September 29, 2011

friends, cupcakes & presents...

Someone turned three years old last week, 


and this year we opted not to throw a party for him.  But, we didn't want to go completely without a celebration and so we invited two of our neighbors over for cupcakes after dinner one night


and had a little mini-party.  Our neighbors brought gifts, even though I told them not to (they're, older, and so easily swayed by sweet smiles and such) and we ended up having quite a fun evening.  According to Gabe, you only need three things to have a great birthday anyway.  And he was right. =)

We love this little guy so much.  Our lives have most certainly not been the same since he entered the world, and we are thankful for that. 

September 26, 2011

the last sketch

 The final sketch in the Stretch Your Sketches challenge went up on the Ella blog today.  This is indeed the last month of the series and if you haven't had a chance to participate in the challenge so far, now is the time!  I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but I am so excited about the prize package for this month - Lawn Fawn is our sponsor and they have generously donated three sets of stamps for the prize, including one of my favorite stamp sets, Say Cheese:


For this final sketch, Ella Friend Brenda Johnston created an adorable layout about her daughter losing her very first baby tooth.  She kept very close to the original design, but replaced one of the photos with a little calendar to mark this special date.  Here is a sneak peek of Brenda's layout:


Please visit the Daily Trumpet to see the rest of Brenda's wonderful layout, the sketch, and the prize package for this month. 

I want to take this opportunity to give a big thank you to all of the Ella Friends for their support during this sketch challenge.  I also want to thank all of the participants of the challenge too.  I visit every challenge entry and I always come away inspired by how others have interpreted my sketches.  As I said above, if you haven't participated in the series yet, this month is your last chance to do so.  I hope you will join in the fun!

September 24, 2011

Scrapbook! Saturdays

This month at Write.Click.Scrapbook. we started a new Saturday format.   Each Saturday of the month we will focus on a different aspect of scrapbooking.  The first Saturday of each month will be dedicated to journaling, the second to photography, and the third Saturday of the month will focus on design.


 What does all of this have to do with me?  I now have the happy privilege of bringing you a brand new sketch each month on our Scrapbook! Saturdays:

You can download the very first Saturday Sketch here.

In addition to a new sketch, Scrapbook! Saturdays will feature a palette for color inspiration and a printable from our very own Beth Proudfoot.  Beth always designs the cutest printables, and the best part?  They're free!  See today's post for more examples of what you can do with this adorable subway print:


We hope the new Saturday features inspire you.  We want for our readers to join in and think of these new prompts as challenges to get your creativity kick-started.  If you create something based on one (or more) of the prompts you can post your layouts to the Write.Click.Scrapbook. Flickr gallery.  We will post some of our Flickr favorites on the fourth Saturday of each month.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend!

September 19, 2011

Boot Camp Starts Today!

Ella's Boot Camp started today and if you haven't already registered it is not too late! (see the coupon code at the end of this postSign-up today and spend the next six days in an intensive scrapbooking Boot Camp, where four expert Drill Instructors will lead you through a series of 10-minute drills.

The Drill Instructors
Maggie Holmes, Photo Effects Drill Instructor, Nichol Magouirk, Stamping Drill Instructor, Lisa Dickinson, Design Drill Instructor, Angie Lucas, Journaling Drill Instructor, and Wendy Smedley, Daily Lunch Break Inspiration.

What You'll Get:
  • 12 exclusive video drills to get your scrap-bootie in shape! (one each morning, one each evening)
  • 4 expert drill sergeants (in the areas of journaling, stamping, photo effects, and design)
  • 6 bonus lunch-time inspiration sessions with Wendy Smedley
  • 40 minutes of coached scrapbooking challenges per day
  • a place to upload your work and connect with other scrapbookers
  • concrete challenges that result in meaningful layouts
  • daily challenges, bonus downloads, sponsor prizes, and more
  • email reminders that it's time to suit up and get ready to scrap!
**Not enlisted?  Register before midnight tonight (9/19) with code YESMAAM to save $3 off registration.**

Please note that because of Boot Camp, the final sketch in the Stretch Your Sketches challenge has been rescheduled and will be posted next Monday instead of today. 

September 16, 2011

five on Friday

Here is a five on Friday post to give you a little glimpse of life around here these days.  I don't want to sound cliche, but it seems that these boys are growing up so very fast.  Everyday these boys are getting bigger, learning new words, playing new games... the list goes on.
  
1.  It doesn't happen often, but every now and then Gabe requests something very specific for lunch.  Last week, after I had finished making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, he asked for noodles with cheese inside (that's what we call tortellini), with peas and salami - cut up.  Sometimes I roll the salami and put it on these decorative toothpicks that I bought at the Japanese dollar store (they have little animal faces and are super-adorable).  Other times, I cut it into pieces and mix it in with the pasta.  Anyhow, I granted his wish the next day:


He told me it was perfect.

2.  Every now and then Gabe also asks to do something quite impossible.  Like at the moment, he wants to make maple syrup.  I told him that maple trees don't grow here.  If they do, I have never seen one.  He said that we should go to the place where they grow.  Makes sense, right?  Anyhow, he is obsessed with this idea, and asks us every Saturday when we have pancakes, "When can we make maple syrup?" *sigh*

3.  The other day we did something fun together, something easy and entirely possible.  We made homemade ricotta:


What's funny is that Gabe didn't like it.  I did change the recipe a bit and I think that if I had followed it exactly he may have liked it more.  The recipe we were using, if followed exactly, creates a very rich and dense ricotta.  I was looking for yield rather than texture, and while I did achieve that goal, it made for a ricotta with a more traditional texture and not so creamy.  It was however, perfect in the lasagna I made that night.  Next on my to-make list, homemade mascarponeI will report back.

4.  Someone is finally learning how to put their shoes on by themselves.  He resisted even attempting to do this himself for quite some time:


And it's hard.  But we just take them off and try again.

5.  Someone is also transitioning from taking a nap to not taking a nap.  This transition has been going on for a couple of months now.  Most of the time he does fine, aside from some grumpiness at dinnertime.  Other times, he just can't quite make it:



Just to let you know, he woke up complaining that his legs hurt.  Perhaps, given that information, it is mean of me, but I can't help but laugh at these pictures.  He can be such a silly boy.

Well, there you have it, a little round-up our our recent daily adventures.  I hope you are enjoying your Friday, wherever you are.  Until next time.  =)

September 14, 2011

inspired by Pinterest

Are you on Pinterest?  I'm sort of surprised to say that I am.  I never did get into using Tumblr; it never made sense to me and seemed really difficult to use.  But I find Pinterest very user friendly and I like having visual bookmarks of ideas that have inspired me online.  I don't want to get into this too much, but it seems that some people just pin everything and anything they like, which is completely their prerogative.  I'm definitely more picky about it.  Before I pin something I ask myself, and I try to be really honest with myself here, if I will ever actually make or do or use what it is that I'm pinning.  And so even though I've been using Pinterest for several months now, I only have 149 pins.  I truly like my little collection of pins though.  If you'd like you can see them, here.  I've also added a new button to my sidebar and if you want to, you can follow me on Pinterest.

Today I thought I'd share a quick art project I did with Gabe and Nathan that was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest, stamping with celery.  I'm not going to say that I'm not creative, but I will say that I would never have thought to do this.  And yet, is was so easy and a lot of fun:


Nathan loves painting and drawing, more than Gabe did at his age.  It's funny that a little boy who is so very active will settle down for a few moments and concentrate on something he really loves:


Gabe wanted to mix colors, and then he also tried swirling the stamp to see what it would look like.  I think this last experiment of his was his favorite:


I'm hoping to share more "inspired by" projects as time goes on.  I'll admit though, that it is sometimes difficult to manage an art project, help or give instructions, and take photos at the same time.  Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it just doesn't.  If you are on Pinterest post a link to your boards in the comments.  I'm always looking for more inspiration.  Plus, I think part of the fun of Pinterest is being able to share found ideas with others who share your tastes and interests.  I'd love to see what you've pinned!

September 12, 2011

treasures

When a library closes it is always a sad thing, don't you think?  Our city used to have two branches, but decided to close one because of budget issues.  They had a book sale several weeks back and I kicked myself at the time because I found out about it literally 20 minutes after the sale had ended.  Apparently though, there were still many books remaining and this past Friday and Saturday they had another sale; 25 cents for all children's books.  Seriously, 25 cents.

I hate that the library closed, but since we homeschool I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity and see if there was still anything left worth purchasing.  I'm happy to report that I had pretty good luck and managed to come home with a few treasures.  Truthfully, the children's section was pretty well picked over.  I'll mention that the library had allowed all the school teachers in the area first pick of books when the library closure was initially announced.  I'm glad for that.  With all the budget cuts, schools here are hurting and it seems fair that they should get first pick.  I still managed to find 29 books to bring home, almost all hardcovers.  Here are just a few of the books I found:






Plus, no little boy's library would be complete without a book about Giant Earth-Moving Equipment:


I also found, and this was not in the children's section, a set of encyclopedias on the earth and physical sciences.  Cost?  Only $15.  Honestly, I could not believe they were still there.  They are brand new and in absolutely beautiful condition.  When I really think about that, it makes me sad.  I don't think anyone ever used them.  As soon as I came home I did a search to see what they might be worth.  It turns out that this particular set goes for around $100.  It is hard to find a complete set though, and most of the listings I found had the individual volumes sold separately.  The set I purchased is the first edition and was published in 1998, but still completely relevant.  Most of what is covered in these books is information that will not be changing over time.  The newest edition, which was published in 2005, goes for anywhere between $650 to $715, which is certainly out of our price range.  At least, I would not consider buying encyclopedias at that price, not at this time.  Gabe loves them already:


and I know they will be well-used in the coming years.

We are just starting to build our home library.  While we love to visit the library and check-out books, I also want our children to grow up around books and to be able to pull a story from the shelf whenever they feel.  I don't mind buying books new, but I don't mind them used either.  The ones I purchased this past weekend were in varying conditions.  Mostly it was the covers of the books that were worn (but a lot of the books have those clear covers common to library books; I plan on keeping them on for protection). The pages of the books themselves were all in excellent condition, no rips and very little writing in any of the pages.  Even though I didn't find as much as I had hoped, I am so happy for what I did find.

Do you have a home library?  How have you gone about building it?  Any tips would be appreciated.  I'll share my tip, you can search for library sales in your area by visiting this website, Book Sale Finder.  I plan on keeping my eyes open for future sales, but I wonder if there are any other secrets to be had... if you have any, please share!

September 5, 2011

the challenge series continues...

The eleventh sketch in the Stretch Your Sketches challenge went up on the Ella blog today.  This is the last month of the series and if you haven't had a chance to participate in the challenge so far, now is the time!  I am pretty excited about the prize package for this month - Lawn Fawn is our sponsor and they have generously donated three sets of stamps for the prize, including one of my favorite stamp sets, Say Cheese:


As I said, this set is one of my favorites and I used it on my layout for this week:


The journaling reads:  Nathan, daddy and I don’t really like cutting your hair. We absolutely love your curls, but after a while they start to get a bit, wild. So every few months, daddy takes you outside and gives you a haircut. He lets you play with the spray bottle so you’ll sit still (at least a little). Then we just wait until your hair gets crazy again…

Joining me this month in the challenge is Ella Friend, Diana Chen.  Diana said that she has been taking a break from scrapbooking for the summer and has been spending more time with her family.  She added that the timing of this challenge could not have been better for her.  She was so inspired by the sketch that she actually created three layouts!  Here is just one of them:

 

This layout is perfect in its simplicity.  I love the combination of the orange and red, which matches the outfits of her adorable twins, and that big polka dot scallop border up top.  Diana blogs at Scrapbooking from the heart where she shares layouts, inspiration, and her insights about this amazing hobby.

Please visit the Daily Trumpet to see the rest of Diana's wonderful layouts, the sketch that inspired all of the layouts this week, and the prize package for this month. 

I hope you will join in the fun!

September 3, 2011

Welcome, September!

The other day I was lamenting the fact that fall is still a long ways away.  With the coming of September we're getting one step closer though, and that is definitely something to be thankful for.  With the new month also comes a new gallery at Write.Click.Scrapbook.  The theme this month is all about


and if you love books as much as we do at WCS, then you'll want to be sure to visit the gallery.  As always each of us has a different take on the theme and there are so many ideas for documenting your love of books and reading (or that of your children).  Here is my layout for this month:


The journaling reads:  The two of you have really been into stories lately; reading them, telling them, listening to them. Gabe is a beginning reader and so now he can read stories to himself or to Nathan. I love happening upon scenes like this one. It's becoming a more frequent occurrence and it is such a sweet and happy sight. March 9, 2011

Books and stories are becoming a big part of life around here.  Gabriel started reading earlier this year and it has been a lot of fun to see him gain an interest in books, reading, and telling stories. I caught him one day reading a favorite book to his little brother (and yes, they were reading about pumpkins in March; they love pumpkins!)  I was so happy that I captured this moment.  I also love that Nathan is sneaking a look at the camera. =)

I hope you are enjoying your Labor Day weekend!

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