My 3 Monsters: February 2012

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I just this week realized that I never got a new planner for 2012.  No wonder we missed that doctor's appointment two weeks ago.  I NEED a planner.  I AM a planner.  I like to write things down.  I don't work well "on the fly" -- too easy to forget things.  And with three kids going three different directions and my calling at church, there is quite a lot to forget.  Which I do, almost instantly.  {Brent's going to have so much fun with me when I'm old!}

So this week I needed to find a planner, but not just any planner.  For years now I have used Amy Knapp's Family Organizer, which is fantastic.  It has monthly overviews and weekly pages, with perforated edge sections for grocery lists and meal plans that you can tear out and take to the store with you.  It is practically perfect in every way.  Except that it doesn't exist any more.  I mean, it's there on Amazon as if it exists, with that cute new cover, but 6 copies in all the world?!  For $50 to $100 each?!  No thanks.

If I couldn't have that planner, I had some very specific, however impractical, requirements.  It needed to have a page for each month -- I like to see the whole month at a glance -- and it needed to have pages for each week, with space to write in each day's commitments.  Easy, lots of planners have that.  But I also wanted it to have blank journaling pages for each month so I could record the important happenings or things I'd like to remember as they happen.  And have some fun and/or inspirational quotes -- my favorite things.  And some colorful images.  And a cute {but not generic cute} cover.  I had to want to take it everywhere with me and look at it often.  That's not too much to expect from a planner, right?  Wrong.

I decided to make my own.  Using {the place where I've printed my blog books in the past} I was able to create the planner of my dreams -- at least I hope it turns out to be.  I created eleven pretty quote pages using Gimp -- one for each month {minus the one I found on Pinterest and purchased because I loved it so much and had already spent waaaayyy too long in front of my computer working on this project}.

sources:  camper image, ribbon image, typewriter image
{If anyone knows the original source for the Be Yourself image, please let me know.  It is stunning and the artist deserves full credit, but I followed the Pinterest trail until it ran cold with no luck.}
  {UPDATE:  I have finally tracked down the source of that beautiful Be Yourself image.  It is available from Emily McDowell Illustration on etsy.  I have since purchased a print of the image, but it is NOT my work so I have removed it from my site.  Emily has lots of beautiful prints available.  Check out her site!!}

Many of these images were inspired by things I had seen on Pinterest, but I put my own spin on them for my own custom planner.  {*so excited*}  These images appear opposite the monthly calendar pages in the book.  I matched the background color and fonts on each calendar to match it's quote and left the week by week pages white.  Here's what I designed for the cover {maybe my favorite part!}:

So, that's what I've been up to these past couple of days.  Feel free to borrow any of the images that I created for your own personal use by clicking on the image to enlarge it to full-size, then right-clicking and saving to your computer.  Have a great day!



Most of my family was gone for most of the weekend.  It was kind of nice and peaceful.  {Shhh!  Don't tell them I said that.}  After D went to bed Friday night, I took some "me time" and looked for inspiration on the internet, and I tell you, my favorite blogs did not disappoint!  If you don't read The Nester, you really should.  Really.  I adore her.  {No, I don't know her.  No, I'm NOT a creepy stalker.}  She featured a chalk artist on her blog this weekend with whom I instantly fell in love.  I want to paint my whole house in black chalkboard paint and have her come work her magic.  Just look at this:

Are you kidding me?!  Stunningly beautiful, right?  I couldn't pin it fast enough, thinking that some day I may be brave and motivated enough to attempt a replica on my chalk wall in my kitchen.  But I couldn't stop thinking about it, so Saturday I set to work.  It's only chalk, right? If it looked hideous {which I figured it most likely would} I could erase it before the fam got home to see it.  No harm done.  Surprisingly, it turned out alright.  For a first attempt.  On a textured wall.  Whatever.  Here's my rendition:
You can see I didn't dare stray very far from the original, but I did change the wording to suit my home.  Clearly it has its flaws, but I am so smitten with the very idea of it.  And it is a vast improvement over this bit of artistic chaos:
The kids can still draw below the light switch . . . where it doesn't show from the living room.  I'm not a total control freak.  Anymore.


It's Fine . . .

I don't really like being sick. For many reasons, really, but mostly because an illness, however minor, always seems to be followed by an extended period {lasting from a few days to a few weeks} of "the dumps".  You know when you feel better-ish, but completely drained and unmotivated?  Which is unfortunate because after I've taken a couple days off from the housework and the blog to nurse myself to health, I really need to get up and moving again.  There is indeed much to be done, but all I can bring myself to do is watch every super old episode of My So-Called Life on Hulu Plus and eat ice cream in my jammies.  {Remember that show?  Oh, how I loved it back in the day.  I tried to share it with my daughter, but 5 minutes in she said, "This show is so old!" in that disgusted teen-ager voice girls her age can do so well. But that is neither here nor there.} 

It doesn't really help my "dumpy" situation that our hot water heater had to be replaced a couple weeks ago and we were dropped by our endocrinologist for missing an appointment last week.  And we got some crummy news on the job-front today.  Again.  But I'm not going to dwell on that.  It's fine.  That's my new mantra.  If it can't be changed, "It's fine . . .".  It has to be, right?  What else can I do?  I'm just gonna' dive into the mountain of laundry in the garage and try to gain some physical {and spiritual and emotional} momentum.

Tonight was a good night.  Brent and Ri are at a Scout camp-out and Sis is gone all weekend on a school trip, so D and I got to spend a little one-on-one time.  We had pizza and rootbeer for dinner and were joined by our good friends Ben & Jerry for dessert.  {And I may have watched an episode of My So-Called Life while he played on the computer.  Whatever.}  Anyway, if you know a good pediatric endocrinologist in Chandler leave me a note in the comments.  Thanks friends!


Recovering & Meal Planning

I feel absolutely terrible that it has now been more than ten days since my last post.  Riley is well.  Thanks for all your kind comments and helpful tips for next time {heaven forbid}that happens.  We've had so much going on around here, but not much worthy of posting.  And I've been sick.  Like, soooo sick.  I'm not even faking, even a little, just to get attention.  I've been in bed, asleep, running a fever for most of the past seven days.  Except for Tuesday.  I felt well enough on Tuesday to go with Ri and the other 6th graders to the Renaissance Fair.  In the rain and cold.  And enjoy a fun Valentines Day dinner with Brent and a few of our closest friends.  And win at the newly wed game.  But then I felt like crud again yesterday.  And a little today.  But moms aren't really allowed to be sick, are we?  So I'm taking a Tylenol and moving on.

I wanted to share something really cool with you today.  Something I just discovered myself to help with meal planning.  Let me just preface this by saying that I am not being compensated to promote this site.  You may have noticed my sponsored posts lately.  Even when I get paid to write about something, I only do it when I really think the product is cool.  This site is so great I'm just shouting it from the rooftops for free!  Okay.  I've said before that I do really well cooking meals at home when I have a plan, but I HATE making the plans and the accompanying grocery lists, and checking all the store sales because I'm on a budget.  It takes FOREVER.

But then I found Food on the Table.  It is a meal planning website based on the stores you shop at.  You can sign up in less than a minute, choose the exact stores you want to shop, and then they provide you with a bunch of recipes that can be made with the items on sale at your store.  Once you've selected your menu for the week, you can print out a shopping list and you're ready to go.  My family loved the chicken fajita melts I made the other night.  {And it was so simple I could make it even though I didn't feel good!}  It's an easy way to save a little money if you don't have time or desire to use coupons.  It won't save you TONS of money like Couponsense or other similar sites will, but those sites don't help you with meal planning either.  It would be awesome to use Food on the Table and Couponsense together . . . you could save really big that way.  Food on the Table has a limited version you can use for free to plan up to three meals a week or there is an option to upgrade for unlimited use of the site.  When I signed up on Monday there was a promo code for free lifetime upgrade that looks like it is no longer working.  {I bet if you google it you could find another great deal in the coming weeks.}

Anyway . . . that's my little plug for my newest favorite thing.  I'm always on the lookout for new, budget-friendly recipes and this really fits the bill.  Have a great day!


What a Day!

Phew - What a crazy morning this was!  As many of you know, my middle monster, Ri, has had type 1 diabetes since he was 5.  We've been really lucky -- he has his blood sugar highs and lows, but no real extreme reactions.  No seizures, no nothin',  He's been easy to care for all these years.  Lately he's been waking up low in the morning.  Like seriously low.  As a point of reference, his "normal" range is 90 - 140.  He's been waking up around 40.  But he acts completely normal, gets some juice right away, and he's fine.  This morning was different. 

I woke him up at the usual time, but he just looked at me like he didn't know me.  Like he was looking through me or something.  It freaked me out a little to look in my kid's eyes and not see him looking back at me.  I tried to get him up and moving, but he just sat there.  This kid is a morning person.  He usually gets right up on his own so this was really weird.  I ran downstairs and got his meter and checked him.  41.  I tried to get him to come downstairs and have some juice.  I begged him to talk to me.  He just sat there.  Out of the blue, he would burst out sobbing and then quit again as quickly as he had begun.  Finally I lured him out of bed and downstairs and got him a juice box.  He wouldn't drink it.  He was staggering and stumbling around like he was drunk.  At one point I thought he was starting to come out of it and he said he would drink the juice if I would leave him alone.  Then he took the juice box from me, squeezed it, spraying juice all over the living room, and ran back upstairs.

We have a medicine called Glucagon we can inject to bring up his blood sugar if he is unable to take anything else, but it is a last resort type of thing.  I grabbed the Glucagon just in case and followed him upstairs.  He was finally talking to me - kind of - in between his sobbing spurts, but he wasn't making any sense.  He kept saying, "It's not coming!"  and "Leave it alone!  Just leave my blood sugar!"  So weird.  Finally, I could tell he was starting to come out of it when he asked me how I knew he was low.  I told him I had checked him.  He cried, "Well, check me again!"  So I did.  He was 38.  "Why didn't you tell me?!"  he demanded.  Huh? Really?!

I was relieved that he finally drank some juice and started getting ready for school.  I was downstairs wiping up the juice that had been sprayed all over the living room when he came downstairs again.  He was completely apologetic at this point -- back to his sweet, normal self.  He kind of thought he was dreaming all of that. 

His blood sugar leveled out and he went off to school.  But I haven't stopped thinking about it all day.  Some parents of diabetic children deal with stuff like that - or much worse - on a daily basis.  Children with diabetes {or any chronic condition, really}are so much stronger than most of their peers.  They carry a burden that most people will never understand.  Not that they don't live completely happy and fulfilled lives.  They do.  They look and act just like all of their friends, sometimes they just have to work harder for it.  And, not that I'm complaining, but their moms never stop worrying about them.  I pray we never have a repeat of this morning.  That was a little scary.  Days like today make me really grateful for the health of my children.  We are so very blessed! 


Valentine Pillow Covers

I don't usually do a lot of seasonal decorating - not because I don't want to.  I just don't have room to store or display things in my tiny house.  I'm really working to figure out how I can add some fun dècor for holidays other than Christmas and have it still be functional for my family.  I got a couple of little pillows for my couches a while back and I have decided to change those out every so often throughout the year.  At Christmas they were black and red plaid and ruffly. {Didn't manage to get pictures of that...}  Here is their current incarnation in celebration of Valentines Day:
Every single member of my family looked at them yesterday and said, "I don't get it -- jee tayme and I love lambs?"  OK, Brent got the french one because he speaks french, but no one got the I love EWE one.  Is it so difficult?  Really?  I'm feeling a little foolish here.  Anyway, I like them a lot.  I created each design in Gimp and printed it onto iron on paper.  Here are the designs if you'd also like to share your love of lambs with the world:

Click on the pictures to enlarge them to full size, then right click and save to your computer.  Be sure to print them as a mirror image onto your iron on paper or you'll be sorely disappointed. {Don't ask how I know that.}  Then you can either sew up your own pillow cover or buy one ready made and iron them on.  I found some great white canvas at Goodwill yesterday {$1.00.  Holla!} so I sewed mine.  You'll want to prewash whatever you're using to remove any sizing or dust, etc. before you iron on your design or else it will crack and peel when washed.  {Don't ask how I know that either.} I had some zippers on hand so I did a zipper closure instead of the envelope style I usually do, and then I added a simple pleated ruffle across the top and bottom.

Please ignore the dog hair in those close-ups.  My little Cassie thinks she needs to sleep with her head on a pillow.  Like a person.  She's ridiculous.  But that is neither here nor there, really.  This was a super quick and fun project to sweeten up my living room dècor for the upcoming love-fest.  Have a great weekend!

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