Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

In just a few minutes we will be out the door braving the cool weather to trick-or-treat. Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and Halloween!

My Jack Pumpkin

Doesn't my husband make a great pirate? He even was a good sport about the eye liner.
Me as "Sookie" from True Blood.
Our little "Scooby". Can you tell the Tooth Fairy visited last night?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sweet Treats

Tonight my daughter's school is having a Harvest Carnival party and I signed up to donate cookies for the "Treat Walk" aka: a Cake Walk but with other stuff besides cakes. Most moms would probably feel obligated to actually bake the cookies but not me. Never even considered it actually. I don't particularly love to bake so why would I stress over something like that when there are dozens of fabulous places where you can actually buy pre-made cookies!

Of course, I had in my head what I thought the cookies should look like and didn't want to just bring the standard bakery chocolate chip. Which is where my perfection issues crop up. If I was truly embracing what should have been a no-stress attitude I would have been content with the cookies I found at the first store I went to, or even the second. In the end, I ended up driving to the other end of town to a bakery that I hoped would have something much fancier than the grocery store. They did, thankfully, fresh out of the oven.  I thought I was being particularly smart by only purchasing the minimum we needed for the walk as to not have leftovers at home. I almost made it out the store with just the cookies. Almost. But the smell in there is sinfully delicious so now we have doughnuts waiting for breakfast. Fabulously hand-made gooey doughnuts!

What did I learn? That driving store to store saved me little time and I could have easily baked the cookies at home in the time I spent. But at least this way my kitchen stayed clean!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Life List

Quietly on my own I have been working on my life list. THE Life List. My story. My hopes. My dreams. It isn't terribly long yet or far fetched and I think that is OK. I tried to keep most everything tangible and measurable and all are very much in my reach. I have been so inspired from reading other lists on peoples blogs I figured it was time to share mine. I believe we all have a list whether we know it or not. Everyone has those secret dreams that are kept inside pertaining to things we want to do, "someday." When my husband found out I was writing a list he even shared a few of his wishes with me. I think the act of writing out a list is the first step towards living a more fulfilling life. I also think it is important to think of a Life List as a set of hopes and dreams instead of another reason to look for disappointment if they all are not accomplished right away. Do I think I will get to every single one of these before I stop walking on this Earth? Maybe, maybe not. Even if I don't that is OK. I have something to look forward to and something to strive for, one small check mark at a time.

If you need a little nudge getting started with your own list here are a few great links to help:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Treat Bucket

Just a quick post to share the gift my daughter, Hailee, and I made for her Kindergarten teacher. The plastic buckets can be purchased at the craft store for around $4 which is also where I found the yummy Halloween popcorn mix to go inside. The outside paper embellishments all came from a scrapbook kit. Quick and easy! Plus, Hailee felt so proud getting to hand it to her teacher today.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Musings

5 E-courses to for personal development, creativity and self-exploration:

  • Tracey Clark's Picture the Holidays. I am currently participating in the Picture Fall Photography class and am loving the prompts and inspiration. Sign ups are currently open now for the Holiday course.

  • Susannah Conway's Unravelling Courses. Also a course I am currently participating in. Susannah is an absolute treasure of a person and inspires me so much. Her courses have limited enrollment and do fill up extremely fast so make sure to mark the next enrollment date on your calendar if you wish you sign up.

  • Stephanie Lee's Homesteader Metalsmithing E-course. I made the leap and signed up for this course as well. It will be a totally new and challenging experience for me. I can't wait!

  • Andrea Schroeder's Creativity 101 E-course. She is offering this for free, all you have to do is sign up with your email. I haven't had a chance to dive into this one yet but it is definitely on my to-do list.

  • Drew Bennett's Personal Branding BootCamp. Another great free course currently being offered. If you are a blogger and want to streamline your brand then I highly recommend checking this out.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Quick & Easy Fall Cards

I wanted to share these quick and easy cards I made today for Fall. Literally they took me a whole 5 minutes. If you are in a pinch and need a quick idea for a thank you card or some party invitations these will do just the trick!

First you need words, a lot of them. Open up a new Word document and start typing. Brainstorm any Fall themed words that comes to mind until you fill up approximately 3 lines. Then highlight your text and copy and paste it until your page is full. I used a smaller font size around 8 points. Pick out your favorite Fall color of cardstock paper and print. To make even better use of your paper make sure to change your margins (something I did not do in the photo below).

Then you need to select a punch. The larger the better so you can actually see some of the words. Make sure your words are going in the direction you want them to read and punch out your shape.

For my card base I used plain white cardstock and attached the cutout with a raised dimensional adhesive. You could easily dress this up more but for a quick time-saving project I think the simplicity of it is just perfect! If you have a birthday coming up and need invitations this would work just the same with a balloon punch shape. The possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How E-mealz Saved Our Dinnertime

Italian Casserole and Salad
I never really learned how to cook growing up. Or sew, or bake for that matter. Basically I pale in comparison to the stereotypical housewife image. My mom claims I never wanted to learn those things so she just didn't teach me. So now I just stumble through these things on my own as an adult and boy do I ever stumble. In the past, dinner was a huge stress for me. I will admit a lot of those days my husband would come home from work and I still had not figured it out. Leading us to a quick meal of a-la-TV-Dinners. Before becoming a mother it was even worse. At some point I had to pick up my game. I think it was right around the time my daughter graduated from baby food that I knew I could not squeak by anymore with last minute preparations. I tried meal planning on my own for awhile and was overwhelmed to the point that I just stopped all together. Then we were back to square one and once again I was facing my husband walking through the door with no clue what I would be putting on the table. As a side note I want to add that I have a wonderful husband who could care less if we have corn dogs with frozen corn or leftover pizza for dinner. He is an easygoing guy like that and I am so thankful. But still, I wanted to do better and wanted our family to eat better.

So in my quest a few months ago I heard about E-mealz. I thought maybe THIS would be something I could do. At $5 a month I really could not go wrong. So I signed us up for the Low-fat Family Plan. Now because I rarely do things by the book, because I always tend to find my own way, I haven't been following the plan exactly. The meals are large enough where I only pick 2-3 a week to make. The rest of the nights we do something simple like going out to eat or having left-overs. I have yet to see a repeat in recipes and keep going back through to check out old ones I have yet to try. You get 7 recipes a week with the family plan so I always have extras to choose from.

The Benefits:
  • Uncomplicated recipes that even I can follow and most require minimal ingredients
  • There has yet to be a recipe that we have disliked
  • Did I mention easy?
  • A shopping list is included every week
  • Side dishes are also suggested and included
  • The portions in the family plan are large enough to easily feed a family of 4, probably much more
  • Low-cost solution to meal planning
  • Many meal plan options to chose from including gluten-free and low-fat

The only downside I have come across is that I am the mother to the world's pickiest eater. And she has only eaten one of the meals to date. The rest of the time I end up making something separate for her. Yes, we make her try them all which usually results in a gag fest at the table and me silently hoping she doesn't vomit, again, on her plate. I have hope someday this will change.

Also, we just switched from the Family Meal Plan to the Couples Mean Plan which only has 5 meals a week instead of 7. Less to choose from but still low-fat. I am hoping this way we will cut down on the amount of left0vers we have because we just weren't getting through them all before having to toss them.

Overall I am incredibly happy with the service and plan on continuing with my subscription. If you are interested in checking them out click on over to their homepage and download a sample menu or enter your email in the box to receive 2 free family dinners to try on your own.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Musings

5 things that inspire me in this moment:

  • This post by Meghan at Life Refocused

  • Vintage Cameras

  • Reading this quote in a moment of clarity: "The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are." - Joseph Campbell

  • Discovering I can journal with photos, clippings and color instead of just words.

  • These beautiful engraved beach pebbles.

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Finds

Jessica from Crafitly Ever After is sharing this adorable Halloween printable freebie on her blog along with a few other variations. Make sure to visit her new site and print yours out too. I love them all but the Eat, Drink and Be Scary sign was my favorite! Luckily I had the perfect frame hanging around from IKEA  just waiting for this sign.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Musings

Why not start out Monday with reflection and cast aside the weekly dread?

5 things that make me happy, in this moment.

  • The ornamental grass blowing in the breeze this time of year. It is impossible for me to walk by and not touch the foofy tops.

  • All the new blogs I am discovering and devouring as fast as I can. Like this one and this one.

  • The fact that I survived my first Pilates class this morning!

  • My new hat from Piper and Paisley. I got so many compliments on it this weekend I think I may be becoming a hat person!

  • Playing Splode on the iPad. There is just something very meditative and zen about the cute little fluffy guys bursting to relaxing music.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm not perfect and neither is this picture

This week I have been engrossed with expanding my blog subscriptions across the web. I stumble on a fabulous site and one leads to another in my reading and so on. I came across a few women talking about the Perfect Protest in honor of Brene Brown's new book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Instead of trying to describe the movement I will just direct you to Brene's site as she really says it best. 

I struggle with perfectionism in so many things as I am sure most of the world does. Learning to embrace who I am and celebrate my imperfections is something I am working on, one day at a time.