Friday, December 26, 2008
What a Christmas we had! Grayson, Sam and Shane all got lots of gifts, but I was the one who really got spoiled this year! I was just like a kid yesterday when I opened my gifts:
* A new iPhone...technically I already had one but it was for Shane's work so I couldn't really personalize it or download the apps I wanted. Now I have one that's mine all mine! Joy!
* Bind-It-All personal binding machine. If you haven't seen this fabulous tool, take a look here. I will be making mega mini-albums starting today! Fun!
* "Sublime Goddess" spa gift certificate. No explanation needed! Bliss!
* External Hard drive with additional server backup. That's back up x three people! OK it's not very romantic or exciting, but very much needed. My precious pics will be safe!
* PJ's...pink flannel goodness!
* Victoria's Secret Assorted creams and potions and lotions. Sexy!
* A whole lo-tta choc-o-lat-a! Delish!
* Gift certificates to shop. Again, no explanation required. Now I just need a babysitter.
WOW! Now, so you don't think that I am overly materialistic, I have to tell you that I just wasn't expecting any of these gifts. I was so focused on getting everyone else's presents purchased and getting the house and food ready that I didn't think about what I wanted. I had thrown out a few ideas when asked, but didn't give it a second thought, so I was very happily surprised!
We had a lovely Christmas breakfast (I made Wifesaver and Schwartzies potatoes - yum!) after opening all the gifts and then got ready for the big feast with all the family over. It was really great to have mom here, and she did so well. She may not have recognized everyone or participated in the conversations, but she enjoyed herself, ate a fair amount and seemed to have a good time.
Today is Boxing Day in Canada, and while many are out shopping the great deals, our tradition is to have a very lazy day, stay in our PJ's, play with all our new toys and eat turkey sandwiches (with cranberry sauce and havarti cheese - trust me - seriously yummy!) It's a very relaxing day after all the Christmas busy-ness.
Tomorrow night we are going to ZooLights at the Calgary Zoo...another tradition we love. I like the fact that we get to enjoy many different things over the holiday SEASON, not just on Christmas day!
Enjoy your holiday!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Another tradition for me was always getting new Christmas themed pajamas. Here are the boys in their new jammies, but they aren't looking too happy...I guess that's what you get when you try to take a pic of sleepy boys!
Cute, right? But here is the genius part...at the end of each month, you change out your calendar page and slip the previous month's page into a 8x8 "Celebration" picfolio album. Then you add a few pics to the facing page using the rest of the products in the Celebration kit, and you have easily documented what happened that month and recorded your memories! Isn't that a great and simple idea? Here is what a January album page might look like:
Brilliant! This will be such an easy and do-able way to "keep up" with a year's worth of info, events and pohotos for your family! And what a treasure you will have at the end of the year - a calendar with notes as to all that you did and photos to boot!
If you are in the Calgary, Alberta area, check out the info for and make plans to attend my workshop scheduled for January 15, 2009. If you are anywhere else in Canada, you can still order the bundle of products from Creative Memories that has everything you need to set up your calendar (but doesn't include the album for slipping pages into later) by clicking here. If you are outside Canada, I would suggest visiting the CM home page and searching for a consultant in your area to order the bundle. Don't miss this - get organized now to capture a year's worth of memories! I am super excited by this!
OK...even though I am excited and want to go downstairs and start scrapping right now, I guess I better start checking off items on my to-do list!
Just in case I don't have a chance to post again before the big day, Merry Christmas! I hope it is full of joy, laughter and love.
Monday, December 15, 2008
First off...I am so excited to have been asked to join the Design Team for Christmas Cards All Year Long! I have been following this site since it's inception and I love what Deanne and her team did this fall. When I saw the Design Team call, I sat on it for a while and debated about entering. I entered at the last minute figuring I would get a "Thanks but no thanks" email, so was I ever thrilled to get a "Welcome to the team" email from Deanne instead! Here is the card I created using elements from Shabby Princess Holiday Magic Kit. (Although it is a digital kit, I printed off some of the elements and then cut and pasted them onto my card.)
This is the first Design Team I have been on, and I will be creating cards for the site from January through March! Make sure to bookmark the site and check back often, or use the link on my sidebar.
Next up...many sites and blogs are giving away free things leading to Christmas. Yesterday I got an email from Big Picture Scrapbooking saying that they are giving away a class called "Glimpses". Of course I immediately signed up! While I was there I saw the schedule for the new year has been posted! They are offering classes from scrappy stars like Wendy Smedley, Ali Edwards, Kolette Hall and Jenni Bowlin among others, but the class I have been waiting for is "Library of Memories" by Stacy Julian. I first came across Stacy's system in her books, and I have implemented some of her strategies, but I am looking forward to taking the three month long class with her and finally get my photo/scrapbooking system working! (The class starts in February) Then today I got another email from BPS with free downloadable and cute Christmas gift tags! Better get over there and sign up so you can get fun emails like this too!
As for our dailly baking of Christmas treats, that got a little behind as well! We haven't actually made our Chinese noodle cookies (as mentioned in Dec 5 blog!!!)yet, but we did make Nanaimo bars. Here are the recipes (sorry no pics) for both:
Nanaimo Bars For those of you who are reading from outside of Canada...these are named for a city on Vancouver Island, BC. Apparently they were a winning entry in a recipe contest, but the modest baker named them after her town as opposed to herself! Whatever the name, these are so yummy! The recipe is a bit involved (not hard though) so when I am in a pinch I use a boxed mix from Robin Hood, but when I have enough time, here is the recipe I use:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp. Cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 1/4 cups graham wafer crumbs
1/2 c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut
Melt first 3 ingredients on top of a double boiler. Add egg. Stir constantly until cooked and thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press into square (8x8 or 9x9) pan and refrigerate while you are making the middle layer.
Middle Layer -
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp. + 2 Tsp. cream (ie: whipping cream)
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
Cream all ingredients together in a large bowl. Beat with electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread over bottom layer.
Third Layer -
4 squares 1 oz each) semi-sweet chocolate
2 Tbsp. butter
Melt chocolate and butter in microwave, stirring until completely melted. Cool for a few minutes, then pour over second layer (spreading if needed to cover entire layer). Refrigerate. Cut into bars, squares or triangles. Freezes well.
Chinese Noodle Cookies When I was growing up mom and I made these every Christmas. Another very easy, delicious, chocolately, no-bake treat that freezes well.
1 12 oz. package chocolate chips
1 12 oz. package butterscotch chips
1 10 oz. can Chinese noodles (I use China Lily brand)
1 12 oz. can peanuts
Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips in large bowl in the microwave. Stir until smooth and glossy. Add Chinese noodles and peanuts. Mix well. Drop by spoonfuls on parchment or wax paper. Let cool until hardened. Makes about 30 cookies.
Now I have to do some updating on my website (watch for this week's page plan a little later on) and get the Christmas cards in the mail. Then there's still wrapping, cleaning, shopping...yikes! Gotta go!
Friday, December 5, 2008
Today's Treat is Peppermint Bark! SOOOOO easy, very tasty, extremely pretty and great to give away for little hostess gifts. It is so easy I am almost embarrassed to post the recipe...are you ready? Get your pens out...
3 bags white chocolate chips
12 peppermint candy canes - crushed/chopped .
*Melt chocolate chips in microwave for about 1.5 to 2 minutes.
*Stir until smooth.
*Spread on a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.
*Sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
*Refrigerate until firm.
*Break into pieces.
*Package up into cellophane bags to give away!
See I told you it was easy!
Tomorrow's treat - Chinese Noodle Cookies
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Of course we had to sample them to make sure they were OK...and they were - YUMMY!
Tomorrow's treat - Peppermint Bark.
We also had another milestone today for Sam...he started eating rice cereal! He is 25 weeks, a big boy and he always seems so interested in what we are eating, so it was time to get him started. I got a great portable high chair that attaches to a kitchen chair (much better than our old freestanding one) and sat Sam in it. I let him play for a while to get used to the chair before feeding him. He was pretty unsure about this, but in the end he ate all of the cereal (all of 1 whole tablespoon!!!) and seemed to like it - at least he didn't spit it out! He even licked the spoon afterwards.
What a boy. What a day.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (Girl Guide)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chicken pox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day
(* A lot of the places are US based...had anyone seen a similar list using Canadian places?)
I have done 54/100 of these things...now how about you????
PS...I was busy working on the website today...check out the latest additions on the What's New page!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
In October I took a class at BPS called Giving Well. The instructor was Kolette Hall who is a stamp and product designer for Hampton Art (you probably have some of her designs if you have ever shopped the dollar stamp bin at Michael's!) Besides giving us 14 great gift idea projects during the class, she also provided us with designs to use on tags and cards. I used the card designs today to make these cards:
These are very different cards for me...usually I spend time designing one or two cards and then make several more identical ones. This time I made fourteen different cards using the same materials. Each one was trial and error and I just did whatever I felt looked good with each of the little templates from Kolette. It was fun to not have a plan for a change! In addition to a few pieces of 8.5 x 11 cardstock and 2 sheets of 12 x 12 double sided paper I also used some brads, ribbons and buttons I had in my stash, so this was a very inexpensive project!
Monday, November 17, 2008
I was just doing some Creative Memories business (creating my holiday newsletter) and I came across an amazing little resource, right on my own CM site - Creative Memories' Design Team is showcasing a project a day throughout November!
I can't believe I am just finding this now...especially when I have been focusing on holiday proejcts for the past little month already! There are all sorts of sorts of fabulous projects already posted, and since it is only November 17, there will be 13 more to come!
Click here to see the 30 Days of Holiday Projects. I will post pics of any projects that I complete, and I would love to know if you try any of them!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
3) I sorted and organized my clothes and moved them into our bedroom closet. (I had been using the extra closet in Sammy's room, so I had to get out!) The problem was that I had four sets of clothes...pre-maternity fall, maternity, pre-maternity spring/summer and the few things I had to buy this summer because nothing fit me. So it took a while to figure out what fit and what was appropriate for the season and for a SAHM. I got rid of a lot by taking it to the Salvation Army, and I always feel good about giving things that I can't use away. Now my clothes that actually fit and work for my lifestyle right now all fit into my half of the closet in our bedroom. It sure makes it a lot easier each morning to get ready for the day.
Friday, November 7, 2008
The inside of the Christmas planner has custom made dividers using artwork from the BPS class, and then I personalized it by stapling on strips of gingham ribbon along with the divider tabs.
I used the Recipe Book Digital Kit from Creative Memories for this cover, and a font called LD Telegram. I love the vintage feeling they both have! Inside I used ready made pocket dividers which will come in handy for slipping items into.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
"You Love To Read" 12 x 12 LO by Noreen Smith. Paperbilities cardstock, Stampin Up letter strip, unknown patterned paper strip and brads. Century Gothic font.
SO...onto the next holiday! Good luck getting organized...I'll post my planner once it is in the works!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
M'm M'm Good, by Noreen Smith. 12 x 12 Layout. Paperbilities Cardstock, Sassafrass Lass patterned paper, Stampin' Up ink, Creating Keepsakes/Lisa Bearnson chipboard letters, unknown buttons and index card.
The competition is fierce and the work posted is nothing short of inspired! I'm pretty sure mine won't stand up to it! But over the next 5 weeks we will create and share 5 new LO's, so that in and of itself is good! And I do love the photos of Grayson here...he could be a modern Campbell's kid don't you think? OK...I'm biased!!!
Went to visit with mom today and as I looked around her room I realized that there aren't a lot of current photos of us. I need to work on a little album or some framed pieces for her. There is some research out there about the therapuetic effects of scrapbooking for Alzheimers patients and although I know she won't actually scrapbook, she always did love looking at our albums.
And I do need to get caught up on sweet Sammy's baby book. I create calendar pages for each month where I can record milestones and adventures as they happen, so I need to update October's page. We have been so busy doing things that I haven't been able to record them all!
It's so nice to have a little bit of time to devote to scrapping again!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Saturday it was off to Butterfield Acres Farm to go one our first ever PUMPKIN HUNT! Grayson was so excited as I had been talking it up for about a week before we went! It was even more exciting because Sean and Amy were going to be there too. We had afternoon tickets which weren't out first choice as Sean and Grayson do need "rest" time in the afternoons, but as it turned out it was good thing. The temperature had dropped the night before and they actually had some snow on the ground due to the higher elevation of the farm. Thankfully by the time we got there at 1:00 pm it was a little warmer, but Shane needed a touque for his bald head and Grayson decided he wanted his cosy hat as well. Shane took Sam in the Baby Bjorn and we bundled him up with a fleecy jacket, mittens and hat as well as blankets.
So off we went. We boarded a farm wagon pulled by a tractor (a big hit with Grayson!) and headed out to the pumpkin patch. There was literally frost on the pumpkins, but Grayson found one that he liked.. It was almost bigger than he was!
After the actual hunt, we went back to the farm in the wagon and were able to decorate the pumkins in the warm but smelly barn! (Being a city gal sure makes you sensitive to those farm smells!) Here is Grayson and Sean back in the wagon:
After we finished decorating we visited some of the animals - sheep, goats, donkeys, chickens and llamas - that live on the fram year round. Then it was off for a bite to eat. Sam did really well...he didn't complain being hauled around or being cold, and I fed him in the Jeep afterwards and he was happy as could be! It's funny though because you see pictures of folks who live in warmer climates going to pumpkin patches and it looks like our summertime! And although we had fun, I think it would be a little more enjoyable on a nice warm day! But all in all it was a good day and we would like to do it again.
Sunday was a big day for Sammy - his Baptism into the Catholic Church! We had him baptized at St. Luke's church, and Deacon Louis LaPointe performed the baptism itself. My good friend Wendy McDowell is Sam's Godmother and Shane's longtime friend Rob Anders is his Godfather.
Sammy was so good during the ceremony, and actually slept through most of it. Grayson was on his best behaviour as well, and looked so handsome in his dress clothes. We are so proud of both our boys!
Afterwards we had the family over to our palce for a celebratory lunch. My cousin Michelle and I are both only children so she is like a sister to me. She is 8 years younger than me and was still a baby as I was growing up, so we are both happy that her little girl Payton and Sammy will grow up together. Payton is a couple of months older than Sammy, but she is such a petite sweet little girl. Here they are together:
The only downside to the celebration was that mom wasn't with us. I really felt her absence this past month during my birthday and Thanksgiving celebrations. I think this Christmas will be pretty difficult as well. We will have to plan some kind of celebration at the nursing home, although I don't know if she will realize that it is a special day or not. Anyway...it was great weekend and we have some special memoreis from it!
On the scrapping front, I have signed on for a great challenge at Just Cre8 - a great company headed up by Sue Sykes who contributes to Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine. It is a 5 week challenge and it is set up so you don't see anyone's work until each challenge deadline has passed. I will be excited to see what everyone comes up with for this weeks challenge of using a famous advertising slogan as inspiration for your layout.
I am also taking the Giving Well 08 class over at BPS and am getting lots of ideas for holiday gifts and cards. I haven't made anything yet, but I am creating a great resource file of ideas to go back to. I think I am also going to take the Cut the Crazy out of Christmas class (also at BPS)in November from Georgana Hall. Looks like a great way to get inspired and organized in a creative way for the Holidays! Now I have no excuses to be rushing once the Christmas season rolls around!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
We are having a quiet week...
*still not able to post pics, but techy hubbie hasn't had time to figure it out for me. Oh well. (Maybe I need to switch to Typepad???)
*painting Sam's nursery today...he will have to move out of our room at some time!
*Grayson and I will also be doing some Thanksgiving baking - cookies and a pie to take up to Lloydminster for family dinner and some banana chocolate chip muffins for the trip. Yummy! We are going to leave on Friday to make a relaxing weekend out of it. I love Thanksgiving...it really signals full-on Fall and the beginning of the holiday season...next comes Halloween and pumpkin hunts, then we start getting ready for Christmas.
Speaking of holidays, Julie and I are doing two Christmas/Home business fairs...one in Riverbend on November 1 and one on November 22 in Pineridge. There will be lots of great Christmas shopping opportunitites! Click here for all the info.
And although I really contemplated taking Cathy Zielske'sDesign Your Life class over at BPS, I think I am in more of a Holiday mood and have decided to take a couple of classes that focus on the upcoming Holidays instead: Cut the Crazy out of Christmas, Giving Well and Gratitude Memory Box. I think I will be able to have fun scrapping and making crafty things as well as get ready for the holidays!!! It's all good!
Hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving long weekend!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Some things are serendipitous. I have just finished the Have More Fun class over at BPS with the magical Stacy Julian. She wrapped it up by issuing a challenge to us and to all her blogging friends. Here's what she said:
"You have everything you need right now to be vibrant, happy and fully engaged in the creative process of life. Sometimes you just have to slow down, look around and realize it! Here’s what I want you to do …• Snap ten or twelve photos of your life right now. Or find recent photos that you've already taken.• Compile these photos in one of these super-cute Bazzill Mono-Mini albums• Keep or carry this album with you, tucked in your purse or desk drawer for one full year.• Promise to glance through the album every time you stumble upon it or pull it out. • On October 1st, 2009, create a scrapbook page about your experience." See her post, her album and a list of all her friends who took up the challenge on her blog.
So, with today being my 41st birthday, I thought it would be great idea to create the mini-album to capture my life now and then be able to compare it to what things are like in one year. In fact, I think this might be the beginning of a new tradition...creating a birthday layout or project each year. You could say this would be a birthday present for myself!
So I made my sweet little album to keep in my purse using some cute pink embellies and cardstock. BUT...I have been trying to post the photos and I still can't do it. I think I will have to create a slide show and post it that way. Anyway...I WILL somehow post and share it. (PS I am still trying to post the rest of my "30 Days Hath September" album layouts as well!!!)
As another birthday comes to a close, I think of all the things I am blessed with in my life - Shane, my boys, my extended family, good friends, the basics - home, food and clothing- of course love, laughter and happiness. Those are the best birthday presents of all.
Monday, September 22, 2008
100% trouble? 100% cute! Sam is weighing in at 17 lbs at only 14 weeks! Sheesh!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I am: 1) feeling proud of myself for keeping up with one layout per day 2) loving how I feel throughout the day - more aware, more present, more engaged with everything that is happening! Even though my days are ordinary and some would say boring, I am noticing little moments of of charm, happiness and clarity in them since I started working on this album. I am getting to know myself again as I contemplate what I am doing and why. I find myself asking myself why I am doing something or why I am feeling the way I am (whoa...that was a very "Austin Powers Spy Who Shagged Me" type of sentence!!!!)
Anyway...loving how quickly the layouts are done and really enjoying doing all the writing - visual journal style!
Here are the September 3 and 4 pages, photographed side by side.
And September 5 and 6:
PS...I had to swing by Scrapbookers Paradise today...they are having a 4/$1 paper sale until September 20! GO GO GO!!!