30 April 2009

Reminder: Vote for Lily!

As a reminder, please consider voting for Lily in the Des Moines Register's Top Cat Photo Contest. You can vote 5 times every day until May 5. Thank you to everyone who has voted for her! :-)

Get the details at my blog post HERE. Thanks again!

Tabby Thursday: Noo Fuds

Mama bot us sum noo fuds but she wont opun dem. Cant she see dat im hungrie?

When shez not lookin ill trie to opun da bag wifout help. I can doo all kindz of thingz now dat I'm biggr.

Uh-oh! Heer she comes!

Ohai, Mama! Howz ur dai goin? Im just sittin heer cazually reedin deez ingreediunts on dis bag of delishus fuds!

29 April 2009

Recipe: 5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

Here's a fun recipe to try, especially with kids. This was Daughter's first time making Chocolate Mug Cake and it actually turned out pretty well. Here's the recipe she used:

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake (serves at least 2)
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa (she used unsweetened cocoa, which I liked but she thought was a bit too bitter)
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug (microwave safe)

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again. Put mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. (Be careful when removing the mug from the microwave.)

Here's the batter mixed up and ready to go in the microwave.
Here's what happened after a short time in the microwave. The cake became a volcano! (Kids would definitely enjoy this part of the process.)

Here's the deflated cake cooling for a bit.

And here it is tipped out on a plate. Not the most attractive dessert but trust me, it was pretty tasty. It would be quite good served with ice cream!

Note: We decided that this cake needs to be eaten right away or shared by 2-3 people because as it sat out, it became a little rubbery around the edges.

28 April 2009

The Easter Bunny...

was smart this year. He left some canned kitty food at our house, but covered the Easter Basket with a towel....

...for obvious reasons!

27 April 2009

Shameless plug for Lily!

Please vote for Lily in the Des Moines Register's Top Cat Photo Contest!

This is a great contest for Lily, since she doesn't have to actually interact with judges (those of you who have read my blog for awhile know that Lily has had some bad experiences with cat shows)!

Click here for the contest homepage. Click on the "vote" tab, then search for "Lily". You must register to vote, but once you do, you can vote for Lily up to 5 times per day through May 5! The winner receives a year of cat food plus a photo shoot and will be featured in the Des Moines Register. If Lily wins, she will donate cat the cat food to our local no-kill shelter.

Thank you!

A few good things

Here are a few things I've been enjoying lately:

1. Basic Grey's new line, Lime Rickey. This line has so many colors, patterns, and designs! Here's a sneak peak of a mini-album I just finished up for a staff challenge at Memory Bound. This was a great opportunity to play with Lime Rickey and get some scrapbooking done at the same time. (Will share the rest after the challenge is over!)

2. Apple-scented candles. Love how fresh they smell.

3. Baseball card holders. They're the perfect size for the senior pictures we seem to be collecting these days. I'll eventually put the entire sheet, as is, into a 3-ring binder scrapbook.

24 April 2009

Feline Friday: Lily Gets Fit

My mama gose to teh fitnes plaice so mabe i shud to.

Hmmm...Furst i need to mak sum fitnes goles, like stop steelin Tinsel's fuds...

Okai dis is to hard i skip dis step!

Now i need to adjus dis levr fur my size cat...

Oh dis is wai too much wurk! im outta here!

22 April 2009

Road Trip!

Last week, a group of us from the store where I teach took a trip to visit another scrapbook store in Minneapolis. A great time was had by all! Unfortunately, you won't get to hear about it because most of what happened on the road trip STAYS on the road trip! :-)

I will, however, share one memorable event from the trip which occurred at a restaurant on the way home. A few of us made a stop in the restroom where, in an unfortunate (and potentially awkward) turn of events, I managed to get my hand stuck in the toilet paper holder. View evidence of my injury (photo credit to Katie!) below:

Thankfully, I wriggled my wrist free from the tight predicament without having to call upon my co-workers or the fire department. (Had that happened, I would have been looking for a new job far, far away...)

Such a good time was had on this road trip that we're already looking forward to the next one. Believe me, I'll be packing a spare roll of tp. :-)

20 April 2009

Prom 2009

Here are a few snapshots from our prom, held this past Saturday. What a magical evening!

18 April 2009

Finally, a sign of spring!

One of the first plants to bloom in my perennial beds each year is the Pasque Flower. "Pasque" means Easter, as the plant blooms around that time each year. Over the next few weeks, this native prairie plant will be covered with beautiful purple flowers.

Whenever I see the Pasque Flower in bloom, I know that spring has really, truly arrived!

17 April 2009

Feline Friday

On most days, Lily plays the part of the irritating little sister. Here, Tinsel's dangling tail was just too tempting to resist!

15 April 2009

My Circus Train

Sometimes when you love something very much, you hang on a little too tightly. This is one of those stories.

My maternal grandma was a very creative person. She painted, sewed, and made all kinds of beautiful things. When I was a little girl, Grandma made me a circus train. She painstakingly traced and cut giraffes, tigers, bears, and elephants from construction paper and adorned them them with fabric, sequins and glitter. Over time, she made enough circus animals to extend all around the cement walls of our basement. Whenever I played there, I was surrounded by Grandma's amazingly detailed creations.

When my parents decided to put up paneling in our basement, they told me that the circus train needed to be taken down. But I couldn't imagine moving it, and I begged them to leave it in place. I believed that if I left the circus train behind the paneling, it would be preserved forever.

So my parents did as I requested. They put up the paneling right over my circus train. And even though I could no longer see it, I was happy knowing that my circus train was still there in the basement, right where it belonged.

Then, as often happens, I grew up and realized the error of my ways. I was sorry I'd asked my parents to panel over the circus train. I wanted to be able to see it and touch it again. Just thinking about the circus train made me sad. I knew that after all those years behind the paneling, the beautiful animals and wagons had surely disintegrated. I felt like I had lost an important part of my childhood, something handmade by my grandma just for me.

A few years ago, my grandma passed away and as we were cleaning out her house, Mom and I happened upon a dark green folder. Inside it were 25 elephants, animal patterns carefully drawn on tracing paper, and partially constructed circus wagons. Imagine my delight! Grandma had created extra circus train pieces and had saved them for me.

I told my mom how much I regretted asking them to panel over my circus train all those years ago. Then to my great surprise, she replied, "We didn't do it. We knew you'd change your mind some day, so we took it down and saved it for you." That was my mom. She sometimes knew me better than I knew myself.

I never got my circus train from my mom before she passed away last year, but I know that it's tucked away safely somewhere in my parents' house. I'll find it someday, when it's time for me to look for it.

For now, I have the green folder filled with elephants and circus wagons and girls on tightropes. It feels good to hold the pieces in my hands. It feels like home. It reminds me that I was loved.

14 April 2009

Napkin folding, by Lily

Over the weekend, I found Lily digging furiously in the napkin basket. Shredded napkin bits flew everywhere as she quickly transformed an entire stack into intricately folded designs. Then she hopped down from the table and sauntered off, her napkin folding finished for the day.

12 April 2009

Happy Easter, everyone!

These pictures are from our Easter 2007 photo shoot. For obvious reasons, we haven't had an Easter photo shoot since. :-)

10 April 2009

Feline Friday: The Corner Cupboard

Today I mentioned to a friend that Feline Friday was fast approaching and I had no new material. Thursdays always bring a certain amount of pressure around here. Sometimes I resort to begging, "DO SOMETHING CUTE, GUYS!"

Thankfully, Tinsel and Lily came to my rescue with a little team exploration of the corner cupboard, a pull-out tiered shelving unit in our kitchen. It's a handy place to keep things like rolling pins, cheese graters, and large dishes which I don't use much. (Truth be told, I don't use much of anything in the kitchen, but that's a subject for another day!)

Every time I open the corner cupboard, the cats make a beeline for it. If they manage to sneak in before I can catch them, they step carefully over the dishes and head straight to the very back corner. There they sit, like they're in their own little private cave. Once they're in the back corner, they can only be extracted with deli sliced turkey!

Normally I don't allow them to go inside the cupboard. It's obviously not sanitary for them to be climbing through the dishes, and there's also the possibility that they might get squished. But today they both managed to sneak in while my back was turned, so I let them stay for a little while. Of course, this means that I now have to wash all the dishes.

Small price to pay for a little Feline Friday fun. :-)

08 April 2009

Two simple cards

I recently finished up a batch of 12 cards for an upcoming class using a box of 50 DCWV cards. This box comes loaded with 50 cards in perhaps eight different patterns, plus envelopes, too. Here are a couple of my favorites from the set.

The great thing about using these pre-made card bases is that the color/pattern is already there for you. You don't need to cut up your cardstock or your (hoarded) patterned paper! All you have to do is add your own embellishments in any theme you wish. Quick and easy!

07 April 2009

This is good stuff!

Today I shall sing the praises (well, not actually SING) of my new favorite carpet stain remover:

Clorox Oxi Magic!

Every single day, new stains appear on our carpet. Unfortunately, I have no other humans to blame because almost 100% of the stains are caused by me, Tinsel, or Lily due to one of the following circumstances:

* Sneezing while carrying a full cup of coffee (seems I only sneeze with coffee in hand)

* Tripping while carrying a full cup of coffee up or down the stairs

* Tinsel throwing up

* Lily throwing up

* Tinsel choosing to "use the bathroom" someplace other than the litterbox

I have tried every carpet stain remover on the market with limited success. Last week, however, my stain removing needs reached a new level: While scrapbooking on the floor (my usual spot), I knocked over an ENTIRE CUP of coffee. While I ran down the hall to get a towel, the stain grew to mammoth proportions and darkened menacingly (even though there was plenty of Creme Brulee creamer in it).

NOTHING would budge that stain. I worked for days on it, but each day it seemed to get worse. I finally put a towel over it and contemplated moving the furniture (or moving out).

A few days later on a trip to our local Big Lots store, I found a bottle of Clorox Oxi Magic, a multi-purpose cleaner which works on carpet. It was only a couple of dollars, so I took a bottle home with me.

To my complete amazement, after just a couple of applications, the basketball-sized coffee stain was completely gone! Even in bright sunlight, there is no evidence of my Saturday morning mishap.

Now I'm walking around the house like some kind of stain sheriff, squirting every coffee spill and cat throw-up stain in sight. I might as well be wearing my Oxi Magic bottle in a holster! Unfortunately, the carpet now looks so much better that I'll be hard-pressed to convince Spouse that it needs to be replaced!

06 April 2009

Two very unusual sights...

Snow in April...
and Tinsel snuggling up against Lily for warmth.

Unlike the snow (which lasted all day Sunday), this moment of camaraderie was short-lived!

05 April 2009

At the risk of repeating myself...

...I thought I'd post another collage layout, this time including a collage with a vertical orientation.

As you've probably guessed, I have a ton of show choir layouts to make for this season alone. Once again, a Picasa collage came to my rescue! My daughter had taken several pictures on the bus ride to this show choir invitational, so I combined some of our favorites into the collage on the left page. (Notice how this scrapbooker's daughter took pictures of the backs of their sweatshirts showing the choir names? *sigh* She makes her mommy proud! I'm obviously raising her right! lol)

Anyway, I "faked" a collage on the right page using some backstage photos I snapped as the girls were getting ready for the competition. (I just matted the four pictures on a big piece of white cardstock using the same margins as in the real collage.) I pushed both collages together at the center of the layout to create a continuous flow from page to page. Finally, I added strips of black with rounded outside corners and red subtitles to visually tie the two pages together.

04 April 2009

Who's tired of collage layouts? Not me!

Here's yet another layout incorporating a collage I created using Picasa. There are times when I feel like creating only a single or double page layout for a particular event but still have lots of photos. In those cases, I've found collages to be a saving grace. Using collages (of any size or orientation) also speeds up the scrapbooking process considerably!

The left page of this layout is similar to another one I made recently (see here), but that's no problem since they won't go next to each other in the album. I added a second page with a few pictures not included in the collage, which also afforded me some additional room for journaling.

Old Product Alert: I used some older (hoarded) Chatterbox striped paper and newer (but also hoarded) American Crafts felt Thickers. For some reason, I have accumulated more than my share of brown buttons, so I had to add a few of those, too. :-)

03 April 2009

Feline Friday: It's a Wrap!

Our Tinsel loves to be wrapped in blankets -- the tighter, the better!

Don't tell her this, but she sometimes resembles a sausage! :-)

01 April 2009

Photo Tag

I was tagged by blogging friend Sarah C. for this photo tag.

The tag how-to...
  1. Go to the photos folder on your computer.
  2. Go to the seventh folder of photos.
  3. Go to the seventh photo.
  4. Put the seventh photo on your blog along with a description.
  5. Invite seven friends to join.
Like Sarah, I'm also a little obsessed with photo organization :-) so it took me a couple of tries on step #3! It's kind of funny that the tag led me to this particular set of photos.

This is a photo of my daughter at our District History Day competition back in 2006. It just so happens that this year's competition takes place this very week, and for the first time, my daughter will be helping out as a judge.

If you're not familiar with National History Day, you can read about it here. I've been a judge for perhaps eight years now. It's one of the most interesting and educational activities I've been involved with, and I always enjoy talking with students about their projects.

The photo above shows my daughter's 8th grade exhibit which focused on Olympia Brown, a lesser known activist for women's suffrage and religious freedom. She created the exhibit to look like picket signs, and each one was anchored in a paint can filled with sand. (We didn't realize how heavy sand is until we had to carry three paint cans full of it through our very large state historical building!)

I'm tagging Benita, Heather in MN, Heather (from Heather's Corner), Katie (yes, you, Katie!), Cheri, Fonda, and anyone else who would like to play along! If you do it, let us know!

Where's Lily today?

Yesterday, I found Lily meowing loudly outside the coat closet. She wanted to be hoisted up onto the wire shelf just below the coats. I have no idea why this particular spot looked so appealing to her. There is barely any room for hats, let alone a rather large kitty.

But Lily thought otherwise, and there she stayed for the longest time, so long that Daughter came around with the camera and took a few photos looking up from underneath the shelf.

After awhile, her curiosity satisfied, Lily jumped down and ventured on her way.