Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and is looking forward to the New Year.

We had our first real snowfall last night. We haven't had over 6 inches in over 1.5 years, so I'm loving it!! I know some people don't like snow but living in Michigan I expect snow every year.  I'm not that crazy about driving in it, but it helps to slow down.

Since I was sitting here on my computer I started thinking about next year. What are my plans? What are my goals? Will I pick any resolutions or One Little Word? Will I start blogging again?

I have lots of ideas but my main goal this coming year is to keep it simple.  My plan for the next few days is to figure out what that means. What will my simple goals be for the different areas of my life: family, health, school and creativity?  I'm starting with those four areas. 

Once I have those goals planned out, I will have a plan for my blog too.

What are your goals for the new year?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Still here...

My last post was on November 1. In that post I mentioned that I won't be in the blog world as much as I have been, but wow, I didn't think it would be that much less.  I'm still working on finding the right balance for my life.

So I thought I would just check in.  Things here have been exciting. We are getting ready for the holiday season. I updated the boys school albums for last year...Yippeee!! This is always exciting for me. I started doing some freelance work. I'm working on a design contest through my school. And I finished two more classes on my way to my degree.  I think that explains why I haven't been around much.

I wanted to share with you my final project for my Digital Editing class. This project was overwhelming, scarey, exciting and joyful. I lost count on how many hours of work went into this 45 second movie but I'm happy with the outcome.  I hope you enjoy it and that it brings a smile to your face.

My Video

Happy Holidays!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

One Little Word Blog Hop

If you visited me during the last blog hop you might remember that I was really struggling with my word.  You can read this post to get the whole story. I was really thinking of just stopping this project and calling it done.

The strange thing was that feeling that my word was bring out the worst of my perfectionism actually helped me define some of the issues I was having. So in a weird way my word was still hard at work.

After that post I was really burned out. I finally admitted, out loud, that I was doing too much. I was trying to be everything 100% and not achieving anything that was truly making me happy. So I used this months prompt to focus on those areas that are most important for me to define and live - the rest is just filler.

The areas I defined that I want to put effort into are:

Many of these things have been taking a back seat to surfing the web, reading blogs, reading books, etc.  Don't get me wrong I love to do those things but the joy versus time spent ratio is low.  So I might not be around commenting, reading and posting much to blogs for awhile, but when time permits I will stop in. I want to spend my time getting the biggest joy out of the effort.

Thanks for stopping by. Your next stop is over to Naomi's Blog

Here is the rest of the ladies who are participating in this month's blog hop.

Mrs Wookie


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Using My Stash

I haven't had much time to create over the last month. I've been busy with school work but I did manage to create a few cards with my stash.

Having three boys I'm always in the need of some masculine cards.  I used a embossing folder on some vellum and just used some stamps and straps of paper to finish it off.

I used another embossing folder for this card too. I love this Bella stamp - she is so cute.

The color paper is some paper that I colored years ago and didn't know what to do with it. I really like how they look together on this card.  The stamps set used was from CTMH.

Another great Bella stamp.  You can never have too many birthday cards.

Happy crafting!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Monthly Round Up

Opps, I blinked. Where did September go? The beginning of the school year is always such a busy time. Everyone is getting back to their routines or at least trying to figure out what those routines will be. We also celebrate two big birthday's in our family. So September always seems to move fast.

Day by Day view of the month:

1. Had tea party with my Little Guy.
2. Nature Art
3. Nature Walk
4. First Day of School
5. My School Supplies
6. Homemade Card
7. Apple Store Bag
8. Washing Dish
9. Wrapping Paper
10. Practicing Violin
11. Lost Tooth
12. Working on Tutorials for School
13. Happy Birthday Dinner.
14. Birthday Legos
15. Birthday Cake
16. Football Season
17. Working on Cleaning Schedule
18. Spring Pad Recipe File
19. Working on Design Ad for School
20. Current Read
21. Birthday Lunch
22. Waffles
23. Laundry
24. Lego Robotics
25. New Clothes
26. Coffee Pods
27. First Run in months
28. Looking for new Dishwasher
29. First Course of 5 course meal
30. New Favorite - Overnight Oatmeal

What types of media did I enjoy this month?

Books read: Blood Brothers, the Hallow and The Pagan Stone Nora Roberts; Imagine:How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer; Simplicity Parenting by Lisa M. Ross; One Bite at a Time by Tsh Oxenreider, Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah is a new author to me and I have to say I just loved this book. I plan on read more from her.

What did my kids do/learn this month?

The big event was the start of school. Each of the boys love their teachers and had several good friends in their class. Our new principal is amazing and I think this is going to be one terrific school year.  This is also a big year because it's my oldest last year in elementary school.

Football season started. My oldest is on the Broncos this year. The best part of this year season is that my husband started to coach.  He is such a football fanatic and is great with the kids.


 Another fun event that takes up lots of our time is Lego Robotics.  This will be the second year that I'm the Robot coach for our school.  My two oldest are on the team this year.  I'm really excited because I have a great group of kids to work with and everyone seems super excited to work on this years theme.

What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?

Both my oldest and youngest celebrated birthdays.  Number 11 and 7. Where does the time go? We had just one family party and the cake was a special request - Homemade Strawberry Cake with Homemade Strawberry Icing and Chocolate Mousse in the middle.  It was fabulous!! 

My oldest was super excited when he opened up his Ipod touch.  He has been wanting one for a few years and we finally caved  decided to give him one.  It was so worth his reaction. When he realized what it was he jumped up and ran over to me. I received the biggest hug and the most sincere thank you I can remember. 

The kids were not the only ones that had fun this month. Ken and I had two date nights this month.  The first was an over night one because his parents took the boys for a sleep over. The second was a wonderful 5 course meal that a friend arranged with a Chef friend of his.  The meal was specially made for us and it was beyond delicious. Here's a photo of the last course, it was shared between two people and was so wonderful.

What creative things have I done this month?

Most of my creative time has been devoted to my school work.  I've been working hard on a three month magazine advertising assignment in Photoshop and Illustrator.  

I've also been learning AfterEffects and making some fun movies.  Here's one of my assignments.

What special or unusual purchases did I make? 

I've been without a dishwasher for the month. I'm actually sitting here while the new one gets installed. I'm so ready to stop washing all my dishes by hand.  I noticed this has effected our eating habits because I'm trying to not dirty any dishes.  I'm also getting a new wash machine, which is equally exciting and much needed.

Other news worth sharing

My youngest lost his first tooth.  Always a big deal, especially when it happens at school.

How did I do on my goals for the month?

Get an area set up for Project Life.  I decided to take the plunge next year and I want to get everything set up now.  I purchased a digi kit and the paper kit. I have some of the page protectors and signed up for the Becky Higgins class at Big Picture.

Get a meal plan together.  This has been put off again.  I’m focusing more on getting my cleaning routine in order first. I did complete my cleaning routine and I'm now trying to follow it.

Sign up for Yoga Class – Signed up at Up Dog Yoga and I love it.  Years ago I took Pilates and Yoga at Lifetime Fitness. I really loved the instructor I had. Her voice was the right combination of relaxing and motivating. When I left the gym I could never find anyone that would compare to her and I just stopped doing Yoga. 
When I walked into the studio I was surprise to see my old instructor there. She teaches at this studio and for the class I plan on attending. I was so happy because it felt like a sign that I was doing the right thing at the right time.

Goals for October (in no particular order):

Start using my cleaning plan.

Run 5K on October 28th

Make some Halloween decorations (at least one)

Monday, October 1, 2012

One Little Word Blog Hop

Yipee!! I remembered to sign up for the blog hop this month. It's been a few month since I've been an official member of the One Little Word Hop, but I'm happy that I stuck with the process.

I really struggled with this months prompt. Should I celebrate or choose a battle?

I decided to choose a battle. It's not something I'm ready to share but I will share what I wrote about my current thoughts on my word:

My word is still difficult for me. It seems that when I start trying to define a part of my life I uncover three more areas that need a definition. I'm feeling that this word is a perfectionist word and not a really good choice for me.
This was an interesting realization for me. I've been struggling with my word and I realized I was trying to define my life into this picture perfect ideas. I don't know how it got to be that way but my perfectionist nature sneaked up on me and took over without me noticing for months.

I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to continue on with my word and figure out how to embrace it without letting it get out of control or if I should just stop and wait until next year.

Has anyone stopped a word before the year end?

Thanks for stopping by.  Your next stop on the blog hop is over at Mrs. Wookie

Monica <---YOU are HERE
Mrs Wookie

Friday, September 14, 2012

Using my Stash

I want to be more creative.
I want to make the time to create.
I want to get some scrapbooking done.

These wants have been on my to do list for a long time. Something always comes up - cleaning, work, cooking, kids. You know how it goes. But I really miss playing with my goodies. I want to get my memories down before I forget everything. So, I'm making the time. I'm trying to just sent 15 minutes (if not more) ever few days and get something in process.

My goals are to get some pages and/or cards completed. Use the DigiFiles I get every month, instead of just collecting them. And use my stash of paper supplies.

Here's what I did the past few weeks:

Papers: Basic Grey Oliver Pad, CTMH Circuit Cartridge for Banner

Stamps: CTMH. Paper:I made this years ago, Rub-on stitching:unknown Inspiration from kwernerdesign.
Kit: Lost & Found by Valorie Wibbens TDF45; Template:Yin Designs

Monday, September 10, 2012

Family x12

Taken on Hummer Ride in Maub Utah

I've recently shared some photos of the places and things that my family enjoyed over our summer vacation, but I've saved the best for last.

The reason for the joy.

The reason for the time spent.

The reason it was worth all the time and money.

My family.

By Sylvan Lake

I've been blessed with a wonderful husband and three amazing boys.

In Gold Mine in Jackson Hole

Each day they bring me joy, challenge, frustration and laughter.

Floating down the Colorado River

My life would be so dull without them brighten my spirit and helping me grow with them.

Hiking in Arches National Park

I love you guys!

This is part of the Family x12 blog hop.  Your next stop on the hop is over at Carol Anne.  Here is a complete list of everyone in the hop.

Carol Anne

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Colors and Texture

I was not planning on doing anymore post about our summer vacation, but as I was looking through the photos of our trip two things kept jumping out at me.


and Texture.

 I'm very drawn to color and texture.

All these photos where taken at Yellowstone.

Each part of the park had it's own color and texture associated with the area. 

When most people will take a landscape photo, I like to get up close and see the lines and contrast in a small area.

Don't get me wrong, I still take the landscape photos, but these photos really capture my attention. 

They make me think

and use my imagination.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Using bits and pieces

I've been spending as much time as I can trying to clean and organize my crafting area. I use to be a huge collector of everything that was new. At one time I was getting 5 different monthly kits, plus visiting my local scrapbook store at least once a week. 

I was out of control.

I loved opening up my packages and looking at all the new, shiny items. Then I would put them back into the boxes they came in and put them on a shelf.  I realized I was using these items to bring me happiness, but it really wasn't.  So a few years ago I started cleaning house. I had over 2 years of kits in my closet that needed sorting and I had a room full of odds and ends that was just cluttering up my room and my mind. I still have a few cabinets to go through but I've made a huge dent in my supplies.

I have several large boxes of items that I'm going to sell/donate this year. At the end of the year they will all be gone one way or the other.

During this long cleaning project I was discovering some items that I purchased that I really wanted to try.  I put a small box out and would put these items into the box.  When I had some time to be creative I would grab one of the items to play around with and see if I wanted to keep them or put them in the donate box.

The first item I decided to play with was Flower Soft. I purchased this last year at the Michigan Mega Meet.  It's pretty messy, like glitter.  It gets everywhere, but I really like the texture it adds to an image. Here is a set of cards I made with the Flower Soft products.

I just love the little porcupines!  I think I will keep this product to do a set of Christmas Card Fronts that I purchased and then I will make the final decision on if it stays or goes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Monthly Round-up

1. What types of media did I enjoy this month?

I took my boys and my Mom to see Ice Age 4. I recommend seeing this movie especailly if you enjoyed the other Ice Age Movies.

My Mom watched the boys for my husband and I so we could have a date night. We went and saw Hope Springs.  It was a cute movie but the part where Tommy Lee Jones and Merle Strep were making out was like watching your parents make out and that's just not comfortable.

Read Stygian’s Honor by Lora Leigh.  This is a series I've been reading for years. I really like most of the books but they are getting slightly repetitive.
Morrigan’s Cross, Dance of the Gods and Valley of Silence (circle trilogy) by Nora Roberts.  I really enjoyed this series. It's was a different type of book for Nora Roberts because it was fantasy with the romance.  The main characters were a wizard, witch, a shape changer, a queen, a vampire and a vampire hunter. The characters were from different times and worlds but had to come together to save all the worlds.  It was a very entertaining story.

Run Like a Mother by McDowell & Dimity. This book took me forever to read. It had some good information about running and diet and racing. I felt it was more for the hard core runner and I couldn't really relate to many of the stories the authors told about their own running adventures over the years.

2. What did my kids do/learn this month?

The boys are still taking swimming lessons and they are learning so much. I'm just amazed watching them in the pool. William moved up another level and he has been asking lots of questions about getting on a swim team.  I think the Olympics helped with that idea. 

Kyle and Logan are still taking piano and violin.  This summer we didn't do a great job with practicing so they haven't made a lot of progress but they are doing so great. I love to hear the music being played in the house.

William got his braces off. This was phase one of the braces.  He's teeth look great but we have to watch for the rest of the baby teeth to come out before they can do Phase 2 of the braces.

3. What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?

My mom came in to visit for a few weeks.  She is doing so well from her brain surgery last year.  It was such a joy to have her stay with us for two weeks.  She started to teach the boys how to do needle point and knitting.  

We also had a visit from my sister, Marion. She hasn't seen the boys in a few years so it was nice for them to spend some time with her. She is going to be moving down south so it will be much harder for visits.

It was nice to get a family photo with almost everyone. One of my sisters is missing from the photo, but it's been a long time to just get four of the my siblings together with my mom. And it wouldn't be a photo if my brother's didn't give everyone bunny ears.

We had a lot of mini celebrations this month.

I went with some girlfriends to Bar Louie to celebrate a friends birthday.  Our whole family and my brother's took my mom to Frankenmuth for dinner.  I had a date night with my husband. We had our annual Fantasy Football Draft party. And to end the month we went to a friends house for a pool party.

The big event was the boys school open house. This was new for this year were we could see which teacher they were assigned but we could also go into the school to see the classroom and many of the teachers were there to greet the class.  I really loved this and I think the boys had fun seeing some of their friends that they having seen all summer.

Took the boys to the zoo.

4. What creative things have I done this month?

Started new semester of classes at MCC – Advanced Photoshop and Digital Editing.

Scrapbook Pages:

5. What special or unusual purchases did I make?

Needed to buy CS6 Master Suite.  I had CS5.5 Design Suite but I needed After Effects for my class.

Signed up for the Project Life class at Big Picture Classes.

6.  What were my fitness/health accomplishments this month?

My fitness goals were very up and down this month.  While on vacation I only did some hiking. When we returned I planed on getting back into some running so I could do a 5K this month. That plan got tossed out the window when I pulled my back out and was laid up for two days.  I had to take it easy for a week just to make sure it was not going to get messed up again.  I did start doing the new Julian Michaels DVD Ripped in 30. I was able to get 5 days done this month.

7. What were my accomplishments this month?

My big accomplishment was getting back to school. I'm really looking forward to these classes and the challenges that will come from them.

8. What were my disappointments this month?

When we returned from our vacation we noticed that the freezer door was left open. Everything had to be thrown out which was very sad. At least it made me clean out the freezer.

9. How did I do on my goals for the month?

Get School Shopping done.  Finished
Clean and Purge Closet Downstairs.  - Finished
Look into new budget software.  – Started using  So far really like it, but it will take a few months before I can use the budgeting feature to the fullest.

Goals for September (in no particular order):

Get an area set up for Project Life.  I decided to take the plunge next year and I want to get everything set up now.

Get a meal plan together.

Sign up for Yoga Class

My Photo 365 Project:

1. Last shot of the west before the long ride home.
2. Starting our journey back home.
3. Home Sweet Home.
4. Piles of laundry from vacation.
5. Getting ready for this years Lego Robotics.
6. Dirty dishes.
7. New stamps.
8. Celebrating friends birthday
9. Lunch run to Panera
10. Ice Age 4 ticket
11. Halloween town at Bronner's
12. Laundry Hampers
13. Basketball Court at William's camp
14. Favorite bottle of wine.
15. Oma doing Highlights book
16. Lego creations
17. Taped up Freezer. The door keeps opening.
18. Cleaned our workbook cupboard.
19. Working on some cards (post hopefully coming soon)
20. School Supplies
21. Boys School Area. Were we keep papers, lunchboxes, water bottles and backpacks.
22. Last minute reading for the boys.
23. Reading for mama.
24. First thumbnails for project in my Advanced Photoshop classes.
25. Fantasy Football Draft Board.
26. Started Ripped in 30
27. Got hit with a soccer ball during my Monday night game.
28. William without braces.
29. Ken working from home so I can go to my classes.
30. Map of Detroit Zoo. 
31. Logan licking mixer paddle after helping me make some cookies.