Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Going Green

In an attempt to get healthier I've added green smoothies to my breakfast menu. This morning was the first time I made one and I was surprised at how good it was! When I think of green drinks visions of grossness are seen in my head - not anymore! Believe it or not Justin was loving the green goodness as well. His truck even helped deliver the kale to the blender!

Here's the recipe which is quick and easy (thanks Valerie!):

Basic Green Smoothie

Blend well in order listed

2 cups water or orange juice
2 cups washed, chopped or torn greens (spinach is good to start with due to its mild flavor. If using kale, or collards be sure to remove stems first.)
2 bananas
1 mango, orange, or peach, peeled and chopped

Here are some pics of our green morning:

Yes, cooking green can be fun when you have a toy dump truck helping!
I love the yummy shade of green!

Here's the proof he actually drank it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Play Room Decor

The play room has under gone a bit of a face lift in the past few days. I finally made some cute curtains for the small window, and we have an upgraded kids Ikea table and chairs from Grandpa and Grandma for Christmas! Our old ones were starting to fall apart and the seat cushions were ripping so it was time for some new ones! I think this is now my absolute favorite corner of the house. I love all of the bright colors and patterns! It's so nice to have a room like this since the whole family hangs out here a lot of the time.

Ikea table and "kritter" chairs - kids' art station. The doll is mine by the way!

Curtain made from Wonderland fabric. I love that fabric! Coordinating what not basket by Sara of Saraisabee and red and black puzzle ball from Grandma.
My now favorite corner. I love the punches of red and orange here and there.

My sewing area, recently excavated once again.

I organized Justin's toys, mainly so I could play with them, lol! I had to get a shot of the Count riding a tuk tuk and Ron's vintage Mini Bus and car with the cute little people.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Skirt Donation for Craft for Hope Haiti

I made this patch work skirt for the Craft for Hope Haiti Etsy site. You can find the details for it here on my craft blog: http://aprildianedesigns.blogspot.com/ It should be on the Etsy site within a day or so. I never imagined that the first piece of my line would go to charity, but I'm excited it is! I'm now wondering if it will sell!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Crafting for Haiti

Since the news of the earthquake in Haiti I've been searching the net for a way to donate crafts to help the victims of the quake there. For those of you who don't know, locally we had a 6.5 quake last weekend. It shook us up, but fortunately there were few injuries although many buildings had structural damage. Our house fared well, thank God. Anyway, in my searching I found this amazing craft site called Craft Hope: http://www.crafthope.com/ The site is dedicated to making and donating hand made items for charity. They feature one item per month you can craft and send to various charities.

Since the quake in Haiti they have opened up an Etsy shop:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/crafthope You can list items there through them and all of the proceeds go directly to Doctors Without Borders. They also have a children's area for crafts made by children. You don't have to have an Etsy site going to donate an item, just e-mail them at the address provided with pics and a description of your item and you're good to go. What an amazing way to use our talents to help the people of Haiti! Let's get crafting for charity!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas Cheer

New Year's Letter

Greetings Friends and Family! Happy New Year!

It's New Year's Eve, and in my usual fashion I am mentally flipping through the events of the past year. I have noticed a pattern of seasons in my life and this year seems to have been a season of re-birth. The year prior was a year of loss: Loss of friends, job, community, you name it, we lost it. This year has been a year of re-building with some change mixed in as well. Change is good, although it can be painful it has brought renewal and hope, and we were so ready for that! He is a re-cap of our past year:

In March we bought our first home after being in escrow for a grueling four months. We had lived in Arcata for about 8 years, so moving back to Eureka was a big change. Just imagine "This Old House" on steroids and you will have an idea of what we were in for! Amazingly, we were able to do the interior repairs quickly, (with help from some great friends and an awesome contractor!), and in the past month we have almost finished the exterior make over. We have spent much of the year working on our house, but it was totally worth it. We love it and feel it was a gift given to us by God. We like having people over and enjoy having a home base finally. Ron loves working on the garden and I turn into the home decorator a.k.a. Martha Stewart, (especially during the holidays!) If you haven't been over yet please let us know. We'd love to have you over for tea, coffee, or whatever suits your fancy!

This summer I went on an adventure to Thailand with a team to help a coffee shop start up. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding trips I have ever taken. Sometimes we need to be taken away from all family, every comfort, and almost everything we rely on to see who we really are. It gave me a greater dependence on God, on others, and in the strengths I have. I fell in love with the Thai people and learned so much from their gentle humble culture. Materialistic things have become less important in my life and people have become more important. I have been to poor countries before, but for some reason this trip impacted me more and I would say this trip was a highlight of my year for sure. I have a renewed interest in travel and hope to take the family with me the next time I take off for almost three weeks!

The last big change of the year was of a spiritual nature. Although some may find this topic uncomfortable it's part of my life and I like to share honestly about myself. I was born and raised in the church and have never known anything different since the time I was little. The past few years I have started feeling fenced in though, and I knew it was time for a big change. So, I left organized religion and haven't looked back once. I feel a whole new freedom and closeness to God I've never felt before. My wings are growing and I don't know exactly where the wind is taking me, but I'm going wherever it leads.

Ron has continued to work at the hospital in materials management and loves it. He's gaining valuable experience and has been part of several special rapid improvement events. He won employee of the month award as well as other awards. He is valued as an employee and excells at what he does - what more could you ask for? Here at the house he has continued working on the garden and is preparing the soil for the spring when he plans to plant a veggie garden. I can't wait to see the magic he will work!

Sarah is doing great in school and made the honor roll this semester! She is a smart talented girl who loves science and reading. Recently she was chosen along with one other boy to go to the geography bee! She is in her fourth year of ballet and is taking a pre-pointe class and a modern dance class. She just finished her fourth winter ballet, "T'was the Night Before Christmas." This girl keeps us on our toes for sure!

Justin will be four in March! He loves playing outside, taking anything apart, using dad's tools and playing with his cars. He likes going to our mom's group once a week and playing with his little friends. His personality is coming out more and more and it appears he has gotten Ron's sense of humor - watch our world!! It looks like he'll start pre-school in the fall which will be a big change for sure!

I've continued doing my sewing and alterations from home. When Justin goes to pre-school in the fall I will probably do more of this and hope to do art once again.

So, that's the Alexander 2009 re-cap! Thanks to all of our friends and family for your amazing support this year! We feel so blessed to know you and have you in our lives. I pray 2010 will be an amazing year for all of you full of God's blessings!

Much Love,

April and Fam

The Birth of a Craft Blog!

Happy New Year Blogging Friends!

I have some very exciting news! I am launching my very first ever craft blog finally! It's been a long time coming, but it's here at long last. After designing my kids' clothing line in the past few years I've been brainstorming my next artistic venture. I enjoyed designing and making clothes for the little ones and it was a great stepping stone for my next step. This new year I am revising and reinventing my line.

For a long time I have thought about using recycled fabrics in my designs and now I'm finally going to go for it! My Grandma used to take me thrift store shopping when I was a kid and I loved treasure hunting with her. As a result I can now spend hours looking through clothes at thrift stores! Grandma was way ahead of her time and showed me the importance and joy of recycling. She also taught me to sew and I have enjoyed it since I was twelve. I majored in art in college and love designing artistic creations. For my new line I am going to take old threads I find in thrift stores, garage sales, or wherever I can get my hands on them and up cycle them into practical artistically made goods.

I plan to create practical items we Humboldt folks can use on a daily basis such as: Farmer's Market bags, totes, lunch bags, clothing and the like. My next step will be to create an etsy store and market my goods locally. So stay tuned for the new line of April Diane Designs!