Wednesday, December 19, 2012

currently - again.

giving up on: One Little Word project. What a big fat FAIL that was for me. Why I thought I could manage that, Project Life, actual life, working & being a mom is beyond me. In 2013, I will NOT over commit myself...right?

not entirely enjoying: working on my December Daily. Honestly, I LOVE the idea & LOVED my finished product last year, but this year, it's somewhat overwhelming for me & I'm not finding myself so excited to work on it, though I have made a point to have pictures to document every day so far. I know I'll put it all together at some point and I'm really only 3 days behind, it's just that the enjoyment and sometimes my scrappin' mojo is just not there.

worrying: about how I will really manage to complete/stay current on both my December Daily & Project Life when my office gets invaded on Sunday and remains occupied through Friday. Gonna be hard to print pictures etc. Yes, I could go in there, but I choose not to. I will set up a small table in my bedroom w/scrapping goodies, as I am certain it will become my "refuge" for the week. And I WILL need a "refuge" I am sure!!

reading: just finished "Porch Lights" by Dorothea Benton Frank - a fabulous story about Sullivan's Island...can't wait to get there!! Next up is "The Shoemaker's Wife" which my mom and I have decided to read at the same time so we can talk about it. It's a long one....448 pages!! I also (finally) obtained a "real" (read: not electronic) copy of "The Happiness Project" from my public library to look over. I was planning to buy it but then after reading so many mixed reviews, I decided to save my money. I'm anxious to see just what she has inside the pages...a lot of the reviews said there were no "earth-shattering" secrets to finding happiness, so my expectations are low but I'm hoping to be surprised. :) A note about this being a "real" book...while I absolutely LOVE my Nook, I have found that for this sort of book, I much prefer the real thing as it's so much easier to flip back & forth to reference points throughout. 

checking: every single day - my Barnes & Noble Nook book wishlist for any sales on the many books I've been wishing for. :)

believing: that the best days of my Christmas vacation will be the ones spent in South Carolina!! Hurry up December 29th and get here!! In a lot of the books I have read about that area, people speak of how the Lowcountry sort of "captures" you and I truly feel that has happened to me. I find that I am full of peace & joy when there and I will venture to add that a certain other family member of mine has become quite transfixed w/the area & finds it to be a place of calming for him...which in turn helps EVERYONE feel happier. I absolutely love being there.

still loving: watching Ethan's JOY at finding "Thomas" (our elf) every morning. He loves seeing all the new places that Thomas chooses to "hang out" during the day. This has been so much fun this year!!

listening: nothing seems to be calling out to me, so it's been pretty much some random Christmas music every now and then.

wanting still anything on my Christmas list  but especially hoping for a healthy Barnes & Noble gift many books I want to read that I can't get through the library. 

Thursday, December 06, 2012


eating: nothing too exciting really, though I'm eating a lot "cleaner" than ever before. As proof, I'm down 17.5lbs since 09.14.12. Hooray!! Still hoping to shed another 10lbs!!

drinking: still lots of water. some diet dr pepper and there have been a few SBUX iced chai here and there too.

enjoying: working on my December Daily, though I haven't done much with it yet. 

wishing: keeping my same wishes with hope that they someday come true...that I either had a job that allowed me to work from home or I could be a stay-at-home-mom.

thinking: how fabulous it is that there are only 10.5 school days left until Christmas break. Thank.Goodness!!

missing Christmases of years gone. specifically the years when I was a kid and Christmas meant we were ALL together...all 9 of my itty-bitty extended family. Now Grandma & Grandpa are gone. Aunt & Uncle are divorced. Aunt & cousins live in TX so we only have Christmases together every other year or so. This Christmas is bound to be a LEAST favorite of matter how positive I try to be. That's just the way it is.

believing: that some Christmas magic will happen & make the holiday a lot brighter than I anticipate it being right now.

making: this should be more like "trying to make"---my Project Life of course, in which I am still working on November & now with trying to keep up with December Daily it's even more challenging. And I'm 3 days behind on DD already. 

planning: to have a TON of fun in South Carolina over New Year's Eve this year. So looking forward to that getaway. It's truly the ONLY time a certain someone is calm & able to focus on family & fun.

loving: watching Ethan's JOY at finding "Thomas" (our elf) every morning. He loves seeing all the new places that Thomas chooses to "hang out" during the day. 

listening: some random mixes of music. some Christmas music. some Andrea Bocelli. some country. really not "feeling" a certain kind right now. need something new. 

wishing: that there were more hours in the day...I am feeling so short on time lately. By the time E & I get home, have dinner, dishes, get lunches ready for next day, do bath time, put on PJs, it's time to get into bed. There is NEVER any downtime. I know this is the case for most (all?) working moms, but it is wearing me down. alot. Once Ethan's asleep I always hope to get back up to do scrapbooking but can't muster up the energy and end up just reading a few pages and then going to bed. I'm so ready for the holiday break - though not happy that the first 1/2 of it will NOT be restful or stress-free for me. Ugh.

feeling: tired. see above.

reading Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander. It's really good already (50pgs in) and will likely impact my sleep time keeping me feeling tired for a few more days.

wanting anything on my Christmas list  but especially that self-timer remote for my Canon Rebel. Oh how I would LOVE that!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

December Daily - Days 1 & 2

I am participating in Ali Edwards December Daily project again this year. This is my 5th year participating, but last year was the FIRST year I managed to FINISH the album. It's a challenge to keep up and get it completed, but I absolutely love and cherish my 2011 album.

This year I have decided to do a 6x6 size album. So far, that seems to be working for me for the page layouts. In early November, I had created my own album using chipboard, covering it with Christmas pattern paper, paint & twine and used binder rings to hold it together. I never felt 100% happy with it and that feeling has not gone away and so I will be switching over to an American Crafts 6x6 album w/red spine just as soon as it arrives to my LSS. 

I absolutely LOVED that December 1st was a Saturday this year...I think that helps with getting off to a good start on the album. We ended up going to pick out our tree that afternoon and I snapped a couple pictures while we were there. The one of Ethan on the back of the truck is a bit brighter IRL. 

Sunday, December 2nd was spent decorating the tree...such a time-consuming chore, though I'm so glad once it's all done, lit up and looking pretty!! Ethan had such a good time helping too!!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

a little late...sorta.

I'm a little later than last year, but I just ordered our Christmas if you are on our mailing list, this will ruin any element of surprise when you receive your card. :)

Once again, I ordered from Shutterfly. It's so easy and this year I had bookoo coupons...a $20 off card that came in the box when I bought Photoshop Elements on Black Friday -woot- also, the cards were 40% off through TODAY (Dec 2) and in addition to that Shutterfly is offering FREE SHIPPING...which is like "magic" words to me. 

Here's what we went with this year:

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Immigrant Stories Challenge - The Last Time I Saw Paris

The Last Time I Saw Paris

Claire leaves NYC and heads to Paris after her husband catches her in a lie about her past. Her former lover is there and she plans to look him up with the hope that he will provide her a "cushy" lifestyle once she gets there. Claire believes Paris will be her perfect home despite the fact that the Nazis are preparing to invade. To say she was ignorant of what was happening around her would be an understatement. She is so wrapped up with socializing and schmoozing, particularly with a German soldier in the first scene of the book. Claire doesn't seem to be the brightest bulb in the box and she is rather selfish at times, to the point of making completely ridiculous decisions. 

Once she became involved with the resistance, the story got REALLY good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think if there had been less of her personal drama and more about how she worked with the resistance the story would have been even stronger. It was rather pleasant to see Claire move from a materialistic, socialite to a woman of bravery, compassion, and heart. She goes to extremes, putting her selfishness aside, to help save the people she has come to hold quite dear. 

I gave this book 3/5 stars on Goodreads, but would have given it 3.5 if that were an option. Overall, I enjoyed the book...another from my much preferred WWII timeframe/genre.

Immigrant Stories Challenge - Girl in Translation

Girl in Translation

I thoroughly enjoyed Girl in Translation.The writing style made me feel as if I were present in Kimberly's everyday world. Immigrating at age 11 from Honk Kong to Brooklyn, residing solely with her mother and entirely dependent on her cruel aunt. The only thing Kimberly has going for her is her great ambition to make a better life for herself. At times though it seemed like she would never come out ahead. I really liked how the author used "fake" words to represent Kimberly's process of learning English.You cannot help but to root for her through this fabulous, uplifting story. 

I gave this 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Immigrant Stories Challenge - The Baker's Daughter

The Baker's Daughter

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, written with two intertwining stories, spanning from Germany to El Paso,  TX (who thought of that connection?).  The story is centered around Elsie and Reba, Elsie being from 1940s Nazi Germany and Reba from modern day El Paso, TX.  I found this book very easy to read as the words flowed effortlessly throughout. There are a number of relationships within the story that kept me anxious to pick the book back up and continue reading. While I enjoyed both main story lines, it is no surprise that I found myself much more interested in Elsie's experiences as a German who loved her country but who did not approve of what was happening. Historical fiction of this time is my preferred genre. And as an extra bonus - there are lots of recipes at the end too!! 

I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads.


listening Christmas music (yes, already!!) - my favorite right now is Ave Maria by Andrea Bocelli...I could put it on constant loop for hours.  Already changed my ringtone to Christmas music too.

drinking water. at least 64oz/day...preferably more. and an occasional diet dr pepper or SBUX iced chai thrown in for good measure.

thinking about all the Christmas shopping I still have left to do this year. And even with "scaling back" I still have too much to buy.  :-(

wishing that my back pain would go away and quickly...or at the very least the pain shooting down the front of my right leg.

feeling that it may be challenging to maintain my complete sanity this Christmas with the house guests we will be having. Requesting prayers of patience & tolerance. Seriously!

reading The Paris Wife - and LOVING it...definitely being "thrown" into an Ernest Hemingway fascination after reading Hemingway's Girl before this one. I've never read one of his books but looks like The Old Man & The Sea will be up next on my to-read list.

missing my better paying & much more fun jobs of days past (long ago). 

wanting a couple of solitary days just for reading, preferably in a cozy reading nook, though I have no idea where that would be. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Project Life - Week 44

More Halloween pictures here...week 43 had a bunch as well due to Halloween related events around town...but these pictures were actually taken ON Halloween night. We had a great time trick'r'treating with some friends who came to join us walking through the neighborhood. Both boys were definitely tuckered out when we got back to the house. Good times!!

Finally ordered and received my monthly Project Life "bookmarks" too & I love them!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Immigrant Stories Challenge - While We're Far Apart

I signed up for this challenge late in the year, but since I am typically drawn to books that take place around WWII time, they often easily fall into this category as well. I am finally getting around to writing up some brief reviews of the books I've read for this challenge.

Up first is While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin.
While We're Far Apart
Taking place during WWII, though set in NY as opposed to Europe, I really enjoyed this book as well as the characters within. There were a couple of characters whom I became somewhat frustrated with, but their personalities were pivotal to the story. I was happily surprised in a couple of different places in this book. There were a couple of story lines in this book but keeping up with the characters was not difficult for me. They were so well written that I had vivid pictures of each of them in my mind as I read. Of all the WWII books I have read, this one included the most detail with regards to the Jewish people and their many traditions which I found so very interesting. In the end, I truly enjoyed watching Penny grow up and gain self confidence throughout the book. I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Project Life: Weeks 42-43

Week 42: Ethan loved seeing Disney on Ice. The Tigers defeat the Yankees.
Some of the "new" foods I've added to my new healthy eating program. 

Week 42: Me & E @ Disney on Ice. Dinner with grandma at Chili's after The Little Gym. Another awesome win by the Detroit Tigers...ending the Yankees season. 

Week 43: Milo showing that he is the absolute most ridiculous cat ever.
It was hilarious watching him as he sunbathed on my printer for hours.
More running. More reading. Beautiful Fall leaves.

Argh matey!!! Loved seeing Ethan in complete character in his pirate costume.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Project Life - Weeks 39-41

Week 39: Consignment sale success. Yay. Ethan & Kimberlee being silly...
fits perfectly with the quote next to it. :)
So glad that my running is progressing and without pain. Hooray!!
I really love those little library cards from BananaFish.

Library. Twitter. Lunch w/my #1 little man. 

Ethan has been completely obsessed with the book "Shark vs. Train" lately...
if I have to read it one more time, it will be too many. Ack!
I had to implement a rule that we cannot read a book a 2nd time until all the books we have from the library have been read at least 1 time. Thank goodness!!

Week 40: On Saturday morning, a friend & I both participated in Cycle for Life to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis - we rode 15 miles. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but we finished so that's all that matters. That evening a whole group of us got together for a hayride, bonfire & hot dog roast. It was really a nice time. 

Race marketing material. My Race Bib. Route info w/turns.

Week 40: This is probably one of my favorite pages all year, primarily because of the colors just coming together and that they are Fall colors - totally did NOT plan that. 

Ethan's Favorites - love watching them change. Or not.

Week 41: Siri is cracking me up. Time with neighbors. Haircut.
The never ending fortune I've spent this year on clothes for Ethan. Ridiculous gas prices. 
Week 41: all dressed up for school pictures. lazy cats. finally after waiting for what seemed like a billion years, I was able to upgrade to the iPhone 4S. 
Got my flu shot. Soccer game.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Project Life - Weeks 36-38

Ethan played his first ever season of soccer. He "tolerated" it and repeatedly voiced his dislike for the game and his love for baseball more. He is SOOOO my child!

Only 5 kids on the soccer team - Oscar was supposed to be Assistant Coach though the
Head Coach couldn't make the 1st game, therefore missed out on the team picture. 

One of my most favorite things about Project Life -
documenting Ethan's "currents"...
he is so silly when he gives me his answers.
Note: we have not read a Clifford book in probably a year...go figure.

Week 37: started with Oscar's birthday, which always coincides with our local fair. That cow was only 1 day old - she was so much fun & I wanted to take her home. I'm sure that's against the homeowner association rules. Scored 120 points in WORDS.
And Ethan's latest silly phrase "I ZERO want to go to school"...
not really sure where he came up with that. 

Fun @ the fair. Birthday cake. Eating healthy.
 And more like 7 weeks after that picture was taken,
I did reach that weight and a tad bit lower.

Week 38: We were busy living life this week which results in very few pictures,
though we did get a few at the Home Depot Kids Night at ChickFila.
Ethan really enjoys those activities &
we always meet our friends there which makes it even better. 

Lots of space fillers...but certainly things that are well worth documenting...loved using those SMASH pages for listing my top 5 movies and also two of my favorites places for Inspiration & Peace & Quiet. :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Project Life - Weeks 33-35

With the exception of heading back to school, these were a couple of fun weeks. And I apologize for some of the wonky pictures...I have tried various spots and angles for taking these pictures, but cannot seem to avoid the glare!!

I love using a current playlist for a filler spot.

Obviously fell a little short on pictures this week...
I blame it on the re-adjustment to being back in school. 

Week 34: Good times this week for sure...more specifically my birthday and a day off from work, which I spent riding roller coasters with my mom at Dollywood.
What a blast we had!!

Birthday dinner at Mom's house & B&N giftcards = happy happy happy!!

So many pictures this week means putting in a filler page...I loved the "iFly" sticker mom & I picked up at Dollywood. Ethan is such a helper - whether it's blowing out candles or carrying in the ginormous bag of dog food for the neighbor. :)

Week 35: As a coping mechanism for being back in school, my teacher friend & I met up at the local fruit & berry patch to get their hot cherry pies and fruit slushies. Fun was had by all!!

Labor Day Weekend - the 3 of us had a nice relaxing time up in the Smoky Mountains, of course the boys had to "play" in the river while I took pictures of their antics. 

Ethan really enjoyed his chocolate chip pancakes
from Flapjacks before heading back home.
I love including his adorable artwork in my pages too. 

And more pics from the Smokies and the fruit & berry patch. Good times all around!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

scrapbooking retreat

I really had a great time at my very 1st scrapbooking retreat last weekend. There were 10 gals, though not all scrapbookers, some knitters too! I didn't get nearly as much done as I thought I would in regards to scrapbooking pages, but I definitely had fun!! I can't wait until the next one in January!!

Products used:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


date: 10.30.12

location: home
eating: lots of delicious Greek yogurt. 
drinking: tons of H2O...and an occassional Iced Chai or Diet Dr Pepper..that's a switch!!
enjoying: learning how to get around on a Mac.
listening: Easton Corbin...oh how I love (looking at) that guy!!!
wishing: nothing new here...that I either worked from home or was a stay-at-home-mom.
thinking: I really need to get caught up a bit on Project least 3 weeks behind right now!
making: too many projects, but I can't help it. December Daily. Project Life. Halloween mini...the list goes on.
feeling: excited/nervous about girls scrapbooking retreat this weekend. First time leaving E overnight for entire weekend.
loving: time with Ethan and/or time not working.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

random update

Random update posts are my favorite!! Mostly because I'm not good with coming up with catchy random always works. LOL!

Let's see...what's been going on here...

*my most exciting news is that I have lost 10lbs since 9.14.12 and am on the "edge" of falling into a lower "decade" number...which I have NOT seen since Ethan has been upon this earth. Oh I cannot wait to see THAT number!!!

*i'm losing the weight simply by making better choices and tracking every.single.thing in which is my absolute favorite website ever!!!!  I also met with a nutritionist a few weeks prior and despite having been a dieter my entire life (!!) I learned even a few more tips on eating better...and the best part, it's working!!!

*i'm making it to the Y only 2-3 times per week and still the weight is coming off. I'd love to go more often, but let's be real folks, I also want to spend time with Ethan and frankly, the after school hours fly by and before I know it, bedtime is upon us. There just isn't enough time for everything everyday, but we are making do. When I am at the Y, I try to run at least 2 miles, do a few weight machines and some crunches. Preferably, I am there no longer than 1 hour and 15 minutes.

*I've found some great new things to Vitatops...yum and loaded with fiber!! Bonus!!

*I'm drinking 64-80oz of H2O a day....phew...lots of bathroom trips, but it's working for me. The nutritionist said to aim for 80oz but honestly, I don't get that much everyday, but I do strive for the 64oz & reach it just about every day.

*I don't feel like I'm missing out on foods and I've also felt satisfied everyday and rarely feel hungry. Love that!!

*Ultimately, at the end of the day, it feels great to know I made good choices and the weight is melting off. I'm hoping to lose 20 more pounds & I only hope it comes off as "easily" as this first 10, though I'm sure there will be challenges along the way.

*I am determined to not be a "fat mom"...seriously, that is one of my goals.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Project Life - Weeks 31-32

OK - trying to get back on track with some semi-regular blog posting and more specifically, sharing my PL pages...I was on such a good roll there for a while, but life happened. So here are weeks 31-32...ushering in (not so happily) the new school year.

Ethan and I did a "just for fun" balloon release our last week of summer...
maybe that was our "goodbye" to summer ritual.
E had some good fun with O and the lawn cutting chores,
specifically using the blower.
We did a Home Depot Kids Workshop
and shopped at PetSmart for the cats & picked up a treat for our neighbor's dog.

Ahhh..the week I turned 100K miles on my car.
This was somewhat traumatic for me, 

primarily because I've never owned a car that long before
and I interpret it as just another way that I am NOT successful right now in life. *sigh*
One of our highlights this week...attending the grand opening of a Publix...
only 15 minutes from our house. Hooray!!

Week 32 - back to school/work. Ugh.
Ethan also had his dental check on the very first day of school...
he did fabulous and no issues...thank goodness.
We took in the Ice Age movie on the Monday before heading back to school.
I'm really enjoying including my Nike screen shots with total mileage ran...
of course this is mileage over 2-3 years. I run a little...definitely NOT a hardcore runner. 

Awesome dental checkup report card!

Remember when I said turning 100K miles was traumatic...
yeah, a week later we dumped $1100 into the darn car.
Oh yeah...the first day back to school also happened to be Ethan's 4 1/2 birthday,
so we had to have cake to celebrate & take the edge off the pain of our summer ending.
Publix cakes - delicious!! Try one!

Products used: