December 30, 2011

Document 2012: An Introduction

Back in the first week of November it was my turn to host the blog at Write.Click.Scrapbook.  Around the time that I was planning my posts there was a lot of discussion circulating among scrapbookers about taking on Project Life.  I had been considering doing a year-long project myself, but knew I didn't want to do Project Life.  So I decided to explore various year-long projects as part of my week of blogging and to share what I found with our readers.  Since the new year is quickly approaching and some of you might still be on the fence about whether or not to tackle a year-long project, I thought I'd link back to those posts as well as do a review of my thought process as to how I finally decided which year-long project to do in 2012.     

Some of what I had hoped to discover during my blogging week was how other scrapbookers approached each of the projects discussed.  I also wanted to look at the results of each project to see which one best fit my own personal scrapbooking goals.  The four main projects that I explored were Project 12, Project 365, Project Life, and the Document Project.  I also explored two smaller projects that were started by members of Write.Click.Scrapbook.; Amy Sorenson's Write Every Day, and Karen Grunberg's Us Right Now.  I looked at each of these projects in detail, and asked a few scrapbookers who were currently working on them to share their experiences of how the projects were working for them.  I also asked them to share their tips and tricks for keeping up with the type of year-long commitment these projects entail.  If you would like to read the full posts you can find them here:

Day 1:  Project 12 & Project 365
Day 2:  Project Life & The Document Project
Day 3:  Write Every Day & Us Right Now

After looking at all the different projects, what they encompass in terms of time commitment, and what they produce as an end result, I decided to do a Document 2012 album.  Here is a little more detail as to why:

What is the Document Project?
This project started in 2010 as a free year-long project hosted at UKScrappers led by scrapbooker Shimelle Laine.  The idea behind the project is to make four pages for each month of the year.  One page is an envelope page, and holds a collection of items from every day life, essentially ephemera.  Two of the pages are made from divided page protectors where you can put photos, journaling, or anything that will fit into a 4×6 block (this is actually one page protector which makes two pages - front and back).  The final page is a layout that focuses on one event or memory that you want to record in more detail.

Why have I chosen to do Document 2012?
As much as I love the idea of Project Life (and as popular as it is right now), I know that I would not be able to keep up.  I realize that Project Life can be whatever you want it to be, but for the most part, most scrapbookers approach it as a daily or weekly recording of details.  For me, a project like that would likely become a burden and a source of guilt rather than a source of pleasure. 

One thing that I truly love about the Document Project is that there is an emphasis on collecting the little bits and pieces of life through the use of envelope pages.  This past year I have been trying to include more and more of those little bits and pieces into my scrapbook pages, like on this layout here

{The stickers from our trip that day are held in the pocket.}

and another example

{I made a pocket out of patterned paper and used it to hold the map from our museum visit.}

But, I'll admit that I find it challenging sometimes to find a way to creatively incorporate these items into my designs.  I love the pages I've shared above, but there is something about the process of making them that was difficult.  Using a simple envelope page makes that process a little more, natural.  I mean, what could be easier than just putting all those maps, and ticket stubs, and cute drawing your children make into a pocket and calling it done?

I'm also really drawn to the idea of using divided page protectors.  Over the last couple of years I have slowly been incorporating the use of divided page protectors in my scrapbooks too.  For this project I plan to use them to store my favorite "extra" photos from each month.  The ones that generally never make it to a scrapbook page and hence, usually never see the light of day.  I have always had the intention of printing out those extra photos and putting them into a photo album, but that goal has yet to be accomplished.  I know that I cannot scrapbook every moment and record every memory, but I'm hoping that through this project I can begin to tell an even more complete story of our lives by finally finding a home for those forgotten photos.

Finally, it does feel like everyone is doing Project Life next year.  This may be a bit of a tangent, but part of why I didn't want to do Project Life, and chose to make a Document 2012 album instead, is that I have never scrapbooked chronologically.  Frankly, the daily/weekly format seems a little too much like a type of scrapbooking that I have always turned away from.  I love this hobby.  I love recording our stories.  I love creating.  Ultimately, I don't ever want for scrapbooking to become something that I feel I have to do

I think that when you decide to take on a year-long project it is best to be honest with yourself about both how and why you scrapbook.  For me, the Document Project best fits my personality, my goals, and it seems the most reasonable in terms of time commitment.  My hope for this project is, as I said above, that at the end of the year we will have a more complete telling of our story.  For me (notice the emphasis!), this project combines all of those elements together in a doable format.

Next week I'll share how I will put my album together, including which products I will use and how I plan to use them.  Until then, are you planning on scrapbooking your year using one of the formats mentioned above?  Have you done one of these projects in the past?  Share your experience, tips, and projects in the comments.  I'd love to hear from you!

December 29, 2011

on the 5th day of Christmas...

I hope that you are all having a joyful Christmas season.  We most certainly are!  I mentioned several weeks ago that for the past two years we have traveled to New Jersey to spend Christmas with my husband's family.  This was our first year, in three years, to spend it here in California.  And our first year to spend it in our own home.  It has been a season full of joy and peace for us.  I'm not sure that I can put it all into words, so here are some photos instead.

Our Christmas tree after Santa's visit.  

Our tree is rather simple.  We don't have that many ornaments yet; just a few that I have purchased over the short while that we have been married, and some that my mother gave to me from my childhood.  In the years that we would travel to New Jersey we wouldn't even purchase a tree, so it was a lot of fun for the boys to see the tree go up in our house and to help us decorate it on Christmas Eve.

{happy, funny, real}

 Gabe helping Nathan to read the labels on the presents.

 Gabe and daddy putting together the Armored Attack Shuttle.

In the days leading up to Christmas I asked Nathan what he wanted from Santa.  He said he wanted, "a present."  When I asked him what kind of present he said, "a toy."  So easy to please.  I think that Santa did a pretty good job of guessing what to give him.  Him and this little Millennium Falcon have been inseparable since Christmas day. 

The biggest gift of all, from Grandma and Grandpa Orem.  
Surprisingly, it wasn't the first gift they opened!

It seems we had a Star Wars themed Christmas this year.  
Given the interests of these three, I have a feeling it won't be the last.  =)

See?  This is what Nathan did most of the morning.  
Ignored everything else, and got lost in his own world.

Gabe had two things on his Christmas list, an Armored Attack Shuttle and an aircraft carrier.  This was one of the last gifts he opened and I think he was beginning to have his doubts about whether Santa had brought him what he really wanted!  If you look very closely, you can see that he is smiling.

Monday was spent very quietly, I want to say recovering, but not in a negative way.  These boys were just so excited in the days leading up to Christmas day, they were quite restless.  On Monday they just played and played, and mommy and daddy relaxed.  We cleaned up a little and simply enjoyed the day.  Tuesday we made gingerbread cookies: 

We still have a lot planned over the next few days.  Trying to make the most of daddy's vacation time and spending these days together. Next on the to-do list:  I will attempt to make cannoli for the first time tonight.  Wish me luck!

See all of the posts at Like Mother, Like Daughter

Merry Christmas!!

December 23, 2011

are you ready?

I am mostly ready.  The thing is, I didn't plan on being completely ready at this point, so actually, I'd say I'm right on schedule.  Today we will hang our stockings, decorate the tree, and do a little baking.  Daddy is officially home for his Christmas vacation, yea!  We also have some other activities planned, and I'm looking forward to them all. 

I'm going to go ahead and admit that I often find myself in a strange position in the scrapbooking world.  It seems that all month long (and last month too) everyone was doing Christmas projects and preparing their December Dailies...  and that's just not the way things work in our family.  For us, the season doesn't start on the 1st and end on the 25th.  We really do try to observe the season of Advent.  To prepare quietly.  We pray.  We ask Jesus to enlighten the darkness of our hearts.  We light the candles of our Advent wreath

and watch as the light grows brighter with each week.

It's not that we don't get ready for Christmas, it's just that we like to do it in our own time (and I am so blessed that my husband agrees with me on this point).  Because everyone does have their own time; their own way of getting ready to celebrate our Savior's birth.

Still, I do love to create.  I think all crafters know what I am talking about; feeling that simple joy of making something with your own hands.  Given that Christmas is just around the corner I wanted to share a couple of cards with you that I made last weekend

{supply list}

{supply list}

and a layout of Gabe writing his letter to Santa

{supply list}
Journaling reads:  This year you wrote your letter to Santa really early, in October.  I helped you by writing out the words for you and then you copied them.  I guess you didn’t want to take any chances?  You wanted to make sure that Santa brought you exactly what was on your list!

I cut the postage stamp paper, the big star, and the green starburst shape with my new Silhouette Cameo.  It was my birthday and Christmas present from my dad, and I love it.  Seriously, in love

Finally, it was my turn today to host the blog today at Write.Click.Scrapbook.  I've compiled a few of my favorite ideas for Christmas wrapping, like this one using Trader Joe's grocery bags

 I've also gathered a sampling of free printable tags

If you've still got some presents to wrap and need some last-minute ideas you'll want to head over and read the whole post.

Well, I must get going.  There is a lot to do today, in a good way. 
I hope you have a great Friday. =)

December 18, 2011

Scrapbook! Sunday?

I meant to post this yesterday but just never got to it.  Life around here has been full lately.  And no, this is not going to become one of those I'm-so-stressed-about-Christmas posts!  Um, I can't tell you how much I dislike those.  We've just had a lot to do lately; very little of which actually has anything to do with Christmas.  That's just the way life is sometimes.  I wanted to take a short break from everything though, to share the Write.Click.Scrapbook. December sketch with you

This month's sketch is the same one that I used for my December gallery layout.  Visit yesterday's post at WCS and you'll find the link to download a fully layered digital template of the sketch. 

That's all I've got for now. =)

December 13, 2011

Will you accept the challenge?

Starting next year Ella Publishing Co. will be hosting a brand new monthly challenge called, Take Twelve

The challenge is simple:  take 12 photos on the 12th of each month for the next 12 months starting on January 12.  The idea is that if you follow along with the challenge each month, by the end of the year you'll have 144 photos that reflect your everyday life.  Plus, if you take advantage of the inspiration provided at Ella throughout the year, you'll also have a completed photo project.  You can turn those photos into scrapbook pages, a mini-album, or even a digital photo book. 

I had the opportunity to contribute to Ella's new Guided Inspiration Kit

The kit contains 5 complete products in one.  Inside you'll find:  photo-taking checklists,

12-photo layout sketches - created by me!

list-style journaling cards, bonus ideas and alternate approaches, and lots of printable titles and calendar accents.  You can see more preview pages, here.  This kit is truly jammed-packed with great inspiration to help keep you motivated as you tackle this challenge.

In addition, for those of you who prefer to scrapbook digitally, there is a companion digital kit to help you complete this year-long challenge.  The Take Twelve Templates contain 12 digital templates (based on the sketches from the inspiration kit) for photo collages or digi pages (for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements).

The best part is that when you accept the Take Twelve Challenge, you will receive a lot more goodies and motivational support than what's inside the kits. You'll receive monthly email reminders on the 11th to take your photos the next day, have the opportunity to share your projects, and be inspired by others from around the world.  There will also be a monthly giveaway on Ella's blog giving you the chance to win great prizes!

You can read more about this challenge in the newest article at Scrapbook Ellaments, Take Twelve, written by the fabulous Elizabeth Dillow.  I had not made up my mind about participating until I read her article.  I already plan on on tackling a year-long project next year, Document 2012 (more about that next week), and I wasn't sure that I wanted to make an additional commitment knowing that my crafting time will, very likely, be limited next year.   Her article pushed me over the fence!  I'm going to keep it simple though, and will probably end up making a mini-album similar to the one that Elizabeth shares in her article

Isn't that cute!?  Elizabeth simply printed her 12 monthly photos on a 4x6 print.  She then collected each mosaic print into a photo-album-style scrapbook.  The left hand page included a simple title, with journaling tucked behind it.  Easy, and completely doable.

Finally, I can't go without letting you know that Ella is currently running a promotion for the Guided Inspiration Kit, you can buy it now for only $12.12.  While you can join the challenge at any point in 2012, this introductory price will end on December 24.  As I said above, the kit is absolutely loaded with tons of great ideas.  And while it was made for the purpose of this photo project, the ideas, journaling prompts, sketches and everything else included can be adapted to any scrapbooking project.

So, what do you think? Will you be joining the fun?  I'd love to hear your thoughts, and if you have any questions, just post them in the comments.

December 9, 2011

and the winner is...

Thank you to everyone who stopped by my blog on Monday as part of our Christmas Card blog hop.  The winner of the giveaway is Aliza!

As a reminder, the coupon code I shared on Monday is good through tomorrow.  So even if you didn't win, you can still save $2 on 31 Thank You Cards

by using the coupon code CARDHOP.  Fine print:  Cannot be combined with any other coupon code or gift certificate.  One coupon per customer.  Expires 12/10/11.

**Update:  Aliza was actually quite the lucky girl last week, and already won a copy of the eBook from Ella.  So, I've selected another winner - Ullis, you are the winner of my giveaway!**

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

It's been quite a long time since I participated in {pretty, happy, funny, real}, hosted by the ladies at Like Mother, Like Daughter.  It's been so long that I didn't realize just how long, July was the last time I added an entry.  But, I have a few random, completely unrelated photos from life around here that I thought I could share with you and perhaps, just maybe, I could get back into the habit of participating.  But, I think I've said that before, so you probably should not put too much stock in that statement!

Here it goes.  There is no order here, and I don't think I could categorize these.  Just thought I'd share.

I made homemade caramel for the first time last week

{I used this recipe from Ina Garten}
as part of daddy's very special birthday dessert, which was a dulce de leche cheesecake.  Because my husband loves all things dulce de leche.  It was... delicious doesn't do it justice.  I don't even know how to describe it.  I want to make another one, but I don't necessarily want to eat another one.  Well, I do, but I don't need to eat another one.  I'm wondering if I can make one to perfect my recipe, take a slice to test it, and give the rest to my neighbors.  My sweets thinks I'm crazy...  but wouldn't you like the recipe?

Here is Gabe with one of his "inventions," as he calls them

He likes to save all the little vehicles and rockets and whatnots that he makes.  But then he runs out of blocks and can't build anymore.  Solution:  we take photographs of the things he makes so that he has a visual record.  Then he takes them apart so that he can build new inventions.  This, by the way, is one of those trucks with the advertising billboards on the back.  He thinks they're interesting.  Coincidentally, we saw one today on the way to Mass. 

Nathan with two of his favorite things

his fireman rain boots, and his Blue.  Notice too that his socks are on upside down... Oh, and I have no idea what he was doing on the floor.  He's three.  I'm thinking that sometimes he just doesn't need a reason?

Finally, my generally feeling tired all the time, coupled with the glorious weather we have enjoyed lately has meant lots of time spent outside.  This is what my back door mat looks like when they come inside

Don't worry, I make them put it away eventually.  However, the day I took this photo their favorite show was on, and I was a sucker and didn't want them to miss it.  Nathan particularly likes to sing along to the opening theme, and it's just too cute.

Okay then, I'm off to bed.  It is way past my bedtime, but I think some of you must know what it's like.  Those quiet moments at night are sometimes the only ones you have to think!  Very thankful that tomorrow is daddy's Friday off. 

December 5, 2011

Christmas Card blog hop with the Ella Friends

Happy Monday and welcome to the Ella Friends' Christmas Card blog hop!  Today's blog hop was inspired by Ella's latest eBook, 31 Thank You Cards

This eBook was authored by three amazing card-makers, Kimber McGray, Heather Nichols, and Kristina Werner.  Inside you'll find:  36 pages of card-making inspiration, 138 tips, tricks, and steps, as well as gorgeous card ideas to adapt to any occasion.  And that's exactly what we're doing today.  We each took one thank you card from the eBook as our inspiration and made a Christmas card to share with you.

My card was inspired by one of the cards made by Kristina Werner, you'll find her original design on page 25 of the eBook.  Here is my version:

How would you like to win your own copy of 31 Thank You Cards?  If you would, leave a comment telling me whether or not you find card-making easy or challenging.  Also, be sure to include your email address in the comments so that I can contact you if you win.  Comments will remain open until Thursday, December 8th, 11:59 pm PST.  The winner will be announced on Friday and will be contacted shortly thereafter.  

Also, I have a coupon code to share with all of you who stopped by today.  Use the coupon code CARDHOP to save $2 off the price of 31 Thank You Cards.  Fine print:  Cannot be combined with any other coupon code or gift certificate.  One coupon per customer.  Expires 12/10/11.
Make sure you visit all of the blogs in the hop today:

Brenda Johnston
Valerie Mangan

you'll see more beautiful cards inspired by the eBook and you can increase your chance of winning a copy!

December 3, 2011

December Fun at Write.Click.Scrapbook.

I promised you a blog post on Wednesday and then... well, I did mean to post, but I woke up on Thursday morning feeling less than great.  I really thought I was coming down with a cold, but I think I was just a bit worn out.  Thankfully, I felt much better yesterday.  And yes, I could have posted yesterday, but we had to put together daddy's birthday celebration!  Friday was spent making special treats, putting up decorations (very rudimentary ones I will add), making birthday cards, and generally cleaning up so the house would look nice when daddy got home from work.  I think if you asked Gabe and Nathan they would tell you our efforts were successful and daddy had a very happy birthday.

But!  I'm here now to keep my promise to share my Write.Click.Scrapbook. December layout with you.  The theme for this month, Holiday Homes
I always say this, because it's always true, but you should really go and visit the gallery.  There are so many wonderful ideas for recording the things that are important to us at this very special time of year.  I took my inspiration from the gallery theme itself and came up with this layout:

Journaling reads:  This is where we spent Christmas in 2009 and 2010, with Grandma and Grandpa Jannuzzi in New Jersey. We were lucky to have a white Christmas both years and our little California boys got to build snowmen, go sledding, and drink hot chocolate after coming inside from the cold. We have so many great memories of our Christmases in New Jersey, and even though we won’t get to visit this year, we hope to visit again sometime in the future.

For the past two years we have gone to visit my in-laws in New Jersey for Christmas.  This year, due to my pregnancy, we aren’t able to make the trip.  While the boys were really disappointed when we gave them this news, they have come around to the idea of having Christmas at home. Of course, we had to convince Gabe that Santa would indeed know where to bring the presents, and that he wouldn’t take them to New Jersey by accident.  He still asks us every now and then to be sure! 

I know the boys will miss a lot of things about having Christmas in New Jersey, including building a snowman with Grandpa Jannuzzi, but I think as we decorate the house more and more in the coming weeks they'll begin to understand that we really can have Christmas in California.  And as I mentioned in the journaling to my layout, we do hope to go back again one day, if they'll have us!  At that point we'll have three rambunctious little boys instead of two, and Christmas will be just a little bit louder. =)

Also, now that December is upon us we've started our December Dailies at WCS

Basically the blogging will be very similar to the summer months and will feature a new collective member each day.  As always, our interests are quite varied and so we'll be covering all sorts of topics from scrapbooking to paper crafting to photography and everything in between.  You'll want to be sure to visit every day; lots of great things in store for you this month.

Finally, on Monday the Ella Friends will be hosting a Christmas card blog hop.  It's going to be lots of fun, so I do hope you'll stop by.  See you then? 

I mean it this time!! =)

November 30, 2011

always in motion

I hope that all of you had a lovely Thanksgiving and weekend.  We did.  We had grand plans of painting the guest room, but that didn't happen.  Instead we enjoyed a whole lot of being lazy.  I have spent the last couple of days making up for that in the laundry room!  But fortunately for me, I had worked ahead before Thanksgiving so it wasn't all bad.

Last year I only took one photo all day on Thanksgiving.  The one that I scrapbooked in the post below.  This year was pretty much the same.  I took this one of Nathan stirring the custard for the pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving morning:

We all worked together to make the pie this year.  I made the crust and Glen and the boys made the filling.  Since it was just the four of us, and it has been that way for several years now, I take a very relaxed approach to making Thanksgiving dinner.  So, yes, we made the pie the morning of Thanksgiving and when it was done, in went the turkey. =)

Notice Nathan's hand is blurred from stirring.  This little guy never stops moving.  Never.  (Well, he's actually a very peaceful sleeper, but that's about the only time he is still). He never stops talking either.  It is an interesting experience to have a child who is nothing like yourself.  It's like I said a prayer for patience and instead of giving me a moment to practice that virtue, God gave me a person.  But oh boy, is he cute.

The December gallery will go live tomorrow at Write.Click.Scrapbook., and I'll be back then to share my layout with you for this month.  Right now, it's twenty minutes until the last episode of Whitechapel.  I'm gonna go make myself a cup of decaf tea, pretend it's the real thing, and get cozy under a blanket to enjoy the season finale.  See you tomorrow!

November 24, 2011

November 23, 2011

are you ready?

Here we are on the eve of Thanksgiving day, are you ready?  I am, for the most part.  I've been commanded by a certain someone to, "take it easy."  It seems to be one of his favorite phrases these days.  Thing is, I don't really like to take it easy, I like to get things done.  This same someone even suggested that I not make pie for tomorrow!!  He's obviously lost his mind.

I think I promised a while back that I'd do a better job of sharing my monthly pages and projects with you.  Here is a simple last minute card idea, in case you need one:

{supply list}
The floral paper is from Crate Paper's Farmhouse collection and it's called, Countryside

I think it is so pretty, and it's one of my favorite patterns this fall.  I love the color combination of blue, orange, green, and red.

Finally, because Advent is right around the corner, and it is the season of getting ready, I wanted to link to two of my favorite posts on the topic.  The first is one from Leila at Like Mother, Like Daughter, which I linked to last year, on the wonder of Advent and how to instill some of that in our homes.  The second is from Karen Edmisten and is a continuation of her no-panic Advent series.  It's a huge post with lots of links, ideas and resources and I just love it.  I think you might too, which is why I'm sharing it with you!

We got out the Advent wreath last week to make sure we knew where it was, and I tried to get candles this week, but the place where I bought them last year didn't have them this year.  So, this weekend I've got to find some.  If I can't find colored ones, I'll just go with cream like I have in the past.  I really try not to stress about these things.

Until next time...

November 19, 2011

Scrapbook! Saturday

I'm hosting the blog today at Write.Click.Scrapbook.  The third Saturday of the month is all about scrapbook inspiration.  Today we're sharing a sketch, a printable, and some Thanksgiving-themed images and prints.

Here is the sketch I created for this month:
If you'd like a fully-layered digital template of this sketch, you'll find the link in today's post.

Using the sketch, I created this layout documenting my favorite fall tradition, our annual trip to the pumpkin patch:
{supply list}
These guys were so cute!  They both knew exactly what they wanted in a pumpkin and neither was happy until he found just the right one.

I hope you'll read the whole post, there is a lot more inspiration shared including a very cute toothpick flag printable made my former collective member, Rebecca Cooper.

Enjoy your weekend!

November 18, 2011

so, about those goals...

First of all, I didn't mean to announce that I was pregnant and then never blog again.  I guess I needed a little break this past weekend, and week, so I took one!  But, I've got a lot that I want to share in the next few weeks and I am going to do my best to juggle all of my commitments and to post regularly through the holiday season.  I really, really am.

So, now then, about those goals.  No, I haven't forgotten about them.  How could I?  They're sitting there in my sidebar staring at me, reminding me of all that I probably won't get done this year.  When I revisited these goals back in January, I could not have foreseen how my how much my life would change in just a few short days.  It's actually a bit difficult to write about this without thinking about that time, and that's probably why I put off writing this post for so long.  I mean, it's mid-November and obviously not everything on this list is going to get done.  For a really large part of this year I merely focused on doing the most basic and necessary things.  Yes, I have still scrapbooked, it's the one extra that I really won't let go.  But all the other stuff?  I just didn't worry about it. 

But most, if not all, of these goals are things that I would like to try at some point.  Just because I don't get them done this year doesn't mean I have failed, or that I can't do them at some point.  In fact, I plan on carrying over some of these goals into the new year.  Another truth is that I often get sidetracked... maybe I didn't get around to doing everything on this list, but I've learned and done a lot in the past year.  I sewed more, I learned new recipes, and I tried to push myself out of some personal and creative comfort zones.  In that way, it has been a good year.

So, here is a brief (or not so brief) update on my goals list:

1. Make mayonnaise from scratch - raw eggs and pregnancy don't mix.  Or at least, I'm not willing to take that chance.  This will be a goal for next year.

3. Learn how to make cannoli - my husband thinks I'm crazy, but I'm going to try to make these for Christmas.  Something we both love about going to New Jersey is getting real, authentic cannoli.  We would have one every night after the boys would go to bed (shhh, don't tell!)  I'm gonna make sure that tradition continues. =)

4. Make Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon - gonna have to tell my sweets not to read this post, I plan on making this for his birthday (which is coming up soon) and I'd like for it to be a surprise.

5. Roast a pig with crackling - I did this back in March.  The results were not worth writing about.  In fact, the whole experiment was rather disappointing.  The pork itself was good, but the crackling didn't turn out.  I *think*, but I don't know for sure, that the pork I got must have been much bigger/older than what you need for the recipe and method I was using.  It's not something that I'll likely try again.  You cannot even buy pork with the skin on it in most grocery stores.  The Whole Foods here doesn't sell it nor did any other grocer we called.  We had to go to a specialty butcher shop which was quite a drive away from us to find it.  That part was fun actually, and was about the only good thing that resulted from this goal.

7. Learn how to make creamy egg sauce for donburi - I'm working on this one.  I'll update, someday, with the results and process. 

8. Make gyoza from scratch -  I'm making these for New Year's Eve.  My mom always made lumpia and fried gyoza on New Year's Eve.  I'm thinking we'll start a similar tradition.

10. Make homemade udon - I don't think this is a goal that will get accomplished anytime soon.  In fact, it's off the list for 2012.

11. Make green tea ice cream - I actually made a batch this summer.  The only person who really loved it was Gabe!  I do want to make it again, but with a different recipe.  It will have to wait until next summer though, and then hopefully I'll remember to share the results with you. =)

12. Make miso soup - I'm making this to go with the gyoza on New Year's Eve.

13. Find a recipe for good tempura batter - a goal for next year.

14. Learn more about Indian cooking- I think I can say that I've made progress on this front.  I certainly know more about Indian cooking now than I did at the beginning of the year.  I'm gonna cross it off my list, but I am in no way finished with this one.  There is still so much to learn.

15. Find a recipe I truly like for Chana Masala - I tweaked and simplified this recipe from smitten kitchen, and I am finally happy with my version of Chana Masala.  I'll try to share my modified  version with you at some point.

17. Make Rogan Josh- I've made this with pork, but I'd like to make this with lamb.  I need to find a good supplier though.

20. Make Aloo Gobhi - still haven't found a recipe that I want to try.  At first I thought I would make the recipe from Jamie's Food Revolution, but I don't think that one is going to give me the results I'm looking for based on other Indian inspired recipes I've made from his book.  The search continues.

26. Find a *good* recipe for traditional American-style cinnamon rolls - I'm working on this one too.  I actually made a batch of cinnamon rolls last weekend

using a recipe from Martha Stewart (here is the recipe for the dough, and here is the method and ingredients to make the rolls).  We topped ours with a very simple cream cheese sugar glaze.  The dough in this recipe is not enriched (meaning no eggs, milk, or butter) and so while these buns were very good, they just aren't what I'm looking for.  I'm going to try this recipe next.  Maybe for Christmas morning?

28. Make a quilt - I don't know when this will happen.  I'd like to try to make a small baby quilt for Samuel.  I know that once I get started I will probably find it rather intuitive and wonder why it took me so long to just get to it.  But, I have so many other things that I want/need to do.  I'm a bit on the fence about this one...

30. Submit to Cards magazine - I'm happy to say that I finally did this just last week.  I'm even happier to say that I had two cards picked up for the April 2012 issue!  And because this post needs more photos, here is a card I made recently using one of my favorite collections, 100 Days of Summer

33. Finish reading “The Catholic Homeschool Companion” - While I didn't read the entire book, I have read the chapters/essays that I felt were relevant to our home and situation.  I'm considering this goal accomplished.

Phew!  I finally got this post finished.  I really have been putting it off for some time now (think months).  Don't have too much more to add right now.  I'm looking forward to the weekend.  It's going to be cloudy and cold and I think it will be just right for baking cookies, wearing comfy pants and socks, and getting cozy with all of my boys.  I think some hot cocoa might be in order too.  =)

November 8, 2011

there's someone I'd like you to meet

I've been putting off writing this post for some time now.  I suppose I just haven't been able to find the words that can adequately express my feelings on the subject.  Happy doesn't quite do them justice.

It might come as a surprise (or perhaps not! given my general lack of blogging the last few months), but I am already quite far along, 24.5 weeks.  Baby and I are both doing well.  Given our past history, this pregnancy has been more closely monitored and we have had regular ultrasounds to track his growth.  This little one is growing bigger and stronger each day.  Lately, he keeps me up some nights with his kicking, but of course, I don't mind.  I cannot tell you how much I love those little kicks, even when they cause me heartburn. =)

Although things are progressing well, I would still welcome and ask for your prayers.  If you'd like, you can pray for him by name, Samuel.

For this child I prayed; 
and the Lord has granted me my petition which I made to him.

November 2, 2011

catching up

These days it seems as though I am always behind.  Life has been so busy for us lately and there is so much to share, but I feel like there is simply not enough time to share it.  For example, we've had three doctor's appointments within the last six days.  No, no one is sick.  But maybe you can get the idea?  Things are just not quite normal and it's taking a little bit of a toll.  I typically blog at night, after the boys have gone to bed.  Lately, by the time the evening comes I am completely worn out.  So, today is my attempt to catch-up a little.  And as always, it's easiest to catch-up on the scrapbooking front, so that's what I'm gonna do.

This week has been my turn to host the blog at Write.Click.Scrapbook.  I started off on Monday with a compilation post of the collective's favorite Halloween layouts and crafts.  A great post to visit if you're looking for some inspiration for those recent photos of trick-or-treating.  The rest of the week I'm looking at projects that challenge or inspire you to scrapbook your year.  On day one we covered Project 12 and Project 365.  Day two was all about Project Life and the Document Project.  I asked some of my favorite scrapbookers to help with this week's posts.  It's been really interesting to see how they all tackle these various projects and make them their own.

Also, a new gallery went up yesterday

Here is my contribution

Nathan just turned three in September, and while we have thought of him as our baby for so long, the reality is, he is turning into such a big boy.  And goodness, you should hear the things he says!  He sort of knows already how to be a clown.  I have scrapbooked lots of photos from his first days, but I have never scrapbooked this photo, his very first. I thought given this month's gallery theme and the timing of his recent birthday that this was a good opportunity to finally use this photo, and write down a few thoughts about how quickly the time seems to pass and how much we love this little boy.

Tomorrow is at WCS, and then on Friday I'll be back to finish up my week of blogging.  I'm also planning a five for Friday post here.  I'm thinking you won't want to miss that one. =)

October 27, 2011

and the winners are...

Thank you to everyone who left me a comment on my 150th post.  It was fun to read about all the various weekend activities.  Seems that we are all trying to find that balance between chores and fun and spending time with family.

Now for the winners! 
Ashley C.
Amy Moore
April B.

Congratulations to you all!!  I'll be in contact with you shortly so that I can send you your goodies!

October 25, 2011

my favorite weather and some Halloween cards

The last two days we've seen a drop in the temperatures around here.  Nothing major, I'd say about 10 degrees.  Still, it's been cooler and a bit cloudy and it's allowed us to at least pretend it's fall. =)

Gabe came to me this morning and told me that this is his, "favorite kind of weather."  I asked him to explain what he meant and he said that he loved it when it was kind of cold, but not too cold, and the sun is not out and so it doesn't get hot.  All said with a smile on his face.  I promised him I'd let them play outside this morning so they could enjoy this cool front while it lasts (temperatures are predicted to go back up on Thursday).  Schoolwork will wait until the afternoon; we just don't get many days like this 'round here.

With Halloween less than a week away I thought I'd share some cards I made for  Actually, two cards and a gift tag, all made using the Nightfall collection from American Crafts:

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We don't really celebrate Halloween in our house; my husband and I are just not all that into this particular holiday.  But we do participate, in that we let the boys dress up and go trick-or-treating.  And I realize that some of my readers are going to understand what I'm talking about, and some of you won't, that's okay.  Basically, we focus on the Seinfeldian aspect of Halloween - the part where you "get candy."  That, and the pretending to be anything you want for one day.  For us it's all about the fun.  And with that thought, I can't wait to share the boys' costumes with you.  One was completely store-bought (or Amazon-bought actually), and the other is still in production.  My husband and I are as excited as the boys... they are going to be so cute!

Until next time! =)


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