Saturday, May 31, 2014

Friday Favorties (A Day Late :) - May

Not sure what's going on with me but summer has me feeling like life is a whirlwind! Sorry about my lack of communication lately! So, I'm finally getting to my May edition of recent favorites that is a mix of recipes, stamps and books to beat the heat of summer!

              1. Greek Garbanzo Bean Salad
This one is perfect for summer heat and a healthy option to replace the mayo based ones. Click here for the recipe, which includes cucumbers and feta cheese along with everything else and is a fresh new favorite!

             2. Lawn Fawn Summer Release
OK, seriously, these cannot get any cuter! I'm trying to whittle down my stamp collection but a few of these are too adorable to say no to and I had to have them as soon as they became available last week! The Love You S'more set had me at hello because the girls and I play the "love you more" game so often at bedtime so the little s'more stamp and the animals roasting marshmallows with dies just make me smile! Check out the whole release here.
3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Summer gets me in the mood to read more with time to sit on the deck in the evenings and I know this one has been out for awhile but I finally got around to reading it and couldn't put it down! So good! Any local book store would have this but I included an link to amazon here.
         4. 2014-2015 Stampin' Up Catalog
The new Stampin' Up catalog is available to shop from on Monday, June 2nd!!! I am so excited to put my first order in! Check it out on the Stampin' Up website on Monday and it will be live or contact me if you'd like to place an order or get a catalog!
5. Ravioli and Spinach Lasagna
This is such an easy meal for weeknights but with the wonderful comfort of a steamy lasagna (I know it's summer, but some of those days can be rough, too, right? :) With only five ingredients this is a no brainer! You can find the recipe at Melanie Makes. Add a salad or some garlic bread on the side and you are set!
Happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Studio Calico Camelot

I've been MIA and I do not have any major reason other than a birthday trip to Minneapolis to continue the celebration of Addison's 8th birthday midweek, officially launching summer off and getting the house stocked with groceries and ideas for the girls to have fun with their summer nanny, planning a family trip to Yellowstone at the end of June which is approaching quicker than I would prefer, and finally (thank goodness) a long, worry free Memorial Day weekend thanks to the men, women, and families who give so much for our countless freedoms.

I spent my Monday off creating cards with my May Studio Calico kit and am in love with the stamp set! So fun to create cakes that are sugar free, calorie free, gluten free! And they all look delicious! So fun!

I got lots of these ideas from the Studio Calico gallery, so full of great ideas! This kit has to be one of my favorites ever! The colors, the buttons, the papers are so fresh and again, the stamp set! LOVE!

Okay, that's it for now. I am excited to report there will be more to come from this kit, it is packed with goods and I feel like I've just made a dent! Hoping to get some more down time soon but with the summer just getting going, not sure when that may be. Also have tried a few new recipes great for the grilling season so hope to share those soon, too!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Digging in the Dirt

Finally! The forecast doesn't have below freezing in its view so I could finally get my garden in the ground! A variety of tomato plants, lots of peppers, zucchini, peas, kale, watermelon, and this year our trial plant is cantaloupe. Each year the girls pick something new to plant and see if it prospers. Last year was watermelon and we did get a few little, sweet melons so it made the official garden list this year. Blueberries were attempted a few years ago and we will not do that one again, unless we move to Maine! :)

There is something so gratifying about digging in the dirt and growing your own fruits and veggies. Even as a young girl I insisted on planting a garden every year growing up on the farm and I loved it just as much then as I still do today! My girls have always been good eaters and I truly believe getting them in the garden and the kitchen plays such a big part in that!

Another lesson I relearn each year is how much physical labor is involved in digging in the garden. In two hours, a pre-garden blood sugar of 132, three carbohydrate snacks, and no bolus to cover any of them I hovered in the low 80's and maintained that for another two hours after finishing. It made me wonder if we all still ate out of a garden and didn't ever discover preservatives other than the act of canning if diabetes would even be around. Of course, sampling the frosting for Addison's birthday cake yesterday as I was finishing it pulled the ol' blood sugar up with no problem but guessing if I ate a piece of that decadent cake while gardening I would need a whole lot less insulin to cover it!
Veggies are great but my herbs are my favorite part of the growing season so I was so excited to find these containers at Target to hang on my deck that is just off our kitchen. Now my herbs are right there while I am making dinner! I labeled each with a wine cork and Sharpie stuck on a toothpick. So happy with these little beauties and even more excited to find some new recipes that use rosemary, basil, mint, dill, or my favorite...cilantro! 

Happy gardening, friends!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Addison is eight today. My kindhearted, crafty, energetic baby is an 8-year old little lady who got out of school for the summer on Thursday and couldn't wait to start playing school the moment she got home. This triggered the decision to make her little gathering today school themed!

I had seen the pencil wrapped Rolos on Pinterest and put those with bookmarks and a few treats in the mason jars with a library tag embellished with names.

I made a two tier chocolate cake, the Hershey recipe on the cocoa canister, and it was moist, rich, and delicious with frosting using the same back of the box recipe. After frosting the cake the fun started 
as the girls embellished the perimeter with Kit-Kats, one of Addison's favorite, and I made a rainbow
 8 with M&Ms. Next I put a banner I made with my Silhouette and a bow to finish it off! So proud of
 this little beauty!

Addison loved it and Graci did, too! The day was a success and the gifts were presented this morning adorned with lots of leftover Basic Grey papers. It's become a fun tradition to package everything up pretty for the girls' birthday presents and the giant rollerblades box looked so much prettier with all 
that paper! (We got a matching pair for Graci but traditionally I pretty up the gift for the girl of honor only as the bonus gift is excitement enough for the lucky receiver! :)
A fun and special day for my baby! Hard to believe 8 years can go by that fast but I wouldn't trade the joyful chaos for anything! Happy birthday, Addi! Love you more! :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Girls on the Run Finale Bookmark

I have learned so much from the 3rd - 5th grade girls that I had the honor of coaching for Girls on the Run this year and our final gathering was yesterday. I wanted to craft a little something for each of the girls to remember the lessons that we learned and the fun that was had so the stamp set in Studio Calico's March set was perfect!
I mass produced 20 bookmarks in a short amount of time so don't be intimidated by large numbers if you have a quality product you want to produce. Simply set up stations and get going! For this I had a
 pile of the bookmarks, washi station, stamp station, and glue station with the backs. Easy peasy!
Don't let anyone ever dull your sparkle! A great reminder for these beautiful young girls and heck, even us adult women can use this reminder in life so I had to make one for myself, too!:)

This got me thinking of other ideas for these, maybe for birthday or party treat bags, a new mom with a sweet book to record baby's firsts, the possibilities are endless! 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Wishing all the amazing mamas out there a beautiful Mother's Day! Eric and the girls spoiled me with all sorts of surprises but my favorites were the handmade book and note that the girls created for me in school...handmade is always best!

My parents are here for brunch so my two seconds are up! :) Enjoy your day, moms!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Teacher Appreciation

Happy Friday friends! I haven't had much time for crafting lately with the rush of school coming to an end and all of the girls' music, dance, and school event finales! I'm not going to lie, I am almost as excited for summer as my kids! :)

Our school celebrates teachers and all they do this week so last night we took a late trip to the mall because, of course, this was the one item with top priority on my to do list that ended up forgotten after the twelve other top priorities for yesterday, with most of them being work related. Paying the mortgage and appreciating teachers are big deals but one does have to make choices, right? Finding balance is so much work!

So after sipping a few samples at Teavana and smelling all the latest scents at Bath and Body, we were ready to roll and on sensory overload as we headed home for bedtime. Nice work, mom, I thought to myself! :) And at 9:15 PM I hit the craft room to create. It was fun to crank these out and I'm pretty sure I've sparked my craftiness again!

Addi really wanted the strawberry basket theme so I used my Silhouette to create the basket and her handwriting in white to spell "picked" was just enough to make this little bushel personal. Graci's teacher loves tea so she picked out a few fun flavors and a canister that with purchase, donates to education so I jazzed up the bag with teacups and a tea bag, again cut with the Silhouette and added a fitting  sentiment to the tea bag with the sketch pen option. I hope their teachers love them as much as  the girls did when they woke up this morning and saw the little gifts ready to give!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Irony of My Good Life

We had a heavy rain early this morning and after it stopped I decided it would be a perfect morning for a run. Blood sugar in check, no insulin on board, cut the basal rate, had my Stingers in my little zip pocket of my running tights just in case the decreased basal rate wasn't enough, I was ready!

I drove down to the trails to get a true 4 miles in using the mile markers and just enjoy the perfect morning, cool and fresh from the rain and trails that wound around the river with a few added bridges  for a touch of scenic perfection. My IPod was loaded with some favorite workout songs and as I passed mile marker 2 in the middle of Say by John Mayer I hear, "Low battery!" from a dull, irritating woman's voice that came out of nowhere. It literally took me a minute to determine it was coming from my IPod after checking my  Dexcom a few times first. I was used to "beep-beep-beep-beep" or vibrations warning me of high or low but none of my devices have actually spoken to me.

Considering myself as close to a "perfect diabetic" as I could get this morning, wouldn't you know that I had failed to fully charge the one device that keeps me motivated on a run with 2 miles left to go! Oh, the irony! I am fairly certain I let out an awkward giggle in the middle of an abandoned park and just had to laugh at myself. Because laughter in these moments of irony is just so much better than tears!

I had enough juice in the IPod to fire up the song I typically end on, Good Life by One Republic, because even with all the irony,  the "bullshit that don't work now, we've got our stories but please tell me what there is to complain about!" So true as I looked around and took a mental picture to realize I have so much to feel good about! It is these lyrics that pull me back every time. This has been the song I pick to end on every run for the past few years and the last few minutes of every run with this song playing I have the same moments of appreciation. It is here that I thank God for my legs that still carry me, my heart that pounds and my kidneys that filter, my eyes (with a slight amount of retinopathy in the left, the only true mark diabetes has left thus far in its 34 years on my body) that let me visualize the finish line, my mind that pushes me to go further. I feel closest to God in these few minutes than anything else. When I am on the trails now all the years back to when I was running the races in high school it is just me, a runner, trying to finish, competing with myself or peers or thousands in a marathon, I am viewed like everyone else because no one on the trail today or the crowd at the marathon knows I am a person with diabetes. I carry that load every day but for some reason, on these trails (as long as my blood sugar is in check) it feels so much lighter. Until the last 4:13 minutes of my run when these lyrics hit me and I know how blessed I am to have the possibility and reality of this really good life!

On a quick end note, I am thrilled that my love of running is being shared by my daughters! I coached Girls on the Run this season at their school, which is an incredible program you can learn more about here and we ran the end of season 5K this past weekend! So much fun to see their expression as they shared the joy of crossing that finish line with the crowd cheering them on and I could not be more proud of them for setting that goal and accomplishing it!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Bright Recipes

The sun has decided to show its bright side today and I am so very thankful! The last week has been cold, rainy, and gloomy and I'll be honest, I've been struggling. One thing I've found comfort in is some new bright recipes. Lots of bright veggies and flavor to warm you up!

First up is one from a new blog I've recently uncovered called Melanie Makes. Lots of delicious recipe ideas but my favorite part of her blog is weekly menus that she highlights on Mondays. I love soup year round and this is a great spring soup that is brightened with lemon and dill...very hearty!
Next is this BLT Chopped Salad I found on Pinterest. So colorful and let's just be honest, bacon makes everything better! This is a healthy salad spruced up with crunchy bacon and tangy homemade ranch dressing. Who knew you didn't need "ranch" to make your own dressing?!?!? :) I put my bacon on a metal cooling rack over an old baking sheet and bake it at 350 or 375 to get a mess free, crunchy slice every time!
This one isn't as springy but so colorful with all the veggies you'd normally find on your taco but tossed with some ricotta and lasagna noodles instead. Taco Lasagna... I made this one for my family and my parents last night. They just got back from wintering in Arizona and it is so good to have them close again. Not sure about you but I didn't get to see my grandparents much growing up so I feel so blessed that my daughters have both sets of grandparents close. Everyone loved this only comment is use regular lasagna noodles or even if you use no cook, boil them. Just a personal opinion. I topped pieces with sour cream, diced tomatoes, and avocado slices for a festive dinner.
And finally, these are granola bars I whipped up one night and keep in the fridge. Super easy to make and everyone was a fan of this for an on the go snack but they are a bit crumbly, yum!
I hope the sun keeps shining because after all this comfort cooking, and eating, I'm going to need to keep moving to keep my blood sugars in check and it's so much easier to exercise outside! Again, just my opinion! :) Happy Friday!