Because Some Day I’ll Look Back & Laugh About It All

My Facebook status for today:

Attempt to exercise + workout DVD + incredibly adept toddler + DVD player & receiver within toddler’s reach = futile.

Today’s instant message chat with my sister-in-law: 

SIL: Hey there – how are you guys?

ME: hey, good! how are you?

SIL: good! just catching up on home stuff today. You?

ME: oh, wouldn’t say i’m catching up on much of anything. rather, keeping of the status quo of making sure my house looks like a hurricane hit it ;);).

SIL: ha ha!

ME: so far i am exceeding my own expectations.See More

This picture was taken last summer, when Asher was just crawling. I was in awe of his destructive powers then. Little did I know what he’d be capable of as a toddler. Ahhh, ignorance is bliss!


willette’s *free* photo class, “the joy of LOVE” day 08: gift from the heart.

the joy of love, day 08: gift from the heart. (worn on the wrist)

This bracelet was a gift I bought for myself, at a time in my life when I was struggling to find my right place. I wear it almost daily, and the gift isn’t so much the medium as it is the sentiment, a constant and beautiful reminder of what I need to do to be happy and to be able give the best of myself to those in my life.

willette’s *free* photo class, “the joy of LOVE” day 05: love to hate.

day 05: love to hate (my husband’s laundry tower of shame.)

Space is at a premium in our tiny, two bedroom condo. We live in literally every corner of this place, and I won’t be all that sad when we leave it for our first home (which we are in the process of searching for). This leaning pile of laundry has lived in the corner of my bedroom for months. It drives me nuts. Without enough room for extra furniture and not nearly enough storage, it’s hard to stay annoyed at my husband for its existence. (Full disclosure: some of it’s mine, too!).

So, I know these aren’t the most interesting photos, but I was able to put a newly-learned skill to use while taking them. That skill is called (courtesy of Kelly Willette, aka @mommairish, “jacking up the ISO.” I had tweeted in the #joyoflove group about not wanting to use my flash for low-light photography, and for some reason, I had completely forgotten about the importance of ISO in digital photography. Well, jacking up the ISO made all the difference in these photos, which were taken on a very overcast day in a part of the room that doesn’t receive all that much natural light.

I can’t wait to put this knowledge to use in the rest of my photography, since it was obviously a missing link in what I’ve been shooting up until now. I’ve known how to use my manual aperature and shutter speed settings for years, but still wasn’t getting the results I’d been looking for, and had often defaulted to Auto mode because of that. I feel as though JUT{ISO} has given me a new lease on my lil’ photographic life. Yippee!

I also had fun using “60’s” setting on Picnik for these shots. I haven’t used Picnik all that much, but it seems like a pretty cool photo editing program for the Photoshop-impaired (me). Plus, it’s free!

willette’s *free* photo class, “the joy of LOVE” day 04: what they wear.

Yes, I know that I haven’t posted day 03’s photo yet. In fact, I haven’t even taken it yet. I know what I’m going to do, but since half of my subject matter doesn’t get home until after the sun sets, and I’m not a fan of using my flash (not to mention that by that time of day I’m not suitable to be photographed), that particular photo is going to happen over the weekend.

day 04: what they wear
(Warm socks {that he tries to put on himself}, big boy boots,
and daddy’s sweatshirt from when he was a little boy.)

I will be so sad when that sweatshirt doesn’t fit him anymore. Such a wonderful piece of clothing created by my mother in law for my husband to wear as a baby. She made one for all of my husband’s friends, actually. The back reads “Zac’s Pack.” I couldn’t for the life of me get a good picture of the back. Asher moves too fast!

Easy-Peasy Mini-Album, Perfect for Gifting!

Okay. I know Christmas was like, 100 years go, but I finally got some photos uploaded of a project I had wanted to share with you way-back-when (as in, when I actually made said project), but life happens and blog-posting doesn’t.

I know a lot of pregnant people right now. It wasn’t that long ago that I was pregnant myself, but I can’t remember what I looked like or felt like all that well. I did a small bit of journaling during my pregnancy, but I have very few pictures of myself. And that bums me out, quite frankly. See, I’m always the one behind the camera. I practically have to beg people to take pictures of me. My son’s and husband’s life together is very well-documented. Mine? Not so much.

So, when my BFF IM’d me a link to Karen Pedersen’s blog post about a souped-up, super-easy five-step photo album, I was inspired to take this concept and turn it into a “9 months” album for my expecting sister. I hoped that maybe if she had a lovely place to put pictures and record her thoughts, she’d have more to look back on about this amazing time in her life than that I did.

After I made this album, I went on to make five — that’s right — five more albums that I gave away as Christmas gifts. They were a huge hit!

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willette’s *free* photo class, “the joy of LOVE.” days 01 & 02.

One dreary January day I was clicking about in Internet-land and came across something, somewhere (I’ve been wracking my brain trying to remember the who, what, when, where, why of it all) about how the amazingly talented family photographer, Kelly Willette, of Willette Designs was offering a free (that’s right – free!) photography class in February called “the joy of LOVE.” Hey, I’m from New England. Born and raised in Massachusetts (but for a too-short four and half year stint in the San Francisco Bay Area). I know what February is like for those of us in the Northeast. I was going to need a little help finding the joy in that miserable month.

So, I signed right up. And, of course, promptly forgot all about the class until January 31, when I got a lovely little email reminding me that I was going to have a little bit o’ love in my inbox the next morning. Yipeee!

{By the way, this is a course with rolling admissions. Willette’s still accepting students, so get yourself over there and sign up!}

“The joy of LOVE” is all about capturing the essence of those you love, and since the two people I love most in this world also happen to live with me, you’ll be seeing lots of pictures of the same two handsome men in my posts this month. From here on out, I’ll be doing my best to post one assignment per day. Today’s post consists of assignments 1 and 2.

Without further ado, i present to you:

day 01: how they look (adorable!)

day 02: what they do (make each other happy)

It truly is a blessing to have these daily reminders to remember the love, light, and laughter of those most special in our lives. Thank you to Kelly for such a wonderful gift!

Card Kits Make Me Happy!

Way back when I first started scrapping, my BFF and Close to My Heart consultant, Sarah, (how lucky am I to have that 2-in-1!) hooked me up with a great promotion CTMH was having at the time, and I ended up with a fabulous card-making kit that included paper, pre-folded cards, envelopes, stamps, ink, embellishments. The works! It was awesome, and I had SO much fun making those cards and giving them away. Who doesn’t love to get a real card these days, not to mention a handmade one?

Last week, I had two card-giving occasions on my calendar, so I busted out the remains of my kit to make a thank you card, and then put together a cute first birthday card for  of the little guys in my son’s playgroup using the kit’s instruction manual and the awesome Zippidee paper I ordered last fall.

What do you think?

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Getting back into it with a fun 6×6 accordian album

Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve been here. Holidays, new year, blah, blah, blah. No real excuse other than being a bit lazy (the winter always does that to me), and not having much time to be creative. But in the past few weeks, I have eked out a few crafty moments for myself, and I’ll be sharing my recent projects over three posts.

I think I’ve mentioned it here before, but I’ll say it again: I’m intimated by the thought of taking on the responsibility of a 12×12 scrapbooking project. It completely overwhelms me! I went to my very first crop a few weeks ago, and I was in the presence of some serious scrappers. I was known as the “newbie,” and boy, did it feel like it. These women were churning out page after page for their full-sized albums, and there I was, working on my (awesome, small, and totally finish-able!) Close to My Heart 6×6 accordian album.

For my 6×6 project, I focused on all the fun things my son has done/will do this winter, hence its title, “Season of Adventure.” And since some of those fun things haven’t happened yet, I pre-made a few layouts that I can simply add a photo to when the time comes!

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Products used include: 6×6 My Creations Memory Showcase from Close to My Heart. Paper pack is Aspen from Close to My Heart. All stamps are Close to My Heart, including Holiday Jingle stamp set, Nature’s Gift stamp set, and Friendship Alphabet Small stamp set. Close to My Heart Inks in Indian Corn Blue, Goldenrush, Chocolate, and Bamboo. White ink by Stampin Up! Close to My Heart Designer Ribbon Rounds Ricrac Collection. Stickles. Tombow adhesive.

Fun, Frugal (and Toddler-Friendly-er) Holiday Decorating with Trader Joe’s Shopping Bags

We made the decision to skip a Christmas tree this year. With our limited space, and a very active and curious toddler, it just didn’t seem smart or safe to have a glass-covered bit o’ nature in the condo. Visions of ornaments falling our heads danced through my mind whenever I thought about it.

The Christmas tree plays such a major part in all of my holiday memories, and it makes me sad to think that for my son’s second Christmas, we won’t have one for him to enjoy. In fact, pretty much all of my holiday decorations are still in storage, because they just aren’t toddler-friendly. I’ll really miss having them around this year. The reality is, though, that for safety’s sake we needed decorations that were’t glass, wouldn’t crack a skull if they fell on one, and were as out of reach from grabby little hands as we could possibly make them. This was going to be tough.

Or so I thought! Enter a very serendipitious trip to Trader Joe’s!

As I was folding up TJ’s paper shopping bags (which I never get anymore because I use my own, but had forgotten them this time) I noticed that they were printed with snowflakes, festive words and phrases, and pine boughs. Hmmm, I thought. These are cute bags. How can I use them? Wrapping paper? Eh. *Lightbulb!* Ornaments to adorn our faux garland on the mantle!

But what could I do to spice them up a bit? Bring on the Stickles! (Never thought I’d be a lover of glitter glue at my age, but oh, do I love me some Stickles!)

I spent the evening Stickling my heart out, and the next day I trimmed my TJ’s paper bag ornaments and nestled them, along with some pre-made gift wrapping bows, into the garland. I rounded out my toddler-friendly(er) design, with a pint-sized rosemary tree (it smells so amazing, and was also from Trader Joes), an oversized pinecone, my papier-mâché angel tree topper, and my son’s framed  Santa picture. I also hung a hand-painted wooden stocking on the wall above the mantle for an added burst of color and texture.

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So, no, it’s not a tree, but it’s still festive and fun! As Christmas gets closer (and once I get a chance to dig them out of storage), we’ll hang our stockings from the mantle, too.

Having kids changes everything, that’s for sure, but don’t let it stop you from making memories! With a little creativity and flexibility, you can incorporate holiday traditions to suit your growing family without having to worry about the safety of your little ones (or your own sanity!).

A Shutterfly Christmas (Card)

I cannot wait to get the holiday cards I just ordered from Shutterfly!

Holiday Window Christmas Card
Get custom photo Christmas cards online at
View the entire collection of cards.