Category Archives: Life

2012 Goals Check-Up: January


It’s now the beginning of February and I’m wanting to check in on how I’m doing towards my goals for the year as of the end of last month.

  1. Sew more clothes for myself and the kids. In Progress/This is actively being worked on. I am working on scrubs for my new job (Yay!), some wardrobe essentials I’m sadly lacking, and I plan to make the girls’ Easter dresses.
  2. Boost my little side business, sewing custom clothing and alterations. This will become a priority this month.
  3. Complete the BSN portion of my RN to MSN Education degree. I’m nearly finished my first course. At my current rate I’ll be done my BSN portion of my education by October 2012. Woo hoo!
  4. Save money for our first house. We are budgeting and saving! Yay! We plan to rent a house this spring, for 12 months, and then buy after that lease is up.
  5. Improve my relationship with Bill and the kids. In Progress/Some days are better than others, but I am trying my best.
  6. Finish one knitted item. I started working on my in progress vintage sweater last weekend. I’ve been working on it when I have nothing to do. I hope it’s done by fall.
  7. Walk the neighborhood at least 3-4 days a week. This will not happen until spring, I’m sure. I have been working out 3-5 days a week at the gym, though. Yay me!
  8. Organize my sewing area and bedroom. Sewing area is in progress. Bedroom is a beast and very overwhelming. I’ll get to it soon. We’re planning on moving and I need to get that stuff under control so we can pack and go when we need to.


Week of Busy!


So, there was no Menu Plan Monday and Fitness Friday this week. I really had the best of intentions to get them put up but it just wasn’t to happen. Life happned and those two days were BUSY for me. I did plan my meals, and generally stuck to it. I also did my workouts and I’ve lost 6 pounds total to show for it. Yay! Hopefully life will slow down just a spec and I’ll be back to posting on Monday and Friday like I planned.

New Year, New Goals


So, it’s time for a new year and time for new goals. Last year’s goals were not too bad, really. I did a few of them, which is better than none I think. Here’s the recap:

  1. Rebuild my wardrobe. – This is still in progress by the end of 2011 and I’ve made significant progress. I got rid of a TON of clothing (donated/freecycled) and I have been steadily building a really wearable wardrobe that I love.
  2. Get my craft mojo back! – I hardly did any knitting or crocheting, but I did get my craft mojo seriously going with decorating projects and sewing.
  3. Cull excess crap from my surroundings and life. – I got rid of all the excess knitting/crocheting supplies that I was NEVER going to use and no longer loved. Yay! I also moved my sewing space from the bedroom into the great room and reorg’ed it a bit. It still needs more organization work, though.
  4. Land my first RN job! – I got my RN license and got my first job! Yay! I start Jan. 2012!
  5. Get our finances in better order. – This finally started happening around the end of the year. I got into bulk cooking which has saved us a LOT of money, and we’ve been doing less frivolous spending.
  6. Prepare to buy our first house. – Didn’t happen.
  7. Devote more energy into my relationship with Bill. – Made some small improvements, but there’s still a TON of room left to be better.
  8. Devote more energy into my relationships with Evie and Abbie. – I think I made pretty good strides with this, but there’s always room for improvement.
  9. Try out for another play! – I’ve decided to not try out for acting gigs for now. I got involved in costuming and really love it.
  10. Prepare for my first competitive run. – Yeah, um, didn’t happen. My large rear end was way too comfy to sit on this year.
  11. Go out and sing karaoke! – Didn’t happen.

I’m actually pretty proud of how much I did do as far as my goals this past year. Yay me! Now, this year I want to accomplish the following… or at least make progress towards these things:

  1. Sew more clothes for myself and the kids. I really want more dresses. I also want to make myself a pair of pants that fit me well. I’m currently in process of preparing my dream winter coat for sewing, so that will be first on the list to get done.
  2. Boost my little side business, sewing custom clothing and alterations. I have 5 potential dresses to make this coming year. I need to confirm them asap and make sure I have satisfied customers so they can recommend me to others.
  3. Complete the BSN portion of my RN to MSN Education degree. I’m starting Jan. 2, 2012 with Western Governor’s University. I really think this is totally doable. I’d like to get my MSN within 2 years, tops.
  4. Save money for our first house. We are tightening our belts a bit so we can start saving for a down payment. Now is really the time for us to buy so we just need to get our money in order for it.
  5. Improve my relationship with Bill and the kids. I adore my family and need to make sure they are aware of that daily.
  6. Finish one knitted item. I have a sweater for myself and one for my mother in the works. I need to FINISH something. Even if I don’t love doing it anymore I want to make sure I finish what I promised to do.
  7. Walk the neighborhood at least 3-4 days a week. My large rear end is SUPER comfy, but.. it’s a big BUTT, and I want to get it just a little smaller. So I need to start moving, regularly. Not in the hyper spurts that I tend to do. I have severe motivation issues and lose steam with most exercise, but I really enjoy walking my neighborhood. It’s scenic and peaceful, so I need to use that to my advantage and do something.
  8. Organize my sewing area and bedroom. They both need SERIOUS help. This is a big challenge for me as I’m kind of chaos incarnate and don’t really have an organized bone in my body. lol But I gotta try.

I think that’s it. Fewer things than last year, but things that are far more important to me at this point.

I hope you all have a happy, prosperous and safe New Year!

It’s beginning to look a lot like…


…the Christmas Spirit threw up all over my house. Well, it’s not that bad, yet. Yet being the operative word. The girls and I have been busy the past month making ornaments for our tree, and other holiday crafts. Here’s a sample of what we’ve done:

All of the projects are inspired by Pinterest. Here are the details:

First, I whipped up these holiday decorations in about 5 minutes while the kids were in school. The instructions can be found here.

I absolutely LOVE them! They suit my taste/style perfectly! I removed the bells from the back of the deer before gluing down so they would be somewhat flat against the glass. It cost me $3 to make both. The ornaments were 2/$1 and the frames were $1 each at Dollar Tree. I already had the scrapbook paper. These will go on the mantel.

Next up, ornaments!

The girls and I worked on Santa ornaments first. I used this blog post for instructions and modified them to suit the supplies I had on hand.

We made a total of 5 and I need to finish them. I need to add some embroidery floss to hang them with and I’m thinking I might want to add a strip of black felt to make a belt, but I’m not sure.

Making the Santa ornaments inspired me to fiddle around and create a Mrs. Claus. Here’s what I came up with:

Isn’t she just too stinking cute?! I love her to bits! I need to make 4 more now.

Living in Maryland means we sometimes have snow on Christmas, but it’s not guaranteed.  Well, the girls and I decided we would make sure we have snow on Christmas every year. First we made some Model Magic snowflakes following this tutorial.

We were able to get 11 snowflakes out of 2 packages of Model Magic. I didn’t want to make them too thin so they’d be sturdy once dried. They turned out pretty much awesome! I thought about drawing designs on them with red Sharpie, but I actually like them just the way they are. I hung them on our chandelier to dry, which took about 2 or 3 days.

One of my favorite experiments in high school chemistry was growing crystals. When I saw this blog post I just knew I needed to share that experience with my daughters. Science really can be stunningly beautiful! Here’s how our crystal flakes turned out:

In person they look like they are encrusted with diamonds. So darn pretty! I can’t wait to see them on the lit tree. The sparkles will just be amazing!

I’ve also been sewing. I have nothing to show, though, as I’m still in muslin stages on a couple of garments. As soon as I get some finished pieces I’ll be blogging about them. Also, I’ve been actively job hunting. I’m sick of living in this rental house and want to move ASAP, so I need an income sooner rather than later. It’s been a rather busy month.

It’s our Anniversary! (7th, that is)


Well, officially yesterday was our anniversary. We were married on Friday, Oct. 13, 2004. It was a dreary, rainy day and the sun came out when we were taking photos after the ceremony. Funny thing is yesterday was a dreary, rainy day and the sun came out at about the same time it did 7 years ago. How amazing is that?

We decided a while back to do the celebrate thing for our anniversary this weekend. We gave each other little things yesterday. Bill gave me a very touching card that I’ve re-read at least 10 times since getting it and 35 little post it notes with “Love You” written on them posted all over the house. I gave him an e-card, a Cthulhu cup cozy (hand crocheted by the lovely Jade Bartlett) for him to take to work for a laugh, and a real card.  Otherwise it was a fairly normal evening in our house… dinner, family time, unwind after kids are in bed, etc. Today I woke to find a love note written on the storm door in dry erase marker from Bill and I gave him his other, sweeter, present when he got home from work. I used this tutorial and template download to make it. He loved it. Here it is:

Here’s the other gift I gave him:

Photo courtesy of Heather Bartlett.

Bill will give me my other gift this weekend. I can’t wait! Tomorrow we are going to have dinner at El Dorado and after dinner we will go to the “Ghosts of Sotterly” performance at Sotterly Plantation. Sunday we will wake up late after enjoying an evening without the kids. (Thanks to my in-law’s for letting them spend the night Saturday!)

Sewing: Circle Skirt and Wrap Blouse


I had a lot of fun making this outfit for the Colette Patterns Fall 2011 Palette Challenge. It was my first time sewing knits, my first time completely resizing a pattern, my second full bust adjustment, and I’m so happy with how it all turned out!

May I present you with New Look 6149:

I styled it today with my Naturalizer Barstowe Wide Calf Boots, vintage frame purse from LadyListen, pearl and smoky quartz necklace from Orion Designs, and prescription sunglasses in Anne Klein frames.

***UPDATE*** Reader deal from LadyListen! If you mention you saw LadyListen, or Linda’s other shop Msmichiganroux, here on Stumbling Through Life you will get 20% off on your purchase. I can’t recommend Linda any more highly. Go check out her awesome vintage wares!

I love how retro this outfit appears without looking old and dated. I also love the little bit of glitz in the skirt to give it a touch of glamor.

And because you just can’t have a circle skirt without wanting to twirl:

The top is made in poly ITY knit fabric and the skirt is in cotton with a lovely metallic gold detail to the print that really didn’t show up in the photos. I purchased the pattern from the Simplicity patterns site when they had their HUGE sale on OOP patterns. The largest size is an 18 and I would have been more like a 20/22 in the skirt, so I had to add 2 inches to the pattern. I did my first lapped zipper and LOVE the results. I’m only doing lapped zippers on my clothes from now on, if at all possible. I left the back piece of the top pattern alone at an 18 and massively adjusted the front. It really does fit perfectly. It’s very, very comfortable.

Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge

That’s it! I’ve had enough!


How many times have you said that about your own children’s habits? Well, I had that experience this morning for the, um.. well I have lost count of how many times. It was over the TV in their room. Yes, they have a TV in their room. Yes, they watch WAY too much of it, which was my issue. But this morning I sent them to clean their room, and what should have taken 15 minutes tops (it really wasn’t very messy, shockingly) took 95 minutes because they kept stopping to watch TV. I removed the TV from their room about halfway through, and after the fits stopped the room actually got clean. So, after that was done my girls and I sat and talked about the TV and the habits they had with it. Working with them I came up with a set of rules for them to follow so they get to watch what they want to watch, but still do what they are supposed to without the TV distracting them. I ran them by my hubby and he was in agreement.

*I got the frame for this image from The Graphics Fairy. I recolored it and added the text in Photoshop CS4.*

Of course, this is only applicable until school starts, then the morning TV time is only on weekends (if we have no other plans after breakfast). The girls are aware of how it will change once school starts. So far today is going very well. It’s lunch time, their room is clean, the TV was off when the timer went off, and there was no fits thrown. We’ll see how tomorrow goes. I’ll be putting the printed rules in a clear acrylic document frame to hang by their TV.

Mainly, the goal of this is to get the kids to clean their room in a timely fashion when they are told to do so. I probably should have thought of something like this years ago, but really.. I’m not the structured and organized type. At all. And both of my kids need structure and organization. Yeah, um, that’s almost foreign to me, so I’m a little slow with figuring these things out with them.

I’m linking this up to:

August Goals


This month I want to:

Go swimming at least 2-3x per week, weather permitting

Do Zumba 3x per week

Make Bead Challenge Entry – DUE Aug. 17

Sew a blouse for myself and a new dress for both girls. Also, a dress for myself if I have time.

Refab a vintage dress.

Get ready for BACK TO SCHOOL!!! Shop, shop, shop and get into new routines. FIRST DAY Aug. 29

Recolor my hair.

These are the biggies that I really, really want to get done. Of course I have other goals that recur every month, but I’m not going to bother to list those.


Sewing: Tie Neck Blouse and Pencil Skirt


In July I had a LOT going on. My stepchildren were visiting for the month, we did a bunch of fun things, and I had an interview with the local hospice that went really well. I wore this to my interview:

A dress I made from New Look 6643 in red stretch cotton sateen from It fit me the best of all the dresses I owned that would be interview appropriate. I was told at the interview that I would have a second interview soon and a half-day shadowing a nurse to make sure hospice is what I want to do. Well, I got home and immediately started to plan out my second interview outfit, because I was going to HAVE to make one since my handmade dress fit me so well.

Here’s what I came up with:

Tie Neck Blouse from New Look 6831, View D *OOP

Fabric:  Polyester Shirting from Hancock Fabrics

Size Made: 18 with adjustments

Pattern Notes:

I modified the pattern with a Full Bust Adjustment and that required one additional button, which I did not have, so I put a snap at the top button place, since it is totally hidden by the bow anyways. I also had to increase the darts, and lengthen them (I’m short waisted as well as a busty hourglass).  I used this tutorial for the sleeves.  Also, I forgot to hem the first sleeve before sewing it together (doh!) so I just hemmed both after attaching. Worked just fine. I bound the shoulder seams for additional support without bulk. This was a great blouse pattern and I made a wearable muslin that I intend to stitch securely (it’s all basted) and put longer sleeves on for fall. I love how this blouse fits me!

Wrap Front Pencil Skirt from Vogue 8154, View C *OOP

Fabric: Vintage Cotton from 2nd Hand Sews

Size Made:  20

Pattern Notes:

This pattern was a perfect fit for me without any changes! That’s a shock! Getting the buttons lined up was a little tricky for me, but once I got it done I realized how to make it easier for myself. Mark through the button holes. Duh! lol Oh well. Yeah, I’m really a beginner but I’m trying to reach for intermediate. I bound all my unfinished edges on this skirt. The inside is really as beautiful as the outside. I love, love, love it! And… I can wear it with nearly every top in my wardrobe due to all the colors in the tiny dot print on the brown fabric. I used a large 1″ snap at the waistline where the pattern specified, and sewed it very securely. I wanted a nice, secure closure. I normally avoid pleats on bottoms, but the inverted pleat on this skirt really works well for my figure. I will certainly be using this pattern again. And the other views are great, too.

Here’s a pic of the blouse untucked:

I made some mistakes along the way, but I took my time and fixed them before getting frustrated. So glad I did! I’m incredibly proud of these two garments! I feel like a million bucks when I wear them. And the shots above are without my Spanx. It is even better looking with the Spanx. I should ROCK my second interview wearing this! I’m in awe that I now have a blouse that fits me like a glove and doesn’t pull across my bust. Let me repeat that… IT DOESN”T PULL ACROSS MY BUST!!!! I think that’s a first, ever. I refuse to wear minimizer bras anymore. I hate them and really I don’t want to hide my assets. lol

I’m linking this post up with:

Tip Junkie handmade projects


17 Day Diet: C1D3


Cycle 1, Day 3

Morning Weight: 178.2 lbs


Breakfast – Yogurt and berries w/ green tea

Morning Snack – Water

Lunch – Salad with tuna and Italian vinaigrette

Afternoon Snack – Sugar snap peas and water.

Afternoon Snack 2 – 1 serving potato chips (yep, I caved)

Dinner – Fajitas at a local Mexican restaurant, didn’t eat the tortilias, but did eat some chips and salsa… I was bad. But I was celebrating! lol Iced tea sweetened with Splenda.

Dessert – 1/2 cup sorbet and water

Exercise: None


I kinda blew the “diet” today, but I don’t really care. I had a day where years of stress and distress, and a lifetime of dreams became a reality. I took and passed my NCLEX-RN exam! I’m a registered nurse now! Yay! I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was 3 years old. A few celebratory calories were in order. lol