Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We Are Home!

View from his room

It feels so great to finally be home!  Our cats and dog don't want to leave my side.  Our son was nothing but smiles when we pulled up in front of the house.  He has been talking about Corbu (our cat) for a few days now, "I miss Boo boo"; don't worry son, he missed you too.  They were both very happy to reunite today.

I can't say enough good things about the staff at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.  We are truly very lucky to have that right in our own backyard (3.9 miles away to be exact).   They were so kind and caring.  They really try to make it a home away from home. 

Each year my local radio station WKLH does several fundraisers for Children's Hospital, their biggest being the Miracle Marathon, you can find details here:  WKLH Miracle Marathon.  Each year I listen.  Each year I never give.  This year will be different.    This year it became personal. This year I will find a way to give back to all the nice doctors, nurses, and staff that helped us day in and day out during our stay.   Giving money won't be enough, I will need to get my craft on....I already have a few ideas brewing in my head. 

THANK YOU to all our family, friends, and neighbors that stopped by, sent an email, facebooked us, watched our animals and just kept us in your thoughts.  It really did help to hear from all of you and to know that you all care so much about our little guy.  We're thankful that things are quickly returning to normal and can't wait for this week to be a faded memory in our lives.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Time Moves Both Fast and Slow

Have you ever noticed how time can move so slow but yet so fast at the same time?  I'm thinking back to when I was a college student.  Week by week my semester just dragged on but once the semester was over I found myself amazed by how quick it was done.

My son had surgery on Friday, March 25 (his 3rd birthday), to drain the abscess that has been causing us so many problems.  Sitting in the waiting room for his surgery to be completed felt like an eternity away from little boy but under an hour later it was all over.  We've been in the hospital now for 6 days, each day seems to drag by at a snail's pace but then we get up the next day and do it all over again.  We're starting to get anxious, days are growing longer, patience is wearing thin for everyone.  Home is only three miles away but we feel like this hospital room is on a different planet.  I take comfort in knowing that all I really need in this world is what is sitting in this hospital room with me: my family.

We should be home soon.  Yesterday was a great day full of huge improvements.  Our son certainly has earned that superman cape!  He has been nothing but a little trooper. These pictures really do tell his story.  The top one was taken on Friday, March 25th, he had very little to smile about that day.  The second was taken at the end of the day on Saturday, March 26th.  What a huge difference a day can make!

It feels like just yesterday that my husband and I took our newborn son home from the hospital.  This time we will be leaving with a beautiful three year old that we love more than anything.  Man, time really does go by fast.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Badge

Today is my son's 3rd birthday. It is early in the morning here. Daddy and son are still sleeping. Unfortunately, our rough days have only continued for us. This is day 5 in the hospital for us. It turns out my son's lymph nod is not the problem. He has a abscess in the back of his throat that has caused a serious infection.

We are currently waiting for a CT scan this morning to be completed to see if antibiotics are working or if he will need surgery to drain it. Unfortunately, the abscess is in a location that is very difficult to pick up through the CT Scans but we are remaining optimistic that the antibiotics are helping him move in the right direction. His health has certainly improved since we have been here and all the staff here have been top notch.

I went home yesterday morning to shower, pet our four legged friends, and do a load of laundry.  While I was waiting for the laundry to finish, I thought I would quickly make my son a special little birthday badge that he can wear today.  He has been obsessed with Toy Story 1-3, so today he is going to be so excited when he sees his Sheriff Badge.

This place isn't home and it certainly wasn't in the plans to be spending his birthday this way but this experience reminds me just how fragile life is and just how lucky I am to have my little boy in my life. Everyone keeps generously asking to help us, here is what you can do for us: give hugs and kisses to your loved ones today and tell them how much you love them!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Superheros, birthday cake, three year olds. OH MY!

My son is going to a birthday party tonight.  His BFF is turning three.  These guys are inseparable at day care.  His friend will be getting a reversible superman/batman cap and of course a matching card.  I bought the cape from kidzescapes on etsy.  My son doesn't know it yet, but he will be getting the same gift for his birthday (which is only a few days away).

I am so excited to see these two superheros in action together (especially after a little cake and ice cream are in them).  My son really needs this outing, he has had a rough week with this silly little virus of his (day 6).  His head is still tilted to the side.  His doctor said that the swollen lymph nod has caused a muscle spasm and it won't allow him to keep is head straight or turn it side to side.  I'm hoping tonight's party will help him forget his pain.

Card Ingredients:  All the stamps are from Recollections "comic talk".  The set is on CLEARANCE at Michael's so better fly like a superhero to the store to get one before they are gone!  I love this set, this set is perfect for little boys and big boys alike.  There are 7 stamps in the set and I used all 7 of them (the stars in the background are a stamp). 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Paper Wedding Cake

I made this paper wedding cake for a special friend of mine.  I saw the original idea by Tracy Mason at PaperCrave.  Tracy made hers to be a gift card holder but I turned mine into a picture holder.  My friend had a destination wedding (just like me) in Key West, FL (just like me) and so I had this inclination that she was going to enjoy her special day just as much (if not more) than I did and I wanted to give her something special to remember her time there and our small connection to it.   

The flowers are all made from card stock using a technique similar to paper quilling (that phrase is so old that even spell check doesn't recognize it!).  Tracy posted a great video on youtube on how to make them.  I like her roses better with the rounded edges but I wasn't able to get that technique to work well for me (I think it might have a lot to do with the weight of the card stock you are using).

The cake's color scheme is the bride's color scheme (of course).  Don't you just love the colors?  They really do sum up the perfect tropical wedding and make you feel like you are sitting in perfect 80 degree weather.  If I close my eyes (and ignore the whines from my sick child in the other room), I am taken back to the nice sandy beach at sunset where I married my best friend and we confessed our love for each other with cheesy hand written vows that only we could appreciate.

When people see this the first question they ask is:  How long did this take you?  I really didn't keep track, and for those of you that are just as passionate about paper crafting as I am, you  know just as well as I do, it really is never about the time.    But for those of you that still need some type of estimate my rough guess would be about 10 hours.  The flowers are pretty mobile so I utilized lunch breaks and TV time to make these little guys. The rest was pretty easy.  The most stressful part was at the end when I used spray on glitter, I had never used that product before and was scared it was going to ruin all my hard work.  The glitter worked perfectly and really finished the piece. 

The real question is:  Would I make this project again for someone else?  ABSOLUTELY YES!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stubborn or Persistant?

Two hours later and too much wasted paper to count, I finally finished this card!  This one was embarrassingly difficult to create.  I can't decide if I am stubborn or persistent.  I think persistence wins by just a hair today.  I'm home with my son today.  He isn't feeling well, his lymph nod is so swollen that he refuses to keep is head upright.  Poor guy.  Since I can't control his illness, I think my outlet of frustration went into perfecting this card technique while he was napping.

This is my entry to Papertrey Ink's Make It Monday #6:  Impression Plate Tricks #1.   I ran the small star from the Seeing Stars die cut collection through the die machine using thin cardboard paper (cereal box). I then placed this star behind white card stock in the lower corner and used PTI's Book Print Impression plate and ran only half of it through my Cuttlebug, This technique caused the star to "pop" from the page.  To give it a more finished look, I scored the white card stock where the impression ended (a tip in the MIM video).  The other stamps are all from PTI's Star Prints set.   

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Comfort Food

One of the ultimate comfort food dishes for me is Risotto.  It is so creamy and delicious and seems so hard to make but is so simple that it is a weeknight meal for my family.  Cooking with a two year old in mind is not always easy but I have found that this is a dish he will eat most of the time. 

Chicken Sausage Risotto

1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup white wine (you can skip this if you want)
5-6 cups chicken stock/broth
1 lb chicken sausage (I found some with sun dried tomatoes & moz cheese in them)
1 lb sliced portabella mushrooms
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
Few slices of sun dried tomatoes (left overs from another meal, don't make a special trip for these)
1 cup frozen peas
Fresh Parsley
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon butter

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil.  Add mushrooms and chicken sausage.  Cook till nicely browned.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Add a little more olive oil and heat onions till soft.  Add garlic.  Add rice, toast rice for approximately one minute.  Add wine, cook till it is all absorbed. Then start adding chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time.  Don't add more till the previous addition is fully absorbed into the rice mixture.  Most recipes will say that you need to stir constantly, I don't find that it is necessary to stir constantly (who can do that when there are children in the house) but just be sure to stir it a lot and frequently.  This step will take approximately 30 minutes.  Once the rice is  fully cooked to your liking, add in the tomatoes, mushroom & chicken sausage, and peas.  Stir in butter (gives it a nice rich flavor).  Add Parsley and Parmesan right before serving.  This will serve approximately 4 hungry people (I usually serve risotto with some nice crusty bread and butter).

This is a meal that I make when I have leftovers to use up.  In this case I wanted to use up some sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, peas and some old wine.  You could skip items if you don't have them or use other items that you do have. This is one of those meal I use to "clean out the fridge". It also makes as a great lunch for the next day.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Make It Monday #5

This is my take of Papertrey Ink's Make It Monday #5 Challenge.  This week's theme was to use distressed edges.  I was going for a vintage carnival theme.  It didn't turn out like the vision I had in my head but I it still turned out to be a descent card.  My son will like this card.  Whenever we are outside he has to point out all the "ai-panes" he sees in the sky.  When their gone he'll say, "oh know, where'd it go?". 

Card Ingredients: PTI's Think Big Favorites.  PTI's Just the Ticket. PTI's Fly Away Mini Set. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Someday I Will Laugh About This

Happy Sunday everyone!  It is 2pm in the afternoon:

went to gym CHECK
ran errands CHECK
put child down for a nap CHECK, oh glorious CHECK
spend some time stamping CHECK (err, kind of).

My son's 3rd birthday is only a few short weeks away.  I thought I would give him some say on the theme this year so yesterday I had a bright stupid idea to take him to a party overpriced store where he could see a ton of different themes crap and then he could politely turn to me and say, "Mommy, please can I have this one?"

Unfortunately that is not at all how it turned out  After ten short painful minutes of shopping yelling at my son, my potty trained training boy decided to poop cream his pants.  This wasn't just a little poop....this was a full on messy blow out.  Luckily I had a spare pair of underwear with me but unfortunately no baby wipes.  I spent 20 minutes trying to make him, myself, and the public restroom presentable not stinky before getting ourselves the heck out of there.  The poopy underwear landed were tossed into the feminine bin of the bathroom (there was no way to carry those suckers home but I debated for a long short time).  As we were leaving running out of the bathroom the clerk looked and my son, then looked at me (at that point I was probably still beet red) and said, "ohhhh what a cute little boy". 

If only she knew!

So we left that store, came straight home, and I threw my son in a nice hot soapy bath.  Today I decided to give it another try (the card that is, not the store) and get these invites done and in the mail.  It was a real challenge not to use a single stamp in this card but I like the simple look that was created.  I whipped out my Making Memories Slice and two different design cards to make this invite.

Friday, March 4, 2011

This Will Save Your Rocky Relationship

If your relationship is on the rocks and you want to save it:  make these brownies!  No seriously, these brownies could make me stay in a bad relationship for a very long time (only if my partner promised to make these for me on a regular basis...I do have standards).

These brownies come from the newest season of America's Test Kitchen.  I love this show and I love their cookbooks even more.  This is the second time I have made these brownies and it is taking every ounce of willpower to wait the whole 1.5 hours for them to cool before I can eat them ( last time I made the mistake of not waiting and they were a gooey {delicious} mess). 

Last time I made these we made the mistake of giving them to our son at 8:30pm.  I'm not sure if it was the espresso power or just the simple chocolate high but he was up till about 10:30pm that night.  We won't be making that mistake again.  For those of you that are Friends fans (yeah, going way back now), these brownies remind me of the episode where Chandler and Rachel eat cake off the hallway floor.  Oh yeah, trust me, these brownies are worth eating even off the floor.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Birthday Treats

Despite what my cats think, these gifts are not for them.  I made a few cute little gifts to have on hand for last minute birthday gifts/treats.  This box is made using My Timeless Templates available through Papertrey Ink (PTI).  The cupcake is a die I bought from Archiver's, that's brown glitter on the frosting.  I added a cute little tag that simply reads "happy birthday".

This Gift card holder was made using PTI's Tiny Treats: Birthday.  I love this set.  I will be using this over and over again.  Since I don't have anyone specifically in mind for this gift, I purposely used colors that would work for a male or female and a phrase/image that would work for an adult or child. 

This was made with the same stamp set as above and my newly arrived dolly dies.  My son turns three in a couple of weeks and so do all of his friends at school.  He has a couple of close girl buddies (I cringe at the phrase girlfriend) and I think this will need to go to one of them (a nice healthy treat of raisins fits nicely inside.