Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Short and sweet AI commentary...

No surprises here as to who I wish to go...of course, it's Sanjaya. Really, I thought everyone else did a pretty good job tonight. I really liked the song choices tonight. IF, by some cruel joke, Sanjaya makes it through again, the only one that I could see going this week is Haley Scarnato.
Short and sweet AI commentary...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Half Acre by Hem

It's not too often that a commercial gets my attention. I mean REALLY gets my attention. Recently, I saw a Liberty Mutual commercial that really stood out to me with a pay-it-forward type theme. Do you recognize it?

The music is what really pulled me in. I just love the piano and the soothing voice of the artist. So, with a small piece of the lyrics that I could make out in the commercial, I went to Google to find the song. It's called "Half Acre" by a group called Hem. I already downloaded it and it's in my playlist. After reading the lyrics, I love that about the song, too! They are so uplifting.

I am holding half an acre
torn from the map of Michigan
and folded in this scrap of paper
is a land I grew in

Think of every town you've lived in
every room you lay your head
and what is it that you remember?

Do you carry every sadness with you
every hour your heart was broken
every night the fear and darkness
lay down with you

A man is walking on the highway
A woman stares out at the sea
and light is only now just breaking

So we carry every sadness with us
every hour our hearts were broken
every night the fear and darkness
lay down with us

But I am holding half an acre
torn from the map of Michigan
I am carrying this scrap of paper
that can crack the darkest sky wide open
every burden taken from me
every night my heart unfolding
my home
Below is a live performance of the full song...enjoy!
Half Acre by HemSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, March 23, 2007

Kaitlin starring as 'little lamb'...

Kaitlin had a program at school this morning. It was a collection of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes put on by the children and it was pretty adorable. My dad happened to be in town for an appointment, so he came to watch, too. Kaitlin was pretty tickled when she saw that Grandpa Joe had come to watch.

Kaitlin was the lamb of "Mary had a little lamb...".

As you can see, Mary's little lamb had followed her to school one day...

Later in the program, all the preschoolers stood on the risers to sing Pat-a-Cake and Star Light, Star Bright complete with actions. Unfortunately, Kaitlin's costume wasn't quite conducive to all the choreography, but she made do.

Here's one tired (and hot) little lamb watching the rest of the program.

Kaitlin starring as 'little lamb'...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, March 22, 2007

American Idol commentary...

It's been a couple weeks since I've commented on the progress of American Idol...but I have been watching. This show really is a guilty pleasure for me, but even that has become a little tainted. I am more than a little frustrated that a certain 'idol' (Sanjaya Malakar) hasn't been kicked off yet. He was one that I felt should have been the first to go out of the top 24 and here he is...in the TOP 10! I just can't believe it!! His performance on Tuesday night was practically painful to watch. It was odd because the judges have always been pretty blunt with him (in that he wasn't very good - or at least not good enough to go any further), but that night Randy and Paula were almost positive...I'm convinced it was pure pity setting in. Simon was that only one that seemed to see his performance as hideous...which it was...

So, I'm thinking...is this kid's family rich or something? Did he buy off a few pacific islands to vote for him? No, I think I found the answer...Vote for the Worst. It's a movement that actually is encouraging people to vote for the WORST singer. It's all making a little more sense now...like how Kevin Covais made it so far in Season 5.

I just feel so bad for the ones that have gone home before they should have...like Stephanie Edwards and Brandon Rogers. Granted, they probably wouldn't have made it to the top 3 or 4, but definitely deserved to stay more than Sanjaya.

Here's my plea...DON'T vote for the worst! DON'T vote for Sanjaya. Vote for you FAVORITE and let the show work the way it supposed to!

American Idol commentary...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring is coming...

Boy, I haven't been posting much lately. Had a couple really crazy weeks and it's just taking more a bit to 'snap back', I think. I've been feeling very unmotivated about everything it seems lately.

But, this morning, Kaitlin and I came outside to leave for school/work and it smelled like spring. It was cool, but not cold, and there was just a hint of rain in the air. I love that smell...first time I've smelled it this year, I think, and it spruced me up a bit. I've been feeling a little better today - definitely ready for spring.

With that said, here's a quote to ponder about spring:
"Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.”
Sarah Ban Breathnach
I read this and realized I've been 'down' about a lot of things lately...all the illness and death around us, stresses at home and work...I haven't even felt like scrapping for quite a while. But, really, there is so much to be thankful for and I have to make myself remember that. And for the things that aren't 'perfect'...well, I just have to remind myself that 'dry seasons' don't last forever.
Spring is coming...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers Meme #9 - Using Props in Photography

Using props when taking photos can add so much...it can clue the viewer into the likes (and perhaps dislikes of the subject depending on their facial expression), the time of year the photo was taken, add a pop of color or some symbolic meaning. Props can be very simple things...a favorite blanket, a Santa hat, an Easter egg, or something created on the fly like a heart drawn in the sand.

One thing to be careful of, though, is not to let your props overpower your photo. Be sure that they do not detract from you main photo.

Challenge yourself to look at your household items in new ways and use a simple prop to enhance your next photo shoot.

In honor of St. Patty's Day, my daughter and I went out yesterday for some quick photos using a shamrock lolly pop as a prop, which also worked well as a reward for a cooperative photo subject! :-)

Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers Meme #9 - Using Props in PhotographySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, March 17, 2007

At last...a magazine for married men...

He, he...
At last...a magazine for married men...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Quite the week...part two...

Yesterday was Alice's (Justin's maternal grandmother) funeral. It was a beautiful day weather- wise, so that was nice...today is a little chilly again. This was Kaitlin's first experience with a wake service and funeral. On Monday night, she seemed her usual self, even after viewing the body. During the rosary and wake service, she drew a little picture and wrote her name on it. Later, Justin told me that he had seen it in the casket after the service. Grandma Ruth must have helped her put it there...that was nice.

There was a 'sharing' period at the wake and several people came up and said some really nice things about Alice. These are the kinds of things that really make you think, ya know? What will my family, my daughter, have to say about me one day. Really makes you want to strive to be a better person.

At the funeral, Kaitlin did well until towards the last 10-15 minutes or so. All of the sudden, she got really quite and really cuddled up to me. Then, she wanted me to hold her and I realized that she was crying when she buried her face in my neck. When I asked her what was wrong, she said in a whimpery little voice, "I'm sad for Grandma." It was sad and precious all at the same time. She continued to cry until after we got outside and got into Rahn and Ruth's car to ride to the cemetery. She was asking some questions about why Grandma Alice died and how her soul gets up to Heaven...tough questions.

I bought a book on Amazon today called The Saddest Time by Norma Simon. It has good reviews so am anxious to get it and read it with her. It is supposed to explain death as the inevitable end of life and provides three situations (accident, illness, and death) in which children experience powerful emotions when someone close has died. I was hoping to find one that also touched on the religious (Heaven) aspect...not sure if this one does...may have to keep looking.
Quite the week...part two...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Quite the week...

On Friday, my sister and I drove to LeMars together to meet the rest of the family and attend my cousin Teri's funeral. It was a sad, but very beautiful service. On the way home, my Mom, Dad, sister, older brother and his girlfriend all went through Sioux City to have dinner at the Olive Garden. It was some nice family time together.

Yesterday, my mom, sister, Kaitlin and I all headed back to LeMars for Molly's (Teri's daughter) wedding shower. Initially, we assumed that it might be rescheduled, but looking back, I am sure that is just what Teri would have wanted...for Molly to still have her day just as planned. It was a very nice shower and a chance to visit.

As soon as we got back from LeMars and we were soon getting ready to go to Justin's parents' house in Springfield for supper. Two of his younger brothers have birthdays next week and we still often get together to celebrate Paulson birthdays.

We had planned to go see Justin's grandma Alice in the hospital today; however, we got the sad news that she had passed away last night while we were at his parents house. What a week it has been.

On a lighter note, Kaitlin drew this picture on her magnidoodle yesterday and I couldn't get over how good it was...I had to take a picture.

Can you tell what it is? Just in case you need a hint, it has a mane, roars and lives where there is a really big sun!!
Quite the week...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers Meme #8 - Favorite Quotes

This week's edition is all about quotes. Journaling is a key componant of scrapbooking, but we're all at a loss for words from time to time, so why not 'borrow' them from someone else who inpires us?

Your challenges:
#1 - Share your three favorite quotes at this time.
#2 - Share your favorite online resource for finding great quotes.
and, #3, should you choose to accept it - Create a layout using one of the quotes listed above.

Please don't forget to leave you responses in a comment box here and/or a link back to your own online journal where your answers lie.

Have a creative week!

My three favorite quotes:
#1 - "I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be. But most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see." Douglas Pagels
#2 - “Draw a circle, not a heart, around the one you love because a heart can break but a circle goes on forever.” Unknown
#3 - "It takes courage to grown up and become who you really are." e.e. cummings

My favorite quote webiste:
The Quote Garden

My quote layout:
Quote (#2 above): “Draw a circle, not a heart, around the one you love because a heart can break but a circle goes on forever.” Unknown

Cardstock - Bazzill
Patterned Paper, Ribbon & Rub on - Basic Grey
Ink - Rubber Stampede
Fonts - Susie's Hand, Journaling Hand

Journaling (hidden on tag behind photo):
Yes, I have loved...my family, my husband, my friends. Yet somehow, I don't feel that I ever knew the depths which love could reach until the day that you entered my life. Darling daughter, you are my heart...you have touched the center of my soul. Nothing could break the bonds of love that I feel for you. It will go on and on forever...even when all I can do is look down on you from Heaven.

The main word of the title was highlighted by handcutting the letters, matting them and elevating the two overlapping letters (l & v) with dementional dots. A circle photo mat was used to correspond with the content of the title quote.
Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers Meme #8 - Favorite QuotesSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, March 8, 2007

A Review of Type Cast: Creative Page Design Using Words Type and Letters by Memory Makers

A review of Type Cast: Creative Page Design Using Words Type and Letters by Memory Makers.

Amazon Description:

Besides the photos, type and the treatment of words is the most important element on a scrapbook page. The words scrapbookers use add depth to the meaning and content of their layouts--and they can be even more effective when artfully presented with types designed to evoke certain emotions, sensibilities, or dimensions.

Typography was recently ranked the fifth most popular topic among Memory Makers readers, a trend made evident in the market by the popularity of various lettering products (monograms, die cuts, rub-ons, etc.).

Combining learnable techniques with strong, inspiring artwork, Type Cast will teach readers how to get the most out of their tools, supplies, and even their own handwriting to create fabulous pages that fully integrate text into successful designs.

With the help of professional scrapbook designers who love to play with type, readers will learn how to:
*Choose the perfect lettering to portray mood or theme
*Have fun mixing and matching letter types
*Integrate type into page design for good balance and proportion
*Create titles
*And journal with maximum impact

Screen captures demonstrate ways to add digital type to handmade pages, while step-by-step photographs accompany written instruction to illustrate exciting techniques for using letter templates, stamps, die cuts and ready-mades.

This is a great book. Anyone who looks at my pages knows that I can't scrap without my computer - you'd be VERY hardpressed to find a page that doesn't use a computer font in some way. So, clearly, the computer-related sections of the book seemed most familiar, but I have begun to 'branch out' more in title treatments and such, using stickers, rub ons, etc. more and this book gave me a lot of creative ideas.

4 1/2 STARS
A Review of Type Cast: Creative Page Design Using Words Type and Letters by Memory MakersSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Some sad, some sweet and a little American Idol commentary...

This week has been kind of a doozy so far. Yesterday I found out that my cousin, who has been struggling with cancer for a while now, was rather suddenly not doing very well at all and found out later in the evening they she had passed. It is so very sad as she was really rather young and her oldest daughter is just about to get married. If fact, her bridal shower was supposed to be this weekend. I will be going to the funeral with my family on Friday.

I also ended up going home early yesterday afternoon with a feverish little girl, but it seems that that was a fleeting thing, thankfully, as she was doing better and no more fever by this morning already.

On top of that, I heard from my mother-in-law early this morning and Justin's grandmother is not doing well either and is in the hospital with a rather severe case of pneumonia. Hopefully she will pull through just fine...we are certainly praying for her recovery.

With all this, I needed a little to brighten my day and received the following in an email from a friend. It is so adorable...

It also reminds me of something that happened a couple weeks ago. Kaitlin had been struggling a while with biting her nails and I was really encouraging her to stop. She has, so I have kind of made a 'reward' out of painting her nails every now and then. One day, she decided that she wanted to paint my nails. As you can imagine, at 4 1/2, she doesn't have a very steady hand, so I let her do my toes (it would be covered up by my shoes anyway, right?). Well, she wasn't quite satisfied, so I teased that she should do Daddy's fingernails and he let her...with dark red nail polish!! He even went to work the next day with it on!! Not sure if he did that so as not to hurt her feelings by taking it off right away or to draw attention to himself. He does like attention, you know...any kind. :-) Regardless, it was pretty cute watching her paint his fingernails. If I had been thinking, I would have gotten a picture of the final result...oh well, maybe Kaitlin will make a repeat attempt one of these days!

Now for a little AI commentary...a little short and sweet this week...just not quite in the mood. The men and women went through another round of performances last night and tonight. This week, the guys were a little weak and the women shown (a flip from last week).

My vote for favorites went to:
Men - Chris Sligh
Women - Jordin Sparks

My votes for who should go:
Men - Sanjaya Malakar & Jared Cotter
Women - Antonella Barba & Haley Scarnato

I only got one out of four right last week...we'll see if I do any better this week...
Some sad, some sweet and a little American Idol commentary...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, March 5, 2007

Book Review: Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

Amazon Description:
Canadian writer Mary Lawson's debut novel is a beautifully crafted and shimmering tale of love, death, and redemption. The story, narrated by 26-year-old Kate Morrison, is set in the eponymous Crow Lake, an isolated rural community where time has stood still. The reader dives in and out of a year's worth of Kate's childhood memories--when she was 7 and her parents were killed in an automobile accident that left Kate, her younger sister Bo, and two older brothers, Matt and Luke, orphaned. When Kate, the successful zoologist and professor who is accustomed to dissecting everything through a microscope, receives an invitation to Matt's son's 18th birthday party, she must suddenly analyze her own relationship and come to terms with her past before she forsakes a future with the man she loves. Kate is still in turmoil over the events of that fateful summer and winter 20 years ago when the tragedy of another local family, the Pyes, spilled over into their lives with earth-shattering consequences. But does the tragedy really lie in the past or the present? Lawson's narrative flows effortlessly in ever-increasing circles, swirling impressions in the reader's mind until form takes shape and the reader is left to reflect on the whole. Crow Lake is a wonderful achievement that will ripple in and out of the reader's consciousness long after the last page is turned. --Nicola Perry, Amazon.co.uk
I borrowed this book from a friend because it 'looked' good. I am totally a 'judge a book by its cover' kind of person. Sometimes this totally backfires on me, but not this time. This is definitely the best book I have read in a while. The writing is beautiful, the characters and plot line complex, yet believable. I have read several books that weave back and forth between past and present and don't remember any author doing such a good job of it as Lawson. It was effortless and enjoyable reading. I will definitely be looking to read more from her.


NEXT UP: Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Book Review: Crow Lake by Mary LawsonSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, March 4, 2007

The joys of parenting...

Kaitlin and I had a battle-of-wills this weekend so to speak. It all began on Saturday afternoon when I asked Kaitlin to pick up her toys in the living room and she refused. This has been more and more of an issue lately. The girl has an arsenal of toys and it takes minutes for the living room to look like a bomb went off through which you must travel at your own peril, but she never wants to pick them up. At 4 1/2, she's getting a little too old to not be willing/able to pick up after herself.

So, I said she wouldn't get any supper until she picked up her toys. She commented several times that she was hungry (hinting for mom to make her some supper) over the course of the late afternoon and evening and I responded with, "All you have to do is pick up your toys." She simply refused.

Well, guess what...she went to bed without any supper...for the first time ever, I think - other than a time or two when she wasn't feeling well and didn't want any.

My thinking was, "Well, she'll certainly be hungry by morning and will pick up to get breakfast, right?"

Nope...still as stubborn as all get out...where does she get this tenacity??

Lunch time came and went and she STILL hadn't picked them up, so I told her that in 15 minutes I was going to pick up every last toy that was on the living room floor, put them in a box and into the extra bedroom they would go - in other words "OFF LIMITS" for an unknown period of time.


So in 15 minutes, I was picking up the toys and in the bedroom they went.

She was NOT a happy camper...I believe there was some screaming and slamming of doors involved (Kaitlin, not me, in case you were wondering).

After she had calmed down, I went into her room and she apologized for not listening to me and said she promised to pick up her toys from now on. Then she asked, "Can I have some lunch now?" quite pitifully.

How can someone be so frustratingly obstinate and adorable all at the same time??!!

So, of course, I made her some lunch. After all, she's got to eat! I'm telling myself that this one was a draw (although I think I might be deluding myself a bit :-))...she didn't pick up her toys, but she also won't be playing with them for a few days...and even then, I don't think that all of them will be coming back out of the extra bedroom.

Hmmm...not sure I'm looking forward to the teenage years! :-)
The joys of parenting...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers Meme #7 - Using Sketches for Scrapbooking

I have never been a huge sketch user. When I was primarily a 2-page layout scrapper, I was a big fan of Becky Higgins, but since switching to primarily one-page layout, my sketch usage has wained a bit. HOWEVER, sketches are a hugely useful tool to scrappers and sometimes when I'm just 'stuck', they can really help me get going again.

Right now, Becky Fleck is one of my favorite 'sketch artists' and lucky for you and me, she has a website featuring her sketches with updates every month called PageMaps.

Your challenge this week, is to visit the PageMaps link above, choose one of the new March PageMaps and use it to create a new layout...maybe one that you've been struggling with or putting off because you weren't quite sure how to go about it. Please leave a comment here linking to the post in your online journal showing your sketch choice and created layout.



You'll notice that I flipped the sketch. Otherwise, Kaitlin would have been facing 'off the page' in the main photo. That's the great thing about sketches...nothing is set in stone. They can be flipped, rotated...whatever.

Cardstock – DCWV
Patterned Paper – KI Memories
Stickers - Doodlebug
Snowflakes – Heidi Swapp
Brads – Making
Ink – VersaColor

Sunday Spur for Scrapbookers Meme #7 - Using Sketches for ScrapbookingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, March 3, 2007

A Conversation with Kaitlin...

Kaitlin is really getting spring fever. Today, on the way to the store, she looked out the window of the car and sighed.

"What's wrong, honey?" I asked.
"I wish the snow would go away, Mom."
"How come?"
"Cause dad and me want to go fishing with each other."
"I'm glad you like to fish with dad...I don't like fishing."
"You could just come and watch us fish, Mom. No, that would be boring, huh? I think you just need to practice...do you want me to show you how to cast, Mom? I can cast really good!"
I'm sure you can, sweetie. I guess I'm going to get a casting lesson this spring! :-)
A Conversation with Kaitlin...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, March 2, 2007

Only 1 for 4 on AI this week...

Not so good, huh? Well, I don't think that America got it 'right' this time and it seemed the judges agreed with me on that one...it was very obvious that they did not feel that the 'right' ones left the competition last night.

The two boys to go:
AJ Tabaldo
Nicholas Pedro

VERY dissapointed by these results...I think even Sanjaya was too shocked for words when it turned out to be AJ that was booted and not him. I felt awful for AJ...he SO deserved to stay after his performance on Tuesday. I was also quite surprised by Nicholas' boot - he's not a favorite of mine really, but most definitely has a better voice/talent than some of the guys still in the competition.

The two girls to go:
Alaina Alexander
Leslie Hunt

Well, here's were I got one right - Alaina; however, I would have said that Antonella deserved the boot 'more' than she did. I'm not entirely surprised that Leslie got the vote...I really didn't expect her to make it past next week anyway.

I guess this is why it is so easy to have such a love/hate relationship with AI...you just really never know what is going to happen.
Only 1 for 4 on AI this week...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend