Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Mama

Motherly instinct is a wonderful mystery. Although modern medicine and science try to explain the phenomena of instinct there are no words or definitions that can nail it down. When a woman becomes a mother she somehow taps into a psychic and connected power with her child. That's how they know you are sneaking Oreos to your room and that you are dating your ex for the third time. Most mothers worry whether or not they will be good enough for their baby. They worry about organic vs processed baby food, Barny - is he really worth it, and will their child love them more than they love their father. They will read many books on parenting hoping that someone has the answer and is willing to share. But in the end, all they have to do is follow their instinct.

This card goes out to a mother of one adorable baby boy.  She is a new mom and like most new moms she was worried for nothing. She is perfect. She spoils him just enough (and allows the grandmas to spoil him rotten like every good mom should), she talks to him in English instead of baby gibberish, and she is not worried if he stands up and bumps his head on the table - according to her, how else will he learn to be careful.

It is my firm belief that in the end, all that mothers have to do is love their child more than anything else in the world. As for the rest - let psychiatrists figure it out.

Happy mothers day New Mama. You're doing great!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Salsa Mama

Mothers can make you feel better when you are having a bad day.....or make you feel like you should have worn a cardigan over your v-neck shirt even though you ARE leaving something to the imagination. And then there are those mothers that make you feel all warm and fuzzy feeding you chips and salsa when you go visit.

I will never admit this out loud and I will swear on a stack of bibles that I did not type this on my blog, but there is one lovely lady I know who makes salsa better than my mother. I can (and possibly have), drink this stuff.

She is a mother of three and there is nothing she wouldn't do for them. Her two oldest are grown but always go to her for advice and guidance. Her youngest has the energy of three little boys (and the sweat to prove it). She tries her best to keep up with him and most of the time she is successful. There is however, this rumor going around that she watched and cheered her heart of for her son during a football game....only the little boy on the field was not her son.....nor was she watching the right game......nor was she cheering for the correct jersey number. But you know what they say about rumors - the funny ones are always true.

I made this card for her because after I eat her salsa all I want to do is give her a big hug and kiss....and drink a big cup of water.

Happy Mother's Day Salsa Mama! Your salsa rocks but it is NOT better than my moms ;) Hi mom! I love you mom!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Buffalo Bills Mama

Mother, mom, mama, ma, madre, however you say it, the feelings and memories that follow is almost always the same - love, warmth, cuddly,  soft, judgmental, hugs, kisses, safe, laughter, busy body, cookies, your favorite sandwich with the crust cut off - I could go on. Mothers are superhuman. They know everything, see everything, and can do anything. Being a mother is a full time job they will have for the rest of their life. I am over 30 years old and I still call my mother when I have a bad dream. What?.... she makes me feel better.

This year I have decided to show my appreciation to all the mothers in my life - sisters, sister-in-laws, and friends - by creating and sending them a card for mother's day.  Here is card 1 of 8.

The lovely mother that is receiving this card has a very giving heart. She always makes you feel right at home when you go over to visit. She'll make your favorite food, play your favorite card game, she'll even let you watch whatever you like on TV. But come football season look out - she is a wonderful hostess up until the Buffalo Bills lose. Then she is in a bad mood for the rest of the day and it is best to stay out of her way. Unfortunately for her family, that's almost every Sunday from August to January :)

She has one child - a teenage boy. He is polite, giving, smart, and will undoubtedly become a wonderful young man. But for now he is a teenager which means he can be a butt-head. I love how she reminds him that no matter how cool he thinks he is, she can still tell him to put his underwear away...loud enough so his girlfriend can hear in the other room. Cracks me up. She is awesome.

Happy mother's day to my Buffalo Bills mama.

Monday, April 19, 2010

He made it!!!

Check - the MS 150 is off my brother's bucket list. I will be the first to admit, 6 months ago when my brother first brought up the idea of riding his bike 180 some miles, I took one look at his sausage roll of a stomach and thought - you're not going to make it son. But he did. And he looked so good doing it. I could not be more proud.

It's a shame this picture wasn't in focus. You would have seen a very tired but a very happy brother.

The crowd at this event was great. For some the end is bittersweet. They are happy to have accomplished this goal but they are sad it's over. For others, the end is a welcome release to throbbing muscles and a sore body. The cheers, the bells, and the signs of the crowd is what help some riders pedal those last 100 yards. 

What's on your bucket list?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

97 miles down - 85 left to go

I am very happy to report my brother made it through the first day without having to use the butt cream. He breezed through the first 97 miles in just five hours. Once the riders arrive in La Grange (the half way point), they are told to take a shower and sign up for massages. There are several shower trailers lined up but the lines are still long.

Each team has a tent where the riders and their families eat lunch and dinner. For those riders who were not lucky enough to reserve a hotel room they sleep in the tent as well - my brother was one of them. Some of the teams have the most interesting bbq pits. This one belongs to a sanitation team.

Unfortunately there is a flash flood watch in La Grange this evening. My brother was told to remove any items from the floor to avoid getting wet, which was very funny seeing as how his blow up mattress was on the floor. But looking on the bright side of things, he could turn this bike ride into a triathlon if the flood waters do come. That is on his bucket list as well. 

Below is a card I made him for the second day just in case he needed a little pick me up.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

MS 150

The MS 150 is a bike ride from Houston to Austin. It takes place over a two day period. Riders ask for sponsorship to help support this great cause. Although it is called MS 150 the ride is over 180 miles. My brother has been training for the MS 150 since October of last year. He took it up as a form of inexpensive exercise. Little did he know the bike, the shoes, the gear, the training classes, the butt cream, and cycling classes would add up to over a $1,000 - but he has loved almost every minute of it - the times he has had to use the butt cream - not so much :)

This will be his first year in the event and he is so excited - I am nervous. There are thousands of riders every year and unfortunately its raining and a bit yucky this weekend. I know he is well trained and he will be carefully but it's the people around him I'm most nervous about. He is part of an awesome team The Hammer Heads. His team leader has been doing this event for many years and is very detailed oriented, qualities both my brother and I admire in a leader. For example, below is one of many emails my brother has received leading up to this event - notice this is a MINIMUM packing list. 

Here is the suggested minimum packing list...
Bike and both wheels
Cycling clothes (both days)
Cycling shoes
Cycling gloves (2 pairs)
Cycling socks (2 pairs)
Cycling sun glasses
Change of Clothes for after ride (both days)
Change of shoes
2 Towels
Cool weather clothes (jacket, tights, etc.)
Ride packet (including numbers)
Cell phone - please leave it off while riding unless you are on call or need to make an emergency call
Plastic grocery bag (for bike seat in LaGrange)
Rain jacket
Bike computer
Saddle bag
Water bottles
2 (or more) spare tubes
Prescription or reading glasses
Aspirin, Advil, Tylenol etc. (we will have Ibuprofen in the tent and a first-aid kit for small items)
Medication (as needed)
Lip balm and sunscreen
Cash and a credit card
Copy of Identification & insurance card (put this in your seat pack)
Cable & lock (optional, if used, be sure to NOT lock or block any other bikes) 

As of 9am (central time) he has completed 38 miles and has 62 left for the day. There will be a small group of us meeting him for dinner in La Grange. I can't wait to see him. This will be such a wonderful accomplishment for him.
Below is a card I made for him to help kick off the event.  Hopefully it helped calm any nerves he might have had this morning. 

The sentiment was stamped using two different stamp sets. The dragonfly is a brad and the border was made using a fiskars border punch. I really liked how it turned out. I hope he did too. I will be taking pictures of the event throughout the day and posting them this evening and tomorrow. I have no doubt he will successfully complete this bike ride and be able check it off of his bucket list. GO HAMMER HEADS!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Little Monster

One of my nephews is turning 11 tomorrow. As is typical with this generation they are glued to their TV playing whatever is popular nowadays - PS3, Xbox, Wii... Gone are the days of playing outside, riding your bike, and getting mud on your pants. Now when I was growing I happened to do none of those things either but at least I wasn't playing Atari 12 hours a day. Mostly because it would overheat and quit working but still. Give me a good book and I would lock myself in my room until I was done. Granted I didn't have a lock on my door and I shared a room with my older sister until I was about 15 so the room was more hers than mine but you get the point.

I come from a big family. And my big family reproduced in big numbers as well. There are 16 or 17 nieces and nephews (it's hard to keep up) so needless to say a girl can go broke buying gifts for every single one of them. Especially when a PS3 game is $50 a pop (which is the only thing on their wish list) The only reason this little rug-rat is getting anything from me is because he is also my godson. My brother (his godfather) called me to coordinate this year's birthday gift. He found out that my sister (my nephews' mother) was getting him an itouch. My brother's idea was to get him some kind of accessory to go with the itouch. I couldn't believe this. I don't have an itouch. Why should I contribute to further itouch happiness for a little kid who doesn't work. NO. NO I said. I had to draw a line. A line had to be drawn. (I feel that when you repeat yourself you further make your point) I was determined to come up with a gift that had substance. One that I could be morally proud of.

I came up with a brilliant idea. This kid is going to summer camp!!!! He needs to do something other than playing a video game or watching a movie or listening to his ipod. He needs to interact with other kids and have conversations that don't revolve around level 343 and saving the princess from a giant talking squid. No I never went to camp. I had no idea they existed when I was his age and it's a good thing I didn't know about them. Do you know that they have camps where you can dissect and learn about animal organs? There is another camp where you can learn to be an animal vet or be a zookeeper and learn to clean, feed, and train zoo animals.  There is even a camp where you can pretend you are CSI agent and you learn how to take fingerprints and cast shoe prints. How cool is that? After reading all the choices I went back to make sure the age limit was 13 and not 31. I wanted to go. (Ok, ok -  I'm not 31 either). So after I gave him a list of camps (from a list of camps I had already pre-picked. Some camps are not made of substance - Learn How Slushies  Are Made - no thank you, I am on a substance mission.) he selected the Forensic Scientist camp. My heart was over joyed. Finally a gift of substances. I gift I could be proud of. Perhaps because of this camp he will grow up and become a forensic scientist and solve important cases, discover who steals my coke from the community fridge at work, although my name is clearly written on it, or finds out who really killed JFK - what? It could happen.

Turns out substance is just like healthy food - all the good stuff for you is expensive. Instead of spending $25 on an itouch caring case, I am going to spend over $100 on a 5 day camp. That is only one third of the cost. My brother and sister are going to pay the rest. Substance camps are not cheap.

Here is the card I made him for his birthday. I really liked how it turned out. It's one of my favorites

The sentiments and stamped monster images are from the Hero Arts Monster stamp set. The tree trunk was from a different Hero Arts stamp set - Whoo Loves You. The stars above the monster's head are outlined in white stickles. I used patterned paper on the left hand side and wrapped embroider thread around the center. I didn't like how the bow turned out so I placed a yellow brad to secure the ends. The sentiments were stamped using charcoal chalk ink and mounted with pop dots. I colored in the characters with copic markers. Since the card base was kraft card stock, the copic marker colors came out a little different than intended but overall I really like the card.  The corners were rounded using the corner chomper.

Do you have kids? What are they doing for the summer? I won't judge if they will be playing video games all summer :)

Friday, April 9, 2010


One of the ladies I work with has a very unique laugh. It's the kind of laugh that makes you jump a little because its loud and unexpected. The kind of laugh that would make a person with a weak bladder wet themselves just a little (my bladder is very strong - case you were wondering).

I work in a suite across the hall from her and although we are more than 30 feet away, I can hear laugh through walls and hallways. It makes me smile every time.  She has a wonderful sense of humor and finds something to laugh about every day - even if it's herself. If I haven't heard her laugh by 9am, I know she is either in a meeting or not in the office.

Sadly, I didn't hear laugh once today. She had a four hour presentation and she was a bit nervous.  Although I was confident she would knock their socks off, I thought a little note wishing her well would bring a smile to her face.

 The sentiment and image are from Hero Arts. The yellow flower on the sentiment is a brad. I embossed the flower design above the striped paper with clear embossing powder. For the sparkly centers I used white stickles*. The blue flower in the top left hand corner is a punch out and a yellow brad was placed in the center. The white swirly dotted line was made with a white pen. For the border I used the Fiskars scalloped punch.

*If you don't know what stickles are or have never used stickles before - you have to buy some. I love it. It has become one of my new favorite craft items. Stickles adds a little glitter without adding the mess. They come in all kinds of colors and you can find them at Michael's and Hobby Lobby.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Needle and Thread

One of the blogs I follow - clearlytangled - is written by a friend of mine. She is one of those people who I wouldn't like because she is creative (and I would be jealous) but I do like because she is a great person. She is the kind of person who designs her own graphics for her cards, makes her own fabric, and would quit her job to learn how to make paper if she could. She is also the kind of person who needs to wear a hard hat to get through the day safely.... which makes me feel better about her having all this talent :)

About a year ago, she showed me a bag she made. At first I was confused because it looked like a wallet....and then she unfolded it. Genius - a bag that folds into itself. I wanted one so bad. But she quickly described how long it took her to make this one bag and how she didn't think she would make any more. So instead of asking if I could buy one from her, I told her that these would sell well if she ever decided to make them again and she should think about it before she made any rash, final decisions......I really wanted on.

Fast forward a few months later and look what I got for my birthday.

Here is the bag laid flat.

You fold up the sides.....

then you fold up the ends.

Then snap it up to look like....

This was done with needle and thread - genius!

Want one of your own - visit her etsy shop.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What is your favorite childhood book?

A good friend of mine was having a party for her son. She wanted to do something special for his first birthday party but she didn't want gifts. More specificaly, she didn't want toys or clothes. Her son is her first and the first grandchild on both sides. Believe me when I tell you he has more toys then he will ever play with and more clothes then most adults. For example, I am pretty sure he has more shoes than I do.

She loves to read. She read to him almost everyday he was in her womb. So I thought, why not have everyone bring him their favorite childhood book. Great idea right? His library would grow and their gift would last longer than if they bought a simple toy or piece of clothing. This little boy made out like a bandit.  Guests brought varies children's books as well as young adult books. I personally bought him the Percy Jackson Series. I did not read this as a child, but I truly loved the series as an adult.

Her theme was monkey. I helped make her party invitations, which came out super cute. We did a waterfall card (similar to a previous post). A few days before the party, I decided to make a gift for her; some thank you cards.

These were so easy. Here is what I used:

The cuddlebug was used to emboss the leaf background. I used my cricut (everyday paper dolls cartridge) to cut out the monkey and a 2 inch round punch was used to add some interest to the card. I decided to use white on white because I wanted the monkey and the thank you sentiment to stand out. She loved them.  I hope you do to.

What was your favorite childhood book?

Big Brothers

I come from a big family - both in number and in lbs. :) My oldest brother discovered the South Beach Diet about three months ago. This is a man who drank diet coke for breakfast, loved his pizza, and could finish a bag of chips in less than 10 minutes. Three months later, he as lost over 45 lbs and he feels and looks great. So great that he started preaching the word (or words I should say) South Beach. Now, 9 of us are either doing South Beach or at least reducing our fat, calorie, and sugar intake. As a family we are down over 200lbs. It is truly amazing. The least likely of us is showing all of us how to live a healthy life. We send in our weekly lbs lost (and rarely lbs gained)  to him on Sunday mornings.  Throughout the week he sends us encouraging text messages and makes phone calls, seeing how we are doing. He always gives words of encouragement and he never makes us feel more guilty if we say we ate a brownie :)

Sometimes big brothers can be a pain in the butt and sometimes they care about making your butt smaller. So I decided to make my brother a thank you card.

The sentiment is a stamp image and it says "You are beautiful - inside & out'. The card itself is a standard size 4.5"x 6"made of kraft paper. I used three patterned pages from DCWV- The green stack. My embellishments are a button with a thread tied through and a yellow flower brad. What looks like twine is actually embroider thread. It's a manly card but its still adorable. I think he is going to love it.

Turning the big 30

A very good friend of mine is turning 30 this week. Normally we only go out to dinner to celebrate but with this year being such a special year, I decided he deserved a special gift. So come football season we are going to see his favorite football team - the Texans. He has never seem them live so this should be fun. Below is a birthday card I made for him. I think I might have overdone it with the embellishments. It seems a bit too busy. What do you think?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pumpkin Doughnuts

Last night was my dinner party and we had a great time. I tried a new dessert recipe - pumpkin doughnuts. I know what you are thinking - doughnuts for dessert? I would agree that doughnuts are not the first thing to come to mind when you think about dessert but the recipe seemed simple and fast so I said why not. The recipe came from Cuisine at Home issue no. 71 October 2008.

Cuisine at Home is one of my favorite food magazines. Instead of annoying and lengthy advertisements they have product feature pages. They explain the difference of a particular product - for example, a cast iron skillet. They will discuss the features, price, and uses of several name brand cast iron skillets out there.

My absolute favorite thing about the magazine are the recipe layouts.  They are very simple to follow with detailed instructions and pictures. Most of the recipes also come with a short history lesson about that particular dish which can be fascinating.

This particular recipe was fairly simple to follow. I made a few substitutions - Splenda instead of regular sugar and regular brown sugar and low fat buttermilk.

They came out ok. They were not as flavorful as I thought they would be. Full fat might be the way to go next time.  I was also thinking about adding in some cinnamon or some cayenne pepper for a kick.

Makes about 18 doughnuts and wholes
Total time: 1 hour

1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 T unsalted butter melted
4 t baking powder
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t table salt
1/2 t baking soda

Fold in; Pat Out
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Fry in:
Vegetable oil

Whisk egg and yolk together in a large bowl until frothy. Add pumpkin, sugar, buttermilk, brown sugar, and butter; whisk until combine. Stir in baking powder, pie spice, salt, and soda. Fold flour in gradually until a sticky dough forms; cover with plastic wrap and freeze 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 2" oil to 370 degrees in an electric skillet, deep fryer, or straight-sided pan over medium heat. Pat out dough on a well-floured surface to 1/2" thick, then cut with 3" and 1" biscuit cutters dipped in flour. Transfer doughnuts and holes to a floured baking sheet using a spatula that's been dusted in flour. Fry doughnuts and holes in batches in the oil until browned, about 3 minutes, turning once. Drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Coat in sugar if desired.