Preserving memories

6.25.2015

I try to avoid clutter at any cost. I don’t like to hang onto things. I guess it stems from the 5 different homes I lived in as a child and the 13 times I’ve moved as an adult. Regardless of that, sometimes life happens, resulting in clutter. Take for example, my kids artwork. I wasn’t sure what to hang onto and what to toss, so I figured I’d go through it at a later date. 11 years later, I had enough artwork to fill our entire recycling bin. Whoops.

In figuring out what to toss and what to keep, I came across this idea on Pear Tree Greetings. Perfect. It only required me sorting through all the kids artwork and deciding what was gallery wall worthy. For my gallery wall that I’ve been putting off for the past 4 years (procrastinate much?)

gallery wall-kid art

I was so happy with the quality of the metal wall sign that I ordered another.
gallery wall-4-2

And some photos, as well. May as well get that gallery wall up and running finally.
gallery wall-family photo

gallery wall -hallway

gallery wall-canvas
one of my fave photos I took years ago when we were up north

gallery wall-golden gate

gallery wall-2

gallery wall-kid canvas
I even hung some of the kids canvases they painted in art class

gallery wall-long hall
I tried to be intentional with every piece I hung, I didn’t want to hang stuff just to have crap on the wall…most are from our vacations and there are photos of all the kids cousins up there, as well.

I still have the other side of the hallway to do, but don’t want to hang too much, as the hall is very narrow and long. I’ve got some more snapshots of artwork and need to do another art collage, though. I am so incredibly happy with how it turned out and love that I can look at their art that they’ve made over the years.

gallery wall-metal wall art

Disclaimer: As a Pearista, I get the chance to review products for Pear Tree Greetings. I do not get compensated to post my review/opinion but I do get free product to review. All opinions are my own.
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Friday Musings

6.05.2015

While perusing the internets and Facebook this week, I cam across some good links. Normally, I tend not to click on stories in my Facebook feed…so many these days tend to be bait and click titles. And just out of spite, I refuse to click on them. The authors or editors need to give the readers some credit…we’re smarter than that. I guess I only speak for myself, but I know I will click on a title if the subject matter interests me.  Anyway, I saw this Babble article in my feed titled, “I’m Tired of Living Like a Wifely Stereotype“.  And holy hell did this author hit home for me.  I often feel terrible, because my husband picks the worst times to call and check in with me. I am always in the middle of running out the door or have a car pool of loud children or whatnot. Or when he finally asks me about my day, I am frazzled. Sure, my day was busy, but it was good. I went to the gym, ran the dog, cleaned the house, did laundry, etc, but I caught up on a DVR show while folding laundry. Maybe I went to lunch with a friend. But at 7pm? I have just driven around in rush hour traffic, transporting kids for the last 4 hours and I am trying to get everyone fed and frankly, I am a tad hangry. Its akin to the Witching Hours when you have toddlers.  But after reading this article, I am going to whole heartedly attempt and answer like the author said. With a, “It was perfect. I’ll tell you about it later.”

While I am on the subject of cleaning the house, I cam across this article on a blog recently. Amen, sista.  Ok, weekends are out of my control. It tends to get messy. But during the week? I am all about a clean house. Sure, it sounds 1950′s, but let’s face it. I am a freaking housewife. Its part of my job to keep this place looking decent. Just like its my job to do laundry and take the shirts to the cleaners and go grocery shopping and run errands and cook dinner and weed the flower beds and garden. My husband has his job that he works 60-80 hrs/wk at and my job is to be the CEO of this house…to make sure it stays running smoothly.

I put my marriage first.  So when I came across this article that’s trending, How American Parenting is Killing the American Marriage, I had to agree that its spot on.

 

Recently, I went to party for some well known MLM oils. Going in, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but hoped to learn a little more about blends or single oils that I may not know about.  I dabble in oils, but not any of the MLM brands.  I did months of research and decided to go with a wonderful brand that I’ve been very happy with.  So when this oil peddler told me that I would, “totally notice the difference between this lavender and your lavender. Ours is so much more pure.” I was turned off on the spot. But I listened. And she went on to talk about how their oils were, FDA Certified Pure Theraputic Grade.  Hmmmm.  Nope. I knew that was a big fat untruth and actually asked her about it privately afterwards.  She still insisted I didn’t know what I was talking about. My point is, if you’re going to put forth the money, just do your research.  I did end  up buying one of their oils because I liked the blend and my friend gave it rave reviews.

I was introduced to Teeki by my yoga instructor. She was wearing a pair of the pants in class and I had to comment on how unbelieveably cool I thought they were. She went on to tell me how they are a completely sustainable brand that creates their wares from recycled plastic bottles.

 

We’re headed to Las Vegas this week for a conference my husband is speaking at and for gymnastics AAU Nationals that my daughter is competing in. Things will be quiet next week while I am enjoying the desert heat and the pool. Peace out!

 

 

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Take me to the mountains

6.03.2015

So maybe its a stretch. Wisconsin doesn’t exactly have mountains.  But we do have some great topography, thanks to the kettle moraine.  And in a few weeks time, we are headed just there for a weekend of camping with friends.

Before we had kids, the husband and I would often take off for the weekend and go camping. The kind of camping that requires us taking a boat to an island and then hiking your crap in.  The kind of camping where you may not see anyone all weekend, except maybe the park ranger. The kind of camping where you were supplied with a bear locker to store your food so that those pesky creatures didn’t come checking out your campsite. But back then, we were looking to unplug. Looking to get away from work. From grad school. From people.

With our kids activities, its hard for us to get away for the whole weekend. But the husband has been begging to camp for years now. So when our friends invited us to go along, I decided to toss the lessons/practices aside and go have fun (and pack up all our crap).

Even though we hiked our food into our sites, I was never the type of camper to carry it in on my back. Let’s just say I brought it all. AND the kitchen sink.  I am not a hot-dog-over-the-fire type of gal. Just like I enjoy eating well at home, I enjoy eating well at my campsite. But I only cook over the fire…I am a tent camper. We don’t have a glamper or a camper or even a propane stove. We cook over the fire with foil or a cast iron skillet.

It may sound strange, but if you plan well, its not difficult at all.  And you come home feeling much better than if you had eaten hot dogs and hamburgers all weekend.

Some ideas that I’ve gathered that I’ll put my own spin on include:

Homemade instant oatmeal cups

 

‘Just add water and shake’ homemade pancake mix

 

Make-ahead breakfast burritos

Veggie + sausage kebobs (because raw meats like chicken freak me out when plenty of hot water isn’t within reach)

Grilled pasta packets

Grilled sandwiches (the possibilities are unlimited. grilled brie + apple + turkey. grilled apple + turkey + cheddar. etc)

And while we’re on the subject of cooking, let me just add that, to make firestarting quick and easy, I highly recommend making up a batch of firestarters with some dryer lint, sawdust, candle wax, and a cardboard egg crate. Easy peasy!

Does your family camp? Are there any meals that are a must? Do you have any tips or tricks to share?

(all image links with sources can be found here)

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The lost art of papercrafting

6.01.2015

A few weeks ago, I went away for the weekend with a group of friends to scrapbook. While I haven’t made it every year, this was our 10th anniversary of doing this. We, being these wonderful women that I met (gasp) over the internet on a pregnancy/parenting support message board more than 13 years ago.

Scrapbooking seems to be a lost art. But I have to tell you, to sit down for 4 days, once a year, and have someone take care of me and only have to focus on creating and preserving memories for my family is awesome. It allows me to tap into a creative part of me that I just don’t have the time to sit down and use on a regular basis. Sure, there’s digital. But there’s something about touching paper…about creating things with my hands…that cannot be replicated. And the end result…my children’s faces while looking at these books is priceless. They love them.
scrap_layout

soccer_scrap_layout

baking_scrap_layout

pet_scrap_layout

boy_and_dog_scrapbook

luau_scrap_layout

scrapbooking

paper_scrapbooking

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Unplugged.

5.29.2015

I fully intend on this being a summer my kids won’t forget.  Hopefully its for the better.
For some reason, maybe it’s the warm weather, I’ve been a bit nostalgic lately. I’ve been thinking about my childhood. Which was, I’d imagine, pretty average and like anyone else’s.  At my children’s ages, I’d roll out of bed in the morning, have myself a bowl of cheerios, pull a brush through my hair, I’d throw on some rad looking shorts and a shirt and hop on my 10-speed and bike over to a neighborhood friend’s house. Maybe we’d do flips in the yard. Maybe we’d hang from the (metal) jungle gym. Or perhaps we’d put on our swimsuits and jump into the Doughboy pool, creating a bad-ass whirlpool. If we were at my pool-less house, we’d fill up the pool that had the liner bottom with the hard plastic sides and create a whirlpool on our stomachs, hoping that the force of it didn’t rip through the sides, making my parents buy yet another pool that summer.  Or just maybe we’d ride around on our bikes, stopping to skip rocks in a creek, making up scary stories about things that lived in the woods. Eventually, we’d end up biking to the community pool, where we’d meet up with other friends. On the bike ride home, we may or may not stop for a giant ice cream cone or a root beer float.  We’d be back out again after dinner, running around till the street lights came on. Sure, there were days that I played a bit of Colecovision or Atari with a friend, but never more than 30 minutes. And TV? The morning ritual was to watch The Price is Right when I was with one particular neighbor. Never anything else. If we were inside, we were sitting in front of a fan playing Life, Stratego, Monopoly or Yahtzee. Because that was what summer was about.
summer_unplugged
I’ve been losing my shit lately with my kids, who always seem to have their head buried in an iPad, Kindle, iPhone, or X-Box. And I am D O N E.  So guess what? They are going away for the summer, for the most part (with some exceptions). And I am forcing my kids to go old skool.
This past weekend, we kicked off the summer with a neighborhood gathering. And when I sat back and watched the kids running around playing catch in the street, playing cornhole, playing table tennis, riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline, and playing ghost in the graveyard, I realized that this was what I want them doing all. of. the. time.  I mean, I knew this prior to that, but it really hit me at that instant.

summer_kickoff

So this summer, we will be biking to the pool. We will be hiking trails. I will let them do lots of exploring. I’ll be shoving them outside.  I know one of my kids will be ok with this. He and his buddies tend to gravitate to being outdoors more than my other two.  He actually came home with this in his pocket. His friend put it together.  And I thought, “YES! This is awesome!!!! This is what being a kid is about!!!”

summer_fun

Apologies to my children, but you’ll thank me in the future. I promise it.

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