Welcome… fall?

Whoa! That’s the worst blank I’ve ever had with this blog. But we’ve been busy with good things. Great things!

I’m still scrapping Project Life:




However, I’m a bit behind. I’m up to about mid-July. The awesome thing about Project Life though, is that it’s not difficult to get caught up. In other scrappy news… well, let me back up a bit. Since so many of the scrapbook magazines in this country went under and the only one left that has anything to with scrapbooking is called Paper Crafts (remember, I’m a digital scrapbooker), I stopped submitting things for publication. I even started turning down requests from editors. But when I got Paper Crafts’ email invitation to submit for for Vol. 2 of their successful Photo Pocket Scrapbooking special issue, I got a bit excited because I’d just started doing the pocket style scrapbooking this year and it’s fresh and new and exciting to me. So I sent an email to the editor… would they accept digital submissions even though the magazine is called Paper Crafts? The answer was YES, as long as submissions used pocket-style scrapbook supplies. So I submitted. And they asked for three two-page layouts of mine! Sweet! Photo Pocket Scrapbooking Vol 2 is supposed to come out in December. I’ve updated my Published Work tab. Kinda. 😉

So what else has kept me so busy? Well, besides having an awesome summer with my kids (I adore summer and the no-schedule sleeping-in life and hanging out with my babies!) Ron and I started a new venture. We couldn’t be more thrilled because bottom line… we finally decided to make our dreams come true. After 20 years of marriage, we decided we weren’t going to wait anymore; we had to MAKE it happen.

And I’ll go more into that when the first chapter is just about ready to close. Ooh, was that a hint?

(And no, we’re not writing a book.)

Welcome, Spring

Today is the first day of spring! When those blossoms bloom on the trees as spring approaches, it is so beautiful and I love it. March started out on the rainy and overcast side and it was a little sad too (the one year anniversary of my mom’s death, and we went and spread her ashes) but ultimately, life is sunny and exciting and full of love. I am constantly blessed by my family and I appreciate those blessings.

(click for larger images and details)

Next up… Jaimee’s 6th birthday and the awesome fairy party we threw her.

Most scrapbookers have heard of Project Life, the pocket-page style of scrapbooking. I mostly see the weekly version where you create a page or spread for each week of the year. The “365” version is the “photo a day” approach. I’ve always liked the style and simplicity of Project Life, but I knew I could never stick to scrapping each week by the week, and DEFINITELY would not enjoy trying to take a photo every day. I finally thought to just do the pocket style but scrap however many days in each page/spread I wanted and (oh my!) even skip days if nothing happened that day. It freed me up to do this quick and easy style, and doing it digitally makes it REALLY quick and easy. So here’s our January: Spread #1: left side: right side: The first spread covers only the first 4 days of the month. But it was a BIG four days! I’m keeping VERY simple by using white cardstock for the background and mat every time (I can take forever to decide on paper colors & patterns and this really simplifies and streamlines the process). I choose one accent color for each spread and embellish minimally. Not my usual scrap style, but I am at a busy phase of life with my four kids (I have a high-schooler, a middle-schooler, a kindergartener, and a toddler!) and it’s quick-and-easy scrapbooking for me right now or none at all. Here’s the 2nd and last spread for January: left side: right side: Since the flu hit us, it made the rest of the month a pretty slow one. We didn’t even TRULY celebrate my birthday (the plan was for me and Ron to go to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner) because I was still feeling horribly. Hey, that’s life and I’m glad I gave myself the freedom to not try to create a page or spread for every week of the month. There was pretty much nothing going on from the 5th to the 16th and how would those pages have looked if I’d stuck with the by-the-week approach religiously? So there it is. I already can’t wait to see how the rest of the year goes, and then to create a hard-bound photo book using these pages (I will probably do a 10×10 book from Shutterfly) as our family album for 2014. Do you do Project Life? If you’ve posted images online, link me up in the comments!

Elf On The Shelf ideas

I did it! When it became clear our 5 year old needed some fun Christmas make-believe, the elf was the perfect solution. I was a little nervous about being committed every day for 24 days (what if I forgot one night?!) but the desire to not see Jaimee disappointed was strong enough to remind me each night. It ended up being fun for the whole family and I’m glad we did it.

I hinted in the post about how we decided to start doing this that I changed some of the traditional “Elf on the Shelf” ideas and wrote a letter from our elf that better framed this the way we wanted to do it. I didn’t want an elf that went back to the North Pole each night to report on the kids’ behavior. Because… well, for a LOT of reasons. Here’s the text of the letter:

Dear Drew, Holly, Jaimee, & Bennett,

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Now that it’s the Christmas season, I’ve come down from the North Pole to stay with your family! There are three things you should know about me:

1. I only come awake when everyone else in the house is asleep.
2. I shouldn’t be touched (only your parents can if it’s to keep me safe).
3. I will go back to the North Pole on the night of Christmas Eve.

I will have fun watching you during the day, and I’ll be having my own fun in your house at night while you sleep!

Jolly McJinglepants

Yes, I named the elf, lol. Knowing what Jaimee wants to name our future pets, I knew this would be a better idea. And I wanted something that would amuse ME too, hahaha. I liked the “no touching” rule but I didn’t say anything about elf magic… I just didn’t want the elf to become a play thing that would endure extra wear and tear, or worse, I didn’t want the elf to get MISPLACED (*shudder*). Lastly, I wanted the elf to be “leaving” on Christmas Eve because really… can the elf even compete with Christmas morning? And do I want another thing to have to do the night before Christmas? Sometime during the month, Jaimee reasoned that the elf had to leave on Christmas Eve so that he could help Santa deliver toys. Ok!

So…. I admittedly used many ideas I’d seen online (I’m just not that inventive!) but I do love how it all turned out and it really was a lot of fun. I’ve already shared the first six days. Here are the rest!

more elf on the shelf
7. Jolly is taking a Barbie out on a date. And driving all over our partially-done puzzle!
8. Jaimee had the class “pet”  for the weekend and they were chilling on top of the TV. Sunday was a great day for this since we were all watching a lot of NFL football that day (P.S. how much fun was watching that game in the deep snow?!)
9. Peeking out from the water dispenser in the fridge
10. TP’ing the tree. (I loved how fast this one was – great reaction… a lot of bang for the buck!)
11. Then rolling down the stairs in the toilet paper roll (30 seconds to set up since he was already in the toilet paper roll!
12. You know syrup is one of the main elven food groups! (That blue one is my bunny-elf from my childhood!)

still more elf on the shelf ideas
13. A panty raid on the ceiling fan! A pair from everyone except Drew. I’ve even got one of Bennett’s diapers up there.
14. Playing Candy Land with some Groovy Girl dolls.
15. Jolly made a gingerbread train and brought three gingerbread house kits. That day (a Saturday!) Jaimee, Holly, and I made gingerbread houses.
16. Jolly made a snowman in the freezer! (this was the one time Jaimee needed help finding him)
17. The elf loves low-brow humor (ie. whatever will make a 5 year old laugh!)
18. Jolly, drunk on sugar, eating a gingerbread house!

and still more elf on the shelf ideas
19. Snow angels (I used flour, sifted)
20. “Snowball” fight!
21. Playing Mr. Potato Head. With REAL potatoes!
22. Elf-sized donuts (cheerios, frosting, cookie decorations) and a dozen donuts for the family from Krispy Kreme. Perfect for a Sunday morning.

23. This one was a two-parter. He sat on the tree with a packet of “Magic Elf Seeds”:Elf on the Shelf Magic Seeds
(“guaranteed to work overnight!”)

and instructions:
1. Plant the seeds in the vase on the ledge
2. Sprinkle the fertilizer on top
3. Wait till morning to see what grows!

Here’s the “planter” (filled with sugar) and “fertilizer”:
planter for magic elf seeds

Both Holly and Jaimee loved this:
planting magic elf seeds

24. Candy canes grew overnight!

And that was a big hit that morning. By the time I’d gotten up, Holly and Jaimee had already each had a candy cane, lol! Next time, I guess Jolly needs to specify that they need to wait for mommy (so I can get pictures!) and eat their breakfast first. 😉

What a blast. Jaimee already misses Jolly and hopes he’ll come next year too.

That is until Jaimee. Jaimee is our first child who really REALLY wants to believe in Santa. We were sort of blasé about it at first because it wasn’t a big deal with either Drew or Holly… it just caught us by surprise, I guess. Over the Thanksgiving weekend when we were at Grandma & Grandpa’s as Jaimee and I were snuggled together on a blow-up-mattress ready to fall asleep, I was looking at Elf on the Shelf pics (knowing she’d be looking over my shoulder) to see her reaction. When I told her about elves from the North Pole who sometimes visit homes for the Christmas season and sometimes cause mischief, she was so tickled by it. And I knew this would be the way to bring some Christmas make-believe that she was so craving. In the car on the way home, I typed up a letter from him and emailed it to myself. We stopped by Barnes & Noble (yay for their 30% off Black Friday weekend coupon!) and I ran in to get the elf. When we got home, I got in before Jaimee could get out of the car seat and hurriedly put him up on top of the entryway mirror and printed out the letter. She spotted him minutes later. She was so excited she practically started crying and her face turned beet red. Yay, we pulled it off!

So now, six days into it (wow, already 25% done!) here’s what Jolly McJinglepants has been doing in our house:


Dec 1: Surprise! Jaimee gets her elf!
Dec 2: Having fun with Dumbo
Dec 3: Naughty Jolly on the mantle. There were discarded wrappers and chocolate bits on the floor too!
Dec 4: Haphazardly strewn lights and a few ornaments… the tree smells good, but decorate it already!
Dec 5: He likes TV and popcorn. Who knew?
Dec. 6. Did you know elves poop chocolate?

I think we’re all having fun with it. Holly is excitedly giving me ideas and Ron, who’s been out of town for the last two days on business, asked me to send him pics of what the elf has been doing while he’s away. But mostly, I’m just happy to be doing it for Jaimee.

If you do Elf on the Shelf, hit me up with your blog posts and Pinterest boards!