Samuel | Four and a Half

150807-FourAndAHalf-47And just like that, I have a 4.5 year old.

Samuel is fun, funny, observant, smart, talkative, and thoughtful. He loves wearing jeans – even on hot days. Loves flip flops, tees with fun designs, and cowboy shirts. He’s not a fan of cakes but he’ll take a chocolate chip cookie in a heartbeat. He still loves horses and rides them regularly.  He wants to own a horse by age 10 (yeah, good luck on that). He can recite most of the words in Tacky the Penguin and loves The Black Stallion. He loves a good story and will quickly give you a storyline when you agree to tell him a story.

I’m not big on celebrating half birthdays, but he was, so we rolled with it.

When he turned four, I wanted to ask him a bunch of questions and create a layout with all of his current favorites, etc. Well, life got busy so I never got around to “interviewing” him. I was determined to do it at 4.5 and it came together the evening of his half birthday. (He was pretty excited about answering the questions because he was pumped about being 1/2 a year older.)

The layout took a bit longer than I intended — it always does though, doesn’t it? Part of it is because I wanted to write a letter to remember him at this fun age.

Here’s a look at the layout …
The layout includes two full size pocket pages and a smaller insert.

2015-08-09-17.24aI printed the Birthday Questionnaire on a sheet of 6×12 paper. I thought about typing up his responses for a neater look but decided I that I like the look of the handwriting against the type.

The pocket page is from Doodlebug Designs and I pretty much love it.  I find myself using it in a lot of his books — I use it for questionnaires and larger pieces of artwork. They are used throughout his baby book for hand prints and footprints.

2015-08-09-15.22.14He brought home a cool piece of watercolor artwork a few days before so I cut it up to use on the layout.

I trimmed down a Project Life Design E pocket page to use as an insert between the two larger pocket pages. I love the 6×6 squares but rarely find myself using them.

2015-08-09-17.25He loved giving me his hand print so this required no bribes from me.

I wrote him a lengthy letter and included it in the insert.

I had a lot to say so it turned out to be a little book inside the 6×6 pocket.

2015-08-09-17.27bI included the footprint on the back of the insert. I brought in some repetition with the orange circles and stars.

2015-08-09-17.27aA detail shot of the footprint with orange circle and star. I kept it pretty simple but I sure do love the results. The “every little thing you do is magic” is from Ali Edward’s Story Kit (Magic).

2015-08-09-17.27This fun pattern paper came from Amy Tangerine’s Rise & Shine paper pad. 

Samuel is getting pretty good at writing his name so I wanted to include a writing sample at age 4.5. All of the photos are from his half birthday — and yes, we got a little carried away and gave him a gift. He is still obsessed with Thomas the Train and with the recent release of a new engine named Sam, I couldn’t resist.

He’s a great kid. And I love that he lets me take photos of him. I hope it never gets old.

March Project Life Blog Hop | Setting up a Project Life Baby Album

JennWelcome to the third of twelve Blog Hops from the 2014 Becky Higgins Project Creative Team! We are all passionate about Project Life & memory keeping and we wanted to continue to inspire each other and you as we move forward in 2015. Here is a look at what I’ve been working on:

In 2014, I set up and gave away about half a dozen Project Life Baby Albums. Recently, I put together another baby book to surprise a mama in my neighborhood.

The new mamas I give the albums to are not scrapbookers — they are friends of mine who admire my work from afar.  They are afraid to dive in — or are intimidated by the whole idea of scrapbooking. But every mama wants to document their baby’s story — it’s my window of opportunity to get them hooked — and hopefully, have them join me at a monthly crop.  The more the merrier, right?!?

Being a mama to a newborn has its challenges so I want to keep things easy for them. I do most of the legwork to make the process less overwhelming. The only thing they have to do is take photos, print them, insert them into the book, and write little stories.

Here’s a look at how I go about putting together the foundation pages of a baby book:

2015 BabyBook-5The title page is pretty simple. I go with what’s in the box and add the baby’s name if I know what it is.

First, I set aside the 4×6 month cards, “Notes to You” cards, and “Highlights & Milestones for this Month” cards. I also pull the 3×4 “This Month’s Stats” cards and add them to this pile (not shown here). I use all of these cards for the monthly layouts.MonthCards

Next, I go through all the prompt cards and pull related ones
I pull the family cards together and put together a two page spread using Design A. I do not use all of the title cards — I often use the 4×6 “my family” card and all of the 3×4 journaling cards.  I also include a Design G pocket page as an insert to allow for some additional photos, especially for vertical images.

2015-03-08-14.37I always create a spread dedicated to the home (and the baby’s room).  Again, I use a spread using Design A with a Design G insert. This allows room for additional photos without it being overwhelming.

ExpectingSame idea for the “Expecting You” layout — I use a spread using Design A and insert a Design G page.

ArrivalFor the “Birth Day”, I use two Design A spreads with a Design G (or Design B or D) insert. I try not to use pages with odd sizes (because the women I give them to do not have cutting tools, etc).

For the monthly layouts, I use the following recipe: Design A spread with Design G, B or D insert. I ran out of Design G pages for the last book I completed, so I alternated between Design B and D for each month. My favorite insert is Design G — mainly because I like changing up the width for inserts.

To do this, lay out all of the 3×4 cards — making sure I turn some over so I know what is on the backside.  Then I randomly pick cards to insert into the 3×4 pockets. I insert two cards into a pocket at one time — this saves me quite a bit of time. Cards2015 BabyBook-14Here’s a look at the monthly layout.  Left side, Design A.  Right side, Design B (insert to allow for more images – especially vertical photos).  I like to include the “This Month’s Stats” near the month card. I included photos of my son in the sample to make the layout seem more complete.

2015 BabyBook-15Close-up image of the left page (Design A).

2015 BabyBook-16Close-up image of the right page (Design B).

2015 BabyBook-22I switched between Design D and B (shown above) for each month.

2015 BabyBook-20I ended the month with Design A and the “Highlights & Milestones” and “A Note for You” cards. The back side of this page would be the start of a new month.

At the end of the book, I included extra pocket pages (Design A, B, D and G – depending on what I have in my stash) so the new mom can add additional pages wherever she wants.

When I give the books away, I always include a hand written note with simple directions — and a reminder to “This is meant to be easy so keep it simple. Don’t complicate the process. Have fun.”  I also include drawings with dimensions for each pocket.

2015 BabyBook-3

The entire process takes me somewhere between 2-3 hours.

Have fun setting up your baby book — or one you’re making for a new mama.

For more Creative Team Inspiration, follow the links below:

Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don’t see your favorite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up too! We hope you enjoyed this hop!

Project Life is a memory keeping system from Becky Higgins. You can find out more about her system and product here.

January Project Life Blog Hop

Good morning and welcome to the first of 12 Blog Hops from the 2014 Becky Higgins’ Project Life Creative Team! We are all passionate about Project Life and memory keeping and we want to continue to inspire each other (and you, of course!) as we move forward in 2015.

As I’m looking around my space, I realize that my house isn’t getting any bigger but I’m bringing in more products, photos and albums. My goal this year is to keep it light (which is my word for the year). I want to keep the year to two volumes (I’ve done three volumes in the past) and record my son’s year in one album (up until this point, I’ve done two albums per year).

Here’s a look at my title page for 2015 |
2015 PLWeekOne-25
This pocket page protector is from October Afternoon and holds 12-3″x3″ photos/cards. I trimmed off a column – mainly because I like playing around with the lengths of the pages. My goal is to stop hoarding Studio Calico cards so I’m putting them to use here.

Here’s a look at week one | January 1-42015 PLWeekOne-18
A few of my friends asked about how I would do week one — they mainly wanted to know if I start on Monday, Dec 29 or Thursday, Jan 1? I like to keep each year separately, so I started with January 1.  It’s a short week so I used a big photo of us on the right to fill in the rest of the layout.  I also included a drawing from my soon-to-be-four-year-old, Samuel. I love his drawings — they just get better every day. By the way, do you like my “bee hive hair”?

2015 PLWeekOne-20
I really enjoyed working with 3×3 prints and think that I will be using more of these pages throughout the album.  By the way, the bottom right photo is one of my son “freakin’ out.” It’s his new thing — the freak out face.  Apparently, I freak out all of the time.

2015 PLWeekOne-9A closer look at Samuel’s drawing of our family — check out my “bee hive hair.”

Week two | January 5-112015 PLWeekOne-12Really making use of my Studio Calico stash that I hoarded last year. 

2015 PLWeekOne-5A closer look at the left page.  Samuel really wants a Star Wars party for his fourth birthday so he agreed to a little photo shoot for his invites (with him as Yoda Vader).

2015 PLWeekOne-10
Big story this week? Samuel stepped into the shower and washed his hair. No goggles. No fear. “I gotta be brave,” he says.

For more Creative Team Inspiration, click on the links below:

Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don’t see your favorite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up too!

We hope you enjoyed this hop!  Project Life is a memory keeping system from Becky Higgins. You can find out more about her system and product here.

Around Here | March 2014

Around Here is a new addition to my Project Life album this year.  It’s a place where I can add additional photos to tell our story.

140308-Ba74thBday-27Around here, we celebrated my mom’s 74th birthday.  She is beautiful, strong and independent.  I love you, mom.

140305-MSDN-115Around here, I helped organized the 7th Annual Math and Science Discovery Night.  I was thrilled to be able to organize the science portion of the event.  Honestly, I’m good at it and it feels good to be back doing something Jim and I started (and love).

Around here, Samuel and I went to Paradise Beach and enjoyed getting sand between our toes, dipping our toes in the freezing water, trying our best to skip rocks and building a lovely little sand castle equipped with a stick-leaf flag.  Wednesday afternoons are ours – now and for always.

Around here, we were thrilled with the change in daylight savings.  We love the extra hour of light.

Around here, there are lemons and tangerines on our trees.  We are drinking lemonade and fresh tangerine juice daily.

140323-BanhXeoAround here, I am bringing back the Vietnamese dishes (specifically, banh xeo and spring rolls) into our weekly meal rotation.

Around here, spring has sprung and Samuel’s allergies are worse than ever.  We are also noticing a lot of dry spots and bumps on his skin.  We can’t figure out what his skin is allergic too.

Around here, Samuel continues to take riding lessons and music classes.  He decided that soccer isn’t his sport so quit it in the middle of the season.  We are not thrilled that he quit soccer so we continue to have conversations about finishing what we start.  It has not worked yet.

140325-Swing&Birthday-49Around here, Samuel is fascinated by the swing.  It’s about time.  Ha!

Around here, I’m starting an exercise routine (again).  My ankle injury has healed and I am ready to shed some pounds.

Around here, Samuel has been eating a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for breakfast every morning.

Around here, I just booked our Disneyland vacation.  We are also talking about a couple other summer trips.

Around here, Spring Break is just 9 days away!  And summer vacation is 39 days from today.  Yippee!

Around here, I am thinking about my garden but I haven’t put my thoughts into action yet.

Around here, we have many unfinished projects.  We’re hoping to knock a couple of those projects out during Spring Break.

Around here, I am making smarter financial decisions.

Around here, I am reading Catching Fire (second in the Hunger Game series).

Around here, it feels like winter. I’m really enjoying the much needed rain.

140330-FamilyPhoto-15Around here, I am 3 for 3 for monthly family photos.  I’m hoping to get one where we are all looking at the camera.

Around here, we are happy.  We are having fun.  We are thriving.  That’s how it should be.

Project Life 2014 | Weeks 2, 3, 5 & 6

Last night, I went to our monthly Project Life Crop and got caught up on my 2014 album. 140329Crop

Week 02 | Jan 6-122014-Week02



Week 03 | Jan 13-19



Week 05 | Jan 27 – Feb 2



Week 6 | Samuel’s 3rd Birthday Celebration (just the three of us).

I am experimenting with how to take decent photos of my pages.  This afternoon, I found myself using my iPhone for all of the photos in this post.  It was way faster — and I didn’t have to fight the glare as much!  Interesting, huh?  How do you take photos of your pages? Feel free to share your tips in the comments.

Weeks 9 – 13 will be on the blog later this week.  Thank you for stopping by!

Project Life 2014 | Samuel is THREE!

I remember lying in the hospital bed after giving birth (via C-section after 40 hours of labor — yeah, crazy right?) and the nurse asked me, “Would you like to hold your baby?”  Really, all that and she wanted me to hold my baby?!?

I vividly recall my quick snarky response, “How am I supposed to do that?”

She looked at me and said three words. “With. Your. Arms.”

I was in a fog and was numb all over.  My response at that point was slow and methodical — “Oh, yessssss.  I doooooo have arms.  Ok, I’ll hold my baby.”  Honestly, I didn’t know what to do with him at that point.  He’s here.  So now what?

I struggled as a new mother.  I questioned myself and everything that I did to care for him. I worried all the time.  But he thrived. We thrived.  And just like that, he turned three.

At three, Samuel is an inquisitive, detailed-oriented, happy, energetic cowboy who has a passion for horses, garbage trucks and stories.  He is a problem solver and loves piecing together puzzles.
140323 RidingChancey-36

We celebrated THREE with a hoe-down at our house.  Here’s a look at what went down …
140301 PLFeb-15I sent out personalized invites.  I spent hours making stick horses and painting cardboard boxes to create an old western town.  My sister made the awesome carrot cake.

140301 PLFeb-25Because of rain, we had the party indoors. Seven toddlers. Seven stick horses. Nobody tripped. Nobody fell. Nobody cried. It was joyful. Jim and I enjoyed watching him interact with everybody.

140301 PLFeb-32I left a basket of blank 3×4 cards out for birthday wishes.

140301 PLFeb-33The stick horses and buildings were a hit.  They didn’t care about the color station or games I had planned.

140301 PLFeb-53He was especially happy because his best friend came for the celebration.

We also had a birthday shindig at my mom’s house the following day for the family.
140302 PLCut&Paste-9Great day for all of us.  

140302 PLCut&Paste-10

140302 PLCut&Paste-11

Products used | Project Life Themed Cards, Celebrate & Coral Edition.  Project Life Cut & Paste kit by Amy Tangerine. Studio Calico wood veneer. Word Stickers from Cosmo Cricket.

Project Life 2014 | Weeks 4, 7 & 8

I’m getting back into the swing of things around here.  And it sure feels good.  The house is a mess (and so is my work space) but all is good.

Since I’m so behind in this year’s Project Life album, I decided to tackle the present and slowly work my way backwards.

Here’s a look at Week 08 | February 17-23
140301 PLFeb-13
I went to Portland for a week to help my sister and her husband welcome Bodhi into the world.  Bodhi was born on February 16 at 3:57 pm.  He was 6 pounds, 2 ounces and 18 inches long.  He is little and precious with a fine head of hair.  I am excited about being an aunt and Samuel is excited about having a baby cousin.  Only thing is — I wish we weren’t so far away.

140301 PLFeb-66It was hard to be away from my little guy for a week.  Grateful for my brother’s iPad because we were able to FaceTime every night.  Not the same of course, but it certainly helped.  (For this layout, I used the new Project Life Azure Edition.  Maybe it’s because I’m a teacher, but one of my favorite cards is the T-chart card shown above.  I used it to compare Samuel and Bodhi at this point in their lives.)

Week 07 | February 10-16
140301 PLFeb
Samuel’s first visit to the dentist was a success.  He climbed up on the chair and sat there with his mouth open without any hesitation — this surprised me (and the hygienist).  Go, Samuel.  Go.  (Project Life, Azure Edition)

There were a lot of snuggles and family time this week as I prepared for my week-long trip to Portland.

Week 04 | Jan 20-26
140201 FebProjectLife-20
Obviously, I’m not doing things in any order at the moment.  Kinda going with what inspires me — and the photos that are speaking to me right now.  I remember being really sick this week.

140201 FebProjectLife-23
I love the “I want to remember” stamp and the cards in the Jade, Midnight and Coral Editions.

Project Life 2014 | Title Page

131230 PLTitlePage2014-2I have several projects to wrap up around here (including Project Life 2013 and December Daily) but I am really excited for 2014.

131226 Ornaments&DrummerBoy-8
Jim recently made this cross-stitch of our family.  I love it so much — makes a perfect addition to my title page for 2014.  I used the Martha Stewart Cross-Stitch Family Portrait tutorial to draw the figures and he stitched it up.  The Cross Stitch Family Patterns are here.

131230 PLTitlePage2014-10The This is Our Story stamp is from Catslife Press.  Definitely one of my favorite stamps.  The 4×6 card is from Project Life Midnight Edition.

131230 PLTitlePage2014-19
The page protector came from the Just Add Color Kit on HSN.  I love all of the 2×2 pockets. I split the kit with three other friends but am considering ordering one for myself because I want more of those page protectors.  They are so fun.

131230 PLTitlePage2014-17


131230 PLTitlePage2014-15
Samuel started drawing people this month.  I made an overlay using a couple of his drawings.  I look forward to doing this more this year and incorporating more of his artwork into our family book.  The 4×6 card is from the Project Life Jade Edition.

131230 PLOrganized-4I will be using the Project Life Jade, Midnight, Sunshine and Seafoam editions for my 2014 albums (I say albums because I can never fit a year into ONE).  The Coral Edition is on its way from Oregon — I decided to split it with my friend and she’s shipping half of the kit to me.

131230 PLOrganized-7The 4×6 cards are organized by kit (and theme) here.

I will be using the We R Memory Keepers 12×12 binder album in black again this year. When I started in 2010, I went with the We R Memory Keepers albums in Buttercup. Unfortunately, last year’s shade of buttercup was more of a pastel yellow so I decided to go with black for our family albums.  I figured that black is easy to find — and it’s hard to mess up black.  Ha!



Project Life 2013 :: Weeks 06-08

Project Life 2013 :: Week 06130228 ProjectLife-3Spirit week.  Samuel turned two.

130228 ProjectLife-4Celebrated two with family at my mom’s house. We kept it small + simple — and he was thrilled with the entire shindig.

130228 ProjectLife-6Celebrated two on the actual day at his favorite family creamery — he asked to go there.  Also celebrated tet this week.

130228 ProjectLife-9Plenty of inserts for all the celebrations this week.

Project Life 2013 :: Week 07130228 ProjectLife-11Samuel got a garbage truck for his birthday.  He wanted to go home immediately after school everyday to play with his truck.

130228 ProjectLife-14

130228 ProjectLife-15Valentine’s week.  Enjoyed using Studio Calico’s February kit.

130228 ProjectLife-16Samuel is now in the Beginners class at school.  He had his first class party with Capri Sun + plenty of sweets.  He was thrilled to tell me all about it.

Project Life 2013 :: Week 08130228 ProjectLife-19

130228 ProjectLife-20Samuel rode the Thomas all by himself on Sunday!  He was so serious about it … could not help but giggle a bit at his seriousness.