Tuesday, August 25, 2009

{A Scrappin' Fool}

It's been some time since I've posted any layouts I've done. I've scrapped more this month than I have in a long time thanks to an awesome challenge at Scrap Orchard. Every month the gals at scraporchard.com create challenges. There's a new challenge every day, and you get points for each one you complete. At the end of the month, your points become a % off of the entire store! Sa-weet! So I've been doing the challenges almost every day. Many of them have forced me to scrap photos that I've been ignoring for years. Doing the challenges is a great way to stretch yourself and get things done!

Here are a few of the pages I've done. Click on the images to make them bigger if you wish.

This one is for Sasha's preschool album. The challenge was a color challenge; you had to use the blue/green/yellow color combo.

Another one for Sasha's album. This wasn't for a challenge. I'm just trying to get her preschool album done!
This one wasn't for a challenge, either. In fact, I did the layout last month. I just don't think I've posted it yet!

Here's a layout that wouldn't exist if it weren't for the challenges! The challenge was to do a monotone page. Let me tell you, it is hard to do monotone! But what I like about this page is the pictures. I really don't know that I would have scrapped these photos if it weren't for the challenge. I didn't really think they were all that good . . . until I played around with them on this page. Now they are amongst my favorites!
Sometimes the challenge is simply a scraplift. This layout is a scraplift of someone else's layout and I love how it came out. Even when I scraplift I change things up a bit to make the layout unique.

I adore the next layout! The photos are just . . . so sassy!
Next up is a song challenge. We had to use a line from a particular Brad Paisley song on our layout. Again, I never would have scrapped this photo if it weren't for the challenge.

For the next challenge, we had a word prompt. The word was "everyday".

Fonts are fun to play around with, and for this challenge we had to download the font called LaPoint's Road and use it on a layout.

For this challenge, we had to scrap about something we cherish and use that word on the page. And finally, this challenge asked us to scrap about our favorite toy, past or present.

There are lots more layouts I haven't posted, but I think this is enough for now. Go check out scraporchard.com, go to the forum, and then to the August Challenge post. You'll find all kinds of inspiration there! And since September is only a few days away there will be a new month of challenges very soon. Get scrapping and rack up those points for a cool coupon!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

{The Next van Gogh}

Ever since Sasha could hold a crayon she has loved art. She will literally spend all day on the floor with her bucket of markers and a pad of drawing paper and be totally absorbed in her art. Over time, her drawings have gotten more and more intricate and detailed. One of her teachers commented at the end of this past school year that Sasha's drawings are just unbelievable; they have a sense of motion and so many small details.

I may be biased since Sasha is indeed my first born daughter, but I really think this little lady has some talent. She is truly passionate about art, and it shows. Take this drawing for example: The eyelashes, the patterned clothes, the teeth, the bows in the hair . . . I just think it's incredible! The girl does have feet, but my scanner cut them off.

This next one blew me away when I saw it for the first time, and it still does. How many five year old kids have the spatial ability to draw a girl painting a self-portrait on an easel? Seriously, people, isn't this amazing?
And here is the same girl playing with a friend on the playground.

Now check out this one. Notice the bird (it looks a bit like a chicken, but close enough) flying home to its nest in the tree hole.

So now I ask myself what to do with Sasha's "gift". Do I simply continue to encourage her and praise her and allow her to develop in her own time? Or do I put her in some kind of art class where she'll receive direction and technique advice? I don't want her to feel pressured or start to fight creating if I force it on her, know what I mean?
Did van Gogh take art lessons?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

{Major Recap}

To say that life has been crazy busy lately would be a major understatement. So much has been going on that I've not had time to blog like I'd like to. Therefore, this post is going to be a big recap of just the two highlights of the past two weeks. I haven't edited any of the photos, so you'll have to excuse the redeye and darkness of some of the pics!

The first major event was Clara's FOURTH birthday. She's 4!!! Even though Dixon is now the youngest member of our family, I still think of Clara as my baby. I can so vividly remember being pregnant with her and of course, her delivery was the most memorable one of the three due to some extreme circumstances that I won't get into here. Bottom line is, my baby is four! And isn't she adorable?

We celebrated with a family party at our house. She wanted a princess party, so the cake and balloons were all princess themed. That's as far as I took the theme as I didn't think family would want to dress up and play princess games. :)

Even when Clara is at her worst, she is one of the sweetest, most snuggly, loving little girls on the planet. I simply love her to pieces.

Happy Birthday, my princess!

Last week was a BIG one. Tastefully Simple holds its annual National Conference in Minneapolis and it's a must do for anyone who really wants a strong business. This year I faced the challenge of traveling with an infant. I hate to fly because I get motion sick so easily, and I was somewhat nervous about how Dixon would do on a plane. Because I'm nursing, I didn't want to take any meds that would affect him.

Soooo . . . everything went well until the plane began to descend. Did I spell that right? Anyway, it was a bit of a rough descent and I quickly became sick. Cold sweat, dizzy, nauseous, the whole works. Dixon was a champ during the entire flight, but I was miserable at the end. To complicate things even more, we ended up on a wild goose chase to find our Super Shuttle that would take us to the Hilton. We rode on countless elevators, walked through a parking garage and two terminals, and rode on two trams only to find out that the shuttle was waiting for us right outside of baggage claim the whole time. Ugh! Then the shuttle turned out to be packed full and had no air conditioning. I was ready to curl up in a ball and die by the time we got to the hotel.
I was so miserable that I stayed in bed and watched Mama Mia while everyone else went to the Mall of America. Yeah, that's how badly I felt. I had to pass up the Mall of America. But by the end of the movie I had ordered room service, slowly eaten, and was feeling more normal. So I packed up Dixon and headed out to the Mall to meet my mother and sister.
I just had to take a picture of Dixon's first trip to the "big mall", and here was the perfect boy photo op:
Should I have taken his pic in front of the amusement park instead?
The next day session didn't start until noon, so a huge crew of us went to Hell's Kitchen for breakfast. If you ever get a chance to eat at Hell's Kitchen, do it! It's worth it for the homemade peanut butter alone!
Everything about this restaraunt is funky and gothic. There are bizarre things all over the walls and everything is red, black and white. I noticed on the menu that kids could get a tattoo for every year of their lives, so I asked for one for Dixon. The waitress brought him a parrot! Check out the forearm:
This is the chandelier that hangs over the steps that lead downstairs into the restaraunt. Cool huh? Makes you want to recreate it for your own home, right?
National Conference is the biggest and best conference of the year. This year there were over 1,900 consultants in attendance. The energy was unbelievable! The theme this year was Livin' Loud, and this is what center stage looked like when we first arrived:

And here are some yahoos, I mean friends, who were really livin' loud!

Conference is the BEST way to get to know other consultants and to bond more with your own team. For me, it's also an amazing time to spend partying and celebrating with my rockin' sister who always is on stage receiving numerous awards for building such an incredible business.

You would never know that once upon a time we couldn't stand one another! Love ya, Jen!
I was very fortunate that my mother was willing and able to come along to Minneapolis with us to take care of Dixon while I was in session. She traveled all over the city with him, snuggled him, bathed him, and loved all over him. It was awesome to know he was in the best hands possible while I couldn't be with him. It allowed me to relax and enjoy the conference. Thanks, Mom!

My amazing upline, Karen Huntley, held a team dinner Friday night at the Hilton. We ate a yummy Italian meal and then laughed ourselves silly doing fun games that revealed a LOT about us. I sported a glitzy guitar "tattoo" to the event courtesy of Jen.
This photo just has trouble written all over it. Jen had smuggled a bottle of wine into the restaraunt, singing ensued, and we heard stories that had us ready to pee our pants.

Allow me to introduce my first team member to join me at Nationals, the amazing Carol Heizer-Wojciechowski! Woot Woot!!! We had a great time together and I doubt she'll miss another conference after this experience.

And my amazing, inspiring goal buddy, Linda Reeves. How I adore this lady!

Saturday night was the big awards dinner and celebration. The top achievers for the year are recognized on stage. Their stories never fail to bring me to tears. This year Jen was one of 17 or 18 to earn a brand new award, Shining in Leadership. This basically means she had bangin' sales, added many new team members to her team, and helped several of her team members grow teams of their own. She was given a gorgeous silver bracelet for this acheivement. We're all so proud of her!

Here is most of the team at the awards celebration:

Sunday was the last day at we had the pleasure of enjoying a performance by Mike Rayburn. He plays the guitar like no one else and has a fantastic message about goal setting that he weaves throughout his performance. Check him out on YouTube!

Our five days in Minneapolis were unforgettable and I'm already looking forward to next year's conference. But there are lots of other conferences and trips between now and then: DC, Nashville, and Orlando! Plus, a brand new incentive is about to begin and I will earn a trip for the whole family to go to Coronado Springs Resort in Disney World in 2011! What an amazing company Tastefully Simple is!
The unveilings were huge: new HOST PROGRAM (if you've ever thought about hosting a fun party, NOW is the time!), new compensation plan (we'll make even MORE moolah!), new product line (can I just say Chocolate Mousse Dessert?) and more. I'm pumped, I'm jazzed, and I'm ready to live loud!

Friday, August 7, 2009


Why, Blogger? Why must you keep failing me? I've been trying to blog since this morning but you just won't cooperate with me. Can I please upload more than three images? Please? Because I have a lot to blog about. A lot.

I'll be back later. And I hope you will be willing to work.

{Staycation #2, Mud Fun, and Missing Toothfairies}

Man, am I behind with my blogging! Over the past five days or so I've been trying to post about some events in our lives, but I haven't been able to load my photos. It's been beyond frustrating. But what makes it even worse is what I just discovered: I was trying to upload a photo that was saved as a layered PSD file. If you digi scrap, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, it basically means I was trying to load a photo that is saved the total WRONG way! My own stupidity was the cause of my frustration all along!

So now that I figured out what was going on, I'm ready to tell you about some "schtuff".

A dear friend of mine, Amanda, told me about a staycation that she and her family took recently. It sounded like fun, so Cory and I decided to go check it out. The destination? The Old Bedford Village in Bedford, PA.

Old Bedford Village is a collection of almost 40 very old buildings that have all been donated and restored to "original" condition. (Read: Most are log, wood floor, and smelly.) Reenactors are located in a number of the buildings and will teach you about what life was like at that time. It was a little bit like Colonial Williamsburg. Here the girls are in one of the stores. I think this may be the candle-making store. This is the General Store and Post Office. You can still buy candy here, so the girls each enjoyed a chocolate Cow Tail.
There are all sorts of buildings here, everything from homes to schools, to a jail. This photo was taken in front of the two-cell jail. Wouldn't it be great to have one these in your backyard for those moments when the kids are driving you batty? "Go to jail!"

But then they have to go and look all cute and stuff. Like when they posed here in an octagon-shaped schoolhouse.
Sasha the teacher is busy with her instructions while the ornery student Clara tries to sneak away in the background.

In the bakery we enjoyed monster-sized cookies. They are actually baked right there in the old oven and are made with ingredients from "way back when". You can tell, too. They don't taste like cookies of today!
There is a big church that is actually very pretty inside. It may still be used today. I don't know for sure.

One of the last stops was a tailor's shop. But the real attraction was the rooster sitting on a barrel on the front porch.

Old Bedford Village is a really interesting place to go if you are into history. Cory and I enjoyed it and the girls liked parts of it, but they definitely didn't think it was an awesome trip. Musty smelling old buildings don't hold quite so much appeal for the younger set. But if you have time, visit the Village and then go on the covered bridge tour. There are some incredible bridges in Bedford that make awesome photo backdrops!

The next day we headed to Cory's parents' house for a cookout. Just as we finished eating, the clouds rolled in and the rain started to fall. We got everything inside just in time, and then we all ended up sitting on the porch watching the rail fall hard. I'm talking buckets and sheets of rain. The kids tried all they could to get wet. I was adamant that they NOT get wet because we had to drive home and didn't have extra clothes. So they stretched their arms and legs out under the roofline and got splattered as much as they could without getting soaked.
Enter my boneheaded husband. As soon as the rain subsided, he quietly got up, motioned for the kids to follow him, and headed out the gate to the backyard. I knew immediately what he was going to do.
The yard is sloped in such a way that when it rains a little stream with lots of puddles forms. Do you see where this is going?
The whole time Cory and the kids were walking, I was yelling for them to stop. I just knew what was about to happen, and I also knew that the girls were wearing brand new clothes. Sasha happened to be wearing her absolute favorite WHITE shirt. Uh-oh.
Yeah, it was a kid's paradise and a mother's nightmare. Sasha, Clara and Jude had the time of their lives marching through the little stream, running and jumping in the puddles, and becoming absolutely covered in rain, mud, and . . . um . . . all the run-off from the barn that sits just above the yard. Do you get what I'm telling you? There is COW POOP in this water, people!

The kids didn't care. They just wanted to make the yard a big slip and slide.

And every time a big splash like this was made, Cory would double over laughing. I could see that he was itching to run and jump, too.
When it was all said and done, the kids were beyond any kind of filth you can possibly imagine. But they were happy!

We marched them straight to the shower with their clothes on to try to get as much of the gunk off as we could. Then they stripped in the shower and their MeMe soaked their clothes in soapy water. All three kids had to go home wearing one of their Pap's barn shirts that were HUGE on them, but so darn cute.
And wouldn't you know it? All the gross dirt came out in the wash! Yay! I suppose this was one of those moments a kid remembers forever because it was naughty fun. The mess was worth it, I suppose.
Finally, I have the tale of the Missing Toothfairy to share with you.
Sasha has had a wobbly front tooth for months. For about three weeks, that sucker was so loose she could move it so it was almost completely horizontal in her mouth. I kept thinking it HAD to come out soon; it could only be hanging on by a thread! But it held on in there for three long weeks before it finally came out last week. I think we were ALL happy to not have to watch that thing twist and turn every time Sasha talked or ate!
So just like we did with her other lost teeth, we cleaned the tooth and put it beside her bed for the Tooth Fairy.
Imagine my horror when I awoke the next morning to the sound of Sasha crying that the Tooth Fairy didn't come. AAAACCCKKKK!!!! How could I forget? What kind of mother am I? After consoling Sasha and telling her the Tooth Fairy must have been busy, Sasha calmed down and got on with her day. That night the Tooth Fairy left her money and a new Fancy Nancy book. Her note explained that there were lots and lots of kids who lost their first tooth and she simply couldn't get around to everyone. Sasha was happy with that and all is well.
Parents, take it from me. Always make it a priority to play Tooth Fairy before you get too tired and forget. This is a mistake you do NOT want to make!
I'll be back soon to post some other updates - lots to share including my princess's 4th birthday party!