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Saturday, November 22, 2014

One Little Word - September Prompt

 Sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that we are almost at the end of 2014.  But we are and it truly has been an eventful, sometimes overwhelming and crazy, but good year.  September's One Little Word workshop prompt was about telling our "real" story - not the one that goes on in our head, but how our life truly is.  It was nice to take a step back to look at how I view my life and see how my perspective looks from a different angle.
The photo is one I took over the summer as we were hiking Timpanogos.  I had it printed at  8x10 size and just cut it into pieces to fit the slots in the page protector.  The rest is pretty self-explanatory.




Monday, November 17, 2014

Back to Card Group!

One of the side benefits of moving back home - card group!  The same friend that started up my old card making group has a new one going now and I got to join them last night.  Yay!  I'm completely rusty (and slow!) and couldn't find half my stuff (thank goodness the local "Drug Store" has a small scrapbooking section so I didn't have to run all the way to Walmart for glue dots!) but it was so nice to get back to something that used to be one of my favorite nights of the month.
One night per month, we leave the kiddos home and get together with a small group of crafty ladies.  Everyone designs one card around the theme that month's hostess has set, and makes kits for everone in the group.  Then we all get together to put together our kits and we go home with a handful of new cards for our stash.  It's a lot of fun seeing all of the different personalities and techniques - such a wide variety for one tiny little theme.
 The theme for this month was Thank You cards.  This one is mine:
I was so excited to run across a fun little blog full of FREE cut files for the Silhouette machine. and as soon as I saw the "thanks" one I knew that I had to use it.  (cut file can be found here)  I cut it out of cardstock and used that for my starting point, grabbing a couple of fun patterned papers from my stash and cutting out the "ever so much" sentiment from black vinyl.
The kit looked like this:

 Not bad for my first card club in 4 years, right?  Can't wait for next month!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

OLW - July

Friday I found myself not only with a little free time, but also felt the urge to create something.  I had just unpacked the boxes with my scrapbook paper and my One Little Word album so of course I decided to do a little catching up.  This is the layout for July's prompt for the year-long online workshop I have been participating in (love it - pretty sure I will be doing it again next year!).  I had all the journaling/writing done and had even printed out the photos, just hadn't had a chance to pull it all together.  And before I get distracted by something else, I thought I'd better share it.
Front:
 


Back:




Saturday, November 15, 2014

My New Normal

Winter in Utah - I'm not sure I'm ready for it!  Yesterday's light snowfall was gone by the time the sun went down, but we woke up to a few inches of new-fallen snow this morning and the kids couldn't be happier.  The adults, however, still have a few big outdoor projects to finish and the weather sure hasn't been helping with that.  We are just going to grit our teeth and do the best we can, as we can't be truly settled in here until we are finished with them.
As we finish up our third full week back in Utah, I find myself finally settling into what will probably be my New Normal for the next little while.  Things like:
Wearing fluffy socks all the time (generally ones that don't match my outfit because that's all I've got).  Predawn hours in the dark, sitting on the couch with my computer or a book and not making any noise so that the dogs don't know I'm up or they will bark and wake up the rest of the house.

 Extended morning routine for the kids.  It goes like this:  Me, awake at Alayna Time (that means earlier than most people want to be awake) followed by Kaitlyn up, usually without an alarm, by 6:30.  Dad is typically out the door by then.  Kate eats breakfast while I fix lunchboxes and clean up the kitchen.  Then we go downstairs to make sure the boys are awake and starting their day.  Sam keeps Kaitlyn company waiting for the bus while I nudge Tyler along, then Sam leaves for work.  Ty and I generally have another half hour to waste before putting him on the bus and Mom tries to leave for work before the bus arrives (usually she doesn't make it and has to follow the bus the whole way).  Then I have the house to myself - for maybe half an hour before my brother stops by to fix himself breakfast and chat.  Dad usually shows up again sometime before 9:00 to check in before he starts his actual work day.
 Some mornings I head to a friend's house for a yoga workout.  Love that.  Some days I unpack another few boxes, reorganize, or clear out a few clutter piles.  Others I head down to the freezing garage where we I'm all set up to work on drying racks.  Those big projects I mentioned?  Yeah - one of them is finding the old heater from the barn and installing it so that I can survive the winter in there.

Monday nights driving swim team carpool then taking Tyler to karate practice.
Meal planning and dinner prep for 6 hungry people - most of whom are picky eaters.
Not being able to complete the laundry in one day as half the time I find it in use by someone else or I'm too busy and not around enough to switch out the loads as soon as they finish.
Almost-daily discussions with my brother on healthy eating, exercise, and motivation - and still haven't made it to the gym for a true workout yet.
Dogs.  Everywhere.  In the way.  Wanting attention.

 The weekends are for putting the Men to work on projects, and me right along with them while the kids hang out at the house (with or without Grandma).
 This scenery.  Love that part of my new normal.  (this photo is taken from approx where we will be building our new house)
 Taking a break from the hard work and chatting with the husband.  Lots of long chats lately.
 My new work gloves - I purposely held out for something super girly. ;)  And you know what else I realized?  All these years I've never had a pair of my own - just borrowed my Dad's oversized ones any time I helped him out.
Did I mention it's COLD?
And did I mention the snow?! ;)  Ahhh Utah...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

In Transition

I can't get life to slow down!  Some days, I really really feel like it needs to, and others, I look back and am glad it all went by so quickly.  October was one of those - plenty of highlights, but also full of stress and hard work as we finished packing up our lives in North Carolina and moved across country.  Intense.  I think that was the hardest, most labor intensive move to date.  So so many details and To Dos this time around.

We packed up the entire house into two shipping containers and one Uhaul trailer, rented out the house, bid goodbye to good friends, and set out with the kids and the dog on the four day drive across country.  The drive went pretty smoothly - thank goodness! - and with all the fall leaves out, the drive scenery was gorgeous.

We arrived at my parents house on a Friday, stopping just long enough for a potty break then running to the school to get the kids enrolled before they closed the doors for the weekend.

It's been a little over a week since we arrived.  The kids have started school, we took over half of my dad's shop and set up the tools to start working on drying rack orders, helped with some pre-winter farm prep and "fixin' fence,"

celebrated Halloween by watching the elementary school's costume parade and Trick or Treating in our old neighborhood (fun fun!), experienced our first snow of the season (not the first storm here, but we weren't here for that)

 and have been steadily chipping away at the million-and-one things we need to do to get settled in.

We aren't done yet!  Not by a long shot.  The shipping containers will be dropped off today and I'm excited to get our stuff here and put away.  Most of it will need to go into storage.  Did I mention we are living in my parents' house while we build a house on our family land?  Yeah.  Lots of hard work ahead.  Thus the title of this post, "In Transition" - because life is just one giant Work In Progress right now.






Monday, October 13, 2014

Horse Birthday Slumber Party - Cowgirl Style

 Our house has been Party Central this weekend - fun fun!  (and exhausting!)  My daughter turns 11 next week and she has been helping me plan the party for months.  She is definitely my child - she knows what she wants and is full of ideas, she wants it to look good, and she wants to Do It Herself.  ;)
After all the horseback riding she did while we were in Utah this summer, it was almost a forgone conclusion that she would pick Horses for her theme for her birthday party.  And her very first request- after specifying that she wanted a slumber party, of course - was that she have chocolate horses topping her cupcakes - and that she be able to do them herself.  She had seen a YouTube video about piping chocolate onto wax paper to make shapes and that was what she had in mind, but that sounded a little intense for her first attempt at real cake decorating so I found a chocolate mold online.  With our lives as crazy as they are right now and the amount of time it takes each batch of chocolate to cool I did end up making most of the chocolate horses myself, though I did make sure she got to do a few on her own.
 Once we started looking at ideas online (you can see my Pinterest inspiration board here) we decided to go with a Cowgirl theme in pink and brown with a few blue accents thrown in.  The invitations, of course, came first.  (You can see the invitations in an earlier post here)
 Kaitlyn fell in love with the idea of a big wooden pallet sign with the outline of a horse on it, but I didn't want to work on a project that big right now.  Instead, I grabbed some scrap wood from the garage, distressed it and stained it, then used hot glue to attach some jute "rope" to spell out the word Howdy.  We used this sign on the front door to greet everyone and set the mood for the party.

When the guests arrived they each received a cowboy hat.
 From previous experience with birthday slumber parties I know that the girls are always super-hyped, loud, and anxious to direct their own fun.  They spent most of the party playing Just Dance or playing with Kaitlyn's fast-growing collection of Ever After High dolls, but I did set up a couple of stations to go along with the party theme.
The Photo Booth props were a lot of fun



 And I threw together a bucket of stuff for mani/pedis, though it didn't get used.  We also had the idea to YouTube some line dances (perfect for a cowgirl party, right?!) and would have done so if the party was lagging.  As I said, the girls had no problem having fun on their own so I just let them do their thing.

 Knowing that, I spent more time on the food and the decorations than I did on the activities.  The beadboard pennant birthday banner got some theme-appropriate fabric and ribbon and provided the backdrop for the dining table.
 The longer I do this, the easier it gets.  I also have a handful of Go To tricks that I can use for any theme - like dressing up the drink containers.  For this party, I picked up a 6-pack of cream soda bottles and added a vinyl horse silhouette (made it using a horse dingbat font and my Silhouette machine.  I love that there are so many great fonts out there for free!).  The plates are part of a stack of inexpensive plastic party plates we picked up at Sam's club a couple years back - they work great for parties.  The napkins, bandana, and tiny pink cowboy hats (aren't they cute?!) were all fun finds at the party store.


 On to the food!  The cupcakes turned out great - though I suggest putting the horses on only at the last minute.  It was a warm day and some of them wanted to tip over when their legs got a little soft.

 For dinner, Kaitlyn had requested ribs and mashed potatoes.  And you know what that means?  That means the husband did most of the food prep because he is the rib smoker expert ;)
Side note - the rolls down there on the end are in a pink plastic cowboy hat.  I forgot to get a detail photo of that, but I wanted to point it out because the girls thought it was a fun detail.

 Once the girls had a couple of hours to play and were ready to settle down a bit, I prepared a tray of goodies so they could snack and watch TV.  Included:  popcorn in brown paper bags (that I had folded down and fringed the edges), water bottles with the horse decals (I try to avoid having any colored drinks on the playroom carpet - it is horrible when it comes to stains), Cow Tales carames, licorice "ropes" and rice krispie treat "hay bales."

 I went to bed around 11:00 that night and I'm told some of the girls stayed up only 'til midnight while the other half made it to around 2AM.  But they were all awake and hungry by 7:30 in the morning.  We did a full cowboy breakfast spread with pancakes, sausage, bacon, hash browns, and chocolate milk.

 Party favors were their cowboy hats, more of Kate's chocolate horses, some cute fingernail decals (in the closest we could find to the party colors), a pen, and some more Cow Tale caramels.
If noise levels and chaos are any indication (naw they weren't that bad - I didn't even have to wake up in the middle of the night to tell them to tone it down), the party was a rip-roaring success.  Yay!

Linking to:
Tutorials and Tips Link Party @ homestoriesAtoZ
Time to Sparkle Link Party
Made By You Monday Link Party