Tuesday, February 14, 2012

January Card Club-Valentines

In celebration of Valentines Day, I decided to share a fun project that was working on. In my ward we have a card club that meets once a month. For the club we make cards and trade cards with each other. For example, you would make eleven cards that are the same and at the meeting you then trade with everyone and leave with eleven different cards.

I made these uber cute valentines but was not able to go to the meeting due to Milo getting his shots the day before. I thought it would be fun to show how I made them in the hopes of inspiring other card makers floating out there.

To start I got these adorable red polka dot cards from JoAnns in the dollar bins. Not a bad deal if you ask me, six cards for a dollar!

Using my cricut (sigh, I really do love my cricut) I out eleven 3" ovals in black cardstock and eleven shadow ovals in white. I also cut out red hearts in various sizes and the letters I would need for the valentines.

I then cut out 1/8" thick red strips and about 1/2" thick black strips.

I glued the black strip about  half way on the card and placed the red strip on top

I then glued the white and black ovals together and positioned them in the middle of the card as best I could.

Since the cards were Valentines Day themed I went with a fun flirty placement of "te quiero" accented with a couple of cute hearts.

So there you go, cute cards perfect for Valentines Day!

Next month is birthday cards so get excited!

Monday, February 13, 2012

I know you thought I left...

I know that it has been a while but having a new born in the house is quite time consuming. But I am pleased to report that we are all do well and thriving. It was a little hairy there for a while, had troubles breast feeding, had long stretches of postpartum depression and reflux but now I can honestly say that I am having fun with little Milo.

I knew that having a baby was going to be a life changing experience but I never fully understood how much it would change your life. There were days when I didn't feel like myself at all. It was almost like a mini identity crisis because where this once confident, strong, calm, eager woman now stood a hopeless wreck covered in spit-up poop and other body fluids that weren't her own. It was terrifying because I was not able to fully rest nor relieve stress in the ways I normally do (scrapbooking and most importantly working out) and I felt things spinning out of control. Christmas time was the worst. It was the darkest place I have ever been in and at the time it felt like I was never going to get out. But due to an amazing supportive husband (one that could deal with a bundle of crazy for hours on end) and soldiering on, I am now able to look back and snicker at the goofball curled up and crying on the floor because she just got spit up on. Now that the first couple months are behind us I can now fully enjoy my sweet little boy.

He has grown so much over the last couple of months and I am amazed at how much his personality is already showing. The other day Chaz was playing with him the the living room and stood up to go get something from the kitchen. The second he stepped out of Milo's view, Milo began screaming and crying. Chaz immediately came back and Milo was all smiles again. Milo is so sweet and I really do enjoy my days with him.

Since it has been a while here are some pictures of Milo up until this point...

What Chaz and I call the Turtle Face

Composing music in his sleep again

Even in his sleep he is always thinking. "Think. Think. Think."

Papa and son staring at the ceiling fan.

Just the smiley-ist boy you will ever find.
words can't not describe...

getting good at lifting that big o'le head

baby machinations...be afraid, be very afraid

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sweet Little Milo

Here are a couple of picture of baby Milo...

Milo Charles Wiltbank
8 lbs 13 oz
22 inches long

Tune in next time for the labor story, its pretty good.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Goof Proof Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

We had a recipe swap the other day for an enrichment activity and I thought why not share the recipe with my other friends that aren't in Chicago.

Now this is a recipe pasted down generations from a wise baker who spent years perfecting the perfect Pumpkin Chocolate cookie recipe. No not really! This recipe originates from the many visits to the Smith's bakery in West Jordan, Utah. Every fall my family would make frequent trips to the Smith's bakery for their seasonal pumpkin chocolate cookies. It never seemed like fall was here until we had those pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. It was not until we moved from Utah to Wisconsin that we began to venture into the idea of making our own pumpkin cookies. We looked in vain in Wisconsin for pumpkin cookies but we never were successful in finding the cookies that made it officially autumn.  On one fall visit back to Utah my father mentioned to one of the bakers at Smith's how much we loved the pumpkin cookies and they gave us the recipe. 

The amazing thing is that the recipe is so simple that I can give it to you in picture....

Got it?! ok done.

Just kidding. But it really is that simple. All you need is a spice cake mix, a can (about 15 oz) of pumpkin, an egg and chocolate chips-about 3/4 of a 12 oz bag(I like it best with semi sweet but different strokes for different folks). Set the oven to 350 and bake for about 12-15 min or how ever long it take for the middle of the cookie to spring back after you touch it gently in the middle. The size of the cookie will dictate how long it needs to stay in the oven. But I have found if the cookies are about the size of a golf ball it takes about 15 min. 

For most church functions I make a double batch, mostly because Chaz usually eats a half of a batch  before the cookies make it to church. Which is fine because there are usually none at the end of the potluck. 


Some experimentation I have done with this recipe includes:
  • Using a chocolate cake mix instead of spice cake. You don't get a very pumpkiny (yeah its a word) cookie but its still a great cookie in my book
  • Added another egg= gives the cookies a lighter cake like consistency but I still like the dense cookies you get with one egg. The consistency is closer to what you get when you buy the Smith's bakery cookies

Some experimentation I would like to do with this recipe:
  • Nix the chocolate chips, make the cookies a little smaller and use cream cheese frosting to make pumpkin whoopie pies. If you don't know what whoopie pies are you haven't lived.
  • Making the cookies in June. Chaz is convinced that the cookies would be great any day of the year. I just think it would be so weird eating them in the summer. You don't eat pumpkin pie on the 4th of July do you? It just doesn't seem right like a Kardashian on Jeopardy. But prove me wrong.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Baby Shower!

So incase any of you didn't know, I have the most amazing creative sisters ever. While planing the shower we had talked about a couple of ideas that I thought would be fun and they took those ideas and ran. First off, I am not a huge fan of baby shower entertainment, you know the ones, guess the celebrity by the baby picture or eating chocolate ice cream and candy bars from diapers....mmm no thanks. One of the ideas that I had that I thought would be fun is to decorate onesies. We did didn't have the budget for that so my sisters had people sign and leave messages on one set of onesies that will be framed and put in the nursery. So cute.

My sisters even managed to have the shower catered by our favorite Madison mexican restaurant, Pasquales. It was a taco bar that was pretty much like eating at the restaurant, needless to say we had no left overs.

Instead of a cake my sisters arranged for cupcakes, adorable! They got them from Gigi's cupcakes and yes that is at least one inches of frosting. mmmm.....

The biggest surprise were the party favors. All the guests got a baby measuring tape and these...

yes thats Chaz and I on M&M. How cool it that! The others say "its a boy" and "Milo Charles" But come on how awesome it this? 

For entertainment there was only one game and it was more of a challenge for Chaz and I. The game was based on the Newlywed game but we were asked baby questions. It was the perfect opportunity for Chaz to ham it up. The best question that got the best Chazien answer was, "At what age will Chaz teach baby Milo how to tie a tie?" I said...
Eight years

Chaz said....
Ten for regular, fourteen for bow
Aww Chaz, ya cheese ball. 

Next was opening presents which was so great. Thank you to everyone for all the great gifts that we got we are so greatful for your generosity. We love you guys.

It was such a great baby shower and I am just amazed that my sisters did this for me. They are so fantastic and I don't think I could ever thank them enough. They are just so wonderful and I am so thankful that I am a part of a family with the most amazing women for sisters. Milo will have the best aunties ever!

P.s. Thanks to Kata, Victoria and Kristina for all the pictures, this post would not be without you.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Nursery....

Well, to start I knew I wanted animals to be invovled in the decortating of baby Milo's room, I just didn't know what kind. And so started the quest of figuring out which animals I would be using in the nursery. I decided to start my journey in making toy animals and see where that would take me.  Well, it lead me straight to the wonderful world of amigurumi. Amigurumi are knitted, but mostly crocheted animal dolls that are quite popular in Japan but are making quite the impression here in the states. There are quite a few books that I found at the library on amigurumi and even more websites with free instructions. 

I bought Amy Gaines book Little Knitted Creatures....

and spent days making these little friends. 

I really wanted to use buttons for eyes but that is not entirely safe for little ones so I embroidered ones instead. After looking at the various little animals in the book I decided that I liked the forest animals the best. My favorite being the rabbit pattern I got from 


I still have more animals that I am making but they aren't quite finished yet. I am even making a pattern of my own to look like my dog Chips, I will post them when they are finished.


Now that I had a theme, I needed to pick colors. Aqua blue and kiwi green were my first pick and it stuck pretty well. I think the deciding factor was the rug we found at ikea. Chaz and I had gone to ikea to find bookcases and stopped by the rugs to see what they had. What we liked were these bright 2' x 2' carpet squares in various bright colors. On their own, these squares to were too small but if you got four of them connected together it was a decent sized carpet. To keep things playful, Chaz and I got two blue squares and two green ones. We put them together using ducked tape. Crafty, I know...

Next came the crib. Chaz and I really liked the cribs they had at ikea because they came in the colors that we wanted to use but they were on recall for safety issues so we are barrowing Ann's (my mother-in-law) crib. Its the same crib that Chaz slept in, which I thought was pretty cute. 

I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to make a quilt for the crib because I had never made a whole quilt before, but when I found a kit at Jo Ann's that had the right shades of green and blue, I couldn't say no. I was actually quite pleased with myself because after about a week and a half the quilt was done and sitting in the crib.

I knew that I wanted to make my own mobile because I felt silly paying so much money on something that would only be used for a short while, plus I felt like I could make a pretty cute one. Diving into my new found love of amigurumi, I found an adorable bird pattern in Amigurumi Toy Box by Ana Paula Rimoli, and made different sized and colored birds.  I then tied the birds to and embrodiery hoop and hung that on a garden hook. I then wrapped it in cute green ribbon and secured it to the crib with zip ties. It doesn't spin and it doesn't play music but I think its still pretty cute. 

I also painted green and blue striped letters that spelled out Milo...

But my favorite part of the nursery are the paintings. While looking for patterns for amigurumi animals, I came across Amy Gaines etsy store. She sells patterns that are not found in her books and I found these little guys...

I bought the pattern and am currently making the beaver and the raccoon (plus I am trying to figure out how to make a badger) but what a really liked was the background she used to display the stuffed animals. I took what she did in the display and made two large paintings to flank the sides of the crib....

I really like the bunny.

With the paintings done the room was pretty much finished. I did meet my goal of getting it done before the baby shower and here is the final product... 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Epic Tale of Baby Milo

Well it all started in February, I'm sure you can guess when in February....

*hint: not Ground Hogs Day
We don't need to get into the details...hee-hee, but needless to say it happened but I had no idea for at least two months because I was working at the state capitol as a page for the state senate and, for those of you that didn't know, for the month of February and some of March my place of work looked like this...

and this...


It really wasn't that bad at the time but I am pretty sure I have PTSD because of it.  My heart does race little anytime I hear crowds of people chanting or drums pounding in unison. But enough about that. 

So, we didn't know for almost two months because I was so distracted by work but I am impressed that little Milo made it through such a stressful time. He's a little fighter that one. Its is a little interesting that I am unconsciously fixated on putting my little ones through a stress test. With the first is was a half marathon (which might have proved to be too much) and with Milo it was the protest of the year. Either way I am so glad that my Milo is a fighter, just like his mama. 

Just as we were finding out about little Milo, we had more life changing decisions to make. Chaz had applied to several companies in hopes for a summer internship and these companies responded with full time job interviews. He had several interviews, one with IBM, one with a local software company and one with a patent law firm in Chicago. 

I went with Chaz to Chicago for his interview and even though I was a little tired, well really tired all the time, we had a pretty good mini vacation.
While Chaz continued interviewing with company after company, I was well into first trimester symptoms. Nausea was not a problem but fatigue was...

Chaz would often find me asleep on the couch

and apparently it was contagious...

even little Bullet couldn't escape the overwhelming need to sleep.
the rest of March and April was spent sleeping and eating. I probably gained a little bit more weight than I needed to but food is just so good...mmm food.

My first pregnancy was a no-go so we waited until Milo made it thru the first trimester before we started telling family and friends. The last time we told people and literally the next day we lost it, so we wanted to make sure we knew for certain before we started spreading the news. As May neared closer, Chaz and I got more and more excited that at the reality that we can start telling people about the baby.

Since I was a little unsure about when I had my last cycle, again work was really stressful, my doctor had us get an ultrasound to find out how far along I was in the pregnancy. I had an ultrasound done in May and Milo was measuring at 13 weeks. 

5/13/11: Baby Milo at 13 weeks 4 days

Along with getting our first glimpse of Milo, Chaz was getting offers for jobs starting in the summer. His original plan was to get his PHD but with the job offers coming in and after lots of praying and fasting we decided to take the job offer in Chicago. So, now along with the excitement of telling people we are having a baby we also had news of new jobs and moving.

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff (MBHB), a patent law firm, wanted Chaz to start at the end of May right after graduation. We found an apartment in the south loop of Chicago and we started packing.

Around 14 weeks Pregnant and in the thick of packing. 

We moved into our new apartment on the first of June. Chaz would go into work everyday I would unpack and settle the house. Since I really didn't have much to do we were unpacked in four days, the fastest I have ever unpacked in any move. 

June: Around 16 weeks, no bump yet.
Toward the end of June we had the Wiltbank family reunion in Fort Robinson, Nebraska. It was in Nebraska that I felt Milo kick for the first time, it was so amazing. I knew he was in there but now its really obvious he is there. One of the activities was to hike the bluffs, due to baby Milo, I only hiked up one bluff but it was definitely fun and exciting.

June: Around 18 weeks, down from the bluffs with a slight bump!
July was an exciting month because Chaz's insurance finally was activated. I should have gone in for an ultrasound around 18 weeks to figure out growth and sex but with the new job, our insurance was not yet ready. We had to wait until July before I could meet with my doctor and get that ultrasound. After one night of no sleep because I was so excited, we got our ultrasound.

Baby Milo around 20 weeks

After a lot of  hunting and searching, apparently Milo was lying on his side with his legs closed making it impossible to see, the technician told us that we were having a little boy. Chaz and I were so excited and we immediately knew what his name would be. Not only are we naming the baby after Chaz's father but also his great grandfather, so Milo will be Milo Charles Wiltbank III. How cool is that! I knew that I wanted the name Milo before we knew we were having a boy and I am so glad that we are able to use the name right away. We did have to keep the name a secret for a while just to make sure that it was the name we really wanted. As we became certain it was the name we wanted, we began to tell family and friends and they were just as excited as Chaz and I.

July: Around 22 weeks, bump is getting bigger.
August came and went without any serious events. Chaz continued to make progress in training at work and I continued in making the house comfortable. We made a purchase of a new couch, the old one was very old and it was getting harder and harder for me to get out of it, so it had to go. We also got some bookshelves and other pieces of furniture to complete the apartment and give us all the room we needed. With the nesting bug in full swing, I also started looking for ideas on how to decorate the nursery and slowly began to come up with my vision for Milo's room. In August, my sisters came to visit and I soon learned that they were wanting to plan a shower for me. It quickly became my goal to have the nursery done and ready by the shower.

August: 28 weeks
September brought not only beautiful fall colors but football. I was getting more and more homesick with each Badger game so Chaz bought us football tickets when the Badgers played Northern Illinois University. I tried to find a Badger maternity shirt but couldn't find one I liked so, I made my own. We bought plan red T-shirts, paints, stencils and t-shirt tranfers. Chaz made a motion W that had the Chicago skyline and I made a Badger bump t-shirt with stencils and paint. It really wasn't that hard to get the stencils to work or to get the ribbon on the slevees. The hardest part was making the shirt a v-neck when it started out as a crew neck. I found a couple of tutorials on you tube and after watching several of them I was able to successfully change me crew neck t-shirt into a v-neck. We both looked pretty good as we made our way down to Solider's Field for the game. 

September: Around 30 weeks and ready to cheer on the Badgers.
By October I reached my goal of completing the nursery (I will have another posting about the nursery) and it was perfect timing. By this month I am definitely feeling pregnant. Up until this point I haven't really been that uncomfortable. But this month it has gotten harder for me to bend over and move around in general so, it is a very good thing that I was able to get all the decorating and layout of the house complete before I couldn't do anything. Just a couple of days ago we had the baby shower that my sisters organized for me  and they did a great job (again, I will have another posting about the shower). Right now Chaz and I are just excited and anxious for the big day. As of right now I totally ready, I know that will probably change but for right now I wish it were tomorrow.

October: Around 36 weeks and feeling it!