Monday, November 14, 2011

Checking In...

So when you fall through the ice in a Minnesota winter, your body tries to survive by shutting down function to the extremities in order to keep the core going. Bodies are smart that way.

That's pretty much my new mom strategy too. Apologies to "extremities" that have been put on ice for a while - i.e. cleaning, socializing, brushing my hair...

I've also taking a bit of a sabbatical from blogging I guess, it wasn't intentional but it's working out just fine. I just had a few too many balls in the air, and it's amazing how much easier juggling is when you kick a few of those balls under the couch and forget about them.)

So, YES, I am alive!

Yes, I will blog again - eventually! I even have a few projects I really should put up before I forget them.

And if you are visiting from [MN]Love's newsletter, welcome, thank you, and you'll find my "Marriage is..." pic and post here.

And this is The Cupcake at 10 months + change, using her FOUR new teeth to test out a pickle:

Ta ta for now...

Monday, September 05, 2011

In the Closet

I haven't been able to do much on my bucket list since I checked off "#2: Have a child," but I am working on one item little by little. It's number 156: Love all the clothes in my closet. And it's a pretty big deal. I mentioned before that I've drastically changed sizes over the past year and a half, and I'm currently finding myself down to a size 10 for the first time in more than a decade, and while I've never been too focused on my weight, wow is this making shopping a LOT more fun! Now, if only I had some MONEY to shop with :)

But as much as buying new clothes is important, the other and perhaps larger task in this project is getting RID of things. My closet is more or less full, I own clothing...I just don't love it. I don't even like it all. And I don't want to be bogged down by it anymore.

I'm sick of throwing on clothes in a rush, and then being uncomfortable the rest of the day as they don't fit or flatter. I'm sick of getting all bent out of shape before I go somewhere because I "have nothing to wear." My life is very full. I barely have time for the things and people that I DO love, I'm done wasting it on things I don't. So I have some prioritizing to do.

Here are some of the rules I'm going by:

1. Always try it on. I've never been a catalog or online shopper, and I'm terrible at knowing how something will look on me or feel. So even if The Cupcake is throwing a fit, no buying and returning later - that's just double the work. Try it before you buy it.

2. If I don't immediately love it when I try it on, I don't buy it. Don't even consider it. There are so many beautiful things in the world these days, there is no need to settle or talk myself into something - I don't have $$$ to waste on things I don't love. In the past if something was a really great deal it has sort of elevated my opinion of it - but no more. No instant love = no sale.

3. If it is inconvenient, it goes away. If it needs to be hemmed or taken in or otherwise repaired - even if it's a great deal - no sale. I just don't have time to get to those things right now, and I know it.

4. Consider the ladies. This means if I can't wear a bra, or would have to buy some sort of special bra, or if my straps would hang out and annoy the crap out of me all day, no sale. When I got my mermaid I went out and bought a bunch of backless shirts...but stick on bras suck. I end up cupping myself all day, and that's just not a good look. Perhaps in some really specific situations this might be allowed (formal wear?) but for daily outfits - no go.

5. It all goes in the wash. I hate to iron, and I definitely don't have time in my day for it. I'll never hand wash garments either. And I can't really afford to dry clean. Everything in my life has to tolerate puke, poop, and pureed carrots (which stain like a b!@#$). I don't have time right now for high maintenance clothes.

6. If it's too big, it goes away. I know, I know, this might not be permanent weight loss, and maybe I'll have to buy a whole new wardrobe if I gain it back or keep shrinking - but I don't have room to keep multiple separate wardrobes, and I'm sick of grabbing clothes that seem okay in the morning, and are falling off my hips halfway through the day. If I wear something, and it proves to be annoyingly large - it's going in the GET RID OF bins, the same way I am constantly rotating TC's wardrobe.

(GET RID OF method is yet to be determined. I'd love to have a yard sale, or put everything on ebay, take it to a consignment shop, or otherwise profit from it - but that takes SO MUCH TIME. For now, it's all getting piled in boxes in the attic).

7. The Norm rule. This has been in effect for...oh, 11 years now. Norm is mostly white, and constantly freaked out, which means my house is COVERED in tiny white hairs that stick to everything. Especially black clothes. Or navy. Or anything fleece. I haven't seen hubby in a black t-shirt forever. When I was working full time I occasionally had "work only" black clothes that I rarely wore around the house, but now that I'm home more than away, it really doesn't make sense to invest in things I can almost never wear. Nina Garcia would not survive in my house :)

I'm trying to pay more attention to clothes that can work together, though I've never been able to limit myself in terms of colors. I have an odd attachment to tie dye, I know, but I'm okay with that. I'm trying to ease up on the sparkles - if only because they often complicate rule #5, but also glitter and studs are a baby hazard (gasp!) so I'm toning it down a least until I can wear jewelry again :) (TC has a mean grip and lightning speed, she WILL rip that crap right off of you). While my life is pretty messy right now, I don't need to keep "paint clothes" or things "I might wear in the mud" - keeping clothes BECAUSE they are ruined already is silly, that's what aprons and bleach are for.

I've hauled 3 giant laundry baskets out of my bedroom so far, and since I had TC I believe I've purchased 3 pairs of pants and 12 tops - plus a bunch of jeans from the goodwill. Half of those jeans ended up violating my "rules" above and got the axe - mostly because I found myself hiking them up all day long, I'm just NOT made for low rise jeans, and there are better options for me. Hoping to finish this project by the end of the year, get some photos up of what I'm keeping and ditching, and slowly build my closet back up while keeping to the rules above.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Material Girl

We went to a bridal shower last weekend, which was a perfect excuse to wear a party dress:

I <3 this outfit! And it was SUCH a steal - a few weeks ago I heard a rumor that Ella's organic baby food was on sale half price at Babies R Us, so I ventured in and stumbled on a gigantic clearance sale. All of their clothing on the clearance racks (which were all over the store, there must have been over 20 circular racks) was $5 or less. That meant we got this $29 dress for just $5!!!

She was in a great mood, but had no intentions of posing for me - she's ALWAYS on the move right now!

The leggings she already had, and the hair clip I bought for her newborn photos but never used - I was worried she'd rip it out, but she left it alone all day! (the other baby at the party tried to jack it several times, however).

We even had a matching bib and shrug to accessorize with later on!

Replace the necklace she is holding with a phone (the old corded style), change auntie Laura's lap to some shag carpet or a Lisa Frank comforter, and she's a child of the 80's just like myself:

I decided not to curl her bangs though :)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Fair Time: Round II! DING!

The kid was in great spirits for her second day at the fair (yes, it's so good we go multiple times. Plus it helps to spread out the walking and overeating). The weather was GORGEOUS - cool, with a light breeze - and it was pretty uncrowded for the fair, we could actually get around okay most of the time even with the stroller.

Food the adults ate this time (less Cupcake-friendly fare, I'm afraid):
teriyaki chicken noodles
blackened Caribbean chicken
a couple of beers in the Bazaar, a milk, and a Sun Drop soda
wild rice cheeseburger
corn on the cob
Sweet Martha's cookies
free sample of sparkling cranberry juice

Stuff I bought:
(much more reserved this time!)

I only spent $6 on "stuff" this time, I couldn't resist these two little sea horses. When she's old enough TC has a few matching mermaid dolls from the same vendor. Maybe next year I'll get the octopus and sting ray :)

Stuff the kid did get to try:
strawberry shake
nitro ice cream sample
sweet corn ice cream
and then there was the chocolate cream puff, clearly the highlight of the evening:

I like to think she was in a state of perfect happiness with her first taste of the creamy chocolate filling:

Holy smokes, those eyes!

She liked it right away, and actually got fussy after a few bites when I stopped sharing!

Yes ma'am, more cream puff filling coming your way...and then the silly kicked in...

She was in QUITE a delightful mood!

She had a fit of the giggles!

I totally understand, chocolate cream puffs make ME happy too...

Then she slowly wound down...

And fell asleep soon after. Another fantastic evening at the fair!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The light at the end of the aisle...

How cool is this?

It's The Cupcake's new nightlight! I fell in love the first day we were at the fair and had to scoop it up (new booth in the grandstand this year!) I had gotten this one at IKEA and was really excited, but it actually puts out too much light, and she stays awake trying to do things, but this one was a softer glow and really fits the watery theme of her mermaids & pirates nursery so well. I haven't decided where to hang it for sure yet, but it makes me super happy:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

TC's First Day at the Fair - in Pictures!

I promised more photos, and who knew, I'm actually delivering! I never said the were GOOD photos, but this is not one of those slick mommyblogs where everything is is photoshopped and staged. This is REAL, and in REAL life we have bad hair and a lot of the same photo of a kid in a stroller with spoons in her mouth. So here's a look back at TC's first day at the fair (we went again last night actually). We live walking distance from the fairgrounds. TC probably had no idea this wasn't her usual evening stroll to the zoo...

She was SPELLBOUND watching all the people and activity!

She had her first bite of fair food and first sample of fish - walleye cakes from Giggles Campfire. Her standard reaction to all foods so far is to look horrified, but then beg for more, so we never know what she really thinks of anything :)

Strawberry milkshake, which she seemed to like, but mostly she just wanted to eat the paper cow hat. I never did manage to keep it on her head long enough for a photo. Mom fail.

Then came the ICEE...She had an ICEE once before and LOVED it, so we figured that was a good route to go again. First came awe (you're going to let me touch that?)

She proceeded cautiously (Can I really?)

But quickly decided it was hers (Hey, where did it go?)

If we would have left it within reach, she would have been purple in no time, I think an ICEE would work as well as a cake for a 1st B-day smash party. So we spoon fed instead:

And she was very pleased (GLEE!)

She didn't seem as fond of the lemon Italian ice, but she wasn't going to let it go either (MINE!)

I thought we might be in trouble after all that sugar, but TC was great the whole time - particularly after her final drink: (ZzzZzz)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Welcome to the Flock Bridal Shower - Kiss the Groom Game

As I mentioned yesterday, I put together two games for the "Welcome to the Flock" bridal shower I threw for my sister-in-law-to-be. The first one was called "Kiss the Groom":

A few weeks before the shower I borrowed the disc of engagement photos the happy couple had taken and picked out a nice close up. I uploaded them to's photo site and printed the largest size - 20" x 30" - that they offer - for just $8.99! The game is played like "pin the tail on the donkey", but instead of tails you use kisses - which I got in the form of stickers at Michael's (really cheap too! I think it was $2 for 3 pkgs!).

We hung the poster up on one of the large windows in the party rom and covered the surrounding area with saran wrap to protect the windows in case someone was REALLY off on their sticker placement - I didn't want to spend the afternoon chipping adhesive off the windows. If you want to re-use the poster, I suggest you cover that with wrap as well - the industrial kind will stick to the window on its own, you don't even really need tape.

I used a thin sharpie to write names on each kiss sticker, and guests spun around 3 times and then tried to stick their kiss on the groom's lips. I brought a mask, but it was just easier to have people close their eyes since we had over 30 to get through :) No cheaters as far as I know!

The winner, very pleased with her performance :)

It was really fun to watch everyone play, so it was a fun social game for a shower and the photos give it a very personal touch. I gave prizes both for the closest kiss and booby prizes for the farthest away (cute little travel sized sanitizer gel from Bath & Body Works in all sorts of fun scents). This is a really easy, cost effective, and fitting shower game I'd definitely recommend.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Better Late than Never (especially in this case)

I started the "30 Days of Joy" posts on July 15th, with the intention of changing my life to make sure there was some bit of joy in every day.

That was too hard.

Some days were just devoid of joy and the idea of forcing some in was just an oxy moron, so it didn't happen. Other days I probably did have bright spots, but couldn't remember them long enough to include them on my blog (I'm still basically a drunken amnesiac, remember?) So it took me an extra 10 days to hit the big 30, rounded out by:

#29 Wednesday - payday is ALWAYS a bright spot, and generally calls for a celebratory lunch, for which I chose Chipotle this week. My boss was gone, so I got much accomplished (particularly for non-work-related tasks), and as I've mentioned before, checking things off my to-do list makes me UBER happy. And I may have spent a significant part of the afternoon googling baby Halloween costumes, and falling in love with this strawberry.

#30 Thursday - The State Fair was clearly a joyful time for all of us, it could not have gone better. The evening was cool, the crowds were on the light side (for the fair), and TC was in a wonderful mood. We spent more than we planned, but we always do, and we got some great things we weren't expecting.

So I guess that means at this point 3/4 of my days are at least somewhat joyful, and 1/4 are completely craptacular. If you would have asked me 6 months ago, we would have been at 95% craptacular and 5% what's my name again? and 15% more "OMG HOW AM I GOING TO SURVIVE THIS?" so we're actually moving in the right direction.

Guess my days are like the little girl with the curl from the nursery rhymes - when they are good, they are very, very good (but when they are bad, they are horrid. Or maybe it's awful. They both work).

When The Cupcake is happy, she is COMPLETELY happy. Her whole face scrunches up in a wild smile:

Here's hoping your days are mostly joyful :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Great Minnesota Get Together

The Minnesota State Fair is a BIG deal. Perhaps you gathered that from the State Fair Bridal Shower I helped throw earlier this summer, or maybe you've been there before. If not, you really have to experience it - it is unlike any other fair you've known, it is really like a sub culture of its own. The people watching is amazing. There are 400lb women in tube tops, mullets along side goth kids, hipsters and soccer moms - all floating around sweetly (we are Minnesota Nice, after all), waiting in long lines for overpriced unhealthy food.

Mmmmm, I love it :)

Last year the State Fair had it's ups and downs - literally - as I passed out in the line for sunflower ice cream (and never ended up getting any, boo!). We had just found out that The Cupcake had girl parts at our 20 week ultrasound, and I couldn't really eat much by that point between the nausea and heartburn. I did temporarily forget I wasn't supposed to eat hot dogs and buy a corn dog, and then felt bad when I realized it halfway through (so far, TC shows no ill effects of said corn dog). I wasn't allowed to ride on the sky glider, but I did have a LOT of fun catching up with Ryan. It was at the State Fair that I bought TC the ONE item of clothing I couldn't resist before her birth - seriously, I managed to stay strong in the face of all the beautiful dresses, costumes, and other finery, but I caved when it came to this:

And then guess what?!?!? SHE NEVER WORE IT! I was so crushed! The hoodie said "3-6 months" and silly me, I waited till 3 months to try it on her...and it was WAY too small! New mom fail :(

But that's okay, because I think it might fit an American Girl type doll (oh yes, I am counting on building an American Girl wardrobe and accessory fleet. Might as well mortgage the house now). And guess what? TC got a NEW tie dye garment that DOES fit her, because it is so much easier to size things on outside babies:

TC's first fair - CHECK! More pics to come if I ever have a chance to upload them - and just so I don't forget, here's what we (the whole family) ate (I like to put a list in the scrapbook each year):

Walleye Cakes (TC's first taste of fish, I abstained from these)
Pronto Pup
Free Juice Samples
Caribbean Jerk Chicken
Cinnamon Roasted Almonds
Strawberry Milkshake
BBQ Beef Sandwich
Luigi Fries
Lemon Italian Ice
Big Fat Bacon
A Coke, a Root Beer, and an RC Cola
some kind of beer
Strawberry Smoothie
CinnieSmiths to take home

Stuff I bought:
tie dye dress for TC
AWESOME night light for TC's room
Stamped Metal Ring for myself with TC's name on it

The weather was wonderful, and if I weren't so tired we could have really made a night of it, since SOMEONE was abnormally good:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Welcome to the Flock Bridal Shower - prizes

We played two fun games at the shower, so I needed to have a few prizes on hand. I came across these adorable bags on Etsy and fell in love with the design, but I didn't realize quite how small they were till they arrived. So I took the bags into my local Bath & Body Works and walked around like a lunatic fitting little things into them to see what worked and what didn't, and I ended up going with some items from their aromatherapy line (shower gel, lotion, and a candle) in three different scents. I tied each set of 3 bags together with some bright colored ribbon I had on hand, curled with the scissors, and voila:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Effing Joy

#28 - looking back, yesterday was totally FULL OF WIN!
A: Happy Cupcake while we ran all sorts of errands
B: "Book club" night
C: MOST AWESOME PRESENT EVER from the dear sweet Alison....

I'm sure you heard about this book when it first came out and caused a little media stir, but did you actually read it? I assumed it was just a cutesy idea...but the text is SO WITTY! It's all very profane, and not at all aimed at children, but I laughed at EVERY. SINGLE. PAGE. For example, my two favorite pages:

The eagles who soar through the sky are at rest
And the creatures who crawl, run, and creep.
I know you’re not thirsty. That’s bullshit. Stop lying.
Lie the f!@#down, my darling, and sleep


The cubs and the lions are snoring,
Wrapped in a big snuggly heap.
How is it you can do all this other great s!@#
But you can't like the f!@# down and sleep?

Here's a tip: Don't get it for parents-to-be, they have no idea. They'll chuckle and smile, and throw it in the pile with all the other advice books. Get it for parents of a 2 year old, or a mom whose maternity leave just ended - they, (now we), truly get it.

Thanks Al!

Oh, and btw, TC went to bed 2 hours late and woke up 3X last night.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

#27 again

Yesterday I wore a fabulous new outfit to work (no pics, sorry), where I got to snag free breakfast and lunch due to a conference we were hosting. Definitely brought me joy :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I spoke too soon on day #27, Saturday was devoid of fun. The kid slept none too spiffy the night before, and continued to fight it all day long. I tried to put her down for naps at least half a dozen times, and all told I think she slept less than an hour combined. I slowly got crabbier and crabbier as the day rolled on, and now I'm trying desperately to stay awake until she's definitely under...she has this wicked habit of waking up 100 times in the first hour she goes to sleep, just to mess with me.

Here's hoping tomorrow is more fun...

Babysitters, bookclub, and butts

If I don't write these things down immediately, it's almost impossible to remember what I did from day to day. Maybe I should think of getting a smart phone...but of course, then I'd have to remember to haul it around with me, and somehow not break it...Maybe I should just start hauling around a paper and pen instead...Anyways, we're getting close to the big 3-0 goal here, and not too far behind - here's how this week went after we last left off:

#23 Tuesday - "Book Club!" Always a happy time. This week was dubbed "Cake & Butts" week as there were ubiquitous Nordic vampire @$$ shots, and I brought leftover treats from the bridal shower! Win-Win!

#24 Wednesday - I got a large chunk of a creative project accomplished while TC and the hubs were on a walk, but it's still top secret so no sneak peeks. Move along, nothing to see here...

#25 Thursday - TC and I headed out early to run errands, and I had heard a rumor that Ella's organic babyfood was on sale half price at Toys R Us, so I decided to venture in. It was a bad idea. Or a good idea. All their clearance clothes were $5 or less, so we got some great deals on bright Carter's sets. And I even somehow found restraint and whittled my choices down to four (including a new rock and roll tu-tu dress, originally $29 by itself!) so we made out like bandits.

Also, I got this hilarious email from a fellow book club member:


The article is here, in case you are also a fan.

#26 Friday - Hubby and I took the rare step of hiring a babysitter and going out on a date! We went to see "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and we both mostly liked it. And then, since we're lame (and kinda broke), we came home early and got to play with TC for a while - almost as "joyful" as going to a movie, she was in a GREAT mood and all smiles for the babysitter. Makes it easier to think about going out again in the future.

#27 Saturday - FREEEEEDOM! TC had a terrible night last night (after a week of pretty good ones, kinda depressing), but it's okay because we have no commitments today. Grandpa is coming over to help hubs clean out the gutters (we seriously could sell seedlings, it looks like "life after people" up there). Grandma specifically told us NOT to drop in on her, as she never gets anything accomplished when TC is around to coo over. So instead, we're free spirits today, allowed to wander and set our own schedules. Sure, there are a million things we *should* do, but nothing that we *have* to, and those days are few and far between. We will definitely enjoy this one.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Welcome to the Flock Bridal Shower - Goodie Bags!

I've professed my love for goodie bags before, so you know I had to have them for this shower :) They turned out very pretty!

The glittery baskets were from Target, I found them on clearance and bought every one I could find - well before I had a use for them! But the colors were PERFECT for this event. I filled them with shred from the Dollar Tree, jewel toned eggs I scooped up at Walgreens after Easter and filled with Hershey and Reese's candy. Then the main favor was a birdseed heart from Etsy. The hearts turned out great, but I wasn't super happy with the communication from the seller, so I'm not going to link to the shop here.

The final piece of each goodie was a note of thanks. I made these with my Cricut, the Straight from the Nest cartridge (I think I set it to cut 6 per 12"x12" sheet - still learning how it works), and then used an acrylic stamp I had on hand to add the simple message in a handwriting-esque font.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Welcome to the Flock Bridal Shower - Tablescape

I had so much fun with place settings at this shower! Unfortunately, I didn't get any great shots of the whole tablescape before people came in and started sitting down, so bare with me. There were two long tables for guests to dine at, for a total of about 35 attendees, and of course I was rushing around setting things up until the very last minute!

The beautiful bouquets were from the St. Paul Farmer's Market and arranged in vases I already had. I re-purposed one from Halloween that I got to hold an octopus in the voodoo shop, I wish I had gotten a better photo, but here's sort of the back of it:

I found the green glittery bird picks at Setzer Pharmacy, I wish I had gotten a close up! We did a drawing at the end for the large arrangement, and I sent the two smaller ones home with each of the mothers.

The birdcages were a small craft project - they originally looked like this:

but I de-cluttered them, sprayed them solid gold, and adorned them with a bright pink feather pick.

I ordered bright tablecloths on Ebay. The strips of lame came on on a roll I found in a bargain bin at JoAnn's - I got green, orange and pink, not sure what I would use them for at the time. They were perfect! The pink faded on top of the purple linens, but the green and orange added a great little strip of contrast and shine.

My favorite part were definitely the place settings:

The large bright napkins I happened upon during our impromptu trip to IKEA, and the clear plates are from Costco (I also got clear dessert plates and soup bowls). The silverware (also clear) are rolled in napkins, and I could have sworn that my local party store carried the little sticky strips you use to secure them, but they didn't, so I improvised with a brand new package of colorful children's hair ties from the Dollar Tree. They worked perfectly, came 30/$1, and were quick to loop on. The crowning touch was clearly the little feather bird on each set of silverware :) They also came from The Dollar Tree, and each had a wire sticking out the bottom that I threaded into the silverware pack.

I love having menu cards! Maybe it's just because I'm a picky eater, or maybe it is because the midwest is the hotdish and casserole capital of the world, but knowing the choices before going through the buffet line is a big help to me. And menu cards are adorable :) I used the same design as I had created for the invitations including punching the corners and matting on bright cardstock.

Tablescapes are fun and some of the best places to spend your decorating budget, since people spend most of their time at these events EATING! (or maybe that is just my family?). You just have to remember to get some good photos of your hard work before the party starts - someday I'll have an event where I'm ready in enough time to get all the photos I want!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Joy Update

I'm going to intermingle my "Welcome to the Flock" bridal shower re-cap with some "Brought me Joy!" catch up this week

Day #21: Sunday was a little hectic, but I'm so happy I survived my first big event "Post Cupcake." With my WONDERFUL little sister's help, everything I had hoped to do got done, and from what I hear people had a pretty swell time. I won't lie, I do love hearing people react to the little touches I put into an event, it may be shallow but the praise really makes it all worthwhile :) So thank you everyone who attended, and who fed my ego, I'd say it was a rousing success!

Also, gotta mention here that TC SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT Saturday-Sunday, which brings me LOTS of theory. In practice, I still get freaked out and can't sleep myself. I end up watching - or worse, poking and prodding - her to make sure she is still okay. Someday I'll get over that, right?

Day #22: Monday I was pretty tired from the big weekend, and my back was barking from all the lifting and carrying I did, but it was DEFINITELY fun to have a fridge full of leftovers (power breakfast: cupcake and a coke!), and I got to wear my NEW CLOTHES to work! New clothes make everything better, even work.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Welcome to the Flock" Bridal Shower

My little brother is marrying a delightful young woman (AKA "The Other Heather" or "Brett's Heather")this fall, and months and months ago I volunteered to host the shower. Somehow that time just RACED by, and before I knew it the day was here! I chose a "Welcome to the Flock" theme, both since I love puns and because the guest list was mostly "our" family, the one she was marrying in to, so it seemed very appropriate for the occasion!

Unfortunately, I was so busy I didn't get great photos, and taking pictures of a lot of things all together, but hopefully I can share a few projects. I'll be labeling everything with the "bird theme" label (see bottom of post), so if you want to see all posts on this event, click on that. Now on to the projects, starting with:

Invitations! (click to enlarge)

The bird cage clip art came from a google search, and the font is my current favorite, "Harrington" downloaded from . I laid the card out in Powerpoint, printed in color on white cardstock, and trimmed & punched the corners so that I could mount on this colorful card & envelope set from Target. The bling are self-stick jewels from Michael's, and each one had a slightly different design. I even mixed and matched each of the envelopes so that they were a different color than the invitation. I loved the bright color palate, and it became my inspiration throughout the rest of the shower planning.

I made address labels using Microsoft Word, and another bird image found online, and paired them with some really bright return address labels some charity sent out. I don't get guilted into donating by free address labels, but I feel no need to throw them in a landfill - so I gladly use them up!

I even got really cute stamps to match the mood, if you'll remember this post (guess I didn't get a photo of the final product). Invitations are tricky business, while it is fun to make cards (or was, back when I had time) it often ends up WAY more expensive than buying, and if you need special postage the cost can really escalate quickly. When you start stamping, layering, and otherwise papercrafting, you can burn through materials and time before you know it. For this party I knew I wanted to stick to a budget AND that I wouldn't have a lot of time for crafting. I was able to meet both criteria with a single pane, standard size invite that was modern and bright.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

#20 - More Melons FTW!

Saturday I had a nice sized to-do list that started with a trip to the St. Paul Farmers' Market, then the grocery store, then home to prepare the fruit platter, bake cupcakes, and pack up the car.

I finished everything!

We got some GORGEOUS mixed bouquets at the Farmers' Market to be the centerpieces for the wedding shower (along with some great sparkly bird floral picks I found, and then forgot to take a photo of). Then at the grocery store I loaded up on fruit, and spent the next few hours slicing and dicing melons of all sorts - watermelon, cantelope, honeydew, and also pineapple. I washed grapes (red and green), strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, and then rearranged the fridge a few times until everything fit. It actually made a really pretty rainbow that I almost took a photo of. Then I baked and frosted 4 dozen cupcakes, sliced a few loaves of fancy breads, and got all of the serving equipment, favors, and other items packed up into the car.

I just love checking things off my to-do lists! I was a little nervous about getting everything done for a big party around TC's schedule, but I think I'm starting to learn my new normal :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

19 - Who says you can't buy happiness?

Yeeeeee Hawwww!

I definitely had a fun day today! On Fridays I work just 1/2 day (that's not even the fun part) and TC was at Grammy's house (usually she comes to us, but she had some tasks to accomplish at home), so I got to run a few errands after work on my way to pick her up. Since I had actually FINISHED my to-do list for this weekend's wedding shower (with a day to spare?!?! WOW!)I decided to use that time to go SHOPPING!!! The husband, apparently fed up with my whining about the sad state of my wardrobe*, and possibly in celebration of the end of pumping, had given me a big old giftcard to waste all on myself, and boy did I do a good job! I had 2 $10 off coupons in my purse, and found another in the dressing room - and they let me use all 3! I may be en route to completing bucket list #156, Love all the Clothes in my Closet, so stay tuned!

*I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I actually LOST weight after having TC, and so far it is staying off. I'm not shy about my weight, so here's the story: I'm 5'7", and pre-pregnancy I was a pretty solid size 14, weighing in around 173. I n my first trimester of pregnancy, I lost 11 lbs. I was pretty nauseous, had a hard time keeping food down, and at the same time switched my eating habits pretty significantly, including giving up caffeine and moving from soda to milk. In the second trimester I started having ridiculous heartburn, so my normal diet of pizza and frozen pasta meals was fact, by the end of 3rd trimester the heartburn was so extreme that I was pretty much living on oatmeal, toast, and a half gallon of milk a day. On the week that The Cupcake was born I weighed in at 189.

And then I never had time to eat again.

Okay, that's not completely true, but I definitely had a drastic increase in activity, not to mention the extra calories I was using pumping breastmilk, and my caloric intake was limited to whatever I could grab off the counter with one hand while holding TC with the other. Despite that all too often being Girl Scout cookies, I actually lost weight pretty quickly, and have been hovering around 150lbs now for around 6 months. I'm a size 12 or occasionally a 10 now, which means all my clothes look a little dumpy and ill fitting. I also wore a lot of them while I was pregnant, so I feel like everything I own looks like maternity, even if it wasn't. SO - this is why I've been complaining, and now am finally taking some action on my closet!

Thanks hubs :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day #18: Melons

Tonight was beautiful once again, and it was also pay day, which is generally take-out night (celebration!), so we ate Chinese on the patio. The Cupcake didn't get to partake, but she chomped on a frozen teething ring and was riveted the entire time by the neighbor's barking dog (as nutty as Norm is, he actually doesn't bark much, and he's almost completely deaf right now, so the kid hasn't heard much noise out of him). I've never been one to appreciate the great outdoors, but we ate and talked and enjoyed the evening so much we ran out of time for hubby to take TC on her nightly walk. She got her dinner late which somehow revved her all up, so she's in the Jumperoo bouncing and watching the Twins game (kid loves baseball, sports shows, and semi-naughty cartoons like South Park and Family Guy. I blame the bright colors. And find the cartoons to be the least objectionable of the set), and hopefully she's tiring herself out.

So let's recap briefly - good weather, payday, happy baby, good food, relaxing evening...but none of that is what really made me the happiest today. Doesn't even come close. Because today, after 9 months of pregnancy, 6 months (and one week) of pumping, and three weeks of weaning...


Yeah, I said it. And I meant it.

And it is GLORIOUS.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

#17 - progress!

I won't claim that I enjoy cleaning, but I have to say that the end result of just an hour or so organizing like mad up in my craft room did bring me joy. It had gotten almost un-navigable, since nothing had been put back in its proper place since Christmas or possibly Halloween...well I now have a path! And after I had just about given up hope, I found the box of placecard holders I had gone up there to look for in the first place...several weeks ago...

I didn't get it cleaned up by any means, it's still pretty embarassing and not very functional, but I did make enough headway in the small amount of time I had to devote to the task to feel like there may be hope for the future!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Weekend Catch Up

I'm Baaaaack! My sense of time is so confused right now, I actually had to sit down for about 20 minutes to remember what we did this weekend, I knew we had a good time, but my short term memory has yet to right itself. In fact, TC was up about a million and a half times last night, so it's a wonder I even remember my name or how to turn on a computer, but somehow I'm up and at work. And after much thought, I've been able to recall some great moments from the weekend, three more days of fun which gets us slightly over halfway to the goal of 30! :)

#14 - GRAMMY IS BACK! Grammycupcakes, AKA my mother/nanny extraordinaire was on a 2 week vacation, but now she's back and we had a DELIGHTFUL reunion on Friday afternoon, with much oohing and aahing over The Cupcake's new tricks (sitting up, rolling over, technicolor vomit...). I never thought I'd say it, but I kinda enjoy the "relaxing" nature of going to my boring job every other day and not having to do anything all that important (like keeping someone from taking a walker down the stairs). Ahh, sweet relief :) Welcome back GC!

#15 - Saturday dinner fun. I have to admit, I love the OCB. I love having a little bite of 100 different foods, I love the bland midwestern cafeteria palate, and I even love the Jerry Springer feel of the place with all the sweatpants and family angst. I absolutely cannot stand screaming kids in restaurants, so I'm a bit of a wimp about taking TC out places (I will not subject others to what I detest so much) but I never really worry about bothering people at OCB. In general, she's been a peach at most restaurants so far, and Saturday night was no exception. She sat in her first restaurant high chair (gross!) and got to try her first mashed potatoes (she warmed up to them eventually), a little more vanilla ice cream (slightly more interested this time around), and a few spoons of cherry ICEE.

The ICEE bowled her over. It was hilarious. She kept demanding more, and I'm pretty sure this created her first sugar high, as she started laughing and smiling at herself like a drunk, got all excited, and had to bounce in her Jumperoo an extra hour past bedtime to "come down" enough to consider sleep. Hmmm. There is probably an important lesson in there somewhere. And a lot of red dye.

#16 - Sunday night malaise + lack of groceries + GORGEOUS night = pizza on the patio! We hauled TC's new high chair outside and she happily sat for almost 3 hours watching the trees and chewing on Sophie's feet as we enjoyed the first non-humid evening in a long time. It was beautiful and relaxing, and a nice way to wind down before jumping back into a big week.

Speaking of big a lot of irons in the fire, including a bridal shower on Sunday! Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Full day = fun day, #13

Though I couldn't for the life of me keep track of which day of the week it was (Grammy Cupcakes is on vacation and this full time stay at home mom thing is completely throwing me off, even beyond the brain mush we discussed yesterday), today was an extremely productive day. I'm still working on the bridal shower for my soon to be sister-in-law, so I can't share what I've been working on, but suffice it to say what brought me joy today (even more than the crafting) was crossing big chunks off my to-do list.

The menu is set and printed, and my order for the caterer is ready to put in once I track down the remaining RSVPs (get them in people!). My shopping list and prep schedule is made. My packing list is detailed, and I've begun gathering my serving pieces, tablecloths, table settings, etc. All of the activities are ready to go, with the exception of the prizes which I'll be getting this week now that their special packaging has arrived (Etsy = Love!). I spent a lot of time working on decor today with my Cricut - I still don't understand it 100%, so I've wasted some time and paper, but once I figure out my settings I can crank out a lot of work in a short amount of time, like the shaped banner (and half of a 2nd one), wall decor, and favor tags I made today.

Most of this was accomplished whilst The Cupcake whirled around the living room in her walker:

She is a maniac in that thing, and it is completely hilarious. Of course, it's also a whole new level of access for her, and a huge learning curve for us as we realize everything she can suddenly get into. She already tried to take it down the stairs (luckily we had a babygate up just to keep Normy upstairs, which served to keep her from a very bumpy ride), and has no trouble maneuvering it through doorways and down the halls. My attempts at crafting are a constant game of moving piles higher and higher, and she is OBSESSED with paper. And I may have given in and just let her chew on some, but I'm reasonable sure I got most of it back. Also, at one point today I turned around and she had rolled up to the chair Norm was sleeping on and was attempting to put his foot in her mouth. Ahhh, babies - now who is acting like a drunken amnesiac?