Monday, April 21, 2014

Lately

1. love to watch this movie...
and listen to the soundtrack a lot.

2. Still listening to...
The National...a lot.

3.  Enjoying...

our beautiful Magnolia tree in our backyard. It's so pretty to look at, but it really makes a mess of the backyard. Fortunately the weather has been gorgeous the past few days making all the raking and bagging of flower petals a little more bearable. And the kids have really enjoyed being able to play outside as well!

4. Excited about...
Stanley Cup playoff hockey! My boys in blue are 2-0 up on the Chicago Blackhawks right now. Let's hope the momentum continues! I have been waiting a long time for the St. Louis Blues to win a Stanley Cup. Hoping this year won't be another disappointment.

5. Celebrating...


Easter. We kept things small this year as far as baskets and treats go. And yes, they each got a fancy toothbrush in their basket. :)
Had fun celebrating with my family on Saturday night. My brother and his wife are in town which made it extra special. Plus, it's my dad's birthday today, so we had a cookie cake and presents for him.
Today, we went to my mother-in-law's for a lovely breakfast. 
It really was a beautiful, joyful day.

6. And last, but not least...
getting to work with some great product by Doodlebug design right now for an upcoming Paper Issues assignment being revealed next Monday.
So I am definitely going to have a page to share soon!

That's what is going on here.
What's going on with you?
 






Thursday, April 17, 2014

This Post...

is going to kind of be all over the place today. :)

1. I have a blog post that went up yesterday over at Craft Your Nest
for Workspace Wednesday with a fun storage find at Target. If you are interested, please go by and check it out!

2. I spend a lot of time up at Evan and Erin's school throughout the week. I know being mostly a Stay at Home mom (doing a little part time work subbing and tutoring) makes it easier for me to volunteer and help when needed. On Tuesday, I tutored, helped in Erin's Kindergarten classroom and then I assisted with art class in her room as well.
That morning, we walked over to the Dragon Grove which is their school community garden. It really is a wonderful resource for the children. This is a picture of the flowers on one of their pear trees. They have two pear, two peach and two apple trees planted. Plus a myriad of vegetables and herbs.
I feel very fortunate to be so involved in what is happening at their school. I get to see first hand what their days are like. I am getting to know the staff and students well and I feel very comfortable knowing they are happy there.

3. I have to say though that just because I am a "Stay at Home Mom", it doesn't mean I am not busy. On the contrary, I feel extremely busy and it seems like the days are flying by. I mistakenly thought when Evan and Erin were both in school full time, I would get tons done at home. Maybe I am just overly ambitious in my to do lists some days though.

For example, back on February 10th (and I have the blog post to prove it *Here*) I began
"The Closet Project". You know that closet in Erin's room I have talking about off and on. The place where everything that didn't have a place to go was dumped. Well, I am STILL working on it!
but I am oh so close to being finished. Here is my "punch" list for getting the final steps done. I needed to Focus and just take on one thing at a time for the most part. The closet was actually all cleaned out and now I putting things back inside. Number six on the list is actually kind of separate because my scrap office is another room entirely. But it is also kind of related since there was a lot of scrap stuff in that closet. They go hand in hand almost.
As you can see, two items have been crossed off.
The circled items are the ones I am currently working on. When I am tired of sorting and boxing up photos, I work in my office for a little bit. Which is how my storage post on Craft Your Nest came about. :)
Next I will do #4 and am saving #5 for last. Dreading #5. That is going to be tedious and involve some serious paper shredding.

So I do get things done. But tasks such as cleaning the house, paying bills, grocery shopping, laundry, exercise, necessary phone calls, doctor's appointments etc...I like to get it done while the kids are at school. With their dad traveling so much for work, I feel it is important for me to be able to focus on them from 4-8. This is our homework, dinner, bed time routine, and just hanging out together time.

And it's exhausting sometimes. Being alone most of the week without Mike. Especially when I am up at 11:30 on a Wednesday night trying to unclog the toilet, which I was successful at I must say. But it's a job that Mike used to do when he was home full time. And I am sure I took it for granted at the time. Not anymore. :)

4. And now that you have had that fun little peek into my life, I want to end by giving Paper Issues a little plug. There is a ton of new product in the store right now from companies like Echo Park, Pink Paislee, Simple Stories, Webster's Pages and Fancy Pants. You can see the "All New" section *Here*.
And you can use my code MARYJO to get 20% off your orders any time! I do get a little discount when people use my code which is a nice benefit of being part of the team.

Thanks for stopping by today, and I hope you have a great weekend!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Paper Issues: Pitch Perfect!

Ok - just wanted to start off by saying "thank you!" for all the comments, tips and photo app suggestions on my last post. It is so nice to have a place to vent when something is frustrating me, but then come away with constructive ideas that help. :)

Now on to scrapbooking! A new "issue" is up over at Paper Issues called "Pitch Perfect".
The first thing that comes to mind is this movie...


I finally saw it for the first time two months ago when I was sick and all I could do was lay around and watch tv. It was pretty good, but I am not into vomit humor and there was quite a bit of that. (yuck)

Anyway, over at Paper Issues, we would love for you to link up projects to go with our theme. They could be about singing, instruments, baseball, perfect/perfection, song lyrics, music concerts, pitch a fit (tantrums), camping (pitch a tent), favorite commercials (sales pitch), anything using the words perfect or pitch. And also any project using Lawn Fawn products since they are our sponsor this time around.
So really there are lots of options. Or come up with one of your own.

One lucky linker will win this cute stamp set...
adorable, right?

Here are a few projects I will be linking up...

Not a great photo of it, but an older layout. She always loves to come to me for hugs and snuggles even in the middle of temper tantrums. I think it reassures her that I still love her :)

This photo is from a U2 concert a few years back. I had to do a layout about the stage. It was pretty incredible.

And this one is a favorite of mine, plus it uses the word "perfect" in the title. Perfect, right? :)

I am thinking about creating a new page for this issue. There is a quote I would love to use on a page "There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one." - Jill Churchill
 I think it's time to finally use it!

If you would like to link up a project using the "Pitch Perfect" theme, check out this post on the Paper Issues blog *Here*.
I am looking for someone to feature on the Paper Issues blog this Friday. It could be you!

As for my weekend, we were so busy! My parents came over with my niece to decorate Easter eggs on Friday night. I took a few photos but most of them are still on the DSLR. But I do have this one I added to Instagram...
Evan doesn't like to dye eggs. He likes to draw on them. This is his clone trooper egg. :)

Then on Saturday, the kids and I drove down to Joplin to see Mike. He was unable to come home this weekend due to work and we just didn't want to wait until next weekend to see him. We only stayed one night and came back late Sunday afternoon, but it was worth it! And I know he appreciated it.
So like I said, a busy, but fun weekend.
Looking forward to more of the same this week!
Hope you have a Happy Monday.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's Thursday

If you want a pure scrapbooking post, I have a layout up on the Craft Your Nest blog today.
It's for the "Pocket Full of Sunshine" theme at Paper Issues. I am also going to link it up on the Stashbuster's Thread over at Two Peas in a Bucket. It definitely fits challenge #1 which is to use yellow on a page or card.

Today I want to talk a little about my iphone camera. It's so convenient. So easy to use.
I love it so much better than my old android one. Especially out in the sunlight for photos like this...
which was a really, really cold day a month or two ago when I was volunteering for Erin's class. Photos outside usually turn out fine.
But truthfully, I am tired of missing out on getting good indoor photos.
Erin went to a birthday party at a rock climbing place and most of my photos turned out like this...
just all blurry and not good quality. I know it's indoors and I hate using a flash. So I guess this is what I will get. But I am kind of missing my point and shoot for this type of event.
Tired of being disappointed that most of my photos from 2014 so far are just terrible.
Maybe I just need to work on taking better photos with my camera. Or maybe it wouldn't hurt to start carrying the point and shoot in my purse again.

Any iphone users out there have good tips or suggestions that could help me take better photos?
Because I really would have liked a better photo from our date night at the movies.

I am just one big blur. :)
Oh well. Maybe I just need to suck it up and use that flash.
Although nothing can take the place of our DSLR. This is still one of my favorite pictures of Erin :)

Anyway, April is kind of flying by here. I can't believe one week from today is already the start of the Easter holiday. I just need things to slow down a bit because the kids will be done with school in less than two months!
Where is 2014 going and why does it have to move so fast?
Hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Summer 2013 Project Life

I finally just decided to snap a few iphone photos of what I have done so far with my Project Life album from photos we took last summer.
It is nowhere near complete, in fact most of the pages themselves aren't complete. But I got a good jumpstart on it at the weekend crop I went to end the about a month and a half ago.

I didn't get to the crop until around 6:30. By the time I had eaten dinner and settled in, it was about 8pm. And I spent the rest of that first night sorting and organizing my photos. If I would have known how long it was going to take, I definitely would have done that at home. Although at least I had them all printed up and wasn't missing any like I was the year before at the same crop! :)

So on Saturday morning I was ready to go.
Week 1 -


I am following absolutely no rules with this except that I wanted to go week by week. But as you can see, the first week had several spreads, since we did a lot that week including a trip to the zoo and a Chocolate factory tour with friends.
I am also using a variety of type and size page protectors. I have a smaller one (6x12) there on the left for part of the factory tour photos and title card.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find my Instagram page protectors until I came home. They were in one of those closet piles I have been sorting through. But I made do with the 6x12 and some patterned paper as fillers.

My steps for each week -
1. Decide which photos to use. Then it was like putting a puzzle together trying to figure out where I wanted them to go.
2. Create the weekly title card as you see in the first photo.
3. For each page, create simple title cards for activities, or titles next to or on photos.
4. Embellish using flat accents on some of the cards. Most of my 3d embellishments will be added last, since I didn't bring many of those with me.

And you can see lots of blank cards throughout, most of them grid but some with designs. I am going to type my journaling on these, and that is going to be the last step.

Week Two -
Week two is only three 12x12 pages. Same process for this one. photos, some matted on patterned paper, (Especially the instagram ones), minimal flat embellishing for now, and a title card for the week and some other titles.
As you may have noticed, I am pretty much using Simple Stories Summer lines for this project. But when I went to do the Six Flags page, I decided to mix in some of the October Afternoon Midway line since it coordinated pretty well color wise.

Week Three -
Since my second photo for week three won't cooperate here on Blogger, I am just sharing one. But there are two 12x12 spreads for week three and one side of a 6x12. Same process for these pages. I plan to do a lot of journaling on my blank cards.
Oh and the story behind "the tooth wiggle". Erin had this loose tooth in the front for months. We are talking a really long time. And we would always catch her wiggling it. Non-stop! So Mike and Erin posed for a "tooth wiggle" photo on Father's Day. :)

So that is what I have so far. I have all of my supplies for this album stored in a Crop bag, so whenever I want to create a few pages, it is all in one place. 

Now to the weekend! I was worried Mike wouldn't be able to come home this weekend at all because of a big project he had going on at work. They were not able to finish on Friday because of the windy weather at the job site. So he had to stay there so they could hopefully get it done on Saturday. Thankfully they did, and then he decided to just make the drive home even though it would only be for one night. Exhausting for him, but we were just so happy to see him.
On Sunday, he was so tired in the afternoon from playing pretty much non stop with the kids after church, that I told him to just lay down for a little nap before he had to make the commute that night.

Erin and I decided to go out for a little bit while he was resting.
Our city (St. Louis) is celebrating it's 250th birthday this year. So they have these 4 foot tall fake cakes decorated by artists and students all over the city and outlying areas.
Here is some information about it with a link to the full list of 250 cakes and their locations if you are interested. STL 250 cakes

I have been talking to the kids about spending some of our time this summer doing the cake scavenger hunt. A lot of the cakes are at some interesting places that we want to visit anyway, like Lemp Mansion, the Franklin Lloyd Wright house, and more. I know we won't get to all of them, since some, like the one at Meramec Caverns,  is at least 45 minutes to an hour from us. But we are going to try!
Erin wanted to get a jump start yesterday while Mike was napping.
The two of us decided to visit 4 of the cakes closest to us.
.

This was cake number 3 from our stop yesterday. Two others were at restaurants on The Hill (an Italian neighborhood here known for great restaurants and markets.) And the other was at Tower Grove Park which is definitely the closest.
At each cake, she wanted a picture and then had to write out the location on her "list".
It's going to be a lot of fun finding the other cakes this summer. There are quite a few downtown, so I thought that would make a great "field trip" day :)

When we came home, Mike woke up from his nap and decided he was not driving back that night. Still too tired. So we had him home for an extra night. :)

Now it is Monday, and I have a busy week ahead finishing house projects, volunteering, tutoring and helping on a field trip, but definitely have some scrapbooking time scheduled.
Hope you have a great Monday!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The National List

Ok - I took a bit of a break from lists the past month since I had so much going on with Evan and his surgery.
But I have a fun to me list to share with you today :)

Those of you who know me, know how much I love music and U2 who is my number one band and always will be. Radiohead has been second for a long time. But that third spot in my top three is always changing. And right now that spot is filled by The National.

Mike and I saw them when they were here back in September for Loufest. I wish I would have known then how much I would love them now! (Although Mike keeps reminding me, "I told you so!") I was just so excited to see Alabama Shakes at the time, that I didn't give it much thought. But I do remember thinking that The National really put on a great show. I was super impressed. Now six months later, I am listening to them non stop.
I love Matt Berninger's deep at times almost sleepy sounding voice. And the rest of the band is so talented musically.
*Fun fact - The band has five members. The lead singer, and two sets of brothers. Scott and Bryan Devendorf, and twins Aaron and Bryce Dessner

So for my list today, here are my top ten favorite songs (although I could probably pick more) that I am listening to these days by The National and why: (*a bad word or two in the lyrics for those who mind)

1. Heavenfaced - this song is just so pretty. Almost hauntingly so.
2. About Today - Another pretty song. I remember Mike telling me he thought it was sad at first, but I see it as kind of hopeful. About someone who loves someone so much that they are willing to be vulnerable and ask the hard questions. Someone who is willing to communicate ultimately because they love someone and don't want to lose that person. Something that I feel has taken my relationship with Mike to a whole new level because of this song :)
3. Demons* - This song makes me think of a persons struggle with depression. It kind of strikes a chord with me, but thankfully it's something I can "rise above".
4. I Should Live in Salt - such an unusual title, but I love the music.
5.Graceless - Another one that seems to talk about depression. I love these lyrics
"I'm trying, but I've gone
Through the glass again
Just come and find me
God loves everybody, don't remind me
I took the medicine when I went missing
Just let me hear your voice, just let me listen"
6. Pink Rabbits - Another one where the music has me hooked, and I really love his voice.
7. Bloodbuzz Ohio - Man, his voice is so deep in this one :) I love how he has such a wide range. And the drum beat is the best! I will say this. One of the things that stood out to me the most when I saw them live was how frequently I found myself watching the drummer (Bryan Devendorf)
8. I'm Afraid of Everyone - Good song that touches on Matt's thoughts and experiences when he became a parent for the first time. Especially love the end.
9. Don't Swallow the Cap - some of my favorite lyrics in this song
"Everything I love is on the table.
Everything I love is out to sea.
I'm not alone,
I'll never be."
-and-
"When they ask what do I see,
I see a bright white beautiful heaven hangin' over me."
10.  Mistaken For Strangers - Ok this one is a favorite because it is one of the first songs I remember hearing by them. Plus, I love songs with unusual drum beats like this one. Also, it is the title of their recently released documentary by Matt's brother Tom.
Which was really, really good by the way! :)

And if you have been with me this long, I just wanted to share something that impressed me from an interview that Matt did a few years back.

AVC: In the New York Times Magazine story, you were described as having the dad role in the band.
MB: If I’m the dad in the band, then I’m the Chevy Chase version. I’m a stubborn guy that loses his temper, sometimes driving the station wagon in the wrong direction for hours and hours and never admitting that he’s gone the wrong way. I do have maybe an unbalanced amount of power in the band because if I don’t like something I won’t sing to it. That means that only the songs I like are going to be on the record. That’s unfair, but that’s the way it is.

I love that he calls himself the Chevy Chase version. Who doesn't love Clark Griswold :)
But I also love his honesty in answering this question.

I will say this, my dream would be to see them in Ireland this July. In Dublin! The same city where Mike and I saw U2 five years ago. But since that is not going to happen, we will settle for the next time they are here are maybe close enough to drive. 

Anyway, enough of my love for The National!
Except to say that I just may need to do a layout about them or my obsession with them right now.
Cause I have done several layouts about what I am listening to at that moment in time such as this one...

and this one...
and this one...
It's fun to look back and see what I was listening to and actually am still listening to right now. A lot of these bands and songs are still in my ipod favorites. :)

So tell me, what music is in your top 3 right now?



Monday, March 31, 2014

Paper Issues: A Pocket Full of Sunshine!

I just wanted to start off by saying, I enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts on scrapbook classes!
I am thinking I am going to take the Art class by Wilna because it will challenge me to get a little messy and use those gelatos!

And I know I haven't mentioned Craft Your Nest in a while. It seems that all of us at the Nest needed a bit of a break for personal reasons, but now we are getting back to posting. One of my new goals for my weekly posts at the blog there is to create "Use Your Stash" challenges. I will probably throw in a few sketches here and there as well, since I find them to be helpful when I need some inspiration. But instead of taking a class on using your stash, I am going to try and kick start myself and hopefully encourage others to join in.

Now on to Paper Issues!
The new issue is starting today and the theme is "A Pocket Full of Sunshine!"
Martha Bonneau, design team member and owner of Panda Eight Designs
created this fun flair exclusively for the issue...
I am using mine on a layout I am currently working on. It is so super cute!
So Panda Eight Designs is our sponsor for the current issue and the prize is your choice of five sets of flair from her shop which you can find *Here* 
Plus, while this issue is running (March 31st - April 13th) she is offering 20% off in her shop if you use this code SUNSHINE20.

I am hoping to finish my layout this week to link up.
But if you have a project that you have created or been wanting to create that would fit this issue, make sure to link up on the Paper Issues blog for a chance to win some fabulous flair by Martha.

Since I haven't finished my new project yet, here is a layout I am planning on linking up that I have probably shared here before...

This one just says "sunshine to me" in so many ways. :)
I could probably also link up this one...
I have never shared this project on the blog, but it was a feelings chart I had made for Evan a few years back. There were several photos in the pocket, each representing a different feeling. And each matted photo had velcro on the back so he could switch it out depending on how he felt that day. I had it hanging in his room for a while.


I may also link up this one...

See the little sun up there in the top right with the "sweet sunshine" polaroid frame. :)
So that is what I am going to start with and then we will see what I am able to come up with in the next two weeks.

I will be back on Thursday with a list or two. I have some catching up to do for my "Lists With Friends" group. :)
See you then. 


Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's Thursday...

my house is clean. Spent a lot of time cleaning yesterday.
One of the things I actually like about cleaning is the fun little surprises that make me smile. Such as this little Lego sniper guy perched up in a window in the family room in the basement. He is looking towards the rebel base Evan had on the floor by the wall :)


This sight also made me smile. I am so ready for Spring! And I promise you, I will not be one of those people who complain when it is hot this summer. We just head to the pool or somewhere with air conditioning on those days :)

For my scrapbook friends, I have been considering signing up for a few on-line classes. Just not all at once of course.
I have enjoyed one or two classes (and one or two not so much) from Big Picture Scrapbooking and I especially love that they do free events and classes like this one. I don't have any illusions that I will actually scrapbook on National Scrapbook Day. But just in case, I am signing up so I will have access to the private on line classroom. You never know I may be able to sneak up to my room and get a layout or two done between dance and dinner. :)
I know Julie is planning on participating. Anyone else?

I have also been looking at *This class*
being taught by Ally Dosdall at Big Picture Scrapbooking as well. Maybe to get me scrapbooking again and use up stuff I have on hand. I really like assignments and challenges to get me going, so this may be a good one. Have any of you taken it before?

Over at Two Peas in a Bucket,
I am still thinking of giving *This class* a try.

I think it would definitely be a challenge, and I would love to learn some new techniques as well. Especially ones using gelatos and watercolors! She has a second art class as well, but I think this one would be good to start with.

And I would also love to take *This class* with Jill Sprott.
It is only $12 and I am always so inspired with her projects! She is such a great storyteller and one of the things I love most about scrapbooking is getting our stories told. 

So if you have taken any of these classes, would love to hear a review. Was it worth it? 

Hope you have a great weekend!