Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How to scrap a great photo and helicopter issues

I am not writting this blog to give advice on how to scrap a great photo, I am having problems finding something good enough to do with this photo. I love it and want to do something nice with it, but I don't want to clutter it up and I have not found the right background paper. I have the entire Elemental Scraps Store at my disposal and my other designers I work with, as well as a hard drive full of other great designs. I have to admit that I have not poured through everything to find the right thing. Any suggestions? I am in a bit of a creative dry spell right now. I am also taking a day or two to re-charge. We are also going camping next week which will get me away from the computer for a couple of days.

On the loose tooth front - Christian's tooth fell out. I helped it along before swim lessons because it was so loose, I was afraid it might fall out and he would swallow it. I know they will be okay if they swallow their teeth, but that would be dissapointing if we lost it. The pool employees gave us an empty slurpee cup and a stapler and that how the tooth sits under his pillow tonight. David will act as tooth fairy when he gets home. I wanted to make sure Christian was really asleep before we went in. I have to work in the morning so I will miss Christian's reaction. I thought about telling him that the Tooth Fairy does takes Tuesday's off, but since David missed his loosing the tooth, he gets the fun part tommorow.
For the swimming lesson update...Liam's classmate's parents are helicopter parents. All the kids are wild and none of the are going to pass the class and be able to move on. Liam swam off in class today and one mom was upset that time was getting wasted during class.
This is a swim class for three and four year olds not the Olympic trials. I called the pool when we got home tonight and talked to the person in charge of classes. She knows who Liam is (big shock, they all know him at the pool), she thinks his behavior if normal for and 3.5 year old. There are kids who behave better but for a child who is not afraid of water and spirited, he is normal. She said that she thought the entire class was a bit wild not just Liam and that they egg each other on.
Next time we do classes, I am going to talk to the PIC early on if Liam persists in this behavior. I can give them some hints on how we handle things so the teachers can have those tools to use.

Bike Rides

We took a couple of long bike rides this weekend. Sunday was the longest when we went out for a 14 mile ride. We rode on the Springwater Corridor for the first time. This is a bike path that runs along the Willamette River between the Southern part of Downtown and we got off the trail in Sellwood. From there we had to get home which was mostly uphill. It was not very warm in the morning so we wore jeans. I will not do that again. I was so hot and the jeans were sticking to my legs from the sweat.

Four more days left of swimming lessons. It is not supposed to get very warm today and there is a chance of rain, so it might be a little challenging. The nice thing about going to open swim on cooler days, it not very crowded, so the pool is fun. They turn the heat up on cooler days so it is fine as long as we stay in the water.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A quiet Saturday Morning

I love quiet Saturday mornings. Well it was quiet until I started blogging. Liam is trying to run off with pieces of their new telling time puzzle and screaming when we ask him not to.
I got up this morning and baked blueberry muffins and did a coffee press. We went to the berry farm on Wednesday. We picked blueberries and marionberries (a berry native to Oregon). I also picked up fresh green beans as well.
On Thursday, I baked a marionberry pie and David & Christian made marionberry sorbet in the ice cream ball. David and Christian trimmed and packaged the beans for freezing while I baked the pie. Liam played in the dirt in the back yard.
On the home front, we will have our first zucchini in the next few days. Our volunteer pumpkin plant has lots of blooms on it too. It is several feet long. We also have lots of grapes on our vines. I think we will have a lot of fall tomatos. There are lots of blooms, but no fruit yet.
We half way finished with swimming lessons. One more week to go. Liam is almost swimming, he just doesn't do what the teacher asks him to do. He likes the games.
Liam tried the tandum bike for the first time yesturday. He is not very strong on the tricycle and has not tried a regular bicycle. He has a long ways to go on balance. He was not happy when we got to a busier street and put him back in the trailer. He screamed the rest of the way home.
We are going to let Christian to go on a long ride on the tandum bike this morning. David and the boys are going to play at the park that is next to the ballet studio this morning while I am at class. Getting there should be easy. The ride back will be fun on the hills.
Christian caught our cat Tiglet yesturday....

As you can see, she just loves the kids. She usually looks put out just having to live among common humans. She likes little humans the least.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

We are four days into swimming lessons and it has been a nigthmare. I have been wearing my suit so I can go into the pool, grab Liam and take him back to the side since he keeps running off. (See photo below). I have been in tears or downright crying three of the four days in frustration. Today, Liam bit one of the boys in his class. I was mortified. He bit me yesturday and has been biting Christian a lot lately. We will need to research options to help him realize that biting is not cool before we get sued by parents. I don't want him biting, but I have to say that three year olds should be up to date on the Tetnus shot. Not that I want to excuse his behavior. He has not broken skin on anyone and I don't think we carry liability insurance to cover infected bites.

Liam likes the class and wants to go, so it is not like I am forcing him in there and he is three and a half and it is time that he learns to participate in group activities. It also affirms my decision to hold off on preschool.
Christian only has one more thing to master to pass his class. We will be working on back-floats at open swim. He really wants to pass so he can be in the same class as his friends.
I bought the boys an abacus the other day. It is great because Christian can work with is math without the manipulatives getting scattered around the house. He is really into using it. He spent quite a bit of time working on math this morning on his own.

Here are two layouts
Soccer Inc. by Lindsay Jane

Products by Rachel Young - Papers: Happy Pack Papers, Journaling Bracket: Fancy Mats
Brush: Paper Towels, Alpha: Color My World Alpha, Sweet Escape collab by Rachel Young and Amanda Rockwell, Summer Sweetness collab by Rachel Young and Anne Dejong

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


We called the dentist and made an appointment for Christian. Dentist's call his condition "Shark Teeth". They do not seem too worried about it and say that it usually fixes itself, the baby tooth comes out and the tounge pushes the adult tooth into place. They said the habbits like thumb sucking do much more long term damage with adult teeth then this condition.
My spider bite is almost cleared up, but the heat rash has been bad. We should have cooler weather today so I hope that will give my skin a break to heal.
The boys started swimming lessons yesturday. I have looked forward to their both going in the pool alone for classes, but I spent yesturday sitting on the deck in tears because Liam was so difficult before class and so uncooperative during class. I look around and it seems that every other child there can behave except mine. There is one woman I know who came up to me at the pool a couple of weeks ago and said that I was so lucky to only have to deal with two (she has three, but I always hate those comments) She was there yesturday and her three children all seem to be cooperative and were doing what she asked when one of my two would not.
The boys both love the pool, it is important to learn to swim and excersise is important but sometimes I question whether it is all worth it. It would be so much easier to just dump them in front of the TV and go read a good book.
Here are some layouts I have done over the last few days....

credits: Paradies by Anja J. Text Path by Sharia Braxton

credits: Wild Child by Lindsay Jane Designs

credits: Sunset's Edges by Tink's Trinkets

Credits: Swim Like a Fish by Jannylyn Brokken

Saturday, July 19, 2008

loose tooth

Christian has his first loose tooth which is exciting. The bad news is that when I looked in his mouth yesturday, I saw that his adult tooth is already growing in. I googled this and found out that when this happens they have to pull out a couple of the baby teeth to make room for the adult teeth to grow in correctly. The baby teeth rarely fall out on their own. Christian is not a big fan of doctors and procedures so I know he will not handle this well. Kaiser has a pediatric dentist and we will get them in here. Maybe they play DVDs and distract them enough that the kids don't know what is happening. It will be fun trying to get him to the dentist again after he gets his teeth pulled.
Here are a couple of layouts...
Credits: Let's Connect - A collab kit available at Desingns in Digital

Credits: Paper, Frames & Elements: July Girl Grab Bag by Sweetdigiscraps, Alpha from Swim Like a Fish by Jannylyn Brokken

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Problem children

My spider bite started turning purple yesturday and I had a new rash show up behind my kneee so I decided it was time to see the doctor. I went to the urgent care last night at Kaiser. David was at work so I had to take the boys.
When I was meeting with the PA trying to discuss what what going on Liam decided it would be fun to turn off the lights. I kept pulling him away. Then Christian decided to join in. He knows better then to do things like that. I made him go sit on a chair while I finished the appointment. They did not get stickers or get to see the fish and they had to go straight to bed when they got home. I should get some kind of medal for keeping my head and not loosing my temper.
The spider bite is not infected, I just had a really bad reaction to it and the rest of my rashes are heat rash. They gave me a strong steriod to apply to the rashes and bite and a really strong anti-hystimine to take at night so I can sleep and not itch.
I slept like a rock last night and The bite and rashes are much better this morning. It is also cooler so I can recover from the heat rash.
We have Kaiser which has all of the Thrive ads telling people to excersise, get outside, eat fresh fruit and veggies and the such. It is funny that I was at the doctor with problems that resulted from working in the garden and riding my bike on hot days. If I had been just sitting in front of the TV eating fried chicken, I would not have any of these problems.
Yesturday I made Peanut Butter and Jelly Breakfast Cookies and Breakfast Burritos from my freezer cookbook. They boys love the cookies and it makes a quick, healty breakfast for them. I will make Lasagna Roll-Ups today and will be finished with my reciepes for this payday.
Here are two layouts.
Credits: Wild Child by Lindsay Jane

Credits: Sweet Escape by Rachel Young & Amanda Rockwell, Holes from the Big Deal by Rachel Young

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Power shopping trip

Today is my bi-monthly power shopping trip. I was telling a co-worker about this (she is young and does not have kids). I told her that I am exhausted after the power trip and she seemed surprised. I thought it would be good define the "power shopping trip".
I go through cookbooks and and plan a loose menu for the next two weeks (I go shopping on payday which is on the 1st & 15th of the month). I draw a shopping list from the menu and then figure out what else we need and finish the list.
I then go to the gas station (the cheapest in town, long line) Winco and Costco, I often stop at Target, Walmart and Michaels as well, if I need things from those stores. These are all in the same part of town, to save gas by doing this all at one time. I also have to hit Starbucks to re-charge during this. I go to all these stores and do all the shopping in about two hours. I can publish a list and I challenge anyone to buy all the items on the list while trying to keep price, and nutrional value in mind and see if they are not a bit tired.
When I buy food for my family I also try to maintain a diet that is low in trans-fat and corn sweetners. We make most of the food from scratch. I do go lazy and keep a stash of Gogurt and juice boxes and kettle chips in the garage for outings.
Today, I need to price out tents (we have decided it's time to buy one, but don't need it until next month) and pick up some art supplies for Liam. The good news is that David took the day off, so I can take my time.
I do not go window shopping at the mall and I rarely make any purchases outside this power shopping trip, so it really is squeezing a lot in during a short time. I am thankful that David watches the boys and lets me go alone. I am much faster and less likely to things since I do not have frequent questions and interuptions.
On a different note, they had a slip and slide at the park yesturday and the boys loved it. The city of Portland uses the kind of poor man's slip and slide that I used as a child (we were not poor, but my parents were not into buying the latest toy for me either). You take the giant tarp and spray it down with a hose. The house I grew up in had a big back yard and a slight incline, so slip and sliding was to much fun.
Here is a picture of Liam and his craft project from a park day last week.

Credits: Everything except the flower are from Rachel Young's grab bag - The Big Deal Summer Edition. This is a great grab bag and it's only $3.00! The flower is from Sweet Escape - A collab kit by Rachel Young and Amanda Rockwell.
A quick note on my bug bite situation. I had comments that the big bite is probably a spider bite. I think that is what it is. When I want to scratch, I just put cortizone cream on it. It is slowly getting smaller and shows no sign of infection. The funny thing is that the spiders that live in Oregon are not supposed to bite. Perhaps I heard wrong or there was a spider that is a non-native species. I am also taking Benydrl and Zyrtec to help with the itching.

Monday, July 14, 2008

It's big, red and it itches

I have several bug bites and I really itch. There is one bite on my calf that is big red and really itches. Yesturday I was looking at this bit and noticed the large bump and my first thought was oh no it's cancer! I did not call the advice nurse. Whenever I read about possible signs of cancer, itching does not usually get mentioned (I imagine it might be a symptom sometimes, but it is not a common one). It is July and I have been outside a lot, so I probably have bug bites. I had a hard time sleeping last night because I itched so bad. I am still very uncomfortable this morning. I will be spending a lot of time with my Hydrocortisone today.
David's parents were in town for the weekend and the boys loved having them here. We had a barbeque in the backyard on Saturday and made rasberry apricot sorbet in the ice cream ball. We had a picnic lunch at the park and went swimming yesturday afternoon and then David's parents watched the boys while we went out to dinner at PF Changs.
Liam decided to go head first down the slide at the pool yesturday. I was standing under the slide ready to grab him when he landed and I saw he was going head first, but could not do anything about it until he hit the water. I grabbed him just as he came out and the life guard blew the whistle at him for commiting the crime, but mom was right there ready to deal with it. He has also taken to spitting (thanks big brother for teaching that one) He was spitting water at us at the pool, so all in all he spent a lot of time in time out and David pulled him out of the pool and dressed him when he would not stop spitting.
Liam is already doing belly flops in the pool and I am afraid he will start trying to dive soon. I don't think he will be allowed to go to the deep end until he is in grade school (3-4 years away) and it is hard to hold him back. I think we might just do private lessons with the boys in the fall and they might be able to work with Liam better in that environment. I feel like they need to get him swimming fast, but I doubt they allow four year olds in the deep end.
Here are some layouts I did this afternoon

Credits: Beach Critters by Pyralis Designs

Credits: Kit - Swim Like a Fish by Jannylyn Brokken, Template - Jaelicious by Crissy W.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

We finally got our back patio cleaned up yesturday. David put all the carpet remnants out there when he pulled it out last winter and yesturday he finally folded it all up and moved it to the otherside of the house. Our neighbors on that side only mow their lawn when their landlord tells them to and have a trampoline with a sleepingbag on it, so I don't really care if they have to look at our carpet remnants. When we get a chance we will take it all to the dump.
Since it is summer, it is nice to have the entire patio.
Here is a layout using photos I used of the boys eating on the patio last night.
Credits: Let's Connect - Collab Kit available at Designs in Digital

We also added a little side area to the hen house to put the meat chickens in. Our little hen runs along the side of the hen house because she does not like being seperated from her friends. She seems to be holding up well with the big hens. She is a fast runner. She already trying to fly (the thing that kept getting her in trouble in the garage)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

tales of an escape chick

Our newest chick has been giving us problems. A few days ago she flew out of ther box for the first time. I said it was time to take the chickens out to the hen house. They were in there overnight and then our hen Tess started pecking at the meat chickens and hurt them, so David pulled them back into a box in the garage. Shortly after that the baby hen got out again and David found her a few hours later behind the freezer. David fortified the box. Last night I went out to start some laundry and checked on the chicks again. Our little hen was missing again. I looked all over that area of the garage, then I started putting the laundry in the washing machine and when I got to the bottom of the basket, I found our little chick. I did not know if she was dead or alive for a minute, but she soon started moving around. She was a little cold and wet, but fine. I decided that she would still be safer out in the hen house then in the garage. In the hen house she just has to dodge one chicken not all the dangers of our house. I put her back out there and the chickens seem to handle just one better then three. The baby chick also seems smart enough to run away when the Hens just gesture towards her.
She was chirping loudly at sunset, so I went out to check on her. The other two hens were getting ready to settle down on top of there house and the baby chick was chirping and flapping her wings. She wanted to get up there with them. She was so sad to have to sleep alone, but at least she was safe.
I am reading Jane Eyre right now and the lonely chick wanting companionship reminded me of the book. Maybe I can re-write the book from a chicken's perspective.
David is going to build a seperate domicle for the meat chickens today. We plan to raise some more so we can have some chicken in our freezer for the winter.
The boys have a birthday party today and I made the birthday present and gift bag last night.
I covered a composition book and an empty bread crumbs can for the present. We went to the Dollar Tree to buy pencils erasers and pencil sharpners to put in the can. This party is for a little girl. Christian has another party for a little boy next week and I plan to repeat this with a boy theme.

I took a Winco Bag, cut the top off. I took an 8x10 sheet of paper and glued it over the log and decorated the paper. I punched holes on the top of the bag and attached ribbons for handles.

Credits: Dragonfly Dreams by Mandy Mistiques at Elemental Scraps

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

We are having another warm week. We have not done anything unusual, we are just going to the park and we will try to get to the pool today. We wanted to go yesturday, but Liam was tired and had a meltdown. He is still asleep, so today must be the day he gets all his catch up sleep. We will try to go swimming this afternoon.
I took Christian to a comic book store down the street and he picked out his first comic book, Superman. We were on our way to the Dollar Tree and I told Liam he could pick something out there He chose this set of fish bath toys. He does not understand money, so he had not idea that his thing was much cheaper then his brothers. He was so excited on the entire walk home and carried his fish with pride. When we got home, he wanted to take a bath and play with his toys. By the time I went back to the bathroom, he had his fish and his ducks all lined up. When Christian tried to move them, Liam got mad.
I told Christian that David could take him to the comic book store next time since he knows and enjoys comic books, so Christian asked David if they could go to the store first thing this morning while David was still in bed and David had no idea what Christian was talking about. I explained, but I think Christian might want to read the book he has before he looks for a new one.
Here a layout from our beach trip last month. Credits: Seascape by Lindsay Jane Designs

I am a July Guest for Rachel Young Designs at Scrapbookgraphics. Here is my first layout.
Credits: Kit - Summer Sweetness & Brushes - Paper Towel Brushes. (I will add links later)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I continued working with all my fruit yesturday. I made apricot, cherry and apricot-rasberry jam. When I am done with this blog post, David and I have to go to the garage and re-arrange the freezer to get all the jam in.
We had a barbeque in the afternoon. I made some honey-orange pork from my freezer cookbook, we defrosted it, put it on skewers and tossed it on the barbeque. We also put some corn on. While the food was on the barbeque, I pureed some apricot and cherries then David and Christian made sorbet in the ice cream ball.
Home-made sorbet is so much better then store-bought. I do not need to add much sugar and I think a little sugar goes a long way with sorbet. There is something about the taste of fresh fruit in jam or sorbet, it is so distict from what we buy at the store.
When we were eating the lunch we were commenting that the menu was like a spread from Sunset Magazine. Our yard still has a ways to go before it will be suitable for a Sunset magazine article (unless they are doing what not to do)
Here a some pictures of the nicer looking areas:

Credits: Kit: Summer Fun Elemental Scraps July Kit,

Friday, July 4, 2008

Day at the farm

David had to work this afternoon, so the boys and I went to Sauvie Island to a farm and picked blueberries. We also picked up a flat of cherries and a box of apricots. I think the boys ate their body weight in blueberries today. It is still early in the season so we just got a couple of pints of blueberries.

Here are the cherries and the apricots

I cut up cherries and apricots and put the in the dehydrator

I also made a batch of cherry-apricot jam. I have a Cranberry-Apricot bread I make during the holidays so I am going to make apricot jam and freeze it use with the bread. If I only had a bog to plant cranberries in I would be set.
I was going to let the boys stay up to watch neighborhood fireworks. At about 9:00, Liam asked to go to bed, I helped into his pajamas and he went into his room, climbed into bed and went to sleep quickly.
Christian went out with me and enjoyed watching the fireworks for a while. He kept asking me if I saw the fireworks when I big one would go off. He will be talking about that for a while. He had many questions about fireworks, how they work, why they are different colors, how they launch and so on. I suggested he ask daddy since daddy actually had experience with something other then sparklers. I have never been a big fan of fire or fireworks and never really played with them as a child.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I was able to get a lot done this morning. Since the ground was nice and damp from the storm, I went out weeded and trimmed the front herb garden. After that I made another recipe from my freezer cookbook...Mozzerella Meatballs. Too yummy. You take mozzerella sticks and cut them up and then roll them in meatballs and make a sauce. Put the cooked meatballs and sauce in ziplock bags and freeze them. David, Liam and I loved them. Since meatballs have meat in them, Christian would not eat them. I would imagine that this is a child-friendly recipe for the carnivores in the family.
I found a fun service from our library. You can download books on your computer to listen to for free. I chose some books for the boys and downloaded them. They stay on the computer for 10 days. There is permission to burn most of the kids stories to cd, then I can transfer it to my iPod. I wish I could download directly to my iPod. Christian's current favorites are Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat and Where the Wild Things Are. When I play stories on the iPod, Christian will go find the book if we have it and read it while he listens to the story.
Here is a layout. Credits: Summer Days Elemental Scraps June Collab Kit and Template by Erin Keith.

How to make easy jam

I had some comments how people had never made jam and would like to try. I have two words for you Sure Jell! This is so easy to use, my kids could make the jam.
You need
two cups fruit
1 cup sugar
1 package Sure Jell
1/2 cup hot water

Mix the sugar and the furit in a bowl well, leave to sit for 15 minutes. After the fruit has sat combine 1/2 cup hot water and the Sure Jell. Add this mix to the friut and sugar and stir for three minutes.
I use plastic freezer containers one batch is one container. Let it sit in the refridgerator for 24 hours, either use it or freeze.
I love this, no boiling water or fruit, I don't have to stand in the kitchen for hours and it is so easy. It works great since I have rasberry bushes and I don't get huge yeilds daily. I can make individual batches daily.
On a different note, we had a large thunderstorm early this morning. If I didn't know better, I would have thought I was in the Mid-West. We have had more thunderstorms than usual this year. I wonder if this is a part of Global Warming. It has been a bit more humid too. Not Japan humid, but more then we are used to in Western Oregon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rasberry Jam

I got up this morning and went out and picked rasberries and then made a batch of jam using SureJell. The SureJell is more expensive the regular pectin, but is sure easy. Since I get the rasberries for free and store bought jam is so expensive, I imagine the price is still good. The SureJell is much more family friendly. I only have to spend about five minutes in the kitchen while making it. I will keep on making a batch a day as the rasberries ripen.
I gave the boys the extra rasberries I picked for breakfast and then I let them lick the jam left over after I spooned it into the freezer container.

We went to the neighborhood park yesturday to let the kids play and eat lunch and while we were there, a group of friends from church showed up and it turns out they have having a woman's Bible study there every week while the kids play. They invited me to join the group and I am going to since it is so close to my house, the time is great and Christian gets a weekly play date with his friends. This is also the park were we go swimming, so we can hit the pool after Bible study most weeks.

The park system has a summer program. They fill the wading pools, have games and arts and crafts. Liam enjoys getting some art time.

Our cat Luna was stiking poses on Saturday night when it was so hot and I grabbed so pictures.
Credits: Somewhere Else & Neon Tantrum by MGL Scraps. Font: Scrubble for the Elemental Scraps Font Jaunt