Thursday, December 31, 2009

What Makes Me Happy

I'm playing along with Mama Bear from 4 the Love of Family and thinking back over the past 364 days. Before jumping into our 2010 new year resolutions, shouldn't we focus on what we are grateful for and not necessarily what we need to work on? It puts a new spin to ending one year and starting another.

10 things that made me happy in the past year....

1) My husband David's sense of humor
2) Constant love and affection from my pup Tanner
3) Our home which gives me a warm place to lay my head down everynight
4) The newest addition to our family, my precious niece Aubrey
5) Blue water, sand in my toes, and warm sun keeping me warm in Cozumel
6) My job - I really do LOVE it even when the stakes are high
7) Time to enjoy scrapbooking and stamping with my friends at Archiver's
8) Learning to shoot my digital SLR camera manually
9) While the passing of my grandmother was very sad, I am grateful for the time I spent with her and that I was able to be by her side during her passing.  She was very comfortable and that made me happy. I really miss her!
10) Last but not least - warm pj's and my snuggie!!!

What makes you happy? Do share.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Birthday Celebration

It’s true – I’m another year older and hopefully not showing my age quite yet wiser. I’m starting to see those little lines showing up on my face and I’ve decided that I’m going to fight that kicking and screaming all of the way to the spa. I started my day at the dentist to get those pearly whites white again thanks to my 6 month cleaning. It was quick and painless and then I headed to the spa for my facial. I had some time to kill so I used my Banana Republic gift card from Tanner to purchase a new sweater – can you tell I love sweaters with big collars on them? I think Tanner loves mama’s new warm sweater too. 

Anyways – sorry I regressed a bit but after a little shopping I received an hour of absolute pampering. My esthetician said my skin was a bit dry and she felt my ‘acne’ was due to stress – does that mean I get to do this more often? She also commented about my little lines and I didn’t like that too much. Did she have to point that out?!?! I guess I should have tipped her at the beginning so all she said was wonderful things to me. The facial was wonderful – can you see my skin glowing below?33rd bday 003 I then went to my neighbor Jen’s house to hang out while her kids napped and we drank a bottle of wine. It was oh so good and so was her wonderful company!

The hubby finally got home from work and he just couldn’t wait to give me my birthday gift. David is so good to me and bought me a new camera bag. Thanks Honey! 33rd bday 013 I guess Tanner helped pick it out too so I had to pose with my best bud. Isn’t he the cutest?33rd bday 011 It’s finally dinner time! While I really wanted to have Joe’s Stone Crab (not to be mistaken for Joe’s Crab Shack) but it was too far to drive so we went to Bob Chinn’s Crab House.33rd bday 015 David swiftly told our waitress it was my birthday (thanks hon) and she was very quick to bring me my first mai tai. Did you know they have the best mai tai’s anywhere? 33rd bday 024 I was planning on getting King Crab Legs but then David pointed out the stone crab – I ended up ordering them hoping they were as good as Joe’s but was disappointed. (Sorry Bob but you could learn a thing or two from Joe…..)33rd bday 026 David on the other hand got the King Crab Legs and they were delicious and I was jealous but luckily he was kind enough to share. Luckily the mai tai’s and the birthday cake they brought me made up for it. 33rd bday 027 Last but not least I had to pose with the Tiki man in the parking lot – yes I’m a dork but it was a photo moment I couldn’t pass up.

33rd bday 033

I also wanted to thank everyone for all the birthday wishes, cards, and gifts I received. It meant so much to me especially since it’s at such a busy time of year. I can’t only hope that the next year is as full of blessings as this year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich

I was the lucky gift recipient of "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" book by Ree Drummond for Christmas (thanks mom and dad) and I'm in love with this new cookbook already. Not only is Pioneer Woman a blogger extraordinaire but a phenomenal photographer, cook, and rancher's wife. Her cookbook is very easy to follow and has pictures to help you along the way that are beautiful to look at. We decided to try one of the recipes tonight and my hubby thinks I am the best cook thanks to this meaty, artery clogging, butter filled sandwiches. I normally hate cube steak but add a stick of butter (gulp) and a few other ingredients and you have the best darn sandwich ever - really. If you love meat, make this sandwich, you won't regret it - well you might because it's not so nice on the waistline. Don't have the cookbook? Don't worry, click here for the recipe from her blog.


Grillin up some onions.

Cute up and season the cube steak.

Brown the butter.

Grill up that cube steak

Add back the onions, some tobasco and worchestire sauce.

Grill up those buns hon!

and you end up with this to die for sandwich.
Honestly meat lovin folks will go crazy over this. I can't wait for my parents to visit again, my dad will go head over heels over this sandwich.

A New Year – A New Blogger

laptop 2This past year, I have worked really hard to try and learn Photoshop, take better pictures, and write content for my readers that will have them begging for more. I read so many brilliant blogs and I strive to be just like them but I’ve slowly figured out that it simply isn’t possible. Many of them are SAHM’s and blogging is their full time jobs outside of raising children. My life is very different and the reason I blog is very different so of course I should have realized a long time ago to just lighten up and remember why I blog.

Here’s my new blogging philosophy:

  • Have fun – it shouldn’t be chore. If I don’t have anything to blog about, don’t stress, and don’t make something up.
  • Keep taking those pictures. Practice makes perfect but unfortunately I only get take pictures during the evening and only on the weekends during the day and we all know that natural light rules. I just need to get over it.
  • Throw Photoshop out the window and embrace an easier way to edit my photos. A big thanks to Centsational Girl who finally made me realize that you can still edit pictures without using Photoshop. Thanks to her, I am loving Picasa!!! (Did you see the blog banner I created in less than 1 hour?)
  • Hug Windows Live Writer and thank Microsoft for making my blogging life easier. Do you hate how you have to upload photos in Blogger? If so you have to try this, it’s a 1000x easier.
  • Continue to learn new things. In the last week I have learned how to use Windows Live Writer, Picasa, and make my own banner thanks to the help of the wonderful bloggers out there. Keep sharing and spread the joy of blogging to others. Have you thought about starting a blog? Stop thinking and just do – I promise you will love it.

Thanks for listening to my new blogging philosophy, I feel like I have lifted 20 lbs off of my shoulders.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

2 Days + 5 Christmas' = 1 Blessed Holiday

We managed to celebrate 5 Christmas' over 2 days and traveled many miles before having our last Christmas at home. The weather was very wet but some snow started appearing on the 25th but that was only the beginning of what was to be on the 26th - a TON of snow! We hope everyone enjoyed the holidays as much as we did.

David will never be lost again thanks to his new GPS.

Tanner gave me a nice gift certificate to Banana Republic. What can I say - he likes a stylish mama!

A Willow Tree figurine from the hubby (thanks Kelly!)

Hanging out at the family's house after a delicious meal.
Can you tell I'm in a sugar induced coma thanks to Nancy's Neiman Marcus cake?!

Steve & Andrew

Just Us.

My favorite 2 boys

Amanda, Lacey, Andrew & Wilma

Can you tell I got a new lens for Christmas?
I love it!!! Thanks mom & dad!



My brother - oh so happy to go shopping at Cabela's.




Mom - check out her new jewelry around her neck - sweet!

These were the presents only from 1 of the 5 Christmases!
What can we say, we love our little nieces!!!

It was a magical 2 days and Santa sure treated us well.
We hope that all of our loved one's were able to enjoy a few magical days with family as well.
Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 Holiday Cards

Going on vacation in December put me a bit behind in making and sending off our 2009 Holiday cards. After spending 13 hours working on the cards this weekend, I am happy to say they all went into the mail on Monday morning. I had to give myself a deadline to ensure they were received by our friends and family prior to Christmas. My procrastination created a great deal of stress, not to mention my right arm is so sore that I can hardly lift it above my shoulder. I decided that repetitive, physical work is not for me but the outcome was well worth the hardwork.

Monday morning all were sent off in the mail. Oh wait, this was only the first batch that went in the mail Sunday night. I ended up working until 1:30 am on the rest of them.

Where the creativity happened.

Here's a peek!

Another angle to show the embossing on the white cardstock. Yes, I didn't buy the paper that way, I ran it through my Big Shot.

Another view.

Supplies Used:
  • Paper: old olive, whisper white, bermuda bay, rich razzleberry
  • Ink: bermuda bay, rich razzleberry, old olive
  • Stamps: Delightful Decorations
  • Accessories:silver elastic cord, rich razzleberry polka dot ribbon, clear silver brads
  • Other: silver gel pen, ornament punch, scallop trim border punch (available in Jan 2010), poinsetta big shot die
Note: all products used are Stampin Up

I hope you enjoy our 2009 holiday cards because we sure have enjoyed receiving all of yours. While I would have loved to send them to everyone who has touched our lives, it simply wasn't feasible for us to do that.

Happy Holidays to everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Crafty Gift Card Package

I love shopping for Christmas presents for my family but as much as I try to fight it, sometimes I have to purchase gift cards because that is what they really want - especially those teenage nieces/nephew. I was trying to find a fun way to package those gift cards that just aren't the same when you give them in an envelope. Below is what I came up with - a stocking that holds those gift cards and it doubles as an ornament for the tree too.

The top of the stocking flips up to conceal the gift card inside.
(I love Target's gift cards with the cute puppy)

Supplies Used:
  • Paper: real red cardstock, old olive cardstock, whisper white cardstock, Heidi Grace Designs Jolly & Bright patterned paper 
  • Punches: eyelet border, scallop oval, large oval
  • Accessories: white gel pen, bazzill red/white ribbon, silver elastic cord
Note: all products are Stampin Up unless otherwise notes

Monday, December 21, 2009

South Beach, Florida

The following pictures I took while staying in South Beach prior to our vacation and also some pictures of us leaving the pier. I took these with my new point and shoot camera that I absolutely love. While the majority of my pictures are taken with an SLR, it's nice to be able to keep a camera with you at all times and a small point and shoot is what you need for that.

Pictures taken from my hotel room - Beautiful

Here's the house that hubby wants to buy for me. Isn't he awesome?

South Beach

Here we are leaving the pier.

Our friends Kris and Susan who went cruising with us.

Last but not least - a picture from my trip to Joe's Stone Crab in Miami.
No I didn't eat all of that crab but I would have if my tablemates allowed me too.
It's only about $200 worth of crab but well worth it.

P.S. Honey if you are reading this, you could take me to Joe's next week for my birthday!!!!