… for the two pounds of post-wedding weight I managed to lose by revisiting an old friend: Special K Blueberry. When I make myself eat breakfast I make better food choices all day, and if you put the word “blueberry” on any product I’ll buy it.
… for Holiday! Trees! in my office! They make me feel as though I’m working in a wonderland. I wish I could leave them up all year, although then they wouldn’t feel quite so special.
… for holiday ornaments given to me as gifts over the years, which remind me every year to touch base with old friends that I have fallen out of touch with.
… for the availability of two-day shipping on the holiday photo cards I meant to order all week and still haven’t sent in. Today will be the day!
… for a cold winter morning exactly 10-years ago, when I looked into the eyes of my baby boy for the first time and it gave rise to the fiercest swell of emotion I have ever felt – a feeling that has shaped every single day of my life since.
The boy is officially turning 10 years old this coming weekend, but since he’ll be at his dad’s house we’re celebrating tonight. The impending double-digits are bittersweet for me. I’m one of the (seemingly) rare mothers who enjoys the school-age stage of parenting way more than I ever enjoyed the baby or toddler stages. That’s not to say that I wish away his childhood, but I’m not crying into the birthday cake icing either, if you know what I’m saying.
This particular jump into the double-digits affected me a little bit, though, and it came completely out of the blue. It could be because I realize he’s closer to being a legal adult now than he is to the day he was born. It could also be because at (almost) 10 years old he’s decided to start exercising his right to stay home alone rather than run to the store with me sometimes. Or maybe it’s that I know that “teenage boy body odor” isn’t long on the horizon. I’ve heard the tales.
Nevertheless, tonight we celebrated his still odor-free advancement into the double-digits – and he’s just like his mom in that he’ll take a pan of gooey, chocolatey brownies any day over a big fancy birthday cake. This is one of the tell-tale signs that we share all the DNA that matters.
These aren’t just any old brownies. In the past they were. In the past they were just any old brownies. Now, though, we make spectacular brownies – and I owe it all to digital scrapbooking because on one fateful day back in April of 2009, Katrina of Tiny Toes Designs posted a recipe for these brownies in a thread at My Scrapbook Art and my pants have never fit the same since.
If you are a brownie lover like we are, I urge you to make these and then tell me that you could ever make a boxed mix of brownies again. They’re not any more difficult than preparing a box mix – it’s just that instead of a big mixing bowl you use a saucepan on a stove, where you get to witness chocolatey goodness in the making. Why would you want lumpy, grainy brownie batter when you could have rich, molten chocolate lava batter?
Don’t you want to be good to yourself? Don’t you deserve this? Of course you do. You owe it to yourself.
While they’re still warm from the oven you ice them. Don’t even think about skipping the icing because it’s the best part of this whole experience.
It’s a thin liquid chocolate that spreads across the surface of the still warm brownies to create this glass-like layer of chocolate awesomeness.
So when you cut into them, the icing runs all down the sides screaming “Get out your stretchy pants!!” because that’s exactly what you’re going to need.
And that’s exactly what birthdays are all about.
Plus the obligatory Todd Shot – the “Who Wore It Best” Edition:
Car Wash Brownies
(note: I have no idea why they’re called Car Wash Brownies but I don’t even need to know…)
1 cup margarine
4 Tbsp cocoa
1 cup water
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup sour milk (add lemon juice)
2 cups sugar
½ cup margarine
¼ cup milk
4 Tbsp cocoa
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F
Mix in a pot the margarine, cocoa and water, bringing to a boil. Remove from heat and add flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir until combined. Add milk, sugar and eggs last. Mix well and pour into 9×13 pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until it tests done.
Bring margarine, milk and cocoa to a boil. Take off stove, add icing sugar. Stir until combined add vanilla. Mix with beaters until smooth, then pour over lukewarm brownies.
It’s officially Christmas at One Little Bird World Headquarters.
Sisko’s so excited that he dug out his sparkly hat.
You had to know that was coming.
Scrapping a page for my Year of Weekends project has become one of the things I look most forward to every Monday evening when I get home from work. It’s a little indulgence, sitting down to put these little weekend thoughts down onto a page and blowing the digital dust off my scrapbooking supplies. There’s no pressure to these pages, so they seem to organically come together like magic.
The overhead lights at HuHot, the new Mongolian Grill in town – an impromptu stop while out Christmas shopping for Heather. It’s only the first week of December and already I feel the beginnings of holiday burn out. I’ve just barely gotten started. The perfectionist in me wants to give everything 100%, but that flies directly in the face of the spontaneous nature of the holiday season. “Surviving December” has become my new mantra because I go through this every year yet still seem to be completely blindsided by it. This year I resolve to post date an email to myself – one to be opened at the same time next year reminding me January is right around the corner and accomplishing ten things at 50% is better than nothing at all.
Timesaver for Smartphone Camera Users
One of the big perks of upgrading my phone a few months ago is that I gained an 8.0MP camera in the process. It has it’s obvious limitations when it comes to low-light or action photography, but my go-to camera is a giant Nikon D50 with a big Speedlight on the top which isn’t exactly inconspicuous or easy to store in your purse. The high-res camera on my phone has allowed me to take more photos of day to day happenings, and they’re often the photos I use when scrapping my Year of Weekends pages.
Normally I still would have avoided using my phone’s camera in the past because I’m not great about hooking my phone up to retrieve the photos – but Dropbox for Android has revolutionized my life in that regard because after I take a photo I can immediately bring it up on screen, select “Share” and there’s a “Dropbox” option right in the Share dialogue. The photo goes to the Photos folder on my Dropbox account and from there I can access it on my desktop computer and/or laptop the next time I sit down to work – no cords required. I use Dropbox for a few other purposes but I have to admit that transferring photos from my phone is where it gets the most use.
Yes, I COULD email the photo to myself, but that’s actually more steps on my phone, and then I still have to save the file from my email, and I’d have to do it again to get the file onto my laptop – OR save it to my Dropbox folder so that I can access it on both, so why not cut out the middle man and send it straight to Dropbox? Work smarter, not harder.
I share this because if you have a smartphone and you take pictures on it, utilizing Dropbox (the basic account is free) will make your workflow more efficient. They have a mobile app for all major smartphone operating systems, and the PC/Mac application is a really quick install and effortless set-up. As the number of web-capable devices that I own continues to rise I’m always looking for easy ways to keep my information accessible between all of them and I can’t say enough good things about Dropbox for accomplishing this for me.
About This Project
A Year of Weekends is an ongoing album project that embodies my desire to stay grounded in the everyday unsung moments that make up the weekends of my life while also giving me a playground to express myself through design and storytelling – without any pressure to be poignant or a trendsetter. My goal is to always design these pages around products I already own or designed myself, which allows me to revisit some of my favorite kits and products and either use items for the first time or see previously used products in a whole new light. Sometimes the pages will be irreverent, other times they’ll be serious or emotional, but all of them are created in celebration of the extraordinarily ordinary moments that fill the 48 hours of each weekend.
Feel free to join in and post links to your own pages in the comments. Don’t worry about what products you use, all stories are welcome.
If you haven’t already heard, Leora Sanford ( blog | store ) is hosting her 25 Days of Christmas event on her blog again this year featuring 25 daily posts showcasing some of the most talented artists in all mediums – not just digital scrapbooking. Each post talks a bit about the featured artist, offers some tips and tricks to jumpstart your creativity, and – best of all – gives you the chance to win FREE! STUFF!
I am beyond honored to be sponsoring Day 3 of her 25 Days of Christmas event.
I was first introduced to Leora through Liz at Paislee Press when they collaborated together. I had heard of Leora, obviously, but hadn’t worked with her products yet. To say that I was smitten with her would be an understatement – Leora spoke my language from her color choices to every last detail of her elements. A little while later she asked me to join her Creative Team and I threw myself at her shamelessly. Playing hard-to-get has never been my strong suit.
Leora says all sorts of embarrassingly awesome things about me in her post today even though I didn’t pay her any extra money to do that. Pop over to her blog and leave a comment to win one of two sets of my 12 Days Album and 12 Days Word Art. You can see how I’m using the 12 Days Album in my post from earlier today: 1st Day of Christmas
You have until tonight at 9pm MST / 12pm EST to enter on her blog. They’re quick giveaways – because they’re daily, yo!
And even if you aren’t one of the lucky winners, there is also a coupon code on her blog for 20% off these products through January 15th, so those of you that would like to create a holiday album along with me this season can use that code to purchase your products and save a little bit of money.
Happy Holidays, and good luck! I’ve seen the sponsor list for her entire 25 Days of Christmas event and it’s an amazing line-up of artists from all across the Internet. Check in with her daily for your chance to win a ton of cool stuff.