Living life in the carpool lane..

Archive for March 2016

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you should know that I have an Etsy shop.  This blog entry will most likely be one big shameless plug for my shop, but hey, I gotta do it sometimes!

CutieQ Cards n Crafts

I’ve had it for years, but when we made the decision for me to quit my job to be a full-time stay-at-home mom, I wanted to put more effort into this shop and make it something worthwhile.

I decided that the shop won’t just be about cards.

The name says ‘cards n crafts’ so I wanted to also focus on some other crafts that I could sell.

I’ve always made banners for parties and occasions.  So I took one banner I had already completed, took a photo of it, and posted it in the shop.  That banner in the shop happens to be my best selling item.  I get at least one order for this banner a month, which actually fulfills my ‘one sale a month’ goal.  To view the best-selling banner, click here and it will send you directly to my Etsy shop.

I also started selling ribbon clips in my Etsy shop.  I’ve always been a fan of clean and simple designs, so these ribbon clips are the perfect reflection of my style.  Click here to see the various ribbon clip sets I have for sale.

Cards are still an important element in my shop, and I try to keep up to date with holidays, but it is pretty difficult.  I was barely able to get some Valentine’s Day cards into the shop.  Luckily, I put out a few and sold a few.

In the processing of moving back into the house and clearing/cleaning up my crafting work space, I found a bunch of cards.  I’m currently in the process of taking pictures of them and creating shop listings for those cards.  They will be one of a kind.  Once they sell, they probably won’t come back due to the new system of card making and selling I am implementing.

But I’ll save that for a blog post next week….

In the meantime, please feel free to visit my little Etsy shop, the link is above.

I do take custom orders, so if there is a banner or card you would like me to make, you can always begin a conversation with me on Etsy and I can help you with what you would like!

Ok, shameless blog post about the Etsy shop is over.. thanks for sticking around!

 

 

Ok, I know what you’re thinking… I started up the blog again, promising consistent content, and then I take another few days off…

I have an excuse.

We’ve been in the process of moving back into our home.  My laptop and my computer were still in boxes.  The house was (and still) is just a mess, and I had no time or energy to write a blog.

It’s been quite an adventure, so far, this year.

El Nino was threatened to be the worst that we’d seen in awhile, and while that seemed to be an empty threat, our house did suffer some damage.

When the first rains came along in late January, we noticed some water damage on the ceiling.  As the storm continued, it began to rain inside our home.  Emergency roofers were called to patch up the roof and then the process of getting the roof and interior fixed began.

Because we rent, we didn’t have to personally deal with the insurance adjusters or contractors.  We were just told when people were coming to check the house, when we had to leave, and when we had to come back.

It was a long process that found us out of our home for almost two months.

TWO MONTHS!

From the first of February until Good Friday in March, we were staying at Hubby’s parent’s house.  We brought with us the bare necessities but as weeks went by, we started bringing in more and more items from our house into the inlaws house.  By the time we were ready to leave, we had so much stuff, it was like we were actually moving back into our home again.

Though very overwhelming, I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at a ‘move in.’

The first time we moved in, I was pregnant with K, on and off bedrest, and was told not to do much of anything during the move.  While we were able to get settled in, it all just felt very jumbled and overwhelming.

Now, I’m able to move in the way I wish we did back in August of 2014.  However, with the kids, it’s taking a little longer than I would like.

How do you handle moving with two small children?  I’d love to hear some tips and tricks you used to keep the kids occupied (and safe!) while you tried to move into your living space!

 

 

Today is Hubby’s birthday.

Happy birthday, hubby!

I’m a terrible gift giver.  Lucky for me, Hubby and I aren’t huge on gifts.  I think we’ve gone through many occasions in the many years we’ve been together that we don’t give each other anything.

And it’s ok.

However, I don’t want M or K to grow up being a bad gift giver.  I want my girls to grow up thoughtful and good gift givers.

Last year, I let M decide what to give her daddy.

Last year, she decided to give him a set of socks.

I asked her why.  She told me that daddy needed new socks because he was using his socks to wipe off the white board on her easel and that the socks are now too dirty for him to use.  What she didn’t realize were that those socks were old and had holes in them so he really didn’t want to wear them.

It was a very sweet gesture and a very thoughtful gift.

When Hubby heard the explanation, he was very happy to receive his socks.

This year has been a little hectic, she seems at a loss at what to give him.

(I write these blog posts a few days ahead of time, and at the time of writing, we still haven’t gotten him a present yet.  We’ll be going to Target soon, so I’m sure we’ll find something!)

Happy birthday, Hubby.  You are the greatest dad and husband we could ask for.  You work so hard for us and we really appreciate all you do!  Thank you for all you do!  We pray for continued blessings and many years to come!

We love you!!!

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When I was recently diagnosed with nodes on my vocal cords, the first thought that came to mind was the movie, Pitch Perfect.

When I told Hubby that I had nodes via text, I added a gif from Pitch Perfect about nodes.  He responded with “when you recover from surgery, will you be able to hit those super low notes?”

We couldn’t help but laugh at the situation.  But no, I do NOT want surgery.

My mother had nodes.  Her’s were beyond physical therapy and she needed surgery.  The recovery process required 2 weeks of not being able to talk.  No talking AT ALL!  She had to walk around with one of those magnet doodle boards just so she could tell us what to do.

Could you imagine me not being able to talk for two weeks with two little kids around?

There’s no way I could allow these nodes to get to the point of surgery.

By the Grace of God, I was able to catch them early.  The ENT physician’s assisant told me that my nodes were just forming and that with some speech therapy and working on changing some bad vocal habits, I’d be able to soften them up to get them to shrink again.

Although these nodes are at their very early stages, they have greatly affected my ability to sing.  My higher register is almost non-existent.  On bad days, I can barely even get my talking voice to work at a higher sound.  Singing at Church just gets so frustrating because I love to sing along, but sound so terrible as my voice cuts in and out.  Or there are times that I sound like I’m going through puberty.

It’s very frustrating and disheartening.

Talking all day can make my voice just feel so tired.  Being a home with a 4yo and a 1yo, I have to talk.

Now I need to learn how to talk again.  I need to learn how to redirect my voice so that it doesn’t put so much strain on my vocal cords.  It’s almost like I need to talk like I’m singing.  It’s hard to explain, but that’s almost how I feel like I need to talk.

I’ll be going to speech therapy for four sessions, one every other week.  I’ll be practicing what I learn at home and concentrating on changing my vocal habits.

I’ve discussed with M my condition.  I explained that I can’t talk over her as much as before and that we need to work together so that I don’t have to explain things to her over and over again.  She loves to cooperate when you tell her we are “working together” so she is understanding that she needs to listen to me the first time.

I’m always so used to talking loudly, or raising my voice, when I get upset and it’s a hard habit to break.  However, I know it’s important I follow doctor’s orders, so I’m making a conscious effort to not get so angry to the point that I raise my voice.

Eventually, I do hope to get my higher singing register back.  I do hope that I can get my vocal chords back into good shape.  I would love to sing for a Church choir again.  I would love to get more involved with Religious Education and teach again.  I would love to just have a normal voice again.

All in God’s time and I do hope that at my next ENT appointment, we will see some improvement

 

I love watching those little Instagram videos of all those people that can do brushlettering so well.  I only wish I can be as talented as all those people.

One thing they always emphasize when people ask them how they do it is “practice.”  They practice all the time.  They are always writing, they are always honing their craft.

I’ve always wanted to try it.

I was lucky enough to find a very inexpensive ($1.99) brush pen at a small Japanese shop inside of a mall we visited last weekend.  Needless to say, I was very excited and you can see the video where I show the pen and my first impressions here (don’t forget to ‘like’ the page too!).

I’m very much in love with the pen and I love practicing whenever I get a free moment.

UntitledI’ve been starting off with the alphabet and some simple sentences.

Random fact:  I spent an entire summer writing down “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” until my mom approved of my writing.  I guess I can credit her when people compliment my penmanship.

I actually enjoy writing with that brush pen.  I’m still getting used to manipulating the strokes and remember when to do thick and thin lines.  It’s definitely a process and practice really does help make things easier.

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I’m also trying to string the letters together and form words.  It’s a very different feeling with the pen to form words than just drawing letters.

Every day gets a little easier.  Figuring out how to hold the brush pen and how to move the brush pen is getting a little easier.  And I know that as I continue to practice, I will eventually develop my own style and flair to the brushlettering.  It just takes a little time.  I can’t wait to look back at these old writings and see how much my style has changed and improved (I hope!).

I do plan on participating in some Instagram lettering challenges next month.  Any recommendations?

This is the story about sprinkles.

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Yes, those sprinkles.  Those sprinkles are M’s favorite ice cream topping.  No matter where we go for ice cream, she always wants sprinkles.

One time, Hubby and M went on a daddy/daughter date to a local ice cream place.  Hubby, always wanting to save an extra buck, decided to put that bottle of sprinkles into his pocket to add to M’s ice cream after ordering it.

The ice cream was ordered, and they went outside to eat their treats.  Hubby pulls the sprinkles out of his pocket and adds them to M’s ice cream.  She was delighted at the idea of “pocket sprinkles” and Hubby was so happy he was able to save a dollar.

Win-win!

Now, whenever we have ice cream at home, M always makes sure to ask for “pocket sprinkles.”

It’s totally a thing for our family now.

Sprinkles will just never be the same.

 

Looking back on the blog posts from before I took my six month hiatus, I notice that I was beginning to incorporate more pictures into the blog posts.

Noted.

As I’m slowly starting to get back into the blogging world, I will work on adding more photos to my blog posts.

Baby steps.  Baby steps.

 

I like product reviews.  I rely on them heavily whenever I’m looking into something I’d like to try, such as hair products, facial care, food, and just about everything in between.

I’ve been a member of Influenster.com since 2012.

I’ll admit that I haven’t been very active in all those years.  In fact, I’ve only recently rediscovered the site and have decided to become more active.  In becoming more active, I increase my chance at receiving free products from them to try out.

This is where you, my lovely readers, come in.

I’ve struggled with the product review section of my blog.  I never know what to review.

With Influenster, I have the opportunity to be giving things to review, from food to cosmetics and whatever is in between!

Occasionally, you’ll see a product review on this page, and it may come from an Influenster campaign.  I’ll always make sure to indicate that in the description of the product.

I look forward to receiving items and giving my honest opinion about them.

If your interested in joining, you can click the badge on the sidebar of my blog page, or click on this referral link.

I’m so excited!

Oh, and I’ll also try to incorporate some product reviews that are solely my own, meaning I purchased the product and tried it out without any influence from any company.  I like sharing what I use on a daily basis and why I like using them.

I can’t wait to expand this part of the blog and I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

M made a major decision for herself the other day.

M made the decision to grow out her bangs.

M has had bangs ever since her hair was long enough and thick enough for them.

To save money, this past year or so, I’ve been the one trimming her bangs in between hair cuts.

She’s been due for a bangs trim over the past few weeks, but we’ve just been too busy to do so.

This past weekend, I was planning on finally giving her hair a trim, and she finally turns to me and says,

“Mommy, I just want to grow my bangs out.”

Wow.  That came from out of no where.  It never really occurred to me that she was conscious about her hair.  I didn’t really she was old enough to think about those things.  I didn’t think that bangs were a big deal.  I’ve always had bangs, she’s always seen me with bangs, I just figured, she’d have them too.

She’s four and a half.  She’s made her first real big girl decision.  I mean, this feels bigger than deciding what shoes she’s going to wear today, or how many braids she wants in her hair (it’s usually two).

But, if you’ve read my blog over the years, you know I tend to add a lot of significance to things most people might find mundane…

It’s her decision, so I’m respecting it.

I also had to warn her that growing her bangs out is a process.  She’s going to have to wear a clip in her hair for awhile, luckily, she has an endless supply.  (Shameless plug: I make clips and sell them at my Etsy store, click here)

I also told her that it’s ok for her to change her mind.

So we’ll see how this goes.  I’m curious to see how she looks without the bangs.

This year, I decided to not formally do One Little Word, but to still incorporate a word into my year.

This year, I also decided to do two words.  One word is for me.  One word is for the family.

My word this year is EXPLORE.

Last year, I just wanted to survive.  Life with a new baby proved to be a bit overwhelming.  It’s amazing how one little person can make a family feel so complete, but so different, at the same time!  I was trying to figure out how to function.  There were so many changes, becoming a full stay at home mom, taking care of TWO kids.  It was a struggle.  We stayed home a lot because I never really felt brave enough to go out with the two girls without any help.  I was scared I’d mess something up.  I was scared to look like I didn’t know what I was doing.  Just the thought of preparing an outing without Hubby felt overwhelming.  So we only went out without Hubby if it was absolutely necessary.

Towards the end of the year, however, as K got older, and I was much more adjusted, we were able to go out just to get some fresh air.  I was much more confident in getting us out the door and we started going out more.

So this year, I want to further boost my confidence with the word EXPLORE.  This year, we try to go places we don’t usually go.  I want to take my girls to places outside of our usual Target, Starbucks, and Walmart trips.  I want to EXPLORE the libraries, parks, and other fun places.  It doesn’t have to these major outings.  I just want them to be a little more out of our comfort zone.  EXPLORE.

For the family, I chose the word ACTION.

Hubby is very much into fitness, but like me, he’s had to adjust to life as a family of four.  His fitness routine kind of fell to the wayside, as did mine.  This year, we want to change that.  So with ACTION, we want to take more walks.  We want to do more activities.  We plan on teaching M to finally move on from her tricycle and possibly get her on biciycle with training wheels.  K loves to walk around open spaces, so we can go to a park and just walk, run and play.  Hubby wants us to walk to the local bagel shop on some weekend mornings.  It’s all about being active.  ACTION.

What is your one little word, and have you had any success in implementing it so far this year?


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