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The end of the suck.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Its been a long run we've had with the suck. 25 weeks of complaining accompanied by bonus freebies. As fantastic as its been, I think its time we wave goodbye to our friend, suck-day. Free stuff is nice and all, but its just not really all that fun for me anymore. I'm finding that my time spent on the Internet is tapering off. I used to have a morning routine of grabbing a cup of coffee and planting my butt in front of the computer screen for at least an hour, sometimes two. That sounds awful when I type it out. 2 hours in front of the computer? Yuck. Over the past couple of weeks I've gotten distracted with my kids, my housework, and personal goals and activities. I find that the sense of accomplishment I get after a day spent with my family is much greater than that of a morning spent with my computer. This isn't the end of my blog, no no no. This is just the end of too many lazy morning fueled by free stuff.

That being said. The winner to the final suck-day giveaway, taking home a super de duper cute makeup bag from Lemonade Accessories, is MariaSoleil. Make sure to check out her blog, 400 days of being a military wife. Also, please visit Lemonade Accessories. Megan's handmade makeup bags, glasses cases, and other cute things are well worth your time.

Bye bye suck. See ya never.

I'm motivated.

Friday, April 24, 2009

So, my reasons for needing to go to the gym are starting to pile up. My daughters pool has been inflated in the front yard, and filled with water for the past 3 days. Its been 95 degrees, which is ideal kiddy pool swimming weather. Its not that I can't get in it, because if I really wanted to, I could. I could put on my too-big maternity suit and tough it out like a big girl. I could even jump in with my clothes on, who's gonna stop me? Really, I just don't want anybody to see me. My thighs, my cleavage... ick. And then I started planning this trip to Hawaii. We're not going anytime soon, not for 2 years at least, but while I'm there, I want to walk the beach in a bikini. Dream big, I know. Me, in a bikini? Better put on my running shoes and start now. My chest size, thats a big reason. Walking around with a pair of H cups (yeah thats not a typo) gets tiresome. And if that wasn't enough, I just had to come across an old friends networking page last night and see that shes lost an entire person in weight. I'll admit it... I'm jealous. Yep, I said it. I've talked it over with Christopher for days, how I could get myself to the gym every day. Something always comes up. He comes home, and I get distracted. Instead of going, I want to play with the kids outside. Or I have to cook dinner. Or Charlie needs to eat. Or a good TV show comes on. Or... wow... see, I can find any reason not to go. Really I need to get off my butt and get moving. I'm 5 lbs away from reaching my first goal. 5 lbs, that's it. And that swimsuit up there (size 16, Lane Bryant), I want to wear it this summer while I play in the sun with my kids. Usually I'd put off buying it, and say something like "I'll wait, and then buy it when I'm a size smaller". No, I'm just going to buy my actual size, and wear it now. But my solution to all of this? Its a sucky one, but its the best one. Wake up at 4:45 every morning and hit the gym before the kids wake up and the husband heads off to work. Its early, I'll be cranky, but it will be done and out of the way, and I won't be able to talk my way out of it. Just get up and go. I know tomorrow is a Saturday, but that's when it starts. I'm officially motivated, and dead set on taking my life back. Bikini, here I come.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

That's my problem. Right there. I like cake way too much.

I need to get my butt into the gym tonight folks. Somebody give me a really hard kick in the pants, would ya?

Spring '09 handmade card and postcard swap!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I love love love sending things in the mail. There is just something about peeling off a stamp and gently sticking it to the upper right hand corner of a handmade envelope, that invigorates me. I get a thrill by lifting the red flag on the mail box, and an even greater thrill when I see that the postman has swept away my paper treasure and taken them off to letter land.

Last fall I did a stationery swap, where I simply exchanged a few of my handmade cards with some cards made by others, and the end result was fantastic. I had a drawer full of decorated notes to send off whenever I pleased. I didn't have to make or buy something at the last minute, ever, and better yet, my pen pals were getting flooded with pretty things in their mailboxes. Win win win.

Well this time I thought I'd do things a little bit differently. Rather than setting up individual swaps for myself, I thought it would be way more fun to organized a larger swap, for anyone that's looking for an excuse to do some paper crafting and get some surprises in return. My "Spring '09 handmade card and postcard swap", I'm calling it. The more the merrier!

The swap:
-You'll need to make 4 note cards, and 4 postcards. Its important that they're handmade. Use whatever you want. Glitter, buttons, ribbon, finger paints, anything.
-You'll get 4 note cards, and 4 postcards from other swappers in return.
-The deadline to sign up for the swap, is May 21st. Leave a comment here, letting us know you'd like to participate. Make sure to leave your name and email. We'll contact you with shipping information and any other details.
-Your handmade cards and postcards need to be made, and in the mail to us no later than June 1st. Along with your cards, you'll need to send $3 for re-packaging and shipping. That way when you get your cards in return, they're not only packaged up safely, but dressed up all pretty for your mailbox (no boring padded envelopes allowed, promise, haha).
-All of the cards will be swapped, packaged, and sent back out to you (with delivery confirmation) by June 15th.
-Did I leave anything out? If you have any questions, please ask. You can leave a comment on this post, convo me at my etsy shop, or send me an email.

Lets make some cards!

-"30 PERCENT OFF Vintage Poppylicious Cardmaking Kit", by damboisedesigns, $12.95.

Monday suck-day, 25!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I don't know if this is a new trend or what, but again, my Monday has yet to suck? I had a great weekend actually. Christopher came home from work early on Friday morning, surprising us all with an extra day off. We used that as an excuse to spend hours at the bookstore with the kids. Saturday night we went to a going away party, where I consumed entirely too much alcohol on accident (our imported beer was apparently twice as strong) and then came home and devoured a gluten free soy cheese pizza with hubby on the couch in nearly one bite. Yesterday we got all of our weekend chores done early, and despite a hard crash in my blood sugar around 3pm, we had a really relaxing day together. This weekend was so perfect it kind of makes me sick, haha.

But for those of you that didn't have a great weekend, would it cheer you up to win a really cute makeup back from Lemonade Accessories? I know, right? If you're anything like me, you're hanging onto the same old makeup bag that you've had for 10 years. Is yours filled with crumbs from god knows what in the bottom too? I know for a fact that all I've ever put in my makeup bag is makeup, so how there are possibly-living creatures lurking in the deep dark corners and around the zipper, I'm not quite sure. Its scary though. I hardly even use it anymore. Mostly because I keep my makeup in a box up on a shelf for easy access. Usually when I have time to put makeup on, I'm doing it in a hurry, and don't want to be digging around in a bag that could potentially eat me, since by now it may have mutated into something with fangs.

Lucky you, you can throw away your man eating makeup bag, and replace it with this brand new one! (For 20% off of Lemonade merch, use the super secret code "Tia" *giggle* at checkout).

Here's how:
-Go to Lemonade Accessories, and take a look at all of the cute things Megan makes. Pick your favorite item(s) and then come back here and leave us a comment telling us what you liked.
-Contest ends Friday, April 24th (I have an appointment with the allergist that day! Don't let me forget), at midnight. Give or take a little. Actually, its always give. I don't usually pick a winner until Sunday. Strict huh?
-Contest open to US residents only.

Additional Entries:
-Tell us why Mondays do, or do not suck for you (in 20 words or more please). Be specific. This contest was born out of hate for Mondays, so don't hold back.
-Follow this blog. If you already follow, mention your loyalty in a comment. If you're a new follower, introduce yourself!
-Blog about this giveaway on your own blog, complete with pictures and links. Leave a comment letting us know where we can read it.

That's it. Pretty simple, and totally worth your time. Oh, and congratulations to last weeks winner Shanda! Shes waking up this suck-day, the proud new owner of a pair of rockabilly retro red earrings, thanks to NeatnixDesign.

The ocean is in my driveaway.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

If you squint enough, and hold your hand over the patch of grass, it looks like we're at the ocean. Oh how I miss you, west coast.

Bake it pretty.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Am I the last person on the interweb to stumble upon this beyond cute baking supply store? Probably. That doesn't surprise me. I don't spend a lot of time exploring online. Usually I get on, do what I came to do, blogger, flickr, twitter... and move out. Yesterday though, I spent a good amount of time browsing and looking up information on making chocolate. Since my recent (self so far) diagnosis in the land of tummy troubles, my diet has done a near 180 (and did I mention I lost 10 lbs?). Things that I couldn't eat before, I can eat again. Some things anyways. One thing that has to go though, is sugar. Do you know how hard it is to find a chocolate bar made with stevia? Yeah, that's because it doesn't exist, haha.

Oh man, how awesome would it be to make chocolate bars with a bicycle mold?? Its not that I can't eat sugar, because I can, I just feel like total crap after I do. So moderation is key. But when it comes to moderating chocolate, FAIL. I'm doing good with everything else. Often eating with my 2 year olds utensils to slow down the consumption, dishing up half servings or smaller, chewing until I can't even taste whats in my mouth anymore. And its working. I feel fantastic. I haven't gotten sick in days. My clothes all fit looser. I actually smile. But put a bar of chocolate in front of me, and all bets are off.

I used to want to be a professional baker. Cute aprons, high heels, pastel cake plates, the works. All of those dreams crashed when my food allergies developed. You try baking a gluten free, soy free, corn free, potato free, sugar free, gum free, vegan cake, and tell me how it turns out. Disaster. And now I come to find out that they were never food allergies at all? It was all because one of my organs has failed? You've got to be kidding me. Dreams, here I come. Bake It Pretty, lets dance.

Easter part 2.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Did everyone have a nice Easter? I was trying to remember what Easter was like for me as a kid, but its all a blur. I don't remember ever coloring eggs, although I know I must have. I remember seeing the box color kits, but I can't put my finger on an actual memory of dipping the- WAIT, one just popped into my head! Something about holding a little wire egg lasso and dunking it into a big bowl of what appears to be green food coloring? Nice. And that wasn't said with a sarcastic tone. It really is a nice memory.

This was Eleanore's first time decorating eggs. The table was full, so I squatted on the floor beside her and showed her some tricks of the trade. No box kit for this Mama. We used brightly colored acrylic paints and sponge brushes. We rolled the previously boiled eggs in painted bubble wrap and tin foil. This was easier for her to do than I thought it would be, and as you can see from the first picture, they turned out great. This held her interest almost as long as making the magical bunny food. Not an easy task, to entertain a 2 year old.

Eleanore wasn't the only one to leave brightly colored fingerprints on the pink plastic tablecloth. It was kind of a small egg decorating party. Our friends Tim and Jessica drove up to join us in mess making and cupcake baking. I'll spare you a picture of the sad looking cupcakes, but I would like to mention that they contained eggs. And look, I'm still alive! Christopher and Tim drove down to "majestic" lake Totten for some man-time (I personally think crafting is extremely manly, by the way) fishing, and came home with a speeding ticket. You know what makes speeding tickets better? Ugly dry cupcakes, that's what.

Happy Easter!

Monday suck-day, number 24.

Monday, April 13, 2009

For once, I'm proud to announce that my Monday does not suck.

*awkward silence*.

Usually my opening line is followed by a few paragraphs of complaints, but this morning I've got nothing. Want to just get right down to business? Sounds good.

This weeks suck-day giveaway sponsor is the makes-me-happy NeatnixDesign. A bright and colorful jewelry shop stocked with cutesy pieces for different tastes. Today up for grabs, is a pair of "Rockabilly Retro Reds". SO cute!

The Rules:
-Visit NeatnixDesign, browse browse, browse, and settle upon a favorite. Come back and leave a comment on this blog entry, telling us what you liked and why.
-Contest ends on Friday, April 17th.
-Contest open to US residents only.
-Winner will be notified through email (which is why you have to leave us one), and announced on the blog next Monday.

Additional Entries:
-Tell us why Mondays do, or do not, suck. In 20 words or more. This used to be a suck-only opportunity, but I've since grown to semi like Mondays. I'll take either.
-Blog about this giveaway on your own blog, complete with pictures and links. Make sure you leave us the link to your entry.
-Follow my blog. Old or new, and make sure to let me know that you follow.

Congratulations to last weeks winner, "LittleEagle", who is going home with a DELICIOUS cupcake from cupcakesinjars. Seriously folks, if you're looking for a yummy treat baked with organic ingredients to arrive on your doorstep, cupcakesinjars is the place to go. She's my go-to baker for long distance cake deliveries, always.

Making magical bunny food.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I actually got this idea from jessicajanehandmade. I missed the boat on doing it at Christmas time, (some of you might remember my being the size of a small house and ready to burst with baby) so I figured maybe I could make it work for another holiday? How about Easter! Yes.

I took a quick trip to my favorite craft store, where all of the Easter stuff was half off (bonus!) and picked up some Easter-craft supplies. A blank oval cardboard box, sprinkles, stickers, toasted coconut (I would have bought this somewhere else, but I knew I wouldn't be going to any other stores between then and Easter), and then some little doodads to play with on Easter day.

The next night, Eleanore helped me paint the box blue. We got paint everywhere of course. On the floors, on our skin, on the cat. OK not really on the cat, but I thought about it. The next day she covered the blue box in stickers (with mine and my friend Jessica's help). After that, I covered the stickered box in a layer of matte decoupage real quick before the baby started crying to be held, and left it by the sink to dry. It turned out to be the perfect box for holding magic bunny food.

The next day I set up multiple cupcake papers filled with different colored sprinkles, poured a heap of coconut into the box, and let her have at it. She loved it! Of course an hour later the floor was covered in sprinkles, Eleanore's face looked like it had been tye dyed, and craft time turned into an endless cycle of time out. Temper tantrums and sugar high's aside (shes 2, I expected it), it was one of the funnest crafts we've ever done.

This evening we went outside in the rain, before the big storm moved in, and sprinkled the magic bunny food all over the front yard. Eleanore loved throwing it up into the air and watching the wind blow it around her. And who am I kidding, I loved it too.

Pretty things in your mailbox.

Friday, April 10, 2009

If you know me personally, you may or may not have received one of these in your mailbox today...

...I love sending snail mail.

Gluten free frosted animal cookies.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

For some reason, Eleanore just does not like the Mi-Del animal cookies that we buy for her. They're the cheapest gluten free animal cookies we've come across, so I'm determined to get her to choke them down. But, I want her to enjoy them at the same time, which has been a big failure. Yesterday I was remembering those fun frosting and sprinkle covered animal cookies that I used to eat as a kid. You know the ones I'm talking about, right? The pink and white ones, with rainbow sprinkles? So good. *Ding* goes the light bulb in my head. When Elie went down for her nap, right before Charlie woke up, I crept into the kitchen, double boiled some white chocolate and butterscotch chips, coated the plain-jane cookies, and set them on waxed paper to dry. Just to test the waters. And what do you know, it worked! Now that I've gotten my feet wet, its time to go for a swim. Today I'm going to have Eleanore help me roll the dipped cookies (Christopher ate all of yesterdays) in coconut flour, crushed up peanuts, and anything else we can think to make a mess with. I knew I'd get her to eat those cookies, haha. That's another 10 points added to my mom of the year score.

I've still got vanilla on the brain.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This morning my mind is flashing between vanilla and coffee, vanilla and coffee. My taste buds are dancing with anticipation. They know that previously forbidden foods are making a comeback, but they don't know when. More happy thoughts...

Monday suck-day, 23!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Did somebody say suck-day? Suck-day is right. Although its only 7:08 am, the husband and I were up all night with both of the kids. Not at the same time, thankfully. One of them was suffering from awful allergies, the worst I've ever seen (poor girl). And the other was for some reason starving. Something about being a baby and needing to grow, or something.

But boy do I have a sweet treat for you. Please, come, join me in the suck...

Holy cupcakes Batman! Cupcakesinjars has offered to give you all a cupcake of your choice! Well, not all of you, but, one of you. You know how it works, haha. I've visited her shop twice recently. Once for my Dad's March 23rd birthday, and then again just a few days ago for my Mom's April 10th birthday. I'd bake for them myself, but a) I'm allergic to normal ingredients and they would probably hate the taste of my health food cakes, and b) I'm just way too lazy, haha. So I went in search of the perfect deliverable cupcake, on etsy of course. The baked goods on there are pretty overwhelming these days, but I found myself constantly clicking on items from Cupcakesinjars, and decided that that would be my bakery of choice. My dad loved his cupcake, by the way.

The Rules:
-First of all, Cupcakesinjars is offering everyone a 10% discount off orders through her website. Enter code CAP0409 at checkout.

-Visit Cupcakesinjars. Choose your cupcake of choice (mine, chocolate peanut butter for sure). Come back here and leave a comment telling us which one you chose as your favorite.

-Make sure to leave a name and email (if you don't have a blogger user name that is).

-Contest ends this Friday, April 10th, midnight-ish. Give or take a little. Usually give. I'm a busy lady, haha. More time for you!-Open to US residents only. Sorry 'bout that folks.

Additional Entries?
-Tell us why Mondays do or do not suck, in 20 words or more. I realize that Monday isn't a suck-day for everyone. I'll take either or.
-Blog about this giveaway, complete with pictures and links (you have to have both). Come back here and post the link to your blog.
-Buy something from Cupcakesinjars. That's actually worth 10 additional entries. Yep, 10. Whoa baby! (You have to come back and let me know you placed an order though)
-Follow my blog. New or old, let me know, that's another entry.

How bad do you want a cupcake delivered to your doorstep?

Congratulations to last weeks winner, The Psychotic Housewife. She won an awesome "I love skulls" hairclip from angelcake, definetely an awesome shop to check out if you get a chance!

Sasquatch curse, broken?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Read about the curse of the Sasquatch mug here.

You'll never believe what showed up on my doorstep the other day. The mail man rings the door bell twice, so I always know its him. Sometimes three times, but usually twice. Or if there is a sub mailman, once. Anyways. He handed me a big box, and based on the return address up in the left hand corner, my jaw dropped. Was this what I thought it was? Could it be true?

Doubled boxed, with enough bubble wrap to cushion a country, were two mugs. "Sasquatch II", and "Sasquatch III". Both in absolutely perfect, gorgeous condition.

Don't take my word on it just yet, but I think the curse has been broken.

Easter part I.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

This morning the alarm went off at 6am. Gross. Saturdays aren't meant for waking up early. But, because today was a special day for Miss Eleanore Sue, I put on my happy face and raced downstairs to boil water for our trial tea bag coffee. 2 1/2 hours later we were fed, dressed, and out the door. We met up with our neighbor and her 1 year old daughter, and pushed both girls in the double stroller down to the base youth center. Once we got there, I realized that wearing red lipstick was a huge mistake. The wind turned the tips of my hair into perfect paint brushes against my canvas cheeks. I baby wiped it off immediately, only slightly embarrassed that other woman (and their husbands, I'm not going to lie) were watching. When they announced that it was time to start the 0-2 age group egg hunt, Christopher (who was going to be taking Eleanore, while I went with Charlie) stood back. I nudged him forward, wondering why he wasn't putting on his egg-collecting game face. "Shes not two", he says. ...What? Our daughter? Eleanore? Yes, she is. We argued for a moment over how old our daughter was, and then they both headed to the hunt with pink basket in hand (pretty sure I know how old our kids are). Charlie and I followed. We mostly stood off to the side taking pictures and watching. Eleanore wasn't quite sure what an egg hunt was exactly, so she didn't collect as many as she could have. 10 chocolate eggs and a time out later, we had survived our very first Easter egg hunt. To be continued...

All things Vanilla.

Friday, April 3, 2009

So I'm really interested in making my own vanilla. Not making it, I guess, since its grown, but you know what I mean. It seems we may have finally pinpointed the seemingly endless ache in my tummy, so I've been eyeballing food blogs and flickr sets like the occasional closet case binge eater that I someday hope to be. I'm not going to jump the gun though. Whenever I get trigger happy, I land myself in a taste bud induced coma. Not this time folks. I'm being careful. So for now, I'll be just looking. I think I'll take my first leap into the world of xanthan gum when we make our Easter cupcakes. One step at a time. (And more on my possible diagnosis later).

Today on my imaginary plate, vanilla. All things, Vanilla.

French press cozy finds a home...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Remember the book Corduroy? Well just like that bear wanted a home with Lisa, this french press cozy wants a home in my kitchen.

Continuing my trend with recycled awesomeness, I've found yet another fantastic shop that I could easily lose my husbands paycheck in. Not only does she make fun things that I like, but she makes things for the kids, and the husband. Win win, with this one.

-"Recycled Sweater French Press Cozy - Multicolor", by handmadepretties, $30.
-"Set of Three Sweater Balls", by handmadepretties, $45.
-"Wool Snappy Pouch for iPod Nano", by handmadepretties, $15.00.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

OK. I've found another one of those have-to-buy-everything-I-see-in-it shops, packed full of hip looking recycled baby clothes. CUUUTE! CompassKids, you're my new favorite. I especially like the "History of Flight" sleeper. I think I might have to get that one. Today is pay day, after all. Mama's, make sure to check out CompassKids. I'm about to get click happy and go on a hearting spree.