Monday, February 22, 2010

Homework Time

Direct Quote from Madison "Dumbledore is deep in thought studying Defense of the Dark Arts"
And Nora immediately called Madison Gandalf.
Anyone care to make a guess on the last 2 fantasy novels Tom has read to the girls???

February Gardening

It is crazy to think of the amount of gardening that we have all ready accomplished for the year. My apologies for those reading this in the rest of the country that are getting a real winter. It has completely passed us by and I think this has to be the driest and most pleasant winter I can remember.

Nora and I began the gardening last week. Ever since seeing Peter Pan, Nora has insisted that she was going to have her own flower garden and plant TIGER LILLIES. So for her birthday she got lilly bulbs along with some other spring bulbs. She was so anxious to get planting that she decided she could share some in my flower beds since hers wasn't built yet.

Then the weekend just got better so Tom and I spent a good 10+ hours on Saturday and Sunday clearing brush, digging out rocks and roots, hauling loads of gravel and dirt, and much more. We definitely got our workout in!
BEFORE(sorry for the horrible shadows)


I saw a flower box system at Costco that I showed Tom. He was able to build this much better design at twice the size for a third of the price. So officially this is Nora's flower bed, though I think mommy will have to take over some space. I will post pictures this summer with it full of things like bleeding hearts, hostas, wild geraniums, begonias, impatiens..... oh and of course LILLIES!!! I am also going to plant shrubs in the back to hide the ugly shed. And how perfect was it that this arrived in the mailbox on Saturday? It is worse than a kid in a candy store. All the options are amazing! I don't know how I will make some selections. I see a shopping spree at Covington Creek Nursery in my near future!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ski Bunny

First day on the slopes in 15+ years. It was a great Valentine date for Tom and I, getting to spend a full day together out in the sunshine and fresh air. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect date and are looking forward to trying to squeeze in one more before the slopes close for the season!

Friday, February 12, 2010


A day of Valentine celebration is over. I am feeling exhausted but happy. Here are some of the things that made me smile

The girls' Valentine Cards. I found the idea on a blog that I would love to link to, but didn't save. I thought they were just cute and silly. The kids were quite impressed!!!

The roar of the crowd (well, 25 second graders) when told they got to make these

The relief when the heart candy stacking game was a HUGE success. I kid you not, that they would have been satisfied doing this for the entire hour. Party moms, file this one away for next year!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ten on Ten

Typically ten on ten photo challenge is a great way to try out new photos, still lifes and other fun techniques. But this month it happened to be a special someone's fifth birthday so she was the muse for all ten photos. Thanks Andrea for the caption inspiration!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Project Life - My Version

Okay, to recap my scrapbooking obsession the past month I completed Project 365, started my plan for the Becky Higgins Project Life Kit, and completed my 2008 family album. If only I could be so inspired and energetic about housework!!
Now I am excited to begin work on my 2010 family album. I will continue with my "hybrid style" working on combining the aspects of Project 365 that I appreciated along with adding some more traditional scrapbooking and experimenting with new products and techniques. It is exciting to be working on current events in our life since that hasn't happened since I started scrapbooking with Madison's baby album. It will be nice to formulate layouts in my head as I am taking the photos or find inspiration in blogs and magazines to use immediately.
I will be using many different products for the album but am using the Memory Works "Simple Stories Kit" to tie it all together. Each month will start out with a compilation layout of just randomness in our lives that doesn't tie into a specific layout. This is kind of my version of Project 365 for the album. I will be including a small calendar on each of these layouts as a different version of journaling. For this month I printed small photos for the collage and added the dates it happened to connect to the calendar. For February I am really hoping to work on my photoshop collage skills to try and create a nice collage of photos I can have printed 8x8 and then add it to the page. I am sure it will take a little time to create but I think the final look will be a bit more polished.
After the month recap pages I will include probably 3-5 layouts that highlight some of the bigger events of the month.
I have to say having a system simplifies the process so much and allows me to complete pages so much faster. I was able to do all these pages in about 6 hours time while scrapping with a friend, munching on snacks and lots of chatting mixed in. For me that is pretty impressive since I have often worked on one layout for 3+ hours. Knowing the direction I am heading and trying to focus on the photos and journaling really helped keep me on task and moving forward. I plan to organize and print photos at the end of each month with the goal of having those pages completed before print time for the next month. Right now that seems managable.
The final component to the 2010 plan is throwing in layouts that don't need to fit chronologically in any necessary order. Currently I am working on a "Thursdays With Nora" layout and "Maddy and her Books" layout. I am taking the photos over a longer period of time and then will make a fun layout to add into the album whenever it gets done.
So there you go, the plan for the year. I hope to share some of my layouts each month as I complete them, more to keep me accountable and moving along. I still wish there was a better way to post the layouts. I have experimented with all different things and it still doesn't please me. I suppose the real solution is getting a 12x12 printer/scanner but not seeing that happen in the near future!!!

Want to check out other people and their project life photos? Go here for a great list of links!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Going Hybrid!!

As much as I would love to have that title relate to me getting a new sporty hybrid car (though maybe not the Prius, at the moment!!) unfortunately that is not the theme for this post. Instead, I am presenting my completed 2008 scrapbook!! YEE HAW!! In my Project 365 summary I mentioned the pros and cons of the finished product. Overall, I was happy but it didn't give me an amazing feeling when I opened it up to look at it. BUT it was leaps and bounds better than my previous "completed" albums that make me cringe a bit when I look at them. Lots of 75% complete pages, missing journaling, what was I thinking layouts and embellishments and not a feeling of really capturing our complete lives.....

I am happy to report that my 2008 album combines what I did like about my previous albums and the P365 and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! I get a warm and happy feeling when I open it up to look at it (which I do often:-). I feel like I captured the really big moments in our life well, along with getting alot of small moments that are important to remember. There is a much better cross-section of people represented in the album including Tom, myself, friends and relatives instead of just Madison and Nora and nothing else. And I did a much better job including journaling on the pages.

As much as I love this album I would love to share each and every page with you BUT the four inch thickness may indicate just a bit how many pages are in the album. So instead, I am going to highlight a bit of my new-found "hybrid scrapbooking style" that I love. A little bit of many techniques and strategies that I have discovered to help make the process interesting, unique and simplified.
1. I began to discover this solution 2 years ago and it is by far the BEST scrapping break through I have found. These are page protectors that are divided into different sections so you can just slide 4x6 photos right into the pockets. Instead of stressing over every 12x12 layout, I can focus on a few that are really important to me and then add these divided pages to speed up the process. I especially like the ones that give spots for both vertical and horizontal photos and even smaller slots for embellishing. I typically purchase the WeRMemories brand and have found even a bigger selection of styles and sizes for my 2010 album!! Here is the other side to this 2 page layout with a large photo highlighted (I did this alot more in this album, choosing a few photos to enlarge and really emphasize. LOVE IT!!)

2. I did a few pages attempting to go truely hybrid by doing part of the layout in photo-shop and then finishing it off with traditional scrapbooking. On this layout I did the photo collages of my daily thanks photos and had them printed 8x8 and then added a few embelishment on the paper. I really want to explore this style more this year and will use the always inspiring Ali Edward's Blog to help me out.
3. Fairly traditional scrapbooking still has its place in my albums and this is my collage title page.
4. For each month I did a summary page using random photos that capture our daily lives. This got a lot of those small moments that often got missed in prior albums where I did the big events but missed out on the small things.
5. Another non-traditional page protector. This one opens up to really highlight something special. Just right for the flower girl layout.

I am so excited to have this done. There are still photos/pages I could add but I think I really summed up our year and I am ready to move onto 2010. I am getting 10 hours of scrapbooking bliss with a friend on Saturday and am looking forward to coming up with my strategy for tackling the new year. I will take alot of what I did for 2008 and build on it for this year. I am hoping to share my plan next week so prepare yourself for another LONG and BORING post. Feel free to ignore:-)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What she does for fun

I doubt there are many other 7 year olds out there who would spend an hour of their day organizing their book collection in alphabetical order by author. She came up with the idea on her own and complained when she had to take a break to go to Red Robin for dinner. As soon as we got home she was right back in her room finishing the job. Next up, the Dewey Decimal System for her non-fiction collection:-) Grandma Peggy, the librarian, will be very proud!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Flight (and plight) of the Butterfly

The girls and I decided to spend a wet and rainy Seattle Saturday at the Pacific Science Center. It certainly wasn't a unique idea, as the place was PACKED. The highlight of each trip there for the girls is the Butterfly House. They choose their clothing specifically with hopes of getting a butterfly to land on them and even applied a bit of body spray to help their chances. The last 2 times Madison has been the chosen one with the butterflies and Nora has not forgotten it! The place was very busy this trip so I thought our chances were slim to none of a landing, though Nora was certain it would happen and stood very still at the koi pond just waiting patiently.

First landing was on my boot. This guy stayed there for about 5 minutes while I walked around.

It was then getting time to leave with no luck for Nora. I was preparing myself for a full blown melt-down when this occured.

I was so relieved and Nora was thrilled beyond belief. THANK YOU MRS. BUTTERFLY!!!!

Then we were off to the Imax viewing of BUGS.

Quote from Madison at the end of the movie "I ALMOST made it to the end without crying!" Yes folks, that's right, my ultra-sensitive child who has pretty much cried watching every movie she has ever seen even cried at an IMAX viewing of BUGS!!!! Want to know the truth? Mommy got a bit teary eyed too, so I don't think we need to wonder where this sensitivity comes from. Tom says I cry at coffee commercials, which is completely true and I don't even like coffee!!! Just to defend Madison and myself it was quite tragic. We had been following the life of one sweet caterpillar/butterfly named Papilio and in the end we watch her get eaten by a praying mantis!!! Heart breaking.