Thursday, April 17, 2014

Birthday Cards

I recently made these cards last weekend when my mom came over. After the Easter cards I just kept going. These are the birthday cards for the men and boys in my life for the next few months. I like to keep them pretty simple, especially when I'm making them all unique. 
Most of the stamps sets are PTI, but a few are CTMH. All the papers are CTMH except for the last one.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Easter Cards

Last month I had the good fortune to win some Papertrey Ink products. I could select anything I wanted, and so I added this cute little stamp set to my list. It has several sentiments, but this is the simple straightforward one I used to make some Easter cards I'll be sending out this week. 

The background papers are all former samples of Close To My Heart papers that I get with each catalog and the little cotton tails are just tiny pieces of a cotton ball glued on with regular old Tombow.

My mom and I were talking and she wanted to come over and make cards, so this was how I spent my Friday afternoon. Lovely it was! And since I had all the supplies out I proceeded to spend most of Saturday making cards too. It was cold and threatening to snow, (finally it did) and I was busy productively producing. What a day! And now I've got all the cards I should need for the year so I can get back to my quilting projects. 

MyGirl's quilt is about 1/3 of the way quilted. I'll share when its finished.

Happy Easter everyone!

Its seems to have gone by quickly since last Easter. No great Easter projects this year, but it has been of year of really Needing the Savior to keep me going, and I am So Grateful for His love, power, and strength! In Primary our lesson is called, "Come Follow Me," for this Sunday so we'll have some great little spiritual treasures and activities to share with our little ones about the Savior and I think it will be a lovely Easter, remembering how much the Savior loves us all, even enough to die for us. How blessed we are to have Him!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Free Steampunk Alphabet

What do you think of the new steampunk trend going on?
Notice this necklace. Certainly unique.
Every time I see this look I immediately think of the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. . . 
I've read every Sherlock Holmes story there is. I love them. I'm fascinated by the mind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
That being said, I get that steampunk is a current trend, but its not really my thing. However, there are things about it that are interesting to me, especially the jewelry.

Close To My Heart has a free steampunk alphabet font to download on their website.
I've added the link below or if you want to do a little shopping too, 
Click my paper flower to the right and check out the promotions tab, then click Rediscover CTMH.
Then afterwords click shopping and don't forget While Supplies Last. That's where the best bargains are.
I think I"ll print these alphabet letters onto cardstock then use whenever I need them. 
I can see these being good for initials on cards or pages. Enjoy

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Manitou Lake

Spring Break once again went too fast for us. The highlights were seeing the movie, Divergent, which we all really liked, playing games together, and taking an afternoon to get back into nature again.

It only takes about seven minutes from our home to be in beautiful forest with picturesque views and lakes, but during Spring Break we wanted to see new lakes and views, so we headed West into the mountains.
 Bigbuddy remembered a lake he and his dad have passed several times on the way to their favorite motorcycle roads, so we followed his directions and ended up at Manitou Lake. He told us it was a great place to take a picnic so we brought one.
 The picnic area has large red rocks popping up all around. They were easy for our climbers to climb on and added to the unique beauty of the area. Note the grill in the foreground. I think we'll bring some grilling food when we come back in the summer.
 This is facing the north side of Pike Peak. Its the mountain furthest left. In the creek here there were three different beaver dams.
 There was a nice hike around the lake which we all went on. It was a little chilly, I'm not going to pretend it wasn't. It was a warm, 60 degree day, but we've had a wind blowing off and on, and that day, it was on part of the time, so we were glad we were prepared with our warm jackets. When you're up around 9,000 feet, you know to be prepared for cold temperatures.
 The only wildlife we saw were these two geese walking on the ice. And near the water's edge we saw some large cougar tracks. Just glad it didn't make any appearances.
 This is actually a good sized lake, but not too huge. It took us about twenty minutes to walk all the way around it. It would be a great place to come back and fish in the summer. We already told my folks that it's on our list of places to return to with them this summer.
 This is the view from the north side of the trail. The lake is behind me here and I'm facing where the motorcycle trails start further ahead.
 On the northwest side of the lake you can see that this lake is actually caused by the dam here, with water flowing north to the creek that eventually runs down into the South Platte River, which we drove by later that day.
 This facility has two fireplaces and is covered. There were also three different decent bathrooms around.
You can see where the lake is just starting to thaw up at the top. There were a couple of fishermen there while we were hiking around. We saw several more down at the river near Deckers. We'll wait til its warmer for fishing, but it was a beautiful day for a mountain picnic and a drive through some of the more scenic parts of Colorado.

Monday, March 31, 2014

April Meal Plan

April Meals

After being all over the diet map since January, we have finally found an eating style we can live with forever. We are not gluten-free, we are not carb-free, we are not dairy-free, we are Mediterranean.

In a nutshell, this is what we started doing the middle of March and it has been wonderful. Mike and I are losing weight, the kids are getting plenty of good nutrition, everyone feels well, and we are enjoying it. When we want to eat something off the plan, we do, but just a little and just once in a while. The boys more often, but usually just for their snacks. We all eat the same dinners and they all like them, so that's the best thing.

The Mediterranean Diet Plan is basically: lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains and legumes,
                                                              some dairy and nuts and olive oil,
                                                              a little meat, mostly poultry and fish, and lean cuts of pork or beef

Generally Mike and I eat whole grains for breakfast and fruits. Somedays we make veggie omelets with a little cheese also. Occasionally I'll have a fruit and yogurt smoothie. I have herb tea every morning and fill up a 32 oz. water bottle which I usually finish before the afternoon is over, and then I drink a couple of glasses of water with dinner, and that keeps me well also.
For lunch I make Mike a big salad for lunch with a little nitrate free meat or beans and lots of veggies. I usually have the same for my lunch.  Sometimes I'll sprinkle a little blue cheese crumbles or goat cheese on top. We also like celery with PB2 on it. Do you love that stuff? All the great peanut butter flavor with only 1.5 g of fat! Some fresh fruit is often eaten also.

Sometimes I'll make soups with grains and veggies and a little meat or cook a whole grain and add lots of veggies and salsa to that. Really, whatever the Lord made I'm good with. That's pretty much with how this eating plan works.

I also found some snacks that are store-bought that I like too. The Cliff Bars I've found, regular and Ultra, use whole grains, no processed sugar, and have some great flavors and are packed with protein, so if I'm craving something for dessert in the middle of the day and feeling like I need a good energy boost, those will do the job. I've only had them a couple of times but I'm open to looking for healthy-er snacks. Beats Oreos and Nachos. Everyone has to find what works for them, and apparently eating every 3 hours works for me. Basically I eat at 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 6:30pm and I feel more energetic. I have exercised a little, and I need to do more, but all this eating healthy and drinking plenty makes me want to keep improving. We took a couple of good walks/hikes last week over Spring Break. Its just so much more fun in nature than on the treadmill. Now that the weather's getting warmer (hopefully less windy soon) I hope to spend more time out enjoying it all. And just for the record, I believe Sunday dessert just makes that day all the more special. :-)

Tues. 1 Tilapia, Roasted Asparagus, Greek Salad, and Apples
Wed. 2  Chicken Tortilla Soup, Banana Pineapple Salad, Cucumbers and Carrots
Thur. 3  Chicken Parmesan, Green Salad, Italian Zucchini, Whole Wheat Rolls, and Cinnamon Apples
Fri. 4  7 Layer Dip with Hamburger Crumbles, Vegetable Dippers, Green Salad
Sat. 5  Tuna Wraps with Lettuce and Tomato, Guacamole with Crudites and Apple Slices
Sun. 6  Roast Turkey, Lemony Green Beans, Two-Potato Casserole and Red Green Salad
Mon. 7  Green Chile Mock Enchilada Casserole with Blueberry Pecan Green Salad
Tues. 8  Shrimp Creole with Israeli Couscous and Roasted Asparagus
Wed. 9 Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Almonds
Thur. 10 Pork Tenderloin, Spicy Coleslaw, Stuffed Mushrooms
Fri. 11  Spinach Artichoke Healthy Dip, Crudites, Turkey Meatballs, Roasted Onion and Mushroom Slaw
Sat. 12  Turkey Lettuce Wraps with peanuts and  Brown Rice and orange wedges
Sun. 13 Date Bars for dessert
Mon. 14  Chicken Fajita Salad
Tues. 15  Shrimp, Zucchini Boats, Mushroom Barley Risotto
Wed. 16  3 Bean Chili, Green Salad, Strawberry Smoothies
Thur. 17  Italian Broccoli Cheese Bake, Green Salad, Pan Roasted Red Potatoes
Fri. 18  Eleven Layer Salad, (Spinach, Lettuce, Bacon, Green Onion, Tomatoes, Mozzarella Cheese, Peas, Chicken, Avocado, Dressing, Hard-Boiled Egg,) and Strawberries
Sat. 19  Hamburger Wrap Sliders, Spinach Mushroom Salad, Pears
Sun. 20 Nitrate free Ham, Deviled Eggs, Branson Potato Casserole, Green Beans, Vegetable Platter and Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes for dessert
Mon. 21 Chili Cheese Bites, Green Salad, Peaches
Tues. 22 Mahi Mahi, Cannelini Bean Salad, Broccoli
Wed. 23 Sausage Kale Potato Soup and Greek Salad
Thur. 24  Salmon Patties, Red Pepper Hummus, Celery, Carrots, Olives, Green Bean Salad, Peaches
Fri. 25 Chicken Cashew Stir-Fry (cabbage, scallions, carrots, broccoli,) with Brown Rice and Strawberries
Sat. 26 Chicken Artichoke Tomato Orzo, Green Salad
Sun. 27 Sirloin Steak Bites, Italian Zucchini, Blueberry Pecan Green Salad, Roasted Cauliflower
Mon. 28 Turkey Tacos in Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Tues. 29  Orange Roughy, Spinach Salad with Manadarin Oranges and Almonds, Roasted Broccoli
Wed. 30 Carrot Soup, Beef Gyro Wraps, Blueberry Smoothies

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blue and Brown Quilt

The top is done! Yeah!!!
This is for MyGirl's birthday coming up in over a month. I should be able to get this all finished by then.
However, since its Spring Break and everyone's home, I probably will have less time.
Littlebuddy told me a break meant "not to add to much stuff to the schedule. We need to relax."
I, on the other hand, so happy to have everyone all together, want to plan fun activities every day. 
So this is how much fun we're having. Haha

Sunday night at dinner I told them to all think of two fun things they wanted to do this week and we'd meet again at 8pm to finalize ideas and figure out when it would work best. I told them to keep their two to under $100.

I reasoned its much cheaper to spend $300 over Spring break than fly faraway, book a hotel, rent a car and pay that much for one major attraction you know? Plus eating out all the time.
But apparently my children are even cheaper than I am. Wow!?!

Littlebuddy's idea - Go to Costco and have free samples.
(Okay, well that did cost me near $300 but its the only time I'm going for the next month, and groceries weren't part of the spring break budget.)
Seriously, he thinks that's FUN?????
Yes, he explained he misses all the samples while he's at school and feels like he's getting gypped. Plus it gave him more time to hang out at home and do nothing, (i.e. play with this electronics.)
Until. . . . he found out each day has a 1 hr. time limit on electronics. And I was encouraging at least a half  hour and perhaps more of Scouting a day. Yeah, I'm the mean mom.
Other than that, he didn't really have any plans.

BigBuddy wanted to go to a lake about an hour away in the mountains, do some hiking and take a picnic.
Okay, just the cost of gas. 
And go to the movies. Cheapest on Tuesdays between 4-5:30 so we're going tonight. Lake tomorrow. Not too expensive, but things everyone likes to do, so kudos to my boy who knows how to have fun.

MyGirl wants to go to a park. 
That's it?
Okay, then she said she wanted to window shop too.
Eye rolls from her brothers.
But, when I suggested downtown Castle Rock, a place we haven't visited too much, they were game.
Again, spending not more than probably treats for the boys.

So, yeah, I've raised frugal children. 

And when I suggested going to the library to see the quilt display and perhaps check out free movies and feed the ducks, I was met with - are you kidding? However I'm still going this week. If you've seen my Pinterest board you know I LOVE looking at people's homemade quilts. I am so inspired by the creativity in others and hoping to push myself more this year to make harder patterns and improve my skills.

Then they came up with the idea of going to the local school down the street and playing basketball, which they did yesterday for almost two hours and had a great time. Which proves one of my points. My children may be frugal but they know that being together is really the most fun of all.

Happy Spring Break everyone! Whenever you get your break, may you all enjoy your time together. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sneak Peak

You probably know by now that I love Pinterest. . . . and yesterday I learned that today was National Quilt Day. Hmmmm, it just seemed wrong that I would completely ignore it.  Since I cut everything I needed to make a quilt for MyGirl's birthday coming up in about six weeks yesterday, today I planned the fabric layout. Here is a little sneak peak. MyGirl picked out this layout idea from looking at my Quilting board on Pinterest, but since I couldn't find the directions I created my own based loosely on what I saw, and here we go. . . . its exciting to have another one ready to piece! And thank goodness she didn't have her heart set on a compass quilt! That would be have been trouble. Fortunately, she wanted a modern quilt in blues and browns to match her bedspread and long enough to cover her when she wants to cuddle with it on the sofa. I've designed it to be 56 x 70. It will be my largest quilt yet. . . . Fun just waiting to begin. . . .