Sunday, November 23, 2014

I am Thankful For...Free Thanksgiving Printables

I was planning to go buy diapers this afternoon, but the weather is really terrible so I chose to stay inside.  I have shamefully already started my Christmas crafting even before celebrating Thanksgiving later this week.  I did have a fun idea for little "I am thankful for" cards that Pearl could hand out at dinner.  This seemed like the best time to put them together.  The diapers can wait until tomorrow (no later though because our stock is low!).
Once I finished putting them together, Pearl had a good time telling me why she was thankful for all of her cousins.  I'm excited to hear her reasons for the rest of the family.  These would also be great to use as place cards if you were fancy enough to have assigned seating at your meal.
I thought I would share the "I am thankful for" cards with all of you here as free printables.  It is a fun activity to do with your kids and you might be surprised by what they say!  Please comment if you use them.  I would love to hear why your kids are thankful for their family members.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 3, 2014

DIY Print Shop Screen Printing Kit - Sponsored Post

**I received the DIY Print Shop Table Top Screen Printing Kit as compensation for this post.  All opinions in this post are completely my own and were not suggested by the sponsor.
Last week I attended a blogger event at Ryonet to learn about their company and the new DIY Print Shop Table Top Sceen Printing Kit they created in collaboration with Print Liberation.  I rarely attend events like this, but as I dabble in screen printing and already buy products from Ryonet, I thought it would be informative and helpful for me.  Also, they promised doughnuts.
It was a super fun morning learning about printing, products, and getting our hands dirty a bit.  I didn't expect them to take us through the whole process of printing, but Ryan and Josh showed us everything from start to finish.  I took a class at The Make House here in Portland about a year ago so this was a great refresher and I learned a bunch of tricks to make my printing life easier.
At the end of the event, I was lucky enough to take a DIY Table Top Screen Printing Kit home with me.  I am crazy excited about all that it contains.  This kit seriously has everything you need to get started with printing.  It even has hinges so you can set up your own DIY printing press which is something I did not have.  It has a bulb that will burn your screen in about 12 minutes.  The bulbs I purchased at Home Depot when I first started take 45 minutes.
I am convinced this is the most complete beginner screen printing kit on the market.  It certainly costs more than the Speedball Kit I started out with, but you also don't need to go out and buy extra stuff.  The products you receive are barely comparable between those two kits.  The squeegee with the Speedball kit is laughable compared to what you get with the DIY Table Top Kit.  The Speedball Kit doesn't come with an emulsion scoop coater, transparencies, an exposure bulb, light safe bulb, or degreaser that are all pretty much necessary for printing.  These all come standard in the DIY Table Top Kit.  Once you finally gather all of your supplies after buying a different kit, you will wish you went with the DIY Table Top Kit, I promise.  They even considered the details.  It comes with rubber gloves and adhesive to tack down the material you print on.
This is everything included in the kit:
You can get a comprehensive list of what all of these supplies are here.
I love all of the detail that went into designing the kit as well.  Look at how fun these bottles are:
I'm excited to get started with this kit and build a hinge press with it which will make things a lot easier when printing by myself.  You can also buy the kit in combination with Ryonet's Starter Hobby Press which is absolutely on my Christmas list this year after getting a change to play around with their presses.  I can't believe how affordable it is.
I've had a number of people ask me what they need to get started in printing and it's nice to finally have one link to send them to instead of a comprehensive list of supplies they have to gather on their own.  It makes printing feel so much more accessible to beginners.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Baby Girl!

Big news, friends.  I'm pregnant!  We held onto announcing this one for a while. I am 18 weeks along and we found out this week that we are having a baby girl.  Pearl knew it was a girl from the start and wouldn't even acknowledge the idea that the baby could be a boy.  We would have been very happy either way, but I'm so glad it worked out for Pearl.
I was extremely tired during the first trimester.  On my days at home with the kids, I couldn't resist also taking a nap during their nap time.  I'm glad that fatigue is finally behind me because napping at that time of day was really cutting into my productivity.
I know a lot of people think we are crazy to have three kids under 3.5 years old.  We probably are crazy, but we want our kids to be close in age.  It has been fun to watch Pearl and Axel build their friendship and we decided it was time to add another playmate to the mix.
We are so happy to have another fun little person join our family in March.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Kitty Cat Birthday Party for Pearl

Today is Pearl's 3rd birthday!  We had a party for her over the weekend so all of our family could come.  Pearl requested a kitty cat theme for her party after attending her cousin Tucker's turtle party.  She was convinced her party needed an animal theme.  She also decided to have "strawberry cake".  I'm not positive of where that idea came from.  My guess is it had something to do with the Strawberry Shortcake coloring book she recently received from a cousin.
Pearl has been pretty fickle about making decisions lately.  I tried to buy her a Halloween costume a few days back and she changed her mind on what she wanted to be four times within a ten minute time period.  She currently wants to be Kristoff from Frozen and shockingly enough, I can't seem to find a Kristoff costume anywhere.  She decided on the kitty cat theme and strawberry cake well over a month ago and continuously stuck with it so I was determined to make it a reality.
I like making silly party posters in Illustrator and Photoshop.  I know those programs well and it's a lot easier for me than painstakingly crafting decorations with two kids who are desperate to play with anything that's in my hand.  I hate using stock photos from the internet though, especially when I want to share my final product on this blog.  I definitely did not intend to have a cat photo shoot either because basically, I'm not crazy.
My final cat photo gathering solution was to ask my friends on Instagram if I could use their photos.  I essentially crowd sourced my cat images.  I set up a hashtag on Instagram and asked people to use that hashtag on photos they were fine with me using.  I also had a bunch of friends tell me I could use any of their Instagram photos and a few even e-mailed theirs to me.  I ended up with plenty of cats to choose from.  I also received tons of help on cat related puns to use via my Instagram account.
I spent no extra money on decorations for this party.  I already had paper and ink for the posters.  The little bit of crafting I did do involved yarn that I already had in my craft supplies.  For the yarn ball decorations, I just wrapped yarn around a few plastic balls that belong to my kids.  That awesome Berkley Illustration cat print usually resides in our hallway, but I moved it to the mantle because it fit the theme so well.
We had lots of fun!  Some of our guests even chose to wear cat related clothing.  Pearl loved it and the rest of the kids seemed to have a great time as well.

If you are curious about the strawberry cake, I used this recipe.  The frosting was ridiculously good.  The cake was very dense so I would want to modify the recipe if I made it again.

Monday, August 25, 2014

This is 30

My friend Margaret Jacobsen took this photo of me right around my 30th birthday.  I consider it my official year 30 portrait.
I am 30 years old.  I have only been 30 for a little over one month, but I can tell you that being this age is much different than I expected it would be years ago.  To someone in their teens, 30 is SO OLD.  I still kind of think it sounds old, but it doesn't feel old.  I don't feel like a grown-up.  I'm not sure when that will settle in.  I already have two kids and I thought it would come by this point.
What I do feel is confidence.  I'm much more confident than I have ever been in my life.  I feel comfortable in my work and no longer have a high stress level when branching out to work on projects that are new.  My last three freelance jobs came to me, I didn't seek them out.  It is great to be at a point where opportunities are coming my way and I'm not having to awkwardly attempt to sell myself on limited merit.
I am also much more confident as a parent.  Taking the kids to the grocery store by myself isn't a big deal anymore.  If Pearl decides to throw a fit in the middle of Ikea, it barely phases me.  I don't worry about what people around me are going to think of my parenting as a result of the situation.  Kids are unpredictable, and even the calmest ones have their moments.  I also generally don't care as much about what people think which is quite liberating.
With young kids, I still don't have a lot of freedom to take much time for myself.  I have so many things that I would like to do.  I want to work-out regularly, read more, and build more quality relationships with friends.  I want to become more involved when it comes to social justice, make more art, and find my niche within my church.  I'm making steps to do some of these things now.  And as my kids age, I will have more time for myself.  When I look ahead to 40, I now think it sounds pretty exciting.  I wonder how many of these things I will be able to accomplish by then and what other twists and turns my life will take in that time.
Aging is scary.  I see my grandparents as their bodies and minds are deteriorating.  My parents are beginning to have health issues as well.  It is frightening to know that is eventually on the horizon for me, too (if I'm lucky enough to make it to old age).  But, at this point, I am able to recognize all of the amazing things that come along with getting older.  With age, I am learning more about who I am and sensing that I am capable of so many more things.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Busy Summer and Annual Oregon Coast Trip

This summer has been busy.  Much busier than I expected.  I'm not complaining, it has actually been really good.  We went on a few local vacations, I had two great freelance opportunities come up, and we have been enjoying summer with the kids whenever we get a chance.  My activity on this blog has substantially tanked over the last few months as a result of our busy summer.  I assure you, I don't plan to stop blogging here.  It has become apparent that some things have to move to the back burner at certain times in life and one of those things has been the blog.  I may not be posting as frequently as I once was, but I have plans to keep things going around here.
Our most recent trip was our annual family Oregon Coast vacation.  This year we stayed at a much larger house in Newport, OR.  Three kids have joined the family since we started this tradition so it became apparent that a larger house was needed (although the beach house we used to rent was awesome).
Despite my poor niece being sick and teething, we had a great time.  Pearl was so excited to finally work on a sandcastle.  Besides hanging out on the beach; we visited the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, walked around a ton of cute shops, and ate good food.  We are lucky to live in a place where there is so much to do within driving distance.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Treats for Pumping Moms in the Office

I spend the majority of my time with the kids so I rarely had to pump when either of them was little.  During my last freelance job though, I worked part-time in the office and had to start pumping twice a day on my in-office days so Axel had milk while with the sitter.  Since I had to take time to pump, I felt I could never take a lunch break.  The company only had me for a limited amount of time and I wanted to be as productive for them as possible.  That meant self-imposed, quickly scarfed, lunches at my desk.
I also had to walk around the building at pumping times searching for an available room to pump.  It generally took some time to find an open one and I ended up pumping in the bathroom (gross!) on a couple occasions.  I started figuring out when the busy pumping times were for other moms so I could try to work around them.  This of course didn't always work with meeting schedules so some days I would only manage to pump once.
The extra effort and skipped lunches were frustrating, but I of course knew it was worth it.  I thought about the women in that office working full time who needed to pump 3+ times a day to keep their supplies up.  Most of the pumping moms I knew came in early and skipped lunches every day so it didn't interfere with their work.  They were making a huge sacrifice for their babies. 
Those moms didn't need someone to tell them how awesome their efforts were.  It is nice once in a while to have someone acknowledge it though.  On my last day in the office there,  I decided to make cookies and put them in the busiest pumping room with a simple note letting those moms know they are appreciated.
If you work with pumping moms, and want to do the same for them, here is a PDF of the notes I created for my cookies.  One of the options has the recipe I used on it.  It's a no bake cookie recipe that I modified so more moms could partake.  A lot of women don't eat dairy while nursing and I know so many people who are gluten free or vegan now that I figured I would accommodate them with the recipe as well.  There is also a PDF without a recipe if you want to make your favorite treats instead.
Another idea is to make cookies to put in the nursing mom's room at church or any other location you can think of where frequent pumping and/or nursing occur.