Sunday, April 17, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Photostrip Day Five

Today was a long day. We went into Philly and had a great time with some friends. We enjoyed the please touch museum, cheesesteaks at Jim's, and hanging out with some people we haven't seen in ages.

Unfortunately I didn't think to take the strip before we left, and by the time we got home everyone was toast. So today's strip is very boring, sorry about that.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Photostrip Day Four

Pigtails. I'll take bets on how long she keeps them in her hair...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Photostrip Day Two

Day Two

I'm considering making this a year in photostrips...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Yesterday on a whim I took Trillian in a photobooth at the mall. It was the first time we'd ever done one of those.
We had a blast :)

Trillian First Photobooth

I've been looking online and found a great site for taking photostrip style photos at home. La Photo Cabine
I'd love to see other people's photostrips. Go take one, upload it somewhere and leave me a link!

Monday, April 11, 2011


Now that spring is here we can spend more time outside!
Dahlia absolutely loves her car. Trillian loves pushing her around in it. It's win-win for me!
What is your favorite spring time activity?

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I wasn't a chocoholic until my first pregnancy. I found chocolate mint chip ice cream. It hit everything I was craving in one bite. Between the mint and the cold it soothed the heartburn. Now I love this flavor combination.
So when Justin started experimenting with using real chocolate combined with some of the flavors we use in the marshmallows creme de menthe was one of the first flavors I wanted to try.

There was almost a fist fight in my house over the last one. So now we're having fun trying other flavors combined with chocolate. The chocolate almond is also fantastic!
Check out the other Chocoholic Flavors

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm so excited!

My composter is arriving today!
I bought one that I'll have to roll around the yard. I think it'll be interesting to do (and great exercise!)
Composting was one of the things on my list of 30 before 30.

I guess it's time to update you all on how that's going!!

26. Start to compost.
I'm going to start today!!

17. Write at least 6 handwritten letters to my Grandmother.
I've written one. I think I'm going to sit down and write another today!

14. Grow something edible and eat it.
On Monday this week T and I planted a whole bunch of seeds in peat pots. They're in a tray on my dresser. If T has her way we'll spend the summer eating green beans and zucchini.

10. Take a yoga class.
I took one at the local Y. I need to find one I enjoy more...

3. Read 6 NEW books. Not books I've previously read or part of a series.
The Lost Symbol, Deception Point, Digital Fortress, The Time Traveller's Wife, Steady Days ... only one more to go!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I read really great blog on .
She's doing Project: Simplify. It is a 5 week series of challenges to help organize 5 hot spots.

On Monday she revealed the first hot spot. I swear it's like she walked into my home and picked out the one spot that needed the most work and would be the most motivating for me. Once this one spot gets organized I will be so much more motivated to stick to the rest of the weeks.

The challenge? Your closet.

Why was this one so difficult for me?
Well, for one, I've got a closet full of pre-pregnancy clothes, none of which fit my altered shape. But more than that.
Over a year ago my husband put his foot through the ceiling of our closet. Filled the closet with blown insulation. He patched the ceiling after a few months but we basically closed the closet and pretended we didn't have a giant mess to deal with. With two young children in the house, and the master bedroom as one of those off limits zone, it quickly became a dumping ground for all the things we didn't want them to have. I haven't even opened my closet in a year.

I spent the week on it.

I took pictures at the beginning and near the end. (I've straightened up even more since I took these, but it needed to be done while there was still good light.) There's a lot more stuff in the room right now than I want, but the basement flooded so I can't put anything down there until it's cleaned.

Here are the before and after.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rainy Day Fun

We are fast approaching the time of year where it's warm enough to play outside but the rainy and mud keep us inside. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against puddle splashing. You can bet that my kids will be out there enjoying the finer things in life like the joy of a good puddle stomping. But I don't have the patience for it everyday.
When a supply order came in a couple days ago we discovered the perfect rainy day activity for my two little ones.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Nostalgia and Dipping Sauce

Everyone has their favorite pizza place.
My husband loves the one in our town that offers a lunch buffet. Even though every time I've had their lunch buffet I've spent the rest of the afternoon hiding in the bathroom.
I think it's the meat sauce.
Buffet lasagna sounds like a good plan but it never is.

My favorite pizza place isn't particularly good at making pizza... or wings... or really much. It does however serve two things I like so much that I will continue to order there as often as I can. Nostalgia and Dipping Sauce.

This was the pizza I ordered when I was in high school and we managed to scrape together enough cash for a pizza to share but we were too broke and cheap to pay for delivery (and tip) so we'd walk to go get it, a mile away, in the middle of winter.
This was the pizza we'd order in college when we were too busy studying/writing/coding/drinking to make anything for ourselves.
This was the place with the jingle that got stuck in your head. Long after I've forgotten the phone number to the house I grew up in I will still remember their phone number.

I've never enjoyed eating pizza crusts. My parents made it worse by saying "eat the crust, it'll put hair on your chest." As a kid I didn't understand the metaphor but I did understand that I didn't want a hairy chest.

Years ago the geniuses behind the Pizza pizza brand came up with a way to not just get me to eat the crusts but to look forward to it. Dipping Sauce. Sure, you could get a marinara at most places to dip in. These guys took it to the next level.

Creamy Garlic Dipping Sauce.

For those in the US I have found NOTHING that compares to this. So don't suggest I try such and such brand of salad dressing or veggie dip. I've tried it. Nothing compares to this stuff.

So that is why when my mom wants to order from a cute little mom and pop shop that makes fantastic pizza I refuse. I'm not order pizza, I'm ordering nostalgia and dippping sauce.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Life interrupting life

Every now and then life interrupts a wonderful routine I've got going.

Life just interrupted my life for a month but I'm back.

Sort of.

I'm couch crashing with the girls at my mom's. Actually it's the three of us in my old bedroom, which really isn't too bad. Except when we all need to be sleeping. And one of us (not going to name name) keeps waking up and crying because she's hungry or the other one (again no names) wakes up crying "Mommy mommy mommy. Sooooooooooooooooo." Finding her "soo" (pacifier) and going back to sleep.

Waiting for US Immigration to return my passport and visa so I can go home to New Jersey. Immigrating has been a super fun adventure involving thousands of dollars, multiple copies of every certificate ever issued to me (I think they even asked for my grade 4 report card), two trips to Montreal (thank god they didn't route me through Vancouver) and showing my junk to some lady I've never met before. (yes, I just called what's in my pants my junk, I'm kinda worried about what using any other term for it would do to my blog's SEO. I don't want people finding my blog by searching strange combinations of things I normally blog about and my junk.)

Fortunately it will be over soon.
This afternoon I'm heading to pick up my passport and visa from the DHL depot. I could have them take it to the local DHL depot for free, but to have it delivered to my house would cost an extra $15. Whatever. I have my license. I can do the delivery company's job for them if it means I get my stuff back faster.

Being here means we're out our usual forms of entertainment - like hanging out at the local Ikea and eating meatballs till we puke. We brought the media server we keep in the playroom up here as an easy way to transport all the kids movies. In true toddler fashion though, we've only watched one. Over and over and over and over. She gets credit for wanting to watch Bolt. I think if I had to watch the Little Mermaid this many times I would be making crab for dinner and telling her it was Sebastian.

One Word Wednesday: Curls

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter Festival Fail

We tried to take the girls to a winter festival. Unfortunately Dahlia was less than impressed and Justin scratched an itch on his nose forgetting he had a scab there and managed to rip it off and bleed everywhere. We only stayed about 10 minutes.
In the short time we were there, however, T got to explore an igloo. She loved it.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nothing says I love you like a stuffed mushroom

I want to be one of those families that sits down to a family meal every night. You know the ones you look back on and think "My mom was an amazing cook." I'd love to spend the time in the kitchen but with the smallest being so securely attached to mommy and in the middle of her separation anxiety phase, it's rare that I get time to focus on making a good meal. More often than not dinner is made by my husband. Don't get me wrong, he's a great cook, and he takes direction really well. But at the end of a long day at work he's not up for spending any longer in the kitchen or waiting for his meal than he has to.
Tonight I told my husband that I love him.
Via Stuffed Mushrooms.
I heard somewhere that "life is too short to stuff mushrooms" That's exactly why it's a special treat.
A stuffed mushroom says "I love you so much that I took the time to stuff these just for you while the baby tried to pull my pants down, tried to climb up my shirt and cried at me about what an awful human being I am."

But Damn were they delicious.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pardon me while I finish this book

Remember a couple weeks ago I mentioned
Well I've already completed 3 swaps.

I'm completely lost in another Dan Brown book - this time it's The Lost Symbol.
I've also got the Time Traveller's Wife and The Secret waiting for me.
PLUS the last book in a series I'm reading came out on Tuesday.

Last night I stayed up until 3am reading.
I forsee another late night tonight.

I'll be done my 6 books well before I turn 30. I'm almost tempted to make it 30 books before 30!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Everything I need to know to sell on Etsy, I learned in Kindergarten

When I started Kindergarten I was a little jerk. I was the oldest of three so I was used to being the king of the castle. Then I went to Kindergarten. I learned that I couldn't be the best at everything. No matter what I did there was always another kid who excelled differently than I did. It took time, but I learned that working with that person rather than against them was always going to be better than working against them.

Here are a few of the things I learned:

How to Make Friends
I had to learn to make friends. This is one of those life skills that will never fail me. There will never be a point where I'm like "Aww crap, I made friends again." Everything is better with friends. Friends on Etsy help boost your morale when you don't feel like you want to continue. They help promote your awesome new stuff. And when you're struggling for a last minute gift for someone they can help you find the perfect thing from a seller who will get it out to you superfast!
Friends do more than just make your experience more positive, they can increase your sales too. Over a third of my sales have gone to my Etsy friends. And they are buying because they genuinely want and enjoy my products. Plus when I send them my business cards, I know they'll pass them on for me!

How to be Part of a Team
In Kindergarten I learned about what it meant to be a team. Groups of kids playing together always have more fun than the lone kid in the sandbox. Turns out the same on Etsy. Joining a Team and getting involved with that team is one way to make friends. Different teams have different goals. Some teams promote member shops, some teams host local get togethers, some are just there for moral support. No matter what team you join, you'll find a network of other Etsians who in turn provide a vast network of resources you didn't know about.

How to Pay attention in Class
When I started on Etsy I wanted to learn how to make my shop the best I could. One of the resources I found to help me was the Virtual Labs: Just going to these labs I made a bunch of new friends. Paying attention in labs also gave me the opportunity to absorb a ton of info on how to improve my shop. Not all the tips and tricks work for everyone and every shop, but boy do they help!

How to Read
My reading skills have improved dramatically since kindergarten. Back then I never would have gotten through the entire Seller's Handbook ( Even now I don't know that I could get through the whole thing. Fortunately it's written as articles that are fantastic on their own. This means that if I feel like working on photography one day I can sit down and read all the articles on photographing my products better, take notes and then apply that to retaking my photos.

How to Count
There are a lot of ways to track your sales. Depending on your comfort level with technology and numbers you can track your sales any number of ways. If you want the easiest way to track what you're doing get a journal. Write down what you do that links to your etsy account - List, Relist, Renew, Attend a Virtual Lab, Tweet, Blog, share on facebook. Find patterns between your actions and your sales. The next step is to sign up for google analytics. Don't worry, you don't have to be able to interpret their reports. Once Google Analytics is working for you, you can import it into which can tell you how many views your shop has had. tracking views compared to actions is a great way to figure out what's bringing people into your shop.

How to be a Unique Individual
On Etsy, just like in Kindergarten, The Copying Game is the mark of an uncreative bully. My little brother used to follow me around copying everything I said "Stop copying me!" I would yell at him "Stop copying me!" He would yell back. "Mom he's COPYING me again" "Mom he's COPYING me again" It took me years to realize that this was a preschooler's way of showing he looked up to me and admired me. Despite the complement that it was, copycatting was lame. It showed that he couldn't even come up with a unique way to pester me. Copycatting on Etsy is just as lame. Poaching an idea and making the exact same thing without putting your own spin on it shows you lack originality and creativity yourself. I wasn't the first person to make my product, and I won't be the last, but I have a style all my own. You'll know my product as mine instantly when you see it.

These skills are the key skills I've used to get where I am with my shop.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Swapping

bookshelf spectrum, revisited
bookshelf spectrum, revisited by chotda, on Flickr

I love to read. I love books. I don't love clutter.
There's the obvious solution: go to the library.
I don't like having a deadline for my reading. Sure sometimes I finish a book in 24 hours or less. Usually though I have a few books on the go, plus life inevitably gets in the way.
I've been a member on Swap for a while now. I signed up ages ago when they were first getting started but there wasn't much that I wanted that was available. Now they've grown SO MUCH! I've got several trades pending. I'm excited to get books I want while at the same time getting rid of books I'm finished with.
Reusing through trade, what a great way to make friends and be green!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Getting to it

So recently I posted my 30 before 30 to do list.
On there was:

3. Read 6 NEW books. Not books I've previously read or part of a series.

My Mom got really excited knowing that I'm planning to read 6 books this year. She jumped up and grabbed 4 books she thought I'd like. A couple years ago I'd introduced her to the Davinci Code. Apparently she loved it so much that Dan Brown is now one of her favorite authors. I read The Davinci Code and Angels and Demons and gave up on him. I felt like the two books had basically the same plot.
One of the books Mom handed me was Deception Point.
I finished it in less than 24 hours. (Maybe I should up my to do list to include more books!) I enjoy the intrigue of books like this. And I especially like it when the twist is not one I predict myself. (I thought the "controller" was a certain person and it turned out to be someone else entirely)

What books do you like? What would you recommend for me to read?