Monday, January 31, 2011

Clear the Clutter

 It's the next week of 52 weeks of organizing.  Check out my other posts if you would like to see my progress.
This week I tackled a few little projects that really needed my attention. I have my recipes in order, but now I needed to be able to see what ingredients I have on hand and what I needed. My pantry was in sad shape. Everything was piled on top of each other. I had boxes of noodles on every shelf, so I had no clue as to what I had.

I took everything out and checked the expiration date. I only had a few things that had to be tossed, so that was a relief. I hate throwing food out. Then I designated each shelf. For instance the bottom shelf is baking supplies: sugar, floor, etc. I did the best I could with the designating, but some things just didn't work and needed a home, so It's not perfect, but that's fine.  Here's a look at what it looked like when I was done. Now I know what I have and what I was I needed.

I have also been getting these wonderful containers from Ikea and Oxo. I really like them because I can see what I have and so can the kids. As I see a need for a new one I make a mental note and when they are on sale I'll pick up one or two.

The other project I worked on I forgot to take pictures, but it's not that exciting.  I cleaned the junk drawer and organized our batteries. We had batteries everywhere. Now I have one place for them all and I realized I don't need AA or D batteries for a long time.

It's amazing how just cleaning and de-cluttering the smallest area can make you feel good. Next time you open a drawer or cabinet and shutter, step aside 15 minutes to straighten it up. Next thing you know it's done and you will feel great.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Decorating on a Budget

I have to admit, most of the walls in my house are bare. I look at them and think how nice it will be when I can afford some nice piece of art work. Recently I started to rethink that idea. The things I love to look at are photos or work that someone I know did. I started making my own artwork or using the things that I have from my children.

In my office/scraproom I have 6 frames that I put photos of my kids artwork. I plan on have my favorite piece from each grade for 1st-6th when I'm done. I really love how this brightens up my room and gives me inspiration.

Between the 6 frames I had one large frame. It was empty for over a year.  Again I was waiting for that piece of artwork that would work in the area. I decided to create my own work of art. I took a quote that I really liked from a book called Be.  It's a wonderful book of quotes, but they are done with wonderful text and design. I used the same design when I created my artwork and added some flourishes and used the colors that worked with my room.  I uploaded and printed it out at Shutterfly and I'm very happy with the outcome.

I plan on doing more decorating by using quotes and photos. I really like the look and the price.  If you have some empty walls just begging to be decorate don't forget about photos you have taken or artwork your kids made.  It could be just the thing to give your room a face lift.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Best Cookies Ever

I'm not a big fan of processed food. I always liked to cook and bake, but I really didn't get serious about it until we found out my son had food allergies. It became necessary for me to make things so he would be safe. During this journey I learned many things about food and our food system and I made more changes in our food choices. I believe in eating health but I also believe in the yummy things that have sugar and butter in them. My compromise between the eating clean and enjoying my favorite comfort foods is that I must make them, not buy them. If I want a cookie and I have to bake them, sometimes I will think twice about how much I really want that cookie. Over time I'm not that tempted to buy baked goods, because they just don't taste as good as the ones I make.  This works for me and my family. That being said, today was baking day...

One of my favorite cooking blog is Brown Eyed Baker. I don't remember how I stumbled on this gem of a site, but I do love so many of her recipes. A few months ago I made her Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. I figured it's just another cookie recipe, but my family went crazy. My husband, who LOVES chocolate chip cookies, declared them the best cookie he ever ate.  Now I make these wonderful cookies when we are craving something yummy.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Update on Peanut Free Issue:

We did get a response back from my sons teacher the next morning after we sent the email with our concerns. She was very apologetic about the handout and was working on fixing the problem. She decided to cancel the friendship mix and sent a note home with all the kids explaining that "we have students with peanut/nut allergies and this idea is not a good one for their health".  I'm very glad that the teacher took such quick action, but I would have like to have had the chance to work with her to make this a good option. In the end, this issue has been fixed. It's little steps. I realized that I have much work in front of me to educate this new school on dealing with food allergies and the wonderful kids that have to deal with this health issue.

Book review:

I finished my first book of the year: World without End by Kenneth Follett.  Wonderful book! It's so rich with history references and the characters are so interesting.  This is the second book I've read by this author and they have both been such good reads. Warning: This is not a quick read, it's over 1,000 pages but it keeps you entertained the whole time.

Now, I have to get his new book: Fall of Giants. I'm sure it will be awhile before I pick it up.  Even though I love his books they are daunting because of their size. I have a few other books waiting for me to read, so I'll do something lite next.

What books are on your must read list this year?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yesterday & Today - Week 4

This week was a challenge. The topic was to scrapbook something that was a challenge. Part of scrapbooking is to get a real picture of life. Life is not all birthday parties and trips to the zoo. It's about the ups and downs, the victories and failures, the gains and the loss. It's okay to include the challenging stories in your books. This makes them real.  And they can teach a lesson.

I decided to work on a page dealing with the challenge that actually started me into scrapbooking 11 years ago.  My Dad's struggle with Alzheimer. After my Dad passed away I wanted to make a scrapbook about his life, so that my unborn children (at the time) would know their Opa. I love this book. I look at each on his birthday every year and talk about the stories and pictures with my kids.  They know their Opa and his story even though they never had the opportunity to share his hugs, kisses and laughter.

This layout was different then that book. This layout focuses on my feelings during that time. My angry, confusion and regret. It was not easy writing this. When I sat down at the computer I just began to type - thinking no big deal - it's been 11 years I can write this down. Well, let me just say, thank you to Kleenex. So many emotions were brought to the surface that were long ago repressed. This was a very therapeutic and healing exercise.

If you have a challenge time in your past, try writing your feelings down.  You don't have to show anyone or share the story. It will just release that weight from you mind.  Try it - you might be very surprised how much better you will feel after you are done.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's so Confusing about Peanut-Free?

I've had to ask myself that question lately. At our old school, I never had to ask that. A peanut-free classroom, was just that - peanut free. All snacks needed to be peanut-free. All foods at parties needed to be peanut-free. The teacher would always contact me to discuss any activity or lesson that involved food, so we could make sure it was safe or make adjustments when necessary. Since this was my first few years of my son education, I thought that would always be the case.

We had to start at a new school this year. Our old one was closed down due to budget cuts. I feel that this school does not take food allergies serious at all. There have been many occasions were the peanut-free classroom has been pushed aside. I'm never told when a food is being used as a lesson, or when someone is bringing something into class.  The teacher refused to have food-free birthday parties, which we had at our old school. But the icing on the cake (pun intended) was a note we received for a friendship mix the kids will be making.  No where on the note does it remind families that the classroom is peanut-free. But the worse part is that it's requesting that someone bring in peanuts/nuts for the mix.  Hello!!  It's a peanut-free classroom!!

Kids should be safe at school. They shouldn't have to worry about coming into contact with something that could harm them. The things that most food allergy parents ask for are simple. Most of the families I know that deal with food allergies will go out of their way to help the teacher with figuring out a safe way to do lessons or have parties. I feel that I was very lucky the last few years to have a school that understood these issues and teachers that were willing to help keep all their students safe.

My husband and I sent a message to my sons teacher and principle regarding our concerns about our sons safety and the safety of the other kids in the school. Like I said, this isn't the first issue or the only classroom that has broken the peanut-free rules.

I'm like any parent. I worry about my kids. I want them to be safe. I expect all my children, food allergy or not, to come home safely from school. It's little steps that mean so much. It's teachers and principles that are not afraid to make change, or that at not so comfortable that they don't want change. Learning is change.  Let's work together so everyone is safe and can learn.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Clear the Clutter

If you have been following along you know that I've been doing the Clear the Clutter challenge at OrgJunkie. The first few weeks I focused on getting my cookbooks and recipes in order.  Check out this post and this one if you want to check up with my progress. 

In one of my post I mentioned trying to cut down on the amount of recipes I print out.  I remembered reading a post about someone using delicious to help them keep there web-recipes organized.

If you are not familiar with delicious, it's a free service provided by Yahoo!. It's a website were you can organize all your bookmarks and get to them from any computer. It also lets you tag the website so you can search for the items you need easily. 

I've been using delicious to organize web-site that I come across, but I never thought about using it in any other way --- until now!  When I come across a recipe on the web that looks like something I would like, instead of printing it out, I bookmark it.  You can have as many tags as you like, so I have a tag for each tab in my paper recipe binder, but I also can go even more detailed.  An example would be, if I find a recipe for cookies. I can tag it as a recipe, cookies, dessert, chocolate, no-bake -- You can add as many as you like.

When you are looking for a recipe you just go to your delicious account and click on the tags that you are interested in search for and then pull up the recipe on the computer. You can still print it, but why print it until you really need it. Here is a screen shot of my recipes that I saved so far.  Since I just started this system I don't have many but you can get the idea.

My next task is going to be my pantries. As you can see I'm focusing on my "food" clutter. The end result I'm hoping for is to be able to start meal planning.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Got Kleenex?

I've been sick this weekend. I hate being sick. My nose is raw. My head hurts. And I'm just tired. It seems like someone is always sick when Darling Husband is out of town. It never fails. So I could not just crawl back into bed and sleep. I had to get up and take care of three very active boys.

I have to thank scholastic books for helping me this weekend.  The boys received Treasury of 100 Storybook Classic on DVD for Christmas. We had a marathon DVD watching weekend. Now this is something I usually do not do. I try to limit the amount of time they watch TV or play video games, but sometime a mom's gotta do, what a mom's gotta do!

We enjoyed watching some of our favorite stories and seeing some new ones that have now become favorites. I really liked that they have the words on the screen to read along. If you have little ones and want some "good" videos for them, check these out.

(Disclaimer: This is just my opinion and I do not get any monetary gain from suggesting this product.)

P.S. Way to go Steelers!!! Good Luck in the Super Bowl. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Clear the Clutter

Do you get overwhelmed with the clutter around your home? I know I do at times. It usually makes me very cranky. I don't like clutter. I don't like piles. I love containers. I love organization. I could spend hours at the container store. This is way I decided to take the orgjunkie's challenge of 52 weeks of organizing.  If you would like to read more about the challenge check out this post.

I started the challenge last weekend when I started to clean out my cookbooks. This weeks challenge is to identify the piles of clutter in your home and tackle one of these piles. This was great timing, because I have a huge pile of loose recipes that need a home.

I went out a purchased a new binder and divide tabs for my recipe book.  One thing that I should have done first was figure out what my categories would be, so I would know how many tabs I needed.  But I didn't so I had to use two different sets. The perfectionist in me wanted to run out a buy more tabs, but since I already have some and they are the same color, just a different size, I decided to save some time and money and use what I have.

Here are my catagories:

Side Dishes
Substitution (this is a list of things that can be used to replace other items - mainly used for food allergy, but comes in handy if I'm out of eggs.)

I might change or add some of these categories, but I needed to start somewhere. I could fret over them, which I started to. Should it be meatless, or pasta or should I have both.... You get the idea. I realized if I start doing that I would never get this cleaned up. So I got out my trusty label maker and got to work.

As I worked through the pile and looked at each recipe to make sure it should be in my binder. Even if the recipe sounded good or looked good, I made sure that it fit a few "rules" before being put into the binder.

Rule #1: Does it have strange ingredients? If yes, toss it out.
Rule #2: Does it take hours to make? If yes, toss it out. (exception: some of the traditional holiday recipes)
Rule #3: Will I actually make this more than once? If not, toss it out.
Rule#4: Do I have multiple recipes of the same thing? If yes, decide which one to keep and toss the others.

This helped near the paperwork down. Now, it was time to get out the hole punch and start putting everything into the binder.

During this process I did change and add some categories.  Here's what I ended up having:

Side Dishes
Misc. (used for camping cooking tips, temperature guilds, roasting times, etc...)

The red post-it notes in the binder are for recipes I need to test out. Either I have multiple of a recipe and don't know which one we really like or it's a recipe I think we will like but have not tried yet. My recipe clutter is now under control. And I have some clear off counter space, always a plus in my book. Now I just need a system to keep it that way.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I finished my first week doing the P90X home fitness program. I'm amazed that I can still move.  All the workouts were intense, but some were just crazy. I'm doing what I can and not forcing anything. That might mean instead of doing 20 reps, I might just do 2 reps because I'm just not strong enough. Next week I'll just up that amount to 3 reps.  By the end of the program, I should being doing most, if not all the moves.

My biggest challenge with this program is the eating part. I don't think I'm eating enough. I never thought I would ever say that. I've been very tired and I think it's because I'm not getting enough protein in my diet. I'm sure I'm missing other things too, but I know protein is a big deal when working out.  I'm also having a hard time eating every 3-4 hours. I really need to start planning my meals to make this work better for me. But that's another topic...

At the end of the month I'll post my results and let you know how everything is going.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Parenting Predictions

I'm a fan of Healthy Child, Healthy World.  I gained so much information from the book by the same name and the web-site is jammed packed with information on making our children and the world a healthier place.   Recently they that had a posting listing Dr. Greene's Parenting Predictions for 2011.

I hope many of the predictions do come true, especially the move to real food and less processed foods.  What are your parenting predictions for 2011? Is it more family meals? Taking family walks or bike rides? Planting a garden with your kids?  Leave a comment and let me know...I would love to hear them.

As for our family, we plan on doing more family bike rides now that everyone rides pretty well. I'm also trying to teach my kids more about food and how to prepare health meals.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Yesterday & Today - Week 3

Childhood Memories.

This is what week 3 was all about. Those like things that I find myself repeating to my children or friends. Those little stories that you talk about with your parents or siblings.

Write them down.

Record the memory.

I struggled with this assignment at first. I sat at my computer and nothing really came to mind. I decided to look at some of the photos that I have scanned in from my childhood. This is when the flood gates opened. I'm a visual person. I needed the visual to remember stories about the little things. Things like our station wagon, Drive-in movies, and our old front porch. Each of these things have a story and sometimes more than one story. I'm keeping a list of prompts regarding these little stories for future referrence.

We only needed six memories for the first layout of the class. It was hard to just pick six after I looked at my photos. I really liked the idea of documenting six little stories together instead of thinking you have to create six different pages.

Digi Supplies from Good Life Kit @ The Daily Digi; Grunge Overlay by Jessica Sprague

I thinking of doing a page like this but each story would be about my siblings and what they mean to me and what I learned from them.  Or maybe a page about my parents and the six things I learned from them.  There are so many possibilities for these type of layout.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yoga Day

Yesterday was yoga X day for my P90X exercise program. It was a 90-minute session, but I only did 30-minutes. I just couldn't focus. My mind was everywhere but on what I was doing. I didn't want to hurt myself, so I ended the session early.

And it's okay.

It wasn't perfect, but life is still good. I still did 30-minutes, more then if I didn't even try in the first place. But I also listened to my body and mind. They were telling me that I was forcing this and that is not always good. In the past if I would have ended a workout early, I would have been very hard on myself. I did move today. It's not as much as I had planned, but I moved.

It's all good.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bring It On

Lose Weight.

Get Fit.

Exercise More.

Eat Less.

We have all said one of these things at some point in our life. I've been saying these things sense I was in high school. It's always been a goal to look and feel better. Over the last few years I've been working really hard at getting my "baby" weight back under control.  I did many things during that time. I read many books, learned about food and labeling, watched many documentaries, did Weight Watchers, had a trainer, started eating clean and just educated myself on all that I could.  I'm still learning, but I had so many light bulb moments throughout my journey.

With all these changes I was able to get down to my goal weight and I've been maintaining it for a few years now. So this year I wanted to work on getting in better physical shape. I want to see some muscle on my arms and legs and it would be nice to see some abs too! I don't think that's asking too much. I decided to take the leap and start the P90X program. Let me just say "OOOUUUCCHHH!"  I did my first workout on Saturday, Chest & Back.  By bedtime I could barely lift my arms up to put my pjs on.

I know this program is really going to challenge me. You are suppose to finish the program in 90 days, but I've already decided that I'm not going to kill myself to do that. If I have to skip a day, no big deal, I just need to bring it the next day.

I'm looking forward to reshaping my body and getting strong. I love that my kids enjoy doing the exercise with me. I'm not only doing this for me, but to set an example to my children.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Clear the Clutter

I think the top two New Year goals are 1.) lose weight and 2.) get organized.  I know these two things are always near the top of my to do list, so being that it's a new year I'm trying to yet again work on these goals.  I'll talk more about the weight issue some other time. Today I'm talking organizing.

Many of the blogs I follow have been talking about this topic. How to organize, clear the clutter, make list, do charts, etc.  My first area to organize was my cookbooks. I love cookbooks and recipes. I have binders and stacks of recipes that I printed from the web or copied from magazines. I have shelves full of books and magazines about cooking. When it comes to making a meal I can never find the recipe I want.  I have to search all over the place and get frustrated and just make something easy or order pizza. So this task needs to be done so I can start planning meals better.

Here you see one of the few places that has been taken over with recipes and cookbooks. I have books piled on top of my china and bags of loose recipes. It's a mess and every time I open it and get discouraged.

Here's the other place that gets over run with cookbooks and recipes. This is a counter in my kitchen. These are some of the newer cookbooks I've bought and still need to take the time to really look at them. The binders are recipes that I started to organize, but never really finished.

It was time to clean house so that I can hopefully start meal planning this year.  First thing I did was
get an empty box and trash can ready. I remove all books, papers, binders, etc. to my kitchen table. I only wanted to have one of the shelves designated for cookbook, so once I reached that limit I would need to make some choices on what stays or goes.

I was surprised at how many cookbooks I really haven't used in years but still had. I first got rid of the books that were a no brainer and then the books I knew I wanted to keep went on the shelve. The remainder I had to really think about. If I had a similiar book (i.e. two books on crook pot recipes) I would only pick one for the shelve. I was so happy with results and I still have some room for future books.

After that I was left with a pile of papers and magazines.  I have my favorite food magazines, Clean Eating, in magazine holders. This pile had other ones that I don't use anymore, so all the magazines went, along with many of the print outs. 

It took me about an hour to quickly go through the printed out recipes that were in the cabinet. I still have many in the binder to purge. My next goal is going to clean up the print outs and organize them. But I also want to find a way to help me print less recipes, but still organize them so I can find them when I need to plan our meals.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Card Challenge

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I needed to make a few V-Day cards for my loved ones. I decided to use a cut little stamp set, Whoo Says, by Hampton Art.  I also used the Papercraft Star: Challenge 28 prompt, which was this sketch:

Here's what I came up with:

I also made a few little cards for my boys:

It's been awhile since I made some cards and I'm glad I made some time to be creative.  What are you doing that's creative?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Housekeeping Schedule

I've recently discovered a new website that I enjoy visiting called Home Sanctuary. It's goal is to help you make your home a sanctuary without driving yourself crazy. A few years back I did the FlyLady things and I did learn some good tips but the whole method made this perfectionist go nuts. If something wasn't done how they had it laid out, I would feel like I failed. Home Sanctuary is not like that at all. She post small doable task to help you maintain your home.

This past week she has been talking about setting up a Housekeeping Schedule. I started doing this around the holidays so many of the ideas were already in practice.  But I have to say, if you don't have this type of schedule, try it out. It really has saved me a lot of time a frustration. She has a few different sample schedule that you can download or a blank one to make your own.

Here's a sample of my schedule:

 If your not sure where to start with creating your own schedule check out this post at Home Sanctuary to help you set up your own system.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Yesterday & Today - Week 2

The class discuss was mainly about scanning and storing your photos. Luckily we started the scanning process a few years ago. I have all the photos before 1970 that I could get my hands on. I still have hundreds from the 70s, 80s and 90s to get into the computer. I think I'm going to look into companies that scan things in for you because I just don't know when I would ever find the time to do this type of job. For now, I'm just scanning as I need them.

The layout for the week was an intro page for our album. I really like the look of the page because you can see me at different times of my life.  I realize that I like pages that have pictures from different generations or time frames.

digi supplies: Ali Edwards word art & template; Sabrina's Creations paper & flower
After completing this page I was very inspired and decided to do a page for my Mom's album. I've been wanted to make an album just about my Mom for years. I have one about my Dad that I did after he passed away and ever since then I wanted to honor my Mom in the same way.  I thought since the moment was calling me I should get started.

digi supplier: Ali Edwards word art & template; Studio Flergs paper
Next week we will start with our first story. I'm looking forward to getting my thoughts on paper and using some of the older photos I have in my collection.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ice Skating

We took the boys ice skating for the first time on Sunday. Well, I actually signed them up for 7 weeks of ice skating but didn't tell them. I figured if I told them ahead of time I would hear a lot of complaining about not wanting to do it. After lunch on Sunday, we told them to get their stuff on and grab their helmet and left the house. They kept asking what we were doing but we didn't say anything.

When we entered the ice arena, our predictions starting coming true. Logan started crying and Kyle and William were complaining that they could be playing video games. It took sometime to get skates on three kids and get them to the proper place for instruction, but we did it and in a timely fashion.

As we watched the boys glide a little and then fall down, we began to wonder if we would make the seven weeks of class. Logan was still crying and the instructor waved me over. Logan informed her that "He was going to die." After some reassurance and a promise that someone would hold his hand during the lesson, he continued to skate.

I'm happy to say that by the end of the 30 minute lesson all the boys had big smiles on their faces and they were spending more time on their skates then on their rears. They enjoy skating so much they have been asking me daily if we can go skate before the next lesson. It was a great experience. Now, Mom just needs to learn how to ice skate better!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Evaluation of a Scrapbooker

I had an interesting assignment to do for the Yesterday/Today Class I'm taking. I had to look back at the scrapbooking pages that I have completed in the past and write down what I like and what I would change.  I was excited to get to work because I like to look back at the pages, but I was worried about the time.  My perfectionist self told me I had to look at them all in one sitting.  Okay, that was not going to happen. I have over 30 albums and I don't have hours at a time to sit and reminisce. I wish I did, but hey I'm a mom! So, I set aside 15 minutes each day to look at the albums.

After doing this, I got to thinking about how my scrapbooking has evolved and I would like to share this brief history of the evaluation of a scrapbooker.

Our lesson begins in 1999...

This is one page from the first album I did of our honeymoon to Europe. That's when cutting your photos into every shape and decorative scissors were all the rage. I used acid free construction paper and some markers that I had around the house.  I laugh every time I look at this album. I also cringe because I don't have copies of these photos, and I can not find the negative (this was before digital cameras).

The next stop is 2001 and the next phase I went through - paper piecing.

Oh yes, paper piecing.  That all consuming, time sucking design work. This is one side of a 2-page spread. I punched out each flower and leaf and then inked or highlighted each one before gluing them all down. It took hours. Luckily that phase did not last too long and I moved on to some cleaner design work.

Here we are in 2003.

I started designing in a more linear fashion. This was the time when fiber was very "in" and I used a lot of it on my pages during this time frame. I also experimented with stamping in my albums.

In 2005 I was a kit user. I joined many monthly kit clubs that would send a kit to my house with coordinating supplies. (I still have many boxes of these that I never used.)

The one big change was that I including more journaling on my pages and used more photo clusters. I also became braver with cropping my photos, but only in squares or rectangles; no stars or hearts.

2007 brought on more meaning to my pages. Instead of only documenting the big events I started looking at the little things during our life. This is a good example of that type of page

I took close up photos of the different toys around the house to illustrate how you know that little boys live in our house.  I also started using enlarged photos as focal points to the design.

Then in 2009 I took the big step to digital design and using templates.

So what's 2011 going to be like.  Based on what I liked from the past 10+ years I think we will see:

  • More digital, but still some paper
  • Enlarged photos
  • More journaling
  • More pages focusing on the little things and feelings
  • The trend I'm into - the distressed look
I hoped you enjoyed this brief history of the evaluation of my scrapbooking.  If you are a scrapbooker, look back at your evaluation and see where you have been, what you would like to see carried forward and what you would like to leave behind.  By the way, I have some decorative scissors for sale - real cheap! :-)

Monday, January 10, 2011


Yep, you read that right. I can NOT do it all. Say it. It will free you. I have to remind myself of this often. I haven't told myself this in a long time and I came across a wonderful post that told me to say that again. She even had this wonderful download to print and hangup to remind you.
The post was over at Jones Design Company. This is a new blog for me, but I loved her post. It was so me. It really reinforced what I'm trying to do here - no be perfect, but embrace the imperfect parts of life. She has a wonderful list of time management tips for busy Moms (and Dads). If your like me and need a little reminder that it's okay not to be superwomen check out the list.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

One Little Word

Our January task for One Little Word was to really get to know our word.  What does it mean, why did we choose the word and what do we want from the word.  This was a very interesting project because I had to get up close and personnel with the word 'ignite'.   Below is the page I did for the my One Little Word:

The hardest part of the page was finding the right quote for my word. Ignite is not used in a lot of poems or quotes.  Here are a few that I was considering:
Whether one is twenty, forty, sixty, or eighty; whether one has succeeded, failed or just muddled along - life begins each morning! The greatest fact in life is that it is never too late to start again. Biography simply overflows with inspiring examples of this truth. However discouraging your days may have been, keep this thought burning brightly in your mind: life begins each morning!
L.M. Hodges

and another

When you know who you are;
when your mission is clear and you
burn with the inner fire of unbreakable will;
no cold can touch your heart;
no deluge can dampen your purpose.
You know that you are alive.
Chief Seattle

and another

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
Jack London

but the one I choose is

Life is not a 'brief candle'. It is a splendid torch that I want to make burn as brightly as possible before handing on to future generations.
George Bernard Shaw

What do you know about your One Little Word?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Here's to 40

Last year was a big milestone for me – I turned 40. Surprisingly this didn’t bother me as much as 30 did. My life is in a very different place then it was just 5 years ago. Here’s a look at a layout I did on my 35th birthday and one for my 40th.

Based on my 3 important focus items here is how 5 years made a difference.

My family life made some big changes at both time frames.  At 35 I had just had my third child. I was struggling to adjust to being a new mom again, but I was so happy with my little guys.  At 40 we had decided to be a foster family instead of an adoptive family.  I was struggling with the fact that our adoption was not a good placement and that we would soon be a family of 5 again.

Physically you can see a huge difference. On my 35th birthday I had just given birth a month earlier to my youngest. And yes I gained a lot of weight and it took me forever to get it off.  In the beginning I just figured the extra weight was just a side effect of having 3 kids and I would have to live with it.  Then I hurt my back and was so frustrated with the way I felt.  I made a decision that the extra weight was not acceptable to me and that it would interfere with living my life.  Fast forward five years and I’m glad to say the extra 40+ pounds are gone and they have been gone for over a year. 

My creative style has evolved in a big way.  At 35 I did all my scrapbooking with paper and adhesive. The only thing I used my computer for was typing the text. Now I use more digi-scrapbooking items and many of my layouts are 100% digi.

So were will I be in the next 5 years?

My goals are to have a stronger bond with my boys and husband and do more traveling with them; to compete in some fitness competitions; to start designing my own digi-items and work in a creative field.

Do you have a five year plan?  Leave a comment with your plan. They say when you commit it to writing you have a better chance of fulfilling your goals. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Moment in Time

I love when I see something that is just everyday ordinary and it brings something more to my mind. In the past I just marveled at these things and then let them slip by, but this year I want to remember those little thinks that mean so much more.  Thus, today's post.

This was the view outside my patio door yesterday morning. Big fluffy snowflakes fulling from the sky. Snow falling always makes me feel calm and at peace. It's meditative to watch as each flake gentle falls to the earth.

Calm. Peace. Beauty. Be Inspired.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

One Little Word 2011

My word this year is ignite.

I’m curious to see where this word will lead me.  I started thinking about my word after I signed up for Ali’s new class – One Little Word. I had a few I was thinking about but ignite kept coming into my head. Since you are suppose to let the word pick you and not the other way around, I decided to go with it.

I've done One Little Word in the past and really enjoy it. It was interesting to see where my word would take me. The possibilities are endless.

If your not familiar with One Little Word you can read more about it here
What would your word be for the New Year?

Monday, January 3, 2011

What's Important?

As I’m trying to rediscover myself, I had to ask myself this question. I was going in so many directions that I lost my core self.  I was wasting time on “should do” instead of “want to do”. The things that made me happy and joyful were being lost in the crowd.

So what is important? 

My family. I adore my three boys and husband. I also love my parents, siblings and other extended family.  How I’m I honoring those relationships?

My health. Over the last few years I’ve been working on this, but this year I really want to step it up. I know how I feel when I’m fit and fueling my body with good nourishing food. I want to make my 40s the best ever. It’s never to late! How I’m I going to reach my goals?

My creativity. I also loved creating things. It was not always nourished and sometimes even frowned upon. I want to really explore the artist in me and let her shine. How I’m I going to learn more and play more?

These are the three areas of my life that bring me the most joy and satisfaction.  I want to embrace these areas without the stress of being prefect and doing all the things that people say I should do. I’m going to be imperfect in my pursuit of making these things happen, but that is what a journey is – ups and downs and lots of memories and fun in the process.  Here’s to the process!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Yesterday & Today

Ali Edwards: Yesterday & Today Class

I'm starting off my creativity this year by taking some on-line classes. One of my favorite people in the scrapbooking industry is Ali Edwards. I find her very motivating and inspirational and I love that she focuses on the story behind the picture not just the photo. 

The goal of Yesterday & Today is to help you meaningfully document and celebrate life by looking to the past before approaching the stories of today.

This is a 12 week course that will focus both on the stories of my youth but also on where I'm at today and making a connect in those stories. I'm really looking forward to looking thought old photos and digging up those old stories that are locked away in my memory so I can share them with my family.

This weeks assignment was to brainstorm answers to the following question: "If you were gone tomorrow, what would you want others to know about you and the life you have lived?"  This was very hard for me, but I did a few different brainstorm sessions to see what would come up.  The goal for this workshop is to have 12 stories that you want to tell. Over the next 12 weeks we will be focusing on a different story and creating a 12x12 scrapbook layout for the class. 

So what were my 12 answers? You will have to wait to find out, so stay tuned.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Starting Fresh

Hello, Happy New Year and Welcome!
If you are coming over from my old blog welcome back, it's great to see you again.  If you are new to my blog, I'm glad you stopped by.  I started the new blog to begin fresh (even though I brought over most of the old content). I wanted a new blog name, blog address and a clean slate of thought, so here goes...

I'm on a quest to refocus my life and do the things I've always wanted to do. I’ve discovered that I somehow turned into a perfectionist. I don’t know how that happened and for a while I didn’t even know I was one.  Over time I realized that many of my “issues” stemmed from this perfectionist attitude.

There were many things that started to bring on this change in me. One of those events was when I was lucky enough to take a scrapbooking class from Ali Edwards at CKU. The class was A Week in a Life. It had you focus on the little things that get over looked. This really helped me see what truly meant something to me, the little things. But she also said something that really struck me and has stuck with me.  It’s one of her mantra’s – Embrace Imperfection. I just loved this. It sang to me and this phrase always comes to my mind when I’m struggling to be perfect.

As most quest, this will be a long journey. I will face many ups and downs. I’ll have my struggles and the joy of adventure and discovery. I hope you can join me on this journey and maybe discover the imperfection in you and embrace it.

Happy trails!!