Thursday, January 31, 2013

Project Life 2013 : Week 3

Week 3: January 14-20

wk3 (7)

What happened this week?
It was Claire's FOURTH birthday! We celebrated it three times (once at home on her actual birthday, once on Saturday with Justin's parents, and again on Sunday with my family)! Claire also started swimming lessons which is honestly one of the most stressful things I have ever done. She seriously, slipped into the pool the first night (in 4ft deep water) and the teacher was not fully paying attention. I about lost it. And now there are only two more classes and we're all going to survive, although I've possibly irritated the teacher by refusing the leave the pool room anymore.

wk3 (8)

Anything special about the layout(s):
I ended up with two inserts this week. The first one is about 8.5 x 6 inches. The front is just some journaling about Claire turning four and some of her favorites. In the back, I included some of her birthday cards. The second insert includes pictures from two of Claire's parties (the one at home and the one with Justin's parents). The only cellphone picture this week is from swim lessons.

wk3 (12)

What to see more: Project Life 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Menu Monday (on Tuesday)

Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday - Deli Sandwiches
Wednesday - Cashew Chicken, Rice & Pineapple
Thursday - Lawnmower Casserole Chili
Friday - Homemade Pizza Dinner @ my mom's
Saturday - Meatloaf Junk/Whatever
Sunday - leftovers Meatloaf

I changed things up a little bit towards the end of the week. Justin was cooking on Thursday which is why I was planning on having him make a casserole that I had already prepared. But then I was looking at the grocery store ad and they had everything for Chili on sale, so I switched Thursday to Chili (and Justin made it). My mom invited us over for dinner on Friday, so we went. On Saturday, I went shopping with my mom & sister-in-law and we had a late "lunch" of appetizers & dessert at Outback. That meant I wasn't hungry at all at dinner time. I think Claire had a bowl of cereal, I had an orange and Justin had...something? Then the meatloaf got moved to Sunday night.

Monday - Chili-Stuffing Bake
Tuesday - Lawnmower Taco Casserole
Wednesday - Garlicky-Chicken Noodle Bake
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Cheddar Brats, Fries
Saturday - Chinese Take-Out
Sunday - Leftovers

Friday, January 25, 2013

Project Life 2013 : Week 2

Week 2: January 7-13


What happened this week? Claire's birthday is the following week, but on the Friday of this week the temperature was in the mid 60s (which is slightly weird for January in KS), so I ended up taking the afternoon off work and taking Claire out to a park to play and take 4-yr pictures. I wish I had changed her clothes, but when we left the house I was just going to take her to get her hair trimmed and then go home, change clothing and go to the park. Oh well. She's still a cutie! Then I included a couple of fun Claire stories on the "Currently" card. And we had a new adventure at an indoor trampoline park that just opened in December. Claire had fun and we'll definitely have to go again someday.


The only phone picture this week are the ones from the Trampoline Park. I wasn't sure what we were getting into so I didn't take my big camera. I should probably replace the batteries in my old point-and-shoot to take with me places like this. I also have the painting that Claire did one evening this week that was mostly a bunch of her hand prints. I'll probably trim it and fold it and put it in an 8.5 x 11 insert.

What to see more: Project Life 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hello Project Life 2013 + Week 1

As soon as they made the new editions announcements back in the fall, I knew that I was going to get Seafoam. It fits in with my blue/green project life theme (and it's close to my favorite color, teal). The first day it showed up on Amazon, I ordered the core kit and a big set of Design A inserts. Less than a week later, it was in my hands - of course that was about a week ago because I was also waiting for the album to get here. I already had a plan of how I would do my title page before the kit even arrived. I'm waiting to even look at the end page until the end of 2013 because who knows how many album I'll end up using!

Title Page


This is possibly one of my favorite title pages for Project Life. I love the calendar (although I ended up doing that in 2012 also). I love the zig-zag card with our H on it. I don't love my homemade "Hello 2013" card. I'll probably pull it out and re-do it. Either by hand or on my computer. I really like Ali's "Hello Life 2013" box, but I haven't managed to convince myself to spend almost $5 on it.

Week 1: January 1-6


What happened this week? This was the first week of January & of 2013 (obviously). I had Tuesday off work and it snowed the day before so I took the girls sledding - it only took 2 or 3 years of Anaya asking for me to finally do it! The girls were still out of school, but I went back to work on Wednesday after having almost 2 weeks off. We also took some 2 month pictures of my adorable nephew.

I'm not a huge fan of cell phone pictures - maybe if I had an iPhone it would be better but my fancy-schmancy android phone pictures suck if the lighting is anything but wonderful. The sledding pictures are from my cell phone because I didn't think I could manage my big camera + sledding without getting snow in my camera.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2013 Motto 2: Have Experiences Not Stuff

So, after Christmas which was followed by a LaLaLoopsy addiction that got out of hand which was followed by Claire's birthday, I feel like we are swimming in stuff (and a lot adorable dolls with creepy button eyes). While Claire loves the LaLaLoopsy dolls, I'm feeling overwhelmed. Which lead to a late evening search for Buy Experiences Not Stuff. From that was born one of my many mottos for the year: Have Experiences Not Stuff.

When we're bored on a Saturday afternoon - go have an experience! Do not go to Target or the Mall or wherever to "just get out of the house" and come home with another toy/movie/etc.

I need to come up with a few experiences that are cheap, repeatable, and 4-yr old appropriate. I've already bought Union Station passes for this year, so going to Union Station (and particularly Science City) will probably happen regularly. Our aquarium pass doesn't expire until April 22, so we can still go there a few more times. Maybe a movie, or the park, or a museum.

I don't want EVERYTHING to be a "go out experience". What experiences can we have a home? Obviously some of them would need stuff to accomplish anything, but what about building something? Or baking/cooking something?

I need to come up with a list...actually, TWO lists. One for GOING OUT experiences. One for AT HOME experiences. And even those lists will be divided into categories - for the going out list, somethings will be cheap/free/regular things (park, pool - in the summer, walk around the block, etc). Others will be semi-special outings (Science City, Aquarium, Zoo, Farmstead, Non-Olathe pools, Movies, Monkey Bizness etc) they are still relatively cheap since I have passes right now, but they are farther away and definitely weekend activities. Special outings on the other hand will only happen every couple of months (day trips, amusement parks, big concerts). The at home list will probably be divided into categories (kitchen, short craft, long craft, etc).

Also, listen to the kids to gather ideas for experiences. Anaya has been wanting me to take her sledding forever, but I'd never really been a sledder and I didn't want to, and even though I have lived in this city for 20 years (since I was 10), I had no clue where to go sledding around here. This year, I finally took her (and Claire) sledding and it was fun. I even went down the hill once.

I tell people that I need a friend that will drag me kicking and screaming out of my comfort zone, but maybe the kids can do that too.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Menu Monday

Monday - Chili Cheese Tater Tot Casserole
Tuesday - Southwest Pork Chops
Wednesday - Popcorn Chicken, French Fries
Thursday - Hot Dogs, Mac & Cheese
Friday - Stuffed Chicken Parmesan, Pasta & Marinara Burritos, Rice, Corn
Saturday - leftovers Arby's
Sunday - Cashew Chicken, Rice & Pineapple Stuffed Chicken Parmesan, Pasta & Marinara

I failed at planning ahead on Friday and forgot to pull out the Stuffed Chicken Parmesan to let it thaw, so instead I pulled out so frozen burritos that I made a few weeks ago and heated them up in the oven (and then the microwave since the STILL were warm enough). Otherwise things went pretty well this week. Justin had to fix dinner Tuesday & Thursday since I took Claire to swim lessons and we wanted food to be ready when we got home. Saturday we were going to have leftovers but we didn't really have all that many things left over so Justin ended up getting us Arby's (which is so bad and so yummy).

Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday - Deli Sandwiches
Wednesday - Cashew Chicken, Rice & Pineapple
Thursday - Lawnmower Casserole
Friday - Homemade Pizza
Saturday - Meatloaf
Sunday - leftovers

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Happy Birthday Claire Bear


In 2009, you were born. 7 lbs, 0.2 oz. We had some crazy days & nights getting used to each other. You had the dairy allergy that we didn't know about until you were a month old. But we survived.


In 2010, you were a year old. I don't remember how much you weighed exactly, but I know it was in the 90th percentile. You weren't quite walking yet, you were cruising, but not letting go of furniture. You didn't start talking when you should and we started getting speech therapy from Infants & Toddler Services this year.


In 2011, you turned two! You weren't just walking everywhere, you were running. Still not talking, but getting better.


In 2012, you turned three! A few weeks before your third birthday you had tubes put in your ears. You also started preschool!

And're FOUR! You've had your ear tubes for over a year (in fact at this point they have fallen out). You're speech is SOOOO much better. We can carry on conversations and you can tell me about things that you did at school. It is still helpful to have a little bit of context to help decipher your speech, but oh so much improvement. You still want to run everywhere and even though it usually seems like nothing scares you, you will sometimes hide behind my leg when we meet new people. You loved the snow, until you got cold. You love LaLaLoopsy's, so at least the next few weeks (hopefully). When I tuck you in at night, you ask for a hug and two kisses (or three or ten), and then tell me to lay down with you. You want someone to sit with you while you eat breakfast, even claiming that the spoon is "too heavy" to feed yourself, although no one is fooled by your antics, they are quite cute. You love your big sister and always want to be right in the middle of whatever she is doing. You don't like it when I tell you that it is bath time, but then once you are in the bath you don't want to get out.


Love this little girl, more and more ever day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 Motto 1: Git 'er Done

I actually went back and forth between Git 'er Done and Just Do It. Yes these are both other's catch phrases, but they both express my goal for this year. To just GET THINGS DONE without excuses (at least not many).

At lot of the things that I want to get done are the things that I pretty much pushed away and didn't deal with at all least year. For example: the horrendous room in our basement that was a second family room, then became a full of crap room, then when I was pregnant and had to turn my scrapbooking room into Claire's room we turned the basement room into a craft room, then I realized it was cold and stinky (cat boxes) and I didn't like it so I didn't go there as much as I should have (which is why I have little scrapping for 2009 outside of Claire's baby book) and eventually moved half my stuff up to the bedroom and that room once again became a full of unorganized crap room. Now the plan is to turn it into a play room (like a family room again!) and putting some of Claire's toys down there. Big things that would be played with down there (train table, play kitchen) as well as a place to put things that we are cycling out of the livingroom. Hopefully, since Claire & Justin are home a lot together and he has his own space in the basement as well, this will lead to her actually getting to play down there since I'm still not sure if I will be going down there (because I still don't like it).

This will mostly be a lot of organizing and de-cluttering and getting rid of stuff we will never EVER use. And cleaning...lots and lots of cleaning. And the basement won't be the only focus, just a big one.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Menu Monday

Well, now that the holiday craziness is over, it's time to start menu planning again! My sister-in-law got me a cookbook for Christmas so I have been working through a few of the recipes/ideas from Not Your Mother's Make Ahead and Freeze. So far everything has been tasty and easy. I currently have 19 individually frozen burritos, 1 beef casserole, 1 dish of stuffed chicken breasts and three ziploc bags of marinated meat in my freezers. Now my only challenge is remembering to pull things out with enough time to thaw. I'm also still menu planning about 2-3 weeks at a time, which is made easier by having stuff ready to go in my freezer.

Monday - Chili Cheese Tater Tot Casserole
Tuesday - Southwest Pork Chops
Wednesday - Popcorn Chicken, French Fries
Thursday - Hot Dogs, Mac & Cheese
Friday - Stuffed Chicken Parmesan, Pasta & Marinara
Saturday - leftovers
Sunday - Cashew Chicken, Rice & Pineapple

Friday, January 11, 2013

Project Life 2012 - DONE!

I ended up using two albums to hold all of my project life pages for this year. After finishing up the pages for week 52, I went back and worked on my first & last page for each album. I used some of my 12x12 Cobalt paper, a few of the 3x4 inserts that I hadn't used and I ended up with one 6x4 picture on each layout.


I also really like the 6x4 calendar that I printed to include on the intro page of the first album. I have one printed for 2013 already so that I can include it as soon as I get my supplies from Amazon.

I ended up doing week 52 a little different. Since we had so many pictures from Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, I made those two days a layout with an insert. The first page and the front of the insert are all from Christmas Eve. The back of the insert and the second page are all from Christmas Day. Then my final "week" is December 26 - December 31 even though the messes up my start/end dates for the week AND it's not a fully week it's ok. Doing it this way handles the insane number of pictures I took those two days AND it deals with the fact that the 31st should actually be it's own week or included in the 2013 album. In these pictures, the journaling wasn't done. It is done now, but it's dark and crappy picture taking light.

Christmas Eve

Dec 24 - Christmas Eve

Christmas Day

December 25 - Christmas Day

Week 52 (December 26-31)

Week 52, Dec 26-31 (1)

Week 52 (December 26-31)

Week 52, Dec 26-31 (2)

So excited to continue this project in to 2013!

New Windows!

Oh my gosh, I am SOOOO excited to have replaced some of our windows!

The windows in our house are original to the house (approx 17 yrs old) and most of them are perfectly fine. But due to settling or whatever, the windows in our living room are drafty. We have a loveseat that sits in front of the windows in our livingroom. It was drafty enough that we eventually rolled a blanket up and shoved it under the loveseat to keep the draft from freezing our feet during the winter!


We got our new windows from American Exteriors. They happened to have a guy in the neighborhood when we were reaching a point of being fed up with our current window. I did a little looking online and most of the reviews were positive so we decided to give them a chance. Their sales process is to send a guy (or gal, or two) out to your house with a sample window for a sales pitch. They do offer "that night only" discounts based on your location and your willingness to promote their business*. We debated a while if we were going to go with them because the windows are not cheap (although from what I've heard from friends, they are comparable to other professional installed windows). Obviously, if you're trying to go cheap be like my brother and just buy the window at Home Depot and install it yourself. I'm not that skilled, so we went with a professional installer.


We did have a few small snafus in the process of getting our windows. Our sales guy forgot to ask us what color of aluminum wrap we wanted for our window. Which meant two additional trips out to sign paperwork approving the change since having a colored trim increased the cost slightly. Luckily the sales guy made the trip out to our house, at our convenience so it wasn't too bad. Our installer was also worried about wood rot when he came out to do the measurements for the order. We did not end up with any wood rot, but American Exteriors did offer to cover it for us if there was any since the sales guy didn't say anything about it the night that he was out.


Our installation date was also pushed back a couple of times. Originally we were supposed to get our windows in late November, but since we had a specialty window (half-circle) they windows didn't get in until the first week of December. We got a call from the scheduler saying that would could have them installed during the following week and said to call them back to set up a specific date/time. We got a message from our scheduler setting up the appointment for Wednesday, December 11 at 8:30am. The following day, we got another call because December 11 was actually a Tuesday, she had mis-read the note from the installer. We didn't particularly want to have them installed on a Tuesday due to our child-care situation, but that was the only availability they had so we took it anyways. Then the morning of our installation but we got a call about 20 minutes before the installer was supposed to be at our house, he called to postpone the installation because they hadn't received our colored aluminum trim. Instead of installing on Tuesday, it was pushed to Saturday. None of this is particularly American Exteriors fault.


However, in the little less than a month since the windows were installed we have had NO problems. The windows are doing their job much better than our previous windows. If we notice any other windows in our house getting drafty, we will definitely be using American Exteriors again. And they are so much prettier than our old windows! We also have a train that is about mile west of our home and the difference in the sound from our livingroom with the new window vs another west facing window with the old windows is amazing! So much quieter!

* I did receive a slight discount on my windows on the promise of writing this blog post, however, the experience and opinions are all mine.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Mog

I've been told my Goodbye 2012 post was mildly depressing. There's probably a reason for that. So instead of everyone having to read that, here's one of my mother-in-law's cats. He should totally be a LOLCat, but I'm not funny enough to come up with a caption.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013

As 2012 draws to a close, I'm looking at my pictures for the year. I've kept up with Project Life, but I was thinking about making a Blurb book for my mother-in-law of pictures from the year. I have approximately 18,000 pictures from 2012. EIGHTEEN THOUSAND (give or take some). Every month, I move my pictures off my main hard drive on to the secondary drive in my computer (in addition to backing them up on our server). I've used 114.3 GB to store pictures for this year. Insane.

My a mess. I keep meaning to clean, but I'm not terribly motivated. The main parts of my house stay clean-ish (just not tidy) but the less seen areas (master bedroom, the basement, laundry room, etc) have not had a good cleaning in longer than I want to think about.

And here it is, 11pm on January 2 and I just can't figure out how to move forward into this year. How to turn this year into the year I want it to be. Not huge things, but the little things. I want my house to not always feel like it needs a good scrubbing (without hiring a maid service). I want to take pictures, but not so many that I feel overwhelmed by them. I want to spend time with my family, but I want to do the things I enjoy too, without sacrificing my sleep every night (like I've been doing).

I keep reading all these things online about motivation and making lists and plans and words for the year (which I've tried before) and whatever, but it all feels so not like me. But maybe that's the point, maybe this the year to not be me, or at least not the current unmotivated me.

Maybe it doesn't matter at all. Maybe I should wait until Spring to make plans and dreams for the next few months. I hate January. It's cold and sad and depressing (except for Claire's birthday). Quite possibly my least favorite month of the year.