever it is, I find myself wishing that I knew how to do things that probably never cross many American’s minds.

For Example:Sewing. I do not know how to work a sewing machine. Somehow I feel less of a woman because of that. Ha! This seems ridiculous to me because my grandmother and great-grandmother were quilters. Serious quilters. Every child received a hand made quilt for their first Christmas. I also received a hand made quilt for my 18th birthday. During my early childhood, they ALWAYS had a quilt project going on. I don’t particularly want to learn how to quilt as of now, but I cannot even tell you how to work a sewing machine. Embarrassing. So I ordered a desktop sewing machine in order to start learning how to make some pillow case dresses and ruffle pants (like the ones that I refuse to pay someone else $100 a pair of pants for.) FYI, you are free to spend your money however you please, but if you buy your child of any age a pair of pants for $100, I have judged you and will ask forgiveness for it later. I cannot make myself buy my 3 year old toddler clothes that she cannot be a child in. I have better things to do with my time than stress myself out controlling her and making her stay clean because I spent an insane amount of money on her clothes. I’d rather be playing and spilling ice cream with her. (; The thought of $10 worth of material on sale at Hobby Lobby makes me happy!

photo (2)Here is my new sewing machine!
 

I sit here now and wonder how come I never learned how to sew, considering how much my grandmother enjoyed it. Then I remember, it is because my mother and aunt were still around to help with those things; therefore, we were told, “get in the yard and play.” As amazing as that was for our creativity, imaginations, and bonding with cousins… it failed us in the aspect that other than clean house, we never learned domesticated tasks that are probably quite simple. How hard can it be to work a sewing machine? Surely it cannot be that difficult. I just have never been shown how to do it. I am determined to learn how to do this. I consider myself a pretty intelligent person. I’ve lined up a friend who is quite talented with a sewing machine and, after laughing, she agreed to teach me how. I’ll have to practice on a few outfits before I share a final product. (;

 
I am going to do a series of the different things I want to learn how to do that seem like forgotten knowledge or have been made unimportant by such a technology based society. A few future topics will be: canning; gardening; homemade jellies; and homemade biscuits. I may add to that list as I go!

Why Do I Hate the Word Elopement?

marriage_proposal_clipartMan of the House and I are getting married in October of this year. I previously posted about our engagement that happened last November (“Mommy Will You Marry My Daddy?” ) We have slowly planned over time versus having to rush and do it all at once. We originally found a place in Gadsden, AL that I am still in love with. If you ever need a venue for such an occasion or banquet, etc. please consider patronizing J & D Farms. It is an absolutely beautiful place.

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barnIt is absolutely beautiful. Check out their website if you have time.

We planned to use J & D Farms when we were going to have a traditional style wedding with ceremony and reception following, everyone invited, all of that good stuff. Then it began to feel like things were getting a little out of hand and also making it feel stressful for us. That stopped us in our tracks. We changed our plans completely.

We decided to go on our honeymoon, get married there in a private ceremony, and then have a reception the following weekend when we returned home. Perfect. There will still be a wedding dress, officiant, photographer, etc. at the ceremony. There will still be a full blown reception with food, family, music, drinks and fun. Oh, and a photographer there as well. Our daughter will still have a pretty little dress, and I’ll still get my hair done professionally for both days. Here’s the deal, though: It will be less stressful, it will be per our wishes, and we won’t have any regrets. Sounds like an absolute perfect wedding day(s) to us!

Then what happened was every where I looked in the Asheville area, offered elopement packages. “Great venue for your private elopement!” Hotels offer elopement packages, there are officiant and photographer combined elopement packages. Elopement, elopement, elopement. I hated it. Elopement? We are not eloping. Are we? To me an elopement is a spur of the moment hey, let’s go get married kind of thing. I was still taking 8 months to plan our  day and trip and honeymoon. Does that count as an elopement? I guess since we aren’t inviting anyone and it will just be us then it is considered an elopement? It still makes me want to be like “wait, this is still like a wedding and we are still having a reception! No one is running off and secretly getting married??” Ha! I know I am being ridiculous, maybe. But I still hate the word. Our invitations for the reception say “following a private ceremony”. Cannot bring myself to say “we are eloping.” To each his own, right? I don’t view it as an elopement, so who cares in the end. (;

Am I the only one who doesn’t like using that word to describe my wedding events?

The latest of many firsts: Baking for family Thanksgiving dinner

Oh. I guess I forgot the part where I’m an adult now and I’m supposed to contribute to the food supply at the family Thanksgiving get-together. No, honestly, it never crossed my mind that I am 23 years old and have always arrived at my grandmother’s house with my mother and all of the food she made. So when my grandmother asked me, “Hey, I have everyone’s food items they’re bringing next week, what are you planning to bring?” I literally had no answer off the top of my head. I wish I had some quick reply similar to, “You know, that awesome dish that everyone loves that I always bring, of course.” HA.

I told her I would have to get back with her. I literally had no idea. All the basic things were already being provided along with a few specialty casseroles and other foods. What the heck was I going to bring? Paper plates? I have too much pride.

I went home that night and dug through a folder/stack of recipes (half of which I have yet to attempt) and found a recipe for Caramel Glaze Pumpkin Pound Cake. The recipe is completely homemade. Let me make a list of the amount of homemade cakes I have baked in the last 23 years:

*cue crickets beginning to chirp*

Exactly. It’s not that I cannot cook or that I am a bad cook. (I don’t understand how you can be a horrible cook if you just cook whatever YOU like.) I’ve made homemade blueberry muffins with amazing blueberries from our local farmer’s market! My pink-dyed pancakes have resulted in squeals and giggles throughout breakfast. I can run a grill and fry up some pretty darn good homemade fried chicken fingers. But, baking. Let us just all agree that baking is not in my list of natural instincts, talents, or abilities. If it comes with a box, directions, and requires 2 eggs and cooking oil, then you can call me Master Chef. Hey, it was made at my home and not bought at the grocery store bakery. That’s homemade. (;

Tomorrow night I will jump head first into my first ever truly home made cake. Cross your fingers.

My baking pride is at stake.

If this turns out successful, I need someone to buy me a really cute apron for Christmas.