Monday, December 29, 2008

The Pie Bandit and other Christmas Moments

Here's the pie bandit (so named by her grandparents, my in-laws), and otherwise known as Lucy (my niece) in action:) This one is worth big-ifying (in other words click on it!)

Michael was tearing wrapping paper into tiny little pieces with his teeth.

I'm not sure who was more interested in Christopher's stocking...him or Zoe (my s-i-l & b-i-l's dog) :) Obviously there was candy in the stocking!

Michael in action...jumping off the ottoman.

And last but not least, instead of "The Great Pumpkin" we have "The Christmas Beagle" :) She is framed in the humongous wreath we purchased 1/2 off at Michaels a few weeks ago and will get decorated, lighted and hung next year on the peak of the garage facade of our home.

Christmas Leftovers

Nope, not food:)

(Amanda Sok Glitzy Christmas (red paper)
Brandy Hackman Sassy's Pumpkin & Hopsack (brown paper)
Valerie Randall fireplace (freebie)
Melissa Renfro star bright style
Cheryl Barber inked edges style
Chatterbox flourish font)

Scrapgirls had a challenge to do a layout reflecting a religious tradition from the holidays and this is what I came up with. I combined the music paper with a swirled overlay (on which I applied a glittery style) to make the background.
Kerry Veale A Victorian Holiday
Shalae Tippetts Holy Night
Melissa Renfro Downtown Brush Set & Star Bright style
Erica Hite Enchanted paper template
Amanda McGee LYO Vintage Label brush set
AL Serenade and Amienne fonts

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Have some Daffodils with your Blizzard

Well we had blizzard warnings here in Iowa today...and by the looks of things out our window, it probably was blizzard conditions out in the country! Very powdery snow plus 35+ mph winds, not a good combination for visibility.

Anyway, here is another scraplift...Charlene J of scrapgirls did a layout of her Swiss Chard, and I couldn't resist doing the same with our daffodils last spring. So if you are, like me, in need of a bright flowery lift to your gray and blizzardy day, here you go:)

Valerie Randall Avalon and Annwyn
Selfish font

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Pages

I always enjoy the holiday challenges at is a smattering of what I've done so far this year:
This is our favorite Christmas Avon (go figure!) fiberoptic house given to us by my mom a few years ago. It's fun to watch it change colors:)
SG 2008 Holiday Hoopla Task #5 SB your favorite holiday decoration
Thao Cosgrove Merry Mine overlay
Diane Miller Bitsy brush
Brandy Hackman Spiced Cider background (recolored)
Diane Miller Edgy thin overlay
Jan Hicks Life Quotes 3 brush set special (title)
Amanda Sok Micro Glitter 6401 style (behind title, at reduced opacity)
Amanda Sok Icicle 6401 style (photo mat)

I couldn't resist redoing this one a little...I just wasn't quite happy with it before, and thought of the "Witch Holiday" title after I finished it the first time.

SG Holiday Hoopla Task #8 SB your favorite gift (given or received)
Jan Hicks Scruffy Neutrals (white background)
Sarah Batdorf Felt 6501 style (orange background)
Melissa Renfro Well Loved (title, frame)
Thao Cosgrove Passion (striped paper) & Freestyle Emb. Templates (stitched heart) & Friendship collage paper (journaling paper)
Cheryl Barber inked edges style
CK Carefree font
journaling: My big wish for Christmas that year was for Tenderheart Care Bear. Unfortunately, millions of other little girls wanted the same exact thing, and Care Bears were not to be found in any store. Grandma and Grandpa found a woman selling homemade Care Bears in a nearby town and purchased one for me. Mom, being the wise woman she is, gently warned me of the shortage of “real” bears and the fact that I was to receive a “fake” at the Meyer family Christmas gathering. I managed to act happy (and surprised) and swallowed my disappointment, knowing I’d probaby eventually receive the “real” bear too. Turned out this was my favorite childhood bear!

This one will be printed and given to my grandparents as part of their Christmas present this year:)
Task #2 2008 Scrapgirls Holiday Hoopla
Shopping Challenge...SB the last 3 products you purchased in the SG boutique
1. Brandy Murry Ephemera & Holiday in Lights
2. Thao Cosgrove Christmas Tidings word art & Radiant collection
3. Erica Hite Crochet Snowflakes
Angie Briggs Urban Love background
Shalae Tippetts Embellishment Templates: Sentiment (tag)
Melissa Renfro Golden Holiday ribbon (on tag)
Erica Hite Bookworm staple
Cheryl Barber Stitching & Holes style (I created the staple holes)
Brandy Hackman A Little Worn Out (journaling lines)
Invitation & McGannahan fonts
Journaling: Christmas in some respects hasn’t changed much over the years. . .family, good food, gifts, decorations. Every year Bud would cut a cedar tree from the pasture. Each child would receive a couple gifts, ranging from a .22 rifle, BB gun, doll, hand sewing machine, globe, truck toy. Christmas Eve involved church service and get-together with Elwin & Pearl, The 25th was time spent at a grandparent’s home for dinner with extended family. When Darlene was a child, her grandma Brisler raised a goose to roast, later, she would raise a turkey. Pearl’s specialty was candy-making, especially divinity and fudge.

TFL!:) For those of you in Iowa, be careful tomorrow in the ice and snow!!

Merry Christmas

This is scraplifted from Sarah in VA's most gorgeous tree she posted last Christmas.

I already had many of the collections she used, so didn't mess with perfection...I did substitute for things I didn't have.
This has been uploaded with Sarah's blessing:) I plan to have this framed!

I hope you are all having a very merry holiday season:)

Kerry Veale "A Victorian Holiday" overlay/border
Amanda Sok "Winter White" overlay/transparency
Amanda Sok Glitzy Christmas
Durin Eberhart Blue Christmas
Brandy Hackman Blossoms & Blooms Holiday
Trish Yochum AYO Christmas Tree
Melissa Renfro Golden Holiday
Melissa Renfro Star Bright brush set
Syndee Nuckles Spearmint Kisses freebie
Katie Pertiet Lil Metal Charms
Shabby Miss Jenn Snowkisses
Raspberry Road Color of Christmas
Thao Cosgrove Gold 5702 style
Brandy Valenzuela Grungelle brush set

Friday, December 12, 2008

Witch Holiday is this???? I'm Confused!

Ok, the disclaimer first: This was my 5 year-old’s idea, not mine! Really, it was; I’m not just “blaming” him! Ok, well, I hope that you believe me…

I will admit that this is one of the best, creative ideas I’ve seen in a long time. It has a certain, “bah humbug” type appeal to me as an adult, though Christopher was only going for the “joke” factor. I am, in fact, inclined to leave it this way (with decorations of course). The bow that normally resides on the tree is beautiful, to be sure (I made it myself, after all), but…

I am the first to admit that I hate decorating for the holidays, especially Christmas. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love the end result, but all the work of getting there, and the thought of having to put it all away again in a few weeks, just makes me tired. And then the inevitable string or two of lights that won’t work properly that necessitates a trip clear across town to purchase more. And then convincing two small children to leave the ornaments alone, both for the ornament’s sake as well as our bare feet. Who wants to step on an ornament hook?

So I will say, that a Christmas tree with a witch hat on top makes me smile, in a cynical, Grinch sort of way. Perhaps after all, Halloween and I have more in common than do Christmas and I. Everyone expects a monster, a grump, at Halloween…

Brandy Murry Holiday in Lights
Erica Hite Bump in the Night
Amanda Sok Glitzy Christmas
Brandy Hackman Blossoms & Blooms Holiday
LD Deck the Halls and dreamed about you fonts

So do I win the prize for the most unusual tree-top decoration or what?! (IS there a contest around...anyone?!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Blog Award and mysterious picture

Janet has kindly nominated me for a blog award:) *takes humble bow*

Here are the rules of the Kreativ Blogger award:

1. The winner may put the logo on their blog.
2. Put a link to the person who sent you the award.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Provide links to their blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

I nominate anyone who want to participate who hasn't already done so;) (I'm not very good at perpetuating these things.)

Now I will leave you these images to ponder...stay tuned for an explanation! (and maybe even a SB page)

Monday, December 1, 2008

My Little Turkeys

We had a good Thanksgiving at my grandparents' home. They are now 87 and 92, so the rest of us brought all the food:) The boys refrained from most of their usual WWF-style wrestling (why me, why me?)....we were VERY thankful for that!;)

Michael even took his customary 2ish hour
long nap on their couch. They were the only children
as my other cousins alternate years with traveling to
other sides of their families. My 2 college-age
cousins were there, and Kendra and Christopher did
Mom's craft projects she brought to help keep C
occupied (M slept through that). The boys also got to
"help" put up the snow fence at the farm and ride
around in a wagon behind Uncle Steve's 4-wheeler (I'm
glad I didn't really know about that until it was
over...we make kids wear helmets when riding a bike at
0.2 miles per hour, but let them careen around in a
wagon...) It was a lot of fun for them though, and
Jeff was with them in the wagon to make sure they were
sitting down the whole time.

Our big accomplishment of the week here is....TA DA!
Michael appears to be more or less potty trained!!!!
Woohoohoohoo! :) I'm not sure he'd tell anyone other
than me and Jeff, but at home at least, he's potty
trained. Now we'll work on Grandma, Grandpa, play
group, the gym nursery, church, etc...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Things I've Done

If you want to play along, just copy the list and highlight all the things you've done. Heehee, the best are the ones Janet added to the list!

1. Started your own blog *
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band *
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower *
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain *
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo *
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris *
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch *
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning *
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables *
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train *
21. Had a pillow fight *
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort *
25. Held a lamb *
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse *
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset *
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors *
35. Seen an Amish community *
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied *
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing *
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke *
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt *
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight *
46. Been transported in an ambulance *
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person *
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris *
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling *
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater *
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies *
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason *
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma *
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter *
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy *
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial *
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt *
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades *
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London *
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican *
82. Bought a brand new car *
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper *
85. Read the entire Bible *
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating *
88. Had chickenpox *
89. Saved someone’s life *
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous *
92. Joined a book club *
93. Lost a loved one *
94. Had a baby *
95. Seen the Alamo in person *
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone *
99. Been stung by a bee *
The following were added by Janet:
• Worn two different colored shoes (at the same time)
• Worn your shirt inside out *
• Called someone by the wrong name *
• Driven the wrong way on a one-way street *
• Driven on a “buses only” street *
• Thought about stealing a cat
• Actually stolen a cat
• Assisted with a hemorrhoidectomy (ok, not sure why the heck Janet did this, but _I_ after all am a PA, so that’s my excuse!) *
• Got lost going someplace you’ve been before *
• Eaten frosting straight from the plastic tub *
•Dropped your driver’s license into the toilet

Monday, November 17, 2008

Finally Getting Around to it...

Finishing up 2007 Christmas SB pages, that is:)

Santa Was Here uses Basic Grey, Heidi Swapp chipboard frame, Kelly Pannacci Sandylion chipboard.

I don't often bake; I consider it enough of an effort to put a main course on the table...but last year made the effort for a friend's caroling party (which was kind of my idea, but she has the piano, lol) I LOVE these candy cane cookies. They are one of those rare things that are as good to eat as they are to look at. Decorated sugar cookies are almost always a disappointment to me...they look awesome but usually taste like cardboard.

The background is older Christmas paper, and the white scraps are just that...scraps from Basic Grey. The cookies are Westrim Paper Bliss.

Race On uses Basic Grey paper (see a trend here...I could probably scrap the rest of my Christmas pictures for my whole life just with my current collection of BG...oops, that might be too much info for DH if he reads this;), May Arts & Doodlebug ribbon, Stencil font, and race car cut with CraftRobo. Oh, and if I may say so myself...I pulled off using ORANGE on a Christmas page!! (too bad my in-laws didn't pick a red car to match the usual Christmas colors, lol)


Friday, November 14, 2008

Dragon Conquest

We've always loved this adorable dragon sculpture outside Ames City Hall!

Lisa Sisneros Gizmo papers and alpha (gears texture on black paper is from another multi-colored paper used as a texturizer under the filters menu)
Mary Fran (Nitwit Collections) Little Men triangular border

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jumping in the Leaves

More quickpages:

The quickpages were designed by Glam Fairy Designs and SMD Designs...just wanted to show off a few cute pictures:) The leaf jumping was in our own front yard. We barely have enough leaves to jump in. The other picture is at Ada Hayden Park here in town. A man came this fall to build an artistic sapling structure that turned out really cool.

Click any photo to "bigify" (Janet's word), but especially the last one...I should be able to read all you ever wanted to know and more about the stick house!

Monday, November 10, 2008


Our 9th anniversary was last Thursday (thus the beautiful flowers, same periwinkle color as at our wedding). At first it looked like we might not get to celebrate alone, but we ended up celebrating two days in a row! I have a maternity aqua exercise class that meets T/Th evenings until 6pm, so my friend Amy watches the kids. She offered to keep them Thursday evening while we went out to eat at The Cafe. This is probably the coolest restaurant in our town...awesome food, awesome ambiance, and they are dedicated to providing as much locally produced food as possible, which is great.

Then Friday night my in-laws, who are in the throes of a COMPLETE kitchen remodel (as in no cupboards on the walls at the moment and just got their new appliances), offered to watch the boys while we went out again:) This time to Cool Basil, which has had mixed reviews. Spouse had been there once before for a business lunch and the service was terrible, but the food great, so we figured it was worth the gamble. It was awesome! I had Tom Yum soup and gingered orange roughy. Spouse had Tom Kai soup and angry dish Pad-Pi-Rod.

Then on Saturday, S-i-L had her baby, so I am an aunt for the second time:) Dominic Borg (family last name) Purcell made his appearance during the day and we saw him briefly before I had to fill in a partial shift at the Fast Track Sunday evening. They've been too busy to blog his appearance yet, so no pics of him yet:(

Back to Summer (at least in photos!)

On a very cold, overcast day I needed a bit of sunshine in my life:) I rely on my gardening expert/friend to tell little Black-Thumb me what to do with my flower gardens. After our blue hydrangea experiment failed (sob, they are my favorite flowers in the whole wide world) she suggested St. John's Wort shrubs to replace the hydrangeas. I call them my happy little flowers, heeehee. For those who don't know, St. John's wort is best known as a health supplement touted to help those with depression. Well just looking at these flowers helps make me happy:) (They are the picture clear to the right in the filmstrip.)

Plain Digital Wrapper KCS Designs "Joys of Summer"
Aneczka W flowers freebies
Angie Briggs filmstrip
Brandy Hackman daisy
A Langpap orange flowers/leaves

Saturday, November 8, 2008

More Spookiness

A smattering of our holiday decor:

The "scary guy" as Michael calls him was a 50% off find at Target last him! He sits in our storage side of the basement during the off-season and happily scares the kids when they go downstairs to check out the toy stash down there, lol.

Mom made the witch a number of years ago...she's way more cute than scary:)

Christopher designed the jack-o-lantern based on a t-shirt he has, and Jeff did the honors with the sharp pumpkin knife. I'll never forget the first year I convinced my parents I was old enough to carve a pumpkin. I sliced my thumb open and was too embarrassed/didn't want them to know I apparently wasn't old enough after all, and told them I had a hang-nail to explain the band-aid:) Methinks I'll supervise a little closer when my own children start cutting pumpkins alone.

It's been awhile since my last owl reference, so of course I had to show off our new doormat from Target!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hallowed Halloween

I have more pictures to upload from Halloween, but my wireless connection isn't working properly right now and I cannot access my stash of pics on the desktop:(

The boys kept us in suspense until the last minute as to which costume they would wear. They opted to be the "Skeleton Brothers" as Jeff dubbed them. Mom actually made Michael an Arthur costume b/c he was infatuated with Arthur...oh well. And she made Christopher a mummy costume...oh well. Then she went to Salvation Army when they had their costumes on clearance about a month ago and this is what the boys fell in love with. Christopher's costume is about 1-2 sizes too small, lol...he didn't care.

Both of these pages are "recreated" quick pages from Cinzia Loosemore. Her "Tales of the Night" collection is awesome! I bought the whole collection and just recreated the quick pages she made in a separate kit. I changed the colors a bit to suit me too. In general I like these "white space" layouts a lot better when someone else does them, but I like the look here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

All Tied Up

Proud Parental Announcement: As of about 3 weeks ago, Christopher knows how to tie his shoes! Hurray!:) He even double knots them...very smart.

Fall Crafts

As promised! Here's what we did a week ago on the weekend: We got the ideas for the witch hats from HERE. I really liked their example so I actually bought the pack of digital paper, lol:) The second one is Christopher's...totally his idea to make lightning on his hat. Very creative! Luckily I actually had some glitter on hand (I hate the mess, so am not real big on glitter, and until 4 days ago I didn't own any Stickles I'm the proud owner of one color. More on that later.) I laid down tacky tape and we shook the glitter over it together. The third hat is Mom's, and it uses DCWV glitter/embossed paper with a green shimmery hue that looks perfect with the glittery green "pick".

It was very difficult, surprisingly, to find fall themed ribbon here in town. Either no one stocks much/any to begin with, or they sell out long before fall is over. We eventually scoured Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, and Joann Fabrics. The paper mache cone is from Hobby Lobby and was in the Christmas section. The styrofoam cones in the floral section are totally the wrong size and shape for this project, so I was glad to get an answer from the Peppermint Creative team member who originally made the hat!

The Indian corn was a project in a parenting magazine from 2004. I dutifully filed the torn out sheet in a crafts folder and each year promised to do it someday. Well someday finally arrived this year! I spent about $3 on the beads and about $6.50 on shipping to get the fall colors I wanted:) The base is a chenille stem and of course the tie is raffia. Christopher had a lot of fun with this project.

And last, I copied the Halloween card idea from Adobeaddict at Jenn Wilson. Paper is Jen Wilson (a paper version is sold through My Mind's Eye), jewels from Hobby Lobby, and "Hooloween" sign inside is Mindy Terasawa. Christopher's version is the black card. The one card that says "happy" instead of "spooky" was for my friend Jennifer's birthday on the 30th. Hers of course has a birthday message inside as well.

Also note the button usage...I was in a challenge last month to use up buttons, brads, and eyelets. I even added some to my witch hat:)

TFL! Hope you all had a good Halloween...I'll post pics soon! Always behind, always behind...

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Crafty Weekend

We had a good, busy weekend. The kids got their flu shots Saturday morning with a minimum of crying, then my parents came to spend the next 24 hours with us. Christopher, Mom, and I (mostly I, but I did have help!) finished 6 Halloween cards (I don't usually send H cards, but these are cute...will post when I get pictures of all taken), 3 witch hats, and several beaded Indian corn decorations. I need Christopher to hold up a backdrop for me to take pics of the hats, I hope this afternoon, then I can post:)

Very close scraplift of Sarah Batdorf's layout on
Jeff took the photo of me at Adventureland on the carousel
FEI stuff word art
SG_EHI_Applique collection mini (some recolored)
emerritt (formerly of LDD) feltypaper (recolored)
SG_STI Stiching 1 brush & Cheryl Barber Stitching and Holes Style
SG_TCS_Art Journal brads, some recolored
SG_BHA_orange office tab
2peas well behaved & bluecake fonts (redhead part slightly grunged with standard PS faux finish brush)
SG_ASO_Blackberry brush (arrows)


Friday, October 24, 2008

Typing Fun

77 words


First time through I had 2 incorrect words (knew they were incorrect but skipped them), second time through, same number of words per minute and 100% correct.

Nope, I don't work in an office:)

Cold, Wet, Rainy Friday

In addition to a bunch of errands, I spent part of my day making a double batch of chili for the PTO fall social at Christopher's school this evening. We had a good time trying some different soups, the kids enjoyed the hot dogs and lemonade, and of course Christopher ended up with a couple too many desserts:)

I did have a minute to put the finishing touches on my latest layout:

This one was fun! Yin has some great sketches (for paper scrappers) and .psd layered templates of her sketches (for digi scrappers)...some are free, others are in her related blog store.
I like them for the pages that I want to include TONS of photos:)

I rarely purchase specific birthday related scrapbooking supplies, paper or digi. Christopher's pirate-themed party lended itself more to pirate/Halloween items than birthday...but for this generic party at preschool I really had to dig and was glad I had all my digi supplies organized in ACDSee Photo Manager (also great for photo managing and organizing, obviously). The only new thing I had to buy was the candle flames...what's a birthday candle without the flame?!

Journaling: Birthdays are a big deal at a Waldorf preschool, and rightly so. Parents and siblings are invited to come for the day and enjoy all the usual and special activities. I helped the children make yarn fiber tied balls, Christopher played with everyone, especially Daniel, Michael played with the kitchen, the gnomes, and checked out the “vacuumie”, and Jeff took lots of pictures.
Yin template
Sarah Batdorf Birthday Wishes circle/target
Valerie Randall Assemble Your Own Birthday Candles (5 candle and all the flames)
Thao Cosgrove Beautiful Distress Brush Set (white brushwork behind title), rectangle words from her Friendship and Merry Mine collections
Brandy Hackman brads
Sara Carling brad and leather circle tags (Aero collection)
Mary Ann Wise 2 peas Party Hat freebie collection candle paper (recolored)
Dani Mogstad Cabana Boy "play" tag
Cari Lopez "Exotic Bag" candles
Chatterbox Fingerpaint font
Miss Mint "play time" tag


Friday, October 17, 2008


I was tagged by Janet (and I’m feeling a little short on random and weird facts at the moment, so many of mine are variations on hers.)

• Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
• Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
• Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
• Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
My facts:

1) I thought I could never use anything other than brand name Kleenex and brand name toilet paper (specifically Northern)…but Target (LOVE ‘em!) has made cheaper store brands of both, and I really cannot tell the difference.
2) Gotta have a medical reference in here: I have never had to do CPR, but should the need arise, I will now have "Stayin' Alive" stuck in my head. PA or not, I am thankful that it wasn't until about 3 months ago that I even witnessed CPR being performed. Sadly the woman did not make it. Though I work in the Emergency Department, I do NOT thrive on medical adrenal cases. My division is called Fast Track and I see "acute minor" illnesses.
3) I do love total silence while I’m sleeping. Spouse here probably would love to have the TV or radio on half/all the night…Oh, and an occasional owl hoot doesn’t bother me a bit, but woodpeckers in the night would probably drive me nuts (you didn’t think I could go more than a couple days without a bird reference did you? You’d think I’d mention my dog more…)
4) Certain scents bother me regardless of allergy season: strong beer smells (almost didn’t make it through the brewery we toured in San Francisco, much to Spouse's embarrassment), newly mown grass (don’t hate me, but I really hate that smell, probably b/c growing up, it always set off my allergies. Now it usually doesn’t, but it’s a Pavlovian response to hate it, I think.), pine (no real Christmas tree here! Also perhaps a throwback to allergy symptoms).
5) The cow's name, above, is rather apropos...Spouse and I met at the University of Iowa (ie. the Hawkeyes). However, I would not deign to compare Spouse to a cow. Though I know a man who DID, and luckily his wife took it as a complement that he thought her big brown eyes were as beautiful as a cows...I'm thinking "only in Iowa" LOL!
6) I never sleep with socks on, unless my feet are REALLY cold when I go to bed…then I’m decked out with my yummy polar fleece knee socks I purchased on a skiing trip to Jackson Hole, WY. If my feet get hot in the night, I’ll whip ‘em off and find them across the room in the morning. :)
7) Gotta improvise here…Janet has perfect pitch, and I think I’m often off by a note or two (still probably not too bad, but nothing to brag about like perfect pitch)…ok, I said I needed to say something more often about my dog: Reuben, who died at age 12 in July, was my first baby. I’d had him since the moment (pretty much literally) I received my masters degree. Daisy…we are her 4th or so home. I will admit that I love her, but she has to be one of the most exasperating creatures ever! Yes, even a rival to Lily;) She has bunny wanderlust, which is a beagle thing, though Reuben was bred to be a show dog, not a field dog, and had NONE of that hunting instinct. I have a strong feeling this is why we are Daisy’s 4th home. She is otherwise known as Houdini-beagle who can dig out from under a chain link fence in about hm, 2 minutes flat. Poor Spouse has been working on “Daisy-proofing” the yard for the entire 4 years we’ve had her. It’s only been this summer that she’s dug out less due to his constant efforts. It gets embarrassing when the same neighbor finds her more than once or twice a season when she digs out and has been missing for a few hours. It also gets expensive when the pound finds her (at $25 a pop). But she IS a beagle, my favorite breed, and she IS cute, and she IS endearing, wagging her tail so hard her entire BODY sways like she’s hoola hooping or dancing, and she DOES help keep my feet warm in the winter by sleeping under the covers by my feet.  So I have the perfect solution…find someone to take her during the summer, and when the ground freezes and she cannot dig out, I’ll happily take her back until the spring thaw, and repeat the cycle!!

Ok, I work at the ER this weekend, so there may have been 3 posts from me today, but I can almost promise there won't be any more until AT LEAST Tuesday!:)


Misty Cato Chatty collection
Doreen Stolz journaling box with my "burned edges" style
American Typewriter font
Journaling: Christopher has always been quite the little chatterbox. He talked early, he talked well, and he talks often and LOUD! We have received countless comments from family, friends, and strangers alike on his eloquence and vocabulary.
A favorite example: “Mommy, why are there two versions of this slide?” (the slide had a divider down the middle so two children could go down at a time)
Before kindergarten started there was a parent questionnaire we had to fill out. His teacher wondered how much/often our child talked and I wrote “constantly.” So far he’s done a great job listening at school though!

Yes, we DO need to do something about health care costs

A couple of someone’s have approached and/or suggested to me lately that b/c their own health care costs are so very low, that nothing needs to be done in America to change things.
I am truly grateful for my own health insurance (which comes through my DH’s job) and am also truly grateful that should the need arise, I have training that would enable me to find a full-time job with instant benefits. I am also very grateful that most of my close relatives and in-laws have access to health care as well…some are even fortunate enough to have pensions with benefits, something I don’t believe will exist any longer when my own generation reaches retirement age.
But none of this changes the fact that 47 million Americans at any given point in time are completely without coverage at all, and many more (I don’t have a week to do more solid research on numbers…this is NOT a paid blog) are underinsured. Underinsured means they have only catastrophic insurance (ie. if they get cancer it’d all be paid, but no office visits, laceration repairs, physicals, mammograms, or Pap smears are paid) OR that their deductible or co-pays are sky-high.
This also doesn’t change the fact that my own parents, who have health insurance through my father’s job, and who have both had cancer, pay large sums of money out of pocket each month DESPITE their pretty decent insurance! Mom has given permission to use them as an example:
$364/month is deducted from Dad’s paycheck to go toward their health insurance premiums (his employer pays the rest, whatever that may be)
$200/month is their COPAY for their medications (no, not all drugs cost $4/month now, though that’s wonderful that many do and it helps tremendously!)
$300/year (so $25/month) for medical appointment copays, not counting any acute illnesses.
And the big whopper: Dad’s special food he takes in through his gastrostomy tube in his stomach. Their insurance company has an elaborate percentage that varies for this. Full price for the food and paraphernalia is a whopping $900/month. Mom and Dad pay 80% of that $900 at the beginning of the year. Once a certain amount is met, the insurance company kicks in more and M/D pay only 20%, and then in the last couple months of the year they owe only 10%.
Dad just turned 64; Mom is 4 months younger than him. He would love to retire now…he could actually go on disability due to his cancer history (tongue removed in 1995) until eligible for Medicare. BUT Mom depends on his health insurance. As an in-home day care provider, she does not have other options for health care, and there are no free medical clinics in Atlantic, Iowa (population 7500). So Dad will wait until he is 65 years, 4 months, before retiring to keep her covered. Thank God he isn’t 5 years older, or more!
It’s no wonder the political candidates can be “out of touch with Joe the Plumber” on things like this…my parents’ own friends and family seem sadly out of touch. A relative who is retiring early expressed shock when he commented that Dad should retire, and Dad calmly pointed out that would leave Mom without health care insurance. The relative enjoys insurance through his wife (and through his own current job as well).
Addendum to my parents’ story: Dad is a farm implement mechanic for a small-ish company in Atlantic, and due to astronomically rising costs of providing health care insurance to their employees, his bosses have switched insurance companies multiple times in the last several years. The last switch JUST occurred, and unless Dad’s doctor can get it appealed, the new insurance company will not pay a cent toward Dad’s $900/month food and supply costs.
There has been much hype in the Des Moines Register about the World Food Prize, rightly given to those who helped implement plans to feed hungry children throughout the world at their schools. I would make the strong case that workers in America could be more effective if their health care needs were “fed” as a right, not a privilege for the wealthy and well-educated with good jobs, in this country.
I hope that regardless of who wins the election in November that many positive changes will come about in our health care system. I am heartened that both candidates’ health care plans as touted by their websites touch on the sad fact of “pre-existing conditions” and how they plan to cover those persons. Based on the books I have read and previously touted on this blog, I think McCain’s plan of relying on free markets to improve the insurance industry and health care is doomed to fail royally. Obama’s plan is certainly not perfect either but seems to me to be more of a step in the right direction.
So for all who have braved this post thus far, think long and hard about your own, and your family and friends’ own health care plights. Count yourselves as very lucky if you are well-covered (and remember unless you are on Medicare, you are only a job away from no insurance at all), and remember those who are not so fortunate when you make your own decisions at the voting booth in November.
Will now step off soap box.
Credits for image above: Supplies from Theresa Kavouras' "House Calls" collection at

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pica?! (no, not me)

See, I don't need Jen Wilson's challenges to stay motivated!:)

Everything from Brandy Hackman's Abstract Expressionism collection unless otherwise stated. Edges of journaling block burned for effect, shadow distorted to make it appear slightly curled, and blending mode used to slightly change color/texture.
Brandy Hackman Seed Packet brush set (frame doodles around smaller photos)
Brandy Hackman Stylize (Huh?)
Brandy Murry Table Manners freebie
Thao Cosgrove Luxe Border Brush set (gray brushwork at top and bottom)
Thao Cosgrove Naturescape rocks and leaves
Thao Cosgrove Peeled Paint style (used on the 100% original wordart)
Melissa Renfro Downtown brush set (to distress the edges of the focal photo as well as the edges of the mats for the smaller photos at a lower opacity)
CK_Ali's Handwriting font
Journaling: He won’t let a vegetable pass his lips, but willingly puts a rock in his mouth to taste it. . .
Edited: Darnit, forgot to say these are Spouse's pics of the kids! (Too bad I wasn't around to take HIS picture as he was taking Michael's picture...he had to have been pretty low to the ground as well;)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Random Facts

I was tagged! This time by Mary Perry aka MFP otherwise known as GrandmaPer.

1. I love the end result of gardening, but derive no pleasure from the actual process of getting there.
2. Hm, this may look like a repeat, but I love the end result of cooking, but derive no pleasure from the actual process of getting there.
3. Since others have commented on making beds or not, I’ll chime in on that one: Our bed gets made each time I wash the sheets, and maybe 1 or 2 other times per year, for example, if we are expecting company that might go upstairs. There’s really no point at our house anyway…if I make the bed, the dog will just unmake it to root under the covers for her naps
4. Since I’m on a roll with these: I love the end process of decorating (general home décor as well as any holiday décor), but (you guessed it) derive no pleasure from the actual process of getting there. My DREAM, which I have been touting for years, would be a fully decorated Christmas tree that disappears into the floor after the season with a mere touch of a button. It would then reside in the basement under a gigantic tarp to keep the dust off until the following late November when I would again press the button and it would magically rise back upstairs…lol!
5. Laundry is my favorite household chore. I don’t mind doing it, and generally keep up with it very well. This may change as the boys get older and start putting slimy things in their pockets…
6. I love a good warm pair of slippers! Mine wore out last year before the end of our never-ending 2008 winter, and then even my ancient back-up pair (purchased in high school for fun, and looked like mallard ducks of all things b/c I wanted an animal pair) wore out completely. I had to wear *gasp* shoes to keep my feet warm in the house! I was SO SO happy when Target got their fall/winter slipper collection in this fall

The "Rules":

* link to the person who tagged you
* list 6 random things about yourself
* tag 6 new people
* let each tagged person know they've been tagged by posting a comment on their blog
* link to the 6 people you've tagged
* and let the person who tagged you know that you posted

My tags:
Anyone who hasn't done this yet who wants to:)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Yes I still remember how to paper scrap:)

Supplies list:
(Carrie's Creations File: CS00149)
Cloud 9 background paper
other papers: Kelly Pannacci (sp?) for Creative Imaginations (also chipboard snowflakes), Basic Grey, unknown
Creative Imaginations ribbon

This would have been way cooler with a Rhonda Little (my friend IRL) poem, but alas, she was not nearby when I wanted/needed to finish it. I agonized over stupid little rhyming phrases that had to fit in the slats of the sled, but couldn't pull it off and resorted to:
Sledding Adventures: covered in snow- hat jauntily sideways- boots on the wrong feet- Then home for hot chocolate!

This is one of my favorite pics of Christopher:)
Oh, and this has to be a record...3 posts in 1 day! Hope none of you fell over from the shock of all the posts in 1 day plus the fact that I actually paper scrapped!:) Heehee.

Magnolias (a little dose of spring in the fall)

Since we scrappers are rarely working in the current season, here's a little dose of spring in the fall. This one goes out to those who think flowers don't belong on boy that I say PPPPPPPPPPPPPTHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (or however you'd spell it!)

I really cannot claim any piece of this layout as my own (and the original was done for a boy's page too!)...This is a hook-line-and-sinker type scraplift from Thao Cosgrove at Scrapgirls for their Eternal Spring collection. I substituted Kristin Aagard's "Love in Paris" (recolored) font for the title and Raspberry Road's "Cherry Limeade" rickrack. And the photo is by DH:) It was a bit too sunny to be optimal, and of course by the time the lighting was better, Michael was asleep. So I have better pics of Christopher and me by another magnolia later that day, but wanted Michael in the layout as well.


Owl Sighting (REAL)

Yes, I mean a real LIVE owl sighting! You may remember from my other owl entry (a few days back) that we've heard an owl out our windows on a couple occasions in the last 6 months. About 4 nights ago I awoke knowing I had heard something, so I stayed awake to see if whatever it was made noise again. I heard the owl several times over a couple of minutes, and it sounded VERY loud...therefore close by!

So 4am or not, lol, here I am squinting out my west bedroom window with my glasses on (can't see very well in them, especially at night). I thought I could detect something large sitting on my neighbor's roof, and it sure didn't look like the normal little straight pipe/chimney thingie to me. Sure enough, when I slowly tried to open the window so I could hear better, it spooked Mr. Owl (or maybe Mrs.) and he/she flew off my neighbor's roof. Way cool!!

Credits for card: Heidi Larsen Hoot Fest June (check out the next page on the link provided...she's done several Hoot Fest collections, all very cute. So far I've only succumbed to 2 of them, but I have my eye on October...