February 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Me

I turned thirty-three yesterday. Another year older and another year wiser (so they say but my baby brain spits out things that certainly don't sound very wise). I do know that 32 will be a hard year to beat with it being the year the Rockstar entered our world.

That being said I already have something HUGE to look forward to thanks to an amazing birthday surprise from Mike! He and one of my best girlfriends have been chatting on the sly and they have arranged for the Rockstar and I to fly out to Vancouver in July for 4 or 5 days to visit with Cara and her sweet peanut. I can't wait!!! Cara's husband will be on a golf trip when we visit so it will be some quality time with the girls and babes.

Having most of my closest friends living flying distance from me can be tough (thankfully one returned home from Russia last summer - yay for me!) so this gift means an awful lot to me. It will be weird leaving Mike and home while the Rockstar and I fly off on an adventure and of course we'll miss him like crazy (we will definitely skype daily) but he has assured me he is all good and wants us to go and spend some time with Neen and her little lady.

We had a super yummy lunch with my family yesterday and I received some moolah from my parents: I have promised myself I'll put it towards something I want and not pay a bill with it. Now the question is what to buy: clothes, shoes, a cutting mat?? I'm seriously leaning towards the mat since it's something I curse myself for not having on a regular basis. A quiet afternoon with my boys was topped off with an evening of Scrabble with one of my best ladies (Tanya gave me a super cool gift too but I'll save that for another post).

This past Tuesday I was treated to an evening at the ballet with my fabulous second mom and sister. Moulin Rouge put on by Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet. It has been a very long time since I attended a ballet and the last one I saw I wasn't uber impressed with which made this performance that much sweeter! The dancers were unbelievable, the choreographer was fantastic, the sets were wow, the costumes were beautiful: overall it was superb. Even those of us who couldn't remember the story from the movie knew exactly what was happening without help from a program thanks to the talented dancers and choreographers. I had a wonderful evening, thank you ladies!!

Saturday night my parents came over and babysat the Rockstar so that Mike and I could go out on our first date in eight months! We had a super delicious dinner and then hit the early showing of the movie Unknown (not bad). It felt good to be out on a date and we are definitely going to do this more often. It was the first time someone other than Mike or I ran through the Rockstar's evening routine with him so the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed myself and didn't stress about it all evening was a relief. I knew he would be fine, I was just slightly concerned about whether or not I had left enough food for him (pumping is not my friend). I wasn't worried about leaving him, I was worried about starting to worry though. Hehe. Of course he was his typical Rockstar self and went to bed with little trouble and didn't wake up hungry until after we arrived home. Thanks for watching the wee fiend, Mom and Dad.

Overall a fantabulous birthday week! A super big thanks to everyone for the lovely celebrations and an extra special thanks to Mike and the Rockstar for a perfect weekend full of treats and cuddles. Thirty-three has started off wonderfully.

February 17, 2011

Fab Pick

Tell me you didn't have to look twice to figure out that it's a laptop and not a ghetto blaster! A stellar decal by Beepart: love the old school style. This is definitely for the the older crowd; I was with our school board's audiologist at an assessment last Spring and he turned to me and said, "This will make you feel old: watch this." He pulled out a cassette tape deck (picture the old flat ones used in your elementary school) , set it in front of the 8 year old child we were working with and asked, "Do you know what this is?" She gave it a good look, pushed a couple buttons and looked up at us with a confused expression. Enough said. A student a few years ago had no clue what a record was but a cassette deck?! Oh boy.

Loads of cool designs can be found in this etsy shop and the fact that it's a Canadian company is a bonus.

February 16, 2011

Iron Craft Challenge #7: Bling for My Baby

This week's tast for the challenge was titled 'Midas Touch'. Bling bling! I wasn't so sure of this theme because I'm not a huge fan of yellow gold. After much thought I decided to use gold fabric paint on a hand-me-down brown hoodie the Rockstar had hanging in his closet.

I hunted online for free stencils and ended up at Lil Blue Boo (a blog I've been a zillion times) where I found an adorable robot stencil. I finally tried freezer paper stenciling using the tutorial I watched over at I Am Momma ages ago: I'm hooked.

Doesn't this photo kill you? He totally looks like he's posing, such a great little model. As soon as I ironed the stencil to the shirt I knew I wanted to add a little heart to the robot. A robot can't have just any old heart though so he has a star shaped heart.

Decided the Rockstar needed some bling on the front of his hoodie too and why not create a matching star-heart? I added a tiny initial letter because I was struggling to put the exacto knife down.

I'm loving Iron Craft!! It's motivating me to get going on projects (like freezer paper stenciling) that I have been itching to try. Wonder what the others have created, off to the flickr pool to find out.

February 15, 2011

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

I promised you more photos of the sweet little angel from THE photo shoot but you'll have to wait a few more days because his grandparents have yet to receive their valentines in the mail and I don't want to spoil the surprise (hopefully the postman will pass them their way today).

I ordered a special something for Mike for V-day but it didn't make it to us in time SO I whipped up this little card for him. My hand sewing really needs some work but he loves me and my crumby stitches which is one of the 8.5 zillion reasons I love him.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Valentine's day - I spent it cuddling with my two fav boys and filling my belly with chocolate peanut butter. In other words it was a perfect day.

Tantalizing Tuesday

For the 8 trillionth time I'm going to try to get back into posting a recipe on Tuesdays. When I've done this in the past it has motivated me to try new recipes and I would really like to add a few new meals and treats to our rotation. The slow cooker is going to be used one a week so if you have any suggestions for recipes you think I should try please leave a comment!

image source: Amanda's Cookin

I was googling my fav combo of 'chocolate peanut butter' and came across a yummy new-to-me blog titled Amanda's Cookin'. These Chocolate Topped Peanut Butter Bars looked so delicious I had to try them immediately; the Rockstar and I took a trip the grocery store and during his nap I whipped up a batch.

I followed Amanda's recipe almost exactly and the squares are yummmmmmmmy! I especially like the addition of pretzels to the base. The salty/sweet combo is delish. When I make this recipe again (and I most definitely will) I'll make two minor changes: add a few more pretzels and subtract a little bit of the powdered sugar so that the middle layer is a little more peanut buttery. If you would like to try this fab recipe visit Amanda's Cookin'.

February 13, 2011

Organized Home Project of the Week

I'm still plugging away at the kitchen but have yet to take any before or after photos. This week I tackled the Rockstar's bookshelf. It was stuffed full of fabulous books but 80% of them were thin page books which he can't play with right now (think paper cuts, ripped pages and permanent drool damage). I removed all of the 'off limits' books and stacked them on a high shelf in his closet. Thanks to the removal of so many books the Rockstar's stuffies now have a home (at least temporarily - I need to find a good stuffed animal storage solution).

Slowly but surely things are coming together. The kitchen counter needs to be dealt with this week so I'm off to hunt for some organization solutions.

Gigantic Decals

I'm always on the hunt for cool wall decals. We receive so many compliments on the huge tree in the Rockstar's nursery, it is a fantastic focal point. When he moves out of his room into his big boy room decals are definitely on the menu.

I found this shop e-glue and absolutely adore their collections!

I couldn't snag a photo but they sell individual decal creatures for the bathtub that are made especially for water so they can be placed in the bathtub without fear of peeling off. Fantastic idea! We have foam animals along the upper edge of our tub and the Rockstar loves staring at them but he can't reach them. It would be super cool to have a couple of these on the side of the tub where he can touch them.

The designs that initially caught my eye are the giga-kits. Superb gigantic decals that would look awesome in a child's room.

Don't be put off by the colours in the photos, you have your choice of primary and secondary colours - hop over to the e-glue site and see for yourself.

February 11, 2011

Iron Craft Challenge 6: Winter

I've been wanting to chop up a map for a project for ages now so I took advantage of the Winter theme this week to do it. How does a map relate to winter? Well..... Mike and I have gone on a trip almost every winter since we met ten years ago AND our wedding took place in Mexico on Feb 1, 2007. I chose to use bits of the map that have some sort of meaning to us: places we have been together, places Mike grew up (South Africa, Ireland, Detroit) and places where we would love to visit one day.

This was my first attempt at using mod podge and paper to create a frame, the finished product isn't perfect but I'm pretty happy with it and I'm looking forward to creating more paper covered frames. I see the possibility of buttons and ribbon and glitter OH MY!

I was late posting my entry this week so I am not entered in the Challenge Vote BUT that doesn't mean you shouldn't hop over to the Iron Craft blog and vote for one of the other fantastic entries.

The reason I was late posting was because I was waiting for a time when I could take a decent no-flash photo of the frame (you can see from the picture that this didn't happen). The moral of this story is that I really need to make myself a light box so that I can snap good product photos after the monkey is in bed at night. That and I should seriously consider a new flash for my camera - maybe I'll ask for one for Christmas or treat myself if I am lucky enough to get a permanent contract come September.

I digress. I need a light box and there are loads of great tutorials for creating an inexpensive one. I figured some of you may also be interested so here are two great tutorials I'm considering: Polka Dots and Paper, JYO. Enjoy!

February 7, 2011

Mum Mum Mum Mum

Our little Rockstar started saying Mamamamamamamama awhile ago but now he's saying Mummmmm. I know he doesn't know what it means but hearing him yell it over and over again today made my heart smile. I love hearing the word from his sweet little lips - a good thing because I'm going to hear it a zillion times in my lifetime - even the whiney wail muuuuuuummmmm is music to my ears (no doubt the novelty of the whiney version will wear off one day).

I'm hoping Dadadadada is the next big thing around here; he has said it once or twice but hasn't gotten the hang of making the 'd' sound just yet. Mamama, Babababa, Muuuum, and ppppfllllbt (accompanied by bubbles and spit) are his favourite "words" these days. Mike and I swear he said "apple" last week. I asked Mike if he wanted an apple and the Rockstar blurted out "Ab-bul". We both heard it and had equally stunned looks on our faces. Yes that's right, our child's first word was APPLE at 7 months of age. Brilliant.

Super Delicious and Super Easy

I had a friend over for lunch today and whipped up this crazy quick and easy quiche in no time: we were both super impressed with the end result. I should have taken a pic because not only did this taste mega yummy but it looked awesome too. Next time I think I'll replace the broccoli and ham with spinach and mushrooms just to try something different BUT the broc and ham was fantabulous.

What You Need
2 cups milk
4 eggs
3/4 cup biscuit baking mix
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (10 ounce) package chopped frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
1 cup cubed cooked ham
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

What You Do
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. Lightly grease a 10 inch quiche dish. (if you're like me you have no clue what a quiche dish is. I used a round 10 inch across, 4" (ish) deep baking dish)
4. In a large bowl, beat together milk, eggs, baking mix, butter and parmesan cheese. Batter will be lumpy.
5. Stir in broccoli, ham and Cheddar cheese.
6. Pour into prepared quiche dish. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, until eggs are set and top is golden brown.

Serve with a crunchy salad and be sure to start with an empty belly because you'll want more than one serving of this fab dish! Thanks, Allrecipes

February 5, 2011

Top Picks for Iron Craft Challenge #5

I couldn't narrow it down to three this week so here are my fav four from the Be Mine Iron Craft Challenge this week.

Fantabulous zombie valentine from My Pursuit of Craftiness - Mike would looooove this.
Extra awesome because the zombie is a hand carved stamp modeled after her husband. Check out her blog for more details.

My Zombie Valentine

I am definitely going to try my hand at embroidery this year and this project looks like something I could handle! Love the design and the fact that The Modern Lady has shared her pattern over here.

The Modern Lady Heart Tree Carving Embroidery Picture

Kitties need love too. Subliminalrabbit made some super sweet catnip toys for her feline friends.

Iron Craft #5: Be Mine

Definite pop-up card inspiration created by Kat. More pics of this adorable card with a fantastic tutorial can be found here.

Iron Craft Challenge 5 - Pop-Up Valentine

Next week's theme is WINTER. Still trying to decide what I'm going to make and looking forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with!

February 2, 2011

A Slow and Painful Death by Clutter

Slightly over dramatic? Maybe BUT now that I'm home full-time with the Rockstar and we are into a routine I am beginning to feel like the clutter in our home is slowly suffocating me. I'm not an overly neat person and neither is Mike, this means we don't argue about the mess which is wonderful but we both contribute to it which isn't wonderful at all. Our home is clean (usually) but rarely looks tidy. It's hard to keep a home tidy when you have STUFF everywhere.

I've wasted a ridiculous amount of time recently looking for things because they don't have a place of their own. Previously I don't think this bothered me as much because I had time to waste: since the Rockstar arrived every moment feels full (in a good way) so wasting time looking for things frustrates me to no end. I spent 20 minutes wandering around the house with the Rockstar on my hip last week hunting for his nail clippers; this was after spending a good 15 minutes the day before doing the same thing. We could have been playing but instead we were on fruitless mission. I knew I had put them down somewhere a couple days before in a spot that I thought made sense at the time but for the life of me I couldn't remember where that spot was. Of course once I gave up in frustration I walked over to the sink to fill the kettle and TA DA there they were sitting on the windowsill because - well obviously - the windowsill is a sensible place to store a tiny pair of nail clippers. Silly, silly.

I am promising myself that I am going to make a serious attempt to declutter the house AND organize things so that I feel less stressed when I move around our space. Obviously I want this not only for myself but for the Rockstar and Mike as well.

This is where Megan's Organised Home Challenge of 2011 comes into play. I'm hoping that by joining the challenge I'll be more motivated to stick with my mission. The timing really couldn't be any better. Coincidentally last week I listed a handful of items on Kijiji (most of them have sold already) and I organized a few kitchen cupboards last week that were driving me mental. No longer do the spices look like a game of Jenga, nor are you risking a concussion by reaching for a mug. The Rockstar and I stopped mid-job to run to Walmart where we purchased a few expandable shelves which made a world of difference. By no means is the kitchen finished but I have made a good dent in sorting it out and when I open the three newly organized cupboards I can't help but smile. Funny how the very little things in life (like an organized cupboard) can make you feel good, isn't it? Is that ridiculous?

I have to figure out how I want to deal with the remainder of the kitchen before I work any further in there. I have been going over possible arrangements in my head but haven't found a plan that I'm in love with just yet. I'm setting the goal of completing the kitchen by the end of February. Fingers crossed!

Today after I read about Megan's challenge I cleaned out the linen cupboard: rolled up towels, tucked sheet sets into matching pillowcases (thank you Martha Stewart for that idea), tossed a bunch of useless bits in the garbage and a threw a pile of random things in the giveaway box. I should have taken a before and after photo: less than 30 minutes of work and the closet looks completely revamped.

I intend to post about my organizing/decluttering so that I can look back and remind myself of what I've accomplished and I may share some photos of the completed projects. Sorry there's no pictures today (I know you are deeply saddened by this - note the sarcasm) but I didn't have the time or the energy to take photos of the linen cupboard.

Wow this is a really wordy post; hopefully you don't feel like you're dying a slow and painful death by Jaime's jabbering. I feel like I should end with something that doesn't involve me blabbering on and on so here's a random photo of my Rockstar which shows off his stunning little eyeballs quite nicely. Unbelievably cute and definitely clutter free.

Iron Craft Challenge #5: Be Mine

WARNING: Grams, Papa, Granny, Grandad, Aunts (both biological and pseudo) and Uncles DO NOT READ THIS POST IF you want your Valentine's card from the Rockstar to be a complete surprise!!

Iron Craft's challenge this week is titled Be Mine. It didn't take me long to decide what I wanted to pull together for this challenge: the Rockstar's first valentine's day card. Although I'm posting one photo of the finished product on flickr in the Iron Craft group I won't post any of the final photo shoot pics here at Gingham Skies until V-day. Okay, maybe you'll get one teaser but it won't show much because I don't want to ruin the surprise for the Rockstar's fans.

The fans are going to swoon due to the overwhelming cuteness of these pictures. I was literally rolling on the floor giggling over how adorable he looked while snapping the pictures (yes I admit I may be a teeny tiny bit biased but seriously it was ridiculous). Mike was rolling too but not on the floor: his eyes were rolling around in his head while he groaned and assured the Rockstar over and over again how he had absolutely nothing to do with this and how it was all "his mother's fault". That being said he couldn't help but smile (over and over again during the actual shoot) and did admit that the Rockstar was hands down the cutest cupid ever. I think all the groaning was for the benefit of the future teenage Rockstar who Mike feels will not be impressed the photographs his mom snapped of him in his awesome cupid gear at 7 months old. I would tend to disagree: he's going to show these pictures to his girl friends (not girlfriends, but girls who are friends since obviously he won't be dating until he's 25) and they are going to melt.

After all this hype I better show you a little something. The crafting I completed for this challenge included making wings as well as a softie bow and arrow. I was pleasantly surprised with my final results.

The Rockstar didn't have any issues with his gear and he didn't even bother much with the feathers which I initially thought would lead to a wrestling match between him and I (me trying to keep them out of his mouth and him trying to gobble them up). The softies turned out pretty good, I wasn't sure if they would actually look like a bow and arrow but I think they do - what do you think? The Rockstar love love LOVES the bow. The red elasticy bit is his favourite, he likes pulling on it and letting it go (my crystal ball shows me being whacked with many an elastic band in the future) and thinks it's absolutely hilarious when Mike makes a funny noise to go with the action.

Here's a shot of the original wings I made.

They ended up being waaaay too big so I snipped them down to a more appropriate size and added a ribbon to hold them in place.

And here's a sneak peek of the Rockstar: a quiet moment where he is getting into character.

Come back on Valentine's day to see the final valentine's day card I designed for the challenge as well as a few other pics from our photo shoot OR if you just can't wait and you're not a Grandparent of the Rockstar you can hop over to the Iron Craft flickr pool to see the card now.

February 1, 2011

I Did

Four years ago today I married my best friend.

I thought I married the best of Mike, I honestly didn't think he could be any more wonderful than he was on February 1st, 2007 but I was wrong: the best was yet to come. After being with someone for almost eleven years you have a pretty good idea of who they are but the only way to determine what kind of parent they will be is to see them in action when/if the time comes. I've lucked out and am truly blessed to be married to a man who is not only an amazing husband but also an outstanding father. I love watching Mike with his little mini-me, the adoration that is mirrored in their eyes when they look at one another makes my heart skip a beat.

Four fantastic years under our rings and a new addition to share the rest of our lives with: what will the next four have in store for us?! I can't wait to find out! Happy Anniversary, Baby!!