Friday, January 30, 2015

Fitness Friday and a Scrapbook Giveaway

Still moving along here.
Exercising 4-6 times a week at least.
Only had one soda this week.
No fast food.
So I am meeting my current goals.
Time to kick it up a notch.

I am setting a goal this week to be in bed by 10:30 on school night and lights out at 11pm.
No screens allowed after 10:30 for sure and probably earlier.
It depends on texting time with Mike while he is out of town during the week.
We always text at bedtime.

Otherwise, it has been a pretty uneventful week.
And by that I mean nice and calm for the most part.
Was able to cross a lot of items off various to do lists, so that is a plus.

Tonight is date night and I am super excited about that!
And we are supposedly getting 2-4 inches of snow on Sunday which the kids are super excited about. :)

Now on to my giveaway...
My die cut storage is now officially organized and complete. But in the process, I put together a huge bag of die cuts that I have doubles of or know I won't use.
And it's not old stuff either. Some of it is definitely from newer collections like "Kiss, Kiss" by Crate Paper. There are a few chipboard and vellum pieces in there as well. Brands include Crate Paper, October Afternoon, Dear Lizzy, Amy Tangerine, Shimelle, and Making Memories.

If you are interested, just leave a comment below to let me know and I will pick a winner next Monday or Tuesday.
Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 26, 2015

I was going to post for Fitness Friday last week, but plans changed.
Evan was home sick for two days.
And then my dad's cousin passed away on Tuesday.
He was like a brother to my dad, so we always called him "uncle Jim" even though he was really our second cousin.
The funeral was on Thursday.
He was 68 years old and hadn't been doing well the past year.
So truthfully I wasn't shocked, but it was still extremely sad because 68 is so young.
I found some older photos from when he was younger, and posted this little collage on Facebook to share with some of my family.
He was truly a nice man with a great sense of humor and will be missed.

As far as my fitness goals, I am still focusing on staying away from fast food, exercising 4-6 times a week and taking my vitamins. I haven't decided on a goal for this week, so I think I will just continue on with these three goals and pick a new one on this upcoming Friday.

And remember in my One Little Word post when I mentioned that Evan had decided we should also pick one word a week for our family as a whole to focus on? (In addition to my word Peace)
This week our word is Understanding because he thinks it would be nice to try and listen and understand each other. He said sometimes he feels we don't always take the time to really listen and understand what a person is trying to say. I think it's a brilliant word for the week. And a good one to bring to mind when talking to each other. :)

Also, this past weekend was my annual Girlfriends Scrapbook Getaway.
I packed up and headed to a local hotel with my sister-in-law and a few other friends to scrapbook Friday through Sunday. It's hosted by a one of the women who owned our local scrapbook store and her friend.
I spent most of the weekend working on my Summer 2013 Pocket Page album and got quite a bit done. But still have more to go. I'm getting there! And I've promised myself that I will work on it a little everyday this week so I can hopefully finish and put it on the shelf soon. :)

Thanks for stopping by today!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pinterest Revisited

Still pinning away here! Today I wanted to share a few of my recent pins from some of my favorite boards.
Plus, I have two reviews of the recipes I made this past week from pins. :)

Becky's fun little motivational mini was the last thing I posted on my Scrapbook Inspiration board.
The inside is so cute!
I pinned this on my What to Wear board not because I would wear it, but because I love it on her! I love the color and she looks good in everything she wears! 
This photo is on my I Want to Go There board. It's the 5 star Shangri-La's Villingili Resort and Spa. I mean it looks amazing right?
My Healthy Living board is slowly collecting lots of ideas that I find inspiring as I try to take little steps to make this my healthiest year yet! I love this idea of adding frozen berries to my water bottle.

And now for the recipes!

Shredded Beef Tacos off my Food board. These I liked and I would definitely make again! Plus it was a nice easy recipe because they are made in the crock pot.
Homemade Cosmic Brownies from my Sweet Treats board. They are supposed to be an accurate stand in for those Little Debbie snack cake brownies which Erin loves. But as I am trying to move us away from processed foods the ingredient list on those brownies are just a little too long for my comfort. So this Pinterest recipe looked like a fun idea.
Unfortunately they are "not just like the real thing" as promised, and a little more labor intensive then planned. I'm not saying they are terrible. They just do not taste like "cosmic brownies" at all, and have more of a dark chocolate taste to them according to Evan. Erin did not like the ganache on top, so I have a feeling these won't cut it for a lunch box treat this week. Which is a bummer because I didn't buy anything else as a back up.

I am always looking for good recipes.
If you have any food boards on Pinterest, feel free to give me a link in the comments below.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fitness Friday!

So checking in!
You can refer back to *This Post* to see my goals.
I have decided to focus on one of these goals a week as I ease into the new year.
This doesn't mean that I am not aware and trying to follow the other goals.
It's just that I find if I concentrate on one thing at a time starting out, I tend to be more successful.
So I am starting off by focusing on exercise the first full week of January.
For January 4th-10th my goal was 5-6 days of exercise.
And guess what. I only made four days which I was ok with.
It also made me really think on Sunday when I was planning on taking the day off, that I wanted to fit in a workout to make up for that missing day. And I did. :)

I have also realized that the reason I have skipped around on the Turbo Fire schedule is that it is not practical. Some weeks she has a 40 minute stretch workout two times within three days. I like to mix it up more. So I am rotating
cardio and strength
But I am not limiting myself to just that. If I want to add an extra of something or combine a stretch and cardio, I will. Whatever I can do to keep it interesting and prevent injury.

Also to shake it up a bit, I am mixing in free workouts on YouTube by Jessica Smith TV with my TurboFire. Jessica Smith has some fun, free workouts she shares and I can put them up on our big screen in the basement as well. The workouts can be pretty challenging and I really break a sweat. She has over 500 to choose from which gives me a lot of variety so I am not getting bored. I started these back in December and really like her strength training workouts.

For January 11th-17th, no fast food has been my goal this along with continuing to exercise 5-6 days. This means I am making a point of not grabbing a quick meal when out running errands. In the past, I have chosen things like Qdoba or a roast beef sandwich for protein from Arby's. Not doing even that.

I did have my Dr. Pepper for the week and it was good. But I slipped and had a root beer as well one night. Since it is not a goal I am focusing on yet, I am letting that one go. :)

Next week, my goal (in addition to the previous two) will be vitamins. For some reason this week I have been forgetting to take my vitamins. It just hit me today as I was reviewing my goal list. What is up with that? Anyway, I think that needs to be my next focus. Daily Vitamins.

And because I like photos in my blog posts, here is a little of what has been happening here!
Erin is selling Girl Scout cookies! I remember doing that back in the day. :)

She also had her first violin lesson which she loved!

Evan (who doesn't like photos) is close to finishing up his Service Project for religion at school. He has been working a few hours a week at a preschool after school. His age group is 2-3 year olds which was the age I worked with when I taught preschool. I love sneaking in the last few minutes of his scheduled time and watching him interact with the kids. He is so good with the younger kids.

On a different note,
January is usually a tough month for me for some reason, but this year seems different.
I am not generally a "cold weather person", and that hasn't changed. But this year it seems sunnier.
Maybe that is what is helping. And having really good friends and family and my positive, peaceful attitude.
Plus, when you get a gift like this from your husband and kids...
it tends to make you feel happy inside. Mike had this key chain made for my through a shop on Etsy. The lyrics are from a song called Lovely Day which I of course love. And it's such a nice reminder to look down and see it along with the names of those I love. :)
Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

One Little Word - Peace

I had a fun and interesting discussion with my son the other night.
Despite having a pretty good schedule, some week nights can be a little crazy with just me and the kids here, and they aren't even toddlers or babies any more.
At seven and twelve they are pretty self sufficient for a lot of things.
But they still need me to be there and help.
The time between 4-9 pm is generally packed full of activities that need to be done. Homework, school paperwork, occasional friends over to play, dinner, clean up, getting ready for bed, service projects, talking with dad on face time, and soon to be violin lessons. 

Every night though, I like to just talk and connect with my kids one on one around bed time. I like to see what the day was like or if  there is anything going on that I should or need to know about. It's amazing how much my kids open up at bedtime!

Well Evan and I were talking, and after a particularly crazy evening with homework, I told him that my word for the year is Peace.
He was interested and wanted to know what I meant by a word.
I said that every year for the past few years, I pick a word that kind of becomes my mantra. Something to focus on. (I didn't get into the whole Ali Edwards explanation of who started it and why I do this. But it's thanks to her that I gave it a shot)

He of course then wanted to know the words I have used in the past.  
All words that were to help me relax and stay grounded. Keep me in the moment.
He really liked this idea, but did not like using one word for the whole year. He said that was too long to think about one word.
His solution, one new word a week. And that we should pick it as a family on Sunday.
Now I plan to continue focusing on Peace as my own personal word.
But frankly, I love his idea of coming together as a family and just trying to think of a word that would benefit us as a whole.
Our first word chosen by Evan was Love
Peace and Love go so well together.
And I have to say, I have used it quite a bit this week as a reminder. I will just quietly say, Peace and Love when the kids are fighting or we are feeling stressed about missing homework or running late for car pool in the morning. And it quiets us.

As for Peace...

The lyrics of this song from my childhood pop in my head often when I am feeling a little overwhelmed. Something I have definitely learned over the years is that I control me and no one else.
If peace is needed than it really has to start with me. I think about the things I do to calm myself when anxiety sets in or life stresses start to affect us. I use breathing techniques, yoga and listening to music. Sometimes a hug from a someone I love is enough to just calm and center me. I want to really focus on these techniques this year.

So for 2015, my word is PEACE.

Monday, January 12, 2015

CHA January 2015

The Craft and Hobby Association Mega Show is going on right now in Anaheim. A lot of scrapbookers look forward to this time of year when lots of fresh, new product is revealed.
Truthfully, I am not as involved or interested in it as I have been in the past for several reasons.

1. My private collection - I have enough scrapbook product to start my own little store, and I want to spend 2015 using up as much as I can. I have a small budget set aside to spend on a few new items throughout the year. Cause lets be honest, it's fun to have new supplies to work with every now and then. :)

2. Giving up the whole scrapbook design team thing has actually been a good for me. I don't miss the pressure or need to have the "latest and greatest" product. There is a kind of competitive need to "keep up" when you are applying for teams or submitting to publications and I am really glad to have left that behind.
Don't get me wrong! I loved my design teams. They were all great and I met some incredible people as a result. But I am enjoying scrapbooking in a whole different way now.

3. Life is busy with other things. I just don't spend as much time at my desktop computer surfing the internet for what is coming out.

Having said all that, I do want to share a few items that have caught my eye and that I wouldn't mind adding to my collection! The Paper Vine site has been very helpful by putting all the new releases in one place.
So here in no particular order is my wish list from CHA.

1. Rise and Shine by Amy Tangerine and American Crafts
Those gold word Thickers are on my list, as well as the letter stickers on the bottom.
And I love the epoxy stickers top left! So, so cute!

2. Citrus Bliss - by Pink Paislee

Something about these are fun to me, but I am still on the fence about hitting buy. Maybe it's the colors or the fact that I'm not totally sure that I would use most of it. :)

3. Journey by Crate Paper
I want some pieces of this line to use in an album I am putting together for my parents from their road trip to see Mount Rushmore. I think it would be perfect!

4. Craft Market by Crate Paper

I really love their ephemera packs and this one is no exception! There are some stickers and alphabets from this line that I am digging, too.

And the last line is by one of my favorite companies...
5. Saturday Mornings by October Afternoon

 As a child of the 70's and 80's who loved her Saturday morning cartoons, this line is perfect to me! :)

And that is it! That is all that has caught my eye this time around. But I can honestly say it is probably a good thing. ;)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fitness Friday!

(For the record, all photos in this post were not taken by me except the cupcake I baked!)
My new plan is to do a "healthy living and fitness" check in on Fridays this year.
Maybe help keep me accountable?

Here are some goals I am continuing to work on for 2015:

1. Exercise 5-6 days per week:
This is the workout I am doing right now. TurboFire
I am following the schedule to the letter and sticking with it.
I bought it over a year ago and just do whatever workouts I feel like doing whenever, but I want to try the schedule they provide now.
There is a rest day included and I find that I need that rest day so I don't get burned out.
When the weather gets warmer, I will probably go back outdoors to walk and jog a few days a week though.
And I am definitely incorporating more strength training in my weekly workouts to raise my metabolism.

2. Drink Mostly Water:

Ummm...yeah I like Dr. Pepper a lot. And I try not to drink more than one a week. I know it has no health benefits and is actually terrible for me, but it's so good!
Over the holidays I found myself drinking it a few times a week.
So I am back to one Dr. Pepper a week as a treat if I even feel like it at all, and my main drink being water.
I don't drink a lot of juice or other sugary drinks except the occasional orange juice.

3. No Fast Food:

Truthfully, this will not be hard for me. I never feel good after eating it and none of it appeals to me right now. Both times I had fast food recently, I felt pretty sick afterwards. And Erin has discovered that she really doesn't like McDonald's food. She was just in it for the toys. So we will not be going there anymore.

4. Only One Sweet per Day (and don't really need everyday)

When I was doing the green smoothie cleanse, I basically did not have any refined sugar for ten days, and I survived! This is coming from a bit of a sugar addict who likes chocolate. Ultimately I try not to eat it but occasionally just want a piece of chocolate.
And I read *this amazing post* by Katherine and totally agree. It's ok to have the occasional piece of apple pie at Thanksgiving dinner. Too much emphasis is placed on what is wrong with food and I think that causes a downward spiral which can lead to failure.
I find when I tell myself I "can" have something, I ultimately realize I don't really "need" it. :)
Along with reducing sugar, I plan on trying to eat at least two fruits or vegetables with each meal.

5. Get More Sleep!:

Everything I read on sleep only confirms that lack of sleep creates a lot of health problems and issues. So I try to be in bed by 11pm every night. I don't always make it, but it's my goal and I make it more often than not. Plus, I am trying to eliminate screens at bedtime.

6. Vitamins:

My kids actually take the vitamins in that photo and occasionally I will pop one or two.
But I am trying to get the right amount through foods, but I take a daily vitamin C and Vitamin D supplement. The D was recommended by my doctor because I was slightly low on it my last check up. I've noticed that when I keep up on vitamin C by taking the pill form and drinking a little oj or eating oranges, that I tend to feel better for sure.
Overall, I am trying to eat cleaner and want to have one green smoothie a day still and that helps me feel better as well.

So there you have it!
Healthy Living Goals for 2015!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

14 in 2014

So this is the time of year where a lot of us scrapbookers share our top favorite layouts from the previous year.
I have to say this was an interesting post for me to put together because I ended up discovering that I in fact only had fourteen layouts total photographed from last year.
These three 8 1/2 x 11 pages which were all created from sketches.
Here are a few 12 x12 pages and all but three were created for Paper Issues during my design team term. Which brings the total to twelve.
And the last two layouts are my most recent (cough, cough...not since October.)
So I guess I would have to say that the fourteen layouts I photographed are my top layouts for 2014. :)
I did a few more, but frankly I didn't want to take the time to take a picture.
I think that is one of the reasons I decided not to be on design teams anymore. Seriously don't like the photographing and editing process, and it was extremely stressful for me at times. Now I kind of look forward to doing it occasionally to casually share here on my blog.

But I also realize that I created quite a few other projects throughout the year though besides layouts.
 I did a few cards...
and a mini tag album.
Plus all the work I put in on my Summer Project Life album.
So even though it didn't look like I got a lot accomplished as far as scrapbooking, I guess I did :)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year!

Where to begin? This may be a little long :)
I enjoyed having a pretty nice blog break. I'm always a little tired of blogging by the end of the year.
But I'm back and ready to talk...scrapbooking, organization, simplifying, house renovation, family life, healthy living and more in no particular order!

So here is one thing that happened from each area just to get started.

1. Scrapbooking and Organization - Not too much actual creating went on except a few cards for family and teachers. Otherwise, a big no. But I did find a fun and simple way to organize and store all those little bulky packs for ephemera that come with a lot of collections.
I found these Avery Elle stamp & die storage envelopes and they are perfect for this...

I put one or two packages in there and cut off the back of the package to use as a reference. Usually they list all of the contents on the back. Then I store them in this basket...
on my counter. They are so much flatter this way so I have tons more room now.

2. Simplifying - four large bags filled with stuff we no longer need went to the Salvation Army last week. It feels good to let go of things we don't use that take up space. But I still have a ways to go really.

3. House Renovation - we have lived in this old house thirteen years and it feels as if the projects never end, but they are worth it! I've shared photos of the family room we created in the basement and now Mike is working on the bathroom. He put in a lot of man hours over the break when he could to work on the shower. Here is a before photo the weekend before the holiday...
and here it is as of tonight when I snapped a few quick photos with my phone camera to give you an idea how much work he did...
It is pretty much completely tiled except a few pieces on floor need to be added and some more trim. All the plumbing is in, electrical done, shelves and bench added. In fact, there is also a recessed tiled shelf on the inside of that little wall.
We are really going for a spa feel and I don't feel the pictures do it justice. It's hard to take good phone photos at night. :)
Another little shelf there. It will also have a rain head shower which will be nice.
And for now I am leaning toward a paint color like this for the walls that won't have the stone accents like the wall in our family room.
It's hard to tell but that coppery green color is similar to a color in the accent border piece in the shower and the stone for the wall. You can see the color a little better on Pinterest *here* I think. I am so looking forward to this bathroom being done. We have been working on this basement since 2010! Or I should say Mike has. :)

4. Family Life - As far as the holiday, Christmas was great!
The kids were happy with their presents. And we were able to spend lots of time with family and friends!
One of the highlights of our time with family was a little tradition I started with my niece and goddaughter. She comes to spend the night with us and then the girls (her, Erin and I) go shopping together. This year I took them to Build a Bear...
for her belated birthday gift and a "reward" for Erin.

We kept New Year's Eve low key. Had a play date during the day with good friends and then a movie night with some other good friends later that evening. The kids were in bed by 10:30 but Mike and I managed to stay up until midnight just barely to wish each other a happy 2015. :)

Today was the last day of our holiday break and we spent part of it ice skating at Steinberg ice skating rink in Forest Park. It was sooooo cold, but fun.

Mike snapped a photo of the two of us quickly and managed to not get the crowd in the background. I couldn't believe how many people were out there skating around in the 20 degree weather like us! :)
And now tomorrow, back to routine ;)

5. Healthy Living - well that is going to be a whole other post probably sometime this week. I have a bit to say on this one as I do my "One Little Word" for the year. Ali Edwards basically introduced the concept of focusing on a word for the year, and I always try to pick one. I was leaning towards "healthy" for my word, but that is something I have been working on the past two years anyway. And then another word occurred to me, but I will be doing a post on that as well coming up soon.

So there you have it! A little recap of what I have been up to and what is to come. I'm looking forward to catching up on my blog reading and hope to do that soon!
Happy New Year!