Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Wow - it's been a while since I updated my blog. I'll try to keep this bullet pointed!

  • I have a new blog for those that are interested - it's called A Blessing Each Day and is my attempt at improving my photography skills using my Christmas gift from hubby - a Nikon D60 DSLR! it hasn't been updated either, but I have taken a picture every day, and just need to upload them.
  • We just returned home from our Christmas Camping Trip - which took place after Christmas this year. We left on the 26th and returned home today. Our intention was to go to Bonham State Park, but when we got there, picked a spot, and started to set up, we realized there was no water and no one there to help us! So, we packed up and headed for Cooper Lake State Park - where we had water and sewer (ahhh)! Heehee Had an incredible time and took a 2 mile hike one day, geocached one day, and spent one day looking for herbs to remedy a cold I was coming down with. I tend to run from sinus infection into full blown brochitus, so we needed to do something quick. I'm happy to announce that today I'm 95% better! We also spent a lot of time playing Clue and Are You Smarter than a 5th grader - two games our children got for Christmas.
  • We had an incredible Christmas. How was yours? My parents and sister came over on Christmas morning and we spent a wonderful time together opening presents and eating, and playing games. They had to leave early when my Mema was being taken from the nursing home to a local hospital because she seemed out of sorts. She's 91 years old, so that is understandable. They sent her home that night after diagnosing a UTI and rehydrating her.
  • My dad is starting to breathe again! He's on a newish medication, that without my mom's insurance, would cost them $8,930 per month (and is instead costing $12). Is it outrageous to anyone but me that they can charge this much for meds?! Anyway, they are helping and we are praising the Lord! He was actually able to lay down in bed for 2 hours. He's been sleeping, sitting, resting, and otherwise doing EVERYTHING in a recliner for a month now!
  • Scrap Matters is gearing up for a great year of more incredible digi scrapping challenges. These ladies are awesome (owner, designers, creative team, scrap matters gang, and all the ladies that make it a great digi home). Check it out - Scrap Matters.
  • And I'm gung ho - fired up - to declutter! I've joined the classes at Christian-homemaking.com and am doing the Desperate Declutter Boot Camp. Why? Because I'm desperate! I've gathered my supply list of needed items and am on fire!
  • Does the New Year fire you up? It does me! There is something fresh about the New Year that gets me set up to make some wonderful changes in my life. More on those to come.
  • I'm going to be spending on Thursday with my Heavenly Father. Big P set up the camper right outside and I'll get some time to go out there all by myself with nothing by my Bible, a big box of Kleenex, and some devotionals. I'm excited to see what God has for me as a wife and mother this year.
That's about it from me. Not sure how much I'll be posting over the next week or two. The decluttering challenge is 6 weeks long (I have 5 weeks left - the first week is a prep week).

*******UPDATE******** - I couldn't keep up posting on the Blessing Each Day blog and will shut it down eventually.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Lots of stuff and challenge winner!

I'm going to try to make this quick! Ha!

We started a Christmas unit study yesterday. The children and I are really enjoying it! Check it out (Image is linked to The Old Schoolhouse Store):

Also, a friend of mine (one of the ones that got me started in digi) sent me a layout that she did using my template (#1). Isn't it great?!!!

And I announced the winner of my journaling challenge on ScrapMatters and sent of her copy of ACDSee yesterday. I know she'll be excited to receive and start getting organized. And I was happy to see that she journaled her page. We did a random drawing (P.9.G.) picked and the winner was Snowdrop (Heather). Here's a before and after of her layout!


And After (wow! look at all that journaling!)

We are going to do a bunch of baking today - but I have to get some fillings (previous ones fell out) at 1, so until then we are hanging around here about to do our unit study. Here's a bunch of my layouts for you to peruse. I put these up here hoping someone will get inspired and so the grandparents will see their grands! LOL

This one is going to be in the SM Newsletter (shhh, it hasn't come out yet) and it's talking about our quirky tradition of camping on Christmas. Note: this year we are actually going the day after Christmas, but I think we will resume the regular tradition next year!!:

{full credits for all layouts shown below}

This one is particularly meaningful to me. I heard this song at Christmastime last year and it really impacted me. When I heard it this year, I knew I had to do a layout for it and add it to our album.

And my honey (these are really bad pics taken in the dark with my iphone, but they are precious just the same!):


Monday, December 8, 2008

Sorry it's been so long {Freebie Alert}

Sorry it's been so long in updating my blog. We've had a lot going on around here. My big boy ended up with an infection in his ear about a week post surgery. We were in the ER and they began treating him for staph infection. Two days later we saw the dr. again and when the culture results were in, they found that it was not Staph, but another more rare bacteria. We have no idea how he got the infection, but I have to admit that I felt like an awful mother, even though we had done everything we were told to do. He is now on 2 oral antibiotics and a antibiotic ointment. Big P took him to the dr. today and things are looking really good. We are to stay on this regimen and come back next week. He is on acidophilus also - to counter some of those antibiotics are doing to his little body.

He also started Scouts last week! He was in Tiger and Bear cubs, but when we moved, we never found another pack for him to be in. After really trying to get involved in 4-H, we just determined that it was much more competitive than we felt comfortable with. So, we are doing Scouts again and he is there to stay. We are also starting up a new Keepers at Home group for P.9.G. and some friends from church.

Here's a pic of C.12.B. in his new uniform!!! Isn't he handsome?!

On my challenge:

Hmm, not going so hot. Last week really messed up my schedule and it was just sketchy after that. I'm excited to announce that Big P will be going back to days in June. At that point, he will have been on nights for almost 3 1/2 years. This was a decision that he made through prayer, but with my total support. Although I really have wanted him to do this for a long time, I've left it alone for a year now. I wanted it to be something that he decided and not by my nagging. So, I'm trying not to count the days, but am really looking forward to it and think that it's going to be able to help our family, our schedule, his sleep, my sleep, etc. It has truly been a blessing for our family, though, so I'm not complaining - just ready for a new season. And as far as late night scrapping, well.... LOL

So, on that note, here's a freebie for sticking with me through all of that. I made it tonight. I honestly have no idea who the lady is that said it, which is why I put that so small on the wordart. I wouldn't have put it there at all, if I was not really into legality! LOL I loved the quote, though. but before I give you the freebie, you have to see the layout that I did with it! Haha

Full Credits

Okay, here it is for real! Image is linked to 4shared.

I do have many more layouts to share and this weekend we cut down our Christmas tree and decorated it and had a wonderful time! I have tons of pictures, but really to load each one up here is such a drag, so I hope to make some layouts this week and I'll show them off then.

I'm also working on making up some routines and stuff using Homeschooling at the Speed of Life. Great book, by the way! Very sound Biblically, too!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Options in Digital Scrapbooking

Okay - if you are not the least bit interested in digital scrapbooking - you will want to skip this post. A friend asked me to give her the dish on digi, so I'm doing just that right here. I thought it might be helpful to some others who are wondering the same things.

You seem to have several options in digital scrapbooking that I didn't even know about when I started in July. I'll try to give you a brief run down of each and the pros and cons, too.

Option 1 - Photo editing software and downloaded graphics

I think this is the best option. Not because I started out this way, but I think it is the ultimate in a digital scrapbooking experience. For someone who is a "jump in with both feet" kind this is the way to go. For some, this may not be an option ($ - although it really isn't terrible; no access to DSL - downloading graphics on dial-up might send some into a severe state of mania!).

The breakdown of costs for Option 1:

Adobe Photoshop Elements – $50 right now at Costco!! Originally $80, but if you are a homeschooler, you could possibly get it cheaper using the educational discount. You would obviously have to teach some graphics editing to your children for this to be a viable option. I’m a Christian woman, so I'm not into cheating the system!

Digital elements and papers (kits) – First, you can get TONS of freebies online. Several designers I know always have an “add-on” to their purchase kit that is free on their website. You don’t have to purchase the kit to get the add-on, but it is in the same color scheme and style as the one that you can purchase. When you do purchase the kits, they will run $3-6 depending on how large they are and frankly how proud the designer is of their work. Sometimes they are more than this and collabs (which is a collaboration from 2 or more designers) are often free w/ a purchase, but then are sold in the stores later with a large pricetag ($10 and up usually).


Freebies that are always free and always rock:

http://summertimedesigns.blogspot.com/ - be sure to check out her gratitude kit several posts down.

Printing: This is applicable for all options. I use www.sbtoshare.com. Lise is really incredible to work with. She has been so helpful. Prices are the lowest that I’ve seen and the quality is bar none! She has a flat rate shipping charge of $6 no matter how large your order is. This really can make your pages cheap. I will only be printing pages 20 at a time.

Adobe Photoshop Elements is photo editing software. You create your pages from the ground up. You are creating in layers with editing software, just like traditional scrapbooking. Start with your paper, add your photos, frames (or you put mats on your photos which would be under them obviously), stickers, text, etc. You also have the option of using templates. I've offered a couple of these free on my blog. There are so many tutorials on how to build a page, but I really love Taylor Made’s tuts.

Quick pages - pages that have already been created and you just put your photos in. These still need photo editing software to work, though.

Creating a New Layout

Using a Quick Page

Here’s a LO (layout) that I created with a quick page! Some of these ladies are really incredible and their Los are amazing – so why not grab ‘em!

I used a QP from tortuemaori - who I'm going to guess is a french designer. The cool thing about digi is it spans the world over!

First I had this which is the actual quick page:

Then I added the photos under this layer and got this:

Then I added text on top (for a total of three layers - photos, then qp, then text) and got this:

Option 2: Photo editing software and purchased CDs with graphics

This is the option that would be best for someone with dial-up.

Adobe Photoshop Elements: still would use this – learning curve is slight and there are tutorials everywhere for it.

Digital Elements and papers: Hobby Lobby sells some CDs from a company called Digital Scrapbook Memories. Their products are really high quality and beautiful. The CDs range from $15 - $25, but are jam packed with papers and elements, and even quick pages.


Printing: The same as Option 1

Option 3: Scrapbook Flair, Scrapbook Max, etc.

These are programs which are sometimes free and you purchase additional supplies from them or sometimes have a slight cost.

There is no learning curve, they are definitely easy to use. They really limit you though. I played with one of them for a bit earlier and it is something that my 9 yo daughter could use, but not something I would mess with. I’m a jump in with both feet type of person, though. Scrapbook flair will allow you to use your own graphics, but you can’t rotate anything it seems. Also when I pulled in my graphics – which were created at 300 dpi, they were huge in the program and had to be seriously resized. This sent up a red flag for me, that when I printed a completed page, the quality might be poor. You can save them as jpg, which means you can get them printed wherever you want.

Here is a LO that I made using Britt-ish Designs papers and elements from Dreams Do Come True. I really didn’t care for anything they had to use on the program. You'll notice how flat the page looks. I wasn't able to add any drop shadows to the elements or pictures.

Cost comparison:

Traditional page - $4.00-$5.00 and up A good friend of mine told me that it costs an average of $5 per page to create a traditional layout.

Digital page – I would say that I spend about $2.50 - $3.00 per page – including printing, and depending on what I use. The coolest thing about digital is that you can use things over and over and over. So, if I use a kit over and over, eventually it is free for me to use that kit. Make sense? Digital is not consumable!

The absolute coolest thing about digital for me is that I can close my laptop and that is the extent of cleaning up!

What else would you like to know? Leave me a comment and I'll try to answer your questions! :)


Monday, December 1, 2008

Challenge: Day 1

Well I didn't make it by 10:30 but I'm so exausted I'll be falling
asleep fast. I'm posting this via my phone so I'll make it quick.

Went to sleep about 10 last night after an incredible day with my dear
friend Tanya and her VBA4C birth. More on that later.

This morning couldn't get up before the boys so had by "quiet time"
singing Jesus Loves Me and praying.

Exercised tonight holding baby A about 1/2 the time. He weighs over 20
lb. So do I get to count that for an hour???? Haha

Going to bed now!

Whose doing the challenge with me? I know my friend Mary is out
there. Anyone else?


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