Our Valentines.

Whew life has been a whirlwind lately!

I just went and made myself a nice little batching schedule with reminders of when it’s time to switch tasks and color coded everything and dang it, I’ve got another week of this kind of schedule and all of that’s out the window. Not that I was doing all that hot with keeping up with the blog this week anyway. I’ve been reading TONS of other blogs and how they keep up with a busy life and multiple jobs and it seems that there is a trend.. we’re all the type to dabble in many things and not be happy with a regular 9-5 job. I covet those hours and I’m jealous of others who can lay out their schedule and clock out physically and mentally at 5 but that’s really not me, never has been and probably never will be. On this chilly, but sunny & beautiful Friday I’ve had several epiphanies. I’ve decided that I have to pursue a creative/personal career choice. A stable/predictable job is not going to do it for me. That might be easier, but less fulfilling. So while I’ve been afraid to fully put myself in a place where I can pursue something that will fill my SOUL with joy because of the instability, I think over the last year – two years, I’ve finally learned what it takes to make life work with what you’ve got and how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. And I’m excited to take the next steps. Long term goal: be financially free and able to pursue a business that allows me to be creative, challenges me to do more and be more. Short term goal: pay off credit cards.

So, all that rambling aside- a week from now I’ll be gearing up for 65 hour weeks for the next short while. If I can keep up for a month or two or three (maybe) I can pay off all credit cards and maybe my car (almost a year early) EEK!!! It’s not going to be easy, I’ll probably hate my life every morning but ya do what you have to do to get where you want to be. So I will more than likely be only posting twice a week and not expecting myself to keep up with a 4-5 post schedule while trying to work those 2 jobs and work my Mary Kay business. Just FYI.

Tangent and upcoming future aside – VALENTINE’S DAY.

This year I wasn’t upset that Josh and I didn’t spend it together. I wasn’t upset that we both worked. I know that I get more excited about holidays and festivities than he does so I did my thing and I put some creative energy into his gift and woke up to a super cute little display of his gift for me. It’s more about showing the love every day anyway, isn’t it?

It started on February 13th.

IMG_20130213_154403 FxCam_1360850753660I saw this heart banner idea and thought it was the cutest thing ever. I might just leave it up another week because it makes me happy when I walk into my living room. They’re also very cute on a smaller scale, on the fridge, on a mirror, etc.

I was very in the DIY mood this Valentine’s Day after seeing how cute my heart banner turned out. I browsed Pinterest and my bloglovin feed (tons of great Valentine’s ideas this whole week) and I came across a card similar to the one I made with candles and a cute little saying about fire. I adapted it a smidge and chose to use stamps instead of hand writing it on the card stock.

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I had the card stock, the raffia, the stamps and ink. All I had to do for this was buy some candles. I didn’t really like the idea of a super plain front to the card so I found a cute little heart border and printed it out and then wrote my love note on the back. Maybe I’m too proud of this, but I couldn’t get over how cute it turned out. Besides I always stand in the card aisle for an hour reading every card it seems like til I can find the right one. This was way better.

Everybody in our house got some Valentine’s Day love.

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Top left: My Valentine’s Day gift. He got me a tulip plant. I’m waaay more excited about it then regular flowers because these won’t die in a week and I’ve been wanting plants to put on the porch (this one’s staying inside I think) and around the house. Plus a pedicure gift certificate & chocolate covered pretzels, WIN. πŸ™‚

Top right: His gift and some heart-shaped sweets

Bottom right: My heart banner over the fire place

Bottom left: Sweet treats for my 2 little four-legged Valentines

I went to an antique shop last weekend and found the cutest little heart-shaped ice cube trays for 75 cents. I’d been looking for shaped ice cube trays recently because I wanted to try making some treats for my pups to freeze. I made my own concoction earlier this week and let them freeze a few days. They LOVED them.

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Berry Heart Pops

Easy, make at home all natural treats for the four-legged family member(s) in your home.

Easy, make at home all natural treats for the four-legged family member(s) in your home.

Ingredients

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Peanut Butter (melt it a little in the microwave first, it’s much easier to stir and mix in with other ingredients)

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Greek yogurt

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I mashed the bananas up and stirred everything until all ingredients were mixed well. I then spooned the mixture into the ice cube trays. They were looking a little plain so I added a blueberry on top of each ones. Blueberries are a favorite, healthy treat for my puppies.

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I did have to use a small knife to kind of pop them out of the ice cube trays. I really expected the pups to have to take their time and eat them a little slower than they do most things but one of them gulped hers down, the other took about 20 seconds to eat hers. I was wrong on the timing part, but they LOVED them. I didn’t really measure any of the ingredients, just added until I had a good consistency. I mix peanut butter and greek yogurt to eat with fruit all the time, so I tried to make a similar consistency as when I do that. There’s no right or wrong really, you could eat one of these yourself – it’s not “dog food” but all healthy and natural ingredients.

That was the love in our house this Valentine’s, hope you had a lovely day too!

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Happy Monday!

Our Christmas: a few of my favorite things

Of course Christmas is a fun time of year, and at our house we still get caught up in unwrapping presents and slipping gag gifts in where we can. πŸ™‚ I’m a little behind, but I wanted to share some of my favorite things from this Christmas.


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1. The best fudge that EXISTS. My nana filled an entire bag of different kinds of sweets and while it’s throwing off my goal to be healthier in 2013 – (I really think my change is going to be all about incorporating exercise rather than cutting out all good things anyway) I’m in HEAVEN with this stuff! 2. This beautiful Fossil bag is not only sophisticated (and makes me feel put together and more adult just by carrying it), it does not have a long strap so there is no option for me to carry it on my shoulder and then subsequently feel like my arm is going to fall off or create more knots in my shoulders. WIN! 3. A Wacom bamboo tablet. My boyfriend didn’t understand what it was or why I wanted it so bad, but like the great guy he is – he got it for me. I’m super excited to play with it and hopefully add another dimension to my blog posts in the near future. πŸ™‚ 4. These fuzzy polka dotted socks are one of the best things ever invented. On cold nights or even moderately cool days, those bad boys will keep your feet warm and cushioned. I have a growing collection of them and I think it might be a new Christmas tradition because I’ve gotten a pair every year… 5. BLING. Another score for the boyfriend. He was heading out one Saturday afternoon and I said “okay, be safe! Bring me back something pretty!” He responded: you already have something pretty, and was referring to a necklace that he bought me our first Christmas.. which I adore. But it’s 2 years old and I could stand an addition to my collection. I opened this sparkly counterpart on Christmas, quite surprised really because I didn’t think he would go find something else. πŸ™‚ Girls like sparkly things. 6. In our house, we enjoy watching TV shows and Netflix by connecting my MacBook to our TV. The only problem is that sound doesn’t travel through to the TV’s speakers and the sound comes through the laptop. So if we’re quiet and the dishwasher and washing machine are quiet, we can hear the show. I asked for a set of speakers to aid in our sound quality for this type of activity and my sister came through. This little bad boy can be connected by a cord or wirelessly via Bluetooth, up to THIRTY feet and man does it play. I’ve seen these popping up all over for Christmas gifts this year, Bed Bath & Beyond and Walgreens, for sure that I saw.. this is a neat little toy that everyone could find a use for I think.

Of course I got lots of other great things.. new pjs, a sweet lamp for my crafts table, some books, house things.. it’s always great stuff. These were just a few of my favorites that make me especially happy. What great products did you stumble on this year? I’d like to hear!

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Our Christmas: 12 Days of Christmas activity

Happy Thursday everyone!

If you all had a wonderful and as busy of a Christmas as we did, I bet your head is still swimming a bit as well. πŸ™‚ I have a few things I’d like to share about our Christmas this year, one of which being the 12 days of Christmas activity that I did this year. The other will be a few of my favorite things, coming soon! πŸ™‚

I came across this idea on Passionate Homemaking (original post viewable here). She talks about the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the stress that tends to set in when you’re trying so hard to finish up work for the year, keep your house moderately presentable because guests will be coming by, shopping with all the crazies and of course COOKING for all of your guests. It’s a fun season, that’s for sure, but it does tend to get rather busy and it’s easy to get caught up in all of the things we “need” to do and to stop enjoying the moments. One person who probably feels some of the tension you may be feeling, is your partner. Women, in general, are going to put more thought and effort into every task, every gift, every dish – you name it. The men just tend to ride along and go with the flow more often (I’m jealous sometimes). That doesn’t mean though that they should feel the wrath of our stress.. but rather, maybe this should be a time when we remind them how much fun the season can be, like when we were all kids and buying gifts wasn’t a chore, or a financial stress.

The basic premise is that you begin on the 13th of December and just like the song goes.. “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” and you give ONE gift. Typically, this one gift could be more of a loftier item since it is just one. “On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” and you give TWO of something. Day 3- three of something. You get the idea. You could reverse the idea and start with 12 and count down til Christmas as well. I chose to start on December 13th and started with 1 gift. Our 12 days of Christmas went something like this:

12 days of christmas collageDay 1: ONE pair of work gloves. Day 2: TWO 10-minute hand massage coupons. Day 3: THREE pack of undershirts. Day 4: FOUR pack of Monster energy drinks. Day 5: FIVE holiday scratch offs. Day 6: SIX pack of bud light lime. Day 7: I love you in SEVEN languages. Day 8: EIGHT pack of new socks. Day 9: NINE new car scent air fresheners. Day 10: TEN dollars (to go buy dinner out one lazy night when I’m at work) Day 11: ELEVEN white & milk chocolate swirl hershey kisses. Day 12: TWELVE pack of coke.

As you can see, you don’t really have to spend a lot.. you just have to be creative. Some of the items I wrapped or put in gift bags. Others, I just left sitting out in random places or hidden in places that I knew he would find (like his wallet). It was a fun activity that let me be able to be creative in finding gifts I knew he would like or could use that fit the number requirements. I think this may just be a new tradition!

 

Christmas Cards spread good cheer

And it’s good if they’re reminding you of that good cheer that was sent your way and not cluttering your kitchen counter tops. This was the first year I actually mailed out cards. I’ve halfway done it in the past (sent out 4 or 5) or given them out in classes when it’s easiest to just hand them to people. But half the fun of Christmas cards is getting cards back in the mail! I already have a better idea for what to put on our cards for next year. πŸ™‚

As far as the organization half of it, I actually thought of this idea all on my own. I went to Michael’s Craft Store and found a delightfully Christmas-y bow (green and red polka dots) and chose similar red and white polka dotted ribbon.

What I started with.

What I started with.

I then took clothes pins and spray painted them gold to hold cards. I’m slightly obsessed with gold spray paint these days. It easily covers other colors and previous layers and covers very evenly..and is instaglam to anything you put it on. Go get a can, you’ll be blown away too.

Our very full Christmas card holder

Our very full Christmas card holder

I put our Christmas card hold right next to the front door, next to an antique 7 Up crate that holds some of our favorite knick knacks and most importantly – our keys so we can grab and dash out the door. It’s a nice reminder of all of our friends out there and adds a bit of festiveness!