Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas is on it's Way!

I sure fell off of the December Daily wagon, didn't I? I am making mental (and written) notes, but I've been wrapped up in enjoying the holidays instead of blogging and scrapbooking. I also feel so much more organized than in Christmases past.

Last week was pretty crazy while I finished up kids' Christmas parties at school, attended a performance, and had workers here on Friday installing some trim and mouldings in our new house. It was a busy week. I also found out on Tuesday that my parents wanted to come up and celebrate Christmas with us Saturday (last night) since they're heading out of town to my brother's in NC. So, before Friday, I needed to finish shopping, some gifts for teachers, and a surprise album for my mom and dad; and I still have one of those to go for my mother-in-law. I can't believe I forgot to take pictures, but it was a Photo Album Scrapbook type of thing - slipping in 4x6 photos along with some patterned paper and some cardstock for random journaling about the photos. It was in chronological order of our daily lives (only about 100 photos) since we're seeing less and less of my parents.

I am so proud of myself too, for getting cards in the mail to family and hubby's co-workers and a few old friends that I still had addresses for. I only sent 20 or so, but it sure is better than the nothing I had sent last year, and the year before, and even the year before that. I'm hoping to beef it up next year and hit 50. I certainly have lots of friends I've met online that I don't have their home addresses for that I will be making an effort to collect over the next 350 days or so! :-) Please don't feel like I don't think of you and care about your family this holiday season if you didn't recieve a card from me . . . baby steps!

I thought I'd share with you the little candy jars I made for the boys' teachers. They turned out adorable and of course, I filled them with their favorite chocolate candies!

I used BoBunny Christmas papers, CTMH red ribbon, dressed up the striped paper and snowflake with Icicle Stickles, and paper crimped the green background paper on the jars. The pattern was done from cutting and scoring and adhering (in other words, it wasn't a die cut pattern somewhere) and an oval punch at the handles.

In other Scrapping News: THIS class opened for registration this weekend! More soon from me on this, but if you haven't taken it before, and you're just completely overwhelmed with your photos, not knowing where to go to find the "right" photo when inspiration strikes, maybe even to the point where you avoid scrapbooking . . . then this class is for YOU! There's still time to ask for it for Christmas!! I wouldn't trade my time in this classroom for ANYTHING!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

December Daily - Day 2

I know some of you are stopping by from Jessica's Holidays in Hand class, and I want to let you know that I'm combining the concepts of December Daily and Holidays in Hand together. Of course, at this point, I don't have a lot of time to scrapbook and my room is a disaster . . . so the memories and photos will be sitting here until I "get around to it" if I ever do . . . if not, at least things are documented here :-)

So, December 2nd started off with a bang. The plan was to document my day too, in coordination with Ali's Y+T class . . . but the crazy start led me to forget what I was doing! lol Crazy you say? yeah, crazy. I was being a nice mommy and letting my boys miss the bus in order to play a little more Mario Brothers Wii, and when we shut it down and get in the car, my battery is dead - D E A D - luckily we had been preparing for it. We thought it was going bad, but we had it checked last week and they said it was fine . . . so I jumped my car with our recently purchased and in my car battery, took the boys to school, and went somewhere to have it installed and then tested. I then needed to go dress shopping, but upon getting to the mall, I come to learn that they've decided to open at 10 am all the way up until the 19th. WHAT?!?! The kids are out of school then . . .  how will I ever get shopping done before I have to turn around and go get them?? crazy stores! I found a dress, and then on my way home, went and paid my fine for not having my license with me from yesterdays craziness. At least since I had my license within 10 days to them, it was only a $10 fine!

Warmth . . . something I need a lot of in the wintertime. What do I think of when I think of warm things? I think of friendships that warm my heart, I think of my warm chenille blanket that I put over my other blankets when I go to sleep at night, and I think of my warm coffee drinks from Starbucks . . . and some hot tea and cocoa thrown in for good measure too! I hate cold and love all things warm. The fire while we were camping sure did keep me warm too.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

How We Spent Our Long Thanksgiving Weekend

After Thanksgiving Day spent down at my parents home, enjoying family, food and fun; we spent Friday driving up to Georgia and setting up camp just north of the Okefenokee Swamp. There were lots of fun memories to be had there, like:
  • trying to fish in a freshwater lake with saltwater bait
  • biking along some trails
  • our van battery dying (and Shane's) and no one having jumper cables
  • the wood not being seasoned and dry, and having to hunt for kindling to burn . . . dry pinecones work relatively well and they're so pretty to watch when they burn too.
  • roasting hot dogs over a fire
  • finding a birds nest and some hatched snake eggs
  • Chris finding a snake and PICKING it up! Crazy kid!
  • figuring out how to set up a tent
  • freezing our butts off in 35 degree weather (at least it was sunny)

The group we went with consisted of Jen and Shane (and their two boys), and their friends Scott and Sandy (and their daughter, son, and dog). Pictured above is the group of kids.

Matthew's favorite things about camping was going on the hiking trails with bikes and finding natural treasures. Lance's favorite things about camping was finding the snake and wearing clothes to bed and not being made to brush his teeth at night.

And . . . of course, while we four were freezing our tooshies off, my darling daughter went to see the Florida/Florida State game down at the "other swamp." She even got to High 5 Tim Tebow on his last ever "Gator Walk." I'm finally sitting here tonight watching the game - at 1 am in the morning.

you can't see them here, but my mom and daughter are right up front by the officers/guards in the hats . . . they got at the walk area about three hours before the walk happened.

Senior Day - Tim and Coach . . . it's so nice to see a guy show emotions sometimes.

Tim in action

Final Score: 37-10

My dad and I traded cameras for the weekend. He took my Nikon d70s for the game, and I took my daughter's Panasonic point and shoot for camping. I didn't want to overwhelm you all with the loads of photos that my dad took, but just a few memorable ones from Tim's (and others) final home game as a Florida Gator.

Okay, and before we made it to Thanksgiving, Nana and I took Kristen down to Gainesville to see a UF swim meet against FSU, and upon arriving home, I went with Jen to see New Moon (again . . . for the fourth time) and I still loved every second of it!

December Daily - Day 1

My kids . . . the three most precious things I take care of in my life. I value and treasure them, and this holiday season, want to make sure that they learn the true meaning of Christmas, that they find peace in their hearts, that they learn to give openly and freely, and that they find ways to enjoy just being together; to realize that they are family and that family is there for each other.

I wonder what they're earliest holiday memory will be . . . I know i have a few, and I'm not really sure which one is the earliest, so here they are in no particular order.

I remember:
  • making sugar cookies in my kitchen with my mom. I must have been about six or so.
  • setting up my moms Christmas village under the tree - with the train going through it. I guess this one came later since I was actually allowed to touch the village.
  • making ceramic Christmas ornaments with my mom and going to Bill and Mary Lou's house where Mary Lou made some beautiful ceramic ornaments that we bought from her
  • roasting marshmallows and biscuts in the fire.
  • opening a few Christmas gifts early
  • visiting Grandma's house on Christmas Eve with all the family that could be here; and then driving home through Starke and seeing all the decorations and falling asleep shortly after that.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

And the Award Goes to . . .

Me . . . (and maybe one of you too . . . keep reading to see if you're one of the five I chose!)

Angela, a classmate of mine over at Shimelle's Blogging for Scrapbookers class as well as Jessica Sprague's Holidays in Hand class, has honored me with a fun little bloggy award!! I'm glad to know she feels I deserve this Making Smiles on Faces Blog Award!!

In order for me to accept this award, I have to name five random facts about me.
  1. I still love watching Days of Our Lives. While I don't watch it every day, when I have time, it's a little guilty pleasure of mine. I can't believe I watch a soap opera!
  2. Dolphins are my favorite animal. I think living along the coast and always going to Sea World growing up has helped encourage that.
  3. I'm planning on seeing the movie New Moon for the third time this week. :-) As my blogging buddy Cheryl would say, don't judge. You just have to see it. I've never seen a better rendition of a book turned movie. Period.
  4. I got my first vehicle when I was 15 - for Christmas. My daughter will have her 15 Christmas this year, and I think she's expecting a car. I was NOT expecting a car, which is probably why I got one. It was a Ford Ranger pickup in black . . . 8 years old and looked brand new. BUT, it was a truck. Now, I'm not picky, and I was and still am grateful I had a car that early, but I would not have picked a truck for me . . . at all.
  5. I'm hungry at this very moment and I'm going to go now to fix some breakfast. We'll be having nothing seriously exciting, just yummy cereal and fruit on the menu today.
Now for the five people that I'm passing this award on to:
Remember . . . five random facts and then choose five more to pass along to! Thanks for making me smile! :-)

In other news:
It's a rainy day here in my town. It's a good thing I had to take pictures the other day and not lie when the Blog Hop Around the World happened yesterday. It's so gloomy here today it makes me a little sad. Later on this morning, we're putting on some Christmas music and starting to decorate for Christmas in our home! Maybe I'll bake some cookies too! :-)

Thanks for visiting!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blogging Around the World

Have you ever wanted to travel to all kinds of different locations around the world but for whatever reason, you just can't pull it off? What if I told you that TODAY, you could travel all over the world just by sitting on your sofa or at your desk, on your computer!

Today, I'm taking part of a blog hop from Shimelle's Blogging for Scrapbookers class, which I've been a part of for the last three weeks. Some of you may have found me from Julie's blog, who happens to live in Atlanta. Atlanta is somewhere I love to travel to when I was younger. They now have the Atlanta Aquarium that I'm hoping to go visit soon!

You now find yourself in Jacksonville, FL (technically, I'm in a suburb of Jacksonville). It's the northernmost city in Florida along the Eastern coast (bordering the Atlantic Ocean). Today, the weather will be in the mid-70s F and sunny. It's one of the great things about living here in Florida: the fact that I'm still wearing shorts and flip flops when part of our country has already had lots of snowfall. We're only about 2 1/2 hours from Orlando (home of the Mickey Ears and Shamu) and about an hour to the Georgia border. We're probably best known for our NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and hosting the Super Bowl a few years back. I feel lucky being able to call this city my home since I was born.

We just moved into our current house at the end of July this year and I'm so happy that we're here. I have a beautifully peaceful backyard, and my very own scrapbook studio to boot. Honestly, it was a few difficult months before we moved in, and in part, it was because we moved less than a mile from our previous home. Out of our front windows (seen above), if you were looking out, you'd see that driveway, and then a street, and then past that, a long row of backyards. I love this because my kids often play at a few of those houses and are frequently in the backyard. All I have to do is look out the window to see that they're playing and having fun!

Even though I have nature to my backyard (which is where most of the windows look out to when I wake up and work in the house - the kitchen, breakfast room, family room, and formal living room), I'm still less than five minutes to a movie theatre, a library, several parks, Wal Mart, Publix (our local grocery store), Target, and all kinds of unhealthy fast food places . . .

This is my favorite happy place in this new house of ours - when it's clean at least. I participated in a Layout a Day challenge back in October and I've not really stepped in there since then. I'm avoiding it like the plague because it's such a disaster.

Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting me in Jacksonville, FL!
It's now time for me to send you on your way. I wish you much fun as you continue on your journey! Your next stop is to DragonsLady's Blog over in the mountains of Northern New Mexico. It sounds like it should be an interesting location to learn about!

If you're just joining the hop here at my blog, don't worry. The goal of our blog hopping is to take you on a trip around the world, so each blog will link up to the next - no real beginning or end - and take you in a circle. Eventually you'll find yourself right back here! Please come back and tell me about your trip . . . I'd love to know your favorite destination!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What I Wish I Knew . . .

Ali's Yesterday+Today class over at Big Picture Scrapbooking had inspired me to get busy scanning some of my older photos. These photos were inherited from my dad, and I no longer have the originals. I don't have many photos at all before I was born, so this rare glimpse into my family's life, even what few of them there are, are precious to me. Ali has been speaking to us about scrapbooking present layouts with a past perspective. That is, the types of things YOU wish you KNEW about the past . . . and with so little to go on, I have a lot of "what I'd like to knows."

The photo above is of my paternal great-great grandfather and his family. They were a Tennessee farming family with lots and lots of sons; 12 in fact. They owned their land and worked hard and I can not even imagine being the mother of 12 boys - especially knowing the realization that I only have two and can barely handle it. Other than knowing that my great-great grandfather was part Cherokee Indian, I know nothing else about their lives. I imagine theirs was like most farming lives I've read about in history books - a lot of hard labor and no real education, growing most of their food from the land and not making it to the general store very frequently (if there was even one close by) . . .

but I want to know about their relationships and personalities: were they all close? who was the trouble-maker and who was the mamas-boy? were there any close neighbors that they depended on for help when they needed it? How did the parents meet and were they in love or was it more out of obligation?

I want to know about their likes and dislikes: what were their favorite foods? was there a favorite tradition or story they enjoyed telling by the fire? folksongs? colors? what were they able to do in their freetime if all the chores were done?

I want to know abou their hopes and dreams: did any of them leave behind the farm one day and if so, where did they go, what did they want to do? just what were the dreams of men (and children) back in the 1800s?

I want to know about their daily routines: who did what chores? were there any boys that stayed to help grandma around the house since there were 12 of them?

and I want to know some of their history: what was the story of their parents - people I have no record of? were there any other children that had passed away prior to this photo being taken?

The above photo is of my aunt and her first husband, my Uncle Steve. I never had the honor of meeting him because he was decared MIA in the Vietnam War. What I do know is that my dad's family used to talk about the downward spiral my aunt took when he went missing, and once he was declared dead, how her life was forever changed, how she was forever changed. Now, I knew my aunt (granted, she passed away when I was in college and before I really truly got to know her as a person, not just my aunt), and it's just so hard to imagine the life she used to wish for and dream of as a newlywed. She always talked of Steve, long after he was gone . . . long after she had married two more times, only to have them end in divorce . . . long after a horrible bout with alcoholism. I knew my aunt the way she was after this life-changing event, but I'd love to know who she was before and apart from Steve. I'd love to know of their relationship; what my aunt loved to do outside of working (she was a nurse for many years); did she enjoy school; who were her friends. She was the oldest (and only daughter) of my paternal grandparents. I bet my daughter sure would love to know some survival tips too!

There are some other photos I have . . . more of the same questions come from them . . . the everyday life; the traditions; the personalities . . . I can only assume that this same information, this same connection, will be want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will aslo want from me. This perspective will forever be in my mind when I scrapbook; and I will try and give this perspective - my perspective - it's rightful place in my scrapbooks, our family's scrapbooks . . . as I'm the only one who has access to my own memories.

A few tips when you're scanning your own photos:
  • scan at least at 300 dpi (you can scan higher, but it will take up more memory; also 300 dpi is the standard for digital scrapbooking)
  • enlarge as you're scanning. It will save your photos from pixilating the actual digital file later on. I will typically scan at 200% or enough to get me to an 8x10 size. It also makes it easier to crop down the photos.
  • be sure to have some way of notating what you've already scanned if you're replacing these photos back into their original album. Another option could be to have a seperate album for you to transfer scanned images to.
  • when importing into PSE, I change the date right then so that it goes to the earlier section of my catalog. I also tag them as heritage photos and whichever side of the family they're from; maybe also tag who the main people are in the photo too. I don't want these guys getting lost on my hard drive. If you don't know an exact date, PSE allows you to choose ?? as an option for any of the options (month, day, or year). I always will choose a year, and do a best guess on the month (Easter baskets mean March or April for example).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Three Years Ago . . . and Now

This week, in 2006, we celebrated Kristen's birthday with her friends, which actually falls in the first several days of November. We had to wait until some movie came out (though now I can't remember for the life of me which one) . . . After looking back at I can only imagine that it was Happy Feet or Santa Clause 3 (though that one had been out for a week or two by the time we went). So, the effect of bad journaling . . . guess I learned my lesson to record that info somewhere. Probably information that I thought I'd never forget back then. I bet if I were to ask Kristen, she may actually remember. My guess is I was too busy with the boys to stop and watch the movie! HA!

So, three years later, while we're not planning a "party" to be included with a movie, Kristen and I are anxiously awaiting THIS MOVIE and are planning on going Friday night with a lot of her friends, and moms too. Yes, I know it's a young adult book, but they're magic . . . and it's so nice to see these books come to life . . . even if my least favorite is, in fact, New Moon. I'll live, and Edward and Jacob's "wolf pack" will help me through it all!

Have you caught the Twilight bug?? Are you planning on seeing the movie this weekend?? Inquiring minds want to know!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday Values and Goals

I'm taking a class (yes, I hear you . . . another one!) over at Jessica Sprague's website called Holidays in Hand and it's bound to be wonderful. I've heard such great things about the group of ladies there and her teaching style, so I'm really excited! I'm also hoping to complete this project in combination with Ali Edward's concept of a December Daily project.

For our first prompt, Jessica asked us to think about (and journal) our family values and goals this holiday season.

giving thankfulness togetherness love fun peace happiness

  • commit only to what's most important
  • remember the Reason for the Season
  • commit 20 minutes (at least) a day to work on HIH project and DD
  • plan ahead and be more organized this holiday season
  • plan and follow through with some new traditions; and our old ones too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Monday Morning Check In

So, how'd your weekend go?? Mine was pretty busy with beautiful and sunny, 75+ degree weather. However, trying to act like I'm in my 20s again by staying up until 2 am with a campout/end-of-season party was not a good way to enter into my Sunday. But I did. And I paid for it. With sleeping in until 9 and then taking a nap before 11. My head felt like it was full of cobwebs all day. And there was no drinking involved, well, of the alcoholic kind. Very odd.

So, tell me, did you do anything fun? Did you get done all YOU had hoped to do this weekend?

Here was my list:
  • Buy cheese and crackers to put together trays for the football party on Saturday - DONE!
  • Search for a camera battery charger - Partially Done
  • Hang a few paintings around my house
  • Start holiday planning with hubby: where are we going, what decor do we want to add? - DONE (the key here is START)
  • Buy more mulch for the front flower beds
As you can see, with only really having today to work with, I didn't accomplish a whole lot in regards to my list. However, I did run to Target and buy THIS New Moon Soundtrack (I can not WAIT for this movie to open on Friday) and THIS (Does anyone else remember playing the original as a child or are you too young to remember??) tonight during a break from helping my children continue to work on their school projects.

In other news:

Feel free to join me today (and every Monday until December 15) in the Big Picture Scrapbooking Reading Room (scroll down and it's the last class on the bottom right side). It's a free "class" that you'll need to login and register for (but you won't have to pay anything). If you aren't already a member, you'll have to register (also free) as a member of BPS. This month, we're reading and discussing Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier and in December we'll only read for two weeks and that will be The Autobiography of Santa Claus. I'd love to have you join in the discussions!

I'm planning a camping trip with my boys in the coming weeks/months. I've not camped, I mean, REALLY camped (as in tents . . . though it is at a campground), in YEARS. I'm looking forward to starting again as I know I used to love it, and I think the boys will too. If you have any tips or suggestions, I'm all ears. We're going with two other families and sharing campsites. One family camps quite frequently, but I want to be prepared (isn't that the old Scout motto?). Our tent and sleeping bags should be arriving very soon!

I hope to be back later on today with some crafty goodness to share! I'm making it a point to be in my room for at least an hour today actually WORKING on something!! :-) Be sure to check back later tonight and see!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Finish It Friday

Today is Friday the 13th, isn't it? Omy gosh . . . THIS is eerily one of my most favorite days of the year. I love Fridays and my lucky number is 13 (yeah, I know - odd . . . but it was my track number for YEARS), and I have had lots of good things in the past happen to me on the 13th. For example, my hubby's and my first date was on April 13 (which wasn't quite on a Friday, it was a Thursday, but that's still close) way back in 1995. Anyhow, tonight my former high school plays my daughter's current high school. It's a big rivalry for the two schools, as the principal at my daughter's high school was the football coach and former principal at the old high school. (confused? Maybe I'll detail that out a little more later, but I doubt any of you care enough for me to do that.)

On to my Finish It Friday post: (taken from Aby over at Creative Organizing)
  • Buy cheese and crackers to put together trays for the football party on Saturday
  • Search for a camera battery charger that fits EN EL-12 (have one that goes all the way up to 10, but not 12)
  • I REALLY need to hang at least a few paintings around my house. Having paintings sitting on the floor is a disaster waiting to happen with two crazy boys running around my house most of the time.
  • Start holiday planning with hubby: where are we going, what decorations do we want to add
  • Buy more mulch for the front flower beds that we changed the annuals out of last weekend.

I think that's it. Not a whole lot of "work" because I want to make sure there's plenty of time for fun too! We have M's end of season football party on Saturday afternoon/evening so that'll tie up a lot of time. Most of this will have to happen on Sunday, I'm afraid. :-)

Do you have anything to finish this weekend?? Maybe you have something to start too . . . Feel free to share in the comments section!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Our Morning in Photos

Yesterday morning we had our cinnamon rolls for breakfast before DD was picked up for a shopping day with her Nana.

M painted his Dinos (which he later used the box to create a backdrop for creative play with his dinos and L's dragons)!

L built with his legos while I helped M mix paint colors and open and close the lids.

Then L worked on his dragons. Notice the YELLOW on this dragon? Still fanatical about that color.

Then it became homework time. We did head outside and clean up a bit before this. I didn't take my camera out as it was drizzling pretty badly. I'm hating the weather right now. It's the most depressing time of the year for me. I'm highly "sun-oriented."

It's amazing the difference between L's eagerness for schoolwork and his capabilities from last year to this year. He used to need my help; he used to fight everytime we'd sit down to the table to do homework - always ending in tears. If you ever are considering holding a young boy back because you think he is just too immature, too not ready for school, I would never hesitate or question my judgement again. The second time around is night and day and so much better! He's a leader and his behavior is so much better. Whew!

As the afternoon hit, we played more outside though it was still cloudy and drizzly . . . so no pictures. Then K and M's tutor arrived at the same time (right at 5) and it was time to juggle chaos. I was exhausted. So, we didn't get the entire list accomplished from yesterday, but we stayed busy, threw in a healthy dose of fun, and did what had to be done on a day where the kids had to fit into my normal routine. Hope you enjoyed the snapshot into our life here at home.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Some Comments Worth Mentioning (and Answering)

How to deal with photos that you don't have digital copies made, yet you've already used them on a layout? Several weeks ago, I posted about how I had used "heritage" photos on a few layouts before I had really made friends with my scanner. Now that I am, a commenter (Laura) suggested a brilliant idea. She said  "Nice job! You can always scan the whole page into your computer and crop the photos out. That's what I plan on doing with some of mine. Some of my stories could be told a little better. I have a lot of pages with no journaling. :)" . . . What a brilliant idea! Thanks Laura for sharing.

Finish It Friday Question: Again, several weeks ago, I posted goals I had for Finish It Friday. Tami thought she'd be cute, and asked a silly question of me. bcre8uv said...I finished my bag of mini Heath Bars today...does that count? ;)

My answer: Sure Tami, anything counts if you WANTED to finish the bag . . .

Jan wanted to know my daughter responded to my son from THIS POST: My daughter came home, and my son couldn't wait to show her the bags of goodies. She was pleasantly shocked and then she bent down and gave him a super hug, picked him up and carried him to the sofa to chat a bit. It was adorable. Thanks for asking, Jan!

From my Sesame Street post, Jeanne wanted to know if I remembered the Schoolhouse Rock videos? You know, I do remember those videos, though I never got to watch them when I was younger. We actually purchased those for my daughter when she was younger and I still really enjoy them. They're quite catchy! :-)

In other thoughts: I want to thank those that have stopped by just to say hi, those who have commented about my story-telling and my thought-provoking posts, and just showing me support while I more faithfully engage in my blogging adventure! I consider it an honor when you decide to take time to leave me a few comments and am glad that you are finding things that we connect over.

The kids and I have been busy, and while we have made a dent in our 10 things to do today list we are apparently not going to finish it all. We had to put in some homework time, and time for lunch too. The boys have thoroughly enjoyed playing in the woods and beside the pond today during breaks from the sprinkles. And if you're thinking that we are not paying proper honor to our soldiers on this solomn day, believe me when I say that we've been honoring them in our household all week and part of last week too (we just had a neighbor soldier who returned from Iraq last week, and the Ft. Hood incident). It was too rainy to make plans to attend a parade . . . and with 6 and 7 year old boys at home, we can't be "solomn" for too long. In fact, today, my 7 year old couldn't wait to color his "Army Veteran Soldier" that he made in class yesterday. More soon!!

Okay, off to play some more before M's tutor gets here . . . and my step-mom and daughter show back up with clothes to show off. (Wish I could go shopping for some girl time . . . and yes, I'll take some cheese with that whine.)

10 FUN Things To Do When the Kids Are Out of School for a Holiday in the Middle of the Week

Ugh, first of all, let me voice my frustration that the kids have TODAY off, in the middle of the week, as Veteran's Day in the past was always observed on the Monday before or the Friday after the holiday. All of the kids have been quite hyper for the teachers this week (not just mine) and they won't be able to accomplish much tomorrow either . . .

I do want to THANK all the soldiers who have stood for our country - in times of war and peace. I don't want my frustration to sound as though I am not grateful. I AM, so very grateful, for all of those lives that have been lost - both in the US and worldwide, in support of FREEDOM.

(this photo was taken by my daughter from her class trip to DC last spring)

BUT, we're going to make the most of today and have some FUN - even with the rain we've got coming down because of "Tropical Depression Ida" that came ashore yesterday and brought with it a lot of clouds too.

So, drum roll please . . . here's what the boys have decided to do for adding some FUN to our day! I'll report back later.

1.   Wii time while breakfast is cooking
2.   Cinnamon rolls for breakfast
3.   a walk in the woods (this one can only happen if we get a break from the rain and it's not too wet).
4.   painting their dino and dragon sets that Nana got them for their birthdays
5.   buy a few new books
6.   jump in rain puddles
7.   put together a puzzle (or two)
8.   make some paper airplanes and have airplane races around the house
9.   build with legos
10. play more Wii

(and of course, life can't all be FUN . . . we do have cleaning to do, as well as homework for the boys.) Like I said earlier, we'll report back with the FUN we had! I hope to cram in some scrapbooking time too, but we'll see how that goes.

Here's to YOU putting a little FUN in your life today!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


a Stay-at-Home Mom . . .

But how in the world did I get here? I had dreams and aspirations that certainly didn't include children before the age of thirty and it DID include a whole lot of travel and seeing the world.

What paths in my life have gotten me where I am?

This someplace I never thought I'd be. As I was sitting here last Thursday afternooon listening to Ali's new audio for her BPS class that I'm in, it was about change and growth, and how we've become the person we are today from yesterday, my mind started to wander.

Now, I get completely that she's talking about our personal journey through our life (and I was reminiscing about that too) but I just could not help my mind from wandering about how my schedule and my life were so different back when I was a mom to only one child and working full time, to a mom of three children, staying at home and being where I am. right now. today.

Strange huh? (okay, maybe not for some of you, but usually, when I'm focused on doing something, I stay focused on it) . . .

so, ten years ago . . .
I was a newlywed . . .
I was a mom to one 5 year old daughter . . .
I worked full-time as a fifth grade teacher . . .
I had never even heard of scrapbooking . . .
I would get up early in the mornings, it was still dark out (usually around 5:30 am) and grab a cup of coffee out of the kitchen (we always set the timer back then). My husband was always still asleep at this time of day.
I would take a shower, get ready for the day, and my daughter would be responsible and often wake up on her own.
I would make sure her clothes matched (she always has had such good taste in clothes) and teeth brushed and face cleaned and we'd head out the door.
Then we'd rush out the door to drop her off at before and after school care. She always ate breakfast there because I didn't want to wake her up too early and there was plenty of time between the 6:30 drop off time and the 7:45 bus for her to eat.
I'd spend my day at school and often stay until 4:30 or 5 - paperwork, cleaning up the room, meetings, lesson plans . . . I was after all a first year teacher, and it seemed like I lived at that classroom (a very cold portable in the back of the school that wasn't in the best area of town).

Around 5 pm, I'd be picking up my daughter and fighting rush hour traffic home from her daycare.
We'd get home and I'd start dinner (but more than likely, we'd head to Mickey D's because it was likely that hubby wouldn't be home on time. He was in the start of his career as well with high aspirations of making it big in the company) and we'd do homework at the kitchen table.
7:00 brought bathtime and story time. My daughter always loved having her hair dryed for her. She'd sit on the floor criss-cross applesauce and I'd sit on the sofa behind her and I'd just brush and dry her hair. She loved it . . . and we'd watch some tv time just for her.
At bedtime, we'd tuck her in, she'd say her prayers, and we'd always have a discussion about who loved who more. I always won because I'd always say "to infinity and beyond" in my best BuzzLightyear voice!
Once I got her into bed, I'd load the dishes up, and pick up the "hot spots" around the house, and work on more grading (or I should have been). Most of the time I just vegged in front of the TV like I was braindead, wondering when my dear husband would be home.

Weekends were spent doing the house and yard work . . . K had her chores, as did hubby and I and we worked . . . and workded some more. K was an easy child - doing her work and then playing with neighborhood friends. We weren't the Saturday sports people back then.

Now . . . Today?

I don't think I could even look at one day now and say that it had the exact same schedule as another day in that entire week.  Now, life is not boring . . . life is crazy. And unpredictable. We're constantly on the go . . . whether to football, swim practice, after-school activities, and constant grocery shopping

(Do you have any idea what two growing boys eat through in just a few short days?? That's another story, I guess.)

As Martha would say, "it's a good thing."

I'm embracing th chaos and joy in my life. It's good that M and L have joined our family . . . and we have a richer, fuller life with them in it.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Favorite Sesame Street Memories

With Sesame Street getting ready to celebrate it's 40th anniversary in the next week, I thought I'd relive some of my favorite Sesame Street memories from my childhood! I really credit my love of learning in part to watching Sesame Street every morning while waiting to go to daycare and preschool. I hope you enjoy!

Ahhh, first off, The Ladybug Picnic . . . I loved this. I loved the ladybugs, I loved the idea of a picnic, and I almost think I loved the counting too!

A loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter . . . a sesame street idea on helping kids with their memory. I wish this one had stuck a little more, but I do use this method with my kids, as well as backtracking to help them with theirs!

Red Balls 1, 2, 3 . . . watching those balls go through their little roller coaster ride was very entransing. I could watch it for hours . . . the fact that the balls ended up being cherries in a float was just that much better!

How to Make Crayons: ahh, I love a good box of brand new crayons, and my favorite part in this was watching one color get joined with all the others and placed into that box. Isn't it interesting to see all of the people working in the factory when everything these days is so automated; and they look so happy working in there too!

And . . . . drumroll please . . .

my favorite all-time Sesame Street Memory, the one that just made me laugh every time I watched it (and still does to this day) is C is for Cookie by Cookie Monster!

Thanks for following my walk down memory lane in honor of Sesame Street! Do you have a favorite Sesame Street memory that you'd like to share?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Little Treasure

THIS was the sweetest thing that my son has done for my darling daughter in a LOOOONNNGGG time! I don't know if you can read the note he wrote but it says: for kristen from matthew I hope you like this. You see, his sister, for the first time ever, decided that she would give up trick-or-treating this year for the love of Florida football. The Florida-Georgia football game was Saturday and didn't get over until 7, and therefore, she wouldn't be home until close to 9. Now, a few things you have to understand before you can really appreciate this story is that a) matthew has a major sweet tooth and can never get enough candy, b) these two are 8 years apart and at odds over EVERYTHING, and c) he doesn't like the Florida Gators (at all. I think it's how he's rebellious . . . trying to ruffle feathers in the family and really bug his father) . . . At any rate, what you see there are four bags of candy that, when Matthew came in from trick or treating, specifically set aside for his sister for when she came home. He asked first if she liked it and then if she could eat it (b/c of her braces) and then he'd bag it if it was cleared. It was so stinkin' cute! Just another reminder that I am doing something right, even on days where it seems like my kids just want to test their boundaries and I'm exhausted to no end. I have these little treasures that brighten my day and remind me that it's all worth it.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Blogging for Scrapbookers, anyone?

I've decided to take this online class, taught by Shimelle Laine, to hopefully perk up my blogging (and actually give me a reason to come by and get in the habit of posting)! I'm sure all of my readers, both old and new, would appreciate that! Which, btw, through the class, there's a whole lot of new traffic I may be getting, so I want to take a minute to say HELLO to all of my new readers! I hope you'll stop by often, and comment on things you like.

My goals for this class: I may not get a post in EVERY day, but hopefully several times a week. I also want to fit it into my already very busy life, which concerns me because I've already spent way too much time today on Shimelle's forums chatting and blog-hopping to all my classmates blogs (yikes!). I also hope to incorporate this blog for more than recording the "big things" but also little snippets of everyday life that I don't want to forget - in order to incorporate those thngs into my scrapbooks more frequently. Another goal is to start including more photos in my posts . . . I admit, while I take pictures, I only upload to the computer every week or so, and then forget about bringing them into blogger . . . Keep your fingers crossed, because I know posts are more fun with pictures and not just a bunch of words!

Anyhow, if you'd like to join me (maybe you wouldn't mind improving some of the very things I mentioned above) why don't you run quick over to Shimelle's website and sign up! It's only $15 USD and it's been so informative thus far . . . I've made quick friends with my google reader and next button! :-)

In other scrappy news:

I finished a LayOut A Day challenge with Lain - with 100% success nonetheless! I'm pretty impressed. While I knew I could do it (I did it in January 2008 as well), I was amazed that I could do it during the day, fitting in all of my other responsibilities and not leave it until after 11 pm. This made me very happy!

I also won a random drawing contest at ella publishing for submitting this layout based on using the title "I love your smile." I know, I know - it was a random drawing, but I still think this is one of my favorite layouts I've done in the last month. I was channeling my inner Cathy Zielske with her clean linear design and basic neutral background. I also have NEVER won anything in a contest (or drawing) before - EVER - so I was pretty excited. I won a pair of LittleMissMatched socks as a runner-up! Okay, if you've never heard of these socks before, go NOW to this site and check them out! Their colors and patterns have always made me happy, and I was lucky enough to get a pair of flip flops from them this past spring, but I've never splurged on their socks before - so I'm super-uber excited!! Thanks Ella ladies!!

Hope everyone's having a fabulous day! :-)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Backyard Neighbor

Here's our big bad "neighbor" that lives in the pond behind our house. I mentioned one day how I wish I didn't have curious kids with an all too friendly curious alligator, and the other day I grabbed this shot wen he was out sunning - one day when the weather was cooling off last week. While I don't mind him at this point, because he hasn't gotten close enough, we're watchful . . . as he doesn't seem very afraid of us. In fact, he likes the idea of coming up while we're feeding the fish, so we don't get to do that often. I'd say he's pretty close to four feet. Anyone want to come and visit? Maybe catch a gator?

Monday, October 26, 2009

One-Photo Layouts

I don't know what happened to my scrappin' style since LOAD started, but I've just realized when looking over my most recent layouts that I've really been doing a LOT of one-photo layouts. On the message board of our LOAD group, someone had asked about what criteria we use when we decide to do a one-photo layout vs. a multi-photo layout . . . and until that question, I never stopped to realize it.

Before I go any further, let me share with you several of the layouts I've completed for LOAD since my last layout posts. By no means is this all of them (I had worked on my 30 Days Hath September album from Sept. 08 as well as a few layouts from Ali's Yesterday+Today class that I'm not sharing at this point) but they are the ones that have had no real "predetermined" class or layout. The ones I sat down at my scrap table, browsed through some storage binders or category drawers and said "ah-ha, this one has a story behind it!"

 So, what I realize when looking at all these layouts is that a) I could tell the story with just one photo . . . and b) I didn't want to mess with trying to manipulate 8 photos of an event to fit on a 2 page spread and have it look pretty. During this challenge, I'm all about getting photos scrapped that I can work on in less than 30 minutes, AND that have a story to tell. Quite honestly, part of it is that I'm kind of out of that "event-based scrapbooking" right now that tends to lend itself to multi-photo layouts . . . those events that you have to cover hours (or days) of activities - Christmas layouts, birthday layouts, vacation layouts . . . just not where I'm at.

Seriously, it's part of the beauty of having a Library of Memories. Some of these photos are from 2002, some from 2004, and some from 2009. They'll be put in my albums in various locations to help tell a complete story of my thoughts, and my children's likes/dislikes/desires, from an at that moment perspective. I'm sure my future grandchild in 30 or 40 years will love looking back at my daughter's iPod playlist - maybe searching and re-discovering old favorites? And what about my daughter's desire right now to be the first female President of the US? I'm sure she'll laugh back at it in 20 years and say Oh yeah, I DID want to do that, didn't I? (Okay, the LOAD layout is for me, for a reminder of an accomplishment that I did of a hobby I enjoy doing!)

So, my long-winded point here? I use the number of photos I feel I have (and need) in order to tell the story. I had a lot I wanted to say in some of these (and honestly, I'm not into hidden journaling if I don't truly feel like I don't want to have those thoughts in the open). I've stopped making journaling be an afterthought on my layouts and so I make room for it. Does that make any sense or am I just rambling in my exhaustion tonight? I'm signing off for now. If that made any sense, do you seem to do the same, or do you have a formula for how to choose single vs. multi-photo layouts? I'd love to know!

Monday Check-in!

So, how'd you do? Did you accomplish a lot? I'm amazed at all I (and my family) got done, but I paid myself for it with moving slowly today! (Somehow I don't think that's the way it's supposed to work.)

So, what I got done this weekend:
  • bought pumpkins (one for M's class, one for each of the kids, and one for our family carving)
  • carved pumpkin
  • cleaned bathrooms (at least the toilet and sink and floor - no one ever uses that tub so I skipped it this week)
  • vacuumed floors
  • decorations out - but I'm not really happy with them. They look pretty wimpy in our front lawn . . . they'll work for this year, but we need a serious makeover for next Halloween.
  • laundry was done and put away
  • we didn't get a box unpacked, but we did get the corner units moved to the garage.
We also made time for breakfast Sunday morning at Dunkin' Donuts, along with some park time for the boys while Kristen went to a friends house. We also had my inlaws up Saturday late morning after we got our pumpkin and they stayed until it was time for football. Hubby also took L to get a haircut, AND we still watched football. Gators won! Whoo hoo!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Finish It Friday

Aby Garvey over at Creative Organizing does a Finish It Friday on her blog for what she's setting out to accomplish in the coming weekend . . .  we tend to get more done with goals in mind after all. I thought I'd share my list of "to-dos" this weekend of things I need to finish.
  1. finish cleaning the house (one bathroom to go and vacuuming the carpets)
  2. finish decorating for halloween (the new decorations I picked up the other day, plus the ceramic ghosts I made with my mom when I was a child - need to find them in the holiday boxes from the move)
  3. finish the laundry - this includes folding what's in the dryer, putting that away, and washing the remaining load).
  4. finish unpacking one box and take the side entertainment center pieces to the garage.
  5. buy a pumpkin and get it carved . . .
sigh, it's been tough going this week to get anything done. I had two sick kids home on Monday, one sick kid home on Tuesday, and then today was a Planning day for the teachers, so no school yet again. It's been tough to get into my normal routine and I didn't walk at all this week . . . :-(

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Whoops, Where'd I Go?

Also known as: more LOAD Layouts:

Day 7:

Day 8: (Another 100% digital layout) sorry for the white background.

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Whew, sorry for not keeping you all posted on my progress through LOAD better . . . I actually did a 2 pager with that Christmas layout, and a page in my Me: The Abridged Version album as well that day.

Thanks for looking!

More Layouts from the Past

What I Like about This Layout: I like the story and memory that this layout tells about. I like the bold colors, too. I like the sequence of photos that are shown as well. I also love that this layout was done in under 20 minutes for my very first LOAD challenge back in 2008.

What I Would Change if I were to do this Layout again: I don't really care for the way that the stripes are going (even though I like the color they add). I also don't care for the splatter of photos angled around. I really think I'm going more for the linear/grid look these days.

What I Like about this Layout: I like that the title and photo says it all. Some photos just don't need an entire story to tell what's going on. Obviously, my boys are bringing in the trash can TOGETHER, and I am saying that I love them.

What I would change: Honestly, I hate that the balance on this just feels off. I used a design sketch, but between the papers and how I did the title, I didn't have sucess with this sketch. This was also done for the very first LOAD challenge back in 2008 and was probably done on one of my less-inspired nights when I needed to put something together before the deadline! haha! Honestly, I'd probably change that PP too . . . oh well. The photo alone is one of my favorites and it's worth having in my albums just like it is.

What I like about this layout: I like that I have something on the page besides photos and paper (in this case, stamped images that have been chalked). I also like the paper tearing. I love the photos I chose too.

What I would do differently: I would change the papers (not much of a fan of fall leaf papers). I wish I had journaled about how these pictures were taken on Christmas Eve Day - that THIS is when the fall leaves in Florida finally fall . . . not in the Fall. I hope I have another photo of my daughter with the reindeer necklace around because there's a sweet story of my father-in-law (now with Parkinson's Disease) going out and searching in the pile of leaves for that necklace when we realized it was lost. I'd love to tell that story soon.