Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Workspace Wednesday

 Hi Friends,

I took a few weeks off from Workspace Wednesday, but that doesn't mean I haven't been down in my craft room creating magic.  Right now I am knee-deep into shower planning.  I absolutely can not believe that my friends have kids old enough to get married, but it's true, and I couldn't be more excited!  Bridal showers are so fun, aren't they?  They are definitely one of life's happy events.  I am going full-out girlie-girl with the color scheme for this shower--pinks, coral, and gold.  We are doing a brunch, so that opens the door to all kinds of fun menu items.  I just love the little flowers on the invites:
I am definitely going to be recreating those flowers in the decorations.  I will be sure to post plenty of photos from the shower after it happens.



Friday, April 18, 2014

Open Letter to The University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dear University of Wisconsin-Madison,

Congratulations on your outstanding incoming class of 2018!  Some of my very favorite graduating seniors are heading to your campus in the fall, not least of which is my daughter, Emily.  As a proud Big Ten alumna, I couldn't be happier with her choice.  I already know that Emily will make you proud.  She's going to bring her smarts and talents and light up your campus--just you wait and see!

Emily is completely ready to head to college.  Like most parents, I am both excited and nervous for her.  I desperately want her undergraduate experience to be wonderful.  I know I can't make that happen for her.  I know she will have to do that for herself.  I'm hoping that you'll help her, though.  To that end, I've put together a few requests:

Challenge her daily.  Help her to find success in the classroom, but also a few failures.  Help her to learn that all good things are worth fighting for, especially a college degree.  Help her to learn how to ask for help. Surround her with opportunities to learn from people who are nothing like her.  Help her to find peers who feel familiar.  Force her to try new things.   Help her to see things in new ways.  Challenge her beliefs. Remind her not to squander the opportunity you have given her to receive a degree from an outstanding university. Help her grow into adulthood.  Provide enough fun moments that she will look back at her four years in Madison with a warm-fuzzy feeling.  Force her take some classes that are out of her comfort zone, specifically: Ballroom Dance.   Send her far away to learn new things in a different culture.  Make sure she knows she has a home on your campus.  Instill in her a pride for her Big Ten education.  Teach her how to Dougie.  Provide enough bitter days that she will truly appreciate the beauty of a spring by Lake Mendota. Build in successes.  Put her in classes with people who are smarter than her.  Give her a few classes that just feel easy.  Offer her experiences that help her know she has picked the right career path.  Keep her busy. Give her enough time to just sit on the quad and take it all in. Allow her to make mistakes.  Teach her that there are consequences for mistakes.  Help her find places where she can be a leader.  Help her find places where she can follow other great leaders.  Teach her that a college education is a privilege, not a right, and remind her that thousands of people would do anything to trade places with her.  Make her feel like she is part of something special.  Remind her that she is just one of many.  Remind her to stay true to who she is.  Force her to stay up all night every now and then.  Remind her that she doesn't know it all.  Remind her that she knows a lot.  Let her know that from the moment she steps on campus the clock is ticking, and her four years will go by in the blink of an eye.  Let her experience moments of complete joy and bitter disappointment.  Teach her that life is filled with both.  Let her know it's okay to change her mind.  Let her get away with one, but not too many. Reinforce the idea that hard work is the only way she's going to succeed.

University of Wisconsin, I hope you will be so awesome that Emily will want to put a Bucky Badger sticker on the back of every car she owns for the rest of her life.  Be awesome, University of Wisconsin, and be there for her. She's something special.  With your help, I know she can make magic.


Vicki Terlap

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Big Honkin' List of Happy Things

1.  I had the best, and I mean the best weekend up north with my friend, Tricia.  We laughed and talked and talked and scrapped and talked and scrapped.  It was exactly what I needed. I'm kinda-sorta in love with Fort Wilderness.  The setting is perfection, and the staff is top-notch.
2.  John's parents are back in Wisconsin!  We won't get to see them until next weekend, but it's always great knowing they are near once again.
3.  I spent two hours working in my strawberry bed yesterday.  It felt unbelievably wonderful to be outside in the sunshine.
4.  It's opening night!  Emily's last show as sound crew manager opens tonight.  It's also Maddie's first show as stage manager.  I am so thankful that both girls found such a special place to call their "home away from home."
5.  My parents are coming up for the weekend!  I have packed the weekend full of fun activities (including going to the girl's show tomorrow night).
6.  The lady in front of me paid for my chai latte this morning because I let her go in front of me in line.  Kindness for the win!
7.  The very last of our snow disappeared on Tuesday afternoon.  Hooray for spring!
8.  I have a meeting with next year's captains this afternoon.  It's time to start planning for the fall!
9.  I have a waiting list for my summer swim team.  What?!?
10.  I found my favorite laundry detergent at the store the other day.  I hadn't been able to find it anywhere for the last four months or so--I thought it was gone forever.

What's making you happy today?


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Words to Live By

I'm off to be creative for an entire weekend.
Life is good!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

From the Archives {Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies}

Hi Friends,

Happy April Fool's Day!  I didn't plan any April Fool's Day pranks, but Maddie sure did--she went off to school today with a pack of Oreos stuffed with toothpaste.  Yuck and yuck.  In honor of Maddie's prank, I dug out a much better way to use Oreos from my blog archives.  I used to bake cookies to send overseas to a friend serving in Afganistan.  They all loved these Oreo-stuffed Chocolate Chip cookies.  Enjoy!

Hi Friends!
Feel like baking today?  Well, have I got a recipe for you!  Last week I spent a whole bunch of time in the kitchen being a baking goddess.  Whenever I bake for the troops, I try to take into consideration what will travel well and taste good once it arrives (it usually takes around 2 weeks for packages to arrive).  Things like lemon bars and other gooey/soft things don’t ship as well as cookies and chocolate covered pretzels.  I always send a big batch of my *famous* chocolate chip cookies (because everybody likes good old American chocolate chip cookies, right?!?), but this time I decided to make some stuffed chocolate chip cookies, too.  I’m not sure who came up with the idea of wrapping two chocolate chip cookies around an Oreo cookie, but I’m pretty sure whoever it was is pretty much a baking goddess, too.  : )  These cookies are not for the faint of heart–they’re literally a triple-decker cookie wrapped into one.  On the other hand, if you’re serving our country in the middle of a desert in Afghanistan, you probably deserve a big treat every now and again, right?  : )
Here’s a peak at the inside:
I pulled three of these big boys aside and put them in the cookie jar for my kids.  I didn’t tell them about the Oreo hidden inside.  Of course, they were kind of stunned (and delighted) at the sheer size of the cookie, and then they were a little puzzled about why there was an Oreo in the  middle.  The stuffed cookies got a bunch of thumbs up, and now everyone is requesting all kinds of other things to be stuffed inside.  John wants me to try a clump of peanut butter next.  I’m not sure how that will hold up, but I’m willing to give it a try. 
Want to make your own?  Here’s my *famous* chocolate chip recipe, which you can just make on its own if you’d like.
Vicki’s Super-Good Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat oven to 375
In your mixer bowl, combine:
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
1 C. butter flavored Crisco
Beat on high for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. 
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat for 2 more minutes.
In a separate bowl,  combine:
2 1/4 C flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
Add flour mixture slowly to sugar mixture.  Once all the flour is in, beat the whole mixture for about a minute.
Stir in  1/2 bag of chocolate chips and 1/2 bag of mini chocolate chips.
Drop by scoopfuls (I use my Pampered Chef medium scoop) onto greased cookie sheets.
Bake 9-11 minutes until golden brown.  Let cookies sit on sheet for 2 minutes after you take them out of the oven.  Remove to cooling racks.
Now, if you want to make the stuffed version, you make the dough, scoop out two balls and gently mold them around an Oreo cookie.  I kind of pinched the ends together until they were sealed.  It took a few extra minutes to bake the stuffed cookies.  Plan on 11-13 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Enjoy the yummy goodness, friends!
Happy Baking!

Monday, March 31, 2014

One Little Word {Commit}

"Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do 
long after the mood you said it in has left you."  --Trent Shelton

Hi Friends,

Month three of "commit" is done.  Overall, I think March went better than February.  I'm still finding "commit" to be an extremely challenging word.  The hardest part is the fact that it's so black & white (or maybe that's the easiest part?).  The best part about March was all the dedicated and deliberate one-on-one John time.  He frequently reminded me that it was "John month."  : )

Here's how I did in March:

1.  This month I want to focus on John.  I'd like to find some intentional one-on-one time with him each week in March.  Yes!!  We had several dates this month and it was awesome!  John loved "John Month".  I'm sure he will be sorry to see it go.  : )
2.  Two full-family game nights in March.  Nope.  :(  I will try this again in April.
3.  Call my parents once a week.  I called and even visited in March.  I need to sneak in a call today to get credit for the last week of March.  : )

1.  Stay strict on the nutrition plan.  Yes.  Except while I was in Chicago and one random Tuesday that it all went out the window for the day.
2.  CrossFit four times a week.  Yes.  Except while I was in Chicago.

1.  Record all expenditures.  Yes
2. Come in under budget.  No

1.  Spend time working on Script School at least an hour each week.  Practice makes better.  No.  Script School went by the wayside this month.  I will get it all back out in April.
2.  Stay current on Project Life.  Yes

Here are my April goals:

1.  After dinner family walks.  It finally (!) looks like spring has arrived in Wisconsin (although we still have a lot of snow in our yard).  We took our first after dinner family walk last night, and it was awesome.  Buster is completely worn out today, but he loved ever minute of yesterday's walk. 
2.  Two family game nights.  I really want to make this happen this month.

1.  CrossFit four times per week.
2.  Eat clean.
3.  Sign up for a yoga class with John.

1.  Record all expenditures.
2.  Come in on budget.

1.  Make big progress on Mom and Dad's photo albums.
2. Host two creative get-togethers.

Every time I write out my monthly goals I feel positive that they are completely attainable.  I'm shooting for 100% in April. Wish me luck!