Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Crop Addict Layouts
The gorgeous October kit layouts are up at Crop Addict. I just LOVED the colors in this kit; some punches of blue along with the gorgeous oranges and rusts. Makes me looking forward to some cooler days ahead! :)

The other layout I did is in the post below... and I'm hoping to do one more layout tonight with this kit. There's just so much left over that I still want to play with!

Thanks for looking!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Kids are eating dinner, I just gulped down a few bites of homemade pizza, checking my emails, getting ready for the Scrap Etc. Event meeting, and figured... hey I should blog real quick! ;)

Here's the layout I mentioned a few posts back- it's one of my all time favorites. And yes, that picture just keeps reappearing.

I used stuff from the October Crop Addict kit to make it. Mmmm gorgeous stuff!

I also cannot leave something unsaid today....

it's my Old Hinkley's birthday. :) She knows who she is.

She's my best friend.
Close as a sister.
Partner in crime- and sneaking into movie theaters.
Looks like a college student.
Makes me laugh all the time.
Has started many a tradition in our home.
Loves her fellas.
Is super intuitive.
Hearts Will Ferrell.
Has an awesome eye for color.
Is great at planning finances... 20 years ahead. :)
Helps me to see perspectives that I normally wouldn't.
Got sucked into Harry P. with me.

I just love her so much. Happy Birthday, Ollllllllllllllllllllllld HINKLEY! :)
Thursday, September 20, 2007
This sounds so yum.

EASY oreo truffles

1 pkg. (1 lb., 2 oz.) OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted

CRUSH 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor; reserve for later use. (Cookies can also be finely crushed in a resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin.) Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.
DIP balls in chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.) Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.
REFRIGERATE until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator.
A conversation.
My back has been pretty sore lately, so the other night I was desperate for a hot bath as soon as Em got into bed. I was hoping that the heat would help relax all the tight muscles and give me a little relief.

Not five minutes into the tub, I hear Shaun go into Em's room. He comes into the bathroom and recounts this conversation:

Shaun: ???
Em: (points to bathroom) Mommy's back hurts.
Shaun: yep.
Em: Mommy takin' a bath.
Shaun: uh-huh
Em: (holding her back) Emerson's back hurts. Emerson take a bath.

Love how her little mind works.
Like we're really going to fall for that. ;)
So very worn out.
This week has been a pretty good one. The kids have been sweet, I've kept our plans low-key and just tried to focus on family time.

We've enjoyed our screened in front porch and swing and the gorgeous fall weather, although sitting out there just makes me antsy to clean it all. I fantasize about what it would look like, done up like one of those porches you see on HGTV. It'd just be nice to see it without toys scattered about and remnants of popcorn; but alas, such is the life with toddlers and there will be plenty of time for magazine picture-perfect rooms later in our life.

Today I woke up feeling pretty blah... just trying to function through the day. I've got a list of "must-dos" but I don't really feel like doing them. I'm hoping for the energy later. I feel so gross at this point of the pregnancy. I hate walking by a mirror. Lately all I do is pull my hair in a pony tail and put a head band in... all my clothes are getting way too tight (yes, the maternity clothes). I don't have much motivation for getting myself "prettied up" each day when I know we are staying in... which results in me feeling even more gross later.

I just don't feel that "cute pregnancy glow" at this point. More of a "sweaty-too-big-for-my-clothes-sheen."


The good side of things:
-the kids go down for a nap soon
-I made one of my most favorite layouts ever last night
-I'll get to spend time with my Grams and fam on Saturday
-Kid Nation has full episodes on, so I'll be vegging to that later
-Emerson has made me laugh tons this week
-Atticus is always good for a snuggle
-Shaun goes to the grocery store for us, saving me from the juggling act that is two kids, a cart, and a bunch of food
-Christmas music season (begins Nov. 1 in our home, in case you didn't know) starts soonish
-the Scrap Etc. Layout Lock-In is next weekend, and I'll get a much needed break from home and chance to create
-I actually (I think for the first time since having kids) made a menu plan for 2 weeks, so I don't have to worry about what to make for dinner
-I'm covered by grace... I cannot help but feel so much guilt about all my failings. I read this on Wilna's blog today. Something I need. (Btw, Wilna is an amazing scrapbook artist who is coming to the Scrap Etc. Event... she's one of those rare people who so clearly shows authenticity and reality about her faith, through a gentle spirit... mixed in with her real life. Very encouraging to see.)

Psalm 18

1-2 I love you, God— you make me strong.
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my rescuing knight.
My God—the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.

Monday, September 17, 2007
I needed that.
**Gratuitous photo entry for friends & family**

This past weekend was insane, but a good insane. An insane I needed. A break from monotony.

Friday night we had a get-together with friends...and we stayed up until 2am. Yeahhhh. So that hurt on Saturday. But it was totally worth it. I needed that social time. :) (Here's some pics- they haven't been edited because I've been catching up on sleep.)

Saturday we decided to go to the zoo; they were having Harvest Days or something like that, but we mainly went because we actually haven't been together as just a family since we'd gotten our memberships back in the Spring. The weather was gorgeous, the kids were low-key since they'd had a late night before, and we had a lot of fun. Atticus was very silly and cute when it came to the petting zoo; he kept talking to the mini goats in this high pitched voice, like he just *knew* they were tiny and cute. Hehe

Saturday evening I headed over to the church to work on the bulletin and then to make a quick trip to Target. Em had a long nap that afternoon, so I opted to take her with me and spend a little quality time with her. As I mentioned before, she and I have been at odds lately and I think we needed some restoration of our relationship. (Silly sounding, I know, but much needed.)

We had SUCH a good time. I told Shaun that we "talked things out" - lol - but we did just enjoy each other's company. I took my time with her and let her look at the things she wanted too, and because she is a girl after her mommy's heart, she didn't mind looking at stickers and such while I looked at scrapbooking stuff. We even enjoyed looking at clothes together.

To top the evening off, we got icees and jammed out to some music in the car on the way home. Just a peaceful night of hanging out. Good for both of us. I really believe that God blessed us with those moments... and I think probably more of those are available for the taking, but we just get too impatient with things and our own agendas.

Anyways... I should get off of here now and finish cleaning up- the house is its typical wreck after the weekend and the kids are both "down" for naps (although we shall see if napping actually occurs).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Harry Potter Thoughts.
The final installment of the Harry Potter series came out, as most of you well know, earlier this summer. (And if you weren't aware of that, were you residing under a rock?)

It brought a lot of media and public attention to the books once again, sparking up old debates and new thoughts, and I collected ideas here and there that have been rumbling around in my brain for some while. I thought I'd share a few of these thoughts here, and links to the originators, if possible.

The following comments were in a blog entry that discusses several things about the series...this one touched on the validity of moral ideas in the Harry Potter series:

Teaching your kid to do the right thing in the face of opposition is one thing, but giving him/her the opportunity of tasting what that feels like, before actually having to do it in real life, serves as an enticement to the nobler sensibilities. Besides, every generation of children since the beginning of the 20th century has been inundated with emotionally-manipulative media. Teaching children that emotions themselves are wrong is not an option--we must encourage a hunger for the nobler feelings, and the rejection of crass emotional manipulation will naturally follow.
This was an idea that I've had for some years (although not nearly as succinctly said) and discussed with other Elementary Ed. students; it cropped back up when Shaun was studying literature and ethics and how they collide. It's one of the reasons why I think reading is such a huge part of molding childhood; it allows you to experience things you may never be able to encounter in real life... or prepares you for when you do.

This next comment was in the same comment section, and in response to a critique on the HP books and the idea that they are called 'classics' already. The critic could not fathom putting J.K. Rowling next to Dickens or Austen or the like... I thought the responding comment was pretty interesting; I hope that it carries the same impact here as when I first read it (and if you really feel like it, you can read through the whole comment thread here):

one of the reasons it's difficult if not illegitimate to compare HP to Dickens or Austen and the like is that HP is written for children. Are your conversations about current events, morality, the faith, etc., that you have with your spouse and peers carried out in the same manner as those you have with your children? Of course not. The writing in HP can't be as sophisticated as that of Dickens or Dostoevsky because they are written for different audiences. It is actually a mark of Rowling's genius (yes, genius) that so many adults (those who share her Christian worldview and those who don't) are so greatly moved by her writing that is aimed at a pre-teen audience. In fact, a compelling and likely convincing case can be made to any fair judge that HP may be the greatest work of children's literature ever written. And yes, I'm aware that the charge of chronological snobbery is now in many minds. But tell me: what else is in the running? MacDonald? Carroll? Lewis? As dangerous a statement as this may be, Rowling is clearly a superior storyteller to Lewis (and I've read the Narnia books 20+ times). And it's hard to even say whether MacDonald and Carroll could even be children's books these days.

And finally, the whole reason why I even got sucked into reading the blog, was the original entry itself:


If you've never read this interview with J.K. Rowling, I would recommend it. People still spread ridiculous rubbish about Rowling encouraging little girls to practice witchcraft. Conservative Christians can be so gullible and boorish.

But note especially the hint she gives of some resolution to the controversy about Harry Potter's story and the Christian faith in book seven:

E: You do believe in God.

JK: Yeah. Yeah.

E: In magic and…

JK: Magic in the sense in which it happens in my books, no, I don't believe. I don't believe in that. No. No. This is so frustrating. Again, there is so much I would like to say, and come back when I've written book seven. But then maybe you won't need to even say it 'cause you'll have found it out anyway. You'll have read it.
And don't forget this gem from her published interview with the Vancouver Sun (October 26, 2000):
Are you a Christian?

“Yes, I am. Every time I've been asked if I believe in God, I've said yes, because I do, but no one ever really has gone any more deeply into it than that, and I have to say that does suit me, because if I talk too freely about that, I think the intelligent reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what's coming in the books.”
Draco dormiens numquam titillandus!


When all is said and done, my personal beliefs on the Harry Potter books, children's lit, and how those interconnect with my Christian beliefs, are probably way too lengthy and mostly boring to the large percentage of my blog reading audience. However, I truly believe that the issues that most people take with the books come from not knowing their topic through and through. I once was pretty suspicious of these books myself, but picked them up on the recommendation of one of my most conservative Bible College professors... my mind was quickly changed by J.K. Rowling's fabulous story telling abilities, creative intricacies, and thoroughness... oh, and the overwhelming theme of redemption.

I think they are a great tool for reaching those who may have never heard the Original Redemption story ... along with being thought provoking entertainment.

/End Obsessive Harry Potter philosophizing ;)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I was tagged by Michelle, my belle, (sorry, I can't help but sing that song every time I think her name) to do this little game where you use the letters of your middle name to describe yourself. (I think.) And if you don't have a middle name, like my kids, you can just make one up.

However, I do have a middle name. So here we go:

L- late nights... often most every night. It's the only time the house is peaceful and all to myself.

E- extremely preggo. And I'm only a little more than halfway there.

A- anal retentive about my closet being organized. Gotta do it by color (black, white, red, pinks, greens, blues, browns) and then within the color, long sleeved to short sleeved.

N- nails, as in my toenails, must be painted and kept neatly trimmed for me to be happy (yet another one of my weird foot obsessions)

N- nicknames I have been called: Virge, Virgie, Poop (honestly, really a term of endearment. For real. I have weird friends.), Va, blackflipflops, and several others that I would prefer the world not to know. :)

E- excessive amounts of stuff. I am a "stuff" person... it unfortunately makes me happy to have things surrounding me. I'm trying to get better about decluttering my life and becoming less materialistic, but it's hard. I like my stuff.

Ok, so I'm not sure who all has been tagged and who hasn't so I'm throwing this out there to all my Scrap Etc. and Crop Addict friends to do. :) Post here if you do the game so I can come read it!
Something from the weekend.
I have to confess something.

I absolutely 100% love our church. I get SO much out of each sermon, out of the love and community of the people there, out of how God feeds me each Sunday with His word that is taught through words and actions.


I also have a hard time concentrating without doing something to occupy myself...

so sometimes...

um... ahem..

I sketch out layout ideas and scrapbooking topics while I'm listening to the sermon.

Is that sad or what?!

I promise you, I'm totally absorbing what is being said, I just need something to occupy that right side (or is it the left? I get that confused!) of my brain.


So anyways, I had this idea last Sunday to create an art journal every Sunday night, kind of reviewing what I'd learned that day. It's not limited to the sermons or music or whatever; I'm going to use it whenever something in particular strikes me that God is teaching me.

Me being the visual person that I am, I think that this will help me "meditate" and really process more of what's going on in my heart.

Here's the first installment. I had a blast creating this album cover... ideas that had been tumbling around in my head came out just the way I wanted them to.

And here's some pics of my crazy kids. Unedited, in all their blurry (Grr.) glory.

(An aside: I'm really struggling with Em these days. Her personality is VERY passionate, which means she keeps me laughing and entertained, but also keeps me frustrated and drained when she goes through phases like the one she's in right now. Constant tantrums and both of us very frustrated by the end of the day.

I keep trying to remind myself of something a wise friend once told me. His sister had been through a lot of tough stuff in her life, but because of her strong personality, it also helped her come through it. Em's passion and strength will help carry her through the hard things in life. )
Friday, September 07, 2007
Class Announcement
Alright ladies (and gents?) - here's my latest class project that you can partake in, if you want to come join me at one of the Scrap Etc. locations:

It's that time of year... the time to think about the impending HOLIDAYS! Shocked And if you're like me, the autumn is also "birthday season," so it's always nice to have a little something unique you can make as a special gift for someone.

(Or, to have a little something unique to make for yourself! Wink )

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This altered tray has LOTS of dimension and texture to it, and while you can only see one photo, behind it is a small folder that can hold more photos, notes, etc. - which would be a great addition to a keepsake gift. It also has a handle and a good amount of depth in the back to either hang it with a ribbon or on a nail... or you can let it sit on its own since it is so sturdy.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I'm offering this fun little class several times, so hopefully you'll have a chance to sign up and take some time for yourself to do some creating.

Saturday, September 22nd, 3pm-6pm (Patton Creek/Hoover)
Monday, September 24th, 10am-1pm (Patton Creek/Hoover)
Saturday, October 6th, 3pm-6pm (The Pinnacle/Trussville)

*I'm also considering doing it at the lock-in, but I'd have to have at least 10 people interested in taking it there. Smile

COST: $25
Call (205) 985-9323 to sign up, and PLEASE leave an email address when you add your name! Smile

The tray will be on display at the Patton Creek/Hoover store for up close & personal inspection. Wink

Also, for those interested, I used this tutorial to edit my photos used in the project to get that cool Lomo affect:

For more Scrap Etc classes, go to our Class Calendar!
happy friday morning
(You'll need to pause my music player over on the right to watch this video.)

This is the first thing I saw this morning. My silly friend Michelle sent it to me.

The perfect way to start out a Friday morning.

Check out this video: walk it out remix

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('70's dance video set to this music. Could they have done it more perfectly? LOL)
Thursday, September 06, 2007
photo shooting.
So.... it's been a while since I taught a class at Scrap Etc., and I've had some ideas bouncing around my head. I finally sat down last night to work on the project I wanted to teach this month.

(Sneaky peeks:
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I realized, once the project was complete, that I didn't really have any pics of the kids I really wanted to use; and I had an Idea for a quick little photo session this morning.

I figured... hey, as soon as we eat breakfast, I'll "throw together" a mini-shoot, upload my pics and get them printed today, and add them to my project this afternoon (after our very much dreaded check-up at the doctor's office).

Suffice it to say, the little voice in the back of my head that was laughing derisively at me the whole morning was having a grand ol' time.

I did get enough pics to use for the project, though... :) woohoo!

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And I love this one even though I don't have the prettiest belly this pregnancy, and the picture is kind of blurry... it still turned out cool I think. :)
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(P.S. I really hope I don't get any creepy people looking at these pics. It always makes me worry about that.)
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
just a regular day.
today has been pretty normal in our house.

which is way way good.

my head is starting to not feel like it's going to explode due to sinus stuff, which i am very glad of. i am so sick and tired of being sick and tired. it wears down everything on you. but - i am feeling better and that is a very good thing.

i thought i'd give some of you, who don't have children and/or multiple toddlers in your home, a glimpse of what a normal day is like.

(not all of these pictures are technically from today... but they kind of give you some ideas of my normal life. they are all, however, from this week. and they are just a tiny, tiny glimpse of the silliness that is my life.)

the day started off with breakfast, brushing teeth and the like.

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atticus really digs climbing up on things. yesterday i found him on top of emerson's craft table 3 times. at least i can supervise when he's on the stool in the bathroom.

then we had a quick trip to the post office, the local library branch (which was closed because they have the most insane hours ever- but that's another post, another time), and then walmart. the kids are always drawing a lot of attention when we are out,

1) because they are cute
2) because they are both so little & i have a very obviously pregnant belly and
3) because they do weird things like this

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we came home for lunch and a little play time before naps.

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before i had kids, i always dreamed of my kids' rooms looking like pottery barn. at the moment, they look more like the crockery shack. (and believe it or not, we attempt a major clean up every day or so.)

i got them to calm down and read some library books. (which i am very proud to say, they both love doing.)

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once atticus hit the hay, i let em experiment with water colors for the first time.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

she totally dug it.

she also dug the really cool mess a jar of water makes when poured over a pile of construction paper.

(i expected it though. i mean, come on. she's two. the joys of having hard wood floors that can be easily mopped up.) :)

emerson helped me put away some silverware

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and then "hit the hay" so to speak... except she played in her room the entire time.

and I took a nap.


edited to add: i noticed that it looks like my kids never have normal clothes on or have their hair brushed. sad to say, they actually do, but since my 2 year old is a self-proclaimed fashionista, she ends up creating her own concoctions. and the hair gets a little mussy from the constant wardrobe changes.
Monday, September 03, 2007
the rule of six
I really just don't like Monday mornings. In the immortal words of the annoying coworker on Office Space, "Someone has a case of the Mondays!"

For me, oftentimes, unless I've just been Supermom on the weekends, Mondays mean catching up from all the dishes (no dishwasher in a house built in 1925), laundry, scattered toys, and miscellaneous projects that accumulated over the weekend. I try to keep on top of it, but if I allow myself to rest (Imagine that! Rest?! On a Sunday?! Remarkable!) a bit and spend some family time together, then Mondays end up me waking up with that feeling of Ugh.

On top of that, when a mom goes a while without making sure she has a break from her kids to rejuvenate (or has had a head cold for three days, whichever comes first...), she begins to fall into a rut. As in a ... 'Kids, don't hurt yourselves while I just try to focus on housework rut' which then ensues into a 'Why are you guys getting in my way and creating more messes?!' feeling.

Lately, I have caught myself feeling that more and more, and I have to mentally stop and remind myself- hey-- THEY are the reason why you are even at home. You're not a stay at home housekeeper. It's called a stay at home mom. I'm here for them.

But, as many of you may know, it gets hard filling that role meaningfully. Some days are just an attempt to survive the day and hopefully not be a grouch at the end of it.

I stumbled across this post on the Toddled Dredge (great blog, by the way!) discussing finding meaning and pursuing ambitions while being a stay at home mom. In her blog, she mentions The Lilting House's (another great blog) Rule of Six (based on Charlotte Mason principles). I was intrigued.

These are the thing she focuses on every day with her kiddos:

• meaningful work
• imaginative play
• good books
• beauty (art, music, nature)
• ideas to ponder and discuss
• prayer

What a great idea! I love these thoughts. Being a former Elementary Ed. student (and holding a degree in that), structure and goals in day-to-day stuff really appeals to me. The youngest kids I worked with, in a school setting, were three year olds, so I didn't have much to go on as far as goals for a 2 and a 1 year old... but these, these definitely fall into something we can do.

I'm not sure how we're going to go about it, but I feel like I need to build some time into my day where I am making sure I'm focusing on the kids and some activities with them... otherwise it's way to easy to get caught up in all of my Oh So Important adult goals for the day.

I'm also excited because they are helping answer a prayer of mine: to find a way to incorporate our spiritual lives naturally into the regular things we do each day. That is such a hard thing for me to do... it's so easy to compartmentalize that into "this is prayer time" and "this is bible time" or whatever.

Well, now that I've ignored my children long enough with this blog entry, ;) (they are actually participating in Imaginative Play at the moment on our screened in porch with an instrument set, a corn popper toy, and a bike), it's time for me to start the day.

Have a great one!