Friday, August 26, 2011

Fitness Friday

I love when I surprise myself!

I've said it before, I'm not a runner. I love weight training or a group fitness class.  I enjoy going for walks or walking on my treadmill (because I can read while I walk).  I would run on my treadmill on days that I couldn't do anything else. So this summer I committed to running a 5K so I started running outside and I'm enjoying it. I could do one mile and still be smiling. Than I started going 2 miles. That was fine but I had to really try to keep my mind in the right mood. Even with my music I had a "mind" fight on my hands. I stuck at 2 miles for months. I kept telling myself that I couldn't run more than that. One day I went on a 2 mile run, during the run I decided to take a different turn at the corner. I ended up running 2.6 miles.  I was so thrilled. I finally ran more than 2 miles and didn't die. Over the next few weeks I would rotate between 1, 2 and 2.6 miles.

Then reality hit me.  My 5K is less then 2 weeks away and I haven't run 5K yet. The thought of running over 3 miles was not something I was looking foward to doing, but I need to do it before the race. I headed out to a local bike trail to run a 4 mile run. This is more than the race but I figure if I can do that then the race will not be a problem. I was so thirsty for most of the race and the wind was pickiing up. I had to keep tlaking to myself to just keep running. I really didn't think it would be a good run. But this is where I surprised myself, when I hit the stop button on my watch and saw my time - 36:32!  My first thought was WHAT? Then I questioned the distance. I checked it on Map My Run and yes it was still 4 miles.

That's when I realized how much stronger I have become and I was very proud that I just kept going. It was a wonderful feeling.

I'm really looking forward to my 5K on September 1st.

Just keep Going!!  You can do it!

This post is linked up to:

Life As I See It [Fitness, Health and Happiness]

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Starting School as an Adult

On Tuesday I went back to school. I'm a full time student again! I'm totally switching gears. My BA is in Computer Information Systems and my Masters is in Management. I always said that when I stayed home with my children that would be my time to figure out what I want to do with my life. It took some time and a lot of courage for me to admit that I wanted to do something creative.  So I'm a student in the Media Arts department.

I was extremely nervous and anxious on my first day. I feel like I need to know everything before class begins. I have to keep reminding myself, I'm going to school to learn so it's okay not to know it already. It's the perfectionist in me screaming that I have to be the best but I just need to be me. Learn from my mistakes. Not be afraid to try. Not be afraid to think outside the box. Not be afraid because I'm 40 in a class with a bunch of teenagers and 20 somethings. It's all good and things will work out and be fun.

Because of this big change in my life you will notice some changes around my blog.  The most noticeable will be the decline in post.  I still plan on doing some of the month blog hops that I do and if I find time to create a card or layout I will post it but I don't know how often that will happen.  I'm going to do my best to keep my blog active but I don't want to put unnecessary pressure on me.  So I'm not setting any goals when it comes to my blog.

I hope you will still check in even if I'm not posting like I have been.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Challenges - Scrapbookers Anonymous

I found another challenge site that looks wonderful. I was inspired to give both of their challenges a try. Over at Scrapbookers Anonymous they do two challenges a month.  The challenges encourage you to use your stash and I have plenty of stash that needs to be used up.  I also love that you have more then one week to create something. I don't always have time every week, so some of the weekly challenges can be a little much for me.

On the first of the month they post their main challenge. This month it was to use your journaling spots or labels. Here's the card I made for this challenge:

Credits: Background paper and journaling paper: Making Memories. Felt Leaf Sticker: Queen & Co. Ink and Stamp:Tim Holtz. Alpha Sticker: My Minds Eye.

The second challenge is posted on the 15th of the month and it's an Alphabet challenge. Being this is the first month they have done this challenge the letter is 'A'. So the manufacturer you use either has to begin with an 'A' or you need to use something like an airplane.  I used an Apple for my inspiration.

Credits: Credits: Pattern papers: Making Memories. Ink and Stamp:Tim Holtz. Twine: My Minds Eye.

I'd love to know what your favorite challenge blogs are, please leave a comment and let me know the site and why you enjoy their challenges.

Week in the Life...Final

I finished this years week in the life project. I'm so glad that I didn't toss this years project. I'm really happy with how this project tuned out. I think I like it so much because it didn't follow the exact layout or plan.

Now on to the last 3 themes.

Theme 5: Learn

Journaling reads:
Each week we learn. It’s a part of our life.
Life is not interesting unless you are learning. Over the summer, our learning doesn’t stop. The boys were busy with camps: Bug Camp, Soccer, Basketball, Football and Springhill Day Camp. So much learning about nature, sports, morals, and teamwork. The boys enjoyed a visit to the Detroit Science Museum with Dad. We went on our first long bike ride now that we have a tandem bike. I got my order from Amazon with my new software for school.  There is always something to learn.

Theme 6: Relax

Journaling reads:

Each week we relax. It’s a part of our life.
Sleep is always a part of life. In the summer we stay up later and on most days just wake up when we feel like it.  That means 9:30 bed time for the boys, 11 for me and getting up from 7 - 9 in the morning. The lazy days of summer are still very busy, so we try to get in some relaxing time. My favorite is always reading a book or doing crafts. As a family we enjoy being outside and being coach potatoes and watching a movie. I try to get at least 30 minutes of quiet time each day just to refresh and breath.

Theme 7: Go

Journaling reads:

Each week we go. It’s a part of our life.
Go. Go. Go. Even though I keep trying to simplify our life, it still seems we are always on the go. This week we went to so many places. ACE, Camp, Staples, Friends House, Aunt Betty’s Apartment, Doctor, Music Lesson, Beach, Meijer, Target, Chiropractor, Gym, Soccer, Salvation Army, Irma’s Custard Shop, Stony Creek, Movies, Bike Trail, Museum, Restaurant.  I’m getting better at combining trips so that we are not running everyday.

So do you have any big projects that turned out differently then how you envisioned them?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Clear the Clutter

Still working on my basement.  In case you don't remember what it looked like here is the before picture:

As a family we went down there and did some big time cleaning this past week. We made five different piles.

  • Toss
  • Donate to Goodwill
  • Donate to Library
  • Electronic Recycling
  • Craig's List/EBay

In the end we had 4 large boxes of books and videos for our local library. We put those directly into the car and they were dropped off when we went to the library.

We had 5 lawn size garbage bags of things that just needed to be tossed. They were not in any shape to donate.

We have a large collection of old computers, video game systems and other electronic items. Our city does a electronic recycling once a month, so we piled these items in the garage. In two weeks they will be loaded into the car and taken to the recycling program.

Items to be donated to Goodwill were moved to the gargage. Now that the books are out of my car, I can loaded these boxes and drop them off.

What was left in the basement are the items we are going to try to sell on Ebay/Craig's list. I need to take pictures and post them. If we do not do this by mid-October then they will just be donated too.

Here is a photo of our current basement:

It felt so great to get all that junk out of my house. The amazing thing is that I now have 4 large storage totes and several small storage boxes that are empty now.  I don't think I'll need to buy any storage containers for quite some time.

This post is being linked to organized junkie for the 52 weeks of organizing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Week in the Life - Continue...


I'm on a roll!! I have the next two themes for my week in a life complete.

Theme 3: Clean

Journaling reads:
Each week we clean. It’s a part of our life.
It seems never ending and I guess it is. Piles of laundry. Wash. Dry. Fold. Iron. Well, not much ironing. Cook. Wash Dishes. Load Dishes. Put Away Dishes. Bake. Dishes Again. Scrub. Sweep. Vacuum. Dust. Organize. Declutter. Make List. Then do it all again. The boys are now old enough to help with the cleaning, but it’s still a huge part of my everyday life.

Theme 4: Eat

Journaling Reads:
Each week we eat. It’s a part of our life.
Food glorious food!! Feeding my family healthy, delicious, nature food is so important to me. I’ve always loved to cook and bake and that love have grown over the years. I’m learning so much more about clean eating and reducing the amount of white sugar in our lives. The boys are getting more interested in baking with me. I eat breakfast with the boys every morning and we all eat dinner together every night.  We do not eat fast food, except for Sub Way or if we are out of town.  I don’t mind the time or mess when I know that I’m nourishing the boy’s hearts and souls.

Stay tuned for the final themes coming soon..... :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Week in the Life

The Week in the Life project. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Every year when Ali announces the week that she is doing this project, I get excited. I love the concept. I love the fact that my very first Week In the Life project was done with Ali right in the room with me at CKU-Detroit.

I still treasure the album that was created that day back in 2007. My life is so different now just four short years later.  I did the project again in 2010.  Once again I loved it. So why was I reluctant to join in this year. This time she picked a week in the summer. We don't have a "normal" way of life in the summer. Some weeks someone has camp or we might be going to the beach. Other weeks we might just be sitting around the house relaxing. But this problem also intrigued me because I don't remember what we did four summers ago.What was the same and what is different.

So I jumped on the bandwagon. I printed out the worksheets to help me gather my information. I charged up my camera batteries. And I marked Week in a Life on my calendar for July 25 - July 31. I started out with gusto. Taking pictures of different things. Using the timer to get me in the action. When I uploaded my photos at the end of the week I realized I really didn't take many photos over the week. The last few days there wasn't very many at all. I was going to call it a wash and just move on, but I really liked some of the images I captured. I realized I might not have documented our days very well, but I documented our lives at this moment just fine.

I've been letting these photos sit. I've been looking at them off and on. I've come to the conclusion I need to make my Week in a Life pages. I'm not doing them based on the days of the week. I'm doing them based on the themes in our lives.  I have the first two pages done.

Theme One: Work

The journaling reads:

Each week we work. It’s a part of our life.
Monday’s I go into the office. The boys come with me during the summer. They get to enjoy some videos or extra game time on their game systems. I workout. I try for 5-6 days a week. It could be running, weight training or a group class. This has become a priority in my life. Even thought it’s summer the boys still have work to do. They have workbooks to do during the summer to keep their math, reading and writing skills fresh.

Theme Two: Play

The journaling reads:
Each week we play. It’s a part of our life.
Much of our play is the same year round. Building Lego. Playing board games. Playing basketball or soccer or other sports. Playing video games. Playing with Pok√©mon cards. Playing pretend. And Mom’s favorite: Playing with my stamping and scrapping supplies. But in the summer we get to add other fun times. Playing in water. Playing at the beach. We are a family that loves to play.

Once I get the other pages complete I'll posted them, so you will just have to wait to find out what the other themes would be.

Credits for layouts: 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Card Challenges

Over the last few days I've been looking at the different challenge sites that I like and some new ones that I found. At first, nothing was jumping out at me. I haven't been in a very creative mood. I've been focusing on decluttering, organizing and getting ready for school.

After putting the kids to bed I looked at the challenges again and I just got very inspired. So I had to create! The card I made is actually for 4 challenges.

I used two stamp sets from CTMH: X-treme and Shining Star. I used Distress Ink in Fired Brick and Faded Jeans. The stripes were made using a scor-buddy.

Over at Less is More the challenge was use the Colors of Your Nations Flag. I not only used the colors but used the stars and stripes as inspiration. (edited later: I missed posting this challenge by 5 minutes...I need to work on my challenges a little earlier)

At CAS-ual Fridays the challenge was a 2-in-1 challenge with Clean & Simple Stamping. The challenge was to create a clean and simple card using this sketch:

And a new challenge for me is Cards for men. The challenge was Clean & Simple.

Clear the Clutter

It's been awhile sense I've joined in on the 52 weeks of decluttering, but I have been working. A drawer here, a cabinet there, a closet here. But here is my elephant:

Our basement. It's a mess. I started pulling things out for a garage sale over a year ago. Then the piles just kept growing and things would be thrown on top and you know the story.  As the saying goes, the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. So this is my elephant, and I just need to take it one bite at a time.

I decided to sign up for a Mom-2-Mom Sale, which I'm doing tomorrow. This forced me to go through the bins and bags of clothing and baby items we know longer need.  I have 12 big items going to the sale tomorrow along with 4 bins full of clothing and other baby items.  Here is what I decided should go start to Good Will:

Yes, that is nine lawn size bags full of children clothing. After the sale tomorrow, I'm donating any of the clothing and toys that do not sell.  I might donate some of the big items, but a few I'm going to try on Craig's list.

Another step I took is to find out when our city is doing their next electronic equipment recycling day. We have quite a collection of old computers, printers, scanner, game consoles, etc.  I just couldn't throw these items away, but they are so old that they really will not benefit anyone. I'm pulling all those items out so that they are ready for the next recycling day.

The next few bites of the elephant will be:
  • donate books and movies to library
  • photograph items to sell on craig's list
  • donate everything else
I know longer plan on having a garage sale.  I just want my basement back in some type of usable order. It might take a month or more, but if I keep chipping away it will get there.

This post is link over to organized junkie.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back to School

It's almost back to school time around here. This year it  has a whole new meaning for me because I'm also heading back to school. That's right I'm a college student once again. I finished my degrees back in the 90s and I had my career until 2001 when I switched careers and became a full time mom. I always said that when I stayed home that was my time to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up.

Now all my children are in school full time and I feel that it's time that I grow up - just a little. I signed up for three classes at our local community college and I'm so excited about starting, but nervous at the same time.

The last week I've been getting ready for the big change. I'm not talking about shopping for supplies or clothes. I'm talking about getting my house in order and figuring out a manageable schedule for me. I cleaned out my "spare" supply cabinet and went to a local scrapbook store for their garage sale. I think I did well, I'll find out today when I stop by to get the money. But I did come back with less boxes, so that's a really good sign.  This weekend I'm doing a mom2mom sale and selling the last of the baby gear and clothing that the boys have out grown.

I also worked on my weekly schedule yesterday. I like to see what I need to do on a daily bases. I worked out when I have time to do my cleaning and run errands and volunteer at the boys school. If it's laid out I work better and don't waste a lot of time thinking about what I should do.

This are not the typical ways to get ready for back to school, but I know it will help me when the time comes. I plan on sitting down with each of my children and help them make a morning and after school routine to help them. I'm tired of napping about brushing your teeth and emptying your lunch box. I figure if they help with the routine they might follow it a little least I can hope!

Are you doing anything out of the ordinary to get ready for school?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Family x12 Blog Hop

Welcome to the FAMILY x 12 Blog Hop!  This is actually two months in one. As a group, we decided to postpone the hop last month due to a family emergency of our host. If you are stopping by from Patricia's blog, thanks for continuing on the blog hop. If you started from the beginning this will be your last stop, so sit back and enjoy!

What is FAMILY x 12?
The goal is at least one family photo per month for a year.  It's not that easy getting everyone in front of the camera at the same time.  This blog hop has been helping me make sure I get a snapshot of my whole family each month.  It will be wonderful to see all the changes during the year with these photos. Thanks to Margie for inspiring this blog hop and project.

I have two pictures for the month of June.  I guess technically I only have one because this shot was taken on Mother's Day, but it didn't get it downloaded until June. It was on a memory stick I forgot about.

 The next picture was the one I was planning on getting and almost forgot. We went to Frankenmuth for our annual Oma's Birthday dinner and I figured it would be easy to get a family picture.  After dinner we made our usual stop at Bronner's Christmas Store and as we were leaving the store it dawned on me that I didn't take my picture.  So we gathered around the nearest Santa Claus and got this family photo. 

Now for July.  This was actually an easy one for us because we had a family wedding. We were all cleaned and shined up for the event, so we got many photos before leaving the house. I'm glad we did this before we went because those were the only photos of us all together for the rest of the night.

Thanks for stopping by.  Here is a complete list of blog hop sites.  If you didn't start at the beginning, head on over to Margie's blog. If you did start at the beginning, you have finished the hop. Now go take a picture of your family! :)
Carol Anne
Monica  <----You Are Here

On another note: I have a guest blog post over at Heartland Living on a Budget.  The post is about making greeting cards on a budget.  If you are stopping by from that post, I'm glad you took the time to check out my blog. I hope you will come back soon.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Hello. My name is Monica and I'm a pinterest addict.

Yes, I took the plunge and signed up for pinterest.  I resisted for months because I knew it could be a huge time waster. But.....I'm finding so many cool things.  I do have to limit the amount of time I play on the boards but I love looking at all the interesting homes, posters, silly things, you name it. Here are some thing I found recently that I just love.
 I want this house rules posted in my house.


Love the Mouse.

Wonderful poster to see how they have grown up.

What is your excuse? Inspiring.

Do you pin??  What are your favorite things to look for when searching boards?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Monthly Recap - July

July has come and gone. So much has happened this month it hard to remember everything. I'm glad I started these month recaps to help me remember not only the big things but the little things that have happened during the month.

1. What books and/or magazines did I read this month?

Oxygen & Clean Eating - my usually monthly magazines
Distant Hours - Kate Morton (almost finished)
Rereading parts of 1-2-3 Magic

2. What movies, television shows, plays, etc. Did I watch this month?

Cars 2 and Mr. Popper's Penguins

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2 on opening night.
King Corn via Netflix
Friends with Benefits - Girls night out.

3. What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?

Drive-in Movie
Trenton & Arlies wedding
Friday Night Crop with Anita
Surprise Birthday party at our house for Nana
Sister's family in town for visit

All the cousins together!

Coffee with RHS girlfriends
Midnight showing of Harry Potter
Boys went to Spring Hill Day Camp
DH took two oldest to Air Show
Movie night with RHS girlfriends
Went to Stony Creek to play on giant water slide and on the beach
William & I went to Harry Potter and out to lunch and school shopping

4. What gifts did I give and/or recieve?

Photo book for Nana's 70th birthday.

5. What special or unusual purchases did I make?

Text books
Mother LOAD Class

6. What illness or health concerns did I have?

Oldest burned his foot with a sparkler. 

7. What were my accomplishments this month?

Registered for school - 3 classes.
Up to 2 mile run.
Signed up for Mom2Mom sale and Scrapbook Garage Sale.

8. What disappointments this month?

I've been short tempered with the boys.
I haven't been keeping to my workout schedule.
I'm not drinking all my water.

9. How did I do on my goals for the month?

I'm still working on Finding Photo Freedom.  I'm behind on the creating task, but I'm still working on organizing and sorting my photos.

I'm still not drinking 64 oz of water each day. I'm realizing how import this is for me because it really effects my mood.

We have had a few game nights, but I would like to try for more.

10.  Anything else noteworthy to include?

I was asked to do a guest blog post.  It will be going live on August 8th at Heartland Living on a Budget.

Goals for next month:

Continue training for 5K
15 minutes organizing supplies 3x a week
Drink 64 oz water daily

This idea is from Katie the Scrapbook lady.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Card Challenge

I'm really getting into these challenge blogs. I love the ideas they come up with and how it really makes me think outside my comfort zone.  For this card I did a challenge combo:

First is Less is More, the challenge is
 The second is a new challenge for me, CAS-ual Fridays, their challenge is 
The Long and Short of it:  Create a 4 x 9 card and 
keep it Clean And Simple!

When I opened up my work around I noticed a package of Maya Road felt fruit. I knew right away that I need to use these on the card. The rest of the inspiration was probably from our school shopping.


Felt Sticker - Maya Road
Stamp - CTMH September Word Puzzle
Border Punch - Fiskars
Ribbon - Unknown
Paper - Bazzill Cardstock
Staples - Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher

Monday, August 1, 2011

OLW Blog Hop

I don't believe it's August 1st already. I really don't believe that I'm still working on my One Little Word, Ignite. I usually lose steam in any on-line class that runs over 3 weeks. Life just gets busy and things get pushed to the side. Once again I'm so thankful to this little blog hop for keeping me going and of course to Ali for her inspiring words each month in the classroom.

The task this month was to make the play list of your life. At first I thought this would be so easy, but then I realized that some songs I love the music, but I'm not too crazy about the words. I looked at my current downloads and started looking up lyrics. My life is divided into three types of music. First and foremost, top 40. That can be top 40 of the 70s, 80s, 90s or today. Second, Kids Place Live on satellite radio. This is the station of choice in the car when the kids are with me. Third, Classic Piano Music. No words, just beautiful music. I really need to listen to this more because it really makes me happy.

After reading many song lyrics and deciding which songs ignite some type of spark in me, whether that spark is to laugh, smile, run faster or dance, I narrowed down my choices. Each song brings something different to my heart and mind when I listen to it.

I used my computer to print out the lyrics and then inked the edges with Distressing Ink so they matched my yellow/orange theme of my book. I still need to burn a CD to add to my album, but it's on my To Do list and I will get to it soon. Thanks for stopping by for another peek inside my One Little Word. I hope you come by again soon. Now, on to the next blog.  You will be heading over to Cheri's lovely blog.

If you get lost here is a list of all the participates this month.

Monica B  <---You Are Here
Monica B1