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Monday, December 30, 2013

Review and Renew

T-minus two days and counting until the new year! 
I always get so excited and full of ideas and motivation around this time of year.  All those thoughts creeping in about what I'd like to improve, change or work on in my life.  And all the possibilities of what will fill up that blank calendar.

Normally I would do some sort of Resolutions post about now, but I sat down to review my 101 in 1001 List and realized that there are few things I would add to it at this point.  Between my 101 and my Word for the Year (more on that in a couple of days!) I think I'm headed in a really good direction and am looking forward to making some progress and having some fun in the year ahead.

My 101 in 1001 as it looks now:
Start date: Monday, January 21, 2013
End Date: Monday, October 19, 2015

1 - Hit goal weight
2 -Get my flexibility back
3 -Make exercise part of my weekly routine (working out fairly regularly by Summer 2013)
4 -Gradually edit/add to wardrobe until I love everything in it and how it makes me look.  Then resolve only to buy things I LOVE
5 -Make wearing make-up a habit
6 -Make wearing jewelry a habit
7 -Buy a pair of really cute and COMFY boots (Done! Sept 2013)
8 -Find my best beauty routine
9 -Buy a really great peacoat/trench
10 -NO eating out for one month
11 -Take vitamins
12 -Find out my blood type (I’m sure I did at some point but I can’t remember it!)

For Fun:
13 -plan a really great Halloween costume, for once
14 -make it to Midnight on New Year’s Eve (shooting for that tomorrow night! ;)  )
15 -take at least one big family vacation per year (in addition to visiting family in Utah)
(one down Feb 2013 Disney World)
16 -take the kids camping
17 -take the kids sledding (winter trip to Utah?)
18 -do something fun/social/girly at least once per month (12/33)
19-21 -visit some of the places we are only likely to visit while we are living here.  Complete at least 3 of the following:
                -Myrtle Beach
                -Colonial Williamsburg
                -New York City
                -Washington DC
                -Blue Ridge Highway during the Fall
                -Outer Banks
22 -go to Disney World (completed Feb 2013)
23 -take a class for fun (dance, cooking, photography, etc)
24 -try 10 new restaurants (8/10)
25 -visit a restaurant that has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (well we found a Food Network featured chocolate shop in Logan June 2013 – still going to try to do a Triple D restaurant though)
26 -get the kids a puppy (St Patrick’s Day 2013)
27 -invite friends/neighbors over for dinner (May 2013 – so fun!)
28 -pick a book/series and read it as a family (the kids got Percy Jackson series for Christmas and Kaitlyn is excited to make that our family reading book)
29 -go to a concert
30 -go berry picking (may 2013)
31 -ice skating
32 -Disney on Ice (Dec 2013)
33 -go horseback riding (Utah trip 2013)
34 -go boating (Utah Trip 2013)
35 -do something ridiculous and outrageous (We all did the Color Run! (Sept 2013)

36 -call Wyatt at least 1/month (11/33)
37-call Bonnie at least 1/month (5/33)
38 -go on a “date” with Sam at least once a month (day dates count!) (12/33)
39 -institute regular one on one or dates with the kids
 -write an I love you letter to:
43 -make a new friend  (or two or three!)
44 -send happy mail to someone at least once a month (0/12)
45 -plan something great for our 15th Anniversary
46 -weekend away with Sam, without kids (Anniversary Inn/Logan July 2013)
47 -go to a movie with Sam (I know, I know – it’s harder than it looks!  We rarely get babysitters and when we do there is rarely a movie out that we both want to see)

48 -gain a working knowledge of Photoshop
49 -practice taking photos 3 times per week for at least a month
50 -take family photos once a month for a year (1/12)
51 -start scrapbooking again
52 -then COMPLETELY finish an entire scrapbook
53 -go totally manual with the camera and be comfortable with it
54 -read Exposures book all the way through
55 -some sort of crafty time with someone else at least every other month (10/16)
56 -make something visual to remind me of my Word for the Year
57 -make at least 10 of the items I have pinned on Pinterest (let's see... pallet pumpkins, Give Thanks board, turquoise painted furniture, Halloween door swags and witch sign, candy cane wreaths, football/university theme wreath, teacher appreciation cards, patching holes in kids' jeans, birthday and thank you cards, glue gun holders...hey that's 10 right there!  Let's try another 10 for this year)
58 -find a piece of thrift store furniture and refinish it (wing chairs April 2013 – now to find time to recover them!)
59 -take some of the photos from my Photo Idea List (ie: Kaitlyn in my wedding gown, a single location during each season (tree-lined highway or that swampy area down the road), bokeh with Christmas lights background, Tyler in superman shirt)

"Work" and Money Related:
 -grow the blog
                60 -consistant and regular blog posts (let’s say at least 2 per week)
                61 -work on SEO and tags
                62 -comment on other blogs a lot more
                63 -link parties (at least 2 per week?)
64 -write up a few of my crochet patterns and list on Etsy
65 -pay off all debt (except house and maybe truck.  Hopefully the truck too, but let’s be realistic)
66 -start savings accounts for the kids
67 -take the leap and start doing a few photo sessions for profit
68 -set up a better accounting system for Etsy

Because I need to:
69 -organize and back up photos
70 -re-do recipe binder
71 -complete at least 5 Random Acts of Kindness
72 -surprise someone
73 -continue Project 365/52
74 -update kids’ journal files
75 -give the kids more regular chores, have them help more around the house (started new chores May 2013 and it’s working great!)
76 -work up menus list (at least 6 weeks’ worth for both Summer and Winter)
77 -complete at least 10 projects that have been on my perpetual To Do list for a long time (0/10 hmm...where did I put that list?)
78 -make annual Spring Cleaning list and complete it (a reasonable list, not an insane list!)
79 -try 10 new recipes (5/10)
80 -update IPOD (especially playlist for working out)
81 -find a technology recycling place and drop off the broken TV
82 -stock the garage freezer(totally full of meat and GS cookies! Lol 9/2013)
83 -get a new cell phone
84 -re-evaluate and make decision on TV/cell/internet services
85 -declutter the craft table then make a point of doing it every day before bed and right after finishing a project for an entire month (then hopefully it becomes a habit) (0/31)
86 -don’t go to bed with dirty dishes in sink or on counter for an entire month (again – hopefully a habit after that!) (0/31)
87 -finish 72 hour kits and emergency prep
88 -go to the eye doctor

For the House:
-fill in some of the empty space in the living room.  At least:
                89 -something on the walls
                90 -console table (Nov 2013)
                91 -ottoman(s)
92 -print, frame and display family photos
93 -furniture for front porch (Mother’s Day 2013)
94 -plant flowers every Spring (2013 check!)
95 -finish decorating Tyler’s room
96 -make centerpiece for the dining table for all the big holidays/seasons (Spring, Fall, Christmas, everyday)
97 -throw pillows for the couch
98 -rug for entry
99-blinds for living room and craft room (Dec 2013)
100 -Kaitlyn’s room:  bulletin board and lamp (10/2013)
101 -lamps for master bedroom

So I'm interested...what are you thinking about for the New Year?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Elf Antics 2013

 The kids were so happy to have our elves arrive on schedule (December 1) again this year (in a box from the post office - trying to break out).  They got welcome hugs and a lecture from Tyler warning that this year we have a puppy and they had better watch out that they don't find themselves somewhere she could chew on them in the morning.
Dec 2 - being new to the dog thing, they thought the container on the counter must be cookies.  Nope - icky dog biscuits.
Dec 3 - must have angered the plastic Army Guys as we found them tied up/trapped under a vase and surrounded by the entire Army Guy collection
Dec 4 - toilet papered the Christmas tree
 Dec 5 - saw that we had decorated Tyler's door with balloons, so they added some crepe paper decorations of their own for him to wake up to on his birthday.
Dec 6 - helped feed the dog
Dec 7 - built their own swings (yarn and TP rolls) and were swinging from the ceiling fan, along with a paper chain countdown
Dec 8 - fishing for goldfish in the bathroom sink
Dec 9 - making copies of themselves on the printer

Dec 10 - brought Tyler a Cars theme Monopoly game and were playing it in his room with some of his toys
Dec 11 - Kaitlyn's turn for a new game.  The elves brought her a Hello Kitty (Trouble style) one and were playing it in her room with some of her toys.
Dec 12 - making Smores by the fireplace
Dec 13 - found them behind a chair in the sunroom, right next to the kennel teasing the dog
Dec 14 - in the garage roller skating and riding bikes.  They had even set up a little ramp for tricks.

Dec 15 - elf kissing booth with Barbies lined up to get (Hershey's peppermint) Kisses
Dec 16 - stuck outside on the front porch peeking in the window while perched on the candy cane wreath
Dec 17 - built snowmen out of mini powdered donuts
Dec 18 - made the kids lunches and packed them in their backpacks.  The lunches included a note from the elves, some elf style lunchbox jokes, snowman shaped Nutella sandwiches, chips (with snowflake sprinkles in the bags), chocolate milk, and sugar cookie flavor Pop Tarts for snack time (the kids were excited to point out that there were pictures printed onto the icing)
Dec 19 - paper sack race with some of the toys/stuffed animals

Dec 20 - hid candy canes around the house and wrote a note asking the kids if they could find them
Dec 21 - brought us a cotton candy machine (we had been to Disney on Ice the night before and didn't spring for the $10 cotton candy)
Dec 22 - guess they figured they needed some exercise.  We found them on the yoga mat with Tinsel trapped under the hand weights and Twinkle tangled in the exercise bands.
Dec 23 - brought a new puzzle and had started putting it together
And Dec 24 the kids are predicting the elves with forego the antics and instead write them a goodbye note and let them know if they made it to the Nice List! 
Do you think they made it on the Nice List?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!

How did I not get this posted a couple of weeks ago?!  That's the Christmas Craziness hitting I suppose.  I did start uploading photos and had saved the draft for this post quite a while ago.  Oh well.  Better late than never.  Here's a peak at our house all ready for CHRISTMAS!
Setting up the tree (day after Thanksgiving, as is our tradition).
Fireplace.  I'm seriously considering changing out the stockings for next year.  The kids insist the puppy needs one of her own (and I did buy a $2 one with an animal print for this year, but it's not making an appearance until Christmas Day).
And look how nice the new console table looks with a few accessories!  Can't wait to figure out how I want to decorate it for daily use.
The "window box" near the entry - still one of my favorite things from craft day with friends years ago.
The front porch!  I had a little fun with it this year and added some deco mesh around the door.  Good thing too as, once again, we decided not to buy a bunch of lights for the exterior of the house.  (We got blinds for the living room and craft room instead!)  So at least we look very festive during the day.

The elves showed up right on schedule (December 1st) and we've been having fun seeing what they've been up to every day.  (I'll try to do a post all about their antics for the month tomorrow!)
 Let's see...more decorations for the inside.  The ledge by the stairs.  (craft projects that didn't get done is a couple of things to add on each side of the shutter thingy for Christmas.  Maybe next year)
 A peek into Tyler's room.  Their tiny bedside trees are one of the kids' favorite things.
 And here's my favorite - our big tree!

 Believe it or not, the kids helped quite a bit with it and no, I did not move a single ornament either one of them placed.  They're getting so good at decorating (another sign they are growing up oh so quickly).

Oh - I almost forgot!  The candy cane wreaths I made at craft day a couple months ago.  Did you notice they weren't in the earlier picture of the front porch?  I forgot about them for a week or so too until I spotted one on my neighbor's front door.  So I switched them out for the wreaths on the windows and moved the wreaths onto the railing on the porch.

All set for Christmas!  I'm in SUCH a holiday mood! (hehe)

Christmas Card 2013

 That's always a satisfying sight, isn't it?  The Christmas cards all stamped, addressed and ready to send out, and in enough time to make it to everyone before Christmas (mine went out about a week ago - phew!).  A lot of time and thought goes into those cards every year.  Planning the photos, picking the outfits and location, taking the photos, editing, figuring out the card design/if I want to make it myself or order them, who is making it on the card list and how many do I need...blah blah.  It's a big thing.  So now that mine have had a change to make it to their intended destinations and I no longer have to worry about spoiling the surprise I thought I'd share our Christmas cards this year.
 Once again I drug everyone out to the state park with the tripod to take some self-timer shots.  Why we waited until Thanksgiving weekend when it was too cold to be comfortable out there, I'm not sure (the kids have now been assigned to make sure we take family photos in October next year - think they'll remember better than me? lol).  But we made it through it and ended up with some decent photos - yay!
I went a little different direction this year.  Found a good deal for 5x7 prints so after editing the photo I ordered those, then did some fun points of interest about our year on the back.  I'm actually pretty happy with how it all turned out, especially since it was completely DIY (took me an hour and a few YouTube tutorials to figure out how to add the striped border in Photoshop haha).
 So from our family to all of yours - Merry merry merry Christmas!

Friday, November 29, 2013

How Did You Spend Your Thanksgiving?

This month I have been making an effort to really pay attention to all the things I am blessed with in my life (I even have a daily list going on my Facebook Page) and Thanksgiving Day yesterday didn't disappoint.  Start to finish, it was a great day.
 Sam did all of our share of the cooking (we had invited friends over and divided the food pretty evenly), leaving me free to work on last minute cleaning and setting up the Party Room.  Tyler vanished to the playroom for most of the day, but Kaitlyn was in this awesome helpful mood and not only did she happily help with the rolls but she cheerfully did a lot of things that on other days she would have complained about.
 She was also being a little spunky and funny.  I had to laugh at one point in the morning when I had pulled out a handful of vases and left them on the counter while I decided what I wanted to do for centerpieces.  She of course wanted to know what they were for and when I told her I was figuring it out her comment was "why do ladies always have to impress people?" lol
 I don't think I hit the "impressive" mark but the staging for a party is always fun.  I didn't do a lot of preplanning for this one and almost everything is something I already had, but I did add some fun little touches.
 The Grown Ups' Table

 I thought these printable tags were a fun touch.  (Found them here) 
 And the Kids' Table
 with their own fun tags.  The husband says he is impressed with my ability to find silly kids jokes for holidays (I always print some for lunchboxes). lol

 And this year (thanks to Pinterest) I decided to start a new tradition - have everyone write something they are thankful for on the table runners.  Then we can look back on it every year and add to it.
 I was surprised that even the guys quickly got to work when I brought out the fabric markers and did some fun and creative additions.
 Kinda wishing I had started this 10 years ago so I'd have my own babies' handprints right there along with little Miles. 
All in all it was a great meal (and evening) with great company.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Good Enough

Paper clutter.  Right now it's driving me batty.  You should see the state of my craft table.  No, scratch that.  If you see the state of my craft table you will realize exactly how unorganized and crazy my life is right now.  And I don't have the time or energy to clean it all up the "right way" so there it all sits.  And gets worse.
I had a little "a-ha" moment the other day.  I had pulled out my recipe binder to search for something and as I was paging through the giant stack of recipes we had shoved in there since I set up the binder
(You can find my original blog post about organizing my recipe binder here) for the THIRD time without finding what I was looking for...well, I realized something.  I may not have the time to sit down and type up, format, print, then stick in page protectors all the recipes I want to add to the binder.  But that doesn't mean that they can't join their friends in their categories and make themselves a little easier to find, right?  So right then and there I spread out all the random paper on the counter, sorted it into piles (including some meant for the garbage can - a key to all organization projects, true?), punched holes in one side, and stuck them in the binder.  Took me all of 5 minutes.

It's not perfect and it's not completely finished.  But sometimes good enough is, well...Good Enough! ;)  Now, where else can I apply this new concept???

Friday, November 15, 2013

New Furniture!

 This one has been a long time in the works.  We've been in search of a piece of furniture to house the cable box and DVD player since we moved in three years ago.  We finally spotted one we thought would work, with shutters to cover up the ugly electronic components, but of course it was too expensive so we made plans to build one.  I ran across the shutters and legs at a Habitat for Humanity resale store in March.  Then last month I said that's it, we're building this thing for my birthday!  So, one month late and I did the finish work myself but Happy Birthday to me! ;)

 One set of shutters hides the cable box.  The thought was that the remote would be able to shoot through the gaps when they are open, which is does.  But because the components are on the side in the corner the remote still gets some interference from the couch sometimes so we've been opening the door when we want to watch TV.
I know - the colors look all different.  That's because none of them looks right in photos.  In person it's a much deeper, richer teal color which I love right now.  I'm also really happy with how the antiquing turned out.  According to my Pinterest research I was supposed to use "antiquing glaze" but the stores here had no clue what I was talking about it.  So I did the spray paint, distress the edges with sandpaper, then stain over the top of everything method.
 You know what's coming next, right?  ACCESSORIES!