Sunday, January 31, 2010


Since I haven't posted anything scrappy since I got back on my blogging wagon, here's a layout I did for the Prism blog that was posted on January 20.

I use these colors often for my vintage (are the late 1960’s and early 1970’s considered vintage?) photos. I love this combination of Suede Browns with the Mystic blue for older photos. These rich colors are still subtle enough that they don’t overpower the slightly desaturated-looking photos I have from my early childhood.

I take multiple photos of everything my kids do (digital photography is wonderful, isn't it?), but my parents didn't have that option. So for layouts of my early years, I often have just one photo of an event (and I am very thankful to have it!) to use for a layout. Since these old photos are usually square, I like to use this square, layered frame design to highlight the photo.
(End of scrappiness for today.)

You can always tell when I'm starting to feel better because I wander into the kitchen and clean the countertops and bleach the sinks. My family has done has admirable job of feeding itself for two-plus days and even cleaning up afterward...but they don't wipe the counters and they leave the sinks looking spotty. I guess it's okay because it makes me feel needed. So, anyway, I just cleaned the counters and my sinks are soaking in hot, soapy, slightly bleachy water. It feels good.

My head is still stuffy. My throat still hurts. I still have a headache. But. None of it is as bad as it was. When it's time to take more ibuprofen, I'll just take it. I don't want to know how much it's helping. I just want to keep feeling better. (smile.)

So. Since nothing much has happened, I'll give a random "ten" list:
1. I love to play "Words With Friends" on my phone. If you like to play, email me and I'll give you my username so we can play a game. Sometimes I am slow and only play at red lights or when I'm waiting to pick up my kids from something, so if you play with me, plan for it to be a looooooooooooooooooong game.
2. Did you know that Bazzill Basics Paper has acquired the Prism Prismatics Cardstock? Here is a list of the colors they will be offering. It's a beautiful array of colors and I'm happy to say that they are still going to have all of my favorites! More details.
3. If I had some of the new October Afternoon "Thrift Shop" or "Go Fly a Kite" stuff, I'd be making something with it. I'm just saying.
4. I think even a sick-but-getting-better person can make Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie. Right?
5. Corey's cute quote from yesterday (he was talking to Cody and watching Revenge of the Sith) - "I wish there were sixteen Star Wars movies. But that would be impossible, wouldn't it? Luke would be old, old, old." Who could make this stuff up?
6. Doug's quote from yesterday (he was talking about his 2nd grade basketball team) - "I felt like I was talking to an ant hill."
7. Oh, my stars. Sometime during my NyQuil-induced haze this weekend, a box arrived on my doorstep, jam-packed with the new Fiskars clear stamps (I think I counted 44 sets with up to 31 stamps in each set), new inks, and Limited Edition Spring Punches. A box of cuteness, to be sure!
8. I am running out of motivation for this list.
9. Abbey Road "Whirlybird" from My Mind's Eye is sweetness itself.
10. Who ate all the sunflower seeds and left the other food in my bird feeder? I'm glad to feed whoever it is, but I want to watch.

[I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13]

Saturday, January 30, 2010

why i missed my first finish-it friday of 2010.

I'm sick. A lot sick. Like my-throat-is-so-swollen-and-sore-I-don't-know-how-I'm-gonna-swallow-that-ibuprofen sick. This is why I didn't do Finish-It Friday yesterday. And I'm sure I won't do it today.

Maybe tomorrow.

Here's a "ten" list for what today is looking like:
1. Sore throat, headaches, all-over achiness, and pain.
2. Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate ice cream.
3. Ibuprofen and Extra-Strength Tylenol.
4. Cold water.
5. The Proposal. (I have been wanting to see this, but I never sit long enough to watch a whole movie, but now I don't want to move, so I'd say this is the perfect time for a movie.)
6. Chick-fil-a lemonade. (Jolie and Doug brought it to me and I didn't even request it.)
7. Sleep.
8. Catching up on my Google Reader.
9. Making a to-do list for next week.
10. Feeling a little (or a lot) better by the end of the day. (Optimism never hurts.)

[Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. Matthew 12:13]

Thursday, January 28, 2010

weigh-in wednesday.

I took this picture yesterday when I was getting that quickie to-do list photo. I noticed my shadow and thought how nice and tall and straight I's almost like the carnival fun house mirror that distorts an image and makes people look tall and thin. I do enjoy that mirror.

I just weighed in for the first time since before Christmas. I was a bit nervous. To be honest with you, I cannot tell when I have gained or lost by how I feel. I think if I gained 10 or 15 pounds, I'd notice, but a few up or down is hard to notice. When I was at a healthy weight, I was pretty sensitive to fluctuations of just 2 or 3 pounds. This is probably why I gained that extra weight over the last couple of years (well, that and Doritos). I didn't weigh myself and I couldn't feel the weight coming on. I did wonder why my clothes were shrinking, though.

So. Anyway. I got on the scale and was down 3 pounds! I was thrilled because even though it's been 5 weeks since I weighed, I distinctly remember eating a few non-weight-loss-friendly things over the holidays. I didn't just pig out, though, mostly because the healthier foods make me feel so much better. It's not fun to eat junk and feel bad when I know how good eating healthful foods can make me feel.

Tomorrow morning: appointment with Doug at the coumadin clinic. I'm hoping to learn a lot about his treatment and be encouraged somehow.

The verse today is from 1 Thessalonians, which Corey pronounces "Sethalonians."

[Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 1 Thessalonians 3:7]

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

tackle-it tuesday.

I think today would have been more appropriately titled "Taxi Tuesday." I drove almost all day! While I was dropping Jolie off at the dance studio this morning for the class the assists in, I took a picture of my to-do list with my phone, and here it is.

I usually make the list on Monday night because Mondays are so busy with homeschool co-op, piano lessons, and dance that I don't get much accomplished besides feeding everyone, playing scrabble on my phone, and maybe some little errands between drop-offs and pick-ups. If I would make my list on Sunday night, I might be able to tackle some of the errands on Monday...hmmm, I'll work on that. Tuesday is still the day that I really feel like I can tackle all those to-do items.

The idea behind my to-do list is to write down pretty much everything I need or want to get accomplished this week in sort of a brainstorming fashion. I leave plenty of space to add to my list and I don't worry about making it pretty or neat. Sometimes if my life is really overwhelming me with activities and deadlines, I will make four sub-lists: House, School, Work (usually just creative stuff), and Project. The project category will have all the things I need to do for whatever I have overcommitted to at the moment like a working a fundraiser, teaching a class, or hosting an event at home. I'll also use that section if there's a holiday coming up and I have several things to get accomplished.

As I brainstorm, I think of things I want to do but know I won't get to this week. Those things go in a little section I call "planning mode." It's funny, but if I actually write those down somewhere, knowing full well that I will not get around to them for days or weeks, it still puts them on my "radar," and I start thinking about them and jotting down ideas as they come to me. If I don't write down the "planning mode" projects, they stay jumbled up in my head and make my thoughts more cluttered, which makes me feel less on top of things.

I will often write an estimated time next to a task because it helps me to know what I can cram in when I only have 5 or 10 minutes to get something done (this is usually the "low-hanging fruit" - tasks that are easyeasyeasy to get done and crossed off - and I wonder, "Why in the world do little tasks have be written on a list to get done??"). This also helps me because when I see "45 minutes" next to a task, it reminds me that this is not an all-day project and I can limit myself to a certain amount of time to complete it. Sometimes I think I treat myself like a child, but it does seem to work...

The other notes I make on the list are checks and initials for delegating tasks. (I love delegated tasks.) The checks help me to know that just because I haven't crossed something off, doesn't mean I am not making progress!

On Friday (Finish-it Friday!), I will look at the list and focus on finishing anything I haven't completed throughout the week. I do have to be careful not to leave too much for Friday, though.

Oh, my. Is anyone still reading this? Bless you. But I enjoyed going through this process with myself and maybe it will motivate someone else to make a list. I am thinking it might be fun to save my lists in a folder. I never have, but it might be interesting at the end of the year to look back at them. I'll look at this week and think about how it was the week we found a blood clot in Doug's leg and we were collecting things to send with Haiti disaster relief teams. It hasn't been the best week, I guess...but I am sure I'll be able to look back and say that I can see God's hand in every bit of it.

I'll share more about Doug's medical issues when we know more. Right now it's just doctor's visits and medication and self-injections and lots of pain and too much waiting. What a week. But when I look at the photos of the devastation in Haiti, I am reminded that we are so rich and our access to medical care is such an amazing blessing.

Back to the Tackle-it Tuesday list...if you decide to post yours on your blog, let me know. I want to see!

[My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:15-16]

Monday, January 25, 2010

menu plan monday.

I love when new people leave a comment on my blog because I find new people to ohh and ahhh over in Blog Land. I just added Christi Snow to my google reader. I love her cards and layouts...I think I'll be visiting her often for inspiration. (smiles)

It's pretty hard to plan meals when I don't have a calendar. No, I mean I really don't have one. I couldn't decide which one to use this year, so I have been flying by the seat of my pants so far in 2010 because I haven't been able to commit to a calendar. It hasn't been pretty. We've missed some stuff. That's embarrassing for me, disappointing for the child whose event was missed, and just silly because I just needed to have my life on a calendar where it belongs so I don't miss stuff.

I'm printing out a blank calendar this very moment from WinCalendar so I'll have something to work with until the calendar I ordered (um, will order) arrives. The one I am finally committing to is the same calendar I used last year from Erin Condrin. I loved it so much, but it's not the cheapest one around, so I thought I'd get something different for 2010 (different = less expensive). I got a little money for Christmas from someone who wanted to get me a purse but didn't know how to pick one out for me. Now she has gotten me a calendar instead. (smile)

I need to plan meals whether I have a calendar or not, so here's my attempt. I may have to make changes based on evening activities, but I think it will work out fine and it's definitely better than nothing. Eventually, I'd like to plug breakfast in, but for now, I'm going with this:

Lunch(between piano and Latin in car) pigs in a blanket, juice, spinach, and fruit)
Dinner - Crock Pot Chicken w/potatoes, carrots, green beans; Bread

Lunch - Soup, salad, crackers, fruit
Dinner - Lasagna, etc.

Lunch - Mac n Cheese, salad
Dinner - Church Dinner? (Possibly take sandwich stuff)

Lunch - Breakfast for Lunch :)
Dinner - Chicken Tortellini Casserole, salad


Lunch - Homemade Cheese Pizza (kids), Veg soup (me)
Dinner -

Lunch -
Dinner -

Lunch -
Dinner -

Aaaaaaaargh!! I am stumped. No wonder dinnertime is such a mess. I can't think of what to cook.

[So heap on the wood and kindle the fire. Cook the meat well, mixing in the spices; and let the bones be charred. Ezekiel 24:10]

the blog days.

I have missed my blog. If I go back over the years, I really enjoy reading about our life, especially when we lived on the farm. Funny, because I really did not appreciate that place...

Anyway, the last year has been pretty dry for me blog-wise, which makes it hard for me to scrapbook about that time. I rely pretty heavily on my blogs for journaling on my scrapbook pages.

So. To encourage myself to blog daily or close to it, I have a schedule for daily blog topics. For the most part, I did not make them up. I have seen them around in blogland. I will post the links as I remember where I found them.

Here's the schedule:
Monday - Menu Plan Monday
Menus for the week! This has the potential to stress me out because I am generally inclined to avoid menu planning, even though when I have meals planned out, the days are so much smoother. I am hoping to use meal planning to de-stress our life a little bit instead of making it worse...

Tuesday - Tackle-it Tuesday
My to-do list. Sometimes it feels so good to just write down everything that needs to be done. To just face it all. So much of the list is usually simple tasks that just need to be prioritized and tackled. (There are always those to-do-list items that keep getting put off. That's what Friday is for.)

Wednesday- Weigh-in Wednesday
Results from my weekly weigh-in. No matter what. Up or Down. And some goal setting, pep-talking, and maybe some thoughts on the long process of losing almost 100 pounds.

Thursday - Thrifty Thursday
Bargain hunting, great deals, coupons, garage saling, trips to the thrift shop, ideas for spending less and saving more. This will be coming from a girl (me!) who used to abhor the idea of being frugal, thrifty, or bargain-focused in any way.

Friday - Finish-It Friday
My Procrastination Prevention Program. Targeting the items on my list that I seem to avoid and put off - or the stuff that I know I have the potential to procrastinate - OR just little stuff that I have started but not finished.

Saturday - Suffocation Saturday
The decluttering, purging, and simplifying process that is my almost-constant goal. Cluttered closets, crowded counters, over-full drawers, and crammed cabinets make my day-to-day life more stressful than it needs to be. I need to do this.

Sunday - I might not blog on Sunday, but here's a great place to say that every one of these blog topics - each day - is important to be because I know that faithful stewardship of my time, talent, health, money, and home is critical to my ability to live out my faith and shine for my heavenly father. When I am stressed, sick, overwhelmed, or unprepared, I am not the best wife, mother, or friend that I could be...and God has entrusted much to me! I expect that my posts will be absolutely, wonderfully full of Him.

Of course, I will also be inserting a liberal amount of crafty-ness and scrappy good stuff throughout the blog week as well!

It's been so long since I have blogged regularly that I don't expect much company in the new blog year, but if you do happen to read this, feel free to leave a comment to say "hi" or to share what you are doing in these areas.

[In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16]

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I was catching up on a tiny bit of blog reading (I have over 1000 blogs to read in my Google Reader even though I keep deleting and deleting) and I saw something that inspired me over at the My Mind's Eye blog:
"During the month of January you are going to design your cover and album. The first week of each month, beginning in February, you are going to document your own personal “top ten” for the previous month. It can be anything you’d like:
* top ten adventures
* top ten funny things that were said
* top ten hopes
* top ten foods
* … anything!
I just think this is a cool idea! I think I'm going to do it with a tall, skinny book. I think I have one. I am confident that I am not exaggerating when I say I have more than 40 blank books. (See #7 below.)

The post at MME also made me realize that getting back on the blogging wagon doesn't have to be so hard...I'll just do some "ten" lists! Here's my first "ten" list:

Ten Things About My Life That I Haven't Been Blogging About:
1. Scramble on Facebook - I am obsessed. On Christmas, I realized that I could play against live people any time of the day or night.
2. Painting the inside of our house - "Cloudless" in the girls' bath. "Natural Wicker" on the main walls. "Ultra White" trim paint. This project will take me all year, I am thinking. I fell off the ladder twice after 2am a couple of weeks ago. Well, not so much fell off as misjudged how far down the ladder I was and stepped off backward from much higher up than I should have. Ow. Twice. Slow learner.
3. Landfill management - I parked the Suburban in the garage during the 4-day cold snap we had after New Year's Day. This was a HUGE accomplishment!! Huge. Huge. But then we had...
4. Nineteen girls - The freshman girls stayed at the house last weekend for a big church youth event. They met at the church with all the rest of the middle school, jr. high, and high school kids, but the 9th grade girls slept and ate at our house. In preparation for this weekend, I took down the Christmas tree(s) moved any and all extraneous "stuff" into the garage so they'd have places to sleep and hang out. And now the garage looks like a landfill again.
5. Losing weight - Really! I have lost almost 30 pounds. I have been eating less and much more healthfully. It feels SO GOOD. I don't think it's all that noticeable (no one ever says anything), but I have gone down a couple of sizes and I am close to going down another. I wish I could exercise more - if it weren't for the ...
6. Plantar faciitis - The pain started on Halloween. I went to the Aggie football game (miles of walking) and then walked a lot that night. I didn't notice much pain until the next day, and it has been downhill from there. I think it's starting to get better now. I still cannot walk barefoot or wear my beloved flip-flops, but with a good Spenco arch support (bought mine at Academy for $24.99), most of my other shoes will work and I'm not in pain. It has kept me from exercise, though. I am thinking I'll sign up for water aerobics again, since it's not a weight-bearing exercise.
7. Suffocation - I have been struggling so much with the stuffed condition of my closets, drawers, garage (see #3 above), and home in general. Sometimes I feel like we are drowning in excess. Suffocating. We. Have. Too. Much. But I am working on it. I have a plan and it is a blog in itself. Probably a series of blogs. So far, I have only touched the surface of this issue in my life, that's for sure.
8. Winter - I love Texas winter. Love it. Love. It. We have been having some beautiful weather and I love that the boys can play outside without being hot or cold.
9. Not scrapbooking - Seriously, I haven't done much actual scrapbooking in the last six months. Just assignments. This. Must. Change. I moved my albums from the top shelf in my scrap room to the lowest one so I can reach them. I think this will help. I think one of my biggest hindrances has been that all my pictures are digital and I don't have any printed out.
10. Decongesting - We have had two major viruses in our home since the week before Christmas. Sore throats, stuffy noses, ear infections, sinus infections, and asthma are some of the issues we've been dealing with as a result! I used neo-synephrine last week for the first time and it was quite a wonderful discovery.

[Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it." Genesis 18:32]

Friday, January 22, 2010

vacuum cleaner on cheese/thrifty thursday.

"Hey guys? I am a vacuum cleaner on cheese."

Corey, January 22, 2010
eating lunch

It's true. Corey loves cheese. He does seem to inhale it sometimes. I buy a lot of cheese! But I never, ever pay full price or even the minor-sale-on-cheese price. I get it when it's a loss leader [a product sold at a low price (at cost or below cost)to stimulate other, profitable sales]. I try to get it for 50-75% off and then I stock up like there will be no more cheese available in his lifetime. What I am doing is "stockpiling" which sounds illegal or at least unethical for some reason, but I call it wise shopping. As often as I can, I buy non-perishable or long-term storable (especially in the freezer) items at these low prices so I can skip having to purchase them at the higher everyday price. These lower prices are always lower than WalMart's everyday prices.

Combining the loss leader prices with coupons give me an opportunity to stock up on free or almost-free staple items. I was so happy to make bags of hygiene necessities for a relief organization that is working in Haiti. We filled twelve 1-gallon bags with a specific list of items and the full-size tubes of Crest and Colgate toothpaste and bars of Zest and Dial soap cost me almost nothing because I had purchased them with coupons combined with big sales.

On the way home from the doctor today, Doug and I stopped at the grocery store. Kroger has their Mega Event going on. If you live near a Kroger, check to see what you can stock up on! I bought thirty cans of Ro-tel tomatoes and tomato sauce because the price is really great. The limit is 30 per transaction, but I will be back because we use a lot of Ro-tel tomatoes and I never see them go on sale. I have an out-of-the-way corner cabinet that is perfect for storing stockpiled canned goods and cereals.

Besides the obvious money-saving benefit of stocking up when prices are low, there's also the time-saving benefit of not running out of staple ingredients or even having to think about them until the inventory list shows that there are only a couple of cans left. I also tend to buy much less at the store because I have my own stores of food and dry goods at home, bought at next to nothing.

The coupons take some commitment, but I find that they are so worth it. It's like a much can I save? The cashiers at the grocery store love to see how much I am going to save when I come in. They cheer me on and I love that!

There are some really great websites that deal exclusively with shopping to save money. Here are some of my favorites:

If you have a favorite thrifty website or blog, I would love to know about it!

[Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow. Provers 13:11]