Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wilton giveaway

If you love to bake and decorate then you know Wilton is awesome. Link And if you want to win a whole pile 'o goodies, check out the giveaway on Vanilla Joy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blog Book

I love my blog. I like it better than a journal because typing is faster and easier than writing. Plus you won't have to decipher my handwriting! I also like it better than scrapbooking (which I haven't kept up with at ALL in a year or so). My scrapbook journaling tends to feel very formal and rehearsed, where my blog is very... me.

The problem with a blog, of course, is that it is electronic. With computer errors or (heaven forbid) if blogging technology changes in the future, this e-record of our family could potentially be lost. This is where the blog book comes in.

And hooray for Blurb, my favorite blog-book company. Last year I made my first blog book and it came out wonderfully. This year I have just completed our second book and I'm so excited to get it in the mail in a few weeks! The BookSmart program is easy to use and there are lots of choices available for each page template.

Because I love and treasure our blog books, I try to make a cute cover for our book each year. This is the one I made this year. I might as well admit that I loved the birdies on the benefit book for NieNie so much that I drew a pair for my own book. They are so darling and fit right in with the style of the book and what I wanted the cover to look like. Here is the cover, so you can have a peek at it.

Now, this is an important side-note. Blurb has a program called Blog Slurp that will literally sluuuurrrrp your blog right into a book format. Then you go in and adjust it page-by-page (change templates, move pictures... whatever. But. They are currently experiencing problems with blogs hosted by Blogger. They are hoping to have this fixed soon. Just on a whim, I tried to slurp my blog and woohoo it worked! My friend Becca's blog slurped as well. So give it a try. If it doesn't work you can either wait for the fix, or copy each blog post into the template. I don't think it would take as long as you would think. And the result is totally worth it.

Ultimately, I want to have a copy of each book printed for both Bart and Lisa. Then, when they are married and have families of their own, they don't have to fight over pictures, scrapbooks and journals (or worse, lament over the fact that their mom never wrote down any important events from their lives.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More blog designs

What's going on in our lives is pretty boring. It involves runny noses and antibiotics and boring days spent indoors because of contagious children and slushy/icy/nasty conditions outside. January should be banned, no?

But, I have managed to take a break from visiting my favorite pediatrician to bring you this cute-as-cute blog design, which I did for my friend Aleah. Her blog is private, so you'll have to settle for seeing the new look here. Unless you're invited to it. Then you are special.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Better late than never

I don't know how I forgot to post this, because I was really excited about it. I got to do the blog design for the lovely and snarkily-talented Miss Nemesis over on Voice of Reason. My most recent design is usually my favorite and this one is no different. I'm simply in love with Miss Virtual N. and her sexy eyebrow.

If you've never read her blog, you are really missing out. Just you head on over there. Here's the link again. You might want to get a little snack or perhaps several days worth of provisions because once I start laughing her posts, I usually can't stop reading 'just one more'.

Or if you want to save yourself the trouble of blog-surfing to find the Best of the Best blog posts from last year, you can check this sweet new blog book (all proceeds go to the NieNie Recovery Fund). Miss Nem herself is featured in it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

By popular demand - home decor pics

When I say "popular demand", I mean "2 actual people who are not me have asked to see them". But if you are one of those people, you will be excited!

OK, here are my 'before' pictures. Boring... white walls... ugly/outdated/someone-kept-smashing-into-them (Brandon!) light fixtures. Not to mention that flowery sheer thing hanging in the window. Stylish!

It took me 6 entire months and 3 pounds of paint chips taped to the walls before I could settle on a color. Because I like the wood trim, I am more limited to the colors that I can use. Also I wanted to get a quality paint. You know, the kind where you can wash off 1,002 grimy black fingerprints without the actual paint coming off on the cloth? So the paint felt like more of an investment. Also I feel like I got some of my wild and crazy painting experiments out of my system at the old house. I was ready to settle down.

With these things in mind, we went for a very conformist Beige color. We wanted to tone the color of the wood trim down a little, but also make the white of the couch and other decor stand out more. With that said... here's the after.

My fabulously-talented sister in law came to help hang up the pictures. When we moved I stored all of my beautiful framed pictures in a closet. And there they sat, for most of last year. So I spread them all over the floor and let her go nuts. Then I designed some vinyl things to put on the walls. I do love that vinyl cutter.

Jackie did such a beautiful job with the photo collages on each wall. I really love them. And even though I used several of The Swear Words while getting that scripty quote on the wall under the mirror... it was worth it.

Much do the dismay of my mother in law, I kept that fabulously old green chair in here. I even picked cushions for the couch that tied it in to the color scheme. Hahahahaha. Really though, I think it's one of those pieces (kind of like the dark wood trim in the house) that's so OUT, that it's really coming back in. And don't bother to disagree. I love that chair. I need to think of a good name for it.

So there you have it. Weeks worth of blog neglect, all for this. And a few other things. I'm slowly making plans for the other rooms in the house. With that in mind, let me ask your opinion. Do you think I should carry the exact same color through the entire upstairs? Or should I do one shade darker in the kitchen and dining room, just for an interesting contrast?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Things that have been keeping me stupidly busy

1. Re-decorating our living room. I'm taking pictures tomorrow when there is light. I finally got new, non-80's light fixtures today AND Joe installed them! Then he broke another light cover trying to change a lightbulb. You've got to learn when to say when. Also when it shattered, Little Man said in a really exasperated voice "Dad. You not supposed to throw it."

2. Snow snow snow snow. I don't think I've shoveled this much snow in my entire life. Not even kidding.

3. Catching up with work.
4. Coming up with a non-Christmas design for my blog. Not that I've accomplished anything... I'm just working on it.

5. Being sick

6. Having sick kids

7. Learning to use our vinyl cutter. Yeah. It took 2 years to figure it out. But I have some great vinyl decor on my walls. Again... taking pictures tomorrow.

8. Having lots of friends over and making this delicious fry bread.

9. Trying out a new sushi place for my birthday lunch!

10. Taking, editing and printing a picture for every single child in our Primary.

Whew! I think I'm finally catching up with the bulk of my projects - hopefully I'll be putting 'blogging' back on the to-do list soon!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Home remedies

So I've been sick since before Christmas. It's either the same cold that has different personalities, or I keep getting new things before I get better.

In any event, cold medicine affects me in bad ways. With some I spend 48 hours in a complete haze and can't do things like drive, operate heavy machinery or walk without crashing into things. The day-time variety make me stay awake for several days. Usually I take the same cold medicine as the kids do - it seems to treat the symptoms without the side of crazy.

After a few weeks and several bottles of Triaminic Night-Time, I decided to experiment with some home remedies. Here are the results, for those who are interested (especially if you are pregnant or nursing and can't take any of the coma-inducing cold medicines!)

Experiment #1 - Apple cider vinegar and honey

Method - Mix one tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey and one tablespoon lemon juice in a small cup of very hot water. Sip it, like tea, as hot as you can stand. The acidity of the vinegar and antibacterial properties of the honey are supposed to kill any infection in your throat.

Taste - Not too terrible

Results - Favorable. The mixture was soothing on a sore throat and seemed to lessen my cough. I took it right before bedtime and either the honey or the hot drink made me feel sleepy.

Experiment #2 - Straight honey

Method - Take one tablespoon of honey, like you would cough syrup. The honey is supposed to coat your throat and relieve that annoying tickle.

Taste - Delicious!

Results - Good. While doing nothing for a sore throat, it did help me quit c0ughing for a while. In fact, Little Man can carry on with a cough for a long time. I started giving him honey instead of cough syrup and it really did seem to help. Plus it's no problem getting him to drink it down.

Experiment #3 - Honey and lemon/lime juice

Method - Mix one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of lemon or lime juice. Heat it up and sip slowly. Let it sit in the back of your throat before swallowing

Taste - Quite tasty

Results - Excellent. This was soothing on a sore throat but mostly helpful for a cough.

Experiment #4 - Cayenne pepper

Method - Mix 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon clover honey and 1 cup of very hot water. Gargle 1 mouthful and swallow. The pepper is supposed to increase the blood flow to the infected area as well as ease the pain.

Taste - Strangely not so bad. It tasted like buffalo wings.

Results - Surprisingly good. My throat really did feel better. I tried to do it a second time but the water had cooled off and it was much, much grosser. Plus you should have some Blue Cheese dressing on hand to cool off your lips. The improvement held through the night and for the first time I did NOT wake up with a sore throat.

Experiment #5 - Cayenne pepper, honey

Method - Mix 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp lemon juice, heat as hot as you can stand. Spoon some into a soup spoon and very lightly sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Pour into the back of your throat. The spoon protects your tongue a little from the cayenne and the spice only hits your sore throat, not your taste buds. Hold in your throat if you can before swallowing. If you spit it out you'll get the pepper on your tongue.

Taste - If you do it right, you just get the lemon-honey taste. Don't let it cool off.

Results - This seemed to work the best for sore throat. I highly recommend

Other people recommended gargling with salt water. For some reason I can handle the cayenne pepper and the thought of salty water makes me think of being in first grade and losing teeth - it made me kind of ill. I didn't try it. Also I didn't try gargling straight cayenne pepper without the honey and vinegar. It sounded like certain death. Have any remedies of your own?

Sources: health911.com, earthclinic.com

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Blog neglect

Sorry for the lack of posts. This is on the back burner for a little while, so I can get caught up with work, do the post-Christmas clean-up and dig my driveway out from under 12 feet of snow. Also I'm sick and trying to focus on getting better. Happy New Year!