Monday, February 27, 2012

February Update

My oh my, February is nearly done and I can't believe it! I am so glad I've given myself the goal to update at least once a month. SO much has happened since my last update, so I guess I will give a cliff's notes version.

Belle and I were able to drive up north to visit some of my family at the end of January. It was so great to spend a lot of quality time with my grandma, she is such a wise and witty lady. She is so in love with Belle, and the love is given right back to "Gate Gamma Dill" (Great Grandma Jill). It is so fun to see those two interact, it just makes my heart warm and grow double its size when I see them spend time together.

Though not the best picture of any of us, I will always treasure it. <3
I really hope we are able to get up there again soon, we had a lot of fun playing cards, chatting, and just spending time together.

We also spent a lot of time with my uncle, Gary, who is truly one of the nicest people on this planet. His heart is so big, and he is so funny, and I could go on and on about him.

My dad and his wife let Belle and I stay at their house, which was a great treat for Belle because every morning she got to sit on Grandpa's lap and watch cartoons. He is a really wonderful grandpa. <3

We also got together with Belle's twin cousins (and their mama, my cousin) they really had a blast and I wish we lived closer to each other. It was so much fun. I also got to hang out with one of my great friends who I rarely get to see, but time with her was so wonderful and as always, too short.

When we returned home from our visit, we resumed school. Belle is keeping me on my toes and continues to leave me amazed with how much she learns in no time. She is truly a sponge and I am so glad that I broke my own rule and decided to start school so early with her. Hopefully, by the time we officially start school, I will be used to the lesson planning, researching,  prepping, and how to fit it in and keep up with everything else, too. It's crazy how long it can take me to search "butterflies", with corresponding books, crafts, "games", snacks, and probably other things that I'm forgetting. Sometimes I don't finish planning the week until late Sunday night/early Monday am, but it is all worth it when Belle LEARNS something and uses it in the "real world".

Oh, and I can't forget to mention Valentine's day and then four short days later was my birthday. My hubby totally spoiled me and just let me know how much I am loved by him. I am so blessed. Speaking of blessed, my mom and her husband flew out here ON my birthday (the 18th) and they are staying until this Tuesday. Unfortunately, the three of us have all been sick (or are just getting better) so we shared our germs and now my mom is sick, too. :( Annnd, our very mild winter seems to think Tuesday would be a good day to make up for it all, by giving us a big winter blizzard....on the day they are supposed to fly home. I just hope and pray they are safe and don't have a day full of delays!

Last night I was spoiled again when some of the dearest people in my life joined me for dinner and celebrated my birthday. They all know me so well and still choose to hang out with me anyway. Now THAT'S love, haha...but really, I am so blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. Oh, and they all love my little Belle, too, which makes me love them all even more.

So that's the very abbreviated account of our life since my last update. Of course I haven't covered everything..and I've skipped a lot of the little things. Sometimes it is the little things that make life so full. Some of my favorite "little things" right now are Belle's squeezy hugs around the neck, the way she yells "LOVE YOU TOO MOMMMMY", the way my mommy played with my hair and rubbed my back when I was sick, and watching Teen Mom while folding clothes every night.

Finally, The Lorax is coming out this week and I'm going to take Belle. I really hope she'll watch it because I am really excited about it and I don't want to waste money. Haha, thankfully I'm setting the bar pretty low and won't get upset if she's done before the previews are over. By the way, does any one have any tips for taking a two year old to a matinee?

Oh, and I feel the need to share one more thing...and I think this every single day: I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. I can't say it enough, the best things in life aren't things. Upon reflecting (on my 27 years of life) on my birthday, as I do every year, I realized that this is the first year that I am finally excited, content, and pleased with where I am in life.. I'm not feeling like I need to get a promotion, a pay raise, a better education, or (fill-in-the-blank) in order to make me feel happy with my life. From the outside, people probably wouldn't be envious of my life at all, but I love my little family and life we've made.. We aren't financially comfortable at all, my (rented town)house is a mess on a regular basis, but our little trio is exactly what I want. We don't have wireless internet, or more than four channels on our TV, we only have one car (which is due for hundreds of dollars in repairs), I don't have the newest and cutest clothes, my make-up bag has been shrinking for months, we don't own a house, and did I mention we don't have money, and my husband works about 64 hours between two jobs. Not exactly the recipe for happiness, right? What I've realized is that life isn't about things, or fine wines, or gadgets, or extravagant vacations. Life for me is about treasuring time with people, slowing life down to have long conversations, cuddles on the couch, making cookies with a two year old which means it takes triple the time. At the end of my life, I don't want to have a collection of "things" that don't matter. No, when my time ends I hope that I spent my time on people...people who matter.

Sorry for getting so serious. I think what brought this out is a recent discovery of a death of one of my old classmates. He was a smiley, happy-go-lucky,  personality-bursting-in-every-direction kind of guy. The popular guy that you can't help but like because he's just so nice - genuinely nice. I don't think I ever had a conversation with him, but he was just someone everyone in the school knew. Anyway, he was 26 and just got married six months ago. In a matter of days his life went from normal to done, due to a very aggressive cancer. It makes you think, makes you appreciate, makes you re-evaluate everything. It makes me want to make sure that every step I take is a step in the direction that I want to go in, that I spend life with people who I love and who want to spend life with me, that I don't waste this one life that God has given me, that I please God with how I live, how I love, and also how I raise Belle.

Anyway, I'm not trying to say that I am perfect and spend my life exactly how it should be spent. And I'm not trying to say that I don't love gadgets or new clothes. And I definitely know that I don't spend enough time with people that I love, (however, I do know that Belle is only little for a little while, so I am trying to really focus everything on her and treat these very formative years with care). This is whole lot of  "blah, blah, blah" to say that I have been jolted awake again and while I am very happy with my life, I can always try to be a better friend, mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, stranger in the supermarket..and forget about material possessions.

Sorry for all of the rambles and side-tracks. Perhaps I SHOULD write more for the sake of organization, or maybe I should keep a private journal instead so no one else has record of this calamity. Ha!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bento goodies giveaway!

There's a giveaway going on over at Meet the Dubiens from some adorable Bento boxes and goodies. They are so much fun. I think Belle would get the giggles if her lunch looked like this, I am pretty sure it would taste better, too. :)


Oh, and I DO know that I still need to make a blog post for February. I will try to do that soon. It's really crazy how much can happen in just a month!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

My oh my, how is it already January?!

A lot has happened since my last post, how do I even begin to catch up? I guess the most recent and most exciting thing in our house is that our spunky little girl turned TWO! We celebrated her birthday party on December 10th with lots of family and friends, and had a small celebration on her actual birthday (December 18th). Little Belle thought it was her birthday all month, and she sings still "Happy Birthday" every time I light a candle.What a joy to be two years old!

Today was another big day for me and my little girl. We started school! Belle is a bright little lady and seems so ripe to learn. This week our theme is bears, the color yellow, and letter "A". Our vocabulary word for the day is "paw", as in bear paw. She seems to love everything we've done so far, which is encouraging to me since I'm new at this.

We decided to take a break from school because my mom told me that the Tournament of Roses Parade is on!! Belle loves the "dums" (drums), "dancin' " (dancing), and "wafin' " (waving). I'm so glad, because it gives me the chance to write up a quick little blog to remember today. This nice little unexpected break makes me think that I should try to write in my blog at least once a month. I know I should do it more, but if I aim for once a month then at least it's better than once every four months, right?

Anyway, since today is the first day of school, I'll post Belle's FIRST "first day of school" picture and the little questionnaire I asked her.
What is your favorite color? "Yes. yessss." (I think she thought I asked her if she wanted to color, then she realized what I had actually asked her)

What is your favorite song?  "Aaaabc....d"

What is your favorite food? "pastahhhh"

What is your favorite toy?  After about a five minute conversation and her wanting to play with every toy she owns, she finally said "bike" and pounded with her index finger on my notebook that I was recording her answers in.

What is your favorite animal? "Elephant. Baby and mommy elephant."

What is your favorite thing to do during the day? "Baff!! Okaaay, baff time!" (I had to talk her down off of this one, and ensure that we would take a bath later, to which she responded "SOOON!! Yah!".)

What do you want to be when you grow up? "Doctor. Allll better"

That little girl is such a joy. I feel so blessed that I get to be her mama. I'm pretty sure my heart had to grow bigger just to contain all my love for her!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Make-it-yourself Monday!

Guess what!?

I finished TWO projects this week, both of them last Monday! That may just be a personal record, not really, but I am pretty dang proud of myself! I don't usually make time to get crafty, but it sure felt good to do so!

The first finished project is my denim wetbag! I'll use it for her dirty cloth diapers, wet swimsuit, dirty clothes, whatever. I made it a decently big bag, but not huge. I think I'm happy with the size, but I haven't tried it out yet. I originally gathered a bunch of notions to embellish it with, but then quickly decided they were all too cute to use on a wetbag. However, when I finished the wetbag it was too plain-jane blah for me. So, I added a bow. I'm okay with how it turned out, especially since it's the first wetbag and first zipper I have sewn. (I am still cursing myself for choosing DENIM instead of an easier fabric to work with, like cotton!!!) I took about 15 pictures, and yet not a single one seemed to turn out. That's what I get for using my cellphone as my main camera! (I have dreams of buying a digital SLR camera. Seriously. Ahhhh...and moving on...)

The other project I started and finished was the homemade Mod Podge and the finished product! First off, the recipe that I found was a good base, but I definitely tweaked it A LOT. I started with the base, but wasn't happy with the consistency, so really, if you try this at home (which you should if you like Mod Podge) just make sure you keep stirring and be mindful of what ingredient is needed. Mine turned out much lumpier than the real Mod Podge, but it still worked well and the lumps weren't a problem at all when it came to the project, they smoothed right away!
Meet Lumpy Lumperson.
Welcome home, Lumpy!

Icky old pot from garage.
And this is where the napkins come in!
This is about one and a half layers in. I wish I would have removed the purple border.
Finished! This is about 4 layers of napkins.
This was a lot of fun to work on and see it come together. I didn't intend on doing more than one layer, but I really didn't like the look of seeing the purple borders on the edge of the napkin, it just broke up the design too much for my liking. I actually like it better with the multiple layers, too, what a surprise! I love that about crafting, if things don't go as planned, there's still a good chance you can make it work and play with it until it looks decent.

The napkins I used were double ply, so I peeled the layers apart and only used the printed layer (but kept the solid color backing for a future project) so that it was easier to apply and didn't crumple up with the Mod Podge. I'm really happy that I picked a good day for the project, it was a hot hot day with dry heat, so I just set my pot outside to dry between layers and it literally only took a few hours for each layer. It may have to do with my homemade Mod Podge, but I remember (when using the real Mod Podge) waiting and waiting and WAITING for my crafts to dry.  It was such a blast to finish it all in one day! However, I have been applying more Mod Podge throughout the week just to give it more protection.

I am thrilled that this turned out so well! I originally wanted to Mod Podge a small piece of furniture, but thought "Just in case this all goes wrong, I'm going to sacrifice my ugly old pot that's been collecting dust in the garage before I ruin something I actually care about!" I also used an old pan and utensil to mix up the Mod Podge, too. I was pretty skeptical, you see. However, to my surprise and delight, nothing was ruined and my project turned out just fine!

I already have plans stirring in my head of what to Mod Podge next. The roof of  Belle's new wooden dollhouse? The chair for my sewing table? Picture frames? Ohhhh, the possibilities!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Make-it-yourself Monday!

I'm a craft-a-holic, and it's a problem. Right now I have several unfinished projects, scarves to knit, a newspaper wreath that I started a year ago, and a denim wetbag that I have a goal to finish this week (I've only been working on this one for about a week - pretty good, right?). I also have about a hundred projects in line that I'd like to start.

So instead of finishing the projects that I have started, or starting a project that I have all the supplies for, I am going to instead start a project to make the supplies for a project that I'd like to start. Did you follow that? Anyway, I'm going try to make MOD PODGE! Man, this stuff is great, but instead of buying it I'm going to make it myself because I like saving money and making extra work for myself.

I'm going to make this during Belle's naptime and depending on if the stuff turns out, I'll even start covering something to give it new life!

I'll report back next Monday on how it turned out - hopefully with a finished product! (But with my track record, it could take a year!)

Here's a little teaser of what I plan on using:
Left over napkins from Belle's first birthday party

I am so excited about this project, I might just start and finish it all in one week!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pinch those pennies, people!

I get such a high from saving money. I like to stretch our hard-earned money as far as we can take it. It's actually kind of a game for me now. I enjoy clipping coupons and finding good deals! I remember a conversation I had with Papa Bear not too long ago about how clipping coupons is just not worth it with all the time wasted finding, clipping, sorting, etc. Watch me eat my words, mister, this is a blast AND it's a good for my family!
Spending quality time with my scissors at 1:00 am
My little thrill could actually benefit you, especially if you don't look at your ads. Did you know that kids eat FREE at IKEA through the 21s? Mom and Dad don't even need to buy a meal, it's all about the kiddos! (Proof: no coupons, just a promo going on) I was already planning on going there, so this just makes it that much sweeter. Ohh, I love me some IKEA!

As everyone knows, it's Back-to-School time and that means sales! It's the perfect time to stock up on crayons, paper, bandaids, clothes, hand-sanitizer, lotion, and the list goes on!  It's also a good time to start gathering items for a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. Need ideas?

I had a pretty big pile to sort through and there were so many good ads with long expiration dates, so my organizer is nearly half full! I honestly couldn't even tell you how many coupons I clipped, but I had a blast! My super fancy coupon organizer is actually a 4x6 photo book that snaps shut, and it has a pretty durable cover. I still need to make some labels, but it's really not hard to find things since they are in clear pockets. I love it...and so does Belle!

Future extreme-couponer. Sorry, Papa Bear!

Wanna know what's really exciting? It's the weekend, which means more coupons coming to my mailbox - yipee!!