Monday, December 30, 2013

The Blog

I hope your holiday season is going well!
Things are good here, but extremely busy.
The kids are off school until January 6, so I don't seem to have a lot of free time to myself.
I did want to stop by and take a little time today to let you know a few things.

1. I am up on the Paper Issues blog today with a short post.

2. Christmas went well.
Erin was able to see Santa despite the crowds. And we did lots of fun things like bake sugar cookies and visit with family.
Out of all her gifts, I think this was her favorite :) Forget the big Lego Friend Yacht. Doesn't compete with Mike W. from Monsters Inc.!
Evan did well for himself, too, but he is still not to fond of  me posting his photo these days, so I am respecting that.

3. And as for the blog. I am doing a lot of thinking on how I want to use it this upcoming year. 2014 is going to be a year of change and setting goals for myself. I know I will still be blogging and scrapbooking. But I also know I am going to be focusing even more on "healthy living" and working my way back into teaching. So it will be all about choices and balance. More on that next week when I get back to blogging more regularly. :)

Sorry I have not been visiting blogs as much. That will be back on schedule next week as well. Taking time this week to enjoy having Mike and the kids home full time despite the upheaval to our schedule. It's a good thing!

Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Shiny and New!

The new issue goes up today at Paper Issues.
We are talking "Shiny and New". Plus there is a fun sketch that you can try as well.
I haven't used the sketch yet, but it's printed and ready to go. I am hoping to create a layout using it in the days after Christmas.
But to be eligible for the $20 gift card to the Paper Issues store, you can link up projects using the sketch, the theme "Shiny and New" or both! I think when I work on the sketch, I plan to do a New Year's theme of some type. Still thinking on it.

As for other projects I am linking up to this them, I am choosing...

This was a page I did for Crafting Ireland magazine about the changes in our lives after Erin was born.
Didn't quite turn out how I had pictured in my mind, but I love the photo! Do you ever have that happen? You envision a layout, but it doesn't quite come together that way. It happens to me quite a bit (lol)

This is an older page, from 2007. As I lay there in the hospital snuggling my brand new baby girl, I knew couldn't get better than this. :)
And of course my latest and newest layout with it's shiny gold doily! :)

That is what I have come up with so far.
How about you? Do you have any "Shiny and New" projects you would like to link up over at Paper Issues? If so, you can link up *Here*!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Snuggle Bunny

Ok, I just had to pop in to share this since Snuggle Bunny is making a comeback here :)
When Erin was smaller, she loved to sit on my lap and watch this video on YouTube...
The little Snuggle Bunny and his carrot.
She loved it so much that I had to make a scrapbook layout about it at the time.
As you can see it's an older layout, since the date is in 2009 and the papers are all Sassafras Lass which is no longer around.
*ETA - I am linking this layout up over at Paper Issues for their current "Sew Cute, You Keep Me in Stitches" issue. :)
Look at her with her short hair just starting to curl! She was only about 18 months here, and she would listen to the song and sway back and forth to the music. Oh how I love her!
And she looks and acts so grown up sometimes now.

But she is loving Snuggle Bunny again, and wanting to watch it in the morning before school. And it's true what they say about our kids growing up in the blink of an eye. I snapped this quick shot the other day when I was trying to get a photo of Evan and Erin at the Botanical Gardens after school. It was pretty much a disaster photo shoot as far as Christmas cards go, but that's ok.
We ended up using this one...
Ha! Not your typical Christmas card shot, but it's us. :) I actually made a small little collage of photos from the year though and this one is in the center.
And as I work on my Christmas cards, I am thinking that about a goal I am setting for myself next year. To make more cards and send them in the mail. Not just for holidays or birthdays, but some "just because" cards. I really miss the days of getting a letter or card in the mail. And I do still get them from time to time, but it's just not the same.

OK, now unless I have some kind of really big fun announcement to make, I think I will take a little blog break until after Christmas. So much to do and time is running out! :)

Monday, December 16, 2013


I have a post up on the Paper Issues blog which you can see *Here*.
So come by and say hi if you have time. :)

As for us, this weekend we had some of this...
very pretty snow. The shot is from my front porch on Saturday morning.
We have spent a lot of the weekend decorating and getting ready for Christmas.
But on Sunday, Erin and I took a little break so she could go to a school birthday party at Build a Bear workshop.

She came home with that little bear on the left as part of the party. I was surprised each child got a bear, and it's a pretty nice bear. That is Ballerina Bunny on the right. Erin received her on a trip to Build a Bear for her birthday present two years ago. She says they are now sisters. :)

We tried to go see Santa while we were at the mall, but the line was way to long. We are going to try again one afternoon when the line will most likely be shorter. The malls are just crazy on the weekends here!

The Christmas tree is finally up though as of last night.

This is one of my favorite ornaments. We brought it back from Ireland with us after our trip there in 2009. A trip I will never, ever forget. :)

And the kids only have five more days of school. Then they get sixteen days off in a row for Christmas break! So I need to get tons done around here this week before Friday. Not sure how much I will be blogging between now and the holiday. But I will try.
Hope the holiday rush is not too crazy where you are right now. :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Two Sketches, Two Layouts!

Today I want to share the layouts I made using sketch #16 and #17 from The Paper Bakery.
Sketch #16
I stayed pretty true to the sketch for this one, but decided not to add the ribbon elements. Just some wood veneer instead. I loved the little flair button that said perfect weather. But I decided to change the meaning up a bit by adding the "Not so" in front since the storm was definitely less than perfect. :) Still I kept this page pretty simple.
I received a whole pad of 6x6 patterned paper from the American Crafts Cut & Paste line by Amy Tangerine in the Capture 365 kit. So that made it easier to cut the rectangles for this page. I just flipped through and found patterns I thought wouldn't compete too much with my photos. I also added lots of inking and distressing to the paper edges.

Sketch #17
This page makes me so happy! I don't typically scrapbook Christmas. I'm not sure why. I've done a few pages, but not many. Since the November kits I received from The Paper Bakery contained quite a few Christmas items, I decided to go ahead and find some photos. Yes, that baby in the photo sitting on Santa's lap is me! I had so much fun sharing this page with the kids tonight. At first Erin thought it was a picture of her! But then right away she said, "Is that you, mom?" And they loved seeing a younger photo of their grandparents.

Next on my scrapbook to do list...Christmas cards for the teachers and staff at school. For our family and friends, I ordered photo cards which I picked up today. Now I just need to start addressing envelopes and get them in the mail before Christmas. :)

Hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Happy Place!

In Scrapbooking:
The new issue "My Happy Place" is up at Paper Issues!
And I am really excited about this one because the sponsor is Chic Tags.
I was given the new Schoolhouse Collection to work with and here is my layout...
I can't think of a better "happy place" for me than the library. :) And as you can see, I had a lot to say about it! This may have been a "school" themed line, but it could work for so many other things. As you can see there are definitely a few book items, which I love! And with the addition of patterned papers to their lines, it was so much easier to coordinate everything.

We would love for you to join in by linking up projects about your "Happy Place" or using Chic Tags product. The giveaway this time around is a prize pack from Chic Tags. You can see all the details on this blog post *Here*.

Also, this past Saturday Paper Issues participated in Day 7 of the Winter Frolic blog hop with PaperHaus Magazine. My "Christmas Pajamas" layout that I shared on this post *Here* was featured as part of that hop on the Paper Issues blog that day in a collage of projects by the Design Team. You still have time for a chance to win a $20 gift card to the Paper Issue store. You can find that post *Here.*

Around the House:
It was a super busy weekend here as usual.
St. Nicholas left a small gift and some candy for the kids on Friday morning.
Evan received a little stuffed Minecraft Creeper which he loved. It made having to go to school on a snowy day a little bit easier.
But who knew though that Erin's flashing Christmas light bracelet would not make the cut. She is usually all over junk jewelry. But when she saw Evan's little Creeper, it was love at first sight. Oh how she wanted it. She kept following him around saying, "Evan. I really like your Creeper." And then later that day she actually told me, "Mom, there is going to be trouble at home because I really want Evan's Creeper." Oh yes she did. (lol)
And lo and behold, her bracelet broke on Saturday morning, and she cried because now she didn't have any present at all. So guess who ended up with a little stuffed Creeper from Target bought by Daddy. Yep! And she is has slept with it every night since and carries it everywhere.

On Saturday, Erin had dance and Christmas Caroling with the Girl Scouts.
And yesterday, we celebrated my husband's birthday.
I actually baked a chocolate layer cake for him. Although I will say, it looks a little red in my Instagram picture there. But I promise, it was chocolate. And the kids loved it! Evan was asking for seconds, and he is not usually a big "sweet" eater. :)
The recipe actually came from this book...
and was picked out by Erin! There is also a really good lemonade recipe in there that we have tried.
So at least the book is getting some use.

Hope you have a great Monday!
Thanks for dropping by :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Right Now...

In Scrapbooking:
working on some sketch challenges and still using my October kit from the Paper Bakery. Although my November kits came and I am looking forward to using those soon.
I received the main kit...

and the Capture 365 kit. I am not a "Project Life" type scrapper, but I do like to use pocket pages among my regular scrapbook albums. And I think the kits have some really cool exclusives. Love the flair and the wood veneer "naughty or nice" card.

So most of my scrapbooking being done right now is using my kits.

Also, I had a post go up yesterday over at the Craft Your Nest blog.
I featured a few of my blog friends who linked up over at Paper Issues for the "It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas" issue. :)

In Television:
My favorite shows right now are
 1. The Voice - LOVE this show. I am not always big on watching singing shows. In fact, this is the only one I watch. But I think the coaches make it interesting. And this season has some serious talent! For once, I would be happy with any one of the top six winning. My only complaint is that I get behind because it's 3 hours of tv a week. That is a lot! I am only almost caught up because I was sick and watched while I folded laundry and did some sewing. Thankfully I don't mind knowing who is eliminated ahead of time :)

2. Sleepy Hollow - What can I say about this show? I wasn't sure at first if it was going to hold me, because it totally wasn't what I expected. But it has! I think this article I read on-line explains why it is such a success "What Every TV Show Can Learn From Sleepy Hollow" I am really picky about what I watch on tv because I only have so much tv time. I am only two episodes behind in this show and that is saying something!

3. Glee - I hate to say it, but I think I am holding on to this one because of habit. Really episodes are hit or miss with me. And frankly, I think I like the New York crowd better than the group back at the high school. It just seems so forced at times. And I really miss Finn :(

Those are the three main shows right now I record on my DVR and watch alone. In and out of the rotation depending on the season are So You Think You Can Dance and (my guilty secret...shhhh!) America's Next Top Model. :) Plus I love lots of shows on HGTV.

Now together Mike and I watch "How I Met Your Mother" and "Big Bang Theory". I will not watch those without him <3 br=""> And since this post is long enough for now, I think I will save favorite music and books for another post.
Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Little of This and That

Feeling sick again with a cold.
But pushing through as always. :)
I did have quite a bit of time to rest off and on this weekend though.

In scrapbooking, I have a peek to share with you...

of a layout for Paper Issues that will be revealed next Monday. I really, really love this one.

For Thanksgiving...
we drove up to my brother and his wife's house in Milwaukee to celebrate with my side of the family the weekend before the actual holiday. I love any chance I can get to see my brother. He is so much fun. This picture was taken with my phone camera by my nephew. Pete and I walked with the "kids" (in parentheses because two of them are 14 and 16) to a nearby playground. And yes, that is a bat he is holding. Not because the neighborhood is bad, (lol) but because the boys played a little ball. The younger kids played on the playground equipment.
Unfortunately the temperature was in the low 20's and we did freeze a bit. But the fresh air and walk was good for all of us!

And Mike took this picture on his phone at the little bagel place we went to for breakfast both mornings not far from our hotel in downtown Milwaukee. I really love their downtown :)
And as I was going through photos trying to find good ones for a Christmas card this year, I noticed that most of them are like this. Either Mike or I with the kids. Absolutely no family photos! And hardly any of Erin and Evan together. I need to work on that.

Another Thanksgiving activity...
was a fun little feast that Erin's Kindergarten had the last day of school before break. I am so glad my schedule allows me to participate and help out in these types of activities at their school. I truly do not take it for granted!

Erin and I also saw...

this weekend. It was cute. Nothing I would buy and watch over and over again. But it was entertaining and we definitely enjoyed our movie date together after her dance class.

And can you believe it is December? I was trying to think of a fun little activity to do with the kids, mainly Erin, to count down the days until Christmas.

I have seen this idea on Pinterest and around the internet. The idea is to wrap up one book to be opened each night starting December 1st until Christmas Eve. This is about two weeks worth of books in this photo, but I managed to get the rest wrapped up tonight. And since we have about a zillion Christmas books, it was a little hard to pick. :)
Here was the book for Day One...
which it turns out she had already read with her dad last night. I didn't realize that before I wrapped it up. (lol) But that's ok, we have 23 more to go which I know she hasn't read yet this year since I just pulled them out of storage. This one came with her recent book order.

And last but not least, U2's new song is out!
It was on my Sirius radio on Saturday! I was so excited to hear it playing. It's for the new movie, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom". Now if they would just release their new album already. It's been too long since the last one and I am ready for another tour!

Well now that you are updated on what has been happening around here, how was your weekend?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Over at Craft Your Nest...

today with an older Thanksgiving layout.
You can see the post *Here*.

Also wanted to share how excited I was to read my friend Shalini's blog and see that she had created a layout using the Creative Scrappers sketch that I posted about on Monday.

This is such a fun sketch and I love her take which she shared on her blog  *Here*! 
It is such a pretty page!

I hope everyone who celebrates has a wonderful Thanksgiving. :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!

At Paper Issues that is! :)
The new issue is up and our focus is Christmas. As always, you have a chance to win a fabulous prize just for linking up a  new or old Christmas project. We are giving away a...
to one lucky linker.

Of course I linked up the Christmas Tree home decor piece I posted about *Here*
I have already linked up...
my Christmas tags.
And I will also link up...
this layout...

this layout...
and this layout.
As well as...
a post with a ton of Christmas cards I made last year.

So I have a lot to share for this issue! I am not linking all at once though. I usually spread it out a bit.
So if you have any projects to share, come on over and link them up *Here*! 
I will be looking for you :)

And you can also find me on the Paper Issues blog with a post today as well if you want to stop by and say "hi"!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Checking in to Say...

My layout I shared here Monday is being featured on the Creative Scrappers blog today.
I am excited and a little intimidated because two amazing scrappers on the Paper Issues
design team have their layouts on that post as well...Patricia Roebuck and Mandy Kay Starner.
They are simply amazing!

Anyway, if you have a second to spare, could you please go and check the post out?
I would really appreciate it. :)

More scrapbook news...I had a layout picked up for this magazine Life, Paper, Scrapbook. It's a digital magazine. And it was this layout.
Much to my chagrin, as I was filling out the material list I realized that it had already been featured in a magazine. Crafting Ireland which I love! But I had completely forgotten when I submitted it for the LPS call. Doh! Kind of a bummer because it would have been my first published layout with them. Truly hated sending off that email to let them know it had already been published. Hopefully they will give me another chance in the future, but it was a little embarrassing.

I am happy to say though that I am still keeping up with the #30 grateful days challenge sponsored by Paper Issues on Instagram. Definitely an accomplishment for me.
Here are a few of my recent photos in no particular order. :)
Day 16 - Grateful that she loves to dance! So much fun to watch her 

Day 14 - I am so grateful to have this fun little girl to play McDonalds with. "May I take your order?" She asks :)

Day 15 - Grateful for those little surprise moments that make me laugh. I turned around to find this...yes, that is Erin inside my leaf bag. See her new red boots peeking out down below?

And then I realize, I have a lot of photos of Erin for 30 grateful days. It's not that I am not grateful for other people in my life. :) But Evan likes his photo posted less and less, and I try to respect that.
Same for Mike. I am sure he doesn't care. But with his travel schedule it's harder to get photos of him.
I think I need to get a good phone photo of the two of us post one day. :)
Also, Erin is my little shadow. She loves to hang around with me and truthfully, I am glad she does.
I mean how many years do I have left before she leaves me in the dust ;) Hopefully, we will still be close in the years to come!

Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend!
See you next week. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Over at Craft Your Nest Today...

with a layout and featuring a few blog friends who linked projects to the current issue over at Paper Issues.
My layout uses a sketch by Juliana Michaels and the October kit "Pumpkin Latte" from The Paper Bakery.
Hope you will come by and take a peek!
You can see the post *Here* :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Teaming Up with Creative Scrappers!

Paper Issues is teaming up with Creative Scrappers for CS Sketch #256.
And it is a fun one!
This is the sketch we were given...
and this is my interpretation of the sketch. I loved the hexagon shape. But since I wanted to use more than one photo, I decided to create two smaller hexagons. I made a pattern by tracing the hexagon on the actual sketch I had printed up, and then cutting it out! Old school I know, but it worked. :)
My layout is scheduled to be featured on the Creative Scrappers blog this Friday, but I wanted to share it here with my blog friends first. But you definitely want to check the CS blog out every day this week to see how all of the Paper Issues design team members used the sketch. So many great ideas, and every page looks so different!

Since Paper Issues is sponsoring as well, of course there is a great giveaway!

Yep! A $30 gc to the store. So make sure to check out This Post  over at the CS blog, and link up your project based on the sketch for a chance to win! :)

Changing things up a bit.
Some pretty bad storms blew through the midwest yesterday.
Thankfully, we only had some bad winds that took down a lot of trees by us.

This is one of the trees in the park across the street from us. Thankfully no where near our car, unlike that last big storm a year ago in October.
There were two big trees down in this spot.
I didn't realize how bad Illinois had been hit until I saw some of the news feeds here on the internet. Apparently Washington, Illinois was hit by a tornado that just leveled areas. :(

It's funny. I have grown up in the Midwest. Lived here all of my life.
And yes, we have always known that tornadoes are a possibility.
But I was never truly afraid of one. The past several years though, they feel like a real threat and we take the sirens pretty seriously here now.
Especially after what happened down in Joplin, Missouri in 2011.

I will definitely be keeping all those affected by the storms last night in my prayers.