One Little Word-January

As January wraps up tomorrow I wanted to reflect on my word, choose, and how I lived with it this month.

IMG_0813

First, I have to say that my word has been a great guide already. I notice it popping into my head often. Awesome.

As I mentioned in this post, my first goal was to put down my phone. I’m still working on it. It’s a very hard habit to break, and embarrassing to admit, but that’s what this is all about. It’s about being real and honest with yourself. And if I’m going to be real, I’m still catching myself grabbing my phone all too often. I have been more aware of my tendency to reach for it, so I’ve had opportunities to choose to put it down and focus on more important things. I just need to keep choosing until not reaching for my phone becomes the norm.

This month I also chose to become more active by running on a regular basis. I chose to get back into the habit and it’s feeling really amazing! I’ve been on the treadmill at least four times a week and I’m starting to feel the habit forming. I don’t always love putting on my running clothes and making the (very) short trek downstairs (pathetic I know), but I absolutely love the way I feel when I complete my run. I’ve discovered this time around that I’m more of a tv watching runner, meaning that I run better when I’m watching Netflix on my phone. I always thought I was a music runner. But I’ve been watching old Walking Dead episodes and I don’t know if it’s how strong all the characters are or what, but it’s working for me. It takes my mind off what I’m doing, but it also pumps me up when I need it and I’ve been breezing through my runs thus far. I’m using the 10k training app that I mentioned here and I’m on week 4. I chose to run a few of the days twice when I didn’t feel ready to advance. I’m choosing to listen to my body and not my mind that’s always screaming push harder even if I’m not ready.

January was good. Really good. My word is really shining so far. I’m very satisfied with my progress and I’m really excited about what the rest of 2014 has in store for me.

Advertisements

DIY Quote Print

As I’ve mentioned before, we created a gallery wall around our tv and entertainment center. I’ve already added some photographs of our family, but I also want to incorporate some prints as well. We have a bit of a black and white theme going on in our living room with some pops of color, so I wanted to add a black and white quote print to the gallery.

I went to my quote board on Pinterest and picked one that I liked and made my own print. I love this quote. It’s exactly how I feel about both my house and my family.

DSC_0421

 

I’m really happy with how it turned out. I wanted something really simple. I used the Bebas font and black ink on white cardstock. That’s it! I actually see prints for sale like this all the time. This one was free! High five. Or not cause that’s dorky. Fist bump?

DSC_0423

It’s hanging in the bottom left corner of the gallery. Directly above it is a photo I took when my husband and I was first dating. We were camping and sitting around the fire bored, so I started making our initials out of pebbles in the dirt. I thought it was cute, so I took a photo. It’s been framed and hung on the wall since we moved in together.

DSC_0427 DSC_0419

 

I think I’ll add some of the kids paintings in a couple of the frames or maybe even some of my own paintings from high school. Anyway, I still have a way to go before all the frames are filled, but when it’s complete, I’ll be sure to post about it.

I hope you’re having a great week!

Monthly Portraits-January

Here are the portraits of the kids for January. I didn’t take any of Jeremy or I, but the month isn’t over yet, so it may still happen.

I love this one of Harper. She was playing by the backdoor and the light was really pretty. My favorite part is her hair. She’s always walking around with crazy, messy hair. I actually got a few really good ones of her and had a hard time deciding which one to choose.

CSC_0403

 

And this one of Hudson totally depicts his age right now. He’s growing out of the toddler stage and into the bigger kid stage. He’s gotten more into playing learning games on our phones and asks to play a lot more lately. At least they’re learning games…I guess.

CSC_0377

 

I decided on black and white because I don’t do a lot of black and white. I used to all the time and I’m not sure why I veered away from it.

Oh, and I didn’t edit these. They’re right out of the camera.

Happening Now

Waiting for Jeremy to get home so we can take the kids on an adventure.

Searching for a console table on Craigslist.

Finishing up lots of projects and loving the outcomes.

Loving this short film by Dove about young girls and body image.

Playing with the kids. I’m so glad I put down my phone and started focusing on being in the moment.

Wanting to go thrifting this weekend for some vintage coffee mugs.

Planning little Valentine activities and surprises for the kids. They make all the holidays so much more fun!

Getting super excited about seeing Justin Timberlake in two weeks!! Ahhhhhh!

Thinking about building some shelves like this in a small corner of our living room. We are severely lacking in shelving around here.

Focusing on my photography business more and more. This is the year.

Drinking more coffee than usual just to stay warm. This whole polar vortex deal is a real downer.

Loving a new coffee shop in town (Stories) after trying it on Tuesday. If I were young and single, it would be my Central Perk!

Taking Hudson on a mommy/son date this weekend.

Getting a lot done after being sick all last week.

Celebrating that it’s Friday!!!

IMG_1112

 

 

 

All About Them: Washi Tape Binoculars

binoculars1

I wanted to share this kids craft that I posted about on my old blog a while back It was a big hit with my kiddos. It’s a great craft for kids to do themselves or you can make it for them. Either way, they will love them, especially with Spring just around the corner when they’ll be spending more time outdoors again.

Washi Tape Binoculars

Supplies:

2 cardboard tubes-I used toilet paper rolls, but you could also cut a paper towel roll in half

washi tape-I used 4 different patterns

stapler or hot glue gun

hole punch or scissors

ribbon, string, baker’s twine, etc. for the strap

Instructions:

The first step is to decorate your rolls with washi tape. This is the fun part! You can make them look however you want! I used scissors to cut the tape so that my lines would be straight, but you can definitely just tear it.

Step two is attaching the two rolls together. I used a stapler and attached them together where the washi tape seams came together. I didn’t really want to get out my glue gun, so I convinced myself that the staples would hold better anyway, and it actually worked out great! *note* If you’re worried about the staples not being safe for your kiddos, then you can attach them together with glue or even tape. This was not an issue with Hudson’s binoculars, but I made some for Harper too (so that she wouldn’t constantly be trying to steal Hudson’s) and I made sure to press the sharp ends tight to the cardboard and then covered them with pieces of washi tape.
Once the rolls are attached, the final step is  to make a hole on each side of the binoculars (either with a hole punch or scissors) where you want the string for the strap to be.Then chose a ribbon or string, whatever you have lying around, string the ends through the holes and double knot.
You now have an awesome pair of washi tape binoculars!!
binoculars2
binoculars3
binoculars4
binoculars1
Okay, now go make your kids, or yourself some cute binoculars!

Valentine Garland

photo (7)

(Sorry about the dark photos. The weather was pretty dark and cloudy yesterday.)

Yesterday I made a super simple Valentine garland out of glittery foam hearts that I bought at the Dollar Tree.

All I did was sew the hearts together with white thread and hung it up! So easy! And it only cost $1. How is that for thrifty?!

IMG_1184 IMG_1191 IMG_1192 IMG_1197 IMG_1198

I had one small heart leftover, so I put it in a frame with some silver chipboard letters from Target.

IMG_1199

The package of hearts also came with 30 pink ones, but I’m not sure if I’ll use them or not yet. They might be a little too pink for my taste.

I hung it up on our gallery wall, which I’m planning to post about next week sometime. I have to order some photos for the frames, so I’ll wait to post about it until it’s all finished.

But for now I’m happy to have some simple Valentine decorations made and displayed for the holiday.

Do you decorate for Valentine’s day? I don’t think I would, but the kids love it, so it’s all for them!

Linking up here:

http://whipperberry.com

http://www.theidearoom.net

http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com

A Portrait A Month

I hate to admit it, but I haven’t used my Nikon since Christmas. I haven’t even taken it out of my camera bag. That’s very unlike me. I usually have it sitting out where I can grab it at a moments notice.

I think part of the problem is that I’m not feeling very inspired lately. It’s the dead of winter here. It’s cold, brown and altogether gloomy outside for the most part. I am definitely the type of person who is greatly inspired by my surroundings. I love color and light, but there isn’t much of either during the winter months. Total bummer.

Well, I’ve decided that a great way to get me shooting again is to focus on my biggest inspiration; my kiddos.

My plan is to take a portrait of each of them every month, so in the end I’ll have 24 portraits. I plan to capture both posed and natural portraits. I think it will be a great way to capture the kids as they change over the year.

I’ll be posting my photos here monthly starting this month, so be on the lookout for that post coming soon. I’m actually feeling excited to finally get my camera out!

In fact, I’m feeling so motivated that I may even take portraits of my husband and maybe even some self portraits!

DSC_0251-1

Happy Monday!

Ten Projects-Project #10

Wow, am I glad it’s Friday?! It’s been a very long week around here. I was sick pretty much all week. Blah.

I didn’t cook a single meal.

I didn’t work on a single project.

I didn’t clean the house.

I didn’t run.

I hardly blogged.

I only got dressed to take Hudson to school.

I’m so happy to be feeling better today and thought I would finally share with you my tenth project from the 10 Projects before Christmas challenge.This post is long overdue. I actually did finished this before Christmas as it was a gift to my sister, but I completely forgot to take photos of them, so I had to have her send me some earlier this week.

Project #10

photo (5) photo (6)

 

I found a few different tutorials for these tile coasters on Pinterest (just search “tile coasters”) and thought they were really cute. I used some of her Instagram photos and just followed the tutorials using Mod Podge and Dimensional Magic. They turned out pretty cute. I think I’ll probably end up making some for myself too.

Overall Thoughts on 10 Projects

* It was a fun challenge.

* It was the prefect amount of projects in the amount of time.

* It pushed me to finish projects that were taking way to long.

* It allowed me to use some products I’ve never used before.

* I loved that I did it right before Christmas so that I ended up making some handmade gifts (something I always say I want to do, but never get around to actually doing).

* Some of the projects took longer than projected, so I ended up making some quicker projects in the end just to meet my goal. That’s not really a bad thing, but I had some other projects that I didn’t get to because I knew I didn’t have the time.

Conclusion: Challenges are a great way to motivate myself. I definitely plan to do the same thing at least one time this year.

Have a great weekend!

 

December Daily~Days 9-26

Today I’m wrapping up my December Daily posts. I had to finish one of my pages over the weekend and now the album is complete. Glad to be done and oh so very happy about how this album turned out! My favorite so far!

Warning: This is a very long post with lots of photos of album spreads, so if you’re not into that, feel free to skip it.

Day 9

Today I kept it simple and added our holiday card. I add our card every year, so I knew this would be one of my pages at some point.

IMG_1029

Day 10

Today I was inspired by Ali Edwards. I didn’t have a story today, so I followed her lead and took a photo of our tree during the day. I’ve actually never done this before, so I was happy to include it in the album. I love the tree at night, but I was really loving it during the day this year too with the curtains hung behind it. I also loved how Ali added sequins to her page. I was already using sequins throughout my album and planned to do a full-page with some and I thought it would work great over the tree shot. Then I sewed the top closed.

IMG_1032

Day 11

Today I met up with a friend for coffee at Starbucks and couldn’t resist taking photos of the sentiment on the door that I’m loving so much this year. I didn’t get a photo of us, but I did get one of our treats, so I added that.

IMG_1035

Day 12

Ali shared a prompt that she used for today; 12 blessings on December 12th, and I thought it was such a good idea. I added my 12 blessings of the season, some of my Christmas wrapping paper ( deer paper from Target and the coolest wrapping paper I’ve ever bought!) and decided it would look cute to stitch around each one. Love it! Once again, simple, but awesome!

IMG_1038

Day 13

We had our picnic by the Christmas tree today. It’s one of the activities from our Advent calendar and the kids just love it. I took a bunch of photos that I wanted to include, so I decided to create a collage in order to fit them all in.

IMG_1040

Day 14

Today I added letters to the kids. I’ve done this every year and really like being able to go back and read them. It feels a little silly writing them, but I think it’s a great way to tell the kids a little bit about themselves at the time. I hope they like reading the when they get older as much as I do. I’m pretty sure I’ll continue to write these for every album. And on the right side of the spread I added different patterned paper to each pocket, as well as the date and some embellishments.

IMG_1041 IMG_1043 IMG_1044

Day 15

This was the day we decorated our graham cracker houses. This is a favorite activity for the kids and me and my husband. It’s so much fun and really simple to set up. This is our third year making them and it’s fun to look back at old albums to see how different they are each year. I took a photo of each person’s house for the left side and then added an enlarged photo of the candy tray, which I lightened the opacity of and added journaling on top.

IMG_1047 IMG_1049 IMG_1051

Day 16

I was a little behind on my pages, so I added this journaling page today using the prompt loving, and then added a list of all the things I’ve been loving throughout the season. An easy way to catch up or a simple story to tell if there wasn’t much happening that day. I love the green patterned paper!

IMG_1053

Day 17

Today was a very quiet day around our house. Both kiddos were under the weather with colds and I was really tired from being up most of the night with Harper. I ended up simply taking a photo of my morning view and adding a bit of journaling about our day. It turned out to be one of my favorite pages.

IMG_1055

Day 18

Today the kids got emails from Santa with personalized videos. We do this with them every year and they love it. I don’t think I added it to my album last year, but wanted to this year because Harper was able to understand it so much more and actually got excited about seeing Santa and her pictures in the video.

One the left side, I included the emails and a little journaling. On the right side, I included photos of the kids watching their videos. I took the photos with my iPhone after it was dark out and the quality wasn’t the greatest, so I decided to make them B&W. Not what I planned, but I’m happy with how the spread turned out.

IMG_1057 IMG_1059 IMG_1061

Day 20

Today we had Hudson’s preschool program. I couldn’t wait to watch him and be able to add this to the album. He looked adorable in his wise man costume!

On the left I added a photo of him during the performance and then a 4×6 journal card which I created lines on using gold washi tape. On the right side I added an enlarged photo of Hudson taken after the program. I can’t get over how big his crown was on his head! So adorable!

IMG_1063 IMG_1065

IMG_1067

Day 21

Today we took the kids on a drive to check out all the Christmas lights. They love this as much as we do. It’s always fun. I took a few photos and decided to create another collage to be able to add all of them. Sometimes it’s just too hard to choose just one of two photos.

IMG_1069

Day 22

Today we had Jeremy’s family over to celebrate Christmas with them since we were going out-of-town on Christmas. I loved this photo of Jeremy and Harper and knew I wanted to include it, but I also wanted to include a photo of all the grandkids. In the other pocket I added some paper and journaling.

IMG_1071

Day 23

Today was the day I finally finished and gave the kids their Christmas pillows. Wow, was that an undertaking, but so, so worth it! They love them!

IMG_1074

Day 24

For the day I created a kind of cover page using Studio Calico sequins that I just love and some patterned paper with twenty-four stitched onto it. Love. This is our big day when we have a chili dinner and open all our gifts from family, so I wanted to make this spread special. We also had some extra family members in town, which was even more special.

IMG_1077

I added a photo of our tree with all the presents on the left side. It is almost ridiculous how many gifts there were! Then on the right side I added a photo of my uncle and cousin from Dallas, some journaling and a photo of Hudson and Harper sitting among their giant piles of presents.

IMG_1078 IMG_1081 IMG_1083

This is the back side where I added a few more photos from that night. I just love the photo of Harper and her cousin Emmy playing in Emmy’s new tent! I also wanted to include a photo of Jeremy and I, as well as a photo of the kids with Santa’s cookies.

IMG_1085

Day 25

I didn’t take a ton of photos today. It was mostly about just enjoying time with family. I added a couple of photos of the kids. The one of Hudson just kills me! He had just walked out to see that Santa brought him a balance bike. Priceless. I also love that Santa paper.

IMG_1087

Here is the back side with just includes a photo of movie tickets and then the actually tickets in the other pocket. Jeremy and I sneaked away for an afternoon date to see Catching Fire while the kiddos were napping. We don’t get very many opportunities to go to the movies and my mom insisted, so we took advantage.

IMG_1090

Day 26

Normally I don’t add December 26 to my album, however, we drove back to Omaha on the 26th and the kids got to see what Santa left for them in their stockings, so I wanted to include that too. The weather was also extremely nice for this time of year, so the kids got to get outside and ride their new toys. I had to document them outside playing without coats on December 26th! That never happens!

IMG_1091 IMG_1093 IMG_1094 IMG_1095

So there you have it! My completed December Daily album. I love it so much. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out.

Final Thoughts:

I’m so glad I used a smaller sized album this year. The 6×8 size worked out perfectly for me.

I really like how some pages are extremely simple and others are much more embellished. I think the mix works well.

I like the mix of different pocket pages. It added so much character to the spreads.

I’m glad I chose to add the see-through, sequins pockets. They’re a fun addition.

I think having some days consist of just one page and others filling two or more made it easier to keep up with the documentation. In my previous albums I sometimes had a hard time filling up two full 8 1/2×11 pages and it became a little stressful at times. Some stories simply don’t need two full pages.

These albums are amazing keepsakes. It’s so much fun to look back at previous years and reminisce. I started making these Harper’s first Christmas and plan to continue until I no longer feel that I have stories to tell…although, I highly doubt that will happen while the kids are still living with us. It takes some focus and work to complete these, but it’s so worth the time and effort.

If you have any questions about any of the supplies I used, feel free to leave a comment.