March for Babies 2012

Our darling friends, Dan and Lisa Becker, have graciously invited my family to walk in celebration of their first daughter, Lily Elsie Becker.  Born before her little body was ready and taken to Heaven after three short, but wonderful, weeks of life, she was a gorgeous baby with the blondest hair I've ever seen on a teeny tiny.

This year was truly a cause for celebration.  Lily cuddled in the warmth of her parents' arms for three precious weeks, and this third walk with the March of Dimes.  What's even more special is that Lily's baby sister, Ashley, joined her family this year to walk (or stroll as was the case for most kiddos today) in honor of her big sister.  Lily must have known how special today was because she had the sun shine down on our walk for the first time in three years.  Every other walk has been cold, cloudy and even rainy!  Today was a wonderful spring day in Minnesota.

Nate and I were honored to be a part of this team - we watched our girls
and run
and jump
and smile
and giggle
and truly felt blessed with all that we have.  I'm ashamed to admit that at times, it's hard to not have the feeling that we may be missing out on something - on a bigger home, nicer cars, more vacations, more stuff.

But when it comes right down to it, we have everything that we need.  And then some.  Today was a wonderful reminder of that.  I got kisses and hugs and watched the joy on everyone's faces at this walk.

Sweet Avery
Another of Baby Belle sporting the purple flowers that According to L made for all the little ladies at the walk

Olivia, always on the move!

This was the "best" photo I snapped of both girls together.  You can image what didn't make the cut!

Sweetheart Ashley Becker getting cuddles and loves from her Mimi

I wanted to share this just for the lashes.  Makes her mama a little jealous!

For more on the Becker family, check out their March of Dimes page.



DIY Wall Art

As you may have seen from previous posts, my new source of strength comes from quotes that I find on Pinterest.  As seen here, and here, and here, to name a few.

I found a blogger who made a collage of goodies for her daughter - I'm sure if you follow me, you've seen it too.

Isn't it cute??  I started playing around with PicMonkey (the tool that replaced Picnic) and am in LOVE with what I've done so far.  I've already started my shopping list for Lowes (to get wood planks to glue all my new art on).  We may get that photo wall finished in the downstairs living room yet!!

Oh, and did I mention the best part - PicMonkey is FREE right now.  100%.  You don't even need to enter an email address to use all of their photo editing awesomeness.

So here's my super quick run through of how to make your own WORD ONLY wall art.  You can play around with the dozens of photo editing effects and touch-ups.  It's really up to you for sizing, color and fonts, but here are a few tricks I figured out (and perhaps this is obvious to everyone else, in which case, you can just click on to another amazing blog entry...heehee)
  • Pick any photo to "edit" - don't worry, it won't save over your existing photo because you'll have the option to change the file name once you're all done.
  • On the very left-hand side of the page, you'll see a bunch of little icons for all of the fun stuff you can use.  For this project, pick the 5th one down (shapes/overlays).  This is where you'll make an "overlay" over your photo ===>>Instant solid colored background.
  • Adjust the tone to your liking.  Once you've landed on a color, you can click the button on the bottom (3rd one from the left, looks like page/layers being pushed together by an arrow).  This merges all your layers together so they don't slide around as you add and edit your text.  NOTE:  Don't do this step until you're SURE you like the color.  You can't edit it once the layers are merged together.
So far, I've started two projects.  The first was an image for Olivia.  I want to go back and make the fonts larger so they take up more space on the page.  This was my first try, so I'm showing you a very vulnerable, and unperfected version of what I hope this will be.

Super embarrassed to say that I had to look back at my Facebook photo album from the first days of her life to find the vitals for this project.  Bad mom.

Here's another one I started playing with.

I have been eying plaques like this for a long time on Etsy.  I know those artisans are using vinyl for the lettering, I'm willing to sacrifice a little bit of the "quality" for the freedom to do my own.  Plus, I'm thinking I can make this for about $4 in wood, paper and Modge Podge.  Can't wait to show you how they turn out!!

And one more - something I hear recently.  I'm sure the speaker didn't even know how he effective was going to be, but I have thought of this statement every day since I heard it.


Free Redbox = Happy Family

Do you love Redbox? Guess what. It's free. Say what? There are ALWAYS promo codes available, each giving you one movie, one night free. You can use each code once per credit card. I am going to share with you a few of the codes that always work, and then show you how to find the ones that usually just last one or two days for after you use up those "always" codes. If you have been paying for them, those little charges add up, and they have even raised their prices recently! So welcome to your new, free movie-watching way of life.

Universal, always-working Redbox promo codes:

Newly added:

Codes that work at Redbox kiosks at specific stores: 

DVDATWAG - Good at any kiosk at a Walgreens store.
DVDATKROG - Good at any kiosk at a Kroger affiliated store (for Utah it's Smiths)
DVDATSONI - Good at any kiosk at a Sonic Drive-In
WALGREENS - Good at any kiosk at a Walgreens store
BREAKDOWN - Good at any kiosk at a Walgreens store

And then after you have used all of these codes with all of your different debit/credit cards, you can visit Inside Redbox and the ones that have been working most recently will be shown. If you have a smart phone you have an advantage and you can just look them up right while you are at the kiosk. If you don't, before you go make sure to write down a handful of them because most are time-sensitive and you might get a dud, but one of them is bound to work!

So... are you thinking about grabbing some pizza and a free movie and staying home Friday night? Cause I am


Destash Sale on Etsy

Spring is here and cleaning must be done!  This means that not only with fridge, garage and bathroom cupboards get an overhaul, but my craft room will as well!

I'm cleaning and organizing and passing on the deal to you.  Read: BIG savings for you.  Like 50-60% off- no coupon clipping required!

Check out my Destash Sale section on Etsy

Some of the lovely items you'll find are:

Purple Carnation Ring

Bobby Pin Set

Black Silk Flower

Red Berry Silk Flower

Pink Ruffle Headband, perfect for babies and ladies (on elastic or metal headbands)

Brown Ruffle Headband, perfect for babies and ladies (on elastic or metal headbands)


And the winner is....

Congratulations to Cindy for winning the first giveaway hosted her on According to L!!

That was so fun, I do so appreciate all the support from my fans!!  I hope to do this again.

For those of you who entered, but we're drawn, please accept this coupon code to receive 25% off your next purchase (valid until April 26, 2012)


Thank you again!!  We'll have to do this again soon!


Tour my Pinterest home

I live in a split-level home in the suburbs of Minneapolis.  Two bedrooms up, one down, complete with a toy room for the kids.  Let me tell you, this house is great, except for the lack of storage (only because we continue to accumulate without purging anything).

I do wish we had another bedroom upstairs (so the babies wouldn't have to share) and
that the kitchen was larger (obviously) and
that we had a master bathroom (so I wouldn't have to step over 3 other people to put mascara on in the morning)

Source: etsy.com via Liz on Pinterest

But it's a wonderful home.  It's ours.  We bought it right after we got married, almost FIVE years ago!  Wow.  I actually didn't picture us being in this home for that long.  One baby, a few summers and then we'd get a "forever" home, with all of the lavish functions that my heart desired.

Stupid economy.  Stupid housing market.  Stupid a lot of things, but we have a HOME.  A place to live that keeps us warm and safe.

But I like to dream.  It's good to have goals and to keep striving, otherwise, what's the point, right.

So here's a tour of my dream home, a la Pinterest.

This is where my family would neatly tuck away all of their items upon entering the home, mud and dirt-free:

This is where I would cook my four-course dinners every night:

Source: houzz.com via Liz on Pinterest

This is where MY wardrobe will go:

Source: houzz.com via Liz on Pinterest

This is where I would watch my children play (and the 20-something pool boy work):

Source: houzz.com via Liz on Pinterest

Again, only MOM's bathtub:

And at the end of the day, here's where the hubs and I would watch Mad Men and Game of Thrones - al fresco!

Source: houzz.com via Cheryl on Pinterest

Keep dreaming, right!? 

Yes.  Yes I will.


Liebster Blog award

Sara Grace, follower and friend, was kind enough to give me the Liebster Blog award on Tuesday.  Apparently leibster means "darling" or "beloved", which is just too cute not to share!

The Liebster Blog Award criteria:
The Liebster Award is for up-and-coming bloggers (200 followers or less) that you think deserve recognition for their fabulous blogging abilities.

How the process works...
Each nominee should:
  • Choose blogs to give the Liebster Award to.
  • Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  • Post the award on your blog.
  • List the bloggers you gave the award to with links to their sites.
  • Leave a comment on their blogs to let them know they's received the award.
  • Share five random facts about yourself.

I am passing the Liebster Award on to:

My Five Random Facts (and if you want more check here)
  • I have green eyes and my left eye has a mark in the iris from when I was hit with a rubber band as a child.
  • I have never eaten a Big Mac.
  • I went to Yearbook Camp my senior year in high school.
  • Both times I was pregnant, I thought I was having a boy before we had the ultrasounds (wrong!)
  • I love Chinese food - hate Leeann Chins.


So What! Wednesday #1

It’s So What Wednesday over at Life After I Dew and I’m linking up! This week I am saying SO WHAT if..

I'm saying SO WHAT to...
  • I don't want to wash my hair every day.  Half the time I do, it ends up in the same pony tail anyway.
  • I let my girls drink juice boxes when I'm too lazy to pour a sippy cup for them.
  • I've eaten more of the girls' Easter candy than they have!
  • I work in "bursts" while in the office - real work is woven with Pinterest.
  • I really, really hate this "seasonal" spring that MN has going.  We had 80 degree days in March, people!  I'm ready for SUMMER!
What are you saying SO WHAT to??



This was sent to me by a co-worker.  Something small, but I smiled, and decided that I should pay it forward to you all.

My Nephew: "In school, they told me to write down what I wanted to be when I grew up."

Me: "So what did you write about?"

My Nephew: "I wrote down happy. But my teacher told me I had to change it because I didn't understand the assignment."

Me: "Oh, so what did you change it to?"

My Nephew: "I wrote down happy in cursive of course."

My First Giveaway!

I have been fortunate enough to be featured on other blog sites, and been so happy to offer up a gift for one of their lucky readers for their fan-ship!

I realized I should do the same for myself and for my wonderful fans who have come to find my little shop and support me!  According to L on Etsy and our Facebook page has over 1,000 fans!  I remember the day I hit that milestone and I was so proud of myself.  This little endevor was just something that I started to have fun for myself and it's turned into something the provides me with some nice "walking around" money (as my husband calls it).

My first passion was always writing, so this blog deserves some of my love and attention too.  And your reward for following along will be a set of my very lovely beaded bracelets.

Enter with any or all of these options:
** Follow this blog
** Like me on Facebook
** Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter
** Sign up to receive my newsletter

A winner will be randomly selected on April 20th!

OH!  And if you were doing any of the awesome things listed above BEFORE this post launches, make a note in the comments section to claim credit!



Your Children Want YOU

Through the wonderful world of social media, I found this blog and it totally resonated with me and everything that I've been saying to myself over the past few weeks.

I work outside of the home, full-time.  And then I come home, and some nights I still have "office" work to do once the kids go down.  And then I have Etsy.  And this blog.  And my husband.  And the house.  And Bravo TV.  Oh, and maybe a shower and nap on the weekends.

I love it all, but it's A LOT.

I have to remember it's OK to not do everything on that "to-do" list
it's OK to say "no"
it's OK to take time for me

So I'm going to take on April's challenge:
Recognize any tendencies you might have to get wrapped up in discouragement, and set up a regular way to remind yourself that your children want you.

I might not be the super-organized, home-schooling, project-making, 4-course dinner serving, triathlon-running, always perfectly-dressed and coiffed woman that I aspire to be, but my girls think I hung the moon.

I get tight hugs, and sweet kisses, and whispers that "I'm the best."

And my husband thinks I'm still hot after 2 babies and a less than regulated exercise routine.

So I must be doing something right - even if by accident.


Words of wisdom

I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to my love of quotes.  I love the inspiration, the graphics, the fonts and colors.  I wish that I had a copy of Photoshop or some other amazing graphic design program to use and create my own, but that's a whole different wish list.

Alas, I rely on others and steal borrow their beauty.

This hangs on our fridge.  Perhaps someday I will grow brave enough to share my exact motives behind printing this and placing it in one of the most prominent parts of our home.

Source: etsy.com via Liz on Pinterest

I need to remember this on Sunday afternoons when I'm crafting/blogging/napping instead of doing laundry or washing floors.

Every. Day.

Source: etsy.com via Liz on Pinterest

This hangs in my cube at work as we speak.

Source: imgfave.com via Liz on Pinterest

Words for my kids.

Words for me.


Why didn't I do that?

I always have the best of intentions when it comes to capturing memories for my girls.

I find Pinterest to be the best and worth place to fuel wonderful creativity and then providing a reality check when my boards are filled with items
for a house I'll never decorate,
a wardrobe I'll never wear,
food I'll never make and
crafts I'll never do.

Crushing guilt is soon to follow.

Take this photo-blogger for example:

52 weeks of photos of her baby, neatly catalogued away for years to come.

I hate her. 

I mean, I'm sure she's a lovely person.  And a wonderful mother, as made obvious by her photo collection.

Olivia, being the first baby, has 100s of photos from her first years.  Poor Avery.  Unless we had an iPhone nearby to snap the shot, chances are it wasn't captured.

Or how about this super cute idea:

Keep a running talley of what you did on that day for every year.

Look how fun this blogger is:
2008 - shopping with mom
2009 - tea party at Auntie's
2010 - watched White Christmas

What about those days that result in nothing spectacular? (aka my typical life)

2008 - did 6 loads of laundry, folded 3 and put away zero
2009 - cleaned up cat puke that's been drying under the bed for who knows how long
2010 - napped

That being said, there would be days when there would be something wonderful to try to remember.  And even though I don't have a neatly Photoshoped graphic of either of my kids week to week, I still have SOME photos, even if it is a small collection.

So, thank you Pinterest.  You have reminded me that I don't have all the good ideas, but I have the right ones for me.


Photos with Jill Hotujec

According to L on Etsy started out as a way for me to make cute things for my girls and myself.  I planned on having it be simple, every-day fare. 

Quickly, inspiration (as well as client asks) lead me down the path of photography props as well.  With these sales, I've met so many wonderful and talented photographers, and I am so grateful for their loyalty and supporting my little hobby!

As you well know, my darling Baby Belle, Avery turned one at the end of March.  Feeling the Mom guilt for not capturing half as many moments of hers as I did for her older sister, I knew I had to get some one-year photos on the books.  Jill was willing to offer her services and I am so pleased to share her work with you!

And more importantly, my smiling,
sweet baby girl,
who's not so much a baby anymore.

You can check out Jill's blog here


Why can't we be friends?

My newest obsession in my Etsy shop are these beaded friendship bracelets.

Don't you remember buying up the rows and rows of gorgeous embroidery floss, tying strands into a knot and pinning the strings to your jeans to braid and knot them into bracelets for all your friends?  You'd wear them until they were smelly and faded and practically fell off your wrists, but they were from your BEST FRIENDS!  That was a forever kind of gift!

So here's my version for the grown-up best friends in your life.  I sell them individually with gold, silver or shiny black beads.  I prefer the sets of three, because, hey, who doesn't want more wrist candy?  Plus - they're cheaper to buy as a set, and I'm all about saving my shoppers the bucks.  I'm pretty proud of these combinations, but I can do them in just about any color (30 colors to be exact!)  In face, the pink/yellow/teal set was created at a shoppers request.  I loved it so much, it got a listing all it's own.  I guess neon is a big thing these days - again, much like those friendship bracelet braiding days.  If I see the big waterfall bang coming back, I'm seriously going to call shenanigans though!

Spring Neons
Bright and White

Black and Bold

I want to know - what do you think?  Do you have your set yet?  What are your favorite color combinations that I should create?  Inspiration is contagious!  ENJOY!

Happy Birthday Avery!

Sweet Avery, it's hard to believe it's been a year since you were born.

 You are my happiest baby girl, always smiling (or mouth wide open, fly catcher-style)

You always want to learn and are so proud of your accomplishments - we're so proud to watch you too!

On April 29th, you celebrated your birthday birthday.  I bought a cupcake with pink frosting for you to eat.

You are not a big fan of having your hands get dirty, so I wasn't sure how this experiment would go.  It did not take you long to tolerate the sticky nature of the frosting, for the sweet trade off of the flavor!

You are your mother's daughter and pretty much only ate the frosting.  The actual cake was fine if it made it into your little fist, but you were more intent on eating the frosting off the top (your big sister does the same!)

Other fun facts about you at 12 months old:
  • You weigh 23 lbs and are 32 inches long (off the percentile charts!  Dad did the math and of every 1,000 babies your age, only 40 are taller than you)
  • You are taking steps and trying to walk, but you're still much faster crawling and prefer that mode of transportation to keep up with your big sister.
  • You will eat a green vegetable over a fruit ANYDAY
  • Hopper is your best guy to sleep with for bedtime.  You grab him, put in your thumb and are out for 12 hours.  Even through Olivia's nighttime singing before she falls asleep.
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse holds your attention better than any other show, but you still prefer to look at books over the TV (poor nanny, Televania)
  • We are teaching you animal sounds and your favorite to do is the monkey "oo oo, ah ah" - you laugh at yourself you're so proud!
  • Your other "party trick" is your "ahhh, whatsthat" when you point at something new.  We can tell you're so smart because you want to inspect and learn about everything in your growing world.
  • You give tight hugs and big kisses (usually with an open-mouth, but we tolerate the slime because it's too sweet to ignore)
  • You think the word "no" is VERY funny and about the only trigger for a tantrum you have is when you can't hold your own juice box (learned that one the hard way!)

Happy birthday, Baby Belle.  Your dad and I love you more than we ever knew we could.  I cannot wait for the next year and all of the joy that you will continue to bring to our lives!

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