decorating dilemma

Let the Christmas (and whichever holiday you might celebrate!) begin!! That has been my attitude since I put the last bite of pecan pie into my mouth during Thanksgiving dinner. But alas, I have run into a dilemma and am humbly looking for input (please).

I have been so inspired by all of the great color combos I am seeing out there lately, especially the tiffany blue/aqua and red, like this...

 ...but I am having a harder time than I thought about breaking away from the traditional red and green theme. Perhaps it is because last Christmas we used red and green and it was the first one that mmb and I lived together so it holds a lot of sentimental value for me. Not sure.

What do you all do for decorating? Do you stick with traditional colors, vary them or do something entirely unique?


sleep cycle woes

First off, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving if you celebrated yesterday. If not, hopefully you had a great day anyhow. Thanksgiving dinner with each of our families was great. Lots of laughs, great food and time spent with some of the most wonderful people in the world.
There's nothing like the holidays.

So, you might be asking yourself why I am posting at just about 2:00 am. The reason has to do with last night. You see there's this little thing called Black Friday- you may have heard about it. Crazy sales at unGodly hours and the such. Well, after thanksgiving dinner it has become tradition that my boyfriend (God bless his soul...), his sisters and I head to the outlet stores that open at midnight and get some AMAZING deals during the black friday event. It really is quite an experience. There are tons and tons of people and really, the deals can't be beat...sweaters at j.crew at 40% off, everything in Banana Republic at 50%, between 50-60% off at Ann Taylor. I think you get the point.

This year it ended up being mmb, myself and his little sister, e. Luckily for the three of us we all have a good sense of humor and can keep ourselves entertained because as it turns out, we weren't the only ones with the brilliant idea to hit the shops. In fact, enough people decided to go that it provided us with a lovely 3 1/2 hours of traffic to sit in! We each took turns having mini-hissy fits(hehe) but kept in good spirits and made the most of it. It was actually quite fun! Once we arrived at about 2:30 am we shopped til the sun came up then headed back to the car in the pouring rain and headed to the Cape to spend the night there. We all slept until about 3:30 this afternoon (thus the disruption is sleep cycle) and then we three shop-til-you-droppers(literally) topped off our evening with a delicious dinner at a fabulous restaurant in Chatham with mmb's parents and other sister.

It has been a really fantastic Thanksgiving. I am going to cherish every second of this holiday season. I have so much to be grateful for.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful day!
Take lots of pictures.

Be sure to pause playlist in sidebar to hear the video.


what i'm loving wednesdays 11.25

Today's Edition:Thanksgiving Eats
Here in the US, tomorrow is a day to gather with loved ones, reflect upon what we are grateful for and enjoy some really delicious food together. For me it is the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season. I am so looking forward to it!

Please enjoy these delectable recipes that I am loving today!






Don't they look simply delicious?

Hope if you are celebrating Thanksgiving Day tomorrow that your preparations are going well :-)
What will you be cooking?


someone went to the fabric store...

...and it was me!
It has been SO long since I stopped in and before I knew it an hour and a half had passed and I hadn't even made it out of one section. Even the saleslady chuckled at me when she walked past for about the 11th time as I was perusing all of the eye catching colors and textures in the children's section. I was looking for something for a Christmas project that I want to start tomorrow (more about that later...) and I found these beauties!

Aren't they just so sweet and cheerful? Most of them are from Heidi Swapp's new fabric line, how could I resist?
They are going to make a couple of really cute gifts for a couple of really cute kids!
Can't wait to get started tomorrow!! (I love days off!!)

super cute

I found this cute little RAK design over at {homegrown hospitality}, which is indeed, a very lovely blog. If you have never stopped by, I highly recommend that you do.

Stephanie Ackerman is brilliantly talented and you will leave feeling inspired and wanting to get crafty. Works for me everytime ;-)


i heart him

I really do.

This semester is almost over, sweets.
You're almost there.
You can do it.



a fairly unproductive day

(layout made in February)
I had grand plans for today...was going to start on the Christmas cards, work on some gifts, organize my scrap space, read a little, grocery shop, clean the house, maybe even scrapbook...
Well, the house is clean, but that is pretty much all that I got done.

And it feels kind of good.

I have a really difficult time just stopping the million things I am usually doing to sit on the couch and decompress. There's always something to be done, right?
Especially this time of year.
But here I am, on the couch, watching a movie. And that's okay.

When I signed up for {Jessica Sprague}'s Holidays in Hand class we had to reflect upon and write about our goals for this holiday season. One of mine was to take time to relax and enjoy it. And by golly, I intend to stick to that.
So the grocery store can wait. The cards will be there tomorrow, and if I feel like it later, I might just organize some supplies or work on a layout.

We'll see.
Right now I am pretty cozy.


hih prompt board

Sadly, with all of my studying I have not had a chance to get really crafty with my Holidays in Hand prompt book for {Jessica Sprague's} class.

Because of the aforementioned studying it is also pretty important that I stay organized for this Christmas in order to get everything on my plate accomplished, which is why I decided to turn my bulletin board into an organization board of sorts.
(please excuse the horrible lighting in these pics...can anyone recommend a lightbulb that doesn't give everything that oh-so-delightful jaundice glow when you take a pic inside at night??)

Welcome to Christmas Corner.  

While chatting with mmb we realized that this is going to be our FIFTH christmas together! Where does the time go?? I was feeling a bit nostalgic and pinned up pics from our last four together.

folders to hold recipe and gift ideas (yes, they have christmas quotes on them...)

Well that is all for now. I am hoping to get to start my cards tomorrow, but for now, it is time to get ready for date night!


In 7 hours I will be sitting for part one of the state teacher examination. It has been a long journey to get to this point, but one I have been passionate about.

So what am I to do when I am also very passionate about my creating? I should probably be doing some last minute studying right now, but instead I am thinking about layouts and perusing kit of the month clubs.

I am a passionate person by nature but my two main loves are teaching and art.
Will they intersect somehow or will they remain separate but equal?
Will one take precedence over the other?

Time will tell.
For now, I will enjoy the journey and live it as it unfolds.
I'll try to keep the balance.

I will follow my passion.
Will you follow yours?

see this smile?

Just when I thought this week couldn't get better, I was given a "Making Smiles on People's Faces" blog award by the lovely Sharyn from {living artfully}! Not only are the clean aesthetics of her beautifully designed blog pleasing to the eye, but her posts are full of inspiration and talent. Do check her out, I am sure you will be glad you did!

In order to accept and pass on this award I have to share 5 random facts, and here they are...

1. I can spend hours on end in the library. I love everything about them.
2. I miss ballet more than I ever imagined possible.
3. I eat soup all year round, even in 100 degree weather.
4. I love organization, but make a huge mess when I am crafting.
5. I love rainy days every now and then, especially on a weekend.

And now, the next 5 blogger recipients of the smile award are...
1. Rachel at {heart of light} 
2. Molly at {Molly Irwin}
3. Angela from {he got down on one knee}
4. Sarah from {the good stuff}
5. Erin at {fresh365}

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Happy friday, everyone. Keep those smiles on! 



Let the card making begin! The rest of my supplies from Two Peas and Stampin' Up! came today and I am ready to go :-) Here are some of the papers that I got to go with the vintage cream cardstock and kraft paper envelopes I will be using this year. Combined with the adorable tree stamp and my Papertrey Ink supplies, I think this year's card just might be my favorite one yet.

So besides just being thrilled about the arrival of my order, there was a special little perk that I was not expecting. When I ordered the papers I couldn't see what the print was on the text papers, but thought it would be really nice to use anyhow.
Today I open it up and look at it and guess what...the text is from Pride and Prejudice!! I know...I couldn't believe it either! Check it out for yourself...

See? It's right there: Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Mr. Bingley....
I would have been thrilled to get this under any circumstances, but below explains just why this is so such a treat to me right now...

Actual conversation heard in the m+m household last night:
me: "Hey hon, check out this page I am working on"

him:"Nice one. I am shocked that you used a page ripped out of a book and it's not from Pride and Prejudice"
me: "I thought of that, but this is the page that came with the embellishment pack
...and besides, I would feel like I was defacing the bible or something [insert giggle]"
(ponders just how much a page made from p&p would be amazing)
 him:"Well it looks great"
me:"Well thank you. Maybe I will try to find a copy that is already missing some pages and use that."

And now today this comes! Can you believe it? I can.
Life is serendipitous.


what i'm loving wednesdays 11.18

Apron Addiction, er...I mean, Edition.
So I have this little fascination. Yes I know it's one of many, but I just can't resist a good apron. I use them whenever I cook. There's just something about them that makes every day tasks seem more pleasant (& pretty!) :-) I am always on the lookout for new ones, and here are 5 of my current faves:

How perfect is this for the upcoming holiday parties? I am going to have to order this one for sure!

This one is just so sunny and bright! It reminds me of cooking in a country kitchen on a hot summer day while a soft breeze is blowing through the trees.
The two aprons above can be found at: {Jessie Steele}

Simply adorable! Can't you just picture baking up some holiday treats on a snowy day in this little cutie?

A must have for every day use. You can even attach a dishtowel via the snaps at the top. Cuteness and convenience...brilliant!

So, so pretty! I just love the cut and design. 

So, I am ready to get my baking about you?
(disclaimer: I used to be a horrible baker, but have come to enjoy it quite a bit...could it be the aprons?? hmmm...)


a good mail day

The holidays are coming!
Let the good mail season begin...

I got home from work today (after discovering during my commute that THREE stations are already playing Christmas music!) to find some of our favorite catalogs patiently waiting in the mail slot.

and as if that wasn't good enough this sweet little bundle was waiting on the front steps...

What is it, you ask? Well, let me tell you... it's the order I placed from {Papertrey Ink}! Once I get my Stampin' Up and Two Peas orders I will be set and ready to go to make our holiday cards with my girlies :-) It's a lovely little tradition we began 3 years ago. This year to simplify things I am only making one style....wish me luck!


holidays in hand

It's coming....

I know, right?! Where did this year go?? Weren't we just cleaning up wrapping paper and drying the dishes from big family dinners? It's hard to believe, but before I know it trips to the tree farm, nights of stringing lights while watching Christmas Vacation (now, a tradition), gathering with the girls to make cards and time spent with wonderful people will be upon us.

Shoot, the music is already playing on the radio! I even listened to about 1 minute of one, despite my strict "No Christmas Music Until Thanksgiving Dinner" rule...but shhh, don't tell mmb (if you are reading this hon, disregard that last sentence...)

If nothing else, the all too rapid passage of time in 2009 has taught me to appreciate every minute. And because of that, I especially want to cherish every moment of the coming holiday season. So when I stumbled upon {Jessica Sprague's Holidays in Hand class}, I decided that it is the perfect opportunity to get myself prepared for this season so I would be able to enjoy it more than rush around and stress. I haven't taken any of Jessica's classes, but I have heard nothing by rave reviews.
I am excited!

Our first assignment is to write down our values and goals for this holiday season.
In no particular order, here are mine:

1. Don't overdo it. Small, meaningful gifts mean the most.
2. Be conscious and grateful of the reason for celebration.
3. Take time to relax and enjoy (and craft!)
4. Appreciate my blessings and share that good fortune.
5. Perfection isn't necessary (ouch..that almost hurt to write!)
6. Love, laugh and cherish the magic of the season.

(layout from last Christmas...our first one living together!)

Whichever holiday you celebrate, I hope you will take some time to live it with intention and savor every second. What a magical time it is! 


no words necessary

I am speechless.
And not only because my brain is at capacity having spent 23 hours of this weekend studying Vygotsky and Piaget and memory processing and technological advances for 21st century learners, and I probably couldn't retrieve any words even if I wanted to.

But because I found this.
And words are not necessary for something this lovely.

Beautiful music.
My favorite, favorite movie ever.
A perfect way to end this weekend.

It's amazing how a few images and some music can be so moving.
I suppose that is why we are so drawn to scrapbooking, isn't it?
Capturing memories and creating art that can be lived over and over again every time we pick up an album. What a wonderful blessing.

Sigh...Oh Mr. Darcy.

Going to put the dvd on and fall asleep to it.
Have sweet dreams, all.
I know I will.


dabbling in digital

So here it is very first digital layout.
Please keep in mind that when it comes to photoshop, I pretty much put the beg in beginner (as in begging for advice!!).
....and that I did it in 20 minutes the car in the mall parking lot
...with only digital papers
...when my brain is completely spent after 8 hours of studying metacogontive learning and memory process. I needed a quick creative outlet!
Well, what do you think?

Be honest, but kind, please :-) 


WARNING: Crankopotamus inside

So how come no one tells you in college that one of the not so special rewards of teaching kindergarten is all the germs you come into contact with on a daily basis? I have half a mind to call my alma mater and ask them why Germ Avoidance 101 was never offered! 
Try as we might, sometimes all the combat-style handwashing, sanitizer squirting, lysol wiping and window opening just isn't a match for the misdirected sneezes and uncovered coughs that we, as teachers, are the not-so-lucky recipients of.
I've been trying to shake this cold for a week and it's starting to get the best of me.
Lack of sleep + overworking myself + hardly ever getting to see mmb because we are both working our tushies off about 19 hours a day(and we live together, btw...) + this darn cold = a wee bit of crankiness.

So what to do about this? (Besides be grateful it's not swine flu.)
Well, Dr. Boyfriend has been pushing the alka seltzer cold meds on me.
And I am pretty sure if I happened to get lost anytime soon I could find my way back by way of a trail of cough drop wrappers.
Oh and tea...lots and lots of tea (this, I consider an added bonus...vanilla almond, yum!)

I wish I could say I can rest a lot this weekend, but's a class weekend so I will be trying to cram my stuffed up head with all sorts of new knowledge while silently begrudging the fact that when Piaget was doing all of his play skills transfer studies that he never thought to take the time to develop some magical germ transfer avoidance studies. Sigh...woe is me.

Perhaps I need a new project to get me over this grumptasticness. I'm thinking of going in scrapbooking that is. I've wanted to try it for awhile, but am just not sure how to go about it.

Any advice for a paper girl looking to go hybrid?
I promise I won't rawr at you.


what i'm loving wednesdays

Welcome to another edition of "what i'm loving wednesdays". I am trying out something new and posting 5 things from one genre that have been catching my eye. Please be patient with me while I figure out just how to go about this :-)

This weeks topic: Good Eats.
(prepare to get hungry...very, very hungry)

Maple Pumpkin Pasta with Blue Cheese and Sage. Are you KIDDING me?!? Nothing says fall like this delicious dish. I found this over at {fresh365} which is an amazing cooking site that offers the most mouth watering and delectable vegetarian dishes I have ever seen. With tastebud awakening meals like this, not even my carnivorous boyfriend misses the meat.

and check out these delicious looking {Black Bean & Sweet Potato Quesadillas}, yet another fantastic find from {fresh365}.  Who doesn't love a good quesadilla? You better believe I will be using this site to help plan the weekly menu from now on!

Here's a delicious soup I am trying out this week (no kielbasa for me though, thanks). I think you could probably also sub out the chicken broth for veggie broth and it would still be yummy!
Check out {For the love of cooking} for this recipe and many, many other tempting treats you will want to try.

oh, oh, oh! I am not really a huge dessert person, but I do love a good treat once and a while and I have a feeling that if I made these fabulous looking {pumpkin spice whoopie pies} that I would be about 5 lbs heavier by the end of the week...unless I could reduce the recipe to only make a couple, but irresistible do these look?

Do these cupcakes not look delish? I hardly ever drink soda (usually only on one of my late night crafting and/or studying binges), but if I do it is usually Cherry Coke or Dr. Pepper. Check out {Annie's Eats} for this recipe and many other scrumptious eats.

Hungry yet?

And just one more unrelated thing for this particular Wednesday. It's Veteran's Day here in the US, please take the time to remember the sacrifices that so many have made to fight for freedom and human rights. If you have the chance today, thank someone who has served or is now serving. They make sacrifices for us all that often get taken for granted. Remember those who have fought, the many have made the ultimate sacrifice and those who are fighting now.

You don't have to support the war, but please support the troops.

(you will need to press pause on the sidebar playlist to pause music in order to hear the video)

And just in case you might be having a hard time separating "the troops" from "the war" take a look at this link. It's a touching reminder of how we need to remember to step back from the way that the media has desensitized us from even the word "troops" and think of them as people. These people are human and are loved and missed by many. Today, think not only of the people who are serving, but also of those whose lives are directly touched by their absence and their work.


my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

I went to sleep with a case of the sniffles, and now I have a full blown cold. And when I got out of bed this morning, I tripped on the powercord to my blackberry, and by mistake I almost stepped on the cat's tail. And I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day………..I think I’ll move to Italy.

I could tell it was going to be a Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad day. At school the kids started howling at recess (no really...they were playing coyotes, and it was loud...very,very loud-did I mention I have a head cold?). At lunch time no one wanted to eat. At centers one certain friend didn't want to do his work. Who needs work?

I could tell it was going to be a Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad day. There were no more cookies and cream milk chocolate mini Hershey's bars in the candy tin in Janet's office. Guess who forgot to put something sweet in their lunchbag?

It was a Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad day. That’s what it was because after school I had to go tutor, and ended up staying too late to be able to go meet my classmates in the city. "Next time" said my classmate. “Next time,” I said, “I’m going to Italy.” 

On the way downstairs I found out I left my keys upstairs. And while I was walking up the stairs to get them I tripped and stubbed my toe. And then my eyes started to fill up because of the stub, and little A started laughing at me. And to add insult to injury little A dropped my cellphone and the battery fell out and those things take foreeeeeever to reboot.

I am having a Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad day. I told everybody. No one even answered.

It was a Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad day. I don't feel like cooking dinner, but there's nothing good for leftovers (plus I HATE leftovers). There was Fox News on TV, and I HATE Fox news. My tea was too hot, I burned my tongue, my cold is getting worse, and the only clean cozy pants I could find are my old capri yoga pants with the tear in them. I hate old capri yoga pants with a tear in them. When I sat on the couch to catch up on my blogs I pressed the wrong button in the tv so I missed the first 5 minutes of So You Think You Can Dance. I ran out of tissues, I broke my fingernail and I am very, very tired. The cats don't want to snuggle with me on the couch. 

I guess some days are like that. Even in Italy.
(in case you don't already know, this is my very own adaptation of Judith Voirst's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day-it's an adorable book, check it out!)

But as with all bad days, there was plenty of good mixed in. There were answered prayers, the kids made me laugh a ton, got to come home to a warm house, it is a good tv night and i can actually sit down and watch a bit, and tomorrow is a day off. 

It promises to be a wonderful, spectacular, not bad, very good day.



a popcorn box makeover

Popcorn is good for many things...a yummy snack, stringing for the Christmas tree and now...
my very own inspiration book.

I had been searching forever for a way to get rid of the tiny scraps of paper floating around my purse and desk and laptop bag where I write down ideas when they strike me and replace them with one neat (and cute) organizational system.  To my dismay, I couldn't ever find anything "just right". So what's a girl to do when she runs into a dilemma such as this?
Improvise. That's what.

You may remember from last's week's {what i'm loving wednesday}'s post that I was really digging the crafty organizer that Rachel over at Heart of Light made to keep all of her thoughts together and accessible. Well, I took that inspiration, thought about what I really needed out of a planner and I turned this:

(please excuse the unmade bed[laundry day]- and the fact that I was working on the bed....craft wherever the mood strikes, right?)

into this...


Other than the popcorn box (which also provided a delicious treat while I worked), I used some some cardstock covered with pictures from real simple and scrapbooks, etc. magazines and the Pottery Barn catalog for the dividers, and different patterned papers and rub ons for the cover. There are sections for scrapbook layout, blog post and crafty ideas, music, books, quotes, gift ideas, a part to tuck recipes into, a calendar and a spot for notes which do not otherwise fit into any of the other categories.

I am pretty pleased with the way it came out.

It's already helping to keep me organized. And organization is bliss :-) 


sunday, lovely sunday.

 I love Sundays
(especially Sundays that happen to fall on a long weekend...kind of wish this was one of those, but oh,'s beautiful nonetheless)
The sunlight is streaming in the windows and I would be lying if I didn't tell you I was basking in the glow pouring in through the windows as I write this.
There's just something about sunlight that makes me so at peace and grateful.

Got a couple of things going on over here today:

this is being put away...

this is in the crockpot, thanks for the inspiration, {Cheryl}

he is in the other room working on his homework (have I mentioned he is brilliant?)

two sleepy kitties are keeping me company while I... on this.

until it's time to work on this

then hopefully tonight there will be time for either this...

or this...

and all the while, feeling very blessed.

Have a wonderful Sunday, all.