Happy New Years!

You all have a great New Year's celebration!  {even if it's sitting on the couch with the TV!}  Our New Year's tradition is to have a movie night and slumber party/movie marathon in the living room with popcorn, milkshakes or whatever kind of junk I feel like feeding my kids!  It's the ONE time a year they get to do this, so it's quite exciting.  We're mixing it up a bit this year, but they're still going to have fun.

Now with the holiday festivities over and school going to start back up again, maybe, just maybe I'll get to actually pull out a project and relax.  Okay, wishful thinking...but a girl can dream, right?!

Happy New Year's!  What are you guys doing tonight?!

...oh, and as a gift to myself while I clean the house, take down decor, and have some "me" time while I work, I downloaded "The Help" from Audible.com - worth every penny.  Best book I've listened to in a LONG, long time.  For me, it's more fun to listen to a story like this because the voices bring the story to life.  At this rate, I'll get the whole house cleaned up and not even notice I've been working!!!  yessssss.


We've Got Winners! and Round 2!

Whew!  After calculating all of the numbers myself, we finally have a WINNING PAIR!!!  With a total of 7.15% weight loss between the two of them, they had the highest number!  If I didn't hear back from you, I'm so sorry if we missed you.

Our winners have been contacted and will be sending me photos and info, so I'll post about them when I get all of that!

In the meantime...

Let's do this again!  There is a lot of interest, so EMAIL ME NOW and we'll start Round 2 without partners this time!    Many of you emailed me requesting that we do this without pairing up and I think that's a great idea.  Same rules - same concept.  Let's go 3 months this time to really give us a challenge! Shall we say April 1st as an end date? April Fools?!

Once again, I really don't want to keep track of your statistics, nor do I want to tally everything myself...so this will be an on-your-honor event.


Loose as much weight as you can THE HEALTHY WAY by APRIL 1ST.   (no puking, gagging, laxatives, starving, or anything deemed unhealthy. Getting the flu would be to your advantage, though.)

This competition will be limited to no more than 40 participants.  EMAIL ME NOW!!! (address is on the sidebar of this blog)  I WILL NEED YOUR BEGINNING WEIGHT.  Sorry---it's the only way to be fair.

EACH PERSON sends $10.00 to my house and I'll put it in the pot for the winner.  If you don't send in your $10, you are disqualified and we'll all be upset with you because you short-changed us.  

NO CHEATIES!  This is an "On-Your-Honor" kind of deal.  You can weigh in and start as soon as I get your email - nothing prior counts!  So when you hear from me....START!  I'll answer emails as soon as I get them.

PERCENTAGE LOST  (here is a calculator)



I think we have a winner...

{GASP!} I'm pretty sure we have a winner...but I have to give two more couples a fair chance to get back to me today.  If they don't then I'm going to announce our winner.  EXCITING!!!  I must say, too, how impressed I am with everybody's success!  I'm envious because I lacked discipline this round and SO many of you had amazing results...but maybe we could do this again - any takers?!  I have to loose 40 lbs. by May and I need another kick-start now that the holiday temptations are GONE!

{some time later, and a few head-bashing bruises, and two diet pepsi's...}

...okay...I'm still crunching numbers.  It's going to be close.  Because everybody has a partner, it's altering the percentages and it's taking me a while.  {exactly what I didn't want to have happen...}  If I've contacted you, I need your combined beginning and ending weight.  {you and your partner}  That's how we get an accurate percentage.  Otherwise I'm throwing out people who don't submit that to me.  Thanks!!!



Still waiting on a few of you to email your weight loss percentage to me!!!  If I don't hear from you, I'm going to pick our winner!!!


Merry Christmas!!!...and the winner!

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!!!  Not only do I hope you all have the Merriest of Merry Christmasness, but I can't wait to see who our WINNER will be from our quickie little weight loss challenge!!!  Sadly, I wasn't disciplined enough and I can definitely say that I gained back anything I lost...I am weak...

So after all of your Christmas morning celebrations, don't forget to email me your ending weight/percentage lost!  


Christmas LOVE!

I love this season.  LOVE IT, Love it, love it!  {hence the hearts}  It's absolutely my favorite.  And it's called CHRISTMAS.  Not "Holiday".  
Furthermore...why do people from other non-Christian religions celebrate Christmas?!  I respect all religions, but I don't celebrate their special holidays.  ...hmmm....makes me wonder, that's all.  

...and here's this year's tree - a fun change from the red & white peppermint thing I had going on for the last two years.  Peppermint was exciting, but I'm more in the mood for different colors this year.  I found a huge tub of plastic ornaments from Sam's Club and I'm glad I chose plastic because...

...Brooke loves to rip them off with brute force and eat them.  After having four kids, I've finally learned to decorate with plastic!  It's a Christmas Miracle!!! 

My humble Nativity.  The reason for all of my excitement - the birth of our Savior.  I get giddy thinking about how exciting it all must have been for all of us in Heaven, for those waiting His arrival on Earth, and even for the unknowing during that time.  What a beautiful, humble, exciting moment in time. 

{And let's not forget that noble donkey. He/She had an important job!}


Cooking 101-Open Faced Breakfast Sandwich

Okay, so let me paint a picture for you - clap if you can relate: I'm tired out of my mind, yesterday was traumatic, this whole week has been traumatic (I'll explain later), this morning was "late start" for school which means I had a chance to sleep in, but NO, babies don't know what that means, so we all got up, I had four kids up and eager to talk at my face for 2 hours while I'm vigorously rubbing sleep out of my eyes, trying so hard to stay awake.  Milk in the fridge is sour, there's nothing to eat for breakfast. Baby got to 'play' in the toilet (silence means trouble), therefore needing a bath, there are no clean pants for the kids, and I have Christmas decorations strung out all over my living room.  Have you ever had a day like that?!  

SO...got kids fed and off on school busses with lots of love from mom, put baby down for a much needed nap, and as I was standing in my kitchen STARVING, I decided it was a day for.....my ultimate breakfast sandwich. {gasp!} Do you see how marvelous this all comes together?!

You HAVE to try this if you're a fan of this type of breakfast/brunch food.  Some people despise eggs, so those wierdos can ignore this post - but the rest of you will definitely want to try this!

Fresh Ciabatta buns - cut one in half 

One or two eggs, cooked with a little olive oil, salt & pepper 

Swiss Gruyere cheese - mmmmmm.... (no substitutes-do yourself a favor)

Hickory smoked turkey - needs to be smoked on account of the great flavor

Grill bread with a little butter on a cast iron skillet, grill turkey a little on both sides...

Assemble with a little cheese in between and get a fork and knife because breakfast just got exciting!  This is SO good with a cup of cocoa, too.  These flavor combinations are really, really incredible!!!

...kinda makes a hectic morning melt away.


Baby Needs Bling!


My home has been needing a wreath update for a long time.  I've looked and looked at different ideas and this year I'm drawn to the bright colors - kinda reminds me of an Elf Shop or something!  Anywee-Kadie had the same idea so we went supply shopping yesterday and NOW...may I present to you my latest creation...

This wreath is big, too - it takes up almost the whole width of my door!  My glue gun is smokin'!!!  This worked up really fast, though, and can I just say how much I love glue guns?! I DO think my happy wreathy needs some spray glitter bling, though.  Baby needs BLING!  It needs to sparkle more {because Christmas is sparkly!} and I'm just not getting enough sparkle vibe.  Until then, though, it's going to hang pretty on my door and blast anyone who comes over with a bright, cheery, Christmas welcome!  {It's even got jingle bells!!! gaspity gasp!} 

You start with a bunch of random junk and just start gluing away.  Start with the biggest ornaments, arrange them symmetrically, and fill in the gaps.  You can do it under an hour!  My wreath & most ornaments came from Hobby Lobby and the other ornaments came from a multi-pack at Sam's Club.


WHERE does the time go?!!

Is it just me or do the days just seem to blaze by in a blur?!  {say that 10 times fast!}  I either need to get it together or something because I miss my little bloggie!!!

Okay, first things first:  How's the weight loss challenge going for all of  you?!  I'm not having you report your numbers to me because I think the secrecy gives you advantage in this short of a challenge.  I will say that I've only lost 5 lbs., but since being on my thyroid meds and this whole 'get skinny' challenge, I've lost a total of 11 lbs.  YAY for me!  (...now only 40 more to go... haha.)  Kadie and I are going strong starting tomorrow, though, so look out.

Secondly:  IT'S CHRISTMAS DECOR TIME!!!  {squeal!} Tomorrow I get to dig out all of my yummy, festive fun stuff, plug in my fave Christmas tunes, and decorate.  Okay, let's be honest.  With the exception of my amazing advent tree, my decorations are crap and I'm looking into updating my old stuff - but I'll put up what I have and try to make some newer additions...

...LIKE THESE!  I've been working on some (and ruining others with spray snow-don't buy that stuff), but I hope to have a little mini-forest of trees soon.  {eek!} love these!!! Get the pattern here at Allsorts.  Mine have some hand beading and I love it. I can't wait to show you all of my creations!!!


All Full!!!

Alright, everyone!  You all came through - good for you!!  We've got plenty of teams now - I'm compiling a list - and I"ll post it after my herd comes home from school.  Sorry, but I'm not taking anymore teams at this point - it's 2:50 p.m. Eastern time - if you emailed me sooner than this than I've got you down.  YAY FOR YOU!!!  Now get to work.

Team Spirit!

Okay, Ladies, normally I could understand any hesitancy about jumping off a building, swimming naked with hungry, killer sharks, or dumping acid on my face - BUT SERIOUSLY?!  Why isn't my email inbox full?!  I only have SIX emails!!!  WHAT THE?!  Are you CRAZY?!  Nobody wants to drop a jean size by Christmas and show off a cute tush for Santa?!  (by the way, Santa wants you to drop a jean size...it's his wish.)

Intervention time.  Stop what you're doing right now - grab a buddy - and email me - abbywelker(at)yahoo(dot)com.  We have a few more spots open!!!  You know you want to do this because, well, it's fun, you're going to benefit from it, you're going to feel amazing, and you could win some shopping money!!!  Is there a bad side to this?! 

While you guys get off the couch and email me - here is our team lineup so far:

Team Abby & Kadie (a.k.a. "the Winners")
Team Emma & Buddy (sorry, mom, you're doing this with me...)
Team Ashlee & Mom
Team Kathy & Amanda
Team Carrie & LoverBuns
Team Jill & Heidi
Team Brianne & LoverBuns
Team Denise & Buddy (yay, Denise!)
Team Courtney?  
Team Smullin?  holdin' a spot for you guys...
Team Melissa - do you have a buddy yet?!  Wendi needs a buddy - you two could team up! (let me know)

Here's a big Spartan cheer to all of you - may the best team win!  Now hit the gym because it's 


Another Challenge!!! {eeek!}

Alright, ladies - and the occasional dude...let's do something CRAAAYYYZZAY!  So, I'm thinking, what better way to celebrate Fall, the upcoming Holidays, and the huge food fest that encompasses "Thanksgiving-Passing-Out and Christmas-Goodies-Overdose?!"  A weight loss challenge!!!  {yaaaay...horray....cheeeeerrrrr!}  No frowning...this can be a GOOD thing.

(Okay, let's be honest.  Kadie and I decided to challenge ourselves to a little "drop-10-pounds by Christmas" thing and we need some more motivation...)  SO......

We're opening this up to a few more people who want to join us!  The last fitness challenge we did HERE was a huge success, (A cute girl won something like $400! WOW!) but there was so much involved with that and I have no desire to do that again YET.  However, I thought it would be fun to invite 10-15 couples/buddies to join us in this quick, small little challenge.

Here's the Deal:

Loose as much weight as you can THE HEALTHY WAY by Christmas!  {aaakk!} (no puking, gagging, laxatives, starving, or anything deemed unhealthy. Getting the flu would be to your advantage, though.)

The first 10-15  COUPLES/BUDDY partnerships to email me gets to play! (yay for you!!)

You DO have to have a partner or, well, you're on your own...sorry....we still love you, though.

Everybody (EACH PERSON) sends $10.00 to our "Cash Corral" (my house) and I'll hold onto it for the winner.  (No worries - I'll be honest...as a whipperwill....or something like that...)  So if you win, you and your partner could split $200!  How fun would THAT be?!  (Kadie, we are totally taking this...)  

If you don't send in your $10, you and your buddy are disqualified and we'll all be upset with you because you short-changed us.  We'll have to tie you to the whippin' post and smack you around - and it won't be pretty.

NO CHEATIES!  This is an "On-Your-Honor" kind of deal.  You can weigh in and start as soon as I get your email - nothing prior counts!  We will determine COMBINED weight loss by PERCENTAGE to keep this fair - just email me you AND your partner's beginning and after weight and I will be more than happy to total the weight loss percentage in order to simplify everything.  (lots of confusion last time)

SO...if you weigh 120 and your partner weighs 180, then you would email me "300" as your starting number.  Got it?!  Then if you both, together, loose 40 pounds, then your ending number would be "260", making it a total 13.33% weight loss.  (here is a calculator)

It's pretty basic - just let me know if you have questions!

Yee-Haw!  Now go grab a partner and email me!!!  HURRY!!!


How Do People Blog Everyday?!

Every day I check my Google Reader and every day there are blog entries from amazing women who seem to constantly be doing amazing things.  WHAT THE?!  How do they do this?!  I don't even have enough time in the day to get my dishes done, let alone some amazing project! (I did make my bed today and it looks heavenly...)  I've been wanting SO BADLY to put up a blog post, something cute, clever, and (of course) adorable - but NO.  Hey - I can't even get a chance to read "Mockingjay" {gasp} - I'm still in the first chapter and I've had the book for two months now!!!  ???  (It's a crime, I know...I feel so ashamed and trashy.) 

HOWEVER....I know that my time will come to make something festive for the Holiday season and I'm so giddy to prepare for Christmas - I can't stand it!!!  {love the Holiday season!!!}  I did some Christmas shopping today...so much fun!  So with that in mind, I leave you with the following cartoon - huh-larious. 


Enjoying Fall

It's 2:30 on a glorious, sunny Friday afternoon and what do I have to show for myself?  Not a thing, that's what.  The house is a mess, I haven't changed out of my pj's, and I LOVE it!  I've given myself permission to enjoy a lazy day with my little Chub Nugget (Brooke).  I held her when she took her nap, we played, watched a movie, and can I tell you how much FUN this is?!   She's my last baby, okay, so I'm enjoying every second because I'm so painfully aware of how fast it flies by.  I'm still in disbelief that my kids are as old as they are.  (I'm not any older, of course, but they are...)

So here's to a lazy Fall day!  (I took that photo this morning just as the sun was peeking through the trees.  Amazing.  It'll all be gone by next week - so sad.)


Birdie Ornaments

Okay, Ladies - it's October and I didn't really get into Halloween junk this year, although my kids probably wish I had, but I decided to jump right into Christmas stuff.  I think I'm done with my Peppermint Tree {gasp} and don't be sad, but it had to happen eventually.  You knew that, right?!  Besides, the candies were all popping out of my garland and I'm bored of peppermint - I'm ready for multi-color!!!  {Plus, I need ornaments that a baby can pull off, suck on, and NOT destroy before I have time to rip it from her solid, slobbery grasp.}

So here are my newest friends!  Little Birdies!!!  Although I don't think I'm going to do my tree in "birds", these were fun to make and play with.   AND...you can tie these onto presents, hang them on gift bags, and give them away with your baked goodies!  How cute and fun, right?! 
Here's how to make yourself some bird friends:
 You need:
DMC Floss (it has strands you can pull apart)
Small embroidery hoop 
Pinking shears
Embroidery needle
Washable marking pen or something you can mark with
A template from your imagination traced onto cardstock
(it's not hard to trace a little bird shape, then draw a wing in the middle & cut it out)

Step 1:  Trace wing shapes, then stitch using my stitch guide , this amazing guide here, or do your own thing.  Be creative!  If I get some time, for those of you interested, I'll post another stitch guide and include some of the newer things I've learned like the flowers, leaves, and other border stitches.

Don't worry about your embroidery hoop going over the top of the other stitched wings - I didn't have any problems, just don't get it too tight and try to be careful.

Set your wings aside and cut out your main body using your pinking shears for that pointy edge look.  Trace your bird shape onto ONE piece of felt.  Pin that one piece to your backing, and it can be the same color if you want - I used two different colors.  Cut out your bird shape around the edges of your tracing pen.

Everything is all lined up perfectly!  Cut out your wings, leaving just enough space for you to stitch them down onto the top piece of your bird.

(see photos below) After your wing is stitched onto your top piece, cut out a beak and a ribbon hanger.  Don't forget to give your bird an eye ball, too!  Put in a French knot where you'd like it to go and remember: the more times you wrap your floss around your needle, the bigger your eye is going to be.

  Glue beak and ribbon onto the back side of  your bird.

Now stitch the bird closed.  Start wherever you'd like, I started at the bottom.  With your knot on the INSIDE of the bird, whip stitch in-between your crimps from the scissors.

...so easy - great way to teach kids how to stitch - let them make one of their own!!

 Now stuff that bird.  To get fluffies way up into the tail portion, you might want to start stuffing a little up in there before you get to this point - but it doesn't matter.  Just fatten him up a little or a lot, using your scissors or a skewer to push the stuffing up inside the bird without tearing through your stitching.  {For heaven's sake!}

Now finish off with a square knot - and that's it!  How easy is that?!

...not lovin' this one - it doesn't scream "Christmas" at me - but she's still cute nevertheless. {she IS a she, right, I mean - look at her....}   Maybe if you had a girlie, pastel-type decor scheme - then this lady would be perfect!  Anybody want her?!  Email me and I'll send her to you.  Nevermind - she's going to Tanya!  Enjoy!


Oh, WHAT do you do?!

Workin' on a project.  {GASP!]  Well, that is, between chasing my baby all over the house removing small items from her chubby little hands and her soggy mouth, peeling poopy outfits off of her (I SWEAR...how does she produce all of that?!), doing dishes, fighting my desire to lay down and sleep, feeding people, cleaning up random messes that seem to multiply behind my back, and many more exciting and fulfilling tasks.  I'm trying to squeeze in a Christmas project here and there, which is why I remain madly in love with embroidery right now because you can set it down and pick it up whenever.  perfect!

But what do you do when you're ready to step out of your funk, leave the house, breathe in some fresh fall air, stop the madness for a moment, and escape?!  

You RUN over to the bakery, grab two gorgeous looking specimen, go home giggling, put the little ones down for a nap (or, for heaven's sake, find something mindless and numbing for them like cartoons) and have a TASTE TEST!!!  (by the way, I was totally wearing my 'cookie pants' and slippers with my hair pulled back and no shower!  How rad is that?!)

SO....today's challenge is...German Chocolate vs. Coconut Cream.  (notice the absence of fondant...haha.)

As you see here, both are beautiful with their own desirableness.  (is that even a word?)
Of course, I'm a chocolate addict, but I'm also a coconut freak, so between the two cupcakes, this should prove to be a difficult competition. aaakk! I love a tough challenge!!!

 NO BRAINER.  The German Chocolate wins hands-down.  The coconut cupcake is merely so-so because they used that nasty Crisco-like frosting, which, frankly, creeps me out.  Sorry, coconut cream.  (It needed cream-filling, that's what, and there might have been some challenge here.)

The German Chocolate has more flavor, the frosting isn't whipped Crisco, and, well, just look at it!  It's heaven!  What am I going to do when I don't live by this bakery anymore?!    

There you have it, folks.  A perfect way to escape reality, if just for a moment.
(side note:  because I'm trying to eat 'smarter', as hard as that might be to believe, I'm actually done tasting the cupcakes and I'm going to put them in the fridge and/or throw them away.  I only needed a taste.  It's a good feeling when you can do that.  A few dollars is worth my sanity!)


Two New Books

"I'm in LOVE, I'm in LOVE and I don't care who knows it!!!"  --Buddy the Elf ....again...

For whatever reason, I've become obsessed with stitching.  It's SO beautiful and I'm finding that the things I treasure the most are hand-made.  Last year while making my beloved Advent Tree, I fell in love with stitching because it's easy, simple, mess-free, and has the potential to last through the years when done tastefully.  {meaning, it's not a fad like vinyl! haha...}

HENCE my two newest treasures, or should I say eye candy!!!

Claire Youngs and Alicia Paulson have opened the floodgates for me!

Just a peek into Clare's Book.  I am absolutely bewitched with the Scandanavian culture, colors, and handiwork.  This book captured it beautifully and I can't wait to make something from in here.

LOVE this...

...and these stockings...

...loook at the reindeer!!!

And Alicia's Book:


...can you imagine making beautiful pillowcases like that???!!!  Alicia shows you how!!!

...and check out what I saw on her blog...

...oh...my...gosh...I think my 'peppermint tree' might have to  have a facelift this Christmas.  Especially since I have a baby in the  house - she can't break these ornaments.  Absolutely DARLING!!!

WOW.  I have no words.  I got both of my books from Amazon - great prices and they came quickly!  Go snatch yourself one of each!!