Thursday, January 31, 2013

You Gotta Check-Out: Red Envelope

Sentimental? Yes! Cheesy? NEVER! Is there any question that Red Envelope has the most unique, high-quality gifts imaginable? Valentine's Day is just around the corner with plenty more occasions to celebrate afterwards so, save yourself a trip of perusing humdrum gift selections at your local department store and click on over to Red Envelope. The hardest part will be choosing just one item to love!

I was looking for a unique Valentine's gift for Super Hubby and I had a hard time narrowing down my selection to just one item. After hours of deliberation, I decided to get him this Made in America wood cutting board made from sustainable solid maple. It's personalized (like many Red Envelope gift selections) thanks to laser-cutting right into the wood and I had a choice of several different styles. And, talk about reasonably priced, too! The best part to this cutting board is, with proper care and seasoning, the wood will age to a beautiful finish, getting better with time (just like our marriage).

This cutting board hails from Dorset, Vermont, from the J.K. Adams Co. Red Envelope scours the globe for unique items like this one and gathers all this high-quality selection just for you, the online shopper. You can see the color of the maple is simply gorgeous. The deep well around the cutting board will hold meat juices at bay. Just look at the deep etching of the personalized design in the center. Honestly, I love it so much, I don't think we'll be cutting anything on it anytime soon, it's that beautiful! Would you cut-up a pork roast on a Picasso? I don't think so. I truly do find this cutting board a natural work of art.

The best part is Super Hubby's reaction to it. Yes, I know it's not Valentine's Day, yet, but I did have to publish this post. So, early gift! He's very rarely, if ever, impressed and even he commented on how nice the board was. If you know Super Hubby, you know this is a Super Big compliment!

Ordering was super-simple and you were e-mailed the details of your order from the time it left the manufacturer to the time it would be at your door. How do they do that? The best part is YOU, yes YOU, get to pick the day you want it delivered. Is that cool, or what? In a world of Free Shipping, it was a bit of a bummer to pay for shipping, but Red Envelope discounts are found everywhere on the Internet, so be sure to take advantage of coupons to help offset shipping costs.
So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to Red Envelope and spend some time browsing their unique items. You will not find a better selection of unique, customized gifts any where else and where quality is never compromised.

Although Red Envelope provided me with $65 off any order to review their products and site, the opinions of my experience are represented honestly and are strictly my own. Does this mean I'm really cheap when I buy gifts for Super Hubby?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What I Made Wednesday {Bubble Valentines}

My most favorite class party is just weeks away! I have such sweet memories of elementary school homemade valentine's, candy hearts, and pink icing - sweet, sweet, sweet! This year, we're doing an entire 5th Grade Valentine's Day party so I got to work on these nifty Bubble Valentine's for the whole class, about 50! It had to be quick and easy and it was.

What You'll Need
Run, don't walk to pick-up these Bubbles in a Bottle from Target. For $3 you get 24 bottles and at this price, they won't be on the shelves for long!

Mini-heart hole punch
Large Heart Punch
Computer and Printer

What You'll Do
First things, first: open a word processing program on your computer and select a label template that fits the large heart punch properly. If you have the large heart punch like mine, I set the label template for Avery 5264 (shipping label size). The fonts used include Coriander for "Don't Burst My Bubble!" and Zebrawood Regular for "Be Mine". Here's the document:

Print the document on the colored cardstock. Use scissors to cut down the size so the large heart punch can fit correctly and punch away!

When that's done, take your mini-heart hole puncher and punch the upper left corner, making a hole for the string to hold to the bubble bottle.

Take your string through the top heart of the bottle and through the heart in your cardstock. Tie a bow and you're done!

What You Need to Know to Finish
Obviously you're done but I wanted to share some additional tips.

1. Wipe down each bottle with a paper towel as each bag I bought seemed to have at least one bottle leaking.

2. To make tying easier, use your knees to help hold the bubble bottle in-between while you thread and tie the string.

3. When transporting these babies into school be sure to keep them upright so they, too, don't find a way to leak.

4. If you would like a PDF to make your own valentine's, just drop me an e-mail and I'll gladly send you it for FREE!

Hope this gives you another idea for those classroom valentine's cards! xxoo  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My New Love

I shared with y'all my Christmas gift from my parents: the Keurig Platinum Brewing System. The cherry on top is they were able to find it in the color Mocha (rare find), so it is so perfect in supporting my love of the color brown. Here's what you may not know about me: until recently I was not, absolutely not, never-ever a coffee drinker. All through my teen years, all through college, all through my 20's and 30's I didn't drink a drop. Honestly, I didn't have to because I had enough natural energy to light up the entire city of Cleveland. Many were frightened at times. Adding caffeine to that kind of energy could have been lethal to innocent bystanders.

To be honest, I liked the reaction people gave me when I told them I didn't drink coffee. Their shock and surprise was actually entertaining to me. I felt unique and different because I was a part of the very elite few Non-Coffee Drinkers Club! It confused many coffee bean diehards and their love of the "Joe" puzzled me equally. And, because I didn't drink coffee, I felt younger for my age.

Enter turning 40 and the Keurig. Like trying to remember your first love or loving being in love for the first time, I'm fuzzy on the details as to what came first but the two have certainly found a happy way to co-exist. I'm far from being a barrista (surprised I even know the word) but there have been some amazing benefits from drinking coffee that I never realized. First, it actually does wake me up! I've been sulking about in the morning lately and that shot of caffeine keeps me going. Another benefit, and I'll be delicate here, it really does a great job at keeping you regular - 'nuff said. Finally, I feel like I'm stealing away a moment all to myself whenever I brew a cup. As my fingers delicately wrap around the cup of promised serenity, it warms me up from the inside out and makes me feel cozy; especially when I'm staring at the winter snow scene outside my window - brrrr!

So, folks, I am a coffee convert and I'm saying it loud and proud. Perhaps it was just a matter of time. These days of living as a 40-year old, I need the kick start in the morning and I like the "me-time" it provides, in more ways than one! I guess now I can officially be considered an adult, as if the wrinkles and gray hairs didn't prove it enough.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Gratitude Journal Monday

We're taking a different approach on things today and looking inwardly to ourselves. How often do you thank yourself for the things you do well, quite well? Our gifts and talents, of course, are not self-manifested, but given specifically to us by Him to share with others. Let's recognize our gifts today and be thankful we have them and remind ourselves that these talents of ours are meant to be shared with the world! We cannot manifest all greatness in one body, but one body can hold one great gift. What is yours and how do you share it?

391. I am grateful for being a good cook and having the food I prepare be one of the ways I show love.
392. I am thankful for having a caring heart and nurturing spirit.
393. I am thankful for my creativity because it brings new ideas and inspiration to others.
394. I am thankful I am known for keeping my promises and that my word is as good as gold.
395. I am thankful for my desire in keeping my hands busy and my spirit free.

Come on, give yourself some credit, today! What character attributes do you have that you owe some gratitude toward? I'd love to know.

Happy Monday! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 79.

Goodbye really short week, with MLK Day and a snow day!!!
Goodbye piled-on homework that had Kiddo up until 10:00 practically every night.
Goodbye warm water in the morning as Kiddo has decided to shower in the morning instead of at night (he's growing up fast).
Goodbye wishing I had the energy myself to hop right out of bed without even snoozing once and hopping into the shower with a spring in my step and a hum on my lips.
Goodbye finding all of this rather curious and sudden for Kiddo and wondering, "What is her name?"

Hello scavenging the city's Spanish specialty supermarkets in search of yucca root to make the Panamanian delicacy, carimaƱolas.
Hello getting closer and closer to finishing this never-ending Panama project - go Kiddo, go!
Hello baseball training start-up and goodbye to having lazy Sunday mornings for the next 5 weeks - boo hoo!
Hello searching high and low for interesting Valentine's Day cards to make for the kids at the school party - any suggestions would be most appreciated (here's what I did last year).
Hello haircuts for my boys and hopefully, if I tag along, I'll get a nice lunch out of it.

Please tell me I'm not the only one to have learned this lesson in life: the more you focus away from something, the more it follows you. Confused? Let me elaborate. Have you ever found, the more you try to pinch pennies, the more unscheduled expenses creep in? Or, have you ever vowed to cut something out of your life just to find yourself wanting it even more than before (bad sugar, bad)? This is the best one to-date: have you promised yourself to simplify life and the more you "work" at simplification, the more complex life becomes? Even Thoreau made this discovery at Walden. He had a simple beautiful rock he brought from the nearby brook that he used as a paperweight on his desk. He admired the rock and thought it to be a very simple thing of beauty, at first. But, with the dusty, dirt-floor conditions of his tiny little cabin, he became a slave to the rock as it needed dusting every single day!!! He was annoyed, was losing his peace, and found the rock to be more burdensome than pleasant. One day he was so annoyed with the constant attention of dusting that the rock demanded daily, he threw the rock out the window. Done. Do you have any rocks you need to throw out??? I know I do, I just hope my eagerness for simplifying doesn't become too complicated of a task.

Happy weekend.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Worth Passing On

Every so often I read another's blog post and feel compelled to pass on their wisdom because it really is that good. So good, in fact, I wish I had written it. But, even if I had, it wouldn't be as good as the person chosen to deliver that specific message. So, when these instances present themselves, I share what I read and I hope you, in turn, share what I share.

Janell Burley Hofmann wrote the post To My 13-Year Old, An iPhone Contract From Your Mom, With Love. It appeared in the Huffington Post and received much love from many readers. Although our home has yet to face the cell phone dilemma, it'll only be a few years until we have to have the discussion. Kiddo will be turning 11 this year and by 13, he'll be participating in after-school sports, heading out to games, etc. If there's a game cancellation, I'd like Kiddo to call or text the details before I head-out. That's just one example, but you get the point. Today, at the tender age of 10, his schedule is pretty much in my control. I know where he is at all times and an adult is present in every case; an adult with a cell phone, should the need arise. So, sorry Kiddo, no cell phone right now. But, I'm keeping this contract in my back pocket until then. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What I Made Wednesday {Valentine's Rag Heart Wreath}

Pondering on the month of hugs and smooches that lay ahead and I thought I'd share some inspiration with this eco-friendly wreath. I guest-posted it last year at the Fine Craft Guild but I never shared it on my own site! What was I thinking? So, for those of you who missed this super-easy, too-cute wreath, here it is. I hope it inspires you to start speaking the language of love as February begins next week! xxoo

What You'll Need
Dry Cleaner's wire hanger
Old T-shirt - color of choice
Scissors (not shown)
Wire Cutters
Starch (optional)

What You'll Do

The hardest part of this project is bending of the wire hanger. Carefully unwind the wire hanger at the hook area and shape the hanger into a heart. You’ll have the hook portion at the heart’s center. Wrap the two wires into one. Take wire cutters and cut off the excess wire. You may need stronger wire cutters than those pictured. Be sure not to cut too closely to where the wires come together as you don’t want to break the connection. I actually cut the excess wire off after I tied each rag strip.

Next, take the old t-shirt and cut the bottom right above the sew line. This strip will act as your hanging strip. The sewed seam will help this strip’s role from unraveling while it hangs your Rag Heart Wreath. 

Begin cutting strips starting at the bottom of the t-shirt. I made my strips between a half an inch to an inch in width and between four to five inches in length. It’s not an exact science and the variation adds character to the final result. This width and length worked so well when I tied the knot that I did not need to use the starch to force the rags to lay outwardly.

Begin knotting each strip to the wire and follow along until the entire wire is covered. It is not a double knot, just a simple basic tie. When you get to the center of the heart where there are two wires coming together, take a rag strip and knot both wires together. Continue along until the entire wire is covered. Push each knotted strip together tightly.

These photos show the heart’s center and knotting both wires together.

What You'll Need to Know to Finish
Remember that rag strip you cut from the bottom of the t-shirt? Go ahead and figure out what length you need based on where you’re going to hang your Rag Heart Wreath. Tie each end to the Rag Heart Wreath around the area where the heart begins to curve upwards. Try to make that knot blend in with the rest of the knots already tied on to the wire by positioning it between the knotted rag strips already there. All done!

Go hang your swoonie Rag Heart Wreath and be proud; a Valentine’s Day craft that cost nothing, nada, zilch! Good for you and Happy Valentine’s Day, you savvy crafter, you!

 LOVD tidings, Lilly

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Snow Day

I wish I could show you tons of snow outside, but there's only a dusting. It's cold, yes, but not too bad. As you may know, my son's school is 30 minutes away so, as the snow gods would have it, the snow system dumped tons over the school! Woo-hoo for kiddo! There are no friends to call locally, though, as they still have school today.

This is so great, really! We'll have another day to work on the Panama project and it looks like kiddo's field trip on Thursday is a go. You kinda need snow for skiing, snow-shoeing, and sledding, right?

Ahh, I love it when things work out.

Hope you're safe and warm where you are. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Gratitude Journal Monday

Is there such a thing as too much gratitude? Only if you believe it's possible to have too many blessings in your life. Gosh, I hope that's not the case. You are worthy and don't you ever forget it! My own eyes get blurry at times while I squint to see the good that is in my life. But, simple declarations clear up the view quite nicely. When I'm having one of those days, I go for the simple.

386. I am grateful for all my working senses; sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, and common.
387. I am grateful for the feet I stand upon and the heart that guides my steps.
388. I am hopeful for the promised blast of winter this week (as I know an entire 5th grade class that would be most grateful).
389. I am grateful for a full refrigerator.
390.I am grateful for a cozy, warm abode.

When I began my Gratitude Journal, I started small, click here. I hope you choose to join in on the journey.

Happy Monday!

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