Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Boots Friday

(Dad STOP reading! Birthday spoiler ahead…of course, if you’ve gotten your card, read on…)

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had friends over and did the usual – chat, catch up, eat, chat, eat, play games while eating divine rolls that K. and G. made – yes, I have girls that can bake a lovely, fluffy, but lightly crusty sweet roll…mmmm. Even better…they made 2 more batches today!

Every year I buy the turkey days ahead. Every year the turkey sits in the fridge. Every year the turkey is still frozen on Thanksgiving morning! Of course, Jess and I argue over when to buy the turkey and every year he is right. I think he lets me buy the turkey just so he can hear me say that I should have bought it earlier - justifying the 'uh-huh' that he gives me when I say it. I guess we all have to be right some time...heehee! I am so blessed on Turkey Day...Jess and all of my kids pitch in and as the kids have gotten older, I have had to do less cooking. They all look forward to helping out.

The day after was not the usual sleep in and hang out with the family time for me.

I know. I said I wouldn’t do it. But I did. And right now, I’m glad I did it - I got a job! Today was official day #1 – yeah…Black Friday was my first day…a lot to learn, but not difficult. Not even too busy today. I will have to get a good pair of walking shoes, though. Policy dress standard says no blue jeans, no tennis shoes. 5 hours in boots. With a 3 inch heel. What was I thinking?! The black boots did go with the luscious purple shirt I was wearing and they are the only pair of black shoes I had that weren’t open-toed and that worked with the khakis that are 2 inches too long (see 3 inch boots help with 2 inches of pant length…really.)

It was kind of on a whim…I had been considering getting a job, but didn’t think I’d find one that fit into my family schedule. I put in an application, specified some hours and got hired. Just like that. Of course, it’s not the dream job, but so far the hours aren’t bad and the supervisor seems to be working with me on my ‘no Sundays’ preference.

Haven’t had much time to craft, but I did get a birthday card for my dad finished and in the mail. Hopefully, he’s gotten it by now! If not, Happy Belated Birthday, Dad!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

By now, most of you know that I really enjoy paper crafting...crafting of any kind really! When I joined Stampin' Up! (SU!) this past March, I wasn't planning to do any kind of 'business' - that is until one day a friend of mine said she'd like to have a workshop (Hi, Staci!) and I said, "yes!" since I thought it would be fun to have a morning of stamping. During the workshop I offered to hold a Stamp Club: a monthly get together where I showcase techniques or products, (usually 2-3 projects that everyone makes at the meeting) according to what the monthly hostess would like to see.

I was pretty surprised when someone said they'd like to be a part of that! Usually Stamp Club is a minimum of 6 people, each person committed to a minimum monthly purchase and taking a month to be the hostess and earning all the hostess benefits for that club meeting - I have 7 gals in my club! Most of them are more familiar with SU! products than I am! They have been so gracious. I couldn't have handpicked a better group myself! THANK YOU GIRLS!!! I have been having a great time!

(All products are Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted. SU! products available online at my website HERE.)

This month our hostess wanted to use some rub ons (SU! only offers a limited selection of product available in 'bulk' for demonstrators, so we only did one card. :( But the selection of rub-ons available to customers is great - so check it out! (Plus they're on special until November 30th!) Here's the first project - a 3x3 card:

(I had made 2 more, but forgot to snap a photo before giving them to the hostess!) This was a breeze to put together! I CASED (Copy And Share Everything) this layout from here. I think I'm going to have to make a matching box to keep the cards in!

Stamps: None! Hidden Garden Rub-Ons
Paper: Bella Rose, Chocolate Chip Textured Cardstock, Very Vanilla Cardstock
Inks: None!
Accessories: Scallop Edge Punch, Photo Corners Punch

This little beauty is the pillow box! I love the simplicity of this project and the many uses it has - small candles, candy, bracelets, cards, pictures, anything you can fit into it! With the gift giving season upon us, I may have to make a few more of these!

These are so customizable. Use designer paper or stamps to decorate the box - make it as complicated or as simple as you like!

Stamps: Bella Toile Background, Curly Label Punch Bundle
Paper: Very Vanilla Cardstock
Ink: Elegant Eggplant Classic Ink, Lavender Lace Classic Ink
Accessories: Black Hemp Twine, Sponge Dauber, Curly Label Punch, Crop-a-dile

Remember this project? (See it here at the bottom of this post.) The Peek-a-Box! Loved it so much - wanted to share it! This time I punched the inside with a circle instead of a square and used some leftover scraps of acetate instead of cellophane for the clear window. The bit of glitz on the top of the box is a Sakura glitter pen. Love how easy it is to put some glitter just where you want it! And man, do these pens glitter! Hmmm...what I can put in here?

Almost forgot...Me, I'm a frugal crafter...that doesn't mean I'm cheap - it just means that I want to have it all at the best price! (heehee!) Normally, if I want something 'popped' up, I use SU! Dimensionals. Their low profile, helps elements to stand out without adding too much bulk. Since this box wasn't going to be packed up, I wanted the layers on top to really stand up, so instead of using Dimensionals, I used the leftover foam from cutting out my stamps - they're about twice as high! You just cut the scrap rubber to size, peel the rubber off the foam piece and stick it! Then peel the cover paper off and stick on your element. What a way to recycle and reuse! (If I'm worried about the foam not sticking well, I just dab a little Tombow Mono on the side where the rubber was and it's good to go!)

Stamps: Baroque Motifs
Paper: Whisper White Cardstock, Kiwi Kiss Cardstock
Inks: Kiwi Kiss Classic Ink, Riding Hood Red Classic Ink, Whisper White Craft Ink, Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust Red
Accessories: Dimensionals (or recycle that cut rubbah!), silver brad, Tombow Mono

If you have any questions, let me know! And if you have made any of these projects leave me the link, so I can check it out!

Stampin' Hugs,

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just wanted to share some cold weather fun! We actually have snow on the ground...granted it's not much, but it'll do for now!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Moving Random Mountains

I know.
It's a bit past the 13th.
At least it's still November!
Still waiting for The Camera,
Wearing my favorite hoodie.

When the kids
and the husband
are offering
to do the laundry...

You might want to do a clean clothes check.

Working on the mountains
of dirty clothes,
piles of papers on my desk.
Where's the burn pile?!
If only we had a fire place.
We probably live in one
of the handful of houses
in DE that do NOT have a fire place.

That's okay.

Only 32 weeks left in this house.

After the MaD (Mom and Dad - we like acronyms...)
room is finished, I'll work on uploading
the projects from yesterday's Stamp Club.
Have to clear the desk first!
Free Smiley Courtesy of

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Little Stinker

Just a quick post...

I tasked the kids with dinner tonight while I finished up my last assignment...we're having garlic bread (K.) and rotini (G.) - with or without sauce - your choice with a side of buttery corn (J)! Yummy chocolate milk (E.) to wash it all down! Hungry? :)

just submitted my last bio assignment - Yay! Took my math final exam this afternoon and needed some fun! Out came the stamps and a 3x3 card was made! Okay gotta tell me dinner is ready and Dancing with the Stars is on!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Birthday Glittery Goodness!

My dear, patient daughter (don't expect to see that often!) has had a birthday celebration that has been stretched bit by bit over the last few days. On her birthday, we opened presents! We have a particular tradition of NOT wrapping presents in the traditional way. We blindfold the little ones, trust the older ones to keep their eyes shut and the birthday girl/boy has to guess what they are holding. We have tried to 'trick' them by placing the 'real' gift in other containers...Here is Kyrsten opening the present my brother made for her.

Kyrsten has been 'needing' a new MP3 player for awhile...we found the one she wanted on Amazon only to find out that they didn't ship electronics to APOs! My brother to the rescue! We shipped it to him and then he shipped it to us with a little something extra (the bracelet) she is opening her Zune 120.

We finally had cake and ice cream...Friday morning for breakfast. German Chocolate Cake, homemade cream cheese icing (is there any other kind?), decorated to perfection by Glory, Jonny and Eve!

Happy Birthday, Kyrsten (again)! (Click on picture to see the details!)

This is the card that I made for her - today! She is all about glitter and stars and fun could I resist?!

The words on the side read: love play laugh grow dream

If you're's how I made it...

The base is Basic Black cardstock. First, I stamped the tree with Craft White. Later I decided I wanted to emboss it, so I took the Versamarker and colored over the white ink, then heat embossed it with clear embossing powder (ep). Swiped the sides of the card with the Craft White. I edged the tree with the Signo White Pen.

Next, I stamped the sentiments on the side using the Versamark pad, sprinkled with sapphire ep and then heat embossed...lovely, right?

I knew that I was going to use a gorgeous, glittery Prima for the moon, so I used the 1 1/4" circle punch to make room for it. Used the Versamarker to edge it, and draw the 'grass' then...used the Versamark pad for the tiny stars! Dusted all in irridescent ep...and you guessed it - heat embossed! (I did mention that this is one of my favorite techniques, right?)

Punched out the stars and dragged the edges across the ink pad - Tempting Turquoise and Orchid Opulence.

Stamped the cat on Shimmery White (love the subtle glow of this cardstock!) and the bird on a piece of patterened scrap paper, both in Chocolate Chip ink.

Cut them out, leaving a thin border around the image. (sidenote: if you ever receive a card embellished with an image that is hand cut...know must be loved!)

Glued the cat down, and positioned the stars and bird, then popped those up using Dimensionals.

Dipped the top of the silver brad onto the Versamark pad then silver ep, heated it up and ta da! glittery brad for the glittery Primas! Attached the flowers using the dolled up brad. Done!

Stamps: Window Dressing (Hostess)
Paper: Basic Black, Shimmery White
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Tempting Turquoise, Orchid Opulence, Craft White
Accessories: Dimensionals, Clear EP, silver brad, white pen; Other: star punch, Prima flowers, glitter ep, sapphire ep

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Give a Shout Out to the Birthday Girl...Kyrsten!

Four years ago...

Free Smiley Courtesy of

Hi, All!
Today is my oldest daughter's birthday! If you have a chance, click on the post title (it will send you to her newbie blog) and send her some birthday love! [ETA: Sorry, but she's had to make her blog private.](would have posted a baby picture, but my scanner died! Free Smiley Courtesy of )

Can you believe she is 17 years old?!

I'm not that old...right? (NOT asking you, Jesse!) And yet, here she is almost half way through her senior year, making college plans (finishing up those apps, right sweetie?!), planning for her future. Sigh. They grow up too fast, too soon.

Kyrsten is a great kid. She's smart, beautiful, loyal to a fault and so much fun! I love having her around!

She certainly helps to make my life interesting...we live in a village that is not close to much...everything seems to be at least 20 minutes away, the good stuff even more.

One day K. and I were having a "discussion" and she was generously sharing with me the fact that she didn't get to do things she wanted as she needed to depend on someone to drive her.

I "kindly" informed her that driving used resources, such as gas, time and planning, and the coordination of schedules - particularly mine and that I wasn't going to rearrange my life every time she wanted to go do something...

She then preceded to educate me regarding my priorities...

"You've already lived your life!"


What was she thinking?! I'm not dead, yet!

Anyhow, we've worked this out and I'm over it now.

Besides...she wants kids one day.Free Smiley Courtesy of

{{{heart}}} you, Kyrsten!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Want some candy? Blog candy!

What?! 2 posts in one day?! Just a quickie...Ryann over at The Inked Spot is offering blog candy! Blog candy? Gifts of goodies, usually randomly given away by a blogger, sometimes because they have reached a certain number of hits on their blog, or some other special occasion or in this case, just because!

Get over and take a look no later than October 31st! She has lots of paper goodness to oogle (oogle? I don't know what it is lately with the words...) Love her blog banner!

I'm really going to have to start spending more time crafting and less time blurfing! (haha!)



Christmas Shoebox Swap!

(ETA: I added the names of the designers of all but 2 of the projects...anyone know their names? Also, a BIG WOOHOO!!! to Andrea and Tasha for organizing this shoebox swap and making it happen!)
Not a lot going on around here today…Jesse left early this morning for a trip to the desert – Nevada desert, that is! Sigh. He was home for a week, now out on the road again; he seems to be home almost long enough to get back into a regular sleep schedule, then off to another part of the world, another time zone. I don’t know how he does it - if I stay up too late, I spend the next 3 days catching up!!!

Lucky for me, on Saturday I didn’t have to stay up late – I paper crafted for over 4 hours with a fab bunch of ladies in the afternoon! My lovely, sleep deprived hubby, stayed home with the kids (while packing for his trip) so I could have this little bit of ‘me’ time! This shoebox swap has been in the works for over a month…if you know me…that’s amazing! I usually don’t plan fun too far ahead…part of the job of being a wife to a very mobile military man is being able to flex those scheduling muscles often!!!

It was just meant to be.

Everything worked out great! I was almost on time Free Smiley Courtesy of and they started a little late, so I didn’t miss a thing! We chatted for a few, partook of the lovely potluck dishes and got to work!

(A shoebox swap is where every participant designs a project and then provides directions and enough ready materials for each participant to make that project. When it's all over, every participant will have made everyone else's project! I don't remember names very well, but I sent an email to the ladies, so I can credit them with their designs - will edit when info is received!)

(Sorry for the not-so-good camera is in the shop and I had to make do!) There were 12 projects…and I’m going to show you them all (like I said...had to make do with the camera, but IRL (in real life) these projects are gorgeous!!!)

In no particular order…check them out (click on the pictures to enlarge)!

Designed by Meg Reyes
This card is not as difficult as it looks! Can't you just see the possibilities - any holiday, birthdays...the punched circles are suspended with gold cord and how yummy is that wired ribbon?!

Designed by Phyllis Jachowski
This technique is "stained glass" using vellum cardstock. I know it's been a long time since I've colored anything, but this was fun! The cardinal is stamped in Staz On and then colored on the back of the vellum!

Designed by Judy Sankey
This card is so cute! Felicia says, "There are no mistakes in stamping, only embellishment opportunities!" Well, I forgot that craft ink takes longer to dry and after I had cut my ribbon and had started to place it on my card, I noticed that I had gotten the white craft ink all over my fingers and then on that lovely red ribbon! So, I stamped it, too - crisis avoided!

Designed by Donna Way
This picture does not do this card justice!!! One of my fave techniques is heat embossing. There is just something about taking this grainy looking powder and heating it to lovely shimmery goodness!

Designed by Heather Moriyama
This was one of those cards that I thought I knew how to put together, but then realized I had not paid enough attention to the original! The original had the tree on the left, but I was too busy chatting and had already put adhesive on the card when I realized that I didn't punch out the window for the sentiment! When I turned over the cardstock, I saw that the only place clean enough to punch was on the left...thank goodness this wasn't a complicated card - and didn't it turn out so adorable?! (And to top it off, she brought the Sakura Quickie Glue Pen for us to use...been wanting to see one of those for weeks! Check out the glitter on the tree's swirl!)

Designed by Kerry Porter
This was the only card that I didn't complete at the swap - I think 4 hours is about my limit! I did stamp the tree before I left and gathered up the rest of the project, but I couldn't remember how the card was put together...the presents were on this side and cut out and the stars...uh...the ribbon...hmmm. So, I had to figure this one out on my own...those are not black dots on my card pieces...they are really Elegant Eggplant! I just didn't realize how dark the color actually was before I started coloring with it.

Designed by Andrea Nigg
Is this not too cute?! I know you want to run out and eat a box of Altoids right now! I've been telling you that you want to come to Paper Junkies with me...anyhoo...those are glittery tags, red and white string and those oval tags are cardstock stickers!!!

Here's the box closed with the matching belly band.

Designed by Tasha Enderby
I love the patterned paper on this card and the River Rock cardstock (retired SU!) This card was another one that looks more complicated than it is. I keep putting off getting the SU! tag punches, but here's another reason to them on my next order!!!

This was another card with lots of possibilities...sweet way to send a picture! That twisted, red cord is gorgeous! I think I'd like that holly stamp and some dew drops for the berries...

This is the "OMGosh I need that snowflake punch!" box, a.k.a. the Peek-a-boo box! This was another one of those projects that looks super complicated, but when someone else has already cut out the pattern, scored and sliced in the proper places and has only left the creative stamping for you to do...well then it's easy peasy!!!

Yep...I did good! Was so glad that the side gap disappeared after I added some shredded paper and a little something to the inside of the box - I thought I had messed it up! (and now you're going to look at the first picture to see what "gap" I'm talking about, right? lol)

This card held a surprise!

Designed by Chris Treat
Lookie, lookie - a gift pouch! Isn't this great?! This was one of the easiest projects to put together! At first I thought it was some kind of designer paper...but it's stamped!

Designed by Angi (heehee!)
This last card is mine. The sample card had white dots in the middle of the small snowflakes and dew drops down the middle of the top half of the card, but someone took it (you know who you are! bwahahahaha!). I wasn't sure how complicated to make the cards, so I stopped there for the swap. My original card has glitter on the snowflakes and on the reindeer's nose.

Wow! If you read all the way through this post...thank you!!! So, tell me...did you have a favorite?

Stampin' hugs!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All About Me

Yes, that's a picture of me. No, I don't like it. It's not often that I am actually in the picture and certainly even less that I might like it! Awhile back, I found an idea for an album that I put on the must do sometime in future list... Truth is, most of the items on that list don't usually come to fruition (who actually says fruition?!) but this idea is different.

Growing up, my mother didn’t share very many details of her life. I don’t know the name of the town where she grew up, I don’t know the name of the place where she met my father…I don’t know much about her before me. I didn’t get the opportunity to find out more. She died when I was in my early 20s.

I have one box of family photos. Only a handful of the photos in that box are actually of my mother. There are some photos of my mother in the early days of her marriage, a few when I’m young and even less as she got older. I had so many questions that went unanswered, so many questions that I can’t ask her now. I often wish she had left some history, some journal…something that would speak to me when she can’t.

Today is the beginning of my new project! Since my birthday is the 13th (of February…I'll wait while you write that down…Free Smiley Courtesy of www.millan.netheehee!) the plan is to post on (or really close to!) the 13th of every month with a self-portrait (ugh!) and some journaling…maybe what I did that day, advice, random thoughts… Who knows where this will go? At least I’ll post once a month! Heehee! I’m thinking that eventually I will have the posts printed and bound…or at least scrapbooked...a bit of my own family history!

So, for my first entry…

Melanie tagged me awhile back and I’m finally getting around to posting it!

1. Post the rules on your blog.
2.Write six random things about yourself.
3. Tag 6 people at the end of your post.

6 random things about me

1) I’m a better loser than winner. (The hubby doesn't agree with me - go figure!)

2) I usually take a glass of water with me to the bedroom at night, but I don’t take it out in the morning. (I tell my husband I leave the half full glasses of water decorating the top of my radiator to humidify the bedroom – he knows better!)

3) I’m not organized…(what?! you didn’t know that?) at least not in a way such that someone else could find things in my chaos! I’m a piler.

4) I love dresses and heels, but rarely wear them.

5) I love dogs – but can’t stand the way they smell – except when they’re puppies and have that kind of “new baby” smell!!! (I have an Australian Shepherd that I adore, but have to rinse my hands every time I pet her…)

6) I love "big boy toys" - trucks, ATV Quads, sleds (snowmachines), dirt bikes, paintball...adrenaline junkie?! Maybe in another life...

I'm tagging:







Thursday, October 16, 2008

And Now a Word from Our Sponsors

Hi, All!
Just letting you know that I am working on a post, but I have a few homework assignments (4)/tests (1) that are due in the next 72 hours, so priorities must prevail! (that's why i'm talking to you!)



Monday, October 6, 2008

He loves me... it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post...I've been busy!

The kids have been taking turns getting sick - they aren't considerate enough to all get sick at the same time! Has your family caught that cough that just lingers?! My kids would start off with a little cough, then it would get worse; they wouldn't get a restful night of sleep, then they couldn't inhale without coughing...on and on...I think it took us all about 4 weeks to get over this thing! Ugh! Now it looks like Jess may have picked it up...after all it is his turn!

Almost finished with the dental appointments. This week (hopefully!) will be the last of them. J.T. was the only one without any cavities! The tooth fairy has been visiting our house often this last month...she nicked 4 teeth and left a small fortune! E. has another loose tooth...this will only be her second...the tooth fairy may need to get a second job!

In between all the appointments, the homework, the tests, and weekly activities, I have been making time to create!The last time Jess went TDY he brought me back a lovely bunch of goodies! Reams of cardstock, Primas, lots of glitter and embossing powders, did I mention flowers, glitter and embossing powder?! I haven't used all the new stuff, yet, but I'm working on it! And he brought me home my favorite lipgloss - I think he loves me!Free Smiley Courtesy of
(If you're not sure how glitter, cardstock, paper flowers and glue translate to haven't hauled around reams of 110lb. cardstock and glass bottles around an airport...)

Mostly making cards, mostly birthdays, a painted and stamped tile, a box...I feel like my creative mojo is right around the corner! I've been checking out my fave blogs and galleries to search for inspiration and I wasn't disappointed! I'm working on getting the photos of my projects on here...for now I'm getting them uploaded to my SCS gallery (the link in right column.)

How is your creative mojo? Need a little warm up? If you're not busy Wednesday, come join us for a morning of stamping, papercrafting and fun! It's free! (Click HERE for details!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Help with Photobucket?

I just checked in and noticed that my Photobucket slideshow is not showing all the pictures I marked...there should be 50 photos! It's late here, so I'll try to fix it in the a.m. Anyone out there use Photobucket?

ETA: I deleted the Photobucket slideshow and uploaded the This one let me upload a lot more photos...(see "Paris Photos Pronto! Not..." a couple posts down for Paris trip photos) Click on the slideshow for a better view!

Paris - *Hot Like Sushi!*

Warning: Long post…there was just so much to tell! Here’s the short version…really!

The drive to Paris was pretty uneventful. It was 30 minutes before we heard the first “are we almost there?” A rest stop, pictures of the ‘squatty potty’ and a few hours later, we needed food! We stopped for lunch at Mickey D’s (McDonalds). Everyone got their usual and as we headed back down the road, we heard Jonny say, “Mmm mmm! Those French sure can cook!” This was to be a running theme for the weekend…

We stayed about 30 minutes outside of Paris. It was really a campsite with a trailer park - I know. Trailer was great! It was very clean, and small (you could make toast and shower at the same time) but we were hardly even there to notice. The first afternoon the kids swam in the pools. It seemed warm enough, at least until we made the kids get out when we noticed Evelyn's lips were this the kids commented that you can get hypothermia in any kind of weather (thanks AFN!)

We spent the evening planning the rest of the weekend, trying to narrow down the ‘want to see list’ to ‘if we never came back, where would you want to go?’ There were a lot of places crossed off right away…many of the museums, shopping and eating out (remember Mickey D’s?) mainly because of the location or we didn’t think the kids would enjoy it for more than 30 minutes.

So, the first day we went to Notre Dame. Actually, there was supposed to be an aquarium, but we couldn’t find it…we passed Notre Dame looking for it and decided to go back to the church! Several displays, a couple of confessionals and many candles later, the kids were ready to go. No flash photography, so not a lot of great photos (woohoo Photoshop!)

Then we ventured across town (it didn’t look that far on the map!) to Jardin des Plantes. It advertised a menagerie and a turtle exhibition. Surely this would be fun for the kids! So, we walked, and walked and walked until we finally reached the gate. It was the wrong gate! We had to walk even farther to another gate and then through the park to get to the entrance of the animal park. The kids weren’t happy. It was almost lunch and they were tired of walking. To top it off, neither of us had gotten extra euro and there were NO ATMs in sight!

That’s how we happened upon the lovely carousel by the ice cream stand. The kids and I ate ice cream (14 euros!) while we waited for Jesse to find an ATM…on foot, remember? About 20 minutes later, Jess shows up and no ATM. We asked around and no one could tell us more than ‘over that way’. So, we packed up the kids and went looking for an ATM. Finally, we see a line of people just standing around a wall and lo, and behold an ATM!

Now, we had to find a place to eat…I’m thinking of how lovely it would be to sit down and have lunch at a French CafĂ©…just as I think we have arrived we spot the menus.

Jonny says, “hey look! They have hotdogs!”

Evelyn pipes up, “Do they have hamburgers?”

Yeah. They did -- 6 euros for a hotdog, 12 for a hamburger. You’ve got to be kidding! So, we ate every meal out at the Golden Arches since we knew the kids would actually eat what they got. The first Mickey D’s we went to, Jess went to get the food and the girls and I went looking for the restroom. It was locked! Keypad with a code locked! We had to wait to get our receipt with the bathroom code on it before we could use the facilities! ( I wonder if there was a minimum purchase…)

(Side note: Restroom, WC…whatever you call them…here’s some info about the Paris variety…

If you’re going to Paris with kids…you may want to check out those links!)

After everyone was fed and washed up, we headed back over to Jardin des Plantes. It’s a large, lovely tree-lined park with garden exhibitions, the menagerie and (at this time) a turtle exhibition. I was very excited about the turtle exhibition since we didn’t make it to the aquarium! We wandered around looking at the displays and finally sought out the turtles. What a disappointment! The exhibition consisted of small displays and large video screens. After a few minutes, we traveled over to the menagerie.

The menagerie was fun! We walked around and tried to find all the animals; there’s a monkey house and a reptile house, yaks, animals resembling large rodents, birds, bush dogs (kids loved these critters!) and giant tortoises! It seems that every time we visit a zoo, we get to witness how some species perpetuates its kind…yeah. This time it was the giant tortoises…a little disturbing…the male makes a lot of noise! Who needs animal planet?! Anyhoo…

After a bit of debate, we decided to brave the Metro, called it a day and headed back.

The next day, went to see the Arc de Triomphe and then the Louvre. We rode the Metro and arrived with no problems. It was a beautiful day! From a distance, it doesn’t look like much, but when we got up close, you could see the great details! There is also a “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” located under the arch. We decided to not ride up to the top as the kids were hungry (again?!) and set out looking for a Mickey D’s.

Have I mentioned how much I {heart} my GPS?! We changed the settings to Pedestrian and then used it to find Jonny’s restaurant in no time at all! (Note: its a good idea to change it back to driving after you find Mickey D's, otherwise you could spend 30 minutes trying to get out of the city while your GPS tells you to go down one way streets and turn left when there isn't a left turn to be made...just a thought!) After a fill up, we headed back to the Metro and traveled to the Louvre. We window shopped a bit and then went topside to the garden area and rested for a bit, took pictures, of course, and then went in.

The main entrance was a bit crowded when we went in, so after we saw “Winged Victory” we saw an area off to the side and pulled the kids over. That’s where we discovered the alcove in the wall with nothing in it…picture op! We put the kids in the alcove and took pictures as they modeled! Highly recommended! People giggled and grinned and even offered help!

We didn’t take many pictures of the art and artifacts as we figured, we could find better pictures than what we could take (given no flash photography, glass and roped off areas) on the internet or in books. The girls fared pretty well during our visit to the Louvre. Not too much complaining or touching!

Jonny on the other hand…he made the 2.5 hour visit all the more memorable.

After about 30 minutes…
“Mom? Where are the happy pictures?”

After about an hour…
“Mom? There’s a lot of naked people in here!”

After 1.5 hours…
“Mom, when I have a lot of energy, I look like this (insert happy, smiling, standing tall, Jonny)

When I don’t, I look like this (insert frowning, puppy-eyed, shoulders slumped, Jonny)

Mom? Are you looking?!”

Insert the frowning Jonny.

After about 2 hours…

“Mom? WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO STOP TORTURING US?!" Really. He said that.

Lucky for Jonny (and us) it was almost closing time. A couple of years ago LEMS PTSA paid for an Egyptian unit for the school. Because of this the kids, Glory, especially, were excited to know that the Louvre had a large Egyptian collection; so we headed out going through it. It was amazing to see what was preserved. There were many sarcophagi and displays that were as tall as the room they were in.

We traveled through room after room, following the Sortie signs. After awhile, Jesse said, “Are we doing the Louvre or is the Louvre doing us?” It was like a maze. We kept following the signs, but it didn’t seem like we were going to be lead out – just into another room! Finally, we saw a room that we recognized and made our way back to the Metro, but not before I bought my postcard and had the gentleman in the Louvre Post Office, handstamp the Louvre’s post mark – he even stamped it twice!

So, that's about it...*there were lots of small side stories and incidents that happened during our trip, but they're the kind that you had to be there for!* Wish you could have been with us on this trip! Our final trip will be to Italy in 2009...wanna come along?!

Paris Photos Pronto! Not...

(ETA 12/04/2011: will no longer be available after March 2012, so I've updated this post with a slideshow via Photobucket. Not as nice, but you still get to see the fun!)

Here are some photos from our Paris trip. Finally got the pictures downloaded to the computer, uploaded to Photobucket and was almost finished with the slideshow 1.5 hours later and the power went out! So, now that it's finally back up, here's the abbreviated slideshow. We didn't take a lot of "Paris" photos, mostly family trip photos - those you'll look back on and say, "Oh, yeah! Do you remember this?!" and then a story follows. We let the kids have the cameras (yep...we had 4!) so a lot of the photos are "what's this? who took this photo? thank goodness it's digital!"

I was a little anxious about traveling all over Paris on foot, via the Metro with kids. We just planned it with the kids in mind and were able to really enjoy the family time! I'll get this posted and then tell about the weekend.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Help, I've Fallen!

Okay, not really, but life has been a blur this last week. I think we are finally getting settled into our school routine for this year. Knock on wood. (oh. wait! the desk is sawdust and glue...does that count?! I'm doomed!)

Doctor appointments, dental appointments...Evelyn had both of her's - only have to redo a couple of sealants. Whew! I was worried. She's the only one of my kids to have a cavity before she started school! I blame the non-fluoridated couldn't be because we traveled with sippy cups full of juicy juice...or that toddler + long car ride x naps (with mouth full of teeth covered in sticky substance!)=cavity... The rest of the kids go next week...

Mine was today - 15 minutes, once I was in, and a soon to be scheduled appointment for sealant on a wear spot on my tooth. Mmm. Hate that blue light and the tech always seems to get that stuff they paint on the teeth on my gums...I mean c'mon! My mouth isn't that small -- ask my husband! ha.

Speaking of...he's in Arizona. Where it's warm. Where there's a Target. A Michael's. Fast food. SUPER-sized Wendy's Frosties...uh huh. I like ice cream in winter. It lasts longer - hello!

Okay, enough of the rambling! I do have a few cards that my lovely children have made and I will proudly share when I get around to uploading those pictures tonight. And no, I didn't forget the Paris pics. They are now on my computer. Trying to decide where to upload them to: Picasa or Photobucket for a slide show...any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Good Morning!

This picture was taken at the end of the first day of school for K, J, and G. 'mom said you better smile!'

(I LOVE musicals...when I sat down at my computer this morning, a song from Singing in the Rain was playing in my the title of this blog and see how I feel today!)

I'm back! Finally getting over the strep throat and the bronchitis. Yep, you read that right! I spent part of my Paris trip and my first week of school - with no kids at home - sick!

Last week Jess was in the Netherlands and I was so busy with the kids and fighting total exhaustion, I really didn't even get to contemplate that I'm moving into another season of my life! Then this weekend (after the antibiotics kicked in) I was sitting in the MAD (Mom and Dad) room with Jess and it hit me - I had missed my kids while they were gone to school!

The usually noisy house was silent.
No one interrupting me asking "When are we going to eat?!"
No one sitting in my lap while I typed.
No one to play video games with.
No one to color with.

Thank Goodness I got over that, too! :]

So, this morning I got the kids out of the house and (barely!) onto the school bus, then as I was driving up the hill, I started getting this giddy feeling and I felt this smile break over my face...

I'm home alone!!!

No dirty dishes on the table.
If I clean a mess, it STAYS clean!
Uninterrupted computer time.
I don't have to take turns watching TV. heehee
No more unflushed toilets (at least during the day...I know...tmi (too much info), but see what I see?!)

Woohoo! I have to say that I am most excited about 2 things: the cleaner house and the fact that I will get some 'me' time every day without feeling guilty or as if I am taking it away from the kids or my husband. That has been the hardest part of being a mom of 4 and a wife of a military husband for me - not knowing how to balance it all. (I know for some of you gals, that you handle this better than I have...I've seen your house and kids! *wink, wink*) Me, I prefer an all or nothing approach - I struggle and work on this in all aspects of my life!

Almost 17 years later...I think I'm beginning to get the hang of it! haha! The kids are mostly independent and now gone for most of the day, so that helps a bit. I do like to stay busy and involved with my kids, so I'm already volunteering at the schools, the Landstuhl Library and other places.

All the kids are in school, Jesse is home for a few days, then off again, but for now...

Life is Good!
(We took over 600 photos while in Paris! Will post soon!)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Still Kickin'

Hi, Everyone! Thanks to those of you who've left comments on my blog lately! It's nice to hear from those that stop by.

I'm still around, just sick as a dog, but with 4 busy kids and a husband that's TDY there's no rest for the weary! lol *cough, cough* So, no time for photos today, just a quick update!

Went to Paris over Labor Day weekend. Will get pictures up soon.

My classes started, but I just picked up my books on Tuesday, so I have a bit of catching up to do.

Also went to Paper Junkies on Tuesday (hey, I'm committed to my craft! ; ] ) If you're in the Ramstein area, you should come! (email me, if you need the deets!) I love the projects that I come home with. This month we made 3x3 (inch) cards and envelopes. Even better - we made a lovely little box to keep them in. We also made a box that looks like a tiny magazine holder. The original designer made it to keep 3x3 cards in, but we used it as a gift box! Andrea always gives us directions with pictures, so we can make more at home, too.

Okay, better get the homework done. Pictures soon!

Monday, August 25, 2008

After the Big Wig Bash...

I just had the best weekend, sitting at home and playing in an online 30 hour crop (started Friday night and ended early Sunday morning my time!) My first crop ever…whew! I’m paying for it now, but it was worth it!

Did anyone else play? It was called The Big Wig Bash. It was put on by Big Picture Scrapbooking and Key Lime Crops. Fabulous fun and prizes and it was free! (Sorry can't give a link to the Big Wig gallery - you had to preregister for the crop to have access.)

I was a little worried seeing that it was based in Pacific Time, but it really didn’t matter; in fact, I think it actually was better for me. On Friday, I only stayed up until about 0030 and since some of the activity slowed down (didn’t stop!) during my early morning time (they’re 9 hours diff, I think) I was able to catch up with what I missed – which wasn’t really much, since most of the projects weren’t due until the 29th hour.

My husband and kids were so great on Saturday! He was busy with studying and taking a mid-term and the kids pretty much took care of themselves most of the day. I did stop and make dinner and visit for a bit, but then I played until almost 0400! And yes, we made it to church on time Sunday morning! (If you saw me Sunday morning and thought I looked pretty rough...that was why! *grin* )

So, here’s the ad and my first layout. The message in the middle of the ad was perfect! (The challenge was an ad inspired layout. Sorry about the photos. The first hour was intro yourself with a big wig picture (the photo on the left), so I did. And then I added them to the layout.) The title reads:

- do something BIG while there's still time to put it in your autobiography -

While in between layout challenges I created an embellished journaling pocket. Not sure what I'll use it for, but K. said something about making one with magnets for her locker...

This challenge was to create an embellished quote. I decided to make it into a layout, so I could enter it into another challenge. (click to see)

This layout was a fun one! The challenge was to list 8 statements that were said/written about you that you could neither confirm nor deny! (Click the photo to read mine.)

Okay, I think that's enough for now. Off to run errands!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

So, what did you want to know?

My friend Krista posted this meme on her blog and I decided that I would do the same! It's fun to read juicy details about the author of a blog...I almost always learn something new. If you feel inclined to share a little about yourself, please copy this meme and put your link in the comments, so that I can visit your blog (or send me an email! )

(In the past I have received several of these types of surveys. I have never actually participated in one until today. So, if you have ever sent me one of these surveys/memes, here ya go!)

1) Are you currently in a serious relationship?
Uh…yeah! I think 17+ years is bordering on ‘serious!’
2011 will be 20 years!

2) What was your dream growing up?
I wanted to be a marine biologist, living and researching life in the ocean.

3) What talent do you wish you had?
Intuitive Aptitude – the ability to know things without formal education or special training

4) If I were to buy you a drink, what would it be?
A REAL banana milkshake – real banana, vanilla bean ice cream, whole milk, topped with full fat, fluffy whipped cream (not the canned stuff!), sprinkled with finely chopped pecans

5) Favorite vegetable?
Sweet Corn ON the cob (with lots of butter, salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne!)

6) What was the last book you read?
Last book: Bone Song (John Meaney)
Currently listening to: Three Cups of Tea (Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin)
Finishing up the Eye of the World series. Was sad when Robert Jordan passed away.

7) Which zodiac sign are you?
Aquarius – I’m a dreamer!

8) Any tattoos and/or piercings? Explain where.
No tats. My ears 5Xs (2 sets and a single).

9) What would you say is your worst habit?
I’m a foodie! I love to experience food, not just eat it! Texture, aroma, temperature, flavors, color…so I may just have to have another piece to enjoy (not just eat!)

10) If you saw a friend walking down the street would you offer them a ride?
Is it raining?! Just kidding. Yeah, I would.

11) What is your favorite sport?
Chasing my children around the tiled house with a wooden spoon! It’s great exercise for your core, especially when you can slide around the corners really fast while wearing socks! What a way to whittle the waist! ( I crack me up! rotfl)

Seriously, swimming! It has everything – skills, individual, team, suspense, easy to watch…and none of the events last more that 15-20 minutes.

12) Do you have a mostly negative or optimistic attitude?
Definitely, positive! Who wants to be the one to suck the fun out of everything?!

13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with someone?
Probably have to pee! Haha. Really. When I get nervous, I have to go! I would probably try all the buttons and the phone/alarm and then talk up a storm since that’s the other thing I do when I’m nervous! I’m a little claustrophobic.

14) What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you?
My mother died when I was barely 20.

15) Tell me one weird fact about you.
Weird? Uh…my family thinks I’m weird because I don’t like peanut butter on my pancakes, French toast or pickle & mayo sandwiches. (Well, that last one is just Jess!)

16) Do you have any pets?
A neurotic Australian Shepherd named Roxie (a.k.a. Velcro Dog!) and about 100 fish (many cichlids, mostly African Malawi; guppies; plecos; several species of loaches; shrimp; angelfish; others…)
Alas, the fish went to other homes when we were getting ready to move from Germany back to the states. We now have 2 dogs, the Aussie and a Border Collie rescue named Maverick.

17) What would you do if a friend showed up at your house unexpectedly?
Chat with them on the porch. If it seemed that we might talk awhile, invite them in. Unless I know you well, then you’ll get invited in right away!

“If you’re coming to see me – come on over! If you’re coming to see the house – make an appointment!” See the “About Me” over in the right-hand column…see Domestic Goddess in training?

18) What was your first impression of your best friend?
“This girl is FUN!”

19) Do you think clowns are cute or scary?
In general, scary! Remember Stephen King’s “It”?!

20) If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?
I would love to have my mother’s hair – long, straight, thick, rich black hair!

21) Would you be a crime partner or someone's conscience?
Depends on what it was. If we’re
talking a real crime – breaking the law, hurtful, could go to jail kind of crime – call me Miss Killjoy. If we're talking prank, where everyone would laugh about it tomorrow - count me in!

22) What color are your eyes?
Brown. (Plain brown, James!)

23) Have you ever been arrested?
I’m sorry. Could you repeat the question? *wink*

24) Bottle or can pop?
“Pop?” This reminds me of my coastal family…If given the choice - Give me fountain soda!

25) If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it?
I think I would take the family on some sort of worldly once-in-a-lifetime, do some good, expedition trip – will have to research this one…

27) What's your favorite place to hang at?
Easy! On the beach on a comfy chaise lounger, a book, and a banana milkshake, admiring the hubby while he plays with the kids! :o)

28) Do you believe in ghosts?
No, but I do believe in spirits, too.

29) What's your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
What spare time?! If we’re talking just about ‘me’ time…it would be reading and crafting, preferable in an outdoor setting.

30) Do you swear a lot?
It is not my usual mode of speech…

31) What's your biggest pet peeve?
Whiners! Those people that complain about the same things over and over again and never DO anything about it.

32) In one word, how would you describe yourself?

33) Do you believe/appreciate romance?
Is this a trick question? I don’t go for the grandiose over-the-top one day a year kind of romance. I LOVE the little, thoughtful things he does to show me that he’s thinking of me every day!

35) Do you believe in God?
Yes, with all my heart.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blog Hopping - new widgets!

Okay. I admit it. I have a problem. I AM AN INTERNET JUNKIE. I can spend hours and hours and not even realize that the kids have been upstairs eating cereal and Nerds for dinner while watching the AFN Family channel all day! Bad mom!

Wow! Glad that's off my chest! Hehehe

That being said, today I was blog hopping and found a cool widget! Widget? That's the name for the fun little details on a website/blog like a visitor counter. (See mine?. Need more info check out this definition at the bottom of the page!) Supposedly, it's short for 'windows gadget.'

Anyway, with the Olympics going on and all, the kids and I have been scrambling to figure out what team is playing by the uniforms and the flags. Lo and behold! There's a game widget for world flags. How cool is that? IMO (in my opinion) pretty cool! The game shows you a flag and you have to click on the map where you think the capital is...try it out! It's at the bottom of my blog.

Have fun! Leave me a comment and tell me how well you did (or not!)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

IKEA, Kickball and S'mores

Aaahhh! Thursday, Friday, Saturday...yep, it's been 3 days since I had intended to get some family stuff up. Well, in the past I would have felt totally guilty, but today, not so much.

Jess had taken a few days off from work and we hadn't had a date night in months, so I mentioned it. Our default date is dinner and a movie, but not much playing that we just had to see. Tossed around some ideas and then he said the magic words...

Do you need anything from IKEA? We could spend the day out there...

What kind of question is that?! As if that was really a question...YES!!! Of course, there's a sports store a few doors down, but hey, one for him, one for me!

So, late Thursday night we watched Cloverfield. Not a fan. I mean, c'mon! If I was running for my life from some chicken-headed, grasshopper legged alien, I would NOT be running with a recorder on my face!!! Although I will give kudos for the ending...I liked the irony, but it was a looonng time in coming. So Blair Witch. Don't recommend (unless, of course, you're a Blair Witch fan!)

Friday went to the doctor for this sore throat that I'd had for 2 weeks. Short version: Put off making a dr. appoint for a week. Finally called, got dr. appointment. Got in car. Cell phone rang. Dr. sick. Rescheduled for next day. Arrive 20 minutes early. Computers down. Didn't see dr. until an hour past my appointment time. 90 minutes later on my way to IKEA!

Love walking the showrooms. So many great ideas! Bought some stuff to organize my craft room (pics and update coming!) bars, baskets, magnets, metal strips...Best part? Jess hung up all my stuff on Saturday! He is so great at organizing my stuff! I got these translucent white baskets to hang on the bars, but only got 4 because I wasn't exactly sure 1. if I really liked them and 2. what I was going to actually use them for...I should have listened to Jess and bought 10! (There. I said it. You were right. It can happen to anybody!)

He bought some of the same stuff for the garage and he gave me one of his bars when I realized I should have gotten one more! Love this man! He so gets me.

Well, I said there would be pics of kickball and smores...sorry, not alot of pics. We were having such a great time eating, visiting and playing kickball that we forgot about the pics!

The Grill Master [a.k.a Fire Boy ;0)]

Jonny in action!

Mmmmm! S'mores!