Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Local Designer!

So, my day job allows me to travel many local little towns in SD and I sometimes have a bit of down time between my appointments. I have discovered so many sweet little shops in some of these little towns and my favorite one up north is a scrapbook store, of course! Lori, the owner, has gotten to know me quite well over the years and last week she asked me to help her design a kit! Now don't get too excited, I won't be quitting my day job but I was excited for the challenge and the experience really does make me feel like a designer! Lori asked me to use the collection On Trend from Crate Paper, an old favorite of mine. I had certain pieces to work with and had to stretch her available supply into 6 kits, this was such a fun way to make me stretch...

With that, I introduce my first layout...
I had these two pictures from Graci's tenth birthday that I've been treasuring and found a layout at Studio Calico's creative gallery by Julie Campbell to inspire me. The circles were cut randomly from the patchwork of papers on the bottom and I used pop dots with alternating punched circles to layer on top. A few buttons and brads add a subtle pop of texture on a few of the circles.

Here is the next one that I love! I've had some fun pictures from the holidays that I knew I wanted to use on a special layout because there is just so much joy from these memories. I found total inspiration from one of Lisa Dickinson's layouts and my scrap lift using On Trend is here...
And my final layout is a double using pictures I just discovered from a few years back of Eric and I ziplining in is the first page
and 2nd page...
This one is much more simple to put together but I had fun with it and added a few bark stars to finish it off. My first design challenge I'm hoping to make a few cute cards with the precious scraps! :) Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Simple Saturday Card Organization

Not sure about you but I have a lot of hand made cards, which I love having on hand for any last minute occasion as well as specially created ones for individuals I have in mind whose birthdays or celebrations aren't for a few months yet. Storing these neatly has been on my to do list for, hmmmm, I think a few years now. :)

I picked up a refrigerator storage bin at Bed, Bath, & Beyond that fit most cards, since I usually make them 4.25 x 5.5 or smaller and they have been accumulating like crazy in this perfect bin but I didn't have a system other than storing in groups. While finishing up a stash from a kit last night to make even more cards, because I am a tad OCD, I looked at this pile on the table of letter stickers, 6x6 paper pads, etc. and had an aha!
Why not cut some fun pieces of the paper and label each with Thanks, Birthdays, Love, Hi, etc. to organize the bin and my entire card stash as well as use up some of the piles of stickers and papers that have accumulated?

I organized the cards into piles and set to work this morning using odds and ends and had them all organized in less than an hour! So simple and super cute!
No matter what is coming next, I'm pretty sure I've got a card for that! :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Papertrey April Blog Hop

It's the Papertrey Ink Blog Hop and this month the inspiration is embroidery...
I scoured Pinterest for my inspiration and came upon this embroidered hoop. I decided the combination of the colors and design would be a fun challenge to try on a card...
and this is what I came up with...
Whimsical and fun, just like the embroidered hoop! What do you think?
Happy Friday, everyone! Sunny and 70! Can't think of a better place to be than right where I am! :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Perfect Day

I hope your Easter weekend was a good one. We had such a fun time with my brothers and their families. Savoring our last vacation day today and it has been as close to perfect as possible, in my opinion. The girls and I had a lazy morning, it is 70 and sunny, Eric had time to meet us for a light lunch (he didn't take the day off, we try to juggle the girls no school days and I was the lucky one this time), and the girls and I topped it off with a long overdue pedicure.
Of course for a "perfect day," smooth blood sugars would trump any pedicure and I am thrilled that those have also been strong and steady with periodic finger pricks to verify my flat line on the DexCom are accurate. I just love when my disbelief is wrong!

An added bonus was the stop on our way home at a new shop that recently opened, Cheese World, where we picked out a few delicacies like Honey Clover Gouda and a crumbly slice of Gorgonzola. Now excuse me while I go sit in the sunshine on my deck and enjoy a few slices while trying to get my vitamin D levels up! :) what do you enjoy most on your days off?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Favorites - April Edition

Easter is upon us and I have a few favorites that go perfectly with the theme...

Eos Shea Butter Hand Cream
Priced right at $2, perfect little container whether you have your mama bag or a clutch, and three scents that are subtle and fresh - berry blossom, cucumber, and fresh flowers. Would be a sweet addition to any Easter basket!
Good as Gold Nail Polish by Essie
Gold is so in right now and I found this little beauty at Target and had to try it. I painted my nails and wore a wild print silky shirt for work one day last week and couldn't help but feel as though I needed a disco ball above me to finish off the look!
Jesus Calling Devotional by Sarah Young
This daily devotional was introduced to me by a friend who, in my opinion, has an ease about her and lives her life with so much strength and grace and I realize that is because of her faith. We all have trials in our lives and I have always been a firm believer in the fact that God does not give us more than we can handle but it is hard sometimes to trust that faith. This book has guided my journey this year and I know it is something I will continue to turn to every year.
Rachael Ray Pea and Carrot Soup
Spring means fresh vegetables and this soup is the perfect addition to any weeknight. The leeks lend to its flavor and the pesto infused rice makes it a hearty meal. I've included a link to the recipe here. As Rachael would say, "Yum-O!"
Treat Cups by Stampin' Up

So this is may be a biased favorite but I found a picture on Pinterest with how to use these little round treat cup bases (which I've had in my stash for like four years now, wondering what to do with them) and thought anything with a cotton ball tail added is adorable. My daughter, Addison, actually whipped a bunch of these up for friends to give as a little Easter treat and I know grandmas and grandpas will be getting them in the mail. They just make me smile so here is the final favorite...
We are off to Fargo to celebrate with my brothers and their families. Swimming, hotel, and brunch prepared by someone other than me so looking forward to a fun, stress free weekend where the restaurant can clean up the mess! :) I hope you all have an incredible Easter weekend with loved ones and hop on by the blog again soon!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Studio Calico Bluegrass Farm Cards

So, I've finally found some time in the last few evenings to dig into the latest SC card kit and wanted to share a few of my creations from the stash...

For the big burst of yellow flower I cut the ribbon in half along the length and stuck it to a big glue dot, gathered as I covered the glue and repeated 3 layers to finish it. On the lemon one I used Starfruit Stampin' Up ink and Papertrey Ink Mat Stack dies to embellish the ribbon and on the Just a Note I made my own pocket out of the soft coral card stock and finished it off with a stitch of ribbon and Notch Flower die of red and Stampin' Up heart die to cut a piece of gold paper to finish it off. lOVE the gold, coral, and navy combo!
I randomly stamped the big blow up stamp included in the kit in Crispy Cantaloupe and Crumb Cake from Stampin' Up on the white and embellished with various die cuts and tag. 
 That silky soft peach ribbon was so fun to play with and love the accent of it stitched at an angle on the thank you card to anchor the shimmery black paper with the die cut sentiment from Papertrey Ink.
This last one was inspired from one I found in the Studio Calico gallery and is one of my favorites so far but I still have a ton of pieces left to create with so hoping on one of my vacation days to finish off the kit!
That's it for now, better get dinner on the table and excited to meet a good friend out tonight to kick off the start of my four day vacation! :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Yum! Chicken Pad Thai

I LOVE Chinese food but do not love the affect it always seems to have on my blood sugar. My recent favorite is the Pad Thai at Noodles & Company, which is such a better option than anything with the sweet sauce and so much easier on the blood sugar as long as I bolus the correct amount for the rice noodles. And cilantro on anything is a bonus in my book!

So I came across this Pad Thai recipe on Pinterest this weekend and made it for dinner tonight...amazing! I honestly would put it right up there with my favorite at Noodles & Company! Lots of ingredients but it comes together quickly for a perfect weeknight meal and an added bonus on top of the cilantro - it is gluten free!

A perfect Monday night meal! I'm hoping its impact on my blood sugars is a bit more optimal than sweet and sour chicken! :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mama Guilt and Much More Important Perspective

I try hard to ensure that my diabetes doesn't interfere with my daughters' lives, meaning I don't want a low blood sugar to prevent them from getting to practice or a party on time. Just to clarify, Graci & Addi are incredibly aware and sensitive to my needs when I am low or feeling queasy with a high and they look out for me. This fact alone has caused me immense guilt and worry over the years. It started when Graci was 1month old, hungrily crying next to me, and I couldn't move. I had nursed her at 5AM, Eric had gone to work at 6AM, and I had lazily fallen back to sleep in my new mom exhaustion before going downstairs to replenish my needy body with desperate calories. At 8AM her cries woke me up and I was so low, I physically could not move. That story was a difficult one to live and obviously we all ended up safe and okay, thanks to my husband, but the guilt I had after that particular episode made me feel like I didn't deserve this precious baby girl, my own daughter who I would do anything for; that guilt was severe for over a year. It started there and has reappeared countless times over the years. I know most mothers struggle with guilt over various things with parenting. Somehow it feels heavier when most of it is a result of MY blood sugar and I am in the driver's seat of those numbers.

My girls are both very aware of their surroundings, especially people. If someone needs help or is hurting, they sense it and I have watched proudly as they step in to be the voice of support or offer help. Although I have wrestled with guilt over the fact that they both know to get me a glass of orange juice if they see anything below 60 on my meter or they hear my beeps before I do in the early mornings that Eric is already gone, I also know they put others in need before themselves because of my diabetes and the hard lessons it instills and for that, I am okay. I think they are, too!

After traveling with work all week, we were all excited for some fun this weekend. Eric was gone with work until Saturday night so we were planning a chick night Friday into Saturday, which is always a good time. Lazy night Friday led into a beautiful Saturday morning and lots of outdoor entertainment. Bikes and running through the yards (just to clarify this was the girls and neighbor friends :) was an all day affair. I, on the other hand, was dealing with a bit of a spike in my blood sugar that wasn't responding very well to insulin. After a few hours in the afternoon of bolus attempts and blood sugar checks, I decided to change my pump site and found a bit of dried blood, indicating the culprit of my consistent 200's that were now in the 300 range. I did a correction bolus and waited for the relief of the drop with my fresh site. And then my youngest, Addison, asked sweetly if we could head to Barnes and a Noble. The nausea that had persisted for the end of the afternoon was heavy in my mood as I answered her with a grumpy, "No." I explained I hadn't been feeling well and she was really okay with it. My kids do hear no once in awhile but Eric and I are extremely easy going individuals so a trip to look at books is typically a yes. So why did I have a major case of the mama guilt? I had done everything right as a person with diabetes today, eaten well, gotten some exercise, kept an eye on things and eventually acted when I determined the major culprit. The pump site, which wasn't due for a change until tomorrow, was to blame, not me. Lows can usually be fixed quickly and I can get back to my life. This sort of high is the sticky kind that leaves it's mark for longer. The fact that it interrupted my day with feeling crummy, and worse, my daughter's day, is the deep indirect guilt that simply stinks!

But, as promised, I have found perspective, which I am so thankful for every day! When I was feeling crummy yesterday I spent some time on Pinterest and found something fun to try for breakfast this morning so I woke up before everyone else to get these little French toast roll ups ready. While I was smothering Nutella on the girls and cream cheese on Eric's and mine I looked down and saw this:
Amidst the sliced strawberries, rolling pin, and flattened bread for all the delicious fillings sits my case that holds my minute to minute supplies: OmniPod, DexCom, strips and lancet device. Looking back at my morning, diabetes isn't part of it. Yes, I checked my fasting blood sugar which was normal and I had brewed my coffee and bolused my usual for the effect caffeine has on me. That's it. My morning was filled with the thrill of surprising my family with a special breakfast (recipe here, which I strongly recommend with cream cheese!), the happiness my morning coffe brings, the sound of the girls giggling as they found their way down the hallway and onto their kitchen stools. This is my favorite kind of weekend morning, and looking at this picture now I can hear the melody and specific words Easy Like Sunday Morning in my mind. Yes, the tools of my diabetes are a definite part of my day, every day, but notice it isn't in the center of my picture, it is just a part of it. I couldn't help but smile when I looked at this picture after taking it, thinking back to the mama guilt that had ridden me yesterday and now knowing Barnes and Noble had long been forgotten and this breakfast may be the new favorite. I'm fairly certain Lionel Richie didn't have diabetes on his mind the morning he wrote the title Easy Like Sunday Morning. Luckily diabetes isn't in my title today either, it's just a part of my story...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Joy of Meetings

Ah, yes, the work meeting of the minds. Those glorious, longer than necessary gatherings that are held in far away places all too often to ensure my capabilities are up to par in my career. Don't get me wrong, I sincerely enjoy seeing peers and friends from across the country and reconnecting, gaining fresh perspective and energy to forge on for the next few months. The part that I could do without is the stress that comes with them and their interference with my daily routine because of travel, time changes, food intake, and lots of sitting for long periods.

Case in is my DexCom reading as I am waiting on the tarmac at 9:31AM Tuesday morning
I am usually around a 160 post breakfast on a good day but the moment I wake up on a work travel day the adrenalin and anxiety kick in so I had bolused for my breakfast and even a bit of a correction 
for the creeping spike as I got ready and quadruple checked to ensure I had all my back up supplies packed. So pre take off I decided to set a temp basal to increase 40% for the next two hours. Kindle app open and I am ready to relax for the hour and thirty minute duration.

The plane was warm and I noticed everyone fanning themselves as we screeched onto the tarmac in Denver. I knew I wasn't alone in the stuffy limited space in my seat. We had to wait for our spot at the gate and people around me were looking flustered and overheated as we all tried to be patient. I double checked my DexCom and as usual, my timing being anything but perfect, I see it has timed out. Expired. Damn. I do my usual re start up (yes FDA approval allows for one week of use per sensor but last time I checked, I pay my medical bills, the FDA or government do not and my skin has yet to have any sensitivity for a 2week run so re start up it is...) and gather my carry on items. I pick up my luggage a few floors down in the airport and head to the taxi area. It is beautiful outside, sun shining, almost hot. Get in the taxi with a work peer and we are both swapping stories on how warm the flight was. Taxi is hot. My peer is fanning herself with her hand and we both decide to roll a window down for a breeze.

Check in at hotel. I see many peers and friends, the hugs begin ( I am a major hugger! People know and expect it who have been around me so a few people wait nearby so I can get my hug in with any and everyone I know...). I love hugs, always have, always will. But during this session I find myself apologizing to people, sorry I'm so warm, flight was hot, taxi was hot. I notice people's expression as they release from our sweaty hugs. Odd. I can't wait to get in the room and freshen up. We get up to the 4th floor and as I am fumbling for the room key I just had I catch myself subconsciously speaking out loud under my breath, "Maybe I'm low..." What a crazy thought, I think to myself as my face makeup is rolling down my neck and strands of hair are also now sticking to that same neck.

A quick check with my meter might be good since my DexCom hasn't had its two hours before
calibration yet.
What? Ugh!!! Well, that explains it quickly. I choke down a packet of Stingers while unbuttoning my shirt and stand in front of the jacked AC unit to find relief. 15 minutes later a 64 made me feel safe enough to take the elevator down and grab some lunch. If this is the way my meeting is started, Lord help me as I fumble through the next few days...

And on my work flight home, I think I may go with a 20% increase on the basal, if any. Another day of trial and error in the books. If only I didn't have to be the guinea pig every day!

If you want to read more insight on travel and it's effect on blood sugars, check out Keri's blogpost
here .

Monday, April 7, 2014

Just for Fun

First, I need to take a moment to be a proud mama. After all, having a blog allows me the perfect opportunity to share, right? It has been a long, stressful winter season and every now and then, just getting out of town is enough to bring fresh perspective. We headed to Rochester, MN, Friday for Graci's Just for Kix competition on Saturday morning. Eric's sister was also looking for a getaway and lives in Minneapolis just 90 miles north so she, too, joined in the fun. It was so fun to catch up, share a glass of wine, hit Target for some spring wardrobe options for the girls, and most importantly, wake up bright and early to help Graci get ready for her first big competition.

The energy in the arena was contagious and it was so fun to watch all the girls do their best! Graci's team didn't place this year but the experience was a blast and she had such a good time.
So, the weekend definitely renewed my spirit and the 70 degree weather and sunshine on Sunday added to the excitement. I put this layout together tonight after I had a chance to reflect on the fun we always have when it comes to visits to Minnesota. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy our life in SD but I do often miss the memories we built in Minneapolis and it is always fun to get back there to make new ones! This page uses some fun pictures I took on our last little getaway to the big city in March.
I based this one on a layout I found on Two Peas in a Bucket that I loved that you can find here. I had so much fun putting this one together. Here are a few close ups of the page:
The girls love Forever 21 for Girls and I love the prices so it's a win, win. Addison couldn't get enough of the gold embellished shirts and I loved the layout of the fitting room, thought it was a fun look for a quick picture as she gazed in the giant mirror. Love that picture! And Graci's obsession for macaroons continues so we found a French bakery across the street from out hotel...
These two give us constant entertainment, whether it is swimming, shopping, eating, just a fun weekend! 
I'm leaving for a work trip to Denver tomorrow morning so be back at the end of the week with a post if I have any time to craft before then or come up with some new revelation about diabetes!
Have a great week! Spring has officially arrived and I think this time it will stick! Was thrilled to see a few patches of green grass today!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Watercolor and Cards, Cards, & More Cards

I know my last post was regarding blood sugars being up and down but it's been a few days since that post because our weather has been up and down and that is inducing a bit of frustration in my mood. 70 degrees and sunny on Sunday into Monday at 2PM and by dinnertime it was 42 degrees and windy so my glorious run on Sunday didn't happen on Monday (I'm a wimp when it comes to running outside). It has been chilly since and they are forecasting a winter storm warning into tomorrow night. I am so over waiting for spring to arrive and actually stay! I think our good Lord has His seasons confused but I'm trying hard to trust Him on this one so until He has that figured out, onto the point of this post...

The weekend was a relaxing one with lots of catch up on outdoor work but I did also get some time to make some cards and I will warn you...I made a ton! So, of course, need to share some pictures! Also had some fun experimenting with the watercolor that is so popular right now on a few tags to go on the new book by Kerri Sparling, which I strongly recommend for anyone who has type 1 diabetes or loves someone that has it. I bought a copy for a few of my favorite peeps that share the wild ride of living with it with me and wanted to add a special tag to each to jazz them up as a special little gift for them each!
So, first, let's talk about the watercolor technique. I placed a few clear stamps on the tag I wanted to use and once I had them lined up where I wanted, I put a big block over all of them. This is one of my favorite parts about using clear stamps because I am so visual and love to have confidence in my placement before I commit to actually inking the stamp!
Once I liked the placement I put them on the large block and inked with VersaMark Ink and used white embossing powder and heat set on a tag I had cut with watercolor paper. Once that part was done the fun began! I got out my old watercolor paints wheel from Hero Arts that I bought ages ago (always fun to get use out of your old stash!) and mixed colors on a mat until I loved the color and painted away. I wish I would've taken a few pictures to show but it is literally that easy! I blended some together and added more color and water, back and forth, it still ended up beautiful! Once I was happy with the look I laid a few clear blocks over the top to ensure they dry flat. Add some ribbon and a background to the tag and the book is wrapped for gifting!
Speaking of gifts, I had been wanting to make some baby thank you cards as a gift for one of the athletic trainers that works at my chiropractic clinic who is expecting her 2nd baby, a boy. So I finally got these put together with a little congrats card to drop off for her yesterday.

Love those chevron clouds! My signature gift to anyone having a baby is a pile of thank you cards with envelopes that already have the postage stamp on them so they are ready to roll whenever the momma has a moment to get those thank you cards sent. Such a fun gift to make and give!
So aside from these little gifts, I used my Office Hours kit from Studio Calico to make a bunch of other cards this weekend. Here are those...
Sorry the pictures are dark, that's what I get waiting to photograph them on a dark overcast day of winter. The sunshine is coming, I know!!!
Hope you are having a great week and the sun is shining on you wherever you are!