April 30, 2010

National Scrapbooking Day

is tomorrow, May 1st and Keeping Memories Alive is hosting an online crop that includes challenges!  And prizes!  Each hour on the hour starting at 9 am and running till 2 pm EST the design team members will be posting a challenge on the NSD board.  KMA is generously giving away a grand prize worth $100 and 3 large runner-up prizes (gift certificates to the scrapbooks.com store)!

You'll have until 9 am EST Monday to complete as many challenges as you can. The more challenges you complete the more chances you have at winning a prize.  Since the deadline isn't until Monday morning there is plenty of time to participate.  I hope to see you there!

April 21, 2010

Stretch Your Sketches

I was the guest blogger yesterday at The Daily Trumpet.  I shared some new sketches and one of the ideas that I sometimes use to get the most from my own sketches.  For more tips and tricks for getting the most from your sketches and layouts you can always buy my eBook:

Or you can leave on comment on yesterday's post for a chance to win a free copy!

Also, I am going to start sharing more sketches and ideas here on my blog soon.  I'm thinking once every two weeks.  That's doable for me - hey, I blogged twice in one day, anything is possible.  :) 

If there are any particular types of sketches you'd like to see, leave me a comment or email me.  I would love to hear your ideas!

April KMA Layouts

Here are my layouts and cards for this month:

The boys both *love* the churros from Costco. 
I was lucky enough to have my trusty point and shoot with me this day.  : )

Nathan takes after his daddy.  Apparently he liked to play hide & seek from his mommy too.

Click on the title of each layout or card and it will take you to my gallery at scrapbook.com where you see a bigger image and a list of all the products used.  I have to say that I really love the Apple Jack line from Sassafras.  I'll be honest, I'm not usually a fan of theirs, but this particular line is just so perfect for scrapbooking boys.  I also really love the Brook collection from Crate Paper.  I've only used it for these cards so far but I think that it would work well for just about any theme.  The designs have both masculine and feminine qualities and I love the colors.  Okay, well, that's all for now.  

April 14, 2010

Did someone mention procrastination?

I'm not really the type of person who makes New Year's resolutions. 

Although I do think that the beginning of the new year naturally lends itself to being a time when we evaluate our lives and see where there might be areas where we can possibly improve what we are doing.  I know I certainly do this.  I like to think about the past year and go through my mental checklist of all that I had hoped to achieve and see whether I have accomplished what I set out to.  A couple of things about me before I go further:  I am a goal-oriented person and I love to make lists.  I am constantly making lists.  In some ways I think that is why I don't ever feel compelled to make resolutions at the beginning of the year.  I tend, yes, tend being the operative word here, to stay on track with my goals most of the time simply because I am constantly recording and evaluating what I have and have not crossed off of my various lists.  Now, with all of that being said, back in January, for the first time in several years, I had thought that it might be a good idea to compile a list of what I'd like to accomplish for the year.  Not just for the week or for the day and not just in my head, but for a whole year.  Then one day while visiting some of my favorite blogs I found myself reading this post at Wendy's blog.  I could have nearly written it myself.  I fell in love with the idea of actually posting this on my blog - giving me a sense of accountability perhaps - and keeping an updated list on the sidebar.  I was inspired...

So why am I bringing this up in the middle of April?  Maybe you read my last post?  Yeah, I sort of have a problem with procrastination.  It is completely tied-in with my tendency towards perfectionism.  I think I can honestly say that that tendency has greatly improved over the last ten years.  I have made conscience efforts not to let certain ways of thinking stop me from accomplishing the things I'd like to accomplish.  As I said in my last post, it is a work-in-progress and I think I will probably always have the tendency to think a certain way.  But, I do also strongly believe that we have the gift of free will and if we are patient with ourselves and if we ask God for help I do believe that we can overcome our natural tendencies (or make improvements in those tendencies if they happen to steer closer to virtues rather than vices). 

It took me a while to actually decide what it is I wanted to do in a larger context this year.  I guess I kept putting off writing this list because really, my goals are all very simple.  Although, I should disclose that some of my more lofty or abstract goals have been omitted from this list, simply because I am not quite ready to share everything here on the world wide web.  Because of that it didn't seem like it was worth the time or effort to type it up and post it and share it with anyone.  But I truly was inspired by Wendy's list and how some of her goals, while they might seem rather mundane and small to someone else, represent big steps forward for her in various areas of her life.  And like her, I think that no matter how large or small the goals, I know that I will have fun doing these things and each one will bring me joy in its completion.  So I finally wrote down all the ideas that have been swirling around in my head.  Here's my list:

1. Make mayonnaise from scratch
2. Perfect poaching eggs
3. Learn how to make cannoli
4. Make Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon
5. Roast a pig with crackling
6. Learn more about Japanese cooking
7. Learn how to make creamy egg sauce for donburi
8. Make gyoza from scratch
9. Learn how to make a more authentic tonkatsu
10. Make homemade udon
11. Make green tea ice cream
12. Make miso soup
13. Find a recipe for good tempura batter
14. Learn more about Indian cooking
15. Find a recipe I truly like for Chana Masala
16. Make homemade curry paste
17. Make Rogan Josh
18. Make chicken Korma
19. Make Tikka Masala
20. Make Aloo Gobhi
21. Roast a leg of lamb
22. Make corn fritters
23. Make Danish pastry dough and use it to make:
24. cheese pastries
25. sticky buns
26. Find a *good* recipe for traditional American-style cinnamon rolls
27. Make an apron
28. Make a quilt
29. Start running again
30. Run in a race
31. Make our Christmas 2009 album
32. Make at least one layout a week
33. Submit to Cards magazine
34. Make a fabric covered prayer book
35. Spend more time reading scripture
36. Read at least one book a month
37. Finish reading “The Catholic Homeschool Companion”

There they are, 37 goals for the next 37 weeks remaining in 2010.  You'll notice that most of them are cooking related; more on that later.  You'll also notice that again, most of them are very simple.  I plan on adding them to my sidebar soon and I'll cross each one off as I complete them. 

In fact, at least one of them I have already completed: 

I cooked this beautiful, lovely roasted leg of lamb recipe
 for our 5th anniversary dinner just last month.

Along the way I plan on sharing a little bit about how things are going.  My successes and my failures.  Maybe I'll even scrapbook a few of them...

I'm not sure I will actually finish everything on this list, but I am certainly going to try.

April 7, 2010

7 Years Ago...

I saw this strawberry-almond tart on the cover of Cooking Light magazine and this weekend for Easter I finally made it:

It was fairly good, but I think that next time I will make it, well, not light.  I'm not really one for light desserts.  If I'm gonna do dessert I'm gonna go all the way.  So next time I plan on using full-fat cream cheese (and probably more of it).  I'll probably also fold in some whipped cream just so it's not so dense.  I think there needs to be a little more balance between the filling and the strawberries, but that's just me.  It is very pretty though and I'm glad I took a photo of it because the only people who saw this to appreciate it were me and my husband.  Which leads me to my next thought and that is that living away from family stinks when special days like Easter come around.  My husband and I both hope and pray for the day when we can live closer to at least one set of grandparents.

We had a lovely Easter though, just the four of us.  Simple and happy and blessed. 

On a completely separate and unrelated note, I've been thinking a lot about this blog.  I went back to my first post and read what I had written there and tried to remember why I started this blog in the first place.  I don't even know if anyone is reading this aside from my sweets.  I suppose it shouldn't matter.  I guess I'm just thinking out loud and probably not making a whole lot of sense.  I have a lot of ideas for posts, but I never seem to get around to writing them.  Hmmm, can you say procrastination?  (You could also say that life with two little boys is loud and busy and tiring and I often don't have too many quiet moments to write coherent blog posts.  Hence the rambling.)  But maybe these two topics are not as unrelated as I first thought.  Sort of like the tart above I always wind up thinking about things way too much and not actually doing them.  I most definitely have perfectionist tendencies and it has been a struggle for me to overcome them.  It is a continuous process.  With that said, I'm just going to end this post here with a promise to myself (and to you, whoever you are) that I will try to do better.


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