Words To Live By:

"The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you finish the work."

Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Mayhem Mondays

I think this will be another regular feature... first you've got your "Five On Friday" and now you'll get "Menu Mayhem Monday".   I used to (at one time or another or another) actually plan our meals for the week,  flip through collected recipes, assemble a grocery list, buy the actual required groceries and be able to look at the fridge any one day and choose from multiple meal options (including a spare) - all with the confidence that I wouldn't run out of item A or  ingredient B at any time during prep.  Then life took over and I lost one more aspect of my organization and the grocery store blitz or quick run for bread/milk/eggs became the norm, mealtime became a disaster and we often have too much of this or not enough that in the cupboards at any given time.

So... duh, duh, duh, DUH... without further ado, I present my week of meals, as planned yesterday for "Menu Mayhem Monday",  a collection of 7+ meals to get me through the week's meal prep sanely (although the actual consumption is another story...)

Week 1:

  • Glazed Maple Chicken with Carmelized PearsThis is what we had for dinner tonight, served with white rice and a healthy side of cucumbers.  1 1/2 monkey approval rating (Kaleb loved the chicken but the pears made him gag - that kid has texture issues!)
  • Mexican Baked Penne (originally from Today's Parent but I can't find the recipe.  Basically it's prepared penne with ground meat, corn, black beans - which we omit because Kevin has bean issues - tossed with salsa and cheese, then baked.
  • Ribs, Twice Baked Potatoes, Salad & Fresh Cut Veggies
  • Easy Jambalaya
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Mini Pita Pizzas and Fiesta Chicken Soup (the soup will be a first for us... but it sounds yummy!)
  • Chicken Fingers, Sweet Potato Fries and Mixed Veggies
and a spare
  • Spaghetti & Meatballs
Now... the plan itself is a start but I never did make it to the grocery store.  I don't plan on heading out tonight.  However, if everything goes as planned, I can head over with Justin tomorrow while Kaleb's at school and we can eliminate some of this week's mealtime mayhem - if not, we'll have to resort to chicken fingers or the spare (neither are Mommy's favourites!)

Happy eating :)

L♥VE Is In The Air

Valentine's Day is just around the corner.  I know many view it as just another over-commercialised Hallmark holiday and think we should express our love and appreciation for the important people in our lives on a regular basis (and I tend to agree in theory)... BUT it's also an excellent excuse for some extra-special themed family time, crafting with the day care kiddos, yummy menu planning and on-my-own projects. 

As I searched for some creative inspiration, I came across a few fun projects that we'll be trying.  I also found some fun new blog favourites that I've added to my reading list.  There are so many thrify/organized/talented/creative people in this world.    It makes me realise that I have a long way to go to perfect my skills and I need to take some serious time to find a place for everything (although have the battle is keeping it there!) I also need to 'think' more before jumping into things... planning things out, looking at alternatives, etc.    I want to start 'thrifting' more... but I know I'll end up with great pieces and no real plan. 

Anyhow, here are some of the fab new blogs I've scoped out, linked to the projects or posts that first caught my eye:
So those are some of my new inspirations... of course, the posts I linked too aren't the only great ideas.  You can click, click, click and these ladies have great recipes, ideas and more.   Sometimes I just like the way they approach (and share about) their lives.

How do you show your loved ones that they're - well -  loved? (or well-loved as the case may be.)  Do you have special traditions, projects, meals, etc?  Do you do a date-night, exchange cards or gifts? Or is it just another day and nothing extra special?  Share any fun ideas you have!  I'm off to tackle the reorganization (which seems to be an ongoing effort) of my craft room.  I think part of the problem is the craft room doubles as spare room with a bed that's much too large, extra-clothes storage, misc. home/office/whatever items get dumped in here and I haven't removed all the extra nursery tidbits (rocker, hamper, etc.) yet.  (I am attempting a wooden heart wreath - pilfering the idea from the Kaisercraft star wreath I will eventually tackle.  I was all gung-ho to get started...and once I dug out the wooden circle base realised it's much larger than I remembered and don't have the 'heart' to finish as desired.  If everything was where it belonged, and I didn't have to wade through piles of non-craft items, I would have known this weeks ago!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Five On Friday: Destination Fiction

I've decided to add some regular installments to my blog.   The first is going to be "Five On Friday", a quick-read Top-5 list featuring whatever strikes my fancy each week.   For our premeir Five On Friday, I'm featuring something I often dream about - read on!

Top Five Destinations I'd Like To Visit
As Influenced By Fiction


In no particular order:

1) Vienna, Austria
2) Puget Sound region, Washington State
3) Italy
4)
Lake Tahoe, California & Nevada
5) Outer Banks, North Carolina

Now, who'd like to contribute to my travel fund?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Kids Crack Me Up

Ok... just a quick little funny. 
My knowledge of the current pop music scene is pretty much nil.  I couldn't tell Justin Bieber from Miley Cyrus.  Unfortunately, the kids who infiltrate our home we have the privilege of watching each and every day have provided a little bit of pop exposure in their karaoke-style renditions of some hits that I have never heard before.  Yes, I live a sheltered life.

Well, Justin (my Justin that is) thinks it's just wonderful that there is someone out there named Justin "Beaver" who sings.  He even knows a line "Baby, baby, baby, ooooh!" which I hear repeatedly throughout the day.  That's it, just one line.   The funny thing is he croons it out pretty well... he gets that "ooooh!" just right and does it quite loud and then refers to himself as Justin "Beaver."  *sigh*

Kaleb provided the humour, beyond Justin belting it out during lunch today, by changing the lyrics.   He has his mommy's love for pop music and is quite comfortable poking fun.  Yeah, Kaleb's lyrics?  "Justin Bieber has rabies, rabies, rabies....oh!"   Which of course resulted in a round of genuine hysterical giggles from the two of them, to the point Mommy couldn't help cracking up to the point of tears.

Nothing like hearing those belly laughs! Haha I love my kids!

Pretty Projects... & A Failure! (AKA I Can't Always Be Perfect)

First off... I'm anxiously excitedly awaiting the arrival of my new little niece.  C'mon honey!  We want to meet you, cuddle you and smother you in kisses xoxoxo.   Keeping my brother and his family (and more specifically, my sister-in-law) in my thoughts and prayers as the countdown continues.   It will be so much fun having a princess to spoil!

Second... I wish I could sew.  Seriously, I own a sewing machine but I can't sew a straight line if my life depended on it.  A class is on that to-do list... but that to-do list is a mile long!

Third:  I'd really like to master the paper rosette (as shown on the Dream, Create, Inspire blog.)  Mine always come out lopsided and not-so-pretty.  I think this is probably one goal I should be able to get right.  Darn it, I will get it right!  Nothing will stop me and you'll see these pretty paper pieces popping up all over my do-it-yourself projects.

Ok, next... while Kevin was gone I thought I would find more time for projects galore.  I hit Michael's with the boys and picked up some supplies (because of course, I needed more supplies... it's not like I have enough sitting in my craft room waiting to be turned into something beautiful.)   They both take after Mommy and can't walk out of there without something fun to make.  They both picked out scrapbook papers so I can make pages for their albums (sock monkeys for Justin, of course.. and Kaleb picked out a monkey-rocket-robot combo.  Could be interesting.)   They also picked out perler beads - you know those not-so-wonderful buckets of melting beads that end up all over your house?  They love these things (and used their own money to buy them) but I don't really get the point (I mean besides encouraging creativity and keeping them occupied for hours on end, right? Cuz that's a good thing...) But really, you make shapes or animals or whatever... and can only add so many lanyards or magnets and I'm just kinda left sitting here going, "huh, now what are we gonna do with them?"   (Kevin - who does not have a crafty bone in his body - points out that ALL kid's crafts are pointless.)  So true!

Okay, that was a little rabbit trail... any how, back to the creative wonder I was going to be.   Well, I didn't really get started crafting until Kevin got back.   We've been married almost 7 years and I just did my very first wedding-related scrapbook page.   Seriously.  And only because one of the supplies I picked up (Walmart maybe?) was a magazine (Creating Keepsakes) and it had a feature on incorporating song lyrics as your journalling.  Great idea!   So here is my completed page inspired by our first dance and the song "Come What May" from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.

Altered Canvas Squares
Scrapbooks Etc.
My next project for the weekend was my big fail!  It's awful... but it took Kevin 2 hours to get it all hung properly spaced and all (let's not go there!) that I think I'm kinda stuck with it for a while.   I was inspired by this easy-peasy project featured on Scrapbooks Etc.   

Simple & straightforward, right? Especially for someone who uses the same technique to create photo stars.  Yeah, not so much.  They failed to mention that the canvas and paper don't really adhere that well together, modge-podge or not... and it wrinkles like crazy.  After it's wrinkled and everything has dried, it also tends to pull up at the corners.   I'm so very very disappointed.  All in all, it was a less than $30 disaster.  My Amy Butler (my baby sling was the same fabric line!) paper pad was less than $10, I had the Mod-Podge.  Acrylic paint was $.50 and I had a foam brush.  Canvases were in a bulk pack on sale at Michaels, 10 for $19.   I'm just not happy though - cost or not - it did not live up to my ideal and I was really, really counting on a unique but inexpensive decor idea.

Oh, I'm a great friend who finally got birthday cards to the December girls... you know, the cards I've been talking about in my last few posts.  Better late than never!   At least they were a success.

I'll probably make another post tonight (aren't you lucky!) spotlighting some fabulous blogs I found this morning while searching for some Valentine's Day craft ideas for the kids.   Some of the ideas are adorable and some of the blogs were full of spectacular ideas.  I think one of these days, the idea overload might knock me out.

And finally... if you don't think your kids are listening to you, think again!  Weeks ago the monkeys wouldn't stop nattering so everytime they started in on each other, they had to stop and repeat "Be ye kind one to another" a couple times.   We don't really do the memory verse thing (although perhaps we should) but Kaleb surprised me this morning when asking them to be quiet because the baby we're watching still naps regularly.   "Mommy, you should have said 'Be ye kind one to another."  Huh, they got it! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Boy, Oh, Boy!

Lemmetellya, boys are a handful the best of times, especially my two little monkeys (who I'm realising aren't so little anymore!)  Kevin is in Ypsilanti, MI, training on a new printer.  He left Monday morning for work and from work that afternoon, headed to the States.  I've been parenting on my own since then and being left with the two of the boys 24 hours a day for more than one day running gives me a healthy respect for single parents who manage to hold it all together.  The first two days were fine but this morning, both boys were cranky and they seem to have developed the ability to block out Mommy's voice - everything from simple instructions ("Put on your socks.") to simple questions ("What do you want for breakfast?") to simple rules ("Hands off!) has been met with temper tantrums, tears, screaming and more.  The bickering and obnoxiousness is at an all time high today and I'm eagerly awaiting bedtime just for some silence in the house!

Tomorrow evening, Kevin will return and all will be right with my world again!  I miss him... but I've also found some benefits to the situation.

Pros to Having the House to Myself:
1) No one steals the comforter at night.  I don't freeze!
2) I get the remote.  I can watch "Cake Boss: Next Great Baker" and any other number of TLC programs without anyone groaning about it.  Even better, I can leave the tv off entirely - amazing!
3) Dinner is a no-work, no-fuss affair.  So far the boys have had (at their choice) frozen pizza, hot dogs and tonight will be ham & cheese pitas.  My culinary skills have gone on vacation and I've been eating light (fruit, yogurt, etc.)
4) No one's alarm is going off an hour earlier than it needs to.  My alarm is set with me to hit snooze once and that's it, I'm up.  No waking at 6 am to elbow Kevin to get him to deal with his alarm an hour before I need to get up!

Now the cons:
1) There is no one sharing the bed.  I miss the warmth.  My feet stay frozen all night long and it's harder to fall asleep without a body to cuddle.
2) Mommy is the go-to for everything without a break.  No chance to relax, shower or even pee in peace until kids' are tucked in at night.  Even then it's a good half-hour before all is calm.
3) The mealtime battles are all fought solo.   Thus the reason we resorted to #3 in the pros column.  I'm fighting over every little thing it seems and I think dinner might be the most annoying argument of them all.  This is your food.  Eat it.  No complaining.   At least kids' choice is cutting back on the complaints.
4) Lack of adult conversation.  Seriously, I've been talking to the dog.  Mumble, mumble, mumble.

Today, I escaped to the spare room/craft room while the boys were watching a movie.  I was supposed to be re-organizing the closet (the boys off-season and to-grow-into clothes) as well as my craft supplies.  I got distracted, but it was fun!  The clothes were finished... the craft supplies, not so much.   Instead, I got all the components ready for some fun bridal shower invitations.   I still need a stamp and maybe some flocking.  I also need the details of the shower but at least when it's all decided, the invitations will be ready for assembly.  I also got the pieces for some coordinating items ready-to-go... I'd tell you what they are, but that would ruin the surprise for the bride-to-be.  Clever ideas though, stolen scraplifted from a back issue of Scrapbooks, Etc.

Speaking of showers, I am in my early-planning, brainstorm and make-note-of-everything stage.  I was trying to come up with some clever favour ideas for a classy brunch shower.  I came across two fun sites for favours and other event or party accessories:  http://www.wedding-favours.ca/ and http://www.beau-coup.com/.   I absolutely love these favor box cake, bottle openers and measuring spoons.   I'm wondering how difficult it would be to do the cake if you found similar sized favour bags at Michaels or Solutions.  It makes me wish I had found these sites 7 years ago!  I'm finding some of the items very inspiring and would like to find some local (and hopefully cheaper) suppliers for some of the ideas floating in my head.

I think tomorrow calls for Starbucks and Chapters.  Great plan, no?  28 hours and counting til I recover my sanity.  Wish me luck!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

Some days you just have to remind yourself to be happy.... when everything going on around you makes you feel anything but!   The last few days have been going like that... no one thing, but a bunch of little things, a tired mom (so sick of flu germs, cold viruses, and tummy bugs!), and the feeling like your at the end of your rope and it's slowly slipping through your fingers.   

I say we all just need some sun, some sand, some pina coladas.   But for now, I just keep trying to look at the little things making me smile.  Like the adorable things my kids say.  They make me laugh multiple times a day.   Like how much I love my Kobo eReader (using Adobe software not Kobo software) and the fact the library is not only now offering eBooks but has actually updated their selections so I don't have to wait weeks to check out a book.  Like a Starbucks grande white mocha peppermint frappucino.  (To keep the smile I try to avoid thinking about the carb and calorie factor in that last one!)  Like a hubby who takes care of me when I'm sick and makes me laugh all the time.  Seriously, some days I just want to wrap my arms around him and never let go.  Like my wonderful friends who love me despite my quirks and don't mind hanging out.   Birthday party at the casino last weekend (no winnings but it was a nice night out for Kevin & I.)  Mall & lunch for some much needed adult conversation.   Like getting fun mail (as opposed to a credit card bill!) - fun as in my Scrapbook.com order - when I get some energy back I'm going to tackle my first Kaisercraft star wreath.  Like dreaming of California... let the countdown begin!

This is one of the cards I was telling you about last week that I wasn't able to post.   I'm disappointed in the sparkle (the embossing glitter smudged and I was too 'ick' to care.)  The card itself is simple but cute I think.   Still can't post the others... but they're coming!













Another busy weekend ahead and then Kevin is gone for almost a week so I get to handle the homefront all by myself.   Tomorrow, we're heading to my parents to meet with my sister - the girls (as in my mom, my sister & I) will be shopping - hoping to find the elusive bridesmaid dresses and I'm not sure what the boys will be doing.   Then back to my parents' for some invitation creativity and hopefully some strategic planning and decision making.  I see a shower on the horizon.   Wish us luck on the gown hunt!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hello, New Year!

I realise it's been awhile since I last posted but we've had a busy month and a bit around here.   We've been on-the-go enjoying multiple Christmas get-togethers with family and friends, fighting an on-going battle with germies, and taking some much-needed downtime doing absolutely nothing.

We had enjoyable, but extensive, Christmas celebrations but got to enjoy a quiet Christmas at home with just us.  We attended church Christmas eve where I learned my boys DO NOT sit well or quietly for more than 15 minutes!  We sure do clean up nicely though :)










New Years Eve was a quiet affair.  The monkeys were in bed by nine.  Kevin & myself quietly whiled the evening away and brought in the New Year with not much more ado than a kiss.

The New Year always brings to mind resolutions and fresh slates.  I'm not much a 'believer' in resolutions, probably because I tend to forget about them.  This year, there are no resolutions per se, just an intention to be a happier person, have more patience, live a more active, healthier lifestyle, budget wiser (my sister is engaged - you need sunglasses to look at the rock! She'll most likely be geting married in California - the cost of that trip x4 is crazy expensive so no more shopping for Lindsey!) and of course, to craft a little more!

Speaking of crafting, I haven't done much over the holidays.  I made some fabulous recipe books (but ran out of time to print the recipes) for all my friends that participated in our annual treat exchange.   I borrowed the pictures from a friend's FB page because I forgot to actually take photos myself. 

 

I also made another tin photo star, this time for my sister's future mother-in-law.  I tried to start on my own photo star, but really had a hard time narrowing down my photo choices.














Last night after an exhausting bedtime routine, I also tackled some cardmaking... birthday cards for special people are always fun and I used a couple of my Christmas gift certificates to pick up magazines (for inspiration) and supplies.   I can't show you the cards yet because the recipients have yet to receive them... but I'll post pictures as soon as I can.

I've ordered some big project supplies online to tackle Christmas gifts and personal treats.  I'm seriously debating trying to stockpile some completed craft projects (wreaths, stars, cards, etc.) and getting involved in one of the smaller Christmas craft shows in the area... or trying to sell online.  Decisions, decisions...

Hope you all had a happy, peaceful holiday season and that the love of Christmas will brighten your homes throughout this new year.  May 2011 bring health, happiness and success to all my friends and family.