Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Last Day of Preschool

Christopher is disappointed that tomorrow is his last day of preschool. He's going to miss going in the woods (Pammel Woods is right across the street) for nature adventures, though is somewhat pacified that I've promised to take him many times this summer with Michael (and Jeff too!) And obviously I don't know how to make bread, porridge, or rice the same way they do, and he's going to miss that too. And of course his friends and teachers! (Methinks I can get the recipes for the snacks from the teachers...)

Yes, Jeff caught him on "film" eating a Michael is his own person, through and through. Did it taste good? Edited to add: Why will a child willingly put a rock in his mouth and not spit it out, but balks at almost any vegetable?! (Did I mention he is his own person through and through...)

The boys are always pretending to be dogs....I think they do a fine impression! Or is Daisy doing a fine impression of a boy/child? ;)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mayfest at Preschool

A week ago we celebrated Mayfest at Christopher's Waldorf preschool. Since I don't have permission to post all the children's pictures, I'll give you a sprinkling of what I can. I came early with the boys to set up for the scavenger hunt. I was on the festivities planning group this year, and managed to combine digital scrapbooking with my duties (heehee).

I sweet-talked Amy in to making the May cake since no one on the planning committee seemed to have any experience baking large cakes from scratch. I think she pulled it off quite nicely (with some decorating assistance from Sydney)...see center of top collage.

Besides the scavenger hunt, there were various fun activities for the kids. One father and his boy made a beanbag toss, someone brought various musical instruments and allowed the children to experiment (M loved the guitar), there was a recorder ensemble led by one of the teachers, one mom played the drums with them, and her older children later played a violin duet, sack race, 3-legged race, dancing around the Maypole (of course), making and embellishing May crowns, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something. At the end of the evening one father brought their fire pit and the few families who stayed late sat around talking and perhaps roasting hot dogs.

I don't think I've ever had such a great dinner...lots of organic, lots of vegetarian, lots of yummy dishes including curried fish. I have had 3 or 4 different curry dishes before and have never liked the flavor at all, but this fish was AWESOME! I totally need the recipe:)

Waldorf has an emphasis on natural, especially outdoors, play. There is a wooden hilly area behind the preschool, complete with a hollow log, a teepee, and a tree for climbing. Several of the children ran amok up there much of the evening. At least twice when we couldn't find Michael, he was up there by himself, roaming around. The other time, we found him in one of the Sunday School rooms (ie. not part of the preschool places of the church) with Charley, playing with the toys.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Breast Cancer Fundraiser

I want to spread the word far and wide. A friend of mine (Tara Inghram, for those who also know her) was diagnosed with breast cancer last month and has rallied her emotions enough to get mad at this disease. She has begun a t-shirt fund-raiser for breast cancer research. Her site can be found at Tara's Tees to obtain an order form for the t-shirts. The deadline for ordering is May 19.

Breast cancer will affect 1 in every 8 women over the course of their lifetimes. It has affected my own mother, one of Jeff's cousins, and my husband's aunt is currently undergoing her own battle.

I too would love to see this disease cured, and this is the best way I know of at this moment in time to try to help out. I guess it makes me feel like I'm doing something for those I love who have had or have the disease. If you too feel strongly about this, as Tara suggests on her website, please send this message on to others you know who may be interested.

Thanks for listening, and I promise never to send "real" chain mail!
PS Here's a photo of the T from Tara's website...they come in multiple colors...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! More pictures from last weekend...I've always wanted good pictures of magnolia blooms, so we did some photo shoots after church (the bright sunny picture with both kids) and after our excursion to the park (see last post) on the shady side of the Medical Arts Building here in town. Much better lighting, but Michael was asleep in the van (parked about 5 feet from where Jeff took C's and my picture).

We spent yesterday evening with Jeff's parents and sister/brother-in-law/niece for Mother's Day. The boys always enjoy Grandma & Grandpa's house, especially when cousin Lucy is there to play with. They all crawled around in their makeshift "cave" under the dining room table. And it seems I will be an aunt again...HURRAY!:) Late November! Seeing as how I only had one chance to be an aunt (I'm an only child and Jeff only has one sibling), I'm super happy:)

Today the boys and I went to Sunday School, then home to finish packing up to head out for Great-Grandma & Grandpa's house in rural SW Iowa. My parents met us there. First, at home after SS: C made me a card at SS, then Jeff had a card AND a Roomba ...well I'd love a housekeeper, but this is the next-best thing!:) Michael loved it, but then again, he IS certifiably obsessed with "vacuumies" :) We left it cleaning while we headed out to G & G's.

The boys ran amok on the farm (pictures to come when I get them off the card) with Jeff along for the ride. They pretended to go fishing in the boat Steve & Chris have parked at the farm, they crawled around in the granary, they "drove" the tractor in the shed, they petted The Cat, they played in the house, and I-don't-know-what-else! They were very busy little boys:) We had a wonderful visit and a great meal full of plenty of desserts for Christopher. (Hey, he likes his veggies too).

The only thing that would have made it a better day...a nice sound-proof divider between the front and back seats in the van:) I like their sweet chatter, but the occasional squabble and annoying rhyme that goes on for 15 minutes, I could do without. ;) Btw, aren't men supposed to talk less than women?! Christopher didn't get that memo...

McFarland Park Fun

We had a BLAST last weekend at McFarland Park's festival/open house! We've gone to almost all of them over the years (at least since Christopher was a toddler), but this was the first time the weather cooperated and they had the canoes out. Christopher was SO excited to ride in a canoe (just like Daddy when he goes camping!) and Michael had a super fun time too.

C & M even "helped" paddle, we saw a turtle sunning itself on a log in the lake, big snails in the shallow water, Michael almost fell asleep in the boat, then rallied for another 2 hours while we did most of the other activities. Foster Brown was there...he sings the coolest, cutest nature songs for children. We bought his CD and especially Michael loves it. We dredged the edge of the lake with nets and dumped our finds in a bucket to see what we caught...beetle larvae, snails, etc. Christopher wanted to walk around the lake, we made "walking sticks" at one of the craft stations, did most of the scavenger hunt, and ended back up at the stage area for our 5th or 6th bag of popcorn and 2nd frog-shaped sugar cookie and 3rd or 4th glass of lemonade. At this point, Michael was running around with Gray and Christopher (our friends came a little after we did), and M came up to me, looked up, and said, "Go home, Mommy" in this sweet, I'm going to fall asleep RIGHT here voice. Yeah, he was asleep pretty much before we backed out of the parking lot. Ooh, and Michael's arms weren't really long enough to dredge the lake with the net, but he really wanted to do it MYSELF!!!! he stepped up to his hip in the lake with one leg. :) Thank goodness for diaper bags and spare clothes, but who knew to bring spare shoes? He had to squish around for almost an hour, but didn't seem to mind in the least.

Oh, and I'm really glad this was last week when the weather was so beautiful, b/c MAN was it cold and windy this morning!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Final Digi in Deep Layout (Jessica Sprague course)

As before, this is essentially a scraplift of Jessica's class layout. This was FULL of cool techniques!
# Torn paper edge: From Chunky Torn Paper Edges set by Anna Aspnes
# Torn Journaling Card template: from Torn-n-Tattered Paper Templates by Anna Aspnes
# Green patterned paper and paper Swirl: From Hope kit by Amanda Rockwell
# Cream floral paper: From Love kit by Amanda Rockwell
# Starburst paper: from Patience kit by Amanda Rockwell
# Dictionary text paper: From Botanist No. 4 kit by Katie Pertiet
# Number overlay: from Counting Trash Overlays set by Katie Pertiet
# Graphic pop edge: from Graphic Pop Edgers Set No. 2 by Katie Pertiet
# Storyboard frame: from Storyboard Negatives set by Katie Pertiet
# Love You circle embellishment: From Romantics Brushes-n-Stamps set by MaryAnn Wise

Techniques include:
* Create a diamond patterned overlay using a custom shape
* Create a mask with the Polygonal Lasso tool
* Create a mosaic mask using three different shapes
* Extract a scanned cutout from its background
* Add torn paper edges to a patterned paper
* Extract a photo from its background
* Mask accents to appear dimensional
* Create your own alphabet with patterned paper and fonts
* Create journaling using a template
* Blend embellishments to polish a layout

Michael is a super affectionate little guy. He loves to cuddle, hug, and kiss. He also loves to “push.” One of his first sentences back in December was “Push Mama/Dada,” while gently pushing us the direction he wanted, or away if he wanted to do something himself. My favorite, which we’re probably not going to be able to photograph, is when he pushes us together and demands that Mommy and Daddy kiss...repeatedly! :) Can’t argue with that!

Interesting tidbit: My DH got a new shoulder...
Nope, not a medical procedure...a Photoshop surgery!
I took a few shots for week 4 that were so close-up, DH's shoulder went off the left side of the frame. Looked great as a full frame, but not so good as an extraction, and I didn't want to push them clear off to the left of the week 4 2-pager.

SO...I took another shot from the camera where DH was similarly posed but his entire shoulder was in the picture, extracted his shoulder, cropped out to just his shoulder and placed it on top of the other in the layers stack. Reduced opacity so I could see through to the other and layer-masked out what I didn't need.

I could see a slight color variation, and if you looked really close you could see the folds of his shirt didn't match properly, but with that delicious counting garbage overlay from Katie Pertiet, who can tell now?! Not me!!

Had to share my funny!


Home Decor

This was based on a project I saw a long time ago in CK magazine.
Carrie's Creations cutting files used:
Playful Banners: Frills CS00167
Easter Titles CS00191
(Can be purchased at Paper Threads

This is probably sacrilegious, but I cut the bunny ears and chick beaks by hand, and used the circle tool in RoboMaster to make the oval shapes.

Paper: Basic Grey, Printworks, Imaginisce, Karen Foster, Sweetwater, Reminisce, and Bazzill.
Zig and Slick Writer pens
Prima flowers
Ribbon: May Arts, Offray, and unknown
Brads: Making Memories
Button: Making Memories

I have NEVER used my cutter this much before!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Cheerios (1975 to the present)

This is DH as a child:) Turns out the Cheerios box hasn't changed a whole lot since then! The bowl of Cheerios pic came from the internet (thanks Jeff!) as I did this one at night and didn't want to wait for natural light to take my own (lazy lazy).
There's NO product here whatsoever, just fonts, colors, and a pattern adjustment layer to make the background look like the cardboard box (it looks WAY more subtle here at home than on the upload, not sure what's up with that). TFL!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Terrible Tragedy for a friend of mine

Could you all please keep my friend J and her family in your thoughts or prayers? I received news on Tuesday that their 18 month old son, Myles, died on Monday in a very tragic accident. I still cannot believe it and cannot imagine what they are going through right now. His funeral is tomorrow in the state in which they now live.

More "Digi in Deep" assignment layouts

My poor blog has been neglected lately! Too "in deep" with digi, and medical conferences, and other assorted life stuff like housework.
Here's week 2 from the latest Jessica Sprague course I took:

* SP Lima background papers: From Monoblendz Paperie - Lima paper pack by Anna Aspnes (recolored)
* Rounded corner square die cut: from Border Templates pack by Katie Pertiet
* Striped patterned paper: from Bohemian Garden kit by Mindy Terasawa
* Dirty Journaler Label: from Dirty Journalers set by Katie Pertiet
* Grunged Up Photo Block: from Grunged Up Photo Blocks No. 2 set by Katie Pertiet
* Staples by Katie Pertiet
The layout was designed by Jessica Sprague...I just recreated her steps with my own photos and some very minor changes to fit my theme. My favorite part of this lesson was the smooth gradient transition from one photo to the next.

Oh yeah, this is ME as a toddler:)

Lesson from Week 3:

For this one we had a special photo assignment, and it was a doozy:) The large photo to the right is me taking a picture of my reflection in the mirror, using natural light. Well at our house, there is no natural light in the bathrooms, and our mirror in the entryway proved to have some big distractions in the background when I tried that. So DH held up the entryway mirror for me in the living room (his idea, what a guy!) while I fiddled a bit and got it just right!

This one also is a pretty direct lift of Jessica's class layout. I added the photo of my week 1 layout (as seen on my blog) and jeweled brads in the center of the "ghost flowers" we made...they are Shalae Tippetts' "Holy Night" from
* NRJ PDQ Patters: From PDQ Textures Vol. 6 set by Nancie Rowe Janitz
* Grid notebook paper: from Notebook Paper Pack by Katie Pertiet
* Journaling strip: from Stitched Journaling Strips set by Katie Pertiet
* Grungy flourish brush: from Grungy Clusters Brushes-n-Stamps by Katie Pertiet
* Torn frame: from Photo Booth Frames by Katie Pertiet
* Heart pin: from Apron Strings kit by Leora Sanford
This was a lot of fun with some rather complicated masking! I felt REALLY in deep when this was done;)