Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2010 and Dieting Again?

Yeah, me too.  Seems like every year my resolutions include lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, etc., etc., etc.  The only problem is, I am often unrealistic about my expectations, and don't follow through.  When your goals are unspecific and generic, such as "lose weight", they are hard to act upon.  So I've decided to do baby steps--small, easily accomplished goals that are motivating instead of overwhelming. 

As part of that, I am joining "Fit Mommy Friday's" at the blog Got Chai.  As part of Fit Mommy Friday's, you select your level - I'm definitely a Beginner - and post your weekly goals on Monday.  One goal is nutritional, such as drink more water or no food after 8 pm, and the other is exercise based, such as 10 minutes walking every day.  You determine your own goal, based on what is right for you.  Then on Friday, you blog about your success for the week, (even if you only had one day of success, that is one more day than you would have had if you weren't trying).  This helps keep you accountable, as you are "putting it out there for the world to see." 

I know that the accountability is going to be the biggest motivator for me.  It's easy to say I'm going to do this or that, but I'm really bad about following through, even if it is something I'm excited to do.  So here goes, my goal for my first week  --  I will drink water with my meals, and I will walk for 10 minutes every day.  

Small goals?  Maybe, but I've gotta start somewhere, and I think adding water and movement to my day is the right start for me.  Baby steps aren't just for babies anymore!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

$15 gift code from Kodak Gallery

I just got a great early Christmas present...$15 to spend at Kodak Gallery. 
You can get your own code (each is unique) HERE.  Just put your email address in the box on the right, and follow the directions.  It's easy-peasy.  Then they will email you a code worth $15 - you can use it for photo books, photo cards, photo gifts like mugs or mouse pads, or digital prints.  There is plenty on the site available for less than $15.  I'm thinking about making a photo book of my boys - or Christmas cards - still haven't decided. 

They are doing three rounds of give-aways - a total of 300,000 codes.  Once these gift codes have run out, they'll offer 40% off coupons.  The schedule of how they will be awarding the gift codes is as follows:

  • October 20-28: 100,000 $15 gift codes
  • October 29-November 5: 100,000 $15 gift codes
  • November 6-13: 100,000 $15 Gift codes
If you get a 40% off coupon and not a gift code, be sure to try again during the next round of code giveaways.   Also, be sure to check your spam mail, as that is where my gift code email showed up.

I'd like to thank Kristie from This Side of Eternity for sharing this great giveaway from Kodak. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Free Sample of Arm and Hammer Fresh-Ins

Free? Yup - Free! Arm and Hammer is giving away free samples of their new vacuum Fresh-Ins. Just send an email to or call 1-888-800-2302 to request one!

Here's the description "fresh" from the A&H website:

"Odor Eliminating Vacuum Scent Packs
As you vacuum, Fresh-ins neutralizes odors in your home, leaving a fresh, pleasing scent in the air.


Fresh-ins are small white pouches packed with the natural power of ARM & HAMMER® baking soda that are emptied into a vacuum bag or dust cup. The crystals inside each packet neutralize odors inside and outside the vacuum and add a fresh, pleasing scent to the room.

As dirty air passes through the bag, ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda particles neutralize odor bearing chemicals. The result is clean, odor free air released into your home."

Worth a try, huh? I requested one, and will let you know how they work once I get my sample.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My First Quilt

I'd like to extend a warm welcome to visitors from Park City Girl's Fall Quilt Festival.  I am sharing my first quilt - made June 2009 as a gift for my Mom's Birthday.  Thanks for stopping by - I have been inspired by all the quilts and stories that you have shared and hope you enjoy my story.

Quilting - that mysterious blend of art and function, color and design, labor and love.  I have been firmly bitten by the bug.  I have completed a grand total of "ONE" quilt so far, but am starting my second and can definitely foresee many in my future. 

Whilst traveling the online highway of crafty blogs, I happened upon one called Old Red Barn Company.  Hey - they are doing a quilt along - perfect for a beginner (that is me for sure).  So I decide to join in and went fabric shopping.   I almost hate to admit this, but my first stop was Walmart.  I know, I know - the fabric police are banging on my door.  Oh well, limited budgets mean limited fabric options. 

The quilt was a rail-fence style and it was suggested that we get 12 different fabrics.  I originally had planned to use hunter green, burgundy, navy and cream, but couldn't decide what went with what and had bolt after bolt pulled off the shelf, in my cart, back on the shelf, back in the cart.  My hubby and boys were patiently perusing the aisles while I tried to decide.  I love my guys, but they had had about enough, and so I quickly went with 6 fabrics, in two shades of green, with a dark green print for the binding.

Following the directions that were posted on the ORBC blog, I pulled out my mini ironing board and hunted for my iron.  Ironed more in one night than I have in the past 3 years (I probably shouldn't admit that).  Then it was time to cut strips -- wait a minute -- you want me to cut this fabric!   I was so scared to make that first rotary cut -- I measured, then measured again, then took a deep breath --- slice --- I did it!!!  Six yards of 2.5" strips and two nicked fingers later I was done the first step -- I was on my way to making a quilt!

I sewed strips together till I was dizzy, but enjoyed every minute of it (other than when I threaded my machine incorrectly and didn't realize it and had a massive jumble of thread on the backside of my strips and caught between the bobbin and the feed dogs-- took me about two hours, three attempts to take the bobbin casing apart and tons of frustration before I thought to rethread the machine and lo and behold it worked again.   Sigh.....I felt like the biggest doofus -- but knew what to do the next time it happened.

Then it was time to cut my strip sets into blocks and then decide on a layout.  I had sewn my strips in three kinds of groupings -- all light green, all dark green and light and dark mixed.   So I spread out a sheet on my living room floor and put my blocks out.  First this way and then that -- no don't like that layout - how about this one?  Honey - come look at this one, what do you think?  I don't think he saw any difference, but mumbled something positive-ish each time.  Finally decided on a layout and got my blocks sewed into rows.  Then my rows went together and I had a completed quilt top -- I had done it!   Happy dance time!!!

The sixth and final layout - not yet sewn together.

I decided to attempt to machine quilt my top -- Dana from Old Red Bark Company had explained how to free motion quilt and made stippling look easy-peasy enough for even me to try.  Unfortunately, although I got the gist of the method, my sewing machine hated it - constant jumbles and broken threads.  Luckily I was practicing on leftover block scraps I had sewn together to make a coordinating throw pillow.  Stippling on left side - notice the clusters of thread towards the back-- right side was done using the regular sewing foot (not free motion and I don't have a walking foot), but I decided it would be too hard to do in a larger format, so tried straight line quilting...

oh, okay, wonky-ish straight line quilting!

The finished pillow being modeled loved by Joey, my 2.5 yr old - now onto the quilt top.....

Went with "organic" straight line quilting - aka not-so-straight line quilting for the quilt top.  I think it turned out great - just don't look too closely.  Then on went the binding and it was done - my first quilt.  It's not perfect, but it is perfectly crinkly and soft and lovely, at least my mom thinks so.  It was a birthday gift for her.  She was very surprised to say the least -- when I told her I had made it, she thought it was a panel that I sewed together with a backing.  I was very proud to be able to tell her that it started out as 7 yards of material, and after lots of labor and love, became the beginning of a new passion.

The completed quilt and pillow -- finished two days before my boys and I flew to visit my parents -- took about 6 weeks of late night hours, two or three nights a week, to complete.  Didn't get a photo of it hanging in the breeze cause it was raining two days straight and I had to get it into the suitcase. 

Here's the material (from Joanne's this time, thanks mom) for my next quilt along quilt - a wonky log cabin - this one led by John, aka Quilt Dad - it is the third quilt along for the Old Red Barn Company quilt-along family - I didn't do the second one - half square triangle zig zag - because I was out of town for three weeks.  I'm behind on the log cabins - many of the group are done their quilts, but I am determined to finish (I have one block almost done - needed to get a ruler and had to wait until it fit into the budget to get it).

I'm guessing some of you are cringing at my fabric choices, but that's okay.  I like the way they work together - I think learning about color combinations and how to decide what works with what is my biggest challenge.  But I am definitely enjoying the journey, and that, I think, it what it is really about.  I put my love into what I am doing, and that is what makes a quilt truly beautiful, in my opinion.

The quilt along group is already talking about round 4 and trying to decide what to do -- circles, disappearing nine patch, crazy nine patch --- I don't care, but count me in, because I am a quilter!


Friday, October 9, 2009

hot, hot, hot and roros

Thursday was a scorcher - almost record temperatures and no air conditioning.  Definitely not a good combination.  Our AC started going wacky yesterday - stopped getting cold and was delivering warm air into our nice cool house.  The house didn't stay cool long - within an hour or two, we were as hot inside as it was outside (almost).  It barely cooled off last night, so very little relief, even with the windows open - thank goodness for ceiling fans!  Today the house peeked at about 89 degrees - the boys were in diapers only, something I never usually do.  Had them out on the porch most of the day-it was cooler outside than it was inside for a while - then just miserable no matter where you were.  Plus, we were waiting on the AC repair guy, so it wasn't like we could hop in the car and go window shopping to cool off.  Joey was so sweaty, his hair was as wet as it usually is when he gets out of the tub, poor baby. 

AC dude finally shows up - the fan motor is burnt out...we can spend almost $400 to replace the motor, or $4300 to replace the unit.   Ummmm, what to do, what to do?  No brainer - put the new motor in!!!  Although he did say to start saving our pennies for a new unit, as ours is in sad shape.  Finally -- cool air, but it took about 5 hours for the house to get cool enough to be truly comfortable.  Ian and Joey were running high body temperatures from the extreme heat, and I was pretty wilted myself (I can't run around in just a diaper - I'd scare the neighbors!).  So off we go to dinner out (a rare treat), to give the house and the boys and I a chance to cool off.  

That was the not so good of my day -- the good was that the boys, although hot and sweaty, were really well behaved and in good moods all day.  Makes my job as a mom so much more fun when they are easy-going.  Ian was resistant to nap time, but I'm pretty sure he didn't like being hot and sticky and teething - can't really blame him.  After three rounds of hugs and back-patting, then screaming when I left the room, I ended up rocking him to sleep while he nursed.  He still fussed 40 minutes later when I put him in his bed, but calmed and went back to sleep. 

After nap, Ian decided to get into the "roros" (cheerios) while I was taking Joey to the potty -I heard the crinkling of the bag coming out of the box, and what sounded like rain as he dumped about half a box of cereal on the kitchen floor, then sat down in the midst of them and started munching away. Joey got done piddling, ran into the kitchen before I could stop him and joined the fun by slipping on the cheerio'd floor and falling on his *naked* heiney into the cheerios! Of course, like any good mama, the first thing I did was grab the camera (and tell Joey to put some clothes on - he went and got a t-shirt and put it on himself - inside out and backwards, no pants, then went and sat on more cheerios to pose for the camera)!!!   

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The "Mommy Chair" is gone.

Sigh...I know it is just a "thing", but I still feel sad when I look in the corner of my living room, and my chair is gone.  We had to put it down after its leg got broken.  Here's how it happened.

I was carrying Ian and walking into the living room to sit with him while he drank his before-bed milk.  Unfortunately for both the chair and me, I didn't see one of the boys trucks lying in wait for me.  I tripped on it and totally lost my balance.  I was walking/falling directly towards the windows and couldn't stop myself, but I did manage to rotate so that I fell into my chair and not the windows.  Wow, that was close!  Ummm, what was that odd noise?  OH NO!  The Mommy Chair is broken!  It is beyond repair, and lists dangerously at an angle.  Can't leave it in the house - the boys love to sit in it and rock and spin and....just not safe anymore.  So out onto the patio it goes until our next trip to the dump. 

So now I have to search, again, for the perfect chair.  I guess that is a lot better than falling into the window while holding Ian and both of us being hurt.  It would have been bad, so I am grateful to the Mommy Chair for sacrificing itself.  I'll let you know when I find its replacement. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What I Learned While On Vacation

Ahhhh, Vacation. It's just a word, but it entails so much: memories of trips past, dreams of trips that will probably never be, plans for the next trip to come.

I recently returned from a vacation with my two boys to "family-land" in Pennsylvania. It was a blast--3 weeks of family, fun and food -- can it get much better than that? Hubby stayed home to work, both at his day job and on his music. He can't complain anymore that he never gets an opportunity to work in his studio uninterupted for large blocks of time -- he had two full weeks of vacation time that he took while we were gone. It's not my fault he spent most of it helping a friend move and get that friend's music equipment set up instead of working on his own stuff, right?

Anyway, the boys and I had a great time visiting with my family. They especially seemed to enjoy their time with Nana and Grandpa. Joey keeps saying "go on airplane, see Nana, Grampa." I can break down our visit into snippets of thing I learned while we were there. So, here goes:

* Joey has a love/hate fascination with planes. He didn't like the noise they made at all, but once he was onboard and buckled up, he liked looking out the window. He keeps talking about going on a plane and planes go "zoom in the air".
* Ian likes sitting front facing in a car seat. Nana and Grandpa had two carseats for us to use, so we didn't have to haul ours. At home, Ian is still rear-facing, but I'm thinking that will change very soon. I could tell he liked seeing more than just the sky out the back window. He was interacting with his brother and saying "tee" (tree) and pointing to them. Plus, I liked seeing both their faces when I looked in the mirror and not wondering whether Ian was okay and having to ask Joey if Ian was awake or asleep.

*Joey has an uncanny memory. Prior to our trip, I told Joey that we would go to Grandpa's work and look at the "big trucks" (aka tractor trailers). I only mentioned it a few times, mainly when he would point out the trucks as we were driving. The day before we were to leave, so almost three weeks since it was mentioned, Joey sees a tractor trailer parked on the side of the road and says "go Grampa's work, see big trucks". I was surprised that he had remembered, and glad that it was while we still had a chance to actually go to Grandpa's work to look at the trucks.

*Ian likes shrimp. Joey does not. We were at Aunt Kari and Uncle Tom's house for a family get-together and they had peel and eat shrimp. I like to offer a lot of different foods to my boys so they don't grow up to be a picky eater like their mom, so I gave them both a taste of the shrimp. Joey wasn't at all interested, but Ian loved them. He started off by grabbing my hand and practically shoving it into his mouth. Then he started sucking on the end of it like a popsicle. Then he went for full bites, wanting the next bite before he had even finished the current one. He ate two large shrimp and wanted more, but I wanted to be sure he didn't have a reaction as he hadn't eaten shellfish before. He probably would have eaten a bunch more if I hadn't stopped him. He will definitely give his dad some competition when he has shrimp again.

*Vacation is awesome - but so is getting back home and settled into your normal routine. The boys were so excited when they saw Daddy in the airport, and Daddy was just as excited to see us! It was a tad emotional - three weeks apart is a long time, although the time seemed to fly.
I would definitely do it again, and we are all looking forward to when we have some visitors from the north visit us. Nana and Grandpa are coming for Christmas - Joey is already saying "Nana, Granpa go on airplane, Joey's house."