Wednesday, April 16, 2014

9th Wedding Anniversary

Hi friends!  I hope you are doing well!  Today is my 9th wedding anniversary.  I can't believe it's been 9 years since my wedding.  In a way, it feels like just yesterday but at the same time it feels like a million years ago.  Do you know what I mean?  Do you ever get that feeling?

Here's the card I made for Dustin for our anniversary.  I used my friend Laura's Poppy Sketch 2 for this and it came with some colors as well.  I'm not great with color challenges but I try my best.  I got these Mama Elephant stamps for my anniversary gift.  Yeah, I'm super romantic.  I told Dustin "I'd like to order these stamps, they can be an anniversary gift!"  The set is call Pandamonium and it's SO cute!  The paper is Pebbles Love Notes.  I added a Studio Calico wood veneer heart that I colored with Copic and put some Wink of Stella over.  You can't really see the details on the heart but it's quite pretty.  I finished with some Whisker Graphics Teal Divine Twine.

Have a great day, friends!  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hoppy Easter with Solid Divine Twine Banners

Hi friends!  I hope you are doing well!  We are enjoying spring break over here.  We are hanging out around town with our friends.  I've gotten a little bit of crafting done.  I'm not going to lie, it feels good!  I'm hoping that it keeps up.  

Today, I'm sharing a card I made for this week's Paper Smooches Spark's Picture Perfect Challenge.  I love playing along with their challenges!  Paper Smooches Stamps are some of my favorites.  This week's inspiration photo has lots of banners on it.  I decided to try to make my own banners with Solid Divine Twine.  I was really inspired by the banner with the fabric looped through.  That's the first one I made then I decided I needed more.  I made one with bows and one with knots that I pulled apart.  I used A Little Lovin and Alphadots on this card.  I really love being able to spell out my own matching sentiments.  I sometimes use words from sentiment sets and then add onto them especially to make puns.  The paper is Dear Lizzy Lucky Charm.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mama Elephant Photo InspirationChallenge

Hi friends!  I hope you are well.  We are embarking on our Spring Break this week.  Amazingly, it's not so much a break for me.  ;)  But we will get to do some fun things and hopefully see some friends that we don't get to see much during the school year.

Today, I made a card and now I'm blogging it.  Look, it's like a trend or something.  I decided to play along with the Mama Elephant Photo Inspiration Challenge.  I just got my first Mama Elephant Stamps this week and I looooove them!  I usually try to order my stamps when I buy the rest of my supplies so that I'm not paying so much in shipping but none of the sets I wanted were ever in stock at the stores I looked at.  I folded aand ordered from Mama Elephant directly.  The shipping was SO fast!

This photo really was a challenge for me.  To me, this photo is really light and airy and I didn't know how to convey that in a card.  I tried my best though.  I'm debating on giving this card to Dustin for our anniversary on Wednesday but I'm not sure.  I might make a couple more and see how I feel.  I used some really old SU ink and a very old technique I learned from a SU party to watercolor the inside of the speech bubble.  I stamped the little birdie (she's me!) and colored her with Copics and Wink of Stella in clear.  I stamped the sentiment and stamped the little heart twice in the same color ink I watercolored with.  Then I finished with some sequins from Pretty Pink Posh.  I looooove these little clear ones!  They are so cute!
Have a great day, friends!  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I Made a Card and Now I'm Gonna Blog About It

Hi friends!  I hope you are well.  So... you like my title?  It's pretty profound.  ;)  Honestly, I used to do this every single day.  Did you know?  I blogged everyday.  And now, I'm lucky to blog twice a month.  I'm having a hard time with this.  I WANT to want to stamp but I most often don't.  Does that make any sense at all?  I wish I still had that drive and desire.  Please send mojo!

My friend Veronica helped me get my bum in gear today.  I could not have done this without her.  I am playing along in a couple challenges with this card.  My friend Laura recently launched a challenge blog so I definitely wanted to play along with her Poppy Sketches.  I didn't realize that there would be a color challenge too so I tried to work that in.  Color challenges are the hardest for me.  I also played along with the Paper Smooches Sparks Anything Goes Challenge for this week.  The stamps are obviously Paper Smooches from the Spectrum set.  I looooooooove unicorns!  The paper is Chickaniddy as are the stickers and enamel hearts.  I added washi tape and lace tape.  Also, the unicorn is colored in with the clear Wink of Stella shimmer pen.

Have a wonderful day, friends!  I hope to blog again soon.  Hopefully.  Some mojo would be nice.  ;)  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Light It Up Blue!

Hi friends!  I'm not feeling that great right now.  I have some ovarian cysts and I'm trying to work it out.  And by that I mean, I'm waiting for them to go away.  Anyhow, I'm a little loopy due to medicine so I'm not going to write a whole bunch today.

I just wanted to write a super quick post since it's Autism Awareness Day.  I'd love for you to GO HERE and read up on Autism and become more informed.  I used to be a therapist for children with Autism before I had Brady and I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about Autism and people who have it.  Pop on over to the link above and take a second to read up on it.  There's also a place to donate on that site, should you feel compelled to do so.

Have a wonderful day!  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Getting Back in the Saddle

Hi friends!  I hope that you all are doing well.  We are doing pretty good.  We are enjoying spring here in our neck of the woods.  We still have a couple weeks until spring break though.  We are however keeping busy.  

Today, I am sharing a card I made for a call that wasn't picked up (aka REJECT).  I've started submitting to magazines again.  Well, I really only submitted 3 cards to a holiday card call.  Nothing got picked up. I'm not gonna lie, I was hoping that I would get a card picked for the magazine.  I know that it's not realistic and that these things take time but I was just hoping.  Oh well.  After some deliberation, I decided to share some of the cards instead of saving them for feature submissions.  This card is made with Doodlebug papers and stickers.  I added some shimmery May Arts ribbon and some sequins to be snow.  
Keep your fingers crossed for me for the next call!  I'm having a really hard time finding balance.  I want to craft but at the end of the night I'm just so tired.  I really thought that I'd have a handle on this whole having three kids thing by now but I'm still feeling like I'm barely mucking through.  Have a great day, friends!  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

In Defense of the Holiday Loving Parent

Lately, I've seen a lot of posts complaining about parents who do over the top things for their kids for holidays or their birthdays.  The whole complaining about what someone else does thing bothers me.  Who is anyone to tell someone else what they should celebrate and to what extent?  There are no rules, no guidelines, no boundaries on emotion.  Why should anyone try to tone down their joy?

You may not know this about me, but I had a bad childhood.  Horrific.  I could probably write a screenplay for a Lifetime movie of the week.  There are days when I regress back into a very dark place.  To combat this, I've chosen to turn towards joy.  Instead of numbing my feelings with drugs, alcohol, or other addictions like some people in my position, I try my darnedest to achieve happiness because for a very long time, I'd forgotten what happiness felt like.

I never want this for my children.  I hope that should they ever find themselves in a dark place later on in life that they would have some beautiful, joyous childhood memories that they could cling to.  Should life beat them down later, perhaps they will be comforted by the yesterdays that are full of smiles.  And I understand that such memories don't always include a holiday or a birthday or a vacation.  But none of us know what kind of memory will stick with our children, do we?

What does this have to do with holidays?  For me, they are times when we get reminded to feel joy and celebrate.  Yes, we should celebrate every single day but admit it, most of us don't.  Getting through the laundry, the homework, the dinner battle, the bedtime routine, etc... is exhausting and most days, it's all I can do to get it done.  It can be easy to forget to celebrate everyday and pursue joy.  Holidays give us a kick in the rear that says "HEY, celebrate today!"

Plus, with all the hustle and bustle of daily life, it's easy to forget that this small window where our children are at home with us is extremely short.  Soon they will be off living their own lives and we will go back to dreading Christmas because it's a pain in the butt to travel to see everyone.  And it costs money we don't have to buy gifts for everyone.  And it's annoying to pull out the ladder and hang the darn lights that we just have to take back down in a couple weeks.

Let's not forget MAGIC.  The window that our children believe in magical beings that come into your life to merely delight you is so very short.  We are nearing the end with our oldest and I feel like that window just barely opened.  The sweet innocence of seeing what Santa put under the tree and finding Easter eggs is fleeting.  Kids are growing up faster and faster.

So, what's an extra hour to build a leprechaun trap?  I got to sit with my son and craft with him.  Crafting that I usually do sitting alone in my office.  I got to share with him the love of paper and glue and glitter.  He was proud of it!  He showed his friends.  He talked to them about how we made it.  And what's 5 minutes tying shoelaces together or turning pictures upside for "leprechaun tricks"?  I spend at least twice that in line at Starbucks to get coffee for myself and that doesn't cause my kids to talk about it for months and months after it happens.  "Remember when the leprechaun turned the picture upside down?"  No joke, they talked about at least 10 times after it happened.    

Another thing I would like to address is that other parents feel pressure.  Well guess what?  You're putting that pressure on yourself.  I couldn't care less if you build a leprechaun trap.  I couldn't care less if you have no holiday decorations for any holiday ever.  You don't celebrate birthdays?  Fine by me.  To each their own!  I highly doubt that any holiday loving parent like myself cares if/what you do for your own kid.  Please stop acting like we do.

I do these things for my children.  To show them that I love them.  I don't know what your love language is but this is part of mine.  I stay up for days on end making a 3 tier cake out of paper for a birthday party because though we might not be able to afford an extravagant party, I can give them me.  My time.  My love.  My creativity.  My effort.  Something that I did with my hands to say "you are the most special person in the world to me and I want you to know.  And to remember.  And to keep it in your heart for a dark day when life beats you down."

But you should show your kids you love them in your own way.  By reading to them or teaching them to cook or playing catch with them, whatever it is that you do to create special memories.  I would never think less of anyone for not going all out on holidays or birthdays or any occasion.  However, asking someone to tone down their own joy and their children's joy because you don't want to hear your own children complain about how little Jimmy's mom did this and that and you didn't?  Well, I'll let you decide what kind of person that makes you.  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

2014 Album Title Page

Hi friends!  I hope you are doing well!  We are doing ok.  Dustin went out of town for work today and was gone ALL day.  It was a LONG day, I'm just sayin'.  That's why I'm blogging so late today.  

Today, I'm sharing my title page for my 2014 Project Life/Pocket Style Scrapbook album.  For this page, I used a Becky Higgins Design A page protector.  The cards are from the Project Life 5th and Frolic kit.  This is one of the rare times I used mostly a core kit on a page.  I'm trying really hard to simplify my album more this year so I can GET IT DONE.  That's what I really need.  The "Hello 2014" flair is from my friend Taniesa's store, The Craft Pickle.  (She has SUPER cute flair, check it out!)  I used some Studio Calico wood veneer potty people on this.  The alphabet stickers are from American Crafts and the camera clip is from Maya Road.   
I've been experimenting with my photography on my layouts.  I think this is it.  I should probably pull everything out of the pockets, but with the kids running around all the time and my desire to use natural light on these, it's challenging.  We shall see.  Have a wonderful day, friends!  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Paper Issues Tip-toe Through the Tulips Challenge

Hi friends!  I hope you are doing well!  I'm feeling MUCH better today!  I hope that we are at the end of cold and flu season.  I'm sick of someone in the house being sick!  Other than that, we are fine.  It's been a little rainy so the kids are a little stir crazy.  It will let up soon, probably.

Today, I'm sharing a card I made for the Paper Issues Tip-toe Through the Tulips challenge.  I love that they are allowing us to interpret this challenge in so many ways!  I went the easy route with using lots of flowers on my creation.  Also, there's people with feet and therefor toes on this... ok, that's a stretch.  I used the new Date Night line from Chickaniddy for this.  You can find the Chickaniddy Enamel Hearts in the Paper Issues Shop.  I used a bunch of elements from the 6x6 paper pad and no stamps on this one.  Isn't this image super cute?  The guy in the glasses reminds me of Dustin.  I used my Tiny Attacher to add a couple small staples.  I used some Stickles on the moon (I know, I'm old school.)  And I finished with a little bit of Silver Metallic Divine Twine from Whisker Graphics.
I just placed a order with Paper Issues for some new CHA stuff and I can't wait to get it.  Here's a TIP (also allowed on their challenge) always check the Paper Issues Blog or Paper Issues Facebook Page for coupon codes!  I never pay full price when ordering!  Have a great day, friends!  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mani Monday... on a Tuesday

Hi friends!  I meant to blog yesterday, but I was SO sick!  I think I got the flu but I have the flu shot so it lessens the symptoms.  Is that how it works?  I slept almost ALL day yesterday and I'm feeling at least alive today.  Sigh... I was lucky enough to have Dustin take a day off work to take care of me and the kids.  I'm on my own today though.

Today, I have some manis to show you.  I was lucky enough to get this awesome Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure box from Influenster for free to try out and review.  I was SO excited about this product!  It claims to be a 7 in 1 with base coat, strengthener, growth treatment, color, top coat, chip resistant, and gel shine.  The thought of being able to just use one product REALLY excited me because as a mom of 3 young kids, I don't have a lot of time to just sit and let my nails dry.
 The first one I used is Jaded at the same time, I put Pat on the Black on my toes.  I didn't take pics of my feet.  I really don't like the way my feet look and refuse to subject you guys to them.  I was really excited about this pretty mint color since mint is SO on trend.  I originally did 3 coats and let them dry and went to bed.  The color was very translucent and I needed 3 coats for it to be opaque.  The next day, I noticed a few imperfections so I painted on a fourth coat.  That's what you see here.  Once that fourth coat was on, it was perfect!  The color was lovely and it held up beautifully!  I had to take it off 4 days later because I was on a TV show (should I blog about this?  Leave a comment if you want to hear about the TV show.)  But it held up just fine.  My toes also lasted great until I took the polish off.  I only needed 2 coats for my toes with Pat on the Black.
 Later on, I tried Red My Lips.  I only did two coats and wanted to see how they would last.  I mean, the point was to SAVE time right?  Honestly, they began chipping right away and a few days later, I had to take them all off.  So, 4 coats really will make it last the best.
Overall, I think it's a great product.  Do you have to paint on a bunch of coats?  Yes.  But it's all you need.  You don't have to buy extra products.  Also, my nails did feel nourished afterwards so that's always nice.  The colors were nice too.  I would repurchase these with no problem.  Hope that helps!  Talk to you soon, friends!

I'm linking up on Mani Monday on Glitter and Gloss.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dustin's Valentine

Hi friends!  I hope you're having a wonderful day!  We are doing pretty good.  We have a birthday party later on today.  The kids are very excited!

Today, I'm sharing the Valentine's Day card I for Dustin.  In case you didn't notice, I used Paper Smooches Stamps and Pebbles Yours Truly for all the Valentine's this year.  When I bought Teen Routine, I knew it was to make cards for Dustin and not for any teenagers.  He loves tech stuff and gadgets.  The heart and "hot stuff" is from Vegtastic.  And the "hey" is from Little Fella, I just masked off the "dude" in that sentiment.  I used a couple different kinds of washi tape for this as well.  I'm entering this in the Paper Smooches Fun and Cute challenge and the Paper Smooches Sparks Anything Goes challenge for this week.
Have a great day, friends!  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

So So So So Loved

Hi friends!  I hope you're having an amazing day!  We had a wonderful Valentine's Day!  We had lunch with my sister in law and my 8 month old nephew.  Avery was so super cute with her cousin!  They adore each other, it was cuteness overload.  After the boys came home from school, we had our traditional heart shaped pizza for dinner, played games, and ended the night with a little family dance party in the living room.  It was a very nice day and I really needed a nice end to this awful week!

Today, I'm sharing the Valentine's Day card I made for Avery.  Last year, I just bought cards for the kids because I was just so tired from having a newborn.  This year, I just fell in love with the new Paper Smooches Spectrum set.  It has a unicorn and a rainbow.  I try to live in a life of unicorns and rainbows.  My life has been really really dark and I need to keep my head turned towards the positive things in life so this stamp set really spoke to me.  Of course I needed to use this special stamp set for my special princess.  Mostly because I don't think the boys enjoy 

I also tried to keep this week's Paper Smooches Sparks challenge in mind.  It's a lovely picture of a heart that is dark pink, light pink, and gold.  I wanted to use the colors in the photo and I wanted to use a lot of hearts.  I used the same Pebbles paper from yesterday along with some of their skinny washi tape.  I decided to make a pink heart unicorn because there's nothing better than a pink unicorn with hearts, glittery hair, and a gold glittery horn.  I think this card is the epitome of who I am.  I added some Peppermint Divine Twine and some enamel hearts from Chickaniddy.  I also used a little bit of Copics on this card.  I'm also entering this into the Cute and Fun Challenge on the Paper Smooches Blog.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day: Silly Cards for Silly Boys

Hi friends!  Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you all are doing well.  It's been a VERY hard week here.  I've gotten a lot of bad news but I tried to cheer up for today and for my kids.  If there's one thing I've learned from this past week, it's take time to celebrate love.

I asked my boys what they wanted on their Valentine's Day cards and they wanted a turtle AND a dog on the same card.  I didn't really know how to make it work.  I went into my craft room and sat a bit and tried to work it out.  This is what I came up with.  It's silly and it won't make sense to anyone else but that's what a custom card is about, isn't it?  I made them the same but slightly different.  I don't want them to fight because they are upset the cards are different but I wanted them to be different enough that they would tell which card belongs to them.
Here's a close up of Brady's card.  I don't really think it's necessary to show both since they are so very similar.  I used a variety of Paper Smooches stamps for these cards.  The dog is from Chubby Chums.  The turtle is from Party Posse as is the accompanying sentiment.  And the bigger sentiment is one I created with the Alphadots set.  The papers are from Pebbles Yours Truly and the enamel dots are from My Mind's Eye.  I'm linking these up to the Fun and Cute Challenge over on the Paper Smooches Blog.  
I hope you all had an amazing Valentine's Day and expressed love to all those around you!  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Heart Break

On Friday, it will be the tenth anniversary of the day Dustin proposed to me.  Almost instantly, I joined an online community to plan my wedding.  I never expected that these women would be with me still today.  Together we planned our  weddings, then we shared our wedding pictures and experiences.  We bought houses together.  We had kids together.  My little online community.  We were bound by the fact that we were in the same life stages.

Then we had kids together.  For some of us it was easy and for some of us, it was oh so very hard.  We struggled together.  We leaned on each other through troubled marriages, foreclosures, work lay offs, kids getting diagnosed with learning disorders, health issues and so much more.  Eventually, I had to drift away.  My life pulled me in a different direction but I still kept in touch with my friends via Facebook, their blogs, or Instagram.  I wasn't part of the group anymore but at the same time I'll always be part of the group.  

Three and a half months ago, I was pulled back in.  My friend who I adore got a horrible diagnosis for her daughter.  Cancer.  Tumor.  Inoperable.  Terminal.  I was deeply saddened but I held on to a lot of hope.  You see, her mother, my friend is the amazing and inspiring woman.  I've never seen someone struggle through so very much and still have a heart made out of pure goodness.  I admire her.  I thought certainly she had gone through too much to have this end badly.  She had suffered enough trying to have a baby.  She had struggled enough yearning for a child.  She was the epitome of a mommy without a baby but she never lost her sense of humor and she never lost her hope.  Surely, this woman had put in enough time in hell to escape this.

I was sadly wrong.  Today, I learned that sweet JLK got her angel wings.  This wasn't supposed to happen.  She only had 3.5 months with her daughter after they found out.  How is it possible for someone who struggled so much and who is just so innately good to have to go through this?  But she is.  And there's nothing I can do to heal her heart.  There's nothing I can do to give her the only thing she truly wants, her daughter.  Her dream come true.  The person who made her the mommy I always knew she was.  The baby she finally got to adopt and love and who miraculously healed her body so she could have other children.  Gone.  

Throughout JLK's fight, Libby has been trying to raise awareness for childhood cancers.  She's been putting her heart out there every single day so that we can become aware.  I know people like to stick their head in the sand and pretend that this can't happen to them.  "This only happens to other people."  Well, guess what?  This happened to my friend.  And this has happened to another one of my friends.  And it will continue to happen for as long as we put our head in the sand and decide that it's better to be unaware.  

Here are the simplest ways you can help.  If you have a heart at all, please DO SOMETHING.  Anything.  For all the Jennifers and all the Tylers, for your children and for mine.

1. Share this video.  
2. Sign this petition.  
3. Send a letter to your Senator or Congressmen.  Follow this link for an example or this link to send an email.

Easy peasy.

If you'd like to donate to the Kranz family, you can find their info HERE.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Chicken and Potato Soft Tacos

Hi friends!  I hope you are doing well!  We are ok.  We are finally getting some rain in our area which is very much needed.  However, that means the kids have been inside for the past few days and it's taking its toll on our sanity.  What can you do?  

Today, I have another recipe for you.  I know my good pictures aren't much to look at but I just snap them really quickly with my iPhone.  I really don't want to take the time to plate them all pretty and pull out my DSLR and set up an area to take pictures.  But I promise you that they are delicious!  

My friend Amy taught me how to make these tacos.  They are unlike any other tacos that I've ever had.  First off, it's chicken AND potatoes in one taco.  Second, there is a lot of sauce.  Of course, you could used a slotted spoon to put the filling into our tacos and not have all the sauce.  Or you could take this mixture and serve it over some rice instead of eating it in tortillas.  Either way, it's so flavorful and delicious!  It might be spicy depending on your jalapeño.
Chicken and Potato Soft Tacos

1.5 pounds of chicken (I like tenderloins)
6 medium red potatoes
1 jalapeño
4 roma tomatoes
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

1. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and cook in a pot until no longer pink in the center.  I use a little cooking spray at the bottom of the pot so the chicken doesn't stick.
2. In the mean time, take your potatoes and wash them.  Either put them in a potato bag or wrap them in damp paper towels and stick them in the microwave.  I use the "potato" button but I think it's about 7 mins.
3. Put the jalapeño and tomatoes in a pot and cover with water.  Boil until the tomato skins split and the jalapeño is soft when you pierce it with a fork.  Reserve the boiling liquid.
4. Place tomatoes and jalapeños in a blender, add some boiling liquid.  Season with salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth, adding more water if needed.
5. Pour mixture from blender over chicken and simmer.
6. Take potatoes from microwave and cut into chunks.  You can leave the skin on or peel it off, it's completely up to you.  For this batch, I took the skin off but sometimes I leave it on.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add mixture to pot and stir.
7. Serve in warmed up flour tortillas with cheese, sour cream, and salsa or any other toppings you like.  I also serve Mexican rice and beans on the side with this.

If you try this, leave me a comment and let me know how you like it.