Saturday, December 31, 2011

One Little Word for 2012

Ali Edward's concept of One Little Word has totally changed the way I think about New Year's Resolutions. I don't make a list anymore, although I could... lose weight, save more money, blog more, plan a family vacation, go on more dates with my husband....

My word for 2011 was chosen from a short list that all had potential to guide me through the year. 2012's word practically screamed at me! 

My poor physical health this past year certainly had something to do with my choice, but as I really thought about this word, I realized it was perfect for so many more reasons, and it can have so many more meanings... physical, mental/spiritual, financial, relationships...

This past year I thought about my word a lot, blogged about it, and even took some action. But I wanted more. More ways to incorporate it into my life, more ways to document my journey with my word, and more accountability. So I am  taking a class (led by Ali) that will give me monthly prompts and assignments, plus a group of women who are also documenting their word for 2012.

I can't wait to create and share my One Little Word scrapbook! Do you have a special word for 2012?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Revisiting CALM

Lately I have been contemplating my “One Little Word” for 2012 and it occurred to me that it’s been a long while since I talked about CALM, this year’s word.

As many of you know, the past several months have brought me serious health problems and an inability to work. Stressful stuff on many levels. Besides being ill, I worried about finances and how my children were coping. Not really calm-inducing thoughts. Despite all this, I did find some ways to reduce stress and deal with life. Panic was kept to a minimum and we all made it. In the midst of all the uncertainty and fear, here is what helped me cultivate CALM as much as possible:

Do what you love. For me this meant reading and scrapbooking when I felt up to it. My sister set up a small scrapbooking area for me on the first floor of our house so I wouldn’t need to climb stairs to my craft room. Hubs took me to the library almost every week so I was always well-stocked with reading material. I spent a lot of time on Goodreads, looking for new books and authors.

Get it out. Writing and talking about things really helped me. I even had an article published concerning being a parent with a chronic illness.

Don’t isolate yourself. My health kept me from many normal activities, but I did manage a weekend with my college girlfriends, a brief visit with my coworkers, and a few family get-togethers.

Ask for help. This is not easy for many people, but being honest about my limitations and allowing people to help was one of the best moves I made during my illness. Child care, running errands, cleaning, and meal preparation were all things I couldn’t do by myself. I found that being specific about my needs gave me some control over my life but still allowed for people to help.

Seek out a support group. In addition to family and close friends, I belong to an on-line support group comprised of other individuals with my rare autoimmune disorder. Venting to people who have been there can be very cathartic!

Get professional help. When my daughters were struggling and worried that I might die, I was fairly clueless about how to help them. A few visits with a counselor gave me some good ideas and peace of mind. I found a way to balance the truth with reassurance.

CALM was definitely a challenge this year, and it wasn’t always possible. That’s ok.

“That which does not kill me makes me stronger”. -- Nietzsche

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

December Daily Album Cover

Time to begin this year's December Daily album. The idea is to capture both holiday and routine-oriented stuff that happens during this busy time of year. As always, I am inspired by Ali Edward's take on the project. She shares some great tips here.  This year I am planning on using some of here ideas, such as addressing the journaling prompts "Joy is..." and "Loving..." I also want to include one of my handmade Christmas cards! Hopefully I will be able to keep up with adding photos to the album so I can share some pages once a week or so. Until then. here os the cover. This year's color scheme is red, gold and brown.


Chipboard album (Michael's $1 bin)
misc. cardstock
Rhinestones (Martha Stewart)
Ranger Distress Crackle Paint
Adirondack gold paint daubber
misc. ribbon
Sizzlet flourish dies
1" binder rings
Old Lace, Red Velvet, and Coffee Shop Glimmer Mist
Creative memories alpha stickers

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Around Here, November 2011

Hey readers! I decided to grace you with my presence once again, and fill you in on the goings-on around here.

Around here, I am slowly regaining my health. I had a small procedure done yesterday to accommodate my new Minette device, which will hopefully "cure" my dizzy spells and get me back to work!

Around here, electronics are dropping like flies! Laptop, camera, and flat screen- poof! Thankfully, Christmas is coming soon!

Around here, Morgan has finally found her niche. She is performing in Stone Soup this weekend, and has loved every minute of rehearsals. She even has a solo! One parent complimented us on her singing and acting skills, and asked us how long she has ben taking lessons... it really does my heart good to hear her praised by a stranger.

Around here, I still need to drag out my winter clothes. Can we say "denial"??

Around here, I am in Christmas card production mode. It's been 2 or 3 years since I've made them, and it's been nice having a large-ish project to occupy my time.

Around here, my house is a disaster! So I'm off to back soon!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Book Review: Gardens of Water

Gardens of Water: A NovelGardens of Water: A Novel by Alan Drew

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A touching, honest and sad look at life in Turkey following the 1999 earthquake. A conservative Turkish man struggles with raising his children among American relief workers, whom he sees as the enemy. After almost losing his son in the earthquake, he faces losing his daughter and his family's reputation to a teenage boy from New Hampshire. The final tragedy of the book lies not only in what happens to his daughter, but also in the man' regrets.

Culturally rich, emotional, and engaging. A highly recommended first novel from Alan Drew.

View all my reviews

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Project 365: Week 42

Cute kids and randomness...

Enjoying the last few minutes of Girls Weekend

Loving the sunny weather and colorful trees

Heading home from the bus stop

Lovely sunset

Vivian stayed home from school after some dental work. We caught up on Phineas and Ferb.

Why is there a BEE trying to get into my house? In the middle of October??

Two lazy bones, lounging in the sun.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mother's Day 2011: A Scrapbook Layout

Love the shaped edge of the cardstock...

... the pop of yellow and lace...

...and glittery letters!

Paper- Creative Imaginations; Prima; My Minds Eye
Alpha- My Minds Eye
Flowers- Prima
Rhinestones- Kaiser Krafts
Lace- Prima
Distress Ink- Worn Lipstick
Adhesives- Helmar 450, Scrapdots, and Adhesive Runner

All supplies can be purchased at Scrap-Tastic!

Here's the Pencil Lines sketch I used (#246):

I love sharing my artwork with others! I would appreciate a post on Facebook, Twitter, or other media!!
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Project 365: Week 41

I could have sworn I took a photo every day this week... I guess not! Nonetheless, here is what I have...

I have such girly girls...they love putting together outfits for school!

Love wasting quarters on the crane!

Some vintage sheet music ornaments I've been working on.
Spent some time with friends this weekend!

More crafting! Making fabric flowers for barrettes and headbands.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Baby Lucas: A Scrapbook Layout

My friend and co-worker welcomed baby number 3 this past summer. I loved her adorable birth announcement! So scrapworthy!

 Pencil Lines Sketch #247
Paper- My Minds Eye (Fine & Dandy; Lil' Robots)
Die Cut- My Minds Eye (Stella Rose)
Stickers- My Minds Eye (Stella Rose)
Stamps- Unity
Distress Ink- Dried Marigold, Peeled Paint, Broken China
Flowers- Prima
Pins- Tim Holtz
Adhesive- Helmar adhesive runner, 450 Quick Dry, and ZapDots
Glimmer Mist- Electric Blue, Coffee Shop
Brads- misc.
Rhinestones- Kaiser Kraft
Tearing tool- Creative Memories

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Like what you see? 
I'd appreciate a Pin, Tweet, or Share on Facebook!
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mom...a Poem about Her

Her favorite color
Brightened her wedding
And the afghans she
Crocheted until
Pain stilled her fingers

Spring tulips
Summer daisies
Autumn mums now
Soften her headstone

The fire of the sun
Bright and hot
In my heart, and
In my tears
When I am missing her

This post was inspired by a weekly prompt at Studio 30 Plus, a home for bloggers over 30!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu Planning Monday Week 39

Join us every Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie! for great meal ideas.
In fact, a few of my recipes for this week came from this linky party!

Breakfast for Dinner- pancakes and bacon

leftovers (soup and meatloaf from last week)

Tortilla chips and guacamole (I like McCormick's guac seasoning mix w/ sour cream)

mashed potatoes
Broccoli and Onion AuGratin (see below)

dressed-up frozen pizza

Chicken Tortilla Soup (using leftover chips and salsa from Wednesday)

garlic bread
Bacon and Onion Au Gratin
2 cup broccoli florets
1 onion, roughly chopped

2 Tb butter
2 Tb flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
2 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Heat oven to 350. In saucepan melt butter, stir in flour, salt, rosemary and pepper. Cook about 30 seconds, then stir in milk. Stir constantly until boiling. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until smooth. Set aside. Layer broccoli and onion in greased baking dish. Stir in cheese sauce. Mix topping in a small bowl and sprinkle on top. Bake 25-35 minutes.

We are in a rut with our Monday Breakfast-for-Dinner routine.
The kids love pancakes and bacon every week, but I am tired of it! Please share your go-to "breakfast anytime" ideas!  

Check out these other menu and recipe posts!
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Project 365: Week 38

Sunday- Morgan having a tea party after dinner at my grandparents'.

Monday- The girls couldn't wait to start decorating. These cute little guys hang out in the bathroom.

Tuesday- The dreaded task of switching the seasonal clothes.

Wednesday- The girls' favorite! Not mine- he dances and sings (loudly).

Thursday- Ready for the school skating party!

Friday- Had enough energy today to make a mess at my craft table!

Saturday- Morning cartoon zoning!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday- Nostalgic Recipes

Today's post is inspired by the weekly writing prompts by Mama Kat- 
Share a favorite childhood recipe.

My mom was a baker. Especially at Christmas. I would help her bake dozens and dozens of cookies- sugar cookie cut-outs, Buckeye Balls, Russian Tea Cookies, gingersnaps, Peanut Blossoms...oh my, yum! The baking would go on for weeks, and we would freeze as we went.

I am lucky enough to be in possession of several of my mother's handwritten recipes. The baked goods themselves may not be extraordinary, but I simply LOVE that they are in her handwriting. Seeing her neat script instantly warms my heart, and reminds me of all the "I love you's"  in birthday cards, letters she sent my when I was in college, and the notes in my baby book.

Pure nostalgia.

So thankful for these old, stained pieces of her.

Every holiday season I bring out these treasured recipe cards and bake with my own children. I hope they are building the same kind of strong memories that I have!

Do you still use a recipe from your childhood?
Tell us about it in the comments!!

Other recipes you may enjoy:

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Big Earthquakes: Art Journal Page

Inspired by this post at Away We Go.

overwhelmed...the road to improvement...dream...future perfect...the rest of your, tomorrow and always...getting a better grip...worry often gives a small thing a big underestimate...ready to rethink...make it right

 old magazines
glue stick
Sharpie marker

Thanks for visiting today! I would love for you to share my artwork via Twitter, Facebook, or other media! 

Other Art Journal Pages:
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Invisible Illness Awareness Meme: 30 Things

Last week marked "Invisible Illness Awareness" week. Here is my contribution to the information bloggers around the world have been sharing:

1. The illness I live with is: Relapsing Polychondritis, Meniere's Disease, fibromyalgia, IBS, Migraines, undiagnosed Central Nervous System disorder (tremors and muscle spasms)

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: RP and Meniere's (2000); fibromyalgia and IBS (2009)

3. But I had symptoms since: Maybe childhood? I have had ear and sinus problems since I was very young. Obvious RP symptoms began mid-1999.

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:  Not being able to participate in my children's activities as much as I would like. I try to make it a point to find fun, low-key things we can do together to make up for it.

5. Most people assume: I think some people assume that when you take a bunch of medications and go to the doctor frequently, that the only option is to get better. Unfortunately, not true. The symptoms of RP and Meniere's can perseverate, even with treatment.

6. The hardest part about mornings are: Not knowing how I will feel each day. Every day is a crap shoot, health-wise, regardless of any plans I have made.

7. My favorite medical TV show is: House! I find it fascinating.

9. The hardest part about nights is: Pain, racing thoughts, night sweats, and medication side effects often keep me from sleeping.

10. Each day I take __ pills and  vitamins: 12 pills; 7 vitamins and supplements (all doctor recommended); PRN prescriptions for pain, dizziness, and muscle spasms

11. Regarding alternative treatments: The only one I have tried is massage- I used to love it, but now find it painful. Cost prohibits me from trying other treatments.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Neither! I don't see how one is "better" than the other.

13. Regarding working and career: I have had periods when I could not work. My doctor told me to stop working again last month. I am an educated and driven person, so this is so hard! And financial difficulties from not working just add to stress.

14. People would be surprised to know: Some days something as simple as taking a shower can totally wear me out.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: Being "forced" to quit working.

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Get my Master's degree.

17. The commercials about my illness: Well, RP and Meniere's are very rare, so there aren't any commercials!

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Going to my monthly scrapbook get-togethers. I usually don't have the stamina for a 6 hour crop, and transportation is an issue (see #19).

19. It was really hard to have to give up: Driving. I am dizzy most of the time, so this is not a safe activity! The loss of independence can be very depressing.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:  I wouldn't say I have any new hobbies- I have been a scrapbooker and blogger for a while now. But I certainly have more time to devote to them now!

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Do something active- go camping with my family, take a hike, try Zumba.

22. My illness has taught me: Asking for help is ok, and not a sign of weakness.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: "Just hang in there". Really? What do you think I'm doing?? I know people mean well and usually just don't know what to say, but...this one is really annoying to me, especially when a doctor says it!

24. But I love it when people: Just help me without me asking. I have a group of close friends and co-workers who regularly drop off meals, send me restaurant gift cards, or do other random things that really help.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: "That which does not kill me makes me stronger". I know I am going through this for a reason, and that somehow I am a better person for it.

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Read everything you can, join a support group, and be prepared to advocate for yourself.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: I have made new friends because of my illness, not just in spite of it.

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Buy 2 air conditioners for me and my family during the worst of the summer heat. A cool house helped my fatigue and overall well-being!

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: There is strength in numbers.

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Empowered and hopeful.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Project 365: Week 37

I actually got out of the house a couple of times last week- it was nice! Here's a few picks of our comings and goings:

Sunday- dinner at my dad's- my brother and his family were there

Monday- the kids had fun running around in the yard after dinner- it ended up being a nice evening

Tuesday- med checkup for Morgan

Wednesday- the kids' favorite catty came- Oriental Trading Co. Halloween edition!
Thursday- dinner at dad's again
Friday- computer game time- Pet Pet Park and Barbie are faves right now

Saturday- next week's project is to declutter and organize the fridge
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