Thursday, December 27, 2007

holiday pages

Already?! Yep. That is the magic...and speed...of digital scrapbooking. I am feeling the pull from paper scrapping. It is hard not to when I can create so quickly with new things...and most of them free. The competition is so fierce amongst digital designers (by that I mean people creating the paper, embellishments, frames...the stuff to scrap with) to get their product out in front of the buyer that many give away "freebies". About a month ago I found this blog, and I visit daily, and get new things about that often. I have gotten much better at organizing my digital stuff, and try to unzip and then tag them in Picasa shortly after downloading them. I am sure this is greek to many of you, but if you have PhotoShop, and/or if you are a digi scrapbooker, some of this might be helpful. I was actually invited to scrapbook tomorrow at the local Archivers store. As much as I want to, I could not quite face up to the challenge of packing up all my paper supplies,. Plus we plan to try a family outing tomorrow anyway. Recording, and making, memories in any fashion is good to me. I am firmly in the gray camp about what is best. Truth is, I love it all and wish I had more time to spend on it, and more means to do it with!

Layout one-
Weeds and Wildflowers template
Designer Digitals postmark
Layout two-
Designer Digitals template and postmark
Paper and tree by Franziska
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Wednesday, December 26, 2007


First, these collages are just so easy that it is the best way to show many shots, fast. I know, heads get cut off but I also think you can get the picture (pun intended!).
It was a great Christmas. Beginning with Christmas Eve mass that was literally at overflow proportions. I am my Mom's daugther b/c I absolutely love children singing. And children singing Christmas songs...even better. My girls behaved so well and it was so long and so hot too. The first two pictures are them dressed in their coordinating outfits before church.
The girls were so excited on Monday night. Olivia just could not fall asleep so Dave and I did not start our prep until 10:45 pm. We exchanged gifts that night, and I got an Ipod Nano--huge surprise. He had it wrapped and hidden inside a slipper...and I was happy just with those and a flat iron for my sad hairstyle! Back to the Ipod--today--my excitement has all but evaporated b/c I have had so much trouble syncing music onto the darned thing. Maybe my old MP3 was not so bad, I am just cursed by music +technology?! I have had more success via his laptop but I know it should not be this hard. Half of America would not have them if it were. Right? I actually reinstalled Windows Media Player on my computer, a painfully long process and it won't even recognize any music on the Ipod at all. ANY help at all is appreciated. PLEASE.
I plan a post about gift hits and misses but tonight, I will begin by saying that the Sansa Shaker is nothing short of brilliant. Olivia could not be more pleased with that and her I-Dog. A very special elf preloaded her Shaker with about a dozen songs and that made it an instant hit. The external speaker: brilliant for this age. If only my $150 Ipod were so easy to load with music...
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Sunday, December 23, 2007

the list

If you are on it, you are lucky. My sweet girl wrote out this list before her shopping expedition at the Dollar Tree. That is our 3rd year for this tradition....she does all her Holiday shopping in one day, at one place, for one price. She puts a lot of thought into her selections too and finds some real gems. This year, Dave went along and Shelby too, neither of them seemed to quite grasp it like Olivia and I do! Shelby came home with two gifts: one for her MaMa, and one for her Dad. She handled many other things, and asked to buy several things, for Papa in particular. Those ideas included a Dragon Tales book and CD, a sheet of Princess stickers and something else that escapes me. Seems what makes her happy was to be a one size fits all approach. Next year might be better for her.
Back to Olivia though. She came home and after dinner, wrapped each one of her 10 gifts (turned out to be 11, she had to buy Aunt Kelly's cats a gift too) with so much care and thoughtfulness. If she knows your favorite color, your bow is that color. If you rate really high on the list, you got a special gift tag that she cut from the Little Debbie treats boxes. Each detail has so much meaning to her. She is really into giving. In fact, she wants to write a story about Santa being a giver. I could soak her sweetness up with a biscuit :)
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Friday, December 21, 2007

two pages

I did one last week, and one yesterday too. I am definitely, a MUCH faster digital scrapper, and that is what these two pages are. I do print mine though, which keeps me firmly in the more traditional camp, I suppose. I want them in the albums alongside my paper pages, so they will be seen, especially in the future. I am afraid that if they remain on a computer or disk, no one will see them, especially not the people I make them family. Let's be honest, my computer is close to the bursting point right now, no one else would ever be able to find one thing of value on my hard drive or external hard drive, unless they had a computer science degree and had co-oped as a CIA operative!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

the art of the spritz cookie

Probably the biggest tradition of our Cookie Day each year, is the spritz cookie. My mom has always made these, for as long as I can remember. It's all about the dough, and the gun. The dough my Mom has perfected and if you keep it cold, you are good to go. The guns...those have come and gone through the years. Once my Mom's Mother's (my grandma, who I unfortunately never met) cookie gun finally quit working about five years ago, there was an ongoing search for a model to replace it. One that could do the job well. The electric or battery operated versions: no good. For my Mom, and probably my sister and I too, it would not be Christmas without spritz cookies, so the few years it was nearly impossible to squeeze out a good tree or wreath, we got a little worried. I am not sure where this one came from, but it works pretty close to the same way the original did. Here you see Shelby getting a lesson on the art of the spritz cookie from her MaMa. Not much sweeter than this.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

the $200 mini christmas tree

This is the teacher's gift for Olivia's teacher. I got this adorable tree at Trader Joe's (totally my new Holiday go-to place!) for $10 and managed to keep it alive and green for a whole week. It came with that decorative spray in it so....with my all my craftiness...I used big glue dots to adhere each of those gift cards to the wire stem below each star and I replaced the area where it called for a photo, with a stamped: to and from. Let me just say, the parents were generous b/c the gift card total is approximately $200 and I also got things for the kids to use at recess too. I feel a little relief now that this is done, and will feel the ultimate sigh when the class party is complete tomorrow. Right now, I am just sweating the details of how to carry all this stuff into school!
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Sunday, December 16, 2007


Holiday food! Admittedly, I am an appetizer junkie. It is my favorite type of food so this time of year is certainly a favorite of mine for parties featuring yummy snacks. Each year I attend a very fun gathering, girls only, on the first Friday of December. I think we have been doing it for 8-9 years. We bring a $15 exchange gift, and that, and the food, is the highlight of the night. Although this year, our hostess Colleen, featured a Christmas Cocktail...also delicious. I already bought vodka to make these again on Christmas!

Back to the food...the girls are always bringing terrific things to eat. This year, there was a stellar toffee topped with chocolate...I need to get that recipe. And plenty of others. But the funniest, is this picture of me looking like a total food geek holding my cheeseball (the cheeseball is on the platter, I am holding it, just to clarify!) which had been food styled into a christmas package. I saw the idea in a kids magazine and decided to give it a try. Well, as I am learning, food stylists create these things that are photographed, and the average homemaker is only going to come so close in the replication of the item.

My grip on the platter is especially funny to me, but I was really just trying to keep the crackers from sliding off of it, not pose like one of the Price as Right girls!

On today's agenda is a Holiday Open House. You know I will be there with bells on, plate in hand!!

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Friday, December 14, 2007

more gifts

I have a few more but in case those people read my blog, I will just show these. They are for Shelby's teachers. I made the tags and inside the green envelope is a gift card to Panera. I am pleased with how these turned out. I made one in red for a gift last week, but realized once it was in a different environment...the party!...that the patterned paper was way too busy to read the monogram well. I like this one a lot.

We are expecting a BIG snow here this weekend, combined with ice, which is really the bad part. I'd love to get snowed in for a weekend day, however, I do not want to miss our big "cookie day" which is planned for Saturday. Hmmph.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

cards by kids

I decided to involve my kids a little in making their teachers' gifts. I bought 2 packs of $1 cards at Michaels, and 2 packs of coordinating stickers. I let each child (although for now, I only have pics of Shelby b/c Olivia was at school!) decorate the cards with one sticker each, and the envelope too. I printed a label for the back that said made by: child's name and also added their age...figuring that would explain why most of Shelby's stickers were upside down, and allow the secondary recipient to appreciate the concept. I hope the teachers can use these for thank you cards and if they don't, not much was invested. In the end, I put them in cello bags and tied them with ribbon.
Note: the teachers are getting other gifts too, this was just the part handmade by the kids!
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And while I am at it, my Christmas cards have been out for about a week now, so I will share it here as well. I made the collage portion at, which allows you to make cool things with your flickr photos. I made the remainder of the card in Photo Shop. By the way, this was one of those ideas, that I just loved at the onset of the process. By the time I mailed it, I was not so sure. And sorry for any confusion to peeps who received this and thought: who is Brian Andreas? He is the author of the quote...not a new member of our family.
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all things minty...

It appears I have a very weak spot this year for yummy things that are minty. It began last week with my first ever dip of Peppermint Ice Cream from UDF. Delicious. Then I read about peppermint marshmallows, here and bought those yesterday. Had my first one melted atop a mug of hot chocolate. Delicious. Again.
Today, I treated myself (well actually my friend Mary Jo gave me a gift card) to a frappucino and asked if they had any holiday flavors. Oh yes, they do! I had a Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha. Delicious.
Seems I am on a binge. Not so good for the waistline, I can assure you of that.
This weekend more plans for minty goodness. It is our annual cookie day and one item on top the list of what to make: Peppermint Crunch Bark. Yum-O!
I also want to try an idea I saw here (scroll down a few days) for brownies with white icing and crushed candy canes on top. Pretty and good, I bet!
By the way, when I told two of the female employees at Trader Joes that I saw the Peppermint Marshmallows on a blog, they went crazy. Crazy with disbelief. Crazy laughing. Maybe I am one of the minority who is blog obsessed? I tell ya, I get some of my best ideas and recipes from them though! Pin It

Monday, December 10, 2007

there she is..

Miss Shelby...on Santa's lap! I think I have one, or two, screaming photos from the past. One, on his lap but leaping off. One, perhaps with her in the vicinity of Santa (but not even sure if I have a photo of that, or it is in my memory). Last year, pretty sure she would not even go near him. Saturday? She waltzed right up there and said she wanted a: real chicky, puppy books, a real dog (only b/c Olivia said that which is a BIG problem) and the Island Princess.
And if you are reading this and saying something like: I will never dress my kids alike. You are full of it! You will do it just as long as they agree...just like me.
Oh, and about this picture. This is the ultimate display of laziness...a picture of a picture in a frame. Sorry!
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Sunday, December 9, 2007

st. nick's day

We celebrated this on Thursday morning. Basically, my kids woke up to stockings full of surprises! The most popular (and shown in their hands in nearly every picture) were the "Puppies in my Pocket". These are miniature animals, this style being particularly tiny, and they fit onto a bracelet to be worn as jewelry. A perfect marriage: jewelry and animals. Those are the things my kids love best...and makeup. So there was a little of that for good measure!

I found this tidbit online about the custom of celebrating St. Nick's Day.
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Thursday, December 6, 2007

wee tidings

My good friend, Sue, created this line of adorable, clever stationary. This is a sample of a single card. Go to her website: Blue Finch Studios to see more. Right now, you can buy them at a 20% discount using this code: BFSXMAS20. Do it! And by the way, I am proud of her!

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got fat?

Yea, this recipe might be full of fat (butter, cream cheese, half n half) but it is SO good. And easy too. Chicken Enchildas. Very mild for the meek Mexican eaters like us, so spice it up if you are a risk taker! Pin It

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

joy...more joy...and a star

I have gone thru about 400 pics since Saturday. Admittedly, at times it is overwhelming and I feel like I overpromised but now that I have completed the ones that are are to be Christmas gifts, I feel good about it. How can you not feel good about BIG kids holding the letters JOY? Or a picture of my parents' grandchildren (an assortment of them, the ones who were present that day!) all together in one picture? Nobody can take away what we were able to capture that day...and that part is good :) Now, on to my pressing projects: Christmas shopping, checking lists twice, planning dinners, planning parties...and then back to putting the non-surprise photos on disks for the future.
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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

framed monogram pictures

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How cool is this? I saw the idea in Real Simple magazine while flipping through pricey magazines at the library. I look, and read, while my kid (s) play, all the while saving a bunch of money on subscriptions but still gaining major inspiration and knowledge. I am a magazine junkie so this helps out...a bit. I still buy and subscribe to a bunch too.
Ok, this idea caught my eye immediately. I rushed home, ignored my family as much as possible last night, and made myself this one, in a frame I already owned. Today, I hit Michaels and got 5 frames for 5 more. Coming soon to a teacher nearby! And a few other worthy recipients.
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Monday, December 3, 2007

a picture taking fool

That's me! I have taken a ton over the past 3 days, ending with this sweetie! More to share later of big kids, in all sizes :)
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Friday, November 30, 2007

productive day

As promised, here are a few sneaks. I will say this much, I am making new calendars for 2008. Here are the covers for both the ones my family will receive, and the one for my mother in law.

I also printed all of envelopes for my Christmas cards, and used my very cool address stamp too.
I am also working on some monogram gifts. I got very inspired by this.
I am not so sure I could call this a handmade holiday, but certainly a computer generated one. I must say, I am very proud of my ever expanding knowledge of Photo Shop b/c it allows me to create some very cool things.
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

just tidbits from the daily grind

First, I saw a CVS pharmacy commercial yesterday and the song playing was "Ordinary Miracle" that I mentioned a week or so ago. Funny, huh?

Yesterday was our 9 year anniversary. I made a nice dinner at home and the girls helped me set the table and such. It was a big rush to get it all done from 5-5:30. b/c Olivia did not get home from art class until then. They loved bringing everything to the table (we typically gather our food buffet style at the counter and then move to the dining room to eat). They both LOVED drinking from the crystal water goblets and having candles lit. Funny things they said and did:

-when Olivia put salad dressing bottles on the table she said: these are not very fancy?!
-when Dave sat down Olivia said: what song do we sing?
-Shelby insisted Dave pour his beer into his goblet
-Olivia passed out two napkins to each of us: one for your lap and one for the table?!

They certainly made me feel like all the effort was worth it. I think it turned out great to include them.

I am more than knee deep in all my homemade (computer generated is more like it) Christmas gifts. I may show a few sneak peeks but not enough to ruin the surprise for the intended recipient. I think most of my blog readers, are probably on my gift list!

I also began collecting money for teachers' gifts and planning the school Christmas party. Oy! Pin It

Monday, November 26, 2007

christmas card

I took this photo on Saturday...which I love...and my sister in law asked me to make a Christmas card. Usually, I'd start from scratch, spend hours and end up with something maybe this good. Instead, I used a free template from 2 peas. Love it! I shared it here b/c no one from that side of the family really follows my blog so I am not ruining any surprises.
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Sunday, November 25, 2007


but hard to contain! I actually got a few group shots, these two being the best (I think?!) which I figured to be impossible. Of course, one of my own children was the worst behaved...but she shaped up towards the end. Anyway, I tried to break it down into smaller groups, and some individual shots too, in hopes of making a collage for my mother in law for Christmas. That is still my plan. I got so many good ones though, I am especially enamoured with the dazzling blue eyes. I love my girls, and their brown eyes, but I see those all the time. A perfect catchlight in a blue eye just makes my heart skip a, photography geek, beat. These are the cousins/grandchildren from my husband's side of the family. Good looking bunch, I must say.

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