New Additions

I know I haven’t posted in a while. We’ve been busy. That’s no excuse really but it’s the truth.

I mean, hello, the OLYMPICS were on! I could not tear myself away from the TV – even when the boring sports were on (*cough* the marathon *cough*)!

But now that’s behind us and life can resume its normalcy, if there is such a thing.

We were busy during the last few weeks creating various art projects. All of them (eventually) got hung up on the Gallery Wall too.

The first project was one I did after seeing creations like this. I figured, how hard could it be?

So I grabbed some supplies from Michael’s and got to work. First I spray painted a basic wooden plaque.


Then I printed an outline of Nebraska, drew a heart in the center (most people put the heart wherever their city is on the state but since Omaha is all the way on the right, it wouldn’t have worked) and lightly secured it to the plaque with tape. Then I took my brads and hammered them in around the outside, trying to get them evenly spaced.



Then it was time to thread it! I tied the thread (I chose green) in a knot around the top left-hand most brad and then started wrapping it around each brad from one to the next. I measured that there were 4 outside nails to every 1 inside nail so each inside nail got threaded 4 times – 1 per outside nail.


Once that was done. I took another string and wrapped it from nail to nail around just the heart, to give it an outline and finish it off.

Ta da!


If I had it to do over, I would have put the brads closer together, especially on the left side. But all in all, I’m happy with how it turned out. It’s something unique and colorful to represent where we live!

And here it is on the wall!


The other project I did involved some stenciling letters I found in the Clearance bin at Michael’s. They just happened to have a “T”, “C”, “S”, and “I”, for $1 a piece, so I bought all 4, and a canvas, and went to work!

Here is what the final product turned out to be!


I started with yellow because I’ve decided the Gallery Wall will be a rainbow of colors. I want every color represented. Yellow felt right to me. I wanted the “T” to stand out as it’s the first letter of our last name and therefore the common shared letter amongst all of us. So I made it black. Then I made the other ones blue because I like blue and yellow together, plus it echoes the color scheme of the playroom and dining room.


Here it is on the wall!


I haven’t decided if I want to leave it next to the red piece or move it up under the Nebraska thread project. I think I’ll probably move it, to balance out the big blocks of color and fill in the big space on the right.

I am happy with how it turned out. It’s simple yet makes a bold statement.

Finally, the piece de resistance! Isabella’s ode to the Olympics!


I tried to get her to do something like this but she decided that smearing the paint was more fun. Not what I had in mind but that’s ok – it’s actually something better because Munchkin did it!

So there you have the latest additions to our gallery wall!

I can’t say good-bye though before showing you today’s activity – flying a kite!


A Spiderman kite no less.

CJ showed her how to do it first.


And before long she was a natural!


She had a blast and we’re already looking forward to doing it again!

If you liked this, you might also like:

Proud Moments | Are you Smarter than a 2 Year Old? | Dress Up

June Bug

The year is half over. We’re in to July and that means summer will be done before we know it. Excuse me for a moment…


Ok, I feel better now.

This also means that I should be halfway done with my goals right? Mmm, maybe. Many of them are ongoing but I do feel pressure to be making more progress on other ones. Let’s take a look-see.

Family and Home:

1. Do at least one family outing a month. We were VERY busy this month.

We went to Sand in the City


(shout out to my friend Jay who designed this one and won an award for it!)

And Taste of Omaha.



We spent a rainy afternoon playing at the indoor kids area in the mall.


And we checked out the Architects of Air Luminaria exhibit.




We also stopped to see the big swimmer dude coming up out of the ground, in honor of the Olympics Swim Trials.



Which leads us to our next family event – last but not least – the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials



Isabella thought it was too noisy…


I’d say we did pretty darn good!!

2.  Tackle the following home projects this year:

Buy and hang curtains on all the windows. Nope, didn’t do anything. The only room we have left to do is the living room and I’m not in a huge hurry.

Unpack the remaining boxes in the basement. I actually got rid of 2 more boxes! I found great ways to use a lot of the stuff I found too. 

Create a sitting room within the master bedroom. I’ve been on the lookout for stuff but haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for yet.

Add built in shelves to the living room by the end of the year.    This will be a big project and we haven’t had the time or money to tackle it yet. Sometime before the end of the year though for sure!

3.  Have Isabella potty trained by her 3rd birthday (September 30). We started and she is clearly not ready. She has no interest in sitting on the potty nor does she seem to mind wearing a dirty diaper. We’ll give her some more time, then try again.

4.  Research pre-schools and enroll Isabella in one to start in the fall of 2012.  I’m thinking more and more that she won’t be ready for pre-school in the fall. Mentally I think she could handle it but in terms of potty training, no (as mentioned above).

Financial and career:

5. Attend one career professional event a month. Yep, I attended one even this month.

6.  Spend less money.   Well we try. It’s a daily/weekly battle. Some weeks are better than others, depending on what comes up. But overall I think we’re doing quite well.

Physical and health:

7. Adopt one new healthy habit each month. I’ve given up on this one. I don’t seem to have enough discipline to do anything healthy except for exercise. I’ll keep fighting the good fight but I’m going to stop with the monthly habits. I’m tired of disappointing myself.

Social and cultural:

8. Attend at least 4 cultural events this year (e.g. Broadway shows, concerts, museum exhibitions). As you can see from the list above, we did many things, including the Luminaria exhibit and the Fremont Dinner Train.

9. Regularly participate in events put on by the social clubs I belong to (speakers events, parties, happy hours, etc). Again, very busy month. I attended several FACs (Friday Afternoon Club) get togethers through work, a baseball game, Luminaria, the Fremont Dinner Train, and a spontaneous neighborhood beer night 

10.  Go on a date night with CJ once a month. The Fremont Dinner Train was one of our date nights. The Warrior Dash was another. Ok maybe that doesn’t count? But this does – we went to a wedding, sans the Munchkin. I know this will sound awful and crazy to some people but I prefer to attend weddings without children. They take over the dance floor and many parents use the wedding as their personal baby-sitter. Not cool. So we almost always leave the little one at home when we go to weddings and instead use the time for us!


There you have it, another month in the books. While all the things we did in June were fun, I’m hoping that July is a little more calm. Although it’s not starting off that way. Already this week we’ve gone to 2 movies, a baseball game/fireworks show and a neighborhood block party. What can I say – you gotta grab life by the horns because it’s just too darn short to sit around and let it pass you by!  

If you liked this, you might also like:

May Flowers | April Showers Bring | March – How’d I do?


We had a storm in Omaha last night. A pretty big one. At least you’d think so by looking at our backyard.

Let’s rewind a bit.

We went to bed last night without a care in the world and no clue a storm was coming (at least I didn’t know). I woke up at 4:30 to winds pounding the house and rain pelting down on the windows. Shortly after I awoke, Isabella did too. She started crying and was scared. I got her and we looked out the front windows. The trees were taking a beating. I seriously thought I was going to see one snap in half before my eyes.

I put her back to bed but she didn’t want to be alone so I let her come in and sleep with us.

I use the term “sleep” very loosely.

She and CJ slept (because he moved to the guest room). I however dozed in and out. It’s hard to get good sleep with a 2 year old nearly on top of you who won’t allow any covers.

We all eventually got up at 7:15 and this is what we found.


A backyard ravaged.

It appears that the our backyard took the brunt of the storm for the neighborhood because looking around it appeared that no one else had any damage. Even our front yard looked totally fine.


You wouldn’t even know it rained in the front had the driveway not been wet.

But I guess because we’re on a corner and at the bottom of a hill, our backyard becomes a wind tunnel during storms.

Here’s what we found upon closer look at the back.

All of Isabella’s outdoor toys were knocked over and thrown.



Her big playhouse, which had been anchored in to the ground, was blown apart and wrapped around the trees in the birch grove.




(That big brown patch is where the house had been rooted.)


Isabella’s swimming pool was tossed to the back corner of the yard, along with some chairs and her sand table.


The patio chairs were whipped around and my pot that I made on an outing with co-workers was broken.


There was also another plant casualty as the one basket on my shepherd’s hook was carried across the patio…



…and my grandma’s birdbath was knocked over (but thank goodness not broken).


All in all, it was quite a mess.

However, I feel very lucky that it wasn’t worse. We could have had roof damage, windows broken, siding ripped off, or any number of other casualties to the house. The fact that it was limited to “stuff” in the backyard was a blessing – and all of it was repairable except the broken pot and a few ground lights.

So, once the rain cleared and the sun came out, we headed outside to clean up!

I was a bit worried about how Isabella would react to her playhouse being thrown asunder, but she handled it very well.

Here she’s inspecting things and trying to figure it all out.


She actually ended up liking it broken and started crying when CJ pulled it out of the trees.


He had to fully pull it apart so that the various pieces could dry out (they were all water logged).


Isabella helped with the clean up too.

She lifted her Cozy Coupe upright.


And pulled the sand table out of the birch grove.


She also made sure to go around and close the shutters on the windows of her playhouse, you know, to keep any more rain out.


I can’t say that Samson helped all that much.


He was more interested in sunning himself.


I was able to save the Begonias and Bat-faced Cupea that I had planted in my white strawberry pot (the one that was broken). I replanted them all in a hanging basket and hung them up in the newly open crook.

We pretty much have everything cleaned up now. We (ok CJ) still has to put Isabella’s playhouse back together but that shouldn’t take too long. Otherwise things are as good as new.

If you liked this, you might also like:

The Next Steve Jobs | Random Thought Friday

Egg-cellent Easter!

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Easter this year was made much more fun by the fact that Isabella really got in to it. Last year she could sort of hunt for eggs and help die them and such but this year she REALLY enjoyed it! We had a ton of fun. Instead of me blabbering on and on about it, I’ll just show you the highlights, in pictures!

Coloring eggs!




(she sticks her tongue out when she concentrates)


(chocolate “nests” that I made, with M&M eggs, and a marshmallow bunny)



(Chocolate Oreo pudding cake (with a special blue whipped cream frosting and Easter sprinkles)!)


(someone’s keeping an eye on it…)

Easter morning!




Hunting for eggs!


Celebrating with the family at my parent’s house


(Rockin’ the Easter dress, with dramatic lighting for effect!)

Another egg hunt!




Live action video directly from the backyard!



(Making giant bubbles!!)


The after dinner siesta…(these 2 weren’t the only snoozers…CJ was out in the car sleeping!)



(My favorite part of Easter – the Reese’s peanut butter eggs!)

There you have it! I hope your Easter was as good as ours!

If you liked this, you might also like:

Spring Things | You Capture: Spring

Spring Things

Don’t you just love this time of year? It has been unbelievably nice and warm here in Omaha lately. We were in the 80’s and 90’s all weekend and in to today.


No complaints from me. I’d much rather have warmth than cold; sun than snow; green than brown.

But I will miss my cute winter boots.


Remember that glass art project I did a couple Friday’s ago? Well we got them back last week and I forgot to show you how AWESOME everyone’s stuff turned out!

Ta da!


Aren’t they all great? Each one is unique and different, yet super cool. Mine is the second from the left on the bottom row.

Here’s the before pic:


And a close-up of the after!


I am super happy with it and I particularly like how the colors sparkle and shine when the light shines through the window. I plan to hang it in one of the windows above our door. I just have to figure out a way to do that…

Speaking of projects…I tackled another one on Sunday.

A co-worker friend had given me a doll cradle a while back that was hers as a baby. It was in great condition, just needed a little TLC in terms of dusting and touch up work.


(By the way, it was impossible to take a picture without Samson photo-bombing it. Apparently the cradle had some tantalizing smells on it that REALLY intrigued him!)


I decided to paint the wood white and re-upholster the bed part. I’ve done it once before so naturally I’m an old pro…

I started by pulling the bottom out and ripping off the old fabric. I found some cute flannel stuff at the fabric store that would work for a couple projects, this being one of them.

I first laid the board on the fabric so I’d know how much to cut.


Then I trimmed a nice rectangle, making sure I had a couple inches of trim around each side.


The next step involved some very intricate fastening measures that should really only be left to people who know what they’re doing.

In other words, I used duct tape.


I folded in each side and taped it down with a long strip.

Then I folded the corners in and secured those.


The back can be ugly since it’ll never be seen.

When all was said and done, the “bed” looked like this.


Then it was time to tackle the painting. I simply drug the cradle outside and sprayed the bejeezus out of it with white spray paint.


The finished project turned out really nice! Isabella is going to love it!


I plan to give it to her on Easter, and use it as a “basket” for all her other goodies.


And I’d be remiss if I didn’t include one final picture of the cradle with Samson in the background.


Somehow I managed to get this whole project done during Isabella’s nap time. Unbelievable.

Finally…you can’t have spring and Easter season without sugar cookies!

Isabella helped me make them yesterday. I got the dough prepared ahead of time and she helped with cutting them out.


At first she didn’t get the concept of using them as actual cutters. She would just set the cookie cutters on top and them pull them off leaving very faint outlines.

Eventually she got the idea though.




Not only did we do bunnies and butterflies and dog bones (for Samson of course), we also had to do Christmas trees and candy canes and gingerbread men.


Once they were baked and cooled, she helped me frost them too. She chose to use yellow and pink frosting.


They all turned out absolutely perfect! And they taste even better because they were made with love!


My last project of the day was to fix her Gingerbread Man doll which she has slept with every night since December. Mind you, “Ginger” was a toy of mine as a kid so he’s not exactly a spring chicken. As such, part of his shirt was coming unstitched and he head was, um, partly falling off.

So morbid.

I used the same fabric that I bought for the cradle to fix Ginger, basically just sewing a new “bib” on him (which also attached his head back to his neck).


Isabella helped.

Let’s be clear – I’m not exactly a seamstress. But I can sew on a button and apparently fix an old cookie’s shirt (and head).

When I was done, I handed Ginger back to Isabella and she smiled, hugged him and said, “Thank you! He looks so handsome mommy!”

That’s all the thanks I need.

If you liked this, you might also like:

You Capture: Fun!  |  S & C  |  Projects