Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday's Tid Bits (XL Version)

  1. I hate when you order food to go and by the time you pay for it, drive back to work, sit down and look at it, you realize it's not what you ordered. Lunch is almost over and there's nothing you can do about it. Boo.
  2. Another thing about food...what is with the fortune cookies not really being fortunes? "Your mind is filled with new ideas." Thanks for that. The problem is I haven't the time or certain resources to work on them. How about predicting when I will be able to do so, eh? "The secret of getting ahead is getting started." Seriously, what is this? Ironically I can find places where these so-called "fortunes" fit in my life, but where is the "You will inherit millions from a stranger who picked your name out of a phone book and not have to worry about half of the things you are worried about right now, this second." Eh, eh?
  3. I got two tattoos on Friday the 13th. Now that I say that aloud, I realize that it probably wasn't the best idea. I wasn't superstitious about it, but now I am. Both of them got screwed up, unfortunately. I got a "J" on my wrist for my hubster that is squiggly {for lack of a better word}, frayed in certain spots that it isn't supposed to be, not filled in correctly, thicker in some spots than in others, and to top it off, the artist "dug" too deep so it's taking extra long to heal. On my foot I had my daughter's name and a ladybug, because that's what I used to call her. Well, now I call her Pee-Wee, Nana, Bug-A-Boo, etc and really you couldn't pay me to put any of that on my body permanently. So, with her middle name being a flower, I requested that the artist sketch a rose to cover up the ladybug. He did an awesome job and I absolutely love the design. What I don't love is the fact that it took 4 hours to complete these small tattoos, he cut me open in six places {verified by the owner of the shop AND my doctor}, I'm on antibiotics to prevent an infection, my foot was swollen and pained for two weeks, and now the tattoo is literally falling off. Cheese and sprinkles {name that movie...}. Anybody who has seen it has declared they have never seen a tattoo in that bad of shape. And who would? It's a tattoo. It's supposed to be permanent, that's the point. Not happy. At all. I really didn't expect to have to go back and have the tattoo redone after three weeks, and I was under no impression that the artist was under an apprenticeship or anything where I would need to expect less than perfection. Now, tattoos may not be perfect no matter who does them, but my 4-year old could do a better job with a sharpie marker and it would probably last longer than this tattoo has. Mission: get my money back and get it fixed for free. Because between paying for the tattoo, a tip {hey, I didn't know this would be a disaster, ok?}, and paying for the babysitter, I'm out two big ones.
  4. I miss my hubby. Like, a lot. Spending the weekend with him then being thrown back into work is too much of a change. He's like a drug, I need to ease off him.
  5. January is over and I am very happy with everything that I achieved this month...losing weight, plowing through a ton of scrapbook pages, spending time with my family and making that a priority, and letting my creative juices flow in a "journal" that will house all my amazing, fantabulous ideas until I have the resources to complete them.
  6. Every Monday B has gymnastics. She's such a cutie out there in her leotard and I love watching how much she's grown since starting out. Yesterday she did a full cartwheel and landed on her feet. Then she did it again, and again...and again, and again... Her coach came up to me after the class and said that she is doing such an amazing job and wants to move her up to the next level right now. Unfortunately, 4pm doesn't work for us, so I thanked her but said we can finish out the term in this class and look forward to watching her move up when enrollment opens again. There's only six weeks left anyway, so it's not a big deal for us to wait. I'm oozing of pride right now though. I think I teared up a bit when I saw her doing those cartwheels, too. I'm a baby when it comes to my baby.
  7. There are two big things I have been praying immensely for. Join me, won't you?
  8. Intervention is such an addicting show, which is ironic to state considering the whole point of the show. It's sad watching how the family dynamics affects them. It's repulsive and heartbreaking when they show them using. Yet, I can't pull myself away from the TV...I want so badly to see these men, women, and teens pull through this and get healthy. For the most part, it ends happily: the addicts are smiling, clean, enthusiastic about being clean, determined to keep it up, in a healthier mind set, and look amazing. Those endings are my favorites.
  9. I need to purge items and clean out my closet. Adding to my "to do" list right now.
  10. Check back tomorrow if you are interested in doing a 29-Day Scrapbook Challenge with me! I can't wait to start!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ice Fishing and Gas Station Restrooms

This weekend my hubby and I got to get away for ice fishing with some friends of ours up at Lake of the Woods. That's what we do in Minnesota in the winter. We drill holes in frozen lakes, drop a line, and sit there staring at it for hours on end until a fish finally bites. It's fun if you have a lil' Captain in you and/or are catching fish. I’ve only been ice fishing twice and on smaller lakes, but this time we drove nearly 10 miles out onto the lake. On ice. Pure ice. When we got there it was midnight and it took us a half hour to get to the ice house…which was thirty minutes of nail biting, hair raising, pure anxiety for me. I just about kissed the ground when we finally got there, but remembered that we were still on ice. Pure ice.

Anyway, over the course of the 34 hours we were there we caught 17 fish. I caught one. On accident. {Go me!} The boys were saying that fishing is usually a whole lot better. In fact, they were just up two weekends before and caught fish nonstop. This time they had the rattle reel lines down throughout the night trying to catch fish {to me it’s interesting, for lack of a better word, that a man can get up in a heartbeat for a rattle reel yet sleeps through children awakening in the middle of the night...let’s just say my wheels have been turning as far as socks, underwear, or even headgear with rattles on them for the girls to wear so I could get a full night’s sleep once in a while} with no such luck. It was still a good getaway, even if I had some of the most traumatic public restroom experiences of my life {begin rant}...

Here are a few tips suggestions thoughts pleas for gas station owners regarding their restrooms:

1.       Please do NOT hang a sign that reads, “Medical Examinations Available for Sexual Assault Victims in _____ County”. HELLO!!! I am in this county, right now, on a rural highway and you are the first gas station in 42 miles. I have no choice but to pee in your restroom which has a door that doesn’t close all the way and looks like it hasn’t been cleaned since Bret Michaels’ hair was real. It’s like something out of a bad movie.
2.       If your own employee refuses to use the restroom, you have an issue. And I hope you are paying for their medical bills when they wind up with a kidney infection caused by holding “it” for so long…or at least providing them with a hole in the back to use {because that would be better than your slimy bathroom anyway}.
3.       Invest in one of those cute little air fresheners. They can’t be more than a few dollars, and you probably have them marked up in your store anyway. This will prevent travelers from gagging and running out with their hands over their mouths and they might actually stop and buy something in your store.
4.       If your faucet has deteriorated to the point where you can see where the water comes from, you should probably replace it.
5.       For the love of God grant us enough toilet paper to smother the seat, even though most people will still use the hover technique anyway {burning thighs, shaky calves, and completely off balance beats the thought risk of obtaining a new unprecedented disease any day… it should be an Olympic sport, really}.

I’m thisclose to creating my own toilet system when on the road. I had better luck squatting on the ice in -3 degree weather than stopping at a gas station.

Ok I got sidetracked there. Back to the weekend. My favorite part was having B’s arms wrapped around me when she got home. That is the most amazing feeling in the entire universe. I missed her goofy antics, her big blue eyes, her mischievous grin, her snuggles…oh, and her a cappella rendition of Justin Bieber’s “Baby”. Yes, I missed that tune. She's catching up on the bridge rap by Ludacris and it's the cutest thing in the whole world. She has no idea what Starbucks even is but says that line with such authority you would think she's a daily customer. {Who is drinking Starbucks at 13 anyway?}

As far as my goals this last week:

I obviously spent a lot of time with my hubby {which I honestly enjoyed thoroughly, even the six hour drive each way}, continued with Scrapbook Sunday AND I have a 29-day Scrapbook Challenge in the works to post February 1st {check back!}. I broke up with my diet for the weekend and gained 2lbs, but that’s nothing to sweat over. Actually, I am going to challenge myself to take time to work out in February, even if I only complete three days I will give myself a pat-on-the-back. So hopefully I sweat. At work I was trained in another departments process so that not only extends my knowledge, but gets me closer to 40 hours a week with the additional work.

January is nearly over…how did you do on your New Year’s Resolutions/Goals?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Scrapbook Sunday No. 02

Another week has come and gone and I have succeeded in completing SIX scrapbook pages! Yep, six! I'm fricking ecstatic! I was only on February 2011 at the beginning of the month, but as of tonight I am working on April pages and have all of the photographs from that month sorted in individual jumbo Ziplock bags ready to add paper and embellishments to create my "kits" {maybe I will post about that in the next few weeks because it's helped me plow through these pretty quickly}. 

Here are the pages I finished while ice fishing this weekend...yes, I know there are only four pictured, but the ones I completed after I got home haven't been photographed yet.

What have you been scrapping lately?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012: Week Three & Four

Ok so I missed week two and I am almost done with week four and still haven't posted about week three. You following? Basically I'm falling behind. Blah. Here's an update:

Family Goals
  • Be a More Attentive Wife and Mother
    • Check. Been spending a lot of time with the girls and J.
  • Manage Finances Better
    • I created a budget spreadsheet in Excel that will work great for our family, and now I just need to implement it for February. Tough part is, my benefits kick in next month so I will have to make adjustments. Then I will share.
  • Organize, Create, and Manage an Efficient Household
    • B started a "bedtime routine" because it was an absolute struggle to get her to bed. It's been working wonders, and most nights she doesn't even need it. I think putting her responsible for herself at bedtime has helped. I'm so glad because it was stressful!
    • The Chore Chart is on hold for now for good reason. I promise.
Personal Goals
  • Keep in Contact with Friends
    • Once a week, at the very least, I've been sending out texts to check in with friends. I need to get better at calling especially because we have about 6,000 rollover minutes to use...yes, six THOUSAND.
  • Go to Church
    • Null. Very disappointed in myself. Can only move forward!
  • Keep a Journal
    • My "journal" has turned into much more than a diary-type notebook. In fact, it houses grocery lists, to do lists, reminders, upcoming event ideas {like B's 5th and E's 2nd Birthdays}, and whatever else. It's a catch-all for my thoughts throughout the week and I love it. It's been very helpful!
Professional Goals
  • Update Work Environment
    • This was completed earlier this month. The next step would be just to keep up with the filing, but that's ongoing :)
  • Extend Myself
    • I have been getting closer and closer to 40 hours a week which is fantastic. Also, I spent over a week helping another department so I'm expanding my knowledge about the nitty gritty of the company. I love that feeling.
Creative Goals
  • StudioBlonde
    • I've been slacking as far as projects go, but I have a good reason for it. Believe me, there will be MANY opportunities in the next year for me to blog about progress and projects. It's time consuming and there's a big project on our plate right now that we need to get through first. However, I did start "Scrapbook Sundays" so at the very least, it's a step :)
  • Pinterest
    • I have been pinning way too much, but I also discovered that I have been pinned! My Beef Stroganoff recipe has been pinned and viewed and I think that's awesome!
  • Scrapbooking
    • I have been on a roll. Two weeks ago I spent the whole Saturday scrapbooking wedding photos, last week I spent a few hours on Sunday focusing on 2011 photos. As you can see, I got a few pages done and that's a huge accomplishment for me to focus that much! I want to challenge myself to do a 29-Day Scrap Attack for February. Stay tuned.
Fitness Goals
  • Lose 10 lbs
    • I am so happy to report that I am almost at my goal already!!! I have lost 7.2lbs since January 1st so I just have a little bit further to go. Actually, I want to set an additional goal to lose 6 more pounds since it was this easy to shed so far, but that was just changing my eating habits. Those extra pounds will need to be dropped by hard work...meaning I'll actually have to get up and work out. Yikes.
I feel pretty comfortable about where I am at with my goals so far this year. I mean sheesh January is barely over with and I have a lot of them underway to the point where I can already see a light at the end of the tunnel. 2012 is kicking butt so far.

How have you been with your New Year's resolutions or goals?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Scrapbook Sunday No. 01

Welcome to the inaugural post for my series titled "Scrapbook Sundays". Original, right?

Anyway, one of my goals this year is to catch up with my scrapbooks, including my wedding book, which is a huge project because I took more pictures in 2011 than I have any other year (likely due to my sweet new camera from my awesome hubby). I want to finish at least one page a week, which I have been doing (YAY!) but I have also been squeezing days in...yep, the last two weeks I have spent one day in each scrapbooking. It's awesome. Last week I had two friends come over and scrapbooked all day, and today I spent a few hours with my family and completed one at home, too. I'm on a roll.

To kick off my feature series, here are the pages I worked on today (in the future I will take better photographs and try to come up with techniques for me to try out in the coming weeks...this is a work in progress, mmk?):

(Oh, P.S. I took the pictures on the stand so that's why they are so far away...the lighting is terrible at night so I will photograph pages in the daytime and without the stand otherwise it looked weird with the black scroll at the bottom. You live and you learn, right?)

As you can see, I love pop dots. I adore the 3D effect on the pages and layering papers. I'm a sucker for bordering the main page and squares. I'm also a sucker for flowers and butterflies. Good thing I have two girls to scrapbook! 

Thanks for checking in, and thanks CORIE for kicking my butt in posting again...I've been busy and falling behind! I have a few ideas for posts up my sleeves though, just need to find the time to ensure they reek of AWESOMENESS before I post them!

 Who else scrapbooks? What are some of your "go-to" techniques?

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012: Week One

It may only be Day 9 of 2012, but I've been doing pretty darn good on my 2012 Goals, which is fantastic news for me {I struggle with procrastination, laziness, and lack of motivation, I'll admit it...}! Mondays I'm going to do a recap of how far I've come on my goals and look ahead to the upcoming week. This should help keep me on track.

Family Goals:
  • Be a More Attentive Wife and Mother
    • My hubby and I spent New Year's Day together.
    • The girls, J and I went to the cabin {FYI by "the cabin" I mean his parents'} this past weekend. B went ice fishing for a bit and J took us all on an ATV ride.
    • B and E had some fun in the snow for a few minutes before their cheeks got too rosey - I think it was E's first time in the snow because she really wasn't sure about it! It was fun watching her warm up though.
  • Manage Finances Better
    • I filled the "Disney" jar and am trying to implement a portable way to track mileage and expenses for J's business. I found a small 13-pocket file and a mileage log that fits inside the front, so hopefully he removes it from the kitchen island, puts it in his car, and uses it...
  • Organize, Create, and Manage and Efficient Household
    • This last week I started coming up with small "chores" for B...there are things I don't want to pay her for, like picking up her room each night and putting her clothes in the hamper, but will be creating a chore chart for her that I can expand on as she gets older.
Personal Goals:
  • Keep in Touch With Friends
    • I've been making an effort to text friends more often and see how they are doing, but also met up with a great friend from high school on short notice for a dinner date at Acapulco {YUM!}. It was absolutely wonderful to see her - she's one of those friends you can sit down with after two months of hardly talking and pick right back up where you left off!  
  • Attend Church
    • No progress on this goal last week....
  • Keep a Journal
    • Even though it hasn't been every day, I did buy a small notebook for journaling and started a couple days into it. 
Professional Goals:
  • Update Work Environment
    • I am excited about this one...I received the rest of 2011 pictures I had printed so pulled a few out for my cube and filled those frames I've been hanging on to. It makes my heart happy to have pictures of the people I love surrounding me all day. I also organized one of the overheads with brightly colored trays from the dollar section at Target to corral some of the items I had sitting in there. 
  • Extend Myself
    • Last week was a tough one to hit 40 hours on because we had Monday off for the holiday. 
Creative Goals:
  • Keep Up StudioBlonde
    • I haven't been posting as much as I like, but that's because I've been dedicating my time to my family this last week. However, I have a few projects I'm gathering to blog about, so stay tuned! 
  • Pinterest
    • I pinned some more...and found a blog called Undressed Skeleton that gave me some amazing ideas for updating my food habits, which I started already!
  • Finish 2011 Scrapbook, including Wedding
    • Last week I finished 2 pages: 1 from 2011 and 1 from the wedding! I sat down to start another 2011 page last night, but got distracted by a TV show that I am not going to admit I watch. Yeah buddy. 
Fitness Goals:
  • Lose 10 lbs
    • I'm not going to post how much I actually do weigh because a lot of people might judge the fact that I even want to lose weight. I'm OK with where I am. I'm not miserable but I'm not thrilled either. On the spectrum of where I should be for my height and age, I'm on the very edge of what's considered a healthy weight. So I would like to lose some LBS. I want to be in the middle. So far I have invested time in coming up with healthy meals and snacks and I've lost a total of 4.2lbs in a week. {I freaked out yesterday when I thought I hadn't lost anything in a week, but found I wrote my weight on January 1st so it made me feel better that actually I had, I just didn't remember.}
    • Water has become my new best friend. I thought it would be hard to hit 8-10 glasses of water each day, but I'm at 6-8 comfortably thanks to my cool "sippy cup". I love it.
    • I downloaded an app on my new iPhone {so sweet} called Calorie Count and this is what I must credit to the change in the last week for sure. It keeps track of my water, weight, and food. I can add activity if I want to, but it already accounts for what one typically burns in a day so unless I happen to climb the stairs 25 times each way {which I did on Saturday}, I leave the activity alone. It scans barcodes so you don't have to manually search for everything to log. It also tells me an analysis of what I've been eating - when I've had too much cholesterol or sodium and which vitamins I need more of. It also gives you a grade for the day. I started this on Thursday of last week and since then have gotten a B- thrice and a C+ once. I would get a better grade if I made the effort to get more calcium and vitamin A, but I only went wrong on Saturday when I had 3 eggs thinking it would be good for protein and ended up with high cholesterol. Oops. Oh, and there are forums if you want to see what's going on in the "community" and also a recipe search that you can specify certain aspects of your diet {ie low sugar, high protein, etc}. If you're looking for an app that's easy-to-use, not too complicated {complicated is where I end up getting lazy}, and gives you a full analysis, check this one out. It's become my new fave.
Whew, that's a lot! But at least a lot of this is a summary of what I started, so going forward these updates will be a lot shorter.

This week I plan to scrap and implement Scrapbook Sundays where I feature the page I was working on...this will ensure I git-r-done during the week. I also want to hit 40 hours at work, create a budget in Excel, go to church on Sunday, put my journal in my purse so I can keep it up daily, and get a project done to feature on the blog!

How did you do on your New Year's Resolutions last week?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thinking Outside the Candleholder

Before Christmas, my BFF and I went shopping at Goodwill and met up with a great group of ladies including Jen from iHeart Organizing and Amanda from Our Humble A{bowe}d. Jen offered up a Goodwill Challenge: find something to "makeover" and share your project! 

Let's just say I hit the jackpot in terms of things I could makeover. I have a project that I have been working on, but I can't finish the whole can of oatmeal in one sitting so it's a slow-going process. Also, I don't have a place to spray paint, so my "makeover" was pretty limited. That's OK though. Come summertime I will be so high on spray paint fumes I won't know what to do with myself. {Probably an inappropriate joke, but there we have it.}

Here's what I started with for my paintless project...a pilar candle holder. It's cute, and likely something I would have displayed in my living room if I wasn't itching for something unique to do with it.

B and I were at Walmart and went past the coffee section. If you know me, you know I don't drink coffee. Heck, I didn't even know you could buy coffee beans from Walmart...{don't judge me}. I don't like the taste or smell of coffee, but I did happen to spot this French Vanilla package and gave it a sniff. YUM. In the cart it went.

When I got home, I immediately poured in the beans. And I loved it.

I added my makeup brushes, and VOILA! A classy looking way to store them without damaging them. Plus, the bathroom reeks of coffee. Which I have subsequently come to adore.

Another angle...

{I will have to replace these in a short while anyway, but at least now I know I won't have to as often going forward.}

From the side...oooh, ahhh!

I put it next to a basket I bought for our wedding programs. It still has the ribbon but I added the butterfly. The colors aren't what's normally in the bathroom, but I wanted to put some towels in there so I nabbed some from the other one.

What have you been thrifting with lately?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Chapter: 2012

Now that I've had a few days to bask in all the glory that was 2011, I have some goals {resolutions, what have you} to set for 2012. This task has been on my mind on/off over the last couple weeks but I was finally able to sit down and write down what's important to me and how to make sure that those values stand out next year.

Rather than coming up with the stereotypical "resolutions", I have decided to set goals. These will be more general in some areas but also doesn't set me up for failure, which is a huge contribution for motivation to complete goals...if you set the bar too high you might overwhelm yourself and not go for it {at least in my experience...golden example: P90X...I was determined to do it right off the bat and full force when I haven't worked out for more than two days in a row since playing volleyball in high school; needless to say, I didn't do so well on that}.

I broke it down into five sets of goals: Family, Personal {pertaining only to myself emotionally, spiritually, and mentally}, Professional, Fitness, and Creative. After each goal, I specified examples of how to reach that goal. Not only does this give me a kick-start if I feel stuck, but doesn't put me in a box, either.

WARNING: This post does not feature any photos! I wanted the focus to be on my goals and what I want to accomplish, something I can post and review and don't need to filter through distractions to remember. A huge part of posting this on the blog is to ignite the desire to complete it; I want to reference these goals in future posts to document my progress and see where 2012 brings me.

Family Goals:
  • Be a More Attentive Wife and Mother
    • Set aside date nights with my husband once a month
    • Keep up with the housework better than I have been {try to do a thorough clean once a week}
    • Plan activities with the girls often - both together and as individuals - that will help them grow, learn, and have fun, but most importantly create treasured memories
  • Manage Finances Better
    • Create monthly budgets {oooh how I love Excel, I'm excited about this!}
    • Assist my husband in the upkeep of business paperwork
    • Save, save, save
  • Organize, Create, and Manage an Efficient Household
    • Chore charts, Organization, Household Binder, and Home Decor {for fun}
Personal Goals:
  • Keep in Touch With Friends {in all the hustle and bustle of life, I have found that months pass before I realize I haven't spoken to a good friend, and that breaks my heart. I am blessed to have so many amazing women in my life and I need to ensure that I am not losing any of them in the daily blitz.
    • Plan "Ladies Nights" similar to the Christmas dinner - laid back, cozy, inexpensive, and fun
    • Send out birthday cards - yes, in the mail!
    • Pick up the phone once in a while and CALL a good friend to see how they are doing - don't rely solely on social media or text messages to rebuild a friendship
  • Attend Church
    • Saying I will go every Sunday is one of those details that will essentially force me to fail on this one, so I'm going to set the goal of going once a month
    • Remember to pray - it's the basis of my childhood and in troubled times or good, God needs to be a focus
  • Keep a Journal
    • I want to remember these moments down the road; the big ones and the little ones {this might include revisiting details of past events such as B's birth and our engagement, etc}
Professional Goals:
  • Update Work Environment
    • I spent an extended time sitting in my cube, so why not make it pretty and efficient? My goal is to create a work space that is functional and inspiring
  • Extend Myself
    • Start hitting 40 hours a week if the work is there, and push to do a better job so my part in the company's day-to-day operations is helpful and appreciated
Creative Goals:
  • Keep Up StudioBlonde
    • I would like to have 200 posts in 2012; which means at least 4 posts a week
    • Make lists of what to write about; what interests me, readers...what will put the fire under my tush to keep me motivated
  • Pinterest
    • I've pinned way too much for my own good - now it's time to start completing projects, trying new recipes, and utilizing the creative ideas I've found to incorporate them into my own life
  • Finish 2011 Scrapbook, including Wedding
    • Complete at least 1 scrapbook page a week - Scrapbook Sunday or something! Make the time even if you have to plan througout the week just for the layout and throw it together one night...I never know when I will hit a creative road and finish 7, 8, 9 in one day!
Fitness Goals:
  • Lose 10 lbs
    • Eat better foods, both at work and home
    • Exercise when I find the time and motivation; even if it's just a half hour walk, but try to make it a priority three times a week
    • Drink more water - fill up the "sippy cup" instead of reaching for a soda
Those are a lot of goals, I know. But the beauty of it is they are all reachable and most of them are relative; I could easily see success in many of these immediately with a few small adjustments and it won't drastically change my life or schedule. Some will take time, others I can plan and organize for and intertwine between one another to "check them off" by next year.

So here's to a New Year...to a new challenge, a new chapter of this crazy thing called life.

What are your goals or resolutions for 2012?