Monday, January 31, 2011

Be Mine Banner

I love hanging banners on my mantle and made this Valentine's themed banner. 

I created my own "newsprint" paper using the poem "How do I Love Thee" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I cut out the hearts and the letters using my Silhouette machine and then attached each letter to black ribbon. 

Love how it turned out. 

(Linking up to the parties listed in my sidebar)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Quote of the Week: Rising when we Fall

"Our greatest joy is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall." 
- Confucius 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Protective Pup

I love how protective she is of her boy. She lays on his feet while he sleeps and usually she falls asleep too. He's protective of her too. In fact, we had to create a new rule: Paisley only gets "tucked in" 3 times. She was coming uncovered and he would call me back in his room to cover her and I think he was just using it as an excuse to delay bedtime. 

For more Wordless Wednesday check out 5 Minutes for Moms and Special Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

True Love Chalkboard Picture Frame

 I'm loving how this project turned out!! 

I simply painted one of those $1.00 wooden frames from Michael's with chalkboard paint. Then I made a rosette out of some red and white Valentine's themed fabric. Attached the rosette to the frame, wrote "True Love" on the frame with pink chalk, added the picture and ta-da!

Wanna know the best part of this project? 
It's this tiny little white dot..... 
The opposite end of the velcro is attached to the rosette so the rosette is attached to the frame with the velcro. That means, when Valentine's Day is over, I can remove the rosette, erase the "true love" and add a felt bunny and write "Hoppy Easter."

Think of all the possibilities!
LOVE it! 

Linking up to the crafty parties listed in my sidebar

Monday, January 24, 2011

Valentine's Day Wreath

I love how this wreath turned out. I made it in the same style as my Christmas wreath. It's just an easy method that can be adapted to any holiday or any time of the year. 

I started off with a foam wreath form I got at The Dollar Tree. Then I cut Valentine's Day themed scrapbook paper into strips about 2-3 inches wide. I pretty much just followed the pattern on the paper. I then cut each strip in half and folded each strip over the wreath form and secured it in the back with a glue stick. I did that all away around the whole wreath overlapping the strips as I went. 

To make the satin flowers, I cut 5 different sized circles out of red, light pink, and a darker pink satin material. Then I heat sealed the edges of each circle using a lighter. I put a dab of fabric glue in the middle of each circle and layered them on top of one another. Lastly, I added a little rhinestone in the middle of each flower and glued each flower to the wreath.

Easy peasy and adorable!

Linking up to the craft parties listed in my side bar

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Quote of the Week: Hope

"Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out." 
~ Valcar Havel 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Special Needs Teachers

I think being a teacher is a pretty hard job. And it doesn't pay enough. The thing about teachers is, most of them - especially the great ones - really just love teaching, being with the children, and their job. I certainly don't think I would have the patience to deal with 20 plus children day in and day out, bring work home, and deal with parents. So, my hats off to the teachers out there. 

If being a teacher isn't a challenging enough job, just imagine what it must be like to be the teacher of a child with special needs. I think about Noah's teachers. He's been blessed to have some really good ones over the years. But gosh, what patience they must have. They have to have tons of patience and love to do what they do day in and day out. 

Let's just talk about dealing with Noah. He doesn't communicate verbally and while he does know some sign, it's very modified sign but each new teacher he has ( he doesn't get a new one every single year like typical kids do, it just depends) has to learn his signs. He hits or scratches when he is upset so every teacher he has gets some battle wounds. Sometimes he doesn't like doing his "schoolwork" so his teachers have to get creative and innovative to get him to accomplish his tasks. And Noah's not the only student. Each one of them has different skills, different needs, different ways to communicate, and different levels of mobility. Yes, sounds like a challenging job indeed! 

Recently, a crafty blogger I follow, Michelle from Someday Crafts, guest posted at another blog, Under my Umbrella. Michelle is a special needs teacher and shared her thoughts about what it is truly like to be a special needs teacher. I most especially loved her advice to parents. Her advice is too lengthy for me to copy/paste all of it, so just head over and read it but I love this little piece of advice she shared:

"Most teachers don't expect to hear "thank you" but it sure helps them feel appreciated and like they are making a difference. I still remember a couple of parents telling me that I was the only teacher that tried to teach their children to read using decoding (not just sight words.) They thanked me for the difference and improvement I was making in their child's life." 

That's just a reminder to me that I need to say "thank you" to Noah's teacher a little more often because teaching really is a hard job but one they are doing an amazing job at and clearly love. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Heavy Reading

Noah picked up his Daddy's copy of George Bush's autobiography and started "reading." He looks into it! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers

We tried another new recipe last week. I can't remember where I found the orginial recipe but I made a lot of changes to it to make it healthier and without tomatoe sauce as the orginial recipe called for. It was yummy!

1/2 pound lean ground turkey
4 bell peppers
1 onion (chopped finely)
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 can low sodium, fat free chicken broth
handful of frozen corn
1-2 Roma tomatoes (diced)
1 cup brown rice
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup of low fat cheddar cheese

How to Make it:
1. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the ground turkey and cook until brown. 
2. Once brown, add the can of chicken broth and brown rice. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the rice is cooked, which took me about 7 minutes. 
3. While the rice is cooking, cut the tops off the bell peppers and discard the tops. Cut the ribs out and wash the seeds out. Set in a baking dish.
4. When the rice is almost done, add the corn and diced tomatoes. Cook for a minute or two longer.
5. Add the filling to each bell pepper. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Add a little cheese to the top off each bell pepper and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted. 
6. Enjoy! 

If you have any left over filling, save it, and enjoy it the next day on a whole wheat tortilla. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Quote of the Week: One Kind Word

"One kind word can warm three long winter months." 
~ Japanese Proverb

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Defining Noah

I'm sure you've heard the expression that "a disability (insert name of  chosen disability here) doesn't define a person." I've said multiple times before that Cerebral Palsy doesn't define Noah. But at times, it does. In a doctor's eyes, Noah is the boy he is treating with CP. In some people (not Noah's teachers) in the school district, Noah is the boy with CP with an IEP. To the person in the state office, making decisions over what medicines Noah should or should not have, he is just a boy with CP who needs an expensive medicine. To some nosey, staring person at the grocery store, Noah is the loud boy in a wheelchair with CP. 

I'm determined as Noah's Mom to not let it define him but sadly at times in some people's eyes it does in some way define him. It is the reason he doesn't talk, it is the reason he doesn't walk, it's the reason for some of his behaviors and what not. To people who don't know Noah he is the boy with CP. 

But to those of us who are lucky enough (really, we are lucky and blessed) to know and love him, he is so much more than a boy with CP. There are so many words that describe and define Noah: baseball player, mischievous, loud, quiet, outgoing, shy, dare devil, Momma's boy, Daddy's buddy, pet owner, reader, and I seriously could go on and on.

Ultimately, CP doesn't define Noah. It is just something he has. It doesn't have him. 

Weekly Menu Printable

One of my goals for 2011 is to become more organized. Honestly, I'm a pretty organized person in general, or at least I think I am, but there are a couple of areas of my house/life that could use a little extra attention. My recipes are meal planning stuff is a mess. My recipes definitely need to be organized and I'm working on that. (More about it in an upcoming post.) 

So, I decided to make a weekly menu printable to help me be even more organized. I even made it to match my kitchen. This week, I just actually wrote the meals on the page I printed out but in the future I may frame it and then use a dry erase marker to write the menu on there and sit it on the counter so that's why it was important to me that it match the kitchen. (Well, that and I just really like for things to coordinate!) 

So, I thought I'd share the menu printable with my readers. 
You can download it here


Linking up to the Linky Parties lifted in my sidebar!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Families are Forever Canvas

Back in December, Canvas People was running a promotion where you could get a free canvas print. (You only had to pay shipping.) In November, my BFF took a decent family photo of J, Noah, and I in my "studio" when she was here visiting. (Not that her photography skills aren't great but getting a decent picture of all 3 of us at one time seems to be a challenge.) I knew I wanted to put it on a canvas once I edited and enhanced the photo but it needed something more. A long time ago, I came across a random poem about families and fell in love with the poem and saved it in my files. That poem came to memory and I played around and came up with the idea of putting the poem around the picture. Because we used a black backdrop for the photo, it worked perfectly. I ordered the canvas and have been waiting for it to arrive......

J checked the mail earlier today and came in with a large box and I immediately knew my canvas had arrived! I'm in LOVE! It turned out better than I imagined it would. Honestly, I wish I had ordered it bigger.

And in case you can't see it too well, here's the jpeg: 

Now, where to hang it?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cabin Fever

The sun came out for a little bit and things are just beginning to melt. Yet they melt, then freeze over again at night so there has been no school all week and there's no school tomorrow so that's a whole week of no school. Noah had an ear infection and we took him to the doctor Thursday night, kept him home all weekend, then school was cancelled Monday, it snowed, and poor thing has been cooped up (along with me) all week! We haven't had our PCA this week because of the weather as well so I'm just feeling a smidge on the stressed side. I need a break - from Noah, from the house, from the weather! 

I know my northern friends (mainly Leigh) are laughing at this post but THIS is (partially) why I don't live in the North. While the snow is nice for the first day or two, I'm ready for it to melt now. I'm ready for school. I'm ready to get out of the house. I'm ready to be able to get things done again. 

Ok, rant over. Back to regularly scheduled blogging.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Onion Soup Potatoes

This is not a new recipe but is one of my current favorite, go to recipes. It is so quick, simple, (prep time quick, not cooking time quick) and flavorful. 

Ingredients Needed:
1 Packet of Dry Onion Soup Mix
Potatoes (2-3 if you are using a bigger potato like a Russet Potato and 4-5 if you are using a smaller potato like a New Potato) 
1 TBSP Olive Oil

1. Chop potatoes into bite sized chunks.
2. Put potatoes, olive oil, and the onion soup packet into a large plastic baggy. Shake well; until all potatoes are coated with olive oil and onion soup mix. 
3. Pour into a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until potatoes are tender. 


Linking up to the Linky Parties lifted in my sidebar!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Heart Faces: Smile Week

It's been awhile since I entered a photo challenge at I Heart Faces. This week is their 2nd birthday and the theme is "smile" so I'm entering one of my favorite all time smiley photos of my Noah. 

"A smile is a light in the window of the soul indicating that the heart is at home." 

Love that beautiful smile!

His and Hers Signs

When I was giving my niece a tour of our new home, she saw the two closets in our bedroom and commented, "His and Hers closests; how cute!" I'd never thought of them as his and her closets until that moment but I loved it and knew that I would make his and hers signs for each of our closet doors. Months later I finally had time to do it. 

This is a great way to dress up our boring closet doors but if you don't have separate closets, you could use his and her signs above your spots in the bed, in your areas of the bathroom, on knobs of a dresser if you have separate dressers. I think these would make a cute wedding gift idea too. They were easy and inexpensive to make. 

Items needed:
2 wooden plaques (I got mine at Hobby Lobby for 99 cents each.) 
Scrapbook paper (I chose to use printed for the background of the plaque and plain colored cardstock for the letters.) 
Mod Podge

1. Trace the plaques on the back of your printed scrapbook paper. Cut it out. I always cut a little bit outside the line and then sand later.
2. Brush on a very thin layer of Modge Podge and lay your scrapbook paper on. Press firmly to smooth out any bubbles or ripples. Brush on another think layer of Mod Podge. Let dry for several hours.
3. Sand the edges. You could just cut your shape out exactly and not have to sand but I like to sand because I feel like that makes it adhere a little better. 
4. Next, I used my Slice machine to cut out the letters out of solid brown cardstock. I used the Basic font for "His" and the Spring font for "Hers". If you don't have a die cut machine, you could always print the letters and then trace them onto your cardstock or use sticker letters. Glue on your letters.
5. Attach some ribbon to the back of your plaque using a strong glue such as a E-6000 or a glue gun. 

That's it! You could always embellish more with flowers or other shapes but I wanted to keep these really simple. 

Linking up to the following link parties:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Quote of the Week: Take Time for Yourself

"Without taking time to regroup, rejuvenate, pamper, and collect our thoughts, we will not be a help to the people who depend on us." 
~ Aubrey Buscigilo 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Minestrone Soup

As I mentioned earlier, one of my goals for the New Year is to make at least one new recipe every other week or so and I kept up with that goal this week by making Minestrone Soup. Since one of my other goals is to eat healthier, I tried to keep this soup as healthy as possible. I found the original recipe on the Healthy and Easy Recipes Blog but I tweaked it a lot so I am going to post my tweaked version below but you can find the original recipe here.

1/2 lb ground turkey
1 small onion
2-3 carrots
2-3 stalks of celery
2 small Roma tomatoes 
2 TBSP of minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano 
1/3 cup small whole grained pasta or orzo 
3 cans of low sodium, light chicken broth
Olive oil 

1. Finely chop your onion, carrots, and celery. Saute them in a little bit of olive oil with the 2 TBSP of minced garlic until tender. Set them aside. 
2. Brown your ground turkey until it is no longer pink. 
3. Add your chicken broth to a stock pot. Add in the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, turkey, pasta, oregano, and basil. Cook on medium high for about 15 minutes or so. Then turn it to low and let it simmer till you are ready to eat. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Quote Frame

I actually made this for our bedroom awhile back but am just now (had to get through all the holiday hoopla first) getting around to photographing and sharing it here on my blog. 

This is what I call a "quote frame" and it hangs in our bedroom next to my necklace and earring holder (which I'll be sharing soon) right next to my dresser so I see it everyday when I'm getting dressed, putting on my jewelry, and what not. I love quotes and find them so inspirational and motivational and I love this frame because I can change the quote to fit what I find most inspiring at that particular moment in my life.

This was easy and quick to make. In fact, if you are like me you'll spend more time trying to choose which background paper to use than you will actually creating the frame. 

So to create a frame like this, you'll need:
A frame (with the glass in it)
Paint for the frame (optional)
Scrapbook paper (You don't want something too terribly dark or busy so you can read the words you write OK.) 
Glue (I used my glue stick) 
Dry erase marker

I painted my frame, but you could just buy a black or wood frame and use as is. If you choose to paint your frame, do that first. 

While it's drying, cut the scrapbook paper to fit the the cardboard backing of the frame and glue that down. When the frame is dry, put it all back together. 

Cut a piece of the extra scrapbook paper to fit around the dry erase marker and secure it with some glue. 

My dry erase marker sits on top of the frame perfectly but you could also tie a little piece of ribbon to it and glue the ribbon to the back of the frame and let it hang a bit. 

Finally, write your favorite quote or an inspirational message to yourself, erase it and do it all over again! 

PS. My friend Monika made one too after I told her about mine and how to make it. Hers is cute too. Go check it out. ;)

Linking up to the following link parties:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Goals for 2011

I'm not really one of those who makes "New Year's Resolutions" because often times I feel that I set myself up for failure with those. I have made some goals for 2011.

First of all, I want to try and eat healthier. Notice I didn't say "loose weight" although that is certainly what I would like for the consequence of watching what I eat to become but I'm hesitant to make "loosing weight" a goal because I feel like I'm setting myself up for failure. (I'm 34 - I know what works with me by now!) But I do want to start eating healthier, exercising, and ultimately shed some pounds. In conjunction with that, I want to try one new recipe every other week.  And I plan on sharing those recipes that are keepers with you hear on the blog. I also have a healthy eating "buddy" who is also wanting to make some lifestyle changes regarding her eating habits so we are hoping we can encourage one another. 

Secondly, I want to organize my studio/office. In all honesty, it's not that bad. But it could be better. The office/studio houses all my photography equipment, office stuff, craft supplies, and things for BirthMom Buds. That's a lot to go in one little room but it can be done. The closet in the studio is crappy. It has no shelves. J bought the wood to make the shelves yesterday and I painted them today so I am already well on my way to organization in the studio,

Thirdly, I want to see one of the manuscripts I've written or co-written come to complete fruition and be published in book format. Getting there will require some work on my part, but I have a weekly plan for that. 

Fourth, I want to recognize and acknowledge the little things in life. I was totally inspired by this post about a simple glass of ice water. Too often I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and this year I want to stop and take the time to recognize the little blessings that we often take for granted. 

Lastly, I want to write more and grow my photography business more. I already have a couple of things in the works photography wise for spring. And just in the past few days, I've been writing more so now I just need to keep that up. 

It feels good to start the new year off with some goals and plans for following them through. Do you have any goals for 2011?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Quote of the Week: New Year's Resolutions

"A New Year's Resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other." 
~ Author Unknown

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2010,
Hello 2011. 
Be good to us please!

Happy New Year!!