Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 Book Report | December

Last year I set a small goal to read 10 books but soon I updated it to 20 books. By June I had read 12 books. In the next 6 months, reading was a lot harder. I got distracted easier and couldn't sit still long enough to get into a reading groove without falling asleep. However, I found a way to get the last 8 read.
image made using Goodreads
Harry Potter Years 1-3 // In December, I joined the Harry Potter Re-Read Along. I read these three using the borrow option with Kindle. I am not going to recap the stories since everyone knows the premise unless you have been living under a rock for the last 15 years. However, it has been fun reading the book and immediately watching the corresponding movie and remembering just how many little things they purposefully left out to strengthen the overarching series plot.
The Big, Not-So-Small, Curvy Girls Dating Agency // I was hoping this would be a fun cute read. I was sorely disappointed. The characters were undeveloped and the premise was predictable. A bigger girl full of insecurities just happens meets the dashing hunk and they realize their love is one in a million and nothing will stop them, not even his fiancé. I am not a fan of it. Above all else, the grammar was horrendous.
The Marriage Plot // If I did this based on stars, this book would get 4/5 compared to works by authors but only 3/5 compared to Eugenides' other works. It is a detail heavy weaving of the same few years told by three young adults that are semi-involved in a love triangle. My disappointment only comes to the writing itself. While the details are there, the writing is missing some of Eugenides' magical imagery and beautiful prose. There are glimpses of it but it is hidden under lots of tedious writing.
Husband Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth // I started reading this soon after we found out we were expecting as The Bradley Method is something I am interested in. Originally, I went into this book thinking it was a simple overview of the method. It is not. Instead it is a more of a background of Dr. Bradley's journey to developing his method of childbirth. It is much more scientific and I love that. One more caveat. This book was originally published in 1974, so it contains some antiquated beliefs about religion and different gender roles. I will also add that if you just want a book to supplement your Bradley Method classes, shoot for reading Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way as it is more practical.
I Don't Know Where You Know Me From // I tend to need something light and airy after heavy books. Judy Greer's compilation of biographical essays was just that after the total mind meld that was Gone Girl. I love that it wasn't full of juicy details about fellow actors or filled with hearsay about other people in Hollywood. It was just an easy to read account of her life. As a fan of Judy Greer, I enjoyed it.
Three Girls and a Baby // As much as I hated the other ChickLit title on this list, I loved this one. In the beginning, I really disliked Ginny, but as pregnancy evolved her character, I started to love her. The author wrote about serious topics in a way that easy to read but wasn't predictable, or cheesy.

Currently reading: Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of my Appetites, The Potluck Club, and Dorothy Must Die, which I started at various points this fall and couldn't finish. Also on my list is Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and Great with Child.

My previous book reviews can be found here and my list of books read can be found on my Goodreads account.

Monday, January 12, 2015

So This is the New Year

The last few weeks have been a weird mixture of why I call the quiet storm. Our lives have been filled with doctor appointments, work, long car rides, and visitors. There have been crazy busy days and then really slow days. Easy days and challenging days. I am thinking this will be the pace for the year ahead. 

Every January, I pick a word to be like a guiding compass for the year ahead. In previous years, I have varied about how open I am with my word and how it is working in my life. For 2014 I picked GROW and my journey with it was a lot more private than past years. While I may not have accomplished all my intentions from last year, I did grow. I grew in more ways than I ever expected and I am really proud of that. I am especially glad of the most literal growth that has been taking place since August.

This year my word is NOURISH. Instead of writing a list of tasks to complete in the next 356 days, I have a few very specific things I want to work on throughout the whole year. First, I want to continue to nourish my body in a way that properly supports the next 16 or so weeks of my pregnancy so that I can have the healthiest labor and birth possible for us. I want to continue that well being throughout the coming year as a mother. I want to nourish our child, not only as an infant, but to instill healthy habits that are lasting.

Secondly, I am hoping to nourish my husband/wife relationship with Berkeley. While becoming parents is a huge deal and one of the best blessings, it is important to me that we don't let our identities as mama and daddy overshadow us as husband and wife. My goal is to nourish that relationship while also growing as parents. These are some pretty big goals but these are things I really want to make happen. I am hoping that making it public will make it happen due to accountability.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Project Life 2014 | May to July

The end of the year is quickly approaching and I wanted to share the pages from my Project Life album before they come really irrelevant. I am bulk posting a few months at a time for the next couple of weeks. Most of these pages have been finished in the last few weeks with "getting it documented" being the name of the game. At the beginning of the year, my plan for 2014 changed from a monthly approach instead of weekly. The goal was one spread a month, if not more, and inserts as needed. This plan really helped me stay as up to date as possible. You can see my title page here and all 2014 Project Life posts here

 My last Project Life post covering my trip to Southern California ended with a 6x12 insert. So this post is starting with the backside of that insert. It has a photo grid and journaling about our tiny houseguests.
 The right hand side of the spread covers life at home in May and how it varies with the start of Fire Season as well as how we were adjusting the little ones. The center inserts from left to right are Smash pad, two 4x6s from the Seafoam Core Kit cut down to 3x4 and a calendar card.
 The next part of the month's documentation was a full spread with two 12x12 pages.
 Left hand side holds photos and a small spot of journaling in the flap on the edge about the Slide Fire during the second half of May. That flap was just made from using a 3x4 pocket and washi tape.
The right hand side features a few smaller stories from the month. The center insert cards from left to right are a Smash Pad quote card documenting some of the kids' random questions and statements, an Elise Joy quote card, and two journaling cards from the Seafoam Core Kit. The card furthest to the right was originally a 4x6. 

 Back to the more normal for this album having a full spread with smaller inserts "sandwiched" in between.
 I used the whole left hand side to share about celebrating our six years together. Despite it being one of the busier months of Fire Season, June is our month. In the center the cards are, from left to right, an Elise Joy quote card, a card from the Seafoam core kit, a notebook lined card, and a filler card from WRMK. This month I also switched up my calendar card.

 The backside of the 6x12 has first time on SkyRide at Arizona Snowbowl and the right side has our trip to Bearizona. We did these both during our anniversary weekend but they were also items on our Flagstaff Bucket List.
 A closer look at the journaling for the 6x12. I placed the smaller photo on a 4x6 gridded journaling card and layered a tag and some other embellishments.
 For the Bearizona page, I had way more photos than I knew what to do with. I put in my five favorite photos and used a large journaling card. Before handwriting the details, I ran it through my printer to add the Bearizona logo.
 Here is the backside of that 10x12 insert and the right hand side 12x12. I used the 12x12 to wrap up the second half of June.
 For the journaling on the insert, I ran the 4x6 through the printer with the text from this blog post. I added the title afterwards. In the pocket above holds the map from the course. In this photo, you can also see the journaling card sticking out from behind the maps from the May spread.
We end with the right hand side 12x12. From left to right, the center journal cards are Seafoam Core Kit, WRMK Simply Happy Pad, and two Studio Calico cards, one layered and one with a "pocket". The "Notes" card has bullet points with the major happenings of the last two weeks of the month. The furthest pocket to the right holds some personal journaling. To give it more privacy, I slipped the journaling card into a glassine baggie that some embellishments from an old Studio Calico kit came in. Done and done. 

 Another set of 12x12's with a 10x12 in the middle. I really like pattern and consistency. Again, another things that helps me get the stories documented and keep the project up to date.
 A closer look at the left hand side. I went back to using the Oh The Lovely Things card for the month. Next two it are two cards from the Seafoam Core Kit. One of my favorite ways, as seen in months past, is adding journaling around the curve of a photo or shape. Here it did it on both the plate in the top left photo as well as around the circle on the journaling card. I also followed the chevron pattern with my journaling on the other card as well.
 This side of the insert was about the 4th of July. It was a fairly relaxed day despite being all over Flagstaff and Williams throughout the day. The journaling card is from a Smash Pad. I love that all those bubbles and lines feel like how I felt driving all day.
Here is a look at the backside of the insert and the right hand side. Pretty straight forward. 
 I did another insert about another disc golfing day. I used more text from this post. Again, I added the map of the course layout. Also, I went back and noted, in the rim of the can, that this was my last beer of the year.
Finally, I ended July with this photo of the monsoons. The photo was too awesome to do as a plain old 4x6 so I did 8x12. Underneath, I added my Currently post from July. Again, I just copied the text and printed right onto the journaling cards. And that's that. 

Looking back now, I almost feel like July is a little bare. I have a few more photos and stories I could tell to round it out. I may go back and add a 6x12 if I do end up wanting a little bit more. 

Project Life supplies:
Binders, plastics, and 3x4 and 4x6 gridded journaling cards via the Becky Higgins Amazon StorefrontSeafoam Project Life Kit. Zig Dual Tipped Pen Black. Assorted Elise Joy stamps and printable quote cards. EK Success Metallic Writer Gold. StazOn Black Ink. Smash blank and quote pads. Freckled Fawn Colorful Dots and Woodgrain Tape. Martha Stewart and Avery Labels. Staples Date Stamp. WRMK Simply Happy Journaling Cards. Oh The Lovely Things Calendar CardsAmerican Crafts Getty letter Stickers. Various past Studio Calico Project Life Kits

Disclaimer: Project Life® is a memory keeping system creating by Becky Higgins. To see all my posts deatiling how I use her system to document our life story click here.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Five: 2014 Winter Wishlist

It is that time of year where everyone talks about the perfect gift to get everyone in your life. One thing I noticed about these lists is that everyone assumes that the perfect gift for the expectant mother in your life is stuff for the baby. While I admit that we greatly need baby stuff and greatly appreciate those gifts, our baby won't be here for quite a few more months. Also, expectant mothers are still humans with needs and wants separate from that of their incubating counterpart's. Below you will find a list of five items on my list for this holiday season of both the baby and non baby sort.
Friday Five: 2014 Winter Wishlist

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December | Currently

celebrating the halfway point. 
basking in the amazingness that was seeing our little one via ultrasound yesterday.
looking at the printout of shots over and over again. 
loving that the baby was so content and relaxing with a hand behind the head just like Berkeley does.
waiting anxiously to go back to work.
sticking to the anti-inflammatory plan as best I can. 
embracing the the holidays full on this year.
resisting most of the holiday goodies.
enjoying dinner dates and outings with friends. 
spending most mornings in the glow of twinkle lights. 
ditching my loose end of the year reading plan
joining in with the Harry Potter Re-Read-Along.
working on the last details of my 2014 Project Life album.
struggling to get the best natural light for taking photos of the pages to share here.
making the best of the foggy weather and snowy days.
eating natural peanut butter (it tastes so much better!).
switching to maternity clothes. 
walking as much as I can.
taking up prenatal yoga.
appreciating this season and the coming months so much!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Project Life 2014 | Disneyland 2014

The end of the year is quickly approaching and I wanted to share the pages from my Project Life album before they come really irrelevant. I am bulk posting a few months at a time for the next couple of weeks. Most of these pages have been finished in the last few weeks with getting it documented being the name of the game. At the beginning of the year, my plan for 2014 changed to a monthly approach instead of a weekly documentation. The goal was one spread a month if not more and inserts as needed. This plan really helped me stay as up to date as possible. You can see my title page here and all Project Life posts here

My segue from April to May is a little different than the rest of my months. The last few days of April and the first few days of May were spent in Southern California. The trip was originally planned to attend yet another memorial service and my mom surprised me by coming down with one of my sisters and buying Disneyland tickets for us all. 
To separate the trip from the rest of the month, I added this insert that had a patchwork of different papers, digital elements, and some ephemera including a Fast Pass. I printed them at home. The squares were just about 1.5in and added to a piece of card stock with roller adhesive. The plan was to secure all the squares in the corners but my stapler did not reach the center so I just did the edges shown above. 

The backside of the patchwork piece has smaller maps from the parks printed from their website with all the rides and attractions we did during our trip marked off. The background piece of card stock was made by repeating a stamp to create a pattern. Between the two pieces of card stock is a small piece of clear "cardmaking" plastic with holes punched in to add it into the album so that it looks like it is floating in front of my page for April 30. 

April 30
To document the two days in the park, I used a Design B pocket page (Design D or Design V could also be used). I find these work best when I have a lot of landscape oriented photos and journaling cards I want to use. That was exactly the case here. For the main story, I used a heart cut from another journaling card stapled over this gray herringbone from the Seafoam kit. I added the bow to make it tie in with our ears and a simple red label and date stamp. I didn't have too many details other than being at Disneyland so one little journaling spot was great.

May 1
I took the same approach to our second day. Ten photos, my ticket, and a spot for journaling. All very straight forward. I had a little more to share about this day so the journaling space is larger. I used a simple gridded 3x4 card with a label and a puffy sticker. 
Documentation of the whole trip was wrapped up with this insert made from half of a Design E pocket page using tabs and washi tape. One pocket has an older Disney map with my pin on the outside of it. I actually poked the needle through the plastic and paper to attach it. The lower pocket contains the leftover ephemera layered on patterned paper. I love that the date was so bold on the parking pass as sort of a marker for May. 

I am hoping to get the rest of the posts up soon. I batch ordered my photos for May through November from a photo processor. That company seems to be taking longer than normal to process and print the photos. As a result, my photos were delayed and the final put together of all my pages is delayed as well. With all the fog we've had lately, I might end up with a whole week dedicated to Project Life spreads. It wouldn't be the worst but I definitely like to balance the topics out a little bit. Fingers crossed that package arrives sooner than later. 

Project Life supplies:
Binder and plastics via the Becky Higgins Amazon StorefrontSeafoam Project Life Kit
StazOn Black Ink. Martha Stewart and Avery Labels. Studio Calico Antiquary Kit and Cuppa Kit. Zig Dual Tipped Pen Black. Staples Date Stamp
Assorted Elise Joy stamps. Freckled Fawn Colorful Dots Tape. Project Mouse Digital Papers from Sahlin Studio and Britt-ish Designs. *Some links used are affiliate links

Disclaimer: Project Life® is a memory keeping system created by Becky Higgins. To see all my posts deatiling how I use her system to document our life story click here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Baby's First Blanket

At some point between 11 and 12 weeks, I woke up at 4:30 am and informed Berkeley that "The baby needs a blanket!" and that I was going to be the one to make it. Naturally, his response was that unless I wanted Walmart fabrics for the blanket I needed to go back to sleep and wait until a more reasonable time to start this project. I fell back asleep dreaming about the blanket I was going to make for the baby. At 11am, we walked into the fabric store with a plan, and two and a half hours later we walked out with a handful of different fabrics and a whole different plan.
Backing up a little bit to August, right before we found out, I made the above simple snuggle blanket for our friends. It was a yard of flannel and a yard of cotton. I was planning to make the same kind of blanket for our little one. Then a funky polka dotted flannel entered my life! I love it but I couldn't find anything that matched well enough, thus a new plan took over.
What happens when you fall in love with a piece of polka dotted flannel? You buy it! What happens when you can't decide on a fabric to back it with? You quilt it! And that is just what ended up happening. Two and a half weeks, two more trips to the fabric store, and 255 square pieces of fabric later, I finally had the front and back for my blanket.

Here is where the two ideas merged. I used the same basic "technique" for both blankets.
1. Iron and layout your top and bottom pieces of fabric. Trim as needed. The first blanket I kept at approximately 36" x 42" which is what the two pieces measured coming off the bolt. For our baby's blanket, I pieced together the top part with 17 rows of 15 3-inch squares. The math with seam allowances came up to a top piece measuring approximately 38" x 43".  Since my flannel piece is right from the bolt, I trimmed the top piece to match in dimensions.

2. Lay the two pieces together with right sides facing each other and pin edges together. For this blanket, I used extra safety pins to hold everything together to make sure the lines on the top piece were as straight as possible. For just two solid pieces you might not need to place the extra safety pins.

3. Sew around the edge with a 5/8" seam allowance leaving a two to four inch opening on one side. You will flip the blanket right side out using this opening.
4. Turn blanket ride side out and push out the corners. Fold in open edge. For each blanket, I had added something to the top piece after having the blanket mostly made. On the first blanket I added an embroidered monogram and a tag (shown at the top of this post), and on my baby's blanket I embroidered one of the quilt squares. This is the point in which I added those things. I also repined the middle with safety pins to keep things straight.
5. Stitch through both layers of the blanket 1/2" from the edge with an accent thread. This will be a visible stitch. The large seam allowance in step 4 allows the top stitch in this step to secure the opening used to flip the blanket right side out. I also used this step to add a decorative stitch (shown on the brown edge square in the two photos above).
After your top stitch you are done. Obviously, this blanket for our baby is less than perfect but that doesn't matter to me. All that I wanted to do was get it done. Now I can't wait to have a baby to snuggle in it, to lay on it, to build forts with it.  I can not wait for our son or daughter to be here to (hopefully) love it! Next on my more crafty baby to do list is refinishing a chifforobe and a rocking chair.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Five: Winter Essentials 2014-2015

Today, I am sharing some clothing items that have been awesome as we move into the windy, snowy, winter months. Although many of the items below were picked due to comfort during pregnancy, they are either not maternity items or have a common normal clothing version.
Friday Five: Winter Essentials 2014

  1.  Cotton V-Neck Tee - These are from Target and are a staple to my wardrobe both pre pregnancy and currently while pregnant. I love that they are roomy in the chest, breath easily, and come in a wide array of sizes and colors. They are also cheap! 
  2. Leggings - Winter leggings for the win! They can be layered with practically anything and add extra warmth and coverage for a lot of my fall outfits. 
  3. Wool Socks - Living in Flagstaff has made wool socks in my wardrobe necessary. They regulate temperature and wick moisture away leaving your toes perfect in summer and winter. They are super comfy too which is a big deal because I would live in flip flops if I could. 
  4. Fleece Hoodie - The one I love this time of year is a medium weight fleece zip-up that is a heather grey. I have been reaching for this one lastly as it just has not been cold enough for me to need the heavy winter jacket. The fleece gives a little bit of stretch to accommodate my body changes and provides just enough warmth that I am not overly hot or cold.
  5. Snow Boots - I finally broke down and bought a proper pair of snow boots. The plan is to continue working at Snowbowl throughout the holidays. With the snow and ice, I figured better safe than sorry. Much to my surprise, the pair of Sorel shown above are unbelievably comfortable! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Project Life 2014 | March and April

The end of the year is quickly approaching and I wanted to share the pages from my Project Life album before they come really irrelevant. I am bulk posting a few months at a time for the next couple of weeks. Most of these pages have been finished in the last few weeks with getting it documented being the name of the game. At the beginning of the year, my plan for 2014 changed to a monthly approach instead of a weekly documentation. The goal was one spread a month if not more and inserts as needed. This plan really helped me stay as up to date as possible. You can see my title page here and all Project Life posts here

Before I get into sharing these pages I wanted to note that I left a few of them out. We had a rough few months and while I did document them, I didn't feel like those things needed to be public on the internet. I will say that journaling this things and documenting those events and the feelings associated with them really helped with coping. I definitely recommend it. It adds realness to our documentation. While I won't be sharing these pages, I have shared similar documentation in this post

The best part of doing the monthly approach is the ability to be as detailed as you want. I had a lot of random photos from the first half of the month and nothing really told the story of our month. Instead of just adding a few photos from our friends' daughter's party at the beginning of the month, I went with almost a whole two page spread. 
The back of the first insert page, I added the photos from a wedding we attended during the middle of the month. As with most of my darker photos, I added a filter to it and called it a day. Again, I chose to be less detailed and just let the photos tell the story. I also made a journaling card about the details of the wedding. The only other embellishment was that silver monogram tag that I added with a stapler. 
The last part of the month we took a trip down to Tucson for a funeral (that page I won't be sharing). We met up with a lot of different people during our few days down there and had a lot of meals out. The page above details that. Just as the previous insert page, I used Design G. In the right hand 4x6 vertical pockets I added 3x4 photos. 
To round out the month and to sort of designate the end of Ski Season, I did a Day in the Life documentation for a typical work day for me. Pretty straight forward. I did add some "flaps" with photos with the journaling underneath. 

Another straightforward spread that are pretty photo heavy. The left side documents the real start of spring. The right hand side documents an annual art and music showcase we go to. The journaling card was made from a 3x4 card from an old Studio Calico kit that said "Oh the Drama" in the circle. That really doesn't fit anything I document so I covered it. In this case, I used the event's logo from a business card. I just cut it to fill in the circle. 

My April documentation includes a few more pages but most of the spreads continue to address things I don't feel need to be public in this space. There is also a spread from a Disneyland trip I took that I will be sharing next week. 

Project Life supplies:
Binder and plastics via the Becky Higgins Amazon StorefrontSeafoam Project Life Kit
Oh The Lovely Things Calendar CardsElise Joy Quote CardsStazOn Black Ink. Martha Stewart and Avery Labels. Studio Calico Antiquary Kit and Cuppa Kit. WRMK Simply Happy Journaling Cards. Gold Freckled Fawn Airmail washi tape. Zig Dual Tipped Pen Black and Ocean. Staples Date Stamp.

Disclaimer: Project Life® is a memory keeping system created by Becky Higgins. To see all my posts deatiling how I use her system to document our life story click here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How We "DO" Thanksgiving

With the holiday season comes longer grocery store lines. This gives me the chance to peruse magazines while waiting. Last week, I got to flip through the November issue of The Food Network Magazine. There was this really cool article where some of their Chefs answered questions about how they do Thanksgiving. I thought it would be fun to share a little about our "trends" in the last seven Thanksgiving meals together.

Question #1: What time is “mealtime” on Thanksgiving Day for you? Most of my Thanksgiving celebrations have always been a late afternoon meal. As a kid, we always got together at someone's house around 11am nibbled on finger foods and appetizers and just spent the time preparing food and laughing together. The same is mostly true now, we just don't always get together so early but there is always appetizers and food prep.

Question #2: What’s your Worst Thanksgiving Disaster? I haven't had too many cooking disasters during holiday meals. That is Berkeley's department. Our first Thanksgiving, he dropped a pie and our second or third Thanksgiving he nearly lost the whole bird.

Questions #3: Do you Brine your Turkey or No Brine? Yes! The last four years Berkeley has used a brine on our turkey before smoking it.

Question #4: Do you have an “oddball dish” that you serve at Thanksgiving Dinner? Occasionally, we make an Apple Salad with a tangy yogurt dressing. Also, a Carrot Raisin salad makes an appearance every now and then as well. That is about as "oddball" as it gets though.

Question #5: Stuffing… do you put it in the bird or out of the bird? Outside! Always. The End. Haha! The more specific answer is that smoking stuffing doesn't turn out well.

Question #6: What is your pie of choice? Oh pie! I love pie! Since I am only going off of our last seven years I guess I am going to say my Nantucket Cranberry Pie. My old standby was my mom's mincemeat pie. I don't think many people make them anymore but that was my favorite as a kid.

Question #7: What are you most thankful for? This year I am particularly filled with all kinds of  emotions and feeling immensely blessed. Right now, I am so incredibly thankful for our family, our friends, and for all the love and excitement for this little one. Of course, my Thanksgivings (or my life) would not be what they have been if it weren't for Berkeley.

I hope you all have a fantastic holiday this week. Enjoy your food. Enjoy your family! And if you want to share any of your Thanksgiving traditions or answer any of the questions. I'd love to read your responses!

Share It