Friday, June 26, 2009

Lovely, Lovely Vacation!

We are in the midst of our beautiful, almost perfect vacation at Sugar Mountain, NC! We were blessed by my parents with a week away using their timeshare points. We are so grateful!!! It would be perfect if Gil could be here with us. But my wonderful, hardworking husband is back home working this week. Thankfully, he was able to spend last weekend with us, including Father's Day!

While Gil was here, we explored Blowing Rock, Linville Falls, and went through the Linville Caverns. We also drove along the beautiful, Blue Ridge Parkway.

This week, on our own, the kids and I are having a great time! We have explored Boone, Banner Elk, Blowing Rock (again!), and Valle Crucis. The weather has been perfect... warm and sunny, blue skies, and gorgeous, gorgeous views. I love it here!!!

One of the "must do's" was a trip to the candy barrels at Mast General Store. The kids loved picking from the huge assortment of treats!

Saturday, when we hung out for a while in Blowing Rock, we only saw the town. So on Wednesday, I took the kids further south to see The Blowing Rock attraction! And I actually let the kids climb up... almost to the top... of this rock overhang! (Don't tell Gil!!!)

We are really enjoying the beauty of God's creation. And sweet family time. It is a nice break.

After our time at the Rock, we had a picnic lunch, then headed into the sweet little town of Blowing Rock for the afternoon. They have a great playground in the city park!

Tuesday we had spent most of the day in Boone. I have a long-time friend who lives in Tennessee, just about 30 minutes from Boone, so we were able to see her family in Boone! Thanks, Brenda, for a wonderful lunch!!! Then the kids and I went to the Hickory Ridge Homestead Museum where we saw a reconstructed log village typical of the 1700's. We also walked through the Daniel Boone Botanical Gardens.

We leave for home Saturday morning. I have fallen in love with the North Carolina mountains, though. I know we will be back often!!! This week is truly a blessing!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!!!

We are loading up the car & looking forward to a week at Sugar Mountain, NC! We will explore Banner Elk, Blowing Rock, Boone, the Blueridge Parkway, and the surrounding mountain areas. We are so excited!!!

It has been a busy week getting things done for the trip, tying up loose ends, and making sure that all my responsibilities as volunteer coordinator for Vacation Bible School are caught up. Right now I have a few things to cross off my list... we need to load the car... and then we are off! I am sneaking in a few moments to write this up Saturday morning so that it will be posted in time for Father's Day!!!

In the midst of our busy week, the kids made these 12x12 digital pages for their Daddy for Father's Day! Zachary and Abbie were able to make their own pages... from choosing the photos, bringing them into StoryBook Creator, and completing the layout. Pre-designed pages made it especially easy for them! Jacob quoted to me what he wanted his page to say. We got the pages finished up, uploaded, and back in time to stick into our scrapbook. We are taking the album with us! Instead of cards or gifts, this will be our present to Gil.

I am so blessed to be married to a wonderful, godly man. He truly is the best father ever. We are blessed with a totally involved, hands-on, generous, loving guy. We love you, Gil!!!!!!

Made by Zachary!

Made by Abbie!

Made with Jacob's help!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Blogger Tip: #1 in an occasional series!

I have a handy tip for Blogger users who may not yet have discovered this great little feature! It will help you out in several scenarios.

1) Have you noticed that when you publish a post, the time stamp is not the same as the time you finished it. It will actually give the time you first started writing the post.

2) Have you ever started a post... then put it aside for whatever reason... and then finally after a day or two or three (or week, or month!) you finally get back to it, finish it up, and publish it. Then you find that the post is dated with the date you first started it... not the date you published it!

3) Do you ever find yourself with an abundance of time, ideas, and energy all ready to pour into your blog? You could write post after post! But no way do you want to publish two or three blog entries all in one day. It would be better to spread them out... to have them ready for later. To schedule them!

These scenarios may not be an issue for you. But if they are, I have found this great little feature in Blogger and wanted to share! When you are composing a blog entry, look down in the bottom left corner of your screen, just above your "Publish Post" button. You will see the clickable, blue-underlined, "Post Options" feature.

Click on "Post Options" and you will see the date and time that you started that post. Very interesting!

If this a post you have been working on for a while, you can simply change the date to today's date, and give it a new, current time. When you publish it, it will move to the front of the line, head of the class... it will be the top post on your blog, as it should be, and with the right date! Isn't that cool?!

Now, say you are on a roll and want to write several blog entries and schedule them for later publication? This is where you do that, too. Simply designate a future date for the post to appear. Be aware, however, that you actually have to hit "Publish Post" when you are satisfied with your work and decide it is complete. Publishing, in this case, will actually schedule the post to appear according to the future day and time you chose. And look at how it appears on your list of posts.... see how it is designated as "scheduled"? Pretty nifty!

I wrote THREE posts on June 10th using this feature --- "School's Out for Summer!!!", "Girlfriends", and this one. It felt good to know that for the next three days I would have a new post each day on my blog!

Let me know if this was helpful. Happy blogging!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


When I visit Abbie at school, I always like to snap a photo of her together with her friends. And whenever you have a fun photo, it is great to share it. Well, we could have just made a few 4x6 prints and passed them out to the girls. But why not take an extra 10 minutes and make a cute photo card?!

This was all done on the computer, then uploaded for printing with my batch of other 4x6 prints. Truly, it took less than 10 minutes to create! This is not scrapbooking... it is photo-loving!!!
  1. Open up or create a new a 4x6 Landscape document in StoryBook Creator Plus.
  2. Choose a background from the digital paper options in the Paper Tab on the right of the screen.
  3. Place the photo on the page and size as desired.
  4. Blur the edge of the photo. (The Edge command is located in the Layout Ribbon at the top of the screen.)
  5. Choose word art from the Embellishment Tab on the right of the screen... size and place as desired. I also changed the color from black to purple, using the Color command in the Tools Ribbon.
  6. Add text using the Text Riboon; size and place as desired. I used the Rotate command from the Layout Ribbon at the top of the screen to make my text run sideways.
  7. In the Home Ribbon, under the Save command, choose Save Pages As.. to create a jpg of the page. I usually save to my desktop or to a "Photos to Print" folder on my desktop. Then the card can be uploaded along with any other photos to your favorite photo finisher*, and printed as a very unique 4x6 photo!
*My favorite photo finisher is Creative Memories Photo Center where I get high-quality, Fuji Crystal Archive prints for as little as $.12 each! Register a new account using my CM ID 24915986 and receive 20 free prints!

4x6 Photo Card Ingredients: StoryBook Creator Plus (software), Primary Spring Power Palette Addition (paper), Blush Blooms Digital Kit (word art), Katie font

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

School's Out for Summer!!!

I am so excited that school is out!!! I am looking forward to NOT having to wake up at 6am and make lunches everyday. I look forward to unscheduled days, time at the pool, and hopefully, time with friends! We will also have a week in the mountains, coming up soon!!! We are looking forward to a visit from my in-laws right after that. And then we have a busy week of Vacation Bible School! My quiet summer is actually looking pretty busy. But it looks like fun, too!

Our end of the year festivities began last week with Jacob's Kindergarten Graduation! I can't believe my baby boy is heading to first grade!!! He had an awesome year. We are so proud of him and how well he is reading. He loves school, and just soaks up everything. Everyday he would come home and tell me, in great detail, whatever new lesson they had covered that day. I was also blessed to spend one morning a week in his classroom, helping out. This year went quickly!!!

Jacob was glad that his Daddy got to come to the graduation program. Gil always looks sooooo serious. But he is such a fun and excellent Daddy!!!

The kids all sang their learning songs to a packed house of parents, then we watched them receive their certificates. After that, we had lunch in the cafeteria, and went back to the classroom for ice cream sundaes. Jacob's special day took place last Thursday!!

Yesterday after school, I took the kids with me as my friend Leisa and I painted the rock outside of school for Abbie's summer birthday! Last year, I helped Leisa paint the rock at her kids' school for the last day... and it stayed up most of the summer! So, I scheduled Abbie's rock with that hope in mind! We will see how long it lasts.

It took us about an hour and a half in 90 degree heat. I had a Vacation Bible School Training that I had get to by 6pm, so I was in a time crunch! But the kids played while we worked, and it turned out pretty well. Abbie was pleased!

I cannot believe she is almost 10 years old! She is turning into such a beautiful young lady. It was great to have my friend Leisa take a photo of us together.... even though I was sooooo hot and sweaty and wearing my ugly, baggy paint clothes!!! This is such a fun tradition. I never heard of painting rocks at school until we got to Charlotte 3 years ago!

And today was the last day of school!!! Here is Zachary, heading off to his last day of 6th grade. He started middle school this year, and Jacob started Kindergarten. Honestly, it was harder for me to send Zac to middle school!!! But he had a wonderful year. He recieved straight A's all year (except for a B in his keyboarding class, but does that really count?), and was in the gifted program. Zachary was nominated by his teachers to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, DC this summer! However, Zachary has chosen to attend summer camp with our middle school youth group instead. We are so proud of our handsome and responsible young man!

Here is Abbie, heading off to her last day of 4th grade! This was her first year in the gifted program. It was very challenging and she had almost two hours of homework each night. But she is very self-motivated, industrious, and creative. This year she attended a new school, but quickly made friends and adapted so well. It really was a terrific year for her! I still have to share about her hilarious talent show entry a couple weeks ago... those photos are still on my broken camera (these photos are courtesy of Zac's camera... thank you Zachary!). Abbie is looking forward to 5th grade! I wonder if I will be able to help in her class again, like I did this year?

Here is our little man Jacob heading off to his last day of Kindergarten! He is trying to convince me that he should be done with naps since he is practically in first grade.

We are very thankful for the great schools and caring teachers our kids had this year. School's out! Summer is here. Let the fun begin! But first I have to deal with all this stuff from their backpacks, desks, and locker...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Creative Memories is Discontinuing Page Sizes!

Have you used Creative Memories albums and pages in the past? In business for over 20 years, Creative Memories has helped countless families tell their stories. High-quality, photo-safe albums that exceed industry standards all carry a lifetime guarantee.

In February of 2008, Creative Memories updated the sizes: our 12" albums became True 12x12 albums, and 7x7" albums became 8x8". Our original albums have a reinforced edge along the page sides that took up some of the usable area. In order to use a 12x12 sheet of paper on the page, about 1/2" of the paper would have to be trimmed off. Our new albums solve that issue! All pages in the True 12x12 size now have a full 12x12 usable page area. Great news!!!

If you are just starting out with album-making, this doesn't affect you too much. Just use the new products, the True 12x12 or 8x8 Coversets and Page Refills! However, if you have any older albums, now is the time to take stock of what you have and figure out what you need to finish them!

August 2009 is the last month that the Original 12" and 7x7" Creative Memories Album Refill Pages and Page Protectors will be produced. After that, these items will be sold on a "while supplies last" basis.

Click on this link to get a handy Album Completion Form. This form will help you to determine what else you need to complete your albums. As you fill it out, here are some questions to ask yourself:
  1. How many Original Creative Memories Albums do I have that are not completed?

  2. What size are they?

  3. How many Page Refills and Page Protectors do I need to finish these albums?

  4. How many Page Refills do I have on hand?

  5. How many Page Protectors do I have on hand?

  6. What else do I need?

  7. What do I need to order?

Generally, I put 2 or 3 Page Refill sets in my 12" albums. A set of refills is 15 sheets (30 pages). I don't recommend having more than 90 pages, or 3 Page Refills, in your 12" album. For a 7x7 album, 2 Page Refills, or 48 pages (24 sheets) is the max. Page Protectors are sold in sets with the same quantity as Page Refills: 15 Page Protectors in the 12" size, and 12 Page Protectors in the 7x7 size.

Here is some great news!! Through June 30, 2009, Creative Memories is offering a free Tape Runner in our Finish It Up Bundles!!! When you order a bundle, you get a set of Page Refills in your choice of color, a set of Page Protectors, and a free Tape Runner adhesive ($7 value)! You can order as many bundles as you need. Of course you can also order Retiring Page Refills or Retiring Page Protectors separately.

If you have your own Creative Memories Consultant, you can order these products through him or her. If you don't I would be pleased to have you order through me. With secure online ordering, items will be shipped directly to you from Creative Memories. And, if you have any questions, leave me a comment. I am happy to help you out!

UPDATE: Creative Memories is currently producing original size 12" and 7x7" pages and page protectors!!! This particular post is getting a lot of spam comments, so I am closing comments. Feel free to email me at tcendejas at yahoo dot com if I can be of assistance to you.

Friday, June 5, 2009

My First Award!

What a fun surprise!!! I am so honored to have been given the Lemonade Award for having an "attitude of gratitude" by my bloggy friend Executive Momma! When I found her blog, From Suits to Diapers, I really identified with her story. She is where I was about 12 years ago, in the beginning stages of the transition from career to being home with a precious baby boy!

As part of the award, I have to nominate 10 more bloggers. {Additional rules are below.} I have chosen some sweet ladies I know in real life, and a few big-time bloggers who inspire me. I am relatively new to blog-land, but I do enjoy the community!

Jenny (The first blog I ever read, and a super-sweet friend!)

Melanie (A sweet friend who comments on my every post! Such an encouragement!!)

Celia (This woman is love. I am so blessed to know her!)

Elizabeth (Such a bundle of encouragement, energy, & WOMANHOOD!)

Jessica (Creative, beautiful & giving!)

Dawn (One of the first to welcome me to Charlotte & to her MOPS group!)

Gil (Ok, this is my husband! He has a new blog!!)

The Nester (I got hooked on her blog last summer and was inspired to start my own!)

Jen (I feel like I know her! I want to know her!)

Emily (Beautiful writing and photography!)

Kim (So generous and informative!)

Jennifer (Wow, her work is gorgeous! And she is so nice, too!)

I am honored that someone thinks I display an attitude of gratitude. Life is no where near perfect, but I do feel so blessed. I am thankful for my dear husband and wonderful kids. Even as we face challenges, I hope I look for the blessings and opportunities. I also want to be of service and an encouragement to my family and others. I can do none of this in my own strength, however. My hope and my strength comes from the Lord. I pray that I continually give Him the glory.

The Rules of Accepting and Sharing this Award
  1. Put the logo on your blog or post

  2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show an attitude of gratitude

  3. Link to your nominees within your post

  4. Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award

  5. Share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for the award.

  6. Tell us how you've come to have an attitude of gratitude

Thank you Executive Momma!!! And thank you to my bloggy friends who brighten my days!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My blog ate my camera!

Isn't that a great excuse for taking a break from blogging?

Tuesday, while trying to take a quick shot of the Barbeque Chicken Pizza I was making, with intent to share the photos here, I DROPPED my camera! Sadly, it fell right on the open lense and I broke it!!! I am just sick about it. I have taken over 6000 pictures in the 3.5 years since I received this camera for Christmas. I take lots and lots of pictures of anything and everything. I usually carry my camera with me so I don't miss a thing. My camera is part of me! Now it is gone.

I wish I could say that the loss of my camera is the reason I haven't blogged in a while. But that just isn't true. I have had things to blog about... I even took photos, before I broke the camera, I could post. Life has just been hectic and the days have gotten away from me.
I think I need to figure out why I have a blog and what I want to blog about... if anyone even wants to read my blog. I need a plan! A routine...

One thing for sure, this little break of mine causes me to admire that much more those faithful bloggers who post regularly each week. It takes a lot of commitment and creativity!
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