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You remember the ol’ “What did you do this summer?” essay. Me? I did this:

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It took me 14 weeks. That’s 98 days. From June 7th (before pics) to Sept 12th (after pics). The summer.

Those before pics are really embarrassing, y’all (and there is no Photoshopping of the bod in any of the pics, I promise). I struggle to even post them. But if someone (Kerry Stewart)  hadn’t posted her own transformation three years ago, I never would have had the inspiration or known how she’d done it. So I figure I owe it to whoever may be out there that would be inspired enough to change their body (and life!).

How’d I do it? Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (BFFM). It’s not a diet. It’s nothing extreme. It’s eating right and exercising. It’s not about the number on the scale. It’s about body fat vs. lean body mass. It’s about health and fitness. If you want my advice (and I’m not an endorser, I don’t get paid to say this, I’ve received nothing, I’m just someone who’s been successful using this) I recommend getting his book (either ebook now or hardback when it comes out in December) and even joining the online community and participating in the next 14 week challenge which starts the first week of January. Actually, I recommend first reading his book The Body Fat Solution and then “graduating” to BFFM. Be prepared to not only count calories, but to calculate “macros”. These are the percentages of the total protein, carbs, and fat grams you eat each day. I used My Fitness Pal (you can use it on your computer and/or via an app on your phone) to track my macros and highly recommend it. Don’t let this scare you off! If I can do it, you can do it!

Anyway, I was ready to change my life. After two miscarriages, a pregnancy that required bed rest for the 2nd half, and then my mom being diagnosed with cancer and passing away this March, I was in bad shape. I weaned Bennett in April and was ready to start taking care of myself.

I’m not gonna lie. It was work. It took time and effort. But isn’t something worth having worth working for? I have to admit… I’m proud of myself. I feel GREAT. I’m sleeping at night. I’m STRONG. When I first start started working out, I attempted to climb the rope at the gym. I couldn’t even lift my own body weight up off the ground. As of 2 1/2 weeks ago, I can climb that rope. I’m getting out there and being active. Last Saturday, my daughter and I did a 5k and had a blast. I have energy. I’m living life. I’m loving life.

Speaking of working out, I’ve tried doing the big gym thing in the past. For me, it’s hard to motivate myself to get in regularly. But this time I decided to give Crossfit a try. They are 100% willing to scale every workout to what YOU can do, so don’t worry and don’t think you can’t do Crossfit. It’s an awesome community of encouraging people and I recommend it highly (again, not an endorser, I receive no compensation from them). What more can I say than, even though my 14 week challenge is over, I can’t wait to get back in for my next workout. I love getting stronger. I love feeling good. I will continue to improve my abilities and strength. This has been a kick start to truly changing my life. I am so thankful.

If you use Pinterest, check out my Fitness Motivation board. The mental aspect is important too.

I’m happy to answer any questions you have. Just post in the comment section and I will answer!

Last week, BasicGrey announced the Design Team for the 2013-2014 year. And yep! For the third straight year, I’m on the team again, yay!

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Up to this point, I’ve made strictly digital creations for them. Most recently, I made this:

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using their newly released “Clippings” digital kit. Which I *heart*.  I just adore the style and the muted colors.

HOWEVER…

Have you seen their new Capture line?! And the Carte Postale collection?! Let me give you a peek:

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Ok, seriously… I saw this stuff and HAD to do something with the awesome.

HAD. TO.

I’ve actually been pinning paper creations for over a year. You see, I started scrapbooking digitally over 4 years ago and while I love it and it will remain my main way to document our memories, there have been some things I’ve missed about paper scrapping. The two biggest of those have been utilizing the actual memorabilia, and incorporating my own handwriting. Sure, I’ve taken pictures of memorabilia and included it in the photo books where have my digital scrapbook pages printed. And I could use a Wacom pad to include my own handwriting. But it’s not the same. And I’ve missed it.

I’d see paper scrapping things on Pinterest that incorporated these things… Project Life pages, “Smash” book pages… and I started pinning the ones that inspired me. But nothing made me actually want to create a paper album UNTIL… I saw BasicGrey’s new Capture line. It has everything! Yummy kraft albums. The coolest papers and embellishments. Pocket pages. I fell in love! Between that and their Carte Postal line, I was finally inspired enough to actually do some paper scrapping again! And what better way to get my memorabilia fix than to document our recent family vacations with a travel book! And of course, the Carte Postale line couldn’t be more perfect for a travel theme.

So I started with the plain kraft binder-style album in the Capture line that includes 7×9.5 kraft pages and envelope. I love love love it!
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It allowed me to create any cover I wanted and here’s how I decorated the cover:
(and most, but not all of this is on the BasicGrey blog today)

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I love the notebook page-style sticker along the left side. And clearly, I couldn’t get enough of the Capture and Carte Postale goodies! In the filmstrip, I used pieces of a Disneyland newspaper (yay, incorporating memorabilia!) and I loved using the various alphabets to create my title.

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On the inside front cover I used paper from the Capture pad (it’s already sized perfectly for the Capture albums and the papers are so nice and thick!) as well as more alphabets to create a “log” of all the dates of our trips. We started a “Year of Disney” in April. We went again in May and again in July. I wanted something at the beginning of the book to show a list of our trips. If I fill up the front, I can create another one on the back cover (because there are two of each of the papers in each pad)!
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In this spread, I wanted to document the road trip (thankfully, we live close enough to drive).
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I printed out maps from the internet (imagine how fun these will be to look back at as technology changes!) and on the left side used BasicGrey fabric tape and a few embellishments:

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and plenty of my own handwriting right on one of the kraft pages that comes with the Capture album. On the right side, I adhered the Yahoo Maps printout directly onto the back side of the kraft envelope. There’s a label and some alpha stickers used to create a journaling spot as well as an arrow sticker (from the Waterfall pack) and some vellum binder-hole reinforcing stickers directly on the map printout.

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When you turn the “envelope page”, you see where I documented the hotel where we stayed.

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I had lots of fun incorporating the memorabilia from the hotel (there’s more inside the pocket like the hotel bill) and using a sheet from one of the hotel note pads to create a journal spot.

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And isn’t this a fun little cluster of delicious BasicGrey goodness?!
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On the right side I simply used one of the pocket pages for photos of us in our hotel room. Easy! The room key (yes, I kept it! and punched a hole in in it!) and a business card (using more of the cool vellum binder-hole reinforcing stickers) are their own “pages” within the spread.

In this next spread, I documented how we surprised our 5 year old.
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The same pocket page from the previous hotel page houses the photos as well as a title card with patterned paper behind it:

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and look how perfectly the “1st Visit” button fits in one of the pockets! (I removed the pin and flattened it first). On the right side I used a kraft page and an assortment of photos from some of the first things we did when we got there. I love the garland from the Carte Postale line – such perfect whimsy for the photos about how much fun we were having!

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Overlayed on top of that is a card from the Capture Waterfall Pack which has a little more journaling about the surprise as well as a printout of a QR code which takes you right to the YouTube page where I uploaded of video we’d taken of the actual moment we surprised Jaimee. I think it’s a pretty cool way to get videos into your scrapbook pages!

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If you’ve been to Disneyland or Disney World, you know about the Fast Pass system, right? It’s very cool and I love being able to put the unused tickets into my album:

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The tags “swing” open by the tape:
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The arrow stickers, acetate stopwatch, and “ticket” are BasicGrey.
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while the stamps, tape, and tags are from my stash. The info on FastPass came from one of the Disney park maps – I just cut it out and adhered it right to the kraft page with a little black outlining around it.

Can you tell how much I utterly adore the Capture and Carte Postale goodies?! I’ve obviously still got more of our three trips to cover to complete my album. This is just part of the first trip! But I’m so pleased with how the album is turning out so far. Stay tuned for more!

Up & Out

I know. It’s been awhile. But remember where we last left off… my mom had just passed away. Just a few months before, the business had failed and there was months of unemployment and the financial situation was… grim. It was such a very dark and dismal time. I was not in good shape physically; I was on bed rest for the 2nd half of the pregnancy with Bennett and had continued in the bad habit of just sitting around and eating whatever I wanted during the breastfeeding phase (which thankfully lasted until this April). But wow, when I look back to this spring… the days were dark and I was hardly sleeping…

In May, we went on family vacation to Disneyland. I love Disneyland and it was a huge bright spot and the beginning of feeling like the sun was coming out. When Bennett and I were done with the breastfeeding I knew that it was time to take back control of my physical situation and get healthy and fit. Last month I decided to participate in a 14-week fitness challenge. I’m just over 6 weeks into it and so far, it’s going really well. I decided that part of how I would reach my fitness goals was joining a CrossFit gym. In short, I love it. I started with 3 days/week and now I’ve worked up to 5 days/week. It’s hard, but it’s a good kind of hard. I know I’ll keep going after the 14 weeks is over. It’s a part of my lifestyle now.

So I’m getting stronger, and feeling better, and sleeping better, and looking better… I feel like I’m coming alive. Life feels good! Each day is exciting!

I already love the summer… the kids are out of school and we can spend more time together . But it’s even sweeter now and I appreciate it more. We went to Disneyland again earlier this month (we did keep our Annual Pass vouchers and activated them when we went in May – and we didn’t have to pay for the price increase difference!) when the A/C went out during that heat wave. It was fun to be spontaneous (and was a great way to escape that crazy heat… can you imagine staying home with no A/C when the temps were hitting 112?!) and what a great vacation when you’re trying to get in shape… you’re walking and moving all day long!

I’ve gotten some great freelance work lately too. I just finished up an article for Scrapbook Magazine (look for it in issue 75; I think it hits shelves in September) and I’m about to start a big project for a major manufacturer… can’t say anything more than that yet, but I will say… it’s a PAPER project. I know! I haven’t done paper scrapbooking in years. It’s gonna be a trip, but I’m really excited about it and can’t wait to share it with you when it’s time.

So it’s all very busy and the house is a wreck, but… as I expressed in this scrapbook page, it feels like the sun is coming out. And I love it.

Here’s that photo:
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taken yesterday and I gotta say… yep, I’m feeling good!

Here’s the fam in Disneyland:
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Radiator Springs is so cool at night!

Bennett getting bigger and walking all over the place:

My girls:

My boys:

Jaimee taking swim lessons this month:

So that about wraps it up. I’m so happy to be able to make a happy post. Happy to be climbing up and out of the darkness.

P.S. Isn’t Pinterest awesome? Give me the link to your boards so I can see what you’re pinning.

Mom; March 4, 1936 – March 3, 2013
One day shy of her 77th birthday, the esophageal cancer won.

Mom wanted a gathering at her house as a memorial. I’m so thankful for my sisters who made it so beautiful. I was touched by everyone who came and there were people I  hadn’t seen in years that brought back such sweet memories.

 

Transition…

Ron lost his job in October. Except for a job that lasted about 6 weeks that brought in less income than unemployment (oy!) he was, well, unemployed. BUT he got a job as an Account Executive… back in the mortgage industry! A real job with full benefits and everything! Obviously the previous 5 months were hard. But really, it’s been a hard five years since the mortgage industry crashed and we lost our house, savings, etc.  It will take awhile for things to get rolling and for the income to be what we need to get by, but at least there’s a good chance to make beyond the minimum necessary and it feels like a long time since that was even possible. I’m so happy that at least he loves what he’s doing now. And he’s working with and for such nice people. So thankful. And medical, dental, vision, life, and 401K? Yes please, and thank you.

Bennett is weaning. He is my last baby. And he’s gone the longest of any of my babies. Now that I know first hand how shockingly fast the kids grow (um… Drew is getting his DRIVER’S PERMIT!) it’s so hard to let this stage go. Nursing my babies has been hands-down one of my most treasured joys in this life. I will miss it. I will miss him being completely out of baby-stage and full-on into toddler-stage. Didn’t I just give birth to him? What is happening? Trying to look on the bright side… I am looking ahead to getting my body back. I have plans to get back in shape. I’m tired of being weak and flabby. I want to be strong and fit again! More on that later.

Good things:

Well, my kids are all healthy and amazing. No lie, they make me smile every day. Tonight Jaimee and Bennett were playing and doing this funny yelling/screaming thing. Bennett’s face is so cute when he does this and he and Jaimee go back and forth. It’s really so cute (even though it did get pretty LOUD, lol). I do love how Bennett is big enough that now he and Jaimee can be playmates:
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And while it continues to shock me how fast this is happening, we did have a great day celebrating Jaimee’s 5th birthday:

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this was just the “cake” part of the day; the present-opening and Chuck E. Cheese parts were awesome too!)

And other holiday events since my last post:

Jaimee making Valentines for her pre-school classmates. SO CUTE.

And Easter:

My older sister did a truly beautiful job with everything from the decorating, baskets and toys for all the kids, the dinner… she really does have a gift. And it was a good day.

Looks like I need more photos of Drew & Holly. *mental note*

Just hangin’ in there, folks.

I haven’t shared many scrapbook pages lately. These are some of my faves!

I just made this tonight. It’s from March of last year and Bennett is 4 months old and Jaimee just turned 4 years old. Love this page which is a total scraplift of a paper page by mini m le scrap:

I joined a photo swap challenge and got photos from a girl in Germany. I wasn’t sure how I was going to scrap sunset photos, but I’m pleased with how it turned out.

Just some cute pics of Jaimee playing with her dolls. Totally love this page!

I used this layout for the cover of my December Daily hardcover photo book. I also used these photos for our Christmas cards.

I love this kit of Mindy Terasawa’s and have used it several times.

Playing with Holly & Jaimee at the park:

Bennett’s darling little curls!

Thanks for looking! :)

Hello January 2013

It’s the new year, and we all know what this means:

and great football . . . (have the NFL playoff games this weekend not been AWESOME?!)

and . . . Season 3 of Downton Abbey airs in the U.S.!!

Downton Abbey is on tonight!

It was May. Since we had shut down the business and Ron had gotten a great job a few months prior, we were excited to think about planning our first family vacation in years.  And of course, we thought of Disneyland! A place where all ages could have fun! And then we heard about Disneyland ticket and annual passholder prices going up. So we jumped before the price increase. We wanted to be able to go for the year (we’d done annual passes in the past and loved it) and not have any block-out days so bought Premium Annual Passes and we knew we’d have until Dec. 31st to activate them and start our “year of Disney”.

We were all set. I made reservations for a trip for the first week of January (we would activate them just before the deadline) and were so excited about our first family vacation in over three years. And Christmas at Disneyland!

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(Disneyland will be dressed up for Christmas through January 6)

Well, in October, Ron lost his job. We of course still had hope we could pull it off… maybe just go down there for a short trip to activate them and plan a big trip a little later and still have most of the year to enjoy them. But we finally had to let the dream die. It was so hard after months of planning and Jaimee talking about going to Disneyland. But it just makes more sense to try and liquidate these so we can pay some bills and buy some Christmas gifts and wait to do the Disneyland thing when we would have the money to really enjoy it.

We have vouchers we bought from Disney online. They are PDFs that you print out and bring with you to the ticket booth at Disneyland. There are no names on these, just a bar code and activation code on each one. Once you get there, you give them all your info and then they become annual passes with an identity attached to them. Vouchers are how people can buy these as gifts, and then the recipients have no problems using them. So, no worries on that front. Once they are activated, they are good for one year. And as long as they are activated by Dec. 31st, the difference in what we paid and what they now cost won’t be charged.

Premium Annual Passes for Disneyland now sell for $649 each (regardless of age… price is all the same for APs and ages 3 and up need some kind of ticket to get in). We would like to sell ours for $600 each. Still a deal for you (you’re saving  $49 per ticket) and a help to us as you can understand.

If you’re interested, please email me at scrapkat(at)gmail. We could also discuss the reservations for a hotel we have within walking distance… a two room suite for less than half of what the Disneyland Hotel charges! We could probably figure out how to get you that reservation too!

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