Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thanks So Much!

I had some fun making these thank you cards and I thought I would share them with everyone. I love the colors and the scallop edge with the fancy label punch. It's a simple card but I think that no matter how simple, it will be much appreciated. It's always fun to receive cards in the mail and I plan on keeping the post office in business, even though they really anger me lately.

I wanted to thank all of my family and friends for all of their support throughout the year. Tis the season to tell everyone how much you love them and I don't think we do it often enough. The year has had it's ups and downs but at the end of the day, I know that I have a number of people that I can call to talk with them about it.

We love you. Here's to another great year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I Turned 29 Years Old Today!!!!

My hubby was so sweet to me today and really made my often-forgotten birthday very memorable. He even got me a cake! I honestly can't remember the last time I had a birthday cake but I'm thinking it was a good 15 years ago or so (stop doing the math!). I dropped a subtle hint on Saturday and never thought he would get the hint but he did. He got me the cutest little cake and the lady at the bakery thought it was for a baby! Well I told him, I am your "baby" aren't I?!?! It was the perfect size and him and Tanner sang to me as well.

What's a birthday without lunch at Sonic?!?!?! They finally opened one in the Chicagoland area and we thoroughly enjoyed our cherry limeade's. Yummy.

The calories didn't even count today either - what a bonus.

Then we ventured off to the Algonquin Commons for a bit of shopping. I drug David to my favorite scrapbooking store, Pottery Barn, Gap, and Ann Taylor Loft and he never complained even once. He did however eventually go and "wait in the car" but he was a trooper. As you can see I got some really comfy new pj's and slippers and I've been in them since we got home.

We hope everyone enjoyed their day as well. Happy New Years and Stay Safe!
P.S. I really didn't turn 29 today but don't I still look young?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Very Merry Christmas (Almost)

Unfortunately David came down with the flu this year on Christmas Day and was down and out for 24 hours with a high fever, achy all over, and congestion. All he wanted was to head back home to his bed for some much needed rest. He forgot his pillow at his mom's house and I thought he was going to have a breakdown, being the nice wife I am, I gave him mine. We managed to open up our gifts late on Christmas Night after he got up the energy to unwrap gifts and he even managed to smile for a few photos.

My two babies on Christmas Day

Tanner got some new "bling" from Santa. Look at his tan Coach collar.

We spent Christmas Eve in Freeport with my family and Katie had a great time opening up all of her gifts but as you can see, she was very tired. She needed a nap so that she could be well rested for the next round of gift opening.

My mom definitely was in the Christmas spirit - reindeer antlers and all!

We went to my aunt and uncle's house later that afternoon and spent some time with my cousin Bailee. She had a great time playing with Katie and you can tell that she loves having other kids around to play with.

Our last Christmas was on Saturday with the Anderson's. We got to spend time with Amanda who moved to Vermont with her father earlier this year. Thom wasn't able to make it back for the holidays this year and he was missed. Who knows, maybe we can spend Christmas next year in Vermont?!?!?!

Dave, Tanner, and I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Should We Get Another Puppy?

David and I have always thought about getting another dog but recently we have started to seriously consider it. Tanner will be 5 years old in April and we think that he would love having a playmate besides David and I. We both agree that we want a dog similar to Tanner and we really like Maltese's. Attached is a picture of the female Maltese that we have been considering. What do you think? Should we get another dog or should we wait? I would rather get one soon than wait until we have children because I think that is just too much to handle at one time. As you can see she is absolutely adorable and I think that her and Tanner would get along well............maybe I should think about that a bit more. Tanner has a love or hate relationship with every dog. How do you know if Tanner would like her? What is the best way to introduce a new dog into the family? I think I may need Cesar Milan to provide some advice but I'm guessing he's not available. I'd love to hear your comments so please post a comment below with your thoughts. What should we name her?

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Love Football!

I just finished watching the Bears WIN as I sit in my cozy pajamas but David on the other hand was at the game in the freezing cold weather. However he was well prepared and I made sure he was ready for the -20 degree weather with a trip to buy some insulated overalls. As you can see he is very bundled up and looks like he can't move!!!

As you can see David has his "mean" game face on!

Well I know I started this post by claiming to love football but that would be a bit of a lie. I actually LOVE football movies and tv shows but I don't like actually watching the game on tv. The game is just too complicated and is 3 hours long unless of course it goes into overtime like tonight. I must admit that tonight's game was very exciting but I'd rather watch something else.

Now if you haven't seen the show "Friday Night Lights", you must watch it! Dave and I love this show which is in it's 3rd season but unfortunately it's only on Directv right now. But never fear, David has his ways and I just spent the last 2 days while sick catching up on the 3rd season which is awesome. It is really a good show that actually has good lessons to share.


Where I Like to Create

I love scrapbooking, making cards, and creating other crafty projects for around the house. However I must admit that you need a good space to create because usually you can't start and finish a project in one sitting. Creating something that I love takes a lot of thought and oftentimes I have to come back later and having a place to keep it all in place is a necessity.

I have the perfect spot in the house for my projects but it makes my hubby crazy when my table is a "mess", however I don't think of it that way and in fact the messier the space the more creative the project turns out.


As you can see, I make quite the mess when creating a masterpiece but I wouldn't be able to create without a mess. I can't show you what I'm working on because someone is getting it as a gift for Christmas this year. However, in order to be productive and creative on my next project, I have to clean up afterwards. It actually doesn't take that long and I discover things I had forgotten that I had in my stash. It's amazing what you can find when you do a little clean-up.


I wanted to provide a little sneak peak to my creative space but there's more to see...stay tuned and I'll post more soon. You're probably wondering where I store all of my goodies, let's say that it's out of sight but definitely organized. I once was a big slog (just ask my parents) but now I love organization - I guess my hubby has rubbed off onto me.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Cards are on Their Way... or are they?

As you can see, I mailed a lot of cards out this week.

I decided to make a "pocket" style card with our picture enclosed.

And there we are! Tanner just didn't want to look at the camera and it was too darn cold that day to get a picture outside. Oh well, something is better than nothing.

I have anxiously been waiting for holiday cards to arrive at our house but I think the post office has taken a break from delivering the mail since the big snow storm Thursday night/Friday morning. We haven't gotten any mail - not even junk mail!!! Our mail lady is so nice and always leaves treats behind for Tanner so I thought I would leave her a holiday card with a nice tip for being so kind but I'm starting to rethink that because I really need my mail! I have Christmas gifts still coming in the mail and I never thought it would take this long. Where or where as our mail gone?????

P.S. Thanks Brooke for putting my card on your blog - at least I know someone in Wauconda is getting their mail! Check out her blog at

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting Crafty for Christmas

Getting Crafty for Christmas.....

or at least my Mom is. I think that my mom may be getting tired all of my "mini quilt" requests but look on the bright side, she is only using her scraps and she loves doing these things for me anyways. She has already asked me what she should make next because it seems she wants a bit more advance notice - you mean 24 hours isn't enough notice?!?! Should I request something for Valentine's Day or should we wait until Spring or Easter? I guess I'll have to go onto to get some more ideas. Thanks mom, you are so creative and don't you love a "mini" challenge every once in a while?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Laura Caldwell ROCKS!!!

My cherished keepsake ornament - it's autographed!

On Saturday I went to my Book Club Luncheon and the author, Laura Caldwell was there as our guest speaker. I met her earlier this year at my first book club in which we read her book, "The Year of Living Famously" and I absolutely loved the book and her even more. She has the best personality but she also has turned me into a reader once again. I used to read all of the time and then for years I may read only a book or two but that was the extent of it. So this year I made a New Years Resolution to read more and I must say it's the first New Years Resolution that I have ever stuck to. This year I have read 26 books thus far with the help of great author's like Laura that continue to get me to read book after book and also the two book clubs at the library that I have joined have helped as well.

The other part of my New Years Resolution was also to meet more people and expand my circle of friends and acquaintances. So joining the book club was another way for me to meet people with similar interests. The ladies that I have met have really inspired me to continue reading, continue coming to book discussions, and slowly I'm starting to share my thoughts a bit more. At first I will say that I thought it was a bit intimidating because some of the ladies had very strong opinions and others had very profound things to say, so when they spoke - I listened. I haven't been in this type of environment for quite some time and I must say I have learned a great deal from them.

Many of you know that I have done a lot of reading this year and have asked me in the past what book recommendations that I have. Well I must say that I think this is a great time of year to read one of Laura's books and I would recommend starting with "The Year of Living Famously" and then once your hooked you can read some of her other books that are available. For more information on Laura and her wonderful books please check out her website :

The luncheon was such a wonderful event and I was soooo excited to see the ornaments that our book club extraordinaire, Terri, made for us to take with us as a keepsake. The clear ornaments contained lots of beads and then a miniature book cover of one of Laura's books. In addition to this awesome keepsake, it got even better when Laura signed it for me! This is one ornament that I will cherish forever. Keep up the great writing Laura!

P.S. Did I mention that I got to sit next to the author during lunch?!?!?! I'm still a bit "star-struck" after that and only wish I had my camera with me!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What is the Real Meaning of Christmas?

The letter above is from a 3rd grade girl named Jaelyn who is in a gifted class at Higgins Academy in Chicago, IL. In her letter she tells Santa how hard she has worked in school and included what her holiday wish was this year. For Christmas she asked Santa for a Bratz Head so that she can style hair and also books to read. As you can see she is quite the artist and included Christmas trees, candy canes, and ornaments on the border of her letter.

The second letter is from Isaiah who is a 2nd grader in Chicago, IL and he also wrote a letter to Santa regarding his Christmas wish. This year Isaiah asked Santa for a pair of shoes, a hat, and a video game. He also drew a picture for Santa who is saying, "Ho Ho Ho".

When you read letters from children in need such as the ones above, it really puts into perspective the meaning of Christmas. While we all get "wrapped up" this time of year with all of the baking, shopping, decorating, entertaining, gift wrapping, sending Christmas cards, and tree-trimming that takes place this time of year; when you take a step back you start to realize that those "must do's" have nothing to do with the real meaning of Christmas.

This year David and I are helping these families with making their children's Christmas wishes to come true, I only wish we could make a bigger impact on all of the families in need. I think back to how special my parents made Christmas for my brother and I, and I only hope for the same for all of the other children around the world. I realize how naive that wish is and therefore recognize that we each can play a role in making a difference for even 1 child each year. David and I really enjoyed making these wishes come true and now are making this a tradition for our family moving forward. I know that this is a tough time for many families but if you can, please do what you can to help even one family by providing what you can to making the holidays special for them as well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

And the 1st Christmas Cards Are........

AWESOME! I just can't believe how awesome and creative the first cards we have gotten are. They are absolutely adorable and I truly am looking forward to seeing what else will land in our mailbox. Typically we hate getting the mail because all that we get is bills, bills, and some more bills so there is no rush but with the holidays coming up I will be rushing to see what surprise awaits for us next. I remember just a few years ago how David and I didn't send out Christmas cards but now I've swung to the other end of the pendulum and make all of my cards myself. For me it's another creative outlet and a way for me to show my family and friends how much I care and am thinking of them. I start thinking about it in the fall and then start making them in November so that they arrive in your mailboxes before Christmas. I truly love making the cards for everyone which is a labor of love. We hope you enjoy receiving the cards as much as I love making them. Keep your eyes on your mailboxes!

Look at this adorable card from the Groelle's. Brooke outdid herself once again. But don't feel bad for her - she is in Hawaii as I write this! Isn't the picture cute? - I actually took it for them.

And this is from the Lund's with their newest addition to the family. Too bad that Mia Grace sleeps all day long and they just couldn't get her to stay awake for the picture. She sure looks like an angel in this picture doesn't she?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's Frame Time Again - Christmas

So now that Thanksgiving is over it was time to come up with a Christmas idea for my black frame since the leaves had to go away until next year. I decided to use one of the pictures that we recently took of us last week for our Christmas card.

To be honest the pictures don't give it justice because it's much cuter and has more details that didn't get picked up on the picture. The roof is made out of red paper that I used a scallop punch on to make it look like shingles. Also the brown chimney has snow on the top of it and there is also snow around the window as well. To draw attention to the window I lined it with some twine ribbon and put some glitter snow on the top of it.

At the bottom it says "Anderson Family Christmas" in red and then our names in green and the year in black. But the coolest part (at least I think) is that you can open the house and the picture of us is inside.

I'm not sure if I am completely "loving it" but unless I come up with another idea this will be hanging by the door for the next month or two. I think my mother is working on a little mini Christmas quilt for me so I may be hanging that up soon as well.

Check Spelling
Tomorrow I am going to a Holiday decorating class at Pottery Barn so I'm really hoping to get some ideas from that because I feel like I keep decorating the same each year and I want to do something different.

I've been working on a few other crafty projects for Christmas but I can't post them because who knows - maybe you'll be getting one as a Christmas gift. One in particular I must admit is just so "sweet" looking that I can hardly wait to show you.

Why do we Live in the Midwest?!?!

Since we hosted Thanksgiving last Saturday with my family, we weren't able to put up the tree and do all of our Christmas decorating because we wanted everyone to see our Fall decorations. Plus I was absolutely exhausted from hosting the holiday and wouldn't have had the energy even if I wanted to decorate. So last night Dave and I popped in the National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation movie and put up the tree together - which doesn't happen that often! Usually he assembles the tree and I decorate but this year we were both in it together.

Then this morning I got up bright and early (8:00 am - I know surprising huh?!) and helped Dave shovel the driveway and then put up our outdoor Christmas decorations while it was snowing! I know even more surprising - see what happens when you don't get them up when the weather is still nice. I'm really starting to re-think this whole thing about letting Dave buy a snow-blower, I'm starting to see the many benefits that it would provide including being able to sleep in instead of getting up early to shovel so we can get to work and also that is really back breaking work especially since our driveway has a large retaining wall on both sides so you have to lift the snow and throw it versus just pushing it into the yard. I once thought I liked that retaining wall and I'm starting to rethink that too.

As we were working outside together, Dave made a comment to me that was music to my ears. He said, "why do we live in the Midwest where it snows, it's darn cold and just plain miserable in the winter?" and I used that as an opportunity to remind him how nice it would be in San Diego this time of year. Quite honestly other than how pretty the snow looks (only on days you don't have to drive in it to work) I said I really don't know. We don't ski, in fact I absolutely hate snow skiing and we don't ice-skate, build snowmen, or go sledding so what is the point?...... Am I missing something because I would be just fine with having sand between my toes during Christmas instead of knee deep in snow and slipping on ice. So we decided that next year for Christmas that we will go away for vacation to get a taste for what it would be like.

Tanner had a blast outside this morning while we were working as well and was running around like crazy in his bright red winter jacket. His nose was covered in snow and he was just having a hey-day. Then he realized how darn cold it was and insisted on going inside which he never does when we are outside. He waited by the door patiently for us to get done and was happy to retreat inside where he cuddled up with David on the couch on top of a warm blanket. I will say one good thing about the cold winter is snuggling up with David and Tanner but you can still do that in San Diego right?!?!?! The other positive thing is that I'm sure we would get lots of visitors in a warmer climate so I better start looking for work and an affordable house there soon........

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Love Christmas Pictures

Well I am well on my way to completing my homemade Christmas cards and just needed a picture to add to the card this year and my mom to do some sewing on the cards to finish them up. Well getting a good picture is easier said than done but we ended up with a cute picture but not nearly as cute as some of the pictures I have gotten from others thus far. We took lots of pictures with the three of us and I really liked this picture of me and Tanner as well. Isn't he just the cutest dog ever???? And so well behaved - we love you Angel!

My creative friend Brooke just posted this picture on her blog and I thought it was absolutely a beautiful picture with her two kids and the lights that just make this picture look magical. David thought the picture was actually a postcard because it was so good until I pointed out that it was with Chase and Dylan. I would have to take a 1000 pictures to get one that is as magical as this one is. Great job Brooke!

Then I got this picture of my friend Gretchen with her two kids that I thought was just picture perfect. I just don't know how she got them to cooperate and look so adorable all at the same time. I just love getting pictures from my friends and family and seeing how much the kids have grown since I saw them last. If you haven't already - please send me pictures for Christmas this year!
Seeing these gorgeous pictures for Christmas is really inspiring me to get up off the couch and to start decorating. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house on Saturday so we had to keep all of our fall decorations up until after everyone left. Well after endless hours of cooking and cleaning, the last thing I wanted to do was decorate for Christmas and put up a tree. So needless to say, the rest of my weekend consisted of thinking about decorating but not actually decorating. Well at least I have something to look forward to doing this weekend. Stay tuned to see what I am able to come up with for this year.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Katie at the age of 20 months already knows the meaning of Christmas. Everytime she sees a Christmas Tree she says "Christmas" and is already working on her Christmas list.

As you can see, Katie would like a Bitty Baby from American Girl from Santa. She got very upset when I took away her catalog and a tug of war ensued. As you can see, she won.
Since we are in Freeport for the holidays this year, I got to spend the afternoon with my adorable niece Katie. She has quite the vocabulary and loves to dance, she sure knows how to "shake it"! Also she has a fast arm or as she says "very fast" when it comes to throwing things at her auntie. I'm trying to teach her to only give hugs and kisses but I think we need to work on that a bit more.
We hope everyone enjoyed their Turkey Day! I am cooking on Satuday for my family and I always look forward to entertaining so I better rest up before the crowd arrives.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Congratulations David!

David just got home from a hard day at work - doesn't he look smart with those glasses?

As you are all aware, David has been working at Quill since June of 2007. Quill is owned by Staples and has other companies under their umbrella including Medical Arts Press. David has done very well at Quill and is on the fast track within the Sales Department and hopefully will have a management position in the near future. David was "highly encouraged" by Sales Management to accept this new assignment which will help him to be more well-rounded and provide more exposure for him within the company.

David started his new position today and I am so proud of him and all that he has accomplished. His manager sent out an email to the team announcing the new position he is taking on and I thought I would share her thoughts that she shared. "David was a fast learner and quickly adapted to the furniture culture. His great spirit and dedication to his customers shines through on every call. This style will fair well in his new role working with the medical market for Medical Arts Press."

P.S. I'm sure David didn't expect me to share this with everyone but I'm so proud that I just had to share it with everyone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm on Vacation - whoo hoo!

After a very long week at work, I'm finally on vacation and am in desperate need of some R&R. It's taken me a few days to go from "work mode" into "I'm not even going to think about work mode" and now I'm ready to enjoy my week. We are going to Freeport on Wednesday and Thursday for Thanksgiving at my MIL's house and then back to Wauconda to host Thanksgiving for my family on Saturday. This means I have lots to accomplish before we head back home. Look out Martha, Melissa is on vacation and ready to cook and bake!

What better way to start a week away from work than by heading to the mall? I am going with 2 co-workers tomorrow to the Aurora Premium Outlet Mall and I can't wait to do some shopping for all those good bargains. I love shopping for deals and pride myself on my many finds that cost only a few bucks.

Then Tuesday it's back to reality and I have LOTS of cleaning and prep work to do for the big feast on Saturday. Luckily I did all of my shopping tonight so I have everything I need to make dinner on Saturday. I decided to avoid the crowds at the grocery store so I went at 9:00 pm on Sunday and it was a shoppers dream since I hate crowds at the grocery store. I think I may make this my regular shopping time because you don't have to worry about people banging into your cart, you have plenty of time to ponder the best deals, and no one gets upset when you hand over 50 coupons - yes I'm a cheap shopper remember but then again why was my grocery bill so high - gosh this economy is hitting my pocket hard. Or it could be that I haven't been to the grocery store in months and we were out of everything it seems.

I have a huge list of things that I need to do this week but one of the things is order pictures off of Shutterfly since I have 150 free prints that expire at the end of the month but I can't seem to find the pictures on our new computer. I've checked everywhere since Dave moved them onto the laptop today but I can't seem to find it. You would think that it would be easy right?...well it isn't anywhere that I can find and it's not in the "picture" folder..that would be too easy right?

Dave isn't feeling the greatest today and I think when he moved the files over that he must have done something wrong. His friend Aaron was here this weekend and let's just say - Dave doesn't bounce back after a night out like he used to. At least we had lots of fun and I got to hear my favorite cover band, Hi-Infidelity, which was lots of fun.

Well I should probably get off the computer and get to bed so that I'm not exhausted tomorrow for our shopping trip. Wish me luck shopping for bargains!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Online Again - Finally!

I'm finally online once again and I sure have lots to catch up on. I have so many blogs and websites that I check daily and I've been lost over the last week. We rely upon computers so much that I just didn't know what to do. Our computer has been on the fritz and last week it decided to die on us so we had to quickly back up all of our files while panicking that I couldn't lose all of my pictures. I have been saying for years that we needed an external hard drive to back up all of our pictures but unfortunately it didn't make it to the top of my to do list. Well last Thursday the fire alarm went off and David had to quickly get a drive and back up the 19,000 pictures that we had! Yes we had 25,000 files which even surprised me but it got done. Lesson learned - don't procrastinate when it comes to your pictures - you'd think that as an avid scrapbooker that I would know better. I should sometimes practice what I preach!

While this is terrible timing to need a new computer, we really didn't have a choice since we do everything online. I don't even know how to pay my bills if it isn't over the internet so David was in heaven shopping for computers. He was also very excited that I gave him free reign and let him make this decision on his own. When it comes to electronics he gets to make the decisions because I'm pretty clueless and he is the tech-savvy one in the family. The best thing of all is that we got a laptop so now I can blog from anywhere in the house including in front of the tv. Honestly what did we do before laptops, remote controls, cell phones, and i-pod's...?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Giving Thanks

Now that all of the Halloween decorations have been taken down, it's time to decorate for Thanksgiving which I am hosting for my family this year. The first place I started was with removing the Halloween picture I had in the frame and replace it with something for Thanksgiving and I got my inspiration for this from a Stampin Up magazine. All you need is some cardstock, leaf die-cuts, twine, and some stickers and you have some instant art for Thanksgiving. I think I am going to carry this theme through in my napkin holders, placecards, etc for our dinner. I still have 3 weeks to figure it all out especially since I have that week off from work. More importantly, I love what this holiday stands for and I hope that everyone takes a step back after stuffing their face with turkey and really be grateful for all of the wonders of life. Happy November!

Friday, November 7, 2008

FAMILY Album for Amanda

Lacey, Amanda, and Andrew at Christmas 2006

Thom and Amanda in Colorado

Thom, Steve, Wilma, and David after Winnie's funeral

Amanda, Julie, Wilma, Melissa, and Lacey at Christmas 2007
#1 Lacey, Amanda, Andrew
#2 David and I
#3 The entire Anderson Family after Winnie's Funeral
#4 Amanda and her cousin Tanner
This summer Amanda came and stayed with us for a few days before she moved to Vermont with her Dad. Amanda is full of energy and I was told just keep her busy the whole time and she'll be happy. That couldn't be too hard, right?!?! Well she is a tween/teen and it's been a while since I was that age so I thought I would ask her what she would like to do. Of course I got the typical response of "um, I don't know," so I knew I needed to probe a little bit more. After a bit of prodding and a few ideas she said "well what about scrapbooking?" She obviously knows how much her Auntie loves scrapbooking so this idea was a match made in heaven. We headed off to the Archiver's store and decided on a this mini "FAMILY" album because for a first time scrapbooker, you want to start off easy but it definately had to be a work of art. Each page has a different letter that we covered with patterned paper and when the letters are all together it spells Family. Little did I know how much cutting this was going to take but in the end, I think you'll agree that it's a beautifully crafted album for Amanda to remember how much her family loves her, even though we are miles apart.