Thursday, June 28, 2012

Honeycruise + Blog Challenge

My husband and I are {{finally!!}} going on our honeymoon {10 months after the fact, nbd}.

And I am SO excited because we are going on a cruise.

Everyone in my family and everyone in Jordan's family have all been on cruise. Except me. So for the next two weeks or so, I may be MIA {but I'm going to leave some fun posts for you to read}.

Speaking of posts, I found this blog challenge on my friend's blog and thought it might be a good to help me stay on top of my posts for the next 31 days. Mmm, okay false. As I am reading through this list, I think I shall pick and choose which ones and in which order. So really, it'll be like a surprise every day! But I think I'll do the first one first.

So here goes #1: Introduction.

My name is Elyse Alexandria Holmes. 
I'm married. 
I have no kids {although I nanny a 4 year old and 10 month old}.
I'm from NY {{upstate}}
I have three brothers.
I'm a spoiled only girl.
I live in The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Texas.
I am not very fashionable.
But I still care about how I look.
I'm 5'4 1/2" tall.
My husband is about a foot taller than I am
I'm slightly obsessed with grammar.
And spelling.
And editing in general.
{{But I will never judge you for doing something incorrectly}}
{{most of the time anyway}}
I love to sing. Maybe one day I'll post a video :)

I like laughing with my husband
Making up terrible puns
I couldn't live without my iPhone
I'm an avid learner
I want to learn photography,
How to sew,
How to cook,
Pretty much how to do anything cool.
I have never eaten a Snicker's bar in my life. 
I would rather go skydiving
or kayaking
{{or heck, even fly fishing}}
 than stay at home all day.

I can't believe the amazing things people do
Run marathons {I've only run 3 half marathons}
Climb mountains
Create art through photography
Find creativity anywhere
Sing beautifully {check out this girl!}
 Have immense compassion and love {like this beautiful blogger}
Create beauty {love this girl's jewelry and blog}

I don't know. I never really know what to say on these things.
If you want to know anything else, please ask!

p.s. I'm crushing on this song right about now

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lovely Linky: Seven Questions

Hello readers! I've been slacking a bit on this link up, but here I am again with 7 Questions with Gentri Lee know how it's impossible to lick your elbow? Well, actually it's not. I can lick my elbow. 
This isn't the greatest picture, but I really am licking my elbow. 
It's one of my many stupid human tricks.

1. If you could be any princess, which would you be and why?
This one is hard because my favorite princess is Sleeping Beauty {Aurora}, but it would be totally awesome to be Gizelle {from Enchanted}, or Belle. If I were a Princess at Disney World, I would probably want to be Belle. If I were a real princess I'd want to be like Gizelle. And if I got to sing and live with 3 sweet little old fairy ladies, I would want to be Aurora.

2. Do you have any odd habits? (do things in order, words that you say too often, etc)
My closet is rainbow ordered.
 I absolutely cannot leave the bathroom without washing my hands. Ugh. Double ugh.
If I go to bed without writing in my journal, I can't stop thinking about it.
Same if I don't brush my teeth.
I put my leg up on the seat when I drive
Or pretty much whenever I'm sitting.
When I'm with my husband, I will try to spout out as many puns as I can think of.

3. What's your "go to" outfit?
Jeans, white shirt, TOMS

4. Do you have any siblings? What are their genders, ages, order of age, names, etc?
Three brothers
Oldest // Peter // 28 (I think??)
2nd oldest // Andrew // 24
Youngest // Michael // 17
Me // Older than Michael :)

5. What's your favorite precious stone?
I'm honestly not a big precious stone person. 
But I adore pearls
And amethyst {{my birthstone}}

6. If you had a check in your hand for 1 million dollars, what would you do with it?
Oh gosh, I really don't know. My husband would make us put at least half into savings.
And the rest would go towards an airplane. 
{That's how well I know my husband. He would totally take the money and buy an airplane.
Makes sense though; he is a pilot :) }

7. What do you love most about yourself--physically (eyes, smile, hair, etc. I don't know a good way to word that question...)
This probably sounds really weird, but I like my collar bone. 
I don't know why. Mostly, I just think it looks nice.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lovely Linky: Is That Normal?

I have to admit, I kind of love link up parties. People are so clever! I found this one as I was blog-stalking the lovely lady over at the {mr.} & the {mrs.}. It's from Allyce {what an awesome name! ;) } over at Chalk in the Rain {such a cute blog that I just discovered!}
Soo, here's a picture because blogs are always better with pictures and corresponding stories. This was my husbands first solo flight in the T-38 (which is a fighter/bomber trainer for the Air Force). He had just gotten back, and as you can see he was still alive and well. 

I know it's not really normal to be a pilot in the Air Force, 
so this picture is not normal ;)

Anywho, here goes! {p.s. how would you answer these questions??}

1. Is it normal to lie about your age?
Since I'm only 22, I don't really feel the need to lie about my age. 
Unless some creepy guy is hitting on me. Then I would say I was 15 or something. 
{Except now I can just say I'm married}
So no, not normal.

2.  Is it normal to have mistaken someone for the opposite sex?
It kind of depends. Have you ever seen someone and could not tell for your life if it was a boy or girl??? I have had that experience. 
Also, with girls having really short haircuts and guys having really long hair, 
sometimes, especially at first glance, you can't really tell.
So yes, it's normal.

3. Is it normal to go #2 in a public restroom?
Ugh, I hate going to the bathroom in any public restroom and I would definitely hold it if I had to go #2. So for me, it is not normal.

4.  Is it normal to sit RIGHT NEXT TO a stranger at the movie theater?
Unless the theater is packed, no. 
But I've sat next to a complete stranger before. 
But generally, no, it's not normal.

5.  Is it normal to lie about your weight?
For this one, I would have to say yes. Not because I weigh so much,
but I still don't like giving out my weight because 
I don't want others to either
get upset (that they weigh more) or
tell me I need to gain weight (haha)
Maybe I shouldn't care.
But yes, it's normal. 

6.  Is it normal to sing and dance in the car?
Totally normal. 

7.  Is it normal to take self-pictures in public?
Generally, not normal. 
Just ask someone that looks nice and honest to take your picture for you.

8.  Is it normal for women to have a gun license?
Why not? Women should be just as prepared to defend their family, children, etc.
Plus, I think it's all around just smart for every one to be educated on guns
And I will probably have a gun license someday.
So yes, normal. 

9. Is it normal to post pictures online of yourself in a bikini? Nope. Sorry. I don't want to see that.
I don't really agree with the whole bikini thing anyway.
So yeah, not normal. Please don't post pictures

10.  Is it normal to like the smell of gasoline?
I'm probably super weird, but I kind of like the smell of gasoline. 
So normal for me? Maybe not for everyone else :)

DIY Cooling Hair Tie

In Texas, temperatures can reach up to 120 degrees, and average during the summer is anywhere between 95 and 110. This past week was girls' camp and as the camp director, I knew one the of the things the girls would complain about the most was the heat, so I made (with help) over 50 "cooling hair ties."

You may or may not have seen those "cooling necktie/hair tie" things that you put into water for a couple minutes and they keep you cool all day? Well, generally they cost upwards of $8 each. But really, they are quite inexpensive and really easy to make.

 Just as a reference, I spent $15 on the crystals and $5 on the fabric (most of it I got for free from donations), so for 50+ neckties, we spent about $20

DIY Cooling Hair Tie

Fabric (how much will depend on how many you need to make, but for each necktie you will need 4 1/2" x 44" of fabric)
Scissors or Rotary cutter with mat
Iron & ironing board
1/8 teaspoon
Sewing Machine
Water Absorbing crystals/polymers (I bought a 3lb. bag on Amazon for $15, but you only need a 1/2 teaspoon per tie, so I definitely didn't even use close to a 1/4 of that bag. You can find it at Home Depot in the gardening section).

 1. Cut your fabric into 4 1/2" strips. Fold in half "hotdog" style (or the long way) with the right sides together (meaning the side with the more vibrant fabric you would iron together) and iron.

2. Next, sew the two sides together along the long side. You should have a long inside-out tube. Pull the fabric through to make it right-side-out. (My genius husband did this using a broom stick handle. It made things go much faster.)

 3. Now you're going to mark the middle by folding your tube in half. Sew a straight line across the middle. Once you've done that, pour 1/8 teaspoon of the water absorbing crystals into one side. Mark 4" from the middle and sew a straight line again. You've just made one pocket with the crystals inside. Now, make three more pockets so there are two on each side of the middle line. Sew the ends together and voila! You've got yourself a cooling necktie

 *Note: There are many variations on this. You can do three pockets, with one large pocket in the middle. Or you can have one big pocket. Whatever you choose. Just keep in mind that though the little crystals don't look like they take up a lot of space, they will expand 10x their size or more, so in this case, less is probably better.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Most Amazing Banana Bread Recipe

When I was little and my mom and dad would take me to the Farmer's Market, one thing we would often get was banana bread. Oh gosh, that banana bread was so so good! Soft, moist, delicious, amazing yumminess. That's the best way to describe that banana bread.

Well, I got back from Girls' Camp on Friday and we had 15 leftover bananas, and my husband had the great idea to make some banana bread. And it turned out amazing. So, here's the recipe I used. {original found here}

Best Banana Bread

  • Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c of butter, softened
  • 3/4 c of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/3 c of mashed overripe bananas (I used 4)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 c of flour {I used whole wheat and it turned out great}
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and brown sugar {this may take a little while, don't stop when they are blended. You want it to be a light shade of brown}. 
2. Add the eggs, bananas, and vanilla to your sugar mixture and mix together. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients {flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg}. 
3. Add your dry ingredient combination to your banana mixture and stir until it combines. It should be thicker, but still slightly soupy {very very slightly}.
4. Coat a 9x5 bread pan with cooking spray and pour mixture in. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until knife comes out clean {when you insert it into the middle that is}. Take out of oven and eat with lots of butter. Mmm, so yummy.

Note: If you do not have a bread pan, try using a muffin tin and bake for only 40 minutes.

Try it, you won't regret it!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Naughty Word

There is one very naughty word I have said or thought many, many times in my life.

It has gotten me into a lot of trouble.

It has cost me a lot of money.

It has even lost me friends, things, opportunities, and more.

The word?


I have this really, really bad habit of putting things off.

"I'll do it later."

Why? Because I'll have more time, energy, ideas, ability, etc later.

So this blog that has been neglected? It's because I'm always to write an entry "later," "when I have more time, ideas, followers" {ha on that last one!}

See, there are several problems with the word later.

I'm terribly forgetful.
I lose focus.
I realize that later is just as busy as now.
Those ideas I thought would come later, didn't.
Sometimes later is too late.

So now, to my readers and to myself, I make a pledge.

No more later.

No more putting off the dishes, or ignoring e-mails, or neglecting my blog.

I can do it now. {Or I can at least write a reminder to myself if I really really can't do it now. i.e. I am driving :)}

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Letters: Graduation Edition

Today, my husband graduated from the Undergraduate Pilot Training program (UPT) at Laughlin AFB. 

{In the top picture, Jordan is receiving his "wings" from one of the commanders,
in the bottom picture, I am pinning his wings onto his uniform.}

Let me tell you a couple of things about this graduation/pilot training:

1. It has taken over a year.
2. He has worked 12-hour days, 5 days a week.
3. He has studied his little tush off.
4. He studied for and answered over 600 test questions. {and may I just add, that he earned the top academic score in his entire class of 28 with a 99.5% accuracy, missing only 5 questions. Oh and P.S. he also earned another award distinguishing him for Outstanding Citizenship}
5. He logged over 200 flight hours.
6. He sometimes came home feeling like he wouldn't make it through the program.
7. It was so so stressful.
8. We met some really amazing people.
9. It's a big deal.
10. I am so grateful to him for all the hard work he put in. 

The Air Force began this pilot training program in Laughlin AFB 50 years ago this year. In those 50 years, they have only pinned wings onto 12,000 pilots. 


How lucky are we to be a part of that small number. We are so grateful to our families, the instructors, the Air Force, and most especially our Heavenly Father. We feel so blessed for the opportunities we've been given and hope that we can in some small way repay this debt.

And without further ado, Friday letters:

Dear Jordan, You are amazing. You are my hero. I am so grateful for all the hard work you've put in this past year. You really deserve this. Dear in-laws, I'm so grateful you guys came in for the ceremony and graduation. Your support has made a huge difference in our lives and has really helped Jordan out this past year. Dear Dad, Thanks for coming out! We were so happy and grateful to receive your support. Dear class of 12-10, CONGRATS!! You did it! You made it through one of the most difficult, trying years of your lives. And you have something amazing to show for it. Dear wives/finances/girlfriends of 12-10 class, Thank you for the unity and support you all provided. I was so grateful for that support system as a spouse. Dear Me, Whew! You made it to! Del Rio wasn't as bad as you thought and you have made some pretty unforgettable friends. Dear Del Rio, Thanks for not being as bad as everyone else made you out to be. You do have some fun things to do here. 

Today was definitely a Friday to be remembered.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

DIY: Party Shirt

I realize that not all of you will benefit from this DIY project, but for anyone wishing to continue the Air Force tradition of "party shirts" (aka tuxedo shirts worn underneath the mess dress jacket), this is especially for you. 

DIY: Air Force Party Shirt

What You Will Need:
~1.5 to 2 yards of fabric {I personally think that two different, but coordinating look the best as the picture above shows}
Sewing machine
Thread {I suggest white, that way if you make a mistake sewing, it won't be very obvious}
Seam Ripper {This one is important!! You will be doing a lot of seam ripping}
Patience {It doesn't take a ton of time, nor is it extremely difficult, but it does take some patience, especially when you have to redo the sleeves three times because your husband convinced you they were on the wrong way, even though they weren't}

1. First things first, take the shirt out of the plastic and take a look at it. Note the sleeves and the back, as that is what you will be replacing. Turn it inside out.

2. Once you have it inside out, look at the part of the sleeves that connects to the back/shoulder of the shirt. Your goal is to get those sleeves off. Now this is my recommendation: I would suggest starting with the lower stitches {i.e. the straight stitch one, not the serged edge/zig zag edge}. One side of the stitches look pretty and simple. The other side looks a little messier. Seam rip from the messier side, working towards the right, as in, as you continue to seam rip, you will be going clockwise. After undoing a few stitches, you should be able to pull the thread and have it all come out. {I tried to take a picture of this and it did not turn out well.} Then doing the same thing with the top/serged stitches--rip out some of the stitches on top and in the underpart, and after a little bit of that, you should be able to rip it right out.

*Note: If that makes no sense, don't worry about it. It took me several shirts to even learn how to do it. It's not necessary, it just makes seam ripping much faster. If you cannot figure out my confusing instructions, just seam rip it out as best you can. It may just take a little while.

3. Once you have seam ripped both sleeves, you should be able to take them out and your shirt will now look like Larry the Cable Guy's shirt. Sleeveless. From here, you are going to work on the cuff part of the shirt.

4. This part is easier than it looks. Just be careful not to seam rip the cuff fabric. All you're going to do is detach the cuff from the sleeve.

5. And then you're going to seam rip out the little cut out thing that is part of the sleeve. Also, make sure you seam rip at least one of the sleeves open so you can use it as a pattern to cut out the sleeves from your "party" fabric.

6. When you're done with all that seam ripping, you'll have three pieces for each sleeve--two of which you'll need to keep--the cuff and that little piece of fabric that went into the cut {sorry, I have no idea how to even describe that}.

7. Next, it's time to...seam rip some more!! Exciting stuff huh? It's time to seam rip the back off of the shirt. Now, if you understood anything from step 2, I'm going to try to explain the easier/faster way to seam rip the back. Remember how there is a messier looking side and a cleaner looking side on the straight stitch? Start at the bottom of the shirt and seam rip a couple of stitches from the "messier" looking side and just pull the thread and it should just pull off. If that's super confusing, just seam rip the back part of the shirt off {both along the sides and across the top}.
{sorry this picture is kind of weird}

8. Use the back part and the sleeve that you have seam ripped off as your pattern to cut out the fabric. When I cut out the sleeves, I folded the fabric over and just cut one out and had two sleeves. {Sorry, I didn't take any pictures here.}

*Note: Make sure you prewash your fabric. It'll make it softer and easier to deal with.

9. Now comes the pinning!! Wahoo!! Okay, it's not really that exciting, but it's important, so here we go. First, you're going to want to pin and sew the sleeves together. To do that, fold each sleeve in half the hotdog way, pin them about a 1/4"down (on both sides), and sew a straight stitch all the way down. You will probably want to reinforce the stitch by sewing and additional straight stitch halfway between the edge and your first stitch.

10. Next, you're going to put on that random white part of the slit in the sleeve. Pin it on, and sew it up!

11. Now you're going to sew the cuff on. Keep in mind that the stiff part goes on the inside (aka closer to the skin). Pin the cuff on, paying close attention to both the front and the back to make sure that you pin the cuff onto the fabric on both sides. As you are pinning, note that you will probably have to fold over part of the fabric to make it fit within the cuff. It's okay. That fold was in the original sleeve in case you didn't remember. Sew it on and there you go! {p.s. unless you are a perfectionist, if you make a mistake and don't get the cuff on both sides, just go back over it. You really can't tell if you're using white thread.}

12. You're going to put the sleeves down for a minute and work on the back part of the shirt. First, hem the bottom so that the bottom edge looks nice. Then pin and sew the fabric onto the top first. You'll want to do a straight stitch across the top. Pay attention to the outside {that's where I stitched it from} as that is the part that will be seen, and make sure it's really close to the edge. {In my pictures, you can see that the outside stitch is closer to the edge than the inside stitch. Don't worry if they aren't the same, just as long as you've sewn it on both sides, you're good.}

13. Next you will want to sew on the sides. All you do is pin them on and do a straight stitch all the way down. I would suggest using the holes from when you seam ripped it out. As you can see, my stitches are a little bit below the bottom row of holes--the person I made this for wanted his shirt a little more fitted {which I ended up making it even more fitted than this}, but you get the idea....right?

13. Phew! Now that you've got the sleeves done, it's time to put them back on! This part is pretty easy. Just pin the sleeve on {make sure you pin the correct sleeve on the correct side!! I had to redo two shirts because I messed that up}. The open part of the sleeve {aka that little slit that you sewed that white bit onto} should face away from you. When you pin it on, make sure the seam is at the bottom {aka not on the shoulder}. And when you sew it on, I would suggest starting at the armpit and working your way around, that way it will look a little nicer {with the backstitching and everything}.

{{What you'll see in the picture: I matched the edges of the top of the sleeve together, making sure the seam was at the bottom. Then I put the top of the sleeve at the top of the shoulder of shirt. Then I pinned it on there first and based all the other pins off that.}}

Annndddddd then you're done!! Take a step back and admire you're newly made Party Shirt! Check out the other party shirts I've done here.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Letters

Oh hello June. Where did May go?? Heck, where did April go??!

Anywho, remember that Send Something Good thing I did?? Well, through that, I met the lovely Traci from Rose and Lou and started following her blog.

Well I noticed her blog update today, and totally wanted to give it a try, so here's the first of Friday Letters (a link up by this neat blog that I just learned about called Adventures Of Newlyweds).

A random picture that really has nothing to do with Friday. 
I just want all you readers out there to know that these very vegetables came from our garden.
Yup, a real live organic garden right in my own backyard.

Dear 4-year-old boy I babysit, If you could kindly not lock me out of the bathroom and then proceed to chop your hair off, that would be great. Especially right before your mother comes home. Also, when you come out and ask me, who is going to clean all that hair on the floor up, who did you think I was going to say?? Dear iMac, I am so happy that you are finally here!! Dear husband, please get home soon so we can open our new computer and I can start updating my blog on a computer that is a million times faster and better than mine!! :) Dear husband, I miss you and would like you to come home anyway...even if we didn't have a new computer. Dear Party Shirt, I don't mind cutting out the fabric, the pinning, or even the sewing, but if you could just seam rip yourself, that would be great. Thanks! Dear Miss Lily (the 9-month old girl I babysit), You are just too adorable. Please don't ever stop smiling or I will be very sad. Dear Friday, I am so happy you are here. Thanks for coming so quickly this week. Dear me, I am so glad you are not working at *insert current animal kenneling place job here* much longer because you need some free time to do all the other work you are supposed to be doing {i.e. school, making random dudes party shirts, blogging, etc}. Also, please stop being a lame blogger and be a cool one. KThanks!

Hope you all have a fabulous Friday and weekend!!!