31 Mar 2010

The Park

It was really beautiful today, so Mom, Jayce and I headed to the park for a little bit.  We had a good time with the usual stuff, such as slides, swings, running and climbing, which are pictured below.

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The more unusual stuff, like when Jayce picked up a dead bird carcass, and we drowned his hands in antibacterial gel, are not pictured.

26 Mar 2010

My Sub-Conscious Needs a Day Job. Or a Night Job.

This week one of our friends in town went into labor a week early, and a few days before family was in town to watch their older son, so we offered to keep him overnight so that they could both stay in the hospital and focus on the new baby.  He was great, slept completely through the night, and not a problem at all.  However, I had not anticipated that I would feel just a little anxious while listening for someone else’s baby to cry out all night, and I slept terribly even though he slept perfectly.  But in that period of non-sleep, where I wasn’t awake enough to be tossing and turning, but wasn’t asleep enough to be unaware of just how much time was passing, I did something unexpected.  I planned Jayce’s 2nd birthday party in it’s entirety.

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I realized this about halfway through the morning, when I suddenly started remembering all of the details that I had so intricately thought through in this period of non-sleep.  Really, if I had been just a little more awake, I would have gotten out of bed and written it all down, which shows me just how asleep I was. 

This probably doesn’t seem like such a strange thing, except that Jayce’s birthday is still 2 months away, and we have a LOT of stuff going on between now and then.  Mildly big things too, like Mom coming to visit for the first time since November, Chris going away for a week for school, and then the following weekend for a conference.  My photography lesson (which I am excited/nervous for), trip to Chicago, and the first wedding I will be the second shooter for.  Also, my sister-in-law’s baby is due in a few weeks, and then, oh yeah, that trip to Germany and Scotland, and impending 10 day separation from Jayce.  And then he has his 2nd birthday.  It’s not even on my radar yet!!

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But not to worry once that day finally arrives, because I already have the party all planned out.  Everything from the theme, to fun party favors, to intricate details of activities for the  kids.  What is wrong with me?!

I wonder if it is some sort of defense mechanism, like I’m actually pretty stressed about all of these different things that we have coming up, and instead of focusing on any one of them, my brain just shifted to something that is a little easier with lower stress?  This is just a guess, I’m still a little baffled by this new nighttime party planning regime.  Psychology majors, feel free to weigh in here.

I just think that if I was going to be thinking through something, than it could have been something a little more practical, like planning our meals for the next week, deciding how to decorate our blank kitchen wall, or mentally composing some clever blog post.  Oh wait…

22 Mar 2010

Eggs Galore

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A few weeks ago when I was busy making my egg wreath, Jayce would periodically get into my eggs and run away with one, and I would go chase him down (I needed those little guys for my project!) So, as a compromise of sorts, I gave him a whole bag of the bigger eggs that I wouldn’t be using to let him play with.

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The very first time that he grabbed one of the eggs, he turned to me and said, “A!” (I know that actually “E” is for egg, but “A” sounds like egg), he then blew out a short breath like he was trying to cool the egg off. I said, “Yes it’s an egg, and yeah we blow on eggs when they’re hot, huh?” (We have scrambled eggs pretty regularly around here.) He then knelt down and “cracked it” on the floor, and then threw the whole egg into a frying pan that was on the stove. Luckily the pan was empty and cold, and we had a talk about why he shouldn’t do that, but it occurred to me that he doesn’t really know anything about Easter eggs, and why these plastic pastel eggs are different than what we sometimes eat for lunch.2010_03_03_7051

I know that Easter Egg hunts are coming up so I thought I’d give him a little trial run. I dumped the eggs all over the floor, gave him a bucket, made a mental note to not make him use his Halloween bucket at an Easter Egg hunt, and instructed him to hurry up and get the eggs into the bucket.

He immediately started dashing around the kitchen and scooping up eggs. I was particularly impressed with this little stunt below, see the egg in each hand and the extra egg between those two? He walked over to the bucket carefully and dropped all three inside.2010_03_03_70352010_03_03_7036He also quickly realized how fun it is to break the eggs apart, and how quickly this could be accomplished with his mouth. I tried to convince him that it was just as fun to put the eggs back together, “Listen. When we put them back together…pop!” but he didn’t care. Luckily the Dollar Tree eggs have a little tab to keep the two pieces attached even when the egg is open, so it wasn’t a complete mess.

2010_03_03_7064And with a face like this, I didn’t really mind cleaning it all up anyway. 2010_03_03_7065I’m featuring my wreath today on Lemon Tree Creations if you missed it last weekend. Also, I posted my family blocks there last Monday and completely forgot to mention it! You can find it here if interested. Have a great week!

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I have been dying to make a book page wreath since before Christmas and have just never gotten around to it. But with Easter rapidly approaching, I thought of a fun way to combine the two: The Framed Book Page Egg Wreath!! It’s a mouthful, but a good one! :)
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If you want to make this project, gather together these supplies and get to work, because Easter will be here soon and you’re going to want to keep this out for a little while! You’ll also want to grab an empty frame. I used a square 15x15, but you could easily use any size, you’ll just need to adjust the size of your wreath base accordingly.
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I got 2 bags of small Easter eggs from Hobby Lobby for $.67 each, and there were about 25 in a bag. The Dollar Store in town didn’t have any foam wreaths but they did have round floral planters, so I sawed off about an inch of that, wrapped it in newspaper, and used it as my wreath base.
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I picked out a few old books with varying degrees of page yellowness, tore out some pages, cut the length a little longer than my eggs, and the width just long enough to wrap all the way around the egg. I used Mod Podge to glue the paper around the eggs and then set them aside to dry for 5 minutes or so. (I learned the hard way, that if you try to glue the paper on the whole egg all at once, the egg slides around in the paper and you get air bubbles. Don’t do this, you will become annoyed very quickly.) I had a little assembly line going with my eggs, which was a good way to give the eggs a little time to dry in between the steps, and helped me not to waste any of those precious naptime minutes.
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Once the middle section was dry and could be a sturdy base, I cut slits on each end of the paper, and pushed them down so that one side of the egg was exposed.
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Make sure that when you are pushing down the slits, that you peel them down just a bit further, ripping the paper a little. This ensures that they will lie flat when you are smoothing them down against the egg, and there won’t be any air pockets.
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Otherwise it will look like this in the end. Not so pretty.
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Once the paper is pushed down, smear the top of the egg with a good bit of Mod Podge. I used the Matte finish, so it didn’t matter if it got all over the top of the paper. Use your thumb to push down a few of the pieces at a time, smoothing them so that they lay flat and overlap a little.
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Top with more Mod Podge, and smooth down the next few strips, working your way around the egg.
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You will end up with a nice little overlap, and if you’ve been smoothing it out with your thumb as you go, it will look great!
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Once I had a finished pile, I pulled out my wreath base, hung it on the frame and started gluing on the eggs. This was mostly to see how far this batch of eggs would take me and how many more I needed to make.
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I hot glued the ends of the ribbon around the frame because I wanted the wreath to be centered, and I wanted to use the hardware that was already attached to hang the framed wreath on the wall.
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I also hot glued the ribbon to the base of the wreath, so that I could put some eggs on top of the ribbon.
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I then made a big floppy bow, glued the ends in the knot so that it wouldn’t come undone, and glued that to the top of the frame.
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I loved the scrunched brown coffee filter idea that Jen used last month on her Burlap Valentine Heart, so I used a similar idea to make a flower. I just scrunched it up, inked the edges with a black stamp pad, added a second layer for extra fullness, and glued a little button to the middle.
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And there you have it!! I love this wreath. It is so neutral and chic, and looks nice in every single room of my house. Now I just have to decide where to put it! I also need to figure out if I can pull it off after Easter is over :) A lack of pastels means I can keep it up, right? Furthermore, since I used an old frame that was holding a blah piece of art and already had the ribbon, glue and books, this project cost me less than $3!!!
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If you decide to make these eggs I’m warning you that you will have a hard time deciding what to do with them, because the possibilities are endless. You could make a little egg tree or topiary. If you opt not to glue them down, you may want to give them their own little display.
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Or you could use them to fill your glass containers and apothecary jars. I’ll just go ahead and say it, book page eggs are the new twine balls. :)
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I shared this project last week on Tatertots and Jello, but am so excited to share it with you here, and I hope you like it as much as I do!! Please let me know if you make some of these eggs, I would love to see your take on them!



19 Mar 2010

On Productivity and Timers

You know how some people are actually more productive when they have more to do and less time to do it?  I used to be that way, but I think that I lost it.  I thought that I had lost it the way that you lose something like bike riding, where you can pick it right up again after a long period of absence.  But I think that I’ve lost it the way that you lose a foreign language when you don’t use it regularly, where you kind of remember the basics but generally forget how it works.

I used to be one of those more productive people in college.  My senior year I was taking a full load of classes between 2 different universities, working a combined 33 hours at 2 different jobs, playing soccer 5-6 days a week, planning a wedding in a different city, going to the gym 3 days per week, and still managing to hang out with my friends and fiancĂ©.  I had good grades and also slept periodically.  So recently I have been trying to channel my 22 year old self, but I just don’t remember how I did it.

That said, I am trying to figure out some sort of routine or something that will help me to best use my free time (read, naptime), and conquer the many tasks that I have lined up for myself to take care of in that time.

timerThis is what I am currently resorting to-a timer.  I’m not kidding.  I was inspired by one of those Real Simple articles that was about how to clean a bathroom in 5 minutes, and it occurred to me that I could do it.  If I only give myself 5 minutes to finish the job, then I am less likely to let myself get distracted and will work faster to finish it within that time, right? 

It seems to be working.  The timer forces me to focus on only 1 thing per time slot.  10 minutes for some general house cleanup.  10 minutes for lunch/email checking.  10 minutes for blogging.  10 minutes for project-ing.  10 minutes for picture-downloading/editing.  10 minutes for dinner preparation.  If I only have 10 minutes for this blog, and I want it to actually get posted, then I cannot drift over to facebook.  This is a good thing, right?  The timer forces discipline where I do not have it.

For some of these items, I end up needing more than one 10 minute slot, but I still break it up with something else in between.  This “system” helps me to feel like everything gets at least a little bit of attention: I can take care of whatever thing needs to be dealt with the most, and still have time to dedicate to one of the things that helps me feel re-charged for when Jayce is up again.

Furthermore, this is the current state of things in my little crafty area, which is why I chose to use this 10 minutes for blogging/venting and not making something.2010_03_18_7284

Does anybody else have any tricks to share?  How do you get everything done?

16 Mar 2010

Some Fun Around Our House

I feel like I’ve been blogging a lot about some of the fun things that we have going on around here in the past few weeks.  But it’s good to have fun news, right?

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I know I have already discussed Chris receiving the Templeton Award and how excited we are about it.  We still feel overwhelmed by it all, since we are from a small school and Chris is currently teaching at a small school.  But since the 2010 award winners were recently “officially” announced on the John Templeton Foundation website, there have been several articles published about Chris that I just had to take note of via my online scrapbook blog.  The listing on the award website is here.  An article about Chris was featured in both of the local newspapers such as the Lincoln Daily News here, and the Lincoln Courier here.  Brill, the publisher of the book that won the award, posted a notice in their Awards Overview here, as did the publishers of his upcoming book, T & T Clark, on their blog here.  Edinburgh’s Divinity School, New College, posted an announcement of Chris’ award here and here.  And perhaps most importantly, there is the announcement that I made on our blog when we first found out, here.  We now have less than 2 months until our big trip, which we try not to talk about every single day if we can help it. :)

For me, it is no secret that I have recently joined a brand new collaborative blog, Lemon Tree Creations.  We have had a fun week reading the sweet comments left by people who stopped by to check out our work, and have been feeling really pleased with the way that things are going.  But yesterday morning, we were shocked to discover that Today’s Creative Blog, a really big creative blog, had done a whole feature on our site.  Check it out here.  I am so excited to get such great publicity from such a well respected blog, and Kim, the author, was incredibly kind to us.

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As to Jayce, well, what isn’t fun about 22 month old kids?  He is full of personality, energy, and enthusiasm. 
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A few weeks ago I was wearing an American Eagle sweatshirt with some big letters on it.  While I was changing him that day, he pointed to the letters on my shirt, so I started telling him the different letters, and he started immediately parroting me.  This awareness of letters has opened up a whole new world to him, and he is now constantly finding letters on the tv, on books, on clothing, on everything and announcing all along, “A! E! O! H!”  Since he is still not talking a ton, this has been kind of a delight for Chris and I. 
 
Just a few little tidbits that I had to make a note of to remember. 

13 Mar 2010

Fun Features!

First off, I am so excited to let you know that I am guest blogging today over at Tatertots and Jello today! I've posted a tutorial on my Book Page Egg Wreath, a project that I love and am still surprised by how well it turned out! You'll have to stop back and let me know what you think of it!

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Second, have you had a chance to check out the new creative blog, Lemon Tree Creations? I am thrilled to be a weekly contributor and have loved the ideas that the girls that I'm working with have come up with in the past week. Be sure to follow along so that you don't miss a thing!

We're out of town at the moment for my sister-in-law's baby shower so I'm going to go enjoy visiting. But please come back Monday because I have another great project to share then.

Hope you all have a great weekend!!

11 Mar 2010

Sweet Little Bather

I snapped a few pictures of Jayce last night when he was taking a bath.  I couldn’t resist playing with the editing a little bit since the white tub ended up being an unexpectedly great background,

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and I couldn’t resist editing a few shots where the tub was completely blown out.

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But in addition to fun photography stuff, Jayce was being a little doll playing with his toys and I’m so glad that my camera was with me. 

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He lined them all up on the edge of the tub,

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then picked them back up, one by one,

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On the second round, he had a few of the toys give each other kisses.  If only these pictures had audio, you would hear his signature “Mmmmmmmmuh” with each kiss.

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Can you tell that he stays home with his mom, who asks for kisses all day?  Who am I kidding?  It would be the same way if he stayed home with his dad.  We just can’t resist his sweetness.

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