Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Three years ago, my sweet brother Adrien married his bride Janet.

Since they live in California, that is where the ceremony took place.

At the time, we were living in a temporary apartment on the west side of Charlotte while our house in Colorado sat (& sat & sat!) on the market. It didn't seem possible that we could travel to California to the wedding. The kids would have had to miss at least a week of school, and travel is expensive. But, in the end, I realized that this was too important to miss. So I flew across the country with Zachary, Abbie & Jacob! Jacob was just 3 at the time, Abbie was 7, and Zac was 9.

It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony! And it was wonderful to see my family all together again.

Last summer my brother was in Charlotte on business, so we enjoyed a brief visit with him. I told him to bring his wedding photos with him. I knew that they hadn't yet done anything with their pictures of their special day. So I made him and Janet a 34-page StoryBook, which was printed as a hardcover book and sent to them for their anniversary!

When we were on vacation in June, I worked on these pages in the evenings while the kids chilled in front of the tv in the condo. Once the book was done, I uploaded it and ordered the copy for my brother. I was also able to send a link to my mom so she could see the pages. She ordered her own copy and has been showing it off ever since!

I used Creative Memories StoryBook Creator software, which is my favorite, favorite, favorite thing to use for any type of design project!!! All these backgrounds were actually from "Vanilla Dreams", a FREE downloadable theme from Creative Memories. (There are 40 free themes to choose from in various book or page sizes... each with 30 different page designs!) I just added the pictures and journaling. So easy!!

This StoryBook is 8"x8", which is a nice gift book size. I use 12"x12" pages for my family albums. So I will be having some of the 34 pages printed as individual 12" page prints and adding them to my family album. I LOVE the ease and flexibility of digital scrapbooking!!!

These pictures of Jacob crack me up! He took over the dance floor and surprised us all with his creative dancing! Who knew he had this in him!!! These were some of the pictures my brother insisted on having in the book. My brother gave me several hundred photos, which I narrowed down to about 150 to be included in this book. It was a fun project to work on!

Happy 3rd Anniversary, Adrien & Janet!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

One of my Terrific Kids!

My husband and I are blessed to have three terrific children. At 7:30 a.m. today, Gil and I were guests at a very special breakfast for one of them.

We accompanied Jacob, our youngest, to school where he was honored as a Terrific Kid for the month of September! He was selected by his teacher for exhibiting this month's character trait: wisdom. We were surrounded by families of other Terrific Kids, since each teacher chooses a student from his or her class to be honored each month.

When it was Jacob's turn, the letter his 1st grade teacher had written to nominate him was read. Then he received a certificate from the Kiwanis Club.

Our principal pinned a "Terrific Kid" badge on Jakie as she congratulated him.

Here is our little star. We had to talk him into wearing his badge for the rest of the day. He doesn't really like to show off!

I am so proud of my sweet little guy!!!

So I came home and made scrapbook pages!

I uploaded a couple to Facebook (StoryBook Creator 3.0 lets me send my digital layouts directly to Facebook!), and within minutes a sweet friend had noticed a typo for me. So I fixed that, and played around a little more.

I have two pages that are exactly the same, except for the background. Making the change took just second and a few clicks. I like the second version better.

This third layout is completely different. Here, I used my photo of the certificate and bumper sticker as the page background. I think I like this one the best.

My daughter, who is in 5th grade, came home from school and saw Jacob's pages on the computer. She was also a Terrific Kid at school last year. She asked why she didn't have a page like Jacob's! Ouch.

This is one of the reasons I wanted to blog... to make myself accountable to get my own scrapbooking done! I do so much scrapbooking for and with others, but not so much for my own family, unfortunately.

I am sure you know some terrific kids, too!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

And the winner is...

We had a very scientific process a few minutes ago to choose a winner on my giveaway. I wrote down the 10 names on tickets, folded them up, tossed them around in a big bowl, and let my son Zachary choose one! (Just so you know, Zachary is almost 13, and is bursting with integrity.)

Dawn, who the was the first to comment, was the ticket he pulled! You will have to go check out her beautiful family. Congratulations Dawn!!!! I will get your Paper Album to you right away!

And thank you to everyone who left advice, comments, and congratulations for my sister. I appreciate the input soooo much. If you didn't leave a comment on my babygear advice post, you still can. I welcome whatever wisdom you want to offer, and will pass it on to my sister.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Help Needed... and A Giveaway!

I am so excited!!! My sister, who is in her early 40's, is going to have a baby girl at Christmas!!! She and her husband have been married for 15 years, and this is their FIRST child!!!

My mother, who is a quilter, immediately was envisioning the quilt she would be making for her new granddaughter. So she asked my sister what color the nursery would be... my sister replied, "What's a nursery?"

My sweet sister is all the way in California, across the country from me. I am also over 6 years removed from the new-baby phase of life. So I need help! I want to send her some recommendations of what she most needs when she brings her precious baby girl home. She has put off acquiring much, but I think the nesting instinct is kicking in. I know for me, there was a lot of baby gear that we just didn't need. And, of course, things we couldn't live without for all three of our children. My sister will probably only have this one child, so I am sure she wants to choose wisely.

So please, click on the "Comments" link below and add your tips and product recommendations for a new baby. I will compile them and send them to my sister! To thank you for participating, I am going to choose one commenter to receive this sweet Summer Fun Paper Album. You can use it to show off some of your summer pictures, or give it as a gift. I will choose a winner Thursday morning! Thanks for your help!!!

UPDATE: Dawn won the giveaway! You can still comment, but the giveaway is closed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


A while back, I redid my entry area, which you can read all about here. This is the view from my computer in my office area.

But it was never quite done. For one thing, notice the skimpy little rug at the front door. Totally inadequate. I had another rug in mind, that happens to be be blue, which is why I temporarily used this rug. The other issue was that I felt that I had hung my quilt too high on the wall. My thinking at the time was that if the kids sat on the bench, then I didn't want them pulling on or disturbing the quilt. But it is too high. So, recently, I fixed these two issues! And, total cost of my makeover was $0!!!

First, I dealt with the skimpy rug! I had a Persian-type area rug in the garage that needed to be cleaned. I have had it for years. I used to be in our basement in our Colorado house... where the kids played. Then it spent quite a bit of time rolled up in the garage, in storage. Most recently, my husband had adopted it to put on the garage floor under his workout area! Needless to say, it has not received the best treatment from our family.

So, on a beautiful, sunny day, I put the rug out on the driveway and hosed it down! In the process I discovered that it was, indeed, a wool rug. (The wet-dog smell tipped me off!) I used my Floor-Mate floor cleaner to extract as much water from it as possible. I let it dry. I ended up draping it over the upstairs railing overnight to make sure it was completely dry. Then I placed it in the entry. My 12-year old son expressed concern about it possibly getting dirty in that spot. I pointed out that it has suffered worse treatment, and that I can always clean it again.

So now comes the art part! I still needed to deal with the too-high, hanging quilt. Well, rather than lowering the quilt, I decided that I would add something below them. So, I took some old oak frames that I had, and painted them! I received this quart of robin's egg blue for free in the mail, thanks to Jen's blog.

These are 11"x14" frames I have had forever and wasn't using. So I didn't feel bad about altering them.

Then I picked out some pretty scrapbook papers. Since paper is 12"x12", I had to trim off an inch to fit in the frame.... and then add another 2" to the bottom to make my background 14".

Just for interest, I added an old sticker border I had laying around to the seam where the two papers meet.

I found three Bible verses I really liked. I trimmed down another piece of scrapbook paper to fit in my printer. Then I printed up the verses! I was so excited to see this project completed, that I skipped one, crucial step. I should have printed my verses first on white paper to make sure I liked the size. But no, I immediately printed directly on the only piece of paper I had in this color I liked. I would have liked my verses to be larger, but this is what I got. I used a Tearing Tool to trim them down to size and give them some texture.

I then added some fun, large sticker letters to spell out "Grace", "Love", and "Peace". The verses I had chosen went along with these words.

It really took just a few minutes to assemble my "art"! I then popped each one into a freshly-painted frame, and hung them as a series on the wall under my quilt.

Now, this is the inspiring view I have of my entry from my computer! I love it! And I love that it cost nothing but a few minutes of time.

I am linking up to Kimba's DIY Day! See more fun projects there!

Friday, September 11, 2009

FUNdraiser at school today...

We had such a FUN fundraiser at school today! The kids did a Boosterthon Fun Run... they ran, skipped, and danced laps for 30 minutes to energetic music. Each child had a week to get pledges per lap or flat donations for the school. This morning we watched Jacob as he ran around the track... for a total of 34 laps!!! That means he ran more than 2 miles! His first grade class raised over $1600 in pledges. This was such a well-executed event... fun for the parents and the kids. Gil & I really enjoyed watching Jacob. Zachary even got to be there until it was time for him to get to school.

After Jacob's class ran the Fun Run, we went home for an hour. We then returned to school to watch Abbie! As all the 5th graders ran around the track, Abbie was able to run with her friends Hannah and Sarah, both of whom are in other classes this year. Abbie was her silly self, but toward the end really poured it on to try to reach the goal of 35 laps. She finished with 32 laps completed... a total of two miles! We were glad to be able to be there to support her. Her 5th grade class earned over $1400 for the school, too!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back to Bible Study Time!

Move over back-to-school! Ladies Bible Study at our church was back in session yesterday! The morning was filled with excitement, chatter, greetings, smiles, yummy food, and renewed friendships. Our classrooms were filled with ladies hungry for fellowship and more of the Lord. So much fun!

My anticipation for the start of Bible Study was just a little different, though. My heart and prayers were for those ladies who were feeling a little uncertain, and perhaps, overwhelmed. Those that might not have had any friends to connect with at Bible Study... who might have been a bit nervous about showing up for the first time. I have the privilege of leading the newcomers class: "After the Boxes are Unpacked". My goal was to be welcoming and encouraging to whomever the Lord brought my way.

Our class uses the book After the Boxes are Unpacked: Moving On After Moving In by Susan Miller. This excellent resource addresses the issues of moving for women, beyond the logistical and practical. Moving is a very emotional experience for women! Even if it was a planned or wanted move, women can experience a lack of identity, grief, loneliness, loss, and more... all while trying to get settled and keep their family running smoothly.

I have just a little experience with moving, too. I have been in Charlotte for less than 3.5 years and am living in our 3rd residence since we got here! (And I still have a lot of boxes to unpack...) Prior to that, we spent 9 years in Colorado. We lived in the Colorado Springs area for 7 years, in 4 different homes. Our last two years in Colorado were spent on the northeast side of Denver. Prior to our move to Colorado, we came from Southern California. In the 13.5 years my husband and I have been married, we have lived in a total of 10 different homes!

I do enjoy being able to share my moving experiences with other ladies who are settling in. With all our moves, I can relate to so many of their experiences. I also pray that I am able to offer support and encouragement.

Psalm 84 offered me so much encouragement through our transition to Charlotte. Verse 3 reminded me that the Lord cared about me having a home and that He would provide. But most important, was for me to continue to remain close to Him throughout the journey. I pray that He will help me to lead other women closer to Him as well.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
~Psalm 84:3

Monday, September 7, 2009

The flu or something...

Last Monday, the kids were off to school bright and early. Gil leaves for work around 11:30 a.m. I was quickly out the door after he left to go run a few errands. I was trying to be a good Mommy and make sure that Zachary had the poster board and color pencils he needed after school for a project that was due during the week. I also had some great coupons from the Sunday paper to redeem at Harris Teeter's super-double-coupon sale!

Two hours later I returned home, quite pleased with my accomplishments! I was thrilled to have left Harris Teeter with 6 full bags of groceries for only $17!!! I am always so thankful when that happens. I feel like my grocery bargains are truly a gift from the Lord.

{All of this for under $5! Most of it was free. These will be great lunchbox treats!}

Within seconds, though, I was plunged into a bad mommy moment. I happened to look at the missed calls on caller ID and saw that the elementary school had called!!! And there my cell phone sat, right on the kitchen counter, also showing missed calls. By this time it was 1:45... just 15 minutes before the end of the school day. I immediately called the school, got an update from Jacob's teacher, and apologized profusely for being an MIA-mommy.

I met the school bus half an hour later and there was poor little Jakie with a 102-degree fever! He ended up staying home from school for the next three days. In fact, on Tuesday, he took a four-hour nap! The fever hung on for a few days, too. He went back to school on Friday with a bit of a cough. Here he is, well along in his recuperation... trying not to smile as Mommy takes a picture! He was so cute all week -- running to take his temperature all on his own throughout the day. He is my child who likes to see how everything works.

By Friday, as Jacob returned to school, Zachary started complaining of a sore throat. I figured that since he didn't have a fever, he could go to school on Friday, then have the three day weekend to recover. If he had to miss any school it could be this week. Maybe I should have been more compassionate? My poor baby practically slept the weekend away! He got up Saturday morning feeling terrible, took some medicine and went back to bed. It seemed that every time he sat in a chair or reclined on the couch, he was soon asleep. Zac's feeling much better today and will probably be able to go to school tomorrow.

The funny thing that happens when my kids get sick... I suddenly realize that I am also sick. I think it must be a mom thing... I had headaches all week and was really exhausted, but just kept going. Once Jacob was sick, though, it occurred to me that maybe I was also coming down with something. I made sure to get lots of rest myself this weekend. So far Gil & Abbie are fine... and I have vowed to never leave my cell phone behind... although I think I left it in the van today after we came in from getting our free Chik-Fil-A sandwiches....
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