Thursday, January 31, 2013

Love of Printables and Making Your Own

It's no secret -- the love that I have for Pinterest.  In some ways it has been a huge source of fulfillment.  One of my most recent loves has been the access to free printables and the inspiration to create my own.

This one has been a favorite of mine.  What better way to organize yourself and stay easy on the eyes?  I found a way to justify using the ink in my cartridge.  Simply cut off the top patterned portion when the month has expired and use as a gift tag or craft idea.  Serves two purposes!
Last night, I felt super motivated to make our own 'Family Crest'.  It'll go on a square metal plaque in our kitchen.  I'm excited to get that little project going.

You don't have to have an expensive photo editing program to make your own designs.  I use  not only for photo editing but also for customizing my own printables.   It's free for the basics (you can pay to upgrade) and is super fun!  Did I mention that they have the cutest holiday overlays and fonts?  

Try your hand at it!

Stay tuned for a fun Valentine's printable gift that I'm making for the Huz . . .

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gallery Wall

Did I mention that I am happy?  Because I am!  Life is pretty dang good . . . although it's far from perfect . . . it is good and it is full!    

When I am happy . . . I get things accomplished. 

A while back, I decided that I wanted a small gallery wall going up our stairs.  Originally, I thought (and purchased) 4 - 14"x17" West Elm Gallery Frames with the intention of doing colored photos but after much contemplation and planning via Pinterest I decided that I wanted the clean and modern look of black and whites.  So glad I did!

I went back to West Elm (so very much my favorite store right now) yesterday and exchanged 2 of the frames for 1 - 13"x13" square and 1 - 9"x11" . . I did it because I like the different sizes of our personal photo prints and it saved me a good little chunk of money. 

On a side note - West Elm's frames are a must.  Simply, for the fact that they give you a perfect wall mounting pattern.  Saved me so much time in the long run.

Each photo is something that has been very special to us throughout our marriage.  It reminds us of the good that we do have in our life!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Saying Our Goodbyes

This weekend was a whirlwind.  Saturday morning, I made the drive up to Utah (solo) to say my final "goodbyes" to my youngest brother, Christopher.  Kinda boring driving by yourself . . . but thanks to The Killers and Imagine Dragons on replay, my drive was rather pleasant.  

My weekend was full of friend visits (many of which I did not get to see but look forward to seeing again, soon!) and quality family time with my parents, brother, and family friends; the Ellsworths (basically family and always a good time).  We left behind some really really great people in Utah, so it's always a treat to go back and visit.

Christopher is my first brother to go on a mission, and so it was such a cool feeling being able to experience this weekend's festivities.  It's pretty surreal!  I love him and I know that he will do great things for the people of Norway.


Of course we had to take our token MTC farewell photos.  It's kind of a right of passage . . . wouldn't you say?

It's times like these, where I think about where I fit in my family and the role that I get to play.  I am so grateful to be the oldest and the only sister among three brothers.  I feel very protective of each of them and am grateful that I get to be there to support them in all that they do.  I am blessed and grateful for the relationships that I have with them. 

I love you, Christopher James!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Farewell Elder CJ Holden!

 Last fall, I had mentioned that my immediate Holden family had some very BIG news!  Most of you know via Facebook and Instagram that my youngest brother, Christopher, will be serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He will be serving in the Oslo, Norway mission where he will be speaking Norwegian! So cool!

Back in October, when my parents were here for my Mom's birthday weekend, we were able to Skype with my brother as he opened his call.  Lots of tears of joy were shed because we have a long line of Norwegian ancestry.  As my dad put it, "You get to go back home!"

Now, I realize that I probably should have formally announced this awhile ago because it has been an exciting process the whole way through, but I wanted to post about it when the time was right.  Since I am about to embark on my journey (solo - wish me luck!), up to Utah for my final farewells before he enters the Provo MTC; I have so many mixed emotions - many of which are pure peace and joy.  I know he will do great things!

Christopher is the type of guy who - when he sets goals for himself, he achieves them . . . almost effortlessly.  He is kind, supportive, easy to be around.  He is one of the good ones.

At 22 years old (older than most departing missionaries), I am confident that he will be great!  He achieved his college degree and knows that this is the next step that he needs to take in order to become the kind of person that he wants to be.  As the oldest and his only sister, I am beyond proud.

Last night (back in Rockford), after my brother was set-apart as a missionary (he's official!), my family and some friends got together for a final send-off.  Christopher won't get to see our sweet little niece for two years. She will be so big by the time he gets back! And maybe, just maybe . . . . he will have a new niece or nephew to add to the clan!

I want him to have a keepsake of the photos, letters, and memories that he collects over the next two years . . . so I started a Smash Book for him!  I tried to go with the most masculine one there was to be found.  I love the idea of being able to collect all of your little treasures along the way, and figured that this was the best way to go about it.

If you'd like to read weekly updates from Elder Holden's mission, he and I have started a blog about his experiences:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year, New Ambitions.

I realize that the new year began a week and a day ago, but I wanted to post about our Christmas with my family; and I also wanted to truly ponder my wishes for the new year.

I have been composing a list for the past couple of weeks and this is what I came up with . . .

1. Complete IVF with Success  - Big surprise that this is my #1, right?!  It still breaks my heart that this is our path to parenthood, but I am working through it being a despair.  My wise and very kind counselor told me that it's a grieving process that requires to take time and heal.  She's right, and it's becoming much easier as life goes on.

2.  Get Organized - You know how we all pin our little hearts out with the best of intentions?  I do.  In fact, I have a board labeled "Organize My Life".  This year, I'm really doing it.  I'm not just saying that, because I've actually started.  PS - The garage looks daunting.

3.  Do More, Worry Less - This one falls under the organize category.  Confession:  I have OCD.  Not like, "Oh, hahaha, that was so OCD of me".  Like literally . . . I worry so much about perfection that I often procrastinate.  I get so overwhelmed and I don't end up accomplishing what I'd like to finish.  My powder room is a prime example. . .

4.  Create - I find myself happiest when I am creating.  Whether it be in the kitchen, crafting, writing; I am at my happiest . . . and who doesn't want to be happy?

5.  Serve - My church calling allows me to encourage service in our ward, but has also helped me to consciously think about serving others on my own.  I find myself focusing on the needs of others and not so much about qualms or issues that I may have.  The act of serving others, brings to mind, my favorite line in Les Miserables:

"To love another is to see the face of God"

Couldn't we all use a better relationship with God?  I would like to make it a personal goal to find more opportunities to serve.

6.  Read.  In French. - I am in desperate need of honing my French speaking skills.  What better way, then to read in the language?  Novels that were purchased during last year's trip to France are staring me in the face.

As you all know, we our hoping (and praying!) that this will be 'our year'.

So, cheers to 2013! May it bring to us all - health (maybe wealth, too?!!) and happiness!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christmas Break 2012

Our 'Winter Break' has come to an end . . . back to work/school tomorrow.  I could really use another week, which is probably due to the fact I've been moving at a snail's pace over these last two weeks.  I would feel guilty, but I think it was well deserved!

Holden Family Holiday Adventures:

-1 Buche de Noelmarzipan details included - courtesy of myself, my mom, and brother
-1 completed puzzle of scenic Norway
-Numerous nights spent by a roaring fire
-A couple trips to Stockholm Inn for Swedish pancakes and the like . . .
-A much needed visit with one of my best friends and her cute family!
-2 movies that were both fantastic but very different from one another - Les Miserables & This is 40
-French nursery rhymes on repeat with Baby Elise - ahh les crocrocro! might just be stuck in my head until next year. . .
-Hours and hours of frustration over Ticket to Ride  wink, wink!

-Lots of quality family time - doesn't get any better than that!