Friday, December 26, 2008

Presents galore

Two words: Spoiled. Rotten.

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' 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!

Happy Scrapping,


Monday, December 22, 2008

Organizing for Christmas and the New Year

I don't know about you, but I am in a mad dash to get everything done! You'd think that being at home full time I would have been organized a long time ago, but it always seems to come down to the wire. We are hosting present opening and breakfast on Christmas morning for my Dad and Shane's mom, and then later on we'll have the family Christmas dinner for about 13. We are bringing mom over from her care facility, but I think we are all a bit apprehensive as to how she will react. It wouldn't be Christmas without her being here, so I am hoping she will enjoy it, eat something and not get too agitated. This will be stressful, but all we can do is hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

We started Christmas a little early this year - we had a family dinner at my cousin's house on Friday and Grayson got to open a present. Lucky! We also had a pre-Christmas Christmas dinner at Shane's mom place on Saturday night. It was supposed to be our chance to celebrate Christmas with Shane's brother Darcy who works on the oil rigs in northern Alberta. Because of his schedule he wasn't going to be home on Christmas day, but he ended up working 5 weeks straight and wasn't even able to get home for this weekend! Poor guy. I hope they feed him well on Christmas day! But, we did have a nice evening with my mother-in-law and Darcy's lovely girfriend Maja. Oh, and Grayson go to open ANOTHER present! Great evening. Here's Sammy with Grammy Peggy:
I mentioned in earlier posts that I was taking the Cut the Crazy out of Christmas class at BPS. I love my planner, and even though I am not quite finished getting ready at least I know where all the info is! I also like that it has made me think about the kind of traditions I want my family to enjoy now and remember later.
One tradition from when I was a little girl was counting down the days to Christmas. We have been doing this at home on the calendar, but next year I am making a WAY cuter version of an Advent calendar like Georgana Hall did here. My plan is to order the supplies NOW and put a note on my calendar next October or early November to pull it out and get it done in time for December 1.

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!
We are also plan on attending ZooLights after Christmas at the Calgary Zoo. This is a relatively new tradition which we started at Grayson's first Christmas. I think Sam will enjoy it as well. You can wander around and look at over 1 million lights set up in the shape of animals. Hot chocolate and firepits make is even more fun!
I will be looking forward to adding more traditions as the boys grow up.
There is not much scrapping happening right now...I did a page plan and a digital layout for my weekly website posting, but haven't had time to do much more. If you haven't checked either of my websites lately, you may have missed the info on the "A Year of Memories Workshop". I am SO excited for this one - it is GENIUS! In this two hour workshop, you set up your yearly wall calendar using products from CM's 8x8 "Celebrate" Kit. When you get home, your Mini-Everyday display will be a handy place to note appointments and events for each month, as well as a place to keep photos, tickets or invitations close at hand because of the little magnets and clothespins that come with it. Here is a sample shot of January's calendar, which you can display on a table or hang on a wall.

Cute, right? But here is the genius 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.

Happy Scrapping,


Monday, December 15, 2008

Back at it

I know, I know, I was MIA for a few days. So sorry - chalk it up to Christmas preparations! But I am back and have some exciting, fun and yummy things to share!

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:

Bottom layer-
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!

Happy Scrapping!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Shopping Hints for Men and Today's Treat

I saw this Youtube video on Emilie Ahern's Blog today and died laughing. And what a good reminder to all the guys out there with Christmas shopping in full swing. I can relate because my DH is the type to give me a vaccum OR the computer memory...oh wait a minute...he's actually given me both! LOL! Enjoy!

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

Happy Scrapping!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Baking and Eating

(Second post today! Wow!)

Well, we started Christmas baking with one of my favorite no-bake treats (and they are easy for Grayson to help with) We are going to be making a few more treats over the next few days so I thought I would share the recipes.

Today's treat...Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares!!!

These are super sweet and super easy to make! I could eat them every day, but I only make them at Christmas! Here's the recipe:

2 packages butterscotch chips (250 grams each)
3/4 cup peanut butter (I use all-natural and it turns out fine)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 cups mini marshmallows (1 250 gram package) (I like to use the multi colored ones instead of plain white)

*Melt chips, peanut butter and butter in a large bowl in the microwave for about 1 and 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir until all the chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool for a few minutes, then gently fold in the marshmallows. Pour mixture into greased 9 x 13 pan. Regrigerate until firm. Cut into squares and freeze if desired.

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.
Happy Scrapping!

Help me pick!

I finished up creating this year's photocard...actually I created 6 of them! You see, several people have asked me if I would design photocards for them for various occasions, so I thought I would create a little side business! I will put the info and some samples for Christmas Photocards up on my website later today, and then will add birthday, wedding, thank you, birth announcements and other styles in the future.

But I would love a little feedback...which of these 6 designs do you like best? I have to choose one for our photocards for this year...I am leaning towards number 6 myself!

All the cards were created using Storybook Creator Plus program by Creative Memories. See info below each photocard for details of digital kits used.

Shabby Princess Holiday Magic Kit

Shabby Princess Holiday Magic Kit

Shabby Princess Holiday Magic Kit

Epson Christmas Project/Digital Kit
Summer Driggs Giving Kit

Summer Driggs Giving Kit
Now, my next goal its to learn how to create my own digital papers and embellishments. Any suggestions on courses to look at?
Happy Scrapping!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

100 things

This list has been floating around a few blogs I read. I saw it on Lain's blog and decided to copy it and see what I have done and what I want to do - sort of like a bucket list ( although I think I could still add to that one!)

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 how about you????

Happy Scrapping!

PS...I was busy working on the website today...check out the latest additions on the What's New page!