Where Am I?

Not so much in the physical sense, but more so in the metaphoric sense. It is July and we are at exactly half way into the year! What better time to hold myself accountable than now? I started the year committed to living a fuller life. So where am I with this year's goals?

Make great memories. This goal was purposely created to be vague so it could be as small or lofty as life would allow it to be. Leaving room for the unexpected really helped. I’ve enjoyed every minute with my baby and every minute of being a working mom. While that hasn’t left a ton of room to do much else, friends have been great about planning brunches closer to home to make it more assessable for us to join in the fun. We’ve also found room for a few short but awesome family trips tagging onto the start or end of some of our work trips. I look forward to the continued memory making, no matter how minute.

Take more photos. This is a routine that I've successfully implemented. The follow-up of putting them into Project Life is a different story, but the point of taking more photos is definitely being checked off.

Minimize practically. I am not doing as well here. While I’ve made good progress in some areas, I still struggle with others. I’m finding ways to get more function out of the same items so we have less clutter and more function. However, clothing continues to be a challenge… and I’ll tell you why. My weight fluctuated a lot this year. Once I stopped breastfeeding, my waistline and everything else just started to go back to pre-baby size, albeit very stretched out. So admittedly, I’m not sure what to keep and what to let go. Instead of wasting time and money, I am keeping a few key pieces of each size for now. But the idea is that if after a year, I don’t use any of it, it’s going to donation or being sold. I’ve also recently signed up for Stitch Fix. This service feels like an unnecessary luxury but it helps me save time from having to go shopping myself which means I have more time with the babe. Additionally, it gets me to the right size and fit faster, so it's a win-win in my book.

Spend less by reorganizing, reducing, reusing, and recycling. Finding more than a single function for the same thing has helped but we are continuing to work on this. As still relatively new parents, it’s not always clear what is a necessity and what is a nice-to-have. We’re working on it.

Cook more. We continue to work on this as well. I have fun making new things and trying new recipes. Learning to bake everything and anything has been a real highlight and it is definitely helping us be healthier.

Craft and create. I haven’t done as well in this area. I have found time to think creatively, but not actually made as much. This is something I’m working on as I have so many partially finished greeting cards that are eagerly waiting to find their way to my Etsy shop.

Update this blog. I'm not updating nearly as much as I thought I would. It's ok though because while my "maker's diary" isn't exactly 52 posts, I know what's snuck in are the quality moments with family and friends. This is permission to myself for skipping days because life happens quickly and I'll blog when I can.

Participate in Project 52. I had every intention of updating once a week. But when I look at my Project Life app, I'm actually tracking at least a photo a day and enough for a full 365 view. So we'll see when I'm ready to package the whole year, where this will all fit in.

So that’s it… this is where I am mid way through the year and I'm happy to say I am still working on everything. :)

How are you doing on your resolutions?

Cook More: Baked Eggs with Spam, Spinach, and Grape Tomatoes

Happy May! Ack! It’s May already! I've taken a short break from updating the blog because I had some work-related travel at the end of April. That also led me to get pretty ill and we're at the tail end of the whole family getting through it! I was highly contagious! After much rest and recovery, today, I’m back to share a baked eggs recipe adapted from the one pinned from Fit Foodie Finds. I added Spam, spinach, and grape tomatoes.

 Delicious and easy to make Baked Eggs with spam, grape tomato, and spinach.

Delicious and easy to make Baked Eggs with spam, grape tomato, and spinach.

I made this yesterday for Mother's Day. A day off for me is to be able to cook for my family... or at least attempt to. :) I made this brunch for my mom and family. It wasn't anything fancy but it just looked so beautiful with the different colors coming together in a muffin tin.

Spam may not be the healthiest with the sodium levels, but I've always been a fan. I became an even bigger fan when I went to Hawaii and ate Spam musubi for the first time. So once in a while, we'll have a meal with some Spam -- and it is a delicious one. To help with the saltiness, I don't add any additional salt to whatever I'm cooking and I add fruits to compliment the meal.

This recipe makes 6 baked egg muffins.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 3-4 ounces of diced Spam
  • 3 large grape tomatoes sliced in halves
  • 1 1/2 handfuls of roughly chopped spinach
  • unsalted butter
  • pepper
  • apple slices (garnish and compliment Spam)

Preparation

  • Generously rub muffin tin with unsalted butter.
  • Sprinkle a spoon full of diced Spam into each cup.
  • Layer chopped spinach leaves over spam.
  • Break eggs into each cup, carefully, keeping yolk intact.
  • Add one half of each grape tomato to each cup.
  • Add a chopped spinach leaf to the top.
  • Sprinkle some more Spam around the yolk.
  • Add fresh pepper and a very small smidgen of butter to the top of the Spam.

Cooking

Preheat oven at 350. Bake for 15-17 minutes depending on cooked you prefer the yolk. Serve with slices of apples and toast for a delicious and easy breakfast. So simple, so beautiful, and so delicious.

Get cracking those eggs!

Cook More: Toddler Meatloaf with Rolled Oats

I had always wanted to try making meatloaf but as an amateur cook, it seemed rather daunting with so many ingredients and the pressure of cooking it thoroughly but still keeping the inside moist and delicious.

 Freezable Meal: Toddler Moist Meatloaf Meatball with Rolled Oats Recipe

Freezable Meal: Toddler Moist Meatloaf Meatball with Rolled Oats Recipe

I adapted and tested out this pinned recipe for meatloaf made for the toddler in mind. Thank you, Modern Mom! I especially love the oats option in place of bread crumbs. Here's my adaptation.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup rolled oats (instead of any dry oatmeal)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup green peas and 1/2 diced tomatoes (optional veggies of choice)
  • Smashed diced tomato puree (instead of ketchup)
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Mix ground beef with rolled oats and egg with the best utensils: hands.
  2. Add veggies and shape into meatballs.
  3. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray and place each meatball in each.
  4. Top off with smashed tomato puree for a baked on ketchup.

Cooking

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tin in oven and bake for 50 minutes.

  Freezable Meal: Toddler Moist Meatloaf Meatball with Rolled Oats Recipe

Freezable Meal: Toddler Moist Meatloaf Meatball with Rolled Oats Recipe

Break meatball in half and serve to toddler along with some chopped lightly blanched spinach for a deliciously moist and healthy meal. I freeze the rest of the batch and steam heat them for lunch or dinner for the babe.

The inside stays moist from the diced tomatoes and peas. I forgot some onions, so I'll definitely be trying this again with onions and carrots.

Happy baby belly!

 

Cook More: Spinach Mushroom Onion Cheddar Muffin Quiche

Continuing my quest to cook more, I tried out another pinned recipe this weekend. Great for breakfast on the go, this Food.com recipe is the perfect bite-size savory morning treat.

 Spinach Mushroom Onion Cheddar Muffin Quiche from Food.com recipe in real life.

Spinach Mushroom Onion Cheddar Muffin Quiche from Food.com recipe in real life.

Ingredients

  • 9 eggs
  • 1 (10 ounce) bag Baby Spinach
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 10 button thinly sliced mushrooms (added this ingredient)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  • Lightly grease muffin tin and set aside.
  • Saute the chopped onions in a pan with a drizzle of oil. Before onions are cooked through and translucent, add mushrooms. Lastly add spinach until it is just slightly wilted.
  • Crack eggs in a bowl and beat as if making scrambled eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Into the greased muffin cups.
  • Add a spoon of the onions, mushrooms, and wilted spinach in each cup.
  • Top with 1 tablespoon each of shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Then ladle enough egg mixture into each muffin cup to fill the tin about 2/3 full.

Cooking

Preheat oven to 375. Bake little quiches for 10-20 minutes. Depending on the size of your muffin tin cups it may be more or less. My mini ones cooked throughly around 15 minutes.

Let your quiche-muffins cool for 10 minutes in the pan. They come out fairly easily, and just pickup with a wooden spoon and put in a plate to finish cooling and serve.

This was my first time making a quiche and what I learned is that you can pretty much saute and add anything to it in place of the veggies above. By the way, did you notice my laziness in getting already chopped red onions instead of having to chop them myself? It saves time and it's easier. It's still fresh and organic, so why not? I'm so glad I found this recipe.

Eggs are a wonderful food!

Cook More: Pear Banana Blueberry Muffins

Staying committed to cooking more means more simple and quick recipes that work for adults and babies. In my search for a baby-friendly breakfast muffin, I came across this awesome sugar-free apple banana blueberry muffin recipe from Bluebird Kisses.

 Pear Banana Blueberry Muffin (No sugar added) Recipe adapted from BlueBird Kisses. Ingredient not shown above is the pear.

Pear Banana Blueberry Muffin (No sugar added) Recipe adapted from BlueBird Kisses. Ingredient not shown above is the pear.

I adapted the recipe to suit my needs:

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup of grated pear (instead of apple)
  • 1/2 cup of apple juice (instead of 1/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup of fresh or frozen wild blueberries (instead of 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • (no cinnamon)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Preparation

  1. Melt butter. Peel bananas. Grate 1 whole pear (maybe 2 depending on size of pears).
  2. Mash the ripe bananas, add the melted butter, egg, apple juice and grated pear and whisk everything together.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sift together.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk some more. Add the blueberries.
  5. Scoop mixture into the muffin tray.

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (instead of 370 as I found that this worked better on my oven) and grease a muffin tray (I used butter and mini cupcake tray). Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Break a muffin in half. Serve with a side of yogurt and steamed pear for a yummy and moist breakfast. My 15-month old loves it.

Yummy!

 

Designing a Small Space Custom Craft Closet

For years, I've assembled several pieces of furniture to make the perfect scrapbook and craft studio. That worked well in an apartment for one and that worked ok in an apartment for two. Space is much more limited with a baby and my craft furniture footprint took up too much room. Safety is also a constant concern. After much research and countless hours pinning dream studios, I finally invested in a built-in custom craft closet to house my studio.

 Small Space Custom Craft Closet: Small Space Sewing and Crafting Space

Small Space Custom Craft Closet: Small Space Sewing and Crafting Space

  Small Space Custom Craft Closet: Small Space Sewing and Crafting Space

Small Space Custom Craft Closet: Small Space Sewing and Crafting Space

I essentially designed a compact and efficient craft headquarter that would allow for all of my crafting tools and materials be stored in a 6 feet x 3 feet footprint hidden behind doors. A reasonable dining-table size footprint in a small apartment, designed with pull out drawers and work surfaces. The beauty is that everything can be easily tucked back in and out of sight when not in use. More importantly, little fingers won't be tempted! :)

More about the design process later this month!

I would be remiss if I didn't express my love for my nifty Scrapbox Workbox. It's been the home for all my crafting goodies for 4 good years.

What is your dream craft studio, maker space, or scrapbooking nook?

Make Your Own MacBook Wood Grain Vinyl Decal

I first saw the talented Melinda of Meiling's Mailings create her own MacBook Air vinyl decal. In just a few steps, using some left over gold vinyl, I created a partial wood grain decal so the laptop would look like it is morphing from wood. I really like the juxtaposition of the metallic gold and silver with the wood grain texture. What do you think?

 Make Your Own MacBook Wood Grain Vinyl Decal with Silhouette Cameo

Make Your Own MacBook Wood Grain Vinyl Decal with Silhouette Cameo

Step 1: Draw a wood grain pattern. Take a photograph of it and open it in Silhouette Studio. Trace it. Adjust points to smooth some of the jagged edges.

Step 2: Follow the Silhouette directions [http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/how-to/?slug=vinyl] to cut vinyl. They’re rather straightforward but truth be told, I had a lot of trouble loading the vinyl without a mat. In theory, it should be fine but because the vinyl is rolled up, it tends to point downward instead of feeding. Not a problem though because I just used the same steps but instead of loading without a mat, I cut just enough vinyl and stick it to the mat before running it through the machine.

Step 3: Apply the decal to the front of the laptop using either a scraper or credit card and enjoy!

 Make Your Own MacBook Wood Grain Vinyl Decal with Silhouette Cameo

Make Your Own MacBook Wood Grain Vinyl Decal with Silhouette Cameo

Materials: Silhouette Cameo, gold vinyl, and transfer paper

What are you making?

Minimizing Practically: The Wardrobe

As posted in January, I am learning to live minimally, in a way that works for my family. I am beginning with reorganizing, reducing, reusing, and recycling anything unnecessary. I want to do more with less and really only keep things I need and love, starting with one of my biggest problems, the wardrobe. Going from years of everyday traditional business setting to a business casual setting and now a casual setting, along with the changing pregnancy body last year, I accumulated too much clutter in my closet.

As part of my reduction process, I researched paring down to a minimalist closet. I came across so many great blogs that have been through this journey before. Here are a few guides that have inspired me to take action:

Be More with Less’ Project 333
Becoming Minimalist’s Practical Guide to Owning Fewer Clothes
Unfancy’s Capsule Wardrobe
House for Five’s

And this little gem I came across on Pinterest on how to organize your closet.

I purged more than half of my closet; selling some, donating a ton, and recycling a lot more. It felt great! I haven’t quite reached the 33, 37, or 30 piece closet but I’m experimenting and will continue to prune.

My goal is to get to 50 pieces total for an all year round wardrobe with all weather essentials, including shoes and outerwear, excluding home and gym clothes. Let’s see how that goes!