Friday, December 11, 2009


The first image is our seasonal display, including Christopher's "Winter Garden" he made in preschool. They start with a wooden board, then add clay, then plants such as an evergreen sprig, berry cluster, etc, and is topped off with a little gnome/person made of wool and a little baby. He still plays with/changes his around a lot even 2 years later:)

I found the pumpkin candle at Target, and it smells DIVINE. I bought a smaller one we kept in the bay window of the kitchen.

All three boys ate huge amounts, the first Thanksgiving they've done so. Even William sat there in his high chair and stuffed himself with delicious food:) We topped the meal off with a "drunken apple pumpkin pie" which is basically pumpkin pie with chunky applesauce inside, then a small amount of flaming rum poured over it at serving time. Sorry, no pics of that! We were too worried about burning the house down to try to photograph the event;)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Poor neglected blog

I am dusting off my blog; hope I still have some readers out there to see;) Let's see, what have we been up to? Oh yes, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and most recently: MAJOR snowstorm and cold snap. Yes indeedy, winter has definitely made its appearance!! Christopher has had 2 days off from school due to 12+ inches of snow, then the bitter cold.

Some explanation regarding William's turkey costume below...Jeff started calling him our little Butterball when he first started getting chubby around 3 months of age. I got the notion to find him a turkey costume for Halloween, and found this one on Ebay. It still makes me giggle:)

Due to an illness in the family, our Thanksgiving plans abruptly changed the evening before. So we ran out to buy a turkey and invited my parents and in-laws here to our house. Between the things we were going to take and the things Mom and Dad were going to take to the extended family get-together, we had about everything we needed:) Including a good excuse for not having deep-cleaned the house before company arrived;)

Thanks to the enormous snowstorm and 2 days off from school for Christopher, we now have all of our holiday decorating done. And I put in a huge photo order online today, including enlargements of the family and each boy for us and grandparents. So I'm feeling pretty productive and think I might just kick back for the rest of the evening, heehee. Or perhaps I could kick back with a cookbook and think about cookies; Christopher keeps asking if we can make some Christmas cookies...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Busy Day

Today is a busy day! In other words, I should be doing what I need to do and not posting on here;) The preschool Halloween party is this evening (figures that it would rain heavily today). I have a pumpkin pie to bake, a cream cheese jack-o-lantern to make (cream cheese ball for dipping crackers), and pea soup to get in the crock pot. 5 people need to be costumed and at the party by 5:40 tonight to finish setting up for 6:00. There are supposed to be multiple stations outside (good luck with the rain), including pirate me, "Sea Salt Mommy" unless someone can come up with a better piraty name for me, lol. I will have a bucket of dry ice for effect, and a treasure chest of beads for all to choose from.

The Jen Wilson challenges have been dwindling a little:( So here are a couple pages I've done recently for me and/or my friend Amy.

Ami Collofello space kit
Art Warehouse title
Jan Hicks Coin Folder chip styles
Amanda Sok Ponder (solid paper)
Heather Roselli Spaced Out (purple rickrack)
I "pimped" the title quite a bit. The base is a chipboard rocket from Ami Collofello, unchanged. The words were primary colors with no outline from Art Warehouse. First I gave them a white mat outline, then I deleted the white part that was underneath the letters. I gave the white part a chipboard style to raise it up and make the letters look embedded in. Then I changed the blending mode on the primary colored letters. Now they are darker with texture...ah:)

Yin template
Amanda Sok Alluring Autumn
Amanda Sok Folded Flowers digital stickers
Syndee Nuckles Cinnamon Suede
Sarah Batdorf Color Match shadows

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Fall Y'all :)

William is now a FAST crawler and of course is curious about all the stuff in the house he couldn't get to before...we deal with tipped over dog water, constant reminders to everyone to keep the bathroom door shut, etc. Our dog now knows how to scratch to ask for her water, lol.
As of this week he is saying his first word other than mama and dada, which he seems to say purposefully as well. Dah, dah heheheheheh, he says this every time he sees a dog IRL/book/statue :)

This is more a reminder to me than anything: Christopher surprised me by announcing that he doesn't want Santa to bring him Legos this year. He wants a drum! I casually (hehe) asked him more questions and he wants a bongo/hand drum. I think I even know where to find a cool one! They usually sell them at our preschool's holiday fair, which we are not having this year. But of course the teachers will know which vendor was selling them and I can contact her. Oops, I mean Santa can contact her...

Michael loves preschool and has made good friends with Maddy and Madeleine:) Sofia doesn't like it when he scares her, and he and Landon tend to fight a bit. And an undisclosed person bit him one day and he still talks about it. I can only feel a tremendous sense of relief that he was BIT, not the BITER :) He was very disappointed around 10am today when he asked if he was going to preschool and I said this wasn't a preschool day for him.

We had family photos taken a couple weeks ago by a good friend of mine I've known since high school. She is in the Kansas City area. Visit Cynthia Gullett Photography for a sneak peek!

Week #38 Jen Wilson challenge. We had to pick a Book of Me question we liked from a website and I chose "If I could change the world" and was supposed to list 3 things. This awesome oak tree is out at McFarland Park for all you nearby readers!
If I could change the world:
1. Reverence for nature
2. Love for your fellow man
3. Peace for all
JWD Forest Glen
JWD Graphic Tagboard No 2
JWD Project 52: Dated Stamp Circles
JWD Zachery striped paper
JWD Complete Boy stitching
Brandy Murry Mossy Collection Biggie
Amanda Sok SSTools Wires 6401 styles
Melissa Renfro Downtown Brush Set
Keri Schueller Patternologie
Cheryl Barber stitching style
Trish Jones circular word art

Jonah learned to knit this summer when he broke his toe. One of the first things he made was this adorable hat for William. Jonah was offended that William didn't wear it (in August) so I made sure to put it on Will's bald little head on our trip to the apple orchard in October. All the other preschool moms wondered who made his hat and I pointed at Jonah each time.

Week #37 Jen Wilson challenge to SB a meaningful item of clothing.
JWD papers from: Nostalgia No 7, Sunburst, Mango Sunrise, Breaking Free-Rush Mountain
Template from Heather Lee
JWD Shimmer Edges overlay
JWD Doodlepad Pages (heart/love)
JWD Laundry Line Buttoned Looped Blooms, Laundry Bag Strings, and Garment Tags
Dragonwick font (title) and Amethyst Zucchini (journaling)
Brandy Murry Knitting Basket style

Monday, September 28, 2009

Latest Jen Wilson Challenge pages

Week #34: SB about growth
I used the challenge of "growth" a tad bit loosely...I'm talking about birthdays here but never actually mention getting bigger, lol...
Journaling: William arrived exactly three years after Michael was born -Who would have ever thought we’d have two children with the same birthday?! After all, no important event happens 9.5 months before January 12;) This phenomenon seems to run in the Murray/Meyer family. Twins Ron and Ruth were born on Great-Grandma Darlene (Murray) Meyer’s fifth birthday. She married Great-Grandpa Bud Meyer, whose birthday is four years and 364 days before hers, Their third child, Great-Uncle Gary, was born on Grandpa’s birthday.
VT Portable Remington font
Jessica Sprague template from Beautiful Evidence class
JWD Laundry Line Zachery (stripe and blue)
JWD Academy English paper (brown dot)
JWD Fading Days circular tag
JWD Rekindle (yellow dot)
JWD Nostalgia No 3 chipboard word art

Week #33: SB the start of something new
JWD Academy Phys Ed (red and brown striped paper)
JWD Canvas Backpack Labels
Syndee Nuckles School Edge Paper Templates
Melissa Renfro Star Bright styles (silver spirals)
Dani Mogstad It's Elementary word art and buttons
Katie Pertiet Art Class Frame
Angela Barton Sixteen (alpha paper)
Sarah Batdorf Color Match shadows styles
Sweet Blossom School Days (ruler ribbon)

Week #35: SB something you learned
Christopher was elated when it was his turn to bring Starry home for the weekend. Starry has his own light blue backpack he travels in, complete with his journal (which we turned in to a scrapbook by adding a photo). Each child brought Starry home one weekend in the fall and again for one weekend in the spring semester. It was so much fun to see how far Christopher had progressed in that short amount of time. By spring semester Christopher was able to phonetically spell out several things Starry did with us all on his own. I started and finished the process with him. Starry even attended cousin Joe Borg’s wedding with us in Pella. So he really is a well-traveled elephant! Michael always loved saying hi to Starry in Mrs. Fisher’s classroom, even the next year.

JWD Beginnings Solids
JWD Complete Boy 01 and 02
Heather Roselli Life's a Circus
Raspberry Road elephant (lower right)
Carina Gardner Back to School Titles
Angie Briggs Dirt Road (stitched star)
Circus font

Week #36: SB a fall page, using the color orange
JWD Laundry Line Xander
JWD Little Autumn Bits
Katie Pertiet Stacked Photo Clusters
Summer Driggs Gratitude title
Doreen Stolz autumn tree, ribbon, fastener, and buttons

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Daddy Love

Gotta keep going on the tiny baby William pages so I can get to the Big Boy William pages:)

Scraplift of sjford0419 at Sweet Shoppe Designs
Dani Mogstad Father Knows Best
Sarah Batdorf Deep Shadow actions
Sarah Batdorf Color Match styles

By now William (also called Will or "The Will") is pulling himself to standing, doing a little walking around hanging on to furniture, has his first tooth (bottom right) as of this past Saturday (luckily was only grumpy for a day), and is on the verge of crawling:)

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Meeting of the Brothers

A just-because-I-love-these-photos layout:) (In other words, not a challenge for a change!)

One technique I did for this layout was to select the portion of the focal photo outside of the smaller frame and apply a gaussian blur. I wanted to include the larger portion of the photo, in part b/c you can see my hand and arm around both boys, but I also wanted to keep the focus on their sweet little faces.

Dave & Pauline had just arrived in the snow when Jeff returned from getting the boys from Dan & Amy's house. M stopped by the bassinet to briefly glance at William (who of course was still New Baby/Mr. No-Name then), then both of them greeted Grandpa & Grandma, then C settled in on the window ledge with Jeff's iTouch to play games, completely ignoring the baby. Michael took a nice turn holding William at his own request and commented on how he had little ears, a little nose, etc, then tried to TAKE the baby by himself over to Grandpa, because he hadn't had a turn yet. After C played games a bit and after Grandpa & Grandma left, C wanted to hold the baby constantly. He held even his head alone, very gently. M looked on for part of the time but especially C was very interested in baby's little parts...he gently moved his hat aside so he could examine and touch his ears, see how much hair he had, touch his nose, etc...was very interested that he had no teeth (gently moved his lips so he could look, and William very cooperatively opened his mouth wide), and both were VERY interested in his belly button and its very recent function. The really fun part was that William was awake and checking them out most of this time also.
Amanda Sok Sea Glass
Keri Schueller Tiny Love -Boy (frame)
Thao Cosgrove Emb Templates: String Fling
Cheryl Barber Paua Shell styles

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Garden Project

So first up, an explanation of this page: I'm taking Jessica Sprague's "Beautiful Evidence" class right now. It's a 20 page album and right now we are in the "me" chapter. Each page starts out as a complete layered template from Jessica and unless you change things up, you add the suggested pages from the included kit and then just plug in your own photos. I like the way she did things, so I'm not bothering to change much of anything (except the shade of green on this page, it didn't match!). I LOVE that I have the 20 templates to use again and again. For those of you who aren't digi (yet, evil laughter): It's like a Becky Higgins/FLeck/whoever sketch on STEROIDS:) Oh, and the pictures here are mostly from 2006.

Ok, on to our garden. The original 9 (!) cubic yards of mulch has almost long since disintegrated, disappeared, composted, whatevered, so I had 4 cubic yards (still "!") delivered on Friday. Michael (and me too) loved watching the dump truck dump it on our driveway and talked about it all day to anyone who would listen, including the teachers and other moms at school when we picked up Christopher that afternoon, lol.

Normally the grass is Jeff's domain and the flowers mine (and each of us is firmly convinced he/she has the worst end of the deal), but Jeff kindly agreed to help with the backbreaking work. He hauled the majority, I spread the majority, and I'd say we're more than halfway done. Just the center section of our huge garden area in the backyard, the smaller close-to-the-house section of the backyard, and the very small west side yard left to do. I also got a ton of weeding and a bit of trimming (hoping for a normal, not early frost!) done today. Already have the waste management called to come get the yard waste on Monday. Whew!

For anyone left reading: Any ideas on rabbit-proof fencing? I'd like an absolutely rabbit-proof fence around my huge garden to the north of my house. The bunnies like my burning bushes (although they are larger now and not quite as tempting), basil, lianthus, and "miniature hollyhocks" and will kill them if I'm not careful. Jeff is not really keen on the idea of having to put in such an expanse of fence so I'm thinking I might hire it done either this fall or next spring. If I could REALLY rabbit-proof it, I could grow lettuces/spring mix and save a bundle of money, plus have petunias (which I adore but cannot grow except in a pot b/c they won't last 12 hours with the damn bunnies) again!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week 31 and 32

Week 32: SB the values your parents passed to you or that you will pass to your children.
JWD Complete Boy paper
JWD Nostalgia 1 ribbon
JWD Messy Mended Circles
Brandy Hackman Mod Bungalow striped paper, torn alpha, and "good memories"
Meredith Fenwick September Afternoon alpha
Amanda Sok Ponder torn border
Syndee Nuckles Cinnamon Suede flowers
Katie Pertiet Curled Journal Spots
Pea Kristin font

Week #31: SB a day in your life
Katie Pertiet Ad Challenge 8/22/09 (template)
JWD Benjamin paper
JWD Academy solids paper
JWD Laundry Line tied hanger tag
JWD Clear Day alpha
Tracy Ann "First Love" (metal star)
Angie Briggs Dirt Road felt circles

I hope you can read the journaling on this one...just commemorating all the chattering DS does on the way to the neighboring town where I belong to the YMCA and exercise. I put our whole typical school day routine at the bottom.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Might as Well Catch Up!

Week #25: This week, create a layout telling us about your current fashion style. Do you dress to the shoes every day? Do you lounge around in your sweats? Does your high powered job require you to wear a sassy suit, or maybe even a lab coat? Tell us about the real you!

Your layout must include at least one of each item:
Photo (maybe of you, maybe not!)
Shade of Blue
Handwritten font
Journaling - because we NEED to know why you dress the way you do!

Journaling: WIth my bright red hair I tend to be drawn to similarly loud and fun colors in my clothing, though I have my fair share of neutrals in my closet as well. This home brought me my life-long dream of a walk-in-closet, which I have organized by dress clothes versus casual, and ROYGBV order. If I were richer, perhaps I’d indulge in a few more trendy clothes, but I do like my fare from Target, Eddie Bauer, Christopher & Banks, and even (gasp) Goodwill. I do love a good bargain, though will not spend inordinate amounts of time looking for one. I wouldn’t have the faintest idea where to shop in a large city. Someone would have to show me. Actually, that would be fun to have a (free) personal shopper to show me the things that would look best on me and help find bargains:)If it’s not comfortable, youwon’t find me wearing it!I was so sad when The Savvy Shopper closed here in Ames. It was a small, locally-owned outlet store on Main Street and had SUPER trendy clothing at deep discounts because it was the last of its kind, or a sample, or whatever. God I loved that place and most of my “modern” dress clothes and many of my favorite casual clothes came from there. My favorite is my pair of lime green Italian suede mules. Jewelry-don’t get me started. After no jewelry purchases for at least ten years, I went wild after being invited to a Premier Designs, and later, a Silpada jewelry party. LOVE my lime green jewelry (complete with ring).
JWD Messy Mending stitching
JWD Being Collection (live out loud)
JWD Totally Girl (frame)
JWD Project 52 Unchartables Paper set
JWD Laundry Line Garment Tags
JWD Beginnings Hand Coloured Bloom Starters (flower)
JWD Delighted (buttons)
Pea Kristin font

Week #26: Everyday duties
JWD Gracie -background paper
JWD Little Agendas
JWD Complete Boy stitching
JWD Nostalgia 1 -lock
Diane Miller Cozy -house
Brandy Hackman -Pressed Petals (freebie)
Melissa Renfro Well Loved -purple paper for letters
A Work in Progress (Vicki) -Great Outdoors tag alpha and staple
Ck Becky and Cooper Light fonts

Week#27: Scrapbook a gadget you just can't live without
There are some distinct advantages to having a PA mama handy at all times. So far William has had a clean bill of health, but I have prescribed antibiotics for Christopher and Michael when they had ear infections. Thank goodness for my otoscope!

JWD Caring paper and ribbon
JWD Daily Dose Prescription journaling block
Erica Hite Love Always lace
Brandy Murry Ephemera stitched lace
Valerie Randall 2 Health otoscope, physician assistant, and ear infection word art
Raspberry Road Take Care (medical symbol)
MA Sexy and CK Becky fonts
My own handwriting on the Wacom tablet

Week #28: This was supposed to be a "why you love your family" aka sappy (lol) layout but I had JUST done a family photo page with a bunch of journaling. So I did mine event-oriented:) Part of the challenge was including journaling on why you love your family, so the journaling is a bit different than I'd normally put on a vacation page:
We’ll never win an award for the calmest familiy, or the most well-behaved, but I love our zany adventures and wild spirits and the fun we have (in between breaking up kid fights that is:)
We began our South Dakota adventure in Dinosaur Park, full of fun statues to explore and climb. We enjoyed the walk up the hill, the views to Rapid City below, and the fact that it’s a rare FREE tourist attraction:)
JWD Graphic Tagboard No 1 (dinosaur word art)
JWD Nostalgia No 1 (cream paper)
JWD Laundry Line Zachery papers
Melissa Renfro Extinct Collection
Brandy Hackman Retro All Boy brads
Jan Hicks Coin Folder Chip Styles
Scrap Orchard I'm with the Band button/string
Heather Roselli Keep Out string tie

Week #29 at Jen Wilson Designs: Scrap your favorite summer food(s). I think you should be able to read the words, if you are so inclined, if you "bigify" the picture:)
JWD Photo Masked Starters
JWD Complete Boy 01
JWD Beginning 02
JWD Laundry Line Fern
JWD Totally Girl 01
JWD His Tuesday Attire
JWD Picknicks Summerish Word Stickers
ScrapGirls Relax (lemonade, watermelon and ribbon, picnic basket)
Erica Hite DaddyO freebie (grill)
Amanda Sok Nostalgia photo mask
Dani Mogstad Happy Camper (cookout)
Dani Mogstad Fun in the Sun (popsicle paper)
Carina Gardner Parisco A La Carte Word Art (ice cream)
Amanda McGee Country Garden (seed packets, tomatoes, bucket)
Nitwit Collections All Fired Up (ribbon)
Sarah Batdorf Deep Shadows action
Ribbon ties from: Robin Carlton Huckleberry Ice Cream, Brandy Murry Ephemera, Scrap Orchard freebie, Amanda McGee Happy Family & Jake & Emma, A. Slagle Happy Camper, Eva Kipler Inner Wild Child

I'm a Camping Widow

Jeff is off on (I think) his 5th annual cousins and uncles trip to the Boundary Waters (BWCA). Christopher is going along for the first time. Several other cousins have brought their boys at around that age. Why not girls/wives, you ask. Well let me tell you...supposedly what happens in the BWCA stays in the BWCA, but I've heard JUST enough about bodily function noises, snoring at night, and purported mooning (and I'm not talking about the sky) that I don't think any of the women in their right minds would want to go.

Now that said, I LOVE what Jeff has said about the NATURE aspects of the BWCA and I would indeed like to go with my own family someday! :) The boys left 7am Friday and won't be back until sometime late next Saturday. I work ALL weekend at the ER next weekend so won't have much of any time to hear their stories right away:(

Michael is enjoying his time away from Christopher. They are really good at fighting with each other. Knock down drag out wrestling, hitting, pinching, yelling, and fighting over toys and privileges. Not fun. So while I miss Christopher, I do NOT miss the fighting! It's been quite peaceful here, actually:) I can only hope absence makes the heart grow fonder and that they might appreciate each other more when they are back together *snort*

William definitely misses them both. C spends a fair amount of time talking to and playing with Will, so I am putting forth more effort at keeping him entertained:)


For week #30 over at Jenn Wilson Designs (scrap a vacation photo, use color yellow, a button and/or butterfly, 4 patterned papers, and a mask instead of a frame)
JWD Laundry Line Tyler
JWD Rough Beginnings word art
JWD His Road Trip
JWD Signs of Summer
JWD Project 52 Slightly Imperfect photo mask
JWD Complete Boy
JWD Camp Out
JWD Tagboard (compass)
Katie Pertiet Notebook Edged Photo Mask
Erica Hite Bookworm alpha (tabs)
Misty Cato Chatty alpha (black button alpha)
Cheryl Barber Sew Simple Embellishments
buttons from:
JWD Delighted
Brandy Murry Ephemera (also the key)
Brandy Hackman Persian Breeze
Shabby Miss Jenn Little Buckaroos

Friday, July 24, 2009

Layouts and Miscellany

We had a delicious day! I realized last night I had WAY too much chicken thawed out, so invited friends for dinner. Ginger chicken, marinaded and grilled tofu, stir fry mostly local veggies, margarita (I see no problem with this combination), yeasty beers (I don't get the yeast thing, but the men seemed happy with it), and brownies for dessert. And I hope our kids didn't rot TOO many brain cells in front of the Wii for 3+ hours. Jonah broke/dislocated his toe (long story) so he's not up for much other than sitting around in his cast, thus our laxity in the amount of computer time.

This is from our trip to St. Paul last summer. One of my favorite set of photos from the year!

Irene Alexeeva Dreamer in Me (cloudy background, newspaper swirls, circular word art)
Valerie Randall Avalon (mushroom, flower, greenery)
Jen Wilson Designs (oval turtle word art)
Katie Pertiet Snap Frame Brushes No. 4
Kristin Aagard Turtle (title, ribbon and frame)
2peas scratchy toad font
Jan Hicks Coin Folder Chip styles
Heather Roselli (right turtle)
Kimberly Cameron Exploring My Backyard (left turtle)

Photos from the Children's Museum in St. Paul, story pre-dates the phtotos:

12/07: Christopher said, “Hurray, pesto for lunch! Mommy, can we please have dumpling squash too?” You gotta love a child who is excited about eating vegetables! Up until almost 2 years, Michael would eat almost anything. But then he developed a “vegetable detector,” as in, no vegetables allowed past these lips! 9/07: Michael accidentally ate a lima bean in a bite of pasta...shhhh.Fast forward to Jan/09: All of a sudden M ATE the broccoli on his place and pronounced it delicious...have aliens replaced our son?!
Amanda McGee Country Garden
Shalae Tippetts Aged Frames
Melissa Renfro Lifted Photos: Weathered
Sarah Batdorf Basic Shadows styles (color match shadow lends a beautiful realistic shadow that reflects the background color behind your object)
Brandy Hackman A Little Worn Out (stamped letters)
Brandy Murry Nuts & Berries (lima beans seed packet)
Candara font

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Give a Hoot

I've got a couple pages left to finish from last spring, but otherwise am working hard on last summer's photos now. Need to post pics of some paper pages and projects too! We've been motivated this weekend: some highlights include Jeff put up an umbrella-style clothesline I've been asking for, and prompted by a messy tie-dyed t-shirt (who knew it would bleed WHILE he was wearing it?!?!), I shampooed the living room carpet this morning. As noted on Facebook, Jeff spent at least an hour pulling around 30-40 POUNDS of thistles from our neighbors flowers and yard. The wife has been gone for almost 2 months visiting family out of the country, and they didn't know much about gardening to begin with (she's asked for my assistance when she gets back), and we were tired of thistles growing on our property, so Jeff took them up at the source!

This has to be one of my fastest digi pages to date, but I really like how it turned out. This is a just-because page, not a challenge page:)

I've always been fascinated by owls, and remember dissecting owl pellets at summer nature camp in Cass County as a child. Heather led the "Nocturnal Raptors" day at McFarland Park and even 18 month old Michael paid attention for awhile. The owl is his favorite animal in the "Clifford's Animal Sounds" book. We even got to dissect pellets again, and Christopher kept the bones we found. We've heard great horned owls several times out our windows at home and I even saw one on top of Maha's house next door in the night--HOOOOO, who who who HOOOOO!
Heidi Larsen Hootfest June
Michelle Coleman Boho Flourish Brushes
Jessica Sprague photo mask
Bottled Fart font (love the font, if not the name, lol)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Just For Fun

As seen on Janet's along if you like!:) I'd love to see all your answers as well.

1. What is your current obsession? Scrapbooking…isn’t that always my obsession? ;) (DH might argue my obsession is purchasing Scrap Girls supplies, but I plead innocence)
2. What is your weirdest obsession? Some might say scrapbooking on the computer is a rather weird obsession…
3. What are you wearing today? At the moment, my owl pajamas
4. What would you eat for your last meal? Our yummy steak/veggie kabobs with slightly spicy marinade
5. What's the last thing you bought? See number 1
6. What are you listening to now? Silence!
7. What's your favorite ice cream flavor? S’Mores
8. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished, anywhere in the world, where would it be? Hm…in my dream world, Tuscany! But realistically, Ames…does it come with an interior designer too? I want it painted and decorated and landscaped too, lol
9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? Only for one hour? Almost not worth it, but anywhere in Europe.
10. Which language would you want to learn? Like Janet said, Italian may be impractical, but it’s my dream language. Practically, Spanish. The interpreter who volunteers at Free Clinic is most excellent, but it would be so much easier if I could just talk to the Hispanic patients myself.
11. What's your favorite quote (for now)? I’m not too much of a quote person…
12. What's your favorite color? purple
13. What is your favorite time of day? evening
14. What is your favorite piece of clothing in your wardrobe? Well not for summer, obviously, but I’m really into cords lately.
15. What is your dream job? ? A PA job in a totally revamped health care system in US?
16. What's your favorite magazine? none
17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on? Pssst: see number 1 again!
18. Do you admire anyone's style? Scrapbooking-wise? Lots of people, but I’d have to say Brandy Hackman at Scrap Girls
19. Describe your personal style. Scrapbooking-wise? Eclectic.
20. What are you going to do after this? Should consider going to bed.
21. What are your favorite movies? Don’t really have one. I’ve seen Shrek more times than I can count though…and that was pretty much BEFORE I had kids, lol
22. What's your favorite fruit? Blueberries, strawberries, Honeycrisp apples, peaches, cherries, grapes, pineapple, I think you get the picture…
23. What inspires you? Scrapbooking-wise? A good collection or kit of items, or a great photo…
24. Do you collect something? Um, yeah, see number 1 yet AGAIN!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Other things we've been up to:
We spent almost a week in the Black Hills area of South Dakota and survived (and even enjoyed) the experience. We actually weren't even sure we'd get there with 3 kids;) We had contingency plans to stop in Atlantic (my parents), Omaha, or Sioux Falls if we didn't think we could get clear there due to crying, complaining, fighting, etc.

We drove through the night, leaving around midnight. Christopher briefly woke up when we put him in his car seat but settled back down again pretty quickly. We reclined his seat just a bit to help him keep comfortable. Michael slept straight up in his full car seat. C uses a booster now so of course the back is just the seat of the van. William had no problems sleeping in his car seat. All of them awoke when we stopped to get gas around 4:30am, and Michael and Christopher were still awake until around 6.

The first day we ate brunch at Perkins when we got to Rapid City, checked in to our hotel, and went to Mount Rushmore. This was pretty much the most touristy thing we did all week. We didn't even go to Wall Drug;) Jeff & I would have liked to do the whole walk at MR, but it's 250 steps according to the sign and the kids were dragging by then. So we left to drive the Iron Tunnel Road, created specifically for views of MR and the surrounding terrain. When you exit one of the tunnels cut into the rock, there's a fabulous view of MR!:) Oops, forgot to mention Dinosaur Park, the first place we went that day...there's even a geocache there (see below)
To see more photos, check out these Facebook links: Dinosaur Park
Mount Rushmore

Jeff printed out info for several of the hundreds, if not thousands, of geocaches in the area (see THIS for more info). The tunnel road contained 3 caches, and we took turns staying with 2 sleeping little boys in the van pulled off on one of the convenient turnoffs along the road while Christopher and one parent hiked up to look for the cache. Christopher quickly got into the whole hunting for the cache thing, and also became a master junior geologist. He loved all the mica, pyrite, slate, and quartz in the area.

We spent the next 2 days pretty much geocaching from morning til evening, returning back to Rapid City in enough time to eat a late dinner and spend about an hour in the pool before tumbling into bed to repeat same the next day. William proved very pack-and-go-able:) Friends lent us their small hiking baby-backpack (we have a larger more unwieldy one of our own) and sometimes I'd use the baby sling. We protected him from the sun and used minimal amounts of sunscreen on his exposed legs and arms.

Our final day we checked out of the hotel, went to the Air and Space Museum (pretty small), and did the scenic drive in the Badlands. We spent that night at a hotel in Mitchell, then on to DeSmet to visit Laura Ingalls Wilder's homestead from her later childhood years. Then the mind-numbing 6 or so hour drive home. I had plenty of activities along so the kids wouldn't "have" to watch the dual screen DVD player too much, but by this time, there was no way we would have gotten home without a good dose of screentime;)
The Badlands
Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead

We got home around 10pm that night and let the kids stay up and run around and play to blow off some excess energy while we ran around putting away as much as possible as quickly as possible and start laundry. The kids were finally all asleep about midnight and we all blissfully remained asleep until 10am (well William nursed at 6 or so but went right back to sleep, lol).


Saturday, July 4, 2009


I've been a bad blogger again...time to play catch up with the Jen Wilson challenge layouts! Participation is dwindling (to remain eligible for the grand prize you must have completed ALL of them on time), but I am still having fun with this and it is stretching my skills and forcing me to SB things I otherwise might never do or keep putting off forever.

Week 23: How does your family celebrate the start of summer/end of school? Include metal, something hanging, at least one picture, and plenty of journaling.
The basic "sketch" of this layout came from a layout Felicia in Iowa did here earlier in the Project 52 challenges. Thanks for the inspiration Felicia!:)
We spent one day of our mini-vacation at Waterpark of America. We chose the indoor park to avoid the need for sunscreen and hats. The weather was also a little iffy for an expensive outdoor park. Michael was fearless as usual and he ran us ragged going around and around and around the toddler area. Our favorite part of the large park was the waterslides. Even Michael was allowed to go down them on one of our laps in the innertube. He shrieked with pleasure even the first time down. One of Christopher’s favorite activities was the river. The water carried us along on our inner tubes and dumped us out into the wave pool. At the end of the day Daddy braved the surfing pool and did better than 99.9% of the others in line!
JWD Breaking Free: Cowabunga
JWD Whoos Halloween
JWD Merry Days Sixth
JWD Picknics Summerish Word Stickers
JWD Picknics Charmed Flowers
Shalae Tippetts Dynamic Brush Set Decorative Stitching 4901
LD Fine Print 17 font

Week 22: SB someone you admire. I'd been thinking about SBing a page about Obama anyway, so that was good timing.
JWD Double Negative
JWD Complete Boy 01 circle/star rubon
JWD Project 52 Dated Stamp Circles
Official Presidential portrait
Brandy Hackman Sassy's Stardust & Cinnamon paper
Brandie Valenzuela Grungelle Brush Set
Anita Stergiou Inauguration alpha
Ck Road Trip font

The background paper swirls and stars continued over Obama's face so I used the clone stamp to edit them out.

Week 21 Jen Wilson: SB a hybrid project. Since I'm not as in to paper crafts as SBing I chose to do a layout. The papers up top are "real", the rest is digital. I cut a slit in the sides of the photo to thread them through. The funny part, which I did on purpose, is that the paper and digital papers are by the same artist (Jen Wilson).
JWD The Halloween Holiday Collection paper
Syndee Nuckles Hocus Pocus brush set
Miss Mint Witches Brew
Fonts: CK Scratchy Box & PC Halloween
My Mind's Eye Night Light Line (Jen Wilson)-paper product (2 strips of paper at top)
Basic Grey bat rub-on
Journaling: by hand

Jen Wilson week 20 (SB pictures from the past week)
Apparently our 4 month old not only thrives on attention but is a regular lady's man;) Jeff and Dan were the only men...5 moms, 4 teenage girls, at least a couple pre-teen girls, and several younger boys...all clamoring to hold William and play with him:) And he ws extra super squealy and smily. At the end of the evening he was sacked out on Sydney’s lap with his four limbs hanging down at her sides. Dan & Amy provided and/or prepared a spread fit for kings...grilled fare galore: meat, tofu, asparagus, chimichurri sauce, sangria, and rhubarb crisp. We left hours later still stuffed to the gills.
JWD Caring background paper
JWD April Rieff Project 52 Monday Daily template
JWD Beginnings: Flourished Memo Starter

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Life's Messy!

My latest Jen Wilson layout...for the "What's your motto?" challenge.

The background is a photo of DS#1's perpetual Lego mess in our living room blended with
JWD Holiday Avenue paper.
The photo is DS#2 looking surprisingly like my brother-in-law, who has a real goatee Smile
JWD Serendipitous frame
JWD Love So Much (brown paper for frame)
JWD Hand Stitched Starter
JWD Grunged Edges overlay
JWD Picknics Admit One ticket
JWD Complete Boy: ink scratch, arrow rubons, and dotcircle rubon
JWD Laundry Line Stains
Fonts: Marcelle, Marcelle Swashes, Yukon Gold, CK Regal and Impact
I don't really have a motto, but I do say this one a lot...or its variation, "Life's messy, clean it up." I got it from the old old Bissell vacuum commercials:)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Family Photo Link

Follow this link to see our pictures:

Click on Jill Purcell

I was impressed with how they turned out! I had no idea if any of the kids smiled for any of them so was excited to see that several photos had happy child smiles and/or neutral expressions and everybody pretty much looking at the camera! :) They are clearly taken chronologically. If you look at the later poses I am visibly holding Michael in the frame, lol. Also, check out frame 17 closely...what do you think Michael is holding up toward the camera? Yep, that would be his stick "gun." Oh boy...

Friday, May 15, 2009


Sight: Statue of Liberty: I have yet to see her, but love that she is a symbol of our freedom here in America.
Sound: Boom of fireworks: I still love to oooh and aaahhh with the children at the site and sound of fireworks on the Fourth of July.
Taste: Yummy taste (and smell too) of apple pie, that quintessential American dessert.
Touch: The touch of my family’s hugs…for they are my true home within this United States of America.
Smell: or the lack thereof. I love that the air I breathe in Iowa is clean and clear. I am grateful I don’t have to live in an area with heavy pollution and smog.

This Jen Wilson challenge was to scrap a page about "home", however I chose to define it. The page had to include journaling about all 5 senses and at least 2 circular elements. The journaling on the page goes on and on and I'll stick the rest behind the page. I included it at the bottom for your reviewing pleasure...I'll warn you here; it's more political than usual.
JWD Caring paper
JWD His Tuesday Attire paper
JWD Complete Boy stitching
Dani Mogstand Americana
Kerry Veale statue of liberty
Heather Roselli Sweet Orchard apple and pie
Diane Miller Bitsy brush (steam on pie)
Brandy Hackman Persian Breeze (numbers)
Mandy Steward Chipboard style
Jan Hicks Coin Folder Chip style
Photographer's name available upon request

It’s been years since I’ve felt patriotic to my own country, the “good ol’” USA. I briefly felt patriotic after September 11, 2001, but even before we invaded Afghanistan, I felt stirrings of unrest. Just what was with the bumper stickers reading “God Bless the USA” after 9/11? Why should we assume God is on our side at the expense of the rest of the world? Why not “God Bless the World?” I’m pretty sure the rest of the world is also in need of God’s blessing, and who am I to deny them that?
After the invasion of Iraq I felt even less patriotism than before. I did not agree with that decision of our president. While I think Hussein needed to be ousted, I do not think it was our job to invade without provocation. I thought the days of colonialism were over.
So I spent a few years mildly wishing I could become or had been born into a family in Europe (Italy is beautiful, as is their language-the Scandinavian countries have much to offer in the way of health care and paid time off for new mothers). All or virtually all have better health systems that actually insure EVERYONE.
Now that Obama is in office, I have stirrings of hope again. I think though that the job set before him is way too much for one man with limited (and thank goodness for that) power and limited time. We cannot expect to be “on top of the world” forever-all great “empires” fall eventually, even Rome did. But I sincerely hope our time has not come yet, and if that is a glimmer of patriotism, well then call me patriotic again.
We need to be world leaders in innovation, especially in the realm of energy. Can you tell I just read Thomas Friedman’s “Hot, Flat, and Crowded”? We need to revamp our health care system, preferably from the ground up. We need to cure our incessant materialism and reliance on credit. If you don’t have the money for it, don’t buy it! We need to cure our dependence on foreign oil. Why do we essentially “bow down to the enemy” and ignore atrocities simply because we “need” their oil? Why can’t we reward research and innovation to make free fuels more easily obtained and used? Regardless of global warming, it’s the smart, and money-conscious, ethical thing to do.
(Off soapbox now:)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mothers Day Gifts

Here's my mother-in-law's gift from us this year. Mom's book is identical except for the front cover. 3 or so of the pages are photos I took of traditional paper pages, the rest are digital pages. I was very pleased with Shutterfly!

DH and the boys always treat me well on Mother's Day...I have received such wonderful gifts as Club Scrap membership (back when they were AWESOME), a pogo stick (I have ALWAYS wanted one, and my parents NEVER got one for me!), Roomba (some women would have hated getting an "appliance" but I think it kicks you-know-what), and this year...a Scrap Girls club membership...woohoo!:)

We spent this Mother's Day at Sunday School, then hightailed it to Greenwood Park in Des Moines to meet my in-laws including sister-in-law and her family. M-i-l had been hinting to s-i-l that she wanted family portraits. So s-i-l hired a professional photographer (same one from our wedding, wow!) and we split the cost of the sitting fee/and will get in-laws at least 1 photo. I think this serves for Father's Day gift too, better check on that;)

Click here to view this photo book larger

Monday, May 11, 2009


Journaling: William Aidan, born on January 12, 2009 at 11:34am.
Great-Grandma later discovered that a distant relative on her side of the family is also named William Aden Murrah. He is a professor at a college in Florida. His parents are Ruby and William Baker Murrah. His aunt is the “famous” Norma Shields whose pie crust Mommy likes to make.
Another Jen Wilson challenge, this time to do a monochromatic page. I did another version for her website with her paper, but I like this slightly simpler background version better.
Thao Cosgrove Art Gallery Template, Pretty Primavera paper, Merry Mine postage "life"
Keri Schueller Wrought Iron style
Mandy Steward Embed style
Melissa Renfro Downtown frame
Durin Eberhart Rustica paper
Sarah Batdorf Deep Shadows action
Aritus D and Arial fonts

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Handle with Care

Time to play catch up with posting my Jen Wilson challenge pages!

Challenge: Then and now photos/journaling.
Journaling: I’m not convinced that any of you look like Daddy or me, but you sure look like each other! Three cute little peas in a pod; that’s you:)
JWD Holiday Avenue
JWD Laced Ribbons
JWD Sugared Tissue Paper Alpha
JWD Dated Stamp Circles
JWD Simply Charming Boy (charm)
JWD Fluttering Finish
Erica Hite Precious Boy
Keri Schueller Vintage Nursery (brad)
Katie Pertiet Storyboard Frame & Snap Frame Alpha

Challenge: SB something that makes you crazy.
Journaling: Let me just say…I love Daisy in the winter. Look at her sweet beagle face framed in our gigantic wreath. She is so friendly, wagging her tail so hard it looks like she is hoola hooping all over the house. And in winter, she keeps my feet warm at night by sleeping under the covers. And the ground is FROZEN in the winter, so she cannot dig out and run after bunnies like she does the rest of the year. I am journaling this in the spring. Now I love spring, don’t get me wrong. But I HATE spring because Daisy goes absolutely freaking berserk about the bunnies, and her constant running off and whimpering and whining drives me absolutely CRAZY! I’m not sure which of us needs a Valium more!!We are her 4th or 5th, and final, home. If we knew then what we know now, I’m not sure we would have taken her. But Daisy is now 9 or 10 years old, and will live with us until she dies (perhaps of not so innocent means, bwahahahaha). Her only real alternative is to live in a concrete dog run somewhere, and what kind of life would that be?
JWD Project 52 week 3 template
JWD Merry Days 8th (papers)
JWD Sugar Flakes Holiday (red snowflake paper)
JWD Fresh Pine Holiday (bottom stripes)
Anna Aspnes color challenge freebie (paper for circular frames)
Jeannette Bollinger (bunny)
Thao Cosgrove Doggy Tales (words and bone)

Challenge: Take photos of a particular body part of all members of your family.
now DH says he was just kidding about putting "spanking" in there, lol...I'll take it out before I print:)
JWD Love So Much
JWD Beginnings: Torn Ribbon Pocket Starter
JWD Nostalgia No. 1 (family)
JWD Project 52: Dated Stamp Circles
JWD Handy Messy Hearts (warped to the shape I needed)
JWD Complete Boy 01 (arrows in top left)
JWD Caring
JWD Rekindle (adore)
JWD Messy Mended Circles
JWD Meaning 2 (framed T)
Brandie Valenzuela Grungelle Brush Set
Syndee Nuckles Sanded Black style (frames around photos)
Jason Gaylor Valentine brush set
LD Dear Diary font

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Did You Ever Wonder Why...

Did you ever wonder why:
In cartoons, when they blow up balloons with their mouths, the balloons float as if they had helium inside. It never fails! From my childhood on, I've always wondered about this...

Things that are supposed to make life easier often do exactly the opposite, especially in the short run.

You neuter/spay your “best friend” (ie. your dog) (Thanks for this one, Scott!)

Scrapbooking involves very few scraps, and instead a whole lot of relatively expensive artistic items. Don’t worry, YOUR DH’s don’t read this blog, only mine does, and he already knows all my secrets!:)

I wanted to make a way longer list, but a couple weeks have gone by without me coming up with anything new, so this is what you get!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Slow Scrap Week 4 (and final version)

This was so much fun and seemed to force me to think about design more, since once we posted the week's version, we could not MOVE any object again! And the best part (besides having a cool page done for our album) is that I got all THIS free just for participating:)

On a less fun note, I had a hideous weekend at the Fast Track. VEISHEA was this weekend. As the website says: What is VEISHEA?

VEISHEA is an annual celebration held at Iowa State each spring, and one of its oldest traditions. It serves as a showcase and display of the Iowa State community with a wide variety of educational and entertainment events.
Q What does "VEISHEA" stand for?

VEISHEA was named in 1922 by Professor Frank D. Paine, Department of General Engineering. He combined the first letters of the colleges at that time, and the name has stuck ever since. The word VEISHEA (pronounced "VEE-sha") stands for:

* Veterinary Medicine
* Engineering
* Industrial Science
* Home Economics
* Agriculture

But during the weekend, some of the ER staff came up with the following, more cynical, and much more apt (sadly to say) acronym:
Emesis (medical term for vomit)

'Nuff said. I was so glad it was over Sat night, b/c Sunday was a much quieter day and I was able to get caught up on the paperwork I abandoned in favor of sleep when I left at 12:30 midnight Saturday night. Now if I could just find the missing 9 dictations from MARCH instead of having to re-do them, I'd be a truly happy camper:)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Slow Scrap Week 3

This week we had to add at least 4 "elements" and 1 item to journal on. I assume the actual "journal on it" instructions will come next week, lol.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Alien Kids

My friend's 2 sons at my DS' birthday these 2 to come up with something hysterical to amuse themselves (and me smile:) My DH made the faces on the balloons, so I guess all 3 of them were in cahoots, lol.

Syndee Nuckles Mischief Maker
Shalae Tippetts Fall Watercolors solids clipped to the shape of a torn paper/fabric from her Hearth Collection
Melissa Renfro Lifted Photos Biggie Emb Templates
Ro Spacekids (alien helmet)
Thao Cosgrove Peeled Paint style
CK Chunky font

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Who am I?

Another Jen Wilson challenge...ok, here's my soul, all bared out for you to see...
I wanted a Picasso-like fractured, "off-slid" type effect with the photo but had no idea how to accomplish that, so I settled for the fresco filter within PSCS3. It looks cool at full magnification.
JWD Beginnings 01 paper, Nostalgia No 1 (keyhole), Beginnings solids, Beginnings Glitter Blooms, Picknics-Charmed Floral Stringers, Complete Boy 02 (corner paint)
Brandy Hackman Abstract Expressionism frame
Kristin Aagard skeleton key
CK Becky, Gentle Redhead font
Journaling: You can either strain your eyes or email me, lol:) (click on the picture to "bigify")

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I just saw the funniest freaking thing EVER....check it out!!!! ROTFL!
If our Max were still alive I know what I'd be doing right now...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"Slow Scrap"

I'm participating in a fun "slow scrap" at the Scrap Orchard and Gotta Pixel this month. Details can be found here. Once you have uploaded the layout each week with the specific requirements (eg. week 1 was to have 3 photos and 3 papers), you cannot MOVE any item on the layout for the next week. You can switch the layer of the objects though. Eg. week 2 we were to add 3 ribbons, 2 fasteners such as buttons, and 1 set of stitches. The ribbons could go behind the photos; we didn't have to add the new items on top.

Should be funnier as the weeks go on since we have no idea what kind of room to save for what on the page (thus I opted for a good amount of white space, lol)!



Easter Hilarity (2008)

in case you can't see...DS on the left is basically choking himself with the "egg tongs" (whatever they are called) while inspecting them.

Erica Hite Chic Embroidery (not just for girls!) & solids
Erica Hite In Stitches Emb. Templates
Melissa Renfro Well Loved
Syndee Nuckles Noteworthy (nest)
Keri Schueller Going Postal Frames
Hansa font
Journaling: No Michaels were harmed during the inspection of the egg tongs! And thank goodness the eggs were hard-boiled since Christopher kept trying to crack his egg on Michael’s head.