Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Birthday. Not the worst day ever.

Since I know you have all been waiting in suspense, F-5ing my blog to see what happened on my birthday, I thought I would post it early, so we can all commence with the laundry, or whatever else is waiting.
I started out the day actually the night before.
My dad works a graveyard shift, and texted me "Happy Birthday" and a :) for good measure.
At 12:48 am.
Thanks Dad!
The true miracle there, is the fact that my Dad can even text...let alone text me a friggin' smiley face made out of punctuation.
Who knew?
Old dog/New Tricks, and all that.
And you need to know that my Dad has fingers that resemble polish sausages.
You have seen phone key-pads, right?
I am not sure how texting is possible for him, unless he has a pocket-fairy.

I got up and got the kids off to school.
(which still brings me great pleasure)
And then I went to the gym.
Yes I did.
I had a lot of plans for the day, and a full 100 percent of those plans involved food.
I went to a new Yoga class.
At one point the teacher wanted to "challenge" the advanced students.
We were shown "The Crane."
Then the teacher started showing us how we could dumb it down, and modify it.
I am not an advanced student.
I am not even that good at Yoga.
I went directly into "Child's Pose."
This is the Yoga version of curling up into a fetal position--you basically just give up, and hide your face.
I chose well, Internets.
Cause the guy next to me?
He gave it a real go with "The Crane" and face-planted right onto the hardwood floor.
He missed his whole mat and everything.
Not like that flimsy, rubbery piece of crap would have helped his poor beak, when all 220 pounds of him came tumbling down on it.
And that, my friends, is when I knew that the universe was starting my birthday par-tay.

Here is the condensed version:
Fine Lunch Dinery at Chick-fil-a.
I don't mess around on my birthday.
I know what I like.
I get what I like.
I wore the sash.
Sadly, it did not glean me any swag, but you know what?
It made me happy.
When you are ballsy slash stupid enough to wear a satin sash that says "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!" you have to look like you are having! fun!

Random people would wish me well, and I would reply to them "Have fun on my day."

After lunch, we did a little shopping.
We hit Hobby Lobby.
Sam fist-bumped a four year old boy in the store, because they were literally the only males in that place.
Only half the store was on sale this week.
What is with that place?
"Home Decor 50% off!"
Fine print: only ceramic, resin, single hole wall hanging, made in India, festooned with feathers, formerly not on sale, or patterned after tacky hotel decor.
I don't get that place.
I have to go back next week, when the other half of the store is on sale to get the other thing I wanted.

Then we went and saw "The Help."
Internets, I read that book.
I did not cry.
But I guess my heart is a cold and dead thing without a moody soundtrack.
Sam and I both came out of the theater with headaches from trying really hard not to hold onto each other and sob.
I needed tissues.
I snotted all over my sash.

I need to back-track a bit, and let you know that prior to shutting my phone down in the theater, I texted my older kids and told them to clean the house while I was gone.
I knew they wouldn't.
They did.
I was already a little on the edge from holding my emotions in check at the theater...
Nothing says "I love you" to a mother like fresh vacuum tracks.

They helped me make my birthday treat.
My father in law brought me fresh raspberries yesterday, and I hoarded them for this:
Craptastic Camera-phone Photo

Raspberry Trifle Cake
1 (9 oz.) Angel Food Cake (tear into bite-sized pieces and set aside)

2 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
Mix smooth, then add:
1 c. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
Mix well, then fold into mixture:
2 c. cool whip (thawed)

Fold cake pieces into filling mixture, gently. Put mixture into a 9x13 pan. Add fresh raspberries to cover.
1 package of Raspberry Danish Dessert (as per package directions)
Pour over the top of the cake, and refrigerate until firm.

I made mine in layers in a trifle bowl.
The night is still young.

Sam told me he still has a present for me.
I have the sneaking suspicion it is in his pants.
(MONEY, you freaking pervs.)

All-in-all, not a bad day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tomorrow is MY BIRTHDAY!

I think this sums up my sentiments pretty well. I edited it, for my more sensitive followers.

It is not too late, however, to buy me an expensive gift.
Laser hair removal?
Pay off the orthodontist?
Fill my gas tank?

My tentative plans include lunching at Chick-fil-A, perhaps followed by a matinee.
Of my choice. 
None of that "Cowboys vs. Aliens" crap that Sam usually talks me into.
I am living large!

I am also wearing this:
It is a sash. Like a beauty pageant winner would wear.
Shianne wore it on her birthday a couple of weeks ago, and got free swag.
I do realize that I am turning 39, and not 12.
I am still gonna give it a whirl.
You have no pride at 39 anyway.

I will report back.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to School!

Alternately titled "Mom Christmas."
And here is where I should insert a traditional photo of my beloved offspring: dressed in stiff new jeans, tags barely yanked off, anxious smiles, encumbered with a supply-laden backpack...
But I haven't taken their photos yet.
Because we haven't gotten a (successful) routine down.
The kids were so excited to start school, they got up before the birds.
I am pretty sure the reason for their excitement, was that we bought them Jimmy Dean Breakfast Croissants to eat for breakfast.
Priorities, people.
Who doesn't want to wake up to microwaved, greasy carbs?

That was last week.
This week, they sort-of crashed and burned.
The New Schedule wasn't so exciting, and after they saw all of their friends again, and realized that aside from an occasional new haircut, nothing had changed much since last year, it wasn't so fun anymore.
For them.
For me, however, still fun.
Tears of joy!

Very fun.
All the kids are out the door by 7:45.
And I have the rest of the day to do whatever I want!

I am trying to find a new schedule for myself.
So far this consists of trying new classes at the gym, that start earlier, so I can get that exercise crap over with.
Some days I have done two classes in a row!
Those are also the days, I come home, eat myself a Jimmy Dean, and go back to bed.

Hopefully we will all figure it out by next week.
Clearly, we were not people cut out for change.
Or low cholesterol.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Echo Park and Tombow Adhesives

When I was asked to do some projects featuring Tombow Adhesive, it was like the mother ship was calling me home.
In all my years of crafting, Tombow has been a staple for me.
It would be like the Universe asking me to promote sleeping in late, or hot showers.
A no-brainer for me.
In fact, when people walk into my studio, they notice three things:
My supply buckets:
(Cause they are cute!)
My rainbow of cardstock:
(So pretty!)
And my adhesive wall:
(It looks like a STORE in here!)
You can see I am quite partial to Tombow. Every single time I go to the craft store, I throw in a re-fill for my Mono-Adhesive dispenser. I ran out once, at midnight, and vowed it would never happen again!
 Although they didn't send me any in my swag bag...I also really, really like their Mono Multi Liquid Glue.

This stuff sticks like nothing else. A little goes a long way, and it dries clear. Winning!
One of these days, I will post some photos of my studio.
That would require me to clean it, and right now it is a pit.

Anyway, today I wanted to focus on Tombow Foam Pads, and Mono Clear (vellum) Adhesive.
First of all, I can not craft without Foam Pads. In other brands, called Pop-Dots or Dimensional Adhesive.
I really like dimension in my projects, and popping elements off of my page or card.

Tombow Foam Pads come in two sizes per package, which is nice, because other brands only have one size, and those foam pads are harder than heck to cut down to a smaller size. They stick like crazy to scissor blades.
I started my layout using this sheet of paper from the Echo Park Happy Days collection.
Ordinarily I have a hard time using these border type pages.
They seem flat to me, and pictures feel like they are just floating aimlessly.
I decided to create a frame out of the border, then I could tuck items inside the scalloped border, and kinda ground them. (I have weird crafting issues.)
I cut the outside "frame" and using Tombow Foam Pads, I adhered the frame to another sheet of paper from the kit.
I used the foam pads every few inches.
After I adhered the "frame" I added my photo, and additional elements to the inside of the frame.

I wanted to also showcase vellum on this project.
That's right.
Hey, man. I know that stuff is "old school" but you know what? I like it. I like the transparent quality of vellum, and that it doesn't over-power things. It is subtle. Like parsley.
I predict vellum making a come-back.
Like neon off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, and the Mullet.

The problem with vellum in the past, was how to adhere it to things. It is kinda slick and resists adhesive, and since it is see-through, it was a bugger to find adhesive that didn't show.
Enter Tombow Clear Adhesive.
I dare you to find the adhesive.
You can't see it. Not at all.
I wanted to show you the other size of foam pads too, perfect for smaller items.
Like that flower center.
Ignore the hand model, who clearly needs lotion.
The finished layout:
And since I had my vellum stash out, I decided to quickly make a card.
We have had a lot of weddings lately.
I am out of wedding cards!
I had to use a sympathy card for the last one.
In fairness, the card said "Thinking of you, in this difficult time." I was able to pick off the "in this difficult time" part of the card. Although maybe it would have applied...
I used some paper from the Echo Park Victoria Gardens kit.
It is perfect for more elegant projects.
Here is my card:
The vellum added a subtle touch. I die cut the letters, and then embossed them. My handy-dandy Tombow Mono Clear adhesive worked wonders. Even with the uneven surface the embossing gave the letters.

So, in short.
Tombow. I love you.
I have always loved you, and I don't see us breaking up in the near future.
Maybe we can marry?
I already have a card.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's a winner!

I have a winner for the Blog Hop!
To see if you won any of the prizes given away by Echo Park or The Twinery, go here:
(Make sure you go over there anyway. They have a really cute free download for everyone!)
Before I announce my winner, I need to talk about my bathroom scale.

I am a slave to my scale.
When I brave stepping onto it, it determines my whole day.
If my weight is up higher than I would like...I think to myself "Forget it. I am already UP, I might as well eat those Oreos."
And when my weight is down, I think to myself "I totally deserve those Oreos."
I may have issues.

So this morning, I stepped on the scale, and it registered 0.0.
So I replaced the batteries, and stepped on it again.
We have a winner!
I like it.
I tapped it, and the numbers started to spin, like roulette, and ended at 299.4.
NOW I know that stinking thing is totally broken.
It needs to be retired!
I tried it again, the numbers spun, and settled at 0.0 again.
And again.
I might keep that sucker around.
Sometimes a girl needs a good number.
And that *is* the lowest I have ever been!
I deserve Oreos.

You know who else deserves Oreos?
You guys!
Double Stuffs, even!
And especially Jen H! Who said:
Blogger Jen_H said...
Love the LO and the cards were adorable too! You made me tear up! My youngest of three just started kindergarten and I am home all alone now. Miss them being younger. TFS and for the chance to win! I love the country drive collection and would love to get my hands on it! ~~Jen H~~ jholton0503atyahoo
11:44 AM

Jen, I sent you an e-mail, so check your spam folder.
With a name like "Shaunte," that is where my e-mails usually end up, and hang out.
Thanks for the comments, everyone!
She Who Weighs 0.0.

Friday, August 19, 2011

IDAHO: serenity now.

Any Seinfeld fans out there? (Serenity now!)

Also anyone popping in here from the Blog Hop, can scroll down, or click the direct link to my blog hop post:

We just got back last night from a little trip with my extended family--my parents, and most of my sisters, and their families.
It was just what I needed.
Ever since Sam started working for an airline, we have traveled to a lot of really cool destinations.
Warm sand beaches, humid jungles, architecture rich with history...
My kids have been exposed to different cultures, climates, and experiences.
It seems though, that we all love Idaho best.
Not the Eiffel Tower, or the gold souks of Dubai.
A humble log cabin in a small town (population 236!) in Idaho.
I have been coming to the cabin since my childhood.
Prior to the cabin being built, we would camp in tents on the same property.
It holds many memories for me.
Memories of my grandparents, on both my mom's side, and my dad's side.
It is bittersweet for me to stay here now.
It is fun to make memories with my own kids, but I miss the girl I once was here-- carefree, and blissfully unaware that time marches on, and moments, much like people you love, don't go on forever.

The cabin is on the Snake River.
It is beautiful there, and quiet.
Almost painfully quiet.
And free from Internet, and television.
(But not hot showers, or microwaves.)
We spent time fishing:
Grandpa knows all the best spots.
We tried to catch and release everything, but some of those fish didn't mess around, and swallowed the hook along with the worm.

Those we brought home, we baked up and ate. This is after the boys gutted them. With a little too much glee, I might add.
I did not take photos.
You're welcome.
And let's just say that teenage boys can come up with "101 Things To Do With Fish Eyeballs."
None of those things are good.

Other things we do at the cabin:
The girls braid each others hair...
...while the boys wrestle, and knock things off the shelves and walls.

We play games.
Games that do not need a power source, a touchscreen or a stylus.
We toast marshmallows.
In the dark. 
Where no one can see much.
This results in the kids having marshmallow casualties stuck to their feet, or matted into their smoke-scented hair.
But oh, when the stars come out at many stars!
And then the crickets start up...
There is nothing as perfect as a summer night in Idaho.

 We have hammocks hanging on the porch.
Farm equipment to explore...

 ...and wide-open fields.

Nearby is a field where we picked currants. They grow wild. I can't imagine them being good for anything but eating immediately, they are so tiny.
My Dad remembers my Grandma making currant jam out of them.
Bless her heart. I hope she sent all the kids out to pick all the berries.
There was a black currant bush too.
Apparently a regular currant bush mixed with the huckleberry bush growing next to it.
They had delicious babies.
The field we were in was beautiful. Late summer grain, and some wildflowers. The sun was starting to set, and made the colors so vibrant.
I mean, I don't want to be a farmer anytime soon, but dang, those fields are beautiful in the right light.
 And those currant berries were delicious.
My Dad grew up in this valley.
His memories are far different from mine.
He remembers plowing fields, and taking water shares, and the harsh winter months.
He remembers hard work--going to bed exhausted and dirty.
But to me it is the epitome of peaceful.
I never realize how much I have missed being in Idaho, until I am there again.
Taking a deep, soul-cleansing breath.

He took us to a place he discovered when he was a boy.
Right on the side of a busy road.
People drive by it, and never know.
It is a vein of rich black soil, embedded with fossils.
I am not sure what this ancient body of water was doing in Idaho, but there it is.

 Chock full of fossilized seashells.
We didn't stay in Idaho long enough.
It is never long enough.
The last day we went to Fall Creek.
A beautiful waterfall.
We took all the little ones.
My big boys helped them up, and down, the falls.

They made a human chain of teen boys, passing the littles over and up (or down). I was pretty proud of them. I think the last time we visited the falls, those boys of mine were the littles then.
When we got to the bottom, the older ones "cliff" jumped. I use that term very loosely, since the "cliff" was only a few feet high. The water was cold. I was happy to be the photographer. No one pressured me into jumping in...
 The littles "swam" in the pools at the base of the falls.
 Grandpa and some of the grand kids:
This is why we love the cabin.
(Cabin couture is sweat pants!)
Not because we do exciting things.
(We let the cabin get wonderfully messy!)
Not because we do anything at all, really.
(Except maybe eat Grandma's homemade fudge!) 
We are very content to just hang out, doing nothing.
But "doing nothing" together.
My kids get the opportunity to get to know their grandparents better.
Their aunts and uncles.
Their cousins.

Even their siblings, and mom and dad.
(That 4 1/2 hour car ride'll do that.)

And that (more than the famous potatoes) is why we love Idaho.

"Having someplace to go is home. Having someone to love is family. Having both is a blessing."