Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shop Local

I am a firm believer in supporting local businesses, but sometimes it just seems easier to order what I need from the comfort of my home. I did just that on Tuesday when I ordered some presents from an online bookseller. It was slightly cheaper to buy them online and the ease of having them delivered to my door within 2 or 3 days was just too much to pass up.

What is it they say about the best laid plans? Well, it turns out that the books will not be delivered within 2 or 3 days, but instead they will be shipped in 2 1/2 weeks. Unfortunately, I need the books this Tuesday, so the multiple-week delay is unacceptable. Of course, when I contacted the bookseller, they told me that they cannot cancel the order, so I will have to send it back once it is shipped to me.

I remembered seeing these books at my local Paper Source shop, so this afternoon I walked out to the store. I was not optimistic as I needed six of the books, but The Paper Source had eight and one of the women working there was kind enough to go into the back and get me the extra copies I needed.  All in all, it took me 25 minutes to walk to the store, buy the books, and walk home. Plus, I had the pleasure of interacting with some lovely women working at The Paper Source. (That was much more enjoyable than the faceless online bookseller employee who I spoke to about canceling my order.)

Lesson learned again: Shop Local.

Monday, May 2, 2011

May with Claire

May has always held special place in my heart. I was born in May (have a margarita for me on Cinco de Mayo) and it is the month when true spring arrives in the upper midwest,

I've decided to make May my start of the new year. I love the sense of rebirth that feels like it is permeating my life. I am taking a class with May Flaum at Big Picture Classes entitled May with May in which she provides little bits of creative inspiration every day during May.

The painting pictured above is my creative product from today. I know, it looks like a second-grader painted it, but that is where I am in my learning process and the only way I'll get better is through practice. While taking the Get Your Paint On! class with Mati Rose McDonough and Lisa Congdon, the single biggest thing I learned is that it is okay to suck. I think it is okay to suck, but only if you aren't satisfied with that result.

During May, I intend of practicing my creativity. I apologize if some of it sucks, but hopefully it will all be a little bit better by the time June 1st rolls around.

The World We Live In

With the events of the past 24 hours, I find myself unable to share in the exultation that many Americans are feeling. I have been trying to find a voice to my thoughts and feelings, but was unable to do so until hearing these* words:

      I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Today, I remember those who lost their lives due to unspeakable evil and those who mourn them. May God bless you and keep you in the palm of his hand. And to those of you who have dedicated your lives to making my world a safer place, thank you.

*Although these words were initially attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr., that appears to have been incorrect. It doesn't really matter who said them, but thank you to whomever did.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Green Hour

As spring starts to arrive (albeit very, very slowly), I am really looking forward to being able to spend more time outside. I recently came across a great idea on how to spend our outdoor time: a Green Hour.  A Green Hour is an idea from the National Wildlife Federation and it is defined as an hour of “unrestricted play and interaction with the natural world.” 

            What makes a Green Hour unique is that it places the emphasis on unrestricted outdoor play. Unrestricted play puts the power in your child’s hands to do whatever interests them. Therefore, it is important to choose a location for outdoor play that will allow your child the freedom to pursue his or her interests. For me, that meant I had to look for parks that had more space for my daughter to run around and areas that were not close to major roads so I wasn’t constantly worried that she was going to run into the street.

A Green Hour is a great way to unplug you and your kids from the TV or the computer and the unstructured time gives you the freedom to follow your interests. It can be a trip to the park, a walk around your neighborhood, or just an adventure in your own backyard. Make it your own and enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chicken & Leek Stroganoff

Today, I am over at Blissfully Domestic, sharing my recipe for Chicken & Leek Stroganoff.  From the post:

     During the winter, I love to have something bubbling on the stove.  This Chicken & Leek Stroganoff strikes     
       the perfect balance as it is a winter comfort food without being too heavy.

Click here to get the recipe.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love Activity Cards

As a part of my Valentine's Day present to my husband, I made him some Love Activity Cards.  We are always trying to find something fun to do either as a couple or as a family.  I used some of Ali Edward's Love Postage at Designer Digitals.  I used Photoshop Elements to put them all on one 8 1/2 by 11 inch piece of cardstock.  Then, I cut them into cards.

On the back of each card, I wrote a different activity.

My husband loves going for a drive, so I know this will be a popular activity.  I got some great ideas from Simply Modern Mom's list of at-home date nights.

Now, my husband wasn't so sure about the cards.  (Luckily, this was not his only present.)  However, I vow to put the cards into practice and change his mind!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you all have a great Valentine's Day!

Be Mine

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tender heart

I am a huge fan of Lisa Leonard's jewelry.  John, if you are reading (which he isn't), you could make me supremely happy with a piece of Lisa's jewelry for any occasion. While I was familiar with Lisa's jewelry, I only recently discovered her blog, but I am so glad that I did.  On her blog, Lisa gives glimpses of her life and home and writes beautifully about life, love, and family.

Recently, Lisa featured a paint and glitter project that I loved.  I have been thinking a lot about starting to paint.  I was never a painter and I find it rather scary, but I am still drawn to painting.  The project was simple, yet Lisa's finished product was gorgeous.  Mine (pictured above) didn't turn out as well as I wanted, but I'm trying to embrace the imperfections in life, so it is displayed in my house.  Still, just diving into a painting project was thrilling.  Thank you for inspiration, Lisa.

Sweet Shot Day

Monday, January 31, 2011

Crayon Roll

Crayon Roll, originally uploaded by celabbe.

My husband gave me a sewing machine for Christmas and I was so excited.  I immediately found a project for a crayon roll at Prudent Baby and bought the materials.  Unfortunately, my momentum died with buying the fabric, which is not an uncommon situation for me.  

I'm listening to Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project again and was particularly struck by her suggestion that one should spend out.  By spend out, she means that we should use the items that we have.  We should use our wedding china or that special candle that you are waiting for the perfect occasion to use.  

Although I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to properly complete the crayon roll, I also knew that it did not make any sense to have the fabric, ribbon, and sewing machine just sitting in my house waiting for that magical time when I would feel that my skills were worthy of attempting the project.  Once I started, it took me less than two hours to complete the crayon roll, and those two hours included finding the sewing machine manual to make sure that I was threading the machine properly.  

The Wee One is going to love it for Valentine's Day.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

4/52: Pinkalicious Cupcakes

Pinkalicious Cupcakes, originally uploaded by celabbe.

One of my daughter's favorite characters is Pinkalicious.  Making pink cupcakes is central to the plot of  Pinkalicious and I have intended to make some for months now.  What better time than the present.  My daughter loved mixing the batter, adding the red dye, choosing the cupcake wrappers and anxiously waiting for them to dry.  She loved dying the frosting and especially loved decorating the cupcakes with sprinkles.

I just noticed that a new Pinkalicious book is coming out on Tuesday, Silverlicious.  That might be the perfect present for Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

3/52: Hands

Hands, originally uploaded by celabbe.
This isn't a perfectly shot photo, but I just loved the fact of my daughter's hand in my husband's hand.  I confess I was focused on her face, but when I stepped back and looked at the photo, the hands were what spoke to me.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2/52: Snow girl

Snow girl, originally uploaded by celabbe.

This is the second photo in my Project 52.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Project 52

Puddles, originally uploaded by celabbe.

I love the idea of Project 365, where you take a picture every day for a year. However, even on January 1, when I have all the excitement and desire to complete such a project, I know that I will not be able to produce a picture every day and I will get discouraged.

Just when I was feeling frustrated about not having a good picture-taking project for 2011, I read a post from Darcy at Life With My 3 Boybarians ( Darcy proposes doing a Project 52 where participants post one photo a week in a Flickr group. As Darcy explains, "By limiting it to one really thoughtful image a week, you will have challenged yourself to get 52 well-done photos."

I am definitely in! Come join me in Project 52 at the Flickr group.