Monday, November 30, 2009

Win A Free Book!

In honor of today being the last day of November and, therefore, the last day of NaBloPoMo, I am hosting a giveaway! Want to win a free book? Keep reading.

My sister Kendra is participating in a Christmas boutique. Here's the schpeel:

The Jingle Bells Boutique will be held on Sat December 5, 2009 from 10am-4pm at the Saint Peter Catholic Church in their Monsignor Dowling Social Hall. The address is 634 North 600 East, American Fork, UT 84003. It will feature many local hand crafers and their items. Featured crafter is Kendra Last with Kendra's Bookbinding. She makes hand crafted Journals, Sketch Books, Baby Books, Cards, Leather Journals, Hand Painted Papers, and so much more. Books and Journals make wonderful Christmas gifts!

Kendra will be selling her beautiful (and professional) handmade books. I have been lucky enough to receive a few handmade books from Kendra over the years and I love love love them. She always uses beautiful paper to cover her books and the binding is so high quality. I am using one book she made as a journal right now and it is fabulous. The quality of the materials she uses and the binding she does make it so my journal--for better or for worse--will last for generations! The journal we're writing in for the Big O also came courtousey of Kendra's Bookbinding as the result of Bryan's mom taking one of the classes Kendra offers. (See HERE to view available classes and class times.) It has the most trendy, adorable birdies on the cover. You should be so lucky to buy one of her books with the birdies on the front. They will go FAST, so get there early if you want to be as cool as the big O. (To see a smattering of some books Kendra has made you can visit her website HERE.)

ANYWAY, we thought we'd do a sweet-o little giveaway here to promote the boutique. Not only will this provide TWO lucky Notes From A Very Red Kitchen readers with a cool book bundle from Kendra's Bookbinding, but it will also serve as wonderful proof of my popularity. Win-win! Haha. Okay, on to the goods...

Kendra is being mucho generous, so there are multiple ways to win:

To win free cards in person:
1. Print off this page and bring it to Kendra's booth at the Jingle Bells Boutique for a free card while supplies last. No purchase necessary!
2. Write a post on your blog about this giveaway with a link to my page here (be sure to link it to this post and not just my blog, please!). Once you've done this, print off a page with your post and bring it in for a second free card.
3. Make a post about this giveaway with a link to this post on Facebook or Twitter and bring in a printed copy for a third free card.

(Limit 3 free cards per person.)

To win a handmade book bundle online:
(This is open to residents of the United States only. If I happen to have an international fan out there, I apologize. But please leave a comment anyhow. I'd be delighted to make your aquantance.)

1. Write a blog post about this giveaway linking back to this post. Leave a comment telling me you did it as well as a link to your post.*
2. Make a Facebook or Twitter post about this giveaway linking back to this post. Leave a comment telling me you did.* (You can do two entries for this if you'd like--one for Facebook and one for Twitter.)

Be sure to include your e-mail address in your comments so I can reach you when you win!

*The posts used for free cards can be the same ones for entering the online contest.


The winner for the online book bundle contest will be chosen late the night of the 4th, so post soon. Winner will be emailed that night. If you are in town you may pick it up on the 5th, if not it will be mailed to you.

Second way to win a book bundle:
When you post on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter about this giveaway, tell your friends to print off your page too. The person with the most prints of their post will also win a free book bundle!


Get the word out, then come in early for the best selection of cards and books! Free cards will be limited to supply. There will be about 100 free cards, so come early!


One last bonus for all of you. Kendra's Bookbinding will be offereing Buy 3 get the 4th 50% off. But if you bring in a printed page you will get Buy 2 get the 3rd book 50% off. This really is a great deal!


Kendra is also offering free gift wrap (sweet!) to any of you with any book purchase of $10 or more. So lots of fun and great prices will be waiting for you as you stop by the Kendra's Bookbinding booth at the Jingle Bells Boutique this coming Saturday!

See you there!



Update: Check out my mom's post about this giveaway for a link to a video of Kendra showing off one of her books on YouTube. So cool!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Today I...

...woke up at 5 to feed the big O
...woke up at 10 to feed the big O and stayed awake
...made a demo Christmas ornament for a Relief Society activity on Saturday
...went to church
...came home real quick
...went to tithing settlement
...that's about it so far.

I promise to write a cooler post tomorrow. The end.

Ahhhhh!

Post!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

OFFER: more fabric lots

Found this posting on Freecycle today:
1. Two panels to make either a pillow or wall hanging. I think the fabric is polyester, the background is blue with a picture of a cat playing the tuba. He's got one mouse playing the cymbals in the top of the tuba and one mouse playing the flute in his pocket.
Hahahaha! Man, that picture of the mouse playing the flute is my favorite. Hope you all have a great night!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Today is this week's treat day...

...YAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYYAAYAYAYAY!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Oh, P.S. A few years ago my mom requested that we all write Thanksgiving poems every year before we eat dinner. I have posted this year's Thanksgiving poem on my writing blog. It's okay, but I still haven't written a Thanksgiving poem that I like as much as the one I wrote the first year. And so, I will recite it for you now. Ahem...

Once There Was A Turkey
by Katie Mayer*

Once there was a turkey
Turkey, turkey, turkey
Once there was a dinner
Yum, yum, yum
Once there was a hunter
Bang, bang, bang!
How smart was the turkey?
Dumb, dumb, dumb


*No, it's not a typo, I just wasn't married yet when I wrote this.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I took my pudding for a ride

Since I seem to have really concerned some of you with my post yesterday, I will give a really brief rundown of what happened. Yesterday morning I checked online to see how much money Bryan and I had in our bank account. I'm not really sure why since I wasn't about to go spend money or anything. Thinking back, it must have been a prompting from the Holy Ghost. Well, when I checked, there was about $150 less than I thought there should be. Sure enough, when I looked at the account activity it showed that we had spent $148.01 at the grocery store we shop at. Except I hadn't. Well, not with that account anyway. We pay for our groceries with a separate account. So I went right away and pulled out the receipt from that shopping trip. (It is kind of a miracle in itself that we even still had the receipt. We didn't used to save them and it was only a few months ago that I decided it would be a good thing to do, for budgeting purposes. But Bryan and I had been lazy and just letting them pile up under the cookie jar instead of filing them like we should have been. Then last Sunday when Bryan and the big O were asleep I was tidying up a little and I almost just threw the whole pile of receipts away, but in a moment of calm I decided to just go ahead and file them. Once again, looking back, I'm sure it was a prompting from the Holy Ghost because I never feel that calm about filing our receipts.) Sure enough, it was the shopping trip when I had spent a bunch of money on more expensive, more filling canned foods for the food drive as well as some other more expensive groceries. There was plenty of money for these things on our other account, but not on the account it came through on. I was beginning to panic, but I held it together while I called the store and asked if they could fix it. They said no. Umm... okay. Cue first round of sobs. I called Bryan and he made me feel a little better. After all, we would still be able to pay our rent and our bills and everything. But it was still bugging me. $150 is a lot to lose by accident. By the time my sister Kendra called about something else, I was feeling better about it, so I mentioned it to her since she and I had gone shopping together the night it happened. "Want to know something sad?" I said in my genuinely I'm-over-it-so-now-I-can-talk-about-it-voice. I told her. Cue second round of sobs. I tried again to get over it. Then later when I was out on a walk with my friend I was telling her about it and remembered that I still had a few things from that shopping trip at home. It certainly wouldn't take care of it, but it would at least make me feel better to return at least those few things. So I looked at the receipt and rounded up the few items we still had unopened at home--a pack of pudding cups, among other things. Cue third round of sobs. When I was on my way over to the store I called Kendra again to let her know I could pick her up from campus on the way home and we got to talking about the whole thing with the store again. I told her how the receipt was rung up so that it was fairly obvious that something had gone weird. Then we remembered how when I had swiped my first card (for the account I meant to pay for it with) something had gone funny and I had asked the cashier if I needed to swipe my card again. He had said no, so I swiped my second card, which is what it all got charged to. Since the receipt showed this pretty clearly, I figured I would at least try and ask again if they would fix it for me when I went in. If not, I had the few groceries that I would return and then go buy again on the other account. I said a little prayer as I drove into the store parking lot, asking Heavenly Father, if it mattered at all, to please help fix it. So, armed with my receipt, I went to the customer service desk. I briefly explained to the more elderly lady who was manning the desk what had happened and asked if it could be fixed. She stuck to the store policy I had been told over the phone. So I very politely asked to speak with her manager. The manager stuck by the same policy. So I explained it about three more times, pointing out the things I had noticed on the receipt and then it finally dawned on her what had happened. "Oooh. Yes, we can fix that." YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!! I was so happy. So, so happy. Someday I would like to be so well off that $148.01 doesn't matter enough to go in and battle the store for it, but for now we are poor college students with a baby and it did matter. She gave me cash back for the $148.01 and then charged the whole thing to the account it should have gone on all along. The manager lady even filled out all of my paperwork for me since the big O was screaming her head off by that time and I couldn't hear a word she was saying to me. Then I walked the five feet down to our bank (which is conveniently located inside the store) and deposited the money back into our account. Ahhhh. So happy! I just feel so grateful that the manager seemed to be in a good mood and was patient enough to keep listening to me until she understood. She could have easily brushed me off, leaving me stuck in my sad situation like the other store clerks had. I truly believe that my little prayer as I drove into the parking lot helped soften her heart and be patient with me. I really witnessed the hand of the Lord in my life yesterday. And I am so grateful for it.

Sigh--What a Tuesday

We had a crisis today which has left me exhausted, but I'm not going to tell you about it because I'm tired of talking about it and it's taken care of now and tomorrow our lives will go on as if it never happened, except to say that I felt Heavenly Father's hand in my life so prominently today and I feel so blessed to have a loving Father in Heaven who watches over me and listens to my little prayers about the things that make me cry and feel overwhelmed and then He helps me out and at the end of the day I appear to be just as well off as I was yesterday before the crisis, but, in truth, I am better for having a strengthened testimony of the love of the Lord, for which I am very grateful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Someday Things

I like our life right now. I feel very satisfied and content. And with Bryan in school for at least five more years I plan to like my life the way it is for quite some time. But there are some things I'd like to have someday. Here are a few...

-A good camera that takes clear, close-up pictures. One of these would be nice.

-A washer and dryer all for my very own. These are pretty, don't you think?

-A nice family-sized house. Okay, so I don't really expect anything quite that amazing, but it is a pretty cool house.

-A sink large enough to wash a 9 by 13" pan or a cookie sheet with the entire dish in the water at the same time. Is that too much to ask?

-A king size bed with a headboard and footboard and lots and lots of really cuddly perfect pillows. I was going to say queen size since we have a full right now, but since I'm dreaming anyway there's really no need to beat around the bush.

-A craft and sewing room all for my very own with lots of storage and big counter tops. Obviously the one in the picture is far too small, but you get the idea.

-All of West Wing and Gilmore Girls on DVD to watch as I please.

-Unlimited Pandora. (What is Pandora? Click here for the answer.)

-A backyard with trees and a swing. (How is there not a decent picture of this online?)

-A big open porch with a porch swing.

-And, last but not least, every weekday night and every moment of the weekend to spend with Bryan since he won't have to do homework or study for tests or job shadow or get service hours in or all the other stuff he has to do for school and resumes and stuff.

Ahhh. (happy sigh) Someday.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Countdown

Usually when I turn to Bryan in the evenings and say, "You know what would be fun to do?" he doesn't like the answer. No, he doesn't want to bake cookies or brownies or wash the dishes or change the big O's diaper or whatever other random chore or long activity with lots of clean up I have just thought of. But tonight I knew he was going to like what I had in mind.

"What?" he asked.

"Make a paper chain!"

"Oh. I thought you were going to say bake cookies or something and I didn't want to do that. But a paper chain does sound fun."

So we got to work. About an hour later, this is what we have hanging on our wall...



See the Nativity scene Bryan drew?
That's the one we'll take down Christmas Eve when we read the Christmas story.




Here's the chain link Bryan drew for Thanksgiving on Thursday.
Turkey bird to...

...turkey dinner!


I think these two are my favorites, both inspired by scraps left over from other ones. I really love the holly. And I didn't make the other one with this in mind, but I think it kind of turned out as some sort of geometric poinsettia. Cool.

Happy Holidays!

The countdown begins tomorrow...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

For the Crafty Blog Lover Wannabes

My mom e-mailed me yesterday saying that the Home Ec. teacher at the high school was curious about finding sewing projects her students could do on blogs. So my mom asked that I send her a list of some of my favorite crafty blogs as well as how I find them. I thought some of you might be interested in this as well, so I'll go ahead and share it with you too. Enjoy!

My mom asked me to e-mail you with a list of some of the good sewing blogs out there that I know about. Here we go...

One Pretty Thing- If you don't have a lot of experience with blogs this is an excellent place to start. Every day (and often multiple times a day) the author puts up between 8-12 links (with pictures) of great projects that have tutorials along with them. About once a week or two she also puts up a set of links to craft blogs that give business tips for craft/ art-related businesses. That might be helpful for any students you may have who are interested in making things to sell. Here's the link:

http://www.oneprettything.com/


Make It and Love It- This blog is a treasure trove of projects (sewing and otherwise) that include creating something out of existing materials (a.k.a. "upcycling"). The author, Ashley, is constantly posting new project ideas, but she also has an extensive list of links to past projects on the left side of her page (you have to scroll down a little to see it). I've made a handful of things from this blog and each time I've found the projects to be very simple, easy to follow, and relatively quick. You don't need a lot of existing experience to follow her tutorials. Here's the link:

http://makeitandloveit.blogspot.com/


Little Birdie Secrets- This blog is a hodge podge of different crafting projects--sewing, cooking, paper crafts, glue gun crafts, etc. Also has lots of great tutorials that are easy to follow. Here's the link:

http://littlebirdiesecrets.blogspot.com/


U create
- This blog is basically like One Pretty Thing, but with only one or two featured links per day. Here's the link:

http://kari-youcanmakeit.blogspot.com/


Lil Blue Boo- Ashley (author of this blog) does some amazing stuff. She creates her own patterns to sell, but she also does tons of tutorials on her blog (free!). She does a lot of sewing, painting, a combination of both, and some other stuff here and there. Her sweatshirt pattern is what I made my nephew's fireman sweatshirt from. I won the pattern for free on a giveaway on her blog. I think my mom mentioned that she had shown you the sweatshirt I made. If she didn't and you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't worry about it. Anyway, here's the link:

http://lilblueboo.blogspot.com/


These are probably my top five favorites--the blogs that give me the most inspiration and practical instruction for making things. However, I have a much longer list of crafty blogs that I look at on a fairly regular basis. If you're interested in a longer list, you can visit my blog:

Notes From A Very Red Kitchen- This is my own blog where I'll share crafty things I make and do as well as just thoughts and whatever else I feel like writing about. Mine is certainly not the best for a constant flow of sewing and crafting ideas, but you can find my list of crafty blogs here (on the right side--scroll down a little until you see the title "Crafty Blogs"). Here's the link:

http://notesfromaveryredkitchen.blogspot.com/


My mom asked me to mention how I search for these kinds of blogs. I would imagine it's fairly easy to do, but I don't actually "search" for blogs. I find it much easier to find sort of "the best of" on One Pretty Thing and then I branch out from there. Often I'll follow a link to a blog from there and then I'll spend a minute looking at the older posts on that blog to see if they only post crafty things every now and then (like me) or if it's the kind of blog that I would want to come back and see again often. When I do find another blog I want to keep track of, I add it to my list of crafty blogs. I don't add blogs very often, but I do sometimes. They have to be at least fairly good for me to add them to my list.
If anyone else has related questions feel free to ask! Happy crafty blogging!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Magazines

I like magazines. I like mail. And I like getting magazines in the mail. I really do. So I'm not complaining, I'm just a little curious about what's going on. A while back I started receiving this magazine in the mail:It wasn't just addressed to "The Resident at blah blah blah" like they sometimes say. It wasn't addressed to some previous resident of our apartment. And it wasn't addressed to Bryan. It was addressed to me. What?! The first time I thought maybe it was a fluke. But then it kept coming and coming. For months. Seriously. In an effort to be more manly Bryan flipped through a couple, but really the only attention my Outdoor Life magazines got were when I cut them up for crafty things. I'll admit it did come in handy when I was looking for something funny to put on a card for my Granddad. But still. Finally, after months of receiving Outdoor Life I started getting notices in the mail threatening to stop sending me the magazines if I didn't pay to continue my subscription. "Great!" I thought. But their threats were weak. They kept sending them to me anyway. Finally after a few more months of this, I stopped receiving this gem and started finding this in my mailbox:

Once again, addressed to ME. My name on the magazine. Now this one at least has prettier pictures and more interesting ads, but I STILL DID NOT ORDER IT. It gets more attention than Outdoor Life, but not anywhere near as much attention as my Martha Stewart Magazines that I saved from seven years ago. Poor Backpacker magazine. So lonely.

So this is my question: why am I receiving these magazines I did not order? I mean, they are real magazines. It's not like the baby magazines we get in the mail all the time that are 1/4 articles that you could look up online anyway (but wouldn't) and 3/4 ads for baby and kid stuff. These are things that some people actually pay to have delivered to their homes. I keep wondering--is this some kind of prank? Or was Outdoor Life just a fluke, but Backpacker magazine is secretly being funded by my mother as some sort of ploy to get me home to go backpacking with her like I was raised to do? I have no idea. I mean, I do sign up for a lot of free stuff, but I still don't really understand why I am being sent real magazines for free. What's the logic in that? Do the companies do it on purpose, hoping that I will be stupid enough to pay for more copies when those termination notices start coming? Is business really that bad? I also admit that the thought has crossed my mind that these bizzare subscriptions are Chris and Anna's doing. I can just imagine them signing up for something free and putting my name down instead as a joke. Although the flaw in this theory is that I don't think they know our address by heart. I guess perhaps I'll never know (unless it is you, Mom--fess up).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Stocking for the Big O ...plus a little something extra for your viewing pleasure

Let me just start by saying that I am a tutorial drop out. I always take a bunch of pictures at the beginning, but then I fizzle out at the end. Such is the case with this little explanation on the big O's stocking. Sorry. I will at least still try to explain things generally as the pictures die out. If you find yourself just dying to make your own quilted stocking and you don't know how to get from one step to the next, leave me a comment or send me an e-mail and I'll help you through. Anyway, here we go...

I've seen a bunch of handmade stockings on blogs lately and I decided that's what I wanted to do for the big O. And I am proud to say that this entire stocking was made from scraps and stuff that I already had on hand. I didn't have to go out and buy a single thing for it! Always a great feeling.

I started by cutting some "coordinating fabrics" (I am so bad at matching fabrics.) into strips about 17" long. I decided 17" was a good length after I pulled out a stocking to use as a general pattern. Also, 17" is the width of my cutting mat. How convenient.

Before I sewed the strips together I laid them all out and decided what order I wanted all the fabrics in. After doing this I realized I had way too much fabric and I cut some of my strips down smaller.

Then I sewed the strips together. Whee.

Then I ironed the seam allowances down.

For something like this where all of these edges are going to end up enclosed in the stocking, I iron toward the darkest fabric.

Then I positioned the stocking on my fabric.

Once I liked how it was positioned, I pinned it in place.

Then I cut around the pattern stocking, leaving a little extra for seam allowances. I just eyeballed it.

Then I used my stocking front as a pattern and cut out three pieces of the plain material I used. This particular fabric is left over from the table cloths at our wedding. I thought that was sweet.


Since this particular fabric doesn't have a "back" or a "front" I just folded the fabric so I could cut out my three pieces all at once.

Sweet.

Next, still using the stocking front as my pattern, I cut two pieces of quilt batting.
This batting was left over from the baby blanket Bryan and I made for the big O.

Pin the front together like this.
In other words, lay down a piece of your plain backing fabric, then one piece of batting, then lay the front piece on top.
Pin it together well.
Do the same with the fabric for the back.

I hand quilted the entire stocking.
This turned out very pretty and heartfelt, I think, but I think it could also be done very easily on the machine if you don't want to sit on the couch during your free time quilting a stocking for three or four days.

Here are some attempts at close-up pictures of my hand quilting. My camera takes really bad close-up shots. So, enjoy.

Edited to add: On the back I quilted/embroidered her name. To do this I went to this website, typed in her name, found a font I liked (I used this one), and increased the size until it was the size I wanted the letters to be. Then I just held the one layer of fabric up to the screen and traced her name with a pencil. So easy! I didn't even have to print anything out! Once I finished her name, I just did some little snowflakes at random to fill out the rest of the space.

Once the front and back were each quilted, I pinned them (right sides together) and sewed them together with about a 1/4" seam allowance. Then I clipped the seam allowance in the toe and heel as needed. (Tip: if your toe or heel isn't shaping very nicely, try cutting some small chunks here and there out of the seam allowance. This will allow things to lay more nicely.)

Then I turned my stocking right side out.

Next, I pinned my matching double fold bias tape around the top edge of the stocking, starting and ending at the seam where I planned to put my hanging loop in. I sewed the bias tape in place.

For the loop to hang it with, I just sewed an extra little scrap of fabric into a tube. With the tube right side out, I sewed the ends together. Then I flipped it around (this probably doesn't make sense, sorry) so that the ends of the loop were pointing inside the loop. With the loop like this, I pinned it onto the stocking. I sewed the loop on, stitching over the same line where I had sewn the bias tape on. Oh, and if you're wondering, I left the inside seams unfinished. How terrible of me.

Here's the finished back.
Those little dot-looking things are tiny little snowflakes.
It's pretty in person. I promise.

And...
ta-da!
The finished front.
I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

I'm pretty excited for Christmas this year. We're going to be spending it here in our little apartment which means we can start some of our own traditions. This year, we're going to try out something new. Throughout the month of December our stockings will be hanging. And instead of only finding surprises in our stockings on Christmas morning, we're going to leave little notes or tiny little thoughtful gifts in each others stockings throughout the month! I think it'll be fun to be sneak things into each others stockings... and I think it'll be fun to get some little surprises. (I got the idea for this little tradition here...scroll down to the indented part to see what I'm talking about) We'll still be doing stockings for Christmas too though. I'd be sad if we didn't.

I am so excited for Christmas!


Also, I know this doesn't really relate at all, but I've been meaning to post pictures of the sweet-o sweatshirt I made for my nephew C's 2nd birthday. Remember that cool pattern I won from Lil Blue Boo? Well, this little sweatshirt for C was made using that pattern. I made this cute little sweatshirt using a large (or extra large... I don't really remember) mens sweatshirt that I found at the thrift store for $4.00. So cool. Anyway, here's how it turned out!

Front

Back

Close up of front

Close up of back

Close up of the cool little tag I made
(Ahh! Sorry! I can't find the tutorial on how to make these tags! If I find it I'll update this post!)

I'm a good auntie. I know two year old boys don't care at all about getting a sweatshirt whether it's their birthday or not. So I threw in some rescue vehicles from the dollar store to win him over.

And last, but not least, the little man himself in his new threads.
Not the best picture, but if you know a two year old, you know how hard it can be to get a decent picture of them. I'll take what I can get.

The end!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I win! Again!

So I feel like I've been pretty lucky lately. First I won that cool pattern from Lil Blue Boo. Let me just stop and brag about Ashley from Lil Blue Boo for a minute. She is so cool. Her craftiness and creativity know no bounds. Her blog is truly inspiring. And she has a shop. In it there are some amazing patterns that she has created (and does lots of testing to make sure all the bugs are worked out, which is very nice) and a few things she has made. Also, her patterns are not written like most sewing patterns. There are pictures and written descriptions for every single tiny little step, making it SO easy to follow. I already made a little firefighter sweatshirt for my nephew who turned two and it turned out rather adorable, if I do say so myself. I promise I'll post pictures of it soon, but I want to finish the project I'm working on right now and just upload all the pictures at the same time. I know, I am lazy. Anyway, I am getting side tracked.

Second of all, today I got an e-mail saying that I won this contest over at Oilcloth Addict. Yay yay yay!!! (If you want to see me in all my winning glory click here.) Remember how hard it is to find oilcloth? Well, oilcloth just got a little easier. I would now like to brag about the Oilcloth Addict Etsy shop. It is so fun and pretty over there. And they sell that cool chalk cloth. Although I think my favorite thing about their shop is that they sell smaller pieces together in sets so you don't have to pay quite so much. Super cool. Be sure to go and check it out. I think I have looked at every design they have. Love, love, love it. Oh, and check out her other cool blog here. Yay! Have a great day everyone!

Blah blah and some stuff about my little life

Whoa, I need to hurry up and post. It's 11:05pm already! Agh! I will just tell you about my day I guess. And how my healthier life is going so far. Today was kind of a downer at first, despite going to IKEA with Kendra and her kids. Usually I love IKEA and it was still fun today, but the big O was not so ecstatic to be there which made it not so much of a fun party time for me. I didn't buy anything, but I did see a cool high chair there. Bryan got a high chair for free last summer, but it looks like it's from the 70's and there are things about it that worry me. I don't know. It could be okay. This one is just cooler. And takes up less space. And can be zipped apart and thrown in the wash. Now how cool is that? My day became infinitely better once Bryan was home for the night. He has been pretty busy with school lately which is totally fair. He's had a bunch of tests and papers and things lately. If I had all that stuff going on I would cry. So I try not to be too much of a burden. But it sure was nice to have him home more tonight than he was last night. The big O and I just need a break from our all-day fun sometimes, so it's good to have Daddy around. Anyway, we were running out of a bunch of things (like bread) so we went to the grocery store and stocked up again. Woot! The girl at the deli did, by the way, ask about the thickness. That made us chuckle. Although tonight we got the sun dried tomato turkey. Yummm. And some really yummy looking healthy juices. And some 60 calorie pudding pack things. (Happy sigh.) Now the big O is fed and happy and singing us her usual goodnight song (i.e. crying from the next room because she's really tired).

As for the new healthier lifestyle, I think things are going pretty well. We do break our dessert rule for special occasions (like our nephew's birthday party or when we had some friends over that brought dessert with them), but we only eat one serving of whatever is being offered instead of our (my) usual two or three (or five). I think this is good because it helps me to not hate my life and be bitter about not eating yummy things or having to feel awkward in social groups by declining obviously very delicious food. Win win win. Otherwise, we still just have our one day each week that we eat whatever the heck we want. You would think this would be a bad thing, but I don't think it is. First of all, it gives us hope and something to look forward to the rest of the week when we (I) just want to eat half a package of Oreos or all the leftover Halloween Kit Kats (sooo good). Also, it's good because, since we only have one day each week in which to eat all the junk we want, we never actually end up eating that much junk. I, for instance, did eat a few Halloween Kit Kats (luckily there weren't a whole lot of those left anyway) and some other random Halloween candy we have left over, but I did not end up eating even one Oreo. Before the end of the day hit I was totally sugared out, something which I cannot remember happening for a long time. I think I had way too much fatty sugar in my system before. So I'm feeling pretty good about this. Also, my friend and I have been going on walks most weekdays. We usually miss a day here and there because life happens, but we're pretty good about going most of the time. I still haven't lost very much more weight, but I think my pudgy belly is getting flatter. I am happy about this. And I feel much better emotionally not having to feel guilty for eating junk all the time. Yay me!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Strangely Weepy

Apparently it's pretty normal to get weepy during or right after pregnancy. As I remember it, I never really was, though I imagine Bryan would disagree and offer up a few examples. But I have discovered since I had the big O that I tend to get a little weepy over song and dance performances. I first struggled to fight back tears during the BYU devotional a month or so ago that showcased the dance groups on campus. But it doesn't stop with live performances. Back when Kendra showed me this video a week or so ago and then today when my brother put it up on his website I found myself struggling to fight back tears. Why? It's just a fun video, not a sad, weepy, emotional, pulling-at-your-heartstrings kind of video. Whatev. Pregnancy and the after effects make you weird. Or at least they've made me weird.

P.S. Amanda S., were you in Belgium joining in at 1:25 in that video? Because I'm pretty sure that's you. And it seems like something you would do.

Thoughts From A Sunday

"Prayer of the Children"
Tonight was our stake's "Night of Inspirational Music." The Big O and some weird salad dressing made us a little late. Meaning we missed about half of the program. But we came in just in time for one of my favorite non-churchy churchy kind of songs to listen to at these kinds of things called, "Prayer of the Children." It was very nicely performed. I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of when my singles ward did something similar a while back and my friend Nick and some other boys (I don't really remember who the other boys were--sorry) sang it. I think the performance with Nick and friends is still my favorite, but tonight's was good too.

"Even though it be a cross that raiseth me"
Also at the thing tonight the Chinese ward (Yes, we have a Chinese ward in our stake. How cool is that?) sang "Nearer My God to Thee." I'm still a little dissapointed that they didn't sing it in Chinese. But it was still wonderful. Whenever they said "nearer" it had this little Chinese twinge to it which made me smile. I like that we are not all exactly alike in this world. Which brings me to what was for me the most memorable moment of this evenings performance. There was a Chinese sister up there singing in that choir who had some sort of obvious retardation, but she seemed to be reading the music and she was singing along with the others just fine. I watched her as she sang, "Nearer my God to thee. Nearer to thee. Even though it be a cross that raiseth me." And I thought in that moment how true that was for her. She is probably so close to her Heavenly Father and yet what a cross it must be to bear a retardation, to not have the same use of her body as I enjoy in my own. My heart went out to that sister in some silent way. I admire her so much.

Garbanzo Bean Cookies
I tried another recipe from my crazy healthy cookbook this evening and I don't think I'll be making that recipe again. Not unless I meet anyone who's just nuts for garbanzo beans. It was chocolate chip cookies with garbanzo beans. Umm... this one was a little weird. I think I might try the recipe again without the garbanzo beans some time since it seemed a little healthier all around, but... yeah... weird. If you find some cookies on your doorstep with cranberries and white chocolate chips that taste a little dry in some spots, they did not come from our house.

Relief Society Teacher
It was my week to teach in Relief Society today. I dread teaching. And I had somewhat of a profound realization about myself last night as I was agonizing somewhat over today's task: I am not a good teacher. I happen to have impressive chalkboard handwriting. Furthermore, my grandmother and mother and step-father and plenty of my sisters are or have been very good teachers. Considering this, I have grown up assuming that I am likewise a great teacher. I am not. If a teaching moment ever goes well in my life it is due only to divine intervention and absolutely nothing else. Because I really am pretty terrible at it. I just don't know how to even begin planning a lesson. I have tried a variety of ways and they never seem to give me the confidence and real plan that I desire. I am just not a born teacher like I had always thought. Writing, on the other hand, I feel very comfortable with. I would have liked to be called to be the Relief Society writer. But, alas, I was called to be the Relief Society teacher. And so, on the third Sunday of every month, I get up there in front of the ladies in my ward and muddle through a lesson. Today's lesson went well. I stand by what I have already said about divine intervention.

Poopy Puddle
I think the Big O is going through a growth spurt or something. She ate ALL DAY on Friday and then slept practically ALL DAY yesterday. Today she was just plain off on her regular schedule. She was pretty happy all morning, but then as soon as we got to church she was pretty cranky. Well, she slept for a little while and was then mostly a screechy little baby for the rest of Sacrament meeting. Bryan spent a good while out in the hall with her and then I took her to the mother's lounge to try and feed her. Nope, not interested. But I heard her go poopie, so I laid her down on her diaper changing mat on the floor to just change her there in the mother's lounge. There's a diaper changing station in the women's bathroom, but I didn't feel like walking back and forth. Unfortunately, by the time I took off her little tights I heard her go poop some more and it did not sound good. Sure enough, I opened up her diaper to find a nice little puddle of poo. GROSS. I cleaned her up and got a fresh diaper on her, but had to go dispose of the ultra poopy puddle I was now holding. I left the big O in the care of some other nice moms in my ward who were feeding their babies while I went to throw her diaper away in the diaper pail located in the restroom just down the hall. This happened just as another ward was changing rotations in primary and the hall was filled with bustling children and their leaders. I'm just glad I didn't bump into anyone with that nasty diaper.

Lisa Comes for Dinner
Lisa came over to join us for dinner tonight. I always like having Lisa over. Not only are we more inclined to make real meals when she comes to visit, but she's just fun to have around. Also, I think the big O really likes her. They had some grown up girl bonding time while Bryan and I had our date last night and I'm pretty sure she just wanted to stay and play with Auntie Lisa. She was stoic for me the whole time I was trying to play with her and be fun after church, but it wasn't until Auntie Lisa came that she brought out the big smiles.

Well, that's all I really have to say about today. It was just a good, regular kind of Sunday.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Profile Picture

Did you know that...?

Once upon a time in a land far far away (actually, it was in the land I'm still in. But the next town over.) We were having Relief Society meeting (back then it was called "enrichment") going shooting over at the rec center. Also, it happened to be my birthday. So a very nice friend gave me lots of colorful plastic leis to wear in celebration. Admittedly, they were pretty scratchy, but I felt honored all the same. All in all, I'd say it was a pretty successful run.

...Now you know.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hey YOU

Yeah, YOU. You know who you are. You're reading this right now. You've read my blog in the past. Yeah, yeah it really is YOU I'm talking to here. Here's what I'd like you to do. Two things, please. First of all, go to your blogger profile and add your e-mail address so I can reply to the neat comments you leave me. Don't know how to do that? I'll help you out.

Go to your blog.
Click on "customize" up at the top.
Click on "Dashboard" up at the top.
Click on "Edit Profile" (second option down next to your profile picture).
Check the box (third line down) that says "Show my email address."*
Scroll down a little.
Make sure your e-mail address is entered in in the "Identity" section.
Scroll all the way down to the bottom.
Click "Save Profile."
Ta-da!
First task complete.

Second task? Please, please leave a comment on this post. Yeah, yeah it's really YOU I'm talking to. YOU who always leaves a comment, YOU who's been lurking off in the shadows pretending you don't read my blog when you really do, YOU who thinks you have nothing funny or good to say in a comment, YOU who has been too afraid of figuring out how to actually set up your account so you can leave comments, YOU who is ultra paranoid about getting too much spam if you actually sign up your blogger account (you won't-- scouts honor), YOU. I'll make it easy. I'm even going to tell you what to say.

-Tell me your first name.
-Identify yourself (i.e. "I am your sister." or "I am just a random person you've never met who's been reading your blog" or "I am Bryan's grandma." Etc., etc. (See, you didn't think I meant YOU, but I do.)
-Tell me your favorite popsicle flavor.

So easy! Everyone knows their name, how you know me (or that you don't know me) and your favorite popsicle flavor! "But why do all this?" you ask? Why, because I'd like to get to know you, that's why! And if you do all that mumbo jumbo about saving your e-mail address like I taught you then I can even make personal replies back to you! Now doesn't that sound fun? Okay, so play a long. Come out of the woodwook. Presume welcome (because, here, you always are). Won't you please come say hello today? Pretty pretty please with ice cream and strawberries and chocolate on top? Pretty pretty please with your very own personal reply from me? I promise to send a personal reply to anyone and everyone who comments today (who fixes thier e-mail address so I can actually reply) with a personal message. Promise, promise, promise. So play along! Tell me a bit about yourself. Oh how I wish you would.

*This doesn't just show your e-mail address to the world. It gives people the option to e-mail you. Then of course when they send you an e-mail they see your address, but it's not just published out there for all the world to copy and paste.