Tuesday, December 31, 2013

happy last day of 2013!

aaaaaah today!  today has been the best of days!  no work.  at least not school work.  the boys were up till 2:30 last night when i awoke and told them they really should head to bed or they wouldn't make it on new year's eve.  they then slept in till 11:00.  good practice for the teen years that are fast approaching.  but not yet.  for now my baby is still a sweet baby.  2013 was a good year for us. 

i would wax philosophical now, but the eve of a new year always has me so excited for new plans and a fresh start. my ocd thrives this time of year.  i mean, look at this new daily planner!  i finally put pencil to its virgin pages today.  hello lover!  i think i have stumbled upon a winner too.  i've seen many bloggers put a little sticky note on each calendar date.  i always thought this was clever, but not for me.  but today i thought to put my ideas in list form at the bottom of each column.  that way i can pencil them in as i go, but keep them all together in the correct spot too.  and i can even move the little lists to the next month if i don't make it through them.  yes!  i think this might work for me!

i have been such a busy little bee today!  while the boys slept and after they woke up, i scrapped.  the jbs mercantile january kits were oh so inspiring to me.  they have a very festive and fresh feel to them this month.  and a little wintery too.  perfection.  i have a good start on my one little word album and i'm anxious to share it with you tomorrow.  the reveal is tonight at midnight cst!  happy new year!

if you're looking for a little scrappy focus to get the creative juices flowing, check out debbie hodge's latest class at masterful scrapbook design.  it's called "rule play" and we'll be talking about how awesome it is to break the rules.  sounds fun, right?  here's a little peek at one of my projects.  can't wait to get my hands on the seminar!  2014 is going to be awesome!

happy new year everyone!

Monday, December 30, 2013

menu plan: crock pot cranberry pork loin

sorry for the less than stellar photo.  my christmas day photos are notoriously bad each year.  plus i was really hungry and this looked SO tasty and i couldn't take the time to make sure i got a decent photo.  wow.  i did good.  i must take a moment to sing the praises of the cranberry pork loin.  it was AMAZING.  A. MAZE. ZING.  i followed the recipe exactly (you're shocked, i know).  this was my first time cooking a pork loin and it was, in a word, perfection.  my pork loin was 4ish pounds and i cooked it on high for 5ish hours.  it was super easy, cut with a fork tender, and oh so delicious.  i was sad to eat the last bite today.  seriously.  you should try it.

this week's menu plan:
sunday - christmas dinner leftovers
monday - mall food court
tuesday - new year's eve party food
wednesday - sausage and macaroni and cheese
thursday - muffin tin pizzas
friday - open
saturday - bacon carbonara (if i don't make it this time i'm gonna forgetaboutit!)

just to prove how bad my christmas photos really are . . . creative photography?

the only one i have of g and i.  his dad took it.  i'm sure that's not an expression of christmas cheer on my face.  probably just as well.  i don't think i brushed my hair.

not sure who took this one.  the four legged cat?  surely the three legged one couldn't manage it . . .

project life: december daily

happy new year's eve eve!  per usual i have way too many loose ends to be able to tie them all up in two days.  ah well.  i will go with the glass half full outlook and claim that this is because there are so many awesome things to do in this world and i want to do them all!  it has nothing to do with procrastinating.  oh no!

the good news is that i have a picture/moment of some sort for each and every day of december so far.  today and tomorrow will be easy as today we are going to the lego store with friends and tomorrow is new year's eve!  woah!  2014!  i'm ready for you in a not at all ready sort of way!

on this spread i decided to put vellum overlays on all the non-photo slots.  it was fun.   my martha stewart snowflake punches got a little workout.  those have been the best little investments.

i ended up putting star confetti under the vellum and sealing all the sides with washi tape.  

and here is another unshared page that i found as i was flipping through the project life albums.  it's the last week of july.  the last hurrah before school started back for us.  aaaaaaaaaah look at all those lovely flowers and vegetables.  anyone else anxiously counting the days till the spring equinox?

 much of this spread is from the jbs mercantile september papercrafting kit.  it was full of bright, almost neon hues, that suited the last golden days of summer perfectly.

i thought this would catch me up on all my project life shares, but the joke's on me as i found a random july spread that i finished last week and need to share.  perhaps i'll do another christmas spread so i can continue with the theme of a little christmas and a little something more.

off to start making lists of everything i'm going to attempt in 2014!  i love this time of year!  a clean slate and so much potential!  woohoo!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

nature in the home: christmas mantel

i got my christmas mantel completed on christmas eve eve.  oh i love it SO much!  i have never created a mantel-scape that felt "done," but with this one i have finally achieved that.  happiness.

and you know it takes a village to raise a mantel.  the vintage bottles are all from my mother as are the sleighing mr. and mrs. clause and several of the glass ornaments.   some of the ornaments are even from my granny.  the old frame was a salvage that my sister saved and gave me.  the metal (semi) fleur-de-lis things are from the jbs mercantile flea market.  the pine boughs and cones are from our cubmaster's yard.  the holly and nandina berries are from our front yard.  and then there are the crafty projects . . .

the pine boughs were inspired from pinterest.  the first one i put up has held out quite well, despite not having any water for weeks.  i was afraid the jugs filled with water would be too heavy on the mantel?  i'm just wasn't sure.

this is another pinterest inspired craft.  the original piece was string art.  i simple sketched it out on a canvas (i got for $7.19 at joann's (60% off on black friday/saturday).  the glittery greenery i got there as well ($1.99 at 50% off) and the flowers are vintage, gifted from jenni bowlin.

up close and in full light, so you can see the crafty details.

this garland is my pride and joy.  it is so full and lush and happy.  i had seen a burlap one at my friend sherri's house and then a felt one on elise's blog.  they must be the thing this year.  i made mine from three striped knit shirts that i found at goodwill (i went on a sunday when one color is $0.99 and another is half off.  i snagged all three shirts for just shy of $4).  i cut strips that were approximately 1.5 x 4 or 5 inches and then tied them, alternating the colors.  i would tie one or two of each color, occasionally even three together around cotton thread (the same cotton thread that i used on the deer).

the pine cones are on a separate garland.  i spray painted them with the leftovers from our valentines's day treats, then sprayed them again with a clear gloss varnish and sprinkled chunky gold glitter on them while this was still wet.  they are also strung on that same cotton thread.

then i gathered even more inspiration from the christmas nature in the home series and gathered some holly twigs and nandina berries from the front yard to fill in the white bottles.  so festive!  it's a little hard to see with the blow out here, but i also had g draw me a little christmas tree for the gold frame, since i like the one he drew for my halloween mantel so much.

and luckily, we even had house guest last night, so i could show off my deck the hall efforts.  chelle and her three came over for a little playdate.  i had the kids pose in front of my fully decked out mantel with their new build a bears.  luckily mason got two, so g had a friend to hold as well.  what a nice shot for my december daily!  i'm hoping to have some minutes to work on that this afternoon after we get all our errands run.  we have to brave the crowds at kroger to get the rest of what we need for christmas dinner.  merry christmas all!  see you on the other side.  :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

menu plan: grinch kabobs!

these were so cute and easy that i made them twice.  once for the cub scout christmas party and then again for g's party at school.  they were a big hit on both occasions.  of course, they are from pinterest.  i love my holiday foods pin board.  i believe they are visually very self explanatory.  i would advise you to buy big grapes, big bananas, and small strawberries and let you know that each grinch requires two toothpicks.  oh!  also, i ended up cutting the grape a sliver at the top just to make his hat sit on nicely.  :)

i've had no menu plan the last couple weeks.  i made too much tortilla soup and then too much pot roast.  holy moly.  i had to eat each thing five times just to make it all go away.  sigh.

i do have a somewhat non-traditional christmas menu mapped out, thanks again to pinterest.

christmas dinner:
cranberry pork loin
deviled eggs
crash hot potatoes
olive oil and sea salt baked green beans
corn on the cob with lime and sea salt
cheesy pull apart rolls
key lime pie

i've had key lime pie on my weekly menu plan so many times and it just never happens.  i've finally realized that this is because mrs. edwards makes it much better than i ever will and more cheaply with no time investment required from me.  it's a win, win, win that i can't argue with.

major whew! on my part.  school the last two weeks has been tiring to say the least.  last week was finals week.  on friday alone, i helped with ten finals in six different subjects in a three hour window of time.  i was fairly fried after that one.  the week before was state testing.  i had four read alouds that week and my schedule was a nightmare for four of the five days (thank goodness for that bonus "snow" day on tuesday!).  needless to say, i have been crafty decompressing since friday at 3:00.  my mantel is almost done, the house is almsot clean, and i am almost ready for christmas.  just in the nick of time!  (pun intended).

i will have a few very merry christmas crafties to share with you soon!  stay tuned!

and a very merry christmas to you all!  :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

project life: december daily

hello friends!  we had our first snowbird sighting this past tuesday and i took the opportunity offered by a day off from school to get started on my december daily.  i have decided to document december this year in my regular project life 2013 album(s).  i just knew it was the only option that i'd have any hope of keeping up with this year, especially considering the long list of other things i'm wanting to do.  at first, after surfing the net way too much and seeing way too many cute adorable dd albums, i was a bit depressed about my "get'er done" method.  once i got started, though, i was delightfully pleased with my results.  i think this is going to work AND be fun!

i was initially struggling with figuring out how to fit each day in the appropriate chronological order.  in my regular pl pages, i'm not overly concerned by this, but for the daily part of december daily, my ocd kicked in and i wanted the days in exact order.  the problem was mostly occurring because the photos from the first few days of december were all horizontal.  well, duh.  let's use a page protector with all horizontal pockets!  i made the executive decision to use only the particular style of page protectors seen here.  i'm also trying to stick with the concept of one thought per day and using two slots per day to record it; one for the photo and one for the journaling.

so far, i am remembering to photographing something each day that i can talk about and for those days when there is more than one important event, i can house one in the jyc album i have started.

here are a couple detail shots of my favorite two pockets so far.  i'm trying to make it obvious which two pockets go together.  mostly i'm doing this with color scheme and border type elements like the german foil above and the washi tape below.

on this spread, the top row was made mostly with the december jbs mercantile historian, the middle row with the artisan, and the bottom row with the mini-album kit (my fave this month!  so much inspiring german foil!)

and seeing as how i like to mix holidays with my pjs (i am forever wearing combinations like fourth of july tops with christmas bottoms and st. patrick's day mary jane socks), here is a bonus holiday spread.  hallah for halloween week!  i love how this one turned out.  it has a nice flow to it.  the top row is all "me" stuff.  the middle row is red ribbon week at g's school.  then the bottom row is trick-or-treating.

the bits and pieces here are mostly from the october jbs mercantile kits.  those cute tiny chipboard glasses are from jenni's 2013 limited edition halloween photo decor kit.

how's your holiday crafting going?  i've got some cute projects in the works.  i just need to finish up some of them!  i actually have too many going, so it's hard to focus!  oops!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

menu plan: great grandma's peanut butter cookies

happy snow day!  snowbird flew last night and we're enjoying a day home from school today!  hooray!  i had great grandma's peanut butter cookies for breakfast.  mmmmmmmm!  they are definitely my favorite.  my grandma used to make them from time to time when i was a kid and they are sheer perfection.  i'm thinking they're not a secret recipe though.  i'm pretty sure they are from that red and white gingham cookbook that every self-respecting housewife owned back in the day.  but still.  i made this batch with the red and green sprinkles to send my dad for christmas.  i seriously need to get them in the mail today before i eat them all!  they are just so good!  doh!

great grandma's peanut butter cookie recipe:
1 cup shortening (crisco)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
sprinkles (optional)

mix first 5 ingredients together.  then mix in the peanut butter.  sift the last 3 ingredients together then slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture.  roll the mixture into approximately one inch balls.  (the mix can seem a little dry.  i have to squish my small portion a few times and then roll into a ball.  this helps with cracking).  flatten slightly, then criss cross the top with a fork.  festive sprinkles optional. (if i don't use sprinkles, i put a tiny bit of granulated sugar on top).  bake at 350 degrees for 10 mintues.  put on cooling rack.  enjoy! 

this week's menu plan:
sunday - tortilla's con quesillo
monday - esl christmas party
tuesday - tortilla soup
wednesday - dinner at church
thursday - roast/beef stew
friday - open/leftovers
saturday - bacon carbonara/scrambled eggs

Friday, December 6, 2013

good blog reads

well, friends.  we are celebrating tonight our first "snow" day of the season.  a two hour early dismissal due to the "threat" of inclement weather.  i've said it before and i'll say it again.  i do so love being a southerner living in the south.  as soon as we left school, we went to pick up g's sleepover playdate, made a quick pit stop at the dollar general for supplies, and then rushed home to hole up for the night.  i quickly forgot all about elise's #mileaday challenge.  meh.  i'm sure all the walking in the freezing cold that i'll be doing tomorrow during the christmas parade will more than make up for it.  i've been merrily printing photos all eveningfor this year's december daily that i have yet to start in between supervising g's baking extravaganza.  now i'm ready to hit the sack and remembered i have yet to blog.  in an effort to keep at least one of my daily activities afloat, i am throwing down a quickie post.  just a very few good blog reads that i had in que.  enjoy!  and now i'm off to snuggle under the quilts with a good book and bejeweled blitz.  :)

this one is a sweet college student in england who dabbles in writing, crafting, and digital project lifing.  i'm enjoying getting to know her.  http://www.creatingpaperdreams.blogspot.com/

really really lovely nature photography.  it relaxes me.  http://photographybykarina.blogspot.co.uk/

neat nature collages with a bit of yarnwork thrown in.  http://tradgardenpahojden.blogspot.se/

this one appears to be a photography blog that showcases a variety of photographers.  i read a couple really good posts on natural lighting there.  http://beyondthewanderlust.com/

Thursday, December 5, 2013

b&w stories: nada sander baxter circa 1941

this is my aunt nada.  my dad's sister.  the one who practically raised him.  the only girl amongst five boys.  i think i only met her once when i was very small and we went on our epic family vacation to new york state.  listening to dad's stories, i know she was one amazing woman and i wish she was still here so i could get to know her . . .

dad "imagines" she was born in 1925.  she was about 16 when this photo was taken.  uncle bob, dad's oldest brother, carried the photo with him through world war 2 and told all his buddies that she was his girlfriend.  ten years later, when my dad was in california getting ready to ship out to korea, nada happened to be living there and came to visit him.  when she pulled up for him in her cadillac, of course, he told everyone that she was his girlfriend.

during the time this photo was taken, she used to ride her bike to the airport to wash piper cubs in exchange for flying lessons.  while learning to fly she met her husband, kelvin "barney" baxter.  kelvin began his flying career barnstorming around the country, landing in fields to give people a ride is his airplane for $1.00.  in october of 1939, he and buddy robert mcdaniels set an endurance record, by staying aloft in "miss sun tan," a piper cub, for over three weeks.  food and fuel was sent up via buckets, cables, and poles affixed to a truck pacing below them on the ground.  this was groundbreaking enough to warrant a photo op with eleanor roosevelt.  then he was a civilian contract pilot during world war 2.  he was part of the "forgotten battle," flying soldiers and supplies into attu and kiska in the aleutian islands of alaska.  a small japanese force occupied those islands for a little over a year during the war and this was the only time u.s. soil has ever been taken.

kelvin and nada settled in new york for a time where he flew 747's to tokyo and back.  nada, true to her country heritage, became an expert skeet shooter, winning the new york state title three years running.  dad says she finally quit shooting against other women because they were just no competition.  what a woman.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

nature in the home: charlie brown christmas tree

i feel so relieved today.  all my jobs seemed to coalesce this past weekend and i have struggled to keep my head above water ever since.  needless to say, december snuck in the back door for me.  but today at 1:30 my observation at school was finished and that was the last burden that i needed to unload.  now i feel caught up, at least for a while, and ready to deck the halls.  i'm thankful to lou at little green shed for the gentle nudge to go ahead and get started today.  this is a sweet native pine bough that i brought home from the cub scout meeting sunday.  the idea is from those i am hoarding on my holiday crafts pinboard.  such simple loveliness.  it makes me smile.  g must really like it too as he's commented on it several times and is fondly referring to it as his charlie brown christmas tree.  it is a start.  i have several other ideas for this mantel.  all in good time.  i refuse to be caught up in the christmas rush.  i'd rather ease into the season in my own slower pace.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

journal your christmas: an ongoing project

i love this book.  it's a lovely mixture of christmases past, present, and yet to come.  the photos are from my own childhood, my young adult years, g's baby years, more recent years.  i say years to come as i doubt i'll finish it this year.  it seems to take me three to five years to finish one of these.  that's okay though, right?  sure it is.  relax and enjoy the season.  :)

you can read about my thoughts on the assembly HERE.  and you can sign up for shimelle's class HERE (it's a very good investment in the holiday spirit).