Friday, December 31, 2010

Project LIFE, 11/28–12/4

PL 11 28Putting up the Christmas lights.

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Playing with Daddy’s nutcracker while decorating the Christmas tree.

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This year I wrapped up all of our Christmas/winter books so that we could open one a day until Christmas.

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It’s Christmas at Starbucks :)

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I treated the girls to Bounce U after dropping Brandon off at school.

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Our Christmas stockings: Olivia, Brandon, Abbie, mine, David. One of these days I’ll get our names on them!

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This year we ordered 100 Christmas cards from Costco, and mailed out over 85! The cost of a first class stamp? 44 cents.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Project LIFE…catching up in 2010!


I took a bit of a break in December since I was busy with the holidays & my Daily December album. Thankfully that project meant I was taking a TON of photos everyday, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find some to use.

But first, catching up with the gaps in my album prior to December 1:

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Mine & David’s soaps & shampoos in our shower.

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Making cookies at Mama & Papa’s.

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Taking a walk along the planter after lunch.

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The toys I tote around for work.

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Abbie & her stack of books.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

something to share…

As 2010 is winding down, I’m getting ready for 2011, and that means another year of Project Life.

Some of you may know I’m a huge fan of Becky Higgins, and she shared this today on her blog. It’s a video compilation of photos she’s included in Project Life for her family this last year. Granted, I’ve shared most of my photos throughout the year too, but what really struck me was this quote:

“Documenting life is recognizing your blessings.”

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And we have been blessed by some new Harry Potter Lego! Since Potter is MY maiden name, I’m thinking the HP franchise should shoot me a little love & give me a discount on the Lego, right? ;-)



This past year I’ve tackled three “extra” projects (along with my regular scrapbooking): Project Life, A Week in the Life, and December Daily.

What I’ve learned is that each is totally do-able, along with everything else, as long as I *PREP AHEAD OF TIME*. I don’t think that can be said enough! But a few thoughts as 2010 winds down:

  • I’ve been great at keeping up with picture taking. The key to that, I feel, is to keep your camera out. As much as it may bug your husband, if it is put away (where he thinks it belongs), you can’t grab it at the spur of the moment. And if at all possible, keep a second camera in your purse…which as I type this, I realized it totally possible for most of us since our phones have cameras on them (maybe not the best camera, but a camera). At least for me, that means not having to think about one more thing on the way out the door.
  • I’ve been okay with journaling. Thankfully, I’ve been (mostly) keeping up with my Project Life journaling thanks to Jessica Turner’s Project Life Tuesday. My journaling may not be on cards in the album, but I can easily (ha!) copy it from my blog onto those when I have time.
  • I’ve been crappy with finishing. There, I said it. I just admitted that I have a stack of journaling cards from Project Life sitting here on my desk waiting for something to be written on them. Week in the Life was in, what, April? Yeah, that album is still waiting to be finished. And well, I still have a few things on December Daily to finish up, and then I have to actually print it!

And that’s why I say, my fine blog readers, the key is to prep!

I decided to do Week in the Life on a whim, like one week before I did it. I thought I had everything ready, but really I was assembling it daily. Kind of a pain, and exactly why I still have patterned paper to trim & add to my album before I can share the final project.

I did actually plan ahead (a little) for December Daily. But because I did digital instead of traditional, I could only prep so much. Next year I will do it more traditionally to save time! I can easily print a photo or two a day & get each page done. Sitting & editing 10+ photos & adding embellishments to fit the theme on a daily basis takes time…too much time. And that is what I don’t have in December.

And Project Life? I actually planned this out as best I could. My album was assembled back when I got it last New Year’s Eve. And, other than my journaling cards I’m up to date…well, not counting December!

So if you got this far, thank you for visiting me in 2010. Here’s to 2011, and planning ahead!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

december daily, day 21

Almost done! I just have day 25 (Christmas), a title page (that Ali Edwards pretty much already made for me), and some sort of back page. And then I’m DONE! My goal was to be done by New Year’s, and now I know, I really need to have a goal to finish by Dec 26. Because by then *I’m* done!

Monday, December 27, 2010

december daily, day 20


Our Elf on the Shelf.

december daily, day 24


I really enjoyed making this page! I got a good (decent) shot of my three kids at church, so I used that for my main photo on the left. The overlay in the original red didn’t show, so I changed it to white & added a drop shadow. On the right had page I used another photo of my kids with some elves from our church’s Jingle Jam and one of a nativity in the lobby.

I didn't want to add pictures from us opening gifts on this layout, since my day 25 will focus on that. So I used a photo I took of a wreath & decreased the opacity to 58% (making sure the background layer/mask was white first). Then I added a bible verse from Ali Edwards’ Christmas Bible Verses brush set on top. I didn’t have another “background” photo, so I went onto our church’s website & found a great photo of someone holding a candle. Yippee! Plunked another verse on top & I’m done with day 24!

december daily, day 22


Friday, December 24, 2010

december daily, day 23

Just to prove I’m not totally behind…

Our 2010 Christmas ornaments.

We mostly have “funky” glass ornaments, so these fit in perfectly!


As for the rest of my pages…I know I’ll be up late tonight helping Santa, so I probably won’t get anything done. And we’re hosting Christmas dinner tomorrow, so…hopefully tomorrow night I’ll get caught up! My goal at this point is to be done & ready to print by the end of the year.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

december daily, days 16 & 17


Yes, I’ve been slacking a little…oh well! My goal is to get it done, so if that means I get a bit behind, that’s okay. As with most people, we’ve been super busy this last week. And now that I’ve gotten caught up on my sleep, I can get caught up on this :)


On the 16th we made some felt ornaments. They are still on a piece of paper in the office so I know who made which one. Need to get ribbon hotglued on so we can share them for Christmas!


I got to go to Olivia’s Christmas party at school thanks to some nice mom’s on my caseload & creative scheduling on my part!

I hope to share a few more tomorrow!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

december daily, day 18


Took a (LONG!) drive down to San Martin to visit the hubs’ family. We all had a great day!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

december daily, day 15


Day 15 already? Ten days to go, and I’m only two days behind!


Photos from Brandon’s kindergarten holiday party.

Friday, December 17, 2010

december daily, days 9 & 10


I’m getting closer & closer to being caught up!


These photos were taken in a VERY long line to see Santa. As I was playing around with them in Photoshop, I decided that the photo on the right is going to be our “kids in front of the Christmas tree” photo this year. They’re matching, all looking at the camera, AND smiling! The trifecta of perfect holiday photos, so why on Earth am I going to try for another. It ain’t gonna happen. And I’m perfectly okay with the photo being in front of a tree at the mall :)


Good friends for Margarita Friday!

december daily, days 13 & 14

getting caught up….


Monday December 13: last day at MOPS & holiday gift wrapping party with girlfriends from MOPS


Tuesday December 14: Christmas card photo shoot. Not from today, but I wanted to include these pics, and I knew I didn’t have anything else to really include for today.

Monday, December 13, 2010

december daily, day 12


we went to the Victorian Christmas street fair in Nevada City today. We couldn’t have asked for better weather!

And on a side note…we’re almost halfway there! I can’t believe I’ve been keeping up (I know…I still need to do days 9 & 10!). But still. Tomorrow I will be wrapping presents late with friends, so I’ll be another day behind. But I’m thinking I can catch up on Tues night when nothing’s on TV :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

december daily, day 11


Olivia’s dance recital was last night, and I was able to get a few pictures. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any pics of her class dancing; it was too dark & my shutter speed was WAY too low (even at 1600 ISO) for dancers. Oh well. I got a few pictures from the show & some of her class ahead of time!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

december daily, day 8


december daily: day 6 (completed)


I finally got some photos of our completed gingerbread houses on Thursday. We’ve been (wait, *I* have been) super busy since then. So today, Saturday, is the first chance I’ve had to finish this layout.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

december daily, day 7


Well, I didn’t get a finished picture of the gingerbread houses yet. I worked today, so no time in the morning to take pics and by the time I was home it was dark. I’m home on Thursday, so hopefully I can take some then!


Today I wanted to write a bit more. And since I worked I had to rely on pics taken this evening! Fortunately we do our Advent calendars either right before or right after dinner (unless we have a project, then it’s earlier). Tonight we got to go out for ice cream.

And if you’ve been reading my blog & paying attention…because of course this is the most exciting blog ever, right? Winking smile

…you might notice that “eating ice cream” was not listed as one of our Advent activities. Well…last year when I made my calendar I knew that Brandon would be in kindergarten this year, Olivia next year, etc. And that each number isn’t always going to fall on the same day. However, I wasn’t anticipating Abbie falling asleep in the car on the way to pick up Brandon, napping until 4:30, only to be ready to go back to bed (with the other two) by 7pm. I also was only working two days a week last year, and David was working from home on one of those days. Needless to say, we had to change some of our activities!

And that’s okay…because my kids can’t read yet anyways Smile

Monday, December 6, 2010

december daily, day 6

(Disclaimer: This page is incomplete. I really want to get some pictures of the gingerbread houses now that they’ve been put together, but I’m not going to get decent pictures at midnight, so I’m taking those tomorrow…hopefully! I work on Tuesdays so we’ll see what happens! Once I get the last two photos added I’ll add my words strips, etc., and then I’ll repost this layout.)


Journaling: How to decorate a gingerbread house, Chain style:  Sort all the candy in the muffin tins. Eat a few candies. Slather frosting all over the house pieces. Lick the frosting off your fingers. Put some candy on the house. And some more in your mouth. Use up the candy before you finish decorating. Have mommy see if there’s any Halloween candy left that will work in a pinch. Add that to the house. Lick some more frosting. Finish up & have mommy put it together when it’s dry.

FYI: Maybe you all know this, but I didn’t until the other day when I was purchasing the gingerbread kits at Michaels. Although the Michael’s 40% off coupon won’t work on sale items, a Joann’s coupon will work! Next year I’m buying the kits one week at a time with Joann’s coupons!

december daily, day 5


Tonight we went to my parents’ house for dinner, a Sunday tradition. I had taken a few photos throughout the day (and I included those too), but my favorite BY FAR was the one I used on the right: Abbie playing with the advent house ornaments & my mom’s train. My sister & I used to do that when we were little (only we got in trouble for it!).

Sometimes I wonder if taking so many pictures gets in the way of life. But then, there are times like today that I am thankful I’m chasing my kids around with a camera. It makes me so much more aware of what they are doing, and allows me to reflect & be in the moment. I can put the camera down when I need to get in the game, but I can’t go back & take pictures I didn’t get the first time.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

december daily, day 4



Saturday was a fairly low-key day for us. Errands, a friend’s house, dinner, and Christmas lights. So I took fairly low key pics.

I’m finding that I’m taking about 20 pics a day. Not bad. Not crazy (considering I did the Week in the Life project & took about 200 a day!).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

december daily, day 2



new day, new template, still lovin’ it

and realized something as I was putting this together…the border on the left is red, on the right is (was) black. Whoops! I didn’t notice yesterday because the layout was a lot busier. Now I know I need to go in & change the color (if I care, which I do).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

december daily, day 1

So yesterday was December 1, the day I started on my December Daily project with Ali Edwards. Today my focus was on traditions. I may focus on that again, since I’ll be doing this project for 25 days :) (I thought about calling it decorations, but I’ll save that for another day.) The letter “t” is from the Ali Edwards 2010 Alpha Tabs. Unfortunately, they won’t be much good after January 1, but that’s okay. All of the supplies on this page (except the Basic Grey paper) are listed here on Ali’s blog.

And speaking of traditions…We have four advent “calendars” this year: the Christmas Countdown magnet board I made, our new book tradition, our chocolate Trader Joe’s calendar, and the loop one Brandon made (above).

(yes, I noticed the “n” at the end of countdown is missing…of course not until I saw the photo of course!)

Brenda designed the Christmas Countdown calendar for Green Tangerines a couple of years ago. Hers has photos on it; I haven’t done that (no real reason except I didn’t have any of Abbie last year when I made it & I forgot to get them printed for this year). However, I do have fun activities on the backs of each magnet.

My activities were chosen so that (for the most part) they could be done regardless of whether it was a school night, knowing that we don’t have school the week before Christmas. I also made an excel document that lists each activity, the day, and a checkbox to remind me to take a picture. This year I’m adding initials by each day so I know who pulled a magnet & who opened a book (last year Abbie was only one so she didn’t participate).

Here’s my list of activities:

1: Find Elfie & tell her what you'd like for Christmas

2: Pick out a Christmas movie, snuggle under a blanket, & watch it together

3: Read "Twas the Night before Christmas" (need to change that one!)

4: Look at the ornaments on the Christmas tree, then have some hot chocolate. (Last year I told them it said, “put the ornaments on the Christmas tree.” It’s so nice when they can’t read!)

5: Make a yummy Christmas cake

6: Sing some Christmas carols--loudly!

7: Let's make a gingerbread house! (Hmmm…maybe I need to change the day of this one! Tuesday is our “crazy” day.)

8: Roast marshmallows in the fireplace. Yummy!

9: Drive around & look at Christmas lights in your pajamas--snuggle up with your favorite blanket. (since it’s a school night, we’ll drive around the block only)

10: Have some Christmas candy! Enjoy!

11: Watch a Christmas movie & laugh together. Have some popcorn too.

12: Make Christmas popcorn (either popcorn balls or red & green M&Ms mixed in to popcorn)
13: Read Christmas stories together

14: Make some Christmas cookies. (for this & the cake on day 5, boxed or pre-packaged are fine! Fun is all that matters!)

15: Have a peppermint stick

16: Put on some Christmas music & dance

17: Take pictures in front of the Christmas tree

18: Make hot chocolate with marshmallows

19: Wish Daddy a Happy Birthday & give him a big HUG!

20: Watch "The Santa Clause" & eat some popcorn

21Let's go look at Christmas lights!

22: Can you find the pickle? Find it 1st to open a special present!

23: Make a birthday cake for Jesus (aka, dessert for Christmas Eve)

24: Open one present

25: Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

getting ready for christmas


Last night I got most of our Christmas decorations out…finally! We did our tree on Monday, my husband did our lights last Friday, and I think I got the rest done on Tuesday. At least it was before December, right? Our mantle is still a bit bare; we have five stockings hanging from it but nothing on it. I think I need to hit Michael’s tomorrow & see what I can find after striking out at Target tonight (at least decoration-wise).

I did get a few new Christmas books though. I’m starting a new tradition this year. One I’ve heard about before & wanted to do but didn’t. And I’ve been reading about it a ton on blogs this last week, so it’s my turn now…

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Gift wrapped books, so that we can open one each night until Christmas! Each one is a Christmas/winter book. Some we had, some I picked up last night at Target, and some will be coming with our next Scholastic book order :) Right now I only have about 13 books (and I’d like 24…one for each night until Christmas). But I can’t remember how many are coming in our book order. I want to say I ordered about 10 books. Not all are holiday, but I figure I’ll just wrap them up & throw them in our new basket anyway.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Project LIFE 11/21-11/28


First of all, on this final day of November & Nablopomo, I tried. I blogged all but two days. Oh well. I could’ve posted something late last night, but what was the point? Besides, I had a report for work to finish and I wanted to get my project life photos finished up for today.

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Drawing in their “journals” (aka, $1 notebooks I picked up at Joann’s).


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Olivia & the “mask” she cut out. No school & a sick mom means bored kids…so they’ve been doing “art” all week. At least they can kind of entertain themselves!

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“Look mommy, I picked one of your roses for you!”

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I was too sick to go to work (I do in-home speech therapy for toddlers), so my sister convinced me to drag the kids to the park in 40-degree weather for our Christmas card photo shoot. I couldn’t breathe, and my kids were shivering. But I got our photo, and my sister’s, and my parents’. And some cute outtakes like this one of the kids with my sister’s dog.

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We spent Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house in Oakdale. My aunt got my grandma’s piano when she passed away. I have so many memories of “playing” the piano for everyone at the holidays (and any other time we got together), that I had to take this picture of Abbie.

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Wine tasting in Amador with Kathy & mom. Our faves? Villa Toscano (duh!) and Driven. We picked up two cases there!

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Girls Night In. We made appetizers, watched “Enchanted”, painted the girls’ finger & toe nails, and made brownies. Plans & photo by Olivia.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

oh well…

I missed a day. My goal this month was to post every single day. And with only four posting days to go, I missed one. As Brandon’s kindergarten teacher says, “Oh well. I messed up.”

We had “girls’ night in” (since it was rainy & cold & we didn’t want to go out) at my sister’s with my mom & my girls. Lots of yummy appetizers, including homemade coconut shrimp and good wine (for the grown ups!). We watched Enchanted and painted the girls’ fingers & toes. We had a great time! Olivia (my four year old) planned the entire evening. Needless to say, when I got home I knew I hadn’t posted yet, but I was ready for bed & completely forgot.

So I leave you today with the recipe for coconut shrimp, better (& healthier) than any restaurants!

Coconut Shrimp

SHRIMP: 28 large shrimp (~1 ½#)

1/3 c corn starch

3/4 t salt

1/2-3/4 t ground red pepper

3/4 c flaked sweetened coconut

3/4 c panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400°.

Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact. Rinse in cold water; drain on paper towels until dry.

Combine cornstarch, salt and red pepper in shallow dish; stir with a wisk. Place egg whites in a medium bowl and beat with mixer at med-high until frothy. Place coconut & panko in a shallow dish & mix.

Dredge shrimp in cornstarch, dip in egg, dredge in coconut/panko mix. Place on baking sheet coated with Pam. Lightly coat shrimp with Pam. Bake at 400°, 20 minutes or until done, turning after 10 minutes.

MARMALADE SAUCE: 1/2 c orange marmalade

2 t stone-ground mustard

1 t horseradish

Dash salt

Mix thoroughly, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to allow flavors to come together.

Friday, November 26, 2010

flashback friday…always and forever

First, let me apologize for the horrid scan! I just have no desire to pull the page out & photograph it right now :)

21. Always & Forever

This layout is from my Alpha Phi “re-do” album. My big sis made me an album when I pledged, and my lil sis made me another when I went alum. And then I got into scrapbooking so I re-did it all in 2002-ish.

These pictures were taken the night of my candle passing, the Monday after Thanksgiving thirteen years ago (wow!).

For you non-Greek readers, sororities have a candle passing for girls who’ve been engaged, pinned, or given a promise ring. At least that’s how it was done at SJSU in the mid 90’s. I was given my boyfriend’s pin. He was a Kappa Sigma & it was a BIG deal (at the time). Alex & I dated for two years. I was immature, called it off, gave him his pin back (damn! silly girl!), and then met my now-husband.