Monday, May 27, 2013

Dealing cards the Arabella way

Saturday, March 23, 2013

5 of my Favorite Pinterest Pinners

Probably the main reason that this blog is so neglected is the huge time suck that is Pinterest.

 Here are a selected 5 pinners that consistently keep me from productivity with gratuitously beautiful pins:

 1. Natalie Bowman -

Natalie's color palettes are feminine and gorgeous.

Pin is here

2. Haley Wertz -

Haley's interior design pins
I thought I hated ALL purple until I saw these bookshelves - now I'm obsessed with this shade.  Pin is here

3. Chris Norman -

Chris has the most gorgeous special event / holiday boards, hands down. Definitely check out her easter board for inspiration / inferiority inducing ideas.

Yes - I'm already married, no - I'm not planning a wedding. But this cake spoke to me - especially having just seen the Oz movie last week. Pin is here

4. Dawne Pace -

I cannot sew, but once I learn (and I'm GOING to learn!) I will be working my way through the awesome patterns and techniques that Dawne pins, and making gorgeous homemade dolls for Arabella like this:

Gorgeous doll - pattern by Gingermelon on Etsy - pin is here

5. Emma Lamb - 

Emma is a textile artist from the UK - I love her color coded inspiration boards. Here's one from the Tangerine to Russet board:

Orange velvet is one of my most favorite things ever. Pin is here
I limited this list of 5 to lifestyle/entertaining pinners, but I plan to keep posting lists of 5 in other categories - Parenting, Organization, Food, Clothes, et cetera.

Are there any pinners you love? Please let me know in comments!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

First day of Minimalist Parenting Camp!

"If you understand yourself, you can belong to you." - Arabella (02/28/2013)

I thought this wise-beyond-her-years Arabella quote above is a great lead-in to my latest project:

The Minimalist Parent camp, that is (Thank you so much to local blogger Nichole Beaudry of In These Small Moments for alerting me to this great opportunity!).

From the website:

Through a series of 14 daily tasks, you'll make real progress in the areas many of us find challenging: managing your time, handling clutter (in your home, schedule, and mind), simplifying mealtime, and making room for self-care.

And when you complete your task, you get a badge, just like in Girl Scouts (I was a sucker for Girl Scout badges). 

And it's free - what's not to love?

Today I had my first task - make of list of things I want MORE of and things I want LESS of. The things could be anything: 

  1. In the MORE column, list things that enrich your life and the things you'd like more of.Feelings, objects, experiences...anything goes. List even the far-fetched and impossible-seeming stuff. Try not to censor yourself (this list is for your eyes only).
  2. In the LESS column, list the things, assumptions and situations you'd like less of. Things that are complicating your life, reliably dragging it down, or are plain un-fun. No guilt or judgment allowed.
Followed by this great advice: Resist the urge to let “shoulds” sneak onto your list. What’s right for others isn’t necessarily right for you or your family. Keep your list somewhere readily accessible so you can refer to it as opportunities and obligations come up. You may begin to notice that your More and Less List helps guide your decision-making.

So I spent a good 20 minutes this morning making my more/less list: 

I want MORE: 

And less:

And here's my sweet badge:

If you'd like to join camp, here's the link:

What would be on your More/Less list?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Arabella Story - All's well that ends well

             I don't have any extra available focus/concentration 
             to write a decent blog post myself, but I can retype this  
             lovely story Arabella created in preschool today 

              (her preschool in Roseville, CA by the way - just throwing that out there since this is a Roseville mom blog and I'm trying to organically get Google to 
              pick up on that fact):

Once upon a time there was a princess named Cinderella and a princess named Snow White, and a princess named Bambi. 

And dragons were flying and going "pht, pht, pht." 

And then princesses went into a castle. 

And then they saw something big, dark and scary. 

And it was just their pet cat. 

The end. 

The author on her porch - possibly contemplating future creative literary endeavors.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My husband baited me the other night...

..with his reply when I asked him if I could mention the fact that he enjoys watching Bunheads with me on the blog. 

He said:

"Sure - no one reads your blog anyway."  


So now that I have the biggest one day audience I've ever had due to generous tweeter @vjack (from the Atheist Revolution page on Twitter), who picked up the link from my friend Katie's blog at 

I am putting it out there. 

We also watch Project Runway together.  

And those are two of the biggest reasons I love you honey. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Valentine's Day kid's picks for Etsy

And now for something completely different from my last post. 

It's a shameless attempt to get the peeps on my most popular Pinterest board (Arabella's Dream Wardrobe) to come check out my blog.

I've made 2 collages of my most favorite Valentine's Day kids clothes and accessories available on Etsy - here's the first one (mostly modern less-traditional colors).

1. Itzi and Bitzi 2. Sparkkids Clothes 3. mfandj 4. TheAfricanLlama 5. SweetandSilly3 6. kakabaka 7. Itzi and Bitzi 8. TheStripedSwallow 9. Giddy Up and Grow 10. 3lp Couture

And the second one (mostly traditional less modern):

1. Sunflower Seed Stitch 2. Giddy Up and Grow 3. pdstudiosstore 4. The Modish Life 5. ArtsyCraftsy 6. shopantsypants 7. Birdy Boots

I used PicMonkey's collage feature which was painless and intuitive to use. Almost immediately after I made these, I saw this tutorial from A Creative Cookie showing how to use Photoshop to make the item collages with a white background like all the cool blogger kids do - next time. 

In case you're wondering, I won't be ordering a Valentine's outfit for Arabella this year due to our budget, and also I'm hoping to get her to wear the cute pink dress that I couldn't get her to wear on Christmas.

This one:
If you know me In Real Life, this dress is a 4t - so please call dibs in the comments if you want this hand-me-down when Arabella outgrows it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm coming out of the closet....

As many of you who are my Facebook friends already know, inspired by an article by a mommy blogger on CNN today (her blog is here if you are interested) , I came out of the closet.

Not that closet - I'm still straight and happily married (most of the time) to Keith.

The religion closet - I am an atheist.

Which makes me pretty lonely in mommy-blogger land AND in real life here in Roseville where it seems everyone attends a megachurch except us.  Seems like every other mom / DIY blogger in my age group has Jesus listed in her About Me section, and I'm asked which church we attend rather than if we attend church.  

I'm not wanting to be confrontational, just honest. And it feels like I'm misleading people if I don't admit that I don't consider myself a Christian, as this is usually just assumed as the default.

I've been speaking up consistently lately when I disagree with someone's opinion (politics/Obama, nursing in public, you know - the lighter topics) - not to be argumentative but because silence implies agreement.

I hate arguing (turns my stomach and clouds out my ability to focus on anything else) and don't think I will or even want to change anyone else's mind, but I do want to quietly point out that "everyone" actually doesn't think that by stating my own belief and backing it up with the reasons why.

Not to be a contrarian, but to put it out there that there are others in the world that don't think exactly the same way. Kind of like how travel is supposed to be broadening, I'm trying to give others the travelling experience on Facebook.

I realize this is polarizing, but:
be happy quote for Thursday April 19, 2012
Although I'm 33 and therefore in the right age group for it, I don't as a rule go around quoting Kurt Cobain.
However, this quote rules.

I don't begrudge others their religion or right to broadcast it.
I just don't want to present myself as something other than what I am, and my lack of religion is a big part of me.

I don't plan to make it a major theme of this blog, but it's one piece of who I am.

I was inspired by the awesomely positive reaction I got on Facebook today when I "came out".

I expected it from my handful of atheist / questioning friends and family, but I was MOST moved by how supportive my religious family and friends and respectful of my right to think differently.

I'm so relieved to know that my family and friends that know me in real life are much more open-minded than the average CNN reader, who reported the original editorial article as "inappropriate".  The topic was a woman who doesn't believe in God, and how & why she parents her children morally anyway - it was in the editorial section of the website. How this is "inappropriate" is beyond me.

Freedom of religion and speech are supposedly two of the United States' most cherished ideals.

I love my daughter with all my heart, and am committed to raising her as a moral person - which to me means one that functions in society keeping others' needs in mind and her impact on others.

I just don't personally believe that this moral compass comes from God, but that we have evolved as social creatures to whose ability to survive and thrive as humans depends on "moral" behavior.

She's only 3, but so far is a considerate, happy, kind child that shows no ill effects from lack of religion.

She is kind because Mom and Dad are kind to her.
She has manners because Mom and Dad always say please and thank you to her and around her.
She doesn't physically hurt others as she can imagine how it would feel herself.

She does have her developmentally appropriate moments of anger and difficulty controlling herself, which is when her father or I step in and help her control herself.

But no threat of punishment or promise of reward is made. The Golden Rule still works without the external belief system, at least for our family.

Two great parenting sites that I wholeheartedly love (if you'll take an atheist's word for it) although they are geared primarily towards Christian parents: (Leslie is the REAL DEAL - she's a Christian missionary in Costa Rica with 4 children and blogs about child development and her experiences in the field in her spare time) I have infinite respect for her work directly with children.

I'm closing with a quote from this post by a man who I consider one of the great philosophers of our time:

"The first follower transformed the lone nut into a leader... What a powerful thing we become when we are able to move beyond our self-consciousness, our sense of shame, and leap into something new, even if, this time, it's only because we feel hidden in the larger group. Maybe next time, we'll be the first follower.

 (Teacher Tom of course)

So CNN mom blogger TXBlue08 (who is smarter than me in not having her whole name broadcast on her blog)(although I'm relying on the miniscule readership of this blog to protect me from huge volumes of wrath) - thank you for leading the way by putting yourself out there. I'm glad I mustered up the courage to follow and speak my truth.

Excited (and a little apprehensive) to read your comments.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Shocking News!

Don't you love sensationalized titles that force you to click to satisfy your curiosity and then disappoint with something mundane? Yeah, me too.

Anyway, I was at least slightly shocked to find that when I googled "grilled cheese trampoline" there are 12 pages of results before this blog comes up. Which sucks considering that I made the quote on the front page 

"Arabella says "If we were little people, we will jump on grilled cheese sandwiches like they were trampolines" 

our official blog description (since I couldn't figure out then how else to make the quote show up on Blogger, although now I know there's a widget for that. so maybe it's good we aren't boxing ourselves in as the grilled cheese trampoline people, as we are so much more than that, and I'm going to rotate the grilled cheese thing with a few more catchphrases as Arabella creates them)  But at least I learned something and that is: 

There are a LOT of people that eat grilled cheese before/after jumping on trampolines, and then they go and write about it on the internet.

Another shocker: I saw this article on entitled 15 Bloggers to watch in 2013, and I'm not on the list. Apparently having a erratic posting schedule, haphazard formatting, and a narrow topic of interest does NOT put you in front of the Problogger editors (probably also not a plus to start sentences with "Which sucks because...", especially when you know it's wrong but are too lazy to write otherwise). Who knew?  But I still recommend reading the article although I was overlooked as there are some blogs on there I never heard of before, but look really interesting. 

Three that really stood out to me that I'll be following:

1. - a step-by-step  hairstyle blog 

2. - A super fun blog about lots of random stuff. Plus, blogger Sarah Von Bargen is 33 years old like me so she's automatically got supercool cred with me.

3. - a photographer's blog with gorgeous photos and Photoshop tutorials that even I can understand. 

I asked Arabella for something "shocking" she knows to round out this post. Her's her contribution:

"Marching is so hard that you even fall down when you skate, and then you march, march, march on the ground. Twiggy told me that." 

So enough with the sensationalism already; I need to leave this where it's at now, as the bed I'm sitting on just became Arabella's Chinese restaurant and I need to pick "dinner, food or dinner."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Five things for Friday - January Crafts and Inspiration

Here's what's up:

1. I'm going to make some paper tassels today with all the tissue paper I have sitting around in the craft closet. Will try to wrangle Arabella into helping me but she'll most likely have her own plan involving very small pieces of tissue paper.
Tutorial from
If I don't have any photos of the finished project posted by Monday, please harangue me about it. I am serious about no crafting procrastination in 2013!!! 


This is my extra-credit project (meaning if I have paper and/or time left over and I'm feeling it I may make these)

3. No, I am not making this - I just love it and am really inspired by it for a potential blog look for the future. This is by Eric Marinovich, a super awesome designer in San Francisco. I may need to save my pennies for him to make me a blog header someday (although right now I'm too afraid to even inquire how many pennies something like that would cost)

4. Found this on Pinterest, thought it was beautiful and inspirational: 

5. Saw this pic on Pinterest (came from someone's Tumblr which wasn't the original source, so I don't have a credit for it but please let me know if you know who's it is.

Anyway, I would gladly take this room as a studio apartment and conduct all life/work duties from the bathtub. (But I'd probably paint some of the wood in rainbow colors)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My word of 2013 is......


Apparently, the thing this year is to have a theme word (or so I've noticed on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Fast Company's website, etc.) 

So that's mine up above in the big bold print - disencumber. Meaning: to unburden, free from debt or encumbrances (not anything to do with cucumbers)

I am one thousand percent focused about this one.  

I've actually been on a pretty good roll with this in December and just need to maintain the momentum - stuff is leaving our home to go to Goodwill or friends that will love and use it more than us at a fast clip, and nearly every empty food container and product package has been converted into a makeshift drawer organizer somewhere in the house.

This year is going to be more about shedding the old than adding on more new.  Extricating myself from excess weight, debt, email overload, clutter, etc.  

I want this year to be all about simplification, ease and lightness.  Freeing space on my emotional and physical hard drive, gaining momentum towards a lifestyle that I can sustain on a daily basis.  

The amount of maintenance required to keep up with our current possessions and email volume is ridiculous and could be spent baking a cake, writing a blog post, or felting soap (I don't know how to felt soap - I just love the idea of it - although I hate the sound of wet felt rubbing together so it's actually probably not for me). 

In the not-so-frivolous department, the extra time, money and energy I'll have from paring down can be spent helping family and friends with unexpected expenses, skating with my daughter, and pursuing a Master's in Child Development.  The stuff that really makes me happy. 

This is kind of turning a corner from the "Life to the fullest" tagline you see on the header, and that is completely intentional. This year I want a year less full, with room left over to breathe and enjoy it.  To put it another way, I want to:

Stop me if you've seen this one before

I'm not going to be confused with a monk anytime soon - my version of minimalism is still going to be most people's maximilism. But systems are being put in place so that my family can spend our time doing more important and fulfilling things than look for my cellphone for the umpteenth time. 

In the vein of our easy breezy theme, here is a simple and inexpensive style tip for the New Year from Arabella:

A soda bottle cap makes a lovely and stylish cap for your Calico Critters creature.  And if you drink Diet Coke at even 10% of the rate Arabella's mom does, there will never be a shortage of hats in your home.