Thursday, December 22, 2011

Could one of them be Rudolf?

One of the side trips we took during our Santa Adventure at Chena Hot Springs, AK was to the Santa Claus House in North Pole, AK. What a great time we had. We had Santa all to our selves, home made fudge, shopping, reindeer, and more Santa.

The kids asked Santa where Rudolf was. He said Rudolf's nose is only red on Christmas Eve. Of course the main reason was to light the way for the sleigh ride. The other reason was because the other reindeer would be ignored when people visited the house...and that just wouldn't be fair. So I wonder...was one of these reindeer Rudolf?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Santa Adventure...Chena Hot Springs Resort

Do you have kids or grand kids between 5 and 8?  If so, you NEED to take a look at this magical adventure! 
We went to Chena Hot Springs, Alaska for a 4-day, 3-night Santa Adventure. It may seem a little pricey at first, but it’s all inclusive (except for getting there) and it’s a great deal vs buying each activity here and there. They only do it once a year, so bookmark it and don’t forget it next year!!! Oh, and I highly encourage you to get the transportation package vs driving on your own or renting a car…you don’t know the roads as well as they do, and they’re very good drivers. We were VERY glad we did it!
We swam every night, went on a dog sled ride, had appletini’s in the ice museum (they were extra…and unfortunately there are no drinks for kids), went on a scavenger hunt, visited the Santa Claus House in North Pole, went to the UAF Museum of the North, took pictures at the Pipeline Viewing area, had a Geothermal Energy tour (they are off the grid and produce all their own energy at the resort), had an elf read the Polar Express with Santa signing it for Erica, wrote letters to Santa, and made some GREAT friends!!!
It was one of the best vacations we've taken!  I can't  wait to get the memory book at the end of the month (also part of the package).  And of course, I took one of the pictures and added it to a layout I did during the Album in a Weekend!  I had this all planned out in my head...staged family fun!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

My dream...

As I mentioned in the Vegas friends post, I made a pact with myself to lose weight a year ago.  My goal was to lose 20 pounds by May...I actually lost 25 pounds.  Since then I've gained a few back, but I'm still 23 pounds from my initial weigh in.  We'll see what next year brings.

I didn't journal this on the layout, but I am sooo proud of my success.  In the past year, my cholesterol is all within the super good range...and all done thru diet and exercise.  I still struggle with "White Coat Syndrome" where my blood pressure is high in the doctor's office, but it's good at home. 

I'm also not shy about being caught in pictures.  A year ago I was happy to be behind the camera because I didn't like seeing how I looked in pictures.  Now I'm happy to pass the camera to Jeff to be included in more family activities.  This layout is essentially a before and after layout.  I can't believe what a difference 25 pounds has made. 
I've gotten rid of ALL my larger clothes.  So I can tell when I start to stray from my routine. So far it hasn't been an issue...here's hoping that continues!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Her mouth is too small...

Sounds familiar...I remember growing up and having to have teeth pulled because my mouth was too small.  And I also remember my dad laughing at that statement.  Yes, if you know me, you know that's a funny statement.  And life now comes full circle as Jeff and I laugh at the same statement about our very chatty 8-yr old. 
But seriously, our dentist suggested we have a consult with an orthodontist.  We did so and he asked that Erica have two teeth pulled as soon as possible to make room for all the teeth in her mouth.  And Erica's lucky day was this week.  We planned to take two teeth out, but the dentist said they have to be flexible in case it's too much for the kids.  Fortunately they used gas on her to relax her and she didn't even realize they gave her a shot.  They also said it was easier than a flu shot, which Erica got a week ago and said wasn't so bad.  So we lucked out and she was sooooo brave they were able to take both teeth out at once.  Here's her with the gas mask on.
And that night, she went to bed holding the teeth so she could catch the tooth fairy...no such luck, though.  She sleeps too hard and the tooth fairy snuck right in taking the teeth and leaving loot in it's place.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Make it...Eat it...

Erica is working on a few Brownie Try-Its on her own.  Each Try-It requires completing at least four activities.  This is the first activity she completed toward the Make It, Eat It Try-It:  Sloppy Joes.  Here's the journaling on the page:

Erica has been helping us cook for a long time.  I thought she'd like earning a Brownie Try-It for cooking:  "Make it, eat it."  Each Try-It requires you to do four activities.  The first one she did was to make Sloppy Joes.  I didn't really like the recipe int eh Try-It book, so we used the Better Homes Cookbook.  She did it all...even defrosting the ground beef.  We were so proud and impressed!  Dinner was awesome!  I can't wait for the next recipe.
This isn't a Basic Grey layout kit, but I did use one of the kit layouts as a sketch idea with papers from the K and Company Brownie kit.  The alphas are from American Crafts.  And the flowers are misc embellishments from the Basic Grey Pyrus kit I used last year (no, I don't throw away anything...just ask Jeff).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Turkey and spinach chili

I have totally forgotten to post the last meal and recipe from the Album in a Weekend.  I found a vegetarian chili recipe that called for spinach and two kinds of beans.  I made it, and Jeff said, "Real men eat meat!"  Since then I have added ground turkey to the recipe.  It's so quick and easy...and very healthy.  Again, I have to apologize for not being able to give credit to the recipe.  I got it from the same website that I found the Shrimp Paella recipe.  Enjoy!!!
Turkey and Spinach Chili (modified vegetarian chili)
1 lb ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp oil
1 15oz can of chili style beans
1 15oz can of pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
4 oz frozen spinach (I use a full 10 oz pkg)
3 c brown rice cooked

Saute garlic in oil.  Add ground turkey.  Add all but rice and bring to a boil.  Simmer 10-15 minutes.  Serve over rice.

Easy...peasy.  And I thought I took a pix, but I can't find it.  Oh, well...chili mostly looks the same anyway, right?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Looking back at the first day of school

As I've posted before, Erica and I started a tradition of going to breakfast the morning of the first day of school.  Last year Jeff joined us and this year Grandma and Grandpa were in town, so they joined us, too.  We used to go to the Muffin Man for a giant muffin, but last year we mixed it up and went to Denny's.  This year was even better, as we went to Kriner's Diner (our favorite breakfast joint).  Because Grandma and Grandpa were in town, Erica didn't have the choice of going to school on the Faith bus with her friends...so we dropped her off.  I wonder how long she'll want to continue this tradition.  I hope it lasts for several more years!!!
This was another Basic Grey laout that just came together soooo quickly.  I can't tell you how nice those layout kits are...I can't wait to do more!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Snow Day...and Crafts...

Well, here we are in the middle of a snow day (well, the beginning).  Snow days are few and far between because we're used to getting snow, and lots of it.  The problem is when Mother Nature can't decide what season we're in and it warms up and freezes after the snow melts.  That kinda happened over night.  Yesterday it rained and snowed most of the day and it was a slushy mess.  Then last night it snowed about 6 inches (at least at our house it was about 6 inches).  So they called school for the day.  I could've driven in and taken Erica to daycare, but I had my work computer, so we're trying to work from home.  The trick is that she's trying to grab all my attention (as evidence by the fact that I'm posting this and not working).  I'm hoping to get back to work and have her distracted long enough until her neighbor friend can be called to play.

So she's making Christmas ornaments for her teachers.  She's punching circles and flower circles, folding them in half, and gluing them together to make dimensional balls.  Then we'll punch holes and put string thru them to hang them on the tree.  It took a little time to get her set up and gluing them at the folds consistently, but now she's on auto pilot (yeah).  Here she is...don't you just love the cute little pink tool bag?  It's a mini version of mine.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Erica's Birthday BIG Game

I just LOVE being able to search the internet for ideas.  When Erica decided she wanted to have a sleep over, we immediately started searching for activities.  We found all kinds of ideas.  My favorite was and still is the giant board game.  I drew the board and the girls put different things in each square (move forward one, move back two, jump up and down, take a rest, etc).  Jeff brought home a big square box that we spray painted white and added black dots to make it a die.  The girls had such a great time they played it over and over...they just didn't like the part about being sent back to start.  The best part for me was when the girls would take the ONE die and shake it up and down, saying, "Come on Six..."  Ha!  It totally cracked me up!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Deck the Halls 2011

Despite having a crazy Album in a Weekend the Fri-Sat after Thanksgiving, I *had* to put up the Christmas Tree on Sunday...and because I had a layout that had empty spaces on it (staged family fun, as Jeff would say).  We barely fit the angel on the top of the tree, and even then, the tree is about a foot from the wall so it can fit on top (angled ceiling).  I wish we'd put out lights in front of the house, but I haven't been able to convince Jeff...maybe next year.  And one of these years I'd like to decorate the inside a bit more.  But that just means I'd have to take it all down at the end of the season.  We'll see...one of these years I'll give it a try...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Vegas friends

Before I get more carried away with Erica layouts and Chena Hot Springs vacation adventures...here's a ME layout.  Shhhhh...don't tell Jeff.  I don't really have a layout of him (yet...I got some great shots and stories at Chena Hot Springs!).
These are pictures of me and "the gals" at Vegas this summer.  I was sooooo excited to have lost 25 pounds for our trip.  Never mind that I've gained a little back, but I'm working on that!  Let's just hope the holidays don't sabotage me tooooo much more (yeah...like THAT'S the problem).

Of course this is another Basic Grey kit...I think it's Marjolaine.  What pretty blue and green colors!!!  I added the "Vegas" letters for the title.  Just don't look too closely at these layouts or you'll see most of them still don't have journaling.  I promise I'll get it done before the end of the year!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hot tubbing in winter...

OK, so sledding may not be our favorite winter activity after this past weekend.  WOW...we had such a BLAST.  We went to Chena Hot Springs north of Fairbanks, AK for a 4-day, 3-night Santa Adventure.  While we were there, we went swimming, went on a dog sled ride (Jeff got to drive them), went swimming, visited the ice museum and drank appletini's out of an glass carved from ice, went swimming, saw Santa at the Santa Claus House, went swimming, saw the Aurora Borealis, and went swimming some more...along with some other fun stuff.  And let me tell you, sitting in the hot tub outside in the middle of winter is AWESOME!  This is one of the better pictures from the hot tub (the steam kept getting in the way). 
There were natural hot springs that got to 140 degrees...OUCH!  The resort converted all their power from diesel to geothermal energy.  They are completely off the grid and don't buy any energy.  They also have a green house that produces 700 pounds of tomatoes a week...A WEEK! 

I'll post more pictures...but I don't want to give it all away.  Jeff needs fodder for the annual Christmas letter, after all.  Yes, he will be writing it again!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Girl Scout Camping...sledding

Our favorite winter activity is sledding...all it takes is a sled, some snow, and a hill.  And sometimes it only takes snow and a hill (Erica has gone down on her bottom before).  We went camping with the Girl Scouts to Camp Togowoods in early November for our annual troop winter camping trip.  At least this year it wasn't below zero.  Of course, the girls HAD to go sledding.  The hill we went on didn't look that great, it wasn't very steep and it had little twigs coming out from all over.  But it turned out to be perfect!  The girls loved it!  And there was a little broken tree at the bottom that made for a nice fun jump at the end.

This is another Basic Grey Nordic Holiday layout...and one of the first ones I scrapped.  I just love winter layouts!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous Soup Recip

Time for another recipe.  We didn't actually have this during our album in a weekend, but we've had it in the past...and we were supposed to have it on Saturday night.  Kelly and I were the last ones standing (sitting at the scrappy table) on Saturday night, so we opted to have left overs.  I thought I'd post the recipe for this because I know I had requests for it from prior scrappy events.  This recipe is from Food & Wine's quick from scratch chicken cookbook:

Moroccan and chicken couscous soup
2 Tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 lb shredded chicken
1/4 tsp cayenne (even Erica can handle this much)
1 tsp cumin
1-3/4 tsp salt (I only use 1 tsp)
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 sweet potato peeled and cut into 3/4" cubes
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1" pieces
3/4 c tomato puree
1 qt water
2 c low sodium chicken broth
1/2 c couscous
1/3 c chopped fresh parsley (I usually forget this)

Heat oil over medium in large pot.  Add onion and cook until translucent, approx 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Increase heat to medium high.  Add chicken, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.
Stir in sweet potato, zucchini, tomato, water, and broth.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add couscous.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and let set for 2 minutes.  Add parsley and serve.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Birthday Celebration

Well, I'm all over the place on what I'm posting, sorry!  I've just been grabbing a few things here and there as they "hit" me.  It was hit and miss during Erica's party on the pictures I took.  Fortunately I got all the pictures of her presents.  She was excited to get the cute little webkins (the blue sea horse), but we still haven't registered it and REALLY gotten to play with it.  I think that will be a good activity for a slow weekend...if we ever manage to have one.
Another layout from the Life of the Party kit.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Let it snow...but please not be too cold!!!

We are taking full advantage of everything AK has to offer in the winter time.  Did you know that Chena Hot Springs in Alaska has a really cool Santa Adventure vacation?  I'll tell you all about it when we get back.  Let's hope the weather holds up and we don't experience the FULL Fairbanks winter adventure, complete with the 40 below temperatures.  We got to experience that a few summers ago...for 5 minutes in a cooler.  That was good enough for me.

This layout is from last year.  Erica and Jeff built a fort next to the drive way out of snow.  I think it was the week of Thanksgiving by the looks of the ice in the street.  Either way, she had a blast, and that's all that matters!
This is the Basic Grey Nordic Holiday kit.  Have I said how much fun I've been having with the kits?  I have!!!  I think I may need to get them EVERY YEAR!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chicken and White Bean Soup Recipe

Here's another of my favorite comfort food recipes.  I got this from the Jillian Michaels Newsletter I get weekly.  This recipe is so healthy and very filling!  Every time I serve this, people want the recipe.  Enjoy!
Chicken and White Bean Soup
2 tsp Olive Oil
2 leeks cut into 1/4" rounds (white and light green parts only)
1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped (I leave this out cuz Erica doesn't like it)
28 oz reduced sodium chicken broth
2 c water
15 oz cannellini beans (aka Great Northern or White Kidney Beans)
2 lbs shredded chicken (we used turkey this week!!!)

Heat oil in dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add leeks and cook, stirring often, approx 3 minutes.
Stir in sage and continue cooking until aromatic, about 30 seconds.  Stir in broth and water.  Increase heat to high, cover and bring to boil.
Add beans and chicken and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Quick and easy!  We make this for weeknight dinners, too.  Oh, I forgot to add that we put in two cans of beans!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Birthday party activities

Erica had a blast at her TWO-DAY birthday party.  I don't think I have it in me to do that again.  Although, some of the things we did were alot of fun.  Decorating pillow cases was one of the fun activities, for sure.  The girls used fabric markers and did whatever they wanted.  Note to self...next time wash the pillow case first!!!  Erica's bled through to her pillow after using it a few days.  Oh, well...no real harm done.
The Life of the Party kit was my second favorite.  I pulled together all the layouts in no time at all.  For this one, I swapped out one of the chipboard die cut shapes for the pillow invitation...since it worked with us decorating pillow cases.  And for once I actually remembered to include memorabilia on the page!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Class Act

Another one of my favorite layouts is Erica's third grade school picture.  She still needs to work on her smile, but this is better than her big cheesy one she often has for pictures.  I'm also not quite sure why she wears her head band so low on her head...but she's her own person and I can't change it.
This is another Oxford kit layout...it was soooo much fun to play with.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Paella Recipe

The food was awesome all weekend, if I don't say so myself.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE comfort food.  And when it's fairly healthy, that's even better.  I tried to google the recipe to give credits appropriately, but I can't find it anymore.  Just know this is not my recipe. 

Shrimp Paella
2 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 lb cleaned shrimp
1 c chopped onion
6 oz 1/4" sausage sliced (I use 4 links Chicken and Spinach sausage)
1 box Spanish seasoned rice and vermicelli mix (I use Fred Meyer brand)
1 c peas
1 can stewed tomatoes
14 oz artichoke hearts

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Add garlic and shrimp and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove shrimp and keep covered in a bowl.
In the same skillet, saute onion and sausage for 3 minutes.  Add rice without the seasoning and cook for 3 minutes.  Add 2 cups water, tomatoes, peas, and seasoning mix. 
Simmer covered for 20 minutes.  Add shrimp and artichoke hearts.  Heat and serve.
 I'm not sure why the picture came in vertically...but I guess this is better than nothing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My favorite AIW layout...Lovely You!

Ha...so I didn't go right to bed last night like I said I was...I scrapped some more. I only got a few more pages done, but I can now say I have a whole album PLUS...21 pages and two more on the dinner table just about done!
I thought I'd post my favorite layout first. I just love my wacky daughter, and this layout totally shows her wackiness. Her school has spirit week in the fall and one day was "Crazy Hair and Crazy Clothes" day. She put on a purple dress with a blue skirt and a green sweater. Sometimes I think she'd actually wear this and not give it a second thought...thank goodness for veto power! Then she had me tease up two piggy tails into big balls on the side of her head.
The layout kit is Basic Grey (all the kits are from Basic Grey) and this is a layout from the Oxford kit.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Album in a Weekend!!!

WHEW...what a weekend I've had so far.  I hosted an Album in a Weekend (AIW as I called it).  A bunch of ladies got together and scrapped all day Friday and Saturday...and some of them after they hit the Black Friday sales (I didn't this year).

I was able to complete (3) of my standard 8x8 calendars for Christmas presents (sorry, no pix given "eyes" that read the blog) as well as (9) 12x12 pages, all of which have pictures!!!  Last weekend I made (7) 12x12 layouts with pictures, too.  That's almost a whole album in a weekend!

Three ladies spent the night and Jeff cooked for us all weekend!  One of my layouts is going to be my favorite scrappy meals.  We had chicken and white bean soup, paella, omelets, turkey and spinach chili, and Thanksgiving left overs (the last meal was supposed to be couscous soup, but only one scrapper was left, so we just had left overs).  Oh, and we even made Sassy Dalons...a fun new concoction made with Gin, Cranberry Twist Mix, and Sprite...YUM!!!

Sorry, it's late and I REALLY need some sleep, so I'll get pictures tomorrow when the sun comes up (ha...I can sleep in for that!).  I also promised the scrappers recipes with pictures of our yummy meals...so more to come over the next few days!

Happy belated Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cards from scraps

"People" always say that after you finish a scrapbook page, you should use scraps to make cards before you put everything away.  I took that to heart as I finished my Embrace Imperfection mini album and then the Pure Bliss layout a few weeks ago.  The cards are adapted from the Cooking Up Cards class I took at...you guessed it, Big Picture Classes.  Man, I feel like a walking bill board for their classes.  But I can't help it...they're awesome!  I'm really bummed that I missed out on signing up for the Textuality class in September.  Oh, well, I'm going to keep my eyes open and sign up when it comes out again (if you see it, tell me!!!). 

Stay tuned...I've been talking to some gals around here about doing a card swap.  That's where we all make a card for however many people sign up for the swap.  Then we give one to each person and get one from each person.  So you end up with a bunch of different cards from other people.  The cool thing is, I want to do it as a "recipe" card swap.  So not only do you give the card, you include the "recipe" and sketch on how you put it together so they can duplicate it later.  What fun...I got the idea from the same class...hee, hee.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What fakers!!!

Man, can I just tell you what a ham my daughter is?  Ha, I think all my blog readers know her and know that I don't have to remind you about that.  This summer Erica went to Girl Scout resident camp FOR A WEEK.  Yes, she was gone, away from us, with no phone, FOR A WEEK.  She even kept a journal while she was gone...but that's another story (maybe a scrapbook page).  The best part about the camping trip was that she went for free because she sold soooooo many cookies this year.

The trip TO camp was also a great story!  It takes us about an hour to get from home to Camp Togowoods.  We drove out with Bella and her family to keep each other company and save on gas.  Nicole and I had a great time chatting in the front.  We were almost to the camp, and we noticed they were all asleep in the back.  Nicole took out my camera and got took these pictures.  Then all of a sudden, they snickered and "woke up."  Those trick-sters.  They were faking!  Well, at least two of them were faking.  There's a picture of Carolyn in the back asleep so hard she's about bent in half in her seat...she's NOT faking.
This is another layout from the Double Take class at Big Picture Classes...and another layout I finished at the crop in mid October...I was on a roll with the sketches!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Girl Scout Power

Yeah!  Another post that wasn't two or more week apart from the last one.  Let's see if I can keep this up!!! 

This fall has been pretty light on Girl Scout activities...but stay tuned, we have a bunch of good stuff coming up!  In September, our troop participated in the BLM National Public Lands Day event.  We had 15 people and they were going to put us all on a fairly easy project, but I didn't get us signed in fast enough and it got booked...HRUMPH!  By the time we got signed in, the only thing left was a project that had three big arms, signifying it took alot of brute strength.  Well, they had our 8 -10 year old girls do it and we did just fine.  In fact, we did better than fine.  The guy organizing it didn't think we'd finish and we finished in time to where we had to go help another group with their project.  YEAH, BROWNIE POWER!

Below is the layout with a few pictures from the project (based on another great sketch from the Double Take class at Big Picture Classes).  They had us spread out a special compound of dirt and rock over a trail.  Then we grabbed water from the nearby creek and poured it over the trail.  Later the BLM worker would bring a big machine to pound it all flat and make it strong.  The trail is used often by bikers, so it gets ruts.  The goal was to pack it down and make it usable again.  Woo Hoo!  The girls had fun, got some exercise, and we did a great thing for the community!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Aaaah...I forgot to post more stuff...

Man...I'm just not completely into the swing of things when it comes to posting on the blog again, I'm sorry!  I have several fun things I could have posted and totally dropped the ball.

So this is another layout from the crop TWO WEEKS AGO.  And it's also from the Double Take class I took from Big Picture Classes.  Sorry for the slight glare...we had been getting alot of rain, so I needed to use the flash.  When I saw the sketch for this layout I knew I wanted to scrap pictures that showed motion.  These are pictures from the 2011 AK State Fair.  They had hoola hoops just laying around at this one part of the park.  When Erica saw them, she ran over to them and started hoola-ing (hmmm, not sure how to say what she was doing...but you probably get the point).  You can't really tell from these pictures, but she was doing it for a long time.  I'm glad I finally took out the camera to take these.  Almost as soon as I started taking them she must have gotten tired because the hoop just started going down and down and down...
I have to say that I'm excited by this layout, too.  I took another class at Big Picture Classes earlier this year called Embrace Imperfection (I posted the final product several weeks ago).  Prior to that class, I never would've used all the various pinks on this page...they don't "match."  The class actually got me to get over that (somewhat).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Yeah, more scrappin'

Wow, I can't believe how long it's been since I blogged.  I feel like I'm back into my old routine (and not the *real* old one where I posted regularly).  OK, I have some good news (at least good for me).  I'm gonna be doing crops on a regular basis again.  YEAH!!!  I went to a crop last night and the gals hosting want me to help.  Soooo, the third Sat of every month I'll have some me time and will be able to get more scrapping (and more blogging) done.

Last night was a blast.  I thought it was only going to be from 9-6 and it ended up being 9-11.  Woo Hoo!!!  It's been so long since I blogged that I'm not sure I mentioned the class I signed up for on Big Picture Classes...Double Take.  It's a class with two awesome instructors who walk through their scrapping process for double page layouts.  I have done so few lately that I decided to sign up.  I got four 2-page layouts done yesterday.  No, that doesn't sound like much, but for me it was pretty good.  I was going to get one more page done, but I got tired so I just chatted for the last hour or so.

Anyway...this layout is one I've been wanting to scrap since I took the pictures.  These are the pictures of Erica in the cage with the cute little birds.  It was her favorite part of the fair...well, that and climbing the rock wall, eating ice cream, riding the rides with Mom, and...well, I guess she liked it all. I guess this was MY favorite part.  Just look at how much fun she was having...I love that!
And these are Basic Gray papers from the kit I made last March.  Yes, I *still* have extra embellishments and papers.  That was an awesome kit!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Some creative ME time...

Earlier this year I signed up for several Big Picture Classes, none of which I was able to finish (or even start in some cases) due to my hectic schedule with Girl Scouts and Work.  Now I'm slowly getting back into the groove and am having a blast.  Erica slept over at her friend's house last night and I stayed up to be creative.  This is what I did (woo hoo!).
One of the classes I took was "Embrace Imperfection."  The basis of the class is to try and teach us to get past all the things that make us say we don't have time to scrap or that holds us backing from being productive.  The bottom line is we won't ever be perfect, so get past it and document your memories.  For me, I stress over the colors being perfect and all the products coordinating or matching on the layout.  So to make this mini album, I pulled together some papers and coordinating embellishments from Basic Grey, along with my ribbons, paint, and ink.  I can't believe I finished it!  I used a great mixed media album from Fancy Pants (acrylic, chipboard, felt, mirror, cardboard,  and canvas).  Every page is decorated differently an I didn't even "lift" the layouts!  Each page also has a quote about perfection like, " No one is perfect...that's why pencils have erasers."  And there are alot of things about this album that aren't perfect (the paint is chipping off the acrylic, the chipboard shapes show thru the acrylic, the quotes aren't cut perfectly, the colors don't all match exactly, and things are crooked), but I am learning to...Remember, it is all about the MEMORIES."

 
  

I've wanted to use this album for over a year and am thrilled I got a chance to do it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

More than half way done...

So I've wanted to pull my hair out a few times, but all in all, the weekend is going well.  The girls had Mickey pancakes courtesy of Daddy this morning, rainbow mac and cheese for lunch, and they made their own pizza's tonight (thanks to the big Boboli pack from Costco).  The coolest part of the day was playing "Erica's Big Game."  You can find the coolest ideas online!  The girls wrote things like:  move 3 back, jump up and down until your next move, sing a song, skip a turn, roll again, etc.  They had so much fun we played it twice.  I don't think the die would've held up for a third game.  And now they're watching "Tangled" and will go to bed after that (I hope).
Even with all the fun, I'm really looking forward to 11am tomorrow!  From now on Erica can have only ONE friend over at a time!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Guess what day it is...

...it's the day I've officially gone insane!  What was I thinking when I suggested to Erica that she could have THREE 8-yr olds over for a TWO-night sleep over?!  I must be the biggest pigeon in the world...yup, I've taken over the title from Grandpa!
So three of Erica's friends are coming over, along with a neighbor who will come and play, but go home at night.  Erica and I have planned all kinds of fun...but I'm not gonna spoil any of the fun since we don't have pictures yet.  If I survive the weekend sober, I'll post pictures along the way.  For now, here's the cute pillow invitation I made...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A fun project...

I had an opportunity to be crafty when some friends came over this weekend.  This is a chipboard album from Bo Bunny that I altered to include pockets for each calendar month.  There's also a place to write names and dates (for birthdays and anniversaries) on each month.  I plan on putting cards in the pockets so I can actually mail out cards for friends and family.  Now I need to get busy and make some cards so I can really finish the project and be able to use it.



Sunday, September 11, 2011

Trick or Treat in the Heat

This may sound funny for some folks, but not if you are in Alaska.  Eagle River participated in the Sixth Annual Ian Robbins Memorial Trick or Treat in the Heat event today.  What an awesome idea!  The best part is they raised over $7000 for the Ronald McDonald House, Make a Wish Foundation, and Hospice of Anchorage.  The fun part for the kids, of course, is getting candy TWICE this year.  And the neat part for me is I finally get to see everyone's Halloween outfit...without snow gear.

As usual, Grandma made Erica's outfit.  This year she decided to be a Cowgirl.  She and Grandma went and found some boots with rhinestones on them, so she decided to be a Rhinestone Cowgirl.  And the outfit is GREAT!  Here's a picture of Erica and Jenna before the festivities began.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Girl Scouts...Zoo Snooze

Erica is a Brownie Girl Scout, and loves it. Scouts started early this year so they could finish their "Journey" program before cookies start in January...cookies tend to be all consuming, especially for us! Erica was the top seller in her troop last year and earned a week of free camp at the resident camp grounds. She felt soooo big going away for a whole week "without mom and dad to boss her around."
The troop also did things with the money made from selling cookies. Last year's journey was the Wonders of Water and they bought two water filters for a village in need in Central America. And the fun activity they did was have a sleep over at the zoo. It was a blast! They had a behind the scenes tour of the tigers, wolves, and brown bear cub; had a scavenger hunt, searching for animals based on clues; and then watched Disney's "Brother Bear" with popcorn before they went to bed. I missed the morning activities due to a 5K run, but I understand they went to see the polar bear. The girls thought it was the best!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day of School pictures

My blog is one of the ways family keeps in touch with us. I did a poor job for 6-8 months keeping them updated and am trying to be better. I was having soooo much fun posting layouts and neglected to post pictures from the first day of school...sorry.
For anyone that doesn't know us well, we have a family tradition (mostly just me and Erica) of going to breakfast on the first day of school. Last year Jeff went with us because I started a new job and couldn't take the time off. This year Grandma and Grandpa were in town, so they joined us, too. Erica sure looks like a big girl, doesn't she? A 3rd grader...wow! I can hardly believe it!
Here she is looking like a big girl...even though she hunches over (more of the mama in her!).
And the standard mama and Erica picture...
And in line, waiting for school to start.

Monday, September 5, 2011

And today's holiday...

Happy Labor Day! In Alaska, it marks the last day of the State Fair. Fair season usually means rainy season in Alaska. The weather has called for rain every day, but fortunately it hasn't stormed all day, so we were able to make it out earlier this week. We like to go right after school to beat the crowds...and it was perfect. The weather was overcast. It drizzled a little, but it wasn't bad.

As usual, Erica wanted to ride all the spinning rides...and I learned this year that I'm finally too old to handle them. Fortunately she is tall enough to be able to ride by herself. She also climbed the rock wall again. The weird thing is, this time she didn't want to let go of her one hand to ring the bell...she finally did, but it took a while. And on her way down, she became proficient at repelling (I'm not sure the operators liked it much...but she sure did).
The standard big pumpkins were there. This one weighed in at 1200 pounds and another one was 1700...but it was disqualified for having a hole in the bottom.
This year they had the outback in Alaska. I'm not sure how Erica was able to do it, but she got Jeff to pay $5 for her to go into a cage with birds. They gave her some food and the birds climbed all over her and literally ate out of her hands.
And last, but not least, we got our standard family picture on the Tilt-o-whirl. Thank goodness it was a short and sweet ride...the spinning was a bit much after all the other spinning I had done. We were the only ones on the ride and the operator started it as soon as we got in, and came over to let us out as soon as it was done. He was a bit impatient, so I didn't get the pix myself, as usual. Instead, he took our picture. Not quite the same, but that's OK, I guess...
All in all, a fun time at the fair!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Why not see one more Holiday...

As I said, holidays are different in Alaska. This isn't so much a celebration of holidays, but it reminds me how things are a little different here. I remember having beautiful gardens around Easter before we moved to Alaska. That's definitely not the case here. We typically can't plant before Memorial Day. Sometimes there's even still snow on the ground at Easter. Fortunately this year was not the case. But, that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the outdoors...and welcome the Easter Bunny to our house. That's certainly what Erica did this year. So while we don't have beautiful flowers and green grass like other places, at least we had beautiful colors on our driveway.