Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Three Things for Tuesday

I just wanted to share a few cools bits & pieces with you:

1) Costco's Photo Centre has a special on photo prints - up to 200 prints for .10 cents each! The offer is good from May 25th until June 7th and the code to use is CWSSA525.

2) These flowers are so pretty and look simple to make.

Check out the tutorial by Allison Cope, who is the blog editor for Scrapbooks & Cards Today Magazine and also has a cool sketch site. While you are there, download the digital version of the Spring 2009 issue of Scrapbooks & Cards Today for free.

The last tutorial by Allison that I shared was paper casting...and I forgot to tell you that I tried it - it was very easy and the results were great - here is my experiment in progress and one of the final pieces:

Pretty cute!

3) If you have boys who like "Mighty Machines" like my son Grayson does, check out CM's new Construction Zone Kit! It is chock full of great papers and cute embellishments. My God-son Sean just had a Mighty Machines birthday party this past weekend, but these items would be great to make for your little construction worker's next birthday party - an invitation, personalized cups and treat bags:

So easy and so fun! Visit CM's Project Center regularly for more great ideas like these.

Happy Scrapping!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Back Online!

I'm back! We have had a week of sporadic internet outages and server problems so my access to the web and email has been limited. Having an IT guy for a hubbie is great, but because the problems were with our provider there was not much he could do! He usually was able to get me online once a day so I could post my daily LO to LOAD, so thanks to him I haven't missed a day yet! Now that it seems everything is working fine again, hopefully I can catch up on email and posting in the next day or two. (*If I haven't responded yet to your emails, I'm sorry!)

First up: Menu Plan Monday. I have to say I am really getting into the groove of menu planning now. Having been back at it for a month or so, I now have a selection of weekly menus I can choose from without having to reinvent the wheel. I write up each menu plan on a pre-made sheet I got in the dollar bin at Michael's, and then I write all the ingredients needed for all the recipes on the back. Once the week is done I put it in my household notebook for future use. That way whether I use the plan for the first time or the fourth time, I can quickly make up my grocery list by just adding the other things we need such as breakfast and lunch items and staples.

I also feel like I am getting good at tweaking menu plans to work more efficiently - for example we had a ham on Sunday and I knew I would have leftovers for later in the week so I figured I would make a Jambalaya. I need chicken for Jambalaya as well, so I planned to have chicken & rice on Monday and to make a couple extra chicken breasts to use. That way, I have everything I need, it speeds up the cooking time on the Jambalaya and saves time and energy! I also plan for a couple of regular nights - Thursday is usually Pasta night because it's quick and I know Grayson will eat lots of pasta which gives him energy for Soccer practice, and Friday night is usually Pizza night - I bake a fresh-frozen pizza and toss together a bagged Ceasar salad kit. SO easy! So...here is this weeks plan:

Sunday: Baked ham, Schwartzies potato casserole (I make only half the recipe and it is SO YUMMY!), mixed veg and buns (*I didn't bake the ham I had last week so I'm doing it this week)

Monday: Chicken fingers (slice chicken breasts into strips, coat with Shake & Bake, bake in oven) wild rice, broccoli.

Tuesday: Jambalaya (I use Zatarains mix and add leftover chicken and ham cubes), mixed salad
Wednesday: Meatballs with rice and broccoli

Thursday: (Soccer practice) Fast Tortellini Alfredo, veggies and dip

Friday: Pizza and Caesar Salad

Saturday: BBQ steaks, baked potatoes, corn on the cob

Done, planned and shopped for! I am loving this! I also enjoy looking out all the menu plans on orgjunkie, which I have linked to. Check it out for inspiration.

Next: Project updates. I am happy to report that I am still keeping up to date with Project 365, LayOutA Day (LOAD) and Library of Memories. It keeps me busy, but it is very satisfying to take photos of my family and complete lots of scrapbook layouts. I have moved my Project 365 photos to a Shutterfly Share Site as I was running out of (free) space on Flickr, and I am working on another Shutterfly site to showcase scrapbook layouts and other crafty projects. If you haven't seen these free Shutterfly sites you can create, check them out. They are a nice alternative to a blog or website and give you lots of options for posting lots of pics.

I have also been working on a new version of my Sharing Memories Scrapbooking website! My old site expired and since I wasn't happy with my web host I got a new domain name (http://www.sharingmemoriesscrapbooking.com/) and a new webhost (Dreamhost). I have transferred all of the content over and am playing with the new format, look & feel. I will be starting to post new entries, page plans and projects very soon. I am also planning a re-launch complete with prizes and contests soon and I will keep you up to date.

Finally on the homefront, Sam has recovered from the attempted escape from his crib, but managed to fall off a bed and give himself another fat lip. He has now been confined to a playpen with high sides for safety purposes!! LOL!! We have also been working on getting him to sleep without being rocked, and I have just finished weaning him (a bittersweet experience). He is close to walking although he has never offically crawled. And he will be one year old in just three weeks and I am planning his party. Where has the year gone? Sigh...

Anyway, enough for now! If all stays well with our internet I'll post again in a couple of days!

Happy Scrapping

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Victoria Day! We are having a very busy weekend, and a somewhat stressful one. On Saturday (at 3:05 am to be exact) Sam, our 11 month old, FELL OUT OF HIS CRIB! We awoke to a thud and a scream! He had somehow climbed up and fell headfirst (we think) out of his crib. I took him to the Alberta Children's Hospital (which by the way was pretty busy at 4:00 in the morning) and got him checked out. Luckily he is a hearty little fella and all is well. He only has a bit of a bruise on his head, which is so ironic because we JUST took his helmet off last week! Sheesh.

The rest of Saturday is a bit of a blur as I was working on only 3 hours of sleep, but we did take time to lower the mattress on the crib so Sam can't fall out again. He has never pulled himself up before so we had no idea that he could do this. But now we know that he cannot be trusted!!!

On Sunday we picked up some lovely shrubs for our yard. We had professional landscapers come in and overhaul both the front and the back over the past 18 months, but we had very little in the way of plants. We are about half way done the cultivating, weeding and planting and will finish off tomorrow.

Then, this afternoon, Sam FELL OUT OF HIS RECLINER CHAIR!!! Correction - he pulled himself over the side and the chair ended up on top of him. And yes, he was strapped in! Ok, this child is just too strong for his own good. But he is hearty, so apart from a fat lip, he once again was OK. I don't know what we will do with him...and this is only the beginning I am betting.

Anyway...after our adventures with Sam, I took a few minutes tonight to plan out this coming weeks menu and shopping list. I plan for 7 meals - Monday though Sunday - and usually shop on Tuesday, so Monday's dinner is always planned for something I have on hand. Here's the round-up.

Monday: BBQ chicken breasts, wild mushroom rice, broccoli. (Oh and in honor of Victoria Day Holiday and having hubby at home, I am making Land Of Nod Cinnamon Buns to eat for breakfast before we get out in the yard! Yummy!)

Tuesday: Hamburgers/buns, oven fries, coleslaw

Wednesday: Chicken quesadillas, veggies and dip (will cook extra chicken for these on Monday)

Thursday (Soccer night): Weeknight Italian Pasta Bake , mixed green salad

Friday: Pizza and Caesar Salad

Saturday: BBQ Steaks, baked potatoes, corn on the cob (if I can find some, if not, asparagus or broccoli)

Make sure to check out all the amamzing menu plans at http://www.orgjunkie.com/!
Happy Scrapping!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Miscellaneous Monday

The day after Mother's Day is always a reality check...back to the old grind, eh? Like Cinderella after the ball. Sigh... Oh well! Today we'll be catching up on laundry and cleaning and grocery shopping. The warm weather is finally here and the sun is shining so that makes everything a little easier.

* Last night after getting home from a lovely dinner at my dad's place, I spent a little time planning our menu for the week and getting the grocery list ready. Here's the plan which I am linking to on Organized Junkie (who by the way has a giveaway this week!)

Chicken Cordon Bleu (chicken breasts rolled around deli ham and sliced swiss cheese, breaded and baked)
Peas, Carrots, Corn Mixed Veg

Simple Fish & Chips
Coleslaw (I use a pre-chopped bagged coleslaw and toss with coleslaw dressing and a little rice vinegar)

Rotisserie Chicken
Potato Salad
Veggies & Dip
Fresh Buns

Thursday: (Soccer practice night)
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Mixed Green Salad

Caesar Salad

Layered Chicken (2 to 2.5 cups cooked cubed chicken, 1 can cream of chicken soup, soup can full of milk, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp mixed her seasoning, 2 cups grated cheddar cheese. Mix soup, milk and seasonings together to form sauce. In a casserole dish layer 1/3 chicken, 1/3 sauce, 1/3 cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.)

BBQ Steaks
Baked Potatos
Mixed Green Salad

I love having the week organized!

* The Spring Cleaning Party continues this week over at Simple Mom. I hope to keep up and finish off de-cluttering and cleaning the rest of our main floor this week (including windows!!!). We finished organizing the garage this weekend along with doing the yard spring clean, so I am really feeling great!

* And just because I think it turned out great, here's yesterdays LO for LOAD. Payton is my sweet little god-daughter and the photos are actually several years old. I pulled them out of my LOM category drawers. I love the colors on the black background!

"Payton", 12 x 12 layout by Noreen Smith. Paperbilities cardstock; patterned paper, chipboard letters and silk flowers all from Dollarama. Making Memories brads, Creative Memories silver pen.

That's it for now...Happy Monday and Happy Scrapping!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothering Sunday

In the UK and parts of Europe, Mother's Day is referred to as Mothering Sunday, and is celebrated in March. The term "mothering" while homey and comfortable has always seemed a bit odd to me. But it is kind of though provoking to think of the word mother as a verb since we mostly use it as a noun.

We mother by providing for our family's physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
We mother by kissing boo-boos and giving comfort.
We mother by setting a good example, setting boundaries and setting the table.
We mother by giggling under the covers and scolding when necessary.
We mother by simply sitting and listening.
We mother everyday and in every way.

I can't believe I have been a mother for over 4 years, and that now I am a mother to two young boys! It is an amazing blessing, one that I am grateful for everyday. These beautiful photos were taken by my good friend Tracy MacLeod when each of my little guys were just days old. When I look at them I am reminded of how precious my sons Grayson and Sam are.

Whether you are a working mom, a SAHM; whether you have 1 or 10 children, we know that we work very hard as mothers. Hopefully today you get a bit of R&R and appreciation for all that you do!

Happy Mother's Day and Happy Scrapping!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


One of the things I love about scrapbooking is the way it can become a form of personal expression. While I am not big into "scrap therapy", I realize that my layouts can be a safe place to record thoughts and emotions as well as stories. That's what happened today as I started working on my layout for LOAD.

First off, Summer Driggs offered a new free digital scrapbooking kit on her blog called "Angel Mother." She shared a little bit about her own mother who passed away three years ago and who inspired the new digi kit. The kit was beautiful and Summer's words touched me. I downloaded the kit right then and there and knew that I wanted to do a layout about my own mother with it. This is it:

"Mom", 12 x 12 Digital Layout by Noreen Smith. Storybook Creator Plus Software from CM. All papers and elements from Angel Mother Kit by Summer Driggs.

It was a hard, emotional layout to do. I struggled with which photos to use and with sharing my thoughts and feelings in the journaling. It brought up a lot of emotions that I have kept under wraps for most of this last year.

One year ago on Mother's Day, mom got out of her house, became disoriented and had a bad fall. One week later she was admitted to the hospital, never to come home again. She was placed in a wonderful care facility, but has been steadily declining ever since. She is now a fragile shell of the woman she once was. On good days she recognizes me and she is usually happy to see my boys. She doesn't really know who Sam is, because he was born after her Alzheimers disease really set in, but she just enjoys seeing a baby. When we visit mom I am somewhat guarded, because I feel like if I let my true emotions show, the floodgates would open and there would be no closing them. It's easier on my heart to cover up with laughter and jokes. Alzheimer's is such a strange and cruel disease because the person you know and love is still there, yet not there. And when I sat down today and really thought about what I lost, my heart ached.

This Mother's Day will be the first "without" mom, and I am very sad. But we will celebrate it anyway, even though she has no idea what will be happening. We will bring flowers to brighten her day and hopefully she will be able to feel our love without having to understand it.

In the end on my layout I chose to use a couple of photos of mom from the past few years...photos which show her bright smile and sunny disposition along with the last really good photo of her and I that was taken just a year and half ago which I love and cherish. The journaling I struggled with finally reads:

"It's hard to think or write about it. This Mother's Day I celebrate that you are still with us, but mourn the loss of the mom I knew and loved. Alzheimer's disease has robbed you of your memory and many normal functions, and it has taken you away from us in spirit. There are still glimpses of the woman you were, but they are fewer and further between. It's hard to see you like that, so in some ways I prefer to remember you as you were - full of life, love and laughter. You taught me so much about being a great mom...I hope I can live up to your example. And I wish I could share it all with you. I love you always. Noreen"

I love that I was able to celebrate who my mom was in this layout. Celebrate and cherish your mom this coming Sunday, and blessings to all my friends who are moms themselves.

Happy Scrapping!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Three Things for Tuesday

Just surfing around this morning while having my coffee and I came across a couple of great things to share:

1) Paper Cast Embellishments. (By Allison at Scrapbooks & Cards Today)
These are so easy and so cute. Imagine the possibilities - you could make any type or style you need! I am SOOO making some today!!!

2) Mother's Day Card Idea. (By Amy at Let's Explore)
I know as moms we sort of have to cajole our own homemade cards out of our kids, but why not slip your partner this list of interview questions and come craft supplies and have him help the kids make a super cute card for you?

3) CD Card. (By Deanne at Sisterhood of Scrap)
We made some "mixed CD's" at Christmas...wouldn't it be a cute idea to make a special CD for someone and then add your homemade card in the front of it? Very personalized!

Anyway...just wanted to share these few things that caught my eye and got my creative mojo going this a.m.!

Happy Scrapping!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Menu Plan Monday and Project Updates

Since I wrote about Menu Planning last week, I am committing now to post my weekly plans here on my blog. I'm doing this so that 1) I know that I will have them ready to go and 2) others may find some ideas too. I am also going to link to Orgjunkie's Menu-Plan Monday where more than 300 gals link to their menu-plans. There's lots of inspiration so no more excuses! Let's get going!

Here's this weeks plan:

Wednesday: Planned Leftovers
Thursday: Cheesy Tortellini (frozen cheese tortellini with bottled Four Cheese Pasta sauce baked with shredded Mozza and Parmesan)
Friday: Pizza and Ceasar Salad
Saturday: BBQ Steaks with asparagus, mixed green salad and baked potatos
Sunday: Baked Ham with Schwartzie's Potato Casserole (I make a half recipe at a time), Peas & Carrots

Yummy! And it's so great to know what's for dinner each night and what I have to shop for. No guesswork and no stress! Love this!

As for my projects, I am happy to report that they are going well and are pretty much up to date!

Project 365: I missed one or two days taking photos but took fill-in photos of things that happened that day later on. My Project 365 album is current up to the middle of April and I just have to get photos from the last couple of weeks developed and added in. I LOVE THIS PROJECT and will enjoy looking back on it down the road!

Layout A Day (LOAD): I am only four days into the project but I am up to date! You can see all LO's here, but this is today's LO which I finished up this morning:

"Happy B-Day!" by Noreen Smith. 12 x 12 Digital Layout. Storybook Creator Plus Software and Best Buds Digi kit by CM.

The Creativity Project: Lisa Day says "...be creative with your thoughts and your actions. See everyday as a new adventure. Start each morning with the thought “what can I do that’s fun and creative today?” Totally uplifting! So for me this project is more about thinking about and focusing on creativity as opposed to making something every day. In this spirit, I have been revisiting some of the books I used when I taught art and journaling about creativity as much as I can.

My BPS Library of Memories Class continues for another few weeks, but I now have the past 8 years of photos sorted and stored in storage binders; favorite photos have been pulled, sorted and stored in category boxes and 4 out of 7 boxes of memorabilia have been sorted, purged and organized for use on upcoming layouts. Pretty good work if I do say so myself!

Finally, today is the first day of the Spring Cleaning Party over at Simple Mom. In just two weeks I will have this place overhauled and deep cleaned and ready for the spring and summer! We got a great start on the weekend by cleaning and organizing the garage - a much needed and long overdue task - so now I am in the zone to get the house done too. I will report progress in the next few days.

Alright already...enough blogging for today! Have a great one!

Happy Scrapping!


Saturday, May 2, 2009

NSD Giveaway!

May is National Scrapbooking Month and the first Saturday of May is widely recognized and celebrated as (Inter) National Scrapbooking Day! So Happy NSD! Officially I will be celebrating it on May 23rd with a bunch of other CM consultants and our great customers, but there is lots of excitement in online scrapbooking communities and websites, so make sure to surf around a little!

I even have a little NSD giveaway to offer! All you have to do is tell us WHY YOU LOVE SCRAPBOOKING in the comments section below. You have until tomorrow evening (Sunday May 3) at 10:00 pm. Good luck!

Even though I am not holding or attending any NSD events I definitely will be scrapping today as I am participating in Lain Ehmann's LOAD (LayOut A Day) challenge for the entire month of May! I am already planning today's layout in my head and I have a list of other layouts I want to prepare page kits for to make some of those crazy days ahead a little easier! Here was yesterday's LO...the first of 31!

"I Can Create!" 12 x 12 Digital LO by Noreen Smith. Storybook Creator Plus Software and Elementary School Digital Kit by CM. Scrapkids and Arial fonts.

This was a quick and easy digital layout I did up at about 10:00 pm last night (a definite advantage of digital is the speed which you can put a simple layout together and get it posted online!) The journaling reads: "You love to create, and I love seeing you have fun with paint, crayons, scissors and glue! You are proud of everything you make and you love to see it hung on the fridge for everyone to see. A budding artist? Perhaps. Go ahead and express yourself any way you like, my little Picasso!" This layout will definitely be going in our "Things We Do" album to celebrate creativity!

I may not get around to posting every day's layout on the old blog here, but you can click on the blinkie on the sidebar to see all up to date layouts. I have high hopes of getting lots accomplished this month, so wish me luck!

Happy Scrapping and Happy NSD!