Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

I'm back from a lovely trip to Chicago for Thanksgiving. Shawn and I spent five days at his mom's house and enjoyed our time with his family. It was a pretty low key trip and I got lots of much needed rest and relaxation. We spent a lot of time hanging out. I watched several movies, knitted 2 and a half Christmas gifts, read a few magazines and spent most of our trip indoors. It was cold for us AZ kids, but really wasn't too bad and the sun was out almost the whole time.

Thanksgiving was nice and mellow. We had a wonderful dinner and I indulged a little too much! Here are some Thanksgiving photos. Ellen in her new cute apron:

Uncle Bruce carving the turkey in his lovely floral apron...he borrowed Ellen's other apron, but I think flowers suit him!

Shawn's Grandma finishing up her famous green jello mold:

The beautiful Thanksgiving table:

On Friday, Ellen took me into the city to be a tourist and to see the Christmas decorations. We didn't really do any shopping, just lots of walking and looking. It was fun to be a tourist and take pictures like this one:

Here's the Chicago Bean in Millineneum Park. I love the reflection of the city.

Some city shots:

Ice skating in the fun would that be?

The Christmas tree in Daley Plaza:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Busy Busy

I've been a busy girl this past week. My to do list is quite long. It includes things like clean the house, work on holiday projects, complete some of my in progress scrappy projects, work on handmade holiday gifts, new clothes, laundry, etc. I always have grand plans for the things I want to do, but don't always find the time to start, keep up, or finish some things.

This little Gratitude Album is one of those things that got lost in the shuffle of my life. I had good intentions with this album. I intended to keep track of things that I'm grateful for each day of November. So I printed out a months' worth of these templates from Cathy Zielske at the beginning of November. You can find the template here. Unfortunately, I didn't actually get around to cutting, matting and binding this little guy until this week. So, my November Gratitude Album will be filed away until after the holidays and will instead become a January Gratitude Album. I figure it's a good way to start of the new year, with a month of documenting things for which I am grateful. It's too bad I used some papers from my stash that are pretty fall looking...oh well, I think it's pretty cute. Here's a view of the insides waiting patiently for my gratitude journaling.

Becuase I still wanted to do something for Thanksgiving. I decided to jump on an idea from this crafty girl and print up templates from Jessica Sprague for a Thankful Album. The plan is to document a week of things I am Thankful for, starting tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have more success with this one!

Speaking of Jessica Sprague, I've been taking her "Stories at Hand" class. Again, I haven't been able to keep up with all the class prompts this week, but I did manage to print, cut and bind all the materials:

I really like the idea behind this class and the little book will become a favorite tool for helping me to document more of the stories in my life. When I have more time, I'm definitely going to dive into the "roots" section and start telling and documenting stories from my childhood.

I've also been busy doing work stuff and creating lots of projects for Scrapgal's Holiday Crop on December 5th and 6th and for the 12 Days of Christmas Contest coming up on December 11th. I will talk more about this soon. I'm so excited about all the projects Scrapgal's design team has been working on. There are great things coming to Scrapgal in December for sure!

Ok, back to the to do list. I need to get the laundry done and start on the house cleaning so that I can go see Twilight tomorrow with my mom and sister. I'm so looking forward to this too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dix Mardi

Today's Ten on Tuesday

  1. This post on Jessie blog, which inspired my post title en francais and is the cutest video ever.
  2. I have doctor's order to eat candy all week, specifically he suggested these. Yes I'm serious! I saw an ENT yesterday who diagnosed me with a salivary and mandibular gland infection. Who knew such things existed? I have a list of things I am to do treatment for this, one of which is to eat sour candy or salt and vinegar chips throughout the day for the next week or so to induce salivation. Lovely, right?
  3. Visited Steph and Amelia today and watched Amelia try to skip through crawling right into walking. Um yeah, she's 6 months old and trying desperately to cruise and walk already! Steph and Paul better watch out!
  4. Still searching for not too expensive clothes that fit.
  5. Avoiding paperwork I must get done....
  6. Glad I got to have lunch and do some shopping with Heather, Angie and Dina yesterday, despite the crazy waiter we had.
  7. Playing lots of Mahjong on the computer lately.
  8. Waiting for Shawn to get home so we can watch Fringe and I can continue to avoid my paperwork.
  9. Wishing for a good night's sleep, wherein I do not wake up several times during the night.
  10. Loving the "glee" slide at

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Surfing

It's been a busy week of working and creating and birthday celebrating. Wednesday was my dad's birthday and I am a terrible daughter because I did not have a "Happy Birthday Dad" post. We did however, have a lovely birthday dinner of Pumpkin Ravioli, a recipe from Natural Health Magazine, salad, bread and peanut butter pie. Hope you had a great birthday Dad!

Yesterday, I had some cancellations in the middle of my day, so I headed to the mall to look for clothes. I am in desperate need of clothes that fit me. The problem is, I'm not wanting to spend a ton of money, because I'm hoping to gain a few pounds back. Trying on pants yesterday, I learned I am two sizes smaller in pants...that's a bit much. I didn't find anything...well nothing in the price range I want anyway. I may resort to altering some of the pants I already have. I have 3 pairs of brand new pants from the end of last winter that are HUGE on me, just sitting in my closet.

I have spent a lot of my nights lately looking for inspiration on the internet. I've come across a few new sites that I love. Thought I'd share a few with you for your Friday internet surfing pleasure.

I've been spending a lot of time on food and natural cooking sites lately. Two of my favorites are smitten kitchen and bread and honey. also has some great recipes.

Knitting blogs and sites have been on my internet surfing list as well. I've been checking out
The Purl Bee, Mason Dixon Knitting, Ravelry and Flint Knits.

I've been looking for holiday decoration and gift ideas all over scrappy blog land. A few of my standby's for great inspiration are Ali's blog, Elise's blog, Cheeky Magpie, and Christine's blog.

Of course, there's my usual shopping sites...Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Etsy.....

Happy Surfing!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Handmade Holidays

This year I am having a homemade holiday as much as possible. I love Christmas. I love giving gifts. I love red and green. All of this creates a situation where I typically buy and spend a lot during the month of December. I am usually pretty good about paying cash for things, but generally end up spending more than I should between gifts, decorations, holiday craft items and Starbucks, etc. So this year, when things are tighter than normal, the plan is too spend as little as possible on holiday items. I will be making a lot of gifts and adding homemade items to my holiday decor. I started my gift list in October, so I'm hoping to not stress myself out with last minute creating. Thanks to some design team deadlines, I have spent the past few days making Christmas crafts. This weekend I started several holiday projects including this cute little tree:

This tree is based on a project I saw on Cheeky Magpie's crafty blog. I will be offering a tutorial for this tree at Scrapgal's holiday crop on December 5th and 6th. You should definitely stop by for lots of holiday ideas and inspiration. The design team girls are all working on great projects, tutorials and inspiration to kick off your holiday season. For some sneak peeks at what's in store for that weekend, check out the Galblog.

As I mentioned, I began the holiday gift planning back in October and have already completed two projects. I am knitting, scrapbooking, jewelry making, baking, etc. Gift ideas for the girlies on my list are pretty easy, but the men are harder. I may end up buying guy gifts. Got any good ideas for handmade gifts for guys?

As part of my knitty gift spree, I purchased these speedstix to use with a pattern I found online. These things are size 50 and if you know anything about knitting needles, they are HUGE! In fact, it's pretty comical to look at and I feel like I'm knitting in the land of the giants when I use them. Here's a glimpse at how ridiculous they look:

To really get an idea, here's one of the needles next to more regular sized needles I'm using on another gift project:

Are you planning (or already working on) any holiday projects this year? Got any fabulous handmade gift ideas?

Saturday, November 8, 2008


How's that for a post title? Well, it's how I feel. I am home sick again today. I've been fighting this dumb cold (I think) all week. Here's how the week has gone:

MON--My day off. I have a sore throat and feel achy. I do some paperwork, drop of my billing and go to my Dr. appointment for follow up. I was feeling a little better by the afternoon but not great.

TUE--My throat is killing me, so I stay home and lay low, do paperwork, craft and rest. I feel better by the evening.

WED--I'm feeling better, my throat is still scratchy, but not bad so I go to work. After singing all day my throat starts hurting again and by the time I get home I have no voice. Really, I could hardly talk and felt lousy.

THURS--Wake up and still have no voice. I feel ok otherwise, but there is no way I can sing and lead therapy sessions with no voice. Spend the day doing paperwork, crafting and resting. My voice was back a little bit by the end of the day.

FRI--I still sound like a baritone, but think I can handle my workday and just try not too sing too much. Off I my 3rd session, my throat is killing me again and by my last session I'm feeling so exhausted all I want to do is climb in bed.

SAT--So I spent the whole night last night coughing and woke up this morning very nauseated. I'm thinking it's from coughing up crap all night long, but I feel lousy. I call all my kids and try to reschedule...thank goodness for no school on Veterans Day...I'm staying home AGAIN today and will try to lay low. I have so much to do and am so tired of being sick. Just as I feel like my life is getting back to normal and I'm getting healthy again, I get stuck with this stupid cold! I guess my immune system is still low or something. It's very frustrating!

I'm headed to an ENT on the 17th to figure out the inflammed lymph nodes and thyroid. Maybe he can figure out why I keep getting sick. I'm so frustrated with my body. Here's hoping a full weekend of resting will put an end to this cold and I can start the week off right on Monday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can

America made history yesterday. Regardless of your politics, I hope you see how amazing it is that we chose a man based on his character and not upon the color of his skin or his middle name. Less than 50 years ago African Americans could not vote, we have just elected one president. There is a lot I want to say about this, but am afraid I won't be as eloquent as I would like to be. As someone who has been deeply bothered by the direction this country has taken over the past several years, I am once again hopeful. Yes we can.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Go Vote

This is me, reminding you that tomorrow is election day. Run, don't walk to your polling place tomorrow and cast your vote. I voted last week with my mail in ballot. Regardless of your politics, I believe it is very important to cast your vote and participate in the process. You can bet I will be watching election coverage tomorrow and crossing my fingers and toes that Obama wins!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Make stuff

I've been on a handmade kick lately. I've been busy scrapping, as usual, but I'm also knitting up a storm these days as part of my "homemade holidays" plan (more on this later). I've completed two knitty gifts and started a third project the other night. I've also been really into cooking and baking again. My love of food and cooking has been on hiatus with all the reflux issues, but my body is tolerating more these days and I'm enjoying finding new, better for me recipes. Though I've always been a pretty healthy cook and eater, I'm trying even more to use healthier, all natural items in my cooking and baking. I've discovered several new cooking websites and am loving this cookbook Kellie gave me for my birthday.

Today I made a big batch of steel cut oats using a recipe from the cookbook mentioned above and now have a week's worth of healthy breakfasts in the fridge. I enjoyed my bowl this morning with a huge spoonful of homemade apple butter stirred in. Yum! After breakfast, I sliced up a couple pie pumpkins, setting aside the seeds for later, and while they were in the oven baking, I whipped up yet another batch of banana bread. We have quite the surplus of bananas around here from my Bountiful Baskets order last week. We got like12 bananas in our order and Shawn has only eaten only a couple. I am not a fan and won't eat them in any form other than mixed in a baked good. Next up with my cooked pumpkin, I attempted my first ever batch of pumpkin butter. Let me tell you, it's delicious and I'm so glad I tried this recipe! I finished off my cooking spree with a recipe for some sugar and spice pumpkin seeds that I found on Bethany's blog.

In other news, I'm hosting the Monday Challenge at Scrap for a Cure this week. My challenge is all about using up those scraps you've got lying around. This page was inspired by the last little bits of a well loved Studio Calico kit. I love that I was able to use up even the tiniest bits of paper to make the little frame around the page.

So dig into those scraps and get creative. Play along and upload your creation into the "Up for a Challenge" forum at SFC to be entered into a monthly challenge RAK drawing.

SFC's November kits are on sale now too. There are two kits this month, a "boy" kit and a "girl" kit. They are both full of lots of fun products. I got to play with the "boy" kit and here are the pages I made:

I'm still working on this little mini album, filling it with the little things in my life that make me happy. I'll be sure to post the whole album when it's finished.

This tired girl is going to put some clean sheets on her bed and climb in with her knitting and some TV for the rest of the night.

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