Wednesday, July 31, 2013

5 Ways to Spend 15 minutes with your Children

Hi Everyone!

When I go to bed at night, I never fall asleep right away. I always spend time thinking about the day and what I want to make better about the next day. The one thing that I always realize is that I could have spent more time with my children throughout the day.  This is always a sobering realization to come to since I am, after all, a stay at home mom. I have all day to spend with them, so what happens? How is it that I wake up with all this "super mom" determination at 6:00 am and by 10:00 pm, I'm wondering where did it all go wrong?
I think the short answer is that I just let things get in the way. Some are necessary evils, such as laundry, unloading dishwasher, and other household chores. Some, however are purely selfish excuses. Crafting, blogging, television, and technology are all things that I allow to creep slowly into my day that tend to overrun it like spilled ink on a piece of paper. I will say that I don't consider my time at the gym selfish because it keeps me healthy; and above all else I want to make sure I'm around for a long time with my family. Another excuse I always tell myself, is doing stuff causes a mess (that I'm always left to clean), or it's hot outside or it would involve a trip to the store and money spent etc.
This has also been the first summer that I've not purchased summer learning workbooks for the kids. Trust me when I tell you, I won't make that mistake again! I kept thinking I'll just find some worksheets online and print them and make the kids do those. Finding free grade appropriate worksheets is not as easy as it sounds, so I gave up on that as well.
So, what have we learned so far? Well, basically that I am not in the running for awesome mom this summer. I do, however have a couple of weeks left before school starts, so I decided today to find 5 ways to spend uninterrupted quality time with my children. No mess, no money, and no fuss and there was even a little learning along the way as well:

1. Talk and Listen. This idea is so simple, many parents forget about it. I think we spend much of our time as parents directing, instructing and guiding our children down what we hope is the perfect path in life that we very seldom just sit and talk. Today, I found both of my boys at separate times and we just sat down and talked. With one I talked about school for the upcoming year and seeing old friends and meeting new ones. With the other one, we talked about the new Mario party 9 game he wants for the Wii. I know, two totally different conversations...two totally different boys! You don't have to give a life lesson each time you are with your children. Just listen to what they have to say. If they can talk to you about nothing, then they'll be more likely to talk about important things later in life.

2. Play a Silly Learning Game: It has been my experience that children like to learn as long as there is an element of fun involved in it. I wanted to do something with mine today that didn't involve a lot of set up or complicated experimenting or directions. Those sorts of activities are great, don't get me wrong; but it just wasn't what I wanted to do today. So, I found this ball (which I'm constantly kicking out of the way throughout the house) and we stood in a circle in the living room and basically played "hot potato" with it. For the learning aspect of it, I used different areas of learning.
We did math problems, say a color as fast as you can, think of a word and make a sentence, opposites and a few others as well. There was lots of smiles and giggles and most of all fun.

3.Try a New Project Together.  My oldest son received a book on how to make paper airplanes for his birthday last week. Now, I realize that for dads out there, making paper airplanes is ridiculously simple; and you would think for a paper crafting mom such as myself it would be easy to figure out as well. Not so much....let me just say, none of our airplanes looked like the ones in the book; and the general consensus was that he'd rather wait for his dad to help him! Still, it was time spent together and he learned it's ok to try something even if it doesn't work the first time.
4. Play a Board Game. This is another simple and often forgotten source of time that can be spent together. The most important thing to remember is that it's not about the game you want to play, it's about what your child wants to play. Today, we played the "Lego Race" game.

5. Laugh. This is my favorite thing to do with my children. It's those moments when you're all piled on the floor in the living room just giggling and laughing at everything and anything that I think are the times in which the best memories are made. These are the moments I hope my children look back on when they are older and know they had a happy childhood.

In the end, I'm not a perfect mom; but I'm always willing to try. Thanks for visiting me today! Until next time....

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mojo Monday Love You.

Hi Everyone,

This is my second post for today. I posted a book review earlier for Pat Conroy's "South of Broad." I would love for you to read it. Now, I am here to share my card for yesterday's Mojo Monday sketch.

This week was round or square week. I chose the square option. The card measures 4 1/4 x 4 1/4. I used Kraft, Fine Linen, Enchanted Evening, Simply Chartreuse and patterned papers from the "Come Away with Me" paper pad by My Mind's Eye. I used Verve's "You and I" stamp set and cut the "U" using the "I heart you" Diet set. Anyhow, just a quick post for me today, busy afternoon and then dinner with family tonight. Thanks for visiting with me! Until next time....


Mojo Monday: Sketch

ABC Challenges: Use scraps. (I did...honest)

Make it Monday: Anything Goes

Melonheadz Friends: use lots of circles

South Carolina Southern: Book Review of "South of Broad" by Pat Conroy

There is Southern; and then there is South Carolina Southern. For those of us who have spent our childhoods and any part of our adult lives in The Palmetto State, we understand the subtle differences between these two concepts. South Carolina Southern means Sunday dinners at Grandma's house complete with ham, homemade macaroni and cheese, buttermilk biscuits and never without collard greens. It is knowing that the best boiled peanuts you will ever eat are the ones you buy from a old man and his wife in a pickup truck on the side of a country road.
It is knowing that if you can't hear the crickets outside your window on a summer night, you can't sleep. It is knowing that the rivalry between the Clemson Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks is not just some simple silly football rivalry. It is recognizing that the foul putrid smell of low country marsh is also familiar and comforting. It is summer days spent fishing in rivers, riding on jet skis and wave runners. It is friendships and young loves found and lost on the sands of the beaches. It is rocking chairs on porches watching sunsets that leave little doubt that God is the best artist of all time.
There is perhaps no other author that captures the details of these differences better than Pat Conroy. Pat Conroy has perfected the ability to not only make his low country scenery and settings come to life in dazzling and mesmerizing details; but also to engage the settings and scenery in such a way that it becomes its own character in the story. He transports you to memories of long ago with such eloquence and ease that you are momentarily convinced you've literally been transported back in time to relive them.
"South of Broad" is a beautiful, heart breaking and majestic tribute to Charleston, SC. It is a story of enduring friendships, and a study of the bonds and history that weave people together.  It is a story of tragedy and sadness, and courage discovered in the least likely of places. Finally,  it is a story of the love that develops through all of these things, and survives it all.
To be certain, each person in the story is essential to the development and overall execution of the plot; but no character is as complex and layered as that of the central character, Leo King.  Leo King is both tragic and heroic, he is haunted by his past and yet driven to his future by it as well. You find yourself reading torn between cheering for him to have a happy ending and wondering if maybe...he just isn't destined to have one.  There are tragedies that occur in his life that becoming the defining circumstances of his destiny. He is a man you never want to be; but at the same time you feel proud to know him.
I loved this book. I loved the attention to details that Pat Conroy gives to the history of Charleston. For those who were here for Hurricane Hugo in 1989, you not only read the exquisite details of the storm and aftermath that he captures; but you feel them as well. You realize that you still think of Joe Riley, Jr as the best Charleston Mayor ever! That Bill Sharpe and Debi Chard were the "must watch local anchors" of channel 5; and that if you've had anyone in your family pass away in Charleston, then J. Henry Stuhr Funeral Home on Calhoun Street has handled the arrangements.
As with all Pat Conroy novels, the story has many facets that break into numerous tangents and you do spend a bit of time wondering if he will bring them back together again. He does, of course and the final results are well worth the journey.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Recipe: Tilapia with Fire Roasted Tomatoes and Proscuitto

Hi Everyone

I wasn't planning on posting today; but I found a recipe from the archives so to speak and decided to just do a little bit of editing and updating and post it again. This is a nice healthy dinner to have if you are looking for something light and easy to have especially during the hot summer nights so many of us seem to suffering under lately. When I prepare this for myself and the hubs, I pair it with a nice white blend wine. Apothic White is my favorite white wine.
It's a nice crisp combination of a Chardonnay, a Reisling and a Moscato. The little bit of sweetness it has is a nice complement to the acidity of the tomatoes. As for a side dish, I always serve it with grits. However, I recognize that not everyone knows how to prepare or cares for grits, so I can also recommend serving it with some roasted potatoes and fresh green beans.

Ok, so here we go:


---- 4-6 pieces Tilapia fillets
---- 1 package Prosciutto Ham. This can be found in the specialty meat case in the grocery store. It may take a bit of looking. If it is unavailable, just skip it...don't try to substitute with regular deli ham, it won't be the same.
--- 1/2 small onion cut into quarter slices
--- 3-4 cloves fresh garlic pressed
--- 1 can Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes (regular diced tomatoes are good too)
Grated Italian or Mozzarella Cheese


Step 1. Prepare the fish fillets. Rinse and dry each fillet and then season with Salt/Pepper, Garlic Powder, Dill Weed (optional) and Paprika. Drizzle a little Olive Oil over each fillet. Heat the oven to 425. When the oven is ready, spray your cooking pan or sheet (I use the medium Pampered Chef Stone) Put the fish in the oven and cook for about 6 minutes and remove from oven.

Step 2:  Heat some Olive Oil in a pan over medium to medium high heat and saute the onions until soft about 7 or 8 mins.
Lower the heat to medium (If your stove has numbers, I lower mine down to about 4 or 5) add the garlic cloves and continue to cook for just another couple of minutes.

Step 3: Add the can of fire roasted tomatoes, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer.
 Step 4: (By this time, you should have the fish out of the oven) Top each fillet with a spoonful or two of the Tomato and onion sauce and then place a piece of Prosciutto on each one. Then sprinkle each one with a little bit of cheese and put them back in the oven. Cook another 7-8 minutes until the cheese has melted.I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do! Thanks for stopping by to visit me. Until next time....

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Missing You Color Throwdown

Hi Everyone!

My card for today is for this week's Color Throwdown challenge and also for Tuesday Morning Sketches. Now, when I first started crafting, I ordered everything from Stampin Up!
Then my shopping horizons expanded and I realized that there were just so many cheaper and sometimes better alternatives to SU. As a result, I haven't ordered anything SU in YEARS!! Therefore, when it came to gathering my colors for the color throwdown challenge, I had to use my Papertrey ink colors. The colors I found that matched the best were: Hawaiian Shores, Aqua Mist, Melon Berry, Autumn Rose and a scrap of paper that substitutes well enough for the Razzleberry.
Once I had put the layers all together, I was trying to think of an image to use; but then realized that perhaps it would be best to just keep it simple. I added a layered flower with a button in the middle. The sentiment is from Hero Arts and I stamped it in Victorian Velvet Distress Ink.
I think I was also able to fix the photograph issue I was having least I hope so. I think this one  is better than yesterday!
There were lots of challenges over at Paper Playful for me to play along with this card!

1. Color Throwdown: Colors
2. An Inky Situation: Anything Goes
3.Crafts and Me: Anything Goes
4. Divas by Design: Anything Goes
5. Inklings and Yarns: Anything Goes
6. Ruby's Rainbows: Layer it up.
7.Craft Room Challenge: Heat Embossing
8. Paper Take Weekly:  Dies and Punches
9. Tuesday Morning Sketches: Sketch

Tomorrow is my oldest son's birthday, so I am taking the day off. I will be back hopefully Saturday, but if not definitely on Monday. Thanks for visiting with me! Until next time.....

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pinterest Inspiration Wednesday: Hi There!

Hi Everyone!

I will be the first to admit that I am a Pinterest addict. I love it, I think it is such a
brilliant concept to just be able to reference things I like at a moments notice. I try to
be a "useful" pinner by both what I pin for other people and also what I put on my boards. I try to keep in mind things that people will find useful and want to try. One of the boards I have is "Crafty Inspiration" on to which I pin cards I see as well as other crafty things that spark my curiosity and crafting eye. I decided today to actually use one of the cards that I have pinned as inspiration for my own take on the card.  Now, sometimes it's hard to give proper credit to things found on Pinterest; but this one says the original source is "JoyTaylor1975"
I loved the clean crisp design of this card and simple sentiment. I decided to use Fine Linen from Papertrey Ink as my card base; and instead of circles, I chose to do squares using pattern papers from American Crafts.
 I used my scallop squared punch from Stampin Up and my 1" square punch to cut the squares and then layered them on the card using dimensional adhesive.
The sentiment is from Hero Arts and I stamped it in Bermuda Bay ink by Stampin Up and added two antique copper brads. At this point, I do have to take a moment to apologize for my less then stellar photograph of my card. I'm just not a great picture taker...
I did find a couple of challenges to play along with as well.

2. Creative Creations: Anything Goes

3. Make it Monday: Anything Goes

4. Paper Playtime: Pattern Paper

5. Anything Goes Challenge Blog: Anything Goes

6. Through the Craft room Door: Anything Goes

Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting with me. Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Making Your Children Happy: It's Not About You

Hi Everyone!

Yesterday, my youngest son came to me with a toy car he had found that changes color. I'm sure you've all seen them before, it turns one color when it's cold and then when you run hot water on it, the color washes off and it returns to white or whatever its original color is. He has always been fascinated by things like this, that change in some way or another. We did the milk coloring experiment as well, and he had fun with that too. He loves to do different experiments
and honestly I fail quite miserably in the mom department of doing them with him.
So yesterday, after multiple trips to the sink and the freezer with this toy car, he asked me if I could put the car into a cup of hot water because it was hard for him to run it under the faucet. Then, he asked me if he could put the entire cup into the freezer and freeze the car inside the water. Now, when he first asked, my initial reaction was "what's the point of that?" It was so simple in concept that I couldn't figure out why he wanted to do it. Then I realized that I was approaching this simple experiment with the eyes of an adult who could warp ahead and see what the results would be in a few hours. What I had to do was to stop and imagine it through his eyes, and his imagination. So with that in mind, I opened up the freezer and we carefully placed it in an empty spot in the door and then waited for science to do it's job.
As the day went on, he kept checking it to see how frozen it was getting. This, of course let to lots of questions about how long would it take to be completely done; why are there bubbles in the middle? etc. All day it made him so happy to watch this "experiment" progress and I came to really understand that a child's happiness is not always related to or even remotely a part of our happiness as parents.
Yes, this was an experiment so simple in nature; but it made him happy and that made it important. It supported his imagination and his curiosity, and made him feel as though he was accomplishing something. It is still in the freezer and I have a feeling that tomorrow, much of the day will be devoted to watching the water melt. I think he's trying to be able to take out the ice and car together so you can see them together.

There is always time for lessons about right and wrong, and do's and don'ts. Read a book, clean your room, don't forget to brush your teeth etc. It is important though, that we don't get so caught up in teaching them that we forget to learn from them.
What are ways you strive to support your child's happiness? What seemingly silly things do you let them do that they enjoy? I would love to hear some of your stories.
That's all for me today, thanks for stopping by. Until tomorrow....

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mojo Monday and Diva Dare: Nicest Thoughts

Hi Everyone!

I'm finally here with my card today. I decided to jump in to the Mojo Monday mix once again and to also combine it with a few more challenges including Verve's July Diva Dare Challenge. (Links to all the challenges will be at the bottom of this post)
The color palette I chose was inspired by this picture from Design Seeds. I just loved the beautiful sunset picture and the colors in it. If you are looking for great color inspirations for your crafts, this is a wonderful site to check out. I used "Nicest thoughts" sentiment stamp from Verve Stamps. In addition I used the "Circle Pattern" Clings background stamp from Hero Arts.
Part of the Diva Dare Challenge was to to distress on your card as well, which I did with Tattered Rose, and Vintage Photo Distress inks.

Here are the challenges for this card today:

1. Mojo Monday: sketch
2. Verve July Diva Dare: Tattered Pages
3. Challenges 4 Everybody: Anything Goes
4. Pile it on: Just because or Thinking of You
5. Hiding in my craft room: Anything Goes

That's all for me today, have a great night!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tutorial: 3x5 Notepad holder: "Where Dreams Go"

Hi Everyone!
I am here today to share a quick step by step tutorial for a fun notepad holder you can slip inside your purse or perhaps give to a friend or keep on your desk at work. There is a way to do this for a regular 3x3  post it notes; but I really liked this larger size. It is really quite simple and fast to put together. There are more photos for each step at the bottom of the post.

Card stock measuring 7 3/8 x  5 1/4
Additional card stock pieces measuring 2 7/8 x 5 1/8, and 2 3/4x  5
Mini gel pens (purchased at Staples)
Stamps and other decorations as desired
1.Begin by scoring your 7 3/8 x 5 1/4 sheet on the 7 3/8 side at 3 1/8, 3 1/2, 3 7/8
2. Fold along each of the score lines to get a nice crisp crease
3. Cut two small slits in the middle from the fold to the center about 1 inch apart (this is for the pen) It is important at this point that you make cuts with the 3 1/8 side facing up because this will be the front. up the paper and place sticky strip or some other type of strong adhesive along the bottom edges of the middle creases to seal.
5. Decorate your front as desired. For mine, I used Simply Chartreuse, Aqua Mist, and Melon Berry Paper from Papertrey Ink. The stamp set is "Blue Skies" from Verve Stamps. I used the "Geometric Rings" embossing folder by Provo craft.
6. Attach your notepad on the inside with sticky strip or other strong adhesive.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Chocolate Swirl Cinnamon Sugar Banana Bread

Hi Everyone!
Welcome to my 989th attempt to recharge my little ol' blog! I'm hoping to really make a go of it this time, so thank you for stopping by to visit. There'll be some changes in design and content over the next couple of weeks or so as I am really hoping to make it more than just about crafting. I'd like to incorporate other things as well such as recipes, book reviews, entertainment discussions, parenting and life discussions. On the crafty side, I hope to share more than just cards and also to include tutorials for those of you who may be new to crafting.
Ok, to start off this time, I decided to share a recipe. I made this yesterday as an experiment and the entire loaf is GONE!! Obviously, I will be making it again and probably soon!

Step 1: gather your ingredients, you will need: 
2 Cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
3-4 medium ripe bananas mashed
1 cup of sugar
dark chocolate ice cream topping...just a tablespoon or so for drizzling. (microwaved slightly if needed)
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 recipe for streusal topping 
Step 2: Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare your loaf pan with a little non stick spray and flour
Step 3: Put it all together:
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in large bowl make a well in the center and set aside
In another bowl, mix eggs, bananas, sugar and oil. Then add it all at once to the flour mixture and mix gently just until it is combined. Pull and fold from the bottom to make sure you get all the flour incorporated. 
Pour about 1/2 the batter into the loaf pan and then drizzle some of the chocolate along the center and sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar. Now, at this point you could take a knife and swirl it a bit too. I didn't...but next time I will.
Pour in the rest of the batter and then drizzle a little more chocolate (don't swirl this one...) and then add your streusal topping if you want. This is optional; but makes it all so yummy! Finallly sprinkle the top liberally with cinammon sugar
Bake 55-60 minutes and then cool on wire wrack for at least 15-20 minutes before trying to remove from pan.
I will link this recipe on the recipes tab at the top of the page so you can find it again easily!