Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Whatcha Crafting Wednesday

I can't believe its already Wednesday again! My favorite blog day where I get to ramble about all my crafts for the week! :) I don't feel like I've gotten much crafting done in the past week, but here goes.

Sewing: My sewing project remains the same - my top-secret, super cool gift for someone special. I actually didn't get any work done on it this week. :( I'm hoping to get some done this afternoon, though...we shall see.
Knitting: I finished the Paton's Chunky Cabled Socks that I was working on. And guess what...I even finished them on time! They were a birthday gift for my mom. We celebrated her birthday last Saturday evening. I finished them Saturday afternoon. :) Go me! lol...I love them and so did Mom. So this project was a success! Here are some photos of the finished product. I haven't started another knitting project yet. I'm giving the needles a rest and picking the hook back up.

Crochet: After I finished the socks, I started working on the Owl Ear Flap Hat. If you missed my post from last week, this is a super cute pattern by The Fuzzy Noggin on Etsy. This is going to be a photo prop for my sister-in-law to use for her photography business - Laurie Goodheart Photography. Check her out on Facebook - she's having an Easter giveaway! Anyway...back to the hat...she wanted it to look like this example posted on the Fuzzy Noggin:
Please note that the above photo is courtesy of The Fuzzy Noggin. In no way am I trying to take credit for it or claim that I made the hat pictured above.

So, I'm using Paton's Divine yarn in the Deep Earth colorway and I'm making size 3-10 years. I'm almost done with the main part of the hat...the part before moving on to the earflaps. Here is a pic of my WIP (that's work-in-progress for those who didn't know). But, I must looks more like a dead cat than anything right now. The bottom part is the hat...the top part is my skein of yarn. LOL...hopefully by next week it will look more like an owl.

Digi Scrapping: I'm still working on my Elite kit. I've gotten some more word art, and a couple frames done since last week. Here is a preview:

For those who aren't familiar with digi scrapping, each of the items pictured above is a different digital 'element' for you to use to create digital scrapbooking pages. So far, this kit includes:

-3 background papers

-2 star frames

-'Cheer' Megaphone

-Word Art: Elite, Elite All Stars, Stars, All Stars, and the team's cheer.

I've also created this page (using some of those elements) with photos of Ryleigh in it.

Once agian...if there are any Elite cheerleaders or cheer moms who are digi-scrappers and would like this Elite kit, feel free to contact me and I can send it to you when its done. :)

That's it for this week, folks! What are YOU crafting this week????

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Reflections - Spring

It's here! It's finally spring! The snow is gone, the ice has melted, buds are sprouting on the trees, and the calender says its spring! I love it! While I know that we aren't out of the woods yet, and we could very well have a foot of snow next week, I still couldn't be happier to say good-bye to winter. Even if its just the calender's idea of spring and not necessarily mother nature's. Spring always reminds me of a fresh start - a new beginning. So, that got me thinking...besides spring cleaning and garden planning, what would I like to accomplish this spring? Besides warmer weather and flowers, what would I like to see Spring bring to my life? Two things immediately come to mind: financial stability and personal fitness.

Things haven't been easy financially since I quit work 4.5 years ago. We were blessed to have established good credit before we had children. Otherwise, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to stay home and raise our kids. Unfortunately, back then Josh wasn't making enough money for us to live on one income. At the same time, it wasn't really financially worthwhile for me to continue working. The costs vs. benefits analysis weighed heavily on the side of staying home. So, that's what I did...we quickly blew through our savings and ended up racking up way too much credit card debt. In that 4.5 years Josh was able to work full-time while putting himself through school. He graduated 2 years ago with a degree in Electrical Engineering and was immediately offered a promotion. I am so blessed and thankful for all his hard work and for providing for us so I can stay home with the kids. To make a long story short, we finally have resolved our credit card debt and are ready to start over. No more credit cards and hopefully we'll be building our savings back up. So, this spring I'm excited about a fresh financial start!

The second thing that comes to mind when thinking of a fresh start is my personal fitness. I made a New Year's Resolution to finally reach my goal weight. I have severely neglected my fitness since I had kids. Thanks to Justin and Bear Essentials Fitness I've come a long way in improving my fitness over the winter. I joined the 60 Day Challenge that they were offering at the beginning of the year. I didn't lose any weight, but I have seen some amazing changes in myself. My muscle tone has greatly improved, my stamina and endurance are way up, and I just feel better in general. The 60 Day Challenge is now over. I'm still hitting the gym twice a week and I signed up to run in my first EVER 5K (taking place in June)!!! So, in addition to 2 gym classes a week, I'm running 3 times a week. I proud of myself for sticking with it for so long. In my previous post-kid attempts at getting back in shape, I've given up after a couple weeks. But, I don't want to lose all that I've gained over the last 60 days with Justin and I also want to push myself ahead in hopes to finally get rid of the weight I want to lose. So, I wanted to commit myself to something else...something I'd have to push myself to work towards. That's where the 5K comes in. I'm not a runner...I've never been a runner so this is going to take some work. I'm glad I still have a couple of months to prepare myself! I'm excited to meet my goal and tackle a 5K. I'm also raising money for this 5K so see the sidebar for a link to my page to donate! ;-)

So, Happy Spring everyone! Here's to skinnier mid-sections and fatter wallets! :) Feel free to leave me a comment with your 'fresh starts'!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Madness - Meal Planning

When it comes to household duties there aren't many that I can say I truly hate doing. I mean, sure there are plenty of things that I'd rather be doing than scrubbing toilets and sweeping floors. But I love the feeling of a clean house, so at least with that kind of stuff I feel like my efforts are worthwhile. Even raking, which I absolutely despise, offers some sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when it's complete. And at least I only have to rake a couple of times a year. But I can honestly say that I hate meal planning. Every week I have to sit down and try to come up with 7 different meals that everyone will like and that won't break our budget. It's impossible. It doesn't matter what I make, someone isn't happy and expects a back-up meal to be provided. 'This isn't a restaurant' has become an almost daily quote from me.

I haven't always hated meal planning. When it was just Josh and I, it wasn't a problem. But now I have 2 more mouths to please, and picky ones at that. Ryleigh likes fruit and veggies but do NOT mix anything together. She wants a meat, a potato, and a vegetable. Casseroles are no good for her. She also won't eat anything with a red pasta sauce on it (except pizza). Isaac won't touch most veggies and really doesn't like meat unless it is breaded and resembles a chicken nugget. Josh is happy with just about anything as long as it fits in the budget. So, could someone please provide me with 7 meals that fit all this criteria??? I get so frustrated...every meal is a battle and it's a battle I don't want to fight. Not to mention that even my husband doesn't provide much help with the meal planning. What ends up happening more than half the time is I make a meal, the kids complain, throw a fit, and won't eat and then I end up making something different for them. Maybe I should just make my life a hell of a lot easier and feed them chicken nuggets every night. Hmmmm...

Tips, suggestions, and family-friendly recipes welcome!!!! Pleeeeeassssseee!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Week in Photos (and maybe some quotes)

Saturday March 20, 2010

Sunday March 21, 2010
Tuesday March 23, 2010
Thursday March 25, 2010
Friday March 26, 2010
My Favorite Quotes of the Week:
'Cary...Dinsores outside' Translation: 'Scary...Dinosaurs Outside' - Isaac when he wouldn't go to sleep one night
'Mama, does Daddy earn one coin every day he goes to work?' -Ryleigh

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kid's Crafts Thursday - Paper Plate Fish Tanks

I got the idea for this craft from 'The Little Hands Big Fun Craft Book' by Judy Press available on Amazon here. However, I did make some modifications to the craft shown in the book. Here is what you will need:-2 Paper Plates
-Construction Paper - blue, and whatever other colors you may want for decorating
-Kids Safety Scissors
-Plastic Wrap
-Aluminum Foil
-Clear Fishing Line

Pre-Project Prep:
For younger children, I would recommend doing the following in advance. Older children may be able to do some or all of these things on their own.

-Cut out the center of one of the paper plates
-Trace the cut-out circle onto a piece of blue construction paper
-Draw some fish shapes onto the piece of the plate that you cut out
-Draw any other items that you want to have included in your fish tank on the other colors of construction paper. Here is what you should have...and I never claimed to be an artist. What we are including in our fish tank are seaweed and coral. ;-)

Now...Round up the kids, its time to start! Don't forget newspaper and smocks if you want to avoid a huge mess!
1. Have the child cut out the blue circle and glue it onto the center of the plate that has not been cut.
2. Have the child cut out the seaweed/coral/whatever other decorations you decided to put in your tank and glue them onto the blue background.

3. Have the child cut out the fish and glue aluminum foil on them for scales.
4. Have the child color the fish with the markers.
5. Cut a piece of fishing line and tape it to the back of the fish. Tape the other end of the fishing line onto the edge of the paper plate. Repeat this step for each fish. Note: The original craft has the children glue the fish to the blue background. But, I thought this would make it look more like the fish were 'swimming'.
6. Tape plastic wrap to the back of the paper plate with the cut-out in it. 7. Tape or glue the 2 plates together.

Voila! You have a Paper Plate Fish Tank! Here are our finished products:

Project Review: Ryleigh (age 4.5) really enjoyed this project. She was able to do all the cutting/gluing by herself. Isaac (age 2.5) needed a lot of help and really wasn't that interested in this project. It was a little involved for him.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Whatcha Crafting Wednesday

Wednesday is going to be a day for me to share all about the craft projects I'm working on. I'll share progress photos, updates, etc. And I'd love to hear what all of you are working on as well! So...whatcha crafting this week???

I'm super excited about my current sewing project. Unfortunately, its a surprise gift for someone special and I can't give too many details just yet. :( I can tell you that its a memory quilt (my first ever!) and I'm about 1/3 of the way done. I'm really happy with how its turning out so far. I really wish I could share this project with everyone, but I don't want to take the risk that the recipient will read my blog. ;-) So...I promise, once it has been gifted, I will share the story and photos with everyone.

My current knitting project is a pair of chunky cabled socks. The pattern is from Paton's 'Next Steps 4' pattern book. I love this pattern! I've made a pair of these socks before and I love the way they turned out.

I'm using Lion's Brand Jiffy yarn in the 'Fisherman' color. I'm almost done with the first sock. I just need to shape the toe. This project is also going to be a gift...that won't be done in time. lol.

I'm not currently working on any crochet projects, but I have a few lined up. I'll be making a couple more hats for my sister-in-law to use as photo props for her photography business. I'll be making these two hats for her using patterns by The Fuzzy Noggin. I love her patterns! They are so adorable! And you can find them on Etsy...just click on the above link!

The Chloe Cap:

The Owl Earflap Hat:

Please Note: The above 2 photos are courtesy of The Fuzzy no way am I trying to claim they are mine or I created the items pictured.

Adorable, right??? So, stay tuned for updates on those 2 projects!

And, last but not least, we come to scrapbooking. I don't have any paper scrapping projects going right now. I have TONS to do, but I never seem to get around to it. I did, however, just start creating a digital scrapbooking kit for Ryleigh's cheering photos. It will all be done in Elite colors, etc. I haven't gotten much done yet, but here's a sneek peak. :) If there are any Elite cheerleaders or cheer moms who are reading this and would like the kit, please let me know and I can send it to you when its done.

So, that's it for this week! Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you're crafting this week! I'm always looking for ideas for my next great craft! :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Reflections - Cheerleading

In order to keep myself blogging, I've set of a 'schedule' of sorts of topics to blog about. Tuesday will be all about 'reflections'. A day for me to reflect on some of the things going on in my life, the lives of my family members, or in the world in general. Today's reflection is all about my little girl and her latest activity...CHEERING!

Ryleigh has played soccer, she's taken dance lessons, and she's taken a little beginner's gymnastics class. None of these activities proved to be a success. In her defense, she was pretty young when she took her gymnastics class. But, at soccer she refused to follow directions which I guess is to be expected when your mom and dad are the coaches. She did more 'snow angels' in the grass than she ever kicked the ball. And dance was a fight every week to get her there. She never wanted to go. So, last fall when it came time to try to find a new activity we debated on what we should do with her. She isn't really all that coordinated or graceful. Finally we decided to give cheering a shot and we signed her up for Elite's Toddler Star team. I was excited, but at the same time a little apprehensive. As a member of a 3-time State Champion Cheerleading Team, I know first-hand the hard work and dedication that it takes to be a cheerleader and I doubted that she has what it takes. Yes, I know she's only 4 and its just an activity for her right now, but thinking down the road...As it turns out, cheering has been great for her! She loves it! She looks forward to going every week, and doesn't want to leave after class. And her socialization skills never cease to amaze me. She hangs out with the teenagers like its her job. It also has been great for me....delving back into the 'cheering' world. Even though this time its as a 'cheer mom', its been great to have an itty bitty part in it again. So much has changed...and yet, so much is still the same. Watching the older cheerleaders brings back so many memories...the excitement and anxiety of a big comp, the comraderie and teamwork, the pride in your team and your teammates. Amazing...I really hope she sticks with it! I think back to when I started cheering...I was in jr. high. Imagine how good I could have been if I had started at age 4?!?!?! It will be a long road, but I can honestly say that I'm looking forward to years and years of cheering practices and comps and all that goes along with it! I'd be so happy and honored if she followed in my foot-steps and stuck with something that brought me so much joy and shaped my life in so many ways.

Someone please just stop me if I become one of those psycho cheer moms doing the routine on the sideline! lol

Monday, March 22, 2010

Welcome to My New Blog!

Welcome! For those who don't know me and may be interested in my humble but happy name is Jenn. I live in the great state of Maine where I married my high school sweetheart, Josh, 6.5 years ago. I'm a stay-at-home mom of 2 children. Our daughter, Ryleigh, is 4.5 (going on 14!). She's a spunky little thing who is super smart, super cute, and has a not-so-super attitude. But we love her just the same! :)

Our son, Isaac, is 2.5 and is definitely TWO. He's also super cute, and is a very active little guy. But he's also my sweet little cuddler....he's definitely a mama's boy and I love it!

Our fur-babies inlude our 9 year old cat, Belle, and our 6 year old Pug, Buzz.

I quit work as supervisor in a medical billing office after I had Ryleigh in 2005. Ever since I've been a SAHM. It is definitely the hardest job I've ever had and I struggle most days to keep my sanity. ;-) I'm also the WAHM behind the former Bare Bottoms Boutique where I made custom cloth diapers and cloth diapering accessories. I closed my business in September because it was just getting to be too stressful for me with 2 young children who required so much attention. I hope to be a WAHM again someday...I miss it! But, until then, I will happily continue crafting for my own family. I love sewing, knitting, crocheting, and scrapbooking...the paper kind and the digital kind!

So, now that you know a little bit about me, you're probably wondering what this blog is all about. Well...if all goes as planned, you'll find all kinds of different things here! You'll find blurbs about my children and my never-a-dull-moment life as a SAHM, green living, all about the things I craft, tutorials, crafty activities to do with your children, and hopefully some interactive discussions if I ever get any followers. :)