Saturday, January 29, 2011

End of January check in

I am not a girl that makes New Year's resolutions. Atleast not "specifically". I did start the year as I have in the past with high hopes for a great year. I didn't put much thought into it, but enough to know that I made some changes starting January 1st; in hopes of attaining a great year.

Remember when we started our budget? I was freaked out that I would mess it up. I am so happy to report that it's been almost seamless so far and I have made a lot of mind changes about how our money can be stretched and saved in the future. I am so excited to admit that I have decided my Escalade is not conducive to my lifestyle because it drinks gasoline like it's been dehydrated in the desert it's whole life! My next budget friendly brainstorm is shaping up in my mind, not sure how it will look on paper, but I am so thrilled that my mind is going in this direction! I just feel so much better about my life and my standards being more in line with leading a life that is not above our means. I just turned 30, who's to say that is the time for a dream car and a dream house and a dream job? It takes time, and I've finally realized it takes effort. I have the obligation to myself to commit to aspirations in life and I am bound and determined to follow through with what feels right.

I started another new class. Psychology the Lifespan (loving it so far!) I have been going to school chipping away at my gen eds to apply to the Associates Degree in Nursing program. My hopeful ambition is to apply to the program next winter, to start Fall of 2012, I have anatomy and physiology and chemistry to complete before applying. I also wanted to get as many gen eds out of the way so I can focus 100% on my nursing classes. I am kind of OCD that way, I want to focus on each class as if it's my only concern in the world. Along with momhood and running a household, it seems as though if I were to take more than one class, I would not uphold my 4.0 GPA that I have going now. It seems with each new class though, my pressure on myself builds. I was never one for school. I spend more time at home than I did in class. Mostly because of my anxiety, but also because there is something in me that gives up when I am "bored". It's a horrible aspect of "Karrie" but it's something I have to be honest about if I am hoping to overcome this part of myself. It doesn't help that I have a husband who has seen my track record and holds me highly accountable for not wasting his money. I could tell him 1,000 times x 1,000 more how important it is to have his support in this part of my life, but when it comes down to it; he's a "prove it to me" kind of guy and I haven't yet proven to him I am serious about nursing. The only way to find out if I am truly going to follow through is to have my RN title. And guess what, what if I *don't* like it after all of this?? It's a growing fear of mine and there is really no way to get around it, aside from moving one step forward at a time and really staying focused. I don't want to be focused on "proving him wrong" but, part of me feels that way!

Oh to see into the future; to confirm that I am on the right track....wouldn't that be great?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Alluring Abodes First Edition

Alluring: "To attract by something flattering or desirable"
Abode: "residence, dwelling, habitation, home"

Hello and welcome to my new excursion!
I am so excited to announce that I will be a hosting a "link up party" here every Friday!

The theme is "Homes" (Alluring Abodes to be exact!)
I have a fond appreciation for abodes and I have seen so many cool places that I want to photograph. Thus, this little challenge was born!

A few rules:
1.)PLEASE participate, it will be so much more fun; if you too take pictures of homes you find intriguing
2.)Please respect the privacy of the owners of the abode. If you do not personally know the person or have permission, please ensure all "clues" to the location of the abode (i.e. address, street names) are kept under wraps.
3.) If you DO have permission, please feel free to take pictures of rooms inside, as well as the exterior, be as creative as you can!!
4.) You do NOT have to be the person to take pictures, you are welcome to search homes online that strike your fancy and post the pics, just give credit where it's due!5.)Have FUN!

& MOST Important

6.)Please don't forget to pass the link on!! The more the merrier!
      > Just post your links in the comments section, until I get more "official" :) :) :)

So, let's get this party started!
I will openly admit, I photographed not one, but THREE abodes today. Yup...overzealous at it's finest!
I will not be posting three homes however, I have a personal rule that I would like to dedicate each week to ONE home that I find intriguing. Which home to choose? Which home to choose?
Ah, yes, the home I grew up in! This is my childhood home. I moved here when I was 4 years old and lived there until 6 years ago when we moved to our current home. This home is special to me because my father was in construction and he built the home from the basement up! I fondly remember going to check the progress of the home, I can still picture the guys lifting the front wall up on the count of "three" and that we had a ladder placed at my bedroom doorway before there was a hallway or staircase.

I spent countless hours designing floor plans when I was a child and I distinctly remember drawing a plan for the "same home; only better" I added more stairs to the sunken family room and half walls where there was open space. Funfun!

Ok, so here it is, my previous "abode"

You Capture - Happy


Last minute entry, my nephew Joey (9) and my son Miles (2) are the only boy cousins in a group of 6 grandkids. The joy on their faces together (they have such a cute bond) makes my heart *HAPPY*
Excuse the quality. It was either capture the moment on my phone or run outside to the car to get my camera, and miss the moment!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Embarking on a new adventure!

I've decided it's time to host a photo challenge each week. I have a keen love for houses. I adore the little charming details on homes and often times find myself wondering what it would be like to live in a home that is so attractive. I am envious of homes that are well put together, with exciting features that show the owners have a true knack for making their residence ooze curb appeal!

The challenge link ups will take place on Fridays. I am working hard to get it organized to begin THIS week.

If you would like, you are free to get to work finding an "abode that is alluring", snap a picture of it and post it on your blog. If there is no link up come Friday; feel free to put the link in my comments section so I can see!

I will iron out the details; I promise! Until then, please bear with me!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Memetastic Award

Miss Stinker Pinker herself over at Stinker Pinkers gifted me with this awesome award! It's my first "award" but I am going to be a good sport and play along, even though I have a slight suspicion I am doing it wrong! (Psst...Kimberly...let me know if I did!!)

The rules to this award are as follows…

1. You must proudly display the absolutely disgusting graphic that Jillsmo has created for these purposes (put it in your post, you don’t have to put it in your sidebar, I think that would seriously be asking too much). It’s so bad that not only did I use COMIC SANS, but there’s even a little jumping, celebrating kitten down there at the bottom. It’s horrifying! But its presence in your award celebration is crucial to the memetastic process we’re creating here. If you need a higher resolution version… I totally have one!!

2. You must list 5 things about yourself, and 4 of them must be bold-faced lies. Just make some stuff up, we’ll never know; one of them has to be true, though. Of course, nobody will ever know the difference, so we’re just on the honor system here.

3. You must pass this award on to 5 bloggers that you either like or don’t like or don’t really have much of an opinion about. I don’t care who you pick, and nobody needs to know why. 

Four Lies and One Truth

1.  I once died my hair purple, with orange streaks as a dare.

2. I'm a good liar.

3. I was divorced before I married my husband.

4. My great grandparents had 20 children, it was my goal when I was a kid to break the family record.

5. I got pregnant in high school and gave the baby up for adoption.

The 5 bloggers I am passing this award on to are GREAT!! And if you are not following them… should be!

1. I have two blogs if you don't follow both, you should! :-P
   He guides me & 365 (Take a photo a day for 365 days)

2. Jessica - phototaking, crafty momma!

3. Stephanie -newlywed who takes her new role as wife very seriously! (In a very sweet way!)

4. Kristine - Stylin photographer momma whose kids are so darn precious!

5. Alex - insanely talented artist! (With really cute kids!!)

200th post

I was excited to see my 200th post inching it's way forth...I just looked and I have hit 200 posts. I see this as a sort of accomplishment. But I messed it up! I posted a RECIPE of all things, really a recipe? From the woman that doesn't enjoy cooking? Isn't it ironic? (Shout out to my pal Alanis! ha ha!)

In all seriousness, I started a blog to share my creativity and my insights. (With God's help of course!!). I am glad I have been able to share my mind with you all 200 times and I am looking forward to sharing many more !!

Monday, January 24, 2011

If I am sharing this recipe, it MUST be good!

I have stated before here I am not a cook or a baker, or anything of the sort. I make food to keep my kids healthy. I swear that's my only purpose! Check out the pot holder in the says "Born to shop, forced to cook" Yup! That's me!
I made this tonight for dinner, it turned out so good! (If I do say so myself!!)

Ground beef (I bought a little over a pound)
tomato soup (1 can)
romano cheese (can use parmesan, or any other cheese you love)
fresh green beans (I got a little over a pound)
mashed potatoes (use instant in a pinch, make them creamy. I won't lie, the meal tastes WAY better with homemade mashed; but sometimes you just want dinner to be quick!)

Preheat the oven (350)
Wash and "de end" the green beans. Steam them till cooked
Brown the meat, I used basil and grated romano cheese and some sea salt to flavor it while it cooked.
When the meat is brown, add the tomato soup and simmer
Once all of the ingredients are prepared, layer them in an oven safe casserole dish.
Meat, green beans and then mashed potatoes spread over the top.
Sprinkle some more romano on the top and put in the oven
Bake about 35 minutes. Then broil for another 5-7 minutes.
If you make it, be sure to let me know how you like it!

Potty Training Time

My son Miles will be 3 next month. With that comes the recognition that diapers will soon be a thing of the past. My philosophy on potty training will be revealed here today. I hope there are aspects you agree with, but of course, I am fine if you don't agree either. My husband believes kids should be trained by the time they are 18 months. (Old school much?) I have a slightly different approach. I believe potty training can be super easy if your child is actually *ready* (emotionally, physically, *mom is ready too*). I was yearning for signs in my son that he may be ready for undies. Afterall, once the child starts eating regular foods and eats as much as my toddler does, it's just better for things to make it into the toilet, instead of dipes right? It wasn't good enough for me to gag at all poop changes, I still didn't think he was ready. I always start out with an open mind. Get a potty chair in the house, and let my children choose their undies at the store. Hype it up for a few weeks (It's going to be so FUN to go potty on the toilet, isn't it? Yes, yes yes!!) then, of course I get some candy in the house (bribery isn't something I have a strong opinion about either way, but I certainly find it necessary for amping up the excitment of potty in the toilet!!). So last weekend, it was "Go time" (show time, time to try the big potty training experience) Saturday comes, I take my son's diaper off in the morning and explain to him that he will be playing with no diaper on and when he feels a little need for a tinkle or a poop, to STOP! What he's doing and run over to the potty chair. Got it? Yup...easy as pie right? Then, I wait...I wait for the messes created by the child who "doesn't get it yet" or the latter, "Mom! I did it!! I went peepee in the potty!" YAY!!!!!! Saturday we were greeted with success. Miles was ready. He had a few accidents and yesterday he had even less accidents. Woo hoo!! My son is on his way to being diaper free!
The whole weekend I was dreading "Monday" which translates to an errand packed morning in undies and the hopes that he truly grasps the idea of "hold it". Oh boy. I said extra prayers last night. Believe I did! This morning, we woke up, I took out a pair of "tractor undies" got Miles dressed. Pleaded with him to sit on the toilet to allow his morning urine to flow into the toilet, instead of into his undies in the car. I was envisioning a mess in the carseat. (Remember, I set low standards. Meaning I expected the worst). He refused to sit on the potty this morning. I took a deep breath and explained it was a long drive to drop Acilia at school. We got to school. I had every intention of taking him into the bathroom there to atleast try again. Miles asked me while we were in the hallway "Where's my potty chair mommy?" "Oh honey, do you need to go potty?" "NO!" "Let's just try, this bathroom here has fun big toilets and mommy will go first." "I don't want to mommy" (he begins to dance a bit, a sure sign he has to go and is trying to hold it) "Mommy will go first, you just watch and then we will try; ok now it's your turn" I coaxed him onto the toilet, told him to hold on to me, I wouldn't let him fall. Then a tinkle. Then a stream. Then Miles giggles. How precious :) I praised him and we were on our way!!!!
The true success comes when there is more than potty in the potty. The real deal is when there is something "yucky" in the potty. Right? Tinkle here, tinkle there. Got it, but most kids want their dipes for the big "number 2". I thought we would have a problem with this one. Then this afternoon, day 3, Miles comes to me "Mommy! Come see something yucky" UH OH I thought...I surely have a mess to clean! Miles leads me to his potty chair where this a beautiful solid "Number 2!" WOOOOOHOOOO!!!! "Baby! You did it!! I am so proud of you!!!!! High 5!! You get a SUCKER for that!"
Miles is proud of himself. He looks so much older now, with his glow of excellence. What a sweet little boy!! :)

"I'm a big boy now!"

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Inspiration for this photo shoot was found at: Allie Photography

I love how edgy this one turned out!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fun with bubbles

This is a video from 2009, Miles first encounter with bubbles. It was a giggle fest. My kids have contagious laughs! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You Capture- Circles


I have to admit, I was less than inspired when I saw the theme...I know there are circles in everyday life, but I wanted some creativity and I just wasn't feeling it...until I saw this house. I about drove off the rode with excitement! What a COOL house and even better, I was able to take a picture of it to show here, because it fit the theme with it's awesome "circle" window!

I couldn't resist posting a stop light pic...afterall, they are made of mostly circles ;)

Feeling a little crazy

So, spring semester at school started this past week. I had signed up for my second Psychology class to fill my requirements. Class started on Thursday, I got there super late due to horrible parking (always happens the first day!) and between the room not being esthetically pleasing and having a really hard time following the instructor with her seeming lack of preparedness...I walked out of the class thinking I couldn't take a semester of that class and maintain my 4.0 without losing my mind. It IS a requirement though and I DO enjoy psychology, so I got it in my mind last night to see if there were openings in the same class with a different instructor. I found one that works with my schedule and dropped the first one, so I could register for the same exact class with different instructor and different location. Call me crazy but I am big on "feeling" and if I am not "feeling" it, then I am setting myself up for failure. So I did what any other sane person would do...right?

Monday, January 17, 2011

One word: My word

Every time I think of "one word for the year" the same word comes to me amidst other possible contenders. I look back at last year, and my hopes for this year, and one word seems to be the way to go. It's the word "Commit". Last year I resolved to decide the fate of my marriage and I truly believed the fate was for us to be apart. It was commitment within my heart that brings me to where I am today and that is just the beginning. I must commit to myself; to believe that I can achieve my goals. I sometimes lose confidence in myself because I've been known not to stick with things. I just don't like to waste my time, so when something doesn't "work" for me, I stop working on "it". I have come upon the conclusion that it's ok to be true to myself, however, maturity and progression of my life have showed me I must not be afraid to commit to finishing what I start. Last year showed me that when I commit to something, unexpected things happen. I don't have all the answers to life, but I will commit to trusting that God does and seek His guidance always.

So, that's my word: COMMIT:
"to bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance; pledge: to commit oneself to a promise; to be committed to a course of action."

"to entrust, esp. for safekeeping; commend: to commit one's soul to god."

"to pledge or engage oneself: an athlete who commits to the highest standards."

Friday, January 14, 2011

One word

Start of a new year, fresh, promising, anything can happen. How about choosing ONE word to describe your thoughts for the next year?
What would that one word be? I am thinking of a word, have not yet narrowed it down to just one. I know what I hope for this year, and what I envision changing about myself and my life, but one word to describe it ? It's not as easy as it may sound....
I wanted to share this challenge with you, to urge you to think of a word for your year. Please be sure to let me know when you come up with one. I am interested to know!

(I will be sure to let you know, when I come up with my word too)

*This is my not idea, I got the idea from my favorite radio station KLOVE

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"A wee bit of me Wednesday"

New one for me....looked like fun questions, so figured why not! :)

{one} have you ever been on tv?

Yup! The best was back in '91, my family was on the news for "Largest and healthiest Italian family in America. I was *ahem* following the camera, so I made an appearance about 13 times during the news clip

Also, modeled wedding dresses once for a morning news cast...

{two} what was the best movie you saw last year?

Hmmmmmmmm, don't often watch movies, so drawing a blank...

{three} do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?

Tucked in and TIGHT! I hate feeling a draft on my feet unless it's summer, then I will pop a foot out the side.
Causes controversy in my family because my husband is the opposite. SO we compromise by tucking my side in and leaving his side out ;)
"The things you do for love."

{four} do you cut coupons?

No. If I see one that I can use, I take advantage. But there is usually a "catch" on it. (Buy 2, the third is free, well that doesn't save me money if I have to buy extra! LOL!)

{five} do you ever count your steps when you walk?

Can't say I do.

{six} what sauce do you dip your chicken nuggets in?


{seven} do you have any magazine subscriptions?

Yup. Parents, I had Glamour too. I can't keep up with them though, so I have a stack from the past year that I still have to read!

{eight} when was the last time you wrote a letter on paper?

Do thank you's count? I wrote about 30 of them for my 30th birthday :)

{nine} what’s your favorite fruit pie?

Apple pie ala mode!

{ten} black olives or green olives?


Now Your Turn:)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

You capture-Doorways


How fun!
I love doors! Infact I have a coffee table book-ALL doors!

Never noticed this door, until "You Capture" but I must say it's got to be the coolest door I've ever seen!
We pass this house daily, I love the pup statue. Looks so inviting!
Dupage County Historical building, houses an adorable little train exhibit that we regularly go to!
Doors to my old high school. I happen to live across the street from there and admire the beauty of history
This doorway was so cool, I am bummed I didn't capture the essence in this pic :/
And, just for fun, this is my kitchen, my doorways are full of Christmas cards, which I have yet to take down. I love them, so I don't want to take them down!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Today's sermon was about submission. Submit to God first and foremost; and to the people around you. If that word has a way of making anyone shutter, it's me. I grew up a full fledged Scorpio. Look up the definition of the sign and you will see stubborn, manipulative, unyielding, challenging...
Yup, that was me. I found comfort in bending rules to make life work for me instead of making myself work for life. I like that over the last few years, I have worked to release those negative things about myself and have really embraced how following the "rules" of life brings better things to my well being.
God has rules for us. His rules always sound so simple, but human nature (read: sinful) has a way of making it really hard to follow those simple rules. As our Pastor put it today, it's impossible. Without the Holy Spirit that is. I believe my baptism placed the Holy Spirit in my heart and to say that's a blessing is an understatement. At some point along the journey, as a very natural progression of my life ensued, I can look back and say that the Holy Spirit has molded me. I feel blessed that it took a form of a "sneak attack" on me because I can honestly say I probably would have resisted it if I knew what was happening. There is something in me that always wants to resist authority. God has a way of gently leading me in His ever present direction. It amazes me and it's really a lot bigger than I can even describe here. I just had to reflect for a while as I gather my thoughts and allow them to soak in on the subject of submission.

"Submit yourselves to one another because of your reverence for Christ" Ephesians 5:21

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Al and I have been married 6 years. We didn't establish a lot when we got married, so when we hit our lowest point last year, we decided to start establishing some things for our relationship. A way to "get off (again) on the right foot". One of those things that needed to be done, but I desperately fought it was determining a budget, and *sticking* to it. It's been something that Al has NAGGED ME ENDLESSLY ABOUT tried desperately in the most loving way possible to urge me to agree to helping him set up a budget. It wasn't that I was opposed to a budget, and it wasn't that I don't know how to have a budget (I lived on my own for a while when I was single and I ran a pretty successful budget if I do say so myself!) it's just that it was always a source of conflict for us, because we view money spending completely differently and add the fact that Al's income being a self employed electrician is always changing, I just couldn't wrap my head around getting it on paper. I will openly admit I enjoyed openly spending (justified of course!) and I always had money to spend, so we slid by for 6 years without a budget.

That changed last week. Our counselor walked us through setting up a spending plan. We set up envelopes for spending. I made the commitment to follow this budget because I truly feel it will be good for us as a couple to embrace stability in our home and for future saving. It's been a week and I am feeling the change. It's a struggle because I was used to fluidity and now I am going into envelopes and having a set amount to work with. I am not surprised that I am feeling some overwhelmed and hopeless feelings, I think that's why I was avoiding having to have a budget, it's way easier to bury your head in the sand than to be the responsible participant of a budget. I am praying now that it gets easier and less unnatural! In the meantime, I have had great experiences so far as well. It's quite rewarding, even though it's hard!! Kinda like marriage right ? ;)

Monday, January 3, 2011

You Capture! - 10 best from 2010


Ask a person who is obsessed with picture taking to narrow down ALLLLL of their shots to just 10 for a whole year??? Challenging! I was defeated as I couldn't narrow down past 11, but I guess when you take a bazillion pics, 11 isn't bad right? RIGHT?? :)

Close up of snowflakes on a frozen creek
Winter Moon
My dog Franko
Owl at Willowbrook Wildlife
Huge hermit crab on rocks in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Me lounging in the infinity pool in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
My daughter Acilia on our balcony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
My nephew Joey on Halloween, I love the action in this shot!
My daughter Acilia on Mother's Day
Butterfly garden in Geneva, Illinois

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Impulsive 2011- 1/365

Jenn and I shared our first pregnancy via a message board for moms to we are 8 years later, still in contact, via the web! Jenn did this 365 project once before, she announced that she will be doing it again, her photography is awesome and I was inspired to give 365 a try's something I am setting myself up for failure on, I mean a picture every SINGLE day for 365 days???? Oh boy! I love photography and it will give me a chance to post pics everyday! SO I figure, why not?? I will give it a try!!!!!!!

First official post of 365...(read: stepping off a cliff!)
I have set up a new blog that will be updated more regularly this this blog will be. It's dedicated specifically to my 365 journey. Please follow me HERE! and feel free to nag me if I don't keep up!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As an intro, I may as well show where I do my blogging, my laptop usually keeps residence in the kitchen, my central spot to pop on and off the computer as I go about my day!