January 29, 2010

February Goals

With the end of Jan, I only truly reached one full goal. I have off a week in February, and I will have the whole week to myself. It will be wonderfully exciting - as I plan to accomplish some of these goals during that time.

In the month of Feb, I would like to do the following:

1. Organize ALL my craft items, including what is in our basement and bedroom. It needs to all go in one spot.

2. Walk twice a week. Rather than being somewhat general with my healthy goal, I think I need to be more specific in what I am looking for.

3. Make and mail valentines. I will ALMOST settle for just buying and mailing, as I am horrible at mail. I found Christmas cards that I stamped and addressed that I never mailed. The REAL kicker was the stamps were 37 cents. So that gives you a little insight on how long I had them for....I apologize to my friends and family that in 2002 I never mailed my cards.

4. Organize books and magazines. That is quite a project. However, I have found that this goal is almost accomplished, as I started it in January. There is no need for magazines dating back from when I was in high school. No need at all.

5. Organize basement. THAT is a task - and I won't be too disappointed if I only complete half of that.

6. Tell my husband that he is great because I know he doesn't hear it enough, and I know he doesn't think this often enough.

I hope I find more success in February then I did in January.


The 29th brings January goals to an end

One month. 30 days. January goals? Let me repeat them:

Posted on Dec 29th
"January's goal I am already trying to achieve and that is:
Simplify. Minimize. downgrade. We have SO much stuff - I really want to spend the month sorting through each room, and reorganizing furniture, wall hangings, belongings - and decide what we outgrew (or just what I outgrew), and rearranging everything so there is less.

My second goal (which I attempt every year) is to actually get healthy. Get on the path to rightousness through my diet and exercise (lack of!). I am carrying around all of this weight, making me feel less like me. If I could find excerise TWICE a week (in any shape or form) for the month of January - that would be 8x more than normal.

Craft space.
I would like a space of my own."

Back to 2010. About those goals - soooo.....Organizing? half check. I didn't realize when I made this lofty goal I had so many paper. I didn't factor in that I am a packrat, and I seem to have every piece of paper I ever wrote in stored in bins. I also didn't factor in that we own alot, and I will restate that ALOT of stuff. I dutyfully attempted to downsize our "important papers" from four plastic bins, to two paper boxes (neatly ogranized and filed/color coded.) Our "paperwork" is in order. Our closets? pantry? bathroom? Our life? Not at all. I think this will be a goal that I will be working on for the rest of the year, perhaps rest of my life. Looking back, I should have been more specific when I said organize. If I was to travel back 30 days ago - I would say "organize paperwork in basement, and properly file all our important papers." Let's pretend I can do that.....and yay! My goal has been met! (well...not really...so I'll give myself half credit)

2nd goal. Healthy? Eating better? Exercise? ummm.....let me just hang my head in shame......

Craft space? check. (See soon-to-be post). Organized craft space? big hell to the no. My dad, handy man that he is, helped me design the craft closet of my dreams. Everything I need and want (for crafting and creating) can fit inside the space. I have yet to find the time to finish organizing it. It seems I have an extraordinary amount of crafting materials lying around the house. HOWEVER, I went back and looked at the wording, and my simple goal was finding a crafting space of my mine - well, by golly, I think I've found it! Goal completed!! (Maybe Feb can tackle actually putting all the materials away!)

So - I posted three goals for the month of January, and after some revision of Goal #1, I have completed 1.5 goals. That is quite sad. Let's hope February brings more success. I will pot February goals on the 1st ....don't want to get ahead of myself or anything.....


First Birthday Par-tay!

What do you do when you want a big blow out for a one year old?

To throw a proper party, you need the following:
Party Banners
Party Hats
and lastly....The birthday boy/girl!

To celebrate a beautiful baby's first birthday, I am helping create a balloon arch. Who knew there were so many different designs?? If you wanted to be technical, here are some directions.

At Balloons Galore, they give you very specific directions how to create the arch of your dreams. The only arch I am familiar with his the golden arches of McDonald's.

Birthday Banner
I downloaded the font of Circus so it closely resembles that of a circus from the early 1920s - and I just love it! I plan on making a Happy Birthday sign out of paper. Hopefully, the end result will look something like this:
All you need is a printer, paper, scissors, and a creative mind!

What screams a birthday more than a colorful cookie? nothing. This recipe below is sure to make all the kids at the party scream for more....

Directly from the M&M Baking website, here is the recipe that MMMars feels is worth your while.


1 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup M&M’S® MINIS® Milk Chocolate Candies


Heat oven to 375°F. Beat sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Stir in 2/3 cup M&M’S® MINIS® Milk Chocolate Candies. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Press several additional M&M’S® MINIS® Milk Chocolate Candiesinto each cookie. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown.

According to the recipe, it makes about 5 dozen cookies 2 1/2 inches big.

yum yum!

Party outfits
So I don't really know how I feel about "birthday" shirts or outfits. However, I find this dress incredibely adorable. I think if they had one in size 12 women, I would wear this for my 30th.
I found it on Sophia's style.

I love this shirt for a boy - and whooo doesn't love owls? Though, I personally think the pants are a little too much for my taste.

Whatever your reason might be to throw a party, nothing is as fun as preparing for a kid's birthday party!! Happy Early Birthday Aiden!!


Library Fines Be Gone!

After stumbling upon a new website (I feel like I say that alot!), I found a very creative way to display and keep track of library books and their said due dates.

Shell in Your Pocket had this wonderful idea that combines a few of my favorite things (not when a dog bites or bee stings!). All you need is a study basket, chalkboard, wood paint, brush, letters, ribbon, and a glue gun (the only gun I love!)

I visited the Christmas Tree Shoppe this past weekend with my mom and found the most fitting basket for this project. It is made out of old newspaper - how appropriate for reading!

This is the Library Basket from Shell in your pocket....I will post my project when it's finished!

Till then....Happy reading - with no fines!


January 15, 2010

Stamp This with food

I found fabulous cupcake stamps located on Taylored Expressions. There are cuppie love scenes, which simply mean cupcakes are kissing and hugging, holding hands and going on dates. So adorable! Maybe they will get together, and have mini-cupcakes. yum.

I tend to have a closer attraction to cupcakes then I do any other dessert. Not even eating them, but looking at them decorating them, dressing in them (yes, I mean accessories - not a vanilla cake on my head!)
On Etsy, I found Cupcake Tree Designs, who designs the simplest cupcake stamps. I think you can't go wrong with a small little treat to stamp with!
I like the idea of making your own wrapping paper. Plain wrapping paper is always cheaper, and can be found in any Dollar Store - yet with a little ink and a cute stamp - you have just made your very own wrap. The great thing about this is - it is never the same! Each present is individually stamped and each gift deserves separate attention.
Not only does she have cupcakes, but you could also stamp using hand mixer stamps, bacon and egg stamps, pie stamps...the list seems endless and delicious.

Other cupcake ideas? yes. I have fallen in love with Popcorn Cupcakes. I would definitely make this as a tribute to his favorite snack.

I found this at Family Fun .
  • 1 baked cupcake
  • White icing
  • 40 mini marshmallows (white or pastel yellow and white)
  • Yellow food coloring (optional)
  • Clean paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • White construction paper
  • Blue and red markers

  1. Frost the cupcake with white icing. To create each piece of "popcorn," cut one mini marshmallow in half and squish the two pieces back together into a whole mini marshmallow, pinching firmly. Pile the finished popcorn onto the frosted cupcake.

  2. For a buttery look, either dilute a drop of yellow food coloring in water and brush it on with a clean paintbrush or mix pastel yellow marshmallows in with the white.

  3. To make the band, cut a strip of construction paper about 1 1/4 inches by 8 inches, or to fit your cupcake, and decorate as shown.

  4. If you're creating many cupcakes, design just one band and color photocopy it. Wrap the band around the cupcake and secure with tape.

This seems easy enough! This looks simply adorable...the problem is I am not really a true fan of marshmallow - but I could just pick the topping off (yes, I was
that kid that picked the toppings off of everything).

But to end it with what I started - stamps. Popcorn stamps. from none other than Cupcake Tree Designs.
You could stamp movie theater invites with these cute lil boogers, and mail them out! Who doesn't love a good flick with friends, and a fun invite to boot?

Happy Stamping!


January 13, 2010

Stop Dating? I dare say not.

After you are married, the honeymoon is over.....the actual vacation and then the phase. I read recently that dates are the most important part of any relationship. I would tend to agree.

Just because you might dress in sweatpants and clean up dirty diapers all day, doesn't mean you should stop dating. Just because you wear a suit and tie, drive a 4 door sedan, doesn't mean you should stop dating. (Though this does not apply to me yet, I have friends that complain of this exact situation).
When you get married - keep dating! (Hopefully each other :) Dates are utmost important to keeping your relationship in tact and fun.

This section is labeled "Romance Me"- because let's face it, who doesn't like to be romanced? In my mind, I always replay the scene from "Say Anything" where Lloyd Dobler stands in the rain, playing Sting's "In your Eyes". What a moment! Now, I don't expect my husband to catch a cold in order to prove his undying love, but a little spark every now and then would just wonderful.
Why not have a Hot Lunch? (Not the kind from 2nd grade served with mashed potatoes!) This is a service that creates a lunch box full of your date. I believe my favorite is "Night at the Drive-In"(see above). In the very stylish lunch box, it includes an invitation for the date, step by step instructions, candy, camera to document your fun, popcorn, two mugs, and a coupon for a movie. But the catch? Watch it in your garage! Now, this takes some planning on your part - but doesn't all dates?

They also have a box called "Cartoons and Cupcakes" - perhaps combining my two favorite things! Be a kid again - and watch cartoons, bake cupcakes - maybe even eat the icing first...and just enjoy the company of your loved one.


January 12, 2010

These shoes are made for walking....

New Year's Eve brought not only the new year in, but also to light a new type of shoes. Walking shoes to be exact. A family friend works at a local shoe store, and commented how the new rage was the butt shoes. Women were driving from states away to claim their own sneaker. They were throwing caution to the wind, and standing on lines in the rain and snow to get their smelly feet in Reebok's Easy toning sneakers. Wait - Butt shoes?
What is this?!
I dismissed the idea, and for 11 days it was out of my mind. However, at the mall last night, I discovered what the butt shoes were. They are one word: comfortable. Foot Locker only had one pair, the display model, and convinently in my size! They were mine. Literally, I bought them, and ran out of the mall.
Today is the first day I am wearing them. Do I feel a difference? Sure! My body is sore. But that could be because last night I got a deep tissue massage, and the little Romanian woman completely roughed me up. I believe I may be black and blue bruised. However, I can pretend it's the shoes doing their magic.

However, if it is to boast my ego - it is a definitely plus. I have received complements from all people today about my new kicks. How stylish they are. How NON-orthopedic they look. and so on.
I have to say they are extremely comfortable, and it's almost like walking on a trampoline. Not sure what they are doing for my thighs and glutes, but they are a wonderful for my poor feet. A consumer was reported saying, "These shoes force you to walk with perfect posture or you feel like you will lose your balance. They also force your midsection to remain still, both of which will definitly strenghen your core."

Not sure if that is happening to me or not, but I can say - Day One: Success.


January 07, 2010

Goals for Year

New Years Resolutions vs. Goals

After much thinking, I really like to set a goal - a focus on what this year will bring. So far this year has brought my motivation at work and a terrible cold. I have been sick all week. In fact, I feel worse and worse each day. However, I am not letting that stop me! This is what I would like to tackle by the end of 2010.

Send thank you cards for all gifts received- This is something you learn (or SHOULD learn as a child), to always say thank you. Sometimes, time gets the best of you - and thank you cards fall by the wayside. I am going to try my darnest to show my appreciation.

Improve blog - That is in the works!!

Become debt free from credit cards - I realize this may not take just one year, but I would like to end the year, and say I accomplished atleast ridding myself of one credit card.

Read 100 books of my choosing- Each and every day I read a book. Some people do not have that luxury. However, the books are not of my choosing, due to the fact I must follow a curriculum, and not everyone wants to reread Macbeth 5 times a year.

Lose weight - I won't say any specific number, but I plan on shedding some major poundage. That leads me to my next goal.

Take an aerobics class

Document life/the year in a scrapbook, daily activities photos etc. celebrate the year through visual art journaling.

Become more proficient with digital camera and taking better photographs-somewhat.

Completely organize office and creative space-

Hand make Christmas presents (at least half of the gifts I give)

Use only fabric bags when shopping

Plan weekly menu’s and stick to them!!

Restart dates with husband - I miss "our" time together, and I had so much fun planning out ABC dates - Hopefully, in the new year, we will be able to bring it back.

It's a hefty list for 2010, but so far, I am off to a fabulous start (minus the sniffles and cough). If I achieve HALF of this list, I will be more than thrilled :)


Cold Tea does not warm the cockles of your heart

This entire week I have had a cup of coffee in the morning. Unlike the average American, I can not drink the entire travel mug in one sitting. In fact, it takes about four reheatings in the microwave over a 6 hour span to finally finish the cup of joe. Some people find this revolting, I don't see a problem.

However, every morning around 10 am - I don't have time to stop at the microwave, so I am forced to sip freezing cold coffee. This isn't the same as "iced coffee". Do not be fooled. This coffee used to be hot, then warm, moved to average temperature, and quickly slid the slope to freezing. It is not pleasant.
This morning, however, my tea was warm at 10:53 am! How can this be? It was made at 5:55 AM, and I hardly had time to sip it - yet it was still pleasantly warm. Some would argue the steam showed it was hot.

That is because this morning - I used a thermos! What a concept.
The thought of thermos excite me. However, it also seemed somewhat messy. You constantly have to pour your coffee/tea beverage into the lid, then put the lid back on the container if you aren't finished. Needless to say, there are tea rings on my desk. Yet, my drink was warm! My throat enjoyed the beverage. This gave me a new crusade.

After researching thermos, I came across Kate Spade thermos. Now usually I could care less about name brands. In fact, I don't like them because they are usually completely out of my teeny tiny itty bitty budget. But the polka dots in the metal stautue called to me! "Kaarrrraaaa - Buy me!" I loved it!
Now onto food....
The thermos insulates the food keeping it warm so I can still have some of my favorite foods from home!

What's in your Thermos?

The trick to using your thermos for hot foods is to "pre-heat" by putting hot water in the thermos and sealing it for 10-15 minutes prior to putting food in. Now you are ready and here are some ideas:

Tortellini and pesto sauce
Mac 'N' Cheese
Hot oatmeal
Chicken nuggets with dip
Rice 'N Beans
Risotto with Chicken
Baked beans & little dogs
Warm chicken salad
Taco meat or beans with chips on the side
Minced meat tofu stew
Sloppy Joes (my picky eater loves this recipe, go figure! Recipe)
Hot Cocoa (what a treat!)

OR you could use your thermos for cold items:
Yogurt and fresh fruit
Tuna salad
Fruit smoothies (Recipes)
Waldorf Salad (my favorite!)

Either way, this concept of using a thermos each and every morning never occurred to me. doof. I think from now on, I will be sporting it - and avoiding the microwave a bit more :)


January 06, 2010

New year New tude

With this new year, new decade - it has brought a new fresh attitude. I realize that there are things that are out of my control, and the only thing I truly can control would be my own attitude. I make my day great, or otherwise.

So far, 2010 has brought me happiness and smiles. I am sure there will be moments where it seems unbearable, but right now, in this very moment, I want to enjoy the time I have.
At work we are starting the "Biggest Loser". You weigh yourself each Friday, and calculate the percentage of weight lost for the week. I competed last year, but my teammates and I found more enjoyment in beer and wings, then loose pants. However, again with the new year, I realize I can't hide forever in this body. My dear friend and I have matched up and plan on taking on the entire workforce. We win not only a positive attitude, but cash money. Seriously, what a better motivator??
I purchased the Jillian Michaels DVDs about 6 months ago (gasp!). They are still neatly wrapped in the orignal plastic, as my attitude 6 months ago was I was too busy. On June 4th, to be exact because I checked amazon.com - I ordered the following:
Workout: One-On-One Training with Jackie
Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred
Exhale: Core Fusion Body Sculpt
Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism
Jillian Michaels: No More Trouble Zones

I want to be a runner. Maybe not a marathon runner, but I would like to be able to run away if someone was chasing me. Not just give up. I think at this point I would pass out within twenty seconds...it would be easy for the attacker - whether it was a dog, man or elderly woman. Any person would definitely find comfort in the fact they would win a race against me. I would like to get to a point where I feel comfortable in this body, and know I am doing my best.
This is the year for that. Let's go 2010.


January 05, 2010

After the Holidays - Don't lose the meaning

After the holidays, I always find the best projects that I *wish* I completed. However, I also realize that time is always a crunch around the holidays. So maybe if I complete projects AFTER the holidays, I will be ready for NEXT season!

I adore the idea of an advent calendar. During the holiday season, when it should be about family and good-will, the shopping and frustration of weather/financial woes usually takes over. I feel like around the holidays, friends and loved ones take back seat until days before the actual holiday. Odd, right?

I think maybe instead of using an advent calendar to count down the days till Christmas with small trinkets, the prize inside the box should include doing special tasks/fun dates for those around you. That way, you don't lose focus of what is important - your family and friends.

This is the list I came up with for each day:

Dec 1 Watch It's a Wonderful Life, make spiced cider.
Dec 2 Put up a ribbon sash for Christmas cards

Dec 3 Put up a wreath/decorate

Dec 4 Make Thick Hot Chocolate and Homemade Marshmallows

Dec 5 Leave out wooden shoes

Dec 6 Attend City tree lighting event

Dec 7 Host a Christmas dessert party/Sweater Party

Dec 8 Sign up to purchase gifts for a needy child

Dec 9 Go to Borders and Pick out one new Christmas CD

Dec 10 Donate canned goods

Dec 11 Make Christmas craft

Dec 12 Find Christmas Tree

Dec 13 Make a Gingerbread House

Dec 14 Have a full traditional breakfast while listening to Christmas music

Dec 15 Address and mail Christmas cards

Dec 16 Have a movie party (classic Christmas clips)

Dec 17 Donate old clothing

Dec 18 Make Christmas cookies/Wrap gifts

Dec 19 Make hot chocolate and read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Dec 20 Give neighbors a present

Dec 21 Drive around to see neighborhood lights while listening to Christmas carols

Dec 22 Have a romantic candlelit dinner by the Christmas tree

Dec 23 Tell stories of childhood Christmas around the fire

Dec 24 Find Mistletoe, hang it in our house and kiss under it.

Dec 25 Spend time with those you love

The creative part would be how to display this? Would you fold these festive ideas into squares and place them in a glass jar? Would you build a box with 25 little cubbies so they each have their own space? Would you use a muffin tin and decorate the metal? So many ideas, yet you only need one way!

These are different designs I found...and maybe next year I will use one!

This fabulous design was stamped by Fresh & Fun.

She used metal tins, stamps, and velcro tape. I think my favorite part of this design is the font used. Anyone at work knows I do love a good font! (so sad, I know.) Her tutorial seems easy, that it makes me want to do a countdown for birthdays!

The above circle advent calendar brings out the seamstress in you....or will just make you feel bad about your lack of seaming skills. She Knits Shizknits gives a tutorial of how to make this lil booger. http://www.allsorts.typepad.com/ also has some really snazzy sewing patterns.

This was an advent calendar made on Etsy - but it seems easy enough (ha!). I like that each day looks different....it is colorful and friendly!

I will end on this note from FAO Schwarz. This advent HOUSE is worth over a grand, but how beautifully detailed.....

and I quote "A festive red Tudor style house with 24 turning windows, the Advent Calendar honours the 150 year old German tradition. Heirloom-quality ensures that generations of children will delight in revealing the scenes behind each window. A perfect display for on the mantle, the hand painted figures offer a simple traditional elegance. A fabulous new tradition for any family the German Advent Calendar will make counting down the days an event in itself. Buy it for a price of $1,125 from FAO Schwarz."

That would look beautiful, but since it's a grand....and I don't have that in my budget for the holiday...I better get my saw and drill out. Looks like I have a mini mansion to build!


Bags of Organization

The mail comes in....and the mail should go out. However, it gets lost in the madness of our home. How do we solve this problem? Since Mr. is against my plastic bag organization - I stumbled upon a pattern for mail sorting. I love it. The problem is where in the world will we hang this project?
I love where they hung this too. the back of the door! It is functional yet not in the way! perfect-o. Now, how to create it? I can not take any credit for this creation, but I can tell you where I found it. Bright and Blithe has the tutorial, which is pretty straight forward. As soon as I rescue my sewing machine from the pitfalls of our bedroom, I will definitely get started on this wonderful bit of organization.

Hopefully soon I will be able to post pics of my own mail sorter, till then it will have to suffice looking up photos of other people's completed projects!

My only other bit of longing stems from my need to organize our gift cards and coupons. I had a paper "coupon" holder, yet after a few wears and tears, it did just that. It wore. It tore. And all my gift cards slipped out all over the floor :(

I would pay a pretty penny (and maybe a not so pretty penny) to have something that clearly organizes our cards/coupons. I have seen two different types on Etsy that I simply love.
I sew on Etsy has the cutest coupon holders, and they actually seem pretty darn sturdy! They come either already made ($32), or she also offer the sewing pattern for an easy payment of nine dollars! That isn't too shabby!

With these two ideas on my hands, I am hoping I can wipe the dust off of my sewing machine, and get right to work! Happy organizing!!