OK so I fell off the photo-a-day wagon rather quickly. I probably do have photos for every day, but we've been SO busy that I haven't found time to post them! It's a good thing I finished my Christmas shopping early, because I wouldn't have gotten it done! For those of you who know Bob, you'll be as thrilled as me to know that he went home on Monday!
On Sunday we had "Christmas" with the Grant family at our house. Ken made his famous chicken-n-spaghetti (he woo'd me with that dish) and Nana decorated gingerbread cookies with the kids. We all missed papa, but he was with us in spirit, and we had a really nice gathering.
Bob is ok! They successfully got him off the ventilator, out of the drug-induced coma, and even walked him around a little. He is officially OUT OF THE WOODS! This is a long way from the 10% survival chance they were predicting Wednesday night. We are so relieved, and just wanted to let you guys know. Thanks!!
On our drive down to FL today I was able to get a couple of pages done for my album. I'm doing all digi. Here you have the cover and the page for day 1. All elements are from Krystal Hartley's "Angels Among Us" kit.
Ok this photo wasn't taken this day, this month, or even this year, but it's all I've thought about for the last 2 days. This is a photo of Ken, myself, and our good friend Bob, who is right now in a coma after open-heart surgery yesterday that did not go well. We've been friends with Bob and his wife Kyla for many years, he is one of the most generous, gentle, loving men I've ever known. Simply put, he's a giver. If you're the praying kind, put in a good word for Bob and his family.
Over the weekend, Ken got out all our bins of decorations, and he set up the tree while I was out shopping and wrapping. Last night, the kids and I decorated it. As I was digging through bins looking for the garlands, the kids dug around and found these. It's just TOO DARNED CUTE and if I wasn't in the Christmas mood, I can't help but feel it when I see this photo!
My pal Cheri Andrews posted that she's combining Shimelle's "Journal Your Christmas" and Ali Edwards' "Daily December" project. I decided to accept her challenge, and raise it with Jessica Sprague's Photo-A-Day challenge. Today is day 1, I'm getting a last-minute start, but I'm excited about the project!
If you want to join us for the triple-header, post here and let us know, and I'll send you a little holiday-themed RAK.
I guess I have an addictive personality . . . I have two new addictions. One is FACEBOOK. I am having so much fun connecting with friends! If you haven't signed up already, you need to!
The second addiction is COUPONS. I have cut our family's grocery bill significantly. The least I ever save now is 20%, and more often I save 50%. Last weekend however I took advantage of triple coupons at Bloom and I bought $360 worth of groceries for $101!! The amazing part was how many things I got FREE! All my Tuesday night scrapbook buddies are "coupon-ing" with me and each week we swap coupons and stories. With my weekend savings I was dubbed the Coupon Queen. It's funny, but very handy in these hard times!
As you can see the fall leaves are gorgeous here right now. Can you believe these were taken in my back yard? They decided to do the whole shoot here. I was sweating bullets the whole time, but we made it through!
Sorry I've been MIA! Last Tuesday I picked up my 83yo Aunt Nena from the hospital and brought her home to my house for a little R&R. She kept me busy to say the least. I'm just so grateful to have a guest room on the main floor for her convenience. I took her to an appointment and dropped her off at home yesterday, and we all miss her already.
Thought I'd post a Halloween pic of my brood. Kyle is missing from this one, he has officially outgrown trick-or-treating, and preferred to hang out with his friend. No worries, I had him covered, we had plenty of candy left over, including his favorite (and mine!) Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Yummmmm.
As you can see, Cass was a hippie, Jordan a football player, Alex and Nate were knights. Ken and I dressed in theme with the boys, so I was (and am!) a queen, and Ken was my Knight in Shining Tinfoil! Seriously, I told him about 2pm on Halloween that I wanted him to make a costume out of cardboard, and cover it with tin foil, and the man came through! I just wish we had photos of me taping him into his costume, lol!!
We trick-or-treated around the neighborhood and all came home by 8:30. We hosted a post-trick-or-treating Halloween party for some friends (adults upstairs, kids downstairs) from 9:30-midnight which was a blast. We went til 2am, and I want you to know Aunt Nena hung in there the whole time, not willing to miss a thing!
She may not be a happy camper, but my pal Cheri Andrews completed the 3-day walk for breast cancer awareness. I'm so wowed by her account of the experience which sounds less than FUN to me, but totally inspiring. Check out her blog.
I helped Alex with his poster for Red Ribbon week. We put on his new red ghi (which you have to be a brown belt to wear) and he did a fierce stance with a punch toward the camera. I focused on his fist with a wide angle lens so it would be huge and disproportionate to the rest of the photo. Printed it 8x10 and cut it out silhouette. His poster says "Take a stand . . . KNOCK OUT DRUGS" Then we printed another copy and Cassie silhouetted just his fist for a similar logo on hers.
I've been busy lately . . . launching my new photography business! I have decided to follow my childhood passion and see where it takes me. I have been building my new website here It's a work in progress, but it's a start!
I will remain a consultant for Heritage Makers, but more for the product than the career/recruiting element. They have the highest quality photobooks I've seen anywhere yet, and I am delighted to continue offering the scanning service.
I just couldn't find my mojo for building the business by recruiting - it's hard to admit defeat, but the TLC/Breezy D. mess has killed my passion for mlm.
I welcome any constructive criticism you have for my new website, photos, or ideas for building the business. And thanks for stopping by!
Ken and his brother Scott played in cornhole tournaments the last 2 weekends. Ken made it onto the website for placing 8th in the singles tournament, and for winning the "airmail" contest. It's just too funny! Read all about it . . .
Football season is underway at our house. Our Sunday afternoon football and wings with the neighbors has grown considerably since last year and now averages 25 people. It's fun for all, we make wings and chili, and everyone brings a dish.
Nate has recently become picky about what he wears, and if he sees his Pats jersey, insists on wearing it. Notice the matching sneakers . . . Kyle says he's "Representing". Thanks Nana Paula for the Pats gear!!
On Monday night one of my girlfriends hosted a couponing workshop. She served margaritas and explained how to take advantage of the deals, work the coupons, etc to save big. She gave us handouts from Coupon Mom along with a couple of handouts she made herself - I was so impressed!
It's a time-consuming process, but gets better as you go. I tried my hand at CVS today and got some pretty good deals, so I'm psyched. I'm setting up a coupon organizer now, I don't have many baseball card trading pages, but I have lots of 3.5x5 photo insert sheets that will work beautifully, since no one prints those sizes any more!
If you have any favorite coupon tips, I'd love to hear them!
Two awesome new kits from Krystal Hartley got me to playing quite a bit. Love these layouts of my favorite guys. With these kits, KH is making her debut at Funky Playground Designs. Hope you love them as much as I do!
I don't think anyone who knows me actually believed that I maintained a pristine space as shown in the photos of my scraproom, so I had to laugh at this little 2peas challenge. I am so proud of my room, I had to take a deep breath before opening the door to snap a photo "as is". I'm just glad that the photo shows the results from a great time had by all at this week's crop with my friends - yes, we really use this room, and yes, we still love our Appletinis!
Ok I had to do it. I was checking out Shutterfly's photobooks and found their character books. My children love Spongebob, but my 2yo is obsessed with him. In February we had a combined birthday party for Alex and Nate - and the theme was Spongebob. So, sucker that I am, I finished and ordered the Spongebob book from Shutterfly. Nate will flip!
The book is all pre-done pages, so it was extremely frustrating to have no flexibility regarding photo size and layout, journaling, etc. I am accustomed to the creative options of Heritage Makers studio online and with Photoshop on my laptop. But I just couldn't resist the themed book. The boys will love it.
And. . . I'm 2/5 of my way through Christmas books! Last year I picked up a cool Christmas eve tradition from Stacy Julian. I bought big round hat boxes from Hobby Lobby, one for each kid, and filled them with new pajamas, slippers, the annual ornament, and a personalized photobook. The kids loved them. If I can resist the desire to show the books to them immediately, these will be perfect for the hat boxes. Now to figure out the other 3 kids . . .
I think I am becoming an Action junkie. Finally figured out how to use them, can't get enough of them. I guess it's sort of like when I first started digi-scrapping and was downloading every free kit I could find. They are fun! I found some free wedding actions at FinesseFX and had fun playing with the photos I shot this weekend. (I was the photographer for Ken's sister's wedding on Saturday, a small but sweet affair). Check out the difference between the original, and the one I applied Karl's "Soft dream" action to!
I've decided to go with a new lens over the Cricut, but have been talked into getting the one with Image Stabilization. It costs significantly more, so I'm looking around for more stuff to sell, lol!
OK so after 8 months of deliberation, I decided to sell my pazzles mini cutter that I bought nearly 2 years ago. The software does not work with Vista, and the company wanted another $130 for new software. I just couldn't stomach the additional cost after the money I shelled out to begin with, so I listed it on e-bay. I got what I was hoping for (plus $1.50 LOL) so now I'm debating how to spend it.
Option #1 Cricut Expression Bundle from AC Moore - includes 4 cartridges and 5 inks. $339 + s/h. I do lots of digi-scrapping, but I still do paper scrapping as well. One of my friends who scraps with me weekly owns nearly all the cartridges - she could leave her machine at home. It's easy to use and fun to play with.
Option #2: Tamron Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical IF Macro Autofocus Lens for Canon EOS. I would get rid of my current Canon Zoom EF 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 III (think I could get $$80-$100 on ebay). $379.95 minus $50 rebate +s/h. I'm not sure how much of an upgrade this would be, other than increased close-range shots without having to change lenses, which certainly would come in handy with an active 2yo.
Nate and I were running errands today and saw this Little Tykes playhouse sitting in front of the Salvation Army. Would you believe it was only $4.99??? We got it home and "built" the house by adding screws, and then cleaned it. Nate thoroughly enjoyed every step, and keeps talking about "my house".
Quick page is a freebie from my girl Krystal Hartley, snag it at her blog. The alpha is also hers. Thanks KH!!
One of the regrets of my life is that I never find time to read. I read voraciously when I was younger, and majored in English in college. In my 20s I began checking out audiobooks from the library and listening to them when I commuted to work or drove on long trips. Last summer I joined Audible.com and began downloading audiobooks to my ipod, and have listened to 15 books since then. The books really help time fly when I'm driving long hours to shows along the East Coast.
I just finished listening to Ken Follett's epic novels, Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. I chose the unabridged versions, which were 40 hours 10 minutes and 45 hours 23 minutes respectively. I was turned on to the first one by Oprah's Book Club - I am finding that I enjoy many of her fiction recommendations. (but after The Secret, I'm avoiding her non-fiction!)
Before that, I listened to A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, having been turned on to the first one through Big Picture Scrapbooking's reading club. I found the insight to Afghan culture fascinating on a number of levels. Given the current political situation, one can only benefit from a deeper perspective of that country's recent history and turbulence. As a woman, I was reminded deeply how fortunate I am to be an American, and to have a wonderful adoring husband. I can't wait for the Afghan author to turn out something new!
My other listens from this year include:
The Gathering by Anne Enright - not so good, I confess it's the only one I never actually finished. I can tell you that it is a rare thing in my life to not finish a book, I get drawn in and even if I don't like it, I must know the end, but this one . . . I think was never going to end. The Accidental by Ali Smith - interesting concept, enjoyed it The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner - as a literary major I admire Faulkner deeply, but this book was entirely too "Joycean" to listen to, stick to reading for this one! The Road by Cormac McCarthy - this sci-fi futuristic book was not at all what I expected from Oprah, but I did enjoy it, thanks to an early enjoyment of sci-fi from my father. He would have loved it. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers - very very good White Oleander by Janet Fitch - I really enjoyed this book, I've never seen the movie, it hit home in a lot of ways A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve - decent book, I've been reading all of Shreve's books, it wasn't my favorite of hers but it was a good listen Body Surfing by Anita Shreve - enjoyed this one more Light on Snow by Anita Shreve - very very good book
Anyways, just thought I'd share one of my favorite new pastimes. I enjoy listening to an audiobook while digi-scrapping, so it really does relate!! If you haven't tried audiobooks, I encourage you to give it a try - it really puts your iPod to work in a wonderful way. But I recommend a shorter one for starters!
Well I'm off to find my next book. Recommendations welcome!
I'm vending this weekend at an SDV in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania with my dear sister-friend Cheri Andrews. We're having a good event, selling lots of Scrapbook Girl, scanning lots of photos through Heritage Makers, and selling off our remaining TLC inventory. (blech)
We have a silent auction table set up with Cheri's product samples she no longer needs, and the proceeds are going to breast cancer research - Cheri is doing the walk. The response from the SDV ladies has been great, and many of them are sponsoring her. I thought I'd send a shout-out to my blog friends in case anyone would like to chip in. Cheri's sister, Deanna, is joining her on the walk, and is part of Cheri's team, so if you'd like to donate to their walk, click here.
Cheri is holding a fundraiser crop in August 16 in Perkasie, PA, and is welcoming product donations for that.
A good friend, LD, began chemo 2 weeks ago. I wish I could join Cheri and Deanna on the walk in honor of my friend, but my flat feet won't hold up to 60 miles. So here I am, hoping to raise money for their walk. Fight on, LD!!
Remember a couple months ago when we made the cornhole boards and bags? My husband has taken it to the next level. He searched online and found and joined the ACO of South Carolina (American Cornhole Organization).
My alma mater, Wofford College, is home to the Carolina Panthers summer training camp, and on Saturday night there was a party celebrating the start of training for this year. There were numerous vendors and activities, including a large section dedicated to Cornhole! Ken dropped off the boys and I at Aunt Nena's house for a visit, and then headed over to try his luck and find out if he's really as good as he thinks he is. (of course I already knew the answer to that, he is, duh!)
Are you as stunned as I am to learn that (1) there's a game called cornhole, (2) there's an official governing body for the sport, or (3) there are people nationally ranked?
I'm just glad that my husband has found a nice little activity that he can enjoy in the evenings with friends, the kids, or even his wife, and occasionally more competitively. And yes, I can beat him - just last night I won 21-14. Be impressed . . . but don't ask me to explain the severe handicap required for my win!