Welcoming in a New Year

I love starting a new year.  Although we can “clean house” in our lives at any time, the new year is a great reminder to let go of bad habits, bad feelings, and bad memories and start fresh with new focus, new goals, and new determination.

To celebrate, here are some of my favorite new year quotes. You are welcome to share these and print these. 🙂

magic dreams and good madness Whats stopping you welcome the new year This year be fierce2

Have You Ever Wondered How It’s Made? RPT Makes Aquariums, Marriages and More…

Have you ever wondered how it is made?


Reynolds Polymer makes a lot of great things… Aquarium windows, swimming pool windows, water features, and even marriages. 😉  As many of you may (and many of you may not) know, my husband and I met when we worked together at Reynolds Polymer Technology.  It was my first job out of college and I was the Executive Assistant to the President of the company.  I was pretty excited! And it was a real job… Paid vacation, heath benefits, company email (you know, legit stuff). And they made really cool things!  Like this:

cityofdreams-01 domaquaree-01 mppalace-aquarium-03   jeddah-03


And this:

151751 152217 151874 151876     151914   151898

And this:

151815 151867 151925   154910 151934 151930   151887


Pretty neat right?!

What I didn’t expect was to find, nor was I looking for, a husband. But sure enough, after only a few weeks of working there, a handsome guy walked into my office and introduced himself.  As he left I thought, “He he has a really nice butt. And I really like the way he walks. And he has big arms. He must lift”.

Fast forward 8 or 9 months and although I had hardly talked to him, I felt like I knew him. Whenever his name was brought up, I heard what a good person he was, how hard he worked, how smart he was, how honest, reliable and dependable he was.  People genuinely liked him. And although he was sometimes quick tempered he also had a low tolerance for BS. People really admired him.

It started with me offering him some conversation hearts and a few quick IM’s back and forth (this was still back when you had to press the 4 twice, wait for the cursor to move and then press the 4 three more times just to spell “Hi”) and he asked me out on a date on Friday night. Then Saturday night. And by Sunday, I knew I would marry him. We were engaged three months later and married less than a year after that.

At our wedding, I said this in my speech:

“For those of you that don’t know Mike and I’s “story”, we met at work.  Now I must say that while I was interviewing, I had no idea all the great things Reynolds had to offer. Peter and Jerry mentioned health insurance and paid vacation, but left out husbands when explaining the benefit package. Which is really too bad, because had I known about Mike, I would have probably taken the job for a lot less money.”

It’s true. He was (and still is) by far the best benefit I have ever received – work or otherwise. And had I known at the time of my interview what the future held for me, I would have worked for free!

Mike still works at RPT and has been involved in one part or another of every project shown above.  They make amazing things!

Although Reynolds Polymer makes pretty awesome marriages, that is not their specialty (surprising I know! ha ah). Tune into the science channel tonight (9pm EST) and find out how they make aquarium windows.


I am excited and curious what they will actually show.  RPTs methods, materials and processes are all proprietary so they won’t be able to divulge too much informaiton. There are only a few companies like it in the world and none of them can do the magnitude of projects that Reynolds Polymer does.  It is a pretty big honor to be featured on this show!





Game of Thrones Season 4 Premier is TODAY!

Have I mentioned how much I love Game of Thrones? Or how excited I am for it to start up again?  Those are rhetorical questions, I KNOW I have mentioned that. At least a time or two. 😉

True to our form, I have been mulling spiced wine in the crock pot all day, we are listening to the GoT soundtrack and I am working on a cake for the Name Day celebration we are having for my good friend Kelly.

But while I wait for the cake to come out of the oven, I thought I would share some family sigils that I created last year for us and a few friends using the Join the Realm Sigil Creator from HBO and picture from our Name Day celebration last year.

For each sigil, I looked up the family crest and if available used the family motto.  If not available, I just used one that I liked. 😉  Ours (Chesney) and my brother, also my maiden name (Knisley) are actual historical mottos. How cool is that?!

Chesney_sigil Behrens_sigil

knisley_sigil   Flenniken_sigil


I also made a facebook cover photo for my personal page!




Last years Name Day celebration for my husband and Kelly (who both have April birthdays) was a lot of fun!

I made a Weirwood cake topper from a incense burner I found at Walmart (then painted of course) and made the cake red velvet (seemed fitting) with cream cheese frosting and pirouette cookies around the edge.


I printed Winterfell beer labels from here and made spiced wine (of course!).


And then printed a few small decorations like these cards from Hero Square .


It was just the four of us so I wanted to keep it festive but still simple!


So what are you doing for the premier of Game of Thrones tonight?  Only 2 more hours!!!


It’s a lot of work!

What my Friday afternoons before a movie night usually look like… Today I am working on “Olaf Snowman Cookies”, “Anna’s Frozen Hearts”, and “Kristof’s Ice Punch” for our Frozen family movie night tonight!


The Night Circus Gifts and Printables

My pick for book club this month was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I LOVED this book! And by loved, I mean I obsessed about it, thought about it and just completely fell in love with the story, the atmosphere and everything about this book!

We usually just meet for dinner and discussion but this book gave me so many creative ideas and I decided to put together some small goodie bags for our book club meeting.


I  included a CD, a bookmark, caramel popcorn and a “fortune teller” (ps. free printables at the bottom of this post!)

For the CD, I found this post by the author Erin Morgenstern about the soundtrack she envisioned for the book and made CDs with the songs she listed.

They ended up looking like this:

Here is the song list:
A Seated Night by Moby
Prelude & Rooftops by Bernard Herrmann
Aria by Delerium
White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes
Favorite Cities by Azure Ray
Cataracts by Andre Bird
All I Need by Radiohead
Behold! The Night Mare by Smashing Pumpkins
Sister Janet by Tori Amos
Lonely Ghosts by O+S
Signs by Bloc Party
Cosmic Love by Florence & the Machine
The Trapeze Swinger by Iron & Wine


I made the bookmarks by finding some awesome Night Circus artwork and using my favorite quote from the book:

“Stories have changed… There are no more battles between good and evil, no monsters to slay, no maidens in need of rescue.  Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case”.



And found this super pretty/awesome fortune teller and inserted my own answers:


For the front of the bags I used this graphic from Luis Beltran:


It reminded me of the quote from the book:
“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

but instead chose to write these words from the book:
“Opens at Midnight. Closes at Dawn”

Just going back through this reignites my desire to have a midnight dinner party! Or, I am not big on theme weddings but I think a Night Circus themed reception would be absolutely stunning!!!

If you haven’t read this amazing book yet, I highly recommend it!

Here are some free prinables if you are having your own Night Circus party or just want them for yourself. 😉 Just click on the link for the pdf.

Bookmarks and Fortune Teller:

The Night Circus Bookmarks   fortune teller


CD Covers and Label:

Night Circus CD Front and Back   Night Circus CD Label


Game of Thrones: Winterfell Breakfast (err, brinner)

It is the beginning of January, and approximately 85 days until the season 4 premiere (not that I’m counting or anything… ha ha), which marks the beginning of our yearly Game of Thrones viewing! Yay! That gives us about 3 months to fit in the first 3 seasons (aka 30 episodes).

To kick it off this year, I turned to the authority of Game of Thrones food: The Inn at the Crossroads and followed her instructions for a Breakfast at Winterfell.

Breakfast at Winterfell

Just like IATC recommends, I used thick bacon, soft boiled eggs (which I had never had but ended up loving and I am not on a hunt for “egg cups”), and a wedge a sharp cheddar.  For the bread, I bought an uncut fresh sour dough loaf from the bakery.  I wanted it to look a little more “rustic” so I very roughly sliced it and then toasted it in the oven under the broiler.  My only complaint is that I toasted it a little much and it was definitely more crunchy than soft (the thick crust was kind of hard to eat).  We had butter, honey and blackberry jam.

I also made the fish from Tyrion’s Breakfast at Winterfell. The cod isn’t in the picture because even though my husband thought it sounded great and was a necessity for the meal, I though fried fish for a breakfast meal sounded pretty unappetizing. 🙂

I always love breakfast – even for dinner – so I thought this was pretty awesome and very satisfying.

I wish I would have taken a picture of the table.  Although I didn’t go all out (mainly because I was short on time and we were sharing the table with 5 kids) I did put honey, butter and jam in small jars to make it seem a little more authentic along with having everything served in big bowls and sitting on the table.

Just a quick note about Inn at the Crossroads… I am constantly impressed with this site! Not only do they offer recipes that feel like they are straight out of the book, they usually offer a traditional and modern version.  Chelsea includes passages straight from the book to show what the recipe is based on and follows up with the most beautiful pictures! She has a cookbook out and it is already on my wish list. 😉


Family Movie Night: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

We had our first movie night of 2014 and started off with a bang! We’ve been making our way through all the X-Men movies but in chronological order of the story line and not the the movie release dates. Can you say geek much? Lol.
In case you wondering, here is the story line order:
X-Men First Class
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
X-Men: The Last Stand
Wolverine 2

It is always easier to plan a movie night for a movie I’ve already seen and even though I hadn’t seen this for about 4 years, I still remembered it well (how can you forget Hugh Jackman running buck naked through a field?). We’ve been planning on doing this movie night series for a while and I knew that I wanted to find a way to incorporate Wolverine’s claws.

After seeming this, I decided to make a cake that had Wolverine’s claws and also looked like it had been slashed.

Here is the final product: 20140103-221704.jpg


For the cake: I made two six inch cakes from a white cake mix, layered them and covered them with white buttercream frosting. I made the wolverine claws from folding 3 layers of duck tape in half (onto itself) and cutting the ends into the shape of his claws.  I stuck the “claws” into the cake and then used a large serving fork dipped in red gel frosting to make the claw marks.  I also splattered a some red gel frosting onto the cake for extra effect.

Here are the kids before we delved into the treat:


Suffering from ‘Pregnancy Brain’

I have been on a completely different wavelength than a normal person lately. I am forgetful, I don’t always follow stories or jokes and I jump from one thought to another with out letting anyone else know the connection. It has gotten so bad that my patient husband leaned over to me the other day and said, “Hi, my name is Mike, it is nice to meet you”.

I have been on a completely different wavelength than a normal person lately. I am forgetful, I don’t always follow stories or jokes and I jump from one thought to another with out letting anyone else know the connection. It has gotten so bad that my patient husband leaned over to me the other day and said, “Hi, my name is Mike, it is nice to meet you”.