Friday, April 30, 2010

camping . . . here we come

A few months ago my husband got this crazy idea . . . let's start camping this summer! He was in a men's Bible study that was going through a DVD series that talked about how to be a better husband, father and employee. One of the sessions talked about making memories with your kids NOW. We have been looking forward to starting the camping tradition for some time now, but have put it off for one reason or another. I would never have dreamed that our camping tradition would start with an infant . . . that just sounds like a lot of work. Tim said it seemed like too much work as well, but he wanted to start making those cherished camping memories with his girls now. So, he went out and bought a used pop-up trailer. Now we have a place to put a pack-n-play, get the kids cleaned up, etc. I grew up tent camping, so this will be new for me . . . but I also didn't start camping before elementary school.

Here are the girls . . . beyond excited!

We are doing a trial run 45 minutes from our house this weekend . . . it's only one night . . . we can do this, right??? If Seth just won't settle, I can come home with him, sleep in my own bed and be back by breakfast, right? Wish us luck!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

so many books

It's been a busy week, but I thought I'd pop in with a quick layout. I did this one over a year ago for the store to help sell some American Crafts papers and thickers. My girls look so little in these pictures. I caught Paige "reading" to Faith one morning after they both woke up. So cute!

This layout took me about 45 minutes to put together . . . it's very simple. All the small photos are 2x3". The large photo is a 5x7". I love that I have documented a few of their favorite books at this age . . . which reminds me, I should probably do that again soon, their favorites are totally different now! Have a great day!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

seth at nine months

Seth turned nine months on Monday. I couldn't decide which one of these pictures I liked better, so I'm posting them both. I'll have to choose at some point when I put together the teddy bear layout when he turns one. I can't believe my baby is almost one! Sigh . . .

And I don't want to leave the girls out . . .
I sent Tim off on a much needed bike ride this past weekend and the kids and I headed to the mall to ride the merry-go-round, a reward they had earned. We had so much fun! We went to play at the toy store for awhile and they were having a big sale and free face painting and balloons. The girls were in heaven. Some days I wish they could stay 4 and 5 forever, I love this age. But then as they grow older I am finding I love the next age even better. It's fun to watch them grow.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

my mind's eye challenge

I love the paper lines that My Mind's Eye comes out with. They have a little bit of everything. They are doing a challenge over on their blog this week and I thought I'd play along. Only problem is, I had trouble deciding which papers to use and which daughter to highlight. So, I did two layouts! Here is the sketch we had to use:

And here are my layouts:

These flowers are really easy to make. Take a scallop punch and punch along a 12x12 piece of paper. When finished, trim your strip to 1x12inches. Fold at each scallop like an accordian. Attached ends. The trickiest part is getting the flower to stay put once you flip it together--think lots of glue! I added some stickles to my flower centers to give them a little shine. I also highlighted a few of the clouds with my stickles.

For both layouts I used chipboard and covered them with MME paper (using my trusty Modge Podge). For the green scallop punch, I used my punch on either side of one strip of paper and then ran some linen thread through for some added dimension.

I know which layout is my favorite . . . what do you think?
Have a great day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

chicken and rice soup

Being limited to 15 foods makes for some interesting recipes . . . here is one I came up with last night . . . and it's good! It's THICK soup, more like a porridge or stew. Tastes good and digests easily. And it's quick to make. Hope you like it!

1.5 cups diced organic carrots
.5 lb cooked organic chicken, chopped
3 cups cooked white rice (you could use brown as well)
1 can (15oz) light coconut milk from Trader Joe's (this is what makes it yummy!)
4 cups organic chicken broth
3 Tbls fresh cilantro or 3 tsp dried
1 tsp salt

Saute the carrots in a little bit of olive oil for 10-15 minutes or until slightly tender. Add everything else and bring to a boil. Turn to low and let simmer for 1-2 hours with a lid on. Check on it a few times and add a little water if it starts to get too thick.

Have a great Monday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

growing up too fast

This is a favorite photo of Faith taken at age three. Kids grow too fast . . .

This layout was also done with the Green Tangerines March Kit.

And one more card from the kit . . .

Have a fabulous weekend!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

what's on my mind

I feel like rambling tonight and this seems like the place to do it . . . I went to my monthly homeschooling meeting/support group the other night. I feel so blessed to be a part of this group. There are some amazing, Godly women in this group . . . and yet they are just your ordinary, everyday kind of gals too. Two women shared their stories at our meeting and the topic was, "Homeshooling and Crisis." One of the women lost her 3-year-old son 6 years ago . . he died while taking a nap. The second woman who shared has 5 children, ages 3-12. Her husband filed for legal separation 3 years ago . . . she is still praying for his return. They both shared various verses from the Bible and ways that God has brought them through these crisises an how God is still working in them today.

When Paige (my oldest) was 2 years old and Faith was 7 months old, I got pregnant with baby #3 . . . it was a big shock. I remember walking out of the bathroom with my pee stick in hand and the first thing out of my mouth was, "I'm never going to be able to homeschool now!" as I burst into tears. When I miscarried at 11 weeks, I felt immense guilt over that statement. A short 3 months later I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease and on some serious medication not safe for a pregnancy . . . God obviously knew that was going to happen.

Fast forward 3 years. The past 3 years have been a struggle. I often ask God why I have this disease when I have so many things I want to do for Him. I can't do all these things for Him when I am healthy one day and sick the next . . . everything is too unpredictable. We chose to homeschool because we feel it's the best decision for our children and we felt God calling us to do it. Homeschooling is not an easy task for any mom . . . throw in a serious illness that hasn't been "solved" yet and some days I feel like we are trying to do the impossible for our children. Wait a minute . . . I've been talking about ME doing things for God and ME being in control of my children's education. Even though I KNOW God is always in control, am I really acting like He is? What do I really think I can do for God that He can't accomplish on His own? This is what I've been pondering . . .

This has been my first year of homeschooling. I had big plans for this year . . . lots of hands on learning activities, field trips, crafts everyday. Throw in a new baby and dealing with being sick 6 out of these 8 past months . . . things haven't exactly gone as I'd PLANNED in the homeschooling department. I haven't been stressing about it too much because I know it's Kindergarten . . . we've still been covering all the basics and she is learning how to read. It just hasn't been the FUN level that I'd wanted for our first year. Some days I feel really inadequate as a teacher. Then God reminded me, "Hey, what's the problem? This was MY idea that I laid on YOUR heart! You are doing exactly what I asked of you." Oh yeah, that's right, this was God's idea to homeschool from the very beginning. This was certainly not my crazy idea. He is the one that is in control and is going to make sure my kids learn all the stuff they are supposed to . . . I am simply the facilitator. What a relief.

If God can give strength to go on to a mom who has lost her child and peace to a wife who is awaiting her husband's return, then He can certainly give me strength to live day to day with my health issues regardless of the unpredictability that comes with it--and homeschool at the same time! I want to give thanks to God for allowing difficult circumstances in my life and for giving me an opportunitly to rely soley on Him.

Just some things I've been thinking about this week . . . I promise I'll be back with "lighter" stuff soon! Have a good day!

p.s. This little guy is just itching to walk! He can stand on his own, but hasn't taken that solo step yet . . .

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

free CUTE stuff!

If you are a fan of Green Tangerines monthly kit club, stop by today through Friday for your chance at some free chipboard goodies! Go HERE now!

more cards

Here are a few more cards I did with my March kit.

I love this kit, the colors just make me happy. Have a great day!

Monday, April 12, 2010

pizza sauce

I haven't posted a recipe in a long time . . . probably because I haven't eaten much food in a long time. I am still on the shakes and am working my way up the food ladder. I'm up to about 15 foods now that I can tolerate. I unfortunately had to start the dreaded Prednisone (steroid) 11 days ago. Aside from all the side effects that I hate, it is helping. I was trying to wait it out longer and just stick to the shakes, but I was still getting weaker by the day and was having a hard time taking care of my kids. Anyway, if you or someone you know stuggles with Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis, here is a link to the predigested shakes I am using. They are expensive, but they are helping me get the nutrution I need while allowing my body to take a break from having to digest too much.

On to the recipe . . .

A couple of girlfriends asked me for my pizza sauce recipe. Here it is:
15oz can organic tomato sauce
6 oz can organic tomato paste (the key to making it thick!)
2 tsp Crushed Garlic from Trader Joe's (or you can mince 4 garlic cloves)
2-3 Tbls fresh oregano (or 1 Tbls dried oregano)
2-3 Tbls fresh basil (or 1 Tbls dried basil)
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt

*A note on pizza sauce. Any pizza sauce you buy that is premade will have sugar added to it, don't ask me why--it doesn't need it! Omit sugar wherever you can . . . think baby steps! I always use fresh herbs when I have them, but you can use the dried and your sauce will still be yummy. I never measure my herbs, but these are guesstimates--you can add how much you like.

And now onto the pizza . . . GO HERE for the zucchini and gluten free pizza crust I posted awhile back. It is so yummy! I make several personal size crusts and freeze them between wax paper. I just pull one out when we are having our family pizza night (every Friday). My kids still prefer Trader Joe's premade Garlic Herb crust which you can find near the sandwiches and premade fresh stuff. So, I make one large pizza for my family and a personal size pizza for me.

the family pizza made with Trader Joe's Garlic Herb crust

my gluten-free pizza made with a zucchini crust

Here are our typical family toppings:
chicken mild Italian sausage (Whole Foods)
pepperoni (nitrate/nitrite free at Whole Foods)
red peppers
sun dried tomatoes
green olives
monterey jack cheese
parmesan cheese
fresh basil

Everyone likes their pizza a little different (Faith likes everything, Paige does not) so they get to "decorate" their side of the pizza.

Hungry yet?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

everyday random

I'll admit, when I first started scrapbooking, it was all about the events, holidays and birthdays for me. I thought that was what scrapbooking was "supposed" to be. But what was I supposed to do with all those everyday random pictures that were quickly filling up space on my computer . . . never to be seen again if I didn't do something with them quick!

When I started scrapbooking those everyday moments, scrapbooking took on a whole new meaning for me. I felt more freedom with my journaling and the entire creative process became much more meaningful to me. Nowdays, with three crazy kids to make me laugh, my scrapbooks are filled with mostly random moments. I still do the events, holidays and birthdays (of course!), but some of my favorite layouts are the random ones--and my kids prefer them too! Speaking of random . . . do your kids strike a pose when they put underwear on their heads?

I used the Green Tangerines March Kit for this layout. Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

basic grey card

Two weeks ago I was the lucky winner here. I just love Kelly Goree's blog. She is an amazing designer. I won the Green at Heart collection pack from Basic Grey. Can you say yummy?!! It is full of Spring goodness! I am in the middle of some assignments for Green Tangerines Kit Club, so I didn't have time to scrap with the new goodies, but I did make time to put together a quick card. You can bet I will be scrapping with this collection soon . . .

To make this card . . . lightly adhere your strips of patterned paper to the green cardstock with removeable adhesive. Next LIGHTLY lay the flower sticker where you want it to go. Trace around it with pencil and remove. Next, remove your paper strips and using an exacto knife, cut about 1/8" away from the pencil mark. Readhere your patterned paper strips (or what's left of them) permanantely. Adhere everything and using a white pen, faux stitch around the green cardstock. Adhere your sentiment. I also added a flower center on some dimensional adhesive. Hope that all makes sense, let me know if it doesn't.

Thanks again to Kelly Goree, love this collection!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

and the giveaway goes to . . .

DENISE!! Email me at brjohnston1 at juno dot com and I will get your goodies in the mail to you this week!

I loved reading all your comments about journaling. I thought I would recap a few of the things that each of you said.

A few reasons why I don't journal . . .
1. Worried about spelling and grammar (good thing no one is grading my scrapbook!)
2. Think that it has to be well thought out and beautifully written
3. No free quiet moment to think about what I really want to say

A few reasons TO journal . . .
1. Love going back and reading what grandparents wrote on the backs of their pictures . . . it's history!
2. To catch what kids are saying NOW--all their cute sayings
3. Writing down what I am thinking right now, in the moment, will be funny later

I loved Heather's tip of keeping a journal in the kitchen to write down random tidbits of what her kids are doing or funny things they say. After all, we spend a significant amount of our time there. I loved Jan's approach as well--she has her kids do their own journaling on their scrapbook pages! Love it!

Thanks all for playing in my first giveaway . . . until next time!

our easter weekend

On Saturday we went to a local egg hunt sponsored by our church and our local Chick-fil-a. It was a bit crazy to say the least. But the girls loved it of course. They both "hunted" in different age groups . . . I wouldn't really call it a hunt, since there was no hiding involved, just a mad dash. There were a lot more kids in Paige's age group, so she didn't score as many eggs as Faith . . . but Faith gladly shared.

We took a quick family picture after the egg hunt since it was scheduled to be pouring rain on Easter Sunday.

We had a relaxing morning of playing and opening Easter baskets before we headed off to church.

A friend took this picture inside at church since it was freezing and windy outside. I'm not sure why Faith couldn't put her arms down . . . for any of the pictures.

When we got home it still wasn't raining, so I grabbed my neighbor for an outside shot. Couldn't get Seth to smile since it was nearing his nap. I'm still trying to decide which family picture will make it into the "Easter layout." The inside shot or the outside one. Hhmmm . . . what do you think?

p.s. It's not to late to enter my first giveaway. Your odds of winning are pretty good! You have until 9pm tonight!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

a layout and my first blog giveaway!

I started blogging six months ago as a way for my family to see what is going on in our lives and to share layouts with my scrapbooking buddies. Blogging also serves as a little daily time capsule that I can look back on and remember, "Oh, yeah, I forgot we did that." It's quicker than a scrapbook page and when I'm ready to scrap, I can easily pull up a blog post and have some journaling ready to go. Speaking of journaling . . . Do you ever get stuck in a rut? I sometimes do. Here is a layout I recently put together with the March kit with a little twist on the journaling . . .

Have you heard of the book, "If You Give a Cat a Cupcake," by Laura Numeroff? It's one of my kids favorite books. I recently gave them my old point-and-shoot camera and let them go crazy with it. They took pictures of the most random things. And then they started taking pictures of themselves . . . all behind closed doors of course. When I uploaded the pictures, I had quite a treat waiting for me! I fashioned the journaling off of the book . . . it was a fun and different way to record the story!

And now for the giveaway . . . in honor of blogging six months and of journaling and of SPRING CLEANING . . . I went through my stash and pulled some journaling cards from my endless supply. And I threw in a few extra things too! A few of the things are partially used (barely), but I am done with them and want to pass them on to a new home. All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me why journaling is important to you and/or your favorite journaling jumpstart. Post the comment by Monday, April 5 at 9pm PST and I will draw a random number and ship you your goodies! Below are the pictures and descriptions of what you will get!

Heidi Swapp journaling spots: ledger and days
Heidi Swapp writers block: circles and squares
Making Memories spiral journaling books: 1 of each design (5th Avenue, Flowers Ledger, Noteworthy)
Jillibean: Journaling sprouts (various colors)
Various other journaling cards

Making Memories: Word Fetti Family
Doodlebug: Spring cardstock stickers
Luxe: Rub-ons
Jenni Bowlin: Adore, Lucky and Grow cards
Jillibean: Ribbon
Flowers: Prima, American Crafts
Orange embellishments: Prima
Anna Griffin: Green word stickers
Ribbon: Stampin' Up!
White photo corners

BTW: I only recently started commenting for blog giveaways . . . I never did before because I always thought there's no chance I'd ever win. Last week I won an entire pack of Basic Grey goodies and this week I won a magazine from Scrapbook and Cards Today! I've only been blogging for 6 months, so it's not like I have hundreds of readers . . . I think your chances of winning will be pretty good!! : ) You have until Monday night!!

Have a wonderful Easter celebrating the reason for the season!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

giveaway alert!

I had planned on having my first blog giveaway tonight, but my computer came down with a nasty virus. I am currently logged in on my husband's work laptop--with no access to the pictures I need to share--that are also currently on my camera--no way to download them. Anyway, check back sometime tomorrow afternoon for my first ever blog giveaway! (This is all assuming my computer guy brings my computer back tomorrow when he said he would . . . ) Have a good night! : )