Tuesday, November 29, 2011

And The Winners Are...

Congratulations to Kimberly W for winning $20 for Spoil Me Rotten Momma and to Heather Smith for winning $20 for CBK Vinyl. (Check your email!) These winners were chosen at random by Rafflecopter. Thank you everyone who entered! Let me know if you are, as readers interested in more giveaways and what I can do to make them easier and better for you. (I have some ideas too.)
Remember I am going to be going a drawing for a $25 gift card to Applebee's once I get 100 followers. And a $50 gift card to Olive Garden when I have 500 readers!

Monday, November 28, 2011

More To Do With Cardboard: Quick & Simple Garland

I (once again... are we seeing a theme here?) found this beautiful garland on pinterest. However it was just a picture (but oh what a picture I wish it looked like that at my house) and had no instructions on how to make it, but I realized it would be very easy and made up my own! And here is how I did it (can I just say cardboard rocks!?!):
  • Star, Christmas Tree, & Heart Template (I just used ones off of Microsoft Word's clip art)
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Razor Cutting Tool
  • Hole Punch
  • Checkered Ribbon (I used red & white 3/4 inch ribbon)
I started out finding the tree, star, and heart templates and then making them as big as I wanted them to be. After printing them off I cut them out and traced them onto cardboard (I used a leftover corn dog box). After tracing the shapes I used my razor to cut through the cardboard.

Once I cut out as many shapes as I wanted (I ended up with 16), I hole punched where I wanted each shape to have the ribbon go through.

{Ribbon was bought at Joann}
Then threaded the ribbon through each hole spread out as long as you want and hang up! *Hint: If you are looking to a fast way to thread the holes, make a pointed edge with you ribbon similar to this >.*

My Results:
I loved how it turned out. I just taped it up in my kitchen since certain rooms in my house have horrible lighting (thanks to living in the Northwest and on a military base which equals old housing). Let me know what you think!

Pajama Time!

Little Miss and I both have colds so today we are having pajama day! A day we lounge in our warm jammies and watch movies, read books, eat, and nap! Feel free to join us. This is how I look:
Source: google.com via Laura on Pinterest

Ok THAT is how I wished I looked. I am more along this line except add a hoodie and pink fleece pants. :P I'm a mom, that's my excuse and I am sticking to it!
Source: google.com via Laura on Pinterest

REMINDER: Last day to enter my giveaway! I will be drawing tomorrow! Enter before it's TOO LATE!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ok About The Rafflecopter: Still Going Another 27 Hours!

OK I had no idea the Rafflecopter was set for Eastern Time nor that it wasn't set through Monday. Go ahead and leave a comment of the things you have done. I am so sorry it didn't work the way I thought it was going to. (Should asked my guru blogger Karina!)


There are only about 30 hours left until my giveaway is over. I will be honest; been disappointed with the turn out. Only 4 people have entered! Can you imagine your odds if it even was 10 or 20? All you have to do is follow me or do one of the other items (there are 5 total). Completely easy! Check out my Rafflecopter which makes it even easier to do! I am so happy to be offering this as giveaway. The Applebee's gift card is still happening, once I reach 100 followers. To add to that if I get 500 followers (yes, I am ambitious) I will be giving a $50.00 gift certificate to Olive Garden!
To end here is a picture of Little Miss with Santa (bet you can't guess where we got the picture done)! Great way to start off the Christmas season (officially):

Saturday, November 26, 2011

You Made WHAT With Cardboard!?!

Along with adhering to my goal of being more crafty (and I make working on growing out my hair, just throwing that out there). As I may have mentioned (but to lazy to verify) I am not only trying to be crafty and do so on a very tight (ok non-existent) budget. Cardboard however is in great supply (thanks to drinking soda and baby diapers). Once again I took an idea and ran a completely different direction with it.

Here is the original & it had the deer template too!
So here is my latest project (made from a diaper box):

The No Animals Were Harmed In The Making: Deer Head!
Supplies Needed:
  • Cardboard (boxes work great!)
  • Sharp razor cutter thing (What are those things called anyways?)
  • Deer Template (From Chronicle Books Blog)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Wire or something to hang it up with (I used the hooks for Christmas decorations)
It really was pretty easy to do just time consuming, hand hurting. I started out by printing out the template and taping the extra long parts together. I cut wide and taped the template on my cardboard.

I proceeded to carefully cut along the lines and cut out all the pieces.

Then it is pretty self explanatory. Add each piece where it goes and you have the finished head.

Then all I did was take a pin and pin a couple holes and feed the hook through and bend to make a hanger.

Lastly I decorated it for Christmas. :)

My hunting hubby grudgingly likes it (since he hasn't gotten to hunt this year or last). I love these types of projects because there are about a million ways to do your own! Hope you all enjoy! I had a blast doing it (more then I probably should of). Don't forget to enter my giveaway it ends only in a couple days! Also remember 100 followers and I will be giving away to $25.00 gift card to Applebee's.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Taking A Break

Taking a break from blogging today and tomorrow. Hope ya all have a Happy Thanksgiving! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! And remember once I get 100 followers I will be giving away $25.00 gift card to Applebee's!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Finally Got Rafflecopter!

This will make entering even easier for the giveaway! For those entered already you can enter here or just leave your entries as is and I will count them! I have had to wait for Rafflecopter to invite me to use it which just happened today! Super excited!

Just For Fun

I have decided that just for the heck of it; once I have a 100 followers I am going to be giving away a $25 gift card to Applebee's!
Source: google.com via Laura on Pinterest

It is my way of saying thank you to you as followers for reading my blog! It makes me feel great knowing someone is out there listening and I'm not just writing to the wall! So tell your friends to start following and we'll see how soon we can have that giveaway!

Monday, November 21, 2011


The giveaway for Spoil Me Rotten Momma is for only the products Sue makes (they are the pictures I have shown). Sorry for any confusion!

Christmas Before Thanksgiving

**Make sure to enter My First Giveaway which runs through November 28th!**

Every year we hear the same argument of whether we should celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving is even over. I read my friend's opinion on it at Karina's Challenge and wanted to add my two cents but realized (1) my opinion would make one long comment and (2) I have my own blog for a reason! So here are my two cents;
I love Christmas! It is by far my favorite holiday. As I posted in an earlier post, I love everything about it. Right now I have a hard time with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was always a big holiday growing up. In fact it always meant lots of family.

{My family Christmas 2010. Only missing our two boys, Little Miss was in my belly & my dad was taking the picture.}

Fast forward to last year. Last year was my first Thanksgiving away from this tradition of relatives-overload. And guess what! I found I hated it. Therefore, as this time of year came around I have been less than enthusiastic about the up coming holiday. In fact I would skip it (not because I'm not thankful but I believe you should be thankful every day not just one day, however that is another story), but my husband wants to celebrate it.
Now some of you probably are thinking "Why not just go home for Thanksgiving if spending it with family means so much to you?" Good question. Anyone in the military want to answer? In the military (like probably other workplaces) you only get so many days off. True we get more than the average bear (name that movie!), but once we use them there is no getting them back (right away) and going without permission or without pay like some. We opt to go home for a longer stretch for Christmas.

Which brings us to another reason I like to celebrate Christmas early; once I get home I don't get to enjoy Christmas. When we go back we are so busy trying to see all the family and more importantly trying to spend as much time as we can with our boys, we don't get to sit back and soak in Christmas.
This is why my tree is already up and decorated and why I listen to Christmas music and don't mind the overshadowing of Thanksgiving. I miss family more during this time of year then any other time. I am looking forward to introducing Little Miss to mash potatoes, pureed turkey, and some pumpkin pie without the crust. And I do hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! I will be looking forward and grateful for it almost being time to go home for Christmas and see our boys!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Now For What You All Have Been Waiting For... My First Giveaway!

I am super excited to be starting my first giveaway ever! Thanks to my two friends Sue (of Spoil Me Rotten Momma) and Karina (of Karina's Challenge & CBK Vinyl) for helping out and both donating $20.00 certificates to their respective shops! Here is a little on each shop and what they offer;

Spoil Me Rotten Momma is owned by Sue, her sister-in-law and her sister-in-law's friend. They offer a whole range of products for little girls to women. Sue specializes in signs. Sue is an Army wife and has 3 little kiddos. We went to high school together and she was stationed here with me till a couple months ago. She helped me ease into being a military wife and is so creative I miss having her here to sneak ideas off of! Here are a few examples of her work:

CBK Vinyl is owned by my dear friend Karina. She does a lot of amazing vinyl work. She is also an avid blogger and is the inspiration for me starting my own blog and knowing how to do anything on it. She is from Brazil but now lives in Utah with her husband and little boy. (I also went to high school with her plus she lived a block over from me too.) She is crafty and trendy. Her awesome blog is called Karina's Challenge. And is definitely worth checking out. She always has giveaways going on and great ideas! Here is a sample of her work:

So here is how it will work:
There will be a number of ways to enter and a number of chances!
  • Follow Dream Ranch on Google Friend, leave a comment letting me know you are following.
  • Follow Karina's Challenge, leave me a comment letting me know yo are.
  • Follow Learning Ranch on Twitter, leave a comment letting me know you are following.
  • Like Spoil Me Rotten Momma on Facebook, tell them Dream Ranch sent you and leave me a comment letting me know you liked them.
  • Like CBK Vinyl on Facebook, tell them Dream Ranch sent you and leave me a comment letting me know you liked them.
That's 5 chances to win! There will be two winners; one for Spoil Me Rotten Momma and one for CBK Vinyl. Good luck all and if this sees lots of success I'll will plan another one for next month! This giveaway ends November 28th at 12 PM!
**Disclosure: Dream Ranch is not responsible for fulfillment of these prizes. I will do my best to make sure each winner gets their prize. Facebook has no affiliation or responsibility for this giveaway. Any questions or concern, please contact me at learningranch**@gmail.com

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Crafty Goal & Stars

I have set a goal for myself to find a way to be crafty once a week. I am by no means a crafty-type. In fact I am a very logical, play with numbers-type. However I love working with my hands (hence my love of writing and blogging). Therefore I decided it was high time I start being more "artist" and to add good measure to use things I have laying around the house.
Confession 1: We drink a lot of soda in our house so I had soda boxes a-plenty! (Came in really handy for this craft.)
Confession 2: I didn't come up with this idea, though I changed it completely and then ran with it. Here is what inspired me:

Confession 3: I am completely proud of myself for how well it turned out and thinking of the changes.
So here are the instructions for my version of the craft pictured above.

What you will need:
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge
  • Marker
  • Star Template (I just used the one on Microsoft Word & enlarged it)
  • Cardboard
  • Newspaper
  • Glitter
  • Hole punch
  • String or thread
How To: Print and cut out star template. Trace star onto cardboard, repeat as many times as you desire.

Cut out stars from cardboard. Mod Podge newspaper onto each side of star.

Cut out excess amount of newspaper. Allow to dry and repeat on other side of star.

After allowing both sides to dry, apply more Mod Podge to outside and apply glitter liberally on one side. Allow to dry and repeat on other side.

Hole punch each star. String each star through hole and tie knot at the far end. Hang up stars from ceiling.
Easy enough but it took me hours to get all the stars done but here is the end result in Little Miss' room above her changing table/dresser. I love it!

Check Back Tomorrow!

Tomorrow will be the start of My Very FIRST Giveaway! Those helping me out with this giveaway are two wonderful gals who not only did I go to high school with but I count among my close friends! They are both crafty and make beautiful products! I have bought from one and plan on buying from the other soon! So check back tomorrow for the start of this awesome giveaway!

Friday, November 18, 2011

All About Baby

Little Miss is such a joy in our lives! I don't know what I do without her! I don't if I have ever explained why we call her Little Miss. Well her name is I guess considered a Southern name and she is just like a Southern belle! She is sweet as cream but watch out for that temper! She is stubborn, demanding but has the most winning smile I have ever seen!
{Baby at 3 months}

It's hard to believe she is already 6-1/2 months! On the 15th we had her 6 month appointment, she is now 26-3/4 inches (77%) and 15 lbs 12 oz (38%). She is so much hair and is so long people think she is a year instead of 6 months.
{Baby today}

She has always been active  (I say she came out kicking) and now thanks to being able to roll everywhere, she gets into everything! I had to clean the carpet the other week thanks to someone smearing sweet potato baby food across the floor! She is a handful but so sweet you can't stay mad at her. I don't remember life before her. She seems to always have been part of my life.
{Baby at 2 months}

Little Miss we had a rocky beginning together but we made it through and you have thrived and progressed into a inquisitive baby who loves exploring and seeing everything and everyone. How grateful I am for you in my life! I pray I can always be the type of mother you need because I know you are the daughter I need!
{Baby's first photo}

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Supporting Our Military Wives

I am an Army wife. So I know how much military wives appreciate support from the community, their friends and families. I realized last night no one has a page on Facebook where we can go and find military wife owned businesses. For example, my friend Sue is a co-owner of Spoil Me Rotten Momma, she is also the wife of a sergeant in the Army. She has three kids and still finds time to do this business on the side. I mean how amazing is she! (She is also helping me with my first giveaway coming soon to my blog!)
I know how tight things can get being a military wife. We really get paid very little and the military is very good at finding excuses to dock pay. And heaven help you if you try to figure out why and how much they plan on/end up taking!
So after thinking it all over last night I decided I want to help out my sisters! These women move every 3-4 years! Just think how hard it is to find employment in the current job market and imagine trying to find a new job every 3-4 years! Many military wives turn to starting small businesses to help out their families. Let them know we support them as they try to find creative and alternative means to provide for their families! Please "Like" Support Military Wives on Facebook. Thank you so much for all your love and support!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tiny Prints Talent Search Contest

I am so excited to share that Tiny Prints is holding a Talent Search Contest. The grand prize is $1000 cash AND $500 gift certificate for Tiny Prints.
Entry runs until NOVEMBER 21st. All you have to do is submit a photo in one of the following categories:
  • Cutest Baby (From ages 0-24 months)
  • Cutest Kid (From ages 25 months-10 years)
  • Cutest Family
  • Cutest Couple
  • Cutest Pet
After the 21st, the voting will be begin. To enter you can either go to their Facebook page or click on the above link (Talent Search Contest). Good Luck!

**Disclaimer: Dream Ranch is not responsible for any entries submitted to Tiny Prints. Tiny Prints has not paid me to advertise their giveaway.**

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm Dreaming Of A White... Sweater

Living up here in the "Great Northwest" has it's challenges. For example the cold seems to seep into your very soul thanks to humidity. I know everyone from Utah is going "It gets cold here too!" But folks it's not the same! I am sorry but it's not. Now you East coasters probably can say "I hear ya!" So this is what I am imagining and dreaming of while I am all wrapped up in a blanket and waiting for the temperature to go up (btw my house is set at 73 because I am tired of always being cold). *Note: In my dream the boots would be gray and I'd have cream colored thermals under the pants!*
Warm & Toasty

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's What Time!?! And You're Still Awake!!!

I am sure all parents have said that to their children but how often do we have to say it to ourselves? Well I do. I have insomnia and pretty sure it's chronic too since I have had sleeping issues since I was a kid. (I know I am a whole heaping of weird!) So here I am in the middle of the night blogging! (I must be devoted!)
Why can't I sleep? Good question. Some times I feel like God forgot to give my brain an off switch. My mind goes over anything and everything (this is one time being self-aware does NOT pay off). I think all I need to do, want to, have done, hope to do, am afraid to do, wish I could do... Well you get the picture. So why am I blogging all this? What can you take away from all this? Well hopefully you can think "I am so glad I am not her and sleep like a log!" Or maybe you can say "Hey I am not alone! Here is someone else who is secretly a superhero with amazing amounts of energy waiting to be tapped into when the world is in crisis!"
And before I get a million comments (slight exaggeration) on how I can get sleep, here are things I have tried and do use;
  • Tylenol PM (I hate taking it though due to the Tylenol but it works!)
  • Visualization (Thinking of a relaxing spot and visualizing it)
  • Ambien (I didn't do well with it and probably spelled it wrong)
  • Trazadone (I REALLY didn't do well with it and had every side affect not considered a allergic reaction)
  • Relaxation (Relaxing every part of your body)
  • Hot shower
  • Hot bath (Along with lavender bath scent)
  • No caffeine
  • Getting out of bed and doing something else (Doing that right now!!!)
  • Making lists of everything in my head
  • Visually "wiping out my brain thoughts" (Brain thoughts? Oh boy lack of sleep is becoming apparent)
So just a few things! Oh I forgot to mention I have been to see a professional sleep person doctor thing... She told me I had all the tools and not more she could do for me. And what is there to take when the only thing that works is Tylenol PM? Plus I am on night duty with a baby. I am not discouraged or even frustrated by not being able to sleep. Maybe it's the lack of sleep or maybe I just have not known what it is like to be able to sleep at night at a decent hour like a normal human being. Who knows? I do know there are lots of others out there like myself who don't sleep for one reason or another. And I bet they are reading this in the middle of the night while counting the hours down till they figure they can wiggle some sleep in. Hopefully this will at least entertain you and maybe give you an idea you haven't tried.
Bytheway, when does the greeting go from Good Night to Good Morning? It's 2 AM. Just some food for thought.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What's For Dinner

I hear at least once a day (from my hubby) "What's for dinner?" So I figured I'd share a couple tips about menu planning. (Writing this since I need to menu plan anyways.) So let's get started!
First I think everyone has to find their own style or what works for them. My mom plans every week and makes every meal the day she has written down. I on the other seem t do it by the fly of my seat (granted I have a 6 month old demanding time). My style is more like a list of meals we have ingredients for and what we happen to feel like that day.
Second make a list of what you need/want. I know this seems like a no-brainer but it is a life and gas-saver. Especially for us since the store we shop is 10 miles away. To get there we have to drive down a packed freeway. Which leads us into...
Third decide how often you will shop. I (theoretically) go grocery shopping twice a month. We shop every payday. It works out nicely because then we have food right off and should be covered for the rest of the month.
Fourth sometimes it's better to play safe than try new things. I admit it. We eat a lot of the same meals each month (sometimes twice each month). Why? Because I know it will be eaten! New things too often end up going bad and I hate wasting food. It makes me feel guilty! Side note: My hubby is just as picky as me about what he will eat. He just shows it through not helping with the leftovers!
Here are some Recipes we eat a lot of!
I think you get the general idea. Taste Of Home is a wonderful resource for finding recipes and trying new things. (Yes I know I said sometimes it's safer to play it safe.)
I believe you should be enjoying what you are cooking and eating. No one can tell you what to eat or make. Sure be mindful of everything you eat. Add green beans to your steak. Milk with your country breakfast. Rice & beans with your enchiladas or fajitas (I am a HUGE Mexican food fan!)... I hope you all enjoy planning your menu. I'm off to work on mine (considering I have a husband hovering wanting to know what we are going to have for the rest of the month. Heck it's an every day question! "What's for dinner?")

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day!

This has extra meaning for me being a military wife. I am proud of my husband for serving and the example he is to me. He is truly the type of soldier kids look up to and say "He's a soldier." He is hard working and willing to give his all for his country. He serves proudly and ready to answer the call of duty whenever they deem they need him. I am thankful for the men and women I have met because of him. They are wonderful and amazing. I am also thankful for the example my ex husband is showing our son in his serving of our country! THANK YOU ONE & ALL WHO SERVE AND HAVE SERVED!
{Hubby & Friend Aust}

{Hubby & Friend Ben}

{Full Gear}

{Our Wedding Day}

{Sunbeam wearing Daddy's Boots}

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Bucket List (This Is For You Karina!)

My friend Karina from Karina's Challenge is huge on bucket lists. So I am finally giving in and starting my bucket list. So here we go...
  • Pay off car with tax return
  • Save 100 dollars a month
  • Get out of debt
  • Begin a ranch
  • Become self-reliant (aka grow our own fruit, veggies, meat, and eggs)
  • Finish redoing my kitchen decor
  • Have more kids
  • Build the house of our dreams
  • Home-school our kiddos
  • Be sealed in the temple
  • Bless our Little Miss
  • Go back to school
  • Spend more time with our boys
  • Make a quilt
  • Learn to knit socks, etc
  • Make more homemade food
  • Learn how to be even more frugal
  • Grow my hair out
  • Learn new ways to do my hair
  • Buy more books (I believe you can never have too many books)
  • Read to Little Miss every day
  • Talk to my sisters more
  • Learn new recipes
  • Learn how to play the piano
  • Have a craft room
  • Go to Prince Edward Island, Canada
  • Learn Spanish
That is all I can think of right now. UPDATE on the tree... It is up! Hubby gave in and said yes. Looks fabulous! And Little Miss is sporting her Thanksgiving shirt (see we are celebrating it too). Here are some pictures of the tree and Little Miss!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

To Put Up Or Not To Put Up... That Is The Question!

I am super excited! We finally have our very own Christmas tree! Hooray! I have been wanting one forever but we always go to Utah for Christmas. So getting a tree seemed unneeded. However last year I realized we spend more than half the month here at home! It just didn't feel like Christmas because of that.
I was determined to change that and fabulous Wal-mart (about the only time I will ever say I like Wal-mart) had fake trees for as low as 20 bucks! AND it was blessedly 6 feet (I am not a fan of smaller trees). And when you get a tree you must get ornaments to go with it! This leads us to the current dilemma.
Do we up the tree now or wait till after Thanksgiving? We have one against celebrating holidays till the one coming up has been dutifully celebrated (that would be my wonderful hubby) and one of us who is impatient and after all Christmas is my FAVORITE time of year!
I love everything about Christmas! The lights, the smells, the tastes, the snow (yes there should always be snow), the sights, the songs, the feeling! People are suddenly kind and courteous. Kids are excited and good. Decorating the tree and house. The FOOD! (Need I say more) I love giving gifts! I usually could care less if I get anything. I rather spoil everyone else! And I love decorating. Here are some examples from pinterest of what my dream Christmas would look like!

These are just a few I love! To see more click on Wesley and follow my boards!