Froggy Friday 4/29

It’s the weekend!!  And that means another Froggy Friday at The Lilypad! New products on sale through the weekend!

Every week I wish I had all the time in the world to be able to play with each and every new release. As with everything in life, though, we can’t have it all, and I have to choose! This week I chose to play with May Storyteller by Just Jaimee and April Insta Review Template by Scrapping with Liz.  Here’s what I came up with:

First, I finished up my Project Life spread for 2016 week 12.  It was a rough week, with lots of illness, dr. appointments, and missed days of school. We even downplayed Easter in favor of just surviving the day with ear infections and a fever (Meagan).  Still, the week wasn’t all bad – there’s always something to celebrate and be happy about, even if it’s hiding in the smaller details of daily life.

2016 03 week 12 spread 600 250

(a close-up of the left side)2016 03 week 12 left 600 250

(a close-up of the right side)

2016 03 week 12 right 600 250

 

Secondly, I did a spread of dog photos taken at the nature reserve during one of our house showings (see previous post).  It seems I like my dogs… a LOT… and I take a lot of pictures of them. So I find that I have several photos that look rather similar. Still, there are a few that stand out, or that help tell the story of the day. I tried to focus on those. The rest will have to settle for being saved as digital files (hey, they can’t ALL make it into the books, right?!)

2016 03 week 13 happy dogs SPREAD 600 250

(a close-up of the left side)2016 03 week 13 happy dogs LEFT 600 250

(a close-up of the right side)2016 03 week 13 happy dogs RIGHT 600 250

 

The Cliff Notes

Yet again, it has been months since I last posted… trust me, I have a good reason for the nearly-four-month absence.  But, it might take about 4 months for me to share it all.  Here are the cliff notes:  After trying to make it work with Lucas working in Ohio and us living in Indiana, we finally came to the decision to accept the relocation offer from the company. We have since done a full sprucing up of our house, put our house on the market, bought a new house, and gotten our current house under contract. That’s a lot of change and stuff happening around here! So, we’re currently in the midst of coordinating with the movers to pack our things at the end of May, and then deliver them to our new house at the end of June. Technically that leaves us homeless for a month in between there… thankfully we are able to land with family for those 30 days. Yes, there will be seven people and 2 dogs in a house normally occupied by only 2 people. I’m sure they will feel very much like they’ve been invaded and taken over. Here’s hoping we will all be gracious guests!!  Life is never boring around here!

So, in the 7 weeks or so that our house was on the market, we had a TON of showings. A T.O.N…. which meant we were displaced from our house more times than I care to count. Every time a showing was requested, we had to load up the kids and the dogs in the back of the car and find something to do for an hour or more. Often, we found ourselves landing at parks or nature reserves in the area. I am so thankful for the amenities in our area – it’s one of the things I will miss most when we leave!

Still, we are all excited and looking forward to new things to come. Our new house will be a huge blessing, and a place where we can (hopefully) finally feel rooted and stay put until the kids get through school. We’re looking forward to getting back to friends we’ve left behind and to moving closer to family again. Change is tough, and we often resist it at the outset, but change is the only constant. It is good to be forced out of what is comfortable from time to time, to reassess and readjust, and to have the opportunity to practice being flexible and maliable. And so…. HERE WE GO AGAIN!

 

 

 

Jumping on board with Bullet Journaling

It’s a running joke at my house – the number of planners I’ve gone through trying to find a system that works for me. I’ve tried just about everything you can imagine – Erin Condren, The Happy Planner (by Me and My Big Ideas), and many others that you can find at just about every office store or book store. There are elements about each that I love – the pretty covers, the bright and happy colors. Aesthetically, these planners are everything I’m looking for. Functionally, however, not so much. My issues are various, including not enough space to write down both appointments and to-do’s and, well, just about everything else I wish I could write down and keep track of all in one place. I was finding my planners were bulking up due to inserts and papers tucked away and clipped here and there. And still I was overlooking important tasks or forgetting about appointments. Just. Not. What. I. Was. Needing.

For a while now, I’ve kept my calendar 100% digitally, so I can share with my husband to keep him in the loop. Plus, the reminders are a huge thing for me, as I have a tendency to get lost in what I’m doing and lose all track of time and space! The only real downfall for the digital calendar (I use outlook) is the lack of being able to track to-do items. Enter another ap to try to digitally track tasks and due dates. It was getting cumbersome, and kind of annoying with all the digital reminders going off on my phone all the time.

And so, I began yet another search for a system that would work for me. I still want and need to use my digital calendars (plural, as I have one for me, one for each of the kids, one for school, one for work, and one for Lucas). There are several reasons, that I won’t go into, why I cannot eliminate the digital calendar. And I don’t want to. I like it. It works. So really, I’m needing to find something that helps me keep track of tasks, thoughts, notes, goals, progress, etc.

Then an online friend clued me in to the world of Bullet Journaling. I didn’t even know this was a thing! Curious, I went to bulletjournal.com to learn more about it. This, naturally, led to scouring youtube for ideas and examples. After much thought, I decided to jump onboard the Bullet Journal bandwagon! However, having JUST purchased a new Happy Planner by MAMBI, I didn’t want to waste the resource (the prettiness, as well as the money spent). So, I salvaged what I could, and gutted the rest. I kept a few of the divider tabs, and I kept the Budget pages I had purchased. And then I started from scratch. I ordered a few blank grid/note pages made by MAMBI specifically for their planners. I also decided that part of the fun for me would be to use some of my digital supplies to create certain pages I’ll need. The rest, will be good old fashioned pen to paper, day to day.

Let me show you what I’ve got so far!

My first 3 pages are where my INDEX will be. I labeled the top of the 1st page accordingly, and began indexing my pages – content and page #s.

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Here’s a zoom-in on what I’ve indexed so far…

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The next few pages, then, are my Future Planning pages – places to jot down things to come in the months ahead. I made these in Photoshop Elements and printed them off.

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Now to jump right into January planning! I made a month overview spread (also in PSE, using digital supplies downloaded from The Lilypad).

2016 01 03 (6)600

On the left, I put together a month-at-a-glance agenda, divided  into Morning, Afternoon, Evening to keep it a bit cleaner and easier to see. You’ll see at the bottom of the page, I’ve added a basic amount of color coding. I didn’t want to get overboard with it.  Too much creates confusion and complication for me.

The right side of the spread is a place for me to write down my monthly goals or things I want/need to do. I also added a cute little snowman doodle and inspirational phrase (both by Little Butterfly Wings @ The Lilypad).

My next page jumps right into my daily notes. For simplicity, I stuck with the recommended icons used by the official Bullet Journal system – a dot indicates a task, a dash indicates a note… so far those are the only 2 things I’ve needed to add. Once the task is complete, I X through it. If you want more info on how the notations are intended to work, the video on bulletjournal.com is really helpful and clear.

So here’s a look at my first weekly entries…

2016 01 03 (7)600

As you can see, I only got 3 days on the 1st page. For me, this system is intended to run on a continuum. I don’t feel the need to have it all neat and tidily fit with even spaces on a two-page spread. If I did, a generic planner from the store would do the trick for me. I actually quite like the freedom to add and insert and doodle. I like that not every day is the same size, because not every day demands the same. This is part of what makes this system so appealing to me!

I decided that each day I want to focus on taking note of one thing throughout the day that encourages or inspires me, and then jot it down. That’s what the notes are off to the side of the days of the week. On Saturday, I heard a verse on the radio that hit home for me. When I got home, I looked it up, and jotted it down. On Sunday, it was a quote by Jonathan Edwards that was given in church. The doodle at the bottom is something I saw on facebook that I liked… (I imagine myself in a long hallway full of closed doors, just waiting to see which one opens. I like the reminder.)

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2016 01 03 (8)600

The next page has a few things… at the top, I have added a habit tracker for things I want to try to remember to do each day. I’ll shade them in as they are accomplished. And then below that, I’ve started a prayer list for the week. When I come across a friend on facebook asking for prayer, or someone in my life who needs lifted up, I jot it down to so I can keep them in front of me.

2016 01 03 (11)600

Last thing to share for today… my meal planner section… I had purchased the household collection of pages from MAMBI. I really like the budget pages. They also included housework pages (who are we kidding… those are out the window!) and meal planner pages. The meal planner pages would probably work wonderfully as-is for a lot of people. There was space for each day of the week, as well as a page for a grocery list, divided by category. However, I have commitment issues when it comes to meal planning, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to write down 7 meals and then actually prepare and eat those same 7 meals. I do better to have a larger list that shows meals we have available. Then, I can choose what I’m in the mood for on any given day. Again, using supplies from The Lilypad, I threw together a page template that I can print each week, or as needed, to better fit my style of planning.

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Since we’re only a handful of days into the year, I don’t have tons and tons of pages to show you. But you get the gist. I’ll continue like this – daily lists, prayer lists, habit tracker, and anything else that inspires me. I know it won’t be a book of perfection, but I am hoping that it will be a book that helps to facilitate changes in organization and prioritization. Hope you’re feeling inspired to find a system that works for you to get organized and live an intentional life!

2016 01 03 (10)600

 

Baking Through the Year

Obsessed. That would be how I would describe Meagan when it comes to baking. One word. All-inclusive. No exception. The girl is obsessed. Any chance she has to commandeer the television, you can bet it lands on Food network, in hopes of finding a baking show of some sort. She loves to watch every donut showdown, cupcake battle, and holiday bake-off she can find! Watch it, and emulate it.

One particular evening, after we had just finished watching an episode of Holiday Baking Championship, she looked at me and made one request… She wanted to learn to bake things – things that don’t come out of a box or a pouch. “Bake real things,” she called it. So I hatched an idea… what if we set a goal to bake at least one thing each week throughout 2016. That way, she would have at least 52 things under her baking belt. No surprise – she was totally on board!

January 1 – the start of the new year, and she’s ready to cash in on the promise of baking in 2016! Isaac, sweet big brother that he is, had chosen a Babycakes for her for his Christmas gift to her. She was ready to take it for a test run. She found a recipe for donuts that she wanted to make, and, of course, a recipe for a glaze topping. But it didn’t stop there! She found inspiration from a bag of mini Reese’s Cups in our pantry, and came up with a baking-show-inspired idea! We chopped up the peanut butter cups in the food processor, added some to the batter, and then added more to the top of the finished glazed donuts, thus creating….

Reese’s Cup Donuts!!

2016 01 01 (9)600

Here’s the recipe (that came w/ her Babycakes)…

Donuts:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk (we used fat free)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (we used EVOO)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (we used fat free)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Chopped Reese’s cups (not exactly sure how much)
  1. Stir dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl
  2. Whisk remaining ingredients (except Reese’s cups) together in a separate bowl
  3. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Using a mixer on medium speed, blend until smooth. Add Reese’s cups and blend until evenly mixed.
  4. Fill each cake reservoir w/ about 1 Tbsp batter. Bake 3-5 minutes.

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa (we used dark)
  • 2 tbsp. half and half
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Whisk all ingredients together, adding more half and half if necessary for glaze consistency.
  2. Dip cooled donuts halfway into glaze. Place on wired rack
  3. Sprinkle with additional candy pieces. Let donuts sit to allow glaze to set

And here’s the result… little bight-sized donuts of deliciousness! I think I’m gonna like this baking adventure for 2016!

2016 01 01 (11)600

 

BYOC Love

Loving this month’s BYOC – the colors! For real! Funny thing is, it’s intended for scrapping the new year, which tends to be a bit wintery, but this collection is working out great for me for scrapping some fall pictures that I’ve been hanging onto! Take a look..

Here’s my sweet Arya doing what she loves the most…stalking birds! She is a hunter through and through, and spends hours sneaking up on and/or openly chasing any bird / rabbit / other small critter that crosses her path!

2015 10 06 Arya Bird Hunter 600 250

These photos were taken on our vacation to Hocking Hills this past October. We TRIED to get a family selfie, but couldn’t get all five of our heads in the photo! Thankfully, a nice stranger stopped on the trail and gave us a hand. Yes, the picture of all of us turned out well, and it’s nice to be able to see everyone’s faces, but honestly, I sort of love the goofyness that shines through in our selfie attempts!

2015 10 15 Upper Rim 600 250

 

It’s never too late!

For those of you who know me, you know that I get big ideas and I like to start projects for said ideas… starting new projects is a sure thing for me.  Sadly, finishing them is not always such a sure thing. This is particularly true when it comes to scrapbooking projects… Let me share with you projects that I have started and not finished:

  • A Week in the Life (various attempts)
  • Project Life, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 (yes, I have parts, but definitely nothing I could even begin to call complete)
  • Document Your December, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2014

Sad, really. But it’s a fact of life for me. I think the problem with long-term commitment projects is that I have to actually remember and find time to do them regularly for an extended period of time. I tend to get distracted or sidetracked when it comes to creative projects, working on whatever catches my interest and inspiration at the time.

However, I have all these older layouts I’ve made over the years and saved for that special day when I can compile them into a completed album. These layouts with our family memories are collecting dust in the dark corners of my external hard drive. That, my friends, is not where memories belong.

This year, I decided it’s never too late! Feeling inspired by the new Christmas designs being released each week at The Lilypad, I decided to blow the dust off of my 2013 DYD layouts and make a push to FINISH a project!

Guess what… I did it! I finished it! I have successfully compiled the Christmas season of 2013 from start to finish. I have packaged it neatly in a bound album to be printed, and I now anxiously await that happy, orange Shutterfly box on my porch. I think it should be here sometime early next week. To celebrate my success, I thought I would share some of my layouts here – old and new… There are 40+ pages in my book, so I’ll not be sharing them ALL. (There’s a link to the full album at the end of this post, if you want to check it out.)

My album ended up being a mix of various types of pages… some were pocket-style spreads:

2013 12 25 Christmas Morning Boys SPREAD 600 250

 

2013 12 25 Christmas morning SPREAD 600 250

 

2013 12 29 Hilleary Christmas SPREAD 600 250

Some are single-page pocket-style layouts:

2013 12 25 Meg 600 250

Some are traditional scrapbook layouts:

 

2013 12 28 take down 600 250

2013-12-25-Skype-600-250

And some are 1/2-page inserts:

2013 12 24 Deck the Halls Insert 600 250         2013 12 24 Grinch insert 600 250

It all came together to create one big album packed full of 2013’s holiday memories. Yes, I started this project 2 years ago, and yes, it sat untouched in the dark recesses of my computer for many, many months. But, hey! It’s never too late to pick it back up and keep going. You only fail if you give up!

 

Link to the complete book here:

Click here to view this photo book larger

Thanksgiving is in the air!

I’m feeling the excitement of the holiday building! The kids are ending their full week of school… looking at a short week next week! We’ve got plans in the works to get together with family. The menu is laid out. Grocery lists are made. Heck! I’ve even got a few Christmas decorations up already! It’s exciting times!

Growing up in a split family, tradition was something hard to come by. Holidays were never the same from year to year. There were very few things I could count on as absolutes. Now that I’m grown, and have my own family, and live in a different state than every other relative I have, it’s definitely not any better. Traditions are hard to come by. Some years we get to go “home” for the holiday, and some years we get to STAY home for the holidays. Some years it’s a crowd, and others it’s just the five of us.

To combat this, I’ve made a conscious effort to insert traditions that can travel with us, be flexible enough to work wherever we are. For instance, several years ago, we had a pumpkin pie tasting contest at our house, trying to choose the perfect pie for Thanksgiving desert. Hands-down, the turtle pumpkin pie won out over the traditional. So, the turtle pumpkin pie has become a tradition that is a part of our holiday, no matter where we are.

Since we change it up from year to year, it’s important to me to document our holiday seasons. There are a lot of approaches to this – December Daily (Ali Edwards) or Document Your December (The Lilypad). For me, focusing only on December just doesn’t get the job done. Our holiday festivities, including decorations, begin in November. Thanksgiving is the big kickoff! I’ve adopted a documenting approach that takes us from Turkey Day to the New Year.

This layout shows our TG 2014… we had dinner at our house, and my parents came. It was low-key, but special. Funny memories – like one of the kids getting out the giant canister of salt for my mom, and, of course, the traditional turtle pumpkin pie, along with apple pie and a pumpkin roll. Good stuff!

2014 11 TG SPREAD 600 250

While the traditional December approach to documenting the holidays doesn’t work for me, I have to say I LOVE the 6×8 format that has become the norm for this Document Your December project. Love. The. 6×8.

Love.

Sadly, being a digital scrapper, I don’t print albums in 6×8. I tend to print 12×12 albums. This year, I had an epiphany… If I upsize to 9×12, it will be the same aspect ratio as the 6×8, which I LOVE, and it will fit in my 12×12 albums! For me, this is the perfect solution! I am super happy that I stumbled upon this. My plan is to print the pages, and then trim the excess off of the 9×12 spreads… just like I do for the half-page inserts I’ve shown before. Rather than printing a separate holiday album, I plan to just merge these in with my regular Project Life album… a more organic approach to including out holiday events and celebrations. I love that there is no right or wrong way to this. Really, it’s all about finding what works for you and going with it. I’m  happy to say, this works for me. 🙂

So this spread is 2 9×12 pages that will be printed side by side to ultimately look like the spread above.

2014 11 TG left 600 250

2014 11 TG right 600 250

It’s a great start to documenting the holiday season! In years to come, we will all enjoy looking back through our albums seeing what changed, and what stayed the same.