Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Dalles


 We took a trip out to The Dalles this last weekend.  So many fun memories as we were driving through the Columbia River Gorge.  We drove through Cascade Locks, I love that little town.  Love the river, the trains, the mountains, the trees, the wind.  Beautiful day.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Project Life Title Pages 2013 & 2012

2013 Title Page
 Here is my title page for 2013.  I take FOREVER to do my title pages.  I have a thing about doing pictures on the title page from the year that the album is covering, so I don't have that many pictures in January.  By the time I start collecting some photos of the kids, or get a good family photo of all of us (another thing I'm not so good at!),  I'm well into the year, and then I don't have much time to do a title page, trying to keep caught up on my monthly/weekly layouts.  So, I took some time today to look through my photos, print them out, and do my title page. 
I tried a few things that just didn't work out the way I thought they would.  I loved these wooden letters and was thinking of putting initial tags on each of the kids photos, but it just ended up being too busy.  I then tried to put it on grid paper and was going to do a 4x6 insert in the bottom left hand corner.  Again, just wasn't working.  I'll save the tags for future 3x4 cards.  I'll probably put them in the kiddos' individual books. 

I also tried to do a 6x8 family photo and cut it up to put in the slots.  I didn't like how the 4x6 family photo cropped cut off our heads and legs.  Well the 6x8 didn't work because I had to cut right through Isabelle's and Karter's cute little expressions.  Not so fun...  So I taped it back together and salvaged it and just ended up cropping to a 4x6 with our head and feet cropped off.  It works!

I did the "Celebrate 2013" as my title and the "M6" had to go on there.  I kept the photos simple.  I decided to do a little saying in the left bottom pocket.  "Capturing the Everyday through Photos and Words."  It looks a bit crooked in the photo, but it isn't.  I loved the gold and blue throughout this layout. 

2012 Title Page 
I also did my 2012 title page today.  (It happens to be my favorite!  Love the little wooden people at the top.  Karter helped my find those!)  I worked on this one first.  This one came together fairly quickly.  The 2013 page took a bit longer, with all those ideas just not working out.  The title for this is "Hello 2012" and I also included the "M6."  When I sat down to work on this I knew that I wanted to keep it neutral, using white, gold, and blue.  I loved the idea of the black and white photos.  I pretty much use colored photos throughout my entire project life albums, so I like the idea of using the black and white photos on the title pages.  I did change it up with the colored photos on my 2013 title page, just trying something different.  The photos I chose were neutral enough, I just made Isabelle's photo black and white to go with the rest of the layout.  I liked it with the color but I also like the black and white.
2011 Title Page  
2010 Title Page
Just for fun I thought that I would share my 2011 & 2010 title pages here so we could see them all side by side.  It is fun to see the similarity between all of them.  When I decided on the colors for my 2012 & 2013 pages, I didn't realize that these other 2 title pages were so similar in colors with their blues, neutrals, and yellows.  I love how little Karter is on the 2010 page.

I just wanted to write a bit here about how I truly do love this project.  As I was working on this today, it was so fun to get creative and keep it simple.  I have a basic idea of how I like to do the title pages, I'm not reinventing the wheel each time, and it is an easy to gather photos of each of my kiddos and a couple or family photo in the other slot.  Add the year, our family initial, the number of us, get creative with a quote or some fun embellishment, keep it super simple or add a bit more.  So fun. 

And the best part.  2010 and 2011 are completed albums.  2012 is almost complete.  I have everything complete through October.  November has all the photos and extra scraps of life in there, and it just needs me to put the finishing touches on it.  December needs some photos printed out, but all the scraps of paper are in.  2013 is pretty much completed through week 33. 

This next year I want to keep it even simpler.  (More on that later.)  I love that even with 4 kids this is something I can keep up on.   When I have some time I can sit down and do a little something here and there.  This system works for me.  Structured and flexible.  Are my albums perfect?  No.  Do they tell every story?  No.  But they have so many of them, and they tell such a rich story of us as you flip through their pages.  That is when the magic happens.  The collection of it all, day after day, month after month, year after year.  Just little bits of us, all piled up together.  Magic, I tell you.   I absolutely love scrapbooking the everyday. 

Around Here

Thinking...about slowing down, simplifying, especially our stuff, and creating quieter moments. 

Hoping...for an autumn full of perfectly lovely, sunny, crisp fall weather.

Remembering...all the things that have to be done during these fall month. lots of kids playing as we enjoy these last days of fall.

So enjoying life right now.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

35 Meals: Meal #4-#7

This year I've been trying to cook some new meals for our family.  It is one of my goals for my 35th year.  I've done well at doing meals, just not in posting them on the blog.  I'm planning to post groups of them together in the attempt to get them all posted here.  I'm definitely not attempting to post recipes to wow you, obviously not a food blogger with beautiful photos and lovely recipes, but more of an attempt to document a goal and share the progress of it.  Life now is all about keeping it simple and easy.  I like the idea of sharing what we are really eating.  You will see that some of these meals are not recipes, but are new to us meals that I have just thrown together, or techniques I have learned in cooking something new.  So, simple as it may be, here is the progress of what we are eating around here and how I'm attempting to try some new meals this year.  My family thanks me for cooking something other then spaghetti or taco soup.  (Both meals that we love, by the way,but ones that I have cooked too often to count!) 
Meal #4 Egg over Grilled Potatoes and Breadsticks

Okay, this is my idea of easy and I like it.  I'm getting better at the skill (if you can even call this a skill) of throwing food together and calling it a meal.  Not casseroles or soups or anything fancy but a new meal for us.  Some grilled potatoes, an egg, and a new breadstick recipe.  I'll count it as one of my 35 meals.  Something easy and something I will be sure to repeat.

Recipe For Easy Breadsticks
Found in our Church Cookbook

1 T Yeast
1 1/2 C Warm Water
1 T Honey
1 t Salt
3-4 C Flour
1/2 C Butter Melted

Soften yeast in warm water, mix in with the honey, salt, and flour, knead together.  Let rise for 1 hour.  Cut into 4 equal pieces, then cut each piece into 4 more pieces.  Pull each piece in to sticks and place on a pan.  Pour the melted butter over the bread sticks.  Sprinkle with garlic powder and parmesan cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Meal #5 Curry Corn Chowder
With Fall just around the corner, you have to try this soup.  So yummy!!  You can find the recipe here.  I have made it a few times this last year.  Always a success! 
Meal #6 The Perfect Steak
I attempted cooking steak for the first time.  This post here told me how to cook it.  It turned out awesome!!  The secret is searing it in a cast iron pan and cooking it in the oven.  Yum.  If you love your steak rare/medium rare (the best way to enjoy it), this is the perfect way to cook it.  Add some sautéed asparagus and fresh tomatoes, makes for a yummy meal!
Meal #7 Chicken, Fresh Mozzarella, & Mango Salsa Quesadilla

Okay, another meal I created.  You may say this is cheating, not following a recipe and making up some super simple meals, but any new to me meal counts in this adventure.  This was leftover shredded chicken, beans, and corn from taco night.  I mixed it all together and for leftovers I had it on a couple corn tortillas with sliced fresh mozzarella, mango salsa, and sour cream.  Heavy on the dairy and oh so good!  I really enjoy the fresh mozzarella!  This was so good it could easily done as a meal for the whole family.   You can follow this recipe for the chicken.  I usually omit the ranch seasoning.

Here is what I'm planning on trying in the near future.  Baked TilapiaWhite Bean Chicken Chili, and  Alice Spring Chicken.  I also have a few other meals I have done that I still need to post!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2012 Christmas Cards

 I have had these stacks of Christmas Cards in my cart since, well, Christmas of last year!  This is such a fun way to keep our cards.  I started doing this in  and have done it every year since.  I was inspired by Ali Edwards.  I intentionally try to keep it super simple.  Love the bit of red I added to each page.  I was still debating if I should add another red element off the grid on the bottom of the 1st page to make a triangle for your eyes to follow, but I'm not sure what embellishment I have that would fit.  If I find something I'll add it, if not, it will stay as it is.  Keep It Simple.  Right?  You can find 2009.  I'm not sure where the other layouts are posted.  I may need to post those on the blog.  Maybe at Christmastime this year.  Also, just realized that the layout above says 2013.  I just fixed it on the layout, but I'll post it and fix the photo later!  Just getting a bit ahead of myself, trying to get a head start on this next year!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Project Life 2013: Weeks 1, 2 & 3

I have been keeping up with Scrapbooking this year, I just haven't been keeping up with posting it here.  Just a few facts about how I'm doing this.  I'm following the Project Life format.  Still love it and it is still a lovely way to scrapbook our family!  I'm doing it weekly this year.  Most weeks take up one side of the page, but if a lot is going on, I may spread it out to two pages.  Each week that begins the month starts with a monthly card and ever other week begins with a photo with the week and dates in the bottom right hand corner, inspired by Rhonda Mason's Project Life.  I'm mostly using the Seafoam Kit but I also have a lot of cards from the Studio Calico Project Life Kits.  I have included a week in review card with each weekly spread and monthly tags stapled to a photo in the month from 7 gypsies. 
Week 1 
 So many things happened this week, with family in town, a nephew's baptism, and Beckett's Blessing.
 Here is the monthly ticket card.
 And the week in review card I'm using throughout this year's spread.
 Here is where I planned to list my monthly goals.  Well, that only lasted a few months.  Hoping to start that back up soon!
 Here is the layout with the inserts.  Love the layered look!
 I did an 8 1/2 x 11 insert of  a small printout of the larger digital calendar I made for this year and have posted in my kitchen.  The digital template for the calendar is from Paisley Press.  I love the simplicity of it and the fact I could slip it in and add it to my album!
On the back of the calendar I added this photo of Beckett on his blessing day. 
 I also did a 12x12 insert and added a large photo of our family that was taken on his Blessing Day.
On the back of that I did a collage of some photos taken on that day.  Always love the grid look, always.
Week 2 & 3
 Here is our week 2 and 3 spread.  Lots of photos of our littlest guy!!  Cooking some new foods this week.  Steve and I celebrated our 11th Anniversary with a night out and had a wonderful time!
 I also did a flip card that I attached with some washi tape.
 Here it is with the insert.
 Here is the insert on its own.  My friend did a photo shoot for our little Beckett.  I absolutely love how these photos turned out!!  Thanks Melissa! 
 Here is the backside of the insert.  Love this guy and this way of documenting our world!
So much more to share.  I'm currently working on week 33.  See, I am actually keeping up with documenting this year.