Friday, November 30, 2007

This one is for Amy and her mom, who are trying to decide between these 2 pics of Gray:) Bear with us, this is the best way we have to share pics with each other in almost real time.
Today's post is all about those useful little utilities programs that you'd never know existed if someone hadn't told you about them! And once you have them, you don't know how the heck you ever lived and breathed and computed without them.

Extract Now will unzip multiple files at once, and not miss 10% of them like Winzip (my experience)...I used to unzip each file one by one and create new folders to put the items in, etc...Extract Now does it all for me in seconds. (does this sound like an infomercial?!)

Thumbview: About

ThumbView enables image thumbnails and tooltips in MS-Windows Explorer for filetypes that are not natively supported. It includes .psd (Photoshop files), and that is great when I'm scrolling through ACDSee looking for just the right picture! Now if only someone would invent a usable .GSD thumb viewer (hey Jeff!) for my CraftRobo files...the thumbviewer built into RoboMaster leaves a bit to be desired...

ACDSee is an awesome free photo manager, and is even more awesome if you upgrade to the paid version: ACDSee 7, the most powerful photo manager around is now even faster - way faster! No other photo software saves you so much time. Enjoy the freedom to find, organize and edit your photos faster, easier and with better results than ever before. Instantly share your pictures online or on your cell phone. Create quality prints or Flash and PDF slideshows.

Jeff tipped me off to this one: Launchy...way cool! Launchy is a free windows utility designed to help you forget about your start menu, the icons on your desktop, and even your file manager.

Launchy indexes the programs in your start menu and can launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes!

Picasa: * Locate and organize all the photos on your computer.
* Edit and add effects to your photos with a few simple clicks.
* Share your photos with others through email, prints, and on the web: it’s fast, easy and free.
and it will even create for you cute little collages of your photos (see Janet Petersma's blog...she LOVES this program!) * Locate and organize all the photos on your computer. &

Ok, here's a challenge: tell me what I'm missing, and show me the ones you use every day and cannot live without!

Happy weekend:)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Here's Michael and Christopher from the photo shoot today. To keep Michael in focus, Amy hung onto the rocking horse and distracted him from being mad by being silly. Of all our pics, this was the only one of M that turned out. I'm happy with it! Christopher wouldn't smile, but looks very handsome anyway, and after all, eyes look bigger when a person isn't smiling. A professional told me that:)

My friend Amy and I met up after preschool today for lunch (with 5 kids!) and a photo shoot at her house. Her son Gray is first, then Charley. I'll post one of Christopher and Michael later; it'll only let me upload so many to one post I think...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I just finished this one for a challenge:
All items from Scrap Girls:
ASO Alluring Autumn (background, GIVE THANKS, ribbon)
BHA Stylize (mesh, TOGETHER, we are family, ferns small blue flower, brass corners)
font: AFL font nonmetric BT
BHA Blossoms & Blooms Fall (lrg cream and lrg orange) & Summer (lrg blue)
BHA Tints & Tatters (yellow flower)
Journaling: The Chester families used to have dinner (the noon meal) together once a month after church, as well as on major holidays and Grandma & Grandpa’s birthdays. For one birthday they had waffles, and the other, oyster soup and chili. Note the children folding their hands “to look pretty” --Grandma Cynthia’s idea. The kids would also tilt their heads and often stick out their tongues too, Carol remembers. I’m guessing that wasn’t the desired result...

Monday, November 26, 2007

By popular request, here's a blog about my new "baby"...a brand new 5ish pound laptop, delivered early by Santa himself;) If you've been reading since the first few days of this blog, you've undoubtedly noticed I quit bitching about my laptop. Well that'd be b/c Santa heard me, and sent it early, realizing I'd probably tear my hair out before December 25. Good 'ol Santa.

It's a beaut, and terrifically set up for the mega memory capabilities I need for digi scrapping and holding a BUNCH of heritage photos right on it so I can go ask relatives wherever they are about who's who, etc. Jeff explains the laptop as being "all business on the outside, all scrappin' on the inside", lol! 1 Gig memory, 160 Gig hard drive, hi res 15.4 inch screen (1680 x 1050).

Jeff's comment upon us getting it all set up and running: "Now I am jealous of your laptop."
(My previous laptop was an 6-year-old "overworked mule of a laptop" previously owned by Jeff, shed when he I am the one who has upgraded and left him in the Dark Ages).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Here's what I came up with for the autumn iris pictures I showed a couple weeks ago.
Journaling: When I purchased iris a couple years ago I purposely ordered two rebloomers in hopes that every once in awhile, the first hard frost would come late enough for me to see them again in the fall. Last year they sent up blooms in the fall but it froze before they opened. This year we enjoyed beautiful iris for a couple of weeks in the spring AND the fall.
What a rare treat! Oct/Nov 2007
TKA_AutumnGold FallWords special
TCS_Earthen Vessel paper 04 (recolored periwinkle)
CFR_LPO Spring Color paper special (plaid)
TCS_Naturescapes raffia
BHA_Stylize alpha and alpha mini
MRE_Sparkle Curls
BHA_RetroAllGirl alpha
(all from
This was in response to a challenge to use the gold words background paper, which I blended with another newsletter freebie paper from last spring (to blend spring with fall, get it?:)


Monday, November 19, 2007

I had to resurrect this 2004 layout to show that I was truly ahead of my time, lol...that is, lolcats. See, or my friend Janet's blog, for more info.

I do want to point out I'm not much of a poet, so I hired out to my friend Rhonda Little for the cat poem:)

This blog entry is dedicated to Janet Petersma, who introduced me to lolcats via her blog.

A smörgåsbord for your viewing pleasure!

Top image: Grandma & Grandpa's 65th Anniversary
There is more journaling and a copy of the newspaper article sticking out from the circular pocket. For my scrapping friends, the supply list: Basic Grey Motifica paper, ANCIENT MAMBI stickers (I always liked their heritage line), and K & Company epoxy sticker.

The barn is a quilted piece of art I purchased through the Mary Greeley Medical Center Auxiliary art department. They always have a featured artist and works for sale in a couple hallways of the hospital. This artist is a nurse who works at the hospital. She painstakingly machine quilts around each tiny little element in the design, including each little brick in the lower part of the barn. It was our joint gift with my parents for my grandparents anniversary and a couple other holidays for this year.

Second image: Michael on our neighbor, Minnie's, swing. Junkitz papers, unknown chipboard circle and sticker, Queen and Co brads
Third image: Christopher at the park. This is a "scraplift" of a layout in the Basic Grey catalog from a year or so ago. Junkitz & Magenta papers, CraftRobo cut shapes (circle, heart), and stickers from my friend Kristina (see, I'm using them!!)...can't remember the brand off-hand.

Fourth image: Michael on the carousel at Adventureland: This was a class taught at Memory Bound Scrapbook store. Paper and flowers are MAMBI, die cut was cut on the CraftRobo, fonts are Rage, Dingos, ribbons are May Arts and circle stamp is 7 Gypsies.

Fifth image: A Day out with Thomas in Boone: I had to work at the Fast Track, so Jeff met his parents in Boone to take the kids on Thomas and do the various activities. He didn't bring the camera (2 boys are enough to handle), so we paid "mega" bucks to purchase the "professional" images...actually the boys smiled way better for him than they did for us the last 2 years, so it was worth it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

55% Geek

A fun little ditty from my friend Jennifer:
Another layout from our trip to the zoo this summer with my parents. In case the journaling is not legible, it reads: The petting zoo may have been Michael’s favorite part of the zoo. He was fond of grabbing the goats’ ears and horns as if they were handlebars, and was highly amused the rabbits had a domed plastic garbage can lid for a den in their area. AACCCCKKK, AAAACK. He really didn’t want to leave that funny sight.

This layout design was one of Jessica Sprague's past "Photoshop Friday" tutorials...
She has some way cool stuff over there (yes, I know, I said that before, but it's worth saying again!)

This is a birthday-filled weekend for us--we celebrated a cousin's child's second birthday last night (Jack Sailsbury) and will celebrate our friend Lucas Bleyle's 7th birthday tomorrow. Our children are looking forward to yet more cake!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
This is one of my favorite sources for Photoshop tips (both digital scrapbooking and photo-editing). I took Jessica's latest tip and played around awhile and came up with this.

Anyone who knows Christopher knows he is truly obssessed with LEGOs, so this is very apropos to document his creations again and again. The child can follow directions to build a set meant for 7-12 year olds (he's 4 1/2). And he'll improvise if he doesn't have the right piece.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Journaling reads: We met Dan’s at parade. As long as it took us to find place to park and walk downtown, we
might as well have ridden our bikes like they did! Jonah rode his uni
cycle in the parade. M made friends with a huge yellow lab after it was done in the parade. C had fun grabbing a huge sackful of candy. There was So much candy smeared on Main St. after the parade there was a political cartoon about it in the Tribune later in the week! (And we still have plenty of candy left as of 11/9/07)
To Dave & Pauline’s in the afternoon for hanging out and dinner, then back to Ames to meet Dan’s for fireworks. M loves loud noises, including fire trucks honking in parades, and might be a pyromaniac, b/c he LOVED it when they whooshed the ball of fire noise from the hot air balloon mechanism in the parade (no balloon, just the fire/noise). And he can now make the CUTEST siren noise!

My journaling is usually in more complete and grammatically correct sentences than this, but for whatever reason on this page, I just copied and pasted directly from my journal to my scrapbook page. Just don't show it to "Thane," one of my high school English teachers...SHHHH!

Supplies for the page, for the scrappers out there:
ABR Beloved kit gray and red papers
BHA Holidays Blossoms & flower and sprigs
BHA Retro Brothers alpha
BHA Tints and Tatters number & sketch frames
CK Paintbrush and Primary fonts at top and CK Rugged for caption
CFR_ARC Twilight blue paper (I think this was a newsletter freebie, correct me if not)
All digi items from (my favorite digital site)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Henry Doorly Zoo

In September, we went to The Henry Doorly Zoo with my parents and had a wonderful time. Some of you have seen the following info before, and if so, just skip it:

We spent the weekend in Atlantic and Omaha. Growing up, one of our summer "vacation" items was going to the Henry Doorly Zoo. We took Christopher 2 years ago, and went back with my parents this weekend. We had a great time and actually had less than 1/2 the whining we had last time, though we had one more child (tried to convince Jeff that if we had a third, there'd be even less whining, but he wasn't

Anyway, I have to share the one absolutely disgusting revolting horrible thing that happened that still gives me the heeby geebies (sp?)...this'd be better in person, but I really can't wait to tell it: So it was "Coca Cola Days" in Atlantic, which is big-time entertainment in a smallish town, so the Super8 (ie the decent) motel was full, so we were stuck at the Hawkeye, a locally run, fairly clean but rather run-down establishment. When we visit my parents, Christopher usually stays with my parents and Jeff, Michael, and I stay in a hotel b/c my parents just don't have the room for us all.

Anyway, we get to the hotel, unpack, and lay down with most of the lights off to convince M to go to sleep...and I feel like my back is slightly damp. Well I know I'm not sweating, so I get up to investigate. To the touch, the bed really isn't damp, but I know what I felt. Jeff says he feels fine, but I have the presence of mind to sniff my nightshirt...OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHH GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSS!! It's URINE!!!!!!! Heebie geebies, rip the shirt off, run to the shower!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, solutions: The Hawkeye office is closed for the night; we cannot ask for a different room. We cannot invade my parents, b/c we don't want to disturb C...if he doesn't have enough sleep, he'll be a nightmare at the zoo (like he was 2 years ago when he didn't sleep well the night before we went). We can't stay at the Super8 b/c they are full. Oh, hey, maybe Wal-Mart is good for something...I wonder if they are open 24 hours here in hick-ville?! I could go buy a mattress pad, pillows, and sheets for the second bed, which seemed clean and dry but we weren't about to believe that with any level of confidence! Well we never found out, b/c we couldn't get the phone to dial out and Jeff's cell phone oddly wouldn't connect to the Wal-Mart number in the phone book either. I went out in the van to see if they were open, but Super8 is right across the street, so I went in to ask if they'd had any last-minute cancellations (Mom had already checked on this a few hours before and they hadn't). Well they did, but it was 3 times as much money (b/c it was Coca Cola Days) and a smoking room.

I called Jeff and asked his opinion, not crazy about spending the additional money, though I said I'd get our Hawkeye money back in the morning. Also not crazy about repacking and moving down the street. Then I notice Super8 has a table of old linens for sale! I ask the clerk if they had been washed, and she assured me the owner was a neat-freak and yes, they were just washed. I purchased a thick comforter (nothing wrong with it, they must have just redecorated or something) for $5 and a sheet for 50 cents. Back to Hawkeye...We sleep on the "wrong" side of the comforter underneath us, even up over the pillows, and the I trust it to be clean sheet on top of us, with the rest of the Hawkeye blankets on top of that. I figured I'd have nightmares about bedbugs or other creepies, but we both slept well, and M was fine in his playpen from my parents' house with their sheets. (Hawkeye is so primitive I don't think they have any provisions for children).

And this morning I got back a significant amount of our original $39! Jeff pointed out that I probably misunderstood the clerk and thought he said "You're in room 17" when he really said "Urine room 17".

So guess where we are never staying again!? Perhaps next time we'll all go stay in Omaha the night before:)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Preschool Halloween Party

Christopher's preschool celebrated the weekend before Halloween. I don't have any individual shots of my children, and didn't feel it right to post pics of others' children, so here are some mood shots of the evening. We started out with a few adults/older siblings up on "Crystal Gnome's mountain" (otherwise known as the wooded hill at preschool) handing out goodies at stations. One station had candy, another had cute little pipe cleaner spiders, and my station had little spice bags made by another Mom. I was dressed as an Egyptian queen mummy, so I called the bags "embalming spices." My station was the most popular as there was a tub of "boiling" dry ice there. A few of the older boys stayed with me the whole time, stirring the pot and putting leaves and twigs in it.

Jeff carved the awesome owl pumpkin to contribute to the decorations. Michael was a tiger, same as for trick-or-treating. The preschool (Waldorf-based Prairie Flower Children's Center) frowns on media characters, especially violent ones, so instead of Batman, Christopher chose to be a sheep. One day a few weeks ago he came down from upstairs wearing my gray slippers on his feet, Jeff's socks on his hands, and a white handled basket upside down on his head and proclaimed he was a sheep. We modified the idea a bit for the preschool party and borrowed an actual sheepskin (which wouldn't really stay on, oh well).

I made the cream cheese pumpkin, above, and provided crackers. The stem is a large twisted pretzel, the eyes and nose are raisins (cut in a triangle for the nose), and the mouth, out of desperation, was made from a strawberry Tootsie Roll from Christopher's 4th of July parade stash (yes we still have a big bag left over, lol). I don't have a picture of the cheeseball at the party, but the Tootsie Roll got all warm from me molding it into a smile shape, and started to looked way cool, like a bloody dripping mouth! (Maybe not the greatest thing for a non-scary preschool party, but one of the other dads thought it was great.) And I have to say, this was my idea from start to finish...I'm not saying no one else ever thought of a cheeseball pumpkin, but I didn't/don't know anything about it. I don't come up with too many original ideas, so :-P

The children bobbed for apples hung on strings from the ceiling, played outside a bit, and then we played a game I found on the internet: I bought a skein of cool black fiber/yarn and rewound it in a ball. We sat in a large circle and the chilren threw the ball back and forth while the adults held onto the fiber until it became a large spider web. The kids all threw their pipe cleaner spiders on it and we bounced them up and down, then they ran in the middle and got all tangled up and giggled and giggled.

There was a quick story time, then cleanup. Unfortunately Michael continued his sometimes habit of hurting himself as we are leaving someplace (he got a huge knot on his forehead and a bloody nose this summer as we were leaving the Bible School picnic): He was standing by Gray on the stone stairs, and next thing I knew, a couple feet away, he had tumbled down one or 2 stairs and was crying. He bit his lip and needed one stitch below his lip...his first (and I'm sure, not last) stitch. So I had to take him to the ER where I work and have Dr. Fisher sew him up. He was fine by the time we got there and just wanted to explore. One of the nurses commented she could see how he could get hurt, as active as he is.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A couple years ago I ordered several iris from a catalog in search of a particular one I remembered from growing up. I did actually find one that fit the bill, and I also purposely ordered a couple "rebloomers" in hopes that every once in awhile the first killing frost would occur late enough for them to rebloom. Now mind you, I don't want global warming, just a normal, late frost every once in awhile, lol.
So this was my year...I took these pics in our front yard last week, and I'll be darned if they aren't STILL blooming today. It's gotten down to twenty-eight-ish degrees a couple mornings but iris are hardy spring/fall flowers and apparently that doesn't faze them. I purposely stood on my head and not-so-purposely snagged a new shirt getting the second pic shooting up toward our beautiful maple tree with its red leaves to remind myself that these, in fact, were autumn-blooming iris.
My friend Janet, scrapbooker and teacher extraordinaire, and fellow blogger has tagged me:

You've been tagged!
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself (on your blog -- we all want to know them).
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I'm actually not going to tag specific people, so if the spirit moves you, please consider yourself tagged! Post a comment here so we can zip over to your blog to read your 7 random and/or weird facts!

  1. I am trying to learn Spanish, mostly on my own. It would really help out at Free Clinic and I love foreign languages. Honestly, if I could go back in time and have the resources available in the small town in which I grew up, I would want to be fluent in English, Spanish, French, AND Italian...I think Italian is the most beautiful language on earth.
  2. I have now been volunteering virtually every Thursday night for 6 years at Ames Free Clinic as a physician assistant/PA.
  3. If we lived in a community with a Waldorf school, I would almost go into the poor house if necessary to put my children in it.
  4. I have more expensive things than ever before on my Christmas list this laptop, new camera...well maybe, and I want to finish the half of the basement we actually use. I would love to be able to look up from scrapbooking and see a lovely color and artwork on the walls instead of the current poured foundation. Grey striped concrete is not really very inspiring. I was amazed to learn that my friend Rosalie has even more expensive items on her list, though, including a new van and a new HOUSE, not just basement, heehee. Maybe I can use her as leverage to convince Jeff to finish our basement, hehehe.
  5. I'm running out of ideas, and as I told Janet, none of my seven items will be nearly as exciting/scary as I'm going to borrow the one of hers I toenails are almost always polished, though my fingernails NEVER are. I simply do not like my thumbs and don't wish to call attention to them. I fully expect that y'all will check them out the next time you see me, oh well.
  6. My tastes in music are rather eclectic, as pointed out to me years ago when Jeff and I were "just" dating...he saw in my car, CDs of Aerosmith, Tears for Fears, and Madonna next to each other. Basically I like anything, including classical, except country and rap/hip-hop. I can even sing you a rousing rendition of "Thomas the Tank Engine" :P
  7. I hate gardening, but love the end results, so I have a rather large perrennial garden. I also love fresh tomatoes and fresh pesto, so I grow our own tomatoes and basil in the summer.


We could not have asked for better weather this year for "Beggar's Night," that peculiar central Iowa habit of trick-or-treating the day before Halloween. At least we in Ames don't have to tell a silly joke before obtaining the candy as they do in Des Moines. I really don't get that...enlighten me if anyone out there knows how that one got started.
Last year it was thirty degrees out and Michael's nose was so cold, even with a winter coat and mittens on, that our neighbor's thought he was a clown with an artificially red nose. And I promise we only took him around our little circle street. This year it was a balmy sixty degrees...btw, my poor laptop is so broken that the numbers don't usually work...Santa, help help help...anyway, Christopher didn't even have to wear a coat over his thin Batman outfit. Thanks to Pauline for finding him a great costume. Oh yeah, no exclamation point either. I cannot LIVE without an exclamation point on my computer, ARG.
I love how the picture of the ghoul--possibly our neighbor, possibly someone/thing more sinister--turned out. Christopher went up to "it" the first time thinking it was a statue, so he lifted its hand up and let it plop down. The second time he did it the ghoul made scary noises, and I wished I had a videocamera to have recorded C's poor, surprised, happily scared face. By the time I ran home and got the camera and the boys came back to the house, C wouldn't come close enough to touch the ghoul for a picture. But his reflection is in their shiny door, way cool. I wouldn't sing my praises if I'd actually planned it that way, lol.
Michael totally "got" trick-or-treating and was basically trotting around the neighborhood waiting for us to catch up. He did need help ringing doorbells, but covered the trick-or-treat and thank you parts all by himself.