Friday, October 30, 2009

first crush

Over a year ago our local scrapbook store, Green Tangerines, had a "Designer's Challenge." Anyone could participate regardless of your scrapbooking style. Each week we bought a kit that contained a challenge and a product we had to use. At the end of the 10 weeks we had a scrapping party with prizes for everyone. On this particular week we had to use some orange felt (the hearts) and the big orange eyelets. We had to talk about our first crush. I put a different spin on mine and talked about who Paige's first crush might be (and I mentioned who mine was as well). It was a fun and playful layout to do. Something I would have never scrapbooked had we not been given the challenge.

Paige was 3 1/2 at this time.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

jewelry anyone?

My first friend when I moved to CA was Chelsey. We've known each other for 11 years. She has two girls the exact same age as mine, 3 and 5. One year ago she added 4 other girls to the mix who are now 2, 6, 12 and 14 years old. The oldest girl called CPS on her parents after years of neglect and verbal abuse. I won't go into the details. The 4 girls happen to be Chelsey's brother-in-laws girls--how could she turn them over to the foster care system? She didn't. But because they are family, the state only pays them a portion of what they would normally get. It's hard enough in the Bay Area to raise 2 kids on a single income, let alone 6 kids. Last year I had some wonderful friends who helped me put together 21 meals that we brought to her to put in her freezer. She was so grateful.

Chelsey and her husband, Jerome, are continuing to go into debt a little more each month. And the parents of the girls aren't helping out. They've recently been told they will have the girls at least another 6 months and to have in the back of their minds that they may be asked to adopt them all. Chelsey and Jerome have risen to the challenge and have given these girls a true home.

Now to get to the title of my post. Chelsey decided that she has to somehow contribute to the family income. A friend introduced her to Primier Designs jewelry. It was started by a Christian couple in 1985 so that they could support missionaries around the world. Chelsey makes 50% of whatever she sells--a great benefit for her! I'd never heard of them before, but looked through the catalog and was very impressed--they have something for every style. Since she doesn't live nearby, I told her I would host a catalog party for her. If she does 9 shows within the next month she will get a big bonus which will really help her family out. I'm not a huge jewelry person myself--but maybe I will be after I buy a few things! I thought I would throw it out there for anyone who might like to support a good cause. If you are local and are interested, let me know and I will get you the catalog--they don't have one online. Thanks friends!

Chelsey's kids are the two on the left. The other four are her nieces.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

true redhead

My mother-in-law sent me this magazine article a couple of years ago. I wasn't sure what to do with it, but I thought the "true redhead" percentage was pretty amazing--only 2% of the world. I used to have the same hair color as my girls, but once I entered my 20's it started to darken. Now I am a part of the $123 million/year that is spent on red hair dye. (I just get a few highlights.) The article says that by the year 2100, true redheads will be extinct since the carriers of the carrot-top gene are less and less likely to pair up in our age of global intermingling. I did this layout before I had Seth--now I have three true redheads!

If you use an original copy of a magazine article, be sure and use some Archival Mist by EK Success on the article before you paste it down to your layout. This will ensure your layout isn't ruined over time.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

we love bugs

This month we are doing a unit study on bugs--the girls are totally into it. This past week we made "bug eyes" out of egg cartons and pipe cleaners. We also made bug cookies. They don't look anything like they did in the book I got the idea from, but then I doubt that kids got to make those. My girls thoroughly enjoyed creating (and eating) their bugs. Recipe follows. *not gluten/sugar free

They are pretending to eat other insects with their sticky tongues.

Caterpillars and various bugs.

Best Bug Cookies

.5 cup butter
1.75 cup all-purpose flour
.5 cup sugar
.5 cup brown sugar
.25 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
.5 tsp baking soda
.25 tsp salt
1 Tbls cocoa powder

Melt butter. Add half of flour, the sugar, brown sugar, sour cream, egg, vanilla baking soda and salt. Beat well. Beat in remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Stir cocoa powder into half of the dough to make it brown. Form bugs as desired keeping them 3 inches apart on cookie sheet. Decorate with nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, cereal--whatever you have on hand. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

taco chili

This is one of my favorite recipes! It's quick and easy.

1 lb ground turkey or beef
1 onion, chopped
3 cans (16oz) chili beans (or ranchero beans), drained
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (4oz) can chopped chillis
2 cups frozen corn (I use Trader Joe's)
1 package taco seasoning
1 package Ranch salad dressing mix
2 cups water

Brown meat and onions, drain fat. Add remaining ingredients. Put in your crock pot on low for several hours.

A couple of notes: I have yet to find chili beans that don't have sugar added to them--if you know of one, let me know! I used the taco and ranch dressing mixes from Whole Foods--no sugar or gluten. The traditional ranch dressing mix (Kraft brand) has MSG in it--Yuck! This is a great recipe when you haven't been to the store in a while, but you happen to have some frozen meat and an onion in your refrigerator. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

no training wheels

What happens when you have child #2 is that they want to do everything child #1 does--including riding a bike with no training wheels. Paige(#1) learned how to ride a bike without training wheels a few months before her fifth birthday, so Faith (#2), thought she should be able to do the same. One month after her third birthday she was successfully riding her bike without training wheels while her dad (with his running shoes on) tried to keep up with her. (She hadn't quite mastered stopping at this point.) She was the talk of the cul de sac for a week. She had the entire summer to practice and can now ride without her dad nervously running behind her.

I did this layout for Green Tangerines Kit Club using their May kit.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

apple hill adventure

Our friends have been telling us about Apple Hill for years. It's over 50 apple farms all in the same area that open their farms in the Fall. They have tons of food, crafts, games, pumpkins and more for everyone to enjoy. We decided to go this past Sunday. It should only take us 45 minutes to get there . . . after getting on the wrong highway, our kids thowing up three times (due to the windy road "shortcut") and hitting major traffic once we got near, we finally arrived after two long hours on the road. We never made it to the popular farms we intended to see . . . we stopped at the closest three with the least amount of traffic just so we could get out of the van. It was still fun and we got some apples and cider. The girls had a great time climbing apple trees and exploring. Next time we'll take the right highway (that is straight) and we'll go on a weekday. My husband now refers to this outing as "Vomit Hill." He said he hopes the layout I'll create was worth it. Here are a few pictures from our day:

Our second throw up stop. Paige still looks a little queasy.

Stopping for a quick photo.

Choosing their apples.

Picking blackberries. Yum!

Climbing an apple tree.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

package in the mail

I love when my UPS man stops by! And he stopped by this weekend . . . here's a picture of what he brought!

I was recently invited to be a guest designer for Jillibean Soup and this is what they sent me! So generous. I'm in love with the buttons and date cards. So fun! You can pick up some of their stuff at our local scrapbook store, Green Tangerines.

Friday, October 16, 2009

album intro page

This is an intro page to my family album for 2008. I saw a layout similar to this in Creating Keepsakes magazine awhile back, can't remember who originally did it, but I thought it was swell. I have no idea which issue since once I use the idea it goes in the trash or is passed on to a friend. After I finish a family album, I go back and grab a few of my favorite pictures to put on the intro page. I did this strip of photos in Photoshop Elements and had it printed on a 12x12 sheet. Behind the photos I stamped the months that are in this album. (I couldn't fit all of 2008 in one album.) Black and white thickers from American Crafts complete the layout in a snap! Clean and simple--and quick is always good!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I am so thankful that I had two girls so close in age (they are 22 months apart). They are truly best friends. I hope they will stay this way! This is a layout I did awhile back documenting their relationship.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

banana pancakes + syrup

I love pancakes. The following recipes are gluten-free, sugar-free and guilt-free. Yummy!

Banana Pancakes
4 very ripe bananas
4 eggs
1/2 cup almond flour (almond meal)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mash ingredients together until there are minimal lumps. Grease pan and cook on medium heat or 300 degrees if using a skillet. They will not bubble as much as regular pancakes and they take a little longer to cook. Just keep checking them. I often double this recipe since I eat them so much and I freeze half.

Honey Syrup
1 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla

Heat well until mixed together. Do not bring to a boil. Tastes pretty close to real syrup! You can also try maple extract instead of vanilla. My kids love these!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

pumpkin patch

Yesterday we went to Bishop's Pumpkin Farm with the Bayside Homeschool Network. It was a fun and overcast day. Good thing we went then, because today it's pouring rain!

Monday, October 12, 2009

my first child

My first child, Paige, is 5 years old. She is very shy. I am hoping she will outgrow her shyness. We have been coaching her on how she can answer an adult when she is asked a question. Usually she just looks at the ground or looks away--or her 3-year-old sister answers the question for her. She is getting a little bit better . . but it's such a slow process! If you were a fly on our wall at home, you would see a totally different side of her. She is actually quite comical and makes us laugh constantly. The pictures below were taken when she was 4 years old. I did this layout for Green Tangerines scrapbook store for one of their displays and I recently got it back to put in Paige's album.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

halloween card class

Have your kids picked out their costumes yet? If you know me, you know that I am a big fan of consignment stores. Not into buying new unless I have to. So, I take my kids to the three consignment stores in the area and tell them to find their costume. Faith wanted to be a bunny originally, but after she found a cute cat costume, she decided on that. It was $8. We had a harder time finding one for Paige in her size. I went to my back up plan . . . She decided she wanted to be a dog since Faith was a cat. We found a poodle. We went to the lady's house to pick it up, but it was a little on the big side. She was selling a bunch of costumes and Paige saw a pink pig and decided she wanted to be a pig. A warm and snuggly pink pig. It was $15. After I'd purchased the pig we were at a friends house talking about costumes and she had a pink poodle costume that her daughter had worn two years ago. Now we are borrowing the poodle costume so the girls can be a cat and dog together. Anyone need a pig costume? Now to find one for Seth . . .

Speaking of Halloween . . . I teach a card class at Green Tangerines once a month. This month it's Halloween cards of course! The cost is $24 and we'll give you all the pre-cut supplies to make 10 cards. If you are local, it's next Thursday, October 15th from 6-8pm. It's a great time to get out and relax with friends. Call the store to sign up . . . I think there are a few spots left! Here is a sneak peak at what I've made for you to create:

Friday, October 9, 2009

11 weeks

I can't believe it's already been over 11 weeks. Seth is changing so fast. He has been sleeping through the night now for 10 days. It's very nice. He is smiling more and more everyday, even starting to chuckle a bit. So cute. Here is his latest smile.

Have a nice day!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

cheddar chicken chowder

With the cooler weather setting in I'm in the mood for soup! This is a thick and hearty one. I found this recipe at the Daily Diner and altered it to my liking and to be gluten and lactose free.

4 bacon slices
1 pound of chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces (I used a rotissere chicken)
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup water
2 cups diced peeled red potatoes
2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn
1/3 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
2 cups homeade plain yogurt (you can use store bought, but it has a little lactose in it)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Cook bacon in pan over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Crumble; set aside. Add chicken, onion, and garlic to bacon fat in pan; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth and potatoes; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add corn and bacon; stir well.

Place flour in a bowl. Gradually add yogurt, stirring with a whisk until blended; add to soup. Cook over medium heat 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese, salt, and pepper.

After I finished putting it all together, I transferred it to my crock pot to simmer on low all day. This isn't a necessary step, but I make it when I have time in the morning and then don't worry about dinner the rest of the day. The flavors blend together a bit more as well. My husband loves this recipe!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

green tangerines

This is the awesome store I have the priveledge of designing for. They just came out with their latest kit--it rocks! I haven't started playing with it yet, but maybe after the kids go to bed . . . I'll have layouts from it posted later this month. If you aren't local, they will ship it right to your door. Get them while they're hot! Here is more info if you want to pick one up: September Kit. Have a good night!


Last month we did a unit study on farm life. We read a ton of books on farm animals and how food grows, etc. I thought it would be extra fun to learn about chickens. Someone in my homeschool network let me know that 4H rents incubators for $10 and sells fertilized eggs for only $3. We brought home 12 eggs. On Monday afternoon two of them finally hatched! We happened to be in the room at the time and we heard chirping. We rushed over, (I grabbed the video camera) and watched as the first little guy came out. I'd never seen a chicken hatch before, so it was pretty exciting for me too! The other 10 eggs didn't hatch and we now have two baby chicks in our living room. The girls named them Sara and Cody.

You can see the first chick just getting out of his shell and the second chick has pecked a tiny hole in the egg at the bottom of the picture.

Cody and Sarah

Two proud little "mommies"

You don't have to homeschool to rent the incubator and buy the eggs. For $13, it's a ton of fun! Now, what to do with the chicks? Tim thought we would raise chickens and have fresh eggs, but now he's thinking it might be more work than he cares to take on. It takes 5 months before a chicken will lay it's first egg. 4H takes the chicks back for you if you decide you don't want them. The jury is still out on what will be decided. . .

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

baby shower

I have been blessed with some awesome girlfriends! Several of them (Kristen, Gina, Amber, Tara and Merri) threw me a great baby shower this past Spring. It was a jungle theme. It was especially fun because this was my first boy! Because I had all the essentials, most people brought me clothing--I love baby clothing! The cake you see in this picture was made by my friend Amber--doesn't it look professional? I bought the Becky Higgins Baby Kit and have started using it for Seth. This is the first layout I have completed. I love the journaling prompts that they give you in this kit. Usually I am not a huge kit girl, but I thought I'd be busy with three kids, so why not make my life a little easier?

Monday, October 5, 2009

your smile

This is a layout I did for Green Tangerines for their July kit of the month. I mostly scrap double page layouts, but every now and then I like to showcase a favorite photo and do a single page layout. I loved the patterned papers in this months kit. If you look closely, you can see that I stitched down the yellow ribbon and also down the right hand side over the top of the half circles. Sewing adds just a little extra touch to a page that gives it that homeade feel. I gave up quilting when I had kids . . . at least my sewing machine is still getting some good use!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

oatmeal raisin cookies

These are my favorite gluten-free, sugar-free cookies! I combined a few recipes until I got it just right. I don't feel guilty at all when I eat one . . . or two . . . or three! If you don't need to eat gluten-free, you can substitute the flour of your preference. If you want to try them with almond flour, Trader Joes sells "almond meal," which is the same thing. I use my homeade plain yogurt that is lactose-free, but if you aren't lactose sensitive, just use regular plain yogurt. If you make some, be sure and let me know if you like them!

oatmeal raisin cookies

2 eggs
3/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp. canola oil
3/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup raisins

Mix eggs, honey and oil until thickened. Add the yogurt and vanilla and beat again. Add the oats, flours, coconut, baking soda, spices and salt. Beat until well mixed. Stir in the raisins. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I'm blogging

I've thought about starting a blog for over a year now . . . I thought now that I have three kids (one of them a newborn), it seemed like a logical time. . . I have extra time on my hands, right? So, here I sit, typing one-handed while feeding my little guy. The main reason I want to start a blog is so that my family and long-distance friends can see pictures of our kids and read about what is going on in our lives. I have to admit I am a terrible "keep in contact" kind of gal. I used to be so good at it . . . then I had kids. The perfect time to call is after 8pm, but then it's too late in another time zone. Hopefully blogging will be part of the solution. Most of my posts will be scrapbooking related, but I'll throw in some recipes and what's going on in our homeschooling world too. To start things off, here is my first layout with three kids. Seth is six weeks old in these pictures.

This is one of the layouts I did for Green Tangerines using their August kit. This has been my favorite kit! All of their kits are great, but this one was especially fun for me. Maybe it was all the Jillibean Soup paper that was included in the kit--LOVE their stuff!