Friday, October 24, 2014

Scrappy Moms Stamps Guest Designer ~ Santa Clause is coming to town

Towards the end of last year one of my most favorite craft blogs & stamp companies, Scrappy Moms Stamps, called for full time and part time designers for their company.  I sent them an email with my latest creation without hesitation.  Something I never do, I am usually the type to hem and haw over things and then miss a dead line.  This usually ends with me being upset that I just didn't apply and see what would happen.

I was so freaking excited when I received an email back saying that I had been selected as a guest designer for the month of October.  I couldn't wait to see the stamps because let’s face it Scrappy Moms Stamps comes out with some of the most adorable stamp sentiments and are so much fun to work with.

Here are the two brand new sets that are being released this week.  I mean could they not be any cuter!  I am in love with them and have so many ideas swirling around my head I honestly struggled with picking what direction to take my project.

With baby girl’s due date fast approaching, like less than 60 days away, I have been working on my Christmas cards.  This way I will have them done and ready to go at the beginning of December before this little princess decides to grace us with her presents and relieve her momma of the rib pain she is currently inflicting on me. HA!!

Here is a list of the materials I used.

Cricut Cartridges – Elegant Edges Create a Critter 2 & Simply Charmed
Solid Cardstock – Bazzill & Recollections
Tree Patterned Paper – DCWV Jolly Whimsy
Snowflake Patterned Paper – My Mind’s Eye 12 Days of Christmas
Ranger Sticky Embossing Powder
Recollection Cherry Glitter
Versa Mark Ink
Color Box – Dragonfly Black – Pigment Ink
Scrappy Mom Stamps Merry Kissmas – “Santa Claus is coming to town”
ATG gun & Zig 2 Way Adhesive

My card base is an A6 size card, 4” x 6”, so that I can insert a 4x6 picture for our friends and family to frame and keep year round.  I kept my base for this card in white.

My first layer is pink which also measures 4x6 to cover the whole front of the card with the patterned paper cut at 3 ¾ x 5 ¾. The snowflake mat is from Elegant Edges off page 53 and is cut at 3 1/2” with coordinating shadow.

The sleigh is from Create a Critter 2 on page 70 and I cut it at 4 ¾”.  I used the sticky embossing powder on the red part of the sleigh and covered it in the red glitter to give the card some added interest.  This is the first time I have ever used the sticky embossing powder and I was nervous about how user friendly it would be and I must say it couldn't have been simpler and I am in love with this new technique I learned.

Santa himself comes from Simply Charmed on page 57 at 2”.  At first I was worried with how he would look in proportion with the sleigh but once I had it all laid out I have to say I was very pleased I didn't cut him any bigger.

I popped these two as well as the sentiment up on some foam adhesive and I have the sentiment on a strip of white cardstock measuring ¾”x2” and matted on the aqua color measuring 1”x2 ¼”.

I am so pleased with how this card turned out and I know it will be easy for me to recreate a few more times to send out this year.  And I must say it was such a fun experience to be a guest designer for Scrappy Moms Stamps and I hope to be able to do it again someday.  If you are in the market for some amazing stamps, dies or bakers twine I highly recommend that you check out this amazing company.  

With these new stamps I am anxious to continue my card making for the season because the possibilities are endless!  And as for the Do or Diet set I have a fabulous birthday card idea in my head that I want to create for my sister in law.  Her birthday is next week so be sure to check back for that in the next few days because it is going to be FABULOUS and I think good enough to eat! ;)

Until next time my friends! 
Have a fabulous day!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Our emotional roller coaster of life.

Well hello there.  I have taken quite the hiatus from blogging over the last few months.  It’s hard to believe the last time I put the proverbial pen to paper was back in February.  So much has been going on both ends of the happiness spectrum that it has been a bit overwhelming.  I have wanted to write an update recently but have been struggling to find the words that adequately describe everything.  So there is a very good possibility this will end up as a bunch of rambling from my emotional self. 

Back in October of 2013 myself along with everyone employed at my job was informed that our doors would be shutting in a year.  That we all will have staggered end dates that coordinate with the business need at the time.  Mine was in June of this year. During this same time CJ and I had been discussing a change in employment for him as well.  Mostly it was just tossing the idea back and forth.  In March of this year the decision was made to make the switch for CJ.  At the beginning of May CJ left his job and started working as VP/Service Manager at his dad’s company. 

Meanwhile, in April had been a very emotional and stressful month for us.  My Aunt passed away towards the beginning of the Month and on her birthday, April 15th; we found out that baby # 2 is on the way after 6 months of TTC. It was a hard time of dealing with the emotions of losing my aunt and celebrating my pregnancy at the same time.

The first trimester was rough full of morning sickness that lasted all day and night, off and on bleeding throughout the first 14 weeks, beginning fully exhausted from not sleeping due to said sickness and spotting.  I was a big bubble of stress but tried to put on a brave/happy face.  I felt so blessed to be pregnant with another baby but was also very worried that something would go wrong. 

June came and went rather fast; before I knew it was the 30th and my last day of employment.  Our plan since before we even were married and had children was for me to stay home full time once we had our second child.  Full time daycare for one child is spendy, but full time daycare for two kids is more then I would bring home each month for what I was making.  I have never made it a secret how much I wanted to be home with Zach and now my wish was finally, FINALLY coming true and I was beyond excited. Then I got news from my cousin in Oregon that her dad was sick, really sick, but didn’t want the whole family making a fuss on him.  Then he got worse and the call no one wants to get came, My great uncle had passed away and went home to our Father in Heaven. Just a couple months after my aunt we once again had to say goodbye and it was hard.

July started off well, I fell into a great routine with Zach and we both were thriving.  We found out that Baby #2 is a girl and are thrilled to meet our princess. Then CJ, Zach and I went camping just outside of Flagstaff and while we were up there my sister called and informed me my Grandma who had just recently found out that her lung cancer had returned had had a stroke.  I freaked out because I was far away from my family and CJ and I decided we needed to drive back down to Phoenix.  My grandma never went home again, she was in the hospital for a little more than a week, they had resolved the blood clot that caused the stroke but the lung cancer was just to advanced and her heart was tired, so my dad and my grandma made the difficult decision to bring in hospice.  July 20th my grandma joined my aunt and the rest of our family that has passed in heaven. This is hard for us all, especially my dad, having to say goodbye to so many family members in such a short period of time takes its toll and it sometimes hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when dealing with that much grief.

August and September passed fairly quickly. We celebrated Zach’s 3rd birthday and my nieces 5th birthday and it was awesome to be surrounded by all that happiness. I still find it hard to believe that my sweet tiny, to me, baby boy is now three and full of opinions and trying to negotiate EVERYTHING.  I love all this time I am getting to spend with him and being able to get ready for the arrival of our newest addition.  Time really seems to be going by fast now.

We are also lifting CJ’s aunt up in our prayers.  She is very sick and hospice has come in to help her be comfortable, so I ask that if you have time to please send your thoughts and prayers her way and to my family I would greatly appreciate it. 

It is hard to believe we are half way through October with only 10 weeks until my due date and getting ready for the holidays.  I am really looking forward to all the celebrating this year.  Christmas time should be interesting as my due date is December 22nd and I am a little nervous about it.  But our family is amazing and all saying that we will just play it by ear and that we are all on little miss’ schedule.  It is funny to me that she isn’t even here yet and she already has us all wrapped around her sweet little baby finger.  

Over the last month I have gotten back into my paper crafting which I have missed very much and it has been a great distraction to everything else.  I have also started selling them which has been such a blessing for my little family so far. 

I guess that is all for right now.  I am hoping to get better at blogging I miss it very much.

Until next time…

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Parenting Territory

I have to admit, when I was pregnant and they first told us we were having a boy I had a small internal panic attack.  I thought to myself “I can’t be a mom to a boy; I have no idea what to do!” In my mind I thought I could be a better mom to a little girl than I could ever be to a boy.  

I thought everything girly.  I thought of tutus, hair bows, French braids, baking, playing with dolls and house.  I thought pink and frills and all things sparkly & shiny.  I didn’t think I could do monster trucks and Legos, playing in the mud and ripped knees in jeans and building things with tools.  I for about a day freaked out on the inside.  I didn’t want to be judged for my feelings by my family and friends so I kept all of this to myself.  I didn’t want to hear how much easier it was to raise a boy than it was a girl.  I want to make one thing very clear here I was NOT disappointed we were having a boy I was just unsure of MY abilities on being a mom to a boy!  But who is to say that if we had a girl if I wouldn’t have felt the exact same way about having a girl. 

I quickly got over that and decided that no matter what I did I was going to be a good mom to my son.  He and I were learning this new life together.  This relationship between a mom and her son is unlike anything else on the face of this Earth.  I don’t have to be good at Legos or monster trucks.  I don’t have to deal with ripped jeans much yet. I worried for nothing, like most things I worry about.  Zach loves me of who I am.  His love is unconditional it is amazing.  My love for him surpasses any love I ever thought possible.

But my friends we have entered new territory at our house.  Unfound territory for me and I find myself once again freaking out.  I know what the books and our pediatrician say to do in regards to this new phase we find ourselves but still I am freaking out none the less.  

My son has figured out how to take his clothes off.  I know this is normal but when home Zach prefers to be sans clothes but still is not interested in potty training.  I am at a loss on how to guide him through this phase.  He has not yet attempted to take his clothes AND diaper off anywhere but at home.  So in that sense I am glad he feels comfortable to discover his new independence at home but I have two fears.  The biggest one is what if he tries to do this NOT at home.  I have images of my son’s tiny tush running around all neeked in Target! AHHHHH!!!!  And two with him still not interested in the potty he has peed his bed twice in one night because he took his clothes off in the middle of the night and I had no idea until the morning when I woke up. 

If we are friends on Facebook you know I asked about this the other day and got a lot of good advice for night time but I can’t figure out how to keep clothes on this kid during the day while at home! HA!

I was not prepared for this.  This came out of left field and I don’t know how to be a mom in this situation. I am at a loss on how to teach him when it’s appropriate to take our clothes off and when it is not. 

He has also discovered his peepee in a new way.  So, how do CJ & I navigate this new territory with a two year old?  I don’t want to discourage him and make him feel like he is doing something bad.  But I also want to instill in him that no one else is to touch him there other than his care givers* during diaper changes when cleaning him.  Our pediatrician has ensured us this is a phase most kids go through, a phase of discovering themselves and to just instill that it is ok and that no one else is to touch them like that. But how do you make this message clear to a 2 year old!

All I can do is try my hardest and hope this is a short phase.  I can tell him each time to go to his room in private, that no one else is touch him there.  I have to keep telling him that when we leave the house we have to keep our clothes on. 

I know I am a good mom to a boy now I have figured that out for a while now but this… this is new.  And like everything else with parenting we need to take it one day at a time.  But if ya’ll have any other advice I would greatly appreciate it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Crafty Tuesday {{ Happy Valentine's Day Card }}

Card Stock
K & Company
Cricut Cartridges
Elegant Edges Scallop Square – pg. 24 cut at 4”
Create a Critter 2 Monkey – pg. 34 cut at 3”
Create a Critter 2 Vine – pg. 34 cut at 3”
The One Spot – Target cut at 4”
Stickles in Red and Crystal
Zig 2 Way chisel tip
Foam Squares

When my co-worker asked me if I would make a card for his wife for Valentine’s I was so excited I couldn’t wait to start working on it.  I loved that he didn’t have any specific ideas of what he wanted giving me full creative license to come up with something they both would be happy with.

To start I used Recollection card stock for my card base.  I cut it 5” x 10” and scored it at 5” creating a 5”x5” square card. For the first background paper I used the K & Company paper pack and cut that sheet at 4.75”x4”75. I love that flower pattern and I hope to use it on another project soon.  One thing I really like with the K & Company 12”x12” paper packs is that they are double sided.

At first I had just a plain square cut for the center of the card but I didn’t like the way it was laying out so I decided to go through my Elegant Edges cartridge and found the scalloped square and I knew the small circles would work perfect for the ribbon to not only show more of the background.

I cut that at 4” and cut the center paper which happens to be the flip side of the larger background mate paper.  And the scalloped edge on it matched the square which is perfect for the look I was going for.

The monkey and vine I cut out at 3”.  In hindsight I wish I would have cut the vine at 4” to have it take more space on the center mate but I still think it turned out adorable. When I glued down the monkey I glued his little tale flat and used foam squares to pop the rest of him up.  My hope in doing so was to make it look like he was swinging forward on the vine.

I centered the ribbon at the top of the center mate and poked it through the two sides to have the Happy Valentine’s Day look like it was wrapping around the card like on repeat.

The last thing I did was add stickles to the hearts and vine to have them stand out and to give the card an added dimension.  Plus what girl doesn’t like something a little sparkly!

After I made the card I thought about making him an envelope to put the card into be able add a gift card or attach to a gift for his wife.  I used the Wilde Card cartridges and cut out envelope on page 47 on blackout and fit it to fit to page.  This cut out at 5” meaning it would fit a 5” cards. I also cut out the envelop liner in the same paper as the large mate on the card so it would all match.  I added a single glue dot to the tip of the envelope so once he signs it he can peel off the second backing and seal the envelope but have it where his wife will still be able to open it without tearing it.

That is my card this week.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  I can’t wait to hear how much his wife loves it!

Here is the video that shows how I made this card in more detail.

Until next time my friends! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Crafty Tuesday {{ Hugs & Kisses }}

With Valentine’s Day coming up quickly here I wanted to start my love day crafting.  I thought I would start with a card for my hubby and for that reason I didn't want to do the tradition red, pink and white card.  I wanted to bring in more blues with touches of pink. 

With that in mind I started looking through my Cricut cartridges looking for the perfect image.  As I started looking through the Create a Critter cartridge I remember a cut that I haven’t done before but have wanted to try for a while.  So I flipped quickly to page 43 and knew in an instant that I needed to use this cut in a Valentine’s card.

I did try to vlog the making of this card.  I pressed the button and made the card.  When I had finished I went to watch back the video and found that it did not record and that I had pressed the wrong button.  I was so disappointed so I attempted to take some detailed pictures for ya’ll and I vow to have my act together next week.

Here is a list of supplies that I used for this project.

Card Stock -            Base - Recollection Card stock – White Cut at 5”x10
                                Recollection Card stock for fishbowl & fish
                                Bazzill card stock for water, sand & seaweed
Back ground -          Patterned paper I have had on hand for years.
Stamp -                    ScrappyMoms Stamps – Simple Sentiments
Ink -                         By Megan Elizabeth Ink Edgerz – Salty Sea
Stickles -                  Diamond & Magenta
Ribbon -                   Recollection ribbon
Adhesive -                ATG gun & foam adhesive squares

First l cut my base down to 5” x 10” and scored it at 5” thus creating a 5”x5” card. 
The background on my card measures 4.75”x4.75”.   I love the polka dot pattern on it with the greens, browns, and blues.

My fishbowl is cut out a 4” along with the layers for the fish bowl. When I cut out the fish I had it at 4” as well and it was going to cut them out way to big, obviously I didn’t think about this in the first place.  I re-cut them at 1” and cut one out on the flip setting.

Once I had everything cut and put together I set out to assembling my card.  I knew I wanted the fish bowl flat and the fish to be popped up.  I also decided to pop up the sentiment so I glued those with my foam squares.  I added the ribbon with a bow to the top, I thought it really brought the sentiment together.  Once I had the card done I thought it needed it a little something else so I added stickles on the fish.

I hope you enjoy this week’s project and until next time my friends!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Meal Plan Monday's

It has been a long time since I have made a weekly meal plan.  Over this last weekend I tried to pin point exactly where C.J. and I “fell off the meal plan wagon”.  We had tried to get back on track several times but something always comes up or we make some sort of an excuse to eat out.  This is usually followed by one of us saying “Okay this is the LAST time??  No but really this time!”  

Before I found out I was pregnant with Zach C.J. and I would cook at home every single day. It might have helped that I got home from work at 3:30pm back then.  But once the first trimester sleepiness set in I stopped cooking and we started eating out.  After that I have found it harder and harder to get back on track.

That being said our waist lines and pocket book can no longer afford to eat out constantly.  I need to get focused on what needs to be done not only for myself but for my boys as well.  So this week is week one of meal planning.

What we had been doing was buying our meat in bulk at Sam’s Club.  We do this for two reasons. One is being that the price per pound is significantly cheaper than if we were to buy it at our local grocery store each week.  And, secondly, this way we only need to purchase meat once a month.  I seal a meal them in to even portions and throw them in the freezer until we need them. 

This way we only need to purchase the regular staples at the grocery store which cuts our overall grocery budget almost in half. We went from spending $500.00 a month in groceries to only spending just under $300.00. 

This week I have created a meal plan that will be easy enough for both C.J. and I to prepare no matter which one of us gets home from work first. 

I wanted to ease us back into meal planning and nightly cooking so this week’s menu is pretty simple and I hope that as time goes one we can get more creative with our options.

Monday:              (Jenn’s late day) Sandwiches
Tuesday:              Taco Tuesday
Wednesday:      Spaghetti with crock-pot sauce with salad (fruit for Zach)
Thursday:            Marinated chicken strips with rice pilaf and green beans
Friday:                  French bread pizza’s (Family Movie Night)
Saturday:             Pot roast, with potatoes, carrots & mushrooms served over rice.
Sunday:                                Left Overs (get ready for a new week!)

Totally not trying to be Martha Stewart this week but wanting to give my family the nutrients they need while still making dinner time fun. With me needing a low carb diet I will make slight variations of each meal with the exception of Friday, that day will be my cheat meal so I can enjoy Family Movie Night.

I think all around this is a fairly solid meal plan and I look forward to adding more interesting items and exploring more foods with Zach.

What are some of your staple go to meals for your family I would love to know!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Family Fun Time

Since becoming and mom and going back to work I have seriously struggled with finding that house work to fun activities balance. I am sure this is something that a lot of homes with the parents working full time have trouble with. 

I am tired of feeling like all I do all weekend is drag Zach on our errands.  I mean you can only make the grocery store fun so many times before a 2 year old picks up that we are just buying food. Sorting laundry is only a game for a limited amount of time before they prefer to do something else.  Throw in the mix a husband who works two weekends out of every month and you have some limited family time issues.

Here in Arizona the weather is amazing this time of year.  That being said Zach would like to be outside all.the.time!  I truly wish I could oblige and just hang out outside all day with him but the reality is that laundry needs to get done, bills paid and food purchased and I just cannot seem to find the balance in it all.

But I want to change that!  I NEED to change that.  While I am working full time and have just a few hours a day during the week to spend playing with my son I need to make the most of the weekends.  We need to do this not only for Zach but also for C.J. and myself.  We aren’t just building memories for Zach here now are we? Seeing his face light up when we doing something out of our normal schedule is one of the best feelings in the world.  This is something that C.J. and I both set out to do this year and so far we are making it work.

We have been doing the bulk of our chores during the week after Zach goes to bed so that our weekends are freed up.  This way we can do all those fun things we have always talked about.

The weekend after Christmas we took Zach to see his first movie in the theater.  We had noticed that when we watch a movie at home the majority of the time he likes to cuddle with us and watch the movie from start to finish.  I bought tickets to see Frozen at a 9 am show.  I figured this would be a good time for a couple of reasons.  One being that the tickets are cheaper so that if we had to leave in the middle of the movie I wouldn’t feel guilty for having spent the money. And the second reason is that we could then make a day of it by seeing a movie, having lunch and spending time together.   

He did amazing!  He sat through the whole movie captivated by the whole experience.  He danced to the songs and cuddled with C.J. and I.  We were thrilled he had so much fun and now we know that this is something we can do as a family as a special treat every now and then.

This last weekend C.J. came up with an idea that we would all enjoy.  He wanted to have a picnic in the park and just hang out and enjoy the community that we live in.  We got a couple of Zach’s bouncy balls, he loves to kick them and run, packed our lunch and headed out the door.

Zach had a BLAST.  He seriously loved running around the fields and playing on the play equipment. We stayed out there for about two hours and even then Zach didn’t want to go home.  A little girl and her family who lives in the neighborhood close to ours came to play and have a picnic as well.  Zach had so much fun with her going down the slide over and over again. 

I love that our weekends are mostly filled with fun instead of more work.  I love that not everything we do has to cost a lot of money.  I truly believe that we are on the right track to have a better balance of life and work so that the time we do have to spend with Zach is not spent cooped up in the house or trying to convince a two year old that it is fun to clean the house every.single.weekend.

What are some of your favorite family time activities to do with your family?  I would love to hear them!

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