Monday, January 31, 2011

#20: The Internet

How often have you ever made the comment "what did we do before google?" It comes up all the time around our place. The internet is an amazing thing. There is so much knowledge at your fingertips. You can find almost anything!

Because of the internet, I had the courage to spend 19 hours sanding my living room (and I finally found my inspiration source too!). I've found old friends. I've made dozens of new ones. I've switched my laundry detergent and now make my own dryer sheets (I use #3). I taught myself how to crochet some tricky stitches. I've learned how to make furniture. I've been super crafty. I've learned what platypuses eat.

Because of the internet I've grown, and stretched myself. I've gained knowledge and courage I'd never had. I've become such a better person.

Like any good thing there are drawbacks and pitfalls. (and major wasting of time too!) But I am very happy that I have a world of knowledge, a world of friendship, and world of assistance all at my desk.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

#21:White soup with bread bowls

This may be my favorite dinner, EVER. It's a combination a couple of recipes, and my whole family loves it when I make it. It's fat free, fairly easy, and super yummy!

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

2 cups nonfat dry powdered milk
2 Tbsp dried onion flakes
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup chicken bouillon powder (or 12 bullion cubes, but that’s super annoying!)
½ tsp black pepper
4 cups water
2 cups (approx) noodles
1-2 carrots, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1-2 chicken breasts

Combine milk, cornstarch, bullion and 2 cups water in a blender. (If using cubes, use very hot water. Mix the cubes and the water first, then blend in the rest.)

Pour into very large pot. Add onion, pepper, and remaining water. Cook over low heat until begins to thicken. Do not let boil. (If it boils, it will separate and look really nasty. Still tastes good, but looks awful!)

Meanwhile, place chicken, celery, and carrots in a medium pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Add noodles. Cook approx. 15 minutes, or until noodles and chicken are fully cooked. Drain. Shred chicken (Cooked chicken shreds really easy if you just kind of mush it through your fingers, almost in a “money” sign motion, just very firm.) Add to soup base.

Bread Bowls: I use my favorite 2-loaf bread recipe, dividing into 8 balls of dough. Cook like normal (try not to let them touch each other), cut a small slice off the top. hollow it out, and fill with soup!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

#22: indoor pluming

This one may be a bit of a no brainer. Raise your hand if this is something you're grateful for! No umpteen trillion trips to the outhouse in -20 winter middle of the nights while pregnant! No crazy stench in the middle of summer! No flies buzzing around your derriere!

Very, very VERY happy for this one!

Friday, January 28, 2011

#23: Mineral makeup

I'm not a big makeup wearer. But still, I need to feel pretty sometimes. A couple of years ago, something strange happened to my skin. I still don't know what. When I'd put on makeup, within an hour I'd be clawing at my face, feeling like I was suffocating. I tried all kinds of things, but nothing really helped. So I stopped. I didn't wear anything for a full year.

Then I found mineral makeup. Everything said it was supposed to be much lighter, much better for your skin. I was hooked. I still don't wear a ton, but I love that I can still feel pretty and such without feeling like my face is trying to get off my skull.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Craft Crafty part 2

This project I was super excited to do. I've been seeing these little paper roses in blogland for a while, but it wasn't until I saw this topiary that I really fell in love with it!

I don't know if you've seen the tutorials for this one so I thought I'd post my own.


Foam ball (I think mine was 3 inches. Actually, it was a decor ball on clearance for a buck!)
Stick (wooden skewer, on hand)
Foam disks ($1, from dollar store)
paper (I used 5 sheets, so about $.25)
Flower moss (also from dollar store)
Can (mine's a corn can)
Something to wrap the can
Lots and LOTS of hot glue

Total cost: $2.25!!

Here's the foam disks I used.

I got them from $ tree, and they had a ton. I've seen the balls there before, but they were out on this trip. So I found mine at joann's instead.

It's just too annoying to try to get the flowers so close together that you can't see any white at all, so to start off, cover your ball with something. I used some red tissue paper.

Next, cut your paper. Out of 3 pieces, cut strips 2 1/8 wide. Then cut these into 2 1/8 squares. Out of 1 and a half pieces, cut squares that are 1 1/2 inches. I needed a total of 65 big squares and 60 smaller ones.

The tute I saw had you draw a swirl on the paper. That works, but I didn't find I needed it. Instead, just start at one side, and cut a long long swirl towards the center.
Don't' cut clear to the center, but leave a circle in the middle.
Then cut off the extra so you have a circle that looks like this:

Take the outside of your swirly and start rolling it up.

Keep on rolling until you get to the center circle.

And look, a cute little paper flower!

And the back:

They will be super tight when you start, but will unravel a bit.

You'll need to put a dab of hot glue on the circle of the flower. This will keep your flower together, so you won't wake up one morning and have a bunch of springy papers sticking everywhere!

Now repeat 150 times!

To assemble the topiary: First, stick your stick on the ball. Then start gluing all your flowers on! Use a combination of small and big ones. Place them as close together as you can.

Once your adorable ball is complete, place several disks inside your corn can. Wrap the can with something cute. (I used ribbon. I wanted some cute paper or something, but it was 10:00 at night and I just used what I had. I ran out. (this is the back of the can)

If your observant enough to notice it, you deserve a cookie!

Glue on some flower moss, add a cute little bow, if so inclined, and step back to admire your craftiness!

I also decorated my table for valentines.

Isn't it cute!

On this side, my cute topiary, a candle, and the BEST valentine's day book.

This side, a valentine subway plate, another candle. I decided it needed just a little something else, so I stuck some raspberry kisses (delish by the way!) in a little jar.

And we're all ready for the big day!

Crafty Crafty

I've been very inspired for the last few weeks. I've had a crafting bug that just needed to be scratched. With that in mind, I've made 3 very fun crafts in the last two weeks. I've actually been done with two of them for almost a week now, but I've been waiting to post about them until the last one is done. But I'm getting too impatient with that, and I'm posting now!

The first one I finished was a hair bow holder. I've wanted to make one for years now, but never found the right frame for it. There are something like 10845763 tutorials already out there in blog land, so I won't bother with that.

But I found this frame for $3 at a thrift store.

Yes, it's never been opened. And judging from the height of the woman's hair, I'd say this was siting in some one's basement since 1992. Look at her haughty smile. I can just imagine that face tormenting someone. Every time they opened that closet, she'd be there, taunting them. "Look at my beauty. Look at my grace. Why can't you find a use for my perfection?!?!"

There really are some fun details on this frame.
So anyway, I slapped some white paint on, covered the back in a fun fabric I had, and strung up $1 worth of ribbon. I wanted to try glazing to get those fun details to pop out. Instead I got impatient and just stuck the whole thing together!

So here's my $4 bow holder. It won't win any awards, but I love it!

#24:digital scrapbooking.

All the cuteness (more because my mouse is more talented than my fingers), none of the mess.

I am frankly in awe of anyone who physically scrapbooks. The amount of time it takes, the amazing talent needed to make it look decent, the incredible cost of supplies! And really, you need your own room. When you add in the time of getting everything out, and putting it away, it's just too much. And the idea of all these little expensive things with little ones underfoot . . . well, let's just say I never even have had the guts to try.

Digital on the other hand . . .

Personally, I use a program called Memory Mixer. I got it for a Christmas present in 2007, and then the upgrade version in 2009. I love, love, LOVE this thing! There are literally thousands of free papers, embellishments, word arts and quick pages out there. I almost never pay for any of that stuff. The actual printing can get pricey, but I just wait for free book codes from sights like shutterfly and print then.

So far, I've printed 5 books. My kids love flipping through them. I love watching my kids grow up, and remembering the stories we tell.

Here are some of my favorite pages (just a few. 'Cause really, who wants to look at 50 pages of kids you don't know!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

#25: Clocks

I love clocks. I have one in every room.* I love being able to know what time it is. Why, I don't have a clue. But still . . .

We got like 7 or something for our wedding. I guess people knew I'd develop a love for them . . .or something.

Still, it just makes me happy to get a new clock. I love looking at them in magazines. I notice them in home decor. I plan carefully were mine will reside.

Random, yes. But then you already knew I was!

*ok, not in every room. I still don't have one for either bathroom, or the laundry room. But someday, my friend. Someday.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

#26: My own Bank account

Money is such an interesting thing in a marriage. Especially if you have different ideas for how to handle it.

TO put it geographically, if Hubby was at the north pole financially, I was somewhere along the lines of Australia - not exactly polar opposites, but pretty darn close.

Fortunately, we kind of figured this out before we were married. We both kept our own bank accounts, and just added each other to ours. We both have full access to each other's money, but we keep everything separate.

Hubby has to get on at least once a day and balance his account to the penny. I keep a running total in my head and stop waaaaaaaaaay before zero. If Hubby has money, it burns like lava. I like to keep some socked away for later. If Hubby had his way, all cash and coins would be banned forever and only debit cards would be ever used. I spend way less when I get my budget in cash.

Two bank accounts does WONDERS for our financial life. He does things his way, I do things mine. As long as neither of us are over drawn, we're both happy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

#27: The Ability to Feel

Today's favorite is a bit hard to put into words. I am grateful for the ability to feel. For the ability to change, and to grow. To connect with someone or something, and to the cultivate those feelings.

I am not the same person I was 30 years ago. I am not the same person i was 15 years ago. I'm not even the same person I was 1 year ago. Everyday, something touches me. Those thousands of touches have turned my life in many different directions, all of which culminate in the exact place I am today. Many of those directions were not what I had planned. But here I am anyway.

Sorry this one is so short. Like I said. It's a hard one to put into words. I rewrote this way too many times, and still only came up with 113 words!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

#28: Sign Language

I first wanted to learn sign language when I saw Linda on Sesame street.

I was so fascinated by the idea of speaking with just my hands (perhaps because I would later be accused of not being able to talk at ALL without my hands . . . .)

I first started taking lessons as a Laurel project while in high school. I was by no means proficient, but had a good grasp at the basics. Then in college I got the chance to go further. I took 2 classes, sign 1 and another class I can't remember the name of now. It was basically conversational sign, actually taught by a hearing man who was raised with deaf parents. I loved it!

But I never used it. And 5 years later, I felt like I'd lost almost all of it.

Then, last year we moved into our house. And I met my friend Cindy. Now I have the chance to sign multiple times a week. I even get to interpret frequently for her. While my real ASL is still not that great, I can sign and understand enough to carry on a conversation with most deaf people.

That is amazing. I know another language. I use it frequently. One of the neatest things about interpreting is how it forces me to think of English differently. I have to actually understand so many synonyms of words - and think it through enough to change back and forth. To see something in ASL, and then hear the same in English - there is a difference. A different emphasis, and touch different meaning. I love the insights it has given me.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

#29: Prayer

Have you ever thought about the fact that we have the ability to speak to our Creator? Really thought about that? The Supreme Ruler of the entire universe, is willing to take time to listen to my petty little problems. He wants me to talk to Him, He wants me to know He cares. I can talk and talk and talk, and He will still love me. No matter what I have done, no matter how busy I am, how crazy my day, how hard my problems, He understands, and welcomes my prayers.

I do not take advantage of this opportunity enough. But to sit an ponder the love and compassion He shows for me, is such an amazing blessing in my life.

Friday, January 21, 2011

#30: Spell Check

Yes, to start off my countdown, I have an ode to spell check. You guys have NO idea how much more intelligent I sound because of it! I can not spell to save my life. Nope. I'd be making funeral plans within the first two rounds of a spelling bee of death.*yes that is an actual picture of my screen typing a post. I zoomed in so to be only kind of embarrassed, instead of humiliated if you could see the whole thing.

It gets even worse when I'm in a hurry (and any time on the computer with little ones means I'm rushed!) My sister LOVES to bring up the time I spelled lips with two p's. Sometimes letters just pop out, and I honestly don't have a clue where the come from.

Actually, I would fully embrace converting over to the International Phonetic Alphabet. Sure, there would be almost double the symbols to learn, but once you learn the sounds and symbols, you'd never need to learn to spell! Reading would be easier to learn (r always says "ra"! there is no letter c! a diffrent symbol for every vowel!).

bæk ɪn kɑledʒ, et wʌz maɪ feɪvoʊraɪt tʊ rait ɪn. Sʊpɝ iziɝ tʊ lɝn neims fouɝ ʃɝ!

Ok. so it would take some time to change. Until then, I praise spell check!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

30 to 30

Tomorrow is a special day. January 21, 2011 is 30 days before I turn 30 years old. Which is kind of cool. Last year a friend of mine did a 40 to 40 series. I fell in love with the idea, so I'm totally copying her!

So, I'm writing 30 posts of 30 things I love. These are totally not in an particular order. And some are more random that others. But they are all things that make me happy.

I'm also going to work on some self improvement. For the next 30 days I will do these things every day.
  • drink more water. I'm shooting for around 100 oz, but at least 72. I have 24 oz glasses, so that helps a lot!
  • Read my scriptures for a full 10 minutes uninterrupted. How's that for a non-ambitious sounding goal! But my scripture study is lacking. And this really will be an improvement.
  • Some form of exercise 6 days a week, ideally for at least 30 minutes each day.
  • Eat breakfast, take a shower, and really do my hair - all before 10:00 am. I have a tendency to not take care of myself first. And then next thing I know it's almost noon and I'm a raving lunatic because I haven't eaten anything. Or it's 5:30 and I'm still in my pjs. Night showers are great, but I need to be more pulled together.
  • Index 300 names. Not a huge goal, but a worthwhile one
  • Scrapbook! My real goal is finish 'Lil's first year book and get mostly finished with Buddy's 4th. But I'll be completely satisfied with just finishing 'Lil's. (I've only got 4 more months for her's so that won't be too hard.)
  • Wake up by 6:00 each day. (how else am I going to do these things!)

My thoughts of the big 3-0. Rather indifferent, really. I've never understood why people get so worked up over age. It's just the truth - you can't change it, so just accept it. 30 isn't old. It's not super young. It just is. More than anything, it just feels weird that I'm going to be 30. I don't feel like I'm 30, but I am, and it's great!

Along with all this hoopla, I'm going to give away some of my favorite things. I want the prizes to be cool (not just a stick of gum!) so there will me significantly less than 30, but still a bunch 'cause I love you guys! I don't know exactly what I'm giving out, but I won't give away anything that I don't like! To enter: all you have to do is comment on one of my 30 to 30 posts (a real comment, pertaining to the topic at hand please!).

Ready to start this journey with me? I hope you'll learn a bit more about me, and maybe I can learn more about you (why else am I bribing you with so many entries?)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Just a little something to smile about

(this is honestly the milk ring from 'Lil's bottle. Now how fun is that!)

*There is no school today (like 3 inches of snow last night!)
*My house is clean.
*Everyone is still asleep.
*I got a new book in the mail yesterday.
*I've had 5 whole days with Hubby home.
*I'm off to bake something yummy for breakfast.

What makes you happy today?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Year in review

Hey all.

After posting this morning, I continued to think about all I've done in the last year. And then I went to the temple. And I realized that I focus too much on what everyone else does. Too much on what I didn't accomplish. Too much on the negative.

I've seen lots of year in reviews on other blogs, but didn't want to bother doing on for mine. But after realizing that I am full of worth, that my offerings are good enough, that I really am rather cool, I decided to compile a list of what I accomplished in 2010.

#1. I had a baby. Really, just on that note alone, I could call the year done. That is a major accomplishment! And since she's the bestest happiest, cutest thing around, I take great pleasure in that accomplishment.

#2. I built a table. My first knock off wood project, this was quite an adventure. I had a 1 month old, plus two other preschoolers, all the saws and such were at a different house, and I'd never really built a thing in my life before. But I did it (with Happy Mom's help, of course), and I love my table.

#3. I spent 19 HOURS sanding my living room. All I can say about that project is I'm glad it's over. It needed to be done, was annoying as anything, and put out so much dust I was cleaning for months. I also painted and redid some other stuff too. I'm so happy with the room now!

#4. I made an adorable room for my girls. Which I still love. It just makes me happy to walk in there and realize just how much work I put in, that actually paid off. The colors make me happy, the bunk bed gets lots of use, the quilts aren't falling apart - it's wonderful!

#5. I did a bunch of furniture stuff. I redid a chair, a dresser, made my own ottoman, bookcase, and bench for my kitchen table. I also fixed up a closet, and ripped all the wallpaper off in my kitchen (which I haven't blogged about because that's all I've done! That room needs a lot of work, hopefully this year!).

#6. I made my bathroom livable. Which was the project that first made me think I might be addicted to redos. (btw, the paint has only chipped a tiny bit on the vanity, and only where the kids use a handle as a step stool to climb up. It's holding up way better than I thought!)

#7. I re-designed my blog, making it look way cooler, added numbers, and doubled my followers (I'm up to 30!). I still remember the first time a stranger followed me - totally crazy. I still think you guys are crazy to read all my ramblings. Oh wait. I just insulted all of your intelligences. Shoot. Um, just forget I said any of that, and know that I'm grateful you're here!

#8. I became a crafting maniac, and did more than should be possible in 10 days.

#9. Read 90 books. Actually, I think it might have been more. But I added 90 books to my Goodreads list. But I'm trying to cut back. I've been sticking with my 3 at a time limit, and it's helping a lot.

#10. I watched my children grow. I played. I loved. I grew myself. And I wrote a list reminding myself that I'm pretty great.

You're great too. Thanks for sticking with me. Let's see where 2011 takes us!

Woot Woot!

Do you follow Ana White's site? You know, the one with all the fabulous FREE furniture plans (which I've made a couple now)?

I do. But I don't always read everything in her posts. I mean, I don't have any interest in making a doll highchair, so didn't click on that one.

Her last post was about bunk beds. Well, I already did that one too. So again, didn't read it.

Then, all of the sudden, I was getting a ton of comments on the girls' room. I was surprised, since it's been a while since Remodelaholic featured that one. So I looked at my referrals, and realized they were all coming from Ana. I clicked on over, and she totally featured my room with these bunk bed plans.

I have to tell you, I needed this today. I have a wonderful life, but all morning long I was feeling very not wonderful. Very not important, not inspiring, not cool. You know how life has a tendency to get you down with the daily dishes, cleaning, running around, not to mention feverish kiddos. I was just really struggling.

It's amazing how a little affirmation can really help you remember that life is great!

Thanks Ana! You rock!
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