Monday, January 30, 2012

Stuff I'm getting excited for...

You know how this time of year is kinda blah?  I may have mentioned it a few (hundred) times.

But the truth is, I actually have a lot to be excited about.  When I think about it I really do get giddy.  So I'm going to make a list.  A list to refer back to whenever I'm feeling particularly blah.

I am excited....

That I get to meet 4 blogger friends, and reunite with one I have already met, in the upcoming months.  I'll blog more about it as I meet them.

To be on the Design Committee for a float for the Days of '47 Parade this summer.  It is one of the oldest and the largest parades in the United States.  People actually camp out overnight to get a seat along the parade route!

That our school is opening a new campus this fall.  Being part of the process all over again of starting a school from the ground up is a humbling and rewarding experience.

For summer to get here.

For the 40th birthday bash I am planning on throwing for hubby this year.  I love that his birthday's in the summer so we can get our BBQ on!

These are just a few things that I am looking forward to, and you know - I think it is a pretty good list.  What are you excited for?

p.s. I'm also excited for this fab giveaway - I hope I win!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Nail Files - team spirit

Hola friends!  I've got such a treat for you today!  Especially if you love toes!

Do feet gross you out?  They totally gross my son out, so I love to put my feet on him.  Also - my bestie told me once she doesn't love me enough to paint my toe nails for me when I'm pregnant and can't reach.  Isn't that just rude?  Feet totally don't gross me out.  I mean, GROSS feet gross me out.  But in general I'm not grossed out if someone happens to have bare feet, and they are near me, or like touching my leg.  My son freaks out if a bare foot touches any part of him.

So, MiMi told me about a fun new meme (haha that's funny) called The Nail Files.  I thought I'd link up today, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed (or maybe my toes?), that it's okay to link up toenails too.  <------- That sounded sorta gross.  Like I pictured toe-nail clippings when I said that.  Ew.

ANYWAY....I rarely paint my fingernails.  It seems to chip so quickly, and then it just looks like trash.  But toenails on the other hand....you can dab some touch up over a chipped spot, and top it with a clear top coat, and it looks fine, because nobody sees them up close.  You know?  So I am rarely without toes painted.

Today I thought I'd show my team spirit faux glitter toes.  I love glitter even more than I love nail polish.  I have a friend who does professional glitter toes, and does a fabulous job.  But that's a luxury that isn't often in my budget.

However, I do have a trick for doing faux glitter toes, that I learned from my friend Jen from Tatertots and Jello.  It was so many years ago, when we both were relatively new bloggers, and I don't have a clue how to find the original link.  But basically what you do is choose nail polish, and a coordinating glitter color.  Make sure it's the really fine craft glitter, not the regular Walmart kind.  You can only do a few toes at a time, so the polish doesn't dry before you can add the glitter.  Polish your nails, dump the glitter over them, then shake them off.  You'll have glitter all over your toes, but it can be brushed off when you're finished.  Once the polish and glitter have set for a bit, top it off with a clear top coat.  And voila!  Super sparkly glittery toes!

This is my favorite thing to do during the summer to show my team spirit when hubby and I head out to a ReAL Salt Lake game.  What do ya think?


Also, that is a fake tattoo - I would never get a real one.  No offense to my wonderful friends who have a tattoo - but it's not my thing!  Except the fake kind.  On game day.

And keeping with my tradition (and promise I made to Myya) of posting a new Chris Winger photo every time I mention ReAL Salt Lake, here he is modeling their 2012 away uniform (le sigh...).


You. Are. Welcome.

I'm linking up here!
The Nail Files

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Honesty - always the best policy?

So last night we went to Pixie's Celebration of Learning.  It's something we do at our school at the end of an expedition, where the students are able to present in a public forum the things which they have been learning about.  The format varies from one celebration to the next.

Last night the students sang a couple of songs, and presented as an entire grade.  Then we broke off into groups of 3 students, and the visitors that had come to see them, in what is called writer's cafe, which is a method we use a lot in our school.  How writer's cafe works is each writer stands and reads their piece of writing aloud to their small group of peers.  At the end the peers use little sticky notes to give feedback.  Both positive feedback and suggestions for improving the piece.  For the final writer's cafe, where the students were presenting to parents and other visitors, we were asked to use the feedback sticky notes to give a piece of positive feedback to the writers.

We listened to each of the students.  Pixie's story was about a young miner in the town of Alta (former mining town turned ski town in the Wasatch mountains), it was written in the format of a journal that he kept from August, 1873 to February 1874.  It was really very clever.  It was several pages longer than the other 2 students who were presenting, and because at times she let her voice trail off to where we couldn't hear her well, it seemed to get kind of long.  The other students' names were Avy and Weston.

At the end we were all filling out our sticky notes with our feedback for each of the students.  Monkey said she wanted to write one (she is in pre-school).  So I told her she could write one for Pixie.  She ended up (since I wasn't paying attention) writing one for each of the students.  Here's how they went:

Avy - I rely likd it.    
Gus (Weston goes by Gus, not sure why) - Ekselnt (excellent)

I took a picture of the feedback she left for Pixie:
(Well that was boring)

When I chastised her (between fits of laughter) for not being nice she said, "What?  I had to tell her what I really thought."

Where the heck did this kid come from?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tagged, TTUT and a Winner!

Hello friends!  It's Tuesday again!  I have a winner to announce, 2 tags to fulfill and I'm linking it all up to my girls Shawn and IA at Talk to Us Tuesday!  They may have second thoughts about this "no rules" thing when I'm through!!

First things first.  I need to announce the winner of the MyMemories Suite software giveaway:  Random.org selected SReed!  Congratulations!  Now SReed, there is no contact info on your profile, so I need you to comment here, or email me with an email address for you that I can send all the info to, so you can get your prize.  Sound good?  Please let me know before Friday, or I will have to select another winner.

For those who didn't win - you can still get this awesome software at a great discount!  Just go here, and then use this code at checkout for $10 off: STMMMS392. You'll seriously be glad you did.  Did you see the awesome subway art I made with it?  So go!

Next on to the tag.  I was tagged twice with this tag.  By both Ann, and Lourie.  The rules say I need to tell you 11 random things about me, answer 11 questions posed to me, and then come up with 11 questions of my own, and tag 11 more people.  Now here's where Ann and Lourie will have to decide if they are going to be mad at me, or embrace me for the rule-breaking self I'm going to be.

Truthfully, I'm pretty sure that the very few people I have left that even read my blog regularly have all already been tagged, so I'm going to skip the tagging part.  But I would really love anyone who hasn't been tagged (if there is anyone out there reading this....) to answer my questions and post about it!  I'm going to select some questions off each list to answer and then I'll post some questions of my own.  Okay?  And if you don't want to do a post answering my questions - just answer some in the comments!

11 random things about me - is there even anything random that I haven't already shared?? 

1- I haven't had a Dr. Pepper since January 1.  
2- I'm really craving one right now.
3- I'm having heartburn about the Republican Primaries going on right now.
4- I played the saxophone in Middle School and was really good.
5- I was tied for 2nd chair with Jared Francis.
6- I had a huge crush on Jared Francis.
7- He ended up being one of my closest friends for years - but we never kissed.
8- I loved Middle School way more than I liked High School.
9- I haven't been back to any of my HS reunions.  It's doubtful I ever will.
10- I need to get my hair colored really badly.  I've got too many grays.
11- It's almost dinner time (scheduled post), and as for ideas of what to fix - I got nothin'.

Here are my answers to questions asked by Ann and Lourie:

1. Where were you born?  Twin Falls, Idaho

2. What states have you lived in? Idaho, California, and Utah

3. What was your most embarrassing moment?  There are so many of them - it's hard to pick just one.  But I told about a great on here.  Another time, when we were living with my parents (I was about 21), my little brother came in bawling because the dog just died.  He ate gopher poison from the neighbor's garden.  Traumatic and sad I know.  I went outside where everyone was gathered around his new dog run looking down on him, and I walked up to my husband who was leaning his arms on the top of the fence, slipped my arm through his and laid my head down on his shoulder, while looking down at the poor dead dog.  I sat there for a couple minutes, then looked over to say something to hubby.  Only it wasn't him.  It was my parents 50 year old neighbor.  He had the same color shirt on as hubby, and I was just looking at the dog the whole time while I walked over there, and yeah - he just sat there, I'm sure not knowing quite what to do while I laid my head on his shoulder.  I still turn red in the face and get the giggles when I think about that.  Idiot.

4- Do you have a pet?  Yes.  We have a 5 year old boxer mix.

5- Is your tax money already spent - do you owe?  We always owe.  We own our own business so of course we ALWAYS owe.  But it is what it is.

6- What is your biggest pet peeve?  I have so many of these as well.  But what comes to mind today is how much I HATE when I see people driving down the street, and their little kids aren't buckled in.  Makes me SO STEAMING MAD!!!

7- What do you love?  Good food, music, my awesome friends, my amazing family, my Savior, and shoes.  Not necessarily in that order, of course.

8- What is your can't do without TV show?  NCIS

9- Have you ever laughed so hard you snorted?  All the time.

10- Do you have any regrets in life, and what?  I regret being mean to my younger brother.  I wasn't a very nice big sister when we were little, and I truly regret it.

11- What would YOU do for a Klondike bar?  Nothing.  I don't like 'em.

Okay!  Do you all feel smarter now that you learned these things about me?

Here are my questions for YOU:

1- How old were you when you had your first kiss?  Details?
2- Do you enjoy sports?  If so, what is your favorite?
3- Do you like shopping?
4- Salty or sweet?
5- How long have you been blogging?
6- Have you ever removed a blog post because you regretted something you said in it?
7- Does it annoy you when people get political or religious on their blogs?
8- If you have kids in school, do they eat school lunch, or bring lunch from home?
9-What is your favorite memory from Elementary school?
10- What is your least favorite?
11- Do you think it is rude that I didn't fulfill the tagging part of this assignment?

And there you have it!  Raise your hand if you actually made it to the end of this post!

Don't forget to click the button and link up to TTUT!!




Seriously Shawn

I Made My Own Subway Art!

I'm so proud of myself!  Up until now, my version of creating subway art was finding a free download online, printing it up and slapping it in a frame.  Please tell me that is how most of you do it too.  No?  Dang.

I don't usually decorate for Valentine's Day.  I always see cute things online, and think that I will.  But then I never seem to get around to it.  This year I have seen a few things that I decided I will for sure do.  And I'm not going to let myself off the hook for it, because I think when I have some fun new elements to my decor, it really lifts my spirits.  And if you read my post from Saturday - you know I kind of have the blahs right now.

Yesterday I was looking at my "printables" pin board, and as I looked at the different, cute Valentine's Day subway art printables, I thought, "Hey - I bet I could make this in MyMemories Suite."  So I decided to give it a try.  Guess what?  I totally did it!!  I know that for most a few of you, this is a lame thing for me to be excited about - because you whip up stuff like this in your sleep.  But for me it was a big accomplishment, okay?

Here's how it turned out:


Guess what else?  If you want to print this up and slap it in a frame - you can totally have it!  Just enlarge it,  right click, and choose the "save as" option and you're good to go!

I'm telling you guys - this program is so much fun. The giveaway for this software is now closed (winner to be announced tomorrow), but you can still purchase yours at a very reasonable price PLUS a $10 discount for being one of my awesome readers!  Just click here and use the code STMMMS392  at checkout.

In other news, this is what went on in my neck of the woods over the weekend:

It seems dull for the first little bit, but just keep watching.  I couldn't tear my eyes away, but it literally made me sick to my stomach to watch.  Because I know that feeling of literally having no control of your vehicle, and just sliding wherever the road takes you, not knowing how you'll end up.  I actually got a little shaky watching this.  Watch the whole thing.  I promise you that by the end it will take your breath away.  Seriously.


Winter...just go away already!!  Remember how I said that once Christmas is over, snow in the valley is only a road hazard?  I rest my case.

I hope you all had an enjoyable and SAFE weekend!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snowy Saturday Blahs

It's freaking snowing.  I hoped and wished and prayed for a white Christmas.  I mean our state slogan is "The Greatest Snow on Earth".  With the greatest snow on earth, and some of the country's best skiing - you'd think that Mother Nature should feel obligated to provide us a white Christmas, right?

Nope.  Not her.  She ripped us off for the 2nd year in a row.  Now she decides to dump on us.  Here's my philosophy on snow:  It is fabulous the weeks leading up to Christmas (there's nothing quite so magical), but once the New Year has been rung in - well it's great to have in the mountains, for the skiers, and in order to have an adequate water supply through the summer - but after the holidays, snow in the valley is just a road hazard.  And I'm not a fan of hazards.

So it's snowy.  And it's Saturday - but my husband is working all day and night.  So I'm blah.  Besides the dreary weather, I also had to get up at 7:00 a.m. on a SATURDAY!!  Bookworm had a merit badge powow at 8 a.m.  Gah!  But by the end of the classes he'll have earned 3 Eagle Scout required merit-badges.  He wants to earn his Eagle by the time he is 14.  For me, it's more important that the experiences he has in meeting the requirements are meaningful, and not just rushed through in a race to get his Eagle by age 14.

My son has been more productive today than I have for sure.  But at least I FINALLY got my Christmas decor taken down yesterday.  I adore decorating for Christmas.  And I equally loathe un-decorating for Christmas.  So I usually put it off until I just can't stand it any longer.  Yesterday was that day.


The only slightly productive thing I have done today was create more in my MyMemories Suite digital scrapbooking software.  I am seriously loving playing with it.  And I wanted to try out the new FREE Valentine-themed "quick pages" I received from their weekly "Friday Freebie" feature they do on FB.  So you don't even have to spend any money to add to your collection of elements to use in the program!  These quick pages are already beautiful and ready to go, all you do is add your photos and it looks like you've spent tons of time creating!  I know I sound like a commercial, but I'm seriously excited about all the possibilities I see unfolding for putting together collections of my family's memories!

Tell me what you think: These 2 pages are in the album side by side to create a 2 page spread.  These are some of our engagement pictures.




These are pictures I took of pictures, so I think they are a little skewed, I may have to break down and scan the photos to have them look a little better.  But baby-steps, right?  And the only thing that I added besides the photos was the little word art that says "Love Each Other".  I decided to put that in the little journaling spot because I wanted something simple.  Easy-peasy.

It's not too late to enter to win your own free download of the program.  Just click here.  Even if you don't win I think it's totally worth it to purchase this program.  Because it comes with so many elements (papers, and textures, and embellishments, etc.), it would take forever to get through them all.  When you add in all the freebies you can get, it seems to me like you would never have to invest another penny, if you didn't want to.  Of course there is tons of cute stuff for sale that is very tempting!!

Okay, now I've done 2 productive things today.  Made the pages, and promoted my giveaway.

How's your Saturday going?  Are you blah too?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My people are funny.

I'm not talking about Mexicans.  I'm talking about Utahns.  Although a lot of us are Mexicans.  And a lot of us are funny.  Not me, but still, there are a lot of funny people in my state!  Today I thought I'd share with you some funny crap that has come from my people (Utahns, not Mexicans - necessarily).

It's time for the Crash the Super Bowl Doritos ad competition.  Last year 2 finalists came from Utah.  One of them won $1 million.  Now I think the other guys ad was funnier, but the voters spoke.  Tell me what you think:

Winner's Ad:


Pretty funny.  But not as funny as this one, in my opinion:

Bahaha - it STILL makes me laugh!  Guy number 2 has another ad in the top five this year.  I don't think it's nearly as funny - but you can check it out here if you want to decide for yourself.

Also, remember Kid History?  You know, where the kids tell the story and the adults act it out?  They are totally my people too (Utahns, not necessarily Mexicans).  I told you about it here, and promised to share more episodes.  But then I fell of the face of the planet, well Blogland anyway, so here is my favorite episode.  Or at least the one that is tied for first place in my heart:


Pretty funny, eh?  Okay, I've decided I need to share my other favorite - I can't decide between the one above, or this one.  You pick for me.  Which one is better?



See - some funny people here in my state!  Just not me.

Which ad do you think is funnier?

Which Kid History?

If you didn't watch them all, or even any of them - that's okay.  Still leave me a comment and say HI!  Because you know like all bloggers - I love comments!

Are your people funny?

P.S. don't forget to enter my awesome giveaway!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Organizing: Good for the Soul

So I was feeling pretty depressed and loser-ish yesterday, about the fact that no one seemed interested in my awesome giveaway, among other things. MiMi tried to console me by trying to convince me it was because of the holiday, and not a reflection on my level of lameness. Hmmmf.

I then went downstairs to the dungeon (AKA my unfinished basement) to put something away. MiMi has mentioned how she wishes her craft area weren't in the garage - but it's sorta like having it be in a dungeon. Yep that's where the magic happens at my house. A room in a dungeon with a table and a desk.

I looked around my room and saw the disaster it had become. You see, Cowgirl had decided that finished or unfinished, she was done sharing a room with her sisters. After Christmas she moved all her stuff down to a room in the dungeon, we put a bed and dresser down there, and hung some sheets for walls (yes we are white trash extraordinaire), and that is her room. Only it HAD been the room that I had been storing all my Ribbon Blossoms materials in. It had already become somewhat scattered as I brought stuff from her room into my workroom to make stuff, and also upstairs sometimes. Then I'd just move it to the side and bring new stuff out to work on. Then I'd just pile it all up to try and get it out of the way. When I had to clear my crap out of Cowgirl's space, I stacked and piled it all up in my dungeon craft room. Here's the result:

Don't you judge me.

Yesterday, while looking around and feeling pathetic, I decided to do something about it.  Do you know what it's like to be as disorganized as I am and be IRL besties with someone like Tanielle?  And have bloggy friends like Shawn and Vivienne?  All organized, all immaculate in their house-keeping.  I mean I know I haven't ever been to Shawn's or Viv's houses - but I've seen pictures!  And I know they are clean and orderly.

I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.  I had crap piled all over the floor, all over my work table, the bookshelf, and the desk I bought years ago to turn that little corner space into an office area.  Then our computer died and we only have our laptop - so the space sits collecting dust and other crap that I pile onto it.

I sorted all my bow and tutu-making supplies into their respective bins.  I have some boxes of craft supplies that aren't for Ribbon Blossoms in some boxes under my table - those will have to be sorted out another day. Anyway, I won't bore you with a play-by-play, but I do have some pictures for ya.  Because everybody loves some good before and after shots, right?

Now, as you look - keep in mind that my basement is unfinished - no walls.  In the background you can still see some of the crap from my other rooms.  But they aren't trashed like this room was.





Now I know I need to get some different bins for some of the stuff, as my supplies have outgrown the containers I originally stored them in, and now the lids won't fit.  And I also need some shelves.  But I'm trying to do everything on a budget and not spend when I don't have to, so I'm just working with what I have for now.

Regardless, getting all this crap sorted out, and being able to walk into my craft dungeon without feeling like I'm maneuvering an obstacle course really does make me feel a lot better than I was for most of the day yesterday!  I think I'll find another project to build myself worth up even more.  OR....or y'all could click here and enter my awesome giveaway and that would make me feel great also.

It really is a cool program - and for my friends who already have the program - maybe you could mention it on your blog or FB or Twitter?  You know - help spread the word, even though you're not entering the giveaway?  K thanks!

I'm linking up with Shawn and Impulsive Addict  -  because those chicks are fun to talk to!!



p.s. I made my before and after layouts in the software I'm giving away!  If you win you will love it!

p.p.s. The plan is to have Cowgirl's room finished shortly - will do some fun before and afters of that also.  And then the rest of the basement after that.  You better hope we get it done Myya - cuz this is gonna be your room this summer!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Giveaway Greatness!!

I'm so excited to share my giveaway greatness with you today!  It's gonna be so good!

I was contacted by MyMemories.com and given the opportunity to review their fantastic digital scrapbooking software, My Memories Suite.  AND.....I get to give away this awesome product to one of my lucky readers!!  Pretty sweet, eh?

Let me start out by saying that I used to scrapbook like crazy.  And it took sooooo much time and effort.  The cutting and gluing and journaling and arranging the layout.  I was always proud of my pages, but each one took so LONG to finish!  As my family grew, my scrapbooking efforts dwindled.  Poor Monkey doesn't even have 1 single page in her scrapbook that is finished!  Bring on the mom guilt.

So you can imagine my excitement when I started playing around with MyMemories Suite, and realized that I could scrapbook again and not spend nearly the time I had before, but still end up with beautiful page layouts!  It took me a little bit of exploring and experimenting to get the hang of it - but once I did I was hooked!

The beauty of it is that everything is right there at your fingertips. There are background papers, embellishments, textures, all sorts of fun fonts for journaling, and more!  The suite comes with a good variety of papers and embellishments, as well as the tools to edit the photos you upload. But you aren't limited to what comes with the package (which, as I said is a pretty good variety).  You can also add more options from their website, or from your own collection you may already have on your computer.

You can make your creations as simple or as elaborate as you'd like, with any size pages you'd like.  And the sky's the limit on what you can use the software for:

You could make an album of your children:
12x12 album

Or I thought it would be fun to have a "highlight reel" of all my favorite moments from RSL's 2011 soccer season.

8.5x11 album.  Photo credits here, here, here and here.

What??  Who says my highlights of the season can't all include Chris Wingert in some way?

Maybe I'd like to make an album all about my husband:

Oh wait, that would actually require him allowing me to take pictures of him.  Seriously - he has a complex.  It's super annoying.  I can probably count on my fingers the number of times he's allowed me to take a picture of him since our wedding.

Speaking of.  I've decided to completely re-do our wedding album.  And maybe have it professionally printed and bound into a photo-book.  Yeah, you can totally do that with this software!


You can even include video in your digital scrapbook!  And you can share your pages in so many ways.  You can have a photo book made as I mentioned before, print your pages and put them in your own album, share your album online - so many different options!

Also, you don't have to use the software ONLY for scrapbook layouts.  Saturday I was in a rush to get to a baby shower, and I discovered I had let my gift bag/wrapping paper options dwindle to nothing but Christmas themes and 1 brown craft bag.  Now if I had had more time, I could have printed and cut some great embellishments and decorated the bag all cutesie.  But let's face it, if I had had more time, I would have stopped at the dollar store and picked up a gift bag on my way to the shower.  But I didn't have more time.  So I tied some girly tulle to the bag, and whipped up a quick tag in MyMemories Suite (seriously took me like 2 minutes), and tied it to the bag.

Voila!

And you may have noticed my new look?  Not ME, I'm talking about the blog!  I've needed a change for a while - and finally got around to changing my look.  And guess what?  I made my new blog banner in MyMemories Suite!

So are you ready to find out how you can enter to win this awesome software for yourself?

Here's what to do.  The first option is mandatory for an entry, the rest are just additional things you can do to increase your chances of winning!  Please leave a separate comment for each thing you do.

1. Go visit MyMemories.com, chose a favorite digital paper pack or layout, and come back and tell me what you love! (mandatory for entry)

2. "Like" MyMemories on Facebook or follow them on Twitter or their blog (worth one entry each).

3. Post about this giveaway on your blog, facebook or Twitter (worth one entry each, please include link in your comment).

I would really love if you follow me, but I'm not going to make you follow me to get an entry.  I only want you to follow me if you like my blog and want to come back and read more!

That's a possible total of 7 different entries!

The giveaway will be open for 1 week, ending Monday, Jan 23 at noon (MST).

And if you don't happen to be the lucky winner - I've still got your back!  This code will get you $10 off when you purchase the software, PLUS you will receive a $10 coupon to the MyMemories.com store!  A totally awesome deal.

Here's the code: STMMMS392


Good luck and happy scrapping everyone!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

I need the weekend!

So, yesterday was pretty much the stupidest day ever.  Just one crappy thing after another, including slipping on the ice with injuries for both my husband and my daughter (Cowgirl).  Oh, and Pixie getting her hand slammed in the door.  I also had a million places to be from right after school, until past 9. The suckiness seemed never-ending.  Plus, I'm pretty sure I just woke up in a bad mood - so the rest just seemed that much worse.  I ended the night feeling like I just needed a good cry.  You know that feeling?

But it's Friday.  The weekend starts here, and I'm determined to make it a fun weekend, and kick myself out of this crappy mood.  My guys are going to Scout camp.  Ice fishing.  Should be cold for them.  Nice and warm for the girls and I here at home though!  Hehe.  And maybe Bookworm will bring home some nice trout for dinner tomorrow like he did last year.


I also have a bunch of baby bows to make today.  Tomorrow I'm going to a baby shower for a sweet friend of mine who is having a little girl.  I've been planning to make her a great collection of adorable bows.  Have I made one single bow yet?  Nope.  I'm such a procrastinator.

Between making the bows today, going to the shower tomorrow, and church on Sunday, I can predict that the weekend will be over before I know it.  But you know what?  That's okay.  Because I'm going to ENJOY it.  Also I'm super excited about my fun giveaway on Monday!  I hope you come back to check it out.  I really think you'll like it!

I guess that's it for today.  I hope everybody has a good weekend, and be sure to come back on Monday!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thirteen things I'm thankful for this Thursday

In no particular order:

1 - I'm thankful for a warm home to be in.  It was 16 degrees outside this morning when hubby took the kids to school.

2 - I'm thankful for the amazing school my children are able to attend.  I'm not rich or privileged, but thanks to school choice, I am able to choose a public school that fits my children and what I want for them and their education.

3 - I'm thankful to live in this amazing country.  A country where boys and girls have the opportunity to go to school.  Despite all our flaws, this is still the greatest country on earth. (no offense to any of my non-American friends! )

4 - I'm thankful for a hard-working, dedicated husband.  I forget to tell him sometimes that I know I have it pretty good.

5 - I'm thankful for Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express mascara.  Still the best mascara I've ever used.



6 - I'm thankful for my Savior.

7 - I'm thankful for funny kids.  The other day on the way to pick up the older kids from school, Monkey informed me that when she was in high school I wouldn't have to come pick her up, because she could just drive her own Corvette.  Um, how many 5-year-olds even know what a Corvette is?


8 - I'm thankful for funny friends.  Not a day goes by that I don't get to laugh from something on FB, or in blog land, or one of my friends here in my day to day life.  Even on my saddest days.

9 - I'm thankful for Mod Podge.

10 - I'm thankful for the sunshine.  Even though it's freezing outside, it's bright and sunny.  That makes me cheerful.

11 - I'm thankful for music.  Whether spiritual, classical, or mainstream, there is always a song to fit my mood.  Music just makes life better.

12 - I'm thankful for the miracles of modern medicine.  It hurts my heart to know that there are still those in this world who have to suffer without it's benefits.

13 -I'm thankful for brave men and women who put their lives on the line to serve their fellow men and women.  Whether it be in the armed forces, law enforcement, firefighting, etc.

Hmmmm, now I'm on a roll, but I'm out of numbers!  What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WWTK Wednesday - and an embarrassing story!

Time for another edition of WWTK hosted by Mamarazzi, Queso, and Crazy Mama.  It's fun - you should totally do it!

Here are the questions and my answers:

{1} What is your most commonly used word or phrase when you are frustrated?


I'm not sure if I have a single most common one.  I have a colorful variety of exclamations (not necessarily curse words though) that I use when I'm mad or frustrated!  I'm trying hard to quit swearing.  I mean, my swearing is mild compared to many, but I'm still trying to quit completely.  It's hard though.

{2} What random question do you usually get from strangers or casual acquaintances?



This is easy - I am always asked how to pronounce my name.  Multiple, multiple times a week.  I addressed that here.  I am then promptly asked where it is from (Armenia), then I am asked if I am Armenian (I'm not).

3} Did you ever correspond by mail with anyone, who? Do you still have the letters?


Why yes I did!  A cute French boy named Jean-Paul.  He came to stay with the family of one of my guy friends, and we hung out a bit.  There was a little bit of attraction there - but he was only here for a short while.  Plus I was only in Middle school.  I think.  I may have been in HS.  Anyway - we corresponded for a short while.  I do not have the letters still, but I wish I did - his English was adorable - and his penmanship was excellent!

{4} Do you dance in public? why or why not?


I HAVE danced in public.  I used to dance in school.  Like, perform and stuff.  But I am pretty sure I was only mediocre at it.  I also used to go dancing back in my single days, and when hubby and I first met.  But it has been a long time since I danced in public, and I also feel like I have gotten really retarded at it in my fat old age.  Here I am, about to pull a MiMi, throw my pride to the wind - have no shame - and share something super humiliating with you!

Back many years ago, before I got mature and stuff, but after I got married and lost my rhythm - Hubby and I went to a fancy schmancy Christmas party for his work.  It was in a swank hotel ballroom, and there was a DJ and dancing and stuff.  So Hubby and I hit the dance floor.  I felt like an idiot.  Like I could TELL that I didn't have any rhythm anymore, and that I was dancing like a spaz.  So after we left the ballroom to check out a cute little shop in the hotel, I went in to use the bathroom.  I finished my business, and on the way out I noticed myself in the large, wide, full length mirror of the bathroom.  I decided to bust a move in front of the mirror to see if I actually looked as spastastic as I felt while dancing.  Yeah - you can see what's coming next. Someone totally walked in on me while I was gettin' down.  By myself.  In a public restroom.  I thought I would die.  You. are. welcome.

{5} What is your favorite kind of chapstick/lip balm?


 I don't use any?  I really don't.  If I'm feeling fancy I wear lipstick and gloss.  But I'm not a lip-balm user.  Oh, except I DO make it a point to occasionally use the awesome DP flavored lip balm MiMi sent me forever ago!  I'm probably going to go through it even faster now that I'm off the sauce.  Need some way to get my DP fix!

Okay - I shared with you, now I want to hear your answers!  If you'd like to share, click the button and link up!!


Photobucket

P.S. - I'm giving something super cool away on Monday!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Have you got Swag?

I'm talking about Swag Bucks.  Have you heard of it?  You probably have.  I'm always late to the game.  If you haven't though - you're missing out on getting free stuff.


I actually signed up for Swag Bucks a few years back - but didn't really see the value, and didn't do much with my account.

If you aren't familiar with Swag Bucks, it's basically a way to earn free stuff online.  Here's how it works:  You download the Swag Bucks toolbar, and then enjoy the different ways to earn swagbucks while you're online each day.  Swagbucks can be redeemed for all sorts of free crap!  Only it's not all crap!

There are several different ways to earn the bucks.  The easiest way is simply by doing what you do online each day anyway.  Search for stuff!  Instead of using google, or whatever other search engine you use, you use the Swag Bucks search engine (which is powered by google, and is a pretty decent search engine), and they randomly award swagbucks throughout the day. This is how I earn the majority of my swagbucks.  Other ways to earn are to take surveys, perform tasks, complete special offers - there's a whole list.  It all depends on how much time you want to invest into earning swagbucks.

I'm not willing to put in too terribly much time, so I'll share what I do, and tell you how it has benefited me.  You can decide how much or little you want to do with the site.  Besides using the SB search engine, I do a few other things each day to build up my balance.  On the SB toolbar, there is a heading that says "earn" with a drop-down menu.  It lists the different things you can do to earn swagbucks.  I take the daily poll every day.  You earn 1 SB just for taking the poll - it takes like 3 seconds!  Next I go to "NOSO" which is No Obligation Special Offers.  I never sign up for any of the offers, I just hit "skip" or "see next offer" until I get to the end - this takes under a minute.  You earn 2 SB for doing this each day.  I frequently watch (or listen to) SBTV to earn SB.  You just watch little clips that have to do with anything from homemaking, budgeting, gardening etc. to celebrity and entertainment news.  Whatever interests you.  You have to watch about 10 clips to earn 3 SB.  What I usually do is put the player on, then open up another tab and do whatever else I need to do online so I can feel like I'm not just sitting watching TV.  I've actually got SBTV playing right now while I type this post!  The last thing I try to do regularly is find a SB code.  They are posted a couple of times a day, either on the blog, or their FB page, or sometimes there's a hunt (more time consuming, but can be really fun!).  The codes are worth different amounts of SB's.  The ones I have entered have been worth between 4-10.  I posted the "swidget" at the bottom of my blog so I can check it throughout the day to see if there's a code posted.  I just do this when I happen to get online for something else.

Those are the things I do on a regular basis.  Occasionally I will try a survey, but I have only been able to complete a few and earn the SB's.  I usually find that I get disqualified about 5-10 minutes in, and then have to start all over with a new survey.  I don't like to waste my time, but if you do complete one you can earn between 25-200 SB's.  So if you like to take surveys, it can be worth your while.  I also do the games sometimes.  They are a fun way to pass the time if I just have 10 minutes until I have to go pick up the kids or something like that.  But, I try to spend my time on the computer productively - so I don't do the games too often.

Now, do I have anything to show for my efforts?  Well friends, I'm glad you asked!  There are all sorts of prizes in the SB Store that you can redeem your SB's for.  But I only ever purchase 1 prize:  $5.00 Amazon gift cards.  Each time I earn enough for a gift card (450 SB) I head to the "redeem" heading on the SB toolbar and go to the store.  I purchase the gift card and as soon as it's posted to my account (takes between 5-7 days), I head over to amazon.com to redeem it.  And I just watch my Amazon account grow.  Now I haven't been at this for too long, so I haven't been able to fund an entire Christmas or anything like that!  But what I was able to do was get my son this for Christmas:


 Something that would not have been in the budget if I hadn't had a $40 credit on my Amazon account.

Previously I purchased Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, and it is changing our lives as I type!  There is so much on Amazon that I'd like to have - so in my opinion the Amazon gift card is the best value from the SB Store, it's like getting free money - but you can use your SB's to purchase any of the other prizes too.

Like I mentioned before, the amount of SB's you earn is entirely dependent on how much time you are willing to invest.  I know there are people who spend hours and hours getting all the codes, performing the tasks, taking the surveys - and they get lots of bucks.  But I don't want it to be my occupation.  Still, it's nice to invest a relatively small amount of time each day, and be able to earn some things for free.  If it sounds like something you're interested in you should sign up right away!  And I would LOVE if you would click the following button to sign up - I'll get rewarded SB's for referring you!

Search & Win

Hey guess what?  I just earned 3 SB's for the TV clips that were playing while I typed this post!

Now lets review the simple things you can do each day to earn:

Search
Daily Poll
NOSO
SBTV
SB Codes

Make sure to follow them on FB and Twitter so you keep in the loop for when they post codes!

So if you DO use Swag Bucks - I'd love you to tell me about your experience - or share any tips you might have!  If you don't and want to know more, I'd love to answer any questions (although I'm no expert).

Monday, January 9, 2012

Calling all friends....

It's Monday, it's Monday!  Today I'm linking up with the awesome and fabulous Kenlie for Friend Makin' Monday!

This week's questions are some I have answered before but some new ones too, so bear with me!  Or skim.  Or completely choose not to read this post.  I'm a big girl, I can handle it.

Here we go!

1) What is one of your favorite ways to spend a Saturday?

I usually spend my Saturdays going to a sports game for one of my kids.  I have a son who plays basketball, and a daughter who plays soccer.  Since I love sports, and I adore my kids, this is definitely a win-win.  Even when we lose.  Hehe.  So going to games is definitely a favorite way to spend my Saturday.

2) List your top three favorite TV shows.

Top 3 favorite TV shows would have to be 1) NCIS - I haven't missed a single episode in it's entire 9 season run.  Wow, that makes me sound sorta pathetic.  2) Blue Bloods.  I am a huge Tom Selleck fan, and I also had to watch because it has Donnie Wahlberg (you know I'm an NKOTB-lover!).  But the show itself is actually soooo good.  So it's my #2 show.  3) Ringer.  You may not have heard of this show.  It's on the CW, and it is an edge-of- your-seat, suspense filled ride that just gets better every week!

3) Would you rather be in pictures or take them?

Well, how often have you ever seen me post a picture of myself on this blog?  'Nuff said.

4) Why do you blog?

I blog to journal, and keep in touch with great bloggy friends.

5) Share five websites that you visit regularly…

facebook
pinterest - So addicting!
Ribbon Blossoms on Etsy - my shop!
KSL - my go-to site for thrifty finds, and local news
Swagbucks - posting all about this tomorrow.  I'm a little late to the game - but I have some good stuff to share!

6) If you could have lunch with one person from your Twitter list who would it be?

Didn't even have to think about this one.

Why hello Mr. President.
(hey, I warned you here that it was gonna get political this year)

7) List a few of your favorite snacks.


I am in love with:

and:


And I recently found a frozen fruit blend of tropical fruits with no added sugar at Costco that makes the BEST smoothies.  No milk, or sugar required!

8 ) Do you have a pet? If so, what kind?

We have a 5 year old boxer mix.  She's a great dog.  It's been good for the kids to have her.

9) Which three material possessions would you struggle to live without?

My laptop, my car, my cellphone.

10) What’s your favorite drink?

Dr. Pepper!  But I am 8 days sober today - I hope I have the strength to keep it up!

11) Do you enjoy cooking?

I love cooking, but don't do it as often as I should, because I hate cleaning up the mess after.  And I am a super messy cook.

12) Do you have children?

Yep.  I posted all about them here.

13) What are your favorite hobbies?  

I enjoy playing the piano, blogging, crafting, and shopping.  Yeah, I'm a little shallow sometimes - so?

14) Would you consider yourself to be shy or outgoing?

I'm a little intimidated by meeting new people, but I am very friendly and outgoing if I'm comfortable.

15) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change?

I was going to say my weight, but actually I would like to say my self-discipline/motivation.  Because that would serve me well in losing weight, but also so many other areas in which I want to improve.

16) Who is your favorite actor/actress?

This question is too hard.  Not because there's too many to choose from, but because I mostly can't stand anyone in Hollywood.  I do like a few, like Tom Selleck - but don't know who my fave is.

17) What’s the coolest thing you’ve done this week?

Well, it's only Monday.  So I guess the coolest thing I did was go to church yesterday.

18) Do you live near your family or far from them?

Near.  VERY, very near.  My parents and brothers and sister all live within 15 minutes.  My MIL, and all but 1 of my bro/sis-in-laws all live within 10 minutes.  My MIL actually just moved into a new apartment that is about 2 minutes away.  But she needs our help a lot, so it's good.  Mostly.

19) List three of your talents.

I'm not very talented.  Let's see.  I play the piano - adequately.  I am a pretty good cook.  Oh, I think I do a nice job applying my eye-make up?  I'm grasping for straws here - sorry.

20) What is your greatest attribute?

Integrity.

Did you learn anything new, or surprising about me?  If you'd like to play along, answer the questions then go here!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Parlez-vous Français?

Je parle un petit français.  Très petit.

I had my first French lesson as an adult today!  I took French in Middle School for one year.  I loved it - sort of.  I loved the language, but the class could be somewhat tedious.  I remember very little from that 8th grade French class.  But I was surprised today at some of the stuff that came back to me from all those years ago.

I have a sweet friend in my ward who speaks French.  She served a mission for our church in France, and has been a HS French teacher.  She recently retired, and it is perfect, because I would really like to learn to speak French again, and better, and she needs someone to teach!  Voila!

I have a love/hate relationship with all things French.  I think the language is absolutely beautiful.  That's why I chose French as my foreign language class all those years ago.  Living in Utah, and being half Mexican, Spanish would probably have been the more logical choice.  But when have I ever been logical?

Back to the love/hate relationship.  Beautiful language.  Delicious food.  There is definitely a romanticism about France.  But also I have a distaste for the arrogance, the condescending attitude it seems that the French as a whole have towards America, and Americans, and you know, their general disdain for anything moral.  But now I am the one judging and generalizing.  I really don't personally know any French people - so maybe I'm completely mistaken?  It just seems from the things I read in the news, and especially political news and entertainment news that these are the views the French have towards America.  But I could be completely wrong?  I mean I know many more conservative cultures judge America by the way people in Hollywood act, and they certainly aren't a fair representation of ME!  I welcome input from anyone more knowledgeable than me on this subject!

Boy do I know how to go off on a tangent, don't I?  But I'm excited for the French lessons.  And I love, love, LOVE my awesome friend who is teaching me.  Are you learning anything new this year?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

So here's the dealio....

I've been a somewhat inconsistent blogger the past couple of years, and I realize that some of the friends/readers I have now are not the same people who were around when I first started blogging.

Sometimes I start reading a new blog, and they will be talking about kids or family members who I'm not familiar with, but it is apparent that the other regular readers are, because they've been around for awhile.  So I thought it would be a good idea to re-introduce our family to you, you know just in case you've ever read a post and wondered who the heck I was talking about - or maybe you don't care - but I want to talk about my kids today - so this is what you get!

I, of course, am Xazmin.  I'm 35 (yes, I am now closer to 40 than 30!), and I am married to Hubby (39 - way closer to 40 than me!).  We've been married for 16 years, despite what it says in my outdated profile over there.  We own a small carpet cleaning business, and I am a stay at home mom. Hubby is patient, laid-back and hard-working.  I am a little more impatient and "sensitive", I can be hard working when I want to be (but who wants to be?) and could stand to lose quite a few pounds!

We have 4 beautiful children who keep us broke, busy and proud:

Bookworm is 13.  He plays basketball, the violin, and video games.  Although, we're pretty strict about the amount of time spent, and types of games played on that last one.  I'd be more worried about the video games if he wasn't equally addicted to reading.   He's also pretty clever and keeps us laughing with his quick wit.

Cowgirl is 11.  She is quiet and serious at first glance - but upon closer inspection can be quite a smart-mouth.  She is kind and caring though, and always tries to stand up for the underdog.  She plays the piano and is turning out to be quite the little soccer player.  She also LOVES horses and wants to be a real cowgirl.


Pixie will turn 9 next month.  She loves to do her hair and spends lots of time trying different styles.  She cut it off last spring for Locks of Love and it is just starting to get long enough for her to start trying different things with again.  She is smart as a whip, and loves to draw.  And she is quite the good little artist.  She is just about to start piano lessons which she has been dying to do for YEARS it seems!


And the caboose of our family (for now, at least) is Monkey.  She is 5 going on 25.  This girl says the MOST outrageous things.  She's smart like her brother and sisters, but she knows it and is sort of a sass.  She keeps us laughing always, and has a fantastic imagination.  Watching her play when she doesn't know you are watching is pretty stinkin' hilarious.

And she always "poses" when you're trying to take a picture.

So there is my family in a nutshell.  These kids are my pride and joy...but make no mistake - there are moments that I want to strangle them!  Or myself.  They fight, and whine and complain like any typical kids - but overall they are smart, good, funny kids and I am so very blessed to be their mother.  Also, I'm very blessed to have such a great partner in raising them.  I guess you could say I'm a pretty lucky girl overall - and it's good to remind myself of that every once in a while.  Maybe this post was more for me than for you.  Sorry.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

We Want To Know Wednesday - 2012!

It's been a while since I've linked up to WWTK Wednesday - but I've read many of your posts over the weeks, even if I haven't always commented, and haven't linked up.

But I'm playin' today!!

So here are the questions from the fabulous Mamarazzi:

{1} What do you love about blogging?

I love the friends I've made.  I love the inspiration and ideas I get for various, projects, crafts, organization, etc. from other, more clever bloggers.  I love the journal aspect of it, because I believe in journaling - I've just always been really bad at it.  Writing a blog seems to make it a little bit easier.

{2} What is your favorite scent of candle/air freshener?

I have a hard time with perfumed things.  Perfume gives me a headache.  However I do like the Scentsy-style candle warmers.  The right fragrances are something that makes me happy when I walk in the door!  I'm too cheap to buy Scentsy however, so I use the knock-off stuff from Walmart.  Don't judge me.  My favorite scent for Christmas time was called Sparkling Berry Garland from Better Homes and Gardens.  It was THE perfect Christmas scent.  It smelled of pine mixed with berries - and not the really strong, overpowering pine, but just the perfect amount of pine.  My other favorites, also from BHand G are: Butterscotch Maple Cream, maple Candied Almond, and Vanilla Caramel Spice.  They're all kind of "toasty-warm" smelling - if that makes sense.

{3} How would you describe your style?

I don't know if I really have a style.  Is ghetto a style?  Just kidding.  I guess eclectic.  I love some really trendy stuff, and a LOATHE some of the really trendy stuff.  Some more classic things I like, but some "classic" stuff just looks outdated to me.  I'm sorta picky, but I guess I like and dislike different things from all sorts of styles.  I think that paragraph maybe makes no sense?  Oh well - I tried.

{4} What are 3 things your dream home would have that your current home doesn't have?

This is easy.  I don't need a pool or a tennis court.  I'm a simple girl.  My 3 dream home features would be: First, a main-floor laundry.  No more hauling loads of laundry up and down stairs to and from the bedrooms! Second, I would have a whole game/theatre/entertainment room in my basement.  I'm talking theatre system, wet bar (with fountain drinks - not alcohol!), mini-fridge and little kitchenette, pool table, pinball, arcade games, and game consoles.  If this all sounds a little juvenile, well - it is!  My dream home would be the "it" house for my kids and all their friends to come hang out at!  I love my kids friends - and I trust my kids - but having your house be the "hang-out" is sort of a comforting thing, knowing where your kids are, what they're doing and who they're with - you know?  Last, my dream home would have a deluxe food-storage area.  One that would store my food storage,at just the right temperature, and be convenient with helping me keep it all organized.

{5} Do you look at your keyboard when you type?

No.  I am an excellent typist.  Before my SAHM days, I was an executive secretary for one of the lead engineers at Boeing.

Now you know my answers - what about yours?  Click the button if you'd like to play along!




Photobucket

Monday, January 2, 2012

Talk To Us Tuesday....my first time!


Update!:  I'm linking up with Amanda at Serenity Now's Weekend Bloggy Reading!


Haha - you thought something dirty when you read my title didn't you?  Admit it.  I know your minds too well.

I just meant that it's the first time I've linked up to TTUT.  Not that I haven't wanted to in the past - just that I'm a ginormous blog slacker.  But it's a new year, right??

Plus, today I have something to brag about.  I want to show you my favorite gift I gave for Christmas this year.  The reason I'm so proud is because I made it myself.  And it involved sewing.  And if you know me at all, you know this:  I. don't. sew.  I HAVE sewn in the past, and I hated it, and I was horrible at it, and I felt like a complete and utter failure.  I don't love that feeling.  And I'm afraid of the sewing machine.  It is sort of like my mortal enemy.

But when I saw THIS on pinterest, I was smitten.  I knew that I wanted to make some for my Monkey.

There are some pretty fancy felt food tutorials that you can purchase online.  But why pay when you can find some really great FREE tutorials all over the place?  I followed several of the links from the above mentioned post, and also found a couple of others that you can find on my Pinterest pinboard if you're interested.

I also could NOT have done this without the support, help and endless patience of my fabulous bestie Tanielle.  She let me use her sewing machine, and was very patient with my sewtardedness, helping me when I messed up, or didn't know how to do something right.  She also came up with some great designs.  See, we didn't really follow the tutorials exactly.  We followed some of them very closely, and some we totally reinvented, and some Tanielle just made up on her own, and I copied.

Anyways - I spent many, many hours, and a few sleepless nights getting these finished, and I have to say that although they are very flawed...I'm still really proud.  And Monkey plays with them constantly.  She loves them.  Onto the pictures!

We've got a plethora of cookies to choose from.


Or how about a burger and fries?

 

Pizza and Doritos anyone?

And don't forget the most important meal of the day:

But wait, are you trying to be healthier for the new year?  We've got some strawberries and carrots for that!
 

This sandwich was probably the hardest/most time consuming.  But at least it comes with chips!

I mentioned before how we really cut down on our Christmas budget this year...well this project probably cost around $12, and Monkey got all this food to play with!


This is definitely going to be an ongoing project - I have lots of ideas for more food swirling around in my head!  Now to get over the sewing machine fear, and get my own set up and running!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and that your New Year is starting out wonderfully!

Go check out these hot chicas I'm linking up with.  Love you Shawn and Impulsive!!

Also linking up with:

Weekend Bloggy Reading