Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!!

 Hello Sweet Friends!

I hope you are enjoying a gorgeous, sunny Easter where you are.  We actually celebrated with my family yesterday, so we could travel back today and get organized before life starts again tomorrow.  : )  This past week has been a whirlwind of activity: we visited 4 different colleges, bought a prom dress, and saw a Broadway show.  And then Christy and I hosted Easter dinner yesterday.  It was a full, wonderful week.  I promise to share all the details as soon as I get my bags unpacked!  :)



Friday, March 22, 2013

Five for Friday

This article about bringing holidays down a notch had me nodding my head in agreement.  (And yes, I know I am guilty of setting the bar really high for silly holidays.  BUT, as I embrace "Less", I find myself agreeing more and more with John:  every little holiday is not an excuse to spend lots of money on gifts.)

Speaking of "Less", this stunning 500-square-foot apartment has me dreaming of a cute little house built just for John and I.  (It goes without saying that, I am not giving up my 4 bathrooms until there are no longer 4 teenagers living under our roof!).

I am so inspired by these two women's Project Life layouts.  They are so dreamy.

Speaking of inspired, this woman's quest to slash her family's food bills has me itching to try it, too.  It would take discipline and a lot of prep work, but I think I'm going to try it in April.  Stay tuned.

I just reserved this book at the library.  Can't wait to read it.

Have a happy weekend, friends!  The girls and I are heading down to Chicago later today to go Prom dress shopping.  (So excited!!!!!)



PS  How gorgeous is that picture above?  I totally want that photo of the paints.  It's color perfection.   Want one?  It's going to be on sale later today in Meg's shop.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What I Made Wednesday: Spring Wreath {From the Archives}

Hello Friends!
I am knee-deep working on picture boards for Robin's moms' funeral tomorrow, so I thought I'd pull a project out of the archives to share on this week's What I Made Wednesday.    Today is officially the first day of spring, although you would never know it here in Wisconsin.  It is 8 degrees out right now.  Eight!  Anyway, I'm going to put this wreath up today, anyway.  I am so ready for spring and warmer weather!!   I made this wreath 2 years ago and blogged about it here.  Did you know I used to blog over at So Very Vicki?  If not, feel free to go check it out.  
This wreath was a little labor-intensive, but not difficult.  Each flower took me about 10 minutes to make.  I followed a wonderfully fantastic tutorial over on Craft Snob to learn how to make the flowers.  The original tutorial is no longer up on their site, but here is a new one that shows you the steps I took to make my flowers.  
A couple of reminders:  hot glue is *extremely* hot!  Use extra care!  I seem to remember burning 8 out of 10 fingers making these flowers.  Also, by the time you are done wrapping your wreath form you will be covered in burlap fuzz.  Seriously. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  : )
Okay, Mother Nature, I've got my spring wreath hanging on the door--it's time for you to do your part.

Have you made anything fun lately?



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Project Life {March 11-17}

 Hi Friends!

Woo-Hoo!  I'm caught up!  I love the flexibility of Project Life--it's not hard to go back and complete weeks, but I'm not going to lie, I like being all caught up better.  I feel like I capture all the little moments way better when I'm not trying to remember what happened during the week.  For the first part of last week, I was playing catch up from my trip to Chicago.  By the end of the week, we managed to fit in all kinds of fun.
My sweet friend, Robin, lost her mom, Dar, to ALS while I was away.  I had the pleasure of getting to know Dar during the past 6 months while I was over cleaning her house with Robin.  Dar was brave;  ALS is a horrible, terrible disease.  I hope that Robin can take comfort in knowing that her mom is in a place where breathing and dancing and talking are all once again possible.  I never know what to do when someone dies, so I defaulted to what I always do:  I baked and baked and baked.  Robin's brothers came into town over the weekend, and I thought she might like to have some ready-made dessert to serve them.
On Friday night, John and I had a date night over at Amy and Bob's. (That's their fabulous puppy, Ozzy, above.  Isn't he adorable?!?) We had pizza and watched a movie--date night perfection!  Robin and her husband, Terry, joined us for a bit, which was nice.  On Saturday, the kids and I (minus Raffi--she was at a birthday party) went to see Oz; the Great and Powerful (very good!), and then went to Cherry Berry for frozen yogurt and pick-your-own-toppings (awesome!).  It was a fun little outing.  Other highlights of the week included receiving my March Project Life kit in the mail, as well as the kit that goes with my This is Me class.  I can't wait to start that class!  We also found out that my beloved Illini got a 7th seed in the NCAA Tournament.  I can't wait for all the March Madness to begin on Thursday!

What were you up to last week?

Thanks for stopping by and looking at yet another Project Life layout this week.  : )



PS I'm linking up with Jessica over at The Mom Creative:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Project Life {March 4-10}


Two Project Life posts in one day?!?  Hooray!  Here's March 4-10's layout, aka the Weekend in Chicago with the Nephews spread.  You'll notice that there's 3 pictures of Christy's dog in this layout and no pictures of my dog (or John, Jack, Emily, or Raffi for that matter).  Oh well, at least Maddie's in there, right?  And my mom and dad, and Tom and Tommy!
That week was all about getting ready for the trip to Chicago, and being in Chicago, so that's what I captured for the most part.  There were lots of pink pops in my pictures this week, so I decided to go pink and aqua with my spread.
I also dug out my little word stickers.  I love those.  I should use them more often.  I love that the date card from the Seafoam edition goes perfectly with this spread.  I used my "I Love" stamp, a wooden veneer, lots of aqua washi tape, a few pieces of flair from here and here, and my favorite little dots, and voila!  Another week in the book!

Now I'm off to print off last week's pictures so I can be all caught up.



Project Life {February 25-March 3}

 Hi Friends!

The best part of having nothing on the calendar for an entire weekend:  lots of time to play (& catch up) with Project Life.  I fell behind a bit due to the big "Cornea Tear of 2013" a few weeks ago. Have you ever torn your cornea?  Holy cow!  It hurts!  Needless-to-say, blogging and crafting went down to a minimum that week.
The big highlight of February 25-March 3 was the high school's Solo & Ensemble contest, which took place on Saturday.  All three girls participated, and I volunteered by working concessions, so it was a big day.  The girls all did really well, and it was fun to hear each of them play.  Emily got a "1*" on her solo, so she will play it again at State.  She was pretty darn excited!  Raffi got a "1" on her solo, which is incredible since she just started playing the String Bass in September.  Raffi arrived already knowing how to play the guitar and electric bass, and she has done a fabulous job making the transition to String Bass.  Besides the solos, there were plenty of ensembles that day, too.  Maddie joined up with two friends from orchestra and played a fun trio.  Emily played a duet with her friend, Sophie, (below in black), and a trio with two friends from band.  I did a fantastic job selling hot dogs with my wonky red right eye.  : )
I spent a great deal of time that week working on sorting out my craft room.  I ended up filling a HUGE container with supplies I felt I could live without.  I gave them all to one of my favorite crafty swimmers.  She was thrilled!  I sorted and labeled everything that was left.  I now know everything that I have, and I am recommitted to using it up!  : )



Friday, March 15, 2013

Five For Friday

Can what you wear make you happy?  My sister would totally agree with this article.

One of my rock star swimmers mentioned me in this article. (Blushing!)

I am taking this online class in April.  Can't wait!

I plan on using a bunch of these on our Easter table.

A great article about living with less

I do love a good foot rub

Have a fabulous weekend, sweet friends!



PS  I know there are actually six links above, but "Six for Friday" didn't have the same ring to it, and I couldn't decide which link to cut.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


eating a gluten-free muffin-in-a-minute with strawberries.

feeling happy that Emily is sitting by me.
wishing that she wasn't sitting by me because she is home sick.
loving the sunshine streaming through the windows.
incredibly grateful that I can stay home and be with my kids when they need me.
dreaming about a weekend away with John.  We need to make that happen.
planning an adventure with Jack on Saturday.
excited about upcoming Spring Break adventures.
still deciding on what to serve for Easter dinner.  Christy and I are co-hostessing!
thrilled to be co-hostessing Easter dinner with Christy.  It's going to be fabulous!
praying for my friend, Robin, who lost her mom this week.
watching an old episode of Parenthood.  Emily is newly-addicted.
soaking up the sunshine.

What's up with you today?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Weekend With The Nephews

 Hi Sweet Friends!

Check out that shot of my fabulous nephew, Money.  My sister adopted him a few months ago, and let me tell you, he has turned her world up-side-down, in the very best way!  Christy headed out of town this weekend and left him in my care.  I knew I was the woman for the job, after all, I have raised three kids and been a dog owner for the past 20 years.  But just to be sure, I asked Maddie to come along with me to help out.  : )
Oh, friends!  He is just the sweetest thing!  I fell completely head-over-heels in love with him this weekend.  He was so good for Maddie and I as we bumbled through following all his rules and routines.  He was very patient with us.  The getting dressed process (that Christy makes look easy) took us much longer than he is used to.
I think we only broke a few rules this weekend.  Hopefully, we didn't cause any permanent damage.  : )  I found out Christy doesn't let him eat his dinner on the couch:
 Or build a nest out of all of her blankets and pillows:
We also had quite a debate over whether or not he was allowed to drink out of puddles.  He was adamant that Christy lets him.  I wasn't too sure.  He won the argument every time.   He was such a trooper, and as long as the cookies kept coming, there were no complaints.
 Oh!  And lest you think I've forgotten my other nephews, here's a great shot of them with Maddie:
They look thrilled about getting their picture taken, don't they?!? Look at Dolce's face!   : )

In between the dog and kitty-sitting, we got to celebrate mom and dad's birthdays:

And go to one of Tom's concerts:
It was an awesome weekend all the way around!!

Thanks, Christy, for trusting your awesome boys to us!  We loved being with all three of your sweet boys!



Saturday, March 2, 2013

What I Read {February 2013}

Hi Friends!

Oh my gosh, I read so many awesome books in February!  In fact, I'd highly recommend all but the first one.  The other five are simply brilliant! 

 Here's what I read in February:

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, Emma Straub (2 1/2 out of 4 stars).  This book was good, but never quite got to the point where it was excellent.  It's about a young girl who leaves Wisconsin (Door County!) to become a Hollywood actress. I really, really wanted to fall in love with Laura, but in the end I found I just didn't care about her very much.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt (4 stars).  I LOVED this book about love and family and the things we do for those we love.  When June's beloved uncle, Finn, dies of AIDS, she finds herself forming a fragile friendship with his partner, Toby.  It's a book about discovering the truth and putting aside misconceptions.  This book is so well-written and incredibly tender.
Frances & Bernard, Carlene Bauer (4 stars).  Oh!  I loved this book!  Two complex characters build a relationship entirely through letters.  Neither character is without flaws, but they seem to bring out the best in each other, until they can't anymore.  Beautifully written. Frances and Bernard left me with lots to think about.
The Death of Bees, Lisa O'Donnell (4 stars).  This is an excellent book, friends.  When Marnie and Nelly's mom and dad die, they decide to bury them in the backyard and move on with their lives.  It doesn't take long for the girls to discover that they need help.  Help comes in the form of their elderly neighbor, Lennie, who takes them under his wing and teaches them what "family" really means.  I loved this book and its wonderful characters.
Birds of a Lesser Paradise, Megan Mayhew Bergman (4 stars).  Oh my gosh!  I loved these short stories!  Each story was a mini masterpiece.  I would have loved to read novel-length versions of each one, they were that good.
The Dinner, Herman Koch (3 1/2 stars).  The Dinner is a page-turner, for sure.  I just couldn't help myself from plowing through this book just to find out what happened next.  Over the course of a dinner at a posh restaurant, we get to see just how far one family will go to protect one of its own.  Well-written and full of nice plot twists.

Have you read any good books lately?  I'd love to see your recommendations!



Friday, March 1, 2013

I Choose {March 2013}

Hellllloooo, March!  I can't believe you are here already!  It's time to set some new goals and check in on how February's goals went.

In February, I choose to:

Purge my craft room and donate things I know I will never use.  Check Plus!  I am 95% done with this, and have a HUGE container of craft supplies ready to give to one of my favorite artsy swimmers.  I have reorganized and labeled all of my supplies in hopes that I will continue to use them up.  It was good for me to touch things and see what I have and get donate what I knew I wouldn't use.

Clean all my junk out of John's garage.  Hmm.  I'd give myself a B on this--I was really motivated to do this  before John got home, and I managed to clear out quite a bit, but I still have things to get out of John's space.

Continue on the "no clothing or shoes" track.  We still don't need anything.  Seriously this time.  I did buy the girls a couple of things when we went to Madison, but nothing outside of the budget.  I'll call this a draw.

Make it 4/4 weeks with only 2 grocery store trips per week.  Fail.  I really need to get better at this.  I don't know how my mom manages to only go once a week.  I will continue to work on this goal, because I know I would use things up more if I didn't go and replenish so much each week. 

Plan 5 under $10 outings--one with John and one with each of the kids.  Fail.  This didn't get done this month.  I will try again in March.

In March I choose to:

Cut down the grocery store trips by planning out (and sticking to) my weekly menu.

Plan 5 $10 outings.  One-on-one time is so important.

Plan one meal out of the freezer each week.  It's time to use all those leftovers!

Stay on budget during my two Chicago trips this month.  (This will be hard, but I know I can do it!!)

What are you choosing to do this month?

Hooray for March and (hopefully) the beginning of spring.  I'm so ready for you, March!




enjoying having the kiddos off from school today.
listening to Emily and Sophie practice their duet for tomorrow's solo & ensemble contest.
baking chocolate chip cookies for the judges at tomorrow's solo & ensemble contest.
thrilled about the report from Jack's teacher at today's conference.
bummed that I scratched my cornea again.  Oy!  The pain!  The tears!  The fact that I can't wear my contacts for a week! 
looking forward to dog sitting for Money while Christy is away. Only one more week!
making spaghetti and garlic bread for dinner.
resisting the urge to go buy season 3 of Downton Abbey.  I am beyond obsessed.  I tried to watch it online last night, but it kept buffering every 3 minutes.  Seriously annoying.  
organizing my craft room.  I am totally streamlining the whole thing and getting ready to give away a HUGE box of supplies that I no longer need.
eating lots and lots of sea-salt almonds.
loving my soda stream.  I drink way more bubbly water now that I can make it any time I want.
craving an outdoor bike ride.  I love spin class, but I can't wait to get out on the road again.
thinking about my summer swim team.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a waiting list this summer.  Which is a good and bad thing.  I'd had to turn anyone away, but I don't think I can fit everyone in.

What's going on with you today?