Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours . . .

I want to say thank you for all your kind comments throughout the first full year of my blog. You are all so encouraging and it's been fun to meet some new people along the way. I hope you enjoy this holiday season with family and friends. God bless.

p.s. I'm taking a blogging break for a week, but will be back soon with more Green Tangerines Kit Club shares! : )

Thursday, December 23, 2010

christmas lights and a winner!

Tonight we went to look at Christmas lights . . . here is a great neighborhood near us!

All of the neighbors on one block have built archways with lights to go over the sidewalks, competely decorated their yards (and many their roofs!), have Santa Claus movies playing in their windows and have all the blinking lights timed to music. It was so fun!

This was Seth's expression while walking the entire block . . . and while stopping to point at just about everything . . . along with some high pitched noises of excitement!

If any of my local friends want to know where this neighborhood is, just email me and I will get you the address. Totally worth going to!

And now for the winner of the $10 ELLA gift certificate . . .

#5 cravinchoc

Congrats! Send me your email address and I will get you your $10 certificate right away. Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone enjoys their last two nights of sleep before Christmas! Be sure and charge your camera batteries!

green tangerines kit club is back!

Yes it is . . . so excited! Here is the first of many layouts to come . . .

Green Tangerines Kit Club is a division of the store Green Tangerines in Northern CA. If you ever make a trip out here, it is worth stopping . . . it's 10,000 square feet of yumminess! Last February, the store had to close due to circumstances outside their control. We kept Kit Club running through April, but then it got to be too difficult to manage while the owner was trying to negotiate a re-opening of the store. With lots of hard work, she was able to reopen in September. And now that the store is up and running, we are starting Kit Club up again with a January 2011 kit. This week we started "Sneak Week" and will be showing various double page layouts over on the blog. The full kit will be shown on December 28th. To start things off, we are offering a fun giveaway . . . go to the Green Tangerines Kit Club blog and leave a comment for your chance to win!

For now, you must call the store to order a kit (916) 771-8010. In the near future, you will be able to place the order online. They are very friendly at the store . . . all you have to do is give them your info over the phone and they will ship you your kit on January 5th! Be sure and check out the gallery for some great double page and single page inspiration!

Here are a couple of close ups of my Halloween layout:

Don't forget to leave a comment here by 7pm tonight for your chance at a $10 Ella gift certificate! Right now your odds are pretty good!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

minestrone soup

Feeling cold today? I am freezing . . . well, freezing by California standards anyway. Here is something that is sure to warm you up! I had some girlfriends over for lunch the other day and they all asked me for this recipe . . . so, this is for you girls!

1.5 c diced carrots
2 c diced zucchini (2 medium zucchini)
.5 c diced red onion
6 cloves of garlic (I used Trader Joe's minced garlic in the jar)
2 cans diced tomatoes (or only one if you aren't a huge tomato fan)
1 can tomato paste (this is a key ingredient!)
1 can kidney beans or white northern beans
2 tsp salt
2 Tbls dried basil (I use 6 cubes of the frozen basil that you can get at Trader Joes or I use a half cup of fresh basil if I have it)
2 tsp dried oregano (again, I use fresh if I can--tastes even better)
8 c chicken broth

Heat 1 Tbls olive oil in large pot and add onion, garlic, carrots and zucchini. Cook until soft, stiring frequently. Add spices and cook two more minutes. Add the remainder of your ingredients and turn your stove top to low. Cook for 2-3 hours uncovered.

Add ins
I frequently add half a pound of mild italian chicken sausage from Whole Foods. I didn't have it on hand when I made it this day. Occasionally I will add some gluten free pasta. If you do this, add another cup of water as the pasta soaks up a lot of the liquid.

Hope you like it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

canoeing in december

Living in California does have it's perks . . . though I miss many aspects of the Midwest, I do not miss the weather there. I much prefer California's mild seasons. And I am a short 45-minute drive from the snow if I feel I must see it again. (And of course I go, I have kids to take there!)

This past week my husband bought himself a canoe for his birthday (off of Craiglist of course). Apparently the new comfy, cozy, down pillow I bought for him was not exciting enough. : ) Anyway, we had to go try it out this weekend. It was a beautiful morning at 8:30am when we loaded up . . . though a bit foggy.

This is my son throwing himself on the dock because he did not want this big, bulky, yellow thing wrapped around him. I, of course, had to snap a picture . . . hopefully you do not think I'm a horrible mother. I quickly picked him up after I snapped the shot. I just like to document the good, bad and ugly--it's real life, is it not? After we got him in the canoe he calmed right down and began to enjoy this new adventure . . . for about 10 minutes that is. After he realized he still had his life jacket on he began saying, "On, on, on, on, on . . . " over and over again. "On" is his latest new word. He says it when he brings us his jacket or his shoes or when he wants a Baby Einstein video on. What he doesn't realize is that "on" does not mean "off." He'll figure it out eventually. After five minutes of listening to "On!" we came to shore and Tim dropped us off before going out again.

We went on a little stroll and found  a huge pile of rocks . . . this is where we hung out for quite some time while he picked up rocks and threw them down. Such a boy! Doesn't he look so happy to be out of the life jacket? That's him saying, "Thanks mom for bringing me here, I like you afterall."

Hope you have a great start to your week! Stop back tomorrow for an ELLA giveaway!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

my new planner . . . aka "my brain"

Angie and Wendy over at ELLA Publishing sent all of us on the Ella Friend Team this awesome planner for the new year! I am so excited to start using it! It was made for the scrapbooker in me.

You'll have to excuse the "fog look." This picture was taken with the title page slipped inside the cover. One thing I love about this planner is that my artwork will be protected by the plastic front cover.

The backside.

And the inside. Throughout the planner there are 12 archival pockets to put a 6x8 picture--you can actually stash 24 pictures in here if you put two pictures in each page protector. On each picture I am doing a little "scrapbooking" with the enormous amount of letter stickers I seem to have accumulated.

Did you notice my personal calendar . . . look extra close . . . yes, friends, I will be at CHA for my birthday this year! For my non-scrapbooking friends, this is the biggest scrapbooking/craft tradeshow that is held twice a year--it is for store owners and designers to come and pick out the latest and greatest. I'll be there picking out the latest stuff for Green Tangerines Kit Club. Is it obvious that I am excited??

Thanks again to Angie and Wendy for this swell gift!

Last, but not least . . . Happy Birthday to my husband . . . he's quickly approaching the 40 mark!

We celebrated by making him his favorite dinner, meatloaf and mashed potatoes along with a "sugar cookie cake" for dessert. The girls decorated it of course . . . and Christmas decorations were what we had on hand. We celebrated a day early because Tim has a work function that goes until bedtime tonight. Seth could not take his eyes off the candle. Happy 38th today! I love you!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

christmas giveaway winner . . .

Christine! Email me at brjohnston1 at juno dot com and I will get you your prize! Thanks for playing along . . . stay tuned for a great giveaway from ELLA sometime next week!
p.s. Monika, if you are reading this, I finally figured out how to get the little "" box! I know you were asking for help in that area. I will email you tomorrow with the details . . . gotta get to bed ASAP!

a quick card

This card took me five minutes to make. I used a Card Positioning Systems sketch. Quick. Easy. Done. I like cards like that.

Be sure and stop by later tonight when I pick a random winner for my Making Memories Christmas giveaway! If you are just stopping by now, it's not too late to join in!

Monday, December 6, 2010

christmas giveaway!

Thought I'd surprise you with a little Christmas love today . . . 'tis the season for giving, right? A couple of months ago when I was published in Scrapbook and Cards Today, they sent me a ton of new product including Making Memories Noel line. I can't keep it all to myself, so I thought I would share the love! Just leave me a comment and I will let do the work sometime Wednesday evening! Good luck!

Pictured from top to bottom: Noel Glitter Bling Icons, Noel Brad Combo, Noel Findings Kit
(Images pulled from online, packages have not been opened)

Have a great Monday!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

advent calendar

The first day of December is here . . . my kids are jumping for joy that they get to start the Advent calendar!

I made this two years ago for a class at Green Tangerines using all Making Memories product. This paper has been my favorite "Christmas number" paper ever! I used a cookie sheet (12x18") and spray painted it red. *Note: if you are going to spray paint a cookie sheet, don't buy the non-stick kind! As you can see, there are several paint chips missing on the edges from being stored. Paint doesn't stick well to non-stick surfaces. 

What I did for the number cards: I adhered them to thin cardboard (the cardboard that comes from Costco when you get a photo enlarged--I have a ton of it!) with Modge Podge. Let dry. On the opposite side (see below) I adhered green and red Bazzill cardstock with Modge Podge. Let dry. Then I sanded all the edges--this helps to adhere all three layers together really well so that little fingers can't pry them apart.

Another thing you might notice is that Seth is not included in the pictures on this calendar! Well, he wasn't around then. I don't think he'll notice this year, but by next year he will. So, I'll either be changing out the pictures or coming up with an entirely different Advent calendar . . . we'll see how I feel about that idea next year! This year I didn't have the mental energy for it.

And the backside. I adhered magnets to each piece and I tried to write down things that were easy to do on the spur of the moment. A few involve a little planning ahead. Just double click on the image if you want to read them.

What ideas or notes do you tuck away in your Advent calendar? I'd love to hear them, or leave me a link to your blog if you have them posted! I may be making a new one next year and could use some new ideas!

p.s. In response to my freezer cooking post . . . as I eat them out of my freezer, I'll take pictures and post the recipes. Yum!