this week {1.25 - 1.31}

~ i shopped at bi-lo and office depot ~

~ finished january newsletter for our neighborhood ~

~ revealed neighborhood website ~

~ matt made peanut butter cookies ~

~ i did the elliptical machine for 20 minutes one day...hey, baby steps ~

~ we got spencer caught up on school work after missing three days ~

~ we watched two episodes of the singing bee as a family ~

~ spencer had archery tryouts and made the team!!!! ~

~ spencer got his report card. he got three As and one B! ~

~ spencer got his reading assessment scores back. he was above average and reads on a 8.6 grade level ~

~ i sent in a rebate ~

~ i sent in our first dependent care reimbursement form ~

~ i worked on a list of ideas for a blog party...oh yeah, that's right! more to come ~

~ i began reading old blog posts ~

~ coleman fed himself some finger foods ~

~ we started replacing some of coleman's bottles with whole milk instead of formula ~

~ i found a block in my slipper and my contact lens solution in a toy basket ~

~ i attended a meeting for the events & activities committee for the new middle school that spencer will eventually attend ~

~ at that meeting, i somehow became the "events coordinator" for the pep rally. as if i have time for that ~

~ i missed teddy's basketball game because the meeting ran long ~

this is coleman with aunt sherry at the game...

~ michelle wasn't able to come into town on thursday as originally planned (she came friday morning) ~

~ coleman and i went to sherry's on friday. i scrapped (somewhat) and hung out with  my sisters ~

~ i picked spencer up from school on friday; later matt came and picked up both boys ~

~ friday night i started throwing up. i thought it was food poisoning. ~

~ saturday we woke up to snow/sleet on the ground. i went home early from our scrappin' weekend ~

~ spencer's basketball game and snow tubing party were cancelled ~

~ my sisters missed me ~

~ matt got sick saturday night. this changed the 'food poisoning' diagnosis to 'stomach virus' ~

~ on sunday, we had spencer's mom come get him early. sherry took coleman for the night so we could sleep and get better~

~ i only took SEVEN pictures???? what's wrong with me? ~

coleman's party
~ i am happy to report that after purchasing new ink cartridges and higher quality paper, i am content with the shade of green that is printing. quite a relief ~

~ the scalloped punch my mom sent (via my sister) works perfectly. the problem? my sister accidentally packed it up and took it back with her. no worries. if i can't find one locally, she will mail it to me. just glad to know it will work. ~

pedometer challenge
it was not a good week at all. my pedometer was messed up on monday and tuesday (readings in the 2000s even though my day was "normal"). then saturday and sunday, i was sick and barely moved.
total = 22,023 steps (average = 4,404) ouch!

savings tracker
spent = $87; saved = $57 (39%)
annual savings = $344 (39%)



{photographer update}

as you know, i was very pleased with the family photos we had taken back in november, and i have recommended the photographer to anyone that will read or listen to what i have to say :) she recently made some changes to her business name and webpages, so i wanted to provide an update. if there are any local folks that are considering using her, i want her to be easy to find :) so here we go...

if you watch the slideshow on the home page long enough, you'll see some familiar faces :)

this is a great way to see a bunch of samples of her work quickly



digi layout {still scrappin'}

it's a long story of how i got motivated to pull together this digital layout tonight (but i will say, randomly enough, that it all started with kirk cameron). so, anyway... this was actually very quick to pull together. i used a template (as always) and patterned papers from a confectionary kit. the photos are from scrapping throughout 2009 and the journaling is about trying to crop as a mommy. click the layout to view it larger.


scrapping {layouts + revelation}

i am tickled pink that i actually got some paper scrapping done this week. this is going to be a long post, so bear with me. it's another one of those topics that keeps floating around in my head, so i have to get it out of my system :) plus, i have no idea how to "make a long story short", so here goes...

the first layout i did (which is actually a 2-page 12x12 layout), started with this organizational website i mentioned in my projects post. the first part of the challenge was to actually scrap something so that you could take notes of what works in your area and what doesn't work.

i think it was actually last weekend that i started this (while coleman was napping). the layout idea itself was a total scraplift from ali edwards. this post shows how she scraps her christmas cards every year. this post features a scraplift of the idea, as well. our christmas cards were just piled up in my scraproom (aka - junk collecting room), so i figured it was a good layout to tackle. i began by chopping up all the cards. i got the "collage" part of it done last weekend. and there it sat.

fast forward to this weekend. my friend cassidy has been itching to scrap some pictures of her adorable baby girl, so i invited her to come over and use some of my stash to get started. and on saturday, that's exactly what happened. i pulled out my supplies as well, and before cassidy even arrived, i was able to finish up the christmas card photo layout (and yes, i took notes on what worked and didn't work).

as mentioned in this post, i am committed to completing coleman's first year "carousel" album that my sister made for me. prior to this weeknd, i had only done through month three (seven months behind). my goal, while cassidy was over, was to get my notes organized so that next weekend when i scrap with my sisters, i can get caught up. i got a little bit of this done while she was there, but not too much.

since cassidy and i had to scrap while entertaining babies, i had my stuff out on the kitchen table. matt was working this weekend so i decided to leave it out on sunday just in case i might be able to work on it some more. most of sunday went by with no suck luck. after lunch, coleman and i ran a few errands, which included picking up a picture order from walgreen's. included were the photos for the carousel (again, the plan was to tackle them the following weekend).

at some point after we got home, i got motivated. it helped that coleman was cooperative. but between the afternoon hours and after coleman went to bed, i was able to get the carousel completely caught up. not only did it feel great to accomplish this, but it also means that i'm now free to do something else next weekend while scrapping with my sisters.

so...quite a long post to say not much of anything, right??? i do have a point. remember that "work flow" i talked about? and how i wanted to "baby proof" my scrapbooking room? well, these are all great ideas (and necessary to do at some point). but a huge lightbulb went off...to be able to scrapbook on a regular basis, my hobby has to flow...not just in my studio but in my life. and my life is spent in the den/kitchen area of our home. duh! seriously...why didn't i think of this sooner???

here's the catch. matt and i both despise clutter. it's totally unrealistic for me to keep my scrapbooking supplies at the kitchen table. so, here are my thoughts: as i'm evaluating things in my scrapbook studio that need adjusting, i need to make sure that the 'basics' are mobile...that they can easily come downstairs when necessary. they are pretty easy at this point so this isn't too much of an issue, but could be improved. project folders or files will be key too. i need to have some projects that are easy to pack up and work on downstairs at times. i need to be able to bring supplies for a project up or down in only one or two trips. if it's much more complicated than that, i know i won't do it on a regular basis. this will probably mostly be on weekends when either matt is working or when we don't have a lot of other stuff going on. i loved being able to work on this stuff while matt sat and watched tv just a few feet away. no guilt! this could be the key to getting my 2009 Project 365 completed!

as basic as all of this seems...i truly feel this is a huge revelation for me and i hope it will lead to more one-on-one time with my hobby that i adore. if you actually read this whole thing...thanks :) if there are any scrappers reading this, i'd love to know...how do you fit scrapbooking into your daily life?



this week {1.18 - 1.24}

~ i shopped at bi-lo, food lion, walgreen's and hobby lobby ~

~ i got a cold, called in sick on monday and slept all day. really. all day. ~

~ rio ran off again. what's up with that. back to the leash for him! ~

~ sherry stopped by on tuesday and brought me some ice cream. so sweet ~

~ prepped for and attended another hoa board meeting (2nd one this month) ~

~ worked on the neighborhood newletters and website ~

~ committed to be on the events and activities committee for banks trail middle school ~

~ the journey began. and i'm proud to say that i kept up with the daily readings and journaled each day as well ~

~ i ended up having to take another half sick day on wednesday afternoon ~

~ i made a lot of progress on the digital creations for coleman's birthday party ~

~ we missed the meeting about spencer's new middle school because i was sick ~

~ spencer got bad sick (stomach virus) and missed three days of school ~

~ i got my free lee jeans in the mail. they are super duper comfortable ~

~ scott came over to hang out on thursday night ~

~ matt finally finished putting locks on our cabinet doors ~

~ tara, warren and colton came over for a visit on friday night ~

~ cassidy and giada came over for a while on saturday. sherry swung by too ~

~ cassidy created her first scrapbook page. yay! i can't believe i forgot to take a picture!  ~

~ i created a two-page 12x12 paper layout. felt good. really good. ~

~ i worked on getting things together for coleman's one-year carousel scrapbook. then, i actually got it caught up!!! woohoo. ~

~ i gave in and bought a starbucks. with my favorite being gone (pumpkin spice latte), i decided to try something new - the cinnamon dolce latte. it was ok, but not fantastic. ~

~ matt and i decided we are probably going to change the accountant we use to do our taxes ~

~ tara came over for coffee on sunday morning ~

~ coleman had an awesome weekend. he is getting really great at playing independently ~

~ coleman turned 11 months old on sunday. where does the time go???? ~

~ i ordered some photos from walgreen's ~

~ i only took 15 pictures all week. crazy! ~

{pedometer challenge}
i actually ended up with three days without counts this week. monday, i was sick in bed most of the day so i just didn't bother. one day, the battery fell out again so the data was lost. then one day the reading was all screwed up. so, anyway...for one of the "lost" days, i'm going to use a previously unused day (which was that week's lowest).
total step count = 35,507
highest step count = 10,501 (whooohooo)
lowest step count = 3,373 (oh, not good at all...but the pedometer wasn't working in the morning)
average step count = 7,101
{savings tracker}
spent $175; saved $101 (37%)
annual savings = $288 (38%)

{coleman's birthday}
~ friday i made a big mistake and discovered a few awesome party idea websites. as if i didn't have enough, i now have a million more ideas!! ~

~ coleman and i went to hobby lobby. we bought a few things but did more "window shopping" so that we'd know what they have when we have a better idea of what we need. ribbon spools were 50% off so i went ahead and got some of that. also got a few small cool things...don't want to ruin any surprises. oh, i was happy to get the envelopes for the invites without having to order them online. ~

~ i did some test printing and my printer was not printing any of the shades of green any differently (they were drastically different on the screen). so when i ordered some pictures from walgreen's, i added a couple of test prints to the order. i did three and the greens look identical (though significantly lighter than my home printer, but still don't match the party supplies). so, basically i'm a bit aggravated/frustrated with this part of the planning. ~



{coleman's birthday}

When I posted my list of projects (see post below), I should've included Coleman's First Birthday Party. It's probably been my main project focus so far this year (well, that and HOA stuff). It wasn't a hard decision to choose a theme. For some reason, monkeys just worked. Originally I had thought about orange and brown as the color scheme, but Matt wasn't a fan and I didn't want it to look like a Cleveland Browns party. So, lime green and chocolate brown were the final verdict.

I began by scouring the "party" sites, only to find that there were no monkey plates, etc in my color selection, but I was OK with that. A friend of mine was finding all sorts of cool birthday stuff over at etsy, so I checked it out. Sure enough...there was plenty of cuteness to be had, and most sellers will work with you on customization (is that a word?). So, I found all sorts of monkey goodness and thought I was all set.

Then reality set in. You can call it mommy guilt or you can say I'm a glutton for punishment or you can just call me crazy. But the nagging feeling inside me finally rose to the top and said: "STOP. There is absolutely NO WAY you are going to let some stranger create the cuteness that will surround your only child on his first birthday." I mean, seriously??? I actually entertained this idea???

Don't get me wrong. I loved all the stuff I found. And I wouldn't think poorly of anyone that purchased those things. But I know that I can do this all myself. And what I don't know how to do...well, I'll figure it out. I did it for Spencer and I will do it for Coleman. Will he care? No. Will he know the difference? No. Will he be a better child, man, student, father, or person because of my creations? No. Would I forgive myself if I didn't put every ounce of my creative being into making the perfect first birthday party for my perfect baby boy? Absolutely Not. And there you have it.

So, after this realization sank in, along with the loud sound of the ticking clock...I went to town. My goal was to great the elements in a "hybrid" fashion. They'd be done digitally, printed and then enhanced on paper. So, step one...finding the perfect monkey. You have no idea how many monkey clip art images I scanned through. Wow. I'm very pleased with my decision and I actually purchased the clip art so it'd be a higher resolution (a first for me).

Step two...figuring out how to create text in a circle using PSE7. A few google searches later and I learned that you can't actually do it without buying a "text path"...which I did (another first). It was super easy to use and it came with another digital element that I wanted to use, so that was exciting (and frugal). I also used an online tutorial for making a scalloped edge and tweaked it for something else I needed. If I seem vague, it's intentional. And you will not see any photos of my progress either. I don't want all the goodness to be shown on the site before the "big day". Of course I will post everything afterwards :)

Step three...create, create, create. Over the past week or so I have gone to town on my computer, designing the digital portions of my creations. This is the easy part. I'm at a point now where I need to get more physical.

So, what have I accomplished?
Decided on a time/date (spread the word to 'save the date')
Booked the photographer
Purchased clip art and text paths to allow for digital designs
Designed various digital elements
Purchased a punch needed to complete elements
Arranged to borrow some tools from mom
Purchased cupcake liners and cookie cutter
Purchased outfit and bib for birthday boy
Decided what Matt should wear on party day
Submitted vacation day request at work for the day before the party

And what is left to do?
Print digital elements for color testing
Purchase coordinating cardstock and ribbon
Decide on food selections
Purchase tableware
Find my cupcake holder
Decide what Spencer and I should wear on party day
Create and mail invitations
Physically make other "elements"
Finish Coleman's First Year scrapbook carousel
Arrange to have multiple high chairs

I know this wasn't a very exciting post, but I'm so consumed with this topic right now, I felt compelled to write about it. The party is a little over a month from now (Feb 27th), so I feel I'm on track to get everything completed in time. I've been including party related updates in my weekly recaps and will continue to do so.



{projects galore}

i love lists and goals and all sorts of motivational goodness. i love projects. i have a natural tendency to over-commit myself. but i honestly don't know if i'd be happy any other way. i had a list of things i wanted to blog about and realized that a lot of them fall under this "projects" category so i thought i'd just do one post to cover them all. these are all things that i'm doing right now or very soon.

{the journey}
if you refer back to my "looking forward" post, you will see that spending more time with my faith is something i'm *striving* to do in 2010. one of the many blogs that i follow is that of the photographer that did our most recent family photo shoot. in addition to her incredible talent as a photographer, i have come to admire her as a young woman, enjoy reading her blog and respect her musings, particularly in regards to her faith. the timing could not have been more perfect when she announced the journey she was starting. she is hosting a daily devotional that will take us through the entire Bible. the journey began this monday.

{pedometer challenge}
at the end of last year, i learned that a local community was sponsoring a pedometer challenge. i have always wanted to wear a pedometer and i thought it'd be a neat thing to do, particularly in the winter when it's a bit harder to stay active (in my opinion). it only cost $5 and that includes the actual pedometer. it started two weeks ago (the first monday of the year) and lasts for 8 weeks. you are to record your steps for at least five of seven days. at the end, there is a health fair and a chance to win door prizes. goals can be set at 6,000 or 8,000 or 10,000 steps per day.

overall, i was surprised how many steps i take on a 'normal' day. supposedly, the average person only takes 3,000 per day. my average is much higher than that, and i have a boring desk job. after two weeks of involvement, my average seems to be in the range of 7300-7400 steps per day. that is with very little "intentional" walking (in other words - walking for the sole purpose of increasing my step count).

though the challenge hasn't really increased my walking for the sake of exercising, it has increased my awareness. i have found that i am more likely to go do something on my lunch hour (shopping, etc) rather than stay in the office at my desk. when the weather is nice, i'm more motivated to walk to pick up coleman from daycare. and i think twice about lounging in front of the tv all night when i could be doing things around the house. basically, i *strive* to take a few extra steps every day.

you will notice that i'm including challenge updates in my weekly recap posts.

{library of memories}
last year, i paid to participate in the library of memories class, taught by stacy julian and big picture scrapbooking. since i paid once, i am now allowed to participate for free as an alumni member. the class begins in early february. implementing this system is a long-term project. i definitely made strides last year while on maternity leave, but after that (and the class) were over...everything kind of came to a halt. i'm looking forward to participating in the class again this year. this relates directly to one of my goals for the year and *striving* to improve my scrapbooking area and work flow. you can see blog posts from last year, related to this topic here.

on a somewhat related note, i also found out about this blog. throughout 2009, the author hosted weekly organizational challenges to get your scrap area in tip-top shape. i hope to use these archived posts to help with my goal as well. the name of the blog is "my love affair with the label maker"...i mean, seriously??? how awesome is that!?!

{middle school committee}
spencer is currently in 5th grade. when he enters middle school next year, he was supposed to be attending a brand new school. however, the opening has been delayed a year. so, his sixth grade year will be spent in one school and then in seventh, he will move on to this brand new one. in the meantime, they are putting together groups of volunteers to assist with things in regards to the new school. and of course, i had to sign up for something. based on a phone call i received yesterday, i'm pretty sure i'm officially part of the "events and activities" committee. our first event is a mascot revealing pep rally next month.

{homeowners' association}
and of course, there is my neighborhood involvement. as of october of last year (and through at least october of this year), i am the vice president of the board of directors for our neighborhood's homeowners' association (about 190 homes). as a board member, i also have to chair a committee and mine is the social/welcoming/communications committee. this is a pretty big commitment, i have come to realize. on the slow side, it's two meetings a month (one board, one committee). however, we have some issues right now and the board is meeting more frequently. we are also the first board since the neighborhood has actually been turned over to the homeowners. we are starting from scratch on all of the communication and social things. i have developed a newsletter and a blog for the community. it's all very exciting! but also very time-consuming.


this week {1.11 - 1.18}

~ i wasted an hour in the car just to take spencer's bookbag to him ~

~ i clipped coupons ~

~ matt's back went out ~

~ spencer got hit in the eye with his arrow at archer practice (he's ok) ~

~ i prepared for and attended the hoa social committee meeting ~

~ i got stuck in some serious morning traffic ~

~ i watched the premiere of american idol. wooooohooooo ~

~ i worked on the neighborhood website and newsletter ~

~ i bought stuff for matt's birthday (cheesecake, candles, cards, balloon, etc) ~

~ i shopped at food lion ~

~ we ordered domino's pizza ~

~ spencer and i gave matt his birthday cards and gift ~

~ someone put a toilet of beer cans on our front lawn and tp'd matt's truck ~

~ coleman finally learned to go down the stairs between the den and kitchen ~

~ i didn't get nearly enough sleep ~

~ scott came over to hang out ~

~ spencer, coleman and i went for a walk ~

~ i decided to stop doing weekly counts of laundry loads. it was depressing. ~

~ i filed coupons ~

~ i blogged about american idol ~

~ i completed a digital scrapbook layout ~

~ coleman and i went to tara and warren's house to visit ~

~ i bought clip art and a digital template to use for coleman's birthday party ~

~ i ordered some cute stuff from bake it pretty (heart shaped pancake mold, adorable cupcake liners and a circle cookie cutter). ~

{pedometer challenge}
i logged steps for five days. one day was lost because the pedometer was dropped right before bed. the battery fell out, losing the day's data. sunday i wasn't feeling well and realized around 10 a.m. that i'd forgotten to put it on. i knew it'd be a lazy day so i opted to just skip.
five day total: 36,975
five day average: 7,395
highest step count: 10,035 (first time breaking 10,000!!)
lowest step count: 4,617
my average was very close to last week's (slightly lower), which is disappointing. i need to *step it up* (get it??? ha ha!)

{savings tracker}
spent: $93
saved: $26 (22%) not very good...
annual cumulative savings: $187 (39%)


digi layout {moments}

earlier this week, while watching idol, i created a digital layout. this is another story i've been itching to get on paper so i'm very pleased to have it done. i typically don't scrap the same photo more than once (though i know many people that do this often). however, the left photo was already scrapped in my pregnancy album. but when i captured the other photo, i knew i had to do a layout featuring both of them. i was trying to find the first layout on my blog and apparently, i never shared it...so i will share both.

this is the original. it's a paper layout (11" x 8.5") including in my pregnancy album. you can probably read the journaling if you click on the photo to see it larger. the basic idea is about how spencer reacted throughout my pregnancy to the news of being a big brother.

this is the new one that i just did. it's digital, 12"x12". the journaling here basically just says how great of a relationship spencer and coleman have.

Sorry, but I can't give proper credit to any of the templates/products used. It is a very random combination of stuff (probably all free downloads). Just know that I don't take credit for any of it :)


{idol returns}

american idol starts tonight

it's that time of year again and i couldn't be more excited!!!!

if you know me or are a loyal blog reader (yeah, i have a ton of those...right???), you know that i love, love, love american idol. what proof? in eight seasons, i've only missed one episode. and i remember which one: carrie's season, 80's night.

i'm just thrilled that it starts tonight. SEASON NINE. bring it on!!!! i'm not a fan of the early episodes and prefer the later stuff when the singing is really good (and not stupid). but i insist on watching each and every episode so that i can pick out the winners early on (i totally said carrie underwood was going all the way when i saw her original audition).

so...what's in store for us this season????

she may have been crazy as a loon, but ya gotta admit you're gonna miss her...

and she is being replaced by this funny lady.
at first, i hated the idea. but her enthusiasm won me over. at least she's funny...

this guy's last season....
what will we do without him? enjoy every moment of his british cockiness while he's still here.

and we are stuck with her...

and then there's this guy.
bless his little heart...he doesn't cause much of a stir, does he?

and who is going to make it all *OK* as we adapt? this guy.
some may think that idol won't last without simon. but i think this smiley fellow is really the one that holds it all together for america. 

and just for giggles...anyone remember this guy?