Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Birthday and a Layout (Best Friends with My Mind's Eye)

Ok, I know I said I was going to take some time off blogging until summer break begins next week, and a lot going on today since it is Evan's 12th birthday. Yes, my son is 12 years old! When did that happen. So despite having school today and Mike being out of town, we are going to have a little celebration tonight.
And since he is not big on having his photo shared on line right now, I will give you a peek into what he woke up to this morning. :)
These signs hanging strategically around the house and streamers hanging down from the ledge above his bedroom door.
A little pile of presents waiting for him in the basement. And yes, there may or may not be some Legos in there, plus the blu ray editions of Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. :)
Really hoping he has a great birthday today! 

And now I want to share a layout with you that I actually finished yesterday.
My Mind's Eye  has a monthly sketch challenge on their blog, and I really wanted to try and get it layout done by the end of the month deadline for the May sketch.
When I saw the sketch, it made me think of the huge ampersand that came in the May Swag Bag (embellishment kit) over at Paper Issues. Then I thought of two Instagram photos I had printed up from last summer, and I came up with this layout...
I flipped the sketch and made a few minor changes, but for the most part stayed pretty true to it. I used some of the My Mind's Eye journaling cards you can see Here and Here. I also used some product from one of their older lines called The Sweetest Thing that I have had for a while. I am going to link it up to their blog post Here.
I will also be linking it up at Paper Issues for the current challenge The World is a Circle because I used a few round embellishments on this page. That challenge is Here.

And the June Swag Bag (embellishment kit) is on sale now at Paper Issues...

I can't wait to get mine! It should be here soon. :) You can find them in the shop Here! And feel free to use my Friends and Family code MARYJO to get 20% off your order. She has a lot of new stuff from the My Mind's Eye Market Street line and the new Simple Stories Good Day Sunshine that is coming to me as well. :) You can see it all Here!

Ok. Need to head out and get some cupcakes from a favorite bakery. :)
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Paper Issues: The World is a Circle

The new issue went up yesterday over at Paper Issues - "The World is a Circle". This is a great theme because there are so many options! You could link up projects using maps, globes, travel, international cultures, circles, buttons (or any other circle embellishment), polka dots, and more! Also the sponsor is Ruby Rock-it so you can also link up anything using their product.
Here are a few pages I am planning to link that fit the theme...
Lots of circles on this page.
Polka dots and circle embellishments on this one.
Misted circles for the background.
A big circle in the design here.

more circles :)
Some more cards featuring circles.
And a few travel pages could work...
Airplane shot...
 Another Ireland page, and of course...
this beach page which I know I have shown you before but it it is one of my favorite memories from that trip.

By linking up your projects *Here* you have a chance to win this prize pack (minus the album)
Looking forward to seeing what you link up! (ETA) And it doesn't have to be something new. It can be an older project. :)

Also with it being the last full week of school for my kids, I have a to do list a mile long. So I will most likely be absent from the blog until after they are officially out.
See you next week!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Today I thought I would share the first layout I did for my first design team which was at For Keep's Sake scrapbook store here in town. The product I was given wasn't really my style, but I made it work!
I can't believe it has been nine years since I made this layout! And my style has definitely changed I would say. But I still love this one. The photo is of my grandma Ruth and is one of my favorites of her. Here is the story:

Grandma Ruthie,

When I was younger, I loved to look through the brown wooden keepsake box that held all of your “treasures”. So many photos, programs, medals, coins and letters - lots of letters! At my young age I didn't truly understand what those things meant.

Then came my college years when I was able to live with you and we became “roommates”. When we became close. We got to know each other so well and shared so many special moments. That keepsake box took on a whole new meaning for me. It gave me a peek into what your life was like as a girl and young woman like me. Hearing your stories of the “old days” made me realize that you had special times and memories long before my dad came along and definitely long before your grandchildren.

And now that box is one of my most precious possessions because it is mine now. You died on August 23, 2005. Just this year. I am having a hard time with this. I just miss you so much. So when I came across that box, I held it to me tighter than anything. Except maybe the yellow patchwork quilt that still smelled of your home. Looking through that box again as a woman of thirty-four. As a wife. As a mother. I finally realize how truly special those memories are. What a blessed life you led and I am so happy to have known you for thirty-four years and to have been a part of it. I love you, Grandma Ruthie.

Your granddaughter,
Mary Jo

October 21, 2005 

I truly am glad I scrapbook, because one of the things I find hard to remember sometimes is the exact date we lost her. And it is written here on this page in my journaling so I won't ever really forget. I miss her so much, but my memories of her and these letters are so comforting.
So I try to capture as many memories as I can on my pages to share with my family because it's so easy to forget the little details.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Happy Monday!

Sorry blog friends, that I have been MIA on blog visits the past several days! I ended up substitute teaching in a Kindergarten classroom on Friday (fun!) and then this past weekend was taken up with dance. Erin's dance recital to be exact! :)
So hard to get photos there! I did get a few cute group pics that I can't post here. And then I snapped this one real quick with my phone of her in the ballet costume. She also did a tap number and was in the finale. Her dance school has two shows on the same day with an hour break in between. I was able to sit in the audience for the first show with all of the grandparents, Mike and Evan. Then I stayed for the second show and volunteered to help out behind scenes. That was a real eye opener on how much work goes into putting on one of these dance recitals. :) But I really enjoyed it and loved the group that I worked with.

Needless to say, it was a super busy weekend here!
But I promise to come around and visit blogs today after I exercise and get things put back in order here from the weekend. :)

And you may remember this post here, where I talked about having to unclog the toilet at 11:30 pm on a school night. Last night I was fixing the drain on our tub! Of course it breaks after Mike leaves to go out of town. He talked me through it on FaceTime though around 10:45 last night even though I know he must have been so tired after his four hour drive.
That little lever was disconnected from the plug and Erin's bath water would not drain.
With the cordless screwdriver and pliers, I was able to remove the outer part and plug within. The tub drained and I reattached to outer part. But let's just say I did not mess with the plug. Mike is going to check it all out when he gets back. I am definitely feeling a sense of accomplishment today, and we make a great team! ;)

Hopefully I won't have any other home repair issues in the next few days to deal with before before he comes home though!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Words of Wisdom (part 2)

Just wanted to start by saying that I had a post go live on the Craft Your Nest blog yesterday about the current issue over for Paper Issues. You can see that post *Here*. If you have time to just pop over that would be great. :)

About two months ago, I had a post here sharing some pins from my "Words of Wisdom" board over on Pinterest.
Today I wanted to share a few more.

Um...yeah. I have been learning this lesson. That in most cases I don't need to make excuses or justify my reasoning. I have caught myself in the past feeling like I had to explain every little reason for why I can or cannot do something. Sometimes it is just enough to say no, or sorry, I am unavailable. No need for the whys.
Can you say closet project? So many times I have procrastinated tackling a project or a dreaded phone call or just getting through a rough day. Even exercise can take on that impossible feeling. But when it's done, it is just such a good feeling!
These words have stopped me on several occasions from saying things I know will probably regret. And I have shared this quote with my kids as well. Especially the is it kind part? I have found myself on the receiving end a few times of some unkindness, and it's helped me realize that I don't want to do the same to others. 

Oh Bono how I love you. :) 
Going along with Gandhi's famous quote, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
Another lesson learned. I can only be responsible for my actions and my thoughts and my feelings.

OK, this may be encouraging emotional eating just a bit, but sometimes you just need a cookie!
So in my eyes, Cookie Monster is much smarter than everyone gives him credit for sometimes. We think he is all about the cookies, but he is also encouraging us to focus on the here and now. :)
Love Cookie Monster and Sesame Street, too.

Also want to share another two fun scrapbooking items that I have been interested in.
My Mind's Eye has a fun sketch on their blog for this month...
I really like that large ampersand and have one that might work for this sketch. You can see the blog post *Here* and they have a link up to win MME product if you create a layout using the sketch + MME product.

Amy Sorensen has an interesting series this week over at the Write, Click, Scrapbook blog this week on Scraplifting. I have followed the posts each day and you can see the first one from Monday *Here*.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Day After Mother's Day

I was in a card making mood last week and made a few...

Yes, I used my three in a row design again! It's a great way to use up scraps of paper leftover from layouts. Just punch a ton of circles and add them to cards. One of my goals this year was to try and send more cards by mail. It's already May, and unfortunately these are the first. I made them for our moms and then sent the rest to sent the rest to a few close friends for Mother's Day.

For my own Mother's Day celebration yesterday, I just wanted two things...
to be able to sleep in a bit and not have to cook. :)
I did sleep in until around 8:30.
Mike and Erin had already brought donuts home before I woke up, so I didn't have to make breakfast.
While the boys were fishing, Erin and I prayed together for all of the wonderful moms (friends and family) in our lives, and I taught her how to say the rosary.
Afterwards, the two of us watched a few episodes of the Brady Bunch together. It is one of my favorite shows from my childhood and we have been getting it on DVD's from Netflix.

And then...

I got to scrapbook. Just one layout, but it was great!
I was totally inspired by This Layout by Cassie. And we both used the May Swag Bag at Paper Issues.
The pictures are from Mother's Day in 2011. Mike had taken Erin up to the playground for a little bit and brought the DSLR camera with him. :)
I actually took the picture of this layout with my iphone. It was a lot easier than using a regular camera and then editing it in a photo editing program. I just snapped, cropped on my phone and that was it! I may have to use my iphone for layout photos more often.

Anyway, after lunch (pizza from Little Ceasar's which Mike and Erin picked up again) we headed out to Six Flags amusement park for a few hours before Mike had to head out of town for work.
So my day was just the right mix of relaxing and spending time with my family. :)

Hope you had a great weekend!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Healthy Living List

So I know last year I did several posts on my healthy living goals. I was giving up one bad habit or sticking with one healthy habit for a month at a time because frankly I can handle trying almost anything for a month. In January, I gave up fast food, so I didn't have fast food that month. And one month was focused on exercising more.
This post here  is kind of a recap of all that.

I was pretty successful with my goals for the most part. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night was the tricky one to follow through on for me.
But the ultimate main goal is to try and live a healthier lifestyle.
I'm not perfect at it by any means, but I think working on small goals and taking it one step at a time is really helping me make the changes I need to be making.

So for my list today, I am going to share the goal that I have been working on and then another list of what is coming up :)

Current Goal  - Exercise Regularly
And by regularly, I mean at least six days a week. Really personally there is no excuse for me not to do it. What I have learned is that I need to make it a priority and write it into my daily schedule! I don't get on the computer to check emails and blogs in the morning anymore. I leave that for later in the day and sometimes not until bedtime. Exercise comes first. Even if it means just doing a series of push ups and sit ups because I can only squeeze in a short amount of time. I have one day during the week that is just packed full.
Plus, I have added strength training to my regimen because everything I have read says women over forty must include it in their work outs to speed up our metabolism. And it works!

Here is a list of what a typical week might look like. I am not putting days even though I usually try to keep a set exercise schedule. But sometimes I feel like changing it up:
1. Yoga - It's calming and helps me feel ready for the week. Also if I can get a combo cardio/strength training workout in before church, even better!
2. Cardio (30-45 minutes) - usually a Turbo Jam or Turbo Fire workout
3. On my crazy, busy day - whatever I can get whether it's a few toning exercises, a short walk, etc...
4. Cardio (45-1hr)  depending on the weather, either a run/walk outside or a Turbo workout or Pilates inside
5. Toning or sculpting workout video - I devote at least one day to just that.
6. Cardio - (20-25min) Usually a Turbo fire HIIT workout (high intensity training) burns a lot of calories
7. Cardio - (45-1hr) run or long walk outside if weather permits; if not a video inside

Like I said - I like to mix it up. If I don't feel like doing cardio, I might switch to a yoga or pilates workout. As long as I am doing something, I am happy!
One thing I have learned though is that right now I cannot do more than two runs a week. My body just does not respond well. But I do like my Nike Run app because it inspires me to get better and set goals for myself. So when I do run, I look forward to it. My last run was the Wednesday before last and man it was tough on my back. So I chose to do an hour plus walk on Saturday and this past Wednesday instead of run. I think I will probably be ready to do a run now on this upcoming Saturday since I rested for a bit. I listen to what my body tells me because I seriously don't want to hurt anything at this point. I am on a roll here exercise wise and don't want to lose my momentum!
Plus, it's funny that I can burn just as many calories in one hour of power walking as I do in 45 minutes of running. So it's all good!

Now that exercise has become a major priority, I have a few more goals I plan on throwing back into the mix. One at a time of course.
1. Sugar detox - need to eliminate as much sugar from my diet as I can. So one month of no sugar is in the future
2. Sleep - going to really force myself to shoot for that 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I am really seeing how critical it is for my health.
3. Cleaner Eating - I know I will not ever switch to 100% clean eating, but the cleaner the better I say. We have made a lot of progress here as a family, but there is always room for improvement.
4. Drink More Water - I am so bad about this. I mean water is what I drink more than anything, but I am still not drinking enough. And I am letting myself have one Dr. Pepper a week. I usually get a 12 oz bottle and drink it over two days (lol) But I find myself slipping sometimes and drinking two in a week.
5. Unplug - Summer is coming and I know this will be easier to do. Those iphones sure make it a little too easy to check in way too often though. But this is another area I have made progress in as well. I used to play a ton of computer games and have eliminated most. Only two or three on my phone now. And one on my daughter's ipad that my son likes me to play with him.

So there you have it! My road to a healthier lifestyle. :)
Any tips or suggestions you would like to share would be welcome!

This post is part of a list-making project called Lists With Friends 2014 which is an effort to document the year in lists of all types.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Few Cards to Share

After I finished my layout for the "Mum's the Word" issue over at Paper Issues, I decided to create a few cards. It is definitely a goal I had for this year. Make a card or two with the scraps leftover from a layout.
I will not lie, and I am pretty sure I have said it before. I am a super simple card maker.
I use this three in a row design a lot. Like here...
and here...
and here...
It is my go to card design, that is for sure!
Here is the second card I did using my Doodlebug goodies...
Also really piece of polka dot patterned paper, one piece of white cardstock with distressed edges and inked in orange, one pop up flower sticker and a few letter stickers. Easy, right?
I like easy cards.
And here is a random card I made with a few other scraps I didn't feel like filing away...
Two pieces of patterned paper, a die cut tag and a stamped sentiment...done!

As for National Scrapbooking Day, I did not scrapbook at all. Just no time. Saturdays or so busy here!
And unless I specifically go away for a crop or scrapbook weekend, it will not happen. That's ok though. I am more of a weekday scrapper.

But here are two things that happened this weekend that I know some of you may already have seen on Facebook and Instagram...
Erin no longer has training wheels on her bike and she is riding like a pro with no help or assistance at all! She spent a lot of time on her bike this weekend with dad and the whole neighborhood cheering her on. :)
But we also spent some time relaxing...
in our hammock in the backyard. :) We had beautiful weather this weekend and I was so grateful for it after the long winter!

I hope you had a great weekend! Did you get any scrapbook time in on NSD?

Thursday, May 1, 2014


So yesterday I had two blog posts elsewhere.
One over at Craft Your Nest where I talk a little bit more regarding my thought process and techniques on this layout...
a just for fun layout. :)

Then it was my day to post over at Paper Issues where I featured a layout Mary Pat linked up for the current issue "Mum's The Word." You can see that post *Here."

I feel as if I am really ready to start scrapbooking regularly again!

My workspace is 90% clean and organized! I just have one pile to put away. So my office feels nice and welcoming. Not messy and overwhelming. :) As I was cleaning it out, I found the photos and paper I wanted to use for the above layout in a giant zip loc which inspired me to just get a page done. Which I had a lot of fun doing! But more about that on the Craft Your Nest post. ;)

And now I can cross another item off my closet project, and move on to the final steps!

I have also come to the conclusion that life is just busy. That is just how it is. (I mean wow, it's May already!) And if I sit around and wait for things to slow down before tackling projects, finding time to scrapbook or meeting up with friends and family, it's just not going to happen. So I am embracing it!
Just in the past week, we went to a Cardinals ballgame with several extended family members to see my niece sing the National Anthem.
Definitely had fun! In the past, I might have said that we had too much to do on a Saturday, but then I realized that time with family is just as important.
On Monday, I went to lunch with a good friend that we had been trying to schedule for ages. We finally just picked a date and said let's do it! So glad I did because we were able to talk, relax and catch up. Even if it was just for an hour.
And despite having so much to do after the kids get home from school, I have been making the time to take Erin out once sometimes twice in the afternoon to practice riding her bike without training wheels. (photos and possible video to come soon) She is doing great and is so excited!
I am discovering that it is ok to say no to things that seem important (dishes) and say YES to the people who are more important!

And I know it's been a while since I have posted a "List With Friends" list. I think the last one was my list about The National that I posted almost a month ago. Thankfully, there are no rules to the list project, but I do have one planned for next Thursday. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!