Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012...Hello 2013!

Happy New Year!

I thought it would be fun to take a quick look back at the top five most popular posts from 2012. After all, you should never forget where you came from! Before I leave you all to your festivities, I thought I'd wrap up the post by giving you some insight into what 2013 has instore for the Winslett family. But, first thing is first! Let's reminisce, shall we?

The Top Five!

Not too much of a surprise, three of the five top viewed posts were from my wedding series. I can't complain about that because I did spend a lot of time on those posts. 

Now then, as for 2013, what antics will R.J. and I be getting into? Well, we hope to start house-hunting soon which will be a scary BIG adventure! With house-hunting comes some other notable decisions/efforts for 2013. R.J. has been studying up for his CDL license in hopes of moving up at Buffalo Rock. Together, we've decided to tackle our finances for the coming year the good ole Dave Ramsey way. Our goal for January is not to eat out AT ALL for the whole month - gotta pay those student loans off somehow!

As for my contribution, I will continue to be working part-time at the daycare with my precious two-year-old class. However, the most notable upcoming change for me involves my stationary designing business. After having some confuse my Etsy shop with this blog, I decided to rename my official business to PaperLark Studio

I have decided to make PaperLark my second part-time job and go at it full throttle. While it may not seem like an earth-shattering announcement, it is a huge decision for myself - one which I am quite proud of. Previously this year, I had an experience in the workplace that rocked me to my core. I found myself lacking in self-confidence and severely questioning my abilities. 

Through my work with my Etsy shop and this blog, I have realized my new dream and rebuilt my confidence. While my old passion for writing has not been thrown to the wayside, I have found a way to incorporate both my love for writing and thirst for creativity into one dream - PaperLark Studio. With unrelenting encouragement and support from my husband and family, I now feel prepared to take the risk and run at my dream full-fledged again. 

So, what does this mean? More designs will be hitting the shop, craft shows galore, completing my business plan, learning the ins and outs of accounting for my business, some hefty marketing schemes and so much more exciting things! I hope each of you will support me in my future business venture and will look forward to working with you any way possible. Any and all prayers will be appreciated as will any advice or help!

As 2013 creeps closer, I hope you are as excited as I am for coming year and all it holds. May 2013 bring you and your loved ones thrilling adventures, lots of love and an abundance of blessings. 

Until next time!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

12 Dates of Christmas: RECAP!

Greetings readers!

Hiatus is officially over. Woot woot! So, jumping right in...

The 12 Dates of Christmas were so much fun and rewarding for us. Besides the fun you have already seen, we went Christmas light seeing, baked cookies, had a mini-Christmas party, decorated rice krispy houses and went to see a Christmas play at the local theater. 

The holidays are busy - plain and simple. With our "dates," we were able to slow down and enjoy our first married Christmas together.

As for Christmas itself, we had such a wonderful one. We feasted on wonderful food:

Spent it with our HUGE and beautiful family:

And Bentley (somehow) managed to be good enough this year to earn a visit from Santa:


I've got a small side story to wrap it all up for you. Among the toys Bentley received from Santa, he got a Grinch toy. The Grinch slips over an empty plastic bottle and makes glorious crinkling noises when played with. Of all toys, I think Bentley's favorite was the Grinch because it gets the most playtime. 

Yesterday morning, Bentley began crying in the bathroom. When I walked into the bathroom (after relentless wailing from my fur baby), I found this:

Poor Grinch had mysteriously found himself floating face down in the potty. Bentley - being a Yorkie - could not rescue Grinch from the potty because he was too little to reach him. As you can see from Bentley's face in this picture, it is a complete mystery how Grinch ended up in the potty or why Grinch would want to swim in the potty. Bad Grinch!

Until next time!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Just popping in!

Greetings my faithful readers!

I'm sure you've noticed I haven't been up on my blogging game this month. I promise I have not forgotten about you. For starters, the hustle and bustle of the holidays has gotten the best of me this year. Of course, I've been enjoying every minute of it!

I also got my feet knocked out from under me mid-hustle and bustle with a horrendous upper respiratory infection. I'm still in the process of getting over it. However, this crazy weather we have been having has not helped a bit.

I'd like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! And to let you know, that my short-term hiatus will be over next week. I've got a 12 Dates of Christmas recap for you and some recipes that have passed the husband taste test.

Now then, to help tide you over until after Christmas, here is a cute picture of Bentley's first play date with his new lady-friend Meeko. Aren't they adorable?!

Until next time!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear hubs, I had so much fun on our date tonight. Thank you for putting up with my crazy Christmas antics!  And you just made my day by confessing that you weren't paying attention because you were reading Roseanne's tweets on Twitter. Dear tomorrow, I am looking forward to getting our early Christmas present! You know you are an adult when you are this excited about getting your very first washer and dryer. Dear work, I may be having a little too much fun making Christmas crafts with two year olds. Dear sinuses, you are kicking my butt. That's not nice. Dear 2013, R.J. and I both hope that you hold a new house somewhere in your 365 days. We're ready to get settled, have more space and get Bentley an actual backyard. We're getting tired of walking him CONSTANTLY. Dear Bentley, you have a very good fur daddy. He didn't throw you out the window when you tinkled on his side of the bed the other day. Although, he has become more vocal about you getting neutered...

Until next time!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

The 12 Dates of Christmas: Christmas Ornaments

Welcome to our next date of the 12 Dates of Christmas! (If you missed the last one, don't worry! You can read it here.)

One evening after work, we both decided to unwind and spend time together on a 12 Dates of Christmas date. Our date of choice? Making Christmas ornaments!

I saw the idea for the first ornament on Pinterest and found a recipe to use with ingredients I already had. (You can find the recipe here.) When I saw the paw print impression ornament someone had done with their pooch, I really wanted to do one with Bentley! Surprisingly, he was really cooperative. 

I had some dough left over, so we got creative and made an ornament out of the impression of our wedding rings.  

We stuck them in the oven for about 20 minutes. While we waited, we made our last ornament together.

Our last ornament started a new tradition for our little family. I bought a simple, glass ball ornament and using a Sharpie, together we wrote our favorite memories from the past year onto the ball. 

Under each memory, I wrote the date so we can remember it for the future. Some of our favorite memories that made it onto the ball this year were: getting engaged, getting married, graduating college and Disney World! It was really wonderful to sit down together and talk about happy memories. This year has presented its fair share of challenges so it was nice to reflect on the positive and reminisce. Not to mention, it provided us with a good dose of laughter when remembering some things. We had so much fun doing it we'd like to make it a tradition to do every year. 

Curious to know how the other two ornaments turned out? Well, take a look!

Bentley's paw print ornament

Our ring ornament. Below the rings, it reads: 09.08.12
Bentley enjoyed making his ornament, but I think that's because he thought it was a treat. I had to move it up higher and put it on the opposite side of the tree because he kept begging for it. I think I even saw him licking his lips once while staring at it like he is below.

Until next time!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear husband, I love you. Thank you for completing your "honey-do" list in its entirety today. That makes you pretty darn awesome. Dear Bentley, please stop sticking your nose in the tissue paper stuffed in the gift bags under the tree. I know you like the crinkling sound the tissue paper makes, but the presents need to stay pretty. Also, why are you eating a dead leaf this very moment? Eww! Dear job, you've left me in need of a manicure. When I went to the bank today, I realized my nails were still covered in red and green paint from the handprint wreaths we made this morning. Dear sleep, I miss you! Dear 6 a.m., you STILL suck. Dear December, when I wake up, you will be here! FINALLY! If you are here, that means the 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family starts. That means channel 42 will be the ONLY channel on our television for the next month. Woohoo! Dear Amanda, you make some darn cute babies! Isn't my youngest niece ADORABLE?!   

Until next week,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ornaments, Nutcrackers and Stockings: A Peek at Our Christmas Home

Greetings readers!

It's time to share with you this year's Christmas decor and all those fun craft projects that made it all happen. (I told you - it is really is the BEST time of the year!) 

Our color scheme of choice for this year? Red and black to match our recent living room makeover, of course. I know black isn't typically a Christmas color, but it works. I promise! Of course, we have a sprinkling of green to accent our main colors as well. 

Our wrapping paper and gift tags are from Hobby Lobby. Each year after Christmas, I try to raid Hobby Lobby for next year's gift wrapping supplies because it is always at a really low and irresistible price. I really like the wrapping paper I found for this year because it has glitter on it and I love sparkly things. As for the ribbon, it is all leftovers from our wedding back in September. :)

Now then, Bentley asked me to share this ornament with you because it is his personal favorite. 

I received this ornament last year from my parents. Each year, we are given a Christmas ornament that usually reflects a significant event from the past year. I had brought home a furry, little three-month-old Yorkie the month before who stole the hearts of his fur-grandparents (and me!). Naturally, the arrival of their first fur-grandbaby had to be commemorated with an ornament. It is a tradition that I love and plan to carry it on with my children.

Next, I'd like to share my Christmas window with you! In our apartment, the living room has one HUGE window which offered me the perfect display for my nutcracker collection.

I collect nutcrackers. Each year, my mother gives me one so I've got a pretty impressive collection going now (all of them are not in the window).

To complete my display, I purchased some cardboard triangles from Hobby Lobby and stenciled "Merry Christmas" on them to make a banner. I got a little too excited about my project and took a picture of my window before it was completed. I'm sure you noticed I haven't placed the "Christmas" up yet. I did that last night though so don't worry!

Next on my Christmas craft list was my ribbon tree!

I used a basic tutorial from Stacy over at She's {kinda} Crafty to create my tree. Again, I used some red organza ribbon left over from our wedding. The other ribbon is also from Hobby Lobby which was a dollar a roll. 

To bring just a little bit more Christmas into our home, I tied some green, glittery ribbon to our red pillows. Now, they look like presents! No - the green ribbon was not left over from our wedding. HOWEVER, it was left over from gift wrapping. :)

My last Christmas craft was a door hanger. I have one for fall and thought it'd be cute to have a Christmas one as well. I used a cardboard letter ($1.49), some fuzzy ribbon ($3) and some left over gift wrapping ribbon to complete my Christmas "W." Isn't he cute?

Well, there you have it! The Winslett's first Christmas tree complete with decked halls. I'd love to see your Christmas decor so send some pictures my way. I'm already picking crafts for next year - like new stockings!

Thanks for reading. I've got a 12 Dates of Christmas date tonight with the Mr. which means you should be able to read about it soon!

Love Always!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Ultimate Etsy Christmas Gift Guide: For the Christmas Lover


Personalized Christmas Stocking: Red and White Collection
1) Personalized Christmas Stocking by Pink SlipInspiration - When I have children (and a fireplace for that matter), these stockings will be mine!

Set of 25 Linen Drawstring Advent Calendar Sacks/Bags

Personalised Heirloom Christmas Santa Sacks / Christmas Sacks

The Ultimate Etsy Christmas Gift Guide: For Pet Lovers


DIY Kit Cat Toy Simple and Fun to Sew
1) 5) DIY Kit Cat Toy Simple and Fun to Sew by misohandmade

HEAVY DUTY Webbing Dog Collar with Personalized Buckle
2) Heavy Duty Webbing Dog Collar with Personalized Buckle by LaserPets - I love this because Bentley is either chewing his name of his tag or completely losing it. Solves both those problems!

Doggie Dope Soap on a Rope - All Natural - BIG BAR of Soap - Dog Shampoo Bar with Essential Oils - Dog Bone - Dog Stocking Stuffer
3) Doggie Dope Soap on a Rope by DopeOnARopeSoap - Hehe! This is just cute!

The Ultimate Etsy Christmas Gift Guide: For the Harry Potter Lover

Harry potter Deathly Hallows iphone case, Iphone 4 Case, Black Wooden Iphone case, Iphone 4S case, for Iphone 4, 4s, 4g
1) Harry Potter Deathly Hallows iPhone 4 case by wesweetlife - This is just neat and it looks like real wood almost.

Hogwarts Alumni Harry Potter Geek Grey T-shirt Women's Girl's Ladies Tshirt Tee

Customizable Harry Potter Acceptance Letter with Hogwarts Express Ticket
3) Customizable Harry Potter Acceptance Letter by OutlawHeartPaperCo - Give the gift of Hogwarts this Christmas season. :)

The Ultimate Etsy Christmas Gift Guide: For the Zombie Enthusiast


I've Got A ZOMBIE PLAN Charm Bracelet For The Zombie Apocalypse
1) I've Got a Zombie Plan Charm Bracelet by PlayBox - This is pretty awesome, right?

Zombie Survival Kit - travel size - great gift for men, nerds, survivalists
2) Zombie Survival Kit by saplingnaturals - Specially designed soap to mask your human scent. A must have for a zombie apocalypse.

Walking Dead Zombie Funny T SHirt
3) Walking Dead Zombie Funny T-shirt by OutbreakApparel - Loving it!

**For the original gift guide post or to view other lists, click here!**

The Ultimate Etsy Christmas Gift Guide: For the Munchkins


Fort Building Kit
2) Fort Building Kit by aLittleParty - How stinkin' awesome is this?! I would've killed for a fort building kit when I was a kid. 

Girl Crayon Wallet - Happy Garden 2 - LAST ONE
3) Crayon Wallet by busybeezchickadeez - My future children are going to be so spoiled...

Monthly onesie Set in Pink, Blue, Red or Light Purple
4) Monthly Onesie Set by BumbleBabyDezigns - If your munchkin is a new arrival or still waiting to make an appearance, this gift would be adorable! I love the idea.

**For the original gift guide post or to view other lists, click here!**

The Ultimate Etsy Christmas Gift Guide: For the DIYer

make a leather wrap bracelet with turquoise beads: DIY KIT supplies & tutorial - turquoise and leather wrap bracelet
1) Leather Wrap Bracelet with Turqoise Beads by julysupply - These bracelets are so popular right now and I definitely wouldn't mind trying my hand at making one.

Lotion Bar Kit - Makes 12 Shea & Cocoa Butter Lotion Bars, Includes 3 Recipes - Kit - DIY Kit - Solid Lotion - Solid Lotion Bar
2) Lotion Bar Kit by AquarianBath - I just think these are neat. Lotion bars? I've never seen them which makes me want to try them out even more.

DIY HIS & HER Pillowcase Embroidery Kit
3) DIY HIS & HER Pillowcase Embroidery Kit by CuriousDoodles - While I haven't ventured into embroidery too much, this looks completely doable and absolutely adorable!

**For the original gift guide post or to view other lists, click here!**