A Tale of Two Thanksgiving's...

and how I am so very thankful for them both!


We were blessed to have a little celebration with both sides (parents are divorced) of my family for Thanksgiving this year. One at my dad's (above) and one at my mom's (below).


At my dad's:

Thankful for getting to see him. Our visits are too far and few in-between. Thankful for getting to see Zoey play with the little old black iron stove that I used to play with when I was a little girl. Thankful for the music and the singing that Zoey brought into my dad's home. Thankful for the creative environment that my dad has created in his home by just being himself. It's pretty special for a four year old to discover doors that are just their size, floors that it's alright to paint and draw on and a place where music can be played (and quite loudly I might add). Thankful for a wonderful home-cooked meal. Thankful for my little sister and her decision to come and join us for dinner. Thankful for her music contribution! Thankful for getting to choose one of my dad's paintings to take home and to get to call my very own. Thankful for warmth, good food and even better company!

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(In case you were wondering - these would be the shoes of my uber cool little sister, Bailey).

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(Peek of a painting in progress in my dad's studio).

At my mom's:

Thankful for her attention and care when it came to preparing for our visit. Thankful for the wonderful meal that she prepared and that she had all my "favorites" on hand. Thankful for time with family, that including time with "grandma" Nick (there's a story there). Thankful for getting to see Zoey fall even deeper into puppy love with Bailey's dog Leo. Thankful to get to see Zoey run and play outside with the dogs and with her grandpa Ross and uncle Nick. Thankful for an unexpected night out alone with Ethan...

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So much to be thankful for, a truly blessed holiday this year here. Thankful most of all for this crazy, mixed-up family of mine. Without them, I truly would be one very lost soul.

December Daily Album


It's finished, and I have to say that I am so glad that I did it too! It's going to be fun to see it fill up in December. To see a detailed picture of each page by page spread you can view individual pictures here if you like!

Here is a listing of products used:

6 x 6 Album by Scrapworks
Patterned papers include papers from the following manufacturers:
Creative Imaginations (Art Warehouse), Anna Griffin, Making Memories, Chatterbox
Transparencies by Creative Imaginations (Art Warehouse)
Rub-ons by Tinkering Ink
Epoxy Stickers by Making Memories
Number Stickers by:
American Crafts, Making Memories, Scrapworks
Ribbon: May Arts, Creative Imaginations
Scalloped border punch by Fiskars
Misc: buttons, machine sewing

Pass It On...


thanks Viv. Funny how I came to this just when it seems that I needed it most...I've been quite melancholy here as of late (hence the lack of consistant blogging) and the mojo has been dragging.

Holiday Cocoa & Treat Bags


Just thought I'd share a super easy trick to make some super cute and festive goodies to give for those little, last minute gift ideas that always seem to creep up on us around the holiday season. This was actually what I came up with for our most recent MOP's project and I have to admit that there was a part of me that was selfish in this choice as I wanted to have some of them for myself for holiday gift giving.

Cocoa mixes were on sale here this week so I loaded up on several boxes of the ones sold in individual packets and found some small zip-lock baggies at my local dollar store, as well as the peppermint candies. I simply opened each packet of cocoa and poured contents into each baggie, pushed the air out of each baggie, sealed and covered the top with patterned paper that was adhesive backed, folded and then stapled (with colored staples) to secure. Then I embellished however I saw fit with scalloped circles, stamps, ribbons, etc! All the stamps that I used here are by Hero Arts.

A super fun and easy way to get started on your holiday crafting and now I can rest easy knowing that I'll have something for those last minute "extras" that need giving!

No Title Here...Just Me & My Ramblings


The past couple of days have left me thinking...

Zoey and I went out for lunch at a little restaurant the other day for a special treat and I couldn't help but overhear the middle aged couple behind us who were talking about a friend whom recently had been diagnosed with Lyme's Disease and couldn't afford her insurance deductible and thus couldn't get the care that she needed.

On that same day we went to the supermarket and while unloading groceries onto the moving check-out belt an elderly couple won $20 with the little store incentive program and they were so excited they were almost in tears.

Later in the week while at the video store I overheard a conversation between a woman checking out videos and the video store clerk and she was telling him about how it was her son's birthday and she (and 4 kids + 2 adults) couldn't afford to go out to the movie theatre as originally planned. It would have been over $100 if they had gotten the tickets and just minimal treats for the kids.

At another place of business I listened while an older man was talking with a friend and he was telling him that he had a couple of potatoes at home and that he probably should go to the store and pick up a couple of bananas (that being all that he could afford).

I could go on and on...there are friends that are struggling and families that are facing hardships and things that are happening that just don't make sense but are just so. A good friend just lost his sister to cancer leaving behind two small children. A couple our age and with two small kids just lost their home and all their belongings to a fire. My heart is aching and I have this desire to do something but I just don't know what it is that I can do that will make a difference. The MOP's group that I belong to is putting proceeds from our fundraisers towards Wisconsin Public Service bills of those that are behind and are in threat of having disconnections of service in their home and we've also "adopted" some families that are need of special items and we are all independently helping out with that as well...but I want to do more as the need is so great here it seems. It's funny how once you start to give it starts being hard not to.

My birthday was last weekend. I turned 31. It was pretty uneventful (sometimes that can be a good thing). I actually worked that day teaching a class at my local scrapbook store and then later Ethan and Zoey took me out to eat and afterwards we went home to some special treats that they had prepared and some little gifts to open. It was nice. It was what I wanted and I couldn't have been happier. There was a box that had arrived in the post that day and it was marked that it was from my mother. I opened it up and inside was a Jesse Tree just like the one that I had when I was a little girl (my grandmother had made it for me back then). Turns out my grandmother made me another one...this one the stitching is a bit off and the ornaments are a little more haphazard in design, but I know that I love this one even more than that first one. I am so blessed with the people in my life and that I can carry on in my heart the things that I've found to be most important to be treasured. There are times that my heart feels so open and so big that I fear it means that I'll die of it for sure. I will try to do a post later that shows more detail of this project and to tell more about it as well. It's really a special thing and I have so many fond memories of this as a child all centered around the holidays and it's true meaning.

The bakery that I worked at part-time upon moving here is closing or rather now, is closed. This was my first place of work after having had Zoey and being a SAHM for 3 years and to say it was part-time is an overstatement as I only worked one afternoon a week. In that one day though I had been given so much. I find it almost ironic that their last day of business was on the birthday. I went in to say good-bye and ended up leaving with my arms full of cookie cutters, cake pans, and other little trinkets that will help me to remember what it is that that job and the friendship between the owner and I meant to me at this time in my life. I did a lot of healing within those little walls of that bakery and I will forever be grateful to those special days spent working there and to those friendships with those people that I worked with. It makes me sad that this place will no longer be here and that outside circumstances made it so.

I want to remember and be reminded of the things that are most important. I want to remember to say thank-you and to look at people knowing that everyone has a struggle that they are dealing with and I want to be kind anyways, despite it all. I want to remember that we really all are not as different as we think and yet we have all something unique to offer. Especially now.

Karen Russell's 6 x 12 Transparency Standing Album Class



I am so excited to be teaching this next month at my local scrapbook store! This is Karen Russell's Class that she has so generously extended to retailers and designers to teach, providing the material lists as well as a very nice tutorial with step by step instructions. She uses her Narratives, Bloom Collection patterned papers, chipboard letters and transparencies, photo sleeves, paint and some other little goodies.

I wish you could see this in real-life, it just feels good in your hands and is so cool to look through. Painting the backside of the papers gives them an almost leathery feel.

I was really surprised at how many photos you can include in this project and I think that when teaching the actual class we are going to include one photo sleeve that allows for 2 x 3 sized photos as well, so you'll be able to get even more in then I did in mine!

This was the first time that I did something creative with my wedding photos too and I am so happy that I did. What a neat way to present your photos from a special event.

Things on a Wednesday...


Love this little owl stamp by Hero Arts...I had to create a make-n-take for the store I work at the other day and this is what I came up with. We just got in the cool dot-embossed Bazzill paper as well and I knew I wanted to work it into the card somehow.

It's snowing this morning...took Zoey to school with her boots on and once there realized I had forgotten to bring along her shoes. Ran back home and got them for her, I wonder how many times I'm going to do this. I get now why there was a note sent home earlier in the year telling parents that it may be a good idea to leave one pair of shoes in your childs cubby. I think we may be doing this!

Today I'll be going to the school for a Veteran's Day service that the kids are doing to recoginize and honor the Veterans of the congregation as well as those in our community. Zoey is dressed (as all the kids were to be) in red, white and blue and wearing her special star necklace that her Grandma and Grandpa Jahnke gave to her. She is pretty excited as she will be marching with the kids in the gymnasium and then singing along with the "big" kids. She explained to me that she wouldn't be singing in the microphone as it was too tall for the 4 year olds, but that the "big" kids would be using the microphones. I think this was an area of disappointment for her, she had a playdate with someone recently who had a microphone and she absolutely loved singing into it. After the concert and festivities the parents are invited to eat a special luncheon of Beef Stew and Corn Bread with their kids...Zoey is looking forward to this too (I am too!). Hoping to get some good pictures and maybe even try out the video recording option on my camera.

Keeping Busy

From Scrapbook Layouts
I'm finishing up preparing for a class that I'll be teaching at my local scrapbook store and it's one that I absolutely love and can take no credit for. It's Karen Russell's 12 x 12 Narratives Transparency Standing Album that she created and used to house her recent wedding photos in. It's so cool that she's made this available to retailers to sell and re-create for classes and kits. I tweaked it a bit so that it would work for our store and I have to say that I really, really, really, love this album (I used wedding photos in it just like Karen did) and I am looking forward to teaching the class. It was the first time that I did something creative with our wedding photos too and that in-itself felt good!

Going on Here:

  • need to plan and finalize next MOPS craft project and purchase supplies, etc
  • finish up class for lss and start thinking about future class ideas for December
  • finish up creating my 25 Days of Christmas album that I am doing (inspired by Ali E.) in time for the start of December
  • find Advent Calendar and purchase so that it arrives in time for the start of December (really want to find one that's based on the idea of the Jesse Tree, or if I have the time I'll try making one), I really want a banner type styled one and this is the one that I've found that comes closest to the one that I have been picturing in my mind...
  • start thinking about holiday gifts (we're really trying to make a point to keep things as simple and meaningful as possible this year
  • work on some fun crafty things with Zoey...we just recently picked up a book on kids crafts at the library and there are some really cute ideas in there that I want to try out this year for gifts for Zoey to give

Tomorrow I'll be attending my first Stampin' Up party and I'm excited! I've been told that they have some fun products (especially looking forward to checking out their punches) and it will be just cool to get together with some other creative people and play a bit.

The photos in the above layout were actually taken a couple years ago now (from one of Ethan's birthday celebrations here at home) but I just scrapped them about a month ago. Nothing wrong with that at all in my book! It was fun to create a double-spread layout again...seems like I've been itching to do that more and more often lately.

Enjoying Today

With Love Card

It's getting cooler and it's supposed to snow later this evening which means a special sort of excitement is here. This morning while Zoey was at school I took care of some things around here that needed doing and then I headed to the highschool where I met Ethan and helped with a special project that he's working on that just happens to need the special assistance of one person who owns a camera (and loves to take photos). It was so neat to be a part of his day-to-day stuff and to meet more of the kids and get to joke around with them. Ah, to be that young again with so little responsibilities. Anyways, it was fun and we got a lot done and I feel good about being a part of it.

After picking up Zoey at Pre-K (and having lunch) I put together a new Chili recipe in the crock pot, got some bread ready for baking and now have an apple crisp in the oven. I'm also thinking about baking a Crumb Cake for us to have in the morning...we'll see what the time allows for. Now we're smelling the sweet smells that baking brings and listening to the dryer hum and I think we're about to have a little mom/daughter craft time together and some reading of stories from books that were checked out from the library yesterday afternoon. I absolutely love this time of year!

Happy Thanksgiving Card

Cards were created with the November Scrapbook Circle kit. The "Happy Thanksgiving" stamp is by Hero Arts and the "With Love" stamp is by Heidi Grace Designs.

Flower Cookie Pops

Flower Cookie Pops

Can you guess who was the snack leader at school the other day? It was the craziest thing as to how these came about too. I had found the recipe in one of my cookbooks (they were actually created as Monster Pops in the cookbook) and after showing them to Zoey she was all for making them for her snack to take to school which meant we had to go out and get ingredients (that we missing from our cupboards) and look for the popsicle sticks, etc. The trip to the grocery store yielded all needed ingredients except for the popsicle sticks, they were nowhere to be found. Discouraged and a tad annoyed (it was a busy day!) I decided I wouldn't go out again that day (Monday) but rather wait until Tuesday, after my MOPS meeting and then we would begin our search again for the aforementioned sticks and then spend the afternoon baking and decorating. Another busy day. Upon arriving at my meeting and getting Zoey settled in with the other kids and sitting down with the other moms our meeting started. One of the first things of business for the meeting entailed our Coordinator (Betsy) going through some things that were getting cleaned out from the cabinets (things that had accumilated over the years during different MOPS terms, etc). One of the things being a baggie of popsicle sticks, green leaves and little printed tags reading "God loves you, and so do I." I couldn't believe it and of course stated that I would be glad to take those off her hands. Which long story short meant that after the meeting I could go home, prepare lunch for Zoey, wash some popsicle sticks and create some fun Flower Cookie Pops with Zoey to fulfill her snack leader responsibilities for the following day! Hooray for serendipity! We even had extras so were sure to deliver some to some special friends after school on Wednesday. We'll definitely be making these again (after finding a reliable source for popsicle sticks of course!).

Monster Pops (or Flower Pops!)

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12 ounce package) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 cup raisins
About 24 wooden craft sticks
1 container prepared vanilla frosting (colored as desired)
Colored candies (to decorate faces or flowers)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels, oats and raisins. Drop dough by level 1/4 cup measured three inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Shape into round mounds. Insert wooden stick into side of each mound. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets on wire racks for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate pops as desired. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

FOR SPEEDY MONSTER POPS: Substitute 2 packages (18 ounces each) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough for the first nine ingredients, adding 1 cup quick or old-fashioned oats and 1/2 cup raisins to the dough. Bake as directed for 16-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and decorate as desired.

And Some More Scrapbook Circle Layouts...

really loved this month's kit. To check them out for yourself go to the Scrapbook Circle website here.

A New Day

A New Day

And I am filled with a new sense of hope and a desire to be involved every step of the way.

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. -Barack Obama

Deep Breath...Exhale.


In other words, I've decided that I cannot NOT say anything. For the past several weeks there have been times while driving Zoey somewhere in the car or while standing at the sink washing dishes where I find myself thinking about the current state of our economy, the way the world is today and the way it is that we struggle as a family to make our way through the day to day. For the past several months there has been a fist in my stomach...always clenched and unforgiving. While I spend alot of my time making note of how thankful I am for all that we have and for having "just enough," that "just enough" is there because of the tight reigns that Ethan and I keep when it comes to our livelihood and what is that is coming into our family vs. what is going out. I'm not just talking financial goods here. The stock that we keep and choose to inventory is that which pertains to our marriage, our family, Zoey, education, the food choices that we make or that are readily available and the day to day sacrifices that are faced and dealt with as needed. We have friends and family that are losing jobs, that are facing the challenges of keeping a home, or getting health insurance coverage....or just simply keeping that coverage.

I know that all this is my business and what someone else believes in is theirs. But this blog is mine and an extension of who I am and what I believe and I've come to the conclusion that I want to share what it is that I believe regarding tomorrow's election just in case it may change or perhaps better help inform someone else who may not know yet what direction it is that they want this country to move in.

I am voting for Barack Obama for President tomorrow...actually, I already did by way of absentee ballot this past week. Most of the reasons of why it is that this is my choice pertain to what it would mean directly for my family and mostly for our daughter if Barack Obama was in office serving as President. As well as what it would mean for eduction, our economy, world view, alternative energy sources (to read a fellow bloggers testament regarding our earth and it's care check out one of No Impact Man's recent posts here), and health care. His platform on the arts is one that is of a more personal interest to me and I am impressed that it is as thorough as it is. One of the things that strikes me most about Barack Obama is his ability to communicate and to communicate well. His obvious care and concern comes across in his thorough approach to sharing information regarding all of the issues and sharing it in a way that empowers others, that is something new and something that I feel is greatly needed and desired by many. I also appreciate it when someone can come out and say that they will listen even while disagreeing, and then you actually witness them doing so. I believe that we as a Nation deserve to be heard. We deserve to be supported in a way that will allow for growth. Growth for those people who are honest and working hard.

To learn more about Barack Obama's position on all of the issues, please click here. To find out where it is that you can vote in your community please click here.

This is such an important time in history and I truly believe that we the people are the ones that are responsible for the change it is that we want to see in this world. Whatever that change means for you. It is your right to vote and to have the opportunity to make a difference. For me, I see that opportunity for change and for making a difference that will matter for my family and most of all for my daughter with voting for Barack Obama.
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