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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Sustenance

"I looked always outside of myself to see what I could make the world give me, instead of looking within myself to see what was there."

- Belle Livingstone

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Just Because Series

the just because series

Creating these little quotable prints has been a lot of fun!  There will likely be more in the coming months… but, for now, I’ve offered up the first six.  My intent with these was to print and frame them around my own home, but I also wanted to share them with you.  Give some to a friend or print them up for yourself – either way, they’re an inexpensive little piece of decor.  I hope you’ve liked them!

Click here to see all the posts containing the prints of The Just Because Series.

I’ll be posting this project to some of the link-up parties listed here:

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Not enough time

…but plenty to blog about!  One of these days…

We loved having my brother and sister-in-law with us last week!  I’ve got plenty of photos to upload from the camera, and when I’m able to get to it, I’ll be sure to share. 

In the meantime, here’s a teaser…

E&E visit Chicago 10-10

Connor sure misses his lounge buddy!signature5

Just because (6)

Just Because - If you seek - Sprik SpaceI’m a SAHM, both by choice and necessity.  My biggest joy in life is raising my son and watching him grow, but that doesn’t mean that the mundane doesn’t get me down sometimes.  (How exciting is doing the laundry and dishes, right?)
I really liked this quote I saw on Make it Do, so I paired it with a digital scrapbooking freebie from Scrap Orchard’s So Maui kit, and made myself a nice little reminder…  I thought you might like it, too.
To download the 5x7 image for printing, simply click on the image above, and a new window will open to the download location in 4shared.  Save to your computer, and it’s yours!  Just print it out yourself, or upload to your photo printer of choice.


*** UPDATED 06/26/12 ***
New download location for this image is here 

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Brief Bits

Here's a quick round-up of what I've found on the web recently that got my creative juices flowin':


1.  From MADE - Coconut Lime Banana Bread
The next time I make banana bread, it's gonna be this divine-looking recipe, guaranteed.

2.  From Flitterbugs - Make Your Own Swiffer Refills
Genius... absolutely genius!  I typically have an off-brand that I use, but I like the idea of making a reusable pad even more.

3.  From Crafty Nest - Pom-Pom Trimmed Tablecloth
LOVE this idea... so simple, and so cute!

4.  From The Pretty Poppy - A Pretty Little Rosie Wreath
I normally don't really care for flowers on wreaths, but I really like the repetition of the felt rolled flowers on this one.  So cute!

5.  From The Scrap Shoppe - Button Bib Necklace
I'm not a big jewelry-wearer, so I'm not a huge fan of bib necklaces, but this one I adore!  Not sure if I could pull it off, but I love this look.

6.  From Awesome Family Fun - Rainbow Jello
Such a pretty dessert - would be amazing for a colorful birthday party!

7.  From Gluesticks - Samoas Bars
I've professed my love for Samoas before... and Girl Scout cookies are months from appearing at this point.  Won't have to twist my arm to give these yummy bars a try!

8.  From Your Homebased Mom - Lemon Cream Chicken
My mouth is watering as I type this... and it's midnight.  Must make this recipe, ASAP!

9.  From The Novice Chef Blog - Vertical Pear Salad
This salad looks both stunning AND delicious!  I might try to incorporate this into Christmas dinner.

10.  From Jones Design Company - Silhouette Tutorial
This is a very easy-to-follow tutorial that walks you step-by-step through making a silhouette using photo-editing software.  Maybe next time I want to update the silhouette I have of Connor, I'll give this a whirl.  But then again, I do have a very nice, very intelligent brother that could help me out again, too.  (See how I'm buttering him up here?)  BTW, Erik (the other brother)... I think you're very nice and very intelligent, too.  ;)

11.  From My Kitchen Cafe - Chili-Rubbed Pork with Apricot Glaze & Baked Garlic Mashed Potatoes
All I need is a green salad and we're set for dinner!  This looks delicious!!

12.  From Budget Wise Home via Someday Crafts - Wrapping Station
If I only had a special space set aside for gift wrapping...  {sigh}.  I love this ingenious idea for a gift wrapping station.

13.  From Arte & Manha - Alphabet Name Print
This blog is in Portuguese, but you can easily get the gist of her idea by the pictures.  Great way to incorporate the alphabet and your child's name in the same print - modern and fresh.  I love it!

14.  From Made by Rae - Felt Letters
How adorable are these little letter "pillows"??  Makes me want to have a little girl and name her "Clementine", too!

15.  From MaryJanes & Galoshes - State-Inspired Hand Embroidery
Love this cute idea to embroider your favorite state and frame it up!  I don't know how to embroider, but I can cross-stitch... I'm thinking I could probably figure it out for this project.  So cute!

16.  From The Sisters' Cafe - Cheesecake Bars
These look YUMMY and really easy, too.  I'm excited to try them out for myself.


So, there you have it... 16 great finds. I hope something here inspires you, too!

If you've been featured and would like a button for your blog, 
please copy and paste the code below:
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just because (5)

Bee happy - salmon - Sprik SpaceSometimes, a sweet little reminder is all we need.  Hope this print brightens your day!
Bee happy - Sprik Space - IMAGETo download the 5x7 image(s) for printing, simply click on the collage to the left, and a new window will open to the download locations in 4shared.  Save to your computer, and it’s yours!  Just print it out yourself, or upload to your photo printer of choice.  

*** UPDATED 06/26/12 ***
New download location for these images is here 
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Sustenance

"Men form habits and habits form futures. If you do not deliberately form good habits, then unconsciously you will form bad ones. You are the kind of man you are because you have formed the habit of being that kind of man, and the only way you can change is through habit." 
- Albert Gray



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Friday, October 22, 2010

Just because (4)

Just Because - Every moment is a chance to start over - navy blue - Sprik SpaceJust ask my husband – I’m not a big believer in beating myself up over the past.  What’s done is done… learn from it and move on.  We’ve had this quote displayed in our home for a few years now.  It’s a nice little reminder that you can’t change the past, but you can shape your future.

Just Because - Every moment is a chance to start over - Sprik Space - IMAGE

To download the 5x7 image(s) for printing, simply click on the collage to the right, and a new window will open to the download locations in 4shared.  Save to your computer, and it’s yours!  Just print it out yourself, or upload to your photo printer of choice. 

*** UPDATED 06/26/12 ***
New download location for these images is here 
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Brief Bits

Here's a quick round-up of what I've found on the web recently that got my creative juices flowin':


1.  From Project Nursery - Squared Feature Wall
I keep running into photos of this nursery online... I love the crispness of this gridded paint treatment.  One day, I'll have to attempt something similar.

2.  From The Purl Bee - New Year's Garland
LOVE this simple garland idea!  Will be making one for Connor's 2nd birthday party, most definitely.

3.  From Lori Danelle - DIY Hanging Bookshelf
I've highlighted a similar idea before, and this version made me fall in love with it all over again.

4.  From All Recipes - Jo's Rosemary Bread
I can't remember how I stumbled upon this bread machine recipe... but doesn't it look delicious??

5.  From Susie Harris - Mini Cake Bunting
LOVE this idea... seriously.  I can't wait to have a reason to make a fun cake!

6.  From House*Tweaking - Lamp Shade Face Lift
I've already got a roll of ribbon, and I'm going to tackle this little up-do on my master bedroom lamps.  So simple, but it adds so much without being frou-frou.

7.  From Sugar Bee - Custom Kitchen Towels
Simple towels and fabric are at the top of my shopping list right now.  These would make great gifts!

8.  From Lifehacker - Mince herbs with a drinking glass and scissors
For Christmas, I'm dreaming of either this or these... I hate the food prep process of cooking, so I'm all over anything that will make something so tedious a little bit easier.  In the meantime, I want to give this ingenious method a try.

9.  From The Birthday Blog - Giant S'mores Cake
It's a s'more!  It's a cake!  It's GENIUS!

10.  From Sugar Plum - Almond Joy Truffles
I know someone who would love to taste these...  too bad I don't live closer, Dad.  Guess you're going to have to bribe Mom.

11.  From Piccadilly Circus Designs on Etsy - Custom Birthday Shirt
Once I saw this shirt, I knew that's what Connor would be wearing at his 2nd birthday party this December... it's on order, and I can't wait to get it!

12.  From Somewhat Simple - Edible Finger Paints
Connor's favorite food is yogurt and his favorite thing to do is make a mess...  he'll LOVE this idea!

So, there you have it... 12 great finds. I hope something here inspires you, too!

If you've been featured and would like a button for your blog, 
please copy and paste the code below:
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Just because (3)

Okay in the end - teal blue - Sprik Space I saw this quote recently on a post at Moosh in Indy.  I don’t handle stress well, and am generally a pretty laid back person.  For those times when things do become unavoidably stressful, this should be my new mantra.
Just Because 3 - Okay in the end - IMAGE To download the 5x7 image(s) for printing, simply click on the collage to the left, and a new window will open to the download locations in 4shared.  Save to your computer, and it’s yours!  Just print it out yourself, or upload to your photo printer of choice.

*** UPDATED 06/26/12 ***
New download location for these images is here 
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Half Baked

Recently, the book Half Baked, by Alexa Stevenson was recommended to me. 

half bakedThe synopsis from Amazon reads:

“A funny memoir about struggling with infertility and giving birth to a not-quite-two-pound premature baby? Blogger Stevenson manages to pull it off. In this tragedy with a happy ending, Stevenson goes through in vitro fertilization (IVF), gets pregnant with twins, loses one of them, but delivers a surprisingly healthy daughter, Simone. The tale is full of funny moments. Stevenson’s husband, Scott, nicknames their IVF project “Science Baby.” When she is still carrying two fetuses, Stevenson jokes, “My goal was a modest one: to get 50 percent of the babies out alive.” Later, after Simone is released from the neonatal intensive care unit, Stevenson notes that the sound of crying makes her happy, not frustrated. “Baby crying? Well, that means she’s breathing!” Even though the book offers plenty of comic relief, how many parents of full-term babies will want to wade through every detail of Stevenson’s fears, drugs, and checkups? It’s the readers who are in Stevenson’s shoes who will seek out and smile at her inspiring tale of hope.”

The author, Alexa, was a blogger at Flotsam, before she was a published author.  She posts there quite frequently, and I find her style funny and refreshing. 

I could probably say I’ve got at least a mild case of PTSD (self-diagnosed) as a result of our NICU experience – the most terrifying 4 months of my life.  In time, I know I’ll get better and stop asking myself all of those pesky “what ifs?”. 

It’s a small club of which I find myself a member – the one that includes parents who at some point in time came close to losing their child, or wondering if they were going to make it to the next day.  (I don’t even attempt to truly know what it feels like to have lost a child.)  This is not a club for which anyone would volunteer.

I enjoyed this book immensely… I laughed, I cried, I commiserated.  So much of her NICU experience was uncannily similar to mine – I found myself able to relate on so many levels.  Reading her memoir was cathartic for me.  This is a book I will definitely pick up again in a few years time. 

Currently, there are 28 reader reviews posted on Amazon – all but a small few rated it 5 out of 5 stars.

For any of my fellow NICU moms, both in real life and imaginary – if you’re interested in reading this book, please let me know – I’d be happy to send it to you as a loaner.  :) 

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Monday, October 18, 2010

In the home stretch

DSC02439.2We’re nearly there…  just 2 more wall anchors for the piece above the bed and a little enhancing of the lampshades… and the master bedroom re-do will be done. 

Besides choosing the furniture, the creating of the collage wall has been the most fun, but an involved process.  Kudos to my wonderful husband who helped me install the 15 pieces just a couple of hours before his flight to London.  (I know he would have rather been relaxing, but he was sweet enough to indulge me.) 

The wall I needed to fill was a pretty long one (between the door to the bedroom and the master bath), and visible from the hallway.  The frames vary in size between 3.5x5” to 11x18” – so nothing very large, but a large quantity of smaller items.  Several of the frames are shadowboxes or similar depth, which adds more interest to the wall.  We hung the pieces using both nails and Command Picture Hanging Strips.

collage wall

This theme of the wall is all about us, our marriage, and our family.  A few highlights:

  1. Box Sign – I found ours at a small boutique in Long Grove, but I recently saw the entire collection here.  LOVE this!
  2. Name Sign – I found this idea here, but varied ours by keeping “Sprik” and “Est 2005” on 2 separate lines, then resized it to fit a 5x7” matted opening.
  3. Free Printable Art – various pieces on the wall, mostly found at Feed Your Soul.
  4. Purchased Art – various pieces on the wall from our travels, or items that signify our life together (Etsy was a great source).
  5. Photo of our Home – a picture of our current house, our first home together… a tradition I plan to continue through the years.
  6. Silhouette of Connormade with Uncle Scott’s help.
  7. Wedding Shadowbox – I made this years ago as a way to display our wedding announcement, a mini version of my bouquet, and a few wedding photos.  I love it even more now that it’s not floating on this wall all by itself.

The collage wall has really transformed the room, and it’s been catching both my attention and Connor’s, every time we pass by.  I love it!

We’re so close to being finished with this Master Bedroom Re-do, I can taste it!  It’s amazing how losing the IKEA apartment furniture and decor you’ve had since before you were married can make you feel like a grown-up!

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Just because (2)

Just Because - Where there is great love - blue - Sprik SpaceThis is one of my all-time favorite quotes, by one of my all-time favorite authors, Willa Cather.  I’ve always loved this message, but I especially clung to it shortly after Connor’s birth.  It will always remind me of that particular time in our lives.
Just Because - Where there is great love - Sprik Space - IMAGETo download the 5x7 image(s) for printing, simply click on the collage to the right, and a new window will open to the download location in 4shared.  Save to your computer, and it’s yours!  Just print it out yourself, or upload to your photo printer of choice.

*** UPDATED 06/26/12 ***
New download location for these images is here 


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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Brief Bits

It's all about FALL!  Here's a quick round-up of what I've found on the web recently that got my creative juices flowin':


1.  From Every Day is a Hollie Day - Pumpkin Topiaries
Fun idea for turning those fake, craft pumpkins into something gorgeous for your front porch.  I think I'll be hunting down 6 pumpkins on clearance this year...

2.  From Good Housekeeping - Ribboned Mini Pumpkins
Easy, simple, inexpensive idea.  I personally like pumpkins best in their uncarved state.  Love it!

3.  From Agape Love - Create your own Pumpkin Carving Template
But, if you are going to carve a pumpkin, why not personalize it?  I really want to give this idea a try... find a cute pic of Connor and see if I can turn it into my own template.  Great idea!

4.  From The Crafty Cupboard - Spider Web Table Runner
LOVE this idea!  With a little bit of time and patience, and using her handy-dandy web template, you could have a fun Halloween table runner, too.

5.  From One Charming Party - Bat Party: Invitations
If I ever throw a party in October, I'm going to have to use this cute bat invitations idea!  Templates included, you supply the bat "face".

6.  From Infarrantly Creative - Paint Chip Candy Corn Necklace & Earrings
Such an adorable idea using paint chips (free), jewelry hardware (cheap), and Mod Podge Dimensional Magic (I wondered what you could do with it when I saw it at the store... NOW I know!).  Love that she provided a tutorial video as well as pictures.  These would make fun gifts!

7.  From Kitchen Corners - Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
She had me at Snickerdoodle... then she added PUMPKIN.  I die.

8.  From Dear Piper - Spiced German Choc. Cupcakes w/ Pumpkin Butter Frosting
I have just one word:  YUM!

9.  Framed Seasonal Small Objects
I'm officially on the hunt for those little items that lack pizazz all by themselves, but throw them on a frame with a cute background... and WOW!  Check these out:  Single small pumpkin, sugared pumpkin collage, black crow, and large pumpkin

10.  From Crazy Domestic - Apple Nachos
Apples, and caramel, and chocolate... OH MY!

11.  From Noodlehead - Rosanne's Apple Pie Squares
This looks delicious!  'nuff said.

12.  From The Breadman's Wife - The Non-Cakey Pumpkin Cookie
I salivate over the pumpkin-chocolate combo.  Interesting idea to turn the pumpkin puree to pumpkin butter, to remove excess moisture.  Will definitely be giving these cookies a try!

13.  From Make It and Love It - Autumn Table Runner / Mat
Fun idea for a festive addition to your kitchen table.  Instead of vinyl, you could even hem a piece of fabric or find a basic placemat.  I saw this idea a couple of weeks ago, but have had no luck finding loose silk leaves.  I'll be saving this idea for next fall!

14.  From Madigan Made - Pumpkin Fluff
This pumpkin dip looks divine!  Now I've just got to find me some gingersnaps.

15.  From Brown Paper Packages - Halloween Book Countdown
I'm already doing a similar idea myself as one of our family Christmas traditions, but this is a fun idea for Halloween!  Plus, she provides a handy list of some of her family's spooky favorites.

16.  From Embellishing Life - Framed Pumpkin Patch
CUTE rendition of the famous Ali Edwards collage idea.

So, there you have it... 16 great FALL finds. I hope something here inspires you, too!

If you've been featured and would like a button for your blog, 
please copy and paste the code below:
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Sunday Sustenance

"If we thought of life as a gift, we might not demand nearly as much from it. And if we lived more graciously, giving of ourselves more freely to the well-being of others, many of our personal concerns would disappear, and life would become easier for all."

- Lowell Bennion


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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Life with Connor

DSC02406.2…is nose-pickin’ good! – October 9, 2010

It’s been awhile since our last update…

DSC02163.2Currently at 22 months, Connor is measuring at 31.5” tall and around 22.5-23 lbs.  When I took him to his pediatrician’s office for his flu shot, I insisted that we do a quick weight check on him… to see if the chocolate pudding he loves so much was having any effect on his waistline.  The doctor came running into the exam room, waving his growth chart, all excited because Connor was finally on the charts for his unadjusted age! 

DSC02393.2October 9, 2010

DSC02386.2We are working hard to wean Connor from his pureed baby food, but he doesn’t want much to do with many adult foods.  Textures are still a bit difficult for him, and if we push too much, then he ends up puking everything up… and we’re back at square one with an empty belly and a kid who doesn’t want to eat any more.  He pretty much rocks snacks and whatever scraps we’re willing to feed him from our plates.  We’re also happy to report that we’ve got constipation drama behind us, for the most part, as long as we moderate his diet a bit, and encourage him to drink fluids whenever possible.  Overstimulation is also a factor, so we watch that, too.   

Physical Therapy with Lysa - October 8, 2010

Connor has practically graduated from his physical therapy, now that he’s walking.  We’ll go back in for a follow-up evaluation/testing in January.  We’re so happy with how far he’s come, and credit finally finding our groove with his gross motor skills to his PT, Lysa.  (We were shuffled around a lot before finally landing the wonderful Lysa as his PT, and it’s been smooth sailing for Connor ever since.)

DSC02398.2October 9, 2010

That’s right, our little bugger is walking… all over the place… and climbing… and forcing us to redecorate the house every.single.day.  He’s getting more confident by the minute, and it won’t be long before he starts adding speed to his repertoire – watch out world! 

DSC02199.2Little DESTRUCTO, chaos in his wake – September 27, 2010

Connor’s definitely beginning to show his age – nearly TWO.  He’s constantly pushing his boundaries and Mommy to the limit.  He’s pretty feisty, but luckily is still easily distracted. 

Evolution of a tantrum - September 24, 2010  DSC02375.2October 9, 2010

DSC02186.2Preemies are commonly encouraged to stay out of harm’s way during winter, until their 2nd birthday.  On the advice of Connor’s doctors, we plan to repeat our hibernation this winter.  We’re not thrilled about the prospect of being mostly housebound once again, because it feels like we barely got ramped up and out & about, but if it keeps him healthier and out of thDSC02189.2e hospital, we’ll do whatever it takes.  We consider ourselves so fortunate to have not had a hospital stay with Connor since his discharge from the NICU, especially after being warned by so many of his doctors to expect at least one or more.

Both Connor and I have been battling a pesky head cold for the past week… and we can’t wait to be snot-free!  Having to keep him inside the past few days has foreshadowed how difficult it’s going to be this winter – he’s a busy, busy boy who loves to be outside.

Connor hearts the park - Fall 2010     DSC02241.2Sleepy face – October 1, 2010

DSC02401.2Connor is at such a fun stage right now!  He loves to be praised for being a good boy or a good helper.  He’s working so hard on his vocabulary, and is learning new words every day.  Now that his learning to walk stage is nearly behind him, we’ve noticed rapid change in his speech abilities just in the last 2 weeks.  His neurologist recently recommended speech therapy, but for now we’re going to follow our own instincts and see what he can accomplish on his own.  We might change our minds come the new year, but for now, Connor (& Mommy) needs a little break from all the intrusion.  Intervention for these little ones is great, but sometimes it just becomes too much, and most of all we want to see what Connor can do on his own, with just our help.

His First Shiner - October 1, 2010Connor loves going down the slides at the park.  But, he’s not always good about keeping his feet off the slide while he goes down… so on this day, he got in a tussle with the hard slide – and the slide won.  Lots of tears and whimpers at the park, and the next morning his black eye appeared.  Poor little guy!

DSC02409.2Currently, Connor is obsessed with bath time.  As soon as he notices it getting dark outside, he starts repeating, “bath, bath, bath”.  We put him off until dinnertime, but there is no deviating from the schedule as soon as dinner is over.  He must have his bath immediately!  Then, he tolerates getting dressed and ready for bed, gulps down a bottle while watching a rationed episode of “Yo Gabba Gabba”, squirms during prayers, and dives for his crib mattress to go to sleep.  He’s so good about going to sleep at night (as long as he’s in his own space), we consider ourselves very lucky.  I won’t even try to make you jealous by mentioning that he’s down between 8-8:30pm and doesn’t get up in the morning until 9am.  (Nap time during the day averages about 90 minutes.)  For now, with the sleeping in, it’s wonderful!!

DSC02209.2

  September 28, 2010

DSC02370.2“TOUCHDOWN!” – October 9, 2010

Funny Faces - Sept-Oct 2010

Connor loves to be affectionate right now – he blows kisses to the cashiers, gives hugs with squeezes and pats on the back, and can’t see a Sesame Street pal without offering them a kiss.  He’s beyond adorable and it’s an absolute joy having him as our son!

DSC02397.2  October 9, 2010

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