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Monday, March 30, 2009

Martha, Martha, Martha

Cover Encyclopedia of Crafts (2)


It's time!  The Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Crafts giveaway is finally here!  Head on over to because I've got five copies of the book to giveaway so I hope you'll go enter and spread the word. 

It's a good thing.



Sorry.  I can't help myself sometimes.

Hoping to Adopt

I certainly know the feeling when you're ready for another baby but there are so many things out of your control.  One recommendation that was always given to us was to let everyone know that we were ready to adopt.  You just never know when a friend of a friend or a cousin's beautician or your uncle's stepsister might be looking for a family for their baby.  For this reason, I'm happy to spread the word.  

Nels and Amber are hoping to adopt #2.  

BlogHer Hotel

I'm going to BlogHer in July.  I am really looking forward to it and I won my ticket so that's a bonus.  My airfare was discounted because I was able to help out a United agent back in February when I attended Mom 2.0.  I guess it is a good thing my kids woke me up in the middle of the night because I might not have found this great giveaway.  It is from ZRecommends

They are giving away a 3 night stay at the conference hotel.  This isn't just for any room.  It is for the super-plush deluxe executive room.  I'm hoping that if any of my readers win this, they'll invite me to stay with them. 

Did you know that you don't even have to be registered at BlogHer to win?  You can just go and enjoy the swankiness of the hotel on those particular dates for the fun of it….and still invite me to join you.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Scripture Charades

If you have young children and you want to read scriptures with them, you know it can be a struggle.  Even the versions made specifically for kids weren't quite cutting it with my kiddos.  The other night I had an epiphany.  I would use my all-state acting* skills.

Doing a one woman show acting out scriptures isn't as easy as I thought. was a hit!  They love it!  I try to add a new one every night.  It is kind of difficult to come up with some ideas of how to act them out.  Any suggestions for me?  

The kids favorite by far is Noah.  I get out my pretend notebook and check off all the animals that get on the ark.  Then they pretend to be an animal and I check them off the list.  I make it rain and rain and then I tell them about the promise of the rainbow.  

Tonight I broke out the story of Enos (in the Book of Mormon) that prayed all night.  The jury's still out on that one.

It's kind of nice having the kids beg for scripture time now instead of the usual kicking and screaming from before.  Do you all have any good tips on how to study the scriptures with little kids? 

*I totally won a medal in high school for my role in a one act play contest.  I was playing a really popular girl that this boy obsessed over.  It was full of his dream sequences so it was really fun.  

In Print

The Lincoln Journal Star contacted me for an interview last week because of my affiliation with the local Etsy Team.  I woke up this morning to find the article in the 402 section of the paper.

Check out this from their online media page. I wish they could have included even MORE etsy sellers!  We've got a really good group here in town.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I'm Tired

I'm making a list of things I want to do when Carl comes home on Wednesday. This is how bad it has become that I'm thinking of a time when I'll be able to do the following chores:

1. laundry
2. organize my craft room
3. vacuum
4. cook something adults like to eat

Granted, I could be doing a few of those things at night when the kids are in bed.  But those things can wait a few days and other things (aside from posting on this blog) are a little more pressing at the moment.  I really, really love my work but I'm starting to feel like I need a vacation! 

Carl will be home one day and then we have houseguests.  He said he won't skip work but that he'll do my bidding from 5:30pm-midnight to get the house to an acceptable level of cleanliness.  I'm just hoping for a clear spot on the floor big enough for an air mattress.  I think we might be able to handle that.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hang Out With Me, Please!

Dear friends…

I need some kids to play with my kids.  They are driving each other batty and need some fresh blood of their friends to keep them company.  The only thing we have planned tomorrow is from 9am-10am and other than that, we are free to go and do anything. 

I could have your kids play over here.  I could meet you at the Children’s Museum or Lost in Fun.  Is it too cold to go to the Omaha Zoo?  I’m certainly open for suggestions.

Eagerly awaiting your replies.



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Eye Can Art

I did a post over at Family Eden about crafting with Eva.  Why don't you take a look?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Universe on Speed Dial

Just this morning I posted about how I was doing all in my power to get an iPod Touch. The stars aligned and the US government decided today was the day to dump a bunch of cash-ola into our account. I took it as a sign.* I headed down to my local Target and bought it.

*For the record--Carl is about to buy a new bike and I've been asking for more than just today. It is part of my birthday present from him and any and all funds I receive for my birthday go straight back into our account for other the electric bill.

Read & Share DVD Bible Review

Read & Share DVD Bible Vol. 1 was my latest item to review from Thomas Nelson publishing.  My son is a very visual learner so I thought this would help him comprehend some of the Bible stories a little better.  We sat down as a family to view it and I hoped we would be able to make it through one or two of the stories at a time.  

The first thing I noticed about the DVD is that the animation is very basic.  We get so used to Disney and Pixar that it is sometimes easy for us to forget that not all animation can be that kind of quality.  The kids didn't seem to mind one bit.  

Caleb made it through one story before it lost his attention.  I think he was expecting some music.  Eva, however, was totally enthralled.  She loved it and watched all 60 minutes at once.  She loved the stories of Jacob and Esau and the birth of Jesus especially.   There are 13 stories in all and they each last about 3 minutes.  They stick to the Bible and are very general in their terms so these stories appeal to a wide range of denominations.  

If you're looking for something for the kids to watch and be able to discuss for family night, this might be a good choice for you.  I can tell that it appeals more to the younger kids so if you've got some toddlers or preschoolers, they might enjoy it.  

I give it 3 out of 5 stars.  

My Field of Dreams Secret Law of Attraction

If you ask for it, it will come.

I'm using all my powers and summoning up The Secret.

I'm entering every contest I can find.

My latest obsession.

I'm visualizing myself with a 16GB iPod Touch.

Let's make this happen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Q & A about Caleb

The last piano post generated a lot of questions in the comments.  Yet...the biggest question remains---WHAT IS THAT SONG????  

Heather:  You should ask the school what song they play in the lunchroom. They should know right?

Yes, they should know.  I called them last week to ask but nobody got back with me.  I'll try again after Spring Break.  

Aunt LoLo:  How old is he?

He turned six in January.

Sharon:  Was he playing that by ear?  Does he take lessons?

He plays everything by ear.  He takes lessons but doesn't seem to get much out of them.  I guess I shouldn't say that because he is improving.  He now knows the names of the notes (can't read music, yet) and can tell me whatever note I am playing...whether he sees it or not.  He has perfect pitch.  

Mindy-- didn't have a question, but I just wanted to say that I wouldn't expect Abel to break out the Beethoven anytime soon.  Caleb's got this splinter skill thanks to autism.  Something in his brain just makes music "click" for him.  

Anne- I'll make sure and get you and your husband tickets to his first concert!    

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Name This Tune

I have no idea what this song is that he's playing.  I know it is one they play in the lunchroom at his school during quiet eating time.  This is what we wanted him to play for the talent show the other night.  Below is what he actually played.  We were happy he chose a church song to play.  He doesn't seem to enjoy playing in front of big crowds of people.  That's too bad, because he is awesome!


So, does anyone know the title of his Lunchroom Song?  

Friday, March 20, 2009


There are some really fun people you can follow on Twitter.  Have you not signed up?  My mom's doing it.  Wendy signed up today.  

You can follow Ashton, Demi, Martha, and Ellen.  

How you use it is entirely up to you. It's fun.  Did I mention that almost every single blogging job and opportunity has come my way because of twitter?  

Thanks to m.writes' blog post today, I can now follow NEIL freakin' DIAMOND!  

If you follow me, you'll be able to see awesome tweets like this one.  

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Birth of Cornelius Review

I joined a group called Music Moms that offers CDs and other music information to mom bloggers in return for a review (positive or negative).  Our first CD arrived last week and it is called The Birth of Cornelius.  Corneille has such an interesting life story that helped make his music more interesting to me.

Corneille's parents are from Rwanda and after a short time in Germany, they moved back to Rwanda when Corneille was a child.  Several years later, his parents and other family members were killed in Rwanda during the genocide in 1994.  He escaped all alone to Kinshasa, and then to Germany where some of his family friends took him in.  I'm sure you can imagine that has been a big part of his life and music.  He later moved to Canada and has been a successful recording artist there with some French language music.  This is his first English language debut.  

The music is soulful R & B.  Not necessarily my favorite style, but I can certainly recognize that this guy has a great voice and a lot of talent.  I listened to the cd for the first time while I was crafting.  It was nice background music and I can imagine putting this on at night after the kids go to bed for a little mood know, music to help me pick up dried up playdough and dirty clothes.  What were you thinking?

For more information about Corneille, you can go to  

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Eva loves her new birthday dress. I picked out the fabric and Kelly, from refibered, made it. Make sure you check out her blog tomorrow because she's the next one to host a giveaway for Lincoln Handmade. Today you still have a chance to win ANYTHING from Chimera Crochet's shops. And Julie's St. Patrick's Day inspired giveaway is going on until tomorrow.

Dancing and Spinning

The dress is totally reversible and can be switched between front and back so there are four possible ways to wear it.

reversible farbenmix Anna

She even got a reversible purse to match! Eva is one styling girl lately.

Dancing and Spinning

Keepin' It Real

This month has seriously been so full of good fortune for me. is doing really, really well.  I'm getting paid (still not much, but enough for now) to do what I love.  Professionally, things couldn't be better.  

Today I'm in the dumps.  You see, Caleb's behavior is starting to take a turn for the worse.  It is like he is regressing to that time I still call "The Summer from HELL".  Yesterday was one of his worst days ever.  He was exhibiting some decidedly unsafe behaviors.  I just deleted a bunch of stuff I wrote---let's just leave it at that.

I'm feeling back at that stage where I am a totally clueless parent.  I'm doing everything in my power to help him but we haven't found anything that works.

I'm also depressed because Carl has been having a lot of work and church things to do lately and hasn't been home to help as much.  I got a 15 minute break last night when he was home to eat between work and church.  Tonight he has another church obligation.  He'll also be gone from Mar 25th-Apr 1st to do some research down at NASA.  This coincides with Caleb's Spring Break. I'm going to be calling in the calvary for that week, for sure.  

So, there you have it.  My keepin' it real post for today.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


A while back I won a giveaway from Kris for a HSM3 DVD and some extra goodies. As you can see, we've been enjoying them. I've been crushing hard on Zac Efron and Eva's been a dancing fool. Fun times! Thanks, Kris!

Monday, March 16, 2009


I've got a bunch of giveaways to talk about today.

First off---Lincoln Handmade Etsy Team (my local team) is hosting a week of giveaways. You can get all the details at our team blog. My giveaway is first and it is a 3 month subscription to the craft challenge! You can enter to win by commenting on the giveaway blog post.

MandM Studio is giving away 4 YARDS of fabric. Wow! That is one generous giveaway! Go to this site for all the details. You don't have much longer to enter this one.

Last but not least (by a mile), is the KraftFirstTaste iPod Touch giveaway. You have every day this month to enter because they are giving away one iPod Touch PER DAY until March 31st.

Good luck!

Weekend Review

Eva's Birthday Weekend

We had a most excellent birthday weekend for Eva and my mom. She danced, opened presents, had a fun morning with her birthday twin, Whitney, and got a lot of new clothes and toys. She's in heaven. She keeps telling me, "I love my birthday!".

We think about Eva's birthmom a lot but especially on her birthday. We are so very grateful to her for giving our little girl life and choosing us to be her parents!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Makeup with Grandma

My mom's birthday is today. She was here for the weekend and Eva loved hanging out with her. I love this picture of them together that I took this morning. They did their makeup every day. My mom did my makeup everyday, too. Thanks, Mom! Hope you had a great day!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Eva!

My baby is four years old today. She's been wearing this dress (I made it!) for three days straight. She got a birthday crown (made from my craft challenge supplies), and some ruby slippers and toto in a basket from her Grandma. We're celebrating tonight with a dinner out on the town. My mom's birthday is tomorrow so we've got double celebrating to do!
Favorite color: Pink
Favorite food: Potatoes
Favorite movie: Bye Bye Birdie
Favorite toy: Barbie
Favorite thing to say: "OKAY, THEN!"

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Kind of Ads

I decided to go with a theme this week and am sharing more of my favorite internet sites. 

A while back, Kirtsy started a partnership with YouData.  Because I do almost everything the kirtsy girls tell me, I signed up on the spot.  Since then, I go to the YouData site once or twice a month and they pay me to look at a few ads.  Mind you, this is not for a lot of money.  In fact, you usually earn less than a dollar each time.  However, I don't go there for the money.  You see, these ads are targeted especially for my demographic and I have found some really cool things through these ads.  

YouData was a sponsor of the Mom 2.0 Summit and we got a chance to learn a little more about what they do.  They are partnering with some non profit organizations and the great thing about it is that I have a choice of how much of the money I earn can go to these organizations. So, not only am I finding cool new sites and products from the ads...I'm able to contribute to a good cause as well.  How's that for win/win?  

Full disclosure:
YouData just started a referral program and the links to YouData I have in this post are linked to my profile.  If you sign up and use YouData, I'll get a penny everytime you click on an ad up to $1.  I just didn't want you to think I'm writing this post just to get referrals...because it is clearly not about the money.  I just think this is a great program and deserves a little publicity.  So, go and try it out!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Closing Shop

I've decided to close my etsy shop.  It was getting too hard to keep up with it and my new endeavor over at (and THAT etsy shop).  There are only 4 items left in my shop and I'm going to leave them there another day or two if anyone wants to snatch them up.  A few of the items I've stocked in the past will end up over at my new shop but not many. I just realized I need to start prioritizing how I spend my time and what is actually most profitable for me.  My Sticks & Stamps etsy shop served its purpose and now it is time to move on.   

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Little Mood Music

I thought I'd share another online tool that I love with you guys.  This one has been around a while but I'm sure at least a few of you haven't heard about it.

This is a free service and I love it.  You sign up and can then start to build your own personal radio stations.  If you don't want to take the two seconds it takes to do that, you can listen to any of the preset stations but that isn't as fun!  

I currently have two stations.  One I made during the holidays features just Christmas music by my favorite artists.  The other station I named "My Favorites" (original, I know) and all I did was list some of my favorite artists and songs.  From there, they grab music from their huge database and play the music I love in addition to songs that I might not be familiar with but are similar to my tastes.  

When it plays music, you have the option of giving the songs a thumbs up or down.  If you give a song a thumbs down, it won't play it anymore on that station.  It is one of my favorite features.  I have found some great new artists because of this site and I love how I can just let it play in the background while I'm working.  It is a nice break from my iTunes when I'm in the mood for discovering some new music.

On my Pandora station right now:  Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns N' Roses*.  You know you love it, too.  

*I was just talking with a friend today about how I hope Adam on American Idol sings this song.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

SpringPad It!

Something that wasn't on my to-do list yesterday was to find an online space for me to manage my to-do lists.  As much as I love writing things down and crossing them off, I realized that a lot of my organizing needs to happen on the computer.   I found something that I really like yesterday so I thought I would share.

Spring Pad is a site where you can make free online notebooks.  They have basic 'Plan Your Day' lists to use or you can get fancy and use their weekly meal planners, date night planners, or trip planners.  They have SO MANY applications!  

I needed to make a few different notebooks for some of the online work I am doing.  Here are a few of the notebooks I created:

Pitches Received for National Craft Month
Craft ideas for
eBook tasks
Paid blogging deadlines/tasks/ideas
Plan Your Day (my basic--stuff to do that day like laundry or piano lessons)

They have great drag and drop capability so if I have a deadline with one of my paid blogging jobs, I can also drag that deadline into my "Plan Your Day" notebook.  

There are also a few different ways to view all of your tasks and lists together.  They have a weekly view where all of the things you list with deadlines for that week appear.  There is also a monthly calendar that shows what you have scheduled.  

I will still carry around my notebook so I can take notes and make lists while I am out and about. But for all the work I do online, Spring Pad seems to fit the bill.

Now, if I could just stop playing around with all the features and start actually DOING the things I have listed....

Want to read what other people are talking about today?  Go to Talk About Tuesday.

Monday, March 09, 2009

To-Do Lists

I am in serious need of a to-do list.  The stuff in my head keeps swirling around and I have so much to do I don't know where to start.  

I need to make a to-do list for the household duties.

I need to make a to-do list for my website duties.

I need to make a to-do list so I'll make a to-do list.

Vicious cycle.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Purple and Plum Giveaway Winner

I finally got around to drawing a winner for the giveaway.  Thanks for all your comments and suggestions for the Purple and Plum etsy shop

The winner is:  Heather from The Holdaways.  You don't have to do anything except check your mailbox!  I will send your address to them and the hair clips will be on their way.  Enjoy!


Friday, March 06, 2009

Last Meal

Steak Tacos

If I knew I was going to die, this would be my choice for a last meal. I blame my missionary service in Mexico for this obsession. I used to go and eat tacos al pastor every Friday with Catherine and then Kerry at Taco Rico in Lafayette, IN. I miss them and have yet to find a good substitute here in Lincoln--except for my own homemade steak tacos.

Homemade corn tortillas-- 2 parts maseca to 1 part water and a small palm of salt. Press them out and then cook them on a griddle for a minute or so each side.
Flank steak--cooked rare/medium rare
White onion--raw and diced
Cilantro--chopped, including stems
Lime--liberally squeezed

Heaven on a plate. Eat at least three.

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

I was on a roll last night and made this for desert. I used the strawberry shortcake recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook. I substituted vanilla yogurt for sour cream. We ate them as soon as they came out of the oven.

Clutter Diet Update

I haven't completely fallen off the wagon.  It was dragging me around for a couple of weeks but I hopped back on!  I did a MAJOR purge of my bathroom today.  If anybody wants some brand new bath & body works lotion, come by and get some.  Seriously.  I realize that I have more lotion than I can use in my lifetime and it needs a nice, new home.

Clutter Diet Laundry Room/Bathroom

I had a really good time using my brand new Method products. I won a bag of goodies from Brand About Town when I was at the Mom 2.0 Summit. I can see in my mirror again and the sink is shining. Good times.

Clutter Diet Laundry Room/Bathroom

My laundry area really hasn't suffered too much since I cleaned it up last time. I've been able to keep up with that area and I'm really pleased about it. You'll notice that the Tide is gone. I've replaced it with Soap Nuts from Laundry Tree. You'll be hearing more about that in another post for another day. Suffice it to say, that I love them!  

Find out more about the Clutter Diet by clicking on the button in my left sidebar.  

Don't forget to enter the Purple and Plum giveaway here.  

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Purple and Plum Giveaway

Almost eight years ago, I was teaching high school in Monticello, Indiana.  I taught Spanish III & IV and really had no idea what I was in for.  I was young and excited.  It was an awesome experience.

One of my Spanish IV students needed a TA position and asked if she could be mine.  I didn't have a class that period but she assured me she would stay out of trouble and do whatever I asked.  She became my "chuzma".  She found the word in one of the dictionaries and it means "galley slave".  

That student is now grown up and is older than I was when I was her teacher.  Now I get the chance to be her chuzma and help her introduce her shop to my friends.  

Jennie opened up an etsy shop with her friend, Lyndsey, and have been making headbands, clips, and all manner of cuteness.   

To entice you to check out their shop and give them some feedback, they are offering up these great hairclips as a giveaway.  

To be eligible to win:  Go to their shop, look around, and then come back here and leave a comment.  In your comment tell us what your favorite item was, give them a suggestion to help them with their shop, or ask them a question.  That's it!  If you can ask your question in Spanish, I'll give you bonus points.  :)  I'll draw a winner on Saturday, March 7th.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Winding Roads

I started blogging in 2004. It was a diversion, at best. I blogged about knitting, tv, and my family. Most of the people I told about my blog had no idea what I was talking about. I assume they figured it was just another one of my "things".

In 2007, I decided I would blog every day. I did that for over two years and it changed my life. This may sound overly dramatic, but it is true. I knew this was something that I loved to do and it was a big part of my life. I never thought that it would bring me anything more than a fun way to connect with people.

Last year I decided to start exploring some options and see if there was a way for me to turn this blogging habit into a career. I started writing for Type-a-Mom, making new friends on Twitter, and making myself more available to opportunity.

I made a plan. I started I stopped waiting for opportunity to find me and I started looking for it on my own. I'm working really, really hard to create the kind of career I've always dreamed of. And, I'm starting to see it pay off.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009


"Lucky" Official Video With Colbie Caillat

Jason Mraz is coming to Council Bluffs, IA on Cinco de Mayo and I'll be there to watch him. I'm lucky. The tickets are general admission so if you feel so inclined to join me (and Wendy, of course!), get a ticket! You can read about the last time we saw him in concert here.

*I'm feeling better now. Still no desire to eat Thin Mints, though. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Cookie Status

Two or three years ago, we took the Nelson side of the family to see the church history sites here in Nebraska and western Iowa. We stopped to grab a bite to eat at a Wendy's in Council Bluffs. My brother-in-law and I were the only ones to eat hamburgers from there and we were the only ones to suffer the consequences. I haven't had a hamburger from Wendy's since.

I'm not blaming Thin Mints or the Girl Scouts for my current condition, HOWEVER, the last thing I ate before I got sick were Thin Mints. Could this be the end of my love affair with Thin Mints?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Under the Weather

Not feeling so hot today. I don't know what happened but at about 8:30pm last night, I was down for the count. Chills, aches, general blechiness. It came on so quickly. I was in bed and asleep by 9pm and hoped that I would sleep it off. Didn't quite happen. I woke up still feeling bad. I've napped another 3 hours or so since 7am. I've eaten a little bit. I'm glad I have the laptop so at least I can blog and check in on facebook while I can sit upright.

Eva's so cute. She's not feeling well either and I asked her if she would stay home from church today to take care of me. She's been bringing me blankets, kleenex (not really needed) and toys. She took a long nap, too.

Carl and Caleb will be home from church soon and we'll see what the afternoon brings. I'm starting to get tired again so I hope the house will be at least a little bit quiet.

Is this post bringing you down? Will it help you to know that March is National Craft Month? You can read some of my more upbeat posts about it here.