December Daily 2014 | Days 01-07

The month of November flew by and then before I knew it, December came … and the month is flying by.  Hanukkah is 3 days away.  And Christmas is right around the corner. The list is long but things are getting crossed off.

I’m a bit behind in December Daily.  I have the photos and words for each day but the actual documentation is a bit slow.  Today, I’m sharing days 01-07.

December One
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We started the advent calendar with Samuel last year and he loved it.  This year, we kept things simple — we went with a Playmobil Advent Calendar I picked up on clearance at the end of last year.  It’s working out great so far.  He looks forward to it each morning.  We just keep it on the dining table (where he eats breakfast) and he enjoys playing with it each morning.

December 02
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Samuel and I went to the Lego store for the free mini-build giveaway today.  He’s almost four and has decided that he’s ready for Legos.  The pieces are small and he sometimes struggles to put things together, but he loves the challenge. This evening, we made a little gingerbread house.

1412 DDOneToSeven-5I’m using my sewing machine to add some texture to the layouts. I’m experimenting with other stitches on the machine — really love the x’s here.

December 03
1412 DDOneToSeven-20Crazy weather in Sacramento today.  I left work at 3:20 to pick up Samuel and within 5 minutes of my drive, the heavy rain made it impossible to see.  Freeways were backed up and roads were flooded.  It took me over an hour to get to Samuel.  As soon as we got home, Samuel helped me rake leaves from the gutter to allow for proper drainage on our street. He’s a great little helper and I am so thankful for this little guy.

1412 DDOneToSeven-21A close-up shot of more stitching.  

December 04 (left) & December 05 (right)
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We pulled down our small stash of Holiday decorations and ornaments and gift wrap. Samuel is pretty excited that “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

1412 DDOneToSeven-10The “Bring on the Joy – ‘Tis the Season” masking tape in the Ali Edward’s December Daily kit is pretty bad ass.  I love it and am using it a lot … I will definitely be sad when I use it all up. And I can’t get enough of the gold stars.  

1412 DDOneToSeven-12Saucy, Samuel’s Elf, made a comeback on the fifth of December. I used my sewing machine to stitch the red boxes and a sharpie to write in his name.

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The story of Saucy’s visit is behind the photo.

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The components of Day 05 — I printed a couple photos and adhered them back to back and used the masking tape to attach it to Saucy’s note to Samuel.  It folds up and fits in the 4×6 pocket.

December 06
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We picked up a tree at a new tree lot this year. I’m in love with the place and think we will be back next year. Our favorite tree is the Noble Fir (from Oregon).

1412 DDOneToSeven-29I’m still looking for the perfect journaling pen.  Haven’t found one I really love but  the Uniball Vision Elite is becoming a favorite.

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I spent most of today at home at my computer. I made and ordered our holiday cards.  I also processed and exported photos for several holiday projects.

1412 DDOneToSeven-31A close-up of day 07.

Day 08 is in the works.  And so are days 10-12.  I have a story for day 13 — but want to live out the rest of the day before I decide on which story.

Thanks for visiting!

Shrinky Dink Ornaments

Before going to bed last night, Samuel said, “Can we make more ornaments for our tree?”

“Of course, buddy.  We can definitely make more ornaments.”

So this evening, we made this for our tree …
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Yes, folks.  I’m bringing back the Shrinky Dinks. This method, however, does not use the authentic Shrinky Dink sheets.  Rather, I’m recycling plastic to-go containers that you get when you buy a salad (or bring leftovers home from eating out).

141209-SuppliesI’m using these basic supplies — plastic to-go containers, sharpies, a hole puncher, and a toaster oven.  Not all plastic to-go containers will work — make sure you look at the bottom of the container for the number 6 in the recycle symbol.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-5Cut the top and bottom of the containers.  This will be the writing/drawing surface. Rounding the corners is a good idea — otherwise, you may end up with sharp edges once  it shrinks.

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Each container will allow you to make two big Shrinky Dinks (measures approximately 2.25″ x 2.5″ once it shrinks). Or you can make four smaller pieces (size of a dog tag) by cutting the big pieces in half. Because Samuel is learning to write and draw, he needs a bigger surface to work with so I left it as is.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-14I had him sketch his work on a piece of paper about the size of the plastic.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-22I taped the plastic sheet over his artwork and gave him the sharpies to trace his original design. Oh, if you want to string something through it, make sure you punch a cluster of holes at the top.  A single hole will shrink in size and will not be big enough for ribbon or string.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-24Here’s a look at the original artwork and the plastic sheet.

141209-OnTrayOnce we were satisfied with the design, I placed the plastic sheet on a metal tray with a layer of parchment paper between the plastic and tray.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-29I preheated the oven to 325 degrees F and placed the tray in the oven.  We watched it curl and twist and ultimately flatten. There were some suspenseful moments as we watched it curl up on itself.  If it does not come out perfectly flat, use a spatula to flatten it immediately once you remove it from the oven.

141209-SamuelSampleHere’s a look at the original artwork, original size of plastic, and the piece that we shrank. The plastic is thin at the beginning but once it shrinks, it is about a millimeter in thickness.

Isn’t this rad? I absolutely adore his artwork.

That was a lot of work for a three (almost four) year old.  But he loved it so much he wanted to make more.

141209-SamuelSample1When we did it the second time, I did not have him do a rough draft of the artwork. It was a lot of work to draw it out and then trace it. I did not want to discourage him — so I just gave him the plastic and pens and he went at it. He’s learning to draw so I was right there to guide him as needed.

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These little pieces of artwork are so perfect for our tree.  I would like him to do at least one per year — to see how his drawings and writing evolve over time.  I plan to keep extra plastic sheets with the Christmas ornaments so that I remember to have him create at least one drawing per year.

141209-SamuelSample3He also drew this for his friend.

141209-CurledUpSampleBut unfortunately, due to some imperfections in the plastic, it never uncurled.  I tried to pry it open once I took it out of the oven but I could not save it.

But hey, that’s how science works sometimes. This process is really an experiment on polymers — and sometimes things turn out the way we predict. And sometimes, the results are surprising and requires a repeated experiment.  It is all part of the learning process.

He wasn’t upset about it.  He had a positive attitude about it and said, “We’ll try again tomorrow.”

Have fun with your littles!  And share your images on Instagram.  Please tag me so I can see your creations.

Around Here | March 2014

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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

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Week 03 | Jan 13-19
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Week 05 | Jan 27 – Feb 2
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Week 6 | Samuel’s 3rd Birthday Celebration (just the three of us).
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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.
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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.  

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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
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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
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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

December Daily 2013 | Day 01-07

“Tis the season.  Tis the season.  Tis the season …”  chants my little one.

I love this time of year.  I especially love documenting our December Daily stories.  This year, I am really focusing on documenting one story per day with just a few photos I love.  I am also continuing with Project Life this month (although it seems like I’m over documenting – ha!) but am capturing a different part of our day there.  I am really trying to keep things simple and my time is limited.  The volume of grading I have piled on my desk seems to grow taller with each passing day because I’d rather be documenting our story than grading my students’ papers.

Here’s a look our first week of December.  I quickly took the photos this afternoon with my iPhone – not super happy with the images so I will take better photos later this week.

Day 01 – Getting our tree.  We have never gotten our tree this early.
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Day 02 – I wanted to decorate our tree but Samuel had other things in mind.  He discovered a new skill so he spent most of our tree decorating time hopping on one foot.
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Day 03 – Santa sent us an Elf.  And Samuel named him Saucy.  I still have some journaling to do on this layout.
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Day 04 – The last night of Hanukkah.  Ended up being a four page spread — I often give myself a 3×4 space for journaling because I think I do not have much to say ….
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Day 05 – Starbucks + shopping with one of my girls.  Girl time is awesome.
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Day 06 – My brother came for a short visit.  He and Samuel had concerts in our living room all evening.  I so love watching and listening to them.
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Day 07 – Samuel turned 34 months!  Can’t believe he will be three in two months!  We celebrated with a trip on the Polar Express to the North Pole.  Samuel loved it all — except for the creepy looking Santa. The story of our magical adventure is tucked in the 3×4 pocket.  I think this will end up being a four page spread once I get some images from my brother.
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I am in love with this project.  So looking forward to experiencing and documenting more magical moments this holiday season.

Week in The Life 2013 | Wednesday

This is my fifth year with this project.  The last couple of years were documented with photos and words but I never got around to putting them into a book.  I am hoping that this year will be different.

Here’s a look at our Wednesday, September 11, 2013.

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All of the images here were taken with my 5D.  I find that it is easier/quicker to use my iPhone for self portraits.  I have been using my iPhone more and more for this project.