December 31, 2009

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Goodbye to '09

I'm having issues.

I am completely exhausted. So tired, I feel drunk. My dog is sick and woke me in the middle of the night with an ass explosion. Lovely. Needless to say, not only did I feel vomitous after cleaning it up, but I couldn't sleep either. And it was 2:30 in the morning. I certainly regret going to bed late last night. If I am fortunate enough to stay awake to usher in 2010 it will only be because I had a nap first! ;o)

I got some great photos of our Christmas tree, and I apologize for not posting them here. My camera battery seems to have lost it's will to live suddenly and I can only take a small number of photos between charges. I need to buy another...sigh. I will get those pics up here eventually...promise!

Christmas was great though...full of family and friends just like it should be. We had two parties this year, both at our house. It was nice to see everyone but also a lot of work and cleaning went on over that period of time.

The kids were super excited to get a note from Santa again this year, this time written in red marker on a white napkin and sprinkled with red glitter. Katie knows that there is no Santa but Korbin doesn't yet and she's great enough not to spoil it for him.

I heard him wake her up while it was still dark outside, around 6:30 AM and I could hear a lot of whispering. Hubby and I giggled and snuggled while listening to their excitement. Then, it was quiet, so I got up. The kids were looking out our window at the neighbor's house across the street to see if Santa's sleigh had landed there. Indeed, there was sleigh tracks in the snow...h0w exciting!

This year Katie got a bunch of Polly Pockets, Littlest Pet Shop and Webkinz type animals. I bought her a Hello Kitty hair dryer...cute! Korbin got a bunch of GI Joe and Lego toys and he's been quite occupied with them. Hubby got a game called Things that is super fun to play with a crowd. We laughed so hard!

I also got some special gifts, a set of handmade soaps and bath salts along with a pillow for our whirlpool tub. Sounds like some relaxation is in order. I also got a very special gift from my parents, a gold and silver bracelet that contains a bunch of Swarovsky crystals and this saying:
My daughter
When you're sad
I wish you joy
When you're lonely
I wish you love
When you're discouraged
I wish you hope
When your spirit is low
I wish you beauty
When you're troubled
I wish you peace
It is so touching to receive and I have been wearing it a lot since.

I also gave myself a present, a subscription to Studio Calico's monthly kits. I ordered the December and January kits this week and can't wait to get them! I've been kit free for about six months now and I miss them sooo much! I get so much creative energy just from receiving the new goodies each month, and then getting to see what their design team does with the stuff...wow, I just wish I had more time to scrap!!

One of the projects I have in mind is to create a layout that contains a letter to myself. I am going to write about where I see myself at the end of 2010 and attach it to the layout. At the end of the year I will go back and read what I had written. I think it will be a great way to reflect on my progress and has more permanence than a simple resolution. I will share that once it is completed.

One of my hopes was to have a new blog banner ready for 2010 and that is not completed yet. I will have one up soon though so watch for it!

One of the goals I had stated a couple months ago was to have an online shop up and running by the first of the year and that is ready! Go check it out!
I have some more tweaking to do and want to add on the scrapbooking kits that I've created but the cards that I have at the moment have been listed. Let me know what you like and what you don't, and also what type of cards you'd like to see. Even if you never buy a thing, it will still help me to have the feedback. Thanks!

See you again in 2010...

December 28, 2009

USE YOUR STASH - Die Cut Monograms, Flowers, Buttons

I used the Tinkering Ink Die Cut Monograms and Prima flowers on this one! Buttons from my stash.

Title: 5th Grade Grad
Supplies:
Cardstock (Bazzill)
Die Cut Monograms (Tinkering Ink)
Stickers, Die Cuts (October Afternoon)
Flowers (Prima)
Stickers (K&Company, i believe)
Buttons: from my stash

The journaling came from my June 10, 2009 blog post.

December 25, 2009

FRIDAY FAVES - Chocolate

Very interesting chocolate combinations! The french toast and ramen noodle varieties sound yummy. Not so sure about the tortilla but I'd give it a try! Available for purchase here.

December 21, 2009

USE YOUR STASH - Rub Ons and Label Stickers

I used up several Making Memories label stickers and Tinkering Ink rub ons for this
layout. Of course I had to use some Ranger Distress Ink too. :o)

Title: Heart & Home
Supplies:
Patterned Paper (Daisy D's)
Label Stickers (Making Memories)
Rub Ons (Tinkering Ink)
Scallop Punch (Stampin Up)
Ink (Ranger Distress)
Other: ribbon, pen, cardstock

Journaling:
This was our first year with a hearth and mantle to hang our stockings. 2006

December 18, 2009

FRIDAY FAVES - Terrarium Ornaments

I'm not sure how well these would hold up over time but thought this was a very creative project. Steps are on the Design*Sponge blog.

December 17, 2009

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Silence Again

It has been a long while since I've spent any time reading other blogs. Time has been particularly precious lately. But, I finally spent some time catching up. One of the bloggers I follow is Christine Middlecamp. I came across this post she wrote back in August (yes, it's been that long!) and it brought me to tears.

Silence Again


It got me thinking about all of the little things that get taken for granted. You see, Christine lost her husband to cancer about a year and a half ago. It was a short time between his diagnosis and passing. With a small son to care for, she's had a lot to overcome. When I read her post I imagined what life would be like for me without my family around me.
  • No more "Mommy will you tuck me in tonight?" from my sweeties.
  • No more homemade hot chocolate waiting for me after a particularly cold and long commute home.
  • No more snuggling at night, to keep me warm and to help me sleep contentedly.
  • No more ear piercing screams from the kids while they are being tickled by their Daddy.
  • No more amazing pot pies lovingly prepared from scratch.
  • No more arguing about the little things.
  • No more Monday nights anxiously waiting for the family to return home from karate.
  • No more snuggling under a shared blanket.
  • No more hugs, kisses, squeezes or laughter.
Although Christine's life has taken a tragic twist, she also has been given an opportunity to remind others how precious life is. Her emotions are hard to read about, but I am thankful to have read them. Life is so easily taken for granted, and I have so much to be thankful for.

December 14, 2009

USE YOUR STASH - Die Cut Alphas

I know, I know, again with the die cut alphas! I had a ton of them from Tinkering Ink....totally LOVE them, but I'm slowly trying to use them up. Here's another page using them:

Title: 321 Blast Off!
Supplies:
Die Cut Alphas (Tinkering Ink, BasicGrey)
Stickers (Sassafras Lass)
Rub Ons (Stampin Up)
Felt (Tinkering Ink)
Paint (Making Memories)
Ink (VersaMark)
Other: Patterned paper, tag, transparency, ribbon (sources unknown)

Journaling:
@ the school's playground. 2008

December 11, 2009

FRIDAY FAVES - Home

I'd love to live in this home. Gorgeous, isn't it? Unfortunately it's about $635,000 out of my price range...ha! A girl can dream can't she?

December 10, 2009

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Buried in Snow

Wow...it's been a long time since I've shared my Thursday Thoughts. Hopefully I'll get a little better at it, but it sure gets hard to stay motivated in the winter. I think the bears have it right with the whole hibernation thing. This would be a good time to bury myself under piles of blankets with a full belly! Oh wait, I am doing that right now! Ha! ;o)

Thanksgiving was a good one as we got to see both sides of the family. I don't get to see my sister's kids much since she's been gone but the rest of the family was there. It's what thanksgiving is all about...spending time with family.

We ate at my in-laws again this year. They made a delicious turkey, to-die-for stuffing, the works. We brought an awesome Martha Stewart dish that had sweet potatoes and peaches. Hubby thought I might like it better with the peaches since I do not like sweet potatoes no matter how much brown sugar or marshmallows are piled on top. Very strange, but I just don't like them. I did eat this dish and it tasted good but I'm still not fond of sweet potatoes. He also made a green bean casserole similar to the one with cream of mushroom soup but ours was from scratch. I didn't have to cook a single thing so it was really nice!


We all played the Bop It game before we ate. Addicting! And after we had filled our bellies, we watched the Tale of Desperaux. I slept through most of it.


We had a variety of cheesecake flavors and an apple pie for dessert.


This week we had our first major snowfall and it was major...official total was 17" though I think it might be a bit more than that. Schools and my work closed down so we spent the day relaxing and playing the Wii.
The kids spent a good hour outside as soon as they found out there was no school.
The dog came in with huge baseball sized snowballs stuck to the fur on his underside. I tried to pull them off and probably got a good gallon's worth of snow off of him...and that was only what I could take without hurting him. Crazy!!

Today I had to work and, besides navigating through head high snowbanks, I also had to deal with frigid temperatures. Commuting time for me wasn't bad this morning but tonight my bus was delayed for over 45 minutes. My toes were ice cold and hurting and I was so thankful to get on the bus even though it was standing room only. Because the bus was so full of people we passed three stops with people waiting on the bus. That is the first time I've ever seen that in the 15 or so years I've been riding the bus. I'm sure they were pissed, but the driver had no choice. I finally got home nearly two hours after I left work (and I don't live that far from work...joys of the bus system!) I witnessed a lot of cars getting stuck on inclines near Olbrich Gardens due to glare ice and the outbound John Nolen Drive was shut down entirely...another first that I'm aware of. There was a Badger Bus stuck on ice down by the capitol and lots of other slick areas.

I was greeted with a cup of homemade hot cocoa by my lovely Hubby when I got home and sat under the blankets for a good 20 minutes before I felt warm enough to eat my dinner.

Hibernation still sounds wonderful...


December 7, 2009

USE YOUR STASH - Glimmer Mist & Paper Lace Borders

First of all, I love supplies that can be used over & over & over again. Glimmer mists are one of those...so versatile and long lasting. I use these a lot. I started with a light grey cardstock and just sprayed red and gold glimmer mists over it. It looks very sparkly in real life.

I had a package of Flair paper lace borders that needed to be used up, so that was the beginning of this layout design.

Title: No Boundries
Supplies:
Glimmer Mist (Tattered Angels)
Paint (Making Memories)
Patterned Paper (BasicGrey)
Paper Lace (Flair)
Chipboard (ScrapWorks)
Rub Ons (Stampin Up)

Journaling:
This turned out to be one of my favorites -- a photo taken totally out of the blue just because I thought you looked so darn cute!

December 4, 2009

FRIDAY FAVES - People, Places, Things

Love these new My Mind's Eye tree die cuts. So cute and cheap too!
The Maya Road mini chipboard houses...
and what went out of stock before I could buy some....the Sandylion People patterned paper.
Hey Santa...I have all three of these items on my Wish List. :o)

November 30, 2009

USE YOUR STASH - Epoxy Buttons & Brads

For this layout I wanted to use up some Making Memories epoxy buttons that I've had in my stash. I started with a Heidi Swapp mega circle mask and inked a large circle in the center of the layout. I then added the title (another supply you've seen a lot of---Tinkering Ink's die cut alphas) before filling in the rest of the circle with epoxy buttons. The patterned paper not only anchors the photo but the journaling strip as well. I added brads underneath the journaling to break up the circle and balance out the layout.
Title: Musical Mayhem
Supplies:
Patterned Paper (Cosmo Cricket)
Die Cut Alphas (Tinkering Ink)
Epoxy Buttons (Making Memories)
Brads (American Crafts)
Stamps (BasicGrey)
Masks (Heidi Swapp)

Journaling:
Korbin flashed us this grin during the concert in Mr. Stein's classroom. This is the part where you were singing "We Like Broccoli."
2nd Grade, May, 2009

November 27, 2009

FRIDAY FAVES:

LOVE the new storage options from Doodlebug, especially the Apothecary Chest and Collectible Cupboard...can we say doodle-icious?
And this gorgeous green sweater at Old Navy.

November 25, 2009

WEDNESDAY WORDS - Chapter 14

So...I got some writing done this week...yeah! Unfortunately, it wasn't my best work and this little bit I'm sharing with you today is from Chapter 13:
It was only two years ago since this sick [f-word] was convicted of child molestation. He had victimized his nine year old niece over a period of years before anyone found out. The news reported that she was so traumatized she’d gone mute and began wetting her bed. Two years and he’s a free man. Two years… It was just incomprehensible how a dirt bag like this can get off so easily when this poor girl’s life was ruined. This guy deserved to die and she was going to see to it.

She checked her watch again and saw it was time for action.
It's funny how story lines can pop into your head at the strangest moments. Today I was pondering my quiet personality and it led me to think up a twist in the novel. I'm excited to have a more immediate direction to write, and I think that will help greatly this next week. Until then....

Untilted Novel
Word Count: 8.098

November 23, 2009

USE YOUR STASH - Core'dinations Cardstock

So I did a review of Core'dinations Chocolate Box color core cardstock a few months ago. It's gorgeous and so fun! So this challenge started out with the cardstock and what I could do with it. I wetted it on both sides and smoothed it over a leaf pattern texture plate, then I sanded it while still damp to achieve this look. It not as defined as I would have liked but it does give a funky look, no?

Title: Special Bond


And I've been dying to use this BasicGrey Porcelain collection...YUM, YUM! See...you can use "girly" products for boy pages too!

Products Used:
Cardstock (Core'dinations)
Patterned Paper (BasicGrey)
Flower, Bling, Alpha (Heidi Swapp)
Flower chipboard (Pebbles, I think?)
Other: heart chipboard, ribbon
Adhesive: Ad Tech

November 20, 2009

FRIDAY FAVES - Happy Stuff!

Guacamole....my sister-in-law, Melissa, started me back up on this kick and I haven't stopped yet! The family and I ate some this week while playing a game of Life...my comment as I devoured..."This is NOT helping my addiction AT ALL." Do they have a Guacamole'holics Anonymous?
This is my favorite lotion ever...Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Lavender & Vanilla. Yum! It has a luscious soft scent that is just heavenly!

And, Studio Calico Kits! I have not belonged to a kit club since September and it has been very hard! I really, really, really want to join Studio Calico. Honestly I don't know how I've resisted this long. Gorgeous, no?

November 19, 2009

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Part II

I just came across this extremely touching news story about an 8th grade teacher in Indianapolis after being drawn to some scrapbook pages created by Jenni Hufford.

I just finished reading The Wednesday Letters and mentioned to my husband how amazing it is that the breath of Christ comes into our lives at the exact moment when we need it most. This story is a living example of how letter writing can show how much you are cared for. It's a must watch. Thank you Jenni, and Jesus, for bringing this into my life right now.



THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Estranged

"Estranged"
by Guns 'n Roses (1991)

When you're talkin to yourself
And nobody's home
You can fool yourself
You came in this world alone
(Alone)

So nobody ever told you baby
How it was gonna be
So what'll happen to you baby
Guess we'll have to wait and see
ONE, TWO

Old at heart but I'm only 28
And I'm much too young
To let love break my heart
Young at heart but it's getting much too late
To find ourselves so far apart

I don't know how you're s'posed
To find me lately
An what more could you ask from me
How could you say that I never needed you
When you took everything
Said you took everything from me

Young at heart an it gets so hard to wait
When no one I know can seem to help me now
Old at heart but I musn't hesitate
If I'm to find my own way out

Still talkin' to myself
and nobody's home
(Alone)

So nobody ever told us baby
How it was gonna be
So what'll happen to us baby
Guess we'll have to wait and see

When I find out all the reasons
Maybe I'll find another way
Find another day
With all the changing seasons of my life
Maybe I'll get it right next time
An now that you've been broken down
Got your head out of the clouds
You're back down on the ground
And you don't talk so loud
An you don't walk so proud
Any more, and what for

Well I jumped into the river
Too many times to make it home
I'm out here on my own, an drifting all alone
If it doesn't show give it time
To read between the lines
'Cause I see the storm getting closer
And the waves they get so high
Seems everything we've ever known's here
Why must it drift away and die

I'll never find anyone to replace you
Guess I'll have to make it thru, this time- Oh this time
Without you

I knew the storm was getting closer
And all my friends said I was high
But everything we've ever known's here
I never wanted it to die


November 16, 2009

USE YOUR STASH - Patterned Paper Scraps

This one uses many patterned paper scraps, a bit of paint and a few small embellishments. Cute, isn't it?

Title: Silly Faces

Products Used:
Cardstock (Bazzill)
Patterned Paper Scraps (Misc.)
Marker (Zig)
Alpha Stickers (Adorn It, Pink Paislee)
Paint (Making Memories)
Adhesive (Ad Tech)

November 15, 2009

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Check In

I can't believe how quickly this year has gone by and, yet, I am still questioning my focus and future direction. I've wanted to ask anyone who will listen "What should I do...write, scrap, both??" and have the answer given to me. What I've come to realize though is that the reason this has been so difficult for me is because I am asking a question that only I can answer. Perhaps I am afraid of commitment, or maybe--probably--of failure.

What I want to do the most is to write, however, that can feel tedious and trying and then, what if I put in all that time and effort and nothing ever comes of it? Honestly, I feel like I can do this, I am just not so good at plodding away through the trudgery of it all. I am most definitely a person who likes the instant feedback and encouragement. Maybe I just need to do a weekly writing check in - that is probably what I'll end up doing. Somehow, some way, this will be my focus for 2010.

I do enjoy crafting so much though! I just can't stop it, and I've found that creating consistently produces a much better, effortless result. If I stop I get uncertain of where or how to start again. This is why I've been keeping up with my Use Your Stash posts. I hope you've enjoyed them. I now have layouts posted for the remainder of 2009. How cool is that? Definitely makes me feel like I can have the best of both worlds.

In addition to my Use Your Stash posts I have decided to try selling cards through Etsy. I've already made a half dozen cards and plan to make another dozen at least before beginning to list them. My goal is to open for business on January 1st. It certainly won't be a money-making operation but it will satisfy my creative release and use up my stash... both great things! I am excited and thinking hard on a business name. Suggestions?

I will be redoing my blog banner for 2010 as well. Still thinking on that one, although it will be focused on words and writing.

It seems like I can get twice as much done if I have a plan and that is what I've come up with. A way to share myself and my work with you on a consistent basis. These pieces will not all fall into place simultaneously, but look for these posts in the near future:

Mondays - Use Your Stash - I will share scrapbooking pages using up supplies from my stash.

Wednesdays - Wednesday Words - These posts will share what I've been writing in my novel during the past week. Look for small snippets of my novel in its rough, first draft format.

Thursday - Thursday Thoughts - These posts focus on my life at the moment. Sometimes they are reflective, sometimes informational, all depends on what mood I'm in at the moment.

Fridays - Friday Favorites - I will share a few of my favorite things at the moment.

So...that's the plan! I hope you join me as I pull it together and get cracking! Most of all, please drop me a comment once in awhile. Makes me feel like I'm not just talking to myself. ;o)

November 9, 2009

USE YOUR STASH - Flower Stickers and Stamps

This layout uses stamping and flower stickers. I used some of my favorite alpha stamps from Sassafras - the Polka Dot Alpha - to create the "Morning" in my title. I used SEI (?) flower stickers and an exclusive ScarletLime.com stamp to create a layered focal area.

Title: Morning Play
It's been awhile since I've created this layout but these are the products that I remember.

Products Used:
Flower Stickers (SEI, I believe)
Stamps (Owl from ScarletLime.com and Alpha from Sassafras Lass)
Ink (Tsukineko Memento Baby Collection)
Alpha Stickers (Doodlebug)
Buttons

November 2, 2009

USE YOUR STASH - Stamps, Acrylic Butterflies

I used a large Hero Arts block stamp on the edges of this layout. I wanted the grid marks to form a circle so I used one of the Heidi Swapp mega masks to block out that area of the layout while I did my stamping.

Title: Flutter & Float
Butterfly close ups:Butterfly close

Products Used:
Cardstock (Prism)
Patterned Paper, Ribbon, Brad, Alpha Stickers, Photo Turn and Metal Flowers (Paper Salon)
Mega Mask, Acrylic Butterflies, Flower Jewels (Heidi Swapp)
Stamp (Hero Arts)
Ink (VersaColor)
Velvet Alpha, Journaling Notebook Paper (Making Memories)
Adhesive (Ad Tech, Scrapbook Adhesive)

November 1, 2009

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Walt Disney World Recap

Here's the Disney recap. I took 250 photos and I was bummed that when we arrived at the Animal Kingdom on our last day my camera battery was almost dead. Oops. I missed out on a TON of great photos that day. My SIL bought an instant camera so I will have a few pics from the park, but not nearly as nice as what my camera could have captured. =-(

My brother and SIL left their house at 4:00 AM, arrived at our house shortly after 5:00 AM and we took off for the airport by 5:30 AM. We arrived in Orlando around 4:00 PM. The first thing that stuck us is HEAT! It was nearly 90 degrees every day, humid and sunny. I'm not complaining but having left Wisconsin in the 40's it felt quite different! By the time we got to the hotel we were all pretty beat. We parted ways for dinner. We and the kids went down to the hotel restaurant for dinner, and then we met up with my brother and SIL afterward for swimming in the hotel pool. The sun had gone down and the pool was deserted. A great way to end our first day.

Tuesday we went to Hollywood Studios. Our first stop, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This was the ride I was most scared about. You enter sort of a twilight zone mansion. After a short wait we were instructed to stand by a large elevator. I remember the creepy guy (who took his role quite seriously) pointing at a couple and told them to get in line "Your time has come!" he stated. We were prompted into the elevator and seated and strapped. Gulp. From there the elevator rose and then entered a dark room lit only by small white twinkle lights. I don't remember specifically but I know there was a warning about "no return" at this point. We were pushed forward and suddenly plummeted 13 stories. It didn't stop there. We were bounced up and plummeted back down about 6 times before the ride stopped. We were in total darkness except for when we bounced "up" there was a window that would open showing you how high you were. I swore that one more bounce and I'd be losing my breakfast. Thank God it was over, but I survived and secretly loved it after I stopped shaking.

Our next stop was Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. I had REALLY wanted to do this. The ride takes you on an adventure with the Aerosmith band late to a gig and rushing to get across the city. You are seated in a limo with Aerosmith music blaring while flying through the air on the roller coaster. This one not only did turns but went upside down too. I know my tummy wouldn't handle that at this point so only Hubby and my brother went on this one.
Our morning quieted a bit with the Journey Into Narnia: Prince Caspian Attraction. Here we got to meet Prince Caspian (who was quite attractive, I must say) and see some of the Narnia props and costumes. It was a pretty quick walk through.

Toy Story Mania! was next, and it was a long line...around 45 minutes. I hear we went at a great time because most attractions we could get right into. This one was our longest wait. Inside we rode in a two seated car and used a ray gun to shoot targets on screen while wearing 3D glasses. It was very fun, put the pumping (pulling, actually) really started to hurt my arm. Little Girl and I rode together and she beat me!

We ate lunch at Hollywood & Vine, a "play n dine" experience. The buffet style restaurant had characters dancing and coming around to greet you as you ate. There was JoJo and the lion from JoJo's Circus and two characters from the Little Einsteins. We took lots of pictures but were shocked at the price for our meal. Guess I wanted to put that one behind me because I can't seem to find the receipt!

Next stop: Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! Here we got to see some of the stunts performed in the movie in live action. The guy was Harrison Ford's actual stunt double in the movie. Pretty cool photos on this one, especially since it was nearly constant action.
After that Hubby, the Kids and my Brother went on the Star Tours - the Ultimate Star Wars Thrill Ride. Reports were disappointing on this one.

My brother was a huge Muppet fan when he was younger so I knew that the Muppet Vision 3D movie would be a must-see. This movie contained many of the original Muppet characters, along with the two guys who always sat in the balcony who were seated in the theater's balcony for a "live" performance. Everyone was in a good mood:
We took the kids for a little playtime at the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure. This was a huge play area where everything was enlarged making us feel like a bug would feel in our world. It was pretty cool! There was a big, leaky hose that squirted water, and a squirt gun that my brother and Little Boy got soaked from:
My brother is a bit goofy, in a good way, of course! =) On our way to the next event he spotted the face paint area and dared Hubby to get one with him. The deal was that if Hubby got the unicorn face paint my brother would get the rainbow frog. Never one to resist a challenge, they ended up looking like this:The Lights, Motors, Action! Stunt Show was one of our favorites. The most memorable portion was the ballet chase where four cars literally performed twists and turns in very close proximity to each other. The cars would literally turn a 180 on a dime. One of the cars drove backwards at very high speeds. I don't know how they did it all without crashing. There were motorcycles and a huge stunt with one of the motorcycle drivers sliding through fire and catching on fire himself. Even though I'm not a big "car" person this was also one of my favorites because it was so well done and awe inspiring. We later learned that part of the car's success was that the engine was moved to the middle of the car; this allowed them to be able to turn so quickly. The emergency brake was also rigged to be used quickly. And the guy that drove backwards like a maniac? Well, it turns out that the car was altered so that the driver was actually facing the rear of the vehicle so while it looked like he was driving backwards he really wasn't. This was so cool!
We had dinner at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. We were seated in a convertible car where the sound was piped in on speakers just like you'd see at a drive in movie theater. Movies and commercials from the 50's played while we dined. I had a yummy bruschetta chicken sandwich.

Our last experience of the evening was Fantasmic!, an amazing spectacle of lights, music, fire and water.

Tuesday we went to Epcot. Our first stop was Soarin', an amazing ride where you are suspended 40 feet in the air with a movie screen ahead and you go over a land and sea scape that actually felt like you were flying. There was a pine smell as we flew over the forest and when we went over water it looked like you go so close that your feet were about to touch. It was my very favorite of Epcot. We had wanted to go back and do this again but we never did make it.

Turtle Talk with Crush was so fun for the kids. We went into a small theater where Crush from Finding Nemo was on screen talking to the kids who sat down front. Both Little Boy and Little Girl sat up front and Crush asked some of the boys and girls questions. Little Boy was one of them. When Crush asked him if he had a question he said "Hi," Crush paused for a second and said "That's the opposite of low." Then asked Little Boy if he had another question and his response? "Hello." Yup, that's my boy!

On our way to lunch there was floor to ceiling aquariums.
We went on the Living With the Land Boat Tour through Epcot's fruit and vegetable gardens, vegetation, fish farms and a rainforest and saw experiments in energy sources, hydroponics and other ways to improve plant growth. They had some new tomato trees. The cool part of this was that the fruits and vegetables are served in Epcot's restaurants. Pretty neat, huh?

We had lunch at the Coral Reef Restaurant which also had floor to ceiling aquariums (the reverse side of the photo above). Hubby had trout ($19.99) and a root beer ($2.69), I had Lobster Ravioli ($24.99) and a Lemonade ($2.69), the kids each had a cheese pizza ($4.09), an ice cream sundae ($1.99) and apple slices ($1.99) and they both had kiddie cocktails; Little Boy ordered a special light up car cup for $4.99.

Mission: SPACE was awesome! We got to be space recuits and man the space shuttle to Mars. The ride shot you up and had you weave through space debris. There was bumps and acceleration. It felt as "real" as I would like to experience. I am glad we took the "green" experience because the "orange" experience was much more realistic.

The boys went on Test Track where you got to race a car at 60 miles per hour. It was disappointing because you didn't really drive the car.

Maelstrom was a fun ride on a Norwegian viking ship. Afterward we got to watch a video about Norway culture and we spent some time shopping in their gift shop. They had lovely jewelry, sweaters and perfumes.

Dinner at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall was the worst as far as cost goes - $259.39 for the four of us to dine with Jasmine, Ariel, Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Snow White. It was an appetizer buffet, an entree for each of us, and a dessert sampler. I chose to split an entree with Hubby but still had to pay full price.
IlluniNations: Reflections of Earth was their nighttime light show. Really cool though we had some irate people around us because once the show started most people in front of us stood up to watch, and that left lots of kids and anyone sitting unable to see much. The fireworks at the end was my favorite!

Wednesday we went to Sea World. The kids got to feed several animals including sting rays. We saw a cool pirate ship show that had a really funny mime at the beginning mimicking people who were coming in and generally causing mischief. They had some seals as the starts of the show. The highlight of the day though was getting to see Shamu. Oh boy is he big! (Actually I'm not sure if it's a he or she...) We ate lunch at Mango Joe's--three kids hot dog meals (hot dog and a bag of Lay's potato chips or apple slices) for $7.29 each served on a collectible Shamu plate, a small Shamu bowl of watermelon for $3.39, and Hubby had a chicken sandwich meal for $8.29 and four cookies for $4.69.

Thursday we went to Magic Kingdom.
We started our day with the Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride. We got to see electric powered pirates (including the ever adorable Jack Sparrow) all along the underground water way. They sang, they drank, they battled, and we had a few drops of the boat along the way. All in all a pretty tame and unremarkable ride.

Splash Mountain scared me. The end involved a 50 foot drop and a near guarantee of getting soaked. I braved it and LOVED it. We actually did this twice because I had so much fun! As you were just dropping your picture was taken. Had some pretty funny screams and expressions on our faces. :o)

The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was another train-type roller coaster. This was fairly jerky and nothing remarkable.

The Haunted Mansion seemed like it would be awesome, but ended up not being scary at all. The coolest part was at the beginning when we entered into a large round room and it appeared as if the domed ceiling was rising right before our eyes, to make a really large room.

We ate lunch at the Crystal Palace. This was a buffet style lunch with visits from Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore. The kids had a great time here and the cost wasn't too outrageous. Probably my favorite meal because we were all in good moods and the kids really got into the characters.
We saw the 3D movie, Mickey's PhilharMagic. Donald Duck steals Mickey's wizard hat and attempts to conduct the orchestra to disastrous results. I loved this show and we went back to see it later on in the afternoon once my brother and SIL arrived. One of my favorites.

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin was much like the Toy Story ride in Hollywood Studios but not nearly as cool.

The Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor was a live show featuring Roz (on video) and Mike Wazowski. This show was so funny partly because it got interactive with the audience by picking out a few audience members and shining a spotlight on them. One audience member was picked as a crazy dancing dude, another for a mind reading trick and a child. Mike told jokes, including jokes that were texted in by audience members. My brother tried to text one in but it did not get put into the show. We actually saw this twice also, once before lunch and once after when my brother and SIL were there.

The Swiss Family Treehouse was a walk through replication of the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse.

Hubby and the kids rode the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. The carpet shaped cars went up and down and spun around like a carousel.

Then they rode Cinderella's Golden Carousel which was right next door. Hubby had far too much fun on this ride!
Then we all went on Peter Pan's Flight. The cool part of this ride is that we actually lifted off the ground as if our two person pirate ship was in flight. We saw many of the Disney scenes and characters along the way.

What is a theme park without bumper cars? Tomorrowland Indy Speedway was a must do. I rode with Little Girl. She wanted to drive but was such a sissy about stepping on the gas that I took over. Pedal to the metal baby! But she still couldn't steer so we kept bouncing around on the track, so I tried to steer from the passenger side for a bit, but that didn't work so well. I got a little involved in bumping into my brother's car...oops. ;o)

Stitch's Great Escape was very, very cool. We were recruited to guard dangerous aliens, Stitch being the most dangerous that they ever faced. We entered into a round room and seated into a jump seat with a shoulder restraint coming over our heads. We got to see Stitch transport in front of our eyes, a terrible smoky stink and maniacal laughter all around us. Sparks flew and the lights went out COMPLETELY for a good 30 seconds. It was pitch black and honestly a bit scary. It was just a surprise what this was all about and that's what made it fun.

Thursday night Little Girl, my brother, SIL and I went to Downtown Disney. We had a quick meal at McDonald's and shopped the Disney Store for a couple of hours. This store is one of my all time favorites...it's H-U-G-E! I bought a t-shirt for Hubby, a charm bracelet for Little Girl and a sweatshirt for Little Boy. I also bought a necklace for my coworker who was covering for me. Guess what? I did not buy a thing for myself. Boo hoo! LOL.

Friday we did Animal Kingdom. We started the day with the Kilimanjaro Safari. We got to see many live animals but the coolest for me was the giraffe that our jeep went right next to as he was eating leaves from a tree. We were so close I could have reached out and touched him (and I really wanted to). This safari was made pretty real by the driver and "communications" to the base about poachers up ahead, driving through muddy ponds and over rickety bridges. Neat.

It's Tough to be a Bug was another really cool 3D movie. I really can't do 3D because of the severe difference in sight between my left and right eye, but this one really got intense for me, I think because we were sitting in the front row. I thought there was something right in front of my face, but it was on the screen. They had dung beetles in this show that blew out at the audience, and at the end there was little cockroaches and other bugs running to leave the theater and they went through our seat cushions making it feel like there really was crawling things right underneath you. Gross. This was creepy but in a good way.

The Tree of Life was a centerpiece of this park. The trunk had over 300 intricate animal images hand carved into it.
We did the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail to see hippos and gorillas.

We took the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki's Planet Watch.

The Habitat Habit!, Conservation Station and Affection Section were all in the same area. We got to see snakes and turtles, then we got to see a hawk being x-rayed by the animal keepers and we waited to witness a python eating but he was playing around with his food even though he hadn't eaten in days so we did not stay to watch. We got to brush and pet goats and a cow named Kitty in the affection section.

We had a quick lunch at Tamu Tamu. Three cheeseburger meals at $6.59 each, and a tuna salad sandwich for Little Girl for $7.79. Drinks were $4.38 for two root beers and $2.19 for lemonade.

Flights of Wonder was a really cool live bird and dance show. We got to see a huge crane, a bald eagle, and several smaller birds fly right next to us. They had performers dance in costume. So neat!
We walked along the Maharajah Jungle Trek to see tigers, giant bats and Kimodo dragons.

My SIL and Little Girl went on TriceraTop Spin while the boys went on the Dinosaur! ride. (I stayed behind.) Apparently Dinosaur made it seem like you were being chased by dinosaurs as you blast through meteors. TriceraTop Spin was a slow ride similar to the Aladdin's Magic Carpet ride.

On our last evening in Florida we ate dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. Hubby had steak ($29.99) and a Mai Tai ($7.00), I had a chop salad ($15.99) and Rainbow Colada ($7.99), Little Girl had a cheeseburger ($6.99) and Little Boy had a cheese pizza ($6.00) and each kid ordered a slushie in a collectible cup for $7.99 each.

What else to say? I'm sure there's a lot I'm forgetting but right now I'm ready to share this much with you.

So Much to Tell...

First off, I didn't make the design team at Lil' Scrappin' Mama. I was in Baltimore at the time the announcement was made and I had so much on my plate at the time that I just felt okay with it all. Baltimore was a great city to visit. I spent free time walking around the Inner Harbor and Little Italy and stopped to see the jellyfish, dolphin show and 4D movie at the National Aquarium. I ate a ton of seafood but mostly didn't feel well during the entire trip and things were dampened because of it. I spent a couple of nights in my hotel room just cocooning myself under the covers watching TV. Baltimore is too big of a city for me, but it was great to visit and I'd love to do it again sometime in the spring or summer months. The bankruptcy conference was the best I've attended and I'm proud to say that I passed the certification exam so I'm now a Certified Bankruptcy Assistant. Although I hope to never put it to the test, if I ever do need to leave the federal government job it will come in handy on my resume.

I had less than 12 hours at home between my trip to Baltimore and when we left for Walt Disney World. It was a fabulous week of sunny skies and hot and humid temperatures hovering around 90 degrees every day. It was sweltering but I tried not to let it get to me. I knew as soon as I went back to Wisconsin I'd be in 30's and 40's again.

We got home late last night and I've spent time catching up on mail, laundry and grocery shopping. I have lots left to do, but it will get done.

I am working on a detailed post from Disney World and pictures so look for that soon!

October 26, 2009

USE YOUR STASH - Badges, Buttons and Decorative Scissors

I used up a bunch of American Crafts badges, Heidi Swapp circle sticker and buttons on this project. I even pulled out the deco scissors for this one. Can you spot the two places I used them?

Title: Chalk Love
Supplies:
Cardstock (Bazzill)
Patterned Paper (ScarletLime.com exclusives)
Stickers (Heidi Swapp,Pebbles, unknown)
Badges (American Crafts)
Adhesive (Ad Tech)
Decorative Scissors (Fiskars)
Other: buttons

October 19, 2009

USE YOUR STASH - Buttons & Die Cut Paper

I made this one quite some time ago. It started with the yellow patterned paper - pulled from my older stash - wanting to get it used up and then the KI Memories die cut lace paper. The buttons just seemed to tie it all together.

Title: Brat Fest
Products Used:
Cardstock (Prism)
Patterned Paper (American Crafts I believe)
Stamp (journaling label) (BasicGrey)
Ink (Stampin Up)
Stickers (Scenic Route, Making Memories)
Die Cut Paper (KI Memories)
Rub Ons (unknown)
Other: buttons, fibers
Foam Adhesive

October 12, 2009

USE YOUR STASH - Patterned Paper Scraps

This is a pic of my BFF's littlest. Isn't he a doll?? A hybrid layout - lots of hand drawn photoshop tidbits (hence their utter imperfection) and edited the photo with www.fotoflexer.com.

Title: Messy Boy

















And close ups:














I used up a bunch of scraps with my Spellbinders Wizard postage stamp-shaped dies. Some of them were embossed with hearts and some with stars, some I kept plain.

Everything else was done in Photoshop.

Products Used:
Cardstock (Prism)
Die Cutting Machine and Dies (Spellbinders Wizard)
Patterned Paper (BasicGrey, Daisy D's, Sassafras Lass, ???)
Photo Editing (www.fotoflexer.com)
Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0

Journaling:
It was your very first birthday and OH. WHAT. A. MESS. you were! Once you tasted your cake you devoured it and looked so cute with the frosting all over your face! You had so much cake and frosting that you got sick. I am so glad I was there to share in your special day. June, 2009

October 8, 2009

Blue Hair?

My not-so-little baby came home from the stylist with a brand new haircut and color.

She had it done a few weeks ago and I hadn't taken a picture yet so, tonight we had a little styling session and then I took these pics.

Isn't it fun? I love being able to give her a bit of playfulness & individuality in a healthy way.

This is what it looked like before:


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