Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Going Vegan

Today is my second full day going 100% vegan. I've been prepping for this transition for a few months now and I finally felt ready to make the jump into veganism. I've been really good at planning meals, reading labels and asking ingrediants. A big portion of veganism is simply awareness... awareness of the cruelty found in the meat and dairy industries, awareness of the effects of meat and dairy on our bodies and awareness of the same industries in the world -- let alone the basic awareness of what you are putting into your body and how it affects you.

I'm confident in being able to continue this trend, especially when I'm at home. I am nervous for when I'm at a family wedding (like this coming weekend -- will I be able to eat anything?) or when I have guests over. I may get boring when I eat out (salad please) at least I'm confident in my abilities to find something suitable for me to eat. Plus, I'm lucky. Madison really is a veg-friendly city. Not San Fran but we're better than some locales. I'm already anticipating my first trip to The Green Owl. It's a vegan restaurant on Willy Street. Yumm!

In preparing for the jump, I read The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. It was my 32nd book finished this year. She also has a blog devoted to a kind life, too. You can check it out here. What I enjoyed the most about this book was that she took the time to spell out some basics that some might feel are too basic, but were perfect for me. For instance, there is a section on what to stock your pantry with, she broke it out by food type and gave options. She also talked about building your vegan meal which includes starting with a whole grain, adding a protein (bean/tofu) and adding a rainbow of (assorted) veggies.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Favorite Bloggers

Since I've been in the blog-o-sphere, I've found a few bloggers that I really love. I thought I'd share them with you in order for you to experience their own "lemonade." If you have a second, head on over and check them out!

A Romantic Hippy -- This is run by a good friend of my husband's who happened to graduate from my alma mater, Butler University.

Under the Sycamore -- Ashley Ann is an incredible photographer and mother. I'm inspired by her daily.

Better After -- Some incredible transformations.

Design*Sponge -- The next generation's Martha Stewart.

Kara's Creative Party -- Amazing ideals for all types of events!! I'm planning when I can throw this event! I'm not sure when I'll throw it, but it's coming... and I'm already prepping for it! LOVE it!

Be inspired!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nate and Court are Married!

My brother-in-law married his sweetheart yesterday in a beautiful outdoor ceremony in Joliet, Illinois, at the Patrick Haley Mansion. I'll post some pictures of that in a few days; but in honor of their big day, I wanted to showcase some things from the shower I hosted for them in Marshall, Illinois in April.

This is Courtney (middle), her mom and her sister. They are wearing the nametags J and I created for the shower with Martha's help. 

The photo above shows us in the midst of nametag making. Check our Martha's site for the full tutorial. Make sure to measure exactly in order for the pieces to match up. It is also helpful to have a second set of hands when you're gluing the pinwheel to the circle bases.
The finished product is above. We gave guests the option of writing their own name or using the printed names we provided. It was fun to see everyone's personality show up.

We created a beautiful tablescape for the shower with purple and green. My other brother-in-law's sweet girlfriend helped by creating the flower arrangements and corsages.

I also handmade "love birds" for the shower based on Ann Woods' sweetheart birds. I used styrofoam, tissue paper, felt, sparkles, toothpicks and lace to create them. I even handmade the top hat based on Ann's diy directions. Find them here. Sculpting the birds was a little messy and applying the tissue paper was a little sticky but I had a fun time watching them come to life. They were so cute displayed on the dessert table. My birds cost approximately $7 total and Ann charges over $200. I like mine just as well for the price! I got the styrofoam at the Dollar Tree. I had felt, white tissue, spray adhesive, toothpicks and sparkles on hand at home.  I purchased a few flowers and a piece of lace for the dress from Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon.
Congrats to Nate and Court as they begin their ever after! Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Babies, babies, babies!!

If you know us, you know that we're surrounded by beautiful, squealing babies and glowing, pregnant mommies... I'm not sure what it is, some have suggested that it's in the water so I'm filtering my water. :) Anyway, when my best friend was pregnant with her first child two years ago, she bought these super cute letters that spell out her daughter's name. They were adorable but for the $20 per letter price tag, I thought I'd give it a go!

I just got some wooden letters from Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics. I found some at JoAnns for $.50 each so I stocked up on those. The ones at Michaels were closer to $1.00 each with my 40% off coupons. I used ribbon that I already had in my stash. I made sure to get the correct baby name spelling from each new mommy and I also asked about their decor, or if it was a surprise, I paid attention to their registry picks. It gave me a good place to start.

Here's how some turned out...

And a close up of the details...
Notice B's paws? He was trying to help me stay on task. The picture is only a portion of Nicholas's name for his room before I attached the ribbon, but it shows the detail best of any picture I took.  This was for a dear friend and they really loved them. I got a picture soon after of the name up on the wall above the crib!

I think that they turned out great. All the new mommies have loved them and for about $2 per letter or less, you can't go wrong! I had a blast making, packaging and delivering these. I hope you do, too!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

I hope you all remembered to wish the wonderful fathers and father-figures in your life a Happy Father's Day yesterday. We were able to spend some time with my FIL and I got to talk to my dad, too. We are so blessed to have them in our lives!

When we got home from the in-laws, it was family hair cut time. Since we bathed the boys Saturday, as well as brushed their teeth and cleaned their ears, it was time for a trim! So, the boys all got their hair cut and brushed. Then J and twin got their hair cut, too. I cut J's and J cut twin's. Lots of sweeping and vacuuming ensued. Now O looks like he lost about 10 pounds.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Little Life Update

Since I've been out of the blog-o-sphere for so long, I figured a brief life update would be helpful to any of you out there still tuning in.

Where to begin? Hmm, the Christmas holiday was very nice and full of blessings. I was able to surprise my parents with a 5 day visit to Arizona the week before Christmas. It was just a wonderful time to reconnect with my parents and enjoy the sunshine!

Jared and I went back to Arizona in February but came back just in time for my Stephen Ministry Commissioning. It was such a wonderful evening full of fellowship, love and support. I am so glad Jared got to meet the wonderful new people in my life and share in that special accomplishment. For those of you that don't know, I'd been training for the 8 months prior to my commissioning to become a Stephen Minister. This required 50+ hours on training, every Tuesday night. Stephen Ministry is an outreach Care ministry that Blackhawk offers to those who need someone to come alongside them during difficult times and trials in their lives. I felt compelled to do it and since I've been commissioned and meeting with my Care Receiver it has truly hit me how much of an honor and responsibility it is to be able to share with someone during these difficult times. I feel so blessed for where God has led me with this ministry and I'm doing my best to constantly stay open to his will and guidance.

As you may know, we've been very active in our Life Group for the past couple of years and this summer our life group decided to join a rec volleyball league. You heard me right, Jared and I are playing volleyball weekly. We actually PAID MONEY to play volleyball! :) We're actually having a really great time with it. In addition to the sunshine, exercise and fellowship with dear friends, we're meeting new people and experiencing new things (i.e. they have a nice karaoke bar inside). I'll post a picture of J and I in our team shirts soon.

I have been volunteering for the Dane County Humane Society for the past several months and I love it. Using my event planning/management background, I was able to jump right into a few of their biggest fund-raising events. I've had an incredible time working together with other animal lovers to support a cause near and dear to my heart! The first event I volunteered on was the 2010 Bark and Wine and we raised $65,000.00 for the Humane Society! I am so glad they continue to need my help. I'm already looking forward to more and more events.

Lots and lots of other wonderful blessings have come our way, but in an attempt wrap this up, I'll stop now and post more later. I've got DIY crafts to show you that I made for a wedding shower for my BIL and Future SIL as well some birthday decorations I made for my God-daughter's 2nd birthday. I also DIY'ed some gift bags that so far everyone is just loving. I've also been up-cycling some great finds. You're going to love them! Stay Tuned!

Have you made any great DIY crafts recently? Let me know!! I love new ideas!

2010 Reading Goals!

Well, 2010 has come and I have a new reading goal of 52 books in 2010. My favorite so far is Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (or CeeCee Honey, as I so endearingly call it). As I've mentioned before I am very anxious for some upcoming new releases, with Mockingjay being at the top of that list.

I'm currently reading Sarah's Key by  Tatiana de Rosnay. It's a different look at the Holocaust. So far, I haven't wanted to put it down. I'll let you know how it goes.

Here's a list of where I am right now!

A Christmas Dog 1
Let Them Eat Fruitcake 2
Spring Broke 3
3 Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah 4
Snowbound 5
Anyone but You 6
Sam's Letters to Jennifer 7
Dear John 8
Shiver 9
Her Fearful Symmetry 10
Committed 11
The Girl Who Chased the Moon 12
Half Broke Horses 13
Darklight 14
Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang 15
Luthiel's Song #1 16
Goodnight Nobody 17
Water for Elephants 18
Gift from the Sea 19
Reiyalindis 20
The Last Song 21
House Rules 22
Fireworks over Toccoa 23
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt 24
Witch and Wizard 25
Beastly 26
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner 27
Heart of the Matter 28
Burned 29
Celia and the Fairies 30
My Fair Godmother 31

A Long Overdue Update

I hate to leave things unfinished, so I figured I had better at least update on my reading goal from last year. Well I did it, I read 100 books in 2009! My favorite book of the year was The Art of Racing in the Rain, followed by The Help, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as well as the first two books in the Hunger Games trilogy. I'm already eagerly awaiting the third book's release in August -- thank you, Amazon pre-order!

Anyway, I've listed below the rest of the books I read in 2009. Enjoy!

66   UnChristian
67  Catching Fire
68   The Fortune Quilt
69  The Last Summer of You and Me
70   Wondrous Strange
71  Speaking the Truth in Love
72   Such a Pretty Fat
73   Ex and the Single Girl
74  Wish You Were Here
75   Dog at Night Time
76   Off for Good behavior
77   When and How to Use Mental Health Resources
78   The Christmas Bus
79   Fairy Tale
80   Slow Hands
81   Baby Bonanza
82   Bound for the Holidays
83   Skeeter the Cat
84   What Santa Brought
85   Survival in Auschwitz
86   House Thinking
87   The Christmas Lamp
88   Tempted
89 Knit the Season
90 Ubik
91   Skinny
92   Shopping for Time
93  The Bride's Baby
94   When Night Falls
95   The Hunters
96   Speed Dating
97  Made to Stick
98   The 12 Lies of Christmas
99   My Soul to Lose
100   I Heart Bloomberg