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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Project 365



A quilt top I made for Brenda using a shirt of Matt's that she sent to me before he died. Still need to finish it but I showed it to her yesterday so I thought I could show the picture on the blog.




Clutter Diet in action.


Caleb's new "hair".

Eva's friends, Gracie and Turkey.


Christy and Brenda being awesome

Christy & Brenda went out on the town. Christy forgot her camera but when they got home all they could do was take this silly photo. Christy must think that she should speak in the 3rd person so as to not give up her cover as the bearded lady.


Eva censored

Happy New Year!

This will be my last Project 365 post. To see a collection of all of the pictures I took this year, click here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lazy Days

Yesterday I had absolutely nothing that I had to do. We're all just hanging out at my mom's house in Tulsa and the kids are in heaven because they have a Wii, dogs, ducks, and turkeys. Here is what I did (or didn't do) yesterday:

1. No shower.
2. Ate a mini loaf of banana bread, 5 tamales covered in green chili, half a can of pringles and 3 Wild Cherry Diet Pepsis. Apparently going back to my plan will happen after I get back home.
3. Wrote one blog post for and then tried all day to get my ftp transfer to work. No luck. I may have to wait until I'm back in Nebraska.
4. Cleared out my email inbox from about 1200 messages down to 38.
5. Messed around on the Internets.
6. Watched The Simpsons Movie. (stupid, of course)
7. Watched Ghost Town. (not the greatest movie)
8. Finished my Neil Diamond book. (awesome)
9. Played Mario Kart. (I suck)
10. Played Battleship with Carl. (I lost twice)

Today I actually have plans. I'm leaving in an hour to go to Norman with Brenda. We're going to go and visit Tiffany and Tracy and hopefully Melessa. We've also got big plans to buy sweet OU memorabilia and visit Classic 50's for a slush. Did you all know that is where Carl proposed? Good ol' Classic 50's. I love Norman.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Clutter Diet

In 2007 I started blogging every day. 2008 was the year I decided to do Project 365 and take a picture every day. This year I'm going on a diet I know can stick with.

Last month I started a clutter diet. If you've seen my house, you know that I can use it. I have several trouble areas in my house. Our kitchen table is rarely cleared off. My bedroom is a dump off area for all sorts of junk. The kids rooms are toy pits. I was in desperate need of some professional help.

I first heard about the Clutter Diet on twitter. Jessica, from JessicaKnows, issued a month long challenge to try it out. I figured that I had nothing to lose to try it...except a lot of clutter!

I didn't know if I was going to do it at first because of the cost. It is almost $15/month! Luckily, they offer one month at $4.95 to try it out. I figured that I would be able to get a month's worth of help for $5. They also have an easy cancellation policy so I didn't have to commit to more than one month. I went for it and I'm here to tell you, I'm glad I did!

How it Works

Every Thursday you get an email providing you the "menu" for the week. Tasks are divided up into one main dish (a larger project meant to take about an hour during the week), a couple of side dishes (15 min. each), a 5 minute sensible snack, and dessert that is some type of reward. Here you will find a sample weekly plan . As you go throughout the week, you can "weigh in". You lose clutter pounds for completing your tasks, throwing out trash, and donating items.

One of my favorite things from the program so far is the Household Systems Workbook. This alone was worth the $5. It is a 26 page workbook that you can print out and use to help manage your household. It includes all sorts of checklists, action plans, and helpful tips. One of my goals for 2009 is to have my workbook filled out and working for my family.

There are also video tutorials and a message boards that the professional organizers are on. They really participate in the forums and answer questions quickly. They can also be found on twitter and respond to questions there as well.

I joined on Dec 1st and I've lost 217 clutter pounds so far this month. This is something that has really worked for me and I'm looking forward to getting my house in order in 2009!

I'll be blogging about my Clutter Diet in 2009 and would love to hear if any of you decide to try it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

He Is...I Say

I've been reading the book that Carl got me for Christmas. It is by David Wild, a journalist for Rolling Stone, about the awesomeness that is Neil Diamond. I love Neil, so you can imagine that I love this book. Even if this book wasn't cleverly written, full of great anecdotes, and teeming with great personal information about Neil, I would probably still love it. But this book is all of those things and I'm only on chapter 2.

My favorite passage so far...

" my heart of hearts---my "Heartlight," if you will---I remain a firm Believer that if you hate Neil Diamond, then you may actually hate yourself."

*My final Project 365 post will be on Dec. 31st

Saturday, December 27, 2008

On the Road Again

The snow has melted and it is finally warming up around here. But, we're still heading south. I'll be in Oklahoma for a while but regular blogging will still take place. Today's is a little light but I will probably be tweeting throughout the day via my phone so you can check those out on the sidebar.

Happy trails!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Parade of Presents

Santa came to our house this year. He doesn't wrap the presents he brings to our house. He sets them on display so the kids can see them right away.

On Christmas Eve, the kids put out their stockings. Caleb and I chose to put ours on a chair. Here is what Santa left for him.

Santa commissioned me to make those three sided Barbie playrooms. This one is a bathroom. Santa also gave me a tip to head over to Goodwill for a bag of naked Barbies (covered in tissue paper here for the sake of my blog readers) and two matching Barbie cars.

Eva put her stocking on the couch. She got the kitchen.

I think they liked them. They played with their Santa toys exclusively until after breakfast. Then we decided to open presents.

I should mention here that before breakfast we had one Barbie decapitation. Not to worry, I fixed it with a little elbow grease and super glue. Princess Jasmine Barbie will live another day.

The kids got some great gifts. Check out these outfits from their cousin Zachary (thanks Aunt Connie and Uncle Eric). Zachary also sent me some See's Candies (nuts & chews). He knew they were my favorite and the only chocolate I can't resist.

Chef Eva and Cowboy Caleb opened the last presents of the day. Eva got a Scooby Doo DVD (which she watched almost the whole morning) and Caleb got the My Sports gaming system. Basically, it is a "fake" Wii. The controllers look the same but the only games are bowling, tennis, golf, baseball, and the all important boxing! He knows it isn't the same as the one at Grandma's house, but it didn't really matter. One happy boy!

The kids played (mostly) happily all day while I finished up the Christmas cards and some gifts I need to take to Oklahoma. My address list wasn't fully recovered after my computer crash earlier in the year so if you want a card from me---you need to send me one or email me your address. I also took a much needed rest. I watched two episodes of Eli Stone with Carl, ate ham sandwiches (YUM), and went to bed before 9pm.

Carl and I got some presents, too. Carl got a pay as you go cell phone, an mp3 player, and a shaver. I got him the cell phone and he (I mean, Santa) got himself all the rest.

From Carl, I got the Neil Diamond book I asked for and a pair of pearl earrings. Before you think that Carl went all crazy and bought me jewelry, it should be noted that a coupon for a free pair of pearl earrings came in the mail from Helzburg Diamonds and I put it in Carl's pile of mail.

Funny story about Carl's present from Eric. A few days ago, Carl sent me a link to the Inigo Montoya shirt from Think Geek because he didn't think I had seen it before. This would be any big deal EXCEPT that I had shown him that shirt before AND shown him pictures of Eric wearing that exact same shirt. I told him it would be even more funny if Eric sent him that shirt for Christmas. He could act like he had never seen that shirt before...again! Merry Christmas, Carl.

If you want to see the presents I made for the kids, I just posted a tutorial over at

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from our Family to Yours!

Bonus elf: Cousin Kenny!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Caleb Funnies

Here are a few funny things Caleb has said recently...

1. We were driving downtown to the Children's Museum. I pointed to a big building and said, "Hey, you guys! That's the Capitol Building." Caleb said, "Wow! Where's the lowercase building?"

2. Caleb loves to play Karaoke Revolution on the Playstation. The computer generated players have a unique dancing style when they swing. They sway back and forth holding their microphones and raise their arms up above their head. Imagine my surprise when Caleb started dancing like this when all the children were up front singing at church on Sunday. Carl and I were both cracking up and I started crying I was laughing so hard. After the song Caleb yells to me, "What's wrong, Mommy?". Oh, nothing, Caleb. Way to liven up Sacrament meeting!

Have a great holiday! Check back tomorrow to see a special video from my family to yours!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Keeping it All Together

I realize that it is only 1pm, but today has been a pretty darn good day. The kids are playing together, we went to the Children's Museum, we had lunch, and I'm not too stressed about Christmas. I still have a lot to do as far as presents and cards are concerned. I have about 70% of the cards addressed. I finished two more projects that are for the kids (one from us and one from Santa). I have two more of those to finish but now that I've done one of each, they should go faster.

I've also pared down my writing responsibilities for other sites. I'm no longer writing as the Trying to Conceive editor at Typeamom. Instead I am going to continue in my position as Managing Editor of the Mom Topics section and just write articles for whatever topic I feel like. I didn't realize how much that assignment had been weighing on me until it was removed. I really love that site, though, and the opportunities it provides people to get their work out there.

A week ago, I was a guest blogger at Wishpot. I am one of the Indie experts and it is on that blog. You can read it here. That is such a fun site. Have you checked it out?

I've also been very lucky this month with giveaways. Just this morning I won this! I hope you read the blog post and didn't just look at the picture and assume I won Patrick Dempsey. That would merit a blog post all on its own if that had happened. I also won these, this fireman weighted vest, and this. I won some other things too but I'm too lazy to find the links right now. I'll post them when they arrive. I've been entering giveaways like crazy and have been trying to win a Wii in particular. No luck on that front.

I've also been getting a few more items to review. Can't tell you about those yet but I'll have some giveaways in the next few months with those products as well.

Exciting things happening around here and I couldn't be happier*!

*I fully realize that at any moment my kids can revert back to their evil ways but for now I'm enjoying the good.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Kids Are Half Evil

Today my kids were only evil for half of the day. HOWEVER...they weren't evil together. They took turns. As soon as one decided to be nice, the other took over as devil child. So even though I had a helper over here for the majority of the afternoon, I got exactly one hour worth of work accomplished. The other amount of time was spent keeping my kids from killing her or each other.

This is going to be a LONG Christmas break.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Project 365



Eva and some friends at preschool. They run around and play on the coat racks for as long as we let them after class.



The room a couple of hours before the party.

Eva wore one of my (or my sister's) old dresses to church today. She looked like a little Shirley Temple. She didn't want me to take her picture so I was pretending to take a picture of her candy cane. She said the candy cane didn't want to smile.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Party Time

I survived. Well, I survived the preparations. Everything is ready (almost) and they should arrive within the hour.

It helped that Carl came home early from camping. Apparently he was suffering from the beginning stages of frostbite so they came back to town to eat breakfast at the church. I can't believe he actually goes camping in these conditions.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Doctor's Wife

This is the weekend where I play the part of Dr. Nelson's wife. Carl's grad students are coming over for a holiday party. I make dinner and am a gracious hostess for 10-12 people that I have virtually nothing in common with. They talk about engineering all night so I try to keep up with the conversation and not glaze over. It is also hard to coordinate food. We've got vegetarians and beef feed Husker boys. I'm trying not to stress about it and I probably would have been fine if there had been school today. Instead, I've been keeping the kids occupied and trying not to mess up the house too badly. It isn't working that well. Upstairs, Caleb dumped MarbleWorks all over the floor. Downstairs, Eva threw a big bag of beads all over the floor. She says it is ant food and she can't pick it up because the ants will eat it. Great. I was going to go to the store to get the groceries I need for the party but I can't take both kids (Caleb + Eva + Store = Mega-disaster). Carl is going camping tonight with the scouts. The last time they went camping with ice on the ground one leader came home with a broken arm. I tried using all of my logic and womanly wiles to get them not to go this weekend but it didn't work. He's not going to get home until noon tomorrow and then I am going to my knitting guild meeting from 1-4. The students show up around 6pm. Needless to say, I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to pull this off.

Okay, I just talked to Carl and he's going to try to come home an hour early so I can go to the store before he leaves. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to do this.

I deserve a PhD for this.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dear Santa,

This worked when I posted the book about Neil Diamond (it arrived at my doorstep yesterday).

I think I might be pushing my luck now.

I've been a really good girl this year.

One of Those Days

Eva is 3 years old. On any given day, she can be the devil. It usually happens only 3-7 days a week.

Today is a devil day. On a devil day, Eva will only request to do unreasonable things (like play outside in the snow in a swimsuit). Even if you offer her an alternative (play outside in the snow in a snowsuit), it isn't good enough and getting her to do anything is like trying to wrangle Jell-O.

I got her to preschool this morning so she could participate in the party. I think she had fun while she was there. When she saw me she reverted back to "normal". I wanted to take her picture in front of the tree. I figured I might as well take her picture with a mad face. Here was our conversation:

Me: Eva! Make a mad face!
Eva: (with a mad face) I don't want to make a mad face! I want to make a happy face!
Me: Okay. Make a happy face.
Eva: (with a scowl) This IS a happy face!
Me: Okay, then.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Equal Opportunity

Just so everyone knows, I took these while he was sitting at the computer. I gave him the same instructions as I gave Eva.


Mad. Or, what I like to call "Whatchu talkin' 'bout Willis".

His turned out a little blurry. The light isn't as good in that room and he kept moving. Still fun to take these. He liked making his emotion faces.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Full Disclosure

You all left such great comments on the pictures I took of Eva! Thank you. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must tell you that I took those pictures while she was pooping on the potty.

Now, I need you to take the poll in my sidebar.


Fair warning: if you choose choice #3, it may backfire and make me want to talk about poop even more!

In the Shadow of the Sun King by Golden Keyes Parsons

I received this book from Thomas Nelson publishing and in return I promised to do a blog review about it. Frankly, I wasn't expecting to like it. While it is historical fiction (my favorite genre), it is also technically Christian fiction. I've read enough barely mediocre Christian fiction that I had kind of written off the whole genre. This book may have changed my mind.

Set in 17th century France, the historical background of the story is the persecution of French Protestants (Huguenots) by order of King Louis XIV. The story follows the Clavell family, nobility from southern France and Huguenots, and their connection with the king and how they managed the persecution without giving up their faith.

Madeleine Clavell was the first love of King Louis XIV before she left the court to marry Francois. She hoped to use this relationship to the advantage of her family. What follows is a series of trials and each character faces difficult choices.

The story kept me engaged. There was plenty of action and it wasn't terribly predictable. It also didn't feel like a Christian fiction novel. Of course, there was a lot of religious content, but it felt like a natural part of the story and not overly preachy.

I would feel comfortable recommending this book to just about everyone. Book groups, especially those affiliated with churches, would have plenty to discuss and there is even a set of questions in the back.

Monday, December 15, 2008

No Words Necessary

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Project 365


Lynette, Lisa, and Corinne (too lazy to provide links right now--all members of Lincoln Handmade) at our Etsy team holiday party.

My awesome camera strap!

The only pics I took this day were for my dry embossing tutorial over at


Little Linus. She was serenading me while I made dinner. That's a shell on top. It is covering a quarter. Those are her tips.

My Christmas tree.


Sorry for the blur arms. They were just so excited and busy to write their names on all of these favors for their friends.


What I'm reading today.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday is a Special Day

We had a great day today! This morning we were able to attend a free screening of Bolt put on by the Autism Family Network. There was free popcorn, pop, and parking. The best part was that before the movie started, the president of AFN announced that we were all to relax and not worry if our kids ran around in the aisles, bounced around, made noise, etc... We were supposed to enjoy the movie in a safe environment with our kids. It sure was nice not having to keep telling Caleb to sit down. He could bounce to his heart's content and I was confident that we wouldn't get any dirty looks from others. In fact, about halfway through the movie anywhere from 20-30 of the kids were running up and down the stairs or dancing around on the stage (ours included). It was great! We all enjoyed the movie and we didn't stress about anything!

When we came home from the movie, I started working on the gifts for the kids in Caleb & Eva's classes at school and church. This is what I made.

candy cane wrappers

If you want to find out more about them, you can go here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Laptop Contests at Family Eden

Remember how I wrote posted that I am one of the bloggers over at Family Eden? Well, they have a really great contest going on right now. They are giving away THREE laptops!

Want the details?

It spells it all out here.

There are also several other prizes including great gift certificates for items you put on your wish list and e-learning courses.

Good luck!

Don't forget to find me on there when you register. I'm sra_nelson and I also have a crafting community that you can join.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

For Kenny

My dad has some great ears. They are good, solid Charlton ears and they happen to stick out a bit. He used to fold them over all the time and they got super wiggly.

I'm not saying whether or not my nephew (my dad's only biological grandchild) got the Charlton ears...but I do thing he would look super cute in this hat. You can click on the picture to go the etsy page.

In other news...THANK YOU so much for supporting me over at I thought it might take me all month to fill the craft challenge spots but you all went and filled them up the first day! I'll be sending all the participants further instructions after Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Grand Opening


My new site is open! Please come over and check it out. I am just starting it and will be adding content regularly from now on. I will still be updating crafty conservative but it will mainly be for kid/family stuff. It got to the point where I was having more and more people come to my blog because of my other online gigs and I just wasn't sure they really wanted to see more "Caleb Poops in Potty" posts.

Here is what I have in the works for my new craft based site. There are three main categories: Learn, Make, and Share. The Learn category will feature tutorials and fun things to try. The Make category will include my projects I make from other people's tutorials or kits. The Share category is a flickr group where all my (future) readers can share projects they have made.


I am REALLY excited about Christy's Craft Challenge. Every month I will send out a package of goodies to 10 people. Each person will then make something crafty using a pre-determined number of the included supplies and then we will vote for a winner. The winner will receive all the glory they deserve and will get the next month's challenge kit for free (all participants in the first month will receive their kit for free but each subsequent month there will be a small fee to cover shipping) and another prize.

Please add my new site to your google reader or bloglines. My flickr group is also open and anyone is free to join.

Go there now if you'd like to be included in the very first Christy's Craft Challenge!

*Thanks to Julie for being my awesome web designer.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Stampin' UP Retired List

The latest retiring stamp list is out from Stampin' UP and they are offering a pretty sweet deal. While supplies last, you'll be able to order all retiring stamp sets for 10% off and all orders over $70 receive free shipping!

View the list here.

Shop here.

No Knead Dinner Rolls

I am a big fan of the magazine, Everyday Food, from Martha Stewart. I read it cover to cover each month and then clip my favorite recipes. A while ago I clipped a recipe for No-Knead Dinner Rolls. On Sunday I decided to make them. They were so delicious that I wrote about them on facebook. Anne even dreamed about them! I figured I should share with my blog so you all have the chance to use the recipe.

While you are there, you can sign up for a free preview of the magazine. I've let my subscriptions lapse on almost every magazine but this one. I love it!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Write My Bio

I'm trying to write up my "about me" section for my super-duper new website to be revealed at a later date.

What would you write about me?

Project 365


This is what I brought back from California as souvenirs. Mother's Cookies went out of business in October so this is most likely the last bag I will ever have. I thought I might save them but then I saw the expiration date was 12/02/08 so we opened that bad boy up and ate them all! Caleb really liked them. These are the cookies I remember having most as a child.

The pink popcorn was another thing I just had to bring home. I think anytime we would go to a fair (which was a lot b/c my dad raced his horses at fairs back then) I would get some of this. This didn't last a week, either. I think I ate that on Wednesday. Thank goodness I took a picture!

I have no idea why I took this picture. But, I did. And now it is here for all the world (or at least my 100 blog readers) to see.


I made this card to take to the craft fair. It didn't sell so I'll be adding it to my shop sometime this week.

This is a definite representative picture of our experience at Season of Crafts. We kept ourselves entertained, that's for sure. We estimated the average age of attendees to be just over 50. That's AVERAGE. They just weren't in the market for what we had to sell. I did buy my mom's Christmas present there and met some fun people so it wasn't a total bust.


When I finally did get my camera out of the craft box yesterday, I didn't leave my chair to take yesterday's picture. Had to stick with the lazy theme. This is the view out my window from my chair in front of my laptop.

I am really losing steam on project 365. Good thing I only have a few weeks left!