Sunday, January 31, 2010

Valentine's Love

I love Valentine's goodies. There's just something about all the red and pink that gets me excited. I have yet to do any Valentine's crafting, but I've been collecting all kinds of inspiration. Here's some of my finds:

This cute fabric wreath from Sew Much Ado:

These cute cards from Made:

This Valentine's postcard from alanakdavis photography:

Email Valentine's from Kate Spade

House of 3 digi Valentine's goodies

I'm also loving all the Valentine's banners and buntings I've seen in blog land and on etsy. Thinking I must make one soon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

10 on Tueday

My Tuesday 10 posts have gotten a bit sporadic lately. I'd love for this to be a weekly feature on my blog. Sometimes life gets in the way though. I've had a lot on my mind lately. Here's a glimpse into some right here, right now things.

1. This is going to be a rough week. The state has reduced the rate it pays for music therapy by 50% effective Feb. 1 (we just found this out last week). I am unable to work the hours I work and survive on that rate. Unfortunately, I am leaving my state contract behind and becoming a private pay only therapist for the time being. With the economy in the state it is, I am losing several clients and therapy hours. I may have to say good bye to a few kids this week. Luckily, I have several families who are willing and able to pay me privately to work with their kiddos.

2. I have been busy the past week coming up with lots of alternative plans. I LOVE music therapy but don't see things getting better with the state any time soon. Additional cuts are imminent and finding additional clients who can and will private pay for music therapy may prove challenging. So, I am planning on going back to school. I'm still deciding how and for what, but the most cost effective and practical plan is to do a post baccalaureate teaching certification program so I can get a job teaching, while pursuing a masters degree in something. There are lots of special education positions out there and I'd say I'm pretty qualified but for the missing certification. I'm spending lots of time looking into programs and options and it is quite overwhelming.

3. I may need a way to add some supplemental income depending on how many private pay hours I ultimately have. Things are still a bit up in there for some families as they are figuring out ways to make this work. I am still figuring out what to do and if I need to do something more, but I've considered teaching some lessons, doing developmental music groups, starting an etsy store, taking a part time job......

4. The plan for 2010 was to get pregnant. The above issues makes this plan a bit more complicated. As we are a self employed household paying for maternity care is a big issue. Decreased income doesn't really help our pay down debt and save for maternity expenses plan.

5. I'm highly stressed about all this, but know that we will be fine. I have faith that things will work out. Truthfully, it might just be the push I need to pursue dreams I've had for a long time. I always said I was going back to school and I've always talked about doing more, becoming more. I love what I do and believe 100% in music therapy but I've often wondered about starting a developmental center, an autism school or a therapy center. Maybe now is the time to take the first steps....

6. In the mean time, I've resorted to lots of craft time as a stress reliever. I need things to keep me busy and keep me from constantly turning things over in my head. I've scrapped a lot this past week or so. I've been knitting a bunch too. I'm super close to pulling out my flute and playing for fun.

7. Working with the Scrap for a Cure February kit right now. It's a lovely kit full of fun colors and great embellishments. Here are a couple of sneaks at what I've done so far with the kit:

The brad in the previous page is from my stash, as are the letters in this next one.

8. Trying a couple new recipes this week. Last night I made potato and lentil soup. It was yummy, but took longer than I anticipated to cook. Tonight I'll be trying this recipe for Sesame Noodles and Wednesday I'll make Cinnamon Spiced Moroccan Chicken for Shawn and will create some sort of moroccan inspired vegetarian dish for myself (I'll probably use similar ingredients and sub quinoa, couscous and/or chickpeas for the chicken). Thursday is Shawn's dinner night and Friday will likely be take out or burgers/veggie burgers.

9. Cruising the Help for Haiti shop at etsy. Love that so many people are donating items for this fundraiser.

10. Thinking about Valentine's day projects and crafties. Working on a little mini album with the above Scrap for a Cure kit. I'm also envisioning some heart banners and cute little cards. I'd better get crafting.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I got a lot done yesterday. I'd even say I was productive. But maybe not in the way I should have been productive. Did I clean? Nope. Meal plan and grocery shop? Nope. Work on my taxes? Yeah, right. Take the pile of stuff to Goodwill or Savers? Uh uh. I did do the laundry. 8 loads in fact. We have clean towels and clean sheets on the bed, so that's good.

So what else did I do with myself yesterday?

  • I read. Spent an hour and a half or so finishing this book before getting out of bed yesterday.
  • I uploaded some photos.
  • I printed some photos.
  • I printed this cute calendar from Ormolu.
  • I surfed online and got jealous of all the CHA posts.
  • Instant messaged with Jessie.
  • I made breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • I made oatmeal butterscotch cookies.
  • I knit about 8 rows on this sweater.
  • I watched The Notebook.
  • I scrapped. A lot. In fact, I pretty much used up my Orchestra kit from Studio Calico. This is good. You might recall I had a goal to "use it or lose it." So I was productive, right?

Here are the pages I finished:

Good thing I still have today to get some of my cleaning done. I've already dusted this morning in between photographing layouts, eating breakfast, meal planning and internet surfing. I'd best get off the computer and get the rest of my list done soon. I'm itching to scrap some more.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King "I have a dream"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Because I Need This

I'm trying really hard to stay happy and positive right now, so rather than discuss the stress and uncertainty that comes with the state of AZ cutting music therapy rates to an impossibly low amount, I have decided to post some things that are making me happy right now.

1. These fun polka dot glasses from Target. I only bought a set of 4, but I think I might need 4 more.

2. My new favorite yarn. My mom got me some of this (in red) for Christmas and I've already knit myself a cute little hat with it. I loved knitting with it so much, I searched the internet for a fabulous sale, found one here (sadly the sale is over but they still have a pretty good price on it) and bought 4 more skiens to play with. Now I'm debating about using for a cute little cardigan sweater (an ambitious project) or a fun scarf (a much easier project).

3. Soup. I'm loving soup. Here's the chicken and rice (for Shawn) and veggie and rice (for me) I made earlier this week.

Tonight I made broccoli and potato soup, which might be my new favorite, super easy and quick soup. Here's the recipe:

Broccoli and Potato Soup
olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 potato, cut into small chunks
3 cups broccoli, chopped
3 cups broth (I used vegetable)
1 cup cheese (I used gruyere because its easier on my stomach, but cheddar would be great)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in saucepan, add onion and cook till soft (about 5 minutes). Add broccoli, potato, broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil than cover and simmer until potatoes are soft (about 12 minutes). Puree in blender (or use a fancy immersion blender if you have one) with cheese until desired consistency.


4. Finished this book last week. I LOVED it. Julia Child had such a fabulous life. Such a fun read.

5. Scrapping. I actually scrapped a bit this week and I even used some of my kits. The first two use Studio Calico's Orchestra kit.

This one features the new kit, Whodonit and the super adorable Eloise.

I'm hoping to scrap some more tomorrow to keep my brain otherwise occupied.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Musings

I found this quote yesterday on design crush. It really is the perfect quote for me right now as my to do list is getting bigger and bigger by the moment. Right now I find myself wanting to redo all kinds of things, my house, my job, my finances, my wardrobe....big, unattainable (at least unattainable in the short term) goals. I need to remember this quote.

So lets take a look at today's potential. Today I am looking forward to a clean house (by the end of the day), some crafty time, some baking and more True Blood watching with Shawn. I was up bright and early this morning, so I've already done 3 loads of laundry and most of my internet surfing and to do's. I'm waiting for Shawn to wake up so I can get to vaccuming. I'm hoping to take a load of stuff to Savers to clear out some of the clutter. I must go get birthday cake ingredients for Shawn's pistachio cake, but I have already done the rest of my grocery shopping and meal planning for the week.

Our menu for the week looks like this:

Sun (last night)-butternut squash pasta casserole (I actually made half with squash and half with broccoli since Shawn is not a fan of butternut squash and I LOVE it)
Mon-steak for Shawn, mashed potatoes and salad (I will likely make something with the rest of my squash for me)
Tue-Shawn's birthday so we will likely go out to eat, but we'll have pistachio/chocolate cake
Wed-Chicken and brown rice soup (mine will be veggie and rice)
Thurs-Shawn's dinner night
Fri-brocolli and potato soup

Can you tell I'm in a soup mood. It's supposed to rain Wed, so it should be good soup weather. Speaking of food, there's a few recipes I've tried in the past month that I need to share. These have become some of my favorite recipes.

Moroccan Stuffed Squash I made this in two pots, making one with the meat for Shawn and one for me with chickpeas instead of ground beef. Really delicious!

Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew Super delicious!

Crispy Peanut Butter Treats
These come from Alicia Silverstone's Kind Diet book, which I would like to get. These are made with better for you ingredients and tast delicious. I highly recommend them.

Today I am hosting the Monday Challenge at Scrap for a Cure. The challenge is all about journaling. Create a page where journaling is the focus. Here's my page:

Here's another page I did about my 2010 goals. I used the January Sketch from SFAC created by Jana Eubank.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

10 Photos

Can you believe its only January 5th and I've already taken way more than 10 photos this year? Hooray for me and my take more photos goal. It helps that we've already been to a wedding and a picnic at the park. Hopefully I can keep this up throughout the year though.

So I bring you today's Tuesday 10, the first 10 of 2010, 10 photos from this year:

1. On Sunday I met my parents, sister, uncle, cousin and her kiddos at Railroad park for a little afternoon picnic. This is a park I grew up going to and it brought back lots of childhood memories. Here's my mom pushing Kaitlyn on the swings.

2. Kaitlyn is quite the dare devil and has absolutely no fear. She LOVED the slides.

3. She was very adamant about riding the "horses" on the carousel, her mom, well not so much. So she was allowed one ride. This was taken before we started spinning.

4. Here's Mr. Chase. He's usually all smiles and laughter, but as soon as I would point the camera at him he'd get all serious.

5. My mom took this photo of us before we took off on the train. By the way, see the top I'm wearing? I knit that :)

6. On Saturday one of Shawn's best friends got married. Here's their lovely cake.

7. They got married at a little garden event place called Boojum Tree, that I never even knew existed. It was lovely. The ceremony was in front of this fountain.

8. I didn't have the best vantage point for getting photos during the ceremony, but here's one I like.

9. This photo is very shadowy and there's a branch or something in front of Shawn's face, but look, he's smiling!

10. So, technically this photo was taken in 2009. But I really wanted to share. Here's our little new year's eve spread. I went a little overboard with the appetizers and munchies for just Shawn and I, but it was all delicious. Here we have cranberry stilton with sesame crackers; date, fig and ricotta bruschetta; green apple, brie and honey bruschetta; olives, spinach and ricotta stromboli and salami, prosciutto and provolone stromboli. Yum!

Here's to taken more photos in 2010!

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, New Goals

Though I'm not much of a "resolution" girl, I do usually like to set goals for the new year and pick my word for the year. After much deliberation and tossing around of words, I finally settled on the word CREATE for this year. I mean create in a much broader way than just creating art and crafts. While I of course want to create art and handmade items, I also want to create meaningful moments and memories, create new experiences and adventures, create life (hopefully) and create a healthy, happy and peaceful mindset everyday. My plan for the year is to infuse this word into my life and remember to create something new and meaningful each day.

Since it's 2010, I figure setting 10 goals for the year is a good idea. So here's my 10 for 2010:

1. Exercise more. I seem to have this goal every year and do better some months than others. I'm far from a sedentary person, but I do not have a good regular exercise routine. I hope to settle into one this year.

2. Reduce debt. This is a long term goal I've had for awhile, but I'm hoping to make more progress this year. While I'm not really a big spender, I do need to pay more attention to some of the little purchases I make throughout the month as they tend to add up. I'm also playing catch up with things like school loans and self employment tax payments, which means I have way more debt than I'd like to have.

3. Start a family. I've wanted this for awhile, but I'm crossing my fingers that this is our year. I am afraid though that this goal might negate goal #2 a bit, especially given our lack of maternity insurance coverage.

4. Decrease clutter and simplify our house. This may be my biggest challenge for the year. If you've met my husband and seen our house, you know how much of an uphill battle I have in front of me. But, there are many projects that are all mine. I am holding on to all kinds of old school and work stuff that I could get rid of. I need to improve my work and household filing system. I have lots of little projects stacked up that once completed would definitely declutter things. Of course, I could always purge a few crafty items, but we all know I'd just acquire more.

5. Stay current or at least not fall too far behind with my paperwork. This is an annual goal as well. Its so hard to make the extra time to get all my paperwork done when a)nobody read them and b)I work in the field all day long and the last thing I want to do during my "free time" is busywork. Unfortunately though, I must do this paperwork and I tend to let it go until it becomes such a headache and almost unmanageable. I would like to stay on top of it this year.

6. Finish projects. I have so many in progress projects. I would feel so much better if I could check a few of these off my list. This might mean I need to say "no" to a few things and get off the darn computer so that I can find the time to work on some of these projects.

7. Take more photos. Another goal I seem to set every year. I don't take enough photos, especially photos of daily life. I need to make more of an effort to get that camera out and use it.

8. Use it up. I'm a big stock piler of products and projects. I have WAY TOO MUCH scrap stuff, yarn, crafty projects, magazines, untried recipes, etc. My plan this year is to use it or lose it. See goal #4 and goal #6.

9. Give myself permission to relax. I really have been much better at doing this. 2009 was all about balance and I did my best to balance my time and make sure I made some me time. I hope to continue this trend throughout 2010, despite my above goals about getting more done :)

10. Think about my professional life. Set goals for the future. I love my job, but there is so much more I'd like to do. I have big dreams professionally, but haven't thought much about how to make them happen. I have personal goals that may effect my professional life (like goal #3) but I want to spend some time this year mapping out some manageable professional goals and ideas.

Here are my first Scrap for a Cure layouts for 2010. This month's kit, Romantique, on the surface is really not my style and a bit girlie, but I found myself creating pages quite quickly and loving the flowers and butterflies.

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