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Saturday, January 26, 2013

my brain is a checklist...

Confession: I'm obsessed with making lists.  Whew... feels good to get that out.
Sometimes I have these moments where I start looking around my house and realize all of this stuff that needs to be done.  I start getting this crazy look in my eye {per Caleb's accounts} and start grabbing a pad of paper and a pen... Caleb in the background going "Oh boy... here we go." cause I'm about to make a list of things that need to be done from that moment until the end of time... And then Caleb has this long talk with me about how I resort to lists when I'm stressed out.  Sounds stupid doesn't it??? That's because it's all completely true.
Lists aren't ALL bad or a source of stress for me though.  I do keep organized via my lists and feel like I can usually relax once I have the ideas bouncing in my brain written out. For Christmas, Caleb even got me three, that's right THREE, different notepads for my list obsession.  And it was a perfect gift for me, I love all of them.  They do help me organize my thoughts and all of my "to do" items... but sometimes I can still feel a little overwhelmed by all the possible lists I could make!  I could make grocery lists, a lists of errands to run, a list of home projects to work on, a list to manage all my other lists...

Caleb can get stressed out by my lists too, as mentioned above.  His least favorite are any that fall into the "home projects" category.  Those lists are ones he gets dragged into the most... and by dragged into I mean he gets dragged off of his comfy seat on the couch to somewhere in the house to do something he doesn't really want to do.  Poor guy.  He knew who he was marrying though so... that makes it kinda fair. :)

one of the lists Caleb got me for Christmas

With the start of the new year, it brought up some new lists in my brain!  This year will likely hold lots of changes for us... I started off the year already as a new graduate and I'm currently looking for a job, so that will be a major change.  Caleb continues to be earning his master's in educational administration as well and will graduate at sometime this year {although he won't be looking to change to an administrative position for a while}.  We are also considering selling our house this year, possibly in the spring -- and if that doesn't make me want to make like 20 lists I don't know what will!  Selling our current house also means buying a new {and by new I mean very old} house.  Which guess what buying a "new" old house means... you guessed it, more lists of Caleb's least favorite category!!!  I try not to talk about too much as to not stress him out. :)
Despite all these plans and plans to make more lists... I do need to get better about narrowing my focus from my BIG PICTURE lists that would take months to complete {and these tend to be the list that I make during my "crisis moments"} to making more manageable and smaller lists.
For example, I need to get better at meal planning, because when you don't do it... you aren't very good at it. :)  This is something I've been mulling on for a while but have yet to do anything about it.  It would definitely help in the "grocery list" category and make Caleb and mine's lives easier and less expensive!  So this is something I'm going to try to work on... I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

DIY {A-frame tents tutorial}

A while back I mentioned I would share about some Christmas presents I made for all the kids in our family.  Caleb side has 6 nieces and nephews {with 1 more on the way}, and my side has 1 niece.  So with 7 kids to buy for coming off a year where I barely worked due to school, we needed to come up with a fun gift that also didn't brake the bank!  Of course Pinterest served as my main area for inspiration, and I came across this tutorial for making A-frame tents from the blog Cakies.  I decided to make 4 tents, one tent per family.  I pretty much followed the tutorial but I'll let you in on my process for making the tents...

- 4, 1"x2"x48" wood molding pieces
- 1, 3/4"x48" poplar dowel rod
- drill
- 3/4" spade drill bit
- ruler & pencil
- twine
- sanding block
- stain/sealer (optional)

Caleb did all of the wood working for the tents so I don't have any pictures but the process is pretty simple.  First I had him sand down all of the molding pieces just in case there were any splinters.  Then he made sure all of the molding pieces were exactly the same length and trimmed up any that weren't.  {SIDE NOTE: since I was making 4 tents, I bought several 12 foot molding pieces from Home Depot and they cut them into the 4 foot pieces for me - so there were a few that were just a tad off and I was just wanting to make sure that each group of 4 boards that would make 1 tent were all the same length}  Once he had all the molding boards grouped into 4 sets of 4, he measured from the top of the boards down 6 inches and made a mark in the center of the board where he would drill.  The drilling made the hole for the dowel rod and...voila', you can now construct the A-frame!  We decided to use some clear stain/sealer over the boards just to give them a nice smooth finish so that it wouldn't be rough on the little ones' hands if they grabbed the boards.  The twine is to tie the tops and the joints of the pieces together because it can be a little wobbly... the Cakies tutorial said that the dowel rod fit extremely snugly into the drilled hole that she didn't have to use the twine, but that wasn't the case for us.

- 1 twin sheet or piece of fabric {hemmed to apprx. 44"x83" -- the measurement doesn't have to be perfect}
- sewing machine & thread
- elastic strips: 4, 5" strips per tent
- scissors
- ruler

Hem the fabric to the measurement above and it doesn't need to be perfect.  Then fold over the elastic to make a loop coming off of all four corners of the tent - the strips should come off at a perpendicular angle from each bottom corner -- does that make sense?

Sewing on elastic strips to the tents

- 1 sack of potatoes!
- Knife to carve out design in potatoes
- Acrylic or fabric paint (I used acrylic because I had better acrylic colors)
- Scrap cardboard or other protective material to put under the sheet as your paint it
- Straight edge (I use a long metal ruler we have)

Get your area ready to use the potato to stamp out your design.  I had to do the stamping in my kitchen on my hardwood floors because its the biggest space in my house to lay everything out, so I made sure all my floors around me were protected! Then I carved out my designs in the potatoes...I tired to keep my designs fairly simple since I was making 4 tents. {SIDE NOTE: the potatoes don't last overnight once you've carved one because then the sides wilt and it won't look good -- I learned this the hard way & had to re-carve the next day} 

Potato stamping supplies

I found the area to start stamping on my tents by folding the sheet in half {like how it would hang on the tent} and measured down from there several inches and then used my long straight edge to make sure I was stamping in a straight line.

Some of the different patterns I did

 Let the one side dry -- I hung mine over my banister railing to dry -- then do the opposite side! Then assemble your tents...

The assembled tent {without the twine wrapped around}

 Then let the kids enjoy!




 Hope you enjoy this project as much as I did!

Friday, January 18, 2013

free time & old photos

Good news for me... I never have to taken another licensing/certification exam ever again! Everybody say "yyyeeeahhh!"  {meant to be said in the leprechaun video style and if you don't know what I'm referring to, watch it!}  Ever since Christmas I've had my head in a review book, when I haven't been working, in preparation for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners certification exam. Well, I took the exam yesterday and passed! So hello to a lot more free time...while I search for a job of course.
In my newly found free time last night, I happened to stumbled upon some pictures I had taken of my niece Lainey from earlier this fall.  I had forgotten about these photos for a while, hence the delay of posting, because I can't not share these... this little girl is just too gorgeous!

Cruisin' on the Disney Princess bike :)

Fully loaded with training wheels, streamers, and front basket...

sidewalk artist


Those long locks are to die for!

Gotta pop 'em!
Remember those mild fall days? Can't wait for spring! Actually its mid-January and going to be in the 50's today... so I shouldn't complain.
Well I'm gonna go put together a floor lamp that got delivered a few days ago... I didn't let myself even touch the box "pre-exam" for fear of getting way too distracted and wasting time.
xo Laurie Champ, MSN, APRN-BC     <------- YEAH!!!