Monday, January 30, 2012

Give Thanks

I really have a lot to be thankful for.  I have a good husband, a great kid, an extended family that loves me, a steady job, a hobby I really enjoy, and friends that are there for me in good times and in bad.  That's why this month's card class focused around gratitude...and lots of it.

 The card above is was my favorite of the bunch and utilized a stamping technique I have been wanting to try for awhile now: impression plate trick.  This technique is achieved by laying a die on top of an impression plate and running it through your embossing machine.  You need to be very careful about layering the dies correctly, if you are not careful you could end up wrecking both the impression plate and your die.  A great video tutorial can be found here:  impression plate trick.   This card was really fun, I have plans to make a similar one with a Valentine's day theme, watch my etsy shop for it real soon!

This next card makes me dream of nice warm summer nights.  Oh warm weather....I miss you so much.  But let's get real people, I don't need warm weather to eat this heavenly stuff, I eat ice cream year round :)

Oh yeah, this card is more appropriate for our season.  I made this card with a specific person in mind.  My husband's aunt sent us some nice Christmas gifts in the mail (including some chex mix that tasted so good I didn't even share any) and I thought a nice thank you card was in order (and a request for that recipe). 

Why yes, that is a smudge on this otherwise perfectly fine card (see it, in the upper right corner).  I always tell my students that mistakes like these are ok, they are just character marks of the artist, but I have to tell you, this smudge is DRIVING ME CRAZY and I'm not going to lie, this card is going to go to one of our grandmas who have less than perfect vision and will hopefully miss that smudge all together. 

I love the cuteness of this card.  I also enjoyed listening to my son try to say hip-pi-pi-pod-a-mus at the sight of this card. Hippos and lions and thanks, oh my.

Here is my Picasso watercolor.  Actually it is Betsy Veldman's creation.  I found this while surfing the web for inspiration and just loved it.  I actual like her version much better but since we were creating this in a card class, sewing on the card was not practical.  To achieve the look of watercolors, wipe your ink across your stamp pad sideways instead of inking it up and down. Make sense?  Super easy technique.

I don't have a lot to say about this card.  I was going for minimalist.  I think I achieved it.  If you enlarge the picture, you'll pick up the wood grain background.  Super easy and super cute.

Here is a simple banner card.  Once I stamped all the individual banners, I hole punched each corner and ran baker's twine through them.  I used foam dots on each so that this card has a little dimension to it. 

Did you notice the over riding theme behind all of the cards this month (besides for the fact that I already mentioned that they were thank you cards)?  All had a lot of white space on them.  Some more than others, but all had the color white as the over riding color.

I hope you find time in the near future to thank all those in your life that make it a little better!

Friday, January 20, 2012

New School. New Boots.

It appears our transition from day care to school is going well.  We are in our second week of our new routine with only a few minor glitches.  The change has been relatively easy for our son.  Easy that is until the snow fell.  It is fairly unusual not to see snow at this time of year in the state of Wisconsin but it took until this past week for us to have any snow on the ground.  With the snow came new winter boots.  With new winter boots came a lot of talk about wanting to show our OLD friends our NEW boots. Man oh man, I felt for him.  I could tell he really wanted to show off those cool light-up boots (I mean come on, who wouldn't?) and showing them to his new friends was just not as fun as showing them to his old friends.  So later in the week when we had a dentist appointment (the dentist's office is located right next to the old day care), I thought it provided an excellent opportunity to stop in and say "hi" to his old friends and show off those new boots.  When I asked him if he wanted to go in and say "hi", he said, "No I don't want to.  I go to a new school now".  Kids. They never stop surprising you.

As for me; I'm adjusting just fine.  As a parent, you learn to do what you got to do even if it isn't the easiest path to take.  While our new routine isn't ideal for me, it really isn't about me.  This is about providing the best educational opportunity for our child that we have available to us.  We felt a Montessori education was just that. While there are some negatives about our new routine, there are far more great things that have come out of this change.  I feel like I get to spend more quality time with my son.  Until last week, I never saw my son until I picked him up from day care after work.  Some days that felt like an eternity.  Now, we get up together, get dressed together, eat breakfast together, and drive to school together.  Most mornings that has been great :)  Especially once he got over the:  "Daddy says..." and  "Daddy does..." and "Daddy this..." and "Daddy that...". 

 I managed my stress the same way I always do.  I did a lot of crafting and a lot of cooking.  I made this cute Valentine's Day Card.  I call it, "Love is in the Air". Cute, right?  It is for sale in my etsy shop if you want it:  Furloughed Time.  It is there with a bunch of other cute items.  I'll be posting even more Valentine's Day items soon so check back often.


On the food front, I made these Meatballs with Cream Sauce from Mel's website:  Melskitchencafe.    They were great.  The recipe also made enough that my husband and I could take the leftovers for lunch the next day (I love recipes like that).  If you haven't checked out her website you really should.  My friend Heather pointed this blog out to me about a year ago and I have been cooking from it ever since.  I love Mel's recipes.  They are so easy and delicious.  What else would you expect from a mom of four little boys?

I also made the Country Style Pork with White Beans.  This makes a TON which is great because I cooked once and we ate the leftovers all weekend long! 

   No need to worry.  We found ways to also satisfy our sweet tooth.  These Oatmeal Coconut Chewies were great.   These are delicious if you like coconut as much as I do. I made these cookies two days ago and there are still some left.  Hmmm....I'm a little suspicious.  That is not very characteristic of my two cookie monsters (esp the older one...daddy).  There are only two logical explanations:  1. My husband is cheating on me with a cookie maker or 2. My husband is not a big coconut fan.  Let's hope it is option number 1 because I'm not sure I could live with a man who doesn't like coconut.  :) Haha.

Stay tuned.  I'm getting really close to finishing one of my twelve New Year's resolutions and I'll be blogging about it here real soon.  Until then, check out Mel's Kitchen Cafe, that should keep you busy until I return.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Start of Change

If there is one thing I know for sure about myself, it is that I don't like change.  I have lived in my house for over 8 years now and most my furniture is in the same place it was the day we moved in.  Sure, I've made updates and added new pieces but the layout is still exactly the same.  So this week when the Christmas tree came down and I moved a chair from one wall to the other, it was unsettling.  When my hubby then suggestion that we swap the location of my son's  train table and another chair I said, "Um, let's wait on that for a bit".

I don't think I've always been this anxious about change.  Maybe that's because when you're in your twenties, your life is in a constant state of change.  College classes change every semester, you move frequently, friends come and go, boyfriends come and go (mine stuck around despite my best efforts), you get different jobs.  But now that I am 29 years old (see: You're Not Perfect, Your Kids will love you anyway), I have more stability. I'm married. I own a home (two actually).  And I have a three year old and three four legged friends that almost force routine to be in my life.  The truth is, I like it that way.

I discovered this about myself several years ago now when my husband and I were in conversation about our neighbors.  Our neighbors, D&D, have an automated house.  It used to be (may still be) the most automated house in the state of Wisconsin.  So when I say it is automated, I mean automated.  Their house is ran by computers.  Everyday, their house wakes them up at the same time, opens their curtains in the morning and closes them at night.  It turns the morning news on, turns it back off when it is time to listen to NPR, turns off completely when it is time to surf the web.  So they essentially have the same schedule everyday (they have some variations but as far as we can tell, not much).  But when my husband and I were talking about this after meeting them for the first time, our reactions where very different.  The memory goes something like this:

"So what do you think about the automated house and their scheduled day?"  At the same time we both response:

Me, "It's cool"
Husband, "It's crazy"

Of course a philosophical conversation pursued for several more minutes about who was more right.  So that is when I realized that I like constant. I like structure.  And I like a schedule.  Unfortunately it is also when I realized I was spending my life with a man who didn't like constant.  Who didn't like structure. And who didn't like a schedule. I suppose our differences are exactly what keep us together (and makes two crazy people somehow seem less crazy together).
Yesterday my son had his last day at day care.  He has been enrolled there since he was just 10 weeks old.  The staff there has been so kind and the friends he has made along the way are great.  It was hard saying goodbye.  We've been prepping him for this change for two weeks now, ever since we learned a space opened up for him at a Montessori program that we have been on the wait list for for one year.  It turns out for the last two weeks I guess I was sort of prepping myself too.  Change is hard.  I held it together when we were saying our goodbyes to his teacher but I started to cry once we reached the car.  It is hard to imagine that he will no longer be going to that same center and playing with the same friends five days a week.  With it comes a lot of other changes, some big, some small.  For two weeks I've been worried about him and how I'm ripping him away from his friends.  I've been thinking about how he is going to hate this new school and we might have just made a terrible decision.  But when my son saw me crying he said, "It's ok mommy, we can go to Old McDonald's and you can get some chicken nuggets and french fries, that will make you feel better".  Yes son, I suppose it will. 


Oh yeah, and today I moved that chair and train table like my husband suggested.  Apparently the dog and cat were really excited about the move.  


For those of you that have had the pleasure of meeting my dog, you know how rare this moment of rest is (for him and me).  I'm taking this as a sign that furniture is now where it should be.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hello 2012

 Happy New Year!

There is something so refreshing about this time of the year.  It's a chance to correct all of last year's mistakes and have a big giant "do over".  I'm sure that's why New Year's resolutions are so popular among the general public.

I am no exception to this annual tradition.  Of course the usual suspects make my list like: loss weight, exercise more, and eat healthier.  In addition, there are also the less obvious ones that keep reappearing like:  read more books, be more patient, and spend less money.  Ok, maybe those are not that hard to guess either.

So that brings me to the point of this blog post.  My 2012 New Year's Resolutions.  This year's list has one obvious theme to it:  To Get Organized.  Lucky for you I have plans to not only get organized but to be creative about it in the process.  

I've come up with a list of twelve goals or "projects" that I would like to tackle over the course of this year.  My goal is to finish and highlight a project each month here on my blog for all of you to see. I'm going to share with you my successes and failures along the way, one project at a time.

Here is my list (in no particular order):

Organize Kitchen Cabinets

Start/Finish my son's Birthday Scrapbook

Organize Recipes

Decorate wall above our headboard

Decorate our TV Room

Decorate Kitchen Wall

Organize the back Hallway

Patch 364 holes in our walls (yikes!) & match texture

Organize and Decorate Hallway Up and Down

Organize Crafts

Update my son's bedroom Decor

Clean Basement

Well that is a sneak peak of what I have in store the upcoming year.  I better stop blogging now and get moving instead, it is already January 2nd and I haven't started any of these projects yet! {wink}