Care Package 101

Well, Cici is safely installed in college. She is navigating through her first week of classes and feeling a bit overwhelmed with the realities of creating her own schedule and balancing her academic responsibilities, co-curricular responsibilities, financial realities and new found independence.

As near as I can tell she is doing a great job so far. Her first major hurdle was surviving Sorority Recruitment. Her school is not quite as competitive as some southern schools. In fact some 97% of girls who “rush” find houses. That said it was still very emotional and stressful. Choosing a house with girls you will live with for 2 to 3 years in the space of 4 days would send anyone’s head spinning.

Cici chose Alpha Gamma Delta as her sorority. I got a chance to spend some time with Cici at her school and tour her house this past weekend and I feel that she found the perfect house. While I was at the house I noticed that Cici’s desk was woefully un-personalized, (excuse me as I make up words), she had nowhere to put/show off her pledge pin and she asked me when I was going to send her a care package.

Any excuse to get crafty right! Continue reading

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Six months later…

And here we are six months later- though it seems so much longer than that. For those of you still hanging in with us THANK YOU!!! Why I thought that starting a blog in the middle of Cici’s Senior year was a good idea I will never know. But Senior year has concluded with all of the pomp and circumstance that went with it. It is an amazing right of passage and now we are on to the next chapter in all of our lives.

Cici is busy making lists for what she will need for her classes and her desk and her closet and what to wear for sorority recruitment week and the lists go on and on. We have Pinterest Boards dedicated to it. It is exciting and bitter sweet all at once.

Hubby and I got a glimpse of what life will be like from now on when Cici left on a three week trip, 2 days after graduation. I have discovered that I need to learn how to cook and shop for 2 and hubby has discovered that he is now stuck with drying the dishes after dinner. We also rediscovered each other’s company and have been spending time making meals together, hiking and exploring our little corner of the world.

I expect that the blog will reflect those things in the time to come and I hope you will enjoy the journey with us!

The joys of rural living…

There are a lot of things I LOVE about living “out in the sticks”. I adore the quiet, the privacy and the view. I do not however love my satellite internet service. This is the first time in over a week I have been able to post. This is not unusual. For a week or so every month- depending on where we are in relation to the satellite- we can depend on crappy service. Hopefully I will be able to schedule some posts ahead of time so I don’t have another dry spell. Thanks for hanging in there!

Dressing for Success

This past Saturday Cici, a family friend of ours and I headed into the big city. Our mission? Helping set Cici up with a college “Trousseau”.

Like most high school and college students Cici’s wardrobe consists of jeans, t-shirts and hoodies. Finding those items for her is tricky enough given the fact that she is 6’ 1’ tall. To make things more interesting she is athletically built (read broad shouldered) and perfectly proportionate (read hour glass figure) to her height. It is nearly impossible to get clothes that fit her properly. Clothes that fit lengthwise tend to built for “wider” women. Stores like Eddie Bauer, American Eagle Outfitters and Victoria’s Secret sell long and tall sizes for some of their items. American Eagle Jeans fit her to T in those sizes. So while the American teen “uniform” can be found we spend a little more because it nearly always has to be ordered on line and shipped. The tough part – and the obstacle we went to conquer – is dressy clothes.

We started the day at Nordstrom. I know that designer’s clothes are made better and fit better. I also knew that we wouldn’t find anything that was going to fit right. Knowing all of this I have come to the conclusion that we are going to have to have clothes made. I had an idea of the style of clothes that would work for Cici- but Cici wasn’t completely on board with it. The only way we were going to find the right style for her was to try some things on. Wouldn’t you know that Cici fell in love with a few of those dresses? Most notably 2 that are in the $400.00 price range by Diane van Furstenberg. I must admit she looked amazing in them.

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Luckily our family friend has a relative that used to work at a dressmaker and we have decided to start with a dress that Cici will need for a business casual event in early February. After the fashion show, some lunch and a little more window shopping we made our way to a fabric store and found 2 patterns that we can use to try and recreate the dresses she loves. We are still determining the fabric we will use but I am excited to see how the first dress turns out. We figure Cici will need 4-5 dresses. She plans to attend recruitment at the University she will attend. She will need two for that as well as the proverbial little black dress and a white one. The next hurdle to overcome is going to be dress pants and skirts but that is an adventure for another day.

The Girls

Liebster Award- WHAT??!!

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So I am just a little flabbergasted right now. OK maybe A LOT flabbergasted. One of my new amazing blogger friends, Toby, over at Posh & Spicy nominated me for a Leibster Award. As a new blogger she is up to 100+ followers- and for good reason. We are part of an online community called Blogging101. So she had literally 1000’s of new bloggers to choose from and for some crazy reason she picked me as one of her 5. Thank you Toby! That makes things tricky for me too because there are a ton of great blogs to choose from. I am however up to the challenge.

Toby is astute enough to thank her followers and I must follow her lead. Thank you for the follows!

The Rules:

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Taking my lunch to work

ploughman's lunch

Along with probably 2/3 of the population Cici and I have resolved to eat healthier this year. Over the years I have jumped on a bunch of the diet band wagons but the three that have resonated most, and that I have taken the most from are, Clean eating, Whole30 and 100 days of whole foods. It make sense to me that the food that goes into to my system should help it – not harm it. So in the interest of not giving my almost-not-a-teenager-anymore an eating disorder, not driving myself insane with calorie counting and fat grams and keeping a handle on my menu plan (sometimes) and my budget (as often as I can) we are leaning toward, or should I say away from, overly processed stuff. We make most of our meals – including the bread – from scratch. I won’t be participating in any runway shows – ever – but I feel a ton better when I stay away form sugar and overly processed food. That’s what counts right?

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Social Media

I figured now that the blog is looking pretty that I should dress it up with some jewelry. I searched the net and came across Kira at Primp My Blog where she shows how to add the code- in speak I can understand- and I found my buttons through a google search of free social media buttons. Simone had just the perfect ones for me. Both ladies have amazing blogs by the way. Go check them out!

Wasn’t the rule once upon a time that when you went out for the day to take a look in the mirror and remove one piece of jewelry? How many social media buttons do we really need? I instagram but those photos are private for a reason. Do I really need 2 pinterest accounts, 2 facebook accounts, 2 instagram accounts- those I use regularly- as well as creating accounts for the million other sites too? I am being sincere here. How many sites do I need to be active on to be successful as a blogger?

Edit. A fellow blogger over at losing screws  informed me that she activates everything- just because I don’t necessarily share everywhere doesn’t mean you all don’t- so if it makes it easier for you to share- and I hope you will- activate them I shall. Thanks for the tip Roni! 

The best laid plans…

Twice today I was reminded that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Somehow though it always works out for the best.

I woke this morning with renewed inspiration and excitement towards starting Cici’s graduation album. As any scrapbooker knows it is never an easy task to make a great album. Given that I don’t consider myself a scrapbooker it seems that much harder. I think I know what I want and my loose plan right now is to create a sort of chapter book of Cici’s life. A kind of how she got where she is story. I plan to use project life and journal cards to journal it. As I mentioned in this earlier post I have painstakingly saved all the memorabilia I can get my hands on.

It. Is. Scattered. Everywhere.

So when I sat down to start today I suddenly found myself- and my 8′ table- knee deep in boxes. Instead of spending my day being creative- I spent it organizing. Not totally a bad thing, but not how I intended to spend the day. The upside-and isn’t there always one- is I found some genealogy work that Cici needs for her senior project and I started a task I have been putting off since we moved here. In May of 2014.

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Mimi’s Oven Baked Chicken Risotto

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I love creamy rich rice dishes. I love risotto. I do not, however, love standing over a stove for 30 minutes carefully poring in chicken stock, stirring like crazy and waiting until the liquid is just about gone, only to ladle more stock in. It is always worth it in the end- but I never seem to remember that it is a royal pain to make when I am craving that rich creaminess. That is of course until I start making it…

Enter oven baked risotto. It isn’t exactly the same but it more than satisfies that craving.

I started making risotto when I bought a pasta cookbook from the thrift store. Seemed easy enough- aren’t cookbooks evil that way? But I am hooked, so about six months ago I went “shopping” for an easier way. I have sampled several different recipes which finally led to this one. The great thing about risotto is its adaptability. You can pretty much substitute any ingredient. *** Warning my version is NOT a low fat dish.

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Planning a graduation album

In scouring Pinterest and the web for album ideas I find that I really enjoy very streamlined and simple albums.  And I like things to match. Even though this album will cover Cici from birth to Graduation I still want it to look cohesive. So my plan is to use a pad of scrapbook paper I bought from Walmart, scan the paper and use the colors to build my own cards to add to the layouts. These are a couple of samples of the paper I plan to use.

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Then I will use publisher to create my own cards that are specific to Cici. Here is how to will do it:  Open a new page in Publisher and click on shapes:

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