getting back to that May project

Back in May, when I was tackling the 31 things project, I think I mentioned that I had stuck with making the lists every day but hadn't necessarily done so well at creating the actual layouts. The past couple of days though, I've knocked out a couple of more in an attempt to play a little catch up. Doing layouts for the Design Challenges class has me excited to scrap again (and hopefully get some September project life knocked out as well.) For the May fourteenth layout, I went classic black and white with papers from my LBD kit

and for the fifteenth, I used cards from the Boyish Filler Cards set.

See the rest of my 31 Things layouts (and download the templates) here.


overlay share

In my blog perusing this morning, I stumbled on this post from Squirrelly Minds and the fun graphic overlay reminded me of a set of photo/journaling card overlays I created awhile back (and on checking the save date, it was over a year...crazy how time flies!) This is just a single 6 x 4" psd file with all 6 overlays on individual layers - just drag to your photo to resize/recolor. If you'd like to download for your own use, grab it here!


in which I knit

I haven't shared any knitted projects in ages. I've done a handful of simple projects...scarves and the like - plain knitted rectangles that are satisfying no-look knits that I can work on while I read or watch TV. My sister asked me to knit a few hats and headbands for her coming-in-November  baby girl so I directed her to some yarn, had her buy what she liked and got to work putting some things together. A couple of weeks later and here we are:

I forgot how much I love baby knits. So fast and inevitably cute. A shrug/hat combo, nordic inspired with tassels, a bunny hat (that still needs some ribbon for those ears) in anticipation of Easter and red and white stripes that will surely be used for some Christmas portraits. I'm about halfway through the yarn she purchased so I have a couple more enjoyable weeks ahead of me. Then, who knows? Maybe I'll tackle a real project for someone in my own house! I know Izzy has her heart set on a monster hat so I see stripes and tassels and felt eyes in my future.


Big Picture Classes Design Challenges

Winner: Congratulations, Bonnie! Please email me so I can send you the information for joining the class - enjoy!

I so totally enjoyed being a part of the Phone Photography class a couple of months ago so when Elizabeth asked me if I'd like to contribute to a challenge blog as part of the Design Challenges class, I jumped at the chance! 

I've been less than productive when it comes to scrapbooking recently (which makes me sad) but these challenges have me scrapping again and even more importantly, really enjoying it! I've pared down to the essentials, really honed in on the digital + paper mix that I find most satisfying and recorded some stories and moments that are important to me.

Here are the details:

Design Challenges
12 inspired scrapbooking prompts to cure creative block taught by Elizabeth Dillow
Starts 9/26/2013 $25

Class Description
Take the challenge(s)! Create twelve sensational scrapbook pages in four weeks, with Elizabeth Dillow, Erica Hernandez, and Stacy Julian as your creative muses. Design Challenges is back for its third run, and it's here to help you conquer creative block (and other artistic ailments).

Elizabeth Dillow was the force behind our summer blockbuster workshop, The Phone Photography Project. Now, in this month-long design journey, she'll help you tackle a dozen scrapbooking prompts that will have you scrapbooking with style, simplicity, and profound purpose.

In twelve downloadable handouts, Elizabeth will share two innovative scrapbook pages based on each of her twelve prompts, from "Challenge 1: Adapt a Familiar Form" to "Challenge 12: Embrace Fine Lines." A live classroom blog will include two bonus spins on each challenge, but with a fun new twist: these layouts will feature iPhone photos exclusively. (Just in case you need 24 excuses to get more of your photos off of your phone and into your scrapbooks!)

read rest of description here.

Class starts in just two more days and I have a spot to share! Simply leave a comment (I'd love to hear what topic or even you're looking forward to documenting next) and I'll announce a winner tomorrow, the 25th at 8 EST!


eating this week

Winners from last week? The minestrone was delicious. I subbed onion for the leek, sweet potato for the squash and vegetable broth for the water. I also added some barley. The wild rice and carrots was surprisingly good for being such a simple recipe. The roasted tomato ravioli was AMAZING. So much so that I switched it up a bit and made it again yesterday (bumping the ricotta spinach pasta for a later date.) The broccoli cheddar pot pies? Eh. Kind of bland, actually. Promising with some changes perhaps...add sauteed onion and garlic for starters and maybe just a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

For this week, I have a feeling I'm going to be a bit scattered so I'm sticking mainly with things we've had before - mainly quick fixes.

MONDAY lentil tacos
TUESDAY sweet potato + quinoa salad
WEDNESDAY roasted cabbage w/ brown rice
THURSDAY spaghetti + salad
FRIDAY tomato avocado grilled cheese
SATURDAY quinoa nachos
SUNDAY pizza


and then my barely five-year-old lost a tooth

(Did that scare you?)

A few days ago, her bottom right tooth popped free. Is this normal? It seems premature. So, I googled and found that it's not the norm but it's not unusual either. Five weeks from first wiggle to tooth fairy time. The day we discovered it, Izzy wanted to let me mom know. This is the video we texted her. It's adorable.

IMG 2096 from Erica Hernandez on Vimeo.

(This was taken after the tearful conversation where we talked her down from being scared and hyped her up with the promise of impending fairy money.)


eating this week

I got out of the habit of sharing my dinner plans each week but I'm most certainly still creating a plan each week. It's been such a great habit for me over the past couple of years. The combination of switching to a vegetarian diet + planning meals for the week has seriously lessened my stress level at 5 pm each day. Having four people ask me on "what's for dinner" (sometimes before they've even finished breakfast...often multiple times a day) on a daily basis is stressful and annoying. Having an answer lessens that stress. A bit.

While I assign a meal to each day, usually each night I look at the meals I still have left for the week and based on time and energy, pick the one that works best. I also throw in one or two lunch items as well as a dessert. Most afternoons, I just grab leftovers or a sandwich at lunch but a couple of times a week, I like to sit down with an actual "meal."

I use pinterest, a couple of tried and true cookbooks and a handful of recipe-less favorites to come up with a plan but I find looking at past menus helps me thrown something together even faster; something that helps me mix old favorites with new recipes in a way that ensures everybody will be happy at least most of the week. I don't save past weeks' menus on my computer so having them easy to access here is a great way to speed up my planning time.

I've been working my way through some Cooking Light recipes I saved last month when I tried out Next Issue (tangent, I did a 30 trial and fell in love with this service! I'll definitely be subscribing when I find myself with a little extra fun money) so a good amount of these recipes are new to us and hopefully will be winners I can add to the regular rotation. I would love to get to the point where I'm planning a month at a time so I can develop weekly shopping lists ahead of time just adding the necessities as required. I'm realizing now that this whole week, with the exception of the stir fry (which is different every time I make it) and the pizza are new recipes.

SO. For this week:

MONDAY late summer minestrone with butternut squash and corn
TUESDAY broccoli cheddar pot pies + salad
WEDNESDAY tomato ravioli + garlic bread
THURSDAY wild rice and carrots + green beans with lemon mint dressing
FRIDAY veg stir fry w/ brown rice
SATURDAY ricotta spinach pasta + salad
SUNDAY pizza

LUNCH fattoush salad
BREAKFAST/SNACK chai banana bread // homemade fruit bars


new 2014 calendars in the shop

I'm really excited about these new kits in my etsy shop. A simple idea to be sure but I love having the option of printing BIG, inexpensive calendars for a variety of uses.

There are three 24x36" design options as well as a combo that includes all three files at a reduced price.

The classic calendar is a simple, graphic design with lines for making notes or keeping track of important dates or milestones.
The insta calendar is perfect for displaying 4x4" instagram or other square photos. I think this would be such a fun way to display monthly photos of a new baby growing or featuring a special person (birthday? anniversary?) each month. Add all of the photos at the beginning of the year or add them month-by-month.
The kid version provides patterns and 3D lettering perfect for coloring. ALL of my nieces and nephews are going to get one of these along with some crayons or markers for Christmas. Such a fun way for them to personalize their rooms!

Izzy already got her hands on that one (I kind of love that she went for coloring the spaces in between the circles rather than the circles themselves...I never would have considered that.)

I had all three of these printed at Staples for $10 total. Keep in mind that these files can be printed in any manner you choose. *I* like the option of printing them cheap and plentifully. These are printed on a plotter meant mainly for engineering drawings - line drawings - so the quality isn't super fantastic but for the price and my plans for them, it's the exact right price. For a big block of black (the classic version) there may be some ghosting but it doesn't bother me in the least. Here's a quick visual to show how I ordered from Staples (and picked them up the same day!)

from the sidebar, select Copy & Print > Banners & Signs etc...
choose Engineering Prints
select your size ($3.59!)
and again choose Engineering Prints (redundant, yes?)
upload your file
from the Media pop out, ensure that 24 x 36 is selected
and that the proper orientation is selected 
Name your job (you can upload multiple files at the same time) and Add to Cart. That's it. Now wait a couple of hours and go pick them up.

Or, you know, just take it in on a thumb drive ;)

Now, you have no excuses for being super productive. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.


Picture Everyday Giveaway

Giveway winner:

So, school took more out me me/the kids than I intended! But random.org tells me that libbywilco is the winner!

Hopefully, I can get back in the groove tomorrow. I'm cautiously optimistic ;) Hope you all are enjoying your weekend!


The kids start school tomorrow. TOMORROW, people. That's three kids in school ALL DAY LONG.

I'm not going to apologize for the all caps yelling because this is a REALLY BIG DEAL. I've been a mom now for eleven years and have never been alone in my own house for as long as I will be tomorrow.

It's going to be bittersweet walking away from that school after waving goodbye to my newly minted kindergartner. She's going to rock it though so I'm not at all anxious for her. Me though? Totally different story. I'm fairly certain tomorrow will be spent in an alternating cycle of euphoria and sadness and anticipating all of the new ways I can be productive and active and better. I have things that need to be part of a regular schedule now that my excuses of limited time have been nullified. The house will be immaculate now, right? At least between the hours of 9 and 4 this house will run like a top. Some of those "honey do" list items can be knocked off so Carlos isn't quite so burdened by my never-ending list of minor house projects.I can expand my thrice weekly running routine to include a more diverse physical presence. My etsy shop can be resurrected with a vengeance and grocery shopping will be an absolute breeze. I can volunteer at the school and make uninterrupted phone calls. And I hope this doesn't sound selfish but I'm looking forward to being able to schedule in some me time as well. Without getting too philosophical, it's pretty easy to lose sight of yourself when life revolves around the needs and wants of three little people.

One of those me things is going to be this big picture class. The timing couldn't be better but the subject matter? Yeah, I'm ready to tackle something like this. The Phone Photography project was so perfect for capturing those summer moments with my kids and I feel like this will be the perfect way to usher in a new season - both on the calendar and in my life.

From the class description:
Your life is full of beauty, authenticity, and moments of magic just waiting to be captured in pictures. All it takes is the right perspective. In Picture Everyday, a new workshop from photographer Tracey Clark, you'll learn to see your world in a sublime new light—and to use your camera to tell the story of what you see. 
Through 30 surprisingly powerful photo prompts, dozens of inspiring images and videos, and eight weeks of gentle encouragement, Tracey will help you elevate your everyday—and fill your soul with gratitude along the way. You'll be focusing your lens on topics like Routine, Spaces, Places, Details, Connections, and Affections.

Pretty great, right? And, I have a spot to share with one of you! I'm a pretty recent convert to online classes and I want to tackle this one with gusto - I hope some of you will as well! I can't be the only one that's about to have some new-found freedom ;) Interested? Sure you are! Leave me a comment and I'll choose a winner Wednesday. Good luck! (And send me some happy thoughts tomorrow morning if you think of me ; Thanks a bunch.)


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