Thursday, September 26, 2013

[a little change]

Oh bless this slight change in the weather, and bless this new semester in school. Bless the little changes that happen in our families, in our thinking, in our creativity, in our desires, in our fashion choices (yes,  those too), and the good changes that are happening around us all the time.

Change can be rough for many folks, but oh goodness, I appreciate and accept change; I wish big change happened more often. I just get bored. I can't help it. My mind is always wondering off to other things... if you know me personally, you know exactly what I'm talking about. My husband can certainly vouch for this.

Right now, I am feeling especially motivated in my life.  I feel motivated to pursue my passions as a family life educator and get out there and help people who are the inspiration for all of my work.

Although I am spending more time than ever at work and school, I am committing more time to my family that I didn't balance so well before.  We have a wonderful routine, and it is working rather well.   

How many of you have struggled with your children going to be at night? Well, for our family, it has been a battle for years with our 4 year old.  She fights going to bed, practically every night.  I am taking a graduate Family Relations course this semester, and my first assigned reading for the class dealt with the topic of  good parenting resulting in misbehavior in children; read this article if you have a few minutes, especially if you have little kids; it is definitely worth your time: "Good Parents, Bad Results" from US News and World Report. Well, after reading the article, I came to the conclusion that some of my parenting skills, weren't really cutting it. Despite spankings and time outs, my daughter was still acting out literally everyday!  So I made a change in our nighttime routine: 

After bath time, we lotion up, pick out jammies, brush hair, get a cup of water, and pick out two books, 1 for brother and 1 for sister. I tell them before we read the story, "We are going to read two books tonight, then you're going to lay down, and I will sing you one song tonight." We snuggle in bed and read our books. By this time, Harper wants to talk about the story or ask me questions about the coming day, or whatever pops into her little head. I engage her, listen, and answer. I don't shush or poo-poo the conversation. It's the little moments like these that we as parents are meant to treasure. They go by too fast. I sing my song; it's usually "Make You Feel My Love" or "Hushabye Mountain" while I lightly touch her arm or back. Then I give a kiss and a hug. Check on Sawyer in his bed, tell them goodnight and leave the door open a crack as I step into the hallway.

We've been practicing this for a few weeks now, and yes, we sometimes still have trouble, typically about one night per week; overall, our nights have greatly improved.  It is just taking the time to answer the often silly and mundane questions, be engaging with your children, even if they are fighting sleep; give them the attention they crave in a positive way.
I am simply putting off my 'important' mommy stuff, and spending quality time with my children during those few moments that we have together throughout the day. It is just so important.

Also, I am feeling motivated to scrapbook again after a short break that lasted a few months.  I took time off from blogging because I had nothing new to share that I wasn't sharing on Facebook, but I realize that not everyone who reads this blog is my Facebook friend.  So I have been scrapping lately, at least 1-2 times per month and a little more. I've been taking more pictures, that I now need to get developed, and I am instagramming like a crazy person.

Just to sum up the last few months:
- Sawyer began fully walking last week
- I'm in my third semester of grad school
- GG and I spent our 7th wedding anniversary in Vegas this summer
- I visited Memory Lane Inn with my friends and family in July
- Sawyer turned 1 in June 
- I attended the Great American Scrapbook Convention in June and assisted the awesome Donna Downey
- Harper turned 4 in April
- Harper is a preschool home-schooler as of August
- GG and I bought a new-used 2010 Scion XB back in May
- March you know, came and went, nothing memorable that I can speak to
- February, I turned 27.

That is all I have to share for now, but I will do my very best to keep you all informed of fun stuff, scrapbook pages I've completed, family fun that we are having, etc, etc.

Since I've been out of touch, what are you lovelies up to? I hope that you're still being creative and pushing yourselves to make time for fun in your lives.

Happy Anniversary to GG and me.

The kids in our playroom one morning.

Making funny faces.

Morning giggles and snuggles with my lovelies.

Someone is climbing onto everything.

A little bit of summer scrapping.

A night out in Vegas. It's nice getting dressed up.

This month's Slop Crop in Frisco, TX. I'm in the teal shirt.

With Love,
Gabi Watson

Friday, January 11, 2013

{feels good to be a...}

Well I am happy to report that the last couple of weeks I've been very good at sticking to my budget, cooking meals at home, couponing, spending more time with my kids, spending time with my hubby, and reading for pleasure. Last weekend I stocked up on diapers, spices, and fresh veggies and bread, and this week I made some delicious mostly homemade meals.

I've been simplifying my life with a few helpful tools that I found online last week.

This Free Printable from Artsy Fartsy Mama has been such a lifesaver for me. I can now easily plan my weekly menu and still see what is going on each night of the week. 

And I used a few new recipes and began using my Crockpot for the first time in SEVERAL years because of the Crockpot 365 Blog.

Just today (during my lunch) I went a-couponing/shopping where I spent $11.25, and I SAVED $16.59 on some items:

(3) Trident Gum - $1 on sale
Used $1/3 coupon
$.66 each

(2) Coffee Mate - 2/$3 on sale
Used (2) $1 off coupon
$.50 each

(1) Aquafresh toothpaste - $1.99 on sale
Used $1 off coupon

(2) Mitchum Deoderant - $1.99 on sale
Used (2) $1 off coupon
$.99 each

(2) Butterball Turkey Bacon - 2/$3 on sale
Use (2) $.55 off coupon
$.95 each

(1) Nice Combo Plastic Cutlery - $1.99 regular price
Use (1) $2 Register Rewards
Free with $.01 overage

(2) Orange Tic Tac big packs - $1.49 each regular price

Total with tax: $11.25
Balance Rewards Savings: $7.49
MFG Coupon Savings: $9.10
Total Savings: $16.59

It is funny to think, I spent the most money on the Tic Tacs by paying full retail, but I wanted to ensure that I had more items than coupons to comply with their coupon store policy, if you know what I mean.  I am still VERY happy with my deals. Even the clerk who checked me out said, "Wow, you did some good couponing today."

Yes, it feels good to be a (coupon) gangster.

Our weekend plans involve:
Gavin going out with his friends tonight, while I stay home with the kiddos.  Car shopping online since we need to replace Gavin's car. It's been very good to us over the years, but it's time to move on and find the Bu a new home. Price match-ups for my Walmart excursion tonight or tomorrow, and reading some more. I just finished the The Hunger Games last night, and I began Catching Fire today. I would like to have them all read by the time the next movie comes out. Also I will be stopping by the library to return some books and pick up a coupl parenting books. I need some serious advice on how to better discipline Harper, and I know that I need a lesson in communication with my child. That's life.

Well that's all from me today; peace, love, and happiness to everyone. Have a simply wonderful weekend!!

With Love,
Gabrielle Watson

Monday, December 31, 2012

{to a simple 2013}

Last year I made a resolution to myself to live more simply. I did so amazing for the first half of the year. Then we moved into a new home, had a baby, and things got more complex.

This year I resolve to live simple again.  Cut out the excess in life; who needs it? I know that my family and I can live without it.

In 2013 I resolve to:

Create Homemade Meals - This has always been tough for me, but now that I am taking the semester off from school and will begin paying back those student loans, I think it is high time that I make real use of my kitchen, crock pot, stove, and oven.  Right now we are getting the oven fixed, and when it's done I'm going to be a baking queen.  Preparing meals at home will make it much easier to enjoy family time and help save money.

Learn to Cook - To go along with making dinner at home, I am going to learn some new recipes and try to cook from scratch. I made a delicious Broccoli and Cheese soup the other night from scratch, and it was pretty easy! I plan to make time for real dinner at my house. That means fewer chicken nugget meals and dinners out for this family!

Read for Pleasure - For the past 8 years I've had my head stuck in textbooks.  Now that I'm done with school and taking a small break from my master's, I am FINALLY reading books that I WANT to read.  I just finished The Turning: What Curiousity Kills by Helen Ellis, and I am currently reading the Hunger Games. Yes I've jumped on that bandwagon.

Have Date Night - I will make more time for my husband.  It is so hard for us to have alone time; the kids sleep in our room, so you know what I am talking about, right? Well I think it is important for us to have nights to ourselves, to enjoy each other's company alone every once in a while. I plan to enjoy my sweet husband a little more and get to know him better, even if it is just one night each month, dinner and a movie or a fun date.

Bring Back Game Night - Gavin and I used to love hosting game night when our friends came to town.  Well since I got pregnant at we moved we haven't hosted a game night in a long time.  We have the perfect home for hosting since it is so large, and well I want to see my friends more often!! Game night is back, and we will get started in January!

Save Money -  We need to replenish our savings this year from the toll it took last year.  We have a long way to go to get it back where it was but I have a feeling that we can do it. I want to pay down the little debt that we have and help us to stay on track with needs not wants.  It will be so nice to give ourselves a small allowance to work with and then everything else to daycare, bills, groceries, house, savings, etc.

Rediscover Couponing - I used to be a coupon master, and then life got crazy and I had less and less time to spend on couponing.  Well now I have time. I will make it. In order to make amazing dinners at home, I need to relearn how to coupon correctly and get my grocery budget down from the 600-800 a month it is now to $200 a month it used to be (or less when it was just 3 of us).

Scrapbook - I will make more time for my lovely hobby. I've been great about making time for myself once per month, but this year I really slacked on my hobby. I have such a great scrapbook room and it gets little use. I plan to use it and make at least 2 layout per week.

Take and Print Photos - With that, there are tons of photos from 2012, that I haven't scrapped. I need to get these memories on paper!! I plan to scrap through 2011 and 2012 to get closer to now.

Play with my Babies - I need to slow down and make more time to play with my little ones. They are only little for a small while, and it is so important to play with them and read to them.  I'm going to be a little crazy with my kiddos and take them on small dates.  They will enjoy this, and I know that I will too.

Lose 10 lbs - I am certainly not a dieter, and I don't work out, but I do plan to watch what I eat and drink more water so that I can lose this last 10 lbs that I've been struggling with. Since starting my new job I've lost a few lbs, but since the holidays my clothes are feeling tighter, and I'm feeling pressure to lose this weight. I feel rather unhealthy, and I am not in love with my body right now. Ten lbs should do the trick. It's may not seem like a lot to many, but that is a lot for me. I would rather do so many things than workout or count calories. Don't know how I will manage this weight loss, but it will come.  I am just going to be patient, keep using the stairs, keep watching what I am eating, cut out a few things I should've be eating/drinking, and maybe do a bit of jogging. There is a perfect running trail by my house. I want to compete in a 5k with husband. That is my goal.

Learn Something New - I haven't decided what I am going to learn. I guess I am relearning couponing, but I should learn something new in addition to that. We are planning to makeover some rooms in our home, so maybe I'll learn something in the process! There are lots of projects to be done on this old house! Our first makeover for 2013 will be to paint the kitchen and replace light fixtures. I'm super excited about this!!

Live Simply - Overall my goal for 2013 is to live simply. Simple living is the best, I started out on a track last year, but lost my way. I am finding my way back. The last few weekends have been spend cleaning and reorganizing our house. Our garage is filled to the brim with stuff that needs to go. Part of my simple living philosophy is to save money, learn patience, spend time with the kids, clean out the clutter, repurpose, and slow down.

These are my goals for 2013. I do hope that you all had a blessed 2012 like I did; I am looking forward to what the future holds for me and my family.

With Love,
Gabrielle Watson

Thursday, November 1, 2012

{count me in}

So I am officially on board with the new iPad. I just bought one today after learning about one amazing opportunity that my family and I are about to experience. More details to come soon, and no I am not pregnant.

We had a lovely Halloween despite the lack of trick or treaters. We still have 4 large age of candy. Oh my goodness can I just say that how did I live without an iPad all my life? Seriously...

Anywho... I am off to download apps and do homework. Can't believe it is already November.

Happy early weekend!

With Love,

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

{happy halloween 2012}

Happy Halloween friends!! I hope that you are planning on having a fun, trick or treating, festive, and safe time today with the youngsters in your family.

My daughter is at school today preparing for her classroom trick or treating and Halloween party later today.  She is dressed as Rapunzel with combat boots; that's my girl :)

Sawyer and Daddy will be dressing up as Walt aka Heisenburg and Jesse from Breaking Bad. Sawyer is Walt, and Daddy is Jesse.

Today, Mama (that's me) is dressed up as Amy Winehouse for our "Rock On with the College of Education" Halloween and Preview Day theme.

Here's a little pic:
So Happy Halloween to all you guys out there!! I hope that you can get out tonight and trick or treat with the kiddos!!

Also, yesterday was the one year anniversary of the death of my grandmother Patricia Strickland.  Although saddened by her unexpected departure, we have many blessings and joys in our life to weather our grief. Thinking of you Gran. Love and miss you!

With Love,
Gabrielle Watson

Monday, October 29, 2012

{happy day}

Today my simple strategy for quick and beautiful layouts was featured on the Citrus Twist Kits blog.  I am a certified queen of simple and quick scrapbook page and spreads as I have such little time to craft!!

Feel free to hop on over to the Citrus Twist blog to see if my simple strategy to quick pages might help you to create beautiful layouts 30 minutes or less.

On a personal note, my family had such a lovely weekend.  Friday night I stayed up till the wee hours in the morning putting together a scrapbook for a good friend who recently had a beatiful baby boy.  When this project is complete, I will be sure to post pictures.  I make a lot of mini scrapbooks for the women in my life who have children; maybe I should start a little business because I really love making these beautiful gifts, and they've become popular commodities amongst my girlfriends, lol.

Saturday my little brood attended Denton's Day of the Dead Festival - it was a lot of fun. There were vendors, music, coffin races, and trunk or treat for the kiddos; they even had a smallish pumpkin patch, so we took a couple pictures of the kids with pumpkins.  Harper was dressed in last year's Cinderella costume with leggings and long sleeves because it got COLD here this weekend, down in the 30s last night!! Isn't it crazy how it can be a high of 87 one day and BITTERLY cold at 35 the next!! Only in Texas :) Sawyer was dressed in his skeleton footie pjs with a skull hat. They rocked their costumes!! Also, Saturday was very busy for me as I took my car in got the oil changed, new wiper blades, new air filter, car wash, and I loaded it up with pumpkins before visiting my parents and relatives for a yummy Mexican fall feast :) we love Mexican food in this family, so we had enchiladas, guacamole, rice, and sopapilla cheesecake.

Sunday we went shopping at the updated JCPenney in Denton, and I was surprised at all the savings :) I seriously got some great warm weather outfits for both kids as Harper had NO warm weather clothes that still fit from last year, and Sawyer, well he's growing like a weed. All for under $100!! All of their blue ticketed items were an additional 30% off, so I got some GREAT deals on their clearence clothing!!

Here are the photos from the layouts I shared on the Simple Stratgeties blog for Citrus Twist Kits :)

Thanks for looking, and have a lovely week!! I know that I will since I'm in charge of getting the kids, house, and homework (finished) in order before our big weekend expedition to Austin/San Antonio!!

With Love,
Gabrielle Watson

Thursday, October 11, 2012

{it's getting better all the time}


I feel good about it. I just did it.

I just dropped one of my classes for this semester.  I was enrolled in 6 hours of graduate work, but I was literally breaking my back and going to bed after midnight some nights (during the work week) only to wake up at 5:00 AM the next morning and do it all over again.

My husband made a good point.  What am I trying to prove?  I didn't have an answer for that.  I guess I was just trying to show that I can do it.  I can be a superwoman.  I can raise my kids, spend time with family, scrapbook, do homework, go to work Monday through Friday 7:40 AM to 5:00 PM, get dinner on the table, do the laundry... I can do it all, but I can't At least right now I can't.

I feel like I spend so much time worrying about school and not enough time doing the things I love. Some nights I just want to veg out in front of a movie with my lover - Gavin Watson. And sometimes I just want to draw pictures with my little girl.  Sometimes I just want to nurse my son, not be taking exams, etc.  AND sometimes I want to just sit down and get crafty!

Well now I'm going to. I am down to taking just one class this semester, and I am going to make the the most of it and put forth the effort to do well. Slow and steady wins the race.  Granted it will be a tough go for me bright things are on the horizon. 

Say a little prayer for me that I can be successful in my ONE class this semester.  I just want to focus on living my life, not barely living because I'm so stressed from school because it's always on the back of my mind.

 I will no longer feel guilty for playing rather than studying, and I will no longer feel guilty for studying when I'd rather be playing.

Do you have any obstacles that you are trying to overcome? Right now it's my pride and determination.  For me, honesty is admitting that I AM burned out on school right now.  I know what I want to do with my future, and yes, I need a master's degree to do it, but NOT right away.  I can totally be comfortable in the here and now.  I don't want to miss all the 'little' things going on in my life, especially in regards to my babies.  They grow up in the blink of an eye, and I already feel like I've missed so much with Harper because I was busy with my undergrad during her first 3 years of life.

It's time that I come clean to the world and myself. Thank you for your support my dear friends!!

Stop and Smell the Flowers by Gabrielle Watson - Made with Citrus Twist Kit "Tropical Heat" and patterned paper add on from August
Brads and sticker letters from my personal stash.

Here is a lovely layout of my beautiful girl stopping to smell the flowers and look through windows of the Downtown Denton Square. Maybe I should take a hint from her to just slow down.  Stop and smell the flowers mom :)

With Love,
Gabrielle Watson