Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday's Moment (October 31st, 2011)

Today's Monday's Moment is of course in honor of the holiday even if it isn't my favorite. Regardless we've had quite the weekend full of friends, activities and lots of amazing food!

First off if you have a husband like mine, convincing him to dress up is quite the chore, especially when they don't want to help come up with ideas. Since moving to this house we have made friends who like to throw together elaborate get-togethers throughout the year and for Halloween it's become tradition to have a couples only, costume required dinner party. I don't mind dressing up but I'd be ok not dressing up. I don't however like forking over $40 for a costume I will wear for a few hours. Don't get me wrong, I love to shop and I love clothes but some cheap imitation is not my forte.

Thus this year we decided on "Where's Waldo and Wanda." I know, it looks homemade but I wasn't too picky. We already had the white shirts. All we bought was red duct tape and I bought my red hat (which I will wear often). We had to put the duct tape on after we put the shirts on which limited our mobility just a little and was slightly frustrating. However, they were easy costumes and everyone loved them. When all was said and done we took the duct tape off, which didn't leave any marks on our shirt, and threw it away.

I love getting together with friends whether in person or with all my online friends. I love how holidays (even the ones I don't like) give me the opportunity to get to know others just a little bit better, to remember to laugh, and enjoy each period in my life.

What did you do this year for Halloween?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

November's FREE Download of the Month

It's that time again to introduce November's FREE download(s) of the month. These countdowns and gratitude template will only be up for the month of November so make sure and get yours now.

Each download is an 8.5 x 11 jpg file intended to be printed and then trimmed to fit in an 8 x 10 frame. Then, keep track of the days until Thanksgiving or write the things you are grateful for simply by using a dry erase marker on top of the glass. Easy right?

Be sure to check back next month for a Christmas Countdown.

*Please note my watermark will NOT be on your download*

Pinktober - Those Who Are Left Behind

Today’s guest post is from a dear friend of mine, Caroline, in honor of Pinktober. Caroline and her family lost her dear sister, Paige, last year to a long battle with breast cancer. If there is anything that I have learned from this whole family it is that life was meant to be lived and loved to the fullest, that one person (or family) can make a huge difference in the world! Hope lives within us. (You will always see this family with a smile on their face and it's contagious)

(Paige and her husband)

Paige is beautiful. She is sweet and kind. She is caring and good. She wants the best for all of those around her. She comforts her friends and family. She radiates happiness. She has an infectious smile. She remembers your birthday. She is motivational. She is inspirational. She is your biggest fan. She is your greatest ally. She is your friend. And now, although she looks down on us from heaven, the impact that she made on my life remains strong.

(Paige and her family)

After a six year fight with breast cancer, my sister Paige lost her battle. She was only 28 years old when she was diagnosed and died at the very young age of 34. She was a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a friend.

(Caroline, her husband, two children, and friends)

Not a day goes by that I don't think about her smile, or am reminded of her generosity and goodness. And each day I feel a need to do something for her. So, this year, my sister, Karmen, my mother and I are doing what we can to remain active in breast cancer research so that our future generations can face a stronger chance of survival when diagnosed with cancer. I just walked in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this last weekend, and coming up in November we are all participating in the 3 Day Walk for the Cure. Between the three of us we have raised over $10,000 to go toward breast cancer research!!!

(Paige's husband and daughter... this photo just breaks my heart)

And it doesn't end there. My sister's husband and little girl, Esme, are putting together the Paige L. Cahoon Fund as another way to honor her legacy. Any proceeds raised toward that fund will go toward the cancer community.

These are little things that I am able to be a part of and helps me live my life every day with a feeling of fulfillment that I CAN do something about Paige's death. I can do that!

My family has a total of 6 relatives (mom, sister, aunts, and cousin) that have had breast cancer. This is for them:)


If you are interested in learning more about the Susan G. Komen Foundation or the Paige L. Cahoon Fund please don't hesitate to contact me by email, .

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pinterest Project - (Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins)

I love pumpkins and hope to someday have a wide variety throughout my house. This Pinterest Project has been one that I've worked on for weeks and don't know if I'm done making changes. The inspiration comes from a photo scanned in by Dress, Design, & Decor. My holiday decor has a common theme of silver and gold mixed with a color or two. For fall I've decided that other color will be orange. I plan on decorating once for fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. Thus pumpkins and this color palette will work perfectly.

This first little pumpkin came already painted gold from Michaels. I added the metallic orange stripes. It's simple yet elegant.

The largest pumpkin is the one that has caused me the most problems. I started by spray painting it a metallic gold and tried to hand paint on an argyle pattern... and quickly decided I didn't have the skill to free-style it. Thus I re-sprayed the gold and used painters tape for the first set of diamonds in the argyle pattern. I used a grey acrylic paint mixed with a champagne finish. After the shapes had dried I decided that the contrast between the silver and gold was not enough. I tried adding a darker grey on one and hated it. I tried adding orange which too was a failure. I had resigned to spray paint the pumpkin again but in a metallic silver and add a monogram. However, I had too much paint for it to go on smoothly. Thus I began sanding it down. I left it out in this state during my Scentsy party where several people began complementing me on this particular pumpkin. Had I accidentally made something cool? The jury is still out on that and this particular photo makes it hard to judge.

My last pumpkin is rather easy. It came this orange color. I painted on the circles in gold and grey. I added the champagne color on top of the grey and gold glitter on the gold. The glitter really adds the glam I was going for.

Overall, I fairly satisfied with this Pinterest Project recreation and am ready to start experimenting on more pumpkins! Do you have any great ideas?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday's Moment (October 24th, 2011)

Today's Monday's Moment is Halloween inspired. My mom is super creative and talented, two things that I hope will someday rub off onto me. She has written scripts for short skits, sews, can paint and draw, and comes up with tons of ideas out of thin air. Growing up, especially when we were younger she had the challenge of balancing the mom on a budget act and coming up with great Halloween costumes. This was yet again a challenge she always seemed to win.

Halloween was always tricky growing up because of living in the mountains. The first snow always seemed to be on Halloween or shortly before with temperatures dropping drastically. We needed WARM costumes or something that would fit over our coats.

I love the photos above! I don't remember much from this particular Halloween other than I think we went to the mall that year for trick - or - treating. However, I think the costumes were genius and didn't break the "piggy bank." Moreover, the facial expressions and poses are priceless. I'm pretty sure my mom already had all the pink clothes (my brothers must be wearing my hand-me-downs). She made our ears and tails and I think borrowed the wheel barrow from a friend.

I'll be honest, Halloween is not my favorite holiday, at least in this stage of my life. I do like to see the kids dressed up though. They make for great photos and bring in the magic of being a kid, when you could be anything you wanted to in a moments notice and still be true to yourself.

Link up your favorite children's costumes with today's Monday's Moment and share your tips and ideas.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Family Photos and the Great Dilemma

I have the great opportunity to work with girls ages 12-18 on a weekly basis and find great happiness in doing so, however sometimes these girls don't necessarily come with filters.

Exhibit A:
A few months back I was talking with one of my friends while in the presence of some of these teenage girls about plans for our next "Family Photo." One girl piped up, "How can you get family photos if you don't even have kids yet?" My friend desperately tried to remedy the situation by explaining that you didn't have to have kids to be a "family," that when my husband and I got married we had started our own family even though it was just the two of us.

That conversation has since stuck with me. Why do I get photos taken each year with my husband even though we don't have kids and don't necessarily change all that much physically?

First off, I don't discuss my struggles with fertility with these teenage girls, so had this girl known the circumstances she probably wouldn't have said anything. Not having kids yet has not been a choice I have any control over at this point, however, I won't let that put limitations on other aspects of my life.

I like to send out Christmas cards each year, kids or not, and it would get pretty boring to send out the same photo year after year. I like to have new photos to put on my wall and send to our parents. Styles change. I use photos for Facebook, Twitter, Various Blogs, Google, etc and would like it if I didn't have to use the same photo for all of the above until we actually have kids.
Finally, while some may not see a whole lot of physical changes other than the length of my hair I feel like emotionally and mentally my husband and I grow leaps and bounds. We are definitely not the same people we were a year ago and a photo is the perfect way to document these unseen changes.

My awesome sister-in-law is a budding photographer and we volunteered to let her practice on us this year. We did two sessions. The dilemma is how to choose which ones to print. I think there were so many great photos! I need to print one for our wall, one for both our parents, and one for the Christmas card, only now I'm having a hard time narrowing them down.

... and this isn't even all of them!

Do you get your photo taken each year?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Christmas Give-Away ($50 Gift Card to Amazon)

I know, I know it isn't even Halloween, what am I doing talking about Christmas? It must be all the Christmas cards I've been working on lately that has me in the the Christmas Spirit.

As the title of this post indicates I have decided it is time for another give-away, one that can help you with your Christmas budget. The winner of this give-away will win a $50 gift card to Amazon!

*First you must be following this blog to be eligible to participate. If you aren't already you can scroll down on the right side of the blog to "Join this Site." I also would love if you became a Facebook Fan, although that is not a requirement.*

Entries are simple. Go to my website and come back and leave a comment telling me which card or announcement is your favorite.

You can gain additional entries by persuading your friends to participate in this give-away. In addition to leaving a comment telling me which card and announcement is their favorite, they would also tell me who sent them. It's a win-win situation as you both would get entries. (They too must follow my blog in order to enter)

Easy Peasy right? This give-away will be open from today, October 19th, until Wednesday November 2nd, 2011 at midnight. I will announce the winner on November 3rd.

*This give-away is open to U.S. residents only.*

(Please make sure that you use more than just a first name for reference. For example, when I leave comments it shows only my first name, Sarah. I would make sure that when my friends reference me they use my full name, screen name, or business name ie. Sarah Dawn Designs.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday's Moment (October 17th, 2011)

I have two sisters and as you can tell there is quite a bit of age difference. Don't get me wrong I love all four of my brothers but I was SOOOOOOOOOO excited when my first sister came along. Up until that point I had three terrific brothers but it just wasn't the same. I remember very clearly the day my mom went up to the hospital, way past her due date. My parents had opted to not find the gender out for this pregnancy and all fingers were crossed it was a girl.

While at school I kept calling my mom's friend to see if there was any news. I was in luck, my first beautiful sister made her debut and there was an instant sisterly bond formed.

Fast forward a few years for this Monday's Moment. My sister and I did everything we could together regardless of our difference in age. There was a point were I was home schooled for half a year to help my mom out after the next child came along. This meant lots of sisterly bonding time as she was still a toddler.

One particular day we were thumbing through an Oriental Trading magazine together. As we would look at each photo I would point to something and say, "That's my bracelet," followed by my sister pointing at something in the same photo announcing, "Well, that's my bracelet." It became a game as we each claimed items in various photos. We came across a photo that had four Halloween character cups. I quickly called my cup, "That's my mummy." My sister eager to stake hers loudly exclaimed, "That's my daddy," all the while pointing at a Frankenstein cup.
My dad was all sorts of excited to know his daughter saw a resemblance between him and the great holiday figure.

There are some days I wish I could step back in time and just bask in my childhood memories where everything seemed to come so much easier.

Do you have a funny Halloween moment you would like to share, I'm always up for a good story.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pinterest Recipes (Birthday Cake Success)

If you read this week's Monday's Moment you will know that I personally am more of a pie person than cake. However, it wasn't my birthday, it was the husband's and I wanted to attempt something I have had yet to do: make a cake and one with a little flare at that.

Leave it to good ole Pinterest (and Melissa's Kitchen) to have the perfect idea for a candy cake. It looked amazing yet simple enough that I wouldn't be afraid to try it. The biggest challenge for me was going to be the actual cake not the decor. We live above 7,000 ft. If you've looked at the back of cake box you will find that their directions for high altitude usually only go up to about 4,000-6,000 ft. Baking had become a real challenge since moving here. Cakes, muffins, cupcakes, etc tend to be extremely crumbly AND fall inside each other. Thus I began scouring Google for tips for cooking at higher altitudes and found lots of great information.

Many sites recommended increasing the liquids with some differing opinions on whether or not eggs were considered a liquid that should be increased. I had a Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip mix which has directions for one of the higher altitudes out of cake mixes. I followed the high altitude directions as well as added a few extra tablespoons of water. In addition I found a site that suggested that you cook the cake in the lower third of the oven at a little higher temperature so that it can cook more evenly.

Guess what??? It worked! My cakes weren't nearly as crumbly as they usually are. I was able to stack my two round cakes and put frosting all around without loosing large chunks of cake in the process.

The best part was that the husband was completely surprised and loved it! It was a bit on the sweet side by the time I added all that candy but overall it was a big success!

Speaking of parties you can get up to 50% of party supplies until October 20th from

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chair Rail Height and Vertical Stripes

A few years ago I had a friend approach me with a design question regarding stripes and chair rails. She was getting ready to redo a bedroom with stripes on the bottom, solid on top and a chair rail in between. "Should I do half and half?" The answer typically is no.

When designing we always want to follow the thirds rule or fifths rule. This means that the bottom stripes should either be 1/3 of the room's height, 2/3, or 2/5 at least to look aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The next concept to consider is the actual function of the chair rail. It isn't just for decoration. Chair rails were added to a wall to prevent pieces of furniture such as a chair from hitting the wall and scuffing it up. Therefore, if you Google "chair rail height" you will immediately find several articles that a standard chair rail is placed between 32"-38". Above is an example of an 8 ft room. I have drawn the chair rail height at 36" which is the most common measurement. It is just about the height to meet the 2/5 rule. It is not only functional but pleasing to the eye.

Another thing to consider before painting stripes on the wall is how much of that bottom 2/5 will be seen? Stripes take a lot of work and time. If your are painting a nursery and most of the walls are lined with furniture it might not be worth your extra time to put up stripes that will mostly be hidden.
The next question is where do you put a chair rail when the wall is sloped. Once again there isn't always a definitive answer. Still, generally it is practiced to use the height at the shortest end of the room when applying the thirds or fifths rule (so long as the difference in height isn't enormous). Above a room that starts at 8 ft. and rises to 12 ft. is shown. The stripes and chair rail are shown at 4 ft. which would be 1/3 if using the highest point in the room, 12 ft. It's not horrendous but still looks just a little bit off.
Here we have the same room only the chair rail and stripes are at the 36" mark or 2/5 if using the lowest point in the room. The difference is only a foot but visually they look completely different.

Sometimes, considering where stripes and chair rails should end is a matter of opinion. My suggestion would be to draw out a couple of options so that you can visually get an idea of what your room will look like. If you don't have a computer program like Photoshop you can easily grab some graph paper, sketch out your room, and draw in a couple of details.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday's Moment (October 10th, 2011)

Photo Source: TheCulinaryGeek

This week's "Monday's Moment" is thanks to my love of all things pumpkin. Fall is by far my favorite time of year. Pumpkin pie was a staple in our house growing up. In fact most of us request this delicate dessert for our birthdays instead of cake, regardless of what month it is. We HEART pumpkin pie. This brings me to our Monday's Moment.

To begin I will tell you that I have certain siblings who are a little pickier than others when it comes to foods they like or dislike, or so they think. This of course sets them up to have a prank or two pulled on them. One brother in particular wears the badge of "Pickiest Eater." Today, I wish to share two of those stories.

One night as we sat around the dinner table this particular brother was complaining and whining about having to eat his broccoli. My mother, being the mean mom she was, told him that he couldn't leave the table until he ate all the broccoli on his plate. This sent him into a wailing fit as his broccoli got colder. After many minutes passed he grabbed his first tree all the while crying, "I hate broccoli."

*Cue mean older siblings*

While one of us distracted my distressed younger sibling, one of us would sneak another piece of broccoli onto his plate. My brother would grab his next piece of broccoli, assuring us that he hated broccoli. We repeated the whole process several times. Distract. Reload. Eat. By the time our game was figured out a whole plate of hated broccoli had been eaten.

Story #2. As you may have guessed this younger brother of mine is yet again the star. Years after the broccoli incident he complained to my mom about how much he HATED yams while sitting around eating Thanksgiving dinner. You'd think he'd learn not to complain. A second brother also voiced his dislike of yams. Dislike noted. A year later my mom and dad got busy making all the yummy foods for Thanksgiving only this year they made a pumpkin pie AND a yam pie, placed side by side. The yam pie was prepared exactly like the pumpkin and looked rather similar.

Throughout the house you could hear the cheers as the "pumpkin pie" was brought out to be served. Then... silence as every morsel was being savored. "So are you sure you don't like yams?" Confusion sets in on my brothers faces and then complete shock and disgust as the secret is revealed. To this day they will both tell you that they could tell something was off even though they never said a word as the scarfed down their slice.

Moral of the story... don't let on your dislike for foods, at least in my family. Do you have a picky family member? Have you ever tricked them into eating a food they supposedly "don't like?"

*Don't forget to click on these two links to help me win a contest as well as find great deals on name brand items like Pampers, Johnson and Johnson, Huggies and more. *

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pinterest Recipes (Stuffed Bell Peppers)

My name is Sarah and I have a Pinterest addiction... and I'm totally ok with it! My goal is to be constantly working on having a healthier family. Too bad I don't love to cook. I know that healthier meals don't come out of a box so I am always on the lookout for easy, quick, fresh recipes to try.

One night as I perused the Pinterest boards I found this recipe for stuffed green peppers by Kalyn's Kitchen. I immediately pinned it and was excited to go grocery shopping. I too found green bell peppers were on sale that week for .50. It was a no brainer meal.

Another bonus was that I had a lot of fresh produce ready for picking from my container garden. The rice mixture contained the following:

From Garden
Fresh Basil
Green Onion
Green Beans

Other Ingredients
Sweet Onion
Turkey Sausage Link (which I already had)
Brown Rice
Green Peppers
Olive Oil (just a little bit)

 *I've made this recipe a few more times and one ingredient I have added and is to die for is Crasins.  They add just enough sweetness to the party for your mouth."

I think the only thing I would change next time is to not put the extra green peppers (from cutting off the tops and bottom) into the actual mixture, it was just a little too much. I'd also like to try this recipe with yellow and orange bell peppers as I prefer them to green peppers. Too bad they are rarely on sale.

Overall this recipe was a great success, tasted so good, and was filled with all sorts of nutrients.

Do you have an easy healthy recipe you'd like to share? I'd love to add to my Pinterest collection.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Digital Christmas Cards Collection 1 (Shades of Red)

Runner Sled Christmas Card

Christmas Houndstooth Pattern Card

Red Christmas Card

Gingerbread Man Pattern Card
Snowflake Cutouts Christmas Card

Large Snowflake Christmas Card

Well, what do you think of my first digital Christmas cards collection for 2011? All six cards from my Shades of Red collection will be available on my website along with last years digital Christmas cards.

They will be available in .psd format for those with Photoshop to download.


They will be available in .jpg format for those who wish for me to put their family photos into one of the templates and send them the flattened .jpg file, ready to print at the location of your choice.

All six of these templates are available in 4 x 6, 5 x 7, and 6 x 7 1/2 sizes.

Which one is your favorite? Do you have your family photo ready yet? We are getting ours taken this weekend.

Be looking out for another collection or two in the coming weeks along with a couple of give-a-ways!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Download of the Month (Vintage Halloween Countdown)

Alright it's time to present you with this month's FREE download of the month. This countdown will only be up for the month of October so make sure and get yours now.

Each download is an 8.5 x 11 jpg file intended to be printed and then trimmed to fit in an 8 x 10 frame. Then, keep track of the days until Halloween simply by using a dry erase marker on top of the glass. Easy right?

Be sure to check back next month for a Thanksgiving Countdown.

*Please note my watermark on the pumpkin will NOT be on your download*

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday's Moment (October 3rd, 2011)

Today's Monday's Moment is not one of my fondest memories but one I will never forget. We are coming up on our one year mark since our house was hit by a tornado. I've never been so excited for winter to come, which is saying something since fall is my favorite season.

The last year I've had more fear and anxieties whenever a thunderstorm, hail, or wind storm passes through but I'm reminded of all the little miracles that happened on that October morning.

I could write a whole book on that morning so I will just highlight some of those blessings and things I've learned.

A small prompting to get up out of bed to check the weather online: I am not a morning person but that morning I had the thought as I lay in the wee hours, "I wonder what the signs of a tornado are?" We do NOT live in tornado country so this was not a normal thought pattern. I found the warning just in time to run up and tell my husband, decide where the safest place was, and get to safety. Had I not checked the weather to find the warning my husband, who was getting up super early to study for his CPA exam, would have either been badly hurt or worse. His office had shards of glass stuck in the wall and had the most debris from outside.

The tornado that bounced: We were hit with an F1 tornado and while that is the smallest they come it still causes a lot of damage. It started by raging through an RV park, crossed the freeway, and headed towards our small community. Later we found that the tornado had touched down around the RV park but had bounced over our neighborhood only to touch down just behind the last house. We would have had a lot more damage had it not bounced!

The train that changed the second tornado's path: Yes you read that right, about an hour later a second tornado touched down just south of us and was once again heading towards the neighborhood. It was bigger than the first and probably would have destroyed even more houses. However, it hit a cargo train which changed its course just enough to skip past the populated part of our community. The second miracle was that a passenger train had just gone through minutes before.

The safety of friends and neighbors: Each one has a miraculous story to tell from kids sleeping in different bedrooms than normal to walls collapsing in a child's room everywhere except for the little cavity where the child slept. There were minor injuries and no one died.

The men who came to board up windows: A storm doesn't just necessarily stop after a tornado. For the rest of the morning it continued to rain and hail... into our homes that were without windows, separated walls, and parts of roofs missing. As soon as the freeway was opened up again there were several men who had stopped at Home Depot and boarded up our windows in the freezing cold rain to save what was left of our properties.

The generosity of family members: My in-laws, brother-in-law and sister-in-law came and helped us pack up our belongings and put them into storage. My other sister-in-law and her family let us live with them for two months while our house was fixed.

I could go on and on. I know we were watched over that morning. I've walked away from this experience grateful for all the little miracles that occurred and have a greater appreciation for life.

What are some of your life-changing memories? If you'd like to join in my Monday's Moment please leave a link! I'd love to read some of your most memorable moments.