Thursday, December 31, 2009

thoughts on 2009

This week has found me thinking about the year and the inevitable highs and lows. From both, I have either learned, or been reminded of, important life lessons.

Make choices you are at peace with. Life is short and sometimes ends unexpectedly. When this happens, you will be filled with sorrow but when that fog clears, to have been at peace with your decisions, will mean the world.

Weddings and funerals bring out the worst in people (in my experience). Behave in a way that would make your Mother proud and you can rise above it. Remember, you only have control of your own actions.

Blood is thicker than water. Sometimes giving up on a person seems easier than standing by them. Trust me on this, don't give up on those you love.

Girls are fickle, emotional, sassy, argumentative and picky. Fortunately they are also sweet, loving, smart, surprising and beautiful.

As we age, we are faced with harder and harder challenges. Watching your friend soldier through cancer treatment and ultimately beating the cr*p out of it will inspire you like nothing else. So much so, that you can almost forget how the initial news of the diagnosis took you to your knees.

Lifelong friendships are precious.

Puppies are a lot of work. A lot. But they are cute and I can almost buy into that unconditional love part. If only dude would stop chewing up everything. Oh, and you (by this I mean the female head of household) will do all the work. Don't let your kids convince you they will. Not gonna happen.

Love your mom. She is awesome. She is your biggest fan.

Try to stay off the stage when you hear live music out in public. Without a doubt, there will be photographic evidence. On the Internet.

To help you accomplish the above goal, drink in moderation :)

Follow your dreams. Do what you love. Money (the need for, not having enough of), while one of life's biggest foils, also seems to have a way of working out in the end.

Network. Meet people in both the traditional ways and also through technology. I am such a believer in this.

A new laptop and Windows 7 can change your life. (Okay, maybe not but it did enhance mine!)

Happy New Year. Have one!

Tracy Pin It

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A new Hairdo

Girlfriend is rockin' the poses. I can almost here Madonna:

Too bad my focus and setting were all wrong...
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Monday, December 28, 2009

rating the Christmas presents

This one for Dave. HIT!
Bendaroos for both girls. HIT!
Crayola Glow Dome. MISS! Pretty much useless on all accounts, however, the Glow Station is fun and well made.

Guitar. BIG HIT!

Band Hero for the family. HIT x 100! The song choices are fun and ones you know.
Zhu Zhu pet from Uncle Rick. HIT! To view excitement live, click video here.
As you can see, our family was blessed this Holiday.
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

2 more pages complete

I think I may have shared one half of this last week. I love the versatility of the laptop but I have some major things to learn on PSE. Couple that with my attempts to scrapbook without a mouse and only using the laptop pad and I am handicapped for sure. So while I work out the kinks, my pages might not have all the bells and whistles but I have decided to call them good and move on. Forward progress!
I am pretty sure these two additions to my Shutterfly album put me above 30 pages. I really want to work through these and order it pretty quickly so I can begin using the same strategy for 2010. I am going to pick one kit and basically use that as the basis again. I have an idea of what that basic kit will be. I'll share soon.
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

scenes from Christmas

The began at 6:17 courtesy of Olivia, first kid up!

My two smiley girls holding the gifts they gave each other. Great minds think pretty much alike, eh? (Same girls are currently fighting over markers, really loudly, like the end of the world is looming).
Skipper the dog enjoying his first Christmas. He did sorta open the package (funny, b/c normally he can shred the entire Sunday newspaper in under 4 minutes) and was most intrigued by all things squeaky...especially the $1 sheep from Walmart.

The girls receiving Band Hero at Dave's parents later that night. I mean what is not to love? It features Taylor Swift you know. (and for the older crowd: the Go Gos, Jackson 5, YMCA).
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And I will end with this very sweet girl, loving on her Dad :)
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's almost here...

Just one more day! Just ask my kids, they know :)
Above is the way the final card came out. Only red, not pink. Only the mailing labels mostly fell off. So most people did not get a card in the mail. And you know what? It has been OK. Just in case, I am sending it out into the blogosphere for all to receive with this post.
Have a very Merry Holiday.

A 37" flat screen has already been gifted to Dave as I had no way of getting it out of the van. I survived a flawless, Christmas Eve purchase at Walmart. It is a Christmas miracle :) I am wondering if procrastination is not a bad thing after all?
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Smart Talk Connected Conversations

Remember last year when I attended talks given by Billie Jean King and Diane Keaton (and got to meet Diane in person!)? Well, the 2010 dates and speakers have been announced:

Valerie Bertinelli-Jan 27
Ann Compton-Feb 25
Patricia Heaton-Mar 15
Lee Woodruff-April 29
Helen Hunt-May 26

For details on their topics, pictures of these beautiful women and how you can get tickets, please check out their new website ::HERE::.
I am looking forward to attending a few of these myself. Heck, a subscription could make a good holiday gift, right?! Hint. Pin It

Monday, December 21, 2009

The power of the in-store sample..

Yesterday, while Krogering, I sampled a Garden Fresh Artichoke and Garlic Salsa, mostly b/c she was just opening container so I knew it was fresh and b/c it was 11:30a and I was starving.

So I ate my crackerful and walked away but it was so good, that I had to wind back around to the refrigerated deli case and grab a tub. This stuff is good. Very garlicky, so be warned.

So my "snipped" photo here is not the best. Check it our for yourself ::HERE::. Pin It

Sunday, December 20, 2009

project 365 and life with a new laptop

9 days ago I got my first laptop. It is an HP and I am totally, thoroughly pleased with my purchase. Right now, let's bow our heads and say thank you and we love you Windows 7. Amazing. Each day I find something new to impress me. Yesterday: snipping tool. Today: ease of installing new Fonts.

I have planted myself more firmly on the first floor of the house, instead of my usual perch in my second floor office. I am enjoying being more present in my family's life while also getting work related, computer related, tasks completed. The perfect example? Last night I digi scrapbooked my first page on the laptop, while watching Elf, with the rest of the fam. I have a lot to learn on PSE 7 since I am used to PS CS2 but I am pleased with how things are going. I completed this page to add to my Project 365 2009 photobook. I need to bring more photos down on a flash drive so I can crank out some more.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

holiday yumminess

Have you ever seen these before?
I could not find the wrapped caramels but found these in the baking aisle at WalMart. They worked perfectly and no time spent to free them all from wrappers. One caveat, this bag was 11oz and the recipe called for 14 oz but it turned out fine. I made Billionaire candy. So good!
And inside this box is a Chocolate cupcake with Peppermint Buttercream icing. I bought 3 and gave two to the ladies that work in the office at the girls' school. They were thrilled. This last one did not get delivered so we busted it open last night. It was a taste of heaven. That icing was perhaps the BEST I have ever tasted. Sugar Cupcakery. Go there. They gift wrap them individually like this. I only added the Happiest Holidays from NDG. She has lots of adorable gift wrapping inspiration over there.
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Friday, December 18, 2009

the first gifts have been wrapped

My annual calendars have been printed awhile. And my super father in law came through with a new stand for them this year (copied from an idea I saw online). Finally today, everything is in it's bag with tissue and a tag.
A little progress is good...
since I have done plenty of shopping...and stacking of purchases in the basement...but no wrapping at all.
This final picture is of my DIY cake stand. I bought a heavy glass/crystal plate for $3 and the goblet for $1.25 at the local Thrift Store (and then got 30% off of the total sale!). I glued them together with E6000 and they are bonded together forever. This is on it's way to the center of my dining room table where it will await some treats from Cookie Day.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

she's a wonderful crafter and freebie link

I have probably linked to Nora Griffin a dozen times over the life of my blog. She is so cute, crafty and a good cook. All things I look for in a friend :)

Check out her stuff here: BLOG.

And be sure to download these tags:

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

december desktop

So 15 days went by in December before I finally got this one up onto my computer screen. At least now I have a new laptop to display it on as well. Hooray :)
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Cookie Day

Decorating the Spritz cookies...
One hip, modern, MaMa rolling out some cookie dough (sporting her grandson's Dr. Dre headphones and I Pod touch)
And two more of the elves working on some sweet treats.
MaMa runs a tight ship but there is some downtime...witness these two kooky kids on break from the kitchen tasks.

I love these guys :)
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Friday, December 11, 2009

cookies and


Tonight the girls both attended a birthday party at a Pottery painting place. It was conveniently located near an Outback Steakhouse so Dave and I went there to wait the 1hr 15 mins. Did you know you currently can get a steak and lobster dinner for $14.95? Well you can and it is tasty!

And now for the cookies. Tomorrow is our annual cookie day at my Mom's. I saw these cookies in the latest BHG and knew I wanted to try them.

The recipe is here. I made the dough yesterday and it is wonderful. I only made one batch so mine will be the tiny vanilla version with the raspberry filling. Oh yea. There are lots of traditions included in Cookie Day--my Mom's Spritz cookies, Mexican wedding cookies, the gifts she always gives to each one of us. It is the do not miss event of the season :)

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

two things

The good - I got a surprise from one of my favorite photographer's, Lisa Russo, thanking me for leaving compliments on her blog. Check out the gorgeous print she just gave to one of her readers. B E A U T I F U L.

The bad - I mailed my big stack of Christmas cards out on Tuesday and in yesterday's mail, I got a stack of 10 of those returned to me as undeliverable. Why? Because the cutesy labels I had affixed to them apparently got ripped entirely off in the mailing process. So they came back to me totally blank. That part is bad enough but since there is no trace left of the label, I have no idea who did - and did not- get cards. Sigh. That kind of ruined one of my favorite traditions :) I am thinking maybe next week I will just send an email with the jpeg attached to my email address book. Certainly those two lists do not jive entirely but at least maybe I can explain myself, and the absence of cards, a bit. Pin It

Sunday, December 6, 2009

American Girl Tea

Yesterday, my Mom, the girls and me had the distinct pleasure of attending the American Girl Tea at the Promont House. We are still talking about our day. As adults, my Mom and I were simply blown away by the attention to detail. They far exceeded what was expected for $20. Our food was delicious, the decor was gorgeous and the House itself is something to see. We'll be back for sure.

On today's agenda? Holiday Follies at the Taft Theatre.

Ho Ho Ho.
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

You know you have a puppy when...

Your shoes look like this. Thank goodness these are my walk to the bus/get my mail shoes.

Skipper loves Crocs for the winter and enjoyed Flip Flops during the summer.

Darned dog.
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Friday, December 4, 2009

Capture Cincinnati Book

I made it! A very kind soul sent me this via Twitter: a photo of the page featuring my photo. Dang, this is exciting. Loving technology and the internet right now. L O V I N G!

ETA: Here is a link to all the published photos in the book. Pin It

Thursday, December 3, 2009

a good mail day...

A mailer from Costco filled with these 3 new family photos which I promptly put in the frames.
A mailer from Kodak filled with my 100 Chrismtas photo cards.
The cards were thought to be pink, so I had printed out some of these cute envelope address wraps ahead of time in pink to coordinate. Well, they arrived looking more like red. I am thinking that is a Kodak color match error of some sort but they look good enough and I have no time to sweat the small stuff. Luckily, the blog with the wraps also has red, so I printed the rest in that color. This is my stack on the couch. In progress: filling envelopes, addressing labels, cutting labels, gluing labels to envelopes...
Card design freebie by Becky Higgins.
Envelope wraps freebie found ::HERE.

And here is my mantle as of this morning. I got my new stockings from etsy seller Rik Rak. I love them. I failed to confirm any dimensions so they are a bit on the small side but I actually think they work perfectly here. My kids hung Skipper's new stocking from a berry branch, I need to find it a better home. I made the Be Merry banner. The ribbon tree was made by my Mom although my sister and niece have whipped up some cute ones too. Last year, Olivia made the brick snowgirl with earmuffs as a class Christmas party craft . And yes, I was the room mom :) On my white chair is the Christmas tree pillow I made when Shelby was sick a few weeks ago.

Now to answer the question "how did you find the time to do this today" let me answer: now Olivia is home with the stomach flu. I seem to get my craft on when I am standing guard.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009


That is the sound of the weekend racing by me. So much went on, and not a picture to show for it.

Well, not exactly. There is this one, taken by Shelby.
And this one, captured by Olivia. Dave and I celebrated anniversary #11 last night and the girls each took a picture of us before we left for dinner. It's nice having kids big enough for stuff like that :)

The rest of the Holiday weekend was filled with fun and family...and another round of the barfing bug for Shelby. That is a big reason why I was not out and about taking pictures. She was sick Tues-Thurs so we did split shifts at each family on Thanksgiving, with the other one of us staying home with her. No pics required of that. What I wish I did have pictures of was our Thanksgiving with my family. Most of the cooking had been done on Wednesday, a good thing, since at 10a I got the call that my Mom's oven was not working. Yep, 10a on Turkey Day! So lickety split, Plan B was in place, all food and family moved to my sister's home and it went off without a hitch. We used plastic utensils, paper plates with jack on lanterns in the center and drank from disposable cups to make things as easy as possible. And guess what? The food tasted incredible, maybe more so than usual and the tiny prayer of thanks that came from each of us around the table, was definitely sweeter this year. I am not calling anyone out by name, but there were more moist eyes this year than dry ones. So, the picture of all that goodness is in my mind, not on my monitor. And that is OK.

Today, I have a persistent 8 year old BEGGING to get out the Christmas decorations. No rest for the weary, right?
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