June 30, 2011

our summer mornings

Last week I shared my pretty.  This week I'm going with happy, funny and real, although not necessarily in any kind of order.  Think of this as the summer edition, so far. =)  Our morning routine this summer has consisted of going outside immediately after breakfast, before it gets too hot, to play and play and play.  Of course, sometimes you have to take a break, and Otter Pops are always good for breaks:

After we've sufficiently released our wiggles, we come inside for lunch.  But first, we have to wash our hands:

Gabe washes his hands by himself in the bathroom, and Nathan gets to wash them at the kitchen sink.  Which, if you can see by that little smile on his face, he enjoys very much.  And yes, if you look closely you will see just how very dirty they get playing out there.  Most of the time one wash is not enough.

After lunch we read stories, do a craft, maybe watch a show, put on every accessible rosary:


He was so proud of himself.  We have some rosaries which are set aside just for the boys.  Nathan loves them, as you can see. =)

So far our summer has been made up of a mix of things and our day-to-day has been very unplanned, but I think we might have hit a wall.  I may need to do a little more planning as we look ahead to the rest of the summer.  If you have any good links for indoor/outdoor activities/crafts will you share them with me?

Hello to any of you who have visited via Like Mother, Like Daughter, thank you for stopping by!

round button chicken

June 27, 2011

our neighbor's lemon tree

Our neighbor has several lemon and orange trees in her backyard; this is just one of them.  The one that happens to extend just slightly over our side of the fence, but no complaints from me!  It is so pretty to look at in the summer, full of fruit.  She is very generous with us and during the summer she shares bags and bags of her lemons and oranges.  I often don't quite know what to do with them all (besides admire how gorgeous they are sitting in a bowl on my kitchen counter).  Then, a couple of weeks back, I saw that Wendy had made a pie and I knew that I needed to make one too.  The same one, with strawberries

{Oh, the strawberries are so amazing this time of year!} 

and lemons, 

And...unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of the finished pie.  I know.  I started the pie-making process in the evening and didn't finish until after lunch the next day.  By the time I finished topping the pie, with whipped cream instead of meringue, everyone just wanted to taste it already and I didn't care about taking a photo. =)  It was delicious, by the way, and I know I will make it again. 

The only problem is that the recipe calls for approximately 4 lemons, and I only needed two (I didn't mention that these lemons are huge!)  So, I barely made a dent in our lemon stash and still have quite a few remaining.  Any ideas?  Do you have a favorite lemon recipe?  Share it with me if you do!

June 24, 2011

List It! Childhood Edition Giveaway *Updated with winner*

It seems as though this has been a very scrapbooking centered week here on my blog (more so than usual), but I do have something fun to share with you today.  Ella Publishing Co has come out with a brand new type of product called List It!  List It! are printable, prompted lists that make it easy to write about your personal history.  They are perfect for use on scrapbook pages, mini-albums, notebooks, and handmade list journals (see Angie's journal on Ella's blog for an example).  There are currently three different List It! products available, the Childhood Edition, Holiday Edition, and a Teen Sampler.

I recently made a layout for the cover of the Childhood Edition using the prompt, "Nicknames or pet names I was called as a child"

There are 91 lists total in the Childhood Edition.  Here is a sample page:

 There are endless possibilities with List It! 
  • Print a single list to use as a journaling spot on a scrapbook page.
  • Choose just your favorite lists to print for a customized list notebook.
  • Let these lists inspire fresh, creative journaling for layouts about your childhood.
  • Print all the lists and bind them into a personal-heritage notebook.
  • Print the lists back-to-back, or print a sheet of extra lines on the back sides of each list for extra writing space!
  • Trim a handful of lists to 4 x 6, pair them with 4 x 6 photos, and create a simple, stylish mini-album
For more tips, information and ideas watch the List It! video.

Now then, here is the fun part!  I am giving away one copy of List It! Childhood Edition:


If you'd like a chance to win either a copy of List It! Childhood Edition or the Digi Plus version leave me a comment with at least one of the nicknames or pet names that you were called as a child.  Now, I need to ask that you either become a follower of my blog, or that you leave you email address in your comment.  I've had a few prizes go unclaimed and this will make it much easier for me to contact you!  Comments will remain open until Sunday June 26th 11:59pm.  The winner will be chosen at random and I will update this blog post with the winner early next week. 

A few more of the Ella Friends are having giveaways too:  Mary Jo, Valerie and Brenda.  Increase your chances of winning by stopping by their blogs!

Alright, it's Friday, my husband is home, and we have a mix of fun and chores to attend to.  Hope you have a lovely weekend!

*The winner of the List It! Childhood Edition is Melissa!  Melissa, I will contact you shortly with information on how to obtain your prize.  Thank you to everyone who shared your nicknames with me, I loved reading your comments!*

June 22, 2011

if you're looking for me...

I'm here.  

Talking about my most loved scrapbooking product.  

Stop by to find out what it is!

June 20, 2011

we are halfway there!

Sketch number six will mark the halfway point in our

Just as a reminder, Jillibean Soup is sponsoring this month's Stretch Your Sketches Challenge!  So in addition to winning a free copy of my eBook Stretch Your Sketches, the winner of this month's challenge will also win the entire Watermelon Gazpacho Soup collection.
I want to share the layout that I made from this week's sketch:

These are the photos I took at our neighbor's Easter egg hunt.  The journaling reads:  I tried to snap a photo of the boys together at the Hazel’s Easter egg hunt. I took several 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.  April 23, 2011  

Fellow Ella Friend, Lee Currie, also made a layout using this week's sketch:

Lee says about her layout, "We're often busy celebrating the firsts, but sometimes that just isn't enough, especially in the case of ice cream!"  I agree.  It is never too late to record and celebrate those special moments.

Lee Currie blogs at Embrace Life where she documents her life along with her many creative endeavors.

Visit The Daily Trumpet to see the sketch that inspired these layouts.  I so love seeing what everyone comes up with using the sketches.  I hope you will play along!

June 16, 2011

we *heart* pickles

In addition to celebrating a birthday this weekend, I also found some time to make one of my favorite summertime recipes.  I've mentioned before that summer isn't my favorite season, but there are a few things about summer that I absolutely love.  A lot of those things just happen to be food related.

Since this recipe is one of my family's favorites I thought I'd share it with you too.  It is a super-easy recipe for refrigerator pickles which I've only slightly modified from this recipe, Dill Pickle Spears.  Here is my version:

Easy Dill Pickles

    4 to 6 Kirby cucumbers (about 1 pound), quartered lengthwise
    1 cup white-wine vinegar
    2 Tbsp sugar
    3 tablespoons coarse salt
    1 teaspoon dill seed
    1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

    In a large saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, salt, dill seed, peppercorns and garlic with 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar and salt dissolve.  Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat and place the cucumbers in the pan.  Allow the cucumbers to sit in the mixture until cool.  After they have cooled, transfer to a container and refrigerate, at least 2 hours.

I like to both quarter and halve my cucumbers.  The halves will pickle nicely but still have a substantial crunch that I happen to really love.

Also, as the cucumbers are pickling be sure to stir them occasionally, moving the pickles on top to the bottom and vice versa. 

My beloved pickle container, from Tupperware.  Mine is from a few years ago and I see that it now comes in a pretty blue color.  I very clearly remember the one that my mother had, and very likely still has, from the 70's in avocado green.  In fact, my mother had a lot of Tupperware and I remember all of it.  Sort of one of those things I associate with childhood

It's been several weeks since I participated in {pretty, happy, funny, real} and I thought that this would be a good opportunity to get back into the habit.  I think that cucumbers being pickled are pretty, don't you?  It's something about their dark green skins against the pale green insides.  Am I just weird?

Waving hello to any of you who have visited via Like Mother, Like Daughter, thank you for stopping by! 

round button chicken

June 15, 2011

the best birthday ever

{decorating his flying saucer}

That's what he called it.  Without a doubt all the planning, preparing, shopping, baking was all worthwhile.  He is a sweet boy and it makes me so happy that he did indeed have the time of his life.

The last few days I've been in recovery mode, to perfectly honest with you.  Things that didn't get done last week, must now get done this week.  So, I'm playing catch-up.  I want to do a post on the party sometime soon.  I mentioned before that it was space-themed and I want to share some of the ideas I found on the web for those who might be interested... or not!  I'm gonna share them anyway. =) I'll also share a few more photos.

Until then, God bless. =)

June 10, 2011

Can you believe this guy!?!

Someone is turning 5.  In fact, all this week we've been busy preparing for his party.  He hasn't had a party in a few years and we thought he was due.  It will be space-themed with a guest appearance made by Buzz Lightyear. =)  I want to say that Gabe is excited, but the truth is, we are all excited!  I think it's going to be fun, fun, fun.

This little guy has grown so much this past year, I have often felt like I could barely keep him clothed.  His vocabulary and interests have grown too.  For example, he enjoys drawing and painting now:

Has a not-so-minor obsession with AT-ATs:

He has been reading for a few months now, and will occasionally read to his little brother:

{a scene I'm hoping to see more of in the future}

He loves to play outside, explore and come up with experiments:

{this one is called, "does it float?"}

He is smart, imaginative, curious, he's a bit of a dreamer, but ultimately, he is just one very happy and contented boy.  Here is a fairly recent layout I made about him:

 {this is a scraplift of a page made my Jamie Waters, find you be you}

It's a favorite because this is just so Gabe, doing his own thing, not in a hurry for anything or anyone.  He is one amazing little boy and we love him so very much. 

Happy Birthday little guy!

June 7, 2011

stretch your sketches

Sketch number five in the

went up yesterday at The Daily Trumpet, and this week it's a two page spread.  You can use the sketch to make a two page layout at 12 x 12 or 8.5 x 11 or you can use just one side of the sketch.  There truly are no rules or limits as to how you use the sketch, just let the sketch inspire you to create and then share it with us! =)

I am happy to announce that this month the Stretch Your Sketches Challenge Series is being sponsored by Jillibean Soup!

So in addition to winning a free copy of my eBook Stretch Your Sketches,

the winner of this month's challenge will also win Jillibean's latest collection Watermelon Gazpacho Soup!

I used that line to make my layout for this week

It's a collection of my favorite summer photos from last year.  Jillibean's summer line was perfect for this layout.  I've always loved their journaling sprouts, but I think my favorite new product from their last few lines have been the Pea Pods.  They are so much fun to use. =)

As for the layout, summer is really not my favorite season.  Even though I have almost always lived somewhere where it gets quite hot this time of year I have never really liked or enjoyed the heat or the sun.  But!  Summers are different now that I am a mommy.  The boys love the beach, well at least, Gabe loves the beach (I've talked about this before) and they both love being outside.  So, I have to admit that slowly, very slowly, I might come around to liking the warmer weather.

Joining me this week in the challenge is fellow Ella Friend, Jennifer Larson.  Here is what Jennifer had to say about herself:

I'm Jennifer Larson, a native of Maine and current resident of Minnesota, wife to the biggest Star Wars fan in history, mother to two boys (the second and third biggest Star Wars fans), and a loyal fan of mysteries and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When I'm not scrapping, I'm teaching English to high school students 9 months of the year and chasing after my boys for the other 3 months. 

Here is a little sneak peek of the layout that Jennifer made for this week

As is always the case with Jennifer's creations, her layout is beautifully done and inspiring.  Please visit the Daily Trumpet to see the rest of the layout, the sketch that inspired the layout, and the prize package for this month. 

I hope you will join in the fun too!

June 6, 2011

You Can Help

I saw this over the weekend and I wanted to share it here.  Nikki Sivils of Nikki Sivils Scrapbooker has started a supply drive for the scrapbookers of Joplin, Missouri

If you are anything like me, and I know that a lot of you are, then you probably have more supplies than you need or you might already have supplies set aside that you no longer need or have room for.  I have a box of items that have been sitting around since we moved and I've been waiting to find somewhere to donate these items.  That box of supplies will be in the mail to Nikki this week.  She asks that you send all donations by June 22nd, you can find the address in the flyer above.

As scrapbookers we know how much this hobby means to us.  It can bring us peace in times of stress and it can be a way of focusing on our blessings.  I can speak from my own personal experience and tell you that it can also bring comfort in a time of grief.  Here is a small, but I think important way that we can bring some joy to those who have lost so much.

If you are not a scrapbooker, or if you are looking to do something more here are the donation pages for Catholic Charities USA and the American Red Cross.  I know it has been a couple of weeks since the devastation occurred in Joplin, but the road to recovery for the families who have lost their homes, their belongings and even loved ones is going to be a long one.  It is not too late to help.  If you haven't made a donation yet, now is the time.

We offer our continued prayers to all those who are suffering due to the recent natural disasters.  May God be with you in your time of grief and sorrow.

June 2, 2011

no hills

I had mentioned several weeks ago that May was going to be a busy month.  My parents came into town for a few days in mid-May and after that we headed out on a short holiday.  Yes, the reason I haven't posted much the last two weeks is because, I haven't been around!  We were here

{a typically cloudy day}

And now, I know what some of you might be thinking.  Seattle might not seem like the most exciting place to go on vacation (at least this is the impression I got from others whenever I happened to mention that we were going on vacation, to Seattle), but it has a special place in our hearts since it's where my sweets and I went on our honeymoon.  And again, I know it doesn't seem like the most exciting place to go for a honeymoon...  I'll just say that we got married while we were both still in grad school and flights plus accommodation were cheap.  We had fun and have very fond memories of our time there!

I won't go into all of the details of our trip now, I just thought I'd share a few photos with you.

{ready for where the road, or um, his parents take him}

{no trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the market}

 {or without drinking lots of coffee}

The day after we returned from Seattle we were having dinner at our kitchen table and Gabe mentioned that he was happy for everything to be "back to normal."  I asked him if he liked our adventure and he said that he did, but he added, "Next time, no hills."

Ha!  I wonder what would make him say that?!

We had a wonderful time on our holiday.  It was good to get away from work and chores (and scrapbooking deadlines) even if just for a short while.  And I will admit that while traveling with children is not the same as traveling alone, there is work involved, it was still very restful and restorative.  Since we've been back I've been trying to get things in order, get back into our groove, and I'm looking forward to summer.

What are you looking forward to?  Are you going on holiday or do you have something else special planned?  I always love to hear from those of you who are reading, stop and say hi if you have the time.  Until next time, God bless.


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