30 November 2009

Santa's furry elves

I normally put up five or six trees at Christmas time. As you can imagine, this is a lot of work.

But lucky for me, I have plenty of help! Santa's furry little elves are with me every step of the way!

Lily and Tinsel are on hand to unpack the boxes and make sure that we have all the necessary ingredients for festive decor. In certain instances, they even test the strength of decorations WITH THEIR TEETH, just to make sure they are durable enough for the holiday season!

Tinsel and Lily also supervise every aspect of tree assembly and light placement. Here, Lily demonstrates some fancy footwork while climbing to the highest inspection point on the ladder. (Tinsel was not impressed.)

From this high perch, Lily can oversee ornament placement. If there's a problem, I have no doubt that she will JUMP RIGHT IN to help!

As you can see, I am very lucky to have Santa's furry elves to help me get ready for Christmas! If you need assistance with your holiday decor, be sure to let us know! :-)

27 November 2009

Feline Friday, a bit late!

Lily takes great pride in being the irritating little sister to Tinsel.

This is one of her favorite tricks. She perches in the chair, peeking over the arm until poor, unsuspecting (oblivious) Tinsel passes by.

Then..SWIPE! Lily smacks her on the head as if to say, "HAI! Im up here! Plai wif me!"

As you can imagine, this tactic never yields the desired result. :-)

26 November 2009

Thanksgiving in review

After all of my fussing about making the Thanksgiving dinner again this year, things actually went pretty well. I had made myself a detailed cooking plan last year and -- once I found it -- basically followed it again this year.

You see, the kitchen feels like like alien turf to someone like me, so a good plan written in my own language ("Turn on oven." "Remove cat from table.") is a necessity.

But, as many have pointed out, the food is not the important thing on Thanksgiving anyway. It's taking a moment to be grateful for what we have, not what we don't have, and to celebrate the good things in our lives. Even though we hit rough patches on the road of life now and then, we are incredibly blessed. We need to do a better job of remembering that every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving.

Happy Turkey Day!

With no offense meant to anyone, today I am sharing one of my very favorite seasonal lolcat pictures. It never fails to make me LOL!

Here's to a very happy Thanksgiving celebration, with lots of LOLS for everyone!

23 November 2009

And we're off! Another show choir season begins!

Our high school show choirs are in full rehearsal mode, preparing for the official start of the competitive season in January. This evening, we had the opportunity to attend an open rehearsal to see how the shows are coming together. At open rehearsals, the students perform in the practice clothes, without props, and do only a portion of their show.

If you're not familiar with show choir, it is a highly competitive activity in which students sing and dance as a group. Students audition to be part of show choirs, which usually include 40-60 members. A typical choir will do four to six songs with a couple of costume changes during a show, including high-energy pieces, a ballad, an all-male or all-female number, or a musical theatre piece.

Show choirs compete against each other at invitationals, which have all the excitement and energy of a sporting event plus significant amounts of aerosol hairspray. :-)

While I'm a band mom at heart, I have to admit that I love watching show choir, too. I've sobbed through more show choir ballads than I can count. A top notch show choir is unbelievably fun to watch.

This year, our competitive season will take us to several invitationals, capped by a trip to Nashville to compete in a national competition at the Grand Ole Opry. You can bet I'll be at every one of them, Kleenex in hand.

22 November 2009

A BIG Event

Last night was the annual Iowa All-State Music Festival, featuring the All-State Band, Orchestra, and Chorus. Back in October, over 1,000 students were selected by audition from around the state to participate. According to the program, these students represent the top 1% of Iowa music students.

Last year, our daughter was selected to play percussion in the All-State Band. I have to admit that we were pretty excited about that because percussion is a very difficult section to make. Soon after the festival last year, she announced that she planned to audition for the All-State Chorus this year. She prides herself in being a well-rounded musician and wanted to see if she could rise to the challenge. And sure enough, she did!

Last night we attended a wonderful concert at Iowa State University's Hilton Coliseum. Instead of looking for her at the back of the band, we had to pick her out 601 vocal students in a sea of multi-colored choir robes!

We're very happy that she has had the unique opportunity to be part of the both the band and the choir. Both were very different kinds of learning experiences and will serve her well in the future.

If you're in Iowa, be sure to watch the program on IPTV, Thanksgiving evening at 7:00 pm. More information can be found at IPTV.

20 November 2009

Feline Friday: A Short Feature Film by Lily

Producer's note: Lily is not (quite) as *plump* as she appears in this movie. You know what they say...The camera adds 10 pounds! Ten pounds is quite a lot when you're a kitty!

19 November 2009

One of many layouts!

I've been on a roll this month with my scrapbooking and, from what Ye Olde Calendar is telling me, I'd better keep up this pace for the foreseeable future. Graduation is still a few months away, but I have miles to go before then.

Since I'm playing catch up in a big way, I'm working forward (scrapbooking current events), but also backward (working on past events) at the same time. This can be very confusing! Of course, I had to make myself a form to keep track of all the layouts I need to make for a given month. :-) This has kept me organized and focused, and it makes it easy to see where the gaps are. (And they're everywhere!)

Here's a quick one-page layout I finished up in the past few days (sorry for the somewhat distorted photo). This is one of many show choir layouts that I need to make! The only thing difficult about this one was finding a green cardstock to match the kids' t-shirts. Here's a tip: When I find the right patterned paper or cardstock, I purchase a lot of it. I make multiple pages in which the kids are wearing the same costumes or uniforms. Using the same cardstock or paper on those layouts gives them continuity and simplifies the color selection process.

18 November 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Yes, I'm still putting away Halloween decorations, but last week I made a set of Valentine cards for a January class at Memory Bound. When planning classes, we work several weeks (or months) ahead of the actual calendar!

I'm a firm believer that you can't go wrong with brown and pink (or brown and anything, for that matter), so I naturally grabbed the American Crafts Romance line for this set. Of course, it includes a very nice striped paper, which made it pretty much impossible to resist. :-)

16 November 2009

Layout: Prom - Behind the Scenes

By now, most of you know that I've been busily scrapbooking our daughter's events and activities (plus a few other family layouts), with a goal of having something to show for myself at graduation.

I'm happy to report that I'm making some progress. Over the past few days, I actually completed 25 pages, and none were cat layouts! :-)

I recently finished up a series of pages (probably way too many, truth be told) about last year's prom. This first layout covers the "behind the scenes" preparation for prom. The remaining pages cover the pre-dance photo shoot, the dinner, dance, and post-prom party.

I used my trusty Ki Memories Fruit Stripe paper throughout the series of pages. It just happened to match the girls' dresses perfectly. :-)

14 November 2009


I've been feverishly working on scrapbook pages with a goal of finishing my daughter's events/activities (and many other family layouts) before she graduates in May. Is this a realistic goal? Hmmm....Not sure yet. Given how much I have yet to do, the task is pretty daunting.

For the past several weeks, I have been stacking completed layouts on our dining room table, sorted in piles by month. But with Thanksgiving approaching, I could see something was going to have to change, otherwise our guests would be eating at a card table!

So I recently ordered some WRMK 3-ring binders through Memory Bound, and they came in this week! I am very pleased with the quality of the albums. They are very sturdy, and the page protectors are thick and roomy.

This evening, I spent several hours loading completed pages into the binders. I must say that it's a great feeling to see the layouts finally organized and in the proper order. Collectively, the pages will tell our story. I can finally see it coming together.

* brief happy dance*

Okay, enough celebrating. Now back to work.

13 November 2009

Feline Friday: Groserie Jakpot, by Lily

Mi mommie went to da groserie stor todai becuz she wants da banana bole bak. lol

I alwais chec in da bag when shee getz home to see if dare might be sumfing for me! Like ham or Cheetos or grene olifs!

And der wuz! Delly turkie!

I asked nisely for a peece rite awai. Nom, nom, nom...

Nom, nom, nom...

Nom, nom, nom... Oops! Sorrie, Mommie. I did not mene to nom ur finger.

Rited and typed by Lily, all bi miself!

12 November 2009

Yes, we have no bananas!

The fruit bowl was empty tonight. So Lily decided to see if she could fit in it.

It was a pretty tight squeeze, as you can CLEARLY see from these pictures. Her feet were all in a wad at the bottom of the bowl.

She managed to get comfortable enough for a two-hour nap. But when she stood up, she had to shake her legs before she could get her furry self out of the bowl.

I'd better go get more fruit.

11 November 2009

This layout was inspected by Lily

Very few people know that each layout I complete is carefully inspected by one of our kitties. Tinsel's specialty is cardstock and foam pop dots. Lily's expertise lies in embellishments, especially ribbon.

This layout was rigorously inspected by Lily. She actually gave it a "Paws Down" because it didn't include ribbon or flowers. You can see by her face that she was not impressed! She did give me a little bit of credit for using something other than striped paper!

But even layouts that don't pass inspection are usually good enough for me. I cannot afford to be as picky as Tinsel and Lily. One more down, only a few hundred to go before graduation. :-)

09 November 2009

Chapter 3: In Which Lily Spies a Bug & Chooses an Unfortunate Sitting Spot

Tink! Tink! Tink!

From somewhere on the other side of the house, Lily's highly sensitive ears picked up on a sound she knew well.

Tink! Tink! Tink!

She had heard that sound before. It was a box elder bug circling the ceiling light in mommie's craft area!

She scampered up the stairs to investigate. Very carefully, she stepped over mommie's craft supplies until she reached the spot for Optimum Bug Viewing, which just happened to be....

Right on top of mommie's scrapbook page!

07 November 2009

Same event? Same design!

In continuing my "lather, rinse, and repeat" theme from earlier this week, I'm not above replicating my own pages if they work. I've done it a couple of times in the last few days, and I'm not ashamed to admit it!

Here's a good example. Our marching band participates in a parade every June. I recently finished the 2009 parade pages (red/black layout below). (Sorry, I snapped the picture of this page before the journaling was done!)

And when I pulled out the 2008 parade photos last night, sure enough, I had almost the same shots. So why not use the same layout? At this point, I have so much scrapbooking to do before graduation that I'll take the easy route, if possible. :-) These layouts will be in completely separate albums so, believe me, no one around here will notice!

Sure, I had run out of Thickers and some of the chipboard by the time I got to the second layout, but it wasn't worth running around to try to find the perfect embellishments. I used what I had, coerced Daughter into writing down her memories for me, and called it good.

06 November 2009

Feline Friday: Lily's Repurposing Tip #21

After the cheese and crackers are gone, the empty container makes a stylish napping spot. Extend one arm elegantly to the side, tippy toes resting lightly on the floor. (No one needs to know that you can't squeeze in one more chubby little body part. Well, maybe you could have, before the cheese and crackers!)

05 November 2009

Easy 2-photo layout

Here's a layout based upon a page featured in the June, 2009 issue of Creating Keepsakes (page 23). I tend to do more "event" type layouts these days, so it was fun to do a "moments" one for a change. These photos were taken in summer 2008.

And I'll also say this: It was nice having only two photos. *gasp* I usually have lots and lots of photos for each event, so having only a couple made the layout go super fast.

03 November 2009

Lather, rinse, and REPEAT

Favorite sandals. Favorite foods. I don't hesitate to wear them, or eat them, over and over.

Same goes with a favorite sketch. I don't care if I've used it before. If it works, I'll keep using it.

This layout is based on one of my favorite sketches from Cathy Zielske's online class at Big Picture Scrapbooking. It really couldn't be easier, and it works great for two to three horizontal photos (which I often have). I've used this sketch a few times now and don't regret it one bit.

Like favorite sandals, you can't go wrong with a good sketch!

02 November 2009

Scenes from Halloween 2009

Other than the slightly damp and cold weather, we had a pretty good Halloween this year. Daughter and friends carved pumpkins at our house. I broke out the power tools and drilled holes in my own pumpkin. We had lots of Trick-or-Treaters but somehow ended up with a bit too much candy, including an excessive number of Tootsie Rolls which I've since managed to eat.

But the highlight of Halloween 2009 was when I stopped at the grocery store and found the produce guy dressed in a banana suit, pushing carts in from the parking lot. Then, as if that wasn't enough excitement for one holiday, another banana showed up at our house for Trick-or-Treat. The girl in this banana suit assured me that she wasn't related to the grocery store banana, even though I told her that there was a strong family resemblance. :-)

Here in central Iowa, Trick-or-Treaters are traditionally expected to tell a joke to get candy. Now, I know plenty of slackers who will waive this requirement and dole out the candy without the trick, but not me. Unless you're very young or painfully shy, I insist on a joke! Here are some of the best (or at least most coherent) riddles of the evening:

What do you call a cow lying on the ground? Ground beef. (That's a real Iowa joke for ya.)

What do you call a cross between a brown cow and a chicken? (Trendwatch:
Lots of cow jokes this year.) Brown-chicka-brown cow (sing the punch line).

Why did Britney Spears get hit by a truck? Because she said, "Hit me baby one more time." (Oh, my.)

And I'll leave you with this little gem...

How do you wake up Lady Gaga? Poker Face.