Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Halloween Cupcakes

This layout is bittersweet for me. The kids and I made Halloween cupcakes last fall and had so much fun together decorating them. Will was just old enough to join in for the first time. Just days after we did this we found out about his food allergies. I'm so thankful that we did because it has helped him tremendously, but at the same time it makes me a little sad for the things he can no longer have. We can't bake cakes or cupcakes due to the eggs. He can't have chocolate due to the soy. We have found many new products that he can enjoy and that makes life a little easier for him. It's so heartbreaking to hear your 2.5 year old ask for food he cannot have and then automatically ask if it has soy in it. I hope and pray he will grow out of a lot of these one day!

I did this page for one of the Calendar Girls challenges at 2P's. I combined it with one of the 2P's Crop Challenges for the crop last weekend. I really like how this page turned out, but it looks much better in person. The orange is a true orange and not the burnt orange it appears.

Since this page was about the kids making the cupcakes, I wanted to go with a real child-like feel for the page. I thing the Doodlebug stickers and embellishments add to that feeling. I used papers from MME, Doodlebug, KI Memories, Little Yellow Bicycle and Sassafrass.

Hope you all have a great day!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bubbles, Scooby-Doo, Fugitives and Earthquakes

What a week this has been! So much has been going on locally and world-wide that I decided to make a blog post to write it all down.

First of all my thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan! I can't imagine what they are facing looking for loved ones and trying to start over. It will be a long road to recovery for them.

Locally, this has been on our minds all week. Tuesday night two fugitives from Louisiana were on the loose in our area and have not been seen since. We've all been on edge making sure our windows and doors are locked and overall being extra careful. It's a beautiful day outside today but William has to go out of town so I'm staying inside with the kids and locked down. I sure hope these guys are caught and brought to justice quickly!

On a much lighter note, Rylie has been practicing blowing bubbles for what seems like forever and finally has it down!

William got Will these new Scooby-Doo pajamas and he just loves them! Scooby-Doo is big in our house at the moment so the timing was perfect.

Here's hoping next week is much lighter all around! One more week until Spring Break!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Let's Go Camping

It was a cold and rainy weekend here so we never left the house. Rylie was sick with a horrible cough and I had a sore throat so we didn't feel like doing anything anyway. It was nice to just stay home and relax, but I'm kind of glad it's Monday since I was getting a little stir crazy.

I did take some time out to create this weekend. These pictures are form Rylie's first camp out last summer. She had been begging to go camping, but we weren't really sure she'd last too long and Will was really too young to try to take so William pitched the tent in the backyard one night and the two of them camped out. She was so excited! She had her radio, books and toys. I stayed with them until time to get Will to bed then I came inside and enjoyed the comforts of my own bed. Rylie made it until about midnight then they both came in for the rest of the night. It didn't matter to her thought because she had been camping and that's all she wanted. We camped a couple of other times last summer in the back yard and she's already asking when we can do it again.

I used a sketch from Sketchabilities on this page. I've been wanting to use these October Afternoon papers since I got them and had a lot of fun with them. Since this page is about Rylie, I went totally cutesy on it. I only used one patterned paper for the blocks because I loved the animal scenes. I went with those animals and created a scene with them below my journaling. I used some older Basic Grey and KI Memories letter stickers with some October Afternoon embellishments for my title. It's a little more cutesy than what I normally do, but Rylie loves this page and that's what it's all about for me. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekly Meal Planning

Dinner time used to be planned when we came in the door in the evenings. Not only is this not good for the budget because we were always running to the store for something, but it wasn't good for us because lots of time we were so crunched for time we would go for something unhealthy. With my son's food allergies we have to plan ahead now and it has made a world of difference in how we eat and our pocketbook. Our grocery bill has really increased since his diagnosis anyway from having to buy special foods for him (snacks for home and school mostly; if you haven't noticed just check - soy is in everything!), but by planning our meals out for the week ahead of time and sticking to that list, we have been able to watch our food budget more closely. I thought it might be a good idea to list some of our weekly menus here to offer ideas to others and for me to keep up with what we've had lately and where we can improve. Keep in mind that we have to pack DS's lunch everyday and DD only eats at school a couple of times a month. Also, DH and I take our lunches most every day so a lot of these leftovers will be used for lunches the next day. Here is our menu for this week:

Sunday - Jambalaya, green salad and fruit salad
Monday - Sloppy Joes, sweet potato fries and fruit salad
Tuesday - Potato soup with chicken, homemade bread and fruit salad if any is left over
Wednesday - leftovers night
Thursday - BBQ pork chops in the slow cooker, macaroni and cheese and steamed broccoli and cauliflower
Friday - Hot dogs/chili dogs, pita chips and baked apples
Saturday - leftovers or hamburger casserole (will make if have to; if not will make next Sunday)

My kids are good eaters. Broccoli is one of their favorite foods and they eat leftovers and salad and cauliflower without complaints. I do not cook separate foods for the kids; we eat together as a family and they eat what the rest of the family eats. I tell them I am not a short order cook. :) I do however, take what they like into consideration. I try not to cook things they hate and often get their suggestions into the weekly meals.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thinking of Spring

The weather has turned chilly again and it's rained for two days straight. I'm stuck inside and dreaming of nicer days and spring weather (except for the storms spring brings to our area) so I make a couple of spring layouts.

This is the kids finding what the Easter Bunny brought them last year. You can tell they had just gotten up by the bed head and dreary eyes. :) When I was looking for papers for this page, I saw that the We R Memory Keepers Hippity Hoppity line matches the Echo Park Sweet Summertime line match perfectly. I used a combination of these two lines on my layout. I used this sketch by Allison Davis at Sketch Support. This came together so quickly with the pre-made embellishments from the two lines.

This was done for the February Products You Love Every Which Way at 2P's. The challenge this month was to use punches and try to use them in a new way. I found this sketch at Creative Scrappers to use on my page.

I used the Boys Will Be Boys Cricut cartridge for my title. I love using scraps with my cricut; I'm using up a lot of my scraps stash lately. For the 2P's class challenge, I used a border punch, but then put the paper upside down from how I usually use it. I used some stickers from the sticker sheet to fill in the page and then grabbed my old Creative Memories circle punches to cut some from patterned paper. I sill wanted a couple of different designs so I decided to cut some from the stickers on the sticker sheet. I took this sticker sheet and punched circles from the kite, strawberry and some of the flowers to finish of the page. Everything on this page is from Echo Park.

Monday, February 28, 2011

What I've Been Reading

If I had more hours in a day I would definitely read more. I love to read, but about the only time I can fit it in is when I go to bed at night and then I usually fall asleep while reading. I have tried to fit more reading into my schedule this year and so far so good.

Here is my list of what I have read so far this year. As you can see by my list, I have an eclectic taste in books and enjoy a range of genres.

My favorite so far this year. Wonderful book that I highly recommend. I gave a review of it here .

I really enjoy this series. If you enjoy a light read now and then I suggest these Stephanie Plum books. I am working my way through the series - there are about 17 or so now. I have number 7 and will be reading it soon.

Couldn't wait to read this one after all the buzz about it. It was long, but I did enjoy it. Great story with twists and turns. They are making it into a movie and I can't wait to see what they do with the story lines. My husband is reading this one now.

I am currently about half way through this one. A friend recommended it and then I read some reviews and thought it sounded interesting. It is set in the English Channel Islands just after WWII. I really like historical fiction and this one is no disappointment so far. It is written as a series of letters and is a very quick and easy read, but really makes you think about how much ordinary citizens used to sacrifice for their countries during times of war. I can't wait to see how this one ends.

I'm not sure what I'll read when I finish my current book. I have a large pile of to-be-read books by my bed to pilfer through and pick from when the time comes. I have so many I can't wait to delve into that I may have to rely on eenie meenie miney moe to make the decision for me.

What are you currently reading? Any suggestions for me to add to my list?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A New Family Favorite

I saw this recipe recently on Southern Plate . I enjoy Christy's posts about her Southern kitchen and life and have tried several of her recipes. I've been wanting to make this recipe since I first saw it and finally did tonight. It was a big hit and is one that will become a slow cooker staple in our home.

As I always do, I made a few changes to the original recipe.
* I omitted the corn; DS is allergic
* I wasn't thinking and cooked 2 cups of rice not thinking that it would be more than 2 cups cooked rice. This ended up being a good thing because mine had a little too much liquid in it. I ended up using all the cooked rice and it was perfect.
* I used brown rice; we don't use white rice if we can help it.
* Next time I will add a little fresh cilantro and sour cream when plating. It was fine like it was, but it think it would "kick it up a notch" to borrow from Emeril. :)

Good Intentions

Only one week left in February and it seems like it sure has flown by. I've had the last two days off from work and being kid-less those days had good intentions of knocking out lots of pages. I have done a bit of spring cleaning around here and slept more than I have in years. I'm feeling good, but have only had time for one layout. I still have 4 more to get in this month to meet my goal of 10 a month. Hope I can make it!

I used a sketch from the Sketchy Thursdays blog for this page. I really liked the design of this sketch and thought it would be great for these miscellaneous pictures I had of the kids with our dog last fall. Most of these pics are just cell phone pics but I really like them and wanted to scrap them. I used a kit from Hobby Lobby for the papers and embellishments - can't remember the brand. I cut the shaped paper using a template from The Crafter's Workshop and added Thickers and Studio Calico letter stickers for my title. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Computer Troubles

I've had some problems with my laptop over the past week or so so I haven't had as much time to post. Good thing DH is such a techie and got me back up and running smoothly. Nothing was lost either which is always a good thing.

Today was an absolutely beautiful day - mostly sunny with a high of about 75 (don't hate me!). The kids are at their grandparents for a few days so William and I decided to do something we hadn't done since we had the kids, play tennis. We bought new rackets and balls and played for about an hour. We were horrible, but had such a great time just enjoying the day together. We used to play a lot while we were in college and after we were married before the kids came along. It's one sport we both really enjoy playing together. Now that the kids are getting a little older, we're hoping to bring them along some so we can continue to play as a family.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Rylie has been complaining of headaches off and on for several months. They were always around her eyes and I just attributed them to sinus issues everyone else in the family has. Then a couple of weeks ago she mentioned she was having trouble seeing the board at school. I thought she just wanted glasses since her best friend was also having the same troubles. I took her to the eye doctor anyway and I'm glad I did. Poor child was having focusing issues that I was just ignoring. Talk about your Bad Mommy Moment! When her eyes get tired the focusing goes and she sees things half the size they should be. The good news is that hopefully by wearing them all the time her eyes will strengthen and by the end of the school year will be seeing perfectly again. Her glasses came in over the weekend so I picked her up at lunch on Monday to get them. After getting them fitted we went straight to Sonic (her pick) for a quick lunch. She loves her glasses and especially the cute carrying case that came with them. She said they are helping tremendously. Here she is in the car waiting for our food to come on Monday. She is looking so grown up with her new glasses!

My First Blog Award!

Woo Hoo! :) I received this blog award from my friend Sue. Check out her blog, Life & Memories.

Now I am passing this along to some of my favorite bloggers:

Cindy - Gramma's Happy Place
Christy - Full of Laughter and Happily Ever After
Monica - Life as *Me*
Mary Pat - Siehled With A Kiss

There are a couple of conditions for the award:

If you have been tagged and want to participate, create a post where you add the above 'LOVE BLOG' image, then link back to me and let me know that you accept the award. Choose 3 - 5 favorite blogs which you also link in your post, then each blogger will inform you that they have been tagged. (Try to chose bloggers with less than 100 followers to help spread the word about the great blogs you love.)

Thanks so much for the award Sue!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Exciting Things are Coming

This weekend was the CHA-Winter show which means the scrapbooking world has been all abuzz the past week with sneak peaks and show information. It's always exciting to see what's coming out in the next few months. Personally I'm on a spending freeze until at least the end of March trying to use up some of my stash before a lot of the latest and greatest hits the stores.

Some of my favorites this time are Crate Paper , October Afternoon and Basic Grey. I also really like the new KI Puffies and think they would be great on layouts and projects for the kids. I have noticed lots of companies seem to be gravitating away from the bright colors and bold patterns we've seen so much of lately and going for more of a vintage look. I've seen lots of softer pinks, greens and peachy tones. It's always interesting to see what trends the companies are following.

Since it is CHA weekend, 2P's has had an online social going on all weekend. They've had chats, blog posts with product information and show photos, and lots of scrapbook challenges. I managed to complete two of these challenges over the weekend.

The challenge on this one was to use red as the dominant color. I like red, but don't usually scrap with it this much. I used a sketch from Sketch Support. The papers are Collage Press, Echo Park and October Afternoon. I used old velvet ribbon, Thickers and really old KI Memories tag and Scrapworks (remember them?) chipboard accents. I finally got out my I-Rock that I won from Imaginisce a few months back and added bling to some of the snowflakes on the paper behind my journaling. That thing is awesome! I don't know why I waited so long to try it out but I will be using it a lot more!

The challenge for this layout was to use accessories in the form of flowers and bling on your project. When I saw that challenge I immediately thought of this photo of DD dressed as a hippie for Decade Day during Homecoming Week at school. I had all these beautiful Crate Paper papers and embellishments in a bag from a kit that I had not used yet and thought they'd go with my flower child theme quite well. I used a Page Maps sketch and everything came together nicely. This one is so bulky that it was really hard to scan but there are rhinestones on the word stickers around the two center flowers. This one is pretty different than my usual style (especially all that yellow!) but I really like it and so does DD.

The challenges are still going on until midnight on Wednesday, February 2. Check them out for lots of great inspiration!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fun in the Sun

We finally had a nice day today. It was a warm 65 degrees and hardly a cloud in the sky. All four of us enjoyed spending time outside and taking advantage of this beautiful day before the weather turns cold again. It's amazing what a little sunshine and fresh air can do for the soul.

I usually don't mind winter since ours are so mild. This year is about to change my mind though. Snow for 3 weeks in a row is too much for us down here and I'm tired of it. I know it's still January though and there's more to come most likely, but I won't be sorry when spring arrives that's for sure. That groundhog better not see his shadow next week if he knows what's good for him. :)

On another note, we had a big event here today. We've been working on potty training and Will is getting better and better. Today he went pooped in the potty for the first time at home. He got a sucker as a special treat for the accomplishment. I can't wait for him to be out of diapers!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

We had a great day yesterday. Very relaxing Sunday and a great church service. Our Sunday School class is starting a new series on the history of the Bible and it is very interesting. The teacher has prepared an entire 3-ring binder with timelines and information for us. It's going to be quite deep, but we're both looking forward to it. The kids were great during Worship. They were so still and quiet and we were so proud of them. Right at the end as I started gathering up our things just before we were dismissed Will hollers out, "Come on Mommy; I've got to get out of this place". William and I were about to die and trying very hard not to laugh out loud. Haven't we all felt that way at some point but just couldn't say it? :)

After services we went to Jason's Deli to eat. It's been quite a while since we all went out to eat; it's so hard with Will's food allergies. But Jason's Deli is one place where we can all eat healthy and find plenty of choices for Will. It's one of our favorite places to go.

On a different note, I managed to do two layouts this weekend. I feel like I've done so many for Will lately and need to do more of Rylie so this first one is all her.

I used new to me October Afternoon goodies and a sketch from Studio Calico. I wasn't sure about this one as I was working on it but I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Here's Will's layout for the weekend. I like to get holidays scrapped as much as I can before the next year's holiday rolls around. Still have lots from Easter last year to do but I'm getting there. I seem to have a hard time with Easter layouts because I have trouble finding paper and embellishments that I like. I don't know why Easter is so hard to find a variety of lines. Anyway, this was his first egg hunt and the little ones were still learning what it was all about. I used some GCD papers and Bo Bunny stickers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Christmas in Amory

I finally got to scrapbook again and it felt so good! I'd been planning this for over a week and had my photos all printed out to size and on my desk. I loved this sketch the minute I saw it. It is from one of my favorite sites, Sketch Support . Although Allison Davis has been around a while, she revamped her site at the first of the year and I am loving it even more now.

When I saw what Allison did with the sketch on the first day, I knew I wanted to use lots of photos in it too. I thought it would be perfect for Christmas photos. I always want to scrap our Christmas celebrations, but don't want to end up with 20 layouts for each year so I'm always looking for ways to fit lots of photos on the layouts. I did change it up in several ways from the original sketch and Allison's many-photo version. I ended up using 16 photos on this layout; something that doesn't happen that often.

I used pop dots on lots of the sticker accents for interest, and even on the green border sticker. I cut off part of the border sticker and used it with my title. I had just this much left over of the red Queen and Co. Felt Fusion so I added it to the bottom of the layout since I decided not to cut the background paper into waves. I also used a border punch on those papers. I did not add any journaling except for the date. You can see details from the photos of what gifts were received and who was there so I thought the photos kind of spoke for themselves in this instance. Thickers were used in the title along with really old Karen Foster pebble letters. Everything else is Echo Park. I really enjoyed making this layout and using inspiration from Sketch Support.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Beef Stew

I have been wanting beef stew for a while. I like it at least once during the winter but the hubby isn't a big fan. I've always made it using one of those seasoning packets you get at the grocery store and liked it just fine. Since those contain soy they were out of the question (our son has several food allergies). I came upon this recipe the other day and thought I'd give it a try. Usually anything I make from the Pioneer Woman is good so I thought I'd give it a go. If you know me at all, you know that I rarely follow a recipe totally. I'm always making substitutions to use what I have on hand and this recipe was no exception. Here are the changes I made:

* I used the beef stock instead of the bullion cubes since they contain soy
* I used frozen stew vegetables. They contained pearl onions but I love caramelized onions and the flavor they add to dishes so I used the regular onion called for in the recipe also.
* I added extra frozen carrots. I had about 1/3 of a bag left in the freezer so I through them in.
* Same with the corn. It was frozen and there wasn't a whole lot left so I added it also. The boy is also allergic to corn so I took his out of his servings.
* I did not have tomato paste on hand so I used a couple tablespoons of ketchup. I didn't measure; I just put some in.

The stew was a big hit with everyone in the family. The kids were excited just smelling it cooking wondering what it was going to be. We loved it at out house and it will definitely be added to my recipe box. Hope you will give it a try also. You can find the original recipe here: Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika

A Week Later

It's been a week since my last blog post. I didn't intend to go that long but then something happened.

Thursday evening it was still icy after our snow on Monday. We got home that evening and the steps to the back door were a solid piece of ice. I got Will in the house first then was going to go back to the car for everything else. I was holding on to the door facing with my left hand, the door with my right, to steady myself on the ice. Will came up and saw that the back door was open and slammed it, holding it there trying to get it to shut; my hand was still on the door facing. I went to the doctor Friday and it wasn't broken, just very sore. It's hard to tell from the photo, but if you look closely you can see the blue bruising and swelling starting. (Sorry for the horrible picture. I took this with my cell since it was with me.) This cut back on my computer time since typing was painful. It's much better today so I'm getting back into the swing of things with my blog. I hope to have a layout to post later today.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day!

We got about 3.5 inches of snow over night last night. Plenty to call off school and have a little fun in. William was going to stay home from work with the kids and I was going to go to work. It's just snow, no ice so should have been no problem. I got ready and got to the top of the hill ready to turn on our county road and it was a solid sheet of ice. We're not far from the city limits but getting there is up and down hills and curvy. They never salt or clear our county roads so it was a mess. I decided I'd take the dock in pay today and just call in. We all played outside for a little while and then came inside for some coffee and hot chocolate. Such a nice day to just hang out around the house.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Couple of Projects

I set myself a goal for 2011. I would like to create 10 layouts each month. This is not a lot for many of you, but it is for me. With working full time and two little kids my free time for scrapbooking is pretty limited. So far I'm off to a good start. I have made 6 layouts and 1 card for January. Hopefully I can keep up. Here's what I have been working on.

This was made for one of the January CG challenges at 2P's. It is based on a sketch from CK Magazine. You can't really tell from the scan but I used glitter cardstock to go with the whole glitter eggs theme.

I really love how this one turned out. These pictures of my son are almost 2 years old but I never could figure out just how I wanted to scrap them. These adorable Echo Park papers and Allison Davis's sketch were just what they needed.

What's better than using all old products? This card was for another of the January CG challenges at 2P's. I've never done many cards so this one is simple, but I think it turned out cute. The heart is cut from the Slumber Party Cricut cartridge and the "Sweet" is cut from Just Because Cards. With my son's food allergies, we keep smarties around because they are one of the few candies he can eat. I grabbed a roll and added them to the card. This will be a sweet treat for my daughter for Valentine's Day. I plan on doing something similar for my son, just not quite so girly.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Top 3!

I had so much fun using this sketch this week from Sketches In Thyme . I was so surprised and excited when I found out last night that my layout was chosen as one of their Top 3 for the sketch! If you haven't been there and love sketches as much as I do be sure to check it out. You'll find a wide variety of layout and card sketches and will definitely find something to spark your creativity.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

First Book of 2011

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The book is set in Afghanistan mostly during the 1970's. It tells of class and ethnic distinctions of that area and in that culture, but the main focus is on redemption and forgiveness. There were parts that were hard to get through because of the subject matter, but it is definitely worth it to keep going. I would highly recommend this book and look forward to reading Hosseini's next book, A Thousand Splendid Suns.