Sunday, November 29, 2009


That is the sound of the weekend racing by me. So much went on, and not a picture to show for it.

Well, not exactly. There is this one, taken by Shelby.
And this one, captured by Olivia. Dave and I celebrated anniversary #11 last night and the girls each took a picture of us before we left for dinner. It's nice having kids big enough for stuff like that :)

The rest of the Holiday weekend was filled with fun and family...and another round of the barfing bug for Shelby. That is a big reason why I was not out and about taking pictures. She was sick Tues-Thurs so we did split shifts at each family on Thanksgiving, with the other one of us staying home with her. No pics required of that. What I wish I did have pictures of was our Thanksgiving with my family. Most of the cooking had been done on Wednesday, a good thing, since at 10a I got the call that my Mom's oven was not working. Yep, 10a on Turkey Day! So lickety split, Plan B was in place, all food and family moved to my sister's home and it went off without a hitch. We used plastic utensils, paper plates with jack on lanterns in the center and drank from disposable cups to make things as easy as possible. And guess what? The food tasted incredible, maybe more so than usual and the tiny prayer of thanks that came from each of us around the table, was definitely sweeter this year. I am not calling anyone out by name, but there were more moist eyes this year than dry ones. So, the picture of all that goodness is in my mind, not on my monitor. And that is OK.

Today, I have a persistent 8 year old BEGGING to get out the Christmas decorations. No rest for the weary, right?
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

a short gratitude list

A 2009 photobook now complete (ish) through September!
My family, with a special shout out to my sister Kelly. Darned grateful to have her.
Good food
Blogging--and the new doors it is currently opening for me
Starbucks holiday flavored drinks :) Once Dave gets home I am heading there for a treat as I am stuck home with a pukey girl again.
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Monday, November 23, 2009

a birthday celebration

I can finally reveal the gifts I made for my best girlfriends from High School.
Festive, Be Merry banners.
And here we are having a humongous, family style meal at Maggianos. Honestly, they bring out an embarassing amount of grub. And yes, we also enjoyed some tasty wine to go along with the feast.

Our tradition is to exchange birthday gifts just once during the year. The other gifts this time around were personalized stationary and address labels, Tervis Tumbler initial cups in a super large size, cute pumpkins for Halloween decor and Bath N Body snuggly socks and foot cream. Does it get any better....good friends, good food, good wine and we each come home with 4 gifts. Yea, us!
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Sunday, November 22, 2009

evolution of a smile

Lately I have been so aware of how Olivia's changing smile is such an indicator of how much more grown up she looks to me. I have had this idea in my head for awhile and although for some reason PhotoShop beat me up on this one and for the life of me, I could not get the drop shadows to work, I decided to call it perfectly imperfect and move on. It tells the story and down the road, even I will probably forget what what it was that entangled me. For products used, go HERE.
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Saturday, November 21, 2009

the photo shoot

One beautiful, grown up looking girl.
A sassy one up a little closer (and yes, I am wishing that shadow on her face was a bit less harsh).
And then, without giving away the whole surprise of receiving a Christmas card, the family picture. In my book, if everyone is present, and looking the same way, it's a keeper! The only mystery that remains is which card did I choose? I already uploaded to Kodak, and since I have never used them before, I got 50 prints free making the cost of my cards, including shipping, a mere $6. I also ordered each of these as an 8x10 (from Costco, my forever trusty source) to replace my existing photos in my large matted frames. All in all, a productive day, despite the fact I feel like crap-ola. I think I am fighting off a cold.

(Thanks to my neighbor for stepping in to shoot a few frames of all of us together. He got this one. Go Dave!)

I made the scarves from these directions. Super fast, easy and perfect for this occasion. I got the fleece at JoAnns.
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Friday, November 20, 2009

creating the Christmas card

I have always loved making my cards. Once I had kids, it stepped up a notch, that is for sure. Then came the better camera, a little PhotoShop knowledge and I have been unstoppable!

This one is from 2005. Look at those little sweeties!

I think this was 2006. This one was very well received b/c there were so many pictures.

I had all intentions of coming up with something new and fantastic for this year. And then this week, I happened on these gems from Becky Higgins and I just kept coming back to them.

So instead of planning a card around a picture or idea, this year I am planning pictures to fit one of these cards! Tonight I made all of us girls some pink and green striped scarves to sport tomorrow for a little photo shoot. And because Skipper does not know any better, he might be wearing a version of it as well. Not sure who will appear in the final copy--just the girls, girls + dog, the whole family...we'll just have to see what we get tomorrow. I am excited. And I have already sufficiently threatened my children to comply. Yea, like that EVER works.
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Thursday, November 19, 2009

celebrate: fabric banner

I am disappointed that I did not get a better picture of this b/c it turned out really great. Just how I saw it in my mind. And that doesn't happen very often for a novice sewer like me.
My picture leaves a lot to be desired as my wall offered no contrast to the beige linen fabric. Hey, I have three ugly bare nails though. How many people can say that?!

I sent this off to celebrate my good friend Martha's birthday. Now that I know she received it, I wanted to share. Banners are my current go to gift idea. And I thought this one was perfect as it is generic enough to use for many different occassions.
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

creamed chicken with gnocchi dumplings

(photo from Rachael Ray website)
That's what we had for dinner last night, straight from a recent Rachael Ray mag. The recipe is here: RECIPE. And it was delish. Funny story-I bought pierogies at the grocery instead of gnocchi but did not realize my error until I was prepping the dish. I used them, and it was amazingly good. They were filled with cheddar mashed potatoes so this dish was filling and NOT light on calories. That probably had a lot to do with the great taste, huh?
Just like another recipe commenter said on the RR site, it does remind me of pot pie. The roux is a lot like what I make when I do pot pie from scratch, which is the only way I will eat pot pie. Pin It

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

a few freebie links for the digi scrappers

Act fast, some may expire soon:

Christmas Glitter Brushes from Little Dreamer
Becky Higgins Holiday cards
A Christmas tree page template

Enjoy! Pin It

Monday, November 16, 2009

want vs. need

This has lately been the mantra of my mother. Trying to keep all of her little ducks in a row starting with her own children and working down to the grandchildren. It's a tough economy and she wants us to be secure and thrifty :)
So often when we find ourselves saying: I want that! or even I need that! She will say: want vs. need? And it often does make me think twice.
Yet, I still have a list of things I just plain like. Which makes me want them. Or want to make them. Or need to make them...

bird nesting kit found on etsy

a laptop--every Sunday ad is calling to me and I swear a Dell at Costco today almost jumped right into my cart on it's own accord

fabric like this Michael Miller Christmas fat quarter set:

stockings: (which I already ordered from HERE along with a fifth that displays a dog bone:)

Maybe a cute purse like this, brought to my attention by a catalog I received in the mail

Brighton jewelry, or even better a pair of sunglasses

Ok, I must stop. The point is, the more I am out in the world shopping or browsing online for others, the more temptation that surrounds me. I have made a small dent in my Christmas shopping. And I have even handcrafted several gifts--those are pluses. I just wish there was not so much great stuff to want...and a lot less to actually need. Pin It

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Holiday Preview Week at Little Dreamer

As blog editor there, I have been working diligently to prepare a full week's worth of posts that include new product, page and project samples, sales and freebies. Do NOT miss it!

My own little calendars are even featured today. My family, please turn away! Just kidding. I have something new to add to my calendars this year so the whole surprise will not be ruined.

Remember, shop ::HERE::.
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Golden Grahams S'mores

A year or so ago, I happened upon a recipe like THIS, and made a pan full of portable s'mores using Golden Grahams cereal. They were yummy and also on the approved list for my niece with peanut allergies. Bonus!
This past week, I saw a simple party favor that had the dry ingredients in a baggie with a cute treat topper. So today at the grocery I bought the cereal, fresh mini marshmallows and milk chocolate, chocolate chips. When I got home, Olivia and I mixed it all together in a big Gladware container and dug in. So good. It really tastes like a s'more with pretty much NO effort. Yum.
If only I could find that blog post now, I'd share the picture of the sweet treat and good idea. Pin It

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

in search of a pet hamster, $15 or less please

So, apparently the Zhu Zhu pets are the next Tickle Me Elmo, in demand, Christmas item of the year. Olivia saw it in the Walmart toy catalog from Sunday's paper, requested one of course. No price listed, of course. My first search resulted in an Amazon link and prices upwards of $50. The Walmart price is more like $8-15 but they are scarce. Like, non existent. Which only makes me want to find one (or two!). If you have a hot line on these, let me know. If your are a family member or close friend reading this, if you spot any, buy them up and call me after!! Pin It

Monday, November 9, 2009

beer and cheese soup recipe

(photo from BHG--recipe HERE)
I have had the ingredients on hand for days, however, life has gotten in the way of cooking over here. So, around 2p, I cooked this up for my post lunch, bagel chaser. (My sickie is home from school but on the mend s l o w l y).

It is from BHG and was tasty. The red pepper taste is pretty strong so I would maybe cut back on those and for me, add more cheese. I did not fry the hashbrowns for the topping for my snack, I may do that when I have it for a real meal. I did mix in more hash browns, not pureed, for some more substance. Oh, and my best guess is that this makes about 4 portions. When I go to the trouble of preparing soup, I like to make lots and freeze it...although this might not freeze well anyway.

And did you hear the Pioneer Woman's cookbook is #1 on the NY Times list? Crazy. Pin It

Sunday, November 8, 2009

christmas tree pillow

Since I got all the Halloween decor at least corralled onto the dining room table AND I got all the laundry put away plus sheets changed on two beds, I decided to finish my pillow that I began last night. Overall, this project went quickly.
I got all the stitching done during the first half of the Bengals game. I had cut everything out and ironed it on last night.
And then I constructed the pillow itself in just a matter of minutes. I just sewed the two squares together and left nearly one whole side open to insert the form. Not fancy, but it looks good enough for me.
This is a big pillow form, 20 inches. The back fabric is a remnant I bought a long time ago which happens to match my side chair in the family room.
And as I said yesterday, this pillow was made to match a Holiday banner, however, I have yet to give those out to friends so I don't want to totally ruin the surprise here. See those green gift bags? Those hold 4 gifts just waiting to be opened! I am kind of excited to get this all downstairs and do the house up for Christmas. Which is crazy talk considering the 70 degree weather here.

Next up, a knock of this, don't you think?

This is from Crate and Barrel. I don't know any fancy embroidery stitches but I have plenty of felted wool that I am inclined to attach with some simple x's and lines. I bet I can even knock off a snow flake...
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Saturday, November 7, 2009

my girl is SO sick

We are on more than 24 hours of puking. The fever is gone, that is just about the only good news. The pediatrician says it is either a virus or the flu, "maybe the flu on the news" doesn't matter. Why? Because they don't treat any of those things. No tamiflu unless you are high risk. He even went so far as to say they are saving it for later, as this flu could revisit and be more brutal. Ugh. Everything else was ruled out: strep, ear infection etc. So, she suffers. And I nurse the poor pitiful thing. She finally fell asleep about 1 hour ago and so I ran to my office like a woman possessed. I honestly cannot endure one more minute of iCarly, Spongebob or Zack and Cody. I have mounds and stacks of things to do, that I need to do. Instead...I decide to start making something for me. It will hopefully be a good blend of:
Using my left over fabric from a banner I am making for my mantle as the circles/leaves.
So, for now I escape by cutting and ironing until the whimpers beckon me back down the hall.

Both photos are from my favs on Flickr. Pin It

Friday, November 6, 2009

celebrating light: photography overlays

There is lots of discussion out there about bokeh, which is the blurry blurbs of light you sometimes see on photographs (that is my dumbed down description!). She talks about bokeh and she often highlights sun flare. Read their blogs to learn more and be inspired. But, if you do not quite achieve the look by sheer talent or dumb luck, how about these tools:

Celebrating Light overlays by Leora Sanford at Little Dreamer. If you are a photography + photoshop enthusiast, block off some time b/c these are way too fun not to try out. And tweak. And then tweak some more. A reliable source tells me they might be on sale later today. Buy them here.

And on the home front, I think we have our first H1N1 candidate, Miss Shelby K. Miss Shelby hails from Ohio, sports a 102 temperature, little appetite and the desire to sleep a lot...leaving her mother with time to write this post. But not yet shower for the day. If the fever is still around tomorrow we will visit the ped's office perhaps for some Tamiflu. My poor girl.
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

a sample of what's on my to-do list

I have started my 2010 calendars for gifts. My coin quilt is farther along than this picture indicates but still not close to completion. More gifts nearly ready (for my postponed gift exchange) but not quite. I have another banner started for another gift giving purpose and loads of creative ideas circling around. The problem? My job, the kids, the laundry, the dirty house...I have so much to do that I go around in circles trying to decide which is first, end up procrastinating and that is just ineffective! I need to make the best use of my remaining 45 minutes before the kids return from school and then tackle tomorrow head on!
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

picasa tips

I have had some good dialogue regarding using Picasa to organize digital scrapbooking supplies, over at the Little Dreamer blog. If you'd like to follow along, here is Post 1. And then yesterday's follow up.

And a fun fall picture for good measure!!
Posted by Picasa
Pin It

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Goodbye Halloween

It was a great day and night!
The obligatory family picture, with new addition Skipper the HOTdog.
Expertly carved pumpkins.
The pumpkin cupcakes.
And the gang. We host a pre trick-or-treat party each year. It was cool but sunny as you can tell, so a drastic improvement from earlier in the day. This a collection of the tricksters who attended.
Posted by Picasa
Pin It