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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Follow your heart

I am not a risk taker by nature.  I like to know exactly how things are going to go.  Nice and orderly and familiar....that's me.  However over the past year or so I've been trying to change. Not much change so far but baby steps right?  My personal goal is to try and
love without fear.  
Fear of rejection...fear of financial loss...fear of sounding stupid...fear of not knowing the answer.  
I randomly came across this quote today and it really
struck a cord with me.

"It's Impossible" said Pride
"It's Risky" said Experience
"It's pointless" said Reason
"Give it a try" whispered Heart

So I'm going to listen to my heart more and not worry so much about the rest.  Go ahead and be generous with my money and trust that God will work it out.  Tell someone I'm not very close to how sorry I am that their loved one died without being afraid I might upset them more.  Let people know how much I appreciate them without fearing that they won't think I am sincere. 

Easy to say, much harder to do.  
But I am a work in progress....

Monday, March 28, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Today I'm posting Carissa style from Lower Case Letters for the Miscellany Monday Blog Link up.

1.  No bad news on Fridays!
The weekend started with some bad news this past Friday, what's up with that?  It's supposed to be TGIF.  Oh well, we're hoping God will spin some good out of it.
Time will tell, we have faith.

2.  Sweet Nothings
My 5 year old says "Mom, I love you more than
an 8-legged octopus".  
Well, I guess I'll take that as a compliment.

3.  No gourmet here
Grandpa and Nona (Sprigs of Rosemary) came for a visit on Sunday since they couldn't make it to the boys' birthday party.  We were planning on having Bacon Ranch Burgers and potato skins, respectable right?
Well we discovered our potatoes weren't in the best shape just as we began to prepare them so we moved to plan B - lounge fries (a local hit at the Lounge or Clubhouse of fries smothered in bacon, cheese, and ranch dressing).  So I took out the frozen bag of french fries and realized that instead of getting french fries the last time I was at the store, I got tater tots.
So we had burgers and tots...you can't feed a foodie tater tots!...how embarrassing.  

4. Beadworks Buzz
Now that the boys' birthday party is over, I can refocus back on my home showing.  The invites go out this week.  I've come to realize I will have to have more than one. Not that that's a bad thing :)  There too many people to invite and my home is only so big.  I don't want people tripping over each other so I think I'll go for a few smaller gatherings.  New business cards should arrive next week.  And I'm finishing up some last new designs and my raffle piece.  I promise to post some sneak peeks soon.

5. Anytime soup
I made one of my favorite soups this weekend called Mediterranean Soup.  I haven't made it in years.  My husband calls it stinky soup, I think he just can't comprehend having cinnamon in soup.
Cinnamon does NOT stink.  
Anyway here's the recipe....it's delicious!

Saute these items
3-4 diced garlic cloves
1 cup diced onion
2 tsp Olive Oil

Add: 1-1/2" cups water
1 (16oz) can of chicken broth
1 (14-1/2oz) can of diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 TBSP chopped parsley

Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 min.

Add: 1 (15oz) can chick peas
1/4 cup Ditalina Pasta (or other small pasta)

Simmer 9 minutes and then serve!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Old West Party

My little bandit

Here are the details of our Old West birthday party for our boys from this past weekend!

Banner - Wish I had a better pic of the banner in it's entirety.  It was super easy to make, printed out the design and colored it in with colored pencil.  Then I took a wet tea bag and "sponged" it on each piece to antique them.  Hung them on a string with mini clothes pins.   I got this string and clothespins as part of a baby gift from my baby shower and have used several times for a bunch of different things.  It was super cute as a shower gift too...it had little onesies hung on it...sweet right :)

Bean Bag Toss Game - Got these great silver buckets in Target's $1 section.  Kept the theme with the same star graphic.  My mother sewed the bean bags for me from an old pair of jeans that were too small for my son.  They're actually "rice" bags, not bean bags :)  I filled them with rice and closed off the holes with a few stitches.

Party Munchies
Cheese and Crackers
Basic?  Yes, but a staple at our get togethers cause they're kid friendly.

Various "spuds"
I tried to use serving dishes one may find in an old west town.  Wood, baskets and cast iron.

My Trail Mix 
My own mix of Dry Roasted Peanuts, Chocolate Chips, Butterscotch Chips, Pretzels, Raisins, and mini marshmallows.  Served in a Cast Iron pot.

The Cupcakes
From Aldi's mix and icing of course.  It's the best!  Note the gold wrappers :)

Little Mugs
Bought at the party store for the kiddies to drink their juice at the Saloon

The Saloon
Drink station - Featuring Juice, Root Beer, & Whiskey!

The Mining

My outdoor Trading Post and Weigh Station

The Gold!
I painted rocks from my landscaping to make the "nuggets".  Then buried them with regular rocks in two big buckets of sand.  The kids had a good time rootin' for the gold.

The Weigh Station
Once the kids found enough gold to out weigh my big gold nugget, they could trade it in for the Trading Post goodies (aka their treat bags).

I used the same Tea Bag Treatment in the letters for the sign.

The Goodies
Dynamite sticks (Twizzlers), Chocolate Gold Coins, Punching Bag Balloons, Mining Glow Sticks, Candy Filled Gold Bars, and more!  The Gold Bars were my favorite, found these great little gold bar boxes at the party store and they were just perfect.  Used some tins, aluminum cans, baskets, and glass jars as holders.

The Trading Post
Made from two cardboard boxes with hand drawn wood grain.  Gotta love Sharpies!  Turned out pretty good, my kids are still playing with it.  Each kid filled their brown paper treat bag with their name and star graphic on it with lots of goodies.  Can' believe I forgot to take a pic of the treat bag....oh well.

Party planner I am not but I think the kids had a really good time.  It was a bit chaotic, my husband has a large family but they're used to it.  Our friends however are not, hope they still has some fun.  I've come to realize my boys would have probably been just as happy with just some balloons and cake but I had a good time doing this theme.  We'll see what next year holds.

Linking up with the Busy Budgeting Mama today.  Check her out for some REAL party ideas!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


So my boys are both a year older now.
For some reason this year seems to mark some big transitions for them. 

My youngest son is now two (he'll tell you he's two and a half, cracks me up!).
He can have peanut products now....hooray for PBJ's!  He has transitioned to sleeping in a big boy bed and has successfully given up the pacifier.   He has come a long way in the past few months!
Pretty soon it will be on to potty training....uggh.

My Baby Boy
Has no fear
Watches and learns by leaps and bounds
Has my big brown eyes, puffy eyelids and all 
Loves for me to sing "Love you forever" before bed
Gives smiles easily
Adores his big brother and likes to repeat everything he says
Pretends to have boo boos to get kisses
Loves the baby pillow I made years ago even though it is all lumpy now

My oldest is now five.
He's outgrowing all his clothes.  I'm pulling as much mileage out of the few pairs of pants he has left as possible but he often looks like a flood is a comin'.  He's now dressing and washing himself, putting on his own shoes and coat, and brushing his own teeth (decently now).  Not that these things come with being 5, I know many kids do this much earlier, but now he does it without us having to tell him to do it.

My Big Boy
Tells you he loves you all the time
LOVES his family and is so excited when he gets to see his cousins
Has an adorable dimple in his chin
Prays for people when they're sick
Has his Daddy's eyes
Loves everything outdoors
Likes science and discovering
Wants to marry mommy when he grows up

Two and Five....no longer a baby....no longer a preschooler
Nothing makes me more aware of time passing than seeing the changes in my kids...
but what a joy it is to see them grow and develop!
I can't imagine life without them.  The days of snuggling on the couch in our jammies are so precious to me.  Even though I dread those times coming to an end someday, I will always treasure them and be proud of who my boys are.  They are truly little gifts from God..

Sunday, March 20, 2011

You know it's love when...

You haven't pumped your own gas in 10+ years.

OK girls, you know I like to do these little posts.  We all know the BIG love signs, and thank God for them, but I like to recognize and celebrate the wee little daily things we do to show we love each other.

My husband, bless him, has been filling my car with gas for seriously probably the last 13 years.  I don't even think I would know what to do at the pump anymore.  The way technology changes, you may need a retina scan or something to get it to come on for all I know :) Just kidding, I'm not that clueless (at least I like to think not).  I think it started in the winter time when we were dating and he nobly offered to get out in the frigid weather to fill it up for me.  What a man I tell you!  Well, he's pretty much been doing it since...saving me from all that cold, rain, snow, sleet, heat, and humidity!

I'm spoiled....I know.

Have any little lovey moments to share?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Birthday Party Inspriations

Party day is almost here!  
Of course my boys would end up getting sick 48 hours before their party :(  We'll be pumping them full of liquids, slathering on the Vicks, and firing up the humidifiers to try and get them better ASAP.   We're keeping our fingers crossed that we have good enough weather to have some of the festivities outside.  I'm prepared if it needs to be indoors but it will be so much more fun outside.  
Here's hoping!

Thought I'd share some of my inspirations and tutorials for the party details.

The birthday banner I made was inspired by Megan at Our House of Pink.  See her tutorial here.

 She in turn was inspired by someone else.  Isn't it great how the inspiration chain works!  And we all add our own little something to the idea.  Love the vibrant pink she's using for her party for her little girl.  Wouldn't I love to have a little pink in the house! Luckily I have a sweet niece that I can be girly with.

Natalie at The Busy Budgeting Mama has inspiration for so many different amazing party ideas.  She has made cupcake toppers for many different occasions and designs and sells them on Etsy.   
See her Etsy shop here.  

Her cupcake toppers are way more chic than mine but I love making cupcakes for birthdays and decided to give these paper toppers a shot this year.  Since I was spending more time on the other details, this was an easy way to spruce up the cupcakes without having to create a decoration out of icing for on the top.  Aren't Natalie's valentine's cupcakes adorable?!

Can't wait to share the details of our Old West Mining party with you.  Hopefully I'll have that post sometime next week.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Starting off Monday right

So this weekend was one of those rare weekends that actually felt like I had a weekend!  Gotta love them when they come along, just the right mix of getting errands and such done but still having time for fun.  And all the snow melted too which definitely lifted my mood!

Being Monday and back to work can make you a little grumpy though.  Here are some of the ways I try to beat the Monday workday grumps.  I'm lucky enough to work for a relaxed company that allows me to enjoy all these little things that can get the day started right.

Me actually happy on a Monday morning!

1.  Light a candle.  Nothing helps create a feeling of serenity like a candle.  The best brand I have found is "Our Own Candle Co.".  These babies are amazing.  They burn for 100 hours and their yummy scents will permeate your entire house...or office building in my case :)  And the 16oz mason jar is only $7.00 - totally worth it!

2.  Turn on my digital picture frame.  My husband presented me with this gift two Christmases ago and I think it is the best present I've ever received.   
It's like watching a version of "This is your life" everyday.
Although it only has the last 10 years of my life since buying a digital camera ;)  But it's a great way to stay focused on what is important in life as you watch pics of your wedding, babies, vacations, and family flicker across the screen.  All those good times serve as a reminder of why you work so hard in the first place.

3.  Listen to a little Pandora acoustic soul on my iphone....or any music that lifts you up.  I think music is the single most powerful mood elevator ever.  Anytime your feeling down you can turn on some music that speaks to your soul or even just something with a great beat to serve as a little pick-me-up.

4.  Lastly, get a cup of coffee.  They say those that start the day with a warm beverage tend to be happier people.  Something about the warmth...well I know this is probably true for me.  I'm not a strong coffee drinker, I tend to like a light roast or flavored varieties.  Lately I've been drinking French Vanilla coffee with French Vanilla creamer, yum!   
Overkill?  Not for me, it's like dessert in the morning!
I also like Chai Tea Lattes.  I like a variety but some people are fiercly committed to a certain brand or brew.

What's your beverage of choice?

One of my favorite radios stations K-Love does a great thing on Mondays.  Its called Make a Difference Monday.  They make suggestions of small things (or big things) that you can do to make a difference in someone's life and people can call in with something they are doing or something someone did for them.  It's just a great way to start off the week and try to remind us all to help each other out now and again.  So many radio stations make fun of each other, callers, celebrities, etc.  I find K-Love's approach quite refreshing, can you imagine what the world may be like if people concentrated on building each other up instead of tearing each other down?  I want to live in that world.  I too get caught up in judging people sometimes but this reminder always helps.

K-Love is also helping to raise funds for Friday's earthquake/tsunami victims in Japan.  If you'd like to give, click here.

I'm linking up with Carrisa at lower case letters today!  Please check out her blog!
And Happy Monday!

Lower Case Letters

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yes it's beautiful but ENOUGH ALREADY

I can't take any more snow!

My street

The scenery that greeted me this morning was actually quite beautiful but 
I have had ENOUGH. 
 I need sun.  I need color.  I need painted toenails and peep toe shoes, kayaking, long walks in the woods.  I need spring.

Can I get just a little sprout somewhere in my yard? My favorite is our weeping cherry tree that flowers in the spring.  Can't wait until those delicate white flowers with just a touch of blush come peeping out.  Hopefully we're just a few weeks away but you'd never guess it from looking out the window!

I'm not the only one with cabin fever.   My boys have been running around like crazy and extra bouncy lately....which seems to be leading to more bumps and bruises.  I'm looking forward to letting them loose in the sandbox or riding bikes in the driveway to wear off some of that endless energy.

At least we turn the clocks ahead this weekend, one of the signs that spring is around the corner!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A mining we will go...

My babies are growing up...I can't help but get emotional.  My youngest will be 2 and my oldest will be 5 in a few days.  They were both born on the first day of spring, 2 years and 364 days apart.  

We did separate parties last year because I wanted my baby to have his own 1st birthday party like his big brother got.  But this year we're doing a combined party.  So far the boys both seem to be OK with sharing the day.  We decided on a old west kind of theme.  My oldest likes the show on Discovery Channel "Gold Rush Alaska" and thinks gold mining is way cool.  And anything my oldest likes, my youngest thinks is cool too.  He's such a little copy cat :)

Here's a snipit from the invitations I did.

"Bubba" & "Eagle Eye"
Gold Thieves

Grab the next stagecoach
and 'giddy up to the _____ Homestead
to search for the missing gold!
We'll have a rootin' tootin' good time!

Help us celebrate the _____ Brothers birthdays!

Saturday, March 19th 2011

3-1/2 hours past HIGH-NOON (3:30 pm)

at the _____ Homestead

We're going to do some gold mining with little aluminum pie pans that I'm going to punch holes in.  Each kid will get a bag of sand with rocks and "gold" in it.  They'll then get to sift out the sand and rocks to get their "gold".  Once they have their gold, they'll bring it to the trading post where we will weigh it and exchange it for some goodies they can take home.  Each kid will get the same amount of gold and basically I will be assembling their treat bags from the Trading Post goodies.
 I took a lot of time to draw the wood grain on these cardboard boxes that will serve as our Trading Post.  I still need to add the sign at the top.  My oldest said "Mom, I can still tell its cardboard".  Sheesh!  Give a Mom a little credit!

We'll also have a Saloon for some beverages.  We got some cute plastic mugs from the party store that are actually for coffee but look like they could be an old style beer mug.  And their the perfect size for our little guests. 

I'm making a banner and cupcake toppers too.  Ideas inspired by some fellow bloggers.  I'll share their details and tutorials once I post all my finished party props.

These will be cut out and strung for a banner

Cupcake Toppers

I ran out of colored printer ink so was limited to a small color pallet.  Printed everything in black and hand coloring in some parts.  A less insane mom would just go buy more colored ink.  But alas it's not in the budget (remember what I said about learning how to decide where to spend your money from my last post?)  I actually kind of like the way the colored pencil fill is looking, adds a little to the old time effect but is still colorful.
I'm enjoying the planning and trying to add more details than usual since this is the only birthday party we'll be doing this year.  I'll keep you posted on how it all turns out.

 Linking up with the Busy Budgeting Mama!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Toy overload?

This weekend we took our 2 boys to Toys R' Us.  Now we normally do NOT shop there, for several reasons... but they received some gift cards so we took them to pick something out.  My oldest was so excited (imagine high pitched screaming) when he saw the size of the store, 
and we hadn't even gotten in there yet.  

As we walked through the doors we were greeted with major toy overload.  There's so much to look at, even I was overwhelmed let alone the kids.  Uuugh, I was starting to get a little nervous about this.

As it turns out I was pleasantly surprised at how well my kids did.  We tried to steer them away from the pricey stuff (which in our book takes most of the store out of the running) but they did really good at asking if they had enough money for something and didn't even throw fits if the answer was no.  The funniest part was my oldest son's comment  
"Wow, there's so much here that I don't have and I didn't even know it!"
  He doesn't yet know that ignorance is bliss.
He is usually a marketers dream, if it's on TV he wants it.  But he really started showing some maturity in understanding that things cost money and all the different aspects that go into choosing how to spend it.  This is a tough lesson for an almost 5-year-old (heck even a 33-year-old like me) but he did really well.  Luckily my youngest found a Thomas toy that was on clearance (he is obsessed) so he was easy to please.  What could have been a recipe for major child meltdown ended up actually being a fun trip....thank God for small favors! 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

1,2,3........uh where was I?

So things are getting serious at Behind the Moon BEADWORKS....seriously organized that is.  Largely with the help of my husband, I am getting some major organization underway.  He got me some new software to help with inventory, ordering, invoicing...... the whole enchilda.  It is going to be a great tool for me but it takes SO MUCH effort to get all the starting data loaded.  

So we're currently working on inventory.

A small sampling of all my pretties

Counting all those tiny little beads...uugghh!  The nice thing is it has become a family affair.  I count the tiny ones, my 4-year-old counts the large ones, and my husband inputs the data.  We only do it for about 20-30 minutes a night before we all get burnt out on it (remember my husband and I have full-time jobs too) but hopefully we'll be done soon.  My son is so sweet to want to help but he can only do large beads that I don't have a whole lot of.  It helps him practice his counting too which is an added bonus.  His teacher will be proud!  Although his counting out loud makes me lose my place sometimes!

Then its on to continuing to organize my workspace and inventory storage.
 We're converting this old computer armoire into my workspace. My husband is adding more shelving and some hooks for wire and chain.  It actually makes a pretty nice workspace with the extra arm that swings out on the right hand side.  Once I have more shelves and neater bins to store my beads in, I think it will run fairly smoothly.  I also got a label maker that I just can't wait to start using for some reason.
I may just go label happy on the whole house ;)

I'm also trying to find some way to store my stock of completed designs so that I can easily carry them to craft shows/fairs but keep every piece easily visible and accessible.  Once I have all my designs solidified and completed, I'll be designing my displays for my first home showing!  Can't wait to get that part underway.  All this start-up work can be daunting but hopefully everything should flow much smoother once I get to my home party.  Then I can just refine things here and there. 

Do you have a favorite organizational item/tip?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A day in the life....my "go to" meal

As a full-time buyer, mom, business owner, and wife, I need fast meals that my family will like.  Unfortunately, I have 2 picky eaters at home so I often have to prepare
more than one meal.   
I HATE to do this and try very hard not to.
We try to make the kids at least TRY whatever we are having but it is often met with sour faces.  My oldest is a little strange in that he won't eat noodles, not of any kind.   
What kid doesn't like noodles!
My 2 year old likes basically bread and fruit.  He's also just finicky, one day he'll love something and the next he refuses it.  Flat out spits it out....drives me nuts. 
Thankfully I have a few "go to" meals that never fail to make us ALL happy.  I received the "Cheap, Fast, Good" cookbook as a gift and have found several good recipes in there but this one is my favorite.

Bayou Stew

I usually make it in the morning or even the night before.  It just seems to have an extra bit of flavor if it has "sat" a while.

Bayou Stew
from Cheap, Fast, Good!

1 cup long grain rice
2/3 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
2 large onions
8 ounces kielbasa sausage
1 medium sized green pepper (about 1 cup chopped)
2 cans (14 oz each) beef broth
2 teaspoons Cajun blend seasoning
2 tablespoons flour

For Rice: Bring 2 cups lightly salted water to boil in a covered saucepan. Add the rice. Stir and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Melt butter in 4 ½ qt Dutch oven over medium heat. Peel onion and finely chop them, adding to the pot as you chop. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces adding them to the pot as you chop. When all the chicken has been added, raise the heat to medium high. Cook stirring until the chicken is almost cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile cut the sausage in half lengthwise, the slice both halves into roughly ¼ in pieces.
Add broth to the pot, raise the heat to high and add the bell pepper, cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil.  Add Cajun seasoning and cook at a moderate boil until the green pepper is tender, about 3 minutes. (Uncover the pot partially if pot begins to boil over.)

In small jar with lid, mix flour with 3 tablespoons cold tap water. Cover jar and shake well until the mixture is combined and the lumps have disappeared. Gradually add the flour mixture to the soup stirring constantly until the soup has thickened slightly. Remove the pan from the heat. Divide the hot cooked rice among four large soup bowls and ladle soup over the rice and serve at once.  Four generous servings.

For more great recipe suggestions and just plain good-reading visit Sprigs of Rosemary.

Happy Eating!!

Also swing by The Busy Budgeting Mama where I am linking up today.

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