Monday, December 15, 2014

My Listening List- Learning Books

Hi there buddies! I thought today I'd share how I get through my long and boring daily commute.  If you haven't heard me bitch about my commute yet I have a one hour drive to work each way; and if you haven't heard me bitch about it yet than you must be new here so HI, I'm Cassie, nice to meet you.  Also since I work on weekends I usually have some sort of music, book, or podcast playing in the lab since it's way too quiet without some noise.  Typically I listen to anywhere between 10-14 hours of material just on the weekend, so I'm always looking for new recommendations.

Because I cross state lines I don't get great radio reception in my car a lot of the time without having to change stations a lot, so I don't bother listening to the radio.  This means I'm woefully ignorant on the new Katy Perry and Taylor Swift and, um, whoever other popular musicians are these days but that's fine with me.  I typically listen to a LOT of audiobooks and podcasts.  I have an Audible membership for $20/month that allows me any 2 audiobooks of my choosing, which I use quite often.

I thought I'd do a few posts on listening recommendations- starting with some of my favorite "learning books".  For every comedian or non fiction book I listen to I try and follow it up with a "learning book", one that might make me smarter or something like that. At least in theory, I have the memory of a gnat so not much of it sticks around in this big empty head of mine :)  Sometimes they bore me to tears, but other times they're really useful! I tend to gravitate towards either mony and banking or medical topics for the most part.  I'll just talk about the ones I liked here instead of the ones that I fell asleep during (I'm looking at you- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).

Learning Books I Recommend


Medical School For Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases

This book was amazing!  It was so interesting and very fun to guess the diagnosis- I got quite a few correct, too :) I felt like I learned a LOT (like how to perform CPR, how EM doctors work, etc) and it was informal enough that I was able to follow along very easily.


The Millionaire Next Door

This was such an interesting read.  Sometimes it was easy to space out when they started listing out statistics, but for the most part I found this fascinating.  The differences between prodigous accumulaters of wealth and underaccumulators of wealth was really enlightening.


Smart Money, Smart Kids

I love almost anything by Dave Ramsey, I think his approach to money is really smart and I'm working my way through his baby steps :) I wish I had found him 15 years ago!!  This book is really helpful with how to get your kids managing money and how to help them learn about it.  It gives advice for ages 3 and up and what to do for each developmental stage.  Highly recommend for anyone with a child! Or any adult that is drowning in credit card debt, for that matter.


The Introvert Advantage

I'm definitely an introvert, and this book was pretty enlightening.  Introvert doesn't mean shy, rude, or the bevy of other things people call us- it's just a different approach to socialization.  I found that very reassuring :)



Gulp, Packing for Mars and Bonk- by Mary Roach

I really love any book by Mary Roach.  She's also written Stiff: The Curious Life of the Human Cadaver which is a great book too, however I've never listened to the audio version so I didn't list it above.  Mary Roach is a journalist and she thoroughly covers the science in a very approachable way.  She's also VERY funny, making the books informative and hilarious. Gulp is all about human digestion (with a section on fecal transplants! ha!), Packing for Mars is about space travel and Bonk is about sex and sex research.  Both very interesting topics covered thoroughly by a very funny journalist.

In the Queue: 

The Great Courses: Money and Banking
The Great Courses: The Art of Negotiating the Best Deal
The Great Courses: How the Stock Market Works
One Doctor by Brendan Reilly

I'd love it if you shared your recommendations too!





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Friday, December 12, 2014

2014 Christmas Card

This year we decided to repeat the success of last year and take Christmas card photos while we were shopping for our Christmas tree (to see last year click HERE).  Charlie was NOT in the mood for photo's and we had to bribe, chastize, and use every trick in our arsenal to get any decent photos. It was quite exhausting.  Robb also decided to wear his GoPro (that he uses for weddings) on his shoulder the entire time so now we have a 1 hour long video of us trying to get Charlie to smile. And also of me being super picky about which tree we get.  Delightful. Anyways, we were able to get a couple good ones- here's what we chose for our Christmas card this year (from Minted again, they really are as awesome as everyone says they are)


And here's what most of the other ones looked like--


I really wanted to have this photo on the back of the card with the caption "Or not. That's just fine. If you're going to have a bad attitude about it we'll leave and not get a tree at all" but Robb vetoed it. Even though it would have been awesome.  This picture pretty much sums up how picture taking went that day lol.  4 year old attitude is just lovely isn't it?

Here are some of the other contenders for the Christmas card photo




He's only giggling above because I tried reverse psychology and told him "You'd better not smile! Don't you dare smile!" and, being the little rebel he is, it worked like a charm. PS- yes that is silver nail polish.  He always wants "in" when he sees me painting my nails and since I don't have a little girl to do that stuff with I oblige him.  Sue me.

We also got a couple cute pictures of us with Charlie.  One day maybe we'll even have a nice picture of all 3 of us together! Wouldn't that be something?  I think the last picture of all 3 of us was Easter haha



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Conversations with Charlie

Hi friends! I love how now that Charlie is 4 I can finally have actual conversations with him.  It's so cute trying to decipher what he means and then learning about what he did that day.  Some conversations are more "Hey, I mean it, stop jumping on the couch this second or you'll go in timeout", but for the most part they are pretty fun!  I like this age a lot so far, Charlie really gets what we're saying but is still young enough to be curious about everything.  We always have a lot of talks in the car- going to Target or coming home from preschool; probably because there's not as many distractions as there are at home.  Admittedly most of these conversations are just my way of finding new and creative ways to annoy him.  It's pretty easy and definitely very fun haha, I'm sure I'll get mine when he's older so I gotta take advantage now :) Anyways, in tribute to Charlie and I's glowing conversational skills I thought I'd share some of my favorites.

Mom: *singing along to Let It Go in the car at the top of my lungs, poorly*
Charlie: Mom stop it!
Mom: Charlie.  Frozen is awesome. You need to get into this, buddy.
Charlie: No, I don't like Frozen.
Mom: How can you not like Frozen? There's a snow monster and a funny snowman!  All the kids like Frozen.
Charlie: Olaf is funny.
Mom: See? Frozen is awesome
Charlie: No, I don't like Frozen. I like Paw Patrol.
Mom: Well you know what? We're listening to Frozen and that's that. I like it and every other kid in the world likes Frozen so you really need to get into it anyways, that way I can have the experience of being sick and tired of watching it like everyone else.
Charlie: Just put on Weird Al, no more Frozen. Let It Go, Mom.
(OK I ad libbed that last part but I'm pretty sure that's what he was thinking)

Mom: *in very bad but hilarious beefy Jersey shore type accent* Eh Chah-lie! Whatcha doin' back there?
Charlie: Mom, I don't like that.
Mom: Chah-lie! Whatchou talkin' bout? I'm just hangin' out up here
Charlie: Stop it Mom. Talk normal.
Mom: Tawk normal? I'm tawkin' normal! Whatchou tryin' to say to me there buddy? You wanna fight about it?
Charlie: MOM! STOP IT! TALK LIKE NORMAL VOICES!
Mom: "Eh, bro- what's yer problem? Let's go pump some iron"

Mom: Come sit next to me and give me a hug dude!
Charlie: Mom, you're my best friend
Mom: Oh. My. God. That's so sweet! You're my best friend too! *hug*
Charlie: Are you happy? Can I go back to playing now?

Mom: How was preschool, Charlie? Did you play with your friends?
Charlie: It was good. I played with Dominic but Haley hurt my feelings.
Mom: What? You and Haley are friends, what happened?
Charlie: She was angry and hurt my feelings
Mom: Oh no! What was she angry about?
Charlie: Her doghouse broke
Mom: Oh, how did her doghouse break?
Charlie: I broke it

Mom: Okay buddy, you can take off your physiotherapy vest now
Charlie: OK
Mom: juuuuuuust unbuckle the straps there, dude
Charlie: OK
Mom: You're not unbuckling the straps, just take them off. Take off the vest. Just unbuckle the straps.
Charlie: *blank stare*
Mom: *robot voice* disengage from physiotherapy vest
Mom: I repeat, disengage, disengage from vest.  Activate disengagement
Charlie: Mom. Stop. *unbuckles first buckle*
Mom: First buckle disengaged. Commence disengagement of second buckle
Charlie: Mom! Talk. Normal. *unbuckles second buckle*
Mom: Second buckle disengaged. Warning: disengagement incomplete. Continue disengaging vest
Charlie: Be quiet! *unbuckles third buckle"
Mom: Vest successfully disengaged! Commence authorized activities.
Charlie: Mom, go back in the kitchen.

And of course my favorite- our very deep and thoughtful texts we send each other during the day while I'm at work. 


car car car police car, fire truck, house, building building indeed, Charlie.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Tree Shopping

Good morning! Last week on December 1st Robb, Charlie, and myself all went to pick out and cut down a Christmas tree. We weren't wasting any time this year getting in the holiday spirit- I was eager to get it up as soon as tradition allowed :)


We went to Maple Creek Farms in Preston, CT again this year since last year was so much fun.  Charlie was really excited to pick out a tree- he wanted all of them! I think we picked a pretty darn good one, even if it is a tad short (Robb thinks it's just right, of course.  He would have a miniature fake tree if I left him to his own devices).  Robb also took some photos for our Christmas card this year (more on that later!)























 
Of course decorating the tree and hanging ornaments is half of the fun!


Here's the finished product


Since it was December 1st our elf, Frederick, came and brought Charlie a very special Star Wars lego advent calendar.  Kid is getting spoiled, sheesh.  He loves it though :)


Frederick has been up to all kinds of mischief this year.  Charlie has found him taking a marshmallow bubble bath (which I was very jealous about), playing Candyland with his figurines, racing trucks on the floor, swinging on a candy cane zip line, and doing Charlie's breathing treatments.  However the most naughty elf shenanigan had to have been when he put all of Charlie's underwear all over our tree.  What a little stinker!


We also got into the Christmas spirit by making a gingerbread house! We do this every year and they're usually pretty ugly but this year it actually came out looking pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.  He also made a very special Christmas tree art project with his nanny.  Adorable!



We've been having so much fun! We're off to see the big man himself today and hopefully bake some cookies and Chex Mix this week :) My December Daily is still going, too - I just placed a photo order for the first week, so I'm looking forward to getting all the pictures into the album ASAP.  I've been pretty good about remembering to take and edit pictures in a timely manner.  I've also been enjoying being able to quickly add words to my photos right on my phone (see gingerbread house picture above)- I think that'll look nice in the finished album.  Hopefully I can keep it up :)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone!  We had a great Thanksgiving over here at Glue Meets Paper headquarters this year :) My mom wasn't able to host this year so she asked me to do it, and I was happy to oblige! As you know, I love to cook- so it was fun to plan a menu. I also enjoyed setting a nice table.  Six years ago I was given my grandma's gorgeous cream and gold porcelain dishes for a bridal shower present from my aunt (which I adore!) so I went with a full on cream and gold color scheme.  My mother brought a really pretty centerpiece and silver flatware, so that's why there are no forks and the vase is empty ;)



Robb and I also got new furniture this month, my parents have been giving us furniture gift cards over the last year so that helped us out a lot and enabled us to actually buy it.  You might have noticed throughout this blog that my couch has been covered with a quilt for the past 5 years.  This is because our stupid (I mean, awesome and adorable) doggies have torn the couch cushions to pieces.  Literally.  We've been sweeping up pieces of the couch cushions for years now.  But being the frugal (read: broke) people that we are, we held off on getting new couches.  Well the time had finally come to get some new couches, and then that snowballed into a new entertainment unit, which snowballed into a new dining room table, which snowballed into repainting the walls, which snowballed into new curtains etc. A real give a mouse a cookie type situation hehe.  Needless to say, we will be holding off on any other home improvements for quite some time lol.  AND the damn dogs aren't allowed on the couches anymore either! Anyways, the furniture looks great IMO and it was perfect timing for hosting Thanksgiving!


 OMG Adult furniture! 


 Finally- a cool way to display my fossil collection!

All the toys and kid stuff is nicely stored behind the couch resulting in less mess and a cleaner room. wahoo!

Anyways, back to Thanksgiving.  I'm not big into hosting big parties, but this year was small- just my parents and my aunt in addition to Robb, Charlie and myself.  I can handle 6 people....I cannot handle 16 people haha.  Of course I was busy cooking so I didn't get much time to get pictures, but here's a few Thanksgiving-y type pictures to share with you :)

Charlie made Indian hats at preschool the day before Thanksgiving- awwwww!

 It's not a party without a cheese plate.  Charlie ate almost that entire wedge of truffle cheese you see up there.  Everyone thought it was hilarious because he's SUCH a picky eater, but he LOVES fancy cheese.  They know us at the cheese shop because he loves to go there (I do too, of course).  He won't eat hardly anything but he'll gobble up expensive cheese like there's no tomorrow.  Kid's got expensive taste ;)


Leftover salad- this was quite yummy!  I used a cumin lime and honey vinaigrette, it made me feel less guilty about all the junk I also threw into my face later haha.

Post Thanksgiving relaxation! A throw, slippers, wine with pomegranate arils, and SVU on the TV.  Dig it.

Also I thought I'd share my menu - you can find almost all of the original recipes by checking out my Thanksgiving Pinterest Board!  I think the food tasted pretty good for the most part (minus a failed squash and kale dish that I didn't pay enough attention to while I was cooking and turned out gah-ross).  I don't really have any pictures of the food because we were too busy but I can assure you that these recipes turned out quite tasty if you ever wanted to try them out.  I think my favorite was definitely the sausage stuffed mushrooms (Ina Garten's recipe)- they were really yummy.

Starters

Cheese and salami plate with crackers
Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Carmelized onion and mushroom tartlets with gruyere

Dinner

Mixed greens with prosciutto, ricotta salata, roasted carrots, pomegranate, and almonds with a cumin honey-lime vinaigrette (this is the longest title in the world)
Turkey (obvssss)
Make-Ahead gravy
Bagged stuffing and canned cranberry sauce (solely for my husband who likes that stuff)
Green Bean Casserole
Mashed Potato Casserole
Brussel Sprouts with pecans, dried cranberries, and blue cheese
Sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows (my aunt brought this and it was super yummy!)

Dessert

Mini apple struesel cheese cakes
Pecan pie

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December Daily

Hi there! I thought I'd share my December Daily foundation pages today.  You may have noticed I haven't been scrapping very much lately- we've had quite a lot going on! I've been busy in school and we have been reorganizing the house because we just got new furniture so there hasn't been much free time to just sit and scrap.  I wanted to fix this so I decided to do my first ever December Daily this year.  I've never done one before, mainly because I didn't think we did enough Christmas activities to fill one; however now that Charlie's a little older we do a lot more so this seems like a good time to start.

SN: if you're not familiar with December Daily- it's a way to create an album that details each day in December :)


I wanted an all-inclusive kit preferably with a class alongside it, because I'm new to the concept, so I went with Studio Calico.  I don't like Studio Calico.  Sorry, I know that's like sacrilege in the scrapbooking community but I just don't.  I think they're overpriced, their kits are too small, and the suppies are poorly coordinated.  In particular, I thought this DD kit was quite over priced.  I've also taken one or two classes there and thought they were also overpriced and lacking in substantial content.  Because of this I did look around to other companies with Christmas themed kits but I couldn't find everything that I needed anywhere but Studio Calico.  I wanted the extra instruction that would come from a class, I wanted a binder with pocket pages already in it since I'm brand spanking new to pocket style scrapping, and I wanted a Christmas kit, preferably one that aligned with the class.  So despite my best judgement I went ahead with Studio Calico even though I LOVE the Noel Mignon kit this year.  I just wish it came with an album and a class and I would have been ALL over it.  Noel's kits are the best. Studio Calico's are not. That being said, I don't adore the supplies-- they're OK, but I supplemented quite a bit with my stash.  I mean, why would they include so much pink on the pages for a December Daily? That's just silly IMHO.  My Christmas does not include pink, thank you very much. Anyways, next year I will have a firmer grasp of the idea and will definitely be going with a different supplier for my kit.  (BTW this unhappiness has nothing to do with the Studio Calico shipping issues...I got all my materials in time so I have no complaints there, I've just never liked their style or brand or company).


All that being said, I am super excited to do a December Daily this year!  I can't wait! I am going to fucking OWN this Christmas.  I used some of the tips from the class for storing my supplies, and I was quite happy with how everything was organized and the ease of access.

After getting organized I started putting my pages together very loosely.  Mostly just putting items in pockets that I might want to use without actually adhering or committing to any particular design.  Truthfully, I really found it a struggle to work in the 'pocket style' after doing 12x12 layouts for so long.  This might also have been exacerbated by the fact that I wasn't totally pumped about the supplies and that I haven't crafted for a few months.  It doesn't look super awesome but hopefully once I start adding pictures it'll all come together a bit nicer.  Anyways, here's what I have so far.



So you DD veterans- do you have any tips for me? How do you stay creative and do fun things with such small spaces? How do you print your photos in a timely manner without paying huge fees for shipping? What do you do when your supplies don't excite you?  How do you plan out an album in advance when you don't know what you'll be doing that month? I need all tips and tricks please!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Charlie Starts PreK

Hi friends! I think today will be my last "belated" post finally!  I know it's probably no fun to read about the first day of school in the middle of November (and this is suppppposed to be a scrapbooking blog anyways) but I print out my blogs into books and want to make sure I have it recorded.  Sooooo sorry about that but this is the last one, I promise.  I mean, I think it is.  Don't hold me to that.
 
Charlie started Pre-K this year which is crazy and fun and totally weird that he's so old.  He's going to the same preschool he went to last year but some of his classmates and one of his teachers have changed, the main teacher is still the same lady though.  Now he goes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9-1130 but starting in January we're hoping to do the extended day option which will keep him until 130.  That's supposed to get him more used to the Kindergarden schedule and give him time to do extra Kindergarden type work.  I'm not entirely sure that Charlie will be ready for Kindergarden next year but we're keeping an eye on how he's doing this year and will assess at the end of the year.
 
 
I know "red shirting" is a big thing nowadays which I think is silly.  Let the parents and the teachers decide what is best for their kids, it's not anyone else's business, really.  I don't even think that Charlie would be considered "red shirted" if we repeated pre K because despite how old he looks he is one of the youngest kids in the class (end of August birthday).  Plus he's a boy full of energy and just doesn't have an easy time staying still and focusing quite yet.  He improved a LOT over the summer and this year is going much better than last year, hardly any time-out's anymore, however he still has some issues.  He gets so excited playing with his friends that he'll start being loud or distracting the other kids.  He also has some trouble with snack time because he doesn't eat snacks and gets bored sitting at the table not doing anything.  SO maybe he'll be ready and maybe he won't be- doesn't matter to me either way :)
 
Charlie's special new backpack which he brings to school everyday virtually empty lol
 
Anyways, Charlie is LOVING pre-K even more than he loved preschool! He has a bestest bestest friend that he loves to play with- it's so cute, the two of them always scream each other's names across the parking lot when they see each other.  He likes to learn, make art, and sing songs.  It's so good for him and he is really growing up before our eyes.  This year he can actually tell us what he did during preschool and tells us stories about the other kids.  He also loves the Sharing Bag and doing show and tell with his favorite toys.  Plus his mom enjoys the 2.5 hours free every Monday and Wednesday so she can do her homework, excercise, and/or do laundry ;)
 
 
The only tough part about Pre-K is that Charlie has been "sick" pretty much the whole time.  First he had a cough that wouldn't go away for about 2 months (it was really nasty and junky for about 3-4 weeks of that time).  Then he got actually sick with a fever last week (that he oh so kindly gave to Robb and I, too.  UGH it was a rough week).  Oh well, it's a fair trade off in my opinion because he loves it so much and we can really tell a difference in maturity level when he goes to preschool.  He loves it and so do we!




Friday, November 14, 2014

The Big E!

Hi everyone! Today I'm sharing another post from the past (this September) that I'm trying to catch up on :)

It's been brought to my attention from one of my colleagues that lives in Rhode Island (the state in which I work) that most people do not know what the Big E is!  This is totally weird, as the Big E is a pretty big deal here in CT.  It's a giant New England fair/carnival thing that lasts for weeks, it's held in Massachusetts and is really fun!  They have rides, food, parades, a circus, musical acts, livestock and more!  The last time I went was when I was probably 10 years old and I was completely obsessed with all of the "As Seen on TV" informercial booths, begging my mom to buy everything in sight.  I'm pretty sure I convinced my mom to buy a Wonder Mop and a Super Slicer (which she still uses to this day!) haha. 


I haven't been in a really long time because it's always super crowded.  However my work schedule recently shifted from 5x8 hour days to 4x10 hour days, leaving me with Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays off.  I LOVE my new schedule, even though it's really tiring.  I have M-W to bring Charlie to Dr's appointments, preschool, etc and Thurs-Sunday to work so I get a nice balance between "Stay at Home Mom" and "Working Mom".  It also means that I don't get a weekend, but whatever, you never really do when you have a kid anyways.  My point, though, is that I was able to bring Charlie to the Big E early on a Tuesday when it was almost empty.  It was great, no long lines and we were able to take advantage of lots of fun things without the wait.  Tickets were cheaper than I originally thought, too.  With parking and admission it only cost $25 for both of us (Charlie was free).  I also brought $60 in spending money that I got from selling Charlie's old co-sleeper which was just *barely* enough-- we were trying to be frugal as fairs can be money pits!

Charlie was SO excited to go to the Big E and he really wanted to see the oxen pulls.  I haven't seen an ox pull in ages, so it was fun! Those oxen are BIG, yikes! Charlie kept wanting them to put more and more blocks on the sled haha



After the oxen pull the free circus started and we spent an hour watching trained dogs, jugglers, a funny clown, and acrobats! Very cool!


Then I made Charlie sit down and eat lunch like a horrible, mean, awful, no-good, unfair mommy.


Next up was rides! We went on the ferris wheel together (which was super expensive for a 1 minute ride, hmph) and Charlie loved it! It made me, however, very nervous because I'm not great with heights.


Charlie went on a few other little rides that he enjoyed too.

Afterwards I told Charlie it was mommy's turn to pick an activity (again, i'm a no-good, mean, horrible, unfair mommy). I wanted to go to the Avenue of the States, which sounds quite boring but is really cool.  They have smaller versions of all the capital buildings from New England on the road and inside each are goods and edibles unique to that state.  I got a tomato and mozzarella salad in the CT booth which made me feel better about eating the gyro and funnel cake I ended up wolfing down later :)


Outside the Avenue of the states there was a fun parade! It was Rhode Island day (each state gets a day to put on shows, etc) so I debated getting a hot weiner but held off because Charlie was getting antsy.  Since I work in RI I now know that they have all sorts of weird food that we don't have in CT-- things like hot weiners, stuffies, and coffee milk.  My coworkers had to teach me what these meant, as I had no idea (if you're curious they're kind of like chili dogs, stuffed clams, and coffee syrup, respectively).

Lastly, Charlie went on a pony ride and played with some remote race cars in a carnival game (the only one I let him play, thank you very much). 

It was exhausting but so much fun! We'll definitely go back next year too.  New England's the best :)