Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Update on Birds

I posted last week about the bird nest we found on the window ledge. We have enjoyed watching our little birds grow up.  It's amazing how quickly they started lifting their heads and getting feathers.  Here is a short movie we took when the mommy was feeding one of the chicks. It's in super slow speed so you can actually see the little guy eat the worm. 

I'm sure it will not be long before we see them spread their wings and fly.  Hopefully we will get that on tape too.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May Celebration

Last week over at Jessica Sprague, they had their yearly May Celebration. This came at a perfect time. As you have probably noticed if you have been visiting my blog for awhile, I've been in a creative slump. I just couldn't get motivated to work on anything. I would find myself cleaning, sorting, tagging, but not creating.

The challenges really got my creative mojo flowing and I actually did 6 out of the 7 challenges. I was amazed. I usually don't finish challenges and the only reason I didn't do 7 out of 7 was I checked in on the first day too late.

The first challenge, actually Day 2, was a take two challenge.  Two photos to tell the story. I knew exactly what I wanted to document, out little bird nest.

Day 3 challenge was Off Center. Keeping everything off to the side. We had a wonderful template to work with and lucky for me because this is not my typical style of work.  I decided to use a photo I took of my mom after her brain surgery and I used the journaling I posted on the blog.

Day 4 Challenge was Again and Again.  Repeating something on the layout. Either a photo or element.  I repeated the frame, music and paint splats in this layout and I took a photo of each of my boys playing their instruments.

Day 5 was sorbet.  We were given a color palette and a few papers that matched the palette. I happen to have taken two of my boys for a hike that day and felt the colors would be wonderful for the summer photos.

 Day 6 was T-Ad Challenge (Template and Advertisement). We also had to document about ourselves. I really didn't know what to do, I haven't been taking many photos of myself lately, so I turned on photo booth on my mac and took a few goofy photos.

 Finally Day 7 was to Art Journal. This is new too me. I've never really did an art journal before and the idea of doing it digitally seems weird. (no offense) I just thought the point of art journaling was to be messy.  I did enjoy doing this page, but I think if I do any more art journaling I will do it either hybrid or just good old fashion paper and paint.

 So this was my creative explosion over the last week. I now have all kinds of ideas swimming in my head. I just hope I will find the time to get them on paper.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Summer Manifesto

Summer is fast approaching here.  The boys only have a few more weeks of school and then we have the long, humid days of Michigan.

Yesterday Ali Edwards posted her summer manifesto and it got me thinking of what we will be doing this summer. I came across this list we had last summer on the refrigerator.  The boys and I made the list on the first day of summer break and then if we were bored we could pick something from the list to do. As you can see, we made pretty good progress on the list.

I remember being so happy at the end of the summer with how many items we crossed off the list. I really like the idea of a summer manifesto so I thought it would be fun to do that instead of the list this year.

Our Summer Manifesto 2012
  • spend one hour outside everyday
  • read five books together
  • ride bikes weekly
  • go strawberry picking and make jam
  • go to drive-in movie
  • have 2 BBQ with friends
  • eat outside often
  • plan at least 5 kids choice days 
  • wonder and play
When I asked the boys if we should add something else they all said "play video games".

I'm sure there will be lots of that, but as long as it's balanced with some fresh air and sunshine that's just fine with me.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fitting in Fitness

I kept telling myself I need to get back on a regular workout schedule.  Last year around this time I did  the P90X workout for about 60 days. I felt great and I loved the results. But for the life of me, I can not figure out how I did an hour plus workout everyday. I seem to have so much going on that an hour just isn't working into a regular schedule.

I've been beating myself up over the last two weeks because I can not even get through a few days without my plan being side railed.

How did I do it before? Where did that time go? What....this is my perfectionist side talking! So what if I can not do an hour, what's wrong with a shorter time frame that I can and will stick too?  Nothing!

Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred [DVD]
So yesterday I started the Julian Michaels 30-day shred.  I've heard great things about this DVD and I loved that the workouts are only 20-minutes. I know I can workout for 20 minutes each day and the days I have more time I can work on my running again. Perfect for me.

I have to say I was surprise by how hard the workout was and how much I was sweating.  Wish me luck doing the 30 days!

What are your tricks for fitting in your daily exercise?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Historial Field Trip

I had the pleasure on Monday to chaperone my son's 5th grade field trip to Greenfield Village.  This Village is part of The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. 

Being in Greenfield Village is like steeping back in time. They have over 80 authentic, historic structures, included Thomas Edison's Laboratory, the Wright Brother's Workshop and Noah Webster's home.

You can ride in a genuine Model T or jump on the 19th-century steam engine. You can watch world-class artisans pull glass or use a spinning wheel to make yarn.

"Greenfield Village is a celebration of people — people whose unbridled optimism came to define modern-day America."

Every time I visit I'm always amazed.  I love listening to the people that are dressed in period customs and take you back to the time they are portraying.  We got to watch as they prepared dinner over their fireplace - Bean soup, bread, asparagus they picked that morning, and pan cakes (not pancakes). Since the kids are older, they really understood some of the hardships that our ancestress went through just to live day by day.

For this field trip my son controlled the camera most of the time. All the photos in this post are what he took during the day. It was fun to look at the images that he felt worthy of photographing.  This was his favorite place. I'm sure you can guess why.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Natures Miracles

Life is full of wonderful and amazement. Mother nature never fails to amaze me with her beauty and power.  From the delicate form of a spider web, to the fury of a tornado.  Today my family had the pleasure of being mesmerized with a lovely little bird's nest and the beauty of seeing life at the beginning.

On the ledge of one of our windows we found the nest. The great thing about this nest is that we can see inside and watch everything the bird's are doing. Currently, there are two baby birds and one egg.  We witnessed the mommy and daddy coming home to feed the babies and sit on them to keep them warm.

Every so often during the day I need to go up there and check on our little guest. I'm enjoying just sitting and watching nature in action right outside my window.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

This Season

In this part of the United States, it's garage sale season.  Everywhere you look you will see a sign at the corner stating this way to the Biggest Sale.  The subdivision we live in coordinates with the surrounding subs to have one big weekend. I decided to join in this year to try to sell the last of the baby/little children toys and some of my excessive scrap-booking supplies.

I'm not one to visit garage sales. I just don't have the patience. I don't even like to shop.  I'm a go in, get what I need, and leave.  I'm not a browser. I'm also not a big fan of having the sale either.  They are a lot of work. Getting everything together. Pricing it and then sitting and waiting. Luckily, the weather was completely gorgeous, so I enjoyed sitting outside reading some books for three days.  In the end I made around minimum wage for my efforts. About $8 for each hour I was out there.  Not bad.

The big question is always what to do with everything that didn't sell. I was sick of looking at all the stuff so we packed up all the little toys and housewares items and took them to a local charity.  All the books were donated to our library. We have a few big items that we are going to try to see on Craig List and if they don't sell then we will donate them. I kept the scrap-booking items and I'm going to take them to our LSS for their garage sale - after that I'm going to check with my kids school and see if they can use any of the items.

Because of this sale I'm cleaning and reorganizing my craft area. One thing that really surprised me was how much stuff I was holding on to just because.  No other reason. The items were not my style or they were for a time that has passed me by (i.e. baby theme) or I won them or someone gave it to me.

I haven't been getting any crafting done lately because I was overwhelmed with everything.  It would take me too long to find the items I needed. So I'm really going through everything with a critical eye. If I don't love it and if it is not my style, even if it's cute, I have to move it on to someone that will love it. 

It's a big task. I finished going through all my paper and I think I need to get rid of more because I have no room to add anything.  Here's a photo of what I'm selling/donating:

Crazy, I know!!  The box underneath is 12in x 12in and is packed tight.  The stack sitting on top is another 7 inches of paper. This is enough paper for a small store.  Here's what I'm keeping.

I made a hanging folder for solids and patterns for all the main colors (black, brown, white, red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple).  I'm also using a vertical paper holder to storage a few themes like Christmas, Halloween and Birthday.

My next task is to go through my embellishments. I'm hoping to complete this clean and purge by next week so that I can start making some cards and projects that I've been wanting to do. If all goes well, you should be seeing some crafting projects really soon on this blog again.

I'm curious...What do you do with supplies that you no longer need?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Project 365

I first want to apologizes for the lack of creative post lately. I've been learning some new skills (see April 24 photo for a little peek) and I'm actually working on an entry for the Designer Discovery contest over at Jessica Sprague. So if things work out well, you might be seeing some of my digital designs around. And if things don't work out well, you will still get to see them because I'll share them with all of you.  So it's a win-win!!!

Now that I'm finished with school until the Fall I'm trying to get back into a normal routine, but I've been all over the place. I'm trying to get things ready for a garage sale this weekend. Cleaning out the basement. Cleaning out my scrapbook supplies. Cleaning out the toys.  I've come to the conclusion we just have too much stuff. I'm really trying to simplify my things, with a big focus on my supplies. I've realized all this stuff is really hurting my creativity. So I'm weeding out the items I just don't love anymore. They are all perfectly good supplies, they just don't fit my style anymore.

Well, enough about that.  Here's is the real reason for my post tonight.

My photo 365.  Still going...but not really strong.  I'm finding it harder to remember to take a photo each day.  I feel like I'm taking snapshots of the same things all the time.  I'm trying to get some new inspiration over at Capture your 365.  I also received a new point and shoot camera for Mother's Day, so I'm excited to play with my new toy. 

Now I just need to get my bosy to sit still long enough to get some group photos with it.  :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Before I was a Mom


to all the wonderful women that have loved, cared and raised someone special.

Before I was a Mom -
I slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. I brushed my hair and my teeth every day.

Before I was a Mom -
I cleaned my house each day. I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby. I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom -
I had never been puked on - Pooped on - Spit on - Chewed on, or Peed on. I had complete control of my mind and My thoughts. I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom -
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put it down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom -
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child. I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom -
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known The warmth, The joy, The love, The heartache, The wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom. I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Family x12 Blog Hop

I'm so happy to be back this month.  I had to miss last month because of a family trip, but I did take a picture in March so this post will be a two for one.

As I've said before I really do love this blog hop.  It motivates me to get a group photo of my family each month.  I've been doing this for almost a year now (May will be my anniversary) and I love looking back at how we changed.

So here's a peek at my family in March:

Now for April I have quite a few.  We took a lovely trip out West and I wanted to make sure we had at least one because it's happen in the past we we didn't get any.  I'm happy to say we have 4 photos with everyone together.  I love it!!!

Most of these were taken by someone else that was kind enough to help us out.  The second one we did with my new Gorillapod and the timer.

I hope this inspires you to get those people you love together and jump in front of the camera for a family photo.  Your next stop on the blog hop is over at Patricia's Blog to see her lovely family.

In case you get lost here is the list of everyone that is participating.

Moncia  <---YOU ARE HERE

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Round Up Time

When I decided to start doing these round up posts I didn't realize how much I would like them.  Each week I will sit down at my computer and update the file I keep for the month. It always surprises me what I forget just in a week worth of time.

I would always wonder where my time went and looking at these round-ups, I now know where all the time goes. So here is how our crazy, busy month of April went.

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

Watched: Hunger Games, Sense & Sensibility (one of my favorite movies), the 5 year engagement.

Read: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Lover Enshrined, Lover Avenged and Lover Mine by J.R. Ward

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

My oldest had to present this reenactment of what a Sail maker in Colonial times did.  He also received another award at school for Ownership (one of the 8 keys of excellence).

My middle son’s Soccer practice started up. His games started up too.  In swimming, he moved up to the next level

My youngest went to a friend’s birthday party.  He needs to get glasses for reading.  He has a weak muscle in his eye and this should help strengthen it.

My middle and youngest had last gymnastic class until the fall.
All the boys attended the Detroit Loins Youth Football Clinic at their school

All three boys started swimming lessons at GoldFish Swim School.  They loved it!

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

From Vegas we drove to Zion and Bryce National Parks.

In Zion we hiked the Emerald Pools, Weeping Rock and Riverside Walk Trails.  Ken did the Hidden Canyon Trail instead of the Weeping Rock and Riverside. We also started the Canyon Overlook Trail but the drop offs and narrow path finally was too much for my fear of heights and we had to turn back.  This was almost 5 miles of trails.

In Bryce we did the Figure 8, which is listed as the most Strenuous Hike due to the multiple elevation changes. The highest point was 8.001 ft. and lowest was 1,631 ft. It was a total of 6.4 miles. It was a combination of the Queens Garden, Navajo Loop and Peekaboo Loop.

The boys did the Junior Ranger programs at both parks and got their official patches. 

 Went to Hoover Dam with the boys. Did tour and walked arcoss the dam.

Celebrated Easter at home.  No big dinner or brunch this year. Just something small and quiet.

Hubby and I had another date night. This time with some friends. We went to Sangria’s in Royal Oak with the Blanks and two other couples. We took a drive by my old house – it’s been about 13 years since I lived there and everything is so different.

Went to dinner and a movie (Hunger Games) with friends from the MOMs group.

Went to breakfast with some mom’s from school. It was so nice to get out and just relax for a few hours.

Went to brunch with friends from high school.

Took the boys to open swim.

Went on a second date with hubby. We went to dinner and a movie. Saw the 5 year engagement.

Celebrated Father in-laws 70th birthday. Went to dinner and then to our house for cake and ice cream.

4. What creative things have I done this month?

In my Illustration class we are working on freehand drawing and shading. These pictures are so much harder for me, but I’m really enjoying the process.

In my Illustrator class I finished my Mickey Mouse and he looks awesome.  I really love learning new software and figuring out the different ways to do a task.  

I signed up for Jessica Sprague’s The Art of Digital Design.  I’ve been working on my first digital kit. 

I also applied for Jessica’s Design Team, I didn't make the cut but I'm going to keep trying.

5. What special or unusual purchases did I make?

The Art of Digital Design Class

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

Started the Turbo Fire 20 week challenge.  Finished two weeks of the classes but I had to take a break, my knees were really starting to bother me.  I have to figure out a different plan.

Playing soccer once a week.

7. What were my accomplishments this month?

Finished my vector based Mickey Mouse.

8. What were my disappointments this month?

Been sick a lot. Just can not get rid of this head cold/allergies?

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

Start meal planning again.
I actually made a meal plan but didn’t follow it because Ken had to go out of town two weeks in a row.

Work on weekly overall routine.
Been thinking about this but didn’t start writing anything down.

Start the Turbo Fire workouts and start running a few days a week.
Did two weeks of turbo fire until my knee started bothering me. Walked on treadmill the other times, when I wasn’t sick.

10. Anything else noteworthy to include?

Closed on our refinance for our home.
Need to get some wood replace on the outside of our house.

Goals for May (in no particular order):

Work out at least 5 days a week.
Work on weekly overall routine

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

One Little Word Blog Hop

Welcome to this month's One Little Word Blog Hop. I missed joining in last month due to our family being on vacation, so I'm going to start this off with a recap of what I did last month.

My one little thing to focus on last month was spending time with my husband. I wrote one date night on the calendar and was so thrilled at the end of the month that we actually had two date nights that month.

I'm using the page protectors from last years OLW so my layouts are different then the current class. Here's how my pages turned out for those assignments. The photos are not that great because I had to scan to save me some time.

Now for this month. Writing a letter to ourselves.  I decided to read the letter I wrote last year and it made me smile.  Here's some points that really hit home.

  • I stated I wanted to go back to school.  I did go back to school and will have four course completed towards my Media Arts Degree.

  • I hoped that one year from now we would be doing more active family outings.  We went hiking in Zion and Bryce National Park and we have a 2-week trip to Yellow Stone this summer.

  • I hoped that I would be developing my desire to design some digital scrapbooking kits.  I'm currently taking Jessica Sprague's Art of Digital Design class and have the beginning of my first kit made.

Now there were a few items in this letter that I'm still working on, and honestly will probably be working on them for the rest of my life.  The letter was a wonderful reminder of how far I've come and the changes I made.

I did write myself a letter this year. I'm not going to share it now, but it will be interesting to see what I think of it next year. Here's what the page looks like before I wrote the letter on it.

Thank you for stopping by this month.  Your next stop on the blog hop is over at Ruth's blog.  If you get lost along the way here is the complete list of participates this month.

Monica B  <------ YOU ARE HERE
Missus Wookie