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Operation: Print Those Pictures!

I take an insane amount of pictures. Before the digital era (B.D.E.), I had triple prints printed of every roll of film at my local Costco. It was often costly, considering how many pictures included closed eyes, chopped off heads, and even unflattering butt shots of myself taken by a then toddler.

My mother and mother-in-law however, loved the B.D.E., because they constantly were getting my extra pictures. Now I take so many more pictures, but they are saved on my laptop or shared here or on social media sites. My immediate family is pretty plugged into social media, but some of my extended relatives wouldn’t know the difference between Twitter and Instagram if their lives depended on it. So uploading pictures to a family Shutterfly account is about to happen.

After 7 months, we are finally feeling settled. We sold most of our belongings and have slowly bought only things we absolutely love. We have had a couch in the front room for two weeks and are waiting on two leather sofas for the back family room. As I was taking pictures of the back room, I noticed I had many empty frames that had been displayed for over a month. Why? Well, honestly I have no idea. It certainly isn’t because of a lack of available pictures. So I declared the need for immediate action, thus the birth of Operation Print Those Pictures!

List – Easter tradition: Making Cascarone/Confetti Eggs

At first glance, you might think these just look like your run of the mill dyed Easter eggs, but these are the key to you being the coolest mom EVER on Easter weekend! This is especially a hit with school aged kids. These eggs, known as cascarones, are filled with confetti or your choice of filling.

I was first introduced to cascarones in middle school during a Cinco De Mayo festival in which the eggs were filled with paper confetti and glitter. I also saw them used at a pre-wedding party over a decade ago in which bird seed was used to fill the eggs. I also made them for a 4th of July party and filled them with star punched paper confetti and glitter. Obviously, they are a universal treat that can be used for many occasions.

So grateful for projects in progress

Life is in full swing around our home. Both great stuff and stuff I would prefer just went away. I’m sure everyone can relate. What happens when “that stuff” overwhelms you? For me, I typically power through it and keep busy. But every once in a while, my body resists and screams out for rest. And this past week, my body put the brakes on full force. I have taken several naps, been to the gym, been on my knees in prayer, been relatively quiet on twitter, and hugged one of my kids who has needed some extra attention.

Do not be alarmed, all is well. I am immeasurably blessed. Life just happens, and sometimes it just happens despite my well intentioned plans. I am on this journey trying to figure it out just like you. And sometimes I have the answers, but those answers like “This too shall pass” and “It will all be ok” don’t seem to provide the instantaneous gratification and resolutions that I desire.

So blog calendars, projects, and to do lists have to wait, because life happens. And you know what? That’s ok. No guilt, no shame.

This evening I went through my pictures and realized how many wonderful projects are in progress. I had a light bulb moment where I realized that I am living a full and abundant life. I am working towards my list items. I’ve actually done more in the past month than I had done in the six years after my cancer journey. My goal was to finally live. And well … Hot dang, I am!

So despite the spice of life, here are some of the great things in progress. I’m so grateful.

Making my first of 4 quilts for the kids. Squares, circles, and colors, oh my.


Around here (& Project Life Organizational Finds)

Around here, we are hurrying around to get to a 3 day swim meet with the girls and a basketball tournament for Ben.

Around here, we are surrounded by lots of family. My sister and family are here along with Jeff’s parents. We have a big cheering section ready for our little athletes.

Around here, Samantha is starting to talk so much more since having tubes put in her ears. Her preschool teacher said she talked more on Thursday than she has the entire year.

Around here, I’m just feeling good that I fixed a large spaghetti dinner for the whole crew. It felt great to be back in the kitchen. And even better that the kids inhaled their dinners.

Around here, Julie and I are exhausted from staying up late after finding some treasures on our craft and vintage shopping spree yesterday. After Julie organized her project life supplies, I was wanting a new system. See her organization here.


Vintage bread loaf pan


Antique letterpress tray


Wire basket from Container Store


My work station (love having everything at my fingertips)

Around here, Jeff is yelling for me to get into the car. Gotta go!

Blessings sweet friends – Jenny

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39 List – Make character & gratitude keys for the kids {Reinforcing positive behaviors}

As a mom of 4, I was finding it easy to say the word “No” quite often.

“No, you can’t watch a rated R movie.”

“No, you can’t shove Trix up your nose.”

“No, you can’t allow your little sister to ride her tricycle in the street.”

“No!” “No!” “No!”

I know my kids have grown tired of hearing that, so I started trying to consciously say “Yes” as much as possible. A little redirection and lots of teaching was involved, but I slowly am changing my parenting direction and seeing differences in our household.

One of the things that is helping me is by developing ways to reinforce the great behaviors and attributes that we see in our kids. Jeff and I know that it is our primary responsibility to raise confident, independent, and responsible children. We are not perfect parents, but we try our best.

So during our family breakfasts {which I will post next Friday}, we recognize our children for the positive things they did the past day, week, etc. They are presented with a key, which they hang on their door. Jeff and I tell them what we noticed about their behavior and try to be as specific as possible. It’s indeed a tad corny, but… it works!

Of course, at first we had some eye rolling. But now, I find them excited to see what key they (and their siblings) will receive.

***Note, if you are not a crafty person… you can still totally do this. Don’t let the examples scare you. That is entirely not the point of these keys. Remember that!***


I have keys from Pottery Barn and various vintage shops. I use extra journaling cards from my Project Life collection.

Polaroid Magnets – Free Downloads & A Giveaway


So after I wrote the post entitled, I wish I had a picture of…, I received several pictures from my family by email and discovered these polaroids in my photo stash. I’m in heaven. {Other than still recovering from the trauma of my boy haircut of course.}  I just love the pictures of my sister and I singing with our microphones and record players. Classic.

So after looking through these polaroids,  I decided I wanted to make Polaroid magnets for our refrigerator and give you my templates so that you could make them for yours as well.

I made two versions. The first is for my friends who are die hard traditional scrapbookers (who will be buried with their acid free, 12 x 12 scrapbooks in chronological order). The second is for my friends that have embraced the digital age and want to make them using Photoshop. I have just started using the digital stuff. It is not as difficult, as it is just foreign. And I’m also realizing that there are about 2o ways to do each step. It’s liberating and frustrating at the same time. I’m still a Photoshop novice.

Either way, here is a view of the finished product:

The larger version (2 inch square picture).


And the smaller version (1.5 inch square picture). I love this size!


December Daily Wrap Up 2011

December Daily 2011 is finished. I loved it and I have found a new tradition for our family. The kids really enjoyed looking through it today, along with my first Project Life album (which I started this past May). The combination of the 2 is a perfect fit for recording my journey.

This post is packed. A video of my journal, pages #27 – #31, and a giveaway (my first one).


Advent Boxes

Tomorrow is December 1st. Are you ready? I’ve been busy finishing up my advent boxes and arranging supplies for my first December daily album. In addition, I’m preparing for my Ben’s 10th birthday tomorrow and an early Hanukah weekend with Jeff’s side of the family. Our December is always filled to the brim.

With all that hustle it is easy to become frazzled. So I’m listening to Christmas music, drinking an iced tea, baking mocha cupcakes for my 52 cupcake series, and just working my way down my to do list. What needs to get done, will. And if it doesn’t, there is always another Christmas and Hanukah 12 months from now.



December Daily Foundation Pages 2011

I’m excited to be adding a new holiday tradition this December for our family. I just completed the foundation pages of my first December Daily album. Essentially, it is a daily scrapbook/journal for the 31 days of December. This has become a very popular idea in the scrapbooking community as it was originated by Ali.

When I committed to doing this project, I had a couple of things that I desired. I wanted my book to contain 31 days since we celebrate 2 birthdays, an anniversary, and 2 holidays each December. I believe having 31 days in my album will allow for more ordinary December days and stories, which I really want to capture. Since we are also blessed to celebrate Hanukah, I wanted the album to have some blue and not just the traditional red and green. I wanted my book to contain fabric since Samantha is all about her cloth books right now at bedtime. I wanted to use these digital overlays from Ali. And last, I wanted to learn something new.  I’m working on getting out of my comfort zone and learning how to sew and quilt (as it is on my list).

So I headed to the scrapbook store with only the above criteria in my head. I got 1/4 yard of 27 different fabrics. I had printed out the overlays onto white Bazill cardstock. I cut the fabric to be slightly larger than the overlays knowing they would “shrink” with seam allowances, user error, etc. :) After I cut my squares, I used my extra fabric to die cut all of the numbers. Note: If Santa or Hanukah Harry had bought me a Silhouette Cameo, I would have kissed him right then and there. 

I came home and sewed using a zig zag stitch with a stitch length of 1.0. If it sounds like I know what I’m doing, please don’t be fooled. Totally in the learning process. I used a straight stitch to sew the pages together and I inserted a piece of chipboard to give it some sturdiness for durability.

And then, my dear husband helped me put the grommets in this album. He said that if our marriage can survive grommets and royal icing (another story for another time), then it can survive anything. He might need physical therapy for his hand after using that poor excuse of a grommet tool that came with them. (If Santa had brought Jeff a Big Bite, he might have kissed Santa himself.)

Here are just some of the pages:


Lesson learned – Get out your photos

I have been committed to finishing projects lately. I have had a gazillion unfinished projects. No matter your hobby, I am sure you can relate. I’m determined to finish them, even if the paper and ribbons are out of date, etc. I keep reminding myself that my kids who look through these books could care less where or what year the product came from.




So this weekend I finished the photo board above that I had started when we were just a family of 5. (Yikes! I have a 2 year old.) These were all the rage with the different scrapbook artists a couple of years ago and I still love them. If you go to Ali Edward’s blog or to pinterest, the ideas are endless.

When I finished putting the last 3D foam stickers behind my pictures (trimmed to fit the various widths of my letterpress box), I couldn’t stop from smiling. It had been half finished in a closet, yet now it was complete.

So many memories.

So many happy times.

So many difficult times.

Just like life.

I didn’t want to leave it, but it was Jeff’s 36th birthday on Saturday and I needed to walk away from my project. I was nervous that little fingers would possibly get all over it so I put it up on top of the mantle before I left on our date.

But I came home to this…



  • 52 Cupcakes

  • Project Life

  • 39 Before I am 39

  • Jeff's Story