December 29, 2011


I can't believe 2011 is winding down.  It has been a marvelous year!  I am also excited for 2012 because I have a personal project I will be working on in the month of January and sharing on this blog.   More about that next week.  :o)

First off, a little gripe.  Movie ratings.  When exactly did the movie ratings get so whacked?  My kids are 10 and 13 now so once in awhile we find it nice to enjoy a movie together.  Problem is, I have yet to find a PG-13 rated movie that is not completely inappropriate for children.   We recently sat down to watch Little Fockers together.   We know that this movie series does get a bit risque and were prepared for some of that but in the first 10 minutes alone there was discussion of erectile dysfunction, condoms, sexual positions, sexual appetite and a drawing of a penis.  We turned the movie off.  Luckily most of this went over the kids' heads but it just leaves me wondering who in the heck comes up with these ratings?  I know it is also common to find swearing on daytime television these days.  Where does it end?  It has been very challenging to expose the kids to these more "mature" movies in a gradual & appropriate way.  If you have any advice, please share.  Otherwise I think we'll be sticking to PG and G rated movies for awhile longer. 

Last week I read about a girl named Katie Davis on one of the blogs I subscribe to.  Katie is 22 years old and is incredibly inspiring.  When I watch this video she just appears to glow and she inspires and humbles me with her courage.  Please do take the time to watch Katie explain her mission.  You may want to grab a few tissues first.

Catalyst Atlanta 2011 | Katie Davis from Catalyst on Vimeo.

There are many other videos about Katie and Amazima Ministries on YouTube that are well worth the time to watch. 

Now, an update on us.  We had an excellent Christmas spending time with both sides of the family, enjoying a wide variety of delicious food and drink and lots of laughter.  I was really wiped out on Monday!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from this past week:
K's Winter Strings Concert
December 22, 2011

He adores playing the viola and often practices on his own.  He has also converted some recorder music to his viola by reading the keys.

K's "big" gift this year - a new alarm clock / radio with mood light and nature sounds that she can dock her iPod in.

Left by Santa in her stocking - Reindeer Peeps.  Aren't they precious?  Other gifts she received this year, Just Dance 3 and Cooking Mama for Wii, Mario Kart for DS, iTunes gift card, Pirates of the Caribbean DVD, lots of drawing stuff, three books, Target gift card, perfume, money and candy.

Hubby received gourmet maple syrup and lots of martial arts books. guys.  I had to take this pic several times because neither of them wanted to give me a nice smile.

K's "big" gift from us--Madden NFL 12 for Wii.  Other gifts he received include Spore Hero and Star Wars for the Wii, Mario Kart for the DS, two books (Kingdom Keepers and the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records), a remote controlled helicopter, Power Rangers, Hex Bugs, iTunes gift card, money, Target gift card, a giant Nerf dart gun and candy,

My gift - some snazzy new sheepskin slippers.  Aren't they sexy?  I/we also received Chili's and Kohl's gift cards, liquor (Rum-Chata, which if you haven't tasted it is delicious!), a frame with our last name hand crocheted inside of it, a carving set and for White Elephant gift exchange we ended up with a pasta dinner set for two, Paula Deen's cupcake mix, water bottle, cozy socks and a Justin Beiber blanket.  (This resulted from many underhand dealings after the gift opening.)

So, plans to ring in the New Year?  We will probably stay at home again this year unless I can find something family appropriate yet fun for all.  Until next year...

December 1, 2011

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Grace Creates Unity

In case you are zipping through my blog, please take a moment to click on the link at the end of my post.  If I could ask everyone in the world to listen to this message I would.  

I can't believe it's been a month since my last update.  Time sure does fly! 

I had a mini meltdown the weekend before Thanksgiving that resulted in some tears and much-needed conversation between me and my family.  In short, I was feeling unloved and lonely.  Those are the feelings I've struggled with the most in my life.  Having a few years of therapy has helped tremendously and I've gotten much better at asking for things or seeking out the things I feel I'm lacking.  That weekend though I failed miserably.  I told my family I wouldn't be spending Thanksgiving with them after all because I felt so pushed down on everyone else's priority list.   I was fed up with feeling that way.

Long story short, I had a talk with each of my family members and - on my end at least - things feel settled. 

Thanksgiving did turn out to be really good.  I did visit my family for a short while that morning, and then had lunch on Hubby's side of the family.  The best part of the day was that I got to see both of my brothers and my parents as well as Hubby's side of the family.  To me, family is extremely important and I would give up almost anything to preserve that bond. 

That is part of the reason I think this time of year is a struggle for me emotionally.  People get so busy and so obsessed with buying things.  I continue to be amazed at the amount of stuff that gets exchanged.  Life is not about stuff.  I have stuff, and I continue to buy stuff, but my life has never been about acquiring more stuff.   I would freely give this all up if it meant having a better, closer relationship with my friends and family. 

This is what has been on my mind lately and (as usual) our church sermon was incredibly timely.  This is a must listen, particularly at this time of year:  Grace Creates Unity.

November 18, 2011

FABULOUS FINDS - Evie Group "Spun" Light Fixtures

These light fixtures are ultra modern but carry a little extra sass with their spinning top design.  
I can see these in my bathroom.  Available in January, 2012 at Evie Group website.

November 11, 2011

FABULOUS FINDS - Elephant Salt & Pepper Shaker Set

Again with the elephants.  Sorry...I just can't help it.  These are so stinkin' cute!
And only $12.99 at  I just HAVE to order these!

November 7, 2011

LAYOUT SHARE - Studio Calico "Field Guide" and Using My Stash

Both of these layouts were inspired by similar ones done by one of my favorite designers - Danielle Layton.  I bookmark almost every one of her layouts...such clean, colorful designs.

This layout was using the October Studio Calico kit "Field Guide."  The photos aren't great but they capture a moment worth remembering.
Title:  Swim Class Cuties
Journaling:  Level 6 - passed!            Level 3 - not quite!

And this one uses items from my stash. The letter "b" is an upside down "g" and the "a" was a "q" who got snipped.  Love getting continued use out of less used alphas!
Title:  Bella
Journaling:  You came to stay with us for a few days in May, 2011.  It was so fun to watch you grow and learn.  We had you try milk, spaghetti and roast beef while you were with us.

November 4, 2011

FABULOUS FINDS - A Sunny Orange Bathtub

I would not typically choose orange for decorating a home but I came across this bathtub and instantly wanted to have a bathroom and tub just like it.  Isn't it so refreshing?
From the Design*Sponge blog Sneak Peek:   Myriam Bala├┐-Devidal

November 3, 2011


Our oldest chicken, Adelita, laid her first egg on Saturday. My son has been checking twice a day since then to see if she's laid more...he's so excited! But she has not produced another yet. Come spring time she should produce about 2-3 eggs a week.

For the second (or third?) year in a row we've had pleasant weather for trick or treating! It was in the 40's I'd say, but no rain and no snow! We again took the kids to Willy Street. That area of the city is so fun -- everyone really gets into the decorating, costumes and spooky things for the kids.

This year my daughter went as Alice in Wonderland and my son was an Ice Ninja. They each gathered about a gallon of candy before we headed home. That will last them a long time.

I made treat boxes for the trick-or-treaters (we ended up having none at all this year), and Hubby made this dracula jack-o-lantern with a knife and an internet picture...not bad, eh?

The most notable treat of all, though, was for the adults. One house gave out warm spiked apple cider and another gave out shots of apple pie drink with whipped cream on top. See...I told you this neighborhood really gets into it!

We have also had an interesting couple of weeks contemplating a move from the city into the country. We found a farmette outside of Deerfield that we all really like, but it is a one bathroom house and I can't see that working out. It would take some work to get the house and property into tip-top shape but it definitely has potential. For now, this house is out, but the location and land were almost perfect. 

Thinking about moving and leaving our house now - which I love - is stressful but we long for that country setting.   I guess we'll see what the future holds.  Perhaps that perfect house will come along that we know is the one for us.

To finish out this past week, I went to an ENT specialist at the UW Hospital to look at some ear pressure and congestion along with clicking noises I get when swallowing.  Guess what?  I'm normal.  Hearing's good, no fluid in the ears, no wax, no strange deviations, no explanation.  That is one of the reasons I dislike getting things checked out unless they are really, really serious.  All ailments seem to be inconclusive and I feel like I've wasted time and money.  I am grateful that nothing is wrong, but I feel so disappointed that - for now - it is something I just have to learn to deal with.  Frustrating.  

Until next week ~ Warm Blessings!

October 31, 2011

LAYOUT SHARE - More Studio Calico "Lawn Party" Kit

I was able to eek out one more layout from the Lawn Party kit.  I have tons more left to use!

Title:  M @ 3 Days Old 
This is my baby chick, Marley at three days old.  The paper behind the M is a hand stamped piece and the papers behind the doilies is glossy cardstock inked with a brayer.   Both of these pieces were scraps that I just hadn't thrown away. 

October 24, 2011


I have them separated by Early / Mid / Late Spring, and have started each with the smallest in height and went up.

Grand Maitre Giant Crocus
25 bulbs @ $8.37

Blooms:  Early Spring
Height:  3-6"

Lilac Wonder Botanical Tulip Mix
50 bulbs @ $11.17

Blooms:  Early Spring
Height:  5-8"

Mixed Squill Or Scilla
25 bulbs @ $6.71

Blooms: Early Spring
Height: 6-10"

Orangey Butterfly Daffodil
5 bulbs @ $8.21

Blooms:  Mid Spring
Height:  14-20"

Attila Triumph Tulip Value Bag
35 bulbs @ $14.67

Blooms:  Mid Spring
Height:  20-24"

Ivory Bells Fritillaria
1 bulb @ $19.46

Blooms:  Mid Spring
Height:  30-36"

Ivory Queen Allium
5 bulbs @ $7.46

Blooms:  Late Spring
Height:  6-12"

Sir Winston Churchill Daffodil
5 bulbs @ $6.71

Blooms:  Late Spring
Height:  10-16"

City of Vancouver Single Late Tulip
10 bulbs @ $8.95

Blooms:  Late Spring
Height:  24-30"

Purple Sensation Allium
5 bulbs @ $8.21

Blooms:  Late Spring
Height:  24-36"

Orange Cassini Triumph Tulip
6 bulbs for $3.80

Blooms:  Mid-Spring
Height:  12-18"

LAYOUT SHARE - Studio Calico "Lawn Party" Kit

Two layouts to share using the "Lawn Party" Studio Calico kit.

Title:  6 & 9
Journaling:  Still need to add.

Title:  You've Always Been a Nurturer
Journaling:  This has not been uncommon to see you caring for your "babies."  You started with your Pooh Bear and baby doll, then a bigger baby doll, an American Girl-tye doll that had a horse and you could have her change outfits, then Barbies and Bratz dolls.  Then you went for playing Mom and making your brother be your baby.  You also baby our cat, Claire, wrapping her in blankets and carrying her around.  (Photos from 2000 and 2007, Journaling Oct. 2011)

LISTENING TO: Tiffany - I Think We're Alone Now

This song brings me directly back to middle school, specifically a party that my friend Sherry had. 

October 17, 2011

LAYOUT SHARE - Using Studio Calico "Boardwalk" Kit

Three of my recent layouts using the Studio Calico "Boardwalk" kit.

Title: Words From the Heart
Journaling: Letter about "My Mother" written by Katie, tucked inside of the library pocket.

Title:  Summer Dog Walker
Journaling:  Katie took a big interest in taking Milo for walks this summer.  For a girl who isn't big on physical exercise, it was a welcomed change.  She took him up our street by herself for the first time.  2011

Title:  I am a Writer
Journaling:  I have been frustrated with myself for years because I don't write every day like a "real" writer does.  I don't know why it's a struggle but I am learning to let go and just be ME!  Sept. 2011

LISTENING TO: Flo Rida - Low

***Contains inappropriate language for children. Please do not listen if crude language offends you.

October 7, 2011

FABULOUS FINDS - Elephant Hamper

Isn't this just the cutest?    I am starting to see that I really do have a *thing* for elephants.  I can't help myself.

Rattan Elephant Hamper - $59 on

October 6, 2011


It has been an absolutely gorgeous fall week with temperatures starting in the 40's and 50's overnight and reaching into the 70's the past few days.  The leaves are turning brilliant colors--red, yellow and orange--which really stand out against the blue sky.  I need to get some photos before the snow starts flying.  Ha ha...kidding, though maybe not.

Almost every evening you can find me outside in our backyard soaking up the last of the day's sunshine and letting the chickens roam around our yard.  Sometimes I read and sometimes I just relax.  If the kids aren't busy they will come outside too.

Last night was just like that though short-lived.  It is pitch black by 7:00 PM.  Pretty soon I'll be coming home in the dark.  This is what our evening looked like:
Adelita (four months old)

Espresso (about 7 weeks old)


Marley (front) and Smores

My daughter swinging.  She's such a cool little thing.

My son - after I prompted him to give me a real smile he acted like he was tickling himself and this is the result.

When I'm not outside you can find me in my scrap room creating some custom popcorn boxes and treat bags for Four Eyes Designs.  I've had several orders recently and they've kept me busy.
I made 24 of these for a little girl's birthday party.

And I'm making 15 of these for a Saved by the Bell themed bachelorette party.  I recreated a design similar to the show's logo and am using three different phrases on them.  I need to finish these up in the next couple of days.

Not sure if I'll have a post next Thursday as I will be in Denver for a conference.  Looking forward to visiting a new city!

October 3, 2011

LISTENING TO: T.I. - That's All She Wrote (2011 Remix)

***Contains inappropriate language for children.  Please do not listen if crude language offends you.

Some of this song is a little too crude for my taste but I can't get the song out of my head.  Come to think of it, this is what Eminem does best.

September 29, 2011

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Nurture Each Other

In 2007 Hubby and I attended a marriage seminar conducted by Mark Gungor called "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage." We weren't having problems at the time but saw this as an opportunity to strengthen our marriage.  You can read my post about it here.

I think it's so important to nurture your marriage through the years and not just tend to it when things aren't looking so good.

One of the ways I've continued to nurture my marriage is by continuing to listen to Mark Gungor on his daily radio show. Last week Friday he had one of the best shows full of marital advice that I've heard and I would like to share it with you.  You can listen to the radio podcast here:
In our 21 years of marriage we have faced almost all of the issues that are discussed in this program.

I have to tell you that Mark is extremely crazy but he is also full of wonderful, Christian-based advice that would help any couple who is willing to listen.

His main website is here, where you can access all of his archived podcasts and listen to his daily radio show live at 11:00 AM Eastern time.

This week we have put the babies into the chicken coop with Adelita.  I didn't think they were ready yet, because even when they were roaming free in the yard Adelita would act aggressively and peck at them if they got too close.  We have had them spend hours cooped up together but interestingly, the babies stay outside when Adelita is in the coop.  I am not ready to put them all inside of the coop for the night so each night we return the babies to the garage where they've been staying.  One of these days we'll force them to be together overnight and pray for the best. 

It is so funny to watch Marley and Smores.  They love to fly at each other and they look like little popcorn kernels exploding.  One flies toward the other and then that one flies away.  It's pop, pop, pop!  I need to take a video of this - it is so cute!!

What else...boring daily life stuff and (hallelujah!) finally getting sales at Four Eyes Designs after a month or so of nothing.  Right now the popcorn boxes seem to be super hot, especially customized ones, so I've been busy with that. 

This weeks guilty time waster?  Watching the Michael Jackson / Conrad Murray trial.  Love how speedy the questioning has been so far.  Anyone else watching?

Hope you have a loving and creative week!

September 23, 2011

FABULOUS FINDS - Colorful Prints

I adore this print at 29BlackStreet
Available for $16.00 right here.  Click the link above to view her entire shop...she does amazing work!

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