The Year That Was 2016

Man has this holiday season been a whirlwind!  I started feeling better, then my in-laws come and stay with us for a week, Christmas happens, my in-laws leave, and now it's already New Years Eve!  I enjoyed my family time so much but time could you slow down a bit?!

After my company was gone and I was able to sit still for a moment I looked over my journal for this past year and made a timeline of the highlights for 2016.  

What is sad is that I was sick for the majority of the year so when I asked myself what I thought about 2016 one word came to mind: WASTED 

Not only do I feel like I wasted this year it was rough in other ways as well.  I lost my grandmother, Dylan was diagnosed with diabetes, my mom had a cancer scare, and both my dad and sister had to have surgery.  Praise the Lord that everyone is well right now but I think we can all agree that we are ready to say goodbye to 2016.

I thought it would be fun to answer some questions about 2016 to look back on the year and think about what I would like to see different in 2017 so here we go.

1. What was your favorite single day/single event of the year?

My favorite event of this year would have to be me becoming a Stampin' Up! demonstrator and teaching my first Stampin' Up! class.  That entire day was amazing and I had so much fun!  Winning the November Verve Stamps challenge was a close second.  I have wondered if getting back into stamping was a good idea or not but teaching that class and winning that challenge was a validation to me.  I cannot wait to see what 2017 brings as far as my stamping journey.

2. What was the best thing you built/created?

I don't know if you would call it building but we did move our office to a different room of the house and now I am "building" my stamp room.  I got a cute shelf from my wonderful husband for Christmas which is going to help with a lot of my current storage problems.  He just put it up last night so I will be beginning 2017 getting organized! 

3. What was the most impactful decision you made for you and your family’s future?

After Dylan getting sick our families lives were forever changed.  We decided to become healthier together and are slowly working on ways to incorporate healthy changes into our lives.  It's a slow process but one that will benefit us all in the long run.

4. What was your best financial achievement?

We have decided to become a debt free family.  We have quite a bit of debt right now but we are working on a plan to get us closer to being debt free in 2017.  One tool we have started using in 2016 was Quickbooks so we can get an accurate picture of where we are financially and it has been eye opening to say the least.  Our plan is still a work in progress but one that we want to aggressively pursue in 2017.

5. Did you achieve any lifelong goals?

 I can't say that I've achieved any lifelong goals this year but I can say I am more actively pursuing lifelong goals than I think I ever have in my life.  The biggest pursuit at the moment is my book reviews which I hope will one day lead to my lifelong goal of becoming a writer.  

6. What was the hardest lesson you learned over the past year?

Never take your children or your family for granted.  With my grandmother, I always thought I had more time to go and visit her and before I knew it she was gone.  It happened so fast.  It's so easy to let every day life get in the way of your family, even those that are right in front of you.  I'm not saying that I neglected my boys by any means but after Dylan got sick I realized just how much I pushed them off to do unimportant things.  Now we do more things as a family.  I play Legos and Pokemon with them and enjoy every moment I get to spend with them.  I've learned just how precious life really is.

7. Did you develop any new hobbies or passions? Are there any new hobbies or passions you want to develop in the New Year?

I started stamping again!!  For 2017 I would love to design for a stamp company again.  I used to stamp for quite a few online companies and miss it so much.  I also hope to have a monthly stamp class.  I think I missed the community more than the stamping!

I also started jogging again this year even though I haven't been jogging much these past few months.  I have a 10k coming up in March that I really need to start training for and hope to get back into strength training and FINALLY lose this hysterectomy weight gain.  If I could get to 150 this year it would be amazing but honestly if I could get under 200lbs I would be happy.

8. What was the most humbling experience of the past year?

Experiencing all that I have with Dylan was definitely the most humbling experience of this year.  I see my world with fresh eyes.  Everything that has happened this year, both good and bad, has made me a better person.  I am realizing that my world is bigger than what is past the end of my nose and am thankful for each experience that opens my eyes to the truth.  My faith has grown more this year that it ever has and that humbles me.  God continues to do an amazing work and I continue to be in awe.

9. What is the one thing you are most grateful for from this past year?  

My family.  I love my family so much.  I don't get to see most of my family that often but when I do now I am present.  I am in every experience with a thankful heart.  I would never say that I am thankful for my son being diabetic but I am thankful for how God has used it to enrich our lives.  My family closer now than we have ever been.  I love it.

10. What are your personal goals for the coming year? Family goals? Religious goals? Health goals? Financial or career goals?

 I haven't been able to sit down and think about what I want to achieve in 2017 so this will have to be answered in my first New Years post! :)

If you've stuck with me this long then KUDOS to you!  I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Years!!!


Christmas Birthday

Please tell me why when I finally have some time to take care of what I need to take care of I get sick.  I was really sick a few weeks ago and finally was feeling like a normal human being last week.  My husband comes home last Tuesday complaining that he's not feeling good and everyone at his job is sick.  I played it safe and kept my distance, but this past Sunday it all hit me again.  So, here I am on my second round of antibiotics freaking out because Christmas is only a few days away and I have not finished everything I wanted to get done.

Before the sickness took me down for the count I was able to play with some of my new Verve goodies for a bit!!  I have several Christmas birthdays coming up and thought I'd make a simple birthday card with a little Christmas flair.

I have just a few scraps left of this wonderful Christmas paper from Stampin' Up! that I've had for years.  So long in fact, that I cannot for the life of me remember what it's called, but I vowed that I would use every scrap and I am happy to say that the scraps are nearing extinction.  Just a few cards or Project Life pieces and it will be gone!

This card is super simple but I love it!  I used one of the stamps from the Die Sidekicks set and cut it out using the Vintage Oval die.  I wanted something to highlight the sentiment so I cut out an Old Olive circle using a Classic Circle Nestability. The star and sentiment are from the Chevron Love set which I am in LOVE with!  The star is stamped in Old Olive and the sentiment in Chocolate Chip.  I added some bright red grosgrain ribbon and a few Swarovski jewels finish off this sweet, simple Christmas birthday card.

I still have so much to do and this cold (or whatever crud I have) is really cutting into my time!  I have family coming to stay with us and my house is a disaster but I'm still so excited they're coming.  I love presents but the time with family is so much more precious to me.  I just love this season!

Stamps: Chevron Love, Die Sidekicks (Verve Stamps)
Paper: Unknown DSP, Whisper White (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Old Olive (Stampin' Up!)
Accessories: Banner Triple Punch (Stampin' Up!), Circle Nestability, Dimensionals, 
Red Grosgrain Ribbon, Swarovski Jewels, Vintage Oval Die (Verve Stamps)

In Everything Give Thanks

I have had such a thankful heart lately.  I don't know if its the holiday season or the fact that this year is almost done.  I am ready for 2017!!  Ever since D was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes I've been battling depression majorly.  Just in these past few weeks I've slowly started to feel the cloud around me lift and I am so thankful.

Then this past week I was blessed with a Verve Stamps gift card!  SO thankful!!  I placed my order a few days ago and after I hit send I was so pumped!  I cannot WAIT for it to get here so I can play!!  I decided to work some energy off and play along in Verve's December inspiration challenge again. :)

I was drawn to the color scheme but more of the deep, richer colors.  I also loved the bling so I added a little of it on my creation.

I used one of the stamps from the Scripture Medley 1 (which is on SALE right now!) which is a verse that I strive to daily live by.  No matter how I feel or what my circumstances, I give thanks to the One who is watching over me.  I know it's not a Christmas theme but I wasn't really in the Christmas card/page mood although I was listening to Christmas music when I made this.  Go figure!

I am very much in a Project Life mood so I decided this was going to be another card for a new layout. I have no idea what pictures are going to go with this page yet but I know the right pictures will pop out at me soon enough.  I am hoping to do a lot more pages in 2017.

I kept the sketch simple so I could show off this yummy paper that I cannot for the life of me find online!  I had a friend give some of her stamping stash when I decided to get back into stamping.  (Bless you Michelle!!) so there is no telling where it came from but I LOVE it!  The colors are gorgeous and sponging the edges with Tea Dye distress ink really gave it a vintage look.

I was loving this look so much that I decided to make another card for my Project Life page.

I actually got this idea from the scraps from the previous page.  I'm really trying to be frugal and use what I have.  This sentiment is a digital image from Verve from awhile ago that I've coveted.  I just love it!  I used my snowflake punch from Stampin' Up! to make the snowflake/flower.  I also sponged the edges of this card with the Tea Dye distress ink, which is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

My Verve package shows it should be here Saturday so don't be surprised if you see a lot more Verve on the blog VERY soon.  I can't wait!!

Card #1
Stamps: Scripture Medley 1 (Verve Stamps)
Ink: Tea Dye Distress Ink (Tim Holtz)
Paper: Butterfly (MME), Whisper White (SU!)
Accessories: Jewels, Pool Party Ribbon (SU!), Sponge, Sweet & Sassy Framelits Dies (SU!)

Card #2
Stamps: Free Digi (Verve Stamps)
Ink: Tea Dye Distress Ink (Tim Holtz)
Paper: Butterfly (MME), Whisper White (SU!)
Accessories: Banner Triple Punch (SU!) , Jewels, Snow Flurry Punch (SU!), Sponge


Winter Coffee Lover's Blog Hop: Have A Little Joy in Your Cup

I had no idea that they had a coffee lover's blog!  Where have I been??  Well, they had me at coffee. ;)   AND they're having a super huge blog hop?  I'm down!

When I went to look for a coffee stamp set in my stash I realized I've given them all away since I never thought I would stamp again. *sniff*  Trust me, this WILL be remedied!

Have you SEEN all the amazing creations on the hop yet?  If you haven't check them OUT!

I also wanted to play along with this weeks Mojo Monday challenge and combine it with the coffee lover's blog hop.

I tried my best to draw/cut out a coffee cup and stamped it with the butterfly from Verve's Easter Joy set.  I used a Sakura Stardust glitter pen and put dots along the stamp to give it a little bling, added a red Swarovski jewel in the middle, and popped it up on dimensionals. I used a flourish from Filigree Fantasy to look like steam coming out of the cup, and the sentiment is from the Floral Whimsy set. 

The paper is from the Adventure 6x6 stack from My Mind's Eye that I distressed with my scissors.  I didn't realize until after I glued everything down that the vanilla panel was supposed to go over the espresso ribbon panel.  Oops!  I hope the challenge police don't disqualify me for that! ;) 

I only had a little of my cocoa gingham ribbon left so I had to improvise a bit but all in all I don't think it turned out half bad!  The Coffee Lover's Blog Hop theme is winter and that to me means rich, warm colors and nice, hot coffee; not just snowflakes and Christmas. 

There are so many amazing sponsors included in the Coffee Lover's Blog Hop including Verve Stamps!!  If you do not have a coffee stamp Verve has an amazing FREE digital stamp set.  I wanted to use it but my printer bit the dust a few weeks ago and we can't afford to replace it yet.  No worries though!  I saved it for later use. ;)

Enjoy the hop!

Stamps: Easter Joy, Filigree Fantasy, Floral Whimsy (Verve Stamps-all retired)
Paper: Early Espresso (Stampin' Up!), Adventure (My Minds Eye)
Ink: Early Espresso (Stampin' Up!), Rich Cocoa (Memento)
Accessories: Cocoa Gingham Ribbon, Dimensionals, Real Red Grossgrain Ribbon (Stampin' Up!), Red Swarovski Crystal, Sakura Stardust Glitter Pen

I Won!!

I never win anything.  Ever.

Today that has changed and I am so thankful that it has.  I've had a rough few days and God knows I needed some happy.

I was getting caught up on my favorite blogs and getting inspired by everyone's creations in the blogosphere and couldn't believe when I stopped by The Verve Blog and read that I was the November blog hop commenter winner!!  D was sitting right next to me on the couch and I scared him when I started squealing.  Haha!  Sorry's not every day your mama wins something.  ;)  

Verve has also posted their December challenge which is super cute and a great color combo.

Go check it out, comment on the design teams blogs, and maybe you'll be the next winner!  

I'm off to get started on my challenge creation and try to narrow down my Verve wish list which is going to be incredibly hard.  I love it all! 

Do You Ever Feel Stuck?

December always seems to be a time of reflection for me.  With the new year looming it seems like the perfect time to read back over my old journals and see if I have accomplished all that you set out to achieve that year.

Every year I feel happy and disappointed at the same time.  I don't think any of us ever set out to fail but after reading my writing from this past year I realized that I did not accomplish much of what I set out to and that hurts my heart.

One idea keeps popping up in my mind:  I'm stuck

Do you ever feel that way?  It's like my car is stuck in the mud.  My tires are spinning but I am going nowhere.  I have all of these dreams and ideas!  My mind won't stop with them and yet here I sit just spinning.
Photo Credit: Unknown

Strong was my word for 2016 (you can see why HERE).  I think I've achieved strength in a few areas of my life.  As we get closer to 2017 I will go back in revisit my goals for the year and see which ones I've accomplished and which ones I'm still striving for.

It's been a tough year for me.  It's been a tough year for my family.  BUT we are all staying as strong as we can and taking everything day by day, giving it all to the Lord.  In saying that, I personally can't shake this stuck feeling.

2016 has brought blessings in my life 

I love that I am writing again and am doing book reviews.  It's always been a dream of mine and I am starting to set that into motion.  I also love that I am stamping again and that I started my Stampin' Up! business back up again.  Stamping has always been a wonderful outlet for me and I love that I am sharing that love with my boys.

I fall more in love with L every single day and thank God that he has allowed me to go to work part time so I can spend as much time with my boys as I can.  That is one of the greatest blessings of this year.

What continues to "weigh" on me is my weight

I hate that I've allowed my weight to get so out of control.  I think that's my biggest "stuck" at the moment.  I've tried my old ways of losing weight but none of them work.  My doctor continues to tell me to lose weight but then offers no other advice but to "continue to diet and exercise" with no other comments.  I feel so alone.  We can't afford a gym membership and even though we converted one of our rooms into a gym I can't get motivated to work out in there.  It depresses me to no end.

I think what I'm missing more than anything is community.  I know there are a lot of online forums and groups for weight loss, and I have tried a few, but there is nothing more motivating to me than for someone to call and say, "Hey! Let's meet here and lets do this!"  Right now I only have myself and my motivation is zero.  I need a partner in crime.

I tried a few challenges this year but didn't finish any of them.  I tried signing up for a 5K to up my motivation and was actually getting consistent about training, and even lost a few pounds in the process, only to get injured during training.  I had to walk the entire race and I gained all the weight back plus a few more pounds.  At this moment, I weigh almost 20lbs more than I did at this time last year.  Unacceptable.

I really want to finish 2016 STRONG so I am setting myself a goal for this month:

15 minutes of movement

I'm not going to put any restrictions on myself as far as what activity.  It can be walking, dancing, strength training, videos, whatever.  Just as long as I get off my tush for 15 minutes and do something!!

I am hoping 2017 will be the year that I finally rid myself of this weight.  Three years is long enough especially when before then I was doing so great.  If anyone ever tells you that a hysterectomy won't mess you up they are SO lying! #justsayin

Maybe I should set a goal to not eat anymore pumpkin pie too.  Oh holiday season and your delicious treats! ;)

Stamping Saturday: Christmas Cards & Cupcakes

Today was my first Stampin' Up! card class entitled: Christi's Christmas Cards & Cupcakes Extravaganza!  I'm kidding about the name but NOT about the Christmas cards and cupcakes! ;)

Since this is my first class since coming back to card making AND it's the holidays I wanted to do a few special little touches for my girls.  The first idea was to have something SWEET since my official Stampin' Up! team name is Sweet & Sassy Stampers so I picked up some holiday cupcakes for us to snack on while we were stamping.

Sorry I forgot to get a picture of all the cupcakes but let me tell you they were adorable and delicious!!   Actually, so was the first card that we made!

I found THIS card on Pinterest and fell in love.  The Candy Cane Lane designer paper is adorable and I just adore those gingerbread houses.  I had the girls make two cards of each design.  This design was more on the traditional side as far as colors and theme and so the next card I wanted to be a bit more contemporary.

I also found THIS card on Pinterest and loved everything about it!  I realized as I was getting the card kits together that I did not buy enough of the Sweet Sugarplum ribbon (which is on clearance right now! Go snag some while you still can!) so I had to use some of my coveted Pool Party glitter ribbon for the other card and that ended up being the class favorite! Go figure!

We had such a good time getting together!  Two of the gals in the class had never stamped before and one girl that used to stamp but had quit are now all excited to stamp again and are asking for another class in January!  I am SO excited!!

I had wanted the class to do a little stocking stuffer that they could either keep or gift this year a well as the cards but time wouldn't have permitted something like that so back to Pinterest I go and I found a simple tutorial on chapstick holders.  Perfect!

I made each girl her own holder (coordinated chapstick included of course) and gave them the link to the tutorial so they can make more themselves.

I used scraps from my Candy Cane designer paper to make the holders very festive.  I cannot tell you how incredibly easy these are to make.  To me, giving my class this treat and seeing the happily surprised looks on their faces was my favorite part of the entire afternoon.

The class was amazing and I think each woman there needed the stamping therapy time.  For me, it got me very excited about my Stampin' Up! business.  I am already thinking about my next class in January which will be using something from the Occasions catalog coming out January 3rd!  I can't wait!

Thank you to all who attended!  Can't wait to see you in January!!


**Don't forget that the Year-End Closeout is still going on with many items marked down to 60% off - including items that I used in my projects today.  Hurry while supplies last! 


Card #1 Christmas Cheer
Stamps: Tin of Tags
Paper: Candy Cane Lane DSP (Holiday 2016), Crumb Cake, Real Red, Whisper White
Ink: Early Espresso
Accessories: 2" Circle Punch, Big Shot, Candy Cane Lane Bakers Twine, Dimensionals, Softly Falling Embossing Folder, Sweet and Sassy Framelit Dies

Card#2: Christmas Snowflakes
Stamps: Flurry of Wishes
Paper: Basic Black, Whisper White
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Sweet Sugarplum
Accessories: Big Shot, Dimensionals, Pearl Basic Jewels, Snow Flurry Punch, Softly Falling Embossing Folder, Sweet Sugarplum Glitter Ribbon (Holiday 2016)

Special Delivery Chapstick Holder
Stamps: Tin of Tags
Paper: Candy Cane Lane DSP (Holiday 2016), Real Red
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Banner Triple Punch, Big Shot, Chocolate Chip Linen Ribbon, Chocolate Wire Mesh, Dimensionals, Simply Scored Board, Sweet and Sassy Framelit Dies

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