April 28, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Thought I'd take a break from spring training to post a few photos from our Easter weekend.  We had a very lovely Easter. Fun, peaceful and joyful.

On Friday night I boiled the eggs to be colored the next day

I thought they looked rather pretty, don't you? 

The next day we went to an Easter egg hunt at our neighbor's house.

I tried to snap a photo of the boys together. 

This is always a challenge.  I took about 8 or 9 photos and these are the best.  Only because they make me laugh!  Let's just say these two photos say quite a bit about these two boys' individual personalities.

After the party, after lunch, and once Nathan had gone down for his nap we colored eggs.

This was our first time coloring brown eggs.   It was an interesting experience.  Some of the colors turned out quite well, very pretty and saturated.  Others were too dark for my liking.  I think next year we'll be sure to get white eggs.  If you look very closely you might be able to see the AT-AT that Gabe drew onto the orange egg with the wax crayon. =)

I didn't take any photos on Easter.  We got up on Sunday morning and had our usual breakfast of steel-cut oats.  We tried to get dressed a little bit early so that we could make it to mass a bit early, we succeeded.  After mass we came home and had a simple lunch.  Then we went to the cemetery and brought flowers to Michael's grave.  His grave marker is finally in place.  They told us it would take a long time, that it was a long process: the ordering, the making, the engraving.  And it is finally done.  It was the first time we had all gone together to visit his grave and it was the first time for us to see his grave marker.  There is no need for a photograph.  I'll just tell you, it's beautiful.  It is exactly what I wanted and maybe this might sound strange to some, but it makes me happy that it is there. 

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name: you are mine. 
Isaiah 43:1

See the rest of the links at  Like Mother, Like Daughter.


Until next time.  Peace and God bless.

April 27, 2011

Spring Training with Ella

I know I'm very late for day three - and yes it is still day 3 of Spring Training where I am.  Although, only for about another hour. =) 

Day three features a lesson from photography coach Kelly Willette.  I personally fell in love with her photography when she was featured during Write.Click.Scrapbook.'s Photo Philosophy Week.  Remember that?  Kelly's lesson for today is all about portraits vs. moments photography.  I'll confess, I don't take many portraits of my boys because honestly, it's hard to get to them to sit or stand still for even a moment.  And I feel like I'm lucky sometimes to get any photos of Nathan at all!  Which is funny because I recently made a layout with a photo of Nathan that I love

and it fits in so well with today's challenge which is to make a page featuring your best people photos - those photos that really capture the subject’s personality.  This photo certainly captures Nathan's personality.  Playing with a car while wearing his engineer's cap - backwards of course - with his tongue sticking out - of course!  He is so playful and silly and just always on the go.  I have to take several photos of him in the hopes of getting one good shot.  But when you get that one, it's worth it. 

The lesson for Day 4 is already up as is the challenge on The Daily Trumpet, create a page featuring any distressing techniques.  I'm looking forward to Tammy's lessons for Spring Training.  I do not really consider myself a technique based scrapbooker at all, but still, I do like to learn new things and try new techniques from time to time.  I'm sure her lessons are going to be a lot of fun.

The eBooks and coupon codes being featured for days 3 and 4 are

40 Top Tips for Better Photos by Rebecca Cooper 

use coupon code PHOTOTRICKS at checkout.


Design Workshop by Lisa Dickinson 

use coupon code HAPPYDESIGN at checkout.

Be sure to visit Write.Click.Scrapbook. everyday during Spring Training too.  Starting tomorrow Francine will be hosting the blog with more cross-training exercises featuring members of the collective. 

I think that's all for now.  =)

April 26, 2011

Spring Training, Day 2

Today is the second day of Ella's Spring Training 2011.  The topic for today focuses on single-sentence journaling.  As Angie points out, sometimes writing less is more difficult than writing more.  Stop by The Daily Trumpet to see part of the training video and to view the challenge for today.

While we're on the topic of journaling, I want to share two layouts that I recently made.  The photos on both of these layouts were taken on the same day at about the same time; maybe within a 30 minute period of our day.  My boys were pretending to be superheroes and were wearing some baby blankets as capes.  Can I tell you how precious this was?  I can't.  It's one of those things we get to experience as moms, the innocence and imagination of childhood, and for me at least, I often find it difficult to put into words.  I chose to make two separate layouts to tell the story of these moments. 

The first layout features Nathan and very little journaling.  I wanted the photos to speak for themselves because I do think they capture a bit of his playful personality.  This little boy is just so full of life.  He does everything all-out, no holding back.  He has no fear!  And I loved how in one short time period he could go from being quite serious and standing still - letting me take a photo - and then in the next moment, he's flying.

I absolutely love it!

The journaling reads:  all you need to take flight, a baby blanket & a little imagination

I love how these boys can use the simple things around the house to create new worlds and new adventures for themselves.

In the next layout, I wanted to feature photos of both Gabe and Nathan together.  Believe or not, and well actually you have to believe it - I have photographic evidence! =)  They stopped long enough for me to take their picture.  In making this layout, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the fact that they bring so much joy to my life.  Sometimes the day-to-day tasks that we have to do as mothers can be overwhelming.  Yes, it is hard work!  (Not impossible work, but hard nonetheless).  Truly though, I am so thankful for these two boys; so grateful for the gift of motherhood.

Journaling reads:  There is not a day that goes by that you two don't make me laugh.  You boys are so full of life, imagination, and happiness.  You bring so much joy to my life everyday and I am truly blessed to have you.

Again, I want to remind you to visit The Daily Trumpet to view today's challenge.  You do not have to be registered for Spring Training to participate in the blog challenges and the prizes are amazing, I wish I was eligible to enter!  Also, remember that Monika is blogging at Write.Click.Scrapbook. today and she's sharing several layouts from the collective that feature single-sentence journaling.

Finally, I have a coupon code to share with you. Save $1 off Journaling That Matters by using code HAPPYJOURNAL at checkout.

I'll be back tomorrow with another layout and another coupon code, see you then!

April 25, 2011

Spring Training, Day 1

Today is the first day of Spring Training 2011!

If you haven't signed up yet, it's not too late.  You can sign-up here and use code SPRING33 to save $7 on your registration fee.

Remember that everyone can participate in the daily challenges and giveaways which will be featured on The Daily Trumpet

Also, Ella has partnered with Write.Click.Scrapbook. to do some cross-training!  Ella Friend and WCSer Monika Wright has kicked-off the week with a post on embracing your signature style.

Finally, I have a coupon code to share with you.  Save $1 off 20 Simple Secrets of Happy Scrapbookers by using code HAPPYSPRING at checkout.

See you tomorrow!

April 24, 2011

Let us rejoice and be glad!


O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his mercy endures forever!

I thank you that you have answered me
     and have become my salvation.
The stone which the builders rejected
     has become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord's doing;
     it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord has made;
     let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Happy Easter and God's blessings to you all!

April 18, 2011

a new sketch today

The second sketch in the

went up today.  Here is the layout that I made for this week

The journaling reads:  It was a gray and chilly morning on this particular trip to the beach.  Nathan and I wanted nothing to do with building sandcastles, it was too cold!  We decided to stay on the picnic blanket and wrap ourselves in the beach towels to stay nice and cozy. September 5, 2010

The photos for this layout are a bit dark.  It really was quite gray and overcast that day at the beach.  To contrast the grayness of the photos I wanted to use papers that were bright and colorful.  These beach themed papers from October Afternoon were a perfect fit and I especially love the yellow background sheet.

Visit The Daily Trumpet to see the sketch that inspired the layout.

This week fellow Ella Friend Monika Wright also joined me in the challenge and made a layout based off the sketch.  A little more about Monika, she is a mom of 3 and married to Mr. wRight, as she calls him. =)  Although she's only been scrapbooking a few years, she began crafting with her Mom and brother at an early age, creating ornaments and handmade gifts for family and continues that same tradition with her own kids. You can find fun art projects, altered art, scrapbooking layouts, mini albums, tutorials, free downloads and lots more on her blog, i love it all with monika wright.  She also creates art prints and mini albums for sale, like this subway art print here

and is happy to create custom prints and albums, all of which are available in her Etsy shop, iloveitall.

Monika is generously offering a 15% discount to iloveitall on Etsy with the coupon code ILOVEITALl.

Finally, in case you missed out on the first sketch for April you can see it and read more about the series hereRemember, there will be two sketches posted each month. So stop by The Daily Trumpet every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from now through September to see a brand new sketch and layouts created by me and the Ella Friends using the sketches.

I do hope you will join in the fun.  I can't wait to see your layouts! =)

April 14, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Starting today the bloggers at Like Mother, Like Daughter are starting a new series


to be posted every Thursday.  Earlier in the week as Leila was introducing the idea (you should go and read that post), she said

My camera in my life is the antidote to the barrage of images I'm surrounded with, images that aim to convince me that my life isn't perfect enough.

I feel very much the same way.  I feel that way about my scrapbooking too.  The two things are largely connected for me.

I said on Monday that this week would be busy,  and it has been.  Not in a bad way though, just a little more on my to-do list than usual.  And I think I am feeling the weight of it all a little more lately too.  Maybe you've noticed it, creeping in my posts.  I'm not sure.  I keep a lot of it to myself.

I love the title of this series because that's what life is, isn't it?  A mix of pretty, happy, funny and real things.  The real part of my life right now is that I miss my little baby so much.  I do.  The day he was supposed to be born is less than a month away and it is simply impossible to be unaware of that fact.  The happy part of life is that when I cry and my boys catch me,

they come to give me a hug.  They try to cheer me up because they see that mommy is sad.  I tell them that mommy is okay, she just misses baby Michael.  Gabe tells me that maybe we can visit him, and I say that that is probably a good idea.  They are so sweet, these boys

{who can resist a big red tractor?}

{or tractor stamps?}

Yesterday we went to The Flower Fields.

It was so beautiful. 

Beyond pretty.

The day was lovely too.  Spent with a good friend, who also lost a baby; stillborn.  Not a connection you would want to have I think, but something that we both share now, that very particular pain.  She understands it.

I am thankful for yesterday.  It was good for me in so many ways.

{making our way through the sweet pea maze}

Sometimes we make connections through those things that bring us pain.  And sometimes we make them through the things that bring us joy.  It's that mix that makes life a mystery.

See the rest of the links at Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Until next time, God bless.

April 11, 2011

it's going to be a busy week

I'm both excited about that fact and little apprehensive about it too.  I don't like to be busy for the sake of being busy, and I try to keep my daily list of tasks manageable, but sometimes having a long to-do list is just unavoidable.  Some things just have to be done! 

I probably won't be posting much this week.  Actually, I must confess that I cannot keep up with my current blogging pace.  I know posting once a week is too few blog posts, but 4-5 times a week is too many, for me at least.  I think I need to find that happy medium, maybe 2-3 posts every week.  Something I can actually do without wearing myself out.  I have never felt entirely comfortable in this world of blogging, but I think I'm finally finding my way.  Bear with me as I work on these details.

How about I start off this week with some scrapbooking inspiration?  There are a few things I want to share with you starting with a layout that I made for fellow WCSer Erin Sweeney who was hosting the blog last week.  One of her posts was on challenging yourself to step outside of your usual style or comfort zone.  I took up the challenge of using a product that I don't normally use, rub-ons.

If you remember, I took Amy's Bits and Pieces challenge a couple of weeks back and I did so mainly for the rub-on part of the challenge.  I don't really know why, but I hardly ever use them. Because of that I hardly ever buy them anymore either - I have to be really tempted by the design.  I tried to resist these days of the week rub-ons from Studio Calico but I eventually caved and bought them.  Since a lot of what I tend to scrapbook is our everyday lives I figured I'd have a good chance of using them.  For this page I collected lots of my favorite shots from this spring so far.  These simple everyday moments are a huge part of why I scrapbook. 

As I was working on this layout and selecting the photos I realized that I actually had quite a few photos from this spring that I really loved.  I was inspired to start a mini-album to collect them all in one place and maybe journal a few thoughts about them too.  Talk about good timing!  This week happens to be mini-album week at Write.Click.Scrapbook.  Join fellow collective member Monika Wright and other members of the team as they share a week full of mini-album inspiration. 

The week is a collaboration between WCS and Jenni Bowlin Studios

Visit the JBS Inspiration blog all week long too as members of their design team play along and share their own mini-album ideas.  It's going to be a great week!

Finally, registration begins today for Ella's 12-day Spring Training Extravaganza running from April 25th through May 7, 2011

*Early-bird special - Register by April 15th and use code 8ELLA to save $8 on your registration!*

What is Spring Training?
  • Four expert coaches:  Angie Lucas on journaling, Wendy Smedley on inspiration, Tammy Tutterow on techniques, and Kelly Willette on photography
  • 12 exclusive videos, one per day featuring coached training exercises (watch for 10 minutes, "exercise" for 10 minutes)
  • A daily layout challenge based on the daily exercise
  • Daily giveaways from our event sponsors including Big Picture Classes, Jenni Bowlin, Little Yellow Bicycle, and more!
  • Exclusive downloads and offers
  • Access to the videos for a full 60 days after the event ends
Note:  Participation is FREE in the daily layout challenge and giveaway (without access to the videos, hands-on exercises, and exclusive downloads)

Visit the registration page and watch the introduction video for more details about this fun event!

I think that's all for today - that's a lot! 

What's on your to-do list for this week?  Anything fun planned or is it all chores?  Whatever it is, I hope you have a blessed week.  =) 

April 7, 2011

peet stop

Why yes, I am watching the movie Cars with Gabe.  Nathan is napping and I...  am just a little tired and ready for Friday.  It's been one of those weeks.  I'm not complaining about it.  Because it hasn't been a bad week at all, it's just been a little blah and everyone seems to be out of sorts. 

I think we might need a vacation.  My sweets suggested it last night, and just thinking about it makes me tear up a bit.  Yeah, the last three months have been hard and a little break might be just the thing we all need.

For now though, I'll direct you to the April gallery for Write.Click.Scrapbook.  The theme for this month is {Im}Perfect.  We were challenged to scrapbook those not-so-great photos we all have.  And we do all have them.  But as the gallery this month shows, you really shouldn't let those less than perfect photographs keep you from telling your stories. 

My layout for this month features some photos from an adventure our family took in our quest for East Coast style pizza.  In case you are unfamiliar with it, I think it is best described as thin crust, not too much sauce, not too much cheese.  I didn't grow up eating it, but my husband did.  It would probably be better if he described it, but he doesn't have a blog, so you'll just have to take my word for it. =)

Journaling reads:  In search of great East Coast style pizza we headed to Pizzeria Luigi after seeing it featured on “Guy’s Big Bite.” Located in the Golden Hills neighborhood of San Diego, it’s a bit of a drive from where we currently live. The pizza was excellent though and we enjoyed a calzone almost as good as those in New Jersey; the boys loved it too. All around it was a great trip. November 11, 2010

A few notes: I took the photos on this page using my point-and-shoot camera.  I do like this camera, but I still don't know how to use it all that well.  I definitely take better pictures with my SLR camera than I do with my point-and-shoot and not because the SLR is a better camera (even if it is a better camera).  It is because I use my SLR more often and have more familiarity with the menu and setting options.  The only time I don't like my point-and-shoot is when I have to take photos in low-light situations.  These photos were taken inside the pizza restaurant, so yeah, indoors with poor lighting. The shots came out dark and some had some motion blur. I worked around this mostly by printing the photos rather small; the largest size photo on this layout is 3x4 inches. Also, I didn’t want a dark patterned paper competing with the dark photos and so I chose to use a light colored background for the photos and used the colored patterned paper only as a border.

I know I say this every month, and it is because I mean it every month.  The gallery is just so full of inspiration - you must visit!  I want to leave you with this, you don't have to have the newest or the latest products to scrapbook.  You don't have to own lots of cool tools and gadgets.  You don't have to have the best photos either.  You just have to want to tell your story.  Remember, there is no one right way to scrapbook

God bless.

April 4, 2011

A Brand New Challenge Series

I'm really excited to share this news with you all!  Starting today I will be hosting an all-new

over at The Daily Trumpet.  Every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from now through September you can visit Ella's blog to see a brand new sketch and layouts created from the sketch.  Along the way I'll share some of my favorite tips and tricks for getting the most from your sketches.  Plus, each week I've invited one of the Ella Friends to stretch the sketch and create another layout based on that same sketch so you'll get double the inspiration!  Each month you can join in the fun by making your own layouts based on the sketches presented to be eligible for some great prizes. 

Two sketches will be posted each month, meaning that if you create two layouts you will have two entries which will double your chances of winning.  I hope you all will participate with me and Ella in this brand new challenge series.  You can see the first sketch here.

Join in the fun, make a layout or two and grab a button for your own blog using the code below:

I can't wait to see your layouts! =)


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