Friday, October 21, 2016

Our Summer Vacation

Also: How to make a 10 day trip last 8 weeks!

Back in August, I thought Teddy and I would make a quick, spur of the moment trip to visit family in California while Berkeley was on a fire assignment. I know we had just had a trip and there was another trip for in October, plus the holidays. However, I figured why not go for a the week around the holiday weekend. The plan was to join my family for their annual Labor Day camping trip that we've been doing since I was Teddy's age.

We packed up the car and were trucking along smoothly. That was until about 40 miles from arriving at my parents home, when my car stopped working. My awesome younger brother came to look at it, and tried to read the computer codes. Nothing was making sense. We got it towed, and it sat for 3 weeks while a few different mechanics we know tried to figure out all the weird and inaccurate codes the computer was giving out. The car didn't even know what was wrong with itself! Finally, towards the end of September, they finally discovered that it was the fuel pump. The guys got the pump ordered and spent a Saturday afternoon getting it installed.

At this point most people head home after being away for a month. We didnt! In the middle of sorting out my car, my mom was expecting it would need to go to a proper repair shop so she planned a Disneyland trip for us. We got tickets for Mickey's Halloween Party (more info to come) and spent 4 of the hottest days of the month in the parks.

Now, I could have chosen to head back home from Disneyland. Initially, I was going to do just that with an overnight stay in Tucson to see Berke's parents. That didn't happen either. Between the additional fee for parking a second vehicle at the hotel and the fact that we needed to be back in California less than two weeks after getting home, we decided I would just stay and Berkeley would fly out for the things we had planned for our October trip.

We finally got back to our little house in the mountains a few days ago. We are slowly settling back in and getting back to a routine. In a few days, I plan on sharing a little look into what all Teddy and I did during our trip.

Also, I have a whole list of posts to finish and share that were meant to go up in the past 50+ days. I know I had starting posted process videos and blog posts about my sister's album. I still have all those posts ready, I just didn't have my laptop while we were gone. It was another hiccup in my spur of the moment trip planning! So stay tuned for that!

Monday, August 22, 2016

From Ms to Mrs | Disney Day One

Another update on my sister's mini album. If you missed my first post about this album and the supplies I'll be using, this is a 6x8 pocket style scrapbook documenting all the events that happened between my sister's engagement and her wedding day. Today I am sharing a look at our first day at the Disneyland Parks.

Yay for Disney! Okay, I know most people do not love Disney as much as I do so as a head's up, Monday's will now be the day that I am posting about this album. So if that isn't your thing, I totally understand if you want to skip to other posts. For most of these posts, I am just going to do an overview because I have been recording process videos for this album.
For this first layout of day one at the Disneyland Parks, I have a pocket page with 3x3 pockets and 2x2 pockets on the lefthand side and 4x6 pockets on the right hand side. I also used a Simple Stories 4x6 photo flip to add two more photos on the right hand side.
On the lefthand side, the top 4x6 pocket is holding a 3x4 photo layered onto a 4x4 square from the Sat Cheese II elements paper cut apart. I added two small photos and a word strip from the Say Cheese II sticker pack. The bottom photo has a banner and star from the same sticker set. On the right side, the page is two 4x4 pockets, and four 2x2 pockets. I paired photos from Tarzan's Treehouse with  a paper from the Seafoam paper pack and a printable from Sahlin Studio's Project Mouse.
The lefthand side is more Tarzan's Treehouse photos and related fillers. The right hand side is pretty simple with two 3x4's and a 4x6 from Pirates of the Caribbean.
On the lefthand side, I used the bottom pocket to hold two 3x4's instead of a 4x6. The journaling card was made by cutting down a Project Life card and layering it on some paper with a word strip from the Say Cheese II stickers. In the middle, I added another Adventure printable from Project Mouse and backed it with a photo of the Critter Country photo. The right hand side is photos from the Pooh ride and a filler card. The magic label is from the Say Cheese II bits and pieces pack.
To the lefthand page with the four 3x4 pockets, I added another 4x6 photo flip with more Pooh photos. The top journaling card was made the same as the other with a trimmed down Project Life card, patterned paper, and a word strip. The pocket in the lower right pocket has two QR codes for videos. I made these using There are lots of QR code generators out there, but I like Unitag because they let you alter the look of the QR code. For these ones, I chose a gradient style with purples and grays and altered the same of the three corner "squares". Once I had the look I liked, I printed them on plain printer paper. The banner and hearts are from the Say Cheese II sticker pack.

The right hand page is a full 6x8 photo adhered to one of the "Office Basics" pages that came with the album. Right on the photo, I added a label sticker, a circle sticker and word strip from the SCII sticker pack, and some letter stickers from my stash.
To the back of the office basics page I used added two 4x6 photos and a 4x6 photo flip that holds two 3x4 photos and two 3x4 filler cards. The quote card is a printable from Project Mouse. The other has a little bit of journaling and another QR code. On the top 4x6, I added two tags layered and tied together with a bit of string.

That is it for our first day in Disneyland. Next week, I will be showing a closer look at a few spreads from our first day in California adventure. If you would like to see process videos of these pages. Be sure to check out my YouTube Channel! Below, you will find a list of supplies used.

Products Used
Simple Stories: SN@P -  6x8 Teal Burlap albumMix and Match Pack Page ProtectorsInst-Pocket Pages Variety PackPhoto Flips
Say Cheese II - Cardstock StickersBits and Pieces Ephemera Pack, 3x4 and 4x6 Elements Paper4x4 Elements Paper

Sahlin Studio: Project Mouse - Main StreetAdventure,  No. 2 AlphasFlairsAt NightCarsLeading Up to the Magic

Becky Higgins: Project Life - Seafoam Edition Main Kit and Papers

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

From Ms to Mrs Album | Album Organization

Back today with another update on my "From Ms. to Mrs." scrapbook album for my sister. If you missed my first post about this album and the supplies I'll be using, this is a 6x8 pocket style scrapbook documenting all the events that happened between my sister's engagement and her wedding day. Today's post is all about how I organized this album.
My organization process is quite similar for a lot of my scrap projects. It usually starts with me going through the pictures I have and planning out how they are going into the album. I am not sure when I became such a visual person, but having an outline really helps me with these types of projects.

Not only did I draw an outline for this project, I also made a "mock-up" of each spread similar to my approach to organizing my Project Life album. To some, these extra steps may seem like extra work. My own husband laughs a little each time I do it. However, for me it is so helpful. For this project in particular I wanted to stick the supplies I had on hand which meant using a limited supply of 10 different styles of pocket pages.
On top of that, the photos I have are not just photos I took but photos from at least 5 other people! When I had all the photos airdropped and emailed to me, I loaded them to iPhoto and made them a separate folder. Then I pulled them all up in the photo editor I use to make the layout template. Again, seeing how each photo will look in each pocket before printing it all out helps tremendously! Once all of the layouts are done, I printed out all those images as a "contact sheet" for quick reference for printing the various sizes of photos. For this particular project (and most of my larger projects) I sent my photos out to a photo processor.

Lastly, with my general outline figured out and waiting for my photos to arrive, I went through and put all my pages into the album in the same order as the outline. I also added in placeholders for the various inserts as well. Then when I get my photos, I just put them where they need to go. To see a flip through of how my album looks at this stage, watch the video below or head over to my YouTube channel.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Avocado Cauliflower Rice

One of the meals we really like is at home Chipotle style burritos. It is quick, fairly simple meal but I started to notice that the flour tortilla paired with a sizable helping of rice started leaving me a little bloated. Back in October 2014, I made the switch to an Anti-Inflammatory Diet (you can read more here), in which I try to avoid eating foods that cause an inflammatory response in my body and bloating is a sign of inflammation.

Since moving away to our rural mountain town, staying on track has been a little harder. When one of our favorite meals starts triggering the things we are trying to avoid, I immediately went on the hunt for an alternative to keep this quick meal option in the regular rotation. This is when I started entertaining the idea of cauliflower rice!
Today I wanted to share the recipe for the rice we use in our Chipotle style burritos. I love using cauliflower rice with avocado and lime, especially on nights we choose to go vegetarian with our burritos. Not only does it add more veggies as a whole, it adds avocado which is a huge plus for this former California girl. The avocado in turn add texture and another layer of flavor! It takes our burritos to a whole new level!

Not only is the avocado lime rice great mixed in, it is also delicious by itself and Tiny Krueger thoroughly approved. The first time I made this recipe, Berkeley was on a work trip and I had a serving leftover. The next day I piled the rice onto some corn tortilla chips and it was amazing! Just as a side note, depending on the color of your avocado, the color of the rice can vary from really green like the rice in my burrito above to more yellowish like the photo below.

Avocado Lime Cauliflower Rice
  • 2 - 3 cups cauliflower rice 
  • 1 medium onion, diced 
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 medium ripe avocados 
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin (or more) 
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil slightly smokes, add the onions, and stir to coat. Continue to cook onion until they are golden brown at the edges and have softened, about 8 minutes. 
  2. Add the cauliflower and stir. Add salt and pepper, and continue to cook until the cauliflower has softened about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Mash avocados in a large mixing bowl (I leave mine a little chunkier). Stir in lime juice, cumin and garlic, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in warm cooked rice and serve.

Monday, July 25, 2016

From Ms to Mrs Album | Intro and Supplies

It has been quite a bit since I have shared a scrapbooking related project here. I took a little bit of a break when I lost my creative drive in 2014. For some weird reason being pregnant zapped that out of me. I finished my 2014 Project Life album but I didn't really do anything in 2015 outside of a December Daily minibook and a few random layouts here and there.

The album I am currently working on is a 6x8 wedding related album for my sister. It will mostly documenting her bachelorette trip to Disneyland and her bridal shower back in April. I'll be sharing bits and pieces over the next few weeks and hopefully will be posting a final flip through as well once she has the album in hand. Today I wanted to share supplies I will be using for this project.

The Album
For this project, I chose to try out the Simple Stories Snap system. They seem to offer the largest range of options for the 6x8 album size with lots of different albums and pocket page designs. Specifically, I got the 6x8 Teal and Burlap album which came with 10 pocket pages in 5 different designs, 8 "Office Basics" pages, and a kraft envelope page. Additionally, I ordered a second variety set of the pages that come in the album as well as the Insta-Pocket Pages Variety Pack as well.

Additional Products
We are a big Disney loving family and I used this project as an excuse to purchase a few things from Simple Stories' Say Cheese II collection and to print of some of my favorite things from Sahlin Studio and Britt-ish Designs Project Mouse. While a bulk of this album will be the trip to Disneyland, I didn't want it to be entirely a Disney themed album since it will hold their engagement story, her bridal shower, and some of the set up of the wedding venue. None of those things were Disney themed so I wanted to be a cohesive album.

To fill in the gaps and tie the album together, I put together a kit of sorts from my stash. Originally I had pulled a bunch of stuff including Project Life supplies from various kits, old Hambly overlays, patterned papers, older stamps, and random embellishments. At the beginning of the month, there was a challenge posted in the Victoria Maria Facebook Group to work from your own kit made using a "recipe" that was shared. From that challenge I narrowed down my own kit to five patterned papers, four embellishment packs, three wood mounted stamps, two title alphas, a small alpha, and an additional item of our choosing. My additional item was the Becky Higgins Project Life Be Bright themed card set.

To get a more in-depth look at what all I have set aside to work with I recorded two videos. In the first video, I flip through the album and pages, and show off the Say Cheese II products I have. In the second, I go through the kit I made for the challenge. You can watch those videos below or on my YouTube channel.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

July | Currently

settling in to our new small town life here in the woods
working on emptying the last of our boxes
hoping we finally get to plant more permanent roots
becoming part of our little community
chasing after our walking toddler
adoring his curiosity and his budding desire to learn
visiting the library weekly
watching in awe as he develops new skills daily
hosting visitors throughout the coming months
enjoying having down time at home
finishing a mini scrapbook album for my sister
starting a second one for the other sister
planning out new products for the winter "shop" opening
marking the calendar with upcoming craft fairs and markets
making progress on turning our yard space into something other than weeds and dirt
using the "hot method" to get our compost started 
looking forward to getting plants and seeds in the ground 
having a great summer
wishing you all a great summer as well

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tiny Krueger's First Birthday Cake {Sugar Free Banana Oat Cake}

Starting back when I first got pregnant (side note: I can't believe it has almost been two since we found out) we've been trying to limit the amount of refined sugar we consume. Naturally, when it came time to think about cake options for Teddy's first birthday (because what is a birthday without cake?) I wanted something healthier and without a ton of sugar. I also knew that he probably would not eat most of it so I didn't want to spend too much money on a cake or the ingredients and chose to experiment with what we had on hand like bananas, and homemade puree.

The result is this banana oat cake sweetened with apple and pear puree (No sugar added applesauce could easily be used instead of puree). To finish it off, I slathered the cake with a cream cheese frosting. TinyKrueger loved it! He ate more of it than I ever would have expected. I will say that the frosting is a little tart from the cream cheese but our little guy is also a big fan of tart and sour flavors like pickles, lemon, sauerkraut, onions, etc. He liked it so much that I made it twice. Once for his actual birthday as a small layer cake, (top photo) and once for his party as a single layered cake (second photo). 

Banana Oat Cake
  • 3 ripe bananas 
  • 1/4 cup apple or pear puree 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (grind rolled oats in blender, then measure)
  • 1/4 whole oats 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
for the frosting
  • 4 oz cream cheese 
  • 1/4 cup pear puree 
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • cinnamon (optional)
  1. Mash the bananas in a medium bowl. Add in the applesauce, oil, and vanilla to the bananas. 
  2. In a separate large bowl, mix the flours, baking soda, and cinnamon together. 
  3. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture slowly. Mix just until incorporated. 
  4. Coat a 9" cake pan with oil. Spread the batter into the bottom of the pan. 
  5. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. 
  6. Cool the cakes. Use a small bowl or a biscuit cutter to make 3 small rounds. 
  7. Soften the cream cheese then whisk with the puree and vanilla extract (and optional cinnamon) until smooth. 
  8. Stack the smaller cake rounds with a layer of frosting in between and then frost the entire outside of the cake. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fiesta Birthday Invitations

The last two months have been ridiculously crazy! I am finally getting around to posting things I meant to share in April and May. I plan on sharing more about his big party later on but today it is all about my favorite paper project thus far. If you have been here any amount of time, you know I love designing and creating invitations and paper products for various events (our wedding invitation suite and Save the Date,  and this past year's Christmas invites).

I love these so much! Fiestas are my favorite party theme. The food is great, and the colors are bright, and it provides the opportunity to have such a great but relaxed atmosphere. I wanted that reflected in our invitations. I think that I achieved that.

I had originally wanted a flat 5x7 invitation but when I couldn't find the right envelope, I decided to repurpose some leftover Thank You cards I've had for a long time. Not only am I busting through my stash but it was easier and more cost effective to do this than the 5x7's. I also had a lot more fun!

For all the information needed on these invites, I created images and then printed them at home on plain white card stock.

To add the fringe, I took an approach similar to those Pyramid PiƱatas I made a few years back. I purchased a few rolls of colored crepe paper (party streamer rolls) to make the fringe. I also used these streamers for garlands for decorating as well. I used about 3 rows for each color layer so I made a 15 inch length of fringe in every color for each invitation.

To make the fringe take about 15 inch length of the crepe paper, add a thin line of glue or adhesive down the middle and fold in half top to bottom so the dimension is 15in by 1 inch (see image above). Then fold in half end to end a few times. This will make it easier and take less time to cut the fringed edge. For me, I ended up with piece roughly 2.5 inches by 1 inch. On the unfolded, unglued edge, cut upwards to make the fringe about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Then unfold to the original length of 15 inches.

Next comes the layering on the invite itself. I measured out 5 inches and used permanent adhesive and attached it to the paper so that the fringe was a smidge from the bottom of the invite. Cut another 5 inches and add so the fringe ends right above the fringe of the bottom layer. Add your third layer. Then repeat with the remaining colors. For these, I started with three layers of yellow, then three layers of red and finished with 3 layers of green. The front was finished by adhering the card stock piece.

For the inside, I covered the bottom piece with white crepe paper and then layered it with card stock that has the party information on it. Once it was all dried, I stuffed them in the envelopes and sent them on their way!

This was a really quick and inexpensive way to get birthday party invite out! Also, it is versatile for any type of fiesta. If you decide to try this kind of invite, let me know! I would love to see.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Five: Page Books

In honor of TinyKrueger's first birthday, I wanted to share some of our favorite kiddo products this past year. There are tons of mommy blogs out there with these kinds of lists but they all seem to be touting all the same books and all the same toys and products. Those toys/books/products don't always work for everyone (like us) so I wanted to offer a different list of items.

I am back with another round up of five baby items that we loved during our little one's first year. This list was originally planned to go up a month ago, but we got overwhelmed with birthday stuff, and wedding stuff. Now that all of those things are finished, I can get back to what I had planned on posting these last few months!

Today, I am sharing page books as opposed to the board books I shared back in April. These are books that are paper pages and are longer. Again, I am sharing titles that aren't necessarily as popular but keep our son engaged or he grabs on his own. You can find our board books list here and our toys list here.
Friday Five: Page Books

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Five: Toys for the First Year

In honor of TinyKrueger's first birthday, I wanted to share some of our favorite kiddo products this past year. There are tons of mommy blogs out there with these kinds of lists but they all seem to be touting all the same books and all the same toys and products. Those toys/books/products don't always work for everyone (like us) so I wanted to offer a different list of items.

Last week, I shared our favorite board books, and this week it is toys. In a world of light and sound toys, I really appreciate basic toys that require more interaction and imagination. That being said, I did list two toys that are battery operated lights and music toys but these things that our little one was drawn to before the power was switched on.

Friday Five: Favorite Toys

Kiki Elephant Teether // This soft rubber "teether toy" was one of the first toys we received before Teddy was even born. It quickly become a favorite and is still something he plays with and "talks" to daily. He particularly likes to keep her with him during our long car rides.
Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy // The first of the two battery operated toys on this list had our little guy's attention from the moment we pulled it out of the box it was gifted to us in, before the lights and music started playing. Not only does Teddy like it, but with 3 different settings, I appreciate that it is a toy that can grow with him throughout various stages.
Bright Starts Lots of Links // I love links! Teddy loves links! We all love links!! Whether we use them in a long chain, or solo as something to chew on, these Links are so great. 
Skwish Classic Toy // This awesome shaped toy is advertised as a mix of a rattle and teether. The little guy loves squishing it, shaking it, and flinging it about.
Sit-to-Stand Walker // Second of the two battery operated toys listed. This walker was another instant hit! The gears and shapes on the front keep him busy while the music and barnyard sounds and music keep him entertained. He also is a fan of actually pushing it full speed down the tile hallway.

So that's it for toys we like! Check back next week for our list of longer, paged books that we like. Do you have any kiddo toys that you feel your little one was especially drawn to? 
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