Happy Halloween!

Zoey's Jack-o-Lantern

Today will be a fun day...we are off to go Trunk-or-Treating at church this afternoon (parents and adults and members of the congregation park their vehicles and decorate their trunks all spooky-like and either stay around to hand out candy or leave bowls of candy and/or treats for the kiddos to take) which is really nice because this way the kids can walk around without fear of moving vehicles or lines, strangers, etc. and then afterwards they can play on the playground equipment for a bit. Last year we did this and their were some people that went all out and dressed up and had music playing...we'll see what this year brings! After Trunk-or-Treating we'll head on downtown to take part in the community festivities that are held for the kids there every year. Most of the merchants downtown stay open to hand out candy and do other special little things in the early evening hours. We've done this every year since living here and have learned that there are mostly a couple hot spots to be sure to hit (one being the public library) and others that end up being okay to pass on by. I'm always suprised with how much stuff she accumulates, and so fast, so it really isn't necessary to go all out and crazy when it comes to hitting every single place. The only thing that will perhaps make today a bit interesting is the weather. The forcast is saying that the temp's are going to drop, and it's supposed to be windy with possible snow showers. Just hoping that while we're out and about it decides to not be too harsh.

Have a safe and happy halloween!

Creative Imaginations : Art Warehouse Harvest Moon Collection

Halloween at the Zoo

Just wanted to share a fun Halloween layout that I did up for the Creative Imaginations blog using photos from last year's Zoo Boo. Zoey wanted to be the robot WALL-e last year (from the movie Wall-e) so she and I created a fun costume using a cardboard box, some paint and scrapbooking supplies and I have to say that we both loved how it turned out and I loved it even more that she wanted to dress up as him in the first place I think! =) My little robot in the midst of all those little princesses and witches!

The supplies that I used for the above layout were all from the Harvest Moon Collection by Art Warehouse with the exception of the cardstock letter stickers from the Antique Cream Narratives Collection. For a complete and detailed supply list check out the CI blog here.

Music, Music, Music...


Blow Away - A Fine Frenzy

One of us is gonna be here and
One of us is gonna be running
off alone into the great unknown
You're not me, you're a model of freedom
All you need are your kicks when you need ‘em
Come and go, caught that slow alright

With one hand off the side
We get farther away in the blink of an eye

And it's the time we waste swallowed into space
It's the time it takes to blow away
To blow away
To blow away

Hey, hey you, yeah you gotta be leaving,
Say what you want, what you say, say anything
No one knows just how deep it goes
We are old in your teenaged tyranny
And all you need is a hunger to feed
I've got my own secrets though, say what?
With a heart full of mess and lore
We are doomed but we wanted more

It's the ride we take
The many winged escape
It's the bough we break to blow away
To blow away
And we blow away

One of us is now retreating
You knocked me down so hard I'm seeing a thousand stars
Come out where you are
‘cause I won't ever be caught crying
and I will not be taken lying down
it blows into smoke

the time we waste swallowed into space
It's the time it takes to blow
it's the ride we take
The many winged escape
It's the bough we break to blow away
To blow away
It's the times we say that
no one's gonna take your place
It's a mistake to blow away
To blow away

Another beautiful song by Lisa Hannigan is Lille and you can view the video for it here.

White Daisy Passing

Marks Paper Company : Card (for my grandmother) + Layout

My grandmother isn't doing the best right now, my mom and aunt have been taking turns staying with her and taking her in and out of the hospital to get tests done, get blood, etc. If you are one of my regular blog readers than you may recall how much this woman means to me (and what an inspiration she has been to me) so she's been on my mind and in my prayers quite a bit lately. Isn't she so beautiful?

Grandmother Evelyn Hollis-Pulver and Zoey

Yesterday I got a beautiful card in the mail from her with some little gifts included. One was a magazine subscription to a favorite magazine of mine, a bit of "just for me" money and a little card that shared the Welsh meaning of my name (I'm mostly Swiss and Welsh). It reads:

"Jenny, a lady who encourages others; has forsight and the ability to inspire others; loves the outdoors; loves garlands of forest flowers; she will go without so others won't have to one whose eyes can be playful or proper; wise and understanding; a woman who is eager and uplifting."

It went on to say that I am special to everyone and a gift from above, here's wishing you happiness, good fortune and love. I love the part about my loving "garlands of forest flowers" probably because I do....I think the thing that touched me the most is that I get my Swiss from my mom's side of the family, so what she did was share with me what it is that I got from my father's side (he being Welsh). I am guessing that my aunt probably helped in getting this little package put together (thank you aunt sharon!) and I am deeply touched. I wanted to send her a little thank you so I created the card pictured below.

You're One of My Nicest Thoughts Card

The patterened papers are from Marks Paper Company's English Garden Collection and their Old Fashioned Courtship Collection.

I was feeling the creative groove last night after creating the above card so I went ahead and created the simple layout pictured below using some of my scraps of patterned papers (again from the English Garden and Old Fashioned Courtship Collection's) I love mixing these two collections for some reason!

Christmas Day Traditions

Did you know that Marks Paper Company offers digital and hybrid scrapbooking kits in addition to their paper products? I'm not much of a digi scrapper (yet) but am intrigued at the endless possibilities one would have with creating in this way. I may have to try something hybrid to see what I check out their beautiful digital kits click here. The "Welcome Fall" kit is by far my favorite.

Off now to get some things around here done before Zoey's off of school and we go to dance class!

Pictures From the Weekend...

First Snow

It snowed, it's all melted and gone now, but it sure was pretty while it lasted.

First Snow

We of course were sure to get out and make a snow angel or two.

First Snow

We had to test out the new snowsuit after all! =)

First Snow

Two Fairy Friends

Making Fairies

It was a bit of a dreary day here today and having had cleaned out Zoey's closet the other day, we found some activity based projects that had been tucked away for a rainy day type of purpose that we had forgotten of these things being a little craft kit to make fairies using pipe cleaners, wooden beads, silk flowers and some wool.

Playing Fairies

Today we made two fairy friends and survived our rainy day quite nicely. =)

Making Fairies

Yummy Candy Corn Bark!

I was checking out my favorite blogs last night which meant a click on over to Gigi's blog and saw a fun Halloween kid friendly recipe for some Candy Corn Bark and I knew I was going to have to try it right away. Zoey and I made a batch today to "test" it out to see if it would make a good treat for friends and I have to say that it passed the test with flying colors! Can't wait to make some more later in the week to hand out to teachers and a few other special people for Halloween. For an awesome detailed step-by-step of this yummy treat check out this (be prepared for another amazing and incredible foodie site): Your Homebased Mom.

Yummy Candy Corn Bark

14 whole Oreos, broken up. (I used the Halloween ones with the orange filling but regular will work fine).
1 1/2 C pretzels, broken into pieces. (I used the small stick pretzels).
1 lb. white chocolate, almond bark or melts found in the bulk food section.
1 C candy corn
brown and orange colored sprinkles if you want

Cover a large cookie sheet with wax paper. Spread broken cookes, pretzels and about 3/4 C of the candy corn onto the waxed paper. Place white chocolate in a container and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir and then microwave for another 30 seconds until melted and smooth. White chocolate melts faster and burns easier than chocolate so be careful to keep an eye on it!

Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookie mixture, spreading with spatula if needed to coat evenly. Sprinkle remaining candy corn and colored sprinkles over the chocolate while it is still wet. Do not let it harden. Place cookie tray into refrigerator until set and firm. Remove and gently break bark into small pieces. Store in air tight container.

This Just Makes Me Happy...


[original image uploaded here: Interaction Design Lab]

Have a wonderful weekend! =)

Food For Thought...


[image via: Alyssa Duhe]

And his principal complaint about other human beings was that they so seldom noticed it when they were happy. So when we were drinking lemonade under an apple tree in the summer, say, and talking lazily about this and that, almost buzzing like honeybees, Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’

So I do the same now, and so do my kids and grandkids. And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’

- Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

She's Waiting for Snow...

Zoey Collage

The winter coat that we originally had for Zoey to wear this year (which was from my mom) is proving to be difficult for Zoey to manage when it comes to the zipper. Ethan thinks it's a faulty zipper and I think that the coat is just made in a way that makes it a bit tricky for a sometimes impatient five year old to zip up succesfully (without getting fabric in the way and without starting to come undone from the bottom while zipping up to the top). We were in the market for a new pair of snowpants anyway so when I found a coat and snowpants set by Osh Kosh B'Gosh I went ahead and made the purchase. It just so happened that there was an adorable (and perfectly matching) set of a hat, mittens and scarf that I added in at the last minute. You never can have enough hats and mittens around here (especially when one pair are wet from play and you need to get right back outside again). I was pretty tickled mostly because I made the purchase online at and on a whim right before clicking "purchase" I googled "Kohls online coupon codes" and found TWO coupons that I could use on my purchase! One was for recieving 20% off the entire purchase, and the other was for getting free shipping on my purchase! Yay! So now mama and Zoey are both happy only if it would snow.

A Good Friend...

Jo Jo

Now that I've been around the block a few times, strayed away from the entire neighborhood and come back again, only to leave (and come back yet again), I can truly appreciate what it is to have a good friend in my life. One that's been there for me wherever and whenever and is there even when I haven't had the foresight to know that there is a need that needs to be met. The kind of friend that no matter how many times I've asked or demanded of advice or help, she just listens and is present...and that ends up truly being the help that I needed. For me, that's been my friend Jo. I've known her since the fourth grade...back when I wore purple jogging suits with images of dinosaurs dancing on them to school and she donned the classic too huge for the face glasses that's lenses were shaded a pale sky blue on the top and a rosy pink on the bottom. Back when it was a big deal to wear best friend necklaces and to pin the ankles of our frosted jeans. We served on student council together. We were in yearbook together. I drove her nuts with my goofy (and often times annoying I am sure) shenanigans...her always being the responsible one, making sure we would meet the deadlines and have all of our responsibilities taken care of and met. I was the one making sure that there was always a stash of Funyuns and Snicker bars hidden away somewhere in the yearbook room, that and a pass signed (or that at least looked like it was signed) by a teacher. We wore poodle skirts and came up with a routine with friends for our 50's dance at school and walked away with first prize. We worked together at the same restaurant after school and on weekends. I went to parties that her older brother had in their family's basement. There were many "firsts" to have been had in that basement. Ouija boards, mock seances (in which Elivis made an appearance!), games of truth or dare, etc. I remember there was one night when we were with some older boys and a bunch of us girls got in the car with them (they had been drinking) and I was totally not okay with it and wanted out of the car (which was so not cool at the time). She was the one that told them to stop the car and to let me out...and then she got out with me and we walked to her house together. She never made it a big deal, in fact I don't even know if we talked about it. We've comforted one another over our imperfect families, letting each other know that it's okay to not be perfect and to be scared and to just not know. We've doubted together and have been absolutely sure about things. After taking a break from college and moving into my own place for awhile she called me up one day to let me know that she was coming and to look for a two bedroom for us to rent. She came. She helped me get over the guy that I thought was the "one." She agreed (most of the time) to not pick up the phone if a guy that I happened to be avoiding would call. She put up with most of my harebrained ideas. She let me dress her up in crazy clothes (I dressed up too) and agreed to walk around town with me late at night just to see what people's reactions would be. We were so silly, so real, so "us" when we lived together in that apartment. I remember hiding underneath her bed and scaring her half to death because she thought she was home alone. She was the first person that I told about my parents decision to get a divorce. She is the only person that knows first hand what that pain felt like for me. What it looked like. She was the first person that I told about my dad getting Parkinson's Disease. The one time that we fought was a down and out free for all. It was over my deciding to move out and to go back to school. We were slamming doors (and they were old, heavy doors so it was loud) and there was yelling...before the flood of tears (and downright sobbing) and hugging. She was there for me on my wedding day. When I got pregnant and was terrified, she was there. When I held a newborn in my arms and felt that I had lost every sense of who it was that I was, she reminded me that I still existed. She's been there for me through tough times, poor times, good times, times when I had no idea what I was going to do or what this life was throwing my way and how it was that I was going to deal.

Yesterday I got an email from her. It was just one paragraph (totally her style) and she was telling me how she was at work and was listening to the radio and that there was this band, Bomshel on and that they were being interviewed. They were talking about a song that they had recently released titled, Fight Like a Girl. She said that it was "empowering for women" and that it made her think of me...and that I should share it with other women here on my blog. So I am.

I love you Jo Jo, thank you for being you...and for letting me be me.

New Recipe Favorites Featuring Cranberries

Not too long ago I was given a ton of cranberries from a good friend (it's time to harvest them here) and so I've been on the lookout for some new recipes that call for fresh cranberries (it's amazing how many call for dried and sweetened ones!). I was lent a copy of The Cranberry Homemakers Cookbook from another friend and have so far tried out three recipes that have been hits! I thought that I would take the time to share them here.

Both the Cranberry Crunch and the Chocolate Cranberry bread have already been made twice and since disappeared! Yum..yum! I just baked the muffins tonight and they are already disappearing fast from the kitchen counter.

Chocolate Cranberry Bread

1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C dairy sour cream
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
6 T butter (softened)
1 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 C fresh or frozen cranberries (coarsley chopped)
2 (1.5 oz.) bars of solid dark chocolate (coarsley chopped)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In another bowl, blend sour cream and cocoa powder; set aside. In a third bowl, beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, just until combined. Stir in cranberries and chopped dark chocolate. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake 55-65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 1 loaf.

Cranberry Crunch

1 C sugar
1 T cornstarch (I used 2 teaspoonss of tapioca in place of the cornstarch)
1/2 C water
1 tsp vanilla
2 C fresh cranberries
1 C uncooked oatmeal
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C flour
1/3 C magarine

Mix sugar, tapioca (or cornstarch), water and salt well. Stir in cranberries; simmer 5 minutes, let cool slightly. Combine oatmeal, brown sugar, flour and margarine; sprinkle half into an 8x8 inch pan. Spread cranberries over the top and place remaining oatmeal mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins (I made these without the walnuts)

2 C flour
2/3 C sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 C apples (chopped)
1 C fresh or frozen cranberries (sliced or chopped)
1/2 C walnuts (if you want)
1 egg (lightly beaten)
3/4 C milk
3 T butter (melted)

Topping: (I didn't do the topping either)
1/4 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray or line pan with muffin liners. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Then stir in the apples, cranberries and walnuts. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and then stir in the milk and melted butter. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing until just moistened. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Combine the topping (if using) ingredients and sprinkle on top of the batter. Bake 18 minutes or until done. Makes 1 dozen standard size muffins.

And I have to say that I like my friend Stacy's advice when it comes to thinking about the mess one makes in the kitchen when may as well double the batch and make it all worthwhile!

The Carving of the Pumpkins!

Exhibit A:

Carving Pumpkins - 2009

Sunday afternoon the weather was perfect (a tad bit windy if anything) for carving our pumpkins. Zoey really got into the scooping out of the pumpkin seeds and goo this year!

Carving Pumpkins - 2009

Carving Pumpkins - 2009

Carving Pumpkins - 2009

She wanted one pumpkin to have a happy face and the other one I did my best attempt at creating an Optimus Prime (Transformer) inspired pumpkin face (at her request, because "that's kind of scary"). I think I did alright considering I had no picture to go from at the time!

Carving Pumpkins - 2009

I love this time of many fun things to do!

Exhibit B:

Carving Pumpkins - 2009

Third Annual Zoo Boo!

This was our third Zoo Boo since moving here, and if I'm understanding it correctly the year that we moved here was the first year that the Wildwood Wildlife Park hosted this event and I will say this, this year was by far the best! There were no lines whatsover before getting into the park (last year we were about frozen by the time we made it into the park) and there was so much more fun stuff planned for the kiddos this year too. Beyond getting to see the animals and getting treats there were games this year, activities, crafts, contests, demonstrations and more. Such a fun time...this is something that I look forward to every year!

She decided on dressing up as Raggedy Ann this year...she was waivering between choosing to be a fairy princess, Larry the Cucumber (from the Veggie Tales) or Raggedy Ann. I love that she chose Raggedy Ann. Perhaps because there was one year when I was little that I made the same choice! Also, this costume allowed for layers of long underwear to be worn underneath.

Zoo Boo!

I think that the highlight of the afternoon though was getting a lesson on how to use a lasso rope. Zoey marched right up to this gentleman and gave it her best and she ended up roping in that bale of hay and pulling it over with all of her 5 year old might!

Zoo Boo!

Zoo Boo!

Zoo Boo!

Zoo Boo!

There were of course opportunities to pose with some of the dressed up characters throughout the park, one being the gorilla that she was terrified of last year but didn't seem to phase her in the least this year.

Gorilla and Zoey

This guy wasn't scary at all...

Zoo Boo!

The past two years were quite a bit colder than it was this year and I always felt bad for the troll that was wading around in the water in hip waders, who again, Zoey was terrified of. This year though Zoey went right to probably helped that they didn't have scary music playing this year and that the troll wasn't moaning like he was in previous years.

Zoo Boo!

Super fun time was had by all of us, so happy that this event goes on here and that it's so close to home.

Zoo Boo!

It was kind of neat too, when I was getting Zoey ready with her make-up and costume, after applying her make-up she of course wanted to look at herself in the mirror. When she looked at herself she said "Oh, mom! You made my cheeks perfect circles! Thank you!" Her excitement about life and the little things that make it up just makes me so happy sometimes.


Zoey and Mama at the Zoo Boo

When asked what the best part was according to Zoey once in the car..."Getting to say Trick-or-Treat and to see what candy I was going to get." was her answer. She would not let go of that candy bucket, even when it was probably heavier than she wanted to let on. This was serious business after all! After the initial dumping of the bucket, she was organzing all her candy by kind...all the tootsie rolls in a line, all the suckers, candy bars, etc., etc. until our whole living room floor was a maze of different kinds of candies. And to think it's not even Halloween yet...

The Goods!

And for my dear family...the entire slideshow:

This Morning in the Car...

on the way to school this song was playing on the radio:

when the song was done there was a pause and then Zoey said, "I like listening to that song with you mom, with the sun shining today."

The sun is shining and it's going to be a great Friday.

Hero Arts Clear Design Stamps: Sky's the Limit

Sky's the Limit - Hero Arts Stamp Set

Just a quick share today...I picked up this adorable stamp set by Hero Arts the other day at my local scrapbook store. I was thinking that I could make some cute little notes to throw in Zoey's lunches for school with some of the images as well as the sentiments. The card pictured above is actually one that I made for a baby shower of a friend that I went to over the past weekend. I thought the "little things" stamp was perfect for the occasion. Sometimes simple and sweet is the best way to go!

Supplies: Bazzill cardstock, Marvy Gigantic scalloped circle punch, Fiskars circle punch, Hero Arts gem + Clear Design Stamp Set, misc: watercolor pencils

Minocqua, Wisconsin

Minocqua, Wisconsin

Found this ariel shot of Minocqua posted on Flickr...we are known as the island city. Mostly because our downtown is surrounded completely by Lake Minocqua and connected to land only by a bridge, a trestle and a narrow isthmus. I love pretty much everything there is to love about this place. So much untouched beauty in these parts. It's truly a special spot here in Wisconsin, so lucky to be able to call it home.

Marks Paper Company : My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Album

My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Book

I had so much fun creating this little mini-album for Zoey (told from her perspective too!) featuring photos from one of her first field trips last year at preschool. The patterned papers and die-cuts that I used are by Marks Paper Company and they are from the English Garden Collection.

My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Book

The clear acrylic album cover that I used is one by D.Reeves Design House. For the inside pages I simply matted my pictures to cardstock or patterned papers and was good to go.

Page 1

My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Book

Page 2

My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Book

Page 3

My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Book

Page 4

My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Book

Page 5

My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Book

Page 6

My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Book

Pages 6 + 7

My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Book

Page 7

My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Book

Page 8

My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Book

Page 9

My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Book

Page 10

My Pre-K Field Trip Mini-Book

Page 11


Page 12


Page 12 + 13


Page 13


Page 14


Page 15 (inside of back cover).


Back cover of album.


The adorable felt pieces in the book were created by Terri Davenport. I got a package in the mail last week and it was a wonderful RAK (random act of kindness) of handmade felt embellishments from Terri, I of course had to use some right away! Thank you so much Terri, I love them all! =) The glittered mini-alphabet letter stickers are by Making Memories and the phrase sticker strips are by Creative Cafe. I used a Fiskars border punch along the edge of some of my inside pages to add some interest and used my zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine for some of the pages as well. Large alphabet letter stickers are by American Crafts. A pretty simple mini and I tried to keep it "kid friendly" because the book is meant for Zoey to look at and to read.
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