Sunday, February 27, 2011

p90x Update



Back in this post I talked about my goal to do the P90X workout.  I mentioned that I would post my results at month end....so how has it been going? 

The first three weeks were great. I only missed a few workouts and I was feeling strong and fit. Then I got into week four. This was the recovery week.  Still had 6 days of working out but the workouts were more cardio and flexibility then strength.  I was feeling extremely tired and was haven't a difficult time getting through the day. During that same time period we had some stressful issues arise around our house which is never good for me when it comes to following a healthy eating plan.

When week 5 arrived I was missing more workouts and was so tired. I realized I needed to step back. I took this week to give myself time to balance again. Instead of doing the p90x I focused on my treadmill. I plan on starting up next week like it was week 5.

So I had a small set back but I'm still moving in the right direction. 


On a different note...If you have been following my One Little Word post or if you are curious about One Little Word come back on March 1 at 11 am (EST) for the OLW Blog Hop to see what I've been up to with my word Ignite.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Clear the Clutter

I don't understand Winter Break! In our school district we get a whole week off for this lack luster break. We just went back to school a few weeks ago, do we really need a whole week off? The weather has been typical Michigan weather: cold, snow, cold, cloudy, cold.  So for a week we have been caged animals. At least it seems that way to me.

I knew this break was coming so I had some things planned out. One day the boys had to go into the office with me. They enjoy going to the shop because they get to sit in the conference room and watch a DVD.  They also get to see their Dad during the work week and we might get a game of table soccer in before we leave.  Another day we went shopping. I saved up their gift cards from Christmas just for this week. Now they have a few new books and toys to entertain them the rest of the week.

I also told them we would be doing some cleaning of their rooms. I like to have them involved with declutter their items so that they learn the importance of keeping things tidy and that they can not keep everything - there is a limit.


For week 8 of clearing the clutter we decided to tackle their closet.  All three boys share a room and one closet. It gets pretty packed with all their clothing and other items they like to shove in there when it's time to clean the room.


We had a lot of clothes that no longer fit or that were not fit to wear. We had papers and boxes all over the floor. We had so much on the hangers that when one shirt was removed two would fall to the ground and usually stayed there. 

I had each child come up to the room one at a time and help me go through their clothes. Here is the empty hangers from just one child's cleaning.  Multiple that by 3 and we have some much needed space in the closet.


Our goals were met with this clearing out process:
  1. Less clothes
  2. Papers and other clutter on the floor was either tossed or put into their boxes.  They each have a box for personal items. The rule is if the box can close everything is fine, if not it's time to declutter.
  3. Out grown items are not on the shelf taking up space.


It was a successful clearing of the clutter in the closest. Now my problem is this:


It's the pile of clothes that we removed from the closet. I need to figure a better system of storing or recycling their old clothes.  That's one of the projects on my list of 52 weeks of clearing the clutter so you will just have to stay tuned for that update.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Weekend Crop


A few weeks ago I went to my first weekend crop in over a year. It was so much fun to get together with my friends and spend the day doing what we all love. The hardest part is getting my supplies together without bring everything I own.


To make the packing easier I do a few easy steps.

1. Get my photos printed. You would think this is a no brainer but one time I went to a crop and didn't have photos.


2. Pick out paper to go with the photos and any special embellishments. I separate these items in a large 12x12 divider by Scrap-n-File.


3. Get my basic supplies together. I have a tote that holds all my go-to supplier and I also include some white, black and kraft paper.


4. Get my basic embellishments together. Right now this includes my letter stickers, journaling squares, bling and some Tim Holtz's items. It could also include some new items I just bought and want to use.


5. Only a few other special items. At this crop I brought my box of inks, some stamps and my blocks because I knew I wanted to do some stamping.



If I bring more then this, I spend more time looking for things instead of getting down to business.  If I'm missing something I just try to use what I have and sometimes the results are so much better then what I originally thought.


I was quite happy with the amount of pages I finished at the 12 hour crop, even though I spend too much time talking. My limited packing really helps me focus on creating and not searching.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pajama Day


When's the last time you had a pajama day?

Yesterday morning we woke up to over 7 inches of snow. Yesterday morning was the first day of mid-winter break. Yesterday morning we declared today pajama day.

The kids were excited. It's such a treat to not get dressed in the morning. I figured it was be a comfy, cozy day. I still did some things around the house. Clean the dishes. Wash some clothes. Worked on one of my organization projects. It was fine to be in some easy going clothing. I also spent more time then normal reading a Nora Roberts novel, which was perfect for a pajama day.

The rest of the day was very laid back. Breakfast for dinner - always a favorite. Watching a movie. Playing Games. 

I think it's good for the soul to have a pajama day ever once in awhile.  What do you like to do on a winter day?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Clear the Clutter

I found one of the questions that Laura from Organizing Junkie asked us to ponder very interesting.

How tempted are you to rush out and pick up pretty organizing containers first?

I had to laugh, because I'm always so tempted to do this. Check out this pile on my extra chair in the office.

Yes, it's a bunch of containers I recently purchased because I started this decluttering project. What are they going to be used for? I have no idea. I just had to buy some just in case I needed them. Not the smartest thing because they may not be the right size or shape. They might just sit on that chair until I declutter my office. I just added more clutter to my home for no reason. (Add big sigh here.)

This little tid-bit of knowledge from Laura really made me think:
Remember it doesn’t have to be matching to be functional, nothing wrong with a good old-fashion cardboard box either.  Do the organizing FIRST which involves removing everything from the space, sorting and purging before worrying about how you are going to contain it. Don’t eat your dessert first my friends as tempting as it might be!
So no more buying the container before I know what I need. Even if it's on sale and it's really cool looking.

So how is my 52 weeks of Organizing going? I crossed off 7 things on my list. So I'm right on schedule even though I didn't do anything this week.  I didn't get to a project this week because on getting to the ones on my list that I either want my kids to join in with me or the project is large and needs to be broken down into smaller pieces.

Next week I have some projects planned with my kids. It's mid-winter brake and I gave them a heads up on some of the cleaning projects they will be helping me with - cleaning their closets, drawers and toy boxes.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Yesterday & Today - Week 7

I'm really loving the Yesterday & Today class. First of all Ali Rocks!! I love her style and the focus on stories. This class has really pulled me out of my comfort zone and it's been exciting. I've been thinking more about the little stories that get put aside and I've been really wanting to include more journaling on my pages.

This weeks class was a challenge for me.  The topic was Then & Now. A compare or contrast view on something from Then & Now. Seems simple enough but I was having a hard time thinking of a deep story to share. Again the perfectionist in me was at work thinking that if the story wasn't earth shaking then it wasn't worth it.  Step in the unperfectionist: any story that has some meaning to me is worth sharing. So I went with a story that is really close to my heart & soul. Fitness.


The story is not going to change lives but it's my story. What makes me happy, what keeps me going. Would I have scrapbooked this story before taking this class? Probably not. I would not have thought to put these two pictures together in the past, but I really like how this turned out.  And I plan on doing more Then & Now pages in the future.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Three Challenges in One

I came across a new Challenge Site recently and I had some spare time to create.  The Play Date Cafe does weekly paper craft challenges and this week they did a Combine Grind Challenge with CASE Study.  So it was two challenges in one.  The challenge was to use the color scheme and to use the card for inspiration.




I also used the sketch from Papercraft Star.  So that's three challenges in one - a first for me! 


 Since I'm working on getting a stock of Tween Boy cards I used the CTMH stamp set X-Treme, paper is BasicGrey Oliver Paper and the tickets are Tim Holtz. I also used Distress Ink on the edges of the paper.  So here is what I did for the challenges.



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Daily Digi Challenge

The Daily Digi posted this months challenge and I thought the colors would work well with some pictures from 2009.  These are photos from Kyle's 6th birthday party (yes, I'm two years behind in scrapbooking our events).  I really enjoy these challenges because I don't spend all my time trying to pick products. I just have to use what they pick. It makes the process much quicker.


After I finished this page I realized I needed a second page for some more photos of the party. So I used all the same products from the challenge, but I used a different sketch and I also added some fish brushes to embellish the squares.



Here's a look at the pages together

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Clear the Clutter


Just a quick post about my latest 52 weeks of organizing. This week I tackled my dreaded hall closest. This closet is always an issue for me. I think the reason it gets so out of control is that I don't always take the time to put things were they belong in the first place. When I'm unpacking the bags from the store I'll just set the items in an open space with the intent of coming back. I hope I learned my lesson that it's better to touch something once and put it were it belongs the first time.  Here's the before image:


I found lots of interesting things in the closet. The first things to go were the play pen and crib sheets. We haven't had a crib or play pen in about 3 years! Then I put those little items that pile up (dental floss, little tubes of toothpaste, razor blade refills) in to their own baskets. Everything else was separated into categories.  Now just by looking I can see what I'm running low on and what I need to restock. The whole project only took about 30-45 minutes and that was with some interruptions. I really like the outcome for that amount of energy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Balance


balance
Originally uploaded by hickoree - Heiko Brinkmann
Balance is a skill that must be practiced.


Everyone losses their balance from time to time.


What amazes me is how the littlest things can cause our balance to fumble and if not corrected we start to tumble to the ground.


My balance was off this last week. The flow just wasn't there.


Everything seemed like a huge effort and nothing seemed to get done. It started with the weekend.


I was gone all day on Saturday. I enjoyed myself and I don't regret it. My normal task for the day were put off to another day.


But Sunday was another off day. Between soccer clinic, ice skating and cooking for the Super Bowl party and then going to the party I had another day to put off.


Now my plate is overflowing. I sit and look at my to do list and I don't know where to start.


Then I have to remind myself just start. Pick one thing and do it. The balance will return. I just need to pick myself back up and get centered. Breath. Take one step at a time.

Once I did this I actually got some things done. My list is still long but my balance is slowly returning.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Something Sweet

Happy Valentine's Day!!!



Love. Amour. Liebe. How ever you say it, it's one of the best words. Everyone needs to feel loved and adored. But not just on one day, every day. My husband and I do not really do V-Day. We don't buy presents.  Usually it's a card, maybe dinner out. This year I plan on making a nice steak dinner before I go to my soccer game. (Yes, I still play soccer) I also made some cards for my sweethearts. This year I made these little pieces of yumminess (picture above) for the gang.  They are chocolate sugar cookies that I put on stickers and used royal icing to decorate. The recipe was from Food Allergy Mama.  Even if you don't deal with food allergies, she has some of the tastiest recipes around.

On another sweet note, we celebrated Kyle's 8th birthday this weekend with this fun cake.  He requested this favorite video game character: Kerby. I was happy to say it was an easy cake to decorate.


He also requested a white cake, not chocolate. That through me for a loop. I didn't have a good vanilla cake. So I got one out of my cookbook and gave it a good. I wasn't really happy with the results. It was very dry and crumbly. I'm on the search now to find a good vanilla or yellow cake.  If you have a good one you would like to share please leave a comment.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday

I wonder how people get timely post on their blogs. You know the ones: The day after an event they have their photos edited, witty commentary typed and dozens of links ready to explore.

I know the Super Bowl was last Sunday. I'm not perfect. I need time.

In the past I would have skipped this post because it wasn't ready the next day. But being an imperfect person now, it's alright to post when I'm ready. I finally had some time to download my photos and type up some comments. My life comes first, not my blog.  So here goes.....Super Bowl Sunday.


We enjoyed a small gathering at our friends, Joe & Sarah. Our family was decked out in our black and gold. This is a must in our family. Ken would not have it any other way. He even bought me a shirt to wear this year, so I can be a true fan. My contribution to the black and gold were some yummy sugar cookies; even the Packers fans gobbled them up.


But our hopes were not to come true. One mistake after another, it was hard to watch at some points. In the end the Packers won, but it was an exciting game. Of course, we received many phone calls giving their condolences or sticking it to Ken.

Some of the highlights of the night:


  • Troy Polamalu stopping by the party - maybe not!
  •  Kyle in a cheese head. Knowing my husbands obsession with the Steelers this was very comical to everyone.
  • My favorite commercial of the night: Chrysler Eminem Commerical
  • Being with good friends & my family

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Yesterday & Today - Week 6

This weeks lesson was to look at our own evolution. How have we changed? How has our families changed? How have our thoughts changed? Any type of evolution. This was very interesting to me because I feel that I've changed so much from when I was younger. My problem was that I couldn't figure out what story I really wanted to tell. I usually jump right into an assignment because I'm afraid if I don't I will not get to it. But with this assignment I need to stew on it. Ideas would flow in and out during the day and night, but nothing was grabbing hold of me. As the week went by I thought great I'm not going to get this done and it's going to snowball.  Wait.  Breath. There is no time limit except in my mind.

Once I did this a light bulb went off and I had an idea. It started out small but it kept popping up. Then something unexpected happened. One of my boys got strep throat. What does this have to do with anything? I was suppose to help in his class and now I'm home for the day with a sick kid. The gift of unexpected time. Love it! So off to work on the idea I had.

Yesterday & Today Week 6 - Digi Elements from Ali Edwards and Daily Digi Kit 36


This layout is about my thoughts on being a mom. People have told me that they never pictured me as a mom and that they are so surprised at how involved and serious I take the job. It's true. Mom was not big on my list when I was younger. But things change. People change. I'm so glad I changed and now I get to spend my days filled with the laughter, yelling, giggling, talking, fighting, playing of three little boys.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Papercraft Satr: Challenge 32

Having three boys I always need boyish birthday cards. When they were younger it was easy: Trains, Bugs, Toys, Robots. As they get closer to the tween/pre-teen age it's getting harder to make cards that met the requirements of boys.

When I saw the sketch challenge at Papercraft Star I was inspired.



I recently purchased the X-Treme Stamp Set from CTMH just for the purpose of making some boys cards. The paper is from Basic Grey:Oliver Paper Pad, Grunge Board by Tim Holtz, Cuttlebug texture plate.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Time Flies


Eight years ago yesterday a miracle came into my life. A 9 lb. 4 oz. little bundle of joy. Our Kyle has been such a blessing to us. His infectious energy. His blissful happiness. His ever curious mind. His love for learning. His consent motion. His love of life.



Life would be very ordinary without him. Eight years have gone so fast. Not everyday has been easy but every year has been beyond my greatest expectation.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

White Out

I'm a big believer in whole foods. I think we, as American, consume to much fake food. Most of our diets are over processed chemicals with very little nutrition. Due to the fact that I have a child with a severe food allergy, I had to learn more then I ever wanted to learn about our food system. Let me just say there are many things that concern me, but this is not what this post is about.  This post is about a new movement trying to change the diets of the youngest eaters: babies.

Most babies first foods are refined rice cereal. There is a new movement to end this introduction to over processed food in our children. It's called the White Out. The goal of this movement is to:

Let every kids' first grain be a whole grain. There's no good reason not to. They won't mind. They'll thank you."

Together we can change 50 years of tradition in just one year. Let's END white rice cereal for babies by Thanksgiving 2011!
Check out this video for more information:

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Art of Doing Nothing



Laundry.
Bake Cookies.
Sweep Floor.
Wrap Present.
Dust.

Just a part of my todo list. But I choose to do nothing. Not all day. Just 30 minutes of nothing.

Lay on the couch.
Put blanket on.
Close eyes.

I know I have things to do. But nothing needs to be done too. The list will still be there waiting.

Let it wait.
Do Nothing.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Twist on New Years Resolution


It’s February.

How’s your resolution doing?

I believe most resolution start to loose their power this month. If you have been following this blog you’ll know that I made a decision not do a resolution this year, but to pick One Little Word to guide me.

Are those the only choices in working towards something better in the New Year?

During one of my chats with my sister, we started talking about our New Years resolution. It was your typical wish list: lose weight, get on a budget, and spend more time with family.  Then she told me about her co-worker’s goal.  He decided to put his talents to work to benefit other people. He’s a handy man and likes to fix things. His goal for the year is to help someone every month (if not more) with an unexpected repair. 

Brilliant!

So far he has helped someone repair a wheelchair ramp into their house, removed wallpaper, and hung some light fixtures. My sister was the lucky recipient of his handy work for the year.

I just love this idea! How can I use this in my own way? I’m not a fix-it type person. I like doing things myself but I usually need help in the process.

What could I do?

I bake.   People love food.  Hmmm…

Yes, the brain is working. What if I use my baking to brighten someone’s day when they don’t expect it? I like it!  It really doesn’t take that much effort to make a double batch of something. I can wrap it up and surprise someone with some love’n from my oven.

Now the perfectionist in me is starting with the questions: How often? Who? When? What? Etc…  Stop!  No rules. If this is going to come from my heart then there can be no rules. When the opportunities come I’ll take them.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Baking Bread

Most people have lost the skill of bread making. It's too bad because with all our gadgets bread making can be very easy.

Why make a loaf of bread when you can buy it?

A few reasons.  It can be healthier, depending on the recipe.  It's fun to do with the kids. It makes your house smell great. It goes great with a cup of tea.

One of my "new" favorite bread recipes is from the Kitchen Stewardship blog. It's a wonderful recipe for Whole Wheat Bread and makes two standard size loaves. She has a few different ways to make the recipe but I just used the main recipe, minus the added gluten and dough enhancers.  I put everything in my kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook attachment. After 10 minutes in the mixer I had some beautiful dough. Here's the loaves as they were raising.


And here is the bread after it was done.  Even though it's a whole wheat bread, it was still very soft. That's one thing I really liked about these wonderful loaves. Also, I only had a few dishes to wash when I was done.  If it's been awhile since you had homemade bread give this recipe a try. It's easy and not very time consuming and the results are very tasty.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Papercraft Star Challenge #31

This week I've been packing to go to my first crop in over a year.  I'm very excited to play with my paper, photos and glue. Since it's been months since I've packed for an all day crop, I was a little overwhelmed. I have so much stuff, so how do I near it down. I did get everything together and I have only one rolling tote and 4 boxes/crates. If everything goes as planned I should have some pages to share with everyone next week.

Going through all my supplies got me inspired to create something, so I grabbed this sketch from Papercraft Star.


The sticker is from Anna Griffins Valentina Collection. I used my Cuttlebug to dry emboss the background. Other tools used were Martha Stewart border punch and EK Success Circle Cutter. The rest of the supplies are just scraps I had on my desk.

Small Spaces


Do you ever notice that small spaces can be the scariest?  Dust bunnies and crumbs always find the corner of the kitchen to hid. Dust webs gather along the windowsill or in forgotten corners of the ceiling. Open up the junk drawer and I swear things have multiplied. My organization mission this week was to clean and organize some of those small spaces that I always look at in disgust because they are such a mess.
 
 My first spot was those junk drawers.  We have two, right next to each other. They were so crammed with stuff it was hard to open them. Every flyer, paper, pencil or note was stuffed into these little spaces.  It didn’t take much time to weed out the updated junk and the items that didn’t belong in the drawer.  One scary place made happy again. 


 The second spot was the Wii and Kid movie drawer.  We didn’t really have a drawer. The Wii stuff was just piled on the floor by the TV. I hated looking at it every time I came into the room. We have an armoire in the room, so I decided to clean out one of the drawers and put the videos the kids like and the Wii games and controls into these drawer. It’s low enough that the kids can get the things they need and return them when done.  


 So what happened to the items that were in that drawer? It’s not like I had an empty drawer in the house. I removed the kid videos that the boys out grew. No more Blue’s Clue or Baby Einstein. I also purchased this great basket at Target to store all our ThinkFun games. 


The final area was the kids little table. It’s always a mess. Crayons, pencils and paper cover the surface. 
 
I bought this great storage system from IKEA to store all the little stuff.  Now there is a bin for crayons, markers and pencils. The long shelve holds erasers, rulers and hole punches. I also have a few hooks to hang scissors and a clipboard.  I really like how this looks and it makes it easy for the boys to find what they need. Now the trick is to get them to put everything back where it belongs. But now that thinks have a home, I think will make it a little easier for them. 


Don't be afraid of those small spaces. You can quickly turn them into little happy spaces all around your house.


If you are new to the 52 weeks of organization, check out this post or check out my other post on my organization projects.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snowed In


We were hit by the big snow blizzard yesterday.  Everything was closed down. We received the phone call the night before that school would be closed. When I went to bed it was snowing a little but not like they said. The weather people were predicting 12-15 inches over night. When I woke up and looked outside I knew they were wrong. We got snow, around 5 inches.  It's still snowing but they canceled the blizzard warning so I think we will be fine.

There is something about fresh snow that is great. This snow was the big fluffy flakes that I love to watch fall. Darling Hubby got to get some good use out of our new snow blower, so he was happy. Well, maybe not happy, but at least he didn't have to shovel everything.

 The boys went outside to help with the shoveling, but they decided to get a game of snow basketball going. Sorry the photos are so bad. I took them from inside the house. 













So what did I do today with the kids home. Baked!  The house smells great.  We had pancakes for breakfast and then I made some banana bread for a snack.  I also did a batch of homemade granola bars for school tomorrow.  I'm hoping it's not closed again!