30 June 2010

Magic Kingdom

When we were in Florida last week, I spent a day at DisneyWorld. In the morning, I visited Animal Kingdom, then I spent the rest of the day and evening at Magic Kingdom. Seriously, I would like to live in Fantasyland. I'd ride Peter Pan's Flight over and over. And eat Pineapple Whips until my tummy hurt. And cry at every single Disney parade, because that's what I do. :)

Here are a few shots that I've taken many times before but (of course) had to take again. For those of you headed to WDW, you'll be pleased to know that Small World has been completely redone and it is absolutely beautiful. I know that Small World drives many people to distraction, but I really enjoy looking at the stylized designs throughout the ride.

I also visited Minnie's and Mickey's houses, two of my very favorite places in the Magic Kingdom. I'll share those pictures tomorrow.

29 June 2010

Material Girl Cards

This post could almost be labeled "Favorite Cards Ever!" because I had such a great time making them. I designed this set of cards using Cosmo Cricket's Material Girl line for an upcoming class at Memory Bound.

It's kind of ironic that I like this line so much, since it's all about sewing and most of us know that I'm completely inept with a sewing machine. But I like the retro look of the line, which has nothing to do with my sewing skills! And some might even say that the little red-haired girl looks a tiny bit like me. :)

28 June 2010

Best Salsa EVER!

Last summer, my friend Liz gave me the recipe for this salsa which I sampled at her house. I just got around to making a batch of it last week. Holy guacamole...this stuff is so good! I think I could live on it for the rest of my life! It's super easy to make -- just dump the ingredients together. This is my kind of cooking. :)

Black Bean Avocado Salsa

Mix the following:
2 cans black beans, drained
1 can white corn, drained
1 can Mexi-corn, drained
1 chopped red onion
1 can petite diced tomatoes
6 green onions
3 chopped avocados
2 diced jalapenos (or 1 small can, diced)

Mix the following dressing and pour over veggie mixture:
1 pkg dry Italian dressing
1 cup oil (I used 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup water)
1/2 cup vinegar

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. (Overnight is even better!)

Be aware that this recipe makes a LOT, so it's perfect for a summer party. In addition to serving it with chips, it would make a great salsa for chicken and any number of other things, I'm sure!

I made a couple of minor adjustments to this recipe: Sadly, I didn't include avocados because the store was out of them, and I substituted sun-dried (oil-packed) tomatoes for canned because I had a jar on hand. The sun-dried tomatoes added lots of extra flavor so I will definitely use them again.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have!

22 June 2010

Oh, the places we went!

We spent a few days at Universal this past week and I'd have to say that (with the exception of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter), the Dr. Seuss area was by far my favorite part of the park. The buildings and rides (yes, mostly for small children, but just my speed!) put you right in the middle of many classic Dr. Seuss books. Click on the collage to enlarge and you'll see what I mean!

21 June 2010

Hogwarts: We were there!

How crazy is it to leave your comfortable hotel bed at 6:30 AM to go stand in line with thousands of other people in the hot Florida sun, just to experience to Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter on opening day?

Plenty crazy, I'm sure, but we did it! And yes, it is just as well done as rabid Potter fans would demand. Universal designers employed an astounding level of detail in creating Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. There is something to delight true aficionados around every corner. Click to enlarge the collage above to see just a few images from our fabulous day in Hogwarts.

18 June 2010

Feline Friday: Free Ride

Lily will take a ride any time she can get it. It's a little tiring for the driver, but quite enjoyable for the rider!

16 June 2010

Graduation Outtakes

Here are a few outtakes from Lily's recent graduation photo shoot. Although she is very cooperative, you can see that we have to work fast! We take a lot of pictures in order to get that one "effortless" shot!

15 June 2010

Tabby Tuesday

As a follow-up to our recent post about containerizing your cat, Lily demonstrates that the responsible feline is willing to sacrifice comfort for the sake of organization!

14 June 2010

Fun Summer Project

Now that graduation is over, I'm back in the saddle again...ready to plan a few classes for Memory Bound. Here's one I recently put together. This is a little CD case used as a stand and filled with decorated cards. You can add photos to some of the cards. Others just sit there looking beachy and cute.

This would be the perfect project to do after coming home from a week at the ocean. *sigh* Okay, I do believe I need to go to the ocean in order to truly prepare for my class. Don't you agree?

Anyway, this is actually a Bo Bunny class kit, so I can't take credit for this cute design! But of course, I could not leave well enough alone, so (TRUE CONFESSION!) I made a few changes to the project. I just could not help myself! I'll tell you about one of the changes, and you can imagine the others. You see, one of the suggested designs had TILTED tags! I tried several times to tilt those tags and just could not bring myself to do it. I finally designed a new card, just to avoid tilting.

Yes, I know I have issues. My issues are beyond the scope of this blog. :)

In spite of the changes I made to the project, those who know me will be very proud that I actually sanded the edges of the paper, as recommended on the project instruction sheet.

But (being the over-achiever!) I took it a step further and actually used my distresser. (Yes, I know you're surprised that I have one. I actually have three...got them at CKU a few years back!) After I got over the initial shock of seeing rough edges, I kind of liked the look on this project. The tool was actually pretty simple to use, and the more you screw up, the better it seems to look. That is my kind of tool. :)

12 June 2010

11 June 2010

Feline Friday: Our Newest Graduate!

Lucky for Lily, her mommy is always on the lookout for cat-sized fashions.

Who cares if her diploma wasn't signed? The cake was all that mattered to this new graduate!

08 June 2010

Pics from Graduation Open House

I never really understood why graduation open houses were such a big deal...until I had one.


It took a LOT of work to set up and a lot of work to take down. It was also a lot of fun while it was happening but so busy that it went by in a flash. We all wish we'd had more time to visit with everyone who stopped by.

Our daughter didn't want to spend much money on food or decorations, so we kept the food simple and bought only inexpensive flowers and balloons. She wanted to focus more on displaying items that were meaningful to her. We spent considerable time thinking about how to set up her displays. Over the years, she has been involved in many activities which have been extremely important to her, so we decided to set up a little display area for each one. This approach seemed to work pretty well. It allowed guests to spread out and look at whichever displays were of interest to them.

We pulled scrapbook pages for each of her activities and compiled them into "themed" albums, one for each activity. We placed each album with a photo display board and a few other memorabilia items for that activity. She chose photos for the display board that were not included on the scrapbook pages. We hung her show choir dresses and a few of her dance costumes from our banister railings.

In addition to the themed areas, we designated an area for her high school graduation memorabilia (diploma, letters, awards, etc.) and another for information about the college she'll be attending. We also made a little "In Memory" area to honor my mom (her grandma) and the big role she had in our daughter's life.

Overall, I think the open house went very well. It was crowded and busy, but it was nice to see our friends and family all at once. It was a great way to mark the ending of our high school years and the beginning of the next phase in our daughter's life!

07 June 2010

The Aftermath

Graduation's over. The open house is done. We are now in "The Aftermath" mode, meaning we have to put away everything. YIKES. Getting it out is a lot more fun than putting it away.

I didn't meet my goal of finishing all of my daughter's school years. I did make a huge amount of progress toward my goal, but senior year ended up being a lot busier than I expected, leaving less time for scrapbooking than I'd hoped. My daughter's activities continued right up until the last week of school, which made it really hard to keep up with the current events, let alone go back and finish up older ones.

I don't have a complete count at this point, but I know that I filled 11 3-ring binders (some shown here) with new layouts over the past few months, plus I added new layouts to partially completed older albums. I'm very happy with the progress I've made but still wish the scrapbooks were completely done!

Of course, the scrapbooks were done enough for the party. We ended up dismantling five or six of my chronological 3-ring binders and creating "themed" binders for each of my daughter's activities. She pulled enough layouts from each activity to fill the binders. For the open house, we created themed areas (such as for marching band and show choir) and placed the albums with the other items on display for that activity. That seemed to work pretty well.

Re-assembling the albums we dismantled ended up being quite a task, but I think it's finally done. I will say that storage for all these new albums is getting to be a bit of an issue!
Now that graduation is over, I'm going to keep moving forward on my scrapbooking. Since the big events are over for awhile, I think I have some hope of meeting my goal...better late than never!

04 June 2010

Feline Friday: Containerizing Your Cat

Now that summer is almost here, are you FELINE the need to get organized? Here are some inexpensive suggestions for containerizing your cat:

Mesh wastebasket - $2, Target Dollar Spot
Starbucks box lid - Free, unless you count what was in the box
Clear plastic tub - $5, Big Lots
White plastic storage bin - $1, Dollar Tree

You can see that there are many economical, practical, and even stylish options for organizing your feline this summer. Ask your kitty for additional suggestions!

03 June 2010

Mother Dove

Mother Dove recently took up residence in one of my hanging baskets. She built a nest and promptly deposited two large eggs. From reading a little bit about doves, I've learned that the mother and the father share egg-sitting duty. I caught this picture at "changing of the guard" time.

The eggs should not get wet, so I have to be extra careful when watering the basket. As soon as I climb up my ladder, Mother Dove flies to a nearby tree. I gently water the basket without letting any water touch the eggs. When I put the ladder away, Mother Dove returns.

A few years back, I had a nesting dove in another hanging basket. The two baby doves which hatched were adorable and quite fun to watch, so I was excited when Mother Dove chose my basket for her temporary home.

But not as excited as Tinsel! (Notice the slight blur of her tail. Swish...swish...swish!)

02 June 2010

Better late than never!

Hey, now that our daughter has graduated from high school, I thought it would be a good time to finish up some of those baby pages. YIKES! Why didn't I work on these layouts a few years back?

My scrapbooking friends know that I got a little bit paralyzed with my newborn baby photos. The photos are so special to me that I was afraid I couldn't do them justice. When I finally pulled them out a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't decide on a product line to use.

I'm not much for themed products, so I didn't want to use anything babyish. I don't really go for the "cutesy" look, so that eliminated a lot of other baby product lines I might have chosen. And to complicate matters, the newborn (now a high school graduate!) does not like pink. (In fact, she would have been fine with my using "boy" paper, as long as it didn't say "boy".) I finally gave up and looked through my stash for something suitable. Turns out that this old Basic Grey line worked just perfectly. It wasn't pink, themed, or cutesy. I don't normally go for shabby, but there are enough geometric designs in this line to compensate for the slightly shabby look. And in real life, the colors work very well. That's the key for me.

While I wish I'd started a bit earlier, we won't be using any of these baby layouts for her graduation open house, so there really is no rush. It's just good to get started on them.

Maybe I should set a goal to finish them before she graduates from college. :-)

01 June 2010

Our New Graduate

This past weekend, we celebrated a milestone at our house. We have a new high school graduate living in our midst. She had a great high school career, and we could not be more proud of her!

And we know that the end of high school is just the beginning of a very bright future!

In her remarks to the graduating class, our school board president said, "Understand what you are created for and fulfill that call ... so much has been poured into you for so many years."

This statement resonated with me. Our daughter was blessed to have many inspiring music instructors over the years who provided a host of enriching experiences, all of which filled her to the brim with knowledge and potential.

I believe that our daughter does understand what she was created for and WILL fulfill that call: Somewhere in this world are beginning band students -- just now learning how to play their instruments -- who will be very lucky to have her one day as their high school band director.

Then she can begin to fill others with all that has been poured into her. I cannot wait to see that process unfold!