Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Kansas Gal Crafts Gets Organized!

Hello, lovely readers!

It's been awhile, I know, and I've missed you. I'm glad you're here, though!

Happy New Year - almost! I thought this was a good time to hit you with some of the changes I'm implementing this year.

Budgeting and Meal Planning

I know. I'm basically Martha Stewart. (Please, please think I'm Martha. Except no jail time, but really I don't care. I love her anyway!)

We're hoping to purchase a house in 2016, so we're pinching pennies wherever we can. That means we have to run a tighter ship budget-wise. All of this is connected to staying on top of weekly meal planning and shopping and bill paying (etc., etc.. etc., all the boring but important stuff).

My best friend here in Chico and fellow mom of a toddler AND an infant (she's a superhero), Michelle, started a spreadsheet with meal ideas and make-ahead items for us and another local mom. This was so helpful in creating a database of meals to choose from each week.

I also have a recipe box with display holder that has become useful in planning meals and keeping it organized by day. I just put the recipe cards in order of days of the week and change the order as the days go by.

All of this was working nicely, but I kept leaving things off of my grocery list, or missing a day of the week, and not realizing it until the night would arrive, only then, elbow deep in toddler poop, would I scramble (eggs, literally) to come up with dinner options.

I needed a new planned with a meal planning insert!

I love my Erin Condren planner for teaching, but spending seventy plus dollars for a family planner seemed crazy. So I set out to make my own. I used MS Word and created this gem using a font I downloaded online! It cost me $15 at Office Depot to print and bind like a notebook. AWESOME.

Spending less on stuff and investing in friendships

This one is hard for me because well, shopping. Not the friendship part. Or, at least I hope not. I love shopping and I'm constantly seeing things that I "need". Plus, I work part-time in retail and it's nearly impossible not to take advantage of my discount.

Plus, well, shopping, okay?!

I discovered a way that for me is going to be really fun to avoid "stuff" that I "need" (don't need). Card making. (What is she talking about!?) I know. This sounds crazy. But it's actually been quite a fun way for me to spend my time during naps doing something productive, with pretty "stuff", making crafts, which I love, and thinking about my friends I'm going to give them to.

I made one set of Valentines cards.

And then I couldn't stop. I ended up with close to 80 cards in 2 days. I was a maniac, so I put the ones I don't plan on sending out on Etsy. You can buy them here:

An old school alarm clock...and no night time cell phone use

My husband bought me an old school alarm clock so that I won't look at Pinterest late at night before bed...and during the middle of the night, at 4 am, and when I wake up. The phone has now been annexed to the kitchen at bedtime and can't come out until I peel myself out from under the covers.


I'm excited for a wonderful 2016 full of family and friends. What are your resolutions?



Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Star Wars Teaser - released April 16th

I write this entry as I have a bacterial eye infection and an eyepatch covering it, so cut me some slack, alright?!

Okay. Let's talk about this new Star Wars teaser. (Side note: when are we getting a full trailer? This summer? Come one, JJ, make it happen). These are my gut reactions to the trailer. Not my analysis. I'm an intuitive person, so my instincts are pretty reliable. Take that for what you will, or ignore everything I say. Whatev.

This is the end of the first shot. We see some kind of speeder (I'm guessing it's a Speeder that looks like Luke's from A New Hope) moving from the left side into the frame with the downed Imperial Class Star Destroyer and an X-Wing Fighter. These are very OLD downed ships - my guess is they are ruins from what we knew as the rebellion against the Empire in episodes 4, 5, and 6. Guesses as to who is in the speeder:
  • Luke - could he regularly be visiting these ruins in connection with mourning the loss of his father? Or could he be training Jedi inside? I don't know! The reason I think this might be Luke in the speeder is that he is from Tatooine, and his voice is the narrator that speaks next and throughout the rest of the trailer.
  • Rae - we know she is going to be a central figure in episode 7. My guess is that she is Han and Leia's daughter, and that she has the force. And that Uncle Luke is teaching her. More on that later.

Luke says, "The force is strong in my family. My father has it." What strikes me here is the use of the present tense. Luke says "has" like he isn't dead. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not conjecturing that Darth Vader is alive, but remember, Luke can talk to dead people. He talks to Obi Wan, why not Anakin? That's my guess anyway.

Where is Luke??? Your guess is as good as mine. We know it's Luke because in the next frame we see his mechanical hand.

To me, this looks like he is living in the old Imperial Class Star Destroyer, having his nightly bonfire outside, reflecting on the chaos in the galaxy. Maybe in Episode 7 we find a Luke, not tainted by the dark side which some have conjectured, but a Luke who is grieving, struggling to find his next step, with few other Jedi to help him succeed in finally squashing the Empire. Again, all guesses. I do know I really really think Luke lives on Tattoine. 

Then Luke continues, "I have it. My sister has it."

This is Leia handing the Lightsaber to..."you have that power, too."

I think this is Rae getting the lightsaber from mom, Leia. I think it's Rae just because that's what my gut says, but also because she seems to be the focus of the last trailer and this one, too. Maybe Uncle Luke has sent her off to find more people with the force - cue Boyega's character.

I think this guy is going to be a central character, too, maybe the next Han Solo - type? We see and hear him "woo hoo". Or wait, could this be Han and Leia's boy? Mayhaps.

This scene was in the first teaser, too. We know there is an active battle between rebels and the Empire - it's still raging. Also, let's notice that the design of the X Wing has been modified over the years. As has the Star Destroyers and Tie Fighters we see in later frames (Kyle noticed this one - great spot babe!).

The new Imperial forces have changed their logo a bit, too.

I mean, come on, Rae just looks like Han and Leia's kid.

Rae and Boyega are on some kind of journey together - we know that now. We've seen them together in a teaser and featured in the previous. They will definitely be central to the plot.

Final thought: we see a whole heck of a lot in the Falcon. I think Han is going to play a big role. I also think he might die. Maybe he is passing on the falcon to one of his kids? Maybe he is going on one last adventure for his old buddy, Luke?  Also, see the ruins again???? That's something, there...

Maybe Luke is captured by the Empire. Maybe Rae and Han are going after him. Maybe. I don't know, but all I know is that the teaser ended with these two, and I couldn't be more pumped for this movie!

May the force be with you.

And here's the whole teaser if you hadn't seen it yet.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Teacher's Memes

I have to admit. I got the idea to make teacher memes from another brilliant human being on the interwebs, but I've been dying to make my own, so here they are!




Monday, April 13, 2015

Introducing Children to Star Wars - SPOILER ALERT


Like there are people who haven't seen Star Wars. Ha.

If you haven't seen Star Wars, just don't bother reading this. It won't make any sense. Instead, you should do yourself a favor and watch it. But please, for the love of God, start with the original trilogy, episodes four, five, and six, and if you feel you must watch the new trilogy, do yourself a favor and skip episode one entirely.

I realize the entire concept of "introducing" Star Wars to a child during the 21st Century is ridiculous - an age littered with spin-off books outside the new, unified universe, a new cartoon series on Disney, and the release of Episode 7 this year. I mean, come on! James is going to learn about Star Wars, one way or another.

But I want to control that introduction.

"Control, control, you must learn control!" Yoda demands this of Luke. What he demands of Luke, I am sure he demands of parents.

As I was recently reorganizing the books in James' bedroom library, I noticed two books on his shelf from the Darth Vader and Son series. Yes. You read that correctly. There were two books on his shelf that reveal the ultimate Star Wars spoiler.

What was I thinking? How could I have been so blind? I quickly scooped them off the shelf, looked down at my son's inquisitive eyes and muttered, "you never saw these!" as I rushed them off to a hiding place in our bedroom bookshelf.

Phew. That was close. I'm not sure how I'm going to introduce Star Wars to James, but I do know that I hope he gets to experience the story as if it's being told for the first time. So if any of you find yourselves in contact with my son, please, please do not take it upon yourself to spoil the story.

In the meantime, if any other parents are worried about this subject, here's some food for thought:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Let's get real, moms!

I really struggled with what would be the right venue for expressing this thought, and I settled on the blogosphere since it seems to be the best way due to its need for editing (more so thank facebook or other social media outlets) and this is the place where I express my opinions, so if you don't like them, you can look or read elsewhere. I am not offended) :)

Let's talk about losing baby weight. The reality. I'm talking numbers, here, people. I'm going to be real honest. The reality that for all moms it's different. There's no magic answer or method. We are all different, and lose it at different rates and some of us, not at all.

Before my pregnancy, I weighed in at 145 pounds at 5'6" (my height hasn't changed, by the way, ha!). By the end of my pregnancy, the week I gave birth to James, I weighed 196 pounds. Yes, I gained 51 pounds during my pregnancy. And I'm not ashamed. I was healthy, walked twice a day, even ran a half mile the week I gave birth to James. No, I did not have gestational diabetes (which happens for lots of reasons, not just extra weight gain during pregnancy, contrary to some theories). I did retain water and was so swollen that my wedding rings were off by the middle of the second trimester and my only shoes were flip flops or tennis shoes (with the laces WAY loose).

After I gave birth, the magic of breast feeding was supposed to kick in, but guess what? It didn't. After Christmas 2014, when James was five months old, I had lost a whopping 7 pounds. I weighed 189 pounds on January 1st, 2015.

I wasn't eating badly, but nothing had changed in my exercise or eating habits. Plus, I was still breastfeeding and had been advised not to diet at all. But I had been doing workout videos, walks, runs - what gives??

At 6 months old, I stopped breastfeeding James. He had started biting me, and while I know this is not a deal breaker for breastfeeding, it just seemed right since he had started eating real food and was ravenous for it. I figured that was the best time for our situation. Plus, this magical breastfeeding wasn't doing anything for my weight loss (seriously not the main reason for stopping, just was kind of an extra "so what").

Then something weird happened. As soon as I stopped breastfeeding, I dropped ten pounds in like 3 weeks. What?!

So, what's my point? My point is this all makes ZERO sense. THAT IS THE REALITY. Now, 9 months post-partum, I weigh 163 pounds. I am almost there, I still have a ways to go, but do I have any rhyme or reason as to why this has been the case? Not really. And this is what I've heard from other moms, too.

I just want to say to all the moms out there that are struggling with weight gain from pregnancy that it's OKAY that it doesn't make sense, or that it's frustrating, and that you're not alone. And that all those internet articles about breastfeeding being magical weight loss don't really apply to everyone. It's a process. And it also may never happen and that's okay, too. You're not alone!

I hope that we can go a little easier on ourselves. The only resource I read that made any sense to me was to give your weight loss at LEAST a year after you've given birth. At the time, I was frustrated by how long that seemed, but now, as I'm living it, it seems so reasonable.

It also seems like stupid thing to fixate on. Sure, being healthy is important, but so is loving yourself. I spent so much time hating myself for the weight I gained when I could have been enjoying my life a bit more.

Patience and persistence win at the end of the day, so keep on keeping on mommies, and love yourselves. Just know each one of us is different and the reality is that there is no magic formula to being a mom except loving those little babies (which we are awesome at). The number on the scale is important for health, but it's not the only marker of a happy life.



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Catching Up

Hi, all! I know it's been awhile, and for that I am truly sorry. I think I overestimated the number of entries I could tackle per week. Between my two part time jobs and being a full time mommy, there's just not a lot of excess.

I have been thinking about delving into the world of vlogging as an alternative with occasional short blog posts here, so let me know what you think of that idea.

Just a few updates (in bullet form, bc hey, I'm crunched for time!):

  • I am working at an arts and science high school in northern California - it is THE BEST job
  • I just performed the role of Laurey in California Regional Theatre's production of Oklahoma!

  • I am a part time work-at-home stylist - it is also THE BEST job
  • James is 8 months old! Almost 9! He is crawling, laughing all the time, and just a JOY

  • Kyle is a faculty member at the local university
  • We are getaways since this will be the first summer we both have teacher schedules - hoorah!
What's new with you? Some upcoming blog or vlog posts:
  • Outlet mall shopping haul
  • Gardening progress
  • Decorating and spring crafting
  • Beautiful wedding ideas
  • Actor headshot sessions
Keep posted for more soon! 


Saturday, January 24, 2015

It's been awhile, guys!

Hey, y'all! Gosh, it has been WAY too long! I have so much news to share!

We moved to Colorado, and then we moved to Chico, California. My husband is a professor in the Psych department at California State University Chico. I teach part time at Inspire School of Arts and Sciences. We are loving it here so far!

Oh, and we also had an adorable baby boy, James!

Cheers to all of you!