Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas--Noel Style

Well, Christmas definitely found us! Ian has been begging for superhero costumes all year long--I thought I would hit the jackpot after Halloween, but all I could find were Hannah Montana I decided I would sew him some costumes. Save a little money, and hopefully come up with some better looking more durable alternatives. I also decided that the boys needed blankets for their beds so why not sew them some blankets?! Well, I'll tell you why not--I don't sew, it is not fast, I dislike using a pattern, I refuse to unpick anything, and I barely have a working knowledge of my sewing machine. Everything turned out cute and I only broke 2 needles, but I haven't gone to bed before midnight in awhile, the Primary in our ward has been neglected, dinner is always last minute, my children have memorized the schedule of programs on get the idea. Anyway we did have a fabulous Christmas and I apologize for no neighbor gifts, no Christmas cards, no blogging, no e-mailing, no facebook year I am not sewing anything!

Thanks to Miss Nora we made some cute candy houses before Christmas.

Here is Ian with his creation. He has now declared that Christmas is over we may eat the house!

PJ's thanks to Grandma & Grandpa Noel--slippers thanks to Santa. Aren't they the cutest? Miles wants to wear them everywhere--today I made his wear his shoes because we were going to be outside, but he carried the slippers around in a Walmart sack.

Ian & Miles tearing into another gift. They both were so cute and excited about everything. Miles kept thinking every present was a "choo-choo" or a "car".

Santa brought Ian this mask to go with his homemade Hulk costume. Very cool for a 5 year old boy--kind of freaky for his mother.

Here is macho Miles with his cars jammies, slippers, and his macho pink bink. (It is the only one he hasn't lost)

Ian with one of my sewing projects. Santa brought matching gloves and he already has a Batman mask.

Yea! Finally a "choo-choo."
The costumes and trains have kept them busy for the last week--I'm hoping the novelty doesn't wear off too soon.
We spent Christmas Eve and the Noel's complete with great food, bell ringing, a nativity production, and lots of fun. On Christmas day I cooked my first turkey and thanks to the snow we were able to eat it with the snowed in Mair family. Nora whipped up some potatoes and a yummy pumpkin roll--it was a meal to remember. (Ian kept saying he hoped the neighbors dog would eat our turkey so we could have a Christmas like Ralphie in "A Christmas Story")
The sweetest moment of the day came when Ian come to me crying because he was sad that Grandma Lee was missing out on Christmas. After a talk we decided she was having the best Christmas because she see her whole family having their Christmas'. And she must be smiling because she is still passing out presents--before she passed away she decided to collect all of the U.S. State Quarters for all of her grandchildren. Well, when she passed away they were almost done--Grandpa finished them and this year I opened a present from Grandma Lee.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Read 'em all please!!

Or at least leave comments on all. I just tried to post on about everything we have been up to the last couple of weeks so keep on reading when you get to the end of this post. The order is random and due to my head feeling like it is underwater the writing might be a little sub-par, but read away---please.

Birthday Day Two

We kind of celebrated Dave's birthday on the official day and because we went out to dinner we didn't really want to leave Miles' celebration up to the babysitter--so here are some pics from Miles birthday one day later.

We got him this fish aquarium that you just plug in and turn on (my idea of a great pet). Ian had one when he was about two and loved it. It was a hit--here are Paige and Miles enjoying the pretend fish.

Here he is with his Tow Mater pillowcase. I saw this fabric at the store and showed it to him. He would not let go of it so we turned it into a pillowcase. He loves getting in his crib every night and has us name all the cars before he goes to sleep.

Miles is always so easy going and happy. What a great kid.

Blowing out the candles...yes he did blow out both of them by himself.

Birthday Buddies

It was Dave and Miles birthday a few day's ago.
We went to visit Dave at work and took him some presents and his favorite--pumpkin cheesecake.
Down vest from my parents--I might have to borrow it it looks so warm.

Wait who's birthday is it anyway! I guess Ian decided if it was Dave & Miles' day he had better get in on the fun. They had a fun day and I think every year I will wonder how Miles managed to show up as Dave's birthday present 2 years ago.

LOTOJA long plan--first step 5K

Back in September I started training for a 5K as part of my long term LOTOJA plan. I don't know if anyone is interested, but here is a quick update of my progress. I started with a training plan called "From the couch to the Finish Line." This was perfect for me, because although I don't sit on the couch all day I have always hated running. I am more of a weight lifting, rock climbing, yoga kind of girl. Anything non-cardio was my thing. Well, the training has gone well and I am know running about 25 minutes at a pop 3 times a week. (Minus the episodes of sinusitis) I am still incredibly slow I think I might run a 12 minute mile, but that could be on the fast side of things. I could probably walk faster, but my heart wouldn't get going as much. Anyway, my knees seem to be holding up (they have issues) and I've only tweaked my back once and that was during the first week. When I get a little faster and can go a little longer I'll be needing some ideas for a great fun race to run in and any volunteers who want to run very slowly with me or cheer from the sidelines.

Just in case you were wondering what else you could do with your baby booger sucker---

Ever since I had Ian I have suffered from a few sinus infections every year. And now it seems to be getting worse...I have had two in the last month. Antibiotics are usually the answer, but when the second one came on just a week after I finished the first round of pills I decided to try to wait this one out. After some googling I've discovered that you can/should shoot saline water up your nose to help get rid of an infection. It sounds completely crazy and uncomfortable, but after doing this two times a day for the last week...we have drainage!!! Dave says I should just go over to the gym and jump off the diving board without plugging my nose--that is about what it feels like. Anyway it seems to help, but I'm still sick and extremely exhausted so if you have any miracle cures please send them my way.

Oh, I have decided that due to this reoccurring annoyance I should lay off of the sugar---cake is no longer one of the food groups in our house. (I did have a small sliver on Miles' Birthday)

My First Digital Scrapbook Pages

Here are a few of my first pages to go along with the last post.

This is my first page--I think I lifted the idea from the DSM gallery. I didn't know how to resize the photo's quickly and I did it all by typing in random sizes into the image size until I got the desired size! It took me forever!!!

I learned to cut out circles on this page.

This page was my first page with extraction work.

This was one of my first attempts with drop shadows and outer glow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Digi-Scrapping How To's

I've had a few questions about this new obsession of mine---Digital Scrapbooking. So, I'm going to attempt to explain how it works and give some advice on how to get started. But just so you know there are others more qualified and much better at explaining. So you might want to spend some time googling or chatting on a forum with educated people to field your questions.

What is it...
Okay, here we go. Digital Scrapbooking is when you use digital products to create scrapbooking pages on your computer. These pages can be printed out on photo paper and they look amazing, and when you get good at the editing process they look pretty real (not so flat). They can also be e-mailed, blogged, stored in e-books, etc.

Getting Started...
To get started you will need digital pictures either from a digital camera or a scanner. You will also need a photo editing program on your computer. I recommend any version of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. I believe you can get a free trial download to try out for about 30 days. You will also need some digital scrapbooking supplies. I recommend downloading some freebies to begin with just to make sure you like it before you start plunking down money. Ikeagoddess is my favorite site for free supplies. (These files are huge so make sure you have room on your hard drive before you go downloading like crazy). If you are in this for the long run you will eventually want to get an external hard drive.

You begin by opening your photo's and selected scrapbooking supplies into your editing program. Then you just layer your photo's onto the paper by clicking and dragging. At this point I would recommend going to click on their tutorials and go through each tutorial. This is how I learned. If you have problems hop onto their forum and ask questions. There is a bit of a learning curve and your first pages might not look exactly how you like them, but you have to mess around a lot before it gets really easy and fast. DSM does an amazing job of explaining things and their forum is loaded with people that can answer any questions you might have.

Just a Few Tips...

Here are a few hints after you get going.

1. Watch you layers palette. If something disappears it most likely just got layered underneath something else.

2. You can re-size a photo by clicking on the photo, checking the show bounding box, hold down the shift key and drag your mouse until you get the desired size (this is much faster then typing in sizes under image size)

3. When you open photos and scrapbook supplies make sure they are minimized so you can see everything at once--if you maximize you will only see one thing at a time.

4. Get online and look at some digital scrapbook galleries--the more pages you look at the more ideas you will get.

5. Watch your font size. 12 pt font is what we typically read so don't make your journaling 35 pt just so you can see it in Photoshop...when you print it out it will look ridiculously large...zoom in and use a smaller font. Keep titles big though--we want to see them.

6. Take it slow. Get comfortable with one or two things...create a few pages with them and then try reading through another tutorial the next time you scrap. I have multiple layouts where I worked on specific skills--circles, rounded edges, drop shadows, etc Eventually you will get it all on one page.

7. Learn how to use templates. This is a DSM tutorial labeled clipping masks. Templates are pages with the layout already "drawn out" all you do is add paper, photo's and embellishments.

8. Download some quickpages. Quickpages are predone pages were all you do is drag on your photo and add journaling. DSM sponsors a quickpage exchange every month. If you are up to it find this thread on their forum, learn to make a quickpage, submit it and you will get a whole bunch of great quickpages at the end of the month.


Once you have completed a page you will obviously want to save it. If you want to print or put the image on the web you will need to convert your page to a jpeg file. It will give you the option of high or low quality for the web you want low for printing you want high.


I haven't done much of this just a few pages here and there at Walmart. Costco is suppose to be great as far as pricing and quality. I believe they will print a 12X36 page for $4.99 that's 3 12x12 scrapbook $1.75 each! There are also online sites that will print photobooks Shutterfly, Snapfish, Mpix are all sites I have checked out, but I haven't used any of them yet.

Anyway--I hope this is helpful and if you have any questions drop me a comment.

More Halloween

Okay--so here is what we did on Halloween night.
We got the kids dressed up and went up to Dave's sister Carole's house. Her and her husband Jeff live in the Harvard/Yale area up by the U. It was the perfect setting for trick-or-treating. Lots of old Tudor style homes, big trees arching over the street, and lots of friendly neighbors sitting on their front porches handing out candy. I think the warm weather made this Halloween particularly fun--it seemed like everyone was out and people were happy to visit and hang out, because we weren't freezing our tushies off. We made our way up one side of the street with my nephew Max leading the way. At the top of the street there was a church and they were cooking up hot dogs and passing out donuts, hot chocolate and cider. We made our way back down the street to Carole and Jeff's--Ian's bucket was overflowing with treats. Jeff then treated us to this amazing dinner of roasted chicken and veggies. Ian, Max, and Miles ran crazy while we visited with Dave's family (Richard, Michelle, Elisa, and Amber were there too.) I hope Carole makes this a tradition and if I'm hoping I really hope the weather is this great next year.

My cute nephew Max--the jaquar.

Carole's friend Francie and Carole as a peace lovin' hippie--check out that hair!

Jeff's amazing roasted chicken.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Costume Parade

For those of you who know Nora this will probably not surprise you, but can I just say how lucky I am to have a friend who thinks up, plans, and then lets me come to all these great activities! I think she should write a book on party planning (just puttin' it out there). :)
Anyway here is our latest activity. Most of the kids in Nora's neighborhood were off track today--so Nora planned a neighborhood + the Noels costume parade/Halloween party for the kiddos. We paraded down the street, trick-or-treated at a few houses (she had pre-arranged this since it was the middle of the day), we ended at her house were we frosted Halloween cookies, played catch the ghost, there was a little pumpkin walk game (like a cake walk), a craft, and one other game! The kids loved it, the weather was perfect, so I hope Nora is up for a repeat next year!
Here are some pics of the fun day.

Nora's Addie the Snow Queen--she was particularly impressed with Nora's hairstyling abilities, to which Nora responded with "I grew up in the eighties--I know big hair."

Nora's Ben, the Ben-bot.

Nora's Paige-a butterfly. Paige is so photogenic--every picture I take of her looks great!

My Ian--Spiderman (I think you might recognize those brown eyes).

My Miles--little Winnie-the-Pooh. He was sick this morning, but paint his nose and give him two suckers to hold and he was back to happy in no time.

Ian making his Halloween cookie.

Ian playing catch the ghost.

Nora--thanks for the great day. You are amazing and talented and we love being the beneficiaries of your talents.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Funny Pics

Another late night scrapping. I just thought these pics were soooo....cute. What a funny boy! Everything is from GG Digitals except the title card and bow which are from Digital Scrapbook Memories. A lot of you have asked about the digital scrapbooking--I plan on doing a post on the how to's soon, but it's past midnight and I'm going to go catch a few zzzz's.

Adventure's in Ian Land

Ian has been up to some craziness lately--here are his latest antics.
Look mommy I fit in the dryer!

Look at me all warm, dry and smelling like bounce.

Science experiment #1. Put whole milk in a pie tin. Let it warm to room temp. Add drops of food coloring. Then add a few drops of liquid soap--and watch the action. (The soap reacts with the fat in the milk creating some really cool bubbles and swirls with the food coloring)

Lab monkey (a.k.a. Spiderman) conducting this science experiment.

Science experiment #2. Fill empty water bottle 2/3 full with oil. Color some water in a separate container. Add colored water to oil == lava lamp (kind 0f).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Noel Look-alike Meter

I did the celebrity look alike thing, but it kept saying I looked like a man so we will wait until I can find a picture that says I look like a super model before we post that.

Noel Look-alike Meter

I thought these were so funny! I always thought Ian looked more like Dave and Miles more like me! Go figure.

The Pumpkin Patch

Last Thursday Miss Nora invited us to go to the pumpkin patch with her preschool class. It was so fun and of course when done Miss Nora style was not just a visit to the pumpkin patch, but an adventure in the pumpkin patch. We wandered through the patch. Miss Nora found a great spot, spread a blanket and read the kids some Halloween stories. The kids played hokie-pokie around a pumpkin, jump over the pumpkin, and ring around a pumpkin. Then they went on a pumpkin hunt to find their own little pumpkin with their name on it (even Miles got one). After a lap around the patch (to run of some energy) everyone was rewarded with pumpkin chocolate chip cookies! It was a hit! We love you Miss Nora and can't wait for the next field trip. Here are some cute shots of the kiddos.
Miss Nora reading to the kids.

Miles obediently sitting on a pumpkin.

Ian's little tiny pumpkin.

Hey--they might not be smiling, but at least they are both looking at the camera (kind of).

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Just a few happeings....

Just a warning--this post has a lot of pictures.
So, the other day I was running and I saw this field of long grass that looked perfect for picture taking. Yesterday I took the boys over to get some shots. They were far from cooperative. Neither of them wanted to set foot in the field with the "pokey" grass. Miles hogged the camera while Ian wouldn't look at the camera or smile at all. I took a bunch of shots, but they all look pretty sad. Here are the best ones.

Miles the camera hog--Ian the non-participant.

Miles decided if he wasn't smiling, big crocodile tears would work the camera. Zoom in and you'll see the biggest tears ever.

Maybe I could photoshop a happy face onto Miles in this shot then we would have a winner of a shot.

Do you remember the post about decorating the basement? It was a long time ago--but I am still trying to decorate. Here is the new arrangement above the couch. I thought the stars turned out particularly cute. Thanks Nora--I got them at Tai Pan!

Grandma Lee always said you should take pictures of your holiday decorations so you know where to put them the next year. :) So here are a few pics of our Halloween decorations. These pumpkins I made years ago, but have never finished--if you look closely they are missing the stems on the top that were suppose to be there.

Whoops--out of order picture. More basement decor. Here are the letters I put up in the play area downstairs. They look really cute, but I stuck them on with sticky tack so I wouldn't have to put so many holes in the wall, and they keep falling down--maybe nails aren't such a bad idea.

Here are some Halloween decorations Grandma gave us--they stack like those Russian stacking dolls.

Funny faced witchy.

More decorations from Grandma. I think she wanted to make sure we remembered her at every holiday! Although there is plenty of stuff in every room in my house from her-so I am reminded of her every day.

The pumpkin bell--Miles likes to haul this around and ring it very loudly.

Ian is learning to play Star Wars on the piano. I put stickers on the notes and he sits down and practices all the time! Maybe he can show off at my recital in November. What a talented little guy!