Goodbye 2012

Dec 31, 2012

2012 has been so good to us here at As It Seems. This little blog started off the year as Hello. Also, I love you. and I was the only author. Aaron and I added Twink to our family on January 2nd (talk about starting it out right). Later in January I opened up on my blog for the first time about my divorce. As painful as that experience was, it helped make me the person I am today. I finally wrote about it because I wanted others to know that it does get better. In February I participated in a short story challenge that was so much fun. In March poor Twink had surgery and I celebrated my 26th birthday. I'm a believer in birthday week because one day is just not enough to celebrate a person. In April I talked about reaching out to other bloggers. I used to be so good at that and I'm resolving to be good at it again. I know I'm not the only one who wants to connect with others. In May I did not one, but two home tours. They're different though! I also officially became As It Seems. In June I shared an easy keyboard makeover to make your computer a little more fancy. I also became an aunt to the most beautiful little girl, Elizabeth Ann, and one week later I found out I was pregnant. And that's when my blogging lull hit, because my pregnancy made me so sick that I could barely move from the couch most days. In July Twink turned 1 and we celebrated in style. In August I announced my pregnancy for the whole wide world to know. Also, my BFF Jessi came to Japan to visit and we had many awesome adventures despite my awful sickness. In September I hit the halfway point in my pregnancy and found out we're expecting a BABY GIRL! We also added Tally to our family. She's a handful but we love her. In October we went to the Air Force Ball and celebrated Aaron's 27th birthday (isn't it nice of him to be older than me?). In November my fabulous sister Shelly joined me as co-author of this little blog and she shared her very first AIS blog post, a delicious pumpkin cake. Aaron and I also celebrated our first (of many!) wedding anniversary. December ended our fantastic year with a DIY for (easy) custom made canvas and an insanely delicious recipe for banana bread. And of course, our AIS holiday card! Shelly and I have both been so blessed this year. We hope you've all had a beautiful one, too. And Happy 2013!
xo Sue & Shelly

Happy Holidays!

Dec 22, 2012

2012 has been an amazing year. We've both been so blessed. We've experienced a few big milestones in our lives and we look forward to many more. We hope that your holidays are filled with love and joy. From our hearts to yours, Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! xo Sue & Shelly

Keeping Kids Healthy

Dec 21, 2012

A few weeks ago Carolyn over at Full-On Fit emailed me about doing a guest post. Since Shelly and I joined forces we haven't had any guest posters but we definitely still love them! Carolyn wanted to share her personal experiences with keeping children healthy and as a soon-to-be mom I couldn't say no to that. I can always use a few extra tips (and the overprotective parent in me loves them). I hope you enjoy her tips as much as I did! xo Sue


Keeping Kids Healthy: Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Tips

In addition to Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season, November was American Diabetes Month. Although in the past this wasn’t something I paid much attention to, my family’s world was turned around when my little cousin was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. After doing some research on how to help her, I was astonished to find that this type of diabetes is way more common in children than it was just 20 years ago! According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 3,700 children are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and this number continues to grow each year as lack of physical activity and obesity rates rise in children.

Although Type 2 Diabetes can be caused by genetics, for most children, it's brought on by poor eating habits, lack of physical activity, and being at an unhealthy weight. The good news is that diabetes caused by these three factors can be prevented with simple changes in diet and exercise. 

The right kinds of food
Foods with whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and brown rice help stabilize blood glucose levels. Daily servings of three to five fruits and vegetables provide nutrients children need, with fruits satisfying their sweet tooth. Look for antioxidant-rich produce that's high in fiber, such as berries, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and beans. For additional food options, check out the American Diabetes Association

For fun ways to get kids eating healthy, have them help out in the kitchen.  Make healthy "ice cream" by sweetening plain yogurt with honey or agave nectar and freeze it. Let the kids make toppings with fruits and nuts. Also, get their input into what they would like for dinner or a snack that night – and then adjust their suggestion if need be.

Get your move on
Getting active can be fun, too. Have the whole family engage in sports such as indoor basketball or martial arts. Depending on where you live, let children go out and play in the snow for a couple of hours, or have races on the beach. Yoga is also a fun, unique way of getting children active. It not only increases flexibility, but studies have shown that it can lower stress levels, another factor that can bring about Type 2 Diabetes. Best of all, it can be done indoors when the weather outside is too cold.

Cardiac surgeons from St. Joseph’s Hospital Cardiac Center warn that proper preventive care is key to children living full, healthy lives. These measures not only help prevent Type 2 Diabetes, but they also can be used to avoid heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, and many other serious diseases. With the holidays upon us, it’s the perfect time to maintain your child's health by providing them with food that's both nutritious and yummy for them!  

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog, Full-On Fit

Easy Breakfast Casserole

Dec 17, 2012

One of my favorite things in the morning is a hot breakfast. It just gets me going right away. The downside to that is having to wake up and make that hot breakfast. The solution? This easy breakfast casserole. It cooks in the crock pot while I sleep and is absolutely delicious. I originally found the recipe here but modified it a little bit to fit my taste. Because lets be honest, everything is better with sausage or bacon added.

Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole
  • 5 cups frozen hashbrowns
  • 1 package cooked bacon or sausage
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
Mix all ingredients into your crock pot. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Wake up to a delicious, hot breakfast. The pictures below are after it was done cooking, the top was before I stirred it all up and the bottom was after. It looks like mush. It tastes amazing. Aaron requests this all the time now.

xo Sue

Banana Bread

Dec 13, 2012

So Christmas is coming quickly and I am thinking of possible presents for friends and neighbors. I want to make something easy and simple that others will hopefully enjoy! Every year my mom makes plates of Christmas cookies to take to friends and I would like to start something like that this year. I was thinking of what I could make and one of my go-to recipes came to mind. I love banana bread and it is very simple to make! I think there will be a slice or two on my Christmas treat plates this year! As we get closer to Christmas I will post more recipes of goodies that I will include on my gift plates :)

Banana Bread

1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Butter
2 Eggs
1 tsp Lemon or Lime juice
4-5 mashed ripe Bananas
2 cups Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda

In a mixing bowl cream your sugar, butter, eggs and lemon juice. 

Add bananas and mix well.

Sift in flour and baking soda. Beat until blended.

Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. 

When it is golden brown and firm in the middle it is ready to come out. You will be able to see very easily if the middle isn't cooked through. Let it cool for half an hour before you remove it from the pan. 

Place on a cutting board and slice it up. You can add it to a plate of goodies for neighbors or keep it all for yourself! 

Here is a helpful tip: I like to make this every month or so and slice it up. I keep out a few slices to eat for the next couple of days but I will put the rest in sandwich bags and throw them in the freezer. I found that if I put a whole loaf in the freezer I never pull it out... so I place them in individual bags so I can pull one out at night and then enjoy it for breakfast the next morning! 

I hope you enjoy banana bread as much as I do!!!!
xo Shelly

Custom Canvas Quotes

Dec 12, 2012

I've been nesting! My daughter's room is my favorite room in the house and it's not even done yet. It's been a little frustrating because everything I've wanted I've had to order online and the waiting on overseas shipping makes me crazy. I can find decor here but the big things (like furniture!) have been much more difficult. My favorite part of decorating her room has been my DIY projects. It makes me feel like I'm really creating this space for her. They've all been very simple but I've learned that things don't have to be extravagant or difficult to be beautiful. So far these custom canvas quotes have been my favorite project and after sharing them on Instagram I've had numerous requests for the tutorial. So by popular demand, I give you my insanely easy custom canvas quotes tutorial.

Materials needed
blank canvases
paint brush
mod podge (I used satin, a great mix between glossy and matte)
quality printed photos (I made mine on PicMonkey and ordered them from Shutterfly)

Start by painting the blank canvas with a thin coat of mod podge. Lay your photo on the canvas and flatten it out so there are no bubbles. Cover the entire photo with mod podge, going over the edges to make smooth lines. Let it dry completely. Hang your canvas photos anywhere you want and enjoy the beautiful finished product!

I used 5x7 canvases and photos because I didn't want them to take away from the rest of her room, just add a little something special, but you can use any size you like. Also, be sure your photos printed are a good quality. The first ones I had printed at a tiny local store in Japan were terrible. They bubbled and peeled and curled in on the edges. The prints from Shutterfly were perfect and gave me no trouble at all. I've also made something similar to this with photos printed on my own printer and they worked great as well. As long as you have quality photo paper this project will work well.
xo Sue

On Baby Names

Dec 11, 2012

And yet, there's something beautiful about the word "rose." Every name is different and special, picked for us by people who love us more than we can ever imagine. I was named after my mother. Her middle name is Susan, which is my given name. Growing up I always thought I had an old lady name. Now I prefer to think of it as vintage. And the nickname, Sue, well I just think it fits me. Short and sweet and simple. And I love that it's the name my mom and dad picked out just for me. I was almost named Heather (now it's my middle name instead) but I'm glad I wasn't. I don't think it would have fit me nearly as well and my parents somehow knew that. They knew they were having a spunky little girl that needed a spunky little name to go along with her. Somehow they just knew. And they continued to know with 5 more children!

I've always thought that Shelly's name fits her so well. It's a warm and happy name and that fits my bubbly younger sister completely. Her dimples are ridiculously cute (all 6 kids in our family have them but Shelly's are by far the most prominent) and because of that her smile makes it impossible not to smile back at her. She'll probably be embarrassed when she reads this because she doesn't know I'm writing about her. Oops! Her precious baby Elizabeth was named perfectly, too. It such a classic, sweet name and the nickname, Lizzie, is the picture of a bundle of joy- which she definitely is!

How do you pick a name for your baby? It has been such a daunting task for us! Suddenly I felt like every name I had ever liked was terribly wrong for my daughter. People ask me how we picked ours and I honestly don't have a good answer. I'm still not sure how we found her name. I think I heard it years ago and it just sort of stuck with me. But our naming process went something like this.

We found out I was pregnant. We started talking about both boy and girl names. We picked middle names first (I know, we're strange). We made a huge list of potentials. We crossed off more than half almost immediately. We narrowed it down to 2 or 3 for each gender. We found out we're having a girl. We debated between 2 for weeks. One of them just sounded right to my ears and my heart so I started calling her by it out loud. Aaron got on board. Now we have our daughter's name. But it was a process!

So tell me, what names do you love? And how did you end up picking them?
xo Sue

Crock Pot BBQ Ribs

Dec 5, 2012

I really do love to cook. What I don't love is deciding what to cook (or cleaning up after myself but it's part of life). So last week I was making my grocery list and having a hard time actually putting anything on it. I opened up my Pinterest food board and told Aaron to pick two things he wanted me to make. I didn't have to decide and I still got to cook delicious food. Win-win. 

My husband is from Kansas City, Missouri and they take their BBQ very seriously there. He spends the entire summer grilling for me and I love it. When winter strikes I rarely get home cooked burgers, steaks, or ribs and I definitely miss it. So when Aaron said he wanted me to make him ribs I was a little nervous. He's very picky about his BBQ (and now so am I)! But I found this recipe for crock pot BBQ ribs and decided I'd at least give it a try. Now I'm so glad I did because we definitely have a new favorite in our home.

Crock Pot BBQ Ribs
  • 2.5 lbs ribs (approx)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (your favorite kind)
Mix paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, and s&p together in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over your ribs, covering both sides. 
Put the ribs in your slow cooker by propping them up against the sides, thicker side down, meat side against the wall. Pour BBQ sauce all over the ribs. Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low. Line a baking sheet with foil and move the ribs from the slow cooker to the baking sheet, bone side up. 
Strain all the remaining juice from the slow cooker into a small sauce pan. Bring it to a boil and simmer to reduce the sauce, about 15 minutes. Turn on your oven broiler. Brush the ribs with your sauce and broil about 4 minutes. Flip the ribs over, brush them (generously!) with sauce and broil for 8-10 more minutes. 
Serve any remaining sauce on the side with the ribs. And enjoy! Seriously, these pictures do not do the ribs justice (sorry, they're from my iPhone!). If there is one recipe from our blog that you ever try this should be it. Aaron is already asking me to make it again.
xo Sue

A Little Thing

Dec 2, 2012

Every morning I walk by her room and this is what I see. 
And every day it gets just a little bit closer to the day we get to bring her home. 
This will be her special place. 
I want her to always feel safe here. 
The world is a big, scary place but her home will be a happy one. 
I've taken so much joy in creating a room for her.
I've put together a place where we can spend time together as mother and daughter.
A place where we can laugh and play and read and sing.
A place where we can snuggle together as a family and forget everything else.
I can't wait to share it with her.
I can't wait to bring my daughter home.
xo Sue