“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.” Brian Tracy

This post will take us back to Christmas! As I reflect on what a lovely holiday season it was, I am reminded how blessed I am to have such wonderful family and friends! I gave only homemade gifts for Christmas this year. I enjoyed the anticipation of giving each gift that I experienced while I was making each one equally as much as I enjoyed watching loved ones open them.

Although none of the gifts I made are extravagant, they were made with love 🙂 I would like to publicly thank my dear mom for helping me, as without her help, I would not have finished my gifts on time. There is just something about the projects I discover on Pinterest that make them look a lot simpler than they actually are. You’d think after all the Pinterest inspired DIY projects I have completed that I would have figured this out by now. Maybe next time 🙂

Check out the pictures to see what each family member received!

Rice Heating Pad given to Jenna

Rice Heating Pad given to Jenna

Rice Heating Pad given to Jeremy

Rice Heating Pad given to Jeremy

Rice Heating Pad given to Dad

Rice Heating Pad given to Dad. I also went in on a fishing themed gift with my siblings. I bought some fancy hot dogs for grilling when Dad and Mom go fishing. Jy got a mosquito re-pellant and Ja contributed a gift card for chicken livers and a license!

Rice Heat Pad for myself :)

Rice Heat Pad for myself 🙂

Mason Jar Glass filled with drink mixes. Given to Jenna

Mason Jar Glass filled with drink mixes. Given to Jenna

Crayon Art Quote with a quote Grandpa used to say, given to Jenna

Crayon Art Quote with a quote Grandpa used to say, given to Jenna

Tile Coasters, given to Jeremy

Tile Coasters, given to Jeremy

Canvas Quote given to Mom

Canvas Quote given to Mom

I also made a blanket and a crayon art quote for a friend, but I forgot to take pictures of them! So will have to add an update if/when I remember to take a picture of them.

These gifts are nice, but of course, my presence was clearly the best gift of all 🙂 Hope that your holiday season was filled with joy and you were able to spend it with your loved ones!

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“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success” ~ Alexander Graham Bell

Once again, I find myself behind in updating everyone on the progress I have recently made towards completing my Day Zero Project. I think as part of my new years’ resolutions I am going to make a conscious effort to set aside a little time bi-weekly to ensure my blog is up-to-date! We shall see how long this resolution lasts 🙂

This post is going to take us all the way back to Thanksgiving day! My Aunt and Uncle who live in St. Paul hosted Thanksgiving for my mom’s side of the family. Now that I call Minnesota my home, this was perfect for me as it meant considerably less travel time. It also meant that I had to deep clean my apartment as my parents stayed with me for the weekend. It was definitely nice to have company and to have family to go do things with (or drag them to!)

My parents happened to arrive on their anniversary. Being the #1 daughter that I am, I took them out for dinner at Zaffiros, a little place known for its thin crust pizza, to celebrate. It was a good evening. I may have lost some brownie points the next morning when I made them wake up at 6:30 to go with me to a Turkey Trot! This fits into my Day Zero Project as preparation for Running a 5K. I had hoped to run the 5k, but since I registered so late the 5k was full, so instead I ran the 2 mile ‘race’. The thrower in me felt lucky to only have to run 2. 🙂 I ended up getting 3rd (keep in mind nearly everyone ran the 5k) with a time of 18.26. Definitely not an Olympic qualifying time by any means, but for me, I was pretty happy and content with it. Not to shabby for my first race and next up is a full 5K!

Since it was 22 degrees out when I was running, I was more than ready to get to a warm location when it was over. I’m not sure why I just used the cold weather as an excuse as I’m pretty sure it could have been a beautiful day and my favorite part would still have been when it was over 🙂 What can I say? I’ll forever be a thrower at heart. Thanks mom and dad for tagging along and for the awesome photos. Who knew I could make running look so good?!

Anniversary Dinner at Zaffiro's

Anniversary Dinner at Zaffiro’s

Anniversary Dinner at Zaffiro's

Anniversary Dinner at Zaffiro’s

Wishbone 2 mile Run!

Wishbone 2 mile Run!

Getting my run on! :)

Getting my run on! 🙂

There I go! vrooom vroooom!

There I go! vrooom vroooom!

Dad and I at Thanksgiving!

Dad and I at Thanksgiving!

That’s the point of working with one’s hands, you see. It gives the mind something else to do besides worry” Charles Todd

Well, tomorrow I head to Saint Joseph to get all settled in to what will be my new home for the next ?? however many years! I’ve been keeping myself busy while at home in northwest, Iowa. Partially due to the fact that I’ve had these projects in mind for quite some time and finally have some time to work on them, but partially to keep my mind from thinking too much about all the changes that are about to come my way! Here are some things that have kept me busy 🙂

1. Button Headband: My parents went to an estate sale a few months ago and ended up with a whole slew of buttons! All different shapes, sizes, colors, and styles so I figured why not take some of them and make a super stellar headband?!

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2. I also did a few home improvement projects in my room! I started with having Dad help me take down my loft and then repainted the walls. I painted three of the walls grey and the remaining wall white with the intent of stenciling it yellow and grey. Unfortunately the stencil I ordered did not come in time, so next time I am home I know what I will be doing! I also took some old shutters that my grandma gave me the go ahead to take out of an old garage at the farm in northeast Iowa and made a headboard out of them! Big shout out to my brother for helping me to assemble it! When I initially asked him for his engineering advice as to whether or not the way I was thinking of assembling it would work, his response was that I needed to not be so ambitious… after that though it was smooth sailing 🙂002 009 (2) 012

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3. This last project I made for my parents as a combined Mother’s/Father’s Day present! I got the idea from a friend in Indy (shout out to Jay!) who made one for a bridal shower for our great friend Jacqui with one of her engagement photos. I used a photo from my master’s hooding ceremony of my parents and myself and used deco pauge and resin to transfer portions of the photo into bottle caps fastened to a canvas. Big shout out to the guys who let me have their bottle caps so I could make this (you know who you all are!). Took a long time and I think I liked it better before filling the caps with resin, but such is life!! This picture doesn’t do the canvas justice, but because of the shine on the resin it was difficult to get a good photo. Hopefully you get the jist of it anyways 🙂

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“Just pick a goal and stick to it―no big complicated secret.” -Richelle E. Goodrich

As you may know, or may have figured out by now, I love inspirational and motivational quotes. So much so that I keep a word document of quotes I run across so I can reference them or use them someday. Kinda weird, right? haha, well I finally started using some of these quotes when I started this blog as all of my blog entries are titled with a quote that some how ties into what I am writing about. Some topics are easier to choose quotes on than others and some quotes relate better to the topic than others. As I was looking through the quotes I have collected over the years and feel this fits for a journey I started a year ago!

On June 1, 2012, I took a pledge to not buy any new clothes for a full year – I made it!! I allowed myself only a few exceptions which were undergarments and bridesmaid dresses for the weddings of my near and dear friends Jerrad/Jacqui and Jake/Alyssa. I also did not count the Maurices gift card my grandma gave me for Christmas which I used to purchase a few dresses for work which were on clearance. My goal or reasoning for taking this pledge was to not spend money on clothes so that I could save it and ensure that I did not have to take out any loans for graduate school, and it worked! I saved a lot of money by not buying clothes I normally would have thought I ‘had’ to have or by mending/altering clothes I did have instead of just buying new when there was wear or tear.

Once I took the pledge to not spend money on buying new clothes for a full year, it was relatively easy for me. There were only a couple times in which I came really close to breaking my pledge, one of those times was as I was preparing for my job search and interviews as I usually would have bought something new for such an occasion. Clearly I was able to impress without a fancy new dress! The other times stemmed from the emails I received from different stores about sales they have going on. Once I sent all of those to spam the temptation was no longer there.

No pictures this time as there really isn’t any photo evidence other than some patched up jeans or hemmed/altered dresses (thanks Mom and Dad for your help with those!) However, now that it has been a year, who is ready to go shopping with me?!?!