Saturday, January 25, 2014

Around Here

Happy Saturday!  Today I am trying a fun journaling prompt for my blog.  I will try and make a it a monthly feature.  Hope you enjoy!

Around here- brothers are spending some quality time together indoors because the weather has been so cold.  They are mostly pretty good to each other and that warms their Mama's heart.

Around here- my book club just finished reading this book:
We had dinner at a delicious local Italian restaurant where even though there were differences of opinions on whether we loved it or just liked it ok, we had fun getting together to discuss.  This year our selections are a mixture of books we want to read now as adults and books we enjoyed as young adults.  Up next month is this one: 

Around here- Scout has taken up a winter hobby of bird watching.  I imagine this fall she will love walking the trails with Mitch and my Dad as her friend Lady Bug flushes up grouse.

Around here- we have started to think about Valentine's Day projects.  Jack is excited about making his Valentines.  

Alex has not thought much about them yet, but is looking forward to quality controlling these treats that his brother and I plan to make:

Their Dad and I are creating a list for this project to surprise them each day leading up to Valentine's Day

Around here- the boys and I just finished reading this book in the Ramona series.  It is interesting how much (except for them being boys and not girls) my kids' personalities mirror Ramona and Beezus.  It's was surprising how relevant a book series written in the 60's still rings true to family life today.  Also interesting is how much both boys still enjoy hearing a story out loud. (even though oftentimes Alex can be found working on "something else" yet in ear shot of the story) I think Mitch and I are enjoying them as much as the kids.  Up next is Ramona and Her Mother.

Around here- we have gone from this to this.  We have learned some new strategies in keeping things organized.  We also have reconnected with a desire to streamline clutter and unnecessary things in other areas of our house.  Stay tuned!

Around here- life is good.  

Thanks for checking in with me!  Hope your weekend is off to a good start!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Washi Thank You

Hey Readers.....

Did you see that?  That the top of this page?!  It's a CARD!  Can you believe it?  

These clean and simple thank yous were our Christmas thank yous that went in the mail for all of the fabulous gifts we received this year.  I really like to try and send a hand written note when I can, even though a thank you is nice no matter what form it comes in!

These thank you cards used a Very Vanilla cardstock background.  To that I added a strip of each of the colors that come in the Retro Fresh Washi Tape package from the new Spring Occasions catalog.  The thank you sentiment itself is one of the many from the new Photopolymer line.  Have you tried these out yet?  I really like them.  They are extra sticky on the clear blocks, and they are completely clear so you can see exactly where you are stamping with them.  I hope Stampin' Up! continues this line, it's been a lot of fun.  The set is called Another Thank You and it has a bunch of different fonts and thank yous in it.  Thank you cards are cards I always like to have a variety of on hand, and this set makes it easy.  I used Baked Brown Sugar for the ink color and it looks almost gold.  They turned out fun--hope those that got them in their mail box enjoyed them!

Oh, I almost forgot--on the back, I used my new monogram stamp:

I still really like my other monogram stamp with the flourish on it, too, but this one is fun and a bit more noticeable.  It's good to have options, right?

I hope you all are out there having a great Sunday!  Thanks for checking in!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

One Little Word First Page Progress

Happy Saturday Readers!

We are enjoying a beautiful sunny winter day here in the Northwoods.  The sun is sparkling off the snow and ice, and the lake is a beautiful blue.  It's cold but it sure is pretty to look out on.

Around here we are working on a few things---shredded bbq chicken in the crockpot for dinner tonight, my husband is out running some errands, and the boys will hopefully be able to go out and build a fort later today in the snow.  I have some crafting out on my table and the last part of my January One Little Word project I'm working on.  Here is my first page of the project.  I hope to infuse a little more color in to the coming months, but for this month I really wanted to focus on getting my thoughts down on paper.  Are you doing One Little Word?  There is still time to start--check it out at Ali's page here.

I just finished The Husband's Secret for book club next week.  It gets to be a page turner a couple chapters in.  It was an interesting read as a mother and a wife, made me wonder what I would do if faced with their situations.  (Although, truth be told, I hope I never have to be) Sounds like the girls all have something to say about this one, so it will be a lively discussion.

Up next for February is The Witch of Blackbird Pond.  Did you read this one as a kid?

We decided since there are 6 of us in my book club we would choose a book we wanted to read now, and a book we enjoyed reading as a young adult.  I am excited to go back through these and see how they speak to me now.

Thanks for checking in with me today.  I hope you all had a great week.  Stop back soon for some crafty goodness I am working on.  :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Best Ever Crockpot Artichoke Dip

Hey Readers!

I meant to check in with you on Monday but I realized the recipe I wanted to share with you was at my desk.  Then, I meant to share with you on Tuesday, but we are remodeling at work and it kicked up my dust/mold allergy to the point where I had to be seen by one of our Occupational Medicine physicians. Thankfully, with some medication, and a different work space until the construction is completed, I am back to feeling pretty much like my normal self.

So, without further ado, here is the fabulous best ever crockpot artichoke dip I couldn't wait to share with you!  I got this recipe from my one of my stamp club ladies.  Have I mentioned how much I love my stamp club ladies lately?  If not, I really do love them, they are a really fun and fabulous group of women, and I'm thankful that I can call them my friends in addition to my customers.  In December we had our Christmas Club, and Julie brought this dip.  We all had to have the recipe.  Serve it with good crusty bread, veggies, crackers, or eat it out of the pot with a spoon--no judging here!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did!

Crockpot Artichoke Dip-Serves 8-10

1 c. grated Parmesan cheese (I used a Parmesan/Asiago blend and that was good too)
1/2 c. Mayo
8oz softened Cream Cheese
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 14oz can Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped finely
1 7oz jar roasted red pepper, finely chopped


1.) Combine cheese, mayo, cream cheese, and garlic in a food processor/mixer until smooth.  Fold in artichokes and peppers.
2.) Cover and cook on low for one hour in the crockpot.  Stir and serve.

**Note: can be prepared the night before.  If you do that, cook on high for 30 minutes and then on low for 30 minutes stir and serve.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Final Christmas Celebrations

Hi Readers!

How is your start to 2014? I can't believe we are already 11 days in!  It's been a whirlwind around here. As most of you are also probably experiencing,  December/first part of January has been really weird in the way of weather. Add to that that Christmas and New Year's fell in the middle of the week, it was hard to get together with all of our family to celebrate this year.  What does this mean....for the last month we have had one or two "Christmases" each week.  Last weekend my brother in law and my nephew came for "Christmas".  It was really fun for my boys to get to spend time with them.  My nephew "E" is a year younger than Jack.  360 days younger to be exact.  They always have a lot of fun when they are together.  Alex does such a great job of leading them, and helping.  He's a great big brother.  Here's a couple pictures of them at our sled hill in our yard.
E ready to go, Grandpa and Alex are catching at the bottom

Jack's turn

We had a nice dinner together and opened gifts later that evening.  The boys really liked the new books and new things to color/draw with.  Hopefully E, A, and G enjoyed their gifts, too.  It's always nice to be together with them.  A few pictures from the evening.
Jack, Alex and E figuring out how to put the ball launcher game together

Uncle Adam with Alex, Jack, and E

The beautiful living room fireplace all decorated for Christmas :)
The first week back to work is always the hardest after the holidays--it's a full week, and the magic of the season is gone.  The nice thing for us was, my sister, brother in law Andy, and niece "B", decided to come up this weekend for "Christmas" since they had to miss our Christmas celebration this year due to weather.  "B" just turned 5 months old and is really a lot of fun.  Here's a few pictures from our time together--they are headed home today in freezing rain so we are saying a prayer for them that they make it home safely.

Jack, Alex and B

B, Emily, me, Jack, and Alex

Emily and I

Emily, B, Jack, and Alex-it's the Faces I Love book I made for her :)
So as you can see, I haven't had much time around here for crafting.  I really miss it and am hoping to do some of it today.  I have laundry going, a roast in the crockpot, and Christmas packing up happening.  Six Christmas's time to put all the special treasures away.  I hope you and your families all had a blessed holiday season no matter how many times you celebrated!

I will be back this week with the artichoke dip recipe I promised, my One Little Word progress, and a couple cards I have created.  Thanks for hanging in there with me!  Have a great start to your week.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's 2014 One Little Word

Happy New Year! I hope you had a great New Year's Eve however you celebrated.  We had a delicious steak dinner, the boys had a "gaming sleepover," and my husband and I watched It's a Wonderful Life.  I love that movie--each time I watch it I seem to get something else out of it.

I have been talking about this class, One Little Word, I am going to be taking this year.  Ali Edwards has been doing this class for several years now, and I always enjoy reading her posts regarding the words she chooses. This year, I have decided to go for it.  The class starts today but it's not too late for you to sign up, too.

I thought about several words for 2014.  Design, create, build, and purpose to name a few.  One word that kept cropping up for me, no matter how hard I tried to ignore it, was intention.

Here is Merriam-Webster's definition of intention:


 noun \in-ˈten(t)-shən\
: the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose

Full Definition of INTENTION

:  a determination to act in a certain way :  resolve
a :  what one intends to do or bring about
b :  the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered
:  a process or manner of healing of incised wounds
:  conceptespecially :  a concept considered as the product of attention directed to an object of knowledge
plural :  purpose with respect to marriage

The more I thought about it, the more intention really resonated with me.  I want to be intentional about how I spend (or don't spend) my time.  I want to be intentional about time spent with my family.  I want to be intentional in my relationships with my husband and children.  I want to be intentional about how I run my Stampin' Up! business in 2014.  

I have created a Pinterest board for inspiration about my word "intention".  You can follow me here.  While looking for things to pin to this board I came across a couple quotes that really drove this concept home:

"That was the day she made herself the promise she would live more from intention and less from habit"  and "I will love, speak, live with intention."  

This wouldn't be my crafty blog without a little crafty inspiration as well.  I created a graphic for my word in My Digital Studio.  When I get this page printed I plan to handwrite the definition on the lines below the graphic and put it in my album.  I intend to share my progress with you along the way.

I am excited to see where this intentional journey will take me.  I am really excited that a few of my friends and my Mom are taking this course along with me.  If you are taking One Little Word, I'd love to hear what your word is.  And, even if you aren't taking One Little Word--if you could choose a word this year, what would it be?

Happy 2014 friends!  I am looking forward to this new chapter.